As seen in CONCEALMENT Magazine Issue #18, July 2020.
The ongoing patchwork of COVID-19 lockdowns, quarantines, and shelter-in-place orders has led to a massive uptick in gun sales nationwide, with many of those buyers specifically purchasing guns for self-defense or personal protection. With smaller, slimmer pocket pistols being a natural choice for that particular application, we wanted to optimize one of the most popular entries in that class: the Glock 43X. Kitting this particular pistol out was a fairly daunting undertaking since there’s so much aftermarket for anything Glock related. But we put together a specific arrangement of add-ons that takes the 43X and morphs it into a pistol we’ve affectionately dubbed the “Glock 19 slim” as the result is a pocket pistol with the same length, capacity, and capability of even the best-appointed G19-sized carry guns. Historically, choosing a subcompact counterpart of a larger pistol comes with trade-offs in muzzle flip, effective range, and on-board ammo. But there are some unique upgrades to the 43X specifically, which bridges the gap in all of these categories.
WHAT’S ON THE INSIDE
Perhaps the biggest update we could make to the diminutive 43X was a simple magazine swap. Factory-issue Glock magazines for the 43X/48 pistols are single-stack, 10-round mags. But the made-in-the-USA Shield Arms S15, metal-body mag holds 15 rounds in a flush-fit tube. This one change single-handedly boosts the 43X by 50 percent and brings it on par with the capacity of most full-size service pistols. Furthermore, they’ve also released a +5 baseplate extension that further boosts the round count to 20, with about an inch of extra length. The only caveat that comes with using S15 magazines is that you need to change your magazine release button. The OEM plastic mag release will get chewed up in short order scraping against the thin-body metal mags. Shield Arms does produce their own button to fix this issue, but we used an aluminum piece from Hyve Technologies, which produces their own full line of 43X accessories.
Among those Hyve upgrades is a self-contained stainless steel guide rod and recoil spring unit. In addition to being more durable with less flex during recoil, the Hyve recoil unit also adds some extra weight to the front end of the pistol to reduce muzzle flip.
In order to reduce muzzle flip as much as possible, we paired the stainless steel guide rod with a barrel/compensator combo unit from Mayhem Syndicate. While it’s far from the only Glock comp on the market, there are a couple things that set it apart. One is the size — Mayhem advertises that their 43X comp only increases length to the size of a G48/G19. The other is that they sell their comp mated to an in-house match-grade barrel that’s drilled for a roll pin. Using a pin, as opposed to just threads and thread locker, creates a more permanent attachment that’s just about impossible to shoot loose. At an MSRP of $350 for the barrel/comp package, it’s not the least-expensive option, but you do get a two-for-one enhancement out of it, in both increased accuracy out of the stainless match barrel and reduced muzzle flip with the comp.
We finished off the internals with a trigger kit from Johnny Custom Glocks. Johnny is a true artisan in the field of aftermarket triggers. He only has one product line — Glock triggers. We’ve been a huge fan of these triggers for years now, and the 43X/48 model didn’t disappoint. Ours features absolute minimal take-up with a hard break at 3¾ pounds almost every time (measured on a Lyman digital gauge) with a loud, tactile reset. The shoe is machined aluminum with a noticeably beefed-up safety tab that provides more positive engagement compared to OEM versions.
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