GLOCK 43x everyday carry pistol gun search
Courtesy Brad Kozak

Remember the old “In Search of…” TV show with the late Leonard Nimoy? It didn’t matter what it was they were in search of, you were certain to end up with an ambiguous ending after getting sucked into watching the show (and the countless commercial messages in-between segments).

Finding the perfect every-day carry can be a lot like that, I think. You typically start with a pistol that you believe to be your “dream gun,” figure out it’s too heavy or too something else to carry every day. You start going through guns like most of us go through holsters, looking for Mr. Goodpistol.

This is the story of how I found my perfect EDC gun. I tell it not to try to persuade you to buy the gun I did, but to explain my process in the hopes that it helps you find your perfect everyday carry weapon.

My first pistol was a 1911 from Springfield. The only nod to modern conveniences was a beavertail grip. It was a beautiful gun. It was accurate and could double as a boat anchor in a pinch.

I tried an IWB holster and found that while I could carry it, the pistol was just too damn big and heavy for me to carry comfortably. I sold it and then bought my “dream gun,” a Kimber Crimson Trace 1911. Aluminum frame. Laser grips. Commander-length barrel.

This one was easier to conceal and a little lighter, but not by a whole bunch. Again, I tried carrying it, but found it was just too cumbersome to want to do that all the time.

When I got involved in the private security guard/bodyguard biz, I was told by our Lt. Commander that I needed a weapon with at least 15 rounds in the magazine. I opted for a GLOCK 17, which happened to be the gun most of the other officers carried, too.

It was a nice gun. Accurate as hell. I’d planned on getting a Springfield XD-M like my wife’s, but after shooting hers next to a G17 that I rented at our range, the GLOCK blew everything else away in terms of accuracy.

I asked the Lt. Commander what he recommended for an EDC, because we tricked out the G17 with a Trijicon SRO red dot sight, and a Streamlight TRL-1 weapon light. Subtle it’s not. Neither is it lightweight.

He suggested I do what he did…carry the G17 as my EDC because, as he put it, “it’s paid-for.” Um, yeah. So I tried it. Understand, I’m 6’4″ and about 280 on a good day. I don’t have a beer gut, but my affinity for Coca-Cola long ago saddled me with a muffin top that makes IWB both painful and difficult.

So I returned to my friendly neighborhood shootin’ gallery and started renting guns again. Now every EDC pistol –- hell, every gun is a compromise in features. Reduce the weight and you’re going to reduce the size, which will, in turn affect the amount of felt recoil.

Everything is interconnected. I get it. So I wanted something as light and small as possible, chambered in 9mm. I wanted it to be easy to field strip (which left out the 1911s redesigned for 9mm) and something that wouldn’t cost me an arm and a leg. Most importantly, it needed it to feel good in my hand and be near-as-damnit accurate as I am with my G17.

I rented a number of pistols, and narrowed it down to a Springfield Hellcat and a GLOCK 43x. Both are very good firearms. But the deciding factor for me was I simply shot the rental GLOCK better than the rental Hellcat. And the GLOCK felt surprisingly good in my big meathook hands. My only reservation was that the G43x is limited to 10+1 with the factory magazines while the Hellcat gives you a couple more.

GLOCK 43X MOS
Courtesy GLOCK

It took seemingly forever for the GLOCK to arrive, largely because I opted for the G43x MOS version with the slide pre-cut for a red dot sight and a frame with a built-in (proprietary design) rail.

GLOCK 43x everyday carry pistol gun search
Courtesy Brad Kozak

After an online review of the available red dots for subcompacts, I settled on the SIG SAUER Romeo Zero. Both the gun and the sight arrived at the same time, so I wasted no time in adding the sight to the rail.

First glitch: the screws supplied with the Romeo Zero are just a tad too long, causing the ejector to get its nose outta joint and fail to cycle. A quick trip to my gunsmith and the shortened screws fixed the problem.

GLOCK 43x everyday carry pistol gun search
Courtesy Brad Kozak

I’m pleased to report that the gun is every bit as accurate as my G17. I takes a little more control to shoot, but that’s expected. We’re still slightly off the “perfection” mark, by just a bit, due to the 10-round magazine. Then I heard about Shield Arms S15 magazines. The S15s are a marvel of Yankee ingenuity, somehow squeezing 15 rounds into the same space GLOCK swears will only hold 10.

