MHS GLOCK to COME TO MARKET: Glock MHS and BARRIER BLIND 9mm Ammunition Reviewed by European Security & Defence Magazine

The defense magazine European Security & Defence has published an article detailing for the first time Glock’s Modular Handgun System submission and its Federal-engineered ammunition. The article – part technical overview, part interview, details the recent history of Glock’s MHS submission, the technical characteristics of their Glock 19 MHS and 23 MHS pistols, and the current feeling among Glock executives about their second place finish in the competition. I highly recommend our readers head over the the ES&D website, where they can read the full article for free in text only or PDF form. But, since I don’t want to bury the lede any more than I have, here’s what Glock’s head of International Sales, Richard Flür, had to say on the Glock MHS’s future beyond the US Army:

ESD: Will there be a version of the Glock Modular Handgun System pistol for the commercial market? Flür: Yes. We think this is a great pistol and would like to give all interested parties the opportunity to try and purchase it. All costs associated with the development of the pistol were financed by Glock, so it is also possible to market the pistol independently. Of course, we will be able to make good use of the experience gained from completing this project.Some aspects will certainly be reflected in future Glock products.

The Federal Enhanced Barrier Round is also interesting – to say the least. Vista Outdoor/Federal appears to be building on its experience producing M855A1 ammunition via Lake City. The new 9mm EBR round uses a similar sort of construction, with a hard steel center and copper jacket with – notably, for a US military round – expansion or fragmentation cuts formed directly into the jacket material. Although this round likely has its lineage with recent US rifle ammo developments, it’s difficult to miss its resemblance to Russian high performance 9x19mm pistol ammo, which shares similar construction.



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • Cyborg Fred

    Interesting cartridge. Would like to see more information on it.

    • noob

      they had better not call it armor piercing because of “steel core” + “handgun” setting off their word filters. It’s mild steel guys.

      • Samuel Millwright

        Yeah bro, I’m thinking we’re basically borked here.

        • noob

          damn. if they were .45 you could load the projectiles into a .45 bushmaster and make some interesting youtube box-o-truth videos.

          • Giolli Joker

            Somebody should make a .355 Socom, then.

          • noob
          • PK

            I love the 9x39mm… to be fair, it’s not the same 9mm bore as we’ve got in the USA ,364″ vs .355-358″, but still… Nice cartridge.

          • Mazryonh

            The 9x39mm. For when you need maximum quiet penetration and have effective ways to get within the cartridge’s short effective range–GET OUT OF HERE STALKER!

          • Samuel Millwright

            Back in the day of the 5.56×35 i think MARS experimental mini carbine research at colt they actually ran 9×35 and 10×35 rounds using starline brass if the legends are correct.

            There’s no real reason you couldn’t conceivably do something similar now.

            Maybe have somebody 3d print you a custom mag follower and “cap” deal to work as extended feed ramp with chopped 5.56 once fired brass…

            Just for testing purposes of course

          • noob

            According to TFB photos you should be able to get the 9mm to doublestack in an ordinary AR mag.

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b4ac55d47b82cbe807a9c98e84ed092dcf88b012364ec5070966268c5e2407ad.jpg

          • Samuel Millwright

            There ya go then…

        • PK

          While I agree that may well be the case, there’s an interesting end-run around the ban… it’s a US military cartridge. Like M2AP, or green tip. Maybe we can go that route for a sporting exemption, or go the route of having the (pointless) ban struck down entirely.

          It might have (though it didn’t) make sense before AR/AK handguns. It might have been argued to make some sense if criminals tended to use anything but what happens to be cheap at Walmart for ammo. But it hasn’t made sense for a long, long time and it’s kept barrier penetrating ammo out of the hands of not only ordinary people, but the police the law was meant to protect!

          KTW was useful stuff. THV was extremely promising. Now? Sorry, it’s FMJ or JHP, basically the only two choices out of a handgun. Need to ensure rounds get through a barrier such as a windshield or concealment/cover? Go run back to the cruiser and get your AR. Hopefully you have time.

          The problem is that even carving out a LE exemption doesn’t really open up this sort of ammo to widespread production in a way which PDs can get a hold of it reliably, which really hurts their ability… the only real way to have it available to police is to have it available widely, or there’s no point in making such a specialty product available outside of military channels at all.

