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Glock 19 Gen 5 Review: The G Man’s Pistol

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My introduction to the platform was during my military career. My first Glock was a generation, or gen, 3 Glock 19. I have carried gen 3 and gen 4 Glock 19s overseas, and they performed well, to say the least.

This will be an “End User” Glock 19 gen 5 review. For me, the tech specs and construction methods are not as important as how the firearm performs.

So, I am here to talk about how well the Glock 19 gen 5 performed for me. 

Dorr shooting the Glock 19 Gen 5

If you’re new to Glock brand products, they were first introduced to the U.S. market in the early 1980s. Though technically considered one of the period’s new “Wonder Nines,” it took some time for this revolutionary design to take over the world pistol market.

Glock pistols are currently the best-selling handguns of all time spanning over five generations of pistols.

Glock 19 Gen 5 New Features

  • Glock Marksman Barrel (GMB) Traditional Rifling
  • Removal of Finger Grooves
  • Ambidextrous Slide Stop
  • nDLC Finish
  • Flared Mag-Well

Glock 19 Gen 5 Specs

  • Caliber: 9x19m
  • Capacity: 15 standard
  • Barrel length: 4.02”
  • Overall length: 7.36”
  • Height: 5.04
  • Weight: 30.16oz (W/ Loaded 15rd Mag)
  • Width: 1.26
  • Trigger: Safe Action
  • Sights: Various
  • Slide: Stainless Steel w/ nDLC Finish
  • MSRP: $539
RECOMMENDED
9.7
Glock 19 Gen 5

GLOCK 19 Gen 5

$539

at Palmetto State Armory

(Price accurate at time of writing.)

Purpose and Role of the Glock 19 Gen 5

The Glock 19 gen 5 has been the dominant jack-of-all-trades midsize, single-action, striker-fired pistol for as long as I can remember. These pistols can – and have – been filling more roles than any other platform that I know of, which is why these pistols have been best sellers for decades.

They are generally my top recommendation for a first gun. From CCW to home defense, they are plenty of gun for most circumstances.

Military and law enforcement agencies worldwide trust and continue to place these Glock pistols, such as the Glock gen 5, into service.

And many experts use and like Glocks, as evidenced in our round-up article on the best home defense gun.

Not only is it reliable, but the Glock 19 also has a massive amount of aftermarket parts, which you can use to upgrade your Glock to feel and perform exactly the way you want it to.

Click here to get our FREE one page PDF of the Glock 19 upgrades we recommend!

First Impressions 

I picked up a Glock 19 gen 5 in 2019. At the time, I had several Glock gen 3s and a Glock 43.

Glock 19 Gen 5 first impressions

But when I got this new offering from Glock, I first noticed how the lack of finger grooves didn’t affect my grip. I’m not anti-finger groove; many guns I’ve shot and own have them. All I’m saying is their absence didn’t bother me, and I found the Glock 19 gen 5 to have a very comfortable grip.

As soon as I signed for it, I changed the polymer sights and took it to the range. Upon shooting it, I next noticed that the trigger had been upgraded.

Glock 19 stripped down

It was not overly impressive for a modern handgun but a significant upgrade from previous generations of Glock pistols.

From then on, it became my go-to for midsize applications on the range, in the house training, or in a conceal-carry capacity. 

A Short History and New Features

The Glock 19 generation 5 was introduced to the public in 2017, but its origin was not necessarily for the public market.

A few years before this, the FBI put out a bid for a new 9mm service pistol to arm their agents, formally referred to as “G Men,” in case you didn’t understand the title reference. This bid had a list of requirements that needed to be considered for selection.

These requirements were included because the FBI wanted the new Sig Sauer P320 line coming out. They listed all the features the P320 had that the Glock didn’t. They figured this was the best way to ensure they stayed with Sigs. They were, after all, replacing the Sig Sauer P226-9 platform. 

The Sig P320 and the older Glock 19 Gen 3

Glock looked at the contract’s requirements page, pulled a “hold my stein of beer” pause, and redeveloped their product to meet all of the required features that the then-gen 4 models lacked.

This included features like a traditionally rifled barrel. Up until then, Glocks utilized polygonal riflings in their barrels. This new barrel would become known as the Glock Marksman Barrel.

