Slimline guns under test: GLOCK 43X and 48

Slide of both GLOCK 43X and 48
The slide of both GLOCKs features a silver PVD hard material coating.

GLOCK  added the G43X and G48 models to its Slimline range, consisting of pistols with a slim grip for single-stack magazines. Both new additions from Deutsch-Wagram have a silver slide. Thus GLOCK brings even more colour into play after the sand-coloured G19X. About four years ago GLOCK started the market launch of the single-stack G43 in 9 mm Luger. Relatively late, because manufacturers such as Kahr Arms, SIG Sauer, Smith & Wesson, Taurus, Ruger and Walther had already more or less successfully placed their sub-compact pistols on the hotly contested market. In order to get something from the "Concealed Carry Cake", they had to follow suit. Now the G43 has been added to the range.

The polymer-framed GLOCK G43X in detail

G43X pistol from the left side.
Ergonomic advantage: the G43X features an extended, slim grip with a magazine capacity of 10 cartridges, providing a larger grip area than the G43 with a capacity of 6 cartridges, with improved handling and greater control in fast shooting.

The "X" in the model designation G43X naturally evokes associations with the G19X – and quite deliberately so. Similar to the double-stack compact version, this is a "crossover model" in which the compact barrel/slide is combined with a larger frame. While the G19X simply paired the G17 grip with the G19 top, the fresh G43X (like the G48) requires a redesigned frame. Because instead of the previous 6, the magazine can now hold 10 cartridges. This means that shooters with larger hands now have a better purchase on the longer grip and, on top of that, you have an increased firepower of 10+1 cartridges. 

At first glance, one might think that the traditional manufacturer of polymer pistols switched to stainless steel for the slide. Far from it, because a silver color can also be achieved with a PVD ("Physical Vapour Deposition") hard material coating. In addition, the familiar qualities of the proven material can be taken advantage of. GLOCK has certainly done a good job by providing the slide with gripping grooves in the front area. The barrel length of 84 mm is the same as the G43.

A look at the GLOCK 48 compact pistol

The G48 does not belong in the sub-compact but in the compact category. Its matt silver-coated slide accommodates a 104 mm barrel, which also increases the sight radius by 20 mm compared to the G43X. The size of the G48 thus corresponds to that of a GLOCK 19, but it is about 4 mm flatter. As with the GLOCK 43X, the large magazine button can also be operated by left-handed users. However, left-handers still have to grasp the slide stop lever when operating it, or better still grab the slide in the rearmost position and pull it back. 

GLOCK G48 pistol
The G48 has the same length and height as a GLOCK 19, but is about 4 mm flatter. 

What the two compact GLOCK pistols have in common

As usual with the slimline models, backstraps to adapt to the hand size are not factory included. Whether this is absolutely necessary for a small back-up weapon like the GLOCK 43(X) is certainly a matter of dispute. Technically, the G43X and the G48 correspond in some details to the Gen5 version. This means that the firing pin with a round head can now be found here instead of the otherwise typical square one. Also the firing pin safety was adapted accordingly, and last but not least the "GLOCK Marksman Barrel" (GMB) barrel was installed.

GLOCK 43X and GLOCK 48: technical data

Price:702 euro  
725 euro  
Caliber: 9 mm Luger
9 mm Luger
Capacity: 10 + 1 cartridges 
10 + 1 cartridges 
Dimensions (L x W x H):
6.5 x 1.06 x 5.03 in / 165 x 27 x 128 mm
7.32 x 1.06 x 5.03 in / 186 x 27 x 128 mm
Barrel length:3.3" / 84 mm
4.09" / 104 mm
Sight length:5.23" / 133 mm
6" / 152 mm
Trigger pull weight:102.3 oz / 2900 g
91.71 oz / 2600 g
Weight:18.62 oz / 528 g (with empty magazine) 20.67 oz / 586 g (with empty magazine)
Notes:Polymer-framed striker-fired pistol, barrel locking into ejection port, slimline grip for single-stack magazines, partially preloaded safe action trigger, spare magazine.
Polymer-framed striker-fired pistol, barrel locking into ejection port, slimline grip for single-stack magazines, partially preloaded safe action trigger, spare magazine.

Slimline GLOCKs: what are they suitable for?

Of course, the question arises as whether a difference of a few millimeters less in thickness in the G48 versus the classic G19 is really so decisive. In addition, you lose 5 cartridges of magazine capacity, and firepower can be a decisive factor in many scenarios. Actually, 4 mm is certainly not much. But if you carry the weapon around the clock in the "Inside the Waistband" (IWB) or the trendy "Appendix Inside the Waistband" (AIWB), the few millimetres less are already quite noticeable. This applies both to the actual wearing comfort and to the printing of the gun contour under the clothing. This is a consideration that should not be underestimated, especially in warm summer months with thin clothing. In addition, a fully loaded G19 weighs around 1060 g, while a G48 with around 830 g weighs 230 g less. Ultimately, however, it remains a personal decision whether to use a slimmer, lighter G48 or a more fire-powerful, double-stack G19 for concealed carry. But the G43X or the G48 could be interesting for the hunter who doesn't have to rely on a large magazine capacity. The main market for the latest GLOCK models, however, is still the USA.

Comparison of handle backs and magazines between a G17 and a G48.
How narrow the G48 is becomes quite clear in comparison to the G17.
The muzzle of the GLOCK 48 and G17
The slide has been rounded in the front area, the chamfered muzzle crown is the trademark of the "Glock Marksman Barrel" (GMB) of the 5th generation.

With both GLOCKs on the firing range

G43X and G48 pistols disassembled side by side 
The stripped G43X and G48 in comparison.

In accordance with the intended use, we selected the five loads for the most part from the defensive cartridge category. The five factory cartridges had bullet weights of 93 to 147 grains. For the test range we chose the usual 15 m from the sandbag support. Considering the slimmer grip and above all the approximately 5 mm shorter distance between the grip back and the trigger, there is of course a different grip feeling – not least due to the grip angle itslef and the position of the controls. The first was the G43X, which achieved its best result with two 5-shot groupings using the lively loaded 124 grains Speer Gold Dot +P.  The second place with 34 mm was reached by the GECO 124 grains FMJ, which is thus very well suited as a training cartridge. The calculated average value of all tested loads was 44 mm, which should be more than sufficient for the intended use of the small "skinnies". With the G48 we achieved the best result using GECO 124 grains FMJ ammo, with 40 mm. Second place went to the Sellier & Bellot 124 grains FMJ, with grouping diameter of 46 mm, which are also quite inexpensive cartridges. Third place went then to the Speer Gold Dot 124 Grains +P load with a shot grouping of 49 mm. The average of all loads here was 58 mm and thus somewhat worse than with the G43X despite a longer sight radius. But here, too, accuracy is sufficient for a defensive weapon. Finally, we shot some cartridges in dynamic drills, whereby it was not surprising that the G43X had slightly more recoil than the 60 g-heavier G48. During the test with about 150 cartridges per pistol there was no malfunction.

G43X and G48: wrap-up

The new pistol models G43X and G48 convey a "1911 feeling" in ergonomics and handling with characteristic GLOCK design features with their slim grips and a 10-round magazine capacity. The G43X is also well suited for shooters with larger hands and costs 702 euro. If you don't need a large magazine capacity and also have small hands, the G48 could be an interesting alternative. At 725 euros, it costs hardly more than the G43X. already tested the mentioned GLOCK 19X crossover pistol

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