Since the Coronavirus lockdown, I’ve been stuck at home without the ability to get any live trigger time in. Most of the local ranges are closed, and I don’t have enough backdrop in my yard to safely live fire. I can dry fire, but because I carry a Glock, there are limitations on dry firing (such as having to reset the striker). Enter the Elite Force Airsoft/Umarex USA licensed Glock 17 airsoft pistol.
The Elite Force Glock 17 is a licensed copy of the Glock 17. For those who haven’t been in the airsoft world, for a long time Glock wouldn’t license their guns, which meant that airsoft companies produced “sorta-Glocks” that didn’t necessarily operate like a real Glock and frequently didn’t fit into Glock-compatible holsters and other accessories.
Now that Glock has licensed their designs to Elite Force/Umarex USA, you can get Glock airsoft guns that function like Glocks and actually fit into holsters. For airsoft players, that’s more of a cool factor for their impressions, but for people looking to train with these guns it adds a much higher level of realism to that training.
This particular gun is polymer with a metal slide. Magazines are metal, hold 17 BBs, and also hold the 12 gram CO2 cylinder. The slide fully reciprocates on firing, and the magazine release and slide catch are both fully functional. Because this version is the Gen 4, it does come with two backstraps (the medium and large), but more on those later. Sights are standard Glock plastic sights.
Obviously, one of the big positives is the fact that this gun actually fits into holsters. I was running my kids through some drills yesterday, and it fit perfectly into my Safariland 7TS ALS with no snags on insertion or draw. The rail is correctly sized, and my lights fit perfectly.
The trigger pull is actually much closer to a real Glock than some of the training tools I have used (specifically the Next Level Training SIRT). It is a little on the light side, but it works smoothly and doesn’t have the weird sudden “click” of the SIRT.
The functions of the gun are almost perfectly replicated. You insert and drop magazines, rack the slide, lock the slide to the rear, and even get slide lock on an empty magazine. While the recoil is obviously greatly reduced from a a real firearm, there is still enough recoil to give a good facsimile of a functioning firearm.
One thing that is not accurate about the gun is the weight (unloaded, it’s a full 6 ounces lighter than my unloaded Glock 19). Even with the magazine inserted, it is not quite an accurate weight. I honestly don’t think this is a big deal, which is why I count it as a neutral point, but I could feasibly see it irking some people.
It’s important to remember that this is an airsoft gun firing plastic BBs. Because of this, you shouldn’t expect the range of a real gun, or even the range of a pellet gun. However, if you structure your training accordingly, it shouldn’t be an issue.
According to the manual, this gun requires a silicone lubricant. Obviously, Elite Force says to use theirs, and I probably will (it’s not expensive), but the biggest point is that you can’t lube it with your standard handgun oil from home.
The biggest negative I have found is that the advertised backstraps suck – for two reasons. First, they don’t blend into the backstrap of the gun. There is a significant lip underneath the tang that will likely wear on you after a while. It probably won’t be as annoying as it would be on a real gun with real recoil, but I don’t understand how they got so much else right and screwed that up. Second, the pin that holds the backstrap in place is also not quite long enough for me to trust it to hold the additional backstraps in place. It’s very disappointing to me that they advertise the backstraps (as they should, it’s a Gen 4), but execute them so poorly.
Second, I’ve been told (but haven’t yet experienced) that the floorplates are fragile. It’s probably a function of the fact that you have a heavier metal magazine with a plastic plate, but I’ve been told they break after repeated drops, even on softer surfaces. My gun is basically brand new, so it hasn’t happened to me yet, but I’ll update if and when it does. I looked around on Elite Force’s website and didn’t see replacements, so I may end up going to my local airsoft store (Ballahack Airsoft) and see if they can order them. At $45 a mag, I’ll be greatly annoyed if the plastic floorplate puts my mag out of action.
For the price of $159.95 for the gun and $44.95 for additional magazines, the Elite Force/Umarex USA Glock 17 is an excellent training tool. The ability to replicate all essential manipulations (except malfunction clearance) without having to worry about constantly resetting the trigger, the ability to practice skills like multi-target engagement and actually receive feedback, and the ability to do all of this in your backyard or your garage are truly key selling points. Plus, you can even set up force on force scenarios with basic protective gear, adding yet another benefit to this piece of gear.
While there are other options out there (like the SIRT and the NRA UTM conversion), they either have weird eccentricities (the click on the SIRT) or they are crazy expensive ($446 + $.70 a round for the UTM/$239 for the SIRT).
Is it perfect? No. But will it add an additional capability to your training routine that you can’t get from pure dry fire? Absolutely.
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