The Gadget: A Striker Control Device for Glocks

Today we’re talking about a product I’ve been following for…seven years now? It all started, at least for me, in a hotel room in Vegas. Now, it’s a real thing that you can buy with money. It’s the Gadget. Check out Tau Development Group on Facebook.

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The Folly of Chasing Gear – CCW Gun Version, Part 2

For Part 2 I am going to cover more gun related mistakes, or missteps.  In all honesty, the first time concealed carry holder has more avenues for research and advice than 11 years ago.  One need only look at the internet and you can find scores of websites that simply didn’t exist in 2005.  Compare that to what is available now; sure, there is a lot of crap out there, but one trends the information you will see common areas of agreements.  That is a clue.  With that in mind, I am going to come right out and offend people.

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Utter reliability, fantastic accuracy and concealability – a fine pair of CCW guns.

40 S&W? Don’t bother!

A LOT of people love the 40 S&W; I am not one of them. There is a common misconception that it was created to fill the void between the 45 ACP and 9MM, but that is not fact. Following the 1986 Miami shoot out – a shoot out was so pivotal the FBI actually made a training video about it – the FBI realized they needed to replace their venerable revolvers.  The FBI worked with with Smith and Wesson to develop a handgun that shot reduced power 10mm loads in a S&W 4506 frame.  Smith and Wesson promptly realized the reduced powder load meant the 10mm cartridge could be shortened, and thus the 40 S&W was born.

When it was developed and placed into service in 1990 and into the early 2000’s the round offered a significant advantage over 9mm in power and 45 ACP in capacity. But as time marched on that advantage against the 9mm has grown less and less.  With current 9mm ammo the advantage of the 40S&W pales against the disadvantage of 1-2 less rounds, harsher recoil and greater ammo cost. To be fair I never had a problem with any 40 S&W I owned, but I don’t regret selling them and buying the 9mm’s either. In my experience most people shoot the 9mm better and quicker than a 40 S&W in equally sized firearms. If you want to shoot big bore because you think you really need it go with 45 ACP or 10mm; alternately you can move to a revolver and load up 41 or 44 Magnum and carry a gun that will cause you to list to one side.

Sidebar: the 40S&W seems to have found a solid home with competition shooters because it can be downloaded while still making “major” power factor.  This gives the competitor a softer recoil and more rounds than an equivalent gun chambered in 45 ACP.

Lesson #4: The round was losing favor with instructors when I bought my first gun chambered in 40 S&W, circa 2007. Nevertheless I bought it based on the advice of people who should have known better. In all honesty I can’t say I wouldn’t follow the same route if starting over in the same period of time. But if starting out now, I wouldn’t even bother.  Get a 9mm with modern ammo and be done.

Glock

I can already hear the Glock fans warming up their gaming computer in their mom’s basement to let me have it.  Let me open with a fact. The Glock is a fine weapon and I have no beef with it from a functionality, accuracy or cost perspective. I just don’t shoot them well; and I can safely say it is me, not them. Not one to give up, I disregarded the fact I don’t shoot them well and have owned 5 different examples over the years, including models G22, G27, G26, G19, G26 again and a G35 (the G22 and G35 were not for CCW). I spent a lot of money and ammo trying to make them work for me instead of focusing on a platform I shot well. In all fairness I recently had a chance to shoot my cousin’s G23C and was pleasantly surprised to see I shot that Glock better than any other.  I am positive it was the result of being a better shooter overall. I find them to be as exciting as a framing hammer, but if you were dropping me off in Beirut tomorrow they would be on my short list of handguns too take.

Lesson #5: Recognize when something isn’t working for you and stop trying to make it work. This isn’t a hot rod, or a race gun, this is a tool that might save your life. If there is another reliable, quality firearm you shoot better, go with it instead.

