Glock 19 Pros and Cons

By Bob Campbell published on in Firearms, Reviews

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.

Gray-haired man with Glock 19 pistol in ready position.

In offhand fire, the Glock 19 is tractable.

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.

Pros Cons
Functional appearance Ugly
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.

Pros Cons
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.

Pros Cons
Attractively cubist Square and blocky
Affordable compared to other service pistols More expensive than cheap guns
Gray haired man in blue shirt and gray pants standing on a gray material holding a GLOCK 19

After firing a full magazine, more often than not, the target is perforated.

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

Medium brown leather holster with black-handled GLOCK 19

For less than 30 bucks, this is a useful holster.

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.

Defense Loads

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.

SLRule

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 Shooter’s 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.

View all articles by Bob Campbell

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Comments (86)

  • Polish Rifle

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    I use the X-Grip adapter on a Glock 17 mag for my Glock 19 and, voila, you have the Glock19X. No need to mess with the existing clips to increase capacity, they’re used as spares, with the Glock 17 mags giving me two more rounds. It also makes the Glock 19 look better, and more importantly, feel better in my hand. Thought about customizing it through Robar, but, now, there’s no need. Shoots fine all the time. I’m real happy with it.

    Reply

  • kerry coffey

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    I am 68 years old, I carried a Colt .45 for years. My friend who lives in Florida and retired from the military pointed me to Glocks. Again, I am 68 years old, and control of either a model 19 or 17 has never been an issue with me. I can work on the trigger some and get it down to almost 3 lbs of pull and walk an empty milk jug along the ground up to about 35 feet. Just double tapping the hound out of it!
    IMO the best handguns ever made.

    Reply

  • Deadarmadillo

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    I like Glocks and have a 17 which IMHO is hard to beat. I also have a Beretta 92fs which I love also. The Glock stays in the house, the Beretta in my pickup. For concealed carry though I have a Smith & Wesson Shield. Striker fired like the Glock but with a manual safety. I know the yadda, yadda crowd will say the Glock is perfectly safe with training and maybe that’s so, but carrying a Glock or “cocked and locked” 1911 pointed at my personal parts just does not appeal to me.

    Reply

    • kerry coffey

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      I see the error in my ways carrying the colt .45 with one in the hole. It’s a wonder it never went off. However I feel considerably more comfortable carrying any of my Glocks with one ready to bark. I dropped one of my 17s in the garage twice already. That’s what i get for getting old I suppose.

      Reply

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