Whew! Recently got back from three and a half weeks on the road. Court stuff, teaching stuff, and the occasional pistol match thrown in, for several thousand miles.

Significant Other and I had seven handguns with us, six of them “plastic” 9mm semiautomatics. I needed a Glock 19 as an exemplar for one of the shooting cases, in the event that we needed to do any testing/replication demonstrations once trial was underway. That didn’t turn out to be necessary, but the little 16-shooter did double duty as a regular concealed carry gun for much of the trip, which encompassed several states.

It was a “Glock month” for me, and I had a couple of Model 17s along. The 17 is half an inch longer in barrel and slide than the 19, proportionally longer in the butt, and carries two more cartridges. One of the 17s was set up for match shooting, the other for concealed carry. The match gun was used once in a tournament, and so was the carry G17. I also had the subcompact version of the Glock 9mm, the 11-shot Model 26, along for a backup on the Tulsa leg of the trip, but it never got touched off once.

The Evil Princess has lately become a fan of the Springfield Armory XD(m) and brought two, one tuned by the Springfield Custom Shop (she used it to place 3rd, beating most of the SWAT cops, in the house-clearing test at the National Tactical Conference), and another with standard trigger pull that she wore as her concealed carry piece in an Aker holster in all but two of the states we traveled through.

Of the seven guns we had with us, the only all-metal one was my little J-frame S&W snubby revolver, a comfortable lightweight backup gun that I keep loaded with +P .38 Special.

Having six of the seven guns the same caliber was convenient, since with shooting on the menu we had shipped one case of ammo to Tulsa and brought another in the van with us. That allowed us the same sort of logistical commonality that makes armies standardize on a single cartridge. It seems to work in microcosm, too.

Plastic handguns came into being during the last quarter of the 20th Century, and the quintessential “plastic rifle,” the AR15, has been with us for half a century now. Light weight is good when you’re covering lots of miles. AR15s win rifle matches at the National Championships at Camp Perry, and the Glock is the dominant gun in street-relevant “combat pistol matches,” proof that plastic doesn’t necessarily degrade performance.

Besides, light weight is good when you have to lug all the damn guns in and out of the hotel daily…
Am I the only one who sacrifices love of blue steel and walnut tradition sometimes, in return for the functional convenience of modern gunware? Let us know your thoughts here…

Gail puts her first shot center; muzzle of XD(m) is still on target for fast follow-up as spent 9mm case clears ejection port. Plastic does not degrade performance. Scene is the Polite Society national shoot at Tulsa in April.

9mm Glock 19 gives performance that allows a respectable finish. Larger Glock 34 in same caliber won more titles at last year’s IDPA National Championship than any other handgun.


  1. Well, I don’t. But, that is because the one polymer pistol I brought into the house my wife immediately claimed as hers. She did that with my 22 rifle too. At least I had the sense to build her an AR15 of her own before she claimed mine.

  2. Mas,

    Very interesting concept. While I make no claim to being a great mind, let alone a sound one, it has been said that great minds think alike. I had reached pretty much the same conclusion as you, and being the more trained of two of us, (wife and myself, not Mas), my spouse and I have elected to tailor our carry firearms to her desires.

    Here’s something I posted elsewhere that may help to explain it for others:

    “Howdy all.

    Despite the title, this is not a discussion about relationships.

    Many of us that frequent the various forums have spouses and “significant others” that are competent with handguns, rifles and shotguns, but maybe don’t favor them, or carry all the time.

    Recently my wife decided she wanted a gun of her own and took her CCL Class. She tried a few calibers and platforms and “settled” on the Glock 19 that I own. It is now her’s, and goes in her safe and not mine. This has given rise to a conumdrum of sorts and how best to solve it.

    Since my wife favors the 9mm, and I like the forty in a Hi Power platform I have decided to get another Glock 19 and a Glock 26. That will be my “primary and BUG”. The reason for this is, it is a gun/platform in a caliber she is comfortable with. I can hand it to her, and she already knows how to “work it”. If she is not carrying her own gun that day I will rely on the BUG if I have to arm her. We can also share magazines and ammo if the situation ever came to that.

