Glock 19 Gen 5 Review: Still Champion

This is a Glock 19 Gen 5 review article that will highlight the necessary parts for you to make a buy decision for your next compact 9mm semi auto striker fired polymer-based pistol. It's likely to persuade you to buy the Glock 19 Gen 5.

A lot of nuances are encompassed in the changes made for generation 5 guns (note: only the Models 17; 19; 26 and 34 have current factory Gen5 offerings at the time of this article.

The changes made in the Gen5 variants:


Glock Gen 5 Magazine

The magazine undergoes several changes, with the orange follower on magazine providing witness hole identification and quick visual notice of an empty magazine. Additionally, the magazine has a beveled front edge on the floor plate, which is seemingly a moot point, but does offer some polish to the overall look of the gun/magazine.

That's not all surrounding the magazine, though. The mag well has two unique changes that many critics find fault with (and for good reason), while many users are glad to see implemented. The front of the mag well has a crescent shaped cutout to facilitate pulling the magazine out during a failure (like a double feed).

This can be a problem because it now requires a magazine to be put in place at a tight range of angles, or the magazine follower/top round can get stopped by the cutaway. During rapid reloading, this is seen as an issue by many.

Furthermore, the flared mag well, which would ordinarily be a nice addition, is so robust, and has no cutaway on the sides of the grip to allow for a purchase on the bottom of the magazine during a failure. This is an obvious oversight for a tactical gun, and while the flare is helpful, it almost seems like an afterthought by Glock.

It's not all bad from Glock in this latest installment of generational changes, though.


Glock 19 Gen 5 - Frame

The Glock 19 Gen 4 texturing/pattern for "stippling" carries on and has the added bonus for many shooters of the removal of the front strap finger grooves. The gun is significantly easier to hold for those with smaller hands and the forced hand position of the finger grooves from previous generations only worked for some shooters.

The backstrap system (modular) is improved, in that it offers 2+2 backstraps, allowing a full range of grip customization, including two with beavertail and two without. The same grip texture in that grid-dot format persists.

The Generation 5 Glocks at the time of this article come from factory with a front edge bevel at the front of the dust cover area, beneath the bore; on the frame. The first Gen5's out of factory did not have this, but this variant gives a slight advantage in aesthetics and in holstering/de-holstering.

The reversible magazine release also stays put and allows for the magazine release to easily be swapped left to right side. It is NOT a full-time ambidextrous magazine release, simply, it is reversible in a solid-state manner. 

The slide stops are now AMBIDEXTROUS from factory, FULL-TIME. This is a vast improvement for most shooters, with the caveat that those shooters with the most extreme high handhold, two-handed shooting grips may have a tendency to inadvertently engage the slide stop during rapid fire. This is a major concern that needs to be addressed by shooters of that style. There is not a reliable aftermarket solution to this. Luckily it affects a tiny portion of the shooting world.

The "Glock bump" still exists in the backstrap area. While it is easy to learn how to deal with this, it may seem foreign to first time shooters of the platform. It is a persistent piece of the Glock platform that is best left alone thanks to the volume of shooters who continue to buy Glocks. If they change it now, they will have problems with training continuity in law enforcement and the public and it would be a huge problem for Glock as opposed to a complaint on some forums.


Glock 19 - Gen 4 vs. Gen 5

Glock 19 - Gen 4 vs. Gen 5

The steel finishing goes to a DLC (Diamond like coating), which is the industry new standard, and it offers great value for money and creates a virtually rust-free environment. This does away with the more caustic forms of finishing used in some prior variants of the Glock portfolio. The new front slide serrations look good in that finish too.

The firing pin safety cup (which keeps the striker in position until the disconnector has been fully actuated) is changed to the geometric shaped one used in competition models which helps with a cleaner trigger pull and a more foolproof actuation, though Glock never really had a problem with that aspect of the mechanism. The reduced surface area offers a slightly crisper trigger pull it seems.

