The Glock 42 was introduced with much disappointment from many Glock users. When the 42 was introduced, it was on the heels of the Smith and Wesson Shield and fans were hoping for the gun that the Glock 43 eventually became. They wanted a 9mm micro-Glock, and the Glock 42 just didn’t deliver due to its .380 caliber. So we’re comparing the Glock 42 vs 43 to see which is the best for you.
The Glock 42 had a lot of advantages and they were smart to introduce the 42 before the 43 because the Glock 42 would not have been the commercial success it was if it had been introduced afterward. By introducing the Glock 42 first, Glock was able to get the 42 in a lot of people’s hands who would have otherwise not given the gun a second look. By doing that, people were able to discover the gun’s true selling points.
In this Glock 42 vs. 43 comparison, we’re going to cover the details of both these guns, their features, and the pros and cons of choosing one over the other so you can fully understand which gun will be the better choice for you. Each gun shines in certain scenarios, and we’re going to cover all of those so you can decide which Glock best fits your lifestyle.
Size: Is there a Difference?
|Metrics||Glock 42||Glock 43|
|Weight w/ no mag (Oz)||12.4||16.5|
|Weight w/ empty mag (Oz)||13.9||18.3|
|Weight w/ full mag (Oz)||15.9||20.9|
|Height (top of slide to bottom of magazin baseplate) (Inches)||3.99||4.10|
|Width of grip (Inches)||0.88||0.92|
|Width of slide (Inches)||0.83||0.87|
|Width across controls (Inches)||1.00||1.07|
Glock 42 vs 43 Concealed Carry
Obviously, there’s going to be an advantage to the Glock 42. When it comes to concealed carry smaller can be better. It’s a tenth of an inch slimmer and weighs five ounces less, completely loaded, with both guns having six rounds’ capacity either way. Being both slimmer and shorter, you’d think there are advantages you’re going to get for going with the smaller or less-powerful .380 calibers over the full-size 9mm cartridge.
That said, the size disadvantages of the Glock 43 don’t come into play when you’re carrying the gun inside the waistband with a belt. The weight is a major advantage for the Glock 42. If you are not using a belt and you’re doing some activity like running or exercising at the gym those extra five ounces are really going to make a difference. Now, if you’re carrying with a belt just going about your day, the 43 is going to offer a lot more with its 9mm power than its predecessor. The weight isn’t going to be as big of a factor, and the size difference is negligible.
Let’s talk about types of carry that are a little bit more non-traditional, like ankle carry.
Ankle carry is an area where weight is very important if you’re concerned about the long-term health of your joints. The Glock 42, again, weighing less, becomes a gun that you can carry and not worry about causing long-term damage to your ankle joints. The Glock 43 might cause issues, and the same can be said for even pocket carry due to its size. When you look at it dimensionally, they don’t look all that different, but when you’re carrying in the pocket, they’re majorly different.
I can reasonably carry a Glock 42 in a couple of pairs of pants that I own while there’s no way I can carry the Glock 43. If you want to be a little more eccentric, you can carry the Glock 42 in your cowboy boots — I’ve done this before with a holster that I built specifically for carrying in my boot, and the Glock 42 worked pretty well for that.
The practicality of getting your gun out quickly from a cowboy boot is a whole other discussion, but it’s still something that can be done. Is it the most practical application? No, but the Glock 42 is clearly better for applications like that. Also, if you have a very small frame (i.e. petite and/or under five feet all), the Glock 42’s size may also be a major advantage if you want to carry inside the waistband.
The frames on these guns are very similar, to the point that they’re basically the same gun with a scaled-up version. However, there are a couple of differences that we’ll go over here. When it comes to modularity, there is none with these guns. What you’ll see is what you get. There are no removable backstraps or anything like that, which is pretty much the standard for guns of the size.
Overall, they both feel pretty good in the hand. I will say there’s a major advantage to the Glock 42 in that I can get the most of my pinky finger on the magazine baseplate and make recoil control a lot easier. I can kind of do it on the Glock 43, but I don’t have quite as much leverage. A lot of that is due to the distance from the bottom of the trigger undercut to the bottom of the magazine base plate being just slightly shorter on the Glock 43. That makes a huge difference with the size of the grip.
Both of these guns have identical Glock Gen 4 texturing. It’s just aggressive enough that the gun is not going to fly out of your hand and it’ll stay tight as long as you do your part and hold a solid grip on the gun, but it’s still not as aggressive as I would like it to be. That said, it’s going to be comfortable to carry up against your skin if you’re carrying this gun IWB.
The slides on these guns are pretty much identical, except for the Glock 43 slide being just a little bit bigger. That means that the slide itself is going to be slightly easier to grab than the Glock 42 slide, but the Glock 42 has a slightly different recoil spring. It seems a little bit easier to rack in my opinion, but your mileage may vary.
These are Glocks, so they’re available with the same exact sights. You can either get the plastic sights, which I suggest immediately replacing, or you can get the guns with AmeriGlo sights straight from the factory. I would suggest going with the AmeriGlo sights as they are absolutely fantastic. They have a bright orange front and a rear sight with two tritium vials but are otherwise blacked out. They’re a really good option if you don’t want to mess with aftermarket sights.
That said, these guns also have the same sight cut, so you can put the same exact sights on either gun. The same obviously goes for the aftermarket.
Mounting a red to either of these guns isn’t easy. Glock recently released the Glock 43X MOS, which does have the ability to add a red-dot outfit to it. That slide is currently not shipping with the Glock 43, but hopefully, they will in the future.
