Glock 19 Vs SIG P229 9mm Review

 

Similar in size and magazine capacity, Glock 19 and P229 are often compared and many people have asked me which is better. Like so many modern guns today, which tend to be well made, it really boils down to personal preference. I am lucky enough to not have needed to choose, I own both. I prefer my 19 for CCW and the P229 for use on the range, though of course I train constantly with both. This is my Glock 19 vs SIG 229 9mm Review.

Sig 229 vs Glock 19

glock vs Sig

Two Legendary Guns

When comparing two popular 9mm weapons like the Glock 19 Gen 4 and Sig Sauer P229, it truly is like comparing apples and apples. They each have their own strengths and weaknesses and each have a rabid fan base. As I often state, with most well-made similar guns, there are rarely any that everyone 100% agrees are considered better than the other. Finding the right gun for you depends on your own unique physical build, needs, uses, tastes and preferences.

So this article will examine fourteen points of comparison and utilizing my experience of owning and shooting both the pistols for over a decade now, I’ll try my best to give you my fair and balanced opinion of which gun is strong in which category, since I’ll already reveal that I personally think they are both equally great guns.

The P229 was originally introduced to supplement and then replace the P228, like the earlier model, it too was chambered in .357 and .40 S&W and 9mm as well. It is essentially the smaller sibling of the P226. This review will be about the P229 9mm version. The Glock 19 is the 9mm compact-sized smaller sibling of the Glock 17. ( Looking for more info on the Glock 17? Check out our Glock 17 vs 19 review)

In the U.S. and around the world, many civilian law enforcement officers carry a Glock, while plenty of people in military special operations carry a Sig Sauer model. Both of these pistols have earned a reputation for extreme reliability in tough conditions. In a match-up like this one, the end result is not so much which one is the best; rather it is which one you personally prefer. Both of these handguns are proven weapons that have performed with stellar reliability in the very worst of environments.

Technical Specifications

Glock 19, Gen 4

Length: 7.28 in.

Height: 4.99 in.

Width: 1.18 in.

Sight Radius: 6.02 in.

Unloaded Weight:  670g.

SIG SAUR P229 9mm

Length: 7.1 in.

Height: 5.4 in.

Width: 1.5in.

Sight Radius: 5.7 in.

Unloaded Weight:  907g.

14 Point Comparison – Glock 19 vs SIG P229

1) Actions: Glock

The Glock 19 is a striker-fired pistol, with no external hammer. Instead, the firing pin is “cocked” by an internal spring until the trigger releases it to strike the cartridge. When you rack the slide of a Glock to chamber the first round, the firing pin is only partially cocked. That provides a degree of safety because the gun can’t fire from the partially cocked configuration. When you pull the trigger, the cocking operation is completed until the backward motion of the trigger releases the fully cocked striker. With the striker-fired design, every trigger pull will feel the same.

Glock in Action

Fire!

The SIG Sauer P229 is a double-action/single-action, hammer-fired pistol. For the P229 to fire, the hammer must be cocked first so it can fall and strike the firing pin. This doesn’t mean you have to cock the hammer manually. The “double-action” operation means that the P229s trigger performs two functions. Pulling it can cock the hammer and release it to strike the firing pin, hence the “double” part of double-action. Once the first shot is fired by this double-action sequence, the movement of the slide cocks the hammer for the next shot, so the subsequent trigger pull requires far less pressure. I’ll go over this further in the trigger section below, for now, all you need to know for the P229 is that the first shot requires a heavier and more deliberate pull by the shooter. Subsequent shots require less force as the trigger then only performs the single function of releasing the hammer.

Both approaches have their pros and cons, so deciding which is better is purely a personal preference. The P229 requires a more deliberate trigger pull to launch the first shot. Some view this as an extra layer of safety that helps prevent a negligent discharge during a high-stress situation. The trigger weight for follow-up shots is less than that of the Glock 19, which can enable faster and more precise shooting. The drawback is that the shooter must manage the transition from a heavier trigger pull to a lighter trigger pull for the next shot. I personally like the smoother consistent trigger-pull, as I feel there is less chance of a first shot flying off, and Glocks have a small advantage with no external hammer, because nothing, no matter how small of a chance, can get in the way of the striker pin hitting the cartridge inside.

2) Appearance: P229

Yes, there are those that this category is important to, and I am one of those people. It might not have as heavy a weight as other categories, but I like a good-looking sidearm. Sure, there are those who might think that the lean, utilitarian and generally considered ugly Glock is beautiful in its own stark way, but myself and most people I’ve ever spoken to, or read about their opinions agree that the more classical 1911 inspired look of the P229 is much more aesthetically pleasing. That and there are still those who consider light weight polymer guns to be “plastic toys.” Polymer guns are certainly not plastic, and their durability, especially of Glocks really cannot be argued, but if you’re used to the weight and feel of an all-metal gun, the Glock can really seem like a child’s plaything.

