Introduced in 2015, the Glock 43 was one of the most anticipated striker-fired carry guns to hit the market. The main reason behind the anticipation was the handgun’s super-compact single-stack design, which made it an instant hit among concealed carriers and Glock users. The G43 is, in fact, the smallest Glock in production!
The G43 is considered Glock’s answer to the popular Smith & Wesson Shield, which, before the introduction of the G43, was arguably the most successful single-stack 9mm handgun on the market. The Glock 43 is a huge improvement over the G19, G26, and G42 in terms of size and concealability.
If you’re in the market for a G43 and you’re wondering whether or not it’s worth it, this Glock 43 review is for you. This in-depth review covers everything you need to know about the handgun, from its specs and features to its ergonomics and maintenance. Stick around!
Table of Contents
Glock 43 Specifications
|4.25 inches with a standard magazine
|steel barrel with a 1:9.84 RH twist (matte black)
|16.23 ounces when empty and 20.64 with a 6-round magazine
|steel slide (matte black
|fixed front and a serrated-drift adjustable rear
|reinforced polymer (non-fiberglass)
|9mm Parabellum (Luger)
|drop safety, safe-action trigger safety, and firing pin safety
Glock 43 Overview
The Glock 43 is one of the smallest CCW firearms on the market. As it’s not a full-sized pistol, it’s not suitable for overt law enforcement duty. It’s also not that exciting of a gun when you’re practicing at the range. These aren’t drawbacks, per se. The handgun is simply not designed for such purposes.
The G43 is intended primarily for concealed carrying and civilian use. It’s easy to keep it under wraps when you’re out and about without wearing a ton of layers. It also serves as a good backup gun.
Like most self-defense handguns intended for concealed carrying, the G43 is perfect with an IWB carry, or an appendix carry. However, unlike most of its CCW competitors, the G43 can easily work with an OWB carry, thanks to its small size.
The Glock 43 is a true slimline handgun. It’s just over an inch in terms of width, with a short barrel and a slide that measures only 0.87 inches wide. The handgun is shorter in length than the G26, also known as the “Baby Glock,” by about a quarter of an inch.
Within its first 3 years in the US gun market, over a million Glock 43s were sold, which is a testament to how well concealed carriers and Glock fans received it.
Glock 43 Breakdown
The Glock 43 has a lot to offer and is decently customizable for such a small gun, but it’s not perfect by any means.
The following breakdown will give you a clear idea of the G43’s strengths and weaknesses.
The G43, as classified by Glock, is a 4th-Gen pistol. The thing that distinguishes the fourth generation of Glock pistols from the third generation is the “Rough Textured Frame (RTF).” This texturing system helps improve traction and reliability.
However, we wouldn’t say this is the best texture we’ve seen on a handgun. It does give you a good level of control over the gun, but as soon as your hands start to sweat, the tackiness is reduced. Luckily, a custom stipple job or simple tape grips can help overcome this problem.
What we like the most about the G43’s texturing is that it’s not aggressive enough to cause skin chafing. This is especially useful if you usually opt for a carry position with the gun against your skin.
Another thing that sets the fourth Glock generation apart is the dual recoil spring assembly. This upgraded assembly does an effective job of improving the lifespan of the firearm and reducing felt recoil impulse.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Glock 43’s extractor can be used as a Loaded Chamber Indicator (LCI). So if there’s a round loaded in the chamber, the extractor will visually and physically indicate it.
The G43 and the G42 are the only 4th-Gen Glocks with a built-in beaver tail design. This design ensures a higher grip, which translates to better recoil management. It also helps prevent the dreadful slide bite.
Another cool feature is the reversible magazine release catch. If you’re a right-handed shooter, you can easily switch the catch from the left to the right without needing any equipment or additional parts.
Grip and Ergonomics
The G43’s grip and ergonomics are two of its strongest selling points. Even though the grip length is notably small (2.75 inches from the slide’s bottom to the mag well), it still feels really good without needing any modularity.
Depending on the size of your hand, you may be unable to keep all three fingers on the grip. Nonetheless, you’ll still find it fairly easy to control the gun, thanks to the extended beavertail flare at the back of the grip.
