Range Report: Glock 17 Vickers Tactical

By Bob Campbell published on in Firearms, Range Reports

It is common for makers to offer special versions of popular handguns with features that will appeal to many shooters. The price is often less than it would cost to add these features to an existing gun. Some of the features do not appeal to every shooter, so they are kept as special editions rather than production models. One of the most popular Glock models, and in my opinion, the most effective is the Vickers Tactical treatment of the Glock 17 9mm handgun.

Glock pistol atop a box of 9mm ammunition

The Glock 17 9mm Vickers Tactical is a credible and effective combat handgun.

The Glock 17 was the original Glock pistol, and the one on which Glock’s reputation was built. It is fair to say that there is no more proven reliable handgun on the planet. Longevity isn’t an issue with many of these handguns; proven by their use for decades, some having fired tens of thousands of +P and even +P+ ammunition along the way. Accuracy is service grade to better in recent examples.

The Glock 17 is among a very few handguns that may be learned quickly by beginning shooters—given proper indoctrination—yet, the pistol doesn’t limit an accomplished shooter. I have seen quite a number of these handguns go through my training classes. I have also evaluated the piece myself, and I have a good understanding of what the Glock 17 9mm is capable of. So, my comparison of the Glock 17 9mm to the Vickers Tactical pistol is more than an educated guess.

The Vickers Tactical pistol offers a familiar operating system in that it uses the standard Glock trigger action and controls. The feel and hand fit are mostly the same in dimension but with important differences in grip texture. This similarity offers an advantage for those moving up from a standard Glock 17.

Magazine being loaded into the Vicker's madel

Angling the magazine in as you load is positive and fast.

Larry Vickers is a respected trainer, soldier, and gunsmith. His name on a handgun means a great deal to many of us. Among the shortcomings of the Glock pistol is the sights. The blocky plastic sights are OK for short-range personal defense, but not ideal. The pistol illustrated wears Vickers Tactical Battlesights. The rear sight uses a serrated face and a large U-notch rear sight. This has been called the Old Man’s sight as it is well suited to aging eyes, but also accurate when properly aligned.

The front sight is a bright green Tritium sight. This bead is about .080 and works well in all light conditions. The Vicker’s slide stop is designed with an extended shelf—allowing rapid manipulation while not proving prone to catching the hand during recoil. The magazine release is radiused, and increased just enough in size to allow excellent and speedy manipulation.

This handgun also features the RTF (Rough Texture Finish) that may be hard on clothing but preferred by some shooters for adhesion and abrasion. The void in the grip strap is filled with a special Vickers design plug that serves as a magazine well. While guiding a tapered magazine into a wide magazine well should not be difficult, the magazine guide offers an improvement—particularly when the magazine is properly angled during the speed load.

Rear U style sight on Vicker's GLock

The rear U Notch sight proved brilliantly fast on target.

Another option that may be fitted to any Glock makes life easier. This is the magazine baseplate. This plate is wider than the Glock factory unit. This baseplate helps in two ways. First, it allows for a firmer grasp as the magazine is drawn from the carrier. Second, it helps fully seat the magazines. The Rough Texture frame answered concerns of the polymer frame slipping in the hand. The texture is popular with those who compete and demand the greatest adhesion from their firearm’s grip.

This sandpaper-like frame is among the best grip treatments possible. The grip is covered in what Glock calls polymids. The texture might wear on clothing over time in concealed carry but certainly makes for good control. The RTF is no longer standard on the Glock, but the Vickers Tactical edition features this treatment.

During my evaluation, I used several loads including my own handloads using hard cast bullets. The Glock has a polygonal barrel and lead isn’t recommended. However, there is a huge difference between hard cast bullets like Magnus and lead bullets. In any case, I used a modest amount. I also used a good supply of Federal Syntech 115-grain loads. These loads feature a coated jacketed bullet that does not allow any lead in the air, and which also offers excellent accuracy. I added the Federal American Eagle 124-grain FMJ. I have found these to be quite accurate in the past, and also Federal’s top rated 124-grain HST defense load.

Bob Campbell shooting the Glock 17

Control was excellent with all loads.

The magazines were loaded, and the Glock was fired at man-sized targets at 5, 7, and 10 yards. The Glock never failed to feed, chamber, or fire. The RTF grip kept the hand stabilized and allowed excellent control of not only the handgun in recoil, but also stabilized the hand and trigger finger as the trigger was pressed. The front sight was a bright light even in daylight range conditions. The combination proved effective as I shot the center out of the targets and homed in on the steel gong.

Properly angling the magazine in against the magazine guide resulted in rapid magazine seating. The Glock 17 is an effective and accurate handgun. Do not be pleased with your initial results, although they may be quite good. Concentrate on the trigger press and sight picture, and press the trigger straight to the rear, allow time for reset, and fire again. Follow this, and you will get a hit.

Combat accuracy firing at targets at various ranges was good. I also fired from a solid benchrest and fired for accuracy with a number of loads. The results were the best I have fired with any Glock handgun. This wasn’t surprising as the Glock 17 has modest recoil and the sights and grip are excellent. This is a credible choice for personal defense or service use and arguably among the finest models in the Glock line.

Accuracy, 25 Yards, From a Solid Bench Rest Firing Position, Average of Two 5-Shot Groups

Load Group size
CCI Blazer 115-grain FMJ 3.0 inches
Federal 124-grain American Eagle 2.0 inches
Federal 124-grain HST 2.25 inches

Are you a fan of Vickers Tactical? Do you own one? Share your Vickers tactical story in the comment section.


Bob Campbell is a former peace officer and published author with over 40 years combined shooting and police and security experience. Bob holds a degree in Criminal Justice. Bob is the author of the books, The Handgun in Personal Defense, Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry, The 1911 Automatic Pistol, The Gun Digest Book of Personal Protection and Home Defense, The Shooter’s Guide to the 1911, The Hunter and the Hunted, and The Complete Illustrated Manual of Handgun Skills. His latest book is Dealing with the Great Ammo Shortage. He is also a regular contributor to Gun Tests, American Gunsmith, Small Arms Review, Gun Digest, Concealed Carry Magazine, Knife World, Women and Guns, Handloader and other publications. Bob is well-known for his firearm testing.

View all articles by Bob Campbell

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Comments (28)

  • thomas unger


    I’m 76, don’t shoot competitively, but carry 24/7, even in my own home. I find the Ghost Ring very satisfactory for my purposes


  • Scott Hicks


    Please allow Bob some leeway for hyperbole; artistic license, if you will.
    I’m certain he has a few 1911’s in his collection. He’s evidenced a fondness for Mr. Browning’s design in more than a few other articles he’s written.


  • Chris


    “… no more proven reliable handgun on the planet.”? Has the author of this article been living on a DIFFERENT planet since 1911?


    • Bob Campbell


      I have written three books on the 1911 and love the 1911. My personal Series 70 with stag grips is my most trusted handgun. However– I clean and lubricate the pistol. We have to take the logic ladder. In institutional testing in Europe and America (Ohio State Patrol, US Army/France) the SIG P series at present if the most reliable handgun on the planet, per these testing. The Glock isn’t far behind. The Glock certainly deserves the no more reliable handgun on the planet tag along with the Colt 1911 (There are a lot of 1911s that do not deserve to be considered with Colt, Kimber, Springfield, and SIG) the CZ75 and the Browning High Power. When we discuss reliability we have to look to government/police testing with repeatable and verifiable record keeping. Internet or gun mag burn downs have a low validity.


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