Bullet Set Back

ballisticsIn his book, author, firearms instructor, and former Marine Paul G. Markel succinctly describes the journey through firearms proficiency from novice through “expert.” More importantly, he describes the attainment of “expert” not as indicative of the end of the journey, but a firm commitment to being a life-long student. Through my personal journey, I’ve had the opportunity to train, compete, and instruct in firearms disciplines… and there are still many things I learn every day. Although I’ve studied and written extensively on ballistics and considerations for personal and home defense ammunition, I recently “re-learned” a valuable lesson on bullet set-back that I’d like to briefly share with you.

For a number of years, I’d kept a 1911 in .45ACP as my home defense firearm and loaded it with 185 grain jacketed hollow-point cartridges. During this time, I’d followed the advice that I’ve often dispensed to “routinely train with the firearm, firing the personal defense ammunition to ensure 100% reliability and then thoroughly clean the firearm and the magazines.”

Well, in the last two years, I switched my home defense firearm to a Sig P227 in .45ACP for the higher capacity (14 versus 8), the integral light rail, and the choice of Double Action or Single Action. Feeling confident with the 185 grain jacketed hollow-point cartridges, I kept the P227 loaded with this ammunition as well. At first, I routinely trained with this handgun/ammunition combination and found it to be as reliable as the 1911 that formerly held this role.

Another Step in the Journey

However, I “fell behind” on training with this system as often as I had in the past… opting to just unload the firearm and the magazines, clean and lubricate both, conduct a non-live-fire function check, re-load, and replace.

Sig P227Recently, when I conducted this routine, I noticed how the Sig P227 failed to feed the first cartridge into the chamber which jammed the gun out of battery. Whereas a “tap” to the rear of the slide would normally return to the gun into battery, chamber the cartridge, and lock the slide and barrel to the frame, this cartridge was firmly jammed against the barrel’s feed ramp. For a home defense firearm that must be 100% reliable, I found this to be discomforting.

When I unloaded the gun, the cartridge in question fell free from the magazine and I noticed that it looked “a little different.” Well, it looked a lot different… and so did the second cartridge in the magazine. THEY WERE SHORTER!!!! This different dimension, the overall length, is one of the contributing factors that led to the jam. Other than the obvious concern that these cartridges could potentially jam my firearm when I needed it the most, I wondered how many other cartridges in the magazine were “shorter?”

Digital CaliperWith a digital caliper, I measured the overall length (from the end of the cartridge rim to the leading edge of the projectile) of the ammunition from the box which had not been chambered into the Sig P227 and they measured 1.206 inches. This measurement was consistent with all other un-chambered cartridges.

The measurement on the “short” cartridge was 1.103 inches! Although this is only about one-tenth of an inch, it was enough to jam the gun. So, I did a quick test with a “good” cartridge and chambered it repeatedly while taking a measurement between each iteration. I had found that each time I chambered the same cartridge, the bullet “set-back” about five thousands of an inch (0.005?). This could be caused by an insufficient crimp (pressure from the inside of the cartridge case against the outside of the projectile), the edge of the blunt-tipped jacketed hollow-point impacting the feed ramp, or both.

The bullet set-back was not only altering the external geometry of the cartridge as it fed from the magazine into the chamber which increased the potential for a jam, it was also changing the dimensions within the cartridge itself.

Internal Ballistics, Pressure, and Bullet Set-Back

If you recall from the Ballistics Series, there are four components to a metallic cartridge: the case, the primer, the propellant, and the projectile. Ideally, the composition/density of the propellant fills the otherwise empty volume of the cartridge case for a uniform ignition. Continue Reading »

Author: Howard Hall


An Alarming Trend – Women Are Shooting

Women Shooting Alarming TrendA couple of years ago, a news reporter at a Detroit television station announced that people using guns to defend themselves from marauders may be the beginning of “an alarming trend.” Brace yourself, as the state of the Union may have further deteriorated since. In a related conversation, one of my training industry colleagues asked me if I had also noticed a similar trend – an increase of women in participation of more-than-cursory firearms training.

