- The Glock 44 is a superb entry into the already busy market of rimfire handguns. Built in the silhouette of Glock’s enormously popular 19, the 44 is the perfect training companion for those that use a Glock for duty carry, competitive shooting, or personal defense. The Glock 44 is also a great choice for backyard plinking and first time gun owners.
- Glock triggers are a known commodity, and those that don’t like the stock Glock trigger are likely to be unimpressed with the 44. Ditto for the sights. A bountiful aftermarket exists for Glocks, and tinkerers will likely enjoy customizing the 44 platform.
- For armorers and do-it-yourselfers, the 44 field strips like most other Glocks, with a few little twists that are very straightforward to master. Field stripping and cleaning operations are very, very simple.
Late in 2019—long before the world knew anything about COVID 19 and what now feels like a lifetime ago—Glock released the 44. The Austrian tupperware company’s long-anticipated entry into the rimfire market had been speculated on for years, and the gun’s launch event was chock-full of fanfare and self-laudatory accolades. Glock’s reputation as the standard-bearer for reliability and simplicity would hinge on the 44 doing its job, and they haven’t disappointed. Like every other Glock, the 44 delivers a robust and proven package.
At first glance the 44 shouldn’t seem all that remarkable, given that Glock has been making semi automatic pistols since the 17 made its American debut in 1986. The .22 long rifle cartridge is a different beast than the more ubiquitous centerfire cartridges that Glocks had thus been chambered in. Introduced in 1857 by a fledgling company named Smith & Wesson, the diminutive .22 rimfire cartridge (then shorter and filled with black powder) was designed with a large rim—all the better for the revolvers that it was made for. Over time the .22 rimfire grew in length and power, but the fundamental challenges of making the rimmed revolver round work in a semi automatic pistol have remained constant.
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Challenges aside, there have been many classic and extraordinarily successful autoloading pistols made for the .22 LR round: the Colt Woodsman, the High Standard target pistols, the Smith & Wesson Model 41, and the Ruger Standard (and Mark series) are a few of the many that have satisfied plinkers and Olympic target shooters alike. Until the 44’s release, the Taurus TX22 (an excellent pistol in its own right) was the latest in a long line of similarly superb polymer framed .22 pistols.
With the market already brimming with excellent choices, Glock still recognized that the lack of a rimfire offering in their lineup was a gaping hole. .22 pistols have long been the “gateway drug” into recreational shooting, and .22 caliber pistols made in the form of their centerfire counterparts have long been used as training tools.
In this vein, it’s fitting to begin with this assessment: if you’re already familiar with the Glock 19, then you’ll be astonished at how similar the Glock 44 feels to the 19. This was a masterful decision on Glock’s part since many operators consider the Glock 19 to be the optimally sized handgun. The 44 feels like a 19 because it shares most of the 19’s architecture: the trigger bar and trigger housing assembly will be immediately familiar to Glock armorers, as will the firing pin assembly. The only real deviation from Glock’s standard form factor is the non-tilting barrel and the composite (part plastic, part metal) slide in the 44. And, of course, the magazines—which are shaped like the more familiar Glock 19 magazine, but which have a Ruger-style follower with thumb-grips that facilitates loading.
We reviewed the Glock 19x, which you can read here.
The Glock 44 In Hand
In hand, the first thing most people notice about the Glock 44 is its lightness. While an empty Glock 19 weighs in at almost 24 ounces, the empty 44 is a featherweight at less than 15 ounces. The reason for this is straightforward: unlike the Glock 19’s solid steel slide, the 44 uses a composite (plastic and metal) slide—necessitated by the diminutive recoil of the .22 LR round.
I’ve always appreciated pistol magazines with thumb catches on the follower, and the Glock 44 magazine doesn’t disappoint here. Loading it with 10 cartridges is a quick operation that doesn’t require any sort of speedloader. Rounds drop in easily, and my thumbs weren’t chafing after loading a half-dozen magazines. The magazines slide into the magwell smoothly and drop out without needing any coercion. Being limited to ten rounds in the factory magazine will irritate some, but I have not found this to be a practical limitation in my range use of the 44.
The light recoil spring and the front and rear serrations on the slide make cycling the action easy, which is a good thing: .22 LR ammunition can be notoriously finicky, and I (correctly) anticipated that I’d be doing a few involuntary rack-tap-bang drills.
The sights on the 44 are adjustable and classically Glock. The white U shaped rear sight and a round white dot front sight are debated in Glock circles with a religious fervor, with some operators loving them and others replacing the sights before the gun ever sees the light of day. I grew to love the Glock sights years ago, and I would probably only replace them for a set of suppressor height sights. The sights appear to use the standard Glock dovetails, which opens up a world of aftermarket sight options.
The rest of the controls—the trigger, the magazine release, the slide stop and the takedown lever—feel identical to every other Glock. I clocked my 44’s trigger at 6.0 pounds, which is just over the factory’s claimed weight of 5.85 pounds (26 Newtons).
Shooting the Glock 44
Since the Glock 44 follows the same form factor as the Glock 19, loading it and making it ready for live fire felt exactly the same on the two guns. The lighter recoil spring meant that manually cycling the action took less effort, but that’s the only noticeable difference.
The takeup on the Glock 44’s trigger is predictable and linear, and the break comes cleanly. Every firearm has some recoil and the 40 grain CCI standard velocity rounds let me know that they were there, but my recovery times were remarkably quick with the Glock 44. The reset on the trigger came with a perceptible and audible click, and with a bit of practice I was able to fire smooth and accurate 10 round strings with virtually no muzzle rise.
As a training pistol, this is where the Glock 44 is superb: it replaces the feel and controls of the Glock 19, but it lets the operator overcome the urge to jerk the trigger and pull the muzzle down in anticipation of violent recoil.
