Best Glock Pistols: Contrasted & Compared

by Travis Pike

February 10, 2023

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Glock, Glock, Glock. For some people, it’s all about Glock. This company changed the handgun game. They didn’t produce the first polymer frame, striker-fired pistol, but they did produce the first successful model of one. They changed things up, and they went from the outcasts with a radical idea to the mainstay of firearm design. They’re solid designs – but which are the best Glocks, and for what?

Best Glocks

What’s the top Glock pistol?

That is an excellent question! There are vast numbers of these guns out there, but their nomenclature is confusing as hell…to put it mildly.

Luckily, you found us!  We’ve looked at all the top Glock models on the market and put together a handy dandy guide for ya. You’re welcome!

Ryan Cleckner dual-wielding the Glock 43X and Glock 48 models.
Ryan Cleckner dual-wielding the G43X and G48 models.

(Modern) History of Glock

Police, military, and security professionals from around 50 countries count on a Glock pistol. This includes U.S. LE/military and innumerable concealed carriers like you and I. 

It all started, the story goes, because Gaston Glock (GG) overheard two military officers discussing the replacement of the Walther P38. 

The first Glock handgun was the G17, released in the early 80s; it was very unusual then. Not the polymer, striker-fired Genus is everywhere, with a vast aftermarket to support it.

Why are Glocks so popular?

This is (literally) a million-dollar question. What did Glock do to make its pistols dominate the market? It’s a multifaceted answer. 

First and foremost, it checks all the boxes. A Glock pistol is reliable and accurate and has acceptable recoil, satisfactory triggers, and exceptional capacity. The polymer frames reduce both weight and price. 

This brings us to our second point. Glocks are affordable. Their price tends to keep bean counters thoroughly pleased.

Here’s something in their favor: they are ridiculously simple. Any Glock model (and, for that matter, any Glock gen) can be broken down with nothing more than a simple punch. This makes maintenance easy and helps make them modular. Users can swap triggers, and firing pins, add or aftermarket sights, night sights or optics, and compensators, whatever, without needing a gunsmith.

Those three things are the most practical answers; effective marketing and name recognition are two more.

Best Glock Reviews

Top Models By Purpose

Most versatile

G19

G19
  • Chambered in 9x19mm
  • Suitable for multiple roles
  • Railed for attachments
  • Very easy to shoot
Check Price
Best for Duty

G17

G17
  • Carried by many Law Enforcement agencies and Militaries across the world
  • Chambered in 9mm
  • Controllable with a large capacity
Check Price
Best for Competition

G34

G34
  • Chambered in 9x19mm
  • Easy to handle and control
  • Long slide helps with accuracy
  • Not great for concealed carry unless you’re Hodor
Check Price
Best for hunting

G40

G40
  • Chambered in 10mm Auto
  • Not to be confused with G22/23/24/27/35, which are .40 cal
  • Lots of horsepower: Danish Slædepatruljen carries in case of polar bears
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Best Slimline

G48

G48
  • Easy to conceal
  • Shorter trigger distance
  • Built-in beaver tail
  • Glock Marksman Barrel
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Best to Suppress

G21

G21
  • .45 ACP is a good caliber to suppress
  • Has octagonal polygonal rifling
  • Good capacity of a large bore cartridge
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Easiest to Conceal

G42

G42
  • Easy to carry
  • Easy to conceal
  • Not a great capacity
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Most fun

G44

G44
  • Perfect for new shooters
  • Great training gun
  • 22LR is just fun
Check price

Best Glock Specs

Here is a spec comparison of all the Glocks discussed here:

GlockCategoryCaliberWeight-No Mag (oz)CapacityBarrel Length (in)Height (in)Width (in)
G19Compact9mm21.16154.025.041.26
G17Standard9mm22.05174.495.471.26
G34Long Slide9mm23.46175.315.471.34
G40Long Slide10mm32.28156.025.471.34
G48Compact Slimline 9mm18.31104.175.041.10
G21Standard45 ACP25.93134.615.511.38
G42Subcompact380 Auto12.1763.254.130.98
G44Compact22 LR12.63104.025.041.26

Top Glock Pistol Rundown

Most versatile Glock 19

Glock 19

Glock 19

The Glock 19 in 9 mm Luger is ideal for a versatile role thanks to its reduced dimensions when compared to the standard-sized option.

Glock 19 Specs

  • Category Compact
  • Caliber 9mm
  • Weight (no mag) 21.16 oz
  • Capacity 15
  • Barrel Length 4.02 in
  • Height 5.04 in
  • Width 1.26 in

Glock 19 Review

If GG’s company had a flagship, it would have to be the G19. It’s arguably the most popular Glock variant and crosses numerous lines in the handgun use world. I’d argue that’s because it’s pretty much the just-right size for numerous tasks. That’s saying something since Glocks overall are pretty utilitarian.

