“Glock Perfection®” has been the company’s tagline for many years. When Glock released its fifth-generation pistols a couple of years ago, many people asked why. With Generation 5, Glock has made things just a little bit more perfect. That is kind of an oxymoron, though. I mean, if it’s perfect, can it become more perfect? That said, I still hear people ask about the differences between Gen 4 and Gen 5 Glocks, specifically, when it comes to a common favorite: the Glock 19 Gen 5.

The Glock 19 Gen 5 is pretty much the flagship Glock pistol offering. While third- and fourth-generation Glock 19s are still available on the market and often for sale, the Glock 19 Gen 5 is a superior model. And for civilians, militaries around the world, and thousands of law enforcement departments in many countries, Glock is often the go-to brand.

While the fifth-generation Glocks and the Glock 19 Gen 5 being now a couple of years old, let’s review the changes and upgrades that came with them. When Glock released then Gen 5, they touted over 20 design changes. These changes are exactly why the Gen 5 is an even more perfect option.

Many of the changes and upgrades in Glock Gen 5 models are minor and cosmetic. In fact, some of these changes might not be that noticeable at first. Other changes, however, do offer added reliability, better functionality, and continue to hone and refine the things Glock has become known for. To the company’s credit, many of these upgrades and new features are directly the result of customer feedback.

If you are debating on whether to purchase a Glock 19 Gen 5, this article is for you.

Glock Gen 5 exploded parts diagram, with a Glock 17. (Glock)


Fifth Generation Glocks: Design Changes and Upgrades

Glock lists the following as some of the fifth generation upgrades’ primary features:

  • “nDLC finish is exclusive to the GLOCK manufacturing process and the Gen5 models at this time. The finish increases protection against corrosion and scratching and improves the ability of the pistol to function in degreased or adverse conditions.
  • Flared mag-well has a larger funnel for faster, smoother reloads, particularly in high-stress situations where fractions of seconds matter.
  • GLOCK Marksman Barrel (GMB) features a more aggressive polygonal rifling with a target-style crown and tighter chamber specs, which delivers improved accuracy.
  • Ambidextrous slide stop levers offer increased ergonomics for left-hand shooters and shooting with the support hand.
  • Removal of the finger grooves on the grip allowed for superior grip ergonomics and improved fit for various size hands.
  • Firing pin safety and trigger spring enhancements enable the trigger housing to endure long-term durability and result in a smoother trigger pull and improved trigger reset.
  • Safe Action® System safeties disengage sequentially as the trigger is pulled and automatically reengage when the trigger is released.
  • Enlarged Floor Plate makes it easier to pull the magazine free of the pistol if it doesn’t fall free during a malfunction or reload.
  • Customizable Frame Size with backstraps in two sizes each one with and without beavertail. The multiple backstrap frame allows the users to change the circumference of the grip to fit their individual hand size.”

Out of these changes, these are the most notable and worthwhile: The new GLOCK Marksman Barrel as a standard feature; trigger enhancements which help make the trigger even smoother; ambidextrous slide stop levers; and upgrades to Glock’s Safe Action® System. Additionally, Glock now offers the option for factory-installed, upgraded Ameriglo night sights, therefore addressing the criticism over its plastic factory sights.

Glock 19 Gen 5
Detail of the Glock 19 Gen 5 MOS with a Vortex Venom red dot sight. Notice the slide lock release, on the right-hand side of the gun, for left-handed shooters. (Courtesy of author)


The Glock 19 Gen 5

Let’s talk a little about the Glock 19 Gen 5. I have shared before that I am a fan of the Glock 19. When I train new male or female shooters, a Glock 19 is always one of the first two guns I present them with. They just work. They are reliable and easy to shoot. The Glock 19 has the perfect balance of size, barrel length, magazine capacity, weight, trigger pull, and can still be concealed.

Can it get even better? It sure can. This particular model is a Glock 19 Gen MOS. MOS stands for “Modular Optics System.” For those who want to add a red dot optic to their Glock 19, this model allows that, with the removable plate being just forward of the rear sight. This allows the shooter to add any number of red dot models from various brands to the gun.

I also have a Glock 19 Gen 4. Can I tell a difference between the two? The answer is yes.

Many of the upgrades from Gen 4 to Gen 5 are not something most people will notice. However, this isn’t the case with the trigger pull and trigger reset. When Glock released the new slim, single-stack Glock 43 several years ago, it made a new trigger system. For the gun’s size, it was very smooth and worked quite well. It worked so well, in fact, that Glock turned that new trigger into the system for all the Gen 5 guns. And for a gun the size of the Glock 19 Gen 5, it made it even better.

Glock 19 Gen 5 disassembled parts
Glock 19 Gen 5, disassembled into four main parts. (Courtesy of author)

Glock 19 Gen 5 Parts

Like most modern semi-auto pistols, the Glock 19 is easy to take apart. However, one of the very few criticisms about Glocks concerns their disassembly. The trigger must be pulled to remove the slide from the frame. It is imperative to ensure the gun is safe and clear, with no bullet in the chamber, before the trigger is pulled as part of the slide removal process. Beyond that, it’s all pretty simple, with very few parts to worry about. There are, in fact, only four main components to clean and maintain.

Of course, if one wants to learn or dig in a bit more, there are more parts to the gun. These parts can be disassembled, changed, upgraded, swapped, deep cleaned, and so on. That, however, is optional.

With that in mind, one of the things that attracts so many shooters to Glock guns is the ease of tinkering with them and upgrading them. There are many third-party products for the gun, especially for the Glock 19 Gen 5. Any of these upgrades or aftermarket accessories might slightly bump the gun’s performance or make it more ergonomic. Overall, there are many options available – which is always good!


Parting Shots

Do I enjoy shooting the Glock 19 Gen 5? Absolutely. Whether for a casual and average shooter, or an experienced and competitive shooter, the Glock 19 is a great place to “be.”

It’s a great gun and a great platform. It is comfortable, which is important, and easy to use and handle. Further, I find it quite accurate, and having an accurate gun right out of the box is always a good thing. The rest, just like always, is up to you.

If you’ve never fired or owned a Glock this is the one to start with. The Glock 19 Gen 5 does not disappoint. As the saying goes, perfection is a process. And Glock’s process is working.