By Will Dabbs, MD, American Handgunner
Photos: Sarah Dabbs
It seems most everybody, at least down here in the Deep South where I live, is packing for personal protection these days. Individual tastes in carry guns are as variegated as personal proclivities in music, food and politicians. As a result, gun companies have tackled the thorny problem of compact size versus downrange horsepower and divined some of the most remarkable concealable guns ever. The new GLOCK G43 breaks serious new ground for the company which really introduced the planet to the concept of plastic guns in the first place.
The New GLOCK G43 pours all which is good and wholesome about the GLOCK handgun line into a powerful 9mm pocket pistol. The resulting
gun is utterly reliable, adequate for serious social use, lightweight and relatively tiny.
Compared to these other utility handguns, the G43 is positively Lilliputian.
Externally, the gun looks like every other GLOCK pistol in the world. There’s the same charcoal color, the blocky robo-slide, and the blade safety in the trigger complementing the standard bevy of safe-action internal safety features we have come to expect. The beavertail design allows for the classic GLOCK high grip for better recoil management. The grip has scads of wee dots called cubids arrayed about its circumference to make the gun a bit easier to grasp, and dispenses with the concept of interchangeable backstraps.
The magazine release is in the expected spot and reversible for the 15 percent of the population cursed with left-handedness. The slide release is unilateral and ideally placed for the remaining 85 percent of the world’s more fortunate citizens.
The slide has the expected utilitarian vertical grooves at the back and the guide rod is polymer. The sights are robust plastic with white accents and the gun comes with two 6-round magazines, one of which sports a splendid pinky groove built into its extended baseplate. There’s no rail on the dustcover and all the edges are nicely blunted to make the gun more readily manageable from concealment. It is, however, when you turn the gun on its side you come to appreciate something is indeed amiss.
The G43 is skinny. It looks like you left a double stack 9mm G26 on a railroad track and let a train run over it. The slide width on the G43 is .87″ compared to the 1″-1.12″ standard for all the big GLOCKs, and this 1/8″ makes a remarkable difference. The resulting compact seems absolutely tiny when compared to its full-sized brethren, while keeping 6+1 rounds of 9mm mayhem handy if life really goes sideways. It’s also only about 18 ounces, empty. Light.
Compared to this full-sized GLOCK 22, the family resemblance is obvious. The G43 takes the best of the series and shrinks it down to a comfortable pocket size.
The new GLOCK G43 packs 9mm firepower into a package more typically associated with the .380 ACP. In some cases, standard .380 pocket guns
are actually larger than this Austrian design.
The GLOCK G43 is legitimately tiny while still launching bullets adequate for unpleasant social encounters. Despite its diminutive size, the G43 is
a comfortable shooter.
It’s got GLOCK stamped on the slide. This means it shoots right side up, upside down, sideways, clean or dirty. Trust me, I tried them all. You can limp wrist it to failure but not without being dangerously irresponsible. GLOCK pistols are the Kalashnikovs of the handgun world. GLOCK doesn’t release a gun to market until it can eat tens of thousands of rounds reliably, and the G43 is no exception. If you need so many bullets to deal with your problems perhaps you should consider finding yourself a better set of problems.
The G43 is plenty accurate for any reasonable defensive application. If you are trying to shoot something at 50 meters or more, you should have brought a different tool. The G43 has the same consistent, striker-driven 5.5-pound trigger pull common to all standard GLOCK handguns so unlike most other pocket guns, it’s actually easy to shoot well as a result.
Recoil is snappy with proper defensive loads but the wonderful Gen4 nested recoil spring assembly exorcises most of the meanness out of the little gun. The slide always locked back on the last round and with the spare mag in tow, it gives you 13 copper jacketed opportunities to get yourself out of trouble.
Galco makes a whole line of carry equipment suitable for the G43: from IWB deep concealment gear to OWB holsters, letting you pack the gun in complete comfort. Most other holster makers are jumping aboard too. Winchester’s “Train and Defend” line of ammunition is made for social guns like the G43. Both Winchester ball and jacketed hollowpoint rounds ran alongside every other scrap of old, weird, offbeat 9mm ammunition I could find in my extensive personal collection, all without a hiccup.
The GLOCK G43 is fairly tiny compared to its full-sized counterparts and launches a serious round which will reliably do the job. Small enough for comfortable pocket carry, this nifty little heater is just crazy reliable and runs exactly like its bigger, fatter, ubiquitous GLOCK brethren.
Therein lies the question.
With some proper carry gear and a little experience, the G43 can be carried safely concealed with a round up the pipe. However, in a presentation, which involves tugging on shirttails or groping into your waistband or pocket, you need to keep in mind this gun has no manual external safeties. This is not a negative reflection on the mechanical design of the gun but rather simply the nature of the beast. Catch the trigger on an errant button during the presentation stroke and you could conceivably shoot your own butt off. If you can’t get past this, then carry the gun with the chamber empty and train to rack the slide on the draw stroke.
There are smaller, lighter 9mm concealed carry guns on the market, but the newest pocket GLOCK strikes a splendid balance. The G43 is monotonously reliable, sports a nice tactical trigger and remains legitimately small enough to hide comfortably underneath a pair of shorts and a T-shirt.
The little gun sports a familiar manual of arms and lets you pack a serious gun comfortably without alarming the little old lady standing next to you in the checkout line. The G43 is accurate, tiny, refreshingly shootable — if this is even a word — and packs enough horsepower to get the job done. An innovative application of the revolutionary technology already making GLOCK a household term, the G43 is indeed an extraordinary little pocket rocket.
Better yet – check out subscription options to American Handgunner magazine and get it delivered to your door – Click here for subscription options.