GLOCK handguns haven’t changed much since the early 80’s. Then again, they really haven’t had to. Looking more like the original two generations than Gens 3 and 4, I admit I was underwhelmed by what appeared to be minor tweaks GLOCK engineered into the Gen5. After shooting them, though, I believe GLOCK’s Gen5 is its best Gen yet.

On the range, the most noticeable change is the smoother trigger.

Thanks primarily due to a change in the shape of the striker block safety plunger — Gen4 round plunger seen at top, Gen5 ramped plunger seen at bottom — the Gen5 triggers are a definite improvement. They feel like a previous gen’s trigger after a full polishing job of the plunger, trigger bar, cruciform, connector, etc. It’s not quite Ghost Trigger territory, but still an obvious and appreciated difference that makes for the best factory GLOCK trigger available.

My favorite external change is the flared magazine well molded into the frame. The slight flare provides smoother, easier, and faster magazine insertion, and I like that bit of outwards angle under my hands, too.

Were these my guns instead of loaners, I’d bevel the U-shaped notch on the frontstrap so it angles downwards into the magwell also. While you can get a magazine to hang up on that lip if you try, it never happened to me on the range.

For many folks, removal of the previous two generations’ much maligned finger grooves and a return to a straight frontstrap will be their favorite external feature. Since the earlier guns’ grooves fit my hand just fine, I don’t really have a preference either way. But it was such a common complaint that it’s no surprise GLOCK finally ditched ’em. I doubt they’ll be missed by anyone.

Back to the inside, what I think might be the coolest feature of the Gen5 hasn’t gotten much coverage. Whereas the G17’s of old used a different barrel lug design, the new G17 is really just a G19L (long).

That means a Gen5 G17 barrel drops right into a Gen5 G19 slide. In fact, the entire 17 slide can be installed on the 19 frame.

Heck, the Gen5 G17 slide can even be installed on a Gen4 G19 frame, too. Yeah, it runs just fine despite that little gap in front of the dust cover (Lone Wolf even sells a piece to cover that gap).

For the GLOCK aftermarket, which is wildly popular despite GLOCK’s vaunted out-of-the-box Perfection, it means Gen4 G19 barrels will fit the Gen5 G19, but no previous G17 barrels will fit the new G17. That’s a small hiccup, though, since the simple solution is nothing more than a longer G19 barrel.

In fact, “G19L” barrels already exist. Seen above is a Lone Wolf Alpha Wolf Gen4 G19L barrel installed in the Gen5 G17. Fit and function were flawless.

Likewise, the Alpha Wolf Gen4 G19 threaded barrel dropped right into the Gen5.

Of course, one of the reasons people purchase aftermarket barrels for their GLOCKs is to switch from polygonal to traditional rifling, opening up the ability to shoot cast lead (non-jacketed) projectiles or sometimes just hoping for more accuracy. Well, the Gen5’s come with GLOCK’s “Marksman” barrel (seen above), which appears not to have polygonal rifling.

I’ve seen some arguing back and forth between internet types as to whether this is the case or not, and I’m the first to admit that I’m no GLOCKspert. However, just by looking at it with my dang eyeballs, it sure looks like some flavor of good ol’ land-and-groove (aka not polygonal) rifling.

Jumping back outside the gun, there are four more noteworthy changes:

The slide stop is now ambidextrous; mirrored on both sides of the pistol. It functions equally well as a slide lock and as a slide release from either side.

The slide is treated with a deeper black, nDLC finish that’s also supposed to be more durable. Compared to the previous dark gray, somewhat dusty-looking finish, it does look nicer.

The muzzle has been beveled. This GLOCK is less block than the last GLOCK. It looks good, drops a tiny bit of weight, and may ease holstering.

A notch in the bottom of the frontstrap aids in getting a solid purchase on the magazine, helping to strip it out of the pistol in the event of a malfunction in which the magazine becomes stuck.

Unfortunately, these last two changes aren’t quite Perfect.

