As we've seen the development, design and worldwide
acceptance of every Glock model and caliber, one model
has all but been ignored - the G18/G18C. These are Glocks
that offer the option of fully-automatic fire. The Model
18 has three external changes from the original Model
17: a left side, slide-mounted fire control or selector
switch; a barrel that extends past the front of the slide
and three horizontal and diagonal cuts that run across
the top of the barrel to act as a compensator (the same
design used on the 17L and 24 compensated models).
The newest Glock 18, the G18C, has a keyhole opening
cut into the forward portion of the slide, not unlike the
opening on the Glock long-slide Models 17L and 24, although
the G18 has a standard-length slide. The keyhole opening
provides a venting area to allow the four, progressively-larger
(from back to front) compensator cuts machined into the
barrel to accomplish their job, which is to afford more
control over the rapid-firing machine pistol.
The compensator cuts, of varying widths, appear to be
EDM-machined into the barrel and start about halfway
back on the top. The rear two cuts are narrow, while
the front two cuts are wider. The slide is also hollowed,
or dished, out in a rectangular pattern between the rear
of the ejection port and the rear sight. My guess is that
this lightening of the slide serves to maintain the cyclic
rate of the original G18, since the compensator should
drain off some of the bullet's velocity, thus slowing up
the cycling. Making the slide lighter would compensate
for this decrease.
First Glock 18
While completing the Drug Enforcement Administration
(DEA) Sub-Machine Gun Instructors' Course at the DEA
Firearms Training Unit at FBI headquarters in Quantico,
Virginia, this past summer of 1996, I was permitted to
spend an hour or so familiarizing myself with a very
early-model G18 that belonged to the DEA. The sample
G18 appeared to be one of the first imported into the U.S.,
for it lacked the now-familiar impressed checkering on
the front and back straps.
Both the original and the new C18C are easy to operate;
the semi-auto function is the same as every other Glock
with its 'Safe Action' trigger and safety. The control for
semi- or full-auto firing is not unlike a side-mounted thumb
safety and works in a similar manner. The control switch
is located on the left rear side of the slide in the grasping
groove area. It is easily moved by your firing-hand thumb
or your left hand while gripping the gun in a two-handed
hold. When the selector is horizontal with the length of
the slide, or in the 'up' position, the gun works as a semi-auto.
Pushing the lever down 45 degrees puts the gun in full-auto
While at the DEA and under the very careful control of
the DEA instructor, I first loaded the standard 17-round
magazine into the gun with an assortment of Federal Hydra
Shock 147-grain JHP and Winchester NATO 124-grain JRN
ammo - the duty and practice ammo for the DEA. After
dry firing and then shooting a half-dozen rounds semi-auto
at the FBI/DEA QIT bottle target 10 yards away with a
two-handed hold, I threw the switch over to full auto.
Wow! The gun emptied the mag in a blink of an eye!
In proper technical terms, the C18 cycles between 1100
and 1300 rounds per minute, dependent upon the ammunition
The easiest way to describe shooting the G18 full-auto
is that it feels just like turning on a high pressure water
hose. The gun bucks and just starts pushing straight back
in your hands, while you note an ejected stream of brass
cases arcing up and over your right shoulder.
Leaning forward aggressively, I emptied the 17-round mag
into the bottle area on target. Next up was the 33-round
Glock magazine. This proved to be the most interesting
way of loading and shooting the G18. With 33 rounds and
a single pull and hold back on the trigger, the shots were
literally 'hosed' onto the target.
Again, with the 33-round magazine and two targets side
by side at 10 yards, I was able, with the trigger still pulled
and held, to get the first four or five shots on the first target
and the next four or five rounds on the second target and
then back and forth until the gun locked back. I might point
out that after 33 rounds in this exercise, to keep my balance
I had to take one normal step forward as the slide locked
After emptying half a dozen standard mags and two more
33-round mags at one or both targets, I next ran the gun
one-handed on full-auto. Again, I was able to shoot four
to five rounds on one target and move the gun to the adjacent
target with the same results. The mandatory one-step-forward
with the two-handed hold wasn't necessary, since I quickly
learned to take an exaggerated forward leaning posture
on my right or firing side. Putting 200-plus pounds behind
the gun helped.
New G18C Details
Only Gaston Glock would take a perfectly good design
and make it better. I found nothing to carp at with the
original G18's performance, but the new G18C is even
better at carrying out its task. I had no difficulty in learning
to control the original G18 down at Quantico, but the
gun did require intense concentration to get accurate
rounds in the full-auto mode.
