The Glock 20: Glock's Most Versatile Pistol

— Travis PikeCADRE Dispatch

One of the best things Glock ever did was create the Glock 20. Chambering the mighty 10mm automatic cartridge, it is one of the few high-quality 10mm handguns I’d call affordable. It sticks to the typical Glock design and won’t break with high-powered loads. It doesn’t break the bank with a high price point, either.

The Glock 20 delivers a modern 10mm option that works well for a wide variety of roles. 

In my opinion, the Glock 20 is the most versatile Glock on the market. It can be used for a ton of different purposes and can even be converted to quite a few different calibers. The Glock 20, as just a 10mm, can be very effective for home defense, for dealing with animals up to bear-sized, and as a hunting firearm. It’s a bit big, but if you’re dedicated, it can also be a capable concealed-carry pistol. 

Glock 20 and gear
It can hunt. it can defend. it can change calibers.

We are going to review the Glock 20 as a 10mm pistol and explore its inherent usefulness and versatility. Our model is a basic Gen 4 Glock 20. There are numerous generations of the pistol as well as optics-ready models. The base model Gen 4 tends to be the most common and widely available. 

Inside the Glock 20 Gen 4 

  • Barrel Length: 4.6 inches 
  • Overall Length: 7.8 inches 
  • Weight : 30.69 ounces 
  • Capacity: 15 Rounds 

The Glock 20 I have is an SF model, and SF stands for Short Frame. They reduced the grip circumference at strategic points to make it easier for those with smaller hands to reach the trigger. The gun comes with several back straps to customize the grip of the gun. The magazine release is reversible and the slide lock is fixed on the left side of the gun. 

Glock 20 and holster
The Glock 20 can be converted to numerous calibers.

It has the Spartan appearance of a Glock except it’s noticeably larger. The 20 uses the large frame size to accommodate the rather long 10mm cartridge. The 10mm is the same overall length as the .45 ACP and was designed to be a powerhouse of a cartridge. 

The Versatility of the 10mm 

When they designed the 10mm they wanted to make a fast, but somewhat heavy cartridge that provided .357 Magnum-like power to a handgun. Some of the heaviest loads reach into the lower grade of .41 Magnum territory. 

They succeeded, but along the way, a lot of people didn’t like the recoil of those hefty cartridges, so 10mm FBI or Lite loads came about. This eventually led to the .40 S&W. The 10mm can now be found in a wide variety of loadings, although most common loadings aren’t up to the dream of the 10mm. 

If you want a proper 10mm load you’ll want a 200 grain bullet moving at 1,200 feet per second or an 180 grain bullet moving at 1,300 feet per second. 

Glock 20 and safariland holster
The Glock 20 series chambers the mighty 10mm.

However, we enter into the world of 10mm versatility by being able to use those lighter loads. A 180 grain round at 1,000 feet per second is a light load. These loads have less recoil and tend to be more pleasant for training purposes. 

The 10mm by itself can perform with ballistics and recoil at .40 S&W, .357 Magnum, and lower powered .41 Magnum cartridge levels. That’s a lot or a little oomph and with the Glock 20, you get 15 rounds to get it done. 

The Most Versatile Glock Ever

We know the 10mm by itself is adequate for defending the homestead, killing bears, hunting deer, and competing in Major Power Factor for competition use. What else can the Glock 20 do? You can convert it to various calibers fairly easily, and some calibers are easier to convert than others and tend to be more reliable. 

The most reliable conversions are to .357 SIG, .40 S&W, and 9x25mm Dillon. These all have the same rim dimensions as 10mm and use the 10mm as its parent case. Users can convert the gun to calibers like 10mm with the swap of a barrel, magazine, and recoil spring, but due to the smaller rim, the reliability isn’t on par with the other cartridges. 

Glock 20 front
The Glock 20 takes a full-sized approach to the 10mm.

You can also get into oddball and uncommon cartridges like the .38 Super and the .50 G.I. You can even convert the mighty 10mm Glock 20 to the diminutive .22LR, but that conversion requires an entirely new slide assembly and magazine. It’s possible to set your Glock 20 up for a half dozen different calibers. That’s pretty darn versatile if you ask me. 

Will you ever need to? Need is a strong word, but if you’re in a state or country where purchasing handguns is tough, then converting one might be the easier answer. 

Splitting Paper With the Glock 20 

So, the Glock 20 is versatile, but how does it work as just a 10mm Glock? The answer is pretty dang good.

It’s a Glock, and that comes with a certain set of expectations. The first is incredible reliability that’s clear and present. It handles hot and heavy-loaded 200-grain bear-stopping rounds and light-loaded 40 S&W impersonators with the same degree of reliability.

glock 20 shooting
While the gun is a little snappy it’s still easy to control.

Along with the Glock’s reliability, we have to deal with its ergonomics. They aren’t bad and are completely usable for most people. This is a fairly large gun with a 2×4 for a grip, so folks with smaller hands will struggle, even with the SF model. The problem with Glock ergonomics is that they could be better. We see companies like CZ putting out polymer frame striker-fired guns with more refined ergonomics. 

For me, the main problem comes down to the grip. There isn’t much of an overhang, and I get a healthy dose of slide bite when I grab the gun as high as I can. I can add the beavertail grip thingy, but that makes a thick grip thicker. The trigger guard could be relieved for a more comfortable grip when you go high on the gun. 

glock 20 shooting
The Glock 20 handles well and is quite accurate.

My other complaint is only a problem when you are shooting a couple hundred rounds in a short period, and it’s the Glock trigger rubbing against your finger. It gets irritating and old. It’s easy to see why people swap Glock triggers so often. Overall it works, I just think it can be better. 

Big Pills 

The 10mm is a nice flat shooting cartridge and it’s a fun one to shoot. My biggest regret with my Glock 20 was not purchasing the MOS model with the optics-ready design. I feel like an optic could make this thing a game-changer for longer-range accuracy. At 50 yards in a rested position, I could hit an IPSC target most of the time. With a dot, I could make that all of the time. 

Glock 20 magazine
The Glock 20 gives you 15 rounds of 10mm.

At 25 yards I can easily destroy an 8-inch gong. It takes no effort at all to keep the thing swinging. I also love seeing how hard the 10mm round hits and how hard the gong swings.

At 15 yards we are punching a hole the size of a fifty-cent piece in paper. The predictable striker-fired trigger made it easy to put those hefty 10mm pills right where I wanted them. 

The Glock 20 side view
The Glock 20 Gen 4 is a capable and versatile pistol.

Recoil varies a bit depending on the load used. The SIG 180-grain JHPs are pretty close to a proper 10mm load. Those things have predictable and controllable recoil. It’s snappy, but the big gun eats it up, and the recoil isn’t intense or painful. With the lighter-loaded stuff, it’s tame and has controllable recoil. The hotter stuff is a lot more fun to shoot. 

The Mighty G20 

The Glock 20 remains my favorite Glock. It’s an affordable, high-quality powerhouse. It’s a spartan working gun that’s not finicky or picky.

The Glock 20 is the best 10mm for most folks; it’s the working man’s 10mm, and it will work. For me, it’s a woods gun — a gun I use to protect myself from feral hogs and to eliminate coyotes. The versatility of the Glock 20 ensures it can be whatever you need it to be. 

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