Handgun Showdown Round 1: Glock 22 vs. Glock 23

The Glock 22 and Glock 23 are two of the most popular “plastic” handguns on the market. Both are very reliable handguns as both are manufactured by Glock, a company known for their products’ legendary reliability. Both are also chambered for the .40 S&W, a handgun caliber developed specifically for law enforcement and self defense.


The .40 S&W

As a handgun caliber, the .40 S&W is a superb option that offers the best of both the 9mm and the .45 acp, and here’s why:

  • The 9mm is known for its penetration and small footprint which allows for even the smallest pistols’ magazines to carry more than 10 rounds, but the bullet measuring only 35/100 of an inch means it makes small holes, and there’s that debate among “gun experts” about its tendency to over-penetrate (a huge topic in itself that will not be discussed here).
  • The .45 acp on the other hand is a caliber known for its reliability and proven track record of being a powerful man stopper since 1911, but the handgun platform it was primarily chambered in, the aptly-labeled 1911, can only accept 8 rounds.
  • The .40 S&W cartridge has a SAAMI pressure limit of 35,000 psi (240 MPa) which is the same SAAMI pressure limit for the 9mm, but its relatively larger diameter allows for heavier bullet designs of up to 200 grains, just 30 grains short of typical .45 acp bullets that weigh 230 grains, which results in wider permanent wound cavity even with just full-metal jacket (FMJ) a.k.a. ball ammo.
  • The .40 S&W has proven itself that just 27 years after it was designed, there are now a myriad of companies that manufacture wide-body compact handguns that allow for double stack magazines which can fit 15 rounds or more — as in these guns are literally EVERYWHERE. As a result, .40 S&W ammo is in high demand and availability is unlikely ever going to be a problem.

But These Are Both Glocks…

So if both the Glock 22 and Glock 23 were designed by the same company and both are chambered for the exact same handgun caliber, they’re practically the same. You’re probably asking, what’s the point of comparing them anyway?

Well, by the end of this showdown, we hope to be able to enlighten you on some key points.

The Tale of the Tape

The only real differences are the handguns’ length and height, the stock magazine capacity (the Glock 22 comes with two 15-round mags, and aftermarket 15-round mags are available for the Glock 23 but it only comes with two 13-round mags), the weight, the barrel length and the length of the sight radius.

So again, why compare them?

Depending on several factors, either of these two polymer burners could be the perfect fit or could cause a very bad case of buyer’s remorse.

Bigger Is Better… Or Is It?

The way you hold any gun greatly affects your accuracy and how quickly you can do follow-up shots.

If you’re a tall person or if you have ginormous hands like The Hulk’s and you can barely wrap two fingers around a typical compact handgun’s grip, then the Glock 22 should be the better pick. It’s taller than the Glock 23, which means it has a longer grip. There should be more room for those fat fingers to firmly clutch at.

Conceal Carrying

Keep in mind though, bigger handguns are much more difficult to conceal. This shouldn’t be an issue in states that allow open carry, but even in these states conceal carrying can be practical, even essential — sometimes the element of surprise just wins a gunfight.

If you’re looking to conceal carry, the Glock 23 will be easier to conceal because of its relatively shorter grip that won’t print as bad as the Glock 22’s — unless you want to wear sweaters or jackets and big baggy pants all year.

If you need info on some of the best CCW (concealed carry weapon) holsters on the market for both of these Glocks or for other pistols, check out this exhaustive list of holsters we created.

Sight Radius And Accuracy

If you’re the type who puts a lot of time in the range, accuracy shouldn’t be an issue with both the Glock 22 and Glock 23 as they both have the same barrel rifling and the same length of twist.

But in case you didn’t know, a gun with a longer sight radius will always be more capable of accurate shots compared to a gun with a shorter sight radius (assuming both are tested by the same person and they know how to shoot well).

Weight

Either pistols would be suitable for everyday carry (EDC) because there isn’t a big discrepancy between their weights — and they both have polymer frames. Do note, however, that a gun’s weight may also affect its accuracy because of recoil.

A recoil-sensitive person (i.e. someone who doesn’t like recoil) tends to be more accurate when shooting a heavier handgun because it tends to soak recoil.

Also, a front-heavy handgun will have less muzzle flip, which allows for faster follow-up shots when aiming with the iron sights, although this might not be an issue if you have a reflex sight installed (for general info on reflex sights, you might want to check out the Introduction part of the article I wrote for the Trijicon MRO).

