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GLOCKs are among the country’s favorite handguns for self defense because of their simple, reliable operation and uncomplicated manual of arms. Tens of thousands of GLOCKs go to work every day protecting their owners’ homes, vehicles, and selves, so the Austrian gun’s utility is not a well-kept secret.

But different GLOCKs have different characteristics, often due to their chamberings, even though the grip angle, materials, and sights might not vary much between lines. Of all the GLOCKs I’ve shot a lot, I became more fond of some of them than others, and three sidearms float to the top as being my favorites. Here they are:

GLOCK 42 Subcompact Slimline .380 ACP

Glock 42 plastic pistol case
The Glock 42 came in a plastic pistol case that contained a cable lock, manual, cleaning brush, and Glock patch and window sticker. In the case were two 6-round polymer magazines. The front sight was a black polymer front blade screwed into the top of the slide. The frame and slide had marks designating that the gun was made in Georgia. Its strength is that it can hide. Photo by Woody for TTAG

Some concealed-carry observers discount the .380 ACP as being underpowered for self defense, but .380-chambered handguns and ammunition continue to be among the most popular CCW choices. Consumers like these pistols because many .380s are easy to carry and conceal, and shooters are willing to trade off slightly less power for better portability.

I bought my then-new GLOCK 42, made in Georgia (U.S., not Russia), the year it was introduced, 2014. It was not the company’s first .380 Auto semi-auto. Gaston Glock’s firm introduced the GLOCK 25 in 1995 in Germany for markets where civilian personnel are not allowed to possess handguns featuring military calibers, such as 9mm Luger (9×19 or 9mm Para). And the GLOCK 28, introduced in 1997, is a blowback version of the GLOCK 26. 

Why I like it: 

  • My G42 measures 5.94 inches in length, 4.13 inches in height, and is pretty skinny at 0.94 inch in thickness. The carry gun weighs only 16.6 ounces loaded with one in the chamber and 6-round single-stack magazine capacity (14.0 ounces unloaded). Like a stealth helicopter in Zero Dark Thirty, it can hide. 
  • The GLOCK 42 has a 3.25-inch barrel length, and I fire two ball ammos and one jacketed hollowpoint through it: Prvi Partizan Ammunition 94-Grain Full Metal Jacket #PPR3.2, Winchester USA 95-grain Full Metal Jacket #USA380VP, and the Hornady Critical Defense #90080, a self-defense round with 90-grain Flex Tip eXpanding bullets. These rounds give me plenty of affordable practice choices, and the Critical Defense is a high-penetration self-defense choice. All are perfectly reliable in my gun.
  • With Pearce Grip extensions (PG-42, $10) added to the GLOCK 6-round magazines, I’m able to get three fingers on the grip, even when worn IWB.
  • It field-strips the same way as other larger GLOCKs. Easy peasy.
  • Like on most of my other pistols, I added a laser, the Viridian Green Laser R5-G42 Reactor, rather than night sights. With Winchester 95-grain FMJs at 10 yards, I can shoot average group sizes of 1.2 inches with the laser, a half-inch better than I can do with the open sights. The margin is much bigger with the Prvi Partizan 94-grain FMJs, with the GLOCK at a laser-aided 1.2 inches compared to open sights at 3.7 inches, and with the Hornadys, it’s 1.7 inches compared to 3.3 with the supplied sights.
  • Slide-retraction effort is 15 pounds, which allows my wife to operate the G42. Also, she likes the simplified external controls, with only the magazine release to fuss with. It was one of the first guns she considered for carry.
  • Bottom Line: The G42 is small enough to hide well and big enough to shoot well.


Glock G21SF-TB with SilencerCo Osprey 45
The Glock G21SF-TB looks like a standard Glock except for the longer barrel and elevated sights, but the “TB”-designated models ship with a threaded barrel. The sights easily clear an attached suppressor. Glock also includes a polymer thread protector that slips on and off the muzzle. The suppressor is a SilencerCo Osprey 45 with a 16mm LH piston from Photo by Woody for TTAG

At one point, the GLOCK lover could get a threaded barrel in one of two ways: Replace the existing barrel in your GLOCK with an aftermarket threaded barrel, or buy a new gun with a threaded barrel. The designated “TB” models shipped with a threaded barrel for attaching a suppressor, but they seem to have been discontinued. Pity.

