The Glock name is a very polarizing one in the firearms community, usually due to stanch supporters and even more so, opponents. Grip angle, features, factory sights, and a striker-fire design always seem to solicit an emphatic, unwanted opinion from the camo-shorts wearing guy in the next stall at the shooting range.
For these reasons, it is difficult to come at a Glock review completely objectively, because all of us already know how we feel about them. I am no exception, but if we can all just agree, for the length of this article, to suspend our tactical elitism, we can dive into how the fifth generation of Glock’s compact, 9mm handgun holds its own amongst the plethora of competitive options available for today’s shooter.
Since ‘Glock 19 Gen 5 MOS’ gets a little wordy, for the remainder of this article, I’ll stick with ‘G19’ or ‘Glock 19’.
I mean, come on. It’s a Glock. Regardless of where you stand on the Glock fence, I think they have been around long enough for the Glock brand reliability to be unquestionable.
I think many other competitive options in this category could be equally reliable, but there are enough YouTube videos of people throwing Glocks in the mud, freezing them in blocks of ice, and firing thousands of rounds without reprieve.
Talking now about my personal experience, I have never once had any of my Glocks not go ‘bang’ when the trigger is pulled, apart from rare primer related issues with the ammunition. The polymer frame has never cracked, warped, or otherwise decreased in structural integrity.
The Glock factory mags have been beat on the ground, dropped, kicked, stepped on, and any other abuse that occurs during training. I even used a fully loaded 17 round mag to hammer a frozen carter pin out of a trailer hitch and only superficial marks to plastic were visible afterwards.
Now, the finish. Glock touts the nDLC coating like it can survive an angle grinder. It can’t! Personally, the I found the previous Tenifer finish, which I understand to be quite similar to parkerizing, to be mildly superior.
You can see the wear marks near the muzzle from holstering and unholstering in my no-name kydex holster. It doesn’t affect the functionality of the weapon, and I don’t expect that area to start rusting, but it is something to note.
Expect to see ‘love marks’ like this if you plan to use your Glock for anything more than sitting in a safe.
Lastly, here, is the stippling on the grip. Personally, I have never had any stippling on Glocks wear or damage prematurely because I run skateboard or “grip” tape on all of my handguns.
Anecdotally, from people that have tens of thousands of rounds on EDC Glocks, there is a noticeable difference between the stippling on the grips of their used Glocks versus brand new ones. I don’t don’t doubt this, nor do I think there is an inherent weakness with the polymer or stippling of Glocks. It’s plastic; its going to wear down eventually.
I have one more point to make about the reliability of 9mm Glocks, specifically. I have owned two Gen 3 17’s and one Gen 5 19 MOS and I have been able to induce “limp-wristed” failures in all three of them at any time. It’s much harder to do with your hotter +P+ rounds, but this phenomena exists.
There have been countless articles, videos, and reviews done on this, and it exists. It is important to note, however, that this has never happened to me without intentionally trying to induce it, and sometimes even unsuccessfully. I would label this as an ‘idiosyncrasy’ or a ‘quirk’ rather than a ‘design flaw’ or ‘issue’. Hold it firm, and you’ll never have a problem.
It is my belief that someone should shoot whatever they shoot the best. We are all different shapes and sizes and have different preferences. Without digressing into a discussion on the physiology behind what handgun is the best anatomical fit for you, I will describe my experience with the G19.
There is one clear advantage for me with the Glock layout: the bore axis. Partly due to my anatomy, and mostly due to the Glock, I can get my shooting hand higher than any other pistol that I have held. The MBS mentioned earlier really allowed me to fine-tune my grip, and I choose the smallest backstrap with the extended beavertail.
I never hated the finger grooves on the previous generations, but I also don’t miss them. I recommend switching the stock slide lock for a G34 slide lock just because the standard one can be hard to manipulate if your hands are gloved or wet.
Conversely, the standard one has a lower profile, which can be beneficial in some situations. The magazine release is fine, standard operating procedure as far as Glocks are concerned, and there are hundreds if not thousands of aftermarket solutions to fit your exact ergonomic needs.
