Previous Post
Next Post

GLOCK 43 (left) vs. GLOCK 26 (right) (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

It’s called “experiential marketing.” It’s try before you buy for both the brand faithful and potential converts. It’s all the rage in the firearms industry, what with dozens of brands offering a wide range of models in an assortment of barrel lengths and calibers. That and the fact that today’s guns are pretty much of a muchness. Seriously. When someone asks me “what handgun should I buy?” I say choose anything that feels comfortable that costs more than $350. But try before you buy. Experiential marketing. Like GLOCK day at Houston’s Athena Gun Club . . .

When Athena’s jefe invited me to attend, I thought it the ideal opportunity to pit the GLOCK 43 against the GLOCK 26. Newborn GLOCK vs. Baby GLOCK. Low-capacity (6 + 1) vs. higher-capacity (10 + 1). Slim Johann vs. Chubby Hans.

GLOCK 43 (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

The Austrian gunmaker’s single-stack 9mm got a lot of press when it finally emerged, Athena-like, from the Austrian gunmaker’s Georgia HQ. A lot of press. Here on TTAG, Dan the Man Zimmerman awarded the GLOCK 43 five-stars, calling it a “small, reliable, comfortable, acceptably powerful everyday carry gun.” Not the most effusive praise I’ve ever heard, but Dan carries a 43 now. As does Foghorn.’Nuff said?

GLOCK 26 (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

Way back in the winter of 2013, TTAG reviewer Zack Pike took a shine to the Gen4 GLOCK 26. He reckoned the diminutive, if portly pistol was an excellent choice for appendix carry. He reminded readers that G17 magazines fit in the belly of the beastie, offering a not-inconsiderable 28 rounds of 9mm for anyone sensible enough to carry a spare mag. Pike pegged the GLOCK 26’s overall rating at five stars as well.

Shooting the GLOCK 43 Athena Gun Club (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

The 43’s arrival put the 26 into the proverbial shade. Fair enough? I journeyed to the City Too Humid To Hate to see if the GLOCK 26 was getting short shrift. In an almost completely unscientific study, I asked ten shooters to shoot both guns and rate them on four variables. The survey said! . . .

Question                                                     G43               G26

Which one did you shoot better?                 4                      6

Which would for carry?                                 6                       4

Which one did you prefer?                           5                       5

Which one would you buy?                          9                       1

OMG there are a lot of variables accounting for these results – other than the obvious lack of a sample size large enough to draw any valid conclusions. Anecdotally, I can report that the 26’s fatter grip made up for its lack of pinkie extension in the shooting accuracy department. Did I mention that the 43 had the extended pinkie mag thingie? There you go. Another excellent reason to reject this survey. [NOTE: I sold my G26 when I discovered that its extended magazine pinched my finger.]

Shooting the GLOCK 26 (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

The discrepancy between the 50 – 50 overall (incredibly vague) preference stat and the the 9 – 1 “I’d buy that for a dollar” stat reflects the fact that the 43 is the more practical firearm – for carry. Six of the test takers already owned a full-size GLOCK. The 26 falls between two stools: really small and big enough. So there is that.

The one guy who’d choose the 26 over the 43 took a long time to reach that conclusion. And he rated the 43 as the more accurate gun (for him). “I want the extra capacity,” he opined. Copy that. Clearly, shooting accuracy wasn’t a determining factor for selecting a carry gun. NOTE: the test subjects were shooting at seven yards. All shooters achieved “minute of bad guy” accuracy, say, a five-inch group.

I’d also like to throw in the “famous” factor. All of the shooters came to shoot the GLOCK 43. None of them had the 26 on their radar. Three didn’t even know it existed. As my GF likes to say, it’s all about the marketing. A fact born out by the astounding lack of perfection on display.

GLOCK 43 squib load (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

Fed Winchester White Box ammo, not one but two 43’s failed to cycle. The GLOCK rep blamed bad thumb placement (activating the slide stop) for the first gun’s – Athena’s house mule – failure to feed. (A problem I reproduced easily enough.) Dirt may also have been a factor. It may also have been the infamous magazine catch issue, a problem that bedevilled early samples, solved with sandpaper.

