Glock 19 vs Glock 43X: Which One Is Better?

In a way, comparing two Glock pistols is like comparing the same boot in two different sizes. They are built the same, look the same, and both are of the same quality. But the overall size and ammo capacity can be important depending on how you plan to carry it. Glock has made a few changes over the years, which can be noted in the “generation” of the gun. Here, we will be examining the Glock 19 vs Glock 43X: Which One Is Better? Both are among the most carried handguns Glock has produced. If you are not familiar with them, you may be wondering what the difference is between the two. Is one better for self-defense or CCW than the other? Does the benefit of a larger ammo capacity outweigh the convenience of a smaller compact gun?

My first Glock pistol was a Gen 3 Glock 19. I had it for years before upgrading to a Gen 4, and then a Gen 5. I also owned a Glock 17 (which I carried on duty). Even the “baby Glock” was a bulky little gun that was big compared to the compact guns we have today. When Glock initially released the 43, I was amazed at how slim and compact they managed to make it. Imagine taking a Glock 19 and placing it in the machine from the movie Honey I Shrunk the Kids. A miniature Glock that would fit in your pocket. But Glock wasn’t done improving on this model and the 43X would soon follow.

First Glance at the Glock 19 and 43X

The Glock 19 is a compact version of the Glock 17, but it’s still not what I would call a “compact” gun. It is common for uniform police to carry the Glock 17 which is a full-size gun that holds 17 rounds and has a 5-inch barrel. While the Glock 19 is still in that full-size category, it has a 15-round magazine and a 4-inch barrel.

This makes it compact for a duty weapon, but not when compared to other compact guns. In my agency, the Glock 19 is a common carry gun for those not in uniform like detectives and administrative personnel. People often carry it concealed, but this can be more challenging since it’s larger than most compact guns today.

Glock 19 and 43x.
The Glock 19 (bottom) and 43x (top) are both popular choices for self-defense. {Photo: Jason Mosher]

The Glock 19 weighs about 30 oz. when empty, whereas the Glock 43X is around 23 oz. The G19 holds 15 rounds, and the 43X holds 10 rounds. Magazine extenders can be purchased for either, increasing their capacity. There is less than one-inch difference in barrel length between the two.

At 6.5 inches in length, the 43X is slightly shorter than the Glock 19, which is 7.28 inches in length. The thickness is where you start to see a drastic change between these two pistols. Of course, the G19 uses a double-stack magazine, and the G43X, a single-stack. What you plan to do with the gun may determine which one you ultimately choose to purchase. Here are some things to consider with both pistols.

What size of gun do you need?

One of the biggest choices to make when choosing between these two guns is determining what size pistol you need. While the G19 is also dubbed a compact gun, it’s much bulkier and heavier than the G43X. But it also holds more ammo and has more OWB (outside the waistband) holster options.

I would say the G19 is one of the best multi-purpose guns ever made. For concealed carry, however, the G43X is slimmer, lighter, and much easier to carry IWB (inside the waistband). Both guns shoot 9mm bullets which has become the most popular caliber for CCW handguns. When selecting between the two, I would first decide how you intend to use the gun.

Shooting with the TOR Fusion laser/light.
The Glock 19 is large enough to accommodate most handgun lights like this TOR Fusion laser/light combo. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
If you plan to conceal carry it often, the 43X is easier to conceal. For vehicle or home defense, general range fun, and other applications, the G19 would be my choice. A person’s size could also play a role in which gun is most comfortable and easy to handle. Someone with small hands may prefer the thinner grip of the 43X. On the contrary, a person who has Andre the Giant-sized hands may find the 19 preferable. I have medium-sized hands and find both guns easy to grip and shoot, so it comes down to how I plan to carry the gun. Simply for me, it’s the G19 when using OWB holsters, and the G43X with IWB holsters, for better concealment.

Holsters and Accessories

Both guns have been out long enough that accessories are abundant for either one. You can easily find mag extensions, night sights, mag release, slide stop extenders, etc. The G43X can be purchased with a rail if you want the option of a light or laser. Because it’s such a small gun, the type of light/laser is limited to a compact model.

With the G19, any light/laser that fits on a full-size handgun will work. I use a Streamlight TLR-1 on my G19, and the light sticks out past the end of the barrel but doesn’t hurt anything. When it comes to holsters, it again depends on how you plan to carry the gun. I you want a duty-style holster with level three retention, Glock 19 is the way to go.

Shoulder holster for CCW carry.
Both guns can be carried in a variety of ways. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
There are outside the waist holsters for the G43X, just not as many. I have a Blackhawk Serpa paddle holster that is self-locking and works great for carrying the G43X outside the waist. There are, however, far more options for inside-the-waistband holsters.

Ammo Capacity

Ammo capacity is something to keep in mind, but both guns offer good protection for self-defense. The average distance for self-defense shootings is less than 7 yards. According to USCCA, most self-defense shootings take place from three yards with three shots being fired. I have always had the mindset that more ammo is better because you never know what is going to happen.

But for self-defense with a compact gun, 10 rounds is not bad. Because the magazine for the 43X is so slim, carrying an extra one in your pocket is easy. For home defense, the G19 with an extended mag and bright light is hard to beat. The good thing about the G19 is you are not limited to G19 mags.

Glock 19 and Glock 43x magazines.
There is a noticeable difference in ammo capacity. The Glock 19 mag (right) holds 15 rounds while the 43x (left) holds 10. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
You can use G17 mags or any of the high-capacity mags from various manufacturers. These range from 27 to 33 rounds. They do make high-capacity mags for the G43X, but most of them top out around 20 rounds. ProMag makes a 50-round drum for the G43X, but I’m not sure I would use a drum on such a small handgun.

Which one is right for you?

If you are having trouble deciding which gun is right for you, think about how you plan to use it. The G19 is more comfortable for plinking and training on the range. The G43X is my favorite of the two for CCW. The G19 costs a little more than the 43X. Another option is to buy both the G19 and G43X. Both guns shoot very well, but the G19 has less recoil because of the added weight.

During drills, I can fire the G19 faster than the 43X, but this is expected with a larger gun. The 43X has the advantage of being more concealable and for its size, still shoots very well. These two guns are the perfect combination for home defense, range use, and concealed carry. Both guns have the reliability that comes with the Glock name, which is among the most respected in the gun industry. Select the one that suits your needs, and it will serve you well.

Sheriff Jason Mosher is a law enforcement generalist instructor as well as a firearms and tactical weapons trainer. Jason graduated from the FBI-LEEDA (Law Enforcement Executive Development Association) and serves as a Sheriff for his day job. When he’s not working, he’s on the range, eating steak, or watching Yellowstone.

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