Like you, I take my personal safety seriously, especially in today’s world. That’s why I use a Glock 43 as my everyday concealed carry weapon. The G43 is a subcompact handgun chambered in 9x19mm. It has a slim profile because it is a single stack pistol and is lightweight due to its polymer frame. This makes it perfect for concealed carry pistols. Today, we’ll dive into a hands-on Glock 43 review.
Glock uses generations to distinguish between eras pistols so here we will review some of the key points. The G43 was introduced in the 4th generation; some versions have since received 5th generation upgrades with better barrels and subtle changes to the mag release and internals.
5th Generation and X Crossovers
In recent years, Glock has produced 5th gen versions of select models in addition to multiple versions of their slimline models. In 2018 Glock unveiled the 17X, a pistol that combined the full-size G17 frame with the compact G19 slide, in order to give higher capacity and better handling with more compact dimensions. Since then they have also released the G43X and G45 crossover models.
Glock 43 Review
The G43, just like its bigger siblings, is a striker fired, semi-automatic handgun with a polymer frame. The barrels are made of a proprietary, high quality steel alloy and Glock uses their standard Black Nitride finish on the G43 slide.
|Barrel Length||3.41 in.|
|Total Length||6.26 in.|
|Weight – Unloaded||17.99 oz|
|Weight – Loaded||20.64 oz|
The dimensions of the G43 are small enough that it can even be carried as a pocket pistol, but I find it a bit heavy for that. Its slim profile does make it an excellent option for inside the waistband or IWB carry. If you’ve never done IWB carry before it takes a little getting used to, but I carry my G43 all day and barely notice that it’s there.
The two primary positions for IWB carry are what’s known as the 3’ to 5’ position (the 7’ to 9’ position if you’re left handed), or appendix. In the 3’ to 5’ the gun sits to one side of the small of your back. This can be more comfortable and discrete for long days but you have less control over the gun and making quick draws takes more time.
In the appendix position you have more direct control over the pistol and this is the preferred position for rapid draws from concealed carry as there is less distance to travel from the holstered position to being on target. On the flipside, it takes specific dimensions and sometimes the right holster to make carrying this way comfortable as it is easy for the barrel or frame to dig into your groin or waist if not positioned properly.
The specific position you decide to carry is mostly personal preference, it is more important that you spend a lot of time running controlled drawing and holstering drills to be safe and accurate with your handling. I personally prefer appendix carry and the small dimensions and slim profile of the G43 are perfect for this.
Due to the Glock 43’s short height, most people can only fit three fingers completely on the handgrip; you can address this by using an extended magazine or adding extended base plates, as we will discuss later. The G43 comes with standard Glock texturing. It gives you enough grip to have control but is not an aggressive pattern compared to some competitors.
The trigger on the G43 has a pull weight of 24N. This is a lighter pull for a handgun but not featherweight. The trigger pull is not too long and there is a solid wall before the break. When shooting long guns I prefer two-stage triggers so the pull of the G43 feels more comfortable to me. Many people decide to add an aftermarket trigger with an adjustable pull to have a firing experience specific to them.
For such a small package, the G43 still has a solid handgun feel. With slightly smaller hands, I don’t use any backstraps and the grip fits like a glove. I have added a +2 base plate onto the stock magazine to allow my pinkie finger to comfortably grasp the grip. If you have large hands you might find the G43 feeling a bit undersized but that is a tradeoff for its concealability.
Glocks are known for their consistency, if you have shot a Glock before then the G43 will not have any surprises for you. The 3.43” barrel helps give a higher muzzle velocity than some competitors that have barrel lengths closer to 3”. Given the advanced 9mm ammo available today you’ll have no worries about stopping power.
Like most handguns in its class, the G43 only has rear slide serrations. The short length and lack of front serrations can make the G43 a little tricky to rack when first getting familiar with it. Just make sure to spend some extra training cycles getting your form correct for chambering and clearing errors.
When you get to the range you quickly learn that the G43, while pocket-sized, can shoot accurately across the room. After putting some rounds down, you should be able to place some respectable groups out to 10 yards or further.
Something to mention, if you’re not used to shooting Glocks you might notice that you have to adjust slightly when finding a proper aim and sight picture. This is due to Glock handguns having a grip angle of approximately 22 degrees. The grip angle is the angle formed between the barrel and the grip, 0 degrees being exactly perpendicular and 90 degrees being flat; think of a rifle with just a trigger guard.
