Glock really never was "Perfection." No ambidextrous slide release, plastic sights that literally wear from draws from the holster, and no ambidextrous mag release. All in all, the design is an excellent choice and the original or closest to the original design, the Glock 17 9mm, is your best bet in a Glock period. The Glock was designed as a 9mm and not surprisingly, it's when you deviate from the design that problems begin to crop up.
Problems such as:
- The NYPD "Phase 3" malfunctions with Glock 19s
- Glock 36 malfunctions and lawsuit Note the reference to Glock's "Organizational Arrogance"
- My own typical (for Gen4 9mms) problems
- Glock Kabooms (a thing of the past now)
- Well known reliability problems using .40 S&W Glocks with WMLs (weapons mounted lights)
Please note that the Glock 19 Phase 3 malfunctions were rectified almost completely by the 3rd Generation Glock 19 release. A Gen3 Glock 19 earlier build (pre 2010) will almost certainly be an excellent, completely reliable pistol. The Glock .40 S&W Kabooms! were also rectified by the Gen3 guns. It also seems that with the Gen4 .40 S&W pistols, the WML related malfunctions are gone. In fact, the Gen4 .40 S&W pistols appear to be running great.
On to the Gen4 9mms. The Gen4 40 S&Ws and the Gen4 9mm guns shared the same RSA (recoil spring assembly). In the Gen3 and older guns, they did not. Differently weighted springs for each model. Glock apparently tried to cut costs and simplify production by using the same RSA for both 9mm and .40 S&W guns.
It didn't work. The first iterations of the RSA in the 9mm guns resulted in nearly constant stovepipes; that is where the slide catches ejecting brass during its upward travel and traps it against the barrel hood and slide.
Example from my early Gen Glock 17
And failure to feeds. Lots of them.
The pistol pictured was sold at a loss with full disclosure to a friend. It seemed to settle down and run after about 400 rounds. Still, a Glock 17 that doesn't run out of the box is unheard of. Or was unheard of. Not now. The sharp eyed will notice the dull(er) gray finish on the barrel. In my experience with two Gen Glock 9mms, said finish has been much more durable than the older, darker finish.
The (new for Gen4) trigger bar in the Gen4s has a "dimple" of raised metal on the trigger bar that keeps the trigger bar centered on the safety plunger. Guess what has been found to rub (metal on metal contact) on the Gen4 slides. Many including myself, have switched over to a Gen3 trigger bar with no loss of reliability nor function. Also, switching back to a Gen3 trigger bar seems to drop a little bit of trigger pull weight.
Continuing the company's goal of uhhhhhhmmmm.....Improving Upon Perfection(?), Glock also changed one more part critical to reliable operation of the semi automatic pistol. The extractor. It was switched to the cheaper MIM or metal injection molding process. Surprise, surprise, there are now extractor issues with Gen4 and Gen3 Glock 9mms. In my case, the extractor did not slip and in out of the slide freely as it should and as my circa 2007 Gen3 Glock 19's does. In fact, there were two obvious wear marks on the top and bottom from where the extractor was rubbing against the slide. Many folks are ordering the investment cast Lone Wolf Extractor out of absolute frustration with Glock's newfound shoddy quality control. I, myself would like to have a Lone Wolf extractor but they are backordered until November. Previously, they were backordered until mid October. Hmmmm, wonder why?
So, what to do if your Gen4 extractor is rubbing? You can do what I did and polish the wear points on the extractor using your trusty Dremel tool and some metal polish until it drops in and out of the slide freely. Then when that didn't fix all of the problems with my personal Gen4 Glock 19; I installed the excellent White Sound H.R.E.D Extractor Depressor Assembly which is a redesigned extractor depressor spring assembly. Installing the White Sound piece made my Gen4 Glock 19 run reliably. Ya see, said Gen4 Glock 19 had a few hiccoughs during the first 400 or so rounds. Then it settled down and ran fine for the next 3500 or so. At around the 4000 round mark, the gun stopped running reliably. Stovepipe after stovepipe. I'm not the only only one whose Gen4 Glock 19/17 stopped running reliably as the round count got higher. It's common to see this. Polishing the extractor, installing the 0-4 and more importantly; installing the White Sound H.R.E.D made the pistol run reliably but not as a Glock 9mm should.
The gun shipped with an unmarked RSA (Recoil Spring Assembly). Remember that this piece ala the previous generation's subcompact Glock 26 and 27 models are one of the three big design changes in the Gen4 Glocks; the other two being the mag release that can be switched and the interchangeable backstrap system as so to fit your hand. I called Glock after the gun stopped running reliably at the 4k round mark and upon hearing about the new RSA being sent free of charge to owners of problematic Gen4s. Glock told me that to ensure reliable operation; I shouldn't run "range ammo" which is your cheap 115 grain practice ammo everybody in America uses. You know, just shoot +P+ for everything! A week later, I had the 0-4 RSA installed, the extractor polished, and the White Sound H.R.E.D installed. Life was good. Except......brass to the face.
That's right, wear your eye protection. With a Gen4 Glock, your eye protection will get nicked and gouged. The ejected brass from my Gen Glock 19 now bounces off of the bottom of my ballcap and often hits my eye protection. But, hey! Glock has issued a Gen4 RSA recall! So, I dutifully emailed the address at the link provided and included the required info. Waited two weeks and sent another email. Waited another week, called the toll free number instead, and got the new 0-4-3 RSA in the mail with my prepaid envelope to send my 0-4 RSA back. Me, being the jaded, suspicious type (being a Gen4 Glock 9mm owner will do that to you) decided to actually run my Gen4 Glock 19 with the new uber 0-4-3 RSA in it during a demanding Pistol-training.com shoot. Four stovepipe malfunctions later, I changed out to the old brass-to-the-face 0-4 RSA and went on to finally win a place on the FAST Wall of Fame (I'm "LilLebowski) that day.
So, I'm definitely not sending back my 0-4 RSA. Brass to the face is better than stovepipe malfunctions. But, wait! There's more! Glock has a new ejector. Glock Customer Service tells me that it should fix my problems. It's an end user replaceable part; much like the RSA. Probably a three minute job to replace it. Is Glock going to send me one so that I can replace it and continue carrying my Gen4 Glock 19? NO.
Glock requires you to send your pistol in for this fix. It's a 4-8 week estimated wait. To his credit, the customer support rep I spoke to was apologetic about the whole situation and agreed with me that it is a sorry way to treat one's customers.
To me, an old Marine Corps term came to mind. "Unsat." Unsatisfactory.