Aiming to Win

With Glock's 24C Competition Pistol
by Paul Scarlata

It was only a matter of time before Glock pistols began appearing at action pistol matches. As the popularity of the Glock grew among IPSC/action shooters, the folks at Glock began to take notice. They realized that here was an untapped market; and after due consideration, they felt it was one that would be worthwhile to pursue. In 1986, in an attempt to garner a share of this growing market, Glock introduced a new pistol aimed at the European action-pistol enthusiast, the Glock 17L. The Glock 17L had all the basic characteristics of the regular Glock 17: polymer frame, "safe action" trigger, seventeen-round magazines, etc. But is had several new design features aimed directly at the competitive shooter: a longer slide with a 6-inch barrel, extended magazine release, and a 3.5-pound trigger pull. The front quarter of the longer slide was open on top, and the barrel had three slots cut crosswise near the muzzle, angled forward. These were intended to vent some of the powder gasses upward, to help hold down the muzzle and reduce muzzle flip, as does the muzzle compensator on a custom built race/pin gun.

The Glock 17L worked - the muzzle slots and added weight of the longer slide reduced the recoil and muzzle flip of the 9xl9 cartridge considerably. The lighter trigger, longer sight radius and extended magazine-release made for precise shooting and rapid reloads, a must for IPSC faction shooting. The Glock 17L had all the makings of a factory race-gun except for one thing - the 9xl9 cartridge. For the European shooter this was not an insurmountable problem as they could shoot 9mm "Major" loads. But due to USPSA restrictions, American 17L shooters could not compete on an equal footing with other race guns, most of which were now chambered for cartridges such as the .38 Super or 9x21mm.

The creation of Limited Class by USPSA/IPSC was a boon for those who wished to compete with their Glock pistols. The rules specifically forbade the use of such exotic equipment as electronic sights, compensators, weights, etc. Competitors were basically limited to stock handguns with a limited (see, that's how it got its name) amount of approved modifications. The Glock, with its excellent ergonomics, high-capacity magazines and ease of operation, was a natural for this kind of competition. Glock pistols became so popular that, in some places, Limited matches were referred to as "Glock owners' club meetings." In 1992, USPSA modified Limited Class rules at the request of that segment of their membership who felt that Limited Class ought to be restricted to really "practical" pistols shooting practical cartridges. The new Limited Class regulations state, "Only those calibers that are produced by at least three commercial ammunition manufacturers, that are generally available at retailers across the country and that make major power factor in commercial form may be scored as Major." This pretty much put an end to shooters trying to make major in Limited Class with any autopistol cartridge under .40 caliber (10mm).

One other development in the firearms field made a major impact on Glock - the .40 S&W cartridge. The introduction of this new autopistol round was an instant success, and in 1990 Glock was the first company to have .40 S&W pistols on the market, the .40 S&W Glock 22 and Glock 23 pistols. They quickly became Glock's biggest sellers and were a driving force in weaning U.S. law enforcement agencies away from the 9xl9 and into the arms of the .40 S&W cartridge. For the Limited Class Glock shooter the G22 was equally attractive. Here was his favorite pistol design, chambered for a cartridge capable of making major power factor. And unlike many of the custom built, high-capacity .45s that were becoming more popular in Limited Class, it did not require one to pay a custom gunsmith to modify it. It was ready to go out of the box. But the Glock 22 had one disadvantage as far as the serious IPSC competitor was concerned - its trigger pull. The Glock 22, like the earlier 17, is only available with "duty" triggers, the lightest of them having a five-pound pull. Glock does not sell the lighter 17L trigger units for retrofitting to guns - a wise decision in our lawsuit crazy society. What serious Glock competitors wanted was a Glock 22 with a lighter trigger, while others suggested that Glock consider introducing a long slide .45 with a compensator system so that those who wanted to could use their Glocks in Open Class.

