The G34: It was designed for competition, but has practical/tactical use.
The G34: It was designed for competition, but has practical/tactical use.

The G34 was introduced in 1998, as a long-slide variant to the G17, and a replacement for the G17L. It was designed specifically to fit in the IPSC box that made the G17L obsolete.

Glock machined out the slide to keep the weight the same as the G17. A change of more or less weight will affect the cycle speed, which decreases reliability.
Glock machined out the slide to keep the weight the same as the G17. A change of more or less weight will affect the cycle speed, which decreases reliability.

Glock made sure to make the G34 as long as possible so as to maximize sight radius, yet still fit in the box. It was introduced as a third generation Glock, but is now also offered in Gen4. The barrel length is listed as 5.31 inches, which is .83 inches longer than the G17. The slide length comes out to just over eight inches, which gives it a sight radius of 7.55 inches.

Not to point out the obvious, but the G17 was designed to fire a 9mm projectile, which it does quite well. If Glock were to change the weight of the G17 slide, it would change the dynamics of slide operation and wouldn’t function properly. The G34 is a long slide sitting atop a G17 frame, and thus the question becomes; how does one make a long slide weigh the same as the standard length slide? There are different answers to this, as I will discuss later in the chapter discussing the G41, but for the G34, Glock went with the simple solution of machining out an opening on top of the slide (it resembles the sun roof of an automobile). I like how it looks, some people don’t, but either way it’s a simple solution that works.

I purchased my G34 as part of the GSSF purchase program, so mine is a blue box model (if you don’t know what that means, please refer to the GSSF Chapter). Mine came with the extended slide catch lever and a 5.5-pound trigger (standard trigger comes with the 3.5-pound connector, designated with a minus symbol) that averaged about 4.9 pounds on my Lyman digital trigger scale.

The 3.5 connector-equipped Glock is actually a very nice trigger, one preferred by a lot of competitive shooters. My G34 did not come with the adjustable sights, like other G34s, but instead came with the non-adjustable polymer sights.

The G34 is a competition animal, but as you would guess, it’s not a very good concealed carry gun. I’ve carried mine in open carry situations and it’s fine, but for concealed carry it doesn’t work as well. Carried inside the waistband, the long slide is going to pry against the upper part of your leg, dig into the bone, and generally not be very comfortable, especially when sitting. I found it to be the opposite of comfortable. Carried outside the waistband, it’s going to be too long and will stick out from under the bottom of the shirt.

The extended slide stop lever.
The extended slide stop lever.

There is a place for it in the tactical world, whether in military special operating forces, or special police units. Some of these units have no issues with carrying a pistol the size of a 1911, and if you factor in the 1911 grip safety, the G34 is just a bit shorter than the 1911, except it has a longer sight radius. Of course if a unit wants a .45, the best choice is the G41, but for something in a 9mm, the G34 would make an outstanding choice.

When it comes to 9mm, compared to other popular duty 9mm handguns, the G34 is shorter than most, despite the long slide, especially when you start to factor in the added length of the beavertails that most hammer-fired guns have. Factoring that, the Beretta M9 is about a half-inch longer, however, the sight radius of the G34 is over one inch longer. Another favorite 9mm, the CZ-75b, is also longer.

The G34 uses standard G17 magazines and extended 9mm magazines, but just like the G17 it cannot use G19 compact or G26 sub-compact magazines

In Part I, the author looked at the mid-sized G19. In Part II he examined the “Baby Glocks.”


This article is an excerpt from…

Glock Reference GuideGlock Reference Guide
By Robb Manning
Undeniably one of the most notable and influential firearms designs in the past half-century, the Glock pistol maintains its reputation as the preferred autoloading pistol for law enforcement and personal protection. With Glock Reference Guide, explore the evolution of the Glock pistol from the beginning to the very latest models. Coverage of every model produced is provided, as well as detailed descriptions and images. Buy it here