I recently had the opportunity to borrow this handy little pistol for a falling plates match at Laguna Seca last weekend. It was one of very few Glock pistols present among the vast sea of precision-tuned 1911’s. When it comes to match shooters, there are some wide variations in personal sentiment regarding the use of Glock’s for competition. Despite the fact that the majority of those opinions are less than favorable, the G34 tends to draw a lot of fascination from even the most skeptical and die-hard 1911 lover. From the get-go, the gun’s performance was very impressive… far superseding my own level of speed and accuracy. I’d like to thank Brasstard user “KPB” for letting me borrow his toy for the event. Now lets take a closer look at this beautiful little piece of competition hardware…
When it comes to competing, it is hard to beat a well-tuned, all-steel, single action 1911 that is chambered in something tame like the 9mm Luger or .38 Super. Unfortunately, most of the 1911’s I saw at the competition cost between $2000-$4000 depending on their configuration. They also feel a lot different to me than the guns I normally carry for self defense, which are all double action only (DAO), or DA/SA combos. Therefore, the G34 made a lot of sense to me as a good “working-class” competitive pistol; being both affordable and feeling more like what I have in my pants when I carry. The specimen here can be had with all of the upgrades for under $1000.
Despite the noble marketing efforts made by Glock, you will likely need to invest a few extra bucks into your new G34 to really achieve “Glock Perfection”. For competition use, you will first need to swap out the 4.5 lb trigger for one with a lighter pull, less take-up, a cleaner break, less over-travel, and a shorter reset.
This was done on our specimen by installing the Glockworkx Complete Fulcrum Trigger Kit that was purchased at glockstore.com (part # T0591-A). This includes a fully adjustable trigger pull down to about 2 – 2.5 lbs… ours was set around 3.5 lbs by the owner, which is a nice compromise between accuracy and safety in a DAO pistol. It also eliminates the notorious miles of creep, take-up, and over-travel we have learned to accept in the stock trigger of our Glock’s. The reset was very short, making you ready to plug the next plate in a heartbeat. The Glockworkx trigger group does it’s job very well, and will quickly make your G34 into a smooth racing machine.
In the image below, you can see the Sure Touch Extended Chrome Slide Release also picked up at glockstore.com (part # T0597). This add-on makes for very fast and easy locking and unlocking of the slide. However, one must use caution if you are not used to this device. It protrudes from the slide more than the stock version, and it gives you a lot more leverage requiring very little effort to operate. As a result, my thumb accidentally nudged it during my 10 and 15 yard relays causing the slide to lock back on me. After I repositioned my upper thumb, the problem went away in the subsequent 20 and 25 yard relays.
The owner also added a nice stainless steel guide rod to smooth out the cycling action and add a little weight to the front end (glockstore.com part #LS005-A). You can also use a tungsten rod if you want even more weight in the gun.
Finally, the owner also added some better sights to make target acquisition faster and easier. The front sight is a fiber optic system from Novak Sights. This came in very handy since the match started just before sunset, and ended in the dark with flood lights illuminating the course. The fiber optic sight works well in a wide variety of lighting conditions, and it helped me stay on target as the sun went away for the day.
The rear sight is a Glock factory-made adjustable system with windage and elevation adjustments for fine tuning your race horse. This sight, combined with the front fiber optic from Novak made for a fast and accurate sight picture throughout the race.
All in all, the G34 is a straight-up Glock to its core. If you like Glock’s, you will love this gun… guaranteed. If you are not a fan of Glock ergonomics, don’t expect the G34 to spark a new romance in you. As with other full-sized Glock’s of the 3rd generation and older, the grips are best suited for folks with larger hands. For me, the bigger the better… my favorite grip being the large-frame G20. As you can see below, the G34 pretty much incorporates itself into my large hands with little effort.
On the other hand, if you are a small-framed person like my wife, you may not find the G34 as pleasing to handle. At 5’2″ and 105 lbs, her tiny hands are dwarfed by the full-size G34. As you can see below, there are gaps and spaces in her grip where parts of her hands should be united. As a result of these observations, the G34 might not be the best choice for folks with small hands.
In the end, I have to say that the G34 was a great all-around performer. If I had to criticize it, I would say that it could use a bit more weight. When your opponents are wielding 40 oz behemoths, the 23 oz G34 can feel a little out of its weight class. I think that a mag well extension, a tungsten guide rod, and maybe a compensator of some sort could go a long way with this gun. However, it was a fantastic performer as is. The accuracy is truly superb, the trigger is clean and quick, and if you use your time wisely, even the 25 yard plates will fall like the Berlin Wall. On his final relay, the owner of the gun, “KPB” knocked down 5 out of 6 plates at 25 yards in under 9 seconds while drawing from a holster. For a non-professional match, this is professional-grade performance from both the weapon and the user.
As for me, the G34 is high on my list of “must have” guns. I have no doubt that one day, one of these will find its way into my own collection. Until then, “KPB” can count me borrowing his race toy with staunch regularity.