A Book Review
by Mark Freburg
I finally finished The Gun Digest Book of the Glock, 2nd Edition, subtitled "How to accessorize and tune your Glock" by Patrick Sweeney. I was initially excited to get this book because I am a serious Glock fan, and more than that, I am a serious fan of the mechanical workings of the firearms I like and hoped to get into that aspect through this book. I also hoped for some history and anything else I could get that wasn't generally talked about in the gunzines, gun shops, or on the shooting range. Those expectations don't sound like they quite fit in with the cover blurbs, but surprisingly I got quite a bit of what I came for. On the other hand I found the book tedious in spots. Here's why.
The author, Pat Sweeney, is a gunsmith. He started off as 1911smith and still seems to be very dedicated to that platform. The 1911-style pistol comes up constantly in this book about the Glock. You can't go more than a few pages without seeing the word "1911" and that's no exaggeration. I think it is worthwhile to comment about the title gun in the context of other pistols, but I think it would have been more useful to comment more about the other polymer-framed, striker-fired pistols competing more directly with Glock like the Springfield XD and XD-M, Smith & Wesson M&P, Taurus 24-7 and OSS, and others. Toward the end of the book there is a very short chapter on the "imitators," placed there as what seems an afterthought, but that's it. A ton of 1911 talk, almost nothing on other polymer pistols??
Speaking of afterthoughts, this book is not well-organized. The last chapter in the book is titled The Glock Armorer's School, but talks mainly about the springs and parts you might want to keep on hand in case of breakage. It should have come before the chapters on holsters, competition, etc., I thought. But you can't help get a sense that there was no outline for this book, no sense of where the author was going. And the editor was apparently no help. For example, besides the poor chapter organization, I must have noticed at least 30, maybe 40 typos in this 334 page paperback book. In this day and age it is simple to depend on spell-checkers, but professional editors should never rely on just that. I felt the book was very poorly edited for a Gun Digest title. On to content.
Sweeney does answer a lot of questions I had about the origin and history of the Glock pistols and there is information here I'd never read before. That was a plus for me. Some of the technical stuff was useful--if you have older pistols and want to know about upgrading them you'll find some helpful info...eventually. He does spends a lot of time going through the sometimes esoteric evolution of the pistol such as the changeover from a 90 degree to a 15 degree extractor cut or the change from blackened to nickeled trigger pieces. Unless you are both a serious Glock fan and a mechanical nut, you are not going to care much about a lot of that. But if you do, it's here.
Almost all Glock models are covered (the Ptooma book covers some Sweeney misses) along with a lot of editorial comments on the pistols. Although Sweeney mentions several times that he teaches policemen--what he teaches them he doesn't say--almost all his editorial comments are in regard to using the various models of Glock pistols as competition guns.
Sigh...I may as well say this now. I am not particularly interested in competition but I am certainly not against reading about how Glock pistols fit into various sport shooting in general...but Sweeney discusses sport shooting ad nauseum. It was all I could do to get through some sections of the book. His love for competition blinded him to the purpose of this book in my opinion. There is nothing in the title of this book that suggests you are buying a book to hear all about the author's views on sport shooting, but be prepared for a lot of it. I didn't need to hear about how you should "act" when you do well or do poorly in order to endear yourself with other shooters at a match. What's that have to do with Glocks? And if you are one of the thousands who actually is interested in the Glock as a self-defense pistol, Sweeney says very little about them in that arena. He's just not interested is the impression I came away with. If you think this was disappointing to me you're right.
The subtitle and cover blurb suggest you'll get tips on tricking out your pistol. Not so much. He does spend pages and pages...and pages discussing all the different clunky mag extensions you can put on your Glock pistol magazines for IPSC use. I guess that is accessorizing. If you really want to trick out your Glock in general there are any number of other, better sources. As far as performance evaluations, hmm, sorry...again, not so much. He does give the reader a good idea of what the various models can do and how they compare with one another...but then he's down that road talking about how this one is better for IPSC Limited and that one is really a good choice for IPSC Open Class, etc. Not something I was terribly interested in. If you folks reading this review are looking for a book on the Glock in competition, I'd rather recommend Robin Taylor's The Glock in Competition, a more in-depth book on that subject and one written by a guy who likes and uses the Glock, not a 1911 lover who kinda sorta respects the Glock but doesn't love them--and says just that in his book. From Sweeney's foreword: "Glocks. I don't love 'em, and I don't hate 'em, I guess that makes me the only one." I'd like some more enthusiasm, but people write books for different reasons. (Money comes to mind.)
All in all I'd give this book three stars out five. It isn't horrible and I learned some things I wanted to learn. It is fairly complete if not terribly well-organized, although there is precious little about self-defense. True, I wasn't expecting anything about self-defense, but I wasn't expecting mounds of stuff about competition either, which I got anyway. It isn't well-written but it isn't poorly written. It isn't well-edited either but that is my personal pet peeve. If you are a serious Glock nut it is probably worth the $18 or $19. If you are not all that enthralled with Glocks, eh, maybe not. (17May09)
copyright 2007 by the author, all rights reserved.