I’ve been carrying a Glock pistol either on or off-duty, or both, since the early 1990s. My first experience with the manufacturer was a second generation Model 19 and at the time I was already familiar with the Glock Model 17 (G17). I often expressed my desire for a G17 size frame but with a G19 size slide assembly. Along with that desire was one for a single stack Glock that was roughly the same size as a Government Model 1911. I wanted a slim Glock with a 5” barrel and 7 or more rounds. As time has passed – roughly 25 years now, Glock has certainly evolved. The Glock 19X fulfilled my wish for a G17 frame under a G19 slide assembly. And with the Model 48, Glock fulfilled my wish for a slim “single stack” weapon – but the barrel is just over 4” instead of the 5” I envisioned.
A few months ago I received a G43 and a G48 for review. I immediately took both to the range to insure reliable function (not that I doubted it, but if you’re going to carry a gun for self-defense, you’d better make sure it’s reliable). As expected, they both fed and fired all the ammo I had on hand and I then qualified with both. I wanted to start carrying that G43 off-duty and needed to make sure I checked all the right boxes to make it approved and legal.
Subjectively, the G43 is a dream to carry concealed. While I can wish for more capacity, the reality is that for much of the early years in my law enforcement career, I was carrying a 5-shot .38Spl off-duty with either no extra ammo or one speed strip in a pocket (10 rounds total). The G43’s standard 6-round magazine, plus the round in the chamber meant I had seven rounds in the gun and a spare magazine (I had two spares) with six more each for a total of 19. Almost immediately I ordered a few items to accessorize the weapon. The three things I ordered were 1) a Vicker’s Tactical Extended magazine release, 2) a set of Talon grip wraps, and 3) two +2 floorplates for the magazines. I put the magazine extensions on the two spare magazines, upping my total round count carried to 23.
Experimenting with different carry configurations I realized that I liked the feel of the weapon with an extended magazine in place and it gave me nine rounds in the gun. It also gave the gun what looked to me like a shrunken G19X appearance: longer frame, shorter slide assembly. I came to realize that I really enjoyed the longer frame feel… and started carrying the Glock 48 to see if I liked it. What’s the difference? The G48’s frame was only slightly (almost immeasurably) wider than the G43, but the longer frame and “single stack” magazine provided ten rounds per magazine. “Single stack” is in quotes because the magazine isn’t a true single stack, but slightly staggers the rounds to get them to fit into the space allotted. It’s not actually a double-stack either because the off-set of each round is so minimal.
What I realized after carrying the G48 day to day was that while I liked the longer frame length – both because it felt better in my hand and because it gave me the extra ammo capacity – I also liked the shorter slide assembly. Now, most experienced concealed carriers will tell you that it’s the grip length that presents most concealment challenges; not barrel length. While that’s absolutely true for any gun carried on the waist band / belt, if you’re carrying inside the waist band (IWB) and in the appendix position, a longer barrel often translates to increased discomfort between your hips. Guys know what I’m talking about. So, I tried something out: I put the G43 slide assembly on the G48 frame. What I discovered is that I had (essentially) created a G43X. Glock makes this model and you can buy it commercially. That has become my go-to day to day carry weapon, now fed with magazines from Shield Arms: 15-round metal magazines. I had to update my magazine release/catch to one from Hyve Industries (so there was metal on metal, magazine to catch).
I would not have done the mashup of models (and still didn’t carry it without further function testing and qualification) if I hadn’t been aware of Glock’s production of the 43X. Further, I wouldn’t have done it if I’d had any problems with EITHER the G43 or the G48. I was impressed with each individually and believe I’m close to finding my optimal off-duty / concealed carry weapon with the G43X configuration.
The Glock 48 in preliminary testing proved capable and trustworthy. Free hand from 15 yards I had no problem regularly producing sub-2” groups from each magazine. That means 10-shot sub-2” groups. All of my accuracy testing was done with Black Hills 9mm Luger ammunition, 115g FMJs. The G48 I had for testing came with night sights and during the qualification courses, half of which were done in low light, those night sights came in handy. It goes without saying that I experienced no misfeeds, failures to feed, failure to extract or stove-pipe malfunctions during the testing and qualification process. In total, before I ever started carrying the weapon, I had put about 1,000 rounds through it. 250 of those rounds were Speer Gold Dot JHPs – my preferred “duty” ammo.
There is a wide variety of holsters available for the Glock 48 and because so many are “form fitted” kydex, they will also hold the Glock 43 / 43X just as securely. There are also several that will hold your G43/43X/48 with a light module attached. To date the only one I can find (and I did procure for testing) is the Streamlight TLR-6. This light/laser combination produces 100 lumens of light and has a red dot laser that is adjustable for windage and elevation. It attaches to the trigger guard of the weapon and Streamlight’s published material says it is compatible with the G43, 43X and 48.
Now let me tell you something I wouldn’t recommend although it may simply be something I’m doing wrong and doesn’t have anything to do with the Glock design(s). Since I had put my G43 slide assembly onto the G48 frame (essentially making a G43X), I didn’t see the need to have a G48 slide and a G43 frame just sitting around, so I mated them as well. I refer to this as my G43L (G43 Long). I’ve run into a couple of challenges with this configuration. My Speer Gold Dot ammo regularly hangs up on the feedramp and takes work to chamber the first round. It functions fine during firing after that, but that first round rarely feeds without issue. Further, for whatever reason, if I put the Streamlight TLR-6 on this configuration, it seems to slow down the function of the slide. In clearing the weapon and doing function checks (obviously with an empty weapon), sometimes it doesn’t go all the way into battery without assistance. So, first recommendation: don’t do this. Second recommendation: If you DO this, function test it thoroughly on the range with your chosen ammo to insure 100% functionality and reliability before you ever carry it or depend on it for home defense. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to carry this configuration, but we’re all different.
For more information about the Glock 48, visit their website: www.glock.com.
For more on the Streamlight TLR-6, visit that webpage at: https://www.streamlight.com/en/products/detail/index/tlr-6