Gun Review: Glock 26 Gen 4

By Zack Pike

Are you a concealed carry permit holder? Are you of the opinion that a 9mm bullet can stop a threat? Can you learn to draw and shoot with only two fingers on the grip? Then have I got a gun for you! If you answered yes to all of those questions, there aren’t many handguns that can beat a Glock 26. The model we’re talking about here, the Gen 4, has quickly becoming my preferred carry gun (over my previous fave, a Gen 4 G19). Sometimes referred to as the “Baby Glock”, this little pistol packs 10+1 rounds of parabellum in a convenient little double stack configuration. Sporting the typical Glock – er – style, this thing is all business . . .

No external safety, no rail, semi-flush mags and no-nonsense slide. A couple of features this thing has over its older sibling, the Glock 19: a nice radius on the front of the slide to make re-holstering smoother, and a slightly better bevel job in the mag well for easier, quicker reloads.

The 26’s frame is actually what drew me to it. The shorter grip makes for a much deeper level of concealment in the appendix carry position. The Gen 4 rough textured frame is decent — a major improvement over the standard Gen 3 treatment, but toned down quite a bit from the RTF2 available on some Gen 3’s. I actually prefer the RTF2, but the standard Gen 4 frames make concealment a little easier because you don’t have to worry about your garment snagging on the texturing. As you probably know, the Gen 4 26 features interchangeable backstraps.

Fit and finish is typical Glock — there’s not a whole lot to say here. Overall length is a hair over 6.6″ and it only weights 26 oz. loaded. The gun is nice and tight. At this point I’m going to stop boring you with the same rehash of features that have been consistent across all Glocks, so we can get into the real issue behind this gun; handling.

I have to admit that, at first, I was a little intimidated by it. Coming from sending 10’s of thousands of rounds down range through a Gen 3, and then a Gen 4 G19, I was worried I would have problems with both my draw, and controlling follow up shots from this little devil. But I was willing to put the cash down so I could get some quality time to see if I could swaddle the 26 in a way that kept her happy, and provided me a deeper level of concealment.

The gun feels really good in my hand. Aside from the shorter grip, the thickness of the double stack magazine helps it to fill your palm. The grip angle is set up in a way that sticks the butt of the gun right in the sweet spot of my palm. It’s hard to explain, but it feels like it belongs there.

Of course, that shorter grip doesn’t allow me to get my pinky in a spot to use it to control the firearm — something that took some getting used to. I tried the Pearce baseplate extension and that helped me get a much more positive purchase on the gun, but it came at the sacrifice of some concealability. With a baseplate extension, the total grip length was very close to that of my G19, so I wasn’t gaining much. That’s when I decided it was going to take a lot of ammo to feel really comfortable with this gun.

It’s been about 6 months, about 2,000 rounds of 9mm, and I’m finally at a point where I feel comfortable enough to carry this gun over my G19. Hundreds of draw repetitions, and a lot of rapid fire practice has helped to build my confidence in handling the gun with only two fingers on the grip. Combat accurate shots were actually the easy part. The hard part was getting my draw down. With the larger G19 I could always use by pinky to help compensate for those not-so-perfect draws, but a lot of practice made a “no-pinky” draw a non-issue.

Is rapid fire as accurate with this gun as my 19? Nope. The lighter weight and balance is the main culprit here.

I haven’t quite gotten up the nerve yet to go all Rob Pincus on a G19 yet and cut down the grip to gain concealability, while keeping the longer barrel and slide. I am following all of his posts on that gun, though.

Overall accuracy of the 26 it typical Glock, meaning it’s more accurate than I am. I’m not going to win any long range competitions with it, but out to 25 yards is no problem. I did swap out the sights to a set of my preferred tritium Speed Sights.

Reliability? Do we really want to have this conversation? It’s a Glock. Love ’em or hate ’em, reliability is what they do. All I’ll say here is after roughly 2,000 rounds I have yet to experience a single malfunction, not even an ammo related malfunction.

Overall, I really like this gun. I’m not excited about the limited mag capacity, but being able to carry a spare Glock 17 mag helps to calm those worries. I still carry my 19 whenever convenient, but now that my comfort level with this little 26 has reached the high standards I set for myself, it’s quickly taking carry priority.

SPECIFICATIONS:

Length:                       6.42″
Width:                         1.18″
Height:                        4.17″
Barrel Length:        3.43″
Weight:                       19.75 oz. (unloaded)
Price:                           About $550

RATINGS (out of five stars):

Fit and Finish: * * * * *
Typical Glock, it runs well.

Handling: * * * *
This is the gun’s only fault. Mitigated by extensive and expensive practice, but never fully gone.

