A strong contender in the “Best .380” contest, the Glock G42 offers big-gun features and feel in the sub-compact class. Read the full review HERE
by Major Pandemic
As a huge fan of Glocks and one who carries one on a constant basis, I look forward to the introduction of new models. Oddly when the .380 ACP chambered single-stack G42 was introduced everyone thought, “What was Glock thinking?”
Apparently Glock is smarter than all the loud screamers, because the G30S sub-compact .45ACP 10-round pistol everyone loathed initially, was hugely successful. The G42 set new product sales records for Glock which flattened even the G30S success. Years after the introduction customers are still demanding the G42 and Glock is just barely keeping up with demand.
If you are some macho dude reading this eating steak covered in bacon and washing it down with dark beer and scotch with a 1911 holstered on your waist, this may not become your primary firearm. That noted, the G42 is not really targeted to the regular Glock’iphile either. From every conceivable perspective, it is designed specifically to target the first-time gun owner, and, more specifically, females. Glock has noted that new female shooters are still the primary buyers, but guys wanting a highly concealable gun are also buying the little .380.
The G42 is more concealable by a huge margin compared to its similar sized but fatter G26 9mm brother. It fits a smaller hand more comfortably and the action is easy and light to hand-cycle. Add on accuracy and confidence-inspiring performance and you have one heck of a nice little gun for personal defense. My wife foresaw all these features and swooped it off our kitchen counter literally right after picking it up and I have had to fight her for it since just to test the little bugger. We now both own one.
FIT, FINISH, FEEL, FEATURES, & FUNCTIONS
The Glock G42 represents a bold step forward for Glock USA as it is one of its first 100% USA-manufactured Glocks. Since late 2012, Glock has been working on moving US-sold Glock manufacturing to its US Georgia manufacturing facility.
I will sum up about six paragraphs of fit, feel, and features, but saying the G42 is every bit your standard Glock with the same slide finishes, grip treatment, five internal safeties, and internal design of your standard Gen 4 series Glocks. What is different is the size. It is a gloriously comfortable gun for small handed shooters and a size that hides in all sorts of places on the body, clothing and purses. The best way I can sum up the G42 is that it is an updated Walther PPK; you know the one Bond carries. The Walther was a tight and compact gun which still offered a good handhold with just enough sight radius and weight to make it accurate and pleasant to shoot. The G42 is the modern sleeker, lighter and more ergonomic version of the PPK.
The Glock G42 is not an uber-compact micro-pistol such as the Ruger LCP, it is a small sized gun that strikes the perfect balance between the size and weight and the power of the .380 ACP round. After all, that energy has to go somewhere and usually tiny guns will beat the hell out of the shooter, especially new/inexperienced shooters. The G42 is about as pleasant to shoot as your average .22LR pistol, really a pleasure to shoot. In fact I blew through 200-rounds of various FMJ and HP defensive ammo so quick, that I was really disappointed I didn’t have more ammo. With the exception of the Walther PPK, this enjoyment was a new experience of not being battered while shooting a small pistol. The G42 is indeed an excellent first time shooter gun.
There are several reasons why the Glock G42 is so darn comfortable to shoot. The pistol itself has enough size for a decent handhold and heft to dissipate some of the recoil of even the more hotly loaded .380 ACP rounds. Glock designed the pistol around its newer Gen 4 dual recoil spring design which also take a bite out of recoil. The smaller grip size, thanks to the .380 round and single stack design, allows the a shooter’s distal joint (the bend point next to the pad of your finger) to reach the center of the trigger even on small hands. The distal joint trigger reach allows shooters with less hand strength more leverage to pull the trigger without straining. Additionally, the more the hand comfortably wraps around and covers the grip, the better control the shooter has. This all adds up to a gun which is friendly to handle, grip, control, and shoot even for smaller handed shooters.
There is another functional feature which sets the G42 apart from other guns for first time shooters and those with less hand strength. From a physics perspective the shorter a pistol is the more tension the spring must pack into a shorter space. The result of a tiny little gun is that they can be harder to hand cycle and chamber a round than larger pistols. The dual recoil spring and non-diminutive size allow the G42 to hand cycle easily and confidently for the new and low hand strength shooter.
Many people logically think that the .380 ACP round is far less powerful and thus less a man stopper than other rounds, however the Ellifritz Study actually tells a statistically different story. In fact the study paints a story indicating statistically that the .380 ACP was actually a better man-stopper than almost all the other traditional “defensively preferred” calibers. If we look at the overall statistics of the study, it clearly indicates that one-two rounds of any caliber will stop and attacker, because no one enjoys being shot. (Click HERE to read the study.)
Some have claimed that the .380 ACP round is more effective simply because it has a low probability of over penetration and almost guarantees 100% energy transfer within an attacker. It is also a more controllable round, which means that shooters are statically likely to deliver more consistent follow-up shots on target which is important in a defensive situation. For the shooter waffling on the “capability and power” of the .380 ACP round, I would encourage your own analysis of the Ellifritz study. It is my current opinion that I am well armed with quality defensive .380 ACP rounds such as those form Hornady and I statically want no part of being shot with it.
In the comparison of .380 ACP powered pistols, the Walther PPK is a little more accurate gun, however the Glock is way easier to shoot more quickly and more accuracy. The Walther you need to concentrate, the Glock G42 delivers hits easily and offers more user-friendly function in the process. It a no contest match between the Ruger LCR and the G42 with the Glock being exponentially easier to handle and shoot with far more comfort. The Ruger is more concealable, however the Glock has proven to be more reliable.
Honestly, I was so pissed off it was not a 9mm that I artificially hated the G42 initially. But then, I shot it and fell in love with the format. The G42 is like shooting a fun .22LR pistol and you could shoot and train with it all day. I cannot say that of the micro-sized .380 ACP pistols on the market. I will guarantee that this pistol will be a better defensive tool for nearly every newer shooter and even the seasoned folks, simply because it is fun and easy to shoot without pain. The gun you shoot a lot with will be a gun you feel comfortable with defending your life with.
Mrs Pandemic loves, loves, loves the G42 and considers it one of the best concealable firearms on the market for the female shooter. The slim G42 allows her to still wear all the more fitting styles of today without needing to go up a size just to conceal a firearm. I will tell you as a long-time married man, no woman ever wants to go up a size for any reason. I am already over the macho BS and love the G42 format.
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[Major Pandemic is an editor at large who loves everything about shooting, hunting, the outdoors, and all those lifesaving little survival related products. His goal is simple, tell a good story in the form of a truthful review all while having fun. He contributes content to a wide variety of print and digital magazines and newsletters for companies and manufacturers throughout the industry with content exposure to over 2M readers monthly. Click HERE to learn more.]