As reports started to funnel in from the 2014 SHOT Show, folks that actually had the chance to handle and shoot the G42 at Media Day seemed pleased with the new pistol. Around the various gun forums, opinions were split. Many liked the idea of a lighter and thinner carry with the smaller 380 caliber, while others wished for a pistol of similar dimensions chambered for the more powerful 9mm cartridge.
From my point of view, I was tickled to death to hear the news about the G42. As a long time pocket gun fanatic, I remember the days back in 2007-2009 when 380 pocket pistols were selling faster than they could be produced. New pocket-sized 380 pistols were constantly being introduced in the market. Most suffered from reliability issues and tended to be fussy about the ammunition they would feed and fire reliably. Many a firearm forum post lamented the fact that what we really needed was a Glock 380 that would bring the legendary Glock reliability to the pocket gun platform.
You may be wondering why it took Glock so long to launch their 380 pistol here in the USA, when they currently have two other 380 Auto models (G25 and G28) produced in their Austrian factory. The short answer is the Gun Control Act of 1968 established a scoring system for imported firearms. Based on the design, features, and caliber of a firearm a series of points are applied. ATF Form 4590 details the scoring system as it currently stands. Any Glock 380 pistol produced in Austria would not score enough points to allow it to be legally imported into the US for non-law enforcement sales. Things changed when Glock established their Smyrna, Georgia production facility. With a US production plant in operation, the import scoring system was no longer a hurdle that Glock had to deal with.
|The G42 ships with two magazines and usual Glock goodies.|
In my opinion, one of the greatest inventions ever is the "Notify When Back In Stock" feature many retailers have added to their websites. By being patient, eventually one of my NWBIS alerts hit my email with the good news that I could order my G42 for immediate shipment. My G42 has a test fire date of March 26, 2014 and I have confirmed it has three of the four changes identified by Duncan in his LooseRounds.com article. If I tore the gun apart, I'm sure it would also have the fourth modification.
While the G42 might be larger than other available single stack polymer 380 Autos, it does have the advantage of a longer barrel. Having terminal tested more than my fair share of 380 Auto ammunition, it's nearly impossible to find a JHP load that will expand and still penetrate to greater than 12 inches in ballistics testing gel when fired from a barrel of 3 inches or less. The 3.25 inch barrel of the Glock 42 may allow some of the marginal JHP loads to achieve that extra bit of velocity to hit the 12 inches or more penetration goal. The accompanying table shows the results of my preliminary velocity testing with the Glock 42. Overall velocities were 30 to 40 feet per second faster than you might expect from a 2.8 inch barrel.
The G42 is indeed the shortest, lightest, and thinnest Glock ever produced. Magazine capacity is tied with the only other single stack Glock, the G36 in 45 Auto, that also features a six-round magazine. At the moment, I found it impossible to find spare G42 magazines at retail price. Available spare magazines are currently commanding a substantial premium from the sellers that have them in stock. I hope this will correct as supply catches up with demand.
|The field stripped G42 reveals no surprises. It's a Glock.|
Glock designates the G42 is a Slimline series pistol. While lacking the interchangeable backstraps of the larger Gen4 pistols, it does share the same rough textured frame, dual recoil spring assembly, and enlarged reversible magazine catch of the other Gen4 pistols. Since I was reviewing the pistol, I actually opened the manual and found it contained nothing specific about the G42 model, but did reference the G42. If you are familiar with other Glock models, operating and maintaining the G42 yields no surprises.
If you are interested in negative feedback on the performance of the pistol, the list is very short. The only issue I experienced was occasional failure to lock the slide back after the last round was fired. This only happened with some varieties of FMJ range fodder ammunition that was run through the pistol.
On the positive side, I had zero issues with feeding or extraction. I've come to expect this reliability from Glock pistols and the G42 didn't disappoint. As previously mentioned, some smaller pistols can be fussy about the ammo that allows them to run reliably. This G42 ate everything it was fed with no complaints.
|7 Yard groups fired from a rest|
Firing off-hand groups was a bit more challenging for me. As you will see in the range video, I have a tendency to shoot a bit low and left with the G42. It got better with practice, but I still have have more practicing in my future before I would declare myself proficient with the pistol.
Earlier in the review, I mentioned the trigger was on the heavy side. I didn't mention that the trigger has a short reach and reset. As I was reviewing my range videos, I noticed my trigger finger would migrate across the trigger face during a string of fire. I would start out with the pad of my finger on the trigger and end up with the trigger resting near the distal joint. I believe this is the root of my trigger control problem and I'll be working to correct this during future range visits.
The video has some highlights from my range trips as well as some additional commentary for the folks that don't read reviews. It's fairly short and lacks the detail of the written review. On the other hand, it does visually illustrate many of the points covered in the review.
I was really pleased with the lack of felt recoil and general comfort when shooting the G42 during my range sessions. The only pain or fatigue I felt on the range came during my frequent breaks to reload the magazines. It wasn't a difficult task, but the pistol was so much fun to shoot I think I spent much more time loading magazines than I did behind the trigger.
As a concealed carry pistol, the Glock 42 really shines. With an actual fully loaded weight of 16.1 ounces, it fits my weight criteria for a pocket pistol. It may not work with all pants pockets, but I know it will work with a few pairs in my wardrobe. The slim width and short grip makes the G42 a great choice for in-waistband carry. I've carried the G42 IWB appendix carry most frequently and it disappears under a tee shirt.
The Glock 42 should be very appealing to folks looking for a small pistol that isn't going to punish them with excessive felt recoil and trigger finger slap. A more comfortable practice/training experience will hopefully lead to spending more time behind the trigger developing familiarity and skill with the pistol. I know I'm looking forward to spending many more range hours with this concealed carry gem.