A staple of the firearms market for the past quarter century, the third generational variant of the Glock 19 is still tough to beat.
While Glock made waves with its 17+1-shot standard-sized Model 17 in 1986 when it was introduced to the U.S., when the new G19 was debuted just three years later, it proved an easy hit. Advertised as some 6.77 inches long and 4.64 inches high, the easy-handling pistol with its 15+1 capacity of 9mm was everything you could ask for in a compact pistol and was dramatically lighter and, at the same time, simpler than the common double-action/single-action guns on the market.

Glock 17 and Glock 19 ads 1989
How the Glock 17 and Glock 19 were initially debuted in the 1980s – back when gas was 69 cents a gallon. 

Keep in mind that in 1989, the G19's leading competition was the all-stainless steel DA/SA S&W 5906 "Wondernine," which hit the scales at nearly 2.5 pounds unloaded while the polymer-framed Glock with the same capacity went just 23 ounces.
Then, in 1998, Glock debuted the 3rd Gen models and soon put the older 2nd Gen G19 to bed. The new generation brought a lot of minor internal improvements as well as what was billed at the time as the "Universal Glock rail" allowing the mounting of lasers, lights, and other accessories. To improve the ergonomics that in previous generations had been left to the user to apply skateboard tape and soldering irons, molded finger grooves and thumb rests were added to deliver a better grip while the texture was stepped up.
Thus, the Gen 3 G19 was delivered to the market and soon became one of the most popular handguns in American history.

The Gen 3 Glock 19 of today
The Gen 3 Glock 19 of today has published specs of 7.36 inches for overall length with a 4.02-inch barrel, a height of 5.04 inches with the magazine inserted, and an overall width of 1.26 inches.

My Decade With the Same Gen 3 G19

Back around 2012, my carry choice was a SIG Sauer P229R – a 13+1 9mm – as a platform that I had lots of experience with as I carried one and instructed others on it in my "day job" as a contractor with the Dept. of Homeland Security. While I owned Glocks already, they were in .45 GAP and .40 S&W (hey, it was 2012).
Downshifting to the lighter G19 in 9mm for my personal carry gun, I picked up a brand new Gen 3 model and found it easy and even fun to shoot. Soon, it was my everyday carry. The reason was obvious. While roughly the same length and height as a Glock 19, a P229 loaded with 14 rounds of 147-grain JHPs hits my kitchen scales at 37 ounces. The G19, with 16 of the same rounds loaded, weighs 31 ounces. Plus, with the striker-fired action, there was no need for working a decocker or the hassle of a hammer catching on clothing. The Glock was point-and-shoot while at the same time being more snag-free.

Glock 19 Gen 3
Sure, the SIG was prettier and still is, but the Glock was just flat-out simple and dependable. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

 Easy to use, and easy to carry, it still provided a decent magazine capacity that put it on par with, say, a Beretta 92 or SIG P226, while being easier to conceal. Plus, it was no slouch on the range, and I easily shot expert or D-ex on every course of fire I used it on.

target on range
It was almost boring to shoot. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)
Glock 19 Gen 3 mags
Plus, extended magazines are super easy to find for those looking towards either range day fun or serious home defense. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

As the years passed, I didn't find any sort of ammo that the Glock didn't eat. I never suffered a problem with it that couldn't be fixed with the occasional emergency action drill or eventual spring replacement – make sure to swap that recoil spring every 3K rounds or so folks, just to be on the safe side.

While I haven't logged every box of rounds sent through the G19, a basic math equation multiplying my average range sessions since I picked up the polymer-framed parabellum by how many rounds I would typically feed through it puts it easily in the 15,000 range. I recently swapped out all the small springs (firing pin spring, extractor depressor spring, mag catch spring, trigger spring, slide lock spring, slide stop lever spring) just to be sure it would keep going bang for another 15K. The sights, barrel, trigger, and everything else are original and I still run the original mags, among others. If I wanted to change anything out, there are likely more aftermarket parts for the Glock Gen 3 platform than anything save the M1911, so that isn't a problem.
On the prospect of the Gen 3 G19 being outdated, there is a little school of thought on that as Glock themselves have gone on to the Gen 4 and Gen 5 models of the same gun.

