Everything, All about Glock

Even people who have never owned or shot a gun have heard of Glock. Sometimes called “America’s handgun,” Glock has been a staple in popular culture depictions of gun ownership since the 1980s. If you are looking for a reliable and affordable pistol, then Glock has the gun for you. However, there are a lot of options. Today we will break down their various pistol types. This article presents an overview of all of Glock’s pistols and their unifying features. Follow the links on the models above to learn detailed specifics about each pistol.

We also have a buying guide for IWB and OWB holsters.

But First, Some History

Where did Glock come from, and how did they become so synonymous with America guns? These are some good questions, especially when you consider that Glock is an Austrian company that began by making knifes. Gaston Glock founded Glock KG in 1963 to produce consumer goods out of wood, polymer, and metal. From 1970-1979 Glock made military weapons—but not guns—like field knifes and training grenades. In 1980 the Austrian army gave Glock an official invitation to develop a new firearm for them. And thus, the Glock pistol was born.

 

In order to take advantage of the lucrative American market, Glock began exporting their pistols to the United States in 1986. Paul Barrett argues that Glock immediately caught on with the U.S. police because they believed they were getting outgunned by criminals.[1] Their Smith & Wesson .38s just didn’t have the knock-down power needed to be effective. Once the police began carrying Glocks—and the pistol showed up in films like Die Hard 2 (1990)—the civilian market quickly caught on. Glock became a household name.

 

For a longer, more detailed look at Glocks history visit their website.

 

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Glock’s Pistols

As mentioned above, Glock has been making firearms since 1980, and selling them in the United States since 1986. They have been extremely prolific, which creates a large number of potential pistol options for military, police, civilians, hunters, and competition shooters. We will be discussing the pistols aimed at all of these groups except competition shooters, as their weapons are not designed to be carried or used daily.

 

Different Versions

Glock makes a lot of different pistols. Their many diverse types, sizes, and purposes can be quite confusing. In order to uncomplicate Glock’s pistol offerings we’ve provided a list organized by size. We catalog each model’s most current generation and the specs for that generation. See our linked articles for more in-depth information about each pistol.

 

Find G17 IWB  G17 OWB Holsters

 

            Standard Pistols    

                        G17 gen 5: 9 x 19

                                    Specs

                                                Length: 7.95 in.

                                                Height: 5.47 in.

                                                Width: 1.34 in.

                                                Barrel Height: .79 in.

                                                Barrel Length: 4.49 in.

                                                Weight (unloaded): 25.04 oz.

                                                Trigger Pull: about 5.5 lbs.

                                                Magazine Capacity: 17

                        G22 gen 4: .40

                                    Specs

                                                Length: 7.95 in.

                                                Height: 5.43 in.

                                                Width: 1.18 in.

                                                Barrel Height: 1.26 in.

                                                Barrel Length: 4.48 in.

                                                Weight (unloaded): 25.59 oz.

                                                Trigger Pull: about 5.5 lbs.

                                                Magazine Capacity: 15

                        G20 gen 4 and SF: 10mm Auto

                                    Specs

                                                Length: 8.03 in.

                                                Height: 5.47 in.

                                                Width: 1.27 in.

                                                Barrel Height: 1.26 in.

                                                Barrel Length: 4.60 in.

                                                Weight (unloaded): 30.71 oz.

                                                Trigger Pull: about 5.5 lbs.

                                                Magazine Capacity: 15

                        G21 gen 4 and SF: .45 Auto

                                    Specs

                                                Length: 8.03 in.

                                                Height: 5.47 in.

                                                Width: 1.27 in.

                                                Barrel Height: 1.26 in.

                                                Barrel Length: 4.60 in.

                                                Weight (unloaded): 29.30 oz.

                                                Trigger Pull: about 5.5 lbs.

                                                Magazine Capacity: 13

                        G31 gen 4: .357

                                    Specs

                                                Length: 7.95 in.

                                                Height: 5.43 in.

                                                Width: 1.18 in.

                                                Barrel Height: 1.26 in.

                                                Barrel Length: 4.48 in.

                                                Weight (unloaded): 26.12 oz.

                                                Trigger Pull: about 5.5 lbs.

                                                Magazine Capacity: 15

            Compact Pistols

                        G19 gen 5 and G19x: 9 x 19 We reviewed G19 OWB and G19 IWB Holsters

                                    Specs

                                                Length: 7.28 in.

                                                Height: 5.04 in.

                                                Width: 1.34 in.

                                                Barrel Length: 4.02 in.

                                                Weight (unloaded): 23.99 oz.

                                                Trigger Pull: about 5.5 lbs.

                                                Magazine Capacity: 15

                        G23 gen 4: .40

                                    Specs

                                                Length: 7.28 in.

                                                Height: 4.99 in.

                                                Width: 1.18 in.

                                                Barrel Height: 1.26 in.

                                                Barrel Length: 4.01 in.

                                                Weight (unloaded): 23.65 oz.

                                                Trigger Pull: about 5.5 lbs.

