GLOCK 19 Gen 4 Review
Pat Cascio 07.15.14
I still remember the very first GLOCK handgun I saw. It was at a Long’s Drug store in Colorado Springs, CO, back in 1987 or 1988. I went to the drug store to purchase a Colt 1911, and saw the GLOCK 17 — at that time, the only model that was produced. I fell in love with it right then and there, and walked out of the drug store with it instead of the Colt 1911. I remember how great the GLOCK 17 felt in my hand, and then having two 17-round magazines with the gun… well, back then, hardly anyone gave you a second magazine with a pistol. I also remember wondering about the material the frame was made out of, and the clerk behind the counter could only tell me it was “plastic” of some sort. Still, I purchased it anyway.
Since my initial GLOCK 17 purchase, I’ve probably owned every model out there except the select-fire GLOCK 18, and that’s because the 18 is restricted to law enforcement and military sales. However, I did have the opportunity to fire a GLOCK 18, and it was a blast — literally! I worked with the late Col. Rex Applegate, on the very first video that Paladin Press produced, and we had a prototype GLOCK 23 to play with. It worked most of the time — it came with an unmodified GLOCK 19 magazine, and the rounds didn’t always feed properly.
The gun under discussion today is the GLOCK 19 Gen 4 9mm handgun, and it is probably the best generation to date. It comes with 4 back straps, two for making the grip a bit thicker or bulkier, and two also extend the tang a bit. Some folks wearing gloves have experienced stoppages when the slide would hit their gloved hand, so with the extended tang back straps, you won’t have that problem. (I never had the problem myself when wearing gloves and shooting a GLOCK.)
Features and functions
The GLOCK 19, gen 4 weighs in at 23.65 ounces, and has a 4.02 inch barrel, with a trigger pull of approximately 5.5 lbs. The magazines (you get three of them) each hold 15 rounds of 9mm. The barrel is hexagonal in that it’s not rifled.
The trigger is what GLOCK calls the Safe Action Trigger — it has a little lever in the center of the trigger, and you can’t fire the gun until your finger is on the trigger. There are also several internal safeties as well, but none that you have to do anything with. The sights have a white dot front polymer, and the rear is also polymer, except it has a “U” shape and it is very fast to pick-up. These sights are not conducive to target shooting for the most part, but most folks purchasing a GLOCK are doing so for self-defense or duty purposes, not for target practice. The sights are easily changed out, if you want to put some other type of sight on the guns. But you do need a GLOCK front sight tool to replace the front sight.
I’m told that, the GLOCK 19 is the most popular model in the GLOCK line-up, and I don’t see any argument there. The GLOCK 19 is smaller than the full-sized model 17 and larger than the sub compact model 26 — it’s “just right” as Goldilocks would say. To be sure, the 19 is my favorite GLOCK model, too. My oldest daughter and my wife also carry a GLOCK 19; they are concealed weapon permit holders. The polymer frame has finger grooves on the front strap, and the sides and back strap have little “nubs” for a sure grip on the gun under any weather conditions.
The recoil spring set-up is slightly stouter on the Gen 4 model 19 than it was on previous generations. And, you can safely shoot +P and +P+ 9mm in the 19 without any problems. The slide has a Tennifer coating that defies rusting; I’m told the coating is actually harder than a diamond. And, even if the black wears off, the coating is still there and the slide won’t rust. And, as mentioned, the frame is polymer.
Also, the extractor has a slight addition to it — when there is a round in the chamber, you can see or feel the little protrusion on the extractor.
Care and maintenance
All GLOCKs are easy to break-down for cleaning and maintenance. You simply remove the magazine, check the chamber to make sure no rounds are in the barrel, and point the gun is a safe direction and pull the trigger. Once you have done that, you retract the slide about a 1/4 inch while you pull down on the take-down lever and then the slide comes off. You can then take the recoil spring assembly out and the barrel, and that’s it. Put the barrel back in the slide, then the recoil spring assembly and slide it back on the frame — it’s that easy!
