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Glock 19 Gen 4 vs Gen 5: Which Glock Is Right For You?


Overview

Glock's tagline, "Perfection," might come across as a bit cocky, if they didn't produce handguns that have an almost 40-year track record of superior performance.

With nary a dud in their long line of handguns, however, you can't really go wrong, no matter which one you choose to add to your CCW collection. 

That is why choosing between the Gen 4 and the Gen 5 of the Glock 19 family of short recoil, striker-fired, semi-automatic pistols comes down to small differences in performance and, ultimately, personal preference. 

For 22 years, the Glock 19 has served as a compact version of the Glock 17, designed for easy concealment without detracting from the gun's fast, powerful performance. Since 2015, it has served as the standard sidearm of the Navy SEALS.

The Glock 19 is a great way to add military-grade performance to your everyday CCW collection. With the first three generations phased out, you will want to choose either the Gen 4 or the Gen 5 (Or both!). 


Performance

The Gen 4 is known for reliability, sturdiness, and the love-it-or-hate-it finger grooves, while the Gen 5 is known for its revamped trigger system, simplified details (such as fewer locking pins and a magwell designed for faster loading), and fresh styling. 

With nearly identical specs and lots of available customization, you will need to dig into some of the 35 upgrades in the Gen 5 to decide which might work best as the next addition to your CCW collection.


Grip

Both generations of the Glock 19 boast aggressive stippling that provide a firm and comfortable grip. There are, however, two primary differences between the grips of the Gen 4 and the Gen 5. 

The first is the result of a change in the slide stop. Unlike previous Glock 19 generations, the Gen 5 boasts an ambidextrous slide stop to accommodate left-handed users. 

However, this slide stop isn't always comfortable for all users. Some people can feel the slide when resting their finger on the trigger, while the slide stop forced Glock to create a cutout in the grip that has many users up in arms.

If you are a left-handed shooter, the Gen 5 offers you a comfortable slide stop set up that does not require you to spend additional money to customize your gun. However, if you are a right handed shooter, you may wish to evaluate your own experience with the Glock Gen 5's slide stop before purchasing the newest generation. 

The second change in the Gen 5 grip is the removal of the finger grooves on the front. While some shooters enjoyed these grooves, they did not fit every shooter's hand comfortably, detracting from the stability and comfort of the gun. 

Now, you have the luxury of choice: Select the Gen 4 if you want finger grooves to provide stability to your shots and are sure that the grooves fit your hand comfortably. Choose the Gen 5 if you prefer a smoother, and potentially more comfortable, grip.


Trigger

One of the biggest changes between the Gen 4 and Gen 5 is the trigger group, which was updated to deliver a crisper, cleaner, pull.The snappy pull is a pleasant change from the previously mushy performance of the Gen 4.

The trigger has also been simplified in the Gen 5, which only uses two pins in the frame, reducing the number of moving parts that could potentially break. Instead, the Gen 5 uses sturdier frame rails and a firing pin block design that does not require the third pin to accomplish the same goals as the 3-pin design found in the Gen 4. 


Accuracy

The Gen 5 boasts polygonal rifling, which uses softer contours within the barrel than the sharper edges of traditional spiral-cut rifling. Polygonal rifling is easier to clean, delivers greater velocity, and is more accurate under certain circumstances. 

However, the polygonal rifling only delivers improved accuracy if (1 You are shooting the gun at great distances or (2 You exceed 10,000 rounds through your handgun. 

Because polygonal rifling lacks sharp edges that wear down over time, it retains its accuracy longer than spiral-rifling. For gun owners who possess multiple guns and who may not ever shoot 10,000 rounds from a single gun, the longer-term accuracy of the polygonal rifling may not be a determining factor in your choice. 

Reliability

When it comes to reliability, the Gen 4 and Gen 5 are neck and neck. They both live up the Glock reputation for consistent delivery of shots, time after time after time. 

The only difference between the two is a slightly faster reload on the Gen 5, thanks to the flared magwell that provides more space for loading the gun. Consider the Gen 5 if you need to load quickly or are attempting to improve your shooting speed. 

Sights

The Gen 4 comes with basic but serviceable polymer sights. These serve you well if you primarily use your Glock to shoot during the day. You can also purchase the Gen 4 and upgrade the sights if you want something different. 

The Gen 5 may be a preferable choice, however, if you engage in regular night shooting with your Glock. This model comes with Amerigloo Glock Spartan Operator Night Sights, making it easier to find your target in the dark. 

Laser

Neither the Gen 4 nor the Gen 5 come with a laser, but you can mount a laser to both of these handguns. Just make sure you purchase a laser that is compatible with the type of Glock you purchase, since the two generations take different lasers. 