The practical difference is that when getting your sight picture, your natural point of aim will be slightly high if you are used to a handgun with a lower grip angle. This means that you might have to slightly tilt your wrist forward to have a proper sight picture with a Glock.
In a close-quarters defense situation, this difference is negligible, you will still be able to rapidly engage the target by using the front sight alone. For accurate, longer distance target shooting, however, you might need some more training to adjust your natural point of aim.
Most handguns have a grip angle of around 18 degrees, and while this is a small difference, it can affect some shooters. Much of this is preference and if you’re concerned, make sure you put some test rounds through any Glock before purchasing.
Trigger and Safety
People always question the safety of striker-fired handguns and Glocks in particular. Glock designs their handguns to be very easy to learn with and use and do not have external safeties. Glock addresses this through their Safe Action System.
The Safe Action System uses three separate safety measures to prevent the gun going off accidentally, also known as a negligent discharge.
The trigger safety is a lever that blocks the trigger itself from moving to the rear. For the trigger to move all the way to the rear the trigger safety must be pulled at the same time. This prevents the pistol from firing if it is dropped or there is pressure on the trigger from an angle, like from something on your lap or in your pocket.
Firing Pin Safety
The internal firing pin safety sits in front of the firing pin, keeping it from going forward even when there is spring pressure. The firing pin safety only moves out of the way of the firing pin when the trigger is pulled all the way to the rear.
The last safety mechanism is the drop safety. The trigger bar also prevents the firing pin from moving forward unless the trigger is pulled all the way to the rear. Together, all three safeties mean your Glock will only fire if the trigger is deliberately pulled.
Holsters are a necessary piece of safety equipment when carrying a handgun. Any holster worth its snuff will properly cover the trigger to prevent any interference while the gun is holstered. It will also have great retention to prevent the handgun from coming loose or falling out while you’re going about your day.
What About an Accidental Pull?
As a responsible gun owner practicing good firearm handling and safety, an accidental pull should never happen. That being said, on rare occasions, especially under stress, people sometimes pull the trigger accidentally such as when drawing the pistol from a concealed location.
If this is a concern, you can carry your handgun without a round in the chamber and train to rack the slide on your draw. This builds in some delay to your firing time but ensures you will never have a negligent discharge.
Purchasing a Glock 43
One of the G43’s strong points is its price. As a concealed carry weapon, you are looking for something you can trust your life with. However, you will likely use it in close quarters and if it does its job you probably won’t be getting it back from law enforcement for a while, if you do get it back.
Knowing that, you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg like you might on a nice full-size 1911 or solid long rifle build. Glock knows this, and they have priced the G43 competitively. At the time of this writing, the G43 and G43x can both be had for around $450.
Additionally, Law Enforcement officers, Military, Veterans, Corrections Officers, Firefighters, and active EMTs/Paramedics are eligible for Glock’s Blue Label Program, which will typically get you $75-$100 off your purchase price, making the G43 an incredible value.
Glock 43 Models
Even though the G43 was only initially released in 2015, it gained huge popularity, and Glock has responded by producing multiple versions to meet specific customer demands. The ‘4th Generation’ G43 is the standard G43 as Glock has not produced an official 5th Generation G43.
Glock released the G43X in 2019. It is technically a 5th Generation Glock as well as a crossover pistol. The G43X uses the same barrel and slide length as the G43 but combines it with a full-length single stack frame to give a 10+1 capacity. Glock had to make the G43X .04 in. wider than the original G43 to get the 10 round capacity.
The G43X is available with either a silver nPVD coated slide or a black nDLC finish slide. A version of the G43X also features a slim attachment rail for accessories.
G43 compared to other Glock models
Glock has many different models suitable for concealed carry. Here is a table briefly comparing all of their subcompact models by caliber.
|Model||Caliber||Barrel Length||Overall Length||Height||Width||Loaded Weight (oz)||Capacity|
As you can see, Glock produces variations and calibers to fit any need. I prefer 9mm for its combination of size, stopping power, and cheap, widely available ammo with many different specialty ammunitions. The G43 and G43X are the most compact 9mm handguns that Glock offers, having a width advantage over the G26 by being single stack pistols.
