Umarex Glock 19X Part 1
And the story continues…
By Dennis Adler
The evolution of Glock CO2 models is keeping pace with Sig Sauer and Springfield Armory’s introduction of new air pistols this year, and over the past year and a half has gone from no Glock CO2 models to four in the U.S. market. In the European market there are also CO2 models of the Glock 34 Competition (Longslide) and Glock 17 Gen5. Since the G19X was available in Europe before it was released here, that gives us some idea of what we are apt to see from Umarex and Glock in the U.S. market for 2020. But for now, for us, (U.S.) four new Glock blowback action CO2 models is an impressive start.
The addition of the Glock 19X this month brings the generational development of the Glock design up to date, as it is both a Gen5 and the first crossover Glock model. What exactly is that? The G19X combines the shorter 4.02-inch barrel and slide assembly from the Glock 19 with the larger and higher capacity Glock 17 grip frame. The centerfire G19X comes with one 17-round flush base pad magazine and two extended 19-round magazines. Another first for the 19X is the military coyote tan color and first-ever factory colored slide (as opposed to aftermarket custom slides in various finishes and colors). The G19X slide is finished with an improved nPVD (physical vapor deposition) coating to prevent corrosion. The polymer frame is a matching coyote tan, as is the finish on the magazines. All of the basic details for the centerfire model are duplicated on the new blowback action CO2 model, including the coyote tan self-contained CO2 BB magazines which have an 18-round capacity to equal the G19X standard 17-round mag plus one round chambered.
The concept of mixing slides, barrels, and frames to make a new model is not a groundbreaking concept. It’s old; think Walter PPK/S in 1968, combining the shorter barrel and slide of the PPK with the longer and heavier frame of the PP to create a slightly larger gun to meet new U.S. gun importation regulations as a “Sport” model. The PPK was considered too small to import under provisions established by the Gun Control Act of 1968. Walther created the PPK/S essentially for the U.S. market. This not only gave the new PPK version the added weight needed to obtain the one import point it was lacking for importation, but also increased magazine capacity from the PPK’s 6 to the PP model’s 7 rounds. Interestingly, the Glock 19X was created for the U.S. as well, though for an entirely different reason, not to meet any importation restriction, but to meet the needs of the U.S. military and the U.S. Army’s Modular Handgun System (MHS) program. The MHS was established in 2011 to find a replacement for the nation’s aging M9 (Beretta 92 Series) standard issue sidearm. It had some problems getting off the ground and the solicitation deadline was pushed from 2015 to February 2016, allowing arms manufacturers both here and in Europe ample time to work on new designs to fulfill the MHS requirements. Still, few managed to do so.
Sig Sauer already had a modular handgun design (the P320) in their lineup, which only required slight changes to qualify for the MHS trials. Sig had it in the bag. Smith & Wesson’s M&P9 M2.0, FN’s 509, Beretta’s M9A3 (M9 update) and APX, CZ’s P09 MHS, the Sphinx SDP Compact (another CZ75 variation), and STI-Detonics STX, were immediate also-rans, and the Glock entry, while interesting, barely raised a military eyebrow. But in the end, the Glock design did find some quarters within the military and government (Glock models were already in use with some military operations), despite Sig Sauer winning the MHS bid.
As nice as the G19X turned out, it did not truly meet the modular requirement, while Sig’s P320 platform allowed for a handgun that could swap out two different frame sizes and barrel/slide combinations to make a full-sized handgun and one more suitable for concealment. This resulted in Sig Sauer contracting for the full-sized M17 and compact M18. Everyone else either shelved their projects or sent the guns into the civilian marketplace as their latest models. The Glock 19X, however, seems to have turned a lot of heads with its unique size, capacity, and finish. As factory finish Glock models go, the 19X is a looker and the only substantial difference between the civilian G19X and the Army submission is the lack of an external safety, which was a requirement for all the MHS entrants. The G19X also makes use of technology developed for the Gen5 series, with upgraded internal components, a “marksman barrel,” an improved non-corrosive colored nPVD coyote tan slide finish and matching polymer frame.
I don’t know that I agree totally with Glock’s Gen5 design, as it both adds and takes away from features established with the Third Gen and Gen4 models. Foremost is the absence of the finger grooves on the frontstrap. I have always considered this a plus. Now, the Gen5 is flat with deep checkering, almost back to the original 1982 design, which didn’t have checkering. The base of the Gen5 frontstrap is flared to provide a finger rest and better hold on the grip, which is a nice addition, and the civilian model also retains the military lanyard ring on the grip bottom. As a Gen5, the G19X also uses the latest version interchangeable backstrap panels and grip panel checkering.
Another feature that carried over from the MHS is the ambidextrous slide release (which unfortunately is only functional on the left side for the CO2 model). The centerfire models have a new barrel design, the Glock Marksman Barrel (GMB) with polygonal rifling for improved accuracy; of course, that has no bearing on the CO2 model which is still a smoothbore.
In Part 2 we will un-box, or rather un-blister pack the Umarex Glock 19X and begin comparing it in design form and function to the three preceding Umarex Glock models.
A word about safety
Blowback action airguns provide the look, feel and operation of their cartridge-firing counterparts and this is one reason why they have become so popular. Airguns in general all look like guns, blowback action models more so, and it is important to remember that the vast majority of people can’t tell an airgun from a cartridge gun. Never brandish an airgun in public. Always, and I can never stress this enough, always treat an airgun as you would a cartridge gun. The same manual of operation and safety should always apply.