The multi-caliber glock solution for ammunition panic: Hail Hydra
Öanciently, old-school gun authors had customized project guns with individualistic names. Jeff Cooper had “Baby”, a Brno big game rifle. Elmer Keith has the more prosaic name “No. 5 ”was an important step in the development of the .44 Magnum cartridge. Jack O’Connor had … well, maybe he had a name for his favorite rifle, but I never read hunting magazines when I was little, so I have no idea what it was.
On closer inspection, this project pistol would have had a name from the start, but it wasn’t specifically put together to write about, but rather to serve as a hedge against future problems.
in the However, in light of current events, let’s call it the “Hydra”. In the mythology of classical Greece, the hydra was a many-headed monster; even if one of his heads were cut off, the other Hercules and the other Greek heroes could cause trouble. In the reality of 2020 America, this Hydra is a multi-chambered Glock – even if you cut one off from your ammo supply it can solve the other problems for that American marksman.
When the Multi Caliber Glock in question was originally purchased, ammunition shortages were the furthest from thought. It was 2015 and the shelves were groaning with ammunition, which looking back on the lean times of 2020 was ridiculously cheap.
Glock 35 Gen4: About $ 650 if you find a new one in stock now.
Old rustproof LW 9mm conversion barrel: $ 120
Old rustproof LW .357 Sig barrel conversion: Discontinued. I think it was $ 115 to share?
9mm RSA, extractor, trigger housing, spring-loaded bearing: $ 50
Wood burner kit at Walmart: $ 15
The Gen4 Glock 35 in 40 Smith & Wesson had been traded in at the neighboring Indy Arms Company gun shop, and the previous owner had made some minor modifications. It had a neatly executed and functional puncture that also removed the finger grooves and permanently inserted them into the small beavertail back strap.
What was particularly interesting, however, was that the previous owner had also converted the pistol to 9 mm. And by “rebuilt” we mean not only the installation of a 9 mm conversion barrel, but also the replacement of the extractor, the spring-loaded bearing, the ejector / trigger housing and the closing spring assembly with the corresponding 9 mm parts.
While a 40 S&W Glock will generally run perfectly with just one barrel change 9mm, it is preferable to have the full range of caliber-compatible parts for the best reliability.
Converted to 9x19mm, the Gen4 G35 could now use all the cute, cheap 9mm that were so thick on the floor at the time. A few more modifications helped it blend in with the other Glocks in the safe.
A combination of a fresh minus connection, the green trigger return spring “NY1” and an SSVi Tyr trigger was installed. This mix results in a trigger weight that is six and a half pounds according to an RCBS trip scale, nominally about a pound heavier than the standard factory Glock trigger – but the weight is evenly down the length of the trigger and the trigger is reset with authority.
The OEM Glock extended magazine and slide triggers have been exchanged for more comfortable Vickers Tactical equivalents from Tango Down. Additional exterior modifications were limited to a set of Ameriglo I-Dot Pro visors and a Striker Control Device (also known as “the Gadget”) from the Tau Development Group.
Basically, this was a 9mm backup to a Gen4 Glock 34 MOS for classes, games, and ammo testing … but that’s not all!
See, while all the 9mm parts were installed, the original Gen4 40 S&W specific parts were also included in the case, along with the three factory .40 cal 15 round magazines.
40 SW + 9mm
In normal times, this would generally mean a shrug and a “So what?” Until 2016, those in the know considered the 40th S&W round to be quite a thing of the past. Both the CCW market for private individuals and the LE world were well on their way to swinging back to 9 mm as the transport and deployment round of choice.
In local stores, the selection of 40 S&W pistols, both new and used, shrunk from nearly half the pistol selection to a few shelves in a small display case shared with the revolvers. The big Indy 1500 gun shows were inundated with used LE 40 S&W pistols … quality Sigs, Glocks, and Berettas … for prices as low as $ 300 or so. Stick a fork in 40, it’s ready, right?
Not so fast. It’s not that 40 S&W doesn’t really work. In fact, the bullet’s terminal ballistic performance is close to ideal with high-value charges, especially due to the various barriers used in FBI tests – that is why the bullet was eventually developed and introduced.
In fact, even Dr. Gary Roberts, a well-known SME for terminal ballistics, that he would be tempted to carry a pistol in 40 S&W when doing “a lot of LE work around vehicles.” This is not surprising, as the 165 to 180 grain composite charges are among the best service caliber charges against intermediate barriers such as sheet metal and car glass.
