When I started policing full-time, I became a member of what we unofficially referred to as the “gun of the month club.” A number of officers who were also shooting enthusiasts just had to have the newest handguns for off-duty, backup or sporting use. This could get pricey for one shooter, so new guns would often be traded around within the circle of fellow enthusiasts for a few weeks or months.
And so I fully understand shooters who want to buy and try new things. But there are other shooters out there who may not be able to afford to purchase the newest and greatest firearms on the market. (Quick disclaimer here: I am not recommending that you don’t buy new guns. I, for one, have been through my fair share of new guns through the years. And I review and write about new products on the market so that you folks can find out about and perhaps purchase them.)
Take Glock for example. Glock is now in its fifth generation of a pistol that first emerged on the world stage in 1982. After reviewing the Gen5 Glock 19 back in January of this year, I got to thinking about one of its “back to the future” design elements: the removal of the built-in frontstrap grasping grooves that had been an integral part of the Glock design since the Gen3 pistols debuted. It seems everything makes its way back around.
I have a Gen2 Glock 17 that has been in my family since 1994, purchased right before the Clinton Gun Ban. I haven’t done much with it over the intervening years. However, from time to time I use it as a test vehicle — most recently for the fine XS F8 Tritium sights.
The excellent Iver Johnson .38 Super Hard Chrome 1911 I have been carrying over the better part of this year has been bothering my back lately due to its weight. I needed to carry something lighter on duty, even if only for a while. That’s why I turned to my Gen2 Glock 17, which saves me about a pound.
When making this decision, I also thought about the change to the grip shape of the Gen5 Glocks. Gen2 Glocks have always felt about perfect in my medium-sized hands. And with the Gen4 and Gen5 pistols I’ve had or tested, I never needed to use the backstrap adaptors that are included. Since Glock has returned to what amounts to a Gen2 grip style, it doesn’t appear I am carrying out-of-date equipment (which I’m not).
One thing that held me back on my decision to carry the Glock 17 was the availability of laser-sighting equipment (since my Gen2 is 24 years old and has no front rail). I had been carrying Hogue LE Enhanced grips on my .38 Super and did not want to go on-duty without a laser sight, as I’ve carried laser-sighted duty handguns since 1997. I decided to call Crimson Trace to find out if the company still made the traditional Glock Lasergrip for my older Gen2.
A call to Crimson Trace revealed that I was in luck! And so is anyone else who owns a Gen2 Glock and wants to upgrade his or her gun with the best possible laser-sighting option. A red-dot Lasergrip is available — and a green one as well.
Crimson Trace sent me an LG-637G Green Lasergrip for full-sized Glocks. Note that the LG-637G is labeled as being for Gen3 Glocks but also fits Gen2 pistols. It was easily mounted and zeroed. The green laser dot is extremely bright, and I now prefer it over the original red dot.
Because the laser diode portion of the grip rides above the receiver and blocks a small portion of the grasping grooves on the right side, I added an Arachnigrip Slide Spider to give me a non-slip grasp on the Glock.
If you were contemplating trading in your Gen2 Glock so you could add modern options like a CTC Lasergrip, you can put that thought to bed and save a good amount of money as well.
With the XS F8 Sight and CTC green Lasergrip mounted, I felt my Gen2 Glock 17 was ready to ride on my duty belt. Even though I carry only one spare magazine to save weight, I still have 35 rounds of response available rather than 25 with the .38 Super.
Since my Glock 17 hadn’t been shot much in 24 years, I didn’t feel there was a need to do anything else to it. If it had been shot extensively, I would have likely replaced the recoil spring/guide assembly. The only other thing that was needed before taking it on the street was to clean and lubricate it.
Here is what I really like about the older Glocks: Glock used the highly touted Tenifer treatment on the slide and barrel. For my money, Tenifer was and is the best corrosion-resistant treatment ever made because it actually penetrates down into the steel. Unfortunately, Glock dropped the Tenifer finish rather quietly with the Gen4 pistols, replacing it with a more conventional nitride finish. Glock has since improved corrosion-resistance using something called nDLC, which has proven to be a better protective finish.
Glocks were never designed with planned obsolescence in mind. The only thing I have ever seen wear out is the plastic magazine follower on older magazines. I have never seen anything on these guns break (all the more impressive considering heavy use in law enforcement). Today’s Glock 17 is still essentially the same gun that it was in 1982.
For those of you with Gen2 or Gen3 Glocks that either can’t afford to — or don’t wish to — trade, hanging onto those guns could be advantageous. If you are looking for your first Glock, or an additional Glock, consider finding a Gen2 or Gen3 model on the used market. They can be had for considerably less than a brand-new Gen4 or Gen5.
Through 36 years in existence, the Glock’s only modifications are improved feel in the hand and some improvement in the trigger pull. Don’t feel under-gunned if you have a Gen2 or want one. They still have a lot of useful life left in them — sort of like a Mercedes with 50,000 miles on it.