Glock Airsoft Technical and Tactical Differences Between Glock 17, Glock 18, Glock 19

 

In 1963, Gaston Glock founded Glock KG, manufacturing consumer goods made of polymer, wood, and metal. It was only in 1980 that the first Glock pistol came into existence – the Glock 17. Designed to take advantage of high-strength polymers, it introduced the Safe Action System.

Today, the company’s product line has expanded to 48, though not every number between 17 and 48 represents a handgun. You can still find Glocks of many configurations, sizes, and calibers on the market. After all, Glock wanted to make something for everyone.

The Glock 17 remains popular even after decades of use, undergoing several generations of upgrades. The latest is the G17 Gen5 pistol, replete with new features the Gen1 models never had.

Another popular model is the Glock 19, which is basically a compact version of the Glock 17. It has also been upgraded to Gen5 as of 2022. Many internal parts are similar along with the shorter barrel length and grip height.

In 2017, Glock combined the Glock 17 frame and Glock 19 slide to create the Glock 19X, a “crossover pistol.” You get the best of both worlds, a compact gun with a full-size magazine capacity. This product was successful upon release, with many being sold quickly.

All Glocks are semi-automatic-only designs, as your typical soldier doesn’t require anything more. But Glock introduced the G18 decades ago, a full-auto/semi-auto pistol with an optional 33-round magazine. It was reserved for special forces and SWAT teams that needed more firepower.

The Glock 18 is capable of accepting a detachable shoulder stock to help control the recoil. A small package like that will kick immensely, so a stock helps maintain accuracy at longer ranges. Your shooting technique will help even more.

Airsoft companies like Umarex have made replicas of these famous pistols, allowing airsoft fans and gun owners to participate in war games or train at home. The Glock 18 is mostly banned in the U.S. for civilians, but law enforcement operators may choose to purchase an airsoft replica to practice with.

Each of these three handguns offers distinct advantages to airsoft players. All are from the same family and manufacturer, and there will undoubtedly be some overlap. However, Glock managed to target each of these models to different groups.

Basic Glock Mechanisms

All Glock pistols are striker-fired double-action-only (DAO) weapons. Instead of the visible hammers you see on older designs, they use strikers, and you won’t be able to cock the gun manually as you would with hammer-fired guns. This extends to the airsoft copies, as no Glock designs will have hammers.

Starting with Gen4, Glock incorporated ambidextrous features like a magazine release and slide release. These allowed left-handed shooters to operate their products without modification. The most they have to do is open the gun up and switch these parts around.

The Safe Action System built into the guns make a safety catch on the frame or slide unnecessary. The lever beside the trigger prevents accidental discharge.

Umarex and its brands Elite Force and VFC have faithfully copied all of these features except on the Glock 18 and Glock 19. These particular weapons have not received any Gen5 upgrades. Therefore, the magazine and slide releases are fixed, which can cause inconvenience to left-handed users.

Glock 18s and Glock 18Cs belong to Gen3, so the Safe Action System and DAO settings will be present, as is the case starting from Gen1. The newer generations don’t modify the Safe Action System radically.

With this knowledge of how Glock pistols work, we can now move on to the airsoft copies. We’ll first describe each weapon’s specifications and more before outlining their distinctive features.

Elite Force Glock G17 Gen5 GBB

Glock 17

 

The Elite Force Glock 17 Gen5 is the faithful replica of Glock’s latest standard G17 model. Like the standard model, any airsoft fan will find it a handy sidearm in any situation. Aside from the orange tip, the weapon completely resembles the authentic Glock product.

The polymer slide lightens the gun’s overall weight, ensuring that it’s easy to carry around. On the other hand, Glock still uses an aluminum slide due to the material’s reliability, durability, and strength. The barrel is made of the same aluminum.

All the markings are perfect copies of those on the firearms, as Umarex has the licenses to reproduce them. Therefore, you can see the Glock brand, 9x19mm caliber, and Austria markings to indicate where the design came from.

Internally, the similarities mostly end. As a GBB pistol, the Elite Force Glock 17 Gen5 uses compressed gas to propel the BBs in the magazine. Elite Force specifies that these pistols can use green gas, propane, and red gas.

The firing style is the same, being DAO. You can also use the slide release and magazine release as you would with your genuine Glock.

Aiming is done using the traditional Glock sights, which have white inserts and help with low-light shooting.

Owners can mount a laser, flashlight, or combo attachment on the bottom tactical rail if those sights aren’t enough. These attachments don’t bog the weapon down too much and will increase your chances of survival too.

