Should I Get A Glock 42 or a Glock 43?
Choosing a subcompact Glock for concealed carry often comes down to the choice of Glock 42 or the Glock 43 since those are the most compact of the baby Glocks. Each has their benefits and drawbacks, so it's really up to the person doing the shopping to make the choice.
Both are easily among the best Glocks for concealed carry and should be anyone's shortlist for a deep concealment pistol.
Glock 42 Among The Best Compact .380s
The Glock 42 came about to fill the demand for an ultra-compact Glock that's compact enough for the deepest of concealment. The 42 is Glock's smallest pistol, and as a single-stack chambered for .380 Auto, it has slimmer proportions than even the tiniest of the Baby Glock 9mm pistols.
It's less than an inch wide, a hair over 4 inches tall and just under 6 inches long - small enough to hold it entirely in an outstretched hand. Given the polymer frame, it weighs less than 14 ounces unloaded. Loaded with 6 rounds of .380, it still only weighs less than 18 ounces. As a result, it's a small, slim light subcompact pistol that a person can easily conceal all day, every day, and barely notice it's presence...until it has to be used.
These factors make the Glock 42 a fantastic choice of backup gun or deep concealment pistol.
Given how ubiquitous the brand is, finding a Glock 42 holster is not an issue at all, as well as any accessories one might wish to purchase. Lasers and other optics are easily found, as are extended magazines, grip extensions, and so on.
If a person is looking for a subcompact pistol with the pedigree and reliability of a Glock, the Glock 42 is one of the first, best choices available.
Glock 43: King Of The Compact Single Stack Nines
Right now, compact, lightweight striker-fired single-stack 9mm pistols are all the rage and few tick every one of those boxes as well as the Glock 43.
The Glock 26 has been the default Baby Glock for some time, as the slim dimensions and compact form made it a natural for concealed carry. Shooters wanting a fuller grip could easily add a grip extension or extended magazine for additional capacity and better ergonomics.
However, a number of carriers are drifting away from double-stack magazines in favor of deeper concealed carry through slimmer dimensions and it is precisely for those reasons that the Glock 43 was born. It's slimmer and shorter in length than the 26, and about 4 ounces lighter, even when loaded.
Not everyone wants to compromise when it comes to caliber, either. There's no question that the 9mm Parabellum is the most popular round in the world, and certainly among concealed carriers in the US of A. Some people believe that there's no reason to carry the .380 if a compact enough 9mm is available. The Glock 43 subcompact is tailor made for deep, undetectable concealment and as a result, a person can keep a 9mm Glock on them at all times.
As a backup or as a deep concealment pistol, the Glock 43 is one of the best choices of subcompact, single-stack 9mm pistols available.
Glock 43 vs Glock 42 Recoil
What about Glock 43 vs Glock 42 recoil? Which is going to be the easier to shoot, especially given the compact size and light weight of both these pistols?
In truth, this is partially subjective. While recoil is a real force that can in fact be measured (recoil is the amount of force generated by the gunshot, expressible in foot-pounds or Newtons) the felt recoil is what you, subjectively, feel when shooting the gun. Most people don't think much of shooting .22lr, but some people find even 9mm to have substantial recoil. Then again, some people - some of the hardiest of people - are able to shoot .45 ACP all day without issue, grow so much rugged facial hair that they have to shave their teeth and write for holster company blogs.
Which is going to generate more recoil? Generally, the 43 is going to have a bit more recoil than the 42. The 43 is chambered in 9mm, which - while not a warm round by most standards - can be a bit more lively in a small pistol, especially one as light as the 43.
The Glock 42, on the other hand, will hardly be free of recoil despite being chambered in .380 Auto, which many consider to be the smallest acceptable self-defense caliber. Many .380 pistols are not the most pleasant to shoot as the small round is often chambered in the smallest of pistols, and the lack of mass leads to "snappier" recoil than guns that aren't much bigger but shoot larger rounds.
That said, the G42 is larger than many pocket .380s, so the recoil should be mild, and milder than the 43.
Many reviewers, though, have found the Glock 43 to be far from unpleasant to shoot, so it's certainly not a gun for the recoil-sensitive to avoid. In fact, it weighs about 4 ounces more than the 42, so it's still very shootable.
Glock 42 vs Glock 43 Specs
|Glock 42||Glock 43|
|Barrel Length||3.25 inch||3.41 inch|
|Weight (unloaded)||12.17 oz||16.23 oz|
It should be noted that Glock doesn't publish MSRP; these are estimates based on what a number of retailers are asking for these pistols. Your mileage, in this category of Glock 42 vs 43 specs, will vary.
Why Get A Glock 42 When The Glock 43 Is Barely Any Bigger?
Someone is bound to bring up a ballistic argument over why you should just bypass the Glock 42 and stick to the Glock 43. After all, the Glock 43 is barely any bigger than the 42, and chambers the more powerful round. Capacity is basically the same, and obviously the operating system is the same.
It's a fair point, as a matter of fact.
It's true that 9mm is more or less a baseline when it comes to handgun calibers for self-defense. Smaller rounds, including .380 ACP, don't have as good a track record of efficacy. Granted, a .380 ACP pistol, loaded with quality self-defense ammunition, and in the hands of a skilled operator, is still very effective for self-defense.
Traditionally, .380 pistols like the Glock 42 are purchased for one of two reasons, if not for both.
First is that since .380 ACP is a smaller round, the pistols produced for this chambering are usually very small and thus highly portable. After all, the .380 you have on you is better than the 10mm pistol at home on the nightstand.
Secondly is that a .380 pistol is a bit easier to deal with for those with smaller or weaker hands. Since .380 is a lower-pressure round, it doesn't require the spring system to be as stiff as a 9mm pistol in most instances. That also means the recoil is a little less snappy in many instances.
On the one hand, the Glock 42 is not so small (and by contrast neither is the Glock 43 so large) that the smaller gun is the difference between perfect concealment and wholly obvious printing. It's just not.
However, some people may find that the Glock 42 is easier for them to deal with than the Glock 43.
Glock 42 vs Glock 43: Which Should I Get?
Which should a person get - the Glock 42 or the Glock 43? Both are expertly suited for concealed carry, as they are lightweight, compact, easily concealed and are reliable and accurate enough to be counted on to dispatch a threat if called upon to. Glock pistols have a track record of reliability under fire that's unmatched by almost any other gun maker.
If you are looking for a quality Glock 42 or glock 43 holster, that is now available in the Alien Gear line-up.
Both are great guns. The best thing to do is to find a range or gun store with an indoor range that allows gun rentals. If you can, try them both out and see which you prefer. The one that shoots best, and is the most comfortable, is the one you should get to use with your glock holster.
When you do head to the range, you're going to need a target...but why pay for paper targets if you don't have to? We'll give you as many as you want - you just need to download Alien Gear's printable 8.5” x 11” shooting target. Make as many copies as you like!
We will continuously be adding new target options to our lineup. Check out our complete free printable shooting targets page to see the full selection as they start rolling in.
About The Author
Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.