Caliber - .22LR
Capacity - 10-rd. box magazine
Action - Host Glock pistol
Barrel - 4.3 inches
Weight - 6.5 oz. (conversion upper only)
The Advantage Arms Conversion Kit (AACK) for Glock pistols first came on the market in 1999. They are produced in two versions - the "TM" or Target Model, and the "LE" or Law Enforcement model. The TM features a more rounded or upswept look, with a high-profile fully adjustable steel rear sight and a front sight integral to the slide. The LE model follows the same contours as the service-caliber Glock slides, and includes Glock OEM adjustable polymer sights. The LE version has proven to be the more popular of the two, and it is now produced for every Glock frame size.
Many tout the use of .22 conversion kits as training tools; they offer the same grip feel, sight picture, manual of arms and trigger pull as
one's carry gun, but without the recoil, noise and expense of a centerfire caliber. But I maintained that the same
things that can be accomplished with an AACK can also be done through dry fire, laser simulation devices or airsoft guns, at
an even lower cost and without the need to go to a shooting range! Additionally, most .22 kits are not as accurate or reliable
as a dedicated .22 target pistol. .22 conversion kits seemed neither fish nor fowl to me, so I put off buying one for a long time... until I shot
Todd Dunn's silencer-equipped AACK at the 2003 Playland Party - and my eyes were opened!
Fit and Finish
The AACK I purchased in the fall of 2003 was a "LE 19-23" model for compact 9/40/357 Glock frames. The AACK comes in a plastic case with an attractive red velvet & foam-lined interior. The foam has cutouts for the slide assembly and standard accessories, which include a 10rd magazine, cleaning rod, cleaning kit and a sample bottle of Break-Free CLP. An adjustment tool for the OEM rear sight is also provided.
The AACK slide is constructed from black-anodized aluminum, while the barrel is stainless steel and the magazine body is plastic with metal "feed fingers". The AA slide assembly
is very similar in function to the factory upper, and installs on the Glock frame in the same manner. The first thing that struck me when I installed the AACK on my G23 frame, was how light the assembled gun feels.
It's almost toylike; in stark contrast to a competitor's kit, which has an all-metal
magazine that gives it a heft similar to a stock Glock. Operationally, there are several aspects that make the AACK superior to the competition: 1) all
3 passive safeties remain operational with the AA kit in place, 2) the slide locks open on an empty magazine, and 3) AA sights on the LE model are Glock OEM, and can be swapped out with
night sights for commonality with one's carry/duty pistol. Disassembly varies only slightly from the normal Glock method; the exposed muzzle of the AACK first must be
pressed onto a hard surface to unlock the barrel from the locking block, then the slide lock lever can be lowered and the gun field stripped as usual.
Advantage Arms furnishes with each kit a list of ammo types that are recommended (CCI MiniMags, Rem Golden Bullet, Rem Thunderbolt, other 40gr "High Velocity" ammo) and not recommended (Federal, PMC, most 35gr hollowpoints). While this list can serve as a good starting point, it is not inclusive, or even necessarily correct. It is my experience (and that of many on the Glock List and elsewhere, that the AACK runs just as well with the "not recommended" Federal ammo as it does with Remington or CCI. By its very nature, .22LR ammo is somewhat unreliable, and the cheaper the ammo, the more likely you are to have a misfire (or several). The only problem I've seen in my AACK that isn't attributable to ammo or a shoddy magazine design (see below) is the occasional failure to extract a fired case from the chamber. Because the .22LR case lacks an extractor groove, if the extractor slips off the case rim, you can't close the slide and expect it to pick it up again. Your only option is to insert a cleaning rod down the bore from the muzzle end, and knock the fired case out of the chamber. The rod provided with the kit is ideal for this purpose; this is why my AACK always travels to the range in its original box.
Recoil with the AACK is minimal, which makes it suitable as a teaching tool for firearms novices. Sights, grip and controls are all standard Glock, which is nice from a commonality of training standpoint. Accuracy-wise, the AACK is capable of holding its own against more expensive .22 target pistols, but I have found it hard to realize this accuracy potential due to the AACK's light weight and coarse combat-type sights. But the AACK isn't intended to be a precision instrument; its purpose is to give a Glock owner inexpensive trigger time, while maintaining as much commonality as possible with his carry gun. So with that in mind, perhaps a more realistic standard would be the ability to replicate service-caliber Glock accuracy out to 25 yards, which I can certainly do with the AACK. Incidentally, I have never needed to use the adjustable rear sight; the AACK shot point-of-aim right out of the box. I'm looking for some "dead" Mepro night sights to buy on the cheap, in order to give the AACK the same sight picture as my carry Glocks. I worry, though, that changing the sights would affect point of impact; I hate to "fix" what ain't broke!
As with the SIG Trailside .22 target pistol, the AACK is a wonderful design handicapped by a poorly constructed plastic magazine. I've never encountered an all-plastic mag that's worth a damn, and the AA - even with its metal "feed fingers" - is no exception. When the mag is loaded to capacity, the top round in the cartridge stack can pop out of alignment, causing the slide to bind and not go into battery when released. I have also experienced other failures to feed that I believe are attributable to the magazine. Finally, the AA mag is a sealed design and cannot be disassembled for cleaning or maintenance. If a mag spring goes bad or a "feed finger" breaks, you have to replace the entire magazine. I would like to see the AA mag redesigned to include an actual metal liner as on Glock factory mags, and a removable floorplate.
I have come to appreciate the AACK's role as a training tool, and I generally begin every range session with 50 rounds or so of .22LR practice. The AACK is also useful for teaching; Todd started his kids shooting on the suppressed AACK and a Walther P-22, and I have introduced several non-shooters to firearms using my AACK and Ruger 22/45. But what nobody could adequately convey to me before I shot one of these things and found out for myself, was the FUN FACTOR. Shooting this little "Fisher-Price Glock" at the range is more entertaining than dry practice or a BeamHit system could ever be; the AACK never fails to put a smile on the face of whoever's using it! It's not a service pistol, and it's not a dedicated .22 target gun... the AACK is a "fun gun" with a multitude of potential uses, and is a must have accessory for the discriminating Glock owner.