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Glock and the Striker Fired Pistol

And the award for the first production polymer framed, striker fired pistol goes to the German arms manufacturer … Heckler & Koch for the innovative VP70!

‘Heresy!’ cried the Glock crowd. Gaston Glock’s model 17 revolutionized the modern firearms industry and he wasn’t German, he was Austrian!

Sorry, but the record is clear. Glock wasn’t the first to produce a striker-fired pistol. H&K beat them by 12 years in 1970 with the VP70. Manufactured for the law enforcement market, it was capable of full auto fire and the semi automatic version became popular in Italian civilian market. An import restriction largely kept it out of US hands and draws a lot of blank stares when mentioned at your local gun shop.

Glock’s initial fame in the US can largely be attributed to timing. US Law Enforcement was making the transition away from the .38 Special +P to 9mm firearms. Articles and movies claiming that polymer pistols couldn’t be detected by screening methods of the day. And okay, the Glock preformed well and everyone loved to shoot the ugly little beast.

And the striker fired pistol was special with a largely unknown functionality. Working without a typical hammer or firing pin, the spring loaded striker is compressed inside the slide until the weapon is ready to fire. When the trigger is pulled, the safeties are disengaged, and the mechanism, usually an extension of the trigger bar, makes contact and pulls the striker back under spring tension. This continues to increase as the striker is pulled to the rear. At the end of the pull, this trigger bar’s extension pulls or drops off the part of the striker it was up against, and releases it, allowing it to travel forward under the power of the spring and make contact with the primer of the chambered round setting off the cartridge.

And just like other semi automatic pistols when fired, the slide moves rearward under recoil, ejects the spent round and chambers a new one. The pistol is then ready to fire the next round.

On the plus side, the striker fire assembly contains less internal parts and less parts equates to less ‘things to go wrong’. Glock has created a reputation for reliability. Disassembly, and reassembly for that matter, is quick, easy and I never have parts left over.

Most Glock owners will talk about the easy trigger pull that is generally much lighter than Double Action systems. Contrary to the DA system, the shooter experiences the same weight of trigger pull each time. Meaning the shooter does not have to adjust from a first long and heavy double action pull to a second, short and light single action shot. Consistency of experience means a lot when it counts allowing the shooter to remain on target.

The downside list can be long and sociologically complicated. Primary is the lack of an external safety. Imagine the look on the faces of the guys at the range when you unholster your pistol and loudly announce it has no external safety. It’s just not something everyone is comfortable with even if, such as in the case of the Glock, the safety in internal. And you wouldn’t be wrong for being overly skeptical about the little safety lever on the trigger.

When someone says, “if you don’t want to fire the gun, don’t pull the trigger”, you have the right to be uneasy. News stories linking the Glock to accidental discharges and even accidental death are concerning as even the most experienced among us make mistakes. Firearms safety training, even in its most rudimentary form, emphasizes not placing your finger on the trigger until you are ready to fire. But in a world where the fault is everyone’s but the person handling the weapon, what can you expect?

Some manufacturers, such as Springfield Armory, add a ‘beavertail’ safety similar to the Colt 1911 .45 ACP. This protects the gun from inadvertent snags on the trigger firing the weapon. You must to have a firm grip on the Springfield before it will fire.

The next ‘con’ is the lack of a ‘second strike capability’. When double action pistol is fired, if the round fails to fire, the trigger resets and you simply pull it again, and hopefully igniting a ‘hard primer’.

On a striker fired pistol, the shooter receives a loud ‘snap’ instead of a ‘bang’. As no ‘second strike capability’ is available, the shooter must cycle the pistol ejecting the non-firing round and loading new. Cycling becomes a major drawback as many will take their sights off their target to perform the action and then, reestablish their sight picture on the target. (And I understand the argument that a ‘misfire’ on any pistol causes the natural impulse to look the weapon over to discover the issue.)

The bottom line is the part that most in their excitement to become part of the crowd with the ‘cool’ guns fails to consider – What are my needs and How am I going to use the weapon? Defining your needs and asking questions about your findings not only makes you a more savvy consumer, but a happier, more satisfied one as well.

YankeeTactical.com
 

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I will be the first to admit that I am not a Glock fan, however, I definitely think the second strike capability is worthless and overrated IMO. If my weapon fails to fire I'm not going to waste my time pulling the trigger again HOPING that it will fire. I will simply rack the slide and get a round in the tube that will fire. Not to mention as an instructor the most common malfunction of this type that I see is the student not making ready and attempting to fire the drill. Utilizing the second strike capability in this scenerio will only produce another click. I teach the old Observe, Tap, Rack, Bang method simply because it will get the gun back into the fight quicker.

I personally recently switched form a Kimber Raptor II to a S&W M&P 9mm as my carry gun and can relate to the majority of the OP.
 

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Can't really say it is overrated if it is your last round.Your training lacks real world situations where ammo is limited to what an officer can carry.

