Saturday, January 24, 2009

Tactical/Practical Glock: The Glock 34

Interesting article about the larger than average Glock.

Note the comment regarding the size compared to the much glorified 1911 ( rightfully so) and the part about the speed advantages for the 9mm when using longer barrels. This applies too to subguns people.

Also, anyone needing a good gunsmith, my friend Nomad asked me mention Blackie from HR Gunworks.
He's in Louisiana, the Baton Rouge area.


If Nomad recommends him, he’s a good guy to do business with.



The Glock 34

Guns Magazine, Sept, 1999 by Massad Ayoob


It's a target pistol. It's a tactical entry gun. It's a duty weapon. It's a home defense handgun. A tool that does that many jobs is usually sold by Ronco. The one under discussion now, though, is sold by Glock. It's called the "Tactical/Practical" and its numerical designation is the 9mm Model 34. (The same size gun in .40 S&W is the Model 35.)
The pistol is midway in size between the 4.5"-barrel G17 and G22, and the 6"-barrel target guns, the G17L and the G24. Barrel length on the Practical/Tactical guns is 5.3", with an overall length of 8.15". Weight is a feathery 23 ounces. Sight radius is 7.32".

The extended barrel and slide certainly don't size this gun out of the "tactical" realm. What we have to remember to maintain perspective is that the so-called "full size" Glock 17 and 22 aren't all that big to start with. Let's compare the Model 34 with some other popular fighting handguns that are routinely carried concealed.
Hide-Out Fighter
Note that the Model 34 is actually shorter than the standard size 1911 pistol, the Beretta 92 and a 4" service revolver. It's not only portable, it's actually concealable.

I carried my Model 34 for a week in a polymer Glock beltslide holster. Part of the time it was on my right hip, and part of the time the same rig was under my left armpit, attached to the top left strap of my Second Chance body armor. It was comfortable and quick to draw in both locations. Yes, it was also concealable in both locations.

While Glock pistols are amply accurate for service gun needs, few are truly "match accurate" save for the .45 caliber versions. This is because the .45 barrels are made by a different process than what Glock uses for its 9mm and .40 S&W models.
I've found that my little Glock 30 .45 compact will outshoot any 9mm or .40 pistol in their catalog, including the 6" barrel longslide guns intended for target shooting. The G34, however, proved to be the most accurate 9mm Glock I have handled.
Brian Toal, a New Jersey cop and firearms instructor, was able to print a 2" five-shot group with this gun at 25 yards, using Federal's exquisitely accurate 115 gr. hollowpoint from their Classic series, the 9BP. A Glock spokesman told me we could expect 2.5" groups at this distance, and clearly, he told me no lie.
Maybe you don't need 21? accuracy at 25 yards in a duty gun, but you know what? It's a confidence builder to have it there. The bad guy might know how to take cover too, or he might be endangering human lives from longer than usual range.

Early reports from the Columbine High School incident indicate that the first engagement of the cowardly killers with the deputy assigned to the school took place across the parking lot at a distance of some 70 yards. In the Norco bank robbery incident in California, a murdered deputy was killed at 54 yards, and another exchange in that long-running gunfight took place at some 60 yards.
Similar distances separated the Los Angeles cops from the machinegun-armed bandits in the North Hollywood shootout. The shot that ended the infamous FBI/Miami shootout was fired from an agent's 9mm at 42 yards.
Accuracy of 2" at 25 paces extrapolates to 4" at 50 yards and 6" at 75. That will do most of what needs to be done in long-range confrontations like the ones mentioned above.

