DIY Glock Build: Understanding the Generation Gap

posted on November 27, 2019

Since the first examples of the Gaston Glock’s namesake handgun began rolling off the assembly line more than three decades ago, the various evolutionary changes to the design, upgrades and even the addition of new chamberings have been grouped by generations. To date, the pistol has developed into five generations, each with their own changes, subtle differences and evolutionary improvements. But, that’s not to say you need a scholarly understanding of how each generation differs from the other and how it morphed into the next. Rather, a basic knowledge will help to make sure all of the parts for your build are compatible beforehand.

For example, while I suppose it’s possible that some Gen1 and Gen2 pistols may still be in service, I suspect the likelihood of finding aftermarket parts for them would be quite slim. Conversely, as production of Gen3 pistols began in the late ’90s, Gen4 in 2010 and since production of the latest Gen5 began less than a year and a half ago, which suggests Gen5 Glocks and components are still to be considered somewhat new. This suggests that the largest selection of Glock accessories available to consumers will be for the Gen3 and Gen4 models.

This Lone Wolf slide adapter allows Glock builders to combine slides and frames into totally new combinations.

Does this mean that Gen3 and Gen4 parts are completely incompatible? Not necessarily. The short answer is it depends on the parts in question. Case in point: Lone Wolf Distributors offers slide adapters to successfully convert your full, compact of subcompact frame into a long-slide model Glock using a frame and slide of either the same or different generations.

Similarly, installing a guide-rod adapter is a simple way to convert Gen3 guide rod to the larger hole found in a Gen4 slide. While each option can provide for some truly interesting pistol hybrids, and possibly provide a quick fix to keep a new project from otherwise going pear-shaped before it gets off the ground—keep in mind it adds an extra (albeit critical) component to your parts list—which is one less part with which the pistol was designed to function and, by that logic it becomes one extra part that could fail.    

Inserting this guide-rod adapter into a Gen 4 Glock handgun slide makes it possible to use a Gen 3 guide rod.

That being said, while in the planning and parts-buying phase, take the time to purchase everything you’ll possibly need to successfully complete your Glock build. It ultimately saves money, time and frustration, which translates to more trigger time for you in the future.

In the next installment will cover the type of tools you may need or want to consider purchasing for your Glock build.


Taurus TX22
Taurus TX22

First Look: Enhanced Taurus TX22 Pistol

New features include an improved trigger and an optional optics cut on the slide.

First Look: Mission First Tactical Pro Series Holsters

Secure your firearm and light with a magnet inside an AIWB holster.

First Look: GForce RPX9 Pistol

A new pistol that's compatible with many standard accessories for the Glock G19.

The Easier Route...The Safer Route

The road to success might be a bit longer than it needs to be.

First Look: New Looks for the FightLite SCR

Blend in with the terrain while standing out from the crowd.

Magpul’s Silver Anniversary

Twenty-five years ago, a rubber pull for rifle magazines started it all for an industry giant.


Get the best of Shooting Illustrated delivered to your inbox.