The New Glock 17 & 19 Gen 5: 5th Time’s a Charm
Recently, Glock has been introducing new handguns and configurations to the market which have generally been a welcome addition. Within just the last few years we have seen the G42 .380 and G43 9mm single stack pistols, the FS model with forward or front serrations, and of course the Modular Optic System (MOS) models. The latest version up until now was the M configuration that was submitted for federal contracts; which lead to the public release of the Gen 5. The M configuration showed features that many people hoped and requested Glock would release to the commercial markets, that has become reality with the Gen 5.
While the first official Gen 5 designated guns are the G17 and G19, I would argue that we actually saw the first Gen 5 guns with the G42 and G43. Those were the first-recent Glock handguns to feature no finger grooves, a new firing pin safety mechanism, a new trigger-spring configuration, and new slide stop spring. While all of those features individually didn’t add up to much, the total is a lot of what we are seeing in the Gen 5.
This article is not meant to be our full review of the new pistols but a quick overview of what has changed with the new Gen 5 and some of my first thoughts. One thing to keep in mind is that the Gen 5 is still a Glock. That is a great thing in many ways but disappointing in others. Very few manufactures can say that from generation to generation they have maintained profile dimensions and magazine compatibility. This is something that many agencies consider as they don’t have to always buy new duty holsters and their stash of magazines will generally work. The one caveat with magazines is if you want to switch the magazine release side you will need Gen 4 or newer magazines.
The first and most noticeable feature is the removal of the finger grooves on the RTF textured frame. The first and second generation Glocks were sans finger grooves and very comfortable. When Glock added the finger grooves in the Gen 3, many liked them and many disliked them. I was not a fan, my fingers didn’t line up with the grooves and the problem worsened when I wore gloves. One of the first modifications I made to many of my Glocks was to get rid of those finger grooves. This is a very welcome addition and hopefully I never see those finger grooves again.
Speaking of the frame, we also see a new enlarged magazine well and a larger front cutout. The flare is conservative compared to competition style mag wells on the market but it is noticeable. The increased opening will help with reloading but isn’t too large or obnoxious to get caught on duty gear, squad seats, or be in the way. The front cut out gives the shooter an area to grab the floor plate of the magazine to strip the magazine in case of a stoppage. Speaking of magazines, the new Gen 5 magazine features a high visibility orange follower and a larger floor plate that is longer towards the front to provide a nice shelf that aligns with the cut out.
Left-handed shooters will appreciate the addition of an ambidextrous slide stop. The signature small slide stop is now mirrored on both sides of the frame. The stop lever maintains the same size, texture and extension from the previous generation. It will be interesting to see if either Glock or the after market industry offer extended or larger controls for those that prefer to use the lever as a slide release. Looking at the above photograph you can also see the new nDLC finish that is present on the slide. Glock is claiming that this exclusive finish is more durable than previous finishes. It is also available in any color you want so long as that choice is black. I noted the finish appeared to be slightly more glossy and smooth than previous generations. Long term and holster wear will be something to be seen. No word on additional color offerings at this time.
Moving inside the gun, Glock is touting the barrel as the Glock Marksman Barrel listing an increase in accuracy and using traditional rifling versus the Glock signature polygonal rifling of previous generations. When shooting the new models, they felt familiar and accuracy was consistent. I shot the models at a reveal event so I was limited in time and rounds. However, hitting the 8” circle at 25 yards was no problem. When I get my hands on the guns for some long-term testing, I can do some more accuracy testing at further distances. Accuracy, considering the Glock is a duty/combat type gun, has never really been a concern.
We also see the new updated firing pin safety that is more oblong than earlier generations. This prevents rotation of the firing pin safety and helps to improve the trigger press. Speaking of the trigger, while it is still a Glock trigger, I noticed an improvement. The Glock trigger still has the spongy take up to a wall and then a speed bump like break. I have not measured to be certain, but my perception was the break travel distance and reset distance felt shorter than the Gen 4. Also the trigger wasn’t as gritty or rough as the Gen 4. While still a factory Glock trigger, the Gen 5 trigger was a nice and needed improvement that brings back the feel of the Gen 3 and earlier guns. The new trigger bar has the Gen 4 firing pin safety nose bump removed and has a new trigger spring and interface. The striker, not shown, is also a new design. One last item to note is that the trigger on the Gen 5 19 is now a smooth face trigger versus the serrated model found on earlier generations.
Glock is still offering the guns with the plastic dove tail protector sights and the Glock Night Sights. New for the Gen 5 is an additional offering with Ameriglo sights. It is nice to see Glock expanding sight offerings, but a part of me wished there was a no sight package. That would save the consumer ten dollars as most have their own sight preference.
Earlier we spoke about the MOS and FS models and sadly those features are absent on the Gen 5. In my opinion Glock could have hit the Gen 5 out of the park if every Gen 5 would have the MOS plate system and had front serrations. This would have been a very welcome generation enhancement and offered a lot of value for those looking for their first Glock or those wanting a generation upgrade. Unfortunately, now we have to wait and wonder when the Gen 5 MOS will appear. I can’t help but think how many potential Gen 5 consumers will now wait for additional models. The Gen 4 and MOS guns will not be discontinued as of now.
In conclusion, the Gen 5 has some very welcomed updates, but missed the boat by leaving out forward serrations and MOS compatibility. It is still a Glock and likely won’t make a non-Glock owner who doesn’t want to be a Glock owner rush out and buy a Gen 5. I say that because many people thought the Gen 5 would reinvent Glock or somehow be magically different. Glock is a flavor of their own and they do it well. They offer a very simple, rugged, reliable and accurate handgun at a fair price. They are very successful in the commercial, law enforcement and global military markets because of this. It is kind of like motorcycles, people expect the next model of Harley Davidson to be something special, then get upset when they deviate from tradition. Glock does what they do very well and I have no doubt the Gen 5 will be successful. Time will tell and we hope to receive production models for a full review soon.