Driving A Lead Sled – The Glock G21SF .45 ACP Pistol

Driving A Lead Sled – The Glock G21SF .45 ACP Pistol

Driving A Lead Sled – The Glock G21SF .45 ACP Pistol

A “Lead Sled” tends to have all extra side moldings shaved off and filled with the suspension lowered. Style, not speed was the reason for building them. Some common lead sleds are the 1949 Mercury, 1949 Ford and the 1959 Cadillac.

Unlike the “Lead Sled” of automobile fame, the Glock G21 (some call it the “Block 21”) is a semi-automatic large-frame pistol chambered in .45ACP. Glock pistols have a simple, dependable, reliable and easy-to-use design that bring accuracy and peace of mind. It can push an awful lot of heavy lead downrange in a very short period; The Glock G21 is my “Lead Sled”.

My Glock G21 has standard Glock features such as a polymer grip that is lightweight making it 2.4 pounds loaded. On the front of the grip are finger grooves and the sides having a rough texture that feels a bit like sandpaper. Its double-action trigger is also “safe-action” meaning the safety is on the trigger rather than the side. The only way a round can fire is if the shooter pulls the trigger because its internal design will not allow the firing pin to punch forward any other way. This prevents accidental discharges if the pistol is dropped.

Glock recommends the G21 for open carry.

Specifications: 

Action:               Semi-auto
Caliber:              .45ACP
Size:                  Large
Length:              7.59″
Height:              5.47″
Weight:              1.65 pounds
Trigger:             Double-action
Trigger Pull:       5.5 pounds
Barrel Length:    4.6″
Twist:                1 in 15.75″
Sights:               Fixed
Material/Finish:  Tenifer/matte black
Grip:                  Polymer with finger grooves and Rough Textured Frame (RTF)
Capacity:           13
Website:            http://www.glock.com/english/index_pistols.htm
Features:           “Safe-action” trigger safety
MSRP:                $640.00

When you pick up the Glock G21 you know that you have a fistful of fighting firepower and 13 + 1 rounds of your favorite .45ACPammunition at your disposal. Even though some say that the grip is “ginormous”, I have added a set of Hogue Handall grips to my personal G21, as the grip’s palm swell fits my hand perfectly. The sights are stock, as I have seen no need (yet) to change them. The only modification that I have made to the gun was the addition of an extended slide stop lever and that is for re-chambering purpose only, as I normally rack the slide (per Glock) to chamber the initial round.

The 6.77″ sight radius with a 4.60″ barrel assures a reasonably high-degree of accuracy, given the construction of the pistol. The physical size of this gun says that it means serious deployment for serious purposes as a duty pistol and not as concealment pistol. However, the “Little Brother”, the G30, is the same width and many carry it on and off duty, openly and concealed. Many also carry the Glock G36, the “Baby Brother”, daily, including myself.

The Glock G21 has proven itself as being one heck of a handgun repeatedly. Now, it was my turn to drive the “Lead Sled”.

Glock G21SF .45 ACP Pistol

Glock G21SF .45 ACP Pistol

I have had this particular gun since February and have not shot it; shooting, instead, the G30 and G36 for EDC use. I cleaned it, lubed it according to the recommendations from Glock, added the extended slide stop lever, bought spare magazines for it, and added the Hogue Handall slip-on grip and a grip plug, and it just so happens that it fits perfectly in my Cross Breed Super Tuck Deluxe holster for the G30. It waited patiently for the day to come off the bench and today I called it from the sidelines to become a player.

Nothing that I can say would be an addition to what has already been said about the fit and finish of Glock pistols and the example that I own is no different. Some say that the polymer sights on the Glock are trash, but I have no problem with them as long as they work for me (more on that later).

The magazine release dominates its position on the gun but is not so dominate that I mistakenly pressed it during firing. The Glock G21SF allows you to change out the magazine release to the opposite side. If you are a left-handed shooter, this may be advantageous for you to do so. The slide stop lever; however, is not ambidextrous and is position in the left side of the frame. I found that the thumb of either hand could manipulate the lever easily although, for my thumb, the lever is somewhat forward of my thumb and I have to change my grip slightly; I use the thumb of the support hand to manipulate the lever if needed.

I am not going to go into the differences between the G21 and G21SF as you can find that information here and it would be silly of me to take up valuable space in comparing the two. I am not going to go into the differences between the Glock G21 and the Springfield XD45 (Service Model 4″). I have both and I am well pleased with each. The Glock G21 just appeals to me more than the XD.