Kel-Tec PF-9

Yup, I’ve owned one and can safely say the PF-9 was the single worst firearm I have owned. That thing would malfunction just looking at it. Again, I bought this after reading some magazine reviews. FAIL. I literally have nothing good to say about this gun. The Yankee Marshall has a video where he declares it the worse handgun ever with his reason being the damn thing is marketed as a CCW weapon where as other cheap guns don’t hide their lack of quality. He is 100% correct!  My copy was laughably bad and  research shows that experience is beyond commonplace.

Lesson #6: This is the gun that opened solidified my disdain for gun magazine reviews. It opened my eyes to the lack of scruples in some writers. Going back now, the article that sold me on the PF-9 was written in a way that wasn’t praise, but didn’t come out and call it junk either.

As I noted last time, through all of the guns I bought for CCW, and through all the rounds fired, one thing remained constant. I was wasting money on guns, transfer fees and holsters that would have been better spent on defensive classes and practice ammo. When it comes to your carry weapon, chasing the latest gear rarely gains you skill and is seldom worth it in the realm of firearms.

In Part 3 I’ll go over some mistakes in gear to try to give first timers a better start than I had.

For those that care, here is a list of the guns I have owned and since sold or traded on my CCW journey. This is CCW only.  Yes, they are many and varied…I know…

Bersa Thunder CC

CZ P-01

CZ PCR

FI Industries 380

Glock 19

Glock 26

Glock 27

Kahr CW9

Kahr K9

Kel-Tec PF-9 (I should have thrown it in a lake or burned it on a stake!)

Kel-Tec P3AT (because I didn’t learn about Kel-Tec’s lack of quality the first time)

Kimber Series 1 Stainless Compact

Kimber Series 1 CDP (I have since bought the same gun back, but it is only a range toy now)

Rock Island 1911 Officer

Rossi 38 Special

Ruger SP101

Ruger SR9c

Ruger LCP

Star BM

S&W Model 36

Taurus PT111

Taurus PT22

Taurus Slim

XDS-3.0 in 45 ACP  (This was a really, really good gun and I regret selling it)

The Gadget: an additional safety device for Glock pistols

The Glock 17 burst upon the world pistol scene in the 80’s. Chunky, inelegant, having a polymer (“PLASTIC?!” the purists cried) frame, and…..lacking an external safety but for the tab on the trigger.  Naturally, everyone kept their boogerhook off of the bangswitch and everyone lived happily ever after, right?

Well, no.  Several lawsuits were filed by law enforcement personnel.  Many of these lawsuits were attempting to blame Glock for negligent discharges when disassembling the pistol in order to clean as one must pull the trigger in order to disassemble it.  Nonetheless, there were and inevitably will be more, lawsuits resulting from negligent discharges when attempting to reholster a Glock pistol.  Some examples are:

1. An FBI agent

2. Massachusetts officer shoots hole through pants reholstering

3. Officer Bill McMahan

4. Harlan County

So, do we have a mechanical problem with Glocks and other pistols that have the safety on the trigger or do we have a training problem?  Obviously, every pistol owner should take a training class that goes beyond the good Lieutenant Colonel’s Four Rules.  However, with full time law enforcement personnel experiencing negligent discharges from their issued Glocks they were trained to use, should we not expect negligent discharges from Glock owning citizens?  The answer is “yes” and aside from the very real (though not widespread) danger of negligently firing a Glock when reholstering, Glocks have many virtues:

  • fairly corrosion proof
  • Not difficult to learn how to use effectively
  • Not expensive
  • Extremely reliable and durable (please ponder the difference between the two)
  • A simple design, easy to clean and work on

So, some years ago a visionary met the engineer who could implement his vision.  No, I am not talking about the venerable Woz and Jobs but rather the shooting instructor “ToddG” and his student and friend Tom Jones.  ToddG had an wistful dream.  You see, ToddG is known far and wide for personally choosing to carry his pistol at the appendix position and inside his waist band, popularly known as “AIWB” (Appendix Inside Waist Band).  ToddG was in the middle of one of his famous fifty thousand rounds in six months pistol tests and the current test pistol was a Gen4 Glock 17.  ToddG had learned to enjoy the additional safety of reholstering his test HK P30 with his thumb on the hammer, thereby effectively negating any chance of a negligently discharged bullet hitting either his groin or his femoral artery.  ToddG wished aloud in Tom’s presence something along the lines of “I wish I could reholster a Glock like I did my P30.”