However, the disadvantages of 40 S&W are triple:
First, the increased recoil not only lowers qualification points for minimally trained officers, but it makes it harder for everyone to shoot quickly and accurately. There’s a reason action pistol games split the score between large and small calibers. “Oh, I can shoot it fast!” You can tell, but you could certainly shoot 9mm faster and finer.
Second, the high chamber pressure and heavier bullets are more difficult for guns. Shoot a bunch of ammunition through a “40” and you will wear out faster than the equivalent 9 x 19 mm pistol, especially since most are built from the same frame.
Finally, for pistols of the same size, you give up the magazine capacity versus 9mm. In the dark days of the national ban on guns that looked like “assault rifles”, my roommate, who wore a 9mm Beretta 92, “borrowed” the magazines from my 40 S&W Beretta Border Marshal because what was a 10- Shot magazine? but that could be stuffed with almost half the amount of 9mm cartridges. (As we could best see, the differences between the Beretta 92 and 96 magazines were mainly in the markings and witness holes. The latter certainly worked well enough in the former.)
All of these excuses for the 40th S&W round ignore its most attractive trait in 2020, this year of plague and disorder: it’s less popular than 9mm. Whether it’s an online ammunition wholesaler or a gun store nearby, stocks of 9x19mm run out faster … and prices rise faster … than 40 S&W.
So if ammunition crunch occurs, the factory 40 S&W bits can be reinserted to replace your 9mm spares. So what really makes this a “hydra”? Well that would be the third caliber option …
0.357 Sig is even more moribund than 40 S&W this year. More relevant for the “Hydra” project is the fact that retrofitting a pistol from 40 S&W to 357 Sig is generally just a change of barrel. In Gen4 Glocks, 357 Sig pistols share extractors, spring-loaded bearings, and return spring packs. Only the ejectors differ, and then only slightly.
While Glock never released an official 357 Sig pistol in the Longslide “Practical / Tactical” G34 / 35 configuration, this 5.31-inch barrel length really wakes up the chambering. 125-grain Remington Golden Saber Bonded and Federal HST Tactical both averaged over 1,400 fps in the Longslide G35 with a stainless Lone Wolf conversion barrel (and those are real speeds measured with a chronograph, not optimistic claims on the flap of the cartridge box ).
When .357 Sig was no longer popular with LE for the past decade, I took advantage of the excess inventory at a few wholesalers and built up an inventory of both FMJ and 125-grain gold dots while going through one of my regular infatuations Bottleneck pistol bullets and … well, it was cheap. Like the late trainer Todd Louis Green, my head knows 9x19mm works fine, but my heart wants to believe that Sig Sauer’s bottleneck rocket is Thor’s hammer.
Undoubtedly, 357 Sig has some drawbacks. It features a muzzle bang that has more in common with the 357 magnum revolver cartridge it was designed to mimic than the service auto chamberings it competes with. Reloading the bottle neck case is tedious; I sold my stamps disappointed. In fact, most remanufactured ammunition is below average. After all, it comes with high prices and relative scarcity compared to 9mm or 40 S&W … at least in normal times.
In the panic year 2020, however, everything is tight. People who buy 9mm are surprised by scarcity, paying 40 to 60 cents a round for ammo – that’s only Tuesday for a .357 sig shooter, so this is all familiar.
As of the writing of this article, frequent reviews of the Ammoseek.com web crawler openly result in the 357 Sig and 40 S&W looking pretty good compared to the traditional 9mm in terms of price and availability. Even if I didn’t have all three chambers in stock before the latest trend, I could refill the two larger calibers relatively easily and continue to train and shoot.
While “Project Hydra” runs well with 357 Sig and the additional zipper on the longer barrel is undeniably cool, a Glock 22 would be a better basic weapon than the G35 if we started over with a clean sheet of paper.
The inch-size 357 Sig is a more tried and tested configuration, and while the longslide can be worn slightly concealed, the inch-size pistol is better hidden under a jacket or over shirt if you opt for an OWB holster. You give up a bit of speed and “shootability”, especially in the more powerful chambers, for a small gain in comfort and concealability, but you carry a CCW rifle a lot more than you shoot it.
On the whole, however, the end result is gratifying. It was completely reliable in all three chambers with high quality factory ammunition, and the 357 Sig barrel gives the Longslide Glock an extra bit of versatility.
With three different calibers to choose from, ammo panic is no longer a cause for panic.
GLOCK 35 Gen 4
Unloaded weight: 28.9 ounces (.357 sig barrel, unloaded)
Loaded weight: 36.4 ounces (15 + 1 rounds .357 Sig, Federal 125-Grain HST Tactical)
Height: 5.5 inches
Length: 8.5 inches
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