I’ve had my trusty Glock 43 for years now. Like the Glock it is, it shoots great and feels just right for my hand. The G43 is a fantastic subcompact pistol with a built-in beaver tail, front slide serrations, and a performance that proved its mettle for self-defense and concealed carry.
However, last month, I tried the new Glock 43X, and this one somehow feels even better in terms of ergonomics. It has an elongated grip, more rounds for shooting (10+1 rounds while the G43 has 6+1), and yet, it’s just slightly heavier than the G43 with barely an ounce more.
Over the years, the sales and ratings for the G43X proved that people liked it better than the Glock G43. But are the ratings true?
Today, I’ll be writing a Glock 43X review, and I’ll tell you my impressions.
We’ll talk about its characteristics, overall performance, advantages, and disadvantages, and maybe you’ll have an idea of whether or not this gun fits your CCW needs.
Glock’s Idea Behind the G43X
The one thing I noticed about Glock is that they wait it out until they get the design right, while other manufacturers tend to introduce their concealed carry pistols in a rushed manner every so often. I can’t help but applaud Glock for their patience and professionalism in that regard.
The Glock 43, for instance, turned a lot of heads in 2015 when it was unveiled at the NRA Annual Meeting, and it was in a heated competition with the greats of concealed carry: the SIG Sauer P365, and the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ, among others.
The 43X is Glock’s first unveiling of a single-stack 9mm pistol with a subcompact frame. The tried-and-true Glock performance in a smaller package really skyrocketed the sales with millions of sales.
The Appeal of Glock’s X Series
Glock’s X Series started when they remade the Glock 19, where they decided to do a crossover with the Glock 17 and mesh the polymer frame and slide together. It was supposed to be a more modular platform, and they named it the G19X.
Along those lines, the Glock 43X is an obvious crossover between the Glock 43’s small, compact stature, combined with the round capacity of the G48.
All they had to do was just combine the tried-and-true designs and merge them together instead of just designing a pistol from scratch, which goes to show how dedicated they are to carefully improving what’s already there—getting the design just right.
Either way, it’s also worth noting that SIG Sauer also have great little pistols in the subcompact frame. When the P365 first came out in 2018, folks were greatly pleased with its accuracy and reliability. Given the specifications, the P365 is a direct competitor, so Glock had to double down.
What they came up with is the G43X in 2019, a fantastic subcompact pistol that successfully clashed with the sales of other manufacturers’ concealed carry pistols, and with great popularity, I might add.
The G43X is much bigger than the P365, but it has a very similar width, so they’re pretty much in the same CCW league. The name of the game here is “no printing or bulging.” What the people want is a pistol that’s unseen with a slimmer width.
More Rounds, Same Design
Straight from the original blueprint, Glock wanted to give the G43 the “X treatment.” In other words, they enhanced the magazine capacity from 6 to 10 rounds and added more to the overall width, but the gun still retains its subcompact frame.
How’s that geometry even possible?
That’s Glock for you—they just figure it out.
The G43X was an instant hit. It’s simplicity at its finest, and it greatly surpasses the appeal of the G42, which was chambered in the .380 ACP—a perfect chamber for concealed carry. I guess people really can’t turn away from the venerable 9mm, and Glock were very aware of that fact.
Overview of the Glock 43X 9mm Luger
- Manufacturer: Glock
- Model: Glock G43X
- Caliber: 9mm Luger
- Type: Pistol
- Action: Striker-fired; Semi-automatic
- Capacity: 10+1
- Trigger pull: ~6.5 pounds
- Safety: Trigger safety
- Barrel length: 3.41 inches
- Overall length: 6.5 inches
- Overall height: 5.04 inches
- Overall width: 1.1 inches
- Weight: 18.7 ounces
- Grips: Black polymer
- Sights: Fixed Glock Sights
- Frame: Polymer
- Slide: Black slide with an nDLC finish
- Accessories: 2 magazines; Plastic case
- Finishes: Black nDLC finish
At first glance, it looks like a Glock.
There are no finger grooves, it’s well-balanced, and it’s not too flashy or too plain. Glock has always been known for its neutrality when it comes to aesthetics.
The G43X might be too blocky for some, but for me, I know it’s a Glock, so I don’t expect any beauty pageant characteristics.
I personally like this all-black model. It’s much sexier than the one with the silver slide, that’s for sure.
Simply put, the G43X is almost the same size as the G19, with mere fractions of an inch in difference. This was to meet the demands for the 10-round capacity in contrast to the 6-round capacity on the G43.
What this offers is roughly the same contour and dimensions for concealed carry with an enhanced magazine.
It’s not the only subcompact with enhanced round capacity, though. The S&W M&P Shield Plus and the Canik TP9 Elite SC are two other great pistols worth checking out. There’s also the Glock 43X MOS (modular optic system) if you want something perfect in combination with red dot optics.
The grip textures are your standard Glock Gen5 pattern that’s also found on the G48, and it offers just the right grip most shooters will need.
It doesn’t cause discomfort, but it’s not aggressive enough if you get your hands wet during sweltering hot days at the ranges.
The front strap has perfectly cut contours that let your fingers’ middle section align just right, and this really helps with recoil, all thanks to the backstraps.
The grip isn’t modular, and there are no removable backstraps, finger grooves, or a beavertail for that matter. But it’s definitely one of the most ergonomic pistols out there, especially if you have medium-sized hands.
The polymer slide is roughly around 6.5 inches with an nPVD finish that’s typical for a Glock. It has front and back slide serrations that give you that near-perfect edge in handling. It’s worth noting that most Glocks only have the back serrations.
I’m really pleased that the G43X slide is interchangeable with the G43, which has slightly different slide serrations. So, if you don’t like how they feel and own a G43, consult your local gunsmith.
Racking the slide is pretty easy, not as easy as the Smith & Wesson Shield EZ, that’s for sure. Still, most folks will have no problems racking it, and doing a press check with the forward cocking serrations is also a cinch, all thanks to the front and back serrations.
I advise you to use the rear slide serrations when racking the slide since there are some Glock mechanisms that wear off easily.
The Glock rear sight is adjustable via screwdriver and hex key, and you can slightly adjust it back or forth for easier zeroing in.
The experienced shooter knows sights are one of the most important aspects of a concealed carry pistol.
Everyone has their own shooting style that relies on their preferred brand of sights, so I advise you first try out the models before you consider your purchase.
Glock was kind enough to offer the G43X with three different models that have different sights.
Then, there are the Glock OEM night sights that are decent, but you can pick the Trijicon Night Sights if you want more visibility during the night.
The third Glock model sights are the AmeriGlo Bold Sights, which are regarded as a definite upgrade and provide the shooter with excellent visibility and target acquisition during shooting.
I personally went with the standard plastic sights because I know I’ll replace them with something else. Red dot sights are out of the question because it’s a concealed carry pistol, and you don’t want more bulk in your holster and clothes.
That being said, if I had to choose, I’d buy the Glock G43X with the AmeriGlo Bold Sights. The gun also comes with a free Streamlight ProTac Handheld Flashlight as well, but you can find it without this flashlight option.
The Glock 43X has an external trigger safety much like your regular Glock, and it does a wonderful job keeping accidental discharges at bay without causing an issue or blocking your grip.
Nothing much to say about this one. If you’re a Glock fan, the trigger safety is your same-old same old, and it works.
Let’s move on to the slide stop.
Yet again, the slide stop is your basic Glock slide stop.
Dropping the slide when you’re dismantling it makes it very easy with your thumb. My only complaint about it is that it’s slightly bulged for a concealed carry pistol, but it won’t cause any snagging issues.
You should note that the slide stop on the Glock 43X isn’t lefty-friendly. It’s located on the left part of the pistol, so it’s made to be reachable for right-handed users.
This means that it’s too far back for lefties to reach it via trigger fingers, so be mindful of this. I advise you to practice your drills if you’re left-handed.
Here’s the magazine release, and once again, there’s nothing much to say.
It’s a sharp, easy-to-reach Glock factory mag release made from plastic. Though it’s a bit sharp, I believe anyone can reach it without breaking their grip.
Speaking of magazines…
Magazine and Magazine Well
The Glock 43X has a magazine capacity of 10 rounds, and I couldn’t be happier about that. When it comes to self-defense or home defense, I think that 10 rounds are enough for the casual shooter.
Since there are only 10 rounds, I wouldn’t recommend the G43X as a range toy, but where else would you practice? What’s more, the 10-round version caters to those who live in states where there are strict magazine laws that restrict their pistols to only 10 bullets.
The magazine well is brilliantly well-made. Since the gun is barely under an inch thick, you might think it’s difficult to put the magazine in place, but nope. It works, and it’s beveled on four sides that allow you easy and fast magazine guidance when shooting.
Here’s a little tip.
If you want to turn your G43X into a high-capacity shooter, there are magazine extensions for your Glock 43.
Then, there are the so-called Shield Arms S15 flush-fit magazines with a steel construction that offer you a whopping 15-round capacity.
I recommend you upgrade your Glock to a metal release if you want this to work.
