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Ryan Domke Jan 25 2023 8 min read

Glock 23 Gen5 Review: For the .40 S&W Fans

ImageProductPrice
GLOCK 23 GEN 5 .40S&W 4.02 BARREL 13-ROUNDS 3 MAGAZINESGlock 23 Gen5Check Price

Often called the ‘.40 caliber Glock 19’, the Glock 23 is one of the most popular compact .40s on the market.

While I don’t personally own any pistols chambered in .40 S&W, I do enjoy shooting them and can see the appeal from a personal protection perspective. Wow, you don’t get three words that start with “P” in a row often. Sorry, I got sidetracked there.

Anyways, let’s take a closer look at the popular Glock 23 and discuss the ways it may or may not be suitable to be your next handgun.

glock 23 review unboxing
A Glock on a rock…well concrete is basically the same thing, right?

Glock 23 Review

GLOCK 23 GEN 5 .40S&W 4.02 BARREL 13-ROUNDS 3 MAGAZINES

Specifications

Caliber.40 S&W
Capacity13 rounds
Barrel Length4.02 Inches
Overall Length7.36 Inches
Width1 Inch
Height5.04 Inches
Weight21.16 Ounces w/out Mag, 31.22 Ounches w/ Loaded Mag

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • That Glock reliability – they go BANG
  • Millions of accessories available
  • Accurate out of the box
  • Easy to maintain & super durable
Cons
  • Slightly more recoil than your average compact 9mm
  • Slide isn’t optic cut (although Glock does have an MOS version available)

Range Time Fun

No review can be complete without some range time. It’s not only the fun part but the most important.

You need to feel confident with the reliability and accuracy of your gun, so shooting it is always of the utmost importance.

Reliability

To no surprise, I had zero issues firing my 180 rounds through the G23. Typically with the Glocks that I’m reviewing, I’m comfortable putting fewer rounds through them than a brand-new gun to the market, since I have experienced their reliability across the board for many years.

I don’t carry .40s, personally, so I didn’t have any defensive ammo to test with, as I used it all on a couple of other reviews. I did, however, have some 165-grain Speer Lawman TMJs and 180-grain Blazer Brass FMJs, which both cycled great.

Before deciding to carry this gun or not, I would have to put many more rounds through it, including some JHPs, but I don’t believe I’d have any real issues arise.

Accuracy

glock 23 groupings from range test
My first couple of groupings between five and 15 yards all proved to shoot a bit to the left.

Since I’m used to shooting a Glock 19 regularly, the Glock 23 felt right at home in my hand. With the .40 having a little more kick than 9mm, it usually takes me a few magazines to get back to where I’m comfortable from an accuracy perspective.

However, I found the Glock 23 to be very accurate, even with the standard OEM Glock sights. Near the tail end of my 180 rounds, I maintained similar groups to those pictured above to 20-25 yards, which I was happy with.

Overall Feel

This compact-size of pistols is by far my favorite, if we’re talking about a “do it all” gun. The Glock 23 has a large enough grip for XL hands and a long enough barrel and slide to realize high accuracy. They feel even better now that the Gen 5 Glocks do not have the finger grooves.

glock 23 hands on review at range
Having XL hands, I always appreciate being able to get all of my fingers to comfortably rest on the grip.

Features

Since the features are basically the same across the Gen5s, many of these will look and sound familiar if you’ve read some of our other Glock reviews.

If you haven’t, please enjoy and take your time!

Grip

As you’ll see me mention multiple times (I was very excited about this), the finger grooves have been removed from the grip.

The texturing is still aggressive enough to keep a strong hold without the finger grooves, so you don’t have to worry.  You’ll also notice that Glock went with a slightly flared magwell.

Overall, I’m a fan of this grip compared to the previous generations.

glock 23 grip
I would have liked a slightly more flared magwell, but beggars and be choosers.

Trigger & Controls

If you’ve ever searched for aftermarket Glock parts, you’ve probably seen a TON of trigger kits, extended mag releases, and extended slide stops.

I’ve been one of those guys who has purchased a Glock and then swapped out virtually every part of it, making it a completely different gun, but I also have a couple of completely stock Glocks.

With time and training, I’ve actually found myself shooting both types surprisingly closely.

glock 23 controls
I’ve always found the controls on Glocks to be simple but effective with practice. The slide stop lever is more flush than I’d like though.

The Gen5 trigger may only be slightly different than the Gen4 trigger, but I find it to be smoother and lighter, both of which are qualities I appreciate in a trigger. The magazine release is easy to manipulate, and so is the slide stop lever after a few runs through some reload drills.

