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Why the U.S. Army Passed on the Glock 19X

Glock 19X
Glock19X (YouTube Screenshot)

Glock 19X: Why So Popular? 

The Glock 19X is Glock’s first “crossover” pistol, combining the large, full-size Glock 17 polymer frame and the smaller Glock 19 all-metal slide. It is the commercial version of the pistol Glock designed for the U.S. Army’s Modular Handgun System competition.

The Glock 19X has a number of notable features, including a lanyard loop near the magazine well, ambidextrous controls, and is known for high accuracy thanks to Glock’s GLOCK Marksman Barrel, a polygonally rifled barrel.

In addition to standard 17-round magazines, the Glock 19X can be optionally loaded with 19, 24, 31, or almost absurdly large 33-round magazines that extend well past the magazine well.  Unlike previous Generation 4 Glocks, the Glock 19X forgoes finger grooves for better ergonomics, and has three different backstrap sizes (small, medium, and large) for a more comfortable grip regardless of a shooter’s hand size.

The Glock 19X had a lot to offer — and has been a very popular addition to the Glock pistol lineup.

Super Seller

Since introduction, the 19X has been a huge success for the company. Less than 6 months after the pistol was introduced to the civil market, over 100,000 Glock 19Xs have been sold.

“By combining the standards of high-level performance and reliability with distinctive design enhancements, this pistol offers proven results and delivers maximum efficiency,” explained Glock Vice President Josh Dorsey. “These shipping numbers not only validate the earned trust our customers put in GLOCK, but also, demonstrate GLOCK’s proven manufacturing and surface treatment capabilities ensuring the company can deliver pistols in the quality and quantity that our customers demand.”

XM17 Modular Handgun System Competition

Despite the Glock 19X’s great commercial success, it lost the U.S. Army’s Modular Handgun System competition and was ultimately beaten out by SIG Sauer.

The now-finished XM17 competition sought to replace the 1980s-era Beretta M9 as the U.S. Army’s standard-issue sidearm. A number of the world’s firearm manufacturer heavyweights were contenders for the 10-year, $580 million contract, including the incumbent Beretta, SIG Sauer, Smith & Wesson, Glock, and CZ.

Glock’s 19X came very close to winning the MHS competition but was ultimately edged out by SIG Sauer’s entrant, a militarized version of their popular P320 pistol. Though SIG’s two entrants, full-sized and compact variants of the same platform, are comparable in quality and capability to the Glock 19X, where SIG Sauer was leaps and bounds ahead was ammunition. SIG partnered with Winchester to offer two powerful new types of 9x19mm ammunition to go along with their pistols as part of a package that just couldn’t be beaten.


Although Glock’s 19X hasn’t enjoyed success in the defense community, their XM17 Modular Handgun System competition loss has been at least partially made up by success on the civilian market. Glock’s reputation for quality and reliability lives on.

Caleb Larson is a Defense Writer based in Europe. He holds a Master of Public Policy and covers U.S. and Russian security, European defense issues, and German politics and culture.

Written By

Caleb Larson, a defense journalist based in Europe and holds a Master of Public Policy degree from the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy. He lives in Berlin and writes on U.S. and Russian foreign and defense policy, German politics and culture.

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