You may not be excited by yet another Glock – the Toyota Camry of handguns – ‘but you will be satisfied.’
STORY AND PHOTOS BY NICK PERNA
In the world of firearms writers, there’s nothing more exciting than testing and evaluating a new firearm, unless it’s a Glock. Glock (us.glock.com) has been designing and manufacturing high quality handguns for over 30 years, and the reality is that the company has basically been updating, adding to andotherwise perfecting the same basic handgun that rolled off the assembly line in 1982.
So there’s the boring part – nothing new and fancy, just improved. Glocks are also boringly reliable, accurate and consistent. So there’s that. If it were a car, a Glock would be something akin to a Toyota Camry or Honda Accord.The latest in the Glock family is the Glock 47. For those unfamiliar with the numbering system for Glocks, the number 47 indicates that it is the 47th handgun design the company has marketed. This causes a lot of confusion, since you would think it would be done by caliber – for instance, the Glock 22 would shoot .22-caliber ammo (it takes .40 caliber).But for those familiar with the culture at Glock, this is indicative of the no-nonsense approach taken by the company’s founder, Gaston Glock. Gaston started out as an engineer manufacturing curtain rods and military knives, and then got into the gun business when he decided to see if he could make a handgun, based on a polymer frame, that was better than what was on the market at the time.
Whether you love ’em or hate ’em, it’s hard to argue with success. The Glock is the most widely used handgun in law enforcement and is one of the most popular pistols for private purchase as well. With imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, most modern field-stripped handguns resemble or are an almost direct copy of the Glock’s operating mechanisms.
SO WHAT DOES the Glock 47 MOS (Modular Optical System) do better than previous models? Quite a few things, actually. As the name MOS implies, it’s equipped out of the box to take an optic. The slide is milled to accept most optics on the market today. The 47 was initially designed to meet the needs of the United States Customs and Border Protection agency, with the MOS compatibility option being one of the requirements.The gun is chambered in 9mm and, in appearance, most closely resembles the Glock 17. It is unknown if there are plans to come out with other calibers.
The 47 comes standard with three 17-round magazines. The magic round count for full-frame Glocks has traditionally been 15. On the surface, the addition of two more rounds is a minor thing, but in a gun fight it can be the difference in whether or not you come home at night. As with all Glock mags, the last few rounds can be a challenge to load. The gun comes with a mag loader to assist with this issue.
Gen 5 mags drop freely from the magazine well. In older models, the magazine was designed not to allow the mag to fall completely from the mag well after the magazine release button was pushed. I’ve heard that the Austrian military – the original purchasers of the Glock – wanted it that way so soldiers wouldn’t lose their magazines. This meant Glock gun runners in the early 2000s had to strip mags out of the mag well with their nonfiring hand or do the “Glock shake,” a technique where you would violently flip your wrist after you hit the mag release to make the empty mag fly out.
Glock has fixed this. Modularity has become the industry standard in firearms. Sig Sauer has taken this to new levels with their interchangeable fire control systems like the one found in the Sig 332, which allows the user to easily swap out different size frames and different length slides. The Glock system is builtaround the frame of the handgun so there aren’t many options there, save different size backstraps that can be swapped out (the Glock 47 comes with two). However, with the Glock 47, the user can swap out slides from other Gen 5 Glock 17, 19 and 45 handguns.This gives the user some choice in terms of length of slide for increased concealability (the Glock 19 slide) or better accuracy from a longer slide (the Glock 17 slide). The internal components of the Gen 5 Glock 17, 19 and 45 are interchangeable with the Glock 47. All Gen 5s now come with forward slide serrations to facilitate easier press checking. Glock finally came around and added an ambidextrousslide release (referred to as a “slide stop” in Glock talk). They also got rid of the much-maligned finger grooves on the front of the frame. Personally, I didn’t care much either way about the finger grooves, but they were a hot topic of discussion amongst the keyboard commandos with virtual degrees in what is considered “tacticacool.”Anyway, they got rid of them. The 47s still come with the cheap plastic sights Glock includes on all oftheir handguns. The only thing good about them is they are easy to remove so you can replace them with an after market sight set. I guess the issued sights help keep the price point lower, but it’s offset by having to buy your own.
MY POLICE DEPARTMENT recently made the switch from the Gen 4 .40-caliber Glock 22 to the 9mm Glock 47. We saw an immediate improvement in accuracy, especially from some of the “shooting-challenged” officers that every department has.
This had a lot to do with switching calibers. The .40-caliber Smith & Wesson round was the wonder boy of handgun calibers in the late ’90s, hailed for its stopping power when compared to the 9mm. Truth be told, both calibers are equally effective at eliminating threats and, as more modern tacticians have pointed out, it’s shot placement that is the most important element of stopping threats.The downside to the .40 is its sharper recoil. As a lawman who has carried a .45-caliber handgun most of his career, I can honestly say that a .40-caliber recoil is sharper. This makes it more difficult to train new shooters with and increases the likelihood of issues like recoil anticipation.
This is not an issue with the 9mm Glock 47. I noticed two things when testing it on the range that I hadn’t observed in previous Glock models, which also make it more user-friendly. One, the slide requires less effort to rack. It is also easier to pull it back to press check it. This may be attributed to the shorter dust cover on the Glock 47.
Two, the trigger pull felt smoother than what I had come to expect from Glocks. The usual Glock trigger pull, to me, feels like a two-stage trigger with a long pull in between both stages. The Glock 47 trigger seemed to have eliminated some of the pull time and stiffness from the trigger pull.
About half of the officers have opted to mount optics on their guns. We haven’t had any issues with them and, for those who prefer optics, it just makes a good gun better. Our department also issues SureFire X300 lights. The bean counters in the department counted it as a big win that our new Glock 47s (minus the optics) fit in our old Safariland Glock 22 holsters! The X300s were also recycled from the old .40-cal warhorses. The cops and the accountants were both happy, which is rare.I have been trying out my newly issued 47 at work in plainclothes or undercover assignments, as well as off duty. For holsters, I have purchased ones that are the correct size for a Glock 17. Most holster manufacturers I looked at didn’t list the Glock 47 as a holster size, since it is so new. So look for Glock 17 holsters if you want one for your 47. All in all, I can’t promise you will be excited about getting a new Glock 47, but you will be satisfied.
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