GLOCK 43 Review, with XS 24/7 Express Big Dot

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The red thing? That’s the external bit on my Laser-Ammo training module. It lets me dry fire with effect, safely, in my own home. More on that later.

The Glock 43 was one of the most anticipated guns of the last few years. GLOCK was one of the last of the big gun companies to release a single stack 9mm. And how did they get repaid for taking the time to make the gun right? A bunch of moaning and complaining because the magazine only holds six. A year later, and the complaints have calmed down and the gun can still be difficult to find. But I did find one, and I am impressed enough by it to totally overlook the slightly abbreviated magazine capacity.

The capacity is the main grump, and it is somewhat valid. Other guns the same size or smaller have capacities from seven to nine rounds. Yet, I don’t feel this matters as much as others might make it appear. The G43 is not a combat gun. It is not a duty gun, though it has been issued as such. The G43 is intended as a concealed carry gun. They made it as slim as possible, but large enough to get a grip on. And the grip dimensions are important. As a result, there is only  room for six rounds. And that is not exactly a limitation.

Modern ammunition is designed to be as effective as possible, to minimize the number of shots needed to incapacitate. But as always, the biggest factor is not the number of shots used, but the placement of those shots. With nearly any quality self-defense round, a well-placed shot will do the job. And the G43, as I mentioned, is not a combat pistol. But it is capable of allowing proper shot placement if you ever need.

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The gun handled everything I put through it with increasing hunger for more ammo. 147, 124, 115, 160… it likes all weights. Round nose ball ammo, to a wide selection of hollow points, and again it ate everything without a hiccup. Of course, the point of impact shifts around a bit depending on the ammo used, but it doesn’t matter too much. The gun is defensive in intent, so being able to hit a man sized target at fifty yards is really pushing it. The gun will absolutely do it if you do your part, but it doesn’t need to be able to.

Anybody can build a 9mm compact or subcompact that can make 115gr FMJ shoot easily, if not comfortably. GLOCK has made a single stack concealed carry gun that not only makes 115 easy to handle, but everything else as well. I know I already said that, but right now I’m talking about feel. About the experience of shooting the rounds, not the technical capability. I can shoot +p+ 9mm from a derringer and have it work, but it’s going to hurt. With the G43, you know you’re shooting something heavier, but it isn’t unpleasant. I did my hollow point defensive ammo testing in this gun in one afternoon, after running 500 rounds of assorted standard pressure FMJs. The ammo I used while testing this gun was provided by Ammunition Depot, and Armscor USA. Armscor Ammunition is available at most shops and online retailers, and they make good plinking ammo, and have branched out into some lines of defensive ammo as well. Ammunition Depot is located only half a state away from me, and are wonderful to work with. They also have some of the lowest average prices and fastest shipping of any online ammo shop I have used.

Internally, it’s a GLOCK. There are only a couple little differences and they don’t change the manual of arms at all. No big surprise that a miniature GLOCK shoots like… well, a miniature GLOCK. It is dead reliable, point shoots easily, and is made of minimal parts, for ease of maintenance. It is the ease of shooting, however, that makes it shine. It is a thin gun, with a small grip and the flush magazine was a little difficult to control with the nasty stuff. But with the included pinky extension, it gave the right amount of grip to handle anything. And I really do mean anything. The final hollow-points I tested in it were 124gr +p+ Gold Dots. For those who may not know, these put out a ton of energy, and can beat lesser quality guns apart. And all I felt was a slightly more substantial push in my hand, and a bit more noise and muzzle flip. In order to stay accurate, I would have to really slow down my rate of fire. The gun didn’t seem to notice at all.

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If you can’t find a less common model of GLOCK, like this G43, do what I did. Visit Glockmeister. Great service, sane prices.

The trigger is a standard GLOCK trigger, and comes in at a slightly mushy 5.5lbs. There are aftermarket triggers available for the G43 of course, but I don’t know if I would replace it. It’s not the best trigger, but reducing it might be counterproductive in a defensive gun that may be dropped in a pocket for a quick trip to the store. It is light enough, and I don’t need a target trigger in a concealed gun.

The sights. Now, the title to this review included the 24/7 Express Big Dots. XS Sights was kind enough to send me a box of goodies, which included these upgraded sights for the G43. Now, I’m accustomed to the traditional GLOCK sights, but I do find them to be a bit slower. With the short sight radius, they work, but that’s about it. The XS Big Dots are tritium sights, so they glow and that’s a clear upgrade to standard white. However, there is another great advantage to the 24/7 Express Big Dot. In situation where you need to be accurate and fast, you don’t want to be hunting for that front sight.

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You can’t miss this sucker. It’s big and bright during the day, and in the dark, it glows. Alignment is very simple. Put the pumpkin on the post. Put the golf ball on the tee. Make a lollipop. The rear sight works well and is quick during the day. The valley and the white line blur in your vision as you focus on the front sight. This is how it should be. Since it blurs it appears a little larger than it is, making alignment easier. At night, alignment is a touch harder, but you are again focusing on the front sight. This isn’t an issue, because you are not going to be shooting as far in the dark, because you have to be able to identify the target as a threat. And at self-defense range, which I identify as being seven yards or less for the majority of situations, as long as you hold the gun properly and put that big front dot on the target, you will hit the target.

Like any sight change, there is a period of transition. GLCOK’s standard ball-in-the-box style is simple and easy to use. That’s why they use it. But they also ship their guns with plastic sights for a reason. A lot of people will change the sights on any gun, before they make any other modifications. You may have noticed that every image I have used here shows the gun with the XS Big Dots on it. This has been the only modification I have made. It is also the only major modification I plan to make.

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Alien Gear Cloak Slide. Uses the same shells as other Alien Gear holsters. More on these later too.

Overall, the GLOCK 43 really is just that good of a gun. Is it the best concealed carry single stack 9mm out there? Maybe. That really does depend on you and your preferences. Being summer in South Georgia, it has become the gun I carry when doing yardwork. We have rattlers and cottonmouths and copperheads out here and I don’t like being unprepared for that. But, do keep in mind, I open carry this little thing in an Alien Gear Cloak Slide while mowing and trimming back the local plant life. I also live out in the boonies, where II don’t have constant traffic or pedestrians who might be shocked by it.

I heartily recommend the G43 for anybody who needs an easily concealed gun. I even recommend it as a small gun for people who just don’t like big guns. I would even go so far as to recommend it as a teaching gun for training your children. My own nine year old daughter was able to acclimate herself to it more easily than she did to my G19, simply because it fit her smaller hands better.

I also have nothing but high praise for XS Sights and the 24/7 Express Big Dot. Which you’ll be seeing more of around here soon.

And no, I don’t get paid for the shameless plugs.

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