Written by Phillip Chambers

Glock 17 Gen 2 Review

The Glock 17 Gen 2 was the first revision to the Glock pistol and was introduced back in 1988.

Glock 17s are full-sized 9mm pistols with a 17 round magazine capacity which for the time was pretty impressive, paired with the reliability of the gun, they quickly became popular with military and law enforcement.


Caliber: 9x19
System: safe action
Magazine: Standard 17 Optional 19, 24, 31, 33
Barrel Length: 114 mm | 4.49 inch
Weight (without magazine): 625 g | 22.05 oz
Weight (with empty magazine): 705 g | 24.87 oz
Weight (with loaded magazine): 915 g | 32.28 oz
Trigger Pull: 5.5lbs
Length (Overall): 204 mm | 8.03 inch
Slide Length: 186 mm | 7.32 inch
Width (Overall): 32 mm | 1.26 inch
Slide Width: 25.5 mm | 1.0 inch
Height (incl magazine): 139 mm | 5.47 inch

Changes from Glock 17 Gen 1

The most notable change seen in the gen 2s was texturing on the trigger guard, front strap, and backstrap. The backstrap further received serrations near the slide.

A smaller detail between the first and second generations is the serialized steel plate that was added in the second generation to comply with ATF regulations.

The magazine saw some minor revisions as well with the floorplate being redesigned and a reinforced insert being added to the bottom of the follower.

Be aware that these older magazines did not have the steel reinforcement lining the polymer of the magazine shell. Because of this, they can warp while inserted into the pistol causing the mag to wedge itself inside the gun and not want to come out.

There is a half-moon cut-out on the backstrap that can help remove a stubborn mag if this ever happens.

In 1991, the two-piece recoil spring and tube were replaced by an integrated recoil spring assembly.

A year later in 1992, there was a “six-part upgrade” program introduced by Glock for their gen 2 pistols. This program was essentially a recall for parts that potentially allowed the pistol to discharge unintentionally when they were dropped.

These upgrades were provided free of charge by Glock, the owner just needed to ship the gun out and they would have the following parts replaced:

  • Extractor
  • Spring-loaded bearing
  • Firing pin spring
  • Firing pin safety
  • Firing pin
  • Trigger bar

How Does it Compare to Other Glock Models?

During the second generation, the Glock 19 was introduced as a compact 9mm offering. The Glock 17 is the full-size option that originally was offered by the company.

Gen 2 also saw some new calibers being offered. The Glock 22 is a full-sized pistol similar to the Glock 17 but chambered in .40 S&W and the Glock 41 is the same but in .357 Sig.

There was even a long barrel version of the Glock 17 made designated the Glock 17L.

Later in 1990, larger calibers were offered with the Glock 21 in .45 ACP and the Glock 20 in 10mm.

Who Uses the Glock 17?

The Glock 17 is used worldwide by various military and law enforcement agencies. It sees more use than any other pistol in service roles due to all the pros mentioned previously.

Glock 17 Gen 2 Competitors

Polymer frame, striker-fired pistols were not very common in the ’80s but there were a couple of hammer-fired, metal frame competitors that gave Glock a run for its money back in the day.

The Sig Sauer P226 was designed in 1983 and has been in active service since 1985. It is a full-sized hammer-fired, alloy frame pistol with 15 round magazine capacity. It is offered in multiple calibers, 9mm being the most popular.

The P226 also has an accessory rail added to the bottom on later models that allows the user to attach a front-mounted accessory.

In 1984 the Sig P226 was one of two pistols that passed the U.S Army’s service pistol trial.

The other pistol that successfully passed the trial and ultimately won the contract was the Beretta 92F. Similar to the P226 the 92F is a hammer-fired, metal frame handgun with a decocker.

Also the same between both pistols is the 15 round magazine capacity.

The Beretta 92F was later replaced with the 92FS for military service due to the slide being able to come off if the hammer breaks. The FS model solves this problem by having an enlarged hammer pin installed.

The Safe Action System

The safe action system on a Glock pistol has three separate safeties that all function independently from one another. The safeties are as follows:

  • A trigger safety
  • A firing pin safety
  • A drop safety

The added benefit of this system is that with using a striker there is a consistent trigger pull throughout the course of fire.

How Does the Striker Fire System Work?

By using a striker in a pistol it removes the need for a hammer. This is beneficial for a few reasons.

There are fewer moving parts that may eventually wear or break.

Most parts that handle the firing mechanism are located within the gun itself instead of being external.

The striker itself can be found inside the slide and is under spring tension.

When the trigger is pulled the spring releases allowing the striker to swiftly move forward and impact against the primer.

Once the primer is hit the cartridge will fire, using the recoil to reset the spring back in place and ready for the next shot.

What finish is Used on the Glock 17 Gen 2?

Both first and second-generation Glocks used parkerizing as the finish. Parkerizing is a phosphate conversion coating that is used on rough textured metal and gives a matte texture.

I think the finish is quite attractive and can hold well as long as the owner gives the pistol proper care by oiling it but they are not as corrosion-proof as the newer finishes.

