Glock has been busy this year. I feel like every time I turn around there are new rumors swirling about their upcoming product lines. The one that has garnered the most attention is the new Generation 5 series of pistols. They have released the Glock 17 and Glock 19 (G19) semi-automatic handguns in the new configuration so far and I had the pleasure of spending some time with the new G19.
I must admit, as a firearms historian I know a lot about guns—but I think a fast reload is three-shots-a-minute from a musket. So reviewing a modern gun has been a unusual experience, but this is hardly unfamiliar territory. In 2016, I curated an exhibition of Glock firearms about the birth of the polymer handgun market. Plus, I carry a Glock 43 – with a color case hardened slide no less.
At First Glance
The new gun’s packaging was pretty much what you’d expect from Glock—a black case with the familiar logo. Inside are a set interchangeable backstraps, a magazine loader, barrel scrubber, and the firearm seated on black foam.
The main difference in this case is the three 15-round magazines (one in the firearm) with their orange followers that match the color of the included gun lock.
The gun itself has Glock’s traditional black polymer appearance that people have come to expect. In fact, if you took a quick look, you might assume the firearm is the same as its predecessors, but upon further inspection there are some obvious differences in this new Gen5 G19 pistol, and even a throwback to earlier generations.
On their website, Glock states there are over 20 design differences in this new series. In my video above, I point out some changes that you can notice instantly in the new generation of pistols, but here’s a list of them all:
First, and most obvious, is the noticeable absence of finger grooves on the grip.
The second change is a flared magwell and large front cutout. This is to facilitate quicker loading and reloading.
The magazines themselves have a distinct difference. While they are interchangeable with previous generation right-handed mags, the new 15-round standard magazine has an orange follower.
The fourth major change is the ambidextrous slide stop. The Gen 5 has a slide stop on the left and right side of the slide. Side note: Five years ago, I taught my Dad, who is left-handed, how to shoot with a Glock and I wish the ambi stop had been around then!
Another major difference is the nDLC finish. This protectant on the slide is specific to new Glocks and they claim it is more durable than previous models, but of course that’s only something that can be tested over time.
The new models also feature a beveled muzzle which is to prevent potential problems when quickly removing the gun from the holster.
This G19 Gen 5 had Ameriglo sights—although they offer three dot night sights and plastic OEM sights as well.
The gun has a Marksman barrel, which uses a more traditional hexagonal rifling instead of Glock’s known polygonal rifling.
The firing pin has been squared along with a squared ledge and rampings
The trigger system is also changed. One element involves a throwback to older Generation 1 and 2 Glocks. The original firearms only had one pin in the mechanism. A locking block pin was added for later generations featuring heavier calibers. But the Gen 5 has gone back to a one pin system, meaning heavier calibers are likely not an option for the Gen 5 in this configuration.
After my obligatory photo shoot with the new gun, I took it apart and made sure it was ready to go before hitting the range for my first impressions. The firearm came apart like my other Glocks.
I made sure the trigger was pressed to the back, slid the slide rearward, depressed the takedown lever, and slid the slide forward off the frame. I continued disassembly and inspection, not noticing anything glaringly different. Once I was ready to go, I headed out to the range.
The first thing that struck me when loading the magazines was the orange follower. The bright and obvious color made it clear where I was in the loading process at all times, and it’s a lot easier to see through the chamber than a black follower.
I will say, the new widened magwell with the front cut-out helped increase my efficiency when loading. Although not a competition shooter, if I needed to use this gun in a self-defense situation—during which you often lose dexterity in your fingers, making reloading more difficult—this feature is a big help.
I sat on my couch later and made a comparison with empty mags and my other Glocks; it really highlighted the benefits of this feature and also my exciting social life.
Trigger and Grip Texture
I have small hands, which have both endured a number of surgeries, so I tend to prefer the fit of more compact firearms (although I’m not always a fan of the snappy recoil). Oftentimes, I must adjust my hand position on larger firearms to get my finger in the correct position on the trigger. And because of weaker hand strength, the finger grooves on the full-sized Gen 4 Glocks gave me some added reinforcement, so I was a little apprehensive about their removal.
However, the texture on the grips of the Gen 5 felt rougher than the G19 Gen 4 I was comparing it with, and that was enough for me to maintain a firm grip on the firearm.
Additionally, I found the 5.5-pound trigger to be an acceptable weight, even with my strength issues, so I’d imagine there’d be no problem for a healthier individual. With the combination of these features and my Ameriglo sights, I had no problem shooting solid groups with this gun.
While the newly added ambidextrous slide stop was irrelevant to me, I asked a friend who is left handed to test out the gun.
He has an extensive military and competition shooting background and his take on the slide stop was that it’s a helpful feature—and it makes the gun easier to operate for any right-handed shooter who might have to shoot with their left hand for whatever reason.
After firing the gun, he described the recoil as soft, the magwell as smooth, and appreciated the Ameriglo sights for amping up his ability to focus on that red front sight.
In my opinion, this is a good range gun for me and would be a fantastic self-defense gun for someone else, just because of its size. I’m five feet tall and 100 pounds, so the G19 is still too large for me to comfortably conceal.
Glock has gone above and beyond to make this an ideal self-defense gun, with the abandonment of finger grooves, flared magwell, and beveled muzzle.
The number one thing that I, personally, would change about the Gen 5 G19 would be the double-stacked magazine. A single stack option, like the current G43, would make it easier for me to conceal and would probably fit my hand better. Of course, this results in a tradeoff in magazine capacity, but the flared magwell should make reloads faster, right?
For now, I’ll stick with my G43 for concealed carry. While Glock has only announced its Gen 5 G17 and G19 in 9mm with the OG trigger system, maybe a G43 Gen 5 will be released soon. A girl can dream.