3) Accuracy and Performance: SIG

This isn’t exactly a fair comparison point, not because one gun is better than the other, but this is very subjective and depends on the shooter.  For me, with the Glock 19 I can regularly shoot groups two to three inches at 25 yards, while with the P229 I will more frequently shoot groups measuring closer to two inches at the same distance, but I probably shoot more with the P229 at the range. The real key here is practice, pure and simple.  If you train properly, both the Glock 19 and the SIG P229 will deliver your shots beautifully. With quality ammo, I generally have very few stoppages with either gun. Still, most of my friends seem to prefer the SIG in competition shooting, so I guess that gives the P229 a small advantage here.

4) Safeties: P229

Shooting the Sig

Safety First

Neither the Glock nor SIG have external manual safeties. The Glock 19 trigger is part of the Glock Safe Action Pistol safety system. Depressing the center part of the trigger releases the safety and allows the pistol to be fired. This is meant to reduce the risk of accidental firing.

Second, the Glock has an internal firing pin safety. This pin will keep the striker from launching itself forward. Third, there is a drop safety. The gun may be dropped from a significant height, with a round in the chamber, and this safety will make sure that the gun does not discharge.

The P-series double-action SIGs are all “point and shoot” guns, whose designs do not require manual safeties. There are three levers or controls on the P229: the slide stop, the magazine release and the decocker. The Glock 19 has two (minus the decocker). The less levers you need to worry about, the quicker you can react without fumbling.

The P229 has the SIG Sauer 4 Point safety system which employs a decocking lever, a patented automatic firing pin safety block, a safety intercept notch, and a trigger bar disconnector.

The first point of the safety measure allows the gun to be carried safely with a round in the chamber and the hammer decocked. This converts the relatively light single action trigger to heavier double action that’s much less likely to be accidentally fired. This is important to me especially, since I like to have my gun ready for immediate use in my sometimes problematic neighborhood. I always have a round chambered.

The lack of a manual safety on both the Glock and P229 mean they can be quickly drawn and employed if deadly force is required. The shooter never has to worry about flipping the safety on or off, just draw, point and you’re ready to fire.

With the second safety point, the intercept notch, the hammer, when decocked, sits just behind the firing pin, not touching it, so you don’t need to worry about spring tension that might somehow accidentally snap forward. Absurd or not, people worry about it. I’ve been on the range with plenty of newbies who were nervous about this very issue. The spring here though isn’t under tension, and the hammer has no way of impacting the firing pin unless the trigger is pulled. When the hammer moves to strike the firing pin when the trigger is pulled, the hammer actually slingshots forward across the gap between the resting position and the firing pin, strikes the pin and then snapping backwards again.

The third point, the firing pin block, is actually built into the slide itself. The firing pin is held back and away from the cartridge primer by a spring, and locked in place using a locking bar built into the slide. When the trigger is pulled, a small lever rises up out of the frame to disengage the locking bar and allow the firing pin to move forwards. Without this safety disengaged, the firing pin wouldn’t move even if struck by the hammer. This helps in the event that the pistol is jarred or dropped.

Finally, the trigger bar disconnect, ensures that while the slide is cycling, the trigger bar is disconnected from the sear to avoid an out-of-battery (before the action has returned to the normal firing position) discharge.

Both guns are very safe. Again, it’s hard to say which one will accidentally fire more than the other. I’ve never had any problems. I’ll only say the SIG here is a tab better merely because of the amount of safety precautions put in place which can give new shooters a better sense of security, though to veteran shooters I really don’t think one is considered safer than the other.

5) Trigger: Glock

The constant 5.5 pound trigger-pull on the Glock, which can be easily increased or decreased depending on your preference by changing parts readily available, works well for me. No hard double action first shot. The trigger reset is also shorter on the Glock. The initial double action trigger-pull of the SIG at 10 pounds takes some getting used to. Fortunately it’s a smooth, if somewhat long, trigger-pull, and the single action 4.5 pound trigger-pull after the first shot is really smooth and easy to handle. The extra SIG weight really helps against the recoil and makes follow-up shots easier, but this also points to one of the P229’s big drawbacks for me, that first shot often gets away, unless you put serious time into learning proper technique (which of course you should). Obviously trigger pull weight and feeling is a matter of personal preference, but I have yet to find a trigger that’s works as well for me on a carry gun as the 5.5 pound stock Glock trigger, so it wins here.

