November 26, 2013

Glock G34 Gen 4 9mm

Gun Tests Magazine recently tested five high-capacity semi-automatic 9mm handguns that were aimed at the Practical Shooting competitor. Practical Shooting evolved from experimentation with handguns used for self-defense. One characteristic that separates Practical Shooting from other organized pistol competition is that the scoring takes into account the amount of time it takes to deliver the required number of shots for each course of fire. So, fast-action gun handling, as well as quick, precise shots becomes an integral part of the shooter’s score. In another test, they paid particular attention to features and components that make the guns faster and easier to operate, as well as more accurate. They chose to look at the Glock G34 Gen 4 9mm. Here's what they said:

Our earlier roster included two guns that were specifically prepared for competition by CZCustom of Mesa, Arizona. In this test, the gun was not as specialized. To date, most Glock shooters use the Gen 3 version of the G34 as tested previously. In this test we’ll try using the new $649 G34 Gen 4 pistol to see what effect the Gen 4 features may have in making it a better choice for competition.

Each pistol was tested for accuracy from the 25-yard line by firing from a sandbag rest. Test ammunition was the same as used in our previous test, including new manufacture (red box) 115-grain FMJ, and 124-grain JHP rounds from Black Hills Ammunition. We also fired 147-grain flatpoint FMJ rounds from Federal American Eagle. One of our guns offered a single-action trigger, so we took advantage of this option and shot groups of record with the HK P30L single action only.

To learn more about the match potential of the pistol we set up two action tests. Our “field” course of fire was the same one used previously, consisting of picking the gun off a table top and firing at two IPSC Metric targets 21 feet downrange spread 15 feet apart. The shooter was centered between the two targets and the catch was that the gun was fully empty with pistol and loaded magazine lying next to each other. The shooter began with hands placed flat to either side of the gun and magazine. Upon an audible start signal from our CED8000 shot recording timer, our shooter loaded the gun, and moving from left side target to right side target, fired two shots to the center mass A-zone (a 5.9-inch-wide by 11.2-inch-tall rectangle). The shooter then reengaged from left to right but this time with only one shot to the head areas which measured about 6-inches square. Inside the head area was a 4x2-inch rectangular A-zone surrounded by B-zone values. We also carried over our “double-tap” test but with different rules. We still wanted to know how fast we could deliver a quick pair of shots, but we also wanted to know how fast the guns could be reloaded in situations where the chamber was not yet empty nor the slide locked back. The target for this test was Caldwell’s plastic-coated 8-inch Bullseye TipTop targets which overall measured 8.5x11 inches and were punched for loose-leaf storage. Figures from our double-tap test reflected the elapsed time between the first and second shot after we had raised the gun from about a 45-degree angle from the horizon. And the amount of time it took us to reload, acquire the sights and fire, then the elapsed time between the final two shots.

Gun Tests June 2012

We'll take the consistency of the Gen 4 "Dot-Disconnector" trigger over the lighter Gen 3 action and its shorter-reach frame.

In addition to judging match potential, we also wanted to know how the gun would relate to non-competitive or beginning shooters. The good people at F.O.R.T. Texas training helped facilitate this test, and we asked them why our test gun might or might not be included in their “dirty dozen,” a house collection of 12 different handguns that students are welcome to try to learn firsthand what type of pistol might fit them best. Here’s what we found.

Glock G34 Gen 4 9mm $649

In the Gen 4 pistols, the manufacturer has chosen a mild grid of small pyramids with the tops flattened to enhance its non-skid properties. This was after several runs of grip frames with full pointed spikes were offered to law-enforcement personnel. For those who typically wore gloves on the job, the sharper knobs were fine. But body contact while holstered did present a problem. We found that the blunted spikes were a real improvement over the texture on our Gen 3 pistol and did not make concealed carry uncomfortable nor did the gun grab on to fabric.

One of the frame variations that Glock has tried is the short-trigger-reach frame, or SF for “short frame.” But, rather than produce two different models of short and standard size frames the Gen 4 pistols now come with two alternate panels that attach to the backstrap. Without either panel in place, the G34 Gen 4 is essentially an SF pistol.