It’s big enough to manage easily, will take a WML and very extended magazines, but small enough for concealed carry.

The standard barrel length of a Glock 19 is 4.02 inches, grip length is sufficient for big hands without overwhelming smaller ones, and additional models (like the G19X and the 19 Canadian) help make it the best example of a Goldilocks production gun I can think of: just right in size, shootability, and concealability.

There’s a reason so many people shoot a G19 better than whatever they were struggling with before getting one – as witnessed over and over during professional qualification courses!

G19 Pros and Cons

  • Goldilocks – It’s the best average size for the most uses
  • Options – It’s available in multiple configurations
  • Smooth operator – Much easier to shoot than so many competitors
  • Jack of All Trades – Goldilocks is master of none

Check G19 Gun Prices

If there is any common complaint about GG’s pistols, it has to do with the front and rear Glock sight – nobody likes ’em.

Best for Duty Glock 17 Gen 5

Glock 17 Gen 5 MOS

Glock 17 Gen 5

Revolutionizing the world since the late ’80s, Glock is a defacto standard across the world for civilians, military, and police.

Glock 17 Specs

  • Category Standard
  • Caliber 9mm
  • Weight (no mag) 22.05 oz
  • Capacity 17
  • Barrel Length 4.49 in
  • Height 5.47 in
  • Width 1.26 in

Glock 17 Review

The Glock 17 is where it all started for Gaston Glock in the early 1980s. Glock’s first handgun was the G17, developed in only a couple of months to compete for the Austrian Armed Forces new service pistol. This new design out competed designs from well known companies like Sig Sauer, Beretta, Browning, and HK.

While the Glock 19 might be the most versatile, the Glock 17 is what you want for duty carry. The Glock 17 has a 4.5″ barrel, that is 0.5 inches longer than the G19. This extra barrel length will help get the most out of the 9mm round. An additional benefit from the longer barrel is longer sight radius. A longer sight radius can help improve accuracy.

With a flush fit magazine, it will also provide 2 more rounds than the Glock 19. If you have average to large hands, you wont have your grip hanging off the edge of the full size frame of the Glock 17. This will provide extra control over the firearm for rapid and controlled follow up shots. When it comes to handguns, getting more than one hit on target is important.

With a high quality weapon mounted light, the Glock 17 really shines for duty. Top it off with a red dot sight and you are ready for patrol or home defense. There is a reason why the Glock 17 is trusted by many law enforcement agencies and militaries across the world. For a deeper dive, read our full review on the Glock 17.

G17 Pros and Cons

  • Reliable – The Glock 17 is known for its reliability, which is number one for a duty gun.
  • Controllable – Since you can get a strong, firm grip, this handgun is very controllable.
  • Accurate – Even with the stock sights, this gun can be shot quickly and accurately.
  • Aftermarket – There is no shortage of aftermarket support for this handgun.
  • Concealed Carry – This is not a concealed carry option, unless it is in an off body carry set up.

Check G17 Prices

Best for competition Glock 34

Glock 34

Glock 34

The Glock 34 is a great all-around gun for just about any situation–minus concealed carry.

Glock 34 Specs

  • Category Long Slide
  • Caliber 9mm
  • Weight (no mag) 23.46 oz
  • Capacity 17
  • Barrel Length 5.31 in
  • Height 5.47 in
  • Width 1.34 in

Glock 34 Review

On the flip side of the Glock 19 sits the Glock 34. Why go compact when you can go extra long?

If you’re looking for length (in 9mm), you go Glock 34. It’s a full size frame with a 5.31-inch barrel (bbl). The idea was to produce a gun with a longer slide and bbl for competition purposes – but the same attributes that make it attractive to competitive shooters make it appealing as a duty pistol.

The Glock 34 offers a longer sight radius. Sight radius is the measurement between the front and rear sights. This makes the weapon easier to shoot accurately, especially at longer ranges. The longer barrel also adds more weight to the gun, much of it toward the front. That forward weight mitigates muzzle rise and felt recoil. 

A bigger gun that’s easier to control, easier to shoot accurately, and offers Glock’s famed reliability and simplicity? Sign me up.

The G34 is a sweet shooter and makes a great carry gun “on duty.” Concealing it, however, will be problematic for most people.

G34 Pros and Cons

  • Accurate – Several factors give this gun greater accuracy potential.
  • Controllable – Those same factors help you drive the gun.
  • Affordable – Much more budget friendly than race guns.
  • Sights – You’re still stuck with Glock sights. Which suck.
  • Overt – Not at all a gun that’s easy to conceal.

