Glock isn't always at the top of the concealed carry market. As we have seen time and again, they will take their sweet time putting out a single stack 9mm while literally every other manufacturer has one out on the market. But, as the old adage goes, the best things take time. When Glock builds a new gun, it works - and works well.
When the G43 made its debut at the NRA's Annual Meeting in 2015, it was to immense critical applause. Since then, its popularity has only grown. It was Glock's first-ever 9mm subcompact single-stack pistol, so of course it was bound to garner a lot of attention. But its performance is what truly made it stand out and helped Glock sell over a million models of the G43.
The Glock 43X takes the original 43's design and builds on it - by adding .04 inches to the overall width if we are going to be more precise. As a card-carrying member of Glock's X family, the 43X is... strange. We'll need to explain the X Series in more depth for you to get what we mean.
Before you go nabbing yourself a 43 or 43X, you need to know how these two pistols stack up against each other. Yes, they are both compact 9mms meant for concealed carry. But is one a better option than the other? Time to lock and load.
The X Series
Let's get this whole X Series business out of the way first so that you can understand where the 43X comes from. The X Series dates back to the 19X, which has been dubbed Glock's first 'crossover' pistol. That pistol took the Glock 17's polymer frame and meshed it with the 19's slide. It was initially crafted for the U.S. Army's Modular Handgun System competition but was beaten out by the SIG Sauer. But you wouldn't know that from its commercial success.
Since the 43X has been such a hit - and since the 43 is a pretty popular concealed carry pistol as well - Glock created an X version of the 43. The 43 itself was an improvement over the 42, which, at least according to complaints lodged by some folks, is under-powered because it is a .380ACP round. (Testing targets might disagree with these claims though.)
The 43, some folks felt when it first came out, lacked in capacity. Its seven rounds (6 in the chamber, one in the pipe) is clearly an improvement over what law enforcement officials used thirty years ago (a five-short revolver with absolutely no extra rounds). Still, in today's world, owners want more from their concealed carry pistols.
That's where the X Series swooped in with modifications made to the 43. The 43X resulted in a 10+1 capacity. It has the same size slide and barrel as the 43, but you get a fuller length grip from the extended frame.
G43 vs 43X: Specs
With that being said, let's slide into the specs. These two Glocks share the same model number, but with that glaring 'X' difference. That 'X' means that the G43X is larger than the 43 because it has that elongated grip. While the G43 measures in at 4.25 inches in height, the G43X comes in at a taller 5.04 inches. This spells out more capacity and a longer grip. As we already mentioned, the G43 holds six plus one while the G43 holds ten plus one.
As far as weight goes, there is not that much of a difference when these guns are unloaded. The G43 is a svelte 17.99 ounces while the G43X is literally a fraction of an ounce heavier at 18.70 ounces with an empty barrel.
The difference in weight is equivalent to just 6 pencils.
Their widths are also slightly different. The G43X is .04 thicker than the 43, coming in at 1.10 inches wide overall. It is kind of a bizarre tweak, but there you have it. Both pistols have a barrel length of 3.41 inches. Their overall lengths vary ever-so-slightly: the G43 measures in at 6.26 inches while the G43X is 6.5 inches. Noticeable? Yes, but not by much.
If you are someone who struggles with carrying a larger gun, then the G43's sleek, small design should make concealed carrying a lot easier for you. But as far as easy shooting goes? The G43X is actually the easier to shoot. And we're going to get to that a minute.
The Fit and Finish
First, though, we need to go over the fit and finish of both models. The Glock 43 is your quintessential Glock, just shrunk down in size. (Think: Honey, I Shrunk the Glock!) It doesn't have the finger grooves you get on other guns, but there are some serrations on the back that give some grip. The frame is made from polymer, and the slide has a black nitride finish to give it a sporty look. And that's not to mention the durability.
Black nitriding has become controversial in the concealed carry world. Glock uses post-oxidation black oxide, which is an extra step in the nitrocarburizing process. This creates a layer of black oxide (Fe3O4), which is known for its ability to increase corrosion resistance while also leaving the surface with a nice black finish. Glock has been using this process since 1982, and it seems to do well at keeping rust at bay.
The G43X is vastly different in this regard though. Instead of the black nitride finish, Glock opted, not only for a black finish, but also for a nPVD coating on the G43X Silver Slide. This type of coating is used on the X Series, so you'll also see it on the G19X. nVPD slide coating has been shown to be just as capable at resisting corrosion, the elements, and various chemicals. Also, this silver finish option, sets it apart from your typical full-on black Glock.
Also, since we already mentioned the rear slide serrations, we should mention the front ones. You won't see any on the Glock 43, but they are indeed present on the G43X. Our verdict so far? Advantage: G43X. But wait, there's more...
