Umarex Glock G17 Blowback Action Model

Umarex Glock G17 Blowback Action Model

A first look at the long awaited CO2 pistol Part 3 Part 2 Part 1

By Dennis Adler

Compared to the vast majority of contemporary handgun manufacturers, Glock is a young company with a mere 36 year history compared to others that have been around for centuries. As a CO2 pistol it is also the newest brand compared to established names like Sig Sauer, Heckler & Koch, Colt, Beretta and Smith & Wesson. Interestingly, Glock’s influence on older armsmakers like Sig, Walther, H&K, and S&W (among others), has led to a new era of striker-fired, polymer-framed pistols following the Glock design method.

I write Airgun Experience for you, the reader, but to be honest, I choose the test guns for myself. I have very specific interests in firearms with a tendency to favor old designs with history (in case you hadn’t noticed). For Glock, history only began in 1982, yet in that comparatively short 36 year span the Austrian armsmaker has accomplished nearly as much manufacturing handguns as companies established more than 150 years ago. Glock has challenged the Colt’s Patent Firearms Mfg. Co., Smith & Wesson, Sig Sauer (originally established in Switzerland in 1860 as Sig Arms AG), FN (Fabrique Nationale) established in Liege, Belgium, in the late 19th century, as well as time-honored armsmakers like Heckler & Koch, Walther, Browning, and Beretta, the world’s oldest firearms manufacturer. Glock has not only held its own but achieved global success in the military, law enforcement, private sector and civilian markets, displacing many of the aforementioned as a primary sidearm.

While being a leader in innovation, Glock is a follower in the world of blowback action CO2 models. Teamed with Umarex, which manufacturers CO2 models of Colt, Walther, H&K, Beretta, S&W and other brand name pistols, the Glock G17 benefits from the years of experience Umarex has making totally authentic air pistols based on centerfire guns. The G17 is a near perfect copy of the 9x19mm pistol.

For someone who is more comfortable with a steel framed gun in their hand, a gun with a long and celebrated history of manufacturing, a gun with a heritage, picking up a Glock and liking it, admitting to its fundamental superiority over more established and revered firearms is not easy. A Glock is not a work of art it, is a work of purpose, no more than it need be to do its job. For me, the art of gun making is lost on the Glock design, but the art of form follows function is not. For a company that is, shall we say, earnest in everything it does, putting its name on a CO2 pistol is significant. Glock won’t even build a .22 Long Rifle version. There are .22 caliber conversion kits with slide, barrel and magazines sold by firms like The Glock Store that can make a 9x19mm G17 into a .22 caliber pistol, but this is not the same as Glock making a .22 caliber model of its own. I only point this out to underscore how momentous the Umarex Glock G17 blowback action CO2 model is.

While the outside temperature was in the low 30s when it was time to do the G17 photo shoot and handling tests, the new blowback action CO2 pistol was as accommodating to the environment as its centerfire counterpart making for a very successful training exercise. The holster tests were done with a Blackhawk Serpa Level 2 holster.
The G17 CO2 model handles exactly like the centerfire pistol and wearing gloves does not limit feel or control. The Blackhawk Serpa holster secures the gun until the release is activated by the trigger finger and then draws cleanly from the form fit molded pouch.
Here the camera captures the motion of the support hand coming up to meet the strong hand and pistol to form a two-handed hold before bringing the pistol up and pressing out to a ready to fire position.
I brought the gun up and fired as quickly as possible. This same drill can be done by dry firing the centerfire pistol, but by using the CO2 model you have the advantage of seeing how accurate your shot is by placing a .177 caliber BB on target, and this is a practice session you can also do indoors with a proper backstop and targets.

Testing the waters

Glock and Umarex took a cautious approach to building its first CO2 models covering two market segments, entry level mass market with the non-blowback but very authentic looking G19 Compact, and then the more expensive blowback action G17, still the flagship of the Glock lineup. Obviously expectations for the G19 CO2 model were not too high, but the G17 has become another story, still conservatively done, the G17 delivers everything you expect from handling to accuracy and it comes just six months after the G19 was released to test the waters. The G17 may fall short in its inability to field strip, but in every other aspect it has done what Glock pistols do, it has raised a bar on fit and finish, authentic handling and capability to use centerfire pistol accessories, developing effective velocity, and as this final test will reveal, accuracy for a CO2 powered BB pistol.

Another drill the CO2 model allows you to do is reloading practice. Since the slide on the G17 model locks back on an empty chamber you can practice dropping the magazine and reloading, as well as tactical reloads with a partially empty magazine. The G17 CO2 model has the same capacity as the centerfire model so this becomes a very authentic training drill. The G17 will be available later this year and into next January. Spare magazines will also be available.

Steel downrange

I had hoped to do an outdoor shooting test for this final installment but the weather has determined otherwise, nice backdrop for photos but 34 degrees isn’t CO2 pistol testing weather. Nonetheless the indoor range will allow a good 21 foot evaluation as well as an extended range test at 10 meters. I decided to do this because of the higher velocity delivered by the G17 model.

This is identical to the centerfire pistol so inserting the CO2 BB mag into the grip is the same training exercise. The magazine slaps into the base of the grip with ease. Drop the slide and you are ready to resume.

In comparison to a non-blowback action pistol, a blowback is not going to achieve as high a velocity. The G19 Umarex Glock model has a factory rated velocity of 410 fps, about 100 fps faster than most blowback action CO2 pistols. Using Umarex Precision steel BBs the Glock 19 clocked an impressive average of 430 fps when I tested it last summer, and this is still a great low-cost CO2 pistol to own. In my initial velocity test of the G17 average velocity clocked 365 fps, so the typical 100 fps difference between non-blowback and blowback action CO2 models is not the same with these two Glock pistols.

