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If you’re interested in buying a compact Glock 9mm pistol, you’re probably considering the Glock 26 vs 43. Glock offers 19 different 9mm pistols and the G26 and G43 are two of the smallest and lightest. But while these very similar-looking guns both have the popular features the best Glock pistols are known for—including the low bore axis, loaded chamber indicator, polymer frame, hammerless design, and the safe-action system—they are quite different. Here’s everything you need to know to about the Glock 26 vs 43 to choose the right pistol for your needs.
Glock 26 vs 43, By the Numbers
The key differences between these two pistols is that the G43 is a little smaller and noticeable lighter in weight than the G26, but that is partly because the 26 has a greater magazine capacity. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the size comparison between the two, as well as capacity.
Glock Model G26
Glock’s G26 pistol was introduced in 1995. It has a smaller grip frame than the G19 and has become popular for civilian concealed carry and as a backup gun for law enforcement officers who are issued a G17 or G19 as a duty gun. Currently, Glock offers four versions of the G26. There’s the standard G26 (Gen 3), the G26 Gen4 for law enforcement only, the G26 Gen5, and the optics ready Gen 5 MOS. The G26 and G26 Gen 4 have finger grooves on the grip and the G26 Gen 5 does not. The Gen 5, which is the latest model, also comes with the Glock Marksman Barrel; the new NDLC ion-bonded finish; a larger, reversable magazine release; an ambidextrous slide stop; and some additional internal modifications. Also, the Gen 5 G26 has interchangeable backstraps so you can better fit the pistol to your hand, and the MOS version is cut to accept a miniature reflex sight.
Glock Model G43
The Glock G43 was introduced in 2015 and is a slimline version of the G26. The most noticeable difference between it and the G26 is that the G43 has a single-stack as opposed to a double-stack magazine. This reduces the magazine capacity by 40 percent and the grip thickness by 18 percent. The thinner grip makes the pistol more compatible for shooters with smaller hands. The G43’s grip does not have finger grooves, and the backstrap is not interchangeable. However, it sports the larger, reversible magazine release and a slightly extended beaver tail grip to allow for a higher and more comfortable hand placement on the pistol. With its six-round capacity, you could say the G43 is a poly-framed, semi-auto pistol version of the easy-to-conceal and traditional snub-nose revolver.
Glock 26 vs 34: Size & Weight
When it comes to carrying a handgun, whether you’re carrying concealed every day or carrying for protection during outdoor adventures, size and weight matter. You may not think it matters that much, but take it from someone who’s carried a gun every day of their life for a quarter of a century. By the end of the day, you’ll feel every extra ounce and even every extra half-inch. These two pistols are very close in size. The G43 is a might bit slimmer, and with an empty standard magazine inserted it weighs 17 percent less than the G26. If both pistols are weighed with a standard magazine that’s loaded to capacity, the G43 is a full 20 percent (5.5 ounces) lighter than the G26, due to the reduced capacity of the G43’s magazine—and capacity matters.
Glock 26 vs 43: Capacity
Capacity is a primary consideration for a pistol, almost no matter how you use it. It’s is even important if you’re just recreational shooting, simply because the more ammo your gun holds, the more time you’ll spend shooting compared to reloading. With standard magazines that do not extend past the bottom of the grip, the G26 has a 40 percent (4-round) edge in capacity. If you include the longer magazines, the G26 has an even larger advantage with options that hold as many as 24 rounds. It can also use G17 and G19 magazines. Of course, if you’re using higher-capacity magazines, the pistol’s weight increases proportionally. With factory Glock magazines, the G43 is limited to a maximum of six rounds. However, there are extended aftermarket G43 magazines that hold 10 rounds.
A Better Alternative?
I’ve spent a lot of time with Glock pistols. When I was working as a street cop and as a special agent, a Glock was my issued sidearm. I also always carried a smaller Glock as a backup. For me, the short grip of the G26 and G43 is a bit stubby for establishing a good hold, and while the G43 is one of the easiest Glocks to carry, I’m not a fan of its limited capacity. I think the best answer to the Glock 26 vs 43 question is actually the 10-round G43X MOS, which was introduced in 2020. This pistol sort of splits the difference between the G26 and G43 and comes out of the box ready to accept a miniature reflex sight. (Few things make a pistol easier to shoot more accurately than a red-dot sight.) The G43X MOS’s grip is also a bit longer, which makes my hold on the pistol more comfortable and more secure. A fully loaded G43X MOS weighs about an ounce more than a fully loaded G26.
Related: The Best Sights for Glock Pistols
Which Glock is Right for You?
Selecting a pistol is mostly about finding one that fits your hands, your lifestyle, and your needs. It’s good to listen to advice from experienced shooters, but it’s more important to find what works for you. If you’re wanting the 9mm Glock that fits smaller hands or is the easiest to carry, the G43 is a great option. If you’re wanting a 9mm Glock that’s easy to carry but also offers higher capacity and a wider selection of magazines, the G26 deserves a look. However, for the best of both worlds, and for a pistol that’s easier to shoot for most people due to its longer grip, the G43X MOS is hard to beat. For those reasons, of all the Glocks I own, the G43X MOS is the only one I ever carry.
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