Glock 19 Gen 4 Problems - A 2017 Update

Glock 19 Gen 4 Problems

Glock handguns have been all about innovation from day one. Gaston Glock wasn’t the first gun manufacturer to introduce plastic into the design of a handgun, however his gun was the first of its kind that one would consider a “success”. He had zero experience with gun production, but had plenty of experience with polymers as he produced curtain rods for most of his career. However, some of these so called innovations led to Glock 19 Gen 4 problems.

The innovations start with the composition of the design, but continue with the variety of sizes Glock has released. You can purchase anything from a hand cannon all the way down to a pocket pistol when selecting your Glock. The Glock 19 is one of the most sought after options because it is both small enough for conceal and carry and large enough for a full handed grip. This provides for less strain on the hand at the range, and more accuracy for multiple shots. Many people consider the Glock 19 to be the finest conceal and carry handgun ever produced.

However, Glock just had to go and fix a gun that was never broken. In an effort to stay competitive with other manufacturers, Glock decided to rerelease the Glock 19 with some new “improvements”. Glocks are basic and simple by design, but they felt they needed to adjust that design to stay relevant. Some of these changes included a dual recoil spring, interchangeable backstraps, and a new texture on the grip. They called these rereleases the Gen 3 and Gen 4 Glocks. In the end, the problems with the Glock 19 Gen 4 outweigh the benefits.

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For the first time in their history, Glock has managed to produce a product that is problematic. Many people have sworn by the Glock brand for all of their handgun purchases. This particular firearm has left many owners wondering what happened to the brand and looking for all kind of aftermarket parts. Initially Glock renounced the issues with the firearm which surely lost them some lifetime customers. Finally they issued a recall which partially fixed the issues. While I am glad to see that Glock took responsibility for the problems, it does not excuse the poor design.


Glock sights
Photo by Tac6 Media

The sights are not just a Glock 19 Gen 4 problem. The sights are consistently the most criticized aspect of every Glock model. This is for two primary reasons. One is that the shape of the rear sight is not ideal. The rear sight has a large rectangular opening and the front sight is too small. When you raise the gun to fire, the front sight seems to float in that huge gap in the rear sight making it hard center for an accurate shot. Especially when firing in a hurry, this sight design makes target acquisition difficult. The sight confuses the eye much more than other sights available on other firearms. The sights can be replaced with aftermarket sights, but I feel the need to judge the firearm based on how it comes straight from the factory.

The other issue with the sights is that they are made of plastic. Anybody who owns a handgun knows that the rear sight in particular takes a huge amount of abuse. No other point on the gun is more likely to break or become deformed. If you drop your gun, there is a good chance your sights will be rendered worthless. In addition, these plastic sights can be worn down to a nub simply from the daily wear and tear of pulling it in and out of your holster. This is one of the biggest Glock 19 Gen 4 problem.

Trigger Action

The next problem with the Glock 19 Gen 4 is the trigger. The pull weight is advertised at 5.5 pounds and has 5.5 pound connectors. However, these connectors actually create a six to eight pound pull. That is pretty hefty for a handgun. It has been proven over and over that heavy trigger pulls like this will ruin your accuracy and speed when it counts. This is true for both the novice and the expert marksmen. If my life or the lives of my family members is on the line, this is simply unacceptable.

Recoil Spring

glock 19 problem trigger spring
The Glock 19 was initially fitted with a thick, 17 pound single recoil spring. This is sturdy enough to last as long as you would ever need it to. In fact, many people replaced the single recoil spring with a lighter recoil spring for competition shooting, and still never had issues with reliability. However, Glock decided to replace this single recoil spring with the double recoil spring in the Gen 4. Their intention was to reduce the recoil felt when firing the Glock 19.

The primary issue is that the dual recoil spring was so powerful that it was causing jams. As stated above, Glock initially denied the issue saying that owners were using poor quality ammunition that caused the jams. However, roughly two years after the release of the Gen 4 Glock admitted that there was a problem and issued a recall on the recoil spring. This issue has been the primary complaint specific to the Glock 19 Gen 4.

