I have seen the plastic things you are talking about. My 19 has them but the 26 does not. The 26 is newer so that rules out a design change to produce it cheaper. I think the big deal is GLOCKS are made to be service weapons. They have never cared for aesthetics. They function but now-a-days people want something to be pretty also. GLOCk has never been into that. If someone wants a safe queen get a Kimber.
Gen4 G17, G19, G26. Love the Gen4's.
Glock and S&W M&P Certified Armorer
NRA certified RSO
NRA Instructor for pistol, rifle, shotgun & PPIH and PPOH