The third generation of Glocks was released all the way back in 1998 and is still a popular choice to this day. This generation introduced then-new calibers to the Glock lineup while redesigning some features included on their current pistols.
The Safe Action System
The safe action system is a staple of the Glock design. It works by allowing the gun to have 3 passive safety that operated independently from each other. The system includes:
A trigger safety
A firing pin safety
A drop safety
This design allows the trigger pull to be the same throughout the course of fire, whereas traditional hammer-fired pistols would have a longer and heavier first shot when they are in double-action compared to when they are in single-action.
Changes from Gen 2
There have been changes since the second generation some welcome additions, others not so much.
The grip texture on the backstrap has been enhanced giving the user a positive hold on the pistol.
Gen 3 also introduced the infamous finger grooves that have become a hot topic of conversation between Glock enthusiasts.
I swear some people look like this when they talk about the whole finger groove thing…
A thumb rest was cut into the frame to give a more natural feel to the very blocky pistol.
On gen 3 and new Glocks, the user is given the option to attach a laser or light with the accessory rail. This greatly increases usability in darker environments.
Another easy way to tell a gen 2 from a gen 3 Glock is the double pin setup above the trigger. Gen 2s only have a single pin whereas gen 3s have the extra pin for the locking block to give it more support.
Later-generation 3 models also included an upgraded extractor that also seconded as a loaded chamber indicator.
Why is the Glock 19 Gen 3 a Good Choice?
The Glock 19 gen 3 came to the market with quite a lot of changes over the second generation but is it the right choice for you? Let’s go over some pros and cons.
I’d say the biggest upgrade between the second and third generation would be the accessory rail. This gives the user more customization options than previous generations could offer and is a fantastic addition.
The Streamlight TLR-7 is a fantastic light option for the Glock 19. It is compact enough to not protrude out longer than the barrel.
The factory trigger gives a consistent 5.5-pound pull. Glock triggers are known to work themselves in and get better over time so if you are able to pick one of these guns up used you will save yourself time getting the pull weight down.
Glock pistols are made with only 34 component parts. This simplicity means there are fewer things to go wrong with the firearm and wear out.
Glocks have always been known for their reliability. Whether or not you like the brand it is an undeniable fact that these guns will perform in adverse conditions and are durable enough to take a beating.
It is an old saying that a firearm is only as accurate as the person behind the trigger. This is true, but it still helps when the gun in question has a great barrel to help the shooter out. I have always found Glocks to be accurate pistols with good barrels. I think the polygonal rifling really works well with these guns as long as you don’t put unjacketed lead bullets through it.
The form factor of the Glock 19 lends well to concealed carry purposes. It is especially a good option if you are someone with big hands as the grip on the 19 is only about an inch smaller than the full-sized 17.
But it doesn’t stop there. The size of the Glock 19 also allows it to be a good choice for a primary service pistol. It hits the middle ground of a compact pistol where it is very versatile and can serve multiple roles.
Glock changed up their magazines with his generation giving them some steel reinforcement making them keep their shape and not warp in the mag well making it a pain to reload. Even more good news with these magazines is that the larger capacity mags for the 17 also are compatible with the 19. The gen 3 is even compatible with new generation magazines so if you already have some kicking around you won’t need to buy extra.
Field stripping these guns literally can be done in under a minute which makes maintenance a breeze.
You can see the gun here stripped down to its major components: The slide, frame, barrel, and recoil spring/guide rod.
Since the gen 3 Glocks have been on the market for many years, you can bet that there is a ton of aftermarket parts available for them. Some “nice to haves” that come straight from the factory are an extended magazine release and slide lock. The sky really is the limit on what you can do with these guns, and you can really tailor it to your personal needs.
I’ll address the elephant in the room first. The finger grooves don’t work for everyone. If you have smaller hands you might want to swap the frame with an aftermarket option without said grooves.
Taking this a step further I would argue that the ergonomics in general on the gen 3 Glock 19 really are nothing to write home about. Sure the thumb groove is nice but overall the gun still feels like a 1x4 in your hand.
I am not a fan of having polymer sights on a pistol. They are more prone to breaking than steel sights and the Glock stock option from the factory has polymer sights with a horseshoe design.
Unfortunately, the ’90s weren’t really known for ambidextrous innovation in the firearms industry. Since this is an older design there really isn’t any support for left-handed shooters.
How Does it Compare to Other Glock Models?
The Glock 19 is the middle child of the 9mm lineup. Being a compact size it is smaller than the full-sized Glock 17 and larger than the sub-compact Glock 26.
Glock also offers crossover models in the Glock 19x and the Glock 45. Basically, both of these guns are compact pistols that have the smaller slide of the G19 with the larger frame of the G17.
Who Uses Glock 19s?
When the Glock 19 came out it became very popular with detectives and undercover cops. The smaller profile of the 19 made it ideal for concealed carry operations.
