Review

Gaston’s G.I.L.F. – the Glock 26 Gen 4 Subcompact Pistol

Quality
Reliability
Price/Value
Referability

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Average Score: 4.8 out of 5.0

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The Glock 26 Generation 4 - the 9mm that could

The Glock 26 Generation 4 - the 9mm that could

We had a terrible time coming up with a catchy and witty title for this Glock 26 review. The Mouse Gun That Roars? Nope. Not mousy enough. Son of a, son of a, son of a Glock 26? Nah. Too Jimmy Buffett. Is That A Glock On Your Ankle Or Are You Just Happy To See Me? No deal. This web site is rated PG-13. Usually. When This Baby Glock Burps, Get A Bigger Diaper Bag! Hmmm. While most gun people call the subcompact models “Baby Glocks” it’s probably not the approved brand name. Plastic Pocket Pistol? Too chintzy sounding. We found this to be a quality firearm. Gaston’s G.I.L.F. (Glock I’d Like to Fire)  Nah. Internet trolls would interpret this as something entirely inappropriate. We’ll keep working on it. In the meantime, let’s take a closer look at the new Glock 26 Generation 4 Subcompact pistol.

First Impressions

Our first impression is that the ‘subcompact’ description is misleading. Kind of. The Glock 26 is no mouse gun as the term subcompact might imply. It just happens to possess a form factor that allows it to gain occasional admittance to mouse gun parties and debutante balls. Make no mistake, the Glock 26 is a fully functional, full capacity, 9mm handgun. But due to its dimensions and weight, it facilitates some typical mouse gun modes of carry including ankle, coat pocket, purse, and various alternative positions inside the waistband. The big difference with the Glock 26 platform is that it manages to achieve small form factor without loss of that elusive concept, shootability.

The Glock 26 Gen 4 in comparison to its larger sibling - the Glock 17 Gen 4

The Glock 26 Gen 4 in comparison to its larger sibling – the Glock 17 Gen 4

The grip width is identical to that of its longer and taller cousins – the Glock 17 and Glock 19. The only difference in dimension is length of slide and height of the grip. Depending on your particular hand configuration, you’ll probably get your middle and ring fingers comfortably on the grip with the pinky finger riding below the magazine base plate. Later, we’ll talk about accessories that allow addition of the pinky. With or without a pinky extension accessory, the shootability factor works because the grip fills your hand – just like the larger Glocks. We’ve found that some particularly narrow subcompact pistols require adjustment of your trigger finger as the finger can naturally ride too far through the trigger guard. Not so with the Glock 26. If you can shoot a compact or full size Glock with grace and aplomb, you can handle the Glock 26 Subcompact just fine. Loaded weight of the Glock 26 Generation 4, which will vary just a tad depending on your specific ammo preference, is 26.1 ounces. That’s just over a pound and a half if you don’t feel up to doing the math. That’s also the equivalent of five iPhone 4S smartphones. As a side note, we did find the Glock 26 much more adept at shooting back than the iPhone.  Although, if you choose to carry five iPhones instead of the Glock 26, you have four to throw before using the fifth to dial 911. Just a thought in case you live in a gun-unfriendly state like Kalifornia or Massachusetts. In comparison, the Glock 17 Gen 4 weighs in at 31.92 ounces loaded. Or six and a half iPhones if you want to look at it that way.

Compact “Enough” Size

The standout feature of the Glock 26 is that it is “compact enough.” It is a comfortable gun to shoot – no grip twiddling necessary. The grip width and circumference is identical to that of the full size Glock 17 Gen 4.

