Glock 19: One of America’s Most Popular Firearms

Photo Credit: Tech. Sgt. Gregory Brook / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
Photo Credit: Tech. Sgt. Gregory Brook / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

While the “Glock” name has become iconic in the world of firearms, the brand only released its first pistol, the Glock 17, in 1982. The Austrian manufacturer has earned the loyalty of law enforcement and militaries across the globe, as well as civilians. One particularly impressive model is the Glock 19, which is now the standard for many elite units.

Origins of the Glock 19

Law enforcement officer holding a Glock 19
The Glock 19, a shortened model of the Glock 17, is popular among law enforcement. (Photo Credit: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times / Getty Images)

The Glock 19 was first developed in 1988 as a more compact version of the Glock 17. Austrian gunmaker Glock GmbH shortened both the barrel and the handle by around a half-inch, but aside from that, the firearm is strikingly similar to the 17. Similar to the latter, the 19 features a polymer frame, a material that’s popular in the gun world due to its lower cost, lighter weight and resistance to rust.

The Glock 19 was first introduced within Austrian police forces and the Swedish Army, and it wasn’t long before it became a hit with officers. It’s also very popular with those within the United States. For example, when the New York City Police Department offers officers the choice of carrying a Glock 19, a Smith and Wesson Model 5946, or a Sig Sauer P226 DAO, the vast majority opt for the Austrian firearm.

The Glock 19X is popular among civilians

Drawing of the Glock 19X
The Glock 19X, made for civilian use, is incredibly popular. (Photo Credit: Futurhit12 / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0)

Glock also produces a civilian version of its 19 model: the 19X. It’s very similar to the one used by law enforcement and the military, but is produced in a tan color, rather than black, so the variants can be distinguished.

The gun has been a major success sales-wise. Within the first six months of the Glock 19X’s release, the company moved over 100,000 units. Vice President Josh Dorsey said at the time, “These shipping numbers not only validate the earned trust our customers put in GLOCK, but also, demonstrate GLOCK’s proven manufacturing and surface treatment capabilities ensuring the company can deliver pistols in the quality and quantity that our customers demand.”

The Glock 19X is also used in competitive shooting events where smaller guns are allowed.

The Glock 19 is equipped by US Navy SEALs

US Navy SEALs standing with firearms
Photo Credit: CORBIS / Getty Images

US Navy SEALs face special types of situations and, therefore, need a special sidearm. For many years, the elite unit carried SIG Sauer P226 pistols. In 2015, however, the decision was made to start carrying Glock 19s.

There were a number of reasons for this:

  • Cost – A Glock 19 costs significantly less than a P226.
  • Reliability – Built from polymer rather than metal, the Glock 19 can stand up better to salt water corrosion.
  • Maintenance – Carriers can do almost any necessary maintenance while out in the field.

Not only have Navy SEALs chosen to use the 19, but FBI Hostage Rescue Teams and the US Marine Corps Special Operations Command have, as well.

The Glock 19’s future

Glock 19X on display
The Glock 19 has been updated a number of times. (Photo Credit: Kiran Ridley / Getty Images)

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The Glock 19 has now been on the market for over 30 years. That doesn’t mean, however, that it’s going anywhere anytime soon, as the pistol’s low cost and high quality have continued to make it a favorite among consumers.

Glock has released a number of firearms over the last few decades, but none have been as popular as the 19. The firearm’s latest version, the Gen5, is a further improvement on the tried and true design, with 20 modifications made to the previous Gen4 model. These include the introduction of high-capacity magazines and a customizable frame size.

Todd Neikirk

Todd Neikirk is a New Jersey-based politics, entertainment and history writer. His work has been featured in,, and He enjoys sports, politics, comic books, and anything that has to do with history.

When he is not sitting in front of a laptop, Todd enjoys soaking up everything the Jersey Shore has to offer with his wife, two sons and American Foxhound, Wally.