For years we’ve been shooting Glocks made in Austria. The .22 caliber Glock G44 is made here in the USA. It’s not the first Glock made in Glock’s Georgia facility. My Glock 19 was made in the USA. It was kind of a big deal when we first started seeing those, since all the Glocks my associates and I had seen before had been made in Austria.
A little investigation revealed Glocks made in America were all sold overseas while Glocks sold in America had been made in Austria. It has something to do with import/export laws that wouldn’t make sense to most of us. It took the severe gun shortage during the Obama years to get Glocks made in America on American shelves.
Enough of that. Let’s get to the subject at hand — Glock’s semi-automatic handgun chambered in .22 Long Rifle, the G44.
Glock G44 Familiar Look and Feel
The case the Glock G44 arrived in looked like every other Glock case I’ve seen for as long as I can remember. The Glock within looked like a G19 Gen 5 with an extra magazine and four extra backstraps to adjust the grip size. Picking up the gun made the difference obvious.
It has a familiar feel, but it also is very light. The Glock G44 with an empty magazine in it weighs less than 15 ounces. The 9mm G19 weighs almost 24 ounces. My G19 is a Gen 4 with finger grooves, and no cocking serrations on the front part of the slide. Other than that, a feature-by-feature comparison makes this new .22 look very much like its 9mm cousin. That’s good because it allows every Glock owner to appreciate how the similarity can carry over into using the G44 as a training tool. It’s also fine for just plain fun.
I already owned another new .22 that looked, felt, and handled like a 9mm. The Taurus TX22, also shipped from Georgia, but it was made in Brazil. I enjoy that gun immensely and had it at the range with me while shooting the Glock.
They both handle superbly and put a smile on my face. I shared them with other shooters in nearby lanes to get their reaction. Among them were some Glock owners who were surprised to discover they could shoot a gun similar to their carry gun but without recoil and with less expensive ammo. Way to go, Glock!
Making a semi-automatic .22 cycle reliably presents a challenge. There’s just not enough pressure in the little rimfire cartridges to cycle a heavy slide. That’s why most .22 pistols have been blowback models with fixed barrels and some sort of charging handle. They just don’t operate like our heavier caliber guns.
Glock solved the problem by making the slide from lightweight materials. The slide on the Glock G44 is made of a hybrid steel-polymer material that is lighter than steel, while retaining the strength necessary for long-lasting durability. Although the frame is very similar to the G19, and other Glock models, the rails are smaller and lighter. This results in less friction.
The resulting engineering makes for a gun that functions reliably when using clean, modern ammunition. Does it work perfectly with everything? No, and I’ll get to that in a minute. However, it will work with enough ammo brands and types for you to enjoy your outings without the aggravation of failures to feed or eject.
Definitely a Glock
Glocks are familiar to so many people, I could probably skip over a lot of the details. However, that would be a disservice to those who are not Glock users. I’m in that camp myself, in a way. Glocks are popular, the way Toyotas are popular — you can always count on them to work as designed and to accomplish the mission for the masses. They handle well, they shoot well, and they do it in such a variety of conditions, even abuses, that you can’t really say anything bad about them, except they’re boring — boringly accurate, boringly reliable, boringly familiar. You get the idea.
The Glock G44 frame is polymer, 7.28 inches long, 5.04 high and 1.26 thick — G19 dimensions exactly. The barrel is 4.02 inches long. The grip is aggressively stippled, including the front strap and back strap. The four additional back straps allow you to increase the circumference of the grip (two increase the beavertail, two do not).
The small-frame grip on the gun fits me fine, so I didn’t alter it. There’s a rail in the correct place for accessories. The front of the trigger guard is flat with a slight recurve that provides a perfect place for the support hand forefinger for shooters who use that hold. The back of the trigger guard has a nicely-sized undercut to allow a high grip with the shooting hand.
Being a first model, the G44 is not a Gen anything, but it has the Gen 5 enhancements of the other models. These features include cocking serrations on the front of the frame, no finger grooves on the grip, and the front edges of the frame and slide are rounded to aid in holstering. The sights have the familiar Glock white dot in front with a squared off U for the rear sight that is adjustable for windage and elevation. You’ll need a small screwdriver for that.