Glock 43 Alternatives
The concealed carry world is competitive, and the G43 faces stiff competition. Some of the top offerings today are the Sig P365, the Springfield Hellcat 3” micro-compact, and the Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 Subcompact
Sig Sauer is a renowned firearms manufacturer and when they released the P365 they forced the rest of the field to innovate to keep up. The P365 makes use of a patented, not-quite-single stack but not double stack magazine to give it a 10+1 capacity. This allows the P365 to have almost the same dimensions as the G43 but hold four additional rounds.
Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 Subcompact
The M&P M2.0 Subcompact is Smith & Wessons current offering to the CCW world. It offers a 12+1 capacity but is much thicker than the other handguns with a width of 1.5”. For the fans of the M&P Shield this is a reliable update.
Springfield Hellcat 3” Micro-compact OSP
Springfield has made some waves with its Hellcat line. It has a higher capacity than the P365 while still maintaining a 1” width. To keep a small profile, Springfield opted for a 3” barrel which gives slightly lower muzzle velocity than the G43.
|Model||MSRP||Capacity||Barrel Length||Overall Length||Height||Width|
|M&P M2.0 Subcompact||$598||12+1||3.6”||6.6”||4.98”||1.52”|
The G43X is Glock’s answer to the new competition with the modifications previously discussed.
Modifications and Accessories
There is a wide range of modifications you can make to a handgun, from basic night sights all the way to custom cut-out slides. For my purposes, I have only added a few of the essentials to my G43 to make it work for me. I’ll go over those essentials here.
Glocks come with white painted sights, they work fine, but adding night sights is usually considered an essential upgrade. This inexpensive upgrade gives you better target acquisition in low light conditions. Trijicon is a highly respected optics brand that makes these tritium night sights that fit the G43 and G43X.
You have many different ways to conceal a handgun. From boot, pocket, waistband, and shoulder carry there are more options than ever. The most common method and the one I personally use is inside the waistband or IWB carry. Additionally, when considering concealed carry you should always keep in mind having a holster that is safe and specific for the job.
The most important quality of an IWB holster is that it’s comfortable for you to wear. If it digs into your body or gets painful throughout the day, you’re probably just going to leave it at home, which defeats the whole point of EDC. Next is retention; you don’t want to constantly hold onto your handgun while going about your day or risk a drop. Holsters will have the best retention when crafted for a specific model.
Holsters come in a wide variety of materials today, some of the most common being traditional leather, nylon fabrics, and polymers like Kydex. Leather is arguably the most comfortable, but it has durability concerns and requires more care than the other materials.
Nylon holsters are more durable than leather but they typically still have a soft shell meaning they won’t hold their shape when compressed under your clothes. This reduces how much you will print, or show the pistol’s outline when concealed, but can sometimes make it more difficult to draw your handgun from the holster.
Kydex is a lightweight, durable polymer that can easily be molded for specific handguns. Kydex holsters can be less comfortable than the other materials but they can also achieve high retention while physically covering less of the handgun, making them easier to access.
I personally use a two-piece kydex holster and love it. The kydex is lightweight and retains its shape. It is also specifically molded for a G43 in a way that allows the grip to be fully exposed for easy drawing while still completely covering the trigger for safety, AND has great retention.
Again, your holster is personal preference but I sacrifice a little comfort to have great performance in the other areas, and I’m so used to appendix carrying in my Kydex holster I barely notice it anymore than I do wearing a belt.
Extended Base Plate
Due to the limited capacity of the G43 another common upgrade is an extended base plate. These increase the number of rounds you can carry and increase the overall height of the pistol.
I love the small dimensions of the G43 but I found myself wanting a complete grasp on the grip when firing. Adding an extended base plate was a cheap way for me to carry a few extra rounds and get the full grip I wanted. An example of a highly reviewed base plate would be this +2 base plate from Taran Tactical.
Overall Glock 43 Review
The G43 and G43X are excellent concealed carry handguns. With Glock, you know you are getting a tried and true platform that will hold up to abuse and still be accurate and reliable. The small dimensions and slim frames of these handguns make them really comfortable for IWB carry.
The low capacity of the G43 is easily addressed by adding an extended base plate or switching to the G43X. The 9mm ammunition available now is cheap and there are specialty options for carrying that have great ballistics and stopping power. Today, there are also an array of options and upgrades to choose from to make your G43 a custom fit for you.
There are a lot of good options available today in the CCW world but the G43 remains a tested staple that is much cheaper than the newest competitors. By purchasing a G43 or G43X you can trust that you’ll have an excellent tool to defend yourself when the time comes.
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