Several sources are reporting the U.S. Navy SEALs are adopting the Glock 19 as the standard-issue sidearm, replacing the venerable SIG SAUER P226 pistols the Teams have used for many years. This announcement is likely to fuel an already very hot debate over the value of Glock pistols. Though the SEAL Teams have had a few Glocks in their inventories, this is the first report that the Glock will become the standard-issue sidearm over the SIG.
Never-Ending Glock Debate
Ever since Glock entered the firearm market there have been supporters and detractors. Perhaps like no other debate about pistols, the two sides of the Glock debate have avid members who are adamant about their beliefs and vigorously opine their opinions for all who will hear. Anyone taking the other side is labeled an idiot who “obviously” don’t understand firearms. The only real comparison firearm debate is the half-century-old debate over which military rifle is the best: AR-15 or AK-47.
This YouTube video from Denny Ducet purports to have knowledge of the official SEAL transition to the Glock 19. Though unconfirmed it would appear some frogmen are indeed packing Glock 19’s.
If confirmed, the transition of the SEALs (Sea Air And Land) from the Sig Sauer P226 Mk25 to the Glock 19 could send an ever-increasing ripple through the handgun market. At a time when the U.S. Military is considering a new combat handgun, the FBI has put out an RFP for a new pistol, and several other countries are in the market, the nod by one of the world’s most elite special forces units could have far-reaching effects beyond the few hundred who wear the Trident.
Transitioning to the Glock 19 may not be as much of a stretch as some may imagine. Glocks have proven themselves accurate, simple, and reliable pistols for 30 years, and are already in the hands of dozens of militaries around the globe. Glocks are much lighter, and slightly smaller than the all-metal Sig Sauer P226, making them attractive to a SEAL having to carry a heavy load already. In addition, Glocks have already been in the inventory of SEAL and other Special Forces units as optional sidearms making them a familiar sidearm.
The big news is that the SEALs are now making the Glock 19 their official duty issue sidearm over the Sig Sauer P226 Mk25.
The Glock 19, like all Glocks, is simple to field strip and maintain. The Glock only has 34 parts, and can still function in one manner or another even if (11) of those parts fail or are taken out of the pistol. That’s nearly 1/3 of the parts missing, and still maintaining its lethal capacity. Really amazing, and a testimony to the Glock design. For those who fight in some of the most difficult terrain and combat areas, that type of reliability speaks volumes. Simply put – Glocks work!
Glock has marine versions that change the spring cups to vented ones, allowing water that enters the firearm’s internals to quickly run out as the pistol is removed from the water. This allows safe firing almost immediately after a SEAL departs his watery entry point. The polymer frame and hard-coating (formerly Tenifer, now likely Melonite), provide excellent protection from the salty water, and sandy places SEALs often have to work in.
Glocks do not have an external safety lever, making them ready to fire as soon as they are drawn, yet maintain (3) internal safeties that prevent inadvertent firing if the pistol is dropped or bumped. The Glock trigger maintains a constant 5.5 lb. trigger pull, avoiding the jerky transition from DA to SA. The slimmer design reduces the overall measurements of the Glock, and combined with a lower weight presents a very desirable sidearm option. In addition, the Glock 19 can be purchased for nearly half the cost of the Sig Sauer P226.
Glock 19 vs. Sig Sauer P226
The Glock 19 is the mid-size 9mm Glock, having measurements about 0.5″ shorter than the full-size Glock 17. The Glock 19 has been one of Glock’s most popular handguns with over 5 million sold. The Sig Sauer P226 (in particular the Mk25) is a full-size 9mm pistol and has also shared a high level of popularity. For the record, the BlueSheepDog Crew find both firearms to be excellent choices in sidearms, and each has their distinct benefits and take-aways.
