The Glock 43X: Perfect Efficiency

The Glock 42 was Glock’s first truly slim (single stack), ultra-concealable pistol, and many gun folks enjoyed the small size. Unfortunately, many were not fans of the .380 ACP caliber, which prompted an outcry for a similarly sized handgun in 9mm.

Roll the clock forward about a year, and Glock delivered on that outcry, introducing the Glock 43, which was nearly the same size as the 42, but in the much-wanted 9mm. It holds 6+1 rounds and is very light, making it a dream to carry. Life was good!

Glock 43 Capacity?

Critics noted that the G43 “only” carries 6+1 rounds. Now I may be dating myself a bit, but once upon a time, yours truly and many others, including off- duty law enforcement folks, carried 5-shot .38 caliber revolvers. Some carried a spare reload or two (I always did). We mostly felt armed enough to take care of most reasonable problems that might rear their head. So personally, carrying 6+1 rounds wasn’t a huge detriment, in my mind.

Glock 43X, spare magazine, Emerson Commander knife.
A well rounded defensive package; Glock 43X, spare magazine, and Emerson Commander knife.

With that said, I’ve never heard any survivors of firefights remark that they’d wished they would have brought less ammo. Point taken. In my view, more is always better, except when it makes the pistol’s grip circumference or length
swell to a size that is uncomfortable.

I had a Glock 43 and liked it. I had several spare magazines with the extended floorplate, which gave a little “extra” grip length, allowing my pinkie finger a place to grip. Naturally, the extra grip length…well, made the grip longer.

Forward to the Glock 43X.

Glock listened to their customers! People did want a little more capacity. They wanted a slightly longer grip, all the better to hold the pistol with. Well, Glock delivered!

Glock 43x thin grip, long enough for comfort
The grip is thin, yet offers enough length for comfort!

The specs of the Glock 43X are:

• Barrel: 3.41”
•  Weight (without magazine): 16.4 oz.
•  Overall Length: 6.5”
•  Width: 1.10”
•  Height: 5.04”
•  Slide Length: 6.06”

More Features

The magazine catch is reversible. The finish on the slide of my pistol is a satin silver color, and it doesn’t look bad. I’d slightly prefer black, and Glock has introduced black slides now (no, I’m not selling my silver-finished slide to go
out and buy a black one).

Accuracy is quite good; groups are typically around two inches at 15 yards, though I’m sure better shooters could bring in tighter groups. The barrel is the Glock Marksman Barrel and seems to work quite well.

The trigger on the 43X is pretty consistent with Glock triggers, there will be no surprises here if you’re familiar with Glocks. Personally, I’m okay with their triggers.

Reliability is typical Glock; I’ve never experienced a stoppage with my 43X. FMJ and various hollow point ammo have been flawless. In the training classes and shooting schools I’ve attended, Glocks are one of the pistols that I’ve observed that very seldom have issues.

So why did Glock make such a creation?

For the same reason that Colt created the Commander concept. People like a full-sized grip and a shorter slide. The short slide indexes more quickly on targets in close quarters. The Commander Concept is not a new one, it’s been out for decades, so this should not be earth-shattering news.

I’ve seen many negative comments from gun people that it’s stupid to have a short slide on a pistol because that reduces the sight radius and somehow makes the pistol “less accurate.” I can see their point but have to disagree overall. I mean, going along with that premise, we should all be carrying pistols with a six or eight-inch barrel to make the very most out of the sight radius. Or better yet, just bring your rifle with you!

One small detail worth mentioning is that Glock included serrations on the front of the slide to facilitate press checks, which is a nice touch. The edges of the slide, including the front edges, are pleasingly rounded.

Further, people enjoy having a grip that they can really get their hands on, and Glock has really delivered in this department! This grip is long enough (the same as the Glock 19) that people with large hands can utilize it well. It is also slim enough that people with small to medium hands (me) also love it. I can really get my hands around this grip. To me, it is perfection, especially given that the palm swell helps lock the grip into my hand. For years, I’d been wishing for a slimmer version of the Glock 19 with a shorter slide, and Glock granted that wish, finally.

That palm swell allows me to get a higher grip, which reduces recoil and gives me better control and accuracy. It also allows a high thumb grip. In short, this grip is one of the best of any pistol on the market. As Goldi Locks opined, it’s not too big, it’s not too small; it’s just right! The fact that Glock left off the finger grooves on this grip just added to the “Home-Run” factor.

