I know my Glock 23. I trust my Glock 23. I’ve put thousands and thousands of rounds through my Glock 23. I’m pretty dang accurate with my Glock 23. It really and truly is the optimum balance of Size, Weight, and Firepower in a package that makes it the ultimate Jack of All Trades.
I’ve talked about the best choices for Concealed Carry, but what about for the guys who have to carry openly? Law Enforcement, PMC, Security Contractor, or general Open Carry use, these are going to require a different type of handgun. Basically as much gun on your hip as you can get. Full sized, full capacity, none of the compromises required for Concealment.
SIG 226/220. This full sized SIG is a classic and the choice of a great many gunslinging professionals. A big capacity and rugged construction combined with reliability and accuracy. It’s everything you could want in a Side Arm. Unless you want a larger caliber. The 220 everything you like about the 226, but in .45 Auto. This big bore auto is known as “The Thinking Man’s .45″ and that does indeed make sense when you’ve spent time with the gun. Same capacity as a 1911, but offers a decocking DA/SA fire control profile. This is probably the safest autoloading handgun I know of. (226 included) They are also very accurate.
Glock 17/22. Depending on your choice of 9mm or .40 cal, these guns are probably the first choice of more police departments than anything else. Very low bore axis, and a simple striker fired trigger mechanism makes these guns very easy to shoot well with once you get used to the triggers. 17 rounds of 9mm was an improvement over the typical 15 rounds others guns had, and 15 rounds of .40 cal is nothing to sneeze at these days.
Glock 20/21. 10mm or .45, these full sized beasts give you everything you need to pull duty on a dark and storm night. A lot of Law Enforcement Officers are running the 21 and I know a few that are running the 10mm. 15 rounds of 10mm is a lot of firepower. With good accuracy and legendary reliability – A Glock is never a wrong choice.
Beretta 90 Series. The 92FS, 92F, M9, M9A1, 92A1, 90-TWO, 96, 96A1. Shooting the big Beretta is like driving a Cadillac. Big, comfortable, comforting, reliable and accurate all with Hollywood good looks. Beretta has a lot of visual style, but what I like best is the almost straight line feeding. Mine can feed empty casing. Super smooth action as well, thanks to it’s unique locking block. The Beretta won the US Army contract for a good reason. Like it or not – and I know I’m going to open a can of worms here – it kicked SIG’s ass in the Trials. It kicked everyone’s asses in the Trials. So much so that the Army actually had to “dumb down” the test just so the SIG could stay in the race and the Beretta wouldn’t be a lone competitor. The 90 Series is battle proven around the world.
Beretta Px4 STORM. This is Beretta’s newest service auto. It uses a unique rotating barrel action with a traditionally Beretta like DA/SA trigger mechanism. This action makes the Storm a soft shooting pistol as it takes more energy out of the recoil. Like the 90 Series, the sights and the barrel maintain their relationship, they are very accurate shot to shot. With good triggers and comfortable recoil – it’s easy to be a good shot with the Px4 STORM. Even the Mid sized version… But the full sized is seriously just a pussycat. You can get it in 9, .40, and .45 auto. It’s one of my favorite new autos.
S&W M&P. S&W decided to get serious with the Poly Striker platform and forced Glock to rush the Gen 4 to market. Smith took a lot of LEO sales away from Glock. The Swampy as some call it, is a good pistol and a huge step up from Smith’s prior Glock Attack, the SIGMA. *shudder*. I bought one for my eldest Son, who upon getting the pistol, loading it, and having never fired it before – drilled the X in the target as perfectly as an Olympic Marksman from 20 yards. They are accurate guns. Like my Glocks, his Swampy has never failed.
