Glock 42 Review

By CTD Blogger published on in Firearms, Reviews

Written by Be a Blogger for a Day Contest Winner, Ron Horner.

When I was growing up, my dad would tell me about getting my “all around education.” He wasn’t referring to reading, writing and arithmetic. He was letting me know that everyday experiences would teach me valuable lessons that would be useful to help me make decisions in the future.

I can recall a few of the lessons I have learned in the many years I’ve been on this earth.

Lesson # 1

Politicians sometimes—okay…maybe more—bend, twist and manipulate facts in order to achieve a goal.

Lesson #2

Used car salesmen sometimes—just see Lesson #1.

Lesson #3

Sometimes big things do come in small packages.

I have been in law enforcement for more years than I care to count. In the beginning, I was a reserve officer. When I decided to make it my career, I was hired on as a patrolman. Eventually I served as a field-training officer before strapping on a detective’s badge 11 years ago.

Glock 42 .380 ACP pistol

The Glock 42 feels familiar. For an old gumshoe like me, familiar is a good thing.

During my career, I’ve carried numerous sidearms. I still have a soft spot for my .357 Magnum stainless revolver. It’s like an old friend that you can count on no matter what. When I pick up it up, a flood of memories come rushing back. One such memory is my reluctance when the “plastic handguns” arrived. That was a time when I hated to see the changes taking place in handguns. I have adjusted pretty well since those days, considering a Glock 22 is now my primary duty weapon and I work in a profession where most of the young officers have never even fired a revolver.

Until recently, I have held on to a little nostalgia with a .38 snubnose worn out of sight, just in case. It’s nice to know that I have another option should a bad situation arise. The .38 has been a constant companion for so long that most of the time I forget it’s even there. However, I decided to give the Glock 42 a spin through my daily routine.

The first time I got my hands on the 42 was just outside Memphis, TN at a police training facility. A Glock representative let me take a test drive. At first glance, I could tell it was definitely a Glock. It is thin and lightweight. The stippling on the grip and the oversized magazine release whispers Gen 4. It feels familiar, for an old gumshoe like me, familiar is a good thing.

Now don’t get me wrong, being a competitor and reloader since I was 13, I know my way around firearms. But as bad as I hate to admit it, I imagine my eyesight and reflexes are not quite what they used to be years ago. If I need to use a backup or off duty weapon, I want it to be second nature. That’s exactly what I got with the 42. It runs just like its big brothers and sisters. It was like meeting an old friend. Due to time constraints, I was only able fire two magazines. All of the rounds were fired offhand from the 10-yard line and grouped around 1.5 inches. My initial assessment was positive, and I wanted to know more.

Until a few weeks ago, work got in the way of a reunion with the 42. I baled out of the truck with the enthusiasm of a kindergartener at a candy store, but my legs quickly reminded me how long it has been since kindergarten. When I unboxed the little handful, all those familiar features were apparent again. I certainly appreciate a good set of night sights however; the stock Glock sights are functional and do their job well. The single stack design makes it compact and concealable. The 42 does not have removable backstraps. However, the grip was comfortable. Pocket carry was no problem and after loading with some FMJ rounds, I fit the 42 in a Blackhawk! pocket holster, and it fit nicely in the front pocket of jeans.

Close up of a man pointing a Glock 42 down range

The single stack design makes it compact and concealable.

I kept everything between seven to 10 yards on this outing, and the accuracy was a carbon copy of my first session. All shots stayed within approximately 1.5 inches. Considering the intended use as a backup weapon, I’m impressed. Even groupings with my .38 snubnose could not match that.

The pistol came with two magazines, and I added a Pierce magazine extension to one of them. I knew the extension would certainly give a more confident grip, but I was not sure it would be worth the added bulk. I used both magazines throughout the session and they both ran flawlessly. When the training ammunition was gone, I loaded Hornady Critical Defense rounds and once again, the pistol ran like a champ.

I have owned some .380s that were smaller, but they were not comfortable to shoot. Recoil in the 42 is very manageable. I’ve had blood drawn on more than one occasion by a little .380 that would tear up my middle finger quicker than Hillary can take out an email server.

A man shooting the Glock 42

The 42 does not have removable backstraps. However, the grip is comfortable.

Before finishing up, I swapped to ankle carry. I have used ankle carry for years and I am well aware of the size limit for this mode of carry. If you exceed that limit, at the end of the day it feels like a brick is tied to your ankle with barbed wire. Riding in a Galco ankle glove, I forgot the 42 was there. Now, I can say that on the ankle I would recommend no magazine extension. With the extension, I noticed snugness to the fit of the pants leg when I went to unholster. It was imperceptible until unholstering, so there were no issues about concealment.

There may be an occasion in the future when those nostalgic feelings tell me to dust off that snubnose and partner up again for a day, but no doubt, my 42 will be my constant little companion hidden out of sight.

