Thoughts on the new G42, Glock’s new, red-headed stepchild…

Glock42003It’s the kid nearly everyone would pick last for their team. No one asked for it. We were all surprised when it showed up. And as much as we want to stomp on it’s throat, give it a fatal super-wedgie, and drown it with Drano, we have to admit, we actually kinda like it.

Jeff has shot it. Now I’ve shot it. Lots of our friends have shot it. And nearly everyone comes away from the experience surprisingly happy. Jeff reports that Glock promises 9x19mm and 40-caliber versions in the not too distant future. The reason the .380 was release first? Because no one would buy it if released after the 9mm/40 variant. Glock sales people can say anything but, some how that logic almost works. Time will tell.

What we can tell you is that this is a gun well suited to people with small hands. This is the slimmest/smallest gun Glock has ever built. Glock sales folks tell us this is a gun meant to capture female shooters.  There are a lot of guns marketed toward women, chambered in .380, so that isn’t a completely absurd assertion. And the fact is, the Glock fan boys will buy it just to be the first kid on the block to have it. There are Internet (errornet) reports of people paying $100+ premiums just to be the first in line to get one to slip into their pocket.

20140121_192818-1How big is it compared to the M&P Shield? Well, it is nearly a full half-inch shorter in height. It is also 1/8th inch shorter in overall length but, within a millimeter of the Shield’s overall width. The latter measurements make sense given the fact .380 and the longer 9x19mm cartridge are the same bullet diameter with .380 having a case length only 2mm shorter. Some “guesstimated” that migrating this gun to 9mm/40 could be done with a simple conversion kit. They are wrong.  The length of the grip/magazine well from front to rear is too short to handle the longer overall cartridge lengths of those rounds.  While we had the G42 in our little paws, we slipped a 124gr, 9x19mm round into the magazine and found the magazine was easily 4-5mm short of handling the longer cartridge and there simply isn’t an extra 4-5mm in the magazine well. So if there is a 9mm/40 version coming, it will be a slightly larger gun…Possibly as large as the M&P Shield or at least Kahr’s PM9.

At the end of the day, this is a Glock in look and feel, just miniaturized. It likely will find its way into a bunch of pockets in short order. None of us have had a chance to put more than a total of perhaps 300 rounds through at least two different copies of this gun among everyone in studio so we can’t speak on its long term reliability.  The trigger certainly feels like a normal 5.5lb factory trigger and travel is still just under a half-inch so it is very much a Glock in that regard.  Glock promises typical Glock durabilty and reliability so this is allegedly a gun meant to be shot regularly. Hopefully that really does pan out as durability and reliability will be a critical.  Anyone who carries this gun needs to train with it because in spite of the very Glock-like trigger, it’s not the same shooting experience as one might have with other Glocks.

manhandg42I found that my support hand thumb, using my normal grip, extends nearly a half-inch past the muzzle. Is that a big deal? Well other than looking funny in pictures, the usual answer is actually “no,” given the chamber pressures associated with the gun. Still, big hands like mine tend to wrap up and around the slide enough that it is possible to clamp down only to find your hands impeding the slide.  This is true of nearly all small guns but, especially true of a generation of sub-compact 9mm and smaller pistols meant to be pocket guns. Not a deal breaker but, something of which shooters should be aware.

Not having spent much time with the gun, I’m a little cautious to jump on the bandwagon of telling everyone to rush out and buy it.  That said, my experience with the gun so far has been positive and I think it’s worth checking out for those with smaller hands or looking for a deep concealment option.  I’ll probably end up with one in my safe just as something to let people try out of curiosity or help them find a gun when everything else seems too big. Part of my hesitation here is the cost and availability of .380 which, in recent years, hasn’t been impressive and shockingly, has been at least as expensive as 9x19mm if not more.  It is also a rather anemic cartridge compared to 9x19mm with fewer good options for defensive ammunition, almost none of which can meet FBI requirements using their testing protocols.  While I sure has hell wouldn’t want to get shot with a .380 but, I’m not excited about depending on its ability to work in anything but absolutely perfect conditions. Your mileage may vary.

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