We’re doing a Glock 43 Review. The Glock 43 was Glock’s answer to the Smith and Wesson Shield. Smith and Wesson’s Shield was the first commercially successful single stack or stack and a half 9mm pistol to enter the US market. There had been other guns before it. Such as the Kahr and Walther offerings. Those did not reach the same level of success due to price point and niche marketing.
Before the Smith and Wesson Shield, Glock had sold what was one of the most popular handguns on the market. The Glock 19 was considered a great gun for concealed carry.
It shot the acceptable 9mm cartridge while also being small enough for most people to conceal. The Glock 19 was still large enough to be a duty handgun but it wasn’t the easiest gun to conceal.
Glock wanted to have a gun that was truly purposely designed for concealed carry. So they introduced the Glock 42, which was a 380 single stack, Glock nine millimeter. The Glock 42 is a great gun in its own right. You can read more on it in our Glock 42 review, but it still wasn’t 9mm and it was larger than most of the other 380 pistols on the market. Glock fans were very disappointed. They hoped that Glock would come up with something to compete with the Smith and Wesson Shield.
Glock 43s In-Stock
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A smart move on Glock’s part, they did not release the 9mm version of the Glock 42. That is until after the Glock 42 had been on the market long enough for enough users to fall in love with the G42. Instead of selling one gun, Glock was able to sell two guns by delaying the release of the Glock 43.
That was a fantastic business strategy on Glock’s part. The Glock 43, when it was introduced, became immediately successful. It did not have any teething issues because Glock had designed the Glock 43 side-by-side with the Glock 42. So all the initial problems of the Glock 42 were taken into account when they released the production version of the Glock 43.
Table of contents
- Role-Based Off Size
- Glock 43 Concealed Carry
- Glock 43 Sights Review
- Glock 43 Controls Review
- Overall Ergonomics Glock 43 Review
- Glock 43 Trigger Review
- Glock 43 Aftermarket Review
- Shooting Glock 43 Review
Role-Based Off Size
The Glock 43 is a very small firearm. It’s not going to be a full-sized gun that you’re going to want to use for fun on the range or any kind of overt duty use. If you’re carrying this gun on duty as a law enforcement officer or a security guard or anything like that, then this gun is likely going to be a backup weapon. Not a primary, but it makes a great primary for concealed carry.
Glock 43 Concealed Carry
You can conceal carry the Glock 43 at multiple positions. You can do IWB carry, appendix inside the waistband carry or OWB carry. We’re going to go over the pros and cons of each carry position for the Glock 43.
When we’re speaking about IWB carry, we’re referring to the three to five o’clock position or the nine to seven o’clock position if you’re a left-handed shooter. IWB carry also covers appendix carry, but we’re going to cover that separately. For IWB carry, the Glock 43 is very good due to its slim profile. It’s also a really small footprint gun, and because of that, it just conceals really well.
One complaint you might no think about when carrying at three to five o’clock position, is the short muzzle could be an issue. The reason I say that is the short barrel can oftentimes poke into your butt instead of sitting over it. If you’re flatter in your rear section, this gun is going to be very comfortable. The shorter muzzle will mean that if you’re wearing a shorter t-shirt or button-down shirt. Whatever kind of shirt you’re wearing, a short muzzle is not likely to poke you out the back of your pants like a long gun might.
Appendix carry for the Glock 43 is fairly easy due to its small size. But again, the length of the slide is going to become an issue here. This gun is very short and if you’re carrying it in the appendix and you want to be able to get a full grip on the gun from the holster. Then the gun is going to sit very high in your belt line. A lot of that weight is going to be sitting over the belt. While the belt is torquing on the bottom of the pistol.
Glock 43s In-Stock
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This means is you’re going to have a lot of pressure being placed into your groin. This comes from the slide pressing into your groin. It’s a result of the grip of the gun wanting to tip out away from the belt. A longer muzzle helps alleviate this. If you’re carrying appendix with a Glock 43, unless you’re carrying it with a very low ride height, so the grip of the gun is sitting on top of the belt itself. I would suggest going with a longer holster like one made for the Glock 48.
If you are carrying a gun for concealment in the OWB position, this is one of the better options. The areas that are most likely to print when you’re carrying OWB are the overall thickness of the gun. This gun is very thin and the gun doesn’t sit as close to your body since it’s sitting outside of your pants. And again, gravity is working to pull the gun away from you.
Having an OWB holster that is in the pancake format helps as a thin holster is always better. It sits tighter to the body, but also having a holster with adjustable cant is highly suggested. As the G43 won’t print as bad if you have adjustable cant. As small as this gun is, if your holster only has 15 degrees of built-in cant it will still conceal really well. At least for most people in body types.