The answer is a resounding “yes!” The professional firearms instruction community is indeed witnessing more and more women of all demographics arming themselves in America. As a personal security educator, whose job it is to transform his clients into hard targets, this brings a tear of joy and inspired me to dig deeper. Inquiring of other professional educators plus a little snooping around the net for more detail, this turned out to be quite the hot topic. Although many reasons were suggested, the three most common out there seem to be: the need to independently defend oneself (self-reliance), current events, and the fact that it has never been easier to get involved.

Edged Weapons Defense at Aegis Academy by Steve TaraniBut why now? It makes sense that more women seek to be individually armed as they become increasingly independent, but the number of female shooters has skyrocketed in just the past decade. The “Changing Gender of Permit Holders Data” for seven states shows a general upwards trend in the percentage of permit holders who are women. Florida: the percentage of permit holders who are women rose from 18% in May 2012 to 23.1% in June 2015. Indiana: from 18.0% in June 2012 to 22.7% in March 2015. Louisiana: from 18.3% in 2009 to 24.8% in 2014. North Dakota: from 11.2% in 2010 to 24.9% in 2014. Tennessee: from 23.3% in 2008 to 29.3% in 2014. Texas: from 17.26 in 2004 to 26.7% in 2014. Washington State: between 2005 and 2014 with the growth rate for women getting new permits is twice as fast as that of men. Assuming that these changes in the shares of permits held by men and women for these seven states is similar, the number of permits since 2007 has increased by 270% for women and by 156% for men. (Source: Crime Prevention Resource Center http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2629704 )

Most of us are familiar with the 19th century quote “God made men, but Sam Colt made [them] equal.” Firearms are the great equalizer. The average woman is not as physically strong as the average man. In a violent hand-to-hand physical struggle against one or more male attackers, even if she goes to the gym five days a week, pumps iron and runs marathons, the woman is probably going to lose – unless she has a gun – and knows how to use it. According to Jason Hanson, a former CIA Officer and the author of “The Covert Guide to Concealed Carry,” the bottom line is, “a gun is without a doubt the best way for a woman to defend herself in a worst-case scenario.”

Women ShootingArmed and well-trained women are a predator’s worst nightmare. As such, it may be no coincidence that between 2007 and 2014, murder rates have fallen from 5.6 to 4.2 (preliminary estimates) per 100,000. This represents a 25% drop in the murder rate at the same time that the percentage of the adult population with permits soared by 156%. Overall violent crime also fell by 25 percent over that period of time. (Source: Crime Prevention Resource Center http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2629704 )

It’s important to approach this topic from the bottom line: in a life-or-death defensive situation, a firearm operated by a qualified user is the most effective hand-held protection tool available to immediately stop a physical attack – bar none. This same premise explains why the majority of my clients – male and female military, law enforcement, and armed federal agents, are required to carry firearms and why they are also required to qualify with them regularly.

Shotgun Course Firearms TrainingEven for those who don’t carry a weapon for a living, owning a gun satisfies only one aspect of personal protection with a firearm. Quoting another of my colleagues (USMC Colonel and competitive shooter) “The belief that owning a gun makes you safe is as absurd as believing that purchasing a scalpel makes you a qualified surgeon.” In both cases, the blind act of owning these tools alone without professional firearms and defensive mindset training, and preparation for their use, actually makes you less safe. The two other critical requirements for personal protection with a firearm include professional training and weapons maintenance as you are responsible for safe handling, accurate round placement and appropriate storage.

It seems that this “alarming trend,” as gleaned from interviews with female graduates of defensive firearms training from all over the country, provides a means of leveling the playing field, ensuring personal safety, and a sense of being in control. That sense of control is empowering, and is something firearms-trained women often seek in other aspects of their life. The personal confidence and self-assurance that is a by-product of firearms training, lends itself to a more positive self-image. An image that when observed by a predator hunting for his next victim, may cause him to realize that he may be the one in harm’s way.

