Similar to the Remington 870 or the S&W revolvers, Glocks are the standard.
Therefore, I have quite a bit of experience with this particular type of semi automatic pistol.
The Glock 19 uses 15 round magazines (although the higher capacity Glock 17 and Glock 18 magazines also work with it) and like all Glocks features a polygonal rifled cold hammer-forged barrel. This particular model is a 3rd generation which has finger grooves and a light rail among other things.
A revolutionary design when it was first introduced, Glock has become the most prevalent firearm in law enforcement in the USA and other countries as well. Agencies like the FBI and DEA who issue them almost exclusively (with a few exceptions such as agents on the HRT/SWAT or who have been allowed to grandfather in their Sigs or 1911's for the time being) are sold on them more than ever.
They are also used extensively by various militaries, police agencies, and other special forces groups and professionals around the world.
The polymer frame makes for an exceptionally light firearm and the tenifer finish is unmatched.
Only consisting of 34 parts, the Glock is exceptionally reliable.
From day one, my Glocks have been 100% hassle free and reliable. They have handled everything from training classes, casual plinking, training first time shooters, concealed carry, +P ammo, and more.
I have literally come in from the rain soaking wet and thrown my wet Glock in the safe with no fear of rusting or malfunctioning on many occasions.
Maybe I am spoiled, but I have shot and owned a variety of other similar sized pistols and nothing outperforms the Glock for me. Not only is it 100% reliable but I shoot it very well too.
When I think about the idea of owning one handgun at any price range and for all purposes, a Glock is all I want.
I've been in more than one situation while out and about when I have been relieved that I had chosen to carry my Glock that day, and several others when I wished I had.
From left to right: Glock 27 subcompact, Glock 19 compact, Glock 22 standard "full size" all 3rd gen Glocks. Note the lack of an accesory rail on the subcompact.
They are available in a variety of calibers including 9mm, .40S&W, .45ACP, 10mm, .357Sig, .45GAP, and .380 (not available in .380 in the USA).
The Glock has set many trends with semi-auto handguns in the recent past. Springfield, Smith & Wesson, and Walther have all produced pistols recently that unmistakenly borrow or even outright steal concepts originally brought to us in the Glock pistol line. Glock even settled out of court with Smith & Wesson over a lawsuit regarding patent infringement with the S&W Sigma.
Sig, H&K, Kimber, and many others have also started making handguns with polymer frames as well.
Common complaints with Glocks are that they do not come with the best sights, are not the most accurate, do not have a conventional safety, or that they have a different grip angle than many people like or are used to.
I personally do not mind the Glock's stock sights, but $75 or so can fix that if you do. Although I prefer the night sights, I do not see them as 100% necessary.
Glocks are plenty "accurate enough" for all practical purposes in self defense. In fact, I can recall several times out shooting with big time Sig advocates who were amazed to find that they shot my Glocks better than their own Sigs. Not saying that this is always the case, but it does go to show that certain people just have a knack for shooting better with different handguns.
The way I feel about the safety is that if you do not feel comfortable with the lack of conventional safety, you probably shouldn't be handling weapons in general. The 4 rules of safe firearm handling made famous by Jeff Cooper are ALWAYS relevant to every gun you own and handle.
The grip angle is a personal thing.
Glock has set the standard that all other handgun manufacturers out there are measured against. Maybe they are not the most accurate, but Glock is proof that you don't have to spend a fortune to get an excellent quality handgun for self defense, CCW, LE work, or even competition.
Loved by many and hated by others. You cannot please everyone. Some people have legitimate personal gripes with the Glock and in even more rare cases, you have people who got a lemon and were turned off from the start. However, there are people who will always hate the top dog and Glock is the top dog of the handgun world.
There are other quality handguns out there that will serve you well, maybe even better, but nothing beats the Glock dollar for dollar.
For more information on Glocks, check out GlockTalk.com.