A while back I did a post highlighting why firearms enthusiasts like myself, who love to talk about guns, sometimes hesitate when asked exactly which gun to buy. Well, here I present two very specific, phenomenal handgun recommendations. Whether you’re deliberating over your first handgun purchase, or adding a new pistol to an existing collection, these are excellent recommendations. You can’t go wrong with the GLOCK 19, nor with the SIG SAUER P320, both of which are compact handguns chambered for the 9X19 NATO.
The GLOCK 19, aka G19.
The GLOCK 19 – EASILY my first recommendation. Though, technically, they may not have invented the genre, GLOCK certainly popularized the polymer-framed, striker-fired handgun. I actually remember when GLOCK pistols first hit the U.S. market, way back in 1986. My Dad and I were early adopters of the then revolutionary, “plastic” handguns. Now, 30 years later, (Happy Birthday GLOCK!), GLOCK polymer-framed, striker-fired, “Safe-Action” pistols dominate the U.S. handgun market. In fact, the GLOCK 19, chambered in 9mm, is one of the most popular semi-automatic pistols of all times, used widely by Military & Law Enforcement around the World. In fact, roughly 2 in 3 law enforcement professionals choose GLOCK pistols as their primary duty gun.
So, What Makes the GLOCK 19 so Popular?
- GLOCK Ruggedness, Reliability, Ease of Use, & Ease of Maintenance. They flat out work. GLOCK is the AK of the pistols in terms of ease of use, maintenance and reliability. They are ultra-reliable. They are also very easy to shoot well, even for new shooters, which instills confidence and promotes use. Finally, GLOCK pistols are simple to field strip and maintain.
- The outstanding GLOCK Safe-Action Trigger. Any sharp-shooter will tell you the trigger is key, and GLOCK’s “Safe Action” trigger is a great trigger. Though odd looking when first introduced, you don’t even feel the center tab, which is actually part of a built-in safety system, when firing the gun. Instead, you feel very little take-up, the slightest bit of creep, and a great, always consistent pull, that breaks around ~5.5lbs.
- The GLOCK 19 is the Jack of All Trades, & Master of Many. Though considered a Compact (see NUTNFANCY’s “Compact It Ain’t” video), the GLOCK 19 doesn’t give up much in sight radius, barrel length or magazine capacity when compared to traditional, full-size guns. The low bore axis of the ~4″ barrel, combined with the ~6″ sight radius and full, three finger grip make the GLOCK 19 very soft-shooting, which, like the excellent trigger, improves accuracy and confidence. This makes the GLOCK 19 a great choice for new shooters, and overall just perfect for home defense, recreational shooting and even entry level competition use. However, unlike most full-size pistols, the GLOCK 19 is still compact & light enough to easily carry concealed. In fact, the GLOCK 19 fulfills so many roles, so well, it could be the only handgun you’d ever truly need. (ha! except for all the other ones you want, like something smaller and lighter for summer concealment…or maybe a wheel gun…) Anyway, there are definite advantages to having one gun that flexes easily into a multitude of roles.
If that’s not enough of an endorsement, check out who else favors the GLOCK 19:
- It is reported that 25,000 NYPD officers, just over half the force, have chosen the GLOCK 19 as their duty gun of choice.
- It was recently reported from several sources that Naval Special Warfare (NSW) is officially switching to the GLOCK 19 as their sidearm of choice.
- Likewise, some of the U.S. Army’s top brass would be very happy moving to the GLOCK 19.
That’s great company.
Honestly, I’ve shot a lot of different handguns over the last 35+ years, of all different types, of all different calibers, from all different manufacturers. Some of my best shooting is done with GLOCK pistols. To me, GLOCK pistols feel great in-hand; they point naturally, the balance feels right & the trigger is great. It’s ready to go, right out of the box.
So, considering how well I shoot GLOCK pistols, combined with their longstanding, successful track record of ruggedness and reliability, especially knowing who trusts their lives to GLOCK pistols, you can easily understand why the GLOCK 19 is at the top of my list.
Street prices range from just under $600 to around $660, for the base model Gen4 G19, and new-for-2016 Gen4 M.O.S. version, respectively. Those prices include a lock, three 15 round magazines, unless restricted to 10 rounds in your state, and a set of backstops that enable you to perfectly fit the GLOCK 19 to your hand. Additional factory GLOCK G19 magazines are available at a very modest cost of ~$25, and Magpul has recently released an extremely affordable line of their famous PMAGs for GLOCK pistols. (One neat thing with GLOCK pistols is magazine compatibility, which in this case means G17 & G18 magazines will work in your G19. Just make sure those magazines are legal in your jurisdiction should you decide to pursue increased magazine capacity.) The M.O.S. version, which I believe is well worth the money, includes four adapter plates that enable you to mount your choice of best of breed reflex / holographic style optics, like your EOTECH, to your GLOCK 19. That’s right, your AR-15 red dot optic now works on your GLOCK. Click here to find out more.
The SIG SAUER P320.
The P320 is SIG SAUER‘s GLOCK inspired, polymer-frame, striker-fired pistol, in a Modular Handgun System (MHS). Developed as SIG’s entry into the U.S. Army’s XM17 competition for a new sidearm, the P320 was introduced at SHOT Show 2014, and has since been extremely well received by the civilian market. In fact, the SIG SAUERP320 just received the 2016 Handgun of the Year NRA Golden Bullseye award.
So, Why the SIG SAUER P320?
