A few years ago, it was fashionable to see stories in the gun books concerning caliber conversions from one caliber to the other. I think the king of these conversions is the 1911. I have fired the 1911 in .22, .30 Luger, 9mm, .38 Super, .40 S&W, 10mm, .400 Cor Bon, .41 Avenger, .45 ACP, .44 Magnum as a single shot, .45 Super, and the .460 Rowland. Some conversion options are a stunt and not worth the effort. However, if you enjoy such things, they are a pleasant diversion.
Conversions of the Glock are more practical. As an example, not long ago I picked up a nice, used Glock Model 22 .40 S&W that was once a police issue sidearm. The pistol was well used. Most were trade-ins to Glock and some have been refurbished to an extent.
Maintenance depends on the agency, and ranges from zero maintenance in many small departments to excellent maintenance in Federal agencies. Most have spare magazines. I would think hard about the price—you may be better off to purchase a Generation 5 Glock. Unless you want a .40, and then there are no Gen 5 pistols.
As for myself, I do not fall for the all calibers are the same horse extrusions and neither should you. The 9mm +P+ is a fine police caliber, and the 9mm +P is good, especially the new Hornady Flex Lock adopted by the FBI, but the .40 S&W hits harder. That is physics. I have taken deer with the .40 and that isn’t something I am comfortable with when it comes to the 9mm.
My pistol was marked Atlanta PD. It is in very good condition and was in the box with a spare magazine and the original grip inserts. An advantage was that the pistol featured Glock night sights. Although they are dim, the steel sights have a much better sight picture than the standard factory Glock sights.
The trigger action is steady at 5.5 pounds. The finish shows little wear, and the barrel hood and muzzle showed normal wear from firing. While I like the .40 and its power, and I don’t find it a chore to master and shoot well, the 9mm is less expensive and plentiful. While the .40 isn’t a hard kicker, the 9mm recoils less.
I obtained a 9mm conversion barrel. The breech face of the .40 is a bit larger and the extractor differs, so I wondered how these conversion barrels might work. First, I proofed the Glock with a number of .40 loads. These included the Hornady 155-grain XTP and 180-grain XTP.
When most powerful loads are taken into account, the .40 caliber pistol is not only suited to personal defense and service use, it is a good choice for defense against animals. When it comes to feral dogs and the big cats, I think the most powerful .40 caliber loads are good choices.
Next, I tried the conversion barrel. At first, I used a mixed bag of ammo left from other tests including both hollow point and FMJ loads. I used .40 caliber magazines. Firing a couple hundred rounds, the pistol was reliable enough for practice but not service use. The point of aim and impact was OK for practice and the recoil a bit less than the .40. Accuracy was at least equal to the 9mm Glock 17.
The magazines fed the first 12 or 13 rounds, but the last two or three tended to short cycle. There is very little magazine spring force against the cartridges in the last three rounds and we are using a 9mm in a pistol with a recoil spring set up for the .40. Switching to Glock 17 9mm magazines, the pistol fared better. Reliability improved to about 95% to 98%, with failures to cycle on the last few cartridges common.
This is a fine conversion for practice use. The 9mm is economical, and with an affordable and accurate load such as the Fiocchi 124-grain FMJ, the conversion barrel offers affordable practice. It is not service grade reliable, however, while the Glock .40 as tested was 100% with all loads tested. Perhaps a 9mm recoil assembly along with 9mm magazines would bring the piece up to speed.
Next, I wanted to try the .22 caliber conversion unit. The Tactical Solutions .22 conversion unit is well made of good material and held promise. The unit doesn’t come with a spare magazine, and I admit the conversion isn’t made for tactical use. But I ordered a spare magazine because I do not like having any piece of equipment without a spare magazine.
The conversion was set up on the Glock frame and the magazines loaded with Fiocchi .22 Long Rifle High Velocity ammunition. The pistol and conversion came up shooting. After 500 rounds of mixed ammunition—all high-velocity loads—the conversion has never failed to feed, chamber, fire, or eject. I like this a lot. Accuracy is good, with the practical accuracy of the unit just slightly under par for a Glock 17 9mm handgun. Two inches at 15 yards or a little better is the average.
I had almost forgotten that I had a Bar Sto Precision barrel in .357 SIG. So, this is actually a four-caliber Glock. Still, I am sticking to three calibers for practical use, the .40 for defense use, the .22 for training and practice, and the 9mm for centerfire practice. The .357 SIG is interesting, however.
I loaded the .40 magazines with Fiocchi’s .357 SIG FMJ loading. The results were excellent. Function was 100%, and absolute accuracy the best of the test—due to the Bar Sto barrel. I have fired few groups with a Glock pistol below two inches at 25 yards, but I only fired one that day with the Bar Sto barrel and Fiocchi ammunition.
.22 caliber conversions are the earliest types of conversions, and having one firearm that fires more than one cartridge is interesting. Other handguns have utility and keep life interesting. That being noted, my three-caliber Glock should see a lot of use.
Do you have a favorite caliber conversion? Share it in the comment section.
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