A NEW GENERATION
GEN5 MODELS ARE HERE. ENHANCED ACCURACY WITH GLOCK RELIABILITY MAKE THEM WORTH THE WAIT
Gen5 models are here. Enhanced accuracy with Glock reliability make them worth the wait. By Richard Schutz
IIt’s been approximately seven years since Glock Gen4 pistols became available. For at least the last two years, Glock lovers and haters alike have called for Glock to bring out something “new.” Apparently, they didn’t count the G40, G41, G42, G43 and MOS option as new enough. Instead, they were looking for an “M” FBI-style or XM17 candidate gun. Well, as it has always done, Glock management introduced the next version at the time and place of their choosing. Glock announced that the G17 and G19 Gen5 versions would be launched August 30. The best part was that the product would be available at local gun shops on launch day, and lo and behold, it was available as advertised. Glock fans won’t be disappointed. The new guns are as reliable as ever, seem to be more accurate and offer some features that are definite improvements.
“...THE GEN5 GLOCK MARKSMAN BARREL PROVIDED CONSISTENTLY BETTER ACCURACY THAN THE GEN4 BARREL.”
The Glock 19 is the most popular of Glock’s many models. The G19’s popularity is due to the fact that it is small enough to be carried concealed,
yet large enough to be carried as a duty gun while being both accurate and comfortable to shoot.
The G17 and G19 Gen5 pistols are both based upon the “M” pistol designed for, and used by, the FBI.
WHAT’S NEW AND WHAT’S NOT?
As with previous iterations, the Gen5 version is evolutionary, not revolutionary, as was the original Glock 17. Out of more than 20 design changes made on the Gen5, five are considered significant enough to be enumerated by Glock and the other 15 or so you must find for yourself.
Five of the most noteworthy changes are a flared magazine well, a new nDLC finish, a Glock Marksman Barrel (GMB), bilateral slide stop levers and a grip without finger grooves. Some of the less significant changes include: twopin frame design, rounded slide front, smooth trigger shoe face, magazine removal notch in grip, extended magazine baseplate and an orange magazine follower.
Some obvious items that were not included in the design of the Gen5 versions are forward slide serrations, steel sights and an external manual safety. Forward slide serrations and steel sights (along with extended controls) were offered on a special production run of Gen4 G17 and G19 models during the summer of 2017.
Because the forward slide serrations were not on the “M” version, they were not included in the Gen5 design. A manual external safety was provided on the XM17 candidate pistols, but not on the “M” model, so it too was not included in the design of the Gen5 version. Glock naysayers often cite the standard U-type Glock polymer sights as deficient because they are “plastic” and cannot be reliably used to operate the slide one-handed. Night sights like the Ameriglo sights (called BOLD by Glock) that came on my sample pistol are steel and are rugged, but they do not have a ledge to support a one-hand slide rack. Steel Glock Night Sights (GNS) are also available. So, steel sights are available if you are willing to pay extra for them.
Gen5 models still operate using
Glock’s signature “Safe Action” recoil-operated, tilting barrel design. The changes found in the Gen5
Glocks don’t change the way a Glock operates; they are designed to make it operate better.
The greatest difference I found between the Gen4 and Gen5 G19s was accuracy. As determined during limited range time, the Gen5 Glock Marksman Barrel provided consistently better accuracy than the Gen4 barrel. The same style rifling is used in both versions’ barrels and the same usability applies (no lead bullets). The difference is that the rifling in the Glock Marksman Barrel starts farther back and has a tighter tolerance than Gen4 barrels do. Also, the Glock Marksman Barrel crown is step-cut and chamfered rather than rounded.
The trigger operates and feels the same as previous generations of Glocks, even with its different-style trigger spring. The takedown procedure is exactly the same, too. I did find that the slide lock on my sample G19 had more resistance than the one on my Gen4 G19. This could be due to the use of a coil spring under compression rather than a leaf spring. Even shooting from the bench I found that the flared and beveled magazine well made magazine changes much smoother.
The physical dimensions of the G19 Gen4 and Gen5 pistols are virtually identical except for the width, where the Gen5 is 0.16 inch wider due to the bilateral slide stop. Also, the unloaded weight of the Gen5 G19 is approximately 0.34 ounce heavier than the Gen4 version.
Finger grooves or no finger grooves, it makes no difference to me. Models with finger grooves fit my hand fine. If the finger grooves on the Gen4 G19 don’t fit your hand/fingers, then you will probably appreciate the lack of finger grooves on the Gen5 G19.
