By Trampas Swanson

For those of you who follow the firearms industry, you will know the latest “buzz” has been over the new Generation 5 series of pistols released by Glock. Recently, we have reviewed several of them here at 1800GunsAndAmmo.com and enjoyed almost everything we have seen thus far. I mention this because the question is: “What are most of them actually carrying as a legal concealed carry weapon (CCW) every day?” I’ll give you a hint, it’s not one we have covered previously. With my other professional endeavors outside of working with this great staff of folks to present top quality reviews, I also work with some of the most skilled professionals on the planet such as private military contractors, Navy SEALS, and federal law enforcement trainers from other countries. When these folks regularly choose the small sized Glock Model 43 Pistol for everyday CCW, I take notice and want to know why!

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In 2014, Glock announced the release of a small frame single stack .380 billed as the model 42. This was Glock’s first attempt at a pocket-sized pistol to compete with the vastly popular S&W Body Guard and Shield. The Glock 42 was met with mixed results to say the least. While it sold very well with many positive reviews, it was still not a 9mm such as the S&W Shield. It seemed the model 42 only fueled the flames for the demand of a Glock single stack 9mm. After personally testing the model 42, I decided to trade in my Ruger LCP in favor of one of this wonderful little .380 pistols that seemed to easily disappear into my front pocket. After roughly a year on the market, Glock announced they would give customers what they truly wanted, a single stack 9mm which would be the model 43. As soon as this new model was available, I made sure to get a hold of a test sample for review.

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First Impressions

While slightly larger in size than its .380 predecessor, the G42, it was still smaller than the Glock 26 9mm and by being a single stack, would be thinner than the G26 as well. When the test sample arrived, it was among several other firearms needing to be reviewed in a very short amount of time. Rather than rush through a trial period and give less than 100% of my full attention, I decided to wait for another time to review it by itself.

 

My wife, Candace Swanson is a NRA Firearms Instructor and an accomplished shooter in her own right. Currently, Candace volunteers as the state leader of Florida for the national not-for-profit organization called The Well Armed Woman Shooting Chapters. Five years ago, Candace established the first Florida based chapter during the early days of the national organization, now twenty-four chapters and almost 800 members later, these purple clad ladies regularly shoot every month and inspire others to do the same safely and responsibly. As a perk of being a state leader, Candace is privy to several unique opportunities in the firearms industry.

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Recently, Glock reached out with an opportunity to have the state leaders of The Well Armed Woman (TWAW) test and evaluate a special edition of the model 43 equipped with a Crimson Trace laser straight from the factory. This seemed like a clear sign to me for a second chance for quality time with the pistol. Candace and I teamed up to put the G43 through its paces along with reaching out to fellow Swanson Media Group writer, Clint Steele. An advantage Clint had to start with in giving his input on the G43 was that he actually carried one every day as his concealed carry weapon (CCW).

My initial concerns about the small, single stack G43 was the recoil may be a bit “snappy” compared to the slightly smaller G42 in .380 or the slightly larger G26. The grip felt good in my hand and indexed well. I was NOT a fan of the basic “U” shaped sights being on the gun. These are usually something I change as soon as I purchase a Glock. This being a factory loaner, I would have to adapt and overcome. Needless to say, it was past time to get back on the range with this pistol and really give it the attention it was long overdue.

Glock 43 Specs

  • Length: 6.26”
  • Height: 4.25”
  • Capacity‎: ‎6+1
  • Trigger pull‎: ‎5.5 lbs.
  • Barrel Length‎: ‎ 3.39”
  • Weight‎: ‎ 17.95 oz.
  • MSRP: $529 without laser / $580 with Crimson Trace laser

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Range Time

Over a period of several range trips, I was able to get some valuable trigger time with the Glock 43 with the help of Candace and Clint. Along with the G43, I also brought a G42 and Generation 5 G26 for comparison. I must admit, I was a bit surprised at what I discovered after just the first trip.

My Perspective

The grip of the G43 was thinner than that of the G26 double stacked 9mm but slightly thicker than the single stack .380 G42. The despite the smaller size of the pistol, it fit my hand well and gave me a feeling of complete control over the gun when shooting. Even when sighting onto target using only the laser, the gun was dead on target. Its performance was a bit surprising during slow and even rapid fire. The pistol was very quick to get back onto target along with the crisp trigger break and reset in which Glock is well known for. Given the size and caliber of the G43, it made me seriously take notice of what this package offered.

Due to the extreme warm weather of living in Florida, there are often times I cannot carry a full-sized pistol as my concealed carry weapon (CCW). For those times that a pair of shorts and a t-shirt are the dress code for the day, I often carry the G42 loaded with Hornady Critical Defense rounds. I choose this pistol because it is thinner than the G26 in 9mm and conceals with far less print. The two down sides to carrying the G42 are limited capacity and less powerful chambering.

