The Glock 44 Might Be a Rimfire, But It’s Worth the Consideration
When Glock announced that its Glock 44 pistol was going to be chambered in .22 LR—the instructor’s bread and butter—I suddenly became very interested and decided to check it out. Now, I was well aware of the skepticism floating around the interwebs, but after sitting down and reflecting on it, I came up with a few reasons why I might want to get the Glock 44.
For starters, I don’t own a Glock, and my training company doesn’t even have one in its inventory. (No surprise there, right?) I mean, we would, but there has never been a factory rimfire model available before. So a Glock 44 is certainly going to be less expensive than buying a Glock 19 and a conversion kit. I can afford both—after all, it would be a tax write-off—but do I really feel like installing and re-installing a kit every time I need to change calibers? Sure, I could just buy the conversion kit and slap it on a client’s gun, but not all mods and trigger jobs are compatible with all kits.
My final tipping point centered around the fact that getting a dedicated .22 LR Glock would allow me to have both a rimfire training pistol and a centerfire Glock 19 on the line simultaneously when a client presents one. With this pair of guns, I can demo something with live fire and then have the student instantly repeat it with their own firearm.
When the new Glock 44 arrived at the shop, I marveled at its dimensional similarity to the Glock 19. This allows the Glock 44 to fit into nearly any holster that can carry its bigger brother. If you are familiar with the Glock 19 Gen5, this part of the review might seem boring to you, since both pistols share many features. I have to hand it to Glock—the company was very successful at maintaining continuity here. The frames are identical in every way, from the reversible magazine catch to the takedown buttons. The slide stop is also in the same location, and the Glock 44 even has interchangeable backstraps, a feature that is often left off of rimfire clones.
The magazines share the same external dimensions, but the Glock 44 holds only 10 rounds in a single-stack formation. For easier loading, you simply depress the follower with your support hand as you feed rounds into the mag with your strong hand.
The Glock 44’s slide is very interesting indeed. While it shares the traditional Glock sights and slide serrations, it’s built with a combination of polymer and metal. The rail channels themselves are made of metal for durability, but nearly all the rest of the slide is made of polymer, making it light enough to cycle with .22 LR ammo.
The Glock 44 also weighs around 9 ounces less than the Glock 19. There are pros and cons to this, of course. On one hand, it’s nice to give new shooters a lighter gun because, let’s face it, even 2 pounds is heavy to hold outstretched in your hand until you get used to it. On the other hand, this is going to change the effort required for transitions and likely cause new shooters to fall short when snapping to the next target with the heavier Glock 19. I personally would have liked to see more weight on the gun to keep the feel similar, but it wasn’t a dealbreaker.
Once I got the Glock 44 home, I measured the trigger with a Lyman digital trigger pull gauge. It came in at an average of 6.88 pounds—just slightly heavier than advertised—but all triggers lighten up after some use. It had the traditional spongy feel of a striker-fired trigger with a fair amount of creep after the safety blade was depressed. While this isn’t ideal for match shooting, this isn’t a match pistol. However, if Glock made it this way with training in mind, they were spot on. I like a little creep in a trigger, so new shooters can understand what we mean when we refer to that term. Also, light triggers are best avoided until that new shooter learns to keep their finger off the trigger until they’re ready to fire. This weight is really good because most people can handle it, yet it prevents accidental discharges.
Glock 44 On The Range
I conducted my initial testing by incorporating the Glock 44 into some private lessons. I picked a cross-section of clientele to include all ages and skill levels. The load-assist magazines and easy-to-rack slide were applauded. Most students didn’t complain about the trigger weight, and the pull length allowed me to watch for smooth, even pressure during firing. I had a few police officers looking for skill brush-ups who chuckled about how fast their draw was with the lighter Glock 44 compared to their typical Glock 19 service pistols. I also liked that we were able to utilize their entire duty rigs for the training, helping to maintain the same muscle memory during these sessions.
After I had these students break the Glock 44 in for me, I took it to the range myself for function and accuracy testing. For my test, I chose Remington Thunderbolt and Cyclone ammunition along with a pack of Winchester Super Suppressed ammo. I chose these three because they represented a cross-section of troublesome ammo. Generally speaking, hollow points and subsonic rounds are the acid tests in a handgun because they lack a smooth profile for feeding and generate less pressure for cycling the action. For those who are wondering, the Glock 44 comes standard with Glock’s Marksman barrel, so the exposed-lead ammunition is completely safe to use.
I fired five 5-shot groups with each load and saw more than reasonable accuracy in my 15-yard testing. All of the groups were tighter than 2.5 inches, with the best of the day belonging to the Winchester load at just 1.28 inches. All of the rounds fed just fine, and every time the magazine ran out of ammo, the slide locked back, even with the subsonic rounds.
Before wrapping things up, I messed with some double-taps and Mozambique drills from DeSantis’ OWB Thumb Break Scabbard and IWB Slim-Tuk. Drawing and indexing were exactly as you would expect with a Glock 19, except maybe just a hair faster.
My range day ended without any sort of incident involving the pistol’s functioning, contrary to the claims of certain videos circulating on social media at the time of this writing. These videos showed a Glock 44 undergoing a catastrophic failure. Many observers have claimed that this was the result of an out-of-battery detonation. I tried to recreate the alleged malfunction with all three different types of ammunition, but the gun either fired without issue or would not fire at all. Obviously, don’t try this at home, kids. I wasn’t there for either of the internet malfunctions, but I have seen this failure in many other rimfire pistols and rifles. The guns in question have been from reputable manufacturers, and the models were old, proven designs. Furthermore, we have experienced it with nearly every major brand of .22 LR ammo at some point or another.
So what is it, exactly? Well, in a nutshell, it’s misdirected pressure. Whether it be a weak case or a double charge of powder (or both), essentially what happens is the rear end of the cartridge ruptures, directing pressure back into the action. Of course, the gun is going to be messed up after this happens—this area isn’t meant to handle that kind of stress. In my experience, some guns have been fine, and others have needed to go back to the factory. Again, this concerns several different ammo and firearms manufacturers as well as both our own guns and guns that students have provided. It is just an unfortunate characteristic of the .22 LR cartridge. I can say this, though: Of the half-dozen times we have seen this happen, there has never been an injury. This is why we wear eye and ear protection, folks.
After spending some time with it, the Glock 44 may just find its way into my company’s armament. Not only does it round out our offerings, but the Glock 44 is also reliable and reasonably accurate. It’s a favorite of many new students, though it was still a little too large for a few students’ hands. So if you’re in the market for a good .22 that doesn’t feel like a .22, this may be just the ticket, particularly if you own a Glock 19 and want to take a friend to the range.
Specifications: GLOCK 44
- Caliber: .22 LR
- Barrel: 4.02 inches
- OA Length: 7.28 inches
- Weight: 12.63 ounces (empty)
- Grip: Polymer
- Sights: Fixed
- Action: Safe Action
- Finish: Matte black
- Capacity: 10+1