In 1986, the first-generation GLOCK 17 9×19 pistol was dropped into a sea of blued-steel and wood-handled revolvers and semi-automatic pistols in the United States. Even with stiff market resistance, GLOCK focused on what works and what shooters could really use. Eventually, the GLOCK’s revolutionary simplicity, reliability and durability took hold and sales steadily increased. Now almost every major firearms manufacturer offers a striker-fired line of polymer-framed pistols, and many American law enforcement agencies and elite military operators use GLOCK pistols.

Once again GLOCK has properly gauged what shooters, law enforcement officers and CCW holders could use by producing what is simply the best CCW pistol on the market—the new GLOCK 42 in .380 AUTO. This new pistol is an ultra-compact GLOCK designed around a cartridge that is excellent for backup or concealed carry. The .380 AUTO cartridge will not stop a charging rhino or a horde of zombies, but GLOCK deals in reality. The G42 will give an officer separated from his service pistol in a tussle, a mother defending her kids or a citizen faced with a deadly criminal threat the ability to solve the problem in their favor.

On-Duty G42s

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MPD officers train to respond to a threat from any possible position. Here an MPD officer practices drawing and firing his G42 while off-balance and on the ground.

The Marietta, Georgia, Police Department (MPD) viewed the G42 as the perfect choice to provide its officers with an easily concealable backup weapon to complement its GLOCK 22 Gen4 duty sidearms. As a result, the police officers serving this community just northwest of Atlanta were the first to order and carry the subcompact GLOCK 42 pistol for backup, undercover and off-duty uses.

Marietta Police Chief Dan Flynn obtained 115 G42 pistols that were then issued to sworn MPD officers. Chief Flynn said, “The Marietta Police Department has carried GLOCKs for a long time, and we’re proud to be the first department to adopt the G42. These new pistols work the same way as the officers’ primary weapon [the GLOCK 22 Gen4], so the training will be a natural transition.”

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Sergeant Josh Liedke is not only the head of the MPD Crime Interdiction Unit (CIU), but he is also a firearms instructor for the department and SWAT team and a GLOCK-trained armorer. He noted that he is a real proponent of GLOCKs because “the G42 mirrors the other GLOCKs I use, like the G22 and G27, so there is no re-learning. I was on the range hitting a 13-inch Action Target PT torso at 100 yards and an 18-inch IPSC torso steel plate at 120 yards with no problem with this pistol.”

Sergeant Liedke went on to say, “I have seen on the range that when officers transition from their primary weapon to their backup, a lot of times the first shot gets away from the officer because of the differences in the trigger pulls between the two weapon systems. You don’t have that with the G42 because the trigger pull is exactly the same and is very natural. I carry GLOCKs on and off duty, and it is a phenomenal, multi-tasking weapon system.”

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Marietta officers practice with their GLOCK 42s, shooting only with their strong hands to simulate support-hand injuries.

Since the pistol is primarily a defensive weapon for stopping a sudden, close-quarters threat, the subcompact G42 has a six-round, single-stack magazine that allows for a very narrow frame. In addition, the G42 uses a locked breech, so, along with the .380 AUTO’s reduced operating pressures, it requires less mass and a smaller slide. This all results in a shorter, narrower and lighter pistol compared to any of the other very popular GLOCK subcompacts. Since users may have wet or slippery hands, the G42 has GLOCK’s effective wrap-around texturing, which increases the surface area of the grip to ensure positive retention. Also, similar to the Gen4 GLOCKs, the G42 has an oversized and reversible magazine catch so that left-handed shooters can modify their pistol as necessary. To ensure smooth presentations from the draw, waistband and ankle holsters, the GLOCK 42 has a low-profile slide stop and magazine catch to prevent any snagging.

Lieutenant Brian Marshall, an instructor, range master and GLOCK-trained armorer for the department, said, “We have 134 officers, and everyone gets a backup pistol as well as their duty pistol, so everyone gets two pistols. We were confident because the G42 has been well tested. And although some of our officers use other pistols like the G27 [for off-duty and backup use], our polling indicated by far most of our officers wanted the G42. We like it a lot—officers who didn’t carry backup weapons are now carrying the GLOCK 42.”

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Lt. Marshall continued, “The manual of arms is very simple, especially if the shooter is used to using the G22 or G27. It is a very comfortable .380 AUTO to shoot when compared to other ‘pocket guns’ available on the market.”

The .380 AUTO G42 is a subcompact GLOCK with a trigger, grip and controls identical to any other GLOCK pistol. That means all the training and practice done with a larger GLOCK is directly transferrable to the G42. For an officer in trouble, that means when he or she needs to pull his backup pistol, or when an undercover officer is faced with a deadly threat, all the time spent at the range with their service GLOCK has prepared them for what comes next. Instead of grabbing a gun during a life-or-death crisis that they seldom use in practice and has a different trigger pull or sights, they instead will find a comfortable and familiar pistol. Since it is a GLOCK, it will do what GLOCKs always do—reliably fire every time.

Reliable Backup

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The training MPD officers perform with their practice G17T pistols (shown) carries over to the GLOCK 42, as the trigger pull, sights and manual of arms are all similar.

Agent Clay Culpepper, an officer in the MPD CIU who just recently got his G42 and carries it for undercover work and off-duty protection, said, “We fell in love with the G42, and I never go anywhere without it, on or off duty. I like that it is small, compact and light, but the trigger feels exactly the same as what I am used to with my full-sized GLOCK. As far as hitting what I want, I feel that I can drive tacks with it, and I am as accurate with the G42 as I am with anything else I shoot. What really is the best feature is that it is reliable. Because it is a GLOCK, I know it will always fire when I want it to.”

Like every other GLOCK pistol, including the G22 Gen4 .40 service pistol and the GLOCK 17T training pistol that the MPD also uses, the G42 is equipped with the proven GLOCK SAFE ACTION system. The SAFE ACTION system is the unique trifecta of trigger, firing pin and drop safeties, resulting in a pistol that is safer than the revolver designs that many shooters used for decades. The GLOCK combination of automatic safeties will prevent any discharge except when the trigger is depressed. Only then will the GLOCK pistol sequentially and immediately disengage each safety and allow the striker to operate, and then reengage when the trigger is released.

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The G42’s barrel is positioned low in the hand, which really reduces muzzle flip and helps keep the sights on target for rapid follow-up shots. Its polygonal rifling also provides exceptional accuracy. The slide has the familiar GLOCK flat top and easy-to-acquire sights. The G42 uses a dual recoil spring assembly as well as an extractor that sticks out when a round is in the chamber to provide a tactile and visual loaded-chamber indicator.

From the top down, Marietta police officers know that the GLOCK pistols they use are the safest, most reliable and most effective tools that they can have to protect both themselves and the people of Georgia. With the GLOCK G22 Gen4 and the new G42 on duty, the Marietta police officers have a winning combination of law enforcement tools that even the bad guys know they cannot beat!

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