Glock 17

DunnBy Robert Dunn
AGI and GunTech Video Producer,
AGI Pro Course Graduate, GCA Charter Member

Over the years, Glock has become a “household” word, at least in the Urban Dictionary. There are many different models of Glock pistols, but when I envision a Glock, my mind goes back to the 1980s and I picture a Glock 17. Though the pistol has gone through some noticeable design changes in the area of the grip and the recoil spring and guide rod, the functioning and safety features have remained the same.

Glock 17 pistol, magazines and 9mm cartridges.

Glock 17 pistol, magazines and 9mm cartridges.

For some of the younger crowd it might be hard to imagine the firearms industry without polymer-framed pistols. Gaston Glock, the Austrian inventor of the Glock pistols, changed all of that. Though Heckler & Koch had a polymer-framed pistol in the ‘70s, now just about every major (and minor) manufacturer of semi automatic pistols has a striker fired (no hammer), polymer-framed handgun. Like many weapons, their popularity didn’t become widespread in the civilian market until they had achieved a high level of use and acceptance in the Military and Law Enforcement communities. The Glock 17 has become a standard in most Police Departments in the United States and abroad. The Glock pistol is equally popular with military units throughout the world. As a matter of fact, the Glock 17 was designed for the Austrian Army as a replacement for the Walther P38 that was in use at the time.

This pistol has also proven extremely popular in the civilian market for many years now. Though many think that the number 17 in the pistol’s name results from its potential 17 round magazine capacity (also available in 19 and 33), the 17 actually represents Gaston Glock’s 17th patent submission.

The Glock 17 is a lightweight pistol compared to a steel framed design, as polymer is stronger and 86% lighter than steel. The gun’s proprietary Tenifer metal treatment insures a tough and hard surface on the slide and barrel that is resist-ant to scratching and corrosion.

Glock 17 barrel

Glock 17 barrel

The camming action of the lock up of the pistol resembles that of the Browning High Power. The rifling of the barrel is a right hand hexagonal type and its length of twist is 250mm. You can always tell if a round has been fired from a Glock because of the unique elongated imprint of the firing pins impression in the primer of the empty case, unlike the round indentation from a “traditional” shaped firing pin.

Glock employs what they call “Safe Action” to describe the pistol’s three safety features, all of which are deactivated when the trigger is pulled for firing, and reactivated upon releasing the trigger. The first safety is an external trigger safety and consists of a lever found on the trigger blade itself. This lever will rotate and act upon the trigger bar and connector when the finger naturally pulls the trigger. The other two safety features of the pistol are internal. One uses a hardened steel pin to block the firing pin in the firing pin channel until the trigger is pulled. The third safety (the drop safety) will only allow the gun to fire if the trigger is pulled straight back as the trigger bar will then be guided on a safety ramp inside the firearm.

The trigger pull of the stock gun is about 5.5 lbs., but for law enforcement purposes you can buy what is called a New York Trigger. This will give you a trigger pull of about 12 lbs. A 15-lbs pull can be achieved with a New York plus and New York Plus-Plus Trigger. These options were implemented as “Lawyer” safety features. Of course, the best way to prevent accidental (negligent) discharges is to keep your finger off the trigger until you intend to shoot. The trigger IS NOT a finger rest.

The Glock 17 is a durable weapon platform and can even be safely fired underwater with the addition of special spring cups that fit in the striker assembly. These allow water to pass by without slowing the forward travel of the firing pin and causing a misfire. The solid design and lock up of the pistol allows for the higher pressures of aquatic operation to be possible.

This does not mean that you can go scuba diving and shoot at sharks (though it is possible as an alternative to being eaten alive), it was intended to allow Special Forces units to safely fire the weapon after being submerged or close to the surface area.

There are a several precautions which you must consider before you show your friends how to shoot at fish while using a snorkel. Specifically, 9mm is the only “safe” caliber to shoot while submerged, as rounds such as .40 S&W and .45 ACP Glock will result in excessive pressure build up in the gun. Full metal jacket rounds in 9 mm should be used because hollow points will expand and cause dangerous pressure levels. There should be no air present in the pistol as this will also cause high pressure issues. Keep in mind that sound pressure levels are much higher underwater. Just because you can’t hear your friends yelling at you while in a pool doesn’t mean that you will not suffer hearing loss if you shoot your Glock with both it and your head underwater!

