Twenty two long rifle– it’s one of those rounds that has been ubiquitous amongst the American shooter. That’s pretty easy to understand as the round has been around since the late 1800s and only costs about $0.04 per round. In many ways it’s a bit of an American past time as I’m sure you can remember shooting tin cans with a .22lr rifle at a very young age.
Despite how long the .22lr has been around, it’s still a challenge for firearms manufacturers to build a reliable semi-automatic pistol. Lack of consistency in bullet shapes and powder charges has left companies with some design challenges, oftentimes forcing them to skim off mass to get the firearm to cycle reliably. Add on the various types of coating, bullet grain, and materials to that mix and it becomes clear why we’ve always given .22lr a pass in terms of reliability.
However, what happens when Glock, whose tagline is PERFECTION, enters the .22lr handgun arena? The G44 is what happens and it should surprise no one. Glock makes defensive pistol and they’ve brought that lineage and experience to the center with the Glock 44 – at least in terms of aesthetics/handling.
Shooting the Glock 44
Instead of miniaturizing one of their current offerings or making their firearm look like a space blaster, Glock took an approach that frankly makes a whole lot of sense. By making the G44 identical to the G19 they’ve covered all their bases from new shooters to seasoned veterans. Thus, shooting the Glock 44 is incredibly similar to working with the Glock 19 sans the recoil. The manual of arms, take down, magazine dimensions, and holsters are all the same. Even the sights are interchangeable between the two firearms.
Recoil with the G44 is slight and makes shooting it pretty fun. You’ll quickly realize that shooting the Glock 44 becomes an exercise in trying to dump the mag as fast as humanly possible. Which brings me to the main point here – the G44 is easy to shoot. With its soft recoil, easy to rack slide, familiar ergonomics, and low noise – you’ve got a firearm that is inviting for training new shooters. Especially if you think this person would be interested in training for defensive use. The transition from the Glock 44 to the Glock 19 is rather easy and somewhat forgiving. Being able to work on the basics like stance and grip with the approachable nature of .22 is huge. Freeing a new shooter from the noise and violent action of a larger caliber pistol allows them to focus on the correlation between what is happening with their hand and what is happening on the target.
That’s always the big disclaimer with .22LR handguns. We frequently write reliability off in terms of the general experience, and hiccups are something we expect. The goal is usually to have a firearm that cycles all sorts of ammunition types, however you’re usually stuck with one that is pretty picky with what it will reliably cycle. For example my 10/22 will cycle CCI Mini Mags but it won’t cycle Federal Match.
So how did the Glock 44 fair? We'd mostly give it a thumbs up. Glock has stated that they tested the firearm with 141 different types of .22LR ammunition. We believe it, as the variety in .22LR is pretty massive especially when you add Europe in. During my time at the range, I shot Remington 40gr bulk packs, Federal 40gr Gold Medal Target, and Aguila 40gr Super Extra. We really only had two types of malfunctions in the 400 rounds that we shot and the most frequent of all of them was stove-pipes. While a tad frustrating, we didn’t experience the malfunction enough to deter us from shooting it, however it did happen eight times across those three brands of ammunition. Aguila 40gr Super Extra was the most problematic of the three because we couldn’t get the slide to lock back on the final round which is typically because of the round being underpowered.
As we said I’m pretty pleased with the Glock 44 when it comes to reliability. It seems that the mags are feeding well and the slide can cycle pretty reliably due to its light, polymer build. While I did experience a few malfunctions, we think that Glock has done a good job of making the experience rather fluid. The malfunctions were far enough between rounds that we didn’t feel like it got in the way of shooting and that’s really often not the case while shooting .22LR pistols.
It’s a Glock and if you’re a Glock fan then this is the .22 for you. With holsters and mag pouches being cross compatible between the G44 and the G19, you can skip going out and spending $200 on new gear. We think Glock is on the right track with how they integrated it into their line up and we hope they expand on it with other .22 variants (wouldn’t a .22 Glock 26 be sweet?)
Ultimately we think Glock has been pretty successful in providing customers with a firearm that is approachable. Everyone knows what a Glock is – even my mother who has never shot a gun in her life knows what a Glock is. Why is that important? Well I think I might be able to get my mom to shoot the Glock 44, which is something that can’t be said for a specced out AR-15. I think the G44 offers an experience that is a combination of good ole fun as well as very practical.