What’s more, changing the magazine release to a metal one switches it to the opposite side, so this is a little ambidextrous fix for left-handed shooters.
The Glock 43X has an integrated trigger with an approximate 6.5-pound trigger pull. It has a slightly rough take-up before you reach the wall, and it goes into a strong semi-rolling brake.
The trigger has a one-third of an inch in travel distance, and the trigger reset is clearly audible, just like a Glock mechanism should sound.
Additionally, the G43X has interchangeable trigger connectors with the G43, but you can find countless aftermarket options if you want to adjust the feel of the trigger.
As for the trigger wall, it’s very present and definite, but you can expect barely any creep so you know it’s a decent factory trigger. My opinion is that Glocks have always had solid factory triggers, despite people opting to upgrade them.
Here’s how the shooting went.
Shooting, Accuracy, and Ammo Recommendation
Let’s face it, it’s a Glock, and it does what a Glock does best: shoot subgroups at 10 yards without a single mishap. Though the recoil is a bit jumpy, that’s how it goes with subcompacts.
For my testing at the ranges, I used a variety of ammo boxes like the trusty Hornady 115-Grain Critical Defense, the popular Winchester White Box FMJ 115-Grain, and the fancy Federal Premium 124-Grain Hydra-Shok.
I managed to hit some average groups with an average of 3.1 inches with 5-shot groups with the Hornady 115-Grain Critical Defense and a 2.8-inch average with the Winchester White Box FMJ 115-Grain.
With the Federal Premium Hydra, I was able to achieve a 2.7-inch average, and I know this was some stroke of luck because these tougher premiums have a tendency to kick and jump.
Though the accuracy varied greatly with the Federal Premium Hydra, the recoil was a bit difficult to handle, but that’s what you get with these 124-grains. For a CQB distance, this is only marginal, and I was extremely pleased with my racked-up hits for the 10-yard range.
Additionally, I suggest you also try out a box of Winchester Silvertip Hollow Point 147-grain and share your shots in the comments.
To sum it up, if you’re above 20 yards of your target in a self-defense situation, don’t expect any top-notch accuracy shooting. Performance-wise, all the bullets ran perfectly on the 10-yard range targets, so that ticks all the concealed carry boxes.
Disassembly and Maintenance
The Glock G43X is reliable, but you need to clean it every now and then.
Disassembly is easy, and it can be taken down much like any other Glock pistol with the two levers.
Pull them down from the frame with your thumb and index finger, and pull the trigger to disengage the sears. Then you’ll see the slide drop forward, and afterward, you can take apart your gun.
Pros & Cons of the Glock 43X
- Excellent Glock reliability
- Grips and front cocking serrations offer decent handling
- Great factory trigger perfect for quick follow-up shots
- Same old Glock maintenance and take-down
- Aftermarket abundance of sights and triggers
- Interchangeability with Glock 43
- Unique magazine and holster size makes it difficult to find holsters
- A bit large for a subcompact
- 10-round capacity might not be optimal for some
Here are some frequently asked questions about the Glock 43X.
Is the Glock 43X a Good Self-Defense Handgun?
Although the 10-round capacity makes it a terrible option as a range toy, the Glock G43X is a vast improvement over the G43 for self-defense and concealed carry purposes. It’s reliable, accurate around the 10-yard range, and conceals just as well as the Glock 43.
The design and ergonomics are perfect if you want a snag-free pistol that can be easily carried in clothing or concealed carry holsters.
What’s the Difference Between the G43 and G43X?
The G43X feels somehow less blocky with its thin frame in comparison to the other Glocks.
It has a longer grip than the G43, and it’s a bit higher with 5.04 inches in comparison to the G43, which has 4.25 inches. Despite this, it’s still just a fraction of the difference and can still be used for concealed carry purposes.
What’s more, the G43X has a 10-round capacity, while the Glock 43 has a 6-round capacity magazine, so this is what makes it a better concealed carry option than the Glock 43.
Speaking of weight, the G43X has an 18.70-ounce weight, while the G43 weighs around 17.9 ounces, both with empty barrels and mags. Once again, a marginal difference.
What’s the Best Ammo for the Glock 43X?
To manage the Glock 43X’s recoil better, I recommend you stick to the Hornady 115-Grain Critical Defense and the Winchester White Box FMJ 115-Grain. If you have more cash to spend, you have the Federal Premium 124-Grain Hydra-Shok for your self-defense rounds.
Are the Glock 43X and Glock 43 Magazines Interchangeable?
