As the first new handgun model introduced by Glock in several years, the Glock 42 subcompact single-stack .380 Auto is the result of a long course of research and development. Certainly, with the increasing interest in (and practice of) concealed carry in the United States, a new small, slim handgun has been greatly anticipated. The results were well worth the wait.
In this Glock 42 gun review, the first thing that comes to mind when looking at the G42 is that it looks like a Glock. The Safe Action trigger system is the same as in other models, and the slide lock and mag release are in familiar locations; it field strips the same as all other Glocks. Although it has a slight Gen4 appearance, the grips are not quite as textured — but they still provide a good surface for a sure hold.
Only when you look at the dimensions, do you see the true appeal the G42 has for concealed carry practitioners. The overall length is 5.94″ with a height of 4.13″ and a width of just 0.94″ at the slide. The weight is 13.76 ounces, unloaded. The short 3.25″ barrel has hexagonal right-hand rifling in a 1:9.84″ twist. This makes the G42 the smallest Glock ever produced, but not the smallest .380 pistol on the market.
The pistol is equipped with standard three-dot sights. In order to provide the maximum distance between the front and rear sights, the designers placed them 4.92″ apart. Even though the G42 was only introduced recently, there are already after-market sights — including night sights and lasers mounted in front of the trigger guard — to allow shooters to customize their pistols to suit their particular needs.
Since this is a single-stack configuration, the grip is in proportion to the pistol’s overall size, with a slim profile that makes it easier to grasp by shooters with smaller hands. To still provide as much palm room, however, the backstrap is extended to be flush with the bottom of the flat end (6-round) magazine. It’s important to note, however, that this extension does not interfere with the magazine’s release; a combat-like magazine dump can still be performed one-handed.
The objective facts — dimensions, design features — place this pistol within the range of what is generally considered to be a compact, even a sub-compact, size handgun. That makes it attractive candidate for concealed carry, but the question remains: how will most shooters decide to carry it? Some writers have pronounced the G42 a good pocket gun, while others say that it’s not quite small enough to be carried that way. At just under six inches overall length, is it small enough to be carried on an ankle holster? Or is it simply enough, given that the width of just under an inch will be less likely to make a tell-tale imprint, make it best carried in an inside-the-belt holster? Each individual will have to decide for himself.
Also under the heading of subjective is the caliber. The decision by the Glock designers to chamber the G42 in .380 Auto has raised some discussion in the gun press and forums. A few people have criticized Glock for not making this a 9mm x 19 caliber, while others have taken the view that .380 is just fine, and that a pistol’s effectiveness in a defense situation has more to do with shot placement than caliber. In the end, it all comes down to a matter of choice, which is as it should be.
For shooters who are already Glock fans, the G42 fills a subcompact niche in the manufacturer’s line-up. Individuals who are more interested in finding a concealed carry on a high-quality and proven platform will find this pistol to be their first introduction to the Glock family. Either way, a buyer can’t lose: the Glock 42 offers the best of both categories.