“Why?” is a thoughtful question that requires you to open yourself to unexplored possibilities while seeking personal, sometimes intimate, answers from others. However, the first step to truly understanding something is to ask why. Why does it exist? Why would people use it? Why should you care?
GLOCK pistols sell extremely well around the world. Few would dispute the company’s dominance in the law enforcement and personal-protection markets. However, have you ever asked why? Why are GLOCK pistols the first and only choice for many people needing a handgun for self-defense and public service?
In this article, I gain the individual answers when “Why GLOCK?” is asked of four people separated by wide distances, cultural upbringings and occupations. Each offers a glimpse into the very personal reasons why they have chosen to rely on a GLOCK pistol. Perhaps in their answers we can find commonality between them and ourselves.
For a police officer, the “Why GLOCK?” question may be simply a matter of department regulations. But when the same officer chooses to carry a GLOCK off-duty to protect his family, the “why” becomes more personal.
Aaron Evans is a patrol sergeant and SWAT team sniper for a large suburban law enforcement agency in the Midwest. The GLOCK 22 is what he carries on-duty. A GLOCK 27 is his constant backup and off-duty gun. “I carry a GLOCK off-duty,” said Evans. “I like the features, and I love the trigger reset that allows me to get follow-up shots quickly without excessive pistol movement and jerking. The light weight also helps when carrying the gun.”
Evans said moving from his off-duty gun to his issued on-duty weapon doesn’t require any additional training to stay proficient. “It’s great to be able to move from full-sized to mid-sized, to subcompact, to even the new single-stack GLOCKs, and have the same function and a fit that is very similar,” Evans said. “That is very important to me, so the shooting is instinctive and doesn’t require extra thought to make the pistol work.”
Training continuity is not the only reason why GLOCK pistols make sense to Evans. “For backup, I use a G27 per policy and per choice,” he said. “I made the choice for consistency in magazines and ammunition, and knowing that I can use the full-sized magazines from my GLOCK 22 in my subcompact if my primary goes down.”
Being a police officer is not for the faint of heart. Officers are exposed to violence on a regular basis, and Evans has seen more than his fair share. Additionally, he has encountered nearly every kind of dangerous environment, from meth labs to the destruction left behind by a devastating EF5 tornado. GLOCK has been with him through it all.
“GLOCKs are great SWAT weapons for their simplicity. There are no external safeties to get in the way during high-stress shooting. Additionally, they are very durable, so if you drop them, bang them on something and shoot the heck out of them, they’ll maintain their consistency.”
Evans also shed light on why a department should consider GLOCK pistols. “The GLOCK SAFE ACTION trigger provides a consistent and very trainable trigger pull, and the reset allows for incredible control, speed and accuracy on follow-up shots.
“Qualifications used to be horrible,” said Evans. “With our previously issued non-GLOCK pistols, we would see rounds thrown due to the heavy double-action pull. Also, the fact that we had to manipulate the safety with each draw created issues. [Because officers are more proficient with GLOCKs] training today is much more oriented to winning a gunfight rather than learning the basics.”
As the director of the Safety Solutions Academy, Paul Carlson sees a lot of students come through his classes. With them, students bring the pistols that they rely on for self-defense. But one brand of pistols has proven itself time and time again for reliability, accuracy and ease of training. “GLOCKs are consistently top performers in the defensive courses that I teach,” said Carlson. “The relatively short and consistent trigger press allows students to get rapid hits even when the requirement for precision is high.”
Many trainers have cited the consistent SAFE ACTION trigger pull as a key feature in reducing the time required by a new shooter to achieve practical accuracy. Other types of pistol actions can require more than double the training time to achieve the same level of accuracy.
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“When describing a GLOCK pistol, the key word that comes to mind is efficiency,” said Carlson. “This also happens to be the most important characteristic of a quality defensive handgun. GLOCKs are efficient because they are reliable, simple to operate and easy to shoot.”
Efficiency in training is Carlson’s answer to “Why GLOCK?” I saw this demonstrated in a class of new shooters that Carlson was training. Half of the people in attendance at the class had no practical shooting experience, and no one in the course had taken anything more than a cursory concealed firearms course before. The one commonality in the class was that all of the students were given GLOCK pistols to train with. In short order, all of the students were performing exceptionally well on the range.
