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What's the Difference Between Glock Pistols?

difference between glock pistols featured
Glock

Glock currently produces over 50 different handgun models. Here's what you need to know about the difference between Glock pistols so you can pick the right one for your particular situation.

Originally designed by the legendary engineer Gaston Glock decades ago, Glock pistols are some of the most popular handguns ever produced. Though some in the shooting community were slow to accept the new polymer frame handgun, Glock pistols are now favorites of law enforcement agencies, military forces, and civilian shooters in the USA and all over the world.

Due in large part to their popularity, Glock now produces several dozen models of the ubiquitous handgun. However, many gun owners would probably agree that the sheer number of different Glock pistols in current production can be overwhelming.

Though they are all semi-automatic pistols, share a number of features (like their "Safe Action" safety system), and parts are interchangeable between certain Glock models, there is sometimes a significant difference between Glock pistols.

This is especially true for handguns from different generations or those chambered in different calibers.

Glock currently produces semi-automatic handguns chambered in seven different cartridges: 9x19mm Parabellum (aka 9mm Luger), .357 SIG, .380 ACP, .40 S&W, 10mm Auto, .45 ACP (aka .45 Auto), and .45 GAP. At the same time, Glock handguns are produced in five different size configurations: Standard, Compact, Subcompact, Slimline, and Competition.

The Standard models are full size handguns with a large magazine capacity intended for law enforcement and military use as a duty/service handgun or for general use and self defense by civilians. The Compact models are slightly reduced in size and have a smaller magazine capacity. Law enforcement agencies often issue Compact models to officers with smaller hands and these models are relatively popular for concealed carry.

Subcompact models are even smaller and are designed specifically for concealed carry. As the name suggests, the Slimline models are the smallest Glock handgun models in production and utilize a single stack magazine which results in an extremely narrow frame at the cost of reduced magazine capacity. Competition models have a longer barrel length, longer slides, and better sights.

difference between glock pistols size comparison
Glock

Finally, Glock has updated their handguns several times during the course of their production industry. These updates can be grouped into several different Generations.

The original handgun designed in 1981 for the Austrian Government is sometimes referred to as the "First Generation" Glock handgun (top left below). Glock updated their design in 1988 and 2nd Generation (Gen 2) handguns incorporated new checkering and serrations on the grip (top right). Glock updated their design again in 1998 and 3rd Generation (Gen 3) pistols have an accessory rail along with finger grooves and a thumb rest on the grip (bottom left).

difference between glock pistols gen 1 2 3 4
Glock

The first 4th Generation (Gen 4) Glocks came along in 2009. Gen 4 Glocks have interchangeable backstraps to better fit the hand of the shooter, an enlarged and reversible magazine catch, a dual recoil spring to reduce felt recoil, and a rough textured frame to improve grip traction (bottom right). Glock introduced their 5th Generation (Gen 5) handguns in 2017. In addition to having one fewer locking block pin and a generally smoother trigger pull, Glock Gen 5 handguns have ambidextrous slide stop levers, a new "Glock Marksman Barrel", new magazines, and lack finger grooves on the grip.

9mm Luger

Glock 17 (G17) Standard, Full-Size Handgun, Available in 3rd, 4th, in 5th Generation Models

Glock 17C (G17C) Full-Size Handgun with compensation system to reduce muzzle flip

Glock 17L (G17L) Long Slide, Competition Handgun

Glock 17 Gen 4 MOS (G17 Gen 4 MOS) Full Size, 4th Generation Full-Size Handgun with Modular Optic System (MOS)

Glock 17 Gen 5 MOS FS (G17 Gen 5 MOS FS) Full Size, 5th Generation Full-Size Handgun with Modular Optic System (MOS)

Glock 18 (G18) Selective Fire Handgun developed for military/police use

Glock 19  (G19) Compact Handgun, Available in 3rd, 4th, in 5th Generation Models

Glock 19 Gen 4 MOS (G19 Gen 4 MOS) Compact, 4th Generation Full-Size Handgun with Modular Optic System (MOS)

