When I saw my first Glock as a young woman back in the late 80's, the 1911 style .45 auto was THE defensive pistol to have when things went south in a hurry. I still felt that way most days, so when one of the Indy gun bloggers first brought one of the smaller Glocks to the range I had to try it.
I wasn't sure what to think. I mean, It's PLASTIC. When I thought of going to a gun show and buying one and coming home with friends asking "what did you get!" all I could think of is the Charlie Brown Halloween special . . .(heavy sigh) "I got a GLOCK". Because frankly folks, to me anyway, most plastic guns have the the aesthetic appeal of a sippy cup. Face it, I love revolvers. I love 1911's I love a gun with some character. I love old weapons, period. I love tools as well. Put a wood handled tool in my hand and I just want to craft something with it or at least take a chunk out of one of my fingers so I can practice some new words in the shop.
I wasn't a fan of those first Glocks I fired, only for the feel of the grip than the quality or the handling. But then I got a chance to shoot one of their Glock 21's. It soon made its way to the Range to make a home because frankly, compared to Glock's I'd fired, the 21 was still a barrel of fun but it didn't have that "blocky" feel to the grip I sensed in other models I'd tried with hands which have a small palm, but really long fingers. I was also a much more impressed with the trigger pull than on other models I'd tried. Honestly, the first day out, the 1911 started to get jealous as I couldn't put the Glock 21 down.
This is not a small firearm. The Glock 21 weighs in heavier than other full sized Glocks at a little over 29 ounces but that is still relatively lightweight for a .45. If you want to compare - the 9 mm Beretta 92 in 9 mm, a common service pistol, weighs around 34 ounces and offers 15 rounds of the less effective 9 mm cartridge. The average full sized 1911 weights in at around 36 ounces, giving the 1911 nearly a half of a pound more recoil-absorbing weight without additional size.
Like many large frame 45's the size of the Glock 21 might limit its usefulness as a concealed carry piece for someone of my build or smaller. My 5 ' 8 female frame doesn't have enough real estate (except for those large "tracts of lands" which don't help for concealed purposes) to carry it very discretely.
I can manage with a loose fitting jacket (as I won't carry striker fired in pocket or purse, only holstered.) Still being chambered in .45 ACP with a magazine capacity of 13 rounds, its purpose for me is self defense in the home but it would work very well for someone with a larger build than I for concealed carry. I'm happy to have it nearby. Should someone kick in our door one night, this firearm, with laser sights, is within hands reach. Going shopping or running errands outside of the big city, on my frame, I'm more likely to carry something with a bit smaller frame and simple iron sights.
Functionally, there isn’t much in the way of exterior controls. You have a slide release and a mag release in the normal positions plus the take-down catches just in front of the trigger. The slide release is slightly smaller than on the M1911 but was big enough to be usable. One thing I did not particularly like was that the slide stop sits a bit more flush against the frame than I expected making it a little bit harder to depress than small framed guns. I might consider replacing this with an extended slide stop from a company such as TangoDown. The mag release button is sizable and easy to find without looking. Both are rounded enough to keep them from snagging on anything while being drawn.
The point of impact is aligned with the top of the sight at about 15 yards, slightly lower at shorter ranges, but not enough to bother compensating. It's easy to point and quite accurate as evidenced by a two or three inch group at 15 yards straight out of the gate. Naturally the groups open up considerably when stringing shots, but it’s easily accurate enough to shoot steel or use for personal protection.
The trigger is much better than I had expected. The stroke was smooth and quite light, the break was very clean and the difference in resistance between the two was enough to allow two very distinct motions. By the time I had reloaded the second magazine, the act of drawing the trigger back and holding it just before the break felt so natural that it required no thought at all and I was able to switch back and forth between this and a single action trigger without hesitation.
"This thing has more parts than I imagined?"
The Glock 21, however, was extremely easy to field strip and clean.
Simply drop the magazine, check that the chamber is empty, check that the chamber is empty again, point in a safe direction (which is NOT your Single Malt Liquor Supply) and pull the trigger. Then pull the slide back slightly to take the pressure off the stop.
Reassembly is even easier. Once you get the barrel, guide rod, and recoil spring back into the slide, just put the slide on the front of the frame and pull it all the way back. That's it!
It's minor but it was still a bit of a detractor. The magazine loader has a small lip in the front that keeps cartridges from engaging the lip of the magazine adequately, at least on my firearm. One minute with a pocket knife and you can put a notch into this which made it much easier fill the magazines.
Again - I happily have one and will carry one, just make sure you understand your firearm in every aspect so that you can operate and carry it in the safest manner possible.
Another sale factor for me is where I might carry it and use it. If you've looked at the YouTube reviews of the Glocks they have put them all sorts of torture tests on how many rounds you can fire without cleaning, what how much mud and sand and brownie batter (you've never camped with me have you?) it will eat without jamming and other types of wear and abuse that are far greater than what you experience in real life. Some of the silliness aside, if you are going to spend a lot of time outdoors, where your sidearm is going to be exposed to the elements and go for an extended period of time without a detailed cleaning, you can be pretty well assured the Glock won't let you down. It's going to be one of my "go to" firearms for the outdoor/survival kit.