Glock 42 Review
Is this the ultimate .380 concealed carry gun?
A few years back, before the advent of the Glock 43 and later the Sig Sauer P365 that would later steal my heart and occupy my IWB holster. A friend and I enjoyed an after-class beverage with an instructor, Jerod Johnson. He's earned my respect by delivering dynamic, memorable learning experiences. Johnson, of STA Training Group in Arizona, is a former Marine scout sniper and industry insider.
In other words, not the first person you might expect to sing the praises of a little .380. I was somewhat surprised, then, when he produced one from his concealment holster, saying, “the Glock 42 is the best concealed carry gun there is.”
Surprised and slightly relieved better describes my reaction, seeing as how I was also concealing a Glock 42 at the time. Johnson gave his reasons for liking this little gun and backs it up by shooting it as well as any full-size pistol. Reflecting on his statement in 2018, I pondered whether this logic still holds. I believe it does, at least for the .380 ACP class, and in one way, it’s still true overall.
The G42 has been reviewed to death online and print. So this post is more of a personal approach to a review. The technical details are available elsewhere. Here, I’ll examine the elements of why I think the “best-concealed carry gun” claim is still mostly valid.
Glock 42 Trigger
Manufacturers have a penchant for putting lousy triggers on 380s. In an outright insult to many concealed carriers, they assume your finger will be on the trigger when the sights aren’t on target and you’ve not decided to shoot. To compensate for your assumed negligence, they outfit these guns with very long or heavy trigger pulls and a reset that goes back out to full extension.
In doing so, they make accurate shots much, much harder to make. Rapidity and accuracy are a near-impossibility for most shooters with such a trigger. When statistics show that one round only stops the attack 23 percent of the time, whereas two rounds increase the likelihood of success to more than 60 percent, a good trigger is necessary.
Glock Simple operation
The Glock 42's operation is simple. It has a slide lock lever and goes to slide-lock on an empty mag. The G42 has an adjustable rear sight and, as stated above, has a 5.5-pound trigger with a decent reset.
Stacked onto the simplicity factor is the absence of safety levers that require a conscious operation. It's my opinion that mechanical measures do not supplant responsibility for safe gun handling and storage! If you want a manual external safety on your EDC, great, but it isn't necessary.
It’s a significant advantage to dry fire the gun you conceal without fussing around with fake magazines or other features that, like a heavy, long trigger, imply distrust or stupidity by the operator. One essential way to become more competent is to dry fire. The many .380s on the market that don’t permit this hinder their owner's practice.
By paring LASRX with a Laser Dot Trainer, you can make dry fire challenging and unlock a whole new world of practice possibilities. Consider following along with the Shooter Ready Challenge for ideas on dry fire practice.
Slim .380 concealment
Compared to other .380s, the tiny Glock is about the same in terms of concealability. Made-for-concealment firearms like the Taurus curve might be more concealable, but the Taurus and other micro-compact, .380s come with a host of problems, the G42 just doesn seem to have. For the reasons previously mentioned, I still reach for the G42 on days when the G43 or Sig P365 are a little too prominent under the clothing du jour.
Unlike the usual wait-a-year-and-see, the accessory side of the industry responded immediately to the G42’s release with complimentary gear. Blade-Tech was the first I noticed to release a Kydex holster customized for the gun.
Not long after the US release of the Glock 42, Streamlight rolled out an innovative and excellent product, the TLR-6 laser/light combo, just for the G42. It attaches to the trigger guard without impeding operation or safety, is full of options, and adds little to the gun’s profile.
What’s more, the company charged less than $100 for this new model while mysteriously charging more for later models to fit other guns. I’ve used this light for several years and save for one corroded battery, and it’s functioned without fail.
Truglo also makes and still makes an array of sights for this gun. I chose a three-dot tritium setup.
On the downside, Glock doesn’t make, nor have I found, aftermarket extended magazines that function as desired. Both brands I’ve tried purport an increase capacity to 8+1, and both fail to feed when stuffed full. The most I can only increase capacity by one round.
The test of time
Since the Glock 42's advent, the industry has rolled out more guns that meet most or all of the traits described here. Unfortunately, most are 9mm. Those wanting the reduced weight and recoil of .380 can now find a superior trigger and greater than 6+1 capacity but difficult concealment in the Browning 1911-380. Ruger overhauled its LCP to make a more shoot-able, concealment-friendly LCP II, with a vastly improved trigger and a plethora of interfering safety devices.
Here are my gripes with the Glock 42 because it isn’t perfect.
It could use an even better trigger with a lighter break. Glock should produce an extended magazine and improve capacity. But it is a reliable shooter that remains alone in its class for .380 carry by the safe and competent gun handler.
Glock 43 Pros:
- Simple Operation
- Accessory Friendly
Glock 43 Cons:
- Mushy Glock Trigger
- No Extended magazines
Glock 42 Specifications
|Height W/Flush Magazine||4.13"|
|Weight W/O Magazine||12.17 oz|
I bought this G42 at market price with my own money.