Prior to 2014, Glock had not released a new pistol design since the beginning of the century. There were a few old Glock designs rechambered for new calibers, and we got the updated Gen 4 Glocks, but the last pistol the Austrian company produced that could truly be considered a new design was the single stack .45 ACP Glock 36, which became available in 2000.

There have been a lot of rumors and wishful thinking about what Glock’s next new design would be, but it was a long 14 years before the company said anything official. Toward the end of last year, Glock ads hinted at a new concealed carry offering that many people assumed was the long awaited Glock single stack 9mm.

It wasn’t. The Glock 42 turned out to be a .380 ACP instead, and compared to the competition, a large one. The initial reaction was, to put it politely, lukewarm. Before anyone even had a chance to try the new pistol, Glock was already taking heat because it came in the wrong caliber.

First Impressions of the Glock 42

Here we are nearly a year later and just about every blogger, magazine writer, and YouTube channel in the gun world has thrown in their two cents on the Glock 42. That initial backlash did eventually cool off, and the shooting community has had a chance to evaluate the Glock 42 for what it is, rather than for what we hoped it would be.

Since re-hashing the technical specs and features of this pistol isn’t exactly breaking news at this point, I’m going to save the usual routine review description stuff for the end and cut right to my own take on the Glock 42.

Glock 42 Muzzle Flash
Pew pew pew, muzzle flash!

My first experience with the new Glock was at SHOT Show this past January. I was permitted to fire one whole magazine from the demo gun, which isn’t much to work with for a first impression. But it was enough for me to get a pretty clear picture of what Glock was going for, which I wrote about in the Glock 42 SHOT Show mini-review. Instead of making the smallest .380 ACP on the market, it seems that Glock decided to instead make one that would actually be easy to shoot.

Testing the Glock 42

In September, I finally picked up a Glock 42 to do an actual review, and in the 500 or so rounds I’ve fired since then, that initial impression from SHOT Show hasn’t really changed much. It is noticeably larger than the ultra-compact pocket .380 pistols that have been so popular the last few years, but I think it might be the smallest and lightest centerfire pistol that I could comfortably shoot all day.

Despite some complaints about the G42’s size, it’s still smaller than the vast majority of the next largest category of carry pistols — the sub-compact single stack 9x19mm semi-autos like the Beretta Nano or S&W Shield. During one of the range sessions for our epic 9mm carry gun comparison test, I brought along the Glock 42 to see how it would measure up. I’m a big fan of the small nines, but their somewhat snappy recoil does take some effort and practice to learn to control under rapid fire. Not surprisingly, shooters who don’t make it to the range regularly seem to have a tough time getting quick follow-up shots on target with these guns.

Glock 42 w/ Sig Ammo

After getting the hang of one of those little 9mm’s, switching over to the Glock 42 feels like cheating. With almost no effort at all, the front sight simply snaps back onto target after each shot. If all centerfire handgun calibers were equally effective for self-defense, the favorable combination of small size and light recoil found in the Glock 42 would instantly render obsolete dozens of other carry guns that are either more difficult to shoot or more difficult to carry.

Obligatory .380 ACP Caliber Disclaimer

But all handgun calibers are not equally effective, and .380 ACP is at the lower end of the curve. Unfortunately, the hypothetical continuum of effectiveness is not really something we can quantify. However, by every indication, .380 ACP rounds are less likely to stop an attacker, even with multiple hits, compared to the common service calibers like 9mm, .40 S&W, or .45 ACP. If you’re going to trust your life to something smaller, there has to be a pretty compelling reason for not choosing one of the “real” calibers. That in itself is reason enough for many folks to dismiss the Glock 42 as a serious self-defense tool.

Glock 42 w/ Crimson Trace Laser
I’m always a fan of Crimson Trace lasers on any pistol, but they’re especially helpful when paired with small carry guns.

The .380 ACP caliber has seen a huge surge in popularity in the last few years not because it is particularly effective, but because it’s the most effective cartridge that can fit into a diminutive carry gun like the popular Ruger LCP. If the only reason to carry a .380 is so you can carry the smallest gun possible, it’s not so hard to understand why the first reactions to the Glock 42 were criticisms about its slightly larger size.

But at the same time, the concealed carry market as a whole is beginning to realize that a sub-10 ounce gun is really tough to shoot. And as I mentioned above, even a 16 ounce single stack 9mm can also be quite a handful for most casual shooters. Pistols like the Glock 42 fill the gap. Yes, it’s throwing some pretty small bullets at unimpressive velocities, but it’s doing that from a gun that most shooters can learn to shoot competently in a fraction of the time it would take to train someone to control the recoil and muzzle flip of a pocket 9mm or a snub nosed .38 special.

Recommendation

Ideally, I wouldn’t suggest the Glock 42 (or any other .380 ACP for that matter) to anyone as the first choice for concealed carry. But what’s ideal isn’t reality.

We all know that most people with carry permits don’t practice very often and they tend to put as little effort as possible into concealment and holster selection. Stiff recoil only makes them less eager to practice and a bigger gun makes them less likely to carry at all. The Glock 42 is a good compromise for someone who has enough shooting experience to carry a gun competently and safely, but who probably won’t make it out to the range very often.*

But I don’t want to give the impression that I think the Glock 42 is only a gun for newbies. Despite carrying a double stack 9mm most of the time, there are occasions when I find it to be a hindrance, and carrying a smaller gun makes life much easier. For example, if I go for a run in the neighborhood or do some yard work, I’ll often carry a Ruger LCR loaded up with five .38 Special +P hollow points.

Drawing the Glock 42
The Glock 42 is just barely small enough to qualify for “pocket carry”, but I prefer to use the same holster type for every pistol I carry. I barely notice the Glock in an appendix IWB holster.

Unfortunately, I haven’t had much trigger time with revolvers this year, and the last time I took the LCR to the range, it was clear that my ability with the double action trigger is not what it used to be. The Glock 42 on the other hand, is just as comfortable to carry, but is more like a junior-size version of the striker fired pistols I shoot on a regular basis. It doesn’t have the same punch as my other carry guns, but I have complete confidence that I can group 7 quick rounds into the center mass of anything within spitting distance.

Most of the guns we review here on the Lounge are either borrowed from friends, purchased specifically for the review, or sometimes loaned to us by the firearm companies. They are typically re-sold or returned once the review is complete, but this time, I think I’ll be coughing up the cash from my own pocket to keep the Glock 42. It’ll serve as a second option for those times when the M&P9c I normally carry is too bulky. I hate to be cliché, but the Glock 42 “just works.”

* – Notice that I didn’t single out “beginners, women, the elderly, and small statured people”, although many of these folks could benefit from the ease of use the Glock 42 offers. I’ve also seen strong 250 pound adult men who are lifelong gun owners but can’t hit an 8-inch paper plate at 5 yards twice in a row with a full size 9mm unless they stop to adjust their stance and grip in between every shot. Some baseline training and competency is required, even with a pistol as shootable as the Glock 42.

