Why the FBI and Police Prefer the Glock 23 to the Glock 19

 In Land

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by Richard Douglas

Often out­shone by the much more popular Glock 19, the higher-cal­iber Glock 23 still has plenty to offer for the dis­cern­ing shoot­er. While it may not be as easy to handle as the 19, the Glock 23 uses .40 cal­iber pistol ammu­ni­tion, offer­ing much more stop­ping power.

The increased power is the main reason why police depart­ments all over the coun­try assign the G23 over the G19, but the advan­tages of the weapon aren’t only for those in uniform.

Outfitted with .40 cal­iber ammo, the Glock 23 offers a solid middle-ground between the ease of use of the Glock 19 and the stop­ping power of larger cal­ibers.

Accuracy

While seem­ing­ly iden­ti­cal to the Glock 19 when you first grip it, the Glock 23 sets itself apart as soon as you pull the trig­ger. Using .40-inch rounds adds a full mil­lime­ter in diam­e­ter to each bullet, and the effect on recoil is imme­di­ate­ly notice­able.

Despite the increased felt recoil, which I’ll dis­cuss in-depth later, the firearm remains as accu­rate as any other Glock I’ve used.

The Glock 23 comes with a plas­tic three-dot sight (one in the front, two in the back). As a no-non­sense gun, the stock sights do the job well enough, but I’d def­i­nite­ly rec­om­mend getting some aftermarket sights, espe­cial­ly if you plan to be able to use the firearm in low-light sit­u­a­tions.

Reliability

Glock has a well-earned rep­u­ta­tion for making guns that you can trust your life with and the Glock 23 is no excep­tion. This gun will shoot basi­cal­ly any­thing you put in it with­out any com­plaints.

In my usage of the weapon, it’s had zero mal­func­tions what­so­ev­er. That seems in line with all the other Glocks I’ve owned and used through­out the years, so I’m not sur­prised in the least.

One thing I’m wor­ried about is how the larger cal­iber might increase wear on the gun com­pared to the 9mm of a Glock 19. In any case, time will tell, and so far Glock’s pis­tols have stood the test of time.

Handling

As stated ear­li­er, the Glock 23 is phys­i­cal­ly iden­ti­cal to the Glock 19, having the exact same dimen­sions and empty weight.

Like the Glock 19, then, the G23 is large enough to handle well, with a com­fort­able 4‑inch barrel. The sights are easy to line up, and the plain, no-non­sense design of the pistol makes it easier to grip and handle.

Trigger

Also iden­ti­cal to the Glock 19 is the 5.5 trig­ger pull.

The Glock 23 fea­tures a trig­ger safety system, requir­ing full pur­chase to depress the trig­ger. It doesn’t include a manual safety, which is part of its design as a defense weapon.

While I sup­port any fea­ture in a firearm that reduces the risk of acci­den­tal dis­charge, I appre­ci­ate the simple-but-effec­tive design of a trig­ger safety.

If you’re ever in a sit­u­a­tion where you’re forced to defend your­self, you don’t have time to check a manual safety, and the Glock 23’s trig­ger safety is designed with that sit­u­a­tion in mind. At the end of the day, the best safety is one’s own situational awareness and discipline.

Magazine & Reloading

The reason the Glock 23 was designed was to recre­ate a pistol that was depend­able and usable as the Glock 19, but outfit it with a larger cal­iber, the .40 round. As such, the mag­a­zine of the 23 holds fewer rounds (13) com­pared to the Glock 19 (15 rounds).

One fea­ture of the Glock 23 is the inter­change­able mag­a­zine release catch, which you can move to whichev­er side is more com­fort­able for you. While not as simple as an ambidex­trous release, this fea­ture is still nice for the south­paws out there.

Length & Weight

The size and shape of the Glock 23 is iden­ti­cal to that of the Glock 19. It mea­sures 7.36” x 5.04” x 1.26” over­all, with the Glock’s “sig­na­ture” boxy shape.

Empty weight mea­sures 21.16 oz, same as the G19, where­as a loaded mag­a­zine makes the G23 slight­ly heav­ier in com­par­i­son.

