Umarex Glock G17 Blowback Action Model

Umarex Glock G17 Blowback Action Model

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

By Dennis Adler

The new Umarex Glock G17, which will soon be available from Pyramyd Air, is almost everything one could ask for in a blowback action CO2 model designed to be both a sport shooting and training pistol. Matching the Third Model Glock 17 inch for inch, the CO2 model has all the correct Glock factory markings and a slide that locks back on an empty magazine. Also note the accurate shape of the barrel with the slide locked open.

The Glock 17 was intended to be the most advanced military handgun design of the 20th century but I think Gaston Glock’s intent in designing the G17 was not solely to win the Austrian Military trials in 1982 (becoming the country’s standard issue military handgun the following year) but for the Austrian-made semiautomatic pistol to eventually replace every military handgun in the world. Over the past 36 years Glock has almost achieved that goal, intended or not. Glock models are carried by U.S. military units, foreign military and government agencies, U.S. state and local police, international law enforcement, and by civilians in greater numbers than almost any other handgun currently in production.

A head-to-head visual comparison of a Third Model G17 (top) and the new Umarex Glock G17 CO2 model (bottom) show the fine attention Umarex and Glock gave to making a CO2 blowback action pistol that is fully representative of the centerfire model.

Making it measure up

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The 9x19mm G17 has an overall length of 8.03 inches, slide length of 7.32 inches, barrel length of 4.49 inches, height of 5.47 inches and width of 1.26 inches. Standard capacity for the G17 is 17 rounds (though that is the not the reason for the name, it was the 17th design developed by Gaston Glock). The new Umarex Glock G17 CO2 model is a training gun that incorporates all of the basic 9x19mm model’s features so it can be a suitable stand-in for the centerfire pistol when learning fundamental holstering, drawing, aiming, reloading, and shooting techniques. Unfortunately (depending upon one’s point of view), the long awaited G17 blowback action model is not a full feature, field strippable pistol, so that element of training (learning to field strip the gun, which is quite simple with a Glock) is lost on this otherwise superbly designed CO2 model.

In the evolution of the Glock generations a number of external and internal designs set the Gen4 apart from its predecessors. The new double recoil spring and guide rod combination (right) greatly mitigate felt recoil and muzzle flip. Pictured is a Second Model G17 (bottom), Third Model (left), and Gen4 (right). Also note the changes in grip design and addition of Picatinny rail on the Third Model and Gen4 dust covers. The CO2 model’s frame is virtually identical to the Third version of the Glock 17.

Umarex and Glock Perfection

Much as I hate the word “compromise” there is almost always some compromise when building a CO2 version of a centerfire pistol for use as a training gun, in fact, you can name all of the models with little or no compromises on one hand starting off with the Umarex S&W M&P40. You won’t be able to put the new Glock 17 CO2 model on that list for several reasons, the aforementioned inability for the pistol be field stripped, and two more minor issues, one being the use of an internally contained frame-mounted firing system (as in when you lock the slide back and remove the magazine you are still looking at the firing system and not out the bottom of the grip), and lastly, not having a functioning Safe Action trigger and employing a manual safety instead, though it is very cleverly hidden on the underside of the frame in the recess where the serial number plate goes on centerfire Glock models. Among the key plusses over the earlier Umarex Glock G19 model, which was a non-blowback pistol with a stick magazine, the G17 delivers on the promise of a self-contained CO2 BB magazine and accurate Third Model Glock 17 design.

There is one quick tell that this is the CO2 model, the subtle but obvious lack of the 9x19mm marking after AUSTRIA. Note the attention to detail in the grip finger grooves and checkering, the rough pattern on the grip panels and the GLOCK emblem on the base of the grip.

Why a Third Model design?

The original Glock 17 was introduced to the public for sale as a 1983 model. It was virtually identical to the guns being made for the Austrian military and police, chambered in 9x19mm and with a capacity of 17+1. Being designed as a military sidearm, it was essentially simplistic in its execution and had very few of the features we find today on Glock semi-autos. The initial success of the G17 also brought forth a wealth of consumer requests for change, something which manufactures are often loathe to do. Glock was slow to warm to the idea of altering what was essentially a brand new design but the company was also market driven and the original changes consumers wanted were neither unreasonable nor difficult with injection molding, thus beginning in 1991 (just eight years after being introduced) texturing was added to the grip panels, along with internal improvements. A second alteration came in the 1990s with the addition of checkering on the front strap and serrations to the backstrap. This all constitutes the Second Model, though it is a relatively arbitrary designation.

The slide and barrel lug interface look as real as it gets for a CO2 model. This was established with the earlier G19 non-blowback model which used the same fit and interface even though the slide was fixed. Most of the internal and external designs for the G17 blowback model were carried over from the G19 introduced earlier this year as an entry level model.
This is what we had expected from the G19 CO2 model, a slide that locks back on an empty magazine, functional slide release, and a full-size self-contained CO2 BB magazine to allow proper training use. Where the new G17 disappoints is in not being designed for field stripping. This is due to the internal design, which is less realistic but more practical on the manufacturing side. And there is no actual reason to field strip a BB pistol for cleaning. This is, of course, a decision made not only by Umarex but Glock. When Umarex built the S&W M&P40, it was S&W’s desire that the gun be as close in every aspect, including field stripping, to the centerfire pistols as possible. I find it interesting that Glock did not follow this same path since more Glock pistols are used by U.S. law enforcement than S&W M&P40s.

The most notable revisions to the gun came in the late 1990s with a third variation incorporating an integral-with-the-frame accessory (Picatinny) rail to allow the mounting of laser sights, tactical flashlights, or combinations of both, as well as their availability from Glock with the GTL Series. Thumb rests on both sides of the frame and finger grooves on the front strap were also introduced to provide a short term fix for the greater issue many consumers had with the Glock design; grip size. One size didn’t fit all. A still later production modification resulted in an improved extractor that served as a loaded chamber indicator with a tactile squared metal edge protruding slightly outward from back of the ejector port. This could both be seen and, more importantly, felt in situations which demanded immediate knowledge of the gun’s condition. The Gen4, first introduced with the G22 and then G17, were the first models to offer interchangeable backstrap panels. The standard grip, slightly smaller than the previous models, could be covered over by one of two different panels, medium and large. There were also internal changes to the recoil system (a new dual recoil spring system), and thus Gen4 models provided better-handling, better-engineering and more versatility; the differences, although subtle, are distinctive in appearance and in function. That said, Glock still manufacturers the Third Model G17, even as the Gen5 models are being introduced. The simple explanation is that some people want a less expensive Glock that still serves the general needs of a self defense pistol with a proven history. The Third Model G17 certainly owns that.

On the very strong plus side of the G17 CO2 model is the ability to incorporate the use of Glock accessories like the GTL model tactical light and laser units. They slide on and align in position just as they do on the centerfire models.

The aesthetics of Glock pistols are not in looking attractive but in being durable (as in surviving just about every torture test a handgun can be subjected to, and I have seen it done), in being uncomplicated in operation and handling, and ensuring familiarity between models. Other than size, if you know how to handle one Glock model, you know how to handle every Glock model. It is that consistency throughout the company’s history that led Glock to establish a licensing agreement with Umarex to produce two models suitable for both recreational shooting and training. The first gun, covered in Airgun Experience No. 291, No. 292 and No. 293 (First Look: Umarex Glock G19) was an entry-level Compact and is greatly surpassed by the new G17 model which checks more boxes than it misses as a suitable understudy for the 9x19mm model.

The magic ingredient to this blowback action design is a self-contained CO2 BB magazine that is relatively easy to load (much easier than the S&W M&P40 mags). They should also fit standard centerfire pistol magazine pouches.

The G17 brings to airgun enthusiasts a blowback action model with very few visual compromises including a fit and finish unimpaired by warnings and manufacturers marks which, like the G19, are also placed on the underside of the dustcover and triggerguard to be as unobtrusive as possible. The new G17 passes the visual inspection with flying colors or better put, lack of colors, with its black Tenifer-style Third Model finish on the slide and perfectly reproduced polymer frame and grips.

And last there is the use of proper-style Glock front and rear sights which will allow full training familiarization with the centerfire models.

In Part 2 we will begin to deconstruct the CO2 model and compare it to handing the 9x19mm model.

6 thoughts on “Umarex Glock G17 Blowback Action Model”

  1. Looking at this pistol two questions come to mind. First why did Umarex bother with the non blowback , stick magmodel 19? The other question is why since the Glock 19 is preferred by police and civilians, did they not make the blowback pistol a model 19, with the model 17 introduced at a later point?

    • The Glock 17 is the great first Glock model and this is Glock’s dance, so their first blowback is the G17. Other Glock models will be coming in 2019 as well. As for the G19 non-blowback, that was aimed at the entry-level CO2 pistol market and I think it hit a bullseye. Maybe not with our crowd but with the market as a whole.

  2. looking at the slide pulled back , it appears to be a short blowback, which should use less co2 ,and give higher velocity than an S&W MP40 or 1911. When will these , as well as spare mags be available? Have you heard anything about SIG 365 replica blowback pistol?

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