Hey there and welcome to another of our firearm comparisons reviews. We have a real showdown for you this time with two 9mm Glocks that have for a long time caused heated debate as to which one of these subcompacts you should bear.
The Guns In Question Are The Glock 26 and Glock 43
Glock is an instantly recognizable brand of short semi-automatic pistols. They are extremely popular to those in the world of concealed carry weapons (CCW). In turn, both the 26 and the 43 have lots of positives to offer the user. This is what seems to have led to a continuously debated showdown as to which is the best CCW – Glock 26 vs Glock 43?
That is a trick question we feel, as both are so similar. They each have solid performance records and totally live up to bearers expectations. After reading through this review, we hope you will find it easier to answer that question for yourself.
Fundamentally on paper, these two appear to be remarkably similar. In the real world of use, however, the minor alterations between them add up to some quite significant differences.
Why Do Some of You Guys Get Into Such Heated Debates About These Two Guns Then?
It seems mostly that opinions are centered around and clash over the perceived benefits of magazine capacity over ease of concealment.
So let us now take a closer look at each weapon individually and see if we can shed some light on this apparent argument…
The Glock 26
The Glock 26 was first released upon the world in 1994. It became the first model of its kind and is now in its fifth generation.
In our view, at least, the Glock 26 is by no means a hard to conceal pistol. Some do say the 43 is the better for CCW, but to our mind that is negligible. In fact, the bigger 26 can allow for larger magazine capacities, which does have certain obvious advantages.
As for magazine capacity, well a Glock 26 will hold 10+1 rounds of 9 x 19 using a compact double-stack magazine. But here is the thing, it can actually hold more. A trick many people like to do with the 26, is carry a full-size magazine in a mag carrier kept as a backup.
In the case of a shootout situation and the first clip is emptied a full 17 round magazine (from the 17) or a 15 round (from the 19) can be loaded into the pistol. If a sleeve is fitted to the magazine, you will get a full size grip to boot.
Of the two, the 26 is slightly larger. It is a suitable weapon for concealment but within the refinds of a suitable holster. We would not recommend it to be carried loose in a pocket; however, due to the light trigger of Glocks. Talking of the trigger, there is a safe action shooting mechanism in place. Within the firing system, three automatic fail-safes are fitted. These are for the pistols’ firing pin, drop safety and the trigger. These will provide consistency for repeated trigger pull.
The dimensions of the 26 are as follows. Barrel length is 3.42 inches, and overall, it measures 6.41 inches. Width is 1.18 inches, and it stands at 4.17 inches tall. Weight is 19.4 ounces.
Users of the 26 all agree on one thing though. It is a very well balanced handgun with a great shooting ability. The small size of the pistol does not hinder shooting, but you need to be aware that smaller guns lack the mass to soak up recoil as well as larger firearms.
You do have to make amends for the small size with the way you hold the 26, as it is not perfectly suited to an adult hand. Getting an extended magazine will help, though.
This weapon is smaller than the 26. It is actually the smallest pistol in the Glock lineup. Not by a lot, compared to the 26 but enough to reduce holding capacity. This is a single stack weapon, and a 43 can only hold 6+1 rounds of same.
An aftermarket magazine extension and the addition of a floor plate can increase capacity by an extra round or two and can give a little more space for your pinky. However, a 43 is preferred by some because of the slightly longer grip making for a better palm swell hold.
The 43 became bestowed with the moniker ‘baby Glock’ when released during the 90s. The compact size made it an instant success as this is a great gun for concealed carry. For CCW in a good IWB holster, it is ideally suited. Some do say that it is too small. For those who wear slim fitting clothes or need ‘deep’ concealment though this will tuck away out of sight completely.
Barrel length is 3.39 inches with an overall length of just 6.25 inches. Width is a slender 1 inch, and it is a shorty standing at 4.25 inches high. It is super lightweight too weighing 16.23 ounces.
Despite its size, a 43 retains all of the Glocks’ trademark reliability. The same safe action shooting mechanism is fitted to the 43 as the 26. The trigger press has become much smoother now than with the 26. The break itself is much crisper. Reset is still as definitive as ever.
We should emphasize that although this is a good defensive gun, it is not a ‘super’ smooth precision trigger. Generally speaking, the smaller the gun, the harsher it becomes to shoot. Recoil is not so well absorbed, which can delay the time it takes to get your gun back onto the target. All that being said, you can certainly be totally dependent upon the firing of the gun safely and continuously.
While we are on the subject of the 43, we will briefly bring into the mix the Glock 43X which has been introduced at the 2023 SHOT show. Effectively it is a Glock 43 but with a slightly wider and taller frame to increase grip size. Round capacity was also raised to hold ten rounds of 9mm ammunition.
This means it is now equal to the 26 at 10+1 with the new Slim01 magazine. Size has increased slightly, but the weight has remained almost unchanged at just 0.2 of an ounce more. The slide and barrel length are also unchanged, as it is still actually a standard Glock 43. The 43X has become the more modern ‘mark 2’ version of a 43.
Both guns are noted for shooting far easier than their compact size does suggest. The felt recoil is subjective. Some shooters finding acceptable firing from such tiny guns. Then again, others will make claims to them being the worst they have ever used. This all goes to show it is all down to personal preference.
Of the two, we think the 26 is the best balanced in shooting and handling of such a small weapon. While due to the longer grip the 43 is, the better for just plain shooting.
If you really are determined to use either of these ‘Baby Glocks,’ then you need to adjust to their mini size. We suggest learning to adapt to shooting with just three or even two fingers on the grip. Now that is certainly not the instinctive way to fire a handheld weapon, but with practice, this can be overcome.
Maintenance of a Glock 26 or 43 is very simple. And remember to use some of the best gun oil or grease to make the task even more effective. They are each about the easiest of weapons to take down, and there are very few internal parts to deal with.