Thursday, October 24, 2013

Glock 20SF 10mm Pistol Review

Glock 20SF 10mm Pistol Review
Hunting with a Glock


First and foremost the venerable Glock image is thought of as a defensive firearm. In fact many experts consider it "the" defensive pistol design and that title is well earned and deserved. Over the last decade Glock has also become synonymous with high speed sport shooting competitions from bone stock to wild and ready to rock. One area Glock is rarely thought of is as a hunting outdoorsman's pistol, however the G20 is without a doubt extraordinarily well equipped for that task and has been marketed by Glock as a hunting pistol for nearly a decade.

I may be in the minority as someone who hunts with my Glock 17 and 19 pistols. The gun is plenty accurate at pistol hunting distances and does a fabulous job on jackrabbits with standard FMJ without destroying the meat.


The 9mm, .40 S&W, and 45ACP are all fine calibers, however not what I would consider humane hunting rounds on larger deer sized game, however this is where the 10mm Auto round is perfect. The 10mm Auto, or just 10mm for short delivers a sizable 556 ft/lbs of energy similar to .357 magnum. Glock’s G20 format 15-rounds on tap which delivers almost three revolvers full of ammo. The reality though is that the SAMI spec'ed 10mm cartridge can be far more powerful such as we see on the Buffalo Bore Heavy 10mm Ammo. Buffalo Bore is famous for delivering big powerhouse round and their 180 gr. Jacketed Hollow Point  delivers 1,350fps and 728 ft. lbs of energy which is equal to what most see from most typical sane .44 Magnum rounds. So why the big difference between the power range? 


BRIEF HISTORY OF THE 10MM AUTO
The development of the 10mm round is actually an interesting story which dates back to the 1970s. The idea was for a high power flat shooting semi-auto cartridge that would run in a 1911 format pistol which would basically deliver .357 to .44 Magnum (midweight loads) ballistics. In the end Jeff Cooper, yes the scout rifle guy, was involved in the development at which point Norma began producing ammunition in the early 1980s. The FBI felt a little outgunned on the streets and briefly adopted the 10mm round, but with the full bore kick ass loads that were first released.  


The reality was 90% of the agents felt uncomfortable shooting and handling the larger dimensioned and significantly more powerful 10mm powered guns.  The ammo manufacturers responded with the 10mm Lite rounds which in essence dropped the power all the way down to about .40 S&W loads however the FBI and the public wanted a smaller format with less power than what the 10mm round delivered. Smith & Wesson though this was a waste of un-used powder space on the longer 10mm brass and developed a 10mm Short or what we now know as the .40 S&W.  The round delivered everything the FBI specs wanted in a format that would fit in a smaller 9mm sized pistol format.


The current crop of 10mm rounds from Hornady and other are not neutered to the degree the "LITE" rounds were, however they could certainly be loaded hotter as we see with the higher power 1,350fps and 728 ft. lbs of energy Buffalo Bore rounds.  The current 10mm rounds are still much more powerful than the .40 S&W.  .40 S&W usually deliver around 450Ft/lbs of energy and the normal off the shelf 10mm Auto loads typically delivery around 550 ft/lbs which is a nearly 20% more power.


Today the 10mm cartridge still does have a following in Special forces and Special Law Enforcement and is growing as a hunting cartridge due to the capacity of the firearm and power. It is a favorite pistol for those hunting hogs and venturing into bear country.


MYTHBUSTING THE ABILITY TO SHOT .40 S&W IN A G20 10MM PISTOL
There have been many grossly inaccuract claims of 10mm Auto and .40 S&W interchangeability centered around the Glock format. Let’s get this out of the way because of safety concerns. 


Someone suggested long ago that the 10MM chambered G20 was an ultimate survival gun because it could also shoot the very popular .40 SW in a last ditch survival situation without any modifications. This is a great concept in theory, however I was skeptical.  I have seen videos, and read reports… noting that Glock will certainly and immediately void your warranty if they find your are doing such a stupid thing. That noted after discussions with many very knowledgeable industry experts, I had to test so you don't have to even though this is the "wrong way" to shoot .40 SW in a 10mm auto chambered pistol.


From distance the theory seems sound, shooting a .40 S&W round in gun chambered for 10MM auto is really no different than shooting .38 Special in in a .357 Magnum chambered revolver, after all the .40 S&W is a 10MM Auto “Short”, right? Well no not really. 

There are two very important exceptions in that theory; the .38 Special and .357 Magnum rounds are rimmed and the .40 and 10MM are not and the 10mm Auto does not have a forcing cone in the rifling to handle the short distance jump the .40 S&W bullet makes from the case to the rifling like a revolver cylinder does. This means that to fire correctly, the extractor must take on larger percentage of round handling and support demands since the .40 round will not be completely supported in the chamber. Pressure issues are a non-event since the 10MM is rated for a higher pressure, so it really comes down to a high rate of wear and tear on your extractor and very high potential for rifling damage and wear due to the bullet jump issue caused by the short case.


We loaded up one round for the initial test and it feed from the magazine during a manual slide rack, fired and ejected perfectly. In fact we did it with a full magazine full and every single round fed, chambered, fired, and ejected perfectly. Myth Confirmed - but with a disclaimer of absolutely do not try this in a home, you assume 100% of the risk and this will undoubtedly cause undue damage to your expensive Glock G20SF.


Why does the gun cycle with a gun that shoots a round 20%-70% more powerful than the .40 S&W round? Simple. Glock had to design the G20 to also shoot the very light soft shooting 10MM sub-sonic rounds the FBI wanted which are in essence what we know as the .40 S&W.


To here is the disclaimer and warning: Would I recommend a steady diet of .40 S&W in your G20 10MM Auto pistol? Hell no - not even an occasional diet or to even test. You WILL have premature damage and wear to your rifling due to the bullet making the jump from the case to the rifling and your will certainly have premature extractor wear due to the extra stress due to a partially supported chamber, not to mention you will instantly void your warranty. Just because you can does not mean you should. I tested this so you do not have to - so don’t do it.  


The RIGHT WAY and safe way is to shoot the 10mm Auto ammo the G20SF was designed for or just pick up one of the .40 S&W aftermarket drop in barrels from KKM which designed for the G20.  This will allow safe and proper support of the .40 S&W cartridge and will not drive premature wear on you G20. Any time you want to swap back over to 10MM all it takes is a one minute barrel swap.


ABOUT THE GLOCK G20 & G20SF
Glock began producing the G20 in 1991 to answer the market demand in the midst of the 10mm Auto’s hayday. Even after demand tapered off there was still a demand for the 10mm Auto pistol, however the major complaint was the overall size of the grip. Later in 2007, Glock introduced the G20SF (reviewed here) which is the “Short Frame” model.  The G20SF model provides a significantly grip feel circumference equal to a standard .40 S&W chambered Glock.  


The net result is that those with medium to small hands can establish a comfortable and secure grip.  Glock has been specifically marketing the G20 and G20SF as hunting companion firearms to be used for the hunt or to provide a humane finishing shot on very large game. For those hunting in bear country, having a 15-round pistol which can believer power that rivals some .44 Magnum rounds, is an enormous benefit. In fact the Greenland Sirius Sledge Patrol uses the G26 on the very aggressive Polar bear which far outweigh our typical brown bear.


FIT, FINISH, FEEL, FEATURES, FUNCTION
The G20SF has the fit, finish, and features identical to any other Gen 3 Glock you may have handled, however the slide and barrel is even wider and beefier than Glock’s .40 S&W pistols to handle the power of the 10mm Auto round. The side profile of the G20SF is the same as the full sized G17 and G22 models, but it is just wider and heavier. of the In the end the G20SF overall feels about 10% wider and heavier than your standard Glock G17 9mm and about 5% wider and heavier than their G22 .40 S&W model - actual weights may vary. The major reason for offering the “SF” version was to just make the super-sized 10mm G20 manageable for shooters with normal to small sized hands. The result of the SF model offering is a very powerful gun that feels and handles like a G22.


