Glock 43X Review: the Biggest Small Glock 9mm

Handgun Review: Glock 43X

Glock 43X


It could be the best gun in the world, but if your hand does not like it, it does not matter. Individual tastes are as various as there are people. That said, the grip surface is comfortable, but as remarked, the angle points high requiring practice, especially for point and shoot scenarios. Thankfully, like the Model 43, it retains the Gen 3 style panels and not the aggressive stippling found on the Gen 4 pistols.


It is a gun designed for close range. That does not mean it can’t be accurate, but it is meant to put rounds on target within threat (close) range, and it does that quite well to be honest. Smaller framed shooters will find it a fun target shooting gun at probably the 15 yard range, and the increased grip surfaces make follow up shots unarguably more accurate.


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. This is especially true among the various services.


No accessory rail and limited amounts of after market “upgrades.” Though rumor is that this model is equipped with a rail for EU markets (?). As with the 43, the accessory that makes 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 adding a light, if one can be found, will likely make the gun too bulky and negate its primary benefits of concealability.


It’s a squared off pistol that is available in two tone or black nitride. Some people get excited by it, others do not. As usual, Glock focuses on function more than sculpture, thankfully, they continue to deliver on dependable functionality.


Like the 43, it is difficult to beat for the price Other guns may look more appealing, but it is a guess as to whether or not they will work as well or as long as a Glock.

On the surface the Glock 43X seems to be answering a couple concerns left by its parent model, the 43, while ignoring another. It is an extended grip Model 43 which offers better controllability and greater capacity of 10 instead (as opposed to the 6 rounds of the parent design). This comes at sacrificing the concealability for which the Glock 43 was prized, and thus has inspired many authorities, self-proclaimed and otherwise, to ask why.

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The near simultaneous release of Sig Sauer’s P365, a compact pistol of similar dimensions to the Model 43 yet miraculously cramming 10 rounds into its standard magazine suggests the 43X is meant to be a competitor, or at least a response to an apparent challenge, from the Swiss based company but the increased size throws direct competition away: while still a slim line pistol, it now has an increased print size in the part of every gun that sticks out from concealability. So again, some may find themselves asking why. Why not, is a perfectly reasonable response however: more Glock options cannot really be considered a bad thing, can it?

In this case it is almost as if the 43X is being offered as an ideal for users in states or jurisdictions that have restricted capacity legislation and/or carry concealed limitations. Seen in this light it is a small but manageable firearm good for home defense and even sport or recreational shooting, especially for small frame shooters who like the size of a compact pistol but are disinclined towards the recoil and limited grip real estate such lightweights are prone to.

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In fact, for European markets, the 43X comes with an accessory rail: supporting the impression that it is meant to be a potential, if skinny, workhorse rather than a reduced capacity (gelded) yet still larger service sized gun. That comparatively short sight radius, however…. For a true slim workhorse, Glock offers the 48 (more Glock options = good, remember?), so at the end of the day, this is an increased capacity, more manageable CCW 43. It answers the complaint of the petite 43 standard not carrying enough or being difficult to shoot for large paws and it is good for the winter months where more clothing can hide it better.

Unfortunately, Glock’s magazine compatibility among different grip sizes of same caliber does not extend to the 43/43X as the latter is too thick to fit in the former and the former too short to fit in the latter. In other words, standard Glock 43 users do not get a boon of 4 more rounds for their already owned piece.

Glock 43X review: How does it shoot?

Glock delivers a standard of performance across all of its products. The greatest variables to accuracy will come from both the shooter and the type of ammunition used. The polygonal rifling standard to Glock products requires jacketed bullets for reliable and accurate performance. As indoor ranges often require, and most defensive ammunition is based upon, jacketed rounds, this is not really a detriment. Beyond that, the pistol delivers expected to better performance for a compact, defensive tool (effective range 7-15 yards). It is not going to compete with the target model (Glock 34), nor is it designed to. Small to medium shooters will find the grip comfortable to manageable with plenty of room for two hands, while larger shooters can take comfort in the fact that there is more to hold on to than the 43 standard.

While on the topic of the grip, the Glock profile is dominated by a slightly more obtuse grip angle than many other pistols: this ensures reliable feeding from the magazine but also has the gun point “high.” This is not an issue with practice, however.

Is it still a Glock?

It is still a Glock, that is perhaps synonymous with dependability for most experienced shooters, though there is a portion of the shooting population that do not, nor will they ever, like Glocks. It is assumed that such individuals have not made it this far into the text. If you are on the fence and have not tried one yet, you should and let your experience be the guide. You can do worse and for the money, not do much better.

For concealed carriers it offers almost twice again as many rounds as its little sibling the Model 43 but does so at the cost of having a larger profile. Reliability, as expressed above, is not really that much a question as application. The 43x is small pistol for nightstand or winter carry with Glock features, feel and reputation. What more needs to be said?

Can it be dressed up?

Aftermarket options for the duty line Glock models continue to defy imagination and limit of number. Because the slim compacts are still new, and predominantly designed for discretion, there is little beyond sights and trigger upgrades, but custom shops will doubtless find little reason not to tackle the plastic frame in pursuit of full customization. Glock initially offered this model in two tone and more recently the standard nitride finish. Beyond that, it is left to the custom shop for stippling (popular with the poly framed pistols) or weight reduction cuts that can be done to any other pistol, be it Glock or not.

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Never mind how it shoots, how does it look?

Boxy Glocks” are iconic, and this model does not stray from the arguably unimaginative, yet comfort inducing number of square angles. The 43X, however, was released in a two tone (silver slide) before also being offered in a full black model. A stated previously, however, a Glock is first and foremost a tool rather than a piece of jewelry. It is designed to work first and be fawned over its looks…. To be honest there is little evidence that the designers ever considered that it should be admired for its looks. That is not to say it is unattractive: beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The best relationships, however, are based on more than that: the Glock works, and that reputation means much more than aesthetics.

Is it Cost Effective?

MSRP $538 per Lipsey’s, $460+/- online

Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price for firearms is usually higher than what the market bears out, and this is just as accurate for Glocks as other manufacturers, leaving consumers able to pick a 43X up usually in the mid 400 range. While more similarly sized compact CCW guns from Smith and Wesson, Ruger, etc. etc. ad nauseum are comparable or cheaper, the 43X is only coming in only marginally lower than Sigs’ P365 which many see as the primary competitor to this model. Glock lovers will remain true to their code, however, and many new shooters, looking to have an easy to manage firearm that prints less and is more discrete than its older, service sized brothers can do much worse than choose the 43X as a petite general use pistol.

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Glock 43X review: Final thoughts

The G43 challenged other companies to compete, if not in quality and reputation than at least in capacity, and that is what the G43X is all about: getting four more rounds out of the design the simplest way possible: by extending the grip. This does detract from its concealability but offers better controllability as well as increased capacity. It may no longer be the discrete pocket pistol, but it is still slimmer than the G26 and offers better comfort to small handed shooters.

Watch another Glock 43X review from Talon Sei

Image source: ammoland, reddit, palmetto state armory

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