The GLOCK Gen 5 is here, complete with 35 new or upgraded 35 parts. GLOCK also made twenty design changes to the Gen 4 pistol. I had the opportunity to handle and shoot the newest G17 generation, first at the GLOCK facility in Smyrna, GA and then on my home range.
There are no finger grooves on the GLOCK Gen 5. For me, this is all the difference in the world when picking up a GLOCK. Removing the grooves, was a big step toward GLOCK making a pistol that I can get on the gas and quick-draw from a holster, without sliding my fingers into the right spaces.
The magwell is now flared. While not a competition-style magwell, it’s ideal for faster reloads. Some potential buyers may be disappointed by the lack of front slide serrations (seen on their summer special model). GLOCK beveled the Gen 5’s muzzle, similar to the shape of the G34 Gen 4s. The reshaping is designed to catch less material as shooters draw the Gen 5 GLOCK from a holster. It also moderates the boxy look of other GLOCKs, giving the Gen 5 a more modern look.
GLOCK also updated the sight picture. Although the polymer sights are still available, Gen 5 GLOCKs will leave the factory with new styles of night sights, including the Ameriglo GLOCK Spartan Operator sets shown here. At night these sights are extremely visible; ideal for facilitating accurate shots in all lighting scenarios.
The Gen 5 is equipped with ambidextrous slide stops. Lefties will be happy with this (left-handed shooters, that is). With my offhand (left-hand) I could easily release the slide stop with my thumb — as easily as I could with my dominate hand.
From outward appearances, Gen5 looks like every other GLOCK, minus the finger grooves and some new sights. To understand why this Generation Five is an improvement to the G17, you need to check out the internals — and shoot it.
The picture above shows the G17 Gen 5 next to a G34 Gen 4 (right). The order in the picture is a bit mixed up, but this is how it goes: 17 frame, 34 slide, 17 slide, and 34 frame. Side-by-side, you can see some differences between the Gen 4(left) and Gen 5(right).
First, GLOCK reshaped the firing pin safety. Instead of the circular metal pin, the Gen 5 squared firing pin safety fits into a squared ledge with ramping on either side. The ramping makes the trigger bar move more smoothly against the firing pin safety. Less noticeable in this picture: the GLOCK Marksman Barrel. The new barrel features a smaller crown, providing a tighter fit for projectiles. At 50 yards I had zero issues putting dings on a 6” steel plate.
The trigger mechanism in the Gen 4 (top) and the Gen 5 (bottom) have some differences. The trigger bar no longer attaches to a spring that sits on the connector. In the Gen 5, the trigger bar slides into a space on the trigger mechanism housing. The trigger return spring in the Gen 5 has been replaced and moved inside the mechanism housing.
Finally, GLOCK added a new ion-bonded coating to all Gen 5 handguns. The new nDLC finish is more resistant and offers better protection than previous generations. Also, GLOCK has returned to a two-pin system and eliminated the Locking Block Pin. In my opinion, fewer parts is always a good thing.
[Those of you flush with Gen 3 and 4 GLOCK mags will be glad to know they work with the new Gen 5 models. Holsters that accommodate previous Generations should also function with the Gen 5.]
After shooting the Gen 5, it’s now my go-to pistol. If you want to know why I am going to make the switch, the science of a lower bore axis really cannot be disputed. Follow up shots and reacquiring a sight picture are much easier with a GLOCK, especially while moving and shooting. The removal of the GLOCK’s finger grips was also an important factor; I can now comfortably get my hand on the gun.
And then there’s reliability . . .
During the media event at GLOCK headquarters, ten writers fired a minimum of 700+ rounds each without a single mechanical issue. I also ran some 147 gr, polymer coated handloads that worked flawlessly in the G17 Gen 5. Again, as I said above, hits to 50 yards proved no challenge with this firearm. Overall, I really could not ask for more out of this or any other handgun. Reliable, accurate, and safe.
About Duncan Johnson:
Duncan Johnson is a graduate of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. His focus of studies were on History and Government. Duncan is a regular contributor to AmmoLand and assists in the everyday gun-news publishing as an assistant editor.