Glock 17 Endurance Test: Month 13

3-Apr-12 – 19:25 by ToddG
60,207 rounds 12 stoppages
(+1 w/non-LCI extractor)
0 malfunctions 1 parts breakages

As mentioned previously, pistol-training.com is moving to a monthly format for the Glock 17 endurance test updates.

As you can see from the numbers above, shooting has been a lower priority over the past couple of months while I focused on other projects and generally took a semi-hiatus from the “multiple times per week” practice routine.

You’ll also see that the number of stoppages has grown from 9 to 12. All three were premature lockbacks experienced using Glock 10-round magazines while teaching in California last month. I almost feel guilty counting them against the gun — everyone’s 10rd magazines tend to be less reliable than their standard capacity versions — but they’re Glock factory parts so the failure falls in Glock’s lap. I also had some 17rd magazines that I was using during the same classes and never had a problem with any of them. In fact, by the end of my five days in California, I’d sidelined all the 10-round magazines. That’s the simple solution: don’t use ten round magazines. (I realize that solution is less simple for folks living in places like NY and CA)

One thing not represented in the numbers above, however, is the severe breakage that deadlined the pistol recently.

As many of you predicted, the culprit in this past weekend’s complete bookendening of the test gun was, in fact, the Lone Wolf 3.5 connector. It was cracked right along the point at which it was thinned out at the base. Obviously, the square shoulder cuts created a weak point and with enough wear over time it simply snapped. Round count on the part was not particularly high: 16,514 rounds total.

The failure was unrecoverable without tools. There was no way to tap, rack, lock, rip, work, smash, coax, or bribe the gun into firing. The trigger moved back and forth under the tension of the trigger return spring but the striker would not release. The trigger bar was moving freely past the connector, pushing it out of the way rather than being guided as it should be. The breakage I experienced may be a fluke but understand when it happened: after the first round of the day was fired. That was the same gun, the same ammo, that I was carrying at dinner the night before. And it only made it through one round before going completely, utterly, irreparably dead.

While the photo above shows the LW3.5 in two pieces, it was actually still together in the gun. However, the significant crack that formed between the base and the upright was such that as I removed the part from the trigger housing, it finally broke in two.

For now, I’m undecided about what to do as far as trigger setups. One thing is for sure, though, I’m sticking with factory connectors from now on. I’ll play around a bit between the stock 3.5 connector (which at 4.25-4.5 pounds as measured by my gauge is a little too light for my taste), the 3.5 connector with NY1 trigger spring (which at 7.25-7.5 pounds as measured by my gauge is heavier than I’d like), or the “dot” connector (which at about 5.25 pounds is just right, except I don’t like the way the break feels). Which is why I was using the LW3.5 in the first place, remember?

The next two weeks should give me three or four chances to hit the range and compare the different options again, now that the aftermarket choices are off the table.

I also received a sample of the new Vickers Tactical gen4 Glock Magazine Catch. As you can see in the photo on the right (click to embiggen), the Vickers version is the same length as the “federal” extended gen4 catch made by Glock… a part in great demand among many shooters who do not happen to be federal agents. The most noticeable difference is the angle of the actual contact point where you press it to release the magazine. The standard and “federal” Glock buttons are at a nearly 90-degree angle while the Vickers version has a distinct curve to it. For normal operation (right hander using it on the left side of the gun or vice-versa) the Vickers version feels superior to me. It also has the benefit of being nicely rounded along all the edges. However, since I use my trigger finger to release the magazines with a “reversed” mag catch, the removed material compared to the Glock “federal” part essentially removes where my finger normally contacts the button. Outside of that particular method, while the stock gen4 mag button does a decent job, I think the vast majority of shooters will find the Vickers version superior for their purposes.

Getting back to the test gun, according to my records it’s gone just shy of 10,700 rounds since the last time it was cleaned (on 2-Dec-11). While it has seen a few drops of oil here and there, the gun certainly suffered as much from disuse as it ever did from heavy use. Taking it apart today to check on the breakage/stoppage issue, while the gun was certainly dirty it didn’t seem to be effecting any of the components in a noticeable way. Even parts which might be most susceptible to carbon fouling, such as the firing pin block, were moving freely. The only exception was the extractor. When I tried to remove it from the gun on Sunday to see the firing pin block was the culprit in the stoppages, it literally required pliers to get out. The gun still ejects and extracts normally, however, so even there I cannot say it’s more than a minor issue. Nonetheless, I really should clean the gun.

Not saying I will, mind you. Just that I should.

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

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

  1. 29 Responses to “Glock 17 Endurance Test: Month 13”

  2. Should this really count as a breakage seeing’s how it wasn’t a Glock factory part?

    By Wes on Apr 3, 2012

  3. This definitely sours me on third-party parts.

    Perhaps it is as my curmudgeonly father always says.. best not to mess with things and learn to appreciate them the way they were made.

    By jellydonut on Apr 3, 2012

  4. Wes — Sorry if I was unclear. Nothing that resulted from the LW3.5 connector breakage was counted in the tally at the top of the page.

