Guns & Patriots

Gun review: Glock 26

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.

Gen 4

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.

Range Time

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

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  • Bitha

    love the 26

  • Lane Ford

    important to remember the 17 full mag fits the 26 and has a spacer to make it a comfortable, normal looking full-size grip. This gives the small 26 17 + 1 and does
    not really make it more difficult to conceal carry. It also, my opinion, improves accuracy due to improved hold.

  • JungleCogs

    With all due respect to the author, that was one boring article.  For those of us who are not Glock guys, I didn’t learn anything.  With all the new handguns on the market please use the space for something informative.  Sorry for the criticism, but I have to call’um as I see’um.

  • a_gryphon

    well with all due respect to the author… i AM a glock guy and i read your article with much interest and learned quite a few things about the gen 4 guns that i previously didn’t know, so thanks for the update.

  • Linda Hopkins

    I have Glocks in all calibers except the .45 GAP of which I see no real advantage to having over a .45 ACP.    I have some expensive fancy pistols that shoot very tight groups at 15 yds. and beyond, but they are almost too precise to be relied on in a combat situation.  I hear people say Glock’s are UGLY and not very accurate.   All the Glock’s I have are accurate enough for general carry use out of the box, but I have actually turned 3 of mine into what I would call “tackdrivers” by installing  a reasonably priced “Lone Wolf” barrel.   A Glock 20 (10 MM),   G-29 (10MM),   G-24 (.40 cal. converted to .357 SIG.) .       Any one of these Glocks will shoot right with (or better than) my fancy Gold Cup Trophy Match’s, or my Wilson Combat.   I’ve been told that this claim is B.S.,  but I have proven it over and over at the range to disbelievers.   Also, I have changed the trigger pull set up on 2 of these Glocks, which I’m sure helps alot too, but the point is, for around $120.00 you can buy a Lone Wolf barrel (doesn’t need to be a $225 plus Bar-Sto) and turn your super reliable Glock into a real shooter.  I think the lock-up is tighter on the Lone Wolf barrels which also helps the accuracy over the factory barrel, while being every bit as reliable and accepting of every type/brand of ammo that you are already using.    I will be buying another Lone Wolf barrel for my G-26.  Not because it isn’t OK the way it is, but why not have a CC gun that also shoots really well ?       The RTF grips are too rough for me and I do not like them, but I got a deal on 2 G-22′s with the RTF grips, so I took a chance on them before I had realized just how much I didn’t like the grips.  I came upon a grip “enhancer” called “Get-A-Grip”, and bought a sheet of this self sticking, suede-like material in black that you trim to fit your grip.    I gotta tell you, this “Get-A-Grip” is super neat stuff.  I wrapped the entire grip with one piece and it has not moved or shifted at all in 2 years and yet you can pull it off easily with no glue residue left behind if the need arises.  If the grip gets wet or sweaty the traction actually gets better on the grip !   They sell pre-cut grip panels, but I opted for the whole sheet of cut your own panels and wrapped the entire grip.  This stuff is great!                      Also, if you really like the Glocks, specifically the Baby Glock G-26 for your carry gun, you may want to check out a Diamondback .380 for those times when the “Baby” is a little too big.    They are made exactly like the Glocks, except smaller.   They field strip exactly the same as Glocks and I swear if you didn’t know it was a Diamondback you would think it was the new “INFANT” Glock and best part of all, it will shoot with the little SIG’s as they are pretty accurate as mouse guns go but the D’Backs are a little over $300 and the SIG’s are more like $6-650.    Check out the D’back first before you spend big $$$, as they’re pretty neat.                            

  • Linda Hopkins

    With all due respect ????    Really ????      It’s one thing to post a negative comment in reference to a piece of equipment, but snide remarks and insults to the author of the artilce/blog you insulted is totally uncalled for.    Sounds to me like you “know not much” as guns go to make such statements.   First off, THE WORLD has decided that Glock’s are worthy weapons!   It’s not a isolated opinion.  Apparently he (Rich) has confidence enough in his Glock to make it his primary weapon and also as a backup “Plan B” weapon, as have many people, including myself.   Some of the points that Rich made I already figured out, and quite a few I hadn’t figured out.  And I AM a Glock person !   I found his article very informative !    If you can add something informative, please do.   If you can’t, please don’t!

  • solidspine

    So it is a 9mm?

    Article presumes we know it is,

    could be a 22 for all I know ,

    besides that  I love clocks,  but even for the 9mm I have to stick with my Beretta and if I really have trouble hitting something

    well then give me the Remington 870   

    The cop car style.

