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PRODUCT REVIEW: GLOCK 43… a 6.45% malfunction rate

October 23, 2015



by John Boch
I’d been eyeballing the new Glock 43 (street price about $450-500) since the NRA Convention when I got my first fondle.  It feels like a skinny Glock.

Now, I’m a Glock guy.  I like them, at least in 9mm flavor, and I can’t tell you how many I’ve lost in boating accidents over the years.  I’ve had the full-size 17, the “compact” 19, the “baby” 26 and have enjoyed them all.  Right out of the gate, they all get a 3.5# trigger and tritium night sights.  Outside of that, they are stock and they run great, and do a nice job flawlessly as self-defense guns.  They’re all quite compatible with me and I shoot that “baby” Glock just as well as the larger models.

Through good fortune, I won a Glock 43.  The 6 + 1 capacity had always kept me away before, but winning one on a $5 ticket at the Chicago Guns Save Life meeting is hard to beat.  I confess, I bought $60 in tickets.  Chuck’s Guns in Riverdale (Mayors Daley and Emanuel’s favorite gun shop, in case you’re wondering) provided the very popular gun to GSL.  When I picked it up, I bought three additional Glock 43 factory magazines and a holster.  I intended to be “carry ready” with it.

The gun “felt” okay, at best.  It’s a little on the small side for my hands, but someone with smaller paws hands might find it just perfect for them.  The sights are Glock factory.  The trigger is classic Glock.  (Both will possibly be replaced.  Maybe.  Read on.)

As with the others in the Glock family, there’s no external safety.  Some guys are obsessed that their semi-autos have safeties, but I’m not one of them.  Keep your booger picker in your nose and not on your trigger and you’ll be safe if you observe proper holstering protocol.

I’m luke-warm on the 6+1 as my Glock 19 plus two spare mags is my everyday carry.  That’s 46 rounds for the non-Glock aficionados.  My “19” alone carries the ammunition of 2.5 Glock 43s, and there’s no need to reload.

Firing it for the first time was… not exactly pleasant.  The gun weighs in at under 18 ounces empty, and a couple of additional ounces with bad-guy stoppers in the magazine.

With Winchester Ranger 124gr JHP +P rounds, it was a handful.  Think .40 S&W spicy.  It wasn’t as bad as a .380 micro pistol (Kel-tec P3AT, S&W Bodyguard .380, or Ruger LCP), but it wasn’t far off.  I wouldn’t want to run through a 500-round course with it.  Or a 250-round course.  I felt myself picking up a flinch after a couple of magazines and had to concentrate on a crush grip and deliberate trigger squeeze to keep things going as intended.

Accuracy.  It was more accurate than me.  I had no problem pounding out a ragged hole at 5 yards.


Reliability? The first problem came in the first magazine of self-defense ammo.  A failure to feed four rounds in.  Then on the second magazine, another FTF three rounds in.   A tap on the rear of the slide brought the gun into battery each time, but I shouldn’t have to do that.

Thankfully the last three mags ran flawlessly, but I’m concerned:  two malfunctions in 31 rounds of Winchester Ranger premium self-defense ammo?  That’s a 6.45% failure rate.  That’s worse than the HiPoint 9mm pistol!

Was I limp-wristing it?  I doubt it, particularly shooting from two-handed isoceles as an experienced shooter.  I can’t recall the last malf I had attributable to me limp-wristing any other Glock.  Lube issues?  I didn’t lube it out of the box, but heavy lube is a no-no with Glocks and it didn’t “feel” dry in my earlier manipulations with it.

A few mags of 9mm ball (by Aguila) ran fine, but I’m not carrying ball ammo to save my life.

Summary:  The Glock 43 is not a good gun for beginners as it’s very spicy to shoot.  If you’ve got a spot in your heart for a petite, skinny Glock and have the skills to run a “hot” little gun – and can get it to run reliably with your self-defense ammo – this might be a good for you, especially if you’re fluent in shooting Glocks.  For me, it’s invisible under my suit jacket for formal occasions in an inside-the-waistband holster.  Your own mileage with it, of course, may vary.

We’ll see if a cleaning and proper lubrication will alleviate this reliability-with-self-defense ammo issue or if I need to shop different brands of ammo.  In any event, it won’t be on my hip until it’s shot at least a hundred or more rounds without a hiccup.

8 Responses to PRODUCT REVIEW: GLOCK 43… a 6.45% malfunction rate

  1. JM on October 23, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    Please revisit this after you get more experience with it. That thinner profile would be welcome at times… and I’d be much happier with it than with Elsie.

  2. Frank Sharpe on October 23, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    Mine is running fine – about 800-rounds of ball through it and 20 Corbon DPX. No stoppages. Got it really hot, as well.

    I do find the magazine base-plates with the finger extensions make all the difference in recoil management.

    • jboch on October 26, 2015 at 7:59 pm

      I thought you were a .40 guy.


  3. mini14 on October 24, 2015 at 6:46 am

    Taurus 809 compact…flawless

  4. will-ford on October 24, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    SIG 938 nightmare takes all, shoots damn fine. NO CHOKES.

  5. Dyspeptic Skeptic on October 25, 2015 at 8:20 am

    Just goes to show how important it is to shoot fifty to 100 rounds of your self defense ammo for function testing before you trust it with your life.

  6. Sam Whittemore on October 26, 2015 at 10:18 pm

    I was trying to justify getting my own Glock 43 until I read your piece, John. Let us know how it works out.

    My arthritis doesn’t really appreciate extra-snappy guns anymore.


  7. dan on November 3, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    I have a Glock 43 and have shot more then 1500 rounds through it without any problems or FTF. I Have shot more then 200 rounds of Hornady Critical Defence 115gr(this is what I carry). It sounds like since you only had problems with your first 2 mags it was you not the gun. I know nobody wants to hear that but stands to reason you had problems with your first 2 mags and everthing after that to use your words were flawless. They are different to get use to but all of the smaller guns are and without the mag extention I could see how many people could limp wrist this gun.