I last owned a G26 last year when I bought it for a CCW piece. I then got the LC9 which I thought carried better (it did) and traded the G26 toward the purchase of a CAI CETME (mistake admittedly). The LC9 was sold once I got the LCR because I actually prefer the simplicity of operation and carry weight of it over the LC9. Now I felt the need to get the G26 due to the impending thereat of legislative efforts against my 2nd Amendment. You read that right, I panic bought. But what the hell, I still love the format of this little Glock.
The difference this time around was that I got the Gen 4 model versus the Gen 3 model I had last time. In terms of the G26 the big 3 differences were as follows.
- The old grip style pattern was replaced with the Gen 4 style "polyzoidalhypertetracons", or whatever they are called.
- The old style mag release has been replaced with a larger, reversible catch.
- The grip incorporates Glock's replaceable back strap insert system.
Other than that, the pistol is still pretty much the same as the Gen 3 save for the stamping of "Gen4" on the slide this time around. In the bigger Glock's, the Gen 4 versions introduced the double spring recoil system, which the baby Glocks have always had. One thing that I did notice right away is that on some earlier Gen 4 models that I had seen the standard black finish (which is not the tennifer coating btw) had been replaced on some models with a duller, grayish color. Not so on this one, the same good 'ol Glock black is present. I like that.
The G26 is called a compact pistol by Glock. By comparison it dwarfs many other pistols in the same class by as much as a pound or more that are aimed at the CCW market. However, what the G26 sometimes lacks in diminutive size it makes up by bringing 10+1 rounds of fun to the party where other compact pistols may make you do with 6 or 7, and those may very well be in .380 at that. The outward dimensions and weight (roughly 6.5"x4.2"x1.2" and 26 oz. loaded) make for a pistol that is small enough to go into a pants pocket, but probably not one you would really want to carry that way most days. It is small enough to inconspicuously tuck away in a IWB holster or into a handbag or purse though, and I think that is where it is really aimed at in terms of an audience. Also, it would be a perfect BUG or off duty piece for an LEO that was issues the G17 or G19 as their primary weapon as the gun mimics its larger siblings in most ways (same for the G27 as far as the G22/G23 is concerned to).
As much as I liked my Gen 3 G26 before, I have to admit, I like this Gen 4 evolution of the design better. First off, the reduced grip diameter ensures your hand can really get around the grip first; and then the RTF finish on the frame helps you keep a hold on this little guy despite moisture or other factors.
I think its safe to say from what I have seen, heard and read, most people do not use the additional back straps that come with their Gen 4 Glocks and instead just go with the stock configuration, which is the same as the older "SF" dimensions on the G21SF. Its always been my opinion that the grip panels on the Gen 4 Glocks were a reactive design addition after other competitors started eating into their LEO market (S&W M&P comes to mind) offering pistols customizable to the different sized hands of many officers. The total affect of the backstraps, while still nicely done in some ways, overall feels like a hackneyed attempt at catching up. All the additional straps do is lengthen the distance from the front to the rear of the grip and do nothing to increase palm swell size, as the M&P ones do. Then again, I doubt that there are very many people deliberately asking for a wider grip on a Glock to begin with anyway.