GLOCK makes drop-in threaded barrels (TB) for several pistols. The rifling is the same polygonal type (no lead bullets) as a standard GLOCK barrel. The barrels are made in Austria, so they come with European left-hand thread patterns: 13.5×1 for the G17, G19, and G23 barrels and M16X1LH for the G21 SF. Brownells sells the latter for $168 (100-700-173WB at TB chamberings include 9mm Luger, .40 Smith & Wesson, and .45 ACP for Gen3 GLOCK 17, GLOCK 19, GLOCK 23, and GLOCK 21 SF models.

The PF2150203TB I owned had minor differences between it and a stock GLOCK 21 .45ACP: a slightly longer overall length (8.25 inches instead of 8.1 inches), an unloaded weight with empty magazine of 30.2 ounces instead of 29.1 ounces, and a longer barrel, 5.2 inches to accommodate the threads compared to the standard 4.61 inches for the factory specification. Also, the G21TB had taller Ameriglo suppressor-height sights. The G21TB is a pretty big package, but it’s smaller than an FN FNX-45 or H&K Mark 23.

Here’s why I like G21SF-TB:

  • Adding a suppressor also suppresses the GLOCK’s recoil impulse. It’s a lot of fun to shoot .45 Automatic Colt Pistol rounds with a can, allowing me to control recoil better shot to shot.
  • The lack of noise with the can on counts, too.

GLOCK G17 Gen4 MOS 9mm Luger

G17 Gen4 MOS 9mm pistol
The G17 Gen4 MOS 9mm pistol has a small cover plate just forward of the rear sight, which is removed to install a plate that receives the Meopta MeoRed reflex red-dot sight. Screw the plate onto the slide then screw the Meopta onto the plate adapter. Photo by Woody for TTAG

The 9mm GLOCK G17 Gen4 MOS (Modular Optic System) full-size variant PG1750203MOS comes with a mounting-plate kit consisting of four adapter plates, screws, wrench, and instructions. These adapter plates allow mounting of a reflex red-dot sight from Trijicon (RMR), Leupold (DeltaPoint), Meopta, C-More, Docter, EOTech, and Insight.

Remove a small cover plate just forward of the rear sight to install a plate adapter for your red dot. (Note, the standard sights do not co-witness with the optic.) 

Why I like it: 

  • With Winchester Train ammo firing a 147-grain FMJs in this GLOCK 9mm, I can shoot under 2 inches at 25 yards from a rest, something I can’t do with many other 9mm pistols.
  • I did need ramp-up time to acquire the dot because I am more familiar with iron sights, but once acclimated, I found I could shoot faster and more accurately with a reflex sight than iron sights. The G17 Gen4 MOS performs well for me and offers a lot of reflex-sight options that are easy to install.
  • It has plenty of firepower for home defense and is easy to shoot well in low light.

That’s why it’s one of my favorite GLOCKs.


To read more about these and other GLOCK pistols, check the links below:

Gun Review: GLOCK 42

GLOCK 42 in a Soft Leather Holster: Everyday Carry Pocket Dump of the Day

GLOCK 43 or GLOCK 42? : Everyday Carry Pocket Dump of the Day

Easy Peasy GLOCK 42 EDC – Everyday Carry Pocket Dump of the Day

New from Laserlyte: TGL UTA-YY Laser for GLOCK 42

New From Crimson Trace: Laserguard for GLOCK 42

How the New GLOCK G21 Revolutionized the Gun Industry in 1991

Gear Review: Lone Wolf Alpha Wolf Threaded Barrel for GLOCK 20 (10mm)

Gun Review: Law Enforcement Trade-In GLOCK 22

Navy SEALs Switching from SIG SAUER P226/P229 to GLOCK 19?

GLOCK 19 Barely Beats Springfield XD Mod.2 in Completely Unscientific TTAG Online Poll

Gun Review: GLOCK 34 MOS Gen 5 FS 9mm

New from GLOCK: Gen5 GLOCK 26 and the GLOCK 34 Modular Optic System (MOS)

New From GLOCK?: G40 Long-Slide Hunter and Optics-Ready G34, G35 and G40 MOS Models

How about you? What do you think are the best GLOCKs? Join in the fun in the comments section below. 

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    • Agreed! Last year I had 4 Glocks. Now I have 3 M&P 2.0’s. The Gen 5 – 19 and my major dislike of it allowed me to take off my Glock fanboy hat and take a look around.


      • They are the most over-rated firearm out there.

        Overpriced, over $500 for a $350 dollar pistol.

        Unnatural grip angle.

        Horrible plastic sights.

        Terrible triggers.

        Unsupported barrels.

        Needs a stippling job out of the box.


        No real improvements or innovations in decades. 19X is innovative?

        Needs another $500 in after-market parts to bring it up to date.

        And has been surpassed by a number of other manufacturers.

