Glock 23 to 19 (9mm) Full Conversion?


February 14, 2013, 01:52 PM
Hi guys,

So I've read several hundred threads now regarding converting the Glock 23 to a 9mm for "plinking". But what if you wanted to convert the 23 to a fully operational, self defense pistol to be used in the 9mm caliber rather than .40S&W? Now before this becomes a .40 vs. 9mm debate, please know that I am familiar with all of the tradeoffs, the ballistics, etc. This is as much an intellectual exercise (should for example .40 ammo go unavailable for a long time but 9mm be available, etc.)'s assume I am attempting to convert a Glock 23 to a 19.

I know that changing the barrel, using Glock 19 magazines and changing the recoil spring would get me 75% of the way there. But what about changing the extractor and springs? Is that necassary? What parts would you change exactly? Is this something a gunsmith would have to do?

Thanks in advance for the help.

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February 14, 2013, 02:08 PM
To partially answer my own question it looks like...

Changing out:

1.) Barrel from .40 to 9mm
2.) Recoil spring from .40 to 9mm
3.) Magazine from G23 to G19
4.) Extractor (not sure on this)
5.) Extractor Depressor Plunger (not sure on this)
6.) Extractor Depressor Plunger Spring (not sure on this)
7.) Trigger Mechanism Housing with Ejector (not sure on this)

Silent Bob
February 14, 2013, 02:10 PM
If I wanted it to be a 100% operational-for-self-defense-not-just-cheaper-plinking gun I would get an entire G19 top end, due to breech face differences between the two calibers. Failing that, while a .40 extractor will extract 9mm, I would get a 9mm-specific extractor and other related parts and would also install a 9mm ejector in the frame, which probably involve replacing the entire trig. mech. housing although it is possible to just swap out the extractors (hard to find just the ejector alone). The extractor depresser plunger and spring are the same in both models but the spring-loaded bearing is different.

Recoil spring is same in the 9mm and .40 in the generations prior to Gen 4.

Gunsmith is definitely not needed to change any of these parts, all you need is a Glock armorer tool (about $7) or similar punch and there are plenty of easy-to-follow tutorials on the web and on YouTube. Trust me, if I can detail-strip a Glock, anyone can do it.

February 14, 2013, 02:42 PM
Why not just buy a G19 and have both guns available and ready? I love my G23 and have a LWD 4.9" threaded bbl in 40-9mm for the conversion, use KCI 9mm mags and same recoil spring without problem. I also like the stock G23 as is. You can at times get some good deals on G19s Gen3s.

I have carried my G23 as my CCW but not with the 9mm range bbl installed.
When I carry 9mm I use either my P239, P226, 92FS, M11, MP9c, Nano, LC9
or HK30S.

Sometimes I think I'm overstocked on the 9mm carry inventory but, Oh well.

February 14, 2013, 03:00 PM
Thanks for the replies. I could just buy a G19 and I love the G19 but I have a glock 23 and have been looking for a G19 high and low. As you can imagine, the only ones I can find are expensive (which is why they are still available). Plus, I kind of like the idea of having multiple caliber options.

With a G23 I can have a .357 Sig, 9mm or .40 by just changing out a few simple parts. So far I've researched the barrel, magazine, trigger housing and extractor are the essentials and do not take much time to do. From what I've read, this may not be "just like a G19" but certainly I can expect 100% reliability. Supposedly the breach face size difference is a non-issue with a well made after market conversion barrel.

Also I have a pile of G19 magazines available to use and several hundred rounds of 9mm ammo I can shoot. No .40 though :(

As for the .40 caliber option, I also have 2 Sig 229's in .40 S&W already and a G27. I'm good to go on .40. :)

February 14, 2013, 03:49 PM
I did it with a 23 and a 27. Bought a Lone Wolf 40-9 conversion barrel for the 23 and it worked flawlessly in the 27 as well.

I did use the appropriate 9mm magazines but didn't touch anything else. Functioning through a total of about 400 rounds was completely unremarkable. Unremarkable in that both the model 23 and 27 ran without a hitch.

