Glock 26 Versus The Glock 43X: Which Is Better?

I’m a die-hard Glock 43X fan. Have been since I got the pistol a couple of years ago. My buddy, Jason, recently picked up a Glock 26. This immediately prompted a “My Pistol Is Better Than Yours” roiling debate between us. Except, it’s not really as heated as it sounds; we constantly do this with gear that we get, ranging from knives to guns. Quite often, we get the same firearms, so that negates any potential debates.

However, on the occasions when we get different gear, it usually devolves into a comparison debate. Actually, it’s a healthy thing. And that’s what spawned this particular article.

You’ll have to follow along to see which pistol is better.

The Great Debate

Now before anyone thinks I’m against the Glock 26, let me clarify that I’ve owned a couple of them throughout my meandering decades of buying, selling, and trading guns. Any time that I’ve traded a Glock 26 away it wasn’t because of any deficiencies of the pistol; rather, it was because I just “had” to have the next pistol I was obsessing about. Perhaps you’ve been in that position yourself.

And while it’s fun to get Jason all revved up about how awesome his pistol is as I criticize it, the truth is that the Glock 26 is a great pistol with many merits. We won’t tell him that just yet, though. Let’s let him stew a little.

The other aspect of this article is that I do have a personal favorite among these two pistols that I’m comparing. I’m not going to let that cat out of the bag just yet, in the spirit of being objective. I want to present the attributes of both pistols to you, so that you might come to your own conclusion independently.

Firearms are a very personal choice. Sometimes we don’t really need a glaring advantage staring at us as a reason we went to own a particular gun. At times, “Just because I like it” is a perfectly justifiable reason to own a given gun. So without further adieu, let’s dive into the Glock 26 vs. Glock 43X comparison!

The Glock 26

The barrel length is 3.43 inches, with an overall length of 6.5 inches. Thickness is 1.26 inches and height is 4.17 inches. The unloaded weight is 19.4 ounces.

The 26’s standard magazine capacity is 10 rounds (the same as the 43X). A major advantage of the Glock 26 in this department is its ability to use any 9mm Glock magazine that is double stack. Magazines from the Glock 19, 19X, 17, and others will fit. Everything up to and including the 33-round magazines can be stuffed into the little Glock 26 magazine well.

So, we have a very small Glock 9mm that can accept huge magazines. It’s nice to know that the tiny pistol we’re carrying can accept a spare magazine with serious firepower in case it ever hits the fan while we’re armed.

It makes sense to carry an extended magazine with the Glock 26. Having a 15 or 17-round magazine as a spare is nice because if we’re ever involved in an incident and need to reload, the extra rounds will certainly be welcome. What’s more, the longer magazine that hags out of the grip also provides a bit of extra grip for our hand to hang onto, which helps us shoot more accurately.

Glock 26.
The little finger dangling in space below the Glock 26’s grip is aggravating to me.

One of the only annoying points of the Glock 26 for me is that my pinkie finger hangs in space below the grip. The only way to remedy that is to add an extension to the magazine’s base plate. While it’s certainly doable, I hate having to modify factory equipment. Had they made the grip just slightly longer, this issue would be alleviated for the majority of people.

Considering that the pinkie finger is where a lot of a person’s grip strength is exerted when gripping a handgun, the extremely short grips are a real factor.

The Glock 43X

The Glock 43X has the grip length of a Glock 19, except it is slimmer around. That’s due to the magazine being very close to a single stack. This eliminates the pinkie finger hanging off in space and offers a much more secure grip for the shooter. It’s one of the features that sold me on the 43X; the grip feels as though it were custom-made for my hand! The RTF (Rough Texture Finish) also helps a lot with the purchase of the grip, giving it a very secure grip that is not likely to slip.

Like the Glock 26, the 43X’s magazine capacity is 10 rounds, so the two are equal as far as magazine capacity goes (at least with standard magazines). The fact that the G26 can use magazines from larger Glock pistols is an advantage.

Glock 26 (top), 43X (bottom).
The two Glocks at the range, battling it out. The 43X’s slightly longer grip endears it to the author. The range bag is from Blackhawk.

The 43X’s barrel is slightly shorter, at 3.41 inches. Its overall length is 6.5 inches, which is slightly longer than the Glock 26. The weight of the 43X is 18.7 ounces compared to the G26’s 21.69 ounces. The Glock 43X is significantly slimmer than the Glock 26, at a width of 1.10 inches (the 26 is 1.30 inches). This makes carrying the Glock 43X easier.


The 43X and the 26 are fairly comparable in the accuracy department. Both will center punch a target at surprising ranges. I tested the 43X out to 75 yards and was getting hits on Police B-27 human silhouette targets. I’ve no doubt that the Glock 26 could do that too, as their accuracy is similar.

Glock 26 target, 15 yards.
Typical accuracy that can be expected from either pistol. Here it’s the Glock 26 from 15 yards, rapid fire. The 43X performs similarly.