For some insane reason that boggles my mind and triggers OCD sufferers everywhere, the new muzzle shape isn’t matched by the dustcover, which exactly retains the Gen3/4’s squarer shape. Let’s see, what happens when we put square corners next to beveled corners? Oh yeah, a freaking shelf! How on earth did this happen? The Gen5s clearly required brand new frame molds, yet somehow they decided to modify the rear half and leave the front half the same? Despite changing the slide shape? Lordy.

Over to what I’ll call the Operator notch, it appears to bother some folks’ pinkie fingers on the G19. While my little finger does run right over the notch, I can’t say I really noticed it. I grip hard with those pinkies and just didn’t find it bothersome at all. However, your mileage may vary depending on hand size and moisturizing routine, and it definitely seems to be a literal sore spot for some shooters. The G17’s longer grip puts the Operator notch out of the trouble zone for most people.

The new frame has been modified for the ambi slide stop. Other changes include a new trigger housing and trigger spring system that’s more like that of the G42/43. Gen5 GLOCKs are actually easier to disassemble than their forebears, if you can believe that.

I hate plastic sights and so do you. It’s ridiculous. Thankfully, the Gen5 GLOCKs are available from the get-go with two other sight options: factory GLOCK Night Sights or a new set of Ameriglo night sights. The Ameriglos are particularly awesome with a highly-visible front and a serrated rear with small Tritium vials that aren’t distracting by day but are obvious in the dark.

The significantly smoother trigger and the slightly flared magwell combined with the 17’s switch to a “19L” barrel, while retaining everything that makes a GLOCK a GLOCK — simplicity, reliability — make this the best Gen ever. From where I’m sitting, every change on this gun is an improvement, even if the front of the frame should have been beveled to match the new slide shape.

Specifications: Gen5 GLOCK 19 and 17

MSRP: Approximately $630 to $715 depending on choice of sights (available from Brownells here and 1800GunsAndAmmo here)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Reliability * * * * *
They’re GLOCKs and they ran as such.

Accuracy * * * 
They shot the same for me as previous GLOCKs, which is to say about average. That smoother trigger is appreciated.

Aesthetics * * * *
Compared to previous generations, I think the Gen5 deserves an extra star. The finish is better, the grip looks better, and the slide bevel looks better (despite the frame ledge scandal). But it’s still a GLOCK.

Ergonomics * * * *
Again, an upgrade from the Gen3/4 GLOCKs with a more universal grip that will work better for more people. Then again, the Operator notch may rub some folks the wrong way and, ultimately, it’s still a GLOCK.

Overall * * * *
The Gen5s are better in every way than the Gen3s and Gen4s. They’re solid GLOCKs. That said, they’re still GLOCKs so the grip is still somewhat square and has that special GLOCK angle. The aesthetics are still somewhat boring. If you love GLOCKs these are five-star guns. If you prefer pistols that fit the human hand and have sexy lines, though, five stars is a bridge too far.

23 Responses to Gun Review: Gen5 GLOCK 19 and 17

  1. Sooo basically a Honda Civic with a new redesign and a couple extra ponies under the hood. Cool I can still appreciate it for what it is and give it sh*t for its looks.

    • What do you got against Civics? My wife has had one for 13 years and it’s been a great car. I just bought a new 17 EX, and I love it. It’s no Lexus, or Infinity, but I got what I paid for.

  2. I have a question for you Jeremy. After running 500 rounds through my gen 5 19, I came home, cleaned it and planned to carry it today. When I tried to put it in my Blade Tech IWB holster, it took a good amount of pressure to get it in. Once in, I kept pulling the holster off my belt trying to unholster it. Have you encountered this or heard of anyone having this problem?

    • Fits in my G19 holsters and that seems to be the general consensus. Just thinking about what has changed, I’d guess it’s the right-side slide stop that’s sticking? You may need to Dremel some clearance for it if that’s what’s causing the fit problem, or try to figure out what else it might be.

