Glock 17 Handgun Review: Accuracy, Recoil, Reliability, Problems & More

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The Glock 17, what can I say that already hasn’t be said? The Glock 17 is currently in its 5th generation and is the oldest of Glock’s pistols. Way back when Gaston Glock was making training grenades and folding shovels he apparently heard the Austrian Army needed a new pistol and Glock wanted to toss his hat in the ring. He gathered a group of firearm experts and went to task designing the Glock 17. The Glock 17 ended up winning the trials and became the Austrian P-80.

After that, the fate of the plastic fantastic was set in stone, and the gun’s popularity had it spreading like wildfire. This created a storm, and the industry has never been the same. It would be a challenge to find a major firearm company that doesn’t produce a striker fired, polymer frame 9mm pistol.  Glock makes similar pistols in many different calibers.

The Glock 17 set the bar high and continues to do so to this day. Today we are going to be reviewing the Glock 17 MOS. This Gen 4 Glock is their first optics ready platform, but how does it hold up?

Overview

The Glock 17 is a full-sized handgun and is typically used for duty use with police and military units. The gun’s simple but rugged design has made it a police favorite around the world, as well as the favorite of American Spec Ops forces and militaries across the globe. The Glock 17 offers a high capacity and a full-sized frame but still tends to be a very light pistol overall.  It’s slim enough to fit into most smaller safes, including the biometric variety.

The Glock 17 by its nature of being a Glock is undoubtedly carried by plenty of concealed carriers. The design is so popular it’s hard to pigeonhole this gun. This specific MOS model is popular for competition, and the addition of an optic opens up all sorts of possibilities.

Specifications

Barrel Length – 4.49 inches
Overall Length – 7.95 inches
Width – 1.26 inches
Height – 5.47 inches
Weight – 24.87 ounces
Capacity – 17

The Glock 17 is far from a small gun, but it is surprisingly light for its size. Glock has mastered cutting weight well, and this gun weighs nearly half a pound less than something like the CZ P-09. That’s an impressive feat to accomplish. The factory magazine capacity for the Glock 17 is 17 rounds, but 10 round magazines exist for states with magazine restrictions and extended 24 and 33 round magazines are also OEM produced.

Features

The Glock 17 is well known for being a spartan gun. It has everything it needs to be a functional firearm, and that’s it. The gun is equipped with a rather odd rail that’s not exactly Picatinny but will accept accessories designed for pic rails. The sights are disappointing and just plastic sights. The front sight features a white dot and the rear sight a white U Notch. On the Gen 4 models, they made the magazine ejection button a little larger and included for the first time are backstraps to change the size of the gun’s grip. They included two standard backstraps and two that come with an extended beavertail.

Personally, I like the idea of a beavertail, but the add-on grip feels too large and not very comfortable for me, and I have big hands. The biggest standout feature of this particular model is the MOS system. The Modular Optics System is an optics cut and a series of plates designed to give shooters the ability to mount a variety of different optics to their Glock pistols.

Usually, when you cut a Glock slide to fit an optic, you are now dedicated to using one optic from one company on that gun. With the MOS system, you can interchange different plates to accommodate close to a dozen different companies. Aftermarket companies have even released their own plates to accommodate new optics like the SIG Romeo1.

The system is easy to use and allows you to use affordable optics from companies like Burris or professional grade optics from companies like Trijicon and Leupold. While the system has never let me down, it does add a layer of complexity and a potential weak point by having multiple plates and multiple screws. It also mounts the optic slightly higher than most common purpose cut slides.

Fit and Finish

Glock has mastered the tennifer finish. Their finish is very strong and very durable. The majority of police forces in the United States utilize Glocks, so they know a thing or two about a tough and capable finish. The Glock’s finish works and always has for me. It doesn’t fade, or scratch easily, and rust doesn’t even think about the Glock.

The gun’s roll marks are simple. It has a small Glock logo, the model and generation number, the country of production and caliber. It’s all small and written on one side of the slide. It’s professional, good-looking, and spartan in design. The spartan design seems to be Glock’s bread and butter.

Ergonomics

The Glock Gen 3 and 4 grips have always been a sore spot to me. The angle is okay, and that’s not my main issue, it’s those blasted finger grooves. I’m not sure whose hand they molded them on, but it wasn’t mine. I’ve never cared for them and really liked the Gen 5’s lack of finger grooves.

There is a thumb divot built into the frame which is nice and comfortable and allows you to assume a nice tight grip. Speaking of thumbs, the Glock 17 has the slide lock in a very easy to reach place. Even though the thing is tiny, it is easy to reach. Maybe too easy for my fat thumbs. Like a lot of SIG’s when I assume a thumb’s forward grip I have issues with my thumb holding the slide lock down, which creates problems with the slide locking back on the last round.

Another problem I have when firing is the amount of slide bite I get from the Glock. After a hundred rounds I’m bleeding, which isn’t very pleasant. Installing the beavertail would help, but now the grip feels uncomfortable and odd. It should be noted my hands are large, a 2XL glove large, and this won’t likely be a problem for you.

