Handgun Review: Glock 42
The 42 not only wrestles with the boxy nature of the pistol line but also the fact that it is just plain tiny. Big handed shooters may have issues, but not likely any more or different issues they would with any pocket pistol. While slide release will not be a reach for anyone other than Lilliputians, quick manipulation of the mag release may require some contortionist maneuvers for some shooters.
Like the 43 but more so, this is a gun designed for close range. 4”x4” groups at 10 yards is really what anyone should expect from something this size, but with practice, the 42 can do that.
Glocks work. That’s all there is to say about it. Add to that the simplicity of the straight blowback design, it delivers everything John Moses Browning wanted in simplicity and dependability when he created the round a century ago. But it is a pocket pistol and people may get sloppy with their carrying habits: pocket lint and trigger discipline are MUSTS with a pistol this size. Also, once a brand of ammo delivers consistent performance at the range magazine after magazine, don’t experiment with anything new when carrying. This is just general good policy with any CCW, not just Glock.
Triggers and sights, and limited numbers of those too: no one should really want a hair trigger on their pocket pistol, and sights, for such a short sight radius is really just an exercise in ego rather than effectiveness. Though those who prefer and favor night sights or fiber optics should not be dissuaded from upgrading should they have the opportunity: it won’t hurt anything and anything that helps the shooter see sights is a good thing. Some distributors have the ability to offer different colored frames, as stated above.
It’s a mini version of all Glocks. On the one hand it almost makes it look cute and potentially harmless. It is not harmless. Whether or not it is cute is up to the beholder.
New it is not unusual to find the 42 for around the $400 dollar mark, though officially it should be $450. It is not a cheap gun, but nor is it cheaply made. While pocket pistols can be had for less, they will not be of the brand that an overwhelming number of Police and military trust with the lives and protection of themselves and those around them. With that in mind, the price is actually not that bad if you can swing it.
North American consumers may be surprised to find that the Glock 42 was not the first commercially available .380 (7.65 Browning Short) caliber handgun by the company: for years the Glock 25 (approximately the size of the Glock 19/23) and Glock 28 (size 26/27 equivalent) has been marketed in the EU where common military calibers for civilian ownership are prohibited. Ironically, they are prohibited for US importation for their caliber to size ration and to Canada for their barrel length being insufficient.
Nevertheless, when the Model 42 introduced in 2014 it was clearly designed for the growing civilian concealed carry application and remains the smallest Glock on the market for that purpose. Commercially seen as a proving ground for the 9mm Model 43 that followed shortly after, the 42 departed from the predominantly police and military role to civilian concealed carry; though a bulk of the initial sales of this model went to law enforcement for their every day carry ("EDC”), which should come as no surprise. With the G43 (and 43X) release, however, many wonder why bother with a .380 at all; especially when considering the ammunition is usually more expensive despite being less robust. The simple answer is size and recoil. Having a pistol this size and concealable yet still be manageable, or at least not a holy terror of discomfort to shoot, is its own rewards. That it is a Glock as well is simply icing on the cake.
Glock 42 review: Can it hit anything?
In a package this size, engagement distances are designed to be little more than outside of arms reach… though preferably farther out as possible. This is not a gun designed to hit the x ring at 25 yards (undoubtedly you can find someone that claims that they can, just be warned there is a good chance they do), but one to put as many attitude adjusting bullets into a center mass that has crossed into clear and present danger range. Glock has provided a constant factor for decades in getting bullets to go where they need to go, the biggest variable of the equation is the end user. The Glock 42 is obviously not a range gun, it is a defensive tool that will group very well for a gun its size, but at the end of the day, it is clearly designed to deliver Glock security in something that easily fits into many a pocket.
Why is Glock so popular?
Two words: dependable performance.
Since the 42 is a self defense tool designed for life and death crisis moments, reliability is a big factor. The company’s main line of service pistols have proven that they can be depended upon for years, decades even. The 42 benefits from that design and practical experience to deliver on the smallest product available. Through it all it successfully maintains consumer expectations of the brand. The slightly broader grip angle ensures reliable feeding but, as with all the guns from Glock, makes the pistol point somewhat high when presenting, but this is not an issue when it is addressed with regular and conscientious training.
Are there as many accessories for it as a Glock 19?
Short answer: no.
Glock users jump at the chance to customize their cookie cutter looking, black, boxy gun. …Can you tell it is not the most endearing as far as looks? But looks were not a priority of Gaston Glock in his initial and follow up designs. Dependability was. They may find themselves a mite disappointed by the after market options available for the 42 in the search for individuality.
While the post purchase support is not as great as that for the Glock 19 series, the slim compacts have inspired lines of modified triggers, sights and grip mods from various custom shops. One may beg the question as to why, however: this is a pistol designed to be hidden, and hopefully remain hidden without a reason to be brandished.
Aesthetically does it offer anything new?
“Someday I’m gonna grow to be a BIG Glock!” That is often the first impression of anyone who has ever used any of the standard service Glocks who then pick up the 42. It is a mini version of the same squared cuts of the full sized versions. To reiterate, Glocks are not prized for their looks but rather their simplicity of use and dependability of service. The 42 is no different in that regard, albeit it looks like the little, nay baby brother of all the other pistols in the line. However, Glock has produced different color frames, mostly for distributor exclusives, that include Flat Dark Earth (FDE) as well as Gray.
Glock 42 review: How much can it set you back?
MSRP 479 per Lipsey’s Online 440+/-.
With a market prices often closer to 425, especially after the Model 43s came out, it is the least expensive New In Box pistol by Glock. Given its size and caliber, this is not surprising, but is also a bit misleading as it is still a Glock with the name and reputation to maintain no less than their top of the line target pistol. For a discrete hideaway gun, there are cheaper options out there, but few with ability to inspire confidence this company has built for over three decades. Ask yourself, if it comes down to it, you want it to look cool or do you want it to work?
Glock 42 review: Final thoughts
The Glock 42 appears to have been a market test for Glock to break out of the service pistol only industry for the growing CCW market. While the .380 ACP is considered one of the less robust of personal protection calibers, modern defense ammo design has come a long way and at close range the G42 proved that people, both in and out of service, were eager for a pocket sized Glock: dependable performance in a comparatively ultra-concealable format. While it may have been eclipsed by the Glock 43 series capable of handling the 9mm, for smaller shooters and those with recoil sensitivity or limited hand strength, the Glock 42 offers amenities the larger pistols simply cannot.
Image source: The National Interest, Glock.com