Glock 19 Gen 4 Review: Is the Gen 4 G19 a Good Buy in 2023?

Last Updated on February 8, 2024.

The Glock 19 Gen 4 has aged a bit since its release in 2009. However, Glock still distributes the Gen 4 model, and most gun stores keep them in stock.

Glock 19 Gen 4

Buying a Gen 4 instead of a Gen 5 will save you around $150. But are those savings worth it? Is the Glock 19 Gen 4 still worth the money after ten years on the market?

Short answer: yes.

The Glock 19 Gen 4 is still a perfectly viable option for almost any shooter, especially those who want a simple, reliable handgun, but may not have the budget for the bleeding-edge model.

So, to mark the 10th anniversary of one of the most popular Glocks ever, we’re going to dig into why you should keep this classic on your short list.

Aside from these drawbacks, small guns can really be hard to shoot and that's backed by science.

10th Anniversary Glock 19 Gen 4 Review

Glock made some interesting changes with the Gen 4 update. Most of these changes solved problems, and made the Glock 19 shooting experience better.

But not all of the changes were so great.

Most people already know the tech specs. But, if you’re still in the dark, here’s a quick rundown of the numbers:

  • Caliber: 9x19mm
  • Barrel length: 4.02 inches
  • Overall length: 7.28 inches
  • Height: 5.04 inches
  • Width: 1.26 inches
  • Weight: 30.16 oz (loaded)
  • Magazine capacity: 15 rounds

Read our article on Glock ammunition capacity for the full discussion.

Now, onto the review. We’ll start with the pros.

Pro: Compact Frame

The Glock 19 comes in a compact frame profile that, up until a few years ago, almost zero other guns matched.

This gun measures 5.04 inches tall, which is right in the sweet spot between a full-size gun and a subcompact gun. The grip offers enough room for a 15 round magazine and a complete four-finger grip. However, the grip is short enough that you can carry this gun concealed, if you have a good holster.

But, 15 rounds and a full grip is also pretty solid for a home defense gun. So the Glock 19 is the perfect all-purpose size, and many people have used this gun as their one-size-fits-all pistol.

Pro: Improved Ergonomics

Glocks have always had a reputation for being blocky. The Gen 3 and Gen 2 models were too uncomfortable for many shooters.

Also, they had no ambidextrous controls for left-handed shooters. The magazine release couldn’t even be switched to the other side.

Glock fixed this with the Gen 4 model.

First, they slimmed down the grip just a bit. Not so much that fans of the old Glocks would find the new gun too dainty, but enough that shooters with smaller hands could get a good grip on the gun.

For those that preferred the thicker grip or have larger hands, Glock includes backstraps in the box for adjusting the size of the grip.

Next, Glock added an ambidextrous magazine release. It’s not a passively ambidextrous. You’ll need to take the magazine release out and flip it over, if you’re left-handed. But, at least left-handers can drop their magazines normally with the Gen 4.

Unfortunately, the slide stop was not made ambidextrous. So, left-handers will still need to use their index finger to lock the slide back.

One thing that didn’t change: the shape of the grip. The grip still has the signature Glock palm swell that helps direct recoil energy straight back, along your radius, to improve recoil management.

Image from flickr

Pro: Better Trigger Press

The Glock trigger has never been known as the best.

The Gen 4 trigger is still not the best. But it is better.

Where Glock got the most complaints about the trigger was in the break. The trigger on the Gen 2 and Gen 3 Glocks was kind of mushy, not very distinct.

The Gen 4 trigger has a much smoother take up and cleaner break than previous models.

As a bonus, the trigger also retains the clear, audible reset that many agreed was one of the most affirmative resets in the business.

So, is the Gen 4 trigger still a Glock trigger? Yes. But it’s much better. So much better that only serious shooters will have gripes about the trigger press.

Pro: Mind Blowing Reliability

Reliability has been Glock’s hallmark since they started. The Gen 4 continues this tradition, and remains one of the most trustworthy handguns on the market.

This characteristic alone makes the Glock 19 Gen 4 worth considering as a defensive, competitive, or recreational handgun.

My Glock 19 has gone for over 10,000 rounds without a single malfunction.

Enough said.

So far, so good, right? Well, there are some cons. That’s what we’ll hash out next.

These are the downsides of the Glock 19 Gen 4:

Con: Plastic Sights

Yes, really. Plastic sights.

Glock has always used plastic sights. People have always complained about it. For some reason, Glock refuses to budge on this one.

The good news is that the sights are perfectly functional for shooting. The “ball in cup” sight alignment markings are fine. You can shoot accurately with them.

The problem is that they break easily. If you do one-handed weapon manipulations with the plastic sights, you will rip your rear sight off. I recommend replacing the stock sights with steel sights ASAP.

Con: Finger Grooves

The previous generation did not have finger grooves. Glock decided the Gen 4 needed them.

If your fingers don’t fit in the grooves, they’re uncomfortable.

In fact, the finger grooves were so unpopular that many gun customization companies offer finger groove removal services.

So, be aware that the finger grooves may not line up for you, which will make the grip uncomfortable.

While on the topic of grip comfort, we should also mention the trigger guard.

The Glock trigger guard is rather thick and squared off. For many shooters, the trigger guard bashes their middle finger when they shoot. This results in a light bruise on the inside of your knuckle that’s known as “Glock knuckle.”

So, although the girth of the grip is much more comfortable for a wider range of shooters, it’s still not quite perfect.

Con: Trigger Pull Weight

Glock claims that the Glock 19 trigger pull weight is 5.5 pounds.

This pull weight is great for most shooting contexts. The trouble is that Glock triggers are notorious for being heavier than that. Some Glock triggers have been measured with pull weights of more than 8 pounds!

If your trigger is heavier than 5.5 pounds, you can decrease the pull weight slightly by polishing some of the internals, or shooting your gun a lot to break the trigger in. However, it would be nice if Glock established some better quality control procedures for this.

In a related matter, check out our fresh article about gun maintenance and cleaning.

Last Magazine

So, what’s the verdict? Is the Glock 19 Gen 4 still a gun you should look at, despite the fact that the Gen 5 is available?


The Glock 19 Gen 4 is worth every penny. It’s incredibly simple, reliable, and sized perfectly to fill any role.

There are a lot more guns that are the same size as the Glock 19 than there were in 2009. Many of them are great guns. However, none of them beat the Glock 19 outright. Not even the Gen 5.

I’ve considered replacing my Glock 19. But, so far, none of the competing guns are so much better that I’d be compelled to make the switch.

Is the Gen 4 the gun for you? I don’t know. But you should give it a test drive before you spring for something else.

So, head on down to the range. Rent a Gen 4, and see how you like it. It might turn out to be your perfect one-size-fits-all handgun.

Learn more about glock disassembling on this comprehensive guide.