Range Report: Glock 17 Vickers Tactical

GLock pistol atop a box of 9mm ammunition

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.


About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.

Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Rifle Magazine
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns

Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (29)

  1. I own a gen 3 vikers g17 and to this day it is my go too it’s reliability is paramount.I’m now possibly looking to upgrade to gen 4 or the new gen 5 on the market any feed back would be great. See you all down range

  2. 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

  3. 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.

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

    1. 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.

    1. I pull the trigger, it goes bang and hits where I want it to and it dies. All I care about.

    2. the trigger isn’t the best. i tend to shoot slightly lower than bull eye because of it which is funny because the pull is only 5.5lbs. If you like a glock and hate the trigger just buy Walther love my P99 and PPS M2

  5. Vickers is a Blow Hard that will endorse a Road Apple for a Buck…
    I take nothing he says as truth any more…
    And “WHY” anyone would spend more than $350 bucks for any POS Glock is beyond me.
    A total waste of money.

  6. I was very excited to purchase this gun at my local gun store. Not very excited when I got it to the range. Very comfortable gun, and I like the sights (Mine has a gold bead front), but sadly the only unreliable Glock I have ever owned. Ive put 1200 or so rounds through it and it malfunctions on a consistent basis. I’m back to my old reliable stock gen 3 17. She never misses a beat! Just finished a course with my local firearms instructor/sherriffs deputy and in an 8 hr muddy range day I never had a problem. I love Glock, but will probably stick to factory guns from now on.

  7. We used the glock 17 gen 4 in my police academy firearms class, I have always carried a full-size Springfield XD-9, and this was the first glock pistol I’d ever shot, and it was an absolutely phenomenal handgun in terms of ease of use, accuracy and pure shooting pleasure. Even the cadets in my class who’d never fired a handgun (or any gun in some cases) were shooting great groups by the time our training period was over. America loves glock they say – and I say for good reason!

  8. Thanks for this thorough review. I have been considering a new Glock and frankly this one was not on my radar until I read this review. Nice job! I need to get my hands on one of these and if I like the grip/finish I definitely will buy one. Also, in my opinion, you can’t go wrong with the color of the Vickers Tactical model…. OD green never goes out of style! Thanks Again for another great review & keep up the good work!

    1. Corey
      Thanks for reading. This is indeed a great Glock and one of my personal favorite handguns purchased with my own dimes.


    2. LOL!!!
      As I write this I am clean shaven. Now, you deserve this story as a regular reader. A couple of years ago I was contracted to re-write courses for a veterans program at a university. Finally I was a professor. I told my wife I might go for the professor look. She said there was a fine line between professor and homeless look– and maybe I crossed it. A few years ago in France I was waved to the front by security with a wink from security and officers– brothers know each other. Then, I jumped onto a shuttle in the Bahamas and a big man of perhaps 300 pounds (a high per centage of muscle) looked at me for one second and said How Long Were You an Officer? He had been a cop for 30 years in Freeport and drove the shuttle to get away from his wife. Fast forward to the beard. I was leaving the county jail/office after a little consulting and praying. A woman about my age was coming in. She said Aint you glad to be out. I said excuse me. She said I was in jail last week and now my sister is in this week. It aint a good place. I had a standard reply Pray Every Day and left. I started to find a mud puddle and a sharp stone and scrape my beard off. Well, for certain, I was not made as a cop for quite a while. I think the long hair/beard worked for LBJ and Johnny Cash but not for me. So, one morning out came the German razor collection and off with the beard. So, it wasn’t I could not afford a razor I chose not to. Back to being me I suppose. In any case the short lived tenue as a professor is over for now.

  9. Most informative. I couldn’t help but notice that the pic showing sight alignment had the primary (sharp) focus on the rear U shaped sight rather than the front sight. During my seven years as a senior firearms instructor at a Federal Law Enforcement Academy (’72-’79) I religiously taught primary focus on front sight, secondary through the rear aperture. I know the pic was created to highlight the ‘improved’ rear sight on the Vickers Model…It just struck a nerve on an old perfectionist. I’m smiling.

    1. Thomas

      Thanks for reading and thanks for your service.
      As for those sights, they are great and a pattern called the Old Man’s sight. Just the same- I am doing to have to get glasses to keep shooting.
      After over 50 years of shooting. I use shooting glasses and reading glasses but I am doing to combine the two.

  10. While I appreciate that you managed to convey many relevant details in this review, I must tell you this was a poorly written article for someone who is a professional. The organization of this piece made it difficult to read to the point I wondered if it was ever proof read. Not to say it’s true, but it wreaked of a review written for a free pistol. You as the writer have the ability to remove this notion, regardless of how the pistol was acquired. The 1st amendment can be more powerful than the 2nd amendment, when effectively used. Please do better. I like reading these articles in The Shooter’s Log. Don’t make it painful.

    1. If it was so hard to read you should have stopped and moved on. I read these articles for the information on firearms not to critic the author. I then scroll through comments to gleam more information from other gun owners. So unless you have something article related to add my advice would be get a life!

    2. I suppose the affirmative review may invite such a notion but the pistol was purchased used at a fair price at a local outlet.

      You seem to be alone in your opinion.

      Perhaps Captain Underpants or a good coloring book might be organized more to your liking.

    3. What’s wrong Bob? Some of the things I mention actually sink in? You didn’t seem to want to allow my last response to your childish comment. I notice some of your other comments have become fairly defensive of your claimed accolades. Starting to feel like the washed up hack you are? It’s okay, once you tare your self down a little, you’ll be able to rebuild with some real substance. Until that time, good luck sir. I feel you need it.

      P. S. Please note that my original was purely a request that you use your God given brain when disseminating firearms related information. Intelligence is more important in the subject audience than any other, in my opinion.

    4. Why be such a critic? The man was simply telling us ( the reader) about the gun. No need to bash the way he put it. Not to mention we barrely have the right to express ourselves the way some of us want without repercussions of what we say but or 2nd amendment rights seem to be in battle everyday to keep them. Don’t critisize the man for telling us in his own way of a model of the glock that some of us might be interested in hearing. If you don’t like the way he wrote it, don’t read it!

    5. 90% of the Shooters Log articles are full of “mundane” errors and cohesive sequencing. Others are minimal. But i like reading them for awareness. They give me theoretical research topics

  11. I was dissapointed that Larry didn’t put in a match grade barrel from one of the high end custom barrel makers.

    1. that would have driven the price up 200 dollars or so, unnecessary for most shooters. The Bar Sto barrel also allows firing lead reloads and is highly recommended.

  12. Does a magazine guide potentially degrade the safety factor of venting gas from a ruptured case downward through the empty chamber behind the mag well and away from the shootist?

  13. I know everyone seems gaga over the Glock 19 but I love my 17! I’ll take a little bit more barrel length for sight radius and a little bit more velocity any day!

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