Gun Review: GLOCK 36 Single Stack .45

Gun Review: GLOCK 36 Single Stack .45

Josh Wayner for TTAG

Hot on the heels of the announcement of the new single-stack slimline G43X and G48, both of which are skinny little 9mm’s, I am going to take the time to do a rewind and look at GLOCK’s first attempt at the single-stack slimline game: the .45 ACP GLOCK 36.

The early generations of GLOCK pistols could never be called attractive. They were introduced when polymer was still a relatively new material in the gun world and as a result they came out looking strange by comparison to what was standard at the time.

The age of wood and steel is far from over, but the age of plastic has certainly been in full swing for some time now and lots of gun owners have grown to like (or at least appreciate) polymer pistols

GLOCK’s first guns were high capacity for the time and established what is now the standard, be it 15 or 17 round magazines. An interesting note is that they were introduced in a Euro-centric world where small bore pistols were the most common in the hands of police and military, 9mm chief among them.

I suspect that Europeans failed to grasp the .45 bore because they are still largely essentially serfs living under the will of their governments and as a result gravitated towards smaller, weaker rounds designed for deterrence and not self-defense. Feudalism has never fully left the spirit of many European states and the most common guns there are developed for use by governments, not individuals. This was the same for GLOCK in the early years.

The .45 round, be it .45 Colt, .45-70, or .45 ACP, has always been synonymous with American exceptionalism and the spirit of adventure. As a result, GLOCK eventually released the G21 with the American market in mind.

They ended up with a what I can only describe as a bulky, thick chunk of steel and polymer that had all the ergonomic properties of a brick. Some people took a liking to it, as 13+1 rounds of .45 ACP is enough to overlook some minor issues.

The later release of the G36 was something new for GLOCK. The gun was a departure from the high-capacities of their prior models and featured a new type of magazine. The single-stack magazines of the GLOCK 36 holds six rounds plus one in the chamber. Two are included in the box with a G36.

Gun Review: GLOCK 36 Single Stack .45

Josh Wayner for TTAG

The significance of the G36 can’t be understated. This was the first in a line of GLOCK pistols that attempted innovation within the constraints of the original GLOCK design. It was thinner than the double stack G21, but as flat as a GLOCK 19, allowing .45 power in a (relatively) small package.

To look at the GLOCK 36 today is to look at a stepping stone design. The gun wastes a large amount of space. It’s far bulkier than it needs to be and isn’t kind on the eyes. The first and most noticeable issue is the grip which, while narrow(er), is exceedingly thick from front to back. That makes it prone to moving in the hand under recoil and the lack of grippy grip texture on the sides makes it somewhat hard to control. And the G36 has the characteristic GLOCK trigger pull that’s frequently described as mushy.

The limited capacity is another issue with the pistol. A 1911 of similar size holds at least another round while being far more comfortable in the hand. Guns like the Smith & Wesson M&P45 Shield (which was introduced have superior ergonomics, grip texture, and magazine capacity for equal size.

A big complaint I have is that the magazine has a large basepad that is necessary for a firm grip on the gun. With the mag removed, you only have a two-finger grip on it and your hand becomes the magwell in the event of a reload. Even a compact 1911 with equal capacity has flush-fitting magazines.

Gun Review: GLOCK 36 Single Stack .45

Josh Wayner for TTAG

The attempt at making a concealed carry .45 ACP pistol was honorable on GLOCK’s part. They took to a market that was already biased and threw down. I can respect that, but the gun we are left with is left wanting in today’s concealed carry market.

My advice to GLOCK — not that they’ve asked — is to issue an updated variant of this concept in the way of the G43 or the new G43X. I’d be surprised if they aren’t already hard at work on just that. The .45 has a large following in the US and an updated gun with the improved Gen5 trigger would sell extremely well.

I fired the G36 over my Oehler 35P chronograph at a distance of five feet from the muzzle. Velocity is the average of ten shots and accuracy is the average of three, five-shot groups at 15 yards.

Buffalo Bore 185gr JHP +P———————1008fps, 2.5”
Buffalo Bore 230gr JHP +P———————-903fps, 3.0”
Buffalo Bore 255gr +P Outdoorsman————875fps, 3.5”
SIG SAUER 230gr V-Crown JHP——————-850fps, 2.75”
SIG SAUER 185gr V-Crown JHP——————–925fps, 2.25”
Hornady American Gunner 185gr JHP———-848fps, 3.0”
Hornady Critical Duty 220gr +P——————950fps, 1.5”
Hornady Custom 200gr XTP +P——————925fps, 3.25”

Overall I found that the G36 was not especially accurate given its intended role. It’s mechanically sound as I had not a single issue with it as far as reliability is concerned, but it just wasn’t an enjoyable gun to shoot.

Like virtually all GLOCK pistols, it’s dependable and will go bang when needed. For a gun that’s meant to be carried a lot and shot a little, that’s okay.

