First Look: Umarex Glock G19 Part 1

First Look: Umarex Glock G19 Part 1 Part 2

Almost the gun you have been waiting for

By Dennis Adler

The G19 was the second Glock model. A compact version of the G17 it was introduced in 1988. The G19 has remained a staple of the Glock line through the current Gen4 series. This, by the way, is the new CO2 model not a 9mm G19.

Ever since the 2018 Shot Show and the debut of the Umarex Glock G19 there has been speculation as to what the first model introduced would be. The wait is over; it is an entry level, non-blowback version with a stick magazine. Don’t start screaming yet, there is a lot to understand about getting Glock to the table let alone signing on to have a CO2 version of their groundbreaking 1980’s semi-auto put into production by Umarex. Glock is, in a word, conservative in its manufacturing and marketing as only an Austrian company can be. I have been writing about and testing Glock pistols (as one of the original writers for GLOCK AUTOPISTOLS magazine) for more than a decade and understanding Glock and founder Gaston Glock makes this equally groundbreaking CO2 version of the Glock 19 Compact all the more impressive. But first, let’s go back to what makes a Glock, a Glock. They call it “Glock Perfection” and it is evident even in this entry level CO2 model.

The building blocks of Glock have been stacked in the Austrian armsmaker’s favor since 1982 when they developed the original G17 for the Austrian Army. A year later it was adopted as the official military pistol. By 1985 Glock had a foothold in the U.S. and within a year was being carried by law enforcement agencies across the country. Building on its strength (as a gun and a company) by the time the Gen4 models were introduced, the G17 and G19 had become two of the most commonly carried law enforcement pistols in America.

Building Blocks

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The Glock has been hailed as one of the 10 best handgun designs in history. To put that in some meaningful context, the Glock is on the same list as the Flintlock and percussion lock pistol, Samuel Colt’s legendary 1851 Navy revolver, the Colt Peacemaker, and the Colt Model 1911/1911A1 semi-auto; in short, some very illustrious arms spanning somewhere on the order of five centuries of gun making. Considering that the Glock semiautomatic pistol didn’t even exist until the early 1980s, this accomplishment is all the more impressive.

Third and Gen4 models show minor differences in designs, most notably the grip panels and of course, the use of interchangeable backstraps on Gen4 pistols. The new CO2 G19 is based off the standard pistol design, not the Gen4.

It all began around 1981 when the Austrian manufacturer, known for its use of polymers and injection molding techniques, was invited by the Austrian government to submit a proposal for an upcoming military trial intended to find a suitable replacement for the nation’s aging WWII-era Walter P.38 sidearms. The Walter is still regarded as one of the great (and timeless) designs of the early 20th century, but it had two features the Austrian military no longer admired, its weight and cartridge capacity; one too much, the other too little. While European armsmakers began submitting proposals based on their current designs, Gaston Glock and his staff started with a blank sheet of paper, no preconceived notions, and most of all, no existing hardware!

When you start with a clean sheet of paper the only rules are the ones you make for yourself. Gaston Glock knew he could use an injection molded polymer frame for his new gun. It had been tried before by Heckler & Koch with the VP70 (M model full auto military version) and VP70Z (civilian semi-auto), both of which used a plastic receiver/grip assembly. The H&K 9mm pistols were introduced in 1970 and produced through 1984. This was a very large (28.9 oz., 8-in. overall length), expensive ($2,250) DAO blowback design that has become one of the more interesting footnotes in German arms manufacturing. Glock took nothing from the H&K when he began working on his proposal for the Austrian Ministry of Defense. The new semiautomatic 9mm pistol would be lighter in weight, innovative in its operation, and far less expensive. And Glock GmbH had the experience to both prototype and manufacture the gun in house.

The airgun measures up in size and finish details. Unlike most copies of centerfire semi-autos, the Umarex Glock models have the same smooth, slightly shiny Parkerized-like finish (or at least the same look) on the slide as the current models, and of course, the polymer frame is a dead ringer. This may be the most realistic finish on any CO2 air pistol.

The original Glock 17 was introduced to the public for sale as a 1983 model. It was virtually identical to the guns being made for the Austrian military and police, chambered in 9x19mm and with a capacity of 17+1. Being designed as a military sidearm, it was essentially simplistic in its execution and had very few of the features we find today on Glock semi-autos. The initial success of the G17 also brought forth a wealth of consumer requests for change, something which manufactures are often loathe to do. Glock was slow to warm to the idea of altering what was essentially a brand new design but the company was also market driven and the original changes consumers wanted were neither unreasonable nor difficult with injection molding, thus beginning in 1991 (just eight years after being introduced) texturing was added to the grip panels, along with internal improvements. A second alteration came in the 1990s with the addition of checkering on the front strap and serrations to the backstrap. This all constitutes the 2nd generation, though it is a relatively arbitrary designation.

