Some people wonder if they should get a GLOCK 19 vs 26. Or vice versa. The former because it’s kind of the compact/carry gun by which all others are judged and the latter because it offers a blend of concealment with decent capacity all featuring GLOCK Perfection.
After all, the beauty of the GLOCK 26 is that it’s smaller than a whole lot of other pistols and carries double twice the number of rounds as a J-frame.
Granted, the real answer is that you should get a 1911 anyway, but we already knew that. Just kidding, all you overly-excitable tactical persons! Leave me a nasty note in the comments if you want; I promise that I read them and that my feelings were hurt by your witty excoriations.
Both of these guns are wildly popular for concealed carry. Some, however, believe the G19 to be a bit much for EDC, which is partially why the G26 – aka the Baby GLOCK – was conceived and released back in the 1990s.
The then (and still) burgeoning civilian concealed carry market (the 1990s saw a lot of shall-issue concealed carry legislation, for those of you who missed it) led to increased demand for more compact, concealable pistols. The GLOCK 26 was perfect either for those with smaller hands or those who wanted a smaller daily carry gun. Or both.
Alternately, law enforcement personnel cottoned to it as a backup gun with decent capacity which also chambered the same ammunition as their GLOCK 17, GLOCK 19 or other 9mm duty pistol.
I also work for Alien Gear Holsters and while the GLOCK 19 is pretty much our top seller, we also ship a whole lot of GLOCK 26 holsters, as do many other holster companies. Not to belabor the point, but you pretty much can’t go wrong with either one.
The key to deciding between these two very popular 9mm handguns is largely in considering what you want it for. The GLOCK 26, with its shorter barrel and sight radius (3.43 inches and around 5.35 inches, respectively, depending on which sights you get) is most certainly a concealed carry gun. While some shooters have no problem in competition with one, the average Joe or Jane is more likely going to find it’s a bit better suited to work that’s up close and personal.
The GLOCK 19, on the other hand, is about as close as one gets to a do-it-all gun absent being able to hunt with it. It makes a great home defense gun. You can shoot in plenty of pistol competitions with one and plenty of people do so. The longer barrel makes it a tad more accurate for most shooters, and recoil a little lighter.
The GLOCK 19 also makes a very good carry gun, as it is arguably the most popular concealed carry pistol on the market to date, rivaled only in the long run by the J-frame in terms of overall use in a concealed carry capacity.
While some might grouse, the reality is that the G19 is ¾ the size of a Beretta 92 or a Commander frame 1911 pistol in 9mm. Barrel length is 4 inches and overall dimensions are 7.3 inches long by 5 inches in height by 1.26 inches wide, and weighing less than 22 oz unloaded. It does this despite holding nearly the same amount of ammunition as the former and 5 to 6 rounds more than the latter, as the G19 packs 15+1 of 9mm.
The GLOCK 26 isn’t really too much smaller than the G19, however. The GLOCK 26 Gen 4 stands 6.42 inches long, 4.17 inches tall and 1.26 inches wide. It weighs 19.4 oz unloaded, and carries 10+1 of 9mm, though a wildly popular aftermarket accessory is extended magazines that bring capacity up to 12+1 and increases height by less than a quarter-inch. It also accepts G19 and G17 magazines with grip sleeves, should you want to carry them as a backup or use them at the range.
Prices for base models are near-as-makes-no-difference-the-same. Your mileage will vary but you should expect to part with a little under $600 for either of them for a Gen5.
What’s the difference between the GLOCK 19 vs 26 in most instances? The latter is a little smaller, a little lighter. The former will be a little easier to shoot and slightly more accurate due to the longer barrel and sight radius, though the 26 is capable of far greater accuracy than many people who own it are.
Some people might find the GLOCK 26 easier to conceal, but chances are you might be doing something wrong if you can’t effectively conceal a GLOCK 19. Then again, the 26 will be easier to cover and offers a good balance between firepower and compactness.
Best advice: get out there and try both. You can rent them almost everywhere. The one you prefer and shoot better is the one you should buy.