Glock 19 Gen 3 Pistol
Generationally speaking, the Gen 3 guns have been surpassed by the Gen 4s, as exemplified by this comparison of my G19 and G22. The biggest external difference is in the grip texture/modularity via backstraps, and the presence or lack thereof of finger grooves. These guns were bought new within weeks of each other. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

Gone on these later models are the finger grooves, the original polygonal-rifled barrel, the smooth texture, and the simple plastic recoil assembly. These have been replaced by a fingerless and more modular frame with RTF3 texture, Glock's more accurate Marksman Barrel, a better recoil assembly, and a trigger that feels crisper. While the same vanilla plastic sights remain standard, the MOS series allows the mounting of a micro red-dot sight, which is the basic cool guy benchmark for 2022.

While many today act as if the finger grooves on a Gen 3 Glock was the downfall of Western society, I for one have always found them a non-issue. The original RTF texture, while not as aggressive as the polymids of the later RTF2 and current RTF3 textures, was at least better than the first gen guns and can always be roughed out or (forgive me for saying) stippled. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)
Glock 19X vs G19
A comparison between the more Gen 5ish G19X crossover and the G19 Gen 3. Note the difference in the grip frame and recoil assembly.  (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

However, even with the new generations on the market, the Gen 3 G19 remains in production.

One of the big reasons is because it is still on California's approved roster of "certified handguns" while the newer Gen 4 and 5 guns are not, due to arbitrary political reasons. Nonetheless, it is common to find new Gen 3 G19s in gun stores, if not in Gov. Newsom's Brave New World. I think it is because people just love the classics. Face it, this most "old school" of Glock carry guns is the closest thing to the 1911 or S&W K-frame when it comes to polymer-framed striker-fired pistols in terms of reputation and sheer market penetration. Just about everyone has either owned or at least shot one in the past couple of decades.

Glock 19 Gen 3
The Glock 19 Gen 3 still feels good in the hand.  (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)
Glock 19 Gen 3 holsters
Over the years, I've found the G19 to tote well in any number of simple "deep ride" style holsters. While comfortable, however, these do not allow for an easy re-holster. As you may tell, these get lots of use. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)
Glock 19 Gen 3 holsters
As well as better rigid leather holsters such as Galco's Royal Guard. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

Plus, the "old reliable" still holds up well even when you toss more modern options against it.

Compare it to the current reigning champion of carry guns, SIG's new P365 X-Macro. In terms of size, the guns are well matched, with the SIG gaining a few points because it is a tiny bit shorter (6.6 inches vs 7.36 inches) in overall length, and width (1.1 vs 1.26) while the Glock stands a little shorter (5.04 vs 5.2 inches) in height. The unloaded weight of the P365 X-Macro is 21.5 ounces, which is 1.5 ounces less than the Glock, and the SIG has the benefit of being compensated, optics-ready, and can cram an extra two rounds into its mag. But, if you don't care about the compensator or want to carry a red-dot-equipped pistol, the Gen 3 G19 still stacks up despite being a lot older. Not bad for a pistol introduced the same year the Beastie Boys released "Intergalactic."

The SIG P365 X-Macro vs the now classic Gen 3 Glock 19,
The SIG P365 X-Macro vs the now classic Gen 3 Glock 19, is a comparison that is closer than you would think (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com).

In the end, will Glock soon retire the Gen 3 Glock 19 after its successful 24+ year run? Maybe, maybe not. But one thing is sure, the one I have will be kicking long after they do, and it will still go 16 for 16 whenever needed.

Glock 19 Gen 3 pistol
While a little dated, the Gen 3 G19 is still a very capable EDC choice.  (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)