In the evolution of the Glock a number of external and internal designs set the Gen4 apart from its predecessors. A new double recoil spring and guide rod combination (right) greatly mitigate felt recoil and muzzle flip. Pictured are a 2nd generation (bottom), 3rd generation (left), and Gen4 (right). Also note the changes in grip design and addition of a rail on the 3rd generation and Gen4 dust covers. The CO2 model’s frame is nearly identical to the standard G19 at top left.

The most notable revisions to the gun came in the late 1990s with a third variation incorporating an integral-with-the-frame accessory (Picatinny) rail to allow the mounting of laser sights, tactical flashlights, or combinations of both, as well as their availability from Glock. Thumb rests on both sides of the frame and finger grooves on the front strap were also introduced to provide a short term fix for the greater issue many consumers had with the Glock design; grip size. One size didn’t fit all. A still later production modification resulted in an improved extractor that served as a loaded chamber indicator with a tactile squared metal edge protruding slightly outward from back of the ejector port. This could both be seen and, more importantly, felt in situations which demanded immediate knowledge of the gun’s condition. Many improvements were made for North American law enforcement agencies, which were becoming one of the Austrian armsmaker’s principal customers, especially following the establishment of a U.S. importing, distribution and manufacturing facility in Smyrna, Georgia.

By the end of the 20th century Glock had gone from near obscurity as an untried Austrian armsmaker to one of the most successful brands on two continents and the gun preferred by more U.S. law enforcement agencies than any other; eventually surpassing Colt and S&W (among others) as the most customary sidearm for state and local police departments, as well as filling specific needs within the U.S. military. Not bad for a company that hadn’t existed 18 years earlier as an armsmaker!

The G19 CO2 model looks almost exactly like a standard G19 with the exception of the crossbolt safety shown from the left side in the fire position. Oddly enough, if any CO2 model didn’t need a manual safety, it is the G19 because the air pistol has a functioning Safe Action-style blade trigger safety. Also note the exceptional Glock finish on the slide.

In the 21st century Glock has added more new models, frame sizes and calibers but as always, change within the Glock organization was slow to come. The further improved Gen4 models were introduced eight years ago. The one constant in Glock engineering for more than a quarter of a century has been its Safe Action trigger design introduced with the original G17. Utilizing a blade safety lever projecting through the face of the trigger, the gun is always in a safe condition unless the trigger is pulled, very much the same concept as a revolver where the trigger is the only actual safety. The difference with the Glock is that when the Safe Action system is activated, internal safety devices make the gun inoperable so it cannot accidentally discharge if dropped.

The right side of the air pistol is not filled with verbiage but looks pretty much like a Glock. The white lettering used on the side of the barrel lug is one giveaway but aside from that, Glock markings are almost dead on; not bad for an $80 BB gun.

With the Gen4, Glock finally addressed the biggest complaint; grip size. While not a big gun, the Glock was not sized for everyone. The Gen4, first with the G22 and then G17, were the first models to offer interchangeable backstrap panels. The standard grip, which is now slightly smaller than the previous models, can be covered over by one of two different panels, medium and large. Along with internal changes to the recoil system, the Gen4 models provided better-handling, better-engineering and more versatility; the differences, although subtle, are distinctive in appearance and in function. It’s a 21st Century Glock.

The Glock uses a polymer frame and the guns come in a molded plastic case. Plastic is what Glock is all about. The first of the Glock branded CO2 models uses an injection molded frame and alloy slide. With a retail price point of only $80 the entry level model just being released comes in a blister pack. For another $10 you can order a Plano pistol case for it.

Putting on airs

Glock pistols have never been fancy (the aftermarket, however, has seen to that with more custom Glock parts and finishes than almost any other handgun made today), but rather rugged and straightforward in design. The aesthetics of a Glock are in its simplicity, durability, and familiarity. If you know how to handle one Glock model, you know how to handle every Glock model. It is that consistency throughout the company’s history that finally led them to sign a licensing agreement with Umarex and produce its first CO2 training model. As basic as this initial offering is, it is so close in looks to an actual G19 that it is virtually indistinguishable except for not bearing the caliber markings on the slide. What this new model brings to airgun enthusiasts is a CO2 pistol that makes no compromises with Warnings and manufacturers marks on the slide, other than those found on the centerfire pistol. All of the verbiage is hidden on the underside of the dustcover.