Compact, not mini, is the key word

Compact, not mini, is the key word

Most of the Glock 26 Generation 4 Subcompact testing was done by our female team – primarily using purse carry. For those of you who have not tried a concealed carry purse, they generally have small-ish dedicated pockets for a gun and a relatively small access opening. Add some pressure from a purse full of stuff and you need to think about ease of draw. A large gun, combined with small access pockets and a day’s worth of absolute necessities can result in a hopelessly wedged-in pistol. The Glock 26 proved to be just the right size for two different concealed carry purses. Our guy editors carried the Glock 26 less, but shot it plenty. With that said, the Glock 26 obviously works just fine in any traditional waist carry scenario. Where it shines is with deeper concealment options. It’s small enough to effectively carry in an ankle holster or belly band. We’ve never been fans of the SmartCarry / Thunderwear options, but it will work there quite nicely – if you care to carry a Glock in your man girdle.

Ammo Capacity

The Glock 26 Gen 4 features 10 round magazines, allowing for a carry capacity of 11 rounds, including one in the chamber. Not bad for a compact gun.

The ability to use Glock 19 and Glock 17 magazines makes the Glock 26 a great back up gun

The ability to use Glock 19 and Glock 17 magazines makes the Glock 26 a great back up gun

One of the other things we really like about Glock 26 is the inclusion of 3 magazines with each new pistol. This is a new thing with the Gen 4 series – the Gen 3 models we see on sale at places like GalleryOfGuns.com still offer 2 magazines in the box. While we believe ‘the more magazines the better,’ Glock starts you out on the right foot with everything you need for a respectable carry configuration – one magazine in the gun and two spares. And Glock keeps their magazine costs reasonable in the event you want to buy more. They’re often available for about $25 on the street– sometimes less.

Shared Generation 4 Features

Like other Glock Generation 4 models, the Glock 26 offers the same family enhancements to the design. Call it sibling copying. The default grip size is the smallest option, while one of the 2 included backstraps can be added to achieve the standard or large grip circumference common to the Generation 4 family. As we found with the Glock 17 Gen 4 we looked at a couple of months ago, the new grip texture is fantastic. The “micro-pyramid” texturing on the side panels really holds your hand in place – without undue abrasion. We really, really, like the new grip texture. Of course this is especially important, and noticeable, on the Glock 26 Gen 4, as you will most likely have only two fingers on the grip. Also like the Glock 17 Gen 4, the magazine release button has been significantly enlarged. This makes a huge difference in ease of operation. The larger surface area makes it easy to release a magazine, but we had no issues whatsoever with unintentional magazine drops. We’ve seen issues with other pistols where pressure from inside-the-waistband holsters can inadvertently engage a magazine release button that is too large. Not so with the Glock Gen 4 design. The last major feature is the new Gen 4 captive dual recoil spring assembly. Glock claims that this design significantly improves the longevity of the system. We have not noticed any difference in reliability between the single spring and dual spring designs. That’s a good thing. While we’re shooting this Glock 26 plenty, it’s not been in service long enough to make observation on longevity differences. One more item of note. The Generation 4 Glocks can use Generation 3 magazines. It’s almost like hand-me-down clothes from your older brother or sister, except hand-me-down magazines generally don’t have sweat stains. With older magazines, you just lose the ambidextrous magazine release feature as the older magazines do not have release slots cut on both sides. This is a nice and thoughtful feature if you are upgrading from an older model Glock or have other Glock siblings in the household.

Yeah, But Does It Shoot Fast?

We’re talking velocity here – not gangsta-style semi-auto rapid fire. Shorter barrels mean lower velocity with all other factors being equal. The barrel length of the Glock 26 Gen 4 is 1.06” shorter than that of the Glock 17 Gen 4, so we expected a noticeable decrease in velocity for any given round. To see how dramatic the velocity difference was, we broke out the Shooting Chrony Beta Master and brought an assortment of ammo to the range.

Glock 26

Glock 17

Difference

Buffalo Bore TAC-XP +P+ 95 grain

1,358

1,438

-80

Federal FMJ RN 115 grain

1,106

1,169

-63

CorBon JHP +P 115 grain

1,258

1,301

-43

Georgia Arms Gold Dot 124 grain

1,152

1,235

-83

Hornady Critical Defense 115 grain

1,054

1,111

-57

Remington UMC 115 grain

1,080

1,148

-68

Winchester Target 115 grain

1,164

1,211

-47

Handload: 124 grain plated Round Nose, 4.5 grains Unique, 1.115 OAL

1,017

1,079

-62

We saw an average velocity difference of about 63 feet per second between the full size Glock 17 Gen 4 with its 4.49 inch barrel and the Glock 26 Gen 4 with it’s 3.43 inch barrel.

The shorter barrel of the Glock 26 did not hinder expansion

The shorter barrel of the Glock 26 did not hinder expansion

Consistent with our earlier comments, this is not a traditional pocket gun. It behaves like a full size pistol that is simply… smaller. With every load tested easily breaking the 1,000 feet per second barrier, and most over 1,100 feet per second, we would not hesitate to rely on expanding ammunition in the Glock 26. In fact, we did a separate ammo feature looking at a number of 9mm rounds fired from this particular Glock 26 Gen 4. We found expansion performance through heavy leather and clothing barriers to be excellent with several brands of premium self-defense ammunition. We’ve got an assortment of Speer Gold Dot standard and Short Barrel ammunition on the way for another project and unfortunately it did not arrive on time for this review. The Glock 26’s 3.43 inch barrel length is right on the fence of Speer’s recommended length to switch to short barrel optimized ammo. We’ll test both and post an update as soon as that ammo arrives.

Glock Bling

The Glock 26 Gen 4 is ready to go out of the box. It includes the aforementioned 3 magazines for a total of 31 rounds available, a cleaning rod and brush and the obligatory gun lock. But part of the fun of the Glock platform is taking advantage of the vast array of aftermarket goodies that are available. On the evaluation gun, we kept things on the conservative side and only added two accessories – neither of which impact the firing mechanisms of the gun.

TruGlo TFO (Tritium Fiber Optic) night sights make a great addition to the Glock 26 Gen 4

TruGlo TFO (Tritium Fiber Optic) night sights make a great addition to the Glock 26 Gen 4

TruGlo TFO (Tritium Fiber Optic) Sights

We’ve really enjoyed using TruGlo TFO Sights on our Glock 32. TruGlo TFO sights combine both fiber optic and tritium technology in the same sight. Using highly technical terms, this means that the TFO’s glow like the dickens – day or night. Our Glock 32 set is the all green model that was available years ago when we purchased them. Two green rear sights and a green front sight. More recently, TruGlo has introduced a dual color scheme option with two yellow dots in the rear sight and green in the front. This makes a surprising difference day or night. In the daytime, you are looking for the single green dot – not trying to sort out which of the three bright green dots is the front sight. At night, you have the same benefit with the addition of knowing for sure that your front sight is centered between the two rear dots. With all three dots green, it can be a little tricky to make sure alignment is correct.

Pearce Magazine Extension

Here’s an inexpensive way to increase the controllability of your Glock 26 by 71.32 percent. And 3 out of 4 dentists agree. OK, we made those statistics up, but the fact remains that the simple addition of a Pearce Grip Extension improves your shooting by 43 percent. Just swap the standard magazine baseplate on one (or more) of the factory magazines and you’re ready to go. This particular Pearce Grip Extension does not add magazine capacity – it simply adds more real estate for the pinky finger. And it makes a big difference without increasing size or concealability.

Is The Glock 26 Gen 4 For Him? Or Her? Or Both?

