Customers often ask me to recommend a semi-automatic handgun for carry or home defense. When they do, I start by mentioning the Glock 19 Gen 4.
The G19 is a medium-sized lightweight polymer-framed 9mm. Its standard capacity magazines hold 15 rounds. It features Glock’s “Safe Action” trigger system with three passive safeties. Glock’s metal treatment (called Tenifer) and finish ensures that it is practically impervious to the elements. The new Gen 4 version also features a smaller grip circumference than earlier models and includes the Multiple Backstrap System allowing the pistol to accommodate those with larger hands. Glock’s sight options are the standard polymer fixed sights, steel fixed sights, adjustable sights and Glock night sights.
The primary reason I recommend the Glock 19 Gen 4 is its efficient size. I feel like it strikes the perfect balance between being big enough to handle well and compact enough to be easy to conceal. The Glock 19 grip is just long enough that your pinky finger isn’t left hanging from the bottom of the gun the way it is with most compact pistols. The size is just right to take a full shooting grip on the gun. That’s important because a good grip on your pistol translates directly into ease of shooting comfortably, accurately and quickly. Most manufacturers don’t produce an intermediate frame size between their full-size and sub-compact pistols. Glock got this one right.
The Gen 4 version of the Glock 19 is an upgrade from the earlier models in several important ways. The most obvious difference is the grip texture. A flat-topped pyramid stippling replaces earlier models’ orange peel feel. The new texture provides more traction without being harsh like some stippling.
Perhaps the most significant change in the Gen 4 Glock 19 is the grip circumference reduction. Glock made the grip width (front to back) 2mm shorter than it was on previous generations. I’ve handled a lot of Generation 2 and 3 Glocks and I always felt like they just barely fit my hand. The new Gen 4 G19 actually feels much more comfortable to me. For some shooters with smaller hands, this may even allow them to reach the trigger more easily than before. For those shooters with larger hands though, or for anyone who really likes the size of the third generation guns, Glock includes two additional grip backstrap panels to increase the grip width. The medium-sized panel adds back 2mm, making the grip the same width as a Gen 3 Glock. The large panel adds a total of 4mm to the grip, putting the grip width somewhere near that of a Glock 21 SF.
Another important reason to recommend the Glock 19 Gen 4 is the controls, which are pure simplicity. When there is a round in the chamber, the pistol is ready to fire. However, until the trigger is pressed, there are three separate safeties guard against an unintentional discharge. Pressing the trigger deactivates each safety in turn until the pistol fires. In this way a Glock is both safe and ready for immediate use.
The trigger pull of the Gen 4 Glock 19 is slightly different from earlier versions. It is just a little bit heavier than earlier models, at 5 pounds, but seems crisper overall. The trigger reset is as positive as ever.
Another big change on the Gen 4 version is the enlarged magazine release button. The new button makes it possible for a much wider range of shooters to eject their magazines from the pistol without rotating the gun in their hand or moving any part of their shooting grip other than their thumb. In addition, the new magazine release is reversible. Now a left handed shooter can set the gun up with the magazine release on the right side of the grip.
There are more expensive, and less expensive, brands available and the Glock 19 is priced low enough that it’s reasonable for anyone who is looking for a quality pistol. Additionally, the Glock brand is very common, meaning Glock Parts and Accessories are easy to find and less expensive than for most other pistols.
Perhaps the most important reason to consider a Glock is reliability. Glock’s 9mm models have long been known as some of the toughest and most reliable pistols ever made. The Glock 19 is a utilitarian pistol to be sure; when that’s what counts, the Gen 4 G19 is one you can trust.