October 25th, 2009

Redesigned "Gen-4" Glocks Slated for 2010 Release

Beretta pistolGlock has announced that it will introduce a new “Fourth Generation” Glock handgun with an interchangeable grip back-straps and improved ergonomics. The new “GEN-4″ Glock will probably be unveiled at the January 2010 SHOT Show in Las Vegas, though Glock hasn’t commited to a SHOT Show release. According to the Guns, Holsters & Gear Blog, “[GEN-4] Glocks are rumored to have a textured finish that is not nearly as aggressive as the RTF2 introduced at the 2009 SHOT Show. The new finish is said to be rougher than the prior generations, but easier on the hands and clothes than the RTF2.”

Glock has been hugely successful selling polymer-framed handguns to the law enforcement, military, and civilian markets. While Glocks enjoy an enviable reputation for durability and reliability, for many handgunners, Glock ergonomics are second rate. This editor has personally trained novice shooters with both a Glock 17 and Sig p226 9mm. More often than not, when the novices switch from the Glock to the Sig, their 10-yard groups shrink from basketball size to softball size — primarily because of the superior Sig grip size and shape. That’s not to say that Glocks are not accurate — they can be very accurate — it’s just that the Glock grip is far from ideal for many shooters.

Beretta pistolFor decades Glock has stubbornly refused to redesign or improve the grip on Glock handguns (other than adding finger grooves of questionable utility). Meanwhile, Beretta, Smith & Wesson, and Walther have offered polymer-framed handguns with more comfortable, ergonomic grips fitted with interchangeable grip back-straps. These “swappable” back-straps come in different sizes to provide a better, more custom fit for the shooter. Women with small hands, in particular, benefit from a thinner back-strap.

The success of Smith & Wesson in securing large police contracts for its adjustable-gripped, S&W M&P pistol has finally prompted Glock to come up with a major grip redesign. Glock has been losing market share as police departments nationwide have traded in their Glocks in favor of the more ergonomic Smith M&Ps.