Sometimes, a spark like that is all you need.  Tom thought upon ToddG’s idea and went to the pen and napkin drawing room.  The next day he presented ToddG with his idea. After that day, he went to his workshop and thought, designed, and built what is now known as the Gadget Striker Control Device (for the sake of brevity, I will refer to it as the Gadget).

The Gadget is a safety device for Glock pistols.  It is two pieces of metal that replace the Glock’s slide cover plate.  It has one moving part.  Upon inspection of a Gadget installed Glock, the observer must carefully examine the pistol to ascertain what aftermarket part has been installed.  Should the Gadget have its lone moving part broken (this has not happened in four years of testing), the pistol will continue to function.  The Gadget is for all intents and purposes, aesthetically identical to the factory OEM slide cover plate.  Functionally, it is also corrosion proof and insofar as four years of testing by dozens of testers can rule out, idiot proof.  Maintenance is very nearly fool proof.  Apply one drop of lubricant (I used Slip2000 EWL) to each side of the lone moving part.  That is it. 

Installation of the Gadget is not an involved process.  Unload your Glock.  Do this again, four times.  Move to a room with no ammunition in it.  Retract the slide on your Glock, engage the slide stop.  Turn the weapon upside down on a flat surface, resting it upon its sights.  Take a smaller flathead screwdriver or a knife tip or a ballpoint pen tip and press the spacer sleeve (part #6 on this diagram forward, that is towards the end where the bullets come out.  Pushing towards the bottom of the slide with your other thumb, remove the slide cover plate.  Keeping the spacer sleeve depressed, slide the Gadget in until it covers the spacer sleeve and then you will have to depress the spring loaded bearing and slide the Gadget until it clicks firmly into place.  Cease pressure on the spacer sleeve, disengage the slide stop and allow the slide to go forward.  Rack the slide and inspect the chamber to assure yourself that no phantom rounds have been chambered.  Pointing the weapon in a safe direction, attempt to pull the trigger with your strong side thumb on the Gadget or where the slide cover plate was.  If you have installed the Gadget correctly, any pressure on the trigger will be instantly felt by your thumb that is resting against the Gadget.  Furthermore, your thumb’s pressure on the Gadget will easily overpower any pressure on the trigger.

The actual patent for the Gadget Striker Control Device illustrates the elegant simplicity of the design.  This is a schematic of the device itself.  Pictures being sometimes louder than words, click this link to see exactly how the device keeps the Glock’s striker from moving to the rear and thereby canceling out the firing process.

So what is it like in practice, having a Gadget equipped Glock?  Reassuring.  Once you teach yourself the nearly instinctive placement of the thumb upon the Gadget, muscle memory takes over.  Whether it be my Safariland GLS, my JM Custom AIWB, or my JM Custom IWB 3 holster, I always thumb the Gadget when reholstering.  It would take conscious effort not to do so.  I have been personally using a Gadget during training, some competition, and personal practice for nearly four years including one Vickers Tactical class.  The device has never malfunctioned for me nor any of the other dozens of people who were testing it.  It requires perhaps two drops of oil every few thousand rounds.  It develops a slight bit of surface wear and then stops wearing.  In my opinion, Glocks need at least two upgrades from the factory:  decent sights and a Gadget.

