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Gun Legends: Why the Glock 43 Is One Great Self Defense Gun

Glock 43
Glock 43. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Glock 43: A Great Gun for Self Defense and Concealed Carry? Subcompact guns, like subcompact automobiles, are designed to fulfill a very narrow mission set. Neither are for everybody, and feature significant trade-offs to appeal to a specific type of customer. You won’t find a small pistol shorter than the length of your hand in the arsenals of most world armies, but they are ideal for everyday civilians who need to discreetly carry a firearm on them in public. The Glock 43 is possibly the best combination of mobility, discretion, and firepower on the civilian handgun market.

The Glock 43, also known as the G43, seems like a smart edition to the Glock family. Glock was made famous when novice gunmaker Gaston Glock produced the G17 pistol to fulfill an Austrian Army contract. The double-action, polymer gun with a large seventeen-round ammunition capacity quickly won a reputation for reliability, accuracy and ease of maintenance. Its use of polymers quickly made it a media sensation for allegedly being “invisible” to airport security X-ray machines, although the reality was that the pistol profile was still easily visible in an X-ray scanner.

From the single G17, Glock’s product line slowly spread out across calibers and sizes, producing standard-sized, compact and subcompact pistols in nine-millimeter, .40 Smith & Wesson, ten-millimeter Auto, .45 ACP, .45 G.A.P, .380 Auto and .357 Sig. Standard handguns, such as the nine-millimeter G17 and the .40 caliber G22, are generally issued to police departments and armies as sidearms. Compact handguns, such as the G19, are generally slightly shorter in barrel length and ammunition capacity, and make easily storable home-defense weapons.

Subcompact handguns, on the other hand, are built for carrying. The subcompact must balance a bullet powerful enough to stop a threat with the fact that the gun carries fewer of them in order to remain small and unobtrusive. Subcompacts must be small and ideally narrow in order to prevent “printing,” the dreaded phenomenon when the profile of a handgun is visible underneath clothing.

The G43 fulfills the ideal subcompact gun criteria on a number of fronts. The pistol is Glock’s first so-called “single-stack” subcompact handgun; while handguns with relatively small nine-millimeter bullets pack them into two narrow columns in the magazine, the Glock 43 has only a single column of six bullets. Although far from the G17’s seventeen rounds of ammunition, the user has the option of using more powerful ammunition. Called +P loads, the ammunition uses more or different gunpowder to achieve higher pressures and faster bullet velocities.

The G43 is also one of the smallest pistols in its class, measuring a mere 6.26 inches long and 4.25 inches high. Width, a key consideration for a gun that must be concealed on a person, is an remarkable 1.02 inches. The G43 has a barrel length of 3.39 inches, more more than half the length of the gun, and a loaded weight of 22.36 ounces, or less than a pound and a half.

As a smaller, lighter pistol possibly loaded with “hotter” +P loads, the Glock 43 is theoretically a candidate for recoil handling issues. The gun’s “pointability,” or how easily it is to bring on target, coupled with aggressive texturing on the gun’s polymer grip, make it easier to control. The low round count in the magazine will also guarantee that the use won’t fire more than one or two rounds at a time.

Concealed-carry handguns are highly specialized handguns with one mission: actively defend the user until the user is clear of the threat or the threat is eliminated. In situations with other guns present, their limitations make them purely defensive in nature. A concealed-carry handgun owner needs a pistol that can squeeze as much performance out of a small and unobtrusive package as possible. The Glock 43 is one example of such a pistol.

Kyle Mizokami is a defense and national-security writer based in San Francisco who has appeared in the Diplomat, Foreign Policy, War is Boring and the Daily Beast. In 2009 he cofounded the defense and security blog Japan Security Watch.

Written By

Kyle Mizokami is a defense and national-security writer based in San Fransisco. His work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Esquire, The National Interest, Car and Driver, Men's Health, and many others. He is the founder and editor for the blogs Japan Security Watch, Asia Security Watch and War Is Boring.

15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Ed Raley

    December 26, 2021 at 7:39 pm

    The Glock system and others that followed it comprise the most dangerous and poorly designed handguns ever…. To carry a Glock is comparable to carrying a loaded, cocked revolver. Neither one has an external safety, and don’t tout that trigger horror story. All bolt action rifles are striker fired, as is the Glock but you will not find a bolt action rifle without an external safety. Why, you ask… BECAUSE IT WOULD BE UNSAFE and the experts know this… so why is the Glock allowed to exist without an external safety…?

  2. robert henderson

    December 26, 2021 at 8:53 pm

    Must be an amazingly safe place the US when millions carry guns for SELF DEFENCE. Must remember never to go there.

  3. Rick Sindeband

    December 27, 2021 at 6:47 am

    The Glock 43 and the Glock 43x shown in the picture are very different handguns. If you are talking about the 43 you should show that picture.

  4. Dane

    December 27, 2021 at 9:44 am

    The photo used for this article is of the 43X, not the Glock 43. Two completely different guns. Way to do your research.

  5. John

    December 27, 2021 at 3:22 pm

    Seems like a smart edition??? Should be “addition”. And, as another reader noted – your article is about the Glock G43, but has a picture of the G43X – which is a completely different gun.

  6. Tim

    December 27, 2021 at 3:22 pm

    Yes, the G43 and G43X are different animals, the G43X carries ten rounds and the grip is slightly longer and wider. As to the Glock being dangerous with no external safety lever…REVOLVERS don’t have external safeties either and Americans have carried millions of those for years. What’s the point? Train and know how to safely handle and use your firearm.

  7. N Ryerson

    December 27, 2021 at 6:55 pm

    Busted. Pic is of a G43x!

  8. James Bird

    December 27, 2021 at 8:54 pm

    The G43 is NOT the first Glock single stack pistol. If you had done you homework properly, you would have known the the G36 was the first single stack Glock pistol in .45 ACP.

  9. Daniel Hoover

    December 27, 2021 at 9:41 pm

    Did he just review the 43X while calling it the 43 or the 43 while showing a photo of the 43X?🤣😂🤣

  10. Daniel Hoover

    December 27, 2021 at 9:42 pm

    @Ed Raley, Quit hating on the most carried firearm in the USA by 70% of all Law Enforcement and Military

  11. Maurice Gray

    December 28, 2021 at 6:44 am

    The article is describing the G43 a 6 plus 1 single stack 9mm while the picture is a G43X a 10 plus 1 single stack 9mm

  12. DAVID C

    December 28, 2021 at 11:28 am

    REALLY WOULDN’T MIND PURCHASING A GLOCK 43 OR 43X BUT IM BEING TOLD THEY ARE FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ONLY IN CALIFORNIA , NOT FOR THE PUBLIC

  13. Kell Dog

    December 28, 2021 at 1:07 pm

    Go move to Autralia if you don’t want to carry a gun.

  14. Scott A.

    December 28, 2021 at 6:24 pm

    Glocks are very safe pistols and have been used the world over for decades and I’ve owned and carried them myself for years. If you don’t like Glock or any of the other striker fired guns, well that’s what’s great about America, you have the choice to use something else! We’re living in a fantastic time for pistol options and you can use and carry whatever you want…unless you choose to live in California or one of the other freedom hating states where they dictate what arms you can and cannot use and even tell you how many rounds you’re allowed to carry.

  15. Yosemite sam

    December 29, 2021 at 12:40 am

    The g36 chambered in 45acp is the first single stacked glock.

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