By Zack Pike
Are you a concealed carry permit holder? Are you of the opinion that a 9mm bullet can stop a threat? Can you learn to draw and shoot with only two fingers on the grip? Then have I got a gun for you! If you answered yes to all of those questions, there aren’t many handguns that can beat a Glock 26. The model we’re talking about here, the Gen 4, has quickly becoming my preferred carry gun (over my previous fave, a Gen 4 G19). Sometimes referred to as the “Baby Glock”, this little pistol packs 10+1 rounds of parabellum in a convenient little double stack configuration. Sporting the typical Glock – er – style, this thing is all business . . .
No external safety, no rail, semi-flush mags and no-nonsense slide. A couple of features this thing has over its older sibling, the Glock 19: a nice radius on the front of the slide to make re-holstering smoother, and a slightly better bevel job in the mag well for easier, quicker reloads.
The 26’s frame is actually what drew me to it. The shorter grip makes for a much deeper level of concealment in the appendix carry position. The Gen 4 rough textured frame is decent — a major improvement over the standard Gen 3 treatment, but toned down quite a bit from the RTF2 available on some Gen 3’s. I actually prefer the RTF2, but the standard Gen 4 frames make concealment a little easier because you don’t have to worry about your garment snagging on the texturing. As you probably know, the Gen 4 26 features interchangeable backstraps.
Fit and finish is typical Glock — there’s not a whole lot to say here. Overall length is a hair over 6.6″ and it only weights 26 oz. loaded. The gun is nice and tight. At this point I’m going to stop boring you with the same rehash of features that have been consistent across all Glocks, so we can get into the real issue behind this gun; handling.
I have to admit that, at first, I was a little intimidated by it. Coming from sending 10’s of thousands of rounds down range through a Gen 3, and then a Gen 4 G19, I was worried I would have problems with both my draw, and controlling follow up shots from this little devil. But I was willing to put the cash down so I could get some quality time to see if I could swaddle the 26 in a way that kept her happy, and provided me a deeper level of concealment.
The gun feels really good in my hand. Aside from the shorter grip, the thickness of the double stack magazine helps it to fill your palm. The grip angle is set up in a way that sticks the butt of the gun right in the sweet spot of my palm. It’s hard to explain, but it feels like it belongs there.
Of course, that shorter grip doesn’t allow me to get my pinky in a spot to use it to control the firearm — something that took some getting used to. I tried the Pearce baseplate extension and that helped me get a much more positive purchase on the gun, but it came at the sacrifice of some concealability. With a baseplate extension, the total grip length was very close to that of my G19, so I wasn’t gaining much. That’s when I decided it was going to take a lot of ammo to feel really comfortable with this gun.
It’s been about 6 months, about 2,000 rounds of 9mm, and I’m finally at a point where I feel comfortable enough to carry this gun over my G19. Hundreds of draw repetitions, and a lot of rapid fire practice has helped to build my confidence in handling the gun with only two fingers on the grip. Combat accurate shots were actually the easy part. The hard part was getting my draw down. With the larger G19 I could always use by pinky to help compensate for those not-so-perfect draws, but a lot of practice made a “no-pinky” draw a non-issue.
Is rapid fire as accurate with this gun as my 19? Nope. The lighter weight and balance is the main culprit here.
I haven’t quite gotten up the nerve yet to go all Rob Pincus on a G19 yet and cut down the grip to gain concealability, while keeping the longer barrel and slide. I am following all of his posts on that gun, though.
Overall accuracy of the 26 it typical Glock, meaning it’s more accurate than I am. I’m not going to win any long range competitions with it, but out to 25 yards is no problem. I did swap out the sights to a set of my preferred tritium Speed Sights.
Reliability? Do we really want to have this conversation? It’s a Glock. Love ’em or hate ’em, reliability is what they do. All I’ll say here is after roughly 2,000 rounds I have yet to experience a single malfunction, not even an ammo related malfunction.
Overall, I really like this gun. I’m not excited about the limited mag capacity, but being able to carry a spare Glock 17 mag helps to calm those worries. I still carry my 19 whenever convenient, but now that my comfort level with this little 26 has reached the high standards I set for myself, it’s quickly taking carry priority.
Barrel Length: 3.43″
Weight: 19.75 oz. (unloaded)
Price: About $550
RATINGS (out of five stars):
Fit and Finish: * * * * *
Typical Glock, it runs well.
Handling: * * * *
This is the gun’s only fault. Mitigated by extensive and expensive practice, but never fully gone.
Concealability: * * * * *
Like all Glocks, this is thicker than the single stacks out there. It hasn’t been an issue for me, especially in the appendix position. I can actually conceal this with a tucked in shirt, or a regular t-shirt. I carry in either a Raven Concealement Vangaurd II, or a Safariland Model 18. The shorter grip length ensures that it doesn’t hang out past the curve of my torso.
Overall: * * * * *
I give this 5 stars with one caveat… Practice. If you’re willing to put in the time to tame this infant, then you’ll have yourself a winner at about a $525 price tag.