Glock 48 Review - A Pint Sized Glock 19 [2024]

Disclaimer: The Glock 48 is one that I had purchased, and I paid for all of the modifications with my own money.

Glock 48 Featured Image

The Glock 48 is a very, very popular gun. It hit the market in early 2019, and since then, has exploded in demand. I see them everywhere. Heck, we've already got two different articles on the gun (linked at the end of this article). With that, I thought that I'd throw my hat in the ring, and write a review of the G48. I've been using the G48 since Fall 2022, and finally feel like I've put enough time into the platform to put the words into writing. Five years after release, how good is the G48?

What Is the Glock 48?

It's pretty simple to describe the Glock 48. Take a Glock 19, and squish it. It's dimensionally very similar to the 19, but much, much thinner. Length is 7.28", while height is 5.04". However, the G48 is a quarter inch thinner than the 19, at 1.1". While the footprint of the gun is still 19 sized, that reduced thickness really makes this an easy gun to conceal.

So we've got a pancaked-G19, but that means a tradeoff somewhere. Well, that's in capacity. The G48 (using OEM magazines) has a capacity of 10 rounds of 9mm in the gun. Is that too few rounds in the gun? Well, that's a hotly debated topic, one that I'll touch on later. In my eyes, this is effectively a commander 1911, but made by Glock. Yeah, I compared the G48 to a 1911, and I'll do it again later.

Aside from the thinner profile and reduced capacity, this is a 9mm Glock. It uses the same striker fired mechanism, and tilting barrel lockup that all of the other Glocks use. If you've shot a Glock, you've likely got an idea of how the 48 works. It's a fairly simple gun, a big part of the selling point for the platform. With the 48, you've got two flavors to choose from; the standard, iron sighted model, and the MOS model, that features an optic cut, and accessory rail. Both of my 48s are the former, but have certainly been modified.

MSRP on the standard 48 is $448, and $485 for the MOS. I paid about $325 for my used 48 back in mid-2022, but that was before I modified it. What's the field stripping process like on the 48?

Field Stripping

Glock 48 Disassembled

Well, the G48 is a Glock, which means it is very easy to take apart.

  1. Remove magazine, and verify that the gun is empty.
  2. Press the trigger to the rear, dropping the striker.
  3. Slightly pull the slide rearward, and press down on both sides of the takedown bar.
  4. Let the slide forward, and pull it off of the frame.
  5. Remove the recoil assembly and barrel from the slide, and lubricate or clean as necessary.

Being a Glock, reassembly is very simple too.

  1. Put the barrel and recoil assembly back into the slide.
  2. Line the slide up with the frame rails at the front of the frame, and gently push the slide back onto the frame.
  3. Confirm function with a function check.

One of the joys of the Glock is that they are a simple firearm to takedown, maintain, and reassemble. Some people may bemoan the need to press the trigger to take the gun apart, but as long as you practice safe handling, there will be no issues.

What's nice about a simple takedown is that it makes swapping components pretty easy. Now, that is certainly more of a detail stripping process, something that you wouldn't need to do for normal maintenance. What have I done to my G48 to make it work better for me?

Modifying the G48 - Drop-in Parts

All of my carry guns have been modified to some degree, and the G48 is no different. Below is a list of the non-permanent work I've done to the gun.

The first thing I did to my G48 was swapping parts to allow it to use the Shield Arms S15 magazines. This is as simple as swapping the magazine release, so that the steel magazines can be used with the gun. This basically prevents the use of OEM Glock magazines, but it was a tradeoff that I was willing to do.

Secondly, I swapped some trigger components for Ghost Inc. springs. I'm using an EDGE slimline Glock Ghost connector, an increased power striker spring, and a reduced power firing pin block spring. With this combo, the trigger has been smoothed up, while still being nice and crisp. Pull weight is averaging a consistent 5.5lbs, which is very usable. I don't like trigger work that makes a Glock feel like a different gun, and the Ghost parts certainly keep it feeling Glock-y.

Glock 48 Non-Invasive Upgrades
The drop-in parts were extremely easy to install.

The final drop-in work that I've done to my primary G48 was to install a Shield magwell. During Technical Handgun, I found that shooting the G48 for an extended period would lead to the magazine floorplate pinching my pinky on my primary hand. The magwell alleviated that issue, along with the benefit of making reloads a little faster.

Moving forward, I'll be getting an SCD for the G48. Just waiting for the restock!

That's not all of the work though. I have done some permanent mods to the G48.

Modifying the G48 - The Invasive Work

When I was looking into the Glock 48, I knew I wanted an optic on the gun. I've been primarily carrying handguns with optics since early 2019, and I was not planning on changing that. While I had stumbled into a good deal on a normal, non-MOS G48, this was the gun I had intended to buy in the first place. I wanted to test the Trijicon RMRcc, and that optic doesn't really work well on the MOS guns without a massive adapter plate. This lead me down the path to find a company to mill my gun.

Glock 48 Slide Milling
Excellent slide milling for an excellent optic.

I've used ATEi and Primary Machine in the past, but chose not to go with them for this job. ATEi had a very long lead time, and Primary Machine would not move my rear sight dovetail. As such, I looked around, and found Battlewerx. I had them mill an optic cut for the RMRcc, and to move my rear sight dovetail in front of the optic. For refinishing the slide, I went with a peanut butter brown, to change things up a little. It took about 6 weeks turnaround to get the work done, and cost me about $220.

While this isn't meant to be a comprehensive review of the milling work, I'd easily recommend Battlewerx for slide milling. The optic cut is tight, the new dovetail was cut well, and the cerakote was applied evenly. Wonderful customer service too.  I ended up using BW again for the last gun I had milled, and am happy to send more guns off to them in the future.

I've done a ton of work to the gun, but now it's something that I really enjoy shooting. How are the ergonomics on the G48?

Ergonomics & Construction

The ergonomics and form factor of the G48 follows that of the Generation 5 Glock. We've got the same frame texturing, recoil system, barrel construction, and pin number as the Gen 5 guns.

Glock 48 Grip Texture & Ergos
Great frame texturing, and controls where they should be.

Talking about the frame texturing, it's really great. I would like it to be a little more aggressive, but it's significantly better than a lot of other comparable guns on the market. The slide serrations are also fantastic, and provide excellent grip when reciprocating the slide.

The recoil system and barrel are noteworthy, as we've got a double-nested recoil spring assembly, and a recessed crown on the barrel. These features lead to better performance, and (in the case of the target crown), show really great build quality.

Now, I mention the number of pins, as the G48 again follows the Gen 5 format. When Glock introduced the Gen 5, they went back to a 2 frame pin design, rather than to keep using the 3 pin design of (most of) Gen 3 and Gen 4. This is a simpler design, one that makes working on this pistol even easier than on earlier guns.

Glock 48 Slide Serrations
The G48 has great slide serrations.

While the gun follows the form factor of the Gen 5 Glock, it isn't quite as ambidextrous as the Gen 5. Both the 43X and 48 feature a single sided slide release, to help keep the profile of the gun thin. This isn't a point of contention for me, but for lefties, it might be a downside.

All in all, the G48 is a Glock with Glock ergos, and fairly good construction. How are the shooting characteristics?

Shooting Characteristics

Shooting characteristics can sometimes be hard to describe. For most folks, shooting characteristics are generally synonymous with recoil impulse, but I think that it's not quite so clear cut.

Since the G48 is a Glock, it has a very Glock-y recoil impulse. We've got a relatively low bore axis, a medium weight slide, and steeper Glock grip angle. On the 48, I find that the impulse is less flippy (vertical), and more of a straight, rearward push. When comparing the impulse to comparable guns, I'd say that it is better than offerings like the Smith Shield Plus, and Springfield Hellcat. I'd say it's about on par as a SIG 365XL.

Glock 48 & Combat Sub
A constant range companion.

For the actual "feel" of the recoil, it is a little snappy. The G48 is no pocket rocket, but still has more recoil than a proper, full size gun. The double-nested recoil spring does do some work to help soak up recoil, and the longer grip is more conducive for recoil control. Now, the grip is thin, so we do get a bit more of a hotspot on the hands when shooting. I've got relatively large hands, and with the thin grip, the recoil is more directed into the center of the palm, when compared to a true double stack gun.

Overall, I'd say that I'm impressed with the shooting characteristics of the G48. I was concerned that the recoil impulse and feel in hand would be less than stellar, but as time goes on, I continue to enjoy it more. Rather than feeling like a micro-compact or a true subcompact, the G48 really feels like a slightly smaller "compact". Truly, much more akin to a slightly thinner 19 in performance. How is that performance?

Shooting Performance

I've easily done some of the best shooting of my life with the G48. I've shot many drills better with the G48 than I have with larger, generally easier to shoot guns? Why?

