Do You Need a GLOCK 19 Pistol?

Glock 19 in black leather holster resting on swatches of exotic skins.

The GLOCK pistol presently holds 75% of the police market, has enjoyed considerable military success, and is a tremendously popular civilian handgun. The pistol isn’t an old generation handgun but sprang forth in the early 1980s winning overnight acclaim.

How did the GLOCK pistol become so successful so quickly? Part of the answer is the design and the rest is timing.

The Design

Gaston Glock designed the pistol for the Austrian Army. After a considerable upheaval in Europe during the first wave of terror attacks, the Europeans underwent a complete tactical reappraisal and rearmament. The European tactical doctrine was geared toward simpler pistols. Long guns are the primary military weapons and the pistol should be as simple as possible for training purposes. The police forces of Europe were in much the same mindset.

German police trials produced the superb SIG P series as well as the H&K P 7M8, neither of which featured a manual safety. The GLOCK was introduced several years later and, as a result, had the benefit of much police experience with other types of handguns. The GLOCK pistol was innovative and reliable, as well as cost-effective to produce. The Austrian military adopted it over the products of more established makers.

In America, the police were in the process of moving away from the revolver in favor of the self-loading pistol. The transition was at times harrowing as the addition of a double-action trigger, a decocker and a safety added to training time. Bean counters are jealous of training and a simpler handgun was desirable. The Beretta 92 and the Smith and Wesson 5906 were complicated and increasingly expensive. Despite interrogative queries from police agencies, American makers were slow to respond and in the end abrogated their niche in police sales to the Europeans.

While SIG and Beretta were off to a start with police sales, the double-action only GLOCK—with its simpler manual of arms—garnered a great deal of interest. A 17-round capacity of 9mm ammunition was a bonus. The GLOCK had features the others lacked, and they were intangible to some, very real to others. These features were simplicity and ruggedness. As an engineer, Gaston Glock was successful largely because he came to gun making with a blank slate. He did not have a gun factory; he had an idea for a gun and a design he felt would be successful.

The factory is not old and has not been converted from an old-line factory that produced old-line pistols. Glock designed his pistol with a fresh outlook and built a modern and efficient factory to build the pistol. The pistol was not the first to feature a polymer frame; it was, by far, the most cost efficient. While the Heckler and Koch polymer guns, such as the P9, were more expensive than our own domestic handguns, the GLOCK was less expensive.

The Features

The double-action only mechanism was practically revolver simple; the pistol had a high magazine capacity and proved reliable during critical testing. It also fit most hands well and the trigger reach was much shorter than with competing designs. The trigger reset is also as fast as most single-action pistols.

The GLOCK features a unique trigger action. As you rack the slide, it partially cocks the striker, prepping the trigger. You then press the trigger to continue pressing the striker until the striker spring breaks against sear pressure. Rather than the 12- to 14-pound double-action revolver trigger, or the equally heavy first shot press of a double-action first shot self-loader, the GLOCK trigger breaks at 5.5 pounds. The result is a pistol that is easy to shoot well, and easy to shoot quickly.

The GLOCK has no manual safety. The lever inside of the trigger is primarily a drop safety. If you drop the GLOCK, this lever prevents the trigger from moving under its own momentum. The lever prevents the pistol from firing from lateral pressure. So the manual of arms is simple—load, holster, draw, fire. The pistol’s polymer frame is molded, not forged, and the precision parts do not require any type of fitting. The polymer frame makes for inexpensive manufacture and parts are easily replaced if needed. As a result, GLOCK has been able to instigate a very successful GLOCK Armorer program.

The news media and Hollywood often makes ridiculous statements concerning firearms and the GLOCK was the target of some of the most insane comments. Among these was the notion that the GLOCK could not be picked up on a security scanner because it was plastic. This neatly ignored the presence of metal parts and a metal slide. Gun owners and guns are vilified and pilloried in the news while sociopaths are lionized and it will only give us indigestion to ponder the situation.

However, the GLOCK has become a popular cinematographer’s pistol and appears in a wide range of films and television dramas. As this was going on, the GLOCK was enjoying considerable popularity with the American police. One chief told his troops he would approve the automatic pistol only when one in double-action-only configuration was offered, smugly believing American makers would never manufacture such a pistol. After all, they were relying upon old technology with nothing fresh since 1948.

The Smith and Wesson M39 pistol was basically an Americanized Walther P38 and the Beretta 92 in real terms an updated (and high quality) high-capacity version of the very influential P38. Only the SIG was a fresh design, but it demanded that officers learn two distinct trigger actions, both double action and single action. The GLOCK gave the police what they needed.

Picture shows the right side of a GLOCK 19 pistol.
The GLOCK 19 is one, if not the most, popular handguns in the United States—quite possibly the world.

With the success of the GLOCK 17, a demand for different types of handguns using the GLOCK operating system evolved. The popularity of the 10mm cartridge was short-lived in police work, but GLOCK responded with their first large-frame pistol—the Model 20 in 10mm. This was followed by the Model 21 .45 and later the .40 caliber version of the GLOCK 17 known as the Model 22. Among the first variations on the original pistol and one of the most popular is the GLOCK 19.

The GLOCK 19 is a midsize or compact version of the GLOCK 17, just as the SIG P228 is a compact version of the P226 and the Colt Commander is a compact version of the Colt Government Model. In the case of the GLOCK, both the handle and the slide are shortened. In the opinion of many experienced shooters, the result is a handgun that is arguably the best balanced, fastest handling and most ergonomic of the all of the GLOCK handguns.

