The granddaddy of all Glocks, the Glock 17 is still one of the most popular Glock models. Hitting the market in 2017, the Glock 17 gen 5 followed the traditions of the original from 35 years prior.
Yet, there are more than a few changes and improvements that were added with the fifth generation Glocks. The changes are significant enough that some after-market parts, such as barrels and trigger systems, are not interchangeable between generations.
The Basics of the Glock 17 Gen 5
The generation 5 Glock 17 comes with a standard 17-round magazine, 4.49-inch barrel, and is chambered in 9x19mm parabellum. It has no external safety, though like other Glocks the trigger has a mechanism to help prevent accidental discharges.
Glocks also feature two internal safeties that make it impossible for the weapon to discharge without a trigger pull.
YouTuber Matt Rittman put together the animation below showing the full functioning of the Glock design:
The mag release button on the Glock 17 gen 5 is swappable, a standard Glock feature. Though it requires disassembly and a bit of firearms know-how, left-handed firers don’t have to struggle with awkward magazine changes.
The latest Glock 17 is, essentially, a Glock. It isn’t flashy, but has a reliability that has made Glocks a service weapon of choice for many years.
Still, there were a few changes and features Glock added between generations 4 and 5.
The Glock 17 Gen 5 Trigger Pull and How It Feels
Glock fans will notice on their first pull of a gen 5 trigger that something feels different. Those preferring a crisp trigger pull may be disappointed, though nothing has (officially) changed in the gen 5’s trigger pull weight.
The difference isn’t in the trigger assembly. Rather, Glock changed the shape of the firing pin safety. Sitting snug in the slide, the firing pin safety keeps a dropped Glock from discharging. In the gen 5, Glock changed the shape of that safety, making the trigger pull feel softer or longer to some shooters.
Essentially, the bottom of the lug is now rounded instead of flat. When the trigger is pulled on a gen 4 Glock 17, the firing pin is released at a sudden moment. With the rounded lug, that moment comes as more of a surprise when the tip of the lug is reached.
There are plenty of after-market parts available for Glocks. However, shooters won’t get back to the feel of a gen 4 trigger pull with a simple spring swap.
As to the Glock 17 gen 5’s trigger pull weight, there is plenty of debate online — as with all Glocks. Many even question how accurate Glock’s official numbers are. That controversy spills over into differences between Glock generations, but like much else about Glocks, opinion seems the biggest factor. For most Glocks, the trigger pull weight appears to reside between five and seven pounds.
For more on fine-tuning the trigger pull, check out this SOFREP article for shooters thinking about a modification.
British Military Police Airman Cpl. Stephen Haggarty, assigned at Ramstein Air Base, shoots with his Glock pistol at the U.S. Army Training Support Center Benelux 25-meter indoor range on Chièvres Air Base, Belgium, April 13, 2015. British forces assigned to different units in NATO or SHAPE trained under the supervision of the British Joint European Training Team. (Photo by Visual Information Specialist Pierre-Etienne Courtejoie/U.S. Army)
A Different Kind of Rifling
Which is more important to you, accuracy or power? While everyone knows that rifling affects accuracy, what they may not know is that different types of rifling can result in different levels of accuracy.
The traditional Glock rifling is what is known as polygonal rifling. Opinions vary, but the generally-accepted advantage over land-and-groove rifling is a higher muzzle velocity.
However, the gen 5 Glock 17 has land-and-groove rifling, which shooters just know as “rifling.” This should be more accurate, but the reduced muzzle velocity may mean you need to adjust your site picture.
In reality, though, the difference in either direction is fairly small when dealing with a 4.49-inch barrel. If you aren’t using your pistol for matches, it’s unlikely you’ll notice the difference. And at real-life-use distances, such as personal defense, it’s unlikely that the difference will be meaningful.
You can also get a threaded barrel for the Glock 17 gen 5. However, if you go looking for an aftermarket barrel to get your polygonal rifling back, beware. A number of the after-market barrels available don’t fit the gen 5. This is due to changes in the frame between generations for the Glock 17. Barrels that fit gen 4 and earlier Glock 17s won’t fit into a gen 5.
YouTuber AZ Trigger did a side-by-side comparison of the two generations breaking down in detail all the differences.
The Glock 17 Gen 5 Holster and Making It Fit
There isn’t any real size difference between generations of Glocks. But, there is an added feature that might make a favorite holster fit a bit tight.
With the Glock 17 gen 5, shooters were given an ambidextrous slide release. That is a handy feature (no pun intended… possibly no pun accomplished). However, it also means a slightly wider profile for the weapon.
In terms of fit, the Glock 17 gen 5 also did away with finger grooves on the grip. Shooters with larger hands may be pleased by this return to the original styling of the first Glock 17s.
The Glock 17 Gen 5 Magwell
Among the changes to the 17 that came in the fifth generation was a wider-mouth magwell. The beveled and flared magwell is meant to make rapid reloading a bit easier, aiding the insertion of a new magazine.
And as with other Glocks, there are also plenty of aftermarket Glock 17 gen 5 magwell extensions. These are meant to further aid in reloading by making it simpler and faster to get a new mag in.
Gen 5 Glocks also come with swappable backstraps, which are intended to help shooters create a grip that fits. However, many magwell extensions may not attach with a backstrap fitted.
Accessories and Appearance Changes
There are plenty of accessories available for any Glock, but one small Glock 17 gen 5 change may help compatibility. As noted by YouTuber sootch00 in the video below, the picatinny rail slot on the frame of the gen 5 Glock is a bit wider than in previous generations.
However, sootch00 was also able to dispel a few misconceptions regarding changes, such as the rumored deeper trigger guard undercut. Turns out some things really are just optical illusions.
Sootch00 also discusses the bezzled front of the slide and offers the opinion it might make for easier holstering. Whether or not that’s really significant may be another case of personal opinion.
For those who purchase a new or used gen 5 Glock 17 with the factory mags, they will notice an orange follower. Some commentators have noted the brighter follower will make it easier to see that the mag is empty. That the slide has locked back is usually a good indicator as well. The factory mags also have a wider base to make extracting the mag a little bit easier. Previous generation magazines work in a gen 5, and Glock seems to have fixed compatibility issues between new mags and previous generation Glocks.