Glock 26 vs 43: Which Glock Subcompact 9mm is Best?

August 16, 2023  
|  3 Comments
Categories: Guns

If you wanted to get a subcompact Glock in 9mm, you come down to Glock 26 vs 43, as those are the two choices after all. Both are popular guns for concealed carry or as backups to larger Glock pistols like a 17 or 19.

But which is better? That depends on how you define “better.” On paper, the differences are marginal, but they can really add up to the right person.

Oh, but that’s not all. There’s also the wrinkle of the Slimline Glock pistols, which make a case for themselves as possibly a better choice than the 26 or the 43, and we’ll talk about that too.

So…let’s get into the 26 vs the 43.

Glock 26 vs Glock 43: The Difference Is The Magazines

Let’s just get what’s obvious out of the way: the biggest difference between the Glock 26 and Glock 43 is the magazines, meaning the width of the guns. The Glock 26 has a staggered (double stack) magazine, and the Glock 43 does not.

That makes the Glock 26 wider, but it also adds carrying capacity.

The Glock 26 is essentially a chopped Glock 19, with about a half-inch of the barrel and about three-quarters of an inch of the grip cut off. The slide is the same width, the grip is the same width, and they shave off a bit of the backstrap.

The Glock 43, on the other hand, has a single-stack magazine. The frame and the slide are slimmer because they would be.

Here’s the numbers on that:

Glock 26 and Glock 43 Specifications

Glock 26 Glock 43
Barrel Length 3.43 inches 3.41 inches
Overall Length 6.5 inches 6.26 inches
Width 1.26 inches 1.06 inches
Height 4.17 inches 4.25 inches
Weight (unloaded) 19.4 oz 16.23 oz
Capacity (flush magazine) 10+1 6+1
Est. MSRP ~$500 ~$550

 

The trigger reach (back of the grip to the face of the trigger) is 2.83 inches on the Glock 26, but 2.56 inches on the Glock 43.

A person might also bring up the Glock 26 Gen 5. The Gen 5 Glock 26 reduces the trigger reach to 2.76 inches and overall length to 6.42 inches, but increases overall width to 1.3 inches and unloaded weight to 19.7 ounces…but is otherwise unchanged.

Extended magazines are available for both, the most popular of which are a 12+1 magazine (with pinky extension) for the Glock 26 and a +2 extended magazine for the Glock 43. The Glock 26, of course, can also be used with Glock 19 magazines with a magazine sleeve and a lot of people will carry a Glock 19 magazine in their mag carrier as a spare for the 26.

So those are the numbers. What do they actually add up to?

 

tactical gear for sale

Lookin’ for a Glock 26 for sale? Here ya go!                          Where to Find a Glock 26 for Sale

 

Which Of The Baby Glocks Is Easier To Live With

Both of the Baby Glocks are easy to conceal and carry, but the Glock 43 is a little easier because of how slim and light it is.

In the broad strokes, choosing a concealed carry gun is mostly down to preference.

While the double-stack Glocks aren’t huge by any stretch some people still have their issues with them; that’s why one of the most popular aftermarket modifications for Glock pistols is a deeper undercut to the trigger guard and grip radius reduction. If you have problems with a 19, you’ll have the same issues with a 26.

glock 26 magazines

The Glock 26 has the advantage of being able to take the ubiquitous Glock 17 and Glock 19 double-stack magazines.–BBC [Glock]

Neither gun is really easy to shoot really well, with or without a “stendo.” The shorter grip precludes getting purchase with the pinky, which is where most of human grip strength comes from. Having less slide mass also means you feel a bit more snap in the wrist under recoil.

Some people find the Glock 26 to be a bit too chunky for a small gun, especially given how easily a 43 in an IWB holster just disappears under most cover garments.

Then again, a Glock 26 or a Glock 43 is a “Rule One” gun; USPSA shooters tend to run a 17 or a 34, if not a comped 19 (Roland Special intensifies) instead of a Baby Glock.

But…lurking in the background…there’s the question of why not get a Glock 43X or 48 instead?

Enter The Glock 43X And/Or The Glock 48

glock 43x handgun

The Glock 43x offers a shorter barrel for concealment comfort, but a longer grip that offers more real estate to hang on to.–BBC [Alien Gear Holsters]

The Glock 43X has – for all intents and purposes – the same upper (slide, barrel, parts) as the Glock 43, just with a longer grip to accept the Glock Slimline magazine, a 10+1 single stack. The Glock 48 is much the same, just with a 4.2-inch barrel, essentially a single-stack Glock 19.

Glock 43X review and Glock 48 comparison - a discussion of use, concealability, practicality, and other concerns

The Glock 43 (top) is the smallest and thinnest of the Baby Glocks, but the Glock 43X and 48 give the same thin profile while upping your magazine capacity.–BBC

Why consider these pistols over the 43 or the 26? Well, as we mention in our Glock 43X review, the longer grip gives your hands more purchase which makes it a lot easier to shoot, and that matters. Placement and efficiency wins gunfights, placement and efficiency wins matches.