- Legendary SIG SAUER Quality and Reliability. Judging from friends and family on the job, it seems that the U.S. Law Enforcement Agencies not carrying a GLOCK are carrying a SIG. In fact, SIG SAUER is proud to report that “nearly 1 in 3 law enforcement professionals use SIG SAUER firearms,” including U.S. Navy SEALs, Federal Air Marshals, the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Coast Guard. That’s one hell of an endorsement from agencies that can choose any sidearm they like, and wouldn’t accept something that didn’t work. As a result of their successful military and law enforcement heritage, SIG SAUER has earned a reputation for producing high-quality, rugged, reliable handguns, with an excellent fit & finish, or attention to detail. While some may knock GLOCK’s blocky, utilitarian looks, a quick look through some of their different models will show you SIG certainly knows a thing or two about how to build some sexy, high-end looking guns. Obviously, if you’re a die-hard SIG fan (and there are many), who wants in on the current polymer-framed, striker-fired handgun trend, then the P320 is definitely your gun. (You had me at, ”polymer-frame, striker-fired SIG!”).
- The SIG P320 Trigger is Amazing. Right out of the box, the P320 trigger is simply fantastic! There’s very little take-up, the slightest bit of creep, then it breaks like glass, that seems to defy it’s 5.5-6.5lb stated weight. This is high praise from someone who for a long time believed GLOCK triggers were the best factory trigger for the genre, and they were, for a long, long time.
- The P320 Modular Handgun System (MHS) is the rest of the story here. Originally designed as SIG’s entry into the U.S. Army’s XM17 MHS contest for a new sidearm, the SIG SAUER P320 debuted at SHOT Show 2014, and has since been a home run with civilians. I mentioned the XM17 MHS program, and specifically the SIG P320 in my post on 2016 Firearms Industry Predictions, but in case you missed it, the MHS is great for first time buyers, and for folks who live in more restrictive sates. Why? The MHS eliminates the risk of buying the wrong gun, and enables you to flex one gun into a multitude of roles. Let’s face it, any firearms purchase is a big deal. I mean, it’s a major responsibility, and buying high-quality, best of breed guns is not an inexpensive proposition. So, the decision is usually preceded by a lot of research, reflection and analysis. Depending upon where you live, the process may also involve a lengthy and potentially restrictive permit application process. It’s a big deal, and there’s nothing worse than realizing you’ve bought the wrong gun, which believe it or not, happens a lot. It wrecks your confidence, and takes all the fun out of recreational shooting, which is the last thing you want to do, especially with new shooters. Again, the modular Sig Sauer P320 completely eliminates the risk of being stuck with the wrong gun, and allows you to completely change your gun, or just the COLOR of your gun, as your skills, experience, needs and wants evolve and change.
I recommend starting with the Compact 9mm, which is essentially the same size as the above recommended GLOCK 19, and therefore provides many of the same benefits. However, unlike the GLOCK 19, the SIG P320 can be changed into a Subcompact, a Full-size or even made to fire a different caliber without technically having to buy a new gun, and for a little less cost than buying a complete new gun. It’s almost like having the GLOCK 17, 19 and 26 all in one “gun.” It may not make sense for everyone, but the modularity of the SIG SAUER P320 is a major advantage for folks who live in states that have lengthy, potentially restrictive handgun application processes, which normally don’t allow you to exchange, or trade-in your new gun for a different model if you discover the gun you just purchased doesn’t work for you. It’s also incredibly useful for NRA instructors, like myself, who may frequently work with new shooters of all different sizes and statures, or who may want to try shooting a full-size, compact and subcompact before making their own purchase decision.
Street prices for the Compact 9mm with SIGLITE night sights are around $650, which is a great price for legendary SIG quality, and right in-line with the GLOCK 19. The price includes a lock, two 15 round magazines, unless restricted to 10 rounds in your state, and a fairly nice, very usable holster.
The included holster is a nice touch SIG SAUER, though frankly I would have preferred an additional magazine. Speaking of which, factory SIG magazines for the P320 are readily available, they just cost ~$50, because SIG is really proud of their magazines… 🙂 Regardless of whether you get the full-size, Carry, Compact, or Subcompact, most guns ship with the Medium size frame, but additional Small and Large grip modules are available in your choice of Black, FDE (Flat Dark Earth) or ODG (Olive Drab Green) for ~$50 so you can perfectly fit the SIG P320 to your hand size and color preferences. Complete caliber / size conversion kits cost ~$400, and yes, we’re all hoping that number comes down a bit over time.
The GLOCK 19 and SIG SAUER P320: You Can’t Go Wrong with Either. Get ‘Em Both if You Can’t Decide!
I’ve recently spent time on the firing line with both the GLOCK 19 and SIG P320, and I’ve subsequently field-stripped both, and given them a thorough cleaning. Both are HIGH-QUALITY, EXTREMELY DEPENDABLE, RELIABLE, EXCELLENT PISTOLS that are easy to shoot well – so long as you do your part – and both will serve you very well, in a multitude of roles; be it home defense, recreational shooting, concealed carry, or even as a way to test your skills at competition. Whether you’re choosing your first handgun or just expanding the collection, you can’t go wrong with either. If you want the original, and are heavily influenced by what the NYPD & Navy SEALs carry, then get the GLOCK 19. If you’re partial to SIG, or like the flexibility and “wrong-gun-risk-mitigation” provided by modularity, then get the P320. And if you really can’t decide, then get em both!
Be Aware! Be Prepared! Be Safe!
© 2016 Inside The X Ring.