Glock 26 Gen 5 Review: New Subcompact Ready for Concealed Carry

This is a straightforward Glock 26 Gen 5 review article that highlights new changes and carryover on the 9mm sub-compact platform within the Glock portfolio of pistols.
Glock 26 Gen 5

The Glock 26 has been a fan favorite for many years because it's tame; tiny, and very potent for a carry gun. Anyone can shoot it, and anyone can afford it. This is an article that serves as a Glock 26 Gen 5 review, with changes as listed below:

  • The magazine follower gets swapped out to an orange follower that allows easier visual recognition of rounds in magazine or empty mags.
  • The front of the magazine floor plate has a more finished edge (MINOR CHANGE)
  • There is a small cutout on the front of the mag well at the bottom of the grip frame front strap. It can cause some issues with reloading the magazine quickly. It's been universally despised by the Glock faithful.
  • The much anticipated and much asked for mag well flaring has occurred. But it seems that Glock botched it while going all in on the "FBI requested" front crescent-shaped cutout mentioned above. The flared mag well doesn’t allow any flexibility or relief cuts to help extract a magazine from a side pinching method.
  • Finger grooves go away, which brings things back to where they were on the Generation 2 guns before all of the Glock Kingdom was so divided.
  • Enhanced modularity exists in the form of the 4 backstrap options (5 total configurations) – all include the universally hated Glock Bump that is truly inconsequential given the popularity of the gun.
  • The mag release stays static, but reversible. No ambi-release at this point. (CARRYOVER FROM GEN 4)
  • What does get ambidextrous though, is the slide release. Some high handhold shooters who grip it closely with two hands may not like this feature, but these are the best in class ambi-slide stops across the industry and welcomed by the author.
  • Some cosmetic changes including beveling on the front dust cover below the bore and other places like parts of the slide are in place now too. (MINOR CHANGE)
  • The trigger is different; the lockup block is different two, requiring only a single pin now. The trigger feels a lot different (more on that later).
  • The Diamond like coating (DLC) is a better than ever finish and makes Glock conform to standard best practices in the industry (though Glock's "Tenifer" finish was revolutionary at its debut), finally.
  • The barrel is what Glock is now calling their "Marksman" barrel, which maybe means something and maybe doesn't, because it still shoots the same 2.5 inch groups at the range. It does boast a more significant barrel crown and an "improved" hexagonal rifling.
  • Whether the author can prove it or not (Glock hasn't mentioned it); there appear to be changes (albeit minor changes) to the barrel lockup lug and its basic angled architecture. It's possible it is just a finishing and tooling improvement though.
  • The Striker safety cup that mimic's the Colt 1911 series 80 firing pin safety is changed significantly from a geometric perspective and yields a better disconnector feel.
  • For that matter, the trigger is entirely revamped (see below)
  • The sights are improved, but still polymer from factory – opt for the night sight version that saves you about $100 on aftermarket sights. No one keeps the factory plastic sights for very long.
  • The new style of extractor doubles now, as a loaded chamber indicator with tactile and visual indication. Smart play Glock.

In all, this is a slew of changes that ultimately feel very good. Especially for those who hated the finger grooves. It isn't a perfect gun still, but it's pretty close. You won't find a more popular carry gun on the market, despite Glock losing market share for years. They still reign supreme with the Glock 26 (and 27).

The relative size of the Glock 26 and its propensity to be able to digest any cartridge while offering 10; 12 or more rounds thanks to the interchangeable magazine lockup scheme employed by Glock; this is a perfect concealed carry companion. Zero drama; and nothing but good things on its resume.

The weight of the 26 Gen 5 model is under 22 ounces with an empty magazine and the very long sight plane on a sub-compact makes it accurate and easy to get on target quickly. The overall width is only 1.3 inches. The overall length is under 6.5 inches (6.42) and the height is just a hair under 4 and a quarter inches with the magazine in place (4.17 inches).

Glock specifies the trigger distance to be 2.76 inches, which in this author's opinion means next to nothing, when you are talking about the improvements made on the trigger in Gen 5.

Is the trigger that much better, though?

Glock 26 Gen 5 - Trigger

Yes. It is. It's finally something that resembles a double action trigger pull. It stacks well, without a bunch of slop or creep (there's a little bit of flex from the polymer components, yes). It's resets very quickly and without a bunch of jerking around. It also feels stiff and crisp thanks to an improved trigger setup that makes it feel a lot like the original New York trigger.

This is significant because the Glock "Safe-Action" trigger was meant to mimic the features of a double action revolver trigger pull. Even if it failed miserably at doing so, it did attempt to do such a thing. The trigger is NOT spongy and cheap feeling like the standard trigger pull on most new Glocks of yesteryear.

There is pre-release tension that stacks up on the trigger which encourages the shooter to be conscious of what they are doing.

Imagine pulling a trigger on a Smith and Wesson 686 or similar, except that it's plastic. That's what Glock's trigger feels like. It's not nearly as nice as a 686's pull, but it has very similar characteristics. That gives the shooter some confidence and proves Glock is being innovative again after years of being able to slack off because of their massive success. They didn't rest on their laurels when dreaming up a better trigger experience in the Gen 5.

How do the new changes help the Glock 26 for the average shooter?

The lack of finger grooves will be polarizing to the contingent that shoots this gun for CCW purposes, because half of them will have liked the grooves and half of them would have been waiting for years for a 26 without them. Either way, the modular backstrap customization and the ability to customize that comes as a result of good Glock engineering and a robust aftermarket for modification options means that you are getting a long-lasting platform and plenty of customization opportunity.

The sight plane, paired with the now much easier to use sight picture and the longer barrel (longer than most sub compacts, that is) means you don't have to sacrifice pointability and accuracy to get a smaller package.

Any concealment gun can benefit from the potential for ambidextrous operation and even though they aren't flush, the slide stops are not bulky either, so they don’t detract from overall svelte feel of the gun.

Front slide seriations are a thing of beauty on the Gen 5 guns, especially on sub-compacts like the G26. The quick ability to press check using the front serrations and the enhanced ability to work the slide despite heavier spring tension at the recoil rod setup means that you are getting something for nothing as Glock has changed the game on the subcompact market.

These are just a highlight of the improvements for the sub-compact genre and that bodes well for the long-term viability of this popular platform. Millions of G26's exist because they are spectacularly balanced tools in the Concealed carry game.

Glock 26 Gen 5 Review: Final thoughts

Are you getting what you are paying for? Yes. Glock has delivered. It's a bit odd that the Gen 5 models 26, 19 and 17 all were released before anything outside of the 9mm caliber range exists, but that doesn't mean it's not good.

For those that are embracing the new-found return to popularity in law enforcement and in the civilian market of the 9mm Luger, this is a great gun to be found partnering up with.

What has historically made it so good for CCW holders (the light weight, small footprint and high capacity and easy handling combines with the new technologies by Glock to make the best sub compact on the market.

The finish (DLC); improved barrel and modularly enhanced backstrap make this a perfect mixture of old and new for any type of shooter who values concealment.

It's very much that juxtaposition of innovation and sticking to their roots that Glock has made so cohesive over the years that made it such a powerful player in the space.

Of all of the Gen 5 guns, this is perhaps the best use of all the new technologies and implemented changes. It can best utilize them; and is least affected by them from a negative standpoint. Glocks smart carryovers from Generation 4 and even smarter new Gen contributions has made this an amazing little option for the Concealed carry advocate.

Watch a Glock 25 Gen 5 review from J Helmsing

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