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Glock 20 Gen 4 Review

by Payton Miller   |  August 14th, 2013 11


Since its introduction in 1983 in the star-crossed, CZ-75-inspired Bren Ten, the 10mm Auto cartridge has followed an all-too-familiar trajectory curve in terms of popularity. It has gone from “The Next Big Thing” to cult status, having been pushed along the way by the almost-unprecedented acceptance of the .40 S&W.

However, the 10mm Auto is still considerably more potent than the .40 S&W. And chambered in the Glock 20, it represents about the upper limits of ballistic potential you’re going to get in any real-world auto pistol.

I’d owned an S&W Model 610 10mm revolver a long time ago, and, as much as I liked it, I really couldn’t justify keeping a 61/2-inch N-frame with anything less than “44” stamped on the barrel. Prior to that, I’d heard sea stories about the 10mm’s power from old fans of the Colt Delta Elite, however, and had always wanted to try it in a self-loader. The Gen 4 Glock 20 seemed like a natural—15+1 rounds on tap from a 271/2-ounce platform that resembled a Glock 17 (a pistol I admire) on steroids. I’d seen a lot of hog hunters packing earlier-generation versions of the 20 and figured that if there was such a thing as a serious hunting auto, this would be it.

Since the Glock 17 9mm is pretty much the dimensional yardstick of the company line, the 20 has a 7.59 OAL compared with the 17’s 7.32 OAL and an unloaded weight of 27.6 ounces compared with the 22-ounce weight of the 17. The grips are wider and beefier to accommodate the larger cartridge, of course, but the difference really isn’t all that radical. Yes, it’s a bigger gun than the 17, but the magazine capacity (15+1) is almost as impressive. And the power level of full-house 10mm loads (we’re not talking late-1980s “10 Lite” here) are a lot closer to the .41 Magnum than they are to the 9mm Parabellum.

Basically, the Gen 4 Glocks feature a more aggressive nonslip frame surface; replaceable backstraps and enlarged magazine-release catch; a notched magazine to allow a more positive operation; and a dual recoil-spring assembly to increase spring life and decrease felt recoil. To be honest, when I shot a Gen 4 17 9mm, I was unable to perceive any real difference as opposed to earlier models. However, the 10mm Glock 20 was soft-shooting enough to convince me that the dual-spring setup was doing something good. The Gen 4 20 did a commendable job of taming the 10mm. In fact, it was considerably less obnoxious than .357 SIGs I’ve shot in terms of muzzle upflip and general squirminess. However, the 10mm is a concussive number, and I would not care to shoot one without all the ear protection I could get.

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