Gun Tests June 2012

Many competitors choose to replace the Gen3 recoil assembly (top) with components they can tune to their ammunition. There is no alternative to the Gen4 system, and the two are not interchangeable. But we couldn't argue with the consistency of the Gen4's recoil control.

The extra panels slide on to the frame via two contour lines that, when exposed, appear perfectly natural to the eye. At the top of the backstrap beneath the web of the hand sits a pin inside a relief. This is actually a place keeper, which is replaced by a larger pin necessary to hold the alternate panels in place. The two panels are marked M for medium and L for large. They didn’t change the angle or contour of the back strap so much as they added distance to the trigger.

The magazine release on the G34 Gen 4 differed from our G34 Gen 3 by not having the same-style oversized magazine release. It didn’t protrude as much from the side of the frame, but was longer front to back. However, the Gen 4 magazine-release button can be changed to the other side of the pistol, making the gun more appealing to left-handed shooters. There were magazine catch lugs on both sides of the body of our three supplied Gen 4 magazines.

Internally there were two more changes from the Gen 3 pistol. Whereas the Gen 3 operated with single flat-wire spring captured over a polymer guide rod, the Gen 4 system consisted of three round wire springs over two reciprocating rods. There was a short, closely wound spring to the rear and a small-diameter spring hugging the forward part of the guide rod encased in a tube. The forward section was completely surrounded by a larger recoil spring. The other internal modification was referred to as a dot disconnector by a Glock representative we spoke to on the phone. Indeed, at the tip of the disconnector, the surface is punctuated with a dot not much different than if you were to make an indentation with a hammer and punch.

At the range found that we liked the G34 Gen 4 best without any of the alternate backstraps in place. We could feel the frame contour pushing the web of our strong-side hand comfortably as high as it could go into the beavertail beneath the top end. This should eliminate the cost of grip reduction for all but the most picky competitors. We sort of missed the big oversized magazine release and thought we might be losing some speed as our thumbs searched for the magazine release. But the SF grip reduction did give us a head start in reaching the release button by reducing what many consider to be the most important circumference found on the grip of a pistol. That is the line formed by the middle finger as it curls beneath the trigger guard and meets the thumb. How much more help the shooter needs to quickly access the release button is a matter of individual ergonomics.

When we first got our Gen 4, we oiled the gun but not the guide rod. The first few rounds of light 115-grain FMJ rounds failed to completely cycle the slide. We dropped the magazine, cleared the chamber, recessed the slide about one-quarter inch, pulled down on the release lugs and stripped the slide from the frame. The recoil unit was easy to take out and install, but we made sure to lubricate it with moderately light BreakFree oil, beneath the small rear spring, inside the support tube, and the outer surface of the support tube. After lubrication was performed, there were no malfunctions of any kind. Shot total for the session was approximately 400 rounds.

Gun Tests June 2012

We thought the Gen4 trigger was more consistent and controllable than the one we tested on our G34 Gen3 pistol. Glock told us this could be attributed to the "dot disconnector." Note the dimple on the disconnector tab on the Gen4 (right). This indentation resulted in a dimple on the opposite side of the tab. Note the smooth surface on the tab of the Gen3 component (left).

We thought the action of the recoil assembly was very consistent. But shooters who prefer to tune their guns to the strength of dedicated match ammunition may have to wait for the aftermarket specialists to develop a guide rod for Gen 4 pistols wherein the strength of the recoil assembly can be adjusted.

From the bench, our G34 Gen 4 shot the best overall groups of the test loaded with 115-grain FMJ rounds from Black Hills Ammunition. Average group size was 2.1 inches center to center for both the 124-grain and 147-grain ammunition. But the Glock was the only pistol in the test to produce sub-2 inch groups with each choice of test ammunition. This performance was comparable to results from our earlier test of the G34 Gen 3.