The information/misinformation concerning the rough texture finish (RTF) styles on the Glock pistol could fill another 2 pages, with some insisting the somewhat stippled finish on a Gen 3 frame grip is actually RTF1 and then there were top secret grips never released to the public and all sorts of fairy tale ninja stuff. I will give you the somewhat Readers Digest condensed version. From what I have learned there are only 2 actual grip finishes called RTF by Glock, the RTF ("1") finish found on Gen 4 pistols and the short lived RTF2 finish that was on my once owned G23. Partially I believe to do the fact that Glock was still working out the design wrinkles in the Gen 4 design, the RTF2 texture was actually released first before the RTF pattern on the Gen 4, causing some naming confusion between Gen 3 stippling and the Gen 4 texture. Either way, the Gen 4 RTF finish is better than either. I liked the RTF2 finish to a degree, but the little spikes did get bothersome after prolonged shooting without gloves on and snagged shirts and clothing a plenty when I wore it on my side. Now, if I was a top secret Navy SEAL climbing up the side of a oil rig in the North Atlantic covered in oil with cold surf pounding against me as I tried to hold my pistol to engage targets, give me the RTF2 all the way. But for my purpose of having a CCW/home defense/Range gun, the RTF is better all the way around. The blunted pyramids offer enough grip to keep your hand in place without slipping while not taking flesh off in the process. Its a nice compromise between gripping and comfort and I have learned to really enjoy it. Especially on the G26 where, with the standard non-extended mag, you can only really get 2 fingers to grip it, knowing that they are securely in place is very comforting.
Speaking of magazines, in a very appreciated move, Glock started giving 3 mags per pistol with the Gen 4 models, a move that I highly applaud. I have sometimes chastised another manufacturer that I like (*cough* Ruger *cough*) for marketing some of their pistols designed for CCW and personal protection but not giving you the ability to do a magazine change by only giving you 1 magazine. Glock went the other way and upped the gimmes from 2 to 3. Thanks and nice move Gaston, et al.
|Three (3) 10 round magazines come with each Glock pistol now, I have already added a mag extension to one of mine (inserted) which gives better purchase on the pistol when used.|
Also in conjunction with the magazines is the magazine release, which was redesigned on the Gen 4. The release on the Gen 3 was functional, but on the small side and made you really shift the pistol in your grip to drop a magazine. Extended releases came out which just made the release taller which did relieve this shortcoming, but often did not really fit into some holsters molded with stiff leather or kydex. In some cases the extended mag release installed by the user would actually be pressed in enough when holstering on a hard sided holster to cause the magazine to prematurely release when drawn or after the first shot. Not good. This new release is slightly taller and quite a bit bigger than the old, allowing you to drop your mag without having to break your grip. The release is fairly easy to reinstall to accommodate left handed shooters by placing in on the right side of the gun. Only Gen 4 magazines can use this configuration, while Gen 3 magazines can be continued to be used for "normal" right handed shooting (no nasty comments, I shoot pistol right handed and rifle left handed).
As for the other main control, the slide release, it remains the small, unobtrusive rectangle on the side of the pistol it always has been. I would like to see Glock make a small change and allow it to also be reversible as the magazine release is. It certainly would not be as convenient as the truly ambi one on a M&P and others, but it would be easy enough to do to suit most folks. Also easy enough to add is the extended slide stop/release (as I probably will), but it should be noted that the use of it to release the slide on a magazine is not recommended by Glock, as their training staff instructs to always pull back and release the slide from its most rearward position under maximum spring compaction to reliably feed cartridges into the chamber. That being said I have never had a Glock not go fully into battery using one.
As for the sights, they're stock plastic Glock sights. Meh. Ok for casual range use and such, but I will probably replace them with a set of XS big dot sights, as has become my custom. I like the easy of use and quick acquisition that they provide to my aging eyes. They are not target sights, but then again this won't be a gun for target shooting anyway. Also my custom, I will most likely get a grip plug for it, that has nothing to do with sights, but helps round out the end of this paragraph anyway, deal with it.
Overall, I really love this gun....and I have yet to shoot it. From my past experiences with Gaston's plastic fantastic bastard I do not expect to be disappointed. "A Glock is a Glock is a Glock" they say. Most shoot with boring regularity and reliability. That's not to say that they are infallible, far from it. But give me my choice for a gun to carry at the end of times when the SHTF is nigh, and it will be a Glock I am reaching for.
Will this be my primary CCW gun? No, the LCR still has that firmly in its grasp. This will be a secondary CCW piece along with the LCP for those times that it makes more sense to carry it due to its abilities or the limitations of the LCR.
Range report as soon as I can.