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Another GLOCK 19. Yeah I know, neither the most interesting, nor the most original firearm to carry, but then interesting and original are not luxuries that I can afford. You see, I live in South Africa, where our government doesn’t acknowledge our right to keep and bear arms. We can still, however, own certain firearms, provided we have the correct paperwork and permissions . . .

That’s where things get tricky. It’s not impossible to own more than a few guns, but generally a person can only own one gun for self-defense. Any more guns need to be registered as either hunting or recreational firearms, and then only four guns can be owned in total. Under certain conditions more than four guns can be owned, but for most people a single weapon for self-defense is the realistic maximum. These factors coupled with the budget of a college student make a G19 the perfect gun.

I need a gun that I can carry concealed, take to the range as a plinker, and then use as a home defense weapon. Ammo, parts and accessories need to be available and relatively affordable. This last criterion is especially important. Where I live, gun shops are few and far between and often have a very limited inventory. Exotic ammo (anything other than 9mm, basically) is often hard to find and always very expensive. And accessories such as holsters, etc., would be impossible to find for any except a dozen or so different handguns.

I also don’t have the luxury of being able to get someone to tweak my gun to make it more reliable or accurate. I can’t change the grips or the recoil springs for anything aftermarket, as nothing is available here. I need a gun that I can take out the box and use for any and all of my possible needs. Buying the gun and then deciding I don’t like the feel of it isn’t an option.

So after some research, I decided on the GLOCK 19. Concealable, reliable and, importantly, versatile, it ticks all of the boxes. It seems even most people who don’t like GLOCKs would begrudgingly acknowledge that the G19 fits the above description. So until it’s possible to own a different gun for every application, the GLOCK 19 remains my go-to-gun for just about everything.

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    • Sounds like a good Question of the Day, actually. If you could only own 4 guns what would they be? I’ll have to give that some thought….

        • I’m close to that. I’ve got a Rem 870 instead of Mossy.

          Question about the AK, though. I’m hoping to build one early next year and would prefer something on the 74 platform – ideally a 101 in 5.56. Why do you suggest a 7.62 instead? I’ve got some time still and am pretty easily swayed on this point.

        • You chose the archetypes of each.

          Except I’d check of the shotgun bix with a Remington 870. Just sayin

        • Katy: Before the 7N6 ban, I’d say both, 5.45 or 7.62, would be an equally reasonable choice. But now, 7.62 seems much easier to come by, so I give my preference to 7.62.

          I’m not a fan of 5.56 AKs, parts and mags are not as readily available.

          Just my two cents.

        • Glock 19
          Rem 870
          AR-15 (5.56 / 6.8 / .300 BLK / .50 Beowulf uppers! Is that cheating?)
          Sako 85 Safari in .375 H&H

        • Hit the nail on the head. Assuming a reasonable quality AK and that they are all in good condition you really can’t beat that group.

        • Those are fair points. You’ve swayed me to the 7.62.

          See what I mean? Swayed by every claimed prophet I am. I really do need to sit down and think through my next rifle.

      • To add insult to injury, in south Africa, we can’t have semi – auto long guns (rifle or shotgun) without an almost impossible licence application. This is regardless of calibre, so no 10/22, definately no AK or AR, pump action shotguns are also a pain unless you are a pig hunter. So, basically, one is limited to a self defence handgun (only one), maybe 2 bolt action rifles, and a double barrel shotgun.
        Hooray for a safe country.

  1. I don’t like the way a Glock feels in my hands but if I was limited and had to make a choice like yours I would probably make the same conclusion. Are you “allowed” to conceal your defense pistol, is there restrictions at your school?

    • The only good thing about our laws are that you ndontseperateccwlisence lisence. In fact, open carry is illegal so concealed carry is the only option. As for the schools gun policy, im not sure, as long as they dont know im carrying, I dont need to know how they feel about it

    • I really didn’t like how the G19 fit my hand either, until i put a hogue handall on it. It seem silly, but the bumps and swells in the right places make a world of difference for me, who has small hands.

  2. “Another GLOCK 19. Yeah I know, neither the most interesting, nor the most original firearm to carry, but then interesting and original are not luxuries that I can afford.”

    Hey, my friend, sometimes all you need is all you need…

    • Over here any part such as a barrel or so needs to be registered as if it were a different gun. I also cannot buy ammo for any other caliber than the ons the gun is lisenced for

      • That stinks, so no AR with uppers chambered in 22lr, 5.56, 300 black and 450 bushmaster. That would have been a great work around but your laws kinda stink.