As with all Gen5 pistols, the magazine release and magwell are expanded. The former is much easier to press, while a flared magwell helps with quick reloads. You want to have as many BBs in the gun as possible since enemies can still approach.

The grip has extensive checkering and no finger grooves. This arrangement has been the case since Gen4, allowing users of all hand sizes to grip the pistol firmly. The back strap can be exchanged for smaller or larger models.

Specifications

  • 325 FPS
  • Full-size pistol
  • Polymer and aluminum construction
  • 23 rounds in the magazine
  • Comes with Picatinny bottom rail
  • Semi-auto only
  • Adjustable hop-up
  • Trigger safety is always active until you pull the trigger firmly
  • Uses green gas, red gas, and propane

Elite Force Glock G18C GBB

What's the best glock?

Made for counter-terrorist teams, the Glock 18C is the compensated version of the first Glock 18. It has a muzzle attachment to reduce climb, though airsoft copies don’t suffer from this problem as much. As a Gen3 Glock handgun, it will lack some of the aforementioned features.

However, the Elite Force Glock 18C is still a fully-licensed airsoft copy of the famous pistol. You see it used for close-range combat in many video games . In the real world and airsoft venues, that’s exactly where you would use it.

The Glock 18C markings are on this gun as they are displayed on the real model. Having the authentic markings helps with immersion and shows that Umarex intends for customers only to receive only the best products.

The polymer frame and aluminum slide are the same as the Gen3 Glock 17 airsoft copy aside from one feature. The Glock 18C has a slide-mounted fire selector that allows users to switch between full-auto and semi-auto. Otherwise, a casual glance isn’t enough to tell the difference.

The Gen3 pistol grip has finger grooves, a largely polarizing feature. Not everyone wanted them, and Glock removed them after Gen4. The checkering pattern is also older and rougher, unlike the modern raised dots.

As an older design, you’ll notice that the iron sights on this pistol belong to an older time. They’re still effective, but you won’t need to aim as much with this handgun anyway.

Speaking of aiming, you can save time by mounting a laser sight onto the bottom Picatinny rail. It accepts many standard accessories available right now. A combo light will work even better.

The extended magazine contains 50 BBs, enough to handle a small group of opponents. Make sure not to squeeze the trigger too hard, as the weapon has a high cyclic firing rate. You’ll empty the magazine in seconds and become defenseless.

With the adjustable hop-up, you can fine-tune the trajectory of the BBs and use heavier ammunition.

Specifications

  • 300 FPS
  • Full-size pistol
  • Polymer and aluminum construction
  • 50 rounds in the magazine
  • Comes with Picatinny bottom rail
  • Full-auto and semi-auto modes
  • Trigger safety is always active until you pull the trigger firmly
  • Uses green gas and top gas

Elite Force Glock G19 Gen3 GBB

Glock19G3

 

Unlike the Glock 17 pistol from Elite Force, the Glock 19 airsoft copy is from Gen3. Nevertheless, it’s still a highly-effective compact handgun you can rely on. While you can use the Glock 17 magazines, the smaller ones that come with the G19 aren’t compatible with the larger weapon.

The frame and slide are made the same way as the original, except for aluminum replacing a steel slide. The markings are as authentic as they appear on the firearm, with the large “19” being visible near the muzzle.

The sights are also of the older Glock style. They work well for longer shots, though the shorter sight radius does reduce the accuracy somewhat compared to a full-size model.

Around one inch shorter, this pistol grip has the Gen3 finger grooves and an older checkering style. The backstrap features has some lines and dots as well– standard for that generation of Glock pistols. Plus, there’s a groove to rest your thumb on, increasing grip comfort.

While it appears that you can swap out the magazine release position, the Gen3 pistols don’t support this feature. The component is for right-handed users only. The same goes for the slide release, which is stuck on the left side.

The shorter grip has resulted in a lower default magazine capacity of 19 rounds. It’s still a respectable number, but it pales in comparison to the larger pistols.

Specifications

  • 290 FPS
  • Compact pistol
  • Polymer and aluminum construction
  • 19 rounds in the magazine
  • Comes with Picatinny bottom rail
  • Semi-auto only
  • Trigger safety is always active until you pull the trigger firmly
  • Uses green gas

Elite Force Glock G19X Gen5 GHBB

What's good about the 19x?

 

The Elite Force/Umarex Glock 19X Gas Half-Blowback Pistol deserves a special mention in this article, as it’s the bridge between the Glock 17 and 19 pistols. It has almost all of the Gen5 features as well. The design is Glock’s first “crossover pistol.”

