Glock changed the game in the 1980s when Gaston Glock patented the Glock 17, an extremely light-weight, striker-fired pistol with a polymer frame.
Not a lot has honestly changed from that monumental design, but the scale has definitely changed over time and with different models. In 2020, we had a record-high 21 million new gun owners.
In 2021, we fell short by roughly 3 million new gun license applications. No matter how you look at it, the number of gun sales is staggeringly high, relative to before the pandemic.
According toGuns.com, the best-selling Gun in 2021was theGlock 43Xand it still currently ranks number in sales for the leader in online gun sales. The Glock 19 Gen 5 is 3rd in sales with 8 Glocks in the top 10 in sales. Find out below why the Glock 43X and Glock 19 reign supreme!
The Glock 19 is perhaps the most popular concealed carry and tactical handgun in existence today. It’s a compact 9mm that holds 15 rounds of ammunition, but this explanation is probably unnecessary because my guess is that you, dear reader, own one already. And you should.
Its versatility allows for you to carry it concealed in any position (though I would discourage you from using an ankle holster with a G19), but you can also slap a Surefire X-300 on it and use it for tactical purposes.
Unfortunately, it’s not for everyone. Some men and many women find the blocky Glock grip to be too fat. My wife, all 5’2" 115lb of her, can’t get a good enough purchase with her index finger AND maintain an acceptable grip with a straight wrist. This leads to limp wristing, which leads to malfunctions, which can lead to terrible things happening.
If you try to go smaller with the diminutive Glock 26, you get a different issue. Now people with large hands can’t get more than 2 fingers on the grip without the aid of a different magazine extension. Small-handed folks still have the same old problem of having a fat grip with the additional issue of a shortened grip.
Something else to consider is that many subcompact handguns are in a smaller, anemic caliber like .32 automatic or .380. I have a Walther PPK/S and it’s a fine gun for more than one reason. It’s a cool historical gun that functions well and it’s small enough I can wear it in more formal attire, a la our favorite MI6 officer. The problem is that I’m not a fan of .380. I feel a lot more comfortable carrying a 9mm, but I hate the grip on a G26, and often a G19 is a tad too big.
The Glock 43x and Glock 48 are intriguing submissions to solving the problem of grip sizes for all shooters. Essentially, the G48 is a single-stack Glock 19. Same height and length, but the G48 has a slimmer profile by shaving off almost 1/6" (or 4mm, if you please). The G43x takes it a step further by trimming off about ¾’’ from the length of the G19 and G48 while retaining the slimmer slide profile.
Specs of Glock 19, 48, and 43X
Width (at widest point)
Height (with mag)
Weight (with empty mag)
23.63 oz (1.48 lbs)
20.74 oz (1.30 lbs)
18.7 oz (1.17 lbs)
Look and Feel
The changes are quite obvious when you see a Glock 19 and a G43x side by side. I’ve always thought Glocks were fat and ugly, but completely utilitarian at the same time. Once I went to the range and saw it next to the newer slimline Glocks, it looked gargantuan.
I have one of those old-school dads who spent 24 years in the Army as a Chief Warrant Officer (CW3). My dad and his friends used to always offer broad advice like, " Go with what feels best" or “no one knows, but you". It’s one of those wise tidbits of info that I’m never looking for, but always use when I’m buying cars, furniture, guns, knives, and clothing. The point of this arbitrary story is as soon as I picked up the G43X, I knew it was meant for me.
Even after I handed the G43x to my wife, and she instantly smiled. She brought her support hand up and could actually get a correct master’s grip. As you can see on the spec sheets above, that’s because Glock could reduce the length between the back strap and the front of the trigger significantly. My wife carries an STI 2011 Guardian, and she’s an excellent shot with it. However, the STI is a beast compared to this G43x. The G48 is very similar because it points well and feels extremely light in the hand.
With the Gen 5 Glocks, they have finally given us slide serrations at the muzzle end of the slide straight from the factory. Both the G43x and G48 have these slide serrations, boring and angular but supremely functional.
