Glock 19: Code for Pistol

Crucial Concealment covert OWB holster and Glock 19.
| June 9, 2023
Categories: Guns
Tags: Glock, Pistol

Glock is a byword for handgun, even if that handgun is not made by the Glock company. But among those real Glocks, there is the Glock 19, the most common Glock out there. In a word, the Glock 19 is the generic stand-in for a pistol. There is good reason for that. When it comes to out-of-box reliability, shootability, and serviceability, the Glock 19 is hard to beat. Follow along to find out more about a generic, yet exceptional handgun and why you might want one.

Crucial Concealment covert OWB holster and Glock 19.

When the G19 was first introduced, it was often derided as a plastic fantastic. These days, it has a sleek utilitarian look compared to newer designs that have since come onto the market.

In the Beginning

Gaston Glock’s seventeenth invention, the Glock 17, is a striker-fired polymer framed handgun chambered in 9mm Luger. It debuted in 1982 and was among the very few of its type to exist. The pistol survived intensive military testing, yet it was lightweight and inexpensive to produce. But the Glock 17 was not especially compact. It was a duty-sized handgun that held seventeen rounds of ammunition. Although we are used to micro-compact pistols that hold nearly as many rounds, in the 1980s, the answer to higher capacity was a bigger and longer grip. In 1988, the Glock 17’s barrel, slide, and grip length was reduced for the sake of compactness. The Glock 19 was born.


The Glock 19 is visually identical to the Glock 17, but a bit smaller, with an overall length of 7.3 inches and a height of 5 inches. By comparison, the Glock 17 has an overall length of 8 inches and a height of 5.5 inches. The G19 comes with fifteen round factory magazines and fully loaded it weighs about 30 oz, 2 oz less than the G17. The weight difference is marginal but the slightly shorter Glock 19 appeared to be the sweet spot in terms of size for both duty and concealed carry. There is less barrel to poke you in the leg and less grip to print through clothing or bang against equipment when coming in and out of a vehicle.

CBP Glock 47

The Glock 19 became a standard by which other handguns are judged thanks to its early adoption by law enforcement. Much of this is thanks to successful marketing and rock-bottom pricing by Glock. But it is a reliable, easy to use handgun from an era where semi-auto pistols were hit and miss.

Like the Glock 17, the 19 originally came with an adjustable rear sight and a fixed front that were polymer in construction. The newer G19 MOS retains the iron sights but is machined for a holographic optical sight. Originally, the Glock 19’s steel parts were treated with a Tenifer process, but beginning in 2011, a Melonite process was used. Either makes the Glock 19 incredibly rust resistant.

Mechanically, the Glock 19 uses a tilting barrel that locks into the ejection port of the slide. Operationally, the 19 is as simple as any other Glock pistol. There are only three buttons or switches: a magazine release, a slide stop, and a disassembly lever above the inside of the triggerguard. There are two internal slide safeties to prevent the pistol from firing when dropped, as well as a trigger safety to prevent accidental discharge unless the trigger is deliberately pulled. This Glock “safe action” is mimicked across the pistol market and with good reason. It allows a lighter, crisper trigger pull that is consistent from shot to shot, unlike double-action hammer-fired pistols like the Beretta 92 and Walther PPK. On the other hand, that lighter trigger weight is balanced by the trigger safety, whereas a traditional single-action hammer-fired pistol like the Colt 1911, could fire with a very light trigger press.

EXOS Glock 19 compensator from Faxon Firearms

The G19 is infinitively customizable. It is possible to build one without any Glock parts at all! [Faxon Firearms]

Buy it and back the bang

Where to Find a Glock 19 For Sale


Variants and Accessories Aplenty

The Glock 19 has been around for 35 years and has since evolved into five generations of pistols. In truth, the G19 came out as Glock unrolled their second generation G17 pistols in 1988. The original G19 had a checkered rear and front of the grip and improvements to the internal drop safeties that did not come on the original Gen 1 Model 17. Generation 3 Model 19 pistols are the oldest that you might still find new on the market. The grip has a thumb rest under the slide stop on both sides of the pistol. The Gen 3 also has finger grooves at the front of the grip. Some loved this additional feature, but many found it ill-fitting for people with normal-proportioned hands. In 2010, the Glock 19 Gen 4 debuted. All previous upgrades remained, but the Gen 4 is differentiated by the use of a larger magazine release as well as a dual recoil spring meant to soften felt recoil. Generation 5 debuted in 2017 and is the most updated model. The G19 is now available with or without an optics mount. The Gen 5 is also differentiated with an ambidextrous slide stop and forward, as well as rearward, cocking serrations. The previously squared-off slide is also rounded, as is the muzzle. The magazine well is also flared. The Gen 5 is the most friendly version for lefties and is easier to holster and reload in the fly. But all versions of the Glock 19 are fairly bullet proof.

In Summary

The Glock 19 has not changed much over the years and with good reason. The formula was figured out early on and too many dramatic changes could result in a pistol that is neither useable or reliable. There are plenty of polymer-framed striker-fired pistols that have come on the market since the Glock that are ergonomically better. The Smith & Wesson M&P series has a more imaginative grip. The Walther PPQ and PDP series have better triggers. But the Glock 19 holds its own by keeping it simple, a motto that has kept Glock in an ever more crowded market that they created.

For more information on a slimmer version of the Glock 19, check out Jim Davis’ article on the Glock 43 and 43X pistols.

For the latest and greatest updates on Glock handguns visit Glock USA.

1 Comment

  1. Brian

    Good article.

    What holster is in the top picture?


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