Glock G19 9mm, $646
Recently, the Gun Tests staff received a letter urging them to test more deep-concealment guns, claiming that they are the most popular gun of the day. Checking with one of the larger distributors (www.camfour.com), confirmed that it is the subcompact and micro guns that are currently driving the market. In this test Gun Tests did not evaluate pocket guns, but they did shoot four compact pistols that in are just one step larger than the smallest model available from each manufacturer. One test gun the staff chose was the $646 Glock G19, the smaller brother of the G17, found on the hip of law enforcement worldwide. The Glock 19 gets little press, but remains popular.
The staff can remember when the Glock pistols were shipped in a kind of Tupperware box. The model lineup was short, but one of the first variations in size was the Model 19. Today, Glock pistols arrive in handsome and distinctively styled hard-side cases. There are as many as six different models chambered for 9mm, including the G18 and G18C select-fire machine pistols. Glock’s www.teamglock.com website boasts of the G19, "The compact version of the G17, this is the preferred pistol of NYPD’s 40,000 officers and the standard weapon of the United Nations Security personnel." Designed and built in Austria, but assembled and tested at the Glock facility about 25 miles from Atlanta, specifications of the G19 list more easily in metric. For example, the 102mm barrel was 4.02 inches long. Height was an even 5.0 inches, but width is listed as 1.18 inches, and the G19 measures 6.85 inches, or 174mm long. The frame included an accessory rail along the dust cover, but the tip of the gun was noticeably tapered, so the rail was integrated without adding bulk. The frame was constructed of polymer.
The appeal of the G19, in the view of testers, was its simplicity and the directness in which the design takes on the smaller chores that make up the operation and maintenance of a handgun. Takedown begins with removing the magazine and clearing the chamber. If the trigger is cocked, it must be pulled to release tension. The slide was retracted about one-quarter inch. There was an audible click and a sense of disengagement. Two sliding levers located on each side of the frame just above the trigger were pulled downward. The staff then released the slide against the tension of the recoil spring and continued moving it forward off the frame. Actually, Gun Testers found the slide was eager to leave the frame, so shooters had to be careful to catch it. One aspect of the Glock that is unique and somewhat fascinating is reassembly. You just slide the top end on to the frame and it clicks into place.
Lubrication as recommended by the owner’s manual was sparse. Surfaces such as the outside of the barrel, barrel hood, and inside the top of the slide were to be lubricated by passing over them with an oiled patch of cloth. The slide rails themselves required only a single drop of oil spread over each slide rail cut. We’ve heard of people oiling the firing pin channel, but this is expressly prohibited on page 38 of the multilingual manual. Only one component of the action assembly is to be oiled. That was the point at which the rearward end of the trigger bar touches the connector at the right rear corner of the frame. The staff said that Glock pistols are commonly referred to as being striker fired. Indeed, both of the Ruger and Springfield Armory pistols use this terminology in their owner’s manuals. But the parts list inside the Glock manual lists a firing pin, and the shooters could find no reference in the manual or on the manufacturers’ website to a striker.
Holding the Glock 19 in your strong hand immediately makes you aware of a rakish angle to the grip and the sense of palm swell jutting into your hand. From here the pad of the index finger compresses the firing pin safety located on the face of the trigger. The square profile of the slide was topped with a rear sight blade that was tapered on each side, bringing the eye to the rear notch that was surrounded by a bold white "U" shaped outline. The front sight shows a single white dot.
The trigger was simple and repeatable, with a consistent 5.5 pounds of resistance for each shot. In our action test we concentrated on moving the trigger quickly and evenly. But it was at the bench where we utilized a slow, controlled press. It is in this mode that any grit or creep will come to light, but we found no such imperfection.
Our best accuracy was achieved when firing the Remington UMC 115-grain JHP rounds and the Federal American Eagle 124-grain FMJ ammunition. Each round produced an Average Group Radius (AGR) between 0.75 inches and 0.79 inches. The Black Hills 115-grain FMJ rounds were not far behind with an AGR of 0.85 inches. The remanufactured Black Hills 124-grain rounds were not as accurate but still more than acceptable at 1.27 inches. We think the most important conclusion we could draw from this data is that the Glock 19 was versatile and did not necessarily favor one weight bullet over another.
In our action tests, our first run lasted 2.09 seconds. The fastest of our ten runs clocked 1.84 seconds, and the first six consecutive runs printed shots perfectly inside the lower and upper A-zones. We ended with four shots outside the lower A-zone and two shots outside the upper A-zone. Average elapsed time was 1.99 seconds. We found that the quality of our follow-up shots was closely linked to how smoothly we let the trigger reset. In terms of speed, almost anyone can move his trigger finger faster than he can pick up the sights. We probably would have been able to shoot faster and more accurately if the G19 was fit with higher definition sights. But may we suggest that taller sights would probably be less impact resistant and more prone to dragging out of a holster. When we talk about scoring zones, we’re referring to a theoretical game. In harsh reality, every one of our hits were effectively placed to provide a stopping blow.
Our Team Said: The Gun Tests staff thinks the G19, with its trim, fast handling, may be the most versatile Glock of all. The 19 dared testers to shoot faster, but adding higher-visibility sights would be the ticket to better accuracy at speed. In this matchup, where each gun is worth buying, Gun Tests shooters pick the Glock first if ease of maintenance is high on your list of wants.