The Compact Glock G19, G23 and G32 Pistols

By Chuck Hawks

G 19
Illustration courtesy of Glock, Inc.

Gaston Glock shook-up the handgun world with his polymer framed Model 17 pistol. All Glock pistols have polymer receivers with molded-in steel slide rails. The slide is machined (not stamped) from solid steel, and most of the internal parts are also steel.

The slide, barrel (inside and out), and most other major steel parts are Tenifer coated, a process which gives them an incredibly hard surface. This makes them ideal for daily carry, especially in harsh environments.

The essence of the Glock pistol design is simplicity and ease of operation. Glocks are hammerless, striker-fired, short recoil operated, autoloading pistols with a unique "Safe Action" mechanism.

The trigger's rather long rearward travel disconnects the automatic safeties and completes the compression of the already partially cocked striker spring. Near the end of the trigger's rearward stroke the end of the trigger bar contacts the downward angled slope of the trigger connector. This angled surface forces the trigger bar down as it continues rearward and it carries with it the cruciform sear, which slips off of the striker (firing pin) tang, allowing the striker to be carried forward by the powerful striker spring, discharging the pistol.

The Glock Safe Action incorporates three separate safety mechanisms, all of which are automatically activated when the slide is at battery. Glock pistols are among the safest ever designed, and no user action is required to render them safe. All that is required is that most basic of proper gun handling procedures: keep your finger off the trigger until you intend to shoot the gun!

In the standard Glock trigger mechanism, it is the angle of the ramp on the trigger connector that primarily determines the trigger pull weight. The greater the angle, the greater the pull weight. Glock trigger connectors are manufactured with three different angles, and all three connectors fit any Glock 19, 23, or 32 pistol.

The standard Glock trigger is supposed to have a "5 pound" trigger connector; adopted for most police service triggers is the 8 pound connector. And then there is the infamous "New York" trigger, developed at the request of the New York State Police, which is supposed to emulate the heavy trigger pull of a double action revolver.

Glock pistols have only two controls, besides the trigger, and those are conventionally located. There is only a magazine release and a slide release to manipulate.

The extractor, located on the right side of the slide immediately behind the ejection port, also serves as a loaded chamber indicator.

Standard Glock sights are of the patridge type. The large, square faced front blade has a big white dot on its face. A white line outlines the square notch rear sight, which is mounted in a dovetail notch at the rear of the frame. These are highly visible, low profile combat sights.

Glock pistols have several fundamental design advantages over most other pistols. For one, the grip angle is ergonomic. The Glock's polymer frame tends to minimize the effect of recoil by flexing slightly with each shot. Another advantage is the Glock's low bore axis.

The result of these design subtleties is that the Glock Model 19, 23 and 32 pistols have very good practical accuracy. This is particularly important when shooting from unsupported positions, as when standing, or when the shooter is under pressure.

The Glock Models G19, G23 and G32 are simply somewhat shortened versions (both barrel and grip) of the basic Glock full size service pistols. The G19 is chambered for the 9x19 (9mm Luger) cartridge, the G23 is chambered for the .40 S&W cartridge, and the G32 is chambered for the .357 SIG cartridge.

The compact Glocks have barrels 4.02 inches long and their width is 1.18 inches. The sight radius is 5.98 inches. Their double stack magazine capacity is fifteen 9x19 cartridges, and 13 .40 S&W or .357 SIG cartridges.

Glocks are high quality pistols as shipped from the factory, and they are among the most reliable pistols ever developed. With very few exceptions, there is nowhere to go but down when substituting after market parts for Glock parts.

My G19 was purchased with the optional adjustable rear sight. The adjustable rear sight of my pistol is zeroed for a distance of 25 yards.

Several kinds of factory loaded ammunition were fired. All of these loads functioned correctly in both guns.

The only group not fired from a bench rest was when I emptied the magazine of my G19 into a target from a two-handed standing position (Weaver stance) at 25 yards. All 15 Winchester FMJ bullets went into a 4 5/8 inch group at the point of aim. This proves nothing about the intrinsic accuracy of the G19 pistol, of course, but it did reaffirm for me the gun's excellent practical accuracy.

The G19, G23 and G32 are very good pistols. And, they are fun to shoot!

Note: A complete review of the Glock 19 pistol can be found on the Product Reviews page.

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Copyright 2003, 2016 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.