Usability Notes

As I mentioned at the beginning, the details and features of the Glock 42 have been reported by numerous other sources, but here are a few of my own observations.

Trigger

The Glock 42 supposedly has the same type of trigger as every other pistol that comes out of the Glock factory, but I think that’s more of a variable than the company implies. Glock’s website claims the G42’s trigger breaks at 5.5 pounds, which is pretty close to what others have reported. On a trigger scale, the Glock 42 I tested averaged 8.5 pounds, and that’s after a generous 400-round “break-in” period.

In addition to being much heavier than advertised, it’s pretty heavy for any striker fired pistol. It’s the most disappointing aspect of this gun for me, but a heavy Glock trigger is still a big improvement over the type double action trigger often found on other carry pistols.

Aftermarket Support

As with any of Glock’s offerings, there are numerous aftermarket offerings for the Glock 42. This is an often overlooked advantage when choosing a carry gun. Popular guns always have more available holsters, sight options, and other accessories that might be difficult to find with more obscure pistols. I had to do some searching, but at Cook’s Holsters, I even found a kydex appendix IWB holster for the Glock 42 with Crimson Trace Laserguard.

Glock 42 w/ Cook's IWB Holster
Glock 42 with a “Tuckable IWB Holster” from Cook’s Holsters

Reliability

Most of the shooting done for the review was with Remington UMC 95 grain FMJ. The Glock 42 ran through roughly 450 rounds of that with almost no issue. There was a single failure and I’m almost certain it was shooter-induced. I was helping out a fairly inexperienced shooter, who happens to be a petite female and who also happens to be my mom. She was mostly interested in shooting .22 LR that day, but wanted to try running a magazine through the Glock 42 before we left the range.

On her first round, the gun experienced a double feed malfunction. I helped her clear it and suggested she squeeze the grip as tightly as possible. She fired the rest of the magazine with no problem, and I suspect that the failure was caused by the infamous “limp-wristing” that many of the small semi-autos are prone to.

Otherwise, the Glock 42 didn’t hiccup again with the Remington ammo or any of the assorted loads that were used for accuracy testing.

Ergonomics

I found the Glock 42 to have a really comfortable grip, especially for a pistol this small. It’s got a decent amount of texturing, and a deep recess for the web of the shooting hand to get a high grip.

Like most small guns, my pinky didn’t have anything to hang onto, which for me, makes the gun much harder to shoot well. A couple of Pearce grip extensions installed on the Glock factory magazines fixed the problem right away.

Ease of Use

There’s not much to say here because the G42, like all Glock pistols, has no extraneous controls or safeties to talk about. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but how many other ultra-concealable carry guns are so simple to operate? Most either have a long, heavy double action trigger, an unnecessary safety lever, or both.

Whether you generally like Glock pistols or not, it’s easy to appreciate their simplicity of operation and consistency from one model to the next.

Glock 42 Technical Specs

Barrel Length 3.25″
Overall Length 5.54″
Height 4.13″
Width .94″
Weight (unloaded)
.86 lbs.
Sights Glock white “cup and ball” style
Action Striker-fired single-action
External Safety Two-piece trigger safety
Ammo Capacity 6+1
Measured trigger pull weight 8.5 lbs
Included Accessories Two magazines
MSRP $480

Accuracy

I grabbed a few different .380 loads and tested accuracy from a sandbag rest at 25 yards. At this distance, it became clear the factory sights were misaligned, and shots were falling a few inches below and to the left of the target. I zeroed the Crimson Trace laser to bring the hits into the black, and used that for the accuracy testing instead. You don’t typically think of guns this small being able to hit much at anything past a few yards, but with the right ammo, the Glock 42 shot some decent groups.

Ammo 25 Yard Group Size
Hornady XTP 90 gr 3.55″
Magtech JHP 95 gr 6.44″
Winchester Silvertip 85 gr 3.58″
Blazer Brass FMJ 95 gr 5.17″

Glock 42 Target

The Competition

For many people, this is the elephant in the room that I’ve been avoiding up to this point. The Glock 42 is not the only carry pistol available that’s both small and soft on recoil. In that regard, I think the Glock has two major competitors; the Ruger LC380 and the Sig P238.

The LC380 is essentially a Ruger LC9 that’s been converted from 9mm to .380 ACP. It’s a hair bigger than the Glock 42, but looks like a giant next to it’s little brother, the Ruger LCP.  For the budget-concious, the LC380 is about $100-150 less than the Glock, and at the price point, it’s a pretty good deal. It has very managable recoil, but unfortunately it’s plagued with the same looooong double action trigger as the LC9. It can certainly be mastered, but compared to the Glock 42, it’s not a gun that as many people will intuitively be able to shoot well.

If I were in the market for a concealable .380 and the Glock was out of my price range, I’d wait to see if Ruger comes out with a striker fired version of the LC380 like they recently did for the LC9. The new LC9s has a much improved trigger over the original LC9, so keep an eye out for a LC380s in the future.

Sig P238

The Sig P238 is on the opposite end of the market from the LC380. It has a great trigger, it’s smaller than the Glock 42, and costs about twice as much as the Ruger. If you have the cash for a P238, it might be difficult to see the appeal of the Glock.

I owned a P238 for a while, and even though I found it to have shockingly little recoil for its size, shooting it was problematic. It’s so small, that I found it almost impossible to get a grip that didn’t interfere with the slide stop lever in some way that would cause premature slide lock. The placement of the safety also made it difficult to disengage during the draw stroke.

Folks with smaller hands might have an easier time finding a good grip, but still might struggle with the the controls becoming second-nature unless they’re already experienced with single action pistols. I can definitely understand the appeal of the P238, but the simplicity of the Glock’s controls makes more sense to me on a gun of this size.

If you’ve picked up a Glock 42 this year, let us know why you chose it and what you think of it so far.


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  • Randy Townsend

    SIG P230 or Walther PPKS – had both for years and if the .380 is what you like, both are just fine (bit larger than the G42, I think). Used ones go for about the same as a new Glock….

  • Aaron Geisler

    The Glock 42 is my favorite carry gun.

    • Aaron Geisler

      It is also a favorite BUG gun for IDPA. My local club usually have one BUG gun stage per match.

  • Bob Nelson

    Carried baby Glick i 9mm. Love it. The 42 fits the times want smaller easy to carry and has almost the same feel as the 26

  • Trae Allen

    Century=100 years. Decade=10 years fyi

    • Stephen Ingersoll

      He was referring to the fact that there hadnt been a new Glock design since the beginning of this century…the year 2000

    • Trae Allen

      @stephen, right I realized that immediately after I posted my comment. Thought I fixed it. Guess I didn’t.

