Why Are Gen 4 Glocks Illegal In California?

If you own a Glock pistol, or are considering buying one in California, you may be wondering why the Gen 4 models are banned in the state. In short, the California Department of Justice determined that the Gen 4 Glocks did not meet the state’s stringent safety requirements for new handguns being sold.

This article will provide a comprehensive overview explaining the reasons behind California’s Gen 4 Glock ban, the specific ‘unsafe’ features cited, the legal challenges Glock faced, and the current status of efforts to get the newest Glock generation approved for sale.

Background of California Handgun Laws

California has some of the strictest gun laws in the United States, and this includes regulations on handguns. One specific aspect of these laws is the restriction on Gen 4 Glocks, which are illegal to purchase or sell in the state.

To understand why these firearms are banned, it’s important to delve into the background of California’s handgun laws.

California Roster of Handguns

The California Roster of Handguns is a list of handguns that are certified to be sold legally in the state. This roster is maintained by the California Department of Justice and includes specific models and variations that meet the state’s requirements.

However, Gen 4 Glocks did not make it onto this list, leading to their prohibition in California.

The criteria for inclusion on the roster are based on the California Unsafe Handgun Act, which was enacted in 1999. According to this law, handguns must pass certain safety tests, including a drop test, magazine disconnect test, and a firing pin safety test, among others.

If a handgun fails any of these tests, it cannot be added to the roster.

It’s worth noting that the Gen 4 Glocks were not banned specifically because of safety concerns, but rather because they did not meet the requirements for inclusion on the roster. This means that even if a firearm is widely regarded as safe and reliable, it may still be illegal in California if it does not meet the state’s certification criteria.

Microstamping Requirement

Another factor that contributes to the illegality of Gen 4 Glocks in California is the state’s microstamping requirement. Microstamping is a technology that imprints a unique identifier onto the cartridge case of a fired round.

This identifier can then be traced back to the specific firearm that fired it.

California law mandates that all new semi-automatic handguns sold in the state must include microstamping technology. However, Gen 4 Glocks do not have this feature, which makes them ineligible for sale in California.

Proponents of microstamping argue that it helps law enforcement solve crimes and prevent illegal firearms trafficking. However, critics claim that the technology is unreliable and can easily be defeated, rendering it ineffective.

It’s important to note that not all states have implemented microstamping requirements, which is why Gen 4 Glocks may be legal in other parts of the country.

For more information on California’s handgun laws, you can visit the official website of the California Department of Justice: https://oag.ca.gov/firearms.

Safety Issues with Gen 4 Glocks

When it comes to firearms, safety is of utmost importance. The state of California has implemented strict regulations on handguns to ensure the safety of its residents. One particular issue with Gen 4 Glocks, which has led to their prohibition in California, is the presence of certain safety features that are not compliant with the state’s laws.

Loaded Chamber Indicator

A loaded chamber indicator is a safety feature that allows the shooter to visually or tactilely determine if there is a round in the chamber of the firearm. However, Gen 4 Glocks lack this particular feature, making it difficult for users to know if the gun is loaded or not at a glance.

This can potentially lead to accidental discharges and pose a threat to the safety of the user and those around them.

California law mandates that all semi-automatic handguns, including Gen 4 Glocks, must have a loaded chamber indicator to provide an additional layer of safety. This requirement ensures that users are aware of the gun’s status and can take appropriate measures to handle it safely.

Magazine Disconnect Mechanism

A magazine disconnect mechanism is designed to prevent a firearm from firing when the magazine is removed. This safety feature helps to prevent accidental discharges and unauthorized use of the firearm.

However, Gen 4 Glocks do not have this mechanism installed, making them non-compliant with California regulations.

California law requires all handguns to have a magazine disconnect mechanism, as it contributes to the overall safety of the firearm. Without this feature, there is a higher risk of accidental discharges if the gun is mishandled or if the magazine is not properly inserted or removed.

