Gun test: Umarex Glock 19
PUBLISHED: 13:57 12 June 2018
The editor finally gets his hands on this long-awaited pistol
The globally respected and famous Glock pistol represents an incredible story about an unheard of design going from near obscurity to becoming one of the most popular handguns ever made. Police and military teams around the globe carry these fine handguns in almost every situation imaginable because they trust them deeply to save their lives when things turn ugly.
The challenge the designers took on was to make a pistol that could be carried easily and that could be drawn from a holster and fired immediately when under extreme pressure. Double-action revolvers are good for this, but tend to be bulky, usually only offer six shots and are slow to reload. Single-action semi-autos offer more shots, but require you to disengage a safety before you can shoot, and many people feel that they’re not safe to carry with a cartridge in the chamber and the hammer cocked.
Glock found ways around this problem by creating a multi-layered safety system that allows the pistol to be fired immediately it’s drawn, yet be fully safe to carry loaded. Others have tried to emulate this system, but it seems that Glock is still far and away the leader in this area of firearm design.
Over the decades, the pistols have evolved and special versions have been made to suit the needs of individual forces around the world, but at their heart they utilise the same ingenious system as the very first one.
Glock has been very wary of allowing CO2-powered replicas, and it took the reputation and persuasion of German giants, Umarex, to coax an agreement from this Austrian manufacturer. Judging by the Umarex press releases, they’re over the moon to be the ones to make the replica that everybody has been waiting for, most especially me!
Part of the reason that the Glock was seen as so controversial when it was launched to the firearms world was that it was very different-looking to any other pistol that had been released. It was brutally functional with no concessions to aesthetics. They also employed a polymer frame that started all the silly rumours that you could carry one through a metal detector unseen. The slide and all the mechanism, as well as the cartridges are metal, so the whole idea was just plain daft.
The CO2 replica on test is a copy of the model 19 that shows finger grooves on the front of the grip, and a section of Weaver rail under the front of the frame to accept torches or lasers. I’ll confess I was disappointed when I found out that this, the first release, is a non-blow-back model, but I’m assured that they will follow in time. The positives of the non-blow-back action are that they use the CO2 much more frugally, giving many more shots per capsule, and they can also be more accurate.
The model 19 feels small in the hand, although the grip feels long from back to front for a 9mm handgun. I was pleased to see that Glock’s simple yet innovative trigger blade safety has been copied here, and is functional. Overall, the ergonomics suited my medium-sized hands well, and my usual two-handed combat grip worked well around this frame. The grip angle also suited my hold with the sights coming up level for my eye straight away, eliminating the need for excessive time-wasting readjustment. Although the sights are fixed, they’re big and bold, making them quick and easy to acquire. The front element has the traditional bold white dot, whilst the rear one has the whole notch outlined in white, which seemed very clear.
Loading is much like many other CO2 replicas in that a section of the back strap lifts out to reveal the chamber that accepts the ubiquitous 12 gramme CO2 capsule. A very neat upgrade to the more common fittings is the hex key needed to drive the capsule onto the piercing probe; it folds like a penknife into the back strap so that it’s always there when you need it. 16 BBs are loaded into the stick-style magazine through a funnel-shaped port in the back of the mag’. The spring-loaded follower has a notch to lock it back whilst you’re loading, so don’t forget to release this before inserting the mag’ or you’ll be firing CO2 only.
As ever, I testing with steel BBs first and then changed to my favourite Excite copper-coated lead BBs, which tend to be more accurate and much less prone to rebounds and ricochets. Through the smooth-bore barrel, the lead pellets again proved superior and shot to point of aim for me at six yards, which is ideal. I got some stunning accuracy with 14 shots inside an inch, with the odd flyers spoiling the groups, perhaps showing the benefits of the non-blow-back action. The smooth and consistent trigger action must also take some credit here.
I’m so happy that we have a well-made, working replica of the Glock at last. It’s iconic around the world and I’m sure that Umarex will be selling these as fast as they can build them.
Importer: John Rotherary Wholesale
Model: Glock 19