In the double-tap test we were pretty much hammering the trigger, even though a 10-yard target is not exactly the broad side of a barn. It was during our field test that we began to appreciate the little dot in the disconnector. With our hands locked into the grip, we were able to concentrate more fully on trigger press as we slid the sights into position. Indeed, we were wondering why our Gen 4 felt more consistent. Whereas our G34 Gen 3 pistol with 3.5-pound connector produced a trigger pull that we measured at about 4.5 pounds of resistance, our Gen 4 model arrived with a heavier connector, producing a trigger pull weight of about 6.5 pounds. There is always talk of trigger jobs that lighten the resistance of a trigger, but we found that the Gen 4 trigger was utterly predictable and consistent in its take-up, break, and reset. We think this not only made the gun faster and more accurate at speed but safer to handle as well.

Over the course of ten runs of our double tap/reload/double-tap test, we were able to drop from an elapsed or split time of .38 seconds for the first pair, a 2.14-second reload and a .37-second pair to a score of .26 seconds, 1.88 seconds, and .27 seconds, respectively. Our final runs (numbers 7 through 10) were within a few hundredth seconds of this score. Best overall split time was .25 seconds and our fastest reload took 1.71 seconds.

In the field test, picking up the gun, loading, and firing an accurate first shot took 2.48 to 2.88 seconds. Overall elapsed time ranged from 5.88 seconds to 6.33 seconds. The middle of the two targets showed 15 A-zone hits, and 5 C-zone hits. The head areas showed a combined total of 3 A-zone hits and 7 B-zone hits.

Our Team Said: What we gave up in the lighter trigger of the Gen 3 pistol we think we got back in control of the Gen 4. The grip frame provided greater stability, in our view, and felt recoil seemed more consistent, too. Together, this helped us dedicate more concentration to sight picture and trigger control. Non-competitive shooters might prefer the added sight radius of the G34’s longer top end, but its sister gun, the service length G17 Gen 4, would be a more practical choice for everyday use.

Comments (36)

Yes sir, couldn't have seen Obama had he been standing on the bow.

Posted by: Cecil B | December 7, 2013 12:16 AM    Report this comment

Thank you Cecil for your service to our country military and civilian. 40 years in sea services!!! Like I said, I will never feel sorry for myself.

You must have seen many nights at sea when it was so dark you can't tell the difference between the sky and the sea. They were both black.

Posted by: runner | December 6, 2013 8:53 PM    Report this comment

Hey runner, I was in the Naval Reserve for 10 years after graduating from the U. S. Merchant Marine Academy in 66. Then in 76, they decided they didn't need a bunch of deadbeat Lt.s so out I went. I was a police officer at the time. Besides my 10 years in the PD, I did 30 years in the merchant marine and retired in 99. So now, I take care of my dogs.
Thanks for your service to our country. I too fear that the little commie in the white house is turning the country into a toilet.

Posted by: Cecil B | December 6, 2013 8:06 PM    Report this comment

Thank you Colonel for your kind words but more so for your service and that of your son.

Posted by: runner | December 6, 2013 5:28 PM    Report this comment

Well, runner, we're in about the same territory, since I graduated high school in 1958 and college in 1963, going directly on active duty in the Army. I did 21 years of Army commissioned service, and served with the 4th Infantry Division in Vietnam. I retired from active duty in 1984, in rank Lieutenant Colonel, and taught middle school science until 2006, when my wife and I both retired.....permanently. One of my old high school buds served on the FDR back in the early 1960s, in the Mediterranean, and one of my sons served about the George Washington just as it was being commissioned and off on its maiden cruise.

I can identify with your thrill of seeing Soviet aircraft at close range, since one of my tours of duty was in Alaska, with NORAD. I recall a couple of times flying goony birds over the Bering Sea as MiG 19s pulled up along side of us.....almost stalling to fly as slow as the C-47.....waving to the pilots and going our separate ways.

Thanks for your service, and thanks for continuing to take care of our veterans.....They often seem to get the short end of the proverbial stick.

Posted by: canovack | December 6, 2013 4:09 PM    Report this comment

It may not look it from the post, but I am actually a good speller, but a poor typist.

