Let's begin from the end: the 9 mm GLOCK 19 MHS is a great pistol. It couldn't be otherwise, since this is the gun that was selected as a finalist for the XM17 Modular Handgun System (MHS) competition, the US military tender for replacing the decades-old Beretta M9 (we have already reported it on all4shooters).
Ultimately another gun, the SIG Sauer P320, was declared the winner. But this decision was contested and somewhat controversial, so when GLOCK invited us as the first medium worldwide to their headquarters in Deutsch-Wagram / Austria to test the G19 MHS, we were both thrilled and intrigued.
Our first contact with the new pistol has been very positive: the GLOCK G19 MHS is aesthetically pleasing, providing a “feeling of familiarity” to anyone that previously handled a GLOCK pistol.
Yet, the more we looked at it, the more differences from any other GLOCK handgun we found. Starting with the color, of course. Over the years GLOCK has offered desert tan, olive drab, battle field green (BFG), flat dark earth (FDE), and gray colored frames. But this is the first time that a factory-manufactured GLOCK has a colored slide too. And the GLOCK 19 MHS's coyote tan slide has something fascinating, even “sexy”, with its soft, almost golden hues. The actual finish process used on the slide is presently an industrial secret, though.
GLOCK 19 MHS: the proportions of the modular pistol
The GLOCK 19 MHS appears to blend the frame of a full-size G17 with the slide of a more compact G19. But it's not altogether true: the grip is the same height of a G17's, but the dust cover is obviously shorter.
As far as the slide is concerned, the measurements are unequivocally those of the G19.
The line of sight is 151 mm (5,94 in.) and the front of the slide is also beveled to facilitate holstering. The barrel is 102 mm (4“ in.) long, and the muzzle features a deeper crowning recess to protect the rifling.
GLOCK 19 MHS, the manual safety dilemma
Then, there is that (in)famous manual safety. Actually, this isn't a novelty either. In the past GLOCK produced a variant with an external manual safety, the G17S, for some security forces around the world, and both the Austrian and the British military tested GLOCK 17 variants featuring a manual safety. But these models were made in very small numbers and are now collectors' pieces.
Moreover, GLOCK has always claimed – with some reason – that adding a manual safety to the three independent automatic safeties already integrated in their products is a useless complication for guns specifically designed to fire immediately without the need to manipulate levers of buttons.
Anyway, the thumb-operated external manual safety was a specific requirement of the MHS competition, so here it is: an ambidextrous system made up of a paddle on the left side and a lever on the right, operable only with a cocked striking pin.
Other noteworthy details are the grips featuring a smooth front strap without finger grooves, a classic military lanyard ring insert in the bottom of the grip, and a flared magwell with a flange that extends over the front of the magazine baseplate. The frame can be easily adapted to the individual shooter's hand thanks to GLOCK's Modular Backstrap System that includes a set of four more backstraps of different size.
Additionally, the G19 MHS curiously doesn't have the third cross pin introduced since the “Gen 2” GLOCKs to better support and distribute the energy transmitted to the polymer frame by the locking block. The current design of the locking block and its positioning in the frame does not require it.
The gun comes with three double-stack coyote tan magazines, one “standard” and two “extended”, with a capacity of 17 and 19 rounds respectively. Apart from the color, they are stock GLOCK 17 magazines. With a loaded standard magazine, the G19 HMS weights 908 g (32 oz.).
More subtle differences and improvements have been introduced from standard GLOCKs, but these are the most obvious.
GLOCK 19 MHS, the fire test from all4shooters.com
After examining the gun, we unceremoniously moved to fire-test the G19 MHS in GLOCK's internal shooting range. There were other nice surprises for us. We were able to test the gun not only with standard GECO 9 mm 124gr FMJ factory ammunition, but also with the authentic SP (Special Purpose) military loading. We are not allowed to disclose any information on make, build, or specs on this classified ammunition, except that it is indeed very powerful (+P+ ammo, around 20% more powerful than the mil spec ball loading), and very accurate, as attested by our groups.
Our pistol perfomed extremely well with both loads. Not only the gun is very accurate, but the trigger is exceptionally uniform and smooth, breaking with an almost “rollover feeling”, and no over-travel at all. Reset is crisp and very short. Credit for this goes to the new trigger pack that integrates the manual safety but also uses a different type of springs than standard GLOCK 17 and 19 handguns. The manufacturer claimed trigger travel is 12,5 mm (0.49 in.).
Thanks to the perfect angle and texture, grip is firm and comfortable even without the finger grooves – actually, many shooters claim it is even better without them. Both with standard GECO and the powerful special purpose ammunition, recoil and muzzle flip are easy to control. As a result, we were able to print excellent and quite rewarding groups with the pistol up to 25 meters (27yds), right from the start. We were unable to find any fault in the operation and cycling of the GLOCK MHS pistol. The gun functioned flawlessy. Spent cases are ejected positively, always falling in the same area one meter/yard to the right and slightly behind the shooter.
A “civilian” GLOCK G19 MHS? Maybe soon…
As stated in the first line of this article, the G19 MHS is definitely a great pistol, in our opinion one of the best GLOCK ever made. But after being defeated for price reasons in the prestigious competition for arming the US military, what will become of it? Will it remain a simple exercise in style? Well, maybe not.
After repeatedly stating in the past that the G19 MHS would not be offered to the public, now it's rumored that GLOCK could change its mind.
There is no official confirmation yet, but it's more than pure speculation. The same rumors also point out that the “civilian” G19 MHS would not have the added manual safety feature.
This clarification, so true to GLOCK's philosophy, indirectly confirms that GLOCK officials are seriously considering that the civilian market could be a good option. We must stress the fact, that GLOCK also developed a .40 caliber version for the Modular Handgun System competition, the G23 HMS.
If not with the military, the GLOCK G19 MHS can be a true winner with the civilians. It would be a well-deserved revenge.
Further information about GLOCK USA , you will find here on the website.
Our special thanks go to the GLOCK management for inviting our team to the Austrian Headquarter and allowing us to collect this valuable and exclusive information personally. There are some more details, we are preparing for you in the next days.
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