Gun Details

Well, their wishes were granted when Glock introduced the Glock 24 series of pistols at the 1994 SHOT Show. At first glance, the Glock 24 appears to be just another Glock 17L. But one only needs to look at the bigger hole in the end of the barrel to know that here is a "real" pistol. The Glock 24 has an overall length of 8.85 inches with a six-inch barrel. Height, including the magazine, is 5.45 inches, and it weighs 26.5 ounces unloaded, 2.2 ounces more than the Glock 17L. The grip has impressed checkering on front and rear for a fim grip. It has the same 3.5-pound trigger and extended magazine release as the Glock 17L and is available with either fixed or adjustable sights. Magazines made before President Clinton's infamous Crime Bill held 15 rounds, while later pistols come with 10-rounders. Even with the lower capacity magazine, with one up the spout, you ought to have enough rounds to solve almost any IPSC course "problem," if you do your part. And like all new Glock magazines, the G24's fall free of the gun when the release is pressed, even when fully loaded. But Glock had one more surprise; the Glock 24 was available in two versions: plain barrel (24) or vented barrel (24C). The plain barrel Glock 24 meets all USPSA rules for use in Limited Class matches and is ideally suited for that purpose. The vented barrel Glock 24C is aimed (excuse the pun) directly at IPSC Open Class, and to a lesser degree at that other action pistol sport, bowling pin shooting.

The Glock 24C's barrel venting system is completely different from the earlier Glock l7Ls. Beginning 2 7/8 inches aft of the chamber are a series of four oval vents of increasing size cut into the top of the barrel, with the last one being 1 1/8 inches back from the muzzle. Powder gases are vented up out of each hole in tum as the bullet travels down the barrel. Gas pressure is lowered as the bullet travels past each vent hole, making it necessary for the next one to be larger to vent out a suitable amount of gas so as to continue the action of forcing down the barrel and reducing muzzle flip. The theory of the Glock 24Cs barrel vents is very similar to that of the "Hybrid" compensator system, which is finding increasing favor among serious action pistol shooters.

As a confirmed "Glocker" I was anxious to get my hands on one of the new 24s. The folks at Glock, Inc., in Smyrna, Georgia, kindly supplied me with one of the vented barrel Glock 24Cs to test. When the pistol arrived, the first thing I did was compare it to my Glock 17L. Except for the uncheckered grips on my early 17L, there was nothing to tell the two pistols apart at first glance. But I do have to admit that the 24, which was a new gun right off the assembly line, had a much nicer trigger than my well used 17L, a fact much appreciated when I started using it at IPSC and bowling pin matches. The pistol came with Glock's standard fixed sights, featuring a white dot front and white outlined rear notch. But enough looking - pistols are made for shooting, so it was off to my gun club to try it out. I took along several necessities: my adjustable pistol rest, targets, my Chrony Model F-1 chronograph and a supply of .40 S&W ammunition. I had a fairly varied assortment of test ammo, including Winchester, Remington, Hansen and some remanufactured ammo from 3-D Ammunition & Bullet Co. I arranged to borrow a Glock 22 from my friend Mark Craven so I could compare velocities between the standard length and long-barreled Glocks.

How It Shoots

I first test fired each brand of ammunition for accuracy, shooting from a rest at 50 feet; the results are shown on the chart. In spite of having fixed sights, the Glock shot all of the ammunition to point of aim, only varying slightly in elevation, and gave me more than adequate groups, the best five-shot group of the day being provided by the Winchester 180-grain Subsonic - an extremely pleasing one inch! I then fired each type of ammo over my Chrony F-1, firing the Glock 22 first, and repeating the process with the Glock 24C. As can be seen in the chart, the Glock 24Cs longer barrel provided increased muzzle velocities, ranging anywhere from 25 to 60 feet per second faster. Shooting the 24 and 22 side by side, I noted a big difference in muzzle flip with the Glock 24C. It was quite obvious that, the extra weight and vented barrel system do perform as claimed.

