Glock 19 vs 26: A True Sibling Rivalry
Glock has a well-rounded lineup of thoroughbreds in their stable. There’s no doubt of that.
But suppose you had to pick just one horse to take on a journey.
Which one would you scratch behind the ears?
What makes the Glock 19 so popular?
The Glock 19 is probably the most well-rounded pistol ever invented. It is the pistol by which most others are judged. It accommodates 15 rounds of 9mm stopping power in a 23 ounce package. Unbelievable.
What’s so great about the Glock 26?
The Glock 26 weighs in at a paltry 21 ounces and is just 4.17 inches high. You can’t really find a shorter pistol (measured from the bottom of the magazine to the top of the rear sight). And it holds ten 9mm rounds. If you can’t conceal a Glock 26, you need to ditch the skinny jeans.
Both these pistols are excellent. In fact, they’re both in our Best 50 Guns For Concealed Carry blog post.
Do the pros outweigh the cons for one of these pistols more than the other?
Let’s find out!
Glock 19 Background: Born From Legendary DNA
The Glock 19 has been one of the best selling pistols in the civilian pistol market since its introduction in 1988. To understand its greatness, a quick look at the Glock 17 is necessary.
After all, the Glock 19 is just a modified version of the Glock 17.
The Glock 19 was Glock’s followup to the extremely successful Glock 17 pistol that took the world by storm after procuring the contract to replace the outdated pistols in the Austrian Armed Forces. Glock developed the Glock 17 specifically to compete in that competition.
The Glock 17 beat plenty of pedigree pistol producers during testing (including H&K, SIG Sauer, and Beretta). Within a couple of years, it was used by armies and police departments all over the world.
What was so different about the Glock in 1982? In a word, polymer.
The Glock 17 is the pistol that made people say things back in the 1980s
like “I’ll never own a Tupperware gun” & “Those new plastic guns can slip past metal detectors.”
But the armies and police who carried it knew better. It was lighter, more reliable, and had a higher capacity (not to mention a lower price tag) than most any other pistol on the market at the time. It was truly a revolutionary pistol.
And yes, Glock pistols will set off a metal detector as we now know!
The Glock 17 is a great duty pistol. It just wasn’t designed to fulfill the role of a concealment pistol.
From This Legend, The Glock 19 Was Born
The Glock 19 is half an inch shorter in both height and length than the Glock 17. Because of the shorter grip, it holds 15 rounds rather than 17.
So basically the Glock 19 is a compact version of the gun used by professionals everywhere: the Glock 17.
Back in 1988 when the Glock 19 was introduced, it was designed for military and law enforcement use.
There are plenty of scenarios in military and police roles where a compact pistol comes in handy. Especially if it still handles almost as good as a full sized pistol.
It doesn’t hurt if the compact pistol can still manage to stuff 15 rounds of 9mm ammunition inside. After all, the US military’s “new” (introduced in 1985) Beretta M9 held 15 rounds and it’s a significantly larger handgun than the Glock 19.
It Was A Huge Success For Glock
Who wouldn’t want a 23 ounce pistol that held 15 rounds after all? Sure that’s (somewhat) more common today but not in 1988!
Many police at the time carried the S&W Model 36 Chief’s Special as their backup at the time. Guess how much it weighed?… 19.5 ounces.
Compare the new (in 1988) Glock 19 with the Chief’s Special. At 23 ounces, the Glock 19 is only 4 ounces heavier and you’ve got 15 rounds of 9mm vs 5 rounds of 38.
It was obvious from the start that the Glock 19 was here to stay.
The Glock 19 quickly became popular with police and civilians alike.
Detectives quite often preferred the smaller Glock 19 to the Glock 17. It was a bit lighter and more convenient to wear all day. Also, on occasions where a detective might not want to broadcast his armed status, the Glock 19 was much easier to conceal under a shirt or jacket.
Undercover detectives especially appreciated how much easier the smaller Glock 19 was to conceal. However, they never felt that they had too little firepower. 15+1 is a lot of firepower. Consider also that a backup Glock 17 magazine (fully compatible with the Glock 19) adds another 17 rounds to the firefight.
People soon realized that they could carry a compact pistol that functioned almost as well as a service pistol.
Of Course Glock’s Fan Base Exploded
The Glock 19 has grown in popularity ever since.
