I’m not a Glock fanboy. I don’t even have one in the safe at the moment. I appreciate their simplicity and I love that they go bang reliably without breaking the bank, but I prefer to shoot the 1911 in competition and I tend to use other things for house guns as well. I shoot Glocks fine, but I just tend to like other things better. Life is short and all that. I digress. This isn’t about my stance towards Glocks generally; it’s a story about how I’m going to be adding one back into my safe very soon. Because in the month I’ve been playing with it, the 43 has blazed the uphill trail into my carry rotation. And it’s probably going to stay there.
When I first saw the Glock 43 I thought it looked a little big. I know a lot of people who pocket carry the 42 and the extra size and length on the 43 makes it pretty obvious you have a gun in your pocket when you try to pocket carry the 43 in anything other than cargo shorts. But IWB it completely disappears. It’s light, the trigger is a surprisingly crisp 5.5-6 pound pull for an out of the box gun, and the “snap” of the recoil is entirely manageable thanks to the dual/nested recoil spring system. Moreover, compared to the XDs 9mm, the size is almost identical (the Springfield does hold one more round, for what that’s worth). And although the sights on the XDs are better, this 43 won the trigger battle against the XDs hands-down.
The range sessions I’ve had with the 43 so far have been boringly uneventful. Pull trigger, boom happens. Repeat. I’ve run numerous hollowpoint profiles from several companies and it has digested all of them equally well. From Federal HST to Winchester PDX1 or Ranger to Speer Gold Dots, it digests all of them without a hitch and had no jams of any kind throughout the testing. Decent groups at 10 yards aren’t very difficult, and the pinky extension on the magazine (the gun included one magazine with and one without the extra length) makes it easier to get a full grip on the 43 than even the 26. I do feel like my hands are almost too big for it sometimes when I pick it up, but I shoot it pretty well and it hides easily, so I decided not to let that bother me.
Compared to the 26, the 43 is very close to the same size with the exception of the width, which is noticeably less, particularly when you’re planning to carry it in an IWB holster. To me, this is huge for carry purposes, particularly since I’m not a husky guy and width can either make a carry gun invisible or make it print more than Xerox. In this case, even with the pinky extension on the magazine, I have had no trouble at all hiding the 43 with a t-shirt and shorts. Or jeans. Or whatever else.
Compared to the XDs 9mm, already referenced above, the size is very close. But the smoother lines and lighter weight of the 43 (17.95 ounces empty compared to 23) give it some decisive advantages in what would otherwise be a very difficult decision. Those weight statistics are telling; they indicate that the loaded Glock weighs about the same as the unloaded XDs. And the fact that the 43 lacks a rail at the front of the frame should not take anything away from it at all because honestly…a light or laser on the front of the frame kind of works against the entire idea of a tiny gun for deep concealment, doesn’t it?
Let’s recap: light. Small. Thin. Reasonably accurate (a few inches at 10 yards was a simple task). Good (for stock) trigger. Reliable. 9mm. There is very little negative that anyone could say about this gun (sights, but that’s an easy fix). Does it “bite” me when I high-grip it? Every freaking time. Would I shoot it in a match? Not even a little. But whether I’m thinking about what I need to carry for a summer road trip halfway across the country or I just need to throw something on to go to the store, this thing is probably going. After all, Glock bite is the least of my worries if the chips are down and I have to protect my life or the lives of my family and friends. And after shooting a lot of rounds through a 43 and carrying it almost every day for the better part of a month, I have to admit that I can’t find any good reasons not to like it. Yes, it may have taken Glock a little while to get this to market, but if I don’t have to deal with a trigger recall or reliability bugs I consider it worth the wait.
Barrel Length: 3.39”
Weight: 17.95 oz. (unloaded) 22.36 oz. (loaded)
Trigger pull: 5.5 lbs.
MSRP: $529 (actual cost will be much lower than this once the new wears off…)
This is the gun that everyone wanted last year at SHOT. And again this year. And I am 100% sure that some of those people will decide not to buy the 43 out of spite because it took too long to make it to market or because it’s “just another Glock.” Others might dismiss it out of turn because it looks as big as a 26 (it isn’t when you wear it). For all of the reasons I’ve explained here, I won’t be in either group. I’m not a Glock fanboy, guys. But I am becoming a 43 fanboy. HP
*Handgun Planet would like to thank GLOCK for getting us a demo gun for the purposes of the review. The test gun is the property of GLOCK, but I’ll be buying one for myself as soon as the stars align and the dollars appear in my account.