After all, though highly concealable and easy to carry, pocket pistols
are usually quite small, making them difficult to hold and use, especially
under stress. And it gets worse! As if this wasn't enough, these small
handguns have other problems including:
- Sights that are either too small to see at the high speeds inherent
to self-defense encounters or no sights at all!
- Poor ergonomic (human) engineering, making manipulation of the
controls difficult under field conditions.
- Chamber cartridges that, although lethal, are considered to lack
the power needed for quick target incapacitation, e.g. "stopping power."
These include the .22, .25 ACP (6.35mm), .32 ACP (7.65mm) and .380
ACP (9mm Kurz/Corto).
- Lack sufficient ammunition capacity, the norm being six to seven
rounds. Viewed in conjunction with the low powered cartridges for
which they're chambered this is cause for serious concern.
- Normally use blue or nickel finishes that are ill-suited for daily
carry; i.e., they fail to protect the weapon against moisture and body
chemicals. As well, such finishes are highly reflective, causing glare
and premature weapon disclosure in tactical situations.
These weaknesses mean that pocket pistols are, at best, highly
specialized weapons, suitable for limited tactical applications.
Thus, the famous line from Ian Fleming's "GOLDFINGER," in which
the villain himself, speaking to James Bond and brandishing a tiny
Colt Pocket Model .25 ACP, exclaims, "I always shoot for the right
eye... and I never miss!"
Until you analyze the limitations of the weapon, it sounds like
macho pulp fiction. But the truth is that Goldfinger's statement
is not so farfetched as it might at first appear. The pocket pistol's
negative characteristics mean that, to be effective, it must indeed
be used at very close ranges. Such a limitation also negates any
hope of tactical flexibility thus making pocket pistols unsatisfactory
as general-purpose weapons.
There have been attempts to rectify the pocket pistol's shortcomings,
but none have met with much success. Magazine capacity has
been increased for certain guns, but at the expense of concealability
and without addressing the stopping power problem. And, a few
of the more recent designs feature superior placement of controls
that serve to enhance operator efficiency.
But these innovations are insufficient - the pocket pistol has for
many decades remained a marginal compromise between tactical
necessity and required sacrifice. Until now.
The Glock Solution
In July, 1995, Glock introduced the first real innovationin pocket
pistols in seventy years - the 9mm Model 26 and .40 caliber M-27.
Fully as compact as the majority of pocket pistols, and in some
cases even smaller, the M-26/27 rectifies the pocket pistol's
Though diminutive in size, they're chambered for the venerable
9mm Parabellum and potent .40 S&W cartridge, thus solving the
stopping power problem. And both pistols have excellent
high-visibility sights, a super-tough military matte finish, convenient
controls and, with ten rounds for the M-26 9mm and nine for the
.40 M-27, more than adequate magazine capacity.
Based on the highly reliable standard Glock design, these little
powerhouses offer the best solution to the problems of the pocket
pistol. In fact, they solve them completely! In addition, they operate
and field-strip like regular Glocks, come out of a holster just as
fast and shoot just as accurately.
Before carrying them into the field, I shot 2500 rounds of assorted
.40 ammo through the M-27 and a full 5000 rounds through the
9mm M-26. I presented them at high speeds from a holster, Galco
gun-bag, and even from my waistband - and they worked. I
performed hundreds of Tactical and Speed reloads with them -
and they worked. And my students and instructors alike shot
them in high-speed drills of every imaginable description - and
In short, as you have probably guessed by now - they work!
We shot them in the rain, the heat, and the cold without a single
stoppage, even with some 9mm and .40 caliber lead-bullet reloads
of highly questionable origin that I threw in just to see what would
happen. And they worked.
Thus, the verdict was unanimous - the Models 26 and 27 are winners,
without a doubt. Everyone who shot them wanted to keep them
and, with the .40 caliber Model 27 in particular, on multiple occasions,
I thought I'd have to fight my instructors to get it back! One particular
observation stands out: even in high-speed holster presentations, the
M-26/27 was "user friendly," and surprisingly controllable in fast
What surprised us the most was that even though the M-26/27 is
"chopped and channeled" and is without question a true pocket
pistol, when we shot it, it felt like the larger M-19 9mm or M-23 .40.
Due to the forward cant of the grip and low slide/barrel mass, it
recoils straight back into the web of the firing hand instead of rising,
thus compensating for the reduced mass of the grip area. In addition,
only a short transition period - like 10 or 15 minutes - is required to
become accustomed to the absence of a place to put the little finger
of the firing hand.
Ransom Rest and offhand Weaver shooting confirmed that both the
M-26 and M-27 shoot beautifully - far more so than self-defense
situations would ever require. With the 9mm Model 26, Federal
Hydra-Shok 147-grain JHPs proved the most accurate, while the
.40 M-27 shot magnificently with Speer Gold Dot 155-grain JHPs.
Even 3-second, from-the-holster, 25-meter head shots were
relatively easy, not by any means the norm, even with a full-sized
service pistol, and are an impossible feat with any other pocket gun!
If you've gotten the impression that I'm enthusiastic about the
Glock M-26/27, you're right. At last we have a pocket pistol with
general-purpose capabilities, making it a wonderful primary gun
for plain-clothes or narcotics officers and a fine backup gun for
uniformed personnel, especially when their primary weapon is a
For civilian concealed carry, such as in a fanny pack or
inside-the-pants holster, the M-26/27 offers excellent concealability
and light weight, with no loss of presentation speed or controllability.
And since both guns are chambered for decent service cartridges,
the issue of stopping power is much less of a concern, especially
with the .40 caliber M-27. In fact, I'm now carrying the M-27 daily
in either an M-D Labs "THUNDERBOLT" holster, which I co-designed
with M-D honcho Kevin McClung, or a Galco Fast-Action Gun System
In short, the Model 26/27 is an excellent weapon with much to
offer. Whether you carry a badge or just want a nightstand gun,
it represents not only an excellent value, but the best combination
of accuracy, stopping power, human engineering, light weight
and concealability now available. I predict great popularity for
the M-26/27, so get one as fast as you can- once the word gets
out it might be tough!