Posted by: runner | December 6, 2013 1:54 PM    Report this comment

Cecil and Canovack, I always appreciate your comments and how good they are. Things do change over time and it seems to be not for the better in many cases. I think Medicine has improved tremendously, but it will be destroyed if Obamacare sticks.
As for my career, I graduated from high school in '63, and 8 years later from Dental School. I volunteered for the Navy and served as a dentist from '71 to '73. I was ashore for a year and on the aircraft carrier Franklin D. Roosevelt CVA-42 for a year. The experience did not enhance my dental career so I did not stay in. The chance for travel on Uncle Sam was good, and the workings of a carrier are amazing. It was a particular thrill to see on occasion a Russian Bear bomber flying low near us escorted by a couple of our F4 Phantoms. It was important that each side knows where the other was. I think each side was a little less nervous with that knowledge. During that time in the Navy I got the impression that morale was just a word in a book somewhere. I hope the all volunteer military has better morale at least.
From the Navy, I worked in the V.A. for more than 28 years. I met veterans from WWI all the way to Iraq and Afganistan and everthing in between. After learning about what many veterans went through, and seeing the terrible cosequences some of them have to live with, I can never feel sorry for myself.
I am now retired, and have taken care of 3 grandchildren sequencially during business hours.

Posted by: runner | December 6, 2013 11:48 AM    Report this comment

Thank you for those kind words Colonel. I too check my feet every morning.

As Spock says, Live Long and Prosper.

Posted by: Cecil B | December 1, 2013 1:20 PM    Report this comment

'Sorry to hear that your sister passed. It is especially difficult when death comes at such an early age. My condolences and prayers are with you.

It seems to me, that as I read the morning newspaper each day at breakfast, I find the obituaries column contains narratives of people who are mostly younger than me. I'll be hitting 73 in a couple of weeks, and my sister will be hitting 78 in a couple of months.....with her husband hitting 80 in January. Genetically, we come from fairly respectable longevity, with my dad going at 88 and my mom at 96, but then we also recognize that in many cases, all bets are off. So.....we keep plodding along, taking each day as it comes, and thanking God each morning when I look at my feet and see that neither foot has a toe tag.

Posted by: canovack | December 1, 2013 10:57 AM    Report this comment

I understand your feeling, believe me. I wouldn't be a cop or a sailor in these times if they doubled my salary. I miss being a cop but it wouldn't be the same. I have an old girlfriend that is the head liberian at a private school in Houston and every year, they knock a few more blocks out from the teachers feet.

I have enough money to live out my days unless the shit hits the fan. My dogs and I are happy, except for the Jack Russell (he would have all the other dogs eat shit and die)and I sleep until the puppies decide it is time to get up, which is NOT early on most days.

My sister died on Friday and was only 61 so I know that death is probably not more than a few years off so I will take each day as it comes and try to get over the guilt of not keeping the house as clean as it should be. Only thing I miss about going to sea is the paycheck.

Posted by: Cecil B | November 30, 2013 7:26 PM    Report this comment

Yes, indeed, how things change! I was commissioned in the Army upon graduation from college in 1963, and I retired from that in 1984. From what I can see from the outside looking in, it just ain't the same Army as when I was in. Same thing is true of education. Upon retirement from the Army in 1984, I began a second career in public education, signing on as a middle school science teacher. By the time I retired from that in 2006, there had been so many changes in public education that I figured it was time for me to hang it up again, and this time.....forever. I'm glad I did what I did, when I did them, but getting back into either of those careers now would be an emphatic NO! Besides, I have taken a rather strong liking to having no alarm to awaken me in the moring over the past 7.5 years. My retirement remuneration is sufficient to enable my wife and I to live as comfortably as when we both worked, and I still have enough funds to pick up a new firearm now and then, as I browse the gun shows each month.

Posted by: canovack | November 30, 2013 6:24 PM    Report this comment

One of the guys in the posse shot him but no one would fess up. He be "High Steppin", trying to get away, hence, the heel shot. In those days, we didn't have a shooting team, DA breathing down our neck, all the stuff that goes on now. How things change.

Posted by: Cecil B | November 30, 2013 2:35 PM    Report this comment

So, Cecil, who shot him in the heel? Was he dressed like Achilles? I will concede that I have one .380 that I still carry as a back-up. When I mow my lawn, since I sweat profusely, I carry a stainless steel Rossi .357 Magnum revolver on my hip with a North American Guardian .380 in my pocket, surrounded by a leather pocket holster. All other .380s are setting around in hollowed-out books that are strategically located around the house.

