Glock pistols are some of the most widely used, easily recognized firearms on the planet. With a stellar reputation of reliability from the original introduction of the Glock 17 service pistol in the early ’80s up to recent releases, numerous models and variants demonstrate the quality and consistency of Glock production. 

Glock has caught flak in the past from gun critics claiming the company periodically re-releases the same pistol, renamed with only aesthetic changes. 

I would disagree. Let’s take a look at the Glock 19 Gen 5, and I’ll show you why.

Table of Contents

How We Got Here
Gen 5 Appearance
More Improvements
Function & Features
Final Thoughts
Customer Reviews


Related: Original Glock 17 Patent Now 39 Years Young

How we got here


Glock 19 Gen 5 with magazines and ammo
Little brother to the Glock 17, the Glock 19 is one of the best-selling compact guns on the market, and the Gen 5 may be the best version yet. (Photo: Seth Rodgers/

For nearly four decades, the Glock 19 pistol has been proving itself in the field as a premium defensive handgun with private citizens, law enforcement and military all over the world. Originally produced in 1988 with military and law enforcement in mind, the Glock 19 has a barrel and grip shorter than the full-size Glock 17 by about a half-inch, but it is otherwise identical to its slightly larger counterpart. 

Because of this decrease in size, the Glock 19 became popular with plainclothes law enforcement officers looking for a more compact handgun. It started to find large circulation and popularity by the early 1990s and is now widely considered one of the best-selling handguns in the world, showing up on best-selling gun lists every year. 

There have been five generations or variants since the creation of the Glock 19, not counting the assorted transitional guns. This review will focus on the fifth generation, introduced in 2017.

The gun by itself in stock configuration is everything most people would expect in a Glock pistol: sleek, simple, and intuitive. However, the Gen 5 version has several upgrades, even over the recent Gen 4, that are worth noting, especially considering both Gen 3 and Gen 4 pistols are readily available.

Related: Ye Olde Gen 3 Glock 19: Not Quite Ready for Retirement

Gen 5 Appearance


Glock 19 Gen 5 9mm pistol
Generation 5 pistols are easily distinguishable by the near-glossy DLC finish on the slide. (Photo: Seth Rodgers/

The first thing you notice about a Glock Gen 5 is the finish on the slide. An almost gloss-like shine immediately differentiates it from previous generations, with its near diamond-like carbon surface, or nDLC, finish on barrel and slide. The hardened finish adds resistance to elements and damage and improves function, as the smoother finish of the barrel makes lubrication more efficient. And the fresh look helps it stand out from the crowd of modern defensive pistols. 

Glock 19 Gen 5 9mm pistol
Gen 5 also has forward grooves on the slide, a welcomed addition that brings the Glock 19 up to date with its contemporaries. (Photo: Adam Campbell/

You’ll also notice forward slide serrations. Pretty much a standard feature on most modern tactical pistols, the grooves not only add an enhanced look but also improve brass/press checks for more experienced shooters. 

It was something I always noticed as an instructor, when I saw Glocks being used side by side with competitors featuring forward grooves on the slide. Without them, the Glock seemed behind the curve and slightly outdated. This was a much needed and positive improvement to the design.

Glock 19 Gen 5 9mm pistol
While Gen 5 has the same texture on the grip as Gen 4, the finger grooves are notably missing. Also note the flared mag well. (Photo: Adam Campbell/

Glock kept the same grip texture as the Gen 4 but got rid of the finger grooves on the grip. I personally preferred the look of the Gen 4 finger grooves, but after handling the Gen 5 I agree the older grip was outdated. This small change accommodates different hand sizes and makes customization – adding grip wraps, tape, etc. – a little easier. 

The frame has also been changed by adding a slightly flared magazine well, which isn’t super noticeable and seems more “tacticool” than tactical. However, based on my personal training and experience, I believe there is real credibility to increased speed and more proficient reloads with flared mag wells. 

Related: Why Your First Handgun Should Be A Glock 19

More Improvements


Glock 19 Gen 5 9mm pistol
Orange followers in the Gen 5 magazines improve visibility. (Photo: Adam Campbell/

The Glock magazines themselves have been altered by changing out the traditional black follower for a bright orange one. A subtle change, but it provides a small advantage since it's easier for the shooter to see the orange follower as the magazine gets closer to being empty, especially in low light conditions.  

