I’ve been hemming and hawing about what 9mm pistol to get. I narrowed it down between the fourth generation Glock 17 or a Beretta 92FS. My justification to myself is I wanted a smaller caliber pistol to bring when I take new people shooting. Right now when I take a new person shooting they get to start on a .22 and jump to a .45 (Unless they’re willing to try a revolver but I notice many people don’t like that idea). I recently purchased a PA-63 which is in 9×18 but that gun is rather vicious and likes to bite the web of your shooting hand and the index finger of the hand wrapped around the shooting hand. I like it but I don’t think new people would.
Of course that’s just B.S. justification for the fact I want to own a 9mm. Yesterday I went into Ammo Craft in Hopkins, MN (Yes they get free advertisement because I really like the guy who runs it and their prices on guns are always good) and they had a fourth generation Glock 17 in stock. I thought I’d play around with it a bit and decided to purchase it. I’m taking it to the range for testing tonight. Until I get a range report I’m going to write some of my thoughts on this gun.
Looking at the gun not much has changed besides the grip is smaller and the texture is different. I like the new texture as it’s more aggressive than the generation three frames but less aggressive than the RTF2 frames. It’s a happy medium. Most people know that the gun now has the ability to use swappable back straps, two of which are included with the gun. One thing I like about Glock’s design is you don’t need a back strap inserted as the grip itself is textured on the back. This means the gun itself is still a self contained unit. Inserting a back strop is as simple as removing the trigger pin, clipping the back strap in, and inserting the included longer pin.
Two things to say about this. First I’m not that big of a fan of needing two pins, one for use when no back strap is attached and one for when a back strap is attached. It’s a small part and will be easy to lose. The second statement is the tool they give you to push the pin out is a joke. This little push punch is flimsy crap that bends when you look at it wrong. Why they didn’t just spend the extra three cents and include a Glock armorer tool I don’t know. Luckily any 3/32″ punch will work to remove the pin so you can get a real tool if you want one.
Overall the back straps make a noticeable difference. I have long fingers and find the grip on the Glock 30SF and 21SF to be comfortable. When the largest back strap is inserted the 17 feels very nice in my hand. As I mentioned the gun comes with two back straps. Without any back strap attached the gun is similar to an SF model of the large frame Glocks meaning it’s smaller than previous 17s. The back strap marked “M” adds 2mm of thickness to the back of the grip while the back strap marked “L” adds 4mm.
Another feature is the magazine release is now only larger but can be swapped around for left handed use. I haven’t tried swapping it around yet so I don’t know how easy it is but I can’t imagine it being very difficult. I’m not too concerned about the ambidextrous nature of the pistol as I simply use my trigger finger to drop the magazine when I’m firing it left handed. What I do like is the magazine release is larger and I don’t have to adjust my hand to hit the release with my thumb. The release is seated just slightly higher than the frame so I don’t believe accidental magazine releases while the gun is holstered will be an issue.
The other new feature in the new generation Glocks is the telescopic recoil spring. I don’t have much to say about it since I haven’t shot the gun yet but it’s supposed to reduce the felt recoil. This really isn’t anything new for Glock as my 30SF also has a telescopic recoil spring but certainly doesn’t look as heavy build is the on in the generation four pistols. One thing is for certain it’s slightly harder to rack the slide (Very slightly mind you). Getting the slide moving takes more force but once it’s “broken” free it’s easy to move the rest of the way back.
All the internal parts minus the recoil spring and barrel look to be the same as previous generation Glock pistols. This means finding parts for the gun shouldn’t be difficult. Of course the slide on the fourth generation pistols won’t fit on previous generation guns since the frame needs to be cut out for the large recoil spring.
Overall I like to look and design. There aren’t many changes to this gun but there really didn’t need to be either. I’ll post about the range results when I have them.