Last year the firearm community was abuzz about the teased reveal of a new addition to Glock’s lineup in a caliber the company’s never offered before: .22 Long Rifle. The new Glock 44 duplicated the external dimensions of the Glock 19, the company’s most popular model and arguably the most popular pistol in the world, making for a great training piece for everyone, from lifelong Glock aficionados to a beginning shooter looking to buy a reliable, semi-automatic rimfire pistol.
Developing a reliable .22 LR version of a center-fire semi-automatic pistol is not an easy task. For one, the blowback force of a .22 LR cartridge is barely enough to cycle a full-sized slide. The .22 LR cartridge also has a reputation for being finicky. The thin and fragile cartridge case and the all-lead bullet of a .22 rimfire are susceptible to damage during the firing process of a semi-automatic, which can lead to feeding problems. The propellants used in rimfire cartridges cause more fouling than does a center-fire cartridge, quickly dirtying up and slowing down a semi-automatic mechanism. A well-designed semi-automatic .22 rimfire pistol must overcome these challenges.
Glock took several novel approaches with the G44. The all-steel slide used in its center-fire handguns was altered to use a hybrid steel and polymer design that would cycle reliably with .22 LR power levels (the result is that the G44 weighs 14.8 ozs. unloaded versus the 23.6 ozs. of the Glock 19) and the chamber of the barrel was fluted to aid in extraction of the empty cartridge case and the reliable cycling of the action. Many manufacturers of semi-automatic .22 pistols recommend certain types of ammunition to use for the best reliability, but Glock’s mission was to make a handgun that would shoot everything—to master “rimfire perfection.” The G44 manual does not suggest any specific brand or grain weight of .22 LR for reliability, so we decided to put “perfection” to the test.
There has been some Internet discussions about the G44 magazines not stacking 36-gr. ammunition properly, with the slightly shorter bullets’ design causing the cartridge to nosedive into the magazine’s feed ramp. We started with some of Remington’s 36-gr. Golden Bullets, loaded the magazines to their 10-round capacity and fired all 10 without a hitch. We then tried Federal’s 36-gr. Champion copper-plated hollow points and had the same results. Again with Armscor 36-gr. hollow points, success. Other G44 reviewers claimed that 40-gr. ammo was the key to reliability, with the longer round-nose bullets aiding in the transition from the magazine into the chamber, but our Glock sample did not have a preference, accepting all bullet types and grain weights. So if you are considering the G44 as a training tool during this period of ammo hoarding, you can shop around for whatever is available or on sale.
Taking aim from a bench at 25 yards resulted in 5-shot group sizes under 2.5.” Moving in closer, it was easy to make groups of about an inch from a standing position at 7 yards. While the sights are the classic Glock “U”-notch rear and white dot front, the rear is adjustable for windage and elevation to compensate for the wide variety of .22 rimfire loadings.
The G44 boasts all of Glock’s Gen5 attributes. The slide has front and rear serrations and the magazine release button can be switched to the right or left-hand side depending on the shooter’s preference. A slide release lever is present on both sides of the pistol. An accessory rail allows for mounting a flashlight or laser. A flared magazine well helps to guide quick magazine changes. There are additional backstraps that can be added to the grip frame to customize it to the shooter’s preferred grip circumference. The Gen5 models do away with finger grooves in the grip frame so you’re not forced to conform to the finger spacing of larger hands.
The G44 is supplied with two magazines, which have load assist tabs that make filling them to their 10-round capacity a cinch. And to top things off, it comes with a cleaning rod, brush and jag, all very necessary tools for keeping a semi-automatic .22 LR pistol in top running shape.
The Glock 44 is a blast to shoot, but how does it work as a training piece for those who carry Glock pistols? The sights, controls and trigger are the same as a center-fire Glock. To have the familiar Glock frame in the hands, yet only have the noise and recoil of .22 LR, proved to be an enjoyable way to practice. The G44 fits in holsters sized for the G19, as does its magazines in carriers designed for G19 magazines.
Despite the elevated prices of all ammo these days, .22 LR is still affordable and a great option for firearm owners looking for a way to get in more training than the price of center-fire ammunition will allow. The sound of .22 lead plinking on steel targets at varying distances served as a quick confirmation of good hits. Now you can take your training a step further, whether you want to work on weak-hand shooting, acquiring a quick sight picture or drawing from concealment, without seeing dollar signs chucked out each time an empty case goes flying.
The G44 puts the terms “Glock” and “rimfire” together and the result is a firearm that is utilitarian as well as recreational, proving “perfection” for novices to seasoned shooters.