Glock continues to design and engineer pistols for all users and types of situations—a fact well exemplified by Glock’s three latest models, the Glock 30S, released in 2013 to wide acclaim, and the brand-new Glock 41 Gen4 and Glock 42, in .45 ACP and .380 ACP, respectively. All three models have a niche, if you will: The Glock 30S is a “covert” Glock, the mighty Glock 41 is well suited for an overt role, and the revolutionary slim-line, subcompact Glock 42 may well set a new standard for deep-concealment pocket pistols.
It should be said that the majority of Glocks in existence today are chambered in 9mm. These include the service-size Glock 17, the versatile and compact Glock 19 and the subcompact Glock 26. There’s also the competition-optimized, 5.3-inch-barreled Glock 34, which has won just about every pistol competition in which it’s allowed, from “Practical” to “Defensive” to “Steel Challenge.” In holsters and hands worldwide, from law enforcement officers to members of the military to legally qualified private citizens, “it’s a 9mm world,” as noted pistol expert Ken Hackathorn says. Two of the Glocks we are looking at here, however, are chambered in another historically significant caliber, .45 ACP. Designed at roughly the same time (1905) as the 9mm cartridge (1902), .45 ACP is sold in significant numbers to American citizens and law enforcement officers alike. It has also been used by special operations teams in combat deployments overseas. Glock has been making .45-caliber pistols for almost a quarter of a century, beginning with the Glock 21 in 1990. The subcompact Glock 30 followed a few years later, with SF (Short Frame) and Gen4 variants produced thereafter. The first single-stack magazine Glock produced was in .45 ACP (for the Glock 36, which remains in production today).
A recent variant of Glock’s .45 ACP models is the Glock 30S. Designed to the specifications of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Special Investigation Section (SIS), which was looking for a powerful, concealable handgun that would give them an edge over today’s heavily armed bad guys, the Glock 30S is in essence a Glock 36 slim-slide mounted onto a Glock 30 SF (Short Frame) frame. The Glock 36’s slide aided in deep-cover concealment, and the Short Frame, with its reduced trigger reach (about 2 to 3mm), made a noticeable difference in the pistol’s “triggernometry.” As an added bonus, the Glock 30 frames accept the larger Glock 21 13-round magazines, giving the gun a totally loaded capacity of 14 rounds of powerful .45 ACP. With some minor parts modifications, the hybrid was tested, accepted and placed in production as the Glock 30S.
Glock’s subcompact .45 ACPs already have an outstanding reputation for accuracy—years ago, your correspondent, using a Glock 30, put a group of .45 ACP into the “head” of a B-27 police silhouette target at 50 yards—and the Glock 30S proved no different. Testing the gun for the May 2013 issue of COMBAT HANDGUNS, D.K. Pridgen shots groups measuring 1.38, 1.32 and 1.11 inches at 25 yards. “This kind of accuracy is well beyond what is typically needed in average self-defense circumstances,” Pridgen wrote, “but for more extreme circumstances, it will provide the user with a real confidence boost.”
Needless to say, the SIS was quite pleased with the Glock 30S, and so, apparently, is the shooting public, which has made the gun a best seller. That the Glock 30S comes equipped with the usual complement of outstanding Glock features, including the Safe Action fire control system, proprietary super-hard and corrosion-resistant surface finish, and dual recoil spring system for controllability and longevity, only adds to the pistol’s appeal. The Glock 30S is at once a typical Glock—reliable, accurate and ultra-rugged—and a uniquely powerful and easy-handling deep-cover .45 semi-auto.
While the Glock 30S fills a covert need, there are situations in which concealment is not a primary concern. A powerful, reliable and accurate pistol is still a critical piece of equipment for uniform and SWAT personnel. And, as renowned instructor Clint Smith has stated and shown, one can “dress around” the gun to conceal it. (One demonstration Clint was fond of showing his classes was appearing in casual dress and “unconcealing” over a dozen handguns!) In the realm of full-size combat pistols, one would be hard-pressed to find a model more suitable than the new Glock 41 Gen4 in .45 ACP.
