When Glock finally introduced their ultra-light, ultra-compact, ultra-portable Glock 42 after years of endless speculation, one would have expected Glock lovers to rejoice – finally a true Glock alternative to the Ruger LCP and Kahr PM9.
But nay… To my great surprise, this announcement was met with a chorus of disappointment, whining, and general complaining from the vast vocal majority of Glock consumers. Which frankly left me puzzled.
Why The Disappointment?
Well, the Glock 42 is chambered in .380, NOT the ubiquitous, almighty 9mm.
Come on, folks… it’s not all about caliber. The right gun, the right holster, the right tool or weapon is dependent entirely on the job and the circumstances.
And let’s be honest… Ballistics tests don’t show much difference between the various small caliber handgun loads. Unless you’re comparing 9mm / .380 to 7.62 or .50 cal, the difference will be minimal.
Sure, the .380 round is more expensive and harder to find than 9mm, and arguably has a little less punch. But Glock had some compromises to make given today’s materials technology limitations. And I believe they chose correctly.
They produced a gun that is far more easy to shoot [accurately] than the popular micro guns on the market today.
Glock produced a miniaturized version of their standard platform, i.e. a tiny Glock 19. It handles the same, feels the same, and even breaks down the same. This is a Glock, just smaller.
What’s So Great About The Glock 42?
- It’s light! Almost half the weight of the trusty Glock 19.
- It’s thin! Half the thickness of the trusty Glock 19.
- It’s highly pocketable. In cargo shorts/pants, you’ve got yourself a great Back Up Gun or everyday hot weather carry.
- It has almost no recoil to speak of. This gun requires less hand/arm strength than any gun I’ve ever shot.
Seriously, this is easily the most underrated Glock of all time.
Sure, if you actually NEED a firearm in a life or death situation, you’d probably much rather be holding a Glock 19 with its standard 15 round magazine of 9mm. Extra mag, that’s another 15 rounds.
The Glock 19 may well be the perfect 9mm firearm. It feels great in the hand, it shoots damn well, it breaks down effortlessly, it will eat whatever you feed it ammo-wise, it will run with very little oil, it will go and go and to even with a terrible (rare) cleaning regimen. It may well be the AK of the handgun world… it. just. works.
The Glock 19 is a great everyday carry option. That’s the firearm that should always be at hand when wardrobe and environment permits.
But that’s a large 2 pounds of gun to have in your pants, and wardrobe / situations don’t always suit such a noticeable firearm.
So for those times when the Glock 19 can’t make the trip… we finally have a viable option that JUST WORKS.
The Glock 42 is a REAL gun, it FEELS real, it handles like a real Glock. Yet it’s small and light enough to be far more portable than your other Glocks.
The Glock 42 is small and light enough to come along effortlessly and stay with you for the run… and still small enough to keep out of sight. Belly band holster FTW!
It’s also durable enough to withstand the sweat it’s going to be exposed to daily, which is more than can be said for many other carry guns. Pro tip: Clean / Oil Your Carry Gun Often (At Least Weekly)
Need a reliable, small backup gun or a pocket gun?
No problem – The Glock 42 fits neatly in cargo pant pockets.
For smaller pockets / tighter places, check out the Ruger LCP as a smaller option. It may not shoot nearly the same, but it will fit in places the Glock 42 can’t.
Need a gun light enough to tuck into the elastic band of your Under Armour workout shorts?
Yep, Glock 42 got you covered (with the ever handy DeSantis Nemesis tacky holster).
Are There Comparable Firearms?
- Sig P938 – This would be the closest contender. Chambered in 9mm, the P938 is literally the same physical size as the Glock 42. But that 9mm round kicks a lot more in the same size frame. The P938 is also noticeably heavier, and nearly twice the price ($800 street vs $400 street for the Glock 42).
- Sig P238 – Chambered in .380, slightly smaller than the Sig P938, but still considerably heavier than the Glock 42.
- Kahr PM9 – Chambered in 9mm, the Karh PM9 is also the same physical size as the Glock 42. It’s a good gun, I just don’t care for the feel… the balance is somehow barrel heavy compared to the Glock. Also perhaps 50% more expensive and significantly higher recoil. Also far, far more cumbersome to break down.
- Kahr CW9 – Kahr also makes a lower cost version of the PM9 (the CW9), which is functionally identical but lower cost materials and finish. Same comparison points as above.
At this point, none of the above are options we would recommend over the Glock 42.
And there are smaller firearms, most well known and widely used perhaps being the smaller still Ruger LCP, also chambered in .380. Then others like the Beretta Nano, Kahr P380 (and the lower cost CW390), offerings from Kahr, even Seecamp and North American Arms on the super tiny side.
Thes smaller options are more concealable but are not nearly as easy to shoot or break down as the Glock 42.
“Never go anywhere without a knife.”
If you carry a gun, you’re likely familiar with that concept. If you’re not, then take it to heart. The knife is one of man’s oldest and most useful tools. Always carry a knife. Ideally two.
The Glock 42 pairs nicely with a Spyderco Pacific Salt Serrated. At just 2.8 oz, this is a damn well made, solid 4″ pocket chainsaw. Highly recommended. Be warned, you’ll end up buying more than one.
Conclusion and Summary Recommendations
Please, folks… drop the caliber envy and look at the Glock 42 for what it is… an excellent, ultra portable, pocketable Glock.
It’s an excellent back-up gun to a larger firearm like the Glock 19, and is reliable enough to be primary carry for situations where wardrobe won’t permit something as large and heavy as a Glock 19.
The right gun amounts to the right tool for the job, whatever the job may be. Choose wisely.
Carry on, friends… carry on.