Glock 26 – Gen 4 Review
My first Glock 26 was a backup gun (BUG) that I bought back in 1998. At that time, I worked for a suburban-Atlanta police department and carried the full size Glock 17 as an issued duty pistol.
The Glock 26 was a perfect backup to my 17. It shot nearly identically to the 17, and the magazines from the big gun would work in the small one. Both features I found to be very beneficial in a backup gun.
Fast forward nearly 15 years and I find myself with a new department and a new Glock 26. Essentially, the job’s the same, but the Glock is a new version of my old BUG.
Even though the tagline is “Glock Perfection,” history has shown us that the Glock pistols have slowly evolved since they began entering the US in the 1980’s. There have been various textures, frame colors and other options that have been available from time to time, but there are four distinct “generations” of Glock pistols.
Currently, the Glock pistol line is split, with some handguns being made in the third generation, or Gen 3, style. The balance of the line is made as Gen 4 models. The first Gen 4 pistols were made in late 2009, and each year brings more and more of the models into the Gen 4 line up.
The Glock 26 I now have is a Gen 4 model. The Gen 4 has a number of changes from the Gen 3 models. Briefly, they are:
- new, rougher texture
- larger, reversible magazine release
- modular backstrap system
The Rough Texture Frame (RTF) is a more aggressive texture pattern that allows you to better hold onto the pistol with wet, sweaty or bloody hands. The texture is a very nice improvement over prior generations.
However, it is not the same texture introduced on some Glock pistols at the 2009 SHOT Show called the RTF2 finish. The RTF2 was a much sharper finish that seemed to be loved by a few, but hated by many more. Oh, and don’t ask me how RTF2 comes before RTF.
The new magazine release is substantially larger than on the older guns. I never had any problems with the smaller releases, but I do like the larger release. The release is reversible, so Southpaws can set up the gun to match their right-brain thinking.
A quick note about the reversible mag catch: old magazines will only work with the Gen 4 guns if the magazine release is set up on the left side of the gun. If you make use of the reversible nature of the release, you have to use current generation magazines.
Probably the most-appreciated change to the Gen 4 pistols is the use of a modular backstrap system. One of the last polymer gun makers to the party with an adjustable-size grip, Glock did a good job with the implementation of the system.
The idea of a swappable backstrap is the shooter can better fit the gun to his or her hand. A gun that is too large (or small) for the shooter will be much harder to shoot with a high degree of accuracy. With different sized backstraps, the shooter can quickly match hand size to gun size and get just the right amount of finger on the trigger.
The medium strap gives the same grip size as the Gen 3 pistol. If you remove the medium backstrap, it reduces the trigger distance by 0.08-inch. Adding the large strap will add 0.08-inch over the medium size.
Those numbers may not seem like much, but in the hand, the difference seems enormous!
I have small to medium sized hands and the Gen 3 pistols never caused me any problems. However, when I picked up the first Gen 4 set for “small,” I suddenly knew why so many Glock owners pay for gunsmiths to do grip reductions on their pistols. From what I have seen, many shooters really like the small size.
Larger Gen 4 Glock pistols, like the 17 and 19, now have a dual recoil spring assembly. The Glock 26 has always had this, so that is not a new feature on this pistol.
I got the new G26 out to the range several times during the past few weeks. I lost count, but I’ve run about 500 rounds of various ammunition loads through the gun. I found the gun to be very reliable, accurate and fun to shoot.
Early on the first range trip, I did induce one malfunction. I did not have a solid grip on the gun, and the pistol failed to return to battery (aka: limp wresting). A tap-rack-bang fixed the problem, and an appropriate grip prevented any repeats.
I mostly ran Winchester White Box and Federal American Eagle through the pistol. The Glock also digested a variety of self defense ammo, including Federal HST and Speer Gold Dot (standard and +P pressure). Other than the user-induced problem describe above, all functioned flawlessly.
Accuracy is perfectly acceptable. Hitting a 12-inch target at 25 yards is not a problem when shooting unsupported. At closer ranges, the groups can be very tight, especially with the 147 grain HST rounds. My G26 really seemed to like that ammo.
I found the new texture on the grips worked very well, yet did not hurt or become abrasive over a long shooting session.
I like the Gen 4 Glock pistols. The new features are not revolutionary, but they are welcome refinements to a really great handgun.
There have been reports of reliability problems with some models (the 17 and 19 typically mentioned) that appears to have been addressed through a voluntary recoil spring replacement Glock began last year. I personally have not experienced any problems with the Gen 4 guns, and the G26 I shot for this review worked very well.
All-in-all, the Gen 4 G26 is an excellent pistol for concealed carry or backup gun duties. As soon as I can drag another department instructor to the range with me, I’ll qualify with the gun and happily carry it as my primary BUG.