Is it just me or is there a lot of superficial hype about Glockís gen 4?

This is a discussion on Is it just me or is there a lot of superficial hype about Glockís gen 4? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; After much reading, both in print and online about the new Glock gen 4s, I decided I had to have one. I checked around, located ...

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Thread: Is it just me or is there a lot of superficial hype about Glockís gen 4?

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    Is it just me or is there a lot of superficial hype about Glockís gen 4?

    After much reading, both in print and online about the new Glock gen 4s, I decided I had to have one. I checked around, located one and took off with intent to buy it. When I got to the store, I looked at a G17 gen 4 side by side a G17 gen 3. So Iím thinkiní this side by side comparison will be the best way to see the gen 4 advantages. It didnít work out that way and I walked away with little interest in purchasing a gen 4 for nearly $100 more than a gen 3 would cost. But let me not leave this with you thinking this was a money decision Ė it was not; I had the cash; I had the intent to buy; it was the features or better put, the lack of features of the highly hyped and touted gen 4 that closed the deal, not the money.

    To fully realize the hype surrounding the gen 4, one has to be aware of historic claims made about Glocks. Letís start with the grip size. I canít remember how many times Iíve read that the Glock system has a size to fit all hands, i.e. the full size for big hands, the mid size for smaller hands, etc. Guess what? There is no difference in grip size other than the length! The girth is the same at all points up and down the grip. One could, and some have, cut down the grip of a full size and it becomes a mid-size grip. The trigger reach is still the same, the girth is still the same; itís just shorter Ė how does that fit smaller hands better? Now, no doubt some will have a preference for one over the other, but thatís a different thing.

    Now letís move forward to the gen 4 with the back straps to fit all hands. Guess what? The gun without any back straps is the same size as a gen 3 grip! When I was handling the guns in the store, I carefully noted the feel and the reach to the trigger Ė theyíre exactly the same, if not exactly, they are so close that if I were blindfolded with thin leather gloves on (so I couldnít feel differences in grip texture), you could hand me 10 different Glocks and I would not be able to pick out the gen 4s from the gen 3s. So what do the back straps do? They accommodate larger hands, not smaller hands! But we read that these back straps solve the one-size-fits-all problem Ė it does not! Those that have smaller hands will have the same problem with a gen 4 they have with the gen 3. For example, in the Glock Magazine 2011 issue, they list the specs for the gen 4 trigger reach. The trigger reach for a G17 gen 4 WITHOUT a back strap is 2.76 inches. Measuring the trigger reach on my G17 gen 3 with my digital calipers gives 2.79 inches or 0.03Ē difference which is, of course, insignificant. The trigger reach on a gen 4 with the medium back strap is 2.83 inches or right at an 1/8 inch longer. So the reach for small hands has not been addressed at all by the gen 4 and its back straps.

    Letís now move to the softer recoil claim. Iím just gonna say Iím veeeery skeptical about this claim. I will have to shoot a gen 3 and gen 4 side by side in a blindfold test to believe this. This same claim has been made in the past about Glockís recoil. It is claimed that because a Glock sits very low in the grip, that more of the recoil is rearward and hence less muzzle flip is generated. Also, the flex of the polymer frame supposedly softens the recoil. So this is not the first time weíve heard about softer recoil with a Glock.

    The problem is, regardless of the springing system, be it one or two springs, the slide has to move and stop in the same distance. To me, that results in the absorption of the same recoil momentum and energy. It may be possible by modifying slide velocity that a softer felt recoil results Ė I seriously doubt that, but itís possible. The slide velocity could be slow or fast at the start, and the opposite at the end, but either way an impulse effect would be generated. It may be that a human being would perceive an impulse as softer than linearly decreasing the slide velocity. But again, I will have to shoot a gen 3 and gen 4 side by side in a blindfold test to believe this.

    How about the ambi mag release? Well, it isnít ambi Ė itís switchable. This is the one thing that I find attractive about gen 4s at this point. I really prefer the mag release on the right side of the gun, and in fact, I have switched the mag releases on my Sig Classics to the right side. For me, the right side is much more accessible and positive with the trigger finger than the thumb. So, I find the switchable mag release a significant asset.

    However, the right side activation on the gen 4, for me, has not been proven yet. I have the true ambi mag release on my G21 SF (and picitinny rails) and it doesnít work well. I suspect the gen 4s are better. My initial assessment is that it appears the right side mag release may not be as advantageous as the Sig due to its position. It just Ďfeelsí like the release is further to the rear than the Sigs, making it a bit less assessable.

    However, I do like the gen 4 mag release button Ė I think itís a significant improvement. It reaches back a bit further than the pre-gen 4 releases, doesnít appear to protrude quite as much, and should be more thumb accessible, but I didnít find a significant difference in my initial look.

    A real down side to the gen 4 switchable mag release is that pre-gen 4 mags wonít work in a gen 4. Thatís not true of the Sig mag system. Letís say you have a G17 gen 3 and six mags for it and you buy a G17 gen 4. None of those gen 3 mags will work in it! Thatís not good! If you need/want six mags, youíre gonna have to buy four more Ė thatís about $100 worth of mags.