There is about .130-inches of free-travel until I feel the heavier resistance of the trigger. At that point, the trigger breaks cleanly at 5.5 pounds, as stipulated by the manufacturer. Trigger reset on this gun is almost scary it is so close and is about 1-mm from point of release.

One aspect that I would like to bring up because I rarely, if ever, see it mentioned anywhere is the relative position of the trigger finger to the trigger. As you can see by the image that follows, although my trigger finger is resting slightly on the frame, when I place it on the trigger it will be an almost straight to the rear pull as the pad of my trigger finger will be almost aligned perfectly with the valley of the trigger itself. I believe that his adds a lot to the accuracy of the gun and is important when firing pistols and it may be a leading factor as to why most folks fire a pistol better than they do with a revolver (not saying all folks, just most).

Glock G21SF .45 ACP Pistol

With most revolvers, the design and shape of the grip forces the trigger finger to move in an unnatural plane (not the trigger mechanism as that is a constant); the trigger finger moves more down and to the rear rather than straight back to the rear. With the long, and sometimes heavy, trigger pull of the double-action revolver, it is a natural tendency to move the barrel down as the trigger fingers moves down. Supported by the shoulder, rifles and shotguns lessen the tendency for the firearm to move while pulling the trigger. For handguns, in general, good ergonomics of the grip could make a difference in your ability to pull out as much accuracy as possible out of the handgun that you are shooting. The ergonomics of the hand to the grip is just something to consider when looking at your next handgun purchase.

Range Time:

For the range session, three types of ammo are available:

  1. Atlanta Arms and Ammo range loads of 230-grain TCJ
  2. American Eagle brand 230-grain FMJ
  3. Georgia Arms 185-grain JHP

I used a 100-yard Precision Rifle Target from The National Target Company at 7-yards combat distance with a Birchwood Casey Shoot•N•C® Self-Adhesive Target 8″ for each course of fire. I fired a full magazine (13-rounds), two-handed slow fire, at each target. I was not bench resting this gun; I simply took what the gun gave me after having three cups of coffee.

Loading the Glock G21 magazine takes a little assistance from the UpLula loader to get that thirteenth round in the magazine. I probably could have loaded the magazine with out it, but I decided to save my thumbs for something better.

Even though I had cleaned and lubricated the pistol before coming to the range, I ran a Bore Snake down the barrel. This was, after all, a never-before-fired pistol (by me anyway) and I wanted the bore clean. I also decided that slow-fire was a good option, as I was breaking in a brand new barrel and I want to enjoy it for many years to come.

Without adding the Shoot-N-C target, I shot my first shot to see where I needed to hold the front sight. The Glock barked like a big dog and the round went 2″ high and slightly right from the point of aim.

I needed to drop my front sight down and chalked up the right-off-of-center shot as being trigger-happy. I loaded up a full magazine and started testing.

Atlanta Arms and Ammo range loads of 230-grain TCJ:

Range ammunition is always questionable but the Atlanta Arms and Ammo range loads of 230-grain TCJ ammunition ran through the gun without a hitch and gave me an excellent group. That surprised me, as I was not expecting it at all.

Recoil is very mild on the Glock G21 and pushed the gun into the web of my firing hand. The Hogue Handall grip sleeves that I installed on the gun helped in taming what recoil there is. Muzzle flip was almost negligible due to the ergonomics of the gun. I found that I could come back on target with relative ease after each shot.

All expended cases left the gun nicely and well over my right shoulder.

I let the gun cool down as I shot the pictures of the test results. Then, I ran the Bore Snake though it just for piece of mind.

Federal American Eagle brand 230-grain FMJ

Surprisingly, the American Eagle brand 230-grain FMJ gave me as tight a group as the Atlanta Arms and Ammo range loads of 230-grain TCJ ammunition. Again, the ammunition moved through the gun flawlessly.

Again, I ran a Bore Snake through the barrel, let the gun cool down before the next session, and took a few pictures of the session’s results.

Georgia Arms 185-grain JHP

The Georgia Arms 185-grain JHP ammo gave me the widest spread of the three manufacturers of ammunition used for the test. Still, it was accurate but dirtier than the others were. As is said, the rounds struck the target “close enough for Government work!”

