Ed. Note: This is a speculative article on the Gen 4 Glock pistols written well before their release. Some of the information I got right, some close and some…well, not quite there. At this point it is for entertainment purposes.
The Gen 4 Glock pistols are here…sort of. (12/18/09 update: First photo of the Gen 4 Glock can be seen here.)
Glock has had some of the new Gen 4 pistols in the hands of some industry insiders and police agencies for testing purposes. Based on some public statements and documents, a person can reasonably speculate on what the new Glock pistols will be like.
A brief disclaimer: I have not held, touched, or seen the new Glock pistols yet. I am not bound by any NDA’s as are most people who have seen them. All of the information provided here has been passed on to me from various sources or obtained from public documents. I do not guarantee that any of the following are accurate…but I believe some of these are rock-solid. Other speculations are educated guesses.
Have no doubt, the Gen 4 Glock pistols will be a significant evolution for the Glock platform. Pressure from the Smith & Wesson M&P and other pistols is heating up the law enforcement market. Several large agencies have defected from the Glock to the M&P. And this is one thing Glock cannot abide.
In the November 2009 edition of America’s 1st Freedom, Glock Vice President Josh Dorsey highlighted Glock’s devotion to the military and law enforcement market, stating “That is and will remain the Glock focus. If we keep that individual [officer or soldier] in sight, everything else in the business is easier.”
And when talking about the new Gen 4 Glocks due at the 2010 SHOT Show, he stated “We listened to you. We heard you. The changes are coming.”
So, without further ado, lets look into the crystal ball and see what the future Glock pistols may look like…
The Gen 4 Glock Probable Features
Redesigned Frame – Polymer framed Glocks are world-renowned for their toughness and durability. However, one specific problem has surfaced with the Glocks, and some experts have attributed the problem to a weakness in the frame.
The frames used by Glock for the .40 S&W pistols are the same frames used in the 9mm pistols. While this has many benefits, one problem did crop up because of it. When a weapon light is mounted on the accessory rail of the Glock 22, some specific types of ammunition (such as the Speer 165 grain Gold Dot) become very unreliable. Various police departments encountered this problem in training.
The Gen 4 Glock is likely to be built with the .40 S&W in mind, with the 9mm, .357 Sig, etc. adopting the same frame. It is possible that the Glock engineers have taken the old frame and reinforced it internally, so the guns will maintain the same outward appearance and holster fit. However, a new frame with a new look is a possibility.
As Glock services more than 60% of the law enforcement market, and the Speer 165 grain Gold Dot is a popular load with police departments, making the pistol 100% reliable with this load when a light is attached is an important requirement for the new Glock.
Ambidextrous Slide Catch Lever – The new Glocks will have an ambidextrous slide catch lever. Each side of the frame will have a slide catch lever, allowing the shooter to use the lever no matter which hand the pistol is in.
Unlike the current generation slide catch, the new Glocks will be more usable to ‘drop’ the slide. While I prefer to release the slide by wrapping my hand over the top of the slide and pulling back, there are a lot of people who prefer to use the slide catch to release the slide. The new Glocks will likely be more agreeable to this method from the factory.
Interchangeable Back Straps – The Glock fits my hand perfectly. However, I’m not everybody. In fact, there are probably equal numbers of people who like the size of the Glock grip as there are who dislike it. Interchangeable back straps are one possible way to better fit the gun to different shooters.
Again, a large portion of Glock’s focus is on the law enforcement market. Cops of virtually every hand size are working the streets, and departments are frequently issuing only one size of gun. With trigger control being a critical component of accuracy when shooting, one size does not fit all.
Smith & Wesson has been making large inroads into the police market during the past several years with the M&P line of guns. One of the common reasons agencies provide for swapping to the M&P is the interchangeable back strap. This allows an agency to fit a gun to the officer, but still maintain a commonality of weapons for all officers.
Beveled Magazine Well – A more aggressive bevel in the magazine well to ease reloads under stress is likely.
Reversible Magazine Release – As another attempt to appeal to a wider range of shooters, the magazine release will be reversible. This will likely mean a slight redesign on the magazines, so that a notch will appear on both sides of the mag. Depending on how radical a change Glock is looking for, old mags may not work in the new guns. I would expect that Glock will try to maintain as much compatibility with the old guns as possible, though.
Sights – Gen 4 Glocks will likely have several different options on sights. The current “dot in box” will likely be available, as is the three-dot night sights. What may prove to be very popular, however, is the new sight option that will probably be available: the two dot night sights.
The Gen 4 Glocks are supposed to have a large, steel front post sight. The sight will be flat black in color, with no serrations. In the center of the sight is a green tritium vial for low-light work. A white outline will surround the vial for better visibility in brighter lighting conditions.
The rear sights on the fourth generation Glocks get a little more interesting. Also steel, they are smooth and have a single, contrasting color tritium vial. The vial is situated at the bottom of the sight, meaning the shooter would “stack” the dots on top of each other for an accurate shot. This type of sight is frequently called the “Straight Eight” sight, based on a similar arrangement by the same name produced by Heinie.
The rear sight will have a wide notch, allowing for the front sight to be more easily found under stress. There will also be a white outline on the rear sight, though I am not sure if it will be around the tritium vial only, or the more recognizable Glock-box type outline.
The rear tritium vial will also be a contrasting color, such as yellow or red, to make nighttime identification of the front sight easier.
Disassembly – Pressing the trigger as a step to disassembling the Glock pistol is likely a thing of the past. While I have never seen this as an issue (we all dry fire our guns, right?), some people and law enforcement agencies perceive this as unsafe. Smith & Wesson added an internal lever to accomplish the same function in the M&P line. I expect Glock will have some type of switch, lever, or dongle that the user has to actuate to take the gun down.
Texture – The RTF2 texture introduced at the 2009 SHOT Show was popular with some people, but it has largely been an experiment by Glock. The fourth generation Glock will have a rough texture to enhance the shooter’s grip, but it will not be as aggressive as the RTF2. Some police officers found the texture would wear through uniform shirts over a period of time. Meanwhile, some concealed carry holders using an IWB stated they have been rubbed the wrong way by the finish. A texture somewhere between the standard and RTF2 finishes will be on the Gen 4 pistols.
There is also some speculation of interchangeable side panels for different texture types on the new Glock. I do not think this is something we will see, but having a choice of two or different permanent frame textures is possible. But, isn’t that what we already have with the addition of the RTF2?
Things That Will Not Be Seen on Gen 4 Glocks
- magazine disconnect safety
- external safety lever
- grip safety
- ambidextrous magazine release (button on both sides rather than interchangeable)
- slide serrations forward of the ejection port
- metal frame
- neon colors
Well, I hope that this article has been interesting, if not informative. As more information comes out, we will have it here for you.
[Update 12/18/2009: Gen 4 Glock photo is here.]
A lot of people were referring to the RTF2 finished Glocks as a ‘fourth generation’ Glock pistol, but they were not a generational change. The Gen 4 Glocks are expected to have a different finish than the current generation, but the RTF2 finish is not likely to be it.
I have received a number of e-mails about the Gen 4 and RTF2 naming conventions, thus this post, which I hope clarifies the naming conventions.
The Gen 4 Glock is expected to be shown at the 2010 SHOT Show.