Ergonomics are going to be a defining factor in which pistol you choose, and one of these two Glocks is much easier to shoot than the other because its ergonomics are superior.
With its longer grip, the G43X fills out your hand so that your pinky finger doesn't dangle off the end. The end result is a nice, solid grip on a concealed carry pistol that is easy to draw, hold, and aim.
The downside, however, is that the bigger grip is harder to hide. The smaller G43 can be more easily concealed. And, with the G43, if you get a good magazine with pinky extension on it, the gun will feel comfortable in your hand.
If you're a lefty, either Glock should suit you well since both of them have a reversible magazine. In a world built for righties by righties, lefties can feel comfortable holding and aiming a G43 or G43X.
The front serrations on the G43X do improve your grip. Also, the frame's built-in beavertail lends extra comfort. If you are a larger-handed person who is worried about slide bite, the G43X can be equipped with a beavertail extender for that little bit of extra grip you need. Plus, they add even more comfort. But even on its own, the beavertail gives you quite a bit of additional control. The G43, on the other hand (ahem, pardon the pun), will give you that slide bite.
Consider, too, that the trigger distance differs between the G43 and the G43X. The G43 has a distance of 2.56 inches, which is a lot shorter compared to the G43X's 2.64 inches of trigger distance. For someone with smaller hands, the shorter trigger distance on the G43 might make it easier to shoot. Of course, if you have bigger hands, that will be to your detriment, so the G43X will be more up your alley.
And, speaking of your hands, you're going to need to consider your hand strength when it comes to these pistols. Racking the slide is quite a bit easier on the G43X, so if your hands have reduced strength for any reason (like, say, some mild arthritis or an old wound that never healed right), the G43X will go easier on you and give you a lot more grip.
Again, we're going to call it... Advantage: Glock 43X.
How They Shoot
There's little doubt to be had here that the longer grip on the G43X means you have more control over it, which leads to less recoil, which leads to you being able to fire follow-up shots more efficiently. And, as we already mentioned above, the beavertail lends a lot more comfort and control, eliminating the slide bite you can get from the G43. Overall, this helps you keep the gun on target and fire with more accuracy.
Don't get it twisted; the G43 can be fun to shoot, especially if you are a small-handed adult who doesn't need all that extra grip. But with the shorter grip, you have less control over the gun, which makes it feel like the gun is trying to pop itself out of your grasp slowly but surely as you are rapid-firing. Regardless, the recoil is pretty minimal and - dare we say it - painless. Even with the standard plasticky sights equipped, accuracy is spot-on with both the G43 and G43X.
We do have to hand it to the G43X for its easy reload. The extra grip really goes a long way. Magazines on smaller guns can get caught on their way out, but that isn't the case for the bigger G43X due to the elongated grip.
Size is clearly a preference, but due to the handling, our vote is for the G43X.
The G43 isn't feature-rich since it was Glock's first foray into small single-stacks. Glock's Safety Action System comes with the sequential three safeties Glocks are known for: trigger safety, firing safety, and drop safety . You also get the polymer magazine on the G43. Both guns come with:
- Glock target sights
- Gen 5 smooth groove-less grip
- a low-profile design
- a reversible magazine release
Of course, some features do differ since the G43X is an X Series member. The Gen 5 marksman's barrel is there - a match-grade barrel that is known for its reliability, accuracy, and all-around awesomeness.
A few features that give the G43X an advantage here include:
- the high visibility follower
- witness holes
- the atypical-for-Glocks forward slide serrations
Take note: Aftermarket magazines for the G43 are not compatible with the G43X. This - perhaps rather obviously - is due to Glock having to widen the barrel to accommodate 10 rounds.
Ease of Concealment
This is the one category where we have to give the Glock 43 the advantage. Its subcompact design is truly easy to conceal. With the G43X, the longer grip tends to be harder to hide. While the G43 can be pocket carried, the G43X most definitely cannot. Both are slim and comfy enough for IWB carry or OWB, and they're good appendix carry guns due to their barrels being so short.
Lightweight is the name of the game, and both guns nail it on that end. Deep carry is something the G43 is better suited for, but for daily carry, either one will suffice since they won't cause any sagging. They fit well with a good stock of concealed carry holsters and are comfortable on the whole.
Here at We The People Holsters, we know how important it is to have the right to a solid self-defense weapon and fully support your Second Amendment rights.
We have a line-up of holsters that work well with either model. Regardless of whether you get the Glock 43 or 43X, you'll have something that is genuinely subcompact and easy to conceal but comfortable to hold in your hand when the time calls for it.