Check G34 Prices

Best for hunting Glock 40: G40 10mm

10mm Glock 40 (model G40)

Glock 40: G40 10mm

A husky Glock chambered in 10mm. NOT a .40 caliber Glock: this is the Model 40.

Glock 40 Specs

  • Category Long slide
  • Caliber 10mm
  • Weight (no mag) 32.28 oz
  • Capacity 15
  • Barrel Length 6.02 in
  • Height 5.47 in
  • Width 1.34 in

Glock 40 Review

Since we’re on the subject of big guns, let’s talk about the Glock 40. The G40’s a long-slide like the G34. This model goes a little longer, coming in at at 6.02 inches. The Glock 40 chambers the beastly 10mm round. It’s huge, heavy, and one of the most versatile guns on the planet – for those who can drive it effectively.

This G19 is good for competition (particularly at distance) and is also an awesome hunting weapon. The 10mm round can be used to take everything from coyotes and deer to large hogs. While I personally wouldn’t hunt bears with the Glock 40, it’s definitely a top pistol choice to defend against one.

10mm Glock of the Slædepatruljen Sirius, a SOF unit that utilizes dogsleds. These Danes carry 10mm pistols to defense against Polar Bears.

The longer barrel allows you to shoot more accurately, and the 10mm shoots pretty flat already. Compared to other calibers/models, the G40/G40MOS are far easier to take out past 100 yards.

The increased length also maximizes velocity to get you more penetration, expansion, and energy on target. This makes the Glock 40 one of the rare guns I’d call a ‘field’ pistol. It’s still a step below a rifle but is definitely superior to other pistol calibers.

Siriuspatruljen  on patrol
Siriuspatruljen on the job!

 

G40 10mm Pros and Cons

  • Boss blaster – A very powerful semi-auto
  • Accurate- The cartridge and gun geometry help
  • Thicc – Not a lightweight gun, nor easy to conceal
  • Got some oomph – Not every shooter can drive it effectively

Check G40 Prices

Best Slimline Glock 48

Glock 48

Glock 48

At its core, the Glock 48 is essentially a Glock 19 with a single stack magazine.

Glock 48 Specs

  • Category Compact Slimline
  • Caliber 9mm
  • Weight (no mag) 18.31 oz
  • Capacity 10
  • Barrel Length 4.17 in
  • Height 5.04 in
  • Width 1.10 in

Glock 48 Review

The Glock 48 is a part of their slimline series and is essentially a single-stack Glock 19. The gun is much thinner than the Glock 19 and seemingly much easier to conceal, especially in an IWB configuration. It’s great for concealed carry.

The Glock 48 holds ten rounds in a single stack magazine; its capacity isn’t impressive, but that’s not a deal-breaker. The thinner design helps make it easier to conceal but also makes it easy to shoot. The hand-filling grip makes it easy to maintain total control over the gun, even if you have big ole mitts.

A MOS option and accessory rail allow you to accessorize it like a full-size gun while keeping it small enough to hide away.

Want to know more? Read our full Glock 48 review.

  • Concealable – Easily carried out of sight
  • Shootable- Easy to control (and make accurate hits)
  • Anemic – Not enough capacity
  • Specialized feeding – Limited magazine selection (vs G17, 19, 26, etc.)

Check G48 prices

Best to suppress Glock 21

Glock 21 Review

Glock 21

A full size Glock frame chambered in the venerable 45 ACP cartridge

Glock 21 Specs

  • Category Standard
  • Caliber 45 ACP
  • Weight (no mag) 25.93 oz
  • Capacity 13
  • Barrel Length 4.61 in
  • Height 5.51 in
  • Width 1.38 in

Glock 21 Review

This is America. We love the John Browning-designed, two World-War-winning .45 ACP cartridge and the guns that chamber it.

Glock realized this and produced a modern .45 that is tough to beat.

If you want to carry the 45 ACP, I think the Glock 21 reigns supreme. It’s not only the best 45 ACP Glock, it’s prob’ly the best 45 handgun available. That’s mostly because ole GG and crew found a way to fit 13 rounds of .45 in a flush-fitting magazine. That’s a lot of 230-grain goodness to have stacked up.

Such a single stack only gives you eight rounds or so. If a company does produce a double stack 45, usually it’ll be a 10-round magazine. But ole GG and crew found a way to fit 13 rounds of .45 in a flush-fitting magazine for the full-sized Glock 21. hat’s a lot of 230-grain pills to have in your corner. 

GG’s designers also factored in the larger size of the 45 ACP projectile and equipped the G21 with octagonal polygonal rifling. This is a superior choice for large projectiles compared to the hexagonal rifling they use for other guns. The octagonal rifling provides a better gas seal, which helps maximize the round’s efficiency and speed. 

