In the world of concealed carry, there are two kinds of people: those who carry a gun because their work demands it, and those who carry a gun because their environment demands it. The differences, though subtle, are in the choices made in carry guns. The focus here is on the latter, because concealed carry when it is not part of your profession is both an emotional and a physical commitment. The emotional part is very personal and everyone with a CCW must come their own terms with the use of deadly force; the physical side is more a matter of practical choices. Carrying a semi-automatic pistol and keeping it out of sight—which is 99.9 percent of the time—takes some planning. This is the Glock plan.

When Glock entered the civilian firearms market in the mid-1980s, the Austrian armsmaker only offered one model—the original Glock 17, a medium-frame semi-auto chambered in 9mm with a capacity of 17+1. It was a holster gun best suited for military and law enforcement use and open carry. It took Glock until 1994 to introduce its first subcompact model, the G26 chambered in 9mm, which was later followed by the G27 model chambered in .40 Auto, a round that was quickly replacing the 9mm as the first choice of law enforcement officers. It was the Glock 27 that really defined the high-power subcompact.

Easy Crossover

In terms of Glock models, subcompact has a somewhat different characterization than a more conventional small semi-automatic like a Walther PPK or even the new Ruger LCP and LC9 which, despite sharing polymer frames like all Glock pistols, have more traditional slide and grip configurations.

When it comes to subcompacts, Glock is its own category because each caliber model bears the same design characteristics as its larger counterpart, what one might call the counter melody or counterpoint. Glock intentionally created subcompacts in matching calibers so that individuals who carry a full-size pistol in a specific chambering like 9mm, .40 Auto, 10mm, .357, .45 ACP or Glock’s proprietary .45 G.A.P. caliber can have an identical subcompact.

Since their introduction in 1982, all Glock models have used a composite polymer frame combined with a durable surfaced-hardened steel slide. Regardless of the size or caliber, all Glock pistols share common design features and it is this familiarity that makes the pairing of full-size and subcompact models work so well. One might not carry both guns but consider the use of a 9mm Glock 17 as a home protection arm and the subcompact 9mm Glock 26 as a concealed carry gun. Knowing the fundamentals of one gun is knowing both.

All Glock models are striker-fired designs utilizing the Glock “Safe Action” constant, double-action trigger with three internal safeties. First, the trigger safety prevents inadvertent firing by not allowing the trigger to travel back unless the safety is disengaged with direct contact straight back on the trigger. Second, the firing pin safety blocks the firing pin channel until the trigger is pulled. Finally, a drop safety keeps the trigger bar from moving forward if the pistol is dropped. Each safety is automatically disengaged when the trigger is pulled and automatically reengaged when the trigger is released. Through some argue the wisdom of the trigger safety design, this is essentially what one has with a DAO revolver.

There are two visual tells about a Glock’s condition, though one of them can be misleading. If the trigger has been pulled and no round discharged, it remains it its rearmost position (locked back with the safety toggle almost flush to the trigger). When the action is cycled, the trigger moves forward and the safety toggle extends. It is also easy to see (and feel) if a round is chambered because the extractor will project slightly away from the slide when a cartridge is loaded. This is a very important visual check because if the gun has been cleared without pulling the trigger afterward, and a loaded magazine reinserted, the trigger will be in the firing position even though a round hasn’t been chambered. A Glock will also fire a chambered round with the magazine removed, which many consider a tactical advantage.

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