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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.]

I went to college at Penn State, which was, at the time, ranked the #1 party school in America. I didn’t see much of that unless you count LAN parties. For most people on campus their 21st birthday was marked with a pub crawl, vomiting in public, passing out, and cursing the hangover the next day. For me, I spent my 21st mailing off an application for a C&R license and vising the local police station to get a concealed handgun permit. In the years since, I’ve carried a number of firearms, but I can honestly say that I’ve found my perfect carry gun in the GLOCK 43 . . .


This is the first handgun I ever bought (and the first gun I ever carried) — a SIG SAUER P226. I still hadn’t quite figured out that whole photography thing, but you get the picture. I carried this gun in a thumb break leather retention holster and while it was ideal in terms of gunfighting potential, it wasn’t so ideal when it came to everyday use. I loved having a ton of 9mm rounds at the ready, but I wasn’t willing to pay the price in terms of the size of the gun. It was a boat anchor and needed to be replaced.

Shortly after graduation I moved down to Fairfax, Virginia and started working as a government contractor. My job kept me in a SCIF all day long so carrying a gun was right out, and for a while I just didn’t have a go-to carry gun. I started writing for TTAG shortly thereafter and Robert surprised me with a small gift: a Wilson Combat Bill Wilson Carry 1911.

Wilson Combat Bill Wilson Carry - chain chain chain (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

The smaller size of the Bill Wilson Carry was definitely appreciated, as was the better overall quality. Everything about this gun felt right from the trigger to the takedown pin. What was even better was the fact that I could put a one-hole group into a piece of paper no matter what — something that might come in handy if I ever needed to use it to defend my life.

I thought I had found the perfect carry gun, but the more I toted it the more the shine came off the apple. It’s a fantastic piece of art and works amazingly well, but for everyday carry the 1911 can be a bit of a pain in the back.

Even with its form factor the gun is still pretty big and it tends to print in the heat and light attire of the Texas summer. There’s also the fact that, should I ever need to use this gun in an actual self defense scenario, I’ll probably never see it again. I wanted something lighter, cheaper, and more discrete. That’s where the GLOCK 43 comes in.


The baseline requirement was that the firearm that replaces my Wilson Combat needed to be at least as accurate as the gun it’s replacing, and the G43 comes close enough for government work. Having jumped that hurdle the rest was pretty easy.

With the form factor of the GLOCK comes a few more options that weren’t on the table before. The Wilson Combat was a holster-only affair, but the G43 can be carried just as easily and securely in an inside-the-waistband holster as it can in a pocket holster. That’s incredibly important for those hot summer days here in The Lone Star State where a holstered handgun would print as much as the New York Times. That’s also a benefit for those times when I need to quickly un-strap and re-strap going into and out of my “gun-free zone” workplace. Shoving something in my pocket is much easier than strapping on a holster.

I had considered the G42 as an option, but I wanted the 9mm as my caliber of choice. That’s where I started this concealed caliber journey and that’s where I prefer to stay. There are some things about the G43 that I don’t like (such as the trigger) but in general the gun meets my every need and does so perfectly. Something that’s just as easy to carry in my hip as in a pocket holster, with seven rounds of 9mm ammunition on tap and no external safety to get in the way when you really need it. I still carry my Wilson Combat from time to time, but for everyday carry the G43 is just about ideal.

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  1. I have three holsters for my G43. This is my pocket holster: , I am very happy with this holster.

    I use an Alien Gear 3.0 for my IWB (granted that might be overkill for the size of the G43, but it’s might comfortable).

    I use one of these for running: which I like a lot except for the clasp, way too slow of a draw, if I replace it with a break snap it might be perfect though.

    I’m currently trying to decide on a OWB hosted for when open carry rolls around. Any thoughts?

    • I use a superfly for both my P238 and Shield. Works great and easy to draw from with the sticky holding the holster in the pocket. Been using the SF for a few years now and no complaints at all. Yes, it does ‘print’, but looks like you’re carrying your wallet in your front pocket.

