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Glock 19 Review – A Breakdown of the G19’s Strengths and Generations

Glock 19 Review – A Breakdown of the G19’s Strengths and Generations
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The Glock 19 gets a lot of praise in the firearm community, but why? Furthermore, when folks sing the praises of their G19s, which generation do they mean? Let’s break down the Glock 19, examine all the advantages it possesses, and figure out which Generation is right for your needs.

The Glock 19 – Base Characteristics

The Glock 19 (also commonly shortened to the G19) is one of the most popular handguns in the world – you’ve probably seen many more of these pistols than you might think. This is largely because it’s a prized duty pistol and is used by many law enforcement officers, both in real life and on Hollywood’s silver screen.

Design and Size

The G19 is a midsize pistol, meaning it’s about 5 inches high and fits snugly in men’s and women’s hands without being too large or too small. Typical magazine capacity hovers around 15 9mm cartridges, although you can find smaller or larger magazines depending on the model. There are so many G19 pistols out there, and in different permutations, because it’s so popular.


As with practically all other Glocks on the market, the G19 has a reputation for being something of a workhorse. It’s tough, typically made of almost all steel or similarly durable metal, and will last for years even through significant wear and tear if you take care of it well.


The G19 is most popular perhaps because of its minimal recoil. The majority of people who purchase a pistol like this are either law-enforcement officers (who need a solid duty pistol or are issued one by their department) or those looking for a capable self-defense weapon. In such a situation, where you might have to defend yourself against an attacker, your hands will likely be shaking, and the last thing you want is your aim to be off.

The G19 produces such little recoil that even inexperienced shooters don’t have to worry about the pistol bucking too wildly in their hands. This, too, makes it a great pistol for women, who don’t have the same average grip strength as their masculine counterparts.


You can purchase top-tier G19s with excellent front and rear sights. Some of the best models even come with night sights to allow you to aim accurately in low-light conditions – say, inside the dim halls of your home if you suspect a burglar is in your house.

There’s one other important aspect of the G19 we should mention: it’s a popular concealed carry weapon. Compact G19 models are usually great for OWB (outside the waistband) or IWB (inside the waistband) concealed carry holsters. Their general reliability, compact size, and stopping power make them ideal concealed carry weapons.

Gen 3 vs Gen 4 vs Gen 5 – Which Is Best, and Why?

Deciding to finally purchase a Glock 19 for yourself is only the first step. You’ll also have to decide whether a Gen 3, 4, or 5 is suitable, and each type has slight differences that might impact your final pick. Let’s break each down one by one.

What Are Modern Glock Generations?

The Glock Gen 3 came out in 1998 and was a solid upgrade compared to the G2s that came before. These days, G3s-5s are practically all you can find due to their flat superiority compared to the Glocks that came before.

Glock 19 Gen 3

The Gen 3 was and is characterized by a specialized grip area with finger grooves that make the weapon easier to hold, even if you suffer from “constant sweaty hand syndrome”. As an added bonus, the G3 has a thumb rest on either side of the pistol, allowing you to comfortably rest your hand all the way around the weapon, even over long hours (a favorite characteristic for police officers). 

Furthermore, the Gen 3 typically includes a universal accessory rail. This allows Glock owners to add flashlights, lasers, and other optical accessories. Not only is this great for duty carry purposes, but it solidified the Gen 3 as a favorite pistol for gun hobbyists. One last advantage is that the Gen 3 has an extended extractor, which easily indicates whether the chamber is loaded.

Glock 19 Gen 4

The Gen 4 is much more modern, having been launched in 2010. These pistols feature an increased texture on the grip – sometimes, G4s forgo the finger grooves in favor of extra texturing, but it’s heavily dependent on a given model. Ultimately, which version is best for you depends on your personal preference.

You can also find many more G4s with ambidextrous features, so if you’re a leftie you’ll likely want to go for a G4 or higher.

Furthermore, G4s produce even smoother shooting compared to their earlier G3 cousins. Truly, G4s kick remarkably calmly in your hand when you pull the trigger, offering even better accuracy in tense situations. Plus, G4s typically come with interchangeable backstraps, allowing you to customize your pistol to your unique hand shape or liking.

Glock 19 Gen5

Finally, Glock 19 Gen 5s feature updated internal mechanisms, producing even more consistent accuracy. They also forgo finger grooves entirely, but use an updated group texture and an ambidextrous slide stop – many of these pistols are suitable for left and right-handed users equally well. 

The replaced internals included a bolstered trigger system, extractor, and firing pin safety. Many Glock-made G19 Gen 5s also come with “Marksmanship” barrels, which are supposedly there to improve performance and accuracy at a distance. More important is the flared magwell, which makes reloading quickly a breeze. Target shooting enthusiasts or police officers will get the most use out of this particular upgrade.

So which generation is best? It’s honestly up to you, but we’d recommend:

  • The Gen 3 for budget-minded shooters who like finger grooves

  • The Gen 4 for those who favor textured grips and low recoil

  • The Gen 5 for ambidextrous users and fast reloaders


Ultimately, any Glock 19 model will be well worth your time and money. Few pistols offer such consistent performance and phenomenal value over their lifespans, and the G19 will serve you well as a target shooting pistol, a self-defense weapon, and a concealed carry firearm all in the same package. Be sure to pick up a great holster to go along with it and you’ll be set!