Glock’s model 43 slimline 9mm: Harbinger of things to come?

Only slightly bigger than the .380 version, the 43 kicks the power level up to the 9x19 and is designed to take all the hot loads you care to burn through it, +P and +P+


Last year, Glock’s little .380 caliber Model 42 broke the long dry spell from their last — and only other — single-stack design, the model 36, their smallest .45 caliber pistol. The model 42 has been selling like gangbusters ever since its introduction, but that might slow down with the release of the 43. 

Only slightly bigger than the .380 version, the 43 kicks the power level up to the 9x19 and is designed to take all the hot loads you care to burn through it, +P and +P+. I asked one of their top sales guys why they didn’t just adapt the little .380 pistol to the 9mm cartridge — a couple of other makers have 9mm pistols that size. 

He told me the other brands were made for civilian concealed carry, pistols to be carried a lot and shot a little. Glock’s new Slimline pistols, on the other hand, were intended for on-duty backup and off-duty police and military concealed carry, thus were a little bigger to stand up to a lifetime of hard use. Good answer.

The highest praise I can give is simple: this is the first Glock I have ever purchased. (PoliceOne Image)
The highest praise I can give is simple: this is the first Glock I have ever purchased. (PoliceOne Image)

Glocks Simply Work
I won’t recite the various Glock features which were cloned so effectively into the model 43 — let’s face it, Glocks are boring pistols. They are not beautiful, like a finely blued S&W revolver with fancy walnut stocks. They don’t have the “breaking glass” trigger pull of a hand-built 1911. They don’t “feel right” in the hand like an old Colt Single-Action-Army revolver. 

But, even when they are poorly maintained and saturated with the dust and moisture of a rough environment, they run reliably almost forever. Glock fills the lion’s share of American police holsters and those of the Army’s elite Delta operators, who are notorious for selecting the best gear they can get — they’re pretty much exempt from “low bid” purchasing requirements.

One of my agency’s full-time SWAT trainers recently showed me his “spare” Model 22 (his primary 22 is a Gen 4, for when he isn’t packing a 1911). The spare was a range loaner and he estimated it had logged in excess of 80,000 rounds, suffering little more damage than a couple of cracked locking block pins, a broken trigger spring and a few recoil spring replacements. The 15-year-old night sights were essentially dead, but it showed amazingly little wear.

The little 43 I tested proved totally reliable with every brand and configuration of 9mm ammo I could scrounge, and is certainly more accurate than I can assess. It is easily concealable, yet big enough to hold onto, though I had to curl my pinky finger under the butt when using the flat-plate magazine. 

The magazine with the finger ledge floor-plate was perfect for my hands, but tends to “print” when used in maximum concealment mode, like with an ankle holster. It is small enough for BUG use by uniformed personnel (ankle or under-the-shirt vest carry).

It Simply Fits
The highest praise I can give is simple: this is the first Glock I have ever purchased. While I heartily recommend Glock pistols and have carried department-issued ones, they just didn’t fit my hands well enough for me to open my skinflint wallet and buy one. 

The 43 fits me! Unfortunately, it fits my lady also, and the slide is easier for her to manipulate than her smaller Kahr 9mm pistol. I might need to buy two.

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