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With the rapid growth of CCW licenses around the country, everybody seems to be looking for ultra-compact pistols for self-defense. GLOCK has been catering to this market for decades, initially for law enforcement with the GLOCK 19, but today with an entire line of Compact and Subcompact models chambered in 9×19 (G19, G26), 10mm Auto (G29), .40 (G23, G27), .357 (G32, G33), .45 G.A.P. (G38, G39) and .45 Auto (G30 and Slimline G36). The general dimensions for GLOCK Compacts and Subcompacts are the same regardless of caliber, so for our purposes the featured guns are the venerable GLOCK 19 Gen4 in 9×19 (and GLOCK 23 in .40) to represent Compact models, and the GLOCK 27 Gen4 in .40 to cover Subcompacts.

Compact pistols average 7.28 inches in overall length, 1.18 inches in width, and 5 inches in height with 4.01-inch barrels. Their average carry weight is 20.99 ounces without a loaded magazine. Subcompacts average 6.54 inches in overall length, 1.18 inches in width, and 4.17 inches in height with 3.42-inch barrels. The average Subcompact carry weight is 19.75 ounces. In total, there are four Compact and seven Subcompact GLOCK models from which to choose, so there is a size and caliber for almost every self-defense and personal protection need.

Packing a Compact

The most important choice for a concealed carry handgun is size, and in many cases that is predicated on caliber. For GLOCK this is far less of an issue than for many other gun manufacturers, so the choices come down to what caliber an individual is most comfortable handling. The 9×19 is and has always been the first choice, initially for law enforcement and military, and certainly for the civilian market. The GLOCK 19 Gen4 is an ideal example of a modern Compact semi-automatic with a respectably high capacity of 10+1, 15+1, or 17+1 rounds. The .40-caliber GLOCK 23 magazine holds 13 rounds. Our 9×19 test gun came equipped with three standard 15-round magazines. With one in the chamber, that gives the GLOCK 19 a carry capacity of 16 rounds and an average carry weight of 30 ounces. Having that much capacity in a gun weighing less than 2 pounds makes the GLOCK 19 one of the best options for concealed carry.

GLOCK manufactures four different weather-resistant, molded-polymer holsters. The Sport/Combat is the best for concealed carry as it offers ambidextrous wear and fits belts from 1.25 to 2.48 inches in width, and it is not restrictive of barrel length. There is also an accompanying ambidextrous magazine pouch available from GLOCK. Among the remaining GLOCK rigs are a police Duty Holster, Sport/Utility Holster, and a Level 2 retention Safety Holster. The Sport/Utility is also an excellent choice for concealed carry as it is available in left- and right-hand versions and in 1.73-, 1.97-, and 2.20-inch belt widths. As might be expected, a holster made by GLOCK is as unusual in design as the gun it holds, and all GLOCK rigs have very chiseled looks. They’re almost indestructible. That means they are also waterproof and can’t get soaked or damaged like a leather holster. As for comfort, polymer rigs are not form-fitting, and they do take a little getting used to, as they tend not to give. The easiest to use of all GLOCK models is the Sport/Combat, which is a polymer version of a Yaqui-style belt holster. This one is ideal for GLOCK Subcompact models.

Proper placement of a concealed carry gun is essential to wearer comfort, concealability, and most importantly, ease of retrieval. You need to be able to get to your sidearm easily and effectively to draw from concealment without any hiccups. While there are different schools of thought as to holster placement and holster angle, the GLOCK line is decidedly of the 90-degree school, placing the gun straight down. The rigs mount well on a belt at either the three o’clock hip position or four o’clock behind-the-hip position for a clean draw. The Sport/Duty Holster has a thumb-break safety strap for Level 1 retention. The snap breaks cleanly with the gun-hand thumb, and the GLOCK draws smoothly from the contoured polymer pouch. It is easy to sit with the holster as well. This rig is ideally suited for Compact GLOCK pistols, and everything noted applies to left-handed wear as well.

Far more comfortable for daily carry with a Subcompact, the Sport/Combat does an excellent job. I found it best suited to the four o’clock position just behind the hip. With a short Subcompact GLOCK pistol it is almost effortless to wear, and it’s well out of the way when sitting or driving. It is also easy to retrieve the gun from a sitting position and easier to conceal with it positioned slightly further back and out of view even with an open coat or an unbuttoned shirt.

Small of the Back

When it comes to concealed carry, the SOB acronym means “small of the back,” a carry style used in both the private sector and law enforcement that places the holster, usually with the gun inverted and the grips facing up, at the center of the small recess where our backs curve slightly inward. Just about everyone has this “sweet spot” above his or her waist, and it is here that a subcompact pistol can be comfortably secreted. For GLOCK models, this includes a total of eight different guns: the G26, G27, G29, G29 SF, G30, G30 SF, G33 and G39, and a total of six calibers: 9×19, .40, .357, 10mm Auto, .45 Auto, and .45 G.A.P.

Carrying concealed with an SOB rig and a GLOCK Subcompact semi-auto allows a greater diversity of clothing, as even an open jacket won’t reveal what is behind you, and with shirttails out, you don’t even need a jacket to conceal a small semi-auto in an SOB rig. It does place the gun in a more vulnerable position behind the wearer, but it is completely out of sight and relatively quick to access. An SOB rig will also work well with slightly larger and higher-capacity GLOCK Compact models like the G19 and G23.

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