Glock 43X: Now with 15 Round Flush Fit Capacity

G43X in standard Glock shipping box

Glock 43X

Confession time friends. Though I am a big fan of Glock and have an absolute gaggle of them in various calibers, I’ve never owned one of the new slimline models. Nor reviewed one. That isn’t to say I haven’t shot them. I have several friends that opted for the G43 when it came out, which means I have thrown plenty of range rounds. The 43 just… didn’t really do it for me.

Now I know that a slim, single-stack 9mm was absolutely what the Glock audience clamored for. For years. And Glock did succeed in making a tiny, thin pistol that was still Combat Tupperware at heart. But I had two complaints about the original, that are highly personal. A lot of that had to do with timing, not the gun itself.

IWB by Crucial Concealment

First of all, the original 43 was small. Now that sounds like a stupid complaint about a CCW pistol, I know. But for my preferences, it was in fact just not enough. One could make the argument that it would do a better job of deep concealment that way, and I get it. But for my usual needs, I can get away with just a bit bigger. Which is also easier to handle and shoot, while staying below the G-19 size threshold.

G43 has no attachment rail

The second issue I had with the 43 comes from that bump in size and capacity. If I wanted a gun just a tiny bit bigger, I could find one with a matching capacity, but in 45 ACP. At the risk of committing heresy to the modern caliber thinkers, I will always choose the bigger bullet if the number of bullets has to be the same. I don’t dislike 9mm, but I expect to get a few more in the pipe as the trade-off. Bullet to bullet matched, I’m going with the ashtray.

Glock factory mag

Which brings us to the 43X. X, in Glock speak, is a new series of guns that I call hybrids. The hybrid part meaning a shorter slide, with a longer grip. One of my favorite new guns is the 19X, which is basically a G19 slide melded with a G17 grip. The G43X retains the slim, short 3.41-inch barrel of the 43, but extends the grip by 3/4ths of an inch.

Ameriglo front sight

And it is a critical 3/4ths of an inch. That difference feels remarkable in the hand. I can get all my fingers on the grip, as well as more support hand palm, which enhances shoot ability by a huge margin. This also increases capacity from 6 to 10 in the magazine, a margin that makes me more comfortable going down to 9mm. Plus, the aftermarket loves Glock. Our friends at Gun Mag Warehouse sent over the ETS 19 rounders, which solves a lot of problems on the reload.

With ETS 19 rounder

Feeling one at the gun store was enough to engage my curiosity, and I’m glad it did. The 43X puts Glock back on the table for my CCW needs, and then it just gets better. The 43X has a built in beavertail to the frame, to prevent “ Glock bite” if you have bear paws. This is an option via backstrap replacement on other Gen 5 Glocks, and a design change I like a lot. On the subcompacts, it is an outstanding idea to just be built in.

Internals

My test 43X shipped with the Ameriglo Bold sights from the factory, which I highly recommend. The sight features a tritium center, which does the job of night shooting. But new for this generation of sight is a super bright orange outer ring, for daily light visibility. The Ameriglo’s easily compete with fiber optic fronts for rapid daytime acquisition, while keeping a night option onboard. This is an excellent development in sights, and I could not be more happy Glock offers it as a factory option.

Lots of options from Crucial Concealment

The second defining feature of the G43X has to be its trigger. I shoot Glocks all the time, and I was present for the first media event introducing the Gen 5 guns. While the Gen 5 family has supposedly a better factory trigger, the improvement on the full-size guns is marginal. Yes, it is better than Gen 4 or 3 out of the box. But not that much better. Something really changed with the slimline guns. The 43X trigger feels like a Gen 3 with a LOT of work done to it, and that is a high compliment. I would dare call it the best out of the box trigger in a Glock to date. By a long shot.

OWB holster and mag carrier

A lot of 43X reviews advertise the overall width at 1 inch, which is not exactly true. The slide is only .87 inches wide, while the frame does flair out a bit to 1.06 inches. That is not a huge margin, but it does make the 43X feel extremely thin while carrying. Don’t write this off as “just as thin” as competitors. To get one that “feels” as small, you would have to go down to a Kel—Tec PF9.

Tested with Hornady XTP

And that reflected in carrying. Using both an IWB and OWB from Crucial Concealment, I found the 43X to be remarkably comfortable. I have often reflected that width matters in CCW, and grip length is largely negligible. The 43X fits that bill. It is almost unnoticeable in the waist band, and the grip disappears even under a t-shirt. Point Glock, all around.

Fit with factory mag

Shooting the 43X is where the money really gets made. Especially if you carry a full size Glock for duty or competition. Despite carrying a different CCW brand for the last 7 years, I found myself instantly indexing the 43X. It points and shoots like a Glock, because it is a Glock. Which is very hard to argue with. After one range session, I found myself questioning my personal choice in carry. Which is about the highest praise I can give.

