After Glock released their 4th Gen, there were questions about whether or not this meant that the Glock Gen3 was obsolete. There were a few problems at first with the Gen4, which caused the Glock community to remain skeptical of the design, even to this day. The problem seemed to be their attempt to improve reliability when using lights and lasers on the rail of the .40 Cal models. This came at a price when they decided to use the same recoil spring in the 9mm and .40 models. There were a couple of other things they had issues with, but they were sporadic, and some people still have no issues with those original parts that they never upgraded. This was quickly fixed and now the Gen4 Glocks seem to have the same reliability and reputation for longevity as the previous generations.
Many Glock enthusiasts will debate back and forth about which generation of Glock was best or is best. I see the Gen4 to be a darn near perfect pistol for the average shooter looking for a striker fired fighting pistol, provided that they can afford it. It does typically cost almost $50 more than a new Glock Gen3. The Gen3 is limited in capability in many ways, but still has a lot of charm to stay popular. The 4th Gen adds more charm to the Glock platform with a new and improved grip texture with more flexibility in grip size with the addition of interchangeable backstraps. The magazine release was widened and is reversible for left handed shooters. The magazines are now made with locking points on both sides for the 4th Gen Glocks.
These few upgrades really do change the way Glock is perceived in the market. Where people didn’t consider Glock in the past because of the grip, now they can indulge. I find the 3rd Gen grip to be a bit fat for my hand size, but I have small to medium sized hands. I have a 3rd Gen Glock 19, and I wish I would have gotten a 4th Gen pistol instead. I can run the 3rd Gen pistols just fine, but for maximum comfort and gloved shooting, the 4th Gen is the best for me.
The Glock Gen3 is still being produced with good regularity, and I would guess that Glock may discontinue the production, just as they did with the Gen2 models previously. This does not necessarily mean that 3rd Gen pistols are useless or anything. It just means that Glocks evolved and is directing their attention to the future. People still swear by the 2nd Gen Glocks, and it is because they are just as tough, reliable, and relevant as the current generations, but without all the “upgrades”. Some of the upgrades like the grip and the newer recoil spring does round out the system, but there is always room for improvement.
Speaking of improvement, how about the FBI giving their new 9mm pistol contract to Glock? I remember looking at the requirements for the pistol selection and they seemed to be catering the testing and requirements to the Sig 320. Logistically this made little sense due to them using mainly .40 cal Glocks. But anyways, there had been talk a couple of years ago that Glock would develop their next generation (Gen5) if they got another major contract. Well now with the FBI contract being about 85 million dollars, people are thinking that this might just be enough motivation for Glock to develop another generation of pistol.
There is a lot of talk on the rumor mill about what is going to be “improved” on the Gen5 design. I guess I should probably add in my two cents on this subject as well. First, I think they may end up doing very little. Not much is really needed in order to make this gun as good and perfect out of the box as it can be. And I feel that if any real significant changes were made, it would basically change the Glock core concept of complete backwards compatibility with previous generations. But by my evaluation between the FBI requirements and what the Glock could do, I feel like they may just shave off those finger grooves from the grip. That was literally the only thing I know of that disqualified them from being 100% compliant with the requirements. And that is easily remedied for them I am sure, since all of their generations have seen a grip modification. Maybe they will even add a Picatinny rail, but who knows. That is just my best guess on the subject from looking at the patterns of the Glock evolution and what they’d actually need to change if pressured to adhere to the requirements. Perhaps SHOTSHOW 2017 will reveal some details, but we have a ways to go before then.
Now after all this talk about the Gen5 coming out, I still feel the same way as I did at the beginning. A Glock is a Glock, which means that they are designed to do the same thing. They are the stick you swing and none of their pistols, as far as I know, were complete failures. It is just going to be up to the manufacturer to decide where they want to direct their resources. But given that all the parts for the most part are interchangeable, any generation of Glock will be relevant for use. Its just up to you as the end user to choose which one has what you need. As the years go on, the one thing you can count on is that Glocks, no matter the generation, will never be obsolete.