Key point: The Glock 19 is superior in a service pistol role primarily due to being optics ready.
The Glock 48 is an interesting combination of earlier Glocks. Built off the basis of the Glock 43X, the Glock 48 is a Glock 19 sized pistol with single-stack width. This gives it an odd combination of capacity and size, akin to single-stack compact pistols of old like Colt Commander variants. A lot of the gun community has been abuzz with comparisons of the Glock 19 and Glock 48, given their similar profiles. But could the Glock 48 replace the Glock 19?
For those who are looking for a more accurate, concealable gun, the Glock 48 makes sense. But as a replacement for the Glock 19 as a general issue pistol, the Glock 48 makes no sense. The Glock 19 is one of the most popular pistols in the world, issued out as a standard-issue sidearm for police and military forces around the world.
Those users need as much capacity as they can get within a frame of that size. For many, the Glock 19, while described as a “compact” model, is just the right size for a handgun. For other users, like various American Special Operations Forces, the Glock 19s were bought to circumvent purchasing standards, or simply because they were a “standard” of sorts, being provided to foreign partners and used by many other SOF units worldwide.
The Glock 19 is superior in a service pistol role primarily due to being optics ready, and it’s compatibility with double-stack magazines. While extended magazines are available for the Glock 48, they still pale in comparison to those available for the Glock 19, simply due to being single-stack.
When looking at the Glock 48 from a concealed perspective, things make more sense. As optics are not available for the Glock 48 from the factory, a longer barrel and slide may help some shooters to be more accurate and reduce “barrel flip” when shooting, if one is willing to try to conceal a longer gun.
But in a concealed role it’s not sure if the longer barrel really gives the Glock 48 an edge over the Glock 43X, which features the same grip as the Glock 48. But as the pistol was created, it’s likely that Glock has done the market research and determined that demand exists for a longer slide single stack Glock.
In the end, whether the Glock 48 will succeed or fail depends on how well it will sell. But demand appears to be high, with Glock offering both stainless and flat black versions of the Glock 48. But it’s unlikely that the Glock 48 will outstrip sales of the Glock 19, due to the 19’s appeal as a general service pistol.
As the firearms industry has migrated away from single-stack full size/”compact” pistols as double-stack designs have become more popular, the release of the Glock 48 in 2019 may suggest that the trend may be shifting back towards single stacks in the “compact” space, as consumers find themselves missing the single-stack grips of pistols of earlier generations.
Charlie Gao studied Political and Computer Science at Grinnell College and is a frequent commentator on defense and national security issues.
This article first appeared in November 2019.
Image: Sgt. Devin Hughes, a member of the Marine Corps Shooting Team, fires a round at a target during the Royal Marines Operational Shooting Competition at Altcar Range near Hightown, England, Sept. 8, 2014. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Cameron Storm/Released)