I recently received an email from a reader asking me to do an article on the Glock 19 vs 26 for concealed carry. I am a fan of Glock 9mms almost in any configuration, but if I could have only one, it would be the 19. It is truly the do-everything pistol. On the timer, I can’t statistically show a difference in performance inside of 20 yards (as compared to a 17.) I can manage around 275-280 on the FBI Bulleye Course with a 19 which is within single digits of what I can do with a tuned 1911 on the same drill. The 19 is big enough to be pressed into the role of a full sized service pistol, yet small enough to fit underneath a T-shirt in a Raven Eidolon Holster. Given my philosophy of selecting the biggest gun with most capacity that I can practically carry for the circumstances, the Glock 19 fits the bill 99 percent of the time. So what about the 26?
Until the 43, the 26 was the smallest 9mm in the Glock lineup. It was and still is a popular choice for a backup pistol as it is fairly small and can accept magazines from its bigger siblings. It is somewhat fat for its shortness, and most people can only get two fingers on the grip. That said, it is quite controllable and fits well in an ankle holster. In fact, for situations where I have to tuck my shirt in (such as weddings or other formal events) I prefer a G26 or J-frame in an ankle rig.
So how to decide which to carry. First, consider your environment. Can you dress around the 19 in your waistband? Will the extra bulk of the 19 make you miserable all day? What are your performance deficits with the 26 as compared to the 19? If you cannot quantify this, it’s time to hit the range. I would suggest comparing split times from 3, 5, 7 and 10 yards. Also compare target to target transition times, and also shoot some groups at 25 yards under reasonable time pressure and consider the differences.
Most people simply choose what is most comfortable to carry, but in an age of ever increasing threats, that five shot revolver may be insufficient to solve your tactical problem. Of course, carrying any gun is better than none at all, but comfort and concealability usually comes at the cost of performance and capacity. Hit the range and know what you are giving up when you choose that smaller, more comfortable option.