Trustworthy Reliability

We put about 1,000 rounds of Federal 9mm ammo (9BP hollowpoints and American Eagle ball) through the Model 34 without a single malfunction. Glock representative and head of training Chris Edwards told me that my pistol had digested 4,000 rounds of assorted 9mm ammo before it got to me, also without any malfunctions. You can't ask for better than that
Interesting thing about the 9mm cartridge: when you go to shorter than standard barrels, it doesn't lose much velocity, but when you go to longer barrels, it gains speed significantly. Glock says the Model 34 brings the velocity of 124 gr. Cor-Bon +P up from a nominal 1,250 fps in a standard-size gun to 1,298 fps, and accelerates Remington's standard 115 gr. JHP from 1,155 fps to 1,272. This is done without concomitant increase in chamber pressure.
The reason is twofold. Part of it, of course, is the longer barrel that allows more pressure to build in the bore and drive the bullet faster. Part of it is also Glock's trademark polygonal rifling, which allows less gas to escape past the projectile as it's travelling down the bore.

There's Good N

The finger-grooved frame adopted throughout the Glock line was incorporated in the Model 34 guns from the beginning. I like the way it feels, as do most who've tried it.
The Model 34 was among the first Glocks to get the attachment rail molded into the dust cover (the frame in front of the trigger guard) for attachment of accessories like flashlights. Because affixing weighty accessories to a polymer frame can change a semiautomatic pistol's operational dynamics more than on a rigid metal frame, not every laser sighting module, white light unit or infrared device can be hooked up to the Clock without impairing reliability.
Put a few hundred rounds through your particular gun with the attachment in place, and don't trust it in that mode until it has proven reliable. The unit from Wilcox Industries has worked well on other Glocks, and would be the first I'd try on this one.
This gun comes standard with Glock's own oversize slide stop lever. The regular flat one works fine for me, but a lot of people find it too small to activate under stress. Hitting the release lever to drop the slide always gives you a faster combat reload of a completely empty auto pistol than tugging the slide back with the free hand, and any feature that makes you work faster in a desperate situation is, by definition, a good feature.

But, Some Bad News

A lot of folks, particularly those with small hands, have trouble reaching the standard Glock magazine release. From the beginning, Glock has offered its competition pistols with an extended release button. This same unit appears on the Model 34.
I don't like it. It just doesn't fit me. I don't really need it anyway, and it gets in the way of my trigger finger when firing left-handed.
If you want an oversize mag release on your Glock, you're much better served with the one Chris Gosselin designed at GlockWorks. It doesn't get in the way of the trigger finger in southpaw firing, and it doesn't release prematurely, but it's still deadly fast.
Various Model 34s have left the factory with night sights and with fixed polymer sights, but most come with the Glock adjustables. The nicest thing I can say about these sights is, 'They stink." Sight notch too small. Adjustment screws too small. These sights on this fine pistol put me in mind of two-ply retread tires on a Mercedes-Benz.
Best advice? If you buy one of these handguns, order it from the factory with night sights or get some Heinie fixed sights installed immediately. I've said in the past, and will say here again, that I think Glock should make Heinie fixed sights an option on their guns just as S&W puts Novakm sights on theirs. There is simply no better open sight system for the Glock pistol.

Making A Difference

The Glock 34 comes from the factory with the same standard coil trigger spring and 3.5 lb-plus pull weight connector (known to armorers as the "minus" connector) as the Glock target guns, the G17L and G24. Target guns, target triggers. (Glock insiders now refer to the nominal 3.5 lb. system as "3.5 plus," since it's reportedly engineered never to go below that weight and will occasionally lift more than 3.5 lbs. on a trigger weight scale.)
However, when the word "tactical" appears in the gun's name, it's obviously being marketed as a street gun. Yet when I, and a whole bunch of other folks, went through the Glock schools -- both armorer's school and instructor's school -- we were told that these crisp, light triggers were verboten for Glocks that would be used for anything but sport shooting. It was made clear that if we installed them on the guns of cops or self-defense oriented citizens, the company would do a "mission impossible" and disavow any knowledge of our existence.

