The Glock 19X’s “coyote tan” coloring blends in nicely with the woodwork.

[Review] Hands on with the Glock 19X ‘Crossover’ Pistol

Glock 19X key takeaways

  • The Glock 19X blends the best of the Glock 17 and the Glock 19 into a single package that may well be the perfect duty sized pistol.
  • The Glock 19X benefits from many of Glock’s recent platform innovations, including the crisp Gen 5 trigger.
  • It is a solid performer that will deliver thousands of rounds with rock-solid reliability.
  • The shorter barrel than the Glock 17 enables the shooter to draw and present their firearm quicker.
  • The Glock 19X is familiar to those who use the Glock Platform. Also the Glock 19X is compatible with most Glock 17, 19 and 34 holsters and gear.

Glock 19X and the United States military

In 2011 the United States military opened the Modular Handgun System competition to select its next duty pistol. This would replace the venerable Beretta M9 (92), which had been in service since 1985. Like most mechanical things, guns had evolved a lot since the 1980’s. With many M9’s reaching the end of their functional lives, the military thought it best to invest in a newer and modern platform.

Beretta M9 Military Police qualification, image provided by the Fort Drum & 10th Mountain Division (LI)

Ultimately, the Sig Sauer P320 won the competition over the Glock 19X, but Glock decided that they still had a winning hand to play with their submission. Accordingly, the gun was commercially released as the Glock 19X. It was the company’s first “crossover” gun, and it has been one of its best sellers.

Illustration of the Glock 19X submitted to the Modular Handgun System competition.

Crossover? What is the Glock 19X all about?

‘Crossover’ in this context means that the gun’s design was adapted from two previous Glock models.  

To understand what this means, we need to dig a bit deeper into Glock’s history.

Firstly, the numbering system that Glock uses for its model numbers is largely arbitrary. In other words, it does not follow a clear logic or rationale. The company’s first gun was the Glock 17 and this number paid homage to the Austrian patent that Gaston Glock, the eponymous founder, obtained for his novel gun, which happened to be his seventeenth patent. 

Gaston Glock’s original Glock 17 patent granted in 1982 (image courtesy of Guns.com)

That the Glock 17 could store seventeen rounds in its magazine (with an eighteenth in the chamber) was a ‘coincidence’ according to Paul M. Barrett in his superb book Glock: The Rise of America’s Gun.

While Glock handgun model numbers run the gamut from 17 to 48 there is little rhyme or reason why particular numbers are assigned to particular guns.

Traditionally, Glock had three mainstream models: the “standard,” the “compact,” and the “subcompact.” The standard was considered to be the full-sized duty gun, while the compact had a slightly shorter barrel and grip. The subcompact was a much smaller gun that would be easier to conceal. 

Glock sizes illustrated, provided by GLOCK Inc.

In the 9mm line, the standard was the Glock 17 and the compact was the Glock 19.

On paper the differences between the Glock 17 and 19 aren’t that significant: the Glock 19 shaves off about a half an inch of length from the barrel and grip, and its standard flush mount magazine capacity drops from 17 to 15. At a glance it’s hard to distinguish the two guns, but in hand they’re different.

Glock 17 from our 9mm Glock Models [Ultimate Guide]

The half an inch of grip missing from the Glock 19 is just enough to remind your pinky finger that there’s no room for poor finger posture. But the 19 is also a bit easier to draw, since its shorter barrel and slide clear the holster a bit faster. Faster holster clearance means you can begin your draw rotation sooner, which means you can drive the pistol out into its final firing position faster. The upward drawing motion is not a natural one, so minimizing this portion of the draw benefits the operator.

The slightly shorter barrel and slide also represent a theoretical compromise in accuracy and sight radius, but that half inch of loss didn’t affect the Glock 19X’s ability to hit targets out to 50 meters.

Glock’s answer to the military’s MHS competition was to blend the best of the 17 and 19 into one handgun. This meant keeping the full-length grip of the Glock 17 (better control), but using the Glock 19’s slightly shorter barrel and slide (easier draw). 

The result of this curious blend is the Glock 19X, a crossover between the 17 and 19 models.

