Glock 43 vs. 43X: Which Is the Better Concealed Carry Gun?

Introduced in 2015, the Glock 43 is considered one of the top dogs in the micro-9mm class of handguns, alongside the SIG Sauer P365, Smith & Wesson M&P Shield, and Springfield Armory Hellcat. And while it might not be the best in its class, the G43 is definitely the most popular!

Thanks to its ultra-compact size and single-stack magazine design, the G43 became an instant sensation among concealed carriers when it was first released and literally took the gun world by storm. Its size and weight were simply unprecedented at the time.

Fast forward to 2019, Glock released the G43X; a higher-capacity variant of the G43 that can accommodate up to 10+1 rounds of the same ammo. It’s a little larger than the G43, but it’s still suitable for concealed carrying. This automatically begs the question of whether the variant is better than the original.

In this Glock 43 vs. 43X comparison article, we take a closer look at both handguns and analyze their similarities and differences to determine which Glock pistol is better. So, if you’re having a hard time choosing between the two, you should stick around!

Glock 43 vs. 43X: Specifications

Glock 43:

  • 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
  • Sight Radius (GNS): 5.16 inches
  • Trigger Distance: 2.56 inches
  • Trigger Pull: 5.39 pounds (24N)
  • Caliber: 9mm Luger
  • Trigger System: Safe Action
  • Standard Capacity: 6 (Single-Stack)

Glock 43X:

  • Overall Length: 6.50 inches
  • Width: 1.10 inches
  • Height: 5.04 inches
  • Weight (No Mag): 16.40 ounces
  • Weight (Empty Mag): 18.70 ounces
  • Weight (Full Mag): 23.07 ounces
  • Slide Length: 6.06 inches
  • Slide Width: 0.87 inches
  • Barrel Length: 3.41 inches (Match-Grade Barrel)
  • Sight Radius (Polymer): 5.24 inches
  • Sight Radius (Steel): 5.20 inches
  • Sight Radius (GNS): 5.16 inches
  • Trigger Distance: 2.64 inches
  • Trigger Pull: 5.39 pounds (24N)
  • Caliber: 9mm Luger
  • Trigger System: Safe Action
  • Standard Capacity: 10 (Single-Stack)

Glock 43 vs. 43X: Breakdown

The most notable difference between the G43 and its variant lies in their standard magazine capacity. Is that all there is to it, though? Are there any differences in ergonomics, mechanism, or aesthetics? Let’s find out!

Size and Weight

Even though the G43 and G43X share the same model digits, they’re quite different in size and weight, with the G43X being the larger gun.

The G43X is larger than the G43 due to the increase in grip length. While the G43’s height is around 4.25 inches, the G43X’s is 5.04 inches. Not only does the added height on the G43X give you more grip; it also gives you extra mag capacity. On the other hand, the G43’s shorter grip length makes it easier to conceal than the G43X. 

Unsurprisingly, the Glock 43X is also heavier than the Glock 43, but not by much. While the Glock 43 weighs around 20.64 ounces with a fully loaded magazine, the Glock 43X weighs only about 2.3 ounces more. As for width, the Glock 43X is only 0.04 inches thicker than the Glock 43.

A lot of people gravitate toward the Glock 43 because of its smaller design, but you need to keep in mind that the Glock 43X, despite its extended frame, is still a compact defensive pistol that’s highly concealable.

With that in mind, we believe the G43 is ideal for those with smaller hands, whereas the G43X is better suited for those with larger hands.

Fit and Texture

In our experience, the Glock 43X offers a better fit for most hand sizes than the Glock 43. Whether you have small, medium, or large hands, the G43X’s fit will feel pretty natural and comfortable. The same cannot be said about the G43, though.

The G43 is so small that people with medium or large hands will have a hard time finding any grip room for their pinky finger. And as you probably know, the pinky finger plays a major role in mitigating recoil. So, when it comes to fit and feel, the Glock 43X is the better option in most cases.

It’s also worth noting that you can equip the G43X with a beavertail extender for an elongated grip, which can help prevent the dreaded slide bite if you have really large hands.

Both Glocks have the same texturing, which is odd considering they’re technically not of the same generation. The Glock 43 is a Gen-4 handgun, whereas the Glock 43X is a Gen-5.

5th-generation Glocks tend to have more aggressive texturing than their predecessors, but this isn’t the case with the G43 and G43X.

Nonetheless, the texturing on both pistols is aggressive enough to ensure a comfortable and reliable grip. In instances where your hands are slippery, though, you can expect some slight slipping.

Trigger Mechanism

There are some minor differences between the two Glocks when it comes to their trigger mechanism, even though the triggers themselves, along with their shoes and connectors, are identical.

The G43’s trigger behaves similar to a Gen-3 trigger. You feel a light take-up before hitting the wall as you’re squeezing the trigger. The wall itself is notably heavy, and the break is a bit rigid. You then experience a short reset after the break.

You shouldn’t be surprised at this point, but the G43X’s trigger doesn’t really behave like a Gen-5 trigger. It behaves a lot like a Gen-4 trigger but with less of a rolling break. You could say it’s right in between Gen-3 and Gen-4 triggers.

