Glock 20SF 10mm Pistol
Major Pandemic 03.18.14
The venerable Glock is thought of first and foremost as a defensive firearm. In fact, many experts consider it the defensive pistol design, and that title is well earned and deserved. Over the last decade, Glock has also become synonymous with high speed sport shooting competitions from bone stock to wild and ready to rock. One thing that a Glock is rarely thought of as is a hunting outdoorsman’s pistol, but the G20 is without a doubt well equipped for that task.
I may be in the minority as someone who hunts with my Glock 17 and 19 pistols. The gun is plenty accurate at pistol-hunting distances and does a fabulous job on jackrabbits with standard FMJ without destroying the meat.
The 9mm, .40 S&W, and 45ACP are all fine calibers, but not what I would consider humane hunting rounds on larger, deer sized game, but this is where the 10mm Auto round is perfect. The 10mm Auto, or just 10mm for short, delivers a sizeable 556 ft/lbs of energy similar to .357 magnum. Glock’s G20 format puts 15-rounds on tap, which is the equivalent of almost three revolvers full of ammo.
It’s also the case that the SAMI spec’ed 10mm cartridge can be far more powerful, as evidence by Buffalo Bore’s Heavy 10mm Ammo. Buffalo Bore is famous for delivering a big powerhouse round and their 180 gr. Jacketed Hollow Point delivers 1,350fps and 728 ft. lbs of energy, which is equal to what most see from typical, more sane .44 Magnum rounds. So why the big difference between the power range?
A Brief History of the 10mm Auto
The development of the 10mm round is actually an interesting story that dates back to the 1970s. The idea was for a high power, flat shooting, semi-auto cartridge that would run in a 1911 format pistol and would basically deliver .357 to .44 Magnum (midweight loads) ballistics.
In the end Jeff Cooper, yes the scout rifle guy, was involved in the development, at which point Norma began producing ammunition in the early 1980s. The FBI felt a little outgunned on the streets and briefly adopted the 10mm round, but with the full bore, kick-ass loads that were first released. The reality was that 90% of the agents felt uncomfortable shooting and handling the larger dimensioned and significantly more powerful 10mm powered guns.
The ammo manufacturers responded with the 10mm Lite rounds, which in essence dropped the power all the way down to about .40 S&W loads. Smith & Wesson thought this was a waste of un-used powder space on the longer 10mm brass and developed a 10mm Short, or what we now know as the .40 S&W. The round delivered everything the FBI specs wanted in a cartridge that would fit in a smaller 9mm sized pistol format.
The current crop of 10mm rounds from Hornady and others are not neutered to the degree the “LITE” rounds were, but they could certainly be loaded hotter as we see with the higher power Buffalo Bore rounds. The current 10mm rounds are still much more powerful than the .40 S&W. .40 S&W usually deliver around 450Ft/lbs of energy, and the 10mm typically delivery around 550 ft/lbs, which is a nearly 20% more power.
Today the 10mm cartridge still does have a following in Special forces and Special Law Enforcement, and it’s growing as a hunting cartridge due to the capacity of the firearm and its power.
About the Glock G12
Glock began producing the G20 in 1991 to answer market demand in the midst of the 10mm Auto’s hayday. Even after demand tapered off, there was still a demand for the 10mm Auto pistol, but the major complaint was the overall size of the grip. Later in 2007, Glock introduced the G20SF (reviewed here) which is the “Short Frame” model. The G20SF model provides a significantly better grip feel circumference equal to a standard .40 S&W chambered Glock.
The net result is that those with medium to small hands can establish a comfortable and secure grip. Glock has been specifically marketing the G20 and G20SF as hunting companion firearms to be used for the hunt or to provide a humane finishing shot on very large game. For those hunting in bear country, having a 15-round pistol that can deliver power that rivals some .44 Magnum rounds is an enormous benefit. In fact, the Greenland Sirius Sledge Patrol uses the G26 on the very aggressive Polar bear, which far outweigh our typical brown bear.
