Review: Glock G19X
January 30, 2019
While showing my test sample of Glock’s new G19X pistol to a friend recently, I caught myself saying, “This is potentially the best pistol Glock has ever produced.”
For those unfamiliar with the G19X, it pairs the G19’s 4.02-inch barrel and slide assembly with the G17’s 17-round grip, resulting in a handgun with a better handle and higher capacity than the standard G19 and more compact usability than the full-size G17. Engineered to compete in the U.S. military’s recent Modular Handgun System (MHS) trials, it also offers several other refinements.
Why do I like this gun so much even though it didn’t win the military’s MHS contract? Simplicity and history. Its pedigree and track record are impeccable, and while the grip and slide length have been finessed into a new combination, without doubt the G19X possesses the superb reliability of its ancestors.
A keening wail and lament went up in cyberspace when people realized that Glock chose to use the G17-length grip frame and the G19-length slide. Many Glock enthusiasts apparently thought it should have been the other way around.
Me, I come down on Glock’s side. I have the broad palms of a cow-milking, fence-building farm boy, and the G17 grip fits my hand better than the G19 grip. Plus, it provides an extra two rounds of 9mm firepower. In the case of the G19X, which comes with one 17-round magazine and two extended 19-round magazines, it has a really impressive capacity.
Let’s briefly dig into the structure of the G19X, examining both its tried-and-true construction and the features that Glock incorporated in the special MHS version.
Right up front, the marketed-to-civilians G19X is not an exact copy of the MHS gun. The MHS gun sported a manual thumb safety, as required by the MHS guidelines. In the G19X, Glock chose to fall back on its longtime stance that such a safety is unnecessary and eliminated it before introducing the model to the public. I wish Glock would offer it both ways.
That said, the rest of the G19X is pretty much all MHS. The slide is about 6.75 inches long and features simple, 90-degree rear serrations. The nose is slick-sided and has a nice dehorn bevel around the front corners. Steel three-dot night sights marked “MH3” grace the upper flat. The rear sight is drift-adjustable for windage, but to change elevation, it’s necessary to swap out the front sight for a different-height version.
A generous ejection port coughs out empties without a hiccup, and the external extractor has Glock’s traditional raised, tactile and visual loaded-chamber indicator.
In a first-ever, the slide is factory-finished in “Coyote” color nPVD, which is Glock’s physical vapor deposition coating. This time, the super-corrosion-and abrasion-resistant finish is factory-applied with color. Up until now, all colored Glocks were special runs for certain distributors and featured aftermarket finishes approved by Glock.
Aside from the actual slide and the polymer grip frame, all other parts are traditional black—with a few exceptions. Those exceptions are the lanyard loop, which is a stout polymer part installed into the bottom of the grip, and the magazine floorplates and bodies.
Inside the slide, Glock fits a “Glock Marksman Barrel.” Touted to be match-grade in quality, it features “enhanced polygonal rifling” and an “improved barrel crown.” The right-hand twist rate is 1:9.84. One online source claims that in a Ransom Rest, Glock proved that the G19X is capable of holding 3.0-inch 50-yard groups.
A single M1913-spec cross-slot near the nose of the dustcover provides a place to mount a light or laser. Forward of that, the polymer frame is aggressively rounded. Additional modernized contouring is applied as a generous undercut where the trigger guard meets the grip, enabling a very high, comfortable, recoil-controlling grasp and a straight, clean, finger-groove-free frontstrap that plays nicely with hands of all sizes.
On that note, each pistol comes with four different-size grip backstraps, enabling end users to tweak grip circumference and feel to their liking.
At the bottom of the grip frame are several of my favorite G19X features. First, there’s the lanyard loop. Sure, it’s not necessary for most shooters today. However, I grew up on a horse, and since most historians attribute lanyard loops on pistols to mounted warriors of the past, I’m partial.
Another cool feature is the forward-swooping toe at the bottom of the frontstrap. The inside of that grip is innovatively and generously beveled in a two-step shape, greatly aiding fast reloads when your brain is flooded with adrenaline and fine motor controls vanish.
