Barra 009 Part 002

Barra 009 Part 002

What’s in a name?

By Dennis Adler

Samuel Colt established a name, a brand, and legacy in the 19th century; Gaston Glock has done much the same in the 20th and 21st centuries,but like Colt or any other gunmaker, a design can only be protected by patents for so long. A name, well, that’s another thing altogether. Today you will see endless copies of Colt designs, but none can ever be called a Colt or wear the Colt emblem. They can look like a Colt but they can’t be a Colt. They can, however, occasionally be better. I’m picking on the Model 1911 both literally and as a case study. Many of the improvements we see today on 1911s, even Colt 1911s, were not developed by Colt. The ambidextrous safety, for example, the dustcover rail, and thus the Colt 1911 Rail Gun, were not developed by Colt; other guns that looked like a Colt 1911 had them first, although Armand Swensen’s ambidextrous extended thumb safeties and high visibility rear sights were actually developed in the mid 1960s for the Model 1911. Today, Colt offers ambidextrous safeties as do almost every maker of 1911-style pistols, same for high visibility sights, and even the squared triggerguard, also invented for the 1911 by Swensen.

In the early 1980s, Gaston Glock pioneered the polymer frame and the Safe-Action trigger with its integral blade safety. Today there are a lot of guns that look like Glocks, a lot of guns that have a version of the Safe-Action trigger (whether their profile mimics the four squared shape of a Glock or not), so what is in a name? The name is a heritage, the inventions, however unique, can only remain sacrosanct to that name for as long as the patents last. After that time is up, as the old expression goes, “here comes everybody.”

My litmus test for any Glock CO2 model or any model that looks like a Glock and has an accessory rail is whether or not it will fit, and properly align the on/off switches, of a Glock GTL light or light/laser. Even with the different triggerguard shape the GTL fits the 009. First hurdle cleared.

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The Glock influence

It is safe to say that Glock’s design innovations have had far reaching influence on almost every major firearms manufacturer in the world over the past 38 years, and the company has gone from an almost unknown Austrian manufacturer to international celebrity on a scale with Colt, Smith & Wesson, Browning, Sig (Sig Sauer), FN (Fabrique Nationale), Heckler & Koch, Carl Walther, and a dozen other companies with histories established long before anyone ever heard of a Glock. And yet here we are looking at a design that isn’t even as old as Swenson’s ambidextrous thumb safety for a 1911!

An early Glock-style CO2 model from Crosman, the T4CS came out in 2007. This was a non-blowback pellet model with the CO2 in the grip and an 8-shot rotary pellet magazine. It was still being manufactured in 2016.
Before Umarex and Glock joined forces to build the non-blowback G19 and blowback action G17, G17 Gen4 and G19X, Umarex had gone solo on a blowback action Glock-style model called the SA177. It was produced from 2010 to 2012.

Some companies that started out a few years ago making custom accessories for Glock pistols have graduated to building complete guns that look like customized Glocks, but are not Glocks. As for CO2 pistols, like the new Barra 009, its not the first to look like a Glock without bearing the Glock name. Years before Umarex and Glock teamed up, Umarex had one from 2010 to 2012 called the SA177 which looked almost exactly like a Glock 17, Crosman introduced a Glock-style air pistol in 2007, the Model T4CS, and then there is the ISSC M22 back in 2016, which was built to resemble a G18 with a non functioning selector switch on both sides of the slide (double the disappointment). If imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery, Glock should be very flattered by now because legions of gunmakers and airgun manufactures are pushing the Glock profile into a shape as familiar today as a Colt 1911 used to be. While Barra is far from the first to build a Glock-style air pistol, it could very well be the best so far!

ISSC dipped into the Glock pool in 2016 with the M22 a blowback action model that had non-functional G18 selectors, a Glock profile, Glock-style trigger and sights, paired with an external hammer and a DAO action.

What makes the 009 better?

