The Great Debate: Glock 17 vs Glock 19 for Everyday Carry
Given the popularity of the two pistols, a lot of people debate the issue of Glock 17 vs Glock 19 for concealed carry or just as an addition to the gun safe. Each gun has serious merits and both are among the most popular handguns on the market to date. You won’t go wrong with either…but there are a few instances where one is a bit better than the other.
The Glock 19 is considered a Goldilocks gun, just big enough to be incredibly accurate but just sleek and small enough to be easy to carry all the time.
The Glock 17 is a bit bigger, of course, but is more or less the default service pistol for pretty much the entire world by this point. There is arguably no better workhorse handgun on the planet.
Either pistol is a fine purchase, and there are a great many Glock holsters sold for both pistols.
Glock 17 Vs. Glock 19 Specs
Intangibles make so much more difference than one realizes, but the on-paper attributes also make a big difference – including reconciling Glock 17 vs Glock 19 specs when deciding between the two.
The Glock 17 is longer and taller, as the barrel length is near as makes no difference 4.5 inches and the gun is just over 8 inches long overall. The 19, meanwhile has a 4-inch barrel and has an overall length of 7.36 inches. The 17, holding 17+1 rounds of 9mm and stands 5.43 inches tall, whereas the 19 is abbreviated to 5 inches in overall height and to 15+1 rounds of the same.
Width is the same; both pistols are 1.18 inches wide, making them fairly narrow despite the capacity.
Regarding weight, the 17 is slightly heavier at 25 ounces unloaded, though barely by much as the 19 is 23.65 ounces in the same condition. When the 19 was initially released, that was a very impressive figure given the carrying capacity and that most pistols of similar dimension were much heavier…though the “gap,” as it were, has narrowed significantly in recent years. The 19 is now about average for a compact pistol in that regard, but the 17 remains impressively light.
That has made the 17 one of the most popular full-size guns for every day carry including concealed carry, though the 19 is a concealed carry institution. Many people consider the 19 to be a “Goldilocks” gun, able to serve in almost any role.
Glock 17 vs Glock 19 Recoil
When it comes to shooting, there is actually not much difference in terms of Glock 17 vs Glock 19 recoil, as the 19 is not so much smaller than the 17 for there to be a significant departure…though this is partially subjective.
There are two types of recoil, you see. There is actual recoil, which is the force generated by a gunshot, much of which is actually absorbed by the body without notice. There is also FELT recoil, which is the recoil force perceived by the shooter. The latter is entirely subjective; some people will think recoil to be moderate and manageable, others will find it light and others will find it harsh, despite all shooting the same bullet from the same gun.
Some people also equate recoil with muzzle rise, where the muzzle rises up after firing.
Things that also affect felt recoil include barrel length, mass of the gun and where it’s distributed (in other words where the gun is heaviest) and so on. As to Glock 17 vs Glock 19 recoil, there isn’t a great deal of difference. The 19 is less than 1.5 ounces lighter, and the barrel is only about .5 inches shorter though the 4-inch barrel of the 19 is more than adequate to help tame any recoil.
If anything, the 19 may have slightly more recoil, but it won’t be much – though it may get slightly snappier if shooting +P ammunition.
Both pistols are known for being incredibly easy to shoot for almost anyone, which has been part of their appeal for decades.
Glock 17 vs 19 Accuracy
Accuracy is often mostly a product of the shooter rather than the pistol, but very few will notice much difference in Glock 17 vs 19 accuracy. Both pistols are known for being inherently accurate to the degree that there’s almost no difference between the 17 and the 19.
The thing about handgun barrel length is that there’s a point at which extra barrel length doesn’t confer as much advantage and that point appears to be about 4 inches. Going from 4 to 4.5 inches in barrel length doesn’t do nearly as much in terms of increasing accuracy or velocity as does going from a 3.5-inch to 4-inch barrel.
That’s part of why so many people reckon the Glock 19 is nearly the perfect handgun; it’s small enough for most people to effectively conceal while still shooting like a full-size gun. Granted, the 17 IS a full-size gun, and it doesn’t take much for the average person to become proficient with one.
