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Custom Glock 48 Vs Glock 19: Who Comes Out On Top?

Custom Glock 48 Vs Glock 19: A Grudge Match Between Step Brothers

For years and years, the Glock 19 footprint has dominated concealed carry. All of the various improvements, competitors, and not-a-Glock copies released in the interim strive for the same singular goal — compact form with full-size performance, the epitome of the “small gun that can do big gun things.” The template is now crystal clear: 4-inch barrel, short-as-possible grip holding give-or-take 15 rounds. Not since the 4.25-inch Commander-style 1911 had there been such a well-rounded semi-auto that could be better concealed with no sacrifice in performance. Granted, double-stack subcompacts have been around for ages but, for many, the dimensional ratio never felt quite right. The G26, or other double-stack subs, is often accepted as a compromise for deep concealment, but its grip frame is lamented by many to be too chunky and too short. 

In recent years, the market has experienced a fundamental shift in light of the “slimline compact” footprint. This new breed, exemplified by the G43X/48, SIG P365, and Springfield Hellcat, have sought to split the difference between the capacity and capability of the established double-stack compact and their more concealable single-stack brethren. But these pistols are studies in compromise, with capacity being the first horse to get traded away. After that, some combination of barrel and/or grip length must be given up to enhance concealability. The irony of this is that many consumers purchase these pistols and then dress them up such that they’re back to that traditional compact-sized footprint. For example, if you take a SIG P365 or 365XL and add an extended 15-round magazine and a micro comp, you’ve now increased both height and length back to the proportions of a larger pistol. However, in this configuration, you’re able to retain a thinner frame and reduced grip circumference — key factors for many looking to balance the scales of size and comfort. 

We wanted to take a hard look at this phenomenon and assess, at the granular level, what you lose and gain between a traditional compact pistol and a slimline pistol of similar size. In order to keep this comparison as “apples to apples” as possible, we pitted the prolific Glock 19 against its nearest-sized slimmer counterpart, the Glock 48. 

As we can see from our “Tale of the Tape” seen below, the dimensional differences on paper between the two pistols can be measured in tenths, if not hundredths, of inches for any given dimension. The exception is weight, itself an important factor for many when selecting a concealed carry pistol. Many folks, newer shooters especially, are wary of hauling around a heavy hog leg of a pistol for hours on end — and rightfully so. In addition to shorter trigger reach and a svelte 1.1 inches overall width, the G48 MOS is almost a quarter-pound lighter than the G19. This is especially important when factoring in ammo, as well as accessories like lights and optics.

SPEAKING OF ACCESSORIES …

Stock pistols are not only boring but becoming ever-less common in the carry holsters of armed citizens. So we outfitted both test pistols with accessories that mirrored capability and configuration as closely as possible.

Glock 19 (Gen 3)

Our Glock 19 is built on a frame that’s been laser stippled by Sonoran Defense Technologies. They offer a number of different texture patterns, all applied by laser. This one is their Hybrid Atrox pattern, featuring a finer pebble pattern that they call their Cerebus pattern on the front and back straps, with the grid-like Atrox pattern on the sides and forward index points. It should be noted that the tan color fill on the Atrox portions of the grip are also done by laser — something we hadn’t seen before. 

The slide started as a blank, provided and milled by Southwest Precision Arms in their Battle Cut pattern. This is a utilitarian slide cut with diamond-grate knurling in lieu of front or rear serrations. Southwest Precision also cut in their Shoot Flat porting package, consisting of a rectangular top window in the slide and eight small barrel ports, drilled in two rows of four. This greatly reduces recoil and results in an incredibly fast, flat-shooting pistol. The trigger is a Johnny’s Custom Glocks Evolution X. The build is finished off with KE Arms magazine well, Streamlight TLR-7A light, and Holosun 507C optic (the slide was direct-milled by Southwest Precision) with Night Fision suppressor height BUIS.

Below: Our Glock 19 was largely cobbled together from aftermarket parts, including the Sonoran Defense Technologies laser-stippled frame and slide/barrel combo from Southwest Precision Arms.

Glock 48 MOS

Since the 48 MOS already has a more aggressive frame texture on the side panels, it was given a more conservative frame treatment, though we had P4 Coatings add a medium-grit pebble texture to the front and back straps, plus trigger guard undercuts to mirror those on the Sonoran Defense frame. (P4 also coated both guns in two-tone black and tan.) While the 48’s slide already comes with front and rear slide serrations, Southwest Precision performed their Shoot Flat porting on it. The optic, a Holosun 507K, is mounted to the OEM optic footprint by way of a C&H precision plate. A TLR-7 sub weapon light, matching Evolution X trigger, and Katana magwell from Empire PBF finished off our upgrade suite on this pistol. Almost.

Out of the box, there’s a significant firepower gap between the 19 and 48 models. The former holds 15 rounds in a flush-fit factory mag, the latter only 10. Enter Shield Arms, who came up with a thinner metal-body magazine for the Glock 43X and 48 that holds 15 rounds without extending the length of the magazine. Dubbed the S15, a revised Gen 2 version with some internal geometry improvements recently came out. In order to use these magazines, we had to swap the mag release button from the factory plastic one to Shield Arms’ own stainless steel mag release. 

Both frames were stippled with similar grip patterns. Both feature magazine wells, Johnny Custom Glocks triggers, Streamlight lights, and Holosun optics. Thanks to Shield Arms, both pistols are capable of carrying 15 rounds on board in flush-fit magazines. Both were ported by Southwest Precision Arms, removing as much muzzle flip and felt recoil as possible. This allowed us to focus almost solely on the ergonomics and carry experience. On that note, we got a matching pair of LAS Concealment Ronin-L 3.0 AIWB holsters. 

Above: For our Glock 48 vs Glock 19 comparison, both pistols feature the Shoot Flat porting system from Southwest Precision.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

At the end of the day, the differences boiled down to some relatively minor factors. The 48 MOS was a little more forgiving when concealing under a single layer like a T-shirt. The slimmer frame makes a difference, even with the Empire magwell attached. But, more so than the reduced printing, the biggest advantage for the author came in grip circumference and trigger reach. For those with smaller hands, the slimline frame offers better seating of your finger on the trigger and more positive grip around the gun. While we always caution that smaller guns are almost universally more difficult to shoot, the Shoot Flat porting on our G48 alleviates this concern entirely. 

For those who aren’t into porting, a 43X with a compensator will achieve a similar result with the same overall length, in most cases. But even in stock format, the slide and barrel length are so similar between the 48 and the 19 that the overall reciprocating mass is similar enough to eliminate all but the finest differences between the two pistols, in terms of felt recoil. Likewise, accuracy was essentially indistinguishable even beyond 25 yards. Again, this question boils down more to the hand-size/grip-size relationship than to any of the on-paper dimensions. The other X-factor here is the shooter’s comfort level with optics. There’s no questioning that the 507K has a smaller window than its “service sized” counterpart. Larger-windowed optics like the Trijicon SRO or Leupold DeltaPoint Pro are non-starters on slimline pistols, so if your personal preference or level of comfort requires a bigger window on your carry optic, the full-size slide will afford a greater range of options.

Either pistol will serve you well, but modifications and accessories being equal, we have to give preference to the G48 MOS for concealment under thin wardrobes and better hand fit for the author.  

Below: Glock 19 vs Glock 48 holstering. The pistols were carry-tested in matching Ronin 3.0 AIWB rigs from LAS Concealment.

CONCLUSION

We approached the Glock 48 vs Glock 19 test as a largely academic experiment to see how far we could dig in refining an EDC handgun choice. The optic, light, trigger, barrel treatment, and carry methods were matched up almost exactly to minimize or eliminate every possible variable. Aftermarket magazines equalized the available firepower on tap. At the end of the day, slimmer pistols are more comfortable to carry and, in this case, no major gap in capability came from choosing the slim-frame gun. As with all things EDC, comfort and personal preference are significant factors in equipment selection. Fortunately, today’s concealed carry market is rife with high-quality choices, and the choice is yours. 

Tale of the Tape

G19 (Gen 3)

G48 MOS

Barrel

4.02 in.

4.17 in.

Overall Length

7.36 in.

7.28 in.

Height

5.04 in.

5.04 in.

Slide Width

1.00 in.

0.87 in.

Overall Width

1.26 in.

1.10 in.

Weight (Empty)

23.63 oz.

20.60 oz.

Trigger Distance

2.80 in.

2.64 in.

Caliber

9×19 mm

9x19mm

Capacity

15 (factory)

10 (factory)/15(SA mags)

SOURCES

Southwest Precision Arms
www.swprecisionarms.com

Sonoran Defense Technologies
www.sonorandefense.com

Johnny Glocks
www.johnnyglocks.com

Shield Arms
www.shieldarms.com

LAS Concealment
www.lasconcealment.com

Empire Performance Built Firearms
www.empirepbf.com

KE Arms
www.kearms.com

P4 Coatings
www.p4coatings.com

Holosun Optics
www.holosun.com

Streamlight
www.streamlight.com

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One response to “Custom Glock 48 Vs Glock 19: Who Comes Out On Top?”

  1. Michael says:

    could you please send me more information on the Glock 19 please. also, the best ammo; fire power for stopping and accessories such as, laser sights and light too

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  • could you please send me more information on the Glock 19 please. also, the best ammo; fire power for stopping and accessories such as, laser sights and light too

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