Test: G43, the 9mm subcompact by GLOCK

GLOCK 43 9mm subcompact pistol disassembled
Today standard on all latest generation GLOCKs, all sub-compact GLOCKs as well as the GLOCK 43 come with dual recoil springs. 

In contrast to the competition, in Deutsch-Wagram the small 9mm version of the G43 was only reduced in size and weight, not in its quality or the concept including the trigger with partially tensioned striker. The mounting rail for lights has to be dispensed with, but this is also missing on the GLOCK 26 and the removal of the corresponding interface in front of the trigger guard is a trend for subcompacts as a whole. In terms of barrel length, overall length and height, the slimline model roughly corresponds to the model 26, which has been popular for years. With a maximum width of 1.06” / 26 mm and a slide width of only 0.87” / 22 mm, it is of course considerably slimmer, but you have to be content with the smaller capacity of the magazine –  the comparably short magazine of the GLOCK 26 just holds 10 cartridges.

GLOCK 43 overview

644 euro (price may vary in your country due to VAT and import duties)
9 Luger (9x19 mm)
Magazine capacity:
6 + 1 rounds
Barrel length:
3.41” / 86 mm
Dimensions (L x W x H):
6.06 x 1.06 x 4,25 in (159 x 26 x 108 mm)
Trigger pull weight:
105.82 oz / 3000 g
17.9 oz / 509 g
single-stack magazine, Safe Action trigger (partially pre-loaded striker), polymer grip, improved Browning locking system, Tenifer surface finish.
The front sight of the G43 
Unfortunately, the rear and front sights are made of plain plastic and offer no extras other than white dots.

The GLOCK 43 and its weight

The slimming cure also has an effect on the gun's weight: with an empty weight of just over 17.9 oz / 500 grams, the 9mm pistol of the Slimline series undercuts the still pleasantly light GLOCK 26 by almost 20 percent. This can also be seen on the shooting range: the ergonomically shaped grip means that it is still easy to control when firing, but for a 9mm pistol recoil is quite hearty. The grip without finger grooves is already reminiscent of the newer Gen5, but the GLOCK 43 comes with a grey-black Tenifer coating instead of the new matte black nDLC hard coating.

The G43 on the shooting range

Shooting performance is impressive considering the size, the compact sights and the Safe Action trigger, which is relatively difficult to adjust on this pocket model. At 15 meters, the best result was a grouping circle of 1.3” / 33 mm with UMC 115-gr hollow point cartridges.   An excellent value for such a handy pistol (-2 points), whereby the GLOCK 43 was otherwise on average with several loads, in the range of 2.16-2.9 in (55-75 mm), which is more usual for this type of gun.

GLOCK G43 test results

Accuracy (max. 50 points) 
48 points
Cycling/safety (max. 10 p.) 
9 points
Trigger characteristics (max. 10 p.) 8 points
Grip design (max. 5 p.) 
4 points
Controls (max. 10 p.) 
10 points
Sights (max. 5 p.) 
2 points
Fit and finish (max. 10 p.) 
7 points
Total points (max. 100 p.) 
88 points
Test result                     
Very good
5 out of 6

The small GLOCK in the test

Rear sight of the GLOCK 43 in 9 mm Luger.
The small grip spur protects the hand from slide bites. The sights provide a quite usable sight picture. 

What wasn't so convincing about the workmanship of the test gun was the slide play , especially since the barrel in the cartridge chamber area could be moved a little even when locked. In addition, there were some edges on plastic elements such as the grip spur or the magazine base, which should have been factory smoothed a bit better - that's enough for 7 points out of 10 (-3 p.). There were no malfunctions with the pistol, only for the GLOCK-typical disassembly procedure there is a point deduction (-1 P.). The Safe Action trigger could still run a little smoother and more evenly, especially since it had a rather strong trigger weight (-2 P.) on the 105.82 oz / 3 kg sample tested - but the partially preloaded trigger still meets the requirements of a pocket gun without manual safety. Controls including the interchangeable magazine release are perfect: easy to reach for right-handers, but nice flat and out of the way (-0 P.) with normal handling. The grip design is basically very good within the bounds of what is possible, but the GLOCK 43 can't be individually adapted and the grip texture could be a bit sharper (-1 p.). For the small, but fortunately not tiny plastic sights 2 out of 5 points were deducted (-3 P.).

Test conclusion: the GLOCK 43 in a nutshell

The bottom line is that the GLOCK 43 no longer shoots "almost like a big one", but still remains easy to control, easy to handle and trustworthy in its functional reliability. Those who are comfortable with only seven rounds will find a very light, proven design that weighs too much neither on the belt nor the waistband.

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