One of the big advantages of the Glock 17, even nearly 40 years after its debut, is that it has a fairly large capacity magazine for a handgun. It holds 17 rounds (but the model number has nothing to do with the magazine capacity) – while 10 round magazines are available for those states that require it, or for anyone who wants to "lighten the load" as they say.
While having more rounds can be better in a personal defense weapon, it comes at a cost – again the weight, but also the fact that the Glock 17 (G17) doesn't exactly tuck neatly into one's waistband. For those who legally carry a concealed weapon, the idea is to have it concealed. The G17 matches a Colt M1911 or Beretta 92 in the size category and that's fine for a duty holster but a bit too big for daily concealed carry. That is where the slimmed-down Glock 19 (G19) comes into play – it is much like the bigger 17 on a bit of a diet.
This single stack, 9mm Luger caliber pistol was designed to be an ultra-concealable subcompact handgun. That alone doesn't set the G43 apart from other 9mm handguns. The market is full of such single stack firearms. These offer a flatter profile and smaller overall footprint than the larger double stack weapons – the tradeoff being a LOT less ammunition in the magazine. However, the purpose of these weapons isn't to engage in a prolonged shootout – but rather to ensure you don't become just another victim.
Size-wise these are comparable to pocket .380s but offer a whole lot more stopping power. Like its larger brethren, the G43 has a polymer-frame, which reduces the weight. It tips the scales at just about 18 ounces with an empty magazine installed, while it is just 6.26-inches long and has a height fo 4.25-inches. Officially it is 1.02-inches thick, but that's really only at the widest point at the slide lock. The rest of the width is a bit under an inch.
While the G43 is a bit larger and heavier than the Glock 42 (G42), which is chambered for .380 ACP, the G43 offers a bit more. It is a decent tradeoff considering. It isn't perfect – again having a modern 9mm with just six rounds in a magazine is never ideal. Yet, as subcompacts go it could be the right handgun to have for those who legally carry a concealed weapon. Simply put, the G43 offers one of the best combinations of mobility, discretion and firepower in a handgun.
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.