Glock 43

Glock 43 Review: Ultimate Concealed Carry Gun

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Glock guns. Love them or really not like them (don’t like the h*** word — too much of that in the world today). The shooting world is bifurcated when it comes to this company’s guns. Some shooters will buy only Glocks. Others would not buy one if it were the only gun in the store.

Why such a divide? I’ve looked into this situation before in some of my other Glock reviews, links below. Suffice it to say that some folks put a high value on Gaston’s famous pistol while others do not so much. They feel blocky to some with smaller hands. They are too simplistic for others. There is no thumb safety for yet other shooters. Some even say that they are overpriced.

However, if you’re on the other side of the track, they are just about the best all-around handgun going. Not too much gray area with these guns. Something that many can agree on, though, is that the M43 is a good little concealed-carry gun.

Pros and Cons of the Glock 43

  • Highly concealable gun
  • Ergonomic design and feels like a normal pistol despite its small size
  • Offers various aftermarket parts and accessories
  • Reliable and accurate to use
  • It can be pretty snappy
  • Grip texture is almost non-existent

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History of the Company and the Glock 43

Glock is an Austrian company that has grown from a small manufacturer of household items to one of the largest pistol manufacturers in the world. It is estimated that 65% of law enforcement agencies in the U.S. use Glock pistols and its worldwide share is not inconsiderable.

The Glock 43 9mm pistol took the shooting world somewhat by surprise when it appeared in April, 2015. Boldly and loudly hyped by Glock, this was the first single-stack 9mm that the company made. Demand for such a gun was high among Glockophiles. Many were disappointed, if I remember correctly, that Glock introduced the M42 .380 before the 9mm version was brought out.

At any rate, it was a good seller and remains so to this day, although I would imagine that the double-stack 43X has cut into its sales a bit. Many folks would rather have 10 rounds in a flush-fit 43X magazine as opposed to the 43’s standard 6 rounds, given the choice, even if the grip is a touch wider. At least there are extended magazines for the 43, one of which is pictured herein.

Before we get on with the M43 before us, you might be interested to read my other Glock pistol reviews. Here are the links to them.

So now we know where the company came from and how a Gen 3 gun is different from, say, a Gen 4. All this is basic knowledge needed in order to discuss Glock guns with any understanding of terms, generations, etc. What about the model gun before us now? Why did Glock decide to come out with their first single-stack subcompact 9mm? In a word, demand.

Glock 43: A Pocket Rocket?

The 43 was the first service-caliber Glock able to be carried in a pants pocket. I know some guys who do this. Weighing in at 20 ounces or so loaded and only being four and a quarter inches high, it fits in a pocket holster. (Don’t ever carry a pocket gun in just your pocket — it goes in a holster).

Glock 43 Specs

Width:1.06", widest point, measured
Weight, empty:15.6 oz. (all weights are measurements I took)
Weight w/loaded 6-round mag:19.6 oz.
Weight w/loaded 7-round mag:20.1 oz.
Capacity:6 rounds, single-stack flush-fit magazine; 7-round +1 available
Trigger pull, average:5 lbs., 6 oz.
"Real-World Price":$460

Another question I get asked every now and then is, “what generation is the 43?,” to which I answer, “its own.” The 43 is technically a Gen 4. but, to take a quick look at it, it looks like a Gen 5 with no finger grooves. But, there is no Gen 5 ambidextrous slide stop /release and no nDLC finish, but there is the Marksman barrel.

So, it was the forerunner of the Gen 5 guns. It is one of the more popular Glocks out there and they sell a lot of them. At least my friends who own them really like them, no matter what generation they are.

Here are some photos I took of the 43 — I didn’t take a whole lot of them because once you’ve seen one Glock, you’ve pretty well seen them all.

Glock 43 left
Glock 43 right
Glock 43 field stripped
Glock 43 barrel recoil spring
Note dual-captured recoil spring
Glock 43 barrel engraving
Glock 43 slide branding
Glock 43 slide underside

The beveled striker block helps the slide reciprocate a bit easier because of its beveled edges. Some other makers have adopted a similar block.

Glock 43 frame
Glock 43 grip mag release
It features an enlarged Gen 4 mag release.
Glock 43 sight picture
The usual sight picture.
Glock 43 magazines
And last but not least, the standard 6-round magazine and a +1 version.

Those who would carry a 43 concealed might want to practice with it regularly. Or, I could re-phrase that to say that anyone who carries any gun concealed needs to practice with it regularly, of course.

My point is that smaller guns take a bit more practice drawing and shooting than larger ones — at least in my experience. I’ve carried both and sometimes have had a bit more trouble getting my hand on the grip of a subcompact auto than I had getting a grip on some of its larger brethren. The conundrum is that smaller guns are more easily concealed than larger ones but are harder to grab, draw and shoot well at times.

Some people just shoot larger guns better because they can get all their fingers on the grip and the longer sight radius helps aid accuracy. There is also the feeling that larger guns tend to exhibit less felt recoil than their smaller cousins due to their increased weight.

At any rate, if you can draw and shoot a 6-round 9mm easily, the 43 is a good candidate for concealed carry. to paraphrase the Beatles, all you need is not love but practice. And, I know that some of you just love to practice — don’t we all?

Read also: Our CCW insurance Guide

Recoil Revisited

One last factor that you might need to overcome is recoil. I mentioned it above but I wanted to spend a moment on it. When you shoot a 19-ounce 9mm with target loads, it’s not a big deal. But, switch to your carry load of choice and all of a sudden that little hunk of plastic and metal develops a personality all its own, sometimes not so nice. Some small guns can just be snappy.

Now, 9mm tends not to be as aggressive on the back end as, say, a .40 S&W or .45 ACP, but 9mm defense loads can still be a handful, especially if you are recoil-sensitive. I have found that starting out shooting my favorite 9mm target handload of 4.8 grains of Long Shot powder under a Lee 124-grain cast round nose, sparked by a Fiocchi SP primer is a good way to start acclimating to recoil.

Gradually moving to factory FMJ rounds and then to full-bore defense loads has worked in the past for myself and others. I am not particularly recoil-sensitive but it seems the older I get, the more it bothers me. So, I’m always up for an easy-on-the-wrist load. I’ll touch more on my actual experience with this gun and recoil when I shoot it (below).

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Shooting the Glock 43 Pistol

I braved the weather in my wild backyard. A cold front is moving in and it’s a bit nippy out there but my desire to shoot this little guy overcame my reticence. I shot my above-mentioned handload that is usually fairly accurate in whatever gun it’s shot in and also the excellent Fiocchi 124-grain JHP. I’ve had good luck with that load as well.

My handload disappointed with this gun which was a bit of a surprise but the Fiocchi did alright. Here are the targets.

target shot with handload

Vertical stringing is evident, although you usually see this more with rifles than with handguns. At any rate, all the holes are on the paper. It just didn’t like my ammo. And, yes, it is a cast bullet load. I shot many cast bullets through my Glock 30 in .45 ACP. As long as you clean the barrel regularly, you should have no problem.

I cannot officially sanction the use of lead bullets due to Glock’s policy but hard-cast bullets tend not to be the culprit. Do not ever shoot plain-lead swaged bullets in any poly-rifled-barrel gun. Those bullets will strip lead off and make a mess that can quickly lead to a possible overpressure situation.

For that matter, the same thing can happen in a conventionally-rifled barrel. Avoid plain-lead bullets if you can unless you are shooting very mild target loads, and never shoot them in a stock Glock barrel. I’m just saying shoot hard-cast, then clean it. Only you can decide which type of bullet you’ll put through your Glock.

target shot with JHP

The JHP load was a different story. It kicked pretty hard and lifted the gun off the bag with each shot. Now, I shoot full-bore .44 Magnum loads and am used to recoil. I am only making a subjective comparison between the two 9mm loads. You could tell that you were touching off something a bit stronger than a 1000 fps target load when I put the Fiocchi downrange.

Looking at the target, it looks like I got two groups: one in the center of the target and the other a bit low-left. That was interesting, to say the least. I used a hold that put the front sight just under the small black box and shot at about 20 yards from a bag.