Using an extended magazine can be useful if you’re unable to get all three of your fingers on the grip and you’re having a hard time controlling the G43. It will add about an extra inch to the bottom of the grip, providing more room for your pinky.
Trigger and Reset
The G43 comes with a standard Glock trigger with a pull weight of around 5.5 pounds. The factory trigger breaks at about half an inch and has a positive reset at slightly less than that. It’s a good trigger, overall, especially in close quarters.
The only downside about Glock triggers is that they’re a bit springy, and the G43’s trigger is no different. Again, it’s still functional and reliable, but if you prefer a crisp trigger pull that offers more leverage, you’ll need to replace the G43’s trigger with an aftermarket option.
Luckily, many aftermarket triggers and parts are compatible with the Glock 43, including trigger shoes, bars, and connectors. In fact, you can build yourself an entire G43 using only aftermarket parts!
Magazines and Ammo
As we mentioned earlier, the G43 utilizes a metal-framed single-stack magazine. It’s shipped with a 6-round mag (flush-fit) designed with concealed carrying in mind considering its slim baseplate.
The magazine has catch indents on both sides, which makes it compatible with different mag release buttons, whether on the gun’s left or right side. In addition, it has five witness holes, making it easy for the user to confirm the round count visually.
Upon closer inspection, you’ll notice that the magazine’s exterior has a polymer coating. This coating helps reduce the damage that things like corrosion can do. It also protects the magazine’s frame if it hits the ground.
It’s easy to disassemble Glock magazines for cleaning or maintenance. All you have to do is depress the take-down button located at the baseplate.
If you’re not satisfied with the G43’s magazine capacity (6+1), there are plenty of aftermarket magazine extensions that you can buy. You can add up to three additional rounds!
Magazine extensions are favorable with G43s because they help extend the grip’s length, making it easier for the user to keep all three fingers on the grip comfortably.
Regarding ammunition, the G43 is compatible with just about any 9mm Parabellum ammo, including Sellier & Bellot, PMC, Barnaul, Wolf, Winchester, Federal, Hornady, and the list goes on. From full metal jacket and steel-cased rounds to NATO-marked and FMJ rounds, this tiny 9mm pistol can handle it all.
The G43 has quite a few options to choose from as far as sights. The most common option is the polymer (plastic) sights, which feature an angled U-notched rear and a white front post. These Glock sights are quite functional, but they’re not the best.
Another option you can opt for is the AmeriGlo sights, which consist of a night sight at the front and basic two-dot night sights at the back. The front sight is surrounded by an orange ring, while the rear sight is completely blacked out to help you stay focused on the front sight.
When it comes to aftermarket options, the G43 doesn’t have as many options as popular predecessors like the G17 and the G19. Still, you should be able to find an aftermarket option that suits your needs if you’re not fond of the factory sights.
Note that Glock hasn’t released any red dot options for the G43 yet. So if you’re hellbent on red dotting your G43, your best bet is custom milling.
Alternatively, you can replace the factory slide with the Glock 43X MOS, which is currently available in combo with the Shield Red Dot Sight.
The G43’s surface-mounted controls boil down to the magazine release, slide stop release, and take-down lever.
The first two controls are oriented for right-handed shooters, but as we mentioned earlier, you can swap the magazine release catch to the left side if you’re left-handed. This option isn’t available for the slide stop release, though.
As far as the take-down lever, which is used for gun disassembly, it’s ambidextrous.
Generally, the G43’s controls are as functional and reliable as possible. You shouldn’t have any problem with them unless you use questionable ammo or aftermarket parts.
The G43’s accuracy and overall reliability shine in short-range shooting, which shouldn’t be surprising considering it’s a concealed carry firearm. It’s especially effective in the 15- to 25-yard range. It’s not the most effective handgun in long-range situations, though.
As far as speed, whether you’re slow-firing or rapid-firing, the G43’s performance is pretty consistent. It hits close-range targets with impressive practical accuracy and runs through mags beautifully without any jams.
Disassembling the G43 is as simple as can be, and it doesn’t require any tools! Just make sure to unload the gun before you attempt to disassemble it for maintenance because you’ll need to pull the trigger to release striker tension.
