September 09, 2011
By James Tarr
While it took a while for Glock to embrace the term "Baby Glock" when referring to its Models 26 and 27, that nickname for the smallest versions of the G17/22 is both apt and well-known in the shooting community. Popular with law enforcement (as backup guns) and civilians alike, the Baby Glocks offer adult-size firepower in a subcompact package. With its 4th generation pistols Glock has made a few substantive changes to its proven design, and now those changes have come to the smallest models.
The Gen4 Glock 26 is a square chunk of a gun, and is at (or just past) the outer limits of what I consider concealable in a pocket. Loaded it weighs over 26 ounces, and it's 6.3 inches long. Perhaps just as importantly, it is as wide as its big brother the G17 (1.18 inches), making it rather big-boned for a pocket gun. That said, 10+1 rounds of 9mm in a pistol small enough to hide almost anywhere is one heck of a combination—and the reason the Baby Glocks are so popular. Well, one of the reasons.
Another reason Glocks are so popular is that they are disgustingly, relentlessly, boringly reliable. Pull the trigger, it goes bang. Period. That's the main reason I carry one every day. That reliability, and excellent ergonomics, meant there wasn't a lot to improve upon for the 4th Generation.
Most prominently when compared to their predecessors, Gen4 Glocks feature interchangeable backstraps designed to accommodate hands of varying size. Glock calls this the MBS (multiple backstrap) frame. With no extra backstrap installed, the grip of a Gen4 Glock is 2mm smaller than a Gen3 Glock. With the medium backstrap installed the grip size is the same as a Gen3 Glock, and with the large backstrap the grip of a Gen4 Glock is 2mm larger.
The grip angle is not changed, only the distance to the trigger. The backstraps are easy to get on and off with the use of a punch, which is provided. The smaller frame makes the Gen4 Model 26 even easier to conceal than the Gen3.
Gen4 Glocks have larger magazine catches that are reversible, but older magazines will work with Gen4 guns. Many internal parts are not interchangeable between Gen3 and Gen4 guns, however, so before you buy spare parts make sure you're getting the right ones.
Larger models in the Gen4 line have modified recoil systems, swapping the Gen3's single recoil spring with a double one. As the Baby Glocks have always come with double recoil springs to keep full-power ammunition from battering their light slides, you won't see a difference when you fieldstrip the gun.
Gen4 pistols feature Glock's Rough Textured Frame (RTF). The little raised cubes on the frame don't look like much, but they actually provide a much more aggressive gripping surface than the checkering found on the front and backstrap of Gen3 pistols. The sides of the grip are RTF'd, as is the rear of the frame if you choose to shoot the gun without one of the backstraps installed.
One thing I really like about the Glock 26 is that it is supplied with not one, not two, but three magazines, and that is a bigger selling point than most people might suspect.
My only complaint is that none of them come with a finger extension floorplate. The Glock 26's short frame makes it easy to conceal, but that means only very small-handed shooters will be able to get all their fingers on the pistol. Several companies make aftermarket floorplates with finger extensions; I just wish Glock would provide one with the gun.
Glock has advertised its pistols as "Perfection" for some time, and the Gen4 models as "The Evolution of Perfection." Frankly I wish they had evolved some metal sights. I'm incredulous that Glocks still come with their easily damaged plastic sights, and while I like the big white dot on the front sight, if you line up the top of the front sight with the top of the rear, the bottom of the dot is cut off.
For a compact gun meant for self defense most people will be looking to see the white dot, which means they'll probably be hitting high. At the farthest distance you'll likely be shooting that won't make much more than an inch or two of difference, but it's still a flaw that should have been fixed years ago.
The trigger pull on our sample was typical of every factory Glock trigger I've ever tried at 6.5 pounds. Over time and with thousands of trigger pulls that might get down to the optimistically advertised weight of 5.5 pounds.
I'm actually in favor of heavier and/or longer trigger pulls on pocket guns with no manual safeties—to prevent something getting wedged into the trigger guard and accidentally setting the gun off. As the Glocks have no external safeties I think they are better carried in a holster, but I know one of the selling points of the Baby Glocks is that they can fit into pockets and purses. However you carry it, you'll be well-protected by a gun whose very name has become synonymous with reliability.
Glock Gen4 G26 Specs
- Type: striker-fired semiauto
- Caliber: 9mm Luger
- Capacity: 10+1
- Barrel: 3.46 in.
- OAL/Height/Width: 6.29/4.17/1.18 in.
- Weight: 19.75 oz.
- Trigger: Safe Action, 6.5 lb. pull
- Price: $540
- Manufacturer: Glock
Glock Gen4 G26 Accuracy
- Smallest average: Hornady 147 gr. XTP—1.3 in.
- Largest average: Black Hills 124 gr. JHP—2.0 in.
- Average of all ammo tested: 1.7 in.
Glock Announces Voluntary Recoil Spring Exchange