I got my hands on a new GLOCK 42, and two questions came immediately to mind. 1) How much bigger is it than my existing pocket pistol (Taurus TCP), and 2) How does the terminal performance of this gun compare to the little pocket pistol? It turns out that yes, the G42 is a little bigger than the micro-pistol. It’s in the ballpark of being the same thickness and the same basic height, but the 42 is definitely longer front-to-back than the TCP.  The good news is . . .

That extra length is all due to the longer barrel. The Taurus (and its kin, the LCP and DB380 and other pocket micro-380’s) have barrels of about 2.8″ in length, and the GLOCK 42 adds nearly half an inch more barrel to the formula. What would that extra half inch of barrel do to the ammo’s performance?

In order to find out, I decided to run a series of tests. The ammo I chose was the winner of my .380 ACP Ammo Quest, Precision One JHPs, loaded with 90-grain Hornady XTP bullets. This ammo was quite impressive from the micro-sized TCP, delivering over 13″ of penetration and expanding to about .41″. What differences can we expect from the longer GLOCK barrel?

In short, not much at all.  The ammo again performed excellently from the G42. It was definitely faster, I saw about a 7.5% increase in velocity (about 873 fps, vs. 810 fps from the TCP).  That increase in velocity led to a 4% larger bullet expansion (about .430″, vs. the TCP’s .413″), but also about 4% less penetration (about 13.10″, vs. the TCP’s 13.70″). In terms of total tissue destruction where it counts, the MacPherson Wound Trauma Indicator clocked in at 29.08 for the G42, vs. 28.28 for the TCP.

So…it works. You can definitely get bullets to reach deep enough into the body cavity to cause an incapacitating hit. And the G42 gives you a little bit more performance in terms of expansion and tissue destruction, although the smaller expansion of the TCP allowed it to deliver slightly more penetration.  Overall, both pistols turned in excellent performance for a .380.

Now the question is, since the G42 can deliver a noticeable increase in velocity, will that turn some of the failed ammo from my test into viable options? I’ll explore that in my next video on the GLOCK 42.

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38 Responses to ShootingTheBull410 Tests the GLOCK 42’s Ballistic Performance

  1. I bought a TCP for pocket carry. I also bought a G42 for pocket carry.

    regardless of ballistic performance, I wouldn’t trust a TCP with my life. I’d rather be armed with a decent blade than that $200 false sense of security. a 45min drive to the range with my girlfriend ended in only an hour long stay. with a variety of .380, i spent more time clearing malfunctions than shooting. when I did get the gun to fire, it was a 50:50 chance that a round even landed on the man sized target at 7yrds. even with the most precise grip, trigger, and breathe control. not to mention it was very uncomfortable to shoot. my girlfriend (who is no stranger to shooting a variety of guns) left with a pain in her wrist that lasted a week.

    the G42? we could both shoot all day without any discomfort. grouping? baseball size at 7yrds. malfunctions? NONE.

    people can bitch all they want about the G42. it has a purpose. deep concealment to GTFO of dodge. first pick in a CQ gunfight? nope, but that’s a compromise you must make for comfort and concealment. but when all is said and done, controllable shots on target put holes in the bad guy.

    • You sure you have a TCP and not something else? hahaha. Nah, seriously, it sounds like you have something pretty weird going on, like the worst lemon I’ve ever heard of. I have multiple hundreds of rounds through my TCP, including various hollow points, reloads, steel cased, etc and have not had one single stoppage or malfunction of any sort. I also find it more pleasant to shoot than the other .380 micro pistols I’ve shot, although I do assume that the larger, heavier Glock 42 is better in this category. And, while the sights are small and the black front sight isn’t easy to pick up, I’m still able to shoot it accurately and the gun’s mechanical accuracy is fine. No issues reliably hitting an 8″ plate at 7+ yards

      • With the TCP being a Taurus you either get one that works fine or one that hardly works at all and it is pretty much a tossup on which you will get.