          • Samuel Millwright

            I’m actually working a different end run around the same thing while staying on the safe side of legal by a wide margin…

            You take the high road I’ll take the low, meetcha in the middle

          • PK

            Nah, too late. I already made jacketed (<25% of the total weight) pure-nickel core projectiles. Very much AP, but not by law.

          • noob

            When lead just doesn’t make the person you’re shooting feel appreciated enough.

          • PK

            Not at all, it’s just harder and lighter. Perfect for unconventional AP and staying within the law here in the USA.

          • Mr._Exterminatus

            I really wish people would produce it, I’d love to make some, but I don’t have the time, money, or expertise to do it. Alas the woes of being a poor college student

          • PK

            Well, there are ways to make things like that on the cheap with very little tooling, it will just take some thinking. Good luck to you! I don’t expect anyone to start production of anything like that, any time soon.

          • Samuel Millwright

            I’m kinda focused a similar way… There’s a couple experimental loads abd projectile designs i wanna try out which should be downright scary good. (Not mine just something i know of)

            Right now I’m hip deep in a manned tripod with a sorta ultralight rws up top a la the old TRAP system… But with wheels and decent ballistic and etc protection for the operator.

            Essentially I’m looking to get the big guns in play faster to break momentum and using a ton of tricks I’m holding together with gum n baling wire

          • JumpIf NotZero

            or go the route of having the (pointless) ban struck down entirely.

            And legalize cop-killer bullets!? You’re crazy!!

          • PK

            Not just thoe deadly bullets themselves, but do you know what they fire out of? Assault handguns!

      • b0x3r0ck

        Let’s be real they going to call it ap ammo

        • PK

          Just by how it’s constructed, by law, it absolutely is AP.

      • There is no way they will ever release this to the public. We’ve yet to see 5.56 M855A1 available commercially, and that’s rifle ammo.

        Elite got raided for using brass projectiles in 5.7×28, which is sort of a rifle caliber (the P90 preceded the FsN). Thats a tiny ammo company making $2 rounds for niche $1000 pistols.

        Steel tipped projectiles for the most common handgun caliber -ie anyone with a HiPoint and EBR can defeat IIIA? Pretty sure every LEO organization out there would be marching on Washington if these were allowed on the market.

        Totally sucks but there it is.

        • PK

          If it’s not available outside of military channels, they can’t have it either… soft armor is already able to be defeated by a few different off-the-shelf (but expensive) rounds, and there have been advisories put out over the years. It turns out that criminals still use whatever they can get/steal.

          • Yep, there are a few niche rounds / projectiles that work. But that’s still something only the most avid enthusiast is aware of.

            By comparison, a ubiquitous military ball round like 9mm EBR would be much more widely circulated and known – eventually becoming the 9mm equivalent of M855 Green Tip, which is everywhere.

            Much as I would like that to happen – I don’t see it happening.

          • PK

            With the current laws, it legally can’t be anything but AP. I really think that law, being entirely pointless with the increasingly common use of rifle caliber pistols, will eventually be struck down as irrelevant and pointless – and damaging to police. They can’t obtain AP ammo easily, and crooks are wearing armor more often these days…

    • Giolli Joker

      Agreed. They look mean.

    • RSG

      Not sure about European restrictions, but depending on its capabilities, it’s likely that the ATF will prohibit sales to US civilians. The ATF gets to have it both ways…they’ll use performance AND description to pass judgement. We recently had the fight over “mild steel” in our 5.56 ammo, but wasn’t banned based on performance. We will get the same thing here. Won’t matter what they call it if it’s actually armor piercing. I’d like to hear from federal about what their intentions are. They may not even be considering commercial sales. Still, I wouldn’t mind having a case of 1000 lying around for when things go left.

      • PK

        By a strict reading of the law, and the way it’s interpreted by the BATFE, basically every single non-traditional rifle cartridge is banned thanks to all of the handguns which chamber any number of rifle rounds.