The gun only has rear serrations, and the stippling on the grip is remarkably simple but effective. A lot of guys take a soldering iron to the grip to improve it for some reason, and I’ve never noticed a need for extra stippling on my Glock.

There is no additional manual safeties on the gun, just the trigger safety, firing pin block, etc. The G17 is a simple design that’s made with combat in mind and performs as such.

On the Range

The big selling point of this gun is the Modular Optics System, so I reviewed the gun with a Burris Fastfire 3 mounted. The Burris Fastfire is an affordable but well-made optic I use for fun and long range shooting. It’s not exactly a duty grade optic, but its a quality one.

The Glock 17 is a full sized gun with a full-sized grip, and that makes controlling the weapon easy. Muzzle rise is minimal, and the gun is easy to control in rapid fire. The Glock’s trigger is okay, not terrible, but for a duty pistol, it is more than acceptable. It’s a bit gritty, a little heavy near the end, but completely acceptable for accurate shooting.

I did change the trigger on mine to a Suarez flat face trigger. When shooting a ton of rounds through the gun I find my finger rubbing on the trigger guard, creating some pinch and rubbing my finger. The addition of a flat faced trigger solved this problem for me.

The red dot sight opens up your ability to reach out and touch a target and to do it rather fast. The red dot reticle is smaller than a front sight, and it’s quicker than aligning front and rear sights. The farthest I can go at my personal range is 75 yards, and with the Glock 17 MOS, I can easily place all of my shots into the torso and mostly place them all in the chest. On my small steel popper, I can hit it more than 50% of the time at 75 yards.

The size of the dot makes a difference. It’s smaller than the front sight so I can see my target better and therefore aim better overall. Being able to fully see what I’m hitting makes it easier to focus my shots.

The addition of a red dot sight and the controllability of the Glock makes it easy to transition between targets rapidly. Multiple targets are easy to engage, and you can do it with precision. Accuracy at long range is one thing, but rapid-fire accuracy is another, and the Glock has it.

You can produce very small and tight groups with the Glock if you take your time and excel with the fundamentals. The Glock 17 MOS is plenty accurate. Best of all it’s incredibly reliable. The Glock 17 doesn’t stutter or fail.

My main problem with the gun is as an optic’s ready pistol it should come with suppressor height sights to co-witness with your optic. Instead, Glock just tosses on their standard crappy pistol sights.

Rating Each Category

Looks: 3 out of 5

This thing is as sexy as a Toyota Camry. It doesn’t look bad, just plain, and very blocky. Sure the simplicity of the design is great, and looks aren’t the most important part of the design. The small markings are great and don’t make the gun look like a billboard which I appreciate.

Ergonomics: 3 out of 5

The gun is functionally ergonomic, but I wouldn’t call it the be all end all of ergos. The grip grooves suck, and the slide bite and trigger finger rub is a real problem I have with the gun. The controls aren’t terrible, but they aren’t perfect either.  Many beginners love the Glock for its simplicity and reliability right out of the box.

Accuracy: 4 out of 5

Accuracy rates a very high 4 and as a duty pistol with a red dot sight it’s one of the most precise and accurate duty pistols on the market. The sights suck, but admittedly the red dot optic is the main draw of the gun when it comes to sighting systems. It’s second to precision made pistols but perfect for combat and duty use.

Reliability: 5 out of 5

The Glock 17 has been proven around the world for its top-notch reliability and dependability. In my hands, I’ve never had this pistol so much as fail to fire. The simple design lends itself well to reliability, and in my experience, the gun has no issues dealing with sand, water, mud, etc. It just runs and runs well.

I’ve heard of issues with the MOS platform becoming loose after firing tons of rounds, but have not experienced this myself. I do Loc Tite my optic and plate down.

Customization: 5 out 5

I don’t think there is a handgun in existence that has the customizability of the Glock series of pistols. Maybe the 1911, maybe. You can find half a dozen different manufacturers of magazines, dozens of different triggers, sight options, and more. This pistol can be customized to a ludicrous degree. It can be whatever you need it to be. Hell, you can even turn it into a rifle.

Price: 4 out of 5

For an optic ready pistol the Glock 17 MOS is very well priced. It can be found for under 600 bucks at most retailers, and it comes with 3 17 round magazines and the four backstraps. The Glock series of pistols have always been affordable guns and continue to be as the guns change in generation and features.

Parting Shots

The Glock 17 MOS is a fantastic optics ready pistol. The gun is a reliable, accurate, and modular platform. The G17 exemplifies everything a modern duty pistol should be. The MOS system is brilliant, and I’ve yet to encounter any serious issues.

That being said Loc Tite is your friend. The Glock 17 MOS is the perfect choice if you are new to optics ready pistols and want to experiment with the concept.

By

Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd BN 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and works as a firearms writer.

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