Glock 17 vs Glock 19: Side-by-Side Comparison for Shooters

The Glock 17 and Glock 19 are among the most popular handguns in the world, each commanding a sizable following for their reliability and performance. The Glock 17, introduced by Gaston Glock in 1982, set the standard for polymer-framed, striker-fired pistols and quickly gained a reputation for being durable and easy to use. The later introduction of the Glock 19 brought with it a compact version, addressing the needs of users looking for a more petite frame without significantly sacrificing magazine capacity or shooting ability.

Despite their similarities, the two models have distinct features that may appeal to different users. The Glock 17 has a slightly longer barrel and slide, contributing to a longer sight radius, which can aid in more precise shooting. Conversely, the Glock 19's shorter grip height and overall length make it a preferred choice for concealed carry without drastically altering the shooter's ability to control the firearm. The underlying design philosophy for both pistols prioritizes simplicity and efficiency, making them equally suitable for law enforcement, military, and civilian uses. Both share high modularity, with a vast range of aftermarket modifications and accessories allowing personalization and performance tuning.

Key Takeaways

  • The Glock 17 and Glock 19 are reliable, widely-used firearms, each with unique advantages.
  • The Glock 17's longer barrel offers a longer sight radius, while the Glock 19 is preferred for concealed carry.
  • Both models support extensive modifications and have a consistent design philosophy focused on simplicity.

History and Development

The Glock series of pistols has a storied history that began with innovation in Austria and spread worldwide through military and law enforcement adoption. This journey of the Glock, from its origins to becoming a staple in defense arsenals, is marked by design innovation and strategic partnerships.

Origins of Glock

The Glock pistol was the brainchild of Gaston Glock, who had not previously designed firearms before venturing into the development of the Glock 17. The initial design responded to the Austrian military specifications for a new service pistol. In 1982, Glock GmbH introduced the Glock 17, featuring a durable polymer frame and a striker-fired mechanism, setting it apart from many of its contemporaries.

Adoption by Military and Law Enforcement

Following the Glock 17's adoption by the Austrian military, the pistol gained significant international attention. It became recognized for its reliability, ease of use, and innovative design. The Glock's appeal swiftly spread across the globe. In the United States, the firearm not only caught the attention of law enforcement agencies but also became a dominant choice for American law enforcement. Officers and agents operating in diverse and demanding conditions highly value its high capacity, inherent safety features, and robust design. The Glock became a common sight in holsters across numerous nationwide agencies.

Design Philosophy

The design philosophy behind the Glock 17 and Glock 19 reflects distinct user needs and preferences. Both firearms are part of Glock's constant commitment to reliability, simplicity, and efficiency, with the subtle differences tailoring to specific uses and handling characteristics.

Glock 17:

  • Purpose: Engineered for professional use, particularly within military and law enforcement.
  • Size: Features a full-sized frame with a stable grip, favoring accuracy and control.
  • Barrel Length: Longer barrel for improved ballistic performance and sight radius.
  • Magazine Capacity: Standard magazine holds more rounds, which is suitable for extended engagements.

Glock 19:

  • Purpose: Designed with personal defense and concealed carry in mind.
  • Size: Compact frame for easier concealment and comfortable carry,
  • Barrel Length: Slightly shorter barrel, balancing concealability with performance.
  • Magazine Capacity: Reduced capacity compared to the G17, but sufficient for self-defense situations.

The Glock 17's design lends itself to situations where firearm openness is acceptable or preferred, emphasizing a natural pointing grip and extended use without reloading. In contrast, the Glock 19 caters to civilians and covert operators who prioritize a balance between accessibility and concealment. Its minor dimensions prevent the weapon's print from being seen on clothing, an essential aspect of discreet carry.

Both models reflect Glock's philosophy by offering ergonomic designs and high durability, yet they differ in balancing the needs for control and comfort against concealability and portability.

Technical Specifications

In comparing the Glock 17 and Glock 19, one will notice distinct differences in their specifications, which cater to different user needs based on size, capacity, and handling.

Size and Dimensions

The Glock 17 is typically categorized as a full-size handgun, with an overall length of 7.95 inches. The height, including the magazine, is 5.47 inches, and the standard weight without a magazine is 25.06 ounces. In contrast, the Glock 19 is considered a compact-size pistol, having a slightly shorter overall length of 7.28 inches, a height of 5.04 inches, and a weight of 23.65 ounces without a magazine.

