Glock 21 & 32 Gen 4 at SHOT 2012

The Glock 21 Gen 4 .45 ACP Pistol as new and introduced at SHOT…

The Glock 21 Gen 4 .45 ACP Pistol as new and introduced at SHOT…

The Glock 21 Gen 4 .45 ACP Pistol as new and introduced at SHOT…

The Glock 21 Gen 4 .45 ACP Pistol as new and introduced at SHOT…

The New G21Gen4 has the multiple back straps (MBS) and textured frame.

The New G21Gen4 has the multiple back straps (MBS) and textured frame.

The dual recoil spring assembly on the new G21.

The dual recoil spring assembly on the new G21.

On the slide…”21 Gen 4”…

On the slide…”21 Gen 4”…

The compact size G32 Gen 4 in .357 Sig is new for this year as well. A handful of power with 13+1 in the gun…

The compact size G32 Gen 4 in .357 Sig is new for this year as well. A handful of power with 13+1 in the gun…

The recoil assembly (shown here) helps tame the recoil of the .357 Sig round.

The recoil assembly (shown here) helps tame the recoil of the .357 Sig round.

By Brian Jensen
Glock Firearms

OK, if you’ve read some of my earlier articles, you’ll know I’m a pretty stout Glock fan.  I’ve carried one or another Glock pistol almost consistently since 1991.  So when Glock came to SHOT, I couldn’t wait to get to their booth and see what was up for this year…

I found Glock’s pretty huge chunk of real estate in SHOT and there took a look at their latest and greatest.  For this year, the Gen 4 marches on in two new models, the Glock 21 in .45 ACP, and the Glock 32 in .357 Sig.

The Glock 21:

The Glock 21 has been one of Glock’s success stories. This gun is based on a frame made for the 10m pistol (the Glock 20), and is extremely strong for the caliber it shoots. As a result, these guns just last.  (I thought the 9mm version lasted forever, but the G21 is right in there…)

What has hurt the Glock 21 is its grip size due to a double stack .45 ACP magazine.  It’s just a big, beefy pistol, and people with small hands struggle with it.  The SF frame that came out a few years ago did help it considerably, but the stigma still sticks some.

With the advent of the Gen 4 frame however, this feels like a whole new gun.  The grip feels smaller to me, than even the SF version.  The Gen 4 comes with the Multiple Back Strap (MBS) system, which allows the gun to be adjusted to your hand.  Without the additional backstraps, the bare grip feels a little better than the SF.  The medium is the standard grip size of your normal Glock 21, and if you’ve got some big paws, the large backstrap insert may feel great for you.  The new gripping surface also gives a really good stick to the hand but without being too abrasive.

The Gen 4 recoil system is obviously on board with the new recoil spring assembly. This double spring setup is said to make the G21Gen4 recoil ever so slightly softer than the earlier versions.  I have not shot the gun, so I can’t attest to that, but it would be consistent with what I’ve seen on the other Gen 4 calibers.

The Gen 4 also has a reversible magazine release to keep the gun ambidextrous.  However, the gun holds thirteen rounds of .45 ACP in the mag, so you won’t be reloading often.

It’s also the only one that I haven’t seen any complaints on in the online boards.  You usually see someone complaining about some sort of malfunction or the other, but thus far, nothing, and the guns are already shipping and being shot all around the US.

I recently took delivery of a Gen 4 G21 right before SHOT.  And while it may be shocking to hear, I haven’t shot it yet.  Mostly because I haven’t gotten any range time.  (Expect a range report of some sort down the line.)  I will say that after dry firing for quite a while that I think the Gen 4 trigger is better than my other Glocks.  It’s ever so slight, but it is just smooth, crisp, and positive when it lets go.  This gun came complete with the new “dot” connector that brings the trigger pull up just a bit from the earlier 4.5 lb pull in some of the earlier guns with the “minus” connecter.  I’m sure there will be more to come on that one.

Glock 32

For those of you .357 Sig fans, your wait for a mid-size / compact Gen 4 is over.  This year, the Gen 4 version of the Glock 32 is out.  It has all the same improvements of the other Gen 4’s.  Multiple, adaptable back straps, new gripping surface, the ambi-magazine release, and the new recoil system.  Without any inserts, this gun is pretty slim, and should fit the smallest of hands.