Author- Steve Tarani

Source: http://aegisacademy.com/community/an-alarming-trend-women-are-shooting/

What Cyber Attacks Say About Our Values

Two weeks ago we saw United Airlines grind to a halt for well over an hour due to technical challenges with the booking system, so severe that at one point they were forced to issue tickets by hand. New York Stock ExchangeThis ultimately led to many being people having travels delayed, missing flights, and having to be rescheduled. Later that same day, trading was halted on the NYSE due to a “technical glitch”. The nations pundits started screaming “We’re under Cyber Attack!”

Last week it was the Office of Personnel Management. They are a government agency that investigates people’s backgrounds for eligibility for security clearances. My personal data and literally everyone who has ever held a clearance since 2000 was compromised – most likely by China. This week it seems to be that Ashley Madison (the online dating site for people looking to cheat on their spouse) is the latest victim of an attack.  An anonymous hacker conducted this one as he has an axe to grind about the company making false claims about the security of the data its customers enter.

From national entities, to private companies, and professional services to interpersonal relationships, we have become seemingly dependent on IT infrastructure. I can’t remember the last time I actually walked into a bank, and I’m fairly certain Ashley Madison has streamlined the process considerably for those too busy to search the physical world for a fellow adulterer. Hand written airline tickets? My guess is they are still trying to figure out who was really on what plane. The impacts of disabling the NYSE for even a few hours are severe. Yet, we managed to build all of these systems without that technology in place.

A “cyber attack” is a disruption to the convenience-based technology on which we have become dependent. HackerIn most cases, it is that and nothing more. We used to dispatch everything from police to ICBM’s without computer systems. Certainly it was not as efficient as it is today, but we managed to get things done. Slower and less efficient, but still functional. I am confident that the Nuclear Command Structure has the ability to work around “Cyber Attacks” and cell phone outages, as do most police and emergency services. I am equally confident that most Americans would be incapable of functioning without those conveniences for an extended period of time. (Culture of Dependence?)

Regardless of how inconvenient it becomes, the shutdown of the entire electronic system on which we survive causes zero casualties. It is the civil unrest, looting, and rioting that is generally associated with prolonged power and convenience outages that get people hurt or killed. Over longer periods, it is the inability to get food and clean water. Rest assured that FEMA and state agencies have a plan to deal with this potential as well… We need only look to Katrina to see how effective we can expect that plan to be.

I am not trying to minimize the real impact of a long-term network shut down. We would expect that there would be many casualties from the ensuing civil unrest. Corporations spend billions on cyber security. Their profit margins (the reason they exist and can provide jobs) depend on it. When we compare that to the expenditures to prevent workplace violence, physical security threats, and threats to the people they employ, those expenditures are minimal.

Consulting Services

Strangely, in the pre-computer based economy, people were the source of mission critical functions and transactions, and pencils, paper, and smoke signals were simply commodities used to pass that information. In the automated world of today, the system operator and maintainer is the commodity, it is the ability to transfer relevant information that has become the mission critical link.

Cyber Security is the mission critical function and what we as a society place value on because of the impacts on our economic engine. When it comes to your personal safety and security, you are now and really always have been on your own. At least I haven’t seen the app that will take care of that for you. Yet…

Author – Howard Hall

Patrick received his operational training and experience from the U. S. Government, 22 years of which were spent in the Marine Corps where he served in the Reconnaissance, Infantry, and Intelligence fields. Patrick has worked as a contractor and as the Director of Operations at a private paramilitary firm specializing in training military special operations forces and providing protective services to select private clients. His education consists of an MBA from the University of Southern California (USC), and a BS from San Diego State University in Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology and a minor in Psychology.

He holds an extensive list of security and training related certifications. He is an active member of Infraguard and the American Society of Industrial Security (ASIS). He has been a guest speaker at ASIS, the San Diego Industrial Security Awareness Council, The Counter Terrorism Symposium hosted by New York’s Mobile Trauma Unit, and other private organizations on physical security, travel security, and competitive intelligence collection counter-measures.