I don’t typically bench rest my pistols to see how much accuracy I can eke out of them. Instead, I fire offhand, often while moving. Expecting a hand-sized group in the center of the target’s chest is quite within reason with either of these pistols at realistic ranges. Given their similar barrel lengths, this makes sense.

Firing Characteristics

Both of these pistols are on the smaller side. Though the Glock 43X is longer in the grip, it’s slimmer. Felt recoil is not bad, but it’s there. It’s certainly not daunting, by any stretch. But it’s more than, say, my Glock 19X, which has more mass, weight, and grip circumference.

Author firing Glock 43X.
Glock’s 43X is a dream to shoot, with good accuracy and manageable recoil. The grip is extraordinarily comfortable!

The Glock 26 definitely feels different when shooting. Recoil is not excessive, by any means. The larger grip circumference has a different feel, and the extremely short grip is definitely a factor. This is where those magazine extensions would come in very handy. The fact that my pinkie finger hangs underneath the base of the grip just really puts me off and turns me away from the pistol.


Everyone takes it as a given that Glocks are supremely reliable. While testing the Glock 26 for this article, we were flabbergasted when it choked on Federal 115-grain ammunition (the type that comes in a red box). After some experimenting and thought, this particular Glock 26 evidently does not like this brand of ammunition.

Given that it wouldn’t hold the slide open on the last round, and the double feeds, it would appear that this lot of ammunition (at least the one box) might not have been full power. It seemed as if the slide was not going all the way back, which would account for the stoppages.

When we switched to a few different brands of ammunition, the issues went away and the gun ran well. Despite that, Jason had become cautiously wary of the pistol. And with good reason, as he plans to carry it for defense. And there’s nothing like stoppages on the range to erode a person’s confidence in the weapon that he’ll be betting his life on!

We agreed that, at the very least, a few more range sessions were in order, including firing some defensive ammo (hollow points) through the pistol just to make sure it will continue working as required.

As for the Glock 43X, I have several hundred rounds through it with nary a hiccup. It has been 100% reliable with ball and hollow point ammunition, which gives me confidence in staking my life on it.

Carrying Concealed

Like many people, I carry my concealed pistols Inside the Waistband (IWB) very often. In such a mode, the thinner Glocks definitely win. The Glock 43X is, compared to the thicker Glocks, the definite winner in this department.

Though the Glock 26 is thicker, which is a major factor, the short grip does help a little in this realm. And let me be clear: while I prefer the thinner 43X, it’s not as if the Glock 26 is massively uncomfortable to carry concealed. It’s one of the better pistols on the market to carry in that manner.

G26 and G43X from behind.
On the left is the Glock 26, which is shorter and fatter. The 43X on the right is slimmer and a bit longer.

Whichever Glock you choose here, you’ll be getting one that is a good concealed-carry pistol.

All in All

Die-hard Glock fans are tough to sway. Those who are entrenched in their love of the G26 might not be swayed into the 43X camp. For a number of years, I owned a G26 and liked it, despite the limitations.

Personally, I shoot the 43X better because it has a better grip. Some don’t appreciate that longer grip, claiming it makes it more difficult to conceal. Others say that the thickness of the Glock 26 makes it more difficult to conceal, while the 43X’s thinner frame and slide make it easier to conceal.

Both are about equal as far as accuracy is concerned, so that’s a moot point.

If capacity is an issue, the 26 might win you over because you can use higher-capacity magazines from larger Glocks if you choose. In the 43X’s defense, it has 10+1 on tap (and there are aftermarket mags that hold 15 rounds), which is not a bad capacity. Carry a few spare magazines, and you’ve got a respectable amount of firepower. I typically carry two spares, so I have 31 rounds with me on a normal day.

Which gun is better?

You’ve got me there! It really boils down to personal preferences. I mean, they’re both Glocks, so how can you lose?

Currently, my favorite is the G43X because of its excellent grip. The fact that my finger hangs in space below the Glock 26 really turns me off, which is why I likely won’t be picking one up.

For me, the 43X is the clear winner in this comparison.

Jim Davis served in the PA Dept. of Corrections for 16 ½ years as a corrections officer in the State Correctional Institute at Graterford and later at SCI Phoenix. He served on the Corrections Emergency Response Team (CERT), several of those years as a sniper, and also the Fire Emergency Response Team (FERT). For 25 years, he was a professional instructor, teaching topics including Defensive Tactics, Riot Control and Tactical Operations, Immediate Responder, and cognitive programs as an adjunct instructor at the DOC Training Academy. He was then promoted to the title of corrections counselor, where he ran a caseload and facilitated cognitive therapy classes to inmates. His total service time was close to 29 years. He was involved in many violent encounters on duty, including incidents of fatalities. He is a dedicated Christian and attributes any skills that he has to the glory of God.

Sign Up for Newsletter

Let us know what topics you would be interested:
© 2023 GunMag Warehouse. All Rights Reserved.
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap