Test Driving the Glock 43 Single-Stack 9mm

Test Driving the Glock 43 Single-Stack 9mm

When it comes to 1 pound carry pistols, it doesn't get much sweeter than the Glock 43.

Why the single-stack Glock 43 was necessary:

  • Provides a slimmer concealed carry option.
  • Large enough to remain highly manageable.
  • Enough grip to engage entire hand.
  • Offers caliber upgrade on the single-stack Glock 42.
  • Strong law enforcement appeal as a backup gun.

Back in 2015, we broke the news about Glock’s long-awaited single-stack 9mm, the G43. At the time, those observations were limited to my experiences and those of a handful of writers who got to preview the gun at Glock’s Smyrna, Ga., training facility. Now that we’ve had a bit more time to learn about the Glock 43, it’s time to round out the story.

Glock G43 Review.

The first and most obvious question from a practical standpoint is why a single-stack 9mm from Glock is even necessary. After all, one major draw for Glock fans is the double-stack magazine with its higher ammo capacity. Doesn’t the Glock 43 (6+1 capacity) run counter to the very thing Glock is known for? Not surprisingly, Josh Dorsey, vice president at Glock, Inc., thinks not, and offered a compelling defense for the Glock 43.

“With the G43, I believe we’ve hit the ‘sweet spot,’” Dorsey said. “It’s small, but not so small that you can’t handle it. Its design means not a lot of recoil is transferred to the shooter. We’ve replicated the trigger pull of the larger Glock models, and it’s got that familiar Glock balance that so many shooters favor.”

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Expanding on Dorsey’s “sweet spot” analogy, the G43 fits right in between the Glock 26 and the Glock 42. Compared to the G26, it’s .2 inches narrower at the grip and 6 ounces lighter. The G43 specifications are more in line with the Glock 42: the Glock 43 is just a couple of ounces heavier and a fraction of an inch wider. The big difference, of course, is that the sweet-shooting G42 is chambered in .380. For consumers and law enforcement professionals who rely on the 9mm as their go-to caliber and main carry gun, the G43 is great news indeed.

The new Glock G43, left, shown with the Glock G42 in .380, released a year ago. Both models are slender as can be.
The new Glock G43, left, shown with the Glock G42 in .380, released a year ago. Both models are slender as can be.

“The bulk of our G42 sales have been commercial sales in the U.S., with some sales to law enforcement as a backup gun,” Dorsey went on to explain. “The G43 will have strong crossover to the L.E. market as a backup gun because it replicates their duty round, and we anticipate a larger demand from L.E. because of that.”

The advantages of replication don’t stop with the L.E. market. Anyone who carries a 9mm and wants a trustworthy yet compact backup will find the G43 worth consideration. In true Glock fashion, the G43 I tested digested a variety of ammo without a hiccup.

In addition to the random range ammo I fired in a prototype G43 in early March, I’ve since pounded through nearly 300 rounds of Winchester “white box” 124-grain FMJs, followed by a couple mags each of self-defense ammo: Hornady Critical Defense 115-grain Flex Tip; Hornady Critical Duty 135-grain FlexLock; Hornady Custom 147-grain XTP JHP; and both the T (FMJ) and D (JHP) versions of Winchester’s 147-grain Train & Defend loads. So far the Glock G43 has functioned without fail during two different outings and with no cleanings.

The G43 is extremely manageable with all of the loads mentioned above. I purposely didn’t run any +P through it because I was more interested in seeing if it was enjoyable enough to shoot during extended, meaningful range sessions—the kind of practice that really counts. Shooting the Glock 43 isn’t as drastically different from shooting the G26 as I thought it would be. Yes, there’s less surface area to wrap the paws around, but I liked the familiarity of the high grip, the similar distance to the trigger and the distinct Glock trigger pull to which I’m accustomed.

The Glock 43 has more snap to it than the Glock 26, but with less weight to suck up the recoil, that’s not surprising. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t have any issues crushing off 100 or more rounds in a practice session, and that’s a compliment I haven’t bestowed on any other sub-1-pound carry gun.

Glock 43 Specs

Caliber: 9mm
Barrel Length: 3.41 inch
Weight: 20.64 ounces (loaded)
Magazine Capacity: 6
Overall Length: 6.26 inch
Slide Length: 6.06 inch
Overall Width: 1.06 inch
Slide Width: .87
Height Including Mag.: 4.25 inch
Sight Radius: 5.24 inch (Polymer), 5.20 inch (Steel), 5.16 inch (GNS)
Trigger Distance: 2.56 inch

This article appeared in the May 2015 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.

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