The Glock 17 and 19 has been the gold standard for combat handguns since shortly after its introduction to the US market in 1988. Some of you 1911 guys out there are going to dispute that, but the widespread adoption and high sales numbers of the compact 9mm tells a very clear story, the Glock 19 is one of the most popular pistols in the world.
Some argue that it is the Glock line of pistols are some of the ugliest guns on the planet. Frankly, I wouldn’t argue with you on that front. The iconic blocky shape that has not only become famous but the butt of many jokes still remains. In fact, the design is roughly the same as the day Gaston sent the first batch off to the Austrian Army.
The pistol that I am reviewing today is my personal Glock 19 that I carry in my laptop bag. Since I spend a lot of time at work sitting at a desk doing boring computer things, I tend to carry off body many times and stuff the Glock 19 with two spare mags in a concealed pocket dedicated to the Glock. Is it optimal? No, but I carry every day as a result.
So what makes the Glock 19 special?
Quite simply, it is a wonderful tool if you need to defend yourself. While it might not be the perfect target pistol or even the best for competition, its simple design works just about every time you need it to.
Weighing in at 23.65 ounces unloaded, the Glock 19 is not exactly a boat anchor you strap to your waist making the carry of the striker fired gun relatively easy. As a bonus, the Glock 19 carries 15 rounds of 9mm in the mag, 2-3 more than comparably sized pistols at the time of its introduction.
When you open the pistol case on the Gen4 guns, you find a bushel of backstraps (that I have since thrown in a box never to be found), three magazines, a plastic cleaning rod, and a nylon brush along with the pistol. My Glock 19 is the newer Battlefield Green color; they are also currently available in the classic Glock black as well as flat dark earth.
The Gen4 grip is an improvement over the previous generations in my humble opinion. One of the reasons I purchased a Gen4 over the proven Gen 3 is the reduced trigger reach. The other main reason is the huge magazine release, at over double the size of the previous generation’s it is easy to get the magazine out while not overly large. The Gen4 also has an enlarged magazine release, updated rough texture stippling, interchangeable backstraps, and a dual recoil spring assembly that I will get to later.
Glock did change the slide finish from the crinkled finish on the Gen 3 pistols to a smoother but more rust prone finish on the Gen4. You also get a loaded chamber indicator on the extractor, no more guessing if it is loaded. You should always check the chamber to be double sure, though.
Normally the Glock 19 will ship with standard plastic sights, but I have replaced them with AmeriGlo Hackathorn night sights that I will cover in a later post. The stock sights are perfectly serviceable, but there are better options on the market currently.
One of the largest selling points of the Glock 19 is the ultra reliable 15 round magazine. Not only can you find them just about anywhere, but they are priced under $30. Normally when I buy a new handgun, I stock up on enough mags to give me 5-6 total, with Glocks I step that up to at least ten because they are so inexpensive.
If you are familiar with Glocks, you can see that at a glance the internals are visually identical to the Gen 3, sadly many of the parts were tweaked so that they no longer interchange.
The operation is simple, when you pull the trigger, the trigger bar and cruciform move rearward cocking the striker, then the cruciform drops down to release the striker. The stupid simple mechanism has been copied and adapted all over the world in dozens of pistols. Heck, the Smith & Wesson Sigma pistols were almost a direct copy of the Glock action, leading to a lawsuit that cost Smith a bunch of money.
Previous generations have a single, flat wire recoil spring assembly. With the Gen4 pistols, Glock took what they had learned with the Glock 26 and 27 and built an all new dual recoil spring assembly. Mind you that it had some teething problems early on and issued a recall, Glock not only fixed the problem but also provided replacement parts to anyone who needed one.
Some say that the Gen4 triggers are heavier than the older Gen 3 guns, The examples I tested didn’t reflect this finding, but slight geometry changes could account for the change in trigger feel. My Gen4 19 action is box stock and measured just under 5 pounds on my trigger scale.
While I was at the range, I pulled my 19 out of my laptop bag and took aim at the steel downrange dumping a full mag on it at a very rapid pace. The photos below show how little muzzle flip I experience when the Gen4 recoil spring if coupled with the tiny slide of the Glock.
I spent a while longer with my 19 running some simple drills and having fun. I have well over 1500 rounds through the gun since I bought it three months ago without a single malfunction. I think I can say that it is reliable.
I lined up at about 15 yards, this time, to see what kind of group I could shoot, if it went poorly, I would move to the normal 7 and never tell you I tried at 15. Ignorance is bliss right? The results were outstanding. I dropped all five shots into a two and a half inch or so group, not bad shooting for me.
There is a reason that the Glock 19 is one of the most recommended pistols in gun shops. They work, they are reasonably accurate, they often are within someone’s means financially, and they are above all a perfect tool. I refuse to believe that it is a coincidence that I see as many cops carrying a Glock product or the announcements from military units that they are moving to the Glock platform.
If you are looking for a solid handgun that you can conceal as well as enjoy at the range, the Glock 19 needs to be at the top of your list. As a gun guy, I should be ashamed that I bought my first double stack Glock a few months ago. Bad Patrick.