Currently, there is a staggering selection of pistols that are very small and lightweight, carry quite a few rounds, and can easily be dropped into a pocket. It’s the trend these days, and many shooters eat them up. And for lots of people, these tiny pistols fill the bill nicely for defensive purposes. I have a couple of smaller pistols myself. In light of this, why would I choose a Glock 19X as my next handgun? Surely, there are lighter, smaller choices for concealment.
As mentioned, I already have that base covered, and I intended to fill another niche; I was after a fighting pistol that could allow me to prevail in a hostile environment. If that pistol happened to be relatively concealable, that would be an added bonus.
Let’s face it, if we’re expecting real trouble, we’re going to bring something a bit more serious than a pistol to the fight (better still, we’d avoid the fight altogether). That is assuming things are ideal. Which, thanks to Murphy’s Law, they usually are not. Pistol bullets are not efficient bad-guy-stoppers due to their generally low velocity.
On the other hand, it’s not always convenient or possible to have a long gun with us, and so the pistol is frequently the tool that we have to work with, which brings me to the point of this article.
What is now the Glock 19X was initially submitted to the military as a competitor for their XM17 MHS (Modular Handgun System) a few years back. The point of the pistol was to be a standard-issue sidearm for use in enclosed spaces, such as with vehicle crew members, for example. The pistol needed to have substantial magazine capacity (it certainly does) and be supremely reliable (it certainly is). A manual safety was included on the military submissions, but Glock elected to omit the safety on the pistol that is sold to civilians.
Ultimately, the military chose the Sig P320 for reasons I won’t reiterate here, although the word on the street is that cost was the straw that broke the camel’s back. It’s likely that a book could be written about all the details of the Service Trials, and my purpose is not to plow that row again. Suffice to say, both the Sig and the Glock are great handguns, and I know many people who own and are happy with both brands. I really like the Glock for the reasons that I’m about to go into momentarily. The fact that well over half of the law enforcement agencies in the US (along with some military units) issue Glock firearms also doesn’t hurt.
The technical specifications of the 19X are a barrel of 4.02 inches, weight (with empty magazine) is 24.83 ounces, and a height of 5.47 inches.
To simplify those dry technical specs above, the 19X has the grip of a Glock 17 and the slide of a Glock 19. Full-size grip, shorter slide.
At first, many in the shooting community came close to experiencing nervous breakdowns, and antacids were being consumed by the 55-gallon drumful to quell the indigestion that this caused. You see, many shooters wanted the opposite; a shorter grip (all the better to conceal the pistol with) and a longer slide (longer sight radius to hit faraway targets with).
But did they really know what they wanted? Fast forward to the present day, and we see that hordes of gun people are singing the praises of the 19X and its “backward” anatomy. I personally know a couple of dozen people who are in love with the 19X in a big way. Well, what in the world happened to turn peoples’ opinions around?
To better understand it, let’s harken back to around 1970 when the Combat Commander concept was put into the flesh (or, shall we say, into the steel). It comprised a 1911 with a…wait for it…full-sized grip and short slide!
The same concept applies to the Glock 19X (as well as the Glock 43X) as it did to the Combat Commander. A full-sized grip allows a good purchase on the grip as well as a full load of ammunition.
The shorter slide accomplishes a few things.
First, it clears the holster faster because there is obviously less slide to drag out of that holster, and in a gunfight, that fraction of a second could very well make all the difference. A faster draw stroke is always a Good Thing. The difference between the slide length of the G19 and the G17 is approximately one-half inch, with the G19 obviously being shorter.
Next, the shorter slide allows the shooter to index targets faster. Again, there is less slide to be swinging around, and at close range, the user can aim in faster. Is it a huge advantage? Not dramatically, but as with the faster draw stroke, we’re shaving fractions of a second off of our reaction time, and that can add up. As such, the shorter slide helps on both of these fronts.
Critics wailed about the shorter sight radius and how it would be detrimental to accuracy. The question one has to ask is, how far does he plan on engaging targets? Even at extended ranges, the Glock 19 length slide can engage as well as most other combat pistols out there, so the shorter slide is not a massive handicap. When weighing the pros and cons, I’ll go with the shorter slide because it’s handier, faster, and still gets the job done quite well, thank you very much!
Looking at all of these factors, Glock has not come up with a new, novel concept with the “X” series, in that it was invented decades ago. However, I give them credit for re-embracing the concept and incorporating it into their line of firearms. They went against the grain and came up with a better product for it.
As mentioned, if I were looking for a Glock to simply carry with defensive use and concealability in mind, I’d go with the Glock 43X (as a point of fact, that is exactly the route I went with) or a Glock 19. Both are capable pistols. However, because of the reasons mentioned earlier, I went with the 19X. This article is, therefore, a bit of a comparison, at least in the philosophies of the missions that pistols cover.
