Glock 23 — Compact Size, Full-Power Protection

Glock 23 left angled

Choosing the right concealed carry firearm is an important decision that should never be taken lightly. After all, you are making a decision as important as, well, life or death for and your loved ones. The reason we carry is for self-defense and the ability to defend those around us. The best advice anyone can give on handgun selection is to first look to what the professionals carry—on and off duty. While there are a ton of great choices to choose from, this will likely narrow your choices significantly, and Glock will be on the list.

The perfect compromise between the full-sized Glock 22 and subcompact Glock 27, the Glock 23 provides plenty of firepower that is easily concealed and deployed.
The perfect compromise between the full-sized GLOCK 22 and subcompact GLOCK 27, the GLOCK 23 provides plenty of firepower that is easily concealed and deployed.

Glocks are carried as a primary duty weapon by military and police units around the globe. So, it is not much of a leap to understand why you want a slightly smaller version of your duty weapon for off-duty protection as well. For fans of the .40 S&W, that would be either the Glock 23 or Glock 27.


Classified as a compact .40 S&W, the Glock 23 where the Glock 27 would be a subcompact, the Glock 23 tapes out at a touch over 7.25 inches in length, 5.0 inches high and 1.18-inch thick. Therefore, compared to the smaller Glock 27, it’s nearly an inch longer and roughly .75-inch taller.

Unlike the G27, the G23 features a full frame, allowing the shooter the opportunity for a better four-finger grip. With the G27, your pinky will most likely be hanging free. Sure, you can get an extended magazine or grip for the 27, but what have you accomplished? Making a subcompact into the same size as a compact? I do own subcompacts and have carried each at one time or another—including the G27. While I do not feel this impedes accuracy to the point of making it less safe to carry, the enhanced grip size does offer additional comfort and replicates the grip I am used to with my G22s.

.40 S&W Cartridge
The .40 S&W cartridge offers shooters higher capacity than .45 ACP, and more punch than the 9mm making it popular for concealed carry.


Caliber and options are where the G23 really shines. Being built for the .40 S&W, the Glock 23 uses a beefier frame than a 9mm. This allows manufacturers to build a beefy 9mm barrel to fit in the .40 S&W frame. However, the reverse would not work. You cannot scale down a .40 S&W barrel to fit in a 9mm frame. Another option for the .40 S&W frame is to shoot .357 SIG. I warn you, the round can be a bit squirrely to shoot, but I like the option and switched to it for carry and home defense. With the .357 SIG round, you can use the same magazines as your .40 S&W. For the 9mm option, you will need to pick up Glock 19 magazines for a flush fit, although a G17 magazine will work but will stick out a bit.


A thumb safety looks good on paper and is absolutely necessary for a single-action only pistol such as the 1911 to carry cocked and locked. For double-action pistols such as the GLOCK, a thumb safety would be a detriment that could snag on clothing or prevent a failure if the shooter did not disengage the thumb safety. Instead, Glock pistols are equipped with the Glock’s “Safe Action” System, a fully automatic safety system consisting of three passive, independently operating, mechanical safeties, which sequentially disengage when the trigger is pulled and automatically reengage when the trigger is released.


Gen 4 Glock pistols such as the G22 come standard with multiple backstraps, which allow the shooter to adjust the grip size of the frame between a small, medium and large. The small is slightly smaller than the Gen 3 pistols. The medium and large increase the grip size by 2mm and 4mm respectively. The medium should be the same size as the Gen 3 guns, so the option to go smaller or larger is significant from a dealer point of view, but aids in resale or comfort at the range if multiple family members will be shooting.

Gen4 vs Gen3 Magazines
There are differences between the Gen3 and Gen 4 magazines. However, this only matters if the mag release has been reversed for lefthand.

Enlarged, Reversible Magazine Release

This is an awesome upgrade for Glock that Glock shooters had be clamoring about for some time. It also eliminates one more common after-market upgrade. The magazine release can be set up on the left- or right side of the gun and the enlarged size makes it easier to engage when under pressure or while wearing gloves. Also worthy of mentioning, during the 1,000 rounds and several dry fire sessions, I have never once experienced any unintended magazine drops due to the increased size.


