Hey there, fellow gun enthusiasts! It’s Brady Kirkpatrick here, founder of GunMade.com, and I’m on a mission to help you buy guns confidently, understand the legalities, and get the best possible price online.
I recently had the opportunity to spend extensive time with these two models, putting them to the test and examining the differences and improvements in the Gen5.
From texture to trigger, pin system to sights, rifling to ergonomics, there are significant variations to unpack. My goal is to share my personal experiences and impressions, highlighting the changes Glock has implemented and discussing how these changes translate to real-world usage.
Whether you’re a long-time Glock fan or a newcomer to the world of firearms, I hope this comparison provides valuable insight to help inform your next Glock purchase. Let’s delve into the details and navigate the nuanced differences between the Glock 19 Gen4 and Gen5.
The Glock 19 is one of the most popular and versatile handguns in the world. It is a compact, semi-automatic pistol chambered in 9mm Luger that can be used for self-defense, concealed carry, law enforcement, military, competition, and more. The Glock 19 has been in production since 1988 and has undergone several generations of improvements and modifications.
The latest generation, the Gen 5, was introduced in 2017 and has some significant changes and upgrades over the previous generation, the Gen 4, which was released in 2010. But what are the similarities and differences between the Glock 19 Gen 4 and Gen 5, and how do you choose the best one for your needs?
In this article, we will compare and contrast the Glock 19 Gen 4 and Gen 5, and provide some tips on how to decide which one is right for you.
Overview of the Glock 19 Gen 4
Glock 19 Gen 4 Information
The Glock 19 Gen 4 is a compact, semi-automatic pistol chambered in 9mm Luger that was released in 2010.
It is the fourth generation of the Glock 19, which was introduced in 1988 as a smaller and lighter version of the Glock 17. The Glock 19 Gen 4 has a polymer frame and a steel slide with a gas nitride finish. It has a standard barrel with conventional rifling, a straight magwell, a trigger with more overtravel and reset, and standard plastic sights
Overview of the Glock 19 Gen 5
Glock 19 Gen 5 Information
The Glock 19 Gen 5 is a compact, semi-automatic pistol chambered in 9mm Luger that was released in 2017. It is the fifth generation of the Glock 19, which was introduced in 1988 as a smaller and lighter version of the Glock 17.
The Glock 19 Gen 5 has a polymer frame and a steel slide with a nDLC finish. It has a marksman barrel with improved accuracy and polygonal rifling, a flared magwell, a trigger with less overtravel and reset, and an option for night sights or optic-ready slides.
Check out our Glock 19 Gen 5 review if you want all the information.
Specification Chart for The Glock 19s
|Specification||Glock 19 Gen 4||Glock 19 Gen 5|
|Overall length||7.28 inches||7.28 inches|
|Overall width||1.26 inches||1.34 inches|
|Overall height||5.04 inches||5.04 inches|
|Weight (with full mag)||30.16 ounces||30.16 ounces|
|Barrel length||4.01 inches||4.02 inches|
|Barrel rifling||Hexagonal profile with right-hand twist of one turn in 9.84 inches||Glock Marksman Barrel with improved polygonal rifling and enhanced crown|
|Trigger pull weight||~5.5 pounds||~5.5 pounds|
|Trigger travel distance||~0.49 inches||~0.49 inches|
|Magazine capacity||15 rounds (standard)||15 rounds (standard)|
|Magazine compatibility||Gen 4 magazines only (unless modified)||Gen 5 magazines and earlier generations (if they have an orange follower)|
|Slide finish||Tenifer (gas nitriding)||nDLC (diamond-like carbon)|
|Slide serrations||Rear only||Front and rear|
|Slide stop lever||Reversible for left or right hand use||Ambidextrous|
|Grip texture||Rough textured frame (RTF) with finger grooves and interchangeable backstraps||Rough textured frame (RTF) without finger grooves and interchangeable backstraps|
|Grip angle||~22 degrees||~22 degrees|
|Magwell design||Standard with cutout on the front of the grip for easier magazine removal||Flared with no cutout on the grip|
|Sights||Polymer sights (standard), steel sights, night sights, or adjustable sights (optional)||Night sights (standard), steel sights, adjustable sights, or Ameriglo Bold sights (optional)|
Similarities Between the Glock 19 Gen 4 and Gen 5
Despite the differences between the Glock 19 Gen 4 and Gen 5, they still share many common features and characteristics that make them both excellent handguns. Some of these similarities are:
Both the Glock 19 Gen 4 and Gen 5 are chambered in 9mm Luger, which is a widely available and effective caliber for various purposes. The 9mm Luger offers a good balance of power, accuracy, capacity, recoil, and cost.
Size and Weight
Both the Glock 19 Gen 4 and Gen 5 are compact and lightweight pistols that are easy to carry and conceal. They have a barrel length of 4.02 inches, a slide length of 6.85 inches, a height of 5.04 inches, a width of 1.34 inches, and a weight of 23.65 ounces (unloaded) or 30.16 ounces (loaded).