I often tell myself that, in order to carry an effective load, it’s going to have to kick a bit on the back end. This load bears that out. An effective JHP needs at least some decent velocity if it’s going to expand at all, and that will generate some recoil. Of course, you can always go the light-bullet route. I tried the NovX 65-grain load and found that it was very effective, hitting 1600 fps out of a short barrel.

Suffice it to say that there are many loads out there. So try several and settle on what works for you. Just be ready for the gun to kick some if you use a mainstream defense load.

Accessories for the Glock 43 Pistol

Now, let’s talk about the accessories you can add to your Glock 43 pistol.


Would I carry a Glock 43? Of course. It is very concealable, is well-built, comes with at least 6-round magazines and seven-, eight- and ten-rounders are out there. What’s not to like? For me, it was a bit on the skinny side, at just over an inch wide. Given the lack of grip texturing that Glock applies (or doesn’t apply) to their guns, the gun shifted fairly dramatically in my hand when I shot it.

I like the other aspects of the 43. It is easy to carry, and is obviously a Glock so you get all the goodies connected with the brand. I would carry it IWB, most likely. It can be toted around in a pocket but I think it might make more sense to put it on your belt, on the inside.

A quick perusal of the Glock Store site shows a +2 and a +4 extended magazine for this gun, so capacity should not be an issue. You, dear reader, must decide if the 19-ounce weight of the stock 43 is enough to offset the recoil generated by some fairly brisk-shooting defense loads. If you own one of these or a 43x, let’s hear from you below. As always, keep ’em in the black and stay safe.

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  1. Love my 43, bought it when they first came out. I remember my FFL telling me how much he loved the weight after carrying a G19 on his hip forever. It made a difference with his back issues. Also mine came with factory night sights, well the front sight is tritium. Low round count is about the only downer. But I think I can deal with it. Good article.

  2. Just bought a 43x. I had a choice at the counter of Sig P365, Kimber Mini 9, the 43, and the 43x. The X just felt the best. I live on rural property so I’ve been able to shoot it right away. I’m a little disappointed at firth with the accuracy from 10 yards using Fiocchi ammo. I regularly shoot a Glo,ck 23 in 40 cal and a full size Kimber 1911 and it was not up to par with those. I’ll keep practicing and let you know how it goes. I have been caring a Roger LCP Laser sight 380. I shot that real well also at short distance.

    1. Matt, are you shooting at only 10 yards? You might try moving in a bit just to get it on the paper. I find that if I do that, once I get used to the ammo being used, I can move it back out. Anyway, it works for me but everyone’s different. Yeah, keep us posted. Thanks for writing!

  3. I have a G43 and carry it for those times that a G26 is just too big. One thing though, the Sig P365 XL is an extremely compelling package. I owm/like them all, but the P365 does carry more rounds and comes with night sights right out of the box. It’s also not as “snappy” on follow-up shots, making it, for me, faster to get more lead down range. I got the one with a RDS. Nice touch.

    1. Tom, yeah, the 365 is a great gun. It fits my hand just right, unlike some guns. Glad you enjoy yours – thanks for writing!

  4. Mike,
    As usual, thanks for the great articles! Hubby and I have several Glocks, a 19,26, 30 and 21. When the 43 came out I was really interested but when I tried it out at my local gun range/shop I was not impressed with the accuracy and controllability. That combined with the low capacity removed it from my wish list. I really wanted to like it but couldn’t… My all time favorite carry is my Bersa Thunder Ultra compact Pro 9 (Hubby liked it so much that he bought one too!) Yes, a bit bigger and heaver but 13 round mags are a big plus. and much more accurate and controllable. Now I have a slight advantage with my Concealed carry purse, it allows me to carry a bit larger gun. BTW, I’ve had my concealed carry since 1978! Yes, I’m old! My other favorite carry’s are:
    Glock 26
    Colt Double Eagle Officers model

    Keep up the great work! I always look forward to your articles!

    1. Alanna, sounds like you both have it covered. I know of a former deputy who carries a Bersa-loves it. I appreciate your comments. Oh yeah, like you I got my first permit in ’78, too!

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