Caliber - 9x19mm
Capacity - 15+1
Action - Glock's proprietary "Safe Action" system
Barrel - 4.02 inches
Weight - 23.45 oz. with empty magazine
The G19 was Glock's second pistol model, created in the late 1980s in response to the American market's demand for a compact version of the 9mm G17. Glock's approach was to reduce barrel and grip length enough to facilitate concealment, while keeping the magazine interface and as many internal parts as possible identical to the G17. This would allow law enforcement agencies to issue both pistols (G17 for uniformed officers, G19 for detectives or off-duty) without needing to maintain two separate stocks of spare parts. It was a system that paid off, and one which Glock continued to implement until the introduction of the "slimline" G36 in 2000. The "compacts" (G19 in 9mm and G23 in .40SW) remain among the company's most popular models, and are used extensively both by law enforcement and by law-abiding armed citizens. The G19 frame size is generally regarded as the most size-efficient of all Glock's offerings - small enough to conceal easily, but large enough to provide a good grip, sight radius and accuracy.
I bought my G19 in mid-2002, after my wife suggested we also keep a pistol in the other end of the house (thanks for being a "bad influence," Steve!). As a G17 is our nightstand gun, it made sense to go with something that functioned the same way and could take the same ammo, mags and accessories. However, we thought a smaller frame would be better suited for her smaller hands (and besides, I already had a G17!). And given how much I like my .40 cal. G23s in the same size frame, the 9mm G19 was a no-brainer. I purchased the gun - used but not much - and a couple extra magazines from the gun shop where I work part-time.
Fit and finish
This gun is a 3rd Generation or "FG&R" model, with the finger grooves and accessory rail on the frame. The grooves and thumb depressions result in a slightly shorter trigger reach - good for my wife's smaller hands - while the accessory rail allows mounting of the M3 tactical light just like our G17 house gun. Additionally, the G17's longer magazines will fit the 19 if necessary, although they will extend slightly out the bottom of the grip. Although preowned, the gun had not seen much use at all; external finish was perfect, and there was still a good amount of factory copper lube on the underside of the slide (this normally disappears on its own after a few hundred rounds).
In the hand, the G19 feels very similar to my FG&R G17s, but is a little more balanced. The grip size is perfect; all my fingers fit with no extra length left over. Because of the reduced trigger reach, there is the sensation of being able to get more "meat" on the grip. I have grown partial to the finger-grooved frames, and the older 2nd-Generation frames feel a bit boxy by comparison.
Enhancements and Accessories
I did my usual carry enhancement package (Meprolight night sights, factory extended slide stop & mag release, Jentra plug) to the gun before ever taking it to the range. I know what I like on a Glock pistol; why wait? The only thing I didn't do was install a "carry trigger" setup (NY1 + 3.5# connector), because this gun had such an unusually sweet, crisp trigger pull out of the box that I didn't want to mess with it! Eventually the G19 will get an M3 tactical light of its own, just like our G17 has. Read more about these enhancements on my Gear Page.
The compact FG&R frame sits in my hand just a bit differently than the full-size FG&R frame of my G17s, so shooting it is just a bit different as well. After adjusting the sights a little and spending some quality trigger time with the gun, I've grown comfortable with it. The longer barrel and larger frame makes the G19 less jumpy and potentially more accurate than my subcompact G26, but it's not quite on par with the longer-barreled G17 or G34. That may change as I get more accustomed to the gun, but even now it's more than good enough for home-defense duty.
The G19 has, not surprisingly, been reliable from the word "go" - its only malfunctions came with a handful of over-long reloads (my bad) and with a weak spring in one used magazine (spring was promptly replaced).
The Bottom Line
The G19 makes a natural companion to our G17 house gun, and we're pleased with it. I believe the .40SW G23 is the best blend of size, capacity and power currently in Glock's catalog, and the 9mm G19 is the same gun in a slightly lighter caliber. As such, it has a couple more rounds on tap, is a bit more controllable and is cheaper to shoot, at the expense of some "stopping power". Which model to choose is going to be a highly subjective call that will be argued back and forth ad nauseam. Clearly the BEST choice is to do what I did... get both!
UPDATE 10/1/02 Lori competed with the G19 at the Midwest Regional Classic XI GSSF match in Hallsville, MO... her first competitive shooting event EVER! She turned in a very solid performance, finishing in the middle of the Amateur Civilian "B" class, just 40 seconds (a few misses) off the High Female shooter. She enjoys shooting the G19 and is looking forward to competing again at the Bluegrass Regional Classic coming up in November. The 19 gobbled up several hundred rounds of my reloads in the weeks of practice leading up to the match, and never missed a beat. Glock perfection is alive and well!