If you’re not satisfied with the trigger performance on either one of these pistols, you can easily replace it with an aftermarket option without having to change the shoe. You may need to change the bar, though.

Magazine Design

Both the Glock 43 and 43X utilize a single-stack pistol design, with the former having a 6+1 capacity and the latter having a 10+1 capacity. Glock doesn’t offer extended magazines for both guns, but you can find plenty of aftermarket options online.   

The magazine release function is identical on both handguns, though the reach on the Glock 43 is a bit shorter. This can be problematic if you have large hands, as you may need to adjust or break your grip to reach the mag release button with your thumb.  This problem doesn’t exist with the G43X, regardless of hand size.

The magazine wells are also identical, but does that mean both guns accommodate the same magazine size? Not exactly! The Glock 43X’s magazines are notably wider than the Glock 43’s. In our experience, this was advantageous because it allowed for easier magazine insertion.

Slide Design

The Glock 43 and 43X have the same slide design in terms of dimensions; same length and width. In fact, you can replace one with the other without any compatibility problems.

What’s different here is the presence of front slide serrations. The Glock 43X has forward slide serrations for easier manipulation, whereas not all Glock 43s have this feature. That said, both pistols feature rear slide serrations.

In addition to the slides being identical, the slide locks are also identical! They’re positioned similarly as well, so if you can reach one with ease, you should reach the other with ease, too.

You’d expect the G43X to improve upon its predecessor by having an ambidextrous slide lock design, but it doesn’t, unfortunately. Still, you should find it pretty easy to reach the slide lock without breaking your grip, whether you’re right-handed or left-handed.

Sights and Accuracy

Both the Glock 43 and 43X come equipped with stock Glock sights (polymer sights), which are enough to get the job done but definitely aren’t the best. You can also get either one of these Glocks with Ameriglo sights right from the factory.

If we have to pick between the stock Glock target sights and the Ameriglo sights, we’d surely go with the latter. These sights consist of a blacked-out rear and a bright orange front. This contrast is especially handy while shooting in broad daylight.  

As far as aftermarket sight options, the range of options is the same for both pistols since they share the same slide design. Note, however, that the G43X flaunts a modular optics system (MOS) available, whereas the Glock 43 doesn’t. The G43X’s MOS allows you to mount a red dot and has a light rail at the front.

If you want to install a red dot optic on the G43, you’ll need to have it custom-milled since it doesn’t have the MOS. Just bear in mind that custom slide milling can be a bit expensive.

Shooting Experience

Despite sharing the same model number, the two Glocks we’re comparing offer a different shooting experience from one another. This can be attributed to the difference in grip lengths.

The Glock 43X, which features a longer grip than its predecessor, provides more leverage while shooting. And seeing as you’ll be able to comfortably place your pinky finger on the grip, you should be able to mitigate recoil more effectively than with the Glock 43.

Apart from the difference in grip length, there aren’t any other factors that can influence your shooting experience with these two Glocks. In fact, if you manage to extend the G43’s grip length using a magazine extension, you won’t notice any difference in the shooting experience between both guns.

Build Quality

Both handguns have the same build quality. They’re extremely rugged and are designed to withstand the roughest conditions. However, if you’re going to buy the G43X, we recommend avoiding the model with the silver slide. Opt for the model with the black finish instead.

Why do we dislike the silver finish? Because it looks and feels low-quality compared to the black finish. Not only that, but it also shows dirt and debris more easily.

Concealed Carry

If deep concealment is your number one priority, then the G43 is your best bet. It’s smaller and lighter than the Glock 43X, with a shorter grip length. This makes it the better concealed carry pistol.

We’re not saying the G43X isn’t suitable for carrying concealed, because it definitely is! It’s just more prone to printing due to its longer grip.

So, if you decide to go for the G43X for everyday carry, you’ll need to consider your clothing, carry style, and holster choice to ensure effective concealment.

Both Glocks can work flawlessly with an IWB carry or an appendix carry. However, when it comes to pocket carrying, only the Glock 43 fits the bill.

Aftermarket Options

Seeing as the G43 is arguably the most popular gun in the concealed carry market, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it has more aftermarket options than the Glock 43X.

That being said, there are a lot of interchangeable aftermarket parts and handgun accessories that you can use on both guns, like sights.


There isn’t much to write home about here. These two Glock pistols are similar in aesthetics, with the G43X being just a tad larger. Though, you may feel as if the G43 is more proportional than the Glock 43X.

In Conclusion

While both the Glock 43 and 43X are superb handguns in their own rights, if we had to choose between them, we’d opt for the G43X. It’s not that different from its predecessor, but the extra grip length, higher capacity, and modular optics system availability are enough for us to deem it superior to the G43.

Generally, we’d recommend the Glock 43 to those who are mainly concerned with pulling off an effective concealed carry without a hassle, especially a pocket carry. If you’re not looking for the smallest and lightest option, though, you simply can’t go wrong with the Glock 43X. It has everything the G43 has and more!