There’s something to be said about shooting a fire-spewing handgun. Specifically, most people don’t want one. Should they?

This is not the first compensated/ported GLOCK. Back in the day, Gaston’s gang sold a compensated Gen3 GLOCK 19. It was not a hit. In fact, I only saw it once in the hands of a southern gentleman whose neck may have been a certain shade of crimson.

GLOCK ships the 19C Gen4 in the standard plastic lunchbox with three magazines, a loader, cleaning tools, lock, back straps and the standard manual (that I read from cover to cover).

As you’d expect, the 19C is about as visually distinct from the standard 19 as one Olsen twin is from the other. Aside from the “made in the USA” roll stamp, the slide and barrel are what set the gun apart from the standard model.

GLOCK’s machined a small angled slit into to the top of the chamber, right where the slide and the chamber meet. I’m guessing that it reduces friction on the compensated model. (It sure isn’t a style thing.)

There are two slits about a quarter inch apart at about the midway point between the GLOCK 19C’s chamber and the muzzle. As you know, these allow the gasses to escape out the top of the slide when the gun’s fired. The basic idea; those escaping gasses reduce muzzle rise and recoil.

Given that we’re talking about a 9mm handgun, is this an answer to a question nobody asked? OK, not nobody. Somebody who couldn’t manage the 19’s “heavy” recoil. I’ve never had a problem with it. I’ve trained hundreds of shooters with 19’s and never once thought to myself, you know what this gun needs? Less recoil!

That said, it’s always nicer to have less recoil. It should make it easier to maintain a sight picture between shots, enabling faster shooting with the same degree of accuracy, if not more.

Shooting the GLOCK 19C, I felt a slight but noticeable difference in muzzle rise. Still, after 800 rounds, I discovered that I wasn’t shooting the 19C any faster or more accurately than a standard 19. YMMV but I doubt it. 

This lack of advantage comes with a drawback. Shooting subsonic Cap Arms 9mm 115gr FMJ, I experienced a double feed malfunction every few rounds. This didn’t occur shooting the same ammo through my standard Gen4 19, or when I fed the 19C some Sellier & Bellot 115 gr FMJ or Remington 115 gr JHP.

As you might expect, shooting the 19C from the retention position (close to the hip) has it challenges. The hot gasses expelled against my body were noticeably uncomfortable. After a few hundred rounds, the gasses dirtied the front sight to the point where it was obscuring the forward white dot.

The 19C’s accuracy was average for the pistol, comparable to the standard GLOCK 19. Shooting from a supported benched position at 25 yards, the average group size was roughly four inches, regardless of the ammo fired. At extended distances of 50 yards, accuracy was also consistent on C- zone steel.

A lot of people shun compensated pistols; they fear shooting one at night will blind them. And they’re absolutely right. Shooting the 19C in the dark I was surprised by just how much I was blinded by the flash. Every round fired created two giant fireballs that eliminated my night vision for at least five seconds.

For me, that makes the GLOCK 19C a non-starter. If you don’t use your GLOCK at night and feel that the standard gun’s recoil is too much, then the 19C is for you. But I’m thinking it isn’t.


Caliber: 9mm
Length: 7.28 inches
Barrel Length: 4.01 inches
Width: 1.18 inches
Height: 4.99 inches
Weight: (loaded): 30.18 inches
Price: ~$580

RATINGS (out of five stars):

Reliability * * * *
Lightly loaded ammunition doesn’t cycle consistently. Everything else goes bang every time.

Accuracy * * * *
Standard for a stock GLOCK

Aesthetics * * *
It’s a GLOCK…what else is there to say?

Ergonomics * * * * 
Very similar to the G19 – larger magazine release, back-straps options for the grip, finger grooves

Overall * * * 1/2
Overall it’s a decent pistol. For me it missed the mark in its intended use – a compact defensive gun. The flash issue at night along with the discomfort of retention shooting was an issue.

33 Responses to Gun Review: GLOCK 19C Gen 4 9mm Pistol

  1. Glad this was finally brought to market.

    Everyone has been complaining about the mighty recoil of the stout 115gr 9mm.

  2. Compensated pistols are range toys. Problem is, Glock 19s are not inherently fun range toys, so no point.

    Subsonic 115 grain is an inherently weak round. I don’t blame the gun for choking.