With a 4 inch barrel, this is a good cross over between a CCW and open carry gun.  Chambered in the .357 Sig, you have a potent caliber set up to carry easily with a 13 round capacity magazine.

A good friend of mine has one on order, so when his comes in, I’ll try to shoot out a range report.  Unfortunately, it’s just been released, so immediate availability is still to be seen.

Talking to Glock

I spoke to Glock’s US Operations CEO/President, Wilhelm Goesseringer, who I asked:  Why the development of the Gen 4? (Ff the Gen 3 guns are still a success.)  He replied that due to constant customer base input, they strive to make improvements.  He stated they stand behind their guns, and have full confidence in their product at Glock. Such items as the adaptability of the gun using the different backstraps has made adapting to smaller officers easier and further enhances the weapon’s appeal.

I asked about if they would be making any new frame colors, and the official answer is that there are no plans to.  However if you use good economic comon sense, I would bet that if a big enough demand or large order came in, Glock would be willing to respond to consumer demand. Who knows, we can only hope.

At the end of the day, some may consider this a pretty “ho hum” development from Glock.  There were no whiz bang new models, no bling, no shiny slides with cool emblems.  But you have to remember, that’s not what Glock is about.  They make a solid, simple, and reliable pistol that goes bang every time you pull the trigger.  It’s boring, but it’s a reliability that has made for an enviable reputation.  It’s a straightforward design that works, and the Gen 4 just enhances that.

{ 29 comments… add one }
  • Bill May 13, 2012, 4:18 pm

    Do not own a Glock as of yet but intend on purchasing one soon.Carried one as a Tribal Security Officer and did not care for the Gen3 G17 they had us carry.But the Gen4 G21 sounds right up my ally thanks for the useful article and pics they helped in my decision on which Glock I wanted to purchase.

  • TNDefender05 April 8, 2012, 9:17 pm

    My Glock 21 Gen 4 works fine, as I am sure more do than don’t. Stop crying about everything and fix the problem. If you don’t want to shoot Glock then go get something else. If your sights are off then fix them. If you can’t or don’t want to do that then take them to someone who can. I can’t believe some men will still cry with a tittie in their mouth!

  • wobbles March 21, 2012, 3:39 pm

    My department just exchanged our gen3 glocks for gen4. My 21 is shooting well higher than the point of aim, and apparently it’s the same for everyone else who has been issued a gen4 21. It is a problem with all 3 backstrap setups. The issued sights are trijicon, and a call to Glock verifies the correct sights are on the weapon. My department refuses to address the issue, telling us to “shoot lower”. The groups are 1 1/2 inches high at 7 yards and 3-4 inches high at 10 yards. No idea how much worse it gets the further back you get, but I seriously have reservations about betting my safety on this issue. Has anyone else had this problem? There is no way I will go on duty with a weapon that will not deliver a round to the point of aim. If somebeody doesn’t have a solution to offer, I would have to warn anyone relying on this version for their safety to avoid it.

  • Jack D February 24, 2012, 4:54 pm

    I have Glock 19, 22, 34, & 35 all Gen 4. I have had absolutely no problems with them before and after Glock replaced the recoil springs. I don’t fire more than 150 rounds per month from each so maybe I have not yet encountered any problems. Overall there has been no problems and the guns work as advertised. Fun to fire.

  • Larry February 20, 2012, 11:01 am

    To Brian Jensen or any reader out there. Can anybody tell me how I can buy a Glock “any Glock”, but preferably a new Glock 17 Gen 4 in Massachusetts. Even Glock North America doesn’t answer this question. I have a Ma. concealed carry permit, I’ve trained at Frontsite Nevada, the Glock handguns are on the Ma. approved list, but you cannot buy one and I don’t know why.

