In December of 2019, Glock introduced the Glock 44 — an interesting and important handgun chambered in .22 LR. The Glock 44 is a standalone .22 in some ways and a rimfire Glock 19 in others. This introduction officially moved Glock out of the personal-defense and service markets and into the sporting market.
Many makers or aftermarket makers offer rimfire conversions for handguns. Some work well and others not so well. I have used a .22-caliber handgun for marksmanship training, practice and small-game hunting for decades. It’s a fun gun. You don’t have to have a reason to own one, but shooters who don’t have a .22 handgun are missing out on an important tool.
Why a .22?
The cost of a handgun pales in comparison to the cost of an extensive training regimen. The .22 allows a user to fire thousands of rounds of ammunition for a fraction of what centerfire rounds would cost. The problem is that the .22 is a hoary design. Not all .22 LR is cooperative with auto-loading pistols; the rimmed cartridge case doesn’t make for the most reliable feeding, and differing powders can deliver differing performances as far as cycling actions go. Most makers warranty their pistol will work only with high-velocity loads. Even though quality high-velocity loads are generally more expensive than bulk-produced standard-velocity loads, this isn’t a demerit in and of itself. CCI alone manufactures billions of .22 LR cartridges a year.
The Glock 44 is an interesting handgun, and I have enjoyed firing it a great deal. It is well-suited to rimfire practice for those who own Glock centerfire handguns and equally well-suited to beginning shooters or those who enjoy informal target shooting and small-game hunting. While Glock fans offer built-in sales, the Glock 44 is a fine choice for anyone wishing to own a .22-caliber self-loading handgun.
Comparing the Glock 44
This new pistol is similar in dimension to the popular 9mm Glock 19. The most radical departure from the 19 is a lightweight slide that is a hybrid mix of polymer and metal reinforcement. A steel slide would be too heavy to be actuated by rimfire recoil. Other than its light weight, the Glock 44 slide differs considerably from the 19’s. You cannot simply place the Glock 44 slide on a Glock 19 frame, as the locking block and other parts differ, but the trigger action is the same as the centerfire pistol. While the sight dovetails are the same as the Glock 19’s at present, makers of aftermarket sights tell us they do not recommend steel sights in a polymer-slide dovetail. The sights are typical Glock — save the rear sight, which offers good adjustment. An adjustment tool is provided with the pistol.
The Glock 44 shares most dimensions with the Glock 19. The overall length is 7.28 inches, and the barrel length is 4.02 inches. The pistol fits the Glock 19 holsters I had on hand — no worries. Grip inserts of the same type supplied with other Glock handguns are provided. The Glock 44 features a rail for mounting combat lights and a Glock Marksman barrel with fluted chamber. Unlike most .22-caliber rimfire handguns, the 44 can be dry-fired without harming the firing pin.
Glock 44 Specifications
The slide lock, magazine release and takedown are standard Glock. The big difference in handling is weight. The Glock 44 weighs just more than 14.5 ounces with an empty magazine — 9 ounces less than the Glock 19. The Glock 44 runs on a single-column, 10-shot magazine, which features a handy tab on the follower that makes loading easy. Depress the tab and load one round at a time to properly stack the ammo in the magazine. Do not depress the tab and drop cartridges into the magazine, as the proper sequence ensures feed reliability. The barrel is separate from the frame, not fixed like most .22 rimfire barrels. The frame is a Generation 4 type with four finger grooves. The white-outline sights are familiar to generations of Glock users. The safe-action trigger breaks at 5.8 pounds of compression.
Width: 1.26 inches
Height: 5.04 inches
Length: 7.28 inches
Weight (no magazine): 12.63 ounces
Capacity: 10 rounds
Caliber: .22 LR
On the Range
Firing tests show the worth of a handgun, and the Glock 44 has plenty of value. As of this date, the Glock 44 has fired more than 3,000 cartridges. And it isn’t that expensive with a .22, nor a chore with plenty of help in testing an interesting new handgun. Glock tells us it has tested the Glock 44 for reliability with more than 100 .22 Long Rifle loads.
Sometimes, .22-caliber handguns are finicky with different types of ammunition. The CCI Mini Mag is renowned for reliability in a wide variety of handguns, and this proved true in the Glock 44 as well. Interestingly, the new CCI poly-coated subsonic load was reliable … to a point. After a few hundred rounds, a dirty .22 is less reliable. With subsonic loads, the 44 began to misfeed and occasionally caught a spent case in the ejection port. Even after cleaning, the subsonic loads in the pistol occasionally failed to cycle the last round in the magazine. The CCI Mini Mags, however, never failed to function.
In short, standard-velocity loads sometimes failed to lock the slide open on the last shot. As always, even if you’re using quality high-velocity loads, proof the handgun with each load. After firing more than a dozen individual loads, I have found the Glock 44 to be more reliable than most .22-caliber self-loaders and completely reliable with most high-velocity ammunition. In general, 40-grain high-velocity (or 37-grain hollow-point loads) are reliable.
As a trainer, beginner or fun gun, the Glock 44 is a good choice. For running personal-defense drills without the expense of centerfire ammunition, the Glock 44 is a great companion to your 9mm. For marksmanship training, the Glock 44 excels. But keep in mind it won’t train for recoil. But with five-shot groups of 2 inches at a long 25 yards, the pistol is more than accurate enough for sporting use.
The question of personal defense seems to come up with practically any handgun. While a larger caliber is needed, I would probably as soon have the .22 as a .32 or .380. Penetration and shot placement is all that will succeed with a small caliber. The bottom line is the Glock 44 .22 is enjoyable to fire and use, a superb trainer, and a versatile handgun with much to recommend.
About Bob Campbell
Bob Campbell is a writer for Concealed Carry Magazine with a degree in criminal justice. Bob has been a firearms writer for decades, writing for Concealed Carry Handguns, Gun Tests, American Gunsmith, SWAT Magazine, Law and Order and Black Belt, among others. He has written 15 books primarily focused on handguns and training, including The Accurate Handgun from Gun Digest. In addition to serving as a peace officer and firearms instructor, he has also written curriculum at the university level.