When searching for a single-stack compact, there are two models that constantly rise to the top. Both the Glock 43 and the M&P Shield come from leading manufacturers and have a wide range of points in their favor. In fact, to the uninitiated, it might be quite hard to choose between them.
Of course, when choosing the right firearm, a lot will depend on personal preference and specific needs. However, there are certain factors that could make the decision process easier. Let’s take a closer look at these two mighty models to see which one is truly the best.
At First Glance
When simply taking the looks of the pistols into consideration, there may seem to be little to choose between them. Both the Glock 43 and the M&P Shield are single-stack poly striker subcompacts. They are also both especially slim and are designed to fit comfortably in the hand.
However, at 4.6 inches the M&P Shield is slightly taller than the Glock 43, which is just 4.25 inches tall. The barrel of the M&P Shield is 3.1 inches compared to the 3.39 inches of the Glock 43. At 0.95 inches wide the M&P Shield is also slightly narrower than the 1.03 inches of the Glock 43.
While both of these guns are attractive, it is clear that they feature different approaches in terms of design. Like most Glocks, the 43 is rather simple and blocky. It is straightforward, without the need for a lot of defining features.
While the Glock is not likely to win awards in terms of aesthetics, many people are likely to appreciate its simplicity. The overall design works well with the size of the model. The size of the handle is perfectly balanced for the overall size of the gun.
However, the Shield has a lot more visual elements in the overall design that are all screaming for attention. While the overall appearance is striking, some people are likely to feel that it looks too busy. While model users find more attractive is likely to come down to personal taste rather than actual usability.
The trigger on both of these models is relatively light, while both boast a passive trigger system. However, it should be noted that the trigger pull on the Shield is 6.5 pounds, compared to 5.5 pounds with the Glock.
It might be worth taking into account the fact that the Shield can be fitted with an ambidextrous manual safety if desired. However, people who have large hands may find that it is difficult to disconnect the safety.
In terms of trigger function, the Glock feels quite loose at first and may actually always feel too loose to some users. While it boasts a solid wall and clean brake, the reset is so slight as to be almost unnoticeable. It actually tends to feel significantly heavier than its 5.5 pounds.
However, the take up of the Shield is very smooth. The wall is solid, while the brake is very clean. While the reset is also rather insignificant, this model tends to feel quite light in the hand. In terms of trigger action, the Shield has a slight edge.
The Hand Feel
The grips on these two models boast very different designs, which affects the way that the guns feel. The Shield boasts a granulated material texture that helps to make it feel especially comfortable. In comparison, the texture of the Glock is much rougher.
With its longer and wider design, the grip on the Shield is much larger. This actually provides users with more to hold onto. Conversely, the Glock sits rather low in the hand, while the Shield sits quite high.
Users are likely to find that these grips both feel rather different from each other. However, neither of them is actually bad, and it really depends on what users are looking for. Once again, this is likely to come down to personal preference.
The Shield features a standard magazine that has the capacity to hold seven rounds. It is also available with an extended magazine that holds eight rounds. The standard magazine of the Glock holds six rounds, while there are eight in the extended magazine.
At first glance, it would seem like the Shield is the clear winner in this category. But there is much more to the story.
Users who want to have access to more rounds can fit the Glock with either a +1 or a +2 base plate. This means that the Glock can actually fire more rounds than the shield when the base plate is used. Fitting a base plate is a very simple process for those who want more bang for their buck.
All About The Features
As with most pocket pistols of this type, both the Shield and the Glock are rather light on features. Because the sight on the Shield uses a three dot system, it is especially effective. People who use the Glock may find that target acquisition takes a little longer compared to the Shield.
However, the chamber indicator on the Glock is tactile and visual, whereas it is only visual on the Shield. The sight is one of the most important features of any gun, and in this case, it would seem that the Glock has the edge.
The Shooting Experience
Let’s take a closer look at the comfort that is delivered while shooting. Generally speaking, guns of this size tend to be pretty uncomfortable to shoot. However, both the Glock and the Shield perform well for their class.
Both models are relatively solid and comfortable in the hand. Although they both have plenty of power, there is not too much for the small grip to handle. However, the Shield delivers slightly less recoil than the Glock.
Both of these guns perform well when firing when walking or rotating the shoulders. Because the Glock sits slightly lower in the hand, it tends to feel a bit more stable. When shooting in motion, the Glock is especially accurate and has the edge over the Shield.
Long-distance accuracy is not really something that many people are likely to consider with a gun of this type. However, it is a good reflection of the quality of the gun. Because the Shield has a three dot sight, it tends to be easier to use than the Glock.
This has a significant effect on long-distance accuracy. However, people who are dead set on choosing the Glock have the option of purchasing better sights to go with it.
Glock 43 Pros
- Comes with a straightforward design.
- Boasts a tactile and visual chamber indicator.
- Especially accurate when shooting in motion.
Glock 43 Cons
- Some people may feel that it looks rather bulky.
- Has a loose initial impression.
- Features an optional base plate.
- Target acquisition can take a while.
M&P Shield Pros
- Boasts an ambidextrous manual safety.
- The trigger delivers a smooth take up.
- Combines a solid wall with a clean break.
- The grip feels very comfortable.
- The sight is especially effective.
M&P Shield Cons
- The safety can be tricky for people with larger hands.
Glock 43 vs M&P Shield Conclusion
As you can see, there really isn’t a whole lot of difference between these two models. In fact, anyone who is looking for a pistol of this type would be happy to own either. Ultimately, the model that users choose is likely to come down to personal preference.
However, in terms of ergonomics and overall feel, the M&P Shield has a slight edge. This model has a solid reputation for fitting in the hand exceptionally well and having a less aggressive rake than the Glock 43. However, potential owners might want to put both models through their paces to see which ones suits them the best.