Ranking quite high on the most iconic sidearms ever, the Glock series has been featured in many films, digital games and has been around in the Airsoft world for quite a while as well. There are various different manufacturers who make Glocks, but the users are usually steered towards a few specific brands. This was true to myself as well when I was looking for recommendations for a new sidearm, which I wanted to be from the Glock line of airsoft guns.
Having owned a KJW Glock 23 some years ago, I was kind of weary on hopping back on that train. While my previous Glock performed well for the standards I had back then, I wanted a better finish externally and more reliability internally. I had replaced the lower plastic parts from the KJW to a better looking “nylon fiber” one made by Guarder (which was a pain to install). This improved the external looks but I still would have wanted to change the slide from the shiny black one for a more matte look one. I never got around to doing that, since I parted with the pistol before I went over to my WE P226 (which I never had problems with, though they are not always that well received by users).
So, with all these previous experiences in mind, I began the search. I had settled on the Glock 19 model, so I had a few choices between manufacturers. The Marui Glock line gets a lot of love and those are solid performers. The WE Glock line is said to be good, if you get the newer line from them. Third, there was VFC. They also get a bundle of love from their users and for a good reason. The Marui and VFC Glocks seemed to have trademarks, which the WE versions lacked. Trademarks were something I wanted, so that dropped the WE out from the equation. VFC had partnered with Umarex and had the licensed trademarks on their line, but Marui Glocks also had Glock markings on theirs. After talking with the people from Milgear, and asking whether the VFC Glocks were solid performers, I ordered the VFC one. I knew the Marui ones would perform well, since they are Marui. They must have been sprinkled with some kind of magical dust which makes them perform so well. I have never owned anything from VFC and their Glocks looked awesome, so I wanted to take a leap and give them a go.
Glock 19 – A short history
Before we go further into the airsoft replica, let us take a short look into the history of the Glock 19 pistol.
Of Austrian origin, the Glock sidearms are produced by Glock Ges.m.b.H. From my understanding, Glock offers over 50 different models, which differ in size, caliber and style. That is a lot to choose from, from selective fire (Glock 18) versions to semi-automatic pistols. Apparently, Glock is very secretive about the 18 model and the distribution is limited to government, military and law-enforcement. In the airsoft world, the Glock 18 is also present as a selective fire pistol.
The Glock 19 is a, in a nutshell, a shortened version of the Glock 17. Early models of the Glock 19 were produced in the late 1980s for military and law enforcement use. Due to the close resemblance to its bigger brother, the Glock 17, some parts are interchangeable between the two models in the real steel world and the 19 model can use magazines from the 17 and 18 models of Glocks.
There are currently 5 generations of Glock 19 pistols made, with smaller and larger updates along the years to the model. The features and updates are done every-so-often and are along the lines of small incremental changes or new features, but still retain the original polymer frame central theme that the Glock series is known for. In essence, the gist stays the same but they keep evolving. Glock 19 came around the same time as the second generation of Glock 17 pistols were released and ever since, the Glock 19 has been one of the most popular handguns. Small, easy to conceal, brilliant to shoot (I can attest to this, real steel vice) and accurate.
The Glock 19 by VFC models the 3rd generation of the Glock 19. In the real world, the 3rd generation models came along in 1998 and they are apparently still available from the factory. During this generation, colors were introduced to the Glock line, and FDE and OD finishes were offered for users. Naturally, the old black color was also retained. As a final note here, I have been told that the “3rd generation” was an informal nomination, but I have not confirmed this from any other sources. Take it as you may.
The VFC/Umarex Glock 19
Now we will get into the subject matter at hand, the VFC/Umarex Glock 19, generation 3.
VFC company has been around from 2004, and is known within the airsoft player community as a company that produces high-quality airsoft replicas. According to the company mantra, they pursue high-quality end products that they can deliver to the users. Umarex has been around from the early 1970s as an over-the-counter airgun and blank firing gun distributor. Without going into too much of detail in their long history, according to the company website, they are one of the largest importers of airsoft guns in Europe and hold many licenses from various real steel manufacturers.
How does the airsoft version of the Glock 19 perform then? While this gun is still fairly new in my inventory, it has been used quite a bit since I got it. From weekend games, longer events to just test firing, I have fallen in love with it. To be more specific, this has been my only sidearm during the past summer in all events that I have attended. While it has not necessarily seen that much use, it has performed when it was needed.
Gas blowback or gas operated replicas in general are always something that are a bit of a hit and miss here in Finland, as our winter lasts for months and it includes a chance for a warm summer. While there are players here who effectively can use gas operated replicas, I have never really used them during winter months. I prefer to leave them at home during that time of the year. We do not have an indoor field where I live, so we run around the forest field we have all year. Snow or no snow, we are there. While there, now-a-days, gas bottles (and even Co2, which I do not use due to personal preference) that boast offering good performance in lower temperatures, they do not offer too much good reliability (especially with blowback replicas) in lower temperatures. The lowest I have used the Glock was around +13 degrees celcius, and getting a full mag out with a good slide lock was good enough for me. Anything lower than that, I usually start to see problems with hop-up and performance in general. For me, that is decent, and I would not expect anything more from gas operated replicas.
