GLOCK Performance Comparison: The New G43X and G48 Slimline Pistols

GLOCK Performance Comparison: The New G43X and G48 Slimline Pistols

(JWT for TTAG)

The G43 was by no means the first GLOCK I owned, but it was the first GLOCK I wanted to own.

Small, concealable, and controllable, the G43 makes an ideal everyday carry firearm. The width of the single stack grip makes it conceal well, laying flat against my belt or on my ankle inside my boot. The grip length, however, is a little short. I drill with this gun and the G42, regularly, and getting a solid grip on the pistol from concealment as is a challenge.

GLOCK Performance Comparison: The New G43X and G48 Slimline Pistols

(JWT for TTAG)

That challenge made me perk right up when I heard that GLOCK was giving the “X” treatment to the G43. Now I’d have the same short slide, thin format firearm I liked, but with a slightly longer grip, allowing me to quickly get a solid hold on the gun, and keep it there during longer strings of fire.

GLOCK Performance Comparison: The New G43X and G48 Slimline Pistols

(JWT for TTAG)

At the same time GLOCK announced the G43X, they also rolled out the extremely similar G48. Both pistols share the same frame and the same 10-round capacity. I was able to swap slides back and forth between the 43X and 48 frames with ease.

The big difference between the two new pistols? The G48’s silver slide is a whopping 20mm longer. That roughly 3/4″ in barrel length buys you a tiny amount of velocity gain over the 43X, but more importantly, buys you the same 3/4″ more sight radius. The GLOCK 48 is about 4oz heavier than the GLOCK 43X and the same height and length as a G19.

GLOCK Performance Comparison: The New G43X and G48 Slimline Pistols

Top to bottom: G42, G43, G43X, G48 (JWT for TTAG)

Although they are extremely similar, the G43X and G48 10-round magazines do not work in the G43.  The slides on the 43 and the 43X or 48 are not compatible. You can swap nPVD coated slides between G43X and G48, but not G43 and G43X or G48.

[ED: Some owners have reported that they are, in fact, able to mount a G43 slide on a G43X or G48 frame. While that may be possible, JWT was unable to make that work. (See his comment below.) Your mileage may vary.]

The G43 and the new G43X and G48 are extremely similar in their grip size, but not quite. Some people say they can feel a difference. I can’t.

GLOCK Performance Comparison: The New G43X and G48 Slimline Pistols

G43X (L) and G43 (JWT for TTAG)

But when we’re talking measurable performance, is there any real difference. I set out with my PAC timer and some targets to find out.

After shooting each pistol, I can tell you I really like both of these guns. They carry and shoot very well. I would find either one of them a fine choice for most shooters.

Both of the new two-tone models I tried came with the same polymer sights, and that’s about the only thing I’d replace on these guns. Carry guns should have sights that are easy to see in low light, and these aren’t.

Beyond that, I wouldn’t change a thing. The new GLOCK triggers are a huge improvement over the GLOCKs I was shooting 20 years ago. If these were the triggers GLOCK had come out with back then, there would have never been a GLOCK aftermarket trigger industry.

GLOCK Performance Comparison: The New G43X and G48 Slimline Pistols

(JWT for TTAG)

I put 300 rounds of 115gr FMJ and 100 rounds of 147gr FMJ through each gun. I also used 50 rounds from a mixed bag of varying weights of hollow point ammunition in each pistol.

I had one first round failure to feed using a simple 115gr FMJ with the G48 where it didn’t quite go into battery at about round 100. I was not able to duplicate the error with the same round, or any other round. I lubed both guns with EWL SLIP 2000 prior to shooting and then never cleaned or disassembled the guns in any way until the shooting was complete.

I shot both guns in a variety of grips and positions. Other than that one odd FTF, I had no issues whatsoever. The guns ran great.

GLOCK Performance Comparison: The New G43X and G48 Slimline Pistols

(JWT for TTAG)

When it comes to precision, there was no discernible difference between five-round groups at the seven and ten yard line between the two Slimline pistols. None. I couldn’t measure any. I had to back the target up to 25 yards to start to measure any difference between the two guns. Even then, the difference was tiny.

Again, I’m very pleased with the performance of the Slimline Series GLOCKs. Shooting off bags at 25 yards, I was getting a lot of 2″ five-round groups with both the G48 and G43X. Considering the size of the guns, that’s impressive.

