Glock 23 vs. 19: Which Is the Better Glock?

When it comes to 9mm semi-automatic pistols, the Glock 19 is among the most well-rounded options on the market. It’s a reliable handgun that’s notably accurate, efficient, and easy to conceal, which is why it’s used by law enforcement professionals, security departments, and even the military.

How does the Glock 19 perform when we pit it against a higher-caliber alternative of the same size, though? Can the G19 outshine the powerful G23?

By the end of this Glock 23 vs. 19 comparison, you’ll have a clear-cut answer. Stick around!

Glock 19 vs. Glock 23: Specifications

Glock 19:

  • Caliber: 9x19mm Parabellum (9mm Luger)
  • Magazine Capacity: 15
  • Length: 7.36 inches
  • Width: 1.18 inches
  • Height: 4.99 inches
  • Barrel Length: 4.01 inches
  • Barrel Height: 1.26 inches
  • Weight (No Mag): 21 ounces
  • Weight (Loaded): 29.6 ounces
  • Sight Radius: 6.02 inches
  • Trigger Pull Weight: 5.5 pounds
  • Trigger Distance: 2.80 inches
  • Twist: 1 in 9.84 inches
  • Rifling: Hexagonal (Right Hand)
  • Magazine Options: 10, 17, and 33

Glock 23:

  • Caliber: 40 S&W
  • Magazine Capacity: 13
  • Length: 7.36 inches
  • Width: 1.18 inches
  • Height: 4.99 inches
  • Barrel Length: 4.01 inches
  • Barrel Height: 1.26 inches
  • Weight (No Mag): 21 ounces
  • Weight (Loaded): 32 ounces
  • Sight Radius: 6.02 inches
  • Trigger Pull Weight: 5.5 pounds
  • Trigger Distance: 2.80 inches
  • Twist: 1 in 9.84 inches
  • Rifling: Hexagonal (Right Hand)
  • Magazine Options: 10, 15, and 22

Glock 19 vs. Glock 23: In-Depth Breakdown

The Glock 23 may not be as popular as the Glock 19, but it surely has a lot to offer. It combines the ease of use and compactness of the G19 with the high stopping power of higher calibers.

This is why picking between these two handguns can often be overwhelming. Do you go with the ubiquitous option? Or do you go with the less popular yet more powerful option?

Don’t fret; the following breakdown will help you determine which of these two Glocks is best suited for you!

Size and Weight

As you can tell from the above-listed specs, the Glock 19 is about the same size as the Glock 13. They both sport the signature boxy shape that Glock is known for as well.

In terms of weight, both pistols weigh around 21 ounces when empty. With a loaded magazine, however, the G23 semi-automatic is slightly heavier. Note that extra weight often contributes to recoil management in a positive way.

As far as other measurements, like barrel length and height, both of these small handguns are identical.  They even have the same barrel rifling mechanism and the same trigger distance and pull.

Caliber and Recoil

The Glock 19 uses 9mm ammo, whereas its competitor Glock model makes use of .40 ammo. Both handgun calibers are great for self-defense, but they each shine in different categories.  

For instance, .40 rounds boast more stopping power than 9mm rounds. On the other hand, 9mm rounds display less recoil than .40 rounds. This isn’t surprising considering 9mm bullets are smaller and lighter than .40 bullets, so they don’t have as significant of a kick.

It’s also worth mentioning that 9mm ammo can penetrate deeper than .40 ammo, seeing as they’re smaller. They may not pack the same punch as a larger caliber, but they make up for it with accuracy and speed. This is why they’re used in not only handguns, but submachine guns as well!

That being said, the snappier recoil of .40 ammunition is easily manageable, especially when compared to .44 and .357 magnum ammunition. So, whether you choose the Glock 19 or the Glock 23 for everyday carry, you won’t have to worry about felt recoil. They’re both perfectly suited for a self-defense situation.

Sights and Accuracy

Both the G19 and G23 feature three-dot sights: a front blade sight and two white-outlined rear sights. This combo, coupled with the black polymer frame, allows for faster target acquisition on both pistols.

While the stock sights on both guns are enough to get the job done, we’d highly recommend upgrading, especially if you often find yourself in low-light situations. Luckily, there are plenty of aftermarket sights that are compatible with both Glocks.