The Glock 23 mea­sures small­er and lighter than the Glock 22, which uses the same .40 cal­iber rounds in a larger frame and mag­a­zine. This makes it more suit­able for con­cealed carry, while main­tain­ing the accu­ra­cy and stop­ping power of a full pistol.

Recoil Management

The recoil on the Glock 23 is what really set it apart from the Glock 19, to me.

The 23 has sig­nif­i­cant muzzle flip as the steel slide moves back­wards and then for­wards into place. This made it harder for me to quick­ly line up the sights after a shot, and it took some get­ting used to.

I sup­pose there are some dis­ad­van­tages to a steel slide on a poly­mer frame, and this is one of them. The muzzle flip really worked my wrist through­out the day, and was some­thing that took me by sur­prise when using a gun that’s iden­ti­cal to the Glock 19.

Still, in a defense sit­u­a­tion the added stop­ping power of the .40 cal­iber round should more than make up for the slower rate of fire of the Glock 23.

Price

In terms of price, the Glock 23 is cer­tain­ly a step up from the Glock 19, with regards to the gun as well as its ammu­ni­tion.

With an MSRP of $600, the Glock 23 is still fairly afford­able. The .40 cal­iber ammo, though, will cost you at least twice as much as buying 9mm rounds. With that said, there’s no other bullet as cheap and plen­ti­ful as 9mm, so it’s not the most fair com­par­i­son.

My Verdict?

The Glock 19 is popular for a reason: cheap, easy-to-use, and widely avail­able, Glock has made itself a house­hold name.

But in actual combat, the 9mm ammo has left some­thing to be desired, which is why the .40 S&W was invent­ed for U.S. offi­cials.

In com­par­i­son to the 19, the Glock 23 is more expensive and more dif­fi­cult to use. But those draw­backs come with a much-needed increase in stop­ping power, making this pistol an incred­i­bly effec­tive option as a service pistol.

As a pri­vate owner, you’ll find that the Glock 23 serves as the per­fect option for a no-non­sense pistol for home defense or every­day carry. The depend­abil­i­ty and ease of use of a Glock with a higher-cal­iber bullet make this an excel­lent tool for self-defense.

Richard Douglas is a firearms expert and edu­ca­tor. His work has appeared in large pub­li­ca­tions like The Armory Life, Daily Caller, American Shooting Journal, and more. In his free time, he reviews optics on his Scopes Field blog.

*Image: Sgt. Raymond Figueroa, a recon­nais­sance Marine with the Force Reconnaissance Detachment, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, sights in on his target during a pistol qual­i­fi­ca­tion aboard the amphibi­ous assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8), Feb. 10, 2015.(U.S. Marine Corps photos by Cpl. Demetrius Morgan/Released)*Often out­shone by the much more popular Glock 19, the higher-cal­iber Glock 23 still has plenty to offer for the dis­cern­ing shoot­er. While it may not be as easy to handle as the 19, the Glock 23 uses .40 cal­iber pistol ammu­ni­tion, offer­ing much more stop­ping power.

The increased power is the main reason why police depart­ments all over the coun­try assign the G23 over the G19, but the advan­tages of the weapon aren’t only for those in uniform.

Outfitted with .40 cal­iber ammo, the Glock 23 offers a solid middle-ground between the ease of use of the Glock 19 and the stop­ping power of larger cal­ibers.

Accuracy

While seem­ing­ly iden­ti­cal to the Glock 19 when you first grip it, the Glock 23 sets itself apart as soon as you pull the trig­ger. Using .40-inch rounds adds a full mil­lime­ter in diam­e­ter to each bullet, and the effect on recoil is imme­di­ate­ly notice­able.

Despite the increased felt recoil, which I’ll dis­cuss in-depth later, the firearm remains as accu­rate as any other Glock I’ve used.

The Glock 23 comes with a plas­tic three-dot sight (one in the front, two in the back). As a no-non­sense gun, the stock sights do the job well enough, but I’d def­i­nite­ly rec­om­mend getting some aftermarket sights, espe­cial­ly if you plan to be able to use the firearm in low-light sit­u­a­tions.

