This summer, seeing the ammo shortage I wanted to shoot a .22 pistol. Sorry Ruger, the Mark series wasn’t what I was looking for. Although a suppressed version with a red dot sight would be intriguing; but that would be owned for a different purpose.
Specifically what I was looking for was a medium sized pistol with combat type sites so I could practice the mechanics of pistol shooting; drawing, getting a sight picture, and firing. .22 is much cheaper than doing it with 9mm. Yes, one loses out on the recoil aspect, but I specifically bought a .22 to help ingrain muscle memory (and have fun with).
My initial criticism on hearing the announcement of the Glock 44 (besides disappointment it wasn’t something cooler) centered around the 10 round magazine. So my intent was to buy another manufacturer’s pistol.
The one I wanted was the Taurus TX22, which has a 16 round magazine and a MSRP of $349, but a street price closer to $250-300. Alternatively, I would buy a Smith & Wesson MP 22 Compact or a Walther P22Q. The Glock 44 was not on my radar. I had enough of those and wanted something different.
I visited one gun store in late June that was packed. No suitable .22 pistol. Later that week I visited another gun store and all they had was the Glock 44. Reluctantly, I held it and it wasn’t that bad. I decided to buy the pistol on impulse; yes, I didn’t want to leave empty handed, but at least this way I could do a fair shooting review of it.
Out the door the Glock cost me $389 with taxes, higher than the Taurus. I didn’t pay extra fees or wait on a background check because my Nevada CCW permit is on the Permanent Brady Chart, which means you fill out the Form 4473, but they don’t call it in. I was also willing to pay more because of the instant gratification and I prefer to buy guns over-the-counter whenever possible to support my favorite gun stores who don’t make much off of $25 transfer fees from online retailers.
What I Liked
Naturally, I played with the empty pistol at home. I immediately appreciated the ergonomics of the Generation 5 Glocks. No finger grooves, the adjustable backstraps, and no finger hole in the front of the pistol grip. The magazine well is flared to aid with insertion of magazines, which is a small, but very nice touch. I immediately appreciated the forward cocking serrations, but admittedly it is taking some getting used to because for the last 20 years I haven’t cocked a pistol from but the rear of the slide.
Even as much as I enjoyed handling the pistol in my living room, I still couldn’t shake the feeling I made a mistake purchasing it. It was very light, only held 10 rounds, and seemed gimmicky. I’m rather parsimonious with money and wondered if I added another gun, and another Glock Tupperware case, because I have low impulse control. Gun reviews come out of my pocket and selling the gun after the private gun sale ban is a PITA, so odds were that after I was done with it, it would just be taking up space in the safe.
When I took it out in the field, I immediately changed my mind. The gun was a pleasure to shoot. My attitude changed immediately and I understood what Glock was getting at when they designed it. The Gen 5 trigger is a noticeable improvement over previous Glock generations; it’s subtle, but noticeably crisper in breaking.
The pistol is externally the same size as Glock 19, so it fit my holsters for that pistol. Because the slide is so light (polymer on a metal base), the recoil impulse feels close to 9mm. As this was intended as a low-cost training weapon, the closer to 9mm the recoil the more realistic the training. Mechanically I feel like I am working my Glock 19.
The pistol is as accurate as the shooter and ammo will allow. The Gen 5 Marksman Barrel helps with this. The sights are also adjustable, but your mileage may vary. I’ve been using a six-o’clock hold and that seems to work well for me. At five yards, I’ve completely obliterated a one-inch red sticker with a single magazine, which is no mean feat seeing as I’m out of practice and suffer from some forearm issues. I didn’t measure my groups, sorry.
The pistol is also generally reliable. Like all .22s, the complicating factor is the quality of the ammo. Using high-quality, round nose ammo produced the best results. Cheap, hollow-point ammo produced the worst. More often than not, the magazine fed without any problems. I would say you can use whatever ammo you’d like in it, but some brands/bullets may produce varying results.
What I didn’t like
As I said in my original post, I don’t like the 10 round magazines. I’m rather critical that Glock couldn’t increase the magazine capacity to more than that. Taurus has made a reliable 16 round magazine, so 12-14 should not be out of the question for Glock.
Loading cartridges must be done carefully. Rimmed cartridges are known for being unreliable in semi-automatic magazines. Rimmed cases are susceptible to rim lock and the sequential loading to avoid the rims catching creates a curved stack—not a beneficial thing in a straight magazine.
When loading, only lower the follower just enough to push the next round in. Don’t pull the tabs to the bottom and try dropping the cartridges in; load one at a time. . It’s important that the cartridge stack not be allowed to collapse because the rounds will tilt downward and jam.
I bought an aftermarket ProMag 18 round magazine. ProMag is notoriously hit and miss. I did not care for this magazine and would not buy another. Why?
The loading tabs to depress the follower were too small. My fingertips ached after holding them down against the spring pressure. By contrast, the factory Glock magazine has very large, excellent, ribbed tabs.
I could only load the magazine to 17 rounds, max. This was after several difficult attempts due to the cartridge stack collapsing, the rounds jamming, and problems with my fingers due to the tabs and spring pressure making them hurt. I could not load it to 18 rounds.
The spring pressure was too heavy. The heavy spring pressure is unfortunately necessary due to the amount of the cartridges the magazine holds and the increased compression required to give it the putative 18 round capacity.
The cartridge stack collapsed and jammed too much. Once the stack collapsed and the rounds jammed, I had to hold down the loading tabs, shake the magazine upside down, and even use a tool to pop the cartridges free. Once those suckers tilted and stuck, it was hopeless and they had to be freed and re-loaded. This last issue is not ProMag’s fault; it is just that the larger capacity exacerbates the issue, which isn’t helped by how hard it is hold the loading tabs.
The magazine is otherwise reliable and durable, but I load it to only 10 rounds now. I would caution owners to load it to 12-15 rounds maximum.
Magazine capacity aside, I would recommend this pistol to Glock aficionados or others in the market looking for a defensive-style pistol in .22. It is being allowed in some defensive-style matches. For personal use, it is an excellent way to get cheap range time practicing with something very similar to your everyday carry weapon.
I would not recommend it as defensive pistol for women, the disabled, or the elderly. .22LR is not a suitable defensive cartridge (except when it has to be) and the Glock 42 .380 is a much better cartridge, suited for self-defense, and has low recoil.
Clayton E. Cramer
Gun Free Zone
The War on Guns
The View From Out West