Recently, Glock has been expanding its product lines by developing hybrid pistols that blend the features of two existing models. In 2013, the company released the model G30S subcompact .45 ACP by combining the reduced-weight slide of the G36 Slimline with the increased ammunition capacity of the double-stack G30 SF frame. For 2014, Glock is launching the G41, which takes its cues from both the G21 Gen4 and the G34 Gen4 Practical Tactical models.
The G41 is a .45 ACP Safe-Action semi-auto pistol with a full-size (Standard) Gen4 frame and an extended black gas-nitrate finished slide. Most long-slide pistols are fitted with slides that have identical dimensions to a standard-length slide with the exception of the additional length at the muzzle end. As a result, long-slides are typically heavier than the standard model due to the extra metal in the slide and barrel. In the case of Glock's lengthier G34 (9 mm) and G35 (.40 S&W), the company chose to cut out a portion of the slide between the front sight and the chamber in order to keep the pistol's overall weight in line with the standard-length models.
But instead of following this pattern of stretch-and-cut slide design for the new G41, the company used a different approach. Designers reduced the weight by using a narrower, thinner-walled slide with external dimensions much like those of the G34, albeit a fraction of an inch longer. The result is an upper assembly with enough room for a 5.31-inch extended, octagonal-rifled barrel, no cut out in the top of the slide and an overall pistol weight that’s 2.84-ounces lighter than the standard G21.
The G41 sight system employs a factory-standard polymer white-dot front sight and a polymer white-bracket rear sight containing two adjustment screws for windage. The slide features an extractor with a square protrusion that acts as both a visual and tactile loaded chamber indicator. The recoil assembly is of the Gen4 variety, with a polymer guide rod, dual recoil springs and steel supports.
The rest of the pistol, including the trigger, frame and magazines, are all lifted directly from the Gen4 version of the G21 service-size .45 ACP pistol. The smooth-faced trigger required 5 pounds, 6 ounces of trigger pull to cycle, according to a Lyman's digital trigger gauge. As a Safe-Action pistol, the G41 contains the same three independent passive safeties found in other Glock models, including a trigger safety, firing pin safety and a drop safety.
The two-pin frame houses the take-down lever, slide catch and magazine release in the usual locations. The enlarged magazine release button is reversible for left-handed operators. A full-size, molded-in Picatinny compatible accessory rail can be used to support a wide variety of light and laser modules. This pistol has textured finger grooves along the frontstrap of the grip with the Gen4 Rough Texture blunted pyramids surface treatment on the backstrap and sides of the grip. This new texture is more aggressive than the Gen3 version but not overly abrasive for bare hands.
The G41 arrives in a hard case with a total of three 10- or 13-round magazines, depending on local regulations. Two interchangeable backstraps and an installation tool are also included. With no backstrap installed, the frame presents the smallest grip size, which is a 0.08-inch reduction in the distance to the trigger compared to the Gen3 frame. Adding the small backstrap brings the frame back to the original Gen3 size, while the installation of the larger backstrap adds an extra 0.08 inches for shooters with bigger hands.
Despite their rugged reliability, Glocks benefit from regular maintenance and proper lubrication just as much as any other handgun. For conducting inspections, routine cleaning or installing upgrades, the Present Arms, Inc. Gunner's Mount Inspection Plate Pro makes it easy to work on the frame and keep track of the various small bits and pieces. This compact work station arrives with a heavy-duty PVC base plate with part-retaining pockets and grooves, one magazine well post to hold the frame in an upright position, and a post swivel that allows the frame to rotate 360-degrees on the plate. Posts are available for a variety of pistols, including the Glock double-stack in 9 mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP models. It’s a system that comes in handy for professional gunsmiths and shooting hobbyists alike.
The most notable characteristic of the G41 at the shooting range is how light and well balanced it is for a long-slide .45 ACP. With a fully loaded 13-round magazine, it feels like the gun ends at the trigger guard. In other words, it points and swings like a short-barreled semi-auto instead of a typical long-slide pistol. The trigger cycled smoothly and the pistol ran flawlessly with test ammunition ranging from steel-cased imports to defense-grade +P hollow points.
But there's one advertising point for the G41 that did not play out in the course of testing. A press release from Glock states, “The longer barrel and slide on the G41 Gen4 helps to reduce muzzle flip and felt recoil...." This would be true if the elongation of the G41s upper assembly resulted in the usual increase of mass but this is not the case.
A while back, I teamed up with the folks at Lone Wolf Distributors to convert a stock Gen3 G21 4.60-inch barrel pistol into a 6-inch long-slide using after-market parts. The pistol's weight jumped from 29.8-ounces with an empty magazine to 33.5-ounces with the Lone Wolf components installed. Even though the extra 1.4-inches of barrel length allowed bullets to develop a bit more velocity before leaving the muzzle, the extra 3.7 ounces of weight in the upper assembly reduced felt recoil to a degree. Swapping out the Gen3 polymer-rod recoil assembly with a 17-pound spring for a steel rod with a 20-pound spring reduced the recoil even more.
The G41, when weighed with an empty magazine, tipped the scale at 26.8 ounces. This means it weighs 6.7-ounces less than the Lone Wolf long-slide, and 3-ounces less than the G21 with a 4.6-inch factory-standard barrel. Since the G41 is equipped with the same recoil springs as the G21 Gen4, and the bullets fired are gaining a little more velocity due to a 0.71-inch longer barrel, then the lighter slide is going to transmit more felt recoil, not less, to the operator’s hands.
During live-fire testing, the G41’s levels of felt recoil were generally on par with the G21 but in some cases it exhibited more recoil and muzzle rise. This increase in intensity is slight, and by no means a deal breaker, but it is something to be aware of. While it’s an enjoyable pistol to work with, it does not behave like a reduced-recoil .45.
The G41 proved to be a top-notch performer for an out-of-the-box pistol when it came to accuracy testing, which consisted of the usual benchrested five, five-shot groups fired into targets placed at 25 yards. When testing the then brand-new 4.6-inch barrel G21 Gen4, it turned in respectable group averages ranging 2.75 to 3.3 inches in sizes. The 5.31-inch barrel and extended sight radius of the G41 provided a measurable improvement, keeping the group averages below the 3-inch mark.
The best performing ammunition of the test was the ASYM 230-grain Match Hardball full-metal-jacket load, which was developed specifically for competitive shooting. This round produced the best single five-shot group of 1.91 inches along with the best five-group average of 2.14 inches. Hornady's Critical Duty 220-grain FlexLock +P ammunition yielded an average of 2.49 inches, followed by Winchester 230-grain PDX1 bonded hollow points at 2.87 inches.
The G41 is a welcome addition to the Practical Tactical line of Glock pistols for fans of the .45 ACP. Some competition shooters will mourn the absence of the slide cut out because the solid slide precludes the installation of 4-port competition barrels. Others won't mind the solid slide because the G41 is so well-balanced, reliable and accurate right out of the box. For the operators and self-defenders, this pistol's increased sight radius and reduced-weight slide make it a solid choice for use as an on-duty sidearm or for home-defense.