Jim Davis Glock 43x review
The pistol points very naturally.

Recently, I took a friend gun shopping for her first pistol and helped her pick it out. She chose the Glock 43X for the same reason that I did; it just felt better than everything else. Sure, there were smaller pistols available, along with ones that had a higher magazine capacity. But the 43X just “felt good” to her. She asked if I really think it’s that good of a pistol, and I told her that I carry it and stake my life upon it. Enough said.

More on Capacity

And since we’re back to magazine capacity again, let’s expound a little bit on that. Sure, the 10+1 capacity is nothing to write home about. It’s not terrible, but it’s not great, either. There are pistols that are slightly smaller that carry more bullets on board, I’ll give you that (the Sig P365 crowd is going wild in the stands, I can hear them as I type this). But you know what – the P365 grip does not feel good for me. And I’m not alone (I know, I’ve just committed blasphemy by even thinking such words, but it is what it is). Yes, you can pack 12 rounds into a shorter grip, but it doesn’t mean it will be a comfortable pistol.

I’m comfortable with 10+1 rounds. Would I like a few more? Sure, why not. Well, we can have our wish! Shield Arms now markets 15-round magazines for the Glock 43X! Yes, that’s right, you can have the same capacity as a Glock 19 in a smaller, thinner, lighter package.

I’ve not yet been able to acquire any of the Shield Arms magazines, but I’m told by those who have them that they are the cat’s pajamas. They are all-steel construction, and from what I hear, are well built. Stay tuned, because I’d like to
snatch up one or three of them.

Glock 43x — Upgraded

Since its release, Glock has upgraded the 43X (again, listening to their customer base). A version is now available as the Glock 43 MOS, which has slide cuts for micro-optics (such as red dot sights) and it also has a mounting rail.

My 43X has no mounting rail, and while it would be nice if there was one there, I’m not in tears over its absence. I never planned to mount a light or laser on the pistol in the first place, although there are makers who offer units that do attach. In my opinion, lasers are more gimmicks than useful tools, and I’d rather spend the money that I’d have used on a laser to buy more bullets with (although these days, best of luck finding bullets on the shelves of gun shops). Mounting a light would necessitate buying an entirely new holster and reducing the concealability that we love about the pistol in the first place.

Holsters

While I’m on the subject of holsters, any holster that fits the Glock 43 will also fit the 43X perfectly, which is a nice touch. So the magazines for the two pistols are not interchangeable, but the holsters are.

Glock 43x desantis holster
The DeSantis holster company makes excellent holsters that keep the pistol tucked into the side.

Is the 43X tougher to conceal than the 43?

Not really, they’re both pretty close. Yes, the 43 gets a slight nod in the concealability department, but its grip is only about ½-inch shorter than the 43X’s grip, and for the added ½-inch of the 43X, you get four more rounds in the factory mag (nine more if you go with the Shield Arms mags). To me, that’s a nice tradeoff, and when you add the fact that the grip of the 43X is so much more satisfying (you know you’ve got an honest-to-God pistol in your hand), they’re not even comparable.

To me, that ½-inch of extra grip on the 43X gets you so much more than you are giving up, it’s not even a contest.

Should you run out and trade your 43 on a 43X?

I did. That doesn’t mean you have to, though. Your 43 might be serving your needs perfectly, and there’s nothing wrong with that. If I had to carry a 43, I would not feel at a terrible disadvantage. Having said that, the 43X is and will remain, my choice of the two.

You may also like: Thoughts on the Glock 48 and Glock 43x.

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It’s a good program, and you’ll be supporting Breach-Bang-Clear when you join.

Jim Davis

Jim Davis served in the PA Dept. of Corrections for 16 ½ years as a corrections officer in the State Correctional Institute at Graterford and later at SCI Phoenix. He served on the Corrections Emergency Response Team (CERT), several of those years as a sniper, and also the Fire Emergency Response Team (FERT). For 25 years, he was a professional instructor, teaching topics including Defensive Tactics, Riot Control and Tactical Operations, Immediate Responder, and cognitive programs as an adjunct instructor at the DOC Training Academy. He was then promoted to the title of corrections counselor, where he ran a caseload and facilitated cognitive therapy classes to inmates. His total service time was close to 29 years. He was involved in many violent encounters on duty, including incidents of fatalities.


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