The Glock 44

Big G Finally Embraces Rimfire!
9

A rimfire version of the GLOCK 19 (above), the GLOCK 44 has a poly/steel slide keeping the weight to 15 oz. To fit
all hands, the GLOCK 44 (left) comes with a pack of backstraps, interchangeable with the GLOCK 19.

Gaston Glock was making things from high-strength polymer 20 years before his Austrian factory turned out a marketable poly-frame pistol. It was his 17th attempt so he called it the GLOCK 17. Since the 1983 debut of the G17, GLOCK has sold 18 million auto pistols, all centerfires. Now, with the G44, they have finally brought out a factory .22.

The G44 (above, left) is clearly of G19 lineage, but its “hybrid” slide keeps loaded weight to 16 oz.!
The G44 ships with two 10-shot magazines (below), nearly identical in outside dimensions to the G19.

Not The Guy?

You could say I’m an odd one to report on a GLOCK. Many moons ago I picked up a 1917 Colt DA and a pair of half-moon clips clutching six fat, age-tarnished .45 rounds. Years and various N-Frames and Peacemakers later, revolvers grudgingly gave way to 1911s I assembled from parts. Astonished these functioned, I found they also fit my farm-hand paws and pointed obligingly where I looked. Other autos — S&W’s 39, Browning’s Hi-Power — then caught my eye.

But not the GLOCK.

For The Masses

Like telephones without dials and trucks without manual hubs, GLOCKs were not transparent and their frames didn’t pass the magnet test.

The world is full of more progressive shooters, who glommed onto GLOCKs in the ’80s and now have vast collections. Many of them know a lot more than I do about defensive handguns of all types and shoot them better.

But the newest GLOCK didn’t emigrate from Austria to serve only the enthusiasts. The G44 is a .22LR pistol very suitable for the unskilled proletariat and people new to firearms. You don’t need dark shades, ripped biceps and a week’s growth of stubble framing a mission-specific grimace to like this handgun. A novice can have fun with this GLOCK.

The G44 made its debut in early in December 2019 at Foxhall, a rural resort and shooting center near GLOCK’s U.S. headquarters in Smyrna, Georgia.

The GLOCK 44’s length and height match those of the 9mm G19 though the .22 is 0.08″ slimmer. The G44’s 10-shot magazine has the outer dimensions of the G19’s but with load-assist buttons on both sides. A 6.85″ steel and polymer slide rides hardened steel guides. With GLOCK’s signature polymer frame, it holds total weight to 14.74 oz. Loaded, the G44 scales within a decimal of 1 lb. — about half the weight of a loaded G19! A screw-adjustable, square-notch, white-outline rear sight complements a sturdy white-dot front blade. Those bold white accents and a low line of sight make for natural pointing, fast aim. Sight radius is 6.22″.

The 44’s rear sight is adjustable, low and trim with a bold white outline making quick aim easy.

Designers Speak

Jacob Witten had a hand in the G44’s design. “This pistol is southpaw-friendly,” he said, “with an ambidextrous slide stop and a reversible magazine release. Its lightweight hybrid slide — four polymer parts and one of steel — not only makes the gun lively and easy to hold, it’s essential to reliable functioning! Getting the numbers right as regards slide mass and spring tension is crucial in a blow-back mechanism.”

Brian Peterson, with Federal Cartridge, helped oversee testing. “We ran more than 12,000 rounds through this pistol. It cycled reliably with Long Rifle loads at advertised speeds of 1,050 fps to 1,550 fps. Of course, chronographed velocities are much lower from a 4″ pistol barrel than from 16″ to 20″ rifle barrels used to develop ballistics tables.”

GLOCK VP Chad Mathis added: “If memory serves, we tried more than 140 types of ammo. A few subsonic loads left the G44 at a walk and proved impractical. Shooters who install our threaded barrel and a suppressor will bump pressures enough to ensure function farther down the velocity scale.”

Technical Services Manager William Carmichael emphasized the G44’s “G19 feel,” making it an ideal understudy gun. “The grip and mag well are the same size. You can practice loading as with a 9mm. Use the same holster and belt pouches. Have a backstrap adapter on your G19? You can use it on the G44 too — they interchange.” GLOCK provides four adapters with each G44: two with a beavertail top, two without, in sizes enlarging grip circumference by 0.08″ and 0.16″.

The G19 is GLOCK’s best-selling pistol, according to National Sales Manager Bob Radecki. “So we already had a winner in form and function. Our goal was to bring new shooters to the family but also give GLOCK owners a familiar gun to use in practice. The means to the end was a handgun with the looks, feel, controls, reliability and accuracy of the G19 but an appetite for .22 ammo.”

“Like centerfire GLOCKs, the G44 has a hammer-forged Marksman barrel,” added Scott Drobnick, who heads GSSF operations. “Hexagonal rifling gives bullets a 1-in-16 spin.” He pointed out the ghost-hole loaded-chamber indicator just as the Foxhall bus, swiping light rain from its windscreen, arrived to haul us to the range.

“accurate, reliable, easy to shoot. The G44 is all about fun — a hard gun to put down as long as there are bullets in the box!”

Tested with “140 types of ammo,” the G44 cycles “high-speed, most Match, some subsonic loads.”

Lots Of Loads

The GLOCK team had brought plenty of guns and Federal high-speed .22 ammo. Staccato crackling became a rolling tide of gunfire, drowning the pings of bullets on steel targets. I hewed faithfully to my task as photographer for at least five minutes. Then, as the light was dead and shooters were having all the fun, I grabbed a G44 …

Three weeks later my gun dealer received a G44. I waited patiently for Washington’s mandated local background check to follow federal clearance. This new redundancy blankets not just handguns but Ruger’s 10/22 and other “semi-automatic assault rifles.”

Enough of the absurd. Our sheriff’s department was prompt with an okay.

Field-stripping a G44 is a cinch without tools. A threaded, suppressor-ready
barrel is sold separately. "Okay. I pulled one,” Wayne said, but five (below)
of the G44’s first six shots over bags at 25 yards nipped into 1.3".

Arrival

The pistol arrived in a foam-padded polymer case, with two magazines and a manual with clear explanations and images of parts, operation and disassembly. I field-stripped the G44 easily without tools into its four main components: frame, slide, barrel and recoil spring assembly. Re-assembly was a snap.

The G44 has GLOCK’s “Safe Action” trigger. The trigger tongue (“trigger safety”) must be pressed with the trigger. A firing pin safety blocks the firing pin from moving forward until the trigger’s rearward movement lifts it free of its channel. A safety ramp in the trigger housing supports a bar engaging the rear of the firing pin to lock it until trigger movement slides the bar down the ramp, off the pin. When the trigger returns to the ready position, the firing pin safety and trigger bar re-set.

Trigger travel (0.49"), is conveniently short for a DA pistol. Listed at 5.8 lbs, the break on my test gun came in at 6.1. It’s a smooth trigger, easy to manage with my weak hand. As on other GLOCKs, my big fingers could use just a tad more vertical space in the guard.

Shooting the G44

At the range, the G44 was feathery in hand but also well balanced. People with limited strength — or having to fire with the weak hand — will appreciate this pistol! There were no hiccups in function with five high-speed loads of different brands and bullet types. Two standard-velocity loads cycled as smartly. Ditto Eley Contact subsonic for autos, even Eley’s Subsonic Hollows! One experimental German load with a lead-free bullet failed to run the slide fully rearward.

Benching the G44 across bags, I fired a 25-yard group with Federal high-speed solids. Naturally, I pulled a shot. Arrggh! I fired another. The best five of six nestled inside 1.3″, about as close as I hold a 4″ pistol these days. My wobbles kept the pistol from shooting better, but I’m convinced it can.

GLOCK VP Josh Dorsey summed up the G44: “It gives rimfire enthusiasts what the GLOCK faithful have enjoyed in 9mms for decades. It’s anyone’s first pistol: accurate, reliable, easy to shoot. The G44 is all about fun — a hard gun to put down as long as there are bullets in the box!”

Update — A short time after the release of the G44, GUNS received three reports of cracked slides after firing. While I’ve not seen these pistols in person, the photos look authentic. I’ve not witnessed catastrophic failures with the G44 or any other GLOCK. A colleague who’s fired roughly 1,000 rounds from his G44 reports a few light primer strikes with one brand of ammo, occasional reluctant seating with another bullet but otherwise continued reliable function. He did not clean his pistol for several hundred rounds, though he notes GLOCK advises cleaning the gun after 100 shots. As some .22 ammunition is quite “dirty,” leaving significant residue in autoloaders, cleaning makes sense. I’ve written GLOCK for an update on G44 failure reports but they have not responded at press time.

MSRP is $359 and a suppressor-ready barrel (threaded 1/2×28) sells separately.

www.plink44.com

Subscribe To GUNS Magazine

Purchase A PDF Download Of The GUNS Magazine September 2020 Issue Now!