Glock 17 Caliber Size | Our Guide to Why It Matters

Did you know that in the early 1980s, Gaston Glock designed the Glock 17 pistol to compete in acquiring a procurement contract with the Austrian army? And the Glock 17 pistol won over the Beretta 92S, SIG Sauer P220, and P225, among other models.

Since then, this pistol has been the preferred choice for many military and law enforcement agencies globally. Also, it has become the most popular handguns police departments use.

Please continue reading to gain detailed insights regarding the Glock 17 caliber size and why it is your perfect gun for home defence or general self-defense.

Glock 17 Caliber Size: Why Glock 17 Pistol is Popular

The Glock 17 model is a simple-to-use semi-automatic pistol with wide-ranging advantageous features. 


Though most Glock guns have fixed sights, Glock 17 has options for both fixed and adjustable sights. In many instances, you will find adjustable sights in models designed for competition shooting.

Moreover, the Glock 17 pistol has a long barrel which offers a longer sight radius, increasing your ability to shoot accurately. Its soft shooting mechanism enables both men and women to fire the gun easily. So, it can be your perfect combat gun.


The Glock 17 is a safe gun to use because it does not have a manual safety mode. It adopts an in-built automatic "Safe Action" trigger system. If you do not pull the trigger properly, the gun will not fire a shot. It helps to avoid unintentional shooting.

Another safety measure is the safety lock resets and turns "On" after every shot. You need to pull the trigger for every shot you intend to take. Additionally, you need to lock the barrel fully before firing; otherwise, you will not be able to shoot.

Optimal Magazine Capacity

The Glock 17 caliber size is 9mm Luger. Its standard magazine capacity holds 17 rounds, exceeding many handguns of the same quality. You can extend the capacity magazine holding by using those that can hold nineteen or thirty-three rounds.

Other designs labeled as compact or subcompact have smaller standard Glock magazines. The Glock Company has designed some magazines to be swappable between different models. For example, you can use Glock 17 factory magazines on a Glock 19 pistol. 

Inexpensive to Maintain

The pistol has thirty-three parts together with the magazine. You can use a pin or nail to disassemble the pistol in a minute.

Various parts are compatible with other Glock designs. For instance, you can swap almost all parts between the Glock 17 and Glock 19 pistols except for the frame, recoil spring, slide, slide lock spring, barrel, guide rod, and locking block.

Low Weight

The Glock Company introduced the use of polymer gun parts instead of metal, significantly reducing the overall weight. This led to hysterical rumors that these guns pass x-ray machines and metal detectors without being noticed.

The majority of the parts in a Glock handgun are made of polymer, including the frame and magazine. The guns have only three metal parts: the slide, trigger mechanism, and barrel.

Polymer parts were a major breakthrough in the firearms realm as currently, all recognized arms producers develop pistols with a polymer frame.


Glock pistol barrels are said to have a longer service life of over three hundred and fifty thousand shots as opposed to other same caliber pistols that last around forty thousand shots only.

The few metal parts in Glock guns have extreme resistance to rust because they are coated with a rustproof covering.


Although Glock pistols are made of polymer, they function properly at wide temperature ranges (between -40°C and +200°C).

The Glock guns have consistently outshined other gun manufacturers in terms of accuracy and reliability tests undertaken by different military and law enforcement agencies around the globe.

The Glock 17 model has great muzzle energy that ensures good penetration and rarely fails when using it.

Glock 17 Generations

The success of the Glock 17 model drove the Glock Company to develop numerous other models with a similar basic design. These models have minor differences in their magazine capacity, barrel lengths, and dimensions. There are five generations to date.

The Glock Company manufactured its Glock 17 Gen 1 pistols from 1986 to 1990. The pistols were made to use 9x19 mm bullets.

Between 1990 and 1998, the company designed the Glock 17 Gen 2 pistols. Here, minor changes were made to the frame's texture to improve the pistol grip. Most notably was the introduction of other caliber sizes such as the 11.43x23 mm (.45 ACP), 10x25 mm (10 mm Auto), 10x22 mm (.40S&W), and 9x22 mm (.375 SIG). 

various size cartridges

Also, a steel plate containing the model number was added to the receiver in front of the trigger guard to comply with the American ATF regulations.

