Is the Glock 19 the carry gun for you?
When people start talking about concealed carry and self-defense, one handgun that seems to come into the discussion almost every single time is the Glock 19. Love Glocks or hate them, there is no denying this firearm has legions of fans here in the United States.
And why not? If it is good enough for many law enforcement agencies, this polymer 9x19mm carry pistol should be good for most civilians. Well, I've been carrying a Gen4 Glock 19 for a few years now and I'm ready to relate some of my experiences while carrying it.
Basically, here's what you need to know about using the Glock 19 as your EDC carry weapon of choice.
A quick rundown of the Glock 19
For anyone unfamiliar, the Glock 19 is a semi-automatic, striker-fired polymer frame handgun. Glock lists it as a compact 9mm on their website, although you're going to find most gun enthusiasts agree it's somewhere in-between a subcompact like the Glock 26 and a full-size in the Glock 17. The differences between the different generations of the same pistol are subtle. The G3 version has a slightly longer overall length of 7.36 inches. Gen4 and Gen5 models come in at 7.28 inches. All three of these guns have a 4.02-inch barrel length and offer 15-round magazines standard unless you live in a state with mag restrictions.
No matter which gen you choose, you're looking at about 24 ounces unloaded and 30 ounces with a full mag, which makes these guns somewhat hefty when you're talking concealed carry weapons. We'll talk more about that weight and how to mitigate it later.
As far as other differences, Glock added front serrations and beveled the front of the slide slightly on the Gen5 models. Interestingly, the Gen5s are slightly wider than Gen3 and 4 at 1.34 inches. The other major difference is that the Gen3s and 4s have finger grooves on the grip while the Gen5 does not. Most of the internals of the guns are the same across the generations. There are some differences in some of the internal workings, but unless you're a real stickler, you're probably unlikely to notice them.
In the end, we can't really recommend a specific generation of this Glock pistol for CCW. We recommend going to your local gun shop and handling each in person to see what one feels right in the hands. It's going to be different for every shooter. I should note that all the experiences I'm going to detail involve a stock Gen4 model. I know I could add things like an aftermarket trigger or recoil spring to improve performance. However, I'm not super picky about these things. Sure, the trigger pull is a little mushy, but I've gotten used to it the more I've used it. Some will even argue you need to put a few thousand rounds through a new one in order to break it in properly. Overall, I've found the G19 to be perfectly adequate for my needs straight out of the box.
Get a quality belt and concealed carry holster.
As we mentioned earlier, the Glock 19 comes in at around 30 ounces fully loaded. A stiff gun belt is an absolute necessity when carrying a G19 or it's going to sag and it's going to be quite uncomfortable. We highly recommend buying a specialty gun belt built specifically for this purpose with reinforced loops and holes. If you're going to be using this for every day carry, you're going to want it to be comfortable. Remember that you usually get what you pay for these days and you will likely not have a great experience if you skimp out on something as simple as a belt.
When it comes to holsters, you're going to get many differing opinions. Personally, I've been using Alien Gear Holsters for a few years now. Specifically, for the Glock 19 I've been using the Clock Tuck IWB holster. In case anyone here is brand new to concealed carry, IWB stands for "inside the waistband holster." (It should be obvious, but an OWB holster is one used outside the waistband.)
Overall, I've been pleased with my purchase. Alien Gear builds their holsters well with polymer and leather. The side that's pressing against your body is padded and quite comfortable. What's nice is that they include spacers, screws and nuts to further adjust the holster to the style of carry you prefer. I like to carry this gun at a back or "six o'clock" position most of the time and it's surprising how slim the profile is. I'll even often carry the 19 in the summer months. I do have to be careful when wearing T-shirts that I have one long enough to cover my backside, but I've noticed next to no printing while using this holster. The one downside is that that padded leather back covers a lot of real estate on your body. If it's warm out, it can get sweaty and it can chafe the skin if you're not watching it. If you work a lot outdoors, you might want to consider a different holster or a smaller firearm.
However, I've always felt mostly comfortable and confident carrying the firearm in this gun holster. It offers excellent retention and the shell also completely encloses the trigger guard, which was one of the main reasons I bought it. Remember the Glock 19 doesn't have a manual safety. If you're going to carry with one in the chamber, you'll want something that's going to reduce the chance of accidental discharge.
Aside from Alien Gear, the other brand many G19 owners prefer seems to be Kydex Holsters from Fierce Defender. The price point is nearly the same as an Alien Gear, however the Kydex has a much smaller profile which makes it a little better suited for shooters with smaller frames or those hoping to appendix carry the Glock 19. Although it's worth noting that most users of this holster say it works in nearly every position. I have not tried the Kydex holster yet, so I cannot comment on it personally, but the Amazon reviews are glowing for this thing across over 300 ratings, which I've always personally found to be a good sign for most products.
The experience of carrying a Glock 19
I have been carrying my Glock for a little over three years now and have been pleased for the most part. There have been a few times where I've considered picking up a subcompact Glock, possibly in a larger caliber than 9mm Luger. If only because there are some days where a 30-ounce gun is a lot to lug around, even with that quality belt I mentioned earlier.
One thing is for sure, I've always felt safe and assured I could handle any self-defense situation which might arise. Thankfully, I've never had an incident where I've needed it and hopefully I never will. One of the other reasons I chose the 19 was simply because it feels like a full-size in the hands compared to one of the smaller models. It simply gives me a little more confidence I could use the gun properly in an emergency if needed. For shooters with larger hands, the 19 seems to be the perfect compromise between trying to wrangle a full-size into a holster and having to adjust your grip for a smaller subcompact.
Most experts also say you'll likely never need more than three to five rounds if you are unlucky enough to get into a firefight. However, I've always believed in the saying that "It's better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it." Having 15 rounds in the gun just gives a little extra piece of mind. The nice thing about the Gen4 Glock is that it ships with three magazines. If you can find a magazine holster you like, that's 45 rounds you can potentially carry on your person. Is that overkill to carry that much ammo? Maybe. I hope I never have to find out.
If you are looking for a firearm that carries well, has an excellent magazine capacity and is reliable, I can heartily recommend the Glock 19. It's a firearm that has served me well thus far and I anticipate using for many more years to come.