The One Problem With The Glock 19

First of all, let me start off by saying that the Glock 19 is the gold-standard world wide for service and civilian pistols. As someone internet famous once said, “It’s big enough to fight with, but small enough to actually carry”. And I can’t disagree with that statement one bit.

Standard Glock G19 GEN 4

Standard Glock G19 GEN 4

And when I was officially introduced to the Glocks by a colleague some years ago, he was recommending the Model 19. He was 30,000 rounds through this 19 and showed no signs of ever looking back. My drills went well and I ran the Glock through the paces and scenarios to everyone’s satisfaction.

Easy peasy.

Then later that afternoon, the boss called me into his office on other matters. As we finished up the work, he wanted to know how my transition from the 1911 was going? And if I had decided on a direction? He heard I was on the range shaking down a Glock 19.

Example of a cut down Glock 19 Grip Reduction. This makes the grips even smaller!

Example of a cut down Glock 19 Grip Reduction. This makes the grips even smaller!

My response, “Things went well. Shooting a pistol with 15 rounds in it feels like cheating. But every once in a while the magazine would bite my hand [on reloads].”

The old man got a knowing look in his eye and said, “The 19 does the same on me. And those gripped reduced 19’s that [name redacted] does bites my hand something terrible”. He then reached across his desk and slid a grip-chopped Glock 19 my way and says, “It’s hot. Unload and reload it”.

Another example of a G19 Glock with a grip reduction. Beware of the downside.

Another example of a G19 Glock with a grip reduction. Beware of the downside.

Immediately it bit my hand so hard, my skin was split open drawing blood. “Yeah, that’s not going to work if I’m shooting all day”, I said.

My boss then pulled out a bunch of guns and we discussed an often over-looked subject in the firearms community: guys with large hands. My then boss was actually known for his ridiculous, mongo sized tree-climbers. The joke used to be watching him shoot a j-frame was like watching an elephant grab a baseball. And you know what, that was not an exaggeration! It really was freaky looking. But I digress…

Ed Brown 1911 Old Work Gun.

Old Work Gun. This is after being refinished once already!

During that conversation, it became obvious to me that while the Glock 19 is a standard firearm and advocated by a few well known instructors as “the” gun, those same instructors incidentally are all of much smaller stature than me.

That isn’t a criticism so please don’t take it as such! It’s just a fact. I am not a small guy and I don’t have small hands. I do better with larger handguns and physically have zero issues CCW’ing full sized service pistols. Note: I concealed a 5” steel 1911 professionally for 12 years. Every. Day.

Service sized Glock G17.

Service sized Glock G17.

My point is when some of you folks are out there looking for handguns, don’t just follow the crowd and do what Marky or instructor X says. Get some experience and find what works for you. Resist the urge to let ego or peer pressure drive the train. If you immediately start having problems, don’t ignore them. Maybe you can’t reach the trigger comfortably? Maybe the controls collide with your hands under recoil? Maybe you get trigger-bite? Perhaps the gun slides around in your palm like a greased pig? Address it. Train it out. Modify. Or…change guns.

What did I decide? While I did have some Glock 19’s in the armory, I went in a different direction and stuck with a larger sized service pistol. It’s my comfort zone.

FNS9 Interesting pistol size wise. Glock 19 slide. Full Sized Grip.

FNS9 Interesting pistol size wise. Glock 19 sized slide. Full sized grip.

But what if you aren’t given a choice and you must run a Glock 19 either because of policy or lack of funds to replace your mistake? I do have a suggestion but I haven’t personally tried it yet. The last few years we have seen some lower-profile, bolt-on mag wells for the Glocks. When I get time, I will find one and see if it makes just enough difference in grip length to cure my G19’s of the mag-bite issue.

Because not all Glocks are too big and lacking in ergonomics. For some of us, some Glocks are just simply too small.


“Shooting Guns & Having Fun”

Marky Mark

Marky Mark

Writer at
Writer for Co-Host of the John1911 Podcast. Video content provider for John1911-TV.

Areas of focus: Defense and National Security, Modern Light Weapons, Analysis of the Geo-political / Military Relationship in the Context of Strategic Goals.
Marky Mark

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  • Wayne Meagher

    When it came to pistols I was always a 1911 guy. I resisted the polymer guns for many years and never worried about it. Eventually I had to consider the rest of the family in my carry and home defense handgun choices. I now carry a Glock 43 and/or a 23. The 19/23 size Glocks fit my small hands very well and point as well for me as a 5″ 1911. (I really do wear a size small in the Mechanix gloves). The mag pinch is interesting. I have not heard of it until now. I will keep it in mind for customers with big hands. Thanks Marky!
    Happy New Year!

    • Wayne! Thanks for stopping by! As a old 1911 guy you and I are on the same page. Most don’t realize but the 1911 offers a lot of flexibility for large or small hands. The single stack allows for a wide variety of grips widths in that regard.

      As for your customers, look specifically for any meat of their hand hanging down near the mag well. Usually with the martial artist would call the, “wing” if the hand.

      If someone has that problem, see if you guys stock a low profile bolt on Mag well? I think it would solve it.

      Don’t be a stranger.


  • John Coleman Stewart

    My 19 will draw blood if I’m not real careful doing a reload, I tried a magwell from UniqueTec, but it did not really fit well. My hands are clean or 2xl, depending on the glove, so I may just get a 17 for my Glock needs and go with that. Or use my VP-9…..

    • I will google that magwell and keep it in mind when I decide to try the fix.


      • John Coleman Stewart

        I pulled out some calipers and the magwell added virtually the same grip length as if you had a 17 frame with a 19 top, still a viable concept, but that pushed me toward a 17, as the extra barrel length was no problem with concealment. I’ll keep looking as well, I would like to alter my 19 and not have to replace it. Let’s hope all of us have a happy and safe New Year, interesting times are ahead.

        • Some people like the shorter barrel since it “swing” better for them.


  • Mikial

    Great discussion. I’ve personally never used a 19. I carried a 17 on one contract in Iraq for a few months, and carry a 21 every day here in the world. I have small hands, compared to most men, and my wife has small hands compared to most women, but we both carry full sized handguns . . . a G21 for me and a Beretta 92 for her. I always thought small hands were a curse but after reading this I feel better.

    Thanks, Marky!

    Happy New Year!

  • BigMike57

    Would having a nice chunk of grip tape help? To move the skin further outwards from the magwell?

    This issue is why I love the USP 45s. My hands are huge too, and that damn thing fits perfectly.

    • For larger hands the issue is physical size. The tape “might” help if your hands are borderline but it won’t solve a preexisting physical trait.

      Also, it hasn’t been my experience that running guns very, very hard in austere conditions is just about the time that “never fails grip tape” starts to slide off.

      I have my pistols stippled for that reason.


  • KstarrR

    I respect Glocks, but I don’t like shooting them. The 19 Gen 1 & 2 left little scars from slide bites on my hand & the 30S mag bites the holy heck on my little finger. I only carry that poly-pocket-gun if I have to carry in my hand bag.

    • FYI….a early Glock 19 is somewhat desirable among that Glock “collecting” crowd.