Finally, there is the nDLC finish. Glock used a tenifer (salt bath nitriding) finish for many years but quit advertising it sometime ago. I always presumed that the apparent change had to do with environmental issues related to the process. A nitride finish was used on Gen4 versions. The nDLC (diamond-like carbon) finish is designed to increase wear resistance and lower friction on firearms. Glock does not define what the “n” in “nDLC” means. Only time will tell how it compares to previous surface finishes provided by Glock. When comparing my Gen4 G19’s finish to the nDLC finish of the Gen5 G19, the nDLC appears to be smoother, blacker and more of a matte finish than the flat finish of the Gen4 G19.
At this time, Gen5 versions are only available in G17 and G19 models. It would make sense that other popular models, with the exception of the G42 and G43 models, will be offered in Gen5 versions in the future.
Glock continues to offer Gen4 and Gen3 versions in multiple models. Some versions and models are only produced as special runs so they may not always be readily available.
PUTTING THE GEN5 GLOCK 19 TO WORK AT THE RANGE
I first broke in the Gen5 G19 with 66 rounds of various brands of FMJ practice ammunition. I then cleaned the barrel, fired two fouling rounds and proceeded to evaluate the 25-yard accuracy of the Gen5 Glock 19 using six different factory loads. Three five-shot
“...NOTEWORTHY CHANGES ARE A FLARED MAG WELL, A NEW NDLC FINISH, A...MARKSMAN BARREL, BILATERAL SLIDE STOP LEVERS AND A GRIP WITHOUT FINGER GROOVES.”
groups were fired from a sandbag rest for each load.
SIG Sauer 147-grain V-Crown JHP ammunition produced the smallest average group size for three, five-shot groups at 2.37 inches. Black Hills 124-grain JHP and Federal Premium P9HS 124-grain Hydra-Shok JHP came in a close second and third at 2.43 and 2.46 inches respectively.
As one would expect from a Glock, all six loads functioned flawlessly in the G19 Gen5 pistol. I mainly used the Gen5 magazines with the orange follower, but I also used some older Gen4 magazines during this evaluation. Both styles were problem-free.
I also shot an almost-new G19 Gen4 pistol at the same range session using three of the loads fired in the G19 Gen5. Velocities were right in line with those obtained firing the Gen5. Accuracy, however, was another story altogether. While this was not a scientific comparison, it did show that all three loads grouped from 0.39 to 0.96 inch better in the Gen5 G19. That said, my years of experience have shown me that each pistol has a personality of its own when it comes to ammunition and accuracy.
As stated earlier, the Gen5 Glock 19 is evolutionary. There are no, “Wow, who would have thought that Glock would have done that?” changes.
Each change incorporated into the Gen5 G19 was well thought out to improve accuracy, reliability or the gun’s handling in some way. I saw nothing that would indicate that it was a cost-cutting change.
I have shot many Glocks over the years, and I see the Gen5 as a definite improvement over any of the previous versions. Some changes, such as the removal of the finger grooves and the finger notch in the grip, are throwbacks to previous versions. The rest either incorporate design changes, such as the firing pin block and coil springs from some of the newer models (G42 and G43), or break new ground altogether, such as the Glock Marksman barrel, flared magazine well and the bilateral slide-stop levers.
Would I run out and buy a Gen5 G19 or G17 to replace a Gen3 or Gen4 version? No. The only reasons I would do that is if I hated the finger groves on the Gen3/Gen4 versions or if I was a southpaw and really wanted the bilateral slide stop levers. If I was walking into a gun shop to buy a G17 or G19 for the first time, I would definitely pick the Gen5 version if for no other reasons than the Glock Marksman barrel and the flared magazine well.
In right profile, the Gen5 G19 reveals the rounded slide front, right-side slide stop lever, a lack of finger grooves, two pin design and an extended magazine baseplate differences from the Gen4 version.
Right: The rounded front of the slide on the Gen5 G19 (bottom) compared to the squared-off Gen4 G19 slide on the top.
Bottom Left: The Gen5 magazine uses an orange follower for better visibility. The metal liner is not visible through either lock notch or in the front of the magazine.
Bottom Right: The Gen5 magazine well has been flared and beveled and a finger notch has been added to the front of the grip.
The obvious differences between the Gen5 frame on the bottom and the Gen4 frame on the top are the lack of finger grooves and the lack of a locking block pin on the Gen5 frame. GEN 4 GEN 5
Above: In left profile of the G17, the only visible changes from the Gen4 version are the rounded slide front, a lack of finger grooves, two-pin design and an extended magazine baseplate. Glock photo Below: Gen5 internal slide parts are shown on the top and the internal parts from a Gen4 slide are shown on the bottom. The firing pin safety, firing pin and the slide cover plate are all different.
GEN 5 GEN 4