By Trampas Swanson

Earlier this year, Glock decided to get the jump on the SHOT SHOW competition by announcing two new models to their “micro-compact” pistol line up, the Glock 43X and 48. This announcement came just weeks before the world’s largest annual firearms trade show was set to start. The news ignited a firestorm of speculation and firsthand “sight unseen” table top reviews from “experts” would be only based on a handful of photos and scattered information.

Instead of being just another voice in the masses, our team of writers decided to reach out to Glock directly and request these two pistols for review. Instead of rushing to report on our thoughts during the whirl wind of theories, the Swanson Media Group team spent some quality time and lots of ammo to test and evaluate these guns. During the process, we reached out to other local shooters to collect data from a wide range of shooting experiences. If you have followed our articles lately, you will have already seen our full review of the Glock 43X. Most interestingly, we compared the 43X against the original model 43. This week, we wrap up our report with the Glock model 48. If you liked the 43X, you are going to enjoy what is to come with the Glock 48!

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First Impressions

Once our Swanson Media Group team returned from SHOT SHOW, I went by our partners at Legion Defense Industries and picked up the two Glock loan samples. Once I was back in my office, I unboxed the G48 for an initial inspection having previously spoken with Glock representative, Megan West, at SHOT Show.


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Like the G43X, the G48 is chambered in 9mm with the same 10 round magazine. Contrary to speculation, the G48 is not simply a longer grip and slide on the original G43 frame. The G43X and G48 share a unique frame size and width. Comparing both new model frames to the original G43, I noticed a wider body as well as longer grip to accommodate a slightly longer and wider magazine.

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Aside from the eye catching NPVD finish, the similarities between the two pistols ends. While the G43X was designed to offer more stability to the original G43 model, the G48 was built with the intention of giving fans of the G19 a slimmer, easier to conceal option. This practically eliminates the need for the Glock 26 for many. Basically, Glock saw a niche in the market that pistols like the Kahr Arms CM9 series is filling and decided to offer a better option to their loyal following.

Unboxing

As I took the pistol out of the Glock box, the G48 felt good in the hand. With a slight beavertail along the top of the backstrap, the pistol seated well and lined up perfectly with my forearm. The thin 1.1” profile was a stark contrast to the Gen 4 G19 in my regular concealed carry rotation. My index finger could reach well beyond the trigger in the G48. For someone with smaller hands, this is a big deal to be able to get more meat on the trigger and run the gun harder.

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During my days serving in Law Enforcement, I was issued a Glock 21 chambered in .45 ACP. For those who may not know, this was the largest Glock produced at the time. The pad of my finger could barely fit flush onto the face of the trigger until our local Glock representative made a few modifications to it. Many seasoned instructors recommend getting as much finger on the trigger as possible to use the shortest leverage spot with the strongest finger ligament possible. This usually involves the first knuckle in the trigger finger or slightly beyond it.

 

G48 Specs Compared to G43X

  • G48 G43X
  • Length: 7.28” 6.5”
  • Height: 5.04” 5.04”
  • Width: 1.1” 1.1”
  • Weight: 18.48 oz. 16.4 oz.
  • Capacity: 10 + 1 10 + 1

G48 Specs Compared to Gen 4 G19

  • G48 G19
  • Length: 7.28” 7.28”
  • Height: 5.04” 5.04”
  • Width: 1.1” 1.26”
  • Weight: 18.48 oz. 21.16 oz.
  • Capacity: 10 + 1 15 + 1

G48 Specs Compared to Gen 5 G26

  • G48 G26
  • Length: 7.28” 6.42”
  • Height: 5.04” 4.17”
  • Width: 1.1” 1.3”
  • Weight: 18.48 oz. 19.72 oz.
  • Capacity: 10 + 1 10 + 1

Range Time

The first range session for the G48 would come on at the Orange Park, FL range On Target Sports. That morning, I met with fellow Swanson Media Group writers Clint Steele and Jerry Moody.

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Indoor Range

Ammunition used for the first session included a mix of Winchester 115 grain Full Metal Jacket (FMJ), Remington 115 grain FMJ, Federal Gold Dot 124 grain Jacketed Hollow Point (JHP), Remington Gold Saber 124 grain JHP and Hornady Critical Defense 115 grain JHP. The initial goal was to document how reliable the G48 performed with each load. This would come as the first 200 rounds put through the gun since receiving it directly from Glock.