    • Opinions vary on the subject, but I’m in the camp that suggests against modifying trigger-related or safety-related aspects of a gun that may be used in self defense. Replacing trigger components, disabling or modifying safeties (to include mag disconnect safeties, trigger blade safeties, firing pin safeties, or anything else branded as a “safety” system in the manufacturer stats/marketing), etc. Just for liability purposes and what may be a myth of the prosecution using it against you to prove you’re some sort of vigilante or you’re reckless, etc etc, I err on the side of caution here. I’m comfortable with changing out sights and improving grips, but I ain’t modifying triggers or safety mechanisms on my carry guns…

      • That’s an interesting piece of speculative fear. Take that line of thought to its logical conclusion, and you’re less likely to be prosecuted if you don’t carry a gun at all. I would prefer to survive a DGU by using the best tools available.

        Some of the Ghost connectors and spring combinations reduce the pull weight, some don’t. Their better connectors simply reduce the overtravel and thus reduce the reset travel. You can hardly see the end of the connector on a Glock without completely stripping the frame. Do you expect the lackies at the PD to detail strip it, looking for evidence that you’re a blood-thirsty vigilante?

        You either pulled the trigger or you didn’t. That trigger pull was either justified or it wasn’t. After you answer those two questions, the rest won’t matter much.

        • “You can hardly see the end of the connector on a Glock without completely stripping the frame. Do you expect the lackies at the PD to detail strip it, looking for evidence that you’re a blood-thirsty vigilante?”

          I was on a jury for a murder trial a few years back. You would be surprised at the vigor of a full-on investigation. The attention to detail in all areas of forensics was extremely impressive. In this particular case the gun wasn’t recovered, but everything present at the crime scene was dissected in fine detail, including the .22 they pulled out of the victim and the car seat they completely dismantled to ascertain the trajectory of the shot and the burn pattern to determine the distance from the shooter to the victim. I absolutely believe that if a firearm had been present it would have been analyzed thoroughly.

          “You either pulled the trigger or you didn’t. That trigger pull was either justified or it wasn’t. After you answer those two questions, the rest won’t matter much.”

          Here is a pretty decent article from a J.D. on the topic. I am not an attorney. This is not legal advice.

        • Well, except that unfortunately it’s often not so cut and dried in the minds of prosecutors, especially those with agendas. What to you and me is simply improving the function of a gun, and not particularly relevant to whether it’s justified self-defense or not is to others evidence of eagerness to kill, so much so that the owner went out of his way to make the gun even more deadly.

        • Do you expect the lackies at the PD to detail strip it, looking for evidence that you’re a blood-thirsty vigilante?

          If you are facing an “only the police should have guns” prosecutor, yes- absolutely they’ll try to paint you as exactly that. They’ll pick a jury that knows nothing at all about firearms, then “educate” them…

          “Curtis wasn’t satisfied with the factory trigger, the one used by thousands of other purchasers. The one used by Law Enforcement. The one used by the Military. The one Deputy Jones over there in the corner uses while on duty.
          Nosiree, Curtis modified his trigger for one reason: to make it easier to kill people….then went looking for a victim to test his handiwork”.

          Why open that door?

    • This is an interesting subject. When I received my glock 43, I could not believe how different the trigger pull is from the glock 19. I called glock and mentioned that their website listed the trigger pull at 5.5 pounds, but it tests at very close to 8 pounds. Glock rep stated that the pull will be between 7.5 to 8 lbs. The website needs to be corrected.

      The reason for the additional pull weight is that the gun is considered a pocket gun and Glock doesn’t want other objects that might be present in the pocket from firing the gun (really????). He did mention that he heard a rumor that glock is responding to the horrible feedback of the trigger and might be coming up with some replacement components and since it would be a manufacturer replacement, that might not cause issues as you might get from using 3rd party parts.

