Listening in on shooters’ conversations when the first Glock pistols hit our shores in the 1980s, you’d have heard some less-than-enthusiastic comments from a portion of the public and press. Eventually, a funny thing happened: The polymer-framed pistol from Austria went from damned to praiseworthy.
Many of the handguns riding in holsters on Sam Browne belts across the country (especially the iconic revolver) began to morph into matte black Glocks. A few elite military units here and abroad began to pack Glocks, and the world tilted even more on its axis.
Soon law enforcement officers began choosing Glocks because of the record they were garnering for their reliability, durability, effectiveness, relative simplicity and high capacity for holding 9mm rounds. (No other calibers were available for Glocks back then.) Carrying spare magazines increased an officer’s ammo supply on patrol, putting them on par or ahead of anyone else.
The qualities making Glocks a good choice for law enforcement officers were probably not as evident to pre-Glock police officers as they are today. Reliability is at the top of the list. A high-capacity firearm becomes a club if it doesn’t always go bang.
By design, the tough polymer frame is slick enough to provide some self-lubrication, resists most damage, flexes under pressure, rebounds when struck and defies all corrosion. The slides and other metal parts are made of tough steel, and Glock’s proprietary black coating makes them even tougher. The coating is a surfacehardening process that penetrates the metal and leaves a measurable, corrosion-resistant surface. Military and law enforcement personnel can be very hard on their weapons, but the polymer frame and coated slide produce a pistol needing a minimum of lubrication.
Most of the early Glocks had boxy, simple grip frames. However, the grip angles were eventually modified, and the side panels were textured to fit smaller hands better. In fact, every generation of Glocks has had new texturing in the grip area. This adds another level of control, which can be a lifesaving feature in a duty pistol. All models also have integral high-ride beavertails and undercut triggerguards, raising the shooter’s hand close to the bore line for improved recoil control.
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Though they’re easy to upgrade, Glock’s polymer sights perform well and offer with a decent sight picture. But we’ll get to more on that in just a minute.
Glock design parameters called for the least number of parts to make the pistol as simple as possible, and they succeeded, especially in terms of the pistol’s action. Glock’s “Safe Action” allows this striker-fired pistol to be “always safe, always ready.” With its trigger, firing pin and drop safeties, the Safe Action eliminates the need for any manual external safety. Of course, a safety lever projects from the trigger face. Depressing it allows the the trigger to move fully rearward.
The trigger system works with the slide to provide a 5-pound trigger pull. As the slide cycles, the striker is preloaded toward the rear, and pressing the trigger completes the move rearward to release the striker.
Retired Master Sergeant Larry Vickers, a combat veteran who served with 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta—aka Delta Force—has taught tactics and marksmanship to an impressive number of students, many of whom have served in dangerous areas around the globe like Larry himself.
As retirement approached, fellow troopers encouraged Larry to enter the non-military training field. Names already well respected in civilian training said the same. Soon, he became a trainer, and to keep busy, Larry added 1911 gunsmithing to his résumé.
Eventually, Larry made many industry contacts and began to provide his feedback on products while teaching a lot of students and building more 1911s. With a plate so full, his gunsmithing time ebbed while more companies asked for his expertise.
Over the next 20 years, Larry became known as a talented trainer and consultant. He also began designing tactical products wearing his name. The ideas for Vickers Tactical items come from Larry’s expert observations during classes and more. He values manufacturers with excellent reputations and proven skills to deliver parts correctly from start to finish. You will not see a high number of manufacturers’ names on Vickers Tactical items—just the ones Larry respects.
TangoDown’s relationship with Larry has yielded quite a few successful projects, including an extended Glock magazine catch and magazine floorplate, a tactical slide racker for the G43 and steel slide stops for several standard Glocks. The first three are made of polymer.
Now customers can get most of Vickers’ existing enhancements on a complete pistol. When Larry started planning this pistol, he wanted someone to handle the project’s logistics. Eventually he landed on Lipsey’s, a well-known distributor that offers several special-edition firearms. Luckily, I recently got my hands on the Lipsey’s-exclusive Vickers Tactical Glock 19 for testing.
Larry explained that he believes Glock pistols do a heck of a job as designed. Soldiers have taken them into battle and cops have carried them toward danger for some time. But in Larry’s experience with Glocks, and watching many people shoot the Austrian pistols, he saw areas for improvement, especially those guns destined for serious social use. The focus of Larry Vickers’ Glock is self-defense and tactical uses, but it’s also suitable for today’s action shooting competitions.
