In 1982, the Austrian Army adopted the Glock pistol as a replacement for the aging Walther P38. A full-size, polymer-framed, striker-fired pistol, the Glock arrived in the United States in 1986 as the Glock 17 — reflecting the 17th patent that its inventor had filed and, coincidentally, its magazine capacity.
Despite its popularity, the Glock 17 was not as compact as some would prefer for concealed carry. In 1988, Glock introduced the compact variant of this weapon — the Glock 19 — to fulfill the need for a lighter, more concealable alternative.
As a general-purpose firearm, the G19 is suitable with a variety of holster choices, but what should you be looking for specifically in a Glock holster?
Today, the G19 is one of the most popular and best-selling centerfire handguns in the United States for home defense, concealed carry, and competitive target shooting. Law enforcement agencies and the military routinely issue this weapon due to its reputation for outstanding reliability.
The Glock 19
Glock’s first compact handgun, the G19, is a 9mm semi-automatic pistol fed from a 15-round magazine. As a compact variant of the Glock 17, the G19 has a barrel length of 4.02”, an overall length of 7.36”, a width of 1.26”, and a height of 5.04”.
The G19 weighs 30.16 oz. with a loaded magazine — about two ounces less than its full-size counterpart. Like the other 9mm pistols in the series, the G19 is also compatible with the 17- and 33-round magazines of the G17 and G18.
Glock 19 Holster Requirements
The best Glock 19 holster needs to meet several criteria to be suitable for either self-defense or competitive target shooting, protecting you, your firearm, and others. It should also allow a certain degree of customizability, as no two shooters are alike.
The Glock 19 is popular for both open carry — whether for private self-defense or as a duty weapon — and concealed carry. Regardless of how you carry your Glock, the first purpose of a holster is to retain the firearm — i.e., to hold it securely in place until you need to draw it.
In waistband holsters, you will often see references to active and passive retention, but what do these terms mean?
If your holster uses active retention, it locks or secures the weapon using more than friction. The purpose of active retention systems is to prevent an unauthorized person from drawing your firearm in an attempt to disarm you.
To draw your firearm, you’ll need to first disengage a lock or unsnap a fastener. One of the most common examples of active retention uses a thumb break or retaining strap, which fits over the Glock slide plate or inside the space between the slide and the frame.
For the simplest and most efficient draw stroke, consider passive retention. In an IWB holster, properly concealed, passive retention uses a snug fit between the gun and the holster to prevent it from falling out or being drawn unintentionally.
You’ll need to pull your weapon upward sharply to free it from the holster, but you don’t have to remember to perform any additional actions to unlock the gun.
Depending on your preferred carry position, your choice of firearm, and how you perform the draw stroke, you may need to adjust the holster in several different ways. In addition to adjusting the retention, you should also be able to customize the cant and the ride height for your needs.
Cant describes the angle of the holster and firearm in relation to the waistband. When the cant is positive, the weapon rotates forward, causing the butt to rise. When the cant is neutral, the muzzle of the weapon is perpendicular relative to the ground.
In appendix carry — between the navel and the hip — a neutral cant is ideal. In strong side carry, you may need a forward cant to comfortably draw your weapon.
Cant also affects the concealability of your firearm, especially in the strong side position. The height of the firearm — i.e., the distance from the top of the slide to the bottom of the magazine — is one of the most important dimensions to control to minimize printing. As you increase the forward cant, less of the butt becomes visible through clothing.
Ride height describes the vertical position of the holster in relation to the waistband and can be divided into low, mid, and high.
In a low ride height using an IWB holster, the front strap of the frame is in contact or level with the top of the waistband or belt, which increases concealability but reduces access.
A mid ride height increases the clearance between the front strap and the waistband, allowing you to achieve a full firing grip on the weapon more consistently.
A high ride height is considered preferable when carrying firearms with longer slides or barrels, as less of the weapon needs to be concealed inside your pants. However, this is also less concealable, as more of the weapon is exposed.
As with the cant, the ride height can also affect concealability, so it’s important to find the best combination, especially if your holster allows you to adjust these independently of each other.
Your holster should be able to withstand the rigors of regular use without deforming or wearing out, and it should protect your weapon against the elements. Leather holsters can be highly durable, but Kydex is water-resistant and easier to clean and maintain.
A leather holster may not be the best choice if you routinely shoot or carry your weapon in wet, muddy, or sandy environments.
Rigid holster mouth
Leather or Kydex, the holster mouth needs to be rigid, remaining open when you draw your weapon. Cordura-nylon holsters and some soft leather holsters, unless reinforced, collapse when you draw your weapon, requiring two hands to re-holster the firearm.
Covered trigger guard
In any self-defense holster, the trigger guard should be fully protected. Until your handgun leaves your holster, neither your index finger nor any foreign object should enter the trigger guard or contact the trigger. While this is necessary for all firearms, it’s especially important regarding modern combat handguns that do not use manual safeties.
A sweat guard or sweat shield protects the slide of your firearm against perspiration. If the rear part of a holster covers the slide, either fully or in part, it has a sweat shield. While not essential, as an IWB holster is held close to the body, a sweat shield can help to keep your weapon dry and free from rust.
Depending on whether you intend to carry your Glock 9mm holster IWB or OWB, you should consider the concealability of the holster. Several factors affect concealability, from your choice of firearm to the kinds of clothing you wear.
However, the design of the holster also plays a role. A holster that’s made from thin, flat material and conforms to the gun is less likely to disclose itself to others.
We Carry a Variety of Glock Holsters
At We the People Holsters, we recognize the versatility of the Glock 19 handgun and manufacture Kydex and leather holsters to match. Our holsters use passive, adjustable retention, allow you to alter the cant and ride height to suit your preferred carry position, and are available in both IWB and OWB configurations.