So, What Took So Long? The Glock G43

by
posted on March 18, 2015
keefe_report_new.jpg (3)

By now most of the free world is aware of the existence of the Glock G43. Another media entity violated Glock’s trust, so now the beans are spilled ahead of schedule. This gun is the follow-on to the G42 in .380 ACP released last year. 

There's been much speculation on what took Glock so long to recognize the small, single-stack, sufficient-stopping-power semi-automatic carry gun as a category to go after. You have to look at Glock and the big picture.

This category has been around since the mid-1990s. It was pioneered by Kahr Arms in 9 mm and by Kel-Tec undefined in .380 ACP, and then 9 mm. American Rifleman had a story by Robert W. Hunicutt just as the category was emerging. It was not a particularly good cover, really it was quite ugly in retrospect, but it did feature that original Kahr and Kel-Tec. And the kind of handguns that Americans wanted, identified in these pages, changed on Glock. The most important factor in concealing a firearm on one's person is width. Although there are many who are very happy with their short, fat blocky pistols, the guns have large magazines that make them wide. In my view, you trade magazine capacity for concealability with such guns.

undefinedOf course, pocket .380s eventually gave way to 9 mm pistols that were not appreciably larger but offered better ballistic performance (and kicked considerably more, too, as the laws of physics cannot be altered). Guns within this category included the Taurus Millennium and, later, matured with the Ruger LC-9.

Glock, as a principally foreign manufacture, has had more trouble developing small pocket pistols for the U.S. market than domestic makers. Most Glocks come from Austria. But guns in the G42 and, now, G43 size category come under the import restrictions set forth in the Gun Control Act of 1968. Under its provisions, small personal protection guns are difficult, if not impossible, to import. That means they need to be made here.

In short, Glock had to not only engineer the G42 (small guns have no margin for error, engineering-wise) and now the G43, but they had to create a factory in which they could build the guns. And allocate the tool and assembly time to actually make them.

You have to remember, the idea of a small, single-stack pistol was anathema to Glock’s culture. The Glock was built on wide guns regardless of barrel length that fed from Glock's superlative double-column, single-feed magazine. Short and fat, rather than thin and sleek.

And engineering a small short-barreled pocket pistol is more difficult than many think. It is not simply a matter of removing half the magazine and shortening the slide. When you have “Perfection” as your company slogan, the gun better be right, and it better work, the first time with no hiccups whatsoever.

And that appears to be the case with the new G43. My friend and colleague Daniel McElrath, managing editor of NRA's Shooting Illustrated, had the opportunity to go behind the wizard’s curtain in Smyrna, Georgia. Yes, Glock is an American as well as Austrian manufacturer. The company makes guns on both sides of the Atlantic. You can read his initial report here.

The masses of Glock fans no doubt will enthusiastically embrace the G43. It does everything a Glock is supposed to do. It offers more than .380 ACP firepower in a gun that is in a remarkably similarly sized package. It was smart of Glock to introduce the .380 first. Its success paved the way for the G43, and changed and internal culture within Glock.

And that culture change is monumental. The G42 and G43 indicate Glock is willing and able to compete in the commercial marketplace; to make the kind of guns Americans want to buy, not the guns Glock wants to make. And the G43, based on initial reports, seems to be a serious contender.

Latest

30 06 Springfield History And Performance 1994 American Rifleman
30 06 Springfield History And Performance 1994 American Rifleman

.30-’06 Springfield: History & Performance

The .30-’06 Springfield has reached beyond the century mark, but its popularity shows no sign of decline. It fundamentally changed how shooters and hunters look at and use rifles, and it remains one of America’s most popular big-game cartridges.

Preview: WCG Tactical Nylon AR-10/.308/M1A 20-Round Magazine Pouch

Built from highly durable 1000 denier synthetic polymer, the Tactical Nylon AR-10/.308/M1A 20-Round Magazine Pouch from Wilde Custom Gear is compatible with many of the 20-round detachable box magazines used across the broad spectrum of .308 Win.-chambered battle rifles.

Guns Of The 1936 Arab Revolt

The area of the former British Mandate of Palestine has been a scene of conflict for more than a century. One of the largest conflicts began in 1936 while under British imperial administration.

New For 2024: Ruger Diamond Anniversary SR1911

Sturm, Ruger & Co. is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2024 by releasing several limited-edition firearms. One such model is the company's Diamond Anniversary SR1911.

Preview: Viktos Range Trainer Jersey

A great choice for a long day spent on an outdoor range, the Range Trainer Jersey from Viktos is constructed of a breathable blend of cotton and Coolmax polyester fabric.

NRA Responds To New York Trial Verdict

A jury verdict in a high-profile New York trial confirms what the National Rifle Association of America (NRA) contended all along – that it was victimized by certain former vendors and “insiders” who abused the trust placed in them by the Association.

Interests



Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.