So, the inevitable outcry will be shrill.  “Glocks don’t need additional safeties!”  “THIS is my safety.”  “It’s just a trinket.”  “This is NO substitute for training.” (I absolutely agree with the last).  My personal favorite is “This will get you killed on the streets in a gun grab if your attacker grabs the rear of the slide and disables your Glock!”  This moronic argument completes ignores the existence of hammer fired pistols that can be disabled in an identical manner such as the HK P30, M1911A1, Sigs, the Browning Hi Power, and so on.  Watch Tom Givens put that silly argument to rest in this video where he demonstrates how you can disable a Glock without a Gadget.   And so, will the predictable phrases be uttered by those who have not used one of these devices nor even have seen one in person.  However, if you think you would like to be able to reholster a Glock in a completely safe manner using a simple device that will not break and that if used properly, will guarantee you will not say have a negligent discharge due to a drawstring on your jacket getting in the trigger guard.  Furthermore, the man when it comes to actual fighting with guns, ground fighting with guns, and training you how to deal with a gun grab; Craig Douglas AKA “SouthNarc” of ShivWorks has the following to say about the Gadget:

Todd gave me two gadgets a few years ago to put on two Glock 17 Sim guns to test this very issue. I ran them for a year and in that time had about 500 entangled gun fights with them in my coursework. I have yet to see the Gadget be the factor in a failure to fire. The vast majority of the time if it’s a failure to fire it’s the slide being pushed out of battery.

You may purchase a Gadget here at IndieGoGo.  The current Gadget has been tested on 9mm, 40, 45, and 10mm Glocks of all frame sizes.  The only Glocks that will not accept the current Gadget as-is are the 42/43. Specific decisions and plans regarding those models have not been finalized but it’s safe to assume that it’s being looked at seriously.

 

The Gadget installed in my Gen4 Glock 17
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This picture illustrates how the Gadget moves with the pistol’s striker if the striker is being engaged.  

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The Gadget uninstalled using the tip of my Joe Watson HITS knife.

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Clearly the Gadget does not have to be clean in order to function. My Glock gets a cleaning every few thousand rounds whether it needs or not.

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Sevigny Performance Sights for the GLOCK 43

Looking for more on the GLOCK 43? Check out my original review of the pistol in GunUp the Magazine.

Red clay? Must be in the South.
Red clay? Must be in the South.

I strongly dislike the stock sights that come on GLOCK pistols. Fortunately, there are tons of options out there and, well, this is my option of choice: Sevigny Performance. Designed by this guy you may have heard of: Dave Sevigny. I like to think he knows what he’s doing with this whole gun/sights thing.

They’ve released their sights for the GLOCK 43, and it’s a fun opportunity for me to diagnose what I like so much about them. The first thing to realize is that Sevigny Peformance has a line of sights, so there are different options for competition, carry, etc. For the GLOCK 42 and 43, they’ve created a set of tritium night sights. It’s a two-dot system and it’s glowy.

FullSizeRender FullSizeRender_1How accurate are they? Well, check out these three shots I pulled and the four I didn’t (“That was at 7 yards? Don’t you have Bianchi Cup next week?” Yes, yes, you’ll find me in a ball under that little table by the Practical at the practice range crying.):

I need to shoot more.
I need to shoot more.

So… You can see the sights at night, I love the two-dot system for carry because it’s fast, they’re accurate, and designed by someone who knows what he’s doing. Big fan. They can stay.

Side note: I also have Sevigny Peformance sights on my competition FNS and one of my M&Ps.

The best all-around gun I ever had

I imagine that if you did a google search for “the best gun for x” you could spend days and days wandering forums and blogs reading thousands of different opinions and ideas on what the best gun for a given task is. But what if you only want one gun? What if you want the best all around gun that will be good for concealed carry, competition, home defense, hiking, and just be as good at everything as it can be. Good luck with that. However, here’s the best all around gun I’ve ever had.

Gen4 Glock 21

Surprise! It’s a Glock, but it’s not a 9mm. It’s a Glock 21 Gen4, which I think is the best .45 Glock has ever made and is definitely the best “all around” gun I’ve ever owned.

Continue reading “The best all-around gun I ever had”

Shooting a stock Glock 34 at Bianchi Cup

Normally that's my "shooting" face, this time I'm making that face because I'm missing so many plates.
Normally that’s my “shooting” face, this time I’m making that face because I’m missing so many plates.

