With Mk23 models of Grand Power pistols finally hitting the US market I thought I'd take a monent to explain some of the differences between the new Mk23's and the Mk12's that most people know. As someone who has spent a lot of time with Mk12 Grand Powers, and was able to get my hands on some Mk23s I've created an unofficial guide to cover the differences.
If you still want a Mk12 I suggest you gran one soon as I don't see a reason for them to continue in production now that the Mk23 models are here. The good news is the magazines interchange so buying one doesn't mean excluding yourself from the other.
This guide was constructed using X-Caliburs as at the time of writing this they are the only Mk23 Grand Power pistols available in the United States. If you're unfamiliar with the X-Calibur see our full review of the Mk12 X-Caliber here.
What Does "Mk" mean? "Mk" or "Mark" is a generational designation that coincides with the year of release. The Mk12's were released in 2012, the Mk23's released in 2023. "Mk23" refers to an entire generation of pistols, NOT a specific model.
What Has Changed? There are three major changes to the Grand Power pisotl line:
New Operating System
New Operating System: Grand Power is known for their incredibly smooth actions. This is largely because of their rotating barrel action that effectively reduces felt recoil. The Mk12's accomplished this using a roller bearing in the chassis and a near-mirror-polished cam surface on the barrel. The Mk23's still use a rotating barrel, but instead use a cam groove and locking lugs akin to an AK bolt. I do not know the official reason for the change, but as Grand Power's popularity has grown worldwide, and their portfolio of various guns grows (from .22lr pistols to 12.7mm heavy maching guns) it makes sense they would need to find a way to manufacture with less machine time required per pistol in order to keep up with demand.
From my third-party view the Mk23 action accomplishes the same thing the Mk12 action did, but is simpler to manufacturer thereby increasing potential manufacturing volume.
Optics Ready: Grand Power models that are optics ready are identifyable by the "CO" designation in the model name. The two "CO" models we have in so far each came with two optic mounting plates made from steel. A consequence of being optics ready appears to be slide mass. If you're going to put screws into a slide they need metal to bite into. Adding an optic means losing your rear sight. Plates included with the Mk23 CO models are for Vortex Venom/Burris Fastfire or Shield RMS/SMS pattern optics.
New Texture: This is a tough one to show because the Mk23 grips and frames are visually identical to the Mk12s. The lines and patterns are the same, but the texture has been enhanced. If the Mk12 texture was a 4 on a scale of 1-10, the Mk23 texture is a 7. So far in handling, the difference is appreciable without becoming too abbrassive. This is not M&P 2.0 exfoliation, but it a touch more that I think will be most effective for those who shoot with gloves on.
Serrations and slide shape have also changed a bit. The new design represents the current trend for fewer, but broader serrations. This concept was intriduced, but mocked with the early Beretta APX line, refined by Walther's PDP line, and has recently become more of an industry norm.
By The Numbers: The new operating system and slide cuts have meant for some changes in specificiations. Looking at the two generations of X-Calibur I have on hand we find the following:
Grand Power Mk23 Match CO included for comparison. This model extends the stainless steel chassi out to a full-length railed dust cover. Full review will be coming soon.
The X-Calibur is meant to be a competition pistol. As such weight is seen as a good thing for soaking up recoil and steadying the hand. The Mk23 X-Calibur Match CO adds five ounces of non-reciprocating mass to the nose of the gun compared to the Mk12 X-Calibur. I can't wait to get that to the range and feel the difference.
We've got full reviews of all the Mk12 models, and reviews of the Mk23s will be coming as we get our hands on them and range time permits.
Those looking for a video version of this content can catch some of it on our backup channel in the video below:
For a quick test of rapid fire control comparing the Mk12 and Mk23 see the video below: