Glock 17 gen4 Endurance Test: Week 13

17-Jun-11 – 23:24 by ToddG

19,186 rounds 6 stoppages
(+1 w/non-LCI extractor)
0 malfunctions 0 parts breakages

Lucky Week 13 began with a very fun time in Ohio. Demos during the weekend’s Aim Fast, Hit Fast class were so-so. I pulled off a sub-5 clean F.A.S.T. each day (a 4.97 Saturday morning and 4.91 Sunday afternoon)… which means I also botched one F.A.S.T. each day. Worse, during the Dot Torture demo at 5yd I managed to score a very embarrassing 46.

Two changes were made to the gun this week. On Monday, I decided to try the stock Glock trigger setup again, switching from the “-” connector to a standard one and switching from the NY1 trigger return spring to a normal coil spring. The result is substantially lighter (five pounds ten ounces compared to seven pounds four ounces), with a slightly shorter but noticeably weaker reset. While I’m not particularly fond of the way it feels, the -/NY1 combo had become very gritty with a number of hitches throughout the trigger break. Cleaning the gun wasn’t solving it so on the advice of a friend I decided to give the standard connector a try. So far, I have to admit it’s working fine. The break is much cleaner and combined with the lighter pull it definitely makes tougher shots a breeze. The distinct decrease in take up weight combined with a sharper break have sent me back to the basics in working through a good press-out, however.

The other major change was done today. The great folks at Trijicon were kind enough to send me a set of their “HD” sights to evaluate. My initial impression is a two-parter: First, I do not like the sight picture. It looks funny and makes me think too much. Second, regardless of what I think, the sights turned in some of the best shooting I’ve ever done.

After almost two decades of traditional notch and post sights of one type or another, getting accustomed to the HD sights took some effort and some thought. They still “look weird” when I line them up. But the truth is in the results, and the results today were great:

  • 99 Drill (3×5 card): 95 (-3, -0, -1, -0)
    This is by far a personal best for me. Moreover, it was one of the first things I did after installing the sights while I was still getting used to them and figuring out how to aim best with them. A clean 99 Drill could be in my future.
  • Dot Torture at 10yd: 49 out of 50
    I pulled the very last shot on Dot 10… saw the front sight go in the wrong direction right as I pressed the trigger. If there had been a hammer nearby, I would have smashed my finger as punishment. This should have been a clean run. I definitely took my sweet time shooting this, but the sights are clearly capable of delivering hits on a 2″ circle at 10yd all day long.
  • Humbler: 634
    I’ve only shot this once before and scored a 639.  That was with the P30 using Heinie QWIK Straight Eights. The difference between the two scores is too small to mean much, and I would say the different trigger is what cost the Glock a few points, not the sights. Note that the Humbler is usually shot cold. While these were the first 70 rounds I fired after dinner, I’d shot about 800rd previously in the day. Some folks would consider today’s score illegitimate as a result. The photo at right is from the last two strings of fire which are shot from prone.
  • FAST: 4.30 clean (1.49, .37 / 1.85 / .21,.19,.19)
    This was the first of five sub-5 clean runs in a row (4.30, 4.39, 4.39, 4.36, 4.60 followed by a 4.54 -1H).

While I’m not prepared to declare these the greatest sights ever, it’s hard to ignore the results of today’s practice. As you can see, I threw the proverbial kitchen sink at it in terms of drills — raw speed, maximum accuracy, precision under time pressure — and literally everything kept coming up with good hits. No matter how different or weird or just plain wrong they may appear when looking down the top of the gun, bullets are landing where I want them quickly and accurately.

Still, more experience is needed under more lighting conditions to make any final recommendations. The front sight is very shiny. Because of its concave shape, if there is a strong light above and behind (like at an indoor range) it tends to produce glare on the bottom half of the orange dot while putting the top half in shadow. This makes the bottom half draw the eye and once in a while resulted in too-early shots with resultant high misses.

The dot also sits a bit low on the front sight. The positive benefit is that it is easy to get a distinct traditional “equal height, equal light” sight picture for precision work. The disadvantage is that if you don’t consciously switch from the big orange dot to the top edge for precision work, your point of impact will be high.

The only other gripe I have is that the rear tritium vials are the same size as the front. So when the sights are viewed in low light, the rear dots appear bigger and brighter than the (more distant) front sight. So many other companies have realized the benefit of having different color and/or different size rear dots. Trijicon needs to follow suit on these top of the line night sights.

