August 31, 2020
I am a fan of Glock pistols. I bought my first one about a year after they first hit the United States in the late 1980s, and over the decades, I’ve owned just about every model that’s been produced. I have used them for home defense, concealed carry, and competitive shooting with complete satisfaction.
Surprisingly, until this year, Glock’s product line lacked a model chambered in .22 LR. I say surprisingly because I have always thought that .22 rimfire firearms are some of the most practical any shooter could own. Plus, a lot of Shooting Times readers have asked for a .22 LR Glock for decades.
As readers know, .22 LR ammo is inexpensive. While the price has gone up over the years, even the thriftiest shooters can afford a couple of boxes without busting their weekly budget. In addition, .22s don’t make a lot of noise, which means they can be fired in areas where touching off a 9mm or a .223 might cause anxiety among those living nearby, the results of which might be a visit by the local constabulary. And on top of all that, firearms firing the .22 LR produce almost no recoil, making them perfect for new shooters to learn on as well as enabling experienced shooters to practice more. Because .22s have much less penetration than larger/more powerful cartridges, they are especially practical for use on indoor shooting ranges. And the .22 LR is capable of taking small game and vermin, everything from prairie dogs to foxes, without undue noise or meat and hide damage. With match-grade ammunition, a .22 pistol can be extraordinarily accurate All of which leads me to Glock’s new G44 .22 LR pistol.
The G44 Inside & Out
No one has ever accused Glock’s marketing department of not understanding their potential customers. And while it has taken them a fair amount of time to come around to the notion, in late 2019 I received a very hush-hush press release from Glock’s headquarters in Smyrna, Georgia, informing me that the company was going to introduce a new pistol at the 2020 SHOT Show in Las Vegas. A bit of inquiry to sources that will remain unnamed led me to believe that the new pistol would be chambered for the .22 LR. It turned out I was right!
Over the years I have said “a Glock, is a Glock, is a Glock.” By that I mean every Glock pistol has the same operating drill, functions the same way, disassembles in the same manner, and many of the parts are interchangeable. Those elements make Glocks especially useful for training, maintenance, or transitioning to new equipment. The new G44 looks just like every other Glock. It has the same squared-off profile, the same dull black finish, the same Safe Action trigger. However, its construction and operation are radically different.
Unlike many .22 pistols, the G44 does not have a metal or alloy slide. Instead, Glock devised a two-part, hybrid slide that provides durability with lightweight performance. The steel rail system of the slide reciprocates on the frame rails and is surrounded by a polymer shell that contains the firing mechanism, extractor, passive safety, and other components.
The G44’s frame is dimensionally identical to that of the G19, which happens to be Glock’s most popular pistol, so it is compatible with all holsters intended for the G19 and the larger G17. The magazines also share the dimensions of their centrefire brethren, which means you can use the same magazine pouches.
Because of the low operating pressures of the .22 LR cartridge, the G44 is blowback operated. That means when the pistol is fired, the weight of the slide and the tension of the recoil spring hold the slide closed long enough for the bullet to leave the barrel. This form of operation negates the need of a tilting barrel and steel locking block in the frame, simplifying the manufacturing process and thereby holding down costs.
The G44’s barrel is 4.02 inches long, and it is a genuine Glock Marksman barrel with enhanced hexagonal rifling and a counterbored muzzle. A threaded barrel kit is offered for shooters who live in regions where a suppressor is legal, and it includes a right-hand-threaded barrel, 500-28 adapter, and a thread protector. The MSRP of the kit is $155.
Like all Gen5 Glocks, the G44’s magazine release is reversible, and it has ambidextrous slide releases. The firing pin has a square profile with ramping on both sides, the striker safety plunger has an angled ramp configuration, and the trigger return spring has been moved inside the mechanism housing. A more aggressive undercut trigger guard allows the shooter to get a higher grip on the pistol. And the grip frame features interchangeable backstraps with RTF3 texturing for an extremely firm purchase even with wet or oily hands.
Enlarged magazine base pads allow complete seating during reloads and permit the shooter to pull a recalcitrant magazine free if necessary. Magazine capacity is 10 rounds, and Glock’s engineers thoughtfully included loading assist tabs on both sides of the magazine follower that allow you to depress the follower, greatly easing the process of topping off the magazines to capacity without tearing your fingernails. The gun comes with two magazines.