      • As a fellow South African, I can’t agree with the “basically impossible” to the license an AR. I own one myself as a well as a semi-auto shotgun which is the same trouble to license. A DDM4 V7LW and Fabarm SAT8 to be precise. I have them licensed as a Dedicated Sport Shooter, a status one can attain in terms of our Firearms Control Act then apply for a license which is valid for 10 years after which you have to renew. License takes only 6 MONTHS from application if you are lucky. Can also license these as a Restricted Firearm for Self Defence (license valid for only 2 years!) or for Business Purposes (armed response, cash in transit, anti poaching etc). Not sure how long those licenses are worth it.

        So it is possible. At the moment. Our Police Minister announced during the week that new firearms regulations will be published for approval early next year. With the ruling party holding a 60% majority in parliament, it is almost certain the regulations will be enacted and things will become even more difficult. Spare a thought for our representatives fighting the cause, we don’t have a constitutional provision for firearms and a government full of people that had their “education” in either the Soviet Union or China. Go figure.

  3. I have many handguns, but ultimately if I had just my Glock 19 & a .22LR (like my Buckmark, Ruger 22/45, Walther P22, etc.) I’d be 95% as happy as I am now.

  4. Not only is it a great choice for your situation but if you are proficient with it then it is a great choice period. While I don’t have to settle on just the G19 I would be very confident using it as my one pistol.

    When it comes to carry I could choose one of my much more expensive options but their extra cost does not equate to extra performance, at least not for me. In fact it in my case it often equates to less performance. Cost has never been an issue in what I choose to carry or use for home defense (Range toys are another story but even then…).

    I use what works best for me and there isn’t anything I can do about a G19 being less expensive than other pistols in the same category that don’t work as well for me. This coming from someone that almost exclusively used 1911s for over a decade before switching.

  5. I have relatives who live in South Africa, many cousins who were born there. I know they always carried at home, on the farm and the like. I didn’t realize it was as controlled as it is. Since they’ve given up the farm life I’ll have to see if their firearms use/ownership has changed..

    Thanks for the article.

  6. Hmmm 4 guns you say?

    Browning Buckmark
    Glock 19 (with MechTech Carbine adaptor)
    Mossberg 500 Flex
    AR-15 in .223/5.56 (with .22 conversion kit)

    That is if all my goodies are permitted as well

  7. I feel for you. I live in Chile, and our laws are similar to yours, with a couple of add-ons. Firstly a background check, then a psychiatric exam to certify you’re not a criminal or a whack job. Then, enrol for an written exam on weapons handling and upkeep (and don’t hold your breath, two exams are held every tuesday and thursday, except for public holidays, so you may have to wait 8 weeks to sit your exam, like me). Having passed the exam, you can now go to a gunshop and put down some cash for a revolver (mostly Taurus) or a few semi autos (you can find, Sig (2 or 3 models) Beretta (92 and Px4), S&W (revolvers and M&Ps), and of course, Glock). Not a great selection. Despite that there are pistols available, the only holsters and aftermarket parts you’re going to be able to get are Glock. So, everyone except IPSC people get Glocks. On to carry: You can’t. On to plinking: I am a regsitered sports shooter (IPSC) which means I have a permit to TRANSPORT an unloaded weapon, from the gun’s registered domicile (my house) to “a sporting venue”. To be such a registered sportsman, you have to be a member of a shooting club. This means paying fees. Mine are ~USD500 per year. The club issues a letter to the cops certifying your membership. Your sporting license sets you back about USD100 and lasts 2 years. As a registered sports shooter, I can purchase 2000 rounds of the ammunition my pistol is chambered in, per year. Without this, you can buy 100 rounds per year. If you are not a registered sports shooter, to go to the range you must first obtain a Safe Conduct from the police, which is valid only for the date it is issued. I could go on and on, but I’ll spare you.

    Take great care of your 2A rights, or you may end up like us in Chile and South Africa. Disarmed except for within the confines of your house.

  8. I forgot to ask: are firearms expensive in South Africa? In Chile a new, GEN 3 Glock 17 will set you back USD1000. Basically all models are twice the price of US prices and above. So an expensive SIG or HK: x2 and upwards. This is another reason why Glocks are so popular, they are relatively cheaper than others of like reliabity (I won’t say quality so as not to provoke strokes in hundreds of TTAG readers).

