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Glock 17

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Glock 17: Design and Specs

If there’s one pistol that has influenced the modern-day pistol market more than any other, it’s the Glock 17.

Today, the striker fired, polymer framed pistol is the mainstay sidearm of military forces, special forces units, law enforcement, and civilians all over the world. What makes the Glock 17 so influential is the fact that it was the pistol that proved there was indeed a marketplace for such a gun.

Numerous IWB holsters and OWB holsters are also available for the Glock 17, and the Glock platform as a whole is the most customizable family of pistols in existence, rivaled only by the 1911 series of pistols.

In this article, we’ll dive into the evolution and history of the Glock 17, and then we’ll discuss the design and features of the pistol that have made it so successful.

History and Evolution of the Glock 17

The Glock has quite the history. The founder and head engineer of the company, Gaston Glock, previously had literally zero experience with firearms design at the time of the Glock 17’s design. But what Gaston did have much experience in was in synthetic polymers, which would prove to be the main standout feature of the pistol.

What’s also so notable about Glock beyond their durable synthetic polymers is the fact that they introduced ferritic nitrocarburizing into the gun world, which helped make metal gun parts far more rust and corrosion resistant.

The real story of the Glock 17 began when in the early 1980s the Austrian military announced that they would be seeking a more modernized pistol design to replace their current issue Walther P38 pistols. While a fine weapon, the P38 was also obsolete by the 1980s.

After developing the prototype of the Glock 17, Glock formally submitted the new pistol to the Austrian military in 1982. The new handgun was revolutionary for its abundant use of synthetic materials (in this case the highly durable and yet lightweight polymer frame) while still adopting proven design mechanisms from previous pistol designs, which helped to keep costs down.

The Glock 17 was formally accepted as the new standard sidearm for the Austrian military. Numerous variants of the Glock have been released since then, and most other pistols today have copied the Glock’s polymer frame, striker fired design. Examples include the Smith & Wesson M&P, Springfield XD, Walther PPQ, HK VP, and the CZ P10. Today, the Glock series of pistols are the most successful and commonplace in the world.

Design and Specs of the Glock 17

The Glock 17 utilizes a striker fired mechanism with a spring loaded firing pin. This pin is cocked in two separate stages and is rated at 5.4 pounds standard from the factory. When the slide is racked, the firing pin is placed into the half cock mode. The firing pin is only fully cocked when the trigger has been pulled all the way to the rear.

The Glock has no external safety but does have a safety lever on the front of the trigger that must be depressed in order for the firearm to fire. This safety system has been replicated by numerous other pistols since then.

Each Glock 17 is built out of a very tough and durable nylon polymer that was invented by Glock, as discussed previously. This polymer is more durable than most steel alloys and carbon steel, being fully resistant to shock and temperature extremely where alloy or steel frames would be more vulnerable.

The Glock is also noted for its low bore axes as the barrel is held close to the shooter hand, which also helps ensure that the pistol is easier to fire as recoil is kept to a minimum.

Specs of the Glock 17:

  • Country of Origin: Austria
  • Caliber: 9mm Luger
  • Capacity: 17+1 rounds (standard factory magazine, extended magazines also available)
  • Overall Length: 8.03 inches
  • Barrel Length: 4.49 inches
  • Weight (loaded): 32.28 ounces
  • Weight (empty): 24.87 ounces
  • Width: 1.26 inches
  • Height: 5.47 inches


There’s no denying that the Glock 17 is one of the most influential pistols ever made, and that without it, the modern day pistol market would simply not look like what it does now.

Glock 17 Inside The Waistband Holsters

Glock 17 Outside The Waistband Holsters