The Glock 42, released in 2014, is a major departure from previous “baby Glocks,” such as the Glock 27. The G42 is truly a compact pistol with concealment as its calling card. Chambered in .380 ACP and holding a six-round, single-stack magazine, the G42 is slender to say the least. After getting some quality range time with the G42, I immediately saw it as an answer to a long-standing problem—size. This G42 is extremely manageable, reliable and accurate.

G-Fan Familiar

The single most profound strength that the G42 brings to the table is familiarity. For all intents and purposes, Glock has made a miniature version of the most widely issued law enforcement sidearm in the world, the Glock 22. Function and manipulation of the G42 is the same as most officers’ standard pistol. More importantly, the trigger of the Glock 42 has the same feel and function as its big brother.

Digging Deeper

Everyone familiar with the compact pistol market is aware that its greatest challenge has been the trigger. Heavy triggers with excessively long resets have made them questionable as an effective backup. But that’s not the case with the Glock 42. With a trigger weight of approximately 5 pounds and a standard Glock reset, it is simply one of the best on the market. It has the same feel as triggers in full-sized Glocks, which helps shooters deliver very accurate shots.

RELATED STORY: Next-Gen Pocket Power – The Ultra-Compact G42 in .380 Auto

Another advantage is the G42’s lack of “snap.” While tough to quantify, the G42 is very easy to shoot and does not have the trademark snap experienced with so many other micro blasters. An interesting point to make is that the G42 is not listed as a Gen4 pistol, and it does not come with interchangeable backstraps. The back of the grip does, however, run all the way down to the back of the magazine well, which protects the mag and allows it to fall free. It has texturing similar to the Gen4 guns, but not quite as aggressive.

Duty Ready Glock 42

Glock has obviously listened to its law enforcement patrons. I believe the Glock 42 will serve the U.S. law enforcement and self-defense communities well.

RELATED STORY: Glock 43 – An Ultra-Slim, Easy-To-Conceal 9mm


* Caliber: .380 ACP
* Barrel: 3.25 inches
* OA Length: 5.94 inches
* Weight: 13.76 ounces (empty)
* Grips: Polymer
* Sights: Fixed
* Action: Safe Action
* Finish: Black, surface-hardened
* Capacity: 6+1
* MSRP: $400

Show Comments
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  • Frank Matchung

    Interesting article, although the title is a little misleading as it doesn’t really compare the 42 (380) with the 43 (9mm). Below I will explain my choice for carrying the 42 as well as a long rant about how I hate when people talk about stopping power.

    I shot both, and the 9mm was too snappy. In simulated self defense scenarios, the Glock 42 in .380 proved to be more effective in my hands. If you are considering the 42 or 43, please try shooting both. Besides being more effective, the Glock 42 was much more fun and comfortable to shoot compared to the 43 and other small .380’s.

    For example, I have a Ruger LCP and I really don’t like shooting that gun, its just not comfortable and I have a hard time hitting targets farther than the 7 yards self defense standard. With the Glock 42, I’m shooting the same targets that I shoot at with my Glock 19 and Ruger Mark II and its not snappy or annoying to shoot.

    As far as “stopping power” goes, understand that stopping power in handguns is always lacking unless you are talking about rounds are the .45ACP range and larger. Much of the stopping power argument is based on people like me and you arguing at ranges and on the internet. Massad Ayoob did a comparative study which found small but statistically significant differences with some larger calibers, but without controlling for who was shooting and who was being shot, those numbers are hard to apply to real world situations (i.e. maybe 9mm is more likely to stop an attacker than .22lr because trained police officers are the ones shooting the 9mm and its grandpa with cataracts shooting at robbers with his 10/22).

    Most attackers will run when they see you are armed. Out of those that don’t run, most will run or surrender after being shot. Of the 0.001% of attackers who continue to fight after being shot and must be physically incapacitated to be stopped, you need to hit the heart, brain, spinal cord, or femur to stop them. This requires luck or good shot placement. In those cases, a larger caliber only gives you a small advantage and that advantage is going to be eliminated in most shooters anyway because unless you are an extensively trained and experienced shooter (i.e. military designated Marksman), you are going to shoot slower and less accurately with more recoil. In those cases, most people (including myself) are better off with a more manageable firearm that they can deliver multiple shots quickly and accurately with, that is what is going to help you hit one of those vital areas, not a bigger bullet.