Glock 17 vs Glock 19: By The Numbers
Compare the Glock 17 vs Glock 19 side by side for yourself. This will give you an idea of what each gun is all about by the numbers.
|Glock 17||Glock 19|
|Unloaded Weight||24.87 oz||21.16 oz|
|Dimensions (LxWxH)||7.95″ by 1.26″ by 5.47″||7.36″ by 1.26″ by 5.04″|
Glock doesn’t publish their MSRP. You can find Glock Blue Label pricing, but that doesn’t reflect what you’re likely to pay in-store. Since in-store prices vary so widely, it’s basically pointless to get into the Blue Label scheme. You can expect to pay between $500 to $550 in most stores, though your mileage – of course – will vary.
Glock 17 vs 19: Special Editions
In the fullness of time, additional versions of both pistols have emerged, so there are some additional versions of Glock 17 vs 19 to consider.
For starters, there are now three generations of Glock pistols being offered, with some incremental improvements between them. Generation 3 and Generation 4 pistols are broadly the same, just with the addition of Glock’s Modular Backstrap System (swappable backstrap panels) and a captive recoil spring. Gen 5 pistols add the Glock Marksman Barrel, revised internals, forward cocking serrations and no more finger grooves.
Starting with Glock Gen 4 pistols, the standard Glock 17 or 19 pistol is complemented with an MOS variant as well as the standard pistol. The slide of MOS models is milled for use with a reflex optic, and come with four adapter plates for use with popular optics.
The minor changes in each generation doesn’t really change the fundamental differences between Glock 17 vs 19 pistols; it’s still the same ball game.
However, if you were interested in adding an optic to a pistol, the Glock 19 MOS models are obviously going to be a bit better suited to concealed carry – and many people are adding optics to their carry pistol – whereas the Glock 17 MOS, with an optic, is really more of a home defense, competition or duty pistol.
Especially if you pair that with a light attachment. The more stuff you add, the bigger the gun gets, and an optic plus a light increases the pistol’s footprint dramatically.
If you’re carrying the stock pistol, a Glock 17 vs 19 isn’t really too big a jump; the larger pistol only adds about a half-inch in overall length and a little less than that in height. While it’s big, it’s not impossible to conceal and carry every day, and plenty of people do. Start adding extras though…and the Glock 17 goes from “you could if you wanted to” to “forget concealment.” The Glock 19 with an optic and a light/laser is still tenable.
Settling It For Yourself: Glock 17 vs Glock 19
If you’re having a conundrum about the whole Glock 17 vs Glock 19 and which to buy, since they are both pretty ubiquitous and the 17 isn’t a whole lot bigger than the 19, consider a few things. First, what are you using it for? Second, figure out what attributes are beneficial to you in the gun’s intended purpose.
The Glock 17 isn’t the largest of service pistols, but it is a touch on the large size. While plenty of people do concealed carry with a Glock 17, it isn’t the easiest and pains must be taken to keep it hidden. For the smaller concealed carrier, a 17 can stick out like a sore thumb and at that, so can the Glock 19 in some cases as the Glock 19 is what many consider to be at the upper limit of what can be effectively concealed.
The Glock 17 is a perfect home defense pistol, as it’s easy to maneuver and use, and can be equipped with lasers, lights or a laser-light optic. The 19 can as well. Another thing to be aware of is that the 19 has smaller grips, which can be much better suited for shooters with smaller hands.
So, are you looking for a nightstand or car gun? A concealed carry pistol with high capacity…or a gun that can do it all? The 19 will do everything well, the 17 is a little harder to conceal.
What about you? Are you a bit on the smaller side? The 17 isn’t going to be the easiest to conceal and if your hands are a bit small you may have issues handling it.
Both are among the best handguns you can buy; there’s no doubt about it. The one that’s best is the one that’s best for you.
When you do head to the range, to test the 17 or 19 for yourself, you’re going to need a target…but why pay for paper targets if you don’t have to? We’ll give you as many as you want – you just need to download Alien Gear’s printable 8.5″ x 11″ shooting target.
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About The Author
Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.