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[ED: In response to reader requests, this is part of a series of posts by TTAG writers revealing their choice of carry guns.]

Hi, my name is Dan and I’m a lazy concealed carrier. I pack every damned day, but don’t subscribe to the carry-the-biggest-gun-you-possibly-can school of thought (though I know I probably should). I make the comfort vs. caliber and capacity calculation each morning and usually shade toward the former, especially now that I’m operating in the balmy to blazing clime that is Austin and vicinity. So when it comes to heaters, the heat is a big factor in what I carry . . .

I was as disappointed as the rest of the gun world seemed to be a couple of years back when GLOCK did a head fake right before the SHOT Show and the new pistol everyone expected to be the long-anticipated single stack nine turned out the be the much less anticipated G42, a .380. But then I shot the littlest GLOCK at Media Day and – whaddayaknow? – it had much to recommend it. The 42 fit my homonculoid tiny hand, was accurate, soft-shooting and more pleasant to carry than a wallet stuffed with $100 bills. But while you can certainly find JHP ammo that performs well in .380, let’s face it…9mm really is a better choice for most personal defense situations.

So after a sufficient amount of time during which the sultans of Smyrna sold a gaggle of 42’s, they finally released the gun everyone had really wanted — the G43. For me, the 43 fixed everything that was “wrong” with the 42 – a bigger bullet and better reliability in just about the same size package. Perfection, as it were.


While I’ve accumulated a few carry options for my little nine so far, I lean toward more concealment whenever possible. That means inside the waistband (sometimes even under a tucked in shirt) in a SHTF Gear hybrid rig. But the minimalist Lenwood Specter Kydex shell I’ve been testing has become a frequently used option, too (review soon). For those days when the ultimate comfort of OWB is called for, I recently bought an Alien Gear Cloak Slide and also have been trying out a StealthGearUSA FLEX OWB (again, reviews coming shortly).

As I imagine is the case with most carriers, the G43 isn’t the only gun I tote. When the weather is cooler and more clothing provides more coverage, I’ll strap on an FNS-9c (a gun I like a lot) in a GunfightersINC Ronin. And while I generally prefer to keep the fact that I’m armed on the down low, I have a Safariland 578 GLS Pro-Fit retention holster for carry at events like the Texas Firearms Festival and for those special times after December 31 when I’ll fancy open carrying here in the Live Music Capital of the World.

A couple of other safe-dwellers sometimes make it into the rotation, too. There’s my trusty Gemini Customs 642 and occasionally even a little BODYGUARD 380 that slips so nicely and unobtrusively into a pants pocket (in an Uncle Mike’s). It just depends on the temperature, my clothes and my mood.

All in all, though, more days than not, it’s the G43 that’s pressed into service. While your mileage may — and likely will — vary, for me Gaston’s little gun gives me just the right mix of caliber, comfort and concealment. And to those who say it sorely lacks the fourth ‘c’ (capacity) you’ll be pleased to know that this is now giving me the option of 8+1 rounds of dissuasion. Let the second-guessing begin.


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  1. I notice that you don’t mention the absolute best IWB holster (I have 5) the Comp-Tac C-T.A.C.. It is small, flexible, comfortable and perfect for a mini-9 like the Glock 43. BUT the Comp-Tac management has decided NOT to make the best holster for the Glock 43 and to force customers into a bulkier (and less expensive) holster — the Flatline. I ordered one, I examined it, abd today I am sending the Flatline holster back. So , at this moment, I am glad to read this article. Why would management force customers to buy a cheaper item?

  2. My singular gripe about the G43 is that it doesn’t come with the multiple grip backstrap choices of the Gen 4 Glocks. I have long fingers and use the thickest version on my G26. If the G43 fits your “homonculoid tiny hand,” I wonder how well I would get on with it.

    It feels pretty good when I hold it at the gun store, but I haven’t shot it yet.

    • I’ve got fairly large hands (on the upper end of freakish) and i have no problems with my 43. I’ve got to watch my trigger/finger placement or I pull to the right (left handed) but recoil is not even a slight problem, and now that I’ve got my placement down, it’s a ridiculously good little shooter. I don’t think you’d have a problem.

  3. It’s only comes with 6 round capacity. And it ain’t that small for a small 9mm…but carry on if you like it.

    • Modification, my man. All of my Glock 27 mags have extensions, and they all work like a champ. and Taran tactical make stuff good enough to stake your life on.