The handgun’s disassembled components are the slide, magazine, barrel, grip frame, and recoil spring.
According to Glock, the recoil spring on any 4th-Gen pistol, including the G43, should be replaced after 5,000-7,500 rounds. This is noteworthy considering that 3rd-Gen Glocks required recoil spring replacements much sooner.
As far as the rest of the springs on the Glock 43, it’s recommended to replace them after around 15,000 shots. This includes the following:
- Magazine catch spring
- Trigger spring
- Firing pin spring
- Slide lock spring
- Extractor depressor plunger spring
- Slide stop lever spring
- Firing pin safety spring
Replacing all of these springs shouldn’t cost you any more than $40. If you’re not experienced enough to replace them, take the handgun to a local gun shop or a reputable gunsmith to do it for you.
Glocks are known for being workhouses and boasting remarkable durability, so you don’t have to worry about replacing anything other than the springs.
Even the gun’s barrel, which has to endure a lot of wear and tear, is insanely durable. This can be attributed to the polygonal barrel rifling mechanism that the G43 utilizes.
In terms of looks, the G43 is pretty basic and plain. It doesn’t have any bells or whistles that set it apart from other Glocks, which is fine considering it’s intended for concealed carrying. It’s visually pleasing overall, with its clean finish and compact frame.
Glock 43 Carry Positions
The three carry positions most suited for the Glock 43 are inside the waistband, outside the waistband, and appendix carrying. Let’s go over what you should expect from each of these carry positions.
Inside the Waistband
An IWB carry is arguably the best carry position for concealed carrying. It’s when you holster your weapon inside your trousers at around 2-3 o’clock if you’re right-handed and 7-8 o’clock if you’re left-handed.
The inside-the-waistband carry works perfectly with the G43, thanks to the gun’s super-slim construction. You won’t need to wear heavy clothes in the middle of summer to keep the G43 under wraps.
Outside the Waistband
An OWB carry position isn’t usually favored when carrying concealed. However, the G43 is one of the few options to help you pull off an OWB without any printing problems, thanks to its slim profile.
If you’re going to conceal carry the G43 outside the waistband, make sure to invest in a thin OWB holster with an adjustable cant to reduce printing. Around 15 degrees of cant should be enough to help you conceal the G43.
The appendix carry is a derivative of the IWB carry. Instead of positioning the gun at 2-3 o’clock (or 7-8 o’clock), you simply position it at or near your appendix.
You’ll need to carry your G43 with a low ride height to pull off this carry style effectively and comfortably. In other words, the grip must sit at your belt’s top. Otherwise, the gun’s slide will press into your groin area, which can be very uncomfortable.
If you don’t want to carry the G43 with a low ride height, your best alternative is to invest in a holster that’s intended for longer handguns, like a G48 holster.
Glock 43 Alternatives
Not sold on the G43? Here are some of the best alternatives on the market:
- Smith & Wesson Shield – The M&P Shield was the most popular single-stack 9mm carry handgun before the release of the G43. It’s still one of the best options available.
- Sig Sauer P365 – This “Micro 9” pistol is around the same size as the G43 but boasts a higher magazine capacity of 10+1 rounds. The P365 X, a slightly larger variant, can handle an even higher capacity of 12+1 rounds.
- FN 503 – With its sturdy steel construction, this micro-compact pistol is one of the most durable concealed carry firearms you can get. It’s a bit heavier than the G43, though.
Is the G43 the best Glock for concealed carry? We’d have to say yes. The size and functionality of this carry gun are simply unprecedented. It’s so small that you don’t have to try to make it concealable, whether you’re opting for an appendix, IWB, or OWB carry. You can even pull off a pocket carry with ease!
The Glock 43 is far from a well-rounded handgun, though. It’s a defensive gun that’s perfect for concealed carry as well as civilian use (personal protection), but that’s about it.
If you’re a law enforcement officer, the most this Glock can be is your backup gun. It’s not suited to be your primary duty gun. It’s a reliable firearm in close quarters, but we wouldn’t recommend it for long-range shooting.