Looks

At nearly the same shape, size, and weight, the Gen 4 and 5 look much the same. However, there are slight differences that may affect your approach when deciding which to purchase. 

The biggest aesthetic difference is the finish. The Gen 4 boasts a Melonite coating, while the Gen 5 boasts a new Diamond Like Coating (nDLC). Both are durable, weather-proof finishes (with the nDLC boasting a hardness similar to diamond) that allow you to take your gun anywhere and use it hard without affecting its appearance. 

The only downside to the nDLC coating is that it is slightly less resistant to fingerprints, which means you may find yourself cleaning it more often. 

Other aesthetic differences between the two generations include the removal of the finger grooves on the Gen 5 to create a smoother look, and a rounded nose on the Gen 5. Ultimately, the aesthetics come down to your personal preference, and the extent to which fingerprints and grime on your gun bother you. 

Safety

Both Glock 19 generations boast superior safety, with three passive safeties that make it almost impossible to discharge the gun accidentally. The trigger safety requires the simultaneous depression of the trigger and trigger safety, making it almost impossible to discharge the gun if it is dropped. Additional safeties include a firing pin safety and drop safety. Each of these safeties releases as the trigger is pulled back and re-engages automatically when the trigger is released for secure, but smooth and easy, firing. 

In addition to the safeties, the Gen 5 also possesses an extended floor plate that clearly indicates when the gun is empty. The reduction of pins from 3 and 2 also makes it less likely that the gun will work improperly, since there are fewer moving parts in the gun. 

Concealability

The Glock 19 Gen 4 and 5 are both supremely concealable. Small and trim, they fit easily into both OWB and IWB holsters and are lightweight enough to carry all day. Just be aware that at about half an ounce heavier, the Gen 5 may feel slightly different when carried for long periods of time. 

Gen 4

Caliber: 9mm 

Overall length: 7.28 inches

Overall height: 5.04 inches

Barrel length: 4.2 inches

Trigger reach: 2.76 inches

Width: 1.26 inches

Weight: 21.16 ounces empty

Capacity: 15 + 1 

Gen 5

Caliber: 9mm 

Overall length: 7.28 inches

Overall height: 5.04 inches

Barrel length: 4.2 inches

Trigger reach: 2.76 inches

Width: 1.33 inches

Weight: 21.52 ounces empty

Capacity: 15 + 1 

Ammo

The primary consideration when it comes to ammo for your Gen 4 or 5 is the length of the magazine for the Gen 5. Thanks to the extended floor plate, the Gen 5 magazines are slightly longer than traditional Glock magazines, which makes them incompatible with the Glock 19X. 

If you want all of your ammo to be interchangeable with all Glock guns, then the Gen 4 has an advantage here. However, if total ammo compatibility is not important to you, then you can purchase either generation without worrying too much about the ammo they take. 

Customization

Customizing Glocks is a common pastime among gun enthusiasts. The ability to swap out slides, triggers, sights, and other elements to create exactly the type of handgun you need is an appealing feature of the Glock. 

If customizing your gun to your exact specifications is vital, then the Gen 4 will offer you more flexibility. The Gen 5 trigger system is not as easy to swap out with other trigger systems as is the Gen 4's. 

If, however, you want to get as many upgrades as possible in your initial purchase, you may want to buy the Gen 5. With improved sights and an improved trigger system (as well as the ambidextrous slide stop), the Gen 5 offers you more in a single package than does the Gen 4.


Holster

While slight, the differences in size and shape between the Gen 4 and the Gen 5 mean that the holsters are generally not interchangeable. You will likely need to purchase a new holster for your Gen 5, even if you already own a Gen 4, for example. 

When looking for a holster, consider a high-quality IWB or OWB holster that secures the gun to you while still making it easy to draw. Leather holsters are comfortable, while holsters that are molded to your gun model create a more secure hold. 


Reviews

Reviewers of the Glock 19 Gen 4 and Gen 5 generally find the two to be comparable. Here are some of the differences they notice: 

  • Crisper trigger on the Gen 4
  • Better slide release on Gen 4
  • Better trigger on Gen 5
  • Improved grip on Gen 5
  • Lack of finger grooves on Gen 5 (Good or bad, depending upon personal preference)
  • Greater price on Gen 5
  • SImilar accuracy

Rene Aguirre

Rene Aguirre is the founder and owner of Bravo Concealment. Rene has been carrying concealed on a daily basis for over 8 years and has been a CHL (concealed handgun license) holder for more than 20 years. Finding a high interest in firearms for many years, Rene started Bravo because of the “lack of” a good concealed carry holster.


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