The machine pistol has always been a specialized weapon designed for those who would find carrying a rifle or full-sized submachine gun (SMG) cumbersome, but need more firepower than available with a standard pistol. One of the best-known classic machine pistols was the Mauser M1932 Schnellfeuer (or “Fast Fire”), which was used by specialist troops, such as motorcycle dispatch riders. Various machine pistols were produced during the latter half of the 20th century, but most had the problem of being too large to really function as a pistol and too small to really be as effective as an SMG. Concealment was definitely a problem as many used a holster stock that could be affixed to the machine pistol to allow better control when firing on full-auto. Usually, the stocks did help, but they also made for a holster that was bulky.

Stealth G18

An exception to the fault of being too bulky is the GLOCK 18, which is the same size as a GLOCK 17. In fact, it can be carried in a standard GLOCK 17 holster. There are some slight differences between the G17 and G18. The G18’s rails have a slightly different height, and it contains seven altered parts and four additional parts that comprise the select-fire mechanism. At a glance, the only noticeable difference between the G17 and the G18 is the selector switch located on the G18’s slide. Someone unfamiliar with GLOCKs might assume it is a decocker.

The fact the GLOCK 18 resembles a GLOCK 17 can be a real advantage to close-protection or counterterrorist units armed with it; in the holster it will appear to be a standard service pistol and, thus, not attract undue attention. There is also a cost factor too, since a unit can use standard GLOCK 17 holsters. The standard G18 magazine is an extended 33-round magazine. However, most personnel who carry the G18 use a standard 17-round GLOCK magazine or one of the +2 magazines in the gun and carry the 33-round magazines as spares. Alan Rizzo, an expert trainer for GLOCK, mentioned that he has had discussions with agencies using a shoulder rig that allows them to carry two spare 33-round magazines plus one of the aftermarket GLOCK stocks. In fact, the 33-round magazines are popular with some operators who carry the G17. Some years ago I worked with one close-protection team with operators who carried two GLOCK 17s with standard magazines and carried 33-round magazines as spares.

The GLOCK 18 was originally developed for Austria’s EKO Cobra (Einsatzkommando Cobra) counterterrorist unit, primarily for use during assaults on hijacked aircraft. Tactically, this makes a lot of sense as it gave Cobra operators a weapon that could be quickly deployed in confined spaces, yet would allow multiple disabling shots on a terrorist quickly. Russia’s FSB Alpha retained Russia’s machine pistol, the Stechkin APS, for the same purpose decades after it had gone out of production.

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