Written by Phillip Chambers

Glock 19 Gen 2 Review

The second generation of Glocks came out all the way back in 1988 and was the generation to introduce the Glock 19.

The Glock 19 came to be from the desire for a compact version of the popular Glock 17. This made the 19 much easier to concealed carry and helped police during undercover operations.

Many of the parts were interchangeable between the two pistols.

Magazines for the Glock 19 have a 15 round capacity but you can use the larger mags without issues.

These magazines were not metal reinforced like the modern Glock mags of today so they were prone to flexing. A half-moon cut-out is found on this generation to assist with reloading in the cases of a sticky magazine.

You can see through the viewport holes that there is no metal reinforcement in these mags.

Many gen 2 Glocks were put up for department trade-in giving a surplus on the civilian market. These guys will probably have some wear from being put to use but can be found for under 400 dollars.

Gen 2s made in 1991 and later will have the integrated recoil spring assembly whereas the older models will have the original two-piece recoil spring and tube.

Another revision in 1992 designated as the “Six-Part Upgrade” was performed. All Glocks manufactured after this had this upgrade performed and owners of earlier pistols were given the option to send the gun back to Glock for the upgrade free of charge.

This upgrade was in reality closer to a safety recall due to reports of the firearms discharging when being dropped. Glocks with the upgrade performed would have the following parts replaced:

  • Extractor
  • Spring-loaded bearing
  • Firing pin spring
  • Firing pin safety
  • Firing pin
  • Trigger bar


Caliber: 9x19
System: Safe Action
Magazine: Standard 15 | Optional 17,19, 24, 31, 33
Barrel Length: 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
Trigger Pull: 5.5lbs
Length (Overall): 187 mm | 7.36 inch
Slide Length: 174 mm | 6.85 inch
Width (Overall): 32 mm | 1.26 inch
Slide Width: 25.5 mm | 1.0 inch
Height (incl magazine): 128 mm | 5.04 inch
Line of Sight: 153mm | 6.02 inch

How Does it Compare to Other Glock Models?

The second generation expanded the caliber offerings significantly. The compact models that were built to similar dimensions as the 19 were the 23 in .40S&W and the 32 in .357 Sig.

The Glock 17 is the full-sized variant of the 19 chambered in 9mm. The Glock 22 is the same pistol offered in .40S&W and the Glock 31 is the same design in .357 Sig.

Both full-sized pistols also came in long barrel versions known as the 17L and Glock 24.

In 1990 larger caliber options were added with the Glock 21 in .45 ACP and the Glock 20 in 10mm.

Who Uses Glock 19s?

When the Gen 2 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 2 Competitors

In comparison to other pistols at the time, there weren’t many other compact models that gained service with the military and police.

The Sig Sauer P226 was released a few years earlier in 1983 and had seen some use in some forces by this time. The P226 is a full-sized double or single-action semi-automatic pistol with a steel frame.

The P226 was also one of only two handguns that successfully passed the U.S. service pistol trial back in 1984 (Glock did not participate).

I think the P226 is a great pistol that is very comfortable to shoot.

You might be wondering what was the other pistol that passed testing, well the Beretta 92F of course.

This was the U.S. Militaries primary service pistol for over 30 years and just recently was replaced by the Sigh Sauer P320.

Similar to the P226 the Beretta 92F was full steel and a full-sized pistol.

How Does the Striker Fire System Work?

This little guy is what makes the gun go bang.

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.

What finish is Used on the Glock 19 Gen 2?

I like how the gen 2 finish matched the frame better than the gen 3 and 4. Sure it can show wear but if you take care of it the finish will last for a long time.

Both first and second-generation Glocks used Parkerizing as the finish. Parkerizing is a phosphate conversion coating that is used on rough textured metal and gives a matte finish.

I think the finish is quite attractive and can hold well as long as the owner gives it proper care by oiling it but it is not as corrosion-proof as the newer variants.

Customization for the Glock 19 Gen 2

You can bet that with over 30 years of market exposure there is a long line of customization options for the gen 2 Glock 19.

I would say that since it is an older gun it would be tasteful to keep it as original as possible to maintain the matured look.

Best Ammo to Use in the Glock 19 Gen 2

I always recommend using 115 or 124-grain bullets in 9mm handguns since they are easy to find and cheaper than heavier bullet weights.

Since the gen 2 Glock 19 is over 30 years old I would also caution you with using hot loads. I know that they were designed to take a beating but I would leave the snappy stuff
to your newer guns and leave this old guy alone.