  4. I agree with everything you said except for one point. While the strike industries +2 really does change the feel of the gun, to the point where IMO it is more Ergo than even a Glock 19, it makes the damn gun too tall. You end up with a Glock 43 that is about the same height as a Glock 19 with half the capacity. If you go with the strike you mine as well go with the Glock 19. You can get a Glock 26 with a Pierce +2 and save about 1/2″ or so of height.

    I carry my Glock 43 with a Taran +2 and it is much more low profile than the Strike Ind. +2.
    If I opt for the Pierce +1 it is even more low profile.

    Different strokes for different folks but IMO the Glock 43 is the AR-15 of single stacks you can customize it to suit your concealed carry needs whatever they be. Low light shooting, carrying suppressed, extended grip for less deep cover, pocket carry AIWB, whatever your fancy is.

    • I carry my G43 with the Taran Tactical +1. Almost no change at all to the profile. My spare carry mag is also TT +1, though I’ll probably up that to either a TT+2 or the strike +2.

    • The main differences, besides capacity, of a G43 vs. a G19 or G26, are width and weight.

      I think a thinner gun would be more comfortable and concealable in an IWB holster, with less weight to pull my pants down. I want to be lazy like Dan.

      • Exactly. I don’t shoot double stack GLOCKs well with my un-naturally small hands. The single-stack 42 and 43, however, fit perfectly. The gun just works for me. And isn’t that really what matters?

  5. My first gun I ever bought was a Makarov, because I couldn’t afford much else at the time.

    It saved me from getting bashed by a bunch of homophobes, and I didn’t even need to fire a shot. I still carry it to this day, and I just can’t seem to get away from it despite all the other options I have.

  6. Well there is not much to comment on here. It’s kinda like saying you drive a Honda or your’e a Protestant. Good choice. Have some vanilla ice cream.

  7. Being from Texas and living and working in Texas I can feel ya on the heat. I don’t think it is something most other carriers in other states have to deal with. We can argue caliber vs capacity til the cows come home but ultimately it is what you are personally comfortable with. A CZ82 in 9×18 has saved my life twice while working in and around the Permian basin.

    The tucking in the shirt with an iwb holster made me cringe a little. Check out Kangaroo Carry when you go to the Texas Firearms Festival. Austin Davis presentation is amazing. They offer adjustable concealed shoulder holsters that allow you to wear that Polo or collared shirt and tuck it in. Switched 8 months ago and ain’t touched one of my iwb holsters since.

    • “A CZ82 in 9×18 has saved my life twice while working in and around the Permian basin.”

      Along with Emfourty Gasmask’s defensive use, I’d like to hear your story as well.

      I hope you would consider writing your story up and submiting it as well…

  8. We’re going later today to check a 43 out. We’re upgrading my wife’s carry pistol from a .380. She’s petite, and concealment is a little harder for her. I saw this and it looks stellar for concealment:

    I think it might be a good option, but I was wondering if anyone has experience with it?

    • Just food for thought: my wife carries the Beretta Nano, primarily because she finds the slide easier to rack than other single stacks. YMMV.

  9. Dan, I thank you for your honesty about being a lazy carrier. People who carry these little guns as a primary are people who know it is wise to carry but wish they didn”t have to. The optimum sized carry gun is in the G-26 to XD/m compact size. There are lots of carry pistols in that size range. Now that I live in a more relaxed small city/rural environment size doesn’t matter so I generally carry a full sized piece.

    Oh and cry me a river about the dry heat Austin climate. I used to live in Northern Virginia with its 90/90 summers.

    • “Oh and cry me a river about the dry heat Austin climate. I used to live in Northern Virginia with its 90/90 summers.”


      Central -South Florida is every bit if not more miserable in the heat-humidity department…

    • Austin’s summers are every bit as humid and much hotter than Virginia’s. I remember a recent summer where we had 90 days in a row that the humidity never dropped below 90 percent and the overnight low never dropped below 90 degrees.
      Texas isn’t all cactus and coyotes. There are alligators here too.