After successfully conquering the military, police, and civilian gun markets, Glock decided to stop there and rest on its laurels.
After a successful release of their new compact pistol, Glock looked to their next challenge: a subcompact pistol.
Glock 26 Background: A Smaller Chip Off The Ol’ Block
If the Glock 19 is a chopped down Glock 17, the Glock 26 is a just a chopped down G19. Well, sort of. It took a little more engineering to shrink the Glock 26 down.
If there was a consumer base that believed “smaller is better” (and there was), Glock was going to find another winning horse to back.
In 1995, Glock introduced a revolutionary pistol to the handgun market. While it’s true that the Glock 26 would help Glock’s tendrils fully infiltrate the civilian market, it would bring unprecedented influence to the police market as well.
Bye Bye J Frame, Hello Baby Glock
Police officers immediately had a eureka moment when they handled the Glock 26.
The Glock 26 weighs about the same as the S&W Model 36 snub nose revolver (a common police backup handgun at the time) while squirreling away more than twice the ammo. It holds 11 rounds vs 5. The slightly extended mag elevated it to 12+1.
This Was Truly Groundbreaking
The bigger ammo count was just one groundbreaking benefit of the Baby Glock. What could possibly be as groundbreaking as adding 8 rounds to a backup handgun?
Consistent Manual Of Arms
If your backup gun functions exactly like your primary gun, you’ll shoot it better. Because the G26’s trigger pull is the same as the G19’s trigger pull and both pistols’ controls are in exactly the same positions, little additional training is necessary to shoot it well. Even Glock’s sights are all exactly the same.
Do You Carry Extra Ammo For Your Backup Gun?
Most people will only carry extra ammo for their primary weapon (if even then), not their backup gun.
Here’s where the Glock 26 shines. It accepts Glock 17 and Glock 19 magazines. If you are using a Glock 26 to defend your life, there’s a possibility that the pistol could run out of ammo before the threat is neutralized.
The Glock 26 is a backup gun that an officer would have extra ammo for. He’d simply pull a fully loaded Glock 17 mag off his belt and load it into the Glock 26.
Your Backup Pistol Just Got 17 More Rounds
This is the other half of that Eureka moment officers had when they were first introduced to the Glock 26. Not only did their backup gun use the same ammo, it used the same magazines.
Glock intended the Glock 26 to help them gain traction in the civilian gun market. But guess what other market Glock was selling boat loads of Baby Glocks to?
To Glock’s surprise they found another gun model that was selling like hot cakes to the police market!
Now that policeman were carrying the Glock 26, it transitioned perfectly from a backup gun to a primary carry when off duty.
Policeman, off duty policeman, and civilians alike started carrying the Glock 26 to protect their lives. The Glock 26 was a pleasant surprise in the mid 1990’s. It changed the way we think about our backup pistols.
It gave those who already carried a Glock a more sensible back up pistol. The Glock 26 made sense when it was introduced in 1995 and it still makes sense today. It’s been a major influence on gun design and concealed carry for well over two decades now.
Need More Proof Of Its Influence?
Look at many of the “new” concealed carry guns on the market today. You can check in with most of the big names in the pistol market today and you’ll see their subcompact guns competing for primacy.
From Beretta to Walther, everyone’s making chopped versions of their service-sized pistols. And most of them will accept the mags from the bigger pistols.
Keep in mind that Glock’s been doing this for decades!
Now that we’ve fully explored the rich history and background of the Glock 19 and Glock 26, let’s have some more fun.
Let’s play Devil’s Advocate with both pistols.
Why You Should Choose The Glock 19
Pop Quiz: Home Invasion
Your home alarm wakes you up at 2AM. You quickly pull up your camera feed and see a burglar just a few steps away from your bedroom door.
You have a loaded Glock 19 and a loaded Glock 26 on your nightstand. Which one do you grab?
C’mon. This is a loaded question. Of course, you grab the biggest gun you can get your hands on. If you had a loaded shotgun propped against your nightstand, you’d have it aimed at the bedroom door.
Here’s The Point:
You always choose the biggest, baddest weapon you can if you know you’re going to be in a fight.
What Do Bigger Guns Offer?
1. More ammo.
2. More accuracy.
3. Less recoil.
4. Faster follow up shots.
While some Concealed Carriers can successfully carry big service-sized pistols like the Glock 17 everyday, most can’t.