Of course, there’s a catch. In this case, a magazine catch. Because the GLOCK factory mags are polymer-over-steel, the G43x comes with a polymer mag release. The metal S15 mags will prematurely wear the GLOCK polymer mag release. But for a nominal fee, Shield Arms will sell you a metal mag release that you can swap out for the factory part.

GLOCK 43X MOS
Courtesy GLOCK

Et voilá! Problem solved. So I now have an EDC that runs 15+1 in a form factor and weight that feels quite a bit more svelte than a G19 or similar weapon.

Next I turned my attention to the, ahem, less than wonderful sights on a stock GLOCK. Are you aware that the stock sights are just little pieces of plastic? I wasn’t. I looked at all the major brands. Trijicon is currently about nine weeks backordered. TruGlo is similarly swamped, as is AmeriGlo.

But Night Fision offers a set of tritium sights designed for the GLOCK 43 that looked just about perfect in every way, and are available now for purchase. Another quick trip to the gunsmith and I was rockin’ night sights and a red dot, co-witnessing to my satisfaction along with the wholesome comfort of 15 rounds, plus one in the pipe.

GLOCK 43X everyday carry gun search
Courtesy Brad Kozak

I have to admit I’ve not yet solved the weapon light conundrum. Streamlight has announced (but not yet shipped) a new model — the TRL-7-sub — designed expressly for subcompacts, including the 43x MOS. Because the MOS model has its own rail, nothing made for the original 43 or 43x will work.

I don’t know why GLOCK chose to put the notch where they did, but this is a bigger question for bigger minds than mine. And it wouldn’t matter now, anyway. With the popularity of the G43x MOS (like so many guns, GLOCK is selling them faster than they can make them), I’m certain there will be a variety of choices available soon.

One last concern; a holster. As a card-carrying OFWG, IWB is problematic. And until I get the light thing sorted, I see no reason to spend $80 or more on a Kydex holster that won’t fit a light. My solution for now is a compression holster shirt. This works well for me, and likely will, right up until the summers here in Texas force me to find a holster that fits.

So that’s my tale. If you’re in the market for an EDC gun, I’d encourage you to look around, try a variety of brands and models, then go for the one that fits your hand, your carry style and your lifestyle. And if they ever want to bring back that show, I’ve got an “In search of…” that’s ready to shoot, either on film or at the range.

69 COMMENTS

  1. FYI to the TTAG management, when I clicked the ‘Do not sell my information’ link, I got:

    “ Ooops… Error 404
    Sorry, but the page you are looking for doesn’t exist.”

    Guys?

      • ^ He not wrong. Tucson is worse, but Houston is worse, still. Let’s face it, team, there are large parts of the country where wearing anything more than a T-shirt and shorts in mid-summer is an experiment in torture. If ya can’t carry it IWB and small, it ain’t “concealed”.

        And I prefer concealed. I don’t want to advertise, and make myself “Target #1”. Besides, none of anybody else’s GD business whether I am carrying, or not, right?

    • some places in this country have climates suitable for shorts most of the year, and sports-coats are rare, conspicuous, and uncomfortably sweaty.

  2. security guard = no post secondary education (ie university/college) or couldn’t make it as a cop/cop washout, broke as a joke salary, overweight, fat as fuck.

    • Wow. . . just WOW, your comment only reflects poorly on you.

      His article is well written and articulate. Who gives a flying eff what his highest level of education is

    • Sorry to disappoint, Sean, but I have a college degree, never went into LEO, my wife and I are very comfortably well-off, I make a nice living as a graphic designer, illustrator, and animator, and my side-gigs are “professional musician” and “bodyguard.” I got my Private Security and Bodyguard cards specifically so I could protect my family and carry in situations where an LTC won’t allow – like in bars, when/where I perform as a musician. I could stand to lose a few, but then again, most guys my age could. But hey – go ahead and judge. It’s entertaining and exposes your bias. Hate on, dude!

