Do your eyes cross when people start mumbling about a 2nd generation Glock, or 3rd generation Glock? Are you positive you can pick up that used Glock at a gun show and be able to tell with a glance what, and by definition, how old it is? If you aren't 100% confident, let's go over it. For those who are, check your knowledge.
(Talk about a classic)
These are the granddaddy of the whole Austrian designed family in 1982. It was this, now "old school" design that Gaston Glock carried down from the mountains and gave to the people. Several late models, such as the Glock 26, 29, 34 and 35, were never made in this style.
Gen 1 pistols are easily identified by their blocky, clunky, grips without any finger grooves or ridges.
When the year 1988 dawned, the next generation of combat polymer was dubbed worthy and Gen 2 of the Glock was brought forth into the world. This improvement was mainly all about the grip: it improved it. With checkering on the front and serrations on the back, Glock owners didn't have to feel silly buying skateboard tape anymore. Internally, the recoil spring was changed to an encapsulated type, the trigger pull was increased slightly, and a better drop-free magazine was introduced.
In addition, to ensure better ATF compliance, the serial number plate was embedded to the frame of the gun. Today, when old Glock frames go to that great beyond and are literally melted down to be recycled, the factory just cuts those serial numbered ends off and presents them for verification.
By 1997, Gen 2 Glocks were pass and Gen 1s were virtual dinosaurs due to the introduction of the third installment in the G series evolution. In this development an under-barrel accessory rail, loaded chamber indicator (hello CA compliance!), heavier breech locking block, and most importantly, finger grooves and thumb rests were added to the grip.
These pistols, introduced in 2010 are one of the latest evolutions in the Glock stages of development. Taking the Gen 3 guns (which are still in production) and building on them, the Gen 4 adds a larger and reversible magazine release, three different-sized back straps for the back of the grip, and a rough textured finish (RTF3) for a more positive gripping surface. (Note- Some Gen 3 guns were made with a RTF and are occasionally referred to as 3.5s.)
The last difference is internal and can't be seen at first glance without disassembly-- dual recoil springs, instead of the encapsulated single recoil springs of Gen 2 and 3 models. Unlike past models, these new guns have ""Gen4" roll marked on the slide to take out the guesswork.
No matter what generation your past, present, or future Glock is, all have a well-deserved reputation for rugged durability, accuracy, and reliability. And you can be sure that the Gen 5 guns are on the way.