More worryingly, the second gun had a squib load. Only one of our shooters – a woman considering replacing her SIG SAUER P938 with the GLOCK 43 – was put off by the performance, or lack thereof. In sum, I can state without reservation that the best way to rate the 43 vs. the 26 are the sales stats. The GLOCK rep says the 43 outsells the 26 by a laughably large margin.

GLOCK rep at Athena Gun Club (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

Personally, I prefer the 43 because I only use it as a business suit or backup gun, a role better served by the smaller pistol. If I want concealable capacity in 9mm, I carry an FNS-9C (12 rounds and a 17 round spare mag) or a SIG SAUER P229 Legion Series (15 rounds). Your thoughts?

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. OMG…yet another useless review….useless because nothing has changed from the LAST Glock review…..

    They advertise Perfection….but not Jesus like perfection…..give me a beer…not YAGR [Yet Another Glock Review.]


    • Agreed. Totally worthless review. Not to mention of course the 43 is going to have better sales. It’s brand new. The 26 came out in 1995.

  2. I have no experience with the 43 other than holding it at a shop. But I alternate carrying between a 26 and a p938, the Glock more often. I love the gun. Honestly I shoot it better than any of my full sized guns, and with just swapping to Truglo TFOs and an extended slide lock, I haven’t done anything. Both of those mods are pretty minimal all considered.

    The issue with the 43 (which was almost a tie for purchase compared to the P938) is it isn’t very grippy. The p938 simply attaches itself to my hand. That was my single biggest issue with the 43, being so small I really expect it to stick to me like white on albino.

    The g26 is large enough to get ample grip, which the 43 lacks. Yeah, you can get talon grips to help with that, but I really just don’t like the idea of having to put tape on my gun in order to get it to perform how I expect/want.

    My .10¢

  3. The first statement about what someone should buy. Over $500. Snob much? A person can find a lot of pistol for $300 used and New if they look.

    • Not to mention you can get both glock 26 and glock 43 for under 500, so not makin’ a whole heckuva lotta sense here.

      • I had the same thought. Really, a G4 Glock is virtually the only polymer carry pistol that runs more than 5 bills. Smith, Ruger, Springfield, and Kahr (among others) all make quality carry guns for much less.

    • Robert is RIGHT on the financial end of his recommendation. He’s rich and famous, known from coast to coast. His time is valuable. For $500+, he weeds out a lot of the junk/unreliable guns. Sure, there are a lot of great guns, but also a lot of also-rans. (I’m looking at you Kel-tec and DB). Get a nube into a quality gun that they won’t hate and it’s a winner. As they mature in their knowledge and experience, they can trend downward and get a really good gun like a Taurus.
      Robert, I’m with you on this. It’s not snobbery.

      • $500+ almost instantly places you into Sig, hk, Kimber, gen4 glock or Wilson combat… Unless your talking about MSRP. There are too many great guns in the $400 area to discuss everything being in the $500+. That’s just ill advisory on RF ‘s part.

  4. I have a Ruger LC9 and a LCR in .38 special for CC. Living in CA, when the news came down the pipe that no more guns for us unwashed masses unless it was stamping numbers, I made a list, tightened the budget and per CA laws, got 1 about every 30 to 35 days as fast as I could. smaller is better IMO, the less extra effort you have to invest into carry, the more often you will carry. Even a NAA .22lr is better then wishing you had your gat when you really NEED it.

    Only reason for this speech is cause I couldn’t get new glock even if I wanted one, CA list and all that.

    • No new Glocks here in MA either. The brand is on the Big List, but the new guns don’t qualify under the AG’s bogus “safety” regulations. The AG wants a bigger loaded chamber witness hole or something. Glock told him (and then her) to pound sand.

      • Are they on The Roster though? I know of a few shops that will bring in glocks that are on the roster but not the list. Also fuck [insert current Massachusetts AG name here].

  5. G26 for me. I’ve shot both, but I own two G26s, and their reliability is legendary. The G43 worked for me, but I’ve seen more than a few reports of occasional problems with functional reliability, including from the person who owns the G43 I shot.