The trigger setup is vastly different. It has a pre-release tension now, which simulates a double action trigger pull better, and the release is crisper. It feels a lot like the original "NEW YORK" trigger, without the stack up in the release; and with better pre-release tension. It also means that the trigger is a completely new part and is not interchangeable with any other previous generations.

The "New York" trigger is a trigger used for law enforcement agencies; implemented early on in the Glock storyline, to help with accidental discharges, which had a trigger pull of about 7-9 lbs. as opposed to the Glock factory 4.5-6 lbs. The trigger seemed to stack better at the onset of the pull and offered a noticeable break difference which made deliberate trigger pulls more likely to occur. It started with the New York based police agencies and Glock adopted the name obviously. 

The Locking Block above the trigger requires one less pin, and the build is seemingly more robust. There are some apparent minor angle changes from a finishing perspective on the geometry of the barrel lockup fitment. Glock didn't mention it, but if you look closely, you can see, at least, some minor finishing techniques that bevel the angles differently.

This may not be a mechanical change that underwent engineering changes, but may instead, be a new manufacturing finish process. It is unclear whether there were lockup concerns on any Glock models. Certainly, Glock isn't talking about them if they existed.

The barrel also has a few other changes; with a distinctive marketing piece dedicated to the "Marksman barrel" rifling and the recessed crown. The crown is a big piece to ensuring longevity of accuracy, and the hexagonal rifling has always been pretty good, so overall, it's an improvement.

The sight alignment has been adjusted up, which means you no-longer will shoot high if you seat the front dot between the rear "U". In previous generations, you had to adjust the front dot so that it partially is covered by the rear "U" outline in order to be on the "X". But, in other news, the sights are still polymer.

Last but not least, Glock introduces a quick check loading chamber indicator through some artful manipulation of how the extractor works. It is brilliant and unobtrusive and yet, quite handy for those who want to know quickly and with a tactile feel (sans sight) whether their gun is ready for action. It also provides visual confirmation. Greta move by Glock, especially given some other major manufacturers have butchered the implementation of loaded chamber indicators in the recent past.

The Glock 19 as a pistol

glock 19 gen 5

Perhaps the Glock 19 by volume and by fan base is the most popular carry firearm in the world. It would be surprising if it wasn't.

It checks every box on the want lists of users, including compact size, easy of handling; light weight, slimness, high capacity capability and durability and reliability. Millions have been sold. No amount of changes would likely put that legacy into jeopardy. Rather, the Gen 5 changes, except for a couple of legitimate errors (like the flared mag well and the front strap bottom cutout), push this gun forward into the future and give more value relative to the rest of the market.

If you have trusted Glock previously, there is no reason not to move forward with the Gen 5. Note: the changes are not all that groundbreaking from a Gen 2 or Gen 3 perspective, but it will seem aesthetically more relevant and contemporaneously more adjusted.

The 15 rounds of 9mm that is capable of being carried in the gun offers plenty of stopping power, especially given the recent ballistic improvements in cartridge components and engineering that showcase the 9mm favorably again as a first choice for law enforcement and the majority public. 

Nothing can take away the legacy of the Glock 19. Certainly not some changes in a generational product portfolio that a few shooter's dislike. In all, the Gen 5 changes have essentially been met with less resistance and are seen by a larger percentage of people as improvements rather than mere changes.


It may seem that the author dissected the changes harshly in the Generation 5 modifications, but that doesn't take away from the fact that the author still relies on Glock as a carry gun frequently; and that the Glock system is as reliable and durable a gun platform as any that exist. Glocks number into the millions, and very few relative cases exist of catastrophic failures that lead to a major result, exist.

That speaks volumes for Glocks as a whole. Notwithstanding, Glock could have done better on a few points, and it's possible they address this in future releases of the Gen 5 palette; or in future generational changes years down the road.

Regardless, the Gen5 is a fantastic firearm that continues to shine in the Glock legacy.

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