Glock 19X Extras
Four interchangeable backstraps are included with the 19X to fit various hand sizes and shapes—two for medium and two for large-sized hands. One each of the medium and large size have a beavertail configuration for users who wish for such a grip. I will say that these backstraps are very nice. They are installed by driving out a pin in the grip of the pistol, snapping the backstrap into place, and then reinserting the pin. It’s easy enough to accomplish. Personally, I haven’t installed any of them, as I wanted the smallest grip possible for my medium-sized hands. The grip is already substantial and I did not wish to add any more length toward reaching the trigger.
That said, even my medium hands have no problem getting a nice grip on this 19X. For me, it’s not quite as comfortable as my 43X, which has a slimmer grip that I’ve found to be my very favorite grip among Glocks.
However, when firing the 19X, that extra grip girth gives the advantage of spreading out the recoil over a larger area, translating into better control. Not that the 9mm in a full-sized handgun is anywhere close to a problem to control, but more control is always better. The 19X’s grip does not have the finger grooves that some other Glock models have, and many of us are happy that they have been omitted. The RTF (Rough Textured Finish) is used on the grip, and it does a superb job of providing traction when gripping the pistol without being obnoxious to the skin.
Other additional items come standard with the 19X, and these really put it ahead of other offerings from Glock. The first items that I was really excited about it coming standard with are steel night sights. Bravo, Glock! These should be standard with every single pistol that they sell. They are a very simple 3-dot affair that is powered by Tritium, and their nighttime glow is very bright.
All in all, I love these sights (in case you haven’t already picked up on my enthusiasm). Being steel construction, they are very robust and allow the pistol to perform in all conditions. One of the only things that Glock lovers complain about loudly is the Polymer sights that most of their pistols are equipped with, and Glock has eliminated that issue with the 19X.
To sweeten the deal even more, Glock has included a total of three magazines with the 19X (most Glocks come with one spare magazine). These magazines deserve special mention because some thought has gone into them, and they are truly stellar. One is a 17-round, flush-fitting magazine, the same as their Glock 17 magazine, so there’s nothing earth-shattering here. However, the other two magazines have factory-installed +2 baseplates, bringing their capacity up to 19 rounds.
With one of these in the mag well and a round in the chamber, the user now has 20 rounds of 9mm on tap, and that’s nothing to sneeze at! With all the included magazines and a round in the chamber, we have 56 rounds with us.
These magazines all wear the same color as the 19X; Coyote Brown. The color coordination is nice and the overall color of the pistol and mags is quite fetching in my opinion. I’ll admit it’s part of what attracted me to the 19X initially. In this day and age of so many pistols being black, this color was a pleasant departure. The 19X’s slide wears a coating of nPVD that sort of resembles a bronze color and closely resembles the Coyote Brown, which prohibits corrosion. It seems to work well and be durable because I’ve not had an issue of corrosion with my pistol. And Glock is known for the durability of their finishes, so this one is good to go.
Getting back to the magazines, I really have to give serious kudos to Glock in this department, and not just for the 19X, but for all their pistols. I’ve been through a number of shooting schools and training over the years, and one thing has become blatantly apparent: Glock magazines can take one hell of an ass-kicking and come out on the other side asking for more. I’ve seen them slammed onto concrete floors during mag changes countless times and I’ve yet to see one give up the ghost. Magazines from other brands of pistols frequently are not even close in the durability department. For this, Glock gets the highest marks. Perhaps it’s the fact that they have a Polymer outer layer over top of the metal insert. It seems to absorb impacts better than magazines that only have metal construction.
Admittedly, the +2 extensions do add some length to the grip, and considering that this is a Glock 17 grip already, the length that they add is definitely going to affect concealability. In short, that grip with the mag extension is a handful, which is why Glock meant for these to be spare magazines, intended for use when the fecal matter hits the fan. I personally carry a standard magazine when carrying concealed and keep the 19-rounders as spares. Once a battle begins, and if a mag has to be changed, I’m not going to care how far the extension hangs out the bottom of that magwell. As it is, 17+1 rounds in a carry pistol is more than adequate.
One criticism that I have (as do many others) is that Generation 5 Glock magazines cannot be used in the 19X. This is because of a solid tab on the front of the magazine well, and the Gen 5 mags have a baseplate that sticks out, which won’t allow the magazine to seat in the 19X magwell. I was told that this tab on the grip was requested by the military. There is an easy fix: simply replace the Gen 5 baseplates with those of earlier generations, which would be an advantage if you have a pile of Gen 5 mags that you’d like to use in the 19X. As an aside, 19X mags will work in other Glock generations, including Gen 5 pistols.
More Features and Extras
One item that I removed immediately was the lanyard loop from the magwell, as I do not foresee having a need for it, and it would be more in the way than being of any use. Those in the military, especially operators working from heights or above water, would benefit from the lanyard loop to keep from losing the pistol.
There is an ambidextrous slide release, which many will consider to be a useful feature. Aside from lefties, many of us train to shoot from either side.
