If you are a Patreon supporter, you've likely been following my posts about the new Glock 44. I ordered mine from Palmetto State Armory just before leaving for SHOT Show a week or so ago.
The Glock 44 is an interesting gun from a couple of different perspectives. First, it very closely imitates the form, feel and function of the Glock 19. Clearly this was the intent from the beginning, to give Glock 19 owners something they could practice with vs. shooting expensive 9mm ammo all of the time. On this point, Glock really has nailed it. The two guns are nearly identical with the exception of the G44 being considerably lighter and of course the fact one is .22LR and the other chambers 9mm.
Early on pictures, and even video (above), started to emerge on social media showing catastrophic failures of the new .22 pistol designed by Glock but manufactured here in the United States.
Initially these reports were dismissed by many as either being anomalous or even being the fault of the user assembling the gun incorrectly. Since I wasn't present at either event where the guns went off out of battery, I won't speculate on the cause. Suffice it to say, if a it can be assembled incorrectly in such a way that it can cause a dangerous situation like out of battery detonations, that's a flaw in and of itself. I'll save that point for another time should we learn this is in fact what happened.
Only time will tell if there truly is a problem the the G44 that's causing the "kabooms". These out of battery detonations harken back to years of old when Glock 22's, and other caliber pistols, were blowing up on their users. This is definitely something Glock would like to avoid a repeat of.
However, reports from others have surfaced charging the new pistol has other less explosive problems.
22 Plinkster of YouTube fame posted a review video of the G44 where he did something fairly uncharacteristic, he was rather harsh in his assessment of the gun. He pointed out reliability issues with common bulk pack ammunition of the 36gr variety. He said he tried different brands of 36gr ammo and his G44 wouldn't run any of it at all. Then with 38gr ammo he experienced several failures to extract and eject. He pointed out he only had reliable function with 40gr ammo.
For someone looking to shoot inexpensive training ammo, this doesn't bode well for the new polymer infused steel hybrid pistol. Yes, you read that correctly. The G44 uses "polymer infused steel" to achieve its super light weight slide assembly. This is similar to the "tungsten infused polymer" used by Sig in its X5 Legion P320 I recently did a video on. The difference is that Sig wanted to add weight, and they did, and Glock sought to reduce weight, and they did.
22 Plinkster also charged the gun with shooting so high that the target adjustable rear sight couldn't be zero'ed. With the rear sight all the way down he still shot several inches high at relatively close range. He sent me text messages of comments people had made to his video saying that others were experiencing the exact same issues.
The problems didn't stop there for Dave (aka 22 Plinkster). He also had problems with the magazines improperly holding the 8th, 9th and 10th rounds so that the nose of the bullet pointed downward and thus caused feeding issues when he went to reload his gun.
By now you might be thinking to yourself, "This is an isolated issue with Dave's gun, surely they can't all have the same issues." I get it, I don't want to believe it either given Glocks lofty claims of having fired an insane amount of a variety of ammunition in testing before releasing the gun to the public. The typical media "journalists" have already claimed the G44 is an outstanding performer after having attended the Glock launch parties. But something isn't right.
I've since picked up my Glock 44 after returning from SHOT Show in Las Vegas and I've been shooting it the last two days. The first 60 rounds I fired were Federal 40gr target ammo and I had none of the issues 22 Plinkster had with his gun. I hadn't even cleaned or lubricated the gun, I just stepped out on the back porch and fired off 6 magazines and put it away until this afternoon.
Not only that, I was able to confirm my sights were mostly on that first night as I was able to hit a 1/4 scale IPSC steel target from over 25 yards away.
That's it, Dave got a lemon. All is good in the Glock universe. That is, until today. I will say, the accuracy of my gun isn't at issue. Whatever problem Dave's gun has, and some of his viewers have given their comments saying their gun shoot way off target as well, mine didn't seem to have. Fast forward to this afternoon and my range session with 38gr Federal ammo and I started to experience some of Dave's other issues.
My group from 10 yards using Federal 38gr ammo.
I loaded 10 rounds each into my two factory supplied magazines of the Federal 38gr ammo and right away I knew things were going to get spotty. With the 40gr ammo I used the night before the rounds could be jostled into proper position by flicking the magazine loading tab and shaking the magazine around a little. With the 38gr ammo, nothing I did could get that nose to point up like it should in the magazine. This inevitably lead to failures to feed on every reload where I dropped the slide on a fresh magazine. The bullet would jam itself into the barrel hood. Damn it!
As if this wasn't bad enough, I started having another problem Dave had with his gun. Every magazine I fired I would get one round that wouldn't extract or eject. Now, to be fair, I seemed like when this happened I could tell that the round I had just fired seemed a little under powered, but not THAT under powered. The G44 made almost no attempt to kick the empty out. The slide barely moved.
Now I'm getting worried. While my G44 shoots to the point of aim without any adjustment being required, all the other issues Dave reported in his review video I'm now experiencing. The only ammo my gun seems to work properly with is 40gr ammo, just like Dave's. Argh.
So now I will hunker down and do extensive testing with my G44. I have already ordered a Glock threaded barrel and two spare magazines from Brownells. This brings me to a sticking point I have with the G44 -- price. The gun costs anywhere from $380-$430 depending on where you buy it. That's already a bit above competitive products that are quite popular and work well like the Taurus TX22. Now you add two $29 dollar magazines and a $194 threaded barrel and I have well over $600 invested into a .22 caliber Glock 19 that is picky about what it eats and could possibly blow-up unexpectedly.
Needless to say I'm starting to regret my purchase. I can't let my boys shoot the G44 because I don't know if it will go off out of battery like I've seen two other guns do based on posts being shared on social media. While I always have them wear eye protection and hearing protection, I still don't want them to experience an out of battery detonation as it would likely spook them about shooting in the future.
The image above is from the second post I found on social media of a catastrophic failure of a new G44. In this image you can see a long crack running the length of the slide with the extractor having been ejected from the slide. Both guns that went off out of battery ejected their extractors in a similar fashion.
As of this writing the only thing I can confirm from my own experiences is that the guns seem to have reliability issues with common range ammo with bullet weights under 40 grains. The magazines can in fact hold the top round in such a way that it will cause malfunctions when the magazine is fully loaded. As for other issues, I've not experienced them, but if this is as bad as it gets for me and my G44 it's survivable. However, I will never trust it enough to let my young boys shoot the gun and I'm not super thrilled that the gun is that particular in the ammo it requires to be reliable.
Since I do have a threaded barrel coming from Brownells I plan to run the gun suppressed quite a bit. I will use mini-mags, subsonics, and everything in between to see if my gun goes "kaboom" or not. I really hope it doesn't.
If you have a Glock 44, please post your experiences in the comments down below! I would love to hear if your gun is ammo sensitive, if you have the same magazine issues I'm having or if, God forbid, your gun went off out of battery. I truly hope the issues I'm seeing online are isolated and not widespread.