Glock 26

Pocket GLOCK punches above its weight class
10

Nearly 100 rounds of rapid fire from assorted G26s (Gen4 shown below) from 15 yards — all in the A-zone.

The service-size 18-shot GLOCK 17 9mm pistol soared to popularity in the U.S. in the mid-1980s. Demand immediately arose for a smaller version, and circa 1988 they introduced the G19 with barrel and butt slightly shorter and capacity cut by two rounds. The shooting public wanted smaller yet, so the mid-1990s saw the introduction of the further chopped Baby GLOCK, and therein lies a tale.

Grasp secrets: Arrow shows how curved backstrap locks into hollow of palm;
pinky finger is tucked under butt with standard G26 magazine.

The Nursery

The first Baby GLOCKs were introduced simultaneously, the G26 with 10+1 rounds of 9mm and the G27 with 9+1 rounds of .40 S&W. They were an instant hit. The 10-round mag limit of Bill Clinton’s egregious Assault Weapons Ban was in play nationwide and these guns optimized size and power with mag capacity under those rules. The .40 S&W cartridge was on the ascent in law enforcement and for a while G27s outsold G26s. Today, of course, the 9mm is ascendant, the .40 is increasingly seen as outré, and for some time the 26 has been far outselling the 27. In 1998 the G33 was introduced, a Baby GLOCK holding 9+1 .357 SIG cartridges.

Progression of front grip-straps on G26 over 25 years. From left to right:
Smooth front original, checkered Gen3 and Gen4, flat front Gen5.

Learning To Appreciate

I bought my two gun-test samples, a G27 and G26, when they came out in 1995. I confess I preferred the more potent .40, and the 27 got an NY-1 trigger and Trijicon night sights while the neglected 26 remained bone stock. The .40 got a lot of carry time because for quite a while I used a full size GLOCK 22 .40 for daily wear, even on duty, with the 27 for backup in an Alessi ankle holster; all the Baby GLOCKs will run with the higher-cap magazines of their larger brethren in the same caliber. Except when I felt a need for larger capacity and went with a G17 and +2 magazine with G26 for backup, my 9mm languished in the gun safe for the most part until the second decade of the 21st Century.

What changed things for me began in competition. My friend Danny Ryan runs the GSSF (GLOCK Sport Shooting Foundation) competition section at GLOCKTalk.com. A few years ago, he commented more than once the overall best score at matches had been won by GLOCKmeisters like Bryan Dover and Mike Ross with stubby G26 pistols, beating every score fired with longer barrel GLOCKs including their own. Intrigued, I shot my next GSSF match with a G26 in all the 9mm events … and had the same average score I’d been getting with the full size G17. I got into the habit of doing the same thereafter in all my GSSF shoots — running the 26 against 5.3" barrel G34s in Competition to warm up, then in Master Stock against 4.5" G17s, and finally in the Baby GLOCK’s own event, Subcompact, now thoroughly dialed in. Won some guns, too. (Why the 26 as opposed to the 27 or 33? Cheaper ammo and less recoil.)

The Ayoob household has found use for six assorted G26s — plus a G33 and a couple of G27s (not shown).

Explaining “Shootability”

The little snubby with its short sight radius and truncated two-finger grip shouldn’t shoot as well as, say, a G19 or G17 — yet it does. When the Babies came out, I discovered immediately from the 25-yard bench the 155-grain .40 Silvertip gave me a 1.5" five-shot group, far tighter than what I could get from my 4.5" G22. The 26 averaged 2.5" groups, a little better than my 4.5" G17. Two things were going on: 1) The short 3.6" barrel was proportionally thicker and more rigid than the longer ones; and 2) The Baby GLOCKs’ double captive recoil springs better guarantee unlocking would not occur until the bullet leaves the muzzle. This latter feature was later incorporated into larger Gen4 and Gen5 GLOCK service pistols.

This accounted for intrinsic accuracy, but what about human factors? I do find in the 30- to 50-yard range and greater distances, I get tighter groups with longer GLOCKs. However, under 25 yards, the short sight radius of the G26’s 3.6" barrel is compensated for by ergonomics. There is a curve at the lower backstrap of the Baby GLOCK that perfectly nestles into the hollow of my palm, absolutely locking the gun in place with the hard crush grip I prefer. This added stability seems to compensate for increased human error due to shorter sight radius — at least for this shooter. The stubby grip? I find tucking the pinky finger tight under the butt sympathetically tightens the grasp of the other fingers, another compensation effect.

The G26 takes all standard width GLOCK 9mm magazines.

What’s Not to Like?

You have “ankle gun sizing.” The G26 is roughly the size and weight of a six-shot Detective Special .38, but contains the round count of a DS plus the five shots of a J-Frame. Recoil of 9mm in the 26 is milder than service loads from a small-frame .38 Special. It has the established GLOCK reliability. The 26 accepts 17-round G17 or even 33-round G18 magazines. Yes, it’s a little fatter than the Slim-Line G43X and G48 9mms with their 10-round mags, but I for one seem to shoot it a bit better.

If you haven’t already, give the G26 a try. Between my lovely bride and I, we’ve accumulated six of ’em from various generations — I’m currently partial to my latest 26 with its wonderful Gen5 trigger — because we’ve come to appreciate the subtle advantages found in its combination of features.

GLOCK.com

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