    Has anyone else gone down this road? I see the practicality of this arrangement, but have yet to find any negatives beyond not getting to carry my “preferred” choice. If I decide to go with another caliber we would lose the ammo compatability, but the platform would remain the same, thus still retaining the “familiarity” for her if I stayed with the Glock platform.

    Maybe over time her preferred platform will change, but for right now it is what it is. I think this may be something worthy of consideration by some of our members that are not mandated to carry a particular firearm, or maybe they can change what their mandated firearm is?

    To me this strikes me as a common sense type of issue. I’m not trying to offend anyone by that statement, so please don’t take it as such. The Husband and Wife could use more of a team approach to problem solving a situation by having weapon and ammo compatability IMHO.

    Just my $0.02. Take care and stay safe. I look forward to what you all have to say on this, even if you don’t agree.


    PS: I much prefer other platforms, but can “settle” for using a Block. ”

    Take care and stay safe Mas. I hope to see you in a few weeks.


  3. While I can’t knock the Glock for performance or reliability, I still hate the ergonomics. None of the models are comfortable in my hand, though I can shoot them just fine. Since comfort matters to me, I still stick with my Beretta 92 FS for daily carry.

  4. They’re great guns, but I’ve just never liked the feel of them. If I’m only going to have a few guns in my collection, I like having ones that I find attractive as well as functional. That said, I’ll never tell someone who does like them that they’re wrong.

  5. I like to think that there is no gun quite so heavy as a dirty one. I could carry 20 all steel handguns to the range and it would be a labor of love. Unfortunately, that would be the heaviest bag in the world on the way home after shooting them all, and in the bag they would likely stay for some time.

  6. My fiancée and I are rather happy with our Springfield XDs. My primary carry is a XD45 Service with the thumb safety, and when I can’t really conceal my XD45 I switch to my sub-compact XD9. Although with an outer shirt, I’ve haven’t had any problems with concealment.

    My rig consists of a Blackhawk CQC Kydex dress belt and a Blade-Tech concealment holster (Ultimate Conceal). Still need to find a suitable magazine pouch. OC spray and knife are in the pockets. I may add a back-up in time or a mounted light but I’m slightly concerned about how a responding officer might see me…

    My fiancée has a sub-compact XD9 but we’re still trying to figure out a way for her to carry without changing her wardrobe. At the moment, we’re considering a 1911 9mm for her since she likes the idea of a thumb safety, alternatively she may opt for a XD45 like mine or a 1911 .45.

    All our self-defense guns are loaded with Gold Dot (230 gr .45 and 147 gr 9mm although I may switch to lighter and faster rounds for the 9mm since it seems more effective).

    Some of the selling points for us on the XDs were the ergonomics, reliability, safeties (grip safety was a nice bonus), and Springfield’s warranty. My friend’s XD slide-lock cracked and fell off (only known one according to Google and Springfield), total time to fix it was under a week.

    When it came down to it, SIG, HK, SW, Glock, Beretta, and Springfield are all brands I’d trust so it really boiled down to ergonomics
    and customer care. I’m sure all of them have good customer care but I already had experience with Springfield (my friend’s XD failure) and I never heard anyone say otherwise. So is offering a lifetime warranty smart? Well I’ll consider other brands but I’ll always give Springfield the first look.

    Out of curiosity, has anyone noticed with Springfield and S&W, only the .45 polymer frames have thumb safeties and not the other calibers?

    Quick question for you, Mas: In one of your articles, I believe it was in American Handgunner, you seemed slightly partial to the .357 SIG cartridge. Is that still the case or have the new 9mm rounds changed your opinion?

    PS- Congrats Biker on the MAG class, I’m still waiting for one closer by =p

  7. Mas,

    You said you had 2 G17’s: one setup for match, the other setup for concealed carry. By “match” do you mean IDPA?

    I have a Glock 17 Gen4, and I just competed in my first IDPA club match with it (posted this on the GRRN forums a short while ago), and the only thing I’ve done to it is to put XS sights on it. Other than that, nothing. Great gun. However, I’m interested in how your two G17’s are set up differently from stock and why?

