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Glock 43x Review: A Premier Carry Gun Contender

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Dorr shooting the Glock 43x

Many firearm owners swear by Glock pistols for their reputation of robustness, accuracy, and usability. The Glock 43 is an excellent micro-compact pistol, but the Sig P365 left it in the dust when it hit the market.

Fast forward a couple of years, and Glock launched the Glock 43x to rival the Sig P365. I’ve shot the 43x in the past, but I thought it was time to shoot it a lot more and conduct a comprehensive review.

My Glock 43x review will be from the “End Users” perspective. I focus on how the Glock 43x performed on the range and as a concealed carry pistol.

If you’ve been thinking about buying a 43x and are interested in how it performed, then look no further.

Glock 43x Features

  • Slimline series frame

  • Built-in beavertail

  • Glock Marksmanship Barrel (GMB)

  • Milled front cocking serrations

  • Short trigger pull distance

  • Reversible magazine release

Glock 43x Gen 5 Specs

  • Caliber: 9x19mm

  • Magazine Capacity: (10) standard factory, (15)(20) Shield Arms magazines

  • Barrel length: 87mm / 3.41″

  • Overall length: 165mm / 6.5″

  • Height: 128mm / 5.04″

  • Width 28mm / 1.1″

  • Weight (empty magazine): 465g/ 16.4 oz

  • Weight Loaded w/ 10 rd mag: 654g/ 23.07 oz

  • Trigger: Safe action 24 N pull weight

  • Sights: Various

  • MSRP: $500 on average

RECOMMENDED
9.5
Glock 43X Gen 5

GLOCK 43X Gen 5

$485

at Guns.com

(Price accurate at time of writing.)

A Little History

Glock 43x Review

When the Glock 42 chambered in .380 ACP was released in 2014, I knew the 9mm version was soon to follow.

.380 guns don’t sell well anymore.

Sure enough, a year later, the Glock 43 in 9x19mm ammo was released, and I bought one for a concealed carry gun.

Now, the Glock 42 and 43 are both good little guns for what they are. However, the grip space on even smaller-sized hands left much to be desired.

I found myself using grip-extending base plates on my Glock 43 to make up for this lack of surface area to get a grip on. The short grip was something I never got used to.

Enter the Glock 43x, a Glock 43 and 48 hybrid….

The 43x is Glock’s best-selling micro sub-compact since its release in early 2019.

It seems to take the best features of the Glock 43 and Glock 48 and blend them nicely.

Purpose and Role of the Glock 43x

Glock 43x close up

The Glock 43x is a sub-compact pistol designed for concealed carry while giving the user enough gun to shoot effectively if needed.

The original Glock 43 was just too small in the hand for most shooters, so this larger framed variant was born.

The Glock 43x is a perfect off-duty or warm-weather concealed carry gun for anyone who enjoys the larger Glock pistols.

That is what first brought me to the Glock 43 line. It is the same manual of arms as my other Glocks.

First Impressions

Glock 43x vs Glock 43
Glock 43x (Top) & Glock 43 (Bottom)

Having already owned a standard Glock 43, I first noticed the larger grip frame on the Glock 43x.

The improved or larger size grip fits my pinky finger without issue.

Like the original Glock 43 the 43x was designed to be a concealed carry pistol used for defensive shooting.

This Glock 43x is a Gen 5 variant, so its grip has no finger grooves paired with the Gen 5 texturing.

The 43x has the same 3.41″ short barrel as the original Glock 43 but is paired with the longer grip frame assembly of the Glock 48, effectively giving you the best of both worlds.

You get the short slide top end of the Glock 43 and the longer, easier-to-grip frame of the Glock 48.

Though smaller than most other 9mm Glocks, the trigger guard has the same design, so ‘Glock Knuckle” can still be a thing for some people.

Glock 43x Features

Glock Marksman Barrel

Glock 43x Glock Marksman Barrel

Glock generation 1 to 4 factory barrels have been made exclusively with polygonal riflings.

Polygonal riflings provide a tighter seal around the bullet, resulting in higher muzzle velocities.

This type of rifling gives the barrel a longer service life and is easier to clean.

Yet, this design has some drawbacks compared to the traditional grooved rifling-type barrels. For example, these drawbacks include a higher production cost per unit.

Though, to be fair, polygonal rifling is considered superior to traditional grooved rifling when produced correctly.

With the Gen 5 43X, Glock created a hybrid-type barrel: the Glock Marksman Barrel. It is a traditional groove-type rifled barrel that uses polygonal rifling.

Now, I can’t tell the difference between the two.

However, multiple independent tests have confirmed that the new aggressive rifling in the Glock Marksman Barrel is slightly more accurate than previous generation barrels, though the muzzle velocity is slightly diminished.

The new Glock Marksman Barrel also shares the same nDLC finish of the slide.

