Glock Gen 4 vs Gen 5

Glock Gen 4 vs Gen 5: Which Is Better?

Since both are available right now, should you get a Glock Gen 4 or the latest and greatest Glock Gen 5? Well, the truth is that they're both variations on the same thing: the Glock pistol. So is it that much different? Not too much, really.

What are the differences? We'll get into the nitty gritty. The differences aren't massive, just as they aren't between any of the Glock generations, but there may be enough there for you to decide one is worth more than the other. That much will be up to you.

Glock Gen 5


So, to get into the differences between Glock Gen 4 vs Glock Gen 5, we have to define it in terms of what sets the Gen 5 Glocks apart.

The Glock Gen 5 architecture features revised internals. The trigger group is beefed up a little bit, with slightly beefier parts. What you'll notice is the omission of the cross pin above the trigger.

So, if you look at the left side of the pistol, there are two pins in the frame above the trigger guard. One is clearly the trigger pin, and the other is a cross pin. This cross pin acts a locking block pin.

When a pistol recoils, the barrel floats inside the slide, but is returned to rest by the cycling of the slide. The locking block, part of the trigger group, acts as a mechanical keeper, preventing the barrel from traveling too far backward. As the slide returns to battery on the return stroke (a slide is, after all, a piston of sorts) the barrel is brought back with it.

The trigger group, including the trigger itself, the housing, the trigger spring as well as the recoil spring, have all been revised as per the wishes of many, many shooters who have found the standard Glock trigger to be mushy, gritty and otherwise compellingly mediocre. The Glock Gen 5 trigger is said to be vastly improved.

The Gen 5 Glock internals have been revised so the locking block pin is no longer necessary. Beefier frame rails and a new firing pin block design - similar to that on the Glock 42 or 43 - is installed.

Additionally, the Glock Marksman Barrel is standard, whereas it used to be an optional upgrade or something you bought after buying the base gun. The Gen 4 also did not feature ambidextrous slide release levers, which the Glock Gen 5 does have. The Gen 5 also has swappable magazine releases.

The grip housing is also different, with beveled magwells in the Gen 5 Glock. Additionally, answering the prayers of many, the finger grooves have been omitted.

The finish has been changed from Glock's Melonite coating to a new Diamond Like Coating or nDLC. DLC is a semi-crystalline coating of graphite, which has most of the properties of diamond. Diamond, for those unaware, is a crystalline form of carbon, formed by intense heat and pressure over time. DLC has excellent wear resistance, though it smudges from fingerprints pretty easy. That said, before you ask, Mr. Wayne, it does come in black.

Glock 19 Gen 4 vs Gen 5

Glock pistols

So, to illustrate the difference, let's compare the Glock 19 Gen 4 to the Glock Gen 5 edition of the same pistol.

Both pistols have the same barrel length, 4.02 inches. Both pistols have the same overall length of 7.28 inches. Both pistols have the same height of 5.04 inches. The trigger reach - from the rear of the grip housing to the front face of the trigger - of 2.76 inches, so one won't be any harder for people to operate than the other. Both pistols also retain the modular backstrap system, so you can customize the fit.

That said, the changes have resulted in the frame being widened by 0.07 inches so the new edition is also a little fatter. The new slide is also a little heavier as a result of the new configuration, resulting the Gen 5 Glock 19 being a little less than a half-ounce heavier than the Glock 19 Gen 4. The Gen 4 version weighs in at 21.16 ounces with no magazine; the Gen 5 at 21.52 ounces.

So, the difference in size? A little wider and a little heavier, but not so much that you're really going to notice.

Which Is Better: Glock Gen 4 vs Glock Gen 5?

Glock Gen 4

Which is better between the Glock Gen 4 vs Glock Gen 5?

Define "better." On paper, the Gen 5 has some improvements that the Gen 4 could be considered to lack.

The Gen 5 is supposed to have a better trigger than the Gen 4. Granted, some people put aftermarket triggers in Glocks as a matter of course, and no amount of factory magic is going to make you think it's a custom-shop 1911 trigger.

The Glock Marksman Barrel is a little thicker, and also receives the nDLC coating, but the biggest change to it is in the rifling. The Gen 4 uses polygonal rifling, with wider spiraling grooves inside the barrel. The GMB relies on traditional spiral-cut rifling, which results in tighter clearances inside the barrel and thus - on paper - better accuracy. Granted, is it going to be that much more accurate at handgun distances? Maybe, maybe not.

The Gen 5 won't fit all holsters that do fit the Glock Gen 3 and Gen 4 pistols. Well...the ShapeShift does, but not all made by others do.

Some people absolutely hate the finger grooves. Some people love them. Some people don't care. You...well, you'll have to figure that out for yourself.

The lack of another cross pin isn't going to make any nevermind to anyone; Glock pistols, with reasonable care, last an incredibly long time. The sights are the same. The modular backstrap is the same. You even still have to pull the trigger for takedown. Fundamentally, nothing is really different; all the changes are minor modifications that make some little bits better.

Does that mean it's really so much better? Get out, try one and see. Let us know! We'd love to hear what you think.

About The Author

Writer sam hoober