Probably the biggest and most noticeable change between the two generations is the addition of interchangeable backstraps and a new grip texture that is reminiscent of the RTF Glocks that saw limited release during gen 3.
I love the backstraps; it allows the guns to be customized to my big hands and someone with a smaller frame will feel just as comfortable using the gen 4 by simply changing to a different backstrap.
Changes to the magazine release button now allow it to be swapped from the left side of the frame to the right side.
This allows left-handed shooters to have the same reloading experience as right-hand shooters.
In order to maintain compatibility with the mag release the magazine itself also had to be altered slightly. The cutout on the left side of the magazine that would allow the mag release to latch in place was made on both sides.
You can easily see the difference between the earlier (left) and later (right) mags in this picture
Initial magazines with this change were kind of crudely cut and let the steel underneath the polymer pop out but newer magazines have further been reengineered and have a nicer finished look.
To help with managing recoil on the larger caliber pistols Glock decided to enhance the recoil spring. They went with a double recoil spring design for all Glock models, it doesn’t give much of a difference on the 9mm offerings but when shooting the .40 S&W you can feel a bit of a difference.
In order to accommodate the new fatter recoil spring the slide also needed to be altered in order for it to fit properly. You will notice relief cuts on the sidewalls near the bore end of the slide.
Look at that fat ass recoil spring.
Why is the Glock 19 Gen 4 a Good Choice?
The standard Glock trigger fits its role very well. Sure it’s not perfect but you will reliability get a consistent 5.5-pound trigger pull every time. Glock triggers are known to lighten up over time as they are used so the more you use them and the more the parts wear the better they will be.
Safety has always been a number one feature on Glock pistols. They just work period. No need to fiddle around for an external safety under high-stress situations just point and click.
Glocks are incredibly reliable and durable pistols that will take a beating and keep running strong.
With only 34 major parts to compose the firearm Glocks have been designed with simplicity in mind. The fewer moving parts the better since there is hardly anything that can go wrong.
The accessory rail is carried over from the previous generation and will stay on even into the fifth generation.
The Streamlight TLR-7 is an excellent light option for the Glock 19. It will fit flush with the frame and gives 500 lumens of brightness.
A polygonal barrel has been used on all Glock models since the beginning. They are well made and will serve you well. Just be aware that polygonal rifling does not like when unjacketed lead rounds are put through the firearm because over time the lead will gum up the rifling and turn the gun into a smoothbore.
Overall I find the Glocks to be very accurate pistols that will be able to shot reliably. The line of sight between the front and rear sights is approximately 6 inches, very respectable for a compact pistol, and helps out when trying to engage targets at longer distances.
Being a compact size the Glock 19 is a great choice for concealed carry especially for those with larger hands.
That being said the size of the Glock 19 is very versatile and allows the pistols to easily fit multiple roles either as a primary or secondary pistol, at the range or in competition.
I have never had an issue with the factory Glock magazines. They have been well built and have steel reinforcement to increase structural integrity. The larger magazines from the G17 are compatible with the G19 as well as other high-capacity offerings.
Maintenance on all Glock models is super easy and field striping down to the major components can be achieved in as little as one minute without rushing.
Disassembly is basically idiot-proof
This means you will always be able to keep your pistol running at top shape without needing to worry about it being a pain to take apart.
With the inclusion of backstraps, I think this is the move where Glock really started making headway in turning their lineup into modular pistols that will be adaptable to all hand sizes.
Having an ambidextrous magazine release is a step in the right direction to make the firearms compatible with left-hand shooters just as much as they would be for right-hand shooters.
Since many of the parts are cross-compatible with the gen 3 availability of aftermarket parts as soon as the fourth generation was released was already huge and it has only grown over the years.
With the number of people who disliked the finger grooves on the gen 3, I am surprised that Glock decided to keep them as is on the gen 4s. I personally don’t have an issue with them but I know many people who just can’t get the grooves to fit properly in their hands.
Having polymer sights on a service pistol is a big no-no for me. One of the first things I would do is upgrade to a pair of steel night sights that will be more robust and allow you to shoot better in low-light situations.
I’m not a big fan of the “goal post” style sights or the polymer
Even with the ergonomics upgrades, I think the gen 4 still leaves a lot to be desired. At the time these pistols came out there were already a few great contenders for ergonomically correct pistols.
Admittedly the gen 5s really did a great job ergonomically and you can always swap out the frame for something that works better for you.
How Does it Compare to Other Glock Models?
Being the middle child of the 9mm lineup, the Glock 19 is smaller than the full-sized Glock 17 while still being larger than the model 26.
The Glock 19 has the same form factor as the Glock 23 which is a .40S&W offering.
There is also the options of crossover models in the Glock 19x and the Glock 45. Essentially these guns take the slide of the Glock 19 and slap them on a Glock 17 frame.
Who Uses Glock 19s?
The Glock 19 sees professional use with undercover police as well as military use. The most distinguished group currently using the Glock is the United States Special Forces.
You can bet that with such big players utilizing the pistol it has amassed a huge following and is extremely popular.
Glock 19 Gen 4 Competitors
Sure the FN 509 is a bit newer than the gen 4 but hear me out, this thing is a beast. When working as a range officer we had a competition between employees shooting zip ties at 35 feet. 3 zip ties in 4 shots, enough said.
