The Glock 19 is one of the most popular handguns of all time. It’s an ever-so-slightly-scaled down version of the original Glock, the Glock 17 9mm. About 1/2-inch shorter than the full-size model, the more compact Glock 19 still packs 15 rounds of 9mm plus one in the chamber. Owners point to its excellent balance of size, weight, and capacity as reasons for its popularity.
Full disclosure: A couple of the items on this list apply to Glocks in general, but because the Glock 19 is just a slightly downsized version of the original Glock, I feel that the facts apply:
1. Law Enforcement Everywhere Loves It
Within the uniformed ranks of the New York City Police Department, the Glock 19 is the most popular of all authorized handguns. Officers seem to like the balance between weight and capacity, even though they have no need for concealment.
Other organizations that have made use of the Glock 19 include the Tasmanian Police (traffic sections), the Hong Kong Police Force, the Slovenian National Police, the Royal Malaysia Police, the United States Marine Corps MARSOC, and the elite Force One team of the Mumbai Police. The Army’s Delta Force counterterrorism unit also used the Glock 19 (but we can’t talk about that, can we?).
2. Bruce Willis may have started that whole “invisible to airport metal detectors” thing
Might this famous movie line from the 1990 flick “Die Hard 2: Die Harder” have contributed to the persistent rumor that Glocks could pass right through airport metal detectors? Here’s what Willis’s character John McClane says about the Glock 17 he mistakenly calls a Glock 7:
“You know what that is? It’s a porcelain gun made in Germany. It doesn’t show up on your airport X-ray machines here, and it costs more than what you make in a month!”
Considering the a Glock is about 84 percent steel by weight, that’s a pretty unbelievable claim, not to mention the difficulty of hiding the metal ammunition that makes it run. And Glocks were made in Austria, not Germany, but when has Hollywood ever worried about such details?
As the story goes, the movie prop house armorers knew better, and tried to talk the director into fixing that scene, but the Hollywood “experts” would have none of it because that’s how the script was written.
3. Ammo weighs only a bit more than the gun
Even though the Glock 19 is constructed mostly of steel, it only weighs 23.65 ounces .A 147-grain Sig Sauer V-Crown 9mm cartridge tips the scales at .48 ounces. Multiplying by the 16 cartridges in the gun, carrying a few extras and adding the weight of 30 more rounds in two spare magazines, the ammo load can reach a total weight of 22.08 ounces, or just a hair less than the gun itself.
4. A Glock 19 may be made with the same material in high-quality running shoes
According to Glock, the “plastic” frame material is a secret material called Polymer 2. That appears to be a marketing name for something like Dupont’s Glass-Reinforced Zytel® Nylon, a strong and durable polymer that resists wear. But that’s just a rumor and Glock still isn’t talking.
Assuming they are made of Zytel, Glock 19 frames are in good company. Sprinter Michael Johnson wore track shoes made of Zytel to win gold medals in the 200m and 400m events at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. I was there, and that guy was really motoring. It must have been the shoes.
5. It’s made of very few parts
The current Glock 19 has exactly 34 parts. The original Glock was built to meet the demands of an Austrian military contract, which specified a design of no more than 58 component parts. Might this be the first time in recorded history that a project came in under budget?
6. Mick Jagger almost got satisfaction with a Glock 19 from the future
You might not remember the movie “Freejack,” but I do only because Mick Jagger was in it. In this futuristic flick, the Glock 19 made one of its first movie appearances when used by Emilio Estevez playing the part of Alex Furlong. Mick Jagger didn’t get to use that Glock 19, but he did fire an M1919 machine gun, which was probably more fun anyway.
The 19 has made plenty of appearances elsewhere. Angelina Jolie used a Glock 19 while playing the part of suburban bride and super-spy Jane in the 2005 film “Mr. and Mrs. Smith.” She used it in the KostMart scene and later blows the axle off a BMW with the compact 9mm.
In a more serious role, a British private military contractor carries a second generation Glock 19 in the Academy Award winning 2009 film, “The Hurt Locker.” On the small screen, David Duchovny (Agent Fox Mulder) from “The X-Files” switches to a Glock 19 partway through season one. I always loved that show. For unknown reasons, Agent Mulder switched to a Sig Sauer P226 in later seasons.
7. Gaston shot the Glock 19 lefty, because…
Have you ever watched historically accurate battle reenactments? If so, you might have noticed that the guys loading cannons always use one hand only to brush, swab, and reload. That’s because of the occasional unwanted boom from an unplanned shot. Hot embers in the barrel can set off a charge, which causes great consternation to the loaders. By using just one hand, cannoneers still had a spare arm with which to continue the battle, if still motivated.
It turns out that Gaston Glock, designer of the gun that carries his name and founder of the company, used to test-fire his prototype pistols with his left hand. He figured that if there was a catastrophic failure, and he lived through it, then he could continue his work with his dominant right hand. We’re not sure if his plan was to recruit a new test shooter in that scenario. Given that Glock had no prior experience making firearms, that seems as sensible a strategy as loading cannons with one hand only.
I suppose that’s a real-life example of common sense gun control measures. See what I did there?