I later sold the LWD barrel because I bought a Gen4 19. I've owned two LWD 40-9 conversion barrels (native length 27 and native length 23) and both had no problems of any kind.

February 14, 2013, 11:06 PM
Done a full conversion on both a Gen2 23 and 22.

1. Yes
2. No(same recoil spring)
3. Yes
4. Yes
5. No
6. No
7. Yes, different ejector

I have also shot thousands of trouble free 9mm rounds through a G23 with nothing more than a barrel, and mag change.

February 15, 2013, 02:47 AM
I think I'd buy the barrel first, and then run 9mm through it for a while or to where you'd be comfortable enough. The other mods aren't that expensive I guess though, so that wouldn't be a big issue. I've got a 9mm LWD barrel for my G22. I've only run about 150 rounds through it so far but I haven't had any problems with it.

I don't blame you at all for wanting to go the conversion route with a G23. It leaves you open to 3 different calibers should you so choose. I'm considering either a G23 or 27 for my next carry gun. I think I'd stick with .40 for carry, but only for the bigger punch, not because of any distrust of the conversion or the 9mm ballistics.

February 15, 2013, 07:17 AM
The conversion barrel route is the fastest and cheapest route to travel. I have 9mm barrels and .22 kits for my P229, G23, and G27. I like the Storm Lake and KKM barrels better than the Lone Wolfe. I have had no issues with any of my conversions. Almost prefer the .22 kits better than the 9mm barrels.

February 15, 2013, 08:47 AM
Where I live we seem to have an accute shortage of any .40 rounds anywhere. I've searched. However 9mm can still be had for somewhat inflated prices. If nothing else, this demonstrates the wisdom of having multiple caliber options.

Anyhow...If I do the conversion, I want it to be reliable enough for defensive purposes (this will not just be for "plinking"). I trust the .40, I also trust the 9mm to do its job. That said, I am much quicker in shooting the 9mm Glock than I am the .40 Glock. Of course I could adjust the recoil by using different ammo...assuming I could find any. :banghead:

February 15, 2013, 03:42 PM
Extraction is the key difference. No matter if you use the 9mm or 40SW extractor, the bigger breechface cut makes extraction less certain. As the case backs out, it will slip a fraction of an inch away from the extractor. My converted Glock will occasionally miss an extraction when the extractor spring is old, and I'm gumming up the chamber with sticky lead reloads with chewed up rims.

As long as you shoot factory new ammo and regularly change out your extractor spring, I doubt this would be an issue with either extractor. I have a spare 9mm extractor. It appears to leave a lot more wiggle room between the claw and breechface. This might actually make a difference, one way or another, although I admit I haven't thoroughly tested it.

re:ejector. If you think about it, the 9mm ejector would probably be a bad idea. When the case backs out, the extractor can push it to the left side of the breechface. So the 40 ejector is the one that's in the right place for that. The 9mm ejector would be positioned too close to the middle of the round. I dunno if that might even put it dangerously close to the primer on an unfired round, or not, but it certainly wouldn't be positioned where it's supposed to be on a 9mm slide.

February 15, 2013, 04:15 PM
GLOOB, so if I understand you correctly, you have an occasional FTE with lead nosed, 9mm reloads using old brass?

I don't reload and would always be using new ammo...albiet cheaper ammo for plinking. Anyhow, what would you say your reliability is percentage wise?

February 15, 2013, 04:29 PM
I've had exactly 3 failed extractions in 1k+ rounds of shooting my converted G27. Jams only started occuring with my own lead reloads, so all three were recent. Only after nearly 1k of flawless operation.

BUT to be fair, I've also experienced a few failed extractions with that same G27 using all stock parts, shooting 40SW. I diagnosed that as a worn out recoil spring and too hot 40 loads. The recoil spring was completely toasted! I replaced the extractor spring and recoil spring in that gun, and besides verifying it works with 40, have only shot 9mm since then. So I dunno. I supposed I could have a faulty/damaged extractor. But it looks perfectly fine. And the 1k 9mm most all happened afterwards. Was working perfectly until recently.

