Glock 26 vs 19 Comparison – What you have to know

Glock 26 vs 19
Photo by Mitchell Askelson

For those of us with a conceal-and-carry permit, we can agree that Glocks are an excellent option. However, once you delve into the specific models it can be hard to decide which model is the best fit for your needs. They are all quality products, but the differences are subtle. In this article we are going to cover the argument of the Glock 26 vs 19 and help you decide which option would work best for you.
When Glock first came out with its unique design, many people laughed at the idea of a ‘plastic gun’. However, the advanced polymer-2 materials used in the Glock were quickly viewed as a superior design versus more conventional models. The Glock 17 was the first model released with these unique advantages, and consumers loved it. However, many people wanted a smaller version that would be better for conceal and carry. This prompted the design of the Glock 19 and Glock 26. It also started the debate between purchasing the Glock 19 vs Glock 26.

Glock 19

The Glock 19 is literally just a shorter version of the Glock 17. It was released in 1988 and has since been one of the most popular handguns ever sold. This compact weapon is used by military, police, and civilians on a daily basis around the world. In some countries it is issued to special-forces units as their backup weapon. Clearly you can make a strong argument for owning the Glock 19 vs Glock 26.
It should be noted that the differences between the Glock 19 and Glock 26 are not nearly as noticeable in the Gen 4 models. Unlike the original versions, the Gen4 models each have replaceable back panels, a textured grip, and a larger, reversible magazine release button. This makes the differences between the two models less evident than the standard models.

The 19 is a truly do-everything pistol. It is large enough that it can be used as a full sized service pistol, but small enough that it can be comfortably worn in a conceal-and-carry holster inside your waistband. Most people prefer to carry as large a gun as they can without making themselves uncomfortable. For that, the Glock 19 fits the bill.

Glock 26

In the argument of the Glock 19 vs Glock 26, the 26 shows some major differences. While the 19 is just a shorter version of the 17, the 26 is a completely different gun. It is considered a subcompact pistol, and many people refer to it as the ‘baby Glock’. This model came out in 1995 with a different frame, a different spring, a different locking mechanism, a shorter barrel, a shorter slide and a smaller grip. You can really only fit two fingers on the grip below the trigger guard. Because of this, there are aftermarket options to help you hold the gun such as grips, magazine extensions, and magazine well inserts.
The main advantage of this subcompact pistol is its size. It is small enough that it can be worn in a pocket holster or an ankle holster. It can be used with larger magazines from any of the Glock models. The Glock 26 was also the first model released with dual springs. Later, Glock went back and rereleased several models as Gen 4 with dual springs to give this advantage to their whole line.

When comparing the Glock 19 vs Glock 26, one of the biggest considerations is grip and recoil. The Glock 26 only has a two finger grip, so the recoil is much more noticeable after each shot. It is absolutely imperative that you spend time practicing at the range with this firearm if you choose to purchase one. There will be a learning curve as you become more comfortable adjusting for the recoil.

Another factor when considering the Glock 19 versus the Glock 26 is hand fatigue. The smaller grip on the 26 will definitely wear out your hand faster than the 19. This is true of any subcompact pistol, not just the Glock. It is more of a shooting range issue than a real life issue, but it is still one to be considered. Some of the aftermarket options I mentioned above can help with hand fatigue and should be considered.

It all comes back to comfort and concealability for the Glock 26. Most people use it as a backup pistol. Whether you wear it under a tucked shirt, in your pocket, or on your ankle, it is almost impossible to notice while wearing. For those that wear their gun all day every day, this can be a huge advantage.

Comparison – Glock 26 vs 19

As with any firearm choice, your selection between the Glock 26 versus the Glock 19 is a very personal choice. Gun selection is all about the feel of the weight in your hand, the comfort of the grip, the ease of use at the range, and the ability to wear your firearm comfortably. Despite the differences in specifications we can discuss, your best bet is always to hit the range and try each out before you make a purchase.

One point to consider is the accuracy. Technically the Glock 19 has a larger sight radius which equates to more accuracy. However, both guns are considered highly accurate. If they were not accurate, they would not receive the overwhelming praise that they do. If the two models were put head to head in a factory or weapons laboratory test, the difference in accuracy would likely be negligible.

Comfort and concealability are the big arguments for the Glock 26. While the Glock 19 is comfortable for some users to wear in their waistbands with an untucked shirt, the Glock 26 is comfortable for practically everybody. The Glock 19 really can only be worn in one position, while the Glock 26 can be worn in three positions. Some people even carry a Glock 19 during the winter under baggy clothing and a Glock 26 during the summer when they wear tighter clothing.

Another advantage of the Glock 26 is that it can virtually be modified into a Glock 19 with aftermarket products. However, the Glock 19 can never be made into a Glock 26. With extensions and a 15 round magazine, the two firearms become practically the same. This gives the Glock 26 a flexibility that the 19 does not have.

One point that should be made is that the argument between the Glock 19 vs the Glock 26 is all about conceal and carry. If you are looking for the ideal handgun for your home, a Glock 17 is likely a better choice. It is large enough that it does not work well for carrying everyday. However, the longer barrel, larger grip, and larger standard magazine make it ideal for home defense.

Getting back to the Glock 19 vs the Glock 26, your decision needs to be made at the range. For the average person, there will be some performance deficits with the 26. Having a two fingered grip and a shorter barrel means compromised performance unless you practice enough to compensate for these differences. Get to the range and compare split times from 3, 5, 7 and 10 yards. Also compare target to target transition times, and shoot some groups at 25 yards under reasonable time pressure. Try wearing each gun in a conceal holster. Between the performance and comfort, one trip to the range should be able to make your decision.

In Conclusion

The fact of the matter is that most conceal-and-carry owners choose their weapon based on comfort. They assume that the odds of having to draw their weapon are small, and that the performance differences will be barely noticeable. However, when choosing between the Glock 26 vs Glock 19 you should really understand what you sacrifice for that comfort.

If you really take the time to test out both weapons at the range, you will have a clear understanding of the benefits of each. It will be a different experience for every user. Some people will see wild differences in performance between the two firearms because their hands cannot get comfortable with the smaller grip on the 26. Other people will see virtually no difference, typically people with smaller hands. Just remember that this weapon is going to be worn daily to protect yourself and your loved ones. While comfort is important, do not sacrifice too much for that comfort.

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