“Their simplicity makes it easy to teach the skills necessary to operate the pistol appropriately, even with brand-new shooters,” Carlson said. “The reliability of the GLOCK platform allows students to focus on skills that are a higher priority than clearing malfunctions, and it also increases the students’ confidence in their defensive handgun.”
While GLOCK pistols work well in training, what handgun does Carlson recommend his students rely on for protecting their loved ones? “Appropriate decision making, solid skills and a will to win are the attributes that will help you prevail when you need to most. That being said, a student should select the best tools available. You have many choices when it comes to defensive handguns. I have made my choice, and every day I carry a GLOCK.”
The Dance Mom
“The GLOCK 19 is like a warm blanket,” said a soft voice from one end of the range. That got my attention—and everyone else on the range’s. Chuckling, the instructor knew he found a kindred spirit in the dance mom standing on the firing line.
Kelly Fitzgerald is a typical American mom in many respects. She is responsible for running the household while her husband works, which includes homeschooling the kids and ferrying them to their various activities. Her oldest child is a competitive dancer at a well-known private studio in Florida. Sometimes those dance competitions take them far from home and require her to drive long hours at night to arrive in time for the show. Protecting her daughter and the rest of her family is Fitzgerald’s answer to “Why GLOCK?”
On this particular day, she was on the range getting some helpful firearms training with the gun she relies on to help her protect her family: the GLOCK 19. “I’ve never had a malfunction when using a GLOCK. The same cannot be said for other pistols I have shot,” said Fitzgerald.
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“No matter what other guns I take to the range, the GLOCK 19 is always my favorite to shoot,” Fitzgerald said. According to her, the pistol fits her hand well, has very little felt recoil and has proved to be extremely reliable.
“The mechanics of the GLOCK are so user-friendly, it was easy to become very comfortable with it in a short period of time,” Fitzgerald said. “GLOCK pistols are so easy to shoot that I feel confident that I can use my GLOCK 19 in a high-pressure self-defense situation.”
Fitzgerald told me she enjoys shooting and time on the range, but personal protection is her main interest in pistols. Because of this, reliability and ease of use under pressure are very important to her. “GLOCK pistols are reliable and easy to use,” she said. “A shooter can quickly achieve a high level of comfort with the controls. The sights work well for me, and I have a great degree of confidence in my ability to put rounds on target.”
Another reason that Fitzgerald likes the GLOCK brand is the availability of holsters and other accessories that allow her to carry the GLOCK pistol in a manner that is best suited for her. “Concealed carry with the GLOCK pistols is made very easy because of all of the accessories that are available to work around my preferences and limitations,” said Fitzgerald.
She normally keeps the G19 close at hand, but has recently been considering adding the slim, subcompact GLOCK 43 to her growing gun collection. Even if she does buy a G43, she will not be giving up the G19 as her primary self-defense weapon. “It doesn’t hurt that the GLOCK 19 holds so many more rounds than a revolver or a more compact semi-automatic pistol. I mean, we are talking about being in a gunfight, right? Nobody wants to lose because of a lack of ammunition.”
When this 30-year-old recreational shooter got serious about personal protection, he settled on the 9×19 G19. Justin Walters, an information technology professional, attended his first training class with a pistol that he thought looked good when he wore it. As he struggled to keep the gun running during the course, the instructor grinned, handed him a G19 and suggested he try it.
“I really did not want to like it, but found that I shot better with it from more real-life positions that I am far more likely to encounter in a violent attack,” said Walters. “I set aside my [reasons for buying the first gun] and adopted a new way of thinking. I sold my gun that day and bought a G19.”
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When I met Walters, I found him to be both thoughtful and practical in his reasoning on a variety of very technical topics. Therefore, I was not surprised to find him applying the same reasoning to his selection of a GLOCK pistol for personal protection. Walters says, from his perspective, a gun is merely a tool to help him better accomplish a task and provide his answer to “Why GLOCK?”—the protection of himself and his family.
“I am the weapon and everything else are tools,” said Walters. “The GLOCK allows me to focus on training, awareness and mindset and not on weapon manipulation. When you train like your life depends on it, you want a simple tool that will come through for you under pressure.”
When asked what gun he would carry into a confrontation to defend his family, Walters said, “If the time came for me to protect life, I would want the gun I train with, and that is my G19.”