    • I had trouble with a TCP too. Mine broke in such a manner that a pin got loose and prevented the trigger from releasing the hammer even when fully pulled back.

      Once is an accident, twice is a faulty design. Sold it off and went with a PPK for my .380 use.

    • The biggest differences are going to come from the velocity that results from longer barrel. I guess one could get other differences from what we might call an interior ballistic result from “recoil resistance” (weight, weight distribution, springs, etc).

      But, at the end of the day, the numbers above tell the story. Differences are academic. Such tests may be interesting, but have pretty much nothing to do with real world results (with all the attendant additional unpredictable variables).

      What I thought the article was going to be was a comparison of accuracy. I’d kind of like to see some tests where guns are put in a rest and true underlying mechanical accuracy compared (at a range of at least 25 yards) with various ammunition.

      25 yd may not be ‘required’ for SD comparisons, but if we are comparing GUNS, the accuracy is a bigger tell than expansion in gel. Probably 99% of that difference is barrel length.

      Let’s see…7% increase in velocity, 4 % increase in expansion, 4% decrease in penetration (seems about right)…virtually equal theoretical wound index.

      As one would expect for two guns shooting the same ammo.

  2. Does the Glock 42 have a polygonal barrel? That’s the only thing I would think would be of note in a test such as this.

      • I did denim testing when I did the original Precision One review. The results of the bare-to-bare gel testing were so comparable, that it didn’t seem necessary to reproduce the denim results. The denim results in the Precision One/TCP were basically perfect, and since the bare gel results were so very close, it seemed reasonable to presume that the denim tests would be equal as well.

  3. I carry a snubby when it’s warm, and let’s face it, the .38Spl isn’t the most powerful round the world has ever known. Still, I have confidence that it will get me out of a bad spot should the worst come to pass. I would have the same confidence in the .380.

    As far as Glocks are concerned, they have a strong reputation for reliability and durability, which is a real plus.

    However, I’m not buying any SD pistol in year one. I’ll let y’all do the beta testing, and then I’ll make a decision.

    As far as ShootingtheBull410 is concerned, I think the guy’s reports just totally rock.

    • Well Ralph, I think my wife and I are going to become beta testers.

      I’ve said it before that I have reservations about the .380 cal, but even more so with pistols that are too small to shoot comfortably. I hate the grip and trigger pull of the LCP and the LC9. I’m used to Glock’s pull and reset, so this will be a backup for me and possibly a primary for my wife if and when she gets her CCW. She’s 5’1″ and recoil sensitive, so this ought to be a good gun for her, and I may be able to sneak in a few hundred (or thousand) practice rounds. I wouldn’t want to give my wife an unreliable gun.

      If it comes out in 9mm, I’ll probably buy that, too.

  4. Wouldn’t “bounceback” be a little bit like the bullet bouncing off of flesh? In that case, did it really penetrate that extra bit?

    Granted, I wouldn’t want it bouncing off my flesh.

    Kind of feel that we’re reaching on this one.

  5. My former TCP ran perfectly. Very ez to shoot and very reliable. I wish I had kept it but thought I would never get (legal) carry in Illinois. Quit ragging on Taurus if you’re too lazy or stupid to get it to run right.

    • It’s possible people get lemons. It doesn’t make them lazy or stupid.

      I don’t know if you’re aware of this, so I’ll clue you in: It is possible to share your opinion without making the immediate jump to being an obnoxious jackass.

    • you shouldn’t have to “get it to run right”. shit, it’s not a classic car worth the time and effort. the only good Taurus is the Beretta 92 knock off. I have personally had nothing but failures with every Taurus I’ve encountered. trust me, I’ve given them the benefit of the doubt too many times. I’ve had revolvers splashing lead in double action due to shitty timing, and the PT series? good god. full auto and burst fire. firing with safety engaged. firing on trigger reset. not to mention all the safe malfunctions like FTE, FTF, double feed. my friend has had to send a PT709 back in FOUR times. and they made him pay for shipping. I’m not going to invest the time to make a gun work unless I’m getting a paycheck.