The trigger on the 19X is pretty good, as well. The takeup is smooth and the break is clean, making it a pleasure to use. No, it’s not a competition 1911 trigger that breaks like a glass rod, but for a striker-fired pistol, it is a joy. Especially when compared to the triggers from earlier Glocks, this one is much improved. The weight at which it breaks is around five pounds.
As with all other Glock pistols, the 19X comes in a plastic case. This particular one is Coyote Brown and matches the pistol and magazines perfectly. It comes complete with a magazine loader and a cleaning rod & brush, along with a gun lock. All in all, it rounds out the package nicely.
The GMB (Glock Marskman Barrel) comes standard, which Glock claims enhances the accuracy of their pistols. It appears to work well, as the 19X is a very accurate pistol. To put it bluntly, it’s just a very “shootable” pistol! The recoil is surprisingly soft, the action is super smooth, with minimal muzzle flip, and it just puts the rounds where you want them. Glock really hit a home run on this one!
At the Range
At the range, the 19X made an excellent showing. There were a series of steel plates that showed themselves and simply had to be engaged. With the 19X, I had an enjoyable time making them ring with regularity. At 20 yards, it was child’s play to ring them almost as fast as I could pull the trigger, proving that this pistol does precisely what it is intended to do, which is to rapidly and accurately engage targets.
As far as accuracy goes, the Glock 19X is more accurate than my aging eyes are. Groups of just over two inches at 25 yards from a rest are not unheard of, though, and better shooters will undoubtedly achieve better results than I’m capable of.
Some simple shooting drills proved that the 19X will engage multiple targets very quickly. Moving from target to target is a joy, given the short slide.
This pistol is a real joy to fire, and it really became addicting; we didn’t want to stop shooting! Unfortunately, with the state of ammunition being what it is these days (difficult to find and worth its weight in gold), we had to reign ourselves in far sooner than we’d have liked to. Ammo hoarding because of uncertain times is, at the time of this writing, a major thing.
That said, the 19X handles like a dream. It’s hard to explain, but it has a sort of unique feel to it, unlike most other Glocks. It seems that the hand-filling Glock 17 handle, coupled with the Glock 19 slide, gives it this unique feel. One description I’d use is that it feels “handy,” in that it is quick-handling, which I attribute to the shorter barrel. It just feels right. Beyond that, you’re going to have to try one out for yourself to truly get the feel of one.
The more I handle this pistol, the more I like it. The way it looks and handles is outstanding. I believe one major factor in the lack of recoil and smoothness in shooting is attributed to the double captive recoil spring that Glock is now using. The unit works like a charm, and the fact that the pistol is full-sized doesn’t hurt either, and goes a long way toward its soft shooting nature. As I remember back to the late 1980’s when I bought a Glock 17 when they first began being imported into the country, I marvel at how far they have advanced.
Is the Glock 19X superior to the Glock 19 and Glock 17?
For its intended role as a combat pistol, I believe so. It combines the best of both pistols without sacrificing much aside from the 19’s concealability.
Granted, the 19X is not the best pistol for concealed carry, but it certainly can be concealed. I’ve carried it on many occasions and had no major problem concealing it. These days, we’re spoiled with the tiny pistols that fit into a pocket, so some will consider the 19X to be the equivalent of a horse-drawn artillery piece. But those among us who hearken back to the days of the Sig P226, full-sized 1911s, and the Beretta M9, which we used to carry concealed, will scarcely have issues concealing the 19X.
Understand, I’ll not be carrying the 19X everywhere I go, as I have other handguns that fill the role better. But for certain situations, the 19X will be coming along with me, and that is comforting. Especially in colder weather when we wear bulky coats and for walks in the woods where concealment is not paramount. It is one of the most versatile, capable pistols on the market today as far as combat pistols are concerned.
Recently, the folks at We The People Holsters sent me one of their holsters for the 19X to review, and I’ve been carrying it in their holster (AIWB). I’m happy to report that the 19X carries well, although it is obviously heavier than my 43X and the butt of the grip extends out slightly more. Aside from that, it is not a problem to conceal and works well.
The extra mile that Glock went with the spare magazines, steel night sights, and the color really set this pistol apart from the company’s other offerings. At the time of this writing, my local gunshop had the 19X for $569. That’s around $100 more than most standard offerings from Glock. If we were to shop for those extra goodies and purchase them individually, the price tag would be well over $100, so the slightly higher price of the 19X is more than justified and represents a solid value. And even though this particular Glock is on the higher side for the company’s offerings, it’s still less expensive than many other combat pistols from other manufacturers on the market.
All in all, you’re getting an accurate combat pistol that is uber-reliable for a reasonable price. It handles like a dream and covers significant bases. The grip texture is comfortable and offers a solid purchase that cements it into the shooter’s hand. The extra features that are included just sweeten the deal that much more. Were I heading into trouble and had a choice of any pistol, the 19X would be my pick.
Give one a try, I’m pretty sure you’ll agree that the 19X is a champion, along with legions of other shooters who have already decided.