        Here it is, straight from the horse’s mouth:

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c7a0ac76c92bc2973caa812900f1f0d95247f5d7dc8a65d8b06463d8dbb96a7a.png

        “Any caliber fired from any handgun”. That includes rifle calibers, due to the fact that single-shot handguns exist in practically every single caliber.

        • RSG

          Exactly. And let’s not forget, AR/AK pistols are technically handguns. Think about that legal fight in the courts, if things turn ugly. Also, I forget the name of the company (heizer, or something like that- I’m getting old, lol), but they manufactured a proper pistol (derringer) that fired a 5.56/223 rifle cartridge. Color me skeptical, but the impracticality of that firearm, and the ramifications of the chambering had me paranoid that the company was owned by anti gunners who intentionally created the pistol just to get the sale of rifle ammo banned. I mean- how many of those units are they really going to sell? A 5.56 round out of a 2 inch barrel is a joke, so why did they do it? I would boycott anything they produced just because I know they were warned that their creation could cause incredible turmoil if the opposition chose to pursue it. And they might yet.

          • PK

            “A 5.56 round out of a 2 inch barrel is a joke”

            Well, it’s supersonic at least, so it outperforms .22lr out of the same barrel length… and that’s about all I can say that isn’t negative.

          • ostiariusalpha

            The company is called High Caliber Conversions. Due to cartridge length, it really only has the throat to accelerate the bullet, so it was a little slower than a .22LR, which has at least some actual rifling to work with in a 2″ barrel.

          • Cal S.

            Except the noise. Once without hearing protection is worse than a sonic attack in Cuba…

            Too soon? Too soon.

          • PK

            I’ve fired a super short barreled 5.56 without hearing protection, it wasn’t bad.

            I was fifty or so feet away behind a wall of sandbags/dirt, though.

          • ProudAmerican

            …and there was the guy who walked around the SOF Convention most years touting his one-of .50BMG “transformer” handgun.

  • noob

    I hope glock offers an extended safety lever like the 1911 which has a shield on the outside to prevent schmoo from getting into the slot it pivots in and also to give an expanded surface to sweep with your thumb or index finger.

    • Tim

      Sure. $199.99

  • BattleshipGrey

    I could do without the safety, but otherwise I’d like to try it. I’m surprised they waited this long to announce it.

    • Dickie

      They might not include it in the civlian version. Who knos.

      • RSG

        If it’s modular like the P320, they could offer different frame sizes, with or without the safety. Believe it or not, there’s a lot of people, especially new gun owners who don’t buy a Glock because it doesn’t have an external manual safety. I think Glock can tap into a huge revenue stream, especially in this down market. Seems like a no brainer considering the R&D and tooling is already done.

        • Exactly — lack of external safety (no, the trigger widget doesn’t count; the trigger widget does exactly NOTHING to prevent an AD when something fould the trigger) is the primary reason I won’t carry a Glock if I have *any* feasible alternative (to include J-frames with their pathetic sight radius or ComBloc service pistols with crappy triggers).

          I still dislike the Glock grip angle, because when I bring it up to eye level, I have to consciously tilt the gun forward to get the sights level – something I don’t have to do with almost ANY other pistols I’ve shot, beside Glocks and Lugers. (But, the Glock is mechanically bombproof enough, that issue is one I’d be willing to overlook. If it had a decent, reliable external safety.)

  • Edeco

    Kicking myself for not already having a lanyard ring.

  • Ryan Farhood

    I hope this isn’t the new glock they are revealing on the 26th. I want a 19m not a 19/17 hybrid

    • RSG

      If it’s really modular, it won’t matter what package the fire control group comes wrapped in. We’ll get an opportunity to buy whatever size “lower”/frame we want. And if Glock wants to compete with the P320, they’ll be reasonable. Folks will able to buy full size (17), compact (19) and subcompact (26) frames at will. could open a whole new revenue stream for Glock if they aren’t worried they’ll lose sales because people would no longer have to buy a whole new firearm. They could even sell a la carte, customizable slides.

      • PK

        I really hope you’re correct, because I would happily re-buy what is in effect three new pistols to have a sub/compact/full size choice in a given caliber and slide length.

        • Mr._Exterminatus

          I hope so too, but I’m kinda doubting that Glock went and made a modular pistol like that. But who knows? Stranger things have happened before.

