Glock introduced its “Summer Special” modifications to the Generation 4 models 17 and 19, which include steel sights (versus the standard plastic factory ones), forward slide serrations, and an extended slide release. It’s a half generation like the earlier release of the law enforcement only 17M/19M series pistols. Unlike the M series guns, which have no finger groves on the front of the grip, an ambidextrous slide release, and a flared magazine well (among other features), these “Summer Specials” are modifications on the cheap.
Basically, all Glock did was cut some of their famous slide serrations into the front of the slide and slap on an aftermarket slide release that most of us have already installed. It’s a cheap modification for them because it requires no changes to the slide. Standard Gen 4 frames can have a new release and slide slipped on in seconds. It costs a lot more to design, test, and manufacture new frames, but very little to do what they did here.
Nothing innovative here, just relatively standard modifications that have been done by owners for years. It’s an easy and safe way to introduce new features for the rumored Gen 5 we might see at SHOT Show next year. Of course, the gun blogosphere said that about this year’s show. Likewise, the M series was probably less than ready for prime time (there are reports of teething troubles), but it was likely rushed to guarantee the FBI contract. The M series probably hasn’t been released to the public because of law enforcement orders getting priority and many features will be incorporated in the Gen 5 series.
Rumors circulated on the internet that the single stack .380 Glock 42 was intended to float the design before debuting the long anticipated and coveted single stack 9mm Glock 43. For a very long time, many in the shooting public wanted a single stack version of the Glock 26, but thinner for concealed carry. Until the 43 came out, one year apart, much of the market for single-stack 9mm pistols went to the Shield, XDs 3.3, and Ruger LC9. The theory goes that since the market would absolutely crucify Glock if it introduced a dysfunctional single stack 9mm, the 42 was meant to work the kinks out with producing a flop like the Remington R51 did. Or you could just say that Gaston was just looking to make a buck off the fanboys who had to buy a 42 and 43.
The “Summer Special” series is most likely something of the later; it’s a way to sell fanboys a “new” Glock model and get some of the aftermarket cash into corporate pockets. On one hand, it’s nice to see Glock responding to what the market is requesting, but the delay in bringing it to market is inexplicable. Still, I would not be surprised if we see the new slide release and slide style appear in a M series frame as the Generation 5.
Olive drab versions of the “G17, G19, G26 and G34 in Gen3 and Gen4 along with the G43” will be released as well.
Another interesting statement is Glock “will also begin production of pistols with factory-installed night sights. … The models available with factory-installed night sights are the G17 Gen4, G19 Gen4, G42 and G43.” Does this mean factory night sights will become standard over the current plastic white-U sights?
You can get your new Glock beginning June 1. The Firearm Blog has some good shots from the NRA Annual Meeting floor.