Unfortunately, the G43X mags won’t work on the Glock 43 because they are too wide. However, you can use a Glock 48 mag inside a 43X. Since they are a unique build, no other Glock magazines work on these guns, and vice versa.
It’s also worth pointing out that the magazines are not exactly single-stack. They’re a much thinner double-stack magazine that’s also known as a “one-and-a-half” stack.
If you want more round capacity in your Glock 43X, Shield Industries makes a flush-fit magazine with a 15-round capacity. Just make sure you change the mag release button with a metal one because the metal magazines may wear out the plastic magazine catch.
Are Glock 43 and 43x Slides Interchangeable?
Yes, Glock 43 and 43X slides are interchangeable, but it’s better if you use a Glock 48 slide on a Glock 43X. There’s a slight difference in length, but it still works perfectly.
Alternatives to the Glock 43X
The Glock G43X competes with a serious bunch of subcompacts. If you don’t like the G43X, check out these alternative 9mm pistols for concealed carry.
Arguably, most people would definitely agree that the Smith & Wesson M&P 9 Shield EZ is a slightly better option for concealed carry than the Glock 43X. They’re roughly the same price range.
Both of them are small pistols, they kick a lot, and they have loads of aftermarket options since they’re so popular. The S&W Shield EZ has eight rounds and is a bit heavier, so that’s a downside.
However, the Shield EZ caters to the folks with arthritis and those who want the easiest slide racking ever. This is what makes it a better option in that regard, performance-wise, and it’s especially true when the time comes for self-defense. Not to mention how many aftermarket holsters the Shield EZ has.
As an honorable part of the Glock Slimline series, the Glock 48 is a very similar handgun but with a much longer slide.
The G48 is made to mimic the Glock G19’s slide, and the longer length offers more control, handling, and decent target acquisition with your sights. The sights are fixed, but there are countless other sight options you can pick.
It has an advantage for accuracy with the 4.17-inch barrel length, and it has the same old 10-round capacity and adjustable Glock sights. The built-in beaver tail and slim profile make it a well-balanced concealed carry handgun.
I personally love the Glock Marksman barrel, which is a unique build that offers exceptional accuracy.
This investment is also roughly the same price tag as the G43X, and I recommend this one if you want the same feel as the G43X with the ability to shoot more than 20 yards away.
Last but not least, I recommend you the SIG Sauer P365, the ultimate adversary to the Glock 43X. Both of them are well-made, reliable, and more than capable of serious self-defense and CCW.
With a 3.1-inch barrel length and a 17.8-ounce weight, the SIG Sauer P365 has countless accessories and holster options for you to choose from, and this is an advantage to the Glock 43X. It comes with two magazines with a flush-fit and a pinky extension.
I personally like how it’s rated for +P 9mm bullets, and this is a relatively rare trait in compact handguns such as this.
There are countless models with different features, but the SIG Sauer P365 XL is the most popular alternative because it offers a 12+1 or 15+1 round capacity. What’s more, it has X-RAY 3 sights that are visible during the day and work even better at night.
Both of these guns are fantastic CCW options, but if you want +2 rounds in your pistol, then the SIG P365 is your best bet.
Conclusion – Glock’s G43X Offers Much More for Self-Defense Than the Standard G43
To put it simply, the Glock 43X offers a new dimension to concealed carry shooting.
Where the G43 flops, the G43X picks up, especially in ergonomics and round capacity.
I strongly recommend this one to people with larger hands who are new to Glocks or don’t bother much with aftermarket upgrading the Glock pistols are known for. I guarantee you’ll love the factory trigger with a short reset and a decent trigger pull.
We could draw comparisons to other subcompacts, but we’ll be here for a long time. What I can guarantee besides the impeccable accuracy and reliability is the different contours of the G43X.
However, since it’s a tiny bit larger (yet slimmer), and the fact that it has a unique magazine and mag well, you’ll have difficulty finding a proper holster in comparison to the Glock 43. Still, you’ll have no problem finding many aftermarket parts and magazines with 15+1 round capacity.
Personally, I really like how the Glock G43X performs. Some folks would prefer a 12+1 round in the Glock 43 frame, but you can’t please them all, can you? For me, the trigger is just perfect for me because it doesn’t need a lot of force and doesn’t have a long reset.
My advice is to get yourself one and try it out with different clothing. I’m sure you’ll find the right fit for this new concealed carry Glock pistol.
Stay safe, shoot straight.
Hi there, I'm Brady and I'm the owner of GunMade.com. I have been an avid gun enthusiast and hunter since I moved to the Midwest over 15 years ago. It's my passion to share my knowledge and expertise to help you find the best guns in your price range.
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