Glock 17 field stripped to its 5 main components

Glock 17 field stripped to its 5 main components

Field stripping the pistol is as easy as it gets. Make sure the weapon is unloaded, release the magazine, pull the trigger, move slide back about an 1/8”, pull down the take down tabs on both sides of the frame and then ease the slide forward off of the frame. Next, the recoil guide rod and spring can be taken off by pushing slightly forward and up. The barrel can be removed from the slide by lifting it up from the rear.

At this point the gun is ready to be cleaned, lightly lubricated and put back together in the reverse order of the field strip-ping. Maintenance is that quick and easy!

The late model Glock 17 has added a light rail for quick mounting of a tactical light system, a welcome addition. There are many after market products available for Glock pistols, such as various front and rear sights and many different types of laser sighting systems as well. Another thing I like is that there is a hole in the lower part of the grip that will allow a lanyard to be attached to the pistol. This allows you to drop the weapon safely and switch to a rifle quickly.

Right out of the box, the Glock 17 is a safe and accurate pistol. This firearm is another weapon that has made a dramatic impact on the history of firearms and will be in constant use for years to come. This pistol has become a “classic” design since it was first manufactured in the early 1980s. It is still a proven and reliable “work horse” in the 21st century.

15 Responses to Glock 17

  1. Wow! Excellent article!

    I own one of these babies, in fact it was my second handgun I owned in my lifetime. At that time I did not know anything really at all about firearms, except for the golden rules of safety and safe handling.

    A friend of mine who knew nothing about guns (other than what he seen on YouTube and whatnot) recommended I get a Glock handgun when I mentioned to him I was looking for a new handgun to acquire. So, after a little bit of my own research that winter I ended up purchasing a Glock 17 in 9mm. Soon as it arrived I took it to the shooting range that winter during sub-zero temperatures and 8 inches of snow on the ground. Never had an issue with short cycles. I’m trying to recall if there were any feeding malfunctions back then or not, if so it would have been only one or maybe two. Only ever used FMJ’s.

    Soon after, I purchased an Advantage Arms .22 long rifle caliber conversion kit for it and shot over 400 rounds through it during that winter as well. A lot of fun! This was well before I enrolled with AGI. As a side note I would like to add that the firing pin protrudes too far in my particular conversion kit, in which I noticed much later down the road (after AGI). The chamber needs swaging (not sure how to spell it) because there is a dent from the firing pin at the mouth of the chamber that I am not at all thrilled about!

    You taught me a few things in this article Robert, such as all of the firing under water info and also what the 17 denotes.

    Have you tried Glock aftermarket mags, in particular KCI magazines? I bought some in different mag cap sizes (of course they are all pinned/limited to “5 round fun” but it’s been so long since shooting any handguns (live too far from a pistol range and even the closest one is way too expensive to join just for occasional shooting) I don’t recall if I have used them yet or not.

    Again, really informative and well written article. Thanks Robert.

    • Oops, my high cap Glock mags are pinned to “10 round fun” NOT “5 round fun” as I said in my first comment above. Sorry for any confusion.

      Also forgot to mention my Glock 17 is a Gen 4. It is 100% factory (never done a thing at all to it thus far).

    • Just a note Dana, you’re not supposed to dry fire rim fire guns or you can get chamber burrs like you describe or even broken fireing pins. Best to use snap caps (inert plastic or aluminum cartridges)) for dry fireing.

      • Perfect advice S whiffin! Wish I heard you say that to me 6 years ago when I first got the conversion kit! As you know the chamber dent is definitely too long of a firing pin and dry firing the gun. A .22 rimfire chambering swage is definitely on my wish list. It would be a VERY good thing to have for my shop.

        Since becoming involved as an AGI student in beginning of 2014 I learned to not dry fire (rimfire guns in particular). Since then I have bought dry fire caps (snap caps, etc) for almost every caliber I own. Thankfully I kept one empty brass case for a few common calibers (from my ol’ shooting range five years ago) in which can come in handy for guns that come to the shop (so long as they fit their chambers) in calibers that I do not own nor have any dry fire caps for.

        What’s more is starting about 3+ years or so ago before I even pull a rimfire trigger (on my new .22 rimfire guns, customer’s rimfire guns, etc) I measure firing pin protrusion and rim cut depth on bolt/breach face. If the pin sticks out past (or flush) the chamber end of the bolt body I will shorten the pin minimally so that it is a few thousandths of an inch shy of the end of the bolt body and within the appropriate specs.

