Glock 20 Gen 4

Posted: March 14, 2013 in Product Reviews
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UPDATE: Part II and Part III of this review are now online.  These posts detail mods and additional experience with the Gen-4 G20.

Well, I have a new addition to the firearm family, a gen-4 Glock 20 in 10mm.  This is going to be my general outdoor and hiking firearm, at least in semi-auto, always paired with my S&W performance center 629, short-barrel .44 magnum.

I looked at the G20 last summer, but only the gen-3 SF model was available at dealers.  The SF fit my hand better than the regular G20 frame (I have average-sized hands), but I wanted the gen-4 model, so I decided to wait.

Well, here it is.

g20

At first grasp, I felt that the gen-4 frame was just right.  So, if you’re worried that the G20 or even the G21 frame might be too large, give it a try.  If you’re worried that it might be too small, then the adjustable backstraps will prove to be useful.

I haven’t replaced the sucky factory sights; that will be one of my near-term mods.  Other than having a 3.5 connector installed, I’m shooting the pistol pretty much ‘out of the box.’

I was a Glock owner before the G20, so my impressions are those of someone already familiar with shooting Glocks.  If you are coming to the G20 from another platform, you may have to get used to the grip angle.  The trigger is probably different as well.

The big question for any 10mm platform is what about recoil?  So far, I’ve only shot 180gr FMJ’s from Good To Go Ammo.  Their velocity is almost identical to the Hornady 180gr XTP load, which is not ‘high end’ for 10mm. I’ve shot .40 S&W in the past in 180gr and I’d have to describe that recoil as more of a solid push.  I’ve also shot high-end .357 Sig (Buffalo Bore and Underwood) and that recoil is a very hard snap, kind of like hot .44 specials in a light, short-barrel revolver.  The 180gr 10mm load combines the push of a strong .40 S&W load with some of the snap from the .357.  There is some muzzle flip, but it’s tamed by the grip angle.  I’d probably have to give the slide weight and dual recoil spring a lot of credit for taming felt recoil.  I have yet to try, but I would feel comfortable shooting the G20 single-handed.

The gen-4 models have a rough texture, which is designed to keep a solid grip.  I have not experienced any issues with it since I’m already familiar with Glocks, however, it might be an issue with really hot loads.  I put a Pachmayr grip sleeve on my G31 for shooting Underwood since the flip would rub a small spot at the top of the web of my hand after 50 rounds.  I’ll have to wait and see with the G20 since the recoil is more of a hard push and small snap as opposed to the very hard snap of the .357.

Here is a sample from last night’s controlled-triples drill.  Load three rounds, then shoot three rounds, but obtain a sight picture before each shot and after the final shot.  The recoil and muzzle flip naturally seemed to lead to about a second delay between shots.  I am used to the reset of a Glock trigger, but I did not rest on the reset for these shots.  I also did some dry-firing in between strings.

Target distance was 11 yards.  I like odd numbers that are also primes 🙂

target1

There is no definitive point of aim in this drill, just roughly high-center mass.  I tended a bit to the left and lost a few high.  I think most of these were trying to get the third shot of the triple in too fast.  The gun is clearly more accurate than I am, and recoil/muzzle flip had nothing to do with the errant shots.  It was simply me getting ahead of the natural timing I should have used, which is part of the drill.

Interestingly, there was a group of three people in the lane next to me, trying to shoot a G32 with obviously hot ammo (probably Underwood) – I could tell simply by the noise.  I watched the absolutely vicious muzzle flip and the incredible amount of time they took between shots, just to spray them all over a target at 7 yards.  You can get to high muzzle energy a lot of ways; I’m sold on the 10mm path, even after a long period of shooting .357 Sig.

What about ejection?  Gen-4 Glocks and BTF?  I allowed one of the RSO’s at the range to shoot the pistol at my very first practice session, which gave me a chance to observe both muzzle flip and ejection. I was fortunate yesterday to have someone who was watching his son shoot also watch my ejection patterns since he reloads.  I collect the brass and he was nice enough to point out the casings after each string.  The net of these observations is that the G20 tends to throw the brass only slightly to the right and well up into the air.  Rounds that do not hit a lane divider tend to end up a few feet behind me, just to the right.  About two out of a bag of 50 tend to fly more straight up and come right back down.  So, I might get tapped on the shoulder once a session.  So far, at the 400 round mark, nothing to the face or head.

I have some 180gr XTP’s loaded by Wilson Combat (which is a hotter load) on order, so I’ll post again when I have a chance to shoot a box or two.

In summary, if you are at all inclined to give 10mm a try, then the gen-4 G20 is a good choice.  I found it to be one of the most enjoyable guns I’ve shot to date, along with my XDS in .45 ACP.  A great way to give into the power of the 10mm side.

NOTE:  May update – first round of mods posted here.

October update – second round of mods posted here.

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