Two Horsemen of the AGlockalypse—Marine Raiders and the FBI
Article first appeared at American Rifleman.
It’s official. The “Aglockalypse” is upon us. Despite the recent introduction of notable duty-size pistols with polymer frames, such as the SIG Sauer P320, the Heckler & Koch VP9 and the Walther PPQ—as well as updates to the Smith & Wesson M&P and Springfield’s XDs—Glocks, in particular the Glock G19 in 9 mm Luger, just keep grabbing headlines and contracts within the military and law enforcement communities. And on the commercial side, Gunbroker.comreports the Glock G19 in its top five of bestselling new semi-automatic pistols for 10 of the past 12 months. Not bad for a decades-old gun. To be fair, we are now on Gen4 of the G19. Too, 9 mm Glocks and SIG Sauers appear to be leading contenders for the U.S. Army’s Modular Handgun System trials to select the next duty sidearm, the XM-17.
With the landmark decision of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to go to a 9 mm Luger service round in October 2015—Speer’s excellent 147-gr. Gold Dot G2—there has been a conflagration of interest from both law enforcement and the military in 9 mm and guns that chamber it. According to a June 29, 2016, post from the General Services Administration, Glock was awarded a contract worth up to $85 million to supply handguns—the latest “Gen” of G17s and G19s—to the FBI. The contract includes compact, full size, training (Simmunition) and inert guns. Awkward, as both the 10 mm Auto and then .40 S&W were developed to answer the FBI’s demand for increased ballistic performance over the, uh, 9 mm Luger (the real reason for the change of heart is the improved engineering of defensive 9 mm bullets).
And the .40 S&W is not the only casualty of the ascendency of the G19 and the 9 mm Luger. According to a Marine Corps Times article, the Marine Raiders are throwing their .45s overboard (figuratively, not literally). They have instead adopted the G19 as their standard sidearm. The Marine Corps as a whole has not adopted the G19, but the Raiders (as part of U.S. SOCOM) are issuing their operators G19s. Last year the Raiders were authorized to issue 9 mm G19s side by side with the Colt-made .45 ACP M45A1. This year .45s are no longer in the holsters of Marine Raiders.
And the Aglockalypse does not just apply to full-size guns. In “’A Wise Precaution’: The Pocket Pistol’s Progression” (which will appear in the December American Rifleman) I quoted from a July 1995 American Rifleman article by then Technical Editor Robert W. Hunnicutt who wrote: “The imminent unveiling of a Glock pocket pistol has been rumored for several years. A new .380 was displayed at this year’s IWA show in Germany, but is unlikely to be seen here. Each year it is anxiously looked for at the SHOT Show and each year enthusiasts trudge away disappointed. Where a niche exists, however, someone will step in, and in this case it is a new firm called Kahr Arms.” Well, those Glock enthusiasts’ dejected trudge ended with the 2014 introduction of the G42 in .380 ACP, followed by the 9 mm Luger G43 a year later.
While Glock may seem to be grabbing most of the headlines, other makers are selling just about every pocket, compact and duty-size pistol they can make. They are introducing innovative and affordable guns in sizes ranging from pocket pistols to full-size duty guns—the Ruger LCP II is one example—and no doubt they will continue to do so, Aglockalypse, or no.