    Proven reliability, higher capacity with a SHORTER overall height (despite 40% more ammo on-board — and the grip poking rearward is what usually “prints” on a CCW pistol), ability to accept even larger mags, grip similarity to my other compact and full-size Glocks; it’s really no contest for me. Once Glock offers an increased-capacity (7-shot minimum, 8 would be better) mag for the G43 that’s the same length as the one with the useless hollow extension (duh-duh-dumb), I might take another look at it, but until then, G26 FTW!

    • I have been carring a gun every day since 1976. I believe in the wise use in the available size verus space for the weapon versus capacity. I compared the Glock 43 to the 26 and they are the same size and fit in to the same space. So because of this I choose the 26 as it holds more rounds for that potential need to survive. If Glock would have made it an eight shot gun I would be more likely to buy one.

  6. I’m having a hard time understanding the noise around the G43. I’ve been carrying a Kahr PM9 for years – it’s smaller, lighter, and after the break-in has been flawless. The trigger is awesome and I shoot it really well. As for daily use, I can carry on my ankle, strong side, or shoulder holster with no issues…

    I also carry a G27 from time to time – I like the capacity and ability to use full size mags for reloads. And I’ve got a bunch of it’s brothers. But I just don’t see a G43 working it’s way into my carry routine.

    And Glock triggers STILL suck without aftermarket help! I guess some things never change…

  7. I carry both a G43 and G17. Both in Comp-Tac IWB holsters. They operate identically and I carry them in the same place (4 o’clock). Choice depends on variable factors such as clothing and degree of expected danger. When I visit friends who live in North Minneapolis, I carry the G17 with a 17 rd mag AND a 19 rd mag as backup. When I am at work, where discovery would not be nice, I carry the 43.

      • Hey now, stop making fun of Brooklyn Park and Broolkyn Center! Their high crime rates keep Bills in business. 😉

        For the record, that’s why I live in Plymouth.

  8. Yeppers. Place your thumb wrong and you get a malfunction. Or hit the mag release in the stress of the moment. Or be in contact with your target.

    And on and on…..

  9. So, my $350 M&P Shield 9 shouldn’t have even been considered, based on your $500 minimum. Nevermind its as accurate as the shooter and eats anything you throw at it. Not to mention the 7 and 8 +1 capacity (no hollow pinky extension here!). I’m not a Glock hater. I’m actually looking at getting a G19 for my nightstand. There are just many other single stack 9mm options out there BETTER than the 43, under your $500 requirement. I wouldn’t trust the 43 with my life. No way. A better review would have been a single stack 9 comparison that included the 43. THAT might actually be useful, interesting, and something your readers would actually enjoy seeing.

    • You will not be disappointed by the G19 – best “one gun” there is. Not that I’d want to be limited to just one… But that’d be it.

      • I have to agree with NDS when it comes to the G19 (gen4). Female, not large, I can conceal the G26 adequately. I love the way it fits in my hand; little finger underneath the magazine takes care of the length problem. I also have a G34 that I would not part with. I had a Glcck 42 .380 that I sold; hated the grips and just didn’t care for the way it felt in my hand. The 43 in my hand felt just like a 42, and I could see no reason to give up or supplement 26. But if I could have one and only one Glock, it would be the G19. In my hands, all are extremely accurate and shoot exactly the same way. I had a little gunsmithing, however. Night sights and ghost triggers took them from superb to sublime. I also have a Hammerli .22 for sport and two Colt Python (6″ barrel, blue) that I shot one-hand, double action for about 25 years. Then Colt went out of business, and I retired the Pythons to “collector status”, switched to Glock, and never looked back. As a side note: I call the 26, the 19, and the 34 “the three little pigs” because at the range they’ll eat almost anything and spit it out with reliable accuracy.

  10. I personally don’t see how the Glock 26 is better than the M&P 9C, or how the 43 is better than the Shield, so I carry the Shield in the summer and the 9C the rest of the time. Just my opinion, and we are certainly fortunate to have options.

  11. The G-43 is the only Glock I would be interested in because of it’s low impact when I need a low impact pistol.

    The 26 is just marginally smaller than an XD/m compact with less capacity and a shorter barrel.

