When I got my Glock 19 I was thrilled. I had fired many Glocks of many different calibers, had handled the Generation 4 Glock 17 and was very eager to get its little brother in my hands. My Gen 4 G19 was one of the first off the presses and I couldn't wait to get it to the range. When I did, however, I was disappointed to find that my Glock--a name promoted to be almost synonymous with reliability--was anything but.
Failure to feed, failure to eject, no slide lock on the last round.. to say I was frustrated by my new pistol would be an understatement.
Being as involved with the internet gun community as I am I allowed those who were interested to see both video of me shooting and I wrote about my issues on a few gun forums.
I was not surprised to find those who found it hard to blame the Glock. I was surprised by their enormous number. People who were loyal to the Glock and the firm belief that it is error proof started to get out their hammers and sharpen their spikes to nail me to the wall of inexperience.
The comments poured in on how I was limp wristing and needed to adjust my grip. I then had someone tell me I needed to loosen my grip. One person even said I needed to change my stance.
Stance? Really? Changing my stance will affect the cycling of my firearm? Too loose? Too tight? Too high? Too low? And people say 1911s are picky!
I am not a bulls-eye shooter. I don't train and practice to put five shots in a dime-sized hole. I do not buy bulls-eye guns that are milled to perfection and handled with glass-balancing care. I buy combat guns to use for self defense in combative environments. I shoot for speed and combat accuracy. I expect my gun to work if I'm standing on my head with one hand behind my back, in the rain, with jelly on my fingers after the gun happened to fall into a mud puddle. I don't have the time or inclination to baby a gun that may or may not work because I happened to have a slightly weakened grip at one moment or too tight of a grip the next.
I've never had to fire a gun in self defense, but I have had to fire guns in simulated scenarios. I've fired one-handed around obstacles, while running. I've fired guns over my shoulder while trying to move in the opposite direction. I've fired guns lying on the ground with both my strong hand and my off hand all in attempts to simulate the kind of conditions that one may be required to fire from if fighting for his or her life.
One thing was universally true: perfect grips and stances are hard to come by when you move off the static firing range. And if a perfect grip or stance is required for your gun to work reliably than it is not a combat gun and should not be relied on as such.
I've read stories of officers and civilians who continued to fire guns despite massive injuries to arms and hands that severely weakened grips.
I also watched a clip of a well-known and highly-respected firearms instructor shooting his XD upside down in his hands with his pinky on the trigger and naught but his thumb on the backstrap. If anyone was looking for the definition of a compromised grip, there you have it.
He fired through an entire magazine without a single malfunction.
I'm tired of people making "limp wristing" an excuse for a gun that cannot preform reliably. With modern technology and machining there's no reason why a firearm should have trouble with a compromised grip.
Yes, individuals should be griping their firearms as securely as possible and, yes, recoil-operated firearms do need a base to provide resistance for that cycling slide but asking for that base to be perfectly stable under all circumstances is an unreasonable requirement for a combat pistol (in my humble opinion).
After I was done beating myself up about my Glock and done listening to the internet commandos I went out and bought myself a new recoil spring. I switched out parts and was rewarded with a perfectly functioning firearm. I have yet to have a malfunction with the new spring (now made old with time) but I still get people trying to tell me the malfunctions were somehow related to me and my handling of the Glock (despite the fact that they magically went away when I switched recoil springs). If that were true then I wouldn't be a Glock owner today as I would not trust the Glock to be reliable under combative conditions.
Don't get me wrong. This blog is not to pick on Glock. I have now been carrying my Glock for well over a year in confidence. My issue is not with Glock, or any gun manufacturer. My issue is with those who would blame a shooter and his or her grip for reliability problems.
If you are going to call a firearm a combat gun, hold it to a combat standard.. one in which a compromised grip would not cause regular malfunctions. "Limp Wristing" is not a good excuse for a firearm to be unreliable.