          • RSG

            wasnt that the requirement? I believe it was.

          • Mr._Exterminatus

            Not entirely, the other articles reference how that may not be the case for the Glock.

          • noob

            Well it would be typical glock to show up to a Modular Handgun competition with a non-modular handgun, say “look it already is perfect”, **lose**, and then have the temerity to appeal.

          • PK

            No, that’s so outlandish, that wouldn’t have happened… /s

          • No, it wasn’t.

            “M.3.1.3 Upon receipt of hardware submission, inspections will be
            conducted to ensure that the Modular Handgun System candidate has an integrated rail, an external safety mechanism, adjustability for
            ergonomics (by means of grip inserts, grip panels, front or back straps, different triggers, or other means) and be other than single action only. Submissions without these features will not be considered for evaluation.”

            Note that it does not specify a chassis frame.

        • RSG

          Me too.

      • Billy Jack

        If they come with no finger grooves I’m back on team Glock. Anything but full size were painful to shoot. Never even realized my hands were that big until Glock got fancy with the grips.

      • n0truscotsman

        Id go back to carrying a glock if they did that.

    • JumpIf NotZero

      I already have a 17/19 hybrid, but I enjoy the fact that Glock went 100% opposite of what I want. I’m not sure I even get why… The mil wanted a “compact” so glock offers a gun with a full size grip?

    • john huscio

      The gen 5 will be the Mseries, not MHS

  • Adam D.

    I know it’s a pigs-might-fly scenario, but I still wish Glock did something to that pesky stamped slide release.

    I know it’s very low profile and it’s cheap to manufacture too,
    now it’s even ambidextrous, but who cares if I can’t reach it and I can only slingshot the pistol.
    For the $600 street price of a G17 Gen 4 (or roughly the same in €) I think they wouldn’t go bankrupt by updating it for a larger, wider, more comfortable part, like on HKs for instance.
    I have very short fingers and the slide release on the Glock is virtually a non-existant thing for me, but I’ve seen other shooters struggle with it as well.
    I love Glocks, always liked them, but I’ve been feeling a venomous hate for that slide release for as long as I can remember.
    At least some mfr. should come out with an aftermarket part.

    • PK

      I have fairly long fingers and I still can’t operate the factory release without breaking my grip. I thought that was part of the point, to be honest – no chance of hitting it accidentally, but it’s right there for the offhand thumb during a reload.

    • BillC

      There’s essentially 3 options.(ignoring pulling back and releasing the slide by hand, which I have stopped doing because it is indeed quantifiably slower)
      1) Get an extended slide release.
      2) Break your grip slightly to function the slide release, which I do and isn’t all the bad.
      3) When reloading and seating a new mag, bring your thumb up after seating the mag and engage the slide release with the thumb from the hand used to handle and seat the new mag. It’s awkward at first, and perhaps even feels slower; but practice it and put it to the shot clock to test it out. It can be faster.

    • Hell, I can;t hit the standard slide release on a 1911 with my right thumb without breaking my grip, and about the time I was thinking about buying an extended slide release, I noticed all the malfunctions other guys were having when they bumped their extended slide releases.

      Yet, somehow, I managed to get by for nearly 20 years of carrying a 1911…

  • Rambo

    a 9millimeta EnhancedBerformanceRound?

    • Old Tofu

      Extreme Barrier Round ???? EXTRA BADASS ROUND !!!

    • noob

      Enchanted Broformance Round

  • Major Tom

    So a LOSER gun is trying to make up for the fact it LOST.

    • PK

      …what? That was pretty much out of nowhere. Relax, man, having more options on the market is a good thing! That way, we can all choose what works best for us. I love having a million choices, personally.

      • Mr._Exterminatus

        I want the ammunition more than I want the new Glock.

      • Billy Jack

        I guess for some variety is the boring disgusting lukewarm water of life. 🤷‍♂️

        • Cymond

          Tea.
          The word you’re looking for is “tea”.

          • PK

            Hey, I like tea! And coffee. Actually, pert near anything is fine, but tea is hardly boring.

          • Billy Jack

            A Brit!

