Designed by a manufacturer of polymer curtain rods to replace the Austrian Army’s WWII-era Walther P38, the Glock is not the world’s first polymer-framed pistol, but it is the first to see widespread commercial success. Formally adopted as the P80 (Pistole 80) in 1982, the Glock is a semi-automatic, locked-breech, striker-fired handgun operated by a modified Browning short-recoil system. 

    One of the most enduring handgun designs of the 1980s, the Glock series has spawned several dozen variants in different sizes, calibers, and generations.

    Let’s review several models and find out which is the best Glock for you.

    Best Glock Reviews

    Editor’s Choice: Glock 19

    Glock 19
    • A highly versatile compact 9mm handgun
    • Favored by police and special operations forces worldwide
    • 15-round magazine capacity provides ample firepower

    Top 9 Best Glock Reviews

    1. Glock 19: Best Glock Overall

    Glock 19

    Why you’ll love this:

    If you’re buying your first handgun, you may hear, “just buy a Glock.” This is usually the variant that they’re talking about — the G19 is the default option.

    What We Liked

    • The perfect balance between concealability and control
    • The preferred sidearm of military and law enforcement
    • One of the best Glocks for CCW
    • Compatible with a variety of different magazines

    What We Didn’t Like

    • Still not as concealable as some would prefer

    It shouldn’t be a surprise that the Glock 19 is the best Glock pistol on our list. What began as a compact variant of the 17 has all but surpassed it in popularity. The Glock 19, introduced in 1988, is the default option for duty, self-defense, or competition. 

    It’s more concealable than full-size examples but more controllable than the subcompact pistols, such as the G26 and G43. It fits in the hand well regardless of palm size. Many shooters insist that the G19’s size and shape are perfect for them.

    In reducing bulk, you certainly haven’t sacrificed much firepower — you lose 2 rounds, the magazine capacity declining from 17 to 15. That’s still more than enough ammunition to handle most tasks, whether practical or sporting. However, that’s also the standard flush-fit capacity. The G19 is also compatible with 17-, 19-, 24-, 31-, and 33-round magazines

    As a testament to the Glock 19’s popularity and status, the U.S. Navy SEALs, known for carrying SIG Sauer handguns and particularly the Navy’s P226, have begun phasing that weapon out in favor of the Glock 19. Even the U.S. Secret Service, which has long issued the SIG Sauer P229 DAK in .357 SIG to its agents, is gradually replacing it with 3 Glock handguns in 9mm — the Gen Glock 19 MOS, Glock 47, and Glock 26.

    If customers as demanding as the U.S. Navy SEALs and Secret Service are opting for the Glock, that’s a decision worth considering.  

    2. Glock 17: Best Glock for the Money

    Glock 17

    Why you’ll love this:

    You should consider buying a Glock 17 if you want a full-size, high-capacity 9mm pistol for home defense, to keep in your vehicle, or to open carry.

    What We Liked

    • Full-size Glock 9mm handgun
    • The original pistol 
    • 17-round flush-fit magazine

    What We Didn’t Like

    • Prints more than the G19 for concealed carry

    Determining the best Glock for the money poses a challenge. Many Glock pistols are priced more or less equivalently, and, like any tool, whether it’s “the best” depends on what you intend to use it for — some applications are more specialized than others. 

    However, while Glock pistols are popular for several reasons, the primary one remains personal protection. Glocks are meant to be kept in the home, vehicle, or a holster as an emergency tool for defending yourself and those you hold dear

    As a result, and because it was the first example of Glock’s design to reach American shores, the Glock 17 deserves a place on our list. The gun that started it all is a full-size 9mm handgun with an overall length of 8.03” and a barrel length of 4.49”.

    The Glock 19’s versatility is the reason it’s the best overall. However, while the 19 may be more concealable for open carry and home and vehicle defense, concealability is a secondary concern. Under those circumstances, the 17 shines and can also be considered the best Glock for home defense.

    The Glock 17 offers increased control relative to the G19 by virtue of its increased height and gripping surface. Weight is still manageable at 22.05 oz. without magazine, 24.87 oz. with an empty magazine, and 32.28 oz. when loaded with 17 rounds. The difference in weight between the full-size and compact pistols is not significant — 1–2 oz. depending on whether it’s loaded. The real difference lies in the bulk — the G17 is half an inch longer and taller. 

    3. Glock 43: Best Glock for Concealed Carry

    Glock 43

    Why you’ll love this:

    You should consider buying a Glock 43 if you’re interested in carrying a concealed handgun, particularly IWB — the slim frame is perfect for it.