Fit with Shield Arms mag

It ran flawlessly. It says Glock on the side, is that really a surprise? Moving on then.

Okay, let’s talk about the elephant in the room, the 10 round capacity. Now all things being equal, I would have to ding the 43X here for only 10. Because it is competing with the P365XL at 12 rounds, and the Springfield Armory Hellcat at 13. Now is +2 or +3 enough to really matter, in a CCW confrontation? Probably not. But it is less bullets, and I’m not gonna ignore that reality. So while 10 is probably plenty, I would have to rate the 43X at like 4.5 stars out of 5.

Except…..

Hellcat left, 43X right

The aftermarket fixed the problem. In probably the greatest non factory move of all time, a company called Shield Arms stepped into the breech for Glock. Shield Arms manages to up the capacity to 15, in a flush fit magazine. What is this witchcraft? Glad you asked.

Shield Arms 15 and 20

The big change is the magazine material. Glock builds magazines one way, polymer over steel. Which we really can’t fault, because Glock mags are tough as nails. Glock mags are so good, almost every Pistol Caliber Carbine on Earth is built to use them. But, it does take real estate to craft them this way. Polymer is thick at the appropriate rigidness, which eats up space in the magwell.

Hellcat bottom, 43X top

So Shield Arms essentially pirated the architecture of a P365 or Hellcat magazine and built it for the Glock. The all-steel magazine is thinner than the factory model and allows something like a 1.5 stack. Not a true double stack, but similar to how Sig crammed 12 into the P365 magazine. And for the 43X, it is game changing.

Shield Arms recommended mag release

With the Shield Arms add on (and recommended Shield Arms steel magazine release), the 43X actually passes its competitors in capacity. Flush fit, the 43X overall length is very close to either the P365 with a 12 rounder, or the Hellcat with 13. But the 43X now has a capacity of 15.

20 rounder inserted in gun

Oh, you wanted more? Good. Shield Arms also makes a baseplate for their magazine that bumps capacity to 20. Which is an insane amount of bullets for a gun this size. I was skeptical, but the Shield Arms magazines run flawlessly.

Which makes the 43X a serious contender for best CCW gun of all time. Even at 10 rounds, from the factory, the 43X is pretty damn good. But boosted with Shield Arms mags? This is a package that is very hard to beat.  

For more information visit GLOCK website.

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About the author: Clay Martin is a former Marine and Green Beret, retiring out of 3rd Special Forces Group. He is a multi-decade and -service sniper, as well as 3-Gun competitor and Master ranked shooter in USPSA Production. In addition to writing about guns, he is the author of “Last Son of The War God,” a novel about shooting people that deserve it. You can also follow him on twitter, @offthe_res or his website, Off-The-Reservation.com

{ 28 comments… add one }
  • Brian January 23, 2022, 10:46 am

    When you started using the Shield magazine did you switch to the steel mag release? In the photos it appears to be the stock plastic one. Good read.

  • ArvadaDude August 28, 2020, 3:44 pm

    I have large hands and wear a large glove. I own the Ruger LCP, the KelTec .380 and carry a Glock 26 most every day.

    I’m not really a whiner when it comes to the gun size. If I want a compact gun I carry it, if I want a sub-compact I carry it.

    That whole children’s book story of the girl that slept on 8 mattresses but could still feel the pea between the mattress comes to mind.

    I have shot the G43 and had no problems. I’ve shot NAA .22’s all the way up to the Desert Eagle .50. With training and range time you can shoot ANY gun.

    When I read a review where the writer is complaining about comfort I wonder is this a full grown man or a 8 year old girl? Shoot the gun, review it or start writing articles about something else.

  • maddog August 28, 2020, 12:09 pm

    slim, your comment is ignorant and you obviously know nothing about the concealed carry needs of others. i’m a harley rider and i carry a s&w shield for a good reason. while riding, my iwb holster and shield pistol barely touch the seat of my harley, if the barrel was any longer the pistol would be pushed up and out of the holster. so much for your ridiculous long barrel theory. may work fine for you while sitting home in your recliner pushing your opinion on others, but in reality you are totally wrong.

  • Josh Golden August 28, 2020, 9:39 am

    Same lousy trigger as all Glocks?

  • ERICK August 28, 2020, 8:33 am

    I didnt know so many petulant children read Gun america digest?

  • Justamessenger August 25, 2020, 4:13 pm

    G43X and G48, now available with MOS (Modular Optic System).

