The Glock 43 marked a significant change in Glock’s product line when it was released. Featuring a single-stack magazine instead of Glock’s usual double stack, the 43 aimed to be more concealable than Glock’s earlier subcompacts, like the Glock 26. The earlier subcompacts were often criticized for being too thick, as they were practically the same thickness as the full-size models to accommodate the same magazines as larger Glock models.
But the switch to single stack meant that Glock had to make an entirely new frame and slide, a significant investment for a single pistol. With the Glock 43X, Glock appears to be building a full family of single-stack pistols based on the Glock 43.
Like Glock’s other “Crossover” models (indicated by the X), the Glock 43X features a longer grip compared to the slide length. This was first tested with the Glock 19X, which paired a full-length Glock 17 grip with a shorter Glock 19 frame and dust cover. As there wasn’t a “full size” single-stack Glock when the 43X was made, the Glock 43X just features a longer grip meant to accommodate a full hand grip, compared to the original Glock 43 which features a short grip that may require a magazine extension for the pinky.
Interestingly, the 43X on its initial release featured only a PVD-coated stainless steel slide, breaking from Glock’s tradition of using a black Tenifer or nDLC coating on their slide. Glock’s decision to do this is uncertain, however, the 43X is a rather atypical model already in their product line being a Crossover, so the stainless slide is probably another aspect meant to make it even more distinctive. However, all black 43Xs were released in July, so the initial stainless 43X slide release could have been a marketing move.
Shooting wise, the 43X is just another Glock. Being released in 2019, it’s a fifth-generation Glock and thus benefits from the improved trigger and marksman barrel characteristic of the fifth-gen. Most reviewers appear to appreciate the improved shootability the longer Crossover grip brings, along with the increased ten-round capacity in the mag.
However, the Glock 43X may face stiff competition in the subcompact market from other recently released subcompacts. Sig Sauer, Inc. has the P365 line with a thirteen round capacity. Springfield Armory’s Hellcat is also competing in the subcompact market and features optic cuts standard on all pistols. The P365 has optic cuts as an optional upgrade on the P365XL model.
Glock has its own optic-ready models with the MOS system, but the only MOS Glocks are double-stack models as the MOS optic cut has only been engineered for wide slides. While some third-party manufacturers are already offering to mill Glock 43 slides for optics, Glock has not yet made a factory optics cut for the Glock 43 or any of its derivatives, which could hurt its competitiveness versus competing models.
However, with its extended grip, proven Glock operating action, and slim profile the Glock 43X remains one of the best choices for those looking for a concealed carry pistol on the current market. Glocks are some of the most popular pistols in the world for a reason: they just work.
Charlie Gao studied Political and Computer Science at Grinnell College and is a frequent commentator on defense and national security issues.