Shooting Sports Retailer was at Glock for the media release of the Glock 43 in early March and had an opportunity to hammer over 150 rounds down the little 9mm. It is the single stack 9mm that we’ve all been waiting for from Glock.
Not too small, not too big, but just right.
It’s as if the G42 and the Glock 26 had a love child with a slim profile closer to the G42 but with the height and length roughly the same as the G26. From my perspective it is a fantastic compromise that delivers a great defensive shooting pistol while remaining slim.
The smaller G42, G43, and G26 pistols are only about .25 inches different in size. The new G43 is only .25 inches longer than the G42 .380. There is a .125 inch width difference between the G42 to the G43 and another .125 inch width increase from the G43 to the double stack G29. As a guy who carries the G26 a lot, I was surprised how much fatter in the waist and in the hand the G26 felt after shooting the G43.
If I were asked to describe the G43 in one quick sentence, I would say “the G43 is basically a single stack G26.” The G26 is technically about .125 inches longer, but otherwise they appear dimensionally identical when you stack them on each other.
Glock’s G42 was not the smallest .380 on the market by a long shot. Like the G42, the G43 is still not the smallest micro 9mm out there, but its a manageable size. In talking with Glock, the design focus was similar to the G42 in that they were not striving to make the smallest gun possible, but more specifically the smallest gun people could still shoot well.
Comparing the G43 to the very small and popular Kahr CM9, the CM9 is .75 inches shorter in length and .25 inches smaller in height compared to the G42. Kahr has other similarly sized pistols to the G43, but perhaps the closest comparable pistol feel on the market to the G43 is the Walther PPS. The G43 feels and shoots a lot like the PPS, but the Glock does not have the two ergonomic annoyances of the PPS.
The G43 is a near perfect head to head match against the 6.3 inch Walther PPS, but the PPS is slimmer at .9 inches versus the G43’s 1.02-inch width. Despite the wider profile, the G43 does feel less bulky and slimmer somehow. And it’s the G43’s slightly larger frame that makes it controllable, shootable and accurate even with hotter ammo while still delivering a size that you can comfortably stick in your front pocket.
The smaller Kahr CM9 and Ruger LC9 9mm pistols can be handfuls to shoot with hot 9mm rounds, so the size of the Glock G43 and Walther PPS makes more practical sense with more shootable comfort.
Most were surprised by the lack of recoil of the G42, the G43 similarly delivers significantly less recoil that you would expect from a gun that size. As many G42 owners know, the .380 Glock is a delight to shoot with tame recoil. The 9mm G43 is a bit snappier, but less than I have experienced with my super-micro Kahr CM9 and or Ruger LC9. Although I did not have the opportunity to shoot the G43 directly against competitors, my initial assumption is that the higher Glock grip is closer to the bore and delivers more control and less felt recoil.
Like every micro 9mm I have ever fired, I did find that my hand moved around from shot to shot to find a better grip. It became a “fat stumpy hand around small thing” gripping exercise, which inevitably leads to swapping between thumbs forward, Israeli tucked thumbs and support hand finger guard grip to find the best hold.
By contrast, female shooters locked in on the G43 and were hammering out rounds. The guys with bigger and fatter hands seemed to all do the unconscious grip shuffle we all do with tiny little guns.
As much as Glock has done to mitigate recoil and improve control, the G43 still is shooting a hot 9mm round out of a small pistol, so Newtonian physics still apply. After approximately 150 rounds I was done with shooting the G43. It was quite a bit of shooting for a small pistol and I felt it.
Comparing the recoil to the fatter double stack G26, the heavier G26 is more controllable and less fatiguing on the shooter. I’ve trained all day with the G26 9mm, however I don’t know that I would push past an hour shooting the G43. I did jump back on the G42 .380 ACP and could have shot that the rest of the day due to the low recoil.
Given the size, I think it just comes down to a choice of recoil control between the G43 and G42 Glocks for buyers.
Glock provided CCI Blazer brass and Winchester White Box FMJ ammo for testing. The G43 is a pretty accurate little defensive gun. My 7-yard line, briskly shot 6-round groups were in the low 3-inch range. More deliberate target shooting shrank group sizes down into the 1.5-inch range. Across the board, I noted all the writers shot the pistol very well from fast shooting to slow deliberate accuracy shots.
I even slipped the G43 into my pockets and in the waistband to do a little shooting from concealment.
Glock is going to sell millions of these. The G43 is the slim line 9mm many customers have been waiting for. Holster manufacturers will come online fast with options I am sure, however even just tucked into the waistband the G43 felt slim, with a nice radius and melted into my waistband just like the G42 does.
Yes, we can all breathe a sigh of relief that Glock does have ears and can listen to what the streets are demanding — the single stack 9mm from Glock has arrived. My initial experience with the new Glock single stack 9mm validated that it is everything we were all hoping for in a Glock produced package. Glock has noted that G43 accessories coming will include a pinky extension magazine base and an extended capacity magazine at some point.
Of course the next problem is setting customer expectations on when they might actually get the G43.
SPECS G43 G42 G26
Length 6.26″ 5.94″ 6.41″
Width 1.02″ .94″ 1.18″
Height Including Magazine 4.25″ 4.13″ 4.17″
Barrel Length 3.39″ 3.25″ 3.42″
Length of Twist 9.84″ 9.84″ 9.84″
Trigger Travel 0.49″ .49″ .49″
Line of Sight 5.20″ 4.92″ 5.39″
Pistol Weight w/o Magazine 16.19 oz 13.76 oz 21.71 oz
Barrel Profile Right Hand Twist Hexagonal