I bought my first Glock, a used Generation-2 G19 in 1994. With the exception of a short affair with a Sig 220, I’ve been a Glock guy ever since. The operating system is simple and reliable, with a cost that is and was very reasonable. For those of you that remember, back in 1994, there weren’t many guns for a similar price that worked as well.
The G36 is a single stack pistol, chambered in .45 ACP and first introduced in 2000. In many ways, it’s a Glock that isn’t a Glock. The only Glock pistol equipped with a single stack magazine, the G36 is slightly smaller then the G19/G23 sized pistols and lacks the magazine and sight interchange capability of the other Glock pistols. Like all Glock pistols, the G36 has a safe action design, with a trigger safety, firing pin block safety and drop safety.
The G36 I used for this review came equipped from the factory with Trijicon night sights. In addition to providing three luminescent dots to aid in low light use, the Trijicon sights also provide a needed upgrade over the factory plastic sights: steel construction. In my opinion, this isn’t a luxury. Over the years I have seen quite a few sets of damaged, squashed, sheared and otherwise mangled factory polymer sights.
When handling the G36, I noticed that it pointed differently than the G19/G23s that I normally shoot. I also noticed that the frame was slightly narrower in front of, and above the trigger guard. This tended to make my support side thumb contact the left side of the slide if I wasn’t paying attention.
The G36 is equipped with a 5 pound trigger.
On the firing line
I grabbed the Glock 36 and headed to the range with a Safariland 6378 ALS paddle holster and Safariland 71 injection molded magazine carrier. The range was covered with snow and ice from a recent storm. The temperature was approximately 35F with light rain and wind.
I began shooting Paul Howe’s 5 and 1 drill on a CSAT target. Basically, the shooter starts at the “CQB” or “high” ready position with a safe and empty pistol. When the timer sounds, the shooter dry fires a round with perfect mechanics. This is repeated 5 times, then the pistol is loaded, and the same drill is conducted firing a live round. I ran this drill 10 times. The first three live rounds that were fired clocked at 1.34, 1.17 and 1.16 seconds. This is slower then my typical cold times with a G23 which are normally around .85-.95. I attribute this to the different grip and unfamiliar sights (I shoot Heine’s on all my guns). Times dropped below the 1.00 second par time for the remainder of recorded shots.
Next, I shot some of Paul Howe’s CSAT Pistol Standards multiple times. Each standard starts with the shooter facing downrange, pistol either at the ready position or holstered. The standards require all hits inside the “A” zone of a CSAT Target (modified IPSC target) in the prescribed time. This is sighted, not point shooting. I shot the following standards:
- Ready, 1 shot on 1 target at 7 yards in 1 second
- Holstered, 1 shot on 1 target at 7 yards in 1.7 seconds
- Ready, 2 shots on 1 target at 7 yards in 1.5 seconds
- Ready, 2/1 on 1 target at 7 yards in 1.7 seconds
Much like the 5 and 1 drill, my times were slightly slower with the G36 then the G23. Some standards required multiple attempts at each standard prior to achieving a pass time. Again, I attribute this to my lack of familiarity of the grip and the sights for the single round drills and to the additional recoil of the 230 grain .45 ACP cartridge impacting times on the multiple round drills.
At 6 feet, I chronographed Winchester 230 grain ball at 740 fps and Federal 230 grain Hydra Shock at 792 fps.
I ran some 10 round CQB drills. Each of the 5 stages of the drill, requires the shooter to start holstered, with targets engaged between 0 and 7 yards. The pistol performed well. I shot these drills two handed, strong side only and support side only.
Finally, noticing the pistol tended to shoot left, I fired a group at 7 yards on a 1″ square.
- It shoots like a G19 or G23, only slightly slower- I’m a Glock guy, what did you expect? The ergonomics are nearly identical, offering the Glock shooter a compact .45 in a familiar package. The consistent trigger pull of the Glock platform is a positive attribute, in my opinion.
- The 6 +1 capacity of .45 ACP offers shooters in highly restrictive states like NY a serviceable capacity until the new laws are ruled unconstitutional.
- Recoil was manageable- more so than I had originally thought. If you shoot a lot of high pressure cartridges like the .40 SW or .357 Sig, you will see the .45 as a welcome rest from the violent slide recoil and muzzle blast.
- Neither of the issued magazines fell free from the pistol. This requires added time for emergency reloads.
- At the range, I experienced 3-failures to eject. In each case, I attribute this to my high-thumbs grip and my support hand’s thumb riding the slide, decreasing slide velocity. I am accustomed to the wider frame on the G19/G23 shown in the photo above, which pushes my support side thumb out. Note: A friend claims he had a similar problem with two different G36s he owned over the years. He was confident it was NOT a shooter induced malfunction claiming I drank the Kool-Aid and blamed myself instead of a poor design. Of course, I disagree for now. As I test this gun further, I will provide updates as to whether or not the issue subsides.
I was quite impressed with the Glock 36. I went to the range anticipating a less user friendly gun that beat the shooter up, but found that it wasn’t the case. The gun shot and handled well. I plan on pushing the sights over and heading back for further evaluation once the weather improves.
For more information about the Glock 36, visit Glock USA.
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