Ruger American Pistol vs Glock 19: The King of Handguns

Ruger American Pistol vs Glock 19: The King of Handguns


Mathew R Reed
August 29, 2021

When it comes to choosing a handgun, the market is flooded with options. There are some names, though, that manage to stand out and are considered a cut above the rest, with the Ruger American Pistol and Glock 19 being two of them.

What’s better, the Ruger American Pistol or Glock 19?

Both the Ruger and Glock are top performers in the polymer pistol market with the American Pistol being introduced later and attempting to knock the G19 off of its throne.

They’re both considered compact to mid-sized semi-automatic pistols designed for concealment, ease of use, and good ergonomics.

These striker-fired polymer pistols might sound similar at first, but there’s a lot of ways that they differ.

If you find yourself locked in a battle between the two and want to know everything that sets them apart, our guide to the Ruger American Pistol vs Glock 19 debate can settle it.

Ruger vs Glock: Company Comparison

Before we can dive into what each of these firearms brings to the table, we need to get an understanding of the brands behind them.

Ruger and Glock have forged names for themselves in the firearms industry and both have solid reputations, but somewhat different backgrounds and brand images today.

Sturm, Ruger, and Company Inc, commonly known as Ruger, is an American company based in Connecticut that was founded in 1949 by William B Ruger and Alexander McCormick Sturm.

Today, the brand creates shotguns, rifles, revolvers, and pistols, and is considered the largest firearm manufacturer in the US.

Glock is an Austrian brand that is part of Glock Ges.m.b.H, an Austrian manufacturer of firearms.

They got their big break in 1982 when their firearms were used by Austrian police and military, and their Glock pistols have become famous around the world.

The Glock 19 is regarded as the best-selling pistol of all time and still holds the title today.

Glock G19 Pistol

Glock G19 Pistol

As the number one selling pistol in the US, it appears that the Glock 19 was the pistol that all others were judged against.

The handgun was released in 1988 and now comes in five generations, praised for its compact size and powerful punch, and being utilized by everyone from the military to everyday civilians.


  • Cleaning the G19 is a cinch and it’s great with regular maintenance as well. if you’re someone who likes to modify their firearms you can do it pretty easily with this weapon and just a few simple tools, so you’re not stuck with it as it comes out of the box.
  • Unlike a double-action gun, you’ll only need to put in the effort to learn how to operate just one trigger action. In terms of ease of use, it’s one of the simpler hand guns out there and could even be operated by a first-timer provided they had the right training. The accuracy is spot on and takes minimal effort from the user to adjust as well, but obviously, this can be further improved with practice.
  • Reliability is high with the Glock and the same goes for any handgun that this brand makes. When you’re dealing with a self-defense situation and have minimal time to think, you want something dependable and with minimal chance of malfunctioning on you.


  • The G19 only comes in one option and that’s the 9mm. while this might serve some people just fine, if you’re looking for versatility in calibers and sizes, you may prefer the wider options that the Ruger comes with.
  • Compared to other concealed carry firearms, you might find that the G19 is simply too large. This weapon is classed as a compact choice but would be more likely a mid-range and some users won’t find it comfortable to keep concealed on their person.
  • Some find the overall appearance of the Glock 19 to be ugly and too military. It’s not as sleek as others on the market and it has a black finish with a blocky shape. If you’re into aesthetics when choosing a weapon, there’s no doubt that the Ruger American Pistol is more attractive.

The Ruger American Pistol

The Ruger American Pistol

When Ruger released their American Pistol in 2015, it appeared to be a solid attempt at breaking into the polymer frame pistol market.

Although there was some initial confusion at the name as it sounded similar to their famed bolt action rifles, the pistol has earned its place in handgun history with a sleek black nitride finish that looks good in anyone’s hands.


  • For a semi-automatic pistol in this size and capability, the price of the Ruger American Pistol is pretty impressive and lets most people own a reliable handgun that’s built to last. You’ll pay almost half of what the G19 costs without losing any of the good stuff, so if you’re looking for an economical handgun, this is it.
  • There’s more than just the 19mm option for this gun so it suits more users. If you feel a little restricted by the lack of choices that the G19 comes with, you have different calibers and also smaller-sized models to choose from.
  • The accuracy of this pistol is impressive and it utilizes several features to achieve this including grip angle, recoil reduction, and a lower bore axis to get it. Those who have never shot a gun before will be impressed with what they can achieve with this weapon and a little bit of practice.


  • Some users have commented on the texture of the grip and found it to be distracting at times, as well as the molding on the back of the gun. Ruger has attempted to make it more ergonomically correct by adding these unique textures but they can work against them in terms of comfort, so you may want to modify these parts yourself.
  • There are limitations to how many rounds these pistols can hold, and you’ll find they max out at just 17. This might be effective if you’re keeping a pistol at home for self-defense and don’t expect you’ll need a lot, but having the option to upgrade to a bigger magazine capacity is always a good thing.

