Although there are many objective guidelines for the choice of a concealed carry firearm, the ultimate choice is a personal matter for each individual. When it comes to caliber, the .45 ACP has a strong following. Battle-proven in two World Wars and numerous other conflicts around the globe, the round has a well-deserved reputation for stopping power. The .45 launches a big, heavy bullet at reasonable velocity. When the shooter does his or her part, a well-placed hit from a .45 can be counted on to either end the hostilities or seriously discourage further aggression on the part of the attacker. Because the .45 auto is a low-pressure, medium velocity round, it actually delivers less felt recoil than many 9mm +P or .357 Magnums when each is fired from a gun of equal weight.
On the downside, the large round requires a larger firearm than a smaller round. The 5” 1911, an excellent choice for those with the necessary training, can be difficult to conceal for a person of small stature. Even a person who has no problems concealing a full-size 1911 or SIG 220 in winter garb will face a concealment problem when wearing lighter summer attire. The Glock 36 solves the problem, offering .45 ACP chambering in a small, concealable, reliable package. Figure 1 shows the Glock 36 compared to a full-size 1911. The Glock is smaller in all dimensions, and lighter as well.
Glock 36 Specifications (full specs here)
Caliber: .45 Auto
Length: 177 mm / 6.96 in.
Height: 121 mm / 4.76 in.
Thickness: 28 mm / 1.10 in.
Weight (unloaded): 635 g / 22.42 oz.
Sight Radius: 150 mm / 5.91 in.
Barrel Length: 96 mm / 3.77 in.
Trigger Pull: ~2.5 kg / ~5.5 lbs.
Magazine Capacity: standard 6 rounds
Size, Weight and Carry
This little Glock is just about one pound lighter than my all-steel 1911 and has a considerably shorter grip. When carried in an inside-the-waistband holster, it literally disappears under an untucked T-shirt. I still have the comfort of the instant availability of 7 rounds of .45 ACP, only one round short of my 1911. Glock calls the model 36 a Slimline™ pistol because it uses a single stack magazine resulting in a thin and flat package. The big advantage is that you do not sacrifice stopping power for increased concealability.
Like all Glocks, the 36 is simple and tough. I have put several hundred rounds through mine with absolutely zero malfunctions. Ammo used includes 230 grain ball, 230, 200, 185, and 165 grain JHP. They all work, all the time. Due to the light weight, recoil with 230 grain full-power loads (Federal Hydra-Shok) is a bit on the snappy side. The lighter JHP’s recoil less, are a pleasure to shoot, and allow the fastest recovery for follow-up shots. I particularly like the Federal Premium® Personal Defense® PD45HS3H, which launches a 165 grain Hydra-Shok® JHP at 1060fps. Another round which works well is the Speer Gold Dot® Short Barrel® Personal Protection #23964, slinging a 185 grain Gold Dot® JHP at 1050 fps.
When shooting the Glock 36, proper technique is very important. You must have a solidly locked wrist on your firing hand. You can force this gun (or any autoloader, for that matter) to malfunction by “limp-wristing.” If you use a solid firm grip, recoil of the Glock 36 is easy to manage because of the low bore axis, which lies only 32 mm / 1.26 in. above the web of the firing hand.
Handling and General Observations
The Glock 36 balances well with a full magazine. Although the grip is short, an extension on the magazine base pad provides a rest for your little finger. The 6-round polymer and steel magazines will drop free when released. A magazine loading tool is included with the gun, which can be useful. Getting the sixth round into the magazine requires a bit of thumb pressure, but nothing excessive. The grip is textured on all surfaces and has a concave channel near the top on the left side which allows you to rest your thumb. The grip is thin and fits my hand well. Your mileage may vary. The gun has no sharp edges or rough spots and carries very well. The muzzle end of the slide is tapered to aid in quick and sure one-hand re-holstering, which is an important skill to practice along with drawing and assuming a firm firing position.
The Glock 36 offers a high-quality, accurate and reliable alternative to a full-size service pistol when you want to carry a .45 under light clothing. Concealability is excellent with almost no loss in performance. The short barrel and shorter sight radius require more care in aiming, but for engagements from contact distance out to 7 yards or so, you will not be disappointed with the Glock 36. It is important to carry every day. The Glock 36 allows you to carry that .45 in really hot weather.