Folding Glock Pistols Sure Seem Easy To Pack...But Are They Good For Concealed Carry?
One of the most novel firearms in recent years is the folding Glock design that was devised by Full Conceal. This company devised a way to fold the grip of a Glock pistol for carrying, so that the user can fold up the gun, put it in a pocket or otherwise store it, but retrieve it and fold the magazine into place if the gun were to be needed.
A folding Glock 19 surely can conceal a whole lot of firepower, especially since it comes with a 21-round magazine.
Full Conceal followed this up with a folding Glock 43, an already easy-concealing pistol that becomes impossibly compact with the folding design, though at the time of this writing it hasn't been made available for either purchase new or a conversion.
But is folding Glock concealed carry a viable concealment solution? Will this improve on the typical CCW method of packing a pistol in a concealed carry holster? The short answer is possibly...but there are some potential issues.
How Is A Folding Glock 19 Made?
Full Conceal makes a folding Glock 19 - which is dubbed the Full Conceal M3D - by first altering the grip. Rather than shearing the grip off straight, a large notch is cut out with a shelf on the back of the grip. The trigger guard and trigger are removed, and a folding lift hinge installed for both assembling the pistol and to act as the trigger guard.
The grip is floated by the hinge, but rotates in place and locks to the frame with a mortise that rotates into place and latches with the dovetail cut into the remaining part of the grip. Thus, secure lock-up is achieved.
The trigger is changed to a folding unit that still retains the Glock drop safety. The trigger tab is removed, but the pistol remains safe when the trigger is folded up or otherwise not being contacted. The trigger folds up as the grip is folded forward and rotates down when the grip is rotated back into place.
Don't worry too about not assembling the folding Glock 19 incorrectly; the hinge is designed so that the frame and the magazine is guided exactly into place, without issue.
The grip is also shortened, so that it folds down easily against the underside of the frame. The bonus is that Full Conceal found a longer magazine would still fit under the frame, enough so that a 21-round unit from Magpul can fit completely under the frame and slide.
The folding Glock 43 utilizes the same concept, with a 12-round magazine as the 43 is a single-stack.
Thus, the concept is the folding Glock M3D pistol chops the grip, installs a folding trigger and hinge so the magazine and grip can be brought fully rearward, locking in place to ready the pistol. The safety mechanisms still work with a chambered round, so it's safe to carry loaded. The dreaded "Glock ND" cannot be an issue as the trigger is disengaged when folded.
Why A Folding Glock Handgun?
That's all great, but WHY a folding Glock handgun? After all, Glock concealed carry is not exactly the most difficult thing to pull off. Talk to to most holster companies and the G19, 26, and 43 are some of the most popular models they sell.
Including us? You bet.
Company founder Mike Full, according to Auction Armory, was inspired by the Aurora Colo. theater shooting. Full realized that engaging a gunman armed with an AR-15 with a subcompact pistol was not the most tenable plan for defending one's self. How, then, to carry more firepower without making it difficult to carry?
He has a point. First, accuracy in a firefight is woeful; even police mostly average a hit rate of about 20 percent. Plus, six or seven rounds isn't enough to provide covering fire for someone - a loved one or loved ones - to escape a dangerous situation. However, 21 is.
How to get that kind of carrying capacity in a compact enough package to easily carry? Carrying a full-size with that sort of onboard compliment isn't easy. To really make it carryable, it would have to be small enough to fit in a pocket, a purse and so on; smaller than the typical pistol in a holster.
An objection raised by Full is that a subcompact, held in a holster, is just as wide as many service pistols; a pistol with a 1"-wide slide swells to 1.2 to 1.3 inches with the holster. Therefore, it takes up more room in the waistband than is comfortable to carry.
Clearly, he hasn't carried with the ShapeShift 4.0 holster.
However, the ideal carry gun would not require a holster to carry safely; all safety mechanisms must be engaged and be reliable enough to not worry. The gun should be easily concealable, and should have a barrel that approaches service size. That made a folding Glock 19 the most tenable of platforms.
How Big Is A Folding Glock 9mm?
The folding Glock 9mm pistol breaks down to 1.18 inches wide, 3.5 inches tall and 7.25 inches long, about half the height of the regular Glock 19. The overall rectangular footprint is 25.4 inches, roughly that of a large smartphone though obviously a bit wider.
A standard Glock 19 has a rectangular footprint of 36.2 inches, so quite a bit of space is saved with folding Glock concealed carry.
The folding Glock 43 promises to even smaller; with a folded height of 3.25 inches and length of 6.25 inches by about an inch wide - not much bigger than many cell phones with a case.
How Much IS A Folding Glock 19 M3?
How much is a folding Glock 19 M3? Depends on how you get it. If you buy one direct from Full Conceal, the list price is $1399. They get the gun, build it and ship it to the FFL of your choice.
However, there is also a folding Glock kit that you can purchase as well. You have to supply the pistol, which has to be a Gen 3 or Gen 4 Glock 19. However, since the Glock 19 platform can be had in other calibers, the conversion kit can be applied to Glock 23 (in .40 S&W) a Glock 25 (.380 Auto) Glock 32 (.357 Sig) or Glock 38 in .45 GAP.
The folding Glock kit costs $749. However, Full Conceal doesn't send you the kit for installation by the smith of your choice; you have to send them the gun and their technicians will do the build. If you can score a used gun or a good deal on a Gen 3 or Gen 4 Glock on the 19 platform, you could save a good amount of cash if interested.
Folding Glock Concealed Carry...Is This Really A Good Idea?
The reviews for the M3D indicate that folding Glock concealed carry is tenable from a mechanical standpoint. Function isn't compromised, so it'll shoot without issue. It's about the same size - in two dimensions - as a large-ish smartphone (think the Galaxy Note, iPhone 8 Plus) though it is obviously fatter and can, therefore, fit in a pocket.
The Full Conceal Glock 19 M3D does do what it promises on paper. It's safe to carry. It's concealable. It fires, and it actually increases capacity if you carry the 21-round Magpul magazine.
Here comes the but, and please try not to giggle after reading that:
One issue is accessibility. Drawing from a pants pocket is difficult when standing; when seated it is all but impossible. You could wear cargo pants and easily draw from a seated position, but drawing from a standing position is more problematic. Of course, you could carry your folding Glock pistol in a jacket pocket, but you aren't going to be wearing one all the time.
This is where the traditional carry method of a pistol in a holster comes out as a bit more advantageous. With a bit of experimenting, you can find a carry position that allows you to draw while seated and standing with minimal difficulty.
Additionally, magazine seating can be a problem. What reviewers have found is that the hinged grip does hold the magazine, and the detent of the magazine catch even grabs the indent in the magazine itself. However, there is sufficient play for the magazine to slide backwards, far enough to keep the magazine from indexing and indeed keeping the hinge from extending fully to the rear.
So, you'll have a harder draw and you have to make sure the magazine indexes correctly if you have to draw your folding Glock M3D pistol. The regular 19, drawn from a holster, won't really have that problem.
To sum up, the folding Glock pistols will do what they state they will do, and you have to admit it's ingenious. There's no other way to get as small a gun that holds as many rounds or can lay down that kind of fire. However, it does have certain compromises that carrying a pistol in the traditional manner doesn't.
If you're interested in the Full Conceal M3D pistol, that's something you'll have to weigh for yourself.
What do you think about Glock concealed carry?
Let us know in the comments below!