Gun Review: Glock 43 Revisited

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Four years ago, I stood in a shooting lane at the NRAAM Glock media launch firing the G43 for the first time. Glock fans were simultaneously thrilled and displeased to see a single-stack 9mm released by the popular double-stack manufacturer. It was a win for Glock, as many of those who had avoided the traditional double-stacks began to take an interest for the first time. But quite a few Glock traditionalists also came to love the smaller gun. The competitors have been ramping up their compact single-stack 9mm game. Let’s take another look at the G43 and consider whether it’s the gun for you.

Firearm Size Matters

G19 G43
Overall Width 1.34 inches 1.06 inches
Slide Width 1 inch 0.87 inches
Overall Height 5.04 inches 4.25 inches
Overall Length 7.36 inches 6.26 inches
Weight – Empty Magazine 23.63 ounces 17.99 ounces
Trigger Distance 2.8 inches 2.56 inches

 

When it comes right down to it, size does matter. Concealing the thicker grip of a G19 is difficult for some people. But a slimmer gun like the G43 slides effortlessly into that fitment niche. With an overall height of 4.25 inches, a slide width of 1.06 inches and a total length of 6.26 inches, this is considered a compact pistol. Because it’s a single-stack, it’s lighter weight and, of course, has a slimmer general profile.

Features of the G43 include a large magazine release button, an aggressively textured grip and the expected built-in beavertail. Trigger distance is 2.56 inches, which is slightly shorter than the G19’s. It has a six-round capacity, which should encourage you to carry a spare magazine.

Black compact GLOCK G43 9mm semi-automatic concealed carry pistol lying on its side under a black factory OEM 6-round magazine filled with Hornady Critical Defense 9mm 115-grain FTX nickel and copper personal defense ammunition.

The Glock 43. (Photo by Kat Ainsworth)

Shooting Range Day

Unlike some compact 9mms, the G43 provides a decent grip right out of the box. It isn’t so small that you can’t hold it properly, something that’s furthered with the use of an extended magazine. With a flush-fit magazine, my pinky dangles off the end of the grip. I personally dislike this, but it’s a matter of individual preference and hand size. It could be a non-issue for you.

I ran a variety of ammunition through the gun, including Hornady Critical Defense 9mm 115-grain FTX, Inceptor 9mm 65-grain ARX, Remington 9mm 115-grain UMC and SIG Sauer 9mm 124-grain Elite V-Crown JHP. The pistol cycled well, and I experienced no failures of any kind. It does, of course, perform better with some brands than others, but that’s normal.

Using Remington 9mm 115-grain UMC, I ran through playing-card drills — five rounds from a distance of 5 yards while shooting off-hand. The G43 produced average five-shot groups around 1.25 inches. Groups would have been smaller, but a flyer tended to appear with every group. This continued out to 10 yards, which is when the groups began to open up. From 25 yards, it remained possible to fire five-shot groups around 4 inches in diameter. Keep in mind that the G43 has a short barrel and was not designed for precision shots but rather for concealed carry (at which it excels).

Black GLOCK G43 9mm semi-automatic concealed carry 9mm pistol lying on a wooden background atop a three of hearts playing card which shows a tight group of bullet holes with one flyer.

The Glock 43 produces consistently small groups during playing-card drills, although there is almost always a flyer. (Photo by Kat Ainsworth)

Felt recoil is negligible. Some compact 9mms on the market are problematically snappy, but not this one. Yes, recoil and muzzle rise are sharper on the G43 than the heavier G19, but the same is true for the G19 when compared to the G17, and so on. Running a large number of compact and micro 9mms has allowed me to experience a variety of designs and their related recoil; the G43 is among the better-performing guns of its classification.

Concealed Carry and the Glock 43

I’ve been carrying Glocks for well over a decade, but it’s always a surprise to holster up with a single-stack model. I typically require a minimum of 500 flawless rounds through a pistol before I’ll consider carrying it. The G43 had proven itself reliable, so I decided to spend time using it as my daily carry. I carried it both inside the waistband and outside the waistband using Galco Gunleather’s KingTuk Classic and Corvus belt holsters. Both holsters provided excellent retention and allowed me to get a full firing grip when drawing.

Close-up of the ubiquitous GLOCK trigger safey mechanism on a black G43 concealed carry 9mm semi-automatic pistol

The Glock 43 has the safe-action trigger the company is known for and the accompanying internal safety mechanisms. (Photo by Kat Ainsworth)

You can conceal the G43 with relative ease. Unlike thicker guns, the pistol’s frame rests snugly against your body and doesn’t protrude excessively. I was able to conceal the firearm whether I wore a sweatshirt or a loose T-shirt. If you wear higher-waisted skinny jeans, you might be pleased to hear the G43 is well-suited to those — with the right holster. Now, before you ask if it can be worn with yoga pants, let me mention that using a proper belt both secures the firearm in place on your body and retains it should you need to draw. If you want to carry the G43 while wearing yoga pants, you can — but you need to spend time drawing (just as you would with any carry wardrobe). Carrying a gun involves making some concessions in how you dress, especially for women.

Glock 43: The Bottom Line

Time and significant ammo use have proven the G43 is a reliable, accurate carry gun. Ease of concealment matters. After all, depending on your job or the climate of your home state, you may not be able to carry a larger firearm on a regular basis. Having a gun like the G43 in your collection allows you to carry when the weather is hotter or you’re in a less permissive environment. Remember, the weapon you have on your body is better than one constantly left behind in your safe. Sacrificing capacity for concealability is a solid trade when it means your gun will be available at the most important and entirely unplanned moment of your life. The G43 is a reliable, compact pistol available at an affordable price. It just might be the best choice for your next handgun purchase.

G43 Spec Box:

Caliber Weight – No Mag Height Overall Length Overall Width Slide Length Slide Width Capacity Barrel Length
9mm 16.23 ounces 4.25 inches 6.26 inches 1.06 inches 6.06 inches 0.87 inches 6 3.41 inches

Sources:

Glock: US.Glock.com
Galco: GalcoGunleather.com
Hornady: Hornady.com
Remington: Remington.com
SIG: SIGSauer.com

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