The G44, Glocks First Rimfire Pistol: Plinker Perfection
The Austrian gunmaker’s first foray into .22LR handguns is a winner and a great trainer for the nearly identical Glock 19.
I’ll say I was in a bit of what I call “Glock Shock” when I started to load the G44 magazine. The shock was for two reasons. First, Glock pistols are synonymous with Law Enforcement and military users. A .22 LR rimfire is a step out of Glock’s comfort zone, so to speak, since the G44 is geared toward the commercial market and we civilian shooters.
Second, is the G44 design. The G44 is a great training/transition gun for Glock’s best-selling 9mm model, the G19. You can learn grip, trigger control, sight alignment, reloading and all those other pistol manipulations on a low recoiling, economical to shoot, .22 LR pistol and then step up to a more powerful centerfire pistol without having to learn a new gun.
After running over 1,000 hundred rounds through the G44 during a few sessions, I found it to be great plinker. Tin cans don’t stand a chance against this lightweight pistol. Unloaded it weighs just 15.94 ounces so new, inexperienced shooters as well as experienced shooters can easily manage it.
Controls and Features
There are a lot of familiar Glock features in the G44 like the striker-fire trigger, polymer frame, polymer magazine, and plastic adjustable sights. It is a Gen5 configuration without finger grooves on the front strap and four additional modular rear grip straps to fine tune the fit to your hand size. It has the ambidextrous slide stop, Marksman barrel and flared magazine well.
The controls on the G44 are the same as the controls on nearly every other Glock pistol, including the G19. There is also that Glock reliability which unsurprisingly showed during testing.
The G44 Compares to the G19
While most users might want the Glock 44 for inexpensive plinking, it is sized for serious training. The G44 is nearly the same size as G19 Gen5 and can use the same holster and magazine pouches as a G19. That means a lot, since users do not need to change out a holster and mag pouches when moving up to a 9mm.
The G44 breeds a familiarity and natural transition into a G19. There are, however, subtle differences. As mentioned, the G44 weighs 15.94 ounces unloaded; a G19 Gen5 weighs 30.16 ounces, mostly due to the heavier 9mm barrel.
Width of the G44 is 1.26 inches, the G19 is 1.34 inches wide. I had a G19 Gen5 pistol on-hand during my first look at the G44 allowing me to compare the pistols side by side. Both are 7.28 inches long and 5.04 inches high.
When field-stripping the two pistols—they come apart the exact same way—I found very few of the internal components to be the same. Most of the internal firing mechanism is exclusive to the G44 since it is a rimfire.
Dry firing a G19 and then a G44, I could not tell the difference in triggers. It is the typical Glock trigger.
In hand, the G44 feels a lot like a G19 except a whole lot lighter. My muscle memory questioned whether this was an unloaded G19 or something else, perhaps an airsoft pistol. Definitely, something different.
The G44 magazine, however, is _distinctly_ different.
The G44’s Magazine
Because the G19 and G44 are nearly identical, G44 magazines incorporate ridges on the back side of the magazine body. These ribs give the user a tacti to identify it as a rimfire magazine, not a centerfire magazine. The back edge of G19 magazines are smooth, no ribs, only witness holes.
The G44 magazine is simple to load and easy on your thumb. If you’ve spent any time behind a .22 rimfire pistol, you know that holding down the follower button on the magazine can get tedious. Doesn’t matter if it’s a Ruger, Smith & Wesson, High Standard, Browning, or nearly any other semi-automatic .22 LR rimfire pistol. You can bust a thumb loading some of those magazines, but not with the G44.
How the G44 Handles Dirty .22LR Ammo
The dry lube on .22 LR ammo can gunk up semi-auto actions relatively quickly and with some pistols it can choke them up and lead to jamming. Did I find some issues with the G44?
The inevitable and unavoidable gunk from lube and burned powder residue did build up and we all know some brands and types of .22 LR shoot cleaner than others. But is wasn’t the residue build up that caused issues. It was the ammo.
I did observe a few issues with the gun not chambering the first round in a new magazine. With the slide locked open, I tried to use the slide stop to release the slide and chamber the gun, and the round did not seat. When slingshotting the slide—pinching it between my fingers, pulling back, and letting go—I had no issues.