Sights & MOS Optics
Where the functionality of all Glock pistols is indisputable, there are a couple of aspects about this particular example that I’d like to nitpick: The first being the sights. The sights are plastic and not the best. Catching them on your holster, hitting them against something, or even dropping the handgun can result in damage.
Don’t even worry about it: pay the hundred or so bucks and throw on some traditional, three-dot, night sights. Personally, I have some TruGlo’s that I purchased from Amazon on sale for $57.
This particular example of the Glock 19 happens to be, as of 2022, the fanciest, most feature filled 19 you can buy, being the fifth generation and with MOS.
What does MOS stand for?
MOS stands for ‘Modular Optic System’. This includes what Glock describes as a “precision machined” area just in front of the rear sight that allows the shooter to mount a variety smaller red dots and reflex sights with the four included adapter plates.
Prior to the introduction of the MOS with the fourth generation handguns, you had two options for mounting an optic on your Glock: a mounting plate that would affix to the dovetail of the rear sight, or having a gunsmith machine a recessed area like the MOS does now. Both are not ideal: the first removing any possibility of having a rear sight, and the second being very expensive, requiring CNC equipment, and needing to commit to one particular optic.
When this is done from the factory with the MOS, not only is it infinitely more convenient and cheaper, but you get to retain your rear sight and the ability to change the mounting options for different brands of optics.
Also included is a ‘blank’ that allows you to fill in the recessed portion to get a regular Glock 19 look when an optic is not mounted. It is important to note that for the vast majority of micro red dot and reflex sights, you will need suppressor height sights in order to cowitness with your optic.
Best Uses for the Glock Model 19
The Glock 19 is sort of like the ‘one size fits all’ of the handgun community; it does everything really well and is a great carry gun.
The Navy SEALs are using it as their primary handgun, law enforcement departments around the world issue it to their personnel, and many people carry one for concealed carry or as a backup weapon.
Since it is a more compact Glock than the 17, it is more easily concealed and better sized for an EDC handgun. However, it really isn’t that much smaller. You’re never needing to compromise your grip or accuracy from a ‘compact’ size; you always feel like you’re using a handgun that you can fight with. Add in the MOS, and you’ve got the platform that you can easily adapt for use in three-gun or other timed competitions.
Is it the perfect duty pistol? No, the 17 is. Is it the perfect concealed carry pistol? No, the 48 is more easily concealed. Is it my first choice for competitions? No, the 34 is better for that. None of those pistols, conversely, can do all of the things the G19 can do. If you can only buy one handgun, you’d be hard pressed to find another platform as versatile.
How Does it Shoot?
Those familiar with Glocks will feel right at home with the latest iteration of the 19. Being able to shoot a Glock 17 gen 3 and this Glock 19 one after the other really helped me to identify the minutia between them.
The trigger is the most noticeable difference in this comparison. While the gen 3 has a very snappy break at the end of the trigger pull, the gen 5 is less so. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that it’s more ‘mushy’ because that word would connote the difference as a negative, its just… less snappy. The break comes at you slightly more gradually and fluidly instead of all at once.
Think of a bell curve rather than right angles. I wouldn’t say its better, though. It’s just different; Glock says seven percent different. That seems very small to me, and would guess its more akin to 15 or 20 percent. This, however, could be my particular examples, as I’ve known some random Glocks along my path to have some noticeably lighter or heavier factory triggers.
As with all Glocks, it doesn’t have a manual safety, but instead has a trigger safety built in to prevent any accidental misfires when dropped.
As stated before, you should be adding metal sights to all of you handguns, but if you haven’t, or are new to the Glock platform, I’ll discuss the sights. They are easy enough to grasp with little training. I would say that they focus more so on faster target acquisition than ultimate accuracy, but with a few magazines at the range, the average shooter should be able to hit at 50 yards.
