December 24th, 2009

Photos of Gen 4 Glocks Reveal Notable Changes

Ed’s Public Safety, a gunshop in Georgia, has published photos of the New “Gen 4″ Glock handguns. The much-ballyhooed design changes for the Gen 4 Glocks are interesting, but hardly revolutionary. As expected, the new Glocks will have interchangeable backstraps. That’s probably a good thing.

Gen 4 glock Gen 4 glock

CLICK HERE for more Gen 4 Glock photos

Other noteworthy changes in the Gen 4 Glocks are a dual recoil spring, and an interchangeable magazine release that can be moved from right to left. The dual spring is a more modern design that may reduce perceived recoil somewhat. The mag release change is smart and makes the gun more user-friendly for southpaws. Glock is making new magazines for the Gen 4 Glocks that work with the interchangeable mag release. Older magazines can still be used with the new Gen 4 Glocks, but only when the mag release button is positioned on the left.

Design Change — Too Little, Too Late?
Unfortunately, with either of the two provided backstraps, Glock’s Gen 4 grip is still fat and blocky compared to many other pistols. Also the Gen 4 Glocks retain the prominent “backstrap bulge” or flare in the bottom 1/3 of the grip’s back edge. For many shooters this “Glock bulge” causes the gun to point poorly, and for this Editor, that bulge also causes the gun to twist more on recoil (since it pushes against one side of the base of the shooting hand). The first thing done by companies that modify Glock grips is to reduce the flare or bulge in the bottom of the grip. That makes the grip much more user-friendly for smaller hands. In this Editor’s opinion the bottom rear section of the Glock grip was an ergonomic mistake when it came out in 1982 and the Gen 4 redesign really does nothing to correct the flaw. The interchangeable backstraps are just a poor “band-aid fix” when a more fundamental redesign was needed.

Gen 4 Glock

Gen 4 Glock

Gen 4 Glock

Overall, we think that most of the Gen 4 design changes are positive, or at worst “neutral”, but this may be a case of “too little, too late”. We doubt if the redesigned Glock is sufficiently improved to grab much market share back from the Smith & Wesson M&P series and other handguns whose sales have cut into Glock’s lucrative police contracts and civilian sales. The Gen 4 Glocks offer a modest ergonomic improvement over previous models, but they still not as well-designed ergonomically as Smith’s M&P. We doubt that police agencies which have switched to M&Ps will find reason to go back to Glocks anytime soon — unless, of course, Glock radically drops its prices, which is unlikely.

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