While those cartridges marked with an asterix (see table) did not make the USPSA Major power factor of 175 (bullet weight x velocity / 1000) from the standard length Glock 22, all the ammunition tested easily made Major out of the longer-barreled Glock 24C. As shooters of the .45 ACP know, it is very nice to be able to load ammunition that makes Major without resorting to the chemistry, ballistic computer programs, alchemy and dumb luck that many of the smaller calibers require. The longer-barreled Glock 24C enables .40 S&W shooters to enjoy this same sense of security with their ammunition. There have also been reports about the .40 S&W not being a very accurate cartridge. Now, I will admit right up front that this Glock 24C is the flrst .40 S&W pistol I've had any extensive experience with, but I found little to complain about as far as its accuracy went. My only comment is that this particular pistol had a definite preference for the heavier 180-grain bullets, which consistently shot smaller groups than the cartridges loaded with the lighter 155-grain slugs, some of which were downright impressive.

To finish things off, I set up an IPSC-style target and proceeded to try the 24 in a bit of "combat" style shooting, drawing from a holster and firing a series of double taps. For leather I used one of the new Australian-made Hellweg Competition Speed Holsters (Hellweg, Ltd., 40356 Oak Park Way, Suite H, Dept CH, Oakhurst, CA 93644; Ph. 800-955-4486). This rig is just the thing for Glock shooters; it holds the pistol securely but allows a very quick and smooth draw. The holster is adjustable for height and rake angle, which came in very handy with the long-nosed Glock 24C, as I was able to lower the holster so that, when drawing the long 24, I did not have to pull the pistol all the way up into my armpit, as a regular belt height holster would have required (note: this one holster will also fit the Glock 17, 17L, 19, 22 and 23).

This type of shooting is where the 24s lighter trigger, longer sight radius, weight and vented barrel really came into their own. As with all Glocks, the 24s ergonomics are excellent, and it was easy to get a fast, secure grip on the draw, and it pointed very naturally. Muzzle flip was almost nonexistent. Such reduced muzzle flip allowed quick recovery, and rapid double-taps were easy to perform. The extended magazine release and the free-falling Glock magazines were very convenient and made rapid reloads a cinch.

Glock 24C Impressions

Over the past several months, I have used the Glock 24C at many of the IPSC, steel pin and bowling pin matches in my area. I have also competed with it in several of the matches sponsored by the Glock Sport Shooting Foundation (G.S.S.F). It always attracts the attention of other shooters, especially my fellow Glockers, who are suitably impressed with how well the ported barrel performs the task of reducing muzzle flip.

All in all, I was quite impressed with the Glock 24C. For an out-of-the-box pistol, accuracy is better than one would expect, and handling characteristics are excellent. I have not been disappointed at all with its performance so far. For someone thinking of trying their hand at any of the action pistol shooting sports, the Glock 24C deserves a long, hard look. An out-of-the-box pistol with most of the special modifications that action pistol shooting requires enables the shooter to start practicing right away instead of waiting for his gun to get back from the gunsmith. And after all, what are we in this sport for, shooting or marking time?

Glock 24C Specifications
Caliber .40 S&W
Action Safe Action (constant double action mode)
Overall length (slide) 8.85 in. (225 mm)
Height, including magazine 5.43 in. (138 mm)
Width 1.18 in. (30 mm)
Barrel length 6.02 in. 153 mm)
Sight radius 8.07 in. (205 mm)
Rifling Hexagonal profile with right-hand
twist of one turn in 9.84 in. (250 mm)
Weight, without magazine 26.70 oz. (757 g)
Weight, empty magazine 2.75 oz. (78 g)
Weight, full magazine ~11.46 oz. (~325 g)
Magazine capacity 15 rounds
Standard trigger pull ~4.5 lbs. (~2.0 kg)
Trigger pull length 0.5 in. (12.5 mm)
Number of safeties 3

information courtesy of GLOCK