4.3 Test 11.19.2023
An example of one of the Tests that I've shot with the 48.

Well, I chock it up to the shooting characteristics. It's a Glock, and shoots like one. It's a fairly "flat" shooting gun, and my performance with it is quite good. With the work I've put into it, the trigger is excellent, and the optic makes a lot of shooting very simple. The frame texturing could be more aggressive, but it's still quite grippy enough to keep your hands planted to the frame. My biggest gripe with the 48 is specifically tied to the thickness of the frame, combined with an AIWB holster. Due to the thinner profile, it can be a little harder to get as firm as a grip on the gun, compared to a larger gun. That being said, it's not all that much harder to do.

I've shot a lot of drills with the Glock 48. Vicker's Tests, the Rangemaster B.A.D., Old Bakersfield PD Quals, Werner 5x5s, and a lot more. For a gun as concealable and easy to carry as the G48, I'm extremely pleased with my performance on those drills. A playlist of all of my recorded G48 drills can be found here.

Glock 48 At The Range
This gun has gotten shot at every range trip in the last 10 months.

The G48 has been my companion for two classes in the last year. It came with me for NPE Counter Robbery, and Tests & Standards. At both classes, the G48 served me well. It's an easy gun for me to perform well with, even under some pressure and stress.

Now, I've not bench rested the gun at 25 yards to test groupings. That's just not a type of shooting that I do. However, for practical accuracy out to 25 yards and beyond, I've been totally content with the performance. How does the G48 compare to other guns?

Comparing Handgun Performance

For me, the Glock 48 shoots very, very well. Comparing it to other guns that I've put time into, I tend to shoot it nearly as well as most full size guns. Yeah, I shoot a compensated G45 better, but not by much. Comparing it to guns that cost significantly more, I shoot the G48 better than my EDC X9. Sorry Bill.

Iron Sight Finisher 2
Sorry Bill, I shoot my Glock better.

Compared to similar smaller guns, I find that I perform better with the G48 than most of those. I've got a lot of time on the Smith Shield 1.0/2.0, and the 48 is much, much easier to shoot. The gun is about the size of the P365XL, and shoots pretty comparably too.

The G48 really shoots a lot like a G19. Honestly, I prefer this to the 19, as the 19 just always felt awkward in my hands.

G48 reliability is a bit of a hot topic, especially when using Shield Arms S15 mags. How's the reliability been on mine?

Reliability

At time of writing, I've put 11,200 rounds of 9mm through my main G48. That was done with mostly brass cased, factory loaded range ammo, however, I have shot quite a bit of self defense ammo out of my G48 (mostly 124 HSTs).  Over the duration of that time, I've had 12 malfunctions with the gun. All were able to be quickly remediated, and there were no parts breakages.

Just to put it into perspective, 11,200 rounds, with 12 malfunctions means that the gun has a 99.9989% reliability rate. The most malfunctions I've had in a single session were at Tests & Standards, where I had 5 malfunctions on the second day of the class. Now, why did that happen? Well, there's two things that go into it.

Glock 48 Shield S15 Mag Pile
Pile O' Shield Mags.

The G48 is a smaller gun, and as such, I've found that it needs to be cleaned and lubed a little more often than a larger gun. Will it work when dry? Yes, but the interval between malfunctions will be shorter. I keep the gun well lubed, and clean it when necessary.

Now, for the Shield mags. Some folks have written them off because of hearing about reliability issues. That's something that I totally understand. However, I've found that magazines to be reliable, but you need to "break them in" to get to that point. How do I do that? Well, I just keep them loaded for a while. At Tests & Standards, I was using some Gen 2 magazines that I had never used before, and those were the only ones to have problems. Yeah, it's 2024 and there shouldn't be a need to break in magazines, but alas, it made them work.

How's the EDC experience with the G48?

EDC With the G48

I started carrying my first G48 back in October of 2022. It was purely my gym gun, and rode on my person for cardio and weightlifting. For all other times, I was carrying a G17, or a G45. Well, fast forward to March 2023, and I've decided to carry the G48 to NPE Counter Robbery. Well, after that class, I decided to start carrying the G48 as my "fulltime" carry gun. At time of writing, it has been exclusively carried in a PHLster Skeleton.

Glock 48 EDC
Most of my EDC items.

Since then, the Glock 48 has become my "do-all" gun. I can carry it in my normal clothes, in gym clothes, and even in my suit. Despite being the footprint of a Glock 19, the significantly thinner profile makes it really easy to conceal. It's just such an easy gun to dress around, and to be active while wearing. Combine the ease of carry with my ability to perform with the G48, and I often don't feel the need to "upgun" for my daily use.

