Glock 43X Pistol, by Pat Cascio

To start out this review of the Glock 43X, let me first mention another Glock pistol: I love my Glock 26, and it is my usual everyday carry piece, with a spare magazine on the opposite hip. About the only time I’m not carrying my Glock 26, is when I’m testing other handguns for articles. However, I always switch back to my 26, at the end of my testing period – it just seems to fit me perfectly. The 26 came with several 10-round magazines, and they have a flat base on them. I don’t care for that, because it allows my pinky finger to dangle under the grip of the gun. For years, most folks added a Pearce Grip “pinky catcher” to the mags – just remove the factory mag bottom and replace it with the Pearce. It made a world of difference in the way the gun felt and shot. Now, you can get extended Pearce mag bottoms, that hold one, two or even three more 9mm rounds in the factory standard 10-round magazines – outstanding.

On my Glock 26, I only have a Plus One Pearce mag bottom on it – it helps with concealment a little better, than the two or three round bases do. So, my 26 has 11-rounds in the magazine, and one in the chamber – that gives me 12-rounds on-tap. On my off-side, I have a MagPul-made Glock 12-round mag for a speedy reload. I like the MagPul mags a lot. However, for the mag in my gun, I prefer the Glock factory mag for some reason. Still, I’ve never had any problems at all with the MagPul 12-round Glock 26 mags. Take it for what its worth.

When the Glock 26 first came out, around 1992, I worked for the late Colonel Rex Applegate, and we were doing the very first video for Paladin Press and we had the one and only prototype Glock 26 on-hand for use in the video. Shortly after that, Glock released the Glock 26, and many gun writers were calling int the “pocket rocket” for some reason. To my way of thinking, it was too big to carry in my pants pocket – still think its too big. However, it took off – maybe like a “rocket” back then, and it is still one of the best-selling Glocks on the market.

The Glock 26 is still a little bit “chunky” for some – and it is, to my mind, but I still love it. I do like how easily it conceals on my right hip, in an outside the waistband holster – on my belt. It is very concealable. Now enter the fairly new Glock 43X. This is one hot-seller for Glock right now – hard to come by. I had a Model 43, but it was just too small for me, so I traded it off, in short order. The Model 43X is slightly bigger, holding 10+1 rounds in a single stack magazine – the Model 26 is a double-stack magazine, so it is thicker in the body – making it a little too thick for some users. The 43X is an entirely different horse, to be sure, It actually feels thinner than it is – Glock says it is 0.87-inches wide – that’s very thin. Still, it feels great in my hand, and everyone who has handled it said the same thing.


Let’s look at the specs on the 43X model: It has a barrel that is 3.41-inches long, and the overall length of the slide is 6.50-inches – plenty small enough for easy concealment. As already mentioned, it takes a single-stack 10-round mag, and it comes with two of them – they are inexpensive enough to purchase several more – and can be found all over the ‘net for about $20 each. The gun is 5.4-inches tall.

On the slide we have the usual Glock plastic sights, the front is a large white dot, and the rear has the almost “U” shaped white outline. These are considered “basic” sights, but still very fast for combat work. The little 43X is 16.40-ounces empty, without the magazine inserted, and 18.7-ounces with tand empy magazine. And loaded it is about 23-ounces – depending on the bullet weight of the 9mm rounds you stuff into it. Trigger pull is 5.5-pounds, like most other Glocks. Glock says that all their firearms are Double Action Only, but most users will disagree, and say it is Single Action – you be the judge – I think it is more Single Action than Double Action. It has no restrike capabilities if the gun fails to fire. You have to rack the slide to remove the dud round and chamber another round – a very fast thing to do.

For a size comparison, I stacked the Model 43X on top of my Glock 19X, and they are very close in appearance – in size.  (See the photo–the Model 19X is the Flat Dark Earth color gun, beneath.) However, they are much different when you hold them in your hand – again, the 26 is a little chunky while the 43X is very thin – the pictures don’t do justice to the size differences – you’ll have to trust me on this, or compare them at your local gun shop. The 43X is really a lot smaller all the way around.

