Glock 23 Review

What We Think of the Glock 23:

Our absolute favorite.  Insanely fun to shoot.  Reliable to a fault.  The perfect size, works great as a conceal weapon too.  If you're looking for a "do everything" handgun, this is it.

What Its Good For:

In a word, everything.  It has the extra strike power of a .40 caliber, but has a very controlled feel with little recoil.  Accurate.  Always shoots, insanely reliable even in horrendous conditions.  Can remove the slide and change out the barrel to a 9mm in about 15 seconds (cheaper ammo = bonus).  The Glock 23 is the gun of choice for law enforcement & the FBI too.

Glock 23 Details:

Standard G23 Specs and photo's (click for larger view on each)

Glock 23 Specifications

Caliber: .40
System: safe Action
Length: 6.85 in. (174 mm)
Height: 5.00 in. (127 mm)

Magazine Capacity: 13 (standard) | 15 / 17 (optional)

Trigger Pull: 5.5 lbs. (2.5 kg)
Trigger Travel: 0.5 in. (12.5 mm)

Caliber Modification: Yes (9mm barrel change outs)

G23 Hands On Editor and User Review:

Police.  Marksmen.  FBI Agents.  Moms in Denver.  That about sums up the Glock 23.  It's a gun that does just about everything, and does it very well.

The Glock 23 is the compact model of Glock's .40 caliber pistol line, which makes it 5.00 inches in height, which is just a little shorter than the standard (G22) that is 5.43 inches.  That's fine by us, and apparently is by the majority of US customers since the Glock 23 and the Glock 19 (both are compacts) are the 2 best selling Glock's on the market.  

If you're worried that the "compact" might be too small, think again.  This isn't the baby Glock, or the snubby smaller version of the .40 (that's the G27).  The gun feels perfect, not too small, and not too big.  

I'm lucky enough to live on 35-acres in Colorado and have the ability to shoot at home.  I fell in love with it instantly.  The recoil was at most moderate, but very manageable.  Shooting in native .40 I had no problem target shooting with great accuracy up to 50 ft.  

My wife was curious, as she was enjoying the silky smooth reaction of her 9mm Sig Sauer P226 and her newly bought Beretta.  She was a little cautious about the .40 of the Glock 23, and wanted to see how it would feel when fired in her hand.  To say she loved it is an understatement.  The very next day she bought her own and consigned her Beretta.  

Barrel Conversion Kits to 9mm

The Glock is probably the easiest and fastest gun I've ever field stripped.  Simply pull back the slide about 1/2 inch, push the release buttons, and push the slide forward.  You'll laugh because all of the metal / weight of the gun is in the top slide.  The handgun butt part is polymer, it weighs next to nothing.  

The nice part is how easy it is to swap out the stock barrel to either a precision barrel (like the KKR made in USA barrels I like to use) or just an inexpensive adaption.  External diameter of the conversion barrel is the same as the .40 calibur, so it works perfect in the G23, but the bore is now that of a G19 9mm.  

In 15 seconds, you've now converted your .40 Glock 23 into a 9mm.  Nice.  A little less punch but you can save a lot in ammo.  You'll need to buy different magazines of course (you want the G19 Magazine, exact same size subcompact as the G23 but it's the standard mag for the 9mm).  I'm a little picky and only buy genuine Glock magazines, but I like the precision USA made barrels (they'll run you about $160).  

The .40 caliber is versatile.  It's larger than the 9mm of course, so you have less magazine capacity, but it's got far more striking power.  The .40 actually has more velocity than the .45 ACP, though that means slightly more recoil jump too (yep, slightly more recoil with the .40 than the .45 ACP). 

Glock 23 Reliability

The foundation of Glocks is reliability.  These aren't the hyper-delicate sensitive Italian guns like a Beretta.  Glocks are designed with the express purpose of being highly resistant, abuse magnates — but to always work. 

Here's a few real stories our gunsmith about Glock war stories of Reliability:

Dropped in the Mud & River: Friend accidentally drops his glock in the river.  It's muddy (Louisiana) and the gun was totally lost, engulfed in the mud.  Weeks later his buddy returns to the area and finds the gun, hoses it down, and (this is stupid, don't try this) fires it to see if it'll work.  It does.  It's a Glock.