Range Ammo:

I have always been partial to CCI. They have great products and the 9mm Brass Blazer is my go-to round for this gun.

Brass Blazer can be found commonly in most gun shops in both the 115 and 124-grain weight.

A great substitute is PMC Bronze. They can be found mostly in 115-grain weight but 124 does also exist.

I like how the 50 round boxes are small so I can fit extra ammo in my range bag when I want to go shooting and in my ammo cans when they are being stored.


Federal HST is going to be your best bet for defense rounds.

They can be found in 124 grain and pack a lot of knockdown power.

Training with the same bullet weight as you will put into service is important to maintain consistency between practice and real-world scenarios.

Best Accessories for Your Glock 19 Gen 2

As mentioned before try to score yourself some new mags for a gen 2 since the originals that it may be coming with do not always reload as easily as the revised versions.

Also, these guns only shipped out with 2 mags whereas newer Glocks will usually ship out with at least 3.

Gen 5 mags are cheap and easy to find. A solid upgrade from the old gen 2 mags.

Get yourself a quality holster that will serve whatever purpose the gun will serve.

Get 1 or many. The Glock 19 is in a sweet spot in terms of size to fill multiple roles.

Best Modifications for Your Glock 19 Gen 2

#1 modification out of the box is going to be steel night sights.

These will increase your effectiveness in low-light environments while being much more durable than the standard polymer sights.

If you are finding the trigger, not to your preference there are many options available aftermarket to spice things up. A quality trigger is a great way to add consistency to your shooting and can help accuracy at longer distances.

The second generation added some enhanced checkering to the front and back of the frame but the pebble style grip texture can still be slippery when wet.

Going with a set of talon grips to add extra grip to the sides of the frame is a good move while still keeping the classic look of the second generation.

If you don’t mind changing the grip entirely then stippling would also be a good choice since it can be tailored to your exact specifications.


No Finger Grooves

The lack of finger grooves is a big selling point for a gen 2 Glock 19.


Reliability and dependability are two major features of all Glocks. You can trust them to function through any situation that they find themselves in.


It is often said that a gun is only as accurate as the person behind the trigger. This holds true with the Glock 19. I can successfully engage targets out to 80 feet with confidence but there are others who can extend that distance even further.


Since Glock triggers get better with use and you will be finding one of these on the used market, it can be expected that the trigger will already be worked to some extent.


Being an older model the price point is fantastic on these guys. They can be found used for under 400 dollars.

Aftermarket Support

There is a ton of aftermarket support for these guns and you can really personalize them to your own taste.


Ease of maintenance was a big selling point for Glock. Since it was originally designed to be a military service pistol it can be field stripped in no time very easily.


Old Mags

Since the old mags are susceptible to flexing I would recommend upgrading to some of the newer, steel-reinforced magazines.

Polymer Sights

Polymer sights are used on the Glock 19 gen 2. I don’t like having polymer sights and am not a big fan of the horseshoe-style outline on the rear. Purchasing a quality pair of steel night sights will go a long way to bring the most out of this gun.


Although the finish on these old Glocks looks nice it is more subject to wear than the new nDLC and Tennifer finishes found on later generations.

No Ambidextrous Features

Because this pistol was released in the late 80s there wasn’t much expectation to cater the firearm to both left and right-handed shooters so there are no ambidextrous features on this gun.

Lack Of Ergonomics

Being an older model, the gen 2 Glock 19 really has that blocky look and feel. Without any ergonomic customization options in the box, you need to look at the aftermarket if the fit doesn’t work for you.

Glock 19 Gen 2 Overall Review

If you are on a budget, looking for a no-frills option, enjoy nostalgic/ historical firearms,  or are looking for something to hold on to as a collector’s piece down the road the Glock 19 gen 2 is a good choice for you.

If you are thinking of picking one up make sure it has been upgraded or have a gunsmith that will provide you with the upgrade.

It may seem like a hassle to send the gun in for a few parts to be swapped over and “if it isn’t broken, then don’t fix it” but you will have a much bigger problem on your hands if a negligent discharge happens and you are the owner of the gun that caused

For everyone else looking to get on the Glock 19 wagon, I think your money might be better spent elsewhere especially if you are a left-handed shooter.

A lot has changed in the firearms industry since the gen 2 Glocks rolled off the production line and there are modern pistols that come in at a low price that will be able to fit into more niches than the gen 2 Glock 19.

Things like the Taurus G3 or the Springfield XD Mod 2 will come in at a similar price and have more bells and whistles.

Overall review ⅗

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