The popularity of the midsize gun is undeniable. Some may question the efficiency of a shorter service pistol. The loss of a few inches in sight radius and the loss of a round or two in magazine capacity may be debated. This is not the case with the GLOCK. The GLOCK 19 seems to fit most hands well and to clear leather more quickly than the larger gun. This is common with compact pistols. But in the case of the GLOCK 19, the shorter pistol often proves at least as accurate if not more so than the full-size pistol.

The GLOCK 26, or mini GLOCK, is a bit more difficult to use well and is a specialized hideout handgun. The GLOCK 19 is well suited for use as a service pistol or for concealed carry. First introduced in 1988, the GLOCK 19 is now one of the most popular GLOCK pistols. As an example, the GLOCK 19 is the single most popular of all approved pistols for the New York City Police Department. With a half-inch shorter slide and proportionately shorter grip the GLOCK 19 is comfortable to carry and concealable given proper holster selection. However, the GLOCK 17 was already a light pistol and the GLOCK 19 weighs less than the GLOCK 17. Unlike most compact versions of service pistols there is practically no difference in recoil control with the GLOCK 19.

The handle is more concealable but it is large enough to afford a rapid presentation from the holster. The proper grip is natural with practice. This makes for a desirable handgun on all counts. The GLOCK 19 deploys with 15 rounds, more than adequate for service use. A spare magazine gives a concealed carry permit holder 30 rounds on hand and the GLOCK 19 will accept the longer GLOCK 17 magazines. The longer magazine locks in and functions but protrudes from the gun butt.

Like all GLOCK handguns, the GLOCK 19 requires little maintenance. The manufacturers do recommend cleaning and lubricating the pistol every 300 rounds, but GLOCK pistols have fired thousands of rounds without any maintenance. The only lubrication needed is a spot of oil where the connector and trigger bar meet. The modern versions of the GLOCK feature a frame molded for a combat light. It is interesting that although the fourth generation pistols were touted as an improvement over older GLOCKs, the third generation Model 19 is still in production and seems to some of us the better choice.

The GLOCK with the Most Advantages

While claims of GLOCK perfection are not without merit, if there is a single GLOCK that best sums up the advantages of a combat pistol—lightweight, easy to use and fast handling—it is arguably the GLOCK Model 19. The GLOCK illustrated has been fired extensively with a wide range of modern defensive ammunition. While +P and +P+ rated ammunition has a greater recoil push the pistol is still controllable. These loads give the 9mm Luger cartridge a much-needed measure of authority.

The GLOCK 19 the author personally deploys is usually fired with ‘practice loads.’ These 115-grain FMJ loads are mild to fire and accurate. The GLOCK pistol’s main advantage is combat accuracy, coming on target quickly, and making multiple hits quickly. The GLOCK 19, however, is also exceedingly accurate in bench rest fire. With a variety of quality ammunition, the GLOCK 19 has produced five-shot groups of two to three inches for five shots at a long 25 yards. This is more than adequate for personal defense.

The pistol is deployed with either the 115-grain JHP +P or the 124-grain +P. The 115-grain bullet is a great performer with a good balance of expansion and penetration. With the 124-grain load, the balance of penetration and expansion is ideal for police service and for those working in a true four-season climate when felons may be wearing heavy clothing. In concealed carry, the pistol is often carried in an inside the waistband holster. The IWB, riding inside the trousers, gives excellent concealment while maintaining good speed and retention. This combination of a good pistol and first-class accessories makes for a high level of confidence in the defensive sidearm.

When all is said and done, the GLOCK pistol is something of a modern marvel. It is affordable, effective, reliable, long-lived in service and combat-ready out-of-the-box. The pistol inspires confidence in those that use it and derision from the blue steel and walnut crowd, although the GLOCK seems to be seen often in pistol competition these days. One thing for certain, the pistol has earned a place in the hands and holsters of good men and women taking responsibility for their own safety.

The GLOCK is here to stay.

Upgrades and Packing the GLOCK

My personal GLOCK is fitted with a set of Trijicon HD night sights. Self-luminous iron sights give a 24-hour option and frankly are a great aid for aging eyes. The GLOCK is easily carried because it is light and compact and as a result Kydex gear for the GLOCK may be lighter than holsters for heavier handguns. I have used Kydex IWB, OWB and paddle holsters for this versatile handgun. When all is said and done the GLOCK 19 as a weapons system has few rivals.


5-shot groups, 25 yards

Load Average Group Size
Black Hills 115-grain FMJ Blue Box 3.0 inches
Black Hills 115-grain TAC +P 1.8 inches
Black Hills 115-grain JHP +P 2.5 inches
Black Hills 124-grain JHP +P 2.6 inches


Load Average Group Size
Nosler 115-grain JHP- Herco Powder/1300 fps 3.25 inches
Rainier 124-grain JHP Plated/WW 231 Powder 1100 fps 3. 5 inches
Rainier 124-grain JHP Plated/ Titegroup Powder 1020 fps 2.75 inches
Sierra 115-grain FMJ/HP 38 1090 fps 3.0 inches


Specifications and Features

  • Model: GLOCK 19
  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 15 rounds
  • Action: Double-action only
  • Barrel Length: 4.02″
  • Barrel Rifling: Right hand, hexagonal
  • Length of Twist: 9.84″
  • Trigger Pull: 5.5 lbs.
  • Sights: Fixed sights
  • Frame Finish: Matte polymer
  • Accessory Rail: Yes
  • Magazine Release: Ambidextrous
  • Trigger Travel: 0.5″
  • Sight Radius: 6.02″
  • Overall Length: 6.02″
  • Overall Height: 5.00″
  • Overall Width: 1.18″
  • Weight: 30.18 oz. loaded

Do you own a GLOCK pistol? Tell us about your experiences with it in the comment section.


About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.

Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Rifle Magazine
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns

Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (69)

  1. I purchased a Glock 27 in the late 90’s. It came with 5 mags, 3 extended, 2 regular mags, Trijicon night sites and a Kydex hip holster. I wasn’t new to guns & carrying but I was new to this style of trigger and lack of manual safety’s. I could only, comfortably & safely, carry 1 way, a hip holster. I didn’t trust this system in a shoulder holster or behind the back holster with accidental discharge. Here we are in ’18 and I still basically feel the same way. In about ’10 I bought an OD Green Glock 30. It has a Kydex holster and a laser/light combo on it where my 27 only has glow sights. I’m pretty comfy with my Glocks, I don’t run the hell out of them. My boys will get them when I’m gone.

  2. I don’t think there is a better carry piece than a Glock 19. I have the G23 and G32 also. They all use the same Raven OWB holster. Recently waiting on a new G19X,

  3. Ok, this is for all you who cannot read and comprehend, (that means understand). “Box store Ammunition” does not refer to reloads. Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Meijer, Big R, this is what the gun shop owner was talking about. Now for the blown up Glock question. Google blown up Glock . Winter Haven FL. Police department returns 90 Glock pistols after two of them blow up after being fired the first time. There are numerous news articles on blown up Glock. I am not anti- Glock. Information is power, do your own research and make a decision. I have made mine.

    1. According to the newspaper report on the Winter Have problems, they were attributed to bad ammo. One was a cadet using his own ammo, which were likely reloads. Every gun maker prohibits using reloads….every one.

  4. Today’s Glock pistols, simply put, are the closest thing to bullet proof that a person can get! They will shoot any kind of ammo flawlessly and all with very good accuracy too
    To get a name brand 1911 to function to as high a level as Glocks and also have all the same features would cost at least twice the price of a Glock. .

  5. Three years ago, I purchased a pair of Glock 19, Gen4 pistols for my wife and me. We completed all requirements for CCW and were licensed several weeks later. This was in Tulare County. Not all of California is liberal! My wife and I carried the Glocks for two years, until we moved out of the county of issue. When we moved, we had to return the CCWs. We now live in Santa Barbara County where there is no hope of obtaining a CCW until the Peruta case is decided.

    I have had NO problems with either Glock. I tell my friends that if someone could reload mudballs, I could shoot them in my Glock. The model 19 is a perfect balance of being large enough to be accurate and small enough to be easy to carry. I wanted to obtain newer semi-auto technology than the century-old 1911 technoloogy. I prefer a Blackhawk Serpa holster and carry Hornady Critical Defense ammo. I have been delighted with my Glock.

  6. Gee, I didn’t know a Beretta 92 was complicated, you press a button and flick a lever and if falls apart for cleaning. Manhandling the slide of a Glock in a most unnatural fashion whilst trying to squeeze two small gizmos on each side of the slide with the other hand .. well.

    Personally, I just feel safer with a nice thumb safety under my thumb.

  7. Wow! Mentioning how many qualities a Glock has stirs folks like hip hop in a honky tonk. I have carried Smith and Wesson, Beretta, Para, H&K and Glock in my extensive military/law enforcement careers. From jungles to deserts to waterborne to urban combat every one of these fine firearms served me well. I never had to “blame” a pistol for any “wrong doing”. REGULAR MAINTENANCE and an occasional INSPECTION of my firearm that I intend to use in COMBAT usually insures reliability. That being said, stuff happens, I have never seen a Glock “blow up” but I have seen with my own two eyes, two Smith and Wessons and more Colts than I care to count “blow up”. The worst of many problems were, these “blow ups” weren’t down at the local Gun Shop Gossip Stand and Range. These “blow ups” occurred many times while actively engaging targets. The kind that shoot back. Although I had a Smith & Wesson crack and fall to pieces once on that “store box ammo” I continue to own Smith and Wesson pistols. I own multiple Glocks, my life, and the lives of my family and friends are dependent on the Glock that I carry every day. Quite frankly, I don’t care what everyone else carries, I’m not getting any kickbacks. From experience though, when the lead was coming my way, I really didn’t ponder on what brand, or what cool color, or wether my pistol was made out of plastic or metal or wood…I used what I had, what I was trained with and what I was proficient with.
    Sometimes we don’t have a choice in what pistol brand or model we carry or shoot but, there’s always going to be somebody arguing their favorite one, somebody is always going to disagree…
    This article was well written and informative. Maybe next time there will be one about your favorite pistol. Then afterwards people can post their opinions about it.

  8. Good Afternoon!

    Was there a news article about this. It would help to know the city to do a search to get more information. Years ago there was an urban legend about 22 rounds going off in someone”s pocket who had AA batteries in their pocket. You guested it. It was true and not widely circulated for years. In 50 years, I have seen a lot of failures of one type or another. It is always best to have as much information as possible. Couldn’t hurt. Not knowing could!

  9. A few days ago at my local indoor shooting range a guy had a Glock blow apart while shooting. I was not there, so I will repeat what the owner told me while I was purchasing primers. This owner has a gun shop with a indoor range and he sells a lot of Glocks. He said the guy shooting was “torn up pretty bad but would be fine” then went on to say the cause was “box store ammunition” and he was thinking about banning it, because of liability. It was a very busy Saturday morning at the shop, so I didn’t get to ask what brand of ammo, where it was purchased or what model Glock. Driving home I was thinking this all sounds a little strange. I am an avid shooter and reloader and have purchased numerous rounds of cheap “box store ammunition” to shoot, just to get the brass. I have put these rounds through my Ruger P90, Remington R1 and Ruger New Vaquero, all 45acp, without issue, ever. I have friends who own Glock 19, 21, 27s and swear by them. I have thought about purchasing a model 36, but after the incident at the range, I will go for another quality 1911.

    1. “Box Store Ammunition” is a nice way of saying “reloaded by someone”. There’s good and bad in just such ammunition, and I can’t comment on this case specifically.