Using the same round, the Armscor 115gr FMJ, with the exact same set-up on bags, I averaged 2.5″ five-round groups at 25 yards over four shot strings from the G48’s marksman barrel. With the G43X it was 2.6″. And that was as much difference as I could wring out of them if I was using the same ammo.

GLOCK Performance Comparison: The New G43X and G48 Slimline Pistols

(JWT for TTAG)

When it comes to the simplest draw and fire drill, the difference in times between the G43X and G48 were so minuscule they were difficult to measure. I set up a target at 7 yards with an 8″ circle. When the timer went off, I drew from my KMFJ holster and fired 2 rounds into the circle. I did a few practice rounds and then did 5 rounds for record.

The average total time for the G43X was 1.57 seconds. The average time for the G48, 1.59 seconds. In this case, a couple hundredths of a second are meaningless. It makes sense the times are so close. After all, at that range and speed, all I’m seeing is the front sight, and the grip is the same between both guns.

GLOCK Performance Comparison: The New G43X and G48 Slimline Pistols

JWT For TTAG

I tried a series of drills with both guns. I tried single-hand draw and fire at various ranges, off-hand firing, picking the gun up off the ground with my left hand and firing, turning and firing, you name it. The results were the same.

The feel of the guns, and the performance of the guns were so similar that I had to start double checking which gun was in my hand when I wrote down the results. The timer and the targets just didn’t really show any difference for me.

At least not until I started backing up and started shooting longer strings. It was the full mag dump at 25 yards where I started seeing the first real difference between the performance of each pistol.

Drawing from concealment and firing the full 10 rounds with both hands standing at a 19″ silhouette at 25 yards, my time with the G48 was 6.46 seconds as an average over 5 shot strings. The G43X was 1.15 seconds slower. It felt a lot slower than that. Clearly, I struggled with both pistols.

Recovering the sight picture and keeping the sights in-line during the trigger pull was the challenge. This is where the slightly longer slide length and sight radius of the G48 held the advantage, or at least one that was enough to be obvious during shooting.

GLOCK Performance Comparison: The New G43X and G48 Slimline Pistols

(JWT for TTAG)

For me, the GLOCK 43X is the winner. That 3/4″ makes a tiny difference for me when carrying IWB. I like to carry with the top of the slide right on the back of my right hip. A longer slide tends to get bumped when I sit down, pressing the gun upward. With guns this small, that doesn’t really happen much with either of them.

GLOCK Performance Comparison: The New G43X and G48 Slimline Pistols

JWT for TTAG

The other big reason I’d stick with the 43X, my favorite holster, the KFMJ listed above, fits it perfectly.

The two new Slimline models are so similar that you really have to wonder what was going on in the design department at GLOCK. My guess is they started down the G48 path based on the proven success of the G43 in order to compete with the SIG SAUER P365. They were playing catch-up to the market.

Somebody noted they could just put the same frame on the G43. And then, in the sheer genius that remains GLOCK, Inc., they realized they could release both, give gun buyers a choice and capitalize on both the similarities and the differences. And sell the heck out of two almost identical pistols.

Armscor ammunition

I like both of the new GLOCK Slimline pistols, with a solid preference for the GLOCK G43X. Of course, you could always get a magazine extension for your original G43. That leaves the shooter the ability to keep the handle short for deep concealment or a little longer to get a better grip around the gun and increase capacity.

GLOCK Performance Comparison: The New G43X and G48 Slimline Pistols

(JWT for TTAG)

comments

    1. avatar 41mag says:

      Yes, KAHR’s are excellent single stack pistols 😉

      1. avatar rocketscientist says:

        Nononono, Kahrs have excellent triggers and are noticeably slimmer than a double-stack pistol. These…. not so much.

      2. avatar Jean-Claude says:

        If Kahr doesn’t get off their asses and build a 10 round capacity pistol, they’re going to be left even further behind.

        It’s a shame, really. They made the slimmest 9mm carry pistol on the market when they introduced the K9. Then they were first to the market with a polymer framed single stack 9mm with the P9—decades before the G43.

