|FN Browning 1900 Pistol|
When the Glock 17 came onto the scene some thought it was the most advanced handgun of the time, and it may well have been. But nothing about the Glock was really new. The polymer frame and striker ignition had been done before by HK with their VP70 handgun. The VP70 broke new ground with its innovative polymer frame and striker firing, however it was not what I would consider a commercial success in the US. It was originally designed as a police/military weapon and was a machine pistol that was capable of full-automatic fire with the stock affixed. The trigger pull on the VP70 was abysmal and measured 16+ lbs on examples I have examined.
|HK VP70 9mm pistol|
Why has the Glock become so popular? What is it about the design that appeals to so many shooters?
I would venture to say that reliability is the primary motivation behind the Glocks popularity. The handgun is, if nothing else, reliable. However I believe the recipe for Glock success also lies in its striker firing system which features a consistent 5.5lbs trigger pull.
But there's something else.
The one thing that separates the Glock from the other two pistols mentioned in this article is the fact it lacks a manual safety. Calm down my loyal Glock groupies, I didn't say the pistol lacked safeties -- I merely stated the fact that Glock's lack a manual safety (please follow the link if you need clarification as to what defines a "manual safety").
|Two of my Glock 17 pistols|
At first the Glock was decried as being unsafe or even dangerous. It's true, it does have a higher incident of unintended discharges by LEO's and others that carry them for defensive purposes. However, I view these negligent discharges as being attributable to lack of training. Why do I say that? Because the Glock will not fire unless the trigger is pulled. Since the Glock is incapable of pulling its own trigger that means someone pulled the trigger if the gun goes "boom" when the operator wasn't expecting it.
It is this simplicity and reliability that draws me towards the Glock for daily carry. With a good holster that covers the trigger and ample range time, the Glock is not only safe but one of the fastest pistols into a fight you can buy.
|Walther PPQ 9mm pistol|
I've always favored a consistent trigger pull over a double action trigger pull. That's why I carried the 1911 for so many years before jumping on the Glock bandwagon. I moved to Glock many years ago before competitive products came to market. At this point I have a couple of decades of Glock shooting under my belt so it makes sense for me to continue using what I'm familiar with. However, if I were to buy my first defensive handgun today I would lean heavily towards the S&W M&P 9mm.
In the end I find modern polymer framed striker fired pistols to be the ultimate defensive handguns as they are the epitome of speed, reliability and ease of use.