Larry considers Gen3 Glocks to be the best so far because of their aggressive RTF2 (Rough Textured Frame 2) design. This became the basis for the Vickers Tactical Glock 19. Grab the pistol, and the texturing keeps it from slipping out of your hand.
The upgraded G19 comes with a rear Wilson Combat Vickers Elite Battlesight as well as a Vickers Snag-Free front sight. Both are high profile, and built with Larry’s input. The Battlesight features a recessed semi-circular pocket area surrounding a long, 0.15-inch-wide notch. The thin front sight sports a gold bead. Both are big improvements for users operating in fast, low-light situations.
Larry told me the standard Glock magazine release is too short, and the longer competition models are too long for many people. So, the upgraded G19 features a magazine catch designed by Vickers and built by TangoDown. It’s slightly larger than the OEM catch and has no sharp edges to abrade skin.
Another TangoDown/Vickers collaboration, the VT Magazine Floor Plate, was developed to replace OEM plates, which can be too small to help extract stuck magazines. This impact-resistant, glass-filled nylon Vickers Tactical floorplate has several advantages. It has flares all around with grooved non-slip scallops to give your fingers a good purchase. The size and design of the Vickers floorplate also allows one-handed extractions using a belt.
The VT Slide Stop is precision-stamped from 4130 chrome-moly steel and widened just enough for effectiveness while remaining lower profile than competition models.
A recent development, the Vickers Tactical Grip Plug/Takedown Tool (GGT-01) is similar to Glock’s factory version, but it stores in the pistol grip cavity and seals it. If that is not enough, the GGT-01 also acts as a ramp in the grip cavity to help speed magazines into the well for reloads.
Vickers Tactical Glock 19 Trigger Time
Let’s be sure everyone is on the same page: the Vickers Tactical Glock 19 distributed by Lipsey’s is still a Glock—body and soul. Adding parts to the pistol will not make it shoot any differently, but it definitely will improve your manipulations.
The Vickers Tactical Glock arrived from Lipsey’s with sights installed by Glock, and all of the Vickers parts came in a plastic zipper bag. This allows users to choose the parts they want and have them installed by a gunsmith or Glock armorer.
With the parts in place and a bit of dry-firing practice with the gun, it was finally time to take a trip to the range.
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This pistol made no surprises in the field, since it’s a Glock at heart. All of the Vickers Tactical parts worked flawlessly, and indexing the magazine off the GGT-01 was slick. The slide stop worked the same as other wider, extended versions I have used, even wearing gloves. The well-formed polymer parts were free of any excess “flashing” from the injection molding process.
The Wilson Combat Vickers Elite Battlesight was outstanding. I compared it to other sights on hand, and the Battlesight consistently won. It was my first time using a gold bead front sight, and I was impressed.
The holster for my excursion was a DeSantis Sof-Tuk, an inside-the-waistband (IWB) or tuckable suede model with a rough-side-out exterior. It would be an excellent choice for plainclothes or off-duty officers as well as concealed carriers. It’s easy to adjust the rig’s cant.
The Vickers Tactical G19 ran flawlessly. Shooting it produced groups similar to other Glocks I’ve evaluated. My average group size from all of the test loads was just 2.6 inches, which is certainly accurate enough for use.
Why should an officer spring for the Vickers Tactical Glock 19 from Lipsey’s? Well, it’s a Glock enhanced with parts designed by someone who knows the sound of bullets. Each Vickers Tactical item performed as advertised, improving on the factory units. They each can provide an edge for the user. So how many edges do you want on your side?
As for me, I’d feel comfortable wearing the Vickers Tactical Glock 19 every day, everywhere. Maybe I’ll just buy this one. Just keep in mind that each run of these pistols has sold out within weeks of their arrival at Lipsey’s!
Barrel 4.01 inches
OA Length 7.36 inches
Weight 23.5 ounces (empty)
Sights Vickers Snag-Free front, Wilson Combat Vickers Elite Battlesight rear
Action Safe Action
Finish Matte black
For More Information
This article was originally published in “The Complete Book of Guns” 2018 #200. To get a copy, visit outdoorgroupstore.com.
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