Oh, I almost forgot. Hey, Dad, Lesson #3 I learned at the range today. I expect big things from my little 42.

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Do you have a Glock 42? What do you think of it? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

Ron Horner is a police detective in the state of Mississippi. He has served as a reserve officer, patrolman and field-training officer. The knowledge and experience he has attained aids him in training and educating officers. He was introduced to shooting sports at an early age and was competing in rifle and pistol matches when he was 13 years old. He divided his time between reloading, training and competitions. When he is not writing, he continues to enjoy participating in all shooting and reloading activities.

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Comments (38)

  • Paula Gatrell

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    I recently purchased this gun and I find it does not chamber feed when I use critical defense rounds.

    Reply

  • R Horner

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    IB Mikey had a good point about my assessment on recoil. The 42 gives good control and follow up shots. R Fischer had the same concerns that I had when evaluating the .380 round. I believe that Monty and M Reyna are spot on about shot placement. The .380 is a capable round if the operator does his part. Ammunition is not the same as it was 20-30 years ago. Thanks everyone for some great comments!

    Reply

  • Raymond E Fischer

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    that was most helpful in helping me make some decisions. thanks

    Reply

  • Raymond E Fischer

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    thanks, that is the info I am looking for… lots of articles about throwing away the 380 and going to a 9mm but it appears that the 380 can do the job just fine..

    Reply

    • Manuel Reyna

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      I had a snub nose 38. I shot it a lot before I got rid of it. The factor that made the decision easy for me was the fact that I shot at a 55 Gallon metal barrel and the bullet only made a dent. It did not penetrate. That was 20 years ago. Lots of improvements in ammo
      Since then. Today’s 380 ammo will penetrate that 55 gallon barrel, so as I’ve said many time before it’s not always about the size of the caliber but it is always about bullet placement.

      Reply

  • Raymond E Fischer

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    I have had no trouble with my Glock 42 at all.. will feed anything I put into it and it shoots well. You must have just gotten a bad one.

    Reply

  • Chelsea

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    Having shot 3 different Glocks and checking out the 42 in store… the size, everything- I had to have it. So I bought it, used it maybe once, and it shot well the first couple rounds. I loved it when it did, but now my pistol is having problems which include failure to feed, failure to eject, and the slide won’t stay open after the last round has been fired through. The slide release protrudes and doesn’t appear to be aligned after the last round. Apparently, Glock DOES have some defective 42’s out there that need to be sent in to be fixed and replace some parts. However, it’s been over a month and I can’t get anybody to call or e-mail me back about fixing it. Since then, I’ve been carrying around my Ruger LC380. Best little gun I’ve ever owned for what it’s worth. After Glock fixes what’s wrong- if that ever happens- I’m upgrading to a Sig P238 and never using Glock again.

    Reply

  • howard frizzell

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    I PURCHASED A MOD. 42 WHEN THEY WERE HARD TO FIND ABOUT 7 MONTHS AGO AND MY FIRST SHOOTING SESSON I HAD SOME FEEDING PROBLEMS WITH ANY TYPE OF HOLLOW POINTS AND FLAT POINTS. WENT HOME, PULLED OUT THE BARREL AND POLISHED THE FEED RAMP AND CHAMBER UNTIL THEY WERE AS SMOOTH AS GLASS. NOW I HAVE FIRED IN EXCESS OF 1000 ROUNDS OF HARD CAST LEAD, HOLLOW POINTS, AND EVERYTHING ELSE I COULD FIND FROM 60 GR TO 115 GR BULLETS AT LOW VELOCITY AND PLUS-P WITH NOT ONE PROBLEM OF ANY KIND AND IT PUTS EVERYTHING IN LESS THAN A 4-INCH CIRCLE AT 25 YDS. AT 10 YARDS I CAN DRAW SMILEY FACES ON THE HEAD SHOTS.. THE MORE I SHOOT IT THE BETTER IT SHOOTS.. A GREAT PISTOL BUT I LIKE HAVING 12 EXTRA MAGS AT THE RANGE, GIVE IT A TRY, YOU WILL LIKE IT.

    Reply

  • MNuel Reyna Jr

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    I have a Glo k 42 and I find it to be a fantastic shooter.
    Hit bullseyes and head shots consistently out to 15 yards off hand.
    Very manageable recoil for accurate second or third shots.
    I carry this little Gem in my pocket very comfortably. I feel extremely
    Comfortable carrying it for self defense as I can hit accurately what I aim at. It’s not always about caliber size but it’s always about bullet placement

    Reply

    • Raymond E Fischer

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      thanks, that is exactly what info I was looking for..

      Reply

  • GP

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    Long time glock fan bought and sold a 42 very recently would only feed hornady critical defense. Had every type of malfunction at high frequency.Never seen anything like it in a glock. Was realy nice to shoot – when it cycled. Would be a freat bug and great for training new shootrrs. Guess I just got a bad one. Would try one again if they make some changes.

    Reply

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