Walther PPQ. This gun surprised me. The prior P99 was a gun that surprised me too. 500 rounds of mixed ammunition, it never failed. But it had a couple characteristics that made it an oddity. Such as the push down mag release and the top of the slide decocker button. The PPQ does away with the decocker on top and gives the gun a normal and familiar mag release. Honestly I didn’t mind the P99’s mag release and I found that I would use my trigger finger to drop the mags, just like I did with my HK. The PPQ is now available in either 4 or 5 inch barrel lengths and in 9mm or .40 caliber. The PPQ feels good in the hand and is probably one of the best and most under-rated service autos on the market. Let me put it this way – I really want a PPQ and will be buying one this year. Or Trading for it. A few years ago I had said that Walther was struggling to maintain it’s validity. The PPQ anchors it.
Springfield Armory XDM. Good trigger, good sights, and huge capacities make the XDM a solid choice. If you can get passed it’s “only a mother could love it” looks. While I’m not the biggest fan, I have to respect it. They are super accurate and easy to shoot well with. I know owners who have dumped a lot of rounds with astounding accuracy through their M’s.
HK P30 and HK45. The Germans really do engineer some fine hardware. But the P30 and the HK45 are both over priced and in my opinion over rated. With a standard trigger package, I find their triggers to be lacking in the quality of trigger pull that I would expect from such expensive guns. And I don’t like glow in the dark toy like sights that come on them stock. Again, for such an expensive gun, I want Tritiums on it right out of the box. Don’t get me started on the price of spare mags. For what you pay for an HK, it should come with Tritiums and 4 spares. All that aside – these guns deserve consideration. They are sharp looking, and they feel good in the hand. You can not go wrong with an HK, you really can’t. They are very well made. And after you dump enough rounds through it… Cost wise, would be enough to put a kid through a 12 credit semester of college, the trigger does feel pretty decent. They do look good… Like new BMW or Mercedes good looking. Pistol-Training.com’s Todd Green did a long term test on the P30 and it ran some 93,000 rounds before forced retirement. You could buy a new car for that much… Or you could afford to get sick or even have a (small) accident under Obamacare for that much money. I believe that none of his other tests have run that distance… Which ultimately makes the HK’s probably the best choice out of the lot.
It’s all about simplicity, really. Nothing needs to be tuned or tweaked. Nothing needs adjusted. Out of the box, you could take it, unprepared to a 500 round pistol course and run it without problems. Then when you get home you can throw it in your gun vault and neglect it for as long as you like. When you take it out again, it will still run.
Any “upgrades” are optional. Such as sights. You can shoot it just fine with the factory sights, but may find improvement with some aftermarket options. But that doesn’t effect the reliability. It’s out of box performance is exceptional. Easily the best I’ve experienced. Even better than S&W M&P’s and XDM’s, both of which are outstanding systems. And while many complain that Glock is uncomfortable – that’s something that is easily changed like the Sights. You can do it yourself. At home. With some sandpaper and a soldering iron that you can buy for 10 bucks from Harbor Freight. I did.
I knew I was going to catch some flak from my 1911 Brothers out there for selecting, of all guns, the Glock in a .40. The Anti-1911. You wouldn’t believe the amount of flak I’m catching from work! They have been merciless. Let’s just say I don’t work at a Glock Shop. Guys, I am not turning my back on the 1911. I am still a 1911 Guy. But before I am a 1911 Guy, I’m a Gun Guy… which means I like guns… all guns.
The Glock’s biggest criticism is that it’s ugly. Many owners think it beautiful. Regarding the Glock’s beauty. I’ll be the first to say… it’s not Pretty. However the Function of it is what can make a Glock absolutely gorgeous. The low bore axis helps reduce muzzle flip. Combine that with that funky grip angle that helps return the gun to point of aim faster… now lets add in what really is a fine trigger pull… consistent and the same every time… with a super short Trigger Reset… And it’s simple. Nothing complicated. Nothing “trick”. It’s about as straight forward of a mechanism as it gets. The Glock really is the whole enchilada when it comes to Function. That’s why I am going to give the Glock another chance. I didn’t contact Glock for a Review gun, I ordered one for my own outright purchase.
