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Improving the grip: Glock 22 RTF .40 S&W.

Currently the autopistol completely dominates the police market. One make--Glock--has, by far, the lion's share of this market. Estimates suggest more than 65 percent, or two out of three, of many private citizens purchasing handguns are influenced by what they see their officers use. They assume rightly if it is good enough for police it is also good enough for personal and home defense. Of the various Glock models the one most commonly seen on police duty belts is the Model 22 in .40 S&W.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s the movement to autos was taking its first tentative steps. After the Glock appeared in 1985 the shift to autopistols really took off. Gaston Glock and his design team must have made a real effort to understand the police market.


Cops didn't stick with revolvers all those years out of tradition, or from being unaware of alternatives. Revolvers had real and important advantages. A big advantage was simplicity. No slides to cycle, safeties to manipulate, no hammer drops, no transitions from double-action to single-action. Point gun, pull trigger.

Reliability was another advantage. Today's autopistols are so reliable we hardly consider it a factor anymore. Not so 40 years ago. Yes, we had reliable autos, but mostly only with jacketed roundnose bullets. It was routine to send 1911s to gunsmiths for reliability tune-ups, so they would function with semiwadcutter or hollowpoint loads.

The Glock people understood cops didn't hate their revolvers. They just wanted more rounds in the gun. They wanted to be able to reload more quickly. And they didn't want to give up what revolvers already provided: simplicity, reliability, ease of maintenance.

Glock also understood something armchair gun experts never seem to consider. The pistol had to be affordable. Whether for individual officers or police departments, changing handguns is a big deal. It isn't just the gun, even holsters, spare magazines and carriers, ammunition, spare parts, armorer training, officer training, all need funding.

The Glock was an innovative design, even though taken individually, the design elements of the Glock aren't particularly revolutionary. Even the use of polymers in the frame had already been tested by HK. The Glock operates on the well-proven barrel tilt-lock system, with a square abutment on the barrel locking into the front edge of the ejection port. It's a simplified version of the Browning-designed system dating back over a century,


What Glock did was incorporate proven elements in a package appealing to the needs of police officers. A key element is the Glock Safe Action trigger design. There is no manual safety on a Glock, though there are multiple passive safeties to prevent firing should the pistol be dropped. Point gun, pull trigger, and the gun fires.

Glocks generally have smooth and consistent trigger pulls resembling the DA pull of a good revolver; but heavy compared to a cocked autopistol. This isn't a bug, it's a feature. In a defensive situation adrenaline levels are likely high and fine motor skills compromised. The long, heavy pull of a revolver--or a Glock--provides additional insurance the pistol will only fire with deliberate intent.

Glocks (or rather, Glock shooters) have amassed a remarkable record in competition as well. The Glock trigger (by tuning and/or replacing components such as the trigger bar and trigger return spring) can be adjusted over a broad range of pulls. I've handled competitiontuned Glocks with impressively light, smooth pulls.

The Glock 22 featured here is the RTF (Rough Texture Finish) version. Compared to the original model of 1985 the differences are primarily cosmetic. Glocks have changed very little in the last 1/4 century, for the very good reason no major changes were needed.

The major Glock changes in the grip frame included the "grenade" style checkering on the frontstrap of the 2nd variation, the finger grooves of the 3rd, and now the stippled grip frame of the RTF. Functionally, the only major changes were the accessory frame rail of the 3rd models and the introduction of "drop free" magazines.

I have Glocks from all four "eras." Comparing the RTF to my 2nd generation G22 and 3rd style G35, my first impression wasn't so much about the grip as it was the slide. The RTF slide has a smoother and (to my eye) much more attractive finish than my old Model 22. The cocking serration pattern is different, and it works, which is what matters.

The finely stippled RTF pattern on the grip frame works just fine. The finger grooves seem a bit smaller than those of my 35, and the grip feels marginally slimmer. I can't say it's a dramatic improvement over older styles, but it felt very secure even when my hands were sweaty and wasn't uncomfortable in long shooting sessions. Glock has done a really nice job of integrating the accessory frame rail without increasing bulk or obsolescing older holsters.

Appearance is one thing, performance is what counts. Reliability was 100 percent as expected. I never had a malfunction with any of my own Glocks, although I'm sure it has happened to someone. Over the years I've seen a lot of rounds fired through a lot of Glocks, and as the Glock people say, "They mostly work all the time."

Trigger pull (a bit over 6 pounds, smooth and consistent) was superior to the pull on my older 22, though not as light as the competition Model 35. The RTF 22 was a bit more accurate than either of my current Glock .40s. Both my older .40s average around 4" groups at 25 yards. The RTF shot into 4" or better with several types of ammunition with several groups around the 3" mark. Not a dramatic difference (and probably an "individual pistol" thing) but still nice to see.

Groups were shot with the LaserLyte RL-1 sight illustrated. Glock offers several sight styles, with and without night sight inserts. Because Glocks are so popular there are a lot of aftermarket accessories. Many sight styles are available and are readily installed.

Would I sell my older Glock 22 in order to get the new RTF? Probably not just for the grip stippling, though getting the accessory frame rail is a worthwhile upgrade. On the other hand if I were in the market for a new Glock I'd certainly grab the RTF. It looks good, handles well, shoots well, and has no disadvantages compared to earlier models.

SMYRNA, GA 30082
(770) 432-1202

ACTION: Locked breech, semi-auto
WEIGHT: 22.92 ounces
PRICE: $599
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Title Annotation:OUT of the Box[TM]
Author:Anderson, Dave
Publication:Guns Magazine
Date:Mar 1, 2010
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