The real issue I have with this change is the lack of logic behind the decision. If you look at the overall design of first generation Glocks, there is a reason for everything. Glocks have a plain appearance and a simple assembly, but are made for modification. They are lightweight, reliable, and accurate. You can customize most Glocks to be one of a kind if you like. This is what troubles me. Is this move a one-time mistake or a sign of more problems to come?

The fact is that there was nothing wrong with the previous recoil spring assembly. Glocks have never been known to have a recoil issue. The recoil spring has never had issues with wearing down over time. There was no logical reason to make this change. The only explanation I can even fathom is that Glock is deviating from their roots. They are trying to add new and better features to their simple design to keep up with the competition. If this is the case, it is a huge mistake. Simplicity is the whole reason Glock became successful.

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Shell Ejection

Glock 19 Gen 4 Problematic shell ejection
Photo by mrbill

Another common complaint about the Glock 19 Gen 4 is erratic shell ejection. This may not seem like a big deal, but it can be. Many users reported that the shells consistently kicked straight back at them. Getting a shell to the neck or down your shirt is annoying, but getting one in your face could kill you. If you are in the middle of defending yourself and get some hot brass in your eyes, it is going to distract you from your next shot. As far as I can tell there is no fix for this problem.


Not everything about the Gen 4 is bad. Many people like the texture that was chosen for the grip. The Gen 3 was very abrasive, while the Gen 4 scaled it back a bit. Also, the interchangeable backstraps are nice for shooters with big hands. They give you just a bit more distance between the heel of your hand and the trigger, which can make for a more comfortable and stable grip.

In Conclusion

Do not misunderstand me. I have not given up on Glock at this point. Sure they made some bad decisions on this particular design. They have done what they can to fix it. At this moment, I can still say that I would buy a Glock before any other handgun. If you look at their entire line, it is still the most reliable line on the market.

However, I will be watching closely. I think we will know in the next few years if this was a one-time issue or if this is a trend with Glock. Whether they are deviating from their general philosophy or cutting corners to reduce costs of production, these moves were not smart. The vast majority of the Glock 19 Gen 4s produced have had no issues. That being said, enough of them have had issues that the gun has really generated some backlash from upset buyers.

My personal feeling is that if I was going to buy a Glock 19 today, it would not be a Gen 4. I still believe that the Glock 19 is one of the best firearms ever produced. There have been enough complaints about the Gen 4 that I would not be willing to risk the hassle. If I could find a first generation Glock 19, I would snatch it up in a second. Between the ineffective sights, the problematic recoil spring, the erratic shell ejection, and the hefty trigger action, I cannot bring myself to buy a Gen 4. There are simply too many problems with the Glock 19 Gen 4.

Anything we missed? Let us know in the comments!

  1. I have a g21 gen 4 Shot over 3500 rounds cheap ammo and hollowpoints; Not one jam. Bought a Glock 19 gen 4 a month ago 500 rounds and jammed 4 times. Before this gun i didn’t think id ever see a Glock jam don’t buy a gen 4 19, Accuracy great Not reliable.

    1. I own 8 glocks ,6 1911s and 5 Springfields,4 SIG’s. Glock is my first go to gun because of its reliability. In the 80s when they first came out I would never have owned one but as you read it’s first choice as a combat weapon.

      Also believe the glock 20 saved the10mm caliber which is coming back strong as we speak.

    2. I have a 2015 glock 19 gen 4 and not one jam or issue in almost 6 years,I would buy another one in a heart beat!In fact i just ordered a glock 23 gen 4!

  2. I’ve been shooting my glock 19 Gen 4 for about a year and a quarter, no jams, no slide problems, no recoil spring issues, no shell ejection. In fact, the only shell ejection that every hit me we’re shells bouncing against the padded walls of the shooting booth and than can’t be eliminated.

    Glock is the ‘apple’ of pistols in design & functionality.

  3. I have a late 2015 model 19 gen 4 that has had the case to the face ejection issues and weak ejection. All the parts are up to date. I tried replacing the extractor with and upgraded Apex part… but still the ejection is atrocious. Sadly my old SR9 I sold a couple years ago performed better than the “perfect” pistol. So far I’ve been very disappointed. Not sure why some of theses pistols perform so poorly while others have no problems.

    I’ve tried different ammo and had other experienced people shoot it. It is the gun.

