By Brian Jensen
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.
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.