The Glock 23 debuted in 1990 along with the new.40 S&W cartridge and has been with us now for over 30 years. Essentially a Glock 19 with a heavier slide and larger hole in the barrel, the Glock 23 is the little brother of the full-size model Glock 22.
I’ll never forget the first time I fired a Glock 23. It was a police trade-in second-generation model acquired by the local gun shop, complete with a Hogue Hand-all rubber grip sleeve. The shorter frame felt good in my hand, so I talked my way into a turn with it on the test range and loaded up.
To this point, I had fired only .22, 9mm, and .45 ACP semi-auto handguns, and none were an experience anywhere close to the 23. The muzzle rise was much snappier than the rolling recoil of the .45 caliber 1911’s that I was used to but still controllable. After a few rounds, I got the hang of it and had a perma-grin by the end of the magazine.
The second impression was the trigger. This was my first Glock experience, and I really liked the consistent trigger pull. Not too light and not too heavy, without the change from double to single-action like my friend’s old Ruger P-89.
I appreciated the thirteen-round magazine capacity and ability to use the magazines of the larger Glock 22 for fifteen rounds of fun before a reload on the range. As for sights, Glock’s stock set-up is more than adequate for my marksmanship ability. (Prefer optics to irons? Check out my holographic sights guide)
The only complaint that I could register against this weapon is that with the shorter grip, the finger grooves of the Gen 3 and Gen 4 models don’t line up with my fingers. The narrow slot under the trigger guard pinches my index finger. On my friend’s full-size Glock 17s and 21s, this was not a problem—the grooves fit fine. Though the problem is easily remedied with a belt sander, I am loath to grind on a new gun. Thankfully, Glock heeded the cries of the fat-fingered and removed the grooves on the Gen 5, and there was much rejoicing (along with a reduction in my bank account).
The Glock 23 is in use by multiple law enforcement agencies across the United States, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). This track record of reliability, cartridge power, and compact package makes it one of my go-to guns when asked for recommendations for a defensive pistol.
Richard Douglas writes on firearms, defense, and security issues. He is the founder and editor of Scopes Field, and a columnist at The National Interest, 1945, Daily Caller, and other publications.