Using a Glock Gen4 frame, with its multiple backstrap system that includes four backstrap sizes, two of them beavertails, a reversible magazine catch, a high-traction texturing that wraps fully around the gripping surface, the Glock 41 sports a 5.3-inch, barrel. The Glock Safe Action system, with its adjustable trigger-pull weight capability, is included in the design and contributes to the gun’s competition-worthy range results. The extended slide length of 8.31 inches gives users a sight radius right at 7.5 inches, a length that also has a salutatory influence on accuracy. The Glock 41 has an outline reminiscent of the earlier “Practical/Tactical” models in 9mm and .40 calibers (the Glock 34 and Glock 35, respectively).
There is an important difference, however—the top of the Glock 42’s slide is solid. This means the barrel and internals are sealed and can stand up to harsher environments (e.g., sand, dirt, mud, etc.). Test firing the new Glock 41 resulted in gratifyingly small groups at 25 yards (well under 4 inches). Glock’s dual recoil spring system and the gun’s longer slide aided in handling and control—the Glock 41 just seems to “hang” better in the hand(s). The gun’s 13-round standard-capacity magazine is of the Gen4 variety: mag catch cutouts are located on both sides of the magazine, so the gun’s ambidextrous magazine catch will lock the magazine in, no matter the mag catch’s position. With its self-illuminating night sights and cold-hammer-forged barrel with octagonal rifling, there is little doubt that the Glock 41 is capable of successfully engaging targets out to 100 yards! I think Clint Smith would say this is a “comforting” Glock.
Moving down to the other end of the size scale, we come to Glock’s other new autopistol, the Glock 42 in .380 ACP. Externally, it mimics the iconic silhouette of a Glock pistol. Close examination, however, reveals some interesting and subtle differences. This is a super-slim-line Glock—it’s not even an inch thick (rather, 0.94 inches)! The frame texture is of the Gen4 type, but its roughness has been subdued—as befits a gun that will spend much of its life hidden in or under clothing and perhaps next to bare skin. The magazine catch is reversible, and the six-round magazine will lock in no matter how the catch is oriented (an extended magazine is under consideration). There is also a minor but welcome extension at the top rear of the frame to protect the web of the user’s shooting hand. Glock made history with its injected polymer frames, and its mastery of the process has helped give Glock a leadership position in the market for polymer semi-auto handguns of all sizes.
The Glock 42 features the usual Glock components: a super-hard and corrosion-resistant finish, the Safe Action trigger system with its three automatic, independent safeties, a dual recoil spring unique to the model and a cold-hammer-forged barrel. But while this is a pocket-sized pistol, the engineers at Glock provided it with one outstanding and paradigm-shaping design feature: It fires with the barrel and slide locked, instead of as an unlocked blowback like its pocket-pistol compeers.
The Glock 42’s locked-breech design yields a number of positive attributes. First, it is noticeably more comfortable to shoot. The greater the shooter comfort, the more often you’ll practice shooting, and that leads to greater preparedness and practical accuracy. The Glock 42’s competitors sometimes are painful to shoot, and uncomfortable handling characteristics are of no benefit to the operator. Second, the design by itself yields notable and consistent accuracy, as the barrel is “locked” at the moment of firing. The .380 ACP, though not as powerful as the .45 ACP, will neutralize threats when shot with decent accuracy. So long as the shooter does his or her part—and with the locked-breech design, the shooter’s job is easier—the Glock 42 will deliver with finality.
Third, the locked breech leads to greater barrel and pistol longevity. I have not had a Glock 42 long enough to conduct endurance testing, but the gun should be able to process 10,000 rounds with no damaging effects (with preventative maintenance). Some may disparage the littlest Glock, but any one who does will not have thought the issue through. Many citizens and law enforcement officers desire nothing more than a very small and slim Glock for daily concealed carry. The Glock 42 is, simply put, the best for that.
Indeed, this correspondent could well imagine a Glock 41 Gen4 as a primary weapon, the Glock 30S in a backup role and the potent, pocket-sized Glock 42 as the third gun!
For more information, visit us.glock.com or call 770-432-1202.