Glock 19 Gen 4 Review: What Have they Done to the 19?(!)

Handgun Review: Glock 19 gen 4

Glock 19 Gen 4


The additional backstraps that come with the G4 are a real blessing to the versatility of comfort for this pistol. While some may object to the aggressive texture of the grip this is easily dealt with either through lots and lots of shooting to develop callouses, the application of a grip sleeve, or for the more daring, to simply sand down the texture a bit. Be careful though! The frame is the serial numbered pieces, no taksies backsies if you go too far.


The grip angle on the G4 does not feel quite so drastic as on earlier models, however, it is still there to accommodate the magazine, which has not changed shape. Once the pointing is addressed, the G4 19 continues to deliver acceptable to above expected shots on target. As always, individual factors apply, but Glock maintains a baseline to measure alternative deviations.


There appears to have been some initial reluctance to accepting the dual recoil spring assembly on the G4, despite the fact that the set up was working just fine on the company’s sub compacts for years. Concerns brought to the company over failures to feed or completely cycle were addressed quickly and after any initial teething problems, the current run of G4 pistols serve reliably in every service they have been delivered. ck.


Sights and triggers kits became available almost immediately and most sights for the Gen 3 have no problem being put onto the G4. The real customization out of the box are the extra backstraps. Those, along with the ability to switch the magazine release for southpaws really make the G4 one of the most adaptable Glocks to have hit the market (until, of course, the G5)


Glocks still look like Glocks and the G4 is no different. At this particular point, however, after three plus decades, most people have come to accept and except the Glock from any expectations of looking “sexy”. Those that want a little “bling with their zing” have not been shy about customizing their pistols into all sorts of monstrosities. Others find the Glock’s basic outlines to be a symbol of dependability and safety. …Kind of like a Volvo.


The Gen 4 was designed to take over as the forerunner of the Glock line, though the Gen 3 remained in production for much of the time the 4 was released. The price differential was easily explained by the extra accessories the G4 was standard with: extra magazine (x3) and backstraps. With the release of the G5, the G4 price has dropped to the same level of the G3 which appears to finally be being phased out of productions across all models.

The Glock 19 in its longest generation variant, the Gen 3, has been praised as an almost perfect workhorse service pistol for its reliability and compact size. While not a universal favorite, it is popular and dependable enough to not be overly concerned with any naysayers: positive field experience outweighs subjective complaints almost everytime. With that said, Glock may have taken a big risk in “updating” the 19 for the Gen 4. Cynics of any real improvement may have even felt justified by the continued parallel production of the Gen 3.

Glock 19 Gen 4 - 2

The Generation 4 of the Glock 19, introduced in 2010, has more aggressive stippling on the grip, four additional backstraps, including two with beavertails, an extra additional magazine (three, instead of two), an ambi capable (reversable) magazine release, a reduced trigger pull and a dual spring recoil assembly similar to the sub compacts and a slightly milder trigger pull are all present on the Gen 4. Given the “extras” the Gen 4 comes standard with, the initial extra price compared to the Gen 3 (which remained in production until after the Gen 5’s release) was not unreasonable. That the older incarnation DID remain in production alongside the Gen 4 seemed to allow for customization as most after market companies were slow in uptooling for the subtle and not so subtle differences in the Gen 4.

Other reasons for the Gen 3 to remain in production with the Gen 4 was the incompatibility of parts between the two and because of the popularity of the 19, there was just too much support out there to justify closing the line out without due warning. Since the dual recoil spring requires a completely different housing in the frame, upgrades would be impossible while aftermarket companies scrambled to replace product. For the more mundane applications, while the G4 mags still work in G3 frames, G3 mags are all but useless in G4 frames set up for left handed shooters – but with the mag release set up for righties, there is no problem.

Glock 19 Gen 4 Review: Does it still shoot like the old one?

By this point, anyone who complains about how the Glocks tend to point upwards due to the grip angle have found that most Glock users do not care. The Glock 19 became and remains popular for providing consistent and dependable accuracy on target for all competitive and defensive applications.

Glock 19 Gen 4 - 3

The Gen 4’s extra recoil spring helps soak up recoil (such as what a 9mm generates) to reduce muzzle flip, especially relevant on a poly framed pistol where the heaviest component is also the part that moves back and forth violently while firing.
The polygonal rifling is designed for use with jacketed bullets rather than lead, but given that most indoor ranges prohibit lead and most defense rounds are jacketed, this is not really a pressing concern.

Does it still take abuse like the old one?

Despite the minor adaptations to the fit and function of the internals of the gun, the G4 maintains the Glock standard for dependable performance through use and abuse in virtually all sorts of circumstances. In fact, the double recoil spring and improvements to the extractor only enhance the reliable feeding and ejection. The lighter trigger is also a noticeable difference, though some shooters remark on the feeling of a squish than break in the trigger.  This, as is expected, remedied by aftermarket upgrades both from Glock as well as others.

Glock 19 Gen 4 - 4

Now that we know we can trust it, can we dress it up?

It is still a Glock, but ...

Aftermarket customization was initially slow to catch up from the G3’s custom capability, which can assumedly be attributable to the fact that there was so much out there for the G3 that doubling up for G4 upgrades was simply not in the budget for most places. The rail remained for lights, lasers and combo accessories and sight replacements remained just as prominent. 

Perhaps the most pertinent feature is the four additional back straps the model offers, including two extended beavertails reducing both recoil torque and the possibility of the weapon “biting” the webbing of shooter’s hands. In all honesty, offered with the gun out of the box, this is a difficult bonus to under appreciate that appeals to both small shooters and big paws alike.

Glock 19 Gen 4 - 5

Glock also released different color framed pistols to different distributors as exclusives. The finger grooves remained and for more aggressive custom shops, were a target for removal through melting or grinding and sanding down for those who felt their fingers were being forced into unnatural positioning. A year or so after release, the G4 became just as alterable as its progenitor with complete rebuilds possible for a truly unique feel.

Glock 19 Gen 4 Review: Is it still boxy?

They didn’t change a thing.

Well, that is not entirely true as the above has already explored. The front of the slide is also more tapered than squared for improved ease of holstering, and the texture is noticeably different, to the touch if not sight. That said, Glock has fully embraced their squared off and, by now, iconic profile that experienced enthusiasts recognize for quality and dependability.

Glock 19 Gen 4 - 6

What does it cost?

Lipsey’s $599, Online $539+/-
For about the same price of the Gen 3 brand new in box, the G4 offers several advantages over the older model as well as many competitor service pistols. Most obviously this includes the extra magazine (three instead of standard two) and backstraps

Glock 19 Gen 4 Review

Glock 19 Gen 4

Final thoughts

The G4’s additional features make it a tempting choice for a service pistol, and the custom options out of the box also make it a favorite among both Glock loyalists and new shooters alike. The lighter trigger pull and aggressive grip texture have both supporters and detractors, however, and it is recommended that prospective buyers rent one to see if it is right for them. This will be a personal determination however, as the pistol remains a true champion of Glock’s reputation for dependable service and accuracy.

Watch a Glock 19 gen 4 review from hickok45

Image source: BERETTA9mmUSA

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