I’ve been testing Grand Power’s new 9mm Q1 handgun lately, and it is proving to be an effective and affordable weapon.
After spending nearly 16 years in law enforcement, I’ve carried a Glock almost every day. Being a firearms enthusiast, however, I like a wide variety of firearms, and finding that hidden jewel is exciting.
When people are searching for a handgun, they look at a lot of things including price, size, caliber, and of course, reliability. Some guns have been tested across the board and the results are well known.
Glock is a great example of this. People have thrown them off buildings, buried them in the mud or sand, and even thrown them in the ocean. All this, after people fired thousands of rounds through them without any failure.
But how many rounds does it take to determine if a gun is reliable and built for the long haul? Military and law enforcement testing processes utilize more than 20,000 rounds. For others, a few hundred rounds are sufficient to determine if a gun is reliable enough for them. A lot of people use the 500-round mark as a good ammo count for a thorough evaluation of a gun.
When I first shot the Grand Power Q1 9mm handgun, I was impressed. It has a great trigger pull with a clean break and the recoil is extremely low. After a few hundred rounds with zero issues, it became one of my favorite range guns. But for a daily carry, some want to see more than 500 rounds through a gun.
Why perform a 1,000-round stress test?
When a lot of ammo is fired through a gun, it gives you the chance to see several things. The first is how well it functions when it starts getting dirty. This doesn’t make a gun unreliable but provides some insight into how often it should be cleaned.
The AK-47 rifle compared to an AR-15 rifle is a good example. The AK is less accurate than an AR but will fire for much longer without cleaning. If you keep your AR-15 cleaned and oiled, it is reliable and very accurate.
The second thing you can tell from a good ammo dump is how well the gun holds up. Of course, 1,000 rounds of ammo are not a lot in the big picture, but it does provide more information.
Over the years, I’ve had sights fall off and triggers, extractors, safeties, and other parts fail. Most of the time, these issues didn’t occur until a decent amount of ammo was shot through them. A few hundred rounds will help you determine how well you like a gun overall. But if a gun eats up a thousand rounds of ammo, you will start to get a better idea of how well it’s built.
It’s hard to do high-round ammo tests on firearms these days because of the price of ammunition, so I reached out to Global Ordnance for help. Global Ordnance is the official importer of Grand Power firearms in the US.
My first Grand Power was the SPA1 Stribog, which I still have and love. I respect companies that stand behind their product and Global Ordnance didn’t hesitate to provide the ammo for the stress test.
On the range with the Grand Power Q1
For this test, I wanted to see how well the Q1 holds up once it gets dirty. I had already fired a few hundred rounds from the Q1 without cleaning it before performing this test. So, I decided not to clean it and only apply oil after 500 rounds. But when you include the previous 300 rounds, I fired more than 800 rounds before applying more oil.
After applying some synthetic gun lubricant, I shot the last 500 rounds. It would have gone faster had I just blasted ammo down range but where’s the fun in that? I wanted to get some use out of the controls, so I also performed some drills in the process: mag change drills, weapon transition drills, and my agency’s 51-round obstacle qualification course.
For mag change drills I loaded 3-4 rounds in each mag so I could cycle through them quickly. I did this a lot because I wanted to get some wear on the mag release, slide catch, and slide release. I also did some rapid-fire drills at close targets to heat up the gun and see if it would jam. Once I got to 900 rounds, I slowed down and made some longer distance shots to see if it was still accurate. I shot 50 rounds at targets from 20-30 yards out and the last 50 from 40 yards.
How did it hold up?
As you would expect, the 9mm Q1 was dirty when I applied more oil halfway through. Once the testing was over, I field-stripped it and was surprised to see it didn’t look any worse than it did during the first half. This could be due in part to the synthetic oil I used on it.
During the test, I didn’t have any malfunctions, which is impressive for a gun that retails in the $350 range. On initial inspection, I didn’t find any parts that appeared to be worn or damaged either.
Including the 300 rounds previously fired, I now have a little over 1,300 rounds through the Q1. The sights are still intact and the trigger, mag release, slide catch, and slide release are all functioning correctly.
The Q1 uses a rotating barrel on a somewhat thin slide. This helps keep the recoil down, making it easier to remain on target while shooting. With no signs of stress or wear, I think this gun could handle thousands of rounds like a champ.
One of the only downsides I found with the Q1 is an option for holsters. Or to be more specific, duty/tactical holsters. The Q1 will fit in most Glock 19 leather holsters. The one I use the most is a Bianchi Model 82 (for Glock 19) because it has retention built into it. This is an open-top paddle holster that locks the gun in place when holstered. As you draw the gun to release it, simply push a plastic lever with your index finger.
I wouldn’t recommend carrying an outside-the-waistband holster without some type of locking mechanism /retention. I have also used several of my Glock 19 shoulder holsters which all have thumb straps with the Q1, and it fits like a glove. For those wanting to carry concealed, there are a lot of IWB holsters available for the Q1 as well.
It Shot like a champ
It’s getting easier to find quality-built guns on a tight budget, but I think this is still impressive. Because I had already put 300 rounds through the Q1, it won’t take long for me to hit the 2,000-round count. Again, I know a lot of manufacturers perform testing on their guns that are in the thousands. But I like to see tests on the range for myself. There have been too many times I’ve had a gun with issues that had been “tested” by the manufacturers.
In my experience, a gun that will cycle more than 1,000 rounds of ammo without a single issue earns an A+ for basic reliability. Sure, other tests can be performed including cold weather, heat, mud, etc. And who knows, maybe someday I’ll get to that as well. Either way, this is a $350 gun (when purchased directly from Global Ordnance) that shoots great.
Equal credit for reliability should be given to the 17-round metal magazines as well. Much of the time, the magazine is the problem when a gun doesn’t cycle correctly.
If you’re on a budget and want a mid-size reliable handgun, this may be one of the most underrated handguns on the market. Down the road, I’ll be doing some additional tests with the Q1 to see if this winning streak continues.