When it fails to extract, the empty case is still in the chamber, but backed out 3-4 tenths of an inch.

I shoot lead reloads in all my other handguns including the same reloads in a stock G19, and this is the only one that has suffered for it, as of yet.

Another factor: Because the G26/27 slide is lighter, the action unlocks faster. I believe this gives the extractor more of a workout, extracting cases while there's still some residual pressure. I bought a new extractor spring to see if that helps. Will know in time.

February 15, 2013, 07:08 PM
Would you mind reporting back when you change it out. It doesn't sound like a breach face problem or even like a caliber conversion problem, sight unseen it sounds like a worn out spring. Even that said, 3 reloads out of 1,000 failure is outstanding reliability. I'm not a mathematician but that translates to 3/10ths of a percent in failure to extract. And that with reloads....not too shabby.

As a point of reference, when I used to shoot a Sig 226 duty weapon there would be an occasional failure to extract (I believe due to limp wristing) from some of our weapons. They were still "duty ready".

February 15, 2013, 07:12 PM
They're available. Just buy another gun.

February 15, 2013, 10:11 PM
assuming I could find 1 I still haven't seen a convincing reason to buy 1. I have yet to hear of reliability issues caused by a full caliber conversions but I'm still listening.

February 16, 2013, 12:35 AM
My wife has carried a converted G23 for six months. The only parts exchanged were a LW 40-9 barrel and G19 magazine. I think 700 rounds of 9mm have ran through it to date without one single malfunction. She did get one spent case (WWB) down her shirt once, but full power ammo ejects nicely.

Just recently bought a LWD 40-9 barrel for my G27. Only had about 400 rounds through it, but it has not had one malfunction. As soon as it makes the 500 round hurtle I may carry it in G26 mode.

February 16, 2013, 03:25 AM
Would you mind reporting back when you change it out. It doesn't sound like a breach face problem or even like a caliber conversion problem, sight unseen it sounds like a worn out spring.
You know, the more I think about it, the more I think I'm just loading too hot for my gun.

Sidetrack, here:
The load in question works fine in my G19, even though it's a smidge above max. I'd consider it a "+P" load, even though the actual pressures should be well within limits... with cast bullets, you can get the same velocities and slide momentum with lower pressures. So even though the peak pressure is probably below 30k psi, the slide velocity/recoil are what I'd call +P. And in the lightweight G26/27, the action just unlocks too early for reliable extraction.

I've read a couple threads now on G26 failures to extract with +P/+P+ ammo. Even one with UMC. I bet that was caused by a hot round.

On examination, the Glock action opens way earlier than any of my other handguns. My friend's 1911 is the only thing even remotely close... but 1911's have a way heavier slide than a G26, a hammer, and they are made to shoot a lower pressure cartridge. Other 40SW handguns I've owned, including a Cougar and FNX, I've noticed that the barrel stays locked WAY longer than my Glocks. Near twice as long (measuring in distance of slide/barrel travel).

I'll go back to regular pressure loads for my 9mm G27 and see what happens.

February 16, 2013, 04:05 PM
I changed my G22 from 40 to 9mm.

1. Storm Lake barrel
2. G17 Mags

I used the 22 recoil guide rod and spring then used a stock 17. No real difference

I had some issues with extracting some crappy hand loads. So I changed the extractor, springs and rod. No issues with factory ammo.

Most of the conversion barrels are made to tighter specs than factory glock. I shot 2mags of +p and +P+ and never had feeding issues.

February 16, 2013, 08:29 PM
I've been shooting my G35 w LW 9mm barrel in it as well as my G22 with LW 9mm barrel in it, factory springs, factory extractor, next to no issues.

Light target loads or S&B "range safe" loads don't have enough pop to cycle the slide 100% of the time which is why I said next to no issues. I dropped in flat wound recoil springs that are 2lbs lighter than factory (still using factory guide rod) and haven't had a single problem with any ammunition since.

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