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Glock Features and Generations


Dec 19, 2023
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Ever sat down and wondered "What generation is this Glock that I want online?" or perhaps "what options does my glock have, based upon the box code?". Perhaps you just want to learn more, start a collection, or figure out when you glock was made, based upon the serial number. I'm hopeing to create a one stop source here for everyone to reference, and please, if anything is incorrect or needing expounding upon, please let me know.

Lets get started!

What features are found in each of the Glock Generations?

Glock pistols have undergone several generations of improvements since their introduction in the 1980s. Keep in mind that specific features may vary slightly depending on the model and caliber. Here's a general summary of the key changes in each generation:

  1. First Generation (Gen1):
    • Introduced in the early 1980s.
    • Featured a non-adjustable rear sight and a wrap-around grip texture.
    • Had a pebble-like texture on the grip frame.
    • Lack of accessory rail for attaching lights or lasers.
  2. Second Generation (Gen2):
    • Introduced in the early 1990s.
    • Updated with checkering on the front and back straps of the grip.
    • Included serrations on the front of the slide.
    • Added a trigger guard scallop for better grip.
  3. Third Generation (Gen3):
    • Introduced in the late 1990s.
    • Featured an accessory rail for lights and lasers.
    • Upgraded the trigger mechanism for increased durability and reliability.
    • Introduced finger grooves on the front strap of the grip.
    • Added thumb rests on both sides of the frame.
  4. Fourth Generation (Gen4):
    • Introduced in 2010.
    • Included an adjustable backstrap system to accommodate different hand sizes.
    • Featured a dual recoil spring assembly for improved recoil management.
    • Introduced a rough textured frame (RTF) surface for enhanced grip.
    • Updated magazine release for ambidextrous use.
  5. Fifth Generation (Gen5):
    • Introduced in 2017.
    • Removed finger grooves for a more universal grip.
    • Featured a flared magazine well for easier and faster reloading.
    • Improved the trigger system for a crisper break.
    • Updated nDLC finish on the slide for increased durability and corrosion resistance.
It's important to note that while these are general trends for each generation, Glock occasionally releases specific models with unique features or modifications. Additionally, not all features are applicable to every Glock model within a particular generation. Always refer to the specific model and its specifications for accurate information.

1st generation frame:

1st generation frame

2nd generation frame:

2nd generation frame

3rd generation frame:

3rd generation frame

Some 3rd gen models are equipped with a rail for lights, etc.

3rd generation frame with rail:

3th generation frame with rail

4th generation frame:

4th generation frame

5th generation Frame:


Another set of examples:
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Here is a breakdown of the product/SKU numbers found in the upper right corner of the case label. These only appear on pistol cases in the U.S., regardless of manufacturing origin. Label formats are different outside the U.S. unsurprisingly. As always, things change, and can change. This is by no means definitive.

it is common to see SKUs listed that start with ‘GL’. That is a prefix that distributors like Lipsey's add for internal use. The ‘GL’ is not part of the Glock SKU number. Below each SKU is a UPC code that correlates to the SKU. The UPC code almost always starts with 764503 for Glock SKUs.

In the sections below, I break down the various characters, using the example SKU of PI2350202T. The bold items are the ones that are most common.

Prefix 1 – PI2350202T​

E = US manufactured for export (green label)
F = Federal agency – non-military (usually red labelled)
G = Rebuilds FET IN (usually orange label)
M = Military
P = AU manufactured
U = US manufactured for domestic/Canada

Prefix 2 – PI2350202T​

2 = SF ES 1913 Rail Military
3 = SF 1913 Rail Military
4 = ES 1913 Rail Military
5 = 1913 Rail Military
7 = SF GR MB (ambi mag catch)
8 = P80 reissue
9 = SF 1913 MB (ambi mag catch & picatinny rail)
A = Gen5
C = Cutaway
D = Practice
G = Gen4
H = 21SF RTF2, 30S
I = Fxd or Adj Sight / Gen 3
L = Reset
M = M Series
N = Night sights
R = Rebuilds FET OUT
T = RTF2
X = Crossover (used on the 19X and 43X)

Pistol Model – PI2350202T​

These are just the numbers in the model of the pistol. A Glock 17 would be ’17’, as would a 17C, 17TB, 17R, 17P, 17T, 17L, etc. Known anomalies to this logic are:

10 = 19T
12 = 17R
14 = 17T in 7.8x21AC
15 = 17T
16 = 17L

Trigger Pull – PI2350202T​

2 = 4.5+NY1
3 = 4.5lb
5 = 5.5lb
6 = NY1
7 = NY2
8 = 8lb (ew lol.)

Pistol type – PI2350202T​

0 = Standard
1 = Standard with lock
2 = Standard C with lock
5 = Unknown – seen on the green label Mariner pistols – possible maritime spring cups
7 = Green
8 = Green C
9 = Standard C
A = Threaded BBL
B = Flared Magwell/Practice
F = Flared Magwell
P = M Practice Series
R = M Reset
S = Serrations – seen on newer production Gen 5 pistols with front serrations
SL = Silver Line – used on the 43X and 48
T = M T-Series

Sight type – PI2350202T​

0 = No sights
1 = Adjustable
2 = Fixed
A or 3 = AmeriGlo sights
4 = Steel Fixed
5 = TALO / Export Lumi.
6 = TNS
7 = GNS
8 = Non-Glock sights
K = Unknown. Seen on one version of the 19M MOS pistols
P = Practice pistol (unconfirmed) – only seen on a Gen 5 17P


G – unconfirmed – likely an indicator of suppressor sights – seen on Gen 5 guns with suppressor sights and threaded barrels

Options – PI2350202T​

0 = Standard
1 = XSS
2 = XMC
3 = XSS, XMC
4 = Steel front only
6 = Screw on TNS
7 = Screw on TNS / XSS
M = Maritime Spring cups

Magazine – PI2350202T​

0 = 3x 10rd mags / LE Domestic (blue label)
0 = Special mag Config Export
1 = 10rd or less commercial (white label)
2 = LE/GSSF (blue label)
3 = Hi-Cap / Commercial (red label) – although have seen some blue labels, namely some ‘M’ pistols

4 = Unique Special Order Export Cerakoted Order Domestic; Distributor exclusive
5 = FBI POW Program (although I’ve seen them with a 7 as well)
6 = Engraved/Special Serial #’s (Glock U.S.A.)
7 = Engraved/Special Serial #’s (Glock Austria) – examples include the 20th-anniversary pistols
8 = Unique Special Orders Domestic
9 = FBI / ATF special configuration
A = Orange follower w/TFP

Unique Identifier – PI2350202T

2 = (not sure, but used on the G48)
3 = unknown – follows ‘EM’ on the green label Mariner pistols – possibly indicating 3 mags
A = Orange follower w/TFP
AB = AmeriGlo Bold
AC = AmeriGlo Co-witness
AM = Arabic Manual
B = 15rd 9mm Magazines (for pistols that can take 17rd magazines)
BA = 9rd 9mmm Magazines
BC = (not sure – used on battle-worn & slide cuts model by Chattanooga)
BFG = Battle Field Green (frame only)
BT = Bold TALO
CS = G23 mag w/10 coil spring
CSN = Consecutive Serial #
D = Dark Earth (frame only)
DE = Dark Earth (frame only)
EM = Extended Magazines
ESB = Enhanced Signature Barrel
FGR = Finger Groove & Rail
FM = French Manual
FR = Front Rail (seen on the 43X and 48 with light rails)
FS = Front Serration
GF = Grey Frame (frame only)
GMB = Glock Marking Barrel
H = Holster
L = Nickel
M = Mag Pouch
MB = Mag /Bag Combo
MOS = Modular Optical Sight
MOS3 = Slide cut for Leupold DPP
MOS5 = Slide cut for Trijicon RMR
MOS6 = Slide cut for Holosun 509T
MOS7 = Slide cut for Aimpoint Acro P-2
MOSC = Modular Optic Sight with factory-installed Shield RMSc optic
MOSH2 = Slide cut for Holosun 509T and Holosun HE509T-RD X2 installed (seen on the Gunsite commemorative G45)
MS = Manual Safety
PM = 2+ & 1 Standard mag
PN = 1+ & 1 Standard mag
SL = Includes Glock branded Streamlight TLR-7AH in FDE
T = T Pack
TB = Threaded Barrel
TBF = Tactical Brown Frame
U = UID Frame – These have the UID code on the bottom of the trigger guard. They look like a QR code, and are used by the government to track military pistols. Examples of pistols that have these are the Mk27 Mod 2, which is a Gen 4 G19 MOS made for SOCOM. Usually, on a MOS pistol expressed as “MOSU”
UTM = Ultimate Training Munitions
X = 4 mags each case


