Firearms Face-Off: Glock 43 vs. SIG P365

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When SIG officially launched its P365, my social media feed was inundated with its praises from both inside and outside the gun industry. Single-stack 9mms have certainly been front-and-center for some time now, and SIG’s 2018 drop was met with the expected fanfare. Now that some time has passed, let’s go ahead and run a comparison: SIG P365 versus Glock 43. It might surprise you which one came out on top … or not.

SIG P365

The P365 has a slightly smaller profile than the G43. Height is close — the SIG is just a hair taller — but overall length, barrel length and other features differ enough to be noticeable. SIG refers to it as a “game changer” and touts it as a revolutionary new pistol. It does have some robust features, such as XRAY3 Day/Night Sights, a +P rating and SIG accessory rail. Then there’s capacity — an admittedly impressive 10+1 rounds. In a micro-compact, single-stack 9mm, that’s a good number of rounds in a flush magazine. SIG offers an extended magazine that holds 12 rounds, upping the ante a bit more.

This gun experienced some growing pains along the way. The early run of P365s experienced return-to-battery failures, something reported widely enough to clearly confirm a real issue. In the end, SIG made good by fixing the problem under warranty and giving the second run of pistols stronger recoil spring assemblies. The first run also had trouble with its SIG-Lite Night Sights — some shooters reported sights coming loose in their channels — and SIG ended up replacing those with today’s XRAY3 Day/Night Sights. Also, there was trouble with barrel peening and trigger spring return failures. Broken firing pins and failures to lock back were also reported. SIG took measures to correct every failure. The current gen of P365 has been upgraded in great detail.

Out of the box, this appears to be a basic black micro-compact, single-stack 9mm designed for performance over aesthetics. That’s just fine by me, as there’s nothing wrong with a hot barbecue gun, but I’d rather carry a solid workhorse for self-defense purposes.

Glock 43

The Glock 43 was incredibly well-received when it was released. Four years ago, the single-stack 9mm market was just heating up, and Glock was right there with the answer to all your compact 9mm questions. This is another gun that was much beloved by many people. At 3.41 inches, its barrel is just over a quarter inch longer than the P365’s, and its overall length of 6.26 inches is longer too. The G43 ships with either standard Glock white-dot sights or night sights. It has a capacity of 6+1, which is on the low side (a few gun owners have asked why not just carry a revolver?). Still, it is backed by Glock’s long-standing reputation for reliability and durability — vital features in a self-defense gun.

There were no actual problems with the Glock 43 — just design complaints. Capacity topped the list, understandably, but there were also negative comments made about heavy trigger pull. Users also reported issues with mags hanging up halfway into the mag well. There was also some general displeasure regarding the lack of an accessory rail.

Out of the box, it’s … a Glock. It might be smaller and slimmer than what you’re used to seeing, but it remains readily identifiable. The G43 is a black-matte polymer pistol that cares only about getting the job done. As with the P365, I’m absolutely cool with that.

Side by Side at the Gun Range

At the range, I ran the SIG P365 alongside the Glock 43 using a variety of ammunition, including Remington 9mm 115-grain UMC, Hornady Critical Defense 9mm 115-grain FTX and Winchester Super Clean 9mm 90-grain FMJs. Because I’m fond of frangibles, I also threw in some Inceptor 9mm 65-grain ARX. Bearing in mind this was not an extensive torture test, I’ll say neither model experienced a failure of any kind. We’re only talking about somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 rounds apiece, but they both did well, with no cleaning or lubing along the way.

My hands are long and slim, affecting my grip on handguns, so I’m rarely ecstatic about micros. The P365’s dimensions might be only incrementally tinier than the G43’s, but I did notice. Could I get a good grip on it? Yes. Was it a bit of a challenge? Also yes. The G43 is tiny too, so I’d say the comparison of fit comes down to a matter of personal preference, hand size and experience. I’ve certainly shot smaller pistols — derringers, anyone? — but the fact remains these are little guns (all the better to conceal, my dear).

In the end, the comparison came down to two things: personal opinions and accuracy. The two pistols are reliable, well-made and easy to conceal. The G43 fit my hands slightly better, and the P365 has the better trigger of the two. Yes, the G43’s trigger improves with rounds, but it is certainly stiffer than the usual, already pretty stiff, Glock triggers. If you’re going to use either gun for self-defense and intend to put an aftermarket trigger in, take the advice of instructor Mas Ayoob and do not install one with a pull weight less than the factory standard. More extreme aftermarket mods might not cause a loss in court, but as Mas says, they do have the potential to add zeroes to the check you write your attorney.

G43 and P365 Shooting Accuracy

Accuracy is where the difference between the pistols became clear. In addition to the usual five-shot groups involved in accuracy testing, I ran playing-card drills with both guns. These drills entailed firing five-shot groups at 5 yards with no time limit. I ran several drills with each weapon, looking for consistency, and also had a fellow outdoor writer, Brian McCombie, shoot them. The P365’s groups were rather large, taking up space across the entire width of the playing card with varying heights.

Conversely, the G43 produced tight groups, better than anticipated. The guns repeated their performance in both my hands and Brian’s. In the end, the G43 was the clear winner when it came down to accuracy.

This is not to say you should choose the G43 over the P365. Capacity is something you need to consider. Six rounds versus 10 rounds is noteworthy. The somewhat larger dimensions of the G43 might fit your hands better than the P365’s smaller ones. It’s in the guns’ accuracy I find my sticking point. I’m a stickler for an accurate weapon.

Of course, the P365 does hold its own. The groups might be a bit larger, but it does group. At close range during a self-defense scenario, do those minute variations really matter? You be the judge.

Bottom line? It comes down to personal preference. You might find the P365 outperforms the G43 in your hands. Keep an eye out for repeated reports of problems with either model, remembering issues can come and go as new runs of guns are produced. My advice is, as always, to try to shoot the guns before throwing down money for either.

 

Glock: G43 SIG Sauer: P365
Caliber 9mm 9mm
Capacity 6+1 10+1
Action Semi-Auto Semi-Auto
Grip Polymer Polymer
Frame Material Polymer Polymer
Frame Finish Black Nitron
Slide Finish Black Matte Nitron
Slide Material Stainless Steel Stainless Steel
Accessory Rail None SIG Rail
Trigger Striker-fired Striker-fired
Barrel Length 3.41 inches 3.10 inches
Overall Length 6.26 inches 5.80 inches
Overall Width 1.06 inches 1 inch
Height 4.25 inches 4.30 inches
Weight — No Mag 17.99 ounces 17.80 ounces

 

Sources:

Glock: US.Glock.com
SIG Sauer: SIGSauer.com
Hornady: Hornady.com
Remington: Remington.com
Winchester: Winchester.com