Having to choose between the Glock 42 and Glock 43 can quickly turn into an overwhelming catch-22 situation if you don’t have a defined set of priorities. Both handguns are exceptional in their own right, but one gun’s drawback is the other’s strong point. This makes it really hard to choose between them.
In this Glock 42 vs. 43 comparison article, we highlight the strengths and weaknesses of both pistols so that it’s easier for you to pinpoint the right one for your needs. And by the end of this post, we’ll be unveiling our favorite of the two, so stick around!
Glock 42 vs. 43: Specifications
- Overall Length: 5.94 inches
- Width: 0.98 inches
- Height: 4.13 inches
- Weight (No Mag): 12.17 ounces
- Weight (Empty Mag): 13.76 ounces
- Weight (Full Mag): 15.87 ounces
- Slide Length: 5.75 inches
- Slide Width: 0.83 inches
- Barrel Length: 3.25 inches
- Sight Radius (Polymer): 4.92 inches
- Sight Radius (Steel): 4.88 inches
- Trigger Distance: 2.40 inches
- Trigger Pull: 5.39 pounds (24N)
- Caliber: 380 Auto
- System: Safe Action Trigger System
- Standard Capacity: 6 (Single-Stack)
- Overall Length: 6.26 inches
- Width: 1.06 inches
- Height: 4.25 inches
- Weight (No Mag): 16.23 ounces
- Weight (Empty Mag): 17.99 ounces
- Weight (Full Mag): 20.64 ounces
- Slide Length: 6.06 inches
- Slide Width: 0.87 inches
- Barrel Length: 3.41 inches
- Sight Radius (Polymer): 5.24 inches
- Sight Radius (Steel): 5.20 inches
- Trigger Distance: 2.56 inches
- Trigger Pull: 5.39 pounds (24N)
- Caliber: 9mm Luger
- Trigger System: Safe Action Trigger System
- Standard Capacity: 6 (Single-Stack)
Glock 42 vs. 43: Breakdown
Just by looking at the above-listed specs, you can easily spot the key differences between the Glock 42 and Glock 43, namely size and ammo. And as you know, these two factors alone can have a significant impact on recoil, fit, concealed carry, and a host of other factors.
Read on for an in-depth breakdown of the two Glock models.
Size and Weight
Size and weight are factors that are mostly preference-based. Just because a gun is smaller and lighter doesn’t make it better than a larger and heavier alternative. For instance, people with large hands aren’t usually fond of ultra-compact pistols. Similarly, people with small hands find it hard to grip a large gun comfortably.
The smaller handgun in this comparison is the Glock 42. It’s also the lighter option, weighing about 25% less than the Glock 43 with a fully loaded magazine. Some shooters prefer lighter pistols for ease of handling, whereas others prefer a bit of heft for recoil and muzzle energy management.
Both Glock pistols feature a factory Glock Marksman Barrel (GMB). The barrel on the Glock 42 is 3.25 inches in length, 1.9 ounces in weight, and 1.5mm in thickness, whereas the barrel on the Glock 43 is 3.41 inches in length, 2.6 ounces in weight, and 1.9mm in thickness.
You’d expect the two Glocks to vary in terms of accuracy because of the difference in barrel length, but at a distance of 25 yards, the differences aren’t worth noting. They’re both pretty accurate and well-balanced.
Caliber and Recoil
The Glock 42 uses 380 Auto ammo, whereas the popular Glock 43 uses 9mm ammo. Generally speaking, 380 Auto ammo tends to display softer recoil and more accuracy than 9mm ammo, which is exactly the case in this comparison.
The G42’s muzzle energy is almost negligible, making it an excellent choice for recoil-sensitive shooters. The G43, on the other hand, shoots with a fair amount of recoil.
The G43’s recoil can be easily managed, but if we’re asking which self-defense pistol is more accurate and easier to shoot, the G42 is clearly the winner.
That said, weight and extra average velocity of 9mm rounds equate to more stopping power. In other words, the Glock 43 is deadlier than the Glock 42 in a self-defense scenario. Do you see how this is a catch-22 situation?
When it comes to concealed carrying, we can give the G42 the win without a second thought given its ultra-slim dimensions, but is the G43 that less concealable? The answer is no.
Let’s not forget that the Glock 43 is one of the most popular self-defense pistols in the micro-9mm class, if not the most popular! This is a subcompact pistol that’s designed specifically for ease of concealment, so you can’t rule it out just because there’s a smaller alternative.
If you’re carrying the G43 inside the waistband with a proper IWB holster and a sturdy belt, you’ll barely notice any disadvantages related to the size difference compared to the G42. On top of that, you’ll have more stopping power!
If you choose to ditch the sturdy belt part, the weight difference will come into play, and the G42 will be the more convenient option in this case.
Okay, so what about other styles of everyday carry?
Size and weight play a huge factor when it comes to the effectiveness of a pocket carry or an ankle carry. Obviously, the smaller the handgun, the better it will fit into your pocket. Correspondingly, the lighter the gun, the less strain it will put on your ankle joints with an ankle carry.