Both guns are fairly accurate, but seeing as 9mm bullets tend to travel flatter and farther due to their small size, we’d say that the Glock 19 is more accurate than the Glock 23.

Handling and Reliability

There isn’t much to talk about here as far as handling. Both pistols are identical in shape and size. So, if you can handle one of them with ease, you should have no problem handling the other.

Both Glocks are neither too small nor too big. This makes them ideal for the vast majority of people. They’re easy to line up and shoot, thanks to their 4-inch barrel length.

When it comes to reliability, Glock is a company that boasts a well-earned reputation for producing some of the most durable and unfailing handguns in the market, and the G19 and G23 are excellent representatives of that.

Whichever Glock pistol you choose, you can rest assured you won’t face any malfunctions or durability issues. As long as you take good care of your gun, it will take good care of you.

Controls and Safety

Ambidextrous controls are a deciding factor in this comparison, especially if you’re left-handed. Having ambidextrous controls ensures a smooth and comfortable shooting experience whether you’re right or left-handed.

Seeing as the standard G19 doesn’t feature any ambidextrous controls while the G23 does, we’d have to say that the latter is the more versatile option.

Note: the Gen-5 version of the G19 does feature an ambidextrous magazine release function.

With the G23, you simply point and shoot without worrying about muscle strain. With the Glock 19, on the other hand, a left-handed shooter may have a hard time gripping the gun without some sort of discomfort.

As far as safety, the Glock 23 seems to have the edge. You see, it doesn’t have any irritating finger grooves on the front of its grip. This makes it more comfortable to grip and easier to control as you’re shooting than the Glock 19.

Magazine Capacity

The Glock 19 has a higher mag capacity than the Glock 23. This isn’t surprising considering 9mm bullets are smaller than .40 ones, so you can fit more of them within a given magazine.

The two-round difference isn’t all that significant, though. Besides, both pistols are compatible with different magazine options. The Glock 19 can handle a 33-round mag, whereas the Glock 23 can handle a 22-round mag.

The magazine release button is interchangeable (not ambidextrous) on the Glock 23, so you can switch it to whichever side you find more comfortable. This feature isn’t available with the Glock 19.

Trigger Safeties

The Glock 19 and Glock 23 have a similar trigger, with an equal pull weight of 5.5 pounds. Both Glock models also have a good set of trigger safeties since they’re both equipped with Glock’s Safe Action System.

The Glock 19 has a firing pin safety as well as an automatic trigger safety. This combo helps prevent accidental discharges and makes the Glock 19 an excellent defense weapon or backup weapon.

The Glock 23 also has a trigger safety, but it’s coupled with a mechanical firing pin safety that relies on a spring-loaded plunger. You can find the plunger at the gun’s rear.

Bear in mind that automatic trigger safety requires a good deal of practice. It’s not a manual safety that you can simply switch on and off. It engages and disengages with the pull of the trigger!

Concealed Carry

Seeing as the Glock 19 and Glock 23 are identical in shape and size, you can expect them to perform similarly with concealed carry. As long as you have a suitable holster and you know what to wear for optimal concealment, both guns should serve you well.  

Aftermarket Options

There’s an abundance of aftermarket parts for both Glocks, from extended magazines and threaded barrels to grips, lights, laser aiming devices, and night sights.

Wrapping Up

All things considered, the most notable difference between the Glock 19 and Glock 23 is their caliber. The Glock 19 uses 9mm cartridges, whereas the Glock 23 uses .40 S&W.

Seeing as 9mm bullets are smaller than .40 ones, they travel flatter and farther. This makes them faster and more precise. They’re also more penetrative. On the other hand, .40 bullets can do more damage, thanks to their higher stopping power.

You might be tempted to buy the Glock 19 because of the two-bullet difference in capacity, but just keep in mind that both handguns are compatible with a range of aftermarket mags.

With that being said, if you’re a novice handgun owner, we’d recommend getting the Glock 19 because it’s more accurate and less susceptible to recoil (muzzle flip).

If you’re an experienced shooter aiming for quick follow-up shots and you don’t mind some extra firepower, the Glock 23 is the right self-defense gun for your needs.

If you’re in search of a compact pistol for concealed carry, both the Glock 19 and Glock 23 are identical in size and shape, and they’re both compact enough to be concealed easily.