GLOCK 21: 18 Years And 200K Rounds – Dropped, Buried, Frozen

If you are anything like me, at the beginning of your career retirement was something that barely registered on the radar. But as the years and miles stack up, handing over the reigns to the next generation becomes more and more attractive. For the most part, guns are different – unlike disposable accessories such as magazines, most guns are built to last a lifetime, depending on round counts, environmental variables and maintenance schedules. In the case of this soon to be retired Glock 21, it has been tested in more ways than one over nearly two decades of use.

Steve, owner/operator of ADCO Firearms and one of the most knowledgeable people in the world on the MK12 AR15 platform, recently posted some pictures of his personally owned Glock 21. Over 18 years of ownership, he has torture tested this pistol by burying it for two years, freezing, salting and dropping it from an airplane. After noticing damage to the locking lug, Steve may finally decide to retire his piece, although I personally think it just needs a new barrel to keep running.

Epic Glock 21 From Steve at ADCO Firearms:

Yes, that’s my 21. I had records and more pics but lost most everything in a hard drive crash several years ago. A few of us started doing that stupid stuff as a joke. I never expected it to be as popular as it became. Yesterday I was thinking about when we dropped it off a garage onto the blacktop with a primed case. It didn’t go off but hit hard enough to smash the bullets out of round.


Glock 21

All I replaced were the sights and recoil springs. The only pic I have of the bore is when it went 13K rounds without cleaning

Link to the Glock Talk Thread – 200K Glock 21

Sadly, I think it’s about finished. The front locking lug is noticeably worn, probably to the point where it is unlocking sooner than it should.



LE – Science – OSINT.
On a mission to make all of my guns as quiet as possible.
Twitter: @gunboxready
Instagram: @tfb_pete


  • glasspix

    I have a HK P30 in 9mm as my home defence gun, but will most probably get a G21 for my home from home residence for nightstand duties. I live in FMJ only land, 13 rounds of larger diameter projectiles is a good choice in absence of HP rounds.

    • iksnilol

      Dude, really ain’t no difference in that 2.4mm…. what you really need in FMJ land is FMJ 40x51mm

      • No one

        Anything lower than 120mm Rheinmetall is just suicidal.

        • iksnilol

          I was trying to be realistic here, buddy.

      • PK

        40x52mm HV grenade special? Could be fun, but if you think the .45-70 has a rainbow trajectory, wait until you plot that one out…

        • iksnilol

          No no no, 40x51mm, milkors medium velocity round.

          • PK

            Oh! That seems reasonable, then.

      • Gary Kirk

        30 x 173mm ??

        • iksnilol

          That’s totally unrealistic though.

          A Milkor ain’t that unrealistic.

    • PK

      Can you have EFMJ? When visiting anywhere with no JHP allowed, it’s what I carry, and the Federal Guard Dog line is quite a bit better than any FMJ option, although not quite as good as their HST JHP lineup. That way, no need for a new gun and you’d still be doing better than 9x19mm FMJ.

      • glasspix

        I am even further out to the East than New Jersey – in Europe…
        To answer the EFMJ suggestion, we have started importing them thinking that we would be legally fine, since it does not have a hp cavity. We got slapped down by some jobsworth from the government, EFMJs are out. I am trying to convince the guys at Lehigh to export some of their gems to Europe, but they seem to be reluctant to do so. Their stuff definitely outperforms classic fmj bullet designs.

        • PK

          That’s a shame! At least you tried.

          Whereabouts are you? There might be a legal issue in exporting bullets from the USA to where you are, or they may lack the required export license for you to buy direct.

          Luckily, I think the company “Reloading International” may be able to help you, as they seem to export reloading supplies and they do stock Lehigh products. The website address is simple ReloadingInternational (dot) com.

        • Giolli Joker

          Yep, it is the expansion bit that is forbidden, not the way it is achieved. However there is no difference in 9mm or .45 wounds, so better to get the one that can be shot better and faster.

          • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

            That’s not true at all.

            The FBI has done over 30 years of testing. A larger diameter projectile is ALWAYS better, all other things being equal.

            Yes, 9mm performs perfectly fine, and you get near twice the capacity, and it has less recoil so you could in theory put more rounds more easily on target, all of which are good things for personal defense (and frankly, it’s why I choose to use 9mm in my carry guns, as big of a .45 and 10mm fanboy as I am).

