Glock was established in 1982 and had its first pistol accepted as the Austrian Army’s standard-issue sidearm in 1983. It was a big win in the firm’s home nation, but the next year the Norwegian military followed suit, elevating the company’s stature quickly above that of a local favorite. Skepticism about the polymer-framed gun’s durability ebbed, although American enthusiasts are a more traditional breed.
In 1986, the company decided to dip its toes in the United States market, establishing a headquarters in Smyrna, Ga., where it remains today. Commercially available stateside G17s were on the shelves by 1988, although their reception was lukewarm at first. It wasn’t long until law enforcement agencies began making the switch and the 9 mm Luger-chambered semi-autos, however, and with each announcement the handgun gained traction at checkout counters.
The company understood a military-size pistol isn’t ideal for all law enforcement applications or the first choice for most American enthusiasts. So, Glock wisely rolled out the G19 the same year. It was roughly 3/4 inch shorter than the G17 and about a half inch less in height The change dropped magazine round-count to 15, sacrificing only a pair of cartridges in the double-stack configuration. The pistol also weighed two ounces less than its predecessor.
Rigorous testing by law enforcement agencies and subsequent adoption of the gun fueled interest. Glowing reviews piled on, and it wasn’t long until G19 sales boomed.
There are five, factory-fresh G19 variants available today, in Gen 3, Gen 4 and Gen 5 models. The latter pair also include optics-ready MOS versions.
All have a 4.02" length barrel, are chambered in 9 mm Luger and come standard with 15-round magazines. Versions capable of carrying 17, 24, 31 and 33 cartridges are available directly from Glock.
G19s feature the company’s famed Safe Action System and tip the scales at slightly more than 23 ozs. empty. The grips feature finger grooves in the Gen3 and Gen4 lines. A modular backstrap system in the Gen4 and Gen5 variants allows owners to customize fit to their hands.
Perhaps the most-glowing endorsement to date on the G19’s performance came from the U.S. military a few years ago. Mark A. Keefe, IV, explained in the 2016 article, “The Marine Corps as a whole has not adopted the G19, but the Raiders (as part of U.S. SOCOM) are issuing their operators G19s. Last year, the Raiders were authorized to issue 9 mm G19s side by side with the Colt-made .45 ACP M45A1. This year .45s are no longer in the holsters of Marine Raiders.”
MSRPs are not listed on the Glock website, but reputable retailers currently list the Gen 3 model as selling at $600 and up, depending on color/embellishments. The factory-standard black is the bargain-basement model. Expect to pay around $800 for MOS versions.
There’s also a G19X, which was the company’s first “Crossover” pistol (seen above). It was also the first to come with a factory-colored slide, and the coyote look sets is apart cosmetically, although there are more changes. Among them are a standard-magazine capacity of 17 cartridges, and commensurate increase in height of 0.4". Weight, empty, also increases by about 1.5 ozs. The combination of G17 frame and G19 slide will set you back somewhere around $650.