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Glock 36 .45 ACP: Meet the Baby Glock Pocket Rocket Pistol

Glock 36
Image: Creative Commons.

Dearly beloved 19FortyFive readers, it’s time for another one of my “Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa” moments.

For all the articles I’ve written about Glock pistols, from ones that I do own – the Glock 17, Glock 21SF, Glock 26, and Glock 38 – to ones that I’ve never owned but have fired – the G22, G32, and Glock 43X – to Glocks I haven’t fired yet – the Glock 18 machine pistol and the Glock 19X (I’ve shot the standard G19 but not the “X” variant – I’ve yet to do a standalone article on a particular Glock model that I used to own but no longer do): the .45 ACP Glock 36.

Oh sure, I listed it in all-encompassing general category of concealed carry handguns, but it’s now time to give the G36 its own individualized moment in the spotlight. 

Glock 36 .45 ACP History and Specifications

The Glock 36 debuted in 1999 as part of the “baby Glock” subcompact series. As the manufacturer’s official info page declares: “Six rounds of 45 Auto in a package that fits into the hands of any user. The GLOCK 36 presents grip ergonomics of the next dimension. The GLOCK single stack magazine allows for a slim frame and a slide with reduced width. Together with the secure-grip design and minimal trigger-to-grip distance this makes handling the pistol very simple.”

Though the 6+1 capacity stands of the out in sharp contrast to the double-digit, double-stack ammo capacity of most Glock pistols, the G36 still gives one a slight firepower advantage over a 5-shot J-frame Smith & Wesson or Ruger SP-101 revolver, along with a more manageable trigger stroke that promotes higher hit potential, a flatter profile (contrasted with the bulging cylinder of a wheelgun), and faster reloads.

Other specifications of the pistol include a barrel length of 3.78 inches, an overall length of 6.97 inches, a height (incl. magazine) of 4.72 inches, a width of 1.18 inches, an empty weight of 19.93 ounces, and a full charged weight of 26.81 ounces.

Personal Shooting Impressions

I purchased a Gen3 G36 from Marx Armory Gun Fun back in 2002 when I was a mere 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force stationed at Tyndall AFB, Florida (near Panama City, FL, Spring Break Capital of the World).

The recoil and muzzle flip made for quite a pocket rocket, as one might expect from a subcompact large-bore, especially one with a lightweight polymer frame. However, the “kick” is offset by a couple of partially mitigating factors: (1) the pistol’s dual recoil spring; and (2) the flexion of the polymer frame during firing – as described by self-defense guru Massad F. Ayoob in a three-part article series for GUNS Magazine back in August 1990 — that helps dissipate the recoil before it impacts the shooter’s hand.

Accuracy – from 7 yards head shots to 25-yard center-torso shots – and reliability were superb, as is typical of Glock pistols, and the simplicity and ease of maintenance were simply unparallel. The compact size and light weight alike facilitated both comfort and discreetness when I pressed the gun into CCW duty.

I eventually traded my G36 for the purchase of another firearm. However, this baby Glock .45 never let me down during the roughly 4,000 rounds I fired through her. Those 4K rounds included not just standard 230-grain full metal jacket (FMJ) “hardball,” but a variety of jacketed hollowpoint (JHP) loads, from Federal 230-grain Hydra-Shok – the top-performing .45 ACP load in retired Detroit PD Sgt. Evan Marshall’s controversial one-shot stop statistical studies – to Cor-Bon Pow’R Ball to Remington Golden Saber.

Christian D. Orr has 33 years of shooting experience, starting at the tender age of 14. His marksmanship accomplishments include: the Air Force Small Arms Ribbon w/one device (for M16A2 rifle and M9 pistol); Pistol Expert Ratings from U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) Criminal Investigator Training Program (CITP); multiple medals and trophies via the Glock Sport Shooting Foundation (GSSF) and the Nevada Police & Fires Games (NPAF). Chris has been an NRA Certified Basic Pistol Instructor since 2011. 

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Written By

Christian D. Orr is a former Air Force officer, Federal law enforcement officer, and private military contractor (with assignments worked in Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Kosovo, Japan, Germany, and the Pentagon).