Gen 4 Glock: A Look at the New Features

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_4thgen_01a1Glock 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.]

The “Gen 4″ Glock is not the same as the RTF2 Glocks that were announced at the 2009 SHOT Show.

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.

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About Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson is a gun writer, police trainer and really bad joke teller. Check out his other writing in Combat Handguns, Guns & Weapons for Law Enforcement, on The Firearm Blog and at BlueSheepdog.


  1. Very happy to hear all this. I was just about to but a Glock 23 but I think I can wait. Any idea on the release date?

  2. Glock’s people have maintained that there will be backward compatibility with any changes. That would mean the latest generation magazines will still fit my existing guns. Its always unfortunate when a company has to change their product to meet the demands of the customer, when the customer is so rarely right.

  3. Haji, what kind of crap is the “when the customer is so rarely right”??? That is why the XD has done so well they did things Glock didn’t. It is also the reason the M&P is doing so well they listen to there customrs. You sound like a socalist from the Presidents White House. I hope Glock changed there grip safety so it is more comfportable!

  4. Matt, do you even know what a Glock is? Grip safety? Are you for real? Go to a local gunshop and hold a Glock in your hand before you pop off at the mouth.

  5. Hey Kevin, your Glocks have not changed appreciably in the last 25 years; and they are therefore out of date and there are better and far and more current pistols out there. The Smith M&P comes to mind. Glock is the Model T of striker fired pistols, as with the Ford Model T, they rested on their laurels far to long and are now having to play catch-up. However the M&P is a far better point of departure, and whatever Glock comes up with is bound to be inferior.

  6. it a pistol! who cares if its old or new, as long as it gets the job done.

  7. I find internal locks should be illegal, they make guns dangerous to the user, external locks that are visible from a distance are ok but internal locks do not make sense, i hope we don’t see those on Glocks. If there is something I hate on pistols is having features I don’t need, what I liked about Glocks is precisely that there is nothing there I don’t need. Let’s just hope for the best.

  8. Theophilus says:

    I’ve been carrying my G22 since it was issued in ’94(+/-). With it I have qualified as a Master Marksman, completed FA instructor courses, done several special shooting courses, and have never had an issue with it. It always works, wet or dry, cold or hot, clean or dirty, flawlessly. It presents at my natural point of aim, where other guns come up low. When I’m done shooting it only takes a few minutes to wipe down and lube. Obviously I have no reason to “change horses”. I just preordered a G22 Gen 4, and eagerly anticipate its arrival after the SHOT show.

    I’ll take a M&P15, but S&W can keep the pistol; primarily because the trigger looks like its gonna break and just scares the crud out of me. Haven’t shot one, but hear the trigger pull is as ugly as the gun. However, I do like that it’s made in the USA.

    As for grip safeties: a totally unneccessary gimmick in a striker fired gun. Springfield kept it because the 1911 had one.

  9. I hope Glock puts a longer grip tang or “beavertail” like the M&P for us ham handed shooters

    • KT –

      I haven’t heard anything about a ‘beavertail’, but with this redesign, it is Glock’s chance to add something more significant back there. I’ve never had the problem myself, but I have known others that have.


  10. “pre-ordered”??? Can you pre-ordered GEN4 now? I’m about to buy Glock 19 and would love to be able to pre-order gen4. If so, how? Where? thx.

    • Pat,

      Thanks for stopping by and posting. I have not talked to my dealer about pre-ordering one, but you may be able to do so. Glock is making no secret about the pending release of these firearms.

      RSR Group, a firearm distributor, has the Gen 4 Glock pistols listed in its 2010 catalog with a MSRP of $616. (See The Firearm Blog for this info). So, I imagine dealers can start taking orders, but this may vary between dealers.

      Thanks again for stopping by.


  11. Richard,

    Thank you very much for the info.

    pat r.

  12. The first time I shot my M&P I thought to myself that this should of been a Glock.

  13. romeocharlie says:

    man the gen4 is one butt ugly gun

  14. seems funny, in april they showed a picture of a new glock, now people are showing the same picture of the supposedly 2010 glock

  15. nothing against the glocks, just don’t like the grip angle. prefer my xd 40

  16. Dear Richard
    thank you for your details on the forthcoming Gen 4 Glock(s). Hearing and reading about the new generation Glocks caused me to reconsider my almost made decision to buy a S&W M&P 9mm Pro Series. Of all the changes listed I am most interested in finding out if the grip angle has been redesigned to match the ones used by most other manfacturers. For me this would make most sense, since it makes that minute difference for accurate pointing when shooting in motion. Do you know of any changes in this respect?
    from Switzerland
    I own and shoot with: Glock17, P210, Stgw57, Stgw90, ZfK55, K31
    equally interesting is reading some of the comments ;-(

    • Hi Hans,

      Thanks for taking the time to visit the site and comment. All of the information I have in this article is speculation, and I have not had one of the Gen 4 Glock pistols in my hand. However, since I wrote this article, pictures of the new Glocks have come out. Check out my post here:

      I do not think they have changed the grip angle based on the photos. I think all of the changes are more ‘evolutionary’ rather than ‘revolutionary’, if that makes sense. You may want to wait and see how the new Glock pistols feel in your hand, but other than the texture and back strap sizes, I think they will be very similar to the current ones. Just FYI, I own and carry a Glock 19 regularly. However, my M&P 9 feels great in my hand and points very naturally for me.