      As for me, I have struggled with the glock 43 stock trigger. As a left hander, I shoot low and to the right. I dropped in a ghost trigger which lightened things by 2.5 pounds and I was way more accurate. You would think that from a legal perspective that you would want CCW carriers to carry a weapon that the carrier is most competent with. Where I live, and it sounds like many places – that is not necessarily the case. This past weekend I had a face to face with one of the gunsmiths my county uses to evaluate guns that are involved in CCW shootings and police shootings as well. He told me that prosecutors really don’t care about grips and sights – the thing they are looking for is: has the trigger been messed with in any way? Polishing, replacing with 3rd party components, anything. It makes a case for the prosecutor to go after you (somehow) and it just makes more trouble for you. In a prosecutors mind, it can take things from a good shoot to something much worse. It sounds like garbage to me, but it is a reality. I’m putting the stock trigger connector back in for now until Glock comes up with a replacement part. It makes little sense to me – especially if the weapon is holstered.

  2. If I ever buy a Glock 43, I think I would put the Taran Tactical +2 extension on at least one of the magazines. I would feel better with two more rounds and a more substantial grip. If that’s too much for pocket carry, I could always leave one magazine alone for that purpose.

  3. The G43 would be an ideal CC gun in MA, where magazines are limited to 10 rounds maximum. Carrying a full-size gun with a mag capacity of 15-19 rounds just doesn’t make sense when they are capacity-limited.

    I wrote “would be ideal” since, unfortunately, most Glocks in general cannot be sold here by an FFL. Post-1998 Glocks don’t meet the AG’s bogus “safety” regulations, due to some argument about Glocks’ loaded chamber witness hole. New models like the G43 in particular are not on the Approved Firearms Roster.

  4. Sounds like a good choice to me. Do you mind sharing what round you carry? My 9’s are all loaded with Federal HST 124 grain +P.

  5. My usual choices vary between a Glock 19 G4 with 127gr Winchester Ranger +P+, or a Walther PPS with 124gr Fiocchi/Hornady XTP JHP, a round I’ll have to replace soon as it is now difficult for me to find.
    Both sidearms eat everything I feed them. The manual of arms for each seems easy enough to keep straight between them, with the notable exception being the magazine release on the PPS.

  6. Enter the Glock fanboys. Seriously though, why the G43? Although not entirely their falt due to draconian import laws, you have to admit that Glock has seriously lagged behind in the micro 9 market. Meanwhile you could have and should have been looking into models such as the S&W shield. Better trigger, better ergos, same reliability and more importantly, cheaper price. I love Glocks for what they are but they are not “one gun to rule them all.” The 43 is too little too late.

    • If you are choosing a carry gun today, why would you care which one has been around the longest?

      Yes, there are other nice small pistols out there. The Ruger LC9s is also new. Choice. It’s a beautiful thing.

      • Yeah, or you get overwhelmed by all the choices, and just say to hell with it, I’m going to buy the .22 I’ve been eyeing instead.

  7. That first pistol was a beauty. but your are correct, used in self defense situation, you would never see it again. LEOs also like a handsome gun, would get “lost” in evidence room.

    • By rights your carry gun should be the one you shoot the best with. Your life is worth more than a $3K Wilson Combat so if that is the gun you are most profit with it should be the one you carry.

  8. My Ruger LC9s Pro seems to be superior in every way to the Glock 43. It can carry an extra round (7 instead of 6 for the Glock 43), and in every other category it is lighter, thinner, and shorter (including barrel length), except for height (4.5″ Ruger vs 4.25 Glock 43).

    I haven’t shot the Glock 43, so I don’t have a basis for comparison with the LC9s Pro. However, the LC9s Pro has a fantastic trigger right out of the box, and it eats up everything I’ve fed through it. I’ve been very, very impressed with this little pistol and highly recommend it.

    Just another alternative to think about.

