Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Fire Up the Dishwasher!

On a morning where I burned the toast...of course, as a guy, I cut off the charred parts and ate the rest, although the house totally smells of immolated designer bread...I am now officially a Certified Glock Armorer, courtesy of a one-day Glock Armorer Class taught by Glock-ee Chris Edwards for a whole slew of police armorers in Ft. Collins yesterday.

I have a mallet, a Sawz-All and a certificate! Bring on the Combat Tupperware!

In truth, Alf the Wonder Beagle could probably become a Glock armorer, because there's not a heck of a lot that can go wrong with the things. The Glock is a brilliantly designed gun — thank you, Mr. Glock! — standing as a testament to the "Keep It Simple, Stupid" philosophy. The gun disassembles by removing three pins — most of the gun can be overhauled with a pin punch and a ballpoint pin — there are no carefully fitted parts that can be reassembled in one of 25 different orientations, replacement parts are interchangeable without fitting, dirt cheap and readily available.

In fact, most of what usually goes wrong with Glocks falls into one of two categories — Lube Monsters and Assault Wiith a Deadly Dremel. If you gunk a Glock up, it will stop running. Especially, if you manage to get enough gooey stuff in the firing pin channel, said firing pin will slow down and fail to make the primer go bang. The Dremel Assault is self-explanatory and the reason why Dremels shoudl be strictly controlled by federal law...in fact, you should take mine away from me right now, before I finish grinding up the trigger on my ancient S&W revolver that's presently on my bench.

Besides, Chris Edwards — you've seen him on several SHOOTINGGALLERYS — is always entertaining. After 15 years with the company, he could probably gnaw a Glock frame out of a block of virgin (and yummy) polymer. He can also shoot a Glock amazingly well...much better than I can, in fact. Years ago, Chris told me the secret of shooting Glocks well was shooting Glocks to the exclusion of other pistoles, mostly, and learning to ride that long Glock trigger out to reset and no more. The first point is a function of the Glock grip angle...for dedicated 1911 shooters, the grip angle makes the Glock point high when the shooter changes guns.

Of course, the reverse is also true...take a guy like Dave Sevigny, Glock's world champion competition shooter, who has shot Glocks his entire shooting life, and other grips seem weird. BTW, if you get a chance, jump on a class from Dave. Like my buddy (and COWBOYS' host) Tequila, Dave is self-taught. Years ago, he bought a Glock for self-defense, then decided he needed to learn to shoot it. So he went out to a gravel pit in the Northeast and taught himself the Glockenspeil. He decided to shoot a local IDPA match to keep his skills sharp, and the rest is history.

I have a huge amout of respect for Dave, because as he rose in competition, he continued to shoot the same guns from the same plastic holster — one of Dave Elderton's Kytac creations. These days, it's pretty much acknowledged unless he's having a very bad day, Dave is unbeatable with a Production/out-of-the-box gun. Besides, he's a nice guy.

The one thing I learned in the class that broke my heart was that Glocks are NOT dishwasher-safe...maybe. Chris tells the story of a small department armorer who ran his departments' eight disassembled Glocks through his wife's dishwasher regularly for three years before they stopped working. Three years! And they only stopped working because the dishwasher powsder detergent he used clogged uo the firing pin channels. HMMMMM, said the police armorer sitting next to me...can you spell "liquid detergent?"

BTW, the Glock armorers' class is hopefully the first of what I think of as a year of "in-service training." I know 1911s and S&W revolvers, but I want to bring myself up to speed on the broad range of firearms out there. In my spare time...haha!

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Okay, what did you score on the Glock exam?

Guy

Michael Bane said...

100%

mb

Anonymous said...

Good going.

I was actually surprised that only two of us in my class scored 100, and the other was from someone renewing his, so he had seen the stuff before.

Guy

Anonymous said...

What do you think would be a better choice for the JCP, a Glock 21 in .45acp or a SW990L also in .45acp?

Anonymous said...

Neither pistol would survive the testing protocol. Next.

Michael Bane said...

All the Big Players will have JCP-specific hardware based on the final specs (I've published links to the preliminary specs). I suspect we'll see a beefed up re-engineered 21 from Glock, a 220/250-based gun from SIG, an M&P in .45 from S&W and a variation of the H-K USP Tactical. Rumors are that Beretta may enter the fray, but they don't seem too serious about it to *moi.* There are also rumors that Ruger is waiting in the wings for the final specs to be published, since they've been pretty successful with military contracts recently, already have a .45 platform with the reputation for indestructability and are, along with S&W, the two purely American companies in the running. Also expect to see Colt field a gun, but so far, things are quiet in Hartford.

