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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″

Ammunition for this and all TTAG reviews is sponsored by Ammo To Go. You can support TTAG by shopping at Ammo To Go for ammunition and more.

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.

In this context, understanding the value of a GLOCK 43 and its variants like the 43X is crucial. For a detailed valuation, you might find this article insightful.

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.

glock 43x
Grip texture? Effective.

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.

glock 43x
GLOCK’s iron sights aren’t terrible, but they sure aren’t great.

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.

glock 43x

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.

Learn More: (Understanding the value of a Glock 43 and its variants like the 43X is crucial. For a detailed valuation, you might find this article insightful.)

 

glock 43x
Draw-and-fire group at 10 yards…each round under 1.5 seconds

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

@Rexnanorum

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43 COMMENTS

  1. Reliability is king in a carry gun. And simple manual of arms. Regardless of model the Glock pretty much hits those standards.

    I like my revolvers but everybody should own at least one semi auto. Mine is a g19. I don’t know if we can get this 43x in CA.

      • The article fails to mention one important dimension.

        The height of the 43X is over 5 inches (roughly.75″.more than the micro 9s). It’s also a little longer.

        The Glock 43x is substantially taller top to bottom than the P365, Hellcat, Shield Plus, and Max-9. I frequently pocket carry my Max-9 (and would also pocket carry a P365 if I had one).

        The Glock 43X is big enough that it isn’t practical to pocket carry.

        Pocket carry may not be ideal, but it is a category. Micro 9s, .380s, and J-frame revolvers fit it.

        The Glick 43X therefore competes with guns like the G19, M&P Compact, Ruger Security 9, and Taurus G3C. It is thinner than those guns. It doesn’t match the micro 9s for concealability. It is a thin midsize to compact gun !like the P365XL.

  2. Interesting, are the single-stack Glocks incapable of accommodating a front rail for a narrow light (if someone even makes a slim light)?

    • The MOS and Rail models have a thinner rail, like the Hellcat. Surefire and Streamlight both make sub rail lights and lasers. You can also find adapters to make them pic compatible.

  3. And this GLOCK, like all other GLOCKs, strives for perfection but misses it due to GLOCK’s irrational refusal to make it better… give the CUSTOMER the choice of backstrap inserts so we can remove that irritating hump at the bottom!

    Do that- and I’ll actually BUY a GLOCK.

  4. Great article overall. My only question is why the Hellcat and P365 were compared to the G43X instead of the Hellcat Pro and P365XL or P365 XMacro? The P365XL, P365 XMacro, and Hellcat Pro would seem to be closer in size to the G43X than the Hellcat or P365.

    • The reason for the comparisons chosen was because during the launch period for all three I was able to spend a good bit of time with each. I haven’t been able to spend any appreciable time with the XL, XMacro, or Pro. If I can get em, I’ll happily review and write em.

  5. The 43x is one of my favorite carry guns – it’s bigger on purpose; and it shoots better than the P365 (without all the reliability issues) and the Hellcat (without all the philosophical issues of supporting the anti-2A scumbags at Springfield).

  6. Bought one when they first came out. As stated, she runs and runs and runs. I like Glocks and have never had any type of failure with any of them. I shoot them very well and overlook the fact that they are kinda fugly. I added F/O sights and am pleased with the firearm.

  7. I wonder if the reviewer actually priced or tried to obtain a Shield Arms magazine or switched out the magazine catch as required. They are neither cheap nor easy to finds.

    Gaffes like this are why Glocks are a day late and a dollar short. Constantly. Glock rollouts
    Are always less than they could be. Over and over again.

    • They’re not Glock-cheap, no, but I wouldn’t call them expensive, either. They can also be found if you look hard enough. I bought three a month ago, and easily found them too (I’m not using them for a Glock though, so I don’t need the Shield Arms mag catch).

      Also, PSA Dagger Micro mags should work with the G43X, too.