    Basically my argument against being concerned about stopping power is that when you take the odds of being attacked and multiply them by the odds of failing to stop an attacker where you would have been able to stop him with a more powerful round, you will find that you are far more likely to accidentally shoot and kill yourself than be killed as a result of not having enough firepower.

    The most important things to consider for self defense carry are that you have a 99.999999999…% reliable combination of gun and ammo and that you can consistently draw your weapon and fire rounds quickly and accurately into your attacker. The round you use to do this doesn’t matter, and the advantages of a larger round will in 99% of cases be mitigated by the downsides (more recoil causing decreased rate of fire and accuracy, greater chance of over travel and harming an innocent bystander, greater chance of the fleeing criminal you shot dying (make your legal troubles much worse), more hearing damage (yes I know that is a small consideration in terms of self defense), larger/heavier/harder to conceal gun that also has a greater chance of snagging on something, greater change of death if the attackers gets your gun and uses it against you…the list goes on).

    The point of my rant is to hopefully convince at least one person that which caliber to carry should be a choice based on the gun in which you are most confidently able to conceal, draw, and fire quickly and accurately with quick and accurate follow up shots, and that you carry a reliable gun/ammo combination. The Glock 42 was perfect for me for this purpose, it was small enough to conceal easily but large enough to get a good grip, has the legendary Glock reliability, was affordable (blue label pricing at least), and compared to the Glock 19 I usually carry and to the Glock 43 I also tested, I was able to perform much better in simulated self defense tests with the 42 than the 43 and my performance with the 42 compared to the 19 was very similar while coming in a smaller and lighter package.

    Stopping power looks legit on paper, but in the real world it just
    doesn’t seem to have a noticeable effect. The only instances where more
    firepower might have helped someone involve firefights between police
    and criminals. In those cases, the criminal is fighting for his life
    against armed and trained police officers so yea, they will continue to
    fight as long as possible because at that point they know if caught
    their life is over anyway. In the civilian world, criminals have no
    reason to fight an armed civilian. A mugger or robber has no vested
    interest in you specifically and would much rather run away and try
    mugging/raping someone else or robbing another house than try their luck
    against a would be victim armed with a gun.

    In short, there are about 10,000 homicides a year. Most gun deaths in the US are caused by the .22lr. The CDC estimates 250,000-3 million justified instances of self defense involving a firearm occur every year in the US (most of which involve no injuries, adding validity to my point that most attackers flee when they realize you are armed). Even though there have been millions of self defense instances involving firearms since the internet was born, I have searched the internet and been unable to find a single example of a civilian being successfully victimized after using a small caliber firearm against their attacker. In fact, the whole stopping power obsession was based off one single shootout between police and criminals in the 1980’s where the criminals were shot multiple times and continued fighting. After that, police and the FBI adopted the idea that

    If you read this far, congratulations. As a reward you get to hear one more intersting anecdote about Glocks:

    I got the Glock 42 through their blue label program (discounts for police, military, ems, and others). Blue Label guns are simply cheaper and don’t ship with all the goodies, or so I thought. According to my buddy who works in quality control for Glock, blue label designated guns are required to be assembled and inspected by only armorers with at least 10 years experience and are subjected to an additional inspection before being shipped. When I reached out to Glock, I got the standard “We ensure top quality in all our guns” reply so I have no idea if its true or not, however I do know that blue label guns are designated as blue label before they are manufactured so its at least possible. Either way, Glocks are so reliable that being assembled extra carefully with only the best parts probably would not make a real world difference anyway and you would think they would advertise it if they went through the trouble. Still, its an interesting consideration and since I own a blue label Glock, I obviously choose to believe it.

    • Nam Vuong

      Thank you for taking your time in writing this reply, it was informative and helpful in my decision making of the g42

    • KaplanDr Sam

      Thank you very much, Frank, for your thoughtful and insightful comments. I too purchased a G42 last month and your comments are much appreciated. God Bless!

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