When I got this assignment, I thought it fit me to a T. I have been lucky to fall into the orbit of a visionary editor who has asked me to stretch my limits in writing. This article challenged me on several counts. I have owned a number of Glock 19 handguns. I have traded them, and sometimes the trade was up and sometimes down. I should have kept the first one. I have carried the pistol professionally and fired it in any number of test programs.
The Glock 19 has proven free of irritating malfunctions of any type. The pistol, like all handguns, has both fans and detractors. I prefer the educated comments of those who use the handgun extensively. I ask myself what the Glock 19 has to offer that the SIG P228, Beretta 92C or the HK P7M8 does not. I have experience with the Smith and Wesson M&P compact and the Springfield XD compact as well.
Handguns must meet a certain baseline before getting into personal preference in operating mechanisms, sights and grip texture. This baseline is reliability. And this doesn’t mean a few hundred rounds by a writer; it means institutional testing and long service. SIG, Beretta, Glock, and H&K all have this type of reputation.
The Glock 19 isn’t a target gun or a hunter. It is chosen for personal defense. After 23 years of police work, I have a different worldview and a different understanding of criminal enterprise. I have ignored anecdotal comments, forays into self-promotion and false sentimentality. The less generous might insert buffalo chips at this point.
These are rigorous standards met by police reports among other important documents. When you are facing an adversary, it isn’t a Joe like you who has had a bad day. They do not usually need to be shot. The person attacking you with deadly intent is an angry and aggressive psychopath with no sense of the moral dimension of his crime. Their internal logic is different from yours.
Those thwarted in some criminal enterprise for profit in their use may recognize the error of their ways and stop. Those driven by compulsion cannot stop. You need a good tool to save your save and one that works every time. And the Glock 19 is a good choice because it will not fail as far as reliability goes.
However, is it the best choice for personal defense for you? Let’s take a hard look.
|Reasonably easy to control||Only 9mm|
|Safety features||No trigger safety|
|Has only one trigger action to learn compared to double-action types||Trigger is difficult to learn|
| May be concealed with proper leather selection;
it is the comfort level that is affected by the size of the gun
|Is not compact enough for concealed carry|
At this point, I need to make something clear: A full size Glock 17 9mm may be concealed. So may the smaller Glock 26. However, somewhere there is a compromise level. The Glock 19 isn’t significantly more difficult to fire well and control than the larger Glock 17.
Is this also true of the Mini Glock? Probably not. The difference in concealing the smaller guns is comfort.
|Fine for close-range work||Sights limit long-range accuracy (order night sights or replacement sights)|
|Light for the size and caliber||Difficult to control|
Control should be addressed by proper technique. The later model Glock pistols feature an improved frame design that aids control. Perhaps you should avoid +P loads.
|Attractively cubist||Square and blocky|
|Affordable compared to other service pistols||More expensive than cheap guns|
Like all good handguns, the Glock 19 is a compromise of sorts and has its pros and cons. The basic engineering of the safe-action trigger and polymer frame cannot be changed. The sights can be changed. The Gen 4 has changeable grip inserts. If you do not like the caliber, then there are other models available.
In the end a template for comparing all handguns should be considered. The Glock 19 is seldom a bad choice. It is a well made and reliable handgun worth its price. If the cons do not appeal to you then there are other equally reliable handguns. Read about them here and make your choice.
Packing the Glock 19
The Tagua 4-in-1 Holster is a very versatile holster, featuring a well-designed combination of belt slots that allow crossdraw, small of back, strong side or inside-the-waistband (IWB) carry. Frankly it is worth the price to use four different ways to discover which choice is really best for your body type! The crossdraw when driving and the IWB under a sport shirt in the summer makes sense.
One good choice for a defense load is the Winchester PDX 124-grain +P.
Winchesters’ bonded core 9mm load is controllable and powerful. The load is rated at 1,200 fps and, in an unusual happenstance, clocks 1198 fps from the Glock 19, almost exactly factory specification.
Velocity is a little less in the SIG P228 and a little more in the Beretta 92C. This load exhibits good accuracy and an excellent balance of expansion and penetration.
Do you have a Glock 19 in your arsenal? We would love to hear about your experiences so do share with us in the comments section.
Bob Campbell is a former peace officer and published author with over 40 years combined shooting and police and security experience. Bob holds a degree in Criminal Justice. Bob is the author of the books, The Handgun in Personal Defense, Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry, The 1911 Automatic Pistol, The Gun Digest Book of Personal Protection and Home Defense, The Shooters Guide to the 1911, The Hunter and the Hunted, and The Complete Illustrated Manual of Handgun Skills. His latest book is Dealing with the Great Ammo Shortage. He is also a regular contributor to Gun Tests, American Gunsmith, Small Arms Review, Gun Digest, Concealed Carry Magazine, Knife World, Women and Guns, Handloader and other publications. Bob is well-known for his firearm testing.
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