First look: Glock Gen5 G17 and G19

Glock is evolving, growing and improving to meet the mission parameters of officers across the nation

On Saturday, I stood in line cursing myself for not getting up earlier. Some 48 people stood between me and the Gen5 Glocks I had come to test at my local firearms mecca, Liberty Firearms Institute in Johnstown, Colorado. Another 20 folks waited in line behind me, their fate marginally worse than mine.  Eventually the doors opened, and we were allowed inside. 

The release was seemingly minuscule compared to traditional Glock fanfare. There was a small social media campaign, with 100 gun ranges across the country selected to preview the new Glock iteration. 

Liberty Firearms Institute general manager Heather Rubel said they had to sign a non-disclosure agreement and received the new gun models just two days before their official release, with no idea of what they were. When they arrived, she learned they were the Gen5 G17 and G19.

People lined up to spend $20 to test the weapons with a target and receive a Glock promotional Gen5 cap too. The response was overwhelmingly positive. People like the new trigger. A few did not care for the finger groove in the front of the magazine well.

I had come for a sincere testing, not some taste, but I am not the creature you often find at the traditional gun range.  I feel confined by stalls and shelves…I’m not used to not working from a holster. When I run my weapon dry, I drop my mag without concern and glance laterally for cover (get off the X!). This does not serve well where 20 people are shooting and another 40 are waiting in line to try the new Glock. However, I still managed to wring both models out and gather some impressions.

What’s new with the Gen5 Glock?

Taking the guns out of the boxes, they are blacker due to the nDLC. It’s a new finish that replaces the nitride previously used. The coating, applied to the frame and barrel, is supposed to be tougher and offer less friction.

Speaking of the barrel, Glock claims this is the new Glock Marksmen Barrel (GMB). The polygonal rifling that had been used in previous generations is gone in favor of more traditional rifling. Glock claims this barrel has tighter tolerances and will provide greater accuracy. I did not have a bench for testing that theory, but the weapon demonstrated at least the same accuracy I was used to at the 25-yard line.

Another big change is the trigger. The group is completely different than before, it feels smoother. One of the biggest differences is the trigger reset. I would squeeze a round off, reset, then begin to squeeze and bang! I was shooting again. This will take some getting used to, but the follow-up shots via trigger reset definitely felt faster than even the Gen4 I’m used to. 

Externally, the finger grooves are gone, though the backstrap system is still in place for fitting different hand sizes. In addition, a true ambidextrous slide stop lever has been added, meaning lefties can utilize the gun a little easier. The magazine release is the same as Gen4 and can still be switched to a left-handed grip within the magwell.

The magwell probably provided me with my greatest revelation when testing both models.  Reloads were much faster. For history’s sake, I’ve been shooting Glock since Gen1. I don’t go crazy with mods or polishing or any of that stuff because for a duty weapon, I don’t want to vary from stock should I end up on the stand. The flared magwell, with its beveled edges, made my reloads a lot faster. In addition, I experienced a more resounding magazine seating as a result.  We practice reloads a lot in law enforcement. This gun allows for slightly greater angles and will make your reloads quicker and more assertive. 

A new half-moon has been cut out of the front of the magwell, creating a gap between the upcurved floorplate of the magazine and the well itself. The function of this serves to allow a finger to dig out a magazine either jammed or just reluctant to leave. 

The magazines have received some bumps too. Orange followers vibrantly identify when you’re empty. In addition, they help serve as visual reference in the round counter in the back of the magazine. On the downside, this is another thing you’ll need to clean when you get back from the range.

Ever bang your flat-nosed Glock on a Kydex holster? The new Gen5 models have received tapered muzzles, creating a smoother entry.

Glock armorers will notice several of the internals have changed too. From the trigger group, to firing pin, firing pin channel and slide cover plate, things have been beefed up to make the legendary Glock’s durability even tougher. The recent bid for the U.S. Army contract pays off for the rest of us with this new version of a couple of Glock’s vanguards.  

What’s the same?

Alas, Glock’s standard sights are still the same and are interchangeable with previous models. Magazines are also swappable according to Glock sources. Many flexible holsters will work with the Gen 5, but keep in mind the ambidextrous slide stop lever creates some width not previously accounted for.

With the different internal parts, many things will not be compatible with previous models. Though with Glock being the 400 lb. gorilla it is, the aftermarket is probably already tooling up to meet inevitable demand.


Joined by two other shooters, we fired a total of 500 rounds through both the Gen5 G17 and G19.  They performed remarkably with no failures of any kind. The trigger reset and subsequent break was a surprise, but something training could get me accustomed to. The magwell and magazine upgrades are a welcome change that indicates Glock is listening to the consumer. The barrel upgrades are a boon that fits the state of law enforcement in the U.S. today – no one is paying less attention to where our shots go.

I attended a Glock armorer training recently and they have a pretty fair corner on the law market in the U.S. I’d like to think this is righteously earned. Their reliability, simplicity and affordability make them great candidates for government service. The Generation5 Glocks continue this fine tradition. They are evolving, growing and improving to meet the mission parameters of officers across the nation. Quantities of the new Gen 5s release the first week of September with Blue Label to follow.

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