  12. My thoughts are you should try a CZ PCR or P01 hell or even a 75 compact and divest of the sig

  13. Had a chance to fiddle with the Legion at a local gun shop (across the street from Athena), and it really seemed to be the proverbial all that and a bag of Lays Salt & Vinegar (that trigger was something else – firing the G19 afterwards was a tragedy). But, that price is going to knock it well out of range for all but the most well off carriers.

    I’ve never had an issue with the Glock, and I’m debating adding either a PPQ or P320 to the collection, but I could get both and my total spend would be roughly the same.

  14. Both are fine guns. But the 43 doesn’t offer enough over the Shield to warrant purchase. The G26… I carried it for over a year and while it is a fantastic pistol, I personally couldn’t find a situation where I couldn’t carry the G19 instead.

    If deep concealment was the priority then the Shield was the choice. If it wasn’t then the additional firepower and the full size grip of the G19 made far more sense.

  15. I thought the $500 comment was a tad snooty, but that and ‘gun culture 2.0’ is a debate for another time, I guess.

    I found it a bit interesting because I only JUST got what I consider a bona fide CCW piece (as opposed to a mousegun). It’s a Smith & Wesson M&P40 Compact, no lock/external safety. I’ve carried a Ruger LCP in a DeSantis Nemesis holster for most of the last couple years, highly satisfied with its reliability, shootability and value. About the only strike against it is the general difficulty and cost of finding .380ACP to practice with.

    My holster experiments have been pretty hit and miss, to say the least. I got a Serpa sportster for my Glock 20, and remarkably enough, it conceals surprisingly well at 3:00 but it feels like a brick and sitting down in a car was simply excruciating. A Sig P229 in an Alien Gear 2.0 IWB holster concealed okay, but kept sliding down over my hip bone. However, I strongly suspect my cheap Walmart belt was at fault for that. More on which in a moment. Sold the Sig, but I hope to get another 229 again sometime. I have a Walther PPX shell on both AG holsters (IWB and OWB) but the grip pokes out way too much and is blatantly obvious against my shirt. So scotch that one for now. But I did come to realize that I could conceal a shorter, thicker pistol easily enough – it just had to be smaller than the G20 or PPX is all. Trading them is out – I like both guns, albeit for different reasons. So I narrowed it down to the S&W M&P 9/40 compact and Shields, and the G19/23. Capacity isn’t an end-all be-all for me but I do prefer to have SOME, and since I knew I could conceal a double stack, that eliminated the Shields and 43. Also, I decided to save up and get an old fashioned, high quality, leather belt and OWB holster for my chosen pistol. Since the M&P40 can be converted to 9mm or .357Sig but the 9mm version can’t, I went with that. It took about 6 months to get to where I could put it on layaway, and the full 90 days to pay it off. Ken Null, one of the true old time greats in holstermaking (I remember him from way way back in the 90’s) made me a belt and OWB holster for the Smith. It’s still breaking in as I type, and cost an arm and a leg but so far has proven to be the best holster/gun combo I’ve invested in so far. In fact I like it so much that I’ll try to get a G19 sometime and a OWB holster for that. The belt alone makes an enormous difference – it’s incredibly stiff and a bear to put on, but once everything is in place it literally goes away, even when seated in the car.

    Now I’m tempted to get rid of the LCP and replace it with an LC9, simply because 9mm is so much easier and cheaper to get. Also getting a Smith J-frame, too. Although I’ve not tried it yet, I bet dollars to donuts the PPX/AG IWB combo works MUCH better with the Null horsehide belt as well. I’m a fatso though, and the belt only has 1 extra hole going out. I really owe it to myself (and Ken too) to slim down about 50 pounds for a start and around 110 overall.

    As for the J-frame and single stacks, I think all of them are excellent choices for Null’s well-known City Slicker upside down shoulder rigs, which is what made his reputation way back in the day. Likewise a front pocket holster. Too bad I don’t gamble or play the lottery, but that goes for all of us, I guess 🙂


    • Congrats on the purchase. I find my 9C to be the best combination of shootability, concealability, and capacity. If you ever consider going with a one clip IWB holster know that I have had a lot of success with the 5.11 IWB appendix holster, which is actually made by Bladetech. It works great at 3:30 on my belt and you can pick one up on Amazon for ~$25.