        But they are still a niche product. Their steel pistols are as nice as anything on the market, their “Value Series” are inexpensive and just as nice as the polymer “Premium Series” pistols at about 2/3 the cost. Reviews are overwhelmingly positive. The triggers are excellent. The accuracy is top notch. And they have longer barrels than pistols their size, so they have increased velocity.

        Yet they don’t sell. They don’t have the benefit of being used by the police or military.

        Kahrs are like the Radiohead of guns. Critically adored, groundbreaking, high quality—but unable to appeal to the masses.

        1. avatar HillCountryCruisin says:

          Ok ok, I’ll buy a Kahr at the next show…

    2. avatar Johannes Paulsen says:

      Already having a G 43 I don’t see the value add in my picking up a 43X. For me the shorter grip really is a selling point, and as JWT noted, I already have quite a few mags with extensions.

      The 48 is interesting though. My 43 rotates in and out with my 26 occasionaly. Wish the mags were interchangeable with the regular ol’ vanilla 43, but can’t have everything I suppose.

      Any idea if holsters (open on both ends that is, to accommodate longer barrel) might interchange between these two and the regular 43?

  1. avatar JMR says:

    The new Glock M̶&̶P̶ ̶S̶h̶i̶e̶l̶d̶ 43X, for those who wanted a shield but didn’t want to set aside their fanaticism.

    Well at least they fit more rounds in it.

    1. avatar RKHarm24 says:

      I’ll keep my Shield and look strongly at the G48. Got email yesterday, Gun mag warehouse has mags in stock. 43x/48

  2. avatar napresto says:

    I carry a Glock 43 regularly, and I like it a lot. I’ve never found the grip to be too small, and the gun shoots easily and accurately for me – much less snappy than other small 9mm pistols that I own. I like to carry mine with a flush-fit magazine because it prints less when carried in waistband and under lighter shirts.

    The reviewed guns sound pretty good, but it would be hard to justify a replacement. If I were in the market, however, I’d consider them. Only if black on black, though: two-tone is just danged ugly, especially on guns and cars.

  3. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

    Nice write-up.

    Had the opportunity to shoot the 43X a few weeks ago – was very impressed…it won’t replace my P-365 (however, that said, I am saving up to add one to the stable…just because).

    1. avatar Cory C. says:

      I strongly prefer the P365. The G43 isn’t hot garbage or anything, but there’s no comparison between the two, as far as I’m concerned.

      1. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

        I have been carrying my P365 for the best part of a year with zero issues (~1,600 rounds). I trust this weapon with my life daily…as I said, I’m not replacing it as my EDC. The P365 with 12 rounders is still a smaller, easier to point, aim and shoot package (with factory night sights already installed).

        I just like the way the G43X feelz in my hands…figured that I’d try one out long-term…my daughter can have it if I find out that I really don’t like it after all.

  4. avatar Joe Matafome says:

    I swapped the slide on my G43 onto my G48 and it worked fine. You mentioned something about not being able to use the 43 on the 48 ?

  5. avatar Hoyden says:

    “The slides on the 43 and the 43X or 48 are not compatible. You can swap nPVD coated slides between G43X and G48, but not G43 and G43X or G48.”

    Not quite sure what you’re saying here, but to be clear, I mix and matched my 43 (not 43x) frame and slide with my 48 frame and slide today at the range. Sorry if I’m not catching your groove on the quote above.

    All 4 combos worked boringly Glock-like. 43 side on 48 frame shot best (basically a 43x in black), the 48 slide on the 43 frame is an answer to a question nobody has asked, but It looks interesting, something like a 19 slide on a 26 frame.

    The stock 43 with pinkie extension is still the easiest to carry, the 48 is the Glock PolyCommander, but I’m with you on the longer barrel being a little harder upon sitting down, I’ve got a gluteus bruise from sitting down too fast in a straight back wooden chair a the Mexican restaurant Sun night (IWB carry).

    The FrankenGlocks are here.

  6. avatar jwtaylor says:

    Joe and Hoyden, thanks for chiming in. I’ve heard folks say this before I wrote the article, and so I tried it myself.
    Using 2 different stock G43s and I was not able to get either G43 slide to go on top of the G43X or the G48 frame. I spent some time attempting it and couldn’t get it to work. I’m totally willing to believe my experience is the off/non-standard one, but I’ve now heard from people telling me they had the same experience as me.
    I appreciate your experience and I would also appreciate anyone else to comment with theirs.
    Thanks

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      And I’ll ask Dan to put some kind of note or edit to make it clear this was my experience but maybe not others.