He said She said
I’m quite happy with the form factor of the Glock 32/ Glock 19 / Glock 23 as my standard carry gun. The mid size frame is perfect for discreet carry in an IWB holster, belly band, or shirt holster.With that said, I really like the idea of a matching G26 Gen 4 as a back up gun, probably carried in a Galco Ankle Glove.I also like the idea of owning a Glock 26 as an alternate to my primary carry gun for occasions when smaller size is desirable for concealed carry.I found that the grip size on the Glock 26 Gen 4 allowed me to comfortably fit the middle and ring fingers in the built-in finger grooves. This was perfectly adequate for rapid yet controlled shooting.I also found the Glock 26 Gen 4 far easier to shoot accurately than most other “pocket-sized” pistols. The sight radius was fine and both factory and TruGlo sights were easy to acquire. The other “she” in this column owns and shoots a Glock 17 Gen 4 because her primary usage is competitive Steel Challenge. I’ve been looking for a carry gun that’s portable, yet packs enough punch to be a respectable self-defense gun.Prior to trying the Glock 26, I carried a double action pistol with a slide mounted de-cocker and safety. I’m now officially spoiled with the Glock 26 Safe Action constant trigger pull. It’s just simple.Two of us shot it – a lot – and we both have medium, lady sized hands. The grip size of the Glock 26 was just fine for us and we had no problems reaching for the trigger. Both of us really liked the addition of the Pearce Grip Extension. All in all, the Glock 26 Gen 4 is good for dainty hands.We both really liked this pistol, but I developed a special attachment for it. I love it with all my heart. I want to marry it. Although I do feel like I am cheating on my Walther PP when I carry it.

Quality

How do you define quality? When it comes to guns, the main quality criteria for us is reliability. Will the gun perform as advertised every time and over the long haul. Our three month test of the Glock 26 Generation 4 indicates that reliability is solid.

Reliability

We've done several Glock reviews over the past year and a half of both Generation 3 and Generation 4 models and have a couple more in the works. We've never had reliability issues with any of the Glocks we've tested - including the Glock 26 Gen 4. Regardless of ammo type they just run. Although not factory recommended, we've found frequent cleaning to be completely optional.

Price/Value

The suggested retail price of the Generation 4 models has gone up just a bit, but then again, and extra magazine is included. We find the street prices of Glocks to be right in line with other pistols of similar design and quality.

Referability

A high quality gun like this is just about as referable as it can get.

This article originally appeared on My Gun Culture.

All images copyright MyGunCulture.com

Any views or opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect those of OutdoorHub. Comments on this article reflect the sole opinions of their writers.
  • http://twitter.com/grymmjack Rick Christy

    LOL @ G.I.L.F

  • http://twitter.com/britneysbsafari Britney Starr

    As usual, thanks for the comprehensive and witty review. I think the Glock 26 Gen 4 might be a G.I.L.F. :)

  • MiddleFinger

    Love my G26 gen4. The moment I picked one up, I knew it was the perfect gun. And I have huge hands. I have a G17 but the G26 just melts into my hand and I can shoot out to 10 yds off-hand with scary accuracy. Using the sights and I just might take it deer hunting.

    The thing’s just magic!

  • Jon

    FTE and brass hitting me in the face with my Gen 4 Glock 26. Not a fan….yet.

    • http://twitter.com/mygunculture My Gun Culture

      That’s interesting – I had heard reports of “straight back ejection” so we tried all types of ammo, including low and high power handloads with different projectile weights. We even varied strength of grip to see if that made a difference. In summary, if 12 o’clock was straight forward, we found the ejection pattern to range from maybe 4 to 5 o’clock depending, but never did have problems with brass coming straight back in the 6 o’clock direction.

  • Mike

    Still not sure about the gen 4 but I do know that I want personal self defense weapons.

  • Phelony Jones

    I have one. Generally, I hate Glock grips, but I do like the G26 Gen 4 as the grips fit well. Also, the accuracy is amazing. If only it was a couple ounces lighter, but it still gets carried. So, This is one Glock I can recommend without any reservations.

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  • http://www.troykelso.com/ Troy Kelso

    I have this weapon on a short list of weapons for my wife to consider for concealed carry. Do women notice that the new spring system offers a reduction in recoil over the old spring system?