Why I Chose a GLOCK 19 for Concealed Carry

By CTD Mike published on in Firearms, Safety and Training

I like all sorts of pistols, but I choose to carry the GLOCK 19. I believe the road to firearms knowledge is paved with money, embarrassment in classes and competitions, and rounds sent downrange. I’ve been fortunate to walk that path in the past 15 years or so, and I’ve tried out dozens of different carry guns in that time. Here is how I learned that for me, the GLOCK tops them all.

CTD Mike Shoots His Glock 19

My GLOCK 19 locks open as the last round is fired. Recoil is obviously very mild.

I didn’t want to like GLOCK. Personally I think it’s an ugly little gun, chunky and square and about as attractive as a plastic trash can. And they are so…ordinary. It seems like everyone has a GLOCK, from half the competition shooters to the Highway Patrolman writing me a speeding ticket. I wanted to be the clever guy ahead of the game who was somehow different and better. I was stubborn about this, shooting revolvers, a Steyr M, SIG Sauers, 1911s, and HKs for years. And every defensive shooting class I went to, I was out shot by guys with stock GLOCKs that came in those Tupperware® cases.

The light bulb finally went on for me at a grueling defensive pistol class in Kansas. Running a SIG P245 with a standard DA/SA trigger and six shot magazine, I paired up with a shooting buddy using a GLOCK 30, another .45 about the same size as my Sig. The scenario was a confrontation with three bad guys. We had to draw from the holster and shoot each bad guy three times in a common drill known as the “El Presidente.” Speed and accuracy mattered. My shooting buddy was always faster in getting the first aimed shot to the target, because his trigger pull was the same every time, smooth with a super short reset. I had to start with a long, heavy double action trigger pull because we were drawing from the holster, just like you would in real life. My first trigger pull with the SIG was long, heavy, and slow. My first shot was always less accurate than the GLOCK’s first shot. I also had to learn two trigger pulls depending on what mode my gun was in. I thought, “Isn’t the first shot kind of important? Don’t I want to be the guy who shoots his first shot quicker and straighter than the other guy shooting back at me?” DA/SA triggers are fine for the range but they aren’t for me when it comes to a carry gun.

I also noticed that I had to reload to finish this basic drill, and my shooting buddy with the GLOCK 30 did not. The SIG ran dry with two shots remaining every time, while the GLOCK could complete the drill and still have two rounds left. In the real world, my shooting partner would have two extra rounds left to deal with any of the three bad guys still posing a threat. This matters to me because three-on-one odds happen all the time in the real world. Real bad guys bring friends to buck up their courage, provide backup, and confirm their tall tales after a night robbing the town. I am convinced capacity matters. The GLOCK 19 holds 15+1 9mm hollowpoints in a flush fitting magazine. Think about that—shooting 16 rounds through a J-frame revolver means reloading three times. Have you ever frantically reloaded a revolver while the students who brought GLOCKs patiently watch and wait for you to finish the drill? I am no Jerry Miculek—it’s really embarrassing.

Glock 19

It won’t win any beauty contests, but defensive shooting isn’t about looking good.

Years of classes and competitions have shown me that GLOCK, M&P, Springfield XD and 1911 shooters make the fastest aimed shots after drawing from the holster and the fastest follow-up shots after that. These guns have the same trigger pull every time and are simple to get into the fight. The 1911 has a basic safety that turns off with thumb pressure applied where the thumb sits anyway. The others have no external safety to worry about at all. The slowest guns to get into the fight are Beretta and Smith & Wesson DA/SA guns carried with the safety on. The shooter must reach up to the slide to disengage the safety on these guns, then move their thumb back down to its normal position, then start pulling that long, heavy, double-action first shot. By this time, a good GLOCK shooter has already put two in the chest and is transitioning the muzzle to the next point of aim. After firing the first shot, 1911, M&P, and GLOCK shooters keep shooting faster than the rest because of their low bore axis. The barrels on these guns sit lower in your hand compared to other designs, making felt recoil travel more straight back instead of flipping the gun barrel upwards. This is why competition shooters place their hands as high as possible on their pistols. They want the barrel to sit as low as possible relative to their hands. It’s also why a GLOCK or M&P is more controllable than a Springfield XD in the same caliber and size–sorry XD fans.

I chose the GLOCK 19 over the GLOCK 17 because it’s easier to conceal and only gives up 2 rounds of capacity in a standard magazine. It fits my ordinary-sized hands just as well as the larger frame. The “baby” GLOCK 26 is too small. At Cheaper Than Dirt, we sell lots of aftermarket GLOCK 26 extended floorplates so folks can wrap all four fingers around the grip. Why not have a frame that goes that far out in the first place, and a magazine inside that frame holding five more rounds of ammo? It’s like Goldilocks and the Three Bears—the GLOCK 19 isn’t too big, isn’t too small, it’s just right. I carry it in a custom “tuckable” leather inside-the-waistband holster, and I can do anywhere in jeans and a tucked in t-shirt without anyone knowing I am armed.

More than anything else, I chose the GLOCK because it works. A target gun that is just going to be used at the range can jam sometimes and it doesn’t matter. A carry gun must be flawless. It must work 100% of the time with the ammo you put in it, without failing in the smallest way, ever. It should not require custom springs, extra polishing of feed ramps, or a healthy dose of gun oil to stay reliable. You should not have to know the best trick to bend the internal extractor to maintain its proper tension after shooting a case of ammo (sorry 1911 guys). I treat my GLOCK like a lawnmower—it’s hardly ever cleaned or maintained and yet I expect it to do its job with no drama. Its tennifer finish is the best I’ve ever seen at resisting rust, but I did clean it after my last range session-I was shooting rapid fire drills with TulAmmo in the pouring rain and there was a lot of mud from my magazines inside the grip when I finished. Just because I can abuse the gun without consequences doesn’t mean I should.