    I also plan on getting the G19 when the Gen4 version comes out soon. That could rapidly become my regular concealed carry. My open carry favorites are my Berettas (PX4 and 92FS Inox). But I can stand a slightly heavier gun for open carry. For concealed carry, you hit the nail on the head: weight. I did CC with my XD45 and was miserable. 13 rounds of 45ACP in the gun, and another 13 on the hip, added to the weight of the gun itself and its size and I was not a happy customer (I’m a slim guy). Even the Beretta PX4 begins to wear on you after a while. But the Glock17….. oh WOW. Wore it OC today in my ‘speedy’ BH Serpa, and was doing normal stuff, and barely noticed it.

    I also love how easy this pistol is to clean. My PX4 is ‘prettier’, shoots a little better (in SA), and I like its slide safety. But still, there’s alot going for this little Glock. If I had to bury the Beretta and the Glock in the ground and then someday come back, pull one of them out, load a fresh mag and go defend myself with it, I’d chose the Glock any day.

  8. I have a bunch of those great-looking steel and wood handguns also but recently bought a Glock 30 after seeing it tortured unmercifully in online videos in a variety of ways and still shoot fine.

    Our bag of dirty steel guns sitting there in a damp basement for few weeks…I’d rather bet my life on the Glock.

  9. I don’t conceal carry, so maybe this means I’m missing something, but try as I might, I just can’t warm up to the Glock. I’ve tried a few of them, but overall I find them to be too wide, with a grip frame built for annoyance at best. I don’t think the safe action is aptly named, I know of several instances of unintended discharge because Glock operators thought the sales pitch of super safe was real.
    The Glocks I have shot have been ultra reliable, and field accurate. In 9mm these guns are very friendly to shoot. If they only had a better grip frame I would probably find them easier to get used to.
    Maybe this labels me as an out of touch dinosaur, but I really like medium frame double action revolvers in .357 Magnum cal. , or single actions in .45 Colt cal. Keep ’em loaded without worrying about those magazine springs, shoot accurate at 50 yards, and are capable of handling bullet types and weights that are very useful for the outdoorsman. About the only downside of the .357 and heavy .45 Colt is the muzzle blast, but then, I don’t think the 9mm is much quieter at all.
    Maybe I would think differently if I were a great pistol expert, but I’m just a hick from the hills, and these two types of guns have never let me down.

  10. Tim from CO: The 147 and +P 124 grain Gold Dot 9mm rounds are both “street proven,” but I agree with you: the 124 grain +P seems to be the more dynamic of the two, and I think you’re right to change. The .45 caliber manual safety models of Springfield’s XD and S&W’s M&P were originally created for a Joint Services Small Arms Project contract that got left on the back burner; JSSAP had required a thumb safety. Springfield still offers the XD .45s that way, and S&W now makes it an option on all their M&P calibers. Springfield tells me around 30% of their XD45s are now being ordered that way, and S&W tells me a like percentage of M&Ps in the various calibers are going out the door in that configuration. As I write this, I’m wearing an M&P 357C with manual safety that I won in a police match last October. (Yes, I still like the .357 SIG cartridge.)

    James Robertson: My gun safe currently holds G17s in four configurations: the 3-pound trigger tricked out match gun that I shoot ONLY in matches where I need super-speed and will have to slap the trigger to beat the other masters on time factor in close (I NEVER carry it “for real”); 5.5-lb standard trigger (won Enhanced Service Pistol category in the last match in which I shot it, see http://www.firstcoastidpa.com for May 2010); roughly 8-lb pull version (NY-1 trigger module with 5.5 lb. connector) fitted with Comminolli thumb safety (www.tarnhelm.com) which I carry when I think I am in a high risk situation); and cutaway version I bought from Glock after I went through armorer’s school with them, for courtroom purposes and useful also for training.

    Rural Mike: “Rural” is good, and so are the traditional guns you like. No argument from here!

    best to all,

  11. Mike and particularly Roland are correct. You just can’t fix the “feel” of a Glock the way you can easily change grips on a Browning HP or a 1911. This is a particular problem for women – and so is the very stiff mag release on Glocks.

