Glock and the Striker Fired Pistol
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  1. #1
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    Nov 2012

    Default Glock and the Striker Fired Pistol

    Glock and the Striker Fired Pistol

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

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

    Sorry, but the record is clear. Glock wasn’t the first to producea 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 fireand the semi automatic version became popular in Italian civilian market. Animport restriction largely kept it out of US hands and draws a lot of blankstares when mentioned at your local gun shop.

    Glock’s initial fame in the US can largely be attributed totiming. US Law Enforcement was making the transition away from the .38 Special+P to 9mm firearms. Articles and movies claiming that polymer pistols couldn’tbe detected by screening methods of the day. And okay, the Glock preformed welland everyone loved to shoot the ugly little beast.

    And thestriker fired pistol was special with a largely unknown functionality. Workingwithout a typical hammer or firing pin, the spring loaded striker is compressedinside 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 thetrigger bar, makes contact and pulls the striker back under spring tension. Thiscontinues to increase as the striker is pulled to the rear. At the end of thepull, this trigger bar’s extension pulls or drops off the part of the strikerit was up against, and releases it, allowing it to travel forward under thepower of the spring and make contact with the primer of the chambered roundsetting off the cartridge.

    Andjust like other semi automatic pistols when fired, the slide moves rearwardunder recoil, ejects the spent round and chambers a new one. The pistol is thenready to fire the next round.

    On theplus side, the striker fire assembly contains less internal parts and lessparts equates to less ‘things to go wrong’. Glock has created a reputation forreliability. Disassembly, and reassembly for that matter, is quick, easy and Inever have parts left over.

    MostGlock owners will talk about the easy trigger pull that is generally muchlighter than Double Action systems. Contrary to the DA system, the shooterexperiences the same weight of trigger pull each time. Meaning the shooter doesnot 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 itcounts allowing the shooter to remain on target.

    Thedownside list can be long and sociologically complicated. Primary is the lackof an external safety. Imagine the look on the faces of the guys at the rangewhen you unholster your pistol and loudly announce it has no external safety. It’sjust not something everyone is comfortable with even if, such as in the case ofthe Glock, the safety in internal. And you wouldn’t be wrong for being overlyskeptical about the little safety lever on the trigger.

    Whensomeone says, “if you don’t want to fire the gun, don’t pull the trigger”, youhave the right to be uneasy. News stories linking the Glock to accidentaldischarges and even accidental death are concerning as even the mostexperienced among us make mistakes. Firearms safety training, even in its mostrudimentary form, emphasizes not placing your finger on the trigger until youare ready to fire. But in a world where the fault is everyone’s but the personhandling the weapon, what can you expect?

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

    Thenext ‘con’ is the lack of a ‘second strike capability’. When double actionpistol is fired, if the round fails to fire, the trigger resets and you simply pullit again, and hopefully igniting a ‘hard primer’.

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

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

  2. #2
    Senior Member NGF Addict! budroe's Avatar
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    Aug 2012
    S.E. Texas


    I've fired a few of the VP-70s; two of them were the select fire models. I have a buddy who owns a civilian model. They're huge guns shooting a light round, good for full auto - silly for a semi-auto. They have a horrible trigger pull, aren't known for being overly accurate and for a HK weapon, they are not all that reliable. They are uglier than the glock; but I loved shooting everyone I ever played with.

    The lack of a "second strike capability" is a non-issue. If you pull the trigger and get a click in a combat situation I can't imagine anyone trying that same round a second time. I don't know of any 1911 users who went to another gun because they didn't have this feature on their pistol. I don't know of any police or federal agency that has reported more NDs with the glock than any previous handgun they issued. People who have NDs are going to have them, regardless of the gun they carry. It was the pistol of choice in Iraq. There are a lot of choices available. Everyone has to go with what they like the most.
    Shoot, move, communicate!!


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