Review of the new Glock 34
BY TONY CLEMENS
DURY'S GUN SHOP
In 2010, Glock began introducing new Generation 4 versions of their pistol lines. The .40 caliber Models 22 and 23 were first, followed by the 9mm Models 17 and 19. A few other models have been introduced since, including the 21, 32 and 34. The early Generation 4 9mms had a few function problems with light target loads, but this was resolved with a proprietary recoil spring assembly designed for the 9mm.
The Generation 4 Glocks feature several changes from the earlier versions. These include a different grip texture (resulting in a non-slip surface without having to resort to aftermarket grip tape or stippling), two backstraps (medium & large) which can be installed on the backstrap to "customize" the feel of the frame in the shooters hand, and a larger, reversible magazine release. For the first time, left-handed Glock shooters can have a release designed for them. The other major change involves the recoil spring assembly. Full-size and mid-size (compact) Generation 4 Glocks now have a dual recoil spring assembly, designed to change the perceived recoil of the pistol (resulting in less muzzle rise) as well as having a much longer service life. Less muzzle rise results in faster follow-up shots during competition or in self-defense situations.
The Glock 34 was introduced in 1998 as a competition-ready 9mm pistol. The main differences between the full-size Model 17 and the long slide Model 34 include a 5.32" barrel for the 34 (0.82" longer than the 17) with corresponding longer slide, extended magazine and slide releases and a reduced trigger pull. The longer slide results in a longer sight radius and a slightly better balance of the pistol, resulting in quicker recovery between shots.
I picked up a new Model 34 Gen4 in January and have had a chance to test it twice since then. This included shooting offhand for accuracy, chronographing different loads and running some of the Glock Sport Shooting Foundation (GSSF) courses of fire. At no time did I experience any malfunctions. Handheld accuracy at 15 yards with several loads was around 2.5"-3", which is comparable to the other 9mm Glocks I shoot. If I can get these size groups consistently, I consider it acceptable for my uses. I don't test for accuracy from a rest; I think you should see how "shootable" and how accurate the gun is when firing it as it will be used. Chronograph results were consistent with Generation 3 results.
The only thing I changed on the pistol prior to testing was the sights. Although some prefer them, I've never cared for the stock Glock sights and, through the years, have tried most of the different sights offered for the Glocks. The set I prefer is the Ameriglo GT-502. This plain black sight set features a slightly wider notch on the rear sight as well as a slightly narrower than normal, serrated front sight. The result is a sight picture that's very quick to pick up and the extra light on the sides of the front sight helps confirm the point-of-aim on the target.
One of the GSSF courses of fire I used the new gun on was the Plate Event. This involves knocking down six 8" round steel plates from 11 yards as quickly as possible. During several practice runs, my times were typically 0.1 to 0.15 seconds quicker with the Generation 4 Model 34. This may not sound like much, but in a GSSF match, you shoot 4 runs of the plates. A savings of 0.1 - 0.15 each run results in 0.4 - 0.6 seconds in your total time, in addition to any other time saved in the other two events by benefitting from the reduction in muzzle rise, can result in a difference of several places in the final standings. This, in itself, is reason enough to recommend the Generation 4 version of the Model 34. The Gen 4 changes make it a competition-worthy pistol, right out of the box.