  • Michael Ballew

    I recently bought the glock 42 for a backup weapon and couldn’t ask for more.pierce grip extention and a galco Iwb are the perfect combo imo……

  • Chuck Ward

    I love my Glock 42, never fails and I can get good groups.

  • Chris Myers

    I own several 380’s the Glock 42 among them. The 42 fits my tiny hands better than any other pistol. I can shoot anything, but I enjoy a gun that actually fits. The Browning 22 1911 also fits well. I’ll confess that my true love is my Colt Delta Elite 10mm, but unlike wives I get to keep as many firearms as I want to.

  • Brett Berry

    I carried a j-frame for the better part of 25 years. I picked up a G42 last summer and I love it. Hopefully I’ll be carrying it for another 25+.

  • Daniel Feltz

    Great gun articles

  • Kevin Inmon

    Great accurate little gun, I absolutely love Glocks!

  • Clint Smith

    Carry a 238 currently. Thinking of switching to 938. Would you choose the Glock 42 over the 938?

    • Rj Starr

      Just bought 3 938’s shoots awesome

    • LG Chris

      That’s a tough question, Clint. If you’re accustomed to how the 238 operates, I’d go with the 938. I opted for the Glock as my backup carry over the 238 or 938 for a number of reasons, but a big one was the lack of thumb safety. None of my other self-defense guns have one, so it made more sense to keep things consistent.

  • Rj Starr

    Just bought the 938 changed out the grip to a hogue $18.00 feels so good, much better conceal gun and has a bit more stopping power wth the 9

    • LG Chris

      The Sig P938 is a nice gun. Be sure to run lots of rounds through it before you carry it. Sometimes they can be a little picky. The ones that run well are excellent backup carry guns.

  • Robert James Minnick

    I bought four small pistols for my daughter to try, She’ll be 21 in a few weeks. G42, NANO, P238 and PPK. She hasn’t shot the PPK yet, but ended up shooting better and feeling more comfortable with the Glock. The only thing she didn’t like was that it didn’t have a manual safety. For me the only one that didn’t work was the P238. I have big hands and couldn’t get a comfortable grip on it,the daughter could not get a good enough hold on it to keep it from stove piping. When she shot the NANO, we were at range that wasn’t lit well where we were standing and the muzzle blast blinded both of us for a second(never noticed it in the daylight). Hope she likes the PPK, I want my G42 back.

  • Bern Pule

    nice glock

  • Kris Edwards

    Thanks for sharing this. I am a new gun owner and purchased the Glock 26, that I am very happy with, but was really looking for something smaller to carry. Looks like I have some shopping to do. Thanks again.

  • Arthur Tyra

    Usually c/carry a Glock 30s or Ruger LCR w/Crimson trace but now carry my G42 60% of the time after adding a Viridian green laser Reactor R5. Awesome!
    Laser activates/deactivates when drawn/re-holstered from the included holster.

    http://www.viridiangreenlaser.com/reactor-r5-g42

  • La Billyboy

    Sig 239 .40, I’ve never owned a Glock and this one won’t be changing that.

  • Robin Blake

    good article..I have both the 42 and the P338…love em both but for the price the Sig doesn’t out shoot my Glock..but it resides in a shirt pocket with on my Harley..for some reason I shoot the mid sized Glocks #19 and #23 and even the #27 better than I do my more expensive Kimber..just my thoughts..

  • Johnny Ainsworth

    My wife struggled with a Kahr CW9 9mm for over a year. The inability to rack the slide, hard recoil, and long trigger pull eventually proved too much to overcome. We bought the Glock 42 with the Crimson Laser and it is remarkable at the difference. My wife can now rack the slide and group a full magazine inside a 5″ circle at fifteen feet. The trigger is much crisper and recoil is such she can empty her magazine in under 10 seconds. The confidence my wife now has with this pistol far outweighs the questionable ballistics. We all have concerns about the 380 ballistics and while the 380 won’t backup a perp, an effectively place round on target will eventually have it’s intended purpose. Hopefully, ammo manufacturers will eventually develop an optimum round for max energy transfer. By the way, I was able to place three rounds on target at 200 yards with this Glock 42. My Glock 23 has never been able to do that! It’s a pretty nice gun. Finally, initially, the G42 did FTE on some of the first box of rounds due to the “light hold” issue. She eventually got past that and the gun is flawless.

  • Robert Bouse

    I like the gen4 40 cal that what I carry

  • Henry Warner Jr.

    I enjoy shooting my G42.It is comfortable to carry and with Hornady Critical defense it provides excellent protection.

  • Everett Brunt

    My wife has a Taurus 380, a Pk380, and a Sig P238, she loves the Sig, the Pk is a Monday or Friday weapon and the Taurus is junk. She picked up a G42 at the last gun show and said oh that feels great, suspect that will be her next weapon. Thanks for the write up.

  • Deanna Pickman

    Thanks for this great review! I’m looking for a .380 as my next carry gun to take on my daily runs. I currently carry the 9mm Shield and absolutely love shooting it at the range, but I’d like something smaller to take running. I will definitely be keeping the G42 in mind!

  • Lena Jurgensen

    I own a Glock G42, and I love the way it feels in my hand. Perfect, this is my conceal carry weapon. I had a Walther PK380, I just don’t like the way it felt in my hand so I traded it in for the Glock 42.

  • Ken Kier

    Good article. My wife and I both got Glock 23 for our first. We both really enjoy the 23 and did great on the carry class and qualifying. I tend to be bleeding edge with things, so I jumped on the G42 once it released. It is my everyday carry due to the size/weight difference. Not to the 3″ -4″ groupings consistently with either yet, but no doubt we could protect our family. Very pleased with both. Now looking to add some more options for us both to enjoy at the range and to be comfortable that we will be protected.

  • Don Mei Jr.

    I have been carrying mouse guns for 25 years. It started with the Seecamp 25, then 32, then the KelTec P3AT, then the Ruger LCP, then the Kahr P380. Of them all, the Kahr is by far the most shootable. When I got the glock, I was astonished. It was much more shootable than even the Kahr. Its recoil is lighter than a .38 Special out of my 6″ 686. It is SUPREMELY SHOOTABLE. The Kahr is acceptable. The LCP and P3AT are both unpleasant. To put it in perspective, In the 6 or 7 years I owned the Ruger and Keltec, I went through one case (1000) rounds of practice ammo. It took me 2 years to go through 1000 rounds with the Kahr P380.

    I’ve gone through 1000 rounds of 380 since I got the G42 this summer. I shoot it so much that I’ve started reloading .380.

    Its larger than the LCP. Its still much much easier to carry and lighter than the smallest micro 9. Its still pocketable. Which is key for me, since I carry mouse guns when I wear a tucked in shirt without a jacket, so it requires pocket carry.

    In summary. I really really like the G42. I plan to keep it, if my wife doesn’t take it first.

    • Brian Mumford

      I’m interested to know your initial opinions of the Glock 43. I’ve never owned a Glock 42, but I owned and carried a M&P40c, S&W Shield 9, Springfield XDs9, Walther PPS 9, and a
      G26 and none of those guns were comfortable enough to carry all day in my front pocket. I’ve heard the Glock 42 is barely doable, so from what I can see in the difference in specs between the G42, G43, and the G26 (which is what I carry IWB), it just looks to me like the G43 is slightly too big. I could be wrong, but it’s thicker than the three guns I mentioned, and it’s about 2 ounces heavier than a 42 (and will be marginally more once loaded). I need a good pocket gun, and I know I could go down to a micro .380 or 9mm, but I don’t want to sacrifice accuracy (or power, if I can help it).

      • What little I’ve read of the Glock 43 so far would indicate that it is not smaller than most of the other single stack 9mm pistols. If you can’t pocket carry a Shield, I doubt you’ll have much luck with the G43. The Kahr CM9 seems to be the preferred choice for pocket carry, but I don’t have enough first hand experience with that gun to recommend it.

        • Edward Bonderenka

          I’ve pocket carried the CM9 for years.
          Sometimes I wish it were smaller, but not often. Reliable and accurate. Long pull though.

        • Mark Brooks

          The G43 is too large and heavy for real pocket carry. I’d say the G42 is the upper limit. Even that’s a stretch without the right holster and clothing combination, but I’ve shot both and like the G42 quite a bit. My real preference for CCW carry would be the Glock 26 — love that gun — but it is certainly no pocket gun and realistically because of the size and weight I’m not good about carrying it. People who dress in layers and like IWB or who like ankle carry and have big pant legs should give it consideration though, some folks are better about carrying a larger gun.

          The Kahr PM9/CM9 are impressively small. However I haven’t had a chance to fire it. Somebody soon, perhaps, but because the PM9 is expensive it can be hard to find for rent at gun ranges.

    • Rocky Leonhardt

      I Had a mateltec pta3. What a piece of crap!!!

    • Mark Brooks

      The G42 is a really nice gun, I agree. I’ve fired it and like it. I’m a little concerned about it for pocket carry, but that’s for me, if it fits you, it is good.

      With semi-autos, there is a tradeoff between reliability and absorbing recoil when it comes to spring tension, as Beretta found out with the Pico. I suspect they should have kept the heavier spring and simply redesigned the slide to have better notching, but I can imagine which was the more expensive option, so they went with reducing the spring tension, which has the effect of making the recoil worse.

  • Scott Caldwell

    Just bought my fiancée a G42 for defense. So far all reviews look good. Hoping she likes it and if it shoots well I may have to get one myself. Wouldn’t mind having a sidekick for my G17 🙂

  • Wes Burmark

    My shooting partner and I went to our range with a Glock 19, 35, and 42. We were shooting at 45′. We found that at this range all three Glocks could nail a 4″ group. The only thing I didn’t like about the 42 was the heavy trigger pull. The rangemaster told me I was going to be in trouble if I shot holes in his target frame. I told him unless his frame was located behind the bullseye he had nothing to worry about. Thankfully the very accurate 42 helped me save face. All the rangemaster said was “Damn!” The nice thing about the 42 is it is small enough to always have with you. The bigger Glocks often get left behind in my world.

  • Craig E. Richards

    Glock 42 with Laser is my preferred CC. I train with it 300 rounds per month.
    Check out the gel test for Lehigh Defense 380.

  • Ernie

    Everyone dogs the 380 round, I have a glock 42 and love it. If you use a 380 for self defense use the glaser round. No bad guy will live after being hit by it.

    • Adam Lincoln

      One of the biggest issues with the 380 is penetration (since a 9mm and 380 are same size bullet just different power and cart) and you post a picture that penetration doesn’t go beyond 6 inches (FBI suggests minimum of 12 inches for confident fatal shooting capability) I would suggest a different round JHP of some name brands. I personally would be fine with a 380 and plan on buying the 42 shortly, but using a round that doesn’t even penetrate 6 inches is silly.

      • Yeah, that ammo looks neat and all, but the penetration is terrible. None of the .380 loads have great penetration, but most of the major brand JHPs will do at least 10″ or so.

        • Terry

          Several .380 defense rounds will meet FBI specifications through gel.

          Precision One with some expansion 8-14″ gel-denim/gel.

          Fiocchi Extrema with Hornady XTP bullet, all 12-14″+

          Hornady XTP very good choice also.

          Federal Hydra Shock, O.K., some expansion, excellent penetration with denim, some loss with gel, but still a good choice. Three choices above best.

          • Mark Brooks

            The Lehigh and ARP bullets can be added to the list.

        • kyle sundell

          More like a absolute minimum of 15 inches and thats with 4 layers of heavy denim from 10 feet.i promise you on everything ive tested these rounds in the g42 alot and the real average is about 21 inches,80% of the time.

      • J. Cash

        .380 can go up to 24 inches with the right bullet, try Buffalo Bore hardcast. There is a vid on youtube. And now underwood has extreme penetrator, standard and +P. Remember in winter, thick leather coats might need that type of penetration. It now just naked gel blocks that might attack you!

    • john

      That picture is every reason NOT to buy that round. No expansion past 4″ and a few fragments make it to 5-5 1/4″ mark. That is horrible, throw on a jacket with clothing underneath and what does it drop to 4-4 1/2″ total penetration? Might as well do back to stick and arrows….

      • trueatheart

        but, how many .380 have you been hit with?

      • Babadook

        If something small, super hot, and super fast comes flying at me and hits me then goes into my body 4 INCHES and then FRAGMENTS itself, safe to say Im not going to be having a good time. I understand the want for a better penetrating round, but people forget the fact that getting shot at all by any caliber is dangerous and life threatening. Its not about the size of the boat but the motion of the ocean.

        • People who get shot don’t always know they’ve been shot until the stress of the current situation has subsided or body parts stop working. The former is far more likely to happen when poorly penetrating ammo is used.

    • Tony

      The amount of ignorance on the Internet continues to amaze.

    • Mark Brooks

      People who think that 12 inch penetration in some form of gelatin is necessarily the issue need to read about the Strasbourg goat tests.

      The FBI testing came out of one individual’s preconceptions about what made an effective round, and that was distorted by a background where ball ammunition was the only option. When evidence supporting ballistic pressure wave theory came out, it was ignored by people invested in porcine ballistic gel testing. Scientific data doesn’t mean correct science is always the result, because the data has to be interpreted, and the problem of, if I have a hammer, the problem must be a nail, arises.