Barrel and Slide

Both pistols chamber the 9mm cartridge, but the Glock 17's barrel length is 4.49 inches longer, providing a potential advantage in accuracy and velocity. The Glock 19's barrel length is 4.02 inches. The slides on the two models reflect their barrel sizes and contribute to the overall length of each gun.

Frame and Grip

The polymer frame is a hallmark of Glock design and is noted for its durability and lightweight. The Glock 17 and Glock 19 feature similar frame designs, with the 17 slightly longer to match its overall size. The grip size reflects the frame design, with the Glock 17 offering more surface area compared to the shorter grip of the Glock 19.

Magazine Capacity

The Glock 17's magazine capacity is notably larger, with a standard capacity of 17 rounds as opposed to the Glock 19's 15 rounds. However, both models can use higher-capacity magazines, including one that holds 33 rounds, although these may protrude from the base of the grip.

Performance and Reliability

When comparing the Glock 17 and Glock 19, it's essential to consider their accuracy, recoil management, and long-term reliability, all of which are fundamental to any firearm's performance.

Accuracy and Sight Radius

Glock 17 and 19 are equipped with the Glock Marksman Barrel (GMB), which enhances accuracy. However, the Glock 17 has a longer sight radius due to its increased overall length, which can improve shooting precision, particularly at a distance.

  • Glock 17 Sight Radius: ~6.49 inches
  • Glock 19 Sight Radius: ~6.02 inches

The longer sight radius of the Glock 17 provides a slight advantage for aligning sights and achieving better accuracy, especially for shooters with more experience.

Recoil and Handling

The handling of a firearm is significantly influenced by its recoil. The Glock 19, slightly smaller and lighter, can exhibit slightly more perceived recoil than the Glock 17. Additionally, the Glock 19's recoil spring is designed to absorb the snap of the compact frame, offering a compromise between control and comfort.

  • Glock 17 Recoil Management: Balanced due to a larger frame and more mass absorbing the recoil.
  • Glock 19 Recoil Management: Snappier, with a more noticeable recoil owing to its compact size.

Shooters may find the Glock 17 more manageable due to its larger grip size and increased weight, which helps mitigate recoil during rapid-fire sequences.

Durability and Maintenance

Both Glocks are renowned for their durability and ease of maintenance; their reliability is a cornerstone of their reputation. The polymer frame and metal slide construction are designed to withstand extensive wear and tear, maintaining performance over long periods.

  • Durability Factor: High for both models, equipped to handle adverse conditions with minimal maintenance.
  • Maintenance: Simple field stripping and minimal parts make both guns user-friendly for routine cleaning and maintenance.

Both pistols offer a similar level of durability and maintenance ease, ensuring reliable function when it matters most.

Comparative Analysis

In this section, we provide a specific comparison between the Glock 17 and Glock 19, considering their size, suitability for carrying, and the implications these factors have for personal and home defense.

Glock 17 vs Glock 19

The Glock 17 and Glock 19 are semi-automatic 9mm pistols widely recognized for their reliability and performance. The Glock 17 is a full-size service pistol commonly used by law enforcement and military personnel worldwide. It features a 4.48-inch barrel and offers a standard magazine capacity of 17 rounds. In contrast, the Glock 19 is a compact variant designed for concealed carry and personal protection. It sports a slightly shorter barrel at 4 inches and a standard capacity of 15 rounds.

Compact vs Full-Size

Dimensions play a crucial role when comparing a compact to a full-size pistol. The Glock 19, being more compact, typically offers better concealability and is more comfortable for all-day carry. On the other hand, the larger size of the Glock 17 provides a longer sight radius, which aids in accuracy and makes it preferable for service use or home defense where concealment is not a priority.


Glock 17

Glock 19

Barrel Length

4.48 inches

4 inches

Magazine Capacity

17 rounds

15 rounds

Overall Length

8.03 inches

7.36 inches

Carry Considerations

Concealed carry enthusiasts often prefer the Glock 19 for its balance between size and firepower. It is easier to conceal under clothing, and the reduced dimensions provide a comfortable fit for various body types. The Glock 17, while larger, is still chosen by some for concealed carry due to its higher capacity and shootability. However, it is essential to note that the choice between the two models may depend on individual preferences and the specific circumstances under which the pistol will be carried.

