Saturday, August 25, 2012

REVIEW: Glock 19 Gen 4

If you've read the other articles on my blog, it's pretty clear that I've wanted a Glock but have struggled with the grip. The grip is too thick for my small hands and angle has always felt funny to me. I've been impressed with Glock's quality, reliability and functionality but the dang thing felt awkward in my hand. Just about every gun owning friend of mine owns a Glock so I get to shoot them quite regularly and that regularity has convinced me that I didn't want to drop $600 on one...until now.

I was on my way to Nashville to see a Predator's hockey game when on a whim, my wife and I stopped at Outpost Armory.  I planned to look around and leave but that didn't happen. I spotted a case full of Gen 4 Glocks and thought to myself, "Oh well, I might as well see if that modular grip makes any difference." I asked to see a G17 Gen 4 and wow! It was an entirely different pistol. The thing fit my hand perfectly (smallest grip option of course)! This was it! This was what I've been waiting for!

I looked over at my wife and she could tell by the look on my face that I was going to buy another gun. Fortunately for me, my wife is pro-gun, and pro-shoes, and I don't hassle her about buying shoes. She shrugged and gave me the thumbs up. "Go ahead, get it." It's not that I have to have permission to buy a gun, but if you've read my Smith and Wesson AR15 article, you'll see that asking before I drop over $600 on a firearm equals marital bliss and not asking equals...well, you know. Nevertheless, I got the nod and forked over the dough.

Now, I needed to decide on a model. After playing around with just about every model of Gen 4 they had, I settled on the G19. It's chambered for 9mm, my favorite caliber, it's sized for concealed carry and came with three fifteen round magazines. Perfect.

The first thing I did when I got home was dry fire it a few dozen times. I noticed that the Gen 4 trigger was a lot heavier than the older Gen 1-2's that I had been shooting. I went over to my buddy Doug's house and dry fired his Second Gen G27. Sure enough, there was a huge difference. I know what you're thinking, Doug's G27 has had 1,000 rounds  through it and my G19 has had, um, one–the test round. But that wasn't it alone, the Gen 4 has a heavier trigger.

Next, while at the range, breaking it in, I tested the pull with my buddy Bruce's Lyman trigger gauge and damn, the G19 was returning an average measurement of 6.25lbs! That's almost a full pound more than the 5.5lbs that Glock claims on their website. I had to fix this.

After the success with my Ruger SR9, I immediately bought a Ghost Rocket 3.5 Trigger kit with Trigger Control Connector, Reduced Power Firing Pin Spring, Reduced Power Trigger Spring, and Reduced Power Firing Pin Safety Spring. The kit also comes with an Armorers Plate that allows you to release the firing pin for disassembly as you go through the trial and error filing of the trigger over travel. This is a frustrating process but if you do it correctly, the results are nothing short of miraculous. I'm not a gunsmith and I don't mind telling you that my mechanical skills are moderate at best, so if I can do this, you can. There are a lot of YouTube videos that you can watch that will help if you get stuck.

The result was worth the effort. The trigger pull went from 6.5lbs to 3.9lbs! Not quite the 3.5 that the Ghost Rocket suggests but close enough. Also, the take up is around 1.5mm and there is zero, I repeat ZERO creep. Once you take up the trigger, one billionth of a millimeter and the gun fires. It's like pulling the trigger on a cocked Kimber 1911. Yeah, it's that tight.

Trigger reset is a minimal 1.5mm. Hear and feel the reset click and another billionth of a millimeter and BANG! The Ghost Ultimate kit delivers big time! NOTE: The website clearly states that the trigger kit is for home defense and competition/target shooting only and I can see why. The trigger spring is so light that after a shot is fired and you remove your finger from the trigger, the spring will not pull the trigger far enough forward to lock the trigger safety. And since Glock's only safety is that tiny piece of plastic, the kit renders it's only safety inoperable. This fact has made me wish I had bought the longer, target friendlier, G17 since I will not be carrying the G19 for self defense. Too bad too, since it's such a sweet piece of hardware. The solution is simple, all I need to do is put the old trigger spring back in, but dang, I love what the kit has done to the trigger feel!

Shooting the G19 is pure bliss. For me, it's everything that Glock embodies with a useable grip. Doug and I took the pistol out to the range and set a couple hundred rounds through it. We shot it next to his G27 and my Ruger SR9. As much as I love the SR9 trigger (with Ghost), the Glock 19 (with Ghost) beats it, hands down. Once you take the the trigger up and it hits the sear stop, the SR9 has a about a millimeter of creep before BANG. The Glock, as I said earlier, none.

Other than that, the SR9 and G19 are very similar in feel, recoil and accuracy. I'm a bit more accurate with the G19 but as average of a marksman as I am, that's not a real test.

We shot everything at my favorite defense distance, fifteen feet. The results were impressive even before the trigger job. See embedded video above. We were shooting Walmart Winchester white box and Federal red box 9mm, plus a small sample of Hornady Critical Defense just to see how it fed. Zero malfunctions of any kind. No stove pipes, no F2F, no F2Eject, nothing but flawless, enjoyable shooting.

So, I've gone from not liking Glocks all together, to liking everything but the grip, to liking everything but the new triggers. That's a big deal for me. I love my G19 and am looking forward to getting the spousal nod as soon as the G21 comes out in Gen 4. If you're a Glock fan, it's an easy choice, if you're not, do yourself a favor and at least take one for a test drive. I think you'll be impressed.


  1. You should sell the Model 19 to your buddy Doug, and go buy the model 17 for yourself! That way you can get what you want!

  2. Thanks for another informative review!

  3. I'm happy to hear that the Glock 19 Gen 4 is working out for you. Just do yourself one life-saving favor: UNINSTALL THE LIGHTENED STRIKER SPRING AND REINSTALL THE FACTORY WEIGHT ONE!!! This is because within a year and a half, once the spring breaks in, you WILL begin to experience light primer hits and eventually misfires with ammo that doesn't have touchy primers. It happened to me, with both my Glocks and my HK USP with the light striker and hammer springs. The result in the street if this happens is that you or a loved one will very likely DIE. This is why your NEVER put a lightened striker/hammer/mainspring in ANY weapon that is for defensive or duty use. Once you reinstall the regular striker spring, an easy task, it should bring your trigger pull weight to just over 4 pounds, which is perfect for defense, still a marked improvement over the factory pull and 100% RELIABLE! I'm not trying to rain on your parade in any way (I liked your article), but just trying to keep you and your loved ones alive and kicking. Good luck.

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