Glock 19 Gen 5 9mm pistol
A slightly curved nose on the slide makes for a snag-free design, improving concealability. (Photo: Adam Campbell/

Finally, another subtle yet substantial change to the look of the G19 is the more contoured muzzle end of the slide, and eliminating the old Glock "hognose." Essentially, the slide curves in toward the muzzle, giving the gun a less boxy look. This was once a feature reserved for the G26 and other subcompact models, but Glock has apparently made it a standard feature for all Gen 5 editions. 

Interestingly, Glock’s website doesn’t mention it. Again, a seemingly subtle upgrade, but in combination with the other enhancements, it makes for an overall improved look and modernization of the Glock 19.

Function & Features


Glock 19 Gen 5 9mm pistol
Other new features include a Glock Marksman Barrel, ambidextrous slide locks, and one trigger crossbar, instead of two as on previous generations. I found the trigger felt slightly smoother on the Gen 5 than earlier versions. (Photo: Adam Campbell/

The Glock Marksman Barrel seems to be Glock’s take on providing a match barrel as a stock feature, similar to what Springfield Armory did with the XDM line. Upon weighing the Glock 19 Gen 5, I noticed it is about half an ounce heavier than my stock Gen 4. How much of a difference does this make when firing the gun? Noticeably, none. However, I will take Glock’s word for it when it comes to improved durability and longer life on the barrel.

My Glock armorer also pointed out there is only one trigger crossbar instead of the usual two on previous generation Glocks. As a longtime Glock owner and shooter, this caused some initial concern. Why fix what isn’t broken? 

I was pleasantly surprised when the change seemed minor, and the only real difference I noticed was that the trigger felt slightly smoother. Glock claims the Gen 4 and Gen 5 travel times are identical, and I would agree. Would I still upgrade to a Glock Performance Trigger? Absolutely. But it’s another nice, subtle improvement that help the Gen 5 stand out from its predecessors.

Another not-so-subtle improvement is the addition of ambidextrous slide locks. This is great for left-handed shooters and provides more room for advanced techniques of locking back the slide. I personally shoot both left and right, and I like being able to release my slide with only my left hand in the event of an injury or other situation that could keep me from being able to load using my usual process.

Related: Glock Delivers on Performance Trigger Upgrade



Glock 19 Gen 5 9mm pistol
On the left you have a slow, paced fire. On the right you have controlled pairs. Both shot at approximately 21 feet with Magtech 115-grain FMJ. (Photos: Adam Campbell/

I ran four- to eight-round volleys of FMJ in slow and rapid fire at targets approximately 7 to 10 yards away. I also executed controlled pairs from the holster to test the snag-free design. I was happy to see that the Glock 19 Gen 5 was compatible with all my holsters for the Gen 3 and Gen 4, and I really felt no difference when presenting under pressure. 

My groupings were at least as tight as any shot with my Gen 3 or Gen 4, and I noticed less pressure over time on my trigger finger. I would say the results of my shooting were consistent with – if not a slight improvement over – my typical results with other Glocks.

Final Thoughts

Glock’s website details a few other technical and mechanical enhancements to the Gen 5. My perspective, based on many years of shooting a wide variety of handguns and training thousands of new and experienced gun owners, is that the updates to the Glock 19 Gen 5 are substantial and not gimmicky. 

The Glock 19 Gen 5, like other Glock models, has proven to be a high quality, reliable, and effective handgun right out of the box. The buyer gets many somewhat expensive customizations and upgrades for only a slightly higher price than a stock Gen 4 or Gen 3. 

Glock 19 Gen 5 in case
In my opinion, you can't go wrong with a Glock 19 Gen 5. (Photo: Adam Campbell/

As a defensive service handgun, I would grade a Glock 19 Gen 5 an 8 out of 10. It’s a touch small, and I don’t get quite the performance on the range that I do from a Glock 17 – however, it more than suffices for the needs of a home defense gun.

As a concealed carry handgun, I would grade the Glock 19 Gen 5 a 9.5 out of 10. The size is ideal for carry, without compromising too much in velocity or sight radius. It also has a large enough frame that drawing/presenting from a concealed carry holster is not much more challenging than drawing/presenting with a full-size service pistol.  

I would highly recommend a Glock 19 Gen 5 for personal defense, both carried concealed or for home protection and recreation.

Customer Reviews

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