After a tease period of releasing something “legendary,” Glock released a 10-round .22 pistol the size of model 19. The Glock 44 is a .22LR pistol with a partial steel and polymer slide intended, among other things, to allow sub-caliber training with something closely approximating a duty pistol. The pistol slide, according to Glock, cannot be swapped with the 9mm version.
I, like many other people who have already filled up comment pages this morning, are unimpressed. A “legendary” .22 pistol is the Ruger Mark series, the Browning Buckmark, or the Colt Woodman’s. Glock’s new pistol is not “legendary,” but rather an overdue offering from a company whose “legendary” innovation has stagnated. They couldn’t even make the magazine a high capacity magazine of at least 15 rounds.
Glock’s most recent innovations of note were the Generation 5 improvements such as the Marksman barrel and improved trigger pull as well as the Bavaria-only rotating barrel Glock 46. The latter is not available in the United States and may not be. It remains to be seen if the rotating barrel will be adopted as standard or as new offering.
The Austrian company has fallen behind the market place. First, offerings like the model 44 are available in greater capacity. The Taurus TX22 holds 16 rounds for a $349 MSRP, closer to $200-$250 retail when on sale, versus Glock’s $430 MSRP. Keltec’s rail compatible and pre-threaded CP33 holds 33 rounds in a revolutionary 33-round magazine at the same price point as Glock’s new offering.
Glock essentially made entry to the .22 niche that conversion slides filled nicely without adding really any other value. This new pistol is an unremarkable failure that will appeal to fanboys and few others. Sub-caliber training is pointless at the price where 9mm anyone who can afford this pistol can afford the ammo to feed it. Law enforcement agencies cannot realistically train their officers to shoot without the realistic recoil standard cartridges provide. Most agencies do not have separate training cartridges and prefer to shoot instead with their +P hollow-point ammunition to make training shots as similar to combat shooting as possible.
Consumers have been asking Glock for anything but this pistol for ages. There still is no compact frame and long slide (model 26 fame and model 19 slide). Many shooters have been turned off by Glocks because they desire a thumb safety, which Glock refuses to provide from the factory except for government contract orders. Smith and Wesson’s new line of M&P pistols have either option available for civilians.
There is no pistol caliber carbine either. With such a demand for a new, innovative carbine one would think Glock would engineer a compact carbine that isn’t the Roni conversions or a 9mm AR-15. Hell, Glock can’t even offer a branded 1911 as a gimmick.
On one hand, Glock doesn’t have to cater to the demands of the American civilian pistol market. Their international government and military sales and American law enforcement sales provide enough business. Civilian Glock fanboys wishing for this or that are secondary to the established pistol market. People will continue to buy Glocks because they are utilitarian pistols that are freakishly reliable. Much like Apple and the iPhone, Glock introduces what the company wants, not what the consumer is demanding.
So without having shot the pistol, Glock missed an opportunity here and played right into the jokes and memes about their product introductions.