It’s 1950…you see a police officer on the beat. In his holster? A 4″ Smith and Wesson revolver. Fast forward to 1963. JFK’s assassination. You see hundreds of cops and agents of various agencies. In their holster? A 4″ K frame of one variety of another. MAYBE a Colt 4″ Police Positive…which is the Colt version/competition for the Smith product. “Small enough to conceal and big enough to fight with.” Travel to any 3rd world African Republic, or South American coastal city, and the cops are carrying a K-frame. They are ubiquitous, worldwide, right into the 1990’s. And you will STILL find them in the police holsters of cops worldwide, outside of the United States of America.
Fast forward to present day. Switch on the news…the court officer standing near the witness stand? He’s wearing a Glock 19 (possibly a 17), and so is the detective that is testifying on the stand. Go to any shooting range with rental guns and ask them what is popular to rent. “THE GLOCK 19 is ALWAYS A FAVORITE!” Outside the country, both American and other countries use the Glock 19 as a military sidearm, police sidearm, and as a defensive weapon for agents and operatives of different varieties. It is, “Small enough to conceal and big enough to fight with!”
SMALL ENOUGH TO CONCEAL, BIG ENOUGH TO FIGHT WITH
This is a line that I attribute to James Yeager of Tactical Response and AmmoNation, as I first heard him say it in regards to the Glock 19. What I interpret this to mean is that the gun is small enough to hide on your body, but big enough to use effectively without any disadvantage. With a good appendix carry rig or IWB holster, you can hide the G19 under a t-shirt. The G19 is an abbreviated version of the Glock 17, but all of the controls are the same size. This translates into better ergonomics and better handling. An overlooked factor that many people don’t consider when they think about, “downsizing,” to a subcompact type of pistol, is that the manual operating characteristics drastically change, from a compact or full size pistol. With smaller controls, short slides, TINY magazine releases, many of the advantages a semi-automatic pistol takes from the revolver are lost in the miniaturization process. But, the Glock 19 retains all of the operational capabilities of its larger sibling.
While similar in height and rougly volume, the 4″ K frame is a bit longer.
Seriously? This is a scientifically based site. There is no comparison in the performance characteristics of these two guns. NONE! The Glock 19 is functionally the equivalent of a BRACE of K frames…that means more than one K frame! But, what we can compare is this:
The K frame (in the Pre-Model 10 M&P) was introduced in 1899. The Glock 19 was released concurrently with it’s larger brother the Gen 2 Glock 17, in 1988. The Glock weighs about 21 ounces empty, and the K frame weighs 36 ounces. The Glock is 6.85″ long, and the K frame (with 4″ barrel) is 8.875″ long. The Glock 19 holds 15 rounds in its double-column magazine, and the K frame revolver holds six rounds. BOTH are well regarded for being accurate, and reliable self-defense weapons.
On the left, the pair of pistols are both tucked into Safariland paddle holsters. There is a clear size advantage to the Glock, which is smaller to begin with. Both take up the same amount of space, roughly, horizontally, but the Glock needs far less more vertical space. While just as popular with men, the Glock 19 is also a comfortable choice for women. And SO IS the K frame. The two holsters on the left are the superb DALE FRICKE ARCHANGEL that are crafted from khaki shaded kydex. I like the lighter shades of kydex for AIWB, as it makes it easy to see if the holster mouth and body of the holster are clear of obstructions. Also, if the holster is inadvertently, “flashed,” regular folks don’t recognize khaki as a, “gun,” color and are more likely to think it is a medical device or a phone.
FOUR reloads for the K frame. 24 spare rounds, plus six in the gun give the user 30 rounds at their disposal. 30 rounds is nothing to sneeze at! But, considering that it takes an average skilled user (NOT a Jerry Miculek) about 5-8 seconds to load a revolver, with any method shown here, that’s thirty rounds with significant lulls in the action. But, with training, this time can be lessened. However, as Paul Gomez was fond of saying, “MORE BULLETS IN GUN EQUALS MORE TIME IN FIGHT.” Think about that.
Two Glock 19 magazines…that’s 30 rounds, also. Plus fifteen in the gun and you have almost an entire box of ammunition at your disposal. The magazine pouches shown (the tan one is from DALE FRICKE and is his ARCHANGEL magazine pouch) and the other is the, “Snagmag,” http://www.snagmag.com/ that holds a magazine in the opposite gun hand trouser pocket, where it looks like a clipped on knife or flashlight to the casual observer. It is darn near impossible to withdraw the carrier with the magazine. The CHIEF difference between the ammunition payloads (and WHY I am showing you these two pictures) is that with the Glock 19, the spare ammunition can actually be CONCEALED! Look again at the above picture of the the revolver ammunition…the ONLY thing that is easily concealable is the SLOW strips, and they only hold six rounds, in roughly the same space as a 15 round magazine! So in terms of spare ammo volume, the Glock 19 wins.
BUT I THOUGHT, “YOU,” WERE A REVOLVER GUY?
I am a revolver fan, yes. But do I shun all other weapons in favor of something that was designed and functionally unchanged since one generation BEFORE the venerable 1911 came onto the scene? CERTAINLY NOT! There is NO PERSON on this planet that can teach you how to use a revolver as effectively against multiple, armed, determined attackers MORE EFFECTIVELY than a semi-automatic pistol. NO ONE. What I can demonstrate is how to efficiently use a revolver for most private citizens, for MOST common defensive situations. But the simple truth is that the semi-automatic pistol just MIGHT be the better choice, for you.
I am an advocate of using firearms by law-abiding citizens for righteous self-defense. WHAT gun you do that with is as personal a choice as what shoes you wear. I prefer slip on boots for casual wear and Chelsea boots for dress up, and New Balance for running and sports. What you will choose must be rationalized between several points, not the least of which includes your operational capabilities and mission. If you are physically incapable of racking the slide on a pistol (don’t laugh…some people can’t) then THE REVOLVER might be the choice for you. If you live in an area WELL KNOWN for multiple attacker ASSAULTS AND ROBBERIES, you might be better off to carry a high capacity pistol or MULTIPLE revolvers, since one 5 or 6 shot revolver may not be able to handle multiple attackers (people’s accuracy, even the BEST people in the world, suffers under real-world stress).
It’s important to remember that MISSION drives equipment selection. As an average home dweller, supermarket shopper, South Nashville Ghetto dental office proprietor, father and everyday guy, I prefer to use what I can (in order of priority) 1. CONCEAL 2. PRACTICE, COMPETE AND TRAIN WITH ECONOMICALLY 3. SEE THE SIGHTS AND OPERATE THE TRIGGER ON
YOUR priorities might be different. I shoot about 2000 rounds a month in practice, training and matches. I dry-fire about three times that many. And I train with both pistol and revolver (and long guns of various types). I know that not everyone can do this or has the time to do it, but do what works for you. And choose what works for you. But, whichever weapon you choose:
1. KNOW your limitations
2. HAVE a plan
3. HAVE a backup plan
Ron with the truth…
Which gun do YOU put on, “top?”