      • Nice rejoinder, Brad, and a thoughtful article as well. Sean seems a bit on edge. Perhaps he failed his last NICS check.

      • Good work, on the article and on the response. For me that search led to G19 and then 19x.
        Best wishes on the musician gig, I have worked in live entertainment for over 30 years, road dogs are hurting, to say the least. Most of us hope and believe we’ll be back to concerts by mid-Summer to Fall. Next year is expected to be the busiest year in the history of live, from clubs to stadiums and festivals. Can’t wait for day-of-show!

    • Well, I see we have our input from the “self-satisfied @$$hole” contingent.

      i’m sure you’re just the coolest thing since sliced bread, sean. And not an OUNCE overweight, and can put 100 out of 100 in the 10 ring at 25 yards . . . and the wind blew, and the s*** flew, and sean was gone for a day or two.

      Don’t go away mad, sean . . . just go away.

  3. A good citizen would let its government decide what is best.
    A government has more knowledge in what its citizens need .
    Individual thought and choices are the reason countries fail.
    If you make choices outside of what your government dictates you are not a citizen .
    Work hard and do not complain.

    • I have a Trijicon SRO on my Glock 17. It co-witnesses, but only because I replaced the stock sights with the Trijicon suppressor-height night sights. I’m not a fan of the stock Glock sights, and I think co-witnessing is essential (just in case your battery dies on the RDS). Night sights are a huge deal, too, especially for a bedroom gun.

      • Brad,

        Thanks Brother. Just trying to keep standard height ameriglo h3’s on an mos with a red dot. I have a lot of time between on various 19’s with those sights. Trying not to change things up too much while trying the red dot thing.

        -WTF

  4. the shield mags work well but don’t get them dirty…they won’t work…at least from all the vids i’ve seen…wasn’t a fan of the baby glocks until i shot the 43x…great little pistol…

  5. Sometimes you just carry what you got. I recently relocated from a may issue (but won’t) state to a shall issue state and got my license to carry. The only pistol I had that wasn’t a target model was a S&W .38 snubbie. I got a kydex IWB holster for it that took a little getting used to but a few months down the line and I’ve figured out how to wear it with relative comfort.

    At first I thought that I’d upgrade to a small semi-auto but I figure that the odds are small that I’ll ever even draw the pistol in self-defense and if I do, if I can’t do it in 5 would I be able to do it in 10?

    Anyway, thanks for the article Brad.

    • The odds are small indeed.
      Privately carrying a firearm only portrays your willing to take the law into your own hands. That is vigilantism and its against the law. If you choose to be a lawbreaking individualist you are not a productive member of society and must face the consequences.

      • You sir, are an idiot. I have had three different times that I was damn glad that I was carrying and was the difference between me getting hurt or not. Fortunately firing the weapon was not needed in all three and I am glad for that. In all three I was not the aggressor. One was walking my dogs, another the wife and I were heading to the car after dinner. It is not vigilantism to protect yourself from aggressors.

        • Judging by our Russian friend’s turns of phrase it seems like some right-winger aping what they think Communists sound like without having a strong understanding of what Communism is.

          It’s likely just someone having a little fun so I wouldn’t get too worked up over it.

        • Boomer, I COULD be wrong, but I think Niki is trolling/being sarcastic. No one could be that stupid for real.

      • “Privately carrying a firearm only portrays your willing to take the law into your own hands. That is vigilantism and its against the law.”

        And yet people who carry are more law-abiding than sworn police officers.

        ‘Chewie’ is just another Leftist scum fvckwit… 🙂

      • Privately carrying a firearm only portrays your willing to take your safety into your own hands. That is called being a free man and is against communist law. If you choose to be a free man you are not a productive member of communist society and must face the consequences.

        I fixed your post for you.

      • Wow, that is quite the ignorant and foolish thing to say. I’m an old guy, I’ve carried a gun mt entire adult life, as a private citizen. I have never once felt the need to be a vigilante or take the law into my own hands. Oddly enough, I know many people who could say the very same thing.

        You do not understand why people carry guns and so you make up a fantasy to explain it away.