    • I did, the mags shown in the review are Shield Arms. The OEM mag is tucked away in the emergency box with all other 10 rounders. I have two pre-production mags and the catch

  8. Having to spend extra money on upgrades because your pistol is inferior to the competition as it comes from the factory is not perfection. Sometimes the Koolaid is sour rather than refreshing.

  9. “I don’t need precision sights and a hair trigger. This is a carry gun. I need predictability.”

    Preach it, Mr. Hammer. If most DGUs happen within danger-close distance, I just need my weapon to do exactly what I need it to do in the moment I need it to do it.

    • Totally agree! I don’t believe that I will ever need more than 5 or 6 rounds either.
      I know that just about everyone loves the semi-auto pistols but if truth be said, why not just carry a revolver if you are that concerned about safety. Just because Glock or any brand name has been reliable, it doesn’t mean that they can not fail to work when needed for whatever reason. Just saying.

  10. I keep my G43 hidden in my home office loaded with a laser bullet. There is a target down the hall, 23 ft. distant. During conference calls that do not require me to speak, I turn up the speakers and step into the hallway for some practice time. It’s not a G43x, but it makes my days more interesting…….and funner.

  11. I’ve had my Glock 43XMOS for about two years and been very happy with it. A few months ago I ordered two of the new Palmetto State Armory 15 round Dagger magazines which I evaluated for several weeks and they were fine. I ordered two more and they function just as well as the factory mags.

    I recently bought a third party 48 MOS complete slide and added a Holosun EPS carry green circle optic. I use this configuration primarily when I am hunting and it handles 147 grain hard cast animal defense ammo just fine. For EDC I use the 43X slide as it conceals better in the summer with a t-shirt and shorts.

    I am totally pleased with the 43XMOS with all the upgrades I’ve added to it.

  12. The thing is…..the Shield Arms mags are a reliability downgrade compared to Glock mags. So more capacity and less likely to work. Not a good trade.

    • I’ve heard other had issues, but mine keep running just as well as the OEM ones

  13. Quite frankly in a Glock I view any make besides OEM as suspect. Hard experience. I’d rather Glock did it, but Glock doesn’t do obvious gun or magazine upgrades willingly.

    Thus others swoop in and offer more gun for less money

  14. The G43 is now officially obsolete, IMO.

    The new standard for concealed 9mm’s has been set by the FN Reflex. It’s slimmer than the G43, but is a double stack. With a flush fit Mag (11+1), its smaller than my EDC G26, and can easily be pocket carried (in a pocket holster, of course).

    With the 15 round extended mag, it’s about the same height as a G43, but has 50% more capacity. Plus it’s hammer-fired, and as a result the trigger is superb and is super easy racking.

    This morning, I shot the T&E sample sent to TTAG (see Jeremy’s earlier review). I liked it so much I bought it immediately, and it’s replacing the modified G26 that’s been my EDC and training gun for over a decade.

    After going to the range, I had to drop by my gunsmith to pick up my backcountry gun (Dan Wesson .41 Mag; had Master Gunsmith Alex Hamilton work his magic on the trigger). I mentioned the FN Reflex, which he’d heard of but had yet to see. I brought it out for his inspection, and after examination he pronounced it “amazing.” “I can’t believe this is a double stack 9!”

    If you’re considering a G43, do yourself a favor and look at the FN Reflex.

  15. I have Glocks, I carry a Sar9. I wanted a smaller firearm so I ordered a G3C and took it apart and determined it’s a is-what-it-is gun so I lubed it up and sold it the next day, it shoots well for its new owner.

    Had Sar added a manual safety to their SC I would have already purchased one. However for those wanting just the Glock trigger dingus setup the Sar SC comes with nights sights, double stacked mags, etc. The price is lower but the quality and performance is not.

    https://sarusa.com/product/sar9-subcompact/

  16. Sold off my 43 because the mag release was much too sensitive for concealed carry. You’re making a dedicated self-defense weapon, Glock, not a race gun; I don’t ever that mag falling out unless I deliberately depressed the mag release, and that’s a problem my G23/32/19 has never had.