    By ToddG on Apr 3, 2012

  5. “Not saying I will, mind you. Just that I should.” ROFL!!!! This may be the most valuable test update yet. Thanks much. I’m diggin the “dot” conn’s lately.

    By JHC on Apr 3, 2012

  6. I think I’m now more interested in how high the round count gets before cleaning.

    By cmoore on Apr 3, 2012

  7. My bad Todd, I knew that. A case of the stupids I guess. The breakage was the chipped extractor.

    By Wes on Apr 3, 2012

  8. Maybe it’s just me, but Glock’s infallible reliability is really not panning out, much. The HK45 never had nearly this amount of issues (although, you ARE paying for a more quality product).

    By The Dreaming Tree on Apr 3, 2012

  9. ToddG, I love your forum…long time reader first time responder. As far as playing with the trigger set up I would suggest you use either the Wolff competition spring kit or the Zev Tech competition spring kit with the stock Glock trigger parts. That what I use in my G19 and I love it. It’s a crisp break and great reset feel while lightening the trigger just enough. I’m looking forward to reading about your trigger choice.

    By Rob69169 on Apr 3, 2012

  10. Is there no way to simply buy a gun with a good trigger? Or is that defeating the purpose in some way?

    I have a LW connector in my Glock 17, and you just made me decide to never rely on it for defense. Good on you, sir!

    By Twinkie on Apr 4, 2012

  11. The breakage I experienced may be a fluke but understand when it happened: after the first round of the day was fired. That was the same gun, the same ammo, that I was carrying at dinner the night before. And it only made it through one round before going completely, utterly, irreparably dead.

    And there are people who would call you a paranoid for carrying a BUG.

    I can think of few worse things than cranking off one round at a dude and then having your gat go dead. What do you do then? Say “Hey, buddy, I was just funnin’ about shooting you. Still friends?”

    By Tam on Apr 4, 2012

  12. Have Glocks since ’90 and all of ’em have a Ghost connector – one G22 has in excess of 85K with proper maintenance and only failure was the ‘stock’ (at 65K) trigger bar (at the cruciform) and of late (functioned however) the Tung guide rod (won’t go to that vendor again) but feel that certain aftermarket parts are as viable as anything Glock makes however YMMV and each to his own. Grit certainly creates friction and that creates heat and that creates metal fatigue but who knows. Good article.

    By Roger on Apr 4, 2012

  13. I’m not sure it’s fair to throw Lone Wolf under the bus based on a single example of a single part breaking. After all, I first tried the LW3.5 based on suggestions from readers here at PTC. Many of them reported excellent results.

    I’m in no position to say that LW3.5 connectors are bad. All I can say is that the one I used broke after about 16,500 rounds.

    By ToddG on Apr 4, 2012

  14. Hey Todd, why not get your hands on another “dot” connector (or 2), pop it in, and see what you get..? As far as I’ve seen over the years, stamped-out Glock parts (especially the connectors) vary widely, even between 2 or 3 of the exact same part… Who knows, maybe you’ll luck out and score one that provides the right pull weight with a nice break too…

    By ChipK on Apr 4, 2012

  15. Had a Lone Wolf Lightweight Firing Pin break on me after my first range session of 150rds. Called them up to get a refund but they refused and only offered to send me a replacement. Since they I try to avoid their parts.

    By nick on Apr 4, 2012

  16. I am not trying to be a smartass, but maybe carrying a gun that is part of an endurance test may not be the best idea. I understand it may a convenience issue.

    By Jacques on Apr 4, 2012

  17. So you swap the mag release and use your index finger… is this a by product f carrying two HKs with the european style mag release or do you just find it to be quicker?

    I ask because I’ve thought about doing it but I’m concerned that after years of having a mag release on the left of the gun I might screw myself up.

    By Jesse on Apr 4, 2012

  18. I wonder how many M&P owners are thinking about their “must have” Apex parts. Like you said, its a statistical base of 1, but still…

    By PhilY on Apr 4, 2012

  19. How about just using a standard factory connector, like what, 99% of the cops in the country are required to do and many non-LE who carry concealed for self-defense choose to do? I know there are all sorts of arguments for carrying guns w/ “factory” parts that you’re familiar w/, so I’ll skip those, but wouldn’t a real good test be to try the gun as it actually comes from the factory…minus the sights, which are probably changed by the majority of users?

    By John Taylor on Apr 4, 2012

  20. Todd, as ChipK mentioned, I’ve also noticed a variation in perceptual results in using a dot connector in different guns; in my Gen 3 G19, there’s a quite significant favorable improvement between it and the standard connector, but in my Gen 3 G21, much less so (and yes, I realize that the differences may be attributable to either the specifc gun OR the specific connector…)-I’d simply try another dot connector and see if there’s an im-provement. In both of my Glocks with the dot connector, I’m using it in conjunction with a coil trigger spring; you might want to play with a dot/NY1 combination.

    What in the heck were you using 10 round magazines for? A self-perceived need to potentially maximize the chances of issues??

    Sarcasm aside, I agree that it should be counted as a failure against the gun, as you mentioned, it was with a Glock magazine, and it serves as a good heads-up for those using (or forced to use) such magazines.