The G21 is very easy to control despite shooting the .45 cartridge. The recoil isn’t punishing, and it tends to be one of the better-shooting .45s available. Sometimes the good ole 45 ACP deserves a chance.

If you want a suppressed Glock, the subsonic nature of common 45 ACP loads makes it a solid choice for quieter range days. 

  • Great capacity – Lots of blammo for such a big cartridge.
  • Brilliant design – GG’s engineers did yeoman work with this one.
  • Girth – It has a thick grip given the short frame.
  • Buxom – Some shooters would say its top heavy.

Check G21 prices

Easiest to conceal Glock 42

Glock 42 Review

Glock 42

The G42 packs all the features GLOCK customers have come to appreciate – from the GLOCK SAFE ACTION system with its multiple integrated safety features to the brand’s proven reliability and durability.

Glock 42 Specs

  • Category Subcompact
  • Caliber 380 Auto
  • Weight (no mag) 12.17 oz
  • Capacity 6
  • Barrel Length 3.25 in
  • Height 4.13 in
  • Width 0.98 in

Glock 42 Review

The Glock 42 is a little single-stack .380 ACP designed to be as concealable as possible. It’s an itty bitty Glock. It’s one of the easiest to carry Glocks and one of the best pocket .380s to be had at all.

Unlike other pocket-sized .380s, the Glock 42 doesn’t use a heavy recoiling direct blowback design. Instead, Glock uses a locked breech with a Browning-style tilting barrel. This results in less recoil, which is damn nice to have in such a small gun. The Glock 42 also breaks the mold by featuring real sights rather than the little ones you usually find on a pocket pistol.

Another thing I like about the G42 is its small beaver tail. That feature prevents the little slide from digging into your hand and breaking the skin. 

Glock’s pocket pistol delivers something highly reliable that disappears in any kind of clothing. Sure, it’s not a great fighting pistol if you’re going to war, but for the daily grind, it fits just right. Shooting it can be a snappy challenge, though, so training is important.

The GG42 is the tiniest of Glocks and the only .380 ACP Glock available to US buyers. Previous designs proved to be difficult to import, so the Glock 42 was built right here in the United States. It might be a little snappy, but it’s tough to beat this level of reliability in your pocket. 

Read our full Glock 42 review.

G42 Pros and Cons

  • Itty bitty – This is pocket gun is worthy of the name.
  • Well sighted – Excellent sights for a pocket gun.
  • Locked breech – Superior to direct blowback (in this size at least).
  • Snappy – It’s not easy to control; difficult to master
  • Small cartridge – Many people hate on the .380 (though we could argue it)

Check G42 prices

Most fun Glock 44

Glock 44

Glock 44

The innovative design of the hybrid steel-polymer slide chambered in a .22 caliber round provides a lightweight and low recoil functionality for optimal control.

Glock 44 Specs

  • Category Compact
  • Caliber 22 LR
  • Weight (no mag) 12.63 oz
  • Capacity 10
  • Barrel Length 4.02 in
  • Height 5.04 in
  • Width 1.26 in

Glock 44 Review

Finally, let’s leave with the little guy – I don’t mean size-wise, either. I’m talking caliber-wise.

The Glock 44 is chambered in .22LR. It’s Glockish-sized but trimmed up here and there. GG’s crew took their time producing a .22LR version of their guns. I guess they finally got tired of everyone producing their conversions and wanted a piece of the pie. 

The Glock 44 had some failure to launch, but these days it’s proven itself to be one of the nicer plinking pistols on the market. It’s aimed to be a training pistol for the other Glock handguns and works very well as a training pistol. It’s also just downright fun. The G44 will bring a smile to your face every time you pull the trigger. 

This is a simple straight blowback pistol. It’s not fancy, but it’s effective and very easy to use with a suppressor. It’s a super reliable and fairly quiet handgun already; throw a can on there, and it’s ridiculously more so.

The Glock 44 isn’t a finicky eater. It tends to run well with even high-quality subsonic ammo. The light recoil, low concussion, and reliable design make it a fun pistol for shooters of all ages and experience levels. 

At only 12 ounces, it’s not too heavy for even young shooters who want to learn how to shoot safely and enjoy. The Glock 44 is a great plinker and offers an affordable training option for Glock owners.

Plinksters! Check out our Glock 44 review why don’t ya?

G44 Pros and Cons

  • Good trainer – The size and geometry make it a good choice to train.
  • Soft spoken – WAY fun to shoot suppressed.
  • Omnivorous – Eats pretty much any .22lr.
  • Size and shape – Unfortunately, doesn’t fit in Glock 19 holsters

Check G44 Prices

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About Travis Pike

Travis is a former United States Marine Corps Infantryman and currently a firearms writer, instructor, and works in Emergency Management.

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