The GEN4 Duty And Competition Model
In .45 ACP.
There are now some 50-odd variations of the basic Glock pistol ranging from the sub-compacts to a 10mm “long slide” for hunters and outdoorsmen. The Glock domination of a large slice of the police and military realm and its iconic place in the entertainment industry has won it wide acceptance among the shooting public. Early on, the Glocks earned a reputation for durability, reliable function and basic simplicity.
New shooters—both newly armed civilians and weapon-using professionals-in-training—take to the uncomplicated operating drill and the “safe action” trigger. While the long and relatively heavy trigger represents a paradigm shift and an initial challenge to shooters attuned to traditional single- and double-action pistols and revolvers, the system proves intuitive to many new shooters.
It is not unusual to see a seasoned shooter set up a table full of guns to introduce his significant other to shooting. Often as not, the novice will work through the standard bestiary of revolvers and auto-loaders with unremarkable results and then see the hit probability increase significantly when the Glock comes into play.
Glock-equipped action pistol shooters are well-represented in the upper tier of IPSC and USPSA competitions. The models 34 and 35 and now the 41 in 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP respectively are optimized for competition. All have 5.3-inch barrels, will “fit in the box” with the 1911, are available in the Generation 4 configuration and an available Modular Optical System variation for mounting the optical sights popular in competition. Glock specifies the Model 41 as suitable for military, police, sporting applications, the general enthusiast and, along with the G40 Gen4 MOS in 10mm, is a suitable hunting tool. Of the eight categories recognized by Glock, the 41 appears in every category except “Personal Defense” (concealed) and “Women Shooters.” It appears to be Glock USA’s favorite for versatility.
The Glock performed well with all loads tried including CorBon DPX. The wicked knife,
a Boker Magnum Starfighter, is a perfect compliment if 13 .45’s aren’t enough. The
dagger-shaped blade is ground on one side and crafted of 440 stainless steel.
The Model 41 is 8.9 inches long and 1.28 inches wide across the grip—the same or a bit wider than other members of its competition/duty/hunting family but a bit narrower across the slide. The sights are Patridge profile with tritium inserts laterally adjustable and highly visible with about 1/2-inch greater sighting radius than the 1911. The height from top of rear sight to magazine floorplate is about the same as a Model 1911 and other similar service pistols. Weight unloaded is 27 ounces and with 13 rounds in the magazine, it comes in at 36 ounces—2 ounces lighter than the unloaded weight of my Ten-Ring Custom Gold Cup. The overall trigger travel is 0.49-inch.
Weighing from the tip of the trigger with a Timney mechanical gauge, it releases at 4.5 pounds. With “normal” finger placement in the center of the trigger, the striker releases at 7 pounds. The safety is the familiar center-trigger frame impingement rocker and a passive internal striker block. The barrel is 5.3 inches long with polygonal rifling. Urban legend says the PG twist barrel provides the bullet with a more perfect seal, higher velocity and greater accuracy.
I did a comparison from the same lots of 230-grain Black Hills JHP, Hornady 185-grain Critical Defense and CorBon 230-grain JHP +P using the Glock 41 against a Les Baer Thunder Ranch Special with standard 5-inch barrel. The Black Hills gained 15 feet per second from the Glock. The CorBon was 14 fps slower and the Hornady load was 4 fps slower from the Glock than the Les Baer. Incidentally, all three of these rounds reach full expansion in 4 inches of raw beef brisket and stop after penetrating one side of a gallon water jug. The Model 41 comes with three 13-round magazines (or 10 in certain jurisdictions), a loading tool, cable lock, nylon bore brush and the owner’s manual. The inclusion of three magazines makes it good-to-go from the box for competition or duty.
The Gen4 enhancements include a heavy-duty 2-spring recoil system captured on a guide rod. This arrangement makes the sub compact, full-caliber CCW pistols feasible and provides a useful spring life. In the case of the Gen4, official word is the system greatly increases recoil spring life and moderates slide travel and perceived recoil. There is a large but well-shielded reversible magazine release and the grip and backstraps are festooned with 4-sided “polymids” deemed the “Rough Textured Frame.” The basic grip frame is somewhat smaller than the previous standard and comes with four snap-on and pin-secured backstraps in medium and large, with and without beavertail.
The front of the slide is given a nicely contoured shape to ease reholstering.
The rear sight is fixed, adjustable for windage only, and our test sample was fitted with
optional tritium night sights. The front, with one tritium dot, is fixed in the slide.
Controls include twin takedown tabs over the trigger window, a protected slide stop,
a trigger-mounted safety, and a reversible magazine release.
Mike found the Glock rocked sharply upward from the rest firmly on his first shot
imbedding the polymidal protuberances into the palm of his hand. Time out for a
trip to the backstrap locker.
Basic Bench Groups
The charted groups are the usual 5-round strings from a Caldwell Pistol Rest from 25 yards. Overall, the results with the full array of high-quality rounds produced a fairly narrow spread of individual group measurements. Initially, I shot from the bench using the basic grip frame sans alternative backstraps. With the first shot, came the mental image of having seized a concupiscent hedgehog or barrel cactus. The Glock rocked sharply upward from the rest, firmly imbedding the polymidal protuberances into the palm of my hand. It did kind of hurt and made me wonder what lay in store when I put it to more purpose-driven use.
Given the emphatic up-thrust of the recoiling Model 41, I figured my best bet would be one of the backstraps with a beavertail. I picked one at random—the one marked, “medium” as it turned out—and it wrought a profound change in the overall behavior of this pistol. Recoil driven up-chuck was greatly reduced and the texture no longer caused even minor discomfort. Likely the small grip option might be ideal for a person with small hands but the medium adapter was ideal for me and the other people who shot the 41. Loads included high-quality jacketed rounds of 185- and 230-grain weight of standard and +P pressures. There was no great difference in felt recoil or torque among them. All loads centered their groups 2- to 2-1/2 inches above point of aim shooting from the rest and close to point of aim unsupported. Hornady American Gunner 185-grain JHP’s using XTP Bullets shot groups of 2.1 and then 1.9 inches. The Hornady Critical Defense Load took the lead with a 1.4-inch 5-round cluster though the apparent ranking of my benchrest groups should never be taken as gospel nor my rested groups representative of what might come with a Ransom rest.
All of the loads performed very well and are very likely more similar in absolute accuracy than my shooting will ever demonstrate. They all delivered a level of accuracy completely compatible with the entire field of action shooting competition. All of the JHP loads were completely reliable.
The most energetic load in the table is the Buffalo Bore 185-grain Lead Free Barnes Hollow Point. It is rated at 1,150 fps but actual chronographed speeds were well on the road to the nominal velocity of the Buffalo-Barnes combination using a 160-grain bullet. I pulled a bullet and confirmed that it is a 185-grain bullet and the measured velocity of 1,211 fps is accurate. Three of the loads in the table utilize the 185-grain Barnes bullets. They are the hot Buffalo Bore load, The CorBon Deep-Penetrating X Bullet load and the Black Hills TAC XP. The Barnes bullet retains 100 percent of its weight, providing deep penetration and consistent expansion across a wide range of velocities and performing well against various barriers.
While the 41 standing alone has a “long slide” appearance, the overall size is virtually the
same as the 1911 underneath. Note the slightly longer sight radius of the Glock.
Mike chose the medium backstrap with a generous beavertail. Simple to interchange, it
improved the handling characteristics for him tremendously. Glock provides the four
extra backstraps with the pistol.
Kenny Hunt, a professional handgun instructor, enjoyed popping plates at 15 yards.
The medium beavertail backstrap fit Kenny perfectly and moderated muzzle rise.
The group on the left is from one hand at 25 yards fired “NRA” Timed Fire Cadence.
Two of the three out of the primary cluster came with the first five rounds and
prompted Mike to compensate for a tendency to push the group. The right hand
target was fired from two hands unsupported at the same distance.
Shooting 6-inch plates from 15 yards on handgun instructor Kenny Hunt’s range, rapid transition from one plate to the next was the order of the day. Recoil with the beavertail grip was not the limiting factor. Recovering from the uptick and moving to the next plate was accomplished smoothly and at good speed. Barrel rise with the standard and +P loads was well controlled. My tendency to push the trigger was a significant limiting factor and did cause me to miss plates to the left if I tried to increase my speed to levels normally comfortable for me with a single action release. Reliable hits on all eight plates were the rule if I kept my breaks at the 1-second level (Pact Club Timer 1.03-1.05 seconds between shots.). This is encouraging entry-level performance predicting significant improvement with sustained trigger time. Kenny’s results were essentially the same as mine.
Shooting 2-handed, unsupported isosceles from 25 yards produced satisfactory center-mass hits at a deliberate pace and the groups I tended to push to left of center were now, with improving trigger control, more in register with the sights. Shooting 1-handed at the NRA timed-fire cadence, I put two of my first five rounds to the left away from the centered group. Another 5-round string and the three remaining in the magazine produced a decent cluster considering the realities of a trigger not geared toward bull’s-eye matches.
The slide of the Model 41 wears a pleasing flat black, non-glare finish matching the polymer frame perfectly. After several hundred rounds of standard and +P .45 ACP ammunition, the only indications the pistol has been fired is a very slight line on the barrel about 3/8-inch from the muzzle where it contacts the slide. There are two faint skid marks on the top of the barrel hood from low impact contact with the recoiling slide though the finish is still intact. Rails, the underside of the slide and the metallic elements of the frame appear pristine.
The Model 41 is a solid performer that Glock enthusiasts will value for its full exploitation of the potential of the .45 ACP cartridge.
By Mike Cumpston
Photos By Joseph R. Novelozo
The 41 was completely reliable and delivered good accuracy with the full range of high-performance
JHP ammunition. Groups were fairly close across the board but the Hornady Critical Defense round
turned in the best 25-yard bench group.
6000 Highlands Parkway
Smyrna, GA 30082
Action: Safe action
Caliber: .45 ACP
Overall length: 8.90 inches
Width: 1.28 inches
Height: 5.47 inches
Barrel length: 5.31 inches
Weight [unloaded): 27 ounces
Finish: Black Tenifer
Grips: Integral polymer, interchangeable backstraps
.45 ACP Factory Ammo Performance
|(brand, bullet weight, type)||(fps)||(ft-lbs)||(inches)|
|American Gunner 185 JHP XTP||952||372||1.9|
|Buffalo Bore 185+P||1,211||603||2.5|
|CorBon 185 DPX||1,040||444||3.1|
|Hornady 185 CD||989||402||1.4|
|Black Hills 185 TAC XP||972||388||2.4|
|Black Hills 185 JHP||1,045||449||2.1|
|Black Hills 230 JHP||851||370||2.3|
|CorBon 230 JHP +P||902||416||2.3|
|Remington 230 JHP||807||333||2.5|
Notes: Velocity taken by Competition Electronics Chronograph at 10 feet, 500 feet elevation,
temperature 40 degrees F. Group size the product of 5 shots at 25 yards.
Basic Bench Groups