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Glock 42 Review

The Glock 42 is Glock’s 380 concealed carry offering. In 2014, Glock introduced the Glock 42. Smith and Wesson had previously had great success with their Smith and Wesson Shield. Which is nine-millimeter, and many were expecting Glock to come out with a competing model. The Glock 42 was initially a major disappointment. People were really hoping that the Glock 42 would be a nine-millimeter instead of the less powerful 380. This is our Glock 42 review.

The Glock 42 has some special features that set it apart from other 380ACP firearms. It was a smart move on Glock’s part to release the Glock 42 before they released the Glock 43. If Glock had released the Glock 43, the sales of the Glock 42 would likely not have been well at all. By releasing the Glock 42 first, a lot of people purchased the Glock 42 instead of waiting for a 9mm variant. That’s because they had no idea whether or not it would come. After spending time with the Glock 42, most of the customer base learned that the Glock 42 did excel. Especially in certain areas than other 380 caliber handguns did not.

By releasing the Glock 42 first, Glock created a whole new market and was able to sell a significantly larger number of handguns total. Increasing their bottom line revenue and making the Glock 42 commercially successful and viable in the US market. 

Disclaimer

This is an opinion piece, but I always aim to eliminate or expose bias. Look, we’ve all read them before. Gun reviews that claim to be helpful, but they’re really thinly veiled hit pieces trying to get you to buy something before you’ve even started your research. Or, even worse, a review put together by a content writer who has never even held a gun.

I’ve trained with some of the best in the business to learn various shooting styles and ideologies to better serve our customers. I’ve purchased guns of all price points, calibers, and action types to build the best products for the market. I want you to walk away knowing you have the information you need to make a sound purchasing decision.

Role-based off size

As stated earlier, the Glock 42 sets itself apart from most of the other 380 handguns on the market. Before the Glock 42 was introduced, you had the Kel Tec P3AT, the Smith and Wesson Bodyguard. Plus the most common 380 pocket pistol, the Ruger LCP. All of the guns mentioned were so small that they were not easy to shoot. They were a handful for even the most experienced shooters. This makes them great for carrying, but it doesn’t make them great in a self-defense situation. Or any situation where accuracy is going to matter.

There were also a couple of larger 380 pistols. These tended to be older designs and they were very large. When compared to the Glock 19, they were considered inefficient for their size and capacity. But the one upside was they usually had very light recoil due to the large size and small 380 caliber. 

Glock 42

Glock 42s In-Stock
New and Pre Owned

The Glock 42 is much larger than, say, a gun like the Kel Tec P3AT or the Ruger LCP. It’s also much smaller than the Walter and Beretta offerings. This put it in a class of its own. Loaded, the Glock 42 weighs in at 16 ounces. 16 ounces is considered the upper end of weight that is viable for a gun in certain backup applications. Such as ankle carry or pocket carry.

While you can certainly carry larger guns in those positions, having a lighter gun does make things a lot easier. And with a position like an ankle carry, you also need to be concerned with the effects on your long-term health.

Weight

If you’re carrying a 25-ounce gun on your ankle, it’s eventually going to hurt your joints. Much more than a one-pound gun would. Before the Glock 43’s introduction, you could definitely argue that the Glock 42 made sense for IWB carry or even OWB carry. But since the introduction of the Glock 43, P365, and the Springfield Hellcat, the Glock 42 doesn’t make a lot of sense for IWB carry. 

If you’re recoil sensitive, the Glock 42 might be considered an option for IWB. Most people are able to handle the recoil on the Glock 43, P365, and the Springfield Hellcat fine.

So, the Glock 42 is not the best option for any kind of inside the waistband. Unless you’re doing something like running where you can’t wear a belt and your garments don’t have a lot of support. Then the Glock 42 really comes into its own because of its weight. Pocket carry is also something you can do with the Glock 42. 