    What We Liked

    • Slimline 9mm subcompact for deep concealment
    • Only 1.06” wide
    • 16.23 oz. without magazine
    • Highly suitable for IWB carry

    What We Didn’t Like

    • Less controllable due to reduced gripping surface

    Glock’s first subcompact handgun was the Glock 26, introduced in 1995 and marketed to private citizens interested in concealed carry. The G26 also saw sales as a police backup gun, replacing the Smith & Wesson .38-caliber snub-nosed revolver. 

    The Glock 26, fed from a 10-round double-stack — also known as staggered-feed or double-column — magazine, “prints” noticeably less than the full-size and compact variants. However, while the length and height were reduced, its grip still had to remain wide to accommodate 10 9×19mm cartridges. This was the reason for the introduction of the Glock 42 and 43 variants.

    Beginning with the G42, Glock introduced a subcompact in .380 ACP (9×17mm Short) as an ultra-concealable alternative to current offerings. That description is fitting — the low-capacity, single-stack magazine kept the frame flat and the height short, causing the pistol to print less through clothing than even the G26.

    The Glock 43 is the subcompact 9mm counterpart to the G42 and is fed from a 6-round flush-fit single-stack magazine. Both have been referred to as “slimline” pistols, and for good reason — the G43 has a width (overall) of 1.06” compared to 1.26” in the Glock 26 and weighs only 16.23 oz. without a magazine. Weight increases to 17.99 oz. with an empty magazine and 20.64 oz. when its mag is loaded with 6 9mm cartridges. 

    The reason the G43 is on the list rather than the G42 is because of the caliber. The .380 cartridge is adequate, but the 9mm is optimal.

    One of the most apparent advantages of concealed carry is the slim profile and its adaptability to the IWB (in-the-waistband) carry method. In IWB carry, the holster is worn between the waistband and the body, which affords increased concealment and allows for more carry positions

    4. Glock 34: Best Glock for Competition

    Glock 34

    Why you’ll love this:

    Are you a competitive pistol shooter or interested in breaking into IDPA, ISPC, or 3-gun? Consider buying the Glock 34 — a Glock pistol built for competition.

    What We Liked

    • Glock pistol designed for competition shooting
    • Longslide increases sight radius for more precise aiming
    • 5.31” barrel increases muzzle velocity

    What We Didn’t Like

    • Increased bulk for carry
    • Requires compatible holster

    Introduced in 1998, the Glock 34 in 9mm is the first dedicated competition handgun variant manufactured by the Austrian firm. Their first exposure to the G34 was in the 1999 Arnold Schwarzenegger film End of Days — the first film to depict the pistol for many American and foreign audiences. 

    The Glock 34 is a long-slide variant of the Glock 17 with a 5.31” barrel. You can consider the G34 to be a more compact Glock 17L. Combining a longer barrel with the more efficient gas seal of polygonal rifling, the G34 increases the sight radius relative to more compact firearms in its class and the muzzle velocity of its ammunition, producing flatter trajectories.

    What’s especially advantageous to the latest generations of competition handguns is the MOS or Modular Optic System — Glock’s contribution to the MRD compatibility wave is sweeping competitive pistol shooting – IPSC and 3-gun. An MRD, or Miniature Red Dot, is a reflector or reflex sight attached directly to the slide of a handgun. 

    The MOS modification consists of a slide cut with a removable cover plate, held in place by 2 screws and 4 adapter plates. The adapter plates are designed to accommodate different sighting systems, such as those made by EOTech and Trijicon. 

    A reflex sight allows for more rapid, positive target acquisition, including under low-light conditions. This can be a lifesaver if you compete at dusk or after dark. As the sight reticle and the target occupy the same focal plane, there’s no need to switch your focus between the target, the front sight, and the rear sight. 

    5. Glock 40: Best Glock for Hunting

    Glock 40

    Why you’ll love it:

    If you prefer to hunt medium-sized game with a handgun, an all-weather, high-capacity, long-slide pistol in 10mm is an excellent and versatile choice.

    What we liked

    • 10mm Auto powerhouse
    • Long barrel/slide for increased sight radius
    • 15-round magazine capacity

    What we didn’t like

    • Increased recoil relative to .40 S&W
    • 10mm ammunition is comparatively expensive

    I thought about including a Glock 20 on this list, but as a dedicated hunting pistol, the appropriately named Glock 40 has the advantage. It combines the power of the 10mm Auto cartridge with the longer barrel (6.02”) and sight radius of the Glock 17L. Add a 15-round magazine, and you have a formidable weapon suitable for hunting deer or wild boar. 

    As a backpacker, trekker, or hunter, a high-capacity 10mm pistol can also serve as an effective self-defense tool against black and brown bears and cougars. This is especially true given the availability of hard-cast lead flat-point and semi-wadcutter bullets with sharp leading edges. For defense against dangerous game, sufficient penetration is paramount, and the full-power 10mm Auto cartridge has that in spades.

    The Glock 40 continues the trend that began with the 17L — each caliber has a long-barreled/long-slide variant.  

