A new handgun cartridge was introduced in 2003, the first identified with pistol-producer GLOCK. It was called the .45 GLOCK AUTO Pistol (G.A.P.) and offered ballistics and performance very similar to the venerable .45 AUTO cartridge. What made the .45 G.A.P. different was the cartridge case length, which was shortened to 0.755 inches—as opposed to 0.898 inches for the .45 AUTO—allowing the cartridge to be used in pistols with smaller frames that would normally be chambered for cartridges like the 9×19 or .40 caliber.

GLOCK at first manufactured a full-sized pistol for the new cartridge and gave it the numerical designation of GLOCK 37. It had the 4.48-inch barrel of most standard, service-type models and a 10-round magazine capacity. It was followed by the more compact GLOCK 38, which had a 4.01-inch barrel and eight-round capacity, and then the subcompact GLOCK 39, with a 3.42-inch barrel and six-round capacity. These pistols compare favorably in size and weight to 9×19 and .40 GLOCK pistols.

G38 Rundown

Although a new G37 in the Gen4 configuration is now available, let’s look at the more-compact G38. Besides the 4.01-inch barrel length that brings the pistol to an overall length of 7.36 inches, the G38 has a height of 5 inches and a width of 1.18 inches—this all translates to an empty weight of just 24.16 ounces. It is compact enough for concealment but does not look or feel out of place on the gun belt for duty use.

Like all GLOCK pistols, it’s a black gun. From the non-reflective, corrosion-resistant, matte finish on the slide to the reinforced-polymer frame and nearly everything else on the exterior—it’s all black.

The corners on the slide of the GLOCK 38 are rounded to eliminate snagging. The front sight has a white dot, and the rear sight notch is white-outlined (tritium night sights are optional). The extractor also acts as a loaded-chamber indicator. The polymer frame is not only durable and lightweight—it also helps to absorb recoil. An integral grip frame has knurled panels on the sides, plus there are serrations and checkering on the backstrap. There are memory grooves on the frontstrap. All together, the frame is very comfortable in the hand.

The slide release is low profile, and the magazine catch is reversible for southpaws. The dust cover ahead of the hooked triggerguard has an accessory rail for mounting tactical lights or lasers. My test gun featured the “New York 2” SAFE ACTION® trigger with a pull weight of around 11 pounds.

Simple & Effective

Simplicity is the name of the game, and like the typical GLOCK pistol, the G38 has only 34 component parts. This increases reliability and durability while lowering maintenance costs—all factors that contribute to GLOCK’s success in the LE handgun market, with some 65 percent of American LEOs carrying GLOCK pistols. The KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) Principle not only extends to the construction of the pistol itself but also to its operation and disassembly. Another item worth mentioning is the barrel on GLOCK pistol, which has octogonal rifling that decreases bullet deformation and increases accuracy and velocity due to the improved bullet seal in the barrel. This G38 barrel has 1-in-15.75-inch right-hand twist rifling, and the pistol’s low bore axis helps tame muzzle flip and recoil.

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