Ammo Capacity

There is nothing much to say about the two handgun’s different magazine capacity. The Glock 22 comes with 15-round mags, while the Glock 23 comes with 13-round mags.

If you don’t want to buy any of the optional 10-round, 15-round or 22-round magazines that Glock offers and you’re confident with your shooting skills, 13 JHPs of the heart-stopping .40 S&W getting pushed out of a Glock 23’s business end should be more than enough to protect yourself with.

However, if you don’t spend enough time in the range and you feel that those two extra rounds can be a lifesaver (again assuming you don’t want to spend extra on the aftermarket 15-round mag for the Glock 23), then go with the Glock 22.

Glock 22 and Glock 23 Barrel Conversion

In case you’re the type who likes to fix things that aren’t broken, or you just want options, or you bought either pistol and you think the .40 S&W’s recoil is too snappy for your hands, you’ll be happy to know that both the Glock 22 and Glock 23 can converted from .40 S&W to .357 Sig.

The .357 SIG as an alternative is a great caliber for self defense, and in some ways even better than the .40 S&W. If you’ve shot a .357 magnum revolver before, you’ll understand why SIG Sauer developed the .357 SIG.

To Convert Or Not To Convert — The .357 SIG Question

A typical 125-grain .357 magnum bullet fired from a 4-inch revolver barrel is unrivaled in penetration and stopping power.

Since almost every semi-auto handgun cannot be chambered for the .357 magnum because of that cartridge’s over-all length (OAL), and because semi-auto handguns allow for faster and more efficient reloads with their double stack magazines (compared to the 6-round speedloaders for most revolvers), SIG Sauer probably thought, why not neck down a .40 caliber rimmed cartridge (i.e. the 10mm, which is the .40 S&W’s magnumized mother) to accept a .35 caliber bullet?

I’m Sticking With My 1911 In 9×23 Winchester

A word of caution though. While the .357 Sig conversion for any of the two Glock pistols might sound like a great idea, factory ammunition for the .357 Sig can be either very expensive or hard to come by in certain states.

If you’re not reloading your own ammo, it might be practically worthless, and even if you are, the necked-down cartridge of the .357 Sig might be a tad harder to work with unless you have specialty dies that cost more $$$. Tread lightly on the .357 Sig idea.

Aftermarket Parts Availability

These are both Glocks. Availability for upgrades won’t be an issue. Oh, and both have the same accessory rail in front of the frame so you can attach a laser or a flashlight if you want.

Pricing

Nothing much can be said about pricing. Both handguns are priced exactly the same, info taken from Glock’s website. The Gen4 variant for each costs $549, while the Gen3 is considerably cheaper at $475 base price. If you want to know why the Gen3s are cheaper than the Gen4s, You can find them here. If not, then feel free to jump to the Conclusion.


Conclusion

The Glock 23 gets the nod for more practical reasons as it’s easier to conceal due to its slightly shorter barrel and grip. It can also use 15-round and even 22-round magazines, which totally negates the only real advantage the Glock 22 has to offer.

But as with everything in life, there are always exceptions:

  • If you’re big and/or tall, chances are you won’t have issues with conceal-carrying the Glock 22 because you’ll be wearing XXXL-size clothes anyway — then again if you’re in a state where open carrying is legal, you can wear anything  you want without worrying about concealment.
  • If you have big hands and/or fat fingers, the Glock 22’s slightly taller height will allow for a more solid purchase on the grip.
  • If you need more accuracy (maybe you shoot IDPA, or you have strabismus, or you flinch a lot when you shoot), the slightly longer sight radius and longer barrel length on the Glock 22 will allow for relatively more accurate shots.
  • If you’re recoil sensitive, the slightly heavier Glock 22’s heft will also result in less felt recoil and less muzzle flip. Shooting will be a more pleasant experience.
  • If you’re a cheapskate (like yours truly), and you just can’t bring yourself to spend extra on any of the aftermarket mags that Glock offers but you want the most number of rounds you can carry with your person, you’ll be happy with the Glock 22 being shipped with two 15-round mags.

If all of the above apply to you, you are one very unlucky individual. Get a Glock 22, period.

But if none of the conditions above apply to you, then the Glock 23 wins, hands down.

A firearms and ballistics enthusiast and an outdoorsman, Mike is one of Gun News Daily's best contributing authors. He's a researcher, data analyst and writer by trade and strongly adheres to conservatism—a stalwart of the right to keep and bear arms.

1 COMMENT

  1. Very good article that covers all the important points. While I was issued the 23, I bought the 22 for personal use. As you pointed out, fat fingers need the extra room on the grip.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here