  • Chris August 25, 2020, 1:17 am

    I understand what you’re trying to say about 9mm and penetration tests through car windows etc. You have to understand most CPL gun owners would be breaking the law in situations like that. As far as knock down power and surgery is probably not going to save your attacker’s life, stick with the 45 acp. Don’t forget they have also made advances in 45 velocity also, just hold a 9mm next to a 45 acp and tell me what common sense tells you for at least home defense.

  • Brian August 24, 2020, 8:49 pm

    People with booger fingers should not be handling firearms until they are continuously trained that they keep their fingers out of the trigger. There are no fire arm accidents! Only abuse and miss guided handling and storage of the firearm. Oh we must include stupidity.

  • Rex August 24, 2020, 7:34 pm

    Moron. Save your sophomoric hyperbole for the other forums you haunt.

  • Arch August 24, 2020, 4:55 pm

    What are the other contenders, Clay?

  • Gary Stolp August 24, 2020, 3:08 pm

    Glock seems to be busy making more new models to fix nonexistent problems. They really need to fix their 6 shot .380 and 9MM with an 8 round magazine. Those of us with ordinary or large size hands need a place to wrap our pinky around. Still waiting for Glock or one of the other magazine manufacturers to fix this!

  • Slim August 24, 2020, 2:53 pm

    Funniest thing I hear about people who clearly don’t pay attention or carry concealed at all let alone daily is the fact the slide length means NOTHING in the way of concealment unless you wear the lame super tight painted on paints and an even lamer shirt that matches being super tight and also looking like it was painted on like a 90’s super model with legit paint on their bodies. The slide is always inside your pants so who cares how long it is in regards to concealing since its in your pants! So the immunity g that is really seen in a CC is the handle or grip of the gun so down at maternity you use a G43X or a G19 as they ARE basically the same exact size in regards to length which is what is open see as a bulge when concealed. So saying this guy likes the huge G17 sized frame with a shorter slide of the G19 which I already said is 100% always hidden in true CC makes me wonder about his logic! So you keep the part that’s hard to conceal which is the only reason for a G43 and then want the shorter slide with much shorter sight picture which is always a negative no matter the gun and think some how it conceals better… Again don’t get this guy’s logic! If you like the G43x, buy the G19! The G19 is the same basic over all size since they are the same gun minus a G43 a thousandths in width. Put a G19 next to a G43x and notice they are the same gun except ones barely thinner and that small amount of width isn’t are ‘ll going to hide the gun any better in regards to length which IS the problem as the handle is all that sticks out of your pants. this entire article should of been compared to a G19 and then you’d see the logic behind all I’ve said. Trust me you want the longer slide always with a longer sight picture! And if you like the length of the G43x and some how have convinced yourself you need the very few thousandths of width then buy the model I can’t remember right now that is the same as the G43X except with the longer slide and sight picture that also has the same mag sold by the same company with 15 rounds of 9mm. All so if you buy these mags you MUST use their specific metal mag release since they know of course won’t out right say it which is super shady in my opinion since a steel mag being held in by a polymer mag catch WILL cause the polymer to fail and one day you’ll end up with a mag on the floor and wonder why! They should be honest and tell people that since most people don’t think and just buy junk. Again, Google a G19 next to a G43x and all I’ve said will e crystal clear! Good luck!

  • Scott August 24, 2020, 1:40 pm

    I too have purchased the Shield Arms magazines, for my Glock 48. After about 200 rounds through each, being a mixture of factory hollow points, ball, and my reloads (hint: my reloads are not great), without failures of any kind, I am convinced that they work for EDC. The single-ish stack idea from Glock was and is so completely dumb. Compared to a P365XL with it’s 15 round mag, the Glock 48 with the 15 round mag is better overall IMO although it would be nice if Glock would mold the rail into its frame like it does on other models.

    • Scott September 21, 2020, 12:09 am

      And now the MOS version is available with a molded rail. Sweet!

  • Richard McNew August 24, 2020, 12:30 pm

    Where can you find the package you reviewed for the Glock 43x?

  • Gustavo Galar August 24, 2020, 11:59 am

    Simple not true!
    Check the incident of Tim Grims with glock 21 in 45 ACP
    As well as the new FBI reports on that subject. I’m fortunate to know an FBI agent who works on that subjects and he highly recommended 9mm over 45 acp for several reasons. Control, capacity, penetration and damage (according to forensics)
    Best regards
    GG

  • marcus August 24, 2020, 11:27 am

    SWEET!!!

  • Dump August 24, 2020, 11:04 am

    I hate the term “Game Changer” that’s so often over used, but the 15 round mag for the 43X fits the bill. I own an original 43, and with it’s limited capacity, I just don’t carry it anymore. And the frame is smaller, so it won’t work with the 43X mags.

