Most firearm aficionados under the age of forty just can’t remember a time before the Glock pistol. It’s like my kids, trying to envision a world without smart phones or the internet. The Glock is far from the first striker-fired pistol (they’ve been around for a century or so) or the first polymer-framed handgun (that title belongs to the striker-fired HK VP70Z introduced in 1970). However, the Glock pistol (introduced 1982) seemed to do everything so well that within 20 years or so it was found in 80% of the police holsters in this country. The Glock 19 for close to two decades was the carry gun against which all others were judged, and only recently are some people thinking it’s been replaced by the SIG P365 (another polymer-framed striker-fired piece).
Other striker-fired pistols were introduced (the Walther P99 came out in 1996 and the Steyr M about the same time), but none of them seemed to gain traction against the Glock in the United States. Then, in 2005, the Smith & Wesson M&P, a polymer-framed striker-fired pistol, was introduced, and this reliable American-made pistol immediately started chipping away at Glock’s law enforcement and commercial market share. Since then the number of polymer-framed striker-fired pistols has exploded — I’m going to do an experiment here and see how many full-sized offerings I can list by memory: Beretta APX, CZ P-10, FN FNS and 509, Springfield XD/XDM, SIG P320, Steyr M, Ruger SR9 and American Pistol, Taurus G2c/G3, and, of course, the Hi-Point Yeet Cannon YC-9. That short list doesn’t even include all the smaller, CCW-sized offerings like the Springfield XD-S, S&W Shield, and SIG P365, and I’ve probably missed at least a dozen.
The “advantage” (perceived or real is the question) of the striker-fired trigger system over the DA/SA is that you get the exact same trigger pull every time you pull the trigger. Trigger pulls on striker-fired guns weren’t as light or crisp as found on single-action guns like the 1911, but they were a vast improvement over the double action pulls on revolvers. In the seventies and eighties, some U.S. law enforcement agencies started adopting semi-autos to replace their revolvers (the DA/SA Smith & Wesson first-, second-, and third-generation pistols made big inroads, and many departments went to the Beretta 92 after its adoption by the U.S. military), but it was the Glock’s reliability and “same trigger pull every time” operating system that convinced the many LE hold-outs to finally switch over from their ancient revolvers.