Source: http://aegisacademy.com/community/what-cyber-attacks-say-about-our-values/

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9mm

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9mmMany recent judicial rulings enabling a citizen’s lawful right to carry a concealed handgun coincide with the ever-present threat of violent criminal attack and a newer threat of terrorist activity in the homeland have greatly increased interest in sub-compact pistols. So, I will add another pistol for consideration and review the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9mm and provide my observations of the handgun’s fit, function, and finances. I’ll also incorporate some useful accessories, such as the CrossBreed MiniTuck inside-the-waistband holster and Tractiongrips pre-cut grip enhancing tape.

A Little History

Following the immense popularity of Glock’s entry into the U.S. law enforcement and civilian firearms marketplace, Smith & Wesson introduced the polymer-framed Sigma in 1993. However, S&W’s design was so close to a Glock that a copyright infringement suit ended the Sigma’s run in 1997. Ten years later, S&W re-entered the polymer-framed striker-fired pistol market with the M&P (Military and Police) line. The 4.5 inch barreled .45 caliber M&P won Handgun of the Year in 2007 and it’s popularity spawned mid-sized and compact versions of the venerable .45ACP as well as 9mm chamberings in 2008. Later, in 2011, Smith & Wesson produced the M&P 22, chambered in .22 caliber long-rifle.

Also similar to Glock, the standard M&P line of handguns had wide-body frames which could contain “double stacked” magazines… and were somewhat difficult to conceal. So, in 2012, Smith & Wesson introduced the M&P Shield in 9mm and .40cal with a thinner slide and frame, and thus “single stack” magazine to enhance concealability. In 2014, Smith & Wesson introduced the M&P Bodyguard chambered in the diminutive .380ACP.

Initially, the M&P design incorporated only two “passive” safeties (a striker block to prevent inertial movement from striking the primer and a “hinged” trigger design which prevented trigger movement unless it was firmly pressed by the shooter). However, many shooters who wanted to use the M&P pistols for concealed carry or a back-up gun desired the addition of an “active” safety (which requires the conscious activation and de-activation on behalf of the handler). Thus Smith & Wesson incorporated an active “thumb safety” as a factory option in their M&P line.

In addition to client requests for training with a sub-compact M&P Shield, I too wanted to learn more about this handgun and considered it for my personal concealed carry. So I took advantage of a Father’s Day sale this past June and purchased a Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9mm for training and personal protection.

Introducing the Smith and Wesson M&P Shield 9mm

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9mmBy the numbers, this pistol has an overall length of 6.1 inches, width of 0.95 inches, height of 4.6 inches, and barrel of 3.1 inches… all weighing-in at just 19 ounces. It ships with two magazines… a “flush” magazine that holds seven 9mm cartridges, and an extended magazine that holds eight. The “three dot” fixed-sights present a clear picture and seem durable. For the most part, the operating surfaces mirror the full-size M&P line. However, the Shield does not include the interchangeable back-strap common to its bigger sibling. The advertised trigger pull of 6.5 pounds was verified using a Wheeler analog trigger pull gauge. With considerable “free travel” the pull weight rapidly progresses to the 6.5lbs and lingers there for a slightly “creepy” sear disengagement. Some of this perceived “trigger creep” may be due to the unique striker action inherent to the M&P design. While most striker-fired pistols are considered single action (slide action retracts and holds the striker fully retracted until sear disengagement releases the striker for full forward motion), the M&P line is technically considered “double action” since slide action retracts the striker to 98%. Trigger movement retracts the striker the remaining 2% until the sear disengages and sends it forward.

Disassembly ProfileWith its aggressive and “forward facing” slide serrations, he M&P Shield is easy to clear, manipulate, disassemble, clean and re-assemble. It breaks-down into the basic elements similar to other models… slide, frame, barrel, and recoil spring captured in the recoil spring guide. Some owners complain about alleged safety implications stemming from the requirement to pull the trigger in order to accomplish full disassembly. Other than adding one more step, I’ve never had a problem with this. I believe that following the basic safety rules and ALWAYS ensuring the firearm is unloaded prior to disassembly and cleaning will avert any safety hazards. However, apathy and carelessness pave the way to negligent discharