When the GLOCK 43X was released at SHOT Show in January of 2019, many of the first reactions were, well, lukewarm. The SIG P365 had already energized the concealed carry market and now GLOCK was playing catch-up. How times can you release another altered version of the same tried-and-true formula before people stop getting excited? The answer turned out to be, at least one more time.
As I and others lined up at the GLOCK booth during the Industry Day at the Range, the stream of people who had just fired the 43X was notably more pumped up than the group still waiting in line. I’m a skeptic at heart, but when I got my chance to shoot it, I came away feeling moderately impressed. Not ready to dump my daily carry pistol, but interested nonetheless.
Fast forward a few years and with many of the industry’s finest guns to choose from, the GLOCK 43X is my EDC gun. Let’s take a look at the G43X specs and then we’ll talk about why.
- Caliber: 9mm
- Barrel: 3.41″
- Weight: 16.4oz
- Magazine Capacity: 10 rounds
- Slide Length: 6.06″
- Overall Width: 1.1″
A quick gander at the specs and it’s easy to see that the GLOCK 43X is a smaller gun. Geared towards concealed carry, the 43X (and a few other GLOCK models now) break the company’s traditional mold just enough that they merit their own category…the Slimline.
GLOCK’s Slimline handguns are optimized for concealed carry. The Slimline RTF grip texture is effective, but less aggressive thanother models. The distance between the beavertail and the trigger is shorter than on non-Slimline models.
The final major difference is GLOCK’s use of single-stack magazines to fit within a narrower frame. This limits OEM mags to the above-mentioned 10-round capacity, putting it on-par with the flush-fit mags for the SIG P365, and just behind the 11-round capacity of the Springfield Hellcat, the 43X’s two closest competitors.
This 10-round limitation was seen by many as a needless, self-imposed handicap to GLOCK’s carry gun. That was an objection that was quickly overcome by the aftermarket when Shield Arms released their S15 magazines, upping the G43X’s capacity by 50% while retaining a flush fit.
Why the GLOCK 43X?
As I hinted above, the two non-GLOCK handguns the 43X are most commonly compared to are the Springfield Hellcat and the SIG P365. All three guns came out about the same time, so the hype train and marketing runs all overlapped to a degree. Similar sizes (the G43X is slightly large, purposes, and markets…they were destined to be compared.
I shot all three guns around the time they were released and I don’t dislike any of them. If a friend told me he was going to buy any one of them, I’d call it a good choice.
The GLOCK 43X is slightly (.1″) thicker and slightly (.08″-.2″) longer than the P365 and the Hellcat. Whether it’s that minuscule size difference or just the difference in design, I shoot the 43X better. It feels more like a svelte mid-size gun, and less like a modern derringer to me.
This difference is primarily felt in the grip, where I can get all three lower fingers onto the 43X without using an extended magazine base.
The Hellcat and the P365 both feel “snappier” with more muzzle flip during firing. I don’t doubt this would likely diminish if I could get my whole hand on the gun.
I haven’t carried the P365 nor the Hellcat nearly as much as I’ve carried the 43X, but the experience is similar enough. All three are very effective, dependable everyday carry guns. The slightly increased size of the GLOCK 43X is nothing for someone who’s used to routinely carrying a GLOCK 17 or a full-size 1911 (thanks, Alaskan clothing!).
If there’s one feature I’d love to steal for the GLOCK 43X, it’s Springfield’s “U-Dot” sight design. GLOCK’s insistence on still including the “replace ’em quickly” plastic sights is maddening at this late date.
With a street price down as low as $448 from an MSRP of $538, the 43X is priced very competitively in the market.
GLOCK 43X at the Range
I have different standards for a concealed carry gun than I do for a range toy. I need reliability no matter the ammunition type, whether it’s FMJ, JHP, MHP, or any other acronym. The GLOCK 43X has constantly met that standard, so we can go on from there.
I don’t need precision sights and a hair trigger. This is a carry gun. I need predictability. Boring, routine knowledge of where my rounds are going to hit within a reasonable radius. The GLOCK 43X does all that just fine, and if you want to hunker down and shoot groups for the ‘gram, it can do that, too.
My 43X prefers Norma 108gr monolithic hollow points. I buy a box whenever I see them around.
Carrying the GLOCK 43X
Carrying a pistol is always a mildly uncomfortable experience. I consider that a moment-to-moment reminder of the moral weight of carrying a gun. The GLOCK 43X carries lightly enough to reduce the physical aspect of that burden. This is the only gun I own that I consider carrying in summer heat, both for reasons of comfort and concealability.
These days I usually run a Mission First Tactical Leather Hybrid Holster with a paddle attachment. Concealment is easy and the overall profile is as small as an outside-the-waistband holster is going to get.
Specifications: GLOCK 43X 9mm Pistol
Ratings (out of five stars):
Ergonomics: * * * *
GLOCK is GLOCK. If you like where their controls usually are, you’ll like ’em here. They don’t wow, but they work every time. I really enjoy being able to get my whole hand on the grip, which fits my meaty mitts just fine.
Concealability: * * * *
They don’t get much smaller than this, but they do get smaller.
Reliability: * * * * *
Shoots, and shoots, and shoots…
Do I need the aftermarket?: * * *
While the Shield Arms S15 mags are a relatively inexpensive, no-brainer upgrade, they’re not a necessity for the 43X to keep pace with the competition. Good night-sights and an extended magazine release however, are a must-buy.
Overall: * * * *
The GLOCK 43X is an excellent carry gun. If this model came with night-sights, I’d give it a five-star rating. It shoots well, carries easily, and shows the durability that made GLOCK world famous.
The author purchased gun and ammo for this review out of pocket