GLOCK continues with its revolutionary, evolutionary changes to its pistols by redesigning its subcompact-sized pistols. The GLOCK 26 (9×19), G27 (.40) and eight other models, have received the engineering attention that resulted in the Gen4 enhancements applied to the line. A brief review of the history of the GLOCK subcompacts is in order to appreciate the latest changes.

Revolutionary from the Beginning

The first GLOCK subcompact pistols were the G26 and G27 in 9×19 and .40, respectively. First introduced in the United States in the mid-1990s, they were a startling leap in firearm design. Before the GLOCK subcompacts, small handguns were typically chambered in less-than-powerful cartridges such as .32 or .380 Auto, and were generally “blowback” operated, as the action was not locked shut at the moment of ignition. Small and concealable with relatively primitive (if any) sights, many were inexpensive and constructed with cheap materials. There were smaller versions of more powerful pistols (e.g., 9×19 and .45 Auto variants), but these were essentially handmade by custom gunsmiths and were thus, very expensive.

The GLOCK subcompacts were a “sea change” and created a new paradigm. The new GLOCKs in “serious” calibers (i.e., 9×19 and .40) were production “mini-guns” and were overwhelmingly embraced by law enforcement and legitimate, licensed citizens. The design parameters were to make the GLOCK as small as possible and maintain the safety, reliability, durability and accuracy that are synonymous with GLOCK. The success was beyond anyone’s (except perhaps Mr. Glock’s) expectations.

Little known is that in pre-production prototype testing, a GLOCK 26 was constructed so as to fire fully automatic (as with the GLOCK 18) and fired thousands of rounds successfully in endurance testing. Several years later, a major American federal law enforcement agency found that the GLOCK 26 was, at the time, the most accurate production pistol they had ever evaluated. People who had GLOCK 17s or G19s bought G26s as a companion piece. Law Enforcement officers who were already armed with GLOCK 22s in .40, received the new GLOCK 27 with great enthusiasm. An added bonus was that magazines for the larger models fit and functioned in their smaller counterparts; the perfect backup for the GLOCK-armed officer.

The very first subcompacts had “target grips,” with smooth grooves on the frontstrap and thumbrests on the side. Later production models had checkering molded into the frontstrap. One of the major attractions of the GLOCK subcompacts to organizations was logistical in nature: about two-thirds of the parts used to construct the smaller GLOCKs were interchangeable with the larger GLOCKs.

Other notable aspects were the dual recoil spring system and the fact that the smaller GLOCKs mimicked their larger brothers in control locations; the trigger, magazine catch and slide stop lever. Instruction and training were thus simplified. The subcompacts were nicknamed “pocket rockets” and “baby GLOCKs,” but they had the same qualities of the bigger GLOCKs: Tenifer finish on barrel and slide, polymer frames, cold hammer forged barrels and GLOCK-designed “Safe Action” fire control trigger system. They were as accurate and tough as any. Within the past year, the GLOCK 27 passed a 20,000 round endurance test by a major U.S. federal law enforcement agency and is now, along with the GLOCK 22 Gen4, approved for purchase by federal agencies.

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