      THAT BEING SAID, I don’t think that incident should disqualify the Glock from your selection list because, if you do some digging, you can find lots of Rugers, Sigs, and about every other brand of firearm being destroyed by faulty ammunition.

      Your logic sounds as if you’re saying that you’ve shot the same “faulty” ammunition in your other firearms, and the ammunition worked just fine in them therefore it’s not REALLY the ammunition but the firearm. More likely, you’ve never had the same level of failure that the Glock had to digest or it would have damaged your other firearms.

      The point is NO ONE knows what really happened, and most all of the major gun companies have enough history to show that they are plenty strong and plenty reliable. I wouldn’t disqualify any model firearm for a second hand story, and especially not when it has a Glock reputation. And that goes for Ruger, Sig, and most all of the reputable manufacturers with long standing models.

      If a firearm has a history of catastrophic failures with factory ammunition, that’s one thing. A catastrophic failure that occurs when using reloaded ammunition, though, I’m not sure how you blame the firearm . . . of any brand.

    2. That is about one of the dumbest comments I think I have ever heard coming out of someone supposedly knowledgable on firearms!
      ANY damn gun will blow up if ya put a double or more charge in it!!!
      That’s like saying that you would never buy a Ford Focus because someone filled the gas tank with water and the engine siezed up!
      Go out & buy a Glock….you’ll love it & never be sorry you did!

  10. I purchased a new Glock 17 Gen 4 two years ago.
    I loaded it with new Federal 115 gr. ammo. The first round that I shot blew the magazine release in my hand and the magazine fell to the ground,
    I contacted Glock and they said to ship it to them in Georgia for warranty.
    I had to pay for the shipping with insurance through UPS close to $100.00.
    They said it was bad ammo, they did not warranty the repair. Which was a new slide which was close to $200.00. I shot the rest of the box of Federal Ammo through my Ruger P89DC with no problems.
    I have not shot the Glock again.
    I would say their Guarantee for life was no good.

    1. In the end, you ALWAYS get what you pay for. You get out, what you put in. Do your own factual research from trusted authorities on the weapon, ie: build quality, materials used, skill of builder, “stacking specs”, country of origin, etc.. Do it far and wide, don’t follow trends. I personally do not own a glock………………

  11. While I was slow to try Glock pistols ,once I did I was immediately impressed with the G36 and it is now my constant companion.

  12. Most folks either love em’ or hate em’. Never really got into the Glock. Many of my associates in LE carry a Glock. One associae got his CHL using a rented Glock and now he is convinced since he qualified with this handgun it is the ONLY reasonable choice for personal defense carry. Bizarre! I am not a big Glock fan. Every other holster or accessory in a gun store is for a Glock. So, they definitely have a nitch in the market for sure. Just not with me.

  13. I noticed that there is not one post containing the words Springfield XD. I bought a G22 G4 about a year ago. I train at Front sight, and spent 28 days there last year. They praise the G22 as the best all around defense pistol, so I thought I would save some money in ammo and set my XD tactical .45 aside. When My Glock arrived, it had horrible trigger over travel. No problem Ghost triggers had the solution, I filed on the replacement trigger bar, and the trigger is now good. I got the extended slide stop, mag release, and night sights… all before I fired my first shot. When I took it out to train, I was dismayed. Coming out of the holster high on the tang, my hand was getting scraped by the slide. while not a major deal, it is nearly impossible to ignore. The pistol also has little flip, pushing straight back into the bone structure of my hand. I was about to give up on it and turn it into a “loaner” when I discovered a ammo that is a little more friendly. so I am prepared to try it again. As far as toughness goes, has anyone compared the slide rails on an XD to those on the Glock? I am not dogging it, lord knows I have done everything but go to meetings in an attempt to like the pistol.

  14. “The Glock has no manual safety. The lever inside of the trigger is primarily a drop safety. If you drop the Glock, this lever prevents the trigger from moving under its own momentum. The lever prevents the pistol from firing from lateral pressure. So the manual of arms is simple—load, holster, draw, fire”

    Fire and then call 911 because you’ve shot yourself in the leg because it has no safety.

    1. I don’t care what kind of gun you have or what kind of safety your gun has or doesn’t have, if you are drawing your gun from a holster and you finger is on the trigger before you present, you are doing it wrong.

  15. Bought my first Glock in the early 90’s. It was the model 17 and i shot the heck out of it. Never let me down even when shooting with a broken guide . One of the four stainless guides on the grip had broken off and i didn’t notice until cleaning it later. The good folks at Glock told me to send them the broken lower. They put my original serial number on a new lower and sent it back. I was glad to get it and have matching serial numbers on both sections. I have 5 Glocks in various calibers and enjoy them all.

  16. Had wanted to pick up a .45 ACP and was actually looking at the Ruger SR45 but when I saw an almost new (less that 50 rounds fired) Glock 21 for $500 that was a no brainer. Just got it the other day so I haven’t had time to get to the range yet I sure don’t anticipate any regrets. My son had been wanting a Glock 19 but he sure has been checking mine out this weekend. I’ve got a Browning HiPower but after reading the comments, I don’t think I better shoot the 19.

  17. I wear a gun every day, and have been wearing the same G23 for over 24 years.. I have only had to change the extractor spring and night sights at 23 years.. It shoots better today than it did new.. I guess it finally got broken in..

  18. I did try the G41 one night and it did work well. I am just waiting for the G41 MOS version to be available through the GSSF pistol purchase program to get a better price than wholesale.

    1. No kidding!! I fitted mine with the aftermarket “Burris Fast Fire III”
      Almost the same thing.

  19. Ship it to glock in Smyrna GA and they will fix whatever is wrong. Glocks are guaranteed fo life. As for FTF’S my wife had some due to poor grip which was solved with coaching.

