Since 1990, droves of both law enforcement and civilians have carried the GLOCK 22 for duty and personal protection. It remains one of the most common pistols purchased and shares many similarities to its smaller 9mm brothers, the GLOCKs 17 and 19. What makes the GLOCK 22 such a long-term winner? What features made this handgun the quintessential law enforcement sidearm? What advantages does the .40 S&W caliber have over 9mm or .45 ACP?
Long Term Winner
Reliability. Law enforcement firearms need to work every time. Personal protection guns need to work every time. I personally own two 1911s, a variety of Berettas, Tauruses, Kel-Tecs and some other brands I’d rather not admit, but my GLOCK sits within arm’s reach most of the time. I currently have no children in the house so I tend to have a gun nearby in rooms where I spend the most time. My kitchen gun is a GLOCK. I’ve put about 4,000 rounds through that thing and the only malfunctions I recall were caused by an abused magazine I borrowed from my brother. The ammo I was using was shoddy to boot. With a proper magazine and decent ammo, that gun goes bang every time I pull the trigger. That famous GLOCK reliability that helped build their reputation as a trustworthy firearm, no doubt helped their sales numbers.
There are much fancier looking guns out there. GLOCKs are like power tools. They are not exactly beautiful works of art and their design screams ruggedness, reliability and utility. Police departments use them not only because they work, but because they can train anyone to use them. Their safe action trigger works well as a deterrent to accidental discharges. The trigger system works in such a way that you essentially have two triggers in one. Unless you depress the first trigger, the main mechanism won’t budge. This makes it easy to use in an emergency since you don’t have to fiddle with a thumb safety. The trigger is light enough to produce accurate shots, but heavy enough that you almost can’t cycle the weapon by accident. Designers also intended to make sure the gun would not fire when dropped. An internal drop safety prevents any chance of the gun discharging if it falls from your holster. There is also a firing pin safety which disengages when the operator pulls back on the trigger.
GLOCK doesn’t have the easiest model number system to remember. A GLOCK 17 is a 9mm, so is a GLOCK 19. A GLOCK 20 is a 10mm while the 21 is a .45 ACP. The 22, 23, and 24, 27 and 35 are all .40 caliber handguns. Sorry about all the crazy numbers, but those model numbers are not that intuitive. In the case of the GLOCK 22, you get a standard 15-round magazine. The less powerful GLOCK 17 in 9mm holds 17 rounds. This means you only sacrifice two rounds while getting a substantial increase in kinetic energy. The exact differences vary greatly depending on the ammunition you are using, but as a rule, a standard non +P 9mm projectile hits with about 380-420 foot-pounds of kinetic energy. The .40 caliber delivers somewhere between 420-500 foot-pounds. For comparison, the huge .45 ACP rings in between 415-620 foot-pounds. This makes the .40 caliber a nice middle ground of magazine capacity and performance. Some argue that it is the best all-around cartridge for duty carry—I’m starting to become a believer.