It really is too bad that Glock already consumed the model designation “22” in 1990 with the release of the Glock 22. Being a full sized frame variant of the famous model 17 (circa 1988) chambered in 40 S&W. Fast forward a scant 30 years and we see the release of the Glock model 44 chambered in 22 LR. The same missed opportunity for synergy goes down like the Glock 45 chambered in 9 MM and the Glock 40 chambered in 10 MM.
Glock has a well deserved reputation for innovation and reliability. They are also in a position to use their prowess and capability to stand the entire concept of a pistol on its head, again. The industry is ready for something like they saw in late 80’s. With their plastic frames and a design that has been built upon ever since.
Leading up to the 2020 release, as is typical of the industry, the hype and marking machine speak of “something new” coming from Glock. There was much teasing and build up starting mid 2019. The Glock 44 is billed as the next big thing. When unveiled and it is as a Gen 5 compact frame chambered in 22 LR the online reaction oscillated between let down and confusion.
Being open to new ideas, our initial judgment was withheld. The concept was studied and considered. Admittedly, it is a nice idea and it might have a place. Picture range day, with just one of those spiffy Glock factory cases. Inside is a Gen 5 model 19 and a Gen 5 model 44. Ammo needed is just a box of 9 MM and a couple bricks of 22 LR.
Spend a morning working on fundamentals of pistol marksmanship with the cheaper 22 ammo. Associate each pull of the trigger with only the recoil of a pea shooter. Then finish with some 9 MM to apply and gauge effectiveness of the training session. Since the ergonomics of the 22 LR pistol match the 9 MM. There are no training barriers to overcome or changes to manipulating the pistol. No recoil induced bad habits have been introduced. All this without even the need to change a holster.
However, does the experienced pistol shooter and long time Glock customer really need this? Consider an every day carry Glock 19 Gen 3. It has a couple of million miles on it and it is just starting to break in really nice. The user might have elected to skip a Gen 4 upgrade for a few reasons. The biggest of which is likely the fact that there is nothing wrong with the tool that they already had.
Also consider something like the Ruger Mark III pistol in 22 LR. There are also millions of these in circulation. Most fill the role of the fun gun on outings or range day with newbies. That newbie will often shoot a couple magazines though it. Then when asked if ready for something bigger, they give the affirmative and rarely look back.
Now after producing millions and millions of pistols, four previous generations, for 30 years. Glock has done a good job meeting the needs of experienced shooters. So the target audience to really jump onto the Glock 44 and maximize on this nice idea, are really going to be new shooters. While the new and inexperienced should be welcomed and given tools to succeed. Glock gave little consideration to their existing user base. Proof of this is seen in the feature set of the launch.
The Glock pistol mag is considered an icon. They are bomb proof, feed well, and set the bar for what a standard capacity magazine should be (15 rounds on a standard G19 mag). This is one reason why you see it cloned, often poorly, by other manufacturers. The form factor is often used in everything non-Glock. From the pistol caliber AR to something like the KelTec Sub2k.
However, the initial 44 release only sees a single stack 10 round mag with a new first, a thumb assisted follower. While Glock reports they are working on a higher capacity variant. It’s worth noting the physical area occupied by a G19 magazine (15 rounds of 9 MM). Will physically hold upwards of 30 rounds of 22 LR. There was no attempt shown to improve upon that round count. This really only keeps that “nice idea” afloat for the new shooters. There is a lot of room for innovation in this area but Glock chose not go above and beyond their competition or serve the more seasoned shooter.
Staying on theme, the rest of the unexciting initial release has no skus with barrel threading, Again, Glock reports that they will have one, but they are not on shelves today. There is no MOS (Modular Optic System) support. The only sighting system supported in the classic polymer sights with no enhanced options offered. Understand that with the slide top being polymer Glock only recommends polymer sights as installing metal ones might damage that polymer. While these issues might be resolved in future releases or in aftermarket. No attempt has been made to compel existing customers.
As expected, range time spent with the model 44 reveals that it is fun, just as expected. The lighter slide is easy to articulate, the magazine is easy to load. Ergonomics aside, the behavior of the polymer steel hybrid slide performs like any other blowback 22 LR. However it still manages to leave the shooter wondering where the innovation is. It is not found in the features, design, or performance. While there are some shooters who will benefit from his nice idea. It is simply too little too late for the majority.
Have you ever fallen in love with something at first sight? I surely have, and when it comes to firearms I have found that sentiment to apply in exactly the same manner. The first time that I laid eyes on my CZ Bren 805, I fell in love. When I shot it, my love was validated. Conversely, there are some times where you have an inherent dislike for things…No reason in particular, you just don’t like somethings face. The topic of this piece was not one of love, but more in line with the latter, at least at first.
The first time I looked at the sig p320, I was very much underwhelmed. I found the trigger to be less than awe inspiring, the aesthetics rather bland and borderline bulbous, and while the fit and finish was acceptable it left me wishing it were more than what it was. I had always found Sig Sauer pistols at the very least aesthetically pleasing, so to me the p320 was a total flop. As time went on the idea of a p320 faded into obscurity. My wife was the one to bring the idea back to the forefront, but the p320 that she presented was not the disappointment of the pistol I remembered.
The Sig P320 VTAC was striking. From the X series grip frame, the angular slide cuts, to the radiused slide, this pistol reeked of svelte. I found the grip to be very comfortable in my man sized meat paws, and I found the flat faced trigger to be an absolute joy to depress. I really appreciated the detail that went into the anti-glare ridges cut into the slide itself. That got me looking at the slide in more detail. There are two large lightening cuts on the side of the slide, and to further reduce weight Sig actually milled the slide down across the whole top. This paired nicely with the interesting sights from vtac. They are an extended height affair, with both a fiber optic set of green three dots and a lower set of tritium vials for low light use. I really enjoyed these sights, and they will be staying on the pistol instead of the Trijicon sights that I usually adorn my pistols with.
