There is a now-classic joke in the “mockumentary” Spinal Tap that the guitarist’s speakers go to “11” instead of 10. He claims it provides just a little bit more volume over all other speakers. In the case of the Glock 20, the semi-automatic pistol did provide just a bit more by going to 10 – as in 10mm rather than the more common 9mm of the original Glock 17.
Introduced in 1991, the Glock 20 (G20) was developed for the law enforcement and security forces market that was embracing the 10mm Auto cartridge, which had been developed less than a decade earlier by U.S. Marine Jeff Cooper and introduced with the Bren Ten pistol. The cartridge was designed to be a medium-velocity pistol cartridge that could provide better external ballistics including flatter trajectory and greater range than the .45 ACP while also providing greater stopping power than the 9x19mm Parabellum.
Glock clearly saw potential and developed its G20 as a somewhat “oversized” version of the original Glock 17 that was about 2.5mm greater in width and just about 7mm longer. Additionally, about half the parts were interchangeable with the Glock 17. While the original model could hold 17 rounds – a fact that has led to confusion that its name was based on its magazine capacity – the beefed up G20 could hold just 15 rounds. However, the G20 was also designed to handle both full-power and reduced “FBI” loads that featured a reduced muzzle velocity.
The most recent Gen4 version of G20 features a number of nice enhancements, while staying true to the classic design. It makes good use of the hi-tech polymers that reduce felt recoil, while the modular back strap system allows it to be easily customized to fit the shooter’s hand size, and the reversible magazine catch further makes it ideal for left and right-handed shooters alike.
The 10mm Auto pistol utilizes a dual recoil spring assembly that substantially increases the service life of the pistol, and adds to the recoil mitigation, reducing muzzle flip for faster follow-up shots. The Gen4 G20 also offers an integral accessory rail in front of the trigger guard, which allows for the attachment of a plethora of aftermarket tactical flashlights or even laser sights. The dovetailed rear sight is drift adjustable with a white outline around its notch while the fixed front blade has a white dot.
The Gen4 G20 has also been seen to have many advantages over the so-called “big bore” revolvers even when out in the great wilds. It can deliver deep penetration while its 15 round magazine offers vastly more capacity than any revolver on the market, and even as a full-sized pistol, it still weighs far less. It is also hard to find a pistol as rugged and reliable as the Gen4 G20.
Glock 20 Gen 4 Specs
Barrel: 4.61 inches
Overall Length: 8.07 inches
Weight: 30.69 ounces (empty)
Grips: Polymer, modular backstrap
Finish: Polymer frame/Tenifer slide
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.