Here’s the big dilemma: thousands GLOCK fans bought the GLOCK 42 because they couldn’t buy a 43. Thousands of others bought single stack 9mms from Kel-Tec, Skky, Ruger, Smith, Beretta, Bersa, Taurus, Springfield…. Some even ponied up for some ill-fated Remingtons. And now we all have to decide. Do you stick with what you have? Do you swap your old-standby for a 43?
Almost a month ago, Recoil Magazine leaked news of the GLOCK 43. Some of us in the industry knew it was coming a couple of weeks earlier, and had been preparing like mad to cover the launch of the most anticipated pistol of 2015. Anyone even remotely tuned in to the gun industry knew it was coming, and everyone else knew the single stack 9mm was inevitable. After-all, GLOCK had already had a very successful run with the GLOCK 42 (a single stack .380), and every other manufacturer had already released a single stack 9mm. Word on the street is that GLOCK waited until the pistol was perfect before releasing it.
I’m still waiting to find out. I shot the 43 at the NRA show, and one of our writers got a sneak peak at the gun at the factory. But this isn’t about the 43, really. It is in the very real sense that I now have to make a decision. The 9mm 43 and the .380 42 are so similar in size. The differences are imperceptible. As the ballistics of the 9mm smoke those of the .380, I now have to decide if I’m going to be like everyone else and pony up for a 43. And I’m not alone. As of the writing of this, there is a 43 for sale on GunsAmerica (link above).
And that has me thinking about the old GLOCK 42.
As far as I can tell, there’s only one limitation to the GLOCK 42. That is the obvious capacity issue. I’m a firm believer in capacity. Adrenaline does stupid things to smart people–and even worse things to stupid people. If a threat should present itself, would I stop at one or two shots? Would I rock through the six round mag in under a second? The later is more likely.
But the slim 9mm doesn’t offer any more rounds. Again, it comes down to ballistics. The 9mm packs a bigger punch.
While we’re talking about that punch, I’d like to mention the recoil. The 42 is a flat shooting gun. A couple of weeks ago, I was in my local gun shop eavesdropping on a woman who was buying a .380. She was tall and slim—and fit. The clerk in the shop picked up on her preference for the mouse guns, and was showing her Rugers, and Kel-Tecs, and a Taurus. The size was right—I could tell by her body language—but there was something else to consider. Those small guns, even in .380, can be a bitch to shoot. They’re not easy to manipulate, and they’re hard on the hands. Light little guns are hard to hold down.
I was waiting for the clerk to show her the 42. It was there in the case. This woman (and almost everyone, for that matter) could conceal a GLOCK 42. And the gun is one of the most flat shooting pistols I own. He didn’t. She left with a much smaller, .380.
I shoot a lot, but still. I’ve watched a lot of people run the 42, and almost all of them can keep it on target. Remember that adrenaline thing I mentioned earlier? Yeah. It is back. All the rounds in the world won’t do you any good if you can’t control the gun. Put up a big silhouette target and test it. Draw and shoot from contact distances. Shoot from 10 feet. From 7 yards. Shoot fast—as fast as you can. Find ways to simulate stress. Do what you can to test your own skills and see how many of those rounds fall within a 10” circle.
With the flat shooting GLOCK 42, I can keep all of my rounds in the circle. All of them. I’m not bragging about my skills. They’re sometimes laughable. What I’m saying is that the GLOCK 42 is easy to control. Very easy.
Which is why I’ve been carrying it for a year now. I’m not one to stay loyal to carry guns. I’ve got a steady stream of pistols coming through for review, and many are designed for concealed carry. I carry them. If I’m heading out to the store, or going on what I perceive to be a relatively innocuous excursion, I will take a relatively unfamiliar gun. Otherwise, I’m going to the guns I train with—the guns I shoot every week.
The GLOCK 42 quickly made it into that rotation. It helps that I often carry a GLOCK 19. But the 42 is easier to conceal. It is easier to hide when I do come across one of those locations that refuse to recognize my right to carry. And I prefer it to the mouse gun size. When the 42 is on, I know it. It is just big enough to have a physical presence. Some of the super-thin, really short .380s feel too small.
I’ve got a holster from MultiHolsters that is a perfect fit for the 42, and it makes carrying the gun even more comfortable.
But I wouldn’t carry the gun at all, if it didn’t perform well. As we have to send most of our guns back to their manufacturers, we don’t often get long term shooting reports. This one is on its way. We bought it, and have been hammering away with it ever since. I’m up over 3,000 rounds with this one. In all of that time, it has run like every other GLOCK I’ve ever shot: flawless.
Those of you out there who want to hate on the brand may have already skipped down to the comment section to itch about this being a puff-piece. To hell with that. I haven’t gotten to the section where I pick at the GLOCK’s faults. Still. The gun runs flawlessly. It eats anything. It ejects cleanly, even when dirty. And it is dead-nuts accurate. Consistently.
So what is wrong with the 42?
We discussed the capacity. But with most single stacks, you make compromises. Like most GLOCKs, the sights are the noticeable weak spot. I’m not a fan of the stock GLOCK sights. Luckily, there are numerous options. I put these TruGlos on for a review, and haven’t found a reason to take them off. They’re easy to see, and glow in low lights.
The TruGlos: /blog/truglo-glock-sights/
On larger GLOCKs, I’m inclined to monkey with the grip texture. I’ve yet to do that to the 42, but I may. The existing texture works well enough, but…. The more I see of the custom work bing done by soldering iron wielding wizards, the more I think that’s my next mod.
In the end, my checklist of pros and cons look almost exactly the same. Now that GLOCK’s 43 is an actual thing, and not just a rumor, I’ve got to weigh the attributes and drawbacks side by side. I’m in love with the way the 42 operates. I’d trade better performance for better ballistics, everyday. Maybe it is time for some full on, side-by-side testing. When our 43 arrives for review, we’ll do it
Here are some additional links for your perusal.
Get to clicking. Read what we’ve got on the 43, and the 42. Click out to GLOCK, or to MultiHolsters (my go-to holster maker). And like us on facebook and Instagram, if you haven’t already. We’re posting new content daily, and a lot of it only exists there.
GLOCK at GLOCK: http://us.glock.com/
Hands on with the 43: /blog/new-glock-9mm-single-stack-glock-43-hands-on/
If you want to see all of the coverage of the GLOCK 42 from the last year, click on this link here: /blog/?s=glock+42. There you will find the reviews of RLSmith, Bravo, N82, and much more.