G43X vs. G43
Glock can often be a step behind the concealed carry market for better or worse. The bad news is they can take their time getting out a little single stack 9mm to compete with literally every other manufacturer on the market. The good news is they take their time, and when it comes to building a new gun, they seem always to work. The G43 premiered to great critical acclaim, and it became one of Glock’s most popular handguns. The 43 was the first 9mm, single stack, subcompact pistol Glock has ever released. The Glock 43 was an instant winner in the concealed carry market, and it has now sold over a million different models.
The Glock 43X is the newest in the Glock family and is a bit of an oddity. To under the X series, you have to go back to the 19X which was the weapon entered into Army’s new handgun program. The 19X lost but became a popular handgun selling over 100K in a year. The Glock 43 has now sold over a million pistols. Combine the two, and we get the G43X. The G19X is a Glock 19 compact slide on a Glock 17 full sized frame. The Glock 43X uses the same G43 slide and barrel, but an extended frame that offers a full-length grip.
Both guns are compact, both are 9mm, and both are Glocks, so which gun is better? More importantly which is better for you?
Fit and Finish
The Glock 43 is an adorable mini Glock. It’s styled almost exactly like any other Glock, just shrunk in size. It’s shorter and thinner than any other 9mm Glock. It lacks finger grooves completely and only features rear serrations. Glock guns are best described as Spartan. They are simple, but effective in appearance. The frame is of course polymer, and the slide is all black and sports a black nitride finish.
The black nitride finish has proven to be extremely strong and very durable. Glock pistols are used by police and military forces around the globe, and you don’t hear complaints about the finish. It will shrug off wear and resist corrosion and rust in general well. The finish is rugged, and while plain it does work. This is a great finish for a gun that’s likely going to sit tight to your body and in a holster most of its life.
The Glock 43X went an entirely different direction, and you are seeing something that distinguishes itself well from the G43. The G43X uses an nPVD coating that is also proven to be strong, durable, and to resist corrosion. The most significant difference is that the PVD finish is silver and gives the gun a distinct look. It makes it stand out from the standard all black Glock. Additionally, the G43X has forward slide serrations that are missing on the standard G43.
If I had to choose a gun based just off the fit and finish it would be the G43X. I’m a sucker for the stainless look, and this new gun looks great. The finish is also rock solid and does give it a unique look in the world of Glocks.
While these guns are very similar and even share a model number, they are entirely different. The G43X is larger than the G43, and this is due to the increased grip length. The G43X is 5.04 inches tall, and the G43 is a shorter 4.25 inches. This gives you more grip with the G43X as well as more capacity. The G43X holds ten rounds plus 1 in the pipe. The G43 holds six rounds with one in the pipe.
The shorter grip also makes the weapon much easier to conceal, and this gives you an edge when it comes to having a smaller body type or wearing lighter clothes. Weight wise surprisingly the G43X is barely heavier, I mean a fraction of a fraction of an ounce. The G43X weighs 18 ounces, and the G43 weighs 17.99 ounces unloaded. Once loaded we see a much bigger difference between 10 and six rounds. The G43X weighs 23.07 ounces loaded, and the 43 weighs 20.64 ounces. One interesting difference is the width of the G43X. It’s .04 inches thicker than the G43. It’s an odd addition, but a one that’s present.
The G43 and G43X are both still small guns with a barrel length of 3.41 inches, and the G43X is longer with an overall length of 6.5 inches. The G43 has an overall length of 6.26 inches. The smaller design and lighter weight of the Glock 43 certainly make it more appealing to those who have difficulty carrying a larger gun. The micro nine could even be a pocket gun. The G43X is better suited for those who like an easy to shoot gun
Picking one up out of the box will lead most to say the G43X is better in the ergonomics department. It’s longer grip fills the hand and prevents you from having a pinkie hanging off the end of the grip. This makes the gun feel more comfortable and more ergonomic in general. It’s easier to hold, to point, and to aim. The bigger grips give you something more to grab than a standard grip and makes the gun easier to draw.
That being said once you holster the gun that bigger grip becomes a bigger gun to hide. The G43 is easier to conceal and with the right magazine with pinky extension can be comfortable to sit in your hand.
Both guns have reversible magazine release buttons for right or left handed shooters, as well as rear slide serrations, a trigger safety, and a lovely little slide lock. I’m not a big fan of the Glock slide lock and find it too small and to easy to press down with a proper grip. The G43X does have front slide serrations that the G43 does not have. The G43X also has a beavertail built into the frame that I love. These things feel great in the right Glock 43X holsters and Glock 43 holsters.