    • ironked

      You have to remember, so many of these government contests are not so much about the gun as the cost, prejudice and the grease. I’m betting that of the guns that made the final round, there wasn’t a mil of difference between them. After putting the money into development, no reason they shouldn’t market it. Beretta is doing the same thing. Glock is getting long in the tooth. They needed something to give them the goose. I hope we get some tangible update.

    • BillC

      The Sig P226, which was created for the Joint Service Small Arms Program and lost to the Beretta 92F (which was then designated M9) in 1985 and was a widely popular gun inside and out of the US military, just like how the Glock 19 is now. What’s your point? You’re not clever.

    • Old Tofu

      you sound like someone who bought a sig 320 and now don’t want more comparisons across the internet

    • john huscio

      Still upset you dropped something?

  • Mr._Exterminatus

    You got very lucky. My last girlfriend wasn’t thrilled about the amount of time I spend shooting when I can.

    • Samuel Millwright

      I know man!

      She is cool with guns has several of her own (i even pinked up an AR and optic for her)

      But it was actually really cool that SHE bought ammo and loaded mags for a trip.

      Her changing ak parts on my beater gun shocked me though lol!

      • Jayste

        Got a sister that loves guns?

        • Samuel Millwright

          LOL… I was damn lucky to find just one like her!

          • Jayste

            There’s not to many that buys ammo & can change AK parts tho, my likes guns but dang! You got a wife & battle buddy for life.👍🏽

          • Samuel Millwright

            The ak parts thing shocked me honestly, i did not know she knew how to do that stuff… Did not even suspect she could or would if she could!

            She had been showing a lot of interest and asking a ton more questions than usual the last few times i was working on stuff though, i realized that in retrospect.

            The loading of all those mags also caught me off guard too though just because that must have taken a lot of time for her, or anyone else for that matter!

  • ShrimplyPibbles

    19MHS will likely be my first Glock unless they fudge it up between now and release.

  • MattW

    After reading the article, I still just don’t get it. How is the Glock MHS actually modular?? Because it has interchangeable backstraps and extended magazines? Or because it ” has the compact length of the 19 Series, but the standard height of the 17 Series models”? Some great improvements on Glock’s existing models (other than the manual safety) but it just isn’t a modular handgun…

    • Billy Jack

      Sounds like the 320/250 Carry format@ longer grip and shorter barrel. Also pretty close to the 229/8. It’s supposed to be the frame size adjustability that makes it modular or ability to transfer fire control mech. Or both together. It already had backstraps and variable sized mags.

      They could call it a tbone steak as long as they take the finger grooves off.

      • MattW

        Agreed on the finger grooves, I’ve seen nothing to indicate frame sizes are adjustable/interchangeable nor the ability to transfer the fcu. My point was that Glock is still calling it a modular handgun, yet I don’t see anything modular about it.

        • Billy Jack

          There has to be something unless they totally disregarded the bid specs. This entire process seems like a cluster you know what.

          • J.T.

            The requirements for the MHS program didn’t require submissions to have a separate chassis and frame like the SIG has. It just needed to be able to change the grip size and accept attachments.

      • Cymond

        The finger grooves made sense when they were needed for 1968 GCA import points, not so much now that they’re made in the US.

        • john huscio

          How were the finger grooves “needed” for import when the first gen guns didnt have them? Take into mind that there was no stateside glock production until quite recently…

          • Cymond

            I’m not sure, I think the standards were raised. It could have been an act of Congress or internal ATF regulation/interpretation.

          • The finger grooves were necessary for the subcompact models like the G26 and G27 to have enough Import Points. I suspect that Glock transitioned to finger grooves in all of the Gen 3 models because of the popularity of aftermarket finger grooved grip sleeves like the Hogue HandAll.

          • Mr._Exterminatus

            My Gen 1 17 has finger grooves. As does my uncle’s. Some Gen 1s had them and others didn’t.

        • Billy Jack

          Wow. Never knew about import points. Just saw a form after you mentioned it but they weren’t on earlier generations which lead to my tears at advances* in design. I mean the large finger grooves in the grip not the small ridges.