Fit, Finish, Features, and Function
The G20SF has the fit, finish, and features identical to any other Gen 3 Glock you may have handled, but the slide and barrel is even wider and beefier than Glock’s .40 S&W pistols to handle the power of the 10mm Auto round. The side profile of the G20SF is the same as the full sized G17 and G22 models, but it is just wider and heavier.
In the end the G20SF overall feels about 10% wider and heavier than your standard Glock G17 9mm, and about 5% wider and heavier than their G22 .40 S&W model — actual weights may vary. The major reason for offering the “SF” version was to just make the super-sized 10mm G20 manageable for shooters with normal to small sized hands. The result of the SF model offering is a very powerful gun that feels and handles like a G22.
If you want night sights, I always recommend picking them up included from Glock as they are a bit less expensive than adding them later, plus they will come factory zero’ed. On my G20SF I added the Glock night sights because, you know sometimes big critters roam around at night.
Just as with any other Glock, reliability was flawless from the first round to the last. Due to the ammo shortage of 2013, I scavenged a partially shot box of very old StarFire 10mm Auto rounds and a few hundred rounds of less expensive FMJ. I was also fortunate enough to have Hornady send me a couple boxes of their Custom 10mm Auto 180gr XTP rounds. Lastly, a friend of mine also supplied a few hundred rounds of fairly hot 10mm Auto reloads. Throughout those hundreds of rounds, we did not have one failure. What surprised us most was that the recoil was really quite pleasant and was easily tolerable and controllable with the harder hitting rounds.
Way, way back with I purchased my first Glock, I picked up the very inexpensive Glock magazine and holster, and they served me very well. I did the same in this situation, as the G20SF does not slip into your standard 9mm or .40 caliber holsters. The Glock holster works great and provided a simple, no-nonsense holster and magazine pouch option. For the beginner shooter, the $39.99 street price Glock Range kit safety glasses, earplugs and earmuffs are very hard to beat.
My friend and I have made it a habit to routinely plink and hit the 12”x12” steel 100-, 200-, and 300-yard gongs with our Glocks. Oddly enough, once you figure out the 12-15 foot holdover at 300-yards, it is not that difficult. Firing the flatter-shooting 10mm at distance was a whole new game. The original intent of the cartridge was clear — this is a long range handgun round. As an example, we only needed to hold over about 9-feet on our 300 yard target vs the 12-15 feet with a 9mm and .40. If zeroed at 50-yards, the 10mm Auto only drops about 4.5” at 100- yards and is only 36” low at 200 yards and still delivering around 400 ft/lbs of energy (about the same energy a 9mm has at the muzzle). This is a very impressive round that is more than adequate for hunting deer sized game at a little distance.
Moving over to the sandbags, we were able to consistently take out clay pigeons on the 100-yard line and do the same on the 200 and 300 -yard 12” steel plates with scarey consistency. Way up close on the 25-yard line we were able to deliver more than a few 1”-1.25” groups — accuracy which held all the way out to 300-yards. Would a scoped out Thompson Center or 8” barreled revolver have a leg up on accuracy? You betcha, but they do not have 15-rounds on tap either.
If you are looking for high capacity pistol with long range power and accuracy, the Glock G20SF is it. It delivers everything you could want for power in a hunting pistol that can also double as a mighty fine defense pistol with a capacity that is unmatched for 10mm Auto chambered pistols. On the hunt, this is the pistol to have at your side and it’s a Glock.
- 10mm Auto / Safe Action
- Lenght: 209 mm / 8.22 in.
- Width: 32.50 mm / 1.27 in.
- Length Between Sights: 172 mm / 6.77 in.
- Height: 139 mm / 5.47 in.
- Barrel Height: 32 mm / 1.26 in.
- Barrel Length: 117 mm / 4.60 in.
- Unloaded: 785 g / 27.69 oz.
- Loaded: 1125 g / 39.71 oz.
- Trigger Pull: ~2.5 kg / ~5.5 lbs.
- Trigger Travel: ~12.5 mm / 0.49 in.
- Barrel Rifling: right hand, hexagonal
- Length of Twist: 250 mm / 9.84 in.
- Magazine Capacity:15