Glock 26 Gen 3
The Model 26 shot like a full-sized gun, despite a too-short grip. It makes a good partner to the company’s standard 9mm pistol. There’s a lot of leather that fits this gun, which makes it match suitable.
Glock is the Austria-based corporation that countered the 1911 design with a polymer-framed pistol that has forever changed the landscape of defensive firearms. After more and more law-enforcement agencies in the United States began issuing or recommending the Glock in .45 ACP or .40 S&W, the company’s next innovation was to add the complement of a back-up pistol. While the traditional backup was the five-shot S&W J-frame revolver coordinated with a 4-inch Model 19, Glock sought to offer a sub-compact that would not only use the same ammo as the policeman’s primary gun but also the same mags. Yes, the Model 26 pictured in these pages will fire even the longest pre-ban full-size magazine.
Get a grip: Hand fit is a big deal with a small handgun. The Smith and the Kahr offered long enough grip surfaces, whereas the Glock came up short, in our view.
The first time we picked up the Model 26 we were disappointed to find that the short grip would only accommodate our first two fingers. Dry firing and handling produced further skepticism. To our surprise, controllability at the range was not nearly as bad as we predicted. Of all the guns tested here, the Glock 26 was the only one that shot like a full-sized gun. We would still like a longer grip, but the best that can be done is to add an extended base pad from Pierce or other manufacturer. Merely shooting the 26 with a full-length mag helps, but the little double stack mag that is standard already holds ten rounds, and a longer mag gives an ersatz feel to the gun, in our view. As would be expected from a pistol with a heavy steel slide atop a light “plastic” frame, there is considerable muzzle flip. However, with lighter-weight bullets common to 9mm Luger, the recoil was over quickly. Thus, if you are patient, the Glock 26 will reward you with satisfactory groups at almost any distance.
We judged the gun’s match suitability to be very good. As wide as this gun is, there are several concealment systems and quality holsters available for it. Acquiring the 26 from a holster has been improved, along with recoil control, by adding a thumb rest in the form of an indentation on each side of the grip. The backstrap has also been contoured to present a checkered palm swell and undercut to the frame. This is a big improvement from the very first Glocks that featured nearly a straight-up-and-down grip frame. The slide release is adequately available to the thumb, but an even faster way to recharge is to pull back the locked-open slide and let it go like a bow and arrow. This has been an effective technique in IDPA matches, which for some time required the shooters to run their guns dry before permitting a reload. We found the mag release to be difficult to operate with just our strong-hand thumb (located on the left side only). Not even the upgrade from Aro-Tek was much better. Getting the mag back in was another story. Double-stack magazines load faster because they are tapered at the follower, and the hole in the grip frame is so large it easily accommodates the wide mag body.
Originally Published In February 1999.