Due to the low bore axis, recoil is extremely well managed and a sight picture comes back quickly for follow up shots. This is true even with the snappiest +P+ rounds I have, which are Underwood loaded Lehigh Defense 90 grain solid copper. The stippling of the grip is aggressive without being offensive, and the serrations on the front and the back of the slide gives the shooter enough traction to perform manipulations with confidence from any angle.
Like a Jeep or an F-150, nearly every company that sells aftermarket firearm parts sells something for the Glock platform.
The accessory rail on the bottom fits your favorite type of light or lasers, and mine is currently wearing the TLR-1 HL. Like I mentioned before, I use Talon grips, but there are many other types of grip “stickers” or grip modifications.
One of the local gun stores in my town will even permanently stipple the grip in one of many patterns.
With the MOS, there are almost endless options to customize your Glock 19 to your heart’s deepest content! Like I mentioned earlier, the Glock Models 17, 19, 26, 34, and 45 all can use the same magazines. There are even the 33 round ‘happy sticks’ that will fit in any and all of these models.
Price & Value
When discussing price, the argument for ‘why glocks?’ Gets even more robust. In 2022, I purchased this Glock 19 for $549. This included three 15 round magazines, a cleaning rod, the MBS extra backstraps, and the miscellaneous hardware for the MOS.
The closest comparable handgun I could find for an online purchase is the S&W M&P9 2.0, which as some interchangeable ‘palm swells’ and is optic ready. The M&P retails for $579. The real difference here also comes with the price of extra magazines: $41 for the M&P and $30 for Glock. Step down from factory mags and you can get a 21 round Magpul mag for $18.99.
The Sig P365XL is also optic ready and sells for $659, but with extra mags purchased for a heartburn-inducing $65. CZ, Walther, and FNH all have similar options without the optic cut for the $600-$700 range, and of course, you can spend much, much more on some of your fancier, ‘boutique’ handguns.
Differences Between Glock 19 Gen 4 vs Gen 5
In general, the differences between each Glock generation are pretty minor and primarily cosmetic. Each person has their preferences depending on their hand size and grip.
No Finger Grooves
All fifth generation models of Glocks get a few upgrades from the outgoing fourth generation. The most notable of these are the absence of the much loved and much hated finger grooves on the front of the grip.
I have about 10,000 rounds on a Glock 17 Gen 3 and was never bothered by them. As of the writing of this article, you can still buy a new gen 3 and 4 Glock for those that just can’t live without the finger grooves.
Next on the upgrade list are the beveled edges of the slide. I couldn’t find a definitive measurement on the difference of the radii, but they are noticeably more round on the gen 5s.
This helps with holstering, according to the Glock marketing department, although I’ve never heard a complaint about these particular handguns being difficult to holster.
Third upgrade is the finish; Glock calls this new coating the nDLC or nitride diamond-like coating. It does look a bit more shiny and a bit darker the outgoing models.
As you can see in the pictures, my personal G19 has wear marks from holstering, and I don’t think there are any more than the old Tenifer finish from the gen 3 days.
Fourth on the list is the Trigger: Glock reports a 7% decrease in trigger weight from the gen 4s. We touched more on this earlier.
Sixth are the new “ambidextrous” controls. Ambidextrous is in quotations because this is not 100% true in the case of the magazine release.
The slide-stop is a true ambi control because you can manipulate it from both sides. The magazine release is reversible, meaning you’ll need to remove it entirely and flip it over should you choose a lefty configuration. This is a great option, but it’s not ambidextrous.
Grip & Magazine Well
Seventh are the upgrades to the grip. You get a flared magazine well, thicker magazine base plates, and the Modular Backstrap System, which allows the shooter to change the rear portion of the grip to better fit your hands.
With regards to the baseplates, all of my Glock mags get mixed together, and I currently run gen 3 17 mags in my Glock 19 with zero issue. Going back to look at them, the baseplates of the gen 5 mags are thicker than my gen 3 mags, but much thinner than the Magpul mags I have.
