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Why is the Glock 19 pistol the favorite of the world’s most elite forces?

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This little Austrian pistol changed the world of duty pistols. To design the original Glock 17, Gaston Glock teamed up with a council of engineers, professional shooters, military members, and police officers. A machine-pistol variant came to be, and then the compact variant of the 17, the Glock 19, was born. 

Glock pistols may vary in size, caliber, and shape, but they are all relatively the same gun. Calling one or another the flagship of the Glock line is problematic, although the Glock 19 is about as close as it gets. 

The Glock 19 has become the official sidearm of numerous special operations forces. Army Special ForcesDelta Force, Rangers, and even the CIA and FBI use it. The Navy SEALs call it the Mk27, the British call it the L131A1, the Marine Corps calls it the M007, but most everyone else calls it the Glock 19.

So why is this one rather simple and spartan firearm the choice of so many elite forces? 

The Glock 19 – Masterful reliability and modularity

Glock 19X pistol at Asian Defence and Security Trade Show
The Glock 19X Pistol displayed at the 2018 Asian Defence and Security (ADAS) Trade Show at the World Trade Center in Pasay, Metro Manila. (Photo by Rhk111 via Wikimedia Commons)

Glock pistols are absurdly simple for a modern firearm. You can take a Glock down to its parts and pieces with nothing more than a punch. Reflecting the gun’s simplicity, just an eight-hour class makes you an official Glock armorer. 

This simplicity leads to a very high level of reliability. These pistols have been known to take extreme abuse without so much as a stoppage.

The popularity of Glock pistols has ensured an entire cottage industry has popped up to support them. This includes tons of options for holsters, magazines capacities, lights, sights, barrels, and more. Glock even produces optics-ready models that make it easy to attach a red dot. SOCOM has done just that by adopting the Trijicon RMR as the optic of choice for these handguns.

The Glock 17 used by General Miller, a former Delta Force commando, shows some of the modularity that the firearm offers. His model features an optic, magazine well, magazine extension, and compensator. An individual operator can outfit the gun with an optic, a threaded barrel with a suppressor, a larger magazine capacity, and more for whatever mission they may face.

Related: These are the small arms of the Ukrainian Special Forces  

It’s safe in all situations 

Glock’s have some very simple external controls. You have a trigger, a magazine release, and a slide lock. That’s it. This simple design makes it easy to get the weapon into action.

Although the Glock 19 lacks a manual safety, one isn’t needed: A professional soldier, police officer, Marine, or spy should be able to use a handgun safely without the need for a manual safety. 

Additionally, the pistol features three safety devices known as the Glock Safe Action. The trigger features a trigger safety that doesn’t allow the trigger to be pulled unless it’s depressed. To back up the trigger safety, there is a firing-pin safety and a drop safety. You can jump out of a plane, go hands-on, or take a fall out of a turret, and your handgun won’t just go off. 

Related: The Hi-Power – A legendary handgun

It’s sized just right

Navy SEALs firing Glock 19s.
Members of U.S. Naval Special Warfare Task Unit Europe (NSWTU-E) fire their custom Glock 19 pistols during shooting drills at a range in Cyprus, September 29, 2021. Joint training in the Eastern Mediterranean is essential in maintaining interoperability and strong relationships with ally and partner nations, ensuring stability throughout the theater. (U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Patrik Orcutt)

The Glock 19 is considered a compact handgun, but don’t let that fool you: it’s still a handgun large enough to fill your hand. The weapon features a 4.02-inch-long barrel, an overall length of 7.28 inches, a height of 5.04 inches, and it weighs a little over 30 ounces, fully loaded with 15 rounds of 9mm. 

It’s smaller than most duty-sized handguns, like the M9, M17, and M1911. The Glock 19 is a good in-between size that allows it to serve as both a duty handgun and a concealable firearm. The CIA and Marines specifically wanted a concealable pistol with the Glock 19. Other special operations forces have a diverse mission set that might call for a concealable weapon on Monday and a duty weapon on Friday, and the Glock 19 is just right in the size department for a multi-mission role. 

Related: Project Horizon: Nukes and shotguns on the moon

It excels in the basics 

Soldier firing a Glock 19

Any handgun should be accurate, easy to control, and usable with all manner of ammunition. The Glock 19 is all that and more. Glock 19’s striker-fired trigger design makes it easy to engage with the pistol accurately. Its trigger pull is fairly lightweight, with a positive and short reset that makes shooting the weapon easy. 

It’s large enough to be easy to control, and its 9mm rounds aren’t known for their excessive recoil. The Glock 19 has zero issue using standard ball ammunition or the latest Winchester JHP load. Further, its magazines are insanely well made and last for basically forever. 

The Glock 19 and you 

The Glock 19 isn’t a fancy firearm. It’s not like a Staccato STI or some tricked-out race gun. The Glock 19 is fairly simple but extremely effective. If you need a simple but well-made, fairly compact weapon, the Glock 19 is the way to go. The Glock 19 is the choice of armed professionals across so many spectrums of warfare and law enforcement because it works and keeps working even when the chips are down. And when the chips are down, you need your handgun to work the most.

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The editorial team at Sandboxx.