      Remember, standardizing testing doesn’t mean that you are necessarily testing the right things. What matters more to incapacitating a human target? Absolutely, if you hit the brain or heart, somebody is going to be quickly incapacitated. Spinal bruise? Yup. But what if you hit a target dead center? The fastest way to incapacitate is rapid blood loss in a situation like that, something that drops blood pressure quickly.

      I would tend to place more reliance on emergency room gunshot stats and live animal testing when that is available.

      • FYI, there’s almost no evidence that the Strasbourg goat tests actually happened, and plenty of evidence to suggest they were completely fabricated.

        • Mark Brooks

          Okay, trying to post this with either an active or non-active hyperlink to the academic article isn’t working, so I’ll just have
          to provide the title and let people Google it on their own.

          LGChris, in response, there is evidence they happened, and they are being cited in formal research papers on the subject.

          Review of criticisms of ballistic pressure wave experiments, the Strasbourg
          goat tests, and the Marshall and Sanow data

          Michael Courtney, PhD
          Ballistics Testing Group, P.O. Box 24, West Point, NY 10996

          Amy Courtney, PhD
          Department of Physics, United States Military Academy, West Point, NY 10996

          Abstract:
          This article reviews published criticisms of several ballistic pressure wave experiments authored by
          Suneson et al., the Marshall and Sanow “one shot stop” data set, and the Strasbourg goat tests. These
          published criticisms contain numerous logical and rhetorical fallacies, are generally exaggerated, and fail
          to convincingly support the overly broad conclusions they contain.
          Originally submitted 13 December 2006. Revised version submitted 31 July 2007.

          Hopefully that provides enough so folks can find it by Googling.

          However, they contradicted Martin Fackler, and he was a controversialist, so the notion that the Strasbourg goat tests didn’t happen is a thing on the Internet. Fackler had the habit of engaging in logically fallacious rhetoric when his ideas were challenged.

          Since then, other data, such as Marshall and Sanow, and also Suneson’s work on ballistic pressure wave theory, supports the Strasbourg testing, and not so much Fackler’s ideas.

        • Mark Brooks

          Okay, trying to post this with either an active or non-active hyperlink to the academic article isn’t working, so I’ll just have to provide the title and let people Google it on their own.

          LGChris, in response, there is evidence they happened, and they are being cited in formal research papers on the subject.

          Review of criticisms of ballistic pressure wave experiments, the Strasbourg goat tests, and the Marshall and Sanow data

          Michael Courtney, PhD
          Ballistics Testing Group, P.O. Box 24, West Point, NY 10996

          Amy Courtney, PhD
          Department of Physics, United States Military Academy, West Point, NY 10996

          Abstract:

          This article reviews published criticisms of several ballistic pressure wave experiments authored by Suneson et al., the Marshall and Sanow “one shot stop” data set, and the Strasbourg goat tests. These published criticisms contain numerous logical and rhetorical fallacies, are generally exaggerated, and fail to convincingly support the overly broad conclusions they contain.

          Originally submitted 13 December 2006. Revised version submitted 31 July 2007.

          Hopefully that provides enough so folks can find it by Googling.

          However, they contradicted Martin Fackler, and he was a controversialist, so the notion that the Strasbourg goat tests didn’t happen is a thing on the Internet. Fackler had the habit of engaging in logically fallacious rhetoric when his ideas were challenged.

          Since then, other data, such as Marshall and Sanow, and also Suneson’s work on ballistic pressure wave theory, supports the Strasbourg testing, and not so much Fackler’s ideas.

  • ThunderGuy

    Well balanced review, thank you. There is an overall picture to gun carry, and you’ve done a great job addressing this. It’s not just the size of the bullet. Wish all gun enthusiasts had your even mindedness about the pros and cons of various elements of ownership and suitability. Agreed that what the G42 lacks in stopping power, it gains in “shootability.” I’ve owned nearly since they became available and regular shooting has yielded no FTF or FTE. Several family members have fired it and are impressed with its accuracy and comfortable grip and recoil. Now granted, were I to CCW I’d go with my Shield or LCR9s, but I wouldn’t mock someone carrying the G42 for self-defense as long as they trained regularly and loaded good HP rounds for carry.

  • Chuck

    I bought one for my wife and finally made it to the range today. The gun jammed nearly every time she fired it. I put a few rounds thru it and could not get it to jam. I even fired it with three fingers and could not force a limp-wrist jam. I had my wife move her hand higher on the back strap and this seemed to fix the problem. I will put another 100 rounds thru it before I will decide if it is reliable enough for her to carry.

    • Steve Harless

      did you oil the g
      un before you went to the range?

  • Robo

    I have limited strength and dexterity in my right arm and hand due to a damaged nerve. The Glock 42 fits my needs perfectly. Didn’t like the idea of a thumb safety since the thumb doesn’t work well on some days. I can work the slide with little effort, and the slightly larger size is much easier to grip than most .380’s. Oh, and it’s a Glock.

  • MN blockhead

    Love it. I got into pistols late in life (early 40s). My favorite has been my Springfield XDM 9mm. I always found glocks uncomfortable in my smaller hands, so I didn’t seriously consider the 42 when looking for a pocket carry gun. However, after holding just about every small 9mm and 380 in my favorite well-stocked gun store and renting several none seemed “just right” for pocket carry in formal and business casual where I wouldn’t want attention drawn to my gun. I finally gave the glock 42 a chance and fell in love with it immediately.

    It is comfortable to hold in my smaller hands (I can keep my pinky in the grip without the grip extension). I can practice with it comfortably and am far more accurate with it than any other small pistol I’ve fired. I still prefer shooting my Springfield (which is a pure pleasure to shoot) and my Springfield is what I would grab should their be a home invasion, but the glock 42 is my daily companion in my pocket in its kydex holster from the time I’m dressed until the time I undress for bed. It is as natural as my phone and wallet. With a good pocket holster it doesn’t print much and has never raised any questions or questioning looks.

    • Brian Mumford

      I’m interested to know if you think the new G43 would be too big for all day pocket carry? My guess is that it would (be too large). Or do you think it’s probably close enough in spec to a G42 than a G26 (which is what I carry IWB)?

  • Beebo

    I don’t trust mine, multiple FTE’s unless I use +P ammo… My Walther PK380 fires the same ammo with no issues… I have several other calibre Glocks, and am a big fan, except for the 42…

    • I believe there were some problems with the early ones. Tell Glock about your issues and they should be willing to fix it for you.

    • carpetman

      Is your glock one of the original guns or did you buy it after they reworked them.