With its six-round flush fit capacity, the Glock 43 isn’t what you’d call a high-capacity handgun. Considering their options like the SIG P365 on the market now, the Glock 43 seems lacking. When compared to the SIG P365 and the Springfield Armory Hellcat. The gun is very slick and slim. It has a short grip and the slide itself has nothing fancy on it. There are no forward serrations. This gun is designed to be a carry-on through and through. There is no other purpose for this firearm. It is not a firearm that is built for joy, it’s just your basic carry gun.
You can add a good set of sights to this gun as well. The magazines themselves are standard Glock over-molded polymer and steel line magazines. There are a variety of companies that make aftermarket magazines for the Glock 43. Some of those even hold up to 15 rounds, although they’ll stick out of the gun a lot. There are a variety of companies making extensions for the Glock 43 that will work for concealed carry. You can easily add a plus three-round magazine to this firearm. Plus two extensions are the most common.
A lot of people often complain about Glock ergonomics. I do not find this is a gun that most of those people will dislike. The feel of the grip in the hand is actually very good. There is no modularity such as backstraps or anything like that. The grip does feel surprisingly good in the hand. My biggest complaint about the grip on this firearm is you can’t get all three fingers on this firearm. That is unless your hands are very small. The strongest finger in your hand is actually your pinky. Not having the ability to put the pinky on the bottom gives up a lot in control of the firearm. That’s probably my biggest complaint of the Glock 43 besides its capacity.
The texturing on the Glock 43 is not that great. It’s tacky enough to give you control, but it’s not so much that you feel like you have complete control. The second your hands start to get sweaty, the gun is definitely going to want to move around. The only option you really have to make the grip tackier is to do a custom stipple job. You could also add some sort of tape grips on the gun.
Most of the tape grips I’ve played with (even after installing them properly) wear out over time. Especially on a concealed carry firearm, where the grips are sitting close to the heat of your body all day long. If you do that and then take the gun home and start dry firing or doing live fire practice, the grip starts to come off fairly easily. The texturing definitely won’t cause you chafing or issues if the gun’s sitting up against your body. It’s not anywhere near aggressive enough unless you have extremely sensitive skin.
Glock 43 Sights Review
Like most Glocks, the Glock 43 comes standard with a couple of different sight options. You can get it with plastic slot fillers which are the most common. Or you can get AmeriGlo sights from the factory. The AmeriGlo sights from the factory are an absolutely awesome option. If you don’t want to have to add aftermarket sights later, that’s definitely the way I’d go.
The AmeriGlo sights have a really bright front night sight that is surrounded with an orange ring that really stands out in the daylight. AmeriGlow rear sights are just your basic two-dot night sights. But the rear is blacked out with no white or colored rings. So all your focus can go to the front side of the firearm.
Aftermarket sights for the Glock 43 aren’t as common as the Glock 19 and 17 series. There still are a ton of options. It uses the same cut as the Glock 19 and 17. Most Glock 19 and 17 style sights are wider than the cut itself on the Glock 43. You could theoretically mount those sights. But they’ll hang out over a little bit over the slide and it’s not the best look on the firearm.
Red dot options
Currently, there are no red dot options for the Glock 43. But Glock has released the Glock 43X MOS, and that slide is compatible with the Glock 43. There are also companies that will custom mill your Glock 43 for a red dot. Hopefully, Glock will add a Glock 43 MOS option in the future. Especially since they already have the slide design for the 43X MOS.
Glock 43 Controls Review
The magazine release on the Glock 43 is your standard Glock Gen4 style magazine release. A Glock Gen4 19 magazine release will not fit the Glock 43. This is due to the width issues, but the magazine release is designed in that format. It works even though it’s nothing special. It’s not extended, but it works. Exactly what you’d want on a gun you plan to fire six rounds out of and not reload. That said, you can’t easily reach it without breaking your grip. Unless you have extremely small hands and it works, possibly.
There is a slide stop located on the left-hand side of the firearm, set up for a right-handed shooter. It’s easy to reach with your primary hand thumb to drop the slide. It’s also easy to lock up in case you have a malfunction and need to clear the firearm. That said, I’ve never had a malfunction with my Glock 43. I don’t know anybody else that has had one with theirs unless they’re using aftermarket parts or iffy ammo.
Overall Ergonomics Glock 43 Review
The overall ergonomics of the Glock 43 are pretty darn good, but they aren’t great. When the Glock 43 was designed and introduced on the market, they were really good. Technology has moved along and they’re fitting more rounds in guns like the SIG P365 and Springfield Hellcat. It’s really hard to say the Glock 43 has some of the better ergonomics.