I've also had no durability issues with the G48 while EDC'ing it. No rust on the gun or internal parts, nor any parts breakages. I've sweat on the gun, had it out in the snow and rain, and have been with it in hot and cold conditions. Aside from a little minor rust on my RMRcc screw closest to my body, nothing negative has occurred with the gun. Even then, that's the optic screw, not the gun itself. Despite being thinner, this Glock is still very much a Glock, and as such, is a durable handgun.

When it comes to centerfire autoloaders that I've carried, this is easily one of the most comfortable ones that I've carried.

Pros of the G48

There's a lot of great elements to the Glock 48.

  • Thin profile is conducive for easy carry.
  • Shooting characteristics are very familiar to larger Glocks, with performance that is nearly as good as significantly wider guns.
  • Exceptional aftermarket (spare parts, magazines, ease of getting custom work done, and plenty of holster selection).
  • Quite good reliability.
  • Relatively inexpensive price compared to similar handguns.

All in all, the G48 has become one of my favorite pistols. I'm extremely practical, and can be very "fun-police" minded. Well, the G48 is a gun that I enjoy carrying and shooting, and have a lot of fun performing with it. If you don't enjoy shooting your carry gun, you won't carry it. Well, this is one that I've got on me nearly every day, and it's a blast to shoot.

Cons of the G48

There is no such thing as a perfect gun, and the G48 doesn't break that mold.

  • While the gun is thin, it is still the same general footprint as a Glock 19 or similar sized gun.
  • Capacity is limited to 10 rounds when using OEM magazines, requiring the transition to aftermarket mags to fit more rounds in the gun.
  • Reliability with aftermarket magazines may be iffy, until the magazines are broken in.
  • Due to the smaller size of the gun, the reliability is worse than on full size Glocks.

Overall, I think that the pros outweigh the cons here. The G48 isn't a super small gun, and the capacity is less than similar sized handguns on the market. You can remedy the latter, but that requires money and time spent testing too. Thankfully, if the cons are too big for you, we live in a time with many excellent carry guns on the market.

The Verdict

I've joked that the Glock 48 is basically the Glock commander sized 1911. Both hold 10 rounds stock, and have profiles relatively similar to one another. Yeah, the commander 1911 has a longer grip, but not much longer than the 48. As someone who has owned both, this is the closest that I've seen a Glock come to a 1911, in a way. A thin, easy to shoot gun is always appreciated, and that's the quality that both really share.

Glock 48 Closer
Want the Glock 1911? Well, they've got the commander sized one right here.

The Glock 48 is a gun that I don't foresee going away anytime soon. I also don't foresee me moving away from it. It's extremely easy to carry, easy to maintain and modify, durable, reliable, and performs very well in my hands. Hell, I like it enough that I ended up getting a second G48.

I got out of carrying my VP9s and SIG M17/M18 last year, and moved back to Glock as my fulltime, semi-auto carry gun choice. I was carrying a larger, G17/G45, but after NPE Counter Robbery, the G48 became my primary gun. One of our writers told me that I would end up doing this, and man, was he right. Compared to all of the small autoloaders I've carried over the years (S&W Shield 1.0/2.0, HK USPc, S&W 469), the G48 just blows them out of the water. I'd easily recommend the G48, as long as you go into it knowing that you need to test aftermarket parts before relying on them for self defense.

Glock 48 Range Photo
So nice I bought it twice!

Further Reading, Thanks, & Patreon Link

Below are my other recent handgun reviews. The G48 pairs well with a pocket gun, like the Smith 442 and Ruger LCR.

Here are the two other articles that we've done on the G48.

I'd like to thank our own Dan & Ally for providing me with 3 of the Gen 1 Shield S15 mags during my testing period. I'd also like to thank Paul over at AmmoToGo.com who provided 1000 rounds of PMC 124gr 9mm for the testing of this gun.

If you'd like to support me on Patreon, I've got the link for that here. Nearly everything that I do on Primer Peak is paid for out of my own pocket, and my content is not shilled or driven by manufacturers or companies. If you decide to donate, I'd really appreciate it, as it would allow for me to continue to bring you quality work.

About Paul Whaley 196 Articles
Paul Whaley is a guy with an interest in practical and defensive pistol shooting techniques with an eye for quality gear. He has received training from Holistic Solutions Group, John Johnston of Citizens Defense Research, Darryl Bolke, Cecil Birch, and Chuck Haggard. When not trying to become a better shooter, he can be found enjoying a Resident Evil game or listening to Warren Zevon.

2 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*