    • It’s light-loaded 115 grain 9mm — it’s range ammo — but it’s still supersonic. I need to chronograph the stuff, as I have a ton of it here. While it says on the box something like “985 FPS” it definitely isn’t. When I shoot it suppressed, it’s obviously supersonic. At any rate, it’s still light enough that the compensated G19 didn’t like it. The porting definitely reduces the rearwards impulse on the slide.

  3. Did you compare compensated vs. uncompensated muzzle flash when using a cartridge marketed for less flash in short barrels, like the Federal Premium P9HST5S (Micro HST) or Buffalo Bore’s 9mm +P+ line?

  4. Finally! Something to help with the tremendous recoil of that 9mm!!! Now I can finally sell my .9mm and 44 mag to get a big boy 9mm!

  5. I have a friend with RA who can’t shoot a 9mm for any length of time because it hurts her wrists. This might be good for her.

  6. “GLOCK ships the 19C Gen4 in the standard plastic lunchbox”
    And now I’m pondering the wisdom of taking all the doodads and foam out, loading it up with a PB&J and a baggie of Cheetos for the kid to take to school.

  7. I have a gen 3 glock 20C. With full power loads I can’t tell a difference with the ported and normal barrel. Just more noise and blast. Front sight is completely sooted over after around 150 rounds. Got it for a good price used otherwise I’d have went with the normal model.

  8. Aww, come on …

    Opinion: A compensated gun has an expansion chamber, which forces the expanded gasses through the porting, to push the muzzle in the desired direction.

    Gaston Glock simply pirated the name, “Compensated”. The 19C is NOT a compensated gun. There is no expansion chamber. The 19C is a “Ported” gun. All the ported gun does is bleed off some of the pressure. Practically the same results may be achieved by burning less powder.

    Gaston Glock went to the PT Barnum school for fooling the public. He learned well. But then, we are easily fooled.

  9. Have a Gen 3 22C I bought several years ago. Very accurate. Have shot it at night several times. Have never noticed any “fireballs”, “blindness”, etc. The one thing I DO notice is that it has a lot less muzzle flip than the standard 22, or my G23 Gen4. My .357 revolver puts out a hell of a lot more flash than the 22C, and I never really notice that, either.

  10. Ports are cool. I carry a ported M&P Shield in 9mm and own the standard non-ported version. The ports do make a small but noticeable difference. I’ve shot the ported gun in competition and every little bit helps. The fire out the ports looks awesome on video but has been a non issue when doing flashlight stages. Am I worried about holding the gun close? No. In a defensive situation it is a non issue. During practice where I shoot a lot I just deal with it. Is there a downside to ports? The gun is noticeably louder. I’ve shot the ported Glocks and liked them. I don’t think I’d pay more just for the ports but I think there is a small benefit and sometimes something small makes all the difference.

  11. Ain’t about recoil. It’s about sight lift. It is intended to increase one’s ability to track the front sight through recoil, not “taming the mighty 9mm”, funny guys.

  12. it’s fun to lean a pair of nickels in the slide slots and try to hit them in the air after they launch from the first shot.

    i have a ported .44mag revolver. i don’t really notice the “v” flame unless someone else is firing it. very pleasant after dusk. not sure about recoil, but porting tames the jump some.

  13. Thats funny. I’ve carried a 19C both a 3rd and 4th generation for about 8-9 years now as a duty gun. I’ve fired quals in the day and night. In a self defense shooting you will not notice the flash. At all. This is not only true with compensated handguns, but even with short barrels rifles at night. Most won’t even recall seeing their front sight. With 147 grain American Eagle training ammunition it is negligible. With 147 grain Federal HST duty ammunition it is very low with no meaningful FPS loss that would matter. As far as blast when shot in a protected position, such as a speed rock, you will not notice it in a defensive use of the weapon. In a range situation you just tilt the weapon further over and carry on. This a a training issue and one easily worked thru by a competent shooter. The compensated version of these guns are winners. Those sensitive to recoil, particularly with the torque of the 40 in a 23 platform, and making the gun track flatter and quicker on target is measurable and a real thing. Real life is slow to catch up with the competitive world and is about 10-15 years behind the curve. Compensation and red dot sights took over IPSC and USPSA for a reason. Split times, shot recovery and tracking are the reason. Things that are also important when you are trying to reverse which way most of the rounds are going in a gunfight.

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