This is one of those articles that is Extremely Difficult to write. It is not my intent to tell you that you are wrong if you choose differently than I. It is my intent to enlighten with a different approach than you may have not seen before.
We live at a fun time in history, at no other single point has so much knowledge been available to the average individual. Even with the sheer amount of facts, statistics and raw data available several generations still believe the 1911 is the greatest gun on earth.
Obviously I would be an idiot to believe the 1911 was not influential and downright amazing; however, I prefer hard reality and facts when looking to defend myself. (Authors note, I love shooting 1911s I simply prefer Glock/ S&W MP-Shields for defensive purposes…)
From among individuals who actually run guns for combat around the world, you will be hard pressed to find anyone who if given the choice between an untested Glock and an untested 1911 or other brand/type will choose anything except the Glock. Untested is the key word here, after all, I have shot enough to see even Glocks fail.
I can numerically show from personal shooting experience with over a million rounds downrange in training and instructing that that an unaltered Glock is least likely to fail when put through the same courses as others. This being said, comparing the Glock 19 and the Glock 17 and trying to find a “winner” from the two is difficult at best.
Which is better? To answer this you have to ask yourself what you are buying a handgun for. Are you looking to conceal carry or open carry primarily? Are you tall, short, fat, skinny, muscular, medium build, do you have physical issues with too much weight, how is your level of fitness, are you planning to train weekly, monthly or maybe every year or so? Seriously, each of these has a direct impact in the choice of handgun type and size.
The Glock 17 was the first Glock handgun designed and is a half inch longer, taller and weighs just barely an ounce more than the Glock 19. The Glock 17 has a standard capacity of 17 rounds while the Glock 19 has a standard capacity of 15 rounds.
A half inch and an ounce is really not a reason to use one over the other, unless you are picky like me and find that half inch to be too much for good concealed carry. The ounce is something that is actually very important, with my spine issues even an ounce can make a large difference, so I decided over a decade ago to practice more and better to make up for the 2 round loss.
It should be noted that the Glock 19 is the current choice of the Federal Bureau of Investigations as well as several dozen domestic police departments and 17 countries at last count. (Unger, 2017) (Systems, 2016) That being said, the Glock 17 is the choice of 36 countries and several police departments in the United States as well. Now, conceal-ability, this is a serious question and needs a good answer.
Personally, I have conceal carried full sized 1911s (2+ pounds more weight and half the ammunition of a Glock 19), Glock 17s, Glock 22s, one Glock 20 and several dozen other handguns including but not limited to a single action 6” barrel revolvers. Knowledge in how too shoot as many different types as you can is essential to a well rounded defensive ability.
I have seen people conceal AK and AR pistols relatively well and others conceal the G17 long slide (6-inch barrel). Again, if you can test which one is best for your body type do so!
Shoot-ability, if you have smaller hands all firearms are going to be more difficult to shoot. If you have larger hands the Glock 17 is easier to shoot, but not by much! Using a solid crush grip the Glock 19 is easy to shoot!
Recoil impulse from both are similar, most people (unless coached as to which is supposed to be better or less) will not be able to physically feel the difference in recoil. While there is slightly more with the G19 if you maintain a solid two-handed crush grip this will not affect accuracy or ability.
My daughter was 4 when she first shot the Glock 19, while the weight was difficult for her, she maintained a solid grip and shot 15 rounds in under 6” circle at 5 yards. Quite the feat for someone who had only ever shot a .22lr handgun before this. It is one of my favorite pictures of her. The next picture is my qualifier for a course I did in 2011, same G19 and same ammunition but 60 rounds (FBI qualifier), yes I qualified.
If there are no real differences than why even have the Glock 19? I know some of you are asking this question, and honestly, I asked the same question. The answer is it fits a defined role of being compact, which allows for easier concealment, less weight, and similar ballistic ability at the muzzle and a bit beyond.
Speaking of ballistics, from the slightly longer G17 using Speer Gold Dot (standard velocity and or short barrel) and Federal HST defensive loads (115 – 124 grains) saw 15-30 fps increase overall from the G19 and seeing as how the velocities averaged with 3-8 rounds tested for each at 1150 for the G19 and Speer Gold Dot 124 grn and 1120 for the Federal HST 115 grn rounds this increase while allowing for slightly better energy on target still does not offset the benefit of smaller and lighter package.
It should be noted that this was at 4,000 feet elevation, clear hot day in Arizona. No humidity at all, additionally this was with factory Glock barrels. Your results will vary based on location and from what I have seen by up too 15fps depending on location!
My answer to the original question is, my wife and I prefer the Glock 19 for concealed carry, of the many people I worked with the majority used a Glock 19 for primary carry unless their department disallowed this, and then most carried one at home and during off hours.
The Glock 19 was designed for concealment and to be a smaller easier to use package with full-size capabilities. The Glock 17 was designed for the Austrian Army and national police force in the early 80s. It was never designed with concealment in mind.
Again, this does not mean it cannot be used for this purpose. My choice all day for new trainees through advanced shooters, the Glock 19, using a proven self-defense cartridge such as Speer Gold Dot or Federal HST you are not under armed or underpowered. I am not alone in believing it really is the best choice for concealed carry or personal defense overall. (Campbell, 2014) (Rutledge, 2016)
Obviously, if you can afford it get one of each and you will soon see that the differences are negligible allowing for solid training crossover between the two. Additionally you can use Glock 17 magazines in the Glock 19, while the new models all allow use of older magazines as long as the release is on the right-hand side, they do differ enough that swapping sides with the release will result in not being able to use older generation magazines in Gen 4 and 5 guns. Personally, in our house, we try to have the same defensive firearms, caliber, type, and models as this allows for cross-compatibility in training and use of magazines should it become necessary.
What do you carry and why? I would love to hear your reasoning as every bit helps me make better decisions, after all, I have been wrong and prefer to know it so I can change for the best! Additionally, if any of the readers have access to shooting related data in your state, country or otherwise let me know.
I am writing a book and need as much of the raw data as possible for cohesion and veracity of the project. I contacted several people and am waiting for information requests to come back from several major precincts and hospital groups across the United States.
As always comment and let me know how good or bad I am doing. I may respond and I may not, I do try to respond to readers when possible.
Free the mind and the body will follow
Campbell, B. (2014). Glock 19 Pros and Cons. [online] The Shooter’s Log. Available at: http://blog.cheaperthandirt.com/glock-19-pros-cons/ [Accessed 2 Aug. 2018].
Rutledge, A. (2016). Review: Glock 19 Gen 4 – After 80,000 Rounds | Eagle Gun Range Inc.. [online] Eaglegunrangetx.com. Available at: https://www.eaglegunrangetx.com/review-glock-19-gen-4-after-80000-rounds/ [Accessed 2 Aug. 2018].
Systems, S. (2016). Yes, NSW Has “Adopted” the Glock 19 – Soldier Systems Daily. [online] Soldiersystems.net. Available at: http://soldiersystems.net/2015/12/23/nsw-glock-19/ [Accessed 2 Aug. 2018].
Unger, J. (2017). 9mm Luger Pistols / Replacement Parts – Federal Business Opportunities: Opportunities. [online] Fbo.gov. Available at: https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&tab=core&id=3003911f9f7ff35889bf5f46c48ba0ef&_cview=0 [Accessed 2 Aug. 2018].