Currently, U.S. special forces community utilizes the newer Glock 19s for active service.
Glock 19 Gen 3 Competitors
The Ruger SR9 was the first attempt at a polymer frame striker fire pistol from the company.
They are very slim handguns making them great for concealed carry and they also have stainless steel slides.
The frame of the SR9 is slightly larger than the Glock 19 allowing it to have a 17 round magazine capacity.
You won’t find as much in the way of aftermarket support as these guns were not nearly as popular as the Glocks when they were released even though they were priced right.
Another compact striker-fired handgun releasing at a similar time to the gen 3 Glock 19 is the Springfield xD. The service model has a 4-inch barrel and was nice enough to offer an ambidextrous magazine release and front serrations.
Although it is not a huge difference the xD does have a 16 round capacity, one round more than the 15 round G19 mags.
Strangely enough, Springfield decided to design this gun with a beavertail safety which I don’t think is necessary on striker-fired pistols.
These handguns came to the market with many issues that needed to be ironed out and have yet to see much of a following since.
How Does the Striker Fire System Work?
On a striker-fired firearm is actually the firing pin. It is under spring tension inside the gun until the trigger is pulled.
At this time the spring releases and allows the striker to move forward and hit the primer on the cartridge that is loaded in the chamber.
When the slide moves backward during the course of fire the striker is then rearmed under spring tension and is ready to fire once again until the magazine is depleted.
Standard 15 Optional 17,19, 24, 31, 33
102 mm | 4.02 inch
Weight (without magazine):
600 g | 21.16 oz
Weight (with empty magazine):
670 g | 23.63 oz
Weight (with loaded magazine):
855 g | 30.16 oz
187 mm | 7.36 inch
174 mm | 6.85 inch
32 mm | 1.26 inch
25.5 mm | 1.0 inch
Height (incl magazine):
128 mm | 5.04 inch
Line of Sight:
153mm | 6.02 inch
What finish is Used on the Glock 19 Gen 3?
Gen 3 Glocks can be found with two different finishes depending on when they were made. Older models had a similar tennifer finish to the older generations.
When the fourth generation came out gen 3s and gen 4s were being produced at the same time. This is when the nitride finish replaced the tennifer finish due to production regulations in the United States.
The two different types can be easily told apart. The tennifer finish had a similar look and texture to a non-stick pan while the nitride finish was dull and off-color to the Glock slide.
Customization for the Glock 19 Gen 3
Since the gen 3 Glock has been around for almost 30 years there is a healthy amount of aftermarket parts and accessories to make your G19 unique.
Best Ammo to Use in the Glock 19 Gen 3
I always recommend being consistent with your practice and real-world ammunition choices. So choosing a quality option that you will be able to find when needed while performing what it needs to do is key.
115 and 124-grain bullet weights are going to be the easiest to find and I suggest sticking with those weights throughout the use of the gun unless you plan on using your Glock specifically for competition, in that case, custom loading will end up being your best bet to squeeze the maximum potential out of the gun.
I am always on the lookout for CCI ammunition no matter what caliber I am searching for. For the price, it functions well and in 9mm it can be readily found in both 115 and 124 grain.
Sure it can be a little dirty and the brass is a little tougher to reload than some other options but I very seldom have any issues with jamming or miss feeding using a variety of guns.
A second choice that I seem to be going with lately is PMC bronze. The boxes are so much smaller than other brands it’s hard to believe there are 50 per box. With the compact size, I can comfortably fit more ammunition in my range bag and my ammo cans.
Federal HST is my go-to defense round. Yes, they can be more expensive than other options but when it comes to a life or death situation I wouldn’t cheap out on ammunition.
They come in the 124-grain weight to match what can be found for training use which is another big plus.
Best Accessories for Your Glock 19 Gen 3
Being such a great size for concealed carry a good holster is a great option for a Glock 19. There are many different styles to suit your wants.
That being said there are plenty of other range holster options available and there is no harm in having multiple to match the current need.
Since this is the first generation of Glock that has an accessory rail it would be hard not to recommend a quality laser or light for the pistol.
Best Modifications for Your Glock 19 Gen 3
The first thing I would change up is the sights for a good pair of steel night sights to give me more confidence shooting in dark environments while also being less likely to break.
If you are someone who has smaller hands or otherwise does not find the grip works for you then either stippling the frame or swapping over to a finger grooveless option might be a good choice for you.
The factory trigger is okay to get the job done but if you want to squeeze more performance out of the gun changing up the trigger is a great way to gain more accuracy either through a lighter weight trigger pull or shorter break and reset.
Glock 19 Gen 3 Overall Review
Overall I would say that the third generation of Glock 19 had a lot of changes from previous generations but there is still more work to be done to make it competitive with current offerings on the market.
Sure if you can find one used for a good price you won’t be going wrong but if you know that it is going to need some changes in order for the gun to work properly for your hands or whatever reason be sure to factor that into the total cost of ownership.
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