It also would include ambidextrous slide stops, a flared mag well, and a new more durable outer finish. And, of course, those finger grooves molded into the frame had to go.

So that’s a quick down and dirty on how the generation 5 came to exist and how Glock created the pistol to meet the needs of the FBI. An FBI that didn’t even want a Glock pistol, but got one anyway and still uses it to this day.

To the FBI, it’s the M (model) 19. To all of us, it’s known as the Glock 19 gen 5.

Glock Marksman Barrel

Since the beginning, all Glock factory barrels were made with polygonal riflings. This design was favored over traditional grooved rifling for a variety of reasons, including that it:

  • Provides a tighter seal around the bullet, resulting hin higher muzzle velocities
  • Is easier to clean due to less fouling
  • Has a longer barrel life
  • Has a stronger construction

Yet, this design has potential drawbacks compared to the traditional grooved rifling-type barrels. These potential drawbacks are primarily the cost and higher difficulty level during production. If produced correctly, though, polygonal rifling is considered superior to traditional grooved rifling.

For these reasons, Glock created a hybrid-type barrel for the gen 5. The FBI required traditional-type riflings in their new pistol, so Glock created a traditional groove-type rifled barrel that still utilized the polygonal shape–the Glock Marksman Barrel.

To be honest, I can’t tell the difference between the two. While independent tests have confirmed that the new aggressive rifling in the Glock Marksman Barrel is slightly more accurate than previous generation barrels, the muzzle velocity is slightly diminished.

This new Glock Marksman Barrel has the new nDLC finish as well. 

Trigger Upgrade

Glocks are, of course, known for their reliability, but for those of us that shoot them, they are also known for their “mushy” trigger pull.

What I mean by that is that the slack that needs to be pressed through before you find the wall to break the shot has an inconsistent trigger pull feel. It is not a smooth trigger pull compared to most triggers its competitors offer. 

Glock 19 gen 5 trigger

Glock has attempted to rectify this trigger pull issue with a redesign modification to the trigger connector bar.

I notice the difference in the performance of the trigger pulls in the gen 5 compared to having to shoot an issued gen 4 Glock 19 for a few years.

As far as Glock triggers go, the gen 5 has the best trigger pull out of the box and still includes the Glock trigger safety.

Slide Redesign

Glock 19 pistols have always been known for their boxy, unique look.

With the Glock gen 5 slide, Glock has taken a new approach to the front of the slide. The new slide has a tapered look to it. The front end’s rounded edges are supposedly better for holstering the gun.

I haven’t found a noticeable change in holstering the gun, but that’s just me. I will say, though, I did notice the lack of forward cocking serrations, which were brought back on the modular optic system (MOS version) cut slide.

Note: we have now seen non-optic-ready Gen 5 slides in the wild that have front serrations, so you don’t need to buy the MOS version if you don’t want to.

Gen 3 (Left) and the Gen 5 (Right)

Glock 19 gen 1 through gen 3 slides have been praised the world over for their high-quality nitriding finishes.

For some reason, the process of nitriding the gen 4 slides and barrels was changed. It didn’t take long for gen 4 users to notice a drop in quality and durability compared to previous generations. 

Glock took notice of this and the nDLC finish, which is used on the gen 5, was born. Diamond-like carbon, which is a mixture of carbon, hydrogen, and silicon atoms, produces a diamond-like hardened finish.

I like the new look, and the nDLC finish has held up well for me so far.

The New Old Grip 

Though the Glock 19 gen 5 grip angle remains the same as it ever was, it is notable that Glock removed the finger grooves. Which, in a way, is a throwback to Gaston Glock and his original gen 1 and gen 2 grips of the 1980s.

Glock 19 Gen 5 no finger grooves

Introduced with the Glock gen 3 and followed up by the gen 4, Glock added finger grooves molded right into the grip frame. Most users found the finger grooves a welcome addition to the line. Though the feature did have its detractors.

I think Glock returned from finger grooves solely to appease the FBI’s requirement not to have them.

I didn’t mind finger grooves. Though I have shot many aftermarket altered Glock 19s that had the finger grooves removed.

Glock 19 Gen 5 stipling

I liked these alterations, but not enough to have it done on any of my guns. I find the gen 5 stippling without the finger grooves to be just as easy to grip as any of the previous generation Glocks.

