Glock Finally Dropped a Factory 19L: Meet the New (To Glock) G49
Glock has answered the call of fans of the G19L with their new G49, blending longslide accuracy with the concealability of a compact frame. An the ideal solution for those seeking the best of both worlds?
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For those familiar with Glock’s history and tradition, Ole Gustav coughed up the pistol that would become the Glock 17 in the early 1980s from a blank sheet of paper and carved out a future for the young company as the leader of polymer-framed striker-fired pistols.
The gently shorter and more compact Glock 19 appeared a couple of years later and, by the time the FBI transitioned back to 9mm in 2015, was probably the most popular carry handgun in the country.
Still, there were a lot of Glock nerds who wanted to split the difference between the two designs– taking the G17 slide and barrel and using it on a G19 frame. The idea was the resulting hybrid offspring, akin to the Liger or Zorse of the handgun world, would hit the sweet spot that would allow the concealability of the G19 coupled with the accuracy of the longer-barreled G17.
This concept became known as the Glock 19L, taking a cue from the longslide Glock 17L, which was (and still is) a thing. As the standard G17 slide/barrel won’t fit on the standard G19 frame, the most common way to make a 19L back in the day was to have the grip shaved down about 0.40 inches on a factory G17 and contoured so it didn’t look like crap.
Lots of gunsmiths specialized in the simple conversion. So many that several aftermarket suppliers saw the demand for a more plug-and-play, no gunsmith required, solution which was to develop and sell specialized “long” slides for the G19.
Big names like ZEV even took to making souped-up clones of the like that Glock couldn’t dream.
Then, in 2019, Glock was forced to make the G47 for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency as part of an $85 million service pistol contract.
A crossover, the G47 was basically a Gen 5 Glock 17 that used the shorter Glock 19 recoil system on a frame with a slightly shorter dust cover to match.
Sure, it just looks like a G17 on the outside, but this little tweak allowed the user to swap out the top half with a G19 Gen4/5, G19X, and G45 and vice versa, giving those who owned a compatible option to make their own reversible “all Glock” G19L without a gunsmith.
Now, with the G47 available on the commercial market for more than a year, Glock has finally debuted what they call the G49. Not to spoil it, but the pistol is a Gen 5 G19 that has been made to accept a G17 slide and barrel.
In short, a Gen 5 G19L in all but name. Why would anyone care at this point?
Well, there is something to say about a factory Glock in terms of simplicity and reliability. The G49 is optics ready, albeit with Glock’s less-than-perfect MOS system footprints and plates, and, as the line has long had most of the bugs worked out of it over the past five decades, there is a non-existent learning curve to get it right.
In the end, the G49 will offer a turnkey (and probably rock solid dependable) solution for those wanting a G19L without having to go through the trouble of making their own.
Hopefully, for Glock there is still interest in this concept. Even if there isn’t, they’ll probably sell a million of them.