 Glock 17 Gen 5Glock 19XGlock 19 Gen 5
Overall Length7.95 inches7.44 inches7.28 inches
Slide Length7.32 inches6.85 inches6.85 inches
Barrel Length4.49 inches4.02 inches4.02 inches
Height Including Magazine5.47 inches5.47 inches5.04 inches
Sight radius (night sights)6.42 inches5.94 inches5.94 inches
Weight (with loaded magazine)33.33 ounces (17 rounds)31.39 ounces (17 rounds)30.16 inches (15 rounds)

The Glock 19X In Hand

The Glock 19X’s “coyote tan” coloring blends in nicely with the woodwork.

Like all Glocks, the 19X adheres to the “form follows function” aesthetic. The straight grip lacks finger grooves, which means that really small and really large hands won’t find themselves shoehorned into awkward spaces. The 19X’s texturing provides a textile surface that’s comfortable for wet, dry, and gloved hands alike.

I’ve owned a variety of Glock 17’s and 19’s over the years, and have rarely had a bad thing to say about them. But there’s something just right about the 19X: in my hands, it feels like a full-sized gun that isn’t quite full-sized.

The Glock 19X came from the factory with a 19 round magazine, which adds even more beef to the grip. I was surprised to find that loading the gun with 19 rounds (plus a 20th round in the chamber) didn’t upset its center of gravity, nor did it make it feel unwieldy.

The Glock factory night sights are made out of metal and feature tritium inserts for low-light visibility.

The factory night sights are also superb, and will appease those that don’t like the plastic factory sights. The sight picture isn’t changed at all, but the tritium inserts will help those that are doing shooting in low-light conditions.

There’s a few extra curiosities regarding the Glock 19X that are worth mentioning.

The frame and slide of the Glock 19X are made in the “coyote tan” color. Some love it, some hate it, and for many people it makes no big difference either way. I’ve grown fond of the Glock 19X’s unique color—especially as the exposed black parts get a bit of wear around the edges. It gives the gun a very different aesthetic than the usual “black ops” look of most Glocks.

The lanyard loop on the Glock 19X has drainage holes around it that allow water to drain out, should you find yourself swimming with your Glock.
Lanyard loop on the bottom of the grip.

The Glock 19X comes with a lanyard loop on the bottom of the grip—another nod to the 19X’s intended military purposes. There are relief holes around the lanyard loop that allow water to drain out of the trigger mechanism housing, should you find yourself swimming with your Glock 19X. The Glock 19X is also fitted with Glock’s “Maritime Spring Cups,” which prevent moisture from interfering with the movement of the firing pin. It’s very likely that most people shooting the Glock 19X won’t be taking their gun for a swim, but this adds to the “cool” factor.

One thing worth noting is that the front lip on the magwell of the Glock 19X is not compatible with the floor plates on Gen 5 magazines. It’s an odd bit of incompatibility between the Glock generations, but it’s also an easy one to mitigate. Gen 5 magazines will otherwise work fine in the 19X.

Shooting the Glock 19X

I’ve been shooting a Glock 34 for a long time, and I’ve come to believe that it is one of the ten best guns ever made. With almost an inch and a half more barrel than the 19X, I figured that the two wouldn’t even be in the same league.

Oh, how wrong I was.

It’s taken me a long time to appreciate that what a gun looks like on paper doesn’t always tell the story at the range. And the Glock 19X is a great example of that.

The longer grip of the Glock 19X gives larger hands plenty to hold onto. Even with my big mitts wrapped around the 19X’s grip, there is still some extra grip at the bottom to help keep things stable and secure.

Shooting is rarely static, and most competent shooters practice drawing and shooting in a variety of situations. This is where the Glock 19X really shines. Not only does the shorter barrel clear the holster faster, but the entire package feels more compact and manageable.

After a morning with the Glock 19X, my Glock 34 felt like drawing a baseball bat out of my belt.

The Glock 19X’s trigger won’t be a mystery to anyone that has shot a Glock. The Gen 5 triggers are a bit crisper than their Gen 4 brethren. The 19X also comes with the “marksman” barrel, which improves the accuracy of Glock’s conventional polygonal rifling. The combination should be sufficient for most sporting and duty carry needs.

To Glock’s credit, the 19X shot everything I stuffed down the pipe—from some 1980’s era Middle Eastern milsurp 124 grain ball ammo to a variety of modern defense rounds. Everything fed, shot and extracted without a single hiccup.