When my Glock 23 arrived, I took off my SIG P229R and picked up the Glock. I had to carry it. I loaded it up with some 165 grain PDX1’s from my SIG Mags, and tucked it in. I know I usually advocate the test firing of your carry gun with your choice of carry ammo, but in this case, I had no concerns. There are 3 lines of guns have always felt comfortable with right out of the box. HK’s, SIG 22X series, and of course, Glock. See, I’ve owned a Glock before. A Gen1 17. I’ve been to this rodeo before… I know the Glock well enough and have always respected it’s reliability.
I dismissed them when the Gen2 came out, and I’ve not paid any attention to them since. They just didn’t feel right in my hand. The RTF2 grip feels much better to me, I don’t know why. I started looking at the Glocks again when we got in a 17RTF2 and I thought, “You know, this isn’t bad at all.” I’ve got friends who are into Glocks and they all kept recommending them. A lot of guys I respect recommended them. LittleLebowksi from WeTheArmed.com is one of them, but the kicker came Las Vegas. At SHOT Show, my friend Mark Walters and I sat down at Ceaser’s Palace and we had a good conversation. During which Mark gave good testimony about his favorite gun, the Glock 23. It was a convincing argument. I promised I’d give Glock a second look. So I did.
I borrowed a Glock 17 and shot several magazines through it. After a few mags I got used to the grip angle. It shot just as I expected it would. Reliable and predictably accurate. I had no problem with it. However I’m just not all that interested in a 9mm. I’ve become reacquainted with the .40, a caliber I used to stake my life on back in Virginia. My 229 is incredible with the .40 when it comes to shootability, but it’s heavy. When I carry I do the “AllDamnDay” Carry and that usually means from 6AM to 10PM. That’s a long time to have a Heater strapped on. As much as love the SIG P229… and I really do… I want (no, not need… just want) a lighter gun for all day carry. A mid-sized gun, not a compact, not a mouse gun for pocket carry… a Mid sized gun in a mid sized caliber. From Glock that means Mark’s beloved model 23. The balance of form, function and firepower is just perfect for what I was looking for. The Glock 23 is just “it”.
The RTF2 grip texture is said to be too rough, but it does perfectly what it was designed to do. Lock the gun into your hand so it wont slip. Oh, it does that. But it isn’t “Fabric Friendly” so you gotta watch what you wear over it, and you sure as hell want to wear something under it… it can be… abrasive. But when you draw the gun, and it’s in your hand. It’s going nowhere.
The large Tritium front sight post of these Warren Tacticals.
The trigger is one of the things that Glock Owners like to brag about. It’s worth bragging on, because it’s pretty dang good. The pull is consistent, shot to shot. But the trigger reset is what really sets it apart. The distance which you let the trigger move forward, to where it resets so you can fire it again… very short in the Glock. One of the shortest, if not the shortest resets on the market. What this does for the shooter is to allow that trigger to be run quickly and efficiently… which makes for fast and accurate shooting. Something Glocks are very good at. When I roll into an IDPA match, I note who’s shooting Glocks. More and more frequently it’s the guys with those Glocks that are on the tops of the Leader Boards.
Accuracy? That goes without saying. Glocks are going to just as accurate as any other service auto. And when it comes to practical accuracy, they can be even more so. From the holster to putting rounds into the target, they are just as fast as the classic old 1911 while shooting groups that rival John M Browning’s Masterpiece. This is why so many Law Enforcement Agencies have adopted Glocks. Combine this accuracy, the utter reliability, and the simplicity of the Glock system, you have something a Department can issue to all its officers with little more training necessary than with a service revolver. Many departments have reported improvements in qualification scores overall after a Glock adoption.
Does this mean I have gone over to “The Dark Side”? Why, yes, I think it does..