  20. Not familiar with slide bite on G4s. Mine is a G3 and have never had a problem or a FTF’S for that matter

  21. Americans buy lots of German and Japanese cars and much of our produce comes from Chile. It’s called a free market where we are free to choose what we think best fits our needs.

  22. As American in America, I’m a little amazed that an Austrian gun can hug 75% of the US police force and so many private owners. After all, we usually prefer our own products and we do have some great guns right here. Colt, Springfield, just to name a few. Are they all inferior to the Austrian Glock?

    1. No, they are not superior. As the article stated, the US companies got caught with their pants down and missed the initial wave. Much like the auto industry did in the 70s. Everyone wanted a cheap car that was reliable and got good gas mileage. The market was clamoring for one thing, but large, slow moving US companies “knew better”.
      Glock benefited from a lot of erroneous media coverage, heavy discounts to LE and a cheap, functional product. They responded to the LE market when they were all wanting to make a fast switch to semi-autos and hit critical mass. By the time the US companies got off their cushy rear ends, Glock made a name for itself as a cheap, reliable pistol that was easy to shoot. US companies were forced to play “catch up”. However, saying they have 75% of the LE market is a bit misleading. It isn’t based on quality alone. Glock discounts heavily to maintain that. Don’t forget, it is the bean counters who are approving the purchases. Ruger sells WAY more firearms per year than Glock. In fact, according to this article, 2014 was the first time Glock cracked the top 10.

      I think when you REALLY get down to it is more about media and press. Who gets most of the press in the computer world? Apple. What is their market share? Still about 8%.

    2. The above commentary is spot on i.e. Glock had great timing introducing an inexpensive, reliable firearm to a market ready to make a big change. It worked out fine, and rightfully so. It’s a great “American” story i.e. a company came in with the product Americans wanted but couldn’t really get from the normal sources. It’s the American way albeit maybe not an American company. But, eh, let’s not forget that America didn’t have an American main battle rifle till the M-16. 🙂

      Something else that might could contribute to Glock’s success with the law enforcement market is that the design has built a great reputation of “no questions asked” reliability. Love them or hate them, no one in their right mind is going to bet on a Glock pistol failing in service. That doesn’t mean they never will! It just means they’re a good bet in service with practically no other product being perceived as “better”, personal tastes put aside, of course.

      With that type of reputation, the decision makers were “safe” with selecting Glock as a duty sidearm. The public’s perception is that everyone with a badge is a gun expert and combat marksman with complete knowledge of all things firearms. That’s rarely the case (and THAT’S GOOD!), and most likely decision makers went with the safe choice of Glock . . . which, AGAIN, isn’t bad at all!

      Let’s face it, the Glock product is hard to argue with from a technical standpoint in a duty weapon, ESPECIALLY if you throw out any arguments that start with “I feel” or “I just don’t like”.

  23. I bought a g17 loved it but I’m a 45 man since my combat tour in Vietnam ’69, having 2 colts I finally bought a 2nd hand gen. 1, g21 with night sights, but, every 2 Mags or so I have a misfire(over 4 years now a total about 50 rounds)it has good dent on primer(various brands & reloads) it will shoot the 2nd time I chamber it but I get a lot of flak from any others on firing line saying they never heard of a Glock misfire until then. Anyone out there have any idea why?

    1. The 2006 P30 and 2014 VP9 come with changeable backstraps and side plates giving you 27 different grip combinations.

      I know you love your Glocks and that is totally cool. Their customer loyalty would make Apple jealous. But they should have been first to the party with at least the changeable backstraps. Even with the backstraps, it still feels blocky.

      Legitimate question: do Gen 4 users still run the risk of slide bite? I saw a video where Lone Wolf is making frames with beaver tails to protect against that.

      One major bonus for Glocks is their “utilitarian” looks, or as one guy told me “I don’t have to feel bad if I drop my Glock. It started out ugly, so if I drop it, no big deal.” THAT to me is an asset in a firearm!

  24. i have owned a g21 for years and sadly iv’e enjoyed shooting it more than my colt 45 ,the recoil on the glockis straight back, which to me is good so the recovery shot is closer to the first. people in my work place always ask me what type of cc weapon would you carry i tell them if you need to carry, i recomend any size glock that you can afford to buy

  25. I’ve owned a .40 cal Glock 35 Gen 3 for many years as a personal defense gun. Last year I picked up a .45 cal Glock 30 Gen 4 and found it to be extremely accurate with very light recoil for a .45 cal. I use it in USPSA competition and as an IWB concealed carry gun. Upgrade options can easily lighten the 5.5 lb trigger for competition use. I acquired a .380 cal Glock 42 as a fine pocket pistol for those times when the G30 would be hard to conceal. It is easy to shoot and accurate for self defense distances. With all the hype about the 9mm Glock 19 Gen 4 I had to try one and immediately understood why it was touted as being so good. I had been using a Beretta 92 FS for 9mm competition but needed a gun without the manual safety and the heavy first shot trigger pull. The Glock 19 has more than met that need. Besides as a Glock Certified Armorer with 3 glocks already, it just fit naturally into my collection, and I already knew everything about the design and maintenance of the gun. The reality is that the only maintenance I have had to do as an armorer is a few upgrades, and to help another shooter ‘unstuck’ a slide that he managed to put on with the recoil spring not in straight. I have been very please with all 4 of my Glocks, but i have to admit that my .45 cal Glock 30 Gen 4 is my favorite – accuracy, low recoil, low muzzle flip, great hand fit, easy to carry concealed, extremely reliable, lots of power in the .45 cal cartridges, and a great looking gun to boot.

