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Glock 43x 9mm: Pros and Cons from the Range

Glock 43X Black
Glock 43X Black. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

We asked our in-house firearms expert of a range review of the Glock 43X. Here are the results: Don’t look now, but Yours Truly is writing yet another Glock article for 19FortyFive. But wait, folks, before y’all roll your eyes and say “There you go again,” this one’s going to be at least a wee bit different.

All of my other Glock reviews have been of older models – like the original Glock 17 to name just one example – that are two to four decades old, but this time I’m reviewing a model that’s less than five years old: the 9mm Glock 43X, which made its debut at the 2019 SHOT Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Wouldn’t want our dear readers to think I’m a total Luddite, would we?)

Glock 43X: Origins and Specifications

Basically, the Glock 43X takes the standard Glock 43 and upsizes the width and height of the frame in order to increase the grip size and ammo capacity from six rounds to 10 rounds whilst maintaining a slimline single-column (AKA single-stack) magazine.

As noted by the official Glock info page, “Designed for comfort, The G43X combines a compact-size grip length, a built-in beaver tail and a subcompact-slim slide for a comfortably balanced, versatile grip that’s ideal for a variety of users…The frame incorporates elements of the Gen5 and Slimline series such as the short trigger distance, a frame with a built-in beavertail, a reversible magazine catch and the incredibly accurate, match-grade GLOCK Marksman Barrel (GMB) and precision-milled front serrations.”

The G43X has a barrel length of 3.41 inches, an empty weight of 16.40 ounces, and a weight of 23.07 ounces with a fully-charged 10-round magazine.

Personal Shooting Impressions: Pros and Cons  

In order to form my own live-fire impressions of the pistol, it was merrily off to Cindy’s Hot Shots indoor shooting range in Glen Burnie, Maryland to try out the G43X that the facility had available for rental. (As a side note to our readers in Maryland, now that the Maryland concealed carry permit application process has been made much more user-friendly thanks to the SCOTUS New York Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen decision back in June, Cindy’s is an excellent venue for taking the CCW training course.) Along with the gun rental, I purchased 50 rounds of PMC Bronze 124-grain full metal jacket (FMJ) ammo and SL-B27E reduced silhouette targets. I divided the test session into 20 head shots at 21 feet (considered by many to be a classic handgun combat distance), 10 torso shots at 50 feet, and the final 20 rounds at the torso at the firing line’s terminus of 75 feet.

At 21 feet, the rounds all went into a nice tight group…but went way low left, with one of the rounds missing the target’s head altogether, argh! When I posted the pics on my Facebook page, one of my smart-aleck friends commented, “You really didn’t like the right side of their jaw,” to which I replied “It was giving me lip.” At 50 feet, the low-left drift of my shots became more pronounced; though all rounds still struck the silhouette, only two were in the 10-ring (with one in the tie-breaking X-ring portion), four in the 9-ring, three in the 8-ring, and the last proverbial black sheep straying into the far left non-scoring zone of the target.

Not surprisingly, at the 75-foot line, this leftward drift became even worse, with one round missing the silhouette altogether and four going into the far-left non-scoring area of the target. The picture of this string of fire prompted another one of my smartass FB Friends to ask what kind of shotgun I was using. (Yes, I’ve got a lot of smartasses on my FB Friends List.) So, for the final 10 rounds, I took some major “Kentucky windage,” aiming at the right shoulder area of the target in order to enable me to drop my rounds into the center of mass. This made a positive difference, with 5 hits in the 10-ring – two of those taking the X – and two in the 9-ring.

My friend Lou Chiodo, a former U.S. Marine Corps commissioned officer and retired California Highway Patrolman (CHP) who is now the head honcho of the Gunfighters Ltd. Defensive tactics school, provided me some thoughtful insights as to why I was having these issues: “FWIW, when I have seen this it is usually due to the grip being too small for the shooter and the grip gets ‘over gripped.’ It happens a lot with smaller framed handguns.”

Y’know what? Lou has a very valid point; my G17, Glock 21SF .45 ACP, and Glock 26 9mm that shoot so dead-on for me are all double-stack pistols. Moreover, my personally-owned Glocks have the aftermarket 3.5-lb trigger connector, so the factory standard trigger on the rental range G43X felt heavy and grating by comparison. Last but not least, though the 9mm Parabellum cartridge is not a hard kicker by any stretch of the imagination, for some strange reason the G43X gave me considerably more felt recoil and muzzle blast than either the G17 or the G26 in the same caliber.

Bottom Line: Yea or Nay for the Glock 43X? 

As much of a Glock fanboy as I am, the G43X left me feeling a tad underwhelmed, and therefore I’m in no rush to buy one.

That said, it did function with flawless reliability, and whilst it didn’t give me the sort of “Yeah, baby!” accuracy that my personal Glocks do, it’ll still do its part if I do mine. What’s more, a lot of my shooting buddies are big fans of this model; one of my former U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) colleagues uses the G43X as his everyday carry (EDC) gun, and my friend Itshak “Ike” Sarfati – whom I previously interviewed for my 19FortyFive piece on the Uzi submachine gun – considers it one of his three favorite guns.

So, if you’re looking for a quality handgun for CCW and/or home defense, I can still recommend the Glock 43X.

Bonus Photo Essay: Meet the Glock 19X

Glock 19X

Glock 19X. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Glock 19X

Glock 19X. Image Credit: Glock.

Glock 46

Glock 19X and Glock 45. Image Credit- Glock.

Christian D. Orr has 33 years of shooting experience, starting at the tender age of 14. His marksmanship accomplishments include: the Air Force Small Arms Ribbon w/one device (for M16A2 rifle and M9 pistol); Pistol Expert Ratings from U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) Criminal Investigator Training Program (CITP); multiple medals and trophies via the Glock Sport Shooting Foundation (GSSF) and the Nevada Police & Fires Games (NPAF). Chris has been an NRA Certified Basic Pistol Instructor since 2011.  In his spare time, he enjoys (besides shooting, obviously) dining out, cigars, Irish and British pubs, travel, USC Trojans college football, and Washington DC professional sports.

Written By

Christian D. Orr is a former Air Force officer, Federal law enforcement officer, and private military contractor (with assignments worked in Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Kosovo, Japan, Germany, and the Pentagon).