I first learned of the GLOCK pistol in the early 1980s from a gun magazine publisher named Phil Engeldrum. He said this crazy new gun he saw in Europe was going to catch on. Phil also famously said, “If you need to carry a gun, you probably need to carry two of them.” He was right on both counts.
Over the years I’ve seen cases of cops and armed citizens who survived because, when they ran out of ammo or their gun was taken from them or lost in a struggle or jammed, they had the “second chance” that a backup gun provides. And I’ve also seen cases of cops and civilians who died or were permanently injured because in such circumstances they had no other gun to fall back on.
The new GLOCK 43, designed for maximum concealment and comfort of carry, ideally fits the role of backup gun for many. When overburdened with a duty belt so laden with equipment that it may weigh more than 15 pounds, a lightweight firearm deserves important consideration, and the G43 delivers. A backup gun is best carried hidden, to give the officer a “secret weapon” in case he or she is initially caught unaware and disarmed at gunpoint. The small footprint and extremely flat profile of the G43 comes into its own here, too. And because in a situation this desperate you really need truly effective stopping power, the 9×19 cartridge has an obvious advantage over the .380 AUTO round.
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The recoil is, of course, snappier than a .380 AUTO pistol, but it’s nothing you can’t control. I’ve seen petite women not only shoot the GLOCK 43 well but adopt it as their primary concealed-carry gun. The qualification I shot with my own GLOCK 43 gave me a 100-percent score, and included both left-hand-only and right-hand-only shooting. I for one can’t ask for anything better than that.
For the New York Police Department, where most of its army of officers have chosen the GLOCK 19 as a service pistol, the GLOCK 26 is already a favorite backup gun, but the street cops have clamored for a smaller GLOCK and the department is now testing the G43. Most observers expect the subcompact to be approved. It has already been adopted as an issued backup gun by the Georgia State Patrol and the Marietta, Georgia, Police Department.
An ankle holster is fast to reach if you’re down on your back or belted into the front seat of a patrol car. One of the wisest tactical gurus in modern policing, retired Police Chief Jeff Chudwin, tells me that he has adopted the G43 as his new ankle gun. He is very happy with its shooting characteristics and has put literally “buckets o’ bullets” through his G43 without a malfunction. One major law enforcement agency is already issuing the G43 to its uniformed personnel, with ankle holsters, as a mandated backup gun.
The vest holster is another option for backup carry, and it comes in two flavors. Long ago, officer survival guru Jim Horan created the first vest holster, designed to slide onto the straps that secure concealed body armor worn under the uniform shirt. There are now several versions available from several makers.
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Pocket carry is another option, and it’s the method I prefer since I’ve worked in plainclothes for some time now at my department. I like the backup to be on the side opposite the holstered service gun, and I appreciate being able to have my hand already in a drawing grasp on the concealed pistol while still appearing low profile. In carrying the GLOCK 43 in a pocket holster in the left-front pants pocket, I was pleased to find that the configuration of the G43’s reversible magazine catch did not allow it to be accidentally activated (causing the mag to drop out), as happens so often with most other pocket-sized pistols. I really appreciate that. I also appreciate that with the flat-bottom magazine (one of two that come with the gun, the other having an extension for the pinky finger), the G43’s extremely short butt allows for better concealment as well as faster access and draw from a trouser pocket.
Whether you’re a law enforcement officer or an at-risk civilian, if you appreciate the value of a backup gun, you really owe yourself a look at the GLOCK 43.