M&P Shield vs Glock 43 – Comparison

M&P Shield vs Glock 43
Photo by Wheeler Cowperthwaite

Some people think that owning a micro carry gun such as the M&P Shield or the Glock 43 is pointless. Why would you carry such a tiny gun when you can easily conceal a larger handgun in your waistband? Carrying a larger gun may work fine with baggy clothing, but for tight fitting clothing you need a smaller firearm that can still stop an attacker. Some people even prefer to carry these smaller handguns in their pocket or in an ankle holster. For those that want a micro carry gun, the debate of the M&P Shield vs Glock 43 is a tough one.

Smith and Wesson released the M&P Shield first. Many gun enthusiasts with a need for a smaller firearm would have preferred a Glock. Glock has become the standard for quality handguns, and many buyers have consistently stuck to the brand. However, there was no indication that Glock was coming out with a micro carry gun. Buyers bit the bullet, so to speak, and bought the Shield.

When Glock decided to create the 43, they were confident that the quality would draw the majority of the buyers purchasing micro carry guns. What they did not expect was that the Shield would be a really high quality firearm as well. Glock was slow to release the 43, and by the time a good number of them were on gun store shelves many people were already happy with their M&P Shield. Now that they were both available, people were forced to make the comparison of the Glock 43 vs Shield M&P.

Appearance

When you look at these two handguns side by side you see two completely different approaches to design. Glocks in general are simple and blocky. The M&P Shield is very busy in its appearance. I would never make the mistake of calling a Glock “pretty”, but the simple design seems to translate better to this small size. The Shield just has too many visual elements going on in a small space. The styling of the Shield is not unique. Larger M&P handguns are designed with the same elements, but they look nicer when spread out a bit on a larger gun. The Glock, however, seems to have found balance. The size of the slide in relation to the size of the handle looks right. In the comparison of the M&P Shield vs Glock 43, I will say that the edge goes to the Glock.

Trigger Function

I find that the models that have the trigger right have a gentle feel at first, followed by a hard wall. They then have a clean brake and a reset that I can hear and feel. The trigger on the Glock 43 is close, but not quite there. It has a loose initial impression, actually too soft for my taste. The wall is solid and the brake is clean, but the reset is almost not noticeable. The Glock trigger feels heavier than the 5.5 pounds listed by Glock.

The M & P, on the other hand, has a smooth take up. The wall is also solid and the brake is clean. Again, the reset is non-existent. In contrast to the Glock, the shield is listed at 6.5 pounds but feels lighter. In the comparison of the M&P Shield versus the Glock 43, I find the Shield to have a smoother trigger action.

Hand Feel

As is with the appearance, the grips on these two guns reflect two different approaches. The M&P Shield has a granulated material texture that is designed to be super comfortable. However, the Glock has gone with a rougher miniature square texture. The Shield has a larger grip, both being longer and wider. It gives you more material to hold on to. The Glock 43 sits low in the hand while the M&P sits higher and feels more top-heavy. The Glock gives you a higher bore access, while the Shield is more comfortable. In the comparison of the M&P Shield versus Glock 43, I would have to consider the grips a draw depending upon personal preference.

Magazine

So this may seem like a simple comparison, but it is not. The Shield comes out of the box with a standard magazine that holds seven rounds and an extended magazine that holds eight. The G43 comes with a standard magazine that holds six rounds and an extended that holds seven. The Shield wins, right? Not necessarily. If you fit the Glock with a +1 or +2 base plate, it meets or beats the Shield. I have to give the edge to the Shield because it wins with no modifications, but do not get too hung up on that. The base plates are a simple modification.

Features

Both of these guns are pretty basic as is to be expected with a pocket pistol. The sights on the Shield are more effective using a three dot system. The Glock sights tend to confuse the eye a bit and make target acquisition take longer. The chamber indicator on the Shield is only visual, while the indicator on the Glock is tactile and visual. I would say the sights are more important. In the comparison of M&P Shield features versus Glock 43 features, I give the edge to the Shield.

Comfort while Shooting

With most guns of this size, it is downright uncomfortable to fire the gun. However, both of these guns were impressive at the range. The firearms were comfortable in the hand and felt solid. They had plenty of power but not so much to make the small grip uncomfortable. The Glock 43 did have a bit more recoil, but nothing ridiculous. I enjoyed shooting both guns. I would have to give the win to the Shield because it did have a bit less recoil.

Size and Printing

When purchasing a micro carry gun, one of the biggest priorities is your ability to comfortably hide the fact that you are carrying. In many ways this comes down to grip length. I mentioned previously that the grip of the Shield is both longer and taller than the Glock. This means that you would be more likely to have printing issues with the Shield.

In addition, I mentioned above that fitting the Glock with a base plate is a good way to add capacity. You would think that this addition would make the Glock grip longer. On the contrary. In every possible scenario the Glock has a shorter grip. In the comparison of the M&P Shield vs Glock 43, the definite edge goes to the Glock.

Long Distance Accuracy

I know that aside from competition shooting most of us will never fire either of these guns at long distances. It is not like you take a micro carry pistol hunting. However, it is one of the ways we judge the quality of a gun. In this case it all comes back to the sights. The three dot system of the Shield is easier to use than the sights on the Glock. Sure you can swap out the Glock sights for better ones, but we have to judge based on factory features. I have to give this one to the shield.

Shooting in Motion

I mentioned earlier that the Glock sat lower in the hand and that the Shield felt a bit top-heavy. Both guns did fine when you rotate your shoulders or if you fire while walking, but the Glock felt more stable. I almost assumed that the sights of the Glock would make it more difficult, but I was much more accurate with the Glock when firing in motion. In the debate of the M&P Shield and the Glock 43, the Glock was more accurate while shooting in motion.

M&P Shield vs Glock 43 – Which Is Better?

In the comparison of the Glock 43 vs Shield, I have mixed feelings. It might frustrate you that I am not giving a completely clear answer, but there is a reason why. For these comparisons I have to force myself to compare the two guns as they come straight from the factory. If I just use those parameters, the Shield is a better gun. If you are an inexperienced gun owner or you are opposed to modifications, then go with the Shield. It is less expensive, it feels better in the hand, it has a bigger mag, and it has better sights.
However, if you are willing to make some modifications I feel that the Glock can become a better gun. By replacing the sights, fitting it with a new base plate, and modifying the trigger you can make the Glock 43 a better firearm. It would end up costing quite a bit more, but if you want the best gun at any cost then there you have it. I hope that this information will help you make your decision when comparing the M&P Shield versus the Glock 43.

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