Gunsite GLOCK Service Pistol

Times Change ...
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Gun scribes are frequently accused of exaggerating the unexceptional, overstating the obvious and generally putting lipstick on any pig that comes waddling our way. In fact, we’re often accused of using hyperbole as standard operating procedure rather than an occasional literary device.

But not today. Call it embellishment if you want, but this month’s cover gun is literally revolutionary — it will tilt the gun world a few degrees off-axis, crush some pre-conceived notions and destroy a few long-cherished certainties, as wrong as they might be.

Yes, we’re talking about a semi-butt-ugly “tactical Tupperware” GLOCK. But, as you’ve already surmised, it’s not just any old black plastic striker-fired 9mm. This particular version of the G45 is the new Gunsite GLOCK Service Pistol (GGSP).

Yes, Virginia. Gunsite is embracing the GLOCK.

And perhaps for some quasi-religious “Bird and the Word” acolytes, it’s a literal heresy. However, before anyone decides this is The End Of The World As We Know It, a quick review on the backstory and context of this remarkable new gun is necessary.

The new Gunsite GLOCK Service Pistol (GGSP) — a blue-collar fighting
pistol sure to inspire plenty of discussion!

Col. Jeff Cooper with two unidentified students at Gunsite. At the time,
Cooper was a staunch proponent of the 1911 pistol in .45 ACP. However,
times and technology change …

Let There Be Light

Let’s start at the beginning. The earth formed, the rocks cooled, there was a bunch of history and then Col. Jeff Cooper showed up on our planet.

For the unenlightened and unwashed, Col. Jeff Cooper is “the” guy when it comes to shooting a handgun. Let’s go full stop right there. Contrary to what the latest bearded-wonder spouts on his online video channel, Col. Cooper was the person who finally codified and popularized the idea that shooting a pistol one-handed from a bladed stance, or alternatively, from the hip in a “combat crouch,” wasn’t the best way to put holes in an adversary who was attempting to do the same to you. He then systemized it into the Modern Technique, opened Gunsite and the rest is shooting history.

During Col. Cooper’s lifetime, he became known as a staunch advocate of certain things regarding defensive use of firearms. In fact, he could be quite outspoken in this regard, which gave his detractors plenty of poison-pen ammo.

Yet there was an even greater concept at work for those who took the time to understand Cooper, Gunsite and the Modern Technique. According to current Gunsite honcho Ken Campbell, the Colonel wasn’t the troglodyte his critics often claimed. “Years ago, Jeff Cooper was a proponent of the Weaver stance, the 1911 pistol and the .45 caliber,” Campbell explained. “He was a leader in his field and very forward-thinking at the time when the Modern Technique was developed, and those things were the best choices available. However, things have changed and evolved, so likewise the Modern Technique has evolved.” Thus, Campbell and Gunsite Owner Buz Mills firmly believe Cooper would embrace the perceived transformation the new Gunsite pistol represents.

Campbell knows the new gun could be a lightning rod but is unswervingly unapologetic. “Some folks are going to be aggravated because it’s a GLOCK and it’s not a .45,” he said, “but aside from the practical features, I think this will also help reinforce the idea we’re not the Southwest Dinosaur League as some folks on the internet like to claim.”

In fact, Gunsite was and remains the first-call gunfighter school so the focus has always been on technique and tactics rather than the particular flavor of firearm a student carries. Thus, the choice of 9mm likewise shouldn’t raise any eyebrows. Campbell pointed out, “Col. Cooper often said ‘It’s the man, not the gun,’ and the 9mm isn’t what it used to be in the 1980s and ’90s. Many people shoot the 9mm better than the .45 ACP, and considering shot placement is key, if someone can shoot the nine more effectively, more accurately, more quickly and get better hits, are they gaining anything by going to a larger caliber?”

The Holosun 509T features a solid titanium frame, solar and
battery power and is mounted directly to the slide.

Note the special “retro” raven logo on the back plate. The right side is
straight-stock G45, while inside, the 4.4-lb. trigger pull is courtesy
of a Minus Connector.

Any question about the provenance of the gun is dispelled by
the prominent “Bird and the Word” on top of the slide.

Specs

The G45 is currently claimed to be the top-selling law enforcement pistol in the U.S. and is essentially the striker-fired equivalent of the Colt Commander, one of the favored carry guns among the cognoscenti, including Campbell. “I’m not a huge GLOCK fan-boy, I only own 16 or 17 right now,” he deadpanned. “Seriously, I do carry one from time to time. I don’t feel under-gunned or less prepared with a 9mm GLOCK in my holster.”

The stock G45 is a “crossover” single-stack model, essentially blending the full-sized frame of the Gen 5 model G17 with the compact slide of the G19. This makes for what many shooters consider the most well-balanced GLOCK model and one of the best compromises between control and concealability.

The gun tapes out at a modest 7.44″ overall length with a 6.85″ slide housing a 4.02″ barrel. Overall weight without magazine or optic is under 22 oz. and standard capacity is 17 rounds using G17 magazines.

The Gunsite GLOCK Service Pistol also has a few notable non-stock modifications.

Internally, the fire control system features a Minus Connector. Stock GLOCKs come from the factory with a trigger pull ranging from 5.5 to 6.5 lbs. while the Minus Connector drops this by one pound. Using a Lyman Digital Trigger Gauge, our test gun trigger ranged from 3 lbs. 10 oz. to 5-1 and averaged out at 4-3, a shade under factory spec for the Minus Connector. Subjectively, the trigger pull was longish, a bit spongy and finishing with an almost-crisp break — a typical GLOCK.

