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Several different models of Glock pistols are available for purchase. The most popular model, according to the Glock website, is the Glock 17, a full framed pistol that shoots 9mm bullets, a common type of ammo. However, the model 17c Glock has one crucial difference that drastically alters performance.
Definition of the Models
According to Glock, the model 17 is the most widely used law enforcement pistol in the world. It is a double-action, polymer framed pistol that holds up to 17 rounds, a large amount for a pistol. The 17c model incorporates a compensated barrel, which is the main difference between the models. The model 17 is not the only model to feature a compensated barrel; models 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 31 and 32 can also feature this type of barrel.
Compensated barrels, also called ported barrels, are a popular choice for shooters. According to Glock, the 17c model features longitudinal openings in both the barrel and slide of the gun arranged in a "V" position. When firing the weapon, gases are released through these openings. The model 17 does not feature these openings, which leads to these gases escaping through the front of the pistol as they normally would.
Advantages and Disadvantages
There are several pros and cons to consider when deciding between the 17 and 17c Glock models. According to Pro Guns.com, the compensated barrel allows for better second shot recovery because gases are released through the barrel's opening, which lowers recoil. The major disadvantage of using a compensated barrel is directly tied to what sets them apart. The gases that are released through the barrel and slide openings can actually be harmful if discharged near your skin or eyes.
Self Defense and Concealed Carry
According to firearms trainer Terry Hall of Daytona Beach, Florida, guns with compensated barrels such as the 17c are not recommended for use as self defense or concealed carry weapons. Hall explains that if a gun with a compensated barrel is fired from a position close the body, the hot gases escaping from the barrel openings can stun or blind the shooter. In this situation a person's weapon of self-defense can turn against them. Shooter Solutions contributor Teddy Jacobson also points out that night shooting with a compensated barrel can blind a person simply from the flash that can be emitted through the barrel openings.
Because of the potential dangers of using a compensated barrel for self defense, Hall advises that they should only be used for target shooting or hunting. Guns such as the Glock 17c are generally preferred for use as a dedicated range gun. Hall explains that when shooting a gun from the position of extended arms, the emitted gases do not have the potential to harm a person as they would when firing the gun close to the body. According to Glock, the 17c's compensator makes the gun much more controllable during rapid fire, which allows for an improved hit pattern.
Michael Staton began contributing professionally to several papers in South Carolina during 2005. He writes for "Upstate Be" magazine, covering local bands and writing his own weekly Internet column. He is also co-editor of a service industry magazine called "Industry." Staton holds a Bachelor of Arts in media studies from the College of Charleston.