I did not expect any significant change ofPOIat combat distances between different weights of bullets and I was not disappointed with the results.

I finished the last round of shooting, took a few pictures of the results, and started packing things up. “Wait,” I thought. “There has to be more.” I quickly grabbed the box of the Federal American Eagle brand 230-grain FMJ, loaded a full magazine, and posted a new target. It was a time for some fun – double-tapping fun. Another swipe of the bore with the Bore Snake assured a clean bore.

Double-Taps (Just for fun):

With the new target in place, I placed the POA at the bottom of the large diamond knowing that I was not going to have the tightest group in the world when trying to double-tap my way through 13-rounds of ammunition.

Tap-tap <pause to regain sight picture> tap-tap <pause to regain sight picture> tap-tap <pause to regain sight picture> tap-tap <pause to regain sight picture> tap-tap <pause to regain sight picture> tap-tap <pause to regain sight picture> tap (were you counting along with me?).

The results were, to my surprise, good considering that this was a new gun, I am not used to it, and the parts have not “bedded” themselves yet. I cannot determine what caused the group to go right, but it was obviously something that I was doing. The last shot; however, stilled my fears of using this gun in fast fire sequences as the last shot hit almost center. I can see why this gun is a favorite of many, and now me.

Glock G21SF .45 ACP Pistol Test Results

Glock G21SF .45 ACP Pistol Test Results

My only gripe about the gun is the sights. However, it is more of old eyes that are having difficulty placing the front dot in the middle of the rear square whilst trying to line up the front dot with my POA than it is the actual sights of the gun. For “combat accuracy” (I really have to do a write-up about that), I suppose they are fine but I may opt for a set of the Ameriglo Green Front/Rear Ghost Ring Night Sights or a XS 24/7 Express Sights arrangement to simplify things.

So there you have it, an-unbiased review of my experience with the Glock G21. It was a pleasant one and I hope to repeat it soon. The Glock G21 is a pleasure to shoot. In my mind, it is reliable, dependable, and accurate. What more can I ask for when the chips are down and I may have to call on it in my darkest second.

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  • Anonymous

    I “LOVE” my glock 30

  • pastor t

    I really like my Glock 22 but I have really been wanting to get the Glock 21.  This article only served to make that desire more intense.  I carry my G22 concealed and plan to do the same if I get a G21. I’m just watching for the best price.  Almost picked up a used one at Gander Mnt. the other day but I felt the price was a little high for a used gun with obvious holster marks.  They were asking $399  does that sound high to anyone else familiar with used Glock prices? or not?

    • DarylD

      Actually, it seems that the price you quoted is the going rate for used Glocks these days. At a recent gun show, one vender had a number of “Department Trade-in” Glocks (all of which were .40 caliber) that were fetching $400. Most were in great shape with the exception of wear marks that are normal for guns sliding in and out of the holster. Considering that the prices of Glock pistols (as well as everything else) seems to be heading skyward, I would shop around and try to get the best deal that you can. The going street price for a new Glock G21 seems to be around $560 or so.

  • JSDinTexas

    No doubt the G21 although lighter than most is bulky, and biggest complaint is usually the large grip – my gripe as well – but I bought a G21sf and it is very manageable with my smaller hands. The recoil is very easy since it ‘pushes’ the gun back instead of jumping at the muzzle, which is due in part to the low bore axis (the barrel sits lower in the gun). And 1911s are great, but I get 4 or 5 extra rounds, which is significant to me for carry purposes. Also the G21 will handle +P ammo with no concerns. 
    My only suggestion is if the G21 is too big, look at the G30 or G30sf – and some like the G36 with a single stack mag and thus smaller grip, but you lose a few rounds.
    Glocks, their not for show but for go, and I never leave home without one.

  • G_twenty_six

    I also have a G21. I have big hands and the grip fits me well. I shoot it the most accurately of any of my
    Glocks. It is very big and wide and relatively heavy for a Glock. I wouldn’t want to conceal carry it but I understand a few people actually do, and like it.

  • nitrous_bob

    oh yeah…i dumped a glock 36 for gen3 21sf as my .45 acp pistol
    i have a 1911, and a XDm .45 as well……
    i like the glock best for its simplicity.  im still a 1911 fan…but my glock 21 and glock 19 are purely works of art. i added trijicons to my 21.  big fan there too….my sig p238 was my first pistol with night sights and i want them on EVERY gun i own now

    thanks for the writeup !

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