Posted by: canovack | November 30, 2013 10:52 AM    Report this comment

A .380 will get a guy off of you but we chased one asshole home one night and he was sitting on his bed digging the .380 round out of his heel when the posse charged in.

Posted by: Cecil B | November 29, 2013 10:45 PM    Report this comment

Right, Cecil.....An old Army buddy signed up for the defensive pistol course at Frontsight, near Las Vegas. When I asked him what he was taking with him, he told me it was a Walther PK380, and I cautioned him that it might not be enough gun for that particular course, and that they might not let him use it on their ranges. Well.....he took it with him and found that there wasn't enough steam in the round to knock down the steel targets that they use in the course, so he ended up renting one of the school guns. I have a handful of .380s in my collection, and some of them are pretty nice, but they are only back-up pieces that I no longer use since I got a Kahr PM9 to use as a back-up.

Posted by: canovack | November 29, 2013 6:22 PM    Report this comment

I had left my .44 at the house that day. Also, be advised, a .380 won't pierce both glasses in a phone booth.

Posted by: Cecil B | November 29, 2013 2:45 PM    Report this comment

Interesting experience, Cecil..... Probably if you'd have been shooting caliber .357 SIG, you'd have gotten the job done. According to my sources, the Texas DPS adopted SIG Sauer P229 DAK pistols chambered in .357 SIG, because the .357 SIG was the only autopistol round that routinely penetrated slanted windshields, while all other autopistol rounds bounced off.

Posted by: canovack | November 29, 2013 10:32 AM    Report this comment

i have G35-3, installed a Barsto barrel and Rocket 3.5, it shoots great but not as tight as my hand-built 1911. the G35-4 trigger, with the Rocket 3.5 is better than the Gen3, IMHO. glockworx makes a 'Guiderod Reducer Ring #ZT-REDUCER' to use Gen3 recoil springs in the Gen4's. my 9m handloads shot better than any factory ammo i've run through it (G35-4) with a Barsto 9m conversion barrel hand-fitted.

Posted by: Ben V | November 29, 2013 1:39 AM    Report this comment

Have never owned a Glock but as with previous comments, just don't feel good in my hand.

Have never been a big fan of 9 mm anyway. Tried shooting out the tires on a pimps Lincoln with one and didn't deflate the tires.

Posted by: Cecil B | November 28, 2013 9:55 PM    Report this comment

Have never shot a Glock, but may have to try this Gen 4 G-34. Like others, the Glock never felt quite right in my hand, whereas my Beretta mini-Cougar 8000 fit like a glove. But the slimmer grip on the G-34 may just be the ticket. Still like a thumb safety, though; old habits die hard.

Posted by: Humble Pie | November 28, 2013 2:41 PM    Report this comment

After market single recoil springs and adaptors are already available. Your photo shows a indentation on the trigger bar not the connector. The dot connector is used when the
Gen 4 trigger pull exceeds 7 lbs. It will reduce the trigger pull to near 6.5 lbs.

Posted by: Sky Hawk | November 27, 2013 4:11 PM    Report this comment

Is great info to know

Posted by: Alexander. Cruz | November 27, 2013 1:35 PM    Report this comment

That's a good critical review, tanker. Since I am one of those whose hand just feels odd when grasping a Glock, I submit that everything you said about the Glocks can also be said about Smith & Wesson Sigmas and M&P pistols.....

Posted by: canovack | November 27, 2013 12:39 PM    Report this comment

Never fired updated Blocks. Have fired 19 and 17, and 17 was only pistol out of the box that I fired perfect score at 3 and 7 yds, with no previous practice. Dropped to 9 nines and 1 ten at 15 yards. Glocks inaccurate? No way! Shooter not used to the grip/handling? Yes, way! Better pistols? Sure, pay the price and pay for mods. Too light, maybe for calibers above 9 mm, but perfect for people who want to hold a pistol and not do a weight lifter workout.

