In 2011 GLOCK introduced the Generation 4 (Gen4) pistols. The Gen3 series was, to me, the pinnacle of GLOCK progression. I fully believed the crest of the mountain had been reached. That a great pistol had done all it could, and would remain a solid, trustworthy, stout yet ordinary system. I am man enough to admit when I am wrong. I was wrong.
What the new Gen4 brings to the table is not change for the sake of change, but change that has taken many years to achieve. The Gen4 series semi-autos are better handling, better engineered and more versatile guns than the original… Dennis Adler–Evolution of the New Gen4 Series 2011
While the changes did not upend the handgun world, it was apparent that the good just got better. So what do you get with the new Gen4s?
It is my belief the first shot in a defensive situation is the most important. Strangely enough the second and third shots are as important-respectively in that order. However, in a defensive situation when the adrenalin is coursing through the veins and the world becomes surreal the first shot can go in bizarre directions and many times straight into the ground. Thus the follow-up shots are critical.
GLOCK understood that and in the Gen4s there is a new doubled recoil spring and guide rod. The recoil spring does not just wrap a guide rod but each rod and spring is now a redundant system. Energy is more evenly dispersed and thereby reducing muzzle flip. By the way, it works.
Get a Grip
GLOCK has improved the grip on the Gen4 in two ways. First, the one-size-fits-all paradigm is gone. Really, we don’t all come equipped with the same hand size? My brother and I could have told you that from our law enforcement careers. He and I are both cursed with hands the size of an eight-year-old boy. My hand size has been a true handicap in shooting that I have had to overcome. Thank goodness I started shooting when I was eight so I could get use to the hand-size I would be using my entire life to shoot with. My brother was the best shot in our department and he carried a S&W 645 hand cannon. We had to adjust to the grips issued.
With the Gen4s, GLOCK takes on the new trend of adjustable back straps. GLOCK calls this system the Multiple Back Strap or MBS system. Again, it works and I like it enough that I am willing to spend the extra paper to get the system. If you have always liked the size of the GLOCK grip then this may not be as big of a deal to you. For me—the grip-challenged—it is awesome. I can finally reach the magazine release with my thumb without rotating the gun—I’m a big boy now.
Furthermore, the grip surface, now upgraded to the new Rough Texture Frame or RTF. This is the third series of RTF and thus referred to as RTF3. I did not find it to be as groundbreaking as the other upgrades and did not make as much difference to me, in my humble opinion.
No One LEFT Out
Now for those individuals with the OTHER shooting handicap, left-handedness, GLOCK has heard your cries. The Gen4 series has an ambidextrous magazine release system. The release button can be changed from left to right and back again, no gunsmithing degree required.
However, this has created somewhat of a confusion in the magazines. As of this date all GLCOK magazines currently produced will work in all GLOCK handguns specific to the caliber. Yes, I know there are some exceptions to this rule. The main exception is that Gen3 and earlier magazines will not work in Gen4 pistols if the magazine release button has been moved to the right side of the frame to accommodate left-handed shooters. Gen3 and earlier magazines are easily spotted as they have only one notch in the front of the magazine.
So there you have it. Excluding the RTF3, I believe this has made the very incredible yet common GLOCK handgun into a competitor that can go up against others that sometimes rely on bells and whistles. I truly admire that the changes are not to impress the people at the range but to help make you a better shooter. That is the perfection in GLOCK’s simplicity. Sure paint looks good on the car but it’s what’s under the hood that makes all the difference.