This year, I shot Bianchi Cup with a Glock 34 – absolutely stock. Stock trigger, stock sights, everything fresh out of the box. I only put about 50 rounds through the gun before heading down to Missouri.  Continue reading “Shooting a stock Glock 34 at Bianchi Cup”

Best Tool for the Job, An Emotionless Choice

20140505-120307.jpgI’m sure I’ve made it clear how much I love my CZ75B. It was the first gun I ever purchased. It’s insanely accurate and the weight of the all steel frame makes for minimal felt recoil. And in the over three years that I’ve owned this gun the only modification that I’ve made to it, was the addition of rubber grips. My CZ75B is full sized so it didn’t seem that much of a stretch for me to plan to use it for the Lady’s 3Gun Pro-Am this coming October. However, during my recent practice one of my coaches informed me that I was “fighting” my gun.
Continue reading “Best Tool for the Job, An Emotionless Choice”

10-8 Performance and Glock .40?

We awaken this morning in bizarro world. Hilton Yam of 10-8 Performance and Modern Service Weapons has started…shooting a Glock 22. Yes, the Glock 22, the notoriously hard recoiling gun that I’ve oft derided as “silly” because it doesn’t offer an real performance gains over the 17. But his reasoning is solid:

As a full time firearms instructor and trainer, I feel that it is important to have at least one pistol in each of the common LE calibers in order to be able to speak intelligently to their performance aspects. Further, with the current volatile state of the ammunition industry, it is nice to have guns in various calibers so as not to become a victim to supply. I recently burned up a lot of my 9mm, but realized I still had a lot of .40 piled up from when I thought I was going to shoot a lot of Limited and Limited 10 in USPSA. Thus enters this Glock 22.

Gen 4 Glock 35 Arredondo

I get where he’s coming from, and I generally agree with his premise. I also agree that the Gen4 Glock 22 improves and solves a lot of the issues with the Gen2/3 22s, and with Hilton adding the Glock Tungsten Guide Rod that will soften up the recoil somewhat. My experience with the major caliber Gen4 guns has been with the 35 and the 21, I used the tungsten rod in both of those and it worked very well.

Everyone knows I’m not a big fan of the .40. But I can understand Hilton’s reasoning in going with the Glock 22 as a test platform, since it’s very likely a lot of his students will be carrying that same gun. Personally, if I had to have a Glock in .40 S&W I’d go with the 35, because I feel (subjective) that the extra slide and barrel length do make the gun a bit more shootable. Either way, 10-8 Performance running Glock 40s still puts us in bizarro world.

Senoia GA Police Change Caliber

Senoia ga police home of The Walking Dead change caliberLast week it was announced that Senoia GA, the city that is home to the production of The Walking Dead, is giving up the .40 S&W for 9mm. The Senoia Police Department has made a deal with Glock, in which trade-ins will be bought back for $300 and 16 new 9mm pistols will also be purchased. What could possibly make these cops opt for less stopping power, especially since new guns were not in their budget for this year?

The main reason the Senoia Police Chief Jason Edens told the Times-Herold for the change, was availability. Senoia as well as other citys’ departments are being forced to wait over six months for their orders of training and duty ammo. Edens also mentioned that the price tag on 9mm rounds was considerably less than on the .40. But the switch isn’t only about the rounds. Glock’s Gen 4 has some appeal as well. Chief Edens mentioned the higher round count of the Glock 17, as well as the interchangable backstraps which added to their interest in making the change.

What I found most interesting about this announcment was the Chief’s statement, “we want to build a firearms program that concentrates on precision and accuracy with the shots, as opposed to just having a big chunk of lead.” I realize that there are shooters who are highly proficient with their .40 S&W pistols, and I mean them no disrespect. However, no matter how many long-time shooters I’ve met who are die-hard .40 carriers, none have ever convinced me that two or three accurate shots with a 9mm were better than one well placed .40 cal round, and a questionable follow up shot. Like it or not I believe, the times they are a’changing… The Senoia police are making a big statement with this change in caliber, even if their only intention was to get their officers a few new guns.