Even though it’s nearly 30 years old, the Glock 17 reached iconic status some time ago. Since its introduction, the company has introduced myriad other models varying in size, caliber, sighting arrangements and whatnot.

But the 17 soldiers on. Unless you’re a diehard devotee of a 19, a 20 or a (insert favorite model number here), the 17 is probably what most folks think of when they think of Glock.

Obviously, on a pistol this successful, any major “reimagining” is going to be out of the question. Nobody’s going to radically mess with the monumental popularity enjoyed by Glock.

But low-profile tweaks, enhancements or improvements within the basic framework are another matter. And that pretty much covers what’s been done with the new Gen4 17. Let’s start with the most obvious:

Rough Textured Frame Surface
This more aggressive, non-slip surface provides a more secure grip when things get wet or sweaty. For quite a while, some Glock owners had been getting custom texturing on their pistols to get what’s now standard on Gen4 models (which, at this writing, also includes the .40 S&W Glock 22).

Replaceable Backstraps
You can now tailor the grip size to your preferences with two insert options, medium and large. Or you can leave the pistol as is, in Short Frame configuration. I opted for the larger insert. My problem with Glocks is that I tend to shoot high with them until I fight down the front sight—probably because I’m more used to CZ 75s and 1911s, which have less backsweep to the grip angle.

The Gen4 backstrap insert fattens up the bottom of the grip enough to help alleviate this. Guys who grew up shooting Glocks—like Eric Poole—don’t have that problem and are amused by people like me whining about high shooting.

Magazine Release Catch
This item has been enlarged and is now easily reversible to either the left or right side.
The Gen4 Magazine—The critical element to any auto, the mag now features a pair of notches that will allow positive operation with all types of existing mag catches.

Recoil Spring
Gen4s feature a dual recoil-spring assembly said to increase spring life and reduce felt recoil.
Seeing as how the 9mm Glock 17 is pretty darn comfortable to shoot anyway, we were honestly unable to ascertain whether the Gen4 shot softer than the previous incarnation of the 17.

So with a .40? We’re willing to bet that the advantages of the dual recoil spring would be more noticeable on the Gen4 22.

We took the Gen4 17 to the range with a pretty diverse selection of 9mm ammo, covering the popular bullet weights—115, 124 and 147 grains. From a sandbag rest at 25 yards, the Gen4 17 delivered results that ranged from more than adequate to a stellar five-shot group by Eric Poole with Hornady’s 115-grain Crititcal Defense load. Another top performer was Cor-Bon’s 115-grain DPX. Remington’s 124-grain Golden Saber and Federal’s 147-grain FST stayed at around 21/2 inches, while the only military-type FMJ stuff we had—Winchester/USA 115 grain—was just over three inches.

We ran about 200 rounds through the gun and experienced nothing even close to a malfunction. And regardless of what generation it is, that’s about what you’d expect from a Glock 17.

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