The standard G43 has a bad habit of eating up my hand with slide bite. The addition of a beavertail on the G43X adds a layer of protection between your hand and the slide. I never caught slide bite when shooting the G43X. The beavertail also adds another level of control to the gun, especially where muzzle flip is concerned. One final difference is the trigger distance. The G43 has a shorter 2.56-inch trigger distance compared to the G43X’s longer 2.64 inches.
Another factor to consider is hand strength. An interesting tidbit is that people with reduced hand strength have an easier time racking the G43X since they have more of a grip to grab. Also, the slide seemed to be just a bit easier to rack than the original G43.
The G43 was Glock’s first dig into the single stack nine category, and as a small gun, it’s not feature heavy. It still has Glock’s safe action system with three different safeties, as well as the Glock polymer magazine. The G43X and G43 share most of the same features. This includes the already mentioned reversible magazine release, Glock target sights, a Gen 5 smooth groove-less grip, and an overall low profile.
The Glock 43X does happen to have the Gen 5 marksman’s barrel. This is a match grade barrel that has proven to be exceptionally accurate and reliable. The G43X will also have the high visibility follower that is quick and easy to see when checking to see how loaded a magazine is. The witness holes make it easy to see the bright orange follower. Additionally, the Glock 43X has forward slide serrations we don’t commonly see on Glock pistols (although many people believe that Glock will start incorporating them on more pistols).
Neither gun will have a rail but speaking with Crimson Trace I found out the Laserguard designed for the G43 will fit on the G43X. Sadly aftermarket magazines that fit the G43 will not fit the G43X, and the G43 will not be able to accept the longer G43X magazines. This is a little sad but it’s unavoidable in this case. Glock had to widen the magazine in order to cram 10 rounds in it. That’s why they’re not compatible.
Just from looking at each gun it’s pretty easy to see which shoots better. A bigger grip means more control over the gun which results in less felt recoil and easier follow-up shots. Without a doubt, the G43X is super easy to control and much easier to control than the G43. The beavertail is another excellent addition that aids in control of the gun and keeping it on target.
The G43 is still pleasant to shoot and controllable enough for defensive use. There is simply a big difference when it comes to the G43 and G43X. The shorter grip leads to decreased control over the gun. It will often feel like the gun is trying to escape your grasp via wiggling during rapid fire slowly. Recoil is still comfortable and far from painful even with this little gun.
Regarding long-range shooting, both guns perform well for tactical applications. When you slow down and take your time, the difference in grip size doesn’t make a significant difference. The guns are both quite accurate, even with those terrible Glock plastic sights.
Reloading the G43X is easier since you have more to grip on the magazine and because the grip clears my hand. With small guns, the magazine often gets caught on its way out and pinned by my palm. This isn’t a problem with the G43X due to its longer grip.
Both guns are reliable and will eat anything you decide to put through them. This includes high-end brass ammo and low-quality steel stuff.
Here is where the smaller, technically longer, and shorter G43 wins out in. The longer grip does add bulk and bulk is always the bad guy when it comes to concealed carry. The G43X has a longer grip which potentially means more printing and an overall harder to conceal package.
The G43 is small enough it can even be pocket carried comfortably. You can’t do that with the G43X. Both guns are quite thin, and this makes them perfect for IWB carry and plenty comfortable in that regard. The G43X and G43 are awesome appendix carry guns due to their short barrels.
Both guns are nice and light, so they don’t sag or cause undue hardship for daily carry. The G43 is the better choice for deep carry, and if you are a smaller framed individual, I will go with the G43. Either gun will be a great piece for concealed carry.
The Glock 43 has reigned supreme over the single stack concealed carry industry for quite some time. The gun is small, lightweight, easy to shoot, and as always is dead nuts reliable. It always goes bang regardless of what is going on. The Glock 43 is a simple, small, but capable gun. It’s made its way to a million produced and sold for a reason. Currently the G43 rules in terms of aftermarket accessories, including holsters. The smaller gun is easier to conceal, but harder to fire. It’s certainly better in the hands of an experienced shooter.
The G43X is beginner friendly and still relatively small enough to conceal with ease. The G43X is much easier to shoot and to rack thanks to the longer grip. The longer magazine also gives you a ton more ammo than the G43, and this makes it a more combat capable gun. The G43X is also the prettier and more ergonomic gun all at the cost of being harder to conceal. It’s an interesting tradeoff that each shooter will have to decide on for themselves.
Would I go off and sell my G43 to purchase a G43X? Probably not. But if I didn’t own a G43 and was in the market for a new gun, I’d choose the G43x over the G43. Both come with Glock’s outstanding level of reliability, and both are affordable options.