  1. Saying you have three different favorite Glocks is like saying Earth is your favorite planet you live on. There’s only one.

  2. “made in Georgia (U.S., not Russia)”
    The country of Georgia is definitely not part of Russia, although it was formerly one of Soviet Republics of the USSR.

    • Americans ignorance about world geography is best understood by understanding its cause: the Atlantic ocean and the Pacific ocean. “That’s over THERE.” followed by the complete shutdown of the mind.

  3. Whether I take Sigs, 1911s S&Ws or Lugers to the range (I do theme based range days) they all start the same conversation: “Why not Glocks?” If you have to ask…

    • I do something similar. These days if you bring anything to the range that’s not a Glock or AR it’s a head turner. Which is pretty funny because I can remember back when the AR was a head turner. That was way back in the 90s though.

  4. Glock does a great job of offering a wide variety of calibers and sizes. If you want a factory 357 Sig these days, it’s either Sig or Glock.

  5. The Glock 19 is the K frame of this era. It is all you really need for most of your shooting needs. If i was restricted to one handgun it would be my G19. Different guns for different jobs/moods is cool and all. I have my fair share.

    But if I was reduced to just the one handgun….

  6. My Favorite Glock?

    My all time favorite was the model 59. Outstanding firearm, the doublestack version of the model 39. But as much as I liked it it was a bit too wide in the grip for my hand. Still, carried it for 20 years until a better grip came along.

    So now I go with the SR9, thinnest grip width of any doublestack 9mm.

    But when it’s .45ACP time, that’s strictly the EXPERT model in stainless. Basic, dependable and accurate. Didn’t want the stainless model but the price was terrific, Turkey Day + 1 sale, lousy morning but worth the cash.

    For hideout popguns there’s the P3AT and the Off Duty.

    Yup, good guns, all day every day and twice on Sundays.

    • Not nearly good enough. Too much of the money is kept in Austria or routed back there. Raw materials, machine tools, so much comes from Austria that the benefit to the USA is much too minimized to warrant that MADE IN USA claim.

      Glock holds back too many of the high paying jobs and even the supporting jobs of a manufacturing facility in the Fatherland.

      • Who really cares if a gun is made in USA, Austria, Czech, Italy, etc…? Nice marketing line for people that only want to purchase “made in USA”. Nothing wrong with a little diversity. At the moment all my pistols and revolvers are made in either Italy or Czech Republic while my shotguns and rifles are American. No plans to get anything from Austria, ever, but at the end of the day I am more concerned about quality than location.

        • This is one of those “Just because you doesn’t mean you should” topics.

          Nationalism is a bad thing when it is excessive, being about military agression beyond actual defense or hatred of other nations just because they ain’t us.

          Nationalism in favor of employing your own fellow citizens is a positive thing. There is no reason to support foreign gun makers when it is one of the few manufacturing areas we truly excel at here.

  7. The best Glock I own is made by Taurus, Rock Island, Kimber or Ballester Molina. I have shot a couple but they just don’t feel like the steel I enjoy shooting. Of course, one of my shooting partners says the best thing about his is he can slip them into the dish washer’s top rack and just clean the barrel separately. A quick spray of a CLP and they are good to go. I’d like to think he’s kidding, but I doubt it.

  8. 48 and 43 – in that order.

    Interesting post – I liked hearing what the shooter likes about each gun and setup.

    While i care nothing for silencers and red dots, it’s still interesting.

    I also liked the links at the end of the post. And they should generate some more clicks for TTAG.

    I still think I NEED a 42 for reference……and a Beretta Tomcat.😜

  9. My wife carries a G42 with a quality JHP defense load and is very competent with it. A guy in our LGS a good while back was talking about how .380s were wussy loads and wouldn’t stop anyone…blah, blah, blah……. I typically keep my mouth shut during such rants but finally I said well, if they are such poor loads why don’t you volunteer to be shot with one and let us know what happens. Everybody in the whole store laughed and he stopped, mumbled something, and left without a word. The owner was standing there and told me I had just said what they had all been thinking. Don’t think he’s been back since.

    • I CANT STAND when people make the argument you made. I agree with you that 380 is a fine round, especially if someone has trouble effectively shooting a heavier caliber, but “whether or not you want to get shot with it” is not what determines a capable self defense round. I sure as hell wouldn’t want to get shot with a pellet gun, but that doesn’t mean its an effective round.

    • An off a lot of negativity in the comment section. My three favorite Glock’s are the 23 the 20 and the 42 if only one it would be the 23

  10. An off a lot of negativity in the comment section. My three favorite Glock’s are the 23 the 20 and the 42 if only one it would be the 23


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