  17. To all who are asking about the new Gen4 Glock. I have seen the photos and my store is scheduled to receive our first shipment around Thursday Dec 31, 2009. G22 first then G17 next. At first looks they took the slide serrations back to vertical and have a removable back strap that looks to hook into the rear trigger frame pin but we will see soon. Also for those of you who are talking about the new RTF2 finish, I just received 2 Glock G21SF-RTF2 for local police officers. Yes they are making and shipping a G21SF-RTF2 for all of you, like me, that had a hard time holding on to the standard G21. Enjoy all and have a great new years!

  18. Looking to buy a gun,heard good and bad about Springfield XD, I like H&K, I like Berreta, now this Gen 4 Glock is coming out,everyone is talking about.What do you guy’s suggest,which one would be the BEST for you and way comapared to another brand.??

    • Ned,

      All of the brands you mentioned are quality products. The only person who’s opinion matters is yours. Take them out shooting (rent them, go with friends, etc) and find the one that fits your hand and feels ‘right’. You’ll know when you pick it up and start shooting. Then buy that one. Good luck!


  19. any news as to the 4th generation 23’s date of arrival. I was going to purchase one until. I got the news.

  20. Theophilus says:

    Ok, I got to T&E the S&W MP40 the other day. There are a lot of things to like about it, including the built in armorer tool and interchangeable backstrap. I found the backstrap that fit my hand, and it shot very well. No noticeable diffence in recoil from my G22. The G22Gen4 has a dual recoil spring which will reduce its felt recoil even more than the MP. Although the MP is nice, and I enjoyed shooting it, there are two things I really don’t like: 1)the two-piece trigger looks flimsy, and scares me. If it fails, the gun is dead, and maybe so am I. 2)I could barely feel the sear reset. If you don’t know what that is, then it wont bother you, but if you are a reset shooter, then it will definitely bother you too.

    Im going to reserve final judgement on my choice of new duty gun until I have had a chance to shoot the MP and G22Gen4 side by side, but it looks like the Gen4 is going to come out on top.

    And Pat, as for pre-ordering…I just put my name on the waiting list with a local dealer, so I will get the second Gen4 he recieves.

  21. I saw the first of these in person last week. All changes as previously noted here. It does seem to fit my hand a little better than my older models….but, maybe it is all in my head after reading so much pre-release press on them. Hope to get a 22 of my own at some point so as to compare. One thing I did notice though on the one I looked at in a local store which has not been mentioned by anyone, anywhere as yet as far as I know: on the right side of the frame – at the top – just forward of the slide serrations are the clearly visible letters “MSD” in a small box-shaped area. What does that stand for or mean….any clues out there?

  22. I have a new Gen4 in the 22 model. I love it. The new texture provides better grip than the Gen3s but wont eat your hand alive like the original version of the RTF. I fired around 150rds through it yesterday and had no issues at all. The new spring design lowered the recoil a bit, but not significantly. It came with three 15rd mags, which is an added bonus. The mag release is larger which makes hot reloads easier and allowed me to stay on target while reloading. Several guys at my dept ordered the first run Gen4s and had issues with jamming. This made me some what wary of it since Im a fan of the “aint broke dont fix it” concept, but all issues and whatever caused them are corrected in the new Gen4. The interchangable back straps are also a plus. It comes with a med and large. The med kept me from having to use a Houge Grip as I have in the past to keep from having to wrap my hand to not have too much trigger finger. The first time I dropped the hammer on it was on a qual course and I shot a 96 out of 100 so it shoots just like all other models but with the improvements I have mentioned. The only issue, which wasnt for me, was when I had the sights changed out, I realized that the new rear factory sights arent solid polymer as them were on the previous models.They have a plastic like filler inside them. Not sure why though. It does make them “throw away” sights since they proved nearly impossible to get back on (I was putting them on my Gen3 22).

  23. I have held and shot the new Gen4 22. I personally thought there was nothing wrong with the Gen3, but the Gen4 is nice. Mag release is definitely bigger and the adjustable backstrap is nice too. The dual spring does reduce recoil a bit, but nothing that is going to be very noticeable.