Just as the Glock 17 is better than the Glock 19 in a firefight, so is the Glock 19 better than the Glock 26.
This is why the Glock 19 is so appealing. The pistol is just big enough to get a full grip on. Yet it is shorter in height and length than the full-sized Glock 17.
It handles much like a service pistol but is also concealable.
It also has 15+1 rounds of 9mm compared to the Glock 26’s smaller magazine. Those extra 5 rounds could be needed in a shootout.
It’s hard to imagine a scenario where 16 rounds wouldn’t be enough in a defensive situation.
You should choose to carry the Glock 19 over the Glock 26 if you can successfully conceal it.
Everybody has different body shapes and dimensions. Some people could carry an Uzi in their waistband and nobody would be the wiser. Others have a hard time concealing a little pocket-sized .380 pistol.
You should always carry the biggest gun you can manage for the day.
There are different variables that factor into how much gun a person can conceal.
Wardrobe is usually the biggest limitation on how much gun you can carry.
An untucked shirt can easily hide a Glock 19 for most people; though not everyone. How baggy your shirt must be depends on your body shape and where on your waist you carry your gun.
If you wear form-fitting sport shirts that are tucked in, you might have trouble carrying a Glock 19. But maybe you could; it depends on your unique body shape.
Most people could conceal the Glock 19. The question is: would you conceal the Glock 19.
If you bought the Glock 19 for Concealed Carry but left it a home most days, it wouldn’t serve you very well for Concealed Carry.
The First Rule In Gunfighting: Bring A Gun!
A .380 in your pocket beats a Glock 19 at home every time! If you have to defend your life though, wouldn’t you curse yourself for only having a mouse gun instead of a real gun?
If you’re more likely to leave a Glock 19 at home than carry it, get a Glock 26!
Let’s check out why the Glock 26 is so great for Concealed Carry.
Why You Should Choose The Glock 26
First thing first. Let’s get this out in the open immediately.
The Glock 26 is not a mouse gun. It’s a full fledged, real gun.
I’m not knocking mouse guns. They definitely have their place. You can almost always take a mouse gun with you on the rare occasions you can’t carry a real gun.
How Well Does The Glock 26 Perform?
Great. It really does perform wonderfully at the range. This is a fun gun to shoot.
It’s big enough that recoil doesn’t cause your hand to hurt after 50 rounds. It holds enough rounds (11) to unleash long strings of shots at your target.
Plus, it’s accepts longer magazines from the Glock 19 and Glock 17. You can shoot up to 17 more rounds after a tactical reload.
Good Firepower, Small Package
The Glock 26 is small enough to take with you when you leave the house. It weighs in at a measly 21 ounces to boot.
You have no excuse to be unarmed if you own one. You should almost always be able to conceal the Glock 26 somewhere on your person before leaving your castle.
If you are forced to defend your life with it, you’ll thank yourself for not arming yourself with a mouse gun. 10+1 rounds of 9mm in a highly shootable package will almost always be enough to defend your life.
If you practice with the Glock 26, you can shoot it accurately and quickly. Sure, you could shoot the Glock 19 more accurately and even faster with practice. But that only counts if would actually carry the Glock 19 every day.
A bigger gun does you no good in your safe. The Glock 26 on your hip will outperform your Glock 19 in your safe should you have to defend your life.
Get the Glock 19…if you’ll carry it…everyday.
The Glock 19 handles better.
If you can’t commit to carrying the more tactical pistol (every single day), get the Glock 26.
The truth is that they’re both great pistols. The Glock 19 is the greater of the two though.
Always leave your home with the biggest pistol you feel comfortable carrying with you. You’ll get more shots in your target faster with a bigger pistol. The shots will be more accurate and more numerous.
We can all imagine scenarios where extra concealment is desired though.
For example, suppose your at your (anti-gun) cousin’s wedding. You would rather take extra care not to print than to upset your cousin (but there’s no way you’re resigning yourself to be defenseless).
Situations such as these are what the Glock 26 was made for!
This article is based on the premise of which Glock to buy if you can only have one of them. However, you can own as many as you want. Don’t you just love America? It may take some time to acquire more than one though depending on your budget.
Truth be told…you need both. So this conversation can steer towards which one to buy first.
I’d recommend getting the Glock 26 first. This ensures you’ll always be armed.
Don’t forget to pick up the Glock 19 next. You’ll want to carry it as much as possible.