Posted by: tanker | November 27, 2013 11:56 AM    Report this comment

Put a mag well on my G-32, Love it. Pushes your hand up tight, better shot group's, all around good idea. Going to put on my G-34, G-4 can't wait.

Posted by: BulletsnBarrels | April 2, 2013 1:29 PM    Report this comment

I have never had problem with shooting any of my GLOCKS!. Take them out of the box run a bore snake thru it, load up an fire, no oiling . easiest gun to shoot. Try putting on a mag well.

Posted by: BulletsnBarrels | January 13, 2013 4:09 AM    Report this comment

I have never had problem with shooting any of my GLOCKS!. Take them out of the box run a bore snake thru it, load up an fire, no oiling . easiest gun to shoot. Try putting on a mag well.

Posted by: BulletsnBarrels | January 13, 2013 4:08 AM    Report this comment

Glocks maybe good but they cost to much fo me.
I have a few friends who own Glocks & are very happy with them.

Posted by: Ernie | January 12, 2013 9:46 PM    Report this comment

Have been a dedicated Sig loyalist and have sold about 60% Sigs as a FFL. Didn't even own a personal Glock until my G23 Gen 4 this year because I had 4 friends and customers who wanted me to teach them to shoot their Glocks. Due to grip angle, always seemed to point Glocks high, compared to Sig or 1911: but have a friend who is custom Glock smith and certified armoror that builds Gen 3 type 17 &22 with grip angle identical to 1911! A 19/23 frame version will be available shortly! Have had to train myself to push my wrist over and lock it when shooting Glock; but with complete polishing of internals and spring replacements (except not replacing G4 recoil spring system) and install of Rocket 3.5 connector, shoot this gun een better than my Sigs....if I can remember to push my wrist over and lock it!

Posted by: ordnance outsellers | January 12, 2013 6:20 PM    Report this comment

Despite the urban legends of Glocks blowing up with lead bullets this is pure baloney. I have shot thousands of hand loaded lead bullets through 3 Glocks and have had no safety or accuracy problems. Just clean out any leading after you shoot them. Any type of rifling will collect lead and will cause a blow up if the owner is two lazy to clean out lead deposits in the barrel. The myth that polygonal rifling is not accurate with lead bullets is pure baloney. If the bullets are sized and lubed properly they often shoot more accurately than jacketed bullets and at way less wear and tear on the barrel and they are a lot cheaper too.

Posted by: wild romanian | January 11, 2013 1:44 PM    Report this comment

You problems with the new dual recoil spring are well known already. I have two 1980-s Glocks that need no lubrication on them to get them to function because they have the older style single recoil spring.

As far as a bulls-eye pistol the Glock like most plasticky pistols is a failure. Poor creepy trigger pulls, two light a weight to hold steady, and the usually crummy Glock accuracy, which I might add is usual for most other brands of plasticky pistols as well. They do not come close in accuracy to a closely fitted 1911 or Browning High Power.

Posted by: wild romanian | January 11, 2013 1:38 PM    Report this comment

I have never been fond of plastic pistols and have held stead fast to the 1911 and Sig P220, However I acquired a G-34 Gen 4 and like it a lot for tactical competition, but will still carry the P220.

Posted by: STM | January 11, 2013 10:10 AM    Report this comment

Just want to follow the discussion's updates.

Posted by: CT dave | January 10, 2013 7:44 PM    Report this comment

I have the Glock 34 generation 3 with a custom Barsto Barrel and it is a tack driver.

Posted by: Pointman | January 10, 2013 4:48 PM    Report this comment

I own several GLOCKS, and 1911's an a few others. The 1911s are all American as apple pie, But the Glock is newt to none. I tryed the whole ball of wax on the glock and wanta be's, Notheing came close to the Glock. HK,or NF,Sig., Springfield. I shot the G-34 and love it . Each to his or her own.

Posted by: BulletsnBarrels | January 10, 2013 2:46 PM    Report this comment

As usual, I agree that Glock pistols are durable, reliable, reasonably accurate, and simple to operate. That said, however, they just don't feel right in my hand, and while I have ownned several, I just will not own anymore.

Posted by: canovack | January 10, 2013 12:37 PM    Report this comment

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