Handicap-wise, SIG has the advantage of having survived the previous trials and they have a beta-tested platform in the 220. H-K was considered an early frontrunner, but there's Beltway talk that some powers-that-be in the proverbial military industrial complex are unhappy with the Germans. The S&W M&P is an impressive gun in .40, but the .45 is nowhere in sight...yet. Glock is probably the most successful military handgun in the world — in 9mm — but they've never faced a full blown American trials and the .45 Glocks have occasionally had their problems.

Frankly, I'd like the troops to have a 1911, but it ain't gonna happen...

mb

Anonymous said...

Don't non-9mm Glocks have a rep for blowing up if you feed them the wrong ammo?

Anonymous said...

I heard the LAPD is having problems with the Glock 21

Michael Bane said...

You might want to visit The Gun Zone (http://www.ambackforum.com/viewforum.php?f=75), which has extensive coverage of the M-21 situation at LAPD. If you gunk up the tunnel the firing pin rides in, you WILL get light primer hits, because — duh — the gunk slows down the firing pin. After talking to a bunch of my Glock-ee friends, the general consensus is that the gunk comes from TOO MUCH LUBRICANT dumped into the gun. You can get away with soaking a 1911 in 30-weight, but a Glock is designed from the ground up for MINIMUM lubrication.

Re: the kabooms...a few years back there were issues with .40 S&W "kabooms," mostly from Glocks, but also a few SIG 229s and even the occasional Ruger and S&W. The vast majority of these issues traced back to some early Federal .40 S&W ammo and .40 reloads (you can read a lot of this stuff on The Gun Zone as well).

I am not a huge fan of the .40 S&W. I shot a lot of it through an STI Edge when I was competing in IPSC and through a Novak Hi-Power in IDPA, and it is a great competition cartridge...with a little fiddling.

However, from a reloading standpoint the cartridge is finicky when compared to the .45 ACP or 9mm. I found it harder to develop a load that worked for the gun. What REALLY bothered me, however, were the pressure curves, both for powder overcharges and for overall case length. The .40 is viciously unforgiving...the pressure curves go straight through the ceiling on a slight overcharge (including with powders we routinely used for competition loads) or, worse, a reduction of cartridge OAL (that is, the bullet sets back in the case). We're talking about a change from 28,000 psi to 90,000 psi for extremely minor changes. No semiauto can take a 90,000 psi hit. It should be noted that IPSC competition guns have barrels that FULLY ENCASE the round, specifically because of what we've learned while blowing guns up back in the early 1980s.

The danger is that as the gun cycles, the impact on the bullets in the magazine cause them to creep back onto the cases, potentially resulting in pressure spikes. Aside from the fact that we CRIMPED THE HELL out of the cases (and were usually loading to a long OAL for competition 1911s), competition magazines are typically emptied at the end of a match (hi-cap springs are fragile babies!).

In a defensive pistol, two issues come into play — there's an unfortunate tendency to leave the mags loaded with the remaining rounds after a practice session, and defensive rounds are EXPENSIVE, which means you don't shoot as many of them and the ammo doesn't get "rotated" as frequently as it should.

Example...I take my carry SIG 225 to the range and run 200 rounds through it...probably 150 of those rounds are 9mm ball. But 50 will be my carry ammo, presently Hornady TAP. I might load up 75 rounds of the TAP in the magazines, shoot 40-50 to make sure the SIG is happy, then redistribute the ammo into the carry mags...the ammo that I'm carrying has been subjected to the impact of firing. In 9mm, so what? In .40 — very rarely — "so what" can turn into a big problem.

Okay, what should you do to make sure you don't detonate your piece? Current .40 ammo takes all that history into account...if you've got early issue .40 ammo squirreled away, you might consider shooting it up and replacing it with new stuff. Secondly, rotate the rounds in your defensive gun magazines, so it's not the same rounds that continually take the battering. Be extremely careful reloading .40! Heck, you should be extremely careful reloading anything! But with .40, stay within the limits of CURRENT reloading manuals, stay away from powders with a history of pressure spiking, and monitor OAL of the finished rounds — especially if you're using a progressive machine, where gunk can build up in the seater die and change the OAL.

Just my $0.02 worth!!!!!!

mb

Anonymous said...

Thank you for.02

Anonymous said...

Rumors are the the beltway crowd is more than a little upset with HK. There is also a rumor the company is for sale and that the move to Alabama (?) has seen the exodus of several employees not willing to move. Combined these issues do not paint the picture of a solid company a government would want to do big business with.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on becoming a GA, can civilians take the course or is only open to those who work with those that have 'take the oath'?

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