Glock 26 vs. Glock 43 (2023 Comparison)
If you’re thinking about getting a subcompact Glock 9mm pistol for concealed carry or as a back-up gun, the two primary options you’ll have to pick from are the Glock 26 and the Glock 43.
The Glock 26 and Glock 43 are both very small Glock pistols, but with one major difference: the Glock 26 has a double-stacked magazine and is thus wider with greater capacity, whereas the Glock 43 is a single stack pistol and much thinner (but also offers less capacity).
Is one better than the other for your needs?
In this guide, we’ll dive into the development of these two pistols and the thought process that Glock put into each of them. Then, we’ll compare these two pistols head-to-head to find out each of their advantages and disadvantages.
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Development of the Glock 26
The Glock 26 was first released to the market in the mid-1990s and quickly earned the moniker the ‘Baby Glock.’ Since the 26’s release, this name has also been given to other subcompact Glock handguns such as the 27, 28, and 29, but it was the 26 that started it all.
The 26 was a bit of a marvel when it was released, because at the time, there were simply no other concealed carry pistols in its class. The Glock 26 is a double stacked, polymer-framed, striker-fired 9mm pistol with a 10+1 capacity. Essentially, it’s a smaller version of the Glock 19.
In the 1990s, common concealed carry handguns included the likes of .38 snub nose revolvers, the Walther PPK and its many clones, the Beretta Cheetah series, and compact 1911s such as the Colt Officer ACP. All of these guns were built on heavier metal frames, and most had a small capacity of 5 to 8 rounds.
The Glock 26 offered something unique: a subcompact pistol that was also very lightweight but had more capacity than most other subcompact handguns on the market.
It also set a new trend and handguns in this category are very common today. Following the release of the Glock 26, other gun manufacturers began following suit with their own subcompact, double-stacked 9mm autos:
- Smith & Wesson M&P Compact
- Springfield XD Subcompact
- Walther P99 Compact
Development of the Glock 43
The Glock 43 was first released in 2015, after many years of demand from the shooting public. Starting in the late-2000s/early 2010s, handgun manufacturers began producing subcompact single stack 9mm handguns.
Examples included the:
- Kahr series of pistols
- Walther PPS
- Ruger LC9
- Smith & Wesson Shield
- Springfield XDS
Naturally, there were calls for Glock to produce a single stack 9mm pistol as well…but for a few years they never did and continued to only offer the Glock 26 as their subcompact 9mm handgun.
But by 2015, the company relented to public demand and the Glock 43 was released to the market. While a little bit taller than the Glock 26, the 43 is also significantly lighter and thinner thanks to its single stack magazine. Today, the Glock 43 has become one of the most popular single stack 9mms on the market.
Glock 26 vs. Glock 43: Which One Is Better?
Let’s dive into the similarities and the differences between the Glock 26 and the Glock 43:
There’s no getting around the fact that the Glock 26 offers superior capacity to the 43. The standard magazine capacity of the Glock 26 is 10 rounds versus 6 rounds for the 43.
Furthermore, the Glock 26 offers the ability to accept larger 9mm magazines in it as well. For example, the 26 can accept Glock 17 and Glock 19 magazines, even though those magazines will protrude beneath the grip of the gun.
The idea is that you can conceal carry a Glock 26 with a standard 10 round magazine to ensure it’s easy to hide on your person, but then carry a spare 17 or 19 magazine for your reload.
You can also upgrade your Glock 26 to a 12+1 factory magazine capacity with a pinky extension attached to the baseplate.
There are several third party magazines for the Glock 43 designed to likewise increase magazine capacity by a couple rounds as well along with a grip extension.
But at the end of the day, the Glock 26 offers a higher magazine capacity and thus superior firepower.
This is likely the number one factory you’re thinking of when determining whether to get a Glock 19 or a Glock 26: which one is more concealable?
There are two factors that determine how concealable a handgun is: the total width and the total height. A thinner pistol is naturally easier to conceal in your waistband (or in your pocket) and also less likely to print beneath your shirt. Likewise, a shorter pistol is less likely to print and will be easier to conceal carry in your pocket as well.
The Glock 26 is a bit wider than the 43, but also a little bit shorter. Specifically, the Glock 26 has a total width of 1.26 inches versus a width of 1.06 inches for the Glock 43. However, the 43 is slightly taller than the 26, with a height of 4.25 inches versus 4.17 inches respectively.
Let’s put it this way: both the Glock 26 and the 43 are easily concealable pistols. But the Glock 43, being a little bit thinner, will be easier to hide in your waistband or in your pocket.
Since the Glock 26 and 43 are both small guns, they naturally produce a little bit more recoil compared to a larger frame duty gun (such as a Glock 19 or a Glock 17).
You can expect both handguns to be a little bit snappy when shooting them at the range, but the Glock 26 produces a little less recoil than the 43.
The reason for this is because the 26 is a little more bulky and heavy than the 43, and as a result, it can soak up the recoil better than the 43 can. That being said, both pistols are very controllable and easy to shoot.
4. Safety Mechanisms
The Glock 26 and 43 each use Glock’s three safeties that come installed on each Glock pistol. While Glock handguns do not feature external safeties, they do each feature a trigger safety, firing pin safety, and a drop safety.
Safety is a tie because both the 26 and the 43 triggers utilize a front-blade safety on the front of the trigger that must be depressed in order for the gun to fire.
The firing pin safety is a mechanical piece that stops the firing pin from moving forward on a Glock pistol so long as the trigger is not pulled. When the trigger is pulled back (and again, the front blade safety on the front of the trigger must be depressed as well for this to happen), the piece is moved up so the firing pin can move forward.
The drop safety involves a trigger bar that stops the firing pin from moving forward. The bar lowers and allows the firing pin to move forward when the trigger is pulled back.
Specs of the Glock 26
Here are the specs of the Glock 26:
- Length: 6.5 inches
- Width: 1.26 inches
- Height: 4.17 inches
- Barrel Length: 3.43 inches
- Weight (w/ magazine): 21.52 ounces
- Caliber: 9mm Luger
- Capacity: 10+1 rounds (standard factory magazine)
Specs of the Glock 43
Here are the specs of the Glock 43:
- Length: 6.26 inches
- Width: 1.06 inches
- Height: 4.25 inches
- Barrel Length: 3.43 inches
- Weight (w/ magazine): 17.99 ounces ounces
- Caliber: 9mm Luger
- Capacity: 6+1 rounds (standard factory magazine)
Glock 43 vs. Glock 26 Conclusion: Is One Glock Better Than The Other?
In conclusion, whether the Glock 26 or the Glock 43 is a better choice for concealed carry for you comes down to answering one very simple question:
Would you rather have a slightly wider pistol with greater capacity, or would you rather have a slightly thinner pistol that’s somewhat easier to conceal with reduced capacity?
Both the 26 and the 43 are among the easiest Glock 9mm pistols to conceal. But between the two, the Glock 43 is a little bit easier to hide on your person while the Glock 26 offers superior firepower.
If you’re still undecided, head down to your local sporting goods store or firearms dealer and handle both of the guns yourself.
Better yet, try shooting both guns at the range if you have the opportunity (such as if you know friends who own either gun or have a local shooting range with guns available to rent in your area).
Once you’ve physically handled both guns in-person, it should become a lot easier to choose.