My wife is a small human being, and she needs all the purchase she can get to rack the slide on these smaller pistols, not to mention that I almost only use the front slide serrations to both check and charge my pistols if available. They also rounded the front end of the slide off, which will no doubt help with holstering, particularly in leather holsters.
Glock 43X MOS
I’m at the point in my life where I don’t think I’ll ever buy a new gun that isn’t optic-ready (drilled & Tapped). It takes about 20 minutes for a gunsmith to drill and tap your pistols, but it’s really convenient when they come ready to go. The Glock 43X MOS would be my choice over any other pistol in the world right now because I believe the only negative thing about the G43X is the slide isn’t optic-ready.
The G43X MOS is a little heavier than the standard G43X, with every other specification being the same. The best part about the added weight is it feels even better in my hand than the standard model. Another significant benefit of the added weight is the ability to handle the recoil a little better than the standard model.
I’m lucky in that I have a range fairly close to my house that allows you to rent a decent variety of pistols before you decide on what to purchase. I took my wife to the range, and we rented both the G43x and G48, shooting them next to my wife’s STI Guardian. This was purely a familiarization range trip so we could decide which was right for us, so we only shot about 150 rounds out of each pistol.
G48 and G43x
Neither one of us could really tell much of a difference between the two pistols. The only difference between the G48 and G43x is that the G43x has a shorter slide/ barrel length by 0.79".
If I’m shooting without a red dot on a pistol, I prefer for as long a sight radius as I can get. I shoot a 5" STI Marauderfor competition and that extra sight radius helps me line up long shots, but I haven’t really tried a course of fire with a shorter gun to see if it really makes a difference.
Either way, neither of us could tell the difference in the practical application of both pistols. Both pistols shot very well with zero malfunctions.
The trigger was pure Glock, a little spongy but very predictable. It’s not bad and I know it’ll get better and better the more time it’s fired. If you’ve ever shot a Glock, you’ll know what these triggers feel like.
After the range, my wife and I turned in the pistols and talked about which one she liked on the way home. We both agreed that G43x would be our best choice. The G43X is going to be a carry pistol for her, so she really valued how short the G43x was without compromising accuracy or reliability.
She settled on the shorter G43x because it fit her hands better and she preferred the weight of the. The muzzle still pokes me a bit in my upper quad, but the shorter G43x is much more comfortable. More on that later.
The Blue Label price for it at my local gun store was $399, pretty excellent value if you ask me for what you’re getting: a reliable sub-compact handgun with 10 rounds of 9mm from the most popular handgun manufacturer in the world.
All the initial versions I saw online and even the ones we test-fired featured a brushed stainless steel side and black frame. The one we picked up was actually all black, just like every other OEM Glock you’ve ever seen.
Night sights, all-black steel, fiber optic combination, or keep it stock with the plastic OEM sights? Personally, I started off years ago thinking tritium night sights were the heat. "I can shoot in the dark! These things are boss!" As I’ve matured, I’ve only shifted to a fiber optic rod on the front and a blacked-out rear for virtually all of my heavy use pistols. My comp gun, my duty pistols, and my carry guns all have this setup. I got mine from Dawson Precision, which I think is the best in the business.
They have a sight calculator right on their website that lets you determine the best height for you and if your impact is high or low, they’ll send you a replacement front sight post to get you on target for free.
The sights come with an aluminum tool to help you unscrew the Glock front sight post, an aluminum drift punch to remove and install your new rear sight, an Allen key to tighten the set screw on your rear sight, and extra fiber optic rods in red and green when it’s time to replace the old ones or you prefer a different color.
The rear sight might require some fitment, so you can always take your slide and sights into your local gun store for quick installation and an opportunity to peruse their wares. Here’s a list of aftermarket Glock sights available on Amazon that have great reputations.
Best Glock 43X Night Sights
If you haven’t heard of XS Sights, they’re a family-owned and operated business in Fort Worth, TX (Near Dallas). As many of our LEO readers know, most LEO departments don’t allow weapon attachments, like optics and lasers. To get an advantage in target acquisition speed, the R3D Sights provide a wide, clear view of the photoluminescent orange front sight.
