Monthly Archives: April 2017

Glock Gen 3 vs Gen 4

Yes, this is somewhat old data. But I haven’t found one source that has everything one should know about the two generations of Glocks on the market. So I’m making one. We’re going to break down each difference here, and then talk recommendations at the end.

Grip Configurability
The Gen4 Glocks come with four backstraps: medium, large, medium with beavertail, and large with beavertail. They can also be used with no backstrap. The Gen3 comes in just one size. It’s very roughly the same size as the Gen4 with medium backstrap. So it will fit most, but you might get a better fit on the Gen4.

Grip Texture
The Gen4 Glocks added a reasonably aggressive grip texture. Gen3s are smooth sided, except for the Gen3 RTF2, which also comes with some good texture (but is harder to find). If you’re looking for stippling work, the Gen3s have a bit more material to work with in their grips that you can shape and play with.

Grip Accessories
The Gen3 doesn’t have possible backstraps to make things difficult. So there are more options for magwells for competitors, especially if you’re looking to tune the weight of your pistol to get the perfect balance between heavy to absorb recoil and light for transitions. Some magwells for the Gen4 can be had made for a backstrap. Otherwise, you’ll be modifying them to fit. It’s not very hard, just something to note.

Mag Release
The Gen4 has a bigger mag release than the Gen3, and it’s reversible for lefties. It’s easier for the small-handed to push. Mods abound for both platforms.

The Gen4 has a somewhat different internal path for the trigger bar to take. Stock Gen4s (that aren’t 34/35s) come with a different connector than the Gen3s to compensate. If the same components are put in an otherwise similar Gen3 and Gen4, the Gen4 will have a trigger pull about half a pound heavier. As always, components are easy to mix and match to get the pull you want. Trigger components, including trigger bars, from a Gen3 will work in a Gen4 without difficulty. If you stick with the Gen4 trigger bar, remember to apply lubrication to the bump on the tab that engages the drop safety plunger. It will improve the feel of the trigger. Always lubricate between the trigger bar and trigger connector.

Barrel Fit
From Gen3 to Gen4, Glock changed something about the barrel fit. As a result, while drop-in match barrels will generally improve the accuracy of a Gen3 Glock, they will provide at best no measurable improvement in a Gen4 Glock. The OEM barrel actually does better than some aftermarket drop-ins for some loads. So don’t waste your money simply for accuracy if you have a Gen4. Note that both generations of Glocks will see improvement from a professionally-fitted barrel.1

Recoil Spring Assembly
Glock changed from a single-spring recoil spring assembly in the Gen3 to a dual-spring one in the Gen4. Not much difference to feel in 9 mm, but it improves hotter calibers like .40 S&W. Note that competitors interested in an aftermarket guide rod and spring kit will either need an adapter or a guide rod designed specifically for the Gen4. This is a part that does not interchange.

There you have it. Overall, I think the Gen4 is a little better in 9 mm for most people. Some custom builds might be easier to do on a Gen3. It’s not a huge difference though, so don’t sweat it.

  1. By a Real Gunsmith who knows what the hell he’s doing. Fitting a barrel is tricky, and this is something that isn’t easy to do after a youtube video. If you’re springing for a fancy fitted barrel, get it done right. 

On Faith and Shooting

Ordinarily, I’d leave the posts on faith to Fishbreath. But this one is quite specific, and there’s an interesting point to be made with it.

Last year, one of my pistol classes had a long-range component. A really long range component. We had plates at 25, 35, 50, 80, and 110 yards. Pistols had iron sights, nothing too fancy. Shooting from the usual offhand1 unsupported position. There was no real time limit. Just you, and your pistol, and a steel, man-size plate.

The first thing I had to learn, having come off a bunch of speed drills, was that my trigger finger had a speed other than maximum. We had trained for the past day and a half on a continuous speed trigger press, and since these were 10 yard timed drills, the correct technique was to grip the hell out of the gun and get on that trigger hard and fast. Now, there were no follow-up shots to worry about. So grip wasn’t as important to manage recoil. And we had to learn how to work that trigger slow without stopping. Stopping tends to mean “jerking” and screwing up the shot.

