Monday, March 06, 2023

Working Classic

When is something a classic? The state of Indiana lets you put Historic Vehicle plates on a car when it passes the quarter century mark, so there's one benchmark.

You know what else is over a quarter century old at this point? Most Gen1 and Gen2 Glock pistols, like the G19 in the picture.

This one was made in 1996, meaning it's not too far off from its thirtieth birthday. If you remember the internet firearms discussion groups at the time, there was a lot of talk about "Well, how well will these plastic guns hold up over the long term?"

So far, so good.

The big differences between the Gen2 Glock 19 and its Gen3 replacement are deeper than just the obvious addition of finger grooves on the frame and an accessory rail on the dust cover.

From top to bottom: Gen4, Gen3, and Gen2 Glock 19s

Later Gen3 G19's incorporated the third pin in the frame, the one added to accommodate .40S&W in the G22 & 23. (Gen3 Glock 17s did not, I believe because their specifications were frozen by big contracts.)

You'll notice that, in addition to the finger grooves, the later Glocks have a divot where the thumb would rest. This makes those "Thumbrest Target Grips" for extra BATFE import points, needed to allow the tiny G26 & G27 subcompacts importable.

One unusual and little-noted difference is that, around the time of the introduction of the Gen3 Glocks, they went to a shinier finish on the slide. You can note the difference in reflectivity even in the potato-quality iPhone 7 photo.

Scuttlebutt on the 'net at the time was that this was in response to complaints from federal law enforcement agencies about how the old matte phosphate-like finish was almost impervious to fingerprints. There was much griping on GlockTalk back in '99-'00 about how the more slippery new "fingerprint-friendly" was just Glock knuckling under to the feds.

This Gen2, on the right in the photo above, also lacks the bevel on the chamber hood added to later G19s as part of an attempt to solve the NYPD's mysterious "phase 3 malfunction" complaints.

Vintage or not, a Glock is just a utilitarian working gun. Oh, sure, there are some collectible ones, but a generic 19 is just a generic 19, whether it's a Gen2 or a Gen5, and this one's been modified to suit my tastes in a carry gun: Tango Down slide and magazine releases, a "Gadget" Striker Control Device, and the factory grooved G19 trigger (needed to get the compact 19 the extra BATF import points) has been replaced with a stock Glock 17 trigger, with a smooth trigger shoe.

The Meprolight tritium sights have almost completely ceased to glow and are due to be replaced. The fact that they were glowing at all when I bought it five years ago indicates they're almost certainly not the factory sights.

Keep anything long enough and it becomes a classic, I guess. 

Heck, these days people collect Smith & Wesson police revolvers, which would have been weird when this Glock was new and you could buy department trade-in Model 10s for less than a c-note.