Gun Review: GLOCK 36 Single Stack .45

Josh Wayner for TTAG

The best load tested was the Hornady Critical Duty 220gr +P. It shot to point of aim all the way out to 25 yards, where it again performed well. The high recoil of most of the ammo coupled with the snappy slide movement made rapid shots, even at close range, difficult at best.

For a gun that is almost the same overall size and weight as a GLOCK 19, it offers few of the benefits of its 9mm brother and the features of the gun fall short of what is otherwise available on the market today.

Gun Review: GLOCK 36 Single Stack .45

Josh Wayner for TTAG

Again, if GLOCK were to come out and combine the engineering of the G43 and adapt it to the .45 ACP, including addressing the grip length on the G36, they would have a winner. But so far, there are only 9mm’s so far in the Gen5 line.

Specifications: GLOCK G36

Caliber: .45 ACP
Capacity: 6+1 Rounds
Barrel Length: 3.75”
Overall Length: 7”
Sights: Polymer U-notch
Weight: 22.5oz with empty mag
Street Price: $550

Ratings (out of five stars):

Accuracy * *
I was expecting a bit more from the G36, but I wasn’t to be rewarded the way I had hoped. The only load I got to fire with a reasonable degree of precision was the Hornady Critical Defense, but even that wasn’t exceptional.

Reliability * * * * *
The big redeeming factor of this pistol was that I never had a problem with it as far as reliability. The gun fired everything I put in it.

Ergonomics *
I have never given a gun a one star rating in ergonomics before, but this one takes it. Despite a single stack magazines, the flat, wide grip and narrow profile make the gun feel akin to a 2×4 in the hand and it torques under recoil as a result. The recoil spring is quite stiff by comparison to similar guns, which makes it difficult to operate with cold or slippery hands.

Customize This * * * * *
Another blessing of this pistol is that it has a plethora of aftermarket accessories available for it (think aftermarket trigger and night sights).

Aesthetics * * *
More modern GLOCK pistols border on being aesthetically attractive, much in the same way that some actors and actresses become somehow better looking with time. But this is not that. The flattened pancake look of the gun and the off-putting differences in surface texture won’t turn any heads.

Overall * * *
While it’s not necessarily the most compact .45 out there, the GLOCK 36 is a reliable and sturdy gun for daily CCW use. The general idea behind it is still sound, but is at this point the G36 is significantly outclassed by other .45 ACP pistols in the same genre. You won’t be sorry if you go with a G36, but you may be slightly disappointed upon seeing what else is out there.

 

comments

  1. avatar Gregolas says:

    I bought a G36 early on, thinking it would be a lighter replacement for my Colt Officer’s .45. Gave it to my brother when I found I got a blood blister on my pinkie every time I fired it without a Band-Aid on my finger. The first thing I thought getting it out of the box was, WHAT is this dumb mag basepad for ? Why isn’t it like my G19, a longer, full, grip with a normal basepad ? I don’t know what Gaston was thinking.
    It was far thicker than it needed to be as a single-stack. Dumb design.

    1. avatar Pmac says:

      They measure the height of the pistol sans magazine. On paper the pistol sounds more compact than it is in practice. Mine gave me blood blisters every time I speed mag changes. I spoke to a Glock rep about this at SHOT. He said if I couldn’t get it done with 7 rds I probably couldn’t do it at all. I replied, “I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been to a gunfight where I felt like I bought too much ammo.” and walked away. Got rid of the 36 in some long forgotten gun deal.

    2. avatar Pmac says:

      They measure the height of the pistol sans magazine. On paper the pistol sounds more compact than it is in practice. Mine gave me blood blisters every time I did speed mag changes. I spoke to a Glock rep about this at SHOT. He said if I couldn’t get it done with 7 rds I probably couldn’t do it at all. I replied, “I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been to a gunfight where I felt like I brought too much ammo.” and walked away. Got rid of the 36 in some long forgotten gun deal.

  2. avatar CZ Rider says:

    The weirdest thing to me is that Glock actually makes the shorter mags for the 30 – they hold 9 rounds instead of 10, but they make it short enough to feel like you’re carrying a thicker G26 with a slightly longer barrel. A G36 with a flush 5 round mag would be really useful to me, but without that I’d rather have a Shield.

  3. avatar Walter says:

    Apparently my G36 is a different gun cleverly disguised as a G36. I shoot it frequently and carry it often. It is accurate, dependable, easily conceals and the recoil is quite manageable.

  4. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    3x 17, 19, 4x 19 gen4, 19 gen5, 20, 21, 22, 26, 30, 36, 40, 42, 43. no end in sight.

  5. avatar TexTed says:

    The G36 is the wrong answer. The XD-S is a much better .45 single-stack, and the G30 is a much, much better Glock subcompact .45 pistol. I love my G30, it’s basically all the goodness of a G21 but shrunk down to G19 size.

  6. avatar possum says:

    I don’t like plastic, although if I were going to buy a Glock I would get one of the hi capacity 9mm’s, I don’t like 9mm’s either but a pistol that holds almost a box of shells would be comforting.

