In September, we received a release from a holster maker announcing holsters fit for the Gen5 GLOCK pistols in 40 S&W. The announcement was clear that the guns were bigger, hence the change in holsters.
As I’d heard nothing from GLOCK, I contact the National Sales Manager and media personnel for GLOCK to ensure we weren’t getting ahead of them in the announcement. The word was “run it.” We did – and I asked some questions.
The Gen5 line was expanding to include the G22 (service-size), G23 (compact) and G27 (subcompact). As they’ve returned to a single pin design, excising the locking block pin, apparently something else needed changing.
I was well aware of agency purchase controversies early this century; our neighboring agency reported issues with their Gen3 guns. We had already enjoyed a trouble-free year with the same product line. While they – and other agencies like Indianapolis PD – reported malfunctions, we found our guns remarkably trouble free.
We did keep on the maintenance. Every year, the guns were detail stripped, recoil springs and firing pin safety plungers changed out and the locking block pins were examined. We considered them 9mm format guns that were loaded up to the snappy, abusive 40 S&W.
Some years after I left, my agency moved into Gen4 GLOCK pistols in 40 caliber. I heard no complaints about function or maintenance. But the world moved on to modern loadings of the elderly 9x19mm cartridge for police service use. They seem to work just fine and I have no objections.
My general rule is that it’s the gun’s job to do its work, the ammo’s job to work with the gun – it’s my job to run the gun effectively with the ammo that’s in it. Caliber, action-type and other nonsense are minutia. Just make it work.
Still, I was a bit curious about how they made the Gen5 system work with the abrasive little Forty.
The Gen5 G23 is noticeably wider -- and heavier -- in the slide than the Gen5 G19 (right). Below, the guns are otherwise similar in envelope.
To start, the slide is 2mm wider than previous versions. Now, .080” doesn’t sound like much but it accounts for some of the 2.71-ounce increase in the weight of the empty pistol (without magazine). The obligatory Gen5 refinements include the nDLC finish, flared magazine well, enhanced GLOCK Marksman barrel and bilateral slide stop lever.
As to the gun, it’s straightforward; the 4.02” barrel of the compact line, 13-round standard capacity for the magazine like previous generations, it’s all apparently about the same. The firing pin safety plunger shows a Gen5 angled surface and the trigger is “Gen5-like,” meaning it’s just fine.
Why a 40-caliber version? We all thought it was dying. Apparently, some agencies still like it. From GLOCK’s release, there’s a statement:
“Availability will begin in October; however, the focus will be on supporting existing .40 caliber agencies on transitioning to the latest technologies within the law enforcement market. While we will continue to support fielded Gen4 pistols and agencies with Gen4 models, we have stopped 9×19 and .40 caliber Gen4 productions for the US commercial market.”
According to a contact at GLOCK who already fired the new guns, we have this addition: “On the ‘plus’ side, the extra slide mass dampens felt recoil and muzzle flip quite a bit.”
I’ve not shot it, so that remains to be ‘felt.’ But I will test it as I have 40-cal. ammo.
For the ‘caliber commandos,’ I compared the 9x19mm to the .40 S&W on paper. Bullet weights for the 40 hover between 135 grains and 180, mostly. For the 9mm, 115 grains to 147 grains covers most of the bases. As to muzzle velocity, Federal HST (P40HST1S vs. P9HST1S) shows the 40 Auto to yield about 1,010 fps versus the 1,150 fps of the 9mm.
The target being shot likely couldn’t tell the difference – though the person doing the shooting could, depending on the launch vehicle. Hence, the thicker slide …
We’ll check it out and let you know.
-- Rich Grassi