        Thanks for your post!

  2. My carry gun is a 13 year old G17 gen3 and never considered changing. Never had a failure even after thousands of rounds through it.

  3. Thanks, Dana, glad you got something out of the article. I have confidence in Glock handguns. When I used to sell guns, Glock is what I sold the most of. Last year I filmed the updated Glock Armorer’s Course with Ken Brooks. It is really a good course and Ken is quite thorough. I have only used factory Glock mags and do not have a opinion on the KCI magazines. Hope all is well up North! Thanks for sounding in Dana!

  4. We’ve had a Glock 17 and 23 for years. Our first purchase was the 23 (.40) for my wife. She liked the ease of racking this pistol as she has issues with grip strength. Since I lean more towards a 1911 and the Smith wheel guns I always referred to her 23 as a plastic cap gun. However, after several trip to the range I found I actually liked it. The bonus is it’s a dream to carry. So, when we got the opportunity to pick up A Glock 17 Gen 3 we jumped. I really like the 17. We are now looking at getting a couple of Glock 17 Gen 4’s. However, my Kimber 1911 remains my favorite shooter. But, the Glock is the go-to carry gun.

  5. I keep my Glock at home as a protection pistol. Being out and about, I have a Kimber 1911 and a Colt Detective Special snub nose revolver. Out in the woods is a Ruger Alaskan revolver.

  6. i always said i would never own a tupperware piece of sh#####. a friend put a 26 in my hand that he had smoothed over. since then at one time i owned at 17. the most reliable and easy to shoot piece ever. i took a gunsmith class in las vegas at the shot show, in vegas. the night before was really bad. if you know what i mean. still drunk by noon. ( no live ammo) i helped about 4 people around me with the course, at the end of the day i missed one question. i think it was my name. point being that they are easy to work on and very reliable.

  7. Besides using the Heckler & /Kock VP70 polymer frame concept and Browning barrel cam design, Glock also used the double action only trigger/striker feature from the 1913 Le Francaise pistol. See below:

    “The trigger, connector bar, and sear form a single unit. The stirrup-shaped connector extends on both sides of the magazine. The unit moves freely in slots in the frame and is tensioned by a spring at the rear. When the trigger is pressed the sear moves to the rear, pulling the firing pin back with it, and the angle of the slots in the frame is such that as the sear reaches its rearmost position it is cammed downward, releasing the firing pin. Hence, the gun is never cocked except when the trigger is pulled and no further safety mechanism is required.”

  8. Well lets see if this forum is just a paid advertisement for Glock or whether they let the truth about Glocks be aired out.

    First off few people understand how a Glock works and what is worse think the trigger safety actually works. Nor do they realize how dangerous the take down system is or do they bother to do any testing such as how strong the ignition system is and if the gun can fire out of battery. Nor do they know about all of the recalls called upgrades on various Glock models. Below I will detail my findings over the years.

    And before we get started if you click on this link and then scroll down you can see what happens to people when they accidentally shoot themselves with Glocks. The article mainly talks about the worthless trigger safety but the same thing happens during attempted field stripping so lets start there. Ok here is the link below.

    Then Engineers that developed the Glock obviously were not gun owners or users as the take down system could not be more dangerous as it requires you to have the slide forward and you must pull the trigger. If you forget just one time in your life to check the chamber you either shoot your self or someone else accidentally. Contrast this with other much more safer designs that require you to pull the slide back and lock it open. Its a no brainier to all but the most retarded.

    In the above link it also shows what happens to people who attempt to holster a Glock and a part of the holster or clothing catches or protrudes into the trigger guard which then deactivates the totally worthless trigger safety and the gun goes off shooting the owner that is wearing it.

    Few Glock owners realize that their Glocks are basically cocked (67 per ent) and ready to fire just like when you walk around with a revolver and are dumb enough to have the trigger cocked back. Snag the trigger and both guns fire right now. The New York Police had so many accidental discharges they demanded a heavier trigger pull and got it called the New York 8Lb trigger but it was no where near the panacea they hoped it would be as the Glock does not have a long stroke double action trigger like a revolver whose double action pulls are often more like 13 1/2 lbs.