On the frame I saw several things that deserve mentioning. Firstly, the flat trigger is amazing. The weight is about 5 pounds, but it feels lighter than that. Paired with the awesome grip angle and just right grip texture, this pistol is quite the shooter. I found the controls very easy to use and intuitively placed. The magazine release was crisp and very positive, when depressed it virtually launches the empty magazines from the frame.
Off to the range I went, and the anticipation was palpable. I brought my Glock 34, old faithful as I call her, to bring what I consider a benchmark pistol to compare it to. Long story short I was both severely befuddled and extremely impressed at the same time. The VTAC is a tack driver. What befuddled me was that despite the thousands of rounds through old faithful, the VTAC held virtually the same size groups from magazine one.
From 15 yards, I was able to measure out one 17 round magazine in a group that measured just a hair over 4 inches with controlled quick paced fire. From the same 15 yards as fast as I could squeeze the trigger the VTAC produced a group that was about 8 inches centered on the target. The groups that I shot were imperceptible from the groups shot with my trusty 34, perhaps a bit better even. The recoil impulse was extremely manageable. The only way I can describe it with the justice it deserves would be to say it runs like a sewing machine, precisely and extremely linear.
What started as a hate affair turned into a tale of adoration in regards to the P320 VTAC. If you’re looking for a handsome, smooth pistol that begs to be pushed farther quickly, this is at the very least a solid contender. I believe that soon it will be the new old faithful. For those of you wondering if it is worth the $700 price tag I would say buy with confidence, you’re getting a steal.
Something I always run into at public ranges is the lack of weapons safety. I could be like a lot of other people and have the common opinion that these individuals are unsafe because they are “new to the rules of the range”. More times than not however, I find out this is not the case. I was out shooting at a public range the other day. After witnessing several dangerous functions the shooters were doing, I found myself having a conversation with them to try to find out what their history with weapons were. After several minutes I found that 95 % of the people I spoke with, stated they have been handling weapons for years and quit a few had according to them “ been thru classes” to help them learn gun safety. After I politely made a few suggestions, I found the common response was that they felt they knew enough and didn’t need any guidance. Due to the nature of their unsafe acts and the fact there was no assigned staff to this facility, I moved to a different location. Safety should always be first and foremost in operating a firearm. This will make for a more enjoyable outing for you and those that might be around you.
I went shooting with a friend the other day. When we got into some training drills I was reminded that old drills still need to be used once in awhile. He set up a drill I have not used in almost 20 years. Once he set this course up and we were shooting it, I realized the value in using drills I used to consider obsolete. There is always room for improvement. A fatal move is thinking you know everything and can’t learn anything new. There is always a way to do something better. If your open minded enough to accept that, then you will gain something from every school you go to. I constantly look for new schools to go to. A few months ago I went to another NRA school. A lot of the stuff they were teaching was years behind the times but I still managed to get something out of the class. Never stop training .
I’ve often watched my husband Jim Krueger, a natural lefty who can shoot ambidextrous (with either hand), and wished that I could do that too. I mentioned it to him one day and the response I got back was “Well try it!!” That chance came when we went back to Gunsite a number of years ago.
Due to an error in communication regarding pre-requisites we needed to start from the beginning with their 250 Tactical Pistol course. “Well”, Jim says, “this is the perfect opportunity for you to learn how to shoot left handed! Since we have to start from the beginning you may as well have them teach you the right way!” There were other reasons voiced in favor of this as well: “You’ve had lefty’s in your classes wouldn’t it be nice to know how to instruct them!” and “Think about tactics and how this will help overcome some of the day to day obstacles.” Needless to say after a few more good reasons I went off to Gunsite with my Glock 19, a left handed rig and 1000 rounds of ammunition ready to learn.
At first it was a little confusing for me but after awhile it began to make sense. Think about it!?!? Normally you use your strong hand to hold the gun and pull the trigger then you use your weak hand to do all the dexterous tasks. For example, racking the slide, handling the magazines during tactical and speed loads and in some cases working the safety. But when you work with your offhand you are now doing all the dexterous tasks with your strong hand and the only thing that you have to worry about doing with your offhand is holding the gun and squeezing the trigger. Makes sense, huh??
Well it continued to make more sense after the first shots were fired. From the leather, 2 shots to the center of mass … bang! bang! Right in the middle and right next to each other. Then again, and again… Results the same. As we moved back I continued to be pretty impressed but of course I have to admit that this was not timed and my focus was pretty intense. You see when you try something new like this you automatically go back to the basics: front sight, trigger squeeze, breath control, grip, stance and safety… safety… safety!! Your focus is incredible. If it isn’t it SHOULD BE!
As the week went along it became much harder but I never even considered switching over to my dominant hand to complete the course. The challenge and the learning experience were awesome! Through the week we ran speed drills and I was actually able to draw and fire 2 rounds from the leather faster with my left hand than my right… 1.6 seconds! My tactics were slower but not bad and in tactics slow (cautious) should not be a bad thing. Overall my performance wasn’t too bad and I was very pleased to have successfully completed this type of course. One of my earlier instructors suggested that “…everyone striving to be an instructor should try taking an entire course with their offhand to put themselves in shoes of a new shooter … it can be a humbling learning experience”.
Besides realizing that I could shoot left handed I also learned how important good and patient instructors are. With the right coaching, solid basics and a lot of patience this was one of the best training activities that I have put myself through.