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One of the biggest questions potential Glock buyers have is what are the differences between Glock Gen 4 vs Gen 5? Glocks are known for making huge leaps in their different generations, but there are some notable differences in the generations.
I’m going to start with the overall looks and this article will be mostly focused on the Glock 19 Gen 4 vs Gen 5 but most of these changes are carried over to other models in the Glock lineup.
First, I’ll talk about the looks of the Glock 19 Gen 4 vs Gen 5 because that’s the first thing people typically notice.
The easiest way to tell the difference in the models is the slide coating. It’s a much darker color than the Gen 4.
Overall they virtually look the same as before. There were models of the Gen 4 offered with front serrations.
The Glock Gen 5 slide features front serrations and nDLC finish. The nDLC finish gives the Gen 5 the semi-gloss deep black color.
The slide on the Glock has the same dimensions in both generations.
The Gen 5 Glock 19 features an ambidextrous slide lock lever that was added to compete for the Government control the Sig M17 later won.
Glock created a proprietary finish for their slides on the Glock 19 Gen 5’s and called it nDLC. I’m not entirely sure what it stands for but the finish is said to be tougher and more durable than the previously used finish.
From what I’ve noticed there is less wear on the slide from holstering and the overall use of the slide without oil seems to be smoother.
Serrations came onto the scene for Glocks in the early 2010s. The Glock Gen 5 now features serrations from the factor.
The Gen 4 Glocks had a special model denoted with an “FS” for Front Serrations for some time before the Gen 5 came out and the front serrations became standard.
To me, the front serrations were very welcomed and I had a Gen 4 FS model that I fell in love with.
Glock was always well known for its polygonal rifling in its barrels. This was phased out for the Gen 5 barrels for a more traditional match crown.
They state the Gen 5 barrel is “match grade” but that’s mostly just marketing speak. The facts are that the Gen 5 barrel has been tested and is more accurate than its predecessor and that’s really all that matters.
For a short period of time, the Gen 5’s had a cutout in the frame which allowed your fingers to fall into a half-moon style hole but they are no longer producing Gen 5’s with the half-moon cut-out and no front serrations.
The current frame has removed the finger groves. If you are unfamiliar with finger groves they are the most debated topic within the Glock community. The Finger groves reside on the front of the grip frame and are almost universally hated.
As you can see in the picture the finger groves have been a staple for Glock through the years and they have finally been removed on the Gen 5’s, most likely for good.
The finger grove removal is a huge change considering Glock has held on to them for so long. It is nice to see the removal and most people will welcome this change with open arms.
The internals of the Glock 19 got overhauled in the Gen 5 and a simpler pin system was created to make full takedown much easier. This was a welcome change for Glock armorers everywhere.
The magazine well is also much more flared on the Glock 19 Gen 5 than it is on the Glock 19 Gen 4.
As you see in the picture it’s a significant difference but if you are used to a Glock the flared magazine will only help you a little.
Can you use Gen 4 mags in Gen 5 Glocks?
Yes, absolutely. The magazines have not changed since the Glock 19 Gen 3. So if you have old magazines that are in good shape you’ll be able to continue to use them going forward.
The Gen 3 magazines only have one notch on the right side to catch the magazine. Gen 4 and Gen 5 have a notch on both sides of the magazine to make them backward compatible.
Gen 4 magazine has a black follower and the Gen 5 has an orange follower. That’s the one difference between the two magazines.
Glock Gen 4 vs Gen 5 Trigger
Glock changed the trigger as well making it crisper by updating the trigger spring and redesigning the safety plunger.
This has been well received by most but many users have reported little difference.
The biggest thing to note is the trigger is not worse than it was in the Gen 4.
Glock Gen 3
Glock is still producing its Gen 3 series Glocks which would seem odd to most as it has released two generations since Generation 3.
The main reason that Glock is still holding on to the Gen 3 models is due to California’s unconstitutional handgun registry.
Due to California’s backward beliefs on firearms they have a handgun registry and only approved guns on that registry are allowed to be sold in the state. As you guessed the Glock Gen 3 models are on the approved list.
Thankfully the Gen 3’s hold their own and are just as tough and reliable as the newer generations just lacking some of the newer, nicer features.
So until California is sued into oblivion for violating constitutional rights the Glock Gen 3 will likely live on.
Glock Gen 3 vs 4 vs 5 Conclusion
Finally, the Glock Gen 3 and the Gen 5 are the only two guns in production. As I noted in the section above the Gen 3 will likely live on until California gets its act together.
The Gen 5 is now the standard Glock and the Gen 4 is no longer in production.
If you are in the market for a new Glock and you aren’t living in California be sure to grab the Gen 5 over the Gen 4. The subtle changes Glock made to this gun are notable and nice additions.