                                                Magazine Capacity: 13

                        G32 gen 4: .357

                                                Specs

                                                Length: 7.28 in.

                                                Height: 4.99 in.

                                                Width: 1.18 in.

                                                Barrel Height: 1.26 in.

                                                Barrel Length: 4.01 in.

                                                Weight (unloaded): 24.00 oz.

                                                Trigger Pull: about 5.5 lbs.

                                                Magazine Capacity: 13

            Sub-Compact Pistols

                        G26 gen 5: 9 x 19 Looking for G26 IWB / G26 OWB Holsters?

                                    Specs

                                                Length: 6.42 in.

                                                Height: 4.17 in.

                                                Width: 1.30 in. 

                                                Barrel Length: 3.43 in.

                                                Weight (unloaded): 21.69 oz.

                                                Trigger Pull: 5.8 lbs.

                                                Magazine Capacity: 10

                        G27 gen 4: .40 Looking for a G27 IWB Holster?

                                    Specs

                                                Length: 6.41 in.

                                                Height: 4.17 in.

                                                Width: 1.18 in.

                                                Barrel Height: 1.26 in.

                                                Barrel Length: 3.42 in.

                                                Weight (unloaded): 21.89 oz.

                                                Trigger Pull: about 5.5 lbs.

                                                Magazine Capacity: 9

                        G29 gen 4 and SF: 10mm Auto

                                    Specs

                                                Length: 6.88 in.

                                                Height: 4.45 in.

                                                Width: 1.27 in.

                                                Barrel Height: 1.26 in.

                                                Barrel Length: 3.77 in.

                                                Weight (unloaded): 26.83 oz.

                                                Trigger Pull: about 5.5 lbs.

                                                Magazine Capacity: 10

                        G30 gen 4, SF, and G30s: .45 Auto

                                    Specs

                                                Length: 6.96 in.

                                                Height: 4.80 in.

                                                Width: 1.27 in.

                                                Barrel Height: 1.26 in.

                                                Barrel Length: 3.77 in.

                                                Weight (unloaded): 22.95 oz.

                                                Trigger Pull: about 5.5 lbs.

                                                Magazine Capacity: 10

                        G33 gen 4: .357

                                    Specs

                                                Length: 6.41 in.

                                                Height: 4.17 in.

                                                Width: 1.18 in.

                                                Barrel Height: 1.26 in.

                                                Barrel Length: 3.42 in.

                                                Weight (unloaded): 21.89 oz.

                                                Trigger Pull: about 5.5 lbs.

                                                Magazine Capacity: 9

            Sub-Compact Slimline Pistols We have G43 IWB/ G43 OWB Holster Reviews

                        G43: 9 x 19

Specs

Length: 6.26 in.

                                                Height: 4.25 in.

                                                Width: 1.02 in.

                                                Barrel Length: 3.39 in.

                                                Weight (unloaded): 17.95 oz.

                                                Trigger Pull: about 5.5 lbs.

                                                Magazine Capacity: 6

G36: .45 Auto

            Specs

                                                Length: 6.96 in.

                                                Height: 4.76 in.

                                                Width: 1.10 in.

                                                Barrel Height: 1.26 in.

                                                Barrel Length: 3.77 in.

                                                Weight (unloaded): 22.42 oz.

                                                Trigger Pull: about 5.5 lbs.

                                                Magazine Capacity: 6

                        G42: .380 Auto   We have reviews for the inside and outside the waist band holsters for the G42

                                    Specs

                                                Length: 5.94 in.

                                                Height: 4.13 in.

                                                Width: .94 in. 

                                                Barrel Length: 3.25 in.

                                                Weight (unloaded): 13.76 oz.

                                                Trigger Pull: about 5.5 lbs.

                                                Magazine Capacity: 6

Looking for G43 OWB Holsters? IWB for G43

                       

Glock Generations

Talk to a Glock lover and you are most likely to hear phrases beginning with “gen.” This stands for the various generations of Glock’s pistols. The company did not officially acknowledge generations of their pistols until gen 4, but all generations of Glock’s pistols have been retrospectively named by fans. Here’s a quick breakdown of the various generations, their dates, and the pistols on offer. Quick note: some people further breakdown Glock generations into more specific groups like gen 2.5 or gen 3.5.[1] For the purposes of simplicity, here we will use larger, more general groupings to describe the different generations.

 

            Gen 1: (1980-1988)

This generation encompasses the earliest Glock offerings in both Austria and the U.S, i.e. the G17 standard pistol. Glock made their mark with these pistols since they were much lighter than the competition. The frames were completely made out of polymer, which is significantly lighter material than the typical metal. The lack of manual safety also set Glock pistols apart from the rest of the market—more on this feature below.

 

 

 

            Gen 2: (1988-1996)

In 1988 Glock released their second-generation pistols. In this generation they fixed some frame issues that had been plaguing gen 1. Namely, the pistol was so light that certain elements did not work correctly. Thus, in this second generation the magazines were created by layering plastic on a thin coating of metal—which allowed for easier loading—and the barrel wall was thickened—which helped prevent accidental discharges. Finally, in gen 2, Glock began releasing pistols of different calibers to serve various civilian and police demands.