            But to say bullet diameter and/or expansion diameter doesn’t make a difference is just plain wrong.

          • Giolli Joker

            Well, first of all we were discussing non-expanding projectiles.

            Second, I was actually quoting a FBI study:

            “The extent to which a projectile expands determines the diameter of the permanent cavity which, simply put, is that tissue which is in direct contact with the projectile and is therefore destroyed. Coupled with the distance of the path of the projectile (penetration), the total permanent cavity is realized. Due to the elastic nature of most human tissue and the low velocity of handgun projectiles relative to rifle projectiles, it has long been established by medical professionals, experienced in evaluating gunshot wounds, that the damage along a wound path visible at autopsy or during surgery cannot be distinguished between the common handgun calibers used in law enforcement. That is to say an operating room surgeon or Medical Examiner cannot distinguish the difference between wounds caused by .35 to .45 caliber projectiles.”

            You can find it here: http://www. thefirearmblog. com/blog/2014/09/26/fbi-training-division-justifies-9mm-caliber-selection/

            FBI conclusions do not seem as clear cut as you present them.

          • autofull– kevin horning

            i have serial number 000023 g17, bought new from rsr dist, guess what year. spotted her in sof mag about two yrs before i met her. everyone i know has fired my 17, round count, who knows but i still have her, bulging unlined mags and all, still sits by my bed. she is very old now but has been a great friend. not my favorite pistol but i love her. only time she ever jammed was with newbies limp wristing her. kevin.

    • Dickie

      If your in nj like me you can have HP in your home. That law is just something they add on to criminals caught with a gun. Similiar to wearing body armor during a crime is an added charge. But you can own body armor and HP in nj.

  • Sticky-eye Rivers

    Are Glocks the only pistols that can do that or could this article be about any other polymer firearm? No the Glock isn’t and yes it could. It’s neat that it did though. It’d be neater still if it said “pistol: 18 years”, just sayin. A Browning be a Browning.

    • PK

      If it said “Pistol: 18 Years” for a title, someone would come along and whine that the brand isn’t stated outright. Can’t win them all, and it is a Glock after all. Pretty reasonable to have it in the title.

    • Pete – TFB Writer

      I was just stating fact, not trying to imply outright superiority.

      • Sticky-eye Rivers

        No doubt. But fanboys will come and be interpretin’ and I like to point and laugh. Especially these days, what with that other imagined superiority and all? The times we live in.

        • PK

          Interesting note about the whole fanboy (of anything) concept… I usually don’t see the fanboys themselves, just people complaining about the fanboys. It’s strange, but I’ve somehow managed to avoid it nearly 100%.

          • Sticky-eye Rivers

            Haha, you have a point! I do see them regularly, but now I’m thinking harder of when: It’s in recommendations of what to buy, and in the YouTube comments. The second is easier to stay out of than the first…

          • Nashvone

            I see fanboys all the time in my line of work. Glock/1911 fanboys are rank amateurs compared to these guys.

  • Billy Jack

    My first personal firearm. Also bought 18yrs ago. No 200k rounds though. Sold her between jobs and instantly regretted it.

    • PK

      I hear that! “It’s just a Glock, I won’t miss it” I thought to myself when I sold a seldom used model I had purchased on a whim and only shot at most 500 rounds through…

      A few years later, I bought a replacement. Couldn’t help it!

      • Billy Jack

        Maybe 2 weeks after I sold it I was in a rental with a new job in a different part of the country. Turns out the prior tenant tried to kill someone there. Landlord did not inform me. The victim came knocking at 2am weeks or months later. Good times.

        • PK

          You’ll always fondly remember moving away from there, at least!

          • Billy Jack

            Just another lesson in “you never know where trouble is coming from.”

          • Ringolevio

            Ah, but if he’d seen the movie “Billy Jack” you could have sat down and removed your shoes and socks and that should have sent him scurrying away in fear!

          • Billy Jack

            Or got shot in the foot. Lol

  • PK

    Neat! I hope he sees about any new parts, Glock still makes/stocks them and will replace them if you send the gun in. For something like this, it seems worth getting things fixed up again.