    • carpetman

      Let me know if you want to sell your G42. Contact me at mbrown@demcnabb.com

    • RD

      According to Glock, you should not be using +P or +P+ ammo in the G42. Perhaps that may be a contributing factor in the FTE’s

    • CW

      Beebo. I’ve just experienced the same problem. I bought my 42 last Dec. Put a box of range ammo (not reloads), and no issues. Yesterday, went back to the same range where I purchased their ammo, pmc fmj, and out of 3 boxes, must have had two dozen fte, ftf, and a couple jams where I had to eject the mag to clear.

      This is so unacceptable, I don’t even know where to start. Never in over 25 years of shooting have I experienced something like this. Yes, a failure here or there, but never left the range thinking about what could have happened if I needed it while carrying it over the past 5 months.

      I too have a PK380, and after a few years and over 1000 rounds, I’ve never had a single malfunction.

      After yesterday, the 42 is benched, and my PK is back to being my carry gun. After all, it’s not that much bigger, and I know it will fire without fail. I’m not even sure I want to give Glock a chance to explain.

      Very upset and concerned about this, obviously.

      Did you ever find a fix, or did you dump it?

      Thanks,
      CW

      • Arturo

        What did Glock say when you contacted them about it? I’m certain you wouldn’t have written all that until after contacting them, yet you don’t mention what they said.

  • Zack

    I just recently got rid of my sig p238 due to the fact that it was too small for my hands and past 10 yds. it was very inaccurate. I was hesitant to even try the Glock42 but when placed in my hands it was a much better feel and shot tremendously better then the P238. groupings were within 3 in. or less all the way out to 25 yds. I will definitely carry this gun as a backup to my Glock23. If you’re looking for a good concealed firearm that is reliable, I would recommend the Glock42. The P238 I would only recommend to most women or men with a smaller hand frame.

  • james

    Love mine, call me crazy but it has replaced my 9mm pps as my primary carry. Its just so much lighter, and more comfy. I forget its even IWB sometimes! Not to mention the follow up shots are all inside 6 inches as fast as I can pull the trigger. Just a perfect gun, boring, but oh so reliable .

  • Art

    I have a few Glocks but often carried a mini-380 when about my property as it fit easily in my pocket. When I went somewhere that I might need to be armed I carried my model 36. As soon as I heard about the model 42 I traded my .380 in for one. Shooting the Glock is a huge improvement and when loaded with Mag-Safe ammo I am confident that a well placed hit would have the desired effect. This article never discussed the use of plus P ammo but all Glocks seem to be able to use +P with no difficulty.

  • Anonymous

    I chose the Glock 42 because i live in the city and, if i’m not not at home, i’m riding a bike. more than once, I’ve had people threaten my life simply for being on the road (one of my friends was even stabbed 2 years ago by a disgruntled driver), so when I’m not at work (as a bike courier. lots of post office and courthouse/gov’t office visits each day) I carry. Unfortunately there is no cycling equivalent to the “cc squat”. In the summer, when I’m wearing a t’shirt and leaning over on a bike set up for speed (leaning FAR over), I need something that’s very thin, snag-free, and easy to conceal without sacrificing usability with sweaty hands. Length of the grip was also a concern, especially since I carry with a rather aggressive cant. The Glock 42 was really the only gun that fit that groove well when I was looking for a carry gun.

  • Tom

    What do you guys think of using the .380 cap r.i.p rounds? I looks like it would make up for the smaller round?

    • The R.I.P. ammo seems to do exactly what they say it does; lots of expansion, very little penetration. But the former doesn’t do you much good without the latter. I personally would choose Speer Gold Dots or one of the Hornady loads that at least has decent penetration.

    • Search for “380 ACP Ammo Quest” on YouTube. The guy (ShootingTheBull410) did an excellent series of videos where he thoroughly tested tons of 380 ammo to discover the best ones for little guns. He ended up with a few specific recommendations, but generally anything that uses the Hornady XTP bullet.

  • Bill

    I hope this doesn’t come across as trolling. Your muzzling you left hand in the above picture. No offense, but that kind of stuff makes a person wonder about the advice you are giving.

    • It might kind of look like it in a two dimensional image but the muzzle is angled out and my hand is behind it. Not saying I’ve never muzzled myself, but when I do, I don’t post pictures of it on the Internet.

    • Michael White

      It looks like the picture was taken during the action of removing his weapon out if the holster. Look at his sweat shirt and it is blurry at the bottom indicating movement… I don’t think he was just standing there static when the picture was taken and just pointing the muzzle at his hand…

    • T

      No, he’s not.

  • JGfromSTL

    My wife and I just went to an indoor range where we could test out all of our candidates for CCW. We tested 5 different 9mm’s and 5 different .380’s. Only after shooting did we decide that we were not fans for the “tiny” pocket pistols, too snappy and hard to handle due to size/weight, especially in conjunction with a double action only. A tiny CCW with the longest, toughest trigger pull for it’s size, these guns were not a pleasure to shoot.
    We settled on the Glock 42 for me and the P238 Equinox for my wife. FYI only after deciding did I see this article.
    I suggest going to a range where you can rent guns and see what feels right, before you buy. If we had gone with our first impressions and not tried out different weapons, my wife really thought she would like the S+W Bodyguard .380, which turned out to be very uncomfortable (for us, anyway) and I thought I would like the M+P Shield 9mm, which I didn’t enjoy shooting as much as I had hoped. I also didn’t think I would like a Glock, but it’s simplicity, ease of use, comfort, and size became an irresistable combination.

    In the end, going to the range and trying them all out was the best idea I’ve had in a while, and the wife is happy too. Good luck!

    • That’s probably the best way to make the decision, and you’re very fortunate to have a range nearby with that many pistols available to rent. Most ranges only have a handful of options in the rental case. Here’s a hint for next time — ask the guys at the range counter which of the rental guns have to be repaired most/least often.

      • JGfromSTL

        Agreed, I asked. I will refrain from elaborating, but this is a really good point I forgot to mention.

  • Greg Walker

    Over many years of service I have had the occasion to carry a .380, the last active theater being Baghdad, Iraq, in 2003 and 2004.

    At that time I carried either a Walther PPK in .380 or a Beretta. Both were seized during operations in Baghdad and both were beautiful examples of each maker’s work.

    As much of what I was doing involved being in close quarters on a daily basis, both inside and outdoors, having a compact handgun as a layered option to other weaponry was simply good planning.

    While working side by side with the Kurdish Special Forces wing of the Pesh Merga I learned how they utilize their .380s when working plainclothes, such as in personal security detail efforts.

    If within 10 feet, +/-, or belly to belly contact they will empty the .380 into either the torso or face of their attacker/aggressor…and then break contact. It is not an issue of “one shot kill shots” or “stopping power”. It is all about hammering someone up close and personal with everything in the magazine and then breaking contact / transitioning if necessary to something else if the engagement continues.

    Several of those I worked with attested to the effectiveness of a belly or face full of .380 under such circumstances.

