The Glock 19 – A Versatile Handgun

The Glock 19 - A Versatile Handgun
The Glock 19 - A Versatile Handgun

Potential concealed carry handgun buyers face a dizzying array of options in the modern handgun market, with what seems like every firearm manufacturer in existence bringing forth several new products in the last few years. Naturally, almost every one is labeled as being ideal or perfect for concealed carry. Choosing just one of these handguns isn’t a quick and easy process.

Those looking to purchase a handgun for home defense face a similar dilemma. Perhaps not to the same extent as the compact handgun market, the full-size handgun market includes some old favorites as well as a lot of new blood.

However, the midsize handgun market hasn’t seen the explosion of new models that the above two market segments have. There have certainly been attempts by a number of manufacturers, but one is far more likely to find half a dozen “pocketable” .380 autos than half a dozen true midsize handguns in the average gun store.

What, though, is a midsize handgun? Is it a poor compromise, a pistol that’s just a bit too big for concealed carry, but too small to use for home defense or duty use? In some cases, this is true. Manufacturers often inexplicably choose full-size frames with short slides and barrels, or make the grip just a tiny bit too small for average-sized hands. However, others produce firearms that perform brilliantly in almost any semi-automatic handgun role. An example of the latter is the Glock 19.

As the first major expansion of the Glock concept, the Glock 19 became very popular in military and law enforcement circles when it was first introduced in 1988. Seemingly minor reductions in size compared to the original Glock, the G17 – about half an inch was removed from the length of the slide/barrel and the grip – make the Glock 19 an eminently concealable handgun. No special cover garments are required, and its immense popularity means that holsters are available for practically every desired method of carry.

However, it’s still an easy handgun to shoot. The slide assembly weighs almost exactly the same as the Glock 17, which helps maintain the legendary reliability Glock 9mm handguns are known for. A side benefit of this is that the G19 possesses excellent recoil characteristics. The sight radius is long enough to make target shooting at longer distances, or precise shots up close, quite easy.

The Glock 19 - A Versatile Handgun
The Glock 19 – A Versatile Handgun

In addition, the magazine of the Glock 19 holds 15 rounds, which is more than double the capacity of the average single-stack 9mm or .380 concealable handgun. While using proper 9mm defensive ammo will go a long way in a self-defense situation, having more ammunition is not a bad thing.

Most importantly, the grip was shortened just enough to allow the 19 to protrude much less when being used in a concealment role, but not so much that a full grip on the frame of the handgun is an impossibility for all but those with the tiniest of hands. This grip length is also quite well suited to being able to properly grasp and draw the pistol under stress.

Glocks are also an incredible value. Simplicity in design and manufacture leads to average retail prices of around $500. However, these aren’t “cheap” handguns. Glocks are more reliable and durable than practically any handgun available at any price. While they should be maintained properly in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, the Glock 19 is about as low-maintenance as they come. Spare parts are readily available, too, and disassembly/reassembly of the pistol is very easy.

If a weapon-mounted light is called for, the third-generation Glocks (the second generation of the G19, but the third for all Glock models including the G17) added a dust cover rail that is suitable for a wide variety of weapon lights. Aftermarket lasers are also available, some of which mount to the grip, while others attach to the rail.
Is, as Glock advertises with its “Perfection” tagline, the Glock 19 perfect? No. Many find the trigger to be uncomfortable, although it is very consistent. Changes made to the fourth generation models had a negative effect on function, and although it appears that these problems have been fixed, the third-generation 19 is still available new and might be a better choice. Alternately, a used Glock 19 is likely to be an excellent and affordable choice if it hasn’t been extensively abused or modified.

There are many firearms that conceal well, and there are many firearms that are easy to shoot, but there are not very many firearms that do both extremely well. It’s this balance – easy concealment, but a full firing grip with a double stack magazine; a shorter slide assembly with a proportionally shorter grip, but with nearly ideal dimensions; high quality, but with a low price tag – that makes the Glock 19 such a versatile handgun.

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Jack served in the United States military and has worked executive protection assignments for clients outside of the United States. He has written SOPs (standard operating procedures) for responding to IED attacks and complex ambushes, which were used by military units operating in the Middle East. He currently works for as a writer and technical consultant and can be reached on Facebook and Twitter.
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awesome gun


I have carried the Glock 19 (Gen. 3), for two years love it for everyday all day carry. Carry On.

Pat D

I have carried many guns for CCW… J-frame, Ruger LCP (my daily go-everywhere pocket gun), Hi-Power, 1911 Govt, Glock 27. After much trial and error, I settled on the G19 for my “big” CCW gun (and you can substitute the G23 for it). Reasons? G27 was a handful shooting full-power loads, with its reduced grip size, and G26 wouldn’t be a lot better. I added the +1 floorplate to get the pinkie extension, but that defeats the purpose… then the front strap (the part that sticks up most with an FBI forward cant holster) is as long as the G19/23 front strap. The shorter muzzle of the G26/27 isn’t an advantage for IWB carry, and only slightly so for OWB holsters. If you can live with the shorter, stock G26/27 grip, it can have a place in your selection. The G30 .45acp is nice too, but thick… fatter than the G26

9mm with premium defense ammo is arguably so close in performance compared to .40 that shot placement is the deciding factor, and 9mm recoil aids that. If I “need” (subjective) something I feel slightly more confident in, I’ll go to .45acp. 15 rounds in the G19 should do the trick! The manual of arms is simple, the reliability legendary, the cost factor reasonable (remember, if you actually get in a legit shooting, that gun will be in an evidence locker for some time, and you hope you get it back), parts and armorer work are easily found.The G19 is therefore the perfect size unless you need something pocketable like the LCP/Smith Bodyguard, or J-frame or other true pocket pistol. If you can live with a reduced round count, the new Kimber SOLO looks good. (The equivalent S&W or Springfield poly frame gun could substitute for the G19). If you compete, as I do in USPSA or IDPA, going from the G19 to the G17/22/34/35 for match shooting is an easy transition (I shoot the G19 in USPSA but may go to the G34 soon… longer sight radius and grip). There’s a reason you see many USPSA 1911/2011 shooters pack away their match guns after a match and strap on their Glocks for CCW. Not all, but many do.The 1911 is superb, but heavy unless you get an alloy frame model. The Hi-Power is wonderfully slim, but they aren’t imported any more and if you buy a stock one, it needs to have a reliability package and trigger job done, imo. The K&K P7M8 is really cool, but rare and only single stack.

So many guns to choose from. I may shoot the CZ next season in USPSA, but I don’t know what it would take for me to switch from the G19 for carry. IMHO… cheers.

The Other Brother Daryl

The Glock G19 is, indeed, an impressive pistol. One advantage of the G19 (and the “Baby Glock” G26) is that magazines from the G17 (17-round) can be used as spare magazine carry if one so desires. In fact, the 33-round G17 mags can be used as well should one really need an abundance of ammunition at their disposal.

Personally, my EDC is the Glock G36 and have +1 magazine extensions that provide me with a 7+1 capacity of .45 acp. The G36 carries well in the Galco King Tuk, as does the G26, G19, G17, and a host of other Glocks.

I also have a GEN 3 G17, a GEN 4 G19 (with the Glock replacement RSA), and a GEN 3 G26 (with +1 magazine extension, which does not seem to affect its concealment factor)  and have considered the G19 for winter carry, as extra clothing helps me conceal a little bigger handgun but I have not yet decided to move back to the 9mm.


While the Glock is indeed a great gun, I dispute the statement that the Glock is better than other handguns.  I carry a Springfield Armory XD-40, and previously owned an XD-45.  I originally became interested in the SA line because of an article I read in a gun magazine.  The author fo the article purchased two of the pistols and submitted them to the same ‘torture test’ that Glock puts their pistols through.  The guns came through the testing with flying colors.  I tried an SA pistol and fell in love with it.  In my opinion, the SA has an edge over the Glock by virtue of the grip safety.  I am 5’5″ tall, at 210 lbs and have no problemm concealing the SA XD series pistols.  You could do much worse when buying a handgun than checking out the XD or the new XD(M) line.


I’ve carried a G19 Gen2 since 1988 all over the world. I could always find 9mm ammo. Got the free warranty upgrades and they even re-coated parkerized it for free so it looks like new. I’ve carried a G26 since 2001 as a pocket/BUG which I like very much as well and I am almost as accurate with it as the G19. I am so comfortable and accurate with the G19 that I can instinct shoot, quick shoot, rapid fire with great proficiency. I see no reason to change. Great weapon.