The sights on my test gun are right on the money. The slide lock is a small metal tab that’s easy to operate. The mag release is rectangular shaped with lines that help with friction. It may be reversed for left-handed shooters. Magazines dropped freely when the button was fully depressed.
The trigger is Glock’s bladed, Safe-Action trigger with the same 5.5-pound pull found on virtually all Glocks. The magazine’s external dimensions are similar to those of the G19 magazine. Thank you, Glock, for putting large plastic tabs, one on each side of the magazine, for pulling down the follower so you can load rounds.
Ensure the rounds are dropping in and lying flat as you load each cartridge. It’s a 10-round magazine. I was hoping for more since the Taurus TX22 magazine of similar size holds 15. The spring in the Glock magazine is strong, so perhaps that was needed rather than space for more rounds.
Understanding the Glock G44 Trigger
Glock’s Safe Action trigger was designed to be simple to operate. It has two positions. If it’s in the forward position and there is a round in the chamber, pulling the trigger will fire the gun. If it’s in the rear position it does nothing.
When the gun is cocked, pulling the trigger releases three safeties. The first is the blade in the trigger which is designed to keep the pistol from firing if dropped or the trigger is jarred sideways. As the trigger moves rearward, the trigger bar releases the firing pin safety, allowing the firing pin to move forward. The third safety is a drop safety that is moved out of position to allow the firing pin to move forward when the trigger is fully to rear. If a shooter begins a trigger pull then decides not to shoot and releases the trigger, the safeties move back into place rendering the gun safe.
For many, this may be their first Glock. The Glock G44 is ideal for learning the ins and outs of a Glock — regardless the caliber. Understanding the two positions of the trigger (fully forward and fully to the rear) is an important part of understanding how to safely disassemble a Glock for cleaning. This process seems to get people in trouble from time to time.
First, unload the gun by dropping the magazine, retracting the slide, and checking to ensure there is no round in the chamber. Then, let the slide go forward. The trigger is now forward because the act of retracting and releasing the slide will cock the gun.
To remove the slide for cleaning, the trigger must be in the rear position. You just unloaded and triple checked the gun, right? So, point the gun in a safe direction and pull the trigger. Next, reach across the top of the gun with your right hand putting your thumb under the beavertail and your four fingers across the top of the slide. Squeeze the slide and retract it about ¼ inch.
With your left hand under the trigger guard, use your thumb and middle or first finger to pull down the two little tabs on the frame located above the trigger guard. If this is hard to do, one of two things is holding you up. Either there’s a magazine in the gun or you didn’t pull the slide back quite enough. With those tabs held down. Push the slide off the front of the gun. From there you can remove the recoil spring, lift out the barrel, and commence with cleaning.
I purposefully tried a lot of different ammo in the gun, so I could give advice as to what you may want to avoid. Subsonic ammo didn’t cycle slide. Round nose lead bullets sometimes nosedived instead of feeding. There is a rather steep, small, feed ramp built into the magazine designed to lift the rounds to meet the feed ramp on the barrel. Some of the lead, round nose bullets hung on that.
The best results were with normal or high velocity rounds with a tapered nose, regardless of brand or whether they were lead or copper. This gives you a lot of ammo to choose from. I shot CCI Mini-Mag, Remington Golden Bullet, Federal Premium Target, Federal Premium Match, Winchester Super X, Norma TAC-22, and Browning BPR with no problems throughout an afternoon of shooting.
A friend with a nine-year old daughter who enjoys shooting was at a recent range outing. I took some .22s along. Although there were smaller, and in my mind cooler, guns to shoot she kept coming back to the G44, even to the point of telling her father that was the gun he should buy for her.
I recommend the G44 as a tool for new shooters to learn the ropes before graduating to a 9mm home defense or carry gun. Every skill you learn with the .22 can be transferred to other shooting scenarios. If you’re way past that, get one for fun. It’s everything a Glock has become known to be.