  7. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    I’ve had a G36 since 2012. I’ve added +1 magazine baseplates to the mags, which also gave me a better grip.

    As a carry piece, I prefer it to my G19.

  8. avatar Jeff says:

    This is a different pistol with the magazine extension. Much more controllable, easier to shoot, etc.

  9. avatar B.D. says:

    Whole lotta nope.

    I’d need to carry 4 mags to feel warm and cozy.

  10. avatar Specialist38 says:

    I remember shooting a 36 and being amazed at how much worse it felt than a G19.

    Someone else mentioned the Colt Officers ACP. The officers ACP was similar in size and shot rings around the 36 for me. It just wasnt new, sexy plastic.

    They may build a new version of the 36, or may not. Now that they have the G43X and G48, they may be able to adapt it to 40, which I would prefer to a 36.

    Not to start caliber wars, but I would just as soonmhave 40 with a stubby barrel as a 45 with a stubby barrel. .easier to wrap my hand around the smaller diameter grip.

    I just prefer a 5 inch barrel for 45 acp to get max performance.

  11. avatar rsu11 says:

    Glad to see a review of the G36. It was my winter carry gun in NC, but I’m now a FL resident and it’s just too big a lump to conceal OWB under just a polo or t-shirt. So it’s now a range toy, but one I still like to shoot. I liked it enough to pick up a G30SF frame and make my own FrankenGlock G30s, which also did brief carry duty. Both versions were and still are typically reliable, with the G36 being my favorite due mostly to the narrower shape of the grip.

    Downsides? With a healthy load, it’s LOUD. And yeah, I’ve had my pinky bitten on quick mag changes but not shooting. Since it’s somewhat unique in the Glock world, aftermarket support is more limited than other models. For example, I’d love to fit it with a Tango Down slide stop, but no hope there. And since Glock stopped at Gen3, the future is limited, too, but I’ll still have a place for it in the safe.

  12. avatar Stan says:

    Another PoS Tupperware for glocktards to drool over. 🙄

  13. avatar AZgunner says:

    I love Glocks and still the Glock 36 was one of my least favorite pistols I’ve ever shot.

  14. avatar TheOtherDavid says:

    I’m a Glock guy but rather than the 36 I ended up going with the 30S -terrific pistol – and for slimmer times the Shield 2.0. S&W did a great job on that platform for the 45

  15. avatar Carlwinslo says:

    G30S is the answer

  16. avatar Parnell says:

    Had a G30S. liked it. Now have a Shield 2.0 45, like it better. It’s thinner, lighter and holds 7+1 the 36 can’t compete.

  17. avatar Red Devil says:

    No, the Shield 2.0 45 is not lighter – it just has a shorter Bbl.

    The G36 is a very accurate and reliable pistol, and a Great CCW weapon.

    With +P ammo, it gives std. pressure/Service Pistol performance – the Shield 2.0 45 does not.

    It is also thinner in the grip than the G19/23 and slab sided, so it carries very comfortably in a thin suede IWB holster, and the beveled muzzle also makes holstering easy.

    Capacity? That’s why they make the thin and easy to carry extra mags.

    Shootability? Less time with a mouse and more time in the world seems to make a big difference.

    in that suede

  18. avatar jimmy james says:

    Havent shot the G36 but own a XDS and shot a buds Shield. I have one on the way. Both are surprisingly shootable and accurate. I had a G21 and it sucked. I’ve owned numerous G 9mm’s over the years and they are all gone. I just never found the grips comfortable in my hand in the different iterations. I kept regriping and shifting my grip. Not good when milliseconds count. Glocks too proud of their tupperware anyway. I initially drank the koolaide and was a fan boy but not anymore. Too many better options in 45 and 9.

  19. avatar Pete says:

    The comment about weighting without the magazine is spot on: the magazines for Glock 36 are unusually heavy. With a magazine inserted, Glock 36 and Shield 45 clock in within 5 grams of each other. But Shield is still heavier by those 5 grams.

    BTW, everyone in this thread seem to forget about Kahr CM45.

  20. avatar Rokurota says:

    I suspect that Europeans failed to grasp the .45 bore because they are still largely essentially serfs living under the will of their governments and as a result gravitated towards smaller, weaker rounds designed for deterrence and not self-defense.

    Or could it be the 9mm Luger round was developed in Europe where .45 ACP is a homegrown American round? Your armchair sociology may have merit, but I suspect more prosaic motives are at work.

  21. avatar raptor jesus says:

    The .45 ACP in this pistol just had way too much ass on it. It was accurate, for one shot – but followups were slow and sometimes required readjusting my grip.

    Also the god damned magazine pinched my pinky all the time. Not fun.

  22. avatar Richard Burton says:

    Just Bidded on one, might win might not I hope I win really looking forward to getting a G36. Just got the G29 10mm and was wanting a nother carry with a little less recoil

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