Close your eyes and let’s see how good your memory is. Quick, what’s a Glock 17? Easy; full-frame 9mm! Glock 27? Subcompact .40. And a Glock 37?
Huh? Is there even such a thing?
There is, and the Glock 37 (and its compact and subcompact brethren, the 38 and 39) are chambered in the oft-ignored .45 GAP round that virtually nobody cares about. It’s because of this that I scored a new-in-box Gen 3 Glock 37 for less than dealer cost (and not that much more than a certain Hi-Point), because the shop had had it in the case for over a decade and they were … desperate. And it’s a pity, because this gun has been nothing but a pleasure to get to know.
First, the downsides of the biggest Glock. It does not share a slide with any other Glock, so if you’re invested in holsters for the Glock 17, you’ll be re-investing for the Glock 37. And while the .45 GAP ammo isn’t nearly as abundant as .45 ACP, it can be had online for (at the time of this post’s writing) 26¢ per round (the same ammo from the same supplier in .45 ACP was 30¢ per round). Not as cheap as 9mm, but not as expensive as ammo for this Makarov.
The first thing I noticed about the Glock 37 is how manageable the recoil is. One of the selling features of the .45 GAP round were that it was shorter than the .45 ACP round, which resulted in a slightly more slender grip that would make the gun more manageable. I have never found 1911’s or the Glock 21 (or even the FN FNP-45 I’ll be reviewing in a few weeks) to be too large for my hands, but I have to admit that the slightly shorter grip length of the Glock 37 is comfortable. It came with a 10 round double-stack magazine and it’s still got beef in its width, so there’s still plenty to wrap your mitts around.
The .45 GAP round should have slightly lower velocity and slightly less energy than a .45 ACP round with the same bullet, but I suspect the difference is negligible (at some point I’ll get the chronograph out and do a side-by-side test with the same ammo, in .45 ACP, in a Glock 21). But ballistics isn’t the problem with the .45 GAP.
.45 GAP is often compared to the .357 Sig round, since both have achieving poor to moderate commercial success. But they compete with rounds that, in some cases, have been around for more than a century. To wit, here’s a chart of common calibers and the year that they were first sold.
Of the three calibers in this list released after the .357 Magnum in 1935, the only one that has achieved widespread success is .40 S&W (although 10mm Auto seems to be making a comeback). That said, the short conclusion is that the older calibers have the advantage of being deeply entrenched in the shooting community, and the resistance to new calibers is real.
(That said, I’ve had my ear to the ground to find a used FN Five-seveN, which has maintained a cult-like following since it was introduced in the early 90’s.)
The Glock 37 is a fine weapon that (in the perfect world) deserves consideration, but the question about investing in a system with such niche ammunition is a legitimate one. It’s worth noting that Glock has not developed Gen4 or Gen5 versions of the .45 GAP pistols, so one may wonder if the 37, 38 and 39 will eventually ride into the sunset. One may presume that ammunition manufactures will continue to make .45 GAP ammo for some time, but the possibility exists that the .45 GAP will eventually meet the same fate as the .356 TSW round.