Glock 44: The Littlest Glock
No, not little in terms of overall dimensions … but little in terms of caliber. The Glock 44 fills the long-discussed gap in the Glock line for a pistol chambered in .22 LR. It’s no surprise that this gun has the same outside dimensions as a Glock 19; many would argue that the 19 is the best gun in the lineup. The Glock 44 started shipping earlier this week, and I stumbled across one at a local shop for the going street price of $379. A completed 4473 and four Benjamins put the newest Austrian in my safe.
There are rarely any surprises when one opens the familiar Glock plastic case and the 44 was no exception. Inside were the pistol, two magazines, an assortment of four interchangeable back straps, a cleaning rod, and a bore brush. Perhaps the only real surprise here was the bore brush, which appears to have some sort of non-ferrous (aluminum?) bristles.
Getting Inside the 44 …
The magazines are the first notable departure from the usual Glock fare. As is the case with many .22 magazines, they have cutouts along the side of the magazine with a follower that can be depressed with two fingers. This should alleviate the need for a speed loader, which new shooters will appreciate. The mags hold a rather pedestrian 10 rounds, and I expect the aftermarket will quickly remedy this.
At first glance the gun looks very much like a Glock 19, with a few exceptions. It’s lighter — almost half as light as an unloaded Glock 19 — largely because of its composite (plastic and metal) slide. Unlike the usual brick of a metal slab that comprises a Glock slide, the 44 appears to have a mostly plastic slide, with metal for the frame rails and contact parts around the barrel.
The sights are Glock’s usual excellent white dot sights, with a fancy adjustable rear site. Racking the slide took a bit more oomph than I was expecting, but the front and rear slide serrations make this an easy chore. And, as expected, a few hundred rounds started to smooth things out.
Field stripping the 44 is like field stripping any other Glock; remove the magazine, clear the gun, depress the trigger (with the gun pointing in a safe direction), and pull the slide back a tiny bit while depressing the slide lock. The slide slides forward off the frame, and the recoil spring and barrel can both be removed.
The barrel is a tiny little thing; almost laughable compared to its older siblings. Since the 44 is a blowback design, the barrel doesn’t quite lock into the gun the way other Glocks do … but that’s fine, since blowback is the de rigueur for .22 pistols.
Detail stripping the slide and is the same as every other Glock. I’ll be curious to see if the armorer’s training adds a separate section in the book for the 44; my guess is that it will since there are some subtle parts differences, but those that do their own Glocking will feel very much at home.
Shooting the Glock 44
Off the bench and at the range … the first thing one notices with a loaded Glock 44 in hand is that this gun is light. I mentioned this before, but it’s worth adding again. For those of us that started our shooting careers on guns like the Smith & Wesson 617 (still, IMHO, the finest .22 handgun in existence), the Glock 44 doesn’t quite feel right … until it does. If you like Glock triggers then you’ll like the trigger here, because it feels every bit like every other Glock trigger. In fact, I did a blind taste test between three of my Glocks (my 19X, 26, and 44, all of which are Gen 5 guns), and I wasn’t able to discern which trigger break came from which gun. Glock has done a remarkably good job of maintaining consistency here, and that will make this gun an unquestionably good training gun for those with a Glock in their duty holster (and especially better than the Glock 17R, which was a good idea).
250 rounds of Remington Thunderbolt .22 LR down the pipe resulted in no failures to feed or failures to eject.
The recoil is nominal as one would expect—even for a gun weighing less than a pound with a fully loaded magazine. This will make the Glock 44 a very natural starting point for new shooters, and those that don’t want the recoil of a centerfire cartridge.
Most importantly: this gun is fun to shoot! In a world full of superb polymer-framed centerfire guns, it’s easy to forget about the little .22 LR cartridge and its tremendous value to shooters everywhere. If nothing else, I hope that the Glock 44 brings about a resurgence of interest in this little round, and the myriad of training opportunities that it will afford to shooters of all ranks.
Lots of companies have made excellent .22 LR pistols; the Smith & Wesson Model 41 being the torch-bearer of pistols for competition shooters, and the Ruger Mark IV being the worthy heir to Ruger’s 71 year history of superb target pistols. There are also no lack of full-size polymer guns in .22 that are meant to be training companions to their centerfire brethren; the Smith & Wesson M&P22, the Walther P22Q, and the now-discontinued Sig Sauer Mosquito are/were excellent guns that deserve a nod.
But Glock’s dominance in the marketplace and their reputation for rock-solid reliability make the Glock 44 deserving of more than a quick glance.