All GLOCKs come with a magazine loader, and their mags are a bit hard to load. I don’t have any problems, but a lot of people do. Use the mag loader to load-up your magazines, and let them sit for a week or two, and then the next time you go to load the magazines, they are much easier to load because the spring took a set.
GLOCK handguns don’t require a lot of lube. However, I make sure my Model 19 is lubed all the time, with Italian Gun Grease http://www.italiangungrease.com/ and it’s the best gun lube I’ve ever used, too. I also like the Blackhawk Products http://www.blackhawk.com/ SERPA hip holster for concealed carry, and their tactical thigh holster makes for a great duty holster, too – low and out of the way.
During my testing of my GLOCK 19, Gen 4, I had a good assortment of ammo from Black Hills Ammuntion and Buffalo Bore Ammunition, including standard velocity, +P, and even +P+ loads, and I had no problems at all with the 19.
From Black Hills, I had their 100-gr frangible round, which is used mainly at indoor gun ranges. When the round hits the steel backstop, it almost completely disintegrates. I also had the Black Hills 115 gr FMJ round. I’m waiting on some more of the Black Hills 115-gr +P Barnes all-copper hollow TAC-XP point loads; they were out when I requested them. From Buffalo Bore, I had their 15-gr Barnes all-copper hollow point TAC-XP +P load, 124-gr FMJ FN +P+, 124-gr JHP +P, 115-gr JHP +P+, and their 147-gr JHP +P+ loads.
All accuracy testing was at 25 yards resting on a rolled-up sleeping bag over the hood of my SUV. As mentioned, I had no malfunctions of any type. I could feel the difference in the +P+ rounds from Buffalo Bore; they were definitely snappy. The GLOCK line-up of handguns aren’t known for earth-shaking target shooting accuracy. I was getting groups around 4-inches most of the time, if I did my part. With the slightly mushy trigger-pull and the combat style sights, that’s about as good as I can do with most GLOCKs. But most experts will agree that 4-inches at 25-yards is plenty good enough for self-defense needs.
There wasn’t any real winner in the accuracy department, but I thought I’d make a few observations.
I live out in the boonies, and I’m out on logging roads all the time (or just out in the boonies) and when I’m carrying a 9mm handgun, I’ll stuff it with the Buffalo Bore 124-gr “Penetrator” FMJ FN +P+ round if I’m in black bear country. It will penetrate deeply enough to discourage the bear from wanting me for lunch. On the streets, I’ll pick from several hollow point loads, but I’m getting spoiled on the 115-gr Barnes all-copper hollow point TAC XP +P loads from either Black Hills or Buffalo Bore; the Barnes bullets penetrate deeply, expand, and stay together.
You should also take note that the GLOCK 19 will take the 17-rd GLOCK 17 magazine in a pinch, although it will extend below the butt of the gun. Also, GLOCK makes a 33-rd extended magazine. I’ve used ’em and they work. However, I’ve also used the S. Korean-made 33-rd after-market magazines, and I’ve had no problems with them. These knock-offs are usually less than half the price of genuine GLOCK 33-rd 9mm magazines.
On the other hand, the S. Korean-made 31-rd .40 S&W magazines I’ve tested have proven less than reliable. If I had to grab and run, in a survival situation, I’d grab my GLOCK 19, with several spare 15-rd magazines, as well as my Blackhawk Products 9mm machine gun leg pouch, which nicely holds 3 of the extended 33-rd magazines in it–along with an AR-15 or an AK-47, of course.
Many first-time gun buyers will buy a GLOCK of some sort because they see many police officers carrying a GLOCK. And gun shop clerks will often recommend a GLOCK. Many of my firearms classes students who come to a class with no handgun will borrow my GLOCK 19 and run right out and purchase one for themselves. The security personnel at the U.N. also carry GLOCK 19s, too.
So if you’re in the market for a new or a first handgun, take a close look at the GLOCK 19. It might be just want you’re looking for in a 9mm pistol.