I carried the little 43X in two different holsters during my testing, one is a (hard) polymer affair from Bravo Concealment and the other from Craft Holsters that rode nicely on my hip. I preferred it over the polymer holster. I’m a real sucker for a well-made leather holster on my hip. The Craft Leather holster also held the gun closer and tighter to my side and the draw was quicker as well, compared to the polymer holster. You really need to check out Craft Holsters, you get a lot for your money, and they are extremely well-made.

The spare mag came with the Bravo Concealment holster, and was most welcome with the set-up. Now, to be sure, you should never carry any striker-fired handgun in your pants, or purse, without it being in a holster – you are only inviting a negligent discharge (ND) by doing that. Many people still won’t listen – until they had an ND and if they are lucky, they won’t shoot a vital part of their body, or someone else. And, you should always carry any semiauto handgun or revolver, fully loaded, and that means a round in the chamber of a semiauto.


Our Range Tests

Because of this virus we still have going around, I didn’t have any volunteer shooters, except for my wife. She loved the way the 43X felt in her hand, but when it came to shooting it, she said it “hurt” a little compared to her Glock 19. Well, the 43X is much thinner in the grip area, so the felt recoil will feel like it is “hurting” a little bit more. Still, she was a trooper and shot it – with her shooting gloves on. We went through more than 300 rounds of ammo, with zero malfunctions of any kind. The only “problem” I experienced was dropping the slide once it locked back on an empty magazine – using the slide lock – it was very stiff to press down. I rarely use the slide stop on any handguns, and prefer to draw the slide back and release it to chamber a round. That was the way I was trained, many years ago. So this wasn’t a real problem getting another round in the chamber once you inserted another loaded magazine.

From Black Hills Ammunition, I had the following ammo on-hand for testing. 115-gr JHP +P 115-gr FMJ, 124-gr JHP, 115-gr Barnes Tax XP +P and their outstanding 100-gr HoneyBadger all-copper fluted bullet. I’ve mentioned this before, but it is worth mentioning again: Some guns just seem to run “smoother” with one type of ammo or bullet over another, and this little 43X loved the 115-gr JHP +P load. Now, while this gun is rated to handle +P ammo, I wouldn’t feed it a steady diet of this hotter ammo – just to be safe. However, I could “feel” the difference when shooting this 115-gr JHP +P load – the slide was just cycling smoother to my way of thinking. Plus, this would be a great self-defense load, as well.

I was “killing” all manner of rocks and tree branches on the ground with regularity, never missing them – even at long distances. Once again, the gun never missed a beat, just kept going and going. For my accuracy testing, I set the target out to only 15-yards, since the barrel is shorter than on a mid or full-sized Glock. I had to really hunker down, and get a good grip on this little 43X if I expected to wring out the best accuracy that I could. I didn’t want the gun twisting or turning in my hand under recoil – not that there is much recoil in a 9mm round to start with.

The gun was fired over a padded rest, on top of a big boulder, again at 15 yards. The gun was plenty accurate, with most groups under 3-inches without much trouble. Some groups were hovering around 2.5-inches if I concentrated on what I was doing. The best accuracy results came from the 115-gr FMJ load – and it was consistently right at 2.5-inches all the time. If I was doing everything right, I could do that all the time. But the 115-gr FMJ load was easy enough to keep in that 2.5-inch range – can’t ask for much better than that – for a very compact 9mm, 10-shot or 11-shot handgun.


I’m not ready to retire my Glock 26, and replace it with the 43X, but I’m now thinking really hard about it. I will need to shoot the 43X a little more and test-carry it a little more, but I’m leaning towards retiring the Model 26 and replacing it with the 43X. It is that nice of a concealed carry handgun. Check one out – if you can even find one – they are hard to find in captivity.


