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When you buy a new gun, you should always learn how to take it apart, including the popular Glock series of semi-automatic pistols. The disassembly procedure for Glock handguns is simple, which reflects the firm’s design philosophy.
The Importance of Disassembly
Disassembling a firearm is necessary for various reasons, from routine maintenance—cleaning and lubrication—to repair, parts replacement, and modification. Every gun owner should understand how to disassemble and reassemble their firearms.
Knowing how to take your gun apart is also fundamental to understanding how it operates. While you can clean a firearm while it’s assembled, this limits your access to internal parts.
Glock Disassembly 101
Glock has been manufacturing semi-automatic, striker-fired pistols for almost 40 years. In that time, countless law-enforcement agencies and militaries have adopted one or more variants of the Glock pistol series due to its rugged reliability and simple operation.
Glock is one of the most popular handgun brands among private citizens, supplying Americans with self-defense and competition weapons for decades.
When learning how to disassemble a Glock, you can follow the same set of instructions for most Glock semi-automatic pistols, ranging from the classic Glock 17 to the G48. Although the G44 is chambered in .22 Long Rifle, the disassembly procedure is the same.
As with firearms in general, it’s essential that you follow proper firearms safety rules before handling or attempting to disassemble your Glock pistol. Glock handguns don’t have manual safety devices. Instead, Glock uses the Safe Action System, which comprises three passive safeties: trigger safety, firing-pin safety, and drop safety.
There is also a loaded chamber indicator—when there is a round in the chamber, the extractor will protrude from the slide, providing both a visual and tactile indicator of the gun’s status.
However, as firearms manufacturers and instructors regularly caution, you shouldn’t rely on mechanical safeties, whether manual or passive, as substitutes for diligent observance of firearms safety. The four basic rules of firearms safety that you should always follow are:
- All guns are always loaded. Even if they’re not, treat them as if they are.
- Never let the muzzle cover anything that you are not prepared to destroy.
- Keep your finger off the trigger till your sights are on the target.
- Be aware of your target and what is behind it.
Before you handle or attempt to disassemble a firearm, you should clear it. “Clearing” refers to the act of unloading a firearm and rendering it safe to handle and disassemble.
You should also ensure that you have a clean and well-lit workspace. Guns, including Glock pistols, are composed of several small components that can be easily lost.
You can clear a Glock pistol by performing the following actions in sequence:
- Hold the pistol in your dominant hand with your index finger straight alongside the frame, and remove the magazine by depressing the magazine catch, which is located behind the trigger guard.
- Grasp the slide with your non-dominant hand by the charging serrations at the rear and retract it fully.
- Lock the slide in the open position by raising the slide stop on the left side of the pistol.
- Inspect the chamber visually to confirm that it’s empty. You may also want to perform a tactile check by inserting your little finger into the chamber.
- Once you have ensured that the weapon is unloaded, you can close the slide by either lowering the slide stop or grasping the slide, retracting it, and releasing it.
- Point the pistol in a safe direction and squeeze the trigger to release the striker and render the weapon decocked.
Your Glock is now cleared for field stripping. For additional safety, you should separate loose ammunition and any loaded magazines from your immediate workspace.
The weapon is considered “cleared” as long as it remains in your hand. If you place your Glock pistol on a table or other surface after having cleared it, you should clear it again when you pick it up.
Field stripping is the act of disassembling a firearm without tools, often into its major component parts or groups, for routine maintenance. You’ll need to field strip your firearms periodically for cleaning and lubrication to keep them in optimal working condition.
To field strip your Glock pistol, follow these instructions:
- Hold your Glock in your dominant hand with your fingers over the top of the slide, forward of the rear sight, and your thumb under the beavertail of the frame.
- Press your fingers and thumb together to retract the slide approximately 3mm, keeping the slide in this position. Don’t retract the slide too far, or you’ll cock the striker and reset the trigger. The trigger needs to remain forward for you to complete the disassembly procedure.
- The slide lock has two contact points on either side of the frame above the trigger. Using the thumb and index finger of your non-dominant hand, pull the slide lockdown.
- While continuing to hold the slide lockdown, apply forward pressure on the slide to remove it from the frame.
- Remove the recoil spring assembly by pressing it toward the front of the slide while lifting it up.
- Remove the barrel by gripping the cam lugs, lifting it, pushing it toward the front of the slide, pulling it up, and then pulling it to the rear.
Detail stripping is the act of disassembling a firearm fully for repairs or parts replacement. While field stripping needs to be simple enough for a soldier to perform to maintain his weapon, detail stripping requires the use of tools, such as punches and screwdrivers, and a sterile work environment.
As a result, hobbyists, gunsmiths, and armorers detail-strip firearms in workshops. If you decide to detail strip your Glock pistol, you should be sure that you won’t void the manufacturer’s warranty.
When learning how to disassemble a Glock or other firearm, you should begin by ensuring that you have the owner’s or operation and maintenance manual.
When buying used firearms, the manual may not always be included. You should be able to find digital copies online, including from the manufacturer’s website. Failing that, contact the manufacturer directly and ask for a replacement.
Disassembling a handgun is usually easy. Glock handguns are no exception. Field stripping Glock pistols is simple, requires no tools, and only takes a few seconds with practice.
If you're looking for more reviews, read about Glock 48 on this in-depth guide.