Looking for Hidden Variants

Red Label 17M

The longer that one collects a brand of firearm, the more nuance and variation one will notice. While manufacturers frequently release major design changes all at once, there are often smaller variations is design hidden throughout the evolution of a gun. Glock is a veritable treasure trove for those interested in small variations–and today I uncovered a rare such variation.

The 17M design preceded the first Gen 5s and acted as the inspiration for that design evolution. But the 17Ms were only made for an FBI contract so are, in general, much more rare than Gen 5 17s. It has been well documented that the first Gen 5s released were lacking some minor frame refinements. One of the changes made was tapering the nose of the slide (similar to how subcompact models have been from the beginning). However, the early frames were not matched with those tapered lines leaving an awkward appearance–as if the slide and frame were not made for each other.

The 17M pictured above is actually a factory reconditioned model. The labels are replaced with orange colored stickers to designate them as rebuilds, thus it’s impossible to know if it was originally a blue label FBI gun or a red label Lipsey’s reproduction. However, the blue labels observed have all had nDLC coated internals and red labels have standard stainless parts. This gun has the standard edition stainless internals, but those red label guns were not released until well after the initial block nose Gen 5s were produced making this one a bit of a curiosity. The frame had to have been one of the early 17Ms made because it has the frame/slide mis-match but does not have the internals that would have come with the original FBI guns. It’s definitely possible that Glock removed the nDLC coated parts when they refurbished the gun but seems very unlikely as there would be no use for the used parts elsewhere.

The internals might remain an unsolved mystery, but this gun does confirm that there are more variations of the 17M–including those with block noses. My variant table is sorely lacking in Gen 5 variations, but we’ll make progress.

Published by That "Glock" Guy

Licensed firearm dealer from Tulsa, OK and an avid Glock collector. This site is born from my hobby of trying to track down rare Glock production models and piece together the early history of America's most popular gun.

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