U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- The Glock 26 Gen 5 has been out for some time now, but after nearly a year of ownership, about 1,000 rounds down range, and some modifications I feel I have gotten to know the sub-compact pistol rather well. While this isn't my main squeeze when choosing a CCW, it does fill a role in between my ATEi Glock 19 and my TXT Custom Gunworks Glock 43. Even though it isn't the gun I generally go for, the baby Glock still holds a prominent place in my safe and is shot far more often than my Glock 43.
Since the Glock 26's introduction to the market in 1995, the sub-compact wonder nine has found its way into police holsters as a backup gun that takes the same mags as their duty gun, concealed carrier hands, and even some recreational shooters in states with magazine capacity laws. The ability to pack a small pistol that is almost as capable as a compact or full-size gun is something that most concealed carriers are constantly on the hunt for.
Glock 26 Gen 5 Upgrades
The introduction of the Glock 26 Gen 5 meant that all the improvements to the rest of the Glock line would be applied to the new pistol. What that translates to is that your dollar goes just a bit further when you buy a Gen 5 gun over the Gen 3 or 4 pistols. Unlike the rest of the Gen 5 lineup, the Glock 26 didn't get the flared magazine well since it would sort of ruin the concealability of the gun.
The crown jewel of the Gen 5 has to be Glock's new Marksman barrel, a welcome improvement over the older polygonal barrels of previous generations. While Glock hasn't released exactly how much better the Gen 5 barrel is, my testing with the Glock 19X, Glock 34 Gen 5, and the Glock 26 that we are reviewing here support the claim of accuracy improvement. As with any pistol, the level of accuracy the gun is capable of is wholly dependant on ammunition quality.
Other changes to the Gen 5 guns include an improved factory trigger that is hands down the best Glock has ever produced, ambidextrous slide stop, the omission of the finger grooves, and a new nDLC coating on the slide.
Making The Glock 26 My Own
While Glock pistols are super serviceable right out of the box, I have learned over tens of thousands of rounds through the Austrian pistol what I tend to prefer as a shooter. When I performed the accuracy testing that I will talk about later the gun was entirely stock with the exception of a set of Trijicon HD sights and the stipple work from TXT Custom Gun Works.
Was the stipple work necessary? No, but when TXT asked if they could stipple it, who am I to say no? One thing that Glock didn't change is the thick trigger guard. I, like many others, suffer from “Glock Knuckle” when shooting a Glock without the trigger guard undercut, as part of the framework that was addressed. The +2 Glock magazine extension that I added to a 10-round magazine was also stippled to extend the length of grip just a touch. The side benefit is the magazine capacity was increased from 10-rounds to 13-rounds.
The stock trigger was perfectly serviceable and had I not removed the Apex trigger from my Glock 34 Gen 5 to test the TangoDown Vickers trigger, it would have stayed stock. The new trigger Glock is using is so good that it feels better than many of my aftermarket triggers. That said when you have a great trigger sitting in a parts bin, why not put it to work in a pistol?
Shooting the Glock 26 Gen 5
You might be wondering how the Glock 26 Gen 5 shoots and how recoil is when shooting defensive ammunition. Interestingly, the dual recoil spring does quite a lot to absorb the recoil even though it is a tiny pistol. Other pistols that are roughly the same size just don't handle the recoil quite as well for some reason.
Now I know there is a school of thought where some don't believe that it matters how fast you can deliver follow up shots because they believe that how harsh the recoil is will be the last thing on their mind. I tend to disagree with that mentality and feel that follow up shots are incredibly important. I prefer shooting the Hackathorn / Vickers “The Test” drill to see how well I am able to place reasonably accurate follow-up shots on target. Make sure to check out this article about The Test to learn how to run the drill.
When shooting the pistol on NRA B8 targets, you might notice that the groups are not always centered. Normally I would chalk this up to poor shooting on my part but recently I did some testing on changes in ammunition and point of impact. What my results boiled down to is that when switching ammunition, there is a high degree of probability that the point of impact is going to move, sometimes as much as several inches at 25-yards.
Shooting the Glock 26 off hand at the 25-yard line produced an impressive 6.034″ group with the Trijicon HD sights. Shooting a 90 or better at 25-yards with any pistol isn't something to scoff at, but shooting 90 or better with a pistol that can be carried in your pocket? Seems like the Gen 5 upgrades were doing their job when combined with that +2 magazine extension I added.
Final Thoughts About the Glock 26 Gen 5
If I were in the market for a carry pistol and didn't have a desire to add a weapon mounted light like a TLR-7 or cared about a red dot ready variant, the Glock 26 would be pretty high on my list. Personally, I tend to carry my milled Glock 19 far more than the 26 or 43 for the simple reason that it has a Trijicon RMR mounted to it. Should I decide to send the Glock 26 Gen 5 off to ATEi to get the same treatment as my preferred carry gun and scooped up a holster that worked well with the baby Glock, I could see it quickly becoming a serious rival for my Glock 19.
So should you buy one? I feel that you would be well served by the Glock 26 Gen 5 over the Glock 43, 43X, or even the Glock 48 as long as you add that plus 2 extension to the magazine. That bit of extra length did wonders for shootability without impacting concealability in the slightest. Reliability and accuracy are on point and the felt recoil is well within acceptable ranges.
Once you take into consideration that you can run a Glock 17 mag as a reload or even add a plus 5 extension to that Glock 17 mag, I think you will quickly come to the conclusion that with the Glock 26 Gen 5, you really aren't leaving too much on the table if any at all when choosing a self-defense tool. The Glock 26 seems to be the next best compromise between capacity, shootability, and concealability for a carry gun after the Glock 19.
The Glock 26 Gen 5 starts at an MSRP of $749 but can be found in the $560 to $600 range at online retailers like Brownells. Check out the Glock website for all of the specs and features that your heart desires.
About Patrick R.
Patrick is a firearms enthusiast that values the quest for not only the best possible gear setup but also pragmatic ways to improve his shooting skills across a wide range of disciplines. He values truthful, honest information above all else and had committed to cutting through marketing fluff to deliver the truth. You can find the rest of his work on FirearmRack.com as well as on the YouTube channel Firearm Rack or Instagram at @thepatrickroberts.