It is important to note that the absence of these safety features in Gen 4 Glocks does not necessarily mean that they are inherently unsafe firearms. Rather, their non-compliance with California regulations regarding these specific safety features has led to their prohibition in the state.

To learn more about California’s firearm regulations and the safety requirements for handguns, you can visit the official website of the California Department of Justice – Firearms Division.

Glock’s Legal Challenges

Glock pistols are known for their reliability, durability, and popularity among gun enthusiasts. However, there are certain models that are illegal in California, specifically the Gen 4 Glocks. This article explores the reasons behind the legal challenges faced by Glock in California.

Lawsuits Against the Roster

One of the main reasons why Gen 4 Glocks are illegal in California is due to lawsuits filed against the state’s handgun roster. California maintains a roster of handguns that are deemed safe for sale in the state.

This roster includes specific requirements that firearms must meet in order to be approved for sale.

However, Glock’s Gen 4 models have faced legal challenges regarding their compliance with California’s roster requirements. These lawsuits have raised concerns about the safety features and design of the Gen 4 Glocks, leading to their exclusion from the roster.

The legal battles surrounding Glock’s Gen 4 models have resulted in a restriction on their availability in California. This has frustrated many gun enthusiasts who appreciate the features and performance of these firearms.

Search for Alternate Designs

In response to the legal challenges faced by Gen 4 Glocks in California, Glock has been actively working on developing alternate designs that meet the state’s requirements. The company has introduced Gen 3 models with modifications to comply with California’s roster.

Glock’s efforts to find alternate designs have not been without controversy. Some argue that the modifications made to the Gen 3 models have compromised the performance and reliability that Glock is known for.

Others believe that Glock should continue to fight the legal battles and push for the acceptance of the Gen 4 models in California.

Despite the legal challenges, Glock remains committed to providing firearms that meet the needs and preferences of gun owners. The company continues to innovate and adapt to the changing legal landscape, ensuring that its customers have access to reliable and compliant firearms.

Current Status and Outlook

Currently, Gen 4 Glocks are considered illegal in the state of California. This has been a topic of controversy and debate among gun enthusiasts and lawmakers alike. Understanding the current status and outlook of this issue involves looking at pending legal cases and the prospects for the future.

Pending Legal Cases

Several legal cases have been filed in relation to the ban on Gen 4 Glocks in California. These cases question the constitutionality of the ban and seek to overturn it. One of the key arguments put forth by those challenging the ban is that it infringes upon the Second Amendment rights of Californians.

They argue that law-abiding citizens should have the right to own and possess Gen 4 Glocks, just like any other firearm.

It is important to note that the outcome of these legal cases is still pending. While some lower courts have ruled in favor of the ban, others have expressed skepticism about its constitutionality. The decisions made in these cases will have a significant impact on the future of Gen 4 Glocks in California.

Prospects for the Future

The prospects for the future of Gen 4 Glocks in California remain uncertain. It is difficult to predict with certainty whether the ban will be upheld or overturned. However, there are a few factors that can shed light on the potential outcome.

One factor is the ongoing debate surrounding gun control in the United States. As the national conversation on this issue evolves, it could influence the decisions made in the pending legal cases. Additionally, changes in the composition of the Supreme Court could also play a role in shaping the future of gun laws, including the ban on Gen 4 Glocks.

Another factor to consider is the possibility of legislative action. In the past, lawmakers in California have introduced bills to repeal or modify the ban on Gen 4 Glocks. The outcome of these legislative efforts will depend on various factors, including public opinion, political dynamics, and the priorities of lawmakers.


In summary, California’s stringent handgun laws, specifically the microstamping requirement, have effectively banned newer Generation 4 Glock pistols up until now. While Glock is still actively working to modify the Gen 4 design to comply with the Roster’s criteria, the legal and political landscape remains uncertain. For now, California gun owners will have to be content with prior generations of Glocks, unless the law changes in the future.

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