Getting it right the first time is what we want all airgun makers to do. Few succeed at this because they are catering to multiple markets of which we more discerning (read fussy people who want realistic features and handling) only make up a small portion of the buying public willing to pay extra for, well, extra. Barra waded into the 009 with expectations to build a gun that filled a specific niche in the blowback action market, a gun that looked a lot like a G18 and actually had a semi-auto/full auto selector. Consumer expectations met. That in itself is not a new idea because there are a number of relatively new select-fire airguns out there; two Beretta models from Umarex and the 1930’s Legends Broomhandle Mauser M712, plus the WWII era Umarex MP40 sub machinegun, M1A1 Thompson, and very authentic looking and handling Mini Uzi select-fire pistol. What the 009 brings to the game is a modern day gun with that same attraction. Remember, there are no actual select-fire Beretta 92A1 and M9A3 centerfire guns; this is made up for the air pistols (because the real select-fire Beretta design, the 93R, is locked into the Air Soft world and there is no CO2 counterpart). In the “as real as it gets” category for contemporary air pistol designs, the 009 is hard to beat. And it has a few tweaks that the real G18 could use!

The Umarex Glock 17 Gen4 is the current state-of-the-art CO2 model (more so than the later G19X because the Gen4 can be field stripped), with correct 1:1 features. Here I am pointing to the undercut triggerguard seen on centerfire and CO2 Glock pistols.
The undercut on the G17 allows the middle finger of the shooting hand to rest a little higher on the grip. Also look where my little finger is resting and the bottom of the Glock triggerguard’s flat surface.
With a two-handed hold on the G17 Gen4 CO2 model you can see that the support hand index finger rests level under the triggerguard.

Get a grip

With an actual select-fire Glock 18/18C, your shooting stance on full auto needs to be slightly exaggerated with a forward body lean (and moving the right leg back) to better handle the rapid recoil, but otherwise it can be a Weaver stance with a two-handed hold. On full auto the 9mm Glock pushes relatively straight back and does not have the tendency to climb like some other full auto pistols. I have even seen videos of gun tests with the G18 fired on full auto with one hand. As a CO2 pistol the change in stance is not necessary but for training’s sake isn’t going to hurt and may even help with the modest recoil generated by this air pistol on full auto.

The specific features that separate the 009 from an actual G18 are the grip shape and the triggerguard. These are improvements to the design that aid in gripping the gun and using a two-handed hold. In all other respects it is the same as shooting the CO2 Gen4 model until you move the selector down to full auto.

I am pointing to the much deeper undercut of the 009 triggerguard.
The middle finger of the shooting hand is higher up on the grip as is my little finger at the base of the grip. The grip contour also allows the gun to rest a little further back in the hand because it is flat rather than curved. This, of course, is a matter of personal preference.

The change in grip contour with the 009 gives you that old solid as a rock 1911 feel you get with flat mainspring housing models, though to be fair, the arched mainspring and guns like the Glock that have a curve to the grip that presses into the palm swell are equally popular; it becomes a matter of shooter’s preferences, that’s why they make 1911s today with flat and arched mainspring housing, and polymer frame semi autos with interchangeable backstrap panels. But hey, this gun feels good in the hand. The second of three alterations is the deeply undercut triggerguard, and I mean deeply undercut so that the middle finger is not only tucked up higher but your entire grip is raised which lowers the bore axis compared to a regular Glock. The improved triggerguard design does come at a price. The contour is different enough that the 009 will not fit any Glock 17 injection molded or Kydex molded holsters. It will, however, still fit in most leather holsters.

There’s more to the 009 triggerguard, a second undercut which will allow the support hand index finger to snug up higher. Also note the small rest for the shooting hand thumb tip that sits right behind the serrated Glock-style slide lock.
The combination of grip shape and the double undercut triggerguard provides a more secure hold on the gun. This is beneficial for single action and full auto fire.

The last alteration is a second triggerguard undercut that allows the same relief for the support hand index finger to create a tighter two-handed hold. There is also a slight rest for the support hand thumb tip right behind the slide lock (slide release) that a Glock does not have. This all will have an effect on how well the gun shoots based on how you are holding it.

The small thumb tip rest is also a good feature as shown here in this two-handed hold. It is on both sides of the frame so this is an ambidextrous feature.

In Part 003 we will pull the trigger and test the gun as a semi-auto compared to the Gen4. 

4 thoughts on “Barra 009 Part 002”

  1. The rounder trigger guard improves handling as does the under cut relief. Removing the squared off front makes the pistol appear trimmer as well. Will be interesting to see what the average fps will be , but am betting it will be close to 325 fps.

    • I think you are right, since internally the mechanisms are the same as the Umarex Glock 17 Gen4, except for the select fire control. It will be interesting to see what it averages on full auto if the chronograph can capture a few shots in rapid succession.

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