When the Glock 42 hit the market, it was Glock’s way of trying to edge in on the single stack magazine design so popular amongst concealed carriers. Many Glock enthusiasts were probably thinking, “better late than never.” One of the major complaints from concealed carriers, though, was that it came in the odd .380 caliber – not 9x19mm.
Why is that an issue?
Market demand. A lot of shooters like to be able to change their form-factor (i.e., full-size vs. subcompact) while staying in the same caliber. It’s economical for those who enjoy practicing with both their preferred conceal carry and their other pistols.
Enter the Glock 43. Weighing in at 18 ounces unloaded and with a capacity of “6 +1” rounds, it was about time Glock took aim at the subcompact 9mm market. However, is its arrival too late? What on earth does Glock have to offer in a subcompact single-stack pistol that handgun owners don’t already have access to via Sig Sauer, Ruger, Beretta, or Kahr?
Glock is relying upon reputation.
Glock is known as one of the finest manufacturers of handguns par none. It’s trusted by law enforcement, police, and military. More importantly, through its full size Glock 17s, 19s, and 34s – it’s proven itself as a leader in producing reliable, accurate, and durable pistols chambered in 9mm. That should count for something.
Range Report: Glock 43 Is Super Responsive
Going to the range with the Glock 43 feels awkward at first. It’s not this writer’s preferred concealed carry weapon – that distinction goes to the M&P Shield .40. However, the strange thing about picking up the Glock 43 for the first time was how alarmingly good it felt. A double stack magazine always feels a bit bulky and conceals poorly under light layers. With the Glock 43’s single stack, its outline seemed to melt along the torso.
Here’s what the Glock 43 has going for it in terms of shooting:
- Stiff trigger (5.5 lbs) but trigger reset between shots is negligible (~12 mm).
That means getting all six rounds out of the chamber and onto target in next to no time – precisely what a concealed carry enthusiast wants to see. Less movement of the trigger means less ability to botch up trigger pull mechanics in a high stress environment.
- Slimmer, customizable grip means more confidence on the draw.
Very ergonomic grip that feels like a sleeker, hand-friendlier version of the Glock 26. While the “Baby Glock” is just a double stack version of the Glock 43, slimming down to a single stack really changed handling. The new design also greatly reduces the risk of “printing” or being spotted – great news for concealed carriers in warmer weather.
As with any subcompact single-stack pistol, the biggest downside is going to be magazine capacity. The G43 holds true to the industry standard of 6+1 – respectable but nothing special. More importantly, the light trigger is going to prioritize expending ammunition versus a revolver which forces priority on marksmanship. Ultimately, that’s the shooter’s problem and is far from a strike against Glock.
Honestly, the biggest downside to the Glock is how unnecessary it is in the subcompact marketplace. The G26 already served as a benchmark for how subcompact pistols ought to handle. And certainly, with a 10+1 double stack magazine, there is absolutely nothing the G43 has that the G26 does not.
Finally, the G26 has been out on the market for years. It’s not hard to find one on the cheap. The G43 has just made it to market – it’s averaging in the mid-to-high $500s. The major market that the G43 breaks into are Glock enthusiasts who just love buying Glock handguns and newcomers to concealed carrying. For veteran, non-Glock preferring folks – the G43 offers absolutely nothing that an S&W M&P Shield or Ruger LC9 can’t.
In conclusion, the G43 would have been a remarkable single stack subcompact concealed carry pistol if it had hit the market seven or eight years ago. Arriving now, it’s uncertain what use the G43 will have except to tempt Glock enthusiasts into another purchase.
Alternatives in the Market – Subcompacts At A Glance
Sig Sauer produces an extremely affordable single stack known as the P290. It has a six round capacity (eight with an extended magazine) and has all the customizable features such as grip plates and a mini laser. Retailing at $513 (MSRP), it’s certainly got all the same performance of the Glock 43 with the exact same price tag.
- G43 vs. Sig Sauer P290 – Shooting Experience
Where the Sig Sauer P290 falls short is its striker fire assembly. Glock clearly has one of the better striker assemblies on the market while Sig Sauer, for some reason, keeps relying on these plastic hammers to hit the striker pin. Ultimately, it means that the shooter has to pull for a longer stretch on the P290’s trigger.
Neither have safeties – though Glock mysteriously keeps advertising this elusive “Safe Action”. As a concealed carrier, by the time the pistol is out and on target – no one wants to mess around with a lazy trigger. So in terms of shooting performance, the Glock is going to be faster to the draw. So, for the same price point – Glock certainly has Sig Sauer beat.
Is the Glock 43 Worth It?
Based upon range performance and retail price – no. Once the G43 hits the used gun marketplace, it is a great find. However, there is absolutely nothing about it that wasn’t done first by the G26 (cheaper) and, in terms of price range – there’s other new guns on the market for less money that can do the same or slightly better.
So, we’re not tossing out the Glock 43 with the baby and the bath water – just hold off until the price comes down.
By: James England