A generation ago, if you walked into a gun shop and asked for a Model 19 you got a Smith and Wesson Combat Magnum. Today, the Model 19 is a 9mm Glock and it is probably more popular than the revolver was. The Glock 19 9mm is easily the best-balanced Glock in my opinion. While the original Glock 17 is a good shooter, reliable, and easy to carry on a uniform belt, the G19 is an ideal concealed carry pistol.
The Glock 19 is also a very good service gun. The Glock is in its fifth generation. I like the Gen 5 guns but see no reason to grade my Gen 4 Glock 19, especially since I now own a Glock 44 .22, which is a Gen 4-type frame with finger groove. The compact Glock 19 shaves a bit of length off of the Glock 17 and a bit of height as well, but it retains a 15-round magazine.
The pistol features changeable grip straps to accommodate most any hand size, a rail for combat lights, is chambered for the world’s most popular handguns cartridge, and has been in continuous use since 1988. Federal Agencies, local law enforcement, military units, and a huge number of foreign agencies have used the Glock 19. Perhaps there are handguns better suited to individual missions, but the Glock is a pistol that may be issued with confidence in its versatility. The G19 9mm doesn’t overly challenge the troops when intensive training isn’t in the cards but neither does it limit a skilled shooter.
Most service pistols have a compact version. The Colt Commander and SIG P225 are classic examples. Glock took .56 inch off the butt and .67 inch off the slide of the Glock 17. This resulted in a pistol about 1.5 ounces lighter. While compact pistols are sometimes a compromise, the Glock 19 is a wonderfully balanced handgun with no apparent drawbacks.
The Glock is lighter than most compact handguns. While some agencies issue the Glock 17 as a duty gun and the Glock 19 to detectives, there are no real problems with the Glock 19 as a uniform handgun. On the other hand, if you deploy the subcompact Glock Model 26 9mm the pistol becomes more difficult to use well, as a result of the abbreviated grip and shorter sight radius. The Model 19 is the better shooter. A friend and I enjoyed an interesting discussion on the Glock a few weeks ago. When we began shooting, we were both 1911 fans—and still are. If a 1911 shooter had a second handgun or second love and this handgun was chambered in 9mm it was almost always a Browning Hi Power. Today, the world is different and the 1911 fans realize that a Glock is good to have.
The Glock action is simple and safe, provided you keep your finger off of the trigger, which is true of every firearm. Simply racking the slide preps the Glock. The striker is held to the rear by spring pressure. The trigger is pressed and this moves the striker to the rear and breaks the striker against spring pressure. The pistol fires.
A lever set in the trigger face prevents lateral discharge. The trigger may be learned well by interested shooters, reset is rapid, and it never seems to give trouble. Trigger compression is usually 5.8 pounds. Press the trigger and then allow it to reset during recoil. And that is all there is to it—other than a few thousand rounds fired in practice. There are dozens of quality makers that offer good quality concealment holsters for the G19, among these is Galco. The Triton illustrated is a first class option.
The most popular cartridge in America, and the world, is the 9mm Luger. The 9mm is useful in short barrel, ultra-compact handguns, service pistols, and carbines. The 9mm offers good wound ballistics with a well-designed loading. It isn’t always loaded properly. Quite a bit of ammunition is loaded below the caliber’s potential not only in wound potential but in accuracy as well. With good quality control and a well-designed projectile, the 9mm is a viable service cartridge with much merit. While 15 rounds is a good reserve of ammunition, it is better to solve the problem with a minimum of well-placed rounds.
9mm training ammunition is plentiful. Unless you are shooting a match, the cheapest ammunition that functions is fine for practice. Cheap ammo may be dirtier and less accurate, but it often works fine. The major makers offer bulk grade loads with full metal jacketed bullets at a fair price. The greatest improvements in ammunition, whether in terms of accuracy, training loads, or personal defense loads, usually come to the 9mm first.
The 9mm G19 illustrated was sitting in the safe (unfired) until recently. That isn’t my way of doing things, but other projects interfered and took precedent. I actually took it to the range to compare the piece to a Glock 44 .22 I am testing. (That is another story.) In the past few weeks, I have fired the Glock 19 with a wide variety of bullet weights and styles from SIG Sauer Ammunition.
The SIG Sauer Elite loads offer excellent performance and accuracy. The 115-grain load offers good expansion and is perhaps the best suited to personal defense. I like the 124-grain V Crown. The V Crown is an advanced design with a well-designed lead core. The bullet plumps up well while retaining its weight and penetrating to the ideal range.
The 124-grain simply appeals to my sense of balance. For those facing bundled felons in the winter months, the 147-grain V Crown offers an edge in penetration while maintaining good expansion. Along with the SIG FMJ and Match loads, the service loads offer excellent performance. You really don’t need to go further with practice and defense ammunition than these credible and reliable loadings.
Glock 19 Specifications
Capacity: 15+1 rounds
Weight (unloaded): 21.16 ounces
Barrel length: 4.02 inches
Overall length: 7.36 inches
Slide length: 6.85 inches
Overall width: 1.26 inches
Slide width: 1.0 inches
Height (including mag): 5.04 inches
I deploy the TruGlo TruLite combat light for most of my modern rail guns. This light offers a bright beam for target illumination and also a red laser. You may use the light or laser only, or both in tandem. This is an affordable unit with good performance. I also added a set of TruGlo TFX Pro night sights. These are an advanced design offering a contrasting sight picture that prevents misalignment during speed shooting. These sights are robust, designed for duty use, and feature a ledge on the rear sight that allows racking the slide on the belt or shoe heel if need be. These sights are a permanent improvement that addresses one of the few shortcomings of the Glock.
The Glock 19 is my favorite Glock. While I own a couple of Glock pistols, the G19 9mm is only one I carry often. I think I am in good company. If you pay less than the Glock, beware of shortcuts taken in manufacture. If you pay more, be certain you are getting something worth the tariff.