    As far as Glocks go, I’ve owned, carried and shot them for 30 years. Never had one just “go off”. No external safety needed, just keep your finger away from the trigger until you’re ready to fire. This seems to be a training issue, not a gun issue. And no different than the countless striker fired copies on the market now.

  • bill ric August 24, 2020, 10:08 am

    It still a glock POS!

  • Bad Penguin August 24, 2020, 8:57 am

    To many people cant seem to keep their booger pickers off the trigger and have negligent discharges resulting in serious injuries. Funny how so many of the result in shooting themselves in the groin. If you have small children around a safety is always advised. They seem to find everything.

    There are aftermarket safeties out there that require some mods to the pistol frame but the work great.

  • Harold Littell August 24, 2020, 8:46 am

    My first hand gun I bought when I turned 21 was a brand new G-17 gen 2. Worst trigger ever? You’ve never shot a S&W Sigma or 1895 Nagant I take it?

  • Bad Penguin August 24, 2020, 8:32 am

    Just a few random thoughts.

    @5 years ago the idea Glock would make a single stack pistol was heresy and Glock fanboys would get pissed at the suggestion. After one came out all of a sudden it was the holy grail people had been waiting for.

    I like the feel of a Glock in my hand but the triggers have always sucked. The Gen2 triggers were the absolute worse pistol triggers ever made. An after marked upgrade makes them tolerable. Gen4 Triggers are OK but not great. Its a shame Glock cant seem to make a great trigger system. I also wish they would use aluminum triggers. I can feel the triggers slightly distorting when I pull the trigger. Its distracting.

    I like my Gen4 G26 but it needed some upgrades too. Mag sleeves so it can use G19 15 rd mags and fits my hand better and Ghost sites for faster target acquisition. Its still a small package but with 5 additional rounds.

    If the Author likes a .45 like I do I suggest using Underwood or LeHigh Defense solid copper max defender or penetrator rounds.

  • Wil Ferch August 24, 2020, 8:17 am

    Concealment is largely a matter of pistol “height” which translates to grip length. It (43X) already “starts off” too tall to be an ideal concealment piece for most people.

  • Steve Ryder August 24, 2020, 6:57 am

    I just can’t bring myself to own a Glock anything. However functional it may be, it will always be an ugly plastic water pistol. A toilet plunger is functional, so is a sigmoidoscope or a set of dental braces. I’ve always owned beautiful guns. From a Smith & Wesson model 19 with a 2.5″ barrel in deep blue, to a tastefully, technically tricked out 1911 with 10,000 year-old Mastodon bone grips. Rifles were a Winchester ’73, Weatherby 270, and a Winchester .458 African. when concealment was important, I had a German-model original Walther PPK. A Volvo station wagon may be a fine car, but I drive a classic Mustang and a modern black Cadillac. See my point? Your wife doesn’t have to be beautiful – but your girlfriend does.

    As a police officer I found that when off duty or undercover my guns had DETERRENT power when pointed at a miscreant, and I consequently never had to shoot anybody. I usually accompanied my drawdown with some cute remark like “I don’t know what you’re reachin’ for, but it better be a sandwich because you’re gonna have to eat it.” or “Move and you die where you stand.” Somehow I’m not sure this ugly little plastic “thing” would stop a meth head in his tracks. You might have to shoot him – 15 times with those little bullets. FBI reports of shootouts with felons show the .45 to be a one-shot stop 95% of the time. I have nothing further, your Honor.

    • ES September 18, 2020, 6:04 pm

      Lol… now that’s perfect

  • Richard August 24, 2020, 6:40 am

    I have a 43x with the 15 round mag and they run flawlessly. My only issue is no safety which I am sure many people enjoy.

  • Josh August 24, 2020, 5:25 am

    A buddy introduced me to Shield Arms magazines in his 43X about 3 months ago. Prior to that fateful day, I swore I’d never buy another compact Glock (my EDC being the 19X). That night I ordered 4 of Shield Arms mags, and the next day I bought a 43X.

    Since then, I’ve purchased 5 more Shield Arms mags, added +5’s to 3 of them, and made the 43X my EDC (with two 20 rounders on the belt of course).

    Regardless if I’m running the flush 15’s, or the +5 20’s, these magazines RUN, RUN, RUN. Shield Arms is the best thing to happen to Glock in a very long time.

  • DrThunder88 August 24, 2020, 4:44 am

    The 48 is one of the best feeling, sweetest shooting guns I’ve gotten my hands on in a long time. When I finally got a hold of the Shield Arms S15 magazines, it was like the stars aligned. The only problem I had was some Glock bite that a more pronounced beavertail would remedy. I doubt Glock will change their magazine game anytime soon, but the S15 mags should open up the field to create more pistol models based on it. I could easily see a duty version of the 48 with a rail that takes off, and interchangeable backstraps would be a great choice for future generations.

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