If you’re reading this article, you probably already know something about Glocks and would like to skip the part where we talk about what they’re made of and how many militaries and police departments around the globe use them. I’ll start with the changes and the important stuff and then address the over-discussed details that absolutely must be found in every article on a Glock handgun.
As of right now, February 2010, the Glock GEN 4 is only available in the G22 and G17. The G22 is chambered in .40 S&W and is considered a “standard” size Glock. The G17 is chambered in 9mm (9x19mm) and is also considered “standard” size. Glock is planning on releasing the GEN 4 in all of their models. As far as time frame goes, they will release the G19 and G23 this fall. The next models have yet to be determined and I was told their release will be based on demand.
All images can be enlarged by clicking on them.
New Features Found in the GEN 4
- New dual recoil spring
- Backstraps for the grip
- Grip texture
- Ambidextrous Mag Release
- Oversize mag release
- Minor Trigger Changes
Dual Recoil Spring
The dual recoil spring is an all new design for the G22. Glock has had something similar in some of its other models for quite some time. It features captured springs that work together but at different rates. It might best be described as dual compression. The new dual recoil spring results in perceived recoil being lessened. When I shot the new Glock G22 GEN 4 (.40 S&W) at the SHOT Show Media Day, I thought I was shooting a 9mm. The Glock employees at the SHOT Show threw out numbers that were anywhere from 10-25% reduction in perceived recoil, but as of now there are no actual numbers being published by Glock. I spoke with Randi Rogers from Team Glock about the new G22 GEN 4. She feels the Dual recoil spring reduces recoil 20-30% and it takes the “snap” out of the recoil. In comparison, she feels the G17 GEN 4 is already very manageable but the recoil is definitely dampened. She and Dave Sevigny used G17 GEN 4’s to win two National Pistol Championship titles at the IDPA Indoor Nationals February 25-27, 2010 in Springfield, Massachusetts. Randi won the High Lady category and placed 12th Master in the SSP (Stock Service Pistol) Class. Dave Sevigny took 1st in the SSP. The G17 GEN 4’s they used were completely stock other than the sights. See Randi’s email to me below.
IDPA Indoor Nationals went exceptionally well for me last week. I was able to capture the High Lady title and I was 12th SSP (Stock Service Pistol) Master. At the IDPA Indoor Nationals I used the Gen4 G17 in 9×19. The pistol preformed perfectly. The only change I made was to put on a pair of Warren Tactical Sevigny Performance night sights. I used the smallest grip frame because I have small hands. Not only is the smaller grip frame easier for me to hold onto, but it puts my fingers closer to the magazine release catch and the slide stop lever. The enlarged magazine release made it easy for me to release the magazines, but did not stick out far enough for me to accidentally bump it on the table to release the magazine accidentally. The dual recoil spring helped to dampen the recoil and made the pistol even easier to handle. I was honored to shoot it in competition and look forward to using it again in the future. Dave Sevigny also shot the Gen4 G17 and he won the SSP.
The dual recoil spring is also supposed to be able to go several thousand more rounds in between recoil spring changes. Glock has replacement springs available. Glock recommends changing the recoil spring in the GEN 3 at somewhere between 3000-5000 rounds. In a GEN 3 at 5000 rounds the spring is worn out. The GEN 4 Dual Recoil springs have been tested at 5000 rounds and found to be like new. Glock has not published new numbers for changing the recoil spring. If you carry a Glock for Law Enforcement purposes or for personal defense, change the recoil spring at the 5000 rounds until Glock publishes a new official number.
I asked Glock about retrofitting the Dual Recoil spring to older Glocks and their answer was that it isn’t possible. There isn’t space inside the frame to accommodate the larger diameter of the dual recoil spring.
The Glock GEN 4 features the MBS (Multiple Backstrap System) handgrip. It is without question an improvement over previous generations of Glocks. Without adding a backstrap, the grip is size small. Having a size small is where the improvement is. I have large hands and I like the feel of the GEN 4 without any backstrap attached. The next backstrap is size M or medium and the last one is L or Large. Size Medium is the size that Glocks have been in the past.
To attach the backstraps you punch out the trigger housing pin with the provided MBS tool, add the backstrap, and replace the trigger housing pin with a longer one provided by Glock. It takes less than a minute to change backstraps. It is my opinion that most of the GEN 4’s will be used with no backstrap as the size small grip still fits large hands just fine.