The external aesthetics of the VFC Glock 19 were something that caught my eye on first glance. The trades on the replica are realistic, with the exception of the “cal. 6mm BB” markings placed at the front of the replica under the rail. On the right side of the grip, where according to my info the “Made in Austria” trades are located on the real firearms, there is a “Officially licensed product of GLOCK” marking. This is well placed, true to the original, and the earlier 6mm markings are also discrete, keeping all the players looking for the “authentic” looks happy. I am one of them and I like the way they have gone with the trademarks. The trades on the slide are carved, with no paint on them. The only markings that are “white” on the replica is the 6mm markings.
The sights are whited, making target acquisition easier in lower light conditions easier. These are not tritium-phosphor sights, which would be even better. The back sight can be removed and you can add a mount for a red dot as well, which seems to be a popular option for many Glock users now-a-days. So far I have kept mine completely stock, without any modifications.
The slide on the replica is matte black, and rather resistant to wear. I use a kydex friction holster with quite a few draws over the time I have had the replica, and there is little to no wear so far on the slide. The lower part feels solid, not absolutely sure whether it is polymer or reinforced plastic. Either way, the feel and texture is excellent, and the grip when drawing is solid. I do not care for aggressive stippling on the grips, so for me the texturing is enough as it is. In addition, having quite small hands, the overall size of the grip feels good for me. Due to this, I have not seen the need to get the extenders for the magazines, which would make it easier for people with larger hands to get a better grip.
Internally this thing has worked well so far. I have tried this with .30g BBs and I am getting pretty consistent performance. I would, however, opt for a little lighter BBs, since at .30g the hop-up does produce some problems with the flight path. Either it falls short or at times if gives way too much hop for the BB. The range is adequate, good enough for a sidearm and for the purpose it is bought. Mine is a backup for those close encounters (though we do not have a distance rule when using semi on assault rifles) and I tend to use the lighter BBs for it anyway, which give more consistent hop-up performance overall. Nevertheless, knowing that the Glock can handle heavier BBs quite well, just goes to show how far the manufacturer has gone with it.
As for the other internal parts for this beast, so far they have been holding up. It has seen use and you can see wear on the obvious locations, but nothing has broken. One thing that I have noticed with the magazine lock is that I do not always trust it. I have never had my magazines fall out unintentionally, but there is no “lock feel” when inserting the magazine. It took me a while to get used to it, and it might also be intentional. Being used to hearing that familiar click sound when inserting a magazine has grown into me and not hearing it here made me a bit nervous at first. Still, the magazines lock and feed well, so no real issues there. Will need to dig deeper on the locking thing and see if there are any options for it to make it more “profound”, so to speak.
Parts compatibility between different manufacturers is always something to consider when buying a new replica. Many brands say they are “Marui compatible”, as it has become somewhat of a standard within the industry. Some manufacturers go a completely different route and make their replicas proprietary as far as parts go, meaning only their own parts will work with the given replica. This is not that common, and usually only a few parts require to be replaced with OEM parts. Nevertheless, even though the “Marui standard” is mentioned for a replica, this does not mean they are 100% compatible and fit without modification. As for the VFC Glock series, it has been a source of discussion from what I can see. Not going to go into that, since I have no on-hand personal experience about it. I rarely do upgrades to my replicas if they work.
Field stripping is done by pulling down the two safety located on both sides of the Glock. You do not need to pull the trigger, just the slides. Pull the slide back and then push it to the front, and release. The outer barrel has no threads, so attaching a silencer is not an option. The outer barrel can be removed by first removing the recoil rod. Then just slide the barrel out, and you also gain access to the inner barrel and hop-up assembly. The hop-up chamber seems to be proprietary and this was confirmed from other sources as well. According to this same source, it was said that real-steel Glock 19 slide could be installed to the replica as well.
The magazines also have some really nice touches to them. The Glock trades at the bottom plates on the magazines and also the ammo count markings at the back of the magazines. Gas is added by removing the bottom plate, which is held in place by a small locking finger. The plate can be removed by sliding the locking finger downwards and pulling the plate off. This can be tricky at first, but will get easier with repeated uses.
Not being much of a tech guy, I can only report on the aesthetics of the replica in general and what I have encountered so far when using it. Everything works, and the magazine locking and hop-up “problems” with heavier BBs are the only things that have been something to note on for me. Other than that, nothing to complain, it works. As I have stated before, I do not break open these things unless something breaks. This is why I cannot say anything regarding part compatibility with VFC and other manufacturers, other than what I have read on forums, Facebook and other discussion outlets.
The future for this on my part? My plan is to at least get a light, which in turn means that I need a new holster. My current one does not allow the use of a light attached to the rail on the Glock. I have been looking at some Safariland holsters. Some would argue that it is a bit overkill for Airsoft purposes, but then again, go big or go home. I have owned Safariland in the past and they are brilliant holsters. Buy one of those and you probably do not need to buy a new one. At least due to it breaking. Other possible plans include a red dot sight for the rail, just for the fun of it. I do not see the real benefit of it for me yet, but it has been there at the back of my head. Same for the light I mentioned. We do not have a CQB area here and those two places are the only ones I would warrant the need for a light and a red dot. As we have a woodland site, the Glock is purely for backup if my primary goes down or for close distances. Plus, at a woodland site, keeping it real simple on the accessories for your sidearm has proven to be the best course of action. For some CQB games, however, pimping this thing out would probably be a good course of action.
I will update this post as things develop, or make a new one if there are some larger things that arise. Hope this gave you at least some idea what to expect from the VFC Glock 19. While this was a rather light look, there are some really good reviews that go in-depth with the takedown and parts of this Glock 19 replica.