If you want night sights I always recommend picking them up included from Glock as they are a bit less expensive than adding them later plus they will come factory zero'ed.  On my G20SF I added the Glock night sights becuase, you know... sometimes big critters roam around at night.


Just like any other Glock reliability was superb and flawless from the first to the last round.  Due to the ammo shortage of 2013, I scavenged a partially shot box of very old StarFire 10mm Auto rounds, a few hundred rounds of less expensive FMJ, and was fortunate enough to have Hornady send me a couple boxes of their Custom 10mm Auto 180gr XTP rounds. A friend of mine also supplied a few hundred rounds of fairly hot 10mm Auto reloads. Throughout those hundreds of rounds, we did not have one failure.  What surprised us most was that the recoil was really quite pleasant and even easily tolerable and controllable with the harder hitting rounds.


Way way back with I purchased my first Glock, I picked up the very inexpensive Glock magazine and holster and they served me very well. I did the same in this situation as the G20SF does not slip into your standard 9mm or .40 caliber holsters. The Glock holster works great and provided a simple no-nonsense holster and magazine pouch option. For the beginning novice shooter, the $39.99 street price Glock Range kit safety glasses, earplugs and earmuffs are very hard to beat.

ACCURACY
My friend and I have made it a habit to routinely plink and hit the 12”x12” steel 100, 200, and 300-yard gongs with our Glocks.  Oddly enough, once you figure out the 12-15 foot holdover at 300-yards, it is not that difficult. Shooting flatter shooting 10mm at distance was a whole new game. The original intent of the cartridge was clear - this is a long range handgun round. As an example we only needed to hold over about 9-feet on our 300 yard target vs the 12-15 feet with a 9mm and .40. If zeroed at 50-yards, the 10mm Auto only drops about 4.5” at 100- yards and is only 36” low at 200 yards and still delivering around 400 ft/lbs of energy (about the same energy a 9mm has at the muzzle). This is a very impressive round that is more than adequate for hunting deer sized game at a little distance and up close under 100 yards it delivers more than enough accuracy for even smaller game.


Moving over to the sandbags we were able to consistently take out clay pigeons on the 100-yard line and do the same on the 200 and 300 -yard 12” steel plates with scarey consistently. Way up close on the 25-yard line we were able to deliver more than a few 1”-1.25” groups - accuracy which held all the way out to 300-yards. Would a scoped out Thompson Center or 8” barreled revolver have a leg up on accuracy? You betcha, however they do not have 15-rounds on tap either.


FINAL THOUGHTS
If you are looking for high capacity pistol with long range power and accuracy the Glock G20SF is it. The G20SF even makes major power factor in shooting competitions which can be a huge leg up.  It delivers everything you could want for power in a hunting pistol that you can also use double duty as a mighty fine defense pistol with a capacity that is unmatched for 10mm Auto chambered pistols. On the hunt, this is the pistol to have at your side and its a Glock.



SPECS
10mm Auto / Safe Action
LENGTH:209 mm / 8.22 in.
WIDTH:32.50 mm / 1.27 in.
LENGTH BETWEEN SIGHTS:172 mm / 6.77 in.
HEIGHT:139 mm / 5.47 in.
BARREL HEIGHT:32 mm / 1.26 in.
BARREL LENGTH:117 mm / 4.60 in.
UNLOADED:785 g / 27.69 oz.
LOADED:1125 g / 39.71 oz.
TRIGGER PULL:~2.5 kg / ~5.5 lbs.
TRIGGER TRAVEL:~12.5 mm / 0.49 in.
BARREL RIFLING:right hand, hexagonal
LENGTH OF TWIST:250 mm / 9.84 in.
Magazine Capacity:15


SOURCES
Glock USA - http://www.glock.us


Hornady Ammunition - http://www.hornady.com

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