Although the model 48 has a standard 5.5 lbs. factor trigger pull, the added leverage from being able to reach the trigger better with the smaller frame made it feel like less. As each shooter took turns running full and partial loads through the gun, the accuracy and speed increased. After approximately two hours on the range, we arrived at two observations. First the accuracy of this micro-compact pistol once it is broken in is impressive. Secondly, the gun functioned perfectly aside from one failure to lock back on an open chamber. This was attributed to the shooter’s finger riding on top of the slide lock during fire and not allowing it to do its job. As Jerry would say: “It’s a software problem, not a hardware issue.”

Outdoor Range

The next week, we met at the private training grounds affectionately known as “The Swamp.” Working at common self defense distances, each shooter started at 3 yards and worked out to the 15 yard line during the course of fire. Again the G48 performed flawlessly with both the bulk Remington and Winchester 115 grain FMJ loads used.

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The only complaint voiced about the G48 during this session was regarding the plastic factory Glock sights. If you regularly follow our articles, you will notice I hate these poorly designed lumps the factory chooses to stick on their guns. If I owned a G48, the only modification I could imagine would be adding a set of Glock’s factory steel night sights. Despite the sights, the G48 continued to impress with its center mass hits in the target’s vital zones throughout the day.

During testing, I kept hearing stories about a certain pseudo-celebrity firearms instructor. In his posts, he mounts the G48 slide and barrel assembly onto the frame of the G43. From experience, I can tell you does work, but I do NOT recommend it. When asked directly, Glock representatives deny this is possible and warn against doing so as any incident or damage from this action will void all warranties. The concept of the longer barrel and shorter frame grip is the concealed carry advocate’s dream, and this is exactly what this instructor plays on to get attention. There are zero studies of long-term wear possible damage or reliability in mix-matching these two frames and slides. Until Glock or a reputable aftermarket company manufactures a model like this, I would deem it unsafe and only for YouTube know-it-alls to risk.

This said, the G48 is not only easy to conceal but also easy to draw from concealment. The muzzle flip and perceived recoil on the pistol were noticeably less than that of the G43X in direct comparison shooting. Moving back and forth between shooting both pistols, my shots felt faster and more accurate with the G48 as well. Overall, my personal favorite between the G43X and the G48 was clearly the latter. With over 500 rounds through the G48, I wanted to reach out to a few other shooters who would be willing to help and offer their opinions.

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Purple Power

The next range session would come a couple of weeks later as my wife, Candace and I taught class for our local chapter of The Well Armed Woman Shooting Chapters group. We volunteer monthly as certified NRA and USCCA instructors to give back to our community through this national not-for-profit all women’s shooting club. Since smaller guns are more often carried by the female demographic, these ladies would be the perfect demographic to help further field test the G48 against the G43X. As the ladies moved running rounds through the G43X and then to the G48, I surveyed opinions on the guns.

After each woman worked through specific drills designed around concealed carry at distances of 3, 5, and 7 yards, most enjoyed shooting the Glock 48 the most. While the consensus was the 43X would be easier to carry on body, no one felt the 48 would be any difficulty due to its slim profile. Our three top shooters noted the balance of the model 48 felt better and seemed to point on target faster. Most suggested changing the factory “U” shaped white rear and dot front sights for something easier to see such as a set of Night Fisions or Trijicons.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I really enjoyed working with the new G48. It just felt “right” in the hand and shot well for me. As I touched on in my previous G43X review, the balance of the barrel in relation to grip length seemed a bit off compared to my original G43. It wasn’t until I shot the G48 that I discovered what it was about the G43X that bugged me. With the G48, the slight extra length in barrel balanced the gun better and helped me managed the snappy recoil that is well known in small pistols.

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Ultimately, I ended up comparing the G48 and the G43X to the G19 as well. The accuracy and recoil control gave me the same feeling as my customized Glock Model 19. One of the features of my custom Gen 4 G19 is a slimmed frame to feel more like a HK VP9 than a standard Glock. Straight out of the box, the G48 gave me this same feeling without the hours of work and money spent.

The only drawback I see in the G48 over the G19 is giving up those extra five rounds, or 10 if you consider your backup magazine. In comparison to the Gen 5 G26, both have standard ten round magazine capacities and feature compact barrel lengths. The G48 has a longer barrel and outperformed the G26 on several of our range sessions. The G48 shares magazines with the G43X and is only available in 10 round capacity magazines. This noted, the G48 is a great option for those restricted on magazine capacity. I would much rather own a G48 in those circumstances than a wider, heavier G19 or G26.

For those who may love the gun and not the color, the good news is it is very cost efficient to have the slide professionally Cerakoted. If not, just be patient. I am sure an all-black version will be on the horizon shortly (G49 or G50??). Until next week, Train Hard and Continue the Fight!