Using the Blackhawk Serpa Level 2 locking holster with the Umarex Glock G17 is an excellent training regimen as it allows the shooter to become accustomed to performing repetitive actions to safely draw the gun.
Here the holster is removed to show exactly how the locking system works. The holster is form fit to the G17 (Level 1) and the CO2 model is the exact size of the centerfire gun so this works perfectly. The bottom half of the locking paddle drops inside the triggerguard and prevents the gun from being dislodged from the holster if the wearer were involved in a scuffle or fall. The G17 can only be drawn with the trigger finger pressing in on the top of the locking lever, as shown, which moves the bottom half out of the triggerguard.
At the same time the gun must be pulled up to allow it to clear the lock and be removed from the holster. In this second action the trigger finger slides back from the lever and falls in place on the side of the frame and above the triggerguard where it should remain until the gun is brought on target.

During my velocity tests I had the chronograph placed 21 feet from the target and my roughly aimed shots for chronographing were hitting the target in tight groups that averaged less than an inch. With the same CO2 cartridge still in the gun I went back for a second 10-shot run through the chronograph and this time average velocity increased to 376 fps with a high of 395 fps, a low of 366 fps and a standard deviation for 10 shots of 10 fps. But the target told the story. I had three 5-shot groups in the bullseye averaging 0.74 inches firing from a Weaver stance, using a two-handed hold and the sights held at 6 o’clock. There were no appreciable windage or elevation issues beyond my own movement; the gun was right on target.

This is the target I was using for the chronograph tests at 21 feet and as you can see the Glock was grouping tight.

With the higher than expected velocity, I began by pushing the G17 to the limit and shooting my first target test at 10 meters instead of 21 feet. I wasn’t expecting to get sub -inch groups with a smoothbore but I got them, printing three five-shot groups all under an inch. At 8 o’clock and 2 o’clock, I had five rounds at 0.875 inches inside the 2-inch diameter red bullseye, and five more above it grouped at 12 o’clock measuring 0.75 inches. I had loaded the magazine with the full 18 rounds and shot the final three into a 0.50 inch cluster at 10 o’clock with one in the red and two clipping the edge. This isn’t quite blowback action pellet pistol accuracy at 10 meters, but it comes close, and for a smoothbore BB pistol, better than expected.

With the higher velocity achieved by the G17 I ran a few targets at 10 meters (33 feet) instead of the usual 21 feet. At the extreme end of smoothbore blowback action pistol accuracy the G17 was printing 5-shot groups measuring under an inch.

My 21 foot tests were also shot with Umarex Precision .177 caliber steel BBs and my best 10-round group measured 0.84 inches with five shots clustered into 0.56 inches. This is dime-size accuracy and POA is dead on with the G17 CO2 model.

The 21 foot test delivered a best 10 rounds (at this point I was only loading 10 shots into the magazine) at 0.84 inches with five shots clustered into 0.56 inches. Shots were aimed at the bottom of the large red bullseye (6 o’clock hold) and the gun consistently groups under an inch.

Despite a couple of very minor shortcomings the new Umarex Glock G17 might just be the wild card in this year’s top picks for Airgun of the Year. As for now, Umarex should be shipping the G17 by the end of December and into early January, a little late, but absolutely worth the wait. Next year I will do a comparison shootout between the G17 Third Model centerfire and CO2 models as well as the Sig Sauer M17 models. But there is still more to come in 2018!

As something of a postscript, I had enough air left for two full 17-round magazines, so I set up a larger Birchwood Casey silhouette target and fired a series of combat drills combining drawing from the Blackhawk Serpa holster and firing double taps at 15 feet to 21 feet, single weak hand shooting at 21 feet, dropping and kneeling shots, rolling sideways and firing from floor level shots, 10 meter shots two-handed, drawing and rapid firing while moving toward the target from 21 feet to 15 feet, and two barricade shots single handed right and left hands. Everything hit inside the 9, 10 and X rings with multiple overlapping hits. This proved that the Umarex Glock could work for basic training drills with immediate feedback from the Birchwood Casey Shoot-N-C target to gauge accuracy from different shooting positions.

Watch the Pyramyd Air website for announcement of pre-orders. This one is going to sell out.

5 thoughts on “Umarex Glock G17 Blowback Action Model”

  1. Looks like dead on and a candidate for pistol of the year. Two things seem to be proven. The short recoil action gives higher velocity, and higher velocity in smoothbore pistols translates into better accuracy, especially at longer distance. The better accuracy out to 30 feet provides for training at distances out to 10 yards, and enters into the realm of close quarter firearms distance shooting. Will be adding one to my air arsenal. Never thought I would be interested in one of these. The times are changing and the dinosaurs are adapting. One of my buddies , a long time S&W J 38 fan , just bought a Sig 365 yesterday.

    • It does get the job done for training. I went back and shot a silhouette target at varying distances and from different shooting positions with both hands and the G17 delivered the training accuracy and feedback one needs from a CO2 understudy.

  2. It seems that It hits all the crucial spots. Being a European I may have the chance to get my hands on one before the end of the year, in case you are interested in an early opinion.

  3. I too like classic firearms, but due to advances in technology, many classic designs are now relegated to classic collectibles, for those clinging to history. Firearms are now more tools than works of art. My first handgun was a Walter Ppk/s 380. 30 plus blowback 380s are now being replaced by polymer frame9mm pistols lighter like the new Sig P365, and Glock 43 are signaling the death of pistols like the Walther . For police use the 1911 is done. It will continue in action shooting , sport and defense, limited use in elite units, but it like the classic , now discontinued Browning High Power are now old retired war horses. Time and technology march on . If I had to carry a Glock as a duty pistolor service pistol I wouldn’t be miserable , just not as happy as I would be with a High Power.

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