Glock 19 Gen 5 – First Impression

Glock 19 Gen 5 – First Impression

We recently received our first Glock 19 Gen 5 pistols at the store.  Many have asked about the differences between the Gen 4 and the Gen 5 and what advantages, if any, exist.  Here is my first impression of the gun.

The Gen 5 shares the grip texture of the Gen 4 and feels very similar except for the front strap.  The Gen 5 no longer has the finger grooves that have long been a source of complaint about Glock pistols.  If the grooves fit your fingers, as they do mine, it isn’t a problem.  If they don’t fit, however, it can make the gun uncomfortable for the shooter.  While the grooves never bothered me, I don’t miss them when handling the Gen 5 so this was probably a good move for Glock.

What I don’t feel was a good move was the addition of the cutout at the base of the front strap of the grip.  This void sits directly under my strong hand pinky and has a bit of an edge to it.  I found it instantly uncomfortable and annoying.  It was clearly added to make it easier to strip a magazine that is reluctant to come out of the mag well but I do not like the feel of it.  Perhaps a little sanding would smooth it out and at least mitigate this but I doubt it will eliminate this issue.  They added a lip to the front of the magazine base pad as well.  That, coupled with this cutout, definitely will improve grip on the magazine should stripping it be necessary so it isn’t without merit.  The longer grip of the 17 may negate this issue as well but I haven’t gotten my hands on one yet.

Speaking of the magazine well, the flared magazine well is a nice addition.  It isn’t very aggressive, so it won’t afford a tremendous advantage over the Gen 4 magazine well, but every little bit helps.  The spread of the Gen 4 was 1.04” while the Gen 5 was 1.18”.  That is over 1/10 of an inch extra margin for error when inserting a magazine in a hurry.  This was done with only a barely noticeable increase in grip width on the outside.  I’ll take it.

The Gen 5 slide on the 19 is contoured in a manner similar to a Gen 4 26.  The muzzle end is melted, making it a bit more sleek.  This may aid somewhat in holstering the gun, though I would consider this change to be primarily cosmetic.  I do prefer the look of it.

The Gen 5 has an ambidextrous slide release.  This is a welcome addition for our left handed brethren.  Unfortunately an ambidextrous magazine release was not included.  It is still reversible, I would just like to see one that works from both sides all the time.  That may require a magazine overhaul, which could affect magazine compatibility between generations.  While the new magazine has the lip on the base pad I mentioned earlier, and now uses a high visibility orange follower, both new and old magazines appear to work in both generations of pistol.

The firing mechanism is still definitely Glock but they have made use of compressing coil springs rather than stretching them.  I don’t expect this to affect the function of the gun in any discernable manner to the shooter but as a design feature I prefer the new setup.  The new mechanism also has one fewer pins in it, though the internal block on this Gen 5 appears to be indentical to the Gen 4 and still has the groove cut where the pin would normally go.  The frame, however, has no hole for the pin.

The trigger in the new Gen 5 has a slightly lighter pull weight.  I measured the Gen 5 to be 6.5lbs while the Gen 4 was 7lbs.  The Gen 5 did have a smoother feel to it, as well as a slightly shorter reset.  These observations are largely subjective, but I place significant value in trigger feel and I definitely preferred the Gen 5 trigger to the Gen 4.

The new sights are a different size on the Gen 5.  The new rear sight measured 0.759” across where the Gen 4 measured 0.892” across.  The only reason I can think of for this change is to make the rear sight more adjustable for windage before part of the sight is hanging off the edge of the slide.  Also of interest is that the notch in the rear sight is both wider and deeper than on the Gen 4.  It is 0.170” wide on the Gen 5 rear sight and 0.142” wide on the Gen 4.  While 0.03” doesn’t sound like much, it is quite a bit different on something as small and precise as a sight.  It seems to aid in rapid sighting but may have a slightly detrimental effect on precise sight alignment, particularly at longer ranges.  I won’t be able to test this until we have a gun to actually put rounds down range but given the general purpose of a Glock 19 I would personally opt for the larger notch of the Gen 5.  The extra depth of the rear notch on the Gen 5 allows the entire white dot to be visible on the front sight when the top edges of the sights are aligned properly, whereas the dot was partially obscured (albeit slightly) by the rear sight on the Gen 4 when everything was aligned.

In summary most of the changes made seem relatively minor but beneficial.  I would not consider it necessary for anyone who currently owns and shoots a Gen 4 Glock (or any previous generation, for that matter) to run out and get a new Gen 5.  If, however, you were in the market for a Glock anyway I would suggest trying out the Gen 5 to see if it fits you well.  The small changes may be worth the extra $20 for the latest generation.

Aaron Lorton