    The 10mm Auto (10×25mm) cartridge was introduced in 1983 in the famous Dornaus & Dixon Bren Ten. Conceived by Colonel Jeff Cooper as an intermediate cartridge that would exceed the effective range and accuracy of the .45 Auto while providing more power than the 9mm Luger. Norma of Sweden, the ammunition company, altered the specifications tasked with manufacturing it.

    The result was less of an intermediate cartridge and more of a light magnum, surpassing standard-pressure .357 Magnum loads in kinetic energy but falling short of the .41 Magnum’s power range. 

    Eclipsed by the .40 S&W cartridge but still popular, the 10mm continues to hold its own to this day, having developed a loyal group of supporters.

    Glock offers multiple 10mm pistol variants, but the Glock 40 is the most suitable for most hunting purposes. 

    6. Glock 21: Best Glock in .45 Auto

    Glock 21

    Why you’ll love it:

    If you’re a .45 enthusiast or prefer to increase caliber when searching for self-defense options, the Glock 21 is one of the most trusted high-capacity .45-caliber pistols.

    What we liked

    • 13 rounds of .45 Auto
    • Suitable for the big-bore enthusiast
    • Still lighter, when fully loaded, than an M1911
    • Potentially less felt recoil due to polymer frame

    What we didn’t like

    • Fewer rounds per magazine than other calibers

    The Glock began as a 9mm pistol, but no one said it had to stay that way. When Glock launched its .45-caliber G21 in 1990, it was one of the highest capacity handguns available in that caliber at the time. With a standard magazine capacity of 13 rounds, compared with the M1911’s 7 or 8, this was worth taking notice. 

    While I wouldn’t call the .45 Auto “hard recoiling” in a full-size handgun and at standard-pressure loadings, it has often been suggested that because the Glock uses a polymer frame, it produces less felt recoil relative to a steel- or aluminum-framed handgun of the same caliber. 

    Whether this is true or not is a matter of opinion — that’s the nature of “felt” recoil — but it’s not hard to imagine how it could be. Polymer, being softer and more elastically deformable, has more give to it than metal. 

    Furthermore, the increased width of the Glock’s grip, having to accommodate a double-stack magazine, distributes the recoil force over a wider area.

    For many gun owners, the Glock 21 sits high on the list of best Glocks options for home defense. While I think that the Glock 21 would be a superb handgun for that role, whether you agree with that may depend on which side you take in the age-old 9mm vs. .45 caliber debate. 

    If we use the FBI’s guidelines, the most important criterion when selecting effective ammunition for self-defense is sufficient penetration to reach vital organs and major blood vessels. Given adequate penetration, the only way to increase the bullet’s effectiveness is to increase its diameter and frontal surface area.  

    Suffice it to say, a .45-caliber, 13-round handgun with a reputation for rugged dependability can serve you exceedingly well for personal protection. 

    7. Glock 22: Best Glock in .40 S&W

    Glock 22

    Why you’ll love it:

    You should consider buying a G22 if you want a full-size handgun that offers more capacity than a .45, more power than a 9mm, and less recoil than a 10mm.

    What we liked

    • .40 S&W cartridge offers balanced option
    • Popular among domestic and federal law enforcement
    • Magazine capacities from 15 to 22 rounds

    What we didn’t like

    • Recoil may be too sharp for some

    The Glock 22 is a handgun built for American law enforcement. In the wake of the infamous 1986 FBI shootout in Miami, the Bureau retired it’s .38- and .357-caliber service revolvers, replacing them with a semi-automatic pistol that met specific performance standards. These were developed over several years and culminated in adopting the 10mm Auto cartridge, using a reduced-pressure load specifically designed for the FBI in 1990

    Once it was determined that the 10mm FBI load’s performance could be replicated in a shorter case — 22mm vs. 25mm — allowing it to be used in existing 9mm handgun frames, the .40 S&W cartridge was born

    Despite being co-designed by Smith & Wesson and Winchester, Glock launched 2 handguns in the new .40-caliber cartridge before Smith & Wesson’s Model 4006 became available. These were the Glock 22 (full-size) and Glock 23 (compact) in 1990, now mainstays in law enforcement circles. 

    The Glock 22 and 23 in .40 S&W were adopted by the FBI in 1997 to replace a wide range of service weapons issued to field agents. More recently, the FBI adopted new handguns but make was not one of the factors to be changed — the Bureau simply swapped the .40 S&W chambering for the 9mm. 

    The weight is 22.75 oz. without magazine, 25.57 oz. with an empty magazine, and 34.39 oz. when loaded with 15 rounds of .40 S&W ammunition. While 15 rounds (+1) should provide ample firepower, Glock also offers both 16- and 22-round factory options. 