  16. Have not fired the 43, or even held it, but I must say that my 26 is amazingly accurate for me. Also have a 27 that is ok on accuracy.

  17. Shocking, this article was relatively free of Glock bashing, however one major factual ERROR: Glock 17 extended mags hold 31 rds of 9MM not “28.” Thats a total of 32 rds on tap if you chamber a rd and top off the mag. Glock on.

    • Glock 26, 10 round mag, 1 in the pipe. Glock 17, 17 round mag. 10+1+17 gives you the 28. On a side note, if you carry a 33 round stick as your back up magazine, I am impressed.

      • Actually carry a G27 with 13 rd, 15 rd, and 22 rd mags at hand. That way if the G27 gets dropped can just pick up the G23 or G22 and Glock on. Other than quivering collectivist liberal moonbats never heard of anyone wishing they had LESS ammo capacity.

        • If you haven’t already, I’d recommend an in-depth test-fire with your carry ammo if you plan to use the 22-shot mag in the G27. My G27/22-shot mag combo is NOT reliable with any decent defensive ammo (occasional nosedive-in-the-mag stoppages). I’ve never had this (or any) problem with the 9mm Glocks and any ammo.

        • Hornady XTP 155 gr. goes thru every Glock and every mag like crap thru a goose. Good heads up tho.

    • Fred, all the current G18 extended mags have 31 counting-holes on the back edge, but they also have Glock’s “+” magazine base (and have for many years), so the actual capacity is 33 rounds of 9mm ammunition. Early mags had the flat base, and 31 was a correct load-count for those older mags.

      I always thought that a 17-shot mag in my “car” G17, with a 33-shot mag in the glovebox/console was a nice combo. 50 shots with only one reload; 17 to solve the problem when first presented, and 33 more to help you break contact and call in the air strike if the first 17 didn’t get the job done. 😀

      (j/k in that second para, for the sarcasm-impaired)

  18. Sometimes compromises are great. Other times compromises simply fail at doing anything well. That’s how I feel about the G43.

    I carry the G26 and when I need to deep conceal or am wearing shorts the weight/size is just too much. I prefer the Ruger LCP for that (and it’s under the $500 “magic” number). The G43 has the same capacity but is considerably bigger than my LCP. I can’t just throw it in my pocket with a pocket holster like I can the .380 and the capacity is the same. To me, the G43 is a compromise that simply fails.

  19. I’ll stick with my Bersa BP9CC.Less than 400, an excellent pistol,Accurate,reliable,and the best trigger you’ll find on a Striker fired pistol.

  20. Hoping to get some input from the TTAG readers

    I carry a Ruger LCR .357 as a secondary at work and a primary CC gun in the warmer months. I’ve lost 35 pounds recently so I can carry my Glock 17 or 22 in my now baggy clothes.

    I’ve been seriously considering selling the LCR and switching back to a semi. I’ve had extensive training with striker fired pistols so I’m considering a Shield, which I can get for 319, a 43 (354), or a Walther PPS (450). I like the price and capacity of the shield over the 43.

    What are you all a opinions, get one of the new ones or keep the wheel gun? Wife won’t let me buy one without selling the revolver:(


    • Given those choices, I’d go with the Shield. A good friend has one that I’ve shot extensively, and were I not a Glockoholic, I’d have a pair of 9mm Shields.

    • IMHO. For a cop a j frame is a BUG whether on or off duty. You may be required to ride to the sound of the guns at any time.

      For a non sworn type like myself the j frame is just about perfect to get the bad guy to leave me the phuck alone.

      Where I cop or soldier I would want the semi as my go to piece in moments of trouble.

  21. The “shot better” data should have determined the gun to buy IMHO.

    I waited to by my Glock 26 until the 43 came out. I was going to get one of them. I carry a Glock 17 when I can wear a jacket. I wanted a smaller option for summer time carry.

    I shot them both, 100 rounds each. I shot the 26 way better and I had a few failure to feeds with the 43. The 43 feels to small, chalk that up to V1 for the 43 vs V4 for the 26. They will work out that issue. Yes the 26 feels fatter and heavier but it is still a small gun to conceal. The wider 26 grips like a 19/17 minus the pinky so for me it felt better in the hand.