The Glock 23 is an excellent choice for concealed carry and home defense. It is not as small as the G27, which is an important consideration when carry options are limited due to warm weather clothing choices. However, it is not as large as a full-sized G22, but the grip, controls and operation are identical. Is it a perfect compromise? No. I would never compromise when it comes to defending my life or that of my loved ones. Is it the perfect gun under the right conditions and one to bet your life? Every day should be a Glock day!

Share your Glock story, and list your favorite models in the comment section.


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 (32)

  1. “For double-action pistols such as the GLOCK”
    Glocks are single-action

    “1.18-inch thick”
    This is at the grip.
    More importantly, the slide of the Glock 43 is only 0.87 inches wide.

    1. Winky,

      The action type is debatable. In truth, it is neither a single or double action. (When you pull the trigger it cocks the striker; however, in reality it is a semi-pre-cocked striker-fired conglomeration). That’s why Glock labels it a safeaction system and not a double or single action. However, most shooters seem to identify with it as a DAO more than the single action Browning Hi Power or 1911 for example. The maximum width is as stated 1.18 inches. The slide is narrower as you correctly cite. ~Dave Dolbee

  2. I have shot Glock but don’t own a Glock. My personal preference is Springfield. I like the trigger, the axis bore, and the cant of the handle. It’s much more akin to a 1911 and as someone who doesn’t train daily, more like monthly, it’s more of a natural “point and shoot” gun so that focusing on the front sight is my focus rather than the angle of my wrist or how I’m pointing through my presentation. I live in South TX. Bottom line is that ANY double stack pistol presents special challenges when you wear shorts for 9 months out of 12. If I lived in WI or MI or MO and was able to wear heavy coats and the like, I’d carry a 1911 without batting an eye. That all said, it’s typically my 3.3″ XD-S in a CrossBreed IWB or a Taurus TCP .380 ACP for pocket carry.

  3. There can be no doubt that Glocks are fine weapons. But, they are not for everyone. I grew up with 1911’s and developed the habit of using a manual safety. There is none on the Glock.
    I am 72 had have shot all my life. I am pleased that I have never had an accident with a gun and have only come close once. My close call came with a Glock 27, gen 1. I had modified it with after market tritium sights, a trigger job, and a different recoil spring. I intended it to be my serious carry gun.
    I was practicing drawing the unloaded pistol from my IWB holster, bringing the pistol up to shooting position dropping the striker on a snap cap and then re-holstering. I was in the middle of my practice sequence and was distracted by an unexpected event. As I drew the weapon, my finger went into the trigger as it cleared the holster and dropped the striker as the pistol was beginning to come up. Not what I intended at all. I had the trigger pull shortened and lightened, but not that much. It was hardly a “hair trigger”.
    Had I been practicing my drill with a loaded weapon, I would have put a hole in my foot or the floor in front of my foot. It was just too easy when startled to automatically put my finger in the trigger guard and trigger the shot. All that was required was to put my finger on the trigger and it was reflex after that. It was too easy and too natural.
    After that, I acquired an aluminum half moon device with an adjustment screw that went behind the trigger and kept it from being depressed as long as it was in place. The device filled the space behind the trigger. It stuck out the opposite side and was easy to displace or pop out by merely touching the protuberance on the opposite side and just fell away. I was content with that for a while and felt it would be a safety step making it safer to carry the pistol with a round chambered.
    Sometime later, I was again doing my drill and the aluminum device had come part way out of the trigger guard and jammed in the holster. It did not keep me from drawing the pistol but slowed my draw and made the draw stroke awkward.
    I no longer trust myself with a Glock as my concealed carry weapon. I carry either a combat commander sized .45 ACP, 1911 style, cocked and locked, or in warmer weather, a Ruger SR40C which is quite similar to the Glock in several respects — but it has a manual safety that falls naturally under my right thumb. The Ruger is a small pistol and can actually fit inside my front right pocket on some trousers and almost disappears in my self hand made IWB.
    I can draw the Ruger from my IWB holster, bring the sights up to eye level and my right thumb naturally drops the manual safety as the pistol sights come into line. I, personally, feel much safer with the Ruger or my Smith & Wesson 1911 SC, cocked and locked.
    Perhaps it is merely 50 odd years of experience with manual safeties. However, it seems to me to be a natural reflex to find your finger inside the trigger guard. Years back, I did some training in the military and I noticed that just about all my students naturally and automatically put their fingers on the trigger instinctively. I also know that military did, for a period of time, train to carefully handle a Personal Defense Weapon with the trigger finger laying along side the frame and not inside the trigger guard– and never, ever put a finger on the trigger until just immediately before shooting. The point is that it takes a fair amount of training to break the instinctive habit of putting your finger on the trigger.
    For me, the idea of those who buy a gun, perhaps a couple boxes of ammo, and then do little more than load the gun and put it aside, feeling completely safe are a serious concern. They do not train, like police departments and military train. I doubt, and fear, that they will not think about keeping their finger off the trigger and along side the frame until the are ready to shoot. I am especially concerned in an emergency situation, when they are surprised, scared or startled that an inexperienced pistolero will accidentally trigger a shot with the Glock with serious unintended consequences. It almost happened to me. I am experienced and trained. I know that too few “civilians” not in the military or LEO’s do not train and drill. It seems to me that having a pistol that is a bit more difficult to operate is a well considered safety feature and, in my experience, there is no way to make a Glock that safe.
    My concern is not the inherent safety of the Glock, but the loose nut on the operating end. The untrained, inexperienced, spooked and nervous novice who bought a Glock because it was so well recommended by well trained and experience professionals is my concern.
    In my opinion, Glocks are fine for serious, trained professionals but not so much for the untrained, inexperienced novice.

