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Glock Reliability and Reputation thumbnail image

Glock Reliability and Reputation

80 Percent Arms   |   Nov 1st 2022

Image above: OEM Glock 17 Gen 3 (Photo Source: Roman Pberezhnlk via Shutterstock)

Let’s face it, in the gun community you will always find someone who hates Glocks. Glocks can be a very polarizing topic, but why does it need to be? Reasons range from aesthetics to grip angles to spongy triggers and yet, we still have Glock standing out as one of the most popular handguns of all time for both professionals and civilians. Let’s take a look at what people love and hate about Glocks and some popular alternatives!

But first, a quick DISCLAIMER:

Unless specifically noted otherwise, products mentioned in this blog are not authorized, endorsed, manufactured or warrantied by GLOCK. GLOCK does not guarantee that these products are compatible with GLOCK pistols.

“GLOCK” is a federally registered trademark of GLOCK, Inc. and GLOCK Ges.m.b.H.. Neither 80 Percent Arms nor this website are affiliated in any manner with, or otherwise endorsed by, GLOCK, Inc. or GLOCK Ges.mb.b.H.. The use of “Glock” on this page is merely to advertise the sale of GLOCK-style pistol frames, components and aftermarket parts that are compatible with Glock products. For additional genuine GLOCK, Inc. parts and products please visit

How reliable is a Glock pistol?

The better question is why are Glocks so reliable? Beginning with the Glock 17 model, it's proven itself through military, law enforcement and competition usage to be one of the most reliable and easy-to-maintain pistols in the world which spawned an expansive line of similar pistol lines such as the Glock 19. In turn, the Glock 19 became so successful it became the base design for many current-Gen 5 models of Glock pistols. 

It may not be the sexiest choice on the block, but this modern pistol is reliable because of its multiple safety mechanism system. The trigger safety, drop safety and firing pin safety work in tandem to prevent the weapon from firing unless the trigger is physically pulled. This is also why good holsters are so important.

In my Glock armorer class, the instructor told us about an officer who unfortunately drowned during Hurricane Katrina. When they recovered his body they discovered the firearm was still holstered, had a round chambered with a full mag - meaning it was unfired in this incident. Can you imagine the torrential force of gale force winds and fast moving water not even being strong enough to actuate the trigger? Well that's what happened.

Design and History

Gaston Glock manufactured shower curtain rods and rings before getting into manufacturing military equipment in Austria. Without digging into too much history, Mr. Glock created his polymer-framed handgun prototype which later became known as the Glock 17 in 1979. His goal was to make a stripped-down, ultra-reliable handgun that anyone could use comfortably and efficiently. He certainly met that goal! Besides the polymer frame Gaston Glock’s new handgun sported the following key features:

Mr. Glock

Gaston Glock. Photo Source: Guns Fandom Wiki

Barrel Design — A barrel with polygonal rifling offers a better gas seal behind the bullet which translates to more efficient gas usage, muzzle velocity, and accuracy. Though Gen 5 Glocks no longer use this rifling method, it was a largely unique feature for over 30 years.

Safety Mechanisms — Instead of a traditional lever safety, Glock uses a tri-safety mechanism starting with external trigger safety, trigger bar / Connector mechanism and striker safety. These safeties work together, making it impossible for the firearm to discharge if dropped. Only by acting on the trigger can you fire the handgun. This mechanism is what most consider to be the wonder of the Glock design: simple in parts function and low parts count, but very, very reliable. It has been copied dozens of times and influenced hundreds of firearms designs over the last 40+ years. 

Factory Sights — The sights that come standard from the factory are not well liked in the industry. The standard polymer sights are generally considered unusable for daily or regular use. There is also substantial space or “air” between the front and rear sights within the sight picture. Some people do claim this style helps with target acquisition, and the duty versions are very durable. Thankfully due to the design of the Glock they are easily swapped if the shooter prefers a different sight picture.