If you are a Glock Enthusiast like I am, you probably raised an eyebrow at the Haley Skimmer Trigger from GlockTriggers.com. Here’s Haley talking about it:
Now here’s my take on this… Haley is spot on. This is a great carry trigger system. I’ve read several comments that said that this trigger disables a safety, specifically the firing pin block. This is untrue.
You can see in this picture, a new firing pin block. It’s the small silver plunger near my little grey colored punch. If you are familiar with the inner workings of a Glock Pistol, you will see that it looks just like a factory OEM part. All the parts in the Haley Kit are in fact OEM. So what are you buying?
Well, for one thing you are buying a lot of physical labor and carefully engineered geometry. Everything that moves is highly polished. By hand. Actually, it’s everything that can be polished is polished. I talked to Jeff at GlockTriggers.com about this. “You can’t be doing all these triggers by hand… you gotta be using a tumbler.”
“Well the secret is Don.”
“Dawn, the soap?”
“No, Don, my guy that does the expert polishing by hand.”
Had a great conversation with Jeff. Solid guy. If anyone has any question about anything from GlockTriggers.com, you can contact them. Jeff would be happy to explain anything for you.
Back to the polishing. If it’s metal, it’s polished. The springs are polished. All these parts come in the kit, all are OEM Parts, polished in a way exactly like the stock OEM parts are not. This removes any grit in the action. There is also a change that removes all the take up slack. The result is a much shorter, smoother, and crisper trigger than factory stock. And since these parts are OEM, they are still approved for use by most Police Departments that require only OEM parts.
I know a lot of gunsmiths can do great trigger jobs in Glocks, and you can get great aftermarket parts from our friends at Lone Wolf. But these don’t address that initial take up, and do things like smooth out the lifting of the firing pin block. The Skimmer Trigger is an easy to install trigger upgrade that is safe for EDC use. It was designed for EDC use. There are other triggers that are a bit more oriented to Competition or such… and that’s great. But for a Police Officer or Sheriff’s Deputy, or dedicated concealed carry person… You want the Skimmer Trigger.
Can’t leave well enough alone.
Now, a lot of you guys know that i’m a Tinkerer on some things. Glock Triggers is one thing I like to play around with. I changed some things around to try out. I put in a Ghost 3.5 pound Disconnector, and an 8 pound spring (which actually makes the pull feel lighter). So now this Glock’s trigger is super smooth, with no take up, with a super light and crisp pull. Glock Perfection, Perfected. But I would not recommend this combination to anyone that wasn’t a serious and dedicated Glock shooter.
I normally don’t post emails that I get… namely because I just flat out get too many of them. And I may not answer them all. But I do read all of them.
My wife and I have been batting around the idea of purchasing a pistol or two for a few years now. Considering some recent events, on both national and local scales, we are making that more of a priority. We’ve visited our local Cabellas and a couple of independent shops, test fired a few pistols, and so on, but we’ve still got some lingering uncertainties about exactly what we want. With that in mind, I thought it might be worthwhile to ask someone who knows about guns, and isn’t going to try to swamp us with a load of BS in hopes of making a big sale – i.e. you. (If you already have something like this on your site, I apologize for missing it.)
I understand that “what do you recommend” is a difficult question to answer without some additional info, so here’s what I think you will need to know to provide some useful advice:
1 – The primary purpose will be home/personal defense, and by extension target shooting to build up the relevant skill and confidence that we’ll need to use the weapon properly.
2 – We’re reasonable sure that 9mm is the ammo size we want – Good stopping power with not so much recoil as to be problematic for inexperienced users like ourselves.
3 – We want our weapon(s) to be semi-automatics. I’ve seen enough that I am confident in the mechanical reliability of newer weapons, and we also like their recoil-damping capabilities compared to revolvers.
Here’s what we’ve tried so far, and our impressions:
Beretta 92FS / M9A1 – This is our overall favorite to date. We especially like how the decocking lever and slide release work, although when test-firing, the accuracy seemed a bit random. That could be our lack of skill, or because the specific weapon is a range gun that anyone can use, and has probably had 50,000+ rounds shot through it by now. We found the slide to be a bit stiff when racking in a round. I thought it would have been a bit large for my wife’s hand, but she said she was comfortable with it. I kind of wish the decocking lever were below the slide, but you can’t have everything.
