GLOCK Gen4 G21, G32 and G34

At SHOT Show next month Glock will be introducing Gen4 versions of the G21 (.45 Auto), G32 (.357) and G34 (9mm). They all use the new(ish) dual recoil spring system. From the press release …

GLOCK’s newest generation pistol, the Gen4, brings revolutionary design changes to the world’s most popular pistol. New to the Gen4 family, GLOCK will introduce the G21 (.45 Auto), G32 (.357) and G34 (9X19) Gen4 models at the 2012 SHOT Show in Las Vegas.

The ergonomics of the Gen4 pistol have been refined by adding a Multiple Back Strap (MBS) system to the grip of the pistol. Each Gen4 comes with three difference grip options: a short, medium and large size, enabling the pistol to adapt to each individual shooter’s hand size with the removal and insertion of a single pin. In addition, the grip has also been given a new Rough Textured Frame (RTF) to increase grip traction.

The Gen4 magazine release catch has been enlarged and is reversible for the ambidextrous shooter. To utilize the interchangeable magazine release feature, the Gen4 magazines have two notches cut on each side of the magazine body, allowing users to switch access of the catch to the left or right side of the pistol with no additional parts. Previous magazines will continue to work in the Gen4 pistols as long as the magazine release catch is left in its original position.
Internally, the original recoil spring has been replaced with a dual recoil spring assembly, which noticeably reduces felt recoil while simultaneously increasing the life cycle of the pistol.

Glock 22 Gen4 showing dual recoil spring.


Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • I have read some derisive comments about the Gen 4s. I have a Gen 3 Model 26, and love it. What is the straight story on the Gen 4s? Who has ’em? Who likes ’em?

    • 18D

      The straight story is a long story. Suffice it to say, the GEN 4 has been less than reliable due to problems with the RSA and extractor dimensions/materials. There are other theories as well and the GEN 4’s are still hit or miss.

    • Burton

      I’ve got a Gen 4 17. Ran like a top, but I participated in the RSA swap program. Only when I got the new one did it malfunction haha. Go figure. Fortunately I kept the old one, so I’m not worried. For someone like me with pretty big hands, the additional backstraps make all the difference in the world.

      If I had small or regular sized hands, I would probably just stick with the Gen 3.

      • Sian

        I’d agree with you there, except for the .45 models, where the ‘standard’ G3 grips are pretty bulky and awkward for medium and small hands. Looking forward to holding a G21G4 with the small backstrap, might go a bit to convincing me it’s worth getting, finally.

      • 18D

        The Glock 21 GEN 4 grip is the same size as the Glock 21SF already on the shelves. If you want to see what the GEN 4 will feel like, just pick up the SF. No need to wait.

      • W

        the concept of a Gen 4 G21 is a helluva lot smarter than two separate pistols, a regular and small frame model. Im glad Glock finally applied ingenuity with the grip that many have been crying about since glock pistols were first introduced.

  • Paul

    Are you sure it’s the G21 Gen4 they’re introducing? I remember seeing that in videos of the 2011 Shot Show.

  • Jingles

    I believe the problem with the Gen 4’s was that Glock was using the same new dual recoil spring setup for both the 9mm and .40 versions, leading to some severe functioning problems with normal 9mm loads.

    • 18D

      Problems are with both 9mm and .40 Glocks with all loads.

      • Lee

        I have had my Gen4 G22 for well over a year and have yet to experience a malfunction. Even with the cheapest ammo steal cased ammo. That is my experiences with it thus far. It has been very reliable. I did upgrade a few parts to improve the trigger to my liking and replaced the extractor with a Lone Wolf part. It’s nice not being hit in the face or head with flying brass every few shots! lol.

      • Sian

        @Lee have you tried some of the lightweight (110, 115gr) screamers through it, or just cheap 155gr ball? The new spring had no problems with the latter, but the former was a bit of an issue.

      • W

        yeah after firing 4,500 ~ rounds through by gen 4 Glock 19 i have yet to experience any issues…

        I believe i have fired at least fifteen different ammunition types through it, to include steel cased wolf and tula, without any issues in reliability. Oh and guess what? it still has the original recoil spring in it…

        the funny thing about internet rumors is that i would consider believing them if they held any kind of credible water in a rapidly sinking canoe.

  • 543

    I would love to see a Glock in 7.62x25mm or 5.7x28mm…..never gonna happen I know.

    • erwos

      Conversion seems possible, though.

    • Lance

      id like a compact in 9×18 and they don’t make one either.

  • Lance

    And I say why bother if you want a decent G21 ect get a Gen 3 with out all the problems the Gen 4 has.

    • W

      which problems are those??? im just curious.

    • Let em spew, more gen4 availability for me… Glock replaced my RSA 0-2-3 (1500+ rnds) with a 0-3-3 and they are both still working just fine. I use the 0-4-3 with the LW 40 to 9 conv for IDPA. Funny how ya hear about these problems and never see it.

      • W

        “funny how ya hear about these problems and never see it”

        yeah its hilarious. That is why i believe a majority of any gun rumors or “problems” posted on the internet are bullshit.

  • Moose

    So note to anyone who wants to go to SHOT: Don’t. Unless you love not being able to get to any booth within a mile of Glock’s.

  • Burton

    Anybody know if they plan on releasing the Gen 4 beavertail?

  • WeaponBuilder

    If it was “Perfection” two generations earlier, then why do they keep changing it, and calling it “improvements”???

    If it was perfect in the first place it wouldn’t need to be improved to keep market share from running to Smith & Wesson in droves.

