Barra 009 vs. Umarex G17 Gen4 Part 2

Barra 009 vs. Umarex G17 Gen4 Part 2

Parts is Parts, or are they?

By Dennis Adler

It is the face off that could not be avoided, the brand name Glock 17 Gen4 vs. the no name Barra 009 version of a select-fire Glock 18.

We have seen “interchangeability of parts” with other CO2 pistols, blowback action 1911s and the non-Beretta branded Model 92 Series models (Swiss Arms P92 and Gletcher BRT 92FS), which I have addressed in previous Airgun Experience articles. It all makes perfect sense because the same design air pistols (from the same factories) basically use the same parts, only the names are changed, but they look pretty much alike otherwise. This is prevalent with blowback action 1911 CO2 models – Swiss Arms, Tanfoglio, Air Venturi (John Wayne 1911), Umarex Colt Commander, even the superb Sig Sauer We The People – so it should be no surprise that we are seeing the first gun to share the internal components that make up the Glock 17 Gen4 CO2 model. There is already a select fire G18C Air Soft model from Umarex, and there are different Glock CO2 and Air Soft (GBB) versions sold in Europe that we may never see in the U.S. (but you never know). The point is, the parts exist and work in different platforms and the 009 is the first CO2 BB model to emerge from the Glock parts bin.

Barra has put itself on the razor’s edge for breaking new ground (in the U.S. market) and what the 009 has brought to the table in actual fact is proof that a brand name might not be as important as the product, if that product excels in quality and performance and is not available under the brand name. That fact that the 009 can use the same CO2 BB magazines as the Gen4 is just another check in the plus column.

The Gen4 shoots high and a little left but with corrected aim can do a good job at 21 feet. My corrected POA is indicated with a large red X on both target photos.

Parts is Parts

All design (external) differences aside, let’s see how the two air pistols shoot against each other. Ideally the Umarex Glock G17 Gen4 and Barra 009 are 7 yard pistols for best accuracy, and both are sending steel BBs downrange in the 316 fps range. Without making any POA adjustments and holding at 6 o’clock under the bullseye, using a two-handed hold, the G17 Gen put 10 shots into 1.25 inches with groups hitting 2.5 inches low and 1.5 inches left. The 009 fired semi-auto put 10 shots into 1.2 inches with groups hitting 3-inches low and center. Neither gun has good POA/POI and both need to be held over to hit the bullseye, but this is not unusual. With a corrected hold over, the Glock put 10 rounds into an even 2.0 inches in the 10 and bull with 3 X bulls and a best 5-rounds at 1.06 inches; not one of my better shooting days (the best I have ever done with the Gen4 is five rounds at 0.5 inches). With the 009, I already knew the gun shoots dead center for windage and my holdover was near the top center of the target. This gave me 10 shots all in the 10 and X (1 X just clipping the edge) with a total spread of 1.375 inches and best 5-shots at 0.81 inches; but there were also four overlapping at 3 o’clock in the 10 ring at 0.31 inches. My best 10-shot group since I began testing the 009 in September, measured 1.25 inches and a best five rounds at 0.59 inches.

I shot tighter groups with the 009 which holds dead center for windage but needs a pretty significant hold over to punch shots into the 10 and X. My POA was near top center (red X).

Overall, the two guns shoot about the same but the 009 is more consistent with a zero windage correction despite its near 3-inch required holdover to center punch the target. The obvious advantage is the lever at the left rear of the slide that turns the G17 like 009 into a full-auto that delivers the CO2 version of a Glock 18.

And now for the elephant

If we assume all the parts are the same, (and I’ll tell you now they are not), would it be possible to put the 009 select-fire slide on the Gen4 frame and create a more authentic looking Glock 18? Looking at the components in the frames, there appears to be only one difference, a catch mechanism on the left side. The barrels, dual recoil spring and guide rod are the same on both guns, and all the parts of the slide, except at the very back where the select-fire lever is added. Theoretically, you should be able to fieldstrip both guns and put the 009 slide on the Gen4 frame. In fact, you can.

Almost everything looks the same on both guns but there are subtle differences between the slides and frames and the firing systems.
Although the action in both frames appears the same, look closer at the 009’s frame. The firing system has a resetting catch mechanism (which works like a sear) and engages with the selector tab in the slide. This allows the gun to fire semi-auto with the lever in the up (single action) position and the catch allowed to reset after each shot. When pushed down (full auto) it blocks the catch from resetting and allows the gun to continue firing as long as the trigger is pulled back. The 009 is a much more sophisticated design than the G17 Gen4.

With both guns apart, the slides are switched and the two guns reassembled. Magazines inserted, slides racked and released, and triggers pulled (dry fire). Everything went back together…parts is parts…but do the parts work when you load, aim and pull the trigger?

It looks like the slides are interchangeable between the two guns. And in respect to fitting onto the opposite frames, they are.

The answer is no joy. The 009 slide will fit the Gen4 frame but it won’t make the Glock Gen4 into a G18; it will fire semi-auto, but the full auto function does not work because of the added parts in the 009 frame mechanism. They function like the sear on a select fire gun and allow it to continue firing as long as the trigger is held back. To make a G18 (or a 009) it takes changes to both the frame and slide. This was not true when I switched slides and frames a year or so ago between the full auto Gletcher BRT 92FS and Swiss Arms P92 semi-auto versions of the Beretta 92FS. It was a simple swap because the entire firing mechanism for the select-fire Gletcher was in the frame. So, parts aren’t always parts, even when they come from the same factory for the same design guns.

The elephant has left the building.

In the end, you can switch the slide from the 009 to the Gen4 and make it look like a G18, but it won’t work like one. It is a little bit of a disappointment, but not totally unexpected. It would seem logical at this point for Umarex to introduce a CO2 BB version of their G18C Air Soft model, because in that instance, parts is parts.

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