Concealability: * * * * *
Like all Glocks, this is thicker than the single stacks out there. It hasn’t been an issue for me, especially in the appendix position. I can actually conceal this with a tucked in shirt, or a regular t-shirt. I carry in either a Raven Concealement Vangaurd II, or a Safariland Model 18. The shorter grip length ensures that it doesn’t hang out past the curve of my torso.

Overall: * * * * *
I give this 5 stars with one caveat… Practice. If you’re willing to put in the time to tame this infant, then you’ll have yourself a winner at about a $525 price tag.

comments

  1. avatar ensitu says:

    pic don’t load

  2. avatar Lance says:

    Its nice for a Lady or small man. BUT too small for me a Glock 19 is as small for most men as you can get.

  3. avatar richard says:

    The best CC gun ive ever owned.

  4. avatar Matt says:

    Try the GAP Enterprises floor plates. They have a small lip under the front of the grip that really helps you during the draw from a concealment holster. I carry a Gen4 26 in a Crossbreed Supertuck Deluxe everyday and love it. Best small 9mm pistol I’ve ever had. I tried a Keltec PF9 and a Taurus 709 Slim, and sold them for the 26. I carry the 10 round mag in the pistol, with a 17 round G17 mag in my pocket. If 28 rounds won’t end the encounter, keep a spare round in your pocket for yourself!

    1. avatar Zack Pike says:

      I’ll check those out. Thanks for the tip.

  5. avatar Gyufygy says:

    I rented a Gen3 26 a couple of weeks ago. It came with a +0 grip extension on the mag, but I still tried both 2- and 3-finger shooting, trying out both options.

    It was… interesting. I vastly prefer the narrower basic grip size of the Gen4s I’ve shot, so I mostly ignored the 2×4 feeling I got. Having all 3 fingers on the grip seemed to make a difference, but I have a feeling Zach is correct that it just takes time to make the adjustment. Still, a +0 extension, with really only the front of the grip getting towards 19 size, didn’t seem like it would affect concealability much, but it was a rental gun, so that’s speculation. The size is definitely an attraction, as is being able to swipe one of my fiancée’s spare 19 mags for a reload. :p I hate the base Glock sights, but that’s fixable.

    I’ve been pondering on what compromise I want to start with for a concealed carry weapon (“start” being the only realistic way to look at it, long term, anyway), and I keep coming back to the 26 after looking at many other possibilities.

    Now if only I could get comfortable with that 5.5 lbs. might-as-well-be-single-action Safe Action trigger riding around next to my posterior. :-/

  6. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    It’s a Glock. How much more needs be said? Commodity combat tupperware with a creepy, crunchy trigger.

    1. avatar 16V says:

      And a guaranteed stovepipe FTE if you aren’t iron-wristed with every crunchy trigger depression.

  7. avatar Greg Camp says:

    I’m still not sold on Glock, but I’m getting there. At least I want one for my armory, and I’d consider carrying a 10mm model in bear country. But the 26 looks too big for a pocket gun (with a trigger that I wouldn’t want in my pocket) and too small for a belt gun. My Kel-Tec P-11 is smaller with the same round count, and it takes a S&W fifteen-round magazine that I carry for reloading. Oh, and cut the price in half.

    1. avatar Gregolas says:

      Wholehearted agreement Greg C.
      Though my everyday carry is my trusty first- gen. G19, for five years my private practice go-to-court gun was the P-11. Even with its first-gen 18 pound trigger,it was lighter, smaller, and WAY cheaper than a G26. It never jammed on any ammo. Ayoob reported that LA Sherriff’s dept. tested one to 10,000 rounds with +P+ without breakage or appreciable wear. I still kick myself for selling it.

  8. avatar GaryinVT says:

    I have owned or shot at least 100 handguns over 20+ years, and the G26 is my sweetheart. I have the little Pearce mag extender for my pinkie, and it just fits and works so nicely. BTW if you are a firefighter or EMT like Mr. Leghorn and myself you can buy the standard model for $429. Glock offers us a “Homeland Security Discount” aka the cop price. This gun is a jewel.

  9. avatar Pascal says:

    Nice review.

    It would be interesting to hear your thoughts of G26 Gen 4 vs. The S&W M&P Compact 9c or Shield?

    I finally decided on the M&P because I found it easier to draw and shoot.

    Also, you must be the only one I know who can find the Speedsights in stock to actually purchase.

  10. avatar russ says:

    Great gun, great review. If I didn’t have issues concealing my G26 IWB with my summer wardrobe, I wouldn’t have sold it for the CM9. I’m kicking myself for not just chopping down my g19 for winter carry, and chopping down my CW9 for summer. It’s never the slide length that blows your cover, it’s the grip. And the larger the slide is, the less I miss using my pinky. I don’t mind shooting without it now, and whenever I pick up one of my full size pistols, it just seems extraneous. Practice!

  11. avatar David says:

    I bought the Gen 4 26 as my first CC pistol, and fell in love with it. I agree, you need to take your time with a lot of dry draw practice and then lots of time at the range to become fully comfortable and confident. But I actually shoot it a little better than my 19. And I shoot my 19 really well 🙂

    I can conceal it easily and carry a G19 mag for a spare. I don’t worry about the 10 + 1 issue too much, since most CQ gunfights usually involve fewer rounds, especially in the private sector. And with a speed load we’re good to go!

  12. avatar LTC F says:

    I vowed I would never own a Glock. After all if Brother John Browning didn’t design it, why would I trust my life to it. I’m not crazy about double action, be it revolver or pistol (mostly because frankly I don’t shoot double action well), I don’t like plastic (or polymer, or whatever you want to call it), and I don’t like 9 mm.

    Then I started looking for a CCW pistol. I have a Para 12.14. A little heavy, but it’s based on Brother Browning’s design. Yes, it gets picky about what you feed it. It doesn’t much like Hornady Critical Defense, or Winchester Silver Tips. It mostly likes Hydra Shocks. Mostly. It weighs a ton, and I’m getting to the point where I don’t want to carry a ton on (I guess behind) my right hip for hours at a time.

    I looked at the alternatives. I shot them all. I found I liked the Glock 30 (the .45 version of the 26). I’ve put about 1k rounds through it. Mostly MAGTECH FMJ for practice, but also every hollow point I could think of. I have never had a malfunction. I rack the slide, I pull the trigger (which takes some getting used to) it goes bang. It’s a handful. I don’t like shooting more than about 50-75 rounds at a time through it. I can’t put two rounds in an inch rapid fire like I do with my full sized .45s. I can put two rounds center of bad guy at 7 yards rapid fire though.

    It isn’t heavy (for ten rounds of .45), it eats anything I want to feed it, it goes bang every time I pull the trigger, it’s self defense accurate, and it doesn’t cost near what a Kimber or other tricked out compact .45 cost (I paid $430 with the military discount).

    I’ll never call a Glock a thing of beauty like my S&W revolvers, my Single Action Army pistols, or my 1911s, but I think its a pretty decent concealed carry weapon in a potent caliber.

    1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      Your evaluation is about like mine, except that I ended up with a G36.

      One of my reasons for carrying combat tupperware for CCW is that if I ever do use it, and my piece is retained for evidence (or some other actual reason) by the police, I’m not going to be all choked up about losing a really nice gun that I’ve lovingly tuned up to perfection. It’s a Glock. I’ll just go plunk down some bennies, get another one just as ugly as the one I’ve got. It will shoot the same way, with the same ammo, the trigger will be just as creepy and crunchy, and I won’t have to wait to find one.

      Glocks are to handguns what VW’s are to cars. If you total a VW, odds are you’re not about to start bawling the way you would if you totalled a cherry ’66 Mustang.

      1. avatar Anon in CT says:

        I’d say it’s more like a Toyota Camry or Corolla.

  13. avatar rsu11 says:

    A Gen3 26 is my most often carried gun, but not on my person. For me, it’s too big and heavy for trustworthy concealment. It goes with me inside a suede leather pocket holster, but not in my pocket. So it’s a take-with gun when I can’t carry concealed. Mine is fitted with the +0 pinky extension and hides well just about anywhere near me, such as in my car. Filled with Golden Saber +P’s, I have no doubts about reliable, effective defense and rapid fire accuracy.

    The Gen3 grip feels fine, so I have no urge to replace it with a Gen4. As for the trigger, it’s a matter of preference and practice. I actually like the firm sear engagement point and the definite reset of all stock Glock triggers. Not as smooth as a Kahr or anything like a 1911, but for a real-world defensive tool, it’s hard to beat.

  14. avatar Bill F says:

    The 26 is easily clutched with my stubby fingers. With the pinky extension, it fits my turtle hands nicely. I also have the Speed Sights, thanks to an earlier review on this site. To me, they’re well worth the buck and a quarter. If anyone installs them on a Glock, be sure to use the screw that comes with the front Speed Sight–not the one from the Glock sight. The Glock screw is longer and will crack the tritium vial.

  15. avatar DJ says:

    Are you a concealed carry permit holder? Yes

    Are you of the opinion that a 9mm bullet can stop a threat? Opinion? It has. Plenty of times. In fact, I don’t recommend getting shot with any “military” caliber – they are all designed to put down a human with ball (FMJ) ammo, to say nothing of the better ammo civilians have available to them.

    Can you learn to draw and shoot with only two fingers on the grip? Why would I want to – I own a Sig.

    Next slide.