  • Realist

    Hi, my name is Realist and it’s been 17 hours since I purchased my last Glock…a NIB G19 Gen.4 w/Trijicon HD (Orange) night sights and five mags. All for the low, low price of ….$475!

    • PK

      You might be addicted to buying Glock pistols, but look on the bright side… you got a great price!

  • Reality Check

    All original parts save for recoil springs? No breakage, or has this gun been rebuilt a few times?

    No offense to anyone involved, but either this guy is incredibly lucky or this isn’t the whole story.
    I’ve seen a mountain of Glocks, and a ton of high round count guns. Absolutely no Glock makes it to 100k without parts breakage/replacement. None. Most won’t make it to 50k without breaking a spring, which isn’t anything to sneeze at and frankly is as good if not much better than every other pistol out there.
    I am a glock fan, but not a blind kool-aid drinking zombie.
    FYI for the fanboys that are going to jump on me while foaming at the mouth……before you do go chat with some competition shooters and ask about spring breakage. Anytime someone tells me they have had a gun for years with ZERO issues the first thing I think to myself is “they don’t shoot very much”.

    • PK

      With a round count that high, I expect he’s replaced the recoil spring multiple times, at the very least.

    • Pete – TFB Writer

      Steve is as honest as they come. I believe what he tells me.

      • Reality Check

        Are you stating that you really believe this pistol went 200k with only recoil spring replacements? Seriously think about that one before you reply because it is damn near impossible.

        Though I am still open to the possibility that he is incredibly lucky.

        • Pete – TFB Writer

          It’s not my gun, so I can’t personally attest to anything. However, if Steve stops by to verify that all he replaced were recoil springs and sights, I’d believe him.

          • Reality Check

            I have to wonder if this was a different pistol, a HK, S&W, or SIG for example, would people be so willing to blindly accept a report of 200k rounds with only recoil springs and no parts breakage? I think not.

            Since this is a Glock it is somehow okay to turn away the critical eye.
            Whereas if someone wrote an article about their 200k P30 you would immediately say “Whoa! That seems unlikely! Todd Green’s gun had parts breakage under 100k and that was with proactive replacement… how did that guy make it to 200k?!?!”

            I have no interest in dogging you on this or any other topic, so I am going to drop it at this point and move on.

          • Jack

            I could see a Glock 21 going 200k rounds if all the springs were periodically replaced. The striker spring and trigger return spring would probably need replacement in addition to the recoil spring but .45 acp is a low pressure round and the Glock 21 platform was originally designed for 10mm then adapted for the 21, although it is lighter than the 20 it is still probably overbuilt as they then went to the thinner and lighter slide Glock 30s and Glock 41.

        • MichaelZWilliamson

          There was a a predecessor to this article several years ago. It looks like the same gun from some of the wear–being shot at, dropped, etc.

    • Nicks87

      If you follow the proper maintenance schedule most firearms should be problem free for the life of the weapon. Replace the springs before you have issues and you could be problem free for thousands of rounds. I’m sure he has replaced all the springs a few times but who knows Glocks are amazing.

      • Reality Check

        I agree, guns are largely spring driven devices. Keep then relatively clean, lubed, and keep the springs within spec and they will last a lot longer.
        I take issue with the report that he only replaced recoil springs. Not a single other spring, pin or part in 200k.
        To put it into perspective, I have never seen a Glock17/19/34 hit that kind of round count even WITH proactive spring/part replacement and not being actively abused.

    • Doom

      Did you even read the story? it said he replaced springs and sights, but all the rest was stock.

    • Mark Are Reynolds Ⓥ

      Which spring(s) are an issue? I want to get a cart full for the 39 I have stashed in my vault. And if you happen to know, make me a list for HK and SIG because I have a couple of those two. Oh wait, not a couple, a few.

  • USMC03Vet

    Ah, the internal power struggles of TFB’s biggest Glock fanboy designation. Having seen James “certified operator” Reeves recent article Pete wasn’t going to sit idly by and let a new comer take the thrown uncontested. Meanwhile Patrick still trying to figure out why he gets stuck reviewing Rugers, Nathan F furiously trying to edit down his articles to under 50,000 words, and Miles still on the impossible mission of finding the correct tactical grey ceracoat color to match his hair.

    • Pete – TFB Writer

      Ha. That was awesome. Thanks.