The grip “U-cut out” at the bottom front of the mag well is a bit more contentious than the lack of finger grooves. The idea behind it is to be able to pull out a mag with your fingertip in the event a mag becomes stuck.

I can’t say I’ve never experienced this, but it was never a failure point. The mags have always come out when pulled. 

By removing material from the frame for this cutout, many shooters have noticed a lack of grip space for their pinky finger while holding the gun and a new obstacle to avoid while loading.

While I have never noticed or had any problems loading Glock magazines into my Glock 19 gen 5, others have raised this concern.

(Note: Newer Glock 19 Gen 5 models have the “U-cut” removed from the grip.)

The Glock gen 5 has a reversible magazine release as found on previous generation Glocks. The Glock 19 gen 5 also ships with four removable backstraps. These interchangeable backstraps better help end users find the right fit.

Upgraded Magazine Well

For the gen 5 Glock 19, Glock introduced a slightly flared mag well, allowing for easier loading under stress.

Glock 19 Gen 5 flared magwell

Aftermarket flared mag wells have been quite a popular upgrade for Glocks for many years. These, though, had to be added onto the mag well and have varied in size greatly. I think this was a great upgrade, though slight in overall performance. 

Iron Sights

Aside from the mushy stock Glock trigger, the other negative component you must learn to overcome or replace (I suggest the latter) is the stock plastic sights.

The bone stock plastic sights on Glocks are the worst I’ve ever had to use. I have made their factory Glock night sights work. They are decent for what they are.

Glock 19 irong sights

I noticed that they slightly changed the design of their sights on my Glock 19 Gen 5, but I noticed no real difference in performance, so I switched them out. 

Over the past few years, I have used and owned, to this day, aftermarket night sights made by Ameriglo Sights, Trijicon, TRUGLO, and probably a few others. All work better than what the stock Glock sights will give you.

Recommended Sights
Trijicon HD™ Tritium Night Sights for Glock 19

There are many reputable brands, but we have used Trijicon the most.

They have taken a ton of abuse through the years and they still work great for all of us.

If you're an iron sight shooter, you can't go wrong with these.

Check Palmetto State Armory Check Brownells
Download our one page PDF of other recommended Glock 19 upgrades here.

Ambidextrous Slide Stops

Glock released a reversible slide stop with the gen 4. Now with the Glock 19 gen 5, you can have a slide stop on both sides of the slide at all times, making it more ambidextrous.

Glock 19 Gen 5 Slide Stop

I do not. I only use my slide stop for administrative purposes such as to clear and safe the gun, etc.

I release my slide by grip during combat shooting, so I removed the additional right-side slide stop. This is just my preference, and I encourage you to do so. However, ultimately it is all personal preference.

Magazines

The Glock 19 gen 5 is compatible with all earlier generations of Glock magazines. The new gen 5 mags have an orange follower to better see the current round count.

Standard magazine capacity is 15 rounds for a flush fit mag on the Glock 19 gen 5. Extended magazines and plus round base plates are compatible with the Glock 19 gen 5 as well.

Professional Use

It is well known that the FBI was the first customer for the new Glock 19 5th generation and many other agencies have followed suit. In my own professional experience, I’ve used the gen 3 and the gen 4. Both have performed well for me as well as my teammates.

That said, I would prefer the gen 5 over the older models for professional application due to its unique out-of-the-box features. For example, the Glock 19 gen 5 is truly more suited for general issue to units due to its ambidextrous features.

Glock 19 Gen 5 High Ready

Furthermore, I wear a size large glove and find the grip frame to fit my hand comfortably. With gloves on, I use the entire grip with nothing to spare. That said, I can comfortably operate the gun and manage recoil effectively. Shooters with smaller adult-sized hands shouldn’t have any issues running the pistol.

Larger hands are where we start to run into problems. If you have larger hands, getting a really good grip on a G19 may be an issue. Glock has other offerings that give you more grip frame real estate if necessary.

Concealed Carry

I have been carrying concealed for about twenty years now, and in that time, the Glock 19 has been a mainstay for me in both personal and professional applications.

My Glock 19 isn’t the easiest pistol I own to conceal, and I’ll admit in the warmer months, I don’t usually carry one due to its size. That said, if I feel for any reason I need more gun, I can (and have) made the Glock 19 work.