  6. A Glock in my hand just doesn’t feel right. I doubt I will ever own one. There are enough manufacturers and models to choose from to make your head spin. It’s a big part of why gun owners usually have several.

    A red dot on a handgun just doesn’t make since for an EDC, atleast not for my needs. Long guns and handguns used for hunting would seem to be better places for that. But who knows, I may end up needing that as I get older and my vision changes. I can ‘kinda’ see going that route for use at night though. I really don’t see myself going for anything more battery operated than maybe a flashlight. I’m even skeptical of lasers.

    As for holsters:
    Absolutely yes. If your going to carry, use a holster.

    There is no “perfect” EDC. Glock Perfection is a tag line and marketing slogan. The thing that defines perfect is something that is tailored for you. Everyone is different with differing needs.

    • I used to feel the same way about Glocks. I didn’t like the cant. But when I actually shot one, side by side with the guns I thought I liked, I shot better with the Glock. Not a little better. A LOT better. And the Glock was a rental gun at a range. Go figure.

      A red dot is like cheating. I practice (as much as my budget allows) both with and without the red dot sight. But it’s waaaaay easier to acquire a sight picture with a red dot. It just is. And with the manufacturers issuing guns pre-cut for sights, and the companies that make sights reducing the size (and making it possible to co-witness without suppressor level sights) I don’t have a compelling reason to live without ’em. Each to his own. My doc tells me I’ll be a candidate for cataract surgery in a few years – scares the ever-lovin’ crap outta me, as I’m a graphic designer and kinda need two good eyes to do what I do. But even now, the RDS is a huge help to me with relatively normal sight.

      I was pretty careful in my piece to paint a picture that one man’s “perfect” does not work for everybody. Or anybody else for that matter. You do you. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

      • “My doc tells me I’ll be a candidate for cataract surgery in a few years – scares the ever-lovin’ crap outta me, as I’m a graphic designer and kinda need two good eyes to do what I do.”

        Had mine done recently, I’m roughly your vintage. I went with the multi-focal distance lenses (Tri-focal), and as far as working on a computer, you should have no issues at all, once your brain adapts to no longer seeing through a lens brown-tinted by age. After surgery, the world has a blue-ish tint to it, but your brain will ‘re-calibrate’ (brown is opposite blue on the color wheel, it was explained to me) and white will appear white again.

        The ‘Real World’ is another story. Bright point-sources of light especially reflected light, ‘glare’ badly. I find trying to read the numbers on my bank card to be difficult in direct light, the glare is so bad. Sunlight reflected off of chrome while driving is bad. That is offset by being able to see better at night, the world is noticeably ‘brighter’.

        My cataracts were bad, not fixing them wasn’t an option. Even with the downsides, I’m glad I had it done…

        • The wife has had a lot of problems since going for the trifocal version, but it did take away the coke-bottle glasses she has worn since she was 10. Most problems have been with a retina, may not have had anything to do with the surgery, but timing was a hell of a coincidence. Knock on wood, I’m still 20/20 or better at 74.

      • i had cataract surgery about 5 years ago, totally painless and the best thing i ever did for myself at age 77. suddenly the world is bright and clear. didn’t realize the yellow haze that i had been looking through could be eliminated. first one eye, then the second a month later. you will not regret the decision to get er done.

      • On behalf of my dad, +1 on the positive cataract surgery comments. He had it done around age 70 and it was a new lease on life. Bought him an additional 8 years of good crappie fishing before he passed.

        Good EDC story.

  7. My Taurus G2C is the blend of price and size and shoot-ability that makes it my EDC. It’s snappy, but not unmanageable or cringe inducing. I’m 6’3 250 and the thing disappears with my AIWB kydex. Altogether a much cheaper alternative to the Glocks a’plenty.

    • Extremely happy with my G2’s. I am short and round, 73 years old with severe arthritis. The guns work well for me. Just need to change to night sights.

  8. Great article. These are exactly the types of details I need to have when making an expensive decision that could affect the rest of my life.