The first time I looked through the sights, the brightness of the tritium vial impressed me with the contrast between the front post and rear sight window. In bright light conditions, the tritium vial front sight doesn’t glow as bright to adjust to its environment settings.
The Ameriglo GL-43X Ameriglo Tritium I-Dot is another great sight swap option with its unique dot-over-dot design. The bright tritium orange front sight provides a brilliant contrast to the green tritium dot placed between the rear notch in the sight window. I would argue the Ameriglo I-Dot provides one of the biggest advantages in target acquisition speed.
The TRUGLO TFX Pro Tritium and Fiber Optic Xtreme Handgun Sight is one of the most trusted brands and models for sight swaps on the Glock 43X. This is the sight that I have on my Glock 19 and Glock 43X because of its durability, longevity, and its versatility with holsters.
TRUGLO does a great job with its nitride finish on the housing capsule to provide a layer of durability that I haven’t seen before in a tritium sight. Not only is it chemical, oil, and cleaning solvent-resistant, but it’s also sealed for waterproof capability. The TFX technology allows the sight to glow in the dark with zero help from any battery or device.
The acquisition is much faster with fiber optics and the contrast with the red dot and black rear is excellent. My wife obviously likes this setup, so she was happier than I was to install them.
This is probably the crux of the blog, since the blog is about a concealed carry pistol. I’m looking forward to this since I can carry it appendix AND sit down at the same time. Whenever I’ve tried this in the past with either my G19 or Wilson CQB Commander 1911, the muzzle digs into the crease between my junk and my quad. It’s a big enough deal that I either carry it at 5 o’clock or I put my holster on after I’ve arrived where I’m going.
That still doesn’t solve the problem of carrying an appendix if I need to sit down wherever I’m going, anyway. Not to mention that carrying an appendix will almost certainly give you the fastest inside the waistband draw, it also gives you the fastest draw when you’re seated in a vehicle.
I use a Safariland Model 100 Professional whenever my wife isn’t using it. I’ll say this: you definitely notice the weight difference between a fully loaded G19 with 15+1 rounds of 9mm and a G43x with 10 rounds of 9mm. My normal carry ammo is Speer Gold Dot 124gr +P 9mm. My Glock 19 weighed 30 ounces fully loaded, while the G43x weighs only 27 ounces. It may not seem huge, but you’re essentially saving 10% of your total weight.
Where the G43x REALLY shines is, once again, its lack of girth. It tucks right inside your waistband and is extremely comfortable. The grip is long enough to get a good purchase on for your draw, while the muzzle is short enough to allow multiple carry options.
Pro tip: When you’re having to drive around and you’re concerned with muggers, terrorists, or Afghan Local Police and you might have to use your pistol, try this: sit down in your seat and buckle in. Next, you need to pull your shirt or jacket (whatever your concealment garment is) over the top of the waist belt on your seat belt. This allows you to just pull your jacket up, draw your smoke wagon, and go to work. Thanks, Wyatt.
Best Glock 43x MOS Holster
We’ve discussed how much we admire We The People Holsters before, but their line of Glock holsters is one of the best I’ve seen online. The level of customization for holster design really sets We The People Holsters apart from many of its competition. They build each holster from Kydex to ensure it’s durable, weather-resistant, and hard enough to handle a pistol.
The holster features adjustable retention that allows me to adjust the level of retention I want for security. Everyone is different, so practice your draw with different levels of retention to find out what works best for you.
To make it more comfortable, the ride and cant are adjustable to provide different angles for the holster to be drawn from and different heights on your belt to sit higher or lower. Just remember, the lower the pistol sits, the less likely chance of printing, but it might make it more difficult to reach your gun. Wearing a holster all day can be uncomfortable and cause irritation and even abrasions on your skin. The sweat guard on the body side of the holster ensures the Kydex doesn’t rub your skin raw and causes abrasions or legions to your skin.
