Just as the old children’s story of Goldilocks proclaimed, some things are just too big and some are just too small, but there’s bound to be one that’s “just right.” The same can be said for pistols. If this weren’t the case, then gun manufacturers would only make one size and that would be it. Thankfully, we live in a world where there are many options and we can all find a gun that’s just right.
Glock pistols are some of the most common pistols on the market today. There are many reasons why, but most prominent are their ease of use, durability, reliability and relatively low cost. If you train on a full-size pistol, you’ll be sure to transition easily to a subcompact or compact. Many parts on the Glock interchange with other models. The ability to buy magazines, holsters, accessories and parts that will likely work with more than one pistol is also a great selling point.
Glock 26 Gen4
The G26 Gen4 is often referred to as the “Baby Glock” for good reason. It has a capacity of 10+1 rounds of 9mm. It carries extremely well, due to its 3.42-inch barrel and scant 4.17-inch height. It is the only Glock I would attempt pocket carry with. It is also small enough for ankle carry, whereas the others are a touch too large. The gun is small enough to carry stealthy, yet big enough to shoot comfortably.
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The G26 Gen4 can use any 9mm Glock magazine, so carrying the pistol with its included 10-round magazine but carrying a spare magazine makes sense. This is a popular option as it allows the butt of the gun to stay short while on the belt, yet gives you a 15-round magazine just in case if needed.
If you like the small size of the G26 Gen4 for carry but just do not care for the short grip while shooting, you have another option. You can use a G19 or G17 magazine with a grip sleeve adapter that fills the gap left by the longer magazine. This will allow you to have a similar grip on the larger counterparts.
A unique feature to the G26 Gen4, compared to the G19 and G17, is a bullnose slide. The edges on the front of the slide have a distinct bevel to them. This can make reholstering the pistol easier as there is less to catch on the edges of your holster. Another feature that the G26 Gen4 has that shows it was meant for carry is that it lacks a light rail. The Glock subcompacts are the only current production Glocks that lack the light-mounting rail.
The G19 has often been touted as the perfect-sized Glock. I tend to agree in many situations. It has a 15+1 capacity, giving it a 50-percent boost in capacity over the G26 Gen4. It has a slightly longer barrel, measuring 4.01 inches. Its height extends to 4.99 inches. The extra 0.82 inches of height over the G26 allows for a full three-finger grip. This may not seem like much, but in the hand it feels different. The hump in the backstrap of the G19 is slightly lower than the G26, which attributes to the different feel.
The 0.63-inch longer sight radius does help, but not enough in my opinion for most shooters to notice. The longer slide won’t be noticed as much as the longer grip when carrying concealed. The longer grip and slide help account for the 4.06-ounce weight difference when loaded compared to the G26. The G19 has a light-attachment rail integrated into its dustcover. This opens up your options quite a bit when looking to add lights or lasers to your pistol. My personal G19 wears a Crimson Trace Lightguard that is currently unavailable for the G26.
The G17 was Gaston Glock’s first pistol, and it has stood the test of time. It features a full-length slide with a 4.48-inch barrel. It has a height of 5.43 inches that makes it a very comfortable gun to operate. It also boasts the largest standard capacity of all the Glocks, holding 17+1 rounds.
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One item that the G17 has that the others do not is a smooth-faced trigger. The G26 and G19 leave the factory with a serrated trigger. The G17 comes with a smooth trigger that is sometimes dubbed a “target trigger.” For me, this trigger is much kinder to my trigger finger. Thankfully, with Glock’s modularity, you can swap out the serrated triggers for smooth-face triggers if you prefer.
Now that the details of each gun are hammered out, which should you choose? Well, that depends. To fully appreciate the line-up you should think of them all as complementary instead of exclusive. I would bet money that most Glock owners have more than one. Depending on your current situation, one model may be better suited to the task than the others.
The full-size or compact Glocks rule the range. They are the most comfortable to shoot for extended periods. They hold more ammunition, which means less reloads. Their longer sight radius lends toward more accuracy and their greater weight absorbs more recoil. The subcompact G26 should certainly be shot at the range whenever the opportunity presents itself to maintain proficiency. The beauty of having a system similar to the Glock is, even though you may be practicing with the compact or full size, the muscle memory will translate to the subcompact and vice versa. The trigger pulls are very similar and the overall feel is nearly the same. The operation of all the pistols is exactly the same.
This is where the G26 shines. It is the only one I would feel comfortable carrying in the pocket or on the ankle. As with most double-stack pistols, it is a bit thick for pocket carry, so you should choose your pants wisely. You will need large enough pocket openings so you can draw comfortably. The pockets should also have enough room so that the gun has less chance of printing. The short grip and lighter weight make ankle carry feasible with the G26 compared to the larger Glocks.
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Standard carry I would consider a toss up between the G19 and G26. Many people can carry the G19 inside the waistband (IWB) with no issues. I personally find it to be a tad long with more of a chance of printing. I do carry the G26 very often in a PJ Holster IWB kydex holster. I do see many people carrying G17s IWB, but if I can see it that means it is probably a bit too big to not print.
The selection of pistol sizes offered by manufacturers ensures that everyone can find one to suit them. Some will choose the deep concealment of the smallest pistols available in the lineup. Some will opt for the midrange size as a balance of size and capacity. Others will settle for nothing less than a full-size pistol. Do not be afraid to be a Goldilocks—try everything! No matter what you choose, you can find a pistol to match your needs.
For more information, visit Glock’s website or call 770-432-1202.