Glock 36 Review: Make You Forget the 1911

This is the definitive Glock 36 review. Not until the G36 debuted, was the public able to get a subcompact semi-automatic .45 ACP that made sense from a size, reliability and price point perspective.

The Glock 36 broke the mold for what a semi auto subcompact .45 Auto could be, where on the market at the time, you had to choose between guns that tried to do too much, or were too thick to handle comfortably under fire, or guns that were too finicky and expensive.

Glock 36 Review: Make You Forget the 1911 1

It was about time for the Glock 36

The Glock 36 is the mainstream small .45 Auto that the gun world needed.  

Some obvious benefits of the .45 Auto in a sub-compact format, are the excellent stopping power of the .45 ACP and the ease of finding excellent, proven ammunition on the market without giving up anything in return.

What Glock did, though that makes it the best in class for the niche segment of the market, is they made it easy to handle, despite its diminutive size and gave it a reliability that few other guns on the market could compete with.

No question, Glock reliability is excellent, but more than that, the guns that were offered in the sub compact .45 space prior to the G36 were notoriously unreliable, especially at anything approaching the price point. Short of a custom built 1911 single stack, you weren’t going to find anything that comes close to the Glock reliability track record.

Is the Glock 36 sub-compact .45 ACP a 1911 killer?

Furthermore, the price point comparison between a custom 1911 single stack and a Glock wasn’t really a comparison – the 1911 commanded (usually) a 2x or higher, premium.

Beyond the price premium, many shooters simply aren’t comfortable or trained to work with a true single action pistol like the 1911 and there is an associated learning curve to reliably, safely be able to shoot the gun if you are coming from the realm of “striker fired”, which has dominated the market for at least 20 years.

Taking nothing away from the 1911, this author and millions of shooters love, or even prefer that platform for many scenarios, but the Glock 36 is a truly special gun; a gun type that was not getting proper representation in the market until the G36 debuted.

Who is the Glock 36 for anyways?

For most serious concealed carry proponents, the G36 represents a legitimate “only” carry gun for most needs. But for a large contingent of the community that carries, it also functions as a premium backup firearm. That is where this gun truly shines.

When you need to be able to take the smallest form factor, but still trust the stopping power in your sidearm, the Glock 36 can make sense.

It can also be the TRUE backup gun you want to have in an extended firefight scenario, especially for duty users, or those with a higher probability of engagement like law enforcement and other similar duty professionals.

In a two-gun scenario, you lose very little with the G36 as your backup gun, but you gain a lot of knock down power and with today’s ammunition, a lot of stopping power, even with the muted 6 round capacity.

Here’s what the G36 pistol offers to the shooter

Thanks to the slimmed down frame and slide and the generous sight plane, this is a pistol that actually fires better than its specifications would denote, and yet, it fits in any clothing setup and with most concealment choices.

The stiff recoil spring helps dampen the felt pushback and helps ensure that feeding problems and stove piping are a thing of the past. This is welcomed news to shooters who might consider a compact or subcompact .45 Auto. Notoriously, this platform (the .45 auto sub compact) has been poorly performing in those aspects historically.

Glock 36 Review: Make You Forget the 1911 2

The magazines and mag well are a thing of beauty for the typical sub compact crowd too. The ability to cleanly load a tiny gun quickly is a benefit worth its weight in gold. The G36 offers a wide mag well flare; slim magazines and sure lockup, without the pinching that is common in the space.

The ability to take a light or laser or other accessory makes sense, though for most carriers will probably be overkill unless they take special considerations to carry that way. It may be a bit too polite from Glock to include the mount. Especially given the tiny footprint of the gun with its deceivingly long sight plane.

Some early Glock adopters may not like the changes that have come to the frames of the Glock brand over the years. Many feel they are frivolous and offer negligible benefit. In the case of the G36, this reviewer prefers the extra stability provided by the thumb perch; finger grooves on the front strap and the exceptionally placed “beavertail” that sits much more robustly on the back of recent Glocks.

All of these built in features provide a simple way to control the gun and maintain accuracy. Something sub-compacts with larger caliber builds struggle with all the time.

Takedown and maintenance are simple; easy and offer the shooter the ability to both customize and maintain the gun without spending money frivolously.

In fact, that’s the takeaway of the Glock guns, in general, they are simple, functional, reliable and are anything but frivolous. For all the hate they have gotten in the past for their somewhat awkward looks, this set of attributes is the deciding factor in a CCW pistol generally, or at least it should be.

Glock 36 review: Pros and Cons


  • Super innovative
  • Simplicity is key in combat scenarios
  • Proven reliability from Glock (reliability in this realm is a game changer)


  • No real cons

This is best for

Anyone who likes the .45 and can handle the idea of a sub-compact pistol. Any Concealed carrier that wants a premium backup gun or a very good primary gun without a brutal price tag.


What the Glock Model 36 isn’t, is more important than what it is in the case of this Glock 36 review. It isn’t anything you don’t need it to be. It isn’t finicky, or picky with ammunition. It isn’t hard to control. It isn’t hard to reload. It isn’t a gun that requires you to think extraneously in a real life, fluid situation where life and death can hang in the balance. It simply delivers on promises of a slim, comfortable, easy to carry gun that offers legitimate firepower in a tiny footprint.

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