Prized for its reliability, accuracy and ease of use, Glock is one of the world's most popular handgun manufacturers. From military and law enforcement agencies to safety-conscious civilians, competitive shooters and hunters, many marksmen can agree Glock pistols are a force to be reckoned with.
Another glowing benefit contributing to Glock's widespread success is its incredible aftermarket support. Originally created for the Austrian military, Glock handguns are now suited to anyone seeking an affordable, dependable pistol they can seamlessly tailor to their needs.
Continue reading for a complete guide to the various calibers, the differences between Glock models and ways to upgrade your pistol.
What Are the Different Glock Calibers?
Glock handguns are chambered in different calibers, each with a unique size and other features. Browse the Glock caliber guide below to learn about some of the options available.
The 9mm bullet is the standard round used by most NATO forces and the United States military. This caliber is also a popular choice for civilian shooters because it's extremely reliable, affordable and easy to find. It's an excellent self-defense caliber with proven ballistic performance, good stopping power and range, and moderate recoil.
That's why many firearm manufacturers, including Glock, prefer chambering their pistol-caliber carbines in 9mm. Glock has a variety of 9mm pistols, including the original full-sized Glock 17, Glock 19, Glock 26 and Glock 43.
The 10mm Auto is a high-velocity round primarily used for hunting, but its versatility is seemingly limitless. You can find light, low-recoil rounds for casual range practice, mid-range rounds for home protection and self-defense, or heavy and powerful rounds for large game hunting.
Its maximum penetrative power and incredible ballistic performance make it suitable for many applications. Glock produces multiple 10mm models including the subcompact G29, the full-size G20 and the G40.
.380 Automatic Colt Pistol (ACP) is a 9mm bullet with a slightly shorter shell casing. It has convincing ballistics, easy maneuverability and a 9mm projectile. Some of Glock's .380 handguns are the compact G25, subcompact G28 and ultra-compact G42.
Developed by SIG Sauer, the .357 SIG is a high-velocity caliber with the same shell casing as .40 S&W. The barrels from similar .40 S&W models are interchangeable with .357 SIG models. That means you can fire .40 S&W bullets from your .357 Glock — and vice versa — by switching the barrels.
This caliber is known for its superior penetrative power and maximum velocity, even when coming in contact with light armor. Glock's .357 SIG models include the subcompact G33, the compact G32 and the full-size G31.
Created by Smith & Wesson, the .40 S&W is a popular choice for civilians and law enforcement alike. This bullet merges characteristics of the smaller 9mm and the larger .45. Its size enables a higher magazine round capacity, and the powerful ballistics can withstand heavy-duty law enforcement applications.
Glock has an assortment of pistols chambered in .40 S&W, including the full-size G22, the compact G23, the long-slide G24, the subcompact G27 and the optics-ready competition G35 model.
.45 ACP is the largest Glock handgun bullet. This timeless caliber is beloved for its remarkable precision and maximum energy release. Developed by John Moses Browning in 1904, this straight-walled, rimless cartridge was the standard for U.S. military handguns until the mid-1980s.
Glock has a few handguns chambered in .45 ACP including the full-sized G21, the Slimline G36, the subcompact G30 and the G41 competition model.
The .45 Glock Automatic Pistol (GAP) is a shortened variation of the .45 ACP with the same performance level. As the name suggests, Glock developed this bullet. With this cartridge, you can reap the power of the .45 Auto in a reduced casing size. Glock's .45 GAP handgun models include the full-size G37, the compact G38 and the subcompact G39.
What Are the Most Popular Glock Pistol Models?
Glock has come a long way since the early 1980s, developing a plethora of handguns for every type of shooter. Let's explore some of their most popular models below.
1. Glock 17
Naturally, we're kicking off this list with the first Glock handgun. Gaston Glock invented the pistol in 1982, despite having no experience in firearm design or manufacture at the time. In fact, Glock started as a curtain rod manufacturer in the 1960s, followed by knives for the Austrian army in the '70s.
