Is the Glock 19 the perfect gun?
Now before I have to shut the comment section off from all of the folks out there telling me that there is no perfect gun, I know. However I now have your attention and will proceed with an interesting topic. What is the best “1st gun” or “only gun” for a newer gun-owner. Let’s explore that topic briefly: to achieve that status what features or advantages are likely to be most important?
- Reliability (always most important)
- Price (both purchase and cost of ownership)
- Simplicity (loading, cleaning, operation, etc.)
- Availability (of both the firearm and the necessary accessories)
- Versatility (home defense, concealed carry, range use)
- Performance (overall accuracy, ballistics, handling)
Let’s start where every gun conversation should start: Reliability. When choosing a weapon for any defensive purpose reliability should be the first consideration. If a gun is extremely accurate, easy to handle, looks amazing, but doesn’t perform as is should and when it should, then it should not be used for personal or home defense. The Glock 19 (and pretty much every Glock made in the last 20+ years) fit the reliability category. Love them or hate them there is one thing most people agree on, Glocks go bang when you pull the trigger, and as simple as that sounds it is absolutely crucial when your life is in jeopardy.
While the Glock 19 isn’t the cheapest gun available, it certainly isn’t the most expensive handgun (see: Wilson Combat and others). With an MSRP around $600 but available for purchase at nearly any local gun shop for around $550 the price certainly isn’t astronomical.
I can tell you first hand, Glocks are SIMPLE. I am by no means a gunsmith but I am perfectly comfortable field stripping, cleaning, and making improvements to my Glock handguns. There are also very few differences between the different Glock models and generations so having a solid understanding of the inner-workings of a Gaston Glock’s wundergun is useful for more than just the G19. Glock handguns are know for their simplicity which adds another level of comfort for the newer gun owner.
Interestingly enough there are “experts” out there that will tell you which gun is best for you, then once you attempt to find that gun it is nowhere to be found (if the CZ Shadow was the perfect gun, it wouldn’t matter because I can’t find one anywhere!!!). There are multiple elements to availability: Testing, purchasing and finding necessary accessories. The Glock 19 passes all these tests with flying colors. Most local gun ranges that have firearms available to rent should have the G19 available to rent (possibly in multiple generations). Nearly all gun shops should have the G19 available in store to purchase, often in gen 3 and gen 4 (as of the writing of this post). Finally accessories, such as night sights, holsters, grips and more are readily available from a variety of manufacturers and websites at very reasonable prices.
For the purposes of brevity I will keep the versatility to 3 primary categories: Home defense, concealed carry, and target/sport shooting. For purposes of home defense the G19 has a few features that make it more than capable. Chambered in 9mm it produces enough muzzle velocity to stop an intruder while still keeping recoil light enough to produce quick follow up shots.
Those same qualities make it a leader in the concealed carry world as well. It has a standard 15 round magazine in a fairly compact frame (albeit somewhat thick due to the double-stack magazine configuration). Starting in the gen 3 models, the Glock 19 also has a forward rail allowing for mounting of lights, lasers and other accessories that can be very beneficial for personal defense situations.
Finally we’ll talk about the fun part of owning a gun: Range and target shooting. Now the G19 is no tricked out race gun (although there are certainly accessories avalable if you decide to go that route) but it is good enough to enjoy shooting at the range as well as starting out in competitions like IDPA and USPSA. To become extremely competitive you would likely need a gun with a longer sight radius like a Glock 34 or a Smith and Wesson M&P 9mm Pro. However you can get involved in those types of events with a stock G19 or with minor upgrades such as improved sights and some light trigger work.
To be completely honest there are 9mm guns that will perform better in different categories. However for overall performance it is difficult to find a better gun across all categories than the Glock 19 at this price point with a compact frame.
Some will say that the 9mm round is not sufficient for personal defense but with the improvements in 9mm ballistics as well as innovations in personal defense rounds this caliber has made its way back into the personal defense category. Most importantly, as mentioned earlier, accuracy and follow up shots are far more valuable than missing with a larger caliber or not carrying at all.
The handling on Glocks (like any gun) is very subjective. Some will say it feels like a toaster, brick, or some other squared off item. Others feel it fits their hand well and like the lower bore axis for accuracy. This is why it is so important to fire a few handguns before deciding on your first (or next) firearm. Feel is up to the shooter and ultimately you should always carry what you shoot best (assuming it’s extremely reliable).
I know this was a long review for a firearm that most gun enthusiasts already own or at least have already shot, but the intention was to give a newer shooter a surface look at all the elements of choosing a good all around firearm. Here are the final marks:
Agree? Disagree? Comment Below!