The Glock 19 Concealed Carry Handgun Review

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Glock introduced the venerable Model 19 as a scaled-down version of the full-sized Glock 17. The Glock 19 came to the marketplace in 1988 and has been a consistent best seller in the civilian market since that time. Factor in how many police departments and other agencies have chosen the Glock 19 as their standard-issue sidearm, and it is no wonder that many people consider the Glock 19 to be the most popular handgun of all time.

The Glock 19 Gen5 is the latest iteration in the Glock 19 evolution. Glock continues its long history of innovation with the upgrades to the Glock 19 platform. Each new generation of Glock pistols refines the design and further strengthens Glock’s reputation in the market for dependability.

Glock 19 – Built on a Pedigree of Excellence

The Glock 19 Gen5 has a thoroughbred pedigree. Each successive generation has seen improvements and upgrades that found acclaim and acceptance from users. The history of the generations of the Glock 19 are an impressive list of technical innovations.

  • 1988 – Glock introduces the Glock 19, a reduced-size version of the Glock 17, dubbed a “compact” design. The Glock 19 has the same basic polymer construction as the Glock 17, uses Glock 17 magazines. The Glock 19 is an almost instantaneous success in the marketplace.
  • 1991 – The first of the Gen 2 Glock pistols are introduced. The upgrades and improvements included the checkering of the front straps and trigger guard. Some changes were made to the serial number plate to meet ATF requirements in the US. The major change was the use of the integrated recoil spring assembly, which replaced the two-piece assembly on first-generation models.
  • 1998 – This year Glock added an accessory rail to the frame to allow mounting of tactical lights, lasers, and other accessories. The grip was changed to include finger groves and a thumb rest was added on both sides of the frame. The extractor was changed to act as a loaded chamber indicator and other internal modifications were made to improve the reliability and operation of the pistols.
  • 2010 – The first Gen 4 models in the Glock line were debuted at ShotShow in January 2010. Most of the updates were ergonomic. However, the recoil spring assembly was again addressed by changing to a dual-spring recoil system. 
  • 2017 – The introduction of the Gen5 models in the Glock line heralded changes that set the new line of pistols apart from their early versions. Most of the parts in the Gen5 Glocks are no longer interchangeable with the early generations. Updates included ambidextrous slide stop levers, new finish treatments, and polygonal barrel rifling. The magazine for the Gen5 models was also redesigned.

Glock 19 Gen5 – The Details

  • Caliber – 9x19mm
  • Safety – Glock Safe Action system
  • Magazine Capacity – standard 15 round magazine. Optional higher capacity magazines available
  • Barrel Length – 4.02 inches
  • Weight without magazine 21.16 oz.
  • Weight with empty magazine 23.63 oz.
  • Weight with loaded 15 round magazine 30.16 oz.
  • Trigger Pull – 28 N
  • Length Overall – 7.36 inches
  • Width on the Slide – 1.0 inch
  • Height – 5.04 inches

A Shooters Perspective

Shooting a Glock 19 is easy. The gun sits well in the hand and the grip angle makes bringing the pistol onto the target a natural motion. Put simply, the gun just feels good.

For anyone except those with the biggest hands imaginable, the grip is more than adequate. A generous grip platform translates into controllability and quick return to the target. Felt recoil is reduced by the grip design, which aids in reducing muzzle flip.

Mechanically, the Glock 19 reduces the movements it takes for a shooter to come from the holster to on target. There are no safe levels or buttons to worry about, making a move from the holster clean and quick. However, this lack of external safeties in no way creates a dangerous situation. The Glock Safe Action system prevents accidental discharges and makes the gun safe to carry in condition one.

The Glock Look

Many people complain that Glocks are dumpy and dull looking. I think that criticism is unwarranted in many ways. Before passing judgment on the looks of the gun, it is important to consider the function that the gun was intended to perform.

Glock designs are not intended to be a fashion statement or to win design contests, though I think they might do that when viewed in the correct way. Glocks are designed to be tools and, as such, show that basic philosophy in their design. Glocks are, in my view, elegant in their simplicity and devotion to function. 