Slimline Trigger

Glocks are known for their reliability, but for those of us who shoot them, they are also known for their “mushy” trigger pull.

By “mushy,” I’m referring to the slack that needs to be pressed through before you find the wall to break a shot. To me, the trigger has an inconsistent feel when squeezed.

The Glock 43x is a slimline model pistol, so it has a shorter pull than a standard-size Glock trigger. This, in my opinion, makes it a little more crisp and user-friendly.

The Glock 43x trigger has the proven Safe Action System, providing three safeties that disengage sequentially as the trigger is pulled and automatically reengage when released.

Though the gun is smaller than, let’s say, the Glock 19 or Glock 17, I had no trouble placing my trigger finger in and out of the trigger guard.

Slimline Beaver Tail

Glock 43x beavertail and back strap

There are no removable back straps on the 43x; however, there is a noticeable amount of material at the top of the tang or back strap to protect against slide bite for most hand sizes.

Some would call this a Beaver tail, and some would not. Thought, it does protect my hand from slide bite.

Slide Stop

Glock 43x slide stop and trigger

There is only one slide stop on the Glock 43x. It is located on the left side for use during right-handed shooting.

The standard Glock slide stop is positioned for the right thumb to easily access it during use.

Slide Options

The Glock 43x uses the same slide as the original Glock 43 though the 43x has forward cocking serrations. The original rear serrations are still present as well.

The standard slide comes in black with the nDLC coating. There is a stainless steel slide version also available. However, it is referred to as the silver slide.

Modular Optic System (MOS) Ready

Glock 43x Left View

The Glock 43x also has a Modular Optic System (MOS) ready configuration. Though they are factory-cut for a specific product called a Shield RMSC.

There are 3rd party companies that will cut the slide for additional make and model red dots, but they are quite expensive.

Iron Sights

There are various iron sight options to choose from. To start, the stock plastic sights are meant to be replaced. Glock also has their factory night sights as an upgraded option.

There are plenty of after-market sights to choose from. When carrying a smaller gun for concealed carry, I tend to go with a combat U-notch rear sight paired with a large bright front sight.

I find these types of sights are easier to get on target with a lightweight, small pistol during CCW defensive scenarios.

Magazine Release

The mag release on the Glock 43x is pretty straightforward. It comes with a plastic mag release button that works well, just like on other Glock models.

These mag releases are reversible to the other side of the grip to accommodate both left and right-handed operation.

(If you are going to use Shield Arms mags, you should change the plastic mag release out for a metal one to avoid the release wearing out on the Shield Arm mags all metal construction.)

Aftermarket Parts and Upgrades

The Glock g43x is a Glock and a best seller at that, so the aftermarket parts and upgrades are plentiful and easy to find online from all the top companies in the industry.

Aftermarket Magazines (Enter Shield Arms)

Glock 19 vs Glock 43x magazine
Glock 19 Magazine (Left) & Glock 43x Magazine (Right)

Aftermarket mags for Glocks are nothing new. You can easily find 50-round drums and 30-round sticks for the larger models online.

Factory mags for the Glock 43x only come in Blue State-approved lower capacity 10-rounders.

Luckily, for the Glock 43x and 48, there is a standard capacity 15-round metal magazine made by a company called Shield Arms.

RECOMMENDED
Shield Arms S15 GLOCK 43x Magazines
5.0

the perfect way to boost the performance of your Glock 43X by increasing your capacity from the factory 10 rounds up to 15.

Check Brownells Check Primary Arms

This company has single-handedly made the Glock 43x competitive with the new era of high-capacity wonder micro 9mm pistols that are dominating the concealed carry market.

I’m, of course, referring to the Sig Sauer P365 family of guns. As well as the Springfield Armory Hellcat and the Smith and Wesson Shield line.

Shield Arms also has a 20-round version for even more capacity.

Shield Arms mags are very popular and available online. However, as previously stated, if you run all-metal shield Arms mags, you need to switch to an all-metal magazine release button on the grip frame.

Glock 43x Holster Options

Seeing as the Glock 43x is one of the best-selling guns on the market, the holster options are vast to say the least. Pretty much all major brands make holsters for these guns.

During hot days, I ran my Glock 43 with a clip draw and a sturdy leather belt. This allowed me to easily conceal the thin profile of the slimline Glock very well.

On other days, I used the Tenicor VELO4 holster, which worked great with the 43x. It was very comfortable and made the gun disappear.

EDITOR'S CHOICE
Tenicor CERTUM3 Holster for GLOCK 43x
5.0

A top-of-the-line inside-the-waistband holster. The streamlined profile and precision molding create a sleek, intelligently designed holster. Excess is eliminated, and the result is a comfortable, and reliable holster for the Glock 43x.