This seems, well, a little bipolar, for want of a better word.
Here's the deal. As Glock well knows, there is a whole subspecialty of plaintiffs' law that focuses on accidental discharges attributable to "hair triggers," and there is a growing subspecies of bottom-feeding attorneys who will try to falsely accuse people who fired deliberately and justifiably of having done so by accident.
This is because the lawyers know that justifiable homicide is very real, but there is no such thing as a justifiable accident. They know it's tough to convince a jury that someone like them turned into a cold blooded killer, but easy to convince them that such a person could make one careless mistake.
Finally, it's because they know that you and I probably don't have a million dollars in liquid assets that they can take if they win a court judgment against us, but you and I probably each do have a million dollars worth of homeowner liability insurance, which can be enacted to pay for an accident.
This is why I and others who work in that arena strongly suggest you have a gun with a reasonably heavy trigger pull weight. People who only shoot, and don't deal with the courtroom aftermath, keep saying things like, "3 lbs. crisp is the answer." If you're talking about triggers and "3 lbs. crisp is the answer," then the question must have been, "What is Plaintiffs' Counsel's Guaranteed Employment Act?"
If I was to carry a Practical/Tactical Glock, I would want it to have about an 8 lb. trigger pull, and this is what I do have on all the Glocks I currently carry. This is best achieved by mating the 5 lb. connector with the New York Trigger module known as the NY-i, which increases overall pull weight to something like 8 lbs.
Taking It To The Street

The Glock Model 34 is accurate and reliable and surprisingly concealable. All it needs to be "good to go for the street" is a New York trigger with 5 lb. connector, and good sights. These "target grade Glocks" are the same price as "service grade" pistols by their main competitors, so the alterations suggested are affordable. I would also go with the GlockWorks mag release instead of the one that comes with this gun.

Is it a target pistol or a duty pistol? You decide, and you have it configured the way you need it, safely and responsibly. When you've done that, you'll cure its identity crisis and its multiple personality disorder, and you'll have a very "well adjusted pistol" that can serve many needs in many environments.

Model Barrel Overall Length Weight
Colt 1911 5.0" 8.5" 38 oz.
Browning Hi-Power 4.75" 7.75" 32 oz.
Beretta 92F 4.9" 8.5" 34 oz.
S&W Model 19.357 4.0" 9.5" 36 oz.
Glock 34 5.3" 8.15" 23 oz.
Should the prudent shooter choose the 9mm Glock Model 34, or the slightly larger .40 S&W version dubbed the Model 35? Who's feeling some deja vu here? You won't make that decision just on the relative terminal ballistics of the two popular cartridges.

In one sense, the answer to "9mm or .40?" could be "Depends on what you've got now." If you have a .40-caliber Glock already, there is magazine interchangeability on your side if you go with the G35, and vice versa if you currently own other 9mm Glocks.

In another sense, the answer is, "Depends what mags you can get." There is a finite supply of legal, "grandfathered" high capacity magazines. The glock 17 came out in the first half of the last decade. The Glock 22 was only out for about five years before sales of hi-cap mags were banned to civilians. Thus, there are many more legal G17 17-round 9mm mags on the market that will fit a G34 than there are legal G22 15-round .40 mags that will fit a G35.

In a third sense, the answer is, "IDPA or IPSC?" The Model 34 was carefully sized to fit the "legal limit boxes" for the International Defensive Pistol Association's SSP (Stock Service Pistol) class and the International Practical Shooting Confederation's "Limited Production" class.
In IDPA, 9mm and .40 compete head to head, and since you're limited to 10-round magazines and don't get "major caliber" bonus points for shooting the bigger .40 round, the lighter-kicking 9mm Glock 34 is the logical choice.
In IPSC, the .40 S&W cartridge "makes major" and gets bonus points for hits outside the center "5" ring; the 9mm round doesn't. One would almost be stupid not to choose the .40 caliber Glock 35. If you shoot both disciplines, the G35 gets the nod, since it will be only a tad slower in IDPA and will be competitive severely handicapped in IPSC.

COPYRIGHT 1999 Publishers' Development Corporation
COPYRIGHT 2000 Gale Group


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Would like to point out for Americans not in the know, the ban that made new production hicap mags illegal was lifted in 2003, so until another ban comes around you'll be able to buy as many "high" capacity mags as you want.