There’s a saying about handguns that goes like this:
All guns should be Glocks. All Glocks should be 9mm. And all Glock 9mm should be 19s.James Yeager, Tactical Response
Granted, there are some other great handguns out there, but if you’re buying a handgun — perhaps your first, perhaps your only — the Glock 19 is a stand-out choice. It’s small enough to carry, and big enough to use in a fight.
First, Glock perfected the modern striker-fired pistol. Others had tried polymer bits and pieces, and some had tried striker-fired weapons, some had introduced
high-capacity handguns, and some had even combined all three into the same gun before Glock did (I’m referring to the H&K VP-70Z, a truly awful weapon). When Glock showed the world the Glock 17 (also in 9mm, the full-size version of the Glock 19), there must have been a lot of gun designers who collectively smacked their foreheads with the palms of their hands.
Here’s my take on the Glock 19 and some of its competitors, including the externally-similar Smith & Wesson M&P 9, the Springfield Armory XD, and the Ruger SR9 and Kahr PM9 (not pictured). Perhaps I should mention that I am not sponsored by Glock, nor reimbursed by it in any way.
tripthe trigger and it will stay in the rearward position, as shown in the photo. In this condition, there is no way this gun is going to fire, no matter how many rounds may be in the magazine. In this condition, if there is a round in the chamber it is a dud (that is, it did not fire when the trigger was pulled; a fairly rare occurrence), so the chances are that the chamber is empty, too. For me, this is a huge plus in the safety column for the Glock. The M&P and the XD have different trigger systems, which you may either love or hate, but the fact of the matter is you cannot tell at a glance that either of those guns is safe.
short frameversion of the full-size Glock 21, so the feel will be more like that of the smaller-caliber Glocks. (Update: This holds true through the Gen3 Glocks. The Gen4 and Gen5 Glocks come with interchangeable backstraps, so the grips can be modified if necessary, fitting a wider range of hand sizes.)
If you spend any time handgun shopping, you’ll soon discover that in addition to the choices mentioned above there are many, many others, and other configurations, too. You could probably drive yourself nuts trying to evaluate all the handguns and all the handgun features. This is especially true if you don’t have access to loaner guns to try out beforehand, as after doing all your research you’ll have to buy your guns to see if they work as well for you as they seem as though they will on paper.
The latest version of the Glock 19 currently is designated the G19 Gen5 FS. In California and other states with firearms restrictions, you may only be able to buy the older Gen3 G19. Don’t worry; this is still a fantastic handgun. Compared to the Gen3, the G19 Gen4 has a bigger magazine release (that can be installed for either right- or left-handed shooters — with updated magazines to match), interchangeable back straps, and a slightly heavier trigger. Compared to the Gen4, the Gen5 has a different firing pin safety plunger,
marksmanship barrel, front slide serrations to make it easier to doing press-checks, and a slightly improved trigger, but without the front finger guides on the grip.
Obviously, nothing man-made is perfect, but if you’re looking for a defensive handgun the Glock 19 is pretty near ideal, and unless you are at one of the extremes in body/hand size, there’s nothing so wrong with it that a trip to Front Sight won’t provide a work-around, if not a cure.