I’m not saying the GLOCK 19 is perfect. Sooner or later, some new design will come along and be better enough to make me switch. Maybe it’s the new Caracal; I haven’t tried one of those yet. Straight out of the box, the GLOCK does have a couple of flaws you can correct with easily available aftermarket parts. But that is another story! Stand by for an article on how to optimize your GLOCK for concealed carry, coming soon.

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Comments (59)

  • Tom rath

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    own severalGlocks ,and the Glock 19 is one of my favorites. It has mild manners for recoil, high capacity for ammunition, very accurate, and extremely dependable. The main reason I own handguns is for conceal and carry. I have a Glock in the 45 caliper, the 40, a nine millimeter, and the 357 sig. the Glock 19 is a generation 4 While the 45 is a Glock 30s.. The Glock 23 is a generation 3 and the 357 sig is also a generation 3. I also have a Glock 27. By far, the Glock 19 is the most pleasurable to shoot. that’s for stopping power, all of these guns fall short of the kinetic energy human beings can generate while running at you. Formula to use 1/2 body weight times feet per second X feet per second divided by a slug which is 32 .1740486
    this will give you the foot pounds energy a person can generate running at you. When you do the math, you’ll see placement is what counts.

    Reply

  • Jeep Dog

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    This article illustrates exactly what evolved for me. I carried a 1911 for years until the Chief wanted us to carry a “non cocked and locked” sidearm. We were issued Sigs (220’s and 226’s). The trigger on the Sigs really didn’t do it for me. I wanted my 1911 back. Now I’m retired. Before my father passed away, he gave me a Block 19. At first I was hesitant. After a few hundred rounds I have discerned that it is really an outstanding PDW platform, suiting my CCW needs. I installed the “Snake Eyes” sights (since I’m getting old and a little blind) as well as a tac light and laser for home defense deployment. All in all the Block 19 is perfect for me as my “carry” PDW! So, in my opinion, this article is “right-on”.

    Reply

  • Buppa

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    I didn’t know crap 30-40 years ago and asked a gun shop owner/full time cop for a recommendation and that was a GLOCK 19 and Walther PPK,
    to this day and many other guns tried and sold. I thank “Tiny” who has since passed away. Another old friend died and willed me his
    stage coach 12 guage, works for me!

    Reply

  • Billybob

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    For years I had to carry a government issued Beretta 96 D/A in plain clothes. Impossible to conceal in anything short of sub-zero parka. Now retired in a southern state where shorts and T-shirts are the norm. The Glock 19 is so much easier to conceal and much quicker with the first aimed shot. And the lighter recoil of the 9mm makes up in accuracy for the greater shocking power of the .40 S&W.

    Reply

  • Pete

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    Like Saul, I chose a Glock 19 as my first personal handgun about 30 years ago. I think that is a great gun, and I love it. That said, I transitioned to the G27 a few years ago (I have small hands) and that was my concealed carry weapon of choice. I acquired a full size G20 in 10mm for hunting a couple years ago – I liked it so much that I added a compact G29 in 10mm to my inventory. Right now I carry the G29 under heavier clothing and the G27 in the summer. The trigger pulls on all of these various Glocks are almost identical, they all point pretty much the same, and I like them all. For competitive shooting, I would probably go with the G19. To stop a threat, I prefer one or two shots from the .40 or 10mm versus four, five or six shots from the G19 (especially since I spend considerable time out in the backwoods).

    Reply

  • rsu11

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    The Glock 19 is the Toyota Camry of handguns. It does just about everything pretty darn well. It’s the only gun I have two copies of in my safe, both set up exactly the same way. Two Gen 3’s with the same sights and controls. I train and compete with them. Why two when Glock’s reliability is among the best? Simple. Should the unthinkable
    happen, due to bad ammo, a lightning strike or meteorite hit, I have exactly the same gun to keep on keepin’ on. I like the G19 that much.

    Flaws? The Gen3 grip is so-so. Mine wear skateboard tape to improve traction. The extended mag release and slide stop work well for me, also. Some don’t like the stock sights, which are easily replaced. Ugly? Who cares. The beauty is how it works.

    You may have noticed I didn’t include carry in my usage list. The G19 is just a bit too big for concealed carry for me, so a Kahr K9 or MK9 usually resides under my shirt along with a second mag in my pocket. Though different, the Kahr trigger is an easy change from the Glock. Until the G42 successor in the form of a 7+1 single stack 9 makes its appearance – and it will – I’ll stay with my Kahrs for carry.

    But Gawd, do I love the Glock 19!

    Reply

  • Steve

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    you say “sorry 1911 guys” because we sometimes make some mods, then you finish your article by saying “Straight out of the box, the GLOCK does have a couple of flaws you can correct with easily available aftermarket parts.” Hmmm

    Reply

  • dogsoldier0513

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    I am currently considering going BACK to a G19. Like the author, I have CCW’d EVERYTHING over the past 30 years, including a G19. Most of those years, though, saw me spending A LOT more time on the range, especially when I was an LEO. My current EDC weapon is an S&W 457, and a .45 demands more range time, especially the compact ones. However, THAT is about to change.

    Reply

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