The new G18C is much easier to shoot accurately, as
we learned while testing it with John Ricco and his staff
at Classic Pistol, a newly-opened, state-of-the-art indoor
pistol range in Feasterville, Pennsylvania. Glocks District
Manager, Steve Palinkas, provided a brand-new G18C
and stood by as we put it through its paces. As before,
I had Police Officer Robert Thomsen's help in doing the
control and accuracy testing.
Shooting the New G18C
Bob went first. At a distance of 10 yards or less, he
had no difficulty learning to shoot a full 33-round mag
of Remington 115-grain UMC ball ammo into tight groups
on the Speedwell QIT target. (The Remington-furnished
UMC ammo was totally reliable throughout the 850 rounds
fired, by the way.) Compared to the original G18, the G18C
is a pussycat to shoot. The compensator system really
works, almost completely eliminating muzzle lift. While
standing to the side, you can see the flame shooting out
of the compensator ports, but while firing the G18C, the
fire is above your line of sight and is not noticeable. The
fired brass ejects outward to the right about 12 inches or
so. Semi-auto fire was as accurate as wit any standard
9x19mm Glock. It should be noted that in the original
specifications for the G18, the trigger pull was listed at
eight pounds, while the new G18C has the standard Glock
trigger pull of five-and-a-half pounds.
After Bob and I calmed down enough to stop emptying
33-round mags at one target, I set up four targets across
the range, spaced about 1 yard apart and 10 yards downrange.
With one continuous burst of 33 rounds, all the targets
were engaged with at least two and often four rounds
each as I learned to move the gun better across the array.
Of course, with one pull of the trigger for each target, four
rounds found their mark each time. Next, I engaged one
target from 5, 10, 12 and 15 yards with a two-handed combat
grip and also with both strong- and weak-hand-only. I
again found, as I had previously on the DEA range, that
four rounds would score with one trigger pull. The G18C
certainly is an interesting firearm!
The G18C definitely has advantages over the long guns,
such as the H&K MP5 and the M16 variants, for the G18C
is a very low-profile automatic weapon. (In fairness to
the long guns, with the HK MP5 and the M16, I am able
to fire two-round bursts with the gun in full-auto mode.
With the Glock G18, however, I was only able to get three-
and usually four-round bursts with one pull and release
of the trigger.)
The G18C looks like a standard Glock 17 9x19mm handgun.
Whatever carry method is good for a handgun is the same
for the G18. It is a very non-threatening piece of equipment.
No bad guy, spectator or news reporter would have a clue
until the gun is fired.
The G18 is controllable and will not spray bullets indiscriminately
all over the area, despite the 50 to 70 years of bad press
that has accrued to the concept of shooting a hand-held
machine pistol. Common wisdom is that you can not hit
anything with the gun without a shoulder stock, and even
with the stock it is still an iffy proposition. Common wisdom
has not shot a Glock 18! (My sole prior experience with
machine pistols was with the German C96 Mauser pistol
and a variant, the Spanish-made Astra. They were almost
impossible to shoot accurately on full-auto without a
With only two exposures with the G18s, I am certainly not
an expert on the gun, but the experiences do lend themselves
to a few conclusions. First off, shooting this gun is fun!
I know that this is not the proper attitude to bring to learning
to shoot a weapon designed for defensive and offensive
work against human beings. But still, the gun is fun. Other
than having a grand time, my observations are that the
G18 can be easily controlled with one- or two-handed firing
without a great deal of live-fire training and, if the threat is
within 10 yards, there is little chance of stray rounds leaving
the aiming area.
How does this translate into real- world use? In close-quarters
engagements, in a building or residence, for instance, 10
yards is not an unreasonable maximum distance to shoot
at a threat. The G18 is certainly much handier than maneuvering
a long arm through confined quarters by high-risk entry
and arrest teams, and the operator has the options of carrying
a bullet-resistant shield or light source while still having
the choice of semi- or full-auto fire. For dignitary protection
or while riding in vehicles, the Glock 18 will be much quicker
to bring to bear on target. If lethal force is not required,
the G18 can be re-holstered and secured as would be done
with any handgun, not a small consideration when handling
prisoners. It is ideal for plainclothes officers assigned to, say,
airport security, where there's a high threat potential and a
full-auto capability is desired, but the officer still wants to
remain low profile. A Glock 18C loaded with a 17-round standard
magazine is, of course, easily concealed, while loaded 33-round
mags can be carried as spares The G18, with a standard 17-round
mag and a +2 base pad extension, is certainly the most low-profile
full-auto gun on the market today!