In the chart below I’ve displayed the specifications for both pistols so you can view their differences and any advantages one may have over the other:
|Specifications||Glock 19||Sig Sauer P226 Mk25|
|Slide Finish||Tenifer-Like Treatment||Nitron® Treatment|
|Frame Material||Nylon-Based Polymer||Aluminum Alloy|
|Frame Finish||N/A||Hard Anodized|
|Weight||23.65 oz. (Unloaded)||34.4 oz. (Unloaded)|
|Sights||Tritium Night Sights||SIGLITE Night Sights|
|Safeties||Trigger, (2) Internal||Decocker, (1) Internal|
|Trigger Pull||5.5 lbs.||10.0 lbs. (DA); 4.4 lbs. (SA)|
The Movements of Glock
Though Glock has earned a very high reputation for a quality firearm that is both simplistic and accurate, recent trends around the world have seen some countries, law enforcement agencies, and individuals moving away from the polymer pistol that revolutionized the handgun market. In Europe, a few countries have moved to different sidearms, while a few others have actually begun using Glocks, like the British Royal Marines.
In the United States, several major and minor law enforcement agencies have moved away from Glocks; many for the F.B.I. Request For Proposal on a new sidearm for the agency’s 10,000 Special Agents. As written, the RFP appears tailor-made for the SIG SAUER P320, polymer, striker-fired pistol in 9mm. If the move comes to fruition, the Bureau would be moving away from the Glock 22 and Glock 23 pistols they have fielded for over 10 years.
However, at the same time that some are moving away from Glocks, there are even more who appear to be moving towards the iconic brand. Glock is still estimated to own a powerful 65% of the American law enforcement market, and there is good reason. The Glock is a simple pistol to teach, use, and maintain.
Though I do not own a SIG SAUER I have fired many over the years. They are some of the best handguns in the world. The craftsmanship, quality, accuracy, and ergonomics of a SIG SAUER are in the highest of the pistol market. SIG pistols are noted for their smooth action during cycling and for good triggers.
Glock is a proven firearm design. The simplicity (and brilliance) of its design produces a firearm with only 34 parts, yet is highly efficient and accurate. The only external safety is the trigger bar safety, making the firearm ready to use without a second thought when presented on target.
The lighter weight over heavier all-steel pistols is a definite benefit, as is the consistent trigger pull. The trigger reset is tactile and audible, and when trained with properly, can produce incredibly fast follow-up shots that remain very accurate.
For transparency, I own three Glock pistols personally, and I have carried a Glock 22 while on duty for the last 16 years. When we first began the move to Glock I was not a supporter, even though we were issued bulky Smith & Wesson 4566 pistols at the time. My first two pistols were S&W and I was familiar with their DA/SA actions and safeties.
I wish I would have known then what I know now.
Since transitioning to Glocks my proficiency in firearms has dramatically improved as I continue to increase my skills at grip, trigger pull, trigger reset, and reloads. The Smith & Wesson would have never allowed me to reach where I am now.
There are many newer pistols on the market that are outstanding options. We have posted on the Heckler & Koch VP-9 and VP-40, which is an excellent example. The Smith & Wesson M&P line has made serious gains with American law enforcement, and the new Ruger American Pistol may also see an impressive
The U.S. Navy SEALs are considered by many to be the premier Special Forces group in the world, even topping Delta Force within the U.S. Military. The British SAS and German GSG-9 were the modern world’s first and best anti-terrorist special forces groups, and the U.S. Special Forces learned much from their European brothers. Russia has Spetsnaz, the French have the Foreign Legion and other units, and China has special forces as well. However, American technology and raw military might, coupled with an increased global presence in combat zones, has provided U.S. SOCOM units the distinct advantage over all of the others in both combat skills and equipment.
Within SOCOM Navy SEALs have the advantage of operating within the structure of the world’s largest Navy, which maintains a presence across the globe. When missions require insertion into unfriendly areas, where there is no friendly presence, it is easier and more practical to use SEALs from Naval vessels, than other Special Forces using more airborne or ground methods.
The SEALs have played a pivotal role in the Global War on Terror, including actions in Iraq and Afghanistan. The tragic “Lone Survivor” and “American Sniper” stories detail some incredible actions of these brave warriors. In addition, they recently ended the hostage situation involving the Captain of the Maersk Alabama by simultaneously shooting the four terrorists using sniper rifles from the fan deck of a U.S. Navy destroyer.
It will be interesting to see what Glock 19 holster the Navy picks to match the gun.