With good positioning and proper selection of a cover garment, concealing a compact frame grip is not difficult. A longer slide and barrel are easier to conceal than a shorter one; the additional mass lowers the center of gravity and makes the gun more stable in the waistband, so maintaining concealment is easier. Given how thin they are (1.1 inches) the 43X/48 conceals easily.

And then Shield Arms entered the chat.

Shield Arms devised the S15 magazine for Glock 43X and 48 pistols, which is a metal magazine body that allows staggering of cartridges…which means a 15+1 capacity in a Glock Slimline pistol. So you get Glock 19 capacity in a slimmer, more concealable gun.

So the question becomes if you wanted a Glock that was a easier to conceal than a Glock 19, you could default to the Glock 26 or Glock 43, or deal with a longer grip and carry 15+1 in a Glock 43X or Glock 48.

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Lookin’ for a Glock for sale? Here ya go!                              Where to Find a Glock 43 For Sale

 

Glock 26 vs Glock 43 vs 43X

glock 26 comparison

Although the Glock 26 is dimensionally thicker than the G43 and 48, it is still amongst the smallest Glocks you can buy.–BBC [Alien Gear Holsters]

So now that we understand that there’s another slim 9mm Glock that’s easier to conceal than a Glock 19, let us broaden the field a bit.

What does the Glock 26 bring to the table? It’s small, but it holds 10+1 or 12+1 with an extended magazine. It also takes other double-stack Glock magazines with a magazine sleeve, so you can use a bigger stick in practice or as a backup.

The Glock 43 is the smallest. It absolutely disappears inside the waistband, and could easily be concealed in an OWB holster if that’s your thing.

The Glock 43X, on the other hand, gives you the thin frame and easy concealment of the 43, but is more shootable than the 26 or 43 given the longer grip. That comes at the cost of being somewhat more difficult to conceal…but also comes with the ability to use 15+1 Shield Arms magazines.

Glock also makes a 43X MOS, which is milled to mount an optic. The slide is cut for the Shield Sights RMSc footprint, but adapter plates (use aftermarket; MOS plates are known for deficiencies) can be used to mount an optic with a different footprint.

Glock doesn’t make a 26 MOS or 43 MOS, so adding an optic would require either a gunsmith or an aftermarket slide if you decided you want one at some point.

Out of the three of them, the Glock 43X is the shooter’s gun. It isn’t difficult to conceal (but is bigger than the 26 and 43) and with Shield magazines (be sure to add their mag catch too!) has Glock 19 capacity. The same goes for the Glock 48.

The Glock 26 is the balancing act between size and capacity. It’s small enough to easily carry and conceal, but for its size does have decent capacity at 10+1. Add the 12+1 extended magazine, and it becomes easier to shoot.

The Glock 43 is going to be the easiest to conceal and carry since it’s the smallest. Some people insist on the smallest gun they can get (Rule One and so on) and the deepest possible concealment, either as a general rule or because they carry in a non-permissive (though lawful) environment. The Glock 43 is a very good fit in that instance.

Which is best? That depends on what you need in a carry gun and what your preferences are. Already own one or all three? Let us know what you think in the comments.

 

 

News Desk

News Desk

About the Author

Reported on today by the News Desk. Our goal is to inform, educate, edify, and enlighten. Warrior-scholar or everyman, we believe everyone should think and be dangerous.

3 Comments

  1. Falkey Robert C.

    Good article on glocks, and concealing them. Glock does make a G26 mos but they only offer it overseas. I heard a small batch made it to some gun stores here in us by mistake. Glock did not want to take away any sales from the 43Xmos

    Reply
  2. CW

    I’ll stick with a G36 if I miss I’m sure I can disappear while they are still in the fetal position and waiting for their ears to stop ringing Lol

    Reply
  3. David

    I feel like I’m very qualified and entitled to have an opinion here. 34 year LEO, former senior firearms instructor for medium sized sheriff’s office, lifelong gun guy, concealed weapon carrier for 35 years+, and former GSSF shooter. I had (and shot) all sizes of 9mm Glocks, but my “winningest” in GSSF was a G26 with TruGLo TFOs. I carried it off-duty for many years (8 or 9 years) and figured I’d be buried with it, but went to a G43 for a few months. It was SO easy to carry but felt “too small”. I sold it and went back to the G26, then a SW Shield for a couple years, then a G19G5 for a year or so, then a G45 for a year. Then…I found the love of my life-the G43X. I’ve ran it for about 3 years now, and for the last two I run it exclusively with the Shield Arms 15 rounders (Gen 2). In my 56 years on Earth, this is the BEST carry package I’ve every carried. I actually sold my G45, as the G43X is now a 15+1. I was qualified on it and could carry it, but never carried in one time in about a year, so I sold it. I still have a second G43, but it’s for when I can’t even carry the G43X. I rarely carry it though, except maybe hiking or ULTRA hot summer days. My vote-G43X (especially with 15 round mags).

    Reply

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