    While I probably don’t need to, out of old Army-inculcated habit I clean and lubricate my guns 1) before using after purchase, and 2) after every time I have a shooting session with them. Annually I’ll do a detailed disassembly/deep clean/re-lube, including going through all of my Glock’s slide apertures with the Glock flat-bottomed drill bits (sadly discontinued {replaced with a cheapo set of sized Glock mini-tongue-depressors}, but easily made with the appropriate drill bits with user-flattened bottoms)to remove accumulated carbon, GSR, and brass fragments.

    Best, Jon Stein

    By Jon Stein on Apr 4, 2012

  21. Jacques — I carry the gun because it has proven itself extremely reliable. I’ve had low round count guns give me far more trouble. In fact, this gun gave me more trouble when it was low round count.

    Jesse — I have relatively short thumbs and have been reversing mag buttons since my first Beretta back in the late 90’s. I reversed it on my Berettas, SIGs, and M&Ps. The HK didn’t need it because the lever is ambidextrous.

    John — I very well may switch to the “standard” connector for the gen4 guns, the dot connector. But FWIW, I see as many people show up to classes with standard Glock sights and aftermarket connectors as the other way around.

    Jon — I was using 10rd mags because I was in California and those were legal for me to bring.

    By ToddG on Apr 4, 2012

  22. I’m in the same position of having smaller hands and I’ve been hesitating on doing it because I’m so used to twisting the gun a little to get a reload. Might just have to do it to see what happens.

    By Jesse on Apr 4, 2012

  23. I know a number of shooters who have had issues with various vendor’s connectors; as a result, I only use Glock OEM connectors.

    I have stated for years that 9mm Glock 10 rd mags don’t work reliably, except for the G26 mag…

    If I lived in a state with a 10 rd mag limit and had no other options, I’d shoot a G19 cut to accept G26 mags, a G26, an M&P40c, an M&P45, a HK45c, or a custom 1911…

    By DocGKR on Apr 4, 2012

  24. “click to embiggen”

    You owe me the proverbial keyboard…….

    By Bill Lance on Apr 4, 2012

  25. 8) I still remember watching the original broadcast of the Christmas episode pilot for The Simpsons in college… And the shorts from Tracy Ullman before that…

    By ToddG on Apr 4, 2012

  26. http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=M3u6QboDjog

    By ChipK on Apr 5, 2012

  27. I for one would LOVE to see an endurance test with only OEM parts used. That being said, until the OEMs stop making pistols with crappy triggers out of the box (is really THAT much more expensive to manufacture a good trigger system?), I think it’s quite fair to use commonly applied aftermarket upgrades when evaluating these pistols…especially the connector in a Glock.

    And while we’re talking about connectors, does anyone really believe there is a quantifiable quality difference in one company’s stamped metal connectors over another? Several here have mentioned, and I concur that Glock connectors have definite variances the operator can feel, even among the same part number.

    FWIW, I use a Ghost Rocket connector in my G19 and am very happy with the reduced trigger pull, elimination of overtravel and shorter and crisper reset. It’s the best $30 I ever spent on a pistol upgrade…but $30 is still too much to pay for a stamped piece of metal that the OEM could just have easily included as stock. The same goes for the APEX kits…$100 for parts that should be supplied stock by the OEM in a mass-produced pistol.

    Rant OFF…

    By BrianH on Apr 5, 2012

  28. Ive owned the M&P9 and sold it to fund a HK P30L. Purchasing the Glock 17 Gen 4 tomorrow so I’ll have the pleasure of owning three of the test guns. I wish I had never sold the M&P as it is the only gun I regret selling. The HK P30L is an awesome gun but that long slide stop is causing me problems due to my grip. Really looking forward to giving Glock another try. I’ve owned three in the past (Gen 2 G17, Gen 4 G27, Gen 3 G34- sold them all) and have decided to go for another G17 Gen 4. I baby my guns so I certainly will not enter any endurance test. Thanks to Todd G for beating the hell out of his guns so we can live vicariously through him.

    By Hoghunter on Apr 8, 2012

  29. Todd – a follow up on this…is the DOT connector the new “standard” factory connector for GEN 4 guns? So no more 5.5lb factory connector? Where have I been?

    Sort of related but not entirely on topic, so slap me if you need to, but do you see people switching from whatever their factory trigger is to “something lighter” as a potential lawsuit magnet or, at least as an arrow that the shooter provides for the quiver of the person they are defending themselves from when the inevitable lawsuit happens. I’m an attorney and have always been concerned about this. Massad Ayoob has written about this subject also. “Modifications” of any kind other than sights scream “right wing gun nut” to certain segments who might well be sitting on one’s jury. I just think “stock” is safer and entirely removes any possible argument that a plaintiff or uninformed prosecutor has. One less thing you give them to paint a picture of you that isn’t accurate. I also don’t think it handicaps a shooter significantly, at least not so much that it can’t be fixed w/ more training. I know that you’re an attorney too, so…thoughts?

    By John Taylor on Apr 9, 2012

  30. Is this the LATEST LWD connector?

    By Randori on Apr 13, 2012

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