    1. I’ve had a gen 4 G-19 from around 2016-2017 production. They had already corrected the spring issue. I’ve never had a jam, but around 1400 rounds I started to get the brass to face problem, which got increasingly worse until it was pretty constant around 2000 rounds when i had a casing land right above my safety glasses and get stuck between the glasses frame and my skin leaving a nasty burn 1/8″ from my right eye. 1/8″ to the left and i’d probably be blind. This was definitely not acceptable, so I did some research online and heard great things about the replacement Apex stainless steel ejector. I bought and installed one and have 700 rounds through it so far without one ejection even hitting any part of my body. The MIM stock Glock ejector was made from an inferior potted metal which gradually wore down as opposed to the Apex stainless steel ejector which hopefully will not wear and be reliable through many thousand rounds. We’ll see in another 2000 rounds or so. The Apex ejector costs ~ 3 times the price of the Glock part, but if it corrects a problem that could potentially blind you, or get you killed in a defensive situation it is certainly worth the extra $35.
      Hey Glock…..Why don’t you go back to using quality metals and save your reputation even if you need to bump your prices a bit. If you need to rely on a gun to save your life in a defensive situation, reliability is more important in a gun than mostly any other product, except for maybe airplanes. That reliability is why Glock has earned a reputation for being the most consistently reliable handgun.
      Don’t throw away that reputation (and sales) just to save a few bucks on crucial parts.

      1. Could start out all stainless steel everything with a Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0.
        Just saying if haven’t shot one worth a serious look.

  4. I’ve shot the hell out of mine without a single hickup. Totally different experiences. I own a gen1 26 and a gen4 19. Bought both new.

  5. I had a G19 Gen 4 spit brass right back at me today, almost got stuck in my hair. Luckily I got it out before it burned me.

    The issue is still present as of 3/22/2018.

  6. 3 times a charm? I’ve owned, and sold, three Glocks; 19, 20 and a 21. Never again will I own one. Unconfortable, inaccurate jamomatics with all the sex appeal of a, plastic, brick.
    Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got a few other imperfect Plastic Fantastics. The FNX’s, 9 & 40, make the 19 trigger look feather light. At least they are accurate, reliable and fully ambidextrous. No other issues with only about 7,000 rounds between them.

  7. Glock 19 Gen4 odb beautiful a jam per approximately 100 rounds, bought it new in box in June 2017
    a friend told me has to be the spring, i have 3 magazines all Glock factory have jams with all 3 he inspected the pistol and the conclusion is to change the spring ?

  8. I’ve had my gen 4 g19 since 2011. Probably about 4-5k through it. I haven’t had any problems with it. It protects me and my dog from pitbulls, meth heads, and drug dealers on a regular basis. I once had 4 guys threatening to beat the shit out of me, then one of them pulled a revolver. I shot at him twice, him and his buddies took off running except for the one meth head who started to climb over a fence to come and attack me. I’m looking to pick up another glock maybe the new g45, or a 19 or 17. I trust glock pistols.

  9. Sorry to disagree with you on the trigger pull. There are many, and I mean many that do very well with a heavier trigger pull. The internet will try and make you believe that you have to have a light trigger for shooting. Not true. It is a matter of training. And many of the these guns are carry guns and not competition. A heavier trigger pull is more suited for EDC. Glock and other fine manufacturers know their job, get off the light pull. Just because you cannot shoot one well does not mean others cannot. One reason why you see so many novices heading to the Gun Smith to lighten up a trigger. Ridicuous!

  10. First of all I’m not really a Glock fan. Your really turned me off with the picture above showing improper grip of a handgun. Is that you?

  11. Did purchase Gen 4 NIB in 2013 and it hasn’t missed a lick ever. It has ALWAYS performed as its supposed to with no failures in feeding firing and ejecting. It’s never stopped and is always up to task. There has been intermittent BTF especially in the NATO selection. I estimate I have about 5500 rounds through it. I’ve stuck to FMJ, JHP, +P, and NATO. I stay away from boutique loads and +P+. I’ve taken a coyote at 55 yards and a skunk about the same distance. Im fairly accurate at normal handgun distances.
    The gun gets field cleaned every 200 rounds or so. Is such a track record as what I have normal in the Gen 4.?

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