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[Review] Glock 43X: Better Than the Original?

Do you know what I would have said about the Glock 43X before I got my hands on one? 

I would’ve said it was just silly.

Glock G43X
Glock G43X

It didn’t provide the Glock 19-like size of the Glock 48 and wasn’t as small or as efficient as the Sig Sauer P365. It just seemed weird — size, capacity, and all.

Shield EZ, Sig Sauer P365, Glock 43
Shield EZ, Sig Sauer P365, Glock 43

But, after getting my hands on one, I found the Glock 43X to be a surprisingly awesome little gun.

So, let’s take a deeper look into the Glock 43X platform. We’ll look at what works and what doesn’t and talk about some other variants in the 43X series.

difference between screwing around and science

By the end, you’ll have a good idea of whether this is a gun you’d like to add to your concealed carry rotation.

Table of Contents

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Features & Specs 

The Glock 43X and Glock 48 premiered simultaneously at 2019’s SHOT Show. They appeared to be a reaction to guns like the Sig P365.

Glock G43X and G48
Glock G43X and G48

The Glock 43X has a short slide and barrel that tops out at 3.41 inches total with an overall length measuring 6.5 inches.

This gun weighs 18.7 ounces empty and, unlike me, the Glock 43X is a short boy at 5.04 inches tall. 

Also unlike me, the Glock 43X is narrow, only 1.06 inches wide. It’s a little gun, but it’s larger than most little guns, ya dig? 

Glock G43X
Glock G43X

Pinning down the generation of the Glock 43X is tough — it’s basically a Gen 5 design.

We see the lack of finger grooves, the front, and rear serrations, the Glock marksmen barrel, the high visibility follower, and that extended beavertail. 

However, the ambidextrous slide lock is not present on these slimline pistols. These guns exist outside of the current generation standards but maintain mostly Gen 5 goodies. 

Glock 19 Gen 5, Stock
Glock 19 Gen 5

In the box, we get two standard 10-round single-stack magazines. Compared to the Sig P365, this size isn’t exactly efficient. 

However, a company called Shield produces 15-round mags that sit flush fit with the grip and give you a bit of a boost.

ETS produces clear polymer magazines with a 19 round capacity that sit a fair bit below the grip. 

You can’t change the grip of the Glock 43X via interchangeable backstraps, so you get what you get.

Glock G43X
Shooting with an ETS extended magazine

Additionally, you get those not-so-great plastic Glock sights that will have you scrambling to find replacement sights pretty quickly. 

The Glock 43X might be a variant of the 43, but don’t expect any magazine compatibility.

Glock 43X mags won’t fit into the 43, and extended magazines designed for the Glock 43 do not function with the 43X.

I only mention this because Glock’s always championed magazine interchangeability. 

Glock G43X and G48 and Mags
Glock G43X and G48 and Mags

Glock 43X Variants 

I have the standard, boring Glock 43X. It’s black on black with nothing fancy.

This isn’t the only Glock 43X currently out there, though.

Glock originally premiered the guns with stainless steel slides, but later discontinued the stainless models. (They’re not on the website anymore, so boo on them.)

Glock G43X
Glock G43X with a stainless steel slide

But no worry, Glock has another variant of the G43X that you might want to consider — the MOS.

MOS stands for Modular Optic System, which isn’t exactly an apt description for the slimeline MOS series.

Unlike other MOS series handguns, the slimline models lack interchangeable plates. 

It comes with what’s almost the universal footprint for micro-optics, the Shield RMSc.

This footprint allows you to use optics like the Shield, as well as options for Swampfox, Riton, Holosun, and SIG.

Only Trijicon decided to take their RMRCC in a different direction with a weird footprint. 

RMRcc Mount on Glock 43x MOS
Glock 43x MOS

Besides the optic mount, the Glock 43X also comes with a small one-slot Picatinny rail.

You can easily attach a light like the TLR 7 SUB to this thing. With a light and optic, you can take your concealed carry pistol to new levels of awesome. (And weight and bulk.) 

Want to see more of the Glock 43X MOS? Check out our review or see the video below.

Who Is The G43X For? 

Obviously, this is a weapon designed for concealed carry.

It’s small, lightweight, and rather easy to handle. The Glock 43X looks weird size-wise, but it actually makes a little sense once you start slinging lead. 

It’s a perfect option for a new concealed carrier or a concealed carrier who wants a comfortable gun.

Glock G43X
Glock G43X

First, the shorter barrel and slide make the G43X a better option for deep concealment and even OWB.

But why would you want the longer grip of the 43X, though? If you want a short gun, wouldn’t you just go with the Glock 43?

Well, the Glock 43X provides a short, easily concealable barrel with a grip that fills the hand.

Instead of having a two-finger grip, you can fit the whole band on the 43X’s big grip. More grip equals more comfort and ultimately more control. 

Comfortable Ariel

I never enjoyed shooting the Glock 43, but I enjoy shooting the 43X. 

The standard 43X is great for concealed carry, but the MOS series would be even a respectable choice for home defense.