  10. I’ve actually dampened my dislike of the G42 lately, but the G43 is still the worst choice of all similar guns. The Taurus PT709 wins in every way when compared to the G43. Glock took way too long and ended up the worst entry in their own contest. The only people who think it’s great are the Glock fanboys who can’t make an objective decision about pretty much anything…

    • I guess Dustin-plus it has a real safety and a great trigger.And it’s thinner. And costs way less. And proven to work well. And no need for “modification,my man”…but I don’t hate a GLOCK brand GLOCK…

    • This opinion is clearly not grounded in any factual information about the Glock 43. The comment is ridiculous. The 43 is unmatched by similiar sized pistols when it comes to “out of box” reliability and accuracy. The 43 will shoot all types of factory ammunition, from the cheapest aluminum cased FMJ rounds to premium law enforcement hollow points, and will do so with total reliability. Mine has over 1000 rounds through it with 0 malfunctions of any kind. Learn about the weapon before you write. It’ll be less embarrassing for you.

  11. Glock 43 on the ankle, FTW. Very light and fits easily with dress pants. I train to move when shooting so can present about as fast from the ankle as from IWB under a shirt (rather than unrealistic draws with the IDPA fishing vest, AKA shoot me first vest.) And the G43 fits into the pocket of lightweight shorts at the warm and humid Texas coast. In a pocket holster of course.

  12. Why no love for the Kahr P9, CW9, CT9 or TP9? Nearasdammit the same profile, but the CW9 and P9 are 7+1 and the CT9 and TP9 are 8+1. While the TP9 and P9 are a bit spendy at around $700, the CT9 and CW9 are less than $400, leaving plenty of cash for two extra mags while still staying below the G43 in price. And none of them require aftermarket add-ons to get a full 3-finger grip. I just don’t understand why they don’t get any press when they’ve been doing all along what people begged Glock to do for years; a single-stack, reliable, accurate gun in reasonable defense calibers.

  13. I like Glocks. They just work. But when I take the missus to the doctor I carry a Ruger an IWB holster. I like it because it has a seven round magazine. It’s small and thin. I bought it and enough ammo to break it in and get comfortable with it for what a Glock 43 costs.The rounded edges print less that the Glock’s corners, too. I tried a Kahr but the DAO with a hammer does not feel like a striker fired gun so I traded it in.

    I wrote to Ruger and told them if they offered the LC9s in stainless I’d buy one. We’ll see.

  14. That G43 sure was tragically “late to the party” wasn’t it? Forget about each generation of new buyers, look how many experienced carriers are choosing to carry it. Just so very late that people I know that generally dislike the brand have switched from what they were carrying. Poor GLOCK. Poor party people.

    In any case it is certainly a reasonable consideration for summer carry in Austin and as always I hope your choice works well for you. I have heard a lot of misconceptions about Austin from various sources but now in the comments here I read that Austin has a dry heat?.

    I have a feeling Mr. Zimmerman is not going to agree with some peoples definition of dry heat. Nothing to cry over and far from the least comfortable place in the world but if it never got worse than 90/90 in Austin it would be a treat.

    • Err, the data doesn”t show it to be as humid as the Potomac River basin where the afternoon humidity can be 90%. It’s basically malarial swampland. But if you think carrying a 25oz pistol is too tough in the heat try caring your clubs 18 holes in the heat.

  15. What the h*ll is it with Americans and the metric system? The same argument after like two days?
    .380 *is* a nine-milimeter round. The cartridge is less powerful but the bullets are the same diameter as 9×19.

    And again, for those living in a (almost exclusively) FMJ-land, 380 offers lower risk of overpenetration.

  16. Dan, you should look into the Taran Tactical extensions they are the lowest profile ones out there. I have put several hundred rounds through the +1 and +2 and they have never failed.

  17. I like your carry lineup. I like a double stack when I can wear enough clothing to conceal it, a single stack when I have to go with a t-shirt and shorts, and a pocket .380 for business casual/BUG duty. I think that assortment is just about ideal for most ccers as long as the manual of arms is consistent.

  18. I guess I’m REAL late to this party. I wished Glock had come out with a single stack 9mm YEARS ago. They didn’t. So I settled for a Kahr CM9 and then PM9. GREAT guns. Exactly what I thought a tiny Glock should be. Then, I started carrying larger handguns. 1911’s, Glock 19, HK VP9, HK45 (yes…HK45…it’s do-able). NOW all these years later, I think I’m ready for the single stack Glock 43. Yeah, I know it came out years ago. Got it. I didn’t want it by the time it came out. Until now. The saga continues…


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