Glock 43X...The 43 Improved?
The Glock 43X was one of the more hotly anticipated pistols going into SHOT Show 2019. It appeared to be "leaked" by a YouTuber (namely Sootch00) so everyone thought he was going to get in hot water. Had one to guess, it wasn't leaked in the slightest; that was to stoke demand, which is a brilliant move on Glock's part.
But anyhow, we got to handle and shoot this pistol in Las Vegas. I'd tell you how idyllic it was except the wind at Range Day made it far short of that. We must, sometimes, suffer for our art.
Let's get this out of the way. The Glock 43X is better than the 43. There. We said it. Let's go ahead and get into the nitty gritty…
Glock 43X Specifications
The Glock 43X specifications are not too dissimilar to the standard 43, but it does have a slightly fatter frame and slightly longer grip to accommodate a magazine that holds 10+1. Not by much; the difference, according to Glock's reps at Industry Day at the Range, is less than 1 cm.
The Glock 43X has a 3.41-inch barrel and retains the same slide as the 43, so length is unchanged at 6.06 inches. Width at the frame is 1.1 inches, so it's still very svelte. However, the extended magazine does bring total height to 5.04 inches, so it's a bit taller.
The magazine is Glock's Slim 01 design, which is a single-stack. It's different from that of the Glock 43, so they cannot interchange. I didn't have my tapemeasure on hand so I can't give you exact specifications, but the Slim 01 magazine is wider, looking a little like a double-stack in appearance, but it holds a single row of 9mm rounds.
The slide has fore and aft serrations, and it comes with your choice of factory white dot or factory upgraded sight sets, such as Glock night sights and Ameriglo Bold.
The standard slide is stainless, though a black model may be in the works if you prefer that. As far as everything else, well...it's basically a slightly fatter, slightly taller Glock 43. The grip angle and palmswell is the same, it lacks finger grooves (hallelujah) and controls are the same as the Gen 4 G43.
Why Did They Make the Glock 43X?
Why DID Glock go ahead and make the Glock 43X? I mean, it's not so far removed from the Glock 26 and the 43 itself is so darned popular that it almost seems redundant in a way.
And let us assure you: we have sold enough Glock 43 holsters that we can safely say the 43's popularity hasn't waned...at all.
It's because Glock actually listens to customers and watches trends in the industry. You see, it's really because of Sig Sauer. Sig had the master stroke of coming up with the Sig P365, which is about the size of the 43 (though less than 1 cm wider) but offering up to 12+1 rounds of 9mm with a barely extended magazine. Tiny gun, holds only a few fewer bullets than the Glock 19, which is big enough to be a service pistol.
The concealed carry market wants double-stack capacity whenever they can get it. We can have the "is it necessary" discussion some other time (most of the evidence indicates it isn't, but again...for another time) but it's what people want. People want as much capacity as can be gotten from as small a gun as possible.
So, in response to that, Glock designed the 43X. Now, it doesn't have 12+1 capacity like the P365, but it does hold 10+1 and if I were a betting man, I'd wager Hyve and a few other companies will have an extended mag floor plate out for it in a matter of weeks or a couple months that gets it to that mark.
With that said...what is this thing like to live with?
Glock 43X Review
I wouldn't say the Glock 43X is a game-changer per se...but what I would say for the purposes of this Glock 43X review is that it's one of the best pistols they make, full-stop.
As far as controls and everything goes...folks, it's a Glock. You pretty much know it all already. Let's focus on the stuff that's different.
Some don't care for the stainless slide. I could take it or leave it. The front serrations do help with press checks. Some bemoan the lack of a rail, which - for those who insist on having a laser/light - may be a deal-breaker, but for those who don't...no big deal.
The fatter grip and frame is far more boon than bane. People are obsessed with getting a slimmer and shorter gun, but let's put some qualifiers out here.
First, the width is 1.1 inches, and if you can't conceal with a gun that slim...you're the problem, not the gun. "But the longer grip," you say? It is a touch on the tall side for a subcompact, at a hair over 5 inches...but the same idea applies. This isn't a Glock 34 with a race gun magwell added to it. It's a slim subcompact pistol. If you can't effectively cover it, chances are you're doing something wrong.
Second, a slimmer grip isn't in and of itself always a good thing.
So, to expand on that, part of good shooting is as high and as tight a grip as you can get. That's why so many 1911 pistols have extended beavertail grip safeties and why so many pistols have thumb relief grooves on the grip these days. You actually want a gun to fill the palm a bit, so you can choke up on the thing. This gives you a stable shooting platform and prevents limp-wristing. The better fit also helps combat muzzle rise and to absorb recoil.
Now, why am I going on this tangent? For the following:
The Glock 43X is easier and more comfortable to shoot than most pistols around it's size. The slightly wider frame and grip fill the palm a little better and allow a better grip, which makes for a fantastically easy shooting gun for its size and weight.
Recoil is a wee bit snappy - as it is with most subcompact pistols in 9mm - but is very manageable, and the 43X is as accurate as you'd expect from Glock. It's not a surgical laser, but it's far more capable than you'd think. This would make a great carry pistol, no doubt about it.
The trigger is the standard Glock unit. Not great, but definitely usable. The palmswell on the lower half of the grip is actually more comfortable on the 43X than on the 43 or 42 since the grip is wide enough for you to actually notice it.
I can't believe I'm about to type this. Glocks are immensely popular, and I have always been a contrarian at heart; whatever's popular has to be overrated. When I shot it, I felt my stomach drop because I knew I was hosed.
I finally found a Glock I really like.