At 25 yards I managed a respectable 3” by 4” group, and if I leave out the three shots that I clearly jerked the trigger on my group tightens up to a uniform 3”.
The occasional “dud round” is epidemic to .22 LR ammunition, and the Glock 44 wasn’t immune. With just over 2,500 rounds through my Glock 44, I’ve probably had about twenty FTF’s, FTE’s, and rounds that didn’t fire despite the strong primer strikes. All of these presented opportunities to practice “rack-tap-bang” drills, and this is where I really appreciated the Glock 44’s polymer slide. Lacking the sharp machine-cut serrations of its heavier steel siblings, the polymer slide was easy to grasp and pulled back very smoothly.
Glocks have long been hailed for their simplicity, and the 44 is no exception. The field stripping sequence for the 44 is like every other Glock: remove the magazine, clear the chamber, depress the trigger, and pull the slide back ever-so-slightly while pulling down on the slide lock. The slide should move forward off of the frame, whence the recoil spring and barrel can be removed. For Glock armorers and YouTube devotees, detail stripping the 44 can be done in under 2 minutes and requires the same takedown tool used for every other Glock.
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Keeping the Glock 44 clean is especially important because .22 LR ammunition is typically well lubricated, and this grease makes its way onto everything in its vicinity. Shooting three hundred rounds between cleanings leaves an impressive collection of grease and dirt deposits, but my 44 has gone for over 500 rounds without a cleaning, and this has not imparied its smooth operation or accuracy.
The single most common upgrade to the Glock 44 is the factory threaded barrel upgrade kit, which retails for about $169. A drop-in replacement, it adds about three quarters of an inch of barrel length and lets the operator attach a suppressor. Suppressed .22 caliber pistols have long been a recreational shooter’s nirvana, and the Glock 44 doesn’t disappoint here. With a suppressor, the Glock 44 feels more like an air pistol. The threaded barrel also comes with a thread protector, and an adapter to go from the barrel’s curious M9x0.75 thread to the industry standard 1/2“-18 UNEF suppressor thread.
Joining the Glock Family
The Glock 44’s real appeal goes beyond the gun itself: it’s a part of the Glock family, which has ubiquity among law enforcement circles and a fiercely devoted following of enthusiasts and competitive shooters. Being a member of this family has its advantages: holsters and mag pouches, for instance, can be interchanged between the Glock 44 and the Glock 19. Since the 19 shares critical external dimensions with many other Glock handguns, it’s possible to use one holster for upwards of ten different Glock handguns.
Joining the Glock family also opens the door to the Glock Sports Shooting Foundation, whose shooting league has introduced legions of novice shooters to competitive marksmanship. Membership in the GSSF also allows the operator to attend Glock’s armorers class. The one day class teaches the operator to detail strip the Glock frame and slide, and to diagnose and troubleshoot most problems. Armorer’s classes are available from other firearms manufacturers, but they are often restricted to military and law enforcement clientele. Glock’s outreach to recreational shooters is impressive, and it makes the Glock 44 even more compelling for novice shooters.
Lastly: Glock has a rabid aftermarket. So extensive is the aftermarket that a Glock clone can now be made entirely from aftermarket parts. I’m generally not a fan of running non-factory parts in my guns, but for many tinkerers and enthusiasts, Glock’s vibrant aftermarket will make the 44 all the more appealing.
As I mentioned in the introduction, the Glock 44 joins an already crowded field of competent and proven .22 pistols. The superb Taurus TX22 (perhaps the Glock 44’s closest competitor) was released earlier in 2019 and has received many well-deserved accolades for its crisp trigger and 16 round factory magazine. This is the most common point of criticism for the Glock 44: its factory magazines top out at 10 rounds. ProMag has since released an 18 round magazine for the Glock 44, but I have not tested it and cannot comment on its reliability.
The field of .22 caliber pistols is generally bifurcated into two categories: pistols like the Glock 44 that mimic their centerfire siblings, and dedicated target pistols that are more purpose-built for competition. In the former category, the Glock 44 competes with the Smith & Wesson M&P 22, the Beretta M9 22LR, the Walther P22, and various .22 caliber 1911’s that have been offered by companies like Sig Sauer and Browning. For most people, the choice between a Glock 44 and any of these other guns will come down to the rest of the guns in the operator’s arsenal. Someone that already owns and enjoys a Smith & Wesson M&P in 9mm would be more likely to choose the M&P 22, while someone that owns and enjoys a Glock 19 would logically choose the Glock 44 for a rimfire trainer.
The other category of .22 pistols are the purpose-built target pistol. These include the Beretta U22 Neos, the Browning Buck Mark, the Smith & Wesson Model 41, the Ruger Mark IV, and many others. These target pistols generally have longer barrels and are more suitable for precision target shooting. These are all superb pistols that have a place in the recreational marksman’s arsenal, but they won’t have the versatility of a gun like the Glock 44.
The Glock 44 is a solid performer in a crowded field of superb .22 caliber pistols. Consistent with Glock’s reputation for reliability and simplicity, the Glock 44 does its work with teutonic efficiency. More importantly: it slots nicely into the Glock family by mimicking the Glock 19’s proportions, making it an ideal trainer for operators that carry a Glock 19 on duty.
Glock’s excellent customer service and ubiquity in the firearms marketplace mean that parts and support for the 44 will be available for a long time to come.
The Glock’s affordable MSRP of $430 and (pandemic) street price of around $399 makes it an attractive option for anyone’s arsenal. Sworn law enforcement, EMS and active duty military can purchase Glock handguns at a discounted “blue label” price, which could make the Glock 44 an even more affordable and attractive option.