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HomeHomeDiscussionsDiscussionsFirearms and Sk...Firearms and Sk...Why I gave up on Glock 20Why I gave up on Glock 20
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1/15/2018 7:25 PM

I discovered 10mm in the early 1990s when I had a Delta Elite. It was a fine pistol for its time. Since 2011 I have had 5 Glock 20s, both gen 3 and gen 4. I always loved the capability of the cartridge as an outdoorsman’s sidearm. In its full power loadings you basically have 357 mag ballistics with a bullet that’s 5 caliber sizes larger and a little heavier. Oh, and almost three times the capacity! So what happened? 

I implicily trust my Glock 19, or 17 or 21. Not the 20, however. Out of all five Glock 20s I have owned, not one has been even close to being as reliable as my G19 (for example) with full power loads. Like most folks who have traveled the 10mm highway I tried an assortment of recoil spring combinations and magazine springs. None were more reliable than the rest. Occasionally I would get through a box of Underwood or Buffalo Bore without an issue and I would assume I had found the magic recoil spring weight. This was always followed by disappointment the next time I went shooting. 

What about with watered down loads? The G20 was very reliable with the watered down loads that were basically 40s&w level. This is not acceptable. 

There are those who say their G20 has been flawless. How can this be? They either got the exception to the rule, only shoot the low power stuff, have not shot enough, or are lying. 

What do I think this is? I think Glock needs to reconsider the design around today’s modern full power ammo. It could be a great woodsman’s sidearm and many use it for that but in my experience with five (5) of them it’s simply not reliable enough. I have heard that the new G40 is more reliable and maybe one day I’ll try one but for now I’ll stick with 9mm with 45 being a distant 2nd as a woods sidearm. I have big bore revolvers, too, but those are boat anchors, slow to reload, deafeningly load, have limited capacity and must be kept cleaner to be reliable (think sand or dirt inside the trigger housing). Yes the revolver guys will go ballistic over this. Remember, I like revolvers, too. 

Anyway, that’s why I gave up on the G20 (until Glock can make improve it). 

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1/15/2018 7:53 PM
If you stay with 180 - 200 gr jacketed bullets at no more than about 1200 - 1250 fps, the G20 can be reliable. That's pretty much the operating window of reliable performance for most 10mm's, regardless of make. If you need more horsepower than that, you really just need a different cartridge and I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for Glock to do anything with the G20.

Should you care to venture into 1911 territory, there's some pistolsmiths out there that know how to set one up to run the .45 Super cartridge reliably. I've contemplated (not too seriously, to be quite honest) of getting a Guncrafter HOSS as a platform for the ultimate 1911 .45 Super.

Another alternative is an HK45 in some persuasion .... they can handle a reasonable amount of .45 Super use without modifications of any kind. The ability to shoot standard pressure .45 ACP stuff w/o having to change anything is a useful feature with that option, as well.
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1/15/2018 8:10 PM

Hi 41mag fan, I do like 45 super and I had a Glock 21 that was very reliable with 45 super. I enjoyed it very much but gave it up and went back to 9mm. 

I agree 100% about the velocity range of the 180 and 200. 


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1/16/2018 6:27 AM

41magfan, I didn’t read your post carefully enough regarding the 180 and 200 grainers. My experience shooting those loads at those velocities was no more reliable than any others. It was common to go through several mags without issue and then I would have a couple failures. This happened over several years with five different G20s and their magazines. 

I live in the country in Virginia and can shoot in my yard. For a period of months I was shooting literally every day. I suspect the average shooter might shoot a box or two through their g20 every couple of months at the range and from that conclude it’s reliable if they didn’t have any failures. 

I have not calculated the percentage of reliability from my g20 experience but I would guess it’s around 85-90% reliable. 

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1/16/2018 6:47 PM

Interesting info.  I've carried a Glock 20 Gen4 for my last two backpacking trips to griz country.   Haven't shot it much, probably less than 300rds.  I was relying on transferring skill from smaller frame Glocks with which I have a much higher round count.  It has never had a problem except with Buffalo Bore 220 hardcast.    My go to has been Corbon 10mm 200gr Hunter.   It is only listed as 1125fps so I'm probably losing a lot of 10mm goodness on it.

I have a hard time finding the time to reload and 10mm factory just costs too much to shoot a lot.  Grip is big for my hand and somewhat awkward but when I do what I'm supposed to it hits.

Am strongly considering trying out a S&W M&P 2.0 5" in .40 after reading Evan's experiences.


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1/16/2018 7:50 PM

cco45acp, funny you should mention that. I’m buying the 2.0 Compact 40s&w tomorrow. I’m still keeping my G19 but that 2.0 compact feels very good in hand

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5/10/2018 5:01 AM
I had a Glock 20 gen 4. It was ok. I bought a Glock 40 MOS. I installed a KKM stainless barrel, added nght sights, a Vickers mag release and extended slide release. My 40 has been very reliable with Sig 180gr FMJ and Underwood 180gr ammo. I haven't used any other weight 10mm ammo or changed recoil spring weights. I ended up sellng the Glock 20 because I liked my 40 so much more.
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5/11/2018 4:37 AM

I realize that claiming expertise on a forum is hollow, but I have read this and other 10mm threads on here with interest, as many of the experiences expressed are very different than my own.

Like Chris above I've been shooting the 10mm for 25 years, starting with the S&W 610 and the Delta Elite. I had a long relationship with the caliber in all the action shooting sports, and used it in every defensive handgun class I've taken to date. I used to reload so much of it that I kept my brass in large tubs stacked next to my reloading bench. I've still got a case of Norma ammo, and (I'm aging myself a bit) several boxes of FBI ammo that I bought new when Federal dumped it on the consumer market.

In all that time I've found the caliber to be close to flawlessly reliable in any platform. I don't care for polymer, but while I was waiting for an IPSC Limited high cap 1911 to be built I used a Glock 20 for a full season. This was around 1996 or so. It ran like a Swiss watch, even with my fake Crime Bill assembled magazines.

I'm a pretty casual handgun shooter now, usually with one of my kids or a quick trip after work. When I don't feel like reloading I can buy S&B 10mm at my LGS for $18.99 per box. One thing that hasn't changed is monotonous reliability in my 10mms.

My observation related to the negative comments on reliability is one that others have made as well: the proliferation of small company full power loads have sullied the reputation of an otherwise excellent cartridge a bit. Using small batch 700+ ftbs stuff of suspect quality control seems to be the consistent variable in these online comments I see from people expressing legitimate frustration. 

I'm sorry to hear that the Glock 20 is losing its reputation as a benchmark in 10mm reliability.  If they can't make a gun run on the boutique ammo I'm not sure anyone can.

Chris, I am a revolver nerd, and your point about volume is well taken.  My usual hiking gun is a revolver, but I think I might throw it and run instead of shooting it.  


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9/15/2018 2:47 PM
I may give the G20 a final chance one day and avoid all the redline rpm loads.

Aric, I really like the s&w aitweights in 357 or 38. I have chronographed the 38 Special Buffalo bore 158 Keith out of my 1 7/8” barrel at 1050. I get 1000 FPS from the underwood 140grain extreme penetrator. I have no doubt they will penetrate a bear’s skull at 6’.
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