    • While I remain enamored of my 2nd gen. LCP for it’s virtual invisibility while being carried, the LC9s is every bit as brilliant a design. Great trigger, good accuracy, 9mm, in a package that’s still small and easily concealable, an LC9s Pro is destined to be my next purchase.

      • My final 3 were the LCP9s Pro, the SW Shield, and the G43. I liked all three but for some reason I shot tighter groups with the Glock. That and the Ruger felt just a little small in my hand and the Shield was just a smidgen bigger in the pocket. But yes, it was a hard choice between the three.

    • One item in the Glock’s favor, and I think why Nick chose it: it is a heck of a lot easier to pocket than an LC9S Pro. I prefer a Shield myself, but the G43 is a better option for the pocket than either of those alternatives.

  9. I carry a 43 with vickers/Wilson tactical sights, ghost edge connector, and a the Suarez international flat trigger. Flawless! Perfect trigger now, too. Completely ended my seemingly endless search for the perfect carry gun.

  10. Give a Ruger LC9Spro a try, and you’ll trade in that Glock to get one (like I did my KelTec). A dream trigger on a pocket 9, IMHO.

  11. Another PA native who sees the simple beauty of Glock. I have owned Colt, Sig, H&K, Taurus, etc, etc. About 10 years ago, I realized all I was carrying and taking to the range were my Glocks sooo as of two weeks ago when I picked up my model 40 10mm, I now proudly posess all of the Glock family that I legally can. No 25, 28, or 18 though which really upsets me.

  12. Does anyone have any hard data on what percentage of DGU firearms are returned to the user by law enforcement?

  13. I’ve got a question: how do you concealed carry while driving?

    Because a full-size gun feels like a brick in my kidneys and I’d never be able to draw it. Heck, even a micro in my front pocket would be too slow to draw.

    • After being in a head-on at highway speed, I don’t want to know where that chunk of steel would have ended up had it been somewhere between me and the airbag and/or seatbelt.
      I remove the holster and put the holstered gun into the door pocket. My left hand can reach it there probably faster than IWB if need be.

    • I use a DeSantis fanny pack for my G19, Adub. For 25 years and through 5 packs. I wear it in the 10-11 o’clock position. The seatbelt goes under it. You won’t know it’s there even after an 11-12 hour drive. Yet it will stay put in the most violent accident. Yeah, I look like a geek, but my G19 and a spare mag are always with me and totally secure.

  14. The G43 rounds out my gaggle of Glocks. I train with them, compete with them, stash them around the house in gun vaults, and carry them. Well, sort of on the carry thing. Kahr has been my go-to for a carry tiny niney. But I’m a big believer in standardization, especially for triggers, so along comes the G43 (finally!) and into my OWB it will go when I need something thinner than the G26. Downside is capacity, so two backup mags instead of one.

    I agree with leaving the trigger stock. Most of my Glocks smooth out and lighten up noticeably after about 1,000 rounds, or the 25 cent trigger job does much the same thing right away with no discernible mods should it fall into the hands of a crusading prosecutor, God forbid. Now I can ride the same reset on all my defense pistols.

  15. First rule! have a weapon, 2nd rule: know how too use it, having and using something that fits is a plus, if a person can afford more than one try to have a couple which can be used for different occasions, House Gun, Car gun, carry gun, Church guns too me are the hardest in concealing. Glocks in General are a little on the Bulky side for me!

  16. “I had considered the G42 as an option, but I wanted the 9mm as my caliber of choice. ”

    Ummm, Nick, you do realize that the G42 is a 9mm gun, don’t you? Okay, it is not a 9×19 one, but .380 ACP *has* nine milimeter bullets. And as someone living in a country where JHP is not civilian-legal handgun ammo I actually do like the fact that 9mm Browning has lower penetration than 9×19.

  17. For the life of me I cannot figure out why so many writers for a firearms website refuse to carry a true duty gun.

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