Review: Glock’s Model 42 and Crimson Trace’s LG-443
Pat Cascio 08.08.16
I’ve never been one of those writers who tries to be the first to write about something. I’d rather give it a little time, let them work out any bugs or kinks, and go from there.
The Glock 42 is an American-made 380 ACP subcompact pistol. You see, Glock had been making a 380 ACP for quite some time, but because of stupid BATF import restrictions, they weren’t able to import it into the USA
A quick look at the specs on the American-made Glock 42 are in order. It is chambered in 380 ACP, it has a 3.25-inch barrel, and unloaded it weighs a mere 13.76 ounces. It’s a lightweight. Trigger pull is typical, mushy-feeling Glock and comes in at 5.5 pounds, but one gets used to it in short order. Magazine capacity is 6 rounds (single stack), and each gun comes with two magazines. Other specs are the same as any other Glock: Tenifer finish, combat sights, polymer frame, etc. Check ’em out on the Glock website for full details. I don’t want to bore readers to death with what most already know about Glocks.
Right off the bat, there were reports about malfunctions with the new Glock 42. Some guns wouldn’t feed certain bullets, and on many guns the slide would lock open with rounds still in the magazine. Many gun writers didn’t write about these problems–typical! Quietly, Glock made a few changes without really admitting there were any problems to start with. I guess that’s good and bad. I prefer it when a company steps up and admits there are problems and then corrects them. The good news is, the new Glock 42 works just fine–within certain limits.
I really like the way the Glock 42 feels in my hand, although it needs a little pinky catcher on the magazine floor plate.
Personally, I don’t recommend a 380 ACP pistol as an only handgun for self-defense. I just don’t have all that much faith in the cartridge and only ever carry one as a backup piece.
There have already been numerous articles written about the Glock 42, and I don’t want to rehash what has already been said about this neat little handgun. I do want to concentrate on the Crimson Trace LG-443 laser that they are making for the little Glock 42. This particular model doesn’t hit on the back of the grip area like some of their other models for various Glocks; instead, it attaches to the front of the trigger guard and rides under the dust cover of the Glock’s frame.
Installation of all Crimson Trace lasers is quick and simple and only takes a few minutes. Once the LG-443 is installed, one just has to check where the laser is aimed and make any necessary adjustments. My LG-443 was sighted dead-on for 15 yards.
- Black Hills 90-grain JHP
- Buffalo Bore standard pressure 95-grain FMJ-FN
- Buffalo Bore 100-grain Hard Cast
- Buffalo Bore 80-grain +P Barnes all-copper hollow point TAC-XP
All accuracy testing was done at 15 yards, and the gun was fired with a two-hand stance and without a rest.
I was hoping for better accuracy from the little Glock 42, but the best I got was 4- to 5-inch groups with all of the ammo I tried. The accuracy winner was the Black Hills 90-grain JHP load, which scored right in there in the 4-inch range. Hot on its heels was the Buffalo Bore 100-grain Hard Cast load.
The Glock 42 did NOT like the Buffalo Bore 80-grain Barnes all-copper hollow point +P load. The slide would lock back on every shot, even with rounds in the magazine. I have read reports of this from other gun writers, too.
Using +P loads isn’t always the best idea anyhow as +P loads are really hard on subcompact handguns. My carry load for 380 is Buffalo Bore’s 95-gr FMJ FN standard velocity. It penetrates deeply, and you need penetration first and foremost in any firearm. Expansion isn’t always necessary, and with the little 380 I’ll take a deeply penetrating bullet over one that expands but doesn’t penetrate deeply enough to get the job done. Now for medium to full-sized 380 ACP handguns, I’ll go with +P loads that will penetrate and expand to get the job done.
The Crimson Trace LG-443 laser was a joy to use, and like most of their lasers, it is “instinctive” in use. You simply grasp your handgun as you normally would, and when you do, you naturally apply pressure to the little on/off button on the front of the grip. You don’t even have to think about it.
The Glock 42 has very usable sights compared to some other subcompact 380s I’ve tried. But for my money, I’d pony up the dough for the Crimson Trace LG-443 laser and stick it on the Glock 42. It’s money well spent in my humble opinion.
Was there anything I didn’t like about the Glock 42? Well, yes. It’s a Gen 4 Glock so it has the overly large magazine release button, and that just isn’t needed on this little pistol. I just don’t see myself doing a speed reload with this gun, and the overly large button just didn’t feel right for some reason. I have other Gen 4 Glocks and don’t mind the larger mag release button on those (but I don’t particularly like the big buttons, either).
All things considered, I’d say that Glock has another winner on their hands. Just make sure you test the ammo you are going to carry, and steer clear of +P loads. Full retail is $480.00 on the little gun, but you can find it for less if you shop around. So, if you’re in the market for a backup pistol, take a hard look at the Glock 42, and check out the Crimson Trace LG-443 laser, too. They’re a match made in Heaven!