Glock 43 (G43) 9mm Handgun

Glock 43 9mm subcompact handgun


Overall, this subcompact 9mm polymer pistol feels good in your hand from the get-go. It’s definitely small, and someone with larger hands, or even medium-sized hands, may feel like it’s just a bit too small to get a good grip on. It does, however, come with 2 magazines: one that sits flush with the bottom of the frame, and one that comes ready with a pinkie extension so you can get your entire hand around the frame when holding it. I have found this pistol to be priced between $449-$549 depending on the store you buy it from.


The overall length of the pistol is 6.26 inches, the width is a mere 1.02 inches, and the height is 4.25 inches. This subcompact pistol has a short, 3.39 inch barrel. Unloaded, it weighs roughly 17.95 ounces, and 22.36 ounces when loaded fully. Trigger pull is approximately 5.5 lbs with a trigger travel of .49 inches. And lastly, the barrel rifling is right-hand, hexagonal with a length of twist at 9.84 inches.

Trigger: The trigger that comes standard with the Glock 43 is fine. It certainly can be upgraded to something better, but for an inexpensive subcompact pistol that’s meant to shoot close-range, the standard trigger will do just fine. An amateur shooter, after a couple-few trips to the range, should be able to shoot at least a 1 inch grouping at 7-10 yards without too much trouble (after learning the basics of how to hold a handgun, how to correctly pull the trigger smoothly, and how to aim correctly). I don’t know that I will ever find the need to replace the trigger assembly with another, better brand, because I don’t anticipate ever using this gun for anything other than a small, compact, concealed carry firearm, and would hate to sacrifice reliability with a little extra speed in shooting, especially when I can be fairly accurate with the standard trigger the G43 comes with.

Sights: The fixed sights on the G43, in a nutshell, are fine. Nothing about them screams amazing, but they will do the job provided you practice a little with them. This was my first pistol (first gun ever, actually) that I owned, and after 2 trips to the range I was shooting about 1″ groupings between 7-10 yards. I even played around with the 100 yard steel target and could hear the audible “ping” once every 6 or 7 shots or so. The major disadvantage to the G43 sights, however, is that at night time they are literally invisible. You can’t see them at all, which means using this gun for a home defense pistol is probably not going to happen unless you swap out the standard sights with another brand that allows for night time visibility.

Frame: The polymer frame is solid, no complaints here. Due to the nature of this subcompact pistol, it’s virtually impossible to get your pinky on the grip when using the magazine that sits flush with the bottom of the frame. The small frame and grip texture (or lack thereof) make for a difficult time in keeping your hands on the gun while shooting. By no means am I saying that this gun feels like it will fly out of your hands during recoil, because I’m not, but when my hands are sweating a little I find the need to constantly readjust my hands on the grip to ensure the gun remains stable in my hands while shooting. This is minor, however, and doesn’t add any discomfort or other issues as far as I can tell.

Magazine Release: The magazine release button on the G43 model can be ambidextrous. The Gen 4 magazines allow for an ambidextrous release, but the gun comes standard with only the right-handed magazine release button. The button is easy to press, and the magazine drops down on it’s own easily without the need to tug or pull to remove it. With the size of the frame it’s easy to quickly press the button to change magazines.

Recoil: The recoil is just about what you’d expect from a 9mm handgun. It does pack a punch, but is very reasonable and manageable.

Slide: The slide is fairly easy to pull back to either load a round in the chamber, or lock back to inspect for a live round. I have found that my 120 lb wife lacks the upper body strength to easily rack the slide to lock it back, but we have found that using a quick motion while putting a forward pressure on the frame while pulling the slide back lesson’s the difficulty substantially and allows her to lock the slide back. Like I said, I can easily rack the slide, and lock the slide back without any trouble at all, a smaller person can get the hang of it with a little practice.

Disassembly: The field stripping of this firearm is easily done. The only disadvantage that I can see is the fact that you need to pull the trigger during field stripping to take off the slide. While this is adding a safety issue to field stripping, I always pull the magazine out of the firearm first, then once removed, rack the slide back to both visually and physically inspect the chamber for a round. As long as you routinely use this method whenever handling the firearm the safety issue of pulling the trigger to remove the slide is a moot point.

Issues?: I have run several hundred rounds of Federal 115 grain 9mm ammunition through my G43 without any failures to fire. The gun worked as intended. I should note, however, that if one or both of your wrists are limp while shooting, I can say that you probably will experience many rounds that will fail to eject from the chamber after firing. When your wrists are locked I have not experienced this at all, but a few tests using limp wrists proved that this could be an issue for some without proper locking of their wrists. Additionally I wanted to improve my accuracy, so I checked out a video where the instructor teaches to put in the magazine, rack a round, then remove the magazine from the firearm, and then fire a live round, then reset the trigger and dry fire a second round. I thought I’d try this technique to help reduce my anticipation of recoil. Upon trying this technique, I experienced a failure to eject almost every single time. It would appear that the gun was meant to have a magazine in it in all situations. I guess, however, that it doesn’t matter all that much because the round fired successfully every time, it’s just the brass case wouldn’t eject properly, and if I was in a real live scenario without a magazine in the gun I would only have one shot anyways and the failure to eject would be a moot point. Just something I thought was interesting that I’d pass along.

Final Thoughts

The Glock 43 9mm subcompact pistol is a great first gun. It’s also a great addition to an already established collection. It’s small/compact, light, and will fit in just about anything you are wearing for great concealment. You should be careful when carrying, however, because there is really no safety selector other than the way the trigger system is set up with the small piece right in the middle of the trigger that must be depressed before being able to fully pull the trigger back. After you’ve become familiar with this firearm it is unlikely that someone who handles it safely will have an accidental discharge, and the lack of a safety selector is not something that I take into consideration when buying a firearm. I have put several hundred rounds through this gun without any FTF (failures to fire), except what I noted above with regards to this. I would recommend this gun to others after having owned one myself.

Note from the author: Hi! My name is Matt Johnson, and I write reviews for firearms and firearm related products that I have personally used and have become familiar with. While I understand that some individuals may disagree with some of my thoughts/feedback, I welcome you to leave comments and I will make adjustments as I see fit based on concerns and comments from my readers. I do hope, however, that everyone can keep commenting respectful and understand that my reviews are solely my opinion, and in no way do I consider myself to be the “end-all” when it comes to firearms. Continue your research here, and on other websites to gather as much information as possible before making your purchase. I am not endorsed by any companies or products, so my opinion is completely of my own volition. Thanks for reading!

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