Glock’s “crossover” design, developed originally for a mammoth military contract, has a lot of things going on– most of them good.
Introduced to the market in January, the Glock 19X is now marketed as something of a “do all” handgun, blending a full-sized frame with a mid-sized slide and the company’s Generation 5 features. But first, let’s start at the beginning.
The origin story
The saga behind the G19X is that it arose as Glock’s entry to the U.S. Army’s potentially lucrative Modular Handgun System competition. First floated in 2011, a vast field of more than a dozen interested firearm manufacturers came sniffing for the chance to both supply as many as a half-million handguns to the military as well as earn bragging rights likely to last for decades. Key to the competition was the prospect that the gun should be able to meet an extensive list of requirements to fit a wide range of users, hence the “modular” portion of the name. The ultimate MHS contract winner, the M17/M18– itself a variant of the Sig Sauer P320, used two different frames and a removable chassis system to meet the requirement. Glock, on the other hand, offered a hybrid Gen5 G17 frame with a shorter dust cover matched with a Gen 5 G19 top half and a series of 17 and 19-round magazines and replaceable backstraps which could be adjusted at the user-level.
In the end, the Army whittled down the competition to the entries from Glock and Sig, with the latter taking all the marbles in large part due to a more competitive bid, which was upheld on appeal. Similarly, unsuccessful entries from companies such as FN (the 509), Beretta (the APX, or, on an alternative timeline the M9A3) and others have splashed out onto the market since then to recoup some of the R&D cost. In each case, the handgun offered to the public has differed significantly from the ones submitted to the Army, with even Sig’s planned M17 commemorative pistol having different sights and coatings than the MHS winner. As for Glock, the 19X deletes the military requirement for a manual thumb safety and does not have black surface controls, but is otherwise the same.
Is the 19X what the consumer wanted? Perhaps not, because it wasn’t intended from the outset as a gun for civilian target, home defense or concealed carry use, but rather to satisfy a list of specs on a military contract. The G17-sized grip mated to a G19-slide is the opposite of what many fanboys wanted Herr Glock to drop on an eager market (a mod often termed the G19L when customized as such or coupled with a grip-chop), arguing the longer grip of the 19X is a heartbreaker for those seeking to carry–especially IWB, while the abbreviated barrel/slide gives a shorter sight radius. Meh.
What it was supposed to replace was the M9, the military-standard version of the Beretta 92F adopted in the 1980s and used extensively across the armed forces for more than three decades. Comparing the two on the outset, the G19X is smaller, lighter, able to be easily configured and still provides a comparable magazine capacity. However, it didn’t get the nod from the Army to fill the looming vacancy.
The gun is primarily a Gen 5 Glock, sans the beveled mag well and with the addition of the whole 19/17 mashup, coyote finish and, oh yeah, a lanyard loop. Also, the front end of the 19X frame is radiused to match the dehorned nose profile on the slide, a feature which previous Gen 5s noticeably lacked.
The 19X uses Glock’s new Marksman Barrel, which is a hammer-forged barrel with shallow hexagonal rifling and an improved crown over past designs. Some 4.02-inches in length, the barrel is marked “5” to denote its branch on the Glock family tree. Height, due to the larger frame, is 5.47-inches while the length is 7.44-inches overall– with the final figure close to the standard length of GI 1911 Commander-style pistols. The grip, like other Gen 5s, is devoid of finger grooves.
Weight without a mag inserted is 22-ounces, and with a loaded 17-rounder inserted hits right at the two-pound mark, the latter of which is a dead ringer for the published loaded weight of Glock’s standard G17.
The gun comes complete with an ambidextrous slide stop lever and reversible magazine catch. Of interest to Glock nerds is that it uses the 01 Trigger spring, 05 Connector, and 24n firing pin spring. The only caliber option is good ole 9x19mm para, though Glock did submit a G23 .40-caliber offering to the MHS competition as well.
Did I mention it has a lanyard loop? Don’t worry, it’s removable and the void it leaves can be left open or plugged per the user’s desire.
The sights are probably the best part of the gun for me. The self-illuminated front and rear sights are factory-installed and, unlike the standard option for Glocks, are not made of plastic. Perhaps the first thing done by new Glock owners is to ditch those cheesy OE sights and grab a pair that brings more to the party– a concern that 19X owners simply shouldn’t have right off the bat. I don’t want to do the whole dog whistle thing of saying the sights are “military-grade,” but they are sweet.
Dramatic in appearance, the first thing you notice about the new Glock is the burnt bronze color, deemed Coyote Tan, with a nPVD coating that is visually appealing and hard as nails. As a carry gun, it is kinda funky, especially for those that prefer a more sedate gray-to-black finish or old-school blued steel. For those who dig the combat khaki craze and pause over IG pics of FN SCARs and the like, the scheme on the G19X is a solid win. In carrying the test gun off and on for the better part of three months around the house, working in the yard, fishing, at the range, on hunting trips and kayaking, it was exposed to a fair amount of good ole fat boy body sweat as well as salt air and harsh environments. At the end of that period, despite riding hundreds of hours in a series of both greasy leather and rigid Kydex holsters, I found the G19X had very little surface wear and, if anything, the finish is worn in a shade darker.
