When I first saw photos of the Glock Gen 5, I made fun of the pistol. It looked just like a Gen 2 with a Gen 4 frame texture. Upon further consideration, this wasn’t a bad thing – the Gen 2 was the last Glock without finger grooves, and I like and carry several Gen 2s often. But the Gen 4 texture is the best balance of being livable for concealed carry while offering a better grip that’s less likely to become slick like previous textures would over time. So my initial criticism, while an attempt at humor, has a tendency to fall flat when looked at more closely.
The biggest changes that most shooters will appreciate with the Gen 5 as opposed to the Gen 3 or 4 are the barrel and the trigger components. The former makes the pistol more mechanically accurate and the latter makes the pistol more shootable. I was going back and forth between the Gen 5 and several modified Glocks and I was having trouble telling the difference between them – it’s much better. It still feels like a Glock trigger, but it’s not spongy and mushy like the old ones used to be. That makes both precision shooting at distance and rapid fire up close much easier.
In a Ransom Rest, we saw 10 shot groups at 25 yards that were under 3” – with bulk ammunition. A lot of the pistols we test using the Ransom Rest don’t shoot that well with the very best match ammo. The Marksman Barrel is no joke, and it’s an undisputable performance improvement. Compared with 8 other Glock 19 barrels we had available for the test that day, it nearly tied the most accurate aftermarket Glock 19 barrel with the same ammunition at the same distance. It shot to point of aim and it did so consistently. In Gen5 guise, the Glock 19 is no longer acceptably accurate, it’s competitively accurate.
Speaking of point of aim, these new AmeriGlo sights are great. A bright orange ring around the front sight catches the eye in daytime, with no unnecessary white or other colored rings around the rear sight to distract you inadvertently. The sights still offer three tritium dots for low light or no light use.
It’s popular in some circles to add a minimalist magwell to a carry gun, and Glock has incorporated one into the frame of the Gen 5. It’s a minor flare (some would call it a minor piece of flair), but it helps a little and it won’t significantly increase printing for concealed carry. They also returned to the days of the half-moon cutout on the frontstrap, just like a Gen 2. I was confused when people complained about his since I am more used to the Gen 2 than anything else. I honestly don’t understand the problem with this. It reminds me of when people criticize Megan Fox’s thumbs.
The Gen 5 now comes with more accessories than one would have expected in years past. There’s a third magazine as well as backstraps to add a little size to the rear of the frame, including two with beavertails. It’s not as modular as some other pistols out there, but keep in mind that we’re talking about Glock here. The company that revolutionized the service handgun world is now known for the most minor and incremental changes imaginable – and sometimes even pointless changes, for I was left scratching my head in confusion when the Gen4 was launched.
Although there were serious reliability concerns with .40 S&W Gen 3s that had weaponlights attached, and the Gen4 .40s fixed that problem, the Gen4 in 9mm was a big step back in terms of reliability. They ended up resolving those issues with typical Glock speed, which is to say after several years, but I still saw no point to buying a Gen4 Glock and went back to my Gen 3 pistols and even a few Gen 2s.
When I honestly compare the performance of my Gen 2 Glock 19 to the new Gen 5, though, it’s like driving an ’89 C4 Corvette with the L98 engine back to back with… well… if not a new C7 Grand Sport, at least a base C6 with a manual. Drive the C4 on its own and it feels like a great car that just needs a few minor improvements. Drive the newer car afterwards and you’ll immediately start picking out everything that’s wrong with the old model.
Mechanically, the groups shrank to about half the size of the old pistol, a difference which cannot be overstated in terms of shootability. The frame can be adapted to different hand sizes and the texture is usable in nearly all situations. The trigger won’t need work for even serious handgun shooters, and in our initial tests, it looks like the Gen 5 is just as drop safe as previous stock Glocks, which is to say that we don’t know how to make them fire without physically pulling the trigger to the rear.
I thought the Glock Gen 5 was just a way for Gaston to kick the can down the road and release a “new” model for the folks who would buy anything that had a Glock label on it and made loud noises. I was wrong. Remember those memes poking fun at people who say Glocks are great handguns, then proceed to change out every component? Glock apparently looked at the aftermarket to see what people did with their G19s and decided to incorporate these changes into the stock gun. They make a big difference – and it’s without doubt a far better combat handgun than anything Glock has made before.