      In all seriousness, I’ve made my Glock preference clear in every post I write. But I do recognize there are plenty of other great platforms available. And I’d never tell anyone what they should or shouldn’t carry.

      Insert GlockLife sticker here.

      • French Balloon

        You’ve been pimping the SIG P320 for at least a year. Great call by the way…

      • Lew Siffer

        I have been a Glock 19 user on and off since around 1989. I hate Glocks. I hate their grip angle, I hate their triggers, I hate their sights, I hate their plastic magazines, I hate their fat slides, I hate the ugly finish on their slides, I hate that I have to pull the trigger to disassemble it. But most of all I hate it because right out of the box I shoot it better than any pistol I have ever fired and my qualification scores with it are always higher than with any other pistol or revolver.

        • Mark Are Reynolds Ⓥ

          That last reason is the best on yet! I always hate something that works good for me too. Seems like there are two of us in this world.

    • Thomas Gomez

      I would say that is damn near 100% accurate! Hope this finds you well!

    • Patrick Reginald


      • USMC03Vet

        Well I never! 😱

  • Mmmtacos

    I think this may have been the torture test that led me to buying my first gun: a Glock 22 gen 3… ten years ago. I thought if it could survive all that it must be a good gun. If only someone had told me to get a 9 instead…

    Oh well, despite the fact it’s a .40 I will never get rid of it, if only because it’s the first gun I ever bought and my father regretted selling the first gun he ever got (but to be fair, his was a Colt Python).

    • Doom

      you can buy 9mm conversion kits my man.

      • Mmmtacos

        I know I just don’t trust them and it’s not my OG Glock at that point. I thought about swapping all the parts to make it a 9 but with the cost I may as well just buy a used 17 at that point.

        • Mark Are Reynolds Ⓥ

          A barrel and a magazine cost as much as a used Glock? Where? I want to buy a few.

          • Mmmtacos

            Believe it or not the slide is different too; that is where the bulk of the cost difference is. Also need new ejector for frame in addition to all the slide parts of course.

  • Dougscamo

    I ain’t anybody’s fanboy but I’m shocked that no one that has said the obvious from the headline….
    DISCLAIMER: I own a Glock (among a bunch of others)

    • Pete – TFB Writer

      Ha. Well played.

    • MichaelZWilliamson

      If you water it, will it sprout a tree full of KelTecs?

  • Roguewriter

    Best thing you could do for that poor G21 is get a 10mm G20 barrel and some 10mm magazines and upgrade.

    • Cyborg Fred

      Or convert it to 460 Rowland with a barrel and spring swap. And have some real horsepower.

  • feetpiece _

    Dump it and get a G41. Also, have a 9×25 Dillon barrel cut for it for giggles.

  • Moondo

    But have they taken a hammer to it????

  • tony

    that is 90 grand in ammo cost

    • Martin T

      Im getting 70 to 80 k in ammo cost at 35 to 40 cents per round.
      But either way my feelings are the same…. holy $hit that is a a lot of money.

      • Nashvone

        It’s roughly 5K a year. So you take your lunch instead of going out every day.

  • Cyborg Fred

    These big frame Glocks take real abuse. This was a police trade in, and I routinely run 40,000psi 45 Super through it. The comp and 24# recoil spring help save the frame. I have at least 25,000 through it running hot handloads. With no parts breakage, and very good reliability.

  • Love them or hate them, they just work no matter what you think say or do.

  • Martin T

    Literally pulled this up minutes after telling my fiance that she is about to inherit my g19 so i can buy an MOS.

    I would rather wait for the gen 2 but I may not be able to hold out.

  • conrad

    Honestly, I’m offended at how some Cops abuse their guns and knives then think they have a story to tell. There is a “Merit Badge” for people like this and it simply says “Ass Hole”. Tell the story to an Ex Mil and he will mock you for letting your firearm fall into such disrepair, Sorry, but I am not impressed.
    I use my tools harder than the 90% who just like having tools and appreciate durability, longevity, and practicality more than the next guy but seeing stuff like this, hey, go find someone else to brag to.

  • MadDog

    That’s how you know he’s really a Jarhead! If a Marine isn’t complaining, there is something terribly wrong! 🙂

    • MichaelZWilliamson

      Well, if he stops eating crayons and paste…

  • asm826

    “Handing over the reins” is the old saying. It means letting someone else guide the horses. Not sure if you didn’t know or were just letting auto-correct decide.

