Glock 43 Review: When Glock Jumped Fully into the CCW 9mm Market

Handgun Review: Glock 43

Glock 43


This is going to be up to individual tastes. Grip surface is comfortable, but the angle points high requiring practice and thought to bring the muzzle down onto target. Thankfully it sports the Gen 3 style panels and not the aggressive stippling found on the Gen 4 pistols.


It is a point and shoot gun designed for close range. That does not mean it can’t knock down cans at 25+ yards, but it is meant to put rounds on target within threat range, and it does that quite well to be honest.


Probably best to look at the market to answer this: the Glock 43 is up against a broad range of competitors, but for off duty or CCW, many Law Enforcement Officers are still sticking to the Glock because of its reputation to work even under extreme circumstances.


No accessory rail and limited amounts of after market “upgrades.” Perhaps the only accessory that would make sense is a laser or laser light combination for low light and reflexive shooting, the real world situations in which this gun is meant for. Laser options do exist, but any light worth a darn will likely make the gun too bulky and negate its primary benefits of concealability.


Again, individual tastes apply: it is a boxy Glock, but its diminutive size makes it a little endearing.


For the price, it cannot really be beat. The only reason this is not a 5 is that for MOST people, there are cheaper options out there. Glock has always meant to be for the service industry and is priced accordingly. For those on a budget and not a civil service member, they can find options that will work just as handily for occasional practice and likely never use. But if you want it to work and work hard, Glock is the name people trust and are willing to pay for.

Introduced in 2015 the Model 43 is Glock’s first single stack (by design rather than legislation) in the 9mm Luger caliber that is designed for far better concealability than the company’s long standing compact workhorse, the Model 26.

Followed hot on the heels of the Model 42 (in .380 acp/9mm short), the Glock 43 answered the needs for ultra concealability with Glock’s reputation for reliability while using the full sized and plentiful Parabellum cartridge.

Glock 43 - 1

This comes at a cost of discarding the magazine interchangeability with the larger models the previous sub compacts enjoyed, but the reduced size was precisely, judging from initial sales orders, what concealed carriers were looking for in a Glock: a slim 9mm that can be hidden almost anywhere all year long.

Glock 43 review: What is Different

For Carry Concealed Weapons (CCW), slimmer is better, it will not “print” through clothing like a standard sized firearm and it is easier to use with inside waistband (IWB) holsters; but so is controllability and capacity as those are three of the most competitive factors around designing and choosing a Just in Case (JIC) piece.


The Glock 43 strikes an impressive compromise for a 9mm in delivering the most of all three while remaining discrete.

The biggest complaint, or shortfall of those three factors, for some will be the max 6 round capacity of the two magazines that come with the pistol (only one of which comes with a finger extension for comfort purchased with an additional half an inch of height).

Glock’s departure from a typical duty weapon (or the lopped off version of a duty weapon such as their previous sub compacts) falls outside the usual Glock raison d’etre of running and gunning for the more subtle requirements of discrete carry. Thankfully the company’s reputation for dependability and durability is not lost on this pocket sized life saver.  

Glock 43: How Does it Shoot?

Factors such as ammunition, environment and, of course, the shooter make rating accuracy kind of like catching smoke. Suffice it to say Glock has done everything they can on their end to squeeze every bit of precision out of a short sight radius.

The polygonal rifling used in Glock barrels demands the use of jacketed bullets, but as this is a defense piece, most modern defense rounds are jacketed anyway, so there is nothing really lost there.

Besides, cheap FMJ practice rounds are typically cheaper than RNL bullets anyway in addition to more often than not required in indoor ranges as lead bullets launch residue into the air taxing both air ventilation system and arguably the blood stream of the patrons and staff.

That said, the pistol is a compact carry concealed model: it is a “get off me gun” not a precision target piece. Comfortable groupings at 7-10 yards is what should be expected and Glock certainly delivers that. However, more than half the accuracy factors are delivered by “the nut behind the trigger” (aka the user).

Perhaps the only complaint in this department is the typical profile of Glocks: that is to say the grip angle. To have reliable feeding, the angle is more obtuse than what is encountered in most other firearm designs, causing the plane of the barrel to point up with a usual shooting hold. Glock users quickly discover they have to point the muzzle down which can detract from a “natural pointing” sense of shooting. This is mitigated by what is required with any firearm, however: training.

Watch a Glock 43 Range Test and Accuracy Report from travisp11

Glock 43: Is it still Dependable? 

It is a Glock. Like them or hate them, users have spent more than three decades abusing them and by and large, they simply continue to work. Why not a perfect score? It is a smaller version of what Glock usually produces so assumedly it may not be quite as robust as the duty weapons.

For casual to short term crisis use, however, there is no reason to doubt it. There are simply too many factors to include for a full 5 rating, but for an out of the box piece, one can certainly do far worse and rarely justify the expense of trying to do what little better can be imagined.

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Glock 43: Can it be accessorized? 

Aftermarket service for the Glock 19 series is about as plentiful as aftermarket support for the AR-15 platform. That is not, however true, for the Glock 43.

While the poly frame is capable of being stippled and customized as well as any other Glock, this is a pistol meant for concealability rather than “bling”. This does not stop the fact that there is a plethora of aftermarket sights and trigger options and/or upgrades to take the traditionally unimaginative “boxy Glock” and give it some individual flair.

For lefties, the magazine release can be reversed, however the slide release/stop is still on the left hand side (port side) of the frame.

Glock 43 : Aesthetics 

It is a Glock. It has been described as so ugly as to redefine cute. Complete with squared features that make it look like it was designed by a third grader asked to draw a gun (shortly before being expelled from the school for being a threat).

However, these are the iconic lines Glockaphiles (you know who you are) have come to expect, and more or less help set the brand apart as well as make anyone who comes close clearly appear to be imitations instead of competitors.

It is a pistol that will likely never win hearts on looks but always earns respect if not devotion in performance. Another way to look at it is to say it is a tool, not an accessory, and its looks unarguably support that appraisal.

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Glock 43 review: Cost 

MSRP $538 per Lipsey’s. $475+/- online.

The CCW market has prices that run from $150 to a thousand plus and the Glock 43 places thankfully in the middle of this spread. There are cheaper options out there, especially used, but Glocks tend to be held on to because they are usually considered trusted members of the family by many.

It is safe to say that the quality provides more than what the price suggests, but some people will opt for something at 2/3 to half the price which may work, but will not provide the service life or support the Glock 43 provides: thousands of shooters rely on it and there has yet to be a major complaint (against its reliability and serviceability).

As one gritty denizen of the range put it, “how much is your life worth?” If the cost can be born, the Glock 43 provides security and assurance that more expensive guns claim at a price that is not at all unreasonable. Besides, Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is an ideal, not a reality of the modern [online] market, especially at the moment: if one can be found new for $475 or less, the value to performance ratio inevitably leans towards the consumer’s favor.

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