Glock 43s In-Stock
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Those guns allow you to get a little higher grip on the gun. The undercut on the Glock 43 is probably the biggest downside. That’s what’s preventing most people from getting that pinky on the firearm itself. There’s really nothing bad about the Glock 43, though. The gun is well-designed. There’s nothing painful or hurtful about shooting it. It really is a great firearm as long as you don’t penalize it for capacity or lack of a full grip.
Glock 43 Trigger Review
If you like a really hard wall on a firearm, you’ll probably like the Glock 43. The Glock 43 is considered a generation four Glock, but the trigger reminds me more of the Gen 3 Glocks. It has your super-light take-up. Then you get to a wall and you have a hard break. From that wall with not much creep or over-travel anywhere in the trigger. It’s fairly stiff and heavy, I’d say somewhere around seven pounds, but it is a usable trigger. In a self-defense scenario where you’re shooting close in, the trigger is perfectly serviceable. It’ll allow you to get accurate hits on target.
Now, if you move the gun back to one hundred yards trying to ring steel, it’s going to be more difficult than other guns. The trigger has a positive reset, and it’s a quick-to-shoot gun. That said, you’re probably going to find the trigger lacking when you compare it to more modern options.
I would like to see an updated version of the Glock 43 with a higher capacity and Gen 5 trigger. Which I feel is far superior to the Glock generation three. If you’re into adding aftermarket parts, the options for the Glock 43 are almost limitless. There are a variety of aftermarket trigger shoes, as well as connectors and trigger bars. These will help you change the feel of the trigger.
Glock 43 Aftermarket Review
As stated before, there’s a lot of aftermarket accessories for the Glock 43. This gun has pretty much anything you could want. You can actually build an entire Glock 43 without using a standard Glock part anywhere in the gun. That’s impressive.
The Glock 43 is just a scaled-down version of a Glock 19. So it disassembles the same way. You just have to unload the firearm, make sure it’s safe. Lock your slide back, double ensure it’s safe. Make sure the magazine is removed, and then let the slide go forward. Pull the trigger to disengage the striker. Once the striker has been dropped, you can then pull the slide back slightly and then pull down the take-down tabs. Then your slide will come right off. You can take out the recoil spring assembly and the barrel, and then clean all parts of the firearm.
The aesthetics on the Glock 43 are actually pretty good. The grip does look a little long in the back. But overall, it seems fairly proportional with the rest of the gun. In my opinion, it’s one of the more aesthetically pleasing Glocks out there. The gun almost looks cute. It’s very clean and plain. There aren’t a lot of accessories or frills on this gun and the design is very utilitarian. But it’s still an attractive firearm. It’s like choose your favorite truck manufacturer’s base model truck.
Shooting Glock 43 Review
The Glock 43 is a handful. With somebody with larger hands like myself, it’s not the easiest gun in the world to shoot. Now with that said, if you have smaller hands, you’re probably going to shoot the Glock 43 well. Perhaps better than somebody who may be a better shooter with even a larger gun. Just for reference, I once attended a firearms class and there was a very small stature woman. She was under five feet tall and probably well under 100 pounds.
Glock 43s In-Stock
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For the class, she was shooting a borrowed Glock 17 that her brother owned. The class and the instructors were of the mindset that a larger gun is easier to shoot. This is because it has more mass, so the recoil of the gun is absorbed in the gun versus the shooter’s hand. She was really struggling. She couldn’t reach the controls and could barely reach the trigger. It was very hard for her to work the firearm at all. Locking back the slide, dropping the magazine, all those issues were compounded with the size of the Glock 17.
At the time, she was using a Gen3 Glock 17. The G17 actually has a shorter trigger reach than the Glock 19, but it still wasn’t working for her. Seeing this, I vocalized my thoughts and said, “Hey, if you want to try my gun, you’re more than welcome.”
The instructors finally relented and after she herself, put her foot down and said she wanted to try it. My gun was set up with plus two extensions that were molded perfectly with the grip. This gave you a little bit extra grip on the firearm itself. When she picked up the gun, she immediately shot four to five times tighter groups than she was shooting with the Glock 17. This gun was sized to her hand the way a Glock 17 would be sized to my hand.
That allowed her complete control over the firearm and she shot very well with it. She said that immediately after class, she was going to buy one of those for her own personal use. The moral of this story is your size and ergonomics of the gun dictate how it’ll shoot for you. In theory, a G43 has more recoil but for a small-statured person, it may not. If your hands can control the grip properly, that gun will not feel like it has more recoil to you.
If you’re a six-foot male looking for a small handgun that you can conceal easier than a Glock 19. Then the Glock 43 is definitely an option, but it’s not going to be nearly as shootable of a gun. If you’re a five-foot-tall with smaller hands, then the Glock 43 might be your ultimate duty gun. It will probably shoot even better than a Glock 19 or a Glock 17 will shoot for you.
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.