I’m sure it will be argued by someone with smaller hands that size small should have been even smaller. Nevertheless, it is an improvement and a step in the right direction. After dry firing the Glock GEN 4 several thousand times as well as shooting it, I tried out the grips on a Springfield XD. Granted, I had just put in some serious time on the Glock GEN 4, but I liked the grip just as well if not better than the XD. Some people don’t like the bulge/hump at the base of the grip frame on the Glock and think it should have been removed; I personally don’t mind it. I find that the Glock points very naturally for me. The backstrap option does open up the possibility that someone will produce aftermarket backstraps that are different in shape for those that don’t like the bulge. Glock assured me that they have studied the ergonomics of shooting and found the “hump” to be beneficial to the majority of shooters.
RTF (Rough Texture Finish)
The Grip Texture on the GEN 4 is also new. Glock is calling the GEN 4 texture RTF (Rough Texture Finish). Glock had introduced the RTF2 (Rough Texture Finish 2) model in the GEN 3 in 2009. The RTF2 is extremely aggressive. They received complaints of it wearing out clothing and snagging. The texture of the RTF is similar, but less aggressive. The texture on the GEN 4 is an improvement over the GEN 3. The texture provides for very positive grip while not eating your hand. I’m sure it will be wonderful for extreme conditions i.e., rain, snow, sweaty hands, etc. Please note that if you have an RTF2 model you do not have a GEN 4.
The Mag Release is now larger, easier to feel and is ambidextrous; it can be switched to the right side of the gun for left handed shooters.
Switching the mag release is easy to do. You remove the slide and reach into the magwell with a pair of needle nose pliers. The spring can easily be seen and lifted out to allow the mag release to be freed. Switch sides and put the spring back. The magazines that come with the gun are setup for the switch.
The GEN 4 magazines will work on older models of Glock but older model magazines won’t work in the GEN 4 when it is setup for left handed Mag release. Obviously, the older magazines won’t have the cutout required to work with a left handed mag release.
The GEN 4 trigger bar geometry has been improved to increase the life expectancy of the trigger spring as well as give the trigger a crisper feel. The trigger pull weight is still the same and the springs are all the same. The trigger housing is also slightly different to accommodate the grip frame changes in the GEN 4. The trigger housing is the same as the GEN 3 SF (Short Frame) models.
According to Glock the GEN 3 and GEN 4 Barrels are interchangeable. *The barrel in the GEN 4 still doesn’t support the base of the case, but this design is what allows the gun to feed reliably even when it’s dirty. There are tradeoffs for ultimate reliability. Aftermarket barrels are relatively cheap if this bothers you. (*Note- this isn’t an issue unless you are planning on reloading your brass. The base of the chamber is purposely large to facilitate more reliable feeding and extraction in a dirty gun or with a wide range of ammunition. The larger unsupported base causes the brass to bulge slightly near the base of the case. The issue to reloaders is that it shortens brass life.)
Shooting the GEN 4
The Glock G22 GEN 4 was pleasant and easy to shoot, and shot well. I shot groups at 50 feet prone and standing (no sandbags or rests). The results were excellent using Remington 180g FMJ. Better groups could be achieved using sandbags or a rest. I also shot steel at 25 and 50 Yards. I experienced no malfunctions of any kind with the G22 GEN 4 while shooting it. It functioned perfectly and reliably.
The Glock has its place and I love the simplicity involved in this modern state-of-the-art firearms design. The Tenifer finish is extremely tough (69 Rockwell Cone Hardness) and is impervious to salt and sweat. It is more stain/rust resistant than stainless steel. The Tenifer is actually impregnated into the steel with heat during the coating process. Even if you can wear the finish down to the steel your gun still maintains rust resistance. Wearing it down could be more difficult than it sounds as 69 on the Rockwell hardness scale is just below diamonds. The slide is CNC machined steel. Most of the parts inside the gun are steel. The polymer frame is tough, durable, and lightweight.
The gun holds 16 rounds with one in the chamber (15+1). Empty, it weighs almost a pound less than an empty Kimber 1911. Loaded with 16 rounds of 180g full power ammunition, it still weighs 8oz less than a fully loaded 1911 with 9 rounds. The 3 safeties found in the gun are all released by firing it; when you want the gun to shoot, pull the trigger. The gun cannot go off by dropping it. It doesn’t get any safer or simpler than that. Glock has great customer support and an ongoing training program for armorers. Replacement parts are surprisingly inexpensive and readily available.
Overall, I’m impressed with the upgrades offered in the Glock GEN 4. The improvements while small, make a significant difference in the ergonomics and shooting abilities of the gun without detracting from the features we’ve come to expect from Glock.