Like the Ameriglo Hackathorn/i-dot combo, the wide front sight of the Trijicon HD does not bother me. Just as with the Ameriglo, when the orange dot completely obscures the target zone it is time to switch to the top edge of the front sight. For example, I used the orange dot when shooting the 99 Drill, but the top edge when shooting Dot Torture at 10yd. Unlike the Hackathorn/i-dot combo, though, the orange front sight dot of the Trijicon HD is fully visible inside the rear u-notch when the sights are aligned which should make for a more predictable and readable sight picture. The Hack/i-dot, you may recall, gave me no end of fits when shooting the 99 Drill.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to get in at least a couple of practice sessions next week before heading to Oklahoma City. Next Friday’s report will come after a day on the range teaching an Appendix Carry Workshop that leads up to an Aim Fast, Hit Fast class. Should make for some interesting shooting opportunities. See you next week!

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

Previous Glock 17 gen4 Endurance Test posts at pistol-training.com:

  1. 11 Responses to “Glock 17 gen4 Endurance Test: Week 13”

  2. Todd,

    I have ran a buddies m&p 9 and glock 17, both have the HD sights but one is yellow and the other is orange..I find the yellow (which is really green) to work better both indoors and out…if you get a chance definitely give the yellow front sight a try.

    By shepardj on Jun 17, 2011

  3. Could it just be that since you didn’t like the sights much or they were new, you just focused that much harder? So it’s not the sights so much as the increased concentration?

    By Emanuel Plotnikov on Jun 18, 2011

  4. And that’s the stock trigger set up that so many bemoan. I like the minus with the stock spring but stock 5.5 setup ain’t bad in my book.

    By JoeC on Jun 18, 2011

  5. shepardj — But, but, but… I like orange!

    Emanuel — That could very well be part of it. As I said, I’m not ready to declare them the ne plus ultra of sights after just one day on the range. After all, the Hack/i-dot sights worked great for me on a lot of things, especially at first. But over time with enough different drills on enough different days there were some things that didn’t quite come together with them. Whether the HD sights suffer from the same fate isn’t something I can predict. We’ll see a month from now.

    JoeC — I wouldn’t want the trigger much lighter than it is now. More importantly, it was the more consistent break of the standard connector that I wanted most. Putting the NY1 trigger spring in the gun doesn’t cause any problems beyond the additional weight. My standard connector plus the NY1 spring still turns in a very smooth clean break.

    By ToddG on Jun 18, 2011

  6. What’s up with the striker cover plate. Very worn finish?

    By Dandapani on Jun 18, 2011

  7. Dandapani — It’s the prototype Gadget. It wasn’t anodized so I’ve just been giving it a shot of spray paint every few weeks. Looks like it needs another dose, huh?

    By ToddG on Jun 18, 2011

  8. Thank you so much for evaluating these. I kind of got excited about these when I saw that they have a U-notch like the 10-8 black set on my 17.

    Did you find that it was the u-notch that permitted you to pick up yor front sight faster?

    By Mitch on Jun 18, 2011

  9. Todd:

    It might be useful not to spray paint the gadget to see what kind of wear you get on the metal after another, say, 20,000 rounds and who-knows-how-many holsterings. Once you beta test you will get wear data on the annodizing, but this might allow you to test the metal better.

    Of course it will look terrible in the meantime, but you can explain that’s because you had it tested by a “JSOC operator” on some “cross border DA and SR ops.”

    By SteveJ on Jun 18, 2011

  10. The “change=improved performance” has been documented. Way back in the day, Enos and Leatham would experiment with something minor (I don’t know, say, how much pressure they used with their weak hand pinkie finger) and notice that they immediately shot better. Eventually they realized it wasn’t the change that made the shooting improve, but rather as they focused on the slight difference in grip, they stopped trying so hard with the rest of the techniques. They zoned out everything else and their shooting improved…for a while, til the newness of whatever the change was wore off, and they started thinking too much about the rest of their shooting.

    could be the same thing. Working hard on adjusting to the new sights is letting the rest of the shooting just happen.

    By boat on Jun 18, 2011

  11. I’d like a set of these for my duty M&P!

    By firecop019 on Jun 18, 2011

  12. Todd, Do you think that your score improvement is still a layover of your AMIS experience as well? The ‘seeing faster’ you described? I always appreciate your reviews, thanks.

    By Markdl on Jun 20, 2011

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