Practical Uses

In the realm of firearms, the Glock 17 and Glock 19 are highly respected for their versatility and reliability. Whether employed by law enforcement and military units, used for personal and home defense, or chosen by competitors and recreational shooters, each model has specific strengths tailored to these practical applications.

Law Enforcement and Military

Law enforcement agencies and military personnel often select the Glock 17 for its full-sized frame, facilitating a stable grip and improved accuracy during high-pressure situations. The increased magazine capacity of the Glock 17 is also an advantage for extended engagements. On the other hand, the Glock 19 is favored for its compactness, easier concealment, and maneuverability in tight spaces, making it a suitable sidearm for operatives who need a combination of discretion and readiness.

Personal and Home Defense

For individuals seeking a firearm for personal protection or home defense, the Glock 17 and Glock 19 have attributes that suit these needs. The Glock 19's compact size makes it an ideal choice for concealed carry, offering a balance of firepower and concealability. Homeowners might lean towards the Glock 17 due to its larger size and increased ammunition capacity, ensuring more rounds are available to defend their residence.

Competitive and Target Shooting

In competitive shooting circles, the precision and handling of a firearm can significantly impact performance. Shooters participating in events like IDPA or USPSA might prefer the Glock 17 for its larger grip size and longer sight radius, contributing to better shot placement. Recreational and target shooters might opt for the Glock 19 for its ease of handling and comfort during extended sessions, as well as its ability to double as a carry gun for self-defense.

Modifications and Accessories

The Glock 17 and Glock 19 are highly modifiable platforms with a broad spectrum of aftermarket accessories. They share interchangeability in numerous parts due to their similar designs.

  • Sights: Both models can have a wide range of aftermarket sights, from traditional night sights to fiber-optic front sights.

  • Light and Laser Attachments: Owners often equip their Glocks with tactical lights and laser sights for improved visibility and accuracy. These attachments are typically mounted onto the integral rail of the pistols.

  • Red Dot Optics: Both Glock models cater to the growing popularity of red dots on pistols. They can be modified to include a red dot or other pistol-mounted optics, enhancing precision.

  • Holsters: The modifications and choice of accessories dictate the compatibility with specific holsters. Users should ensure that holsters are compatible with the modified form of their Glock 17 or 19.

One should pay particular attention to compatibility, especially when considering the dimensions affected by modifications. For instance, a more extended slide on the Glock 19 may require a different holster design. The following table briefly outlines some modifiable aspects:


Glock 17

Glock 19





Requires compatible barrel and guide rod when swapping




Long-slide barrels are needed for cross-compatibility when changing slides




Glock 17 magazines can be used in Glock 19, but not vice versa

Grip Extensions

Not applicable

Commonly used

For better grip on the shorter Glock 19 frame

Pistol-mounted optics



Requires slide milling or optics-ready models

Users should investigate each modification’s impact on the firearm's performance and ensure they adhere to safety standards.

Market and Consumer Insights

The global popularity of Glock handguns is reflected in the widespread adoption and preference amongst varied users. Market trends vary significantly based on regional regulations and cultural attitudes towards firearms.

Global Adoption

Glock 17 and Glock 19 models have garnered international acclaim and are widely adopted across several countries due to their reliability and brand reputation. Law enforcement agencies in countries like Norway, Sweden, Finland, and France have issued the Glock series pistols, including the 17 and 19 models, as standard sidearms. In Israel, the Glock 19 is favored for its compact size while still being combat-effective, and military forces commonly use it. New Zealand police have also chosen Glock pistols because of their ruggedness and ease of use. Conversely, in countries like Russia, where civilian firearm ownership restrictions are stringent, the market for Glocks is primarily through military and police channels.

Civilians and Shooting Enthusiasts

Within the civilian handgun market, the Glock 17 and 19 models are distinguished for their reliability, simplicity, and ease of use, making them popular for personal defense and sport shooting. The Glock 19's more compact civilian dimension translates to better concealability and comfort without significantly sacrificing magazine capacity or firing stability. Here's a comparative snapshot:

  • Glock 17

    • Length: 8.03 inches
    • Height: 5.47 inches
    • Barrel Length: 4.49 inches
    • Magazine Capacity: Typically 17 rounds
  • Glock 19

    • Length: 7.36 inches
    • Height: 5.04 inches
    • Barrel Length: 4.01 inches
    • Magazine Capacity: Typically 15 rounds

These dimensions demonstrate why the Glock 19 is often favored by those requiring a more discrete carry option. Additionally, both models share a platform allowing cross-compatibility of certain parts and magazines—further cementing their appeal among shooting enthusiasts who value modularity and versatility.