Beretta PX4 – This was the easiest for my wife to use, and she also likes how the slide will not manually operate one a round has been chambered. I don’t care for that as much, as it seems to make removing a dud round without dropping the magazine difficult. The rotating bolt also seems to be more mechanically complex.
CZ 75 – This one seemed to be a knockoff of the Beretta 92 – This one seemed loose, our shots went all over the target, otherwise the differences we noted were mainly superficial.
Kimber Team Match II – This one was a near-immediate reject for us. The slide was so stiff my wife could barely operate it, and while the grip safety is nice, it seemed that when we racked the the slide, the lever safety would come off and we would have to manually re-engage it. Neither of us liked the thought of accidentally firing a round because the safety came off when we didn’t expect it.
I know there are many other manufacturers out there – S&W, Springfield Armory, Sig, Glock, Wathers, HK, etc. etc. etc. Each with various pros and cons, but if we spent the time to handle and test every one, we’d spend months thinking about it and enough money on range fees to have bought one or two pistols.
If there is anything else you need to know in order to make recommendations/suggestions, please drop me an e-mail.
This is how to write an email of this type… he gives me enough background information so that I might be able to give the best possible response. Because normally my response would be “Get a SHOTGUN and a GLOCK.” Because I know those work and without any additional information, that’s the best that could be done. “Oh, for you, I’d get the SIG 226. Absolutely the SIG 226.” Yeah, see, I can’t do that, because I don’t know you and that means everything. How big you are or are not, how you dress, where you go and how you get there etc. And this guy knows that I don’t know him, so he fills in the details.
No, don’t send photos of yourself… Unless you are a Smokin Hot Mamma wearing something small and thin. Other than that, just fill in the information like this guy did.
Now, to answer the question. Let’s get to it!
The Beretta is indeed one of the finest fighting hanguns you can get, and if your wife can handle it, it’s a solid choice. They are extremely accurate and reliable. Your evident problems with accuracy though, means it would require some additional range time with the gun, which is great, but you need to do that before you can carry it. So while I would recommend it… that’s a commitment you would have to make. I’ve sold several to women who say that like the feel and have no problem with the gun’s grip size, but it is large.
Mechanically the CZ and the 92 are about as different as a V-8 and a Wankle Rotary Engine. Both are great, but operate differently. And like the guns, I like both engines. The CZ is a great handgun, one of the best. In fact, the late Jeff Cooper hailed it as one of the most advanced 9mm pistols you could get. I’ve had several and all of them were very good. You can’t go wrong.
The Px4 Storm, is once again, a very different system mechanically and operates just like the 92 from the Operators standpoint when shooting. The upshot to the Storm is that more novice shooters will find the Storms to be more accurate and softer shooting thanks to that rotating action taking some energy from recoil.
For general use as you indicate, I’d say go for the Beretta Storm and get to know it better. The barrel and locking lug should be lubricated with some Slipstream Grease while the rest oiled normally with a good gun oil… such as Slipstream Styx. You can order those off Amazon.com or CrusaderWeaponry.com as you wish.
For some other pistol options, I am of course a fan of the Glocks. A Model 19 would fit the bill perfectly for both of you, if you can both handle a 92, the 19 would be no problem. A Gen 3 19 is the way to go as pulling the slide back for your wife will be no problem. Another pistol to look at if you can find one, is the Caracal F. Much like the Glock in that there is no exterior manual safeties, but the internals are different and the trigger is better, smoother. I really like the Caracal and have shot one rather a lot. I could probably be tempted to trade off something to get one. The Caracal has a grip more like the CZ and much less blocky like a Glock. Butter smooth action too. Take a look.