    1. Bob, If you like your G 30, try the new G 41. IMHO it is the finest .45 cal. I’ve ever had the pleasure to shoot! You probably can’t use it for CC, but try it for comp. shooting!

  26. I like all of the Glock line but favor the G26 for concealed carry. True the standard capacity is 10 rounds and the sight radius is a bit shorter but the combat accuracy is fine at 25yards and the size and weight allow all day (and night) comfort; it just never feels heavy or bulky.

    I have also replaced the standard sights with good night sights and these provide much faster target acquisition. Finish the carry package with a spare mag and a good flashlight and you are good to go for any normal off-duty or normal civilian concealed carry.

  27. After several years of Loving my Browning Hi Power, I shot a Glock 19 at the Range I am a member of. I have retired my Browning and carry a Glock 26 Gen 4 and own a Glock 19 Gen 3. These weapons are fun to shoot, very reliable and have the spare Magazine problem solved. They, the Magazine’s, are interchangeable and the Glock 19, a 15 round capacity magazine, works in my Glock 26 Gen 4. Don’t go to the Gun Store or Range and rent or test Fire one, you’ll buy one. They are the best, in my opinion. Hank Ciak.

  28. I’ve carried a G17 for a long time in a Blackhawk Serpa holster. Just added Talon grip “tape” that is great. I shoot 3″ groups at 25 yards with the original barrel that has seen 50 rounds per month for 12 years.

  29. For over 20 years my trusty S&W Model 36 with Pachmayr grips was my daily concealed carry. In 1996 I bought a new Glock 26 at an auction of a local gun store whose owner, a close friend, had died. I wasn’t sure I wanted to make a 9mm my regular carry let alone in some “newfangled” foreign made autoloader. But after some slight transformations, a lot of different kind of fodder through it (100% reliability), that little gun has become just that. With Pierce mag extenders, mag release extender and extended slide release it fits my short fingered hands just fine. I recently added ghost ring Tritium sights and am extremely pleased with my much improved quick shot accuracy. It is a little more bulkier than my Chief’s Special but has twice the capacity and the short trigger reset makes for faster more accurate follow up shots. With better sights, the 5.5 lb. double action trigger, 10 round plus capacity and simple maintenance the “Baby” Glock 26 has become my favorite concealed carry. The wife now carries the 36.

  30. I’ve owned wheel guns all my life (60years) during my stint with Uncle Sam I carried a Colt 45 auto loader. I guess I liked it OK, it was a tool. About five years ago I found myself in a gun store looking for a rifle when I happened upon the pistols. Just for kicks I asked to see a Glock and the guy handed me a 19…man!! It fit my hand and felt as though I had carried it all my life! Needless to say I came home with a brand new Glock 19! Since that fateful day I have acquired SEVERAL more Glocks! Even though my 19 is my EDC, I would have to say my new Glock 34 is my absolute favorite to shoot!! WOW!! Anyway I’m a dyed in the wool Glock Guy, great products…ALL OF THEM!!

  31. I have 2 Glock 19s and a Glock 30. One of the 19s and the 30 have had work done by Glockmeister.

    Night sights
    3.0 Trigger
    Extended Slide Stop Release
    Pearce Mag Extensions – My hands are a little large
    Designed my own IWH. May patent it for retirement income. Very fast and unique. One size fits all. The 19 and the 30 fit well and even a 1911 fits

    I used a Berretta 92 in Iraq and Afghanistan. Trained Security Forces in both countries. I had 3 Berettas in Iraq and 2 of hem failed. I had 2 in Afghanistan and both failed me. I got my hands on a Glock 19 and it was on my hip for 30 months. I only had two magazines and would have like to have had 2 more.

    I am a 45 ACP fan. I have seen the round drop big men but the 9mm Glock 19 is my favorite handgun. For defensive purposes, I shoot the 147 grain Hornady hollowpoint. My choice and I have worked with the round and the 19 to be able to deliver the lethal zone hits out to the 25 yard line. I have benched it to 100 yards and kept it on the B-27. Very flat shooting.

    Good skill to all and stay safe.

  32. I have a number of Glock pistols including a G34 that I use in competition, and a G19 that I use as as a CC firearm. Both of my Glock pistols have been very reliable and well made. My only criticism of the Glock design is the standard plastic sights that are simply cheaply made and need to be replaced with the users choice of aftermarket fiber-optic or night sights. Other than that there are a number of aftermarket triggers that improve the standard trigger but are not critical to the operation of the pistol. The fact that Glock pistols do not have a frame mounted external safety is not a safety issue as long as the shooter follows the standard rules of gun safety and keeps their finger out of the trigger guard when not on target.

  33. Great base article, extremely well written. High-5 to the author.

    I am commenting for I have what I believe is the best configuration for the G19, which I highly recommend.

    Glock 19 Gen 4 (new version) with O-4 Spring.
    After Market add are:
    Tritium night sights, extended magazine release, From
    Mini Red Laser Sight – By Online Tactical Gear and
    Glock 19 23 32 /W Defender Series Laser – Gun Holster – Shirt Tuck RH IWB Black from the Holsters store..
    This holster allows for the mini laser and fits the G-19 perfectly.

    This is my 9mm concealment weapon of choice. The mini laser make for spot on shot patterns adding no real weight to the weapon and may help balance it out.