    As for those who commented on the M&P being better than a Glock… I know several LA police officers who advised me against the M&P. It seems that the LA County Sherrif’s Dept as well as a couple other local PDs have banned the use of the M&P due to its high rate of malfunction. Now I have no documentation or Hard facts on whether or not that is true, but if my LAPD buddies are telling me not to buy one, I’m not buying one.

    I think for the price point the smart choice would be Glock or XD. New generations always get a lot of hype. Just look at how much press the new XDm got. You cant go off of hype. I always found it funny that people ask “what gun should I buy?” As far as I am concerned its no different than talking about politics and religion. Everyone has their own preference and until you go and shoot the guns, you wont know which one you prefer.

    Does anyone know when the Gen4 19 is coming out? I heard it wont be until the summer. 22 and 17 first and then the 19 and 23 later.

  24. If the new mags are not interchangable with older guns and vice versa they I will not buy a new Glock. I figured I should standardize on one typle of mag since the ban but if Glock is going to play games with trick mags so they can sell everyone a new set of mags, I suppose I might as well consider some of the designs from other manufactures like the Springfield XD or Smith and Wesson M&P.

  25. To start

    several posts back “ned” i own an H&K USP compact in 40 S&W. like Richard said you need to pick up guns and if you can shoot them. as soon as i touched that gun i told the guy at the gun store to start the paper work. the only thing i can say is that everything that says H&K on it is not cheap, by a good 20-30%. as a warning my H&K is amazing but i cant find accessories or anything for it. ive also shot all the guns on your list all have there good and bad points.

    to everyone,

    have the Gen4 Glocks shipped yet no one in my city has one that i know of. what is available

  26. Another thing glock should add is reliability. That is one thing i have yet to see on any glock i have fired.

  27. I wanted to know for myself which 9mm I should buy, it was a toss up between the Glock 17 Gen 4 and the SFA XD9. They were close in price, then the Glock has anything you could ever want for it were the XD9 doesn’t, but waht mattered to me most was shooting it, I went to the range and shot both, the Glock shot a lot straiter and smoother than the XD9. to me that is waht matters the most, how it shoots, XD9 was very nice but the Glock takes it hands down, and I don’t own a Glock, YET !!! Look forward to getting my new Glock anyday….

  28. Derrick says:

    I am a Deputy. I purchased the new Gen 4 in February 2010. I absolutely love the new changebale back straps. The customization for the individual makes it a more confortable gun to shoot. Also the new texture has a nice feel to it. Its not nearly as aggressive as the first RTF but has enough stickyness to keep it in your hand. The new spring inside the Gen 4 seems to really help with the kick. My old glock 9 kicks harder than my new Gen 4 .40 cal. Ive put over 2000 rounds in this gun so far and I have used cheap walmart target ammo to high dollar hollow points and it has not jammed one single time. Although I do clean my gun religiously. So far Im very satisfied with this Glock….so much that I trust it with my life.

  29. Then new Gen4 Glock 19 has arrived.
    I have one today 7/15/2010.

  30. I’ve read a lot of the comments here, and I agree and disagree with some. I own 5 Glocks and several other name brand handguns. I shoot them all and I like them all Colt, Sig SA they all bring different atributes to the table. For my money the Glock is number one, yes it’s butt ugly but like my american express I never leave home without it at my side. I’m going to go tomorrow and buy a Glock 22 Gen-4 to add to my collection I looked at one last friday and said I got to have one. I depended on the old 1911-A1 for 36 months in Vietnam and I own 5 of them from the ww-2 era and I wouldn’t part with one of them, but the older I get the heavier they get thats why God created the Glock. This is a great site keep up the good work.

    • Jack,

      Thanks for checking in. I too have a bunch of different guns, and they all bring something different to the table. For me, the Glock is a combat workhorse – something that isn’t pretty, but can be relied on to do its job if I do mine.

      Thanks for your service.


  31. Just got back from a GSSF shooting competition. Had all my Glocks gone over for a “check up” by a Glock armoror. He replaced a few springs and other small parts that were simply “showing signs of wear” all for free! I shoot a lot. The armoror is also a law enforcement officer and really knew what he was talking about. He told us that Delta Force carries a .45 cal 1911 on their hip (probably as tradition for the US military). They all also carry a Glock 19 in their vests for backup. When they a want a gun to work, they choose a Glock. If it’s good enough for Delta Force, it’s good enough for me. I’m convinced, and I own and shoot many, many guns, that Glock is the best. If you call a Glock a “Model T”, you would be giving a 1911 a compliment by calling it a dinasaur. Best regards. Shoot safely!

  32. As for the magazines, gen 3 WILL work in gen 4 AS LONG as you don’t change the weapon to a left handed one.(Mag release)

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