Glock has been updating the line up to Generation 5, as seen here on the 17/19 and here on the 19X. We aren’t going to rehash all the changes for the Gen 5 here, but a highlight reel is helpful if you haven’t been paying attention. The accuracy is improved by a factor of half, the new triggers are better, gone are the finger grooves, and there is a right side slide release for the devil handed. This week, we got a chance to look at the new Glock 34 in all its glory.
Now I have to caveat this review with the fact that I am a Glock 34 fan, so I carry some bias towards the gun. Not only do I prefer the 34 as a tactical pistol, I used one as a race gun in both USPSA and 3 Gun for years. In my mind, nothing is more fun that curb stomping some clown with a $4000 pistol at a match, using your $500 Tupperware and talent on loan from Ares himself. And on the tactical side, if we are talking armor and helmets level event, why not take the extra ¾ inches of slide over a G17?
So, I am very happy to report that the new Gen 5 34 is, in my opinion, Glock’s first ever out of the box race ready pistol. The trigger isn’t as good as some aftermarket jobs, but it is an improvement over the Gen 3 factory options.
The biggest change, however, is in the sights. Glock offers a new option called the Bold sights, made by Ameriglo, which are fantastic. Do plastic Glock sights work? Yes, they work. But they are a less than ideal option and the first thing most people change. The old style night sights worked too, but they were a less than ideal option. I prefer a thinner front sight with a wider light gap in the rear, I find them faster to employ. The original Glock night sights had a wide front, with a very narrow light gap. This is preferred in accuracy intensive disciplines but is slower to line up. The new Bold sights have a ratio closer to the preferred options of champion shooters. Check them against the Sivigny Performance options. Dave Sivigny is the only man to ever win a National title in USPSA Limited with a Glock, I think he has this one dialed.
The Bold sights are tritium front and rear, satisfying the tactical requirement for seeing in the dark as well. The front isn’t fiber optic, but it does feature a large, bright, orange dot, hard to miss at close range speed shooting drills. In use, I find the sights to be a fantastic compromise of tactical and sport, and good enough for either.
I also like that the Gen 5 34 is a MOS configuration, which means it is red dot ready. The slide is pre-cut with a cover plate in place. The gun comes with the adaptor pack for red dots, most of them under the sun. This is a fantastic move by Glock. Many of us aren’t ready to fully switch to red dots, but at least you now have the option in the future. Or if you are invested in red dots you just saved $200 at the gunsmith.
The last two changes worth noting are also dual use competitor/tactical. First, the Gen 5 guns feature a right side slide release. This is awesome for lefties. And the G34 has always come from the factory with an oversized slide release. So for the Gen 5, Glock combined those two. Left and right, we have a slide release similar in profile to the Glock original extended slide release. There was some concern this would require new holsters, but it fit my Safariland ALS just fine.
The changed magazine well is also an improvement worth noting on the Gen 5. The Glock 34 is most commonly used in USPSA Production class, which specifically bans a bolt on magazine well, or modifying the factory one. The new, wider factory opening is a huge advantage for Glock racers, and probably worth the price of the new pistol alone. With some USPSA stages requiring up to 5 mag changes on the clock, every advantage matters. And for use as a tactical gun, the need to reload quickly is a given.
As much as what changed, what stayed the same is also important. Much ado has been made about the Gen 5 magazines. Nothing to worry about, they are backward compatible. And older gen magazines work in the 5, provided you don’t swap the magazine release to the right side. Then only Gen 4&5 magazines work. To prove this, I reached out to my boys over at GunMagWarehouse. They sent me ETS 31 and 22 rounders, which ran flawlessly. The 22 rounders are also 140mm, therefore competition legal. And at a sale price of $16.99, very hard to pass up.
All in all, the Gen 5 34 is a winner. The changes aren’t Earth-shattering, but they are changes that matter. I am liking the steady improvement we are seeing in the Glock family while staying true to the roots. If you don’t have a 34 yet, this one is hard to argue with.
Learn more about the Glock 34 Gen 5 by clicking here.