Glock 44 Review
For years I’ve carried a Glock 19 because I think this compact version of arguably the most reliable semi-auto ever made is a great balance of shootability and concealability. But mastering its two-stage, 6-pound trigger takes frequent practice. What’s more, drawing from concealment and shooting accurately isn’t something we’re born with. So for years I’ve searched for a comparably sized .22-caliber handgun that would allow me to practice for cheap. Finally that gun has arrived…the Glock 44.
The world-famous Glock company of Austria has released a .22-caliber pistol after 38 years of making its vaunted polymer framed, striker-fired centerfires. Glock’s Gen 5 Model 44 is a facsimile of its Model 19 (9mm) and Model 23 (.40 cal) with the exact same controls and footprint, yet it fires the pocketbook-and-recoil-friendly .22 LR. Recently I tested it at length.
The Model 44’s polymer frame is identical to the Gen 5 Model 19, including its ambidextrous slide release buttons, reversible mag release, grip stippling, and even the interchangeable backstraps that give it a custom fit based on the shooter’s hand size. The real difference, notwithstanding the obvious bore dimension disparity, is the Model 44’s slide that’s made of polymer composite and reinforced at critical friction points by steel. This made by necessity; if Glock wanted a full-length slide that mimicked the look, feel, and function of its centerfires, then it had to produce a slide much lighter than its steel versions so it would function under the mild-recoil power of .22 LR rounds. (After all, this pistol, like all Glocks, is recoil operated.) As a result of the polymer slide, the Model 44 weighs 14.6 ounces, compared to the 23.6 of the 19, so it definitely feels lighter in the hand. But ergonomically it’s the same gun with the exact same grip angle and controls. It even has a rail for a flashlight and comes with two quality polymer magazines with viewing windows and finger tabs for easy loading.
The 44 features the company’s proprietary “Safe Action” trigger and a footprint so exact that holsters made for the 19 or 23 are interchangeable with the 44. This means you don’t have to run out and buy a new holster and mag pouches just to practice with it.
The 44’s trigger pull weight measured 7 lbs. compared to 5.5 lbs. of my Glock 19, but everything else is equitable. I fired 500 rounds through my test pistol from a rest for accuracy testing and during concealed carry drills for speed. In doing so, I became a better shooter while saving approximately 108 dollars compared to if I had fired 500 economy-priced 9mm rounds through my 19.
Its 4-inch “GLOCK Marksman Barrel” is no bull-weight target barrel to be sure, but the gun remains plenty accurate for practical purposes, recording very respectable 3-shot groups averaging 1.38 inches at 15 yards. Indeed, I routinely plinked an 8-inch steel gong at 100 yards!
Concerning reliability, I’ve seen some negative reviews online lately, but the fact is, rimfire .22 LRs, due to their less reliable priming system and minimal recoil energy, are simply less reliable than centerfires. In my testing I experienced more jams with standard-velocity 36-grain ammo. However, when I used high-velocity ammo, heavier 40-grain ammo, or premium copper-plated ammo—the kind I always recommend for semi-auto .22 pistols—malfunctions were minimal. This evidence suggests that the 44 requires a minimum cartridge-generated energy threshold that the 36-grain, standard-velocity loads do not consistently deliver. Just buy high-velocity or 40-grain ammo, keep the gun clean, and you’ll be good to go.
As for negatives, I have one: Although the 44’s rear sight is adjustable for elevation, my test unit printed 3 inches higher than point-of-aim at 15 yards with the rear sight set as low as possible. I compensated with six o’clock hold.
In conclusion, if you’re a Glock fan, you need this pistol. It’ll make you a better shooter and save you money while doing so. And if you don’t own a Glock, this .22 LR semi-auto is just fun to shoot all day by its own merit.
Jeff Johnston isn't the only one that likes Glocks. Check out Niki Jensen.