By: Tin Man
Released in early 2014, the Glock 42 (G 42) represents Glock’s commercial break-in to the .380 ACP market. Although having previously designed the Glock 25 and the Glock 28, the G 42 is the first handgun made by the company which is both chambered in .380 and is available for purchase by non- law enforcement personnel. It retails for anywhere around $420 to $450.
Initial impressions of the G 42 are positive. The weapon itself seems like a blend of both Gen 1 and Gen 4 technology. Like Gen 1 Glocks, there is no rail under the front of the frame, nor are there finger grooves on the front of the grip; this allows practically anyone to comfortably hold the weapon. Like the Gen 4’s, it has a polymid-like grip, a wide magazine release which is removable for ambidextrous placement, and a recessed aft grip that resembles a beaver tail (the G 42 does not have interchangeable back-straps like Gen 4 models). All internals of the weapon are standard as far as Glocks go, just smaller; the pistol is field stripped just like any other Glock.
It fits in a large-sized hand rather well, and allows the purchase of the grip with about 2 ½ fingers (by comparison, the Ruger LCP only allows about two fingers on the grip). Mind you, Pierce Grip extensions have recently designed accessories for the G 42, which would likely allow a full three fingers on the grip.
The extreme convex curvature of the upper rear grip almost resembles a beaver-tail, surely influenced by Glock’s Gen 4 designs. The grip itself has a tapered variant of the “polymids” often found on Gen 4 Glocks, but aren’t quite as aggressive. Overall, the weapon is large for a .380, but still quite small when compared to sub-compact Glocks (approximately a half-inch shorter). It is also less than one inch wide, and fits nearly flush against a torso when carried concealed.
Currently, accessories for the Glock 42 are only just becoming available. Even when fully accessible, G 42 accessories may be costly given their customization for one specific pistol. Well-known manufacturers such as Trijicon and Ameriglo make tritium night sights for the G 42, however only a handful of holsters exist for it. Alternatively, holsters designed for other handguns fit quite well around the G 42:
Each of these holsters retains the weapon securely to the body. Especially interesting is the ankle holster for individuals who choose a primary ankle-carry or who choose to tote the G 42 as a back-up pistol worn on the ankle. Because of the pistol’s dimensions, it is nearly invisible when worn on the ankle underneath jeans or slacks.
At the range, the G 42 performed amazingly well. In the hands of a capable shooter, it shoots on average a three inch group at seven yards. Such accuracy is plenty accurate for a .380 ACP pistol. Its recoil energy is negligible, and fortunately doesn’t bruise or hurt the palm of the hand after several hundred rounds of shooting (compared against a Ruger LCP). This is inherently due to the increased surface area which the grip has both as a result of its increased diameter and length when compared to typical .380 ACP’s.
Given the general physics of .380 ACP’s (i.e., increased dram-equivalent pressures in a small frame), many pistols chambered in .380 ACP are picky about the ammunition shot through them. The G 42 is no exception to this rule. When properly gauged, however, the optimal ammunition will functions flawlessly through the weapon. Outstanding examples of ammunition which performed well (without any malfunction over 100 rounds of each brand) include Remington Golden Saber (102 Gr), Winchester Super-X Silvertip (85 gr), and Hornady Critical Defense (90 gr). The three are pictured below, respectively.
For some reason, the G 42 had trouble cycling Gold Dot’s 90 grain hollow point, pictured below. The recoil impulse seemed to push the slide back with such force that the slide-stop jumped into its cavity before the magazine was empty and induced a failure to cycle. This, however, may be due to a week spring/coil on this particular G 42’s slide stop, as other Glocks are subject to similar problems when using hotter ammunition.
The G 42 comes with two magazines when purchased. Each magazine holds six rounds, creating a 6 +1 weapon for carry. Magazines are available for circa $30 for aftermarket purchase. The magazines are exceptionally small, and fit in most any pocket. Interestingly, the magazines fit near perfectly in the small “key pockets” often found just inside the standard front pockets of most jeans.
For those who carry a purse, the entire weapon (in an Uncle Mike’s holster, too) fits in the standard outside pockets of most name-brand purses. Here it is pictured both in comparison to and in the outside pocket of a coach purse:
The G42 was placed slightly overt (intentionally) to show how easily it fits in the outside pocket. When completely concealed in the pocket, it is entirely unnoticeable from the outside and, as long as it is practiced, is easily drawn from the pocket.
Overall the Glock 42 is an outstanding piece of equipment. Its compactness and portability make carrying it very discreetly an easy task. With an outstanding price, it holds value with its Glock durability and is as versatile as one’s imagination can make it.
Where to get the Holsters: