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American Handgunner Sept/Oct 2012 Digital Edition - Page 34
COPTALK oPINIoN AND FActs FroM tHe MeAN streets MAssAD AyooB Glock 21 Gen4 n 1990, the SIG P220 and the S&W 4506 were neck and neck as the most popular .45 ACP police service pistols in the US, the 1911 still being a regional oddity and a SWAT gun rather than a rank and file duty sidearm. That year, visiting the Glock plant in Smyrna, I saw an early sample of the Glock 21, the large-frame G21 made originally as a 16-shot 10mm, reconceptualized as a 14-shot .45. Within a very few years, the Glock 21 had become America’s most popular police .45. It was light for its size, soft-kicking for its caliber and actually more accurate than most of the smallercaliber Glocks, perhaps because of its Service PiStol I 8-sided rather than 6-sided polygon rifling. Once some early magazine problems were sorted out, it quickly proved itself reliable. “Keep it simple, stupid” was the dominant philosophy in police handgun training, and this Glock .45 had no de-cocking levers or top, 14-shot G21 Gen4; below, safety catches. colt combat commander with And, of course, it had 14 rounds, literally twice the capacity of the World 7-shot mag, both in .45 acp. Wars-era 1911 .45. Two spare 13-round magazines on the duty belt sent the the Anchorage (AK) Police, to the San cop onto the street with 40 .45-caliber Bernardino County (CA) Sheriff’s cartridges. What wasn’t to like? Department, to LAPD’s elite Special In the more than a score of years Investigations Section, to the Orange since, the G21 has become the stanCounty (FL) Sheriff’s Department, and dard service pistol for lawmen from countless points in between. RTF (Rough Textured Finish) on the gripframe is a Gen4 signature feature, along with a larger (and ambidextrous) magazine release button which eases and speeds reloading. But, older G21 magazines won’t work in the pistol with the mag release button reversed to southpaw configuration. Finally, the double captive spring that worked so well on the Baby Glocks has been adapted to the larger guns in Gen4. It makes the slide a little stiffer to rack. So far, subjectively, about one shooter in three seems to find a little recoil reduction with the new spring system in the .45. A source at Glock tells the G21 Gen4 is accurate. the high shot me the new G21 Gen4 was a called flyer when Mas recoil springs are rated inadvertently to last two-thirds longer relaxed than the 17-pound his grasp. spring in the older 21. shot from a 25-yard bench rest with 230-gr. Federal Hydrashok, still in wide use by police. Gen4 Treatment ith its enlarged frame for longer cartridges, the G21 was a big pistol. Anchorage was known to send guns to Robar to get them trimmed to fit officers with smaller hands. Glock first addressed this with the G37 standardsize pistol using the shorter .45 GAP cartridge, then with the variations of the 21SF (Short Frame, referring to backstrap-to-frontstrap dimension), and now with the Gen4, which has a shorter trigger reach, but backstrap inserts for those with larger hands. the Gen4’s improved (and ambiconvertible!) magazine release. W Shooting the gen4 T he Gen4 treatment doesn’t turn the 21 into the little slim-line 7-shot G36, which allows so much trigger reach the average male hand can get the distal joint of the index finger squarely centered on the trigger. In its out-of-the-box “size small” configuration, without the grip spacers in place, the Gen 4 21 does allow that average length finger to center squarely on the pad, by which I mean the whorl of the fingerprint. That’s where many combat pistol masters recommend placing the finger on a short-pull autoloader, anyway. The pull itself is not bad at all. Our test sample, serial number SAU849, was a “blue label” police package with three magazines and Trijicon night sights, labeled as having a 5.5-pound trigger pull weight. The Lyman digital gauge showed that to be about spot on: an average of 5 pounds, 9 ounces measured at the toe of the pivoting Glock trigger, and half an ounce under 7 pounds when measured from the center where the finger usually makes contact. Changed internal geometry necessitated by the grip reshaping adds a good pound of pull weight, but Glock is installing their new “dot” connector to make up for that. On the test pistol, the trigger pull was very uniform and very smooth. That, in turn, helped it shoot well. The big .45 ACP Glocks have always been accurate. This one delivered five rounds of the classic old Remington 185-gr. JHP police load into 2" on the nose at 25 yards, with the best three into 1.25". I was working on a 1" group with the last of my Federal 230-gr. HydraShok when I relaxed my grip on the last shot and pulled high, creating a 1.90" group. The first four had been .95" center to center, and the best three at .65"! That’s target pistol territory: what we expect from tightly fitted $2,000 semi-custom 1911s, not economy priced run-in-the-mud Glocks. It seems safe to say the Gen4 treatment will help the Glock 21 to hold its position as the most popular of today’s standard issue .45 caliber police service pistols. * For more info: www.americanhandgunner. com/glock or (770) 432-1202 34 WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER2012