A friend of mine recently posted some scans of an article written to review the “new” Glock 19s from the 1989 Annual issued by American Handgunner. Beyond just being cool because it’s one of the earliest articles written about model 19s, I found one detail that was especially compelling: the picture above is of the gun reviewed and the closeup (below) shows the serial number as “BM909.”
Prior to seeing this article, it was generally accepted that the earliest prefix 19s were from the BP serial bank except for the few AN bank Gen 1 prototypes. Of further interest, the date codes stamped on the barrels show a wide disparity in the timeframe of when these first 19s were sent for proofing. The BM gun has a “ZTT” code signifying it was proof-marked in June of 1988. The Gen 1 prototypes were proofed (both the AN and DN serial banks) in April of 1988 with several other B blocks being produced (all with Gen 2 frames) throughout the second half of 1988.
I emphasize here that the proof marks were stamped in those months simply because there is no way for us to know which guns were actually built before the others–Glock hasn’t released any records so the proof marks are the best information we have to go off of. Over the last year, I’ve tabulated a majority of the date codes stamped through 1989 and it’s an interesting study to see how out of order the guns were when comparing the serial bank to the proof mark date.
But I digress… the coolest part of this study is discovering previously unknown blocks of the different models. BM is now the earliest known Gen 2 19 by serial prefix by letter sequence. The DN block seems to have been set aside for experimentation/prototyping so the DN block 19s actually have the earliest date codes (April of ’88) so when saying “earliest,” I am obviously referring to letter order, not necessarily production date. At some point, whatever DN block serial numbers that were not used for model 19 prototypes were built as Gen 2 19s. Those that have turned up have the April date codes which only adds to the mystery of what Glock was doing in the early days. I have also found BP, BR, BV, BW, and BX guns and those blocks seem to be second Gen 19s only. There were then there were no other Gen 2 19s made between BX and DN. The entirety of the C bank was dedicated to first Gen 17s and if you really want to dive deep into date codes, they were all produced in 1987 or early 1988 (therefore PRIOR to the B bank 19s mentioned above).
To further flesh out the confusion, there is even speculation that some guns might originally have been built on Gen 1 frames and then given Gen 2 frames later on (these likely would have only been DN prefix 19s). This would have been easy to do as the guns were primarily part of the European market and the frame is not the serialized/regulated portion of the gun there. My personal feeling, unconfirmed by any authoritative source, is that there were originally many more first generation guns made in April that then were given replacement second generation frames either before being sold or possibly even after being demoed for various law enforcement agencies. As the uppers were completely interchangeable, one would not know if the non-serialized frame had been trashed in favor of a later one.
As a sidebar–I also suspect that some of the first 17s had frames replaced prior to being brought over to the US. The AA guns in particular seem to be found with much later frames than other pre-86 guns.
Circling back around to our original topic: the second Gen model 19, especially those with two letter serial prefixes are likely a tremendous investment and it is exciting to see that there are even more out there than previously thought. They can still be found on the cheap but will only appreciate as more and more collectors join the market and realize that Gen 1s are no where to be found. It also adds to the intrigue that these early guns were inter-mixed with Gen 1 17 production throughout 1988 and 1989.
Happy hunting out there and drop me a line if you pick up a two letter Glock 19. Here’s some pictures of a couple of mine: