At the end of 2019, Officer Media Group ran a survey to find out what the most popular characteristics of off-duty weapons are: what caliber, barrel length, capacity, etc. What we discovered, based on the responses, is that the “ideal” off-carry weapon for law enforcement professionals is a 9mm striker fired or safe action weapon with a standard magazine capacity of between seven and ten rounds. Obviously, based on those characteristics, it was no surprise that over half of those who responded were carrying Glocks with Smith & Wesson, SigArms, and Springfield Armory next in the top brands. It’s worth noting that, at the time the survey was done, the Springfield Armory Hellcat, SigArms P365 and others would fit the characteristics. For whatever reason, Glock was the manufacturer listed for 53% of our respondents. Why? More than likely because they make two models that fit all the characteristics: The G43X and the G48.
Most people are aware by now that the Glock Model 43X is a G43 slide assembly put on top of a G48 frame. This gives you a shorter barrel and slide with a longer, but still slim, frame that holds a standard 10-round magazine. Now, most experienced folks would agree that the longer frame/grip presents the challenge in concealment; not a longer barrel or slide assembly. Reality is that it depends on how and where on your person you’re carrying the weapon. A longer slide assembly, if worn inside-the-waistband (IWB) may not matter much, but worn on-the-waistband (OWB), it would require a longer shirt/jacket to cover. The concern with the longer frame/grip is “printing,” where the gun shows through clothing when you bend or twist.
The popularity of the G48 is fairly easy to understand: it’s essentially a slimmer version of the Glock 19—a hugely popular off-duty / concealed carry weapon. Yes, from the standard G19 to the standard G48, you give up five rounds of magazine capacity; that is, until you start looking at aftermarket magazines and parts. There is a company that manufactures 15 round magazines that fit the G43X/48 frame. It’s a metal magazine without the plastic wrap that Glock magazines have, so you have to replace the magazine catch as well—to avoid metal-on-plastic wear and tear. But in doing so, you get a weapon that is significantly smaller than the popular Glock Model 19 with the same capacity: 15+1 rounds of 9mm.
- Overall length: Measured from the rearmost point of the bottom of the grip to the foremost point at the barrel equals 6.5 inches. When compared to the length of the G48 of 7.28 inches, the G43X slide assembly saves you about 3/4 of an inch. That equals easier concealment whether you’re carrying IWB, OWB or any other way.
- Slide length: The G43X slide is 6.06 inches as compared to the G48 of 6.85 inches. That’s where the 3/4 inch (roughly) of length is saved.
- Overall width: The widest part of the weapon is the frame/grip just behind the trigger and measures 1.10 inches. That’s 0.24 inches slimmer than the Glock 19. The slide is only 0.87” wide; that’s a little more than 1/10 of an inch slimmer than the Glock 19. Saving a quarter inch of width makes the weapon flatter, slimmer and easier to hide pressed against the body with less potential for “printing.”
- Overall height: Measured from the bottom of the magazine to the top of the rear sight, is 5.04” on both the G43X and G48 (makes sense since it’s the same frame/grip). Compare that to a Glock 19 and you get the same thing: 5.04 inches.
- Weight: This is another big savings for the G43X. Its weight, with a loaded magazine (keep in mind that it’s a 10-round magazine, not a 15-round magazine) is published as 23.07 ounces. The G48 weighs in at 25.12 ounces—not much heavier. That’s accounted for by the added barrel/slide length. If you compare either to the Glock 19 though, at 30.16 ounces, you can see a 25% weight savings with the G43X. Some of that is the reduction of capacity by five rounds, and if you do use aftermarket 15-round magazines with the G43X, you lose some of the weight savings.
- The one measurement that can matter more than most people consider is the sight radius: The distance between front and rear sights. Reality is that the shorter your sight radius is, the greater impact your mistakes in aiming have. Remember the statement that “a small difference at the gun makes a big difference at the target,” when it comes to aiming? That difference is magnified the smaller your sight radius is. That’s why handguns with longer barrels are easier to qualify with. The sight radius on the G48 is 5.98 inches as compared to the G43X’s sight radius of 5.24 inches. In this case, 3/4 of an inch can make a bigger difference than you realize.
We have had both the G43X and the G48 at the range, putting roughly 1,000 rounds through each (so far). We’ve experienced no malfunctions with the Black Hills FMJ ammo we used or with the Speer Gold Dot JHPs we put through it. I EDC the Glock 43X with aftermarket magazine catch and 15-round magazines.