Welcome to another episode of "I Carry," Shooting Illustrated's weekly video series covering the guns and gear needed to put together a potential everyday-carry kit. Today, we're using a Glock G19 Gen4 customized with a Brownells optic-ready slide, topped with a Trijicon SRO red-dot optic and carried inside a Blackhawk holster. We also have a Buck Knives EDC knife and a gun belt from Magpul.
Glock G19 Gen4 with Brownells RDS-cut slide (MSRP: $199.99 for slide)
We’ve covered the Glock G19 Gen4 a bit here on “I Carry,” and the reasons for choosing Glock’s compact semi-automatic pistol are pretty compelling: Good capacity, full grip, light weight and ease of concealment are just a few of the reasons one might opt for the Austrian striker-fired pistol. Aftermarket support, evidenced here by the Brownells slide and custom threaded barrel, is yet another reason. We’re also going to be covering the G19 in depth in an upcoming “I Carry” spotlight, so stay tuned for all the specs and info.
Generally, though, there’s a reason the G19 is so popular. It’s affordable, reliable and really hits the sweet spot for size, allowing a full three-finger grip while remaining easily concealable. Capacity is only two rounds less than the full-size G17, and many aftermarket and OEM magazine options are available for backup duty. The 17-round G17 magazines should all work just fine in the G19, as will larger-capacity variants such as those offered by Magpul.
A quick note on the Brownells RDS-cut slide. If you already own a G19, this is one of the less-expensive ways to add a red-dot sight to your pistol. Yes, sending your existing slide out to have it cut is cheaper, but it takes your pistol out of commission for however long it takes for the work to be done. With the Brownells slide, you can buy as many components as your budget allows: slide, sights, red-dot and a slide-finishing kit all need to be factored in, but can be ordered piecemeal. Also, if you add in a second barrel, you wind up with two complete slides that can be swapped out as easily as field-stripping your Glock.
Trijicon SRO (MSRP: $749)
Trijicon released the SRO micro-red-dot optic at SHOT Show 2019, bringing a larger, more-round pistol-optic option to the growing market. A nearly parallax-free, inch-diameter window makes finding the 1-, 2.5- or 5-MOA dot significantly easier than in smaller windows, greatly diminishing fears of being able to find the dot upon presentation. Of course, as we’ve discussed previously, if you are concerned about how to pick up the dot on the draw, take a class with a red-dot-focused instructor like Scott Jedlinski of the Modern Samurai Project or Steve Fisher of Sentinel Concepts.
A couple of notes about the SRO. First, while it’s designed to use the same footprint as the RMR, it requires more slide real estate—the optic overhangs the front by a good 3 eighths of an inch. If you’ve set up your slide to have the rear sight in front of your RMR, the SRO will impinge. This also interferes with a number of holster fits as well. Second, as with other red-dot optics, if you neglect basic maintenance, that large sight window will fill up with lint, dust and other debris. Keep it clean, and you won’t have problems.
Blackhawk T-Series L2C compact Holster (MSRP: $64.95)
So, as I mentioned a few moments ago, the larger overall size of the SRO necessitates more care in holster choice. Just because you have a holster that’s set up to allow clearance for the RMR doesn’t mean it will fit the SRO, so you might need to shop around. One option that works just fine is Blackhawk’s new T-Series L2C compact level-two retention holster. Released mid-2019 and constructed of durable polymer, the compact version of Blackhawk’s T-series offers both a two-slot belt attachment option as well as a QDR mount that replaces the familiar paddle.
While the outside-the-waistband-only carry method is harder to conceal than inside, as we head into the cooler months and cover garments become more prevalent this shouldn’t be an issue. The extra peace of mind brought by the level two retention makes this a solid choice for active lifestyles, and for those looking for a duty rig, it can be had with a retention strap for level three requirements.
Buck Inertia (MSRP: $60)
Since we’re safety-focused with the retention holster, our knife option fits right in. Buck’s Inertia assisted-opening knife features a simple mechanical block that locks the knife closed to prevent inadvertent activation. Deactivate the block by flipping it down and the blade opens cleanly, held in place by a liner lock. The 3 1/8-inch, 420HC steel drop-point blade features an attractive stonewash finish that contrasts nicely with the black nylon handle. At 3.8 ounces, it’s light in the pocket as well, and the attached clip is setup for deep-pocket carry.
Magpul Tejas “El Burro” (MSRP: $59.95)
Keeping all this gear in place requires a good belt. Magpul’s excellent Tejas series of gun belts are rugged and are setup to carry a lot of gear comfortably. The El Burro variant is a polymer-only offering, making it lighter, more flexible and less expensive, in addition to being nearly indestructible, than the leather versions. Three color options are available—black, FDE and the gray shown—and sizing ranges from 32 to 44-inch waists. El Burro is an excellent fit for this robust EDC kit.