6) Grip, Slide Racking and Over-All Ergonomics: TIE

grip glock

Glock Grip

The grips are both comfortable, but the SIG’s more traditional straight grip is what most new shooters are used to. The grips on my SIG are very comfortable, and the texture gives a very sure grip. The Glock grip is plainer but also very comfortable. It has finger grooves and improved texture over earlier generations.  Both guns are well-suited for a two-handed grip, and fill my large hands very nicely, though with the shorter handled Glock, I need to add a magazine grip extender to properly grip it. One downside of the P229 is the grip you buy is the grip you’re stuck with — no options to change them. The Glock 19 Gen 4 has backstraps which allows you to customize the handle to your grip. I didn’t need to switch out the backstrap, but some will likely find this a big advantage.

Both guns feel nice in my large hands, though there is something to be said about the solid metal feel of the SIG. On the SIG, the slide release sometimes can be bumped during recoil, but this is rarely truly an issue. You just consciously have to avoid the high thumbs-forward grip, which takes a bit getting used to and is a bit annoying, but after practice this becomes second nature and you don’t think of it too much unless you’re quickly switching between weapons.  The Glock design must be gotten used to though. The grip angle is weird for many people, and while combat accurate, the Glock is probably not as intrinsically accurate as the SIG without serious practice, because of the grip angle, people tend to shoot high. The slides I find are equally easy to rack. Both have slide grooves that give enough traction. Though the Glock’s grip angle takes some getting used to and plenty of practice to overcome, because of the customizable backstraps I’ll say this category is an over-all tie.

7) Price: Glock

Doubtless for many this is a deciding factor. The P229 can be nearly double the price of the Glock, and the magazines are a bit more expensive. Though to get the most out of the Glock, you might need to spend a bit on buying better sights, for example, till you get it to the standard you want, so just keep that in mind. Still, the initial price of a brand new Glock is much more appealing.

8) Parts and Customization: Glock

The availability of OEM Glock 19 accesories is mind boggling – anything seems possible. On the other hand, though the SIG requires less customization, it is still more difficult to find parts. There is less of a supply out there – as there are fewer SIGs than Glocks out there as well. That being said, keep in mind that there are over 10 models of the P229. While Glock assigns individual model numbers to guns with different calibers, Sig Sauer keeps the same model designation regardless of the caliber.  You can order a P229 chambered in 9mm, .40 S&W, and.357 SIG.

The Glock is also available in .40 S&W and .357, but despite sharing identical exterior dimensions and the same internal design, as the Glock 19, they have different designations. The.40 Smith & Wesson version is called the Glock 23, while the .357 is the Glock 32. If that was not enough, you can also get a Glock 38 in .45 ACP that is nearly the same size. Of course, since cartridge sizes differ, the magazine capacity varies when you change to larger calibers, and you’ll gain a more powerful cartridge, but lose a few bullets. The Glock 19 does not have the same variants as the P229, but it is available in several variations: the older Glock 19s (you usually will not encounter the gen 1 and 2, but 3 is still pretty common), the Glock 19 Gen 4, and the new Glock 19 MOS. The Gen 4 has improved grip texture, replaceable backstraps, a new recoil spring design, and improvements to the magazine release. The MOS model allows you to mount a red dot sight directly to the top of the slide, for those who want that.

9) Disassembly / Cleaning: Glock

taking a sig apart

Disassembly


I want to state clearly that the SIG is not a difficult pistol to maintain, disassemble and clean, but the Glocks are all just so easy to maintain and quickly disassemble down to the smallest parts for a good cleaning that it takes the win in this category. The polymer framed Glock’s simplicity of design makes for less hassle, needs much less lubrication and provides fewer parts that can potentially malfunction, whereas an all-metal gun requires lubrication to perform optimally and the SIG P229 is no exception.  It can sometimes be problematic to shoot without full lubrication on the rails and other working metal surfaces.  You can fire the P229 dry, but it will eventually wear the bearing surfaces on the slide and frame shortening the life-span of these parts, and you may notice it is not as smooth in operation.

I’m not trying to scare you here. It isn’t that the SIG will take you forever to maintain, disassemble and clean, but for people who are generally pressed for time in their daily life, this can be a real deal-breaker. If you don’t enjoy consistent cleaning and maintenance of your weapon you’ll really like the Glock. I’ve mentioned how popular the SIG is with many military and law-enforcement units (as is the Glock), but keep in mind that these units/agencies usually have an armorer to maintain them.  The Glock is the definition of rugged and low-maintenance. You can fire it dry or simply oiled since the slick surfaces of polymer don’t seem to have any wearing effects on the steel slide.  I do add a little lubricant but it is not critical on the Glock.