  3. When I tried putting my gen 5 19 into my Blade Tech IWB holster it wouldn’t go in smoothly like my gen 4. It took a shove. When trying to unholster it, I kept pulling the holster free of my belt. Jeremy, did you experience this or hear of anyone who has? I am assuming there is some small difference in the frame dimension or it’s the ambi safety causing the hang up.

  4. I like the new finish.

    The sights are better than the old ones. The rear shows more of the front dot. That’s nice.

    Don’t like the flared well. Feels weird and prevents stripping the mag with a pinch from the side. You have to grab front and back. Fail.

    Never knew I liked the finger groves so much on the older guns. Guess it fits my fingers. I get a better grip on the Gen 4.

    Don’t care about the ambi slide release since I’m not ambi. You can’t use it easily anyway since it’s teeny.

    So not bad but I would save money and get a gen 4. Saving my money for single stack 19 or 23. Cmon Gaston

  5. I like the new finish and the trigger is much better. The sights are better. The rear doesnt obscure the front dot. I havent seen anyone comment on that. Most are too busy hating on polymer sights.

    Dont care for the flared mag well. Feels weird and prevent pinching the mag from the side to strip it from the gun Fail.

    Dont care about the barrel. I shoot lead bullets in my 43 and just clean the barrel. Dont care about the ambi slide release since Im not ambidextrous and its too damned small to hit at speed.

    Didnt realize i liked the finger grooves on the Gen 4 umtil i felt the 5. I get a better grip with the 4

    Guess I would save money and get a gen 4. Saving money for a single stack 19 or 23 Cmon Gaston

  6. No one reviews the internal spring changes to make the springs impervious to breakage, firing pin change, ejector housing, compression coil springs for the trigger & slide lock, slide stop. Many changes are never covered in depth.

    Seems like it’s always the exterior. Credit to Glock they don’t make massive innovations. They stick with what works. They compete against themselves & everybody is trying to catch up & are 36 years late to the party.

    • Yea read Armytimes.com it’s made public no PR lies just facts or go into the many forums about this pistol, or even pull some facts on line about the FBI’s disappointing choice and what the field agents really wanted. I’m totally convinced TTAG is getting payed or is owned by Glock, ever wander why so many stories about Glock, but no stories about the failures. I turned into a hater after g17 failure gen 3 and a g19 gen 4, I understand sometimes there are bad apples but the hype the fanatics try pushing just turns me further away, and the more I talk to people at ranges I come across a few that also have or had issues. I think Glock has a decent pistol or 2, I just had 2 bad ones

      • Don’t be absurd. We’ve posted plenty of negative stuff about Glock. I believe the Gen5 is the best Glock Gen yet, however if you don’t like Glocks you won’t like these. They’re still Glocks.

    • Sorry to bust your bubble, they’ve made internal changes. TTAG has posted some stories. I’m totally convinced their payed by Glock with so many stories but non of the failures with Glock throughout every gen 1-5

  7. Meet the new Glock, same as the old Glock. We just got fooled again.

    Is Glock required to put in a couple of dumb things every time they fix some? It’s almost like they have a dumb thing quota.

    I thought M&P 45 mags were stiff until I experienced a Glock 21 10 rd mag. That thing feels like is has a spring for a 30 rd mag in it. A b*tch to fill, even with a mag loader. More Glock perfection, my ass.

  8. The bevel improved the looks over the previous gen. Still not very sexy but slight improvement. That shelf on the frame must have been an oversight?? Never liked the Glock trigger or grip feel though so still not on my radar to purchase. I’ll stick with my Springfields and Kimbers.

  9. Completed a 500 round test of Gen 5 / 17. Trigger and accuracy excellent. Fit and finish not so good. Barrel finish was/is getting incredibly worn since round 200. Glock has been less than cooperative in resolving, only to say that the gen 5 has tight tolerances and should expect wear. Let me be clear, I am an amorer and certified pistol instructor. This build and barrel has real problems. Pictures on request.

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