    • Again, the MHS solicitation did not mandate a chassis frame. Modular merely meant that the pistol could be adapted to different hand sizes and accept multiple types of accessories. For the purposes of the MHS solicitation, the Glock submission met the Army’s limited definition of modular.

      The short slide/tall frame allowed the Glock 19 MHS to meet the dimensions required for a single-pistol solution as defined under the Army’s solicitation. You didn’t need to submit both a full-size and compact pistol, if you could meet the requirements for each in one pistol. (Note that the SIG-Sauer XM18 is the P320 Carry – short slide/long frame.)

      • MattW

        Yes, I get that they found a way to technically meet the solicitation requirements. I guess I just take exception to the fact they continue to reference it as a modular handgun. It isn’t.

        And with the release of the Gen 5, I’m not sure I see the attraction in the MHS unless you desire a manual safety in a Glock.

  • EzGoingKev

    I really do not understand this pistol. What do you gain by making a short slide Glock 17?

    • Stuki Moi

      A grip long enough to draw consistently from a shoulder rig, without a barrel obviously pointing out your back……. For many, also improved comfort carrying on the hip, when seated/driving. Appendix is made easier as well, although I doubt that was part of the design goal.

      As to the converse, what do you lose? 9 & 40 ammo is designed around 4 inch barrels nowadays. Not longer, M9 ones. Thanks to the G19 and it’s massive popularity, even duty ammo is optimized for it’s barrel peculiarities, 4 inches and 1/10 twist.

      • FWIW: 9x19mm specifications have been tailored to a 4″ barrel for well over a century because of the Luger P08 pistol and its commercial siblings.

        .40 S&W specifications have also been pegged to a 4″ barrel, as that was the barrel length of its original platform, the S&W 4006. The 4006 had that length of barrel because it was same length as the forefathers, the 9x19mm S&W 39 and 59.

    • HKfan

      I thought that years ago but when I saw and understood the SIG P320 Carry, I understood. It was designed mainly for LE who wanted a full-capacity handgun but without the cumbersome longer slide of a full-size so they made a compact slide, full-size frame gun, like a HK P30

    • The same thing you gain with a Commander over a Government Model 1911.

  • Cymond

    So they’re repeating the MHS entry. I guess that explains the upcoming announcement. I probably should have seen that coming. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3f5017ad988c642511394c50ee4c4e43df531630ff42c8d978f9121e440893c5.png

    • john huscio

      Id bet money thats not the gun their releasing.

      • R

        You’re right, the info was already leaked

  • Kelly Jackson

    I’d love to see the manual safety on a G26, I’d buy one in a second.

  • Alex A.

    give all interested parties the opportunity to try and purchase it.
    Does that mean it’s coming to the U.S. civilian market?

  • Mazryonh

    I’m surprise that it took so long for the Russian 9mm AP loadings to be duplicated outside of Russia by a major manufacturer. I get the feeling that these AP loadings might be more effective in cartridges in like the .357 SIG since that caliber has more case capacity than the usual 9mm Para does, and those 9mm AP projectiles need a good amount of juice to penetrate body armour which gets harder as range increases.

  • Of course, now we want to know what Olin-Winchester’s winning submissions looked like.

  • Old Gringo

    OK, here is how us older retired guys make our amour defeating rounds. First, you find a gas check. Second you center it and drill a 1/16 hole exactly in the center. Third, you clean the bullet with alcohol to remove any lube or grease. Fourth, you add just a drop of epoxy to the inside of the gas check . Fifth, you place the gas check over the front/meplat of the bullet. Sixth, you take a small tack and attach the gas check backwards over the front of the bullet, just driving the gas check down firmly to seat the gas check. Seventh, allow the masterpiece to set up overnight. Then load that bullet into any 45-70. When the 340 grain bullet impacts body armor it folds back over the bullet creating a copper clad cover much like the heat shield on the space shuttle and will resist mushrooming on impact. Upon impact the bad guy falls to the ground, never knowing what hit him. Oh, works in muzzle loaders too. lol

  • danny

    wow so SIG is selling the 320

    for $150 to the army

  • danny

    GAO say’s
    SIG had a higher stopppage rate than GLOCK an there are other problems with the accuracy.
    so they just bought it because of the cheap price?