  1. It’s a good gun but Mag compatibility is too big an issue to go away from the G26. I keep one small mag in the gun and all the rest are G17/18 sized mags. Most of us also carry G19 or G17s. It’s just too simple.
    Besides what’s more American than a 3” barrel and a 33rd mag lol.

    1. i have a 43X…never been a fan of the smaller guns but this thing is pretty awesome…and yes, shield arms does make a 15 round mag for it…just keep them clean, they don’t feed bullets well dirty from videos i’ve seen…now if glock would only bring the 43X over here with the rail like they sell in europe…it would be the perfect carry gun because glock just came out with the mos version of the 43X here in the states…

  2. I have both a Glock 43x and Glock 48. They are both excellent firearms and utilize the same magazine. I have fired a variety of ammunition from both firearms, including Buffalo Bore 147 grain hard cast rounds, with zero malfunctions. I used both factory 10 round magazines and Shield Arms 15 round magazines and both functioned well. I prefer the Glock 48 as it has a bit longer barrel and is nearly as concealable as the Glock 43X.

  3. This article describes — in good detail — the interactions between the parties that resulted in the death of one of the men who attended the patriot rally in Denver. Certainly what comes to my mind is that there is often more going on than might be apparent on the surface of any situation — and this is a good review of one scenario with a tragic ending that may help to make us all more aware.

  4. If I were stuck in a 10-round-only state the Glock 43x would be at the top of my list. Otherwise I can put up with the blocky shape of a Glock 26 and enjoy 10, 12, 15, 17 or 33 round magazines! As Pat pointed out, keeping a flat-bottom 10 round in the Glock 26 makes it a bit more concealable while you can carry a spare mag or two with a lot more rounds.

  5. A Glock is a great pistol until the plastic mag falls on the ground after you fire the a chambered round! I have heard many stories on this happening to Glocks, so I will stick to my Taurus G3 and G3C with steel mags, besides the Taurus is a hec of a lot less expensive!

  6. Hmmm.
    The mag stories described by Armed Citizen with regard to Glocks has not materialized in the classes I’ve attended (50+) unless the user failed to seat the magazine properly. After additional instruction about mag seating the problem ceased to occur. I’ve seen the same magazine dump problem with 1911s, S&W M&Ps, AR-15s, etc…users just fail to seat magazines with enthusiasm, as if they think they might damage them by beating them in hard.
    We teach the push-whack-pull concept. After a solid heel of hand slap on the magazine, try to pull it out….works particularly well on AR s. Not practical on handguns, so smack the floor plate smartly and proceed.
    All my friends who carry and train with the Glock 43s love them. While i have all of their 9mms in the vault, I prefer the Forties for daily carry, and in pairs.
    Once, after seating a fresh magazine while holstered, I failed to seat the mag hard enough. I was called upon to demonstrate a drill in which my nearly empty rifle ran dry, and I had to transition to my pistol. I did so and upon the first shot, the magazine fell to the ground. Crap. Immediately jettisoned the now-useless pistol and transitioned to my second Glock, another G22- and finished the drill.
    Thought I’d get “the treatment” for not seating my magazine properly, but Mr. Farnam used it as an example of decisive problem solving and having a backup to a backup. After finishing the pistol portion of the drill, the rifle was brought back into action and peace restored. The “Paul, would you like to lecture the class about the value of seating your magazine firmly?” but the backup-backup pistol spared me more embarrassment.
    Whatever pistol(s) you settle on, train with them like they vote in Chicago…..early and often.

    1. Paul, your Chicago vote comment caused me to remember a family story. My maternal grandfather was born in 1892. He was thrown out of his Saginaw, Michigan boyhood home at age 12 by his alcoholic father. He went to live with his older brother in Chicago where he worked in a tobacco store. In the 1904 presidential election the local political bosses gave my grandfather trolley fare and instructions. He voted in four different precincts of the city… at age 12. Some things never change…

  7. I’ve taught classes for over 10 years and the only unintended mag drops I’ve ever run across were user induced. Glocks are by far the most reliable brand of pistol used in classes.

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