Glock 34 Gen 5 Review: King of the Long Slides?

This is a Glock 34 Gen 5 review, which showcases the newest Glock 34 in the MOS configuration as it relates to the Generation 5 changes.

In this article you will find an overview of the changes to the Generation 5 platform (from Generation 4) as well as a basic overview of the pistol individually from the platform (Gen 5).

Glock 34 Gen 5

It is necessary to investigate the changes in the system that delivers the Generation 5 pistols, because it legitimately represents the largest compilation of changes in the history of the generational modifications by the Glock factory. Why this would have such an impact on the individual performance of the gun within its professional designation, should become clear as you recognize the changes on a point by point basis.

Because of the specialized nature of the G34 pistol model, the generational changes become even more important an indicator of the long-term performance and viability of the model. This is why you will see a large portion of this article addressing the overall platform changes and how the G34 interacts with those modifications, and not on the individual merits of the gun, as those are already widely established in the market. 

Basics of the Glock 34 MOS

The MOS designation stands for Modular Optical System which has its place in both a defensive and competition scenario. The popularity of the low-profile optical sight market in pistol shooting has made it imperative for Glock (and others) to address the potential market for factory direct modifications to allow for quick, easy and inexpensive optic mounting through factory available slide modifications and other detailing.

Glock 34 MOS

These modifications make it easier for mainstream shooters to get a pistol they are happy with, and encourages the use of aftermarket additions, which can help the overall industry.

The G34 MOS is not otherwise modified, except for the slide machining and ability to mount an optical sight easily. The fact that the machining of the slide is happening at the factory means you are getting Glock factory finishing and a similar warranty, which is generally not accessible to aftermarket modification outfits.

The Glock 34 MOS is a 17 round competition specific firearm that offers a long sight radius and a full-sized frame for discerning shooters who want the best performance and capabilities in competition but do not want to spend more than a thousand dollars for the privilege.

It takes a decidedly competition-centric slant, with the dual extended slide releases and the long barrel, long sight plane and lower trigger pull.

The following specifications show the excellent dimensions for this purpose:

There are 7.52 inches of sight radius; a 5.31-inch barrel length (utilizing the new Marksman Barrel) and a 4.5 lb. trigger pull, utilizing the next generation trigger components which help to improve the overall trigger experience.

More on these new components further down in this article.

The Glock 34 has become a stalwart in the competition arena because of Glock's legendary reliability and unheard-of durability, but also because of the reasonable cost of the firearm compared to substantially similar products that can accomplish the same tasks.  For a similarly capable 1911, you might be approaching a 2500-3500 price tag, where the Glock is significantly under $700 generally.

Changes as seen in the Gen 5 modification and how these changes affect the Glock 34 MOS

There are a lot of changes that correspond to the Generation 5 platform. They can be separated into the following 5 segments, and this methodology makes the most sense for the reader because the Gen 5 changes cover the entire makeup of the guns included in the Gen 5 set.

The Magazine changes

Glock 34 Gen 5 - Magazines

The floorplate is changed out for a slicker looking beveled edge piece; the follower for an orange colored one and it does improve visibility for competition shooters and defensive shooters alike. All the magazines now incorporate the carryover two slot catch on the body to ensure both right and left-handed shooters get drop free mags. For the 34 these changes are minor, but they improve the gun.

The added visual acuity that comes with an orange follower helps with witness holes and reloading. It's not all rainbows and butterflies though, with some specific commentary about the shortfalls surrounding the magazine/mag well in the below section on the frame changes.

The Slide Changes

Two words apply here for maximum impact: front serrations. Mostly aesthetic, but totally welcomed. Additionally, there are changes to the steel coating which becomes a DLC (diamond like coating) in a deep black that is different than previous finishes from factory. It’s now become an industry standard where nitrides are starting to fall out of favor for multiple reasons.

Glock 34 Gen 5 - Slide

Some polish work in the form of beveling helps holstering/de-holstering. The sights are adjusted to compensate for poor alignment in previous generations from an elevation perspective. That's a no-brainer; why did it take Glock so long?

Finally, a new extractor design functions as a legitimate loaded chamber indicator for the Gen 5 pistols. Both a feel and a visual check can easily be performed.

The Barrel Changes

Glock 34 Gen 5 Barrel

The barrel features a few minor finishing changes on the angels of the lockup on the bottom where the lug meets the block (more information below). Additionally, the barrel is now called the "Marksman" barrel and features a barrel crown of some actual consideration. This improves overall functionality, especially where competition is concerned.

