Part combat sidearm, part mountain gun, the Glock Model 20 is a serious workhorse with vast potential. For many 10mm Auto aficionado’s, it is revered as being one of the best platforms for this hefty cartridge. After spending a considerable amount of time with one by my side, I have little choice but to agree. Lets take a closer look at what makes the G20 such a wonderful and diverse tool…
The large-frame G20 shares controls that will be familiar for any Glock owner. It is a no-nonsense system that is simple, reliable, and easy to operate. Squeezing the 5.5 pound double action trigger deactivates the multiple integrated safety mechanisms and retracts the internal striker. The trigger breaks clean, with minimal over-travel and a reasonably short reset. For a stock double action trigger, the G20 is very conducive of good accuracy. On the subject of accuracy, you would be hard pressed to find an autoloader that handles long-range shooting as well as the G20. With the right loads, you can shoot relatively flat out to about 150 yards. And from a rested position with some hold-over, I was able to hit a torso-sized steel target at 300 yards about 60% of the time. Not too bad for these aging eyes.
The front strap of the 3rd generation G20’s have finger grooves for added grip stability. Some folks say the grips on these big Glocks feel like you are holding a 2×4. You may or may not agree, as this is a matter that is purely subjective. But for my large hands, it feels like it was custom made for me.
The back strap also has a molded-in texture for added traction. It is designed to keep the web of your hand high in relation to the bore axis. This, along with the aggressive grip angle, helps keep the muzzle flip to a minimum by forcing the slide straight back, as opposed to up and away.
The stock sights were one of the first things I had to get rid of. I have never been a big fan of Glock’s proprietary polymer sights, and didn’t even get it home before I removed them. These low-profile Trijicon night sights make for a good balance between the many uses I have for this gun. Glock also offers quality factory night sights as an optional upgrade.
If you are planning on running full-power 10mm loadings through your G20, you should seriously consider using a 22-pound recoil spring instead of the stock 17-pound spring. It helps to keep the breech closed longer during cycling, which gives you more consistent velocities and resists the premature opening of the breech. The spring can be fitted over a nice aftermarket steel or tungsten guide rod for a smooth and silky action.
The standard magazines have a 15-round capacity, and neutered 10-round mags are also available if you happen to live in a rights-restricted state. With 15+1 rounds of brawny 10mm in your hands, you have more firepower than virtually any other auto-loading handgun on the market.
A wide and tapered magazine well makes for fast and easy reloads. This unit has been fitted with a Scherer Slug Plug to help keep dirt out of the opening in the bottom of the back strap.
One of the best things I like about the G20 is the ability to switch calibers with a simple, drop-in barrel swap. In this case, I went with a Lone Wolf 10mm-to-.40 S&W conversion barrel. This allows you to use your standard G20 magazines to fire the cheaper and more readily available .40 S&W cartridge. So far, this combo has been 100% reliable, even when used with the heavy 22# recoil spring. Amazingly, the point of impact is basically the same as the 10mm barrel out to about 50 yards.
The fit and finish of Lone Wolf barrels are very good considering the affordable price. The chambers are tight and well-supported, which helps protect your phalangeal assets when playing with homemade .40 S&W concoctions.
The conventional rifling makes the Lone Wolf barrels more compatible with cast lead bullets for your homegrown reloads. Though Glock recommends you avoid the use of cast lead bullets in the stock barrel, I have found that running 20-30 hardcast lead loads does not cause any substantial leading problems. Therefore, you can easily fill a mag or two with heavy, +200g hardcast loads for woods defense without worrying about it.
If you are looking at entering the realm of the 10mm Auto, I would recommend you take a serious look at the Glock 20 or it’s little brother the G29. The G20 is also available in “SF” Short Frame format, which makes the grip more comfortable for shooters with smaller hands. Furthermore, the durability and reliability of these guns are hard to match. I have run about 800 rounds of 10mm and another 500 rounds of .40 through this gun so far, ranging from the hot-rod factory loads from DoubleTap Ammo and Buffalo Bore, to more mild loads from PMC and Winchester. It has also worked very well with a wide variety of hand loads; from powder-puff-light .40’s, to sledge-hammer-heavy 10’s. It appears that this is but a drop in the bucket of the lifespan you can expect from this gun. Internally, the components still look new, and it has never failed to process a single piece of ammunition.
I have used this gun primarily as a sidearm for my hunting and backpacking ventures through the remote northern Rockies. It has been pounded by freezing rain and small hailstones at over 10,000 feet, yet shows no signs of wear or oxidation on the finish. It has been a great alternative to a large-frame revolver that can weigh almost twice as much. Despite being such a portable package, it still packs a sizable punch, with 200g @ 1250 fps loads pushing nearly 700 ft/lbs of energy. These ballistics match the hottest .357 Magnum offerings. In other words, if you do your job, it is more than capable of taking down virtually anything in the lower 48. Considering the impressive ballistics, the G20 is a pleasure to shoot, even with full-power loads. If my wallet permits, I can easily fire 200 rounds in a single session without feeling wrecked. I can’t say the same for my snub-nosed .38 Special.
Despite being a relatively obscure cartridge, the 10mm Auto has survived since the 1980’s mainly due to a small but zealous fan base. I have never met anyone that has owned a 10mm who did not absolutely love the cartridge. Whether you are a 1911 lover looking at a Nighthawk Custom, or a revolver fan looking at a S&W M610, there is a 10mm platform for everyone. If you want to read more on 10mm ballistics, check out this post where I tested some full-power loads. I’m sure you will find the results to be both entertaining and impressive.