  34. I carry a Gen 4 Glock 32 all day, every day. Last time I was at the range I chain fired 39 shots at ~16 yards, every single one of those shots was in vital area spread over about ten inches, and I’m not a particularly good shot even when I go slow, even though I’ve fired a gun from just about any brand you can think of- I carried a Taurus PT145 PRO, too many feeding issues. I carried a Springfield 1911, a gun I still love, but it’s too heavy to have it on your hip 24/7 while working, and buying the wrong magazine will choke the life out of it ( which just might cost you yours! ). H&K SOCOM and USPs, Springfield XD, Smith 5900, Beretta 92s. Every single one of these guns has some kind of shortcoming that the Glock simply does not have. From feeding issues to giant grips, bad sights, broken parts, useless magazines, pointless extra controls and terrible take down procedures. I can strip my Glock to a bare frame in about two minutes and have it back together ready to rock and roll in five. There isn’t a perspective from which you can look at Glock and call it bad. While I hesitate to call anything ‘perfect’… the Glock is damn close, that’s for sure.

  35. I bought a Glock model 33. 357sig
    I have since bought two barrels for it.
    Glock offered a .40 cal and Lone Wolf offered a 9mm barrel.
    Same mag works for the .40 cal and the .357 cal.
    I had to buy a mag for the 9mm.
    Really neat to have one gun that shoots three calibers.
    I also have model 21(.45 ACP). It’s great too.

  36. I like the Model 23 for the same reasons mentioned by the author. In a colder climate, I like the extra sectional density of the .40 Smith and Wesson cartridge in the same compact 9mm size. Mine is a generation 4 and I like the generation four features although some do not.

  37. I have carried several pistols, kahr 40, px4 storm 9mm, pt1911, Taurus 357mag, S&W 357mag, fnh 5.7 and after trial and error. I will never carry anything other than a glock. But just like some of the previous comments glock is not for everyone. My suggestion try one out and check out some of the torture test out there for Glocks. This unattractive weapon might surprise you.

    1. I just cannot get past the ugly Glock. Not only because of the looks but also the feel in my hands. I have long thin fingers and the fat glock grips do not work as well as other pistols I have. The 19 shoots a 9mm which is just a smidgen less power than I like even though I love the round in my 92fs. My favorite pistol round is the S&W40 in my autos and .357mag in my S&W 27 9. For concealed carry, the Glock 19 is bigger than I like so I carry a Kahr P40. It is the caliber I like and the grip is long and comfortable with the 7 round mag. For open carry I like my full size Beretta PX4 Storm 40. There is nothing wrong with the Glock 19… I just don’t like the looks, feel, and it’s a 9mm. Just a preference thing.

  38. Bought my 9×19 in 1983 carried and used every day. The glock is quick on target easy draw and hits better than I can aim . But the glock is not for amateurs no safety! Other than that GLOCK or 1911 Colt. The colt too heavy.

  39. I stayed away from Glock for many years and I don’t really know why. Plastic maybe, image or just the fact I thought the only handgun in the world was a 1911 .45acp.
    Oh well, I’ve seen the Glockside of life! I have a G34/G21/G19. To me and a lot of other folks and public service, the Glock is the BEST handgun period. Now, I consider all the variables and when you tally up everything, Glock has it. IMHO…
    If your a Glock hater and you know who you are, find a buddy who has one and do some shooting with the glock, I did, and it changed my preceptions completely.

  40. I have a G23, G27, G24, G17L all our ourstanding units. Love them and Trust them with mylife. For my Carry I have a G27 with CT lazer grip and night sights. I wish it was thinner but the double stack is very nice to know you have it. G24 adn G17L I shoot USPSA with and very very nice. The G23 I just had to have it, it feels real good, well balanced and fun to shoot. I would recomend a Glock to anyone looking for a Autoloader. Easy to tear down, trigger kits are very easy to install and lots of Glock add ons to make it custom..

  41. I’m not exactly a real handgun afficionado, so I don’t have a wide selection of pistols to choose from in my closet! I really wanted a handgun that was affordable, fired affordable ammo, and was easy to maintain. Bought an off-brand 1911, but found it hard to shoot accurately, and the ammo was too $$$! Police acquaintance took me to the range and I got to fire his duty carry weapon, a Glock 22. Decent group first time out, better than I could do with my 1911, but .40 ammo still $$$. He suggested a 19, which I got two days before my concealed carry class. Brought the 19 to class, new in the box, and fired it for the very fist time in the class. To my amazement, I had about a 2-inch 5-shot group at 25 feet! Love at first sight! Fits my hand, shoots inexpensive (relatively) ammo, easy to strip and clean. and conceals pretty well
    too! My 19 will be with me for a VERY long time! Sold my 1911 and bought about 1,000 rounds of 9mm!

  42. I was a faithful Beretta owner (92f and 96) for many years. Used to say that I would never own or fire a “plastic” gun ever. Boy was I dumb and ignorant. Currently my second Glock is the G37 (45GAP). What a shooter friendly gun. Love this gun and have to make amends to Glock for all I said in the past about plastic guns. I also own 2 Smith & Wesson that love as well. M&P 40C as well as the .40 cal shield.

  43. I prefer the model 21SF for my every day carry weapon. I’ve used a 380, 38, 357, 9 and still prefer the heavier bullet of the .45. I went with the Glock because of its reputation and the fact that it is light, much lighter than my officers models 45 from Colt. My wife has just decided to go to a nine for her carry weapon, she has been using a Ruger SR22, and truly loves it, but since hers sits in a concealed handbag, she can get away with a larger gun. It took a long time to convince her that a nine will be better than the 22, but she finally relented. Here is the dilemma, My wife is left handed. Glock does not fully consider anyone who is left handed. Their web site claims their firearms are left hand friendly. However, they don’t make one that is fully ambidextrous, with slide stop and mag release, but offer ways to use the firearm with the “off hand”. My wife is not willing to make concessions in her purchase and wrote to Glock explaining her reasons for NOT choosing a Glock. Within minutes of hitting the send button, a rep from Glock was calling her. Seriously, within minutes! My praise knows no bounds for this type of service and the rep was also left handed and tried to explain how a lefty could use the Glock. My wife calmly explained that it shouldn’t be necessary to make adaptive measures when there are other top notch manufacturers that have what she is looking for. My wife is going with the H & K because it is everything she wants in a firearm, but at twice the price. She explains that regardless of price, it is a weapon she will carry dilligently, because she can do everything a righty can do; in mirror image. I remain a Glock fan, and will continue to carry it everywhere it is legal to do so. My wife on the other hand (literally) will be packing the HK.

