Would it be a single-stack .45 ACP? Maybe a commercial version of the Glock 47 Border Patrol variant? There was even buzz on forums that it would be — wait for it — an AR-style firearm. Then there were those who predicted it would be a .22 LR. My only guess is that it would be a Glock 44, but I had no idea about the caliber. My gut told me the model 44 would be next. After all, Glock is up to the G48 model. Why bypass the model 44? And so here we are, with the G44 pistol … a rimfire?
Glock G44 Details
With all the fanfare of a new product launch, Glock teased up the event with an email to its subscribers, telling them to tune in on Dec. 10. I received the same email — no doubt millions of other Glock website subscribers did too — but I also received a prior email from Glock’s marketing team. Was I interested in attending an event, they asked? A bit. The next thing I knew I was sitting front row, center stage.
In fact, it was the G44 that was announced on Dec. 10. And, to my surprise, Glock chambered it in .22 LR. Yep, Glock is now manufacturing rimfire pistols. Glock introduced the new pistols with the concept of “Adventure Awaits and the Legacy Continues.”
When I asked Dr. Gunter Gigacher, President of Glock, Inc., about the manufacturer moving from a provider of military and law enforcement pistols to producing pistols for the commercial market, he said, “It is the next step and the natural progression for the company. It has been a long road to develop and we won’t produce a product until it is completely ready.”
While the Glock 44 is very unique from a Glock perspective, it is also very much the same. It’s the same size as G19 and with other features you expect in a Glock pistol: striker-fire trigger, polymer frame, polymer magazine, and plastic sights. The G44 is super-lightweight at just 15.94 ounces unloaded. If this isn’t a 21st century “kit gun,” I don’t know what is.
Familiar Glock Design
The operating system is a simple blow-back mechanism similar to the G25 and G28 .380 Auto pistols built for foreign markets. All other Glocks, except for the G46, are short recoil-operated, locked-breech semi-automatic pistols. The power of the .22 LR is by far less than the centerfire calibers chambered by Glock. A blow-back system makes sense and all other .22 LR rimfire pistols on the market use a blow-back system. The engineering challenge is reducing the slide mass to reliably operate with .22 LR loads. Think for a minute about how many different .22 LR cartridges are available.
There are cartridges with at least 15 different bullets weights, ranging from 20 grains up to 60 grains. Let’s not forget the cartridges. Ever look at Aguila’s line of .22 LR ammo? Aguila corners the market in niche loads from subsonic 20-grain Colibri rounds to 60-grain Sniper subsonic rounds. Then include all the inexpensive plinker ammo, target and high velocity loads.
The slide is unique on the G44 since it is a combination of polymer and steel, which offers light weight and strength as well as the correct slide mass to cycle all the different types of .22 LR cartridges.
G19 Sized for Training
At the event, Glock had G19 Gen5 pistols on-hand so we could compare the the two pistols side by side. They are both 7.28 inches in length and are 5.04 inches height. The G44 is slightly less width at 1.26 inches; the G19 is 1.34 inches wide. I field-stripped the two pistols and tried to swap slides on frames and it was a no go. I later heard from William Carmichael, Manager of technical Services at Glock: “Very few of the internal components are the same between the G44 and G19. Most of the internal firing mechanism is unique to the G44 due to the 22 rimfire caliber.”
The magazine is also unique and with good cause. Since the G19 and G44 are nearly identical, so are the magazines. G44 magazines incorporate ridges on the back side of the magazine body. G19s have a smooth magazine body except for the witness holes. Those ribs offer the user a tactical feel, which immediately tells the user this is a rimfire magazine, not a centerfire magazine.
At the range we fired CCI Blazer 40-grain LRN ammo through the G44s. The magazines have a 10-round capacity, so those users in states with restrictive magazine capacity laws will exhale a sigh of relief.
It’s hard to concentrate when you have Team Glock shooters like Shane Coley and Ashley Rhueark shooting next to you. Both of them show their mastery of the sport with a sure grip and stance. And they ran the G44s as fast as they could with little muzzle bounce due to recoil. In hand the G44 is super-lightweight. I pick it up and think G19, but the weight tells me different.
At 10 yards I was able to hit the 4.5-inch-by-3.5-inch reactive hit zone on a steel target in rapid fire. I have nowhere near the level or speed of Coley and Rhueark, but I was having fun. Steel targets — round and square shaped — were set out at 50 yards, which is well plinking range, and I was able to hit them once I was zeroed in. The trigger was typical Glock striker-fire, which is boringly consistent. And you don’t bust your thumb loading the magazine like you can with other .22 LR pistol magazines.
Glock has a new plinker, and my gut tells me this will also make a great, low-recoil training pistol. When moving up to the 9mm G19, the only thing users will noticed is increased recoil. Other than that the experience will be the same. My sample pistol is already at my dealer. All I need now is lots of inexpensive .22 ammo and few empty soda cans. For more information, visit glock.com.