Over the last several weeks I have put a lot of time in with the new Glock 43. My goal is to narrow down it’s real role within the concealed carry market.

The backup scenario

Having written an article already on the gateway gun for many new shooters I was still trying to figure out where it fits with the veteran shooters. My recent experiment focused on using it as a backup gun, which honestly was the second role I believed it could fulfill. After carrying it for about 2 weeks as a backup I have come to conclusion I would rather carry a spare magazine and here is why.

True low profile signature

First off, the Glock 43 I carried was in a weak side appendix holster. If you search the internet you might see a few videos of me working the draw stroke with this configuration. I honestly had nothing bad to say about this setup. My draw stroke par times were close to my other weapon systems so I didn’t see anything glaring there. What I really like about this setup was it allowed me to carry both my primary and backup inside my waistband, which to me keeps to our low profile configuration.

Round count roundup

Previously with my Glock 26 as my backup it was very difficult to do IWB so I ended up running strong side hip for the primary and weak side hip for the backup. It was a good setup, but not the easiest to conceal. Because both my primary and the Glock 43 were IWB it offered improved concealment options. What I didn’t like was how fast I went through the 6 round magazine. In our classes an important drill is breaking from the traditional two round defensive response. Giving students the opportunity to engage the target without a round count is hugely important for realistic applications. I could blaze through the smaller magazine quicker than I thought. Realizing I had no spare magazine for it made me wonder if this was the best choice. So, total round count for both systems was 23 rounds. My par time from last shot fired of my primary to first shot fired of my backup was consistent so I next looked at the alternative.

Spare magazines

I took a hard look at my reload with a full size spare magazine holding 17 rounds. While not as fast as the “New York Reload” it gave me 17 rounds, that is 11 rounds more than the backup system. Yes, I may find myself in a tough situation where I fire the 16 rounds in my primary. Honestly, the 17 round reload was slower than the 6 rounds drawstroke. However, one thing not originally part of my comments was my skill. Shooting the backup on my weak side wasn’t as fast or accurate as shooting my primary off my strong side. One could assume typical engagements at close range would negate the accuracy, but the speed is the one to keep in mind. If I was concerned the backup drawstroke was faster than the spare magazine reload, then I have to give the same attention to my speed on my strong side.

Multiple threats

I’m not opposed to carrying spare ammunition. If I were to carry a spare magazine it would be a full size 17 rounder, which begs the question why carry the backup? In this discovery mode I realized the spare magazine showed more versatility, aside from the combat reload, I had as an option the speed reload or tactical reload. Something I would not have with my backup’s magazine due to compatibility.  The possibility exist I would need to return fire after I run dry. The threat is not neutralized or additional threats come into the equation. It was upon looking at the multiple threat scenario I felt the backup might have a slight edge. If there were several threats all converging on my position and by several I mean like 3-5, I could easily see the backup being quick, but in the end the 17 round magazine and skill won out.

I have gone back to carrying a spare magazine rather than a second gun for now. 33 rounds is still 33 rounds.

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