    Having the ability to put a G17 mag in my pocket was the thing that put it over the top for me. If I ever have to pull the trigger on someone, I imagine it would be 3-5 shots per bad guy. The 43 just does not have enough rounds for a multiple perp engagement.

  22. I don’t have a dog in this fight, but two things jump out at me. First, when it comes to concealed carry, people seem to want small, small, small. A few years ago a Glock 19 was a very reasonable carry option. Not no more.

    Second, if this had involved a larger sample of people, and a sample of folks who did not come specifically to see and shoot the Glock 43, I think the 26 would have fared substantially better.

  23. G26 is a better choice. You can use all Glock parts and mags. More rounds. More barrel length. More holster options.

    As for me, I run a cz75 p01 with a 19 round mecgar spare. In summer it’s a shield with magguts springs for 8 plus 1 and a spare 8 round.

  24. Glock 26 fits great in my scrub pants right front pocket with a superfly holster. Every day I park at work, exchange my glock for a HP stethoscope – and walk inside – reversing the process on the way out.

    Give up ammo and something that works?

    Maybe the price will plummet on the 26. Now that will be True perfection.

  25. The 43 is smaller, but I’m not sure it’s a huge improvement over a micro 380 like a Taurus PT 738 TCP. That thing is smaller than most cell phones, and can be carried no matter what you’re wearing.

    Honestly, while I worried about printing with an IWB and a larger semi-auto, I can throw a TCP in a pocket and walk into any place with no worries. I don’t even bother looking at “guns are banned” signs. They won’t see it unless I draw it.

  26. Where did the $500 threshold come from, the reviewer said comfortable and over $350 not $500? (unless he edited it)
    Anyway, handguns are like any other product sold, so many to choose from and personal preference is very important. There is no one size fits all or the perfect pistol.
    I’ve been shooting Glocks for over 25 years, I’d say I personally prefer them to other brands I’ve owned. Just personal preference, not dogmatic about which brand is better. I have a G26 and love it, I’ve had it for 5+ years, shot it thousands of times and never had any issues. No feeding issues, no stove pipes etc.. you get the drift. It is quite concealable and I hardly notice I’m wearing it, and more importantly no one else does either.
    Glock is kind of unique in that they all look and function the same across the brand. This makes it easy to switch between models with having to go to fine motor skills. Pick your caliber, pick your size but certainly try before you buy, it’s an expensive mistake buying a gun that doesn’t feel right in your hand or if you have trouble shooting. Test drive it like you would a vehicle.

  27. Gene
    Stop being pussies and buy /carry a real gun – G36 45acp ! If that’s not enough get a G20 and quit complaining

  28. Glock 43 is my 7th pistol and my 3rd Glock other two are the 22 and 23. I purchased the 43 for 380$ brand new so it was a no brained for me. I love the size for EDC

  29. I prefer G26 but I don’t have experience with G43. Glock 26 has more rounds and that is extremely important. Also, you can buy both Glock 26 and Glock 43 for less than $500.

  30. I’m concerned with how many people responded to this article having not read it. One responder made the mistake of saying the author set a $500 minimum when it was $350. So many followed along with that mistake that I could only conclude that every one of them made the same reading error or they were too lazy to read the article and just troll through the comment section. Disturbing to think people take a real stance on something based on incorrect information.

  31. Yes, I saw the $500 stated but it read Hog Wash to me. Have been researching my first conceal so am quite familiar with pricing and what’s out there. It has come down to the CA compliant Shield and the G26, the former being considerably cheaper after the rebate. My local broker refuses to sell me a Shield. Dragged out of him the fact that the Shield is prone to misfire because of the CA mechanical add ons. Even though, there are too many good reports on the Shield to ignore and continues to be a choice. That said, he wants to sell me a G28 instead. Yes, a G28???? Does anyone know if the 28 has any improvements over the 26? I have yet to touch a Shield but do like the feel of the 28 especially with the 5.5 lb trigger. For comments…. all! Torn!

Comments are closed.