The Glock 42, on the other hand, due to its slim profile, is unlikely to have a red-dot mounted. I personally have not seen anybody mount a red-dot onto one, although I would like to mount a Holosun 407k or 507k on the Glock 42 as an experiment. I think it’d be a lot of fun, but it might require getting a custom plate made that would extend the width of the slide. The Glock 43 design is just wide enough that you won’t have to worry about extending the width of the slide with an aftermarket adaptive plate.
The triggers on these guns are (surprisingly) slightly different. These are both technically Gen4 Glocks and you’d think they would have a similar trigger feel, but the Glock 43 has a slightly different trigger than the 42.
The trigger on the Glock 43 reminds me more of a Gen3 Glock that has a very light take-up before reaching a hard wall with no creep. From there, it has a fairly stiff and heavy break with a short reset. Now, the Glock 42 trigger, on the other hand, has a light take-up and just a slight little bit of creep before you get to a more rolling break. It’s more similar to a Gen4 than a Gen5, but it’s still a hybrid between the two.
I personally prefer the trigger on the Glock 42, and we’ll get to why in the shooting category.
The slide lock on these guns is virtually identical. The only difference is that the Glock 43 is going to appear to sit a little farther forward, but proportionally they’re in the same place. Since the Glock 43 is a little bit larger, it’s going to sit slightly farther forward.
The same goes for the magazine release. I can drop both magazines without breaking my grip on the gun. One thing that will happen, however, is that my palm will block the magazine from dropping further. I can disengage the magazine, but then I will have to move my hand to allow the magazine to drop free. Both of these guns will require breaking your grip unless you have really small hands. I have seen some people that have hands so small that they can drop the magazine as I would on a Glock 19 and not have to worry about removing their hand, so it is possible.
These guns are both Gen4 Glock designs with identical quality. I can’t tell a difference and I don’t think anybody else would be able to either.
There is a larger aftermarket for the Glock 43 than the 42, but the good news is that they share a lot of common parts. They can accept the same sights as well as a lot of trigger components. Because of this, you’re going to be able to get most of the parts you would like aftermarket for the 42, but you’re not going to have as many options as you would with a 43.
Both of these guns are what I would call “cute.” There’s no other way to say it. They’re like the Smith and Wesson 642 in Mr. And Mrs. Smith when Angelina asked Brad why she got the “girl gun” and proceeded to take the 1911 while handing him the revolver. Personally, I find the Glock 42 to be just slightly more proportional due to its thinner profile than the Glock 43. From the side, both guns look very similar.
Glock 43 vs 42 Shooting
Shooting the Glock 42 vs Glock 43 side-by-side, there is a pretty big difference. The Glock 42 is an extremely soft shooter while the Glock 43 has a fair amount of recoil.
Now, this is a story I really don’t want to say because I don’t know if I can repeat this performance if anybody ever called me out, but I was shooting my 42 one time and put an entire six-round mag into a three-and-a-half-inch group at 25 yards. I know that sounds like a complete lie, but I swear it happened; the gun is just a tack driver and I didn’t think I was shooting that kind of group at the time despite a fairly fast cadence.
The Glock 42 being .380 has such soft recoil with really good ergonomics and trigger that everything lines up to make it an amazing shooter. Due to that, if you’re recoil-sensitive, there’s no doubt that Glock 42 is the better gun for you. The Glock 43 is a shootable gun, but it’s not an easy gun to shoot. You’re probably better off with a Glock 42 that you can literally shoot somebody’s eyeballs out with than having a Glock 43 that you might have trouble making a headshot at 7 yards.
Recoil Glock 42 vs 43
If you are not recoil-sensitive, that changes things a lot. And the Glock 43, having that little bit of extra velocity and weight of a nine-millimeter bullet becomes an advantage over the Glock 42. But I think there are certain applications where the Glock 42 makes more sense in certain applications for the Glock 43.
If you carry inside the waistband a lot and are always wearing a belt, the Glock 43 is probably the better gun. But if you want a gun that you can carry in those oddball situations like in the pocket, in a cowboy boot, on the ankle, or stowed somewhere in your dress clothes where nobody knows a gun is hiding, then the Glock 42 is going to be better for you. I would honestly suggest buying both and keeping them in your arsenal.
As of the time of this post, the MSRP for the Glock 42 is $479 vs. $538 for the Glock 43 with street price having a similar spread. I don’t think there is a clear difference in value as it applies to all users. Some users will definitely have preferences for one gun over the other.
Both are in my concealed-carry lineup and they’re both niche guns. I used to carry the Glock 42 in my cowboy boot while the Glock 43 used to be my daily IWB carry when it was the largest gun I could conceal with my clothing at the time.
If you carry a larger gun on a daily basis, I think there’s a good argument that you’ll find more value in the Glock 42 as it’ll work in a wider variety of situations than the Glock 43. Now, if you’re looking for a gun to carry IWB daily, then the 43 will most likely be a better choice. I think you need to take a long look at how you plan to use the gun and then decide which will better fill your needs.
Pros/Cons Glock 42 vs 43
Glock 42 Pros
Glock 43 Pros
This is an opinion piece, but I always aim to eliminate bias. Look, we’ve all read them before. Gun reviews that claim to be helpful, but they’re really thinly veiled hit pieces trying to get you to buy something before you’ve even started your research. Or, even worse, a review put together by a content writer who has never even held a gun.
I’ve trained with some of the best in the business to learn various shooting styles and ideologies to better serve our customers. I’ve purchased guns of all price points, calibers, and action types to build the best products for the market. I want you to walk away knowing you have the information you need to make a sound purchasing decision.