  9. I’m a short short dude, not fat, nor slim, probably average build relative to my height and age.
    I purchased the SA XDS 9 when they first came out, Glocks just don’t work for me, not to mention other pistols I’ve held and shot, but definitely no Glocks, they just don’t agree with me what so ever in feeling or grip angle, the SA XDS 9 points naturally for me and are more comfortable in my hands than anything I’ve tried.
    I know there are haters of SA, but if the gun fits me, I can conceal it easily, shoot it well and it’s dependable, that’s what I’m going to carry.
    Because of my size and shape, I can’t conceal “large” capacity magazines loaded in the gun, I wish I could, but life isn’t fair, I do carry 2 larger capacity back up magazines, all IWB.
    My eyes are getting worse, I’m pushing 50, I purchased night sights for my 1st edition XDS thinking that may solve my problem of not being able to see the iron sights well with or without glasses, unfortunately it did not help much, so I recently purchased the XDS 9 Mod 2 OSP with the supplied CT red dot. Problem solved, I’ve never used a red dot before, but like I said the XDS points so naturally for me that the dot is on 99% of the time I draw, it’s just right there, not to mention it’s also easier to get on target with both eyes open intuitively with the dot, I’ve never been able to shoot with both eyes open. Now with no training and very little practice the dot is there with both eyes open, obviously more practice is needed to make it line up 100% of the time.
    This is my set up as of now and works for me, SA and red dot all the way, until my body and age dictates another change.

  10. Unfortunately, that so-called safe trigger on a Glock makes my finger sore as hell after about ten rounds. The result is I end up passing on a lot of good guns with that style trigger

  11. I overheard a deputy at my local gunsmith’s talking about how the romeos have given departments lots of issues so I’ve steered clear of those. Not that I have experience with red dots. (I just put my first one on an ar pistol and I’m trying to get it to cowitness with irons.)

    I’d like to get my glock 26 slide cut for the red dot, or find one made that would ‘drop in.’ My go-to edc is off-body in a vertx sling with a small a3 panel. The draw isn’t super fast, but I always have my tools with me.

    • Romeo1 and Romeo5 are great optics. Romeozero is ok. All polymer, so it will get banged up and the lens (not glass) will scratch. It will still be usable and Sig stands by it with repairs.

      I run a Sig P365XL as my EDC. Slightly longer barrel, which helps my accuracy. It is cut for a Romeozero, RMRc or the Holosun 507K, which is what I put on there. RDS are great for aging eyes. Co-witnesses with the front night site. Previous EDC was a Glock 26 with TruGlo TFX high visibility sights.

      I, too, work private security and executive protection details. I typically run a Glock 19 MOS with Holosun 507C and Streamlight TLR-1.

  12. Nice read, as are the others by Brad on this site. Great writing style. I chose a Glock 48 to compliment my Sig P365 and am very happy with both. Maybe a big gun later for fun, if/when ammo prices drop.

  13. well I am old school, I dont like having things hanging on my guns. but to each their own. some people feel they do better with them on. I have 50 plus yr old eves but a good set of sights, and night sights work well for me.I use both, small semi autos and snub revolvers and try to stay away from trouble. but as we know trouble sometimes has a habbit of seeking us out so it is a nice insurance policy to have in your pocket. it is also just as well to have some other things as well, pepper spray, stun gun , baton and know how to use them. as well as your own natural weapons. it gives you options. and as always, practice , practice practice. and if you cant find ammo to practice with, well there are now , more than ever alot of bb guns and air soft guns that come very close to the guns you are carrying ( even snub nose revolvers) so , while they dont mimic the recoil they do give you the site picture , operation and feel of the real thing. and you can do it in the privacy of your own home. oh, AND find ammo for it. now about niketa commiehead, well communist are not welcomed here on this site. please go back to where you crawled out from.

  14. Why does everyone pass over the option of a shoulder holster? Yeah, I know people behind you get swept but if you keep your finger off the bang switch that’s not likely to happen.

    It’s comfortable for us big guys. Tucks right up under the armpit so you really don’t need any strap down to a belt. And with balancing 2 mag holster on the other side tucked up the same it feels right.

    I’ve got shoulder holsters for the 3 guns I use for carry: .45, 9mm, and a 380. They all feel equally good and i can walk around all day with them and hardly notice it. No interference. No worries about drawing while seated in the car. Secure at all times cause you can feel it under your armpit so you aren’t checking on it all the time to make sure it’s still there.

