Glock 19 The Pistol

The question, "If you could only have ONE pistol which one would it be?" circulates in gun shops, among shooters, on blogs and forums on a daily basis.

My answer has evolved over the years.  There is no need to get into my past preferences at this time and as experience, training and time have progressed they have changed over the years.  After over 20 years in weapons training and experience with the past 8 years serving on a tactical team, my current "ONE Pistol" recommendation is without hesitation, the Glock 19. The adjectives I would use to describe this pistol are numerous, but the one that jumps out is versatile. 

Let's move through the reasons quickly and then break each one down in more depth:

  • Caliber
  • Size, Weight
  • Parts Availability
  • Proliferation of the platform
  • Durability and Maintenance
  • Cost
  • Accuracy
  • Ease of use / training
  • Reputation among people other than the ignorant me.
The pistol is chambered in 9 x 19mm Parabellum. With modern bullets and powders, the 9mm cartridge is no longer intelligently debated as being sufficient or not as a self defense or offense round.  In the words of a Navy Seal regarding the 9mm, "Many people wonder about us using the 9mm, you know what I tell them? If I put two in your chest and one in your head, it's not going to matter."  The 9mm ranges from 340 ft lbs to 500 ft lbs depending on load specifications such as powder and bullet weights.  At 1000 ft/s to 1400 ft/s delivering good penetration and energy, coupled with bullet expansion, the 9mm is plenty sufficient for the applications of self defense in the home, on the street, as law enforcement or military.  It is a proven cartridge.
With a 4" barrel and weighing in at 21 oz, this do all pistol is both light, somewhat compact, but still offers a barrel length which provides the shooter with accuracy, and a slide with a sight radius that offers rapid sight picture acquisition.  Compared to many other pistols, the 19 is lighter, easier to conceal and more comfortable to carry.  It is similar in size to a Colt Commander 1911, yet far lighter.  The 19's size makes it capable of not only being a concealed weapon, but it could also be utilized as the primary handgun for LE, military, or personal security work.

Two is one and one is none.  If you only have one of a certain part in our pistol, and it is in your current pistol, and that part breaks, you may no longer have a serviceable personal defense weapon.  Thus comes the spare parts requirement for any serious shooter.  One of the largest contract items of any military procurement deal for weapons, is the spare parts.  Every contract ordering weapons involves spare parts.  This is because they know that parts wear, break and get lost.  If you have firearms, you need spare parts for said firearms.  This will ensure minimal down time should a part fail, break, wear, or become lost.  Remember, Murphy is a real character and he lurks.

Glock spare parts are low cost, readily available, easy to find and literally as already stated in a synonymous way in this very sentance, EVERYWHERE.  Not only are they easy to find, they are easy to install.  Glock armorers manuals are online and most individuals are capable of performing 99% of the work installing or caring for a Glock pistol.  So check off the spare parts part of this discussion.

The Glock 19 been adopted by hundreds of military, police, and security agencies around the world.  I believe it is actually the pistol carried by the personal security detail of the Royal Family.  The proliferation of the platform itself speaks highly of its capabilities.  The Glock platform has seen rigorous testing throughout the world, surpassing many pistols in the process.  Being a prolific pistol, one is likely to come across them quite often.    This proliferation of the platform aids in the ability to find parts, accessories, as well as another pistol should you need one.  It is surely a positive thing to be familiar with the operation of perhaps one of the most common pistol configuration on the planet.

The Glock pistol, and all of its models being almost identically constructed minus minor differences due to caliber and pistol size, are extremely durable in nearly all conditions.  After surpassing all durability standards and tests in place, the Glock 17 (one size up from the 19) was accepted as the official pistol of the Austrian military, and after further testing by NATO became the official NATO pistol.  Aside from these tests, there are hundreds of "non-official" tests performed by various agencies and individuals. These include everything from weather and hostile environment related, to high round counts, lack of lube and overt abuse of the pistol.  The finish, mechanism and polymer frame have endured more than what most people will ever encounter and then some.  Durability is Glock, and Glock is durability, thus the Glock 19 is definitely durable.  If the reader wishes he or she can google these various test themselves, including my personal favorite, the gentleman who buries his Glock for a year or two and then digs it up, washes it off and fires 500 rounds through it.

Cleaning and maintaining the Glock 19 is a breeze.  Again the armorers manual can assist you through this or you can view my video on Glock cleaning seen below.  It is the easiest pistol to strip and clean that I have ever owned, and being lazy after a day at the range, I love them for this!  Also, it requires so little oil and cleaning that it saves you money in solvents and patches.

The Glock 19 ranges anywhere from $450-$550 these days.  LE can find them for $400 with 3 magazines.  The only pistol I would own aside from a Glock 19 would be a SIG P226 and those are around $900 or more.   The Glock 19 is the most affordable pistol for what you are getting.  Cost is low compared to most other platforms.  Any 1911 worth buying is going to start around $1500 (Springfield TRP or COLT).

Accuracy?  One name, Hickok45.  The Glock is accurate.  It is more accurate than most humans are capable of achieving with it.  Remember, the limiting variable in the accuracy of a firearm is us most of the time.  Glocks have a consistent trigger that is different from most non-striker fired platforms.  Not having a hammer and thus not having the long pull of a DA system offers a consistent shot to shot trigger.  Once ou are trained and used to it, the Glock trigger is very pleasing.  The sights can be upgraded and should be.  Warren Sevigny and Redback One make perhaps the best Glock sights I have seen.  The polygonal barrels require jacketed ammunition, however are highly accurate and easy to clean.  The Glock 19 is highly accurate as you can see here with a friend hitting steel at 50 meters.

The Glock 19 is very simple to operate.  With minimal external operating controls, the Glock simplifies the potential gunfight.  In using the Glock 19 simply grip, draw, present, sight acquisition, proper sight picture, trigger squeeze.  There is no thumb safety to engage, no beaver tail safety to properly grip, no hammer release and so on.  The pistol is "slick" in that there are very few protuberances that one risks catching on clothing, gear, or holsters.  With the primary safety built into the trigger, the Glock is by far one of the easiest pistols to train on and utilize.

With names like Kyle Defoor, Larry Vickers, Jason Falla, and many other leading experts in the art of the tactical handgun speaking highly of the Glock 19, one does not have to take my word for it.  The Glock has proven itself in the circles that know this subject most.  The Glock reputation in the shooting world is sound.

Yes like anything there has been flies in the ointment.  Glock had some issues with the roll out of the Generation 4 pistols having to recall some RSA (recoil spring assemblies).  Then there is the recent "brass to face" ejection problems with various generations of the pistols (often Gen 3 and 4).  Back in the 90's there were some "kabooms" or famous blown chambers (more seen in the .40 S&W due to thin chamber walls being that the barrel stock is milled from same blank as the 9mm giving the chamber much thinner walls).  However overall, the Glock and specifically the Glock 19 is a tremendous success.

The Glock 19 has it all.  It is the multi purpose, all purpose, all weather, all conditions, all carry, all situation pistol, all dependable pistol.