Variant Models and Generations

Glock 17 and Glock 19 have undergone significant evolution across various generations, introducing new features and models catering to diverse user preferences and requirements.

Evolution from Gen 4

When examining the progression from Generation 4 (Gen 4), the Glock 17 and Glock 19 removed the finger grooves characteristic of previous models, aiming to improve grip comfort for a more comprehensive range of hand sizes. The texturing was also enhanced to offer a more secure hold. The Gen 4 iterations featured a modular backstrap system, allowing the user to customize the grip size to their hand.

Special Editions: G19X and Beyond

The G19X model is a crossover that combines the full-size frame of the Glock 17 with the compact slide of the Glock 19. Initially designed for military use, it gained popularity among civilians for its balanced size and capacity. This model typically comes in a Coyote color, distinguishing it from the standard black finishing of other Glock models.

Special editions and configurations of these pistols have been released, each with specific features tailored to different operational needs or user preferences.

Alternatives and Competitors

When considering compact pistols, the Glock 19 and the full-sized Glock 17 have a broad range of competitors. These alternative brands offer varying features that can influence a shooter's preference, especially those considering pistols for competition shooting or self-defense applications.

Comparison with Other Brands

The Smith & Wesson M&P series is a strong competitor to Glock, often chosen by law enforcement and concealed carry users for its ergonomic design and customizable grip. Similarly, the Sig Sauer P320 offers modularity with its interchangeable frame sizes and calibers, appealing to shooters who value adaptability.

Notable Compact Pistol Competitors to Glock 19:

  • Smith & Wesson M&P Shield: Slim profile, favored for concealed carry.
  • Sig Sauer P365: High capacity in a micro-compact frame.
  • CZ P10C: Known for its ergonomic grip and trigger feel.
  • Beretta APX: Features a unique modular design and aggressive slide serrations.

While the above models are competitive with the Glock 19, they all have unique features, such as different trigger systems and grip angles, that may influence buyer choice based on individual comfort and shooting style.

9mm vs. 40 S&W Options

The caliber debate between 9mm Luger and .40 Smith & Wesson often centers around ballistic performance versus capacity and recoil. While the Glock 17 and 19 are traditionally chambered in 9mm, Glock also offers variants in .40 S&W, such as the Glock 22 and 23, catering to shooters who prefer the larger caliber's kinetic energy for law enforcement or home defense.

Pistol Model


Magazine Capacity

Noted Features

Glock 17


17 rounds

Large frame, suited for duty

Glock 19


15 rounds

Compact, concealable

Glock 22

.40 S&W

15 rounds

Similar to Glock 17, more power

Glock 23

.40 S&W

13 rounds

Similar to Glock 19, more power

The 9mm is often favored in competition shooting for its lighter recoil, allowing for faster follow-up shots. The .40 S&W, however, has its proponents who appreciate the knockdown power it provides. Additionally, the locking block, which is an integral part of the pistol's design, varies slightly between the 9mm and .40 S&W models to accommodate the different pressures and recoil of the cartridges.

Considerations Before Purchase

When torn between the Glock 17 and the Glock 19, buyers should carefully evaluate their budget, intended use, and personal comfort with the firearm. These factors will drive a more informed decision and ensure value in the purchase.

Price and Value

The prices of the Glock 17 and Glock 19 tend to be similar, although they can vary depending on the seller and any included accessories. Regarding value, it's essential to consider long-term use and potential resale value. Both models maintain a high resale value, but the final decision should be based on a comparison of features against the asking price.

  • Glock 17: Comparable market price, higher magazine capacity
  • Glock 19: Comparable market price, increased concealability

Purpose and Application

Each model offers different advantages depending on the purpose and application. For those seeking a reliable service weapon or a handgun for home defense, the Glock 17 provides a more extended grip and larger magazine capacity, which can be a decisive factor for prolonged engagements.