Glock 23 trigger
I always recommend training with your stock trigger before deciding if you want to swap it out or not.

Slide & Sights

Another welcomed change from the Gen4 to this Gen5 is the addition of front slide serrations. Many of us just “dealt” with not having them on previous models but always wished they had them.

When you carry a gun and press check it often, the front slide serrations can make a huge difference. This specific Glock 23 does not have a slide that is optic cut from the factory, but Glock does offer a MOS version that does.

The sights are your standard square-notch OEM Glock sights. They are nothing special, but they work. If I decided to keep this gun long-term, I would most likely be replacing the sights with a nice set of night sights.

Accessories

ImageProductPrice
streamlight-tlr-7a-flex-led-tactical-weapon-light-cr123a-white-500-lumens-black-69424-mainStreamlight TLR-7ACheck Price
Night Fision Night SightsNight Fision Night Sights Check Price

Streamlight TLR-7A

For guns of this size, one of my favorite lights is the Streamlight TLR-7A. It runs on a single CR123A battery and puts out a solid 500 lumens. With an hour-and-a-half run time, you should be set for quite some time without having to change the battery unless you’re using it all the time for duty or training purposes.

Night Fision Night Sights

Even though I’m used to the OEM Glock sights, I can’t say that I like them. I much prefer a set of night sights with contrasting front and rear colors.

Lately, I’ve been going with Night Fision sights for most of my guns and have been very pleased. You can choose from several different color combinations, varying sight heights, and square-notch or U-notch rear sights.

Alternatives

Not sure the Glock 23 is what you’re looking for? Give the following guns a quick look to see if they fit your needs better.

M&P M2.0 Compact

SMITH AND WESSON M&P9 M2.0 COMPACT OPTICS READY 9MM 4

I would venture to say that one of Glock’s closest competitors in the compact space at this price point would be Smith & Wesson’s M&P line.

The M2.0 Compact features a flat face trigger, optic cut slide and comes with interchangeable palmswells to provide a comfortable grip. It’s definitely one worth checking out in this category of compact .40s.

Glock 19 Gen5 MOS

GLOCK-19-GEN-5-COMPACT-9MM-4.02-BARREL-15-ROUNDS-3-MAGS

Do you like the size and overall feel of the G23, but prefer 9mm? You’re in luck! Check out the Glock 19. More capacity and slightly less recoil, but essentially it’s the same gun.

FAQs

Is a Glock 23 too big to carry?

Definitely not. If it seems too big for you to carry, you just need to find a new holster or a different position to carry it at.

Is a Glock 19 or 23 better?

That’s completely personal preference, but I’ll take the Glock 19 over the 23 due to the additional capacity and ammo availability/pricing.

Is Glock 23 good for self-defense?

Oh yeah. With a 13+1 capacity of .40 caliber protection, it makes it a very solid option for self-defense and carrying.

Score Card

Reliability (10/10)  

I had no malfunctions. And…it’s a Glock. You shouldn’t have anything to worry about in the reliability department.

Ergonomics (7/10)

Even with the finger grooves removed, it’s still not the most ergonomic and comfortable.

Customization (10/10)

You will have absolutely no shortage of aftermarket accessories for this gun. Whether you are looking for lights, sights, holsters etc., you’ll be set.

Appearance (7/10)

Again, it’s a Glock. It’s not meant to win any beauty contests.

Value (9/10)

If you find one closer to the $500 mark, I would say 9/10. Once you start getting in the $600-$700 range like I’ve seen them lately, I would say that there are other just as good options for less.

Conclusion

I can see why the Glock 23 is such a popular .40 S&W handgun. Even though I’m more of a Glock 19 type of guy since it’s chambered in 9mm, the Glock 23 has proven to be accurate, reliable, and plain old fun to shoot. 

If you’re going to consider buying one, which I wouldn’t blame you if you did, I would definitely opt for the MOS (optic-ready) version for a couple more bucks. Overall, the Glock 23 should serve as a great option for a duty weapon, concealed carry pistol, or home defense gun

Do you own a Glock 23? If so, how has it performed for you? If not, what .40 S&W pistol do you have your eye on?

Written by Ryan Domke
Ryan Domke is a freelance writer, photographer and social media consultant with a passion for guns and tactical gear. He works with some of the largest manufacturers in the firearms industry, allowing him the opportunity to continuously learn from and knowledge share with the 2A community. When he’s not spending time with his family, you’ll likely find him at the range or starting a new DIY project.

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