  9. Great choice. Those paying attention knew a bit about S.Africa after the blade runner debacle. Obviously money and fame talks. Didn’t the legless murderer use a GLOCK brand GLOCK? FWIW you are welcome in the USA-I don’t recommend Illinois where I live…

    • Yes and no. In the events surrounding the murder charge, he used a Taurus, can’t remember the exact model. The ND he had in a restaurant was with a Glock though. A 21 if I’m not mistaken.

      • Good to know. I knew I heard GLOCK somewhere. I’ve had 4 Taurus’ that worked great(but I don’t plan on shooting my girlfriend in a rage either)…

  10. At least you can carry in S.A.

    In Canada armed self-defense against humans is pretty much illegal. Only on-duty cops and certain specially licensed security guards (the ones who move large amounts of money) can carry. Even in the home it’s essentially impossible to comply with the “safe storage” laws for restricted weapons (pistols and ARs, etc.) and have a weapon useful for defense. Unrestricted weapons (including some pretty short shotguns) are less tightly regulated, and they can be used for hunting and defense against non-human predators.

    This is pretty popular, as it’s unrestricted, meaning subject to less onerous storage laws, doesn’t require a specific Authorization to Transport, and you can take it into the woods. Short shotties are OK in Canada as long as they came that way from the factory – hacksaw jobs can still land you in the clink.

  11. On a mostly unrelated note – but I know that there are many people here who were hunting this elusive round – there’s HST 147gr +P on sale here:

    Still rather pricy at 50c/round, but this is some of the hardest hitting and best expanding 9mm ammo that you can get, and 147gr variety (which does have a little bit more expansion) is very hard to get, and +P is even more so (it’s marketed as “LE ammo”).

      • Also note that you can buy a case of 1000 for $500, and get free shipping. This is probably the best deal for this ammo that I’ve seen to date (and I have bought it in such quantities before).

  12. Interesting to see a submission by a fellow countryman. Maybe I’ll submit an article one day about why I carry a Glock 34 at the moment, flirting with dubious legal position as it is licensed for sport shooting, while the police are taking in excess of 4 months to consider my license application for a Glock 19 as replacement for my sold H&K P30 in Self Defence license slot…

  13. Out of curiosity, how prevalent is CZ in SAfrica? You’ve made a good choice, just curious how the other big LEO brand fares internationally.

    • CZ probably the second most popular pistol after Glock. Lots of guys buying the P07 for self defence and the Shadow is probably the most prevalent “gamer gun” at local IDPA matches and probably IPSC Production too (don’t know, don’t shoot IPSC myself but I hear the chatter).

      Talking about LEOs, our local national police service uses Beretta. They’re slowly converting to the PX4 from the 92 and locally manufacturered clones (Vektor Z88). Despite that, Berettas don’t feature that highly among civilian shooters. Poor support and availability at gun shops probably contribute a great deal to that. The Glocks and CZs are popular partly because they’re the best supported brands locally with SIG also picking up recently. You don’t want your (only) self defence firearm breaking down and struggle for months to locate spares!

  14. As a fellow victim of our wannabe Soviet country I know your pain. Apart from only being able to own ammo for the caliber gun you own, you’re only allowed to have 150 rounds on hand which must be stored in your safe. Only loophole, kinda, is to handload your own.

    You also cannot share your handloads without a license, even with range buddies. If you allow someone to test out your iron it has to be loaded with commercial ammo, even if you were just plinking with handloads. Swap it out or you could lose you privileges, can’t say rights here, to own a firearm. After I get a job first priority after driver’s license is gun license.

    Other problem with Berettas is the overpricing. I was eyeing a 92A1, price was R14600. Decided to go CZ, great guns great price. Wanted a P01, cost R11000. So I settled on a P07. R7000 is something I can afford after a year of saving up. Can switch between safety or decocker. I like condition 2 but I live at home so I have to use the safety. If my mother has to use it she can’t fire DA or cock the hammer due to 3 types of arthritis. So I’ll keep it in a bedside holster cocked and locked so she can use it and when we go out I’ll have to lower the hammer manually so that it doesn’t poke me in my Goodyears.

    He hands are too busted for her to pass the license test but she still knows how to use it.

    They make it so hard to get the license that they figure you’ll just give up.

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