    1. I simply don’t chamber a round unless there is an imminent threat which up to now has been coyotes. I find a round in the chamber is more risk than an external threat for my usage. It is also easy to see if the Glock is cocked by looking at the trigger position, a very nice feature.

    2. Macll,

      This is the exact same concern I have with my Glock 23. I don’t always have my finger on the trigger, in fact I usually don’t. I have caught myself a time or two.

      This is the reason I like my 1911’s and my Kahr. I have even been given my Keltec P11 back and kind of like that. The jury is still out on this one though. A 9lb trigger and a long stroke hurts the accuracy.

      I do have hopes for the P365.

  4. I received a surprise G23 from a family when he heard I was looking for a home defense weapon! He knew I had been to the range several times trying out most of the better more expensive handguns. He also works in the industry and is an qualified armorer! I narrowed the caliber down to 40S&W and my decision was made when I learned that 65 % of Law Enforcement use Glock and many the G23! I live the fact that I have the option of 40S&W, 9MM, 357 and 22 in one gun just changing barrels and mags where necessary. Best of all my adult daughter also fell in love with it and we can share at rsnge, shooting times. With not a single problem in over 2 years of fun I feel confident in recommending along with LE and my success this GREAT GUN! Women don’t be shy my best friends wife shot my gun as her first gun ever and loved it!

  5. There are 4 options; there is also a .22 barrel that can be put on the Glock 23. I have one for it. I would not doubt that Glock even does or could make a .22 WMR. Of course the magazines are different but it is a change. I have the .22 one.

  6. I own both a Gen 4 – 17 and a Gen 3 -27. The 27 is my carry gun. Both have received the .25 trigger job. To answer one of the questions, above, the way to end up with a three cartridge Glock is to purchase appropriate barrels/magazines — my 9 MM barrel is from Lone Wolf Enterprises and worked perfectly, shooting to the same point as the .40. I also have a .22 conversion kit for the 27 which works equally well and saved a bunch of money while allowing valuable trigger time.

    Without reservation I can recommend Glock firearms. They have everything you need in a combat handgun and nothing you don’t.