  • henry January 23, 2012, 12:20 pm

    Im looking for one Glock 26. My question is . The Glock 26 – 9 mm is same size Glock 32 – 357

    • Dennis January 31, 2012, 9:27 am

      I’ve got 2 26s a 27 a 36 a 21c a 23 a 36 and a 32
      The 32 is a mid-size frame while the 26 and 27 are the compact frame
      Actually I think they market them as compact (32) and ultra-compact (26 and 27)

  • chaos4NH January 23, 2012, 10:31 am

    I have been in Quality Assurance for over 30 years, most closely associated with Aerospace (read that: keep the planes flying safely). If Glock had to redesign and replace a major component of the Gen 4. the blame lies with their product engineering group. Not doubt QA tested from document created by input from engineering.
    I still carry my Gen 1 model 19 around the farm and have no doubt it will fire when needed.

  • Stick January 22, 2012, 11:47 pm

    FYI: Glock has an updated spring for the G4s. Go to their website for ordering details (it’s free)

  • jtiggidy January 22, 2012, 8:31 pm

    I will stick with my 23 gen 3. I have fired thousands of rounds through it and I cant remember a single FTF or misfire. Honestly, I tend to over analyze everything and I cant find a thing I would change about my gen 3. I dont use lubricant on any part of it.. simply keep it clean which is extremely easy to do when you dont use lube. Ive seen many people have issues with their glocks that use WAY to much lube. Really if you sit down and analyze how a glock actually works you come to understand that lubrication is not necessary and more likely detrimental to longevity of the firearm unless you clean it completely after every use and relubricate which is very tedious. Accuracy statements are a complete joke… the name “glock” has no bearing on accuracy as opposed to barrel length, shooting techniques and ammunition so those of you that make that statement are just silly. What I like most about my glock is that I have multiple barrels and magazines in different calibers including .22lr and a lasermax guide rod laser. I can take down my glock on the lane bench and switch calibers in less than 30 seconds. And again, as I said before, it has NEVER failed me, EVER.

  • BRASS January 20, 2012, 2:11 pm

    I’m not a big Glock fan but:

    I have one of the first G27s made. Surprisingly it is as accurate at 15 yds or less than my favorite… a Springfield 1911 45 ACP. It has a sharp recoil, especially with full power loads, but completely controllable. For CC it’s a great gun, if a little blocky.

  • david wright January 20, 2012, 1:56 pm

    I work at a gun shop in saint pete florida, are police force are all Glock. Just recently they were issued G22 40S&W. Not long after the police dept received there Gen 4 22s, Glock issued a total recall on every pistol they sold saint pete pd. There reason, guns recoil spring set up was causing failures to feed, only when attaching a weapons light onto the gun and firing. LOL well the PD ordered this gun because they also ordered 700 Blackhawk Serpa holsters with lights. So are officers could use hands free opperation durring low light activities. So 700 guns, 700 holsters, all went back for replacement. Blackhawk exchanged there holsters for free, so did Glock. Guess what Glock sent our boys in BLUE to replace the first failing Gen 4 series????? A brand new Gen 3 Glock 21 with the original recoil assembly!! In the Army Rangers we had an expression, KISS. KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID, DONT FIX WHAT AINT BROKE!! And those grip inserts, what a joke, an real after thought if Ive ever seen one. You have to drive a roll pin out of the grip frame just to change there insert. And we know how many Police Officers and military crewmen carry roll pin punchs in the field!!!LOL!! Plus no matter what insert you install, the grips still bigger than a Gen 3, and way bigger then my Gen 2. I have 3 Glocks a 2nd Gen 23 in 40S&W, a G30 sub compact Gen 2.5 finger grooves, no light rail, in 45ACP. A brand new Gen 3 G36 in 45ACP. Glock knows there 4rth Gen guns are crap, thats why there still making the Gen 3s!! What company in there right mind builds a whole new line of guns, than reverts back to the earlyer model. One that knows they made a traggic mistake. Gaston Glock is rolling in his grave at what the idiots in Georga have done to his work horse!!!! And I really like how they dump junk on the people of the US to be there test dummies! I replaced all my pollymer guide rods with BT STAINLESS STEEL REPLACEMENTS, and heres why. They dont melt, dont bend and warp when guns bin sitting. They use OEM GLOCK SPRINGS, that can be changed easyly with tool. Best upgrade hands down!! Reliabal as all get out. I carried my G30 Gen 2.5 with this recoil system in Irac for 4 tours without issue. Comeon Glock, time to respect GASTON’S wishs.