I was missing a lot, but I was learning a lot too, and getting my hits. And I brought six 17-round magazines for my Glock 34. Prepared. At least until round four. That damned 80 yard plate. Everything went all to shit for me, and I’m not quite sure why.

I can tell you the symptoms though. I was switching eye focus rapidly, between the target plate and my front sight, which was wobbling, and back to the plate. Back and forth. It was odd. There were stops in my trigger press, with the predictable shanking of shots into the dirt like a damned noob. I took a break in frustration, and talked to my instructor.

He said, “The plate isn’t fucking moving. Relax. Pick your aim point, have faith in yourself, and focus on your fucking front sight.”


Faith in myself. Faith in my pistol. Faith in those Warren sights I liked so much. Faith in my instructors. Faith in the fundamentals of marksmanship. Faith in my trigger press technique, which had worked well throughout the class. Faith in the cables holding the target in place.

Did I mention faith in me? Yeah, that’s a big one.

So I took a lot of deep breaths. And tried my best to forget all those damn misses. Stepped up to the line, picked my aiming point, and focused on my damn front sight. Like I was supposed to. Took the shot.


Okay. No problem. Adjust your aim. Focus on the front sight, nice continuous speed trigger press. Nice and slow. Press and let the gun do it’s thing.


“Just like that!” called out my instructor. I started getting results. I guess those fundamentals meant something. The drills continued.

I’m not quite sure why it took so long to really run into problems that required me to understand what’s really meant by a hard front sight focus. Nothing highlights problems in your fundamentals like long range pistol shooting. It took many more reps to get the trigger press right, but there’s a lot to be learned from my front sight issues.

One of the other shooters ended up exhausting his supply of ammo at the 80 yard target. He was new at this too. My instructor called endex. I checked the mag in my gun. It still had ammo. I asked if I could have a go at the 110 yard target, at least until other, more-ammoed students showed up. And so I went back to the line.

Front sight focus. Constant speed press. BANG!


Part of shooting, especially long range shooting, is understanding that you can’t take that shot back. That bullet is gone. Move on. Focus, focus. BANG!


Focus. Front sight. Trigger press. Slow. Let the gun do its thing. Maybe that’s what whoever coined the term ‘surprise break’ meant. We’ll go with that. Don’t get impatient. BANG!


Good. Just like that. BANG!




See, it’s working. I might have smiled a little. BANG!


Ugh. What was that about not getting cocky? I’m even missing in a brand new way! Let. It. Go. Breathe. Are we breathing? We need to do that to live. Breathe. BANG!


Slide locked back. I dropped it, and experienced the awful feeling of running your hand along your belt pouches and discovering they’re all empty. My last mag went splorch in the mud.

I reminded myself to breathe again. And then there was quite a bit of uncivilized whoopin’ and hollerin’ on my part. Because I showed that 110 yard plate who’s boss.

And I couldn’t have done it without finding faith at 80.

  1. i.e. standing 

TTPs: More Finger on the trigger?

Here’s a short little post on something that’s helped both myself and Fishbreath.

I’ve heard this from a bunch of pistol instructors, usually in regards to shooting Glocks. Often, shooters complain that their Glocks shoot left or low-left (for a right-handed shooter, lefties will often see right or low-right). and consider adjusting their sights and bitching and blaming the gun. The instructor will then borrow their gun and show them that it’s not the gun, it’s them, and then talk techniques to correct the problem.

One such technique involves trigger finger placement. New shooters are often told to put the “pad” of their finger on the trigger. Maybe this works really well for some people. But sometimes the geometry of the grip and trigger mean that this is suboptimal and leads to a lot of low-left shots. One fix is to simply put more finger on the trigger. Sink it to the first knuckle, or maybe further.

This requires a bit of experimentation, but I’ve found that more finger on the trigger generally helps me get shots on target better. This might not be true for everybody, but if shooting left is the problem you’re seeing, give more finger a try. You might be surprised.

And if it doesn’t work, you don’t have to stick with it.

I’ve always heard this technique referenced explicitly as a “Glock Technique.” That said, I’ve used this technique to improve results on an M9, and M&P9, and an FNX-45 in addition to my Glocks. So it may help you regardless of what pistol you shoot.