Paired with a light and optic, you can solve a lot of problems.

To The Range 

I hit my backyard range with a bucket of ammo and both ETS and Shield magazines.

I wanted to try a little bit of everything to see if it was best to stick to OEM or if the aftermarket functioned well.

Ammo-wise, I brought some standard 115-grain FMJs, some hefty 147-grain subsonic loads, and a few 124-grain +P JHPs to round things off. 

Glock G43X Magazines
Glock G43X Magazines

My experience with the OG Glock 43 wasn’t great — it tore my hand up and I got some hefty slide bite. In general, it wasn’t a great pistol for me.

I didn’t approach the Glock 43X with high hopes but I felt pleasantly surprised. 

That little extra beavertail does wonders for protecting my mitts from that dreaded slide bite.

Shooting the Glock 43X
Shooting the Glock 43X

I can still get a nice high grip on the gun and maximize control. Not to mention, that big grip fills my hands perfectly! 

My biggest pet peeve is a hanging pinky, and it occurs more often than not with my 2XL sized hands and me. So I can’t hate the G43X.

How I feel shooting with that hanging pinky.

I ran a number of drills with the gun and found my ability to reload to be quite nice. 

With a lot of small guns, including the Sig P365 and Hellcat, I have to essentially release most of my grip on the gun to allow the magazine to fall.

The magazines feature pinky extensions, and my pinky pins them in the gun and prevents them from dropping free. 

With the slightly longer Glock grip, my finger never interacts with the magazine, and no pinky extension is required.

This way, the magazines just drop out, and I can reload quite quickly. Just for fun, I shot the El Pres side by side with the Glock 43X and the P365. 

S&W M&P Shield EZ, Sig P365, Glock 43x
S&W M&P Shield EZ, Sig P365, and Glock 43x

Due to the reload, I could easily score a faster run with the G43X than the Sig P365 — a quarter of a second faster or more on each run.

A longer grip might make the gun harder to conceal, but it makes the gun oh so much easier to shoot. 

That big grip also allows me to control the weapon quite easily.

Sure, it is a little snappy due to the shorter barrel, but it doesn’t try to wrestle its way out of your hands. The short slide makes tracking the front sight easy and getting back on target quick. 

Even with the more powerful 124-grain +P JHPs, the Glock 43X proves itself controllable and easy to wield. 

Shooting the Glock G43X
Shooting the Glock G43X

What about accuracy? Well, I saved it for last for a reason. On my first range trip, I thought the gun was all over the place. I thought I sucked at shooting. 

Well, it turns out the rear sight was drifted slightly to the right.

Other than my Vickers Gen 3 gun, every other Glock I’ve purchased has had an offset rear sight placement.

A little Kentucky windage is all it took to fix the problem, but it did make precision shooting more or a gamble. At 25-yards, I can clear my gong rack. 

Glock G43X
Glock G43X

A series of 4- to 8-inch gongs occupy the rack, making them spin and swing isn’t tough to do.

It’s no marksmen pistol, but it’s more accurate than any concealed carrier will likely require.

If you’ve ever fired a Glock, you know what to expect trigger-wise. 

Glock G43X Trigger Press
A Glock trigger is a Glock trigger is a Glock trigger.

It’s a bit stiff, but the pull is short, and it breaks consistently. The reset is quite tactile and very audible.

It’s not bad by any means and represents your standard duty style striker-fired trigger well. 

Like a Glock, it runs reliably and goes bang with every trigger pull. Not only with the OEM magazines, but the Shield mags and the ETS mags work wonderfully. 

Must-Have Accessories 

Though not a feature of the gun itself, it’s always a big bonus to be able to find useful accessories for a new piece. 

Shield Arms S15 Magazines

These 15-round magazines give the Glock 43X the micro compact treatment and add five more rounds in a flush-fitting magazine.

Shield vs Stock Glock 43x Mag
Shield vs Stock Glock 43x Mag

If you plan to use them long-term, then you’ll need to replace your polymer magazine release with a metal one to avoid it being chewed up. 

Tyrant Designs Magwell

This micro magwell is all metal and makes slamming home magazines a fair bit faster, and even provides a nice textured area for your hand to rest. 

Elite Tactical Systems Magazines

Need an extended mag? Or fairly priced training mag? Then the ETS magazines offer a rock-solid little option at a very low price point. 

By The Numbers 

Reliability 5/5

Glock’s bread and butter is simplicity and reliability — the 43X has that in spades. I’ve yet to run into a single malfunction of any type. I’d love to put a wider variety of ammo through it, but with things the way they are, it’s not an easy task to accomplish. 

Accuracy 4/5

It’s a small pistol, so it will never be a bullseye pistol. I was annoyed the sights were moved slightly to the right, but it didn’t affect the gun’s mechanical accuracy. And it puts rounds where I wanted them. 

Ergonomics 4/5

Like most Glocks, the slide release gets pinned down by my thumbs. Other than that, I can’t complain ergonomically. The simple controls are easy to reach, the grip is thin, and reloads are fast. 