  44. My first pistol was a Glock 19. It is still my favorite, although my Sig P229 has a much better trigger and is more accurate. I now own several Glocks in 9MM and .40 S&W. I noticed a few comments on the compensated Glocks. I bought a 19C without much thought. The compensated pistol is much more controllable, but is not a gun I would ever carry. The hot gasses and flames leaving the ports could create some interesting challenges in a self-defense situation. Wilson Combat makes match grade Glock barrels. I bought one to turn my 19C into a 19 not compensated. Works great.

  45. I bought my first Glock, a 19, in 1992. I now have 3 19’s, 3 17’s, 2 26’s and a 27 of various generations. The only changes I made common to each are TruGlo TFO sights and extended slide catches. Everyday I carry either one of my 19’s or a 17 I shortened the grip on to except 19 mags.(occasionally I carry a 26 if concealment is an issue) These guns have proven to be exceptionally reliable and accurate. I can’t even guess as to how many rounds my original Glock has through it. One thing I can say is that when a 21 year old gun is your go-to gun for personal protection and IDPA competitions the maker has done something very right.

  46. I had occasion recently to do some target shooting with a friend. He has a G23 Gen 3 w/compensated barrel, and I have a G22 Gen 4. We took turns shooting each other’s weapon, and, quite frankly, neither of us noticed a significant difference, although the slightly longer grip on the 22 fits my hand better. We both own Blackhawk Serpa polymer holsters which fit the G17/19 and the G22/23. We tried drawing each other’s weapon. Still not a significant difference. Maybe someone who regularly shoots competitively or LE who visits the range often can tell a difference, but we could not. The full size Glock 17/22 frame is, as the author notes, 1/2″ longer and about 3/8″ shorter in height than the compact 19/23. I can’t visualize any type of clothing that would conceal one but not the other.

  47. I carry a G26 gen 4 with grip mag extensions and try-dot sights, but also own a G17 gen 4 with the same sights. I love to shoot the 17 the most. The 26 gen 4 rocks for me with the interchangable back straps, and I have the beaver tail grip installed on the 17. Some days, the 26 is what works for me, and others the 17. The perfect compromise is the 19. It all just “depends”. I’ve carried a 19 gen 4 in a Fist IWB kydex, while the 17 tends to be my vehicle weapon. in any case, I carry all of them with Hornady Critical Duty +p. You can go with confidence any Glock IMO. 1

  48. I have resisted using +P ammo in any of my handguns because some manufacturers recommend against using +P. But this article says the author used +P ammo. I know Glocks are rugged but has anyone else had experience using +P in Glocks and is it safe to do so? I have a Glock 22 and a 23C (Compensated) barrel. Thanks. Excellent article, Bob Campbell.

    1. I use +P all the time in my G17 with no problem, as does mu local police department.

  49. Call me a heretic if you wish, but my HK P30 in .40 caliber gives a fraction of the recoil than the Glock 19 9mm does and gives me considerable more stopping power. The HK fits my hand like a glove and, unlike Glock pistols, you never read any stories or reports abut how reliable or failure free the HK’s are. Glock is going to have to do a lot more to get me to switch.

    1. 9mm P30 here. Agreed. The “reliability” so many tout of Glocks is what we have come to expect. That is just normal.

      Unfortunately, the things the article said that made the Glock good in the beginning- innovative and coming from a clean slate, can be said about it now. I think the design is tired. I’ll not discount their success, but I think it has more to do with unearned media coverage, deep discounts to police, and US manufacturers asleep at the wheel.

      There are a lot of options these days that are reliable and have much better ergonomics.

    2. The design is tired? Perhaps you can explain why other makers are bringing out their versions of the Glock. Also please explain the tired design of the 1911.

    3. Yeah, just my opinion. It’s flat. It’s blocky. Looks and feels like it was made from a lego set and really hasn’t changed much. Not sure about other manufacturer’s copying it. The S&W feels completely different (and better) to me plus has the interchangeable backstraps. The Sigs and Berettas are also more comfortable. I don’t see any similarities between those and the Glocks. Other than striker fired and polymer- which Glock copied from HK. Just seems to me that in this time they could do things to make the grip feel more natural. Or at least not sacrifice the other quality that led to their popularity – cheap. Now they are as expensive as everyone else. Again, that’s just me. If you like them…cool. Not trying to start a flame war or an Apple/PC debate here.

      As for the comment about 1911s, not sure that is relevant. That is a style of gun, not a manufacturer’s execution of it. And, the argument could be made that the 1911 is “tired” to the point of being “classic” and belongs in the same category as lever action rifles and Holley Double Pumpers.

  50. My carry gun is an eleven year old G-17 Gen 3 with no modifications. It has endured firing thousands of rounds without a single FTF and the bore looks brand new (I clean it after every range visit). Yes, the muzzle area shows some “holster wear” but that gives it character. I carry it in a Don Hume leather paddle holster. And it still shoots 1.5″ groups at 7 yards with the original barrel. Glock really is “perfection”.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit exceeded. Please click the reload button and complete the captcha once again.

Your discussions, feedback and comments are welcome here as long as they are relevant and insightful. Please be respectful of others. We reserve the right to edit as appropriate, delete profane, harassing, abusive and spam comments or posts, and block repeat offenders. All comments are held for moderation and will appear after approval.