Glock 36 Review: A Single Stack Subcompact 45ACP for CCW?

by Daniel Young

February 13, 2023

1 comments

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Glock’s first single stack was the model 36 in .45 ACP. This review looks at its place in the modern concealed carry landscape.

A single stack subcompact Glock in 45ACP, ready for concealed carry.

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Glock 36 Specs

  • Name Glock 36
  • Caliber 45 ACP
  • Magazine Capacity 6+1
  • Action Striker Fired
  • Frame Polymer
  • Sights Polymer
  • Barrel Length 3.78 inches
  • Weight Loaded 26.81 ounces
  • Safety None

Glock 36 Background

While .45 ACP is not the most prevalent concealed carry caliber today, a few years ago it was a real contender. There were many shooters who wanted to carry a .45 but also wanted something smaller than what was available.

Subcompact 1911 models were one of the few options, but they do not have the best track record for reliability. Shortening the standard 5-inch barrel down to a 3-inch package tends to introduce cycling issues and increased ammunition sensitivity.

Glock filled this market niche with the model 36. It was their first single stack design. Its limited magazine capacity of six rounds was comparable to the “Officer” model 1911s it was designed to replace.

Dimensionally, the G36 is close to a G19. Their slides are the same width, and the frame of the G36 is slightly narrower. In a sense it is a subcompact but it really is more of a compact. 

The Glock 36 shares some DNA with the model 30 and 30S. The G30 is similar dimensionally with the exception of its width, which accommodates a double stack magazine. That larger magazine holds ten rounds.

An enterprising individual (purportedly in the LAPD Special Investigation Section) took the slide from a G36 and mated it to a G30 frame. This resulted in a higher capacity gun with a lighter, narrower slide. Glock eventually introduced a factory version, known as the G30S, so it could be purchased off the shelf rather than purchasing two guns to combine into one. Glock still produces the G36 for those who want the slimmer option, though.

Glock 36 Features

Glock 36 review weapon features
1 Small Frame

One of the smallest 45 ACP options on the market

2 Single Stack Magazine

This is the original single stack Glock design

3 Safe Action Trigger

Standard Glock

Models and Variations of the Glock 36

There is only one Glock 36 model currently available. It is black (unsurprisingly). If you want any cosmetic variation it will be up to the aftermarket to provide it.

Glock 36 –  Our Take

Shooting the Glock 36 is about as good as a subcompact .45 can be. What gripes I have with the G36 stem more from putting a large caliber into a small pistol, rather than particular flaws of the G36. 

This is not to say that the model 36 is painful or difficult to shoot, because it is not. It does not feel like a chore to practice with the G36, unlike some subcompact pistols. Muzzle flip is more pronounced than a .40 S&W, but the recoil is less sharp of an impulse. It is more of a shove than a snap.

While it is not abusive to shoot, it also is not like shooting a target pistol. The recoil is noticeable and it is never going to be as fast to shoot as a 9mm. These are the tradeoffs inherent in a subcompact .45 ACP. Small grips simply do not provide as much surface area to control recoil as do larger grips.

Accuracy

The accuracy of the G36 is actually fairly good. It is a gun capable of making small groups on paper. Those groups will grow as shooting paces increase. I found it easy to place all rounds touching at 7 yards, and kept them all on an 8 1/2×11″ target at 25 yards. The G36 is up to the task for any defensive use.

Ergonomics

Ergonomically the G36 is pretty close to a G19, but thinner. The grips on Glocks have been compared to holding a 2×4. Holding the G36 is more like holding a 1×4. It points like a Glock, but the way it fills the hand is different. Shooters with larger hands may find it an odd fit, but it is still usable. 

Reliability

In every Glock review, the topic of reliability has to be mentioned though there is little to say that has not been said before. They just work. You know you are getting a gun that you can rely on when you get a Glock. 

Those Glock Sights…

The other stereotypical comment about Glocks generally, and which is true of the Glock 36 as well, is how chintzy the sights are. These flimsy, plastic sights simply do not hold up to hard use. One-handed manipulations (like hooking the rear sight on a belt or a boot to operate the slide) are iffy when you are pulling on a piece of plastic. Also, repeated draw strokes from rigid holsters can wear down the sights and cause point of impact deviations.