  16. avatar Darren says:

    I have relatively large hands, XXL in Mechanixwear sizing and 8.5 in surgical gloves. I carry a Gen3 G26 with Pearce +2 extensions and am very pleased with my ability to grip, draw and fire the G26. I carry in a front pocket holster and have never had issues with printing, likely because I usually wear 5.11s or Duluth Trading FireHose pants. Those are just too thick to print well, and the pockets are deep. The slimmer grip of the Gen4 wouldn’t help me, I would probably do just as well with a G30 or G29 just to get a larger diameter grip. Long fingers make putting the pad of my trigger finger on the center of the trigger a problem as it is and a slimmer grip makes that problem worse. I use a DeSantis Nemesis pocket holster that has yet to show any wear after a few years, and a Saf-T-Block behind the trigger inside the holster. I have (mostly) trained myself to not put anything else in the carry pocket, but just in case I don’t want anything to find its way into the trigger guard what with the firearm being close to parts I want to keep.

    My first CCW pistol was a Kahr MK9, but that was just too small for comfort in my hands. The G26 with +2 extension is just enough to hold onto without anything extra.

    Would I prefer a double-stack full-size .45ACP? Sure. Given the choice I would carry my M&P15R, but I can carry my G26 anywhere with concealment and feel very comfortable with my ability to use it if necessary. A spare G17 mag gives me 12+1 with another 17 rounds for backup, for little more volume and almost three times the capacity of a S&W J-frame with a six-round speed strip. The reloading time advantage of a G26 compared to a J-frame is also significant.

    The 9mm is a very effective round at conversational distances, particularly with premium ammunition that is designed for short-barrel handguns and while a .45 ACP or 10mm pistol might be more convenient for my ergonomics, shooting those under pressure would take a lot more practice and I can practice a lot more with a 9mm handgun for the same cost in ammo.

  17. avatar tyler says:

    all this crap about not being able to conceal a g26 is ridiculous. I;m 6’1″, weigh 175 soaking wet and I have carried a g26 in an owb kydex holster for over two years, every single day for 8-12 hours at a time with no issues. I used to carry a 360pd jframe in a crossbreed supertuck and after that used a pf9 iwb. I picked up the glock, got a quality owb holster (concealment solutions) and never looked back) oh and I also carry a spare g17 mag for backup, all with an untucked size med tee shirt.

  18. avatar Fly says:

    Hallo,everyone!I am 28 years old,in GuangDong Province of China,hao could I get a handgun?I realy love gun very much.if anyone is able to help me,please inform me with e-mail:[email protected]
    Thank you very much!

  19. avatar scott says:

    If you need an extension, you need a 19. I love both but prefer the 19 when possible.

  20. avatar JAMES says:

    I have a gen 4 26 9 and I love it, it fits anywhere fires any thing you put in it and uses all 9mil glock mags I wasn’t a glock fan until the gen 4 came out, I carried a sig 226 in the usmc but in the real world I carry the gen 4 in mod 21 45 auto and 26 9 mm, I love all my weapons and all are good but like a wife a man wants the best. SEMPER PHI

    1. avatar Pete Repeat says:

      SEMPER PHI?, and you were in the Corps?

      1. avatar CK says:

        Must have been the Greek marines. Or maybe the frat marines.

  21. avatar Larry says:

    As a reformed Glock hater, I understand peoples aversion to Glock’s utilitarian and blocky looks. However, form follows function, and the G26 is a pure combat handgun in a small package. I have carried a G24 Gen 4 for two years now, and love it. It’s as reliable as the Washington State rain, and accurate enough that I can put 10 rounds through a golf ball-sized hole at 7 yards. That’s good enough for me. I’ve never had a FTF or FTE, and I’ve fed mine every type of ammo I can find. The trigger isn’t a target trigger, it’s a combat trigger, so it’s a little stiff at times, and maybe a little crunchy. Big deal. I know that it will go ‘bang’ every time, and put the bullet where I point it.

    1. avatar Dave says:

      I agree 100%.
      A CC gun is not for competition, and is not about winning beauty contests. It’s about saving your life.
      When it comes to my life or the lives of those around me, I’ll take an ugly sure thing over a fickle prom queen any day.

  22. avatar Jessica says:

    I love my glock! It’s my everyday carry. Its accurate, consistent, reliable, yet small and very concealable. I would recommend it to anyone!

  23. avatar Kenneth Toby says:

    I have a Gen 3 26. It works great for me!!!

  24. avatar KJ says:

    The Glock 26 is still my favorite carry gun. The single stacks like the shield carry well, however I think that if I’m in a pinch will 6+1 or 7+1 be enough? That’s why I prefer 10+1 with an extra mag….. just in case.

  25. avatar Brooklyn says:

    I personally carry the Glock 26, but I am thinking about carrying the Glock 42 for the days when I want to carry light. It’s so small you can carry it in your shorts. I feel the .380 shoots better than the .9mm Glock 43.

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