Furthermore, the generous, well-serrated magazine release is reversible, and the slide stop is properly ambidextrous. Yep, a little sheet-metal part peeks out from each side of the pistol and enables southpaws to more effectively lock back the slide or drop it on a fresh magazine.
Finally, the G19X features the same updated version of the Enhanced Safe Action trigger used in Glock’s new Gen 5 pistols. The company lists “three independent safeties: trigger safety, firing pin safety, and drop safety.” The three “disengage sequentially as the trigger is pulled.” Plus, a variety of trigger connectors designed to change trigger pull-weight and feel are available. Glock’s eu.glock.com site has a very informative page that provides details on the trigger and how it works, complete with diagrams and videos. If you’ve ever wanted to know how a Safe Action trigger works, it’s well worth a look.
Not only did the trigger on my sample feel quite good, but also it measured a crisp and consistent 5 pounds, 13 ounces on my Lyman digital trigger gauge. And it had less than 2 ounces of variation over a series of five tests.
While discussing the trigger, I must point out the one thing I don’t like about the Glock G19X: finger drag and pinch. My trigger finger runs through the trigger guard at a pronounced angle, and since the trigger bow is rather broad and the inside top-to-bottom clearance is rather shallow, my finger contacts firmly against the top right side and bottom left side. After a quantity of rounds downrange, the tip of my trigger finger right beside my nail becomes sore. Not a deal-breaker, but something to be aware of (it’s also worth knowing that a savvy Glock frame customizer can contour the frame and trigger bow to alleviate the issue).
While the G19X will fit some G19 Gen 4 holsters, it won’t fit others. The frame and fire controls have fractionally different dimensions, and it’s enough to cause issues with tightly molded holsters.
Because the G19X possesses considerably more panache than the average Glock, I figured it deserved an upper-crust holster and custom-ordered a sharkskin Concealable Belt Holster (CBH) from Galco Leather. The CBH is my go-to holster for all-around carry, being superbly comfortable and concealable beneath an untucked shirt or light jacket.
Since it has the shortish length of the G19, the pistol will comfortably carry in IWB (inside waistband) holsters. However, its rather long grip prints pretty noticeably beneath light shirts. Candidly, it’s just not particularly good for really discreet carry.
To test accuracy and reliability, I sandbagged the G19X and fired three consecutive five-shot groups with each of a considerable selection of 9mm Luger ammunition. Without doubt, the pistol is accurate. Three different loads averaged less than 1.5 inches at 25 yards, and out of all 10 loads tested, only two averaged a whisker over 2.5 inches. That is outstanding accuracy and consistency.
Including five rounds through the chronograph, accuracy testing alone required 200 rounds. Glocks don’t take much break-in, and this one ran smoothly from the start, with two exceptions. Twice it failed to fully eject after firing one of the Black Hills 125-grain HoneyBadger cartridges (which is a really mild, low-recoil load), but I suspect with a few hundred more rounds to break in the stiff-with-newness recoil spring, that issue would go away. The other malfunction occurred with Buffalo Bore’s 147-grain hard-cast load, which—just once—didn’t quite chamber fully and allow the barrel to lock into battery. Disconcerting but easily solved with thumb pressure against the rear of the slide.
Formal testing accomplished, I stepped away from the bench and shot casually, running informal drills and converting large, threatening dirt clods into smaller, less menacing versions. Rapid-fire “FBI” drills—two at the body and one at the head—proved the G19X points naturally and recoils controllably, thanks to the full-size grip frame. To my surprise, I never missed a shot at my 50-percent-size steel IPSC plate, even when I began pushing very hard for extremely short times.
Throughout this additional testing—comprising multiple boxes of steel-case 9mm ammo—reliability was stellar with all three magazines. I must confess, chambering a cartridge and then topping the 19-round magazine off provided an impressive reservoir of fun.
Accurate, ergonomic, and tough enough to pound railroad spikes, Glock’s new G19X may indeed be the best pistol the company has ever offered.