Extra Capacity for your Compact Glock

Most folks that carry a semi-automatic handgun and are serious about concealed carry make sure to carry a spare magazine as often as possible.  A spare mag obviously provides additional ammunition should you be forced into reloading the handgun while responding to a violent encounter, but there are other reasons that may be more important for carrying a spare. As far as I’m concerned, the ability to provide a solution for malfunctions is at the top of the list of reasons for carrying a spare mag.

Regardless as to why you carry a spare mag, you should understand that if you carry a compact Glock like the G19 or a sub-compact model such as the Glock 26, you have brand and capacity options when it comes to the spare mag that you carry.

We will talk about the brands in a bit.

Glock magazines
Glock magazines.

First, Let’s talk about magazine capacity.

The standard capacity of a Glock 17 is 17 rounds in the magazine. A Glock 19 mag holds 15 rounds, and a Glock 26 mag holds 10 rounds. A great thing about Glock handguns is that a G19 can accept both Glock 19 mags as well as Glock 17 mags.  A G26 can take mags for the 19 and the 17.

There are some great advantages to this versatility.

Glock magazine compatibility can provide extra capacity on reloads.

Whether you are on the range or involved in a self-defense encounter, more ammunition is typically better.  Having higher capacity magazines than your gun typically holds is a great way to increase the capacity of your handgun.  Increasing the capacity of a full-sized Glock like a 17 isn’t terribly practical for concealed carry.  Although 21 and 33 round mags exist, they are large, heavy, and difficult to conceal.  When it comes to carrying a 17 round magazine compared to a 15 or even a ten-rounder, the difference is minimal as far as weight and concealment are concerned.

There are other great advantages as well!

Higher capacity Glock magazines can help you keep up with other shooters on the range.

The extra capacity probably won’t ever come into play in a self-defense scenario, but the peace of mind is nice to have.  Where that extra magazine capacity can come into play is when you are training with a compact or sub-compact gun.  During training or practice, you might find yourself running dry before the full-size gun guys do.

In situations where this matters simply stuff your mag pouches with higher capacity mags.  Sure your G19 or G26 will look different with a 17 round mag hanging out of the bottom, but it will perform perfectly and let you keep up with the big guns.

Reloads are easier with compact guns when using higher-capacity magazines.

One of the biggest disadvantages of carrying Glock 19 or 26 mags for reloads is that they can be difficult to grasp.  Depending on your magazine and magazine pouch combination, you may not have much surface area to grasp when you reach for that spare during a malfunction reload.

The extra length of a full size mag provies for an easy grip.

Placing a longer, higher-capacity magazine into your mag pouch can give you the extra length you need to be able to grasp your magazine firmly and securely when it matters most.

When it comes to Glock, versatility is one of the first ideas that come to my mind.  To keep it simple I gave 9mm examples throughout the post, but the versatility of Glock mags isn’t limited to 9mm handguns.  You will find the same interchangeability in Glock magazines of any caliber within the same caliber.  The versatility of Gaston’s handguns doesn’t end with the interchangeability of magazines.  Caliber conversions add to the versatile nature of guns like the G22.

Find Compatible Mags

To make it easy for you to find compatible Glock magazines simply take a look at this table to see what magazines will work with your handgun.

Caliber Model Standard Mag Cap Optional Higher Cap Mags
9x19mm 17



 17 round Glock 33 round mag

Magpul PMAG 21 round

ETS 31 round magazine

19  15 round Glock 17 magazine – 17 rounds
26  10 round Glock 17 magazine – 17 rounds

Glock 19 magazine – 15 rounds

40 S&W 22



15 round Glock 40 S&W 22 round mag
23  13 round Glock 22 magazine – 15 rounds
27  9 round Glock 22 magazine – 15 rounds

Glock 23 magazine – 13 rounds

45 ACP 21


 13 round  none
30  10 round  Glock 21 magazine – 13 rounds
10mm 20


 15 round  none
29  10 round Glock 20 magazine – 15 rounds
357 SIG 31  15 round Glock 40 S&W 22 round mag

(should function well)

32  9 round Glock 32 magazines – 13 rounds

There are plenty of reasons to carry extended spare magazines if you carry a compact Glock.

The additional capacity, the ability to keep up with other shooters on the range, and the increased area to grip the mag in the mag pouch all make sense for most shooters in some situations. Of course, you need to consider your unique situation and determine if carrying a larger capacity reload makes sense for your situation.

Compact Glock with extended capacity magazine
The fact remains that most shooters that carry a smaller gun can find some good reasons to own magazines that extend the capacity of their compact or sub-compact Glock.
Paul Carlson, owner of Safety Solutions Academy, is a Professional Defensive Shooting Instructor.  He has spent the past decade and a half studying how humans can perform more efficiently in violent confrontations and honing his skills as an instructor both in the classroom and on the range. Through Safety Solutions Academy, Paul teaches a variety of Critical Defensive Skills courses in more than a dozen states annually.  Courses range from Concealed Carry Classes to Advanced Critical Defensive Handgun Courses and include instruction for the defensive use of handguns, rifles and shotguns.  Safety Solutions Academy regularly hosts other industry leading experts as guest instructors to make sure that SSA's students have the opportunity for quality instruction across a broad range of Critical Defensive disciplines.

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