The Glock Standard

Reliability is the reason the Glock is the standard for polymer, striker-fired handguns. They simply work. No matter the ammo or situation: it will run. Countless professionals have trusted their lives to the Glock for decades and still do today. Glock means round stoppage tests are in the several thousands. No matter the situation you can depend on your Glock to fire, cycle and feed. This is important in situations where seconds count!

Law Enforcement and Glock

Glocks are carried by an incredible amount of military units and law enforcement. You would be hard-pressed to find a single agency where the Glock is not approved for duty-use. In 2018 Glock released a press statement saying that their pistols were being carried by 65% of law enforcement agencies in the USA with more adopting them every day!


There are ENDLESS torture tests on these dang guns. From rednecks trying to blow them up with Tannerite, full auto meltdowns, or legitimate mud, run and gun tests- Glocks are put through the ringer constantly for the public eye. There’s only one reason why: because they can take it.

Glock Vs Smith and Wesson

Not to be outdone in the polymer-framed market, Smith and Wesson entered the arena in 2005 with their M&P (Military and Police). The M&P come in a variety of sizes with the M&P Compact being essentially the same size as a Glock 19. While the M&P has certain models available with a thumb safety the trigger safety makes an appearance on the pistol as well.

Many in the industry find the stock texturing on the M&P to be the gold standard; not too aggressive, not too light. If the Glock models are a bit too blocky for you the M&P is another highly trusted handgun by many professionals in law enforcement as well. At the higher end in competition, they are used less often due to accuracy issues brought up in the past compared to Glocks.

M&P 2.0

S&W M&P 2.0. Photo Source: Gun Trader Den

Glock Vs CZ

The CZ P10C is another great option. CZ are well-known for producing reliable weapons and when they introduced the P10C it was dubbed “The Glock 19 Killer” by many. The P10C is about the same size as the Glock 19 and shares many of the same features like most polymer pistols do today. CZ did a great job on the P10C’s trigger giving it a slight edge over the stock Glock and is often considered much more ergonomically friendly.

CZ has several options in their handgun lineup that might be worth a look if the Glock is not for you. If you shoot enormous amounts of ammunition every year, be aware that the service life on some of the parts of the CZ P10 series are noticeably less and will require more frequent maintenance or even parts replacement..


The CZ P10C. Photo Source: Guns Week

Glock Vs HK

Heckler & Koch is one of the most recognizable names in the gun industry and for good reason. Incredible reliability and innovation have made H&K a staple in military and law enforcement communities. The H&K VP9 is about the same size as a Glock 17. If you cannot stand the Glock trigger then you should really check out the VP9’s trigger. As far as striker-fired handguns go, it is very difficult to beat the H&K. Something to keep in mind is that the H&K has finger grooves that might not work for everyone’s grip - much like the earlier generation Glocks.

The VP9 not only has interchangeable backstraps, but also interchangeable side straps to create that hand in glove feeling. Tested to stringent German government standards, earning them the Ulm Proof house Antler mark, the VP9 is an extremely reliable handgun. However, they are noticeably more expensive than Glock models.


The Heckler & Koch VP9. Photo Source: All Shooters Tactical 

Do Glocks ever break?

Of course they can. If you reload your own ammo, accidents can happen. Over time you might want to or need to change your recoil spring or other parts such as the extractor. But these are normal wear and tear parts. In terms of actually "breaking" to the point that an OEM Glock is rendered useless? We haven't seen such a case.

The Glock is a great handgun as are the other options listed here. At the end of the day any of these models will be a great choice! If you think the Glock is still a great idea, but don’t like the aesthetics, need more features or want a trigger that isn’t like squeezing a mushy avocado check out our GST-9 MOD1 frame! The GST-9 MOD1 was designed for shooters who love the Glock 19, but also love aftermarket features that are currently popular on the market.

(Sale of MOD1 Jigs is pending a federal court case and whether or not 80 Percent Arms receives a preliminary injunction to protect us from an unlawful ATF rule. Learn more from our ATF Rule FAQ page here.)