The Glock 20 is a workhorse of a handgun. It’s been the standard-bearer 10mm for decades, and for good reason. It’s accurate, reliable, and tough as nails.
In this review, we tested 3rd generation of the G20. If you’re looking for the latest version, check out our newer review for the Gen 5 G20
Glock 20 Specs
- Capacity 15
- Caliber 10mm
- Height 5.51 inches
- Length 8.07 inches
- Length (barrel) 4.61 inches
- Weight 30.69 oz
- Trigger Pull 5.5 lbs
Glock 20 Background
Glock numbers their pistols in sequential order, starting with the ubiquitous 9mm G17. The G18 (a fully-automatic 17) and G19 (compact 9mm) came next. The Glock 20 was the first large-frame model, and the first model to move away from the 9mm chambering. Instead of 9mm, the G20 is built around the 10mm cartridge. This provides the capacity of a double-stack handgun with power that is somewhat akin to a magnum revolver, but in a lighter package. Reloads are also dramatically faster than a revolver and the standard manual of arms for semiautomatic pistols is used.
The G20 has found a home among outdoorsmen and backcountry types, who appreciate the benefits of hot 10mm ammo when spending time in areas with bears, mountain lions, and such. In fact, the Danish Sirius Dog Sled Patrol is responsible for patrolling Greenland and has run-ins with polar bears. They replaced their 9mm pistols with the Glock 20 because the 9mm was not up to the task of stopping a polar bear. Their choice of the G20 is also a testament to its reliability in harsh conditions, as would be expected on a dog sled in the arctic.
Glock 20 Features
1 Very powerful for a semiautomatic handgun
2 Light weight for easy carry
3 Can mount a weapon light
Glock 20 Review – Our Take
Though the Glock 20 hits with authority, it is not unpleasant to shoot. Recoil is controllable and follow-up shots are fast. Compared to large magnum revolvers, the G20 is in a completely different league for shootability. The trigger is typical Glock fare; it is no match trigger but is perfectly adequate for everything except bullseye competition. It is far easier to shoot than a double-action revolver trigger.
Some die-hard 10mm fans claim that their pet caliber outperforms certain magnum handgun calibers. In almost all instances this is not true. However, the performance is much closer than other rimless calibers like 9mm and .40 S&W. It absolutely will not match the 1-shot-stop potential of a .44 Magnum, but most shooters would be able to fire several aimed shots from the G20 in the same amount of time as one aimed shot from a revolver. Would three hits from a 10mm be better than one hit from a .44? You be the judge. But for me, I find the thousands and thousands of rounds I have on my various Glocks give me more confidence than I could hope to attain with a big magnum wheel gun.
The greatest flaw is the size of the grip. Original Gen 3 models were designed for gorillas. The Gen 3 SF models reduced the grip circumference to human-like proportions, and that size has been carried forward in the current Gen 4 models. However, additional backstraps are included for those with truly gigantic hands who want an even larger grip.
The sights are the only other main point of complaint. As with most Glocks, they are simple fixed plastic sights with white markings. They are also easy to replace with more robust sights and numerous aftermarket options are available.
Reliability has always been one of Glock’s greatest selling points, and the G20 is no exception. My own experience has been one of boring functionality, which is exactly what you want in a defensive handgun. I have carried it around Alaska and the mountains west, and it has worked every single time.
Compared to large-frame magnum revolvers, the G20 has several advantages. It is much lighter, has dramatically higher capacity, and has less recoil. Regular pistol magazines have the additional advantage of quickly changing ammunition types. It is easy to drop a magazine containing solid penetrator bear rounds for hollow points, should you find yourself facing two-legged trouble instead of a four-legged predator.
It also has an accessory rail for mounting a weapon light. This is a major advantage over a magnum wheel gun when something goes bump in the dark around your tent. I generally mount a light, unless prohibited by hunting regulations. Safariland’s excellent ALS holsters are available for the G20 in light-compatible models.
Most shooters will also find the G20 more familiar than a big magnum revolver. The controls, trigger, and general shooting experience are the same as any other Glock, just with a bit more recoil. This makes it far easier to become proficient because it handles and shoots like the polymer striker pistols most of us carry these days.
In strict mechanical accuracy terms, the G20 performs about the same as any other Glock. Actual accuracy in the hands of a user will tend to be better than magnum revolvers. Double action triggers require very heavy pulls, on the order of 10-14 pounds, to rotate the cylinder and cock the hammer. Single action models require an additional movement to cock the hammer with each shot. While both of those issues can be addressed with training, swapping from a Glock 19 in town to a Glock 20 in the woods is a very natural transition.
For many years, the G20 was one of very few 10mm options on the market. The Colt Delta Elite 1911 (with its single-action-only design and 8-round magazine) was the only alternative for many years. More competitors have hit the market, with new striker-fired offerings from Springfield Armory, Sig Sauer, and Smith & Wesson all hitting the shelves recently. Even in a more competitive marketplace, the G20 is an excellent value at around the $600 price point with three included magazines.
Glock 20 Pros and Cons
- 15-round magazine
- Lighter than large revolvers
- Glock Reliability
- Grip is large
- Factory sights are plastic
Recoil is more than a 9mm, but still very reasonable
Glocks are nothing if not reliable
The grip size is large, but better than it was in the past
The plastic sights are a weak point
A gun you can trust with your life in the backcountry for under $600
Glock 20 Deals
Best Glock 20 Ammo
Glock 20 Starter Pack
So, you’re planning on picking up a Glock 20? If so, you’re going to need more than just the gun to make it safely go bang. You’re going to need proper protections, extra mags, and something to clean it with at the end of a long day at the range. Here are our recommendations:
- Gun Cleaning Kit: Otis All Caliber Elite Range Box on Amazon or build your own personalized cleaning kit with premium components.
- Shooting Glasses: All it takes is one piece of rogue hot brass, and you’ll learn the importance of shooting glasses. But not all glasses are built the same. See our recommendations for the Best Shooting Glasses.
- Hearing Protection: Firing a gun without wearing proper ear pro can be very dangerous and detrimental to your hearing. Find out the best hearing protection for you in our full-length review.
- Storage: Check out our article on the Best Biometric Gun Safes
- Targets – If you’re wanting a great resource for shooting practice or zeroing your optics on your optics rifle or pistol, download our FREE Sighting in Targets below.
Glock 20 Upgrades and Accessories
Glock 20 Accessories
Glock 20 Maintenance
A reliable handgun requires regular maintenance and cleaning. We’ve found a great video from Guns.com on breaking down and cleaning your Glock. Check it out below!
Glock 20 Resources
- Glock 20 Technical Data
- Glock 20 Owners Manual
- Glock Warranty Form
- Glock Preventative Maintenance Instructions
September 27, 2023
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September 25, 2023