The G19 is so popular, it practically serves as the default concealed-carry pistol on the market, embraced by experienced and novice shooters alike. Glock correctly predicted that a .22 LR-caliber pistol sized identically to the G19 would find an enthusiastic market among those who already owned a G19 and wished to lower their training costs without having to invest in new gear.
The G44 fits Glock G19 (or G23) holsters, the magazines fit G19/G23 magazine carriers and lights that fit those centerfire guns will also fit the rimfire G44. Further, the rimfire and the centerfires having virtually the same manual-of-arms would simplify and improve training. Among new shooters, the G44 would constitute a simple, easy-to-use “gateway” gun that the newbie could comfortably master before seamlessly transitioning to the G19. The byproduct of outreach to both new and old shooters for Glock would be the creation and enhancement, respectively, of brand loyalty.
The sight picture is the familiar bucket-and-ball, but the rear sight is fully adjustable • Incorporating the typical safety blade, the trigger was nonetheless better than average • Using steel for the base and rails gives the mostly polymer slide the correct mass • A beveled slide and front cocking serrations make the G44 almost handsome.
The gun itself is largely unremarkable, other than its chambering. It’s a Glock, through-and-though, which is good, but also dully familiar. It has a polymer frame in the Gen5 style, without finger grooves. The bladed trigger has the long, slightly mushy, rolling feel of a Glock. That feel used to be a source of derision, but two generations of shooters have now come of age with Glocks and that trigger feel may be considered the standard semi-automatic trigger pull now. Our sample’s was particularly good; smoother than is typical, with a slight “bump” that was just enough to “stage” it if you wanted to, but small enough to ignore in rapid fire.
As this is a blowback design, getting the mass of the slide right relative to its dimensions was critical. The pistol had to function reliably with rimfire ammunition with a slide the size and shape of that of a G19. The solution was a hybrid design that integrates a steel base and rails into a polymer slide, achieving correct mass and ensuring the component’s durability.
The one Glock virtue in which the G44 fails is firepower. The company that initially gave us reliable, 17-round, centerfire magazines was able to give us only 10-rounders with the rimfire pistol. Glock was constrained by the need to make the magazines dimensionally identical to those of the G19 and the fact that rimfire-magazine design is far trickier than most realize. At least spring-compression levers are incorporated into the G44 units to ease the loading process.
We’ve heard rumors of trouble with the G44. The internet is full of claims ranging from failures to fire to out-of-battery firing. We contacted Glock and learned that the “trouble” reflected .02 percent of all sales. The internet just amplifies the negative, valid or not. Glock says its personnel “worked directly with customers reporting concerns upon initial rumors and have concluded that these issues were not the result of the G44 pistol.”
I was present at the introduction of the pistol, when a large number of G44s were handed out to the firearm press, distributors and trainers for an extended range session and I recall no stoppages—unusual for a rimfire. The pistol we received for testing had one failure-to-fire, but that round evinced a good hammer strike and fired just fine when loaded back into the pistol. We heard rumor the G44 wouldn’t reliably feed/fire 36-grain ammunition. We then ran 100 rounds of Remington Viper, plated, truncated cone, 36-grain ammo through it without a hitch. It was reliable with the 36-grainers, just as it had been with the 32-grain hollowpoints and 40-grain lead roundnoses.
New shooters, female shooters and many cost-conscious consumers are very happy to have this new rimfire. No less impressed are trainers who understand the G19’s importance in the carry gun market and just what the G44 means to their business.
In addition to serving as a training tool, the lightweight, low-maintenance, easy-to-use G44 should make an ideal kit gun. And while I wouldn’t opt for any small-caliber pistol as a self-defense gun, I can say that only because I don’t yet suffer from diminished hand strength nor am I disabled. Were I, I might choose to load up with CCI 32-grain segmented hollowpoints and pack a G44. It would be way better than nothing.