Both the Glock 19 Gen 4 and Gen 5 have a standard magazine capacity of 15 rounds, plus one in the chamber. They can also accept magazines from other Glock models that have higher capacities, such as the Glock 17 (17 rounds), the Glock 18 (33 rounds), or the Glock 19X (19 rounds).
Reliability and Durability
Both the Glock 19 Gen 4 and Gen 5 are known for their reliability and durability in various conditions (AKA that Glock perfection).
They have a polymer frame and a steel slide that are resistant to corrosion, abrasion, and impact. They have a safe action system that consists of three internal safeties that prevent accidental discharge. They have minimal parts and controls that reduce the chances of malfunction or failure.
Ease of Use
Both the Glock 19 Gen 4 and Gen 5 are simple and easy to use pistols that require little training or maintenance.
They have a consistent trigger pull that requires no manual safety or decocking lever. They have a reversible magazine release button that can be switched for left-handed or right-handed shooters. They have an easy takedown process that requires no tools or pins.
These similarities make the Glock 19 Gen 4 and Gen 5 suitable for various purposes, such as self-defense, concealed carry, law enforcement, military, competition, etc. They are both reliable, durable, simple, and easy to use pistols that can handle different situations.
Key Differences Between The Glock 19 Gen 4 & Gen 5
While the Glock 19 Gen 4 and Gen 5 have many similarities, they also have some significant differences and improvements that can affect their performance and preference. Here are some of the most noticeable differences I picked up while shooting the Gen 4 and Gen 5 side-by-side:
- The Gen 5 trigger has much less takeup and overtravel, making it smoother right out of the box. My Gen 4 improved over time, but still can’t match the Gen 5’s crisper break.
- The lack of finger grooves on the Gen 5 provides a superior grip, better accommodating various hand sizes. The Gen 4’s fixed grooves begin to irritate my hands during lengthy range sessions.
- The Gen 5’s flared magwell makes reloads effortless and fast, especially when running drills under pressure. The Gen 4 occasionally causes fumbling during rapid manipulations.
- The nDLC finish on the Gen 5 repels fouling and corrosion far better than the Gen 4. Less cleaning time means more shooting time.
- The front slide serrations on the Gen 5 provide a welcome addition for press checks and malfunction clearing. The Gen 4 requires an extra step to rack from the rear.
- The Gen 5’s marksman barrel improves long range accuracy and reduces stray ejection. My groups tighten up noticeably at distance compared to the Gen 4.
The Glock 19 Gen 5 has a marksman barrel that has improved accuracy and polygonal rifling. The marksman barrel has a recessed crown that protects the rifling from damage and a tighter chamber that reduces bullet deformation.
The polygonal rifling has a smoother bore that increases the muzzle velocity and reduces the fouling. The Glock 19 Gen 4 has a standard barrel that has less accuracy and conventional rifling. The conventional rifling has grooves that cut into the bullet and create more friction and fouling.
The Glock 19 Gen 5 has a nDLC finish that has better corrosion and scratch resistance than the Gen 4’s gas nitride finish. The nDLC finish is a diamond-like carbon coating that reduces friction and wear.
The Glock 19 Gen 5 also has front serrations that allow for easier manipulation of the slide, such as press checks or racking. The Glock 19 Gen 4 does not have front serrations and has a smoother slide surface.
The Glock 19 Gen 5 has a flared magwell that allows for faster and easier reloads than the Gen 4’s straight magwell. The flared magwell has a wider opening that guides the magazine into the frame. The Glock 19 Gen 5 also has a cutout on the front of the grip that allows for easier extraction of the magazine in case of a malfunction or jam.
The cutout also reduces the overall weight of the pistol. The Glock 19 Gen 4 does not have a cutout and has a heavier frame. The Glock 19 Gen 5 also has no finger grooves on the grip, which improves the ergonomics and comfort for different hand sizes and shapes. The Glock 19 Gen 4 has finger grooves that can be uncomfortable or ill-fitting for some shooters.
The Glock 19 Gen 5 has a smoother and lighter trigger pull than the Gen 4’s trigger. The Gen 5’s trigger has less overtravel and reset, which means less movement and distance before and after the shot.
The Gen 5’s trigger also has an improved trigger spring assembly that reduces friction and tension. The Gen 4’s trigger has more overtravel and reset, which means more movement and distance before and after the shot. The Gen 4’s trigger also has an older trigger spring assembly that creates more friction and tension.
But of course, you can always swap out triggers too.
The Glock 19 Gen 5 has an option for factory-installed night sights or optic-ready slides, which enhance the visibility and accuracy of the pistol in low-light or long-range situations. The night sights are luminescent dots that glow in the dark and help align the sight picture.
The optic-ready slides have cutouts that allow for mounting red dot sights or other optics on the slide. The Glock 19 Gen 4 does not have these options and comes with standard plastic sights that are less visible and accurate in low-light or long-range situations.
These differences can affect the performance and preference of the Glock 19 Gen 5 over the Gen 4. Depending on your needs, preferences, and budget, you might find one generation more suitable than the other.