Real world training should involve ammo and mechanical malfunctions ,as they are unlikely to happen at the same time,they are both relevant and not beyond possibility.
 

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The VP70 really was revolutionary. As stated polymer framed, striker fired. They were plagued by horrible triggers, most likely a left over from being select-afire. The original concept used a stock that when fitted to the pistol, it was capable of full auto. A limited amount of semi only versions were imported. Besides being a bit large and the horrid triggers, they were a bit too spacey looking for American tastes.
The Glock 17 was a ground up design that took a lot of influence from the VP70. When it first came out there were doubts if it would be imported into the states. When it was, it faced some of the same hurdles the VP70 faced, unconventional in both looks and function. I think Glock did set up shop here in the US at the right time when nationally police departments were transitioning to semi-autos, particularly 9mm's. Because of their simplicity and polymer frames Glock was able to sell them for less than the competing offerings by S&W, Beretta, Sig, and HK. Sometime during this period it became common knowledge that cops accustomed to revolvers were making the switch a lot easier due to the simpler trigger system. While many were bothered by lack of a conventional external safety and there were quite a few AD's due to improper training or bad habits the G17 soon proved itself on the streets. The other thing was Glock really took charge of the marketing. During this time it's seemed the competition really had their ups and downs in the market. HK almost closed up their US support despite offering the USP which was an excellent pistol for this market. SW was bought, sold, and resold making numerous business and product mistakes. Sig ran strong for a while then became quiet as they moved shop, offered new products with teething problems and set up American manufacture. Beretta has a lousy US sales support staff. Have the Beretta salesman show up and he'll drop off a few guns and leave, the Glock man comes by and it's one of every model to try out, hats, t shirts, knives, lots of company swag. Plus the G-man will be offering armorers courses and Glock support. When a Glock does mis behave the company seems to want to get to the bottom of it. Though there were some complaints on Glock mishandling Gen 4 problems.
Now days it seems other companies are making inroads. S&W is a serious player, Sig has their US manufacture up and running and there are few complaints about the products. HK has rebuilt their US businesses and you see newer players around like FN's polymer pistols, Springfields Croatian imports and others. Sure is a great time to shop.
 

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Can't really say it is overrated if it is your last round.Your training lacks real world situations where ammo is limited to what an officer can carry.

Real world training should involve ammo and mechanical malfunctions ,as they are unlikely to happen at the same time,they are both relevant and not beyond possibility.
I don't know if this was directed at me or someone else, however, my "real world training" consists of 7+ years in the infantry and 6+ years as a firearms instructor along with 4 combat deployments thrown in.

I know that police officers carry typically a combat loaded pistol with an average of 14 rounds and typically two spare mags. This gives them 42 rounds. If they can't solve whatever they need to solve with this and their patrol rifle and their backup forces then they might want to utilize more marksmanship training.

IDK what everyone else does but my weekly training consists of multiple target engagements, timed engagements, Close quarters engagement (-3yds and in) all this is done utilizing ball and dummy loaded mags and also occasionally empty casings loaded into the mags by my range partner who is also a Marine Corps CQB instructor to induce weapons malfunctions. We load each others mags so there is no way of knowing what your loadout is.

Therefore in my humble opinion I think the second strike capability is worthless. What are the chances of your very LAST round failing to fire and you having the time to utilize the second strike capability. Also how many modern CENTERFIRE rounds fail to fire from a solid primer strike but ignite on the second? The chances of all these things happening at the same time as so slim that i'm sure that I can live comfortably without the second strike capability. I think that I have seen something like this happen once on a range with a 5.56mm round and it was initially a soft strike.
 

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Glock wasn't the first to produce a striker-fired pistol. H&K beat them by 12 years in 1970 with the VP70.
Just to keep the record straight, the Borchardt C-93 dates to 1893. It wasn't plastic, but it was striker fired. I'm not sure it was the first.

Other early striker fired pistols include (but are not limited to) the Browning 1910 and several Walther pocket pistols.
 

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Striker or hammer, I don't care. The lack of an external safety doesn't concern me as long as I'M the one responsible for the pistol (other's, not so sure about). Glocks have a reputation for durability and reliability that almost rivals the AK. IDK, I personally just don't like the "feel" of the gun in my hand. I loath that little scissors safety on the trigger, it's not comfortable on my long, very thin fingers. You can call me an old-schooler, but give me a beefy, steel, heavy, simple, .45 any day! That's why I have a CZ 97B. It fills my big paws well and is a JOY to shoot.
 

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The absolutely worst trigger I've ever felt on a gun was on a Heckler & Koch VP70! I still remember commenting after I used one, 'What!' 'Does H&K hate American gun owners?' Nobody could do any sort of effective pistol work with that piece of mechanical crap!

(Looked like hell, too. When I first saw it I thought Flash Gordon had lost his Ray gun.)
 
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