The GGSP also includes an FBI Magazine Release. It’s larger than normal but not an oversized competition button. The rounded edges are also nicer on fingers. Ameriglo Suppressor sights ride on top, but more on that in a moment.

There are a few other non-fighting touches primarily aimed at Gunsite fans. The Gunsite Raven mascot and word “Gunsite” are prominent on top of the slide, while guns purchased through the Gunsite Pro Shop also get a custom back plate featuring the retro raven logo. There is also a handy but unobtrusive lanyard loop.

Why a loop? “Well, because it’s tradition with us,” Campbell noted. The serial numbers will start with “API” (American Pistol Institute) and run through 1 to 1000. If you try to purchase gun #1001 of the limited run, you’ll be out of luck.

The G45 has the standard GLOCK light rail along with suppressor-height
sights to properly co-witness in the Holosun 509T optic.

The GGSP features an FBI magazine release. It’s larger than stock and
more rounded but not quite an oversize competition-style release.

The G45 features a grip taken from the G17 (right), itself allegedly modeled on the grip angle of the 1911 pistol. Note the nod to Gunsite tradition on the GGSP — a lanyard loop!

See It, Hit It

The Gunsite G45 comes with a pistol optic, the Holosun HE509T-RD X2. This is another newfangled addition some old-school detractors might question but Campbell is quick to note, “They (pistol optics) are not the wave of the future — they are today.” Approximately 50% to 60% of Gunsite students now show up with a pistol-mounted optic so it made sense to put one on the new GGSP.

The 509T features a 32 MOA circle around a 2 MOA dot wrapped in a solid titanium housing. It uses both a solar charger and CR1632 battery for battery life estimated at 50,000 hours with the 2 MOA dot. It also features Shake Awake so you can jerk your smokewagon without worrying if the optic has been activated.

Most importantly, the 509T is direct-mounted on the slide rather than using an adapter plate system, a GLOCK nicety available only to the military, law enforcement — and Gunsite. “We call that a failure point,” Campbell said, referring to adapter-mounted optics. With a direct-mount sight, it’s far less likely you might accidentally rip the unit off the gun. And, if something bad does happen, the tall Ameriglo suppressor sights co-witness through the squarish 0.63″x0.91″ Holosun TV window so you should always have some type of sighting system available. It’s a critical touch on a gun intended first and foremost as a fighting tool.

Gunsite GLOCK Gear List
Ammo: Speer Gold Dot 124-grain JHP,
Holster: Simply Rugged Holsters,
Optic: Holosun HE509T-RD X2 Open Reflex.
Rattlesnake courtesy of Sherwood’s Taxidermy

Brent was impressed with the optics-aided accuracy of the GSSP. This 5-shot
group (one of the holes is a double-hit) off a sandbag at 25 yards was a tight
0.59"x1.3" center-to-center.

Range Time

For several weeks I tried to come up with a new concept to describe how an otherwise-stock GLOCK shoots. After all, there have been countless reviews, videos and discussions of the brand and this model. As more than one commentator has noted, a GLOCK is like ordering McDonald’s food — for better or worse, you know exactly what you’re getting every time.

With this in mind, here is my insightful, professional gun writer take on the shooting the new GGSP — it shoots like a G45 with a Minus Connector. For better or worse, you know what you’re getting every time.

On the off-chance you’re one of the few people who haven’t fired a GLOCK, it’s comfortable … not outstanding in any single respect, but not terrible either. Balance of the G45 is nice, the smooth G17 frame feels comfortable in the hand and the trigger isn’t great but it isn’t abysmal either. Campbell addressed this. “Some folks might say ‘I wish it was more like a 1911 trigger,’” he posited, “I understand, but it’s not going to be — it’s going to be a GLOCK trigger. You’ve got to deal with what you’ve got and learn how to shoot it. If you really want to carry a 1911, go buy one — we also still offer the Colt Gunsite Service Pistol after all!”

The R Word

Perhaps the single-most important factor in choosing a carry pistol is reliability, a point where the 9mm GLOCK shines. “It’s like a Timex watch,” Campbell noted, “it takes a licking and keeps on ticking.” To his point, this prototype gun has been passed around to many different testers and reviewers, fired countless times with all sorts of ammo without any major cleaning, yet keeps charging with no hiccups. After a couple hundred rounds on our range, the test gun was flawless.

Perhaps above everything else, it’s the blue-collar vibe of the new GGSP that appeals to Campbell, just as Gunsite’s founder noted decades earlier. “Jeff Cooper firmly believed in the idea a pistol should be something reliable and robust; a true working-man’s gun,” Campbell pointed out. He thought back to his days as Sheriff and observed the new pistol lines up with his philosophy of selecting sidearms for his agency.

“This GLOCK is something a young deputy with two kids, a wife, a dog, car and house payments can afford without breaking the bank,” he said. “I always asked, ‘What is affordable but will reliably protect the deputies’ lives, their families’ lives and their citizens’ lives? That is exactly what the Gunsite GLOCK Service Pistol will do.”

MSRP: $1,275

The gun will not be available from Davidson’s or Gunsite until January 16, 2023.

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