Best Ammo to Use in the Glock 17 Gen 2

When it comes to grain weight I would recommend sticking with 115 or 124 whenever possible. These weights will reliably feed in most 9mm pistols and as long as you are using decent ammunition you don’t need to worry about jamming as much as some of the heavier grain weights.

Range Ammo:

I always try to scout out some CCI Brass Blazer before anything else for range work. It has served me well as a good middle ground between quality and price. It can be found in both grain weights recommended above as well as others.

That being said it can run a bit dirtier than other brands and the brass is not as easy to reload as others but overall I don’t think I can recall a time where I had a stoppage using this ammo.

If there is no Blazer in sight or if I am trying to cram an extra few boxes in my ammo cans I will go with PMC Bronze. This ammunition has been very reliable for me as well with the added benefit of being packed in boxes that are much smaller than most other brands (except Sellier & Bellot).

You can find PMC Bronze in 115 grain relatively easily. 124 grain also exists but I have only seen it on rare occasions.


Federal HST is my go to choice for defense rounds.

My go-to defense round is the Federal HST. They distribute a ton of energy on impact and have massive stopping power. Any wrongdoer who feels the no-no end of these will instantly be rethinking their life choices.

Best Accessories for Your Glock 17 Gen 2

A quality pair of steel night sights will add more durability to your sighting system if the gun ever dropped while also including extra effectiveness to shooting in low-light scenarios.

It would be a good idea to pick up some newer magazines that have steel reinforcement in the shell so there won’t be any risk of the mag warping in the gun and getting stuck.

Best Modifications for Your Glock 17 Gen 2

One of the best ways you can maximize consistency is with a good quality trigger. Being able to predict the trigger movement and having a crisp break goes a very long way to making accurate shots time after time.

Since the palm swells tend to get slippery when wet there are a few options you have to negate the effect.

The easiest thing would be to add talon grips to the frame giving a more aggressive texture to the places you need it most.

Another option would be to swap out the frame entirely for a stippled frame which will greatly increase usability.


Finger Grooves

The lack of finger grooves continues to be a big selling point for the second generation Glock 17 since the two generations after it included them and are not comfortable for everyone.


It’s a known fact that Glock triggers get better with age as they are used. Since these pistols are no longer in production they can only be found on the used market and therefore will already be worked into some extent.

Safe Action

The safe action striker fire system is very safe. There was an issue with the earlier models potentially discharging when dropped but since the company addressed the problems there is little need to worry about safety issues anymore.


Reliability and durability have been a staple of the company since day one. These pistols were developed for military service and that tradition required them to produce a product that would be able to perform in adverse conditions without needing to worry if it will quit.

Glocks only have 34 major components that make up their pistols. Since a simple design was used there is less possibility of parts breaking or deteriorating.


The barrels are well made on these handguns. They use polygonal rifling that performs well as long as you do not use unjacketed lead projectiles. Lead can build up over time in the grooves of the rifling and will eventually make the gun less accurate.

Equipped with a good barrel and a long sight radius for the size, you can get great accuracy out of a Gock 17.


Glocks have always been incredibly easy to maintain. Field stripping is easily done and the process takes less than a minute.

There are a ton of aftermarket options available for these pistols. The sky (and budget) is the limit to the possibilities of what you can do to customize and make it your own.

Since the Gen 2 was initially released many years ago you are able to pick one up for a very reasonable price today. Try to find one that already has the six-part upgrade done or manufactured after 1991.


No Accessory Rails

It wasn’t until the third-gen Glocks that the accessory rail was added so if lasers and lights are something you need to have on your pistol then this gun isn’t for you.


As mentioned previously, the magazines are not metal reinforced and can warp getting trapped in the magwell. I would recommend picking up some newer magazines that will solve this issue.

Being an older model there is nothing in the way of ambidexterity so lefties are not gonna have a very good time trying to use all the controls.


Older Glocks have a very blocky feel in my hands and are not very ergonomically comfortable. On top of that, the texture of the palm swells on the first and second generation gets slippery when wet which can greatly affect usability.

Thankfully the gen 2s added a more aggressive texture to the front and back of the frame but it isn’t until RTF2 gen 3 that we get extra texturing on the palm.


I have never been a fan of polymer sights on a duty gun. A quality pair of metal sights will be able to take more abuse if the gun is ever dropped in a defensive situation allowing you to stay in the fight and accurately engage targets.

Glock 17 Gen 2 Overall Review

The gen 2 Glock 17 is a very economical option for a used pistol but I don’t think it is for everyone.

At this price point, cheap modern pistols compete with the Gen 2 Glock that would bring some extra features to the table. The Taurus G3 comes to mind.

That being said if you are someone who likes the Glock product and history these guns can be had cheaper than newer gen models especially if you can find a department trade-in.

The biggest thing to look out for will be if the six-part upgrade has already been done or if the gun was manufactured after 1991.

Overall review: 3/5

Read More Articles:

Glock 17 Gen 3

Glock 17 Gen 1