    Did you know some foreign countries do not allow importation of Glocks unless they have a factory installed frame mounted manual safety which Glock has by the way but has never offered it to the American consumer. Many lives would have been saved and many severe injuries avoided if a model with a manual safety would have been available. My own Glock has a custom manual safety as I would never carry it with a loaded chamber if it did not have such a manual safety.

    Now lets look at the weak ignition system. Under most civilian circumstances using factory ammo this is not a worry or a problem but use hand loads or let the gun get dirty, oily and also very cold and you could have a gun that will not fire. To give you a glaring example of how weak the ignition system is compared to most hammer fired guns I took 3 Glocks and also a striker fired Walther P99 which is also has what we call a pre-loaded ignition system that is not quite fully cocked like the Glock. I deliberately seated a high primer in an empty case and attempted to fire off the 3 Glocks and the 1 Walther P99 and all failed the test 3 times in a row on the same primer. In other words the high primer was hit 3 times in a row trying to make it go off. 100 per cent failures. On the other hand I tested some of the classic hammer fired guns such as the 1911, Browning High Power, CZ 75 and about 6 other hammer fired guns. All the hammer fired guns had ignition systems so powerful they not only drove the high primer down into the primer pocket until it bottomed out but they still had enough energy to crush the primer and fire it off.

    Also Glocks can fire out of battery. If the slide not full closed because it is dirty or has a shaving of bullet or brass caught between the slide and the barrel the gun can fire out of batter resulting in the Glock blowing up in your face. If you doubt my word my testing proved it and again wearing safety glasses and heavy gloves I attempted to fire off a primed case that was seated all the way down in its pocket. Firing out of battery the firing pin hit the primer lightly and did not set it off but it is well known in the industry that there is such a thing as a “sensitive primer” and they often can and do cause slam fires especially in some military rifles that have floating firing pins.

    Glock has had a long series of recalls too but they call them upgrades. Just a few examples were broken trigger springs, faulty recoil springs, ported barrels that broke in two, frame rail buttons that let the slides fall off the frames when dropped, faulty passive firing pin safeties that let the gun fire when dropped etc. etc. so the advertisements by Glock claiming “Glock Perfection” is a laughable joke.

    The Lead bullet myth: Glock recommends not to fire any reloads especially with lead and I agree with them as Glock’s shallow grove rifling will indeed blow the gun up with large accumulations of lead in the rifling but to be fair to Glock deep groove rifling is not immune to causing a gun to blow up either if clogged up with soft lead deposits. Considering how many gun owners only clean their guns occasionally staying away from shooting lead hand loads is a good idea for them. Notice I said “FOR THEM” not for me.

    But how about myself???? Well hang on to your hat. I have fired as many as 200 rounds using hard cast bullet hand loads and only got a few minor streaks of lead which were immediately cleaned out of the bore and notice I said immediately no excuses no putting it off. And to kill another gun writer myth Glocks shoot lead every bit as well as jacketed bullets if the bullets are not undersized. So all this advertisement baloney that you need a special barrel to shoot lead safely and accurately out of Glock is just designed to sell expensive after market barrels which often shoot less accurately even with jacketed bullets.

    Again is shooting lead a good idea for the “average Joe shooter” no it is not because they just refuse to clean their guns often enough and yes some have just about disappeared in a red puff of mist when they blew up their glocks with lead bullet re-loads either by accumulations of lead or when the gun fired out of battery because it got dirty and also had too much lead in it.

    • “Well lets see if this forum is just a paid advertisement for Glock or whether they let the truth about Glocks be aired out.”

      I posted your comment unedited. Does that answer your question?

      BTW this is a blog, not a forum. There is a difference.

  9. Great read; I have a G17 made in 1986.. it is MINT. Have been a Glock fan since the beginning….presently have 19 different Glocks in various calibers and generations.. oh yeah, I am a Glock Armorer, too!

  10. A number of years ago I switched from carrying a custom 1911 to a Glock 23. In concealed carry, lighter is better. However, I couldn’t leave it factory stock. I did the trick with a NY #1 trigger spring, and 3-1/2 pound connector with overtravel stop. With a little sanding & polishing on the trigger spring, it brings you to a true 5-1/2 pound trigger pull with a very short reset and no overtravel. Then I installed fiber optic sights, front & rear, and put in a guide rod laser.

    Matched up with the customized Glock is a shoulder holster & double mag pouch.