  17. Ended up getting a 43x and a 48 last year or maybe the year before. Can’t remember exactly. the wife liked them and so I took a look. They were basically the same dimensions as my Kahr without the Kahr issues.

    Shield Arms solved the capacity proble.. Now they are like a smaller G19. They have replaced everything else in my carry rotation.

    “Carrying a pistol is always a mildly uncomfortable experience.”

    Alien Gear. I have 2 Shape Shift sets, and my wife has one for southpaws. I have other Alien Gear holsters for the guns they don’t make a shape shift shell for. All of them are perfectly comfortable. If your rig is at all uncomfortable you need to try another rig.

    Alien Gear may not be for everyone but there is a comfortable holsters out there for you somewhere. Keep trying until you find it.

  18. The 43X won’t win any capacity awards but hard pass on the Shield Arms mags. Seen too many issues with them. They’re one of those things that work flawless on the internet, but fail miserably at the range. Seen too many people bring them in with a 43X or a 48, and then have one failure after another on the line. Besides, 10+1 rounds is more than sufficient and doesn’t leave you as defenseless as lot of talking heads on the internet lead you on with (who are mostly trying to promote and sell products sponsors pay them to anyway).

    I bought the 43X just over a year and a half ago, standard black non MOS with the smooth dust cover, and I have not been easy on this gun. It is sitting at 3,866 rounds and just under 10K dry fires. And it’s unmodified and the same as it was when I took it out of the box, sans the tired old plastic slot fillers Glock calls sights. I haven’t experienced any malfunctions or replaced a single part other than a recoil spring about 800 rounds ago.

    • Glad yours is running well, as reliably as every CCW should be! I’m thankful that mine has done the same (about 2,000 rounds so far), including about 1,500 with the Shield Arms mags. I’m still interested in trying out PSA’s Dagger mags, competition breeds quality.

      There is no “best” CCW option that’s one size fits all, we sure are blessed to have so many good options that we can each search out the best weapon/ammo/mag/holster combination that best suits us

  19. I love the G42 and G43, but I’ve never been a fan of the “butt is bigger than the front” 1911 Commander concept at all.

    On a concealed carry / backup gun, the stock will be more likely to print and allow yourself to get ‘made’. Yeah, I usually line up with the “if it’s covered and you’re legal, who cares?” crowd, but sometimes you actually WANT to pass under the radar of people who are paying attention, and this doesn’t help that cause.

    On a combat (or even target) pistol, it makes a bit more sense, but why not just go all in for the biggest gun you can handle at that point? G17 (or G19 if you’re of smaller stature)?

    Anyway, I nearly LOL’d at the sights. It’s been too darned long since I’ve bought a new Glock that I almost forgot what stock sights looked like….

    Good article, tho, hope you have fun with it.

  20. On a combat (or even target) pistol, it makes a bit more sense, but why not just go all in for the biggest gun you can handle at that point? G17 (or G19 if you’re of smaller stature)?

    Anyway, I nearly LOL’d at the sights. It’s been too darned long since I’ve bought a new Glock that I almost forgot what stock sights looked like….

    Good article, tho, hope you have fun with it.

  21. On a combat (or even target) pistol, it makes a bit more sense, but why not just go all in for the biggest gun you can handle at that point? G17 (or G19 if you’re of smaller stature)?

    Anyway, I nearly LOL’d at the sights. It’s been too darned long since I’ve bought a new Glock that I almost forgot what stock sights looked like….

    Good article, tho, hope you have fun with it.

  22. On a combat (or even target) pistol, it makes a bit more sense, but why not just go all in for the biggest gun you can handle at that point? G17 (or G19 if you’re of smaller stature)?

    Anyway, I nearly LOL’d at the sights. It’s been too darned long since I’ve bought a new Glock that I almost forgot what stock sights looked like….

    Good article, tho, hope you have fun with it.

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