  12. I understand the reasoning behind plastic- and stainless and have some, I sure do love the beautiful wood and deep blued steel. A traditionalist at heart

  13. Interesting post Mas,,,My PD (Keene) was one of the first PD’s in NH to go with the Glocks…I had a terrible struggle to convice the Chief, but once we were up and running, we have never looked back. We put 55 model 17s in service and never had a single problem. I put over 43,000 rounds through my 17 before a trigger spring broke. We are on our fourth set of Glocks (switched to .357 Sig in 2003) and carry Gold Dot 125s. They work just fine in the field and for the most diminitive officers. OD I have carried mine inside the pants for 22 years without a problem. And that includes chainsaw work to UC stuff. Incidentally were also issued a bunch of 26’s and found them a bit more accurate out to 25 yards than the 17’s !!! Jack

  14. I’m another traditionalist, *especially* for revolvers; there, aluminum is the most radical I can go. Even the lighter metal frames give away too much to recoil (you can’t fool Mr Newton).

    My “tactical tupperware” is a Kel-Tec PF9. The closest I can come to warming up to full-size polymer is the M&P autos. I once got to shoot an M&P and XP .45; the M&P got my nod.

    Glocks? Bang, bang. Ho hum.

  15. Mas, how is your 5.5 lb trigger pull version different from stock?

    For high risk, putting on a thumb safety looks to be a REALLY good idea, actually. Not sure how good it would be for me though to put on a heavier NY trigger, though. Then again, I didn’t grow up shooting wheelguns.

  16. Jack, great to hear from you. Don’t be a stranger. Your observation on the baby Glocks being more inherently accurate than full size has a lot of general concurrence, in 9mm and .40 alike. (Though not so much in .357, for some reason. My .357 G31 is the most accurate of my full size, standard frame Glocks.)

    James, the 5.5 pound triggers on all my Glocks are stock, as are my NY-1 fitted guns. I have one G17 with a light trigger, which I’ve largely gotten away from even for competition, which was its sole purpose in my shooting battery, and one Glock 23 with 3.5 pound connector mated to the NY-1 module, for a total pull of around six pounds (Glock approved).


  17. I also must mention the late great J.M.B. ‘s famous 1911. Going stronger than ever at 99. I love it as is but I wonder what he’d make it out of if he had todays materials.

  18. Massad:
    Always avoid alliteration. (small joke)
    As a writer, you’re allowed only one of these every 30 days.


  19. I didn’t like Glocks until I shot one. Then it grew on me quickly. The grip angle and thickness worked for me as did the factory sights. I generally fit the “average” shooter indexes pretty well. I’ve personally standardized on a couple of specific cartridges the last couple of years. I don’t enjoy sorting and storing ammo like books in a library. As much as I like Glock though, I still find my old S&W models 66 and 65 getting a lot of time and love.

  20. “I also must mention the late great J.M.B. ’s famous 1911. Going stronger than ever at 99. I love it as is but I wonder what he’d make it out of if he had todays materials.”

    Marc, I shudder to think of what the 1911 would be if not the classic design it is now.

    While I like the 1911 I love the P-35. That was John Moses Browning’s best handgun design, IMHO, but of course he wasn’t alone in it’s design.

    To a certain extent handguns have evolved over the years to what we have today. I’m perfectly content with the plastic choices out there, but much prefer metal framed guns of an older era, be they revolving or bottom feeding.

    I do wonder myself what they will come up with in another 100 Years, but I’m perfectly happy with what I have now.