How They Compare Where it Counts

How They Compare Where it Counts

As two top-performing pistols, breaking down the Ruger American Pistol and the Glock 19 is the clearest way to see how they differ. We’ve looked at various categories to see what each of these firearms brings to the table.

Caliber and Capacity

The Glock 19 has a standard magazine capacity of 15, as well as other options including 17, 19, 24, 31, and 33 rounds.

This firearm features a 9 x 19mm caliber and is considered a good all-rounder for everything from self-defense to military combat.

The American Pistol by Ruger comes with a 17 round magazine as standard in the 9mm and a 10 round magazine capacity for the .45 ACP. This weapon has two caliber options with the .45 ACP or 9mm Luger.

Other variations of this handgun include the American Pistol Competition, also chambered in 9mm, and the American Pistol Compact which is chambered in .45 ACP as well.

Weight and Size

The Glock 19 in 9mm Luger is used as a service pistol and for civilians interested in concealed carry and self-defense.

It has an overall length of 7.63 inches and weighs 30.16 ounces with a fully loaded magazine, making it lightweight and easy to manage.

When you compare this to the Ruger, they’re almost identical, and the overall weight and feel is much the same.

The American Pistol measures just 7.5 inches overall so it’s just a fraction smaller than the G19 and it has a barrel length of 4.2 inches, with a compact weight of 30 ounces.

Ergonomics and Safety

If you want a pistol that’s been ergonomically designed for comfort and an adequate grip, you can put your trust in either Ruger or Glock.

Both of these pistols are fully ambidextrous and feature a slide stop lever so you can safely and easily adjust the slide or magazine as needed with either hand.

The Ruger American Pistol features slide serrations that allow you to get a handle on it, and checking on both the front and back strap. Furthermore, you can adjust the weapon to your need with these backstraps.

This feature has become the norm in these types of pistols and was also a requirement to be considered for the Army Modular Handgun System competition.

The American Pistol slightly beats out the G17 in this regard because you’re able to disassemble the gun without having the pull the trigger, so if you want the safest option, the Ruger is it.

However, both guns feature a manual safety mechanism if you want to employ it and have an indicator feature that shows you when there’s a round in the chamber.

Price and Availability

The clear winner in the price category is the American Pistol by Ruger, with an average MSRP of $411.95, according to Gun Critic.

The Glock 19 is almost double that price at 729.30 MSRP, however, some would argue that the dependability and reputation of the G19 make this price deserving.

As two of the top-selling semiautomatic pistols, it’s no surprise to find that both the G19 and American Pistol are readily available. These guns are marketed for civilian use as a backup weapon, concealed carry choice, or for home and self-defense.

Their compact size and solid ergonomics make them frontrunners for those looking for a versatile weapon.

Which Weapon is Best for Self Defense?

Which Weapon is Best for Self Defense?

The best firearm for self-defense is one you can depend on, and in that regard, Glock has the best reputation.

Most people prefer a full-sized pistol for home defense use but when you’re carrying it on your person, the compact is key, so either the smaller American Pistol or the mid-sized G19 will serve you well.

Choosing a self-defense weapon all depends on the individual as you need to feel comfortable with its grip and handling the gun.

We recommend that you test out any firearm before deciding and make an effort to fire them where possible, so you know exactly what you’re in for in these dire situations.

The Final Say

To decide between two of the top-rated compact pistols on the market today is no easy feat, and considering each of these brands and guns has millions of loyal owners, it appears to come out as a tie.

As always, the preference of the gun owner and what features they favor is the best indicator of a winning firearm, so it’s up to you to decide which of these compact pistols is your winner.

Related Questions

Glock and Ruger have created some of the most iconic firearms in the history of the world, and the G17 and American Pistol are just a fraction of them.

If you want to find out more about other famous firearms and what they’re all about, check out these FAQs for some background knowledge.

What is the Best-Selling Glock?

The Glock 19 is considered the all-time favorite firearm created by the Glock name, and this 9mm pistol continues to have just as much popularity now as when it was released.

Most handguns released today are still measured against the G19 and it’s a popular choice for everyone from civilians to the armed forces.

Does Ruger Make Ammo?

Sturm, Ruger, and Company Inc. predominantly make firearms but they have lent their name to other ammunition manufacturers from time to time. In 2015, Ruger partnered with PolyCase Ammunition LLC to create ammo for a .38 caliber pistol and a .45 caliber handgun.


Mathew R Reed

Mathew R Reed is a professional gun seller who runs a dedicated gun store in the suburbs of Oakland, CA. A hardcore hunting enthusiast since childhood, Reed has ample experience with guns and accessories. He is the founder of and creates some of the most helpful gun-buying guides and explainers. If not in the gun shop, you can find him on the nearest hiking trail or nearby hunting spot.