Everybody Wants a .22 LR These Days …
… but not every manufacturer wants to do the work to make one great. So many companies take the easy route and license their designs to second-party manufacturers to create a .22 LR version of their flagship centerfire guns. Trouble is, these “generic” guns are often just not the same as the real-deal name brand. The other route is to create a conversion kit, and up until 2019 that’s the approach Glock took. These days, instead of Glock 22 conversion kits, shooters can buy a real, factory-produced .22 LR, named the G44, which is based directly off the Glock 19 (9mm) and 23 (.40 S&W) pistols.
I’m too responsible to recommend this pistol for self-defense; no matter how you cut it, rimfires are too underpowered to end a criminal confrontation quickly. (That said, any pistol is better than no pistol.) Really, where the G44 shines is as a trainer. Being the same size as “the most popular pistol sold” means that it already fills a need for many. After all, .22 LR is just so cheap to shoot that you can burn through 200 or so rounds of .22 LR for the same price as one box of 9mm.
I have owned several .22 LR trainers from other companies, and my experience with them is that they tend to be scaled down about ¾, so nothing fits. Not so with the G44: Since it’s the same size as the Glock 19/23, any holster you already own that fits those profiles will work.
Another cool aspect is that the G44 uses the same rail as any other full-sized Gen 5 Glock frame. This means that you can attach the same lights and or lasers to the G44 and your larger-bore Glocks.
Even though the G44 is a single-stack pistol, the magazines of the G44 and G19/23 are the same exact outside dimensions. Therefore, while training, you can use the magazine pouches you already have. Having a similar feel is important for building muscle memory!
This is the first trainer pistol that is a successful clone of one of my carry pistols. The G44 can use any aftermarket trigger components for Gen 5 Glock pistols. I have my G44 set up with the same Apex Tactical action enhancement kit as my G19. I am spoiled by the aluminum flat trigger with no flex. The dovetail and front sight hole is the same as the G19, so any 9mm Glock sights will fit the G44. Warning! The G44 dovetails are located on the polymer part of the side, so you need to take extra care when installing the rear sight. An oversized sight will gouge the polymer.
Where the G44 Falls Short
Out of the box, the G44 has a horrendous Glock factory trigger. The striker spring is extra heavy on purpose, because the factory wants to make sure that no matter what .22 LR you use, you will not get light primer strikes. Trust me, I understand reliability, but the trigger is a bit overkill. Dropping a few pounds with a lighter striker spring did not reduce reliability of igniting the rimfire cartridges.
The G44 is only available as a Gen 5 Glock, so if you are trying to match a previous generation Glock, you can get close but not the same. In all honesty this is the best argument for still buying an Advantage Arms conversion kit. They make conversions for all of the different sizes and generations.
Also, there’s no MOS optics cut. I have been told by Glock representatives that an optic would add mass to the slide, lowering reliability. In my opinion this is a BS answer. A Trijicon RMR adds like 1.2 oz to the slide, maybe with really low power ammo reliability would decrease. But in reality that should be my decision after reading a warning of only using higher velocity .22 LR like CCI mini-mags with an optic.
Okay, and the 1994 assault weapons ban called and they want their 10-round magazines back. Glock: What gives? You could have designed a fantastic magazine with full capacity. Glock reps told me their main goal was reliability. Don’t get me wrong; the G44 is reliable, but I do still have misfeeds with the factory magazines. Weirdly, both of my 18-round Pro-Mag magazines are more reliable maybe one misfeed in 500 vs 1-200/300 for the factory magazines.
And while I’m on the topic of missed opportunities, the G44 is an American pistol for the American market. So did Glock use the industry standard .22 LR thread pitch of 1/2×28 TPI? Nope! Someone at Glock thought it was a great idea to thread the suppressor barrel in M9 x .75 RH. I want to ask the readers, have you ever seen a suppressor threaded in that? Glock does include an adaptor but why? You are stating the tolerance of the suppressor, on top of the tolerance of the adaptor, on top of the tolerance of the barrel. Glock could have just threaded it to the industry standard where there are thousands of different suppressors to fit.
I Actually Did Like Some Things
I have swooned over the size and the fact that I could basically make a training clone of one of my carry pistols. That alone overrides most of my gripes with the pistol, especially since most can be fixed.
Many people may not know this, but the G44 slide is both steel and polymer. They do this to keep the slide’s weight down, using steel in only the critical parts. Because of this, the G44 striker is exactly like that of other Glock pistols. Unlike every other .22 LR firearm, Glock says that the G44 is safe to dry-fire. In fact, to take it apart you need to dry-fire it. Dry-fire work is important for developing and maintaining good shooting skills, so it’s nice to be able to do that without using snap caps.
It does bother me that the G44 has been around for three years and we have not had any updates or “fixes.” In that time Glock could have released a properly threaded barrel, giving people more compatibility choices. Glock could have also developed higher capacity magazines, instead they leave that up to the aftermarket.
Yes, I have critiques on this gun, but don’t think I’m saying it’s a bad gun. It isn’t at all! In fact, it is one of my favorites, especially when taking new shooters to the range. Mostly I am disappointed that with a couple more updates they could take a good pistol and make it a fantastic pistol. Nevertheless, having the option for a .22 LR pistol that offers the same quality and feel of my other Glock pistols overrides any negatives in my mind.
–James Nicholas Mr. UnPewFessional Himself!
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