The Glock 19 may not have been the first polymer pistol designed by Glock, but it’s certainly one of the most popular. In fact, in 2020, the Glock 19 was the top seller for some online FFL (Federal Firearms License) holders. What is it about the compact pistol that makes it so popular among gun owners from all walks of life? If you’re curious—or considering picking one up for yourself—you’ve come to the right place.
First, let’s take a look at the history of Glocks in general. Glock can trace its roots back to 1963, but the company didn’t get into firearms design and manufacture until the 1980s. Up until then, they’d been in the business of making injection-molded parts for various purposes. Glock—known at that time as Glock Ges.m.b.H.—edged into the world of weapons by taking on some projects for the Austrian military in the 1970s. Those first products included grenade casings, knives, and machine gun belt links, which basically kept them in their injection-molded lane. But in 1980, the Austrian military decided they wanted to change things up for their duty weapons. That’s when Glock took their step into the firearms world.
The military expectations and trials for a new pistol were as lengthy and in-depth as one would expect. A list of 17 requirements put together by the Federal Ministry of Defense of Austria included features like the new gun being semi-automatic, drop safe, and chambered in 9x19mm Parabellum. It was also hoped that the gun would be relatively cost-effective and not overly complex, and those goals were achieved with Glock’s polymer frame and average of 35 parts per pistol. In 1982, the Glock 17 won those pistol trials and became the standard issue weapon for the Austrian military under the name P80 (Pistole 80). This is relevant because that first pistol produced by the company is essentially the big brother of the Glock 19.
In 1986, the gun maker decided to open headquarters in the United States. They chose Smyrna, Georgia, where they’ve remained to this day.
Glock 19 History
The Glock 19 was introduced in 1988. It’s the compact version of the full-sized Glock 17 and, like the vast majority of the company’s polymer pistols, retains the same general features. Like the Glock 17, it’s chambered in 9x19mm Parabellum, with a double-stack magazine. Most of the company’s pistols have double-stacks; single-stack modelsdesigned for greater concealability hit the market in 2011 with the 45 ACP Glock 36 but didn’t really enter popular production until 2014 with the launch of the Glock 42, which was chambered in 380 ACP.
The Glock 19 has the polymer frame the company is known for as well as a steel insert within the frame. Its slide is machined from stainless steel, the barrel is hammer forged, and it has a standard capacity of 15 +1. The gun has the factory safety blade trigger found on all firearms from the company and, of course, the internal safeties they’re so well known for. There are currently four generations of the Glock 19.