With these options, it’s just a matter of taste as to which one would best suit your needs.
Everyone knows your guns work… and everyone knows your cheap plastic sights totally suck. Everyone that takes their guns seriously, change those sights as soon as they get the chance.
You guys are bringing out the new 30S model, pretty much to compete with the Springfield XDS… Let me tell you, this is going to come up second place to the XDS. The S is slimmer, which is the biggest complaint about the 26 and 27 which are considered chunky. The S also has the advantage that it’s coming with good sights, right out of the box.
Put some decent sights on your guns!
For the month of November, I carried a Beretta 92FS, and nothing else. Here’s what I relearned and had hammered into my head. You absolutely can carry a Full Sized automatic handgun for Concealed Carry. At first it was unusual because the gun was larger and heavier than what I was used to packing. When Adams Holsters sent me the new Sharkhide Crossroads rig, all the sudden packing that beast of a Beretta became much easier and comfortable for all day carry.
When I say all day carry, what I really mean is “If I’m wearing pants, I’m wearing my gun”. And the Beretta, once I got used to it, was really no problem.
The Crossroads rig is a nice wide pancake style outside of the waistband type holster. This distributes the weight and the profile and really is the most comfortable type of holster you can use. The big 92 just became a part of me for the whole of November.
By week 3, I was very much enjoying the big gun.
There were a couple times when having a big service auto was indeed a greater comfort. There was a moment when I came out of a location late at night and walked across the parking lot to my Bike. A couple large, thuggish looking guys were parked not very far away, leaning on their truck, drinking beer. I make no judgement on their poor choice of domestic horse-piss, or their choice of Brokeback music they were playing. But what concerned me was their increased level of attention to me as I approached. Having the Beretta almost whisper to me “We can take them”, was a great assurance. The other time was when I came home, and through the shadows, a brief flash of red Eye Shine caught me by surprise. In the story I wrote, “UPRISING USA” and “UPRISING UK”, I have evil characters called “Red Eyes” which are demonically possessed zombies. And here at Ogre Ranch, I just saw red eyes shining in the shadows along the side of my house.
I jumped off my bike, drew the Beretta and covered where the eye shine was. I could see something there… but I didn’t know what it was. My flashlight… I had one with me… was in my backpack, doing me not a damn bit of good. The Beretta in my hand allowed me to stand my ground when a more sane man would have backed off. Just then my wife drove up in her Explorer and the the sweep of her headlights illuminated the creature that I was damn near ready to light up.
It was Mule Deer Buck… Just standing there, looking at me, sniffing at me. It turned and bounded off as the car passed.
Having a large creature breathing and standing there… and you don’t know what the hell it is… it can be disturbing. Bears are in the mountains just behind Ogre Ranch… and I hate bears. Pooh even makes my trigger finger itch. The idea of having a bear here did not make me happy. We had one before, about seven years ago. A small black bear. No big deal, but still… it’s just the bear that mauls more people than any other. A 15 round mag full of PDX1 backed up with a couple 20 rounders was plenty enough for a bear. Even a shadowy nightmare bear. Nightbears. I hate Nightbears. We also have Cougars out here. Lots of them. Older women and the Mountain Lion types… Both are highly dangerous… And their are the Coyotes and Feral Dogs that come around too. But the eye shine was much higher than cougars and canines.
I had to laugh a bit as the big buck deer bounded away and disappeared. It’s the unknown thought made that brief moment rather scary. In that brief moment, the big service auto was a comfort and a half. Of course, I’d rather have had one of my 12 Gauges, but I didn’t feel like I was holding a squirt gun.
November is now passed and that means I have the option of not wearing my Beretta 92FS. December First, I put on my Glock 23L and instantly appreciated the lighter weight of it. But as the day went on, I found myself missing the Beretta. The heft of it. Pulling it out, the Glock just didn’t have the pleasing lines and good looks of the Beretta… it was disappointing. I’ll be rolling with the Beretta more often now.