    So, what is the major assets of the gen 4s? Itís certainly not a smaller grip. I seriously question that it has significantly reduced recoil, but Iím open minded about that until I can test it myself. Is it the switchable mag release? Is it the grip texture? Iíll give it a plus on the grip texture, but I like my G17 RTF2 thatís even more aggressive than the gen 4, but I could settle for the gen 4 texture. I guess the bottom line is, just what is it we get for nearly a $100 more for a gen 4?

    Letís say the switchable mag release isnít an issue for you and you can take or leave the grip texture. What does that leave? The only thing I know of is you can make the grip bigger. Iíve always thought the problem with the Glock grip is it was already too big???
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    VIP Member Array zacii's Avatar
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    It's true that the Gen 4 mags will fit in a Gen 3, but the Gen 3 mags will only fit in the Gen 4 if the mag release button is on the left side of the pistol.

    Based on all of the hyperbole, I set out to compare the two, just like you. I have small hands, so I was hoping that the Gen 4 had a reduced length of pull, so I could get a better purchase on the trigger. It just ain't so. The Gen 4 has absolutely no selling points above the Gen 3. I can't say anything about the dual recoil spring system, because I haven't shot them.

    I completely agree with your summary. I can shoot Glocks well enough, not perfectly, but I can make 'em work. It would've been nice if the Gen 4 had accommodated smaller hands. In my mind, that's where the market share lies. There are more people with small hands, then there are with large ones.

    If an average hand size was made, including male and female, I believe that it would be significantly smaller than the one-size-fits-all Glock handle.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zacii View Post
    It's true that the Gen 4 mags will fit in a Gen 3, but the Gen 3 mags will only fit in the Gen 4 if the mag release button is on the left side of the pistol....
    Hmmm, I thought I looked at that yesterday to see if the gen 4 mags had 'mirror' cuts to accommodate the switchable mag release and I'm remembering they only had the one cut on the side and the front cut that the gen 3 and earlier mags don't have.

    Thanks for the heads up on that; I'll confirm that today and correct my OP accordingly.

    Quote Originally Posted by zacii View Post
    ...Based on all of the hyperbole, I set out to compare the two, just like you. I have small hands, so I was hoping that the Gen 4 had a reduced length of pull, so I could get a better purchase on the trigger. It just ain't so. The Gen 4 has absolutely no selling points above the Gen 3. I can't say anything about the dual recoil spring system, because I haven't shot them.....In my mind, that's where the market share lies. There are more people with small hands, then there are with large ones.....If an average hand size was made, including male and female, I believe that it would be significantly smaller than the one-size-fits-all Glock handle.
    Exactly how I see it too. The thing is, all the rhetoric about how the back straps have solved the 'fit' problem is very misleading. As you and I both found - they do not address the small hand issue at all. I wonder how many people, especially women, will buy a gen 4 thinking they're getting a gun that can be adjusted to fit their smaller hands?

    I wasn't even looking for a Glock with a smaller grip - I'm one of those strange guys that like the Glock grip, well, maybe except for the angle.
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    kpw
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    A $100 difference? Your getting ripped off. It's a $20-30 difference at most local shops and you get a 3rd mag. Some of the chain stores are ridiculous.
    The feel of the grip is going to be a personal thing but I do notice a difference between them. Not a huge difference but definately noticeable.
    As for the dual spring, I can't say I could tell a difference shooting 9mm. Shooting a Gen 3 & Gen 4 G22 side by side, I can. It seems to take a bit of the sharpness off the recoil impulse to me.
    My favorite features of the Gen 4 are the new mag release and the subdued RTF finish. When the price of an extra mag are factored in, they are basically even. A $100 more? I'd walk away too.

    I'm not sure how to address the small hand thing. My oldest daughter has tiny hands and prefers the feel of the M&P compacts but has no issues using a G19. Eat at McDonalds? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xu_bE...eature=related
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    Thanks for the write-up guys, it comforms my impressions. Our department had several Gen 4's to try. The brass and several of the firearms instructors shot them on the range. And bless their little hearts, they called in several of the officers the have the lowest qualification scores and let them shoot the course with the gen 3's and gen 4's back to back. The scores were 1-5 % higher for most of the lower shooters with the gen 4's, although 2 shot lower. As for precived recoil, most thought that if there was only a difference it was only slightly different in the weak hand part of the course. I had fired a friends earlier, only a mag full at 15 yards, and really could not tell any difference.