I tried to use the slide stop to load the gun from slide lock and the round did not chamber. I used the sling shot method with the slide—pinched it between my fingers, pulled back and let go. No issues with that method.
When loading this gun, you just need to make sure the top round lays flat in the G44 magazine. I found the best method is loading the the magazine and tapping it in the palm of your hand a couple times to seat the cartridges properly against the back of the magazine and to settle the cartridges. There is a reason those other .22 LR magazines have a stiff magazine spring and tough-on-thumb magazine followers.
You also need to clean the G44 regulary, just like any other .22 LR after plinking.
The G44’s operating system is different from the typical Glock. It uses a simple blowback mechanism like the G25 and G28 .380 Auto pistols built for foreign markets.
All other Glocks available in the U.S. use a short recoil-operated, locked-breech system. Since the power of the .22 LR round is far less than a centerfire caliber, Glock chose to go with a blowback system. In fact, all other .22 LR rimfire pistols on the market use a similar blow-back system.
Handling a Variety of .22 Ammo
With such a huge variety of .22 LR ammunition available today, Glock designed a hybrid slide for the G44 to reduce slide mass and increase reliability—meaning the slide is made of both steel and polymer. This slide design provides the correct mass to operate on subsonic, standard, and high velocity ammo.
With 32-, 36-, 38-, 40-, 42-, and 45-grain bullets loaded in .22 LR cartridges, it was a challenge for Glock to make sure the G44 would function with nearly all .22 ammo. There are other less common .22 LR bullet styles like Aguila 60-grain sniper rounds and 20-grain Colibri.
I actually ran some Aguila Colibri 20-grain rounds through the G44. With a muzzle velocity more like a BB or pellet from an air gun. If you are wondering, I had to manually cycle the G44 slide to eject the empty and chamber a fresh round, but that’s not a ding against the G44.
I also ran some CCI .22 LR shotshell cartridges and had to physically cycle the slide by hand. But those are odd ball .22 LR loads.
CAPTION: The G44 disassembles like any other Glock pistol; the process is fast and simple.
CREDIT: Robert A Sadowski
I bellied up to the range table with a variety of more common rimfire fodder in bulk packaging. Like I said, I ran an amount through the G44 and had fun doing it.
The ammunition used was nothing special or fancy, just the type of ammo any of us would use for an informal day of plinking and bragging rights: high velocity Remington Thunderbolt 40-grain Lead Round Nose (LRN), Federal Auto Match Target with 40-grain LRN, Winchester Xpert 36-grain Lead Hollow Point, and Blazer 38-grain LRN. A nice assortment of bullet weights and velocities.
### G44 Accuracy
I started throwing rounds downrange by first using my range bag as a rest to gauge the accuracy of the G44 with target set at 15 yards. Don’t think this is a performance target pistol because it isn’t. The G44 did perform, however, quite well for not being a target pistol. My average 10-shot groups measured 1.8-inches.
With Remington Thunderbolt I shot 1-inch groups, 1.5-inch groups with the Blazer, 1.8-inches with the Winchester, and 1.1-inch groups with Federal. I did encounter a few failure to feed jams with the Winchester ammo, but these issues also occurred with another semi-auto pistol. I also had soft primer hits with the Federal ammo, and again I had similar issues with this ammo in other pistols. I blame these occurrences on the ammo.
These issues were few and just proves the point that you need to find a cartridge that works reliably. This experience is typical with any new .22 LR semi-auto pistol. If I had just tested the Remington and Blazer ammo, there would not have been any issues. I also loaded up magazines with different rounds to see if that would make the G44 sputter. It didn’t.
### Shooting/Reload Drills
Moving the target closer, I performed reloads the same way I would with a G19. On the last round fired the slide locks back, press the magazine button, the magazine drops free easily, insert a fresh mag and use the slide release to send the slide home and chamber a round.
Other than the weight and recoil, the G44 performed just a like a G19 Gen5.
I think the G44 will find its way into the hand of users who want a reliable, fun-to-shoot, .22 LR pistol. I also think this pistol will be a great training tool for those new to pistols and wanting to conceal carry. The transition from a G44 to G19 is nearly seamless. Bottom line is the Glock 44, since it is chambered in .22 LR, is a gun the entire family can use and enjoy.