November 14, 2017

Glock 19 Gen 3 vs Gen 4 – A Basic Comparison

Glock 19 gen 3 vs gen 4

The Glock 19, despite popular belief, is not one of the new pistol generations in the market. The Gen 3, for example, was introduced back in 1996 while the Gen 4 has been available for nearly six years now. However, for first-time buyers, it’s very hard to know which of these two options suits them best. There are quite a number of distinct differences between the Glock Gen 3 and the Gen 4. In this Glock 19 Gen 3 vs Gen 4 analysis, we are going to look at all the distinct differences and see just how the two pistols compare.

The Glock pistols are arguably the most popular polymer pistols in the market. Although not everybody likes them, they are great handguns. Many progressive changes have been made on the Glock 19 pistols over the years and we will review each of these changes so that we can give you all the information that you need to make your decision.

The first polymer-frame pistol was first introduced in the 80s. Ever since, various models have come out with the latest version being the Glock 19. The Glock 19 is basically a compact polymer framed pistol. The double stacked 9mm handgun also features locked-breach reloading. The handgun can easily be customized to fit the shooter’s specifications too.

Glock 19 Gen 3 Vs. Gen 4 Differences

The Glock 19 Gen 3 and Gen 4 have quite a number of differences. However, only experienced gun owners who have used the two pistols for some time will notice these distinguishing factors. For a regular guy looking for the perfect pistol, these differences may not be easily noticeable. Nonetheless, we still think it’s important to understand the Glock 19 Gen 3 vs Gen 4 contrast.

Well, below is a break down for you:



The first difference between the Glock Gen 3 and the Gen 4 can be found on the slide. If you look carefully, you will notice that the slide on the Gen 4 is often stamped with “Gen 4”. There’s also another distinct feature on the Gen 4 that can help you identify the handgun. When you examine the guide rod just below the muzzle, you will realize that the Gen 4 has a large hole compared to the Gen 3.

This is actually because it uses a dual-recoil spring guide rod. You will also notice that the metal surfaces on the Gen 4 are different in color compared to the Gen 3. The surfaces are lighter, almost bordering on dull grey.

Recoil Spring Assembly

Another point to note in this Glock 19 Gen 3 vs Gen 4 review is related to the recoil spring assembly. The Glock 19 Gen 3 has a single-spring guide rod assembly. The Gen 4 has dual-spring. The biggest advantage you get with a dual-spring assembly is the significant reduction of the felt recoil. Dual-spring assemblies also last longer.

However, for someone who has used the Glock 19 for a while, the difference in recoil may not really be felt in a significant way.

Frame Grip

gen 4 grip

We have also noticed that the texture of the frame grip varies. The Gen 4 has a rougher and more aggressive texture on the frame grip compared to the Gen 3. This is an added advantage especially in cases where your hands might be a little wet or sweaty.

If you are one of those people who engage in long shooting sessions somewhere in the woods, a better grip is definitely an important consideration. However, you can always bring your gloves with you.

Trigger Bar

The trigger bar on the Gen 4 is also very different compared to the Gen 3. This is an important part of the pistol and we couldn’t overlook it in this Glock 19 Gen 3 vs Gen 4 comparison. The Gen 4 has a rounded bump just around the part that disables the firing pin safety. The rounded bump is designed to ensure that the trigger bar is perfectly centered on the firing pin safety.

However, it makes the trigger pull rough. It also increases the weight of the pull. This might be problematic for some people but for regular Glock 19 users, it’s really not a big deal.

Trigger Housing and Connector

The trigger housing on the Gen 4 has been redesigned to adapt to the new and smaller frame. The engagement angle of the connector is also very different to the Gen 3. However, it’s still possible to use the Gen 4 connector on the Gen 3 but this will significantly change the weight pull.

Back Straps

glock 19 gen 3 vs gen 4

The Gen 4 features two additional alternate back straps. This makes it easier to fit the pistols comfortably in various hand sizes. The smallest of the back straps is fully integrated into the pistol’s frame. This reduces the trigger distance by approximately 0.08 inches. The large back strap increases the trigger distance by about 0.16 inches.

Magazines and Magazine Release

The magazine release on the Gen 4 is slightly larger and easier to operate compared to the Gen 3. It’s also ambidextrous, making it easier for left and right-handed shooters to operate. The magazines for both pistols are compatible with each other.

However, the magazine release on the Gen 3 will be problematic if used on the Gen 4. This is because the release on the Gen 3 was generally designed for right-handed shooters while the release on the Gen 4 is designed for both.


Finally, it’s also important to look at the cost differences in for the Glock 19 Gen 3 vs Gen 4 comparison. The Gen 4, being a newer model, will cost more. The Gen 3 will range between $100 and $200 while the Gen 4 costs somewhere between $400 and $500.

Glock 19 Gen 3 vs. Gen 4 – Comparison on Reliability

The Glock pistols, regardless of the model you are using, are generally very reliable. Although there were a few issues with the Gen 4 immediately after its first release, those problems have since been resolved. The Glock pistols are highly durable, easy to use and function very well in almost every condition. Whether you are using the Gen 3 or Gen 4, it will be worth it!


Although there are a few differences between the Glock 19 Gen 3 and Gen 4, to be honest, any choice would be great. The pistol is just the right size and the perfect weight for concealment. The 9mm bullet packs enough power to do damage in case of self-defense.

It also has the right bullet capacity, quality grip, and it always feels comfortable carrying. The choice between the Gen 3 and Gen 4 boils down to taste and preference. However, in terms of functionality and applicability, the two generations will serve you right.

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