    I love them all

    for 45′s got to love the H&K   

  • grndpaal

    Grndpaal here…. I’m over 70 yrs; a large city ( retired ) policeman who served in the days of bubble gum red lts and you bought your  own Smith or Colt REVOLVER.  I retired after being shot three X ,  Point ??  I now have a Glock; the revolvers ( inc. a BUG ) and the trusty side arm are in shadow boxes where they belong..  Guys like me need articles like this one; anyone who  doubts the accuracy, seviceability, etc of a Glock  needs to trade places with this Purple Heart Medal of Honor ‘ retiree’…  Pain 24/7.

  • 1jpgvs1

    I AM a Glock guy and your post sucked!

  • Linda Hopkins

    First off, Thanks for your service !    I agree with you.    However “if” you have arthritis, the semi-auto’s can be hard to get the first round into battery.   The smaller/lighter the gun/slide is, the beefier the recoil spring has to be to compensate for this fact or you would be cracking slides left and right and the extreme muzzle flip would keep you dancing.   THAT’S where a good ole’ revolver comes in handy still.   They just work, even if your hands are impaired you can pretty much operate a double action revolver.  So, I think revolvers still have a place.  A good ole’ .357 MAG is hard to beat, but the .38′s leave a little to be desired.   We live in the middle of the woods in Missouri w/no neighbors very close.  We have to be self reliant around these parts, therefore I keep guns accessible all over the place but you’d never know they are there. But we do.    I have my Glock 20 (10 MM), a S&W 686 .357 revolver, AND a Browning BPS 12 Gauge riot gun hanging on my bedpost.  AND I’m a light sleeper! As Mr. T would say, “I pitty the fool ” (that breaks into my house).    My husband is a gunsmith at Browning here in St. Louis (Arnold), Mo.,      They take turns in the tunnel firing weapons.  One guy may have to fire 5-600 rounds in a day, and that can beat you up pretty bad if it’s the bigger caliber stuff.  He showed me a trick for the semi-auto’s that doesn’t sound like much, but it helps alot.  He said sometimes his hands are so worn out he can hardly pull a slide back on a semi-auto.   So what he does is get a full grip with his left hand on the slide, and instead of pulling back the slide, he uses his right hand to “push” the gun frame forward with his right hand.  Works great, especially on little, stiff springed guns, like the Kel-Tec P3AT of which we have a couple.  Otherwise I can’t pull the slide back very well.    I have to admit, my GO TO gun is the Glock 10 MM.  Even with the “real deal” ammo (Double Tap) and not the watered down stuff, the recoil is not bad at all because of the frame material and the angle of the handle.  Pretty good for ammo in the 41 Mag. range ! 

  • Chris Leaver

    Thank you for the article, Richard.  You have further solidified my decision to purchase a Glock 19 Gen 4 as my defensive pistol.  I’ll strongly consider a 26 as a BUG as well.

  • saalfeld

    I cerainly have nothing against glocks. They are a fine weapon but I would like to clue you in on a gun that of all the guns I own is absolutely my favorite now. The latest S&W military and police 40 caliber. An extremely comfortable gun to shoot and an unparalled accuracy. Fired hundreds of rounds with all kinds of ammo and no hangups of any kind. It’s ergonomics are such that in rapid fire the recoil does not knock you off your target. It comes straight back which really makes for enjoyable shooting. Just thought i would clue you in.  Really not too expensive either.

  • Keith S. Safford

     Thanks for your info on the 26.  I picked up my CCW permit and traded in my 17 (loved it but it was huge and I am NOT a big guy) in for a 26.  Am lovin’ the 26 and have been to the range with it and I really like it.  I really don’t care if people think it is ugly because it works, is reliable and accurate.  I am definitely going to bookmark this article because of your great advice and info on Glocks.  Thanks for the info Linda.

  • Fred

    Excellent article and most comments add to the discussion.  Linda’s comments are especially helpful.  I own a Glock 23 Gen 4 and find it 100% reliable with 180 grain Federal HSTs as well as other loads.  I also own a Beretta  M-96 Centurion .40 and love it too.  Its very good but a bit heavy.  Therefore, I carry the Glock 23 or a J-Frame .38 air weight depending on circumstances.  The.38 is 100% reliable, very light and fits my pocket nicely and will do the job at close range with Hydra-Shoks or Honaday FXT loads.  Has anyone had experience with Guard Dog or DRT ammunition?

  • JiminGA

    My Glock 17 Gen3 is nine years old and I found some of the comments about a lack of accuracy interesting.  I regularly destroy the center of the target at 7.5 yards, even with a pretty useless right eye since birth (I’m 67 now). I’ve run literally thousands of rounds through it without a single failure.  It fits my hand like it was made for me.  Sure, the exterior shows some finish wear after holstering and drawing so many times, but the barrel and guts all look like new.  Ugly? Sure, but until I have to come up against a fashion editor that’s also a badguy, it’ll stay on my hip.

