Glock 45, 17, and 19: What’s the Difference?

Gaston Glock invented one of the best handguns in the world when he decided to move into the firearms industry. His bid for an Austrian military handgun turned into a global icon. This is because he did it right and made a reliable, durable, and simple gun. The only thing that isn’t so simple is the name Glock bestows in each of the variant models. When it comes to naming a gun, some companies do better than others. Over the years, I have had enough questions about Glocks to make it clear they are just downright confusing with their numbering system (e.g. Glock 45, 17, 19, 22, etc).

Shooting Glock 19.
Glock handguns are among the most reliable and trusted guns in the world. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
If I tell someone unfamiliar with Glocks that I have a Glock 22, they assume I mean a .22 caliber Glock. People assume the Glock 17 was named as such because it holds 17 rounds in the magazine. They think a Glock 45 is a .45 caliber handgun. All these assumptions are wrong. The Glock 17 earned its name because it was the 17th patent issued to Gaston Glock. So, the names have meaning, but not really to the public.

Another area where those unfamiliar with Glock handguns are confused is the difference between the Glock 45, 17, and 19 models. The Glock 45 and 19 have the same slide but the Glock 45 and 17 use the same magazine. Glock has produced several guns that are mutants of other models. Today, we will look specifically at these three.

Glock 17

The Glock 17 was dubbed the “original” by Glock. Designed for military and law enforcement use, this full-sized 9mm pistol has become a legend. Until Glock came along, guns were made of metal (ignoring the HK VP70). Metal was the only thing that made sense because they experienced pressure and heat when fired. Glock’s “plastic pistol” was not well-received in the beginning. It was brushed off as a cheap, dangerous gun that people could sneak through metal detectors. Of course, that’s not true because Glock’s have metal in them, just not as much as other guns.

Glock 17 handgun.
Glock 17 handgun. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
Unloaded, the Glock 17 weighs just under 25 ounces. This makes it pretty light for a full-size handgun. When it was invented, its 17-round magazine capacity rivaled any other handgun on the market. The barrel length is 4.49 inches, and the overall slide length is 7.32 inches. What a perfect combination for a modern gun! But, a full-size gun is not the easiest to carry concealed. It’s a little on the big side if you’re not using a duty/combat holster. I carried one for years in uniform. But, when I started working in positions that were mostly office work, I drifted towards something a little smaller — the Glock 19.

Glock 19

The Glock 19 is a compact version of the Glock 17. If any other company were to name this gun, it would have been called the Glock 19c. But Glock, for the most part, uses the number that correlates to the patent issued. The Model 19 is just a little smaller than the 17, making it lighter (23.6 ounces). It has a barrel length of 4 inches and an overall slide length of 6 inches. The Glock 19 and 17 have the same slide width of 1 inch and an overall width of 1.26 inches.

Glock 19 handgun.
Glock 19 handgun. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
Besides the 19 being a little shorter, the biggest difference is the shorter grip and magazine. The Glock 19 holds 15 rounds compared to the 17. This means a Glock 19 magazine will not fit in a Glock 17. However, the longer Glock 17 magazine will fit in the 19. It just sticks out a little. When I went from regular patrol to other assignments, I started carrying the Glock 19 because it was a little smaller and still large enough to use on duty.

Transitioning to the Glock 19 for office work has become common at many agencies, but it presents one problem. Your magazines are not compatible with officers who may carry Glock 17 duty weapons. Because of this, our agency started issuing one 15-round magazine to carry in the gun, and the rest were Glock 17 magazines. This fixed the problem of compatibility and provided a little more ammo, even if you were carrying a Glock 19.

Glock 45

The Glock 45 is basically a hybrid of the Glock 17 and 19. To some, it’s a combination of the best features of both guns. It has a shorter barrel, which makes it more compact but keeps the full-size grip. The Glock 45 is called the “compact crossover in black.” The 45 used engineering from the Glock 19X that was designed for the military. Recently, my agency transitioned to the Glock 45, and it has started to grow on me.

Glock 45 handgun.
Glock 45 handgun. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
I didn’t think I would like the larger grip when I’m not in full uniform with a large duty holster. But you really can tell a difference in the shorter barrel. I have always been an advocate of using compatible mags, and this eliminates the 15-round mags. Like other Glock models, the 45 is available with a removable plate for optics. I mounted a Holosun 407c X2 on my Glock 45, and I love it. Overall, the biggest difference between the Glock 45 and 19 is two bullets. To some, that may not be a big deal. Grip size may be more important if you have small or large hands. While the capacity difference is two, the grip on the Glock 45 and 17 feels much bigger in your hands than the 19. Those with smaller hands may prefer the smaller grip of the Glock 19.

Which one do you like: the Glock 45, 17, or 19?

Just about every Glock out there looks the same but comes in different sizes. Why fix something that’s not broken, right? However, there are differences in each model, and knowing what they are helps determine which model you choose. The Glock 17 and 19 are still great guns and have their place in the gun market. If you want a full-size gun, go with the 17. If you want a smaller gun that’s still large enough for duty use, a Glock 19 is a good option. However, if you want a mixture of both, the Glock 45 is the new kid on the block. It’s a Glock 17 and 19 mixed together for one good multi-purpose gun. My Glock 45 fits in any of my Glock 19 holsters, so I didn’t need to buy any for it. If you haven’t taken a look at the Glock 45, check it out the next time you’re in the store.

Sheriff Jason Mosher is a law enforcement generalist instructor as well as a firearms and tactical weapons trainer. Jason graduated from the FBI-LEEDA (Law Enforcement Executive Development Association) and serves as a Sheriff for his day job. When he’s not working, he’s on the range, eating steak, or watching Yellowstone.

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