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.
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.
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.
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.