A PROBLEM WITH GLOCK GRIPS + A SOLUTION
First, let me say that I admire Glock's success as an innovative gun maker.
So then, what's this about the Glock grips?
Well, I have shot a variety of guns, and have found that those with fat grips, due to a large capacity double stack magazine, are not easy to grip both easily and securely. And that can present a control/accuracy problem when shooting rapidly. And when shooting a "larger" round like the 10 mm (.40 caliber), the control/accuracy problem is accentuated.
Also guns with high capacity magazines, are heavier, and less concealable than "thinner" or single stack guns.
Simply put, a gun with a smaller grip, is easier for people with average to small hands to grasp firmly. Also, a smaller grip, allows the knuckles of the ring and little fingers to naturally roll forward and add tenacity to the grip.
To me, "gripability" and "shootability" are directly related to accuracy.
In a life threat situation, anything that detracts from gripability and shootability, and by extension your ability to make hits on a target, may give your threat an advantage which results in getting you killed. So it is more than just a problem, it can be a life or death problem.
THE GRIP SIZE
The grip size is directly related to the use of a double stack magazine to provide increased capacity in a limited space.
However, based on Police combat data, there is seldom a need for more capacity than that of a single stack gun.
And if there really is a need for additional capacity, an extra magazine or two, can supply it, and in just a second or two.
According to the NYPD's SOP 9 study of thousands of Police combat cases, the average number of shots fired by individual Officers in an armed confrontation, was between two and three rounds. And that: two to three rounds per incident, remained constant over the several years that were covered by the report.
Further, as to the necessity for rapid reloading to prevent death or serious injury, it was not a factor in any of the cases examined. And in close range encounters, under 15 feet, it was never reported as being necessary to continue the action.
In 6% of the cases studied, the Officer reported reloading. These cases involved pursuit, barricaded persons, and other incidents where the action was prolonged and the distance exceeded the 25 foot death zone.
I know of two cases, one in Honolulu, and one in the U.S. in which reloads were necessary and used, and where the distances were most likely well under 25 feet. However, they do not negate the results of the study of the thousands of other cases. And extra magazines were available and used.
Some members of the armed services are issued high capacity pistols. And in my opinion that makes as little sense as issuing them to civilian Police. The acknowledged miss rate in armed encounters is over 80% in armed encounters. So, capacity isn't the problem, its shootability and gripability, and they are made worse via guns with big grips.
LET'S LOOK AT SOME MEASUREMENTS:
The G17, with a capacity of 17, has a grip width (per Glock), of 30 mm, or 1.18 inches, or about 1 and 3/16 inches.
I recently bought an airsoft duplicate of the G17 for move and shoot practice at home. I measured the grip, and its width is about 1 and 2/16 inches. So, the measurements of the two guns are very close.
Now, the width of a slimmer gun such as the S&W 3913 with a capacity of 8 + 1, has a grip width of 22.9 mm or 0.9 inches.
That makes the Glock grip 31% larger than the grip of the 3913. And to me that is a significant difference.
When considered with the information below on configuration of a grip, it makes a real difference in gripability or shootability, and in turn, in accuracy.
As to the Glock line, there is an advertised "slimmer" Glock on the market. But, it in reality is not that much slimmer.
The G36 Slim Line is a larger caliber gun, and hold six 45 caliber rounds per the gun specs. Its SLIM LINE design is 28.5 mm, versus the G17 width of 30 mm.
The slimmer S&W 3913 mentioned above, has a grip width of 22.9 mm. As such, the G36's Slim Line grip is 25% larger than the 3913's grip.
The measurement of the outside width of the slide of the G 17 replica, is just 1 inch or 25.4 mm, which is quite close to the width of the S&W 3913.
As such, the internals or action parts of the Glock, require less than 1 inch of space for operation. And that means it would be very easy to make a Glock with a much slimmer grip.
The result would be a Glock with improved gripability, shootability, and accuracy, and with a capacity similar to the S&W 3913.
GRIP WIDTH - SHAPE - GRIPABILITY
The capacity and caliber of a gun dictate its grip width. And both the grip width and the grip shape, can make a big difference in gripability.
To see and feel the difference between a fat and a slimmer grip, take 4 AA batteries and hold them in the form of a square. Then take a few rubber bands and use them to bind and keep the batteries in that shape.
The width of the square will be just about 27 mm or 1.06 inches, which is smaller than the width of the Glock 17 (30 mm), and also larger than the width of the S&W 3913 mentioned above (22.9 mm).
Now, put the batter pack into the web of your hand and see how it fits, and how comfortable the square arrangement is in your hand.
Next, push the top right battery down, and lower left battery up so that the square morphs into a diamond form.
Then, grip the batteries again.
I think you will find that the diamond arrangement fits much better into your hand.
The back of the Glock backstrap is almost straight across like the square arrangement of the batteries. As such, it provides a poorer and less snug purchase than does a diamond like shape. In my opinion, changing it into a more diamond like shape would be an improvement.
Further, leaving it like it is, leaves an "open" space between the back of the gun and the flesh/boney parts of the thumb and index finger. And that open area allows the recoil forces to more readily act and drive the gun upward, than would be the case with a snug fit.
If the grip was diamond shaped at the rear, it would seat comfortably, firmly, and snugly into the web of the hand, and recoil control would be enhanced as the nerves of the web of the hand and the hand would report what was happening, and that would allow for natural countermeasures to be applied.
A PARTIAL SOLUTION
Others apparently, also have found the Glock grips to be to blocky.
In 2007 I read a short article about grip modifications made to Glocks. Two pictures were included which showed modifications to two pistols. The workmanship was fine and the finished grips appeared to have more of a diamond shape.
I printed out the pics and used them a visual pattern for reducing the grip of my G17 replica.
I got a box for catching grip shavings, and used some Scotch tape to seal up the open areas of the gun. Then I got to work with my dremel and a grinding bit to grind/melt the plastic into the wanted shape.
I also ground down the side of the gun some to limit the extra width that would be added with the attachment of a P&S aiming aid.
Below are before and after pics. In the before pic, the top of the backstrap is "straight" across. In the after pic, the back of the gun has been rounded so that the gun fits better into the web of my hand.
Note: In the after pic, the aiming aid is mounted well forward of its position in the before pic.
The gun now fits my hand much better, and there is room for both fingers along the side of the gun. I also can easily access the trigger with my index finger or my middle finger. That was not the case before.
A BIG PLUS
Here are pics showing the modified gun with my index finger on the trigger.
Note that with my index finger on the trigger, there is considerable space between the top of my hand and the tang.
As such, with firing, recoil forces would drive the nose of the gun up and off target more than if there was very limited space between the tang and the hand. That is the simple physics of the matter.
In the pics below using the P&S grip, the index finger is placed along the side of the gun and the middle finger is on the trigger.
See that the gun is 5/8 of an inch lower down in the hand than it was in the above pics. And the space between the tang and the top of the hand is limited.
As such and with firing, the resistance to and control of recoil forces, will be improved.
The gun is still two wide for me, and there is an empty space between the back of the gun and my hand, but it is less than before.
NO SLIP GRIP
Being plastic, the original Glock with its finger guide bumps and depressions, was a bit "slippery" in my hand.
That also was the case after I reduced the grip, though the reduced grip improved the gripability of the gun considerably.
So, I bought a can of spray on Plasti Dip, and sprayed some into a plastic cup. I then daubed it onto the grip in the places where my hand would contact it.
Now when I grip the gun, there is little or no slippage.
It also made the reduced areas look almost normal, and it did not add to the grip width.
Makes one wonder why Glocks don't come from the factory with a no slip grip finish, since recoil control and accurate target re-engagement would be enhanced with such a coating.
If you have a Glock, and haven't had someone "fix" it for you, you should consider having that done, or doing it yourself.
There are a variety of sporting good stores and gunsmiths who do grip modifications.
I recently shot a Ruger SR9. Here are pics of the SR9, with my aiming aid attached to the side of the gun. Note that the top of the grip has been necked down which makes the gun easier to grip.
Finally, and for what it's worth:
The SIG P226 in 40 Cal. which is used/was used by the Mass. SP, is 1.5 inches wide.
A standard 2x4 is 1.5 inches wide.
So the next time you are at a hardware store, grab a length of 2x4 and see how securely and comfortably it fits in your hand.
I have an average sized hand, and gripping a 2x4 is difficult and hard for me.
Here is me aiming one.
For me, even with its corners rounded down, the gripability and shootability of a gun as wide as the P226, would not be good.
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