Glock 27 Review: Out Dated Police Backup or Time Tested CCW?

by Daniel Young

February 13, 2023



The Glock 27 used to be a popular police backup gun, but it has since fallen out of favor. Is this subcompact .40 S&W still worth buying today?

Subcompact .40 S&W, does it still have a place in today’s CCW landscape?

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Glock 27 Specs

  • Name Glock 27
  • Caliber .40 Smith and Wesson
  • Magazine Capacity 9+1
  • Action Striker Fired
  • Frame Polymer
  • Sights Polymer
  • Barrel Length 3.43 inches
  • Weight Loaded 26.46 ounces
  • Safety None

Glock 27 Background

The Glock 27 is the subcompact member of the .40 S&W family. The rest of that family includes the G22 (full size), G23 (compact), G24 (rare model the size of a G17L), and G35 (5.3 inch barrel on the full size frame). All of those models share magazine compatibility so long as the magazine is longer than the grip of the gun. This means that the full size magazine fits in the compact, but not the reverse. The G27 has the shortest grip, so it can use the standard 9-round magazine, or the 13-, 15-, or 22-round .40 magazines. They do look a little silly hanging out of the grip, but they work 100%.

This magazine compatibility was one of the major selling points for the Glock 27 among law enforcement users. For many years, the de facto standard police pistol in the United States was a Glock 22. Officers would carry several spare magazines along with their duty gun. The beauty of a G27 backup gun, generally carried in an ankle holster, was the ability to use those magazines. This helped keep overall weight down because no dedicated spare magazines were needed for the backup gun.

However, the era of .40 S&W dominance has come to an end. Fewer and fewer shooters are choosing the .40 because of the decreased capacity and increased recoil compared to 9mm, while having very similar terminal ballistics.

Glock 27 Features

Glock 21 Features
1 Magazine Compatibility

Compatibility with other .40 Glock magazines

2 Reliability

Class leading reliability

3 Size

Easy size for concealment use

Models and Variations of the Glock 27

Three generations of Glock 27 are available. The latest and greatest Gen 5 is the most common. Generation 4 models are only produced for law enforcement contracts, but there are many used ones still on the market as well as new old stock on dealer shelves. Gen 3 models are made for California residents (thanks to their handgun roster requirements). Black is the only color that is generally available, but some cosmetic variants have been produced as well.

Glock 27 –  Our Take

One word that comes to mind when shooting the Glock 27 is “squirrely.” One of the major advantages of the 9mm over the .40 S&W is reduced recoil. The extra recoil in the .40 is very, very apparent in the G27. I found myself flinching periodically because of the stout recoil. But when I did my part and held on tight, it was controllable. This gun will let you know if your technique is sloppy.

The most annoying thing about this pistol is the ejection. It succeeds in hitting me in the face with the brass every time, regardless of ammunition choice. Be sure to wear your eye protection when you have this pistol on the firing line.

Aftermarket Support

The trigger in the Glock 27 is standard issue Glock. If you have used the others, you have a pretty good idea how this one feels. It is adequate for defensive use but does not inspire awe. There are numerous aftermarket upgrades for the trigger if you decide to change it up, though. Just be aware that Glock reliability is inversely proportional to the number of aftermarket parts added to the gun. More aftermarket parts on a gun means a higher chance of reliability issues.


Ergonomically, the G27 is not amazing. It feels exactly like what it is, a regular-thickness Glock whose barrel and grip were cut off. In the hand it seems like it is as thick as it is tall. The length of the grip is also very short, with most shooters unable to get their pinky on the gun. Extended magazines or magazine floorplates with a pinky extension are a very good idea with the Glock 27. Holding onto a subcompact .40 with only two fingers is not a pleasant experience.


The durability and reliability of all Glocks are second to none. The G27 lives up to the family reputation. It may not put a smile on your face with the way it feels in the hand, but it will work when you need it. It also is not selective with ammunition. The G27 eats pretty much any ammo it is fed.


Nobody is shooting target pistol matches with a Glock 27 for a reason. The iffy ergonomics combined with a run of the mill Glock trigger and stout recoil make for a poor target gun. This is not to say that it is inherently inaccurate, rather that it is not a gun that cares much about bullseye target accuracy. It will put rounds into a silhouette target as fast as a shooter is capable. When fired more deliberately it can shoot decent groups. But it is a gun where accuracy is possible in spite of the gun’s other characteristics rather than a gun which makes shooting easier than it otherwise would be.


The value proposition with the G27 involves some nuance. Buying a subcompact .40 S&W at full retail price is a questionable decision. Glock’s insistence on using cheap plastic sights also makes the price point of $540 seem high. However, there are a ton of used Glock 27s out there, and many of them are cheap. Demand is low in part because the .40 S&W is simply not as desirable as it once was.

My other gripe regarding the price point is regarding the sights. The G27 has the same cheap plastic sights found on other Glocks. Best practice is to replace the sights with at least metal sights, generally metal night sights. The flimsy plastic sights have a habit of breaking when used for one-handed manipulations. They have also been known to be worn down with repetitions out of a holster. Like a pinky extension for the stock magazine, better sights should be considered a mandatory upgrade.

Closing Thoughts

All in all, the Glock 27 is what it seeks to be. It is the perfect backup handgun to a full size .40 caliber Glock. It is a usable concealed pistol on its own, but is outshined by other options in the marketplace today.

