Glock sent me their latest evolution of the G17 (Generation 4) for T&E review. For anyone who doesn’t know, it’s an autoloading pistol chambered for the 9x19mm Parabellum cartridge (9 mm Luger, 9 mm NATO).
External differences are apparent in comparison to the previous generations. The new rough textured frame (RTF) and enlarged magazine release are most obvious while the short frame (SF) now offers interchangeable backstraps.
Manufacturer: Glock Inc.
Model: G17 Gen4
Caliber: 9x19mm Para
Capacity: 17 + 1 rounds
Weight: 24.9 oz. (w/mag.)
Length: 7.875 in.
Height: 5.4375 in. (w/mag.)
Width: 1.243 in.
Barrel: 4.487 in.
Twist: 9.84 in. RH (mfr)
Rifling: 6 Hexagonal
Trigger pull: 5 lbs. 2.5 oz.
Another evolution is the dual recoil spring assembly. The two springs are to increase the life span of the assembly while supposedly reducing felt recoil.
Gen4 (bottom) compared to 3rd generation single spring (top).
The most significant changes include the Short Frame (SF) grip with the versatility to adapt the size to the user with the medium or large modular backstraps, while the new Rough Textured Frame (RTF) surface is to provide a secure grip in adverse conditions. The magazine release has been enlarged and is reversible for southpaws. And the dual recoil spring assembly for increasing the life of service. Other than that it still looks like a Glock.
Temperature was 73° F. 10 mph SW wind. Winchester, Black Hills and Double Tap ammunition was allocated for the test.
Velocity results were first priority.
Winchester 9mm 115 gr. FMJ…………….1110 fps
Black Hills 9mm 115 gr. JHP EXP…………1206 fps
Double Tap 9mm +P 115 gr. JHP…………1373 fps
Winchester PDX1 9mm +P 124 gr. JHP…..1199 fps
Head group is 5 rounds of Winchester 115 gr. FMJ at 3 yards, offhand.
All torso groups were fired at 7 yards, offhand.
Left: Black Hills EXP (5 rds) - Right: Double Tap +P (5 rds)
Center: Winchester PDX1 +P (3 rds)
5 round groups were fired from a bench at 25 yards.
Note: Targets’ Bullseye – 2″ dia.;
outer – 8″ dia.
Admittedly, I am and have been a Glock enthusiast for many years and found nothing wrong with the previous variant. That said, I welcome the Gen4 improvements. Yes, I said it – improvements. I am accustomed to and like the 3rd generation grip but the new rough texture surface has more bite without gouging and the adaptable modular backstrap is an improvement. There are many different hand sizes, so why not offer a multiple sized grip. I actually preferred the standard (small) grip which is integral to the frame. The medium (M) backstrap will give you the previous G17, 22, 31 generation size grip whereas the large (L) will feel more like a G20 or 21. During the range test my hold was secure and the pistol didn’t shift under recoil. The enlarged mag release is an improvement, it was easily manipulated and mags dropped free; southpaws now have the option to reverse it for left thumb use. As for the dual recoil spring assembly outlasting the old, I cannot attest, and to the claim of reduced felt recoil, I didn’t bring my 3rd generation G17 to the range for a side-by-side comparison but I couldn’t tell a difference. The new spring assembly appears to be better built and more stout. Through 167 rounds the pistol experience no malfunctions. Good accuracy is what I have come to expect from Glock and this handgun didn’t disappoint. I am very pleased with the evolution of the G17. Inherently there’s not a great difference between the Gen4 and its predecessor - it looks like a Glock and shoots like a Glock.