Monday I picked up a Glock 36. And after spending some time with it, I have some mixed feelings.
The gun it’s self is great. A tight little compact .45 that is both accurate and reliable, with several spare mags and a Galco holster. A good package. It has tritium night sights too, which to me is a requirement for a defensive pistol. There is nothing wrong with the gun.
I dig the fact that I’ve got a .45 I can trust to carry again. And I do. It actually shoots very well. And it’s light weight. I don’t even know it’s there, if you know what I mean. It just disappears. In all seriousness, it packs all day long as well as a S&W Bodyguard .380.
But I’m just not sure if I like it.
The grip is very narrow and un-glock-like. Yet the finger grooves are very Glockish in that they line up in exactly the wrong places for me and I can’t really get a good comfortable grip on it… because it feels like I’m grabbing those peaks and nothing else. This is an easy remedy with a few minutes of Grinder Time. And I’ve illustrated clearly in my Glock History that I am not afraid to do that. And perhaps I will. But for the sake of Review, I’m keeping it stock. Perhaps that’s not fare to me or the Glock. Maybe I should put in some effort and make it as good as it can be and then review that. I’m considering it. The grip is almost too narrow for me. It feels as if I can’t get a good grasp on it, but that could go back to those finger grooves. I’m not sure.
Here’s the thing though, I like this Glock 36 more than I like the XDS. The S is a fine pistol. Springfield really did hit a home run in it. They shoot very well, and while snappy, they are controllable and not unpleasant to shoot. We had a range day with an S and no one had a single malfunction with the little guy all day long. That’s quite an achievement for a little .45. But the Glock 36 had unlocked that achievement years and years ago. It’s the S before the S was cool. And I like the fact that it has a real front sight post on it and not a Fiber Optic sliver. I really hate those things. They just don’t hold up over time. I have people coming in weekly asking about how to fix the fiber tube in their front sight post. This is something we should never ever have to even think about. It’s not an item of maintenance It’s not something that we should be worried about. I find a Fiber Optic front sight on a Defensive Handgun to be completely unacceptable. Target pistols, fine. But on a Defensive gun? That’s a No-Go right there. And in ARMY terms, that’s a FAIL. Don’t pass go, you get to start over. But that’s another topic. I like the fact that Glock has the most solid reputation for reliability. You don’t have to question it. It’s there. It says so right on the slide. “Glock”. There are only a few other gun makers that I trust based on that name. SIG, HK, and Beretta. That’s pretty much it for me. Other guns I have to spend time with to get to know. Then once reliability is proven, I can trust them.
In a recent article I wrote, I said that I was done packing mouse guns. No more tiny guns for me. Tiny guns in tiny calibers do not fulfill the mission for which we are bothering to carry for in the first place. This Glock 36, while not tiny, is certainly small. The smallest gun I have in my carry rotation now. I find I am very comfortable with a .45 Auto back in the line up. My Springfield GI really isn’t in the rotation anymore, and more of a special occasion gun for me. Or when I am feeling overly nostalgic or historical. But being a full 5 inch Government Model, it makes OWB all day carry just a little less “easy”. A smaller .45 is a good thing, if done right. And the 36 is indeed done right. In a discussion with a Gun Counter Co-Worker, we were talking about calibers and how law enforcement had evolved their carry rounds and has found a sweet spot in the .40 caliber. He says, and really, this is brilliant, that the .45 Auto never had to evolve. Much like the Great White, it was perfect for it’s function as it was created so it didn’t need to evolve. That was good – deserved a fist bump for that. But we can talk about the 10mm another time.
Velocity is a good thing. And a big fat heavy .45 slug out of a short tube is even slower than normal. So I elected to forgo my normal PDX1 / SXT load options and try something new. Hornady’s new Critical Defense in the 185 grain load. I used to be a big fan of 200 grain loads, and still am, but you can just never find them anymore. All the new stuff in .45 Auto is 230’s. So I was pleased to see a 185 grain option in a modern load. I’ll report more on these rounds in the future. But they are going where I want them to go and feed and cycle perfectly, which is the main requirement. See, I like the lighter bullets in the shorter guns because they give as much speed as you can get. Reliable expansion of any hollow point is a function of fluid dynamics thanks to velocity. You don’t have the velocity, you don’t have the fluid pressure that expands the cavity to allow for the bullet to mushroom. I don’t think this is going to be a problem with the 185 Critical Defense loads.