Glock 27 Pros and Cons 

  • Compatibility – Wide magazine compatibility
  • Caliber – .40 S&W is dying
  • Recoil – Hearty recoil

Report Card


Hold on tight, it tries to get away from you


It lives up to the Glock reputation


Simultaneously too thick and too short


Mechanically accurate but does not do any favors for the shooter


It does not make sense to buy one at retail

Glock 27 Final Grade

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Reviewed by Daniel Young

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Based on 15 Reviews

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Glock 27 Starter Pack

If you’re serious about owning a Glock, there are a few extra things you’ll probably want to pick up–if you don’t have them of course.

  • Sights: Do factory Glock sights work, yes. Should your replace them as soon as you can, yes. Check out our review of our favorite Glock sights
  • Magazines: Having extra magazines is a must for any gun that you own–unless you like wasting time excess time reloading. Pick up some factory Glock 27 mags over at Brownells
  • Gun Cleaning Kit: You need to maintain your firearm to keep it reliable. We’ve got a whole article dedicated to gun cleaning kits you’ll need to keep your pistol in tip top shape.  
  • Eye Protection: This should go without saying, but you need to invest in some quality shooting glasses. One errant piece of brass, and you’re in for a bad day. Check out our recommendations for the best shooting glasses!
  • Hearing Protection: Protect your ears and get some quality hearing protection. We’ve gathered all of our favorites to help you decide the best hearing protection for you.

Do you feel like you need a Glock 27 for yourself? If so we’ve done the legwork for you. Here are some of the best deals you’ll find when searching for your new Glock 27.

Upgrades and Accessories for the Glock 27

Glocks may have the largest aftermarket support in the industry. Check out out some upgrades we think you will like below:

Best Accessories For The Glock 27

AccessoryDetailsCheck Price
Trijicon HD Nights Sights
Trijicon HD Night Sights
  • Rugged Design
  • Day and Night Sight
Check Price
Glock 27 Magazine
Factory Glock 27 Magazines
  • 10 Round Capacity
  • 40 S&W Double Stack
  • Polymer
Check Price
Ghost Minus Connector Glock
Ghost Minus Trigger Connector for Glock
  • Drop in replacement
  • 3.5 lb trigger pull
  • smoother, lighter and more consistent trigger
Check Price

Best Ammo for Your Glock 27

Now, we recommend that that for every firearm you own to procure two different types of ammo–one for training and one for working. For the Glock 27 you will want plenty of range ammo to master this little handgun, and you will want a solid performing defensive ammo to carry after you make sure it functions well in your handgun. 

Range Rounds

Magtech 45 ACP

MagTech 40 S&W 180 GR FMJ

Cost Per Round
Palmetto State Armory $0.47
Natchez Shooter’s Supply $0.49
Brownells $0.50

Defensive Ammunition

Speer Gold Dot 40S&W

Speer Gold Dot 40 S&W 180 GR HP

Cost Per Round
Natchez Shooter’s Supply $1.30
Palmetto State Armory $1.50
Brownells $1.65

Other CCW Pistols of its Class to Check Out

The Glock 27 is a concealable and reliable subcompact handguns in 40 S&W. But if you are open to other options, check out some of our favorite CCW options below:

#1 Sig P365

Sig P365 Featured Image

Sig P365

The Sig P365 set a new definition for what a great concealed carry handgun can be – it quickly became the go-to 9mm for many shooters.

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  • Shootability A
  • Reliability A+
  • Ergonomics A+
  • Accuracy A+
  • Value A+

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Based on 184 Reviews

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#2 Glock 48

Glock 48

Glock 48

At its core, the Glock 48 is essentially a Glock 19 with a single stack magazine.

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  • Shootability A
  • Reliability B+
  • Ergonmics A
  • Accuracy A+
  • Value A+

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Based on 58 Reviews

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#3 M&P Shield

M&P Shield

We took the power and features of our full sized M&P pistols and put them into a slim, lightweight pistol the size of your hand.

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  • Shootability A-
  • Reliability A+
  • Ergonomics B
  • Accuracy A+
  • Value A

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Based on 50 Reviews

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How to Care for Your Glock 27

Caring for your Glock 27 is the same as any other Glock. Check out this video to get a thorough walkthrough.

Looking for some more information on the 27? Check out the links below for the manufacturer’s website, operator’s manual, and other neat content.


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About Daniel Young

Daniel is an attorney and lifelong gun nerd. His Instagram account, @fromtheguncounter, grew out of his work at a gun store and shooting range. He can usually be found in the hills with a rifle when he's not working.

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  1. I purchased my G27 back in 1998 and it’s been carried almost daily ever since. I too found the grip a bit awkward at first, especially compared to my Combat Commander, but I grew used to it over time. Handling it frequently, dry firing along with live fire bonded my hands to it. It became natural. Recently I have added +2 base plates to those 9 round mags. The extra capacity is reassuring and I now have a full firing grip. To me, the ergonomics are superb. The gun points as naturally as my index finger and with lightning speed. As to recoil, frankly it isn’t an issue. I’m not a big burly guy, 5’ 9” and 160 pounds. Nobody is moving out of my way on a sidewalk. It’s all in how a gun is gripped whether recoil is a problem. The gun has been reliable beyond fault and accuracy has been impressive, depending on the load. Many people turn up their noses at the 40 and simply follow everyone else down the path of the now vaunted 9mm. If you do so, you should have your own understanding about the ballistic potential of your choice. Wound potential is simple math. If you drive a bigger, heavier bullet of the same construction to the same speed as the smaller one, which will cause more damage? “Will the difference be enough to make a difference?”, to quote Paul Harrel. I don’t know but I don’t think it will be less effective. In the end, handguns are all about compromises; size, weight, power. All must be compromised for the sake of having SOMETHING with you in a moment of crisis. My path has led me here.

    If I were starting from scratch today, would I buy one? Yes, definitely, yes.

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