The Mattress Stuffer: Owner brings in his Glock for a cleaning, deciding field stripping a Glock is easy but he's lazy and it looked like his was really filthy.  The gunsmith examined the Glock and found more lint, hair, and fibers in the handstock part of the gun than he's ever seen.  Can you guess where the owner kept it?  Yep, he kept it stuffed between his mattresses.  It had been there for a couple years, he took it out and it fired normally.  2 years of lint and grime.  Nasty, yes.  Reliable?  Of course!

The Cop and the Spilled Can of Soda: Cop spills bug gulp sized 7-11 gallon drink of soda on his Glock.  He proceeds to go to the range, firing a couple hundred rounds.  Later brings in the gun to the gunsmith.  It's caked in syrup.  Still fired like a champ though.  

Gen 3 or Gen 4 Glock 23 Models

Glock currently produces both the Generation3 and newer Generation 4 Glock 23 models.  The size is essentially the same, but the Gen 4 has some extra versatility in the form of bonus add-ons, like hand grips in different sizes.  Performance wise and from others we've quizzed there's no material difference in actual performance.  

GlockYourself Final Thoughts

The Glock 23 is the German Shepherd of handguns.  They'll protect your family, have unprecedented reliability, and you'll love it more the longer you use it.  

Handguns are like opinions, everyone has one, but for me this is the best all around handgun on the market.  If someone makes fun of a "plastic gun" again, you can safely know that yours will fire reliably, all 13 rounds, while they're busy strip cleaning because they dropped their S&W or Beretta in the dirt and it won't fire.

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

glenn kresge July 9, 2011 at 7:33 am

Glock 23 is the perfect choice for all around use. My agency issues the XD Spring Field 40 Cal. I do not like this gun at all. The safety features will get you killed. Off duty I carry a glock 23 and a Sig. 239 9MM. I am really liking that 23 more and more every time I shoot it.


Sam October 30, 2011 at 9:54 pm

I have had many Glocks from the Glock beginning and have owned two XD's since they first were available.  I am interested in the safety feature you object to.  Is it the grip safety?  I carried a cocked and locked 1911 for years before Glocks appeared and never had trouble with the grip safety (stock) but I complained to Springfield about their grip safety being so shallow and others have asked me about pinning it in.  Like I would recommend that one! Especially in California!!  The grip shape of the XD is better but I will still take the Glock anytime.


Mark C August 8, 2011 at 5:20 pm

I just bought a Gen4 G23, and it is my daily CCW. I love this gun, the new grip size made a world of difference for me.


John A October 2, 2011 at 8:36 pm

A great weapon, and my weapon of choice. Both for concealed carry, and as a duty weapon. It's the perfect size for me, it's big enough for a duty gun but small enough for concealed carry without being too small. It also packs a good punch, but also has a pretty high magazine capacity. If you're looking for a good weapon for home defense, for duty or for personal protection, I believe this is the ultimate handgun for any job.


T. L. Lattanzi November 8, 2011 at 7:57 am

The Glock 23 Pistol is the most efficent pistol for it's size, reliabilty and round capacity.   It requires little maintanance and will shoot well  beyond your lifetime…
  Take it from a Retired Law Enforcement Officer, can't go wrong with a Glock,, it may be ugly but it works every time in all hostile conditions…


Oak November 16, 2011 at 4:08 pm

I love my Glock 23s.  The pair are  tie w/ my Glock 19.  These are my favorite firearms, period.    The ONE thing that would make me happier, though, is if I could get them with a thumb safety from the factory.  I guess I also wish it was easier to swap out the night sights, or that the tool was a little less costly to do so.   
Yeah, I've heard all of the comments by those that adamantly oppose additional safeties including the "safety is between your ears"  and "just keep your finger off the trigger", but I still would prefer the safeties.  I would add them to my 19 and one of my 23s.  The other 23 is a nightstand gun w/ night sights and a couple of 22 mags ready to go.  For that designated one, I really don't think that that would need the safety but it would probably make sense to have them all outfitted the same.  I would not have a problem getting a safety on all three, but deep down I really don't want to alter the frames, and that would be quite costly to have a gunsmith do for me.  For that kind of money, I could almost get a 30SF to go along with its siblings.   
I don't know if I will ever get the safety(s), but I wish I had a realistic option.  If I could daily carry in my state, I would get it on at least one of them, though.   
I don't feel that the Glock is inherently dangerous without the safety with proper training, but I do think that it would be a good idea for daily carry.  Afterall, a 1911 and a Beretta 92 both have safeties and an S&W M&P sort of has it as an option, although I have never seen them stocked anywhere. 
I may look into the FNH FNS-40 when it comes out if it has the safety. 


Sergeant December 5, 2011 at 1:58 pm

The department I work for recently went from the Glock 23 to the 22 giving us the opportunity to buy the 23. I have carried the 23 for about 10 years on duty and off. I have had to replace the slide block spring recently, but that has been the only problem with the Glock. In 10 years of going to the pistol range to qualify a couple of times a year and countless numbers of times I have went just to shoot, my 23 has never failed me. It has never jammed or failed to fire even in the worst of conditions. I have trusted my life to this pistol in some pretty scarry encounters over the last 10 years and it has never let me down. Needless to say, I bought the 23 and still use it for off duty concealed carry.


Damo January 6, 2012 at 12:52 pm

I own a Glock 22 in 40cal and love it for home protection use.  I has never failed or misfed ammo at the range.
i chose the Glock because i know under duress it will fire and i know that once the gun is locked and loaded i dont have to fumble for external safety or grip safety. i know that in 40 years time that gun will work and shoot. 
its my draw gun..the next best thing for me is a revolver but i like have 15 rounds up the spout for follow up shots or numerous zombies if the need arise…


doug bowen January 10, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Just bought a Glock 23 from a friend of mine for a great price. He did like the weapon because he thought it had to much "muzzle flip" ! I tried to tell him he could cure that by changing the recoil spring pin from plastic to steel. Am I assuming right? He still sold it to me anyway…great deal for me! I just can't wait to get out and shoot it.


Tim May 30, 2012 at 2:56 pm

When I graduated from the academy in 2005 I bought a brand new Glock 22 .40. I have since added a Glock 19, 21, 23, and 27 to my collection. Glock is the firearm which I depend on to be 100% reliable, not one of mine has ever failed on me. I trust my life to my Glock every time I put on my uniform and go to work and I am absolutely confident in its ability to do so. Something like 80% of US law enforcement carries some variation of the Glock so the stats speak for themselves. To anyone who is on the fence about a puchase; S&W, Springfield, SIg Sauer, etc at all nice quality guns. But my coworkers, all 50,000 of us, put our faith in the Glock.


Steve Emm August 8, 2012 at 11:59 am

I think leonard works for Sig.  I found the only way a glock will misfire is limp wristing when you fire, (stovepipe jam) or some really terrible ammo.  Glock isn't as pretty as some guns, it's just made for business.


Jesse September 10, 2012 at 8:32 pm

I've had my 3rd generation G23 for a good five years now. Grew up w/ my dad who shot professional competition precision pistol. He owned and fired countless makes and models of varying calibers from .22 up to .454 in revolvers and semiautos.
My background beyond that includes education and work in law enforcement firearms use, defensive sport competition (IDPA), and at present I am a certified firearms instructor & conduct  courses for people seeking concealed carry licenses in Wisconsin.
I have carried, used in competition, and/or have otherwise trained extensively w/ a Taurus .38 special 4inch, 9mm PT92AF (sister gun to Beretta 92), S & W #586 .357 mag, full size Kimber 1911 .45 ACP, a handful I cannot remember>>>>>and now the Glock 23 .40 S&W.
Good God Almighty! I continue to be stunned by the accuracy of this handgun. It is damn downright spooky how spot on this gun is at three or four times the average gunfight distances. Factor in everything else stated—concealability, firepower, plenty of hydrostatic shock, insanely reliable and dependable, etc…
I actually like the appearance of this gun. Simple, effective, and unmistakably no frills all business….
The Glock 23 IS the perfect all purpose handgun. Period.


Frank T October 31, 2012 at 6:19 pm

I am just curious to know, I was told that the 40 caliber has a bad snap to it as compared to both 9mm and 45 can you tell me is it that bad ? i am considering selling my glock 30 regular frame for the 23. Being it is a medium frame gun i am a bit hesitant that it might be too much ?


Frank T October 31, 2012 at 6:23 pm

I have a never fired glock 30 45 cal that i am thinking on selling, to get a glock 23 that i always never liked. I am going to the range a renting a 23 to shoot if i do well with it i will sell the 30


Dean Taylor January 12, 2013 at 2:52 am

I,v been a Glock owner for years but  went to Sig I want the biggest magazine available in .40 cal, Glocks  suck when you get into the bigger loads


dave February 17, 2013 at 11:04 pm

Not sure what you mean Dean — I own Sig’s too, and they consistently have less capacity and virtually no after market / generic add ons for other mag or extended mag options. I like my Sig for it’s zero kick and smooth control, but for higher capacity .40 — Glock is best.


