The Glock 26: Baby Boomer By: Jim Davis

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The G26 certainly isn’t the newest Glock, having been introduced in 1994. And yet, it hangs on, coming up on its twentieth anniversary. There must be a reason for that. Most handguns that are nearly 20 years old are coming up on their twilight. However, the Glock 26 doesn’t seem to be losing any momentum.

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Glock 26 Tech Specs

First things first, we’ll get the technical specifications out of the way. Glock classifies the G26 as one of their “Sub-Compact” sized pistols. It’s the baby brother to the Glock 17 and 19. In fact, many law enforcement agencies who issue the Glock 17 or 19 will issue the Glock 26 for off-duty use or to detectives or undercover officers.

The caliber is 9x19mm. Barrel length of the little beast is 3.43 inches, with the slide length being 6.26 inches. Weight with an empty magazine is 21.52 ounces. The height of the pistol is 4.17 inches and it’s 1.26 inches wide.

Standard magazine capacity is 10 rounds, but any magazines that fit the Glock 17 or 19 will also fit the G26. They just extend from the magazine well. You can even stuff a 33-round magazine in there should you desire!

The particular model being reviewed today is a Generation 3 (Gen 3) version, so it has the finger grooves in the front strap. Some people like them, and others despise the grooves. I’m kind of in the middle; I don’t need them, but they don’t bother me much.

Versatility

Now that we have the technical stuff out of the way, let’s look a bit more closely at what makes this pistol versatile. Obviously, it is fairly compact, not much larger than most snub-nosed revolvers. The little G26 can be carried many places and the people around us will be none the wiser. We like that!

Glock 26 with various spare magazines.
A few of the magazines that fit the Glock 26: 10, 15, 17, and 33 rounds. Basically, any Glock 9mm double stack magazines will fit into the magazine well.

But let’s say it hits the fan and we find ourselves in the midst of a deadly conflict. The ability to have an extended magazine as a spare is certainly a major advantage. I could see having a spare magazine from my 19X, which carries 19 rounds (or 17 rounds) as a spare to stuff into the little G26.

Aside from additional firepower, the added grip length of an extended mag would help in getting a full grip on the pistol and aid in shooting. To be honest, once the bullets are flying, we won’t care about concealment at that point, so the magazine sticking out from the magazine well isn’t going to be an issue, at least for me.

Compactness

Compactness, naturally, is the Glock 26’s main claim to fame. It’s short and compact, making it a breeze to carry. It is, however, a bit of a chunky monkey. It’s not the thinnest Glock pistol, not by a long shot. So users need to take that into account. Nevertheless, its small size is a boon for carrying it concealed.

The Glock 26’s very short grip is what makes it among the more concealable Glocks. However, many carriers add a magazine extension, so the short grip is sometimes as much of a curse as it is a blessing. The reason for the thickness, of course, is the staggered, double-stack magazine.

Glock 26 Magazines

The standard Glock 26 magazine holds ten rounds. There’s a version that has a floor plate that’s slightly extended so there’s room for the pinkie finger to rest there.

That’s important because a large portion of our grip strength comes from the pressure that our pinkie finger exerts on the pistol’s grip. A grip extension really helps the shooter get a better purchase on that limited grip.

The Glock 26 in hand.
There is no room for the pinkie finger to rest on the grip, which is a detriment to a good grip. Controls, however, are easy to reach on the little pistol.

Glock has +2 magazine extensions, and there are aftermarket options available out there as well. I tend to stay with Glock factory options since they seem to offer the most reliability.

As mentioned earlier, magazines from larger double stack Glocks will fit the 26, which makes it versatile. More firepower is definitely an advantage.

About the magazines themselves—they are durable in the extreme. I’ve seen them repeatedly ejected and slammed onto concrete floors, skittering across said floors, taking abuse that would dent and break other magazines. And yet the Glock mags continued to function and were none the worse for wear. I cannot name another magazine that is more durable than the Glock brand.

Reliability

One of the very first things that people mention, when they’re talking about Glock, is their extreme reliability. Just as with any other firearm, though, they can have their issues. That said, it’s a rare day when a Glock suffers in the reliability department.

I’ve attended a number of trainings and shooting schools throughout my career. During these events, there were a lot of Glocks being used (including my own). Of the pistols that suffered reliability issues, Glocks were not among them. Out of the tens of thousands of rounds consumed, there were no reliability issues with Glocks that I observed.

That’s why we were so surprised when this particular Glock 26 experienced several stoppages when using Federal 115 grain ammunition (Red Box). There were double feeds and the slide would not lock open when the last round was fired. The best we could figure is that the ammunition wasn’t up to full power and the slide wasn’t going back as far as it should have because of the lack of power.

Needless to say, we were utterly shocked at this development. We fed a couple of other brands of ammunition through the little G26 and they worked well. Apparently, it was that particular ammunition that the pistol didn’t like. The only other issue we experienced was when we used the 33-round magazine. A few more stoppages occurred. However, when the standard 10-round magazine was used, as well as the 15-rounder from the Glock 19 and the 17-round magazine from the Glock 17 all worked perfectly.

Firing the Glock 26 with 33-round magazine.
Firing the Glock 26 with the 33-round magazine in place. Note the brass in the air. Recoil is not excessive with the baby Glock; sights returned to target quickly.

It just goes to show us that it’s important to test fire any pistol that we get because, no matter how sparkling the reputation of a given pistol brand, we never really know. I’ve had at least one other brand of pistol with a stellar track record (one of the most sterling pistol makers in the world) bobble over certain types of ammunition.

This particular Glock 26 seems to work well with most ammunition and standard magazines. It belongs to a good friend who wants to give it some more range time before trusting it for defensive carry. That’s understandable, I’d feel the same way too.

Accuracy

We fired the Glock 26 mostly at 10 and 15 yards for the initial range session. Accuracy was quite good in rapid fire. I fired the pistol as fast as the sights returned to target, which was rapid. Groups were centered and respectable. To put it simply, the little Glock is very accurate! No complaints at all in this department.

Glock 26 ten-yard target.
Rapid fire at ten yards proved to be very accurate with the Glock 26. The flyers were my fault, not the pistol.

Familiarity

As mentioned, those who are familiar with the Glock 17 and 19 (not to mention similar Glocks in other calibers) will also be familiar with the smaller Glock 26. Aside from the smaller size, the 26 is very similar to its bigger brothers. That familiarity means shooters can operate the various pistols reflexively. That can save lives!

G26 slide and frame front.
The front of the slide and frame are beveled, which makes holstering easier.

What’s the verdict on the Glock 26?

My friend is reserving judgment so far on its reliability, pending additional range sessions. To be fair, the issues were very likely ammunition-related. Aside from that, he likes the little G26.

The accuracy of the subcompact pistol is excellent. Recoil isn’t bad. The only irritating aspect for me is that the grip is so short that my pinkie finger hangs off into space. I don’t like that, I prefer a grip that gives me a landing spot for that smallest of fingers.

Yes, grip extensions would cure that issue, and using one of those would make the Glock 26 a possibility for me. That said, it’s not my first choice for concealed carry. Aside from the grip length issue, it is thicker than some pistols that are now available. However, for a lot of people, it fills the bill very well in that department.