SHOT Show Range Report: Glock’s Single Stack 9mm Pistols

The Glock G43x and G48 Make an Appearance at SHOT Show Industry Day at the Range

The GunLink team was split on whether or not we would like the two new single stack offerings from Glock. On one hand, some of our team thought that the pistol giant was late to the game, as they often are, while others, particularly those of smaller stature, were excited for the simplicity and reliability of the platform in a form factor that would be easier for them to use.

After getting some trigger time on the new models, they seem to make a bit more sense.

A couple members of the GunLink team got to put some rounds down range through three of Glock’s newest pistols – the new 43X and 48, as well as the G45 (a G19 slide on a G17 grip… but now available in BLACK!!) that has been around for a few months. 

The G43x Crossover

Neither of our shooters were much impressed with the G43X. It’s exactly what it says on the tin: a small, low capacity G43 with a longer grip that bumps it up to 10+1 capacity. The 43 is a decent enough purse pistol or IWB for smaller-framed folks. As well as it does in that role, it was already just on the edge of being a viable pocket pistol and we think it solidly exits that category with the longer grip.

Of course more rounds are great, just take a look at Rules 1 and 2. But more rounds in a G43 is an itch that can be scratched with a higher capacity magazine (with or without a sleeve to fill out the grip) while still leaving you with the opportunity to use it in a pocket or deep concealment pistol role.

Verdict: still not impressed.

But wait, there’s more. Doesn’t the “X” in Glock models mean “crossover?” If the G19x chimera is a mashup of the G19’s slide crossed with a G17’s frame, whose frame does the G43 slide ride on in the G43x?

The G48 – a Single Stack Glock 19

Carrying one daily and being of the opinion that one would be hard pressed to find a more suitable CCW pistol than the G19, I thought that the G48 was a stupid idea. The Glock design is dirt simple and the G19 is just the right size. If Goldilocks was going to carry concealed, she would definitely steal one from a bear, right? Why sacrifice five rounds, especially when you’re only saving yourself 0.16″ of width?

It turns out that there are shooters out there other than me and, amazingly, some of them are a different size than I am. Some of them like Glock pistols just fine but find a G19 to be just a bit too girthy to hold onto or too thick or heavy to carry on the hip. Our female shooter who attended SHOT Show Range Day happens to be one of those people.

GunLinkGirl was immediately enamored with the G48, which features the sight radius, OAL, controls, and overall feel of the 19 but in an ever-so-slightly slimmer package that she reports fit her hand like, well, a glove. And to be honest, it didn’t feel bad at all in my XL-sized hands either.

Aside from length, the dimensions (width, thickness, circumference) of the G48 grip are the same as those of the original G43, which is a great size for smaller hands or IWB carry without overstuffing your waistband. And, whereas my inner curmudgeon railed about the frivolity of adding grip length to the minuscule 43, the 48 never had a chance as a pocket pistol, so I’m apparently OK with it.

Not only is the new G48 a better fit for the hands of a wide swath of humans, it shoots well and should carry very well. Its single-stack design is slim like a sub-compact, but it has the longer sight radius of a full-sized pistol. For the IWB crowd, it won’t take up much space inside your trousers. Additionally, the G48 has enough muzzle length to keep the butt of the pistol from trying to flop outward while still riding high enough to get a solid grip – an issue I have experienced with some sub-compact single stacks.

Given its similar dimensions to a G19, we got pretty similar accuracy out of it at SHOT Show Range Day. Unlike full size double stack models, the G48 lacks an accessory rail, so if you want a light or laser you will be limited to clamshell style devices or rail-mounted devices attached to something like the ReCover Tactical adapter. Other than that, the new Glock is just like most other Glocks. It’s a 2-pin frame with a left-side slide stop and front slide serrations.

Being as satisfied (and deeply invested in holsters and accessories) as I am in the G19, I certainly cannot come up with any reason why I would make the switch from 19 to 48. However, if you like the Glock platform but struggle with pistol width or weight, either in shooting or carrying, the 48 may be what you need. As much as I hate to admit it, while this pistol did not make much sense to me on paper, after shooting and handling it at SHOT Show and again at our LGS when we got back, it does appear to be a practical handgun.


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