The Glock 26: The Little Big Gun

There is really nothing baby like about the “Baby Glock.” The Glock 26 was dubbed the sub-compact model in the Glock 9mm line when it came out.  Of course at this point we tend to consider sub-compact as referring to the single-stack 9mm offerings so popular among concealed carriers.  While I like guns such as the Smith and Wesson M&P Shield or the Glock 43 I find that for me, personally, the thinner profile does not do much in terms of concealability.  However, the shortness of the grip profile enhances concealability dramatically for me. Therefore, the Glock 26 has become a favorite concealment option of mine.  It disappears even under a t-shirt yet it is a capable gun that you can fight with.

I carry it with the standard 10 round magazine but I back it up with a Magpul GL9 21 round magazine.  Therefore, I am carrying 30+ rounds on my person in a package that conceals in anything except perhaps tucked-in formal clothing, for which occasions I default to the uber-concealable small-frame revolver.  The compatibility with the full-size magazines is what leads me to prefer the 26 to any of the single-stack options out there.  For just a little more width you get what is in my opinion a much more capable fighting gun.  The on board capacity is significantly more than any of the single-stack 9mm autos and the reload puts the gun up to the full capacity of a service sized pistol.

The 26 is a great balance between concealment and fighting capability.  I tend to favor all such compact guns in this class as the ultimate compromise between concealability and capability.  Guns such as the Smith and Wesson M&P 9 Compact, the Sig p320 sub-compact, and the Glock 26 all fall into this category.  They offer very short grips which enhances concealment but they take the full-size magazines which makes them more capable and more versatile than the small single-stack guns.  They are, however, thicker than the single-stack offerings.  I think the biggest turnoff for some folks regarding this category of gun is the short grip which leaves the pinky dangling in space unless you use a magazine grip extension.  Personally, I only use the flush fitting magazine as using a grip extension negates the concealment benefit.

I find the Glock 26 entirely shoot-able despite the standard magazine leaving the average person’s pinky under the grip, as mentioned.  More experienced shooters usually find that this does indeed detract a bit from recoil management, but not dramatically so with good technique.  The Glock 26 is entirely controllable and despite being small I can shoot it for extended training sessions.  I can also hit with accuracy that is not far behind my “standard” carry gun, the Glock 19.  Most importantly, in my experience thus far, the Glock 26 is absolutely reliable, just like the 19, and it is a most trustworthy companion.

I find the 26 does give up a few things in terms of performance compared to the Glock 19 or 17: it is inevitably a bit snappier than the bigger brothers in the lineup, my reloads with it are a bit slower, and the shorter grip makes the draw a touch slower.  The extra snappiness is apparent when comparing it directly to the larger Glock 19 or 17 but it is still a pleasant gun to shoot.   Also, the reload is more difficult since the magazine well sits above the heel of your hand rather than below it, thus making reloads a bit more demanding.  The shorter grip is what makes the gun conceal easier, but the down side is that it is less gun to grab a hold of during the draw.  This is inevitable, of course, and these are the sacrifices made for the smaller gun.

Do to the mentioned limitations compared to the larger Glock models I don’t consider the 26 at the same level of capability of a full-size service pistol, but it is capable enough to lead me to consider it a great carry gun.  I shot it at an IDPA match upon getting it, the match was only my second time actually shooting the 26, and I won the CCP division with it (took 4th place overall, the guys ahead of me were using Glock 34s and STI 2011s). The Glock 26 can actually be used in the BUG (Backup Gun) division in IDPA and that is the division in which it is most often used if anyone actually decides to compete with one.  The CCP division allows guns the size of the Glock 19 or even 1911 compact models, so I think my performance with it made a good showing and testifies to the shoot-ability of the gun even though most would consider it not competitive against such larger carry guns. The 26 seems to fill a sweet spot between readily-concealable in almost any dress and fight-capable almost to the level of a service size pistol.  It has become my favored summer carry.  It is the little gun that fights big and I adore it.

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