This is not a conjecture or speculation article, the G43 is here and I have shot it at Glock. After pushing around 150 rounds through the G43 9mm I am in love with yet another ugly Glock. There is more, this G43 single stack 9mm is exactly what “we” the public asked for, begged for, and whined about when the G42 .380 ACP was introduced last year. Everyone said that they would buy a single stack Glock 9mm if it was about the same size at the G42, well prepare to pull out your cash and to fall in love with yet another boringly reliable Glock.
With the introduction of the G43, two wondrous things happened concerning Glock. This is one of the first pistols developed almost exclusively to satisfy US market demands/screams of passion. The G43 introduction also coincides with Glock US giving writers a peek behind its factory doors for the first time ever… and I was invited.
The first week of March, I found myself in the midst of ten other writers invited to this exclusive Glock G43 unveiling plus a behind the scenes factory tour, which I must admit was more exciting to me than the “finally” introduction the new G43. For me, being one of the first editors in the world to step behind the previously closed factory doors for a tour was a legitimate and exciting reason to hop on a plane to Smyrna, Georgia. My take on what I saw behind those doors is another article altogether, but I am sure everyone is more interested in the G43 at this point.
None of us were shocked, surprised or stunned about being handed G43 NDAs (non-disclosure agreements). I mean come on, who was Glock kidding. We had all heard the rumors and speculation two months earlier at SHOT show that something else was coming from Glock. In fact, none of us were particularly surprised or animated when Mike Robinson (head of Glock US Marketing) formally announced the new G43 arrival. I was the smart ass in the room who blurted out “well finally, so when do we start the factory tour?”
We all should have been chomping at the bit to get our hands on the G43 at the range, however we weren’t. None of us wanted to rush to the end of the day to start shooting this glorious new pistol which we knew would feel just like every other Glock we had ever shot. It says something about the confidence a group of cynical writers have in Glock to get it right the first time. Once the pistol was in hand, our gut feelings were confirmed that it was exactly as our minds had imagined it. Boringly reliable that felt and shot like a Glock but in a slimmer single stack design. Image a roughly 1” wide G26 and you have the G43.
At this point I am still waiting on my own testing sample G43, however the two hours I spent with the gun during and after the range time was more than enough for me form an initial opinion.
SIZE, ERGONOMICS & FEATURES
Upon walking into the GSSF shooting range, most of use immediately noted that in fact the 9mm G43 was indeed nearly identically the same size to the mind bogglingly popular G42 .380 ACP.
The G43 looks and feels like the G42 and G26 hooked up one night. From a size perspective the G43 is just over a 1/16″ wider than the G42, only about a 1/4″ longer and about 1/16″ taller. In the naked hand there is a difference, however I doubt many would “feel” the difference between the two guns unless they had shot both. Actually the guns felt and looked so similar that we all were constantly checking ammo, magazine and gun labeling to assure we did not inadvertently stick the wrong round in a G43 or G42. I did try swapping magazines and I am happy to report from a safety perspective that the G42 magazine will not lock up in the G43 and the G43 magazine will not fit in the G42. Still, with all the 9mm and .380 ACP ammo on the tables, it was easy to get a little confused about whether you were stuffing .380 ACP ammo into 9mm magazines.
Considering that the width difference between the new G43 and the G26 is the same 1/8″ increase as there was from the G42 to the G43, I found a little surprising how much fatter in the waist and in the hand the G26 felt after shooting the G43. The G43 proportionally “feels sized better” than the G26.
Glock G42 was not the smallest .380 on the market by a long shot and the G43 isn’t the smallest micro 9mm either, but its a manageable size. For example, Kahr’s CM9 is still smaller than even the G42, 3/4″ shorter length than the G43 and 1/4″ shorter in height. The size of the G43 is what makes the G43 controllable, shootable, and accurate while still delivering a size that you can comfortably stick in your front pocket. I call it the Goldie Locks principle… its just right.
Much the same as the G42 feels like a Glock, the G43 delivers the same feel. The trigger distance, feel, and reset could all be mistaken for a fatter double stack G26. By my estimate, I ran a little over 150 rounds through the G43 as did all the other writers attending the release and no one had a single jam, but we tried. One writer did an extreme limp wrist test, another shot the gun upside down, and I did a full gangsta sideways shooting test; the net were no jams or malfunctions on any of the three test pistol that we hammer on.
Like the G42, the G43 has significantly less recoil that you would expect from a gun that size. The G42 .380 Glock is a delight to shoot with recoil that seems almost like a rimfire even with hotter loads. The 9mm G43 is a bit snappier however far less than I have experienced with my Kahr CM9 or Walther PPS pistols. I did not have the opportunity to shoot the G43 directly against competitors, my initial assumption is that the higher Glock grip is closer to the bore and delivers more control and less felt recoil.
Like every micro 9mm I have ever fired, I did find that my hand moved around from shot to shot to find a better grip. It became a fat stumpy hand around small thing gripping exercise which inevitably leads to swapping between a thumbs forward, Israeli tucked thumbs, support hand finger guard grip which I liked the best. By contrast all the female writers locked in on the G43 and were hammering out rounds. The guys with bigger and fatter hands seemed to all do the unconscious grip shuffle we all do with tiny little guns.
The G43 is very controllable but a bit snappy. After approximately 150 rounds I was done with shooting the G43. This is quite a bit of shooting for a small pistol and I felt it. Comparing the recoil to the fatter double stack G26, the heavier G26 is more controllable and less fatiguing on the shooter. I have and do train all day with the G26 9mm, however I don’t know that I would put past and hour shooting the G43. As much as Glock has done to mitigate recoil and improve control, the G43 still is shooting a hot 9mm round out of a small pistol so Newtonian physics still apply. I did jump back on the G42 .380 ACP and could have shot that the rest of the day due to the low recoil. Given the size, I think it just comes down to a choice of recoil control between the G43 and G42 Glocks for buyers.
From an accuracy perspective, I was able to deliver a number of brisk 6-round 3” groups on the 7-yard line. More conscious target shooting dropped those group sizes down into the 1.5-2” range with the CCI Blazer brass FMJ ammo provided at the range. Across the board, I noted all the writers shot the pistol very well from fast shooting to slow deliberate accuracy shots.
Under the watchful eye of marketing and GSSF range officers, I slipped the G43 into pockets and in the waistband and did a little shooting from concealment. Glock is going to sell millions of these. The G43 is the slim line 9mm we have all been waiting for. Even without a holster it is slim, nicely radiused, and melts into your waistband just like the G42 did. Holster manufacturers will come online fast with options
We live in amazing times of pre-sliced bread, enough technology to product self cooking bacon, and now we have a single stack 9mm from Glock. The Glock 43 9mm will be met with such anticipation and expectation that I will congratulate you for actually reading this far instead of just sprinting to your firearms dealer to place your order after reading the headline. My initial experience with the new Glock single stack 9mm validated that it is everything we all were are hoping for in a Glock produced package, but just like every Glock introduction, I am sure there are many who will wish it was larger, smaller, or offered in a different caliber.
SPECS G43 G42 G26
- Length 6.26″ 5.94″ 6.41″
- Width 1.02″ .94″ 1.18″
- Height Including Magazine 4.25″ 4.13″ 4.17″
- Barrel Length 3.39″ 3.25″ 3.42″
- Length of Twist 9.84″ 9.84″ 9.84″
- Trigger Travel 0.49″ .49″ .49″
- Line of Sight 5.20″ 4.92″ 5.39″
- Pistol Weight w/o Magazine 16.19 oz 13.76 oz 21.71 oz
- Barrel Profile Right Hand Twist Hexagonal