Disassembly is easy enough on the SIG. Just lock the slide back and rotate the take-down lever until it is vertical.  At that point you can remove the slide forward.  Once you’ve removed the slide you have 5 basic parts to clean.  The main thing is that you should clean it regularly and lubricate the rails to insure reduced wear on metal on metal surfaces contact points. 

The Glock has an even easier 4 piece disassembly process for cleaning and lubrication.  The spring is integral to the recoil assembly and guide rod so there is no chance of inverting the spring incorrectly or losing it.  The P229, with more parts, takes me a bit longer and the fiddling around with small pins upon reassembly is just not optimal for my big fingers, but that is just me.

10) Durability: TIE

The Glocks are known for their simple rugged durability. With fewer parts to break, you might think this was a shoe in for the Glock, but the fact is that the P229 is just as equally well-made and durable. Yes, it has more parts that can cause issues, and in general it needs a bit more tender loving care for optimal performance in the long run, but the top-notch craftsmanship of the SIGs (another reason for the higher price-tag) is a real equalizer.

11) Magazines: TIE

One of the advantages of many double stacked 9mm’s is having a large capacity magazine. Both guns take advantage here with a stock 15-round magazine. SIG mags however, are more expensive and aren’t always available everywhere (due to SIGs being less common). The cheaper Glock mags are incredibly common and factory magazines are very affordable. To balance this advantage, I find that Glock polymer magazines don’t come out as smooth as metal magazines like the SIG’s, but this is an almost imperceptible difference.

12) Recoil: TIE

The bore axis in the P229 relative to the grip is much higher than in the Glock. The effect of this is to make the front of the barrel push up with rotational force centered on the fulcrum of the hand on the grip thus driving the grip downward into the V between the thumb and index finger. The bore-axis on the Glock is much lower, which helps with muzzle flip, though the added weight and balance of the SIG also help with muzzle flip, so they are both easy to control. Comparing the recoil of the standard Glock 19 to the Sig P229 I find the recoil slightly more manageable in the Glock 19, but it is really just a small difference.  I have trained with both weapons for such a long time, they both feel equally well controlled and mild in my hands. Some people I know think the SIG has a slightly stronger recoil, while others think the lighter Glock does. I’ll leave it up to you to decide and I’ll just call it a tie!

13) Weight and Size: Glock

There really is no contest here. All-metal vs. polymer: Glock wins hands down. You might think that the 237 gram difference between the two is not terrible, but it does make a difference when it comes to daily carry. The Glock is also narrower and shorter, so it is more comfortable to carry for CCW, though the SIG is by no means uncomfortable.

14) Factory Sights: P229. OEM Sights: Glock

SIg sights

Sights

The default factory sights of the Glock, which have a white dot up front and rear notch surrounded by a white “U” outline, are made of polymer. I really am not a fan of those. Luckily, with so many available options, you can install pretty much whatever sights you like. The P229 basic factory sights are made from steel and are much better straight out of the box. SIG uses the three-dot model, on which the rear sight is flanked by two white dots instead of the “U” outline of the Glock. Though there are slightly less options than with the Glock, here too you can install different sights if you prefer. I have the Trijicon night sights on both. Looking only at the factory sights, the P229 wins here, but with the larger amount of OEM sights available for the Glock, it wins there.

Summing Up: Glock Versus SIG

I adore both of these handguns equally. For me each has a separate purpose, and I never had to choose between the two. The SIG is an excellent pistol. The high bore axis, double action trigger pull, and decocking and slide release levers that can sometimes be confusing to a new shooter are all things that can be overcome with practice. The Glock’s real promise is its simplicity of operation and rugged design. It has undergone some of the industry’s most rigorous durability testing and has come through with flying colors. As stated, my Glock 19 is my go-to CCW, while my P229 is my favorite on the range. You should test these and other guns before choosing which you think is best suited to you. Make sure it fills your specific needs, uses, tastes and grip. If you found one that fulfills that, you’re set. If you’re considering purchasing one of these guns, no matter which you choose, both are classic pistols with solid histories and law-enforcement and military use around the world. If you’re comfortable shooting both and they suit your needs, than either, or both, are great choices that will serve you well.

Just make sure that whatever you get, you train on enough to become properly proficient in it. You want to get to a level where you’re not only consistently hitting the targets with tight groupings, but the handling of the gun is so instinctive to you that you can fire it even under stressful real-life situations and hit what you’re aiming at. I hope this has been informative and has helped you on your journey to finding the right handgun. Stay safe and have a great day!

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