    Btw, I did learn something.  I wasn’t aware Glock was replacing the springs on some Gen4 models.  I only knew they were a problem.  Glad they fessed up.

  • BlueShadowII

    Whoa!  I understand (form model railroading, my other hobby) all about drilling, tapping, and self-tapping screws so I followed your comment but you’re way out there somewhere in your gun smithing knowledge and skills.  I’ll take your word for it.
    The magazine extensions are on the stock G26 magazines.  They just snap on … after many bad words while trying to get the factory installed end caps off the magazine.

  • Linda Hopkins

    I’ve heard that the DRT (Dynamic Research Technologies, I think) or as they say “Dead Right There” are supposed to be great.  Yet when I try to get info. I get the impression that they have no ACTUAL experience with DRT.    Supposedly you can kill a wild boar with one well placed 9 MM shot.   I guess you could do it with a .22 cal. if placed well enough, but I seriously doubt it !     Again, not fact, but they talk about many “wound channels” which leads me to believe this DRT stuff is some kind of frangible ammo.  IF it is frangible ammo, it may work on animals like wild boars, but would most likely be useless as a self defense load due to the “frangible” factor.     We use frangible .223 ammo all the time in our AR-15′s in our backyard range of 100 yds. give or take.  Although we have neighbors they aren’t real close BUT we use the frangible ammo for safety purposes as we are completely surrounded by thick woods and if one were to get away from you (it happens) they won’t richochet and hit someone.  They explode upon hitting a branch, muchless a tree.  BUT  they are also no good when having to go through clothing or a pack of cigarettes or a hand held up, before reaching its final destination.   The real stopping power is negated by the first object it goes through.    I guess I need to get a box of DRT and find out for sure what they do.   I do know the  Hydra-Shok’s, Cor Bon’s, and especially the Double Tap’s work pretty darn well, but I’m always searching for the ultimate round.   You might want to try the Double Tap ammo.   Really good stuff and I’m sure you’d like them IF they make it in a .40 cal. as I use their 10 MM stuff exclusively.  Waaay more power than any other 10MM on the market.  If you come across a box of DRT and check it out, let me know what you come up with.  I’d be very interested in the results of a “real world” test.

  • Linda Hopkins

    Well, somehow I feel I must apologize for my gunsmithing skills or lack thereof.   Apparently I didn’t make it very plain when trying to be of help to you.    There are aftermarket SLEEVES that fit OVER the Glock 17 Mags and mate up to the base of the G-26 grip which effectively make the G-26 grip the SAME as the G-17.    I just thought you may not be aware of such a sleeve, and that it would eliminate any “finger pinch” you might be experiencing.   I feel the need for I know not why to let you in on a secret.  I am a self employed “machine shop owner” along with 2 of my 3 sons who are machinists and 2 other machinists employees.  My husband is a machinist as well but has been a GUNSMITH at Browning here in ST. Louis for 21 years.   I run various lathes and vertical mills myself and have to know quite a bit of metalurgy as I am also the purchasing agent for our company’s raw materials.  It just kinda toots my flute when all I was trying to do was be of help to you to be “put down” as some sort of an idiot or something when that is not the case.  By the way, there’s a secret to getting those pesky little baseplates with the two little tabs on the side off  of your magazine with little trouble at all.  Well, gotta go back to work!

  • BlueShadowII

    And I feel misunderstood.  Far from putting you down, I envy your gun smithing knowledge and skills.  And I really envy you when I hear about all of the metal work you do.  I am retired after 30+ years as a software engineer but I’ve often thought that, in my next life, I want to be a machinist.  I think that would have been a very satisfying career.

  • GomeznSA

    Yep – I had the Hogue slip on originally as well, changed it to the rubberized (vice the sandpaper version which I have on the G26) Decal Grips. It gives much the same ‘feel’ as the Hogue but with a fair amount less overall bulk. If I was rolling in dough I ‘might’ consider the Gen 4 with the adjustable back strap as I have very large palms but relatively short fingers. It makes it very hard to find a ‘perfect’ fit in any hand gun but my Glocks come fairly close……………….oh and I have several hammers for tacks and nails – as well as a rooshun target pistol (or 2) for ‘serious’ target shootin’ ;-)

  • Nathan Riddle

    i think the glok 2.6 is one of the most powerful hands free weopons out now. even though.

  • Boris Bordeaux

    Author wrote: “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”

    1. new, rougher texture is uncomfortable in waistband carry mode and impedes the use of grip enhancers.
    2. larger, reverisble mag release is of no value whatsoever, except, maybe, to lefties.
    3. “modular backstrap system” is a fancy phrase and just a lot of puff. Hogue and other grip makers actually slip on gen 3s much easier.

    Bottom line: make mine a gen 3, The gen 4 is just Glock imperfection.