Reliability

Glock has a well-earned rep­u­ta­tion for making guns that you can trust your life with and the Glock 23 is no excep­tion. This gun will shoot basi­cal­ly any­thing you put in it with­out any com­plaints.

In my usage of the weapon, it’s had zero mal­func­tions what­so­ev­er. That seems in line with all the other Glocks I’ve owned and used through­out the years, so I’m not sur­prised in the least.

One thing I’m wor­ried about is how the larger cal­iber might increase wear on the gun com­pared to the 9mm of a Glock 19. In any case, time will tell, and so far Glock’s pis­tols have stood the test of time.

Handling

As stated ear­li­er, the Glock 23 is phys­i­cal­ly iden­ti­cal to the Glock 19, having the exact same dimen­sions and empty weight.

Like the Glock 19, then, the G23 is large enough to handle well, with a com­fort­able 4‑inch barrel. The sights are easy to line up, and the plain, no-non­sense design of the pistol makes it easier to grip and handle.

Trigger

Also iden­ti­cal to the Glock 19 is the 5.5 trig­ger pull.

The Glock 23 fea­tures a trig­ger safety system, requir­ing full pur­chase to depress the trig­ger. It doesn’t include a manual safety, which is part of its design as a defense weapon.

While I sup­port any fea­ture in a firearm that reduces the risk of acci­den­tal dis­charge, I appre­ci­ate the simple-but-effec­tive design of a trig­ger safety.

If you’re ever in a sit­u­a­tion where you’re forced to defend your­self, you don’t have time to check a manual safety, and the Glock 23’s trig­ger safety is designed with that sit­u­a­tion in mind. At the end of the day, the best safety is one’s own situational awareness and discipline.

Magazine & Reloading

The reason the Glock 23 was designed was to recre­ate a pistol that was depend­able and usable as the Glock 19, but outfit it with a larger cal­iber, the .40 round. As such, the mag­a­zine of the 23 holds fewer rounds (13) com­pared to the Glock 19 (15 rounds).

One fea­ture of the Glock 23 is the inter­change­able mag­a­zine release catch, which you can move to whichev­er side is more com­fort­able for you. While not as simple as an ambidex­trous release, this fea­ture is still nice for the south­paws out there.

Length & Weight

The size and shape of the Glock 23 is iden­ti­cal to that of the Glock 19. It mea­sures 7.36” x 5.04” x 1.26” over­all, with the Glock’s “sig­na­ture” boxy shape.

Empty weight mea­sures 21.16 oz, same as the G19, where­as a loaded mag­a­zine makes the G23 slight­ly heav­ier in com­par­i­son.

The Glock 23 mea­sures small­er and lighter than the Glock 22, which uses the same .40 cal­iber rounds in a larger frame and mag­a­zine. This makes it more suit­able for con­cealed carry, while main­tain­ing the accu­ra­cy and stop­ping power of a full pistol.

Recoil Management

The recoil on the Glock 23 is what really set it apart from the Glock 19, to me.

The 23 has sig­nif­i­cant muzzle flip as the steel slide moves back­wards and then for­wards into place. This made it harder for me to quick­ly line up the sights after a shot, and it took some get­ting used to.

I sup­pose there are some dis­ad­van­tages to a steel slide on a poly­mer frame, and this is one of them. The muzzle flip really worked my wrist through­out the day, and was some­thing that took me by sur­prise when using a gun that’s iden­ti­cal to the Glock 19.

Still, in a defense sit­u­a­tion the added stop­ping power of the .40 cal­iber round should more than make up for the slower rate of fire of the Glock 23.

Price

In terms of price, the Glock 23 is cer­tain­ly a step up from the Glock 19, with regards to the gun as well as its ammu­ni­tion.

With an MSRP of $600, the Glock 23 is still fairly afford­able. The .40 cal­iber ammo, though, will cost you at least twice as much as buying 9mm rounds. With that said, there’s no other bullet as cheap and plen­ti­ful as 9mm, so it’s not the most fair com­par­i­son.