John April 24, 2013 at 5:58 pm

Just purchased my Glock 23 gen 4 and I love it. I sold my XDm .40 because it had too much muzzle play.  I find the Glock to be more controllable and comfortable to shoot. If you haven't shot one you need to, it's a great gun. It's my primary ccw now. I also have the Sig Sauer P229. Since my life depends on it I'm strictly Glock or Sig Sauer. 


paul May 3, 2013 at 2:58 pm

Have been a 1911 guy for many years. A friend has a 19 which I tried a few times and it shot very well.I let my CWP run out a few years ago which I used the 1911 for.  Here I am 8 years later getting ready to qualify next week. From all the mail, decided
to buy a 23 to qualify with and use as my carry. I am very sure I will not regret it a moment. I have yet to fire the 23, but will be slinging lead tomorrow. I really like the feel and the sights. They feel very natural in the hand and am very confident it was the right choice.


John Ebner August 15, 2013 at 1:14 am

I recently purchased a Glock 23. It is not the most beautiful gun but it is all business. All those fancy finished guns will reflrct light and give your position away. my girlfriend is 5 foot 2 inches and weights 90 Pounds and she loves that Glock. I am using ammo that is reloaded 4 times without any failures and the ammo is made in the Philippines. With its reliability and accuracy this Glock will clean any intruders clock.


Wally Johnn August 21, 2013 at 7:01 pm

Supposedly some have problems with the grip safety, that if it  isn't completely depressed the slide can lock back on you. (We 1911 types probably don't have the same problem since we're used to it.) I would like the XD/XDM grip safety to be wider, like a regular 1911 beaver-tail grip safety. I also don't like the XD because of the mag release – it's just too darn hard to depress without changing my grip. (Change the grip, the grip safety may engage. See the problem?)  I found the same thing with the Gen 3 Glock mag release – hard to get to and depress completely, but the new Gen 4s are much easier since they come with the small grip panel as the default grip and the mag release is longer (not taller, as would be necessary with the XD – an extended mag release), so they fit my small hand better. Now if the Gen 4s could have kept the Gen 3 trigger and connector, it probably would have had less bad press on the Internet. I'll take a 23 Gen 4 with the stock  beaver-tail strap, tyvm.  I just wish that Glock made a compact .45ACP instead of "full size" or "sub-compact". Give me the same size as the 19/23 and I'd be very happy. 10 rounds in a 45 Glock Compact? Sound great to me. Maybe someday… 


Wally Johnn August 21, 2013 at 7:07 pm

XD/XDM: Can't rack the slide unless the grip safety is fully depressed. As I said, we 1911'ers don't have that problem. We always have the safety depressed when racking the slide. 


PJ Colorado April 11, 2014 at 7:11 pm

I just got an amazing deal on a Gen 4 Glock 23.  It came in the box with 6 of the 13 round magazines, Tijicon night sights, Blackhawk Serpa level 2 holster, and 2 boxes of Harnady Critical Defence ammo all for $549 which is the price of the gun alone.  It was a consignment gun that was never fired.  The guy apparently didn't check with his wife before purchasing it.  His loss my gain.  I also have a 21,22,27,30, and 19.  They all have night sights and the 30 (45 ACP compact) has a crimson trace laser.  The thing I love about the Glock is I can use the 22 magazines in the 23 or 27.  I don't know why but even over my other guns ( HK USP 40 full sized, USP 45 compact, S&W MP 40 full sized, and XD 45 ACP full sized) the Glock 23 is my favorite.  I think it's because of the fit in my hand and the ease of the magazine release.  I love my HK's but this new Gen 23 takes the cake.  


ryan July 5, 2014 at 10:53 pm

i own a glock 23 40 cal i was looking at recoil springs and i was wondering the factory spring how many pounds is the spring?