  • David in Texas January 20, 2012, 1:31 pm

    So the generation 4 10mm GLOCK 20 should be on the horizon now, right?

  • Paul January 20, 2012, 1:17 pm

    I have used an early Glock 17 bought 1985 used, and a Glock 20, on and off duty, for a local PD. Even with the 20 model I managed to qualify in the high 90’s. I now work part time as a Court Officer and carry a Glock model 21 bought around 1990. I have 2 extended magazines 15 rounds. I can qualify with all 3 guns. All 3 are accurate and fire any kind of ammunition I may buy. While using the model 20, my department made me buy my own ammo for qualifications so I bought new carry ammo every year and sot up the older ammo. Retired in 2005 from PD and now work part time for a local Justice Court as armed security.

  • roger January 20, 2012, 1:14 pm

    I currently have a glock mdl22 and love how it shoots. I have been contemplating buying a 45ACP and maybe with the advent of the Gen4 it is time to make that purchase.

  • Calvin Carsice January 20, 2012, 10:54 am

    I bought a glock 23 40 cal love this gun keep makeing them

  • Pete January 20, 2012, 10:36 am

    Just got a glock 17 rtf2 i love glock they are wonderful guns!!! This is my third glock and don’t see not continuing to by these guns

  • Fred January 20, 2012, 10:27 am

    Bought a Gen 4 Glock 27 and love it. No misfeeds or FTF problems at all. With the small frame, the 40 cal is pretty snappy, but is controllable with practice. Very accurate and reliable little gun.

  • Bonzer Wolf January 20, 2012, 10:26 am

    Glock haters make me LOL. “Inaccurate on the range” … Operator error. PERIOD.

    • MotoJB January 20, 2012, 11:45 am

      Absolutely…pretty hilarious. G21’s are inaccurate? Yeah, it’s the gun. My target groups say otherwise. LOL

    • GOOFA January 20, 2012, 1:53 pm

      Bonzer Wolf… You took the words right out of my mouth.

  • Ken Z January 20, 2012, 10:20 am

    Well Brian I’ve been carrying a Glock both on and off duty for over 14 years and I can tell you, I’ve owned every generation of Glock EXCEPT the gen 4. I work at a department where the officers have to supply their own weapon and I have fired the gen4’s. I like the interchangable grip (S&W M&P style) as do most people Officers BUT the recoil spring & guide are total junk. Most opt for a new old style or metal guide rod and spring. All the gen 4 will do is drive up the price on the previous models.

    • Frank January 20, 2012, 11:32 pm

      I own a Glock 32 Gen 4 and have replaced the 4th Gen recoil spring with an adapter washer and inserted a Gen 3 spring.
      The original Gen. 4’s had a lot of Recoil Spring problems that has left a lot of bad press for Glock Gen 4.
      My Gen 4 spring came out the front of the slide (have picture) and I had to use a wood block to shove the spring back inside. Mind you there was a round in the chamber at the time and I could not unload it and I could not send it to Glock with a round in the chamber.

  • Steve January 20, 2012, 9:56 am

    Is there a difference in the recoil spring guide for the Glock 23 and the Glock 32 pictured, because all I did was buy a Gen 4 Glock 23 and put a Glock 32 barrel in it because I got tired of waiting?

  • Unlicensed Dremel January 20, 2012, 9:42 am

    From the reports on the ground, the “improvement” that they made in Gen 4 was taking a mediocre-quality-but-reliable pistol, and turning it into a mediocre-quality jammomatic; and these new models suffer the same reports. Looks like GA is partaking of that koolaid that causes selective retention of negative information.

  • Michael James January 20, 2012, 8:06 am

    I bought a Glock 21 in 2003 and didn’t like how loose the action was and how inaccurate it was on the range. Has this new one improved on those items?

  • Bob Slaughter January 20, 2012, 7:39 am

    Sold my Glock 40 so now I have to work on replacing it with one of the new Gen4 in a 357. The new Gen 4’s sound like a really good gun.

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