In early March of 2015, we got to do an unprecedented tour of the Glock factory and also test the company’s newest pistol, the 9mm Glock 43.
For years, the legions of Glock fans have asked for a slimmer version of the subcompact 9mm “baby Glock” G26, which was introduced in 1996 with a 10-round standard magazine. A more slender variation with a single-stack magazine, these folks reasoned, would be both more comfortable and concealable when carried inside the waistband, and it would be more amenable to pocket carry.
The answer to that long demand, the G43, has a six-round magazine like its 2014 predecessor, the immensely popular G42 in .380 ACP. In each case, one reason for the short butt was to facilitate comfortable, accessible carry and draw from a trouser pocket holster.
Both internally and externally, the G43 has more in common with the G42 than with earlier 9mm Glocks. The front of the grip frame is straight with no finger grooves. In fact, at 0.87 inches, the G43’s slide is the slimmest one that Glock has ever put on a pistol chambered for the 9mm cartridge. Manipulation of the slide, which runs on a double captive recoil spring assembly, did not prove difficult. If you’ve held the G42, the G43 feels like the same gun on a very mild dose of steroids.
Where you find the major dose of steroids is in the cartridge the G43 is chambered for. The 9mm is the standard U.S. military pistol cartridge, and has been since the mid-1980s. It is standard issue for many police departments and, in fact, there is currently a trend for law enforcement agencies with more powerful pistols to swap for 9mm designs. By contrast, no police agency in the U.S. issues the .380 ACP as a primary uniform patrol pistol; it’s a question of adequate power. The G43 is not only chambered for full-power 9mm loads, but rated for hot +P ammunition.
Trigger reach from the backstrap is 2.56 inches on the G43, which is distinctly shorter than the wider-gripped G26 but longer than the 2.40-inch reach on the G42. The trigger-reach dimension is a key to the oft-quoted phrase “the gun should fit your hand.” Glock’s standard-frame 9mm pistols, from the short G26 to the long-slide G34, are optimized for an average-sized, adult male hand, with the pad of the distal phalange centered on the trigger. In such a hand, the crease at the distal joint of the trigger finger falls naturally center on the G43’s trigger. This is the finger/trigger interface that old time double-action revolver masters called the “power crease,” because it gives the shooter more leverage. A very short-fingered person will find the pad of their trigger finger hitting the center of the G43’s trigger. One 5-foot-tall female shooter in our test group loved the fit, and exclaimed, “I want one!”
We shot standard-pressure 9mm FMJ ammunition (mostly MagTech at my end of the range) during our early exposure to the Glock 43. Recoil was heavier than that of a G42 in .380 ACP, naturally, and since the G43 weighs barely over 16 ounces unloaded, it moves more in the hand upon firing than the thicker G26, which has more mass to soak up recoil. Nonetheless, everyone I talked to felt the G43’s recoil was mild. The shooter I was with, who, like me, is a veteran of high-round-count shooting classes and matches, agreed with me that we’d have no concerns about taking a G43 for an extended shooting session.
The sights are the same as on other Glock models: a fixed white-outline rear sight and a white-dot front sight. We were told night sights would soon be available as a factory option. The gun will come with two 6-round magazines, one flat-bottom magazine for maximum concealment and the other with a flange for the pinkie finger, which many shooters find more comfortable for shooting.
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Jamming when fired from a limp-wrist hold is a concern with many autopistols, but there’s no reason to be concerned about that with the G43 from what I could see. I “barely held” the test G43, with wrist and elbow deliberately limp, and while there was profound muzzle jump at each shot, the pistol cycled every time. The G43 also ran fine when fired upside down, which some gunsmiths think is a good test of an autoloader’s cyclic reliability.
I am one of many people on the waiting list for their own Glock 43. It will be fun to put it through its paces. So far, the Glock 43 is a very promising concealed-carry pistol. Most in the industry expect it to be hugely popular.
For more information, visit http://us.glock.com or call 770-432-1202.