When a company has the lion's share of any market, as Glock does in the law enforcement service pistol world, there is always a lot of interest in their products. Changes, whether actual, anticipated or pure speculation, are always the talk of training classes, locker rooms and, in today's cyber world, the various internet forums. I recently received notification of some changes regarding Glock pistols that I though might be worth mentioning here, even though most are pretty routine, just to clear the air of some rumors. Here, in no particular order, is the latest info from my sources at Glock.
Green is going away. The OD frame color has apparently not been a big seller, so it is being phased out. As an agency purchase choice, I can see that. I do know a few people, however, who really liked the green guns, including officers who purchased them as personal carry guns. If they strike your fancy, better grab one while you can. Soon, Glocks will be like the Ford Model T - available in any color you want, as long as it's black.
The availability of the factory adjustable sights is also going away as an option on most Glocks. They will still be standard on the Practical-Tactical Model 34s, but the other models will no longer have them, even as an option. This may not be much of a loss, frankly, as adjustable sights are generally more fragile than the factory fixed sights, and duty guns do get their share of pounding on door frames, walls and sometimes even the floor. In any case, I've always found the Glock fixed sights quite accurate and never had the need to change them, except to swap them out for night sights. Speaking of night sights, there was one rumor that stock Glock night sights would only be available on their LE and military guns. That did not make sense when I first heard it and it was firmly denied by my friends at Glock. Night sights continue to be a sensible option on all Glock models.
One the other hand, the Rough Textured Frame (RTF2, to be precise) pistols will only be distributed through law enforcement channels in the future. Apparently, they aren't selling well to the non-law enforcement market, but are viable in the cop market. I know a number of people who felt the RTF2 surface was a bit too abrasive, to both skin and clothing, when worn close to the body in typical concealment mode, so this doesn't really surprise me. However, the new Gen4 Glocks, with their coarser truncated pyramid surface will probably be a hit on the LE market, so I wouldn't be too surprised to see the RTF2s fade away completely before long.
The biggest news at Glock recently has been the new Gen4 pistols. Most people are familiar with these by now, and I mentioned the grip adaptability feature in a recent article. Just to quickly review, the most noticeable changes in the Gen4 models are the slightly smaller grip (with the different RTF finish) and the backstrap overlays, the redesigned, reversible magazine release and the new double recoil spring guide rod. There are other internal design changes, such as a more rigid trigger bar, some parts shape changes to accommodate the new features (and prevent interchanging parts with the earlier generations) and some things that just seem to matter only to the production department. In any case, there are a few changes that are developing with the Gen4 that are worth mentioning at this point.
The most obvious is that the Gen4 design is spreading quickly throughout the Glock model line. The first Gen4s were Model 17s and Model 22s. The Model 19s have just hit the market and the Model 23s are due out soon. It seems logical that the Glock 31s and 32s will be forthcoming, as they use the same frame size as the 9mm and .40 models. The other model, that is entering the holsters of the Florida Highway Patrol as I write this, is the Gen4 Glock 37. The FHP recently selected the .45GAP pistols to replace their Beretta 96Gs that they have carried over the past decade. The Troopers who have already transitioned to the Glocks report that they are very happy with the Gen4 Model 37s, as well as the 39s that are being issued for more discreet carry. I've also heard of several police agencies that recently purchased Gen3 Glocks that are turning them in for the Gen4s. The adaptability of the new guns makes huge sense from an agency standpoint, and I think that Glock finally saw the writing on the wall when their competition began producing, and selling, pistols that met that need.
As new as the Gen4s are, there are a couple of items that bear mentioning already. As the 9mm Glock 17 Gen4s began to log range time, there were some reported cycling malfunctions. It was usually happening with lower powered ammo, common on the range, rather than the full-powered duty ammo used on the street. However, just in case, Glock has redesigned the recoil spring guide rod assembly for the 9mm Gen4s to accommodate the lighter ammo and are swapping out the original part, as needed. All the current 9mm Gen4 17s have the updated recoil spring guide rod, which has 02 stamped on the rear flange of the assembly. The originals do not have any marking. This was not a problem with the Glock 22 Gen4, so no changes have been made to the .40s. In the long run, how many different models are issued in the Gen4 style will depend on the overall demands of the marketplace. The Gen4s are also popular in the civilian market, so look for this trend to continue.
One additional popular feature of the Gen4s is that Glock is providing 3 magazines with each gun. The increase in the price of the Gen4s is largely offset by the value added by the extra mag, so sales have been steady. This brings me to a final word about magazines and the Gen4s. Because the magazine release is reversible, there is an additional cutout on the new Gen4 compatible magazine bodies to accommodate the switch. All Glock magazines, regardless of age, will work in the Gen4s, as long as the magazine release remains on the left side. If you reverse it, you must use the latest version of the Glock magazines. This is important from an agency standpoint, because earlier magazines could still be in department inventories and they should not be accidentally issued to any Gen4 lefties who may be out there. Over time, this will resolve itself, but if you are a left-handed shooter with a Gen4, make sure you have the latest magazines.
As always, the market drives the design changes, so there may well be other projects and changes in the works at Glock. For the past 20 years there have been rumors of a rifle or carbine, but so far nothing has happened. I mention that now because I heard just recently that Glock is finally going to make a move on this. Is it true this time? You certainly didn't hear it here first, but maybe, in spite of global warming, the temperature in the nether world may be finally starting to drop.