The origins of the Glock 19X are apparent as the U.S. Army was looking for a new handgun. It organized the Modular Handgun System competition, inviting any gun manufacturers to submit designs. Glock almost won over SIG Sauer, but the gun was commercialized and became the G19X.

By combining two of the company’s best designs, the Glock 19X was a commercial success. While its true popularity remains to be seen, many owners are happy with the weapon. The company’s reputation for making quality weapons is still intact.

The airsoft version is visually similar except for the orange tip required by U.S. Federal law. The markings are present due to being a fully-licensed copy, and you can display the logo for all to see.

Designed for all environments, the Glock 19X delivers in both practicality and performance. The shorter barrel makes it easier to carry, but it will still feel comfortable for users with larger hands. As a midway point, the pistol functions well.

The construction is similar to other Umarex copies, having a polymer frame and aluminum slide. The weight is close to that of the original weapon, being only a few ounces off.

This pistol comes with the newer Glock sights, known to perform better in CQC situations. They have white inserts to help with target acquisition.

The slide release and magazine release have been made larger for quick access. They’re also ambidextrous. You still have to swap the magazine catch to the other side by opening the gun up, but that’s not too challenging.

One thing to note is that this gun is half-blowback, meaning the slide doesn’t rock back all the way when firing. However, it has a higher muzzle velocity than the others above.

Specifications

  • 350-370 FPS
  • Crossover pistol
  • Polymer and aluminum construction
  • 14 rounds in the magazine
  • Comes with Picatinny bottom rail
  • Semi-auto only
  • Trigger safety is always active until you pull the trigger firmly
  • Uses green gas

Technical Differences

We can divide these guns mostly into two categories, the Gen3 and Gen5 guns. The former will include the Glock 19 and Glock 18C, while the latter consists of the Glock 17 and Glock 19X.

The Gen3 guns have finger grooves, non-ambidextrous magazine release and slide release, and older iron sights. The Gen5 guns removed the finger grooves and made the controls ambidextrous. The iron sights are of a new design that suits modern combat better.

The Glock 18C is a unique gun, as it’s the only one among these four that can fire in full auto. It has a fire selector lever on the slide to match. The remaining three all have similar safety mechanisms and locations.

Other features the Gen5 guns introduced are the beveled magwell, new gas system, and new way to adjust the hop-up. The new gas system increases the pistol’s muzzle velocity while providing a realistic recoil impulse. With the Gen5 airsoft Glocks, you can set up the hop-up without opening the weapon now, as all you need is a hex key.

There are other differences, but too many to list here.

Tactical Differences

The Glock 17 is the company’s standard gun, meaning it would cater to a large audience. Anyone who wants a larger handgun with many BBs in the magazine will love the G17. It suits most airsoft operators because of its versatility and proven combat record.

Some users also have larger hands that don’t wield smaller handguns well. With the longer grip, these users will have a sidearm they can rely on. The Glock 17 will shoot accurately at longer ranges, so you can depend on your skills to hit targets farther away.

On the other side of the spectrum is the Glock 19, which is a compact model. It suits airsoft users with smaller hands as it provides a better shooting experience. The gun will be easier to wield in CQC situations, thanks to a shorter length and height.

Concealment isn’t that much of an issue in war games, but gun owners will still appreciate having a life-sized model to train with.

The full-auto Glock 18C will come in handy when the situation is challenging. As it was designed for chaotic close-quarter shootouts, semi-auto fire won’t suffice. It can compete with automatic weapons at point-blank range, which is why the EKO Cobra, the Austrian counter-terrorist unit, adopted it.

The Glock 18C is best used by expert operators who can control the automatic fire in airsoft. Those who are CQC experts will bring out the best in this pistol, no matter the range. Even so, anyone with practice can eventually master recoil control techniques.

Finally, we have the Glock 19X, the middle ground between compact and full-size. It will work for any airsoft fan, as it was meant for use in almost all combat scenarios. It’s not the best for concealment, but it still hits targets hard when needed.

Overall, the gun you want comes down to personal preference. A poll shows that certified range masters are divided in their model of choice. Some preferred the Glock 17, while others armed themselves with Glock 19s.

World-Class Airsoft

These Umarex/Elite Force/VFC airsoft licensed Glock airsoft copies have taken the world by storm ever since their introduction. Not only are war games fans happy, but gun owners who take practice seriously have also been satisfied by these replicas. Umarex, like Glock, strives to improve its products, so the future is bright for both companies.