    1. You can go to Striecher’s Police Supply or GT Distributing and order a Lone Wolf 40-9mm barrel for $100 delivered to your door. that way you can shoot 9mm from your Glock. Just use the 9mm magazines in your G23 or G27. You can order a Glock .357 Sig Barrel for $150 and use the same magazine. That way you have 3 calibers in on pistol for less than 1/2 the cost of buying the 3 guns individually.

    2. You can’t change calibers on a 9mm by changing out the barrel.. but you can on the .40 cal & .357 Sig models by barrel changes.

    3. On thing about the 9mm conversion… if you get a 4th generation Glock 23, you may need to change the guide rod recoil spring to a 3rd gen to shoot 9mm. It is a problem that only affects about 1% of the .40 Glocks so you might not have a issue. Seems the Gen 4 is a little stronger the 40-9mm barrel is heavier than a normal barrel and that can cause cycling issues with some brands of 9mm ammo such as Winchester white box. I have a Gen 3 G23 and G27… and 9mm of all brands work perfectly in them. Lone Wolf has a caution on their web site about this. It is a simple & cheap fix if needed.

    4. To run the 40-9mm Lone Wolf Conversion, you’ll want to get the 11# recoil spring, recoil spring guide rod, and the “adapter” from lone wolf that will make the recoil spring guide rod fit into Gen4 slides…due to the difference b/w gen 3 and gen 4 recoil springs. I do this in a G22 Gen4 and it runs perfectly. The stock 17# spring is too much for many 9mm loads to allow proper cycling.

    5. Yes, you can change out the barrel in minutes to 9mm or 357 SIG, to give you three opions. You need to change to the 9mm magazine for that barrel, but you can use the same magazine for 357 Sig. Minor/cheap mods to 9mm are recommended. But you now have three ammo options on the cheap 🙂

  7. I purchased a Gen 4 Glock 23 this last fall after doing a tremendous amount of research. I also rented and tested out several different guns at the shooting range that I had an interest in. I finally narrowed it down between the Glock 19, and the Glock 23 and then focused my testing between the two in both the Gen 3 and Gen 4. I did not notice any significant difference in recoil, and ended up choosing the Gen 4 Glock 23 because of the ability to shoot three different sizes of ammo. When there is a ammo shortage, I have three options when looking for ammo. Also I have several relatives and friends with military and LE backrounds that I respect and trust that assured me that I would be very happy with either of the two handguns. I have a couple that have shot in competitions over the years and shoot what they carry. The only accessories I have purchase have been factory night sights, Jentra plug, 22 round magazine for home defense, and a LaserLyte Training Cartridge. I must say that I am extremely happy with my Gen 4 Glock 23, and would highly recommend it. I use it with the medium beavertail backstrap which increased my accuracy, and shortened the time to get back on target. The LaserLyte training cartridge has really bumped up my accuracy and is a quality product, I have multiple targets set up thruout my house with relective tape on the bullseye, and use them to do realistic home defense dry fire training drills under different lighting conditions. I still shoot my other guns, but this one is one of my favorites, and also my EDC,

  8. I’ve been carrying a first generation G23 since Clinton’s second term.
    Only problem I’ve had is it throws the brass over my right shoulder and once didn’t have a firm grip and hit me between eyes at the bottom of my forhead with warm brass. Defineitly gets your attention.s

  9. David2014,

    Thanks for the post. I am thankful I have never had an accident with a loaded gun. I have been present when several others did. But, the only reason my record is unblemished is that I was practicing my draw with an empty Glock 27. Don’t misunderstand. I am not saying that my Glock 27 was not accurate or reliable. It is just that it is entirely too easy for me to drop the striker on a round when not wanted if distracted or excited. Fortunately, it happened while I was practicing my draw from an IWB in front of the TV. I knew instantly what I had done when the striker fell on the empty chamber. I was angry with my self.
    My solution was to search out and buy the half moon device that manually blocks the trigger. I used that for a while but, again, when practicing, the half moon device had come partially out from behind the trigger and snagged on the IWB for a bit. I got the pistol out and the half moon device fell on the floor. It interfered a bit with the draw but did not prevent it.
    The bottom line is that I do not trust myself with the Glock Safety Trigger. For practice at the range, or in a match, a Glock might be just fine. For serious carry when I might have to use it in an emergency situation, I do not have confidence in the system. It is possible I might just shoot myself in the leg trying to get the gun out of its holster when spooked.

