Your Range Training Partner

The Umarex GLOCK 17 Gen5 T4E First Edition
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The Umarex GLOCK 17 Gen5 T4E First Edition is a faithful replica of the real GLOCK 17, and its manual of operation
is so similar it can be used as a training device that does not render training scars. It uses 8-round magazines
with a self-contained valve system that allows them to be “hot swapped.” Photo: Robert Marvulli

What if I told you the key to your firearms training did not involve a firearm? Every shooter needs a marking tool for training.

I tested the Umarex .43-caliber GLOCK 17 Gen5 T4E marker, an exact replica of a GLOCK 17 that fires .43-caliber paintballs or powder-filled ammunition using 12-gram CO2 cartridges. This type of marker is most often used as a backup in paintball competitions, but this one uses advancements in paintball technology to make it an essential training tool. This is not a gun with a red or orange flag on the business end, because it is not a toy. It is a training tool.

I have several GLOCK replicas, but the Umarex T4E marker is made with a lot more precision. The slide is CNC AW 7075, milled with faithful detail. The receiver is polymer. It is slightly less “springy” than the actual firearm, but the appearance is identical, and the dimensions are almost an exact copy. It fits my G17 holsters, like duty and concealed holsters from Gould & Goodrich, Safariland and Blackhawk. The First Edition model, which I tested, even comes in a GLOCK “combat Tupperware” box.

“Hot Swap” Magazines

The T4E GLOCK 17 does not fieldstrip like the real GLOCK, but all other manuals of arms are similar enough to avoid training scars. The magazines release in the same manner, the slide locks back when the mag is empty and the trigger is typical for an unmodified GLOCK. The sights have the typical “dot square U” configuration. It is a blowback operation, but even this is hard to distinguish from the real gun.

This is the problem I have with it, by the way. It’s .43-caliber. When viewed from the muzzle, it looks like a GLOCK 22 to me, simply because there’s only 0.03″ difference in the bore.

Umarex has perfected the ability to “hot swap” magazines. The CO2 cartridge and .43- caliber paintballs go into the magazine, which is similar to a real one, except it is slightly longer and heavier. A valve system keeps the magazine charged once the 12-gram cartridge is pierced. The magazine holds 8 rounds. I got between 8–10 reloads before I had to swap the cartridge out. The projectiles exit the muzzle at a consistent 240 fps until it drops off rapidly.

When the gun is fully loaded, it matches the weight of a fully loaded 9mm GLOCK 17. It can be press checked using the front serrations, and the magazine falls cleanly when the release is pressed.

It does fieldstrip, and is fairly simple. It takes a tool to fieldstrip — believe it or not, a GLOCK tool. When I got the slide off, I found it takes standard GLOCK sights.

The magazines are incredibly easy to load. To add CO2, one rotates the magazine base pad 270 degrees, and inserts a fresh cartridge. A screw adjustment allows the user to push the cartridge up against where it is pierced. Rotating the base pad back pierces the cartridge and locks it in. In all of the time I used the gun, I did not have a leaky magazine.

Paintballs are loaded from the front by sliding the follower into a recess, which compresses the spring. One can simply pour balls from the palm of the hand into the hole. Loading and adding cartridges does not require any tools. It takes me longer to load a 9mm magazine than the T4E.

To be honest, I would not let these magazines hit the ground, not because of their construction, but because they are twice the price of “real” ones.

Lindsey used the Umarex GLOCK 17 Gen5 T4E First Edition to train for vehicle ops without the chance
of sacrificing his truck interior. This is the perfect application for this gun. Photo: Robert Marvulli

Essential Training Tool

I took several hits from a T4E gun while playing force-on-force. It is painful, which is good. Training should be painful. If anyone is wondering, the powder balls hurt less than the paint ones. They are smaller than typical .68 paintballs, so the disparity in surface area causes an increase in pain.

For a smoothbore paintball gun, it has all of the accuracy one needs. I shot it at 15 yards, around the distance where accuracy starts falling off. It will still hit a torso, but shots from less than 10 yards can be done with some precision. The paintballs are much more accurate than the powder projectiles. However, both will sail right through a cardboard target at that distance. When using this gun for force-on-force, use full-face shields, neck protectors, vests and completely padded suits.

Occasionally, a paintball will break inside the magazine or during the loading sequence. There were several instances where I could “tap, rack, target” and keep shooting. In fact, in the middle of some force-on-force play, I managed to come up shooting. I found, for the most part, this gun will shoot itself clean. Umarex provides a roll-up squeegee for paint removal, which every user should stuff in a pocket for those stubborn moments. The magazines wiped clean without any problem.

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It was even easier to clean off powder — until it got into hard-to-reach areas. Powder blows clear of the recesses in the magazine however.

What’s the best use for the Umarex .43-caliber GLOCK 17 Gen5 T4E marker? I would use it to learn skills that should be learned under extreme pressure in order to get them right. For example, if you are a shooter switching from strong side to AIWB, get one of these. You can pound targets all day with paintballs without risking your risky areas until you get it right. I found that this gun tripped my shot timer if I made it extra sensitive. Regardless, this is the way to learn things with reduced risk.

The Umarex .43-caliber GLOCK 17 Gen5 T4E marker can even be used to train shooters in sear-reset drills, as the trigger mechanics are close to identical. Imagine teaching a person unfamiliar with a firearm how to shoot: it takes away the report and recoil while maintaining the operation, including sear reset.

Finally, I was trying to reinforce some skills that included exiting my truck while shooting, and shooting through the passenger window. This should be part of your skill set, since your enemies have called attacking passengers in vehicles and rioting “mostly peaceful.” Despite the fact I’m pretty confident with my shooting skills, I’m not shooting from inside my truck. If you know anything about vehicle ops, you don’t have to hit anything inside to render damage. Ask the guy who “borrowed” one of the detective units from the motor pool to use on the range. I learned some great auto- detailing tricks that day. With the T4E GLOCK, I can train without stressing about my truck.

Who would have thought the essential tool in your toolbox was a .43-caliber?