    The .40 S&W cartridge provides a middle ground between the 9mm Luger and the .45 Auto, which is what the concept devised by Jeff Cooper initially entailed.

    8. Glock 32: Best Glock in .357 SIG

    Glock 32

    Why you’ll love it:

    If you want to carry a compact Glock handgun but want more power than the 9mm Luger, or .40 S&W can provide, consider the Glock 32 in .357 SIG.

    What we liked

    • .357 SIG offers increased accuracy and kinetic energy
    • Designed to replicate 125-grain .357 Magnum revolver load
    • High barrier penetration

    What we didn’t like

    • Ammunition is more expensive than other service calibers
    • Recoil can be stout

    While our 10mm entry is a longslide designed for hunting, it’s not the only powerful caliber you can find in a compact frame If you’re interested in a compact Glock for concealed/open carry but want more power than the 9mm or .40 S&W can afford, the Glock 32, chambered in .357 SIG, may be the optimal choice. 

    The .357 SIG cartridge, introduced in 1994, was designed to replicate the ballistics of the 125-grain .357 Magnum load, common to police service revolvers of that era, in a high-capacity semi-automatic pistol. 

    This was largely in response to requests from law enforcement. The high magazine capacity of newly adopted 9mm duty weapons was certainly advantageous relative to the 6 rounds of a Smith & Wesson or Colt revolver, but the power of the .357 Magnum cartridge inspired awe in a way that its less-potent successors did not. 

    Derived from the .40 S&W, the .357 SIG uses the same cartridge case necked down to .355 caliber. As a result, the cartridge is bottlenecked and can be loaded into .40 S&W G22/G23 magazines. In 4–4.5-inch barrels, which spans compact and full-size Glock handguns, standard-pressure .357 SIG loads can accelerate a 125-grain jacketed flat- or hollow-point bullet to a muzzle velocity of approx. 1,400 ft/s

    This compares favorably with the 4” barreled revolvers, such as the Smith & Wesson Model 19 Combat Magnum or Model 13 Military & Police Magnum, that used to adorn police and FBI holsters.

    The round is known for its flat trajectory, penetration, and kinetic energy. That’s why, until recently, the .357 SIG was the choice caliber of the United States Secret Service. 

    9. Glock 44: Best Glock for Plinking

    Glock 44

    Why you’ll love it:

    Glock offers something for everyone, and the G44 is no exception. You can now purchase a .22 LR target pistol for inexpensive range practice and familiarization firing.

    What we liked

    • Glock’s first .22 rimfire
    • Good for inexpensive range practice/plinking
    • Companion pistol to full-power compact 
    • Hybrid steel-polymer slide keeps weight low
    • 10-round load-assist magazine

    What we didn’t like

    • Rimfire ammunition is inherently less reliable than centerfire
    • No threaded muzzle option for suppressor use

    Last on our list is the Glock 44, chambered in the small .22 Long Rifle cartridge. Introduced in 2020, the G44 is the company’s first foray into rimfire firearms. 

    If you’re interested in familiarizing yourself with the Glock’s pattern of controls and handling characteristics or simply want to engage in informal recreational target shooting, the G44 offers an inexpensive option for range practice/training. For practical combat shooting drills and cultivating muscle memory, the G44 can serve as a training companion to the Glock 19 (9mm), 23 (.40 S&W), or 32 (.357 SIG), of which it shares a similar profile.  

    The G44 ships with a 10-round load-assist magazine. If you have experience with other .22-caliber target pistols, you’ll probably recognize the assist tabs running in vertical slots on the sides of the magazine body. These parallel the follower button in other designs. 

    This is mandatory for a .22-caliber pistol, allowing you to compress the magazine spring by placing the magazine on a hard surface and pulling the assist tabs down with your support hand. This enables you to load cartridges, one at a time, under the feed lips, and into the magazine without having to fight the feeding spring with the same hand. 

    To take advantage of the less-powerful .22 Long Rifle cartridge, Glock has incorporated a hybrid slide made from steel and polymer to reduce the weight, keeping this compact handgun to a mere 12.63 oz. without the magazine and 16.40 oz. when loaded with 10 rounds. 

    Although not assembled with a bull barrel, the Glock 44 is equipped with the Glock Marksman Barrel (GMB), which incorporates polygonal rifling for a more efficient gas seal and, theoretically, greater precision.

    Best Glock Overall: Glock 19

    Glock 19

    Regardless of the reason that you’ve chosen to buy a handgun, the Glock 19 is perhaps the most popular and versatile option among the Austrian manufacturer’s offerings. It’s often thought of as being the perfect fit for a variety of different hand sizes. Its 9mm chambering is the default for duty, self-defense, and competition, and it provides a balance between controllability and concealment without sacrificing firepower. There’s a reason so many police departments and military organizations trust the compact and versatile Glock 19.

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