The Sig Sauer P229 scratches the same itch as the Glock 19. It was developed to be a compact variant of the popular P226 model that has been put to widespread use around the world as a service pistol. The ergonomics on the 229 are superior to the Glock but it is a full steel gun so if you are planning on carrying it all day you will definitely notice the weight difference over time.
Walking the same line as Glock, Smith and Wessons’ M&P9c Compact is a smaller variant of their M&P9 pistol. These did not pick up much popularity in terms of how well received the Glock 19 was. This could be due to the trigger being lackluster and the magazine size being 3 rounds less than the G19.
Still, anyone with experience with the M&P series of pistols will feel right at home with this gun since all the controls are relatively similar to the other models.
How Does the Striker Fire System Work?
The striker fire system works by keeping all the moving parts inside the pistol and removing parts that are not needed for the gun to fire. The striker itself is attached to the firing pin and uses spring tension to make the firing pin hit the primer and let the pistol shoot.
Since there are fewer parts and nothing is exposed externally striker fire systems are safe and reliable. They also provide a consistent trigger pull since there is no double/single action.
Standard 15 Optional 17,19, 24, 31, 33
102 mm | 4.02 inch
Weight (without magazine):
600 g | 21.16 oz
Weight (with empty magazine):
670 g | 23.63 oz
Weight (with loaded magazine):
855 g | 30.16 oz
185 mm | 7.28 inch
174 mm | 6.85 inch
32 mm | 1.26 inch
25.5 mm | 1.0 inch
Height (incl magazine):
128 mm | 5.04 inch
Line of Sight:
153mm | 6.02 inch
What finish is Used on the Glock 19 Gen 4?
You can easily see the difference between the gen 4 finish on top compared to the older finish on the bottom.
All fourth-generation Glocks witched over to the nitride finish over the older tennifier finish. This was due to U.S. regulations on the manufacturing process on the older finish.
You can easily tell the new finish apart from the old finish because the newer finish is a much duller matte finish that tends to be off-color to the frame.
The older finish was very similar to the look and texture of a non-stick pan, matched the frame much better, and had a shiny look to it.
Customization for the Glock 19 Gen 4
As stated earlier there are a plethora of aftermarket options available to customize a Glock 19. You can find anything from making a rock-sold carry gun to turning it into a monster competitive pistol that will run like a champ.
There will definitely be something out there to suit your personal taste and style regardless of the application the pistol will serve for you.
The Safe Action System
You might be wondering what this safe action system is all about. To put it simply it revolves around the pistols having three separate safety systems that operate independently from each other. These safeties include the following:
A trigger safety
A firing pin safety
A drop safety
This design allows the trigger pull to be the same throughout the course of fire, whereas traditional hammer-fired pistols would have a longer and heavier first shot when they are in double-action compared to when they are in single-action.
Best Ammo to Use in the Glock 19 Gen 4
On any gun consistency is key to executing effective practice that will transition to real-world and competitive scenarios. That is also the case in your ammunition. It is important to find reliable ammo that you will be able to find easily and can be found in an ideal grain weight for the gun you plan on using it in.
115 and 124-grain bullets will function well in most handguns and Glocks are no exception. Always search for brass cases and avoid steel if possible.
Here are some of my go-to picks when looking for 9mm ammo.
CCI Brass Blazer is a fantastic round that can be found in multiple grain weights and functions very well in many firearms. It can run a little dirtier than some other brands on the market but since Glocks are so easy to field strip this is pretty much a no factor.
Another great choice is PMC Bronze. They can be found commonly in the 115-grain weight and come packaged in very small boxes while still having the typical 50 rounds of a standard range box.
Since the packaging is compact you will be able to store extra ammo in your range bag and ammo cans than with other brands.
Federal HST is my go to choice for defense rounds.
Federal HST is my go-to for defensive pistol needs. Yes, they can be more expensive than other offerings on the market but when it comes to a defensive situation do you really feel like you should be cheap out on self-protection?
Best Accessories for Your Glock 19 Gen 4
As stated prior a quality set of steel night sights will go a long way on any Glock and would be my first choice in changing up your pistol.
Having extra magazines would never hurt the factory mags work very well and are offered in multiple capacities to fit the needs.
Slapping a light to the accessory rail will add confidence in low-light scenarios and help you identify targets much easier.
Best Modifications for Your Glock 19 Gen 4
Although the factory trigger that comes with the Glock 19 is decent there is still room for improvement. A good aftermarket trigger can really change up the feel of the course of firer and make it easier for you to be more consistent with your shooting while making you more accurate.
An Apex trigger kit is a solid upgrade over the factory Glock trigger.
If the current frame does not work for you because of the finger grooves there is the option to either stipple the current frame or swap it out altogether for a finger grooveless option.
Glock 19 Gen 4 Overall Review
Overall I think the Gen 4 Glock 19 is a really good option that checks a lot of boxes. It can be used for concealed carry, competition, or just for fun at the range.
With the wealth of aftermarket support, you can really make the Glock 19 “your gun” by customizing it exactly how you want.
There are still a few things that could be changed to make it the perfect gun for everyone but with this generation I believe that the company is definitely heading in the right direction.
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