Glock 21 vs. Glock 22

glock 21, 22

Because I’m a little different than the average guy (no that doesn’t mean strange), I thought it would be fun to compare different calibers in the same gun platform. So I did a little range testing. I did this over two different outings.

The Guns

One was my Glock 22 chambered in .40 S&W, the other was a Glock 21 chambered in .45 ACP.

Both semi-autos are of the standard, full-sized Gen. 3 variety. Because of the similarity, there’s not a lot of difference in weight, shape or size. Because of the larger cartridge, the .45 has a slightly wider handle (as you can barely see in the top pistol above).

The 22 weighs in at twenty-four ounces empty, the 21 weighs twenty-eight ounces empty.


The sound volume of the 2 types of rounds was a little deceiving when it came to comparing each guns volume to it’s recoil. Considering the size and power of the .45,  I was not at all surprised to find it quite a bit louder, than the .40. What did surprise me was how little recoil there was for so loud a round.

Recoil “Feel”

I’ve shot the .45 in a 1911 platform before and thought it had a nice healthy kick to it. My logic told me that since the polymer frame weighs less than a steel frame, the recoil would be worse on the Glock. Not so. I was surprised by the lack of felt recoil in the Glock’s version. Very smooth. I like it a lot. It must be the recoil spring assembly. It was very well thought out.

In comparison, I’ve put a few rounds through my 22 so I’m used to how it shoots. The .40 has a “snappy” recoil that tends to quickly raise the barrel just a little. I’ve heard some say that in addition to the snap up, there is a little twist to the recoil. I don’t notice that part myself.

The consequence: Follow Up Shots

I was shooting anywhere from 10 to 30 feet out, but I could still see the difference in pattern tightness.

Since the recoil on the .45 was a slow “push” straight back, it almost felt comfy. That made follow up shots easier.

My .40 S&W on the other hand requires a little more of the crush grip to get good follow shots. It’s possible, but not quite as easy.

My Choice

In terms of recoil alone, I’d have to give it to the Glock 21 in .45 ACP. I love the feel of shooting that gun. If it weren’t for the cost of ammo, I might consider a trade of some sort…….

But I’m keeping my 22.

Of course I’d accept the Glock 21 as a gift if anyone is interested.


What is your experience with these two pistols?

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  1. I was torn between buying one of these 2 pistols, so I googled and then read your article. Even though I previously owned a 1911 and a S&W 4006, the Glock platform is foreign to me. So your experience helped me make a decision.
    Hello Glock 21…

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