Pocket

Now, pocket carry is subjective for a lot of people. Depending on the type of clothing you wear, that will greatly change the size gun that you can effectively pocket carry. For myself, the Glock 42 is at the extreme upper limits as what I can conceal. I’m a six-foot-tall male weighing 175 pounds. I wear jeans that aren’t skinny jeans, but they aren’t baggy either. They’re regular straight cuts. A Glock 42 is not going to fit well in those pants. But it can work with the right holster.

Sure I could stuff it in there, but it’s not going to be easy to draw and it’s going to print like crazy. Now, if I’m wearing my mountain khakis that have very large and deep pockets things change. The Glock 42 becomes a lot more viable as a pocket pistol. But with the typical pants I’d find off the rack, there’s no way it’s going to work. For the average person, the Glock 42 can be pocket-carried. But not as effective as the smaller options. 

Glock 42

Glock 42s In-Stock
New and Pre Owned

Another strong carry method for the Glock 42 is going to be ankle carry. Again, weight is a huge issue for ankle carry. Especially because of the stress it will put on your joints. So, you don’t want to exceed that one-pound limit. That leaves you with very few options. You have the small little Ruger handguns, a lightweight J frame or Ruger LCR Revolver. And that’s really about it. The Glock 42 is probably the most shootable out of all those options, while also having a low recoil and reasonable weight.

Features 

The Glock 43 holds six rounds in a flush-fit magazine. You can get extended magazines for the Glock 42. Unless you’re carrying an IWB, you’ll want to maintain the small overall size by using standard flush belt magazines. The Glock 42 has the ability to add a good set of sites. There is no accessory rail, so mounting a light is not an option unless you go with a Streamlight TLR-6. Which mounts directly to the trigger guard. 

Overall, it looks like a shrunk-down Glock 17. The gun just isn’t that big and there’s not a lot to it. It’s a very simple and utilitarian design. Now let’s take a look at all the features in-depth. 

Grip/Ergonomics

Considering the size of this gun, there is no modularity to the grip. No removable backstraps or other options.

The grip itself is extremely comfortable, especially for a Glock. This is a gun that most people are actually probably going to like more than they would think when they hold it. A lot of people complain about a Glock being blocky. Well, this gun does not feel blocky at all. It feels slim and nicely rounded on the front strap and back strap, providing a very comfortable grip. The overall size of this gun is small. Due to the diminutive size, I am able to get half of my pinky to sit on the front of the base plate of the magazine. Allowing me to get almost a full grip. I’m able to get a lot of control on this gun, and it feels really good in the hand. 

You’re still going to get a little bit of Glock knuckle from the trigger guard. The trigger itself is much smaller than other Glock. So I’m not sure if I would have an underwater cut for fear of causing some sort of damage to the gun itself. But the gun overall just seems to work well.

Texturing

The texturing on the Glock 42 is standard Gen 4 Glock texturing. It’s not great and it’s not horrible. It’s aggressive enough to provide you a grip. If your hands get really wet or slick the gun’s probably going to slide around a little bit. It would have been nice if Glock offers a more aggressive texturing with texture. Like their Gen 5 texture or the RTF2 finish that was released on limited runs of the Generation 3 Glocks. 

Sights

Most of your Glock 42 handguns are going to come with standard Glock plastic sight fillers, as I like to call them. Just your standard Glock plastic sights that are really bad. 

Aftermarket 

The good news is, Glock has a pretty substantial aftermarket for the Glock 42. I’ve replaced my Glock 42 sights with AmeriGlo sights. It has a bright yellow front sight, with a blacked-out rear. There are also a variety of offerings because the Glock 42 will accept Glock 43 sights. 

Meaning there are a ton of aftermarket options. You’re going to have a harder time finding a sight company that makes Glocks sights that don’t make them for the Glock 42/43 than finding one that does. 

Red dot options

There aren’t a lot of red dot options for the Glock 42. In fact, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen one mounted on the gun. In theory, you could definitely take one of the new mini red dots and have it mounted to the gun. But the slide is so thin, it would probably require a custom adapter. 