Every engineering and design element on a Glock is intended to make it function dependably, shoot accurately, and endure the rigors of daily carry and use. Nothing is included that does not contribute to those functions. 

Keeping it Running

One of the biggest positives in my book for owning and shooting a Glock 19 Gen5 is the total simplicity of the gun itself. The simple design and a minimum number of parts make maintenance and care for the Glock 19 unbelievably easy. When fully disassembled for cleaning, the Glock has only 35 total parts. 

Fewer parts mean fewer things to break. This is a hallmark of reliability. In addition, most routine cleaning and maintenance does not require a full disassembly and can be done in a matter of minutes. Easier cleaning means most people will clean their gun more often, which in turn leads to a better weapon all around.

Taking it to the Range

All the engineering, design, and functionality talk aside, the real nitty-gritty comes when you get to the range. Until you start putting bullets through the barrel, you can’t really get a feel or understanding of what any gun is all about.

The Glock 19 Gen5 is all about the shooter. Glock has refined the Glock 19 Gen5 in ways that produce a gun that almost any shooter will find a pleasure to handle and operate. When I am evaluating a pistol, I try to keep from forming an opinion until at least 1,000 rounds of different ammunition have been loaded and sent on their way down the range. After shooting the Glock 19 Gen5, this is what I found.

  • Ammo – The Glock 19 Gen5 seems just as happy running my homebrew reloads as it does the most expensive factory self-defense ammo. I purposely load light target loads for inexperienced shooters to eliminate a bit of recoil. Many pistols have trouble cycling the light loads but not the Glock 19 Gen5. I experienced no problems running jacketed hollow points or premium self-defense loads like Hornady Critical Duty ammo.
  • Function – After more than 1000 rounds, I experienced no failure to feed, no stovepipes, and no mechanical problems. The Glock 19 Gen5 performed flawlessly during my test runs. 
  • Accuracy – Like any pistol, there are two factors to be considered when assessing a gun’s accuracy. One is the ability of the shooter, and the other is the quality of the ammo. This proved true for the Glock 19 Gen5 as well. My reloads printed slightly larger groups than the expensive self-defense factory ammo. This doesn’t surprise me. I did experience an occasional flyer on my targets. These seemed to happen later in the day as fatigue began to be a factor as well. All in all, the Glock probably shoots better than my ability.

Overall, the Glock 19 Gen5 didn’t offer up any surprises. After years of shooting, I have come to expect Glocks to be dependable and fun to shoot. 

Customization & Modification

No gun should be naked. The Glock 19 Gen5 is no exception. Unfortunately, the gun is so new that there just aren’t a lot of aftermarket upgrades available yet. This will change as more and more people opt into the Glock 19 Gen5 platform and demand the sorts of upgrades that all shooters seem to want.

There are a few things that I always want to add to a self-defense pistol. Improved night sights are one feature that I try to address quickly. Glock has anticipated that desire and offers AmeriGlo night sights as an option with the Glock 19 Gen5 package. Kudos to Glock for that foresight.

Speaking of night operations, the addition of a good flashlight is, in my opinion, critical. Fortunately, the Glock 19 Gen5 comes with an accessory rail integral to the frame which makes mounting a flashlight quick and easy. For information sake, my choice is almost always the Streamlight TLR-1 HL

Don’t forget your carry options. I prefer an inside the waistband holster for my everyday concealed carry. To manage a fully dressed out Glock 19 Gen5, my choice is the IWB holster from Bravo Concealment.

Finally, don’t forget to consider what clothing you will wear while carrying concealed. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to concealed carry clothing that covers a wide range of dressing options to compliment your weapon.

Sorting it All Out

Glock just plain delivers. Glock pistols do what anyone who carries a gun for self-defense or as a part of their job wants that gun to do. The function reliably and they shoot straight. The Glock 19 Gen5 is no exception and fulfills those requirements straight out of the box. Add a few accessories, spend some time on the range, and I think you’ll become enamored with carrying and shooting the Glock 19 Gen5.

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