While you might not see vast improvements in overall accuracy, you will likely be seeing some consistency improvements thanks to the barrel crown and the hexagonal rifling.

The Frame Changes

On the frame you'll find a controversial set of changes. Starting with the flared mag well, which in theory should be a crowd pleaser, except that Glock did not execute it well. They made it a more rigid style flare with a lot of body to the modification and that presupposes that shooters would never want to use a side to side pinching method to remove magazines from the Grip frame/mag well. Glock got this one wrong.

Glock 34 Gen 5 Frame

Both for tactical defensive shooters and competition shooters, making a modification which forces a specific technique to perform a function is a bad choice generally.

To make matters worse, Glock also decided to cut away the forward-facing portion of the bottom of the mag well into some awkward, non-beveled crescent shaped piece that makes it almost impossible to get 100% reliability in magazine reloading. For competition shooters, this is a brutal design flaw.

The cutaway is left with the internal surfaces at sharp angles and therefore forces the shooter get every part of the magazine reload process perfectly right. This means that if you are not inserting the magazine at the proper angle (even if you are off by a couple of degrees), you run the risk of causing FTF by unseating the top cartridge; or you impede a smooth transition because you have to readjust the angle you use for reloading.

This is actually one of very few complaints from the Glock purchasers, but it is fairly widespread, and they are vocal. Most of the changes for the Gen 5 experience are top quality and have been implemented well.

Interestingly, the best and most beloved changes in Gen 5 come on the frame as well:

There is the carryover of the modular backstrap system which democratizes the grip frame build by giving shooters 4 pieces with which they can modify their grip size and shape to their liking. Two of these backstraps are beavertail variants, which is also a well-received mod.

In terms of carrying over good things from Gen 4, the grid layout bump system that came in with Gen 4 grip texture patterns stays intact. This texturing pattern is leaps and bounds better than previous generations even if some people don’t like it from an aesthetics perspective.

In a competition setting, the purpose of the G34, this texture pattern helps defeat slippery sweaty hands and allows a great grip control for the shooter.

The other major point (not a carryover) that comes via the frame is the removal of the previous generation's finger grooves, in favor of a return to a very Gen-2-like grip frame, which means of course, that Glock has not removed the Glock "bump" as well. The lack of finger grooves has been a resounding win in the marketplace of opinions for Glock users.

The magazine release retains the ability to be reversed but is not ambidextrous in a full-time state. Furthermore, the frame is built to accept a dual (full-time-ambi) slide stop now and this version is impeccable. For competition this is a great implementation, but also for day-to day tasks, for the majority of users.

Regarding the frame, only minor changes remain to discuss, namely the beveling of the front portion of the dustcover to match slide cut changes.

The Internal Component Changes

The trigger on the Glock Gen 5 is vastly improved and incredibly different and hearkens back to a time when Glock promised to be more like a traditional double action trigger pull. The newest trigger indeed feels more like a double action trigger. It's not perfect, but considering where we came from with Glock triggers, it's very nice to have this compromise.

Glock 34 Gen 5 Trigger

You retain the central kicker which gives you the safe-action trigger, but it now has a pre-release tension that feels like a double action trigger stacking before release. It's also got a better disconnector angle, so the trigger pull isn't as "flexy" side to side or lengthy in the break. To achieve this, the striker safety cup is lightened and geometrically changed to help lessen tension caused by incorrect disconnector contact.

For all intents and purposes though, the competition models had this before Gen 5 anyways, so for the G34 it's a moot point. The overall system of the trigger, including the lockup block in front and above the trigger geographically is also changed. It now has only a single pin, and it is made beefier and has some minor angle finishing that differs from previous iterations.

Glock 34 Gen 5 review: Conclusion

The G34 was very good to begin with, and if you can stomach the mag well issue you'll love the new Gen 5 (and let's face it, the chances you will have a problem loading magazines properly with all the training you'll be doing with the money you saved by buying a Glock for competition shooting are slim enough to justify the leniency).

In the current form, this is a flagship competition offering and it performs admirably. Glock has managed to do it again with their competition line, especially given the benefits of inclusion of a factory slide cut for a mountable optic.

The Glock 34 Gen 5 is a great choice for the dedicated competitor.

Watch a Glock 34 Gen 5 review from GunsAmerica

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