Of Calibers and Calipers – Glock G43 vs. Glock G26

Glock G26 (Left) and Glock G43 (Right)

Glock G26 (Left) and Glock G43 (Right)

With the Glock G26 being an established sub-compact pistol, and with the Glock G43 being a relative newcomer, I thought that I would insert my two-cents into the pot of penny opinions on these two pistols.

Glock G26 GEN 4

Glock G26 GEN 4

The Glock G26 made it debut in 1995. With the G26, the “Baby Glock” as it is widely known, Glock‘s goal was to create a sub-compact pistol in 9mm with a shorter profile and a lighter carry weight than the G19 double-stack model. The frame width was trimmed down to just 1.13 inches, which at the time made the G26 the smallest of all the Glock pistols. More than simply a “shortened” Glock 19, design of the subcompact Glock 26 required extensive rework of the frame, locking block, and spring assembly that features a dual recoil spring.

A 10-round magazine replaces the standard 15 round magazine while still allowing the use of G19 (15 round) and G17 magazines (17-round) as well as extended magazines. This made the G26 a very versatile pistol in regard to ammunition capacity.

Glock G43 (GEN 1?)

Glock G43 (GEN 1?)

Fast forward to the year 2015 and Glock introduced the most desired and anticipated pistol, a slim line, single-stack 9mm pistol that was assigned the number of G43. The G43 was designed to be the answer to everyday concealed carry needs; the G43 is ultra-concealable, accurate, and comfortable for all shooters, regardless of hand size.

The standard 10-round magazine was replaced with a non-interchangeable six-round magazine. Along with the frame, the slide’s internal and external dimensions were modified to reduce the pistol’s weight.

Comparable Specifications for the G26 and G43

Comparable Specifications for the G26 and G43

Now, some would ask why I would make a comparison between these two pistols rather than compare either one of them to others; like the Springfield XDs, Smith & Wesson, or even Kahr. The answer is simple, the G43 and the G26 are the smallest pistols manufactured by Glock in what I consider a viable self-defense caliber. While it might be somewhat fair to compare the G43 to the G42 (.380 caliber), the most popular defensive carry ammunition today is the 9mm. Obviously, I cannot compare the G43, with a ‘G whatever’ in .40 caliber because a .40 caliber, slim line, single-stack sub-compact Glock pistol does not exist (yet?).

Glock G26 (Left) and Glock G43 (Right)

Glock G26 (Left) and Glock G43 (Right)

There are obvious differences between the two pistols that are pursuant to the cartridge capacity for each is chambered. The G43 is smaller in any dimension as compared to the G26, while also chambering the same cartridge as the G26. The G26 (The Baby Glock) already existed and many carry one as EDC, so came a demand for a Glock pistol in a single-stack version. I think that some were disappointed at the magazine capacity of the G43, being only 6-rounds, as compared to the Springfield XDs with 7-rounds (plus an extended magazine that is furnished with the pistol that holds 8-rounds) and others comparably-sized sub-compact pistols with larger magazine capacities. There had to be a tradeoff somewhere. By comparison, the Springfield XDs 4.0 9mm weighs more than the G43, but has a thinner grip width than the G43. But, I digress.

Will the G43 enjoy the same popularity as the G26? It is much too early in the G43 game to answer that question.

The Glock G26 (Left) Fits My Hand Better Than the Glock G43 (Right)

The Glock G26 (Left) Fits My Hand Better Than the Glock G43 (Right)

For me, I favor the wider grip of the G26 to the G43. Both of my pistols have grip sleeves – not so much to add width to the grip area but to add better control of these diminutive pistols when firing them. I have heard some say that they felt that the G43 trigger was stiff. According to my trigger pull gage, both triggers are pretty close to the 5.5 pounds of pull Glock claims. I think that it is the feel of the trigger due to the thin grip. In my hand, which are not necessarily large, the trigger of the G43 does feel stiffer than that of the G26, but I believe that it is more of the angle in which the trigger finger engages the trigger. The G26 just feels more natural to me and my trigger finger is not as much in a cramped position as with the G43. Smaller hands; however, will like the feel of the grip on the G43 over the G26, or possibly event the G19.

The sights of the G43 are the same as the G26 and there is not enough distance between the sights to make a difference.

The ambidextrous magazine release button is a size befitting larger pistols. It extends more rearward than other Glock magazine release buttons. I would welcome this size of button on my larger Glock pistols and it seems somewhat out of place on this sub-compact pistol. With that said, the larger magazine release button can be found on the GEN 4 Glock G26.

The G26 can fit the same holster as a G19 or G17 (and most, if not all, of the .40 caliber series of Glock pistols. The G43, on the other hand, takes a dedicated and an entirely different size holster. Virtually all holster manufacturers now make a holster for the G43. While I house the G26 (and also the G19 and G17) in a Cross Breed Super Tuck Deluxe holster, the G43 is housed in a SHTF Gear holster.

I know people that EDC the G26 and G36 and they have had no complaints with the pistols. Granted the magazines are larger in capacity (except the G36) and thicker in width but usually they are carrying one or two spares of G19 magazines. Although there are aftermarket magazine extensions that expand the G43’s round count by one or two rounds, but it still is a far cry from having 10-rounds or 15-rounds available. As far as round capacity, and selection of magazines, the G26 gets the nod.

Glock G26 (Left) and Glock G43 (Right)

Glock G26 (Left) and Glock G43 (Right)

The biggest selling point of the G43, in my opinion, is the compactness of the pistol. With a suitable holster, the pistol can fit into a pants pocket, a cargo pocket, a vest pocket, or even carried on the hip (where I normally carry) while attaining a lower profile than the G26. Given that the G43 is slimmer than a compact revolver and holds one more round gives it a plus in my book. Magazine changes are a lot faster than trying to reload a revolver (even with a speedloader). The G43 can be an excellent backup and/or deep concealment firearm. However, it is hard to argue with 10+ rounds that are available to the G26, which comes with the price of increased size of the pistol (and magazines).

Although the G43 is a slim pistol, it is a pleasure to shoot. The G26; however, distributes the recoil in a wider region of the hand; whereas, the recoil with the G43 is concentrated in the web of the hand. I found that I did not like the “pinky” extension on the magazine of the G43 where a Pierce grip extension on the G26 does not bother me; perhaps, because of its width.

If you like the Glock platform and prefer a sub-compact pistol, either the G26 or G43 may work for you. Which one depends on if you like to be in the thick of things or you wish to take a more minimalist approach to matters. What it comes down to is size vs. capacity; the age old battle with ourselves when deciding on a sub-compact pistol.

I like both the G43 and the G26, and I have both of them. With that said, I prefer the G36 over both of them because I simply prefer a larger caliber. With that said, I’ll end this commentary on a digression.

RESOURCES:

Glock G26: https://us.glock.com/products/model/g26

Glock G43: https://us.glock.com/products/model/g43

About Taurian

Taurian is an Oath Keeper, veteran, former LEO and Defensive Tactics Instructor. Until retirement, Taurian had over forty-seven years of experience as a Technical Writer and Training Program Developer. After leaving home at the age of ten without any shoes, Taurian continues on with many years devoted to the keeping and bearing of arms.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.