This was his first attempt at developing a firearm. His original prototype was dubbed the Glock 17. Interestingly, it wasn't because it held a 17-bullet magazine. Glock pistols aren't named for the caliber or the year. Rather, the G17 was named after the number Glock patented during the development process.
Despite its large magazine capacity, the Glock 17 had only 36 parts and was used by the Austrian military. Today, you can find this full-size, 9mm model in multiple generations, including:
- Gen1: First-generation Glocks have one pin above the trigger and an engraved pattern around the grip. The frame doesn't have an accessory rail.
- Gen2: Second-generation Glocks resemble Gen1s, as they have one pin above the trigger and no frame rail. A noticeable difference is the checkered grip pattern and backstraps on the frame.
- Gen3: Gen3 Glocks have redesigned frames with an added thumb rest, finger grooves and an accessory rail. They also have a third locking block pin above the trigger pin.
- Gen4: Gen4 Glocks were the first to have slides marked with the generation. The frame still sports finger grooves but has a different checkered pattern. It also has interchangeable backstraps, an extended magazine release button that can switch to the left side and a locking block pin.
- Gen5: The latest Glock pistol generation, Gen5, features a semicircular cutout at the front of the magazine well, along with an ambidextrous slide release lever. It doesn't have finger grooves on the grip or a locking block pin. The slide features a beveled muzzle.
The Glock 17 features a total length of 8.03 inches, a 4.49-inch barrel length and a weight of 32.28 ounces. It's a gold standard for police officers and the civilian market alike. The Glock 17's larger build makes it ideal for both personal protection and home defense. If a full-size pistol doesn't strike your fancy, the midsize Glock 19 may be right up your alley.
2. Glock 19
Another beloved 9mm model, the Glock 19 is one of the world's most popular handguns for its reliability and ease of use. It closely resembles the Glock 17 but features a smaller design. It has a 15-round magazine, a 4.02-inch barrel, a 30.16-ounce weight and an overall length of 7.28 inches.
The versatile Glock 19 has a more compact barrel length and grip than many other handguns, making it suitable for undercover law enforcement, concealed carry and home defense alike. Its double-stack design allows for a seamless transition from the range to personal protection. Additionally, the pistol's aftermarket support means you can easily swap out Glock 19 slides, triggers and sights as you please.
Though a relatively older model, it's easy to see why the G19 has such a loyal following.
3. Glock 26
The Glock 26 has a staggered, double-stack magazine, giving it more width and carrying capacity than the Glock 43. Compared to the Glock 19, the 26 has roughly three-quarters of an inch less of the grip and about a half-inch less of the barrel. It has a standard 10-round magazine capacity, 3.43-inch barrel length, 19.4-ounce weight and a total length of 6.5 inches.
Since its initial release in 1995 as a compact handgun for concealed carry and a law enforcement backup gun, the Glock 26 has become a widely popular choice for these applications. It's small enough to carry and conceal yet large enough to avoid the general pitfalls of pocket pistols. Despite its slim design, the 26 has decent capacity, holding more rounds than some full-size handguns. Its substantial barrel length allows you to preserve accuracy while reaping optimal performance from its ammunition.
Similar to the G19, the Glock 26 has outstanding aftermarket support. It's compatible with Glock 17 and 19 magazines, so you can seamlessly boost the capacity by swapping magazines. For instance, many shooters like to carry a Glock 26 while using a 19 magazine with a grip sleeve.
It's no surprise that thousands of people carry the G26 daily, either as a primary or backup. If you'd still prefer something slightly smaller for concealed carry, the single-stack Glock 43 might be your best bet.
4. Glock 43/43X
Arguably the world's most popular handgun, the 2015 Glock 43 is an award-winning, single-stack, 9mm pistol with a six-round magazine capacity. While its size and slim profile resemble the Glock 42, it can fire larger rounds. It features a 3.39-inch barrel length, a 17.95-ounce weight and a 6.26-inch overall length.