  • Home Defense: Glock 17 tends to be favored for its larger capacity.
  • Concealed Carry: Glock 19 is often preferred for its ease of concealment.

Ergonomics and Customization

When considering ergonomics, both guns' grip size and texture should be examined as they directly affect the shooter's comfort and control. The Glock 19's shorter frame might suit individuals with smaller hands more. In contrast, the Glock 17 provides a more substantial grip that may be preferred by those with larger hands or for use with gloves.

  • Grip: The Glock 17 offers a larger grip area, while the Glock 19 is more compact.
  • Customization: Both models have a wide range of accessories to enhance ergonomics, such as custom grips and extended controls.

Selecting the suitable Glock model involves a personal assessment of how each weapon aligns with the buyer’s specific needs, considering the subtle yet significant differences between the two.


When deciding between the Glock 17 and Glock 19, purchasers are faced with choosing between two high-quality firearms that have earned their reputation for reliability and performance. The Glock 17, with its full-sized frame, lends itself to steady handling and is often preferred for duty use, where size is less of a detriment and accuracy is of utmost importance.

The Glock 19, on the other hand, offers a more compact frame that may be better for concealed carry without significantly compromising performance. Its slightly smaller size can make a notable difference for those prioritizing concealability and versatility while maintaining the ergonomic design and durability Glock is known for.



Glock 17

Glock 19

Frame Size



Barrel Length




Less concealable

More concealable

Intended Use

Duty, accuracy

Concealed carry

Each model ensures the user benefits from Glock's commitment to providing practical handguns. Both models offer pros and cons depending on the user's specific needs. Whether one requires a weapon for professional duty use, personal defense, or a balance of accuracy and concealment, the choice ultimately comes down to the individual’s preferences and intended use scenarios.


The Glock 17 and Glock 19 are both highly regarded firearms with a wealth of information available for comparison. For a thorough understanding, the following references are recommended:

  • GunPros provides a clear comparison emphasizing the size and suitability for concealed carry of both models. It highlights the Glock 19 as one of the largest pistols advisable for concealed carry for someone who is 5'9".

  • American Firearms offers a historical perspective, including a comparison from a 1989 Glock advertisement. Dimensions are compared side-by-side, illustrating the Glock 19's lesser overall length and height compared to the Glock 17.

  • TheGunZone: Focuses on the reliability and robustness of each model, making it apparent why either could be an asset for a survivalist.

  • Diffen: This article presents a direct comparison of technical differences, such as barrel length and pistol grip size. It also notes the popularity of the Glock 19 for concealed carry and the compatibility of magazines between the two models.

  • Academy—Outdoors: This article tailors its comparison towards beginners, discussing the Glock 17’s larger size and capacity versus the Glock 19’s more compact frame and ease of concealment.

By consulting these sources, readers can gain a detailed and nuanced view of the functional differences between the Glock 17 and Glock 19, aiding in an informed decision on which firearm may best suit their needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Choosing between the Glock 17 and Glock 19 often comes down to size, capacity, and intended use. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions addressing these key considerations.

What are the key differences in size between the Glock 17 and Glock 19?

The Glock 17 is more prominent with a longer barrel and slide. It typically has an overall length of 0.67 inches more than the Glock 19 and stands 0.43 inches taller.

How do the Glock 17 and Glock 19 differ regarding concealability for everyday carry?

Due to its more compact size, the Glock 19 is generally favored for concealed carry. The reduced dimensions offer a better balance between concealability and handling.

Can the magazines of Glock 17 be used in a Glock 19?

Yes, magazines from the Glock 17 can be used in the Glock 19, which can benefit users who own both models by providing magazine interchangeability.

What are the differences in ammunition capacity between the Glock 17 and Glock 19?

The Glock 17 has a higher standard ammunition capacity than the Glock 19 due to its larger frame.

How do shooting performances compare between the Glock 17 and the Glock 19?

The shooting performance of the Glock 17 generally provides a slight advantage in terms of accuracy and recoil management due to its longer sight radius and heavier weight. However, the Glock 19 still offers commendable performance, balancing shootability and comfort.

Which model is more suitable for a beginner shooter, the Glock 17 or the Glock 19?

For beginners, the Glock 19 is often recommended due to its compact size and ease of handling, but the choice also depends on individual preferences for size, grip, and intended use.

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