It is always a good idea to upgrade the stock sights to metal sights. Versions without tritium lamps are very inexpensive and won’t break like the plastic sights. Night sights obviously are more expensive but are more usable in low light settings. The additional cost of upgraded sights should be considered a necessary part of any purchase.

Aftermarket Support

There is not a lot of aftermarket support for the G36. However, thanks to the dimensional similarity to a Glock 19, some holsters for the G19 will fit the G36 as well. Be sure to check with holster manufacturers before assuming compatibility though. Sights for the large frame Glock models fit the G36 so there are ample options available. 

Closing Thoughts

If you are dead set on a concealed, single-stack .45 ACP, the Glock 36 is one of the better options on the market. But how many people are actually looking for that type of a gun? Not many. It was a more relevant idea back in the days of questionable 9mm ammunition performance, but those days are long gone. And, as a result, the market is far more interested in tiny 9mm pistols that hold 10+ rounds.

Glock 36 Pros and Cons 

  • Size – Small for a 45 ACP handgun
  • Reliability – Comes with the standard Glock reliability
  • Capacity – The low capacity of 6+1 is limited for today’s CCW options
  • Aftermarket Support – Most Glocks have loads of aftermarket parts, the Glock 36 is the exception.
  • Recoil – Noticeable recoil

Report Card

Shootability

It is a handful but not horrible

B-
Reliability

It lives up to the Glock reputation

A
Ergonomics

Odd grip shape, but still usable

B-
Accuracy

Excellent for a subcompact

A-
Value

$550 for a low capacity pistol with plastic sights is uninspiring

C+
Glock 36 Review Final Grade

Our Grade

B

Reviewed by Daniel Young

Reader’s Grade

B+

Based on 10 Reviews

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Glock 36 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 36 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 36 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 36.

Upgrades and Accessories for the Glock 36

Glocks may have the largest aftermarket support in the industry, but the Glock 36 is an exception to this rule. But check out out some upgrades we think you will like below:

Best Accessories For The Glock 36

AccessoryDetailsCheck Price
Trijicon HD Nights Sights
Trijicon HD Night Sights
  • Rugged Design
  • Day and Night Sight
Check Price
Glock 36 Magazine
Factory Glock 36 Magazines
  • 6 Round Capacity
  • 45 ACP Single Stack
  • Polymer
Check Price

Best Ammo for Your Glock 36

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 36 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 45ACP 230 GR FMJ

Marketplace
Cost Per Round
Natchez Shooter’s Supply $0.49
Palmetto State Armory $0.52
Brownells $0.58

Defensive Ammunition

Federal HST 45 ACP Ammo

Federal Premium 45 ACP 230 GR HST

Marketplace
Cost Per Round
Natchez Shooter’s Supply $1.67
Palmetto State Armory $1.69
Brownells $1.67

Other CCW Pistols of its Class to Check Out

The Glock 36 is one of the smallest and most reliable subcompact handguns in 45 ACP out there. But if you are open to other options, check out some of our favorite 9mm CCW options below:

#1 Sig P365XL Spectre Comp

Sig P365XL Spectre Comp

The Spectre family of pistols has become the pinnacle of feature-rich performance in the Sig Custom Works polymer lineup.

Check Latest Price

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

Our Grade

B+

Reader’s Grade

A-

Based on 7 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Handgun? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

#2 Glock 48

Glock 48

Glock 48

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

Check Latest Price

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

Our Grade

A

Reader’s Grade

A-

Based on 58 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Gun? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

#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.

Check Latest Price

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

Our Grade

A

Reader’s Grade

B+

Based on 50 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Gun? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

How to Care for Your Glock 36

Caring for your Glock 36 is the same as any other Glock. Check out this video to get a thorough walkthrough.

Looking for some more information on the 36? 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 COMMENTS

  1. I find the G36 very comfortable considering I have large hands. The +1 mag extension is a bonus, but not necessary. It is a 45ACP how many rounds do you need to deter someone. Like all other Glocks it’s easy to manipulate and control even with the felt recoil. Do I wish there was more aftermarket options? Of coarse I do, who wouldn’t? A beavertail would be a nice option so people don’t get bit by the slide. I haven’t done it, but I’ve seen it happen even after I explain how to hold it. Sometime you just have to let it happen. My issue is only the price tag. With the serious lack of aftermarket options, like almost zero, the price shouldn’t equal that of a G19 or any of their other firearms.

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