Humbwaga Z. K. O. July 18, 2014 at 1:38 pm

I used to hear from friends who are law enforcement officers that Glock has the most fine and best capability that any gun lover would love to own, I just thought it was a mere story, and I thought I would never need a gun in my life, I used to ask people why should I own gun? But very wrong was I the time came when I needed one most and my thought straight forwardly stroke to what my friends used to say GLOCK! That is when I went to the gun shop to acquire one, and I had in my mind Glock 17 as my choice, when I reached at the shop I only found Glock 23 and CZ 75, I was a little bit hesitate and most fall for CZ 75 of which one of my friends owns, very fortunately I had to make a very tough decision, to either buy Glock 23, CZ 75 or go back with empty handed, I then made a quick decision and chose Glock 23 which I am proud to say it was a gun that is worth of buying, why I am saying this? I have read different articles on guns through net, and watch video clips that has to do with Glock 23, I thank God that I made the right decision and now I own my new precious Glock 23, which I carry wherever I go!
Humbwaga Z. K. O.
Dar es salaam,


ken September 10, 2014 at 3:29 pm

Glock23 gen 4 my first and last Glock.couldn't get it to hold a pattern with two e xperience shooters and tow types of ammo so sent it back to Glock.Just got it back with invoice that stated that it is in factory specs..I took it back to the range and at 7 yrds was luckty to hold a pattern on a 10" target forget tryong to shoot any type of group.Two major problems with this piece of shit is it's two heavy for a paper weight and to light for a boat anchor.


Frank Seminski December 9, 2014 at 3:29 pm

I have had my 23 Gen 3 for ten years now. I have never shot a more accurate,reliable gun. I did replace the plastic guide rod with a steel one which seems to have reduced muzzle flip. In short, proper grip, sight alignment and practice will make anyone proficient with this weapon. I own a Sig P229, and I really like that gun as well, especially because of the decocking function. However, Benin that remarkable weapon, the transition from double to single in a stressful situation can be a problem. The Glock23, out of the holster isready to go. I don't mind the playin the trigger because I know exactly where the point of fire is. The five pound connector suits me just fine as well. Practice, practice and practice. When you do, the Glock 23, even in fully chambered carry will save your bacon. Just get into the proper checklist of what to do when you put the gun away – such as releasing the magazine and racking the chambered round out of the gun. Look into the slide to ensure the gun is clear. These are MUSTS when carrying any Glock  It is a gun the is safe. You just have to be smart when using one.


Black February 20, 2015 at 9:35 pm

i just bought a G23 its my first gun….nib slide 30 round extended mag..i got da best hand gun in my hood


tim December 9, 2015 at 7:26 pm

I have an Taurus 9mm  with crimson traits on it.  it came with 2 cartridges. I bought 3 yrs ago  at a gun show     is a glock alot better than my taurus? this was my first gun ever buying. i only want one for protection of isis etc  


DW Cripps December 27, 2015 at 12:17 pm

I have owned and carried a G22 Gen-1 for 20 years, both on and off duty.  Also have a G22 Gen-3 service weapon which I bought from the PD when I retired.  Am now looking to buy a G23 for concealed carry in retirement.  I would recommend the Glock to anyone hands down for reliability, durability and combat accuracy.  My Gen-1 has had thousands of rounds through it without a failure.  I like the .40 S&W for stopping power and high magazine capacity.  However, caliber choice is a personal preference thing.  But, in terms of the gun itself, the Glock will hold up and perform well regardless of caliber choice. 


Jack McCullough April 29, 2016 at 1:27 am

Have carried a Glock 22 for about 10 years & being a big guy I have never had any complaints. Recently a friend loaned his 23 to me to shoot & I have a new love in my life. I now am going to trade one of my 22s for a 23 & it will be my new carry. My other 22, despite years of great service will be retired to the bedside. Glock continues to produce guns that are reliable & that I trust for my family's safety!


Gary Grant February 5, 2017 at 10:05 pm

I have and carry a Glock 23 g4, I love the gun.
I’m thinking about buying a back up. What would some you buy?


riverman August 6, 2017 at 3:07 am

glock 23 has saved my bacon 3 times. Those that say the 9mm is adequate are wrong unless we are talking head shots. Do not believe the 9mm BS. Bigger bullets equal more stopping power. pretty simple good day


Wm O Tennant June 21, 2018 at 3:19 pm

I bought a used Glock 23, .40 cal., from a local gun store. I like it. However, it would stovepipe occasionally, so I called Glock’s Technical for advice. He asked if I had been sort of “limp wristing” it when I fired it. After thinking for a moment, I informed him that I might have been. Now, after having fired it a few dozens times with a more firm grip, it hasn’t stovepiped once.


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