Are you in the market for a reliable, compact, and powerful 9mm handgun? If so, you may have already heard of the Glock 19. Glock is known for producing durable and simple firearms that are popular among both law enforcement and civilian shooters. However, if you’re considering the Glock 19, you may be wondering which version is the best fit for your needs: the Glock 19 Gen 3 vs. Gen 5. In this article, we’ll dive into the differences between Glock 19 Gen 3 and Gen 5, examining their features, design, and overall performance to help you make an informed decision.

Gen 3: A Classic Choice

Let’s start by taking a closer look at the Glock 19 Gen 3. This model has been a staple in the Glock lineup for years, and for good reason. It offers a straightforward, no-nonsense design that has won over countless shooters.

Caliber and Barrel Length

Both the Gen 3 and Gen 5 come chambered in 9mm Luger with a 4.02-inch barrel. This commonality ensures that you get the same ballistic performance from either model.


In terms of size, the Gen 3 and Gen 5 are virtually identical. They share an overall length of 7.28 inches, a height of 5.04 inches, and a magazine capacity of 15 rounds. These dimensions make the Glock 19 a highly versatile handgun, suitable for concealed carry, home defense, and range shooting.

Frame and Grip

One of the distinctive features of the Gen 3 Glock 19 is its polymer frame with finger grooves. These finger grooves are somewhat polarizing; some shooters find them comfortable and ergonomically sound, while others prefer a smooth grip without grooves. It’s a matter of personal preference.

Slide and Finish

The Gen 3 boasts a nitride-finished steel slide, which provides excellent resistance to corrosion and wear. The black finish not only looks sleek but also adds an extra layer of protection to the firearm.


The trigger on the Gen 3 Glock 19 is known for its smooth pull, making it easy to maintain accuracy during rapid fire. It’s a trigger that many Glock enthusiasts have grown to appreciate.

Gen 3: A Classic Choice

Gen 5: The Evolution of Perfection

Now, let’s dive into the features of the Glock 19 Gen 5. This model represents Glock’s commitment to continuous improvement and innovation, building upon the solid foundation of the Gen 3.

Caliber and Barrel Length

As mentioned earlier, the Gen 5 shares the same 9mm Luger chambering and 4.02-inch barrel length with the Gen 3.


In terms of size and capacity, the Gen 5 remains unchanged from the Gen 3. Both have an overall length of 7.28 inches, a height of 5.04 inches, and a 15-round magazine capacity.

Frame and Grip

One of the most significant differences between the Gen 3 and Gen 5 is the grip. The Gen 5 features interchangeable backstraps, allowing you to customize the grip size to fit your hand perfectly. This is a substantial upgrade for shooters who want a more personalized fit, as it can greatly improve comfort and control.

Slide and Finish

The Gen 5 also boasts a nitride-finished steel slide, just like the Gen 3, ensuring the same level of durability and corrosion resistance. However, the Gen 5 slide has a more textured finish, which can provide better grip in adverse conditions. This is particularly advantageous for those who intend to use their Glock 19 in wet or sweaty environments.


The Gen 5 introduces a textured trigger, which provides a more tactile feel when compared to the smooth trigger of the Gen 3. This can help with trigger control and responsiveness, although personal preferences for trigger texture may vary.

Analysis of Glock 19 Gen 3 vs. Gen 5

Analysis of Glock 19 Gen 3 vs. Gen 5

Now that we’ve covered the key features of both the Glock 19 Gen 3 and Gen 5, let’s delve into the factors that could influence your decision. Have a look below for quick understanding:

Feature Glock 19 Gen 3 Glock 19 Gen 5
Caliber 9mm Luger 9mm Luger
Barrel length 4.02 inches 4.02 inches
Overall length 7.28 inches 7.28 inches
Height 5.04 inches 5.04 inches
Width 1.26 inches 1.34 inches
Weight (unloaded) 23.16 ounces 23.69 ounces
Magazine capacity 15 rounds 15 rounds
Sights Fixed polymer Fixed polymer
Frame Polymer Polymer
Grip Finger grooves Interchangeable backstraps
Slide Nitride-finished steel Nitride-finished steel
Trigger Smooth Textured
Finish Black Black

1. Grip Customization

The most significant upgrade in the Gen 5 is the ability to customize the grip using interchangeable backstraps. This feature can make a world of difference in comfort and control, especially for shooters with different hand sizes. If having a tailored grip is essential to you, the Gen 5 is the clear winner.

2. Slide Texture

The textured slide of the Gen 5 offers improved grip in challenging conditions, which can be a valuable asset for those who plan to use their Glock 19 in adverse weather or sweaty situations. However, it’s worth noting that you can add grip tape or stippling to a Gen 3 slide if you want to achieve a similar effect.

3. Trigger Feel

The Gen 5’s textured trigger provides more tactile feedback compared to the smooth trigger of the Gen 3. This can enhance your ability to control the trigger, but it’s a matter of personal preference. Some shooters may prefer the smooth trigger of the Gen 3 for its simplicity.

4. Price Considerations

Another factor to consider is pricing. Gen 3 Glock 19s are often available at a lower price point than Gen 5 models. If budget is a concern, the Gen 3 might be the more attractive option.

5. Availability and Accessories

Gen 3 Glock 19s have been on the market for a longer time, which means they have a wider range of available accessories and aftermarket parts. This can be advantageous if you plan to customize your firearm extensively.


  1. Can I use Gen 5 magazines in a Gen 3 Glock 19, and vice versa?

Yes, Glock 19 magazines are generally interchangeable between Gen 3 and Gen 5 models. However, it’s essential to ensure proper fit and function with your specific firearm.

  1. Is the Gen 5 worth the extra cost compared to the Gen 3?

The answer depends on your priorities. If grip customization and improved slide texture are important to you, the Gen 5 may justify the higher price. However, the Gen 3 offers excellent performance at a more budget-friendly price point.

  1. Can I upgrade my Gen 3 Glock 19 to have a textured slide and interchangeable backstraps?

Yes, you can enhance your Gen 3 Glock 19 with aftermarket upgrades, such as grip tape or stippling for the slide and grip, as well as interchangeable backstraps. These modifications can help you achieve some of the features offered by the Gen 5.

  1. Are there any significant differences in reliability between the Gen 3 and Gen 5?

Both the Gen 3 and Gen 5 are known for their reliability. Glock has a reputation for manufacturing handguns that can withstand harsh conditions and high round counts with minimal malfunctions. Your choice should be based on other factors, such as grip customization and personal preferences.

  1. Which Glock 19 model is better for concealed carry?

Both the Gen 3 and Gen 5 Glock 19 models are suitable for concealed carry due to their compact size and 15-round magazine capacity. The choice between the two comes down to your preference for grip customization and slide texture, as well as your budget.


In the battle of Glock 19 Gen 3 Vs Gen 5, both models have their strengths and appeal to different shooters. The Gen 3 is a classic choice with its smooth trigger and finger grooves, while the Gen 5 introduces grip customization and a textured slide for improved control.

Ultimately, the decision comes down to your personal preferences, budget, and intended use. When considering ammunition purchases, it’s important to weigh factors like caliber compatibility, brand reputation, and intended use, just as you would assess grip customization and slide texture preferences when deciding between the Gen 5 and Gen 3 firearm models.

Remember, whichever Glock 19 you choose, you’re getting a firearm known for its durability, simplicity, and accuracy. It’s a tool that will serve you well for self-defense, range shooting, or competition. So, go ahead, pick the one that suits you best, and start enjoying the legendary Glock experience.