UPDATE: Later in 2014, we had a chance to do a full review of the Glock 42. Details here.

The biggest problem with the Glock 42 is that it’s not a 9mm, but it turns out that’s not such a bad thing.

Weeks before SHOT Show, rumors started flying about two new Glock pistols. The first was revealed to be the Glock 41, a long slide .45 ACP model geared toward competition. But there was a lot more buzz over the 42, which many hoped and speculated would be a single stack compact 9mm to compete with pistols like the S&W Shield and Kahr PM9. When the 42 turned out to be a .380 ACP instead, the initial reaction from the gun community seemed to be disappointment. Demand for pocket-sized .380s spiked a couple of years ago, but has declined with the introduction of the aforementioned ultra-compact 9mm carry pistols. Drawing further criticism was the fact that the Glock 42 is not quite as compact as many of the other .380s, especially the ubiquitous Ruger LCP.

But despite all of that, the Glock 42 may be just what the .380 market is missing. You can read more about why I think that is below, but first, here’s a quick snippet of our interview with Josh Smithers from Glock. We asked him to make the case for the Glock 42 and why we should consider it over similar carry guns out there.

Why You Should Buy the Glock 42 in 30 Seconds

You can read our full Q&A with Josh below the first impressions section.

Glock 42 Quick Overview

Glock 42


  • Overall Length: 5.94″
  • Height: 4.13″
  • Width: .94″
  • Weight: 13.76 oz
  • Barrel Length: 3.25″

Other Stats

  • Caliber: .380 ACP
  • Capacity: 6+1
  • MSRP: $475

External Links

Opinion and First Impressions

Anyone who’s fired one of the .380 pocket guns knows that they’re no pleasure to shoot. Most of them have long double action trigger pulls, followed by very snappy recoil that, in some cases, is downright painful after a couple of magazines. They are thought of as “last ditch” carry guns that will rarely see much range time.

As an alternative, Ruger has offered the LC380, which is essentially their LC9 compact 9mm rechambered in .380. The recoil is much easier to deal with on the LC380, but it still has the long trigger pull to overcome. It seems Glock decided to skip the “itty bitty” LCP-sized phase and go right to the “still small but a lot more shootable” category with the 42. At the same time, they’ve addressed the trigger issue. The Glock 42 has the same type of trigger as any other Glock; nothing amazing, but certainly usable right out of the box, and much easier to use than most any double action.

I had a chance to fire a few rounds out of a 42 at SHOT show, and I was pretty impressed with it. It felt a little smaller in my hands than a S&W Shield, but there was still plenty to hold on to, and recoil was minimal. I shot Ruger’s LC380 just a few minutes later, and while recoil was similar, the trigger on the Glock was much easier to manipulate. The Glock will not be nearly as cheap as the Rugers, but the $475 MSRP is still not bad, and I think it’ll be an attractive option for folks who think they can’t carry anything larger than a .380, but don’t like getting beat up by snappy recoil.

Firing Glock 42

Q&A with Josh Smithers from Glock

Lucky Gunner: If you had to pick one attribute of this gun to talk about as the highlight, what would it be?

Josh Smithers: The biggest highlight of the gun is that it’s the smallest pistol we’ve ever built. This pistol is basically designed around the US concealed carry market. We wanted to build the smallest pistol we could that would be the most reliable pistol and still be in a caliber that would be a defensive carry round, so the .380 is what we decided to go with. You have a standard full-size magazine catch, full-size slide stop lever, abd slightly deeper tang. No finger grooves, but it does have that Gen 4 type texture on it, so it’s still aggressive and you can hold on to it really well. The trigger works exactly like a full size Glock would if you’re already used to that. The take down is also just like the Glocks you’re used to.

LG: Are you guys gonna have any grip extension or extended magazine in case you wanted the grip to be slightly longer?

JS: At this time I don’t know of anything. It just comes with the two flush fit magazines.

LG: It doesn’t look like it has the interchangeable backstraps.

JS: No backstraps, it’s not a Gen 4. We wanted to make this pistol as small as we could. That’s why we cut the tang a little deeper so you don’t have to worry about over-gripping the gun.

LG: I got to fire it a little at the range, and it shoots really nice for its size, but I know some people are talking about how it’s a little bigger than some of the other .380s out there, so how are you guys answering that if they claim it’s too big for a .380?

JS: It’s the the smallest Glock we’ve built, it’s slightly less than an inch wide… and it has a very low height over bore. We kept it almost a square slide so you get a very deep grip. Other manufacturers .380s might be a little smaller but you still have the high height over bore so as far as the recoil and everything it doesn’t control well. You might sacrifice a little in size, but the quality and reliability were the first things we wanted to go into the gun so that was the smallest we could make it and make it reliable and still get the same quality you expect out of a Glock pistol.

LG: Okay, so the big question that you’re probably sick of hearing but everyone is asking. Is the 42 a precursor to a single stack 9mm from Glock?

JS: Let’s hope so.

LG: That’s all you can say for now?

JS: Yep, that’s it.


Did you enjoy this article?

Share this article with your friends!

Leave a Comment Below

  • Frank Burgert

    Will buy one in a minute, if I could find one for sale !

  • Steve McCormick

    I have a few female students (Basic Pistol and MN Carry Class) that really are turned off by recoil. Most liked my Sig 238 but it’s pretty expensive and I don’t think a beginning shooter should have anything as complicated as a 1911 based design. I am going to find a Glock 42 and give it a try.

    • LG Chris

      Your experience with new female shooters and the P238 sounds similar to mine. It’s easy enough to shoot, but I do not recommend a gun with an external safety lever to someone who has not taken the time to practice regularly with it. Other pocket .380s like the LCP, Kel-Tec P3AT, S&W Bodyguard, etc, are just way too hard to shoot for anyone, let alone a beginner. If the Glock 42 turns out to be a reliable firearm, it could easily fill this niche… easy to shoot, easy to conceal, simple controls. My first recommendation would still be a larger gun in a more powerful caliber with more capacity, but the 42 might end up being a good compromise for ladies who aren’t ready to haul around that kind of hardware. I wish I had paid more attention to the amount of force required to rack the slide because that’s also a big factor for female/elderly students.

  • Joe Ondish

    There are a few reasons why I won’t be getting it…1) It’s a Glock….2) It’s chambered in .380. If I were ever going to venture into .380 caliber, I would be all in with the Sig P238. I’m a 1911 addict…and I do not have a problem with that

    • LG Chris

      Have you fired the P238 before? The recoil is much softer than most of the other small 380s, but there is too much going on in a small area with the large slide stop lever and manual safety. I have to modify my normal grip in order to hold it without interfering with the controls

    • Joe Ondish

      LG Chris Yeah, I have a few friends that carry them, one being a police officer with our city PD as her backup gun. I haven’t ever had issues with the slide stop, my thumb rides the safety and gets close to the slide stop. I’ve only had one issue where my right thumb rode the slide stop so the slide didn’t lock open.

    • LG Chris

      Joe Ondish the problem I kept having was my support thumb inadvertently putting upward pressure on the slide stop which was causing premature slide lock (and that’s bad). Same thing happened to a couple of other people who shot it, but some didn’t have the problem at all, so I guess it just depends on your hands and grip.

  • Craig S. Andersen

    I’m waiting for them to introduce a locked breech 9mm version. There are smaller .380 pistols that conceal much better. If I’m going to buy a blow back .380, it will be smaller.

  • Alberto Espinal

    I want tonbuynone en 2 minutes

  • Flavio Flavio