The pistol ships with a set of mags that are unique to the platform and aren’t offered with other Glock handguns. These include a 17-round flush fit and a pair of 17+2 round extended mags. While they are Gen 5s, they have black followers and not the orange ones seen on other Gen 5s while the overall mag color matches the frame. Further, the flush-fit 17 has a thinner base pad than is seen in the Gen 5s. The mags are backward compatible with various generations of G17, G19, G26, and G34 guns if you have them in your collection.
When talking magazine compatibility, the 19X itself is a peculiar animal with odd feeding habits. Although the gun is ostensibly a Gen 5 G17, the rub is that they cannot use standard Gen5 G17 mags with the normal base pads because they won’t fit in the mag due to the unique toe found on the 19X’s grip– though if you have these mags already, you can swap out the base pads for the older, thinner ones, and you are good to go. Alternatively, if you have a lot of these mags on tap, you can always trim away the Army’s required grip extension slightly to accommodate.
Though it has a G19 top half, you can’t use a G19 or G26 mag because they are too short to fit in the magazine well. However, you can use legacy Gen 3 and 4 G17 mags as well as most aftermarket G17 mags such as Magpul’s GL9 series. Extended mags, provided they are 9mm, seem to work with no problem. I tried 33-round Glock factory sticks, a GL9 27 and a couple of Korean drums I had and all fit/functioned fine.
In general, mags tested dropped free when the release was actuated, with the “in general” quantifier tossed in because once she got good and dirty and the mags had a bit of carbon, grass and lead on them, this was not always the case. When ran to empty, I experienced no issues with the slide locking back on either factory or aftermarket magazines.
The Glock 19X should have been marketed under Timex’s old logo because it literally took a licking and kept on ticking. While many guns, especially semi-auto pistols, are finicky when it comes to ammo, I couldn’t find a factory loading that choked up the crossover Glock. In fact, I couldn’t make it choke at all in organic testing over the course of 2,000 rounds fired.
In short, zero malfunctions in the firing cycle were observed. Ammo tested included both JHP and FMJ from Winchester, Federal, PMC Remington, Speer and Wolf ranging from 115 to 147-grain, with about half tested being lipstick-red American Eagle Syntech 115-grain TSJ range ammo. It should be noted that this was on a fresh-from-the-box gun with no added lubricants or treatment.
It’s striker-fired, well-built and comfortable to fire. The larger grip was a bonus to me as I have big hands and, while I like the previous G19 offerings, the 19X gives more real estate for said grubby mitts.
Accuracy was excellent, and I had no trouble ringing steel at normal distances under 25 yards and chewing the center out of paper bad guys. It would be interesting to hook the gun up to a Ransom rest with some match 9mm ammo and break out the calipers.
Moving past the honeymoon stage, you start to develop the classic Glock “smile” on the barrel exterior after the first few hundred rounds and the Coyote finish shows carbon build up almost as bad as my stainless Kimber Grand Raptor.
As far as the internals, the slide rails shined up nicely but did not exhibit undue wear.
Interestingly enough, the 19X has maritime spring cups, which is always a high-speed add-on that many go for, so that’s a bonus added. Is it that much more useful for those who aren’t using their guns while semi-submerged? Probably not, but why throw rocks.
The pistol does not have a very crisp trigger as it is striker-fired but it is better than most in its class. The trigger went bang every time it was pulled on a live round and reset for the next. Specs say the trigger is 5.8-pounds to break (curiously other Gen5s are listed at 5.5-pounds) and travel is 0.49-inches, both of which I have no reason to contest. For those who prefer tighter performing options, they are out there.
While meant to be carried in a duty holster by military end-users, some who purchase the civilian sheep-dipped G19X will inevitably want to carry it with them about their day. When carried OWB, either open carry or with a cover garment, no worries there. When going concealed, the beefy frame and grip angle may not cooperate with those looking for deep concealment. Add the 17+2 mag to the mix and you can hang it up. That’s not to say it is impossible to tote around quietly in the produce section by any means, just be clear that the gun is not designed with concealability in mind and you have to work at it to a degree to not print, especially when wearing close-fitting shirts.
I found the 19X is easier to draw, especially from concealment than full-sized handguns such as a 1911 or Sig P220, though I do miss the slightly lower felt recoil due to those with longer slides being front-heavy. Once upon a time, I carried a Gen 3 G17 for months on end as a personal defense gun, giving it a regular workout 4-5 times a month at the range and– unsurprisingly– the G19X feels much like carrying and shooting that older Glock. With that in mind, if you are a G17 addict, odds are you will love the 19X and want to carry it everywhere. Fast forward to today, I typically carry a Gen 3 G19 as I find the size suits me and it is more gun than a single-stack or subcompact. Compared to that legacy specimen of combat tupperware, the extra grip length of the G19X, even with the flush-fit 17-round mag, is noticeable every time I move, especially if traveling in a car or performing tasks that require me to get into unorthodox positions. So those who dig a stock G19 will feel a bit awkward carrying the 19X from time to time.
Where the gun is a potential standout is in a home defense role, or, when tricked out a bit, in tactical/practical shooting. You can also bet that some agencies will spy the 19X as an option for a duty gun.
With an MSRP of $749, prices at local shops are a bit less and those looking for blue box deals will be pleased.
In the end, while it may not have taken the Army prize, the Glock 19X is a well thought out handgun that is certain to find a lot of favor.