Glock 19 Gen 5 MOS FS (G19 Gen 5 MOS FS) Compact, 5th Generation Full-Size Handgun with Modular Optic System (MOS)

Glock 19X (G19X) Crossover handgun featuring a compact slide with a full sized frame, built with no finger grooves, Glock Marksman Barrel, ambidextrous slide stop, and comes in coyote color. Built for the Army Modular Handgun System competition.

difference between glock pistols g19x
Glock

Glock 26 (G26) Sub-Compact Handgun, Available in 3rd, 4th, in 5th Generation Models

Glock 34 (G34) Modern Competition Handgun (similar to, but slightly shorter than the Glock 17L), Available in 3rd, 4th, in 5th Generation Models

Glock 43 (G43) Slimline Handgun (great self-defense handgun for women)

Glock 45 (G45) Compact Slide, Full Size Frame Handgun (very similar to Glock 19X, but with Gen 5 features)

.357 SIG

Glock 31 (G31) Standard, Full-Size Handgun, Available in 3rd and 4th Generation Models

Glock 32 (G32) Compact Handgun, Available in 3rd and 4th Generation Models

Glock 33 (G33) Sub-Compact Handgun, Available in 3rd and 4th Generation Models

.380 ACP

Glock 25 (G25) Compact Handgun with a straight blowback action (not available in the United States)

Glock 28 (G28) Sub-Compact Handgun with a straight blowback action (not available in the United States)

Glock 42 (G42) Slimline Handgun, smallest Glock handgun ever produced

.40 S&W

Glock 22 (G22) Standard, Full-Size Handgun, Available in 3rd and 4th Generation Models

Glock 23 (G23) Compact Handgun, Available in 3rd and 4th Generation Models

Glock 24 (G24) Long Slide, Competition Handgun (similar to 9mm Glock 17L)

Glock 27 (G27) Sub-Compact Handgun, Available in 3rd and 4th Generation Models

Glock 35 (G35) Modern Competition Handgun (similar to the 9mm Glock 34), Available in 3rd and 4th Generation Models

Glock 35 Gen 4 MOS (G35 Gen 4 MOS) Modern Competition 4th Generation Handgun with Modular Optic System (MOS)

10mm Auto

Glock 20 SF (G20 SF) Full-Size Handgun With Short Frame

Glock 20 Gen 4 (G20 Gen 4) Standard, Full-Size Handgun

Glock 29 Gen 4 (G29 Gen 4) Sub-Compact Handgun

Glock 29 SF (G29 SF) Sub-Compact Handgun With Short Frame

Glock 40 Gen 4 MOS (G40 Gen 4 MOS) Modern Competition 4th Generation Handgun with Modular Optic System (MOS)

.45 ACP

Note: all Glock handguns chambered in .45 ACP feature octagonal polygonal rifling in order to obtain a better gas seal with a larger bore.

Glock 21 SF (G21 SF) Full-Size Handgun With Short Frame

Glock 21 Gen 4 (G21 Gen 4) Standard, Full-Size Handgun

Glock 30 Gen 4 (G30 Gen 4) Sub-Compact Handgun

Glock 30 SF (G30 SF) Sub-Compact Handgun With Short Frame

Glock 30S (G30S) Sub-Compact Handgun With Short Frame And Slim Slide

Glock 36 (G36) Slimline Handgun

Glock 41 Gen 4 (G41 Gen 4) Modern Competition 4th Generation Handgun

Glock 41 Gen 4 MOS (G41 Gen 4 MOS) Modern Competition 4th Generation Handgun with Modular Optic System (MOS)

.45 GAP

Note: all Glock handguns chambered in .45 GAP feature octagonal polygonal rifling in order to obtain a better gas seal with a larger bore.

Glock 37 (G37) Standard, Full-Size Handgun

Glock 38 (G38) Compact Handgun

Glock 39 (G39) Sub-Compact Handgun

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What's the Difference Between Glock Pistols?