Maintenance and Parts

The differences between the Glock 19X and most other Glocks don’t affect the takedown and standard maintenance procedures in the least. Armorers that haven’t wrenched a Gen 5 Glock will note that the trigger spring configuration is a bit different than prior generations. The ambidextrous slide stop lever is also a bit different, but not enough to cause any confusion.

A field stripped Glock 19X showing its major subassemblies.

In fact, the shared lineage with the Glock 17 and Glock 19 mean that many of the parts in the Glock 19X are compatible. For armorers maintaining a duty arsenal, this means that the extra spare parts burden needed to maintain Glock 19X’s will be minimal.

A detail stripped Glock 19X. None of this should be unfamiliar to a Glock armorer; this is all standard Glock fare, and many of these parts are interchangeable with the Glock 17 and/or Glock 19.

Competition to the Glock 19X

The competitors for the Modular Handgun System program included the following weapons. Like the Glock 19X, some of the guns listed here are the commercial derivatives of the actual guns submitted.

  • Beretta APX
  • CZ P-07
  • CZ P-09
  • FN 509 Tactical
  • Glock 19X
  • Kriss Sphinx SDP
  • Sig Sauer P320
  • Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0
  • STI Detonics STX

Before we nit-pick: I will say that these are all excellent pistols, built on tried-and-proven platforms. At some point I’ve owned and shot most of them, and each of them would probably have made a good choice for our nation’s military.

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    Sig Sauer P320 versus Glock 19X

    It’s common knowledge that the Sig Sauer P320 won the competition, and that makes it the most likely gun to be compared to the Glock 19X. These guns take a philosophically different approach, and it’s easy for these comparisons to devolve into a Ford-vs-Chevrolet debate.

    Sig Sauer P320

    The biggest difference between these two guns is that the P320 modularized the “fire control unit” into a separate and distinct (and serialized) module from the grip. This means that a single FCU can be used with multiple different grips, slides and barrels. From the perspective of a duty arsenal, FCU’s can be repurposed for a wide variety of weapons—full sized, compact, and subcompact.

    The Glock also modularizes the trigger assembly, but it doesn’t compartmentalize it into a single module that can be removed from the frame. The Glock frame is the housing for the entire trigger assembly. Because of this, the Glock frame is serialized.

    Glock: modularity and simplicity wins

    I have no philosophical objection to Sig’s approach. I do, however, worry that the complexity of the Sig’s FCU and striker assembly will become a liability in harsh operating conditions. If the Glock does one thing well, it is to reduce the gun to utter simplicity—and as any competent mechanic knows, simpler tends to be more reliable. I learned this lesson some months back when I had my P320 at the range. I had to field strip the gun, and (solely through user error) the slide did a graceful arc off of the gun and into a muddy puddle.

    Human error is a real thing, and simplicity is one of the better ways to mitigate that.

    Of course, proponents of the P320 will say that the P320 has undergone some pretty rigorous testing, and they’d be right. I’m sure there are plenty of P320’s performing well under trying conditions.

    The Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0 is also an excellent gun, and one that I’ve spent a good bit of my shooting career pulling the trigger on. When I compare the M&P to the Glock 19X, I generally note that the grip and trigger just feel different, and that shooters will generally gravitate towards one or the other based on their body’s proportions. The M&P 2.0 did a fantastic job of cleaning up the trigger from the M&P 1.0, which was an otherwise superb gun with a truly awful trigger.

    M&P Shield M2.0
    Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0

    The other guns in this list are also worthy competitors, but don’t enjoy the ubiquity that the Sig Sauer and the S&W have in the United States. This is especially true for accessories like holsters, mag pouches, etc.

    The Verdict

    The Glock 19X has been one of Glock’s most successful handguns, and for good reason. It builds on Glock’s tried-and-proven architecture and offers the best of all worlds in a trim and eminently manageable package. Even if it’s not the best at any one thing, it may very well be the best combination of (almost) all things to all shooters. If you’re already kitted out for the Glock system, then there’s a good chance that your gear will work just fine with the 19X.

    The 19X wouldn’t work well for deep conceal carry given the proportions of its full duty-sized grip, but for virtually every other application it’s going to be difficult to fault it.

    With an MSRP of $749, the Glock 19X represents a superb value, and one that will provide many years of excellent service.

    For Mike Hardesty’s review of the Glock 19X click here.

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