Customization 5/5

Again, it’s a Glock, and as a Glock, it’s very simple. Simple allows for near-endless customization. You can swap triggers, magazine releases, slide locks, add magwells, barrels, and whatever else you want to customize your G43X. 

Glock G43X and Custom Glock
Trick Glocks out any which way.

Value 3.5/5

This might seem harsh, but the $450 price tag puts it in the realm of guns like the Sig P365 and Hellcat but it doesn’t pack the same punch. The plastic sights and the only okay trigger bring the value down. 

Overall 4/5

The Glock 43X brings Glock to a more modern concealed carry market. It’s easy to shoot, easy to carry, and makes for a potent defensive firearm. The Glock 43X is a very competent concealed carry pistol and performs admirably as a combat pistol. 

Conclusion

The Glock 43X put the comfortable in comfortable concealed carry. It’s also super easy to shoot and perfectly capable of defensive shooting.

As you’d imagine, it’s a Glock, and Glocks do a lot of things right.

If you’re looking for a thin little 9mm that’s also fairly easy to shoot and control, then the G43X has your number. 

And once you’ve picked one up, make sure to check out how to field strip the Glock 43X in the video below.

Have you shot the Glock 43X? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments below. For more 9mm pistol recommendations, check out our list of the 13 Best 9mm Pistols.

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15 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Jason B Israel

    Got my 43X at a gun show (New) as well as a used one 1 year later also because of my 2XL hands (Rumors are True!) and it has the best feel for a sub of all of them. I also got 2 Gen 1 and 2 Gen 2 Shield Arms S15 Mags and so far so good. I will spend time with them at the mag and put in a few 100 rounds to prove to myself, and send them back if I experience any problems. I like to clean and polish my magazines and loader ramps of all my guns that I can.

    January 16, 2022 1:06 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Greg Hodge

    After 5 years carrying the same Glock 43, every day, I still love it. No torn up hands, slide bite, or anything, however I do tend to ride the slide stop too. I'll take the concealability and reliability but not thinking I would want it to be bigger. Thanks for another great article.

    January 2, 2022 7:37 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    MysteryFro

    Not allowed to paste the url, but there is an in depth discussion on why you shouldn't use the shield arms s15 mags. Search "why shield arms s15 mags jam your glock." I'll be going 365xl or shield plus.

    January 2, 2022 4:26 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Bill Cornelius

    I carry a 43x mos with holosun 407k green dot. Great review of a great gun.

    January 2, 2022 3:46 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Mark

    The standard G43 tore up your hand? Really? And slide bite? You could just say you didn't like it. My Springfield Hellcat is quite a bit snappier than my G43 and neither have ever "tore up my hand" or given me slide bite. They're 9mm bro. C'mon man!

    January 1, 2022 10:36 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Travis L Pike

      You understand that even the most low recoiling round can create slide bite? Its not a matter of recoil

      January 1, 2022 4:17 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Jason B Israel

      I never had Slide Bite with the 43X but I did need to use 1500 Grit on the beavertail where it rubs on the webbing between the thumb and index finger since it had a texture that worked like sandpaper have shooting quite a few rounds through it. My other 9MM is a Glock 17 and it never had that issue. It is a very short barrel, so it has more of a kick and you need to adjust for it.

      January 16, 2022 1:10 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    BusySig

    Yeah, Glocks...need perfection, a lot of it.

    December 31, 2021 11:41 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      DetroitMan

      This is a Glock for the person who refuses to shoot anything but a Glock. The P365 and the Hellcat simply offer more for the same money. I'm sure the 43X is a good gun, but better designs made it obsolete before it left the drawing board. There is no reason to get one other than brand loyalty.

      January 1, 2022 7:26 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        jusin

        What does The P365 and the Hellcat offer more?

        January 2, 2022 5:26 am
        • Commenter Avatar
          Jared

          Capacity, ergonomics, better trigger, better sights, better texturing...

          January 2, 2022 12:41 pm
          • Commenter Avatar
            justin

            doesn't the 43x have a 15rd capacity by shield, and isn't glock more reliable? isn't that the most important thing in a edc?

            January 2, 2022 1:37 pm
          • Commenter Avatar
            Brian Moseley

            Show me where the 43x is more reliable than any other gun.

            January 2, 2022 1:52 pm
        • Commenter Avatar
          jim henkel

          Interesting; I have a 48, .4" longer barrel is only spec difference over the 43X; still see no reason for a 43X over the 48. (?) For my EDC, I'm happy with the 48.

          January 2, 2022 3:49 pm
          • Commenter Avatar
            Jason B Israel

            I don't have a 48 but I wanted to use the Urban Carry G3 Holster, which is my EDC and nobody has ever noticed me carrying (I also don't tell) my oldest is a police officer and I ask him to detect if I am carrying in jeans or cargo shorts and it doesn't show. I am down to a 2 pack so no appendix carry for me.

            January 16, 2022 1:13 pm
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