Glock 19 Gen 4 Pros & Cons
- Reduced dimensions and magazine capacity of 15 rounds
- Uses 9mm ammo, which is affordable and widely available
- Variety of backstrap options and customization features
- Good recoil control and accuracy
- Standard issued U.S. Military-grade weapon and used by many police departments nationwide
- Plastic sights that are prone to damage
- Trigger is difficult to learn and has a long reset
- May require a retention holster to prevent accidental discharge
- Not compatible with Gen 5 magazines unless modified
Glock 19 Gen 5 Pros & Cons
- Glock reliability and durability
- Very comfortable grip without finger grooves
- Backstrap is adjustable for different hand sizes
- Easy to strip and maintain
- Loads of aftermarket extras and support
- Functional but plain appearance
- Only 9mm caliber
- No trigger safety
- Trigger is difficult to learn and has a long reset
- Not as customizable as previous generations
How to Choose Between the Glock 19 Gen 4 and Gen 5
So, how do you decide which generation of the Glock 19 is best for you? There is no definitive answer, as it depends on your personal needs, preferences, and budget. However, here are some pros and cons of each generation that might help you make your choice:
- The Gen 4 is cheaper, more available on the used market, and more compatible with aftermarket parts and accessories than the Gen 5. However, it has less features and improvements than the Gen 5, such as the barrel, the slide, the frame, the trigger, and the sights.
- The Gen 5 is more expensive and less compatible with aftermarket parts and accessories than the Gen 4. However, it has more features and improvements than the Gen 4, such as the barrel, the slide, the frame, the trigger, and the sights.
Ultimately, you should choose the generation that suits your needs and preferences better. You might prefer the Gen 4 if you are looking for a more affordable and customizable pistol that still performs well in various situations. You might prefer the Gen 5 if you are looking for a more advanced and refined pistol that has better accuracy, reliability, and ergonomics.
Before you buy your Glock 19, you should also try to test and compare both generations before making your final decision. You can do this by renting them at a range, handling them at a gun store, reading reviews online, or asking other Glock owners for their opinions. This way, you can get a feel for how each generation fits your hand, shoots your ammo, and meets your expectations.
Do police use Glock 19 Gen 5?
Yes, some police departments and agencies use Glock 19 Gen 5 pistols as their duty or backup weapons. For example, the Georgia State Patrol and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol have adopted the Glock 19 Gen 5 as their standard issue sidearm.
The Glock 19 Gen 5 offers some features that may be beneficial for law enforcement use, such as night sights, ambidextrous slide stop lever, flared magwell, and improved barrel accuracy.
Is the Glock 19 Gen 4 discontinued?
The Glock 19 Gen 4 is discontinued for the U.S. commercial market, but not for the law enforcement or international markets. Glock has stopped producing 9mm and .40 caliber Gen 4 models for the U.S. civilians, focusing on the Gen 5 models instead.
However, Glock still supports fielded Gen 4 pistols and agencies with Gen 4 models, and continues to manufacture Gen 4 pistols in other calibers and for other regions.
After spending considerable time with both the Glock 19 Gen4 and Gen5, I’ve come to appreciate the distinct characteristics that each brings to the table. Having carried the Gen4 quite frequently, it’s fair to say that this model has grown on me. I find the texturing comfortable and grippy, and I’m indifferent to the adjustable backstraps. The magazine release has never given me any trouble, making it a reliable piece in my collection.
I was initially intrigued by the Gen5’s changes, especially the ambidextrous slide release. While it adds a bit more weight and width, it can be a great feature for left-handed shooters. The darker finish is aesthetically pleasing and gives the pistol a fresh look. The removal of the finger grooves was a significant change, and while it harkens back to the earlier Glock designs, I must admit, I prefer the Gen4’s grip with the grooves. They offer a more ergonomic feel that suits my hand better.
The changes in the magazine were interesting – the flared magazine well, the orange followers, and the extended lip on the base plate. While they’re nice additions, I didn’t find them significantly affecting my experience. The fact that the magazines are interchangeable between the two generations is a practical feature I appreciate.
One thing I did find notable about the Gen5 was the improved sights. The deeper rear notch provided a fuller sight picture, which definitely enhanced my target acquisition. However, I was less impressed with the trigger – while it’s not bad by any means, I found myself favoring the Gen4’s trigger, which, for me, offers a more consistent feel and break.
Examining the internals, the shift from a two-pin to a three-pin system in the Gen5 was an interesting development. The inclusion of the coil spring in the takedown lever and the change in the firing pin block safety were also noteworthy, but I didn’t find these adjustments drastically altering my handling or shooting experience.
The switch from polygonal rifling to a standard rifling in the Gen5 was an intriguing choice. However, I didn’t notice a significant difference in my shooting accuracy or the bullet performance between the two.
In conclusion, while the Gen5 undoubtedly brings some innovative and refined features to the table, my personal preference leans towards the Gen4. Its grip texture, trigger feel, and overall design suit my shooting style more. That said, the choice between the two ultimately comes down to individual preferences.
Both models represent Glock’s commitment to continuous improvement and evolution in the firearm industry. If you get the opportunity, I would highly recommend trying both to see which one suits your shooting style the best. After all, the best way to determine the right firearm for you is to get hands-on experience.