  7. avatar JOE MATAFOME says:

    I forgot to mention that the 48 slide worked on my G43 frame. I also did the same swap using my friends G43 and everything worked. The slides and frames interchanged without any issues.

  8. avatar Jon in CO says:

    Glock seriously screwed the pooch not allowing the 43x mags to work in the 43. I was hoping for that, or at least a +2 OEM base plate. I carry a G19 regularly, but I can’t get anything much bigger in a cargo pocket at work than a 43. I carry two reloads with the 43, but I was really wanting a bigger mag capacity or ability. Maybe next shot show.

    1. avatar Mad Cow says:

      There are a lot of aftermarket solution for +1 and +2 pads for the G43, especially if you want them for your reload mags and don’t care about concealability. No reason to wait for Glock to bestow that gift on you.

  9. avatar possum says:

    Evidently I’m going to be required to purchase a Glock , there certainly appears to be a lot of Glock talk and I have no idea what G string fits best. I think the Glock I shot was a G17, it held a lot of bulits I know that. I liked it for that and it’s light weight. I didn’t like the trigger. And my return time back on target. I’ve just shot the 1911 so much it’s hard to appreciate another firegum

  10. avatar Mad Cow says:

    OK, I didn’t even read through it all (yet) as I’m not a “Glock Guy”, but I just wanted to say I’m glad that JWT is still writing for TTAG. I hadn’t seen anything from him for a while, but he’s absolutely my favorite reviewer here, so I was afraid he’d gone. That is all, look forward to reading through this and seeing more from him.

  11. avatar Gregolas says:

    Fine review JWT. Thank you.

  12. avatar Specialist38 says:

    Nice. I really like my 48 ( and 43) and now I think I want the 43X for the same reasons mentioned.

    The short slide does conceal more comfortably in some positions. I have tried this out mating my 43 slide to the 48.

    I,was thinking about buying a P365 but wanted something to give a full grip and allow easy mag changes. Can’t do that with any of the short single stacks and I don’t like the Kahr mags. (Or trust them).

    The 43x and 48 tell me the Glock should build the 43/8. The wider frame at the same length of the 43. I figure it would hold 8 rounds. What they should have made in the first place.

  13. avatar Joe Matafome says:

    I think you’ll love the 365 and it’s a great little gun. I use to carry the 43 everyday and switched to the 365. I own 9 Glocks and have carried the 43, 30sf, 36, 19 and 42. Now they only go out to the range with me.

  14. avatar Eng says:

    After measuring the 43 and 48 slides, I was confident they were compatible.

    I swapped the slides on the grip frames and they appeared to feed and function with snap caps.

    I took them to the range and fired 50+ rounds in each configuration.

    All swapped configurations worked flawlessly.

  15. avatar Jayzombi3 says:

    Don’t bother reading the review. The short answer is buy a Sig P365. No reason for these 2 confused glocks.

  16. avatar RKHarm24 says:

    JWT, what sights you using on your G43?
    What are other commenters using?

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      I run the Heinie Straight 8 Ledge Night Sights on everything I can, from the G42 to the G21 to 1911s and Hi Powers

  17. avatar raptor jesus says:

    I like the idea of a slimmer G19 for places like New York where our freedoms have been sold and we’re limited to 10 rounds.

    1. avatar raptor jesus says:

      But the 43X doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, given that mag extensions exist for the 43.

  18. avatar GlockMeAmadeus says:

    Great mouse gun, for shooting mice. For hyped up meth heads wearing leather jackets trying to kill you for wearing a Trump hat, not so much.

    THE POWER OF THE .40 IS MANIFEST, WHEN YOU GOT A .40 YOU GOT THE BEST!

  19. avatar Dave D says:

    On my first range trip, I had that same failure with my G48 where it didn’t quite go into battery. Actually, I had two, the first between rounds 150 and 200 and the second between rounds 250 and 300, both with Speer Lawman 147gr FMJ. When I got home, I detail stripped the slide and found the EDP assembly spring not fully seated, and lube in some places it didn’t belong (like the firing pin spacer sleeve). I took care of that stuff and I’m not sure whether that was the problem, but I have fired another 310 rounds without any issues.

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