Considering the role of this gun, probably not a lot of people will consider doing that. But it would be a really capable pistol with a dot. I want to take another Glock 42 up and have a Holosun 507K mounted to it.

Glock 42 Review Controls

Glock 42 controls are pretty normal. They’re just like any other Glock. And this is a Gen 4 Glock through and through. 

Glock 42

Glock 42s In-Stock
New and Pre Owned

Mag release

The magazine released on the Glock 42 is a standard Gen 4 mag release. It’s much larger than the Gen 3, and it’s easy to reach and press. It’s very easy to access without breaking your grip. Everyone, but people with the smallest hands will not have an issue activating it. The only issue is, you will have to break your grip for the magazine to drop free. The heel of my palm sits underneath the base plate of the magazine itself when gripping the gun. So it prevents the magazine from falling out.

Slide stop

The slide stop on the Glock 43 is not on the left-hand side of the gun. So a right-handed shooter could easily access it with their thumb. It’s very easy to reach, and again, anybody, but with the smallest hands will have no problem reaching it. I will say it’s not ideal if you plan to use your support hand thumb to drop the slide. Because it just sits so much further back on the gun than most slide stops do. The reason for this is just the diminutive size of the gun. It has nothing to do with the design. It looks proportionally in place compared to most other pistols. Due to the size of the gun, it’s just very small and sits really far back.

Glock 42 Review Trigger

The Glock 42 trigger is a bit different from most other Glocks I’ve handled. Now, I will say, if you pick up five Glock 42s in the store, each trigger is going to feel different. So, your experience may vary slightly from mine. The Glock 42 trigger in my gun has very little take-up. That take-up has almost a little bit of creep in it, whereas most take-up is lighter on other Glocks. After that slight bit of take-up, you reach a little bit of creep before you start to fill a wall. From that point, there’s a rolling break in the pistol. 

And this break seems to sit farther forward than most other Glocks. But the trigger pull itself seems somewhat downscaled from the trigger pull on the nine-millimeter variants. So, I’m not real sure what to think. Now, from the reset, it has a standard Glock positive reset. It resets right the wall where again you fill that rolling break in the trigger. This trigger isn’t great, but it’s not horrible either. It’s perfectly acceptable for what you expect from a self-defense handgun.

Aftermarket

There is a decent aftermarket for the Glock 42. As we mentioned earlier, have lots of sight options. There are some magazine extensions, as well as lots of trigger parts. There are also aftermarket parts such as extended slide stops, magazine releases, and even extended takedown tabs. Although I would not suggest getting extended takedown tabs as that will narrow your holster options significantly.

Maintenance Glock 42 Review

Maintaining the Glock 42 is extremely easy. It’s a standard Glock, so the take-down procedure is exactly the same. You’re going to want to release the magazine, and then pull the slide back and lock it back. From there you can check to see that the gun is fully unloaded. Once you’ve sure the gun is unloaded, drop the slide forward. Then pull the trigger to drop the striker. Make sure the gun is pointing in a safe direction when you do this. 

Glock 42

Glock 42s In-Stock
New and Pre Owned

Once the striker has been deactivated by pulling the trigger, you’re going to want to pull the slide back slightly. Run an eighth of an inch, and then pull down the take-down tabs that sit halfway up the frame. Then the slide will slide right off where you can take apart the Glock 42 by removing your recoil spring assembly and your barrel. From there, you can clean those parts and then re-lubricate them before reassembling.

Aesthetics

In my opinion, the Glock 42 is a really cute gun. You probably don’t hear many guns described as cute, but it’s just so tiny, it really is cute. It’s like the Kristin Chenoweth of guns. This gun doesn’t have a lot of flare to it. It’s very simple and well-executed. It’s almost sleek. 

You don’t see texturing where it doesn’t need to be, and it’s got that utilitarian look to it. It’s still attractive. In my opinion, this might be the most attractive Glock that ever exists. Proportions on the Glock 42 just seem perfect. If you look at a Glock 43, it just looks a little bit off. The Glock 42 doesn’t suffer from this because of the shorter overall length in the 380 cartridges. Honestly, I’m really impressed with it.

Glock 42 Shooting Review

Shooting the Glock 42 is where you really see how special this pistol is. Being in 380ACP makes this recoil a breeze. Most 380 guns are direct blowbacks while this is a branding tilt action design. So, a lot of the recoil is dissipated when the gun unlocks. This gun is just a really soft shooter. This is the smallest gun that I am really able to shoot well. I have a story that I don’t even really want to tell. 

Tack Driver?

And that story is, I was out shooting one day and I had a steel target that I had painted. At 25 yards, I managed to put a 3.5-inch group with this gun. Using very cheap 380 FMJ ammo. It sounds like I’m lying. I’m a little bit afraid to tell the story because I don’t know if I could repeat this performance. But the Glock 42 is just a performer. I have never seen a gun that I shoot so well with very little practice.

Maybe my hands are just perfect for this gun? I think the reality is the combination of the rolling brake on the trigger. Combined with the excellent ergonomics and the very light recoil make this gun incredibly shootable. If you look at this and compare it to something like a Ruger LCP, there is no comparison. Whereas if you look at it and compare it to something like the Glock 43. The comparison becomes much closer, but this gun is a much easier shooting gun than the Glock 43. 

Glock 42

Glock 42s In-Stock
New and Pre Owned

This is a gun that you could potentially pocket carry. Yet still, make a headshot at 25 yards. Maybe Jerry Mikel could do it with a Ruger LCP, but I don’t think the average person can even make a headshot at seven yards with a Ruger LCP.

380ACP an issue?

And a lot of people will not give this gun a second look due to it firing the 380 round. Instead, they’ll say they need to shoot something like a Glock 43 because it’s nine millimeters. But I will say there are a lot of applications where this gun makes sense. If you need a gun that is as lightweight as possible, try the Glock 42.

I personally have started carrying it as a running gun because weight does make a difference there. The Glock 42 or a J-Frame Revolver just makes a lot more sense than trying to carry a heavier gun like a Glock 43 or a SIG P365. If you’re looking for a gun for those situations, where you can’t carry a “real gun” like a Glock 19. Then it’s really hard to find something better than the Glock 42.

Glock 42

Glock 42s In-Stock
New and Pre Owned

Sure. There are other larger 380 options and there are smaller 380 options. But the larger ones weigh more and are harder to conceal. While the smaller 380s are almost impossible to shoot. In fact, I would almost rather have a knife sometimes than some of the smaller 380s, they’re so difficult to shoot. 

If you’re recoil sensitive or you need a gun that is extremely lightweight and capable, I would definitely consider the Glock 42. It’s a very underappreciated gun. If you’re always carrying IWB, then it doesn’t make as much sense. But if you find yourself carrying in unnormal positions or situations, then the Glock 42 is probably worth your time to check out.

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Pros

  • Size
  • Controllability
    • For such a small gun it is very controllable.
  • Soft Shooting
    • The 380 is very soft.
  • Aftermarket
    • Everything you want is out there besides a large collection of connectors.
      • +2 mag extensions
      • Sights
      • Flat Faced Triggers
      • Talon Grips
      • Holsters
      • Etc…
  • Accuracy
    • This gun is a tack driver.

Cons

  • Size
    • It’s too big for a skinny guy to pocket carry in regular pants.
  • The size of the makes it hard for me to get a solid grip on the gun.
    • It makes it harder to shoot the gun fast.

Mods

  • Sights
    • Ameriglo
      • Okay sights for the money, but I prefer Trijicon HDs, or a Trijicon HD front with a blacked-out U-Notch rear.
      • If I were to carry with the gun I’d replace it with the above setup.

Glock 42 Questions

What comes with a Glock 42?

2 magazines, magazine loader, lock, cleaning brush, chamber flag, and manual are what come with a Glock 42.

What caliber is a Glock 42?

The Glock 42 is 380ACP.

Where can I buy a Glock 42?

You can buy a Glock 42 at your local gun store.

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