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Reviews : Arsenal

Glock G38 and G39 Compact Pistols

If you’re looking for power, accuracy, and reliability in a small frame, check out these concealable Glocks.

October 01, 2005  |  by Paul Scarlata - Also by this author

Testing and Evaluation

Glock provided me with samples of the G38 and G39 to evaluate for Police. Out of curiosity I got out my calipers and compared their slides to those of the .40 caliber G22 and .45 caliber G21 pistols. The slides on the compact and sub-compact .45 G.A.P. G38 and G39 are slightly larger than the slide on the .40 S&W G22 and slightly smaller than the slide on the .45 ACP.

I decided that that was enough math. It was time to take these little .45s to the range. I called up my friend Rusty Rawsen, and we ran the G38 and G39 through their paces, firing a variety of .45 G.A.P. ammo from Speer, Federal, CCI, and Remington.

The mundane task of accuracy testing was accomplished by firing several five-shot groups with each pistol from a rest. Our target was set at 15 yards. We also took this opportunity to chronograph each load. The results of this testing are displayed on the chart below.

While Rusty belted on a Gould & Goodrich Yaqui Belt slide holster and mag pouch, I trekked out and set up a pair of targets. He then ran each Glock through the following drills:

  • Five yards-Draw pistol, fire three rounds on each target, firing unsupported (one-handed).
  • Seven yards-Draw pistol and double tap each target. Perform a combat reload and repeat.
  • Ten yards- Draw pistol and double tap each target. Perform a combat reload and repeat.
  • Fifteen yards-Draw pistol and fire six rounds on each target, slow fire. Reload as necessary.

Except for a few of the rounds fired from 15 yards, Rusty put the vast majority of his shots into the higher scoring zones of the target. While Rusty found the out-of-the-box triggers a bit stiff, he could find nothing else to pass a negative judgment on. We ran approximately 200 rounds through each pistol during our evaluation and there was not a single failure to feed, fire, or eject.

Shooting Impressions

I thought it would be best if I let Rusty  describe how the new Glocks performed. He really likes Glocks, and he has small hands. So he's part of the target market for the G38 and G39 compacts.

"I have owned and fired every model of Glock pistols since their introduction into the United States in mid 1986," Rusty says. "The first time I wrapped my shooting hand around a G17, in 9mm, I knew it was going to be my semi auto pistol of choice. Every single Glock model that I have shot to date has shot 2-inch groups or less, at 25 yards, right out of the box.

"The new G38 and G39 in .45 G.A.P. were no exception. When I got the chance to put these guns through their paces, I grabbed the G38 first and proceeded to fire several different bullet weights and designs from four different manufacturers. I shot 185-grain, 200-grain, and 230-grain rounds through both pistols, and they both produced hits at point of aim from as close as five yards, all the way out to 25 yards. Keep in mind, the .45 G.A.P. is a pretty 'peppy' round, but both pistols performed flawlessly, and are very controllable."

Rusty believes that the G38 and G39 are well designed for shooters with small hands. "Female shooters, or those with small hands, wouldn't have any trouble adapting to either of these two new pistols," he says.

"For some reason, I could shoot the G39 a little more accurately than the G38, but not enough to make a big fuss over. At present, I own three different sub-compact Glocks: the G26, G27, and G30 and shoot all three of them as well as any of my full-size guns, up to and including the G20 C, so the G39 felt right at home. Both models are perfectly sized for concealed carry, and are light and small enough to carry all day long comfortably."

If you, or your agency, is considering upgrading to a .45 caliber pistol, I believe that Glock's new .45 G.A.P. pistols deserve a serious look. They provide all the positive attributes of the most popular handgun caliber in American history combined with modern construction, reliability, and ergonomics. The result is powerful and accurate handguns that are adaptable to a wide range of personnel.

Paul Scarlata has served as an auxiliary police officer and writes for several firearms publications.

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Tags: Glock, Duty Pistols, Firearms Reviews

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