Check Tenicor

Shooting the 43x

Dorr Shooting the Glock 43x

The Glock 43x review range trips were a real treat. I shot about 1800 rounds of 124 gr 9mm ammo through this little pistol, and it was a joy to do so throughout the summer.

Spending time shooting the pistol and putting it through different conceal carry drills from both the appendix carry position, and my go-to 4’o clock was easy.

My go-to drill for any new pistol is two shots from the holster at a 5″ or so dot at about 7 yards, quickly followed by a fresh magazine reload and then two follow-up shots at the same target.

Overall, I enjoyed shooting the pistol. Muzzle rise was minimal relative to its size, its recoil impulse felt good, and it shot accurately.

I had no ammo or feeding issues to speak of during testing. Rounds fed, fired, extracted, and ejected with ease.

The added grip space on the frame did make a noticeable difference while shooting compared to the standard Glock 43.

Concealed Carry Performance

The Glock 43x was designed for concealed carriers first and foremost.

I have been carrying concealed for about twenty years now. During that time Glock has been a personal and professional mainstay for me.

The Glock 43x isn’t the easiest pistol to conceal, though it is very concealable. The added size of the larger grip frame makes the gun far easier to draw from concealment and gives you the added space for higher mag capacities. So, a little extra printing is to be expected.

However, despite the bigger grip size, I could easily conceal the Glock 43x with the right holster and looser shirts.

The gun performs well at your average defensive distances, i.e. within 7-yards. Capabable shooters can easily shoot the gun well beyond 7-yards, but the 43x is not meant to engage targets and long distances.

Overall Performance

Glock 43x Right Angle on dirt

Overall, I would say the Glock 43x performed as well as expected, which is quite good in regards to the reliability and function of its operation. The gun is a Glock, after all.

If you like Glocks and how they perform, this gun won’t disappoint you. It performs as well as its bigger ‘brothers’ but in a much more compact profile.

It was an easy gun to carry and operate during my daily routine and on the range.

The added grip space that the Glock g43x provides wasn’t much harder to conceal and did make it easier to draw and shoot comfortably.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Glock 43x

Is the Glock 43x good for beginners?

The Glock 43x is a slimline subcompact gun designed for concealed carrying. I would not recommend learning how to shoot with such a small gun.

If you are new to shooting, I recommend starting with a mid or full-size gun, possibly some other Glock model like a 17 or 19.

How accurate is the Glock 43x?

The Glock 43x is plenty accurate for what it is. Being a smaller gun designed for concealed carry, the barrel and sight radius will be pretty short, under 4 inches.

The Glock 43x, like other purpose-built sub-compact concealed carry guns, is designed for up-close defensive shooting.

In the right hands, the Glock 43x can hold groups as accurately as any concealed carry gun roughly the same size.

Why is the Glock 43x Popular?

The Glock 43x is so popular because it is a Glock plain and simple. This brand is built on reliability and simplicity.

The Glock g43x is Glock’s answer to the best size for a gun that is comfortable for concealment and user-friendly while shooting.

What’s the difference between a Glock 43 and a Glock 43x?

The main differences revolve around size, concealability, and magazine capacity.

The Glock 43 is smaller, which makes it more concealable.

But the 43x has a slightly larger grip, allowing for a higher mag capacity and a more comfortable grip for your average-sized hand.

Despite the 43x being a bit bigger, it still conceals nicely.

What gun is comparable to the 43x?

Within the Glock family, it is the Glock 43.

In addition, the Sig P365, Springfield Hellcat, and S&W Shield line are micro-compact pistols that perform well.

If you like Glock’s design and performance, the 43x is the right choice for such a small, capable, concealed-carry gun.

Watch Our Video Review

Summary of Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Glock reliability and performance
  • Easy to conceal
  • Higher magazine capacity
  • Easy to modify and customize
Cons
  • Must replace stock iron sights
  • Not compatible with double-stack Glock mags
  • No rail on slide
  • Lower magazine capacity relative to competitors

Final Thoughts

As far as small guns carried for self-protection go, I am more than happy and confident with how the Glock 43x review went. I put 1800 rounds of ammo through the gun with no issues.

If you want a new gun for carry or another gun to try out and add to your collection, the Glock 43x is a safe bet.

RECOMMENDED
9.5
Glock 43X Gen 5

GLOCK 43X Gen 5

$485

at Guns.com

(Price accurate at time of writing.)

I would recommend picking up some Shield Arms magazines for more capacity and trying out your preferred type of defensive ammo before hitting the street, but thats just me.

I hope you enjoyed my Glock g43x review. It was a fun gun to get to know, and I recommend it as an excellent gun for carry and casual shooting.

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About the author

Dorr Overby

Dorr is a retired Navy SEAL with 20 years with Naval Special Warfare experience ranging from Special Warfare Operator, Lead Sniper, Lead Breacher, Communicator, Range Officer in Charge (OIC), and close quarters battle (CQB) and Weapons Instructor.

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