It may look about the same, but the devil is in the details when it comes to the Glock 17 Gen4. Exterior changes include a larger guide rod opening, larger mag release, new RTF grip panels and interchangeable backstrap covers.

After spending the better part of my life evaluating high-performance cars, both in the design studio and on the test track, it is safe for me to say that I know a little bit about pushing the envelope. And one thing I’ve learned testing cars and guns is that both automotive and firearms designers are loathe to scrap a working design and start over—or as the old automotive axiom goes, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” After more than 25 years in production, the Glock 17 wasn’t broke, but it did need a little enhancing, and the upgrade is in. It’s called Gen4.
The takedown procedure is the same as with all earlier Glock models. The difference between the models becomes obvious once the gun is taken apart. All Glock Gen4s come with two interchangeable backstrap panels along with the necessary MBS tool.

Next Gen Factor
Performance is an applicable term for describing the attributes of both a sports car and an autopistol. For both, speed is essential, and how fast you achieve that speed and how well it can be controlled are what separate the Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Porsches from the also-rans. The Gen4 is very much like one of those high-spirited Italian and German two-seaters; what’s inside is the soul of the machine, and what surrounds it is the ethereal element that captures the imagination. While you can’t call a Glock beautiful, (though beauty is in the eye of the beholder), it is a near perfect definition of “form follows function,” another deep-rooted sports car axiom.

The new recoil spring (right) design is one of the most obvious distinctions between the 3rd Generation and Gen4 models.

The Glock 17 is where it all began for Austrian armsmaker Gaston Glock. As most Glock enthusiasts know, the G17 was initially designed to be a military sidearm built for the Austrian armed forces. When the Austrian Federal Police (the Bundespolizei) also adopted the G17 it sparked a global interest in the innovative polymer-frame semi-autos that spread from Western Europe to the United States in a little over a year. In Europe the Glock was the perfect military sidearm as 9mm was the standard NATO cartridge.

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