    • Esh325

      It’s just marketing, of course it’s not perfect. S&W and many other companies have taken advantage of what the Glock lacks in features. It isn’t really hurting them that much though. People are still buying the pistols so they don’t see any reason to overall the design.

    • W

      its called evolution. all weapons in history have done this. without evolution, we would still be using the M16 (not the A1, A2, or A4, the one without a forward assist and bird cage flash hider).

    • 18D

      The GEN 4 changes were likely made out of necessity and industry pressure. Just look at the mods. They really change nothing in the original design yet have still been problematic. The RSA wasn’t needed, and it was probably added because many shooters complained about the original setup. Funny thing is the original setup didn’t really cause any issues. So, the RSA was a needless upgrade, and as we’ve seen, an unreliable one too. The “enlarged” ambi mag release is a nice touch. But, the fact that it is enlarged is not by purpose, but rather a product of it’s design geometry. No real innovation there. The interchangeable grip panels leaves MUCH to be desired and as you can see, Gaston Glock refuses to give us a flat backstrap option. Finally the RTF1 texture is little better if not just as good as the GEN3 texture. It certainly doesn’t help, bit it doesn’t hurt either.

      You see changes, I see the same gun with a few different parts. Gaston Glock has always been known to shy away from any real innovation in the system and its why Glock has remained STAGNANT for the last 25yrs. The Glock is the Glock. Gaston isn’t a weapons designer. He just happened to build a gun that became popular. We are not likely to see Glock build any new models………ever. The changes to the GEN4 was to hopefully shut up some of the end users like myself that believe Glock doesn’t listen to their customers and hasn’t done anything to improve their design. It was also a way to hopefully sell a few more guns to people that were waiting for a modern Glock.

      The GEN4 is just smoke and mirrors to get sales back up. The fact that Glock switched to cheaper manufacturing processes and cheaper materials and slide finishes is a good indication as to why they tried something new. They are losing market share because they continue to stay absolute.

      • W

        “The GEN 4 changes were likely made out of necessity and industry pressure. Just look at the mods. They really change nothing in the original design yet have still been problematic. The RSA wasn’t needed, and it was probably added because many shooters complained about the original setup. Funny thing is the original setup didn’t really cause any issues. So, the RSA was a needless upgrade, and as we’ve seen, an unreliable one too. The “enlarged” ambi mag release is a nice touch. But, the fact that it is enlarged is not by purpose, but rather a product of it’s design geometry. No real innovation there. The interchangeable grip panels leaves MUCH to be desired and as you can see, Gaston Glock refuses to give us a flat backstrap option. Finally the RTF1 texture is little better if not just as good as the GEN3 texture. It certainly doesn’t help, bit it doesn’t hurt either.”

        Glock recognized that its competitors started having the removable back strap feature; indeed, the primary complaint of the outstanding Glock 21 and even 22 is its wide grip, which is problematic for shooters with larger hands. The removable back strap of the grip is a evolutionary feature.

        The RSA issue was never a issue, i don’t know how many times i have to repeat this. Using +P and +P+ ammunition in previous generations of Glocks proved problematic with slides cracking and other parts failures. Dual spring technology has many advantages, to include the ability to use higher pressure ammunition and reduced wear on critical components. Like it or not, dual spring recoil spring assemblies are the future.

        “You see changes, I see the same gun with a few different parts. Gaston Glock has always been known to shy away from any real innovation in the system and its why Glock has remained STAGNANT for the last 25yrs. The Glock is the Glock. Gaston isn’t a weapons designer. He just happened to build a gun that became popular. We are not likely to see Glock build any new models………ever. The changes to the GEN4 was to hopefully shut up some of the end users like myself that believe Glock doesn’t listen to their customers and hasn’t done anything to improve their design. It was also a way to hopefully sell a few more guns to people that were waiting for a modern Glock.”

        I don’t understand how Glock can possibly create this magical “innovation”. Glock understands that there is no need to reinvent the wheel and it is merely evolving.

        The Glock is popular for a reason. Constructed of 34 parts, it is simple, reliable, and accurate. For police and military units, these are very attractive features for a handgun. It doesn’t take a weapons expert to understand why Glock handguns have become popular around the world.

        “The GEN4 is just smoke and mirrors to get sales back up. The fact that Glock switched to cheaper manufacturing processes and cheaper materials and slide finishes is a good indication as to why they tried something new. They are losing market share because they continue to stay absolute.”

        I don’t concur. The Generation 4 is simply a evolution of a outstanding handgun and all of the so-called “issues” are all internet speculation and reluctance to accept new design features. I believe it is smart that Glock tries new manufacturing techniques to allow faster and/or less expensive production of handguns. I find it ridiculous that people hold changes in manufacturing or techniques with contempt, which is one of the principles of ever evolving weapons.

  • Lou

    They are already out on the open market. Lou’s Police Supply, Inc. in Hialeah Florida have had them in stock for the past two months.

  • “Introduce” is a funny word, since I’ve had a Gen4 Glock 21 since October which was purchased at retail. Oh Glock, your PR apparatus is hilarious.

    • W

      its a marketing strategy. introduce small numbers of a specific model in small numbers and then introduce them in larger numbers later.

      • Except it wasn’t a “small number”. There have been Gen4 Glock 21 available at retailers since May, and I personally know a number of people that have Gen4 Glock 34s as well.

      • W

        compared to the gen 4 19 and 17’s, yes they are smaller in number. i am glad they made a gen 4 21, considering its disingenuous to manufacture two separate guns (21 and 21SF).

  • Zorg Zumo

    I know it has been a couple years now, so I’m wondering how the finish on the “made in usa” Glocks is holding up compared to the original Austrian Tenifer?