    • Ringolevio

      Ya doesn’t hafta be highly-literate to be employed as a writer here. It bugs me to no end.

  • Ringolevio

    ‘Interesting article. Glock is, indeed, the Toyota of handguns; Glocks seem to run forever and do their job even when neglected.

    HOWEVER: “…handing over the reigns to the next generation…”???
    ‘Not a lot of proofreading going on at the ol’ Firearm Blog, eh?

  • cawpin

    One of the best typos I’ve seen lately. Lol

    • USMC03Vet

      iphone autocorrect strikes again! I’m gonna leave it…

  • cawpin

    “I had records and more pics but lost most everything in a hard drive crash several years ago.”

    I hope he, and everybody reading this, learned a lesson here. BACK UP YOUR DATA. Everybody loses data. Smart ones only do it once.

  • Mark Are Reynolds Ⓥ

    Wow! that is a 925 round a month average. You must be pretty wealthy or someone is paying your bill because that would be even at $12.00 a box $218 bucks a month bill adding up to $2616 a year which would be $47,088 bucks over that 18 years. And realistically? It could have started at $12 a box 18 years ago, but the price keeps going up and I can’t seem to find any for less then $14 a box these days.

  • Brian Mumford

    I think the US Army needs to rethink their choice in pistols. In fact, in addition to issuing Glocks, I’ll open another can of worms by suggesting they adopt the .357 Sig.

  • Mikial

    I carry my old Gen 3 G21 bought in 2001 daily. Along with being my EDC, I’ve shot it in a lot of USPSA matches and go to the range weekly with it. It has never had a malfunction. No really . . . never. Not once while shooting everything from a lot of cheap Wolf steel cased ammo to high speed +P rounds. I trust it with my life. The only thing I’ve ever had done to it was a 4 pound trigger for USPSA. I bought some replacement recoil springs a few years ago, just in case, but they’re all still sitting in my gun parts drawer. Just haven’t needed them. I DO clean it however, mainly because cleaning my guns every few weeks is a Zen exercise for me. When I’m in my little room all alone with my guns, I can just zone out from the world . . . bills, work, family issues . . . and relax.

    I haven’t thrown mine out of an airplane yet . . . I guess I could have thrown it out first when sky diving, but just didn’t think of it. I haven’t buried it for months or years either since I carry it around every day. But I am confident it would work after that stunt too.

    But I just have to comment on the whole “you have to pull the trigger to disassemble a Glock” thing. So, do the people with an issue about pulling the trigger never do dry fire exercises? You have to pull the trigger then. Do they not clear their gun before disassembling it for cleaning? When you check they gun to ensure it is not loaded when packing it away in a case or just putting it away for whatever reason, what do they do?
    Leave it cocked when putting it in a case or safe? I am not comfortable putting a cocked gun in storage, no matter how temporary. This is whole “you have to pull the trigger” thing is essentially people who feel threatened by Glocks making a big deal about nothing.

  • Jim

    Millions of Glocks have been sold worldwide to equip military, police and civilians for one good reason…..they work! Maybe our DoD should try them?

  • bthomas

    Have said it before. Will say it again. When it comes to service pistol for actual service use rather than game playing, etc., there is Glock. And … there is everything else. Everything else desperately tries to prove they are at least as good as Glock. Fine. Gives them something to shoot for. Would feel sorry for them if they aimed for less than Perfection!

  • BeoBear

    My Glock 21 is fat, ugly, not very comfortable and without the tiniest bit of style. It’s easily the ugliest and least ergonomic of all the several different kinds of handguns I own. I bought my first one as a young LEO to replace my S&W 59 back in the days when the 9mm proved itself to be all but worthless in a gunfight (if you’re scratching your head you’re too young and will have to Google it). After all the data came out everyone was switching to .40S&W and back to .45acp and the Glock was the new golden gun on the market.

    With all the downsides of the Glock listed above the upside was that it was (and still is) insanely reliable, accurate and very easy to shoot well, even the large frame G21’s. The gun never let me down and to this day I trust my G21 with my life. I guess when it comes to a LE or defensive handgun that’s all you need. I love the gun for that. Given my choice though, for fun shooting in .45acp I’ll choose my STI Elektra every time.