My Verdict?

The Glock 19 is popular for a reason: cheap, easy-to-use, and widely avail­able, Glock has made itself a house­hold name.

But in actual combat, the 9mm ammo has left some­thing to be desired, which is why the .40 S&W was invent­ed for U.S. offi­cials.

In com­par­i­son to the 19, the Glock 23 is more expensive and more dif­fi­cult to use. But those draw­backs come with a much-needed increase in stop­ping power, making this pistol an incred­i­bly effec­tive option as a service pistol.

As a pri­vate owner, you’ll find that the Glock 23 serves as the per­fect option for a no-non­sense pistol for home defense or every­day carry. The depend­abil­i­ty and ease of use of a Glock with a higher-cal­iber bullet make this an excel­lent tool for self-defense.

Richard Douglas is a firearms expert and edu­ca­tor. His work has appeared in large pub­li­ca­tions like The Armory Life, Daily Caller, American Shooting Journal, and more. In his free time, he reviews optics on his Scopes Field blog.

Image: Sgt. Raymond Figueroa, a recon­nais­sance Marine with the Force Reconnaissance Detachment, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, sights in on his target during a pistol qual­i­fi­ca­tion aboard the amphibi­ous assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8), Feb. 10, 2015.(U.S. Marine Corps photos by Cpl. Demetrius Morgan/Released)

Often out­shone by the much more popular Glock 19, the higher-cal­iber Glock 23 still has plenty to offer for the dis­cern­ing shoot­er. While it may not be as easy to handle as the 19, the Glock 23 uses .40 cal­iber pistol ammu­ni­tion, offer­ing much more stop­ping power.

The increased power is the main reason why police depart­ments all over the coun­try assign the G23 over the G19, but the advan­tages of the weapon aren’t only for those in uniform.

Outfitted with .40 cal­iber ammo, the Glock 23 offers a solid middle-ground between the ease of use of the Glock 19 and the stop­ping power of larger cal­ibers.

Accuracy

While seem­ing­ly iden­ti­cal to the Glock 19 when you first grip it, the Glock 23 sets itself apart as soon as you pull the trig­ger. Using .40-inch rounds adds a full mil­lime­ter in diam­e­ter to each bullet, and the effect on recoil is imme­di­ate­ly notice­able.

Despite the increased felt recoil, which I’ll dis­cuss in-depth later, the firearm remains as accu­rate as any other Glock I’ve used.

The Glock 23 comes with a plas­tic three-dot sight (one in the front, two in the back). As a no-non­sense gun, the stock sights do the job well enough, but I’d def­i­nite­ly rec­om­mend getting some aftermarket sights, espe­cial­ly if you plan to be able to use the firearm in low-light sit­u­a­tions.

Reliability

Glock has a well-earned rep­u­ta­tion for making guns that you can trust your life with and the Glock 23 is no excep­tion. This gun will shoot basi­cal­ly any­thing you put in it with­out any com­plaints.

In my usage of the weapon, it’s had zero mal­func­tions what­so­ev­er. That seems in line with all the other Glocks I’ve owned and used through­out the years, so I’m not sur­prised in the least.

One thing I’m wor­ried about is how the larger cal­iber might increase wear on the gun com­pared to the 9mm of a Glock 19. In any case, time will tell, and so far Glock’s pis­tols have stood the test of time.

Handling

As stated ear­li­er, the Glock 23 is phys­i­cal­ly iden­ti­cal to the Glock 19, having the exact same dimen­sions and empty weight.

Like the Glock 19, then, the G23 is large enough to handle well, with a com­fort­able 4‑inch barrel. The sights are easy to line up, and the plain, no-non­sense design of the pistol makes it easier to grip and handle.

Trigger

Also iden­ti­cal to the Glock 19 is the 5.5 trig­ger pull.

The Glock 23 fea­tures a trig­ger safety system, requir­ing full pur­chase to depress the trig­ger. It doesn’t include a manual safety, which is part of its design as a defense weapon.