    Made and continues to make good sense to me.

    I’m delighted Glock has brought out and refined the G42. Superbly reliable under the worst of circumstances and conditions – and more than easy to conceal and carry. Round wise I’m not too concerned whether X or Y or Z. Use the system and what you have available under the circumstances and pour it on – works for me.

    Great review and comments, by the way.

    • sabre76

      Right on brother Greg! That’s my thinking as well. I have a PPK/S and a VP9 and love them both, but neither are the right one for when I go to the movie theatre and have to face the crazies who arent locked up in the US. So I’m basically looking for a PPK/S with better sights. The Glock 42 or the PPS may be the winner of that contest. Still looking….

    • Randy Weaver

      Thanks for your service, Bro! I’ve been teaching the Pesh Merga philosophy to women in personal defense situations for several years: empty the magazine and disengage (run like hell)!

      • Randy Weaver

        p.s. My pocket gun is a Sig 938 and I love it (as I do all of my Sigs). Very comfortable to shoot for a sub-compact 9mm.

  • Jim B

    Love my 42. XS big dot sight helps alot for combat shooting. Better than my G30 at home in the safe.

    Watch shootingthebull410’s ammo quest for 380 pistols. Lehigh defense/Hornady XTP seem to be the ticket for adequate penetration/expansion. 380 Glaser is bad advice.

  • JGfromSTL

    I have a suggestion. My wife and I recently obtained our CCWs for Missouri, and we went to local indoor range that lets you rent all of their guns, just about any pistol you can imagine, for one additional fee. This was well worth it and I recommend it to anyone looking for a concealable pistol. We took a notebook and pen with us, and tested half of a dozen 9mm’s and another half of a dozen .380’s. We rated them 1-10 on overall size, comfort, recoil, capacity, and type of safety or lack of a manual safety (not necessarily a bad thing). Both of us thought we knew which pistols we would like….and we both hated them. I ended up choosing the Glock 42 and my wife chose the Sig P238….Equinox. When we got home, I found this article and thought this was quite the coincidence.

  • Rocky Leonhardt

    i have just acquired the Glock 42 from my son. I have a S&W Bodyguard which i dont like. L-o-n-g heavy trigger and a safety that is impossible to operate under emergency conditions

  • Matt

    I’m about 6′ 4″ and 250lbs and get hassled all the time about my Glock 42 and that I bought a woman’s gun. I quickly respond with the fact that my other handgun is a Ruger SR40c which is probably one of the snappiest handguns on the market. I love them both for very different reasons, the Glock 42 makes shooting so easy that as an experienced shooter, I can’t miss! The concealability is unmatched because it runs the fine line of being concealable and yet accurate and easy to shoot. It’s my daily carry weapon, however if I’m going into a particularly rough area I take my Ruger SR40c because of the 15 +1 rounds chambered in 40 S&W. All in all I love the Glock 42 and highly recommend it!

  • Arturo

    What you pay for the gun is the price, not the “price point.” They are different things. Price point doesn’t mean price, sorry.

  • Arturo

    People choose the .380 because of size/weight of the firearm. It’s crazy that experienced folks don’t understand that. They just don’t get it. If you don’t like the .380 don’t use it. Problem solved. 🙂

  • David Poston

    What kind of belt and pants are you wearing in the picture?

  • TheBob_1

    Just got my LC380 back from Ruger a SECOND time – FTF’s being the ongoing problem. The pistol has now improved from 14 FTF’s out of 250 rds a couple weeks ago to about 5 in 250. Is five FTF’s in 250 shots acceptable? I think one-in-a-blue-moon is an acceptable rate. Hearing some (including a fella at the range a few weeks back) note that Glock’s .380 seems “picky on ammo” (won’t eject some types), I can’t imagine carrying it or my LC. Maybe the .380 round is not one that cycles well or maybe Ruger and Glock produced some “lemons” in their early effort to get small, softer-shooting pistols to the market???

    I need to say that Ruger has been great about taking the gun back and replacing parts to get my LC380 working right, and after two times in the Ruger shop mine is all but a new gun at this point; But if 5 FTF’s out of 250 rds. is the best success rate I can achieve using various types of ammo, this gun will have to be retired. Wonder if Ruger will simply exchange it for me at some point? Is 5 in 250 (a rate of 1 in 50) deemed acceptable? They did put 6 full magazines of Black HIlls thru it without fail and returned it to me. Yeah, I got maybe that far with my ammo too, but the FTF’s still happened – just less frequently.

    Ruger has never said publicly there were problems with the LC380 – at least not to my knowledge. If Glock has admitted problems early on with this (42) or the 43, at least they and their customers know what to expect. With my LC380, I still don’t.

    I’m gonna spend the bucks and go for what looks to be a sure thing in “pocket” .380’s. Or maybe I’ll just deal with the snap of a 9mm in a small, PROVEN frame and be done with it. How much ammo and how many range days can I spend to try and get faith in my “protection device” before I give up?

    All this makes me suspect of the .380 round, not as an effective or maybe its the gunmakers, but I’m losing faith here. Sad, as I like to shoot this pistol, and that is half the battle in getting enough practice, either finding enjoyment or, at the least, not dreading every shot.

  • Brad slaughter

    My experience with glock 42 was great . Fired 100 rds no problems .way better than ruger LCP in my opion. good job for what it was designed for.

  • kyle sundell

    I make handloads of 380 where there is a small small 223 looking pennetrater in the tip of the hp that looks like a very sharp pointed fmj
    It throws the penn at atleast 1754 fps giving plenty plenty of penn power it throws the dark like glaser throws shot giving easily 15 inches through bg..plus the hp desiagn weighs 98 gr and funtions like a rip round with smaller sharper petals half fly forward deep the others 360 around 7 inches in.they will be for sale soon so let me know.

  • JIM

    Just bought one for the wife it included the crims on trace also. She is a petite woman and this gun is ideal for her. We also checked out the sw bodyguard and one other pistol I don’t remember. She really likes the feel of the 42. Not too big and not too small. I have a sw99 in 9m that she said is too much gun for her. Very satisfied with the Glock42.

  • Terry

    Bought a Glock 42 after having trouble with recoil, control and malfunctions of several smaller pocket pistols. All of that went away with the Glock 42. With added Pearce finger extensions, grip was better, slight increase of weight and size was better. My shooting improved and the Glock 42 has been completely reliable. I had one failure to feed when I was shooting fast and failed to maintain proper grip and control, “limp-wresting” as I shot – my fault not the gun. Have run 500 rounds through the pistol and the single failure to feed was the only malfunction. The pistol is light and small enough to carry comfortably, but shoot well. I highly recommend.

