The Gen 4 Pistol.


Gen4 Glocks ship with two extra backstraps, each of which fit over the “short frame” or standard grip. The distance from the standard backstrap—the “short frame”—to the trigger is 70mm. The medium and large backstraps increase the distance to 72mm and 74mm, respectively. I tried all three. The short frame felt the best, the medium was tolerable, and the large reminded me of the grip feel of a Glock 21—simply too big. All the grip options had that familiar Glock feel but for me the option of the smaller short frame grip made holding the Glock even more comfortable.

Practically, if you’ve had to choose a Glock 23 in order to avoid the longer trigger reach of a Glock 22, the Gen4 pistols eliminate that problem.

Backstrap interchangeability on the Gen4 pistols do not affect any of the pistol’s moving parts, but the large backstrap requires a longer trigger mechanism pin, which is included with each pistol, along with a plastic punch tool to remove and install the trigger mechanism pin. Changing the backstraps requires a few steps, all outlined in the included instruction sheet: remove the trigger mechanism pin with the punch tool, snap the larger backstrap in place, and re-insert the trigger mechanism pin. In changing the backstraps, the larger ones proved difficult to seat correctly and the punch tool a bit feeble to the task but once installed they straps stayed in place.

Shooting the Gen4 Glock proved to be a dream. Accuracy, reliability and now enhanced features take this pistol another step closer to perfection.
Shooting the Gen4 Glock proved to be a dream. Accuracy, reliability and now enhanced features take this pistol another step closer to perfection.

Related to the interchangeable backstraps, the other significant visual change was the “pointed pyramids” texture on the frame/grips that replaces the more traditional Glock checkering. The Gen4 RTF4 frame, as it’s called, is not as aggressive feeling as the RTF2 military grip, says Dutton. It is, however, a different feel—the pointed pyramids could be described as sharp—but they improved my grip on the Glock when shooting it.

While the availability of interchangeable backstraps allows individual shooters the ability to customize a Glock pistol to fit their hands, the new magazine release on the Gen4 pistols may be just as significant a change.


Gen4 magazine releases are three times larger than those in previous generations. Combined with my preferred short frame grip, I found it to be significantly easier to engage the magazine release during magazine changes. Although you can reverse the magazine release and install it on the other side of the grip (a 30-second operation, according to Glock), I left it in the traditional location. The new magazine release works on a pivot as opposed to the previous generation’s straight-in plunge. No surprise, the Gen4 release provided very positive engagement and little concern of accidental engagement.

Previous generation magazines will work in the Gen4 pistols provided the magazine release stays on the left side; Gen4 magazines will work in previous generation Glocks.

Both the short frame and the new magazine release provided a more fulfilling shooting experience because they didn’t get in the way of the shooting.


While Dutton says that field stripping, cleaning and safety instructions remain the same across Glock lines, some Glock Gen4 parts will not interchange with previous generation parts. These include the frame, slide, trigger bar, magazine catch, recoil spring assembly, back-strap assemblies, trigger mechanism housing, and trigger mechanism housing pin. Gen4 pistols have a new stainless-steel, double-wound, two-stage, recoil spring assembly that Dutton says offers twice the recoil-spring rated service life as previous Glocks—5,000-plus rounds for Gen4 G22 springs versus 2,500 rounds for Gen3 G22 springs.


Shooting previous generation Glocks was and still is great but shooting the Gen4 Glock was a joy. The reduced recoil combined with the short frame (no larger backstrap added) grip yielded faster and more accurate shooting. Every round fed perfectly—reliable—and fired to point of aim—accurate. Magazine changes were easier and therefore more efficient—simple. Was it “perfection”? No. According to Dutton, however, that term accurately describes what Glock is striving to do: make the most dependable pistol on earth. GDTM

Mark Kakkuri is a freelance writer in Oxford, Michigan.

This article appeared in the May 10, 2010 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.

Recommended Glock Resources:

The Gun Digest Book of the Glock, 2nd Edition. Click Here.The Gun Digest Book of the Glock, 2nd Edition

Standard Catalog of Firearms Glock Pricing Download (PDF)

Glock 17/22/31 Brown Leather Cutaway Holster