The .40 S&W caliber GLOCK 23—appropriately celebrating 23 years of production in 2013—is not only one of the most widely used handguns in law enforcement, but also one of the most popular handguns for civilians. Along with numerous local law enforcement agencies all over the country, the FBI, U.S. Marshal Service, and the DEA all choose either the GLOCK 22 or 23 as their primary duty weapon. In fact, GLOCK reports that 65 percent of law enforcement agencies nationwide choose GLOCK. Built to work reliably and shoot accurately, their trust in GLOCK’s performance is understandable.
GLOCK gave us the model 23 in 1990—an incredibly significant year in the firearms industry. First, was the introduction of the .40 S&W caliber. Collaboration between Smith & Wesson and Winchester, gave the world a 185-grain bullet that flies over 1,000 feet per second—a cartridge with nearly perfect balance of weight, mass, firepower, and consistent energy transfer. The FBI needed a gun to fit the new round and GLOCK answered the call with the models 22 and 23. The GLOCK 22 is full-sized, while the 23 is the compact model. Inspired by the GLOCK 19, the GLOCK 23 shares the same specifications as the iconic 19, except for the difference in caliber.
GLOCK 23 Gen 2
GLOCK 23’s first year was the same year GLOCK made some model changes. Bypassing the Gen 1 frames, the GLOCK 23, a Gen 2 frame, got a third pin in the frame to add support to the higher calibers, checkering on the front and back straps and an enlarged locking block.
GLOCK made a substantial change, upgrading all models in 1998. These are the classic Gen 3 models. GLOCK added an accessory rail, finger grooves and a scalloped thumb rest to the gun’s frame. The new extractor incorporates a loaded chamber indicator.
GLOCK added a new grip texture, called RTF2 (Rough Textured Frame) to the line up in 2009, but it did not stick around for very long. GLOCK 23s with the RTF2 grip frame had a pyramid-like stiff grip texture and scalloped, half-moon shaped slide serrations. In 2011, RTF2 grip frames were no longer available to civilians and sold on law enforcement models only. GLOCK left the pistol alone for 12 years until releasing the Gen 4.
The Gen 4 models introduced an upgraded double recoil spring and guide rod. The new spring and guide rod aid in controlling recoil. Adjustable backstraps also come with a Gen 4 model. The RTF3 frame is similar to the RTF2 frame introduced in 2009. Further, the Gen 4 GLOCKs have an ambidextrous magazine release button.
The latest edition to the GLOCK 23 line-up is completely made in the USA. On the side of the GLOCK 23’s USA-made pistols is stamped “USA” instead of “Austria” which you will find on the standard Gen 3 model.
Specifications and Features
As the compact model .40 caliber, the GLOCK 23 has a 4.02-inch barrel, giving you nearly half an inch longer than the sub-compact model 27. Shooting both, you notice a difference in the felt recoil. The longer barrel makes the GLOCK 23 less snappy. It’s basic, white dot front and white outline rear factory fixed sights are easy to get on target quickly and the grip size fits comfortably in a variety of hand sizes from small to large. I don’t know how GLOCK does it, but there is only one person I’ve met who can’t hold a GLOCK comfortably.
The basic features of the GLOCK 23 are the same as any GLOCK. It has a reinforced polymer frame with a corrosion-free finish. GLOCKs do not show wear easily. I have never seen a used GLOCK that looked beat-up. They certainly can take the abuse. Constructed of only 34 parts, the GLOCK 23 is easy to dissemble, clean, reassemble and maintain. GLOCK’s famous “safe action” trigger safety means there are no external safeties to fumble with when you need your gun ready to go.
The GLOCK 23 holds 13 rounds of .40 S&W ammo. This is a lot of stopping power in a compact gun, making it ideal for concealed carry. It is the perfect size—not hard on the hands for practice, but compact enough to easily and comfortably conceal. Its overall length is 6.85 inches long. It is 5 inches tall, 1.18 inches wide and weighs 31.03 ounces loaded.
The 5.5-pound trigger pull is no surprise, as is standard for this class of semi-auto. The trigger is smooth—its breaking point and reset are foolproof for quick and accurate follow-up shots.
If there are certain parts on the GLOCK 23 that you don’t fancy, such as the trigger or sights, there are plenty of aftermarket accessories. Further, the GLOCK 23 will convert to a .357 Sig or a 9mm with the correct conversion kit.
There is no denying it, the GLOCK—any GLOCK—is a superb gun. As we like to say around here, “Just get a GLOCK and be done with it.”
|Model||GLOCK Gen 4
|GLOCK Gen 3
|GLOCK Gen 3 USA
|Caliber||.40 S&W||.40 S&W||.40 S&W|
|Capacity||13 rounds||13 rounds||13 rounds|
|Frame||Black polymer||Black polymer||Black polymer|
|21.16 ounces||21.16 ounces||21.16 ounces|
Do you have a GLOCK? Tell us about it in the comment section.
Introduced to shooting at young age by her older brother, Suzanne Wiley took to the shooting sports and developed a deep love for it over the years. Today, she enjoys plinking with her S&W M&P 15-22, loves revolvers, the 1911, short-barreled AR-15s, and shooting full auto when she gets the chance. Suzanne specializes in writing for the female shooter, beginner shooter, and the modern-day prepper. Suzanne is a staff writer for Cheaper Than Dirt!
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