Today's feature is about the first outing of the GLOCK 44, first published in our companion service -- Tactical Wire.
Likely the most-panned new gun introduction to the 2020 production year was the GLOCK 44, a GLOCK 19-format pistol chambered in 22 LR. Featuring a pair of 10-shot magazines, adjustable (plastic) “ball-in-the-bucket” GLOCK sights, a trigger and operating system just like the Gen5 GLOCK pistol line, it was seen as the “it’s-not-what-I-told-the-manufacturer-to-make” gun. This is a feature of (un)social media and a throwback to the old coffee shop/gun shop chatter of old.
While it fits in the G19 envelope, it’s substantially lighter (just over 14.5 oz. with empty magazine) than “the real thing” partly due to the hybrid steel-polymer slide. Like the Gen5 series, the gun is supplied with backstraps for hand-size adjustment and the GLOCK Marksman Barrel. The magazines feature the typical-for-22 “load-assist” tabs.
Size comparison to the Ruger LCP II 22 LR -- above -- and the S&W M&P22 Compact, below. While varying in size, each gun has a capacity of ten rounds of 22 LR.
So what the hell good is it? That depends on who you are. If you're the owner of a GLOCK pistol and you want a low-cost “feels the same” shooting experience or – more important – you represent an agency that issues GLOCK pistols to enforcement types, the G44 has a lot going for it. If I had a stock of, say, 150 sidearms issued out to 110-130 troops, I’d like to have ten or twenty G44s in the armory with a few cases (not ‘cartons’) of the 22 ammo the guns liked best. When we had a problem shooter or a new hire, it’d be time to do ground work with the lightweight to get (1) better results quicker as well as (2) more ‘bang’ for the buck.
To check out compatibility, I tried the magazine in the nearest Comp-Tac kydex magazine pouch – it fit. The gun was tried first in a new holster line I’m trying out from Massaro Holster Works. The inside-the-waist rig, recommended to me by world class trainer and Wire contributor Dave Spaulding, was the American Purebred IWB, this one supplied in coyote tan for the G19/G44.
Designed for anyone, but especially for the elderly who’ve carried guns a long time, the API is a .080” precision-molded kydex holster ‘pouch’ which secures with mil-spec hook-and-loop fastener to a neoprene backing – very adherent to the body – and clipping to trousers with ATSM spring wire coated in a black zinc finish.
The G44 fits it as well as it does the Gen5 G19 I carry about every day.
But does the gun shoot? For some internet types, a 22 auto that exhibits some idiosyncrasies is problematic. I’ve come to expect it.
On a particularly cold, inhospitable day, I took the sample to the gun club. It was deserted as other members are smarter – and more comfortable. I only tried a couple of brands of ammo. One was Winchester Super-X 40 grain solids, the other was CCI “Clean-22,” the pink version if it matters. With the coated 40 grain solid projectile, it’s bulk packed in a plastic jar.
After firing the gun a little just to get a feel for the piece, I realized the trigger feels similar to Gen5 GLOCKs of my experience. The “ball-in-the-bucket” plastic sights are adjustable – something I have had no experience with on GLOCK pistols. It seemed the gun was hitting “close enough” at ten yards, so I tried 25 yard shooting, seated, gun braced over a range bag. The first group was the Winchester load and it was low on the page of the NRA B-8 repair center. It hovered around two-inches and it appears some sight adjustment would be in order. The “Clean-22” put five rounds into 3 ¾” including a flyer I felt – the best four of the group was inside an inch – and the group was all in the shaded portion (the bullseye) of the target. No adjustment needed.
Before anyone asks, yes the front sight’s dot is partly occluded by the rear sight notch when I align the top of the front with the top of the rear sights. Also, I tend to hold 2/3 of the way up the ‘bull.’ The front sight covers the bottom two-thirds. In this case, the bullets hit right under the top edge of the sights – perfect. The only stoppages I experienced that day – there were two – were due to a failure to fire (which occasionally happens with rimfire priming) and a failure to eject – I was shooting left handed and likely interfered with the slide. It’s not like I fired a case of ammo; it was cold. But this was two rounds out of about 80, so I fled for warmth and shelter.
So, what’s the verdict? Thus far, it’s getting the schedule and weather cleared to the point I can shoot the gun again. I’m happy so far. Images here show the best group fired and the G44 with other 22 pistols of fairly recent introduction and manufacture. Stand by for more.
In the short term, I see ‘sub-caliber’ analogs as best used for practicing (1) the first hit from ready, (2) the first hit from the holster, (3) slide-lock reloads and (4) trigger control drills.
That’s what I intend using it for. If you’re someone who relies on the GLOCK pistol line, this appears to be a great choice for a subcaliber trainer. I wish it’d been available 15 years ago.
- Rich Grassi