While I sup­port any fea­ture in a firearm that reduces the risk of acci­den­tal dis­charge, I appre­ci­ate the simple-but-effec­tive design of a trig­ger safety.

If you’re ever in a sit­u­a­tion where you’re forced to defend your­self, you don’t have time to check a manual safety, and the Glock 23’s trig­ger safety is designed with that sit­u­a­tion in mind. At the end of the day, the best safety is one’s own situational awareness and discipline.

Magazine & Reloading

The reason the Glock 23 was designed was to recre­ate a pistol that was depend­able and usable as the Glock 19, but outfit it with a larger cal­iber, the .40 round. As such, the mag­a­zine of the 23 holds fewer rounds (13) com­pared to the Glock 19 (15 rounds).

One fea­ture of the Glock 23 is the inter­change­able mag­a­zine release catch, which you can move to whichev­er side is more com­fort­able for you. While not as simple as an ambidex­trous release, this fea­ture is still nice for the south­paws out there.

Length & Weight

The size and shape of the Glock 23 is iden­ti­cal to that of the Glock 19. It mea­sures 7.36” x 5.04” x 1.26” over­all, with the Glock’s “sig­na­ture” boxy shape.

Empty weight mea­sures 21.16 oz, same as the G19, where­as a loaded mag­a­zine makes the G23 slight­ly heav­ier in com­par­i­son.

The Glock 23 mea­sures small­er and lighter than the Glock 22, which uses the same .40 cal­iber rounds in a larger frame and mag­a­zine. This makes it more suit­able for con­cealed carry, while main­tain­ing the accu­ra­cy and stop­ping power of a full pistol.

Recoil Management

The recoil on the Glock 23 is what really set it apart from the Glock 19, to me.

The 23 has sig­nif­i­cant muzzle flip as the steel slide moves back­wards and then for­wards into place. This made it harder for me to quick­ly line up the sights after a shot, and it took some get­ting used to.

I sup­pose there are some dis­ad­van­tages to a steel slide on a poly­mer frame, and this is one of them. The muzzle flip really worked my wrist through­out the day, and was some­thing that took me by sur­prise when using a gun that’s iden­ti­cal to the Glock 19.

Still, in a defense sit­u­a­tion the added stop­ping power of the .40 cal­iber round should more than make up for the slower rate of fire of the Glock 23.

Price

In terms of price, the Glock 23 is cer­tain­ly a step up from the Glock 19, with regards to the gun as well as its ammu­ni­tion.

With an MSRP of $600, the Glock 23 is still fairly afford­able. The .40 cal­iber ammo, though, will cost you at least twice as much as buying 9mm rounds. With that said, there’s no other bullet as cheap and plen­ti­ful as 9mm, so it’s not the most fair com­par­i­son.

My Verdict?

The Glock 19 is popular for a reason: cheap, easy-to-use, and widely avail­able, Glock has made itself a house­hold name.

But in actual combat, the 9mm ammo has left some­thing to be desired, which is why the .40 S&W was invent­ed for U.S. offi­cials.

In com­par­i­son to the 19, the Glock 23 is more expensive and more dif­fi­cult to use. But those draw­backs come with a much-needed increase in stop­ping power, making this pistol an incred­i­bly effec­tive option as a service pistol.

As a pri­vate owner, you’ll find that the Glock 23 serves as the per­fect option for a no-non­sense pistol for home defense or every­day carry. The depend­abil­i­ty and ease of use of a Glock with a higher-cal­iber bullet make this an excel­lent tool for self-defense.

–This Story First Appeared in The National Interest

Richard Douglas is a firearms expert and edu­ca­tor. His work has appeared in large pub­li­ca­tions like The Armory Life, Daily Caller, American Shooting Journal, and more. In his free time, he reviews optics on his Scopes Field blog.

Image: Sgt. Raymond Figueroa, a recon­nais­sance Marine with the Force Reconnaissance Detachment, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, sights in on his target during a pistol qual­i­fi­ca­tion aboard the amphibi­ous assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8), Feb. 10, 2015.(U.S. Marine Corps photos by Cpl. Demetrius Morgan/Released)

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