To no one’s surprise, the sub-compact Glock 43 9mm pistol has been a best seller for the Smyrna, Georgia company. After all, pistols suited to concealed carry are best sellers and Glock fans have been waiting years for Glock to come out with a sub-compact 9mm. I reviewed the G43 for DRTV and found it to be a reliable, accurate pistol, easy to shoot and well suited to concealed carry. Given the popularity of this new pistol I thought I should see what I could do to enhance one for concealed carry, so here’s my version of the Super Mini Glock.
Sights you can see, day or night, are an absolute necessity on any defensive pistol. The stock sights on the G 43 aren’t bad – they consist of the usual white outline rear and white dot front sight Glock has been putting on their pistols since Day 1 but that doesn’t mean they can’t be improved. Over the years I’ve learned a front sight that grabs my attention is what’s needed for fast, accurate defensive shooting and the XS Big Dot is the front sight I can see under all conditions. When the light is good I see a big, white ball and in dim light or darkness it’s a glowing, green ball. The express rear sight is a wide “V” shape with a white vertical line that’s used to align the front sight when there’s time to make a precision shot; think a ball sitting atop a stick. Removing the factory sights and installing the XS sights with the tools provided with the sights takes about 15 minutes if you take your time and follow the clear instructions. The XS sights are an easy and worthwhile upgrade.
Lights and Lasers
Night sights help us align our sights but they do nothing to help us identify a threat in the dark. For that we need a bright white light, and, in my experience, the fastest way to get hits under these conditions is with a white light and laser combination. That’s exactly what we have with the new TLR-6 from Streamlight, a 100-lumen light combined with a red laser. Another easy install that fits on the front of the trigger guard, the TLR-6 laser can be adjusted for windage and elevation. On a pistol like the G 43 I like to adjust the laser so it aligns with the middle of the front sight when I’m looking through the sights at about 7 yards. The TLR-6 can be programmed to come on with the light or laser alone, or with both. This is an excellent accessory for a concealed carry pistol.
The problem with installing a light or light/laser combination on a concealed carry pistol is finding a holster so you can actually carry your pistol. Another problem, even if you can find a holster, is sometimes adding a light or laser to the pistol can cause the gun to hang up during the draw. You need more than just a holster to solve these problems, you need a holster designed by someone who is a shooter and carries a gun every day. Fortunately, I have a guy, a really good holster guy, to help me out. My guy is Rob Leahy of Simply Rugged Holsters, right here in Prescott, Arizona. I went to Rob and explained what I needed and in about a week he handed me a functional and beautiful concealed carry setup for the G-43/TLR-6 combination. The holster is based on a favorite of mine, Rob’s CID design, and the single magazine pouch has a clever feature I haven’t seen before. Rob canted it slightly forward and belled the top of the pouch to make it easier to retrieve the magazine while still keeping it secure. Both pieces, the holster and mag pouch, are beautifully finished in a basket weave design and look so good it’s a shame they’re designed for concealed carry. This rig makes it easy to securely carry and quickly draw the accessorized mini-Glock.
Deciding which ammunition to carry in a defensive pistol can take some doing. While most of the premium defensive ammo being produced these days is designed to offer optimum penetration and expansion roughly based upon the FBI protocols there are other considerations. The most important of these considerations is reliability – the ammunition must feed and fire through your pistol 100% of the time, and when we’re talking about feeding small, lightweight pistols the amount of felt recoil generated by the ammunition can be a factor. Before deciding which ammunition to carry in the G 43 I put a couple of boxes of three different loads through the Glock. Here’s what I found:
Hornady Critical Defense is the defensive ammunition I compare all others to. It is excellent ammunition and I’ve tested it in everything from ballistic gelatin to shooting up cars, all with excellent results. The 115gr. Flextip load runs great in the Glock with moderate felt recoil. Advertised at a velocity of 1140 feet per second (fps), I found the Critical Defense clocked an average of 1119 fps from the short, 3.39” Glock barrel.
Sig Elite Performance is a new brand of premium defensive ammunition I’ve not had a chance to run through the usual penetration and expansion tests, but from what I have read it performs up there with any of the premium loads. The 9mm load uses a 124gr. jacketed hollow point bullet at 1189 fps according to Sig. In the short Glock tube I recorded an average velocity of 1133 fps, a loss of less than 60 feet per second. Of these three loads the Sig’s heavier bullet produces noticeably more felt recoil but not so much I found it objectionable.
DT Tactical is the name for Doubletap Ammunition’s defensive lineup of ammunition. The load I find most intriguing in 9mm is their 77gr. jacketed hollow point, a load said to achieve 1425 fps in a three inch barrel. Driving a lightweight bullet at high velocity means the load will be flat shooting and offer less recoil but the downside is that high velocity bullets, if not properly constructed, tend to break up or expand too quickly and this limits penetration. Doubletap has overcome these issues with a bullet that expands as well as penetrates. It offers excellent performance in ballistic gelatin while defeating barriers like sheet metal and windshields. This load is accurate, has very low recoil, is pleasant to shoot and I chronographed it at 1335 fps in the Glock 43.
The Glock 43 is an excellent choice for a small, concealed carry pistol. With the addition of these accessories and ammunition it can be even better.
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About the Author:
Ed Head is a regular on Shooting Gallery, Gun Stories and Down Range TV. He has worked for almost 30 years in law enforcement, first in the United States Air Force and then with the United States Border Patrol, retiring as a Field Operations Supervisor. During his Border Patrol career, Ed worked in a variety of patrol, investigative and training capacities. Ed has an extensive background as a firearms instructor, having trained thousands, ranging from beginners to police, military and special operations personnel. Having taught at Gunsite for 20 years, Ed first trained there under the world famous shooting school’s founder, Jeff Cooper, then later ran the school as the operations manager for more than five years. Ed lives in Chino Valley, Arizona, where he continues to teach and write.