On that account, the Glock 42 is clearly better than the Glock 43 in a pocket carry or ankle carry scenario. You can even have it easily concealed inside your cowboy boots without any problem if you want! The only scenario in which the Glock 43 would be better is an inside-the-waistband carry.
The framing system on both Glocks is quite similar. The primary difference is that one gun is larger than the other. Seeing as we’re talking about ultra-compact semi-automatic handguns, you shouldn’t expect much when it comes to modularity. These subcompact guns are too small to accommodate removable backstraps and other removable modules.
In terms of fit and feel, both pistols are surprisingly comfortable considering their size. If you have small to medium-size hands, you should have no problem fitting all or most of your pinky finger on the baseplate of the magazine for better recoil management. If you have large hands, however, this can prove difficult, especially with the G43.
Yes, you read that correctly!
The grip length on the G43 is a bit shorter than on the Glock 42. This is because the distance from the bottom of the magazine baseplate to the bottom of the trigger undercut on the G43 is shorter than on the G42.
Note: there are no finger grooves on both guns.
As far as texturing, both pistols sport the Gen-4 texture, which strikes a pretty good balance between aggression and comfort. On the one hand, it’s aggressive enough to ensure a solid grip that won’t send your small pistol flying upon firing a shot. And on the other hand, it’s not too aggressive that it could cause skin chafing in an IWB carry.
There are two stock sight options that you can choose from when buying any of these two guns. You can get them with the standard plastic sights, which we’re not very fond of, or you can get them with AmeriGlo sights, which we totally recommend.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find stock sights that are better than the AmeriGlo sights. In fact, they’re just as good or even better than most aftermarket options!
They’re composed of a backed-out rear sight that features two tritium vials and a bright orange front sight. This combination allows for quick and easy target acquisition.
Note: the G42 and G43 have the same sight cut, so they can accommodate the same sights.
If you’re into using red-dot optics, the Glock 42 and Glock 43 aren’t the right pistols for you. For starters, the G42 is too small to accommodate red-dot optics. You might be able to do it using a custom plate that can extend the slide’s thickness, but this is an experiment we’ve yet to see anyone try.
The G43, on the other hand, is wide enough to accommodate a red-mount, but you’ll need to have the slide custom-milled to do so. Alternatively, you can opt for the G43X MOS, which is optimized for red dot mounting.
Despite belonging to the same generation (Glock Gen-4) and having the same trigger pull, the G42 and G43 have a slightly different trigger feel.
The Glock 42’s trigger sits somewhere between a Gen-4 and a Gen-5 trigger. It has a light take-up that’s followed by a bit of creep before reaching the break.
The Glock 43’s trigger, per contra, behaves like a Gen-3 trigger. It has a light take-up as well, but no creep before the break. What’s more, the G43’s break is a bit heavier than the G42’s.
Which one is better? It really boils down to personal preference!
Design-wise, the G42’s slide is identical to the G43’s slide; it’s just smaller. The G43’s slide is a bit easier to grab than the G42’s because of its bigger size. On the other hand, the G42 is a bit easier to rack than the G43. It’s probably because it features a different recoil spring than the G43’s.
The slide lock is also identical on both guns, although the G43’s slide lock is slightly farther forward compared to the G42’s slide lock, which makes sense considering the former is larger than the latter.
Both of these subcompact Glock pistols make use of a single-stack magazine design with a standard ammo capacity of 6+1 rounds.
The magazine release button is easy to reach on both guns, regardless of hand size. You’ll find it easy to disengage the magazine without having to break your grip.
That being said, unless you have very small hands, you’ll most likely need to move the palm of your hand so that the magazine can drop freely. If you don’t, your palm will block the magazine from dropping.
The availability of aftermarket parts is typically directly proportional to product popularity. In other words, the more popular guns tend to have more aftermarket options available.
On that account, the G43, which is more popular among Glock users worldwide, flaunts more aftermarket accessories and parts than the Glock 42.
Seeing as both guns are identical when it comes to many of their components, however, most Glock 43 aftermarket parts tend to be compatible with the Glock 42.
Note that Glock doesn’t offer extended magazines for the G43 or G42, but there are plenty of aftermarket options that you can choose from.
In terms of looks, there isn’t much to write home about. Both pistols look similar from the side. And even though the G43 is slightly thicker than the G42, both guns come across as tiny compared to full-size alternatives.
Long story short, the Glock 42 and Glock 43 share a lot of characteristics, from the same slide design to the same capacity. However, there are a few factors that can help you pinpoint the right option for you.
The first factor is size. The Glock 42 is smaller than the Glock 43, which makes it more suitable for concealed carry, regardless of your style of carrying.
The second factor is caliber compatibility. The G42 uses 380 Auto ammo, which is known for its super-light felt recoil. The G43, on the other hand, uses 9mm ammo, which is known for its high average velocity and stopping power.
Another notable factor that you need to consider is the trigger. Both pistols are Gen-4, but their triggers behave slightly differently. So, we recommend trying both pistols at the range in order to determine which one feels best in your hands.
Which one is our favorite for daily carry? We’re leaning more towards the Glock 42. It’s not as powerful as the Glock 43, but its ultra-slim profile, comfortable grip, and negligible muzzle rise make for a very enjoyable shooting experience.