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    OD*
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    I have a Gen4 G17 (I prefer the texture of the Gen4 over that of my Gen3 G19), I like it, even though I am not really a Glockenspiel kinda guy. Anyway, the first time I had it out, I had multiple misfeeds, called Glock and received the replacement recoil spring set-up, took care of the problem, but I went a head and did the Gen3 conversion to it, I'm pleased with it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kpw View Post
    A $100 difference? Your getting ripped off. It's a $20-30 difference at most local shops and you get a 3rd mag. Some of the chain stores are ridiculous.
    The feel of the grip is going to be a personal thing but I do notice a difference between them. Not a huge difference but definately noticeable.
    As for the dual spring, I can't say I could tell a difference shooting 9mm. Shooting a Gen 3 & Gen 4 G22 side by side, I can. It seems to take a bit of the sharpness off the recoil impulse to me.
    My favorite features of the Gen 4 are the new mag release and the subdued RTF finish. When the price of an extra mag are factored in, they are basically even. A $100 more? I'd walk away too.
    Well, the price at two different stores, one a chain thing and the other a privately owned gunstore that usually has 'better' prices, had the gen 4s at $569 and $565 respectively. I'm going on memory here but I believe the gen 3s are going for about $469 around here.

    I could not feel nor see any difference in a gen 3 and gen 4 grip. I do plan to look at the mag issue again and I'll measure the grips while I'm at it. I don't believe there is any difference at all - I know there isn't in trigger reach.
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    OD*
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    Glock's with the reversible magazine release set up on the right side can only use the generation 4 magazines, the ones with the mag release cut on the right side of the magazine. I wanted to set up my Gen4 with the mag catch on the right, but I didn't want to give up the magazine compatibility.
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    As for the recoil comment, I read this which makes perfect sense to me:

    There are dual rate spring assemblies sold aftermarket for various guns like the Ber 92 that do reduce PERCEIVED recoil. It's because the effect of multiple springs is to give variable spring rate. This is because initially, only one spring resists movement then the second one kicks in at a point farther back. The slide moves quickly at fire (little spring resistance) which acts as a recoil absorber for the initial firing pulse. The resistance increases as the slide goes farther back, stopping it short of frame inpact. The total recoil energy is the same, but the initial pulse is less which most people feel as a softer recoil.
    Of course the subcompact Gen3's already have the double recoil spring anyway (eg G26), so that's one less feature upgrade.

    I have heard that the Gen 4's have a different (flatter, less oily) finish on the slide. Is this true? Because I really like the slightly oily finish of the Gen3 and I think this helps in rust prevention.

    Personally I see the larger mag release button as a con...I don't have any trouble hitting the Gen3 button so making it larger would only make it easier for the button to be accidentally depressed by a holster when sitting down causing the magazine to clatter out onto the floor.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sentioch View Post
    I have heard that the Gen 4's have a different (flatter, less oily) finish on the slide. Is this true? Because I really like the slightly oily finish of the Gen3 and I think this helps in rust prevention.

    Personally I see the larger mag release button as a con...I don't have any trouble hitting the Gen3 button so making it larger would only make it easier for the button to be accidentally depressed ...........
    Looks the same as the finish on my Gen3, and the magazine release isn't any easier to accidentally depress than the Gen3, at least in my experience with both.
    Last edited by OD*; February 5th, 2011 at 12:14 PM. Reason: Spelling
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    Even if they were the same price I think I would buy what whatever was infront of me. No draw to buy a gen 4 for me at least.
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    As someone who loves Glock, I have been saying the same thing for months on the Gen 4's. Plain and simple it was a half assed attempt at trying to add features that everyone else has had for a few years now. In doing so, they are not as reliable. Almost every single person I know that has the gen 4 gets the recoil spring sent out. Thank you for the honest assessment Tangle!
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    I find the gen 4 grip with no backstrap significantly more comfortable then the gen 3 grip. Perhaps it's all in my head but it was enough to make me buy a G23 gen 4 for my home defense/I need more firepower CCW where as I never would have considered it before because I hated the grip. I do notice less recoil but the 40 is still every bit as snappy. It just seems to be a slightly less sharp snap.
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    Quote Originally Posted by C hawk Glock View Post
    As someone who loves Glock, I have been saying the same thing for months on the Gen 4's. Plain and simple it was a half assed attempt at trying to add features that everyone else has had for a few years now. In doing so, they are not as reliable. Almost every single person I know that has the gen 4 gets the recoil spring sent out. Thank you for the honest assessment Tangle!
    Thanks Hawk, I'm carrying my G17 RTF2 right now - I love Glocks too - there's so much to like. But I agree exactly with what you said about the gen 4. I was not aware of the recoil spring issue. I know Glock had some real issues with the G22 gen 4 and I think the springs had something to do with that too.

    I can understand the pressure to deal with the grip issue, but to me they compromised a time tested, trusted design. I guess that doesn't mean the gen 4s won't prove themselves, but they're gonna have to in order to claim the reputation of the pre gen 4s. BTW, hawk check your PM.
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    I am not trying to bash Glocks because I don't have dog in this one. I don't much like Gen 1, 2, 3 or 4 version of Glock. They are just not my cup of tea.

    My only observation is this. Glock apparently got it right when they started, built a good reliable gun and marketed them well. They have seemed to rest on that fact and been far from innovative since thier original designs. The rest of the gun makers have had to sort of "catch up" to Glock and have been trying to do so with innovative designs in their pistols. Now that Glock is feeling the competition they are having to look at design changes and may feel some pain with these changes not being the latest and greatest of what is on the market.
    Just remember that shot placement is much more important with what you carry than how big a bang you get with each trigger pull.
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