There are several opinions in the firearms world that can be contentious. A classic example is the fight over .45 ACP vs 9mm ammo. I occasionally throw that out in a class just to watch the fight break out. Then the day came when Ballistic asked me to pen this piece on the “Best Glock Pistols of All-Time.”
The Best Glock Pistols
Right then I knew this could be a good topic for friends to argue over. With that being said, this is obviously an opinion piece. You certainly don’t have to agree and most of you probably won’t. If you have a better list, then let us know! So, without further ado, I present to you the top five greatest Glocks of all time.
5. Glock 43
In the No. 5 position, we have the Glock 43. This handy little blaster is what I consider to be the big brother to the Glock 42. Both of these guns are important because they spurred growth in the sub-compact gun market. However, it is more than that with the Glock 43. This gun brings a 9mm round into the fight with a trigger that most sub-compacts would envy.
In a world where Glock pistols are carried more than any other by law enforcement, the Glock 43 works just like any other Glock from the operator’s perspective. Even .45 ACP fans will usually (if grudgingly) admit that, with the best ammunition, the 9mm is certainly adequate in power. Reliability is the hallmark that made Glock pistols so popular in the police service in the first place. The folks at Glock assure us that extensive testing indicates the Glock 43 will live up to the brand’s long-established standard.
Size & Weight
With all of those criteria checked off, the only elements remaining to discuss are size and weight. The Glock 43 weighs just over a pound unloaded, only an ounce or two more than the Airweight revolvers that have proven so popular in this role for generations. The G43 is also only 1.02 inches wide, meaning it will lie flat and close to the body, with minimum bulge and discomfort. The baseline criteria are now pretty much met, with little more to discuss than cartridge capacity.
The single most common criticism I’ve heard of the Glock 43 is, “It only holds seven rounds.” There are other brands of slim, lightweight 9mms on the market that hold a round or two more. The short grip frame of the Glock 43 was given priority by Glock engineers so it would hide more efficiently in a pocket and also be less likely to hang up when drawn from that location.
The Little Things Make a Big Impact
With the Glock 43, we saw a trigger that was almost identical to our full-size Glocks and free from the 12 inches of travel it seemed every other sub-compact had. Easy to conceal and complete with the standard Glock reliability, the Glock 43 continues to be a major hit in the market. With more than one million Glock 43s sold thus far, it is definitely worthy of our list.
4. Glock 26
Released in 1995, shooters quickly dubbed the Glock 26 the “baby Glock.” This is a compact 9mm; one of the first guns like it to be designed specifically for concealed carry. It features a smaller frame compared to the Glock 19. The Glock 26 also features a grip that supports only two fingers, a shorter barrel and slide, and a double-stack magazine with a standard capacity of 10 rounds. Since Glock first introduced the Glock 26 it has become a favorite for civilians and law enforcement officers alike. The reason is that the little pistol has a lot to offer—it is only slightly larger than some traditional .380 Autos and is compact enough to be concealed in an ankle rig and even the cargo pocket of your favorite tactical pants.
Today, the gun is still a favorite and has legions of fans around the world. It is little wonder that the Glock 26 has become the choice of professionals worldwide. It has been rumored that the Israeli Mossad even finds the little pistol useful. So, for its contribution to pushing the concealed carry gun design, I bequeath the No. 4 slot to the Glock 26.
3. Glock 18
The Glock 18 is a full-auto 9mm machine pistol. A full-auto Glock — in all honesty, what else needs to be said? I was shocked to find a friend that was not familiar with the Glock 18. I attribute it to the fact that they aren’t exactly readily available.
The Glock 18 was originally developed for Austria’s EKO Cobra (Einsatzkommando Cobra) counterterrorist unit, primarily for use during assaults on hijacked aircraft. Tactically, this makes a lot of sense as it gave the Cobra operators a weapon that could be quickly deployed in confined spaces yet would allow multiple disabling shots on a terrorist quickly.
Originally made in 1986, it has a fire selector on the back of the slide. It looks very odd in comparison to the Glocks we carry every day, but it worked well. Glock doesn’t exactly talk much about the Glock 18 and you will not find it on the Glock website (you can, however, find it on the European version of the Glock site). They are a rare bird in the public arena, as they are obviously an NFA weapon. If you do get the opportunity to run one, however, do it! This angry little Austrian fires at 1,200 rounds per minute, guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
2. Glock 17
In the No. 2 slot, we have the gun that started it all. The Glock 17 was the original design put forth by Gaston Glock for the Austrian military contract. As they say, the rest is history. The Glock 17 established its own set of standards the day it was introduced. Though coincidental to the model name, the G17 carried had an unprecedented 17 rounds in its magazine, making it the highest-capacity 9mm on the market. The advantages of the Glock’s polymer frame were also unequaled at the time and included significantly reduced susceptibility to corrosion, water damage, the effects of severe temperatures, and damage from impact — not to mention a lighter carry weight and lower manufacturing costs than guns with all-steel construction. Also revolutionary was the pistol’s intuitively simple Safe Action trigger system that simplified transition training from revolvers for law enforcement.
In all honesty, the Glock 17 is my personal favorite simply because of how it fits me. It is one of the most widely recognized guns on earth. You could be at a spice market in sub-Saharan Africa and people would recognize the pistol. Like many of its siblings, the Glock 17 has been through a number of generational modifications. Today it sits in the Gen5 spot and is a fantastic full-size handgun. Reliable, accurate, easy to maintain, and simple to run, the Glock 17 has it all.
1. Glock 19
And the best Glock of all time is … the Glock 19. The Glock 19 has unofficially become the Volks Pistole (“Peoples Pistol”). Easier to conceal without sacrificing much is the calling card for this great handgun. It has been the favorite of serious and recreational shooters since it hit the shelves way back in 1988.
The Glock 19 was unofficially carried by members of the First Special Forces Detachment – Delta (Delta Force). It continues to be found in gear kits of warriors doing the heavy lifting against terrorists. Meanwhile, civilians embraced the Glock 19 as a compact gun that has many of the same features as a true full-size gun. With a 15-round magazine, it is a much-appreciated fighter that people can carry easily. The Glock 19 is also highly customizable thanks to the countless aftermarket parts and accessories available. The Glock 19 — especially in the Gen5 configuration — gives us the best of what Glock has to offer.
Final Thoughts on the Best Glock Pistols
So, let the screaming begin and write down your own list of best Glock pistols. In the end, many people will argue over minutia. The last hard numbers we got from Glock regarding production were in 2007. At that time, Glock announced a total of five million guns sold. Since then we know for a fact that they have sold at least one million Glock 43s, so the overall number must be astronomical. Regardless of how you list them, Glocks are one of the most popular handguns in the world.