These were followed by the third generation pistols manufactured from 1998 to 2010. The company did a few enhancements, like fitting the accessory rail beneath the barrel.

The fourth-generation pistols began in 2010 and continued to 2017. The pistols have bigger buttons for releasing the magazine, replaceable back straps to enhance ergonomics, and other minimal internal developments.

The fifth generation started in 2017 to date. The Glock pistols have both right and left slide release levers and finger grooves removed, among other minor improvements.

With many Glock designs introduced in the marketplace, we explore the two most popular Glock models (Glock 17 and Glock 19) in the following section.

Glock 17 Versus Glock 19

Many people find it difficult to choose between the Glock 17 and Glock 19 models. Either choice is a win, though each model has specific qualities that make it ideal for different pistol users.

handguns Gllock 17 and Glock 19

Let's delve into their features to understand the differences more clearly.

Concealed Carry

The main concern with pistol owners is the ease of concealing the gun. Generally, the Glock 19 is a reduced size Glock 17 and is considered a Compact pistol by its manufacturer. The Glock 19 is nearly the perfect handgun because it functions as a full-size gun.

The Glock 17 has a longer barrel length (4.5 inches) and overall length (8 inches) compared to Glock 19, which has a 4-inch barrel and 7.36 inches in overall length. Thus, it is easier to conceal the Glock 19.

However, it would help if you considered other factors apart from gun size to conceal the gun effectively. These factors include the holster type, selected attire, and the carrying location.

Accuracy and Recoil

Shooting accurately depends entirely on a shooter and not the gun type. You will have to be an expert shooter to realize any difference between the two pistols' trigger pull and slide action. The marginal differences in dimensions and weight are insignificant to affect accuracy or recoil.

The shorter barrel length in Glock 19, compared to Glock 17, does not impact accuracy or velocity. If the variation in barrel lengths were between 3.5 inches and 4 inches, instead of the actual 4 inches to 4.5 inches, you would note a difference.

When loaded, Glock 17 weighs 910 g (32.12 oz.), whereas Glock 19 is 55 g (1.94 oz.) lighter. The weight difference between the two pistols is negligible to note a difference in terms of handling or recoil. As a result, the Glock 17 and Glock 19 pistols offer practically the same accuracy level and recoil.

Capacity and Reliability

Both the Glock 17 and 19 pistols use 9mm cartridges. The Glock 17 magazine can hold 17 rounds, while Glock 19 magazine holds a maximum of 15 rounds. Most gun users would prefer to carry a gun with more rounds in critical situations, irrespective of the size.

The two extra rounds explain why the Glock 17 pistol is better for military and law enforcement agencies than the Glock 19 model. However, you can use the Glock 17 magazine on a Glock 19 pistol, increasing its rounds capacity, but backward compatibility is not applicable.

Glock Company has been recognized for manufacturing superior weaponry, making both pistol models highly reliable weapons even in harsh environmental settings. Glock handguns are known to withstand inactivity, dust, and debris for several months.

Is a Glock 17 a 45 Caliber?

Glock 17 is not a 45 caliber pistol; it is a 9 mm Luger ammunition. Forty-five caliber pistols use .45 ACP rounds similar to the 1911 model. Various Glock models that are 45 calibers include the Glock 21, 21SF, 30, the 30S, 30SF, 36, and 41 Gen 4.

a stack of 9 mm Luger ammunition


The Glock 17 is a revolutionary design that molded the firearms industry to use polymer parts instead of a fully metallic pistol. The Austrian army first accepted the pistol before becoming a weapon of choice for many other militaries, police, and law enforcement agencies.

Many pistol owners choose this pistol model as their ideal handgun on the gun range and for home and personal protection. The handgun has become the most common pistol worldwide.

Glock 19 is a compact version of Glock 17, which has gained popularity due to its smaller size for concealed carry. Apart from the pistol's dimensions, Glock 17 and 19 have similar characteristics in caliber size, accuracy, recoil, and reliability.

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