Glock 34 Review: What Makes It A Top Competitor?

Sight picture, control and capacity is what the Glock 34 is all about. In this Glock 34 review, you’re going to find out why the pistol is so highly sought after by competition shooters and duty professionals alike and why the pistol can so easily bridge the two worlds.

The Glock 34 is a testament to the importance of shots on target and overall shot control. It’s built to maximize these principles, and for the money, it’s legitimately hard to find a competent competitor. In fact, there are very few competitors even in the same realm from a build style perspective (Springfield has a notable contemporary offering).

That said: the Glock 34 seems at this time to be untouchable in mass market appeal, intuitive performance in the realms it’s built for and for its overall handling capabilities for those who opt for a full size (+) pistol.

Glock 34 Review

Sight plane

The deliberate elongation of the spacing between the sights on a pistol generally is only acceptable until a certain point, where it reaches diminishing returns due to the general lack of balance that the design choice can impose on the gun. In the case of the Glock 34, this is a well-thought out design that places a premium on sight plane length and still manages to get the balance right.

This is likely due to the double stack magazine and the higher capacity magazine potential as well as the light weight grip frame made from reinforced polymer that Glock all but pioneered in the 1980’s (H&K was actually an earlier adopter, though Glock made it into a household material for gun manufacturers).

This combination of factors makes this among the best swinging pistols on the market despite seeming to be top heavy at first glance. In a true combat scenario, the shooter will be glad they have the extra accuracy potential and the easy to control handling that the G34 offers.

Barrel Length

In addition to the longer sight plane which helps the shooter level out the sighting easily, the barrel allows higher velocity and more consistency out of the barrel, which can also enhance on target accuracy. It also helps to make the gun balance better given the lightweight frame.

The combination of these two design features (when done within reason), have been a potent contributor towards better shooter control and better groups on target.

In the case of the 34, it also helps minimize muzzle lift, as the forward weighting of a longer barrel and slide help to keep the flip minimized at projectile bore exit.  If given the choice for a similar overall weight and knowing you won’t need to conceal the gun in most scenarios you would choose it for, the shooter will almost certainly opt for the larger sight plane and longer barrel for myriad reasons.

Not the least of which would be accuracy. Better velocity consistency means higher potential stopping power on a per-projectile basis. It also translates to a faster shot from target acquisition to trigger pull, once the shooter understands how the pistol handles, because the leveling of the sights is seemingly smoother.

Grip frame size

Super controllable, this is not a gun made for small hands. It is most definitely a full-sized frame. Only slightly bulky, it is considerably longer than many other “mainstream” pistols in the frame drop down at the grip. This is made for larger shooters who want higher capacities, and total control. It is surprisingly well suited to a high thumb hold, which is common in competition shooting and in duty use.

That is part of the reason that it has found such a robust crossover between competition dedicated shooters and law enforcement users. The sure grip and ability to easily execute a high hand position without slide bite or difficultly in balancing the gun makes it more easily used by shooters who favor those hand positions.

The extended slide release is not so bulky as to make it awkward, but given the high perch of the gun, it facilitates easy top round loading upon magazine replacement and during fast transitions.

Again, a word of caution to those with small or stocky hands, this will be the type of grip frame that necessitates a rotation in the hand for reloads if you aren’t accustomed to a longer drop on the grip frame. Be aware of this, as it can add crucial seconds to your IPSC round times, or in a combat scenario where extra seconds can be important.

Balance of the build

Already discussed abundantly above, this is an exceptionally well balanced gun that weighs in at a manageable 25.93 ounces unloaded with magazine and 33.33 ounces fully loaded with a standard capacity magazine.

It’s simple to control for larger hands and is excellent for high hand holds. The lengthy slide and barrel (and sight plane) allows a more controlled rhythm in shot placement but doesn’t necessarily shave seconds off times for those who are drawing the weapon from holster. In an active stance, this is a fast to first shot pistol.  

Sight choices and accessory options

The extra length rails in the front of the gun will help with accessorizing and allow a lot of options, though, with too bulky or heavy of a choice on the front end, some of the dynamics of the balance start to become out of balance. Choose your accessories wisely if you prefer to maintain the excellent balance of the Glock 34. Factory adjustable rear sights are standard.

Capacity

You can shoot 17, 19, 24, 31 or 33 round magazines with the Glock 34, and they are each exceptionally reliable. The larger capacity magazines aren’t practical even for most competition shooters (and most competitions won’t allow them at the firing line anyways), but with the low cost of 9x19mm ammunition, they sure are fun.

That is, as long as you don’t live in a state that limits magazine capacities.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • The gun that no one knew they needed until it came out
  • Excellent balance and top tier capacity potential
  • Exceptional handling for those with high grip stances and larger hands
  • Cool factory options including the G34 Gen5 MOS FS which offers front cocking serrations among some other enhancements

Cons

  • Can be a bit large for many mainstream shooters

This is best for

Duty users who want the ultimate in control over their sidearm. Competition shooters who are on a budget or want good factory options for accuracy without breaking the bank.

Glock 34 Review: Conclusion

The Glock 34 is truly the gun no one knew they needed until it was delivered. That isn’t to say that people weren’t clamoring for more competition guns or the specific characteristics of the G34, but that no one was asking Glock to pioneer the gun that would eventually becomes a best seller for the users it caters to.

Glock promises that they purpose-built the G34 to solve these problems, but there aren’t a ton of people who expected to get the type of gun that the 34 is, from a company like Glock. It’s the Glock that non-Glock people flock to. That’s a good thing.

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