    Big plus; if you’re cheap like me you can get them made in the same material they make boots out of (no not leather) so they’re cheap and will resist sweat and wear. They have a stiff inner liner so they’re not going to fold in an inconvenient way plus when you reholster you’re looking right at the pistol all the way to being secured. Oh yeah they come with a nice adjustable velcro strap setup so you can have your index finger or your thumb break the snap for your draw.

    Why be uncomfortable when you carry. If you are you won’t carry as often.

    • That’s not me in that gravatar. I think it’s to do with the email address. Cause the next comment worked and I used a different address.

  15. To the operators of this blog. Somehow someone else’s face shows up in my gravatar field. I have a gravatar account and it’s current and working elsewhere (like disqus)

    Someone should check make sure things are secure and working properly unless this photo is some generic you all put in place when gravatar isn’t working.

    NOT HAPPY!

  16. Yeah. It’s the email addy. And why is my comment being held in moderation? I used to bad language or inferred anything so what’s the deal? You guys doing the old censorship just in case boogie?

  17. Your gun/light situation can be a gateway to the wonderful (sometimes frustrating) world of Kydex holster making. My need for a work holster for my M&P 3.6” compact w/TLR 7A led me to start making holsters. The one I ordered had overly generous tolerances for the light. I could actually get my pinky on the trigger with it holstered. Took a few tries but my EDC is self-made.

  18. Glock?
    No thank you.
    Awful company.
    Inherently unsafe gun design.
    Truly masterful, world-class marketing the like of which most gun makers could only dream of. First gun maker to develop a religious cult.

  19. Choosing a gun that is “right” for you is about as personal as it gets. What fits my hand, has the right grip angle, etc. is different for me as it is for everyone. I personally like the way a full-size Glock fits my hand. I can live with the little Glocks. I used to carry a Kimber Pro-Carry II, and I loved it, but I decided (as my eyes got worse along with my resistance to recoil) to go with 9mm and more capacity (like the author). I carry a Glock 34 OWB and/or a Glock 43x IWB concealed. Works for me. Don’t claim it will work for everyone, but the author’s point (at least as I read it) is . . . TRY THE FREAKIN’ GUN YOU PLAN TO CARRY BEFORE YOU CARRY IT!!!

    Seems kinda basic to me, but perhaps I’m just too practical.

  20. It is a shame that during the authors quest he never tried a J or K frame snub nose revolver. If he found the 1911’s too big and heavy for every day carry, then he might have discovered what a joy it is to stuff a J frame into a pocket holster which easily fits in a coat or pants pocket.

    • Brian, I have my dad’s old S&W J-frame snubby. Not my favorite to shoot. I’m well aware there are guys out there that can reload a .38 faster than I can do a tactical reload on a Semi-auto. But that little revolver is a beast to shoot. Yes, it’s near-as-damnit idiot-proof. But that’s fewer rounds in the cylinder than I had in my 1911.

      For me, the J-frame makes for a great gun to keep in a door pocket when we are on a road trip, mostly as a backup.

      • Folks that shoot the J-Frame snubby do not all find it a beast to shoot at all. On the contrary. It comes down to experience. Also you should say what is “best for You”. I carry small 380’s and have been practicing and training with them on a religious basis each week for over 10 years. Belong to a club of Pocket gun enthusiast that can do wonders with them. Sorry, all of us do NOT want to carry a Gun the size of a Glock 19X all day every day. Most especially in HOT HUMID weather wit a pair of shorts and Tee shirt.
        Yes, we all also own Micro 9mm’s and Snubbies and shoot them all with total competence but 95% of the time, the smaller, lighter weight guns are going with us out the door. And do not under estimate them. That would be a mistake for the bad guy.
        I am happy you found a EDC which is Best for YOU. The Glock 19X would not be the best for myself or others. In fact, we all prefer other Micro 9’mm’s over the Glock 43X. But that is another topic.

  21. My S&W 442 38 spl J frame with wooden grips shoots a lot softer than my Ruger LCR 38 spl with Hogue rubber grips. That thing is the real beast.

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