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Reviews : Arsenal

Glock 37 .45 Caliber GAP

Glock has managed to shoehorn a .45 into a 9mm frame.

February 01, 2004  |  by Scott Smith - Also by this author


The Glock 37 is designed to fit the Streamlight/Insight Technology M-3 tactical illuminator system.

The lure and mystery of the .45 ACP continues unabated. Nonsensical hype the likes of "It will knock someone down, even if it just hits his arm" runs rampant in locker rooms. The San Diego Police Department has made it official: Uniform patrol officers are now authorized to carry .45 caliber handguns, from Glocks and Springfield XDs to 1911 series pistols. And, of course, these legends are flitting their various ways around on the agency.

This self-replicating hype is why makers build more and more .45 caliber handguns. In actuality, when there is a barrier to punch a hole through, a heavier bullet is better, but with modern ammo even that can usually be overcome. A quick look at history shows us that when the .45 ACP was invented there were essentially no expanding or high-performance bullets. In those days, larger calibers worked better because they started life a bit bigger. Also, the 1911 platform was a dandy fighting pistol and that, perhaps more than the caliber, has kept the .45 king.

So, with legend and practicality as part and parcel of its history, the .45 caliber mystique continues today. Glock, no upstart in the innovation arena, brought out its own .45 ACP years ago and has enjoyed significant market share since. But, there are traditionally two problems with .45s: weight and size. The art of cutting and chopping 1911s down to manageable size has created an industry, and these days, most big makers offer factory versions that can fit into a largish pocket. But the Glock .45s (until the advent of the Model 36 single stack) were still big.

New Caliber

In order to fit a .45 into a 9mm frame, Glock simply made the .45 fit the frame, rather than the other way around. Cutting down the length of the standard .45 ACP by an eighth of an inch, Glock was eventually able to make a workable .45 that fit into what is essentially a 9mm frame. It's important to note here you cannot simply cut down .45 ACP brass and get a .45 GAP (Glock Automatic Pistol) case. The GAP case is engineered completely differently with different case-wall thicknesses and tapers.

The slide on the new Glock 37 is beefier than a Model 17, but, overall, the size is very manageable. The new cartridge has quickly become the darling of the big ammo makers and various versions are now offered. The guns themselves are making their way onto dealer shelves and as they get put to use we'll learn more about the long-term situation with this cartridge.

The performance window is such that it duplicates .45 ACP performance in many cases and is slightly less in others. Think of it as a .40 S&W on steroids to some degree. I confess to having some qualms about pushing the 230-grain bullets to .45 ACP high-performance levels, but again, we'll see over time if it all holds together. One big ammo maker insists it can't be done safely, while another says it's already doing it.

Simple Pleasures

One thing about the folks at Glock they are masters at creating customer demand, so much so that the Glock aficionados out there "need" one of every new model that comes out.

When introduced in the '80s, Glock took the police industry by storm, waging an advertising war, offering to trade new Glocks for aging and worn duty pistols and, through other innovative marketing ideas, eventually accumulated about 40 percent of the law enforcement market.

But there were some good reasons for it. The "Safe Action" is an improved striker-fired system, which requires a deliberate trigger pull to finish the travel of the striker, thus delivering a sort of double-action feel. There is a trigger safety (the little lever thingy on the trigger face) and a firing pin and "drop" safety. But with no external "snick on and off" safety to go with that short and light trigger pull, the Glock was still shunned by many agencies.

Glocks (including the newest 37) are indeed simple pistols. Most have around 50 percent or so fewer parts than others of their ilk and no screws involved at all. You can take one apart and reassemble it with one simple tool. That's awfully handy, and makes it easy on range staff. Also, most parts are "drop in" so if something does bugger up, almost any klutz can fix a Glock if he's been to the armorer's school.

The polymer frame got everyone's attention in the beginning. At about 85-percent lighter than steel, the polymer frame was probably one of the biggest reasons the Glock got so much hype. Also, the plastic frame lessens perceived recoil, or at least that's what I've convinced myself. The Tenifer surface treatment on the metal bits is ultra-hard and more corrosion resistant than stainless steel, which is also a good thing. And, the Glock 37 .45 GAP features all this whiz-bang technology.

Tags: Firearms Reviews, Glock

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Comments (1)

Displaying 1 - 1 of 1

julhani abah @ 9/4/2013 10:33 AM

Good day sir I'm a law enforcer from Philippines,I have this Glock when it comes to Philippine marke

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