  21. Interesting article, but “The Evil Princess”???!!!

    Well we all have pet names for are loved ones, and while I suppose “Snookums” and “Honey-sweetie-pie” might get a bit cloying after awhile, I do wonder if “The Evil Princess” might be going too far in the opposite direction. 🙂

  22. I have a variety of handguns, including S&W, Beretta FS92 stainless, SIG Sauer P220, snubbies, etc. I buy personally on the basis of reliability, accuracy, looks, and price, in that exact order. Glock has three of these and looks is not one of them. That being said, it is almost as accurate as my SIG and MORE reliable. Some shooters have a hard time cozying up to a plastic gun, just like there are folks who will shoot nothing but a 1911. The sloppy fit of the round in a Glock results in unparalleled feed and ejection. There are many decent firearms out there these days, but when your sweet gluteus maximus in on the line, please let me have my Glock G23, fully loaded, with one in the pipe. I replace the plastic sights immediately, but otherwise, you will have a very difficult time finding a more reliable handgun, which as of today, exactly matches the reliability of my bullet-proof constructed S&W 686 wheel gun. My sense is the Glock, while not sartorially resplendent, is a handgun that most people can live with.

  23. In my humble but honest opinion, I think Gock is to the latter part of the 20th century what the 1911 was to the first.

    As another poster already said, the 1911 is 99 years old and still going strong. And while there are some pretty fancy new-fangled tweaked up race guns in the 1911 variety, I still favor the bare bones 1911-A1 in GI configuration (as long as the feed ramp and “throat” have been polished a little to accept a larger variety of ammo than standard FMJ “ball”).

    That said, I had always been a little skeptical of the “combat tupperware” from Astria. That is, before I actually gave it a thorough look-see. Yes, it seemed a little awkward in the hand at first, but the more I handled them, the more I liked them. And they just plain work right out of the box! I especially like the ease of disassembly. Granted, I can field strip a 1911-A1 and put it back together with my eyes closed, but nowhere near as fast as you can take down a Glock.

    I believe John Moses Browning would have been pretty impressed with what Gaston did with some of his ideas. Gaston took it to the next level, and everyone else is just trying to catch up.

    The Springfield XD line of pistols also gets my vote. Anyone who finds the Glock a little large in the hand should give the XD’s a try.

    John Chick
    Monmouth, ME

    “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” –Thomas Jefferson to Charles Yancey, 1816. ME 14:384

  24. I have an aluminum frame Ruger P90DC because Mas wrote that it was more accurate than the plastic models. And I have always supposed that that was true for all models.

  25. Thanks Mas for the response. I had a hunch that the thumb safeties were for a contract/bid but I assumed it was for law enforcement. I haven’t given the M&Ps a second look yet but if they added the thumb safeties to their whole line, I just might.

    I was hoping Springfield would but they only offered it with the XD45s so far and no other models (to the best of my knowledge). I would really like to see a XD sub compact or XDm with a thumb safety. It seems like those can really safe your behind in a struggle.

    It’s a scary thought but in a 100 years, we might be discussing which citrus fruit works better in squirt guns or which salt and pepper shaker is more durable.

  26. I’m still most comfortable with my 4″ Kimber .45 in my shoulder holster and/or my 3″ Kimber RCP II in its Comp-tac Two O’Clock abdominal holster.

    But most of the time, as backup I’ve also got my trusty Glock 26 loaded with Corbon 115 grain 9mm +P resting comfortably in its Galco Ankle Glove holster.

    And my wife LOVES the Glocks – hers is the Glock 19, and when she wants it, I relenquish the G26 to her (I’ve got a Kahr PM9 for those occasions).

    If something goes bump in the night that shouldn’t, in addition to the 5″ Kimber with laser and weapon light in my top nightstand drawer, there is a Glock 21SF in the matching nightstand on my wife’s side of the bed (in case there’s anything left to shoot after our Rottweiler is through). 🙂

    Best wishes,


  27. I was going to do the same thing: standardize on G26s for me and my wife (and teenage son if needed), but then I shot a G30SF and now I’m pretty sure I’m selling all things 9mm for a set of Glock 30SF pistols, magazines, and replenishing my ammo supply. Why? We find the recoil more manageable on the G30 than the G26 (because we’d only carry the G26 with 124/147 grain +P) and the G30 has found some sort of way to auto-correct my bullets’ trajectories in-flight or something. Seriously– it makes me a better shooter than I am. Amazingly. I laughed after each shot the first time with it at the range. So, classic .45 ACP in what I think is the most reliable, softest-shooting, most accurate delivery mechanism on the planet: the Glock 30 (SF).