The fine details that have gone into this first CO2 model are evident in the slide which, although not a blowback action design at present, has the fit of a separate barrel, slide and extractor, and a slide lock (for disassembly of centerfire pistols). While none of these features function, they look correct. Same for the slide release on the left side. The air pistol even has the manufacturers mark panel above the right grip that reads: Officially Licensed Product of GLOCK. This picture also gives you a clear view of the one big concession to air pistol design the company has made. Despite the Glock trigger design which has a functioning Safe Action-style blade safety, the CO2 model is also fitted with a small crossbolt manual safety (shown in the FIRE position with red exposed). It is easy to set with the trigger finger and release with the support hand thumb or vice versa for left-handed shooters.

In Part 2 we begin to explore this first Glock model. I say “first” because there is another version down the road. But as with all things Glock, air also moves slowly.

11 thoughts on “First Look: Umarex Glock G19 Part 1”

  1. First off I will state, don’t own a Glock , don’t like them , have shot them and would never own one. Clunky boxy,and really no safer than any other other sa or da/ sa pistol, and no more accurate. That being said I will probably buy a blowback version when available. Why , after stating my disdain for them? Said I didn’t have any use for them didn’t say I don’t know how to use one. Never know what you will have to use someday, or show someone else how to use . Umarex seems to have done a nice job on the cosmetics, but am surprised they didn’t launch the pistol with the blowback co2 mag. Booking steerage class first I guess.

    • Honestly, I’m not a big Glock fan (I wrote about them for years never said I liked them), too great a lack of style for my taste (although I do one one). As a military or law enforcement gun, or just straight up personal protection gun, a Glock is hard to beat. Almost unbreakable, reliable, and in enough calibers and frame size variations to cover everything from deep cover to IDPA competition. Still not a great looking gun, but with Glock, as I learned over many years, it is truly the handgun that defines “form follows function” and the function of a Glock is not to look stylish, not to follow established designs (however they have inspired a lot of copies), but rather to get the job done. As for the Safe Action trigger it seems to have become almost every gun manufacturers go to design in some fashion for at least one current model. Glock rewrote the book. That’s hard to do in the firearms industry and you have to like that.

  2. Glocks are here to stay. For me I choose a firearm based on several features. Design , aesthetics , handling , accuracy,. reliability, safety. The Glock is reasonably accurate , reliable, when firedtwo handed. One handed a 1911or High Power wins. Handling, not theGlock.,Aesthetics? Glock loses,as it does in ease of concealment and carry. I would not stuff a Glock into anIWB holster,too many accudental discharges. would not carry a small Glock ina pocket holster.Reliability, tie.
    Glock is a tool not a work of steel art. That’s my story.

  3. Regarding the redundant safety, product liability protection is the name of the game today as you pointed out in one of your Mosin Nagant revolver blogs.

    I saw one other video report about this new Glock BB pistol that said the upcoming blowback version would be a pellet shooter, no doubt lacking a locking back slide.

    I think I will still buy one of these just because it’s a Glock replica, but I would have preferred that it was blowback with full CO2 / BB magazine.

    One thing I would like to know about Glock firearms. Just how invisible are they to metal detectors really? Are the firearms full polymer / ceramic construction including slide, slide rails, barrels, and all other internal parts? Or are there some metal parts inside?

    • The invisible to detection was brought to you by the Saturday Night special, Cop Killer, Assault Weapon liars. A Glock has more than enough metal to be detected by screening methods. The only pistol I know of that was invisible to scanning detection ,but now can be picked up by GSR and Nitite detection is the Russian Troika a disposable 2 shot double barrel totally ceramic pistol that was good for two shots and used nonferrous caseless ammunition. Usually concealed in a sunglass case. Dated to the 70s.

    • I think Lawman67 sums it up, but there were tests done back in the 1980s and you couldn’t even get the polymer frame through a metal detector because of the metal parts inside of it. Even if you disassemble the gun part for part, the only thing that would get through a metal detector would be the polymer frame and even that couldn’t get by an X-ray machine today. It was never a gun you could get through a metal detector; it is a total myth from day one.

  4. I’d like to see this compared to the Bersa BP9CC. I think I will hold out for a blowback version before I consider getting one of these replicas but Im still looking forward to reading more about this pistol.

    • I believe most serious airgunners will also wait for the non blister pack Walmart blowback version. Considering what Sig is offering , this is a dubious initial offering from Glock.

    • I have done the Bersa BP9cc in the July 2017 Airgun Experience columns, and it is a very accurate copy of the 9mm Bersa pistol, about equal for the most part to the Glock G19 for authenticity. I liked that gun. The Glock is still a bit more authentic in fit and finish, especially finish. That’s really the entry level G19’s strongest feature. It is a promising air pistol for future versions. Still fun to have version 1.0 even when you know 2.0 is going to be better.

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