The Crimson Trace LL-803 Laserguard Pro features a 150 Lumens tactical light for a killer combo. The light on the 803 Laserguard Pro has enough power to reach 50 feet. Even at 50 feet, the light is enough to temporarily blind an assailant or scare off a bear in the woods at a safe distance.
I know a lot of gun owners who use a light and laser attachment on every handgun they own because of the tactical advantage it provides. Using a class 3 laser that can reach 50 yards for quick target acquisition is a significant advantage to have at someone 50 feet from you. The ability to use the light to match the laser at 50 feet can be the difference between you walking away or not.
Red ($210.00) or Green ($350.00)
1.3 oz. (0.08 lbs)
2 hours constant light and laser combo at highest setting
CR2 battery (included)
50 feet effective point target range
Adjustable with an included tool
Adjustable with an included tool
The front button activates automatically with the pistol in an active shooting position
Since this gun is primarily for my wife, this presents somewhat of a different dilemma. She rarely wears a belt when she wears jeans and she wears yoga pants, anyway. She’s active and teaches fitness classes at our local gym, so I’m not complaining about the looks, but yoga pants aren’t exactly great for IWB to carry.
Conceal Carry in Yoga Pants
Enter Alexo Athletica, a company specifically designed for women to carry concealed pistols in yoga pants. What they’ve done is sew three reinforced elastic pockets into the waistline of the pants. There’s also a separate pocket-sized for a smartphone on the side of the right thigh.
When you feel the elastic pockets, they feel exactly like Blue Force Gear Ten-Speed pouches. I use one of these 3-mag shingles on my plate carrier for work and they’re great for storing random things in need of retention that you can still get out quickly, anything from explosive breaching starting systems to flashbangs. The elastic is quite durable, but will eventually wear out over time with heavy use.
My wife loves these pants, and it allows her to carry her G43x on walks or even jogging. The G43x and Alexo pants are a perfect fit, but Alexo warns to only use items that are 23oz or less, but my wife has had no retention issues.
Conceal Carry in a Purse
The other unconventional concealment method I recommend for ladies is a concealed carry purse. I got my wife a Gun Tot’n Mama’s handbag to store her STI Guardian when she’s out and about without me. The purse is pretty robust, with a reinforcement wire in the straps to keep muggers from cutting the strap with a knife and sprinting off with the goods… including your wife’s CCW.
The version I got my wife has a side compartment lined in female Velcro that zips open and comes with a small universal holster that velcro to the inner pocket. It works well enough for my wife to have a pistol with her, but it’s less than ideal when you need to protect yourself quickly. Amazon also has a selection of quality concealed carry purses to choose from.
So we’ve had the G43x for a while now and here’s what I’ll say: it’s been everything we wanted in a concealed carry, sub-compact handgun. Between the two of us, my wife and I have put over 700 rounds through it. We have had no issues through a variety of ammo, everything from flat nose to round nose, bullet weights from 115–147gr, and remanufactured bulk ammo to top-of-the-line defense ammunition.
I will say that I have shot no steel or aluminum-cased ammo out of it. From my experience, brass-cased rounds are the most reliable type of bullets. I can shoot ammo that I would never shoot with my Walther PPS M2, but the Glock 43X runs through it with no issues. There’s a reason close to 90% of police departments in the United States carry a Glock as a duty weapon.
I’d highly recommend the G43x to anyone from a small woman to a full-grown man. It truly is a subcompact handgun for everyone. If you think 10+1 isn’t enough ammo for you, you can always carry a spare magazine or pick up one of these 15 round magazines from Shield Arms. Somehow, Shield Arms made a steel magazine fit into a standard G43x and G48. Everywhere I’ve looked, they’ve been out of stock, but I’ll look forward to getting my hands on one as soon as I can.
Why carry a .380 when you can carry a 9mm?
SUBSCRIBE TO RECEIVE OUR LATEST BLOG POSTS
Stay Tuned to the RE Factor Tactical Blog and be part of this all VETERAN-run website. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn for exclusive content and deals.