Range Report: Glock Gen 5

By Bob Campbell published on in General

Glock’s introduction of the Generation 5 pistol has been much anticipated. The new pistol offers significant changes—more so than any previous generation. The first change to the Glock was the addition of a light rail. Next, came the finger groove frame and the rough texture frame later. However, not everyone liked the finger grooves or RTF frame.

Glock G17 Gen 5 pistol with American Eagle ammunition box

The author tested the pistol with many loads. In the end he also added the thinnest beavertail grip and found it an excellent fit.

Notably, through each generation, the pistol maintained its reputation for reliability and function. Few mechanical changes were made. The pistol that is generally regarded as the most reliable of the Glock variations is the Glock 17. Therefore, we chose the Glock 17 variation of the Generation 5 for this review.

There is also a Glock 19 compact version. Glock tells us, at present, there are no plans to offer the Generation 5 in .40 caliber. Glock offers the Generation 5 as a result of demands from law enforcement, particularly the FBI and the new ‘M’ class FBI service pistol as well as the civilian market. The FBI wanted a superior handgun, and one that allowed agents to shoot faster and more accurately in high stress situations.

The differences in the new pistol are interesting, and it will be just as interesting to see how the public reacts to these handguns. I find them an improvement over the previous Glock pistols. Just the same, if you own a long-serving Glock that meets your needs and performs well, you may not choose to trade in old reliable for the new pistol. If purchasing your first Glock, by all means, do not purchase an older model but opt for the Generation 5.

Orange pistol magazine follower

This is the new orange follower magazine.

The first major change is the new barrel, which Glock calls the Marksman barrel. This barrel might be called a Match barrel elsewhere. The difference? Glock changed from polygonal to conventional rifling. This barrel also features a well-made barrel crown. These barrels will not interchange with the older handguns. Those of us who wished to achieve the best accuracy fitted Bar Sto barrels to the Glock. Economy was better served by using hard cast bullets as well.

The new barrel solves a lot of problems. The handgun also incorporates a fully ambidextrous slide stop. For those who are left handed or tactical shooters and wish to be capable with either hand, this is an important improvement. The magazine release is reversible, if desired. Glock’s new finish is labeled nDLC, which is claimed to be even more durable than the older Tenifer finish. Glocks have proven wear resistant in the past and the new finish should be even better.

The grip frame offers good abrasion that in turn allows for a solid hand purchase when firing. The finger groove grip is no longer part of the picture. The flat style magazine release works well. Another aid to rapid replenishment of the ammunition supply is a flared magazine well. It is well done and unobtrusive.

Glock Gen 5 pistol magazine

New Glock Gen 5 magazines feature a cutout for right or left hand magazine catch use.

When shooters decide they need a customized Glock, the sights are replaced first and then the grip is modified. Glock sights are easily replaced and with the additional grip inserts and the new style grip of this handgun. I do not think most shooters will need grip modification.

Glock tells us the safety plunger has changed. The new-style plunger is more angled. Glock also claims a better trigger action—more on that later. The take down lever has gained a coil spring instead of the old leaf spring, which is a mechanical improvement. I can detect no difference in operation.

The striker and striker opening are now teardrop shaped. This is supposed to allow greater clearance for material in the firing pin channel. I have examined quite a few handguns during a detailed strip—powder residue and even brass shavings will accumulate in this area. Good change.

I collected a good supply of ammunition including lead bullet handloads, CCI Blazer ball ammunition, Federal 124-grain HST, Gorilla 135-grain JHP, and Hornady XTP loads in 115- and 124-grain weights. I added the Winchester 127-grain SXT +P+ a proven service load with an excellent reputation. This combination of loads should be a good test, ranging from light practice loads to the most powerful.

I began filling the 17-round magazines with a handload consisting of Magnus 124-grain hard cast bullet and enough Titegroup powder for 1120 fps. There was no break-in period. The pistol was very comfortable to fire with this load. The Glock stayed on target during combat drills. Recoil control was excellent.

Load Speed 25-yard Group
Magnus 124-grain lead 1120 fps 3.5 inches
CCI Blazer 115-grain FMJ 1155 fps 4.0 inches
Federal 124-grain HST 1180 fps 2.8 inches
Gorilla Ammunition 135-grain 940 fps 2.85 inches
Hornady 115-grain XTP 1168 fps 2.5 inches
Hornady 147-grain XTP 980 fps 2.9 inches
Winchester 127-grain SXT +P+ 1233 fps 2.95 inches

Moving to the CCI Blazer ball loading, results were much the same. The new Marksman barrel handled lead fine, with the normal accumulation in the grooves. The Gen 5 proved accurate enough for practice with the Blazer loads.

TruGlo combat light on Glock 17 Gen 5

TruGlo’s combat light is a good fit for the Glock.

Moving to service-grade loads I fired the Federal 124-grain HST and Hornady XTP in both 115- and 147-grain weights. Results were good. The final load tested was from my dwindling supply of Winchester 9mm +P+. The SXT load exhibited the greatest recoil of any load but was controllable for those that practice.

Benchrest accuracy isn’t the test of a combat pistol, but the Glock 17 Generation 5 is clearly accurate enough for service use. All loads exhibited decent to good accuracy within the limits of my ability. I can detect no advantage over older generation pistols in accuracy. The trigger may have a different feel with a faster reset, but the difference—in my estimation—is slight. The ambidextrous slide lock, beveled magazine well, and new grip design made for a better handling pistol in speed drills. The Glock 17 Generation 5 is a credible addition to the Glock line and a genuine upgrade.

Have you tried the Glock Gen 5? How does it stack up to the previous generations? Share your answers in the comment section.


Bob Campbell is a former peace officer and published author with over 40 years combined shooting and police and security experience. Bob holds a degree in Criminal Justice. Bob is the author of the books, The Handgun in Personal Defense, Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry, The 1911 Automatic Pistol, The Gun Digest Book of Personal Protection and Home Defense, The Shooter’s Guide to the 1911, The Hunter and the Hunted, and The Complete Illustrated Manual of Handgun Skills. His latest book is Dealing with the Great Ammo Shortage. He is also a regular contributor to Gun Tests, American Gunsmith, Small Arms Review, Gun Digest, Concealed Carry Magazine, Knife World, Women and Guns, Handloader and other publications. Bob is well-known for his firearm testing.

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Comments (16)

  • Art Korfmann


    The “slideshow” embedded in the Cheaper Than Dirt E-Mail shows the
    ambidextrous slide release with the caption “Glock’s new ambidextrous SAFETY is a good feature.”.
    I believe the necessity to pull the trigger in order to fieldstrip the pistol
    has been done away with. This is a BIG improvement IMHO !


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