  • Kathie Babb-Neuhard

    Rented the 42 at the range. My first try with a .380. For me the rack was the most difficult. Recoil good for my small hands though I still love my .22. . I didn’t try rapid fire and with trigger pull that could prove a problem. Practice could improve that. I am looking for a .380 and next try will be the Sig before I buy a gun for cc. Good info here for a non experienced shooter.

  • Karl Dawg

    I just bought a G42 a few weeks ago (02/15/2016) and have had a few issues, one was my own fault as my thumb rode the slide lock, I’ve had a few jams … BUT … after polishing the feed ramp and the upper 1/3 of the chamber that all went away, I don’t like the trigger on it, it has a rough pull and then hits a wall that takes a strong pull to overcome … so I did a polish job on the trigger parts and it smoothed out, at the moment I am waiting for a Ghost connector to arrive so I can lose a few pounds on the trigger pull.

  • Mark Brooks

    “But all handgun calibers are not equally effective, and .380 ACP is at the lower end of the curve.”

    Not according to emergency room gunshot statistics, where most handgun calibers, large or small, end up roughly equivalent in stopping power (measured by incapacitation), with shot placement being the most important factor, followed by number of rounds impacting vital areas. Absent an immediately lethal hit, rapid bleed-out matters, and that has more to do with bullet design than with caliber.

    Which is more important, a slightly more powerful round — which makes the gun more difficult to control when multiple accurate shots are needed to stop the target — or more controllable and accurate fire?

    The .380 ACP is a moderate power round, just large and powerful enough to make it “snappy” to shoot in super-light pocket pistols, where I think it can be argued that the .32 ACP is a better fit, but it is certainly able to get the job done. We are talking about close range defense in a life-threatening situation, and likely in an environment where you have to be concerned about bystanders.

    • We can learn some interesting things from ER statistics, but they aren’t particularly helpful in determining what lead to an actual “stop” as far as it is relevant for a defensive gun use. A large percentage of attackers stop their violent action when they are hit with any bullet, despite the extent of the physical damage done; whether that’s because of pain or because they just decide getting shot sucks, so they give up, run away, surrender, etc. That’s called a “psychological stop”. The attacker who succumbs to a psychological stop may end up getting treated at the ER, and the folks at the ER don’t care if he got there because he passed out five seconds after being shot or five minutes after being shot, or if he walked through the front door on his own.

      A psychological stop is great for the person being attacked, but it’s not a reaction that can be counted on. A determined attacker doesn’t give in to the “psychological stop”. He doesn’t care if he’s been shot, and isn’t deterred by pain. He may be driven by drugs or alcohol, or just pure hate. These jokers have to have their bodies physically shut down before they will stop being a threat. In those cases, the choice of bullet and caliber absolutely can become a factor. You need a bullet that’s capable of penetrating through enough clothing and tissue to reach and disrupt the vital organs. For this task, the .380 ACP is notoriously unreliable. It is borderline suitable for the job at best, and while it’s certainly better than nothing, most able-bodied adults are able to adequately control a more effective caliber with better penetration characteristics (such as a 9x19mm or .38 spl) with minimal training.

      • Mark Brooks

        You are confusing different things here. ER statistics show that gunshot incapacitation and fatalities involving handguns tend to work out roughly the same across a broad array of calibers. It isn’t about a “psychological stop”, this is physical stuff. .380 ACP, .38 special, and 9mm work out about the same statistically.

        As for penetrating to vitals, that’s bullet design. The issue is matching the ammunition to the intended purpose. We are talking about people wearing clothes, and if you only trust penetration to the vitals, then .380 FMJ or TMJ roundnose will have sufficient penetration against even a heavily dressed human opponent. The would channel is the same size as .38 or 9mm, so if you are an advocate of the Fackler theory, you are getting the same result.

        • Incapacitation and fatalities in the ER are irrelevant for self-defense. If the attacker doesn’t stop *immediately* upon being shot, they can often fight through a wound that may eventually be fatal or incapacitate. The ER isn’t going to record whether the guy dropped as soon as he was shot or if he dropped after he finished stabbing a dude to death — it’s not relevant for their mission, so it doesn’t really tell us what we need to know.

          .380 FMJ doesn’t have enough velocity to reliably penetrate through bone, much like the problems encountered by police using 158 gr LRN .38 special loads.

          • Mark Brooks

            Sorry, but you aren’t accurately representing what the ER stats record, so on that, I’m not persuaded.

            What is the basis for your assertion that .380 ACP FMJ doesn’t reliably penetrate through bone in a human target?

          • Bone penetration, particularly the skull, is a problem consistent with round nose ammo in general, but especially with low velocity FMJ ammo. An FMJ .380 may have better penetration characteristics in general compared to some of the high expansion/low penetration JHP loads, but there’s still the issue of skull deflection that’s not nearly as common with modern service caliber JHP ammo.

            I’m not sure what ER statistics you’re talking about, but if you’re seriously trying to make a case that .380 ACP is equally as effective in a gun fight as a 9mm, .40 S&W, or .45 ACP, it’s going to have to be pretty compelling. There are experts in this field who’s careers have been devoted to determining the most efficient caliber and bullet for uniformed officers to carry. They may have disagreed on whether it’s a 9 or a 45, but no one that I’m aware of with any real credibility in the field of terminal ballistics has advocated for .380 ACP as “roughly equivalent” to the more common service calibers.

          • Mark Brooks

            The rough equivalence is straight out of Marshall and Sanow, and also from FBI stats. There’s no issue of credibility on the sources. If you are concerned that .380 round nose FMJ will deflect from the skull, I’d like to see the data. This forum doesn’t appear to allow hyperlinks, but if you could provide a title or something else I can Google search on or other guidance to finding the data, I’d appreciate it.

  • Mark Brooks

    According to the FAQ at Ruger, we won’t be seeing a striker-fired LC380 anytime soon because of design challenges involved. Essentially they need to develop their own cock-on-open design.

  • edkato

    Great Review Chris. I just found this and your web site, but really nice information. Having carried a 380 for years on the job (yes, as a primary carry for deep concealment), I will say ammunition technology has changed for the better and most in my line of work will agree, the 380 is a life saver. I’ve seen it work too many times in the real world to think otherwise. I’d sooner carry a 9mm or 45, but when wearing a suit that actually fits or normal civilian attire (not 5.11 pants and baggy shirts), sometimes even the potential of printing or the glimpse of a concealed weapon can have disastrous consequences. 20 years ago we carried the PPK or P230. Today it’s the LCP, P238, Kahr, or the Glock 42. And believe it or not, the Federal hydra shok is still a round carried…though most prefer the Hornady Custom XTP and even the ARX Polycase 380. Thanks again for a nice review. Great web site. The 42 is a wonderful tool. I love my 43 and 26, but the 42 gets carried.

  • Robert

    I like my little Glock.Easy to carry, easier to shoot and I shoot well with it..