  10. I worked at a large Law Enforcement firing range for several years. We had officers training there from all over the state. I can’t begin to tell you the number of days we had 50+ officers shooting countless 1,000’s of rounds [various calibers] from Glocks. No Failures to Fire. No Failures to Eject / No Stove piped rounds. That is why I carry a Glock. Dependability / Reliability.

    I have both the G23 & G27 and generally open carry the G27. Adding a 0+ finger extension to the G27 [or the G26] magazine will not affect your concealment ability one bit. Adding 1/2″ to the length on the front side of your grip is absolutely unnoticeable. As when the gun is holstered, that part of the grip is pointed down toward the body / belt area…and will not be sticking up where it can be noticed in any way. With IWB carry the gun’s ‘footprint’ is still the same as not having the grip extension….. and I have no problem conceal carrying my G27 in my front jeans pocket using a Uncle Mike’s #4 holster. The finger extension will not interfere with your pocket draw… if anything it will assist it because you have a better grip. It certainly won’t hang on anything.

    All the Pierce 0+ extension does is give your pinky a 1/2″ longer grip on the front of the grip… it dose not increase the length on the back side of the grip. A 0+ extension does NOT increase your bullet capacity.

    That said, it is certainly very hard to beat the overall every day utility of a G23…. especially if you equip it with a Crimson Trace laser. You put your hand on the grip… the laser comes on. You take your hand off the grip… the laser goes off. You have 13 rounds of devastating fire power you can deliver right on the 3/8″ bright red dot.

  11. Whyizzit that so few people have been unable to locate the delete key on their computer?

    If you don’t like Glocks (or Rugers, or CZ’s, or S&W’s or HK’s) just ignore the posts. I like Glocks, I like Smiths, Walthers, Rugers, Colts and many others. If The Shooter’s Log doesn’t have what I’m interested in, I do a Google search and… SURPRISE! I can usually find it.

    What I don’t do is cry because The Shooter’s Log (and many other sites) don’t offer exactly what I want at any given moment. To expect them and other sites to do so is unrealistic, self-centered and asinine.

    Enjoy (or don’t) what is presented. No one has placed a gun to your head and forced you to look at the posts here.

    1. Hold on rth60098…. you know how pushy that Donna Hornsby can be. She may have gone to his house and forced him to read this Glock article all the way to the end and then write a book report. LOL

  12. Dave,

    The Glock is admittedly a fine and popular gun. However, Glock is not for me. I have owned several Glocks and they have all functioned well and been accurate.
    I am 72 years old and have shot almost all my life. I have shot competitively and recreationally for over 50 years. I am proud to say that I have never had an accident and have only come close once. My one near miss was with a Glock and I determined it was just too easy to trigger the round.
    The near accident happened when I was practicing drawing the Glock from an IWB holster. The gun was unloaded and I was trying to increase my draw speed. I was focusing on speed in getting the pistol out and presenting it. I drew and my finger went automatically into the trigger and pulled. The pistol dry fired on the empty chamber. I thought about that and got worried about carrying the pistol with a round in the chamber.
    I found an alumunim half moon device that could be inserted behind the Glock trigger to prevent it from being pulled. I tried that and was satisfied — for a while. Again, while practicing my draw, the aluminum wedge behind the trigger came partially out and snagged briefly on the holster. I managed to pull the gun but the snagging made the draw awkward.
    It looked to me like trying to draw the Glock quickly from an inside the waist band holster, for me, was not going to be a very satisfactory experience, especially if the gun was loaded and I was excited. Too easy to trigger the round when excited.
    I have a friend of very long standing. He is a competitive shooter and former SWAT officer from a large department in CA. I told him about my experience. He tells me that he saw more inadvertent discharges with Glocks than any other weapons. Given my personal experience, I thought it made sense. It is just too easy to pull that trigger in a hurry and when excited.
    My solution is now the Ruger SR40C. It is a small package with 15 rounds, places my hand high in relation to the bore axis so muzzle flip and felt recoil are reduced. Plus I get back on target a fraction of a second sooner. It has a loaded chamber indicator and has a strong manual safety. It is easy to draw from an IWB holster and naturally drop the manual safety with my thumb as the gun comes up for sight alignment. It is very accurate and, in my hands, every bit as accurate as my Glock 27.
    The only modification I made was changing the perfectly fine factory sights for the XS Sight Systems Express large dot tritium filled sights. Really fast sight pickup. It works for me and I am not as concerned about carrying a round in the chamber as I was with the Glock 27.

