I watched as three Osceola County deputies, GLOCKs in hand, developed a quick tactical plan to clear a multi-level structure to look for a subject responsible for a felony sex crime. Although just minutes before, they were on routine patrol in the sprawling Osceola County of Florida close to many tourist attractions, the deputies organized themselves for the planned entry and search. Drawing on their skills and tactics practiced at the Osceola County Sheriff’s training facility and range, which gave them confidence in their GLOCKs—including their new G22 .40-caliber Gen4s—the deputies smoothly transitioned into a high-performance team that rapidly moved through the structure.

The first obstacle, a dangerous open-topped stairwell, was cleared as each deputy covered their area of responsibility with their GLOCKs locked on their line of sight. The deputies effectively pushed through the whole structure, guns up, quickly checking every room, closet and door until the calls of “CLEAR” were heard. The tough training, right mindset and their GLOCKs made it all come together to ensure a successful outcome.

GLOCK autopistols are America’s most popular law enforcement handgun, filling the holsters of over two-thirds of America’s law enforcement professionals. More and more, the new GLOCK Gen4 SAFE ACTION® handguns are being recognized as the new benchmark for the perfect duty sidearm. This hasn’t escaped the eyes of the Osceola County Sherriff’s Office (OSCO), which has selected the new GLOCK 22 Gen4 .40-caliber for its deputies.

The Right Choice

The powerful .40 cartridge was selected for its superior incapacitation based on an incident when a violent felon was still in the fight after being shot twice with 9×19 ammunition. As a result, the OCSO decided to adopt a more powerful caliber weapon, so almost all 400 sworn Osceola County deputies are being issued the GLOCK 22 Gen4 during scheduled training. The groundbreaking new features of the Gen4 series include its unmatched versatility to easily adjust the pistol’s grip to custom fit just about every officer on the force.

The GLOCK Gen4 SAFE ACTION® pistol is based on the GLOCK reduced SF (Short Frame), which can be modified using two optional and detachable backstraps marked “medium” and “large.” Each Gen4 pistol can be configured as the unmodified SF, which has a 2mm (0.08-inch) reduction in trigger length that many competitive shooters have adopted as match-winners. The medium backstrap provides for a standard trigger length that is similar to all GLOCKs, while the large backstrap provides for a 4mm (0.16-inch) increase in trigger distance for shooters with large hands. The angle of the grip to the barrel is maintained with or without the backstraps attached to ensure complete retention of training and muscle memory. The backstraps are molded to blend with the frame and are secured by a sturdy but easy-to-remove pin through the grip.

To further ensure consistency in training and ease of use by all shooters, the Gen4 GLOCKs are equipped with an enlarged reversible magazine release, which can be changed in seconds to accommodate either left- or right-handed shooters. The Gen4 pistols also have a dual recoil spring assembly that replaces the older single recoil spring. Deputy Rich Adair, the training and firearms coordinator for OCSO, stated that the deputies and trainers in his department prefer the Gen4 GLOCK because of, “the interchangeable backstraps that fit all different sizes of hands. The Gen4 has a rougher texture finish that is important for weapon control, especially in Florida, where it is hot and humid.”

Deputy Adair also mentioned that the Gen4 dual recoil spring really aids in accuracy for faster follow-up shots; it, “dampens recoil to get back on target quicker because a quarter-second in a gunfight is an eternity!” Overall, the Gen4 has made training a diverse population of shooters much easier. The guns have produced excellent shooting scores and an excellent safety record.

Each GLOCK features three independent safety systems that secure the weapon against accidental discharges—more than a typical revolver, the traditional carry weapon for LE for most of the last century. Every SAFE ACTION® GLOCK has an external trigger safety that activates the trigger bar only when depressed. A second safety is the firing pin safety, a solid hardened-steel pin that blocks the firing pin channel unless the trigger is actuated. Finally, the drop safety is only released when the trigger is pulled back. The trigger, firing pin and drop safeties of the SAFE ACTION® allow the GLOCK to be safely carried with a round in the chamber and it will not discharge unless the trigger is purposefully depressed. The end result is that the deputy does not have to lose situational awareness to prepare their pistol for an engagement when responding to an immediate deadly threat.

Praise for the Gen4

The OCSO deputies that carry GLOCKs to defend themselves and the public from threats of deadly force have nothing but praise for their chosen sidearm. Detective Anna Owens uses her GLOCK 22 Gen4 without any backstrap for a fit she describes as, “easy to handle because I don’t have to readjust my grip at all, so I can pull it from the holster and I’m ready to go.”

Deputy Daniel Garrelts uses the large backstrap because, “it is more comfortable in my hand when I use it and I think it has improved my shooting scores.” Deputy Garrelts also noted that the dual springs on the G22 Gen4 give less felt recoil as compared to other pistols he has shot.

Special Operations Lt. Amaury Murgado, who has decades of law enforcement experience, notes that the GLOCK is exceptional because, “there is no deputy that the GLOCK 22 Gen4 will not fit, and it beats anything else out there.”

The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office is where it all comes together. Their dedicated and well-trained deputies are equipped with the world’s best tactical pistol and they are motivated by high standards of training and leadership. The result is the protection of tens of thousands of tourists and residents who visit and live around one of America’s most popular vacation destinations. It also means that at the end of shift, like the west district night shift I rode with, each deputy closes out their paperwork and goes home safe and sound to their loved ones. That shows the real value of the GLOCK Gen4 pistols.

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