As with other Gen5 Glocks, the G44’s slide has forward grasping grooves. I approve of them as they make press checking (retracting the slide slightly to verify if there is a round in the chamber) easier and allow the shooter to retract the slide with a number of different holds.
A fully adjustable white-outline rear sight graces the rear of the slide, and the front sight has a white dot. Both are made of polymer.
Safety features include Glock’s Safe Action trigger and a loaded chamber indicator in the form of a half-moon cutout in the top of the barrel hood.
The G44 at the Range
When I received the G44 for this report, I was taken aback by how lightweight it was. It weighs only 14.6 ounces with an empty magazine inserted. When I handed it to my wife, Becky, she said, “It feels sort of like a toy gun.” While I have to admit she was correct, I assured her that it was indeed a real pistol.
Longtime shooting buddies Richard Cole and Dick Jones met me at the Piedmont Handgunners Association Range in Lexington, North Carolina, on a very cold morning. Our first tasks were sighting-in the G44 and testing it for accuracy with five types of .22 LR ammo. A few turns of the rear sight’s adjustment screws were necessary to get the G44 hitting where we wanted, and we were pleased to see that it was capable of producing groups in the 2-inch range. The accuracy results are listed in the accompanying chart.
Then we moved over to the club’s steel range and ran racks of plates at a distance of 10 yards. The .22 bullets did not consistently tip over the plates, so we decided ringing them was sufficient. The G44 handled very well, and the three of us went six for six on most of the racks, although we found an extra round or two very useful on a few of our runs.
After that, we put the G44 through a “combat” drill by engaging a pair of USPSA targets at seven yards. Starting with the G44 held in the low-ready position, on the signal, the shooter lifted the pistol and engaged the first target with 10 rounds in rapid fire, performed a combat reload, and engaged the second target in the same manner. The drill was then repeated a second time for a total of 40 rounds fired by each shooter.
After this profligate expenditure of rimfire ammo, we were pleased to see that the majority of our rounds impacted inside the A zones of the targets. This caused one shooter to comment, “While I wouldn’t choose a .22 LR for a defensive pistol, you have to admit we put a lot of rounds in the A-zone very quickly!”
It is common knowledge that .22 pistols can be finicky about the type of ammo you run through them, and the G44 was no different. We experienced a number of failures to extract/eject with the standard-velocity Remington ammunition, although the pistol performed quite reliably with the faster-stepping brands and ran flawlessly with the Winchester Wildcat 40-grain ammo. I recommend that G44 owners test-fire their pistols with a variety of .22 LR ammunition to find which loads provide the best reliability.
In closing, I must voice two minor complaints about the trigger and the magazines. Anyone familiar with Glock’s Safe Action trigger knows that it tends to be gritty, and that can be problematic for precision shooting. While this is understandable on pistols intended for defensive/police/military service, on a .22 designed for target shooting or hunting small game, it can be a disadvantage. A number of aftermarket manufacturers and gunsmiths offer upgrades for Glock triggers, and I hope Glock takes advantage of such technology to improve the trigger on the G44.
From the size of the magazines, it would appear that that they could be designed to hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. And I wish they did because I like to shoot .22 LRs quickly, and it would be a lot more fun if I didn’t have to reload magazines so often.
My two compadres and I found the G44 to be reliable with the proper ammunition, easy to use, simple to maintain, and accurate enough for its intended purposes. In other words, it’s a Glock!
Glock G44 Specs
- Manufacturer: Glock; us.glock.com
- Type: Blowback-operated autoloader
- Caliber: .22 LR
- Magazine Capacity: 10 rounds
- Barrel: 4.02 in.
- Overall Length: 7.28 in.
- Width: 1.26 in.
- Height: 5.04 in.
- Weight, Empty: 14.6 oz.
- Grips: Integral to polymer frame
- Finish: nDLC
- Sights: Fully adjustable white-outline rear, white-dot front
- Trigger: 6.1-lb. pull (as tested)
- Safety: Glock Safe Action trigger
- MSRP: $439
Glock G44 Accuracy & Velocity