C = Compensated
ES = External Safety
FET = Federal Excise Tax
GNS = Glock Night Sight
GR = Glock Rail
MB = Ambi Mag Catch
NY = New York
POW = FBI Personally Owned Weapon
RTF = Rough Texture Frame 2
SF = Short Frame
TNS = Trijicon Night Sight
XMC = Extended Mag Catch
XSS = Extended Slide Stop Lever
XXX = Non-Glock firearms
1913 = Piccatiny Rail
I have a Excel Spreadsheet to decode your individual SKU, rather than sifting through this list. If you wish to get it, perhaps @mods can create a resources tab on the forum to upload/download resources from? I am unable to upload excel documents to the forum and for good reason. PM me if you would like a copy.
Case Label Colors, what do they mean?
There are at least six pistol case label colors used on Glocks seen in the U.S.:
  1. White: Low-capacity magazines (mags do not exceed 10 rounds). This was to comply with states with magazine capacity limitations. This includes:
    California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont. White label pistols are often now referred to as “California compliant” pistols.
  2. Red: High capacity magazines (high capacity mags hold 10+ rounds)
  3. Blue: High-capacity magazines. The buyer must meet blue label requirements to be eligible. Under the right circumstances, ANYBODY can buy them unless they are in a state with magazine capacity restrictions. Can also be govt/mil contract guns.
  4. Purple: Contract overrun guns. Can be sold to anyone, and are not required to meet MAP pricing. Could be just overseas/export contract overruns. When Glock is building pistols to fulfill a contract, they will manufacture about 2% more than the quantity needed. This is so that if some of the pistols fail quality tests, there are still enough on hand to fill the contract. These don’t usually show the quantity or capacity of the magazines on the label in the normal middle-lower space. And they often don’t show the type of sights or trigger weight in the upper-middle space. It’s common for the SKU to not follow the typical convention.
  5. Orange: Factory rebuilt guns. Can be sold to anyone, and are not required to meet MAP pricing
  6. Green: U.S. manufactured for export. These also don’t usually show the quantity or capacity of the magazines on the label in the normal middle-lower space.
For Gen 3, white and red label come with 2 magazines, blue label come with 3.

For Gen 4 and later, all guns regardless of label color come with 3 magazines.
What colors of slides are there? Is my shiny silver slide OE??
With the exception of the Glock 19X coyote slides, the 43X and 48’s silver slides, the red slides on the Gen 5 ‘P’ guns, and the blue slides on a few of the‘T’ guns, Glock only makes guns with black slides. If you see one with a slide of any other color, including Nickel Boron, it’s done after the gun leaves the factory – usually by a distributor or Gun Shop who does a special run.

Well what about frames?

Glock has only ever made color-molded frames in
  1. black
  2. OD (‘Olive Drab’)
  3. BFG (‘Battle Field Green’) – exclusive distributor is Amchar in New York State
  4. FDE (‘Flat Dark Earth’ or simply ‘Dark Earth’) – exclusive distributor is Lipsey’s in Louisiana
  5. gray – exclusive distributor is Lipsey’s in Louisiana
  6. red
  7. blue
  8. coyote (only with the Glock 19X, the 17 made for the French and Portuguese Armies.
Red and blue are only used in training guns (17R, 22P, 17T, etc.). Any other colors such as Desert Sand, American Flag, Trump, Purple, Tiffany Blue, Purple, Orange, or zombie green are aftermarket.

If the serial number plate is the same color as the frame and not silver, it’s not Glock Original Equipment.
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