New Kid on the Glock: Glock 42 Review

New Kid on the Glock: Glock 42 Review

Glock 42 Review.

Perhaps more than any other handgun introduction in 2014, this one caught the attention of concealed carry fans everywhere. In this Glock 42 review, Dick Jones gives his impression.

One of the hottest categories of handguns is that of the subcompact .380 semi-auto. These guns have been so popular there have been off-and-on ammo shortages for .380 ACP throughout recent years. It’s easy to see the reason for their popularity.

Many modern .380s are lightweight, easy to shoot, carry and conceal and they have good reputations for reliability. While no one will ever call it a heavy metal man stopper, recent advances in ammunition have brought the .380 cartridge into unprecedented viability as an extremely reasonable defense round.

This year at SHOT Show, Glock released the long awaited Glock 42 in .380 ACP. I think I can safely say it’s the largest departure from the standard Glock line I’ve seen, and I can’t imagine it shares any parts with anything else Glock makes.

It’s a true subcompact, though one of the largest of the popular .380 subcompacts. It has real sights, not a tiny representation of sights, and the dovetail-mounted sights have the familiar Glock-style white U and dot outlines for low light alignment.

The trigger of the G42 is also standard Glock fare, with the traditional center blade, relatively long first stage and reset. The trigger on my test gun broke cleanly at just over 8 pounds with only a little over-travel, and a little over-travel isn’t a bad thing on a defensive firearm. Magazine capacity is six plus one, about standard for this class of gun, and quite adequate, in my opinion, for a concealed carry gun.

Glock 42 Review

In fast shooting, the little Glock was both mild mannered and accurate enough for a good concealed carry gun. Yamil Sued Photo
In fast shooting, the little Glock was both mild mannered and accurate enough for a good concealed carry gun. Yamil Sued Photo

The G42 is a full-featured pistol with a proper magazine release, and the slide locks back on the last round. Some subcompact pistols have traded the slide lock for lighter weight, and this probably isn’t a good idea.

While most subcompacts are reliable, malfunctions in semi-auto pistols are inevitable. When they happen, clearing a gun without a slide lock can be challenging in perfect conditions and borderline impossible under stress.

Doing a fast reload worked just like it would with the G42’s big brothers except that everything was smaller. The magazine drops when the button is pressed, and the slide can be dropped with the release or with a pull and release.

I’ve recently reviewed several guns in this class, and I can say without hesitation that the Glock was certainly the easiest to shoot well, and it had the least recoil. It also had the best hand position of the subcompact .380s I’ve shot lately.

Even though the grip is about the same length as some of the other subcompacts, it feels longer. The Glock also clearly has the best sights of any of the guns in this category.

Glock 42 Accuracy?

Internally, the G42 is pure Glock reduced in size. Yamil Sued Photo
Internally, the G42 is pure Glock reduced in size. Yamil Sued Photo

The almost full-sized sights certainly were an aid in the excellent accuracy I found in the G42. At 10 yards, standing, my best group was just over an inch, center to center, with six of the 10 shots in a ragged hole less than ½-inch center to center. Most groups were less than 2 inches, but the little Glock is more than up to the job.

While the Glock 42 is larger than most guns in its class, this isn’t really bad news. The tiniest of the subcompact handguns can be difficult to operate, especially for women with low grip strength. The larger size of the G42 allows more purchase of both the gun hand and the slide hand, making it one of the easiest guns in its class to operate. At its widest point, the 42 is only .976 inches, and it weighs less than 14 ounces.

In the process of testing several brands and styles of ammunition, the Glock 42 did experience one malfunction with a full-metal jacket, economy line of ammunition. It was a double feed on the second round from a full magazine.

This happened when I was holding the gun normally, making me suspect the round, but I saw nothing unusual about it. One test I put every defensive semi-auto through is shooting with a limp wrist. I shoot with a very loose hold from both right and left hands. During the limp wrist test, the G42 cycled every time but in one session, the slide failed to lock back on the last round.

This is an excellent little gun that represents a worthwhile compromise in its class by sacrificing some of the lightweight properties and ability to be concealed like similar .380s, but in exchange the shooter gains much more accuracy and manageability.

They’re for defensive use, and they’re often carried for a lifetime without a single use. When you buy a concealed carry gun, you want to carry it, knowing you can rely on it, but never having to use it. I think the little Glock 42 fills that bill nicely.All gun choices involve compromise. Less weight is easier to carry but yields more recoil. More power means a bigger gun and problems hiding it. High magazine capacity means a gun with a much thicker imprint. Concealed carry guns don’t serve the same purpose as service pistols.

Glock 42
Caliber:    .380
Capacity:    6 + 1
Magazines:    Polymer/steel
Barrel:    3¼ in.
Sights:    Dovetailed rear
Frame:    Polymer
Slide:    Steel matte black
Length:    5.93 in.
Height:    4.13 in.
Weight:    13.76 oz.
Options:    None
SRP    $475


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  1. I ran across one in my LGS a few weeks ago. Bought it immediately and replaced my Sig P238. They’d been allocated three and I got the last one. I’m not sure selling three in two days is good or bad for them. So far I love shooting it and love carrying it. I’d rather have a 9mm version though.

  2. I predict it will soon be a discontinued collectors item. As big a flop as the .45 gap cartridge was. Lets face facts when you can get about the same size gun in a 9mm it makes no sense whatsoever to buy it in .380.

    • Despite all the neigh-sayers, Glock is selling them all day long. Most CCWer friends already carry it, or are still trying to, or are planning on getting one. The gun stores in our area that sell Blue Label usually have waiting lists. That means Police are buying them as soon as they come in.

      • I checked in the new 42 for display at my retail store recently and agree with Dick on all except the grip length, although I haven’t shot it yet. Still too short to grab with all fingers. Pinky got no home. I’ve found all .380s to suffer from this, except the Taurus 738 – with extended 8-shot mag – which you cannot acquire separately from Taurus for some odd reason they “don’t know about.” It must come with the gun. That said, I would probably buy the G42 if I could get a better mag or fit a curved finger grab plate on the OEM mag.
        BTW – our ONE 42 we were allocated lasted just long enough for our first customer to hear “Glock 42” – less than an hour. Didn’t make it into the display case, lol.


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