I did not have problems reloading with the un-flared mag well of the gen 3, nor did I have any structural issues with the thinner baseplates of gen 3 mags, so I can’t say that those upgrades were at the top of my list, but they are welcomed improvements nonetheless.
Lastly, Glock has made some small changes to the polygonal rifling. I can’t speak on this too much, as I find all Glocks to shoot the same, independent of generation, though Glock credits this as an accuracy advantage, however small it may be.
Comparison to Other Glock Models
Let’s dive into how the Glock 19 fits into the line up. Along with its 9mm brothers and sisters, the Glock Models 17, 26, 34, 43, 45, and 48, the Glock 19 is a 9mm, double-stack, 15+1, semi-automatic handgun.
|Glock 17||Glock 19||Glock 26|
|Weight (empty mag)||24.87 oz||23.63 oz||21.52 oz|
|Weight (full mag)||32.28 oz||30.16 oz||25.75 oz|
|Length||8.03 inch||7.28 inch||6.50 inch|
|Width||1.26 inch||1.34 inch||1.26 inch|
|Height||5.47 inch||5.04 inch||4.17 inch|
The “original three”, as I have just named them, are the Glock 17, 19, and 26 because they can all share the magazines of the 17. The 19 and 26 are essentially a 17 with decreasing barrel lengths, grip lengths, and factory magazine capacity.
I believe the Glock 17 to be a reference standard for a full-size fighting pistol, and although the 19 is considered ‘compact’, its size and weight are not as contrasting as the words ‘full-size’ and ‘compact’ might connote. Overall length for this Glock 19 is only .67” smaller, grip length only .43” shorter, and empty weight is only 1.16 ounces less. We loose .47” in barrel length, but all other dimensions are the same as its big brother.
In my opinion, the Glock lineup, especially for 9mm, is really getting more and more saturated with every type and variation possible, and these are the biggest competition for the G19.
A couple of really interesting options for the Glock 19’s segment are the 45 and soon-to-be-released 47. The 45 is last years Glock 19x, which combines the grip length and magazine capacity of the 17, with the shorter slide of the 19. I could see this being very advantageous for those lumberjacks among us with monster hands that find the Glock 19’s grip too small but still want a smaller EDC option.
Recently unveiled during Shot Show 2022 is the 47, which won’t hit the civilian market until mid-to-late 2023. This is the opposite of the 45/19x, with the slide of 17 and the grip of the Glock 19. This is, to me, is more significant than the 45/19x because it allows the same, smaller concealed carry profile of the Glock 19 with the barrel length and sight radius of the 17.
This gun, which I believe will come in the MOS flavor, would be the only reason I would ever put down the G19 as my primary concealed carry weapon.
- Value: Very competitive price for the amount of accessories included.
- Durability: Glocks just work, every time and all the time
- Versatility: A Glock 19 is just the right size to do nearly everything well.
- Sights: They are plastic and could use improvement.
- Polymer frame: Its much lighter, but some people prefer metal frames.
- Finish: Not as wear resistant as the previous Tenifer finish.
Regardless of how our tactical elitism sways our opinions on handguns of all shapes and sizes, I think we can all agree that Glocks, and specifically the fifth generation Glock 19, is a front runner in today’s market and an all around great gun.
The reliability and durability has been proven over the years, there is a veritable plethora of accessories and aftermarket parts to customize to your specific taste, and to me, they shoot like a dream. For the price, why not include one in your collection?
Just get one and thank me later.
In 2023, you can purchase a new Glock 19 from around $499 – $599 depending on the generation and the model features.
The standard magazine capacity of a Glock 19 is 15 rounds, but can be upgraded to fit 17, 19, 24, 31, or 33 rounds.
A Glock 19 is calibered in 9mm (9x19mm), the most common ammo caliber in the U.S.
Joseph has been hunting for most of his life. Some of his best memories were growing up sitting in a treestand or a blind and waiting for a monster buck to come along. His main focus has been deer hunting, typically with my trusty 20 gauge shotgun.