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Candace’s Perspective

For Candace, she was surprised the gun wasn’t as “snappy” or sharp in recoil as she expected. The grip felt natural but perhaps too thin for her. It should be noted at this point, Candace carries a Gen 3 Glock 26 as her daily CCW. She is used to a much thicker grip than the G43 offers. The total capacity of the G43 being 6 + 1 versus her G26 with 10 + 1 was a huge draw back for her. Overall, Candace shot well but is not in danger of replacing her G26 at this point.

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Clint’s Perspective

Clint comes at the model 43 at a different perspective. With larger hands than Candace and me, the pistol appears to sink into them and not move an inch other than the slide during recoil. This allows for fast, accurate rates of fire from a pistol hardly seen during shooting. Below is Clint’s take straight from the man himself about both the test sample Glock and his personal G43 in comparison.

I love the little Glock 43, since picking one up it has become my “go-to” CCW piece. While the gun is really small, it fits just right in my hands. Immediately after purchasing my Glock 43, I replaced those silly plastic sights with a set of Ameriglo GL-705 Protector Sights. That’s the best thing I could have done for that little blaster. Now, I’m not a huge fan of lasers on pistols. But, I think that in a small package like the Glock 43 they can be very helpful. Whether drawn from your pocket or skinned from a holster, the Glock 43 is intended to be quick to action. I’m a big fan of the Crimson Trace version. My personal G43 wears a TLR-6 light/laser combo.”

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My current daily carry rig has the Glock 43/TLR-6 riding in an Alpha Concealment holster that I have mounted to the awesome PHLster Flex platform. To which, I have also added a Blue Force Gear single pistol magazine pouch. This setup rides behind my belt buckle in the Appendix Inside the Waist Band carry method, with the pistol sitting at the 11 o’clock position (yeah, I’m wrong handed.) Now, I will admit to adding some aftermarket kit to my Glock 43. Both the barrel and trigger I’ve added come from Suarez International. The trigger is Suarez’s “Face Shooter” model and the barrel is the excellent Suarez Match Grade G-43 barrel. To round out the aftermarket accessories I use with my Glock 43 are the Suarez branded Plus-Two magazine extensions. Those magazines are filled with Remington’s Golden Saber 124 grain BJHP.” – Clint Steele

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Final Thoughts

Despite admittedly being a “Glock guy,” prior to getting some quality time with the Glock 43, I had always considered the S&W Shield 9mm to have the edge on other manufacturers when it came to the pocket sized 9mm. If it wasn’t for the fact I have never liked the Shield’s trigger, it does offer a compact package with reasonable power for a CCW. I learned a lot from getting time on the G43 a second time. The thin profile, 6 + 1 capacity combined with a very well-built DeSantis pocket holster made for an absolute pleasure to carry and shoot. When it comes to pocket pistol reviews, its rare to find a small framed firearm in a defensive carry caliber that is small enough to conceal easily, carry comfortably and feel good to shoot. Usually pocket-sized pistols come with trade offs and are meant to be carried often and shot rarely.

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The addition of the Crimson Trace laser is a nice addition to a great CCW package. I personally prefer a way to dictate when the laser in on and when it is off instead of activating once a master grip is established. I admit I have never really been a fan of lasers on pistols, but I do see a possible advantage in certain situations with them. The downside to most lasers is the dependency some shooters develop for focusing on it rather than the fundamentals of sight alignment and sight picture. Batteries often die and so do shooters without solid core fundamentals in crisis situations. Secondly, shooters using lasers need to remember that on a two-way range, their lasers also work two ways. They may identify where the barrel lines up on target, but also lines them up in the sights of their pending treat to hone in on as well.

Retailing at $529 for the standard model and $580 for the Crimson Trace equipped laser, this is a small gun for the price, but it’s a rock solid reliable firearm from a proven company in the personal defense industry. Other than its size and “shootability,” the G43 has the advantage of having basically the same manual of arms, disassembly and trigger pull as most other pistols from this company. This means a shooter new to the G43 platform but familiar with any other Glock will have a very small learning curve to become proficient with this pistol.

As with any firearm designed for daily carry, there will always been tradeoffs in size, reliability, accuracy, felt recoil and magazine capacity. The perfect handgun is the one that balances these tradeoffs the best for your specific application. Overall, if you are looking for a great carry pistol with a very small footprint when concealed, the G43 comes highly recommended. Until next week, remember, for all the info on a new product, look for it to be Swamp Tested, Swamp Reviewed!