Review: Glock G42 Compact 380 ACP Pistol
Major Pandemic 09.13.16
As a huge fan of Glock pistols and one who carries one often, I look forward to the introduction of new models. Oddly, the 380 ACP single stack G42 was introduced and received with a thunderous, “Hmmm… ahhh…what the?”
I soon heard an earful from friends, all wondering what the heck Glock was thinking. “I wanted a single stack [insert favorite caliber here]”, “I want…,”I want…”, “I want…” Yeah okay, put me in that column for a single stock 9mm, but hey, it’s a Browning 9mm Short (aka 380 ACP). Does that count?
Here is the deal folks. Glock may be smarter than all the screamers because the 2013 introduction of the G30S sub-compact 45 ACP 10-round pistol–about which everyone initially complained–was hugely successful.
That said, the G42 is not really targeted to the regular Glockophile either. From every conceivable perspective, it is designed specifically to target the first time gun owner, especially females.
For a Glock shooter, there are benefits to the G42. It is more concealable by a huge margin than its similar-sized but fatter G26 9mm brother, so it can slip under those close-fitting clothes. It fits a smaller hand more comfortably, and the action is easy and light to hand cycle.
Add on accuracy and confidence-inspiring reliability, and you have a nice little gun for personal defense. Mrs. Pandemic foresaw all these features and swooped it off our kitchen counter. I have had to fight her for it ever since just to test the little bugger.
Fit, Finish, Feel, and Features
The Glock G42 represents a bold step forward for Glock USA as it is one of the first 100% USA manufactured Glocks. Since late 2012, Glock has been working on moving the manufacture of US-sold Glock to its factory in the state of Georgia.
I will sum up about six paragraphs of fit, feel, and features by saying the G42 is every bit your standard Gen 4 series Glock with the same slide finish, grip treatment, five internal safeties, and internal design. What is different is the size.
It is a gloriously comfortable gun for small-handed shooters, and it can be hidden in all sorts of places on the body, clothing, and purses.
The Glock G42 is not an uber-compact micro pistol such as the Ruger LCP. Instead, it is a small gun that strikes a balance between the size, weight, and power of the 380 ACP cartridge. After all, recoil energy has to go somewhere, and tiny guns will often beat the hell out of the shooter.
The G42 is about as pleasant to shoot as your average 22 LR pistol. In fact, I blew through 200 rounds of various FMJ and HP defensive ammo so quickly that I was really disappointed I didn’t have more ammo. With the exception of the Walther PPK, it was a new experience to not be battered while shooting a small pistol. For new shooters wanting a CCW and defense gun, I would wholeheartedly recommend the G42.
There are several reasons why the Glock G42 is so comfortable to shoot. The pistol itself has enough size for a decent grip and heft to dissipate some of the recoil of even hot 380 ACP rounds. Glock designed the pistol around its newer Gen 4 dual recoil spring design, which also takes a bite out of recoil.
The smaller grip size, thanks to the 380 round and single stack design, allows 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. This allows shooters with weaker hands to exert more leverage so they can pull the trigger without straining.
Additionally, the more the hand wraps around and covers the grip, the better control the shooter has. This all adds up to a gun that is friendly to handle, grip, control, and shoot even for smaller handed shooters.
Another bonus for small-handed and/or weaker shooters is the ease of manually cycling the action of the G42. Many small pistols have very strong recoil springs, but the G42’s larger size and dual-spring design allow the G42 to be easily cycled by hand.
In a comparison of 380 ACP pistols, the Walther PPK is a little more accurate, but the Glock is way easier to shoot quickly. With the Walther you need to concentrate, but 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 and more comfortable to handle and shoot. The Ruger is more concealable, but the Glock has proven to be more reliable.
Honestly, I was so pissed off it was not a 9mm that I initially hated the G42. But then I shot it and fell in love. The G42 is like shooting a fun 22 LR 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 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 close-fitting styles of today without needing to go up a size just to conceal a firearm. I can tell you as a long-time married man, no woman ever wants to go up a size. I am already over the macho BS and love the G42 even if I don’t get a chance to carry it that often.
- Length (overall): 151 mm / 5.94 in.
- Length (slide cpl.): 146 mm / 5.75 in.
- Width: 24 mm / 0.94 in.
- Height (with magazine): 105 mm / 4.13 in.
- Barrel length: 82.5 mm / 3.25 in.
- Length of twist: 250 mm / 9.84 in.
- Trigger distance: 61 mm / 2.40 in.
- Trigger travel: 12.5 mm / .49 in.
- Barrel distance: 18 mm / 0.71 in.
- Line of sight (polymer): 125 mm / 4.92 in.
- Weight – Pistol without magazine: 350 g / 12.35 oz.
- Weight – Magazine std. empty: 40 g / 1.41 oz.
- Weight – Magazine std. full: 57 g / 2.01 oz.
- Magazine Capacity (rounds): 6
- Barrel Profile: right hand twist; hexagonal
- Standard Trigger Pull: ~5.62 lbs.
- Muzzle Velocity*: 886 fps
- Muzzle Energy*: 162 fps