For concealed carry, I generally go with bold night sights in case of defensive encounters.

Glock 19 Bright Front Sight

Holster

Seeing as the Glock 19 is one of the best-selling platforms, the holster options are virtually limitless. All major brands make holsters for these guns, and the Gen 5 is compatible with many.

Establishing a master grip

I’ve carried this gun in both IWB and OWB to include a dedicated appendix sidecar for a time. The gun felt and performed well in all of these configurations, particularly with the Tenicor VELO4 or CERTUM3 holsters.

I’ve never had any issues with it hooking or snagging going to and from the holster. The grip texturing on the Glock gen 5 feels good in the hand and isn’t uncomfortable against the skin during IWB carry.

I have always believed the Glock 19 is a great compromise in size and capability.

Recommended Holster
Tenicor CERTUM3 IWB/AIWB Holster for the GLOCK 19

Tenicor makes concealed carry holsters of the highest caliber. The fit, form, and function are second to none.

We highly recommend their holsters to anyone looking for the best.

Check Tenicor

Range Time

When I first started with this gun, I was a military firearms instructor in the process of converting the force off of the Sig Sauer P226 and onto a new gun, the Glock 19 gen 4. Leave it to the government to adopt dated technology. So I personally skipped the older model gen 4 Glock 19 and went straight to the new model gen 5.

I ran my personal gen 5 over the issued gen 4 due to the trigger being noticeably better in my opinion. During that time, I put in the range of 3000 shots, maybe more. Couple that with Tactical Hyve content and classes, and this pistol has – I would say – about 5000 rounds through it.

That said, the gen 5 Glock 19 doesn’t blow previous generations out of the water. It is still a stock Glock same as the others. The only noticeable difference over the gen 4 is the slightly better trigger and absence of the finger grooves.

I have had a bit of an issue with the sights. I decided to go with the Trijicon HD XR irons. I already had these on a Glock 43 and thought they were great for that small CCW package.

For up-close fast shooting, they work well. As far as taking longer, more precise shots, I find them to be a bit lacking. Instead of changing them out, I’ve just used other guns. 

That being said, this Glock 19 gen 5 has had no major issues. It runs all types of ammo and has never failed me. It gets cleaned after heavy use, but not religiously. The platform more than delivers on its reputation for durability and reliable function.

Though it has ambidextrous slide stops, I generally don’t use them, nor have I swapped my magazine release to the left side. If you are a left-handed shooter, I’m sure it will perform for you as it did me. The gen 5 Glock 19 performs very well during range drills

Performance

The Glock 19 gen 5 is a solid performer across the board. It is a very shootable pistol that is relatively easy to use and keep on target. The trigger is the best out-of-the-box offering from Glock I’ve ever shot. The ergonomic upgrades on this pistol were designed for mass issue government contracts.

The reversible magazine release, removal of the finger grooves as well as the addition of the ambidextrous slide stop all point to a better fit for mass appeal and government purchasers.

Regarding accuracy, the only improvement I noticed was again the trigger is better than in previous generations. The new traditionally rifled Glock Marksman Barrel did not show any real improvement over the previous polygonal rifled barrels, in my opinion.

Regarding reliability, this Glock 19 might be the most reliable handgun I own. I have run a dozen ammo types through it and over a thousand rounds between cleanings. This thing keeps running no matter what.

All in all, this Glock 19 performed to my expectations.

Watch Our Video Review

Frequently Asked Questions About the Glock 19 Gen 5

Is the Glock 19 Gen 5 good for beginners?

As a whole, Glock 19s are generally good for beginners because it is easy to use, reliable, and versatile.

Its compact size makes it easy to handle most shooters, while its simple design means fewer parts to worry about. Additionally, as I’ve mentioned earlier in this review, the Glock 19s are one of the most reliable pistols on the market, making it an excellent choice for beginners. Lastly, its versatility allows it to be used for various purposes, from home defense to target shooting.

How accurate is the Glock 19 Gen 5?

Removing any chance of human error when shooting, i.e. shooting from a steady benchrest, the new Marksman barrel, which has a new rifling pattern, is designed to improve accuracy and consistency.

While it’s difficult to quantify exactly how much more accurate the Glock 19 Gen 5 is compared to previous generations, as there have been conflicting tests in the wild, many shooters have reported noticeable improvements in their accuracy when using the latest model.

Why is the Glock 19 Gen 5 so popular?

Glock Gen 5s are the latest and greatest Glock pistol versions–and people want the newest versions of any product or service, practically all the time.

The gen 5 Glock 19 has several improvements over previous generations that attract new and old customers, such as an improved trigger system, enhanced ergonomics, and a better barrel.

It also is widely available and has a large aftermarket support community, which means that there are many accessories and modifications available that can help customize the gun to fit your needs and preferences.

Summary of Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Upgraded trigger
  • Flared magwell
  • Great sized pistol that works for most shooters
  • Proven reliability
  • nDLC slide and barrel finish
  • Ambidextrous controls
Cons
  • Must replace stock iron sights
  • Cutout at the bottom of the frame affects grip
  • Lack of forward cocking serrations on the slide
  • Different frame dimensions from previous generations

Final Thoughts

I remember being nervous when it was time to switch from the Sig Sauer P226, a different animal or style of handgun that sits at a much higher price point. But I can now say that the Glock 19 was a very easy transition for us. These things work.

In many ways, it has earned the distinction within the firearms industry as the AK-47 of handguns. It is a unique-looking gun that only a mother could love. You know right away what it is when you see it.

RECOMMENDED
9.7
Glock 19 Gen 5

GLOCK 19 Gen 5

$539

at Palmetto State Armory

(Price accurate at time of writing.)

They are like the AK types–world record best sellers. Glocks are found all over the world, being pressed into service for any and all jobs you could expect a handgun to fill. Oh, and of course, last but not least, they are very reliable and fairly inexpensive.

I recommend Glocks in general. I do so with an understanding of their limitations.

I have never been a fan of aftermarket options to create super Glocks, though I know many people who do with success. If you plan to upgrade, check out our recommendations for reliable aftermarket parts.

Click here to get our FREE one page PDF of the Glock 19 upgrades we recommend!

For me, however, the failure rates are way too high and common for operational/duty use. I like to keep my Glock pistols stock, excluding the polymer sights. Though the stock Glock night sights are a great place to start if you’re new to the brand.

The Glock 19 Gen 5 is the company’s flagship bestseller for a reason, and I am very happy with mine. In my opinion, it’s the best out-of-the-box model yet; unlike my first Glock 19 that required after-market upgrades.

If you’re considering buying one, I hope my review has helped you determine if it is the right pistol for you. You really can’t go wrong with a Glock 19 Gen 5.

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About the author

Dorr Overby

Dorr is a retired Navy SEAL with 20 years with Naval Special Warfare experience ranging from Special Warfare Operator, Lead Sniper, Lead Breacher, Communicator, Range Officer in Charge (OIC), and close quarters battle (CQB) and Weapons Instructor.

6 thoughts on “Glock 19 Gen 5 Review: The G Man’s Pistol”

  1. Beg to question that it has a stainless steel slide – I wish they did come with a factory SS slide !
    An ole Marine grunt
    Trigger time in Nam

    Reply
  2. Yo tengo una pistola 19 G 5 la compré hace poco me siento muy contento con ella , la llevo conmigo siempre no me molesta en la piel

    Reply
  3. Excellent effort. Instructor not only demonstrated extensive military experience but detailed preparation and research to ensure a smooth, effective no bullshit brief. His article and video sealed the deal on my decision to purchase the Glock 19 Gen 5 over the Sig 365X Macro. My weapon experience includes 27 years as an Army Infantryman in Light, Airborne, Ranger and Mechanized Infantry units.

    Reply
  4. Meh. More about the firearm less about the author is always good. I tend to lose interest by about the 3rd “I was”, “I did” or similar statement. One’s resume does not really make their opinion more relevant than anyone else’s. Say what you have to say and let folks decide if it makes sense to them. Though this review is by no means the worst I’ve seen. I do feel sorry for folks that would be swayed by one article they read online, but get enough to follow and you have your own YouTube channel!

    Reply
    • That’s your opinion–that many people would disagree with. You may not want personal insights, but many people do.

      Reply
  5. I enjoyed the review and personal perspectives. Most LE I know recommended the handgun when asked. This review and the Glock website cemented my choice. Thank you Dorr!

    Reply

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