    • For several years, Taurus has had a spotty record for reliability and a horrible record for customer service. If a buyer got a good Taurus, they were in clover. If they got a bad one, they were screwed.

      I hope Taurus’ culture has changed, but I have my doubts.

  6. Yawn, my 9mm Kahr CM9 is smaller than this Glock 42. I also own a Glock 26 Gen4, but does not fit in the pocket like the CM9, which is needed on occasion. If I wanted a .380 ACP I would get a small small small one, not one bigger than my 9mm.

    As far as the article about misfires and not hitting anything within 7 years… HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! Bull. However as I said WHY? You can get a small 9mm for less money. I am sure the G42 is a good gun, but 9mm ammo is cheaper, and my CM9 and Glock 26 share the same ammo. I reload so it is cheaper all around, but .380 ACP is more expensive than 9mm.

    • I too carry a CM9 and a Glock 26. Great combination. I have nothing against Glock, obviously, but the G42 just doesn’t do anything better than the guns I already have. If I wanted a .380, I would go with a Sig P238.

  7. Every pocket pistol needs to be broken in including your Glock “perfection”‘. Did you read the previous review? I guess not.

    • no Glock requires a break in period. you sound an awful lot like a 19 year old COD enthusiast who therefore knows everything about firearms. go home.

  8. 19? I guess I should tell my 39year old son he’s a miracle. The previous post indicated the Glock 42 would NOT run with certain ammo…but what do I know. I’ve had 4 Taurus guns that ran perfectly.

    • most guns will have issues with excessively high or low pressure cartridges. it runs just fine with all ammo except the extremes of 100gr +P and low pressure light loads that apparently won’t cycle the gun. no fucking surprise. most people will only ever shoot target ammo and common self defense rounds which it eats up just like any other gun… except anything made by Taurus, of course.

  9. Thanks for agreeing with me. Sorry I upset you so much for liking Taurus. If it’s any comfort to you my son carried a Glock 21 in Iraq(the green zone). Why do S&W, Ruger,Springfield,Kimber,etc. get a pass while Taurus doesn’t? At least R. Farago gave a very good review to the pt111g2. Did that offend you az? And I didn’t use the F bomb

  10. BTW Matt in Fl … blaspheming the name of JESUS isn’t cool. Especially for an official
    (?) TTAG writer. Would you blaspheme Mohammed? Over & Out.

    • I’m terribly sorry you were offended. Except I don’t think you actually were. I think you were looking for a bone to pick because you know I’m right about your attitude.

      I’m amused as hell that the same person who called someone else lazy and/or stupid because their gun didn’t run right can’t figure out how to hit the reply button under the name of the person they’re replying to. Oh, the irony.

  11. Yep you’re a sorry excuse for a writer…er blogger? Do you get paid? AND yes I’m deeply offended. Are you my mother boy?BTW the reply button isn’t working. My attitude is my business.

    • The reply button appears to be working splendidly. The space bar, and commas, also appear to be functioning as intended. You, sir, appear to be the one with the malfunction.

  12. After retirement, I worked PT at a gun store/shooting range for 5 years. Became absolutely “sold” on Glock, because of their reliability.

    Somewhat disappointed that the 42 is having problems with some types of ammo. But the Gen 4s had problems also until they got the recoil spring issues sorted out.

    Seemed that many mfg had problems of some type with new or “improved” offerings.

    FWIW: The # 1 brand for returning to the mfg was Taurus. Even with their “established” guns.

  13. I bought a Glock 42 for my wife, she can’t handle a 9mm but did really well at the range with the 380. Reliability is paramount in a sd pistol as is accuracy, Glock gives you both, there’s a reason they are so popular.

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