The step by step evolution of the Glock Safety Action Pistol from the 1980s till now has produced several generations of these loved polymer pistols. For a segment of the collectors who love them, the RTF was the most beautiful branch on that tree.
What was it anyway?
When Glock first appeared on the scene in the 1980s, it was a very forward thinking design. As the first popularly accepted polymer frame pistol, its durability, easy take down, functionality and huge magazine capacity soon garnered fame. With fame comes lessons learned about what the public likes, and what they dont. This led to continuing improvements in the product line and the first generation guns were replaced by a second, then a third. One of the improvements with these models was that they had what Glock called a Rough Textured Frame, which was a series of stippling on the surface of the grip to help with keeping the pistol under control. This texture was very close to what you see on skateboard surfaces. When you understand that the most popular thing to do with Gen1 Glocks was to cover the grip with skateboard tape, you can see where Glock got this brilliant idea from.
At the January 2009 Shot Show, the Austrian pistol wonks introduced what they termed the “Rough Texture Finish, Version 2” variant of their already well-received product. Simply referred to as RTF2, being a much higher level of texture than the standard RTF. This gun was a baseline Generation 3 pistol with something completely different externally. Along the slide, a set of scalloped cutouts replaced the strait up and down slide serrations that had been a facet of the Glock since its introduction in the 1980s. These cutouts were shaped like thumbnails and were instantly but incorrectly dubbed ‘fish gills’ by those who encountered them.
Besides the gills, the entire lower frame grip surface area was stippled in fine lines. These lines worked like non-skid surfacing and gave the gun an almost instant tackiness when picked up. While some complained that the new grip was too abrasive to their sensitive hands, many shooters took immediately to the RTF. The Gen 3 pistols were the pinnacle of the designs to that point, incorporating lessons learned from twenty years of making the polymer guns. That, coupled with the radical new grip offered by the RTF2 seemed a winning combination.
But it just seemed that way.
The improvement that was the Gen4
Well the RTF2, being something of a Gen 3.5 gun, was soon rubbed out by the Austrian-based Glock in. The replacement was the new 4th Generation series that was introduced in 2010. These guns featured a removable backstrap for palm swell adjustment, two-piece/stage captive recoil spring, and (wait for it) a grip that included rasp-like checkering imprinted directly into the polymer. This new gun however used larger polymid inlays than the fine rows seen on the RTF. Also gone were the scalloped schooling fish gill slide cutouts. Sure the new gun was improved internally, but as soon as they came out Glock recalled them to fix internal parts to include the new recoil spring.
This led many to hold on to their older and proven Gen 3 guns, and hunger for those now-discontinued RTF variants.
How to get your own
Even though the company has ended the production of new RTF2 models by 2012, there are still thousands out there. Lucky for you, several gently used Glock RTFs are coming onto the surplus market. As with many Glocks these are police-trade in guns. It’s typical for departments to upgrade their sidearms every so often to keep with the latest technology. Glock’s law enforcement sales people have long made it standard operating procedure to broker deals with cash-strapped departments to take their current Glocks, combined with a few extra guns thrown in from surplus auctions etc., and trade them in for the newest generation of the G-pistol. Since many departments have had officers complain about the RTF2 series of guns due to having he very aggressive grips ‘chew’ on their uniforms as they work, the guns are being traded in faster than usual. It seems for some, these guns are just ‘too’ grippy.
Their loss is your gain however as gently used police trade in Glocks usually passes back out to the civilian market at a deep discount versus the gun’s original MSRP.
This is a beautiful thing if you are looking to get your gill on.
Writer – Christopher Eger