 

            Gen 3: (1996-2010)

To date, this is the longest running Glock generation. Glock added an accessory rail that they called the “Universal Glock Rail” on all of their pistols. This rail allows the customer to mount lasers or lights to their gun. Gen 3 pistols also include finger grooves and thumb rests on their grip. As discussed below, these features are either loved or hated by gun lovers.

 

            Gen 4: (2010-2017)

Although Glock claims that their pistols are “perfect,” they occasionally still need some updating. In 2010, Glock updated all of their pistol models for the gen 4 release. This is the first generation that Glock acknowledges by printing the title “gen 4” on the barrel of all of their pistols.

 

Most of the updates in the gen 4 pistols involve the frame texturing, reversible magazine catch, and the inclusion of multiple backstraps. The features that defined gen 3, like the “Universal Glock rail,” thumb rests, and finger grooves, all remain in gen 4.

 

            Gen 5: (2017-current)

Glock began their current gen 5 line by releasing an updated version of the G17 and G19—their two most popular 9x19 pistols—in November 2017. Then on January 22, 2018 the next two gen 5 pistols, G26 and G34, hit dealers’ shelves. With this release, Glock has now updated four of their 9x19 pistols in standard, compact, sub-compact, and competition sizes.

 

Important updates for all gen 5 pistols include, in their words, “enhanced polygonal rifling and an improved barrel crown [to improve accuracy], no finger grooves, ambidextrous slide stop levers for better versatility and control, and an nDLC finish, which is a tougher and more durable finish that is exclusive to the Glock manufacturing process.”[2]

 

 

 

Important Features

Here are a few features that distinguish Glock from their competitors, and occur in all models. See the above links for a more comprehensive list of Glock features on each pistol variety.

 

            Grip

Even extreme Glock lovers gripe about the pistols’ grip. Obviously, this problem has not stopped people from buying Glocks. But, Glock continually works on perfecting the grip on their pistols. Changes to the grip constitute one of the largest differences from one generation to another. Here are some add on Glock Grips reviewed.

 

Since gen 3 Glock has used an intense grip with thumb imprint and finger grooves. As mentioned above, people tend to either love or hate Glock’s finger grooves. The grooves work well when they fit a person’s hand. But, if your hand does not fit, then you have a problem. Gen 4’s interchangeable backstraps helped improve people’s grip, still, most reviewers applaud Glock for removing the finger grooves on the gen 5 pistols—the thumb pad and backstrap options remain.

 

            Trigger

Another element that sets Glock pistols apart, especially when they entered the U.S. market in the 1980s, is their DAO striker-fired trigger. It takes only about 5.5 lbs. of force to break the trigger on most of Glock’s pistols. In the 1980s this was significantly less force than the usual 12lbs.[3] Glock’s immediate popularity in the U.S. caused its competitors to work hard to catch up. Now, because of Glock’s influence, a smaller amount of force required for trigger pull is standard in compact and sub-compact pistols.

 

            Safety

Probably the most infamous aspect of every Glock pistol, the lack of manual safety set Glock pistols apart from others on the market, like Smith & Wesson or Sig Sauer. Contrary to popular belief, Glock pistols do have safety features. They just do not feature a safety that you have to flip on and off.


Most of Glock’s pistols actually feature three automatic safeties, the trigger safety, firing pin safety, and drop safety. The trigger safety looks like a small tab that prevents the gun from firing unless you pull it into the trigger proper. Glock’s trigger safety method has caused a lot of controversy. Some people claim that the trigger safety is an effective tool for inhibiting the gun from firing; however, many argue that a trigger safety is not enough to provide a safe weapon. The other two safeties—firing pin and drop—also keep the gun from firing when you don’t want it to, such as when the pistol is accidentally dropped.  

 

Conclusion

Whether you love or hate Glock pistols, it is hard to argue with there success over the last almost forty years. Their constant updates and generation shifts improve their pistols by incorporating changes recommended by the people using their guns on a daily basis. While it is still likely that you will see an older Glock pistol in popular culture, the newer models been adapted to suit today’s environment and carry needs. You don’t need to be a member of the military or police to appreciate, shot, and fall in love with Glock’s pistols.

[1] Giuliano Cristofani, “Glock Pistols Gen3 Vs. Gen4: What is the Difference Between the Generations?” All 4 Shooters, https://www.all4shooters.com/en/Shooting/pistols/compare-glock-pistols-gen3-vs-gen4-which-differences/ (accessed 3/1/18).

[2] Press Release, “Glock Expands the Fifth Generation Pistol Family,” Glock Press Releases (January 2, 2018), https://us.glock.com/news/release/glock-expands-the-fifth-generation-pistol-family/ (accessed 3/1/18).

 

[3] Erin McCarthy, “ Why the Glock Became America’s Handgun,” Popular Mechanics (January 12, 2012), https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/weapons/a7445/why-the-glock-became-americas-handgun/ (accessed 3/1/18).

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