This compact, semiautomatic pistol offers the reliability of a Glock in a pocket-sized package, making it excellent for concealed carry. Combining high accuracy with ease of concealment, it's favored by law enforcement agents, security guards and regular range-dwellers alike.
Released in 2019, the Glock 43X boasts a slightly larger design. It has an 18.7-ounce weight, a 3.41-inch barrel length and a total length of 6.50 inches. You'll also get more rounds with the 43X because it features a 10-round magazine capacity.
If you need an ultra-slim, dependable concealed carry pistol with impressive ergonomics, the Glock 43 and 43X are both exceptional choices.
4 Ways to Customize Your Glock
Glock handguns easily have the best U.S. aftermarket support. These highly versatile pistols allow for a range of upgrades to enhance performance, reliability and appearance. You can even build a Glock pistol with a parts kit.
No matter the model, generation or caliber you have, a Glock is a blank slate you can customize and make your own. Here are some aftermarket upgrades to consider for your Glock.
1. A New Barrel
Inserting a new Glock barrel into your pistol is quick and simple, like swapping out a magazine. It can help reduce your Glock's weight, improve your accuracy and extend your gun's life span overall.
Many aftermarket barrels come with your choice of upgraded Glock compensators, threaded and ready for use. They tend to have a better fit than factory parts, giving your pistol a sleeker and more refreshed look.
2. An Upgraded Slide
Standard factory slides for Glocks already provide a one-of-a-kind look, but you can replace your slide to further enhance its performance, appearance and capability. You can upgrade it to support a rail-mounted sight, such as a Red Dot.
Many marksmen choose extended slide releases for better pistol control. An extended slide release can help you fire more reliably and efficiently, even when you're wearing gloves or have wet hands. In particular, competition shooters prefer extended slide releases because they can reload their handguns faster.
You can also take advantage of improved side grips, allowing you to cycle the pistol in high-adrenaline scenarios or slippery conditions. These modifications collectively help improve your Glock's look, decrease its weight and extend its life, all while improving your accuracy.
3. Improved Sights
While Glocks are incredibly reliable, many shooters tend to avoid their factory sights. These are often made from plastic and have limited low-light shooting capabilities. Upgraded night sights are ideal for any shooter, whether for high-stress situations on the job, low-lit home defense events or improved accuracy at the range.
For quicker target acquisition, install sights your eyes can easily track. There are many options to consider, such as fiber optic and tritium sights, that offer better illumination than factory-installed sights.
4. An Adjustable Trigger
Glocks typically have good triggers. However, they can be slightly heavy, as they're designed primarily for military and law enforcement. If you want something a little lighter, there's no shortage of competition and adjustable Glock triggers on the market — often made with higher-quality metals than factory parts, allowing for more precise and efficient firing.
Replacing your Glock trigger is easy. Additionally, you have the option of replacing only the trigger shoe — where your finger makes contact — or the entire system. These upgrades provide better reset, higher accuracy and decreased time between shots. Replacing the trigger bar allows you to adjust your pull weight and reduce travel, increasing your overall trigger performance.
Choose Wing Tactical for Glock Accessories and Upgrades
From new shooters to seasoned pros, everyone can enjoy the incredible performance Glock brings. If you're looking to get the most from your Glock handgun, we have a wide inventory of parts, equipment and accessories at Wing Tactical. We also extend the following benefits to our shoppers:
- Next-day shipping
- Military, law enforcement and first responder discounts
- Hassle-free, 30-day returns
- Firearm products from the finest industry brands
- Exceptional customer service
Whether you're looking for a Glock 19 compensator or a new magazine extension, we can help you upgrade your handgun to extend its life span, performance and shooting accuracy. Browse and order parts for your Glock pistol from Wing Tactical today!