Many gun enthusiasts regard the Glock as the ideal handgun. When the Glock 17 was first designed for the Austrian military, Gaston Glock had no idea how popular his design would become. Currently about 65% of the handguns used by law enforcement in the United States are Glocks. Military and police forces in over 48 countries have Glocks as their primary sidearm. However, the most recent model gave given us concerns regarding Glock 42 problems.
Gaston Glock was a curtain rod manufacturer, and it took that type of a polymer background to create the first so-called ‘plastic gun’. This series of firearms is lightweight, accurate, customizable, and reliable. By far the most popular versions of these firearms are the 9mm models. Within this group you have pocket guns like the Glock 26 and full sized sidearms like the Glock 17.
At the point when Glock decided to design the Glock 42, it had been a few decades since the last model was released. This created a huge amount of anticipation for this model. With very little advertising, gun buyers were drooling at the chance to see the next 9mm Glock. The ads did not give much detail about the firearm and led to the assumption that the 42 would be a 9mm. That assumption was wrong. This design change may have led to the Glock 42 problems.
Instead the firearm was designed in a smaller .380 to the dismay of thousands of Glock fans. Glock wanted to go as small as possible for a new pocket gun. They made the bold statement that the only thing smaller than the Glock 42 that fires every time is a Zippo lighter. Glock does have the reputation of being one of the most reliable handguns ever created. Why believe that this gun would be any different?
At first, those that purchased the 42 seemed impressed. It was not the smallest handgun ever made and was a bit longer than most .380s. However, it was easy to conceal, light on the shoulder, comfortable in the hand, and even had real, usable sights. For many people it was a great value. The reason for this reaction was that most gun buyers will not purchase a .380 unless they are already comfortable with a .380. Knowing what to expect goes a huge way towards a happy gun owner.
Despite it being a .380, this gun is definitely a Glock. It looks quite a bit like a smaller version of the Glock 19. The modification capability is a bit more limited, so keep in mind that the handle is a bit skinnier than a Glock 26. It is a bit larger than some .380s, but is still perfect for conceal and carry or as a pocket gun. So what is the problem with the Glock 42?
What’s the Problem?
Taking the gun to the range, it fires more comfortably than just about any other .380. However, firing the gun is where the problems may arise. Most Glocks are advertised to fire just about any round that you can fit in the magazine. This is not the case for the 42. High pressured heavier rounds and even some lighter rounds would not fire in this gun.
The vast majority of the rounds run through this gun fired just fine. However, we found that the 100gr. Buffalo Bore +P rounds would lock the slide back in place with rounds still left unfired. Freedom Munitions 100 grainers have exactly the same issue, whereas the much lighter Barnes XPD did not cycle the gun at all.
One of the Glock 42 problems came down to the recoil spring. It appeared to be very tightly wound compared to the 42s brother and sister models. This means that your ideal ammunition was going to fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. You did not want too heavy a round, but also needed to avoid especially light rounds.
The fact of the matter is that this is not an unusual problem for .380 handguns. Sure, it is a Glock and that may raise our expectations. The other, more pressing issue is with the barrel. Complaints have been made that their G42 shut down because of barrel damage. When the barrel was sent back to Glock, they said that the ammunition had damaged the barrel. It was just standard factory ammo.
As I have reviewed more and more complaints regarding the problems with the Glock 42, they all appear to be related to the ammunition. The rounds are catching on the magazine, or they do not eject properly. They lock the slide or they do not cycle at all. We even saw some double feeds on occasion. I believe that the use of ammunition that was not ideal for this firearm was causing further damage to it. Owners who load the gun with the right ammo the first time have no issues as long as they stick to that same ammo. Is it really the consumer’s responsibility to guess which ammunition will work best in their Glock?
The surprising part of this story is that a company as reputable as Glock was denying the overwhelmingly negative reviews of their gun. Well over half of the comments I have read about the Glock 42 were complaints. Having an issue with a firearm is one thing, but denying the problem and refusing to fix it is a whole new animal. By having problems with the 42, Glock was losing sales of the 42. By publicly saying there are no Glock 42 problems, Glock is losing lifetime Glock customers. It was disappointing to say the least.
Then comes the twist. Glock never changed their story and never admitted the flaws in the firearm, but they did secretly change the design. An associate of mine had purchased a 42 when they first because available in the US. Then after hearing rumors of small modifications being made to the design, he purchased a second 42 for a comparison.
One of the most obvious changes in the Glock 42 was the magazine. The original magazine had jagged, rough edges that were likely causing feeding issues. The edges of the new magazine are more subtle and rounded, and the new shape adds room in the slide next to the slide stop lever. The right side of the magazine is also shaved down where it comes in contact with the trigger bar.
The second change is in the slide stop lever. This one was obvious because of a different part number than on our other 42. The new slide stop has been rounded right where it meets the magazine follower. The previous part was much more geometric with angles and points.
The trigger mechanism housing has been modified towards the top of the part. An extended cut lip was added to the top right corner directly across from the ejector. This could potentially improve the feed of the round and its ejection.
In addition, the frame has somehow been modified. It was not obvious what changes were made, but the new frames are marked with a ‘1’ or a ‘2’ to distinguish which version the firearm has. In fact most of the modified parts are marked with these numbers. This is a unique feature you will not find in any other Glock models. It is obvious that Glock saw the need to improve their product.
In addition to these changes made to the factory design, there have been several instances where owners have now been helped by Glock. There are plenty of times that Glock has admitted the issues and either replaced parts on the gun to fix it or replaced the gun entirely. Despite the lack of a public admittance of the issues, it is good to know they are doing the right thing.
Those that have used the Glock 42 with the new modifications have been pleased. It appears that any issues with round feeding or ejection have been fixed. No longer do you have to be selective about your ammo choice, or so far that is how it seems. There is a much larger sample group of owners that are still firing the original version.
Conclusion on the Glock 42 Problems
As far as I can tell, the Glock 42 problems have been resolved. That does not help users that bought one three years ago and are still having problems. However, if you are one of those owners I would encourage you to contact Glock one more time. Tell them that you know about the modifications that have been made and would like a quality product, no more and no less. I am guessing you might find them significantly more responsive than you did the last time you called.
For those that have never owned a Glock 42, I would not hesitate to buy one based on previous issues. The fact of the matter is that overall I have been happy with about every Glock I have ever fired. The problems with the Glock 42 are in the past. If you are okay with a .380 and do not mind a two finger grip, give it a try. I think you will be impressed.