    1. Carrying and drawing a Glock 27 chamber loaded should be no different than carrying a .38 spl revolver fully loaded. If you didn’t like the Glock’s 5 pound trigger pull… you might should have tried a heavier California / New York trigger. I carry a Glock 23 or 27 with the 5 pound trigger every day in a Black Hawk Serpa II OWB belt holster. Never had a safety issue.

  13. I never much cared for Glocks. I always thought them too ugly and was a traditional, all metal gun person. A friend at work talked me into an SF 30, .45 ACP. Favor this round from my Army days as would always put the enemy down right now, no discussion needed on any comment board. A 9mm may get the job done but as Bert Lance said ” If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” My gun is out of the box stock: dead on accurate, feeds anything I put in the mag, never had a failure to function of any kind. I keep it box stock for any liability issues, want Glock in the soup if I have to go to court. I still think Glocks are UGLY. Leave the kids my blued Colt 1911 for heirloom. Walking down the street I leave them the Glock. I still carry the 1911 when in my military shoulder holster (M-7) and love it but cross draw, under the shirt on my belt it is the Glock. j PS It is still UGLY.

  14. Sooooo, done with yet another Glock lovefest! Is there a way to block further blogs from CTD that concerns Glocks? Has the Glockbola virus so infected CTD staff writers that they totally discount those other manufactures and firearms that are as good or better then “Glock”?? How about a blog of equal weight on the Springfield XD/XDm, Sig, HK, or KalTec to name a few.
    Just in case prespective has been lost by the staff bloggers at CTD it’s important that they be reminded that a fairly large percentage of readers don’t find the Glock to be the handgun of handguns. Yes, Glock produces a fine platform, so does Springfield XD/XDm. The same can be said for Sig, Colt, Ruger, S&W . . . . . .
    I suppose this will fall on deaf ears and revive an avalanche of negative comments. Frankly, guys . . . I don’t give a damn! There is a great deal more in the handgun market than Glock and I’m interested in what you may have to say about them. Here’s an idea, why don’t you wait till Glock comes out with there Gen 5 series before you write another Glock blog?
    Maybe you could start a CTD/TSL: ALL ABOUT GLOCKS blog site?
    I’m sure that this will insence everyone who kneels at the alter of and pray to the Demi-God of Glock. To bad, to sad, cause there are other automatics as good or better out there that ain’t Glock and that a fact.
    So, how about it folks, do you know of any other platforms you could review and blog about or do you need a suggestion or two?

  15. I have a Glock 23. I have shot other Glocks and still go back for more of my 23. I have the .22 conversion kit but it jams on occasion. I think the spring won’t let it work correctly. If I ever have the opportunity to buy another Glock I would but another 23. Great to carry, great to shoot. All the other Glock 40 S&W mags fit just fine for larger capacity. Thanks Glock.

    1. Own a model gen 3 23 and have tricked it out every way possible except trigger mods and have a gen 4 model 22 on the way. I love my gen 3 it’s accurate in fact 4″ group 29 yards right out of the box. Highly recommend Glock simple to work on extremely simple since I installed all my parts.

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