Musings on the Single-Stack Glock

The G36. Sigh. It could have been a contender … .

The G36. Sigh. It could have been a contender … .

Handgunners wonder why their prayers for a true, thin-as-a-1911 single-stack Glock have gone unanswered. Patrick Sweeney explains why.

What Would a Single-Stack Glock Look Like?

Well, first of all, we can expect to see the G20/21 slide on top. Which means trouble. The G20/21 was proportioned and built to be a 10mm, which means it is probably a bit on the portly side for being a .45 ACP.

At a bit over 4½ inches (4.61 inches by the book) the length is going to be most like a Commander, which is just fine. A single-stack with the slide length of the G34/35 size, with a 5.3-inch barrel, would be cooler than cool, but, without the perceived need for international competition acceptance, even more unlikely than a single-stack would be to begin with.

Then we have the matter of magazines. The Glock system cannot use steel magazines. The magazine catch would have to be made of steel to withstand the recoil pounding, and that’s unlikely to happen. So, we have polymer mag catches and, thus, polymer magazines, and it’s here we run into a problem. You see, making a double-stack magazine out of sheet steel-reinforced polymer can get us to a thinner pistol. The main decrease in bulk on a pistol is in jettisoning the frame grips, but, for a double-stack, the polymer mag is no big deal. On a single-stack? Big deal.

First, it isn’t just the thickness of the slide we have to deal with. The entire upper portion of the G20/21 would have to be retained, in order to house the trigger mechanism. Really. Think about it. No way would Glock, even if it would make my dreams come true and produce a single-stack, abandon the interchangeability of the internal parts. It would have to use the same trigger parts and house them in the same-shape polymer, or it would be adding yet another raft of SKUs to the list. Glock already has more than you can shake a stick at, adding more would just be crazy. Still, only from there down could we slim the frame.

Ignore the hammer for a moment. Is this really what we want in a single-stack Glock? Heck, I’d buy one.

Ignore the hammer for a moment. Is this really what we want in a single-stack Glock? Heck, I’d buy one.

Would the Single-Stack Glock Be Attractive?

Remember, we’re working in polymer here, we can’t be imagining things as if we were plunking a G21 slide assembly on top of a 1911 frame. Steel and polymer are different.

The quick and dirty is that we could, if we were creative, get the single-stack Glock frame down to pretty darned close to that of a 1911 with fat grips on it. But we could not get it down to that of Springfield Armory’s XDs, that company’s single-stack .45 ACP. Why? The polymer-clad magazine Glock sticks with. In most instances, it is a good thing and, in a few, it’s a neutral thing. Here it’s a real hindrance.

The Springfield, using a steel magazine, doesn’t have the extra polymer cladding to add bulk. As a result, it is even slimmer than a 1911. And now, with its new extra-capacity magazine, you can have an XDs with a seven-round magazine, making it the equal of a 1911. The longer magazine can be sheathed in a sleeve, making the extended magazine, in effect, a longer frame to hold on to. So, you’ve got a striker-fired single-stack slimmer than a 1911, with a compact (3.3-inch) barrel and as much .45 ammunition in the hold as is considered normal.

A single-stack Glock could come close, but even if Glock did it, probably not. No way, retaining the polymer-clad magazine, could it shrink it down to the flat, one-inch width of the XDs. Lose the polymer cladding, and it would have to use a steel magazine catch.

Who knows, they might just decide “What the heck” and go for it.

Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from the new book Glock Deconstructed by Patrick Sweeney. Patrick’s got much more to say about single-stack Glocks and a whole lot more. If you’re new to Glock pistols or an experienced Glock owner, it’s the most definitive and up-to-date book you can own. Get Your Copy

Recommended Glock Resources:

Glock DeconstructedGlock Deconstructed

The Gun Digest Book of the Glock, 2nd Edition

Glock Disassembly & Reassembly DVD

Glock Disassembly/Assembly Instructions (PDF)

One thought on “Musings on the Single-Stack Glock

  1. Walt

    It appears one must read the above excerpt in context, particularly since the illustration is of…wait for it…a single-stack Glock, the G36…


    Walt Kuleck