If I could only have one handgun it would be a Glock 19. There is a huge number of handgunners out there who feel exactly the same way. The G19 is an industry standard and those of us that favor it typically do for one simple reason: it is the perfect size. It does everything a service-size gun can do but it is easier to carry due to the reduced grip length. Unless you have large hands the grip tends to be just right. The truth is, there are a number of guns on the market that now fit right into this particular size and they are all quite popular, the G19 is the longest established, however.
I carried a Glock 19 for many years, before that I carried a Colt 1911. For the past year plus, however, my primary carry gun has been a Glock 26 and I absolutely love it. Sure, if I “knew I was going to get in a fight” (as if knowing beforehand exists in civilian self-defense) I would rather have the 19 as it is a better shooting gun due to the size difference and it offers more onboard ammunition. Of course, if I had such a crystal ball I would simply not be there at all and if I had to I would bring a long gun. So, as concealed carriers we carry handguns that we can actually conceal, and for myself the G26 is much easier to conceal than the G19.
Now, at this point, the dudes with beards and sleeve tats will chime in about how they appendix carry a Glock 17 or full-size M&P and nobody knows a thing. Well, to that I would say when you never have to dress professionally or formally or never have to enter a non-permissible environment, then good for you. If I never had to dress professionally or enter NPEs I would also only wear a full-size gun. I would also remind you, sleeve tat guy, that the only people who don’t recognize that bump on your abdomen under your 5.11 shirt is yourself and the sheeple: bad guys and cops both recognize it. So, in my experience, a sub-compact like the G26 conceals significantly better, a concern when I want concealed to truly be concealed.
I do loose something with the G26 compared to the G19: follow-ups are not as fast due to less purchase on the grip and snappier recoil due to less mass, and I also give up longer range accuracy. The G26 is very mechanically accurate, but due to the reduced platform I find myself less capable at longer shots. With that said, it still proves very capable and it is highly versatile. Some of the versatility lies in the fact that it can accept any size magazine in the Glock 9mm family. When I need deep concealment in light cloths I use the flush-fit 10 round magazine. The down side is that my pinky finger dangles below the grip, although I still find my control of the gun perfectly adequate.
The G26 can take a full-size Glock mag or one of the extended Magpul Glock magazines, my preferred spare magazine being the Magpul 21 rounder. This versatility makes the G26 an excellent concealed carry piece. I carry the gun with only the flush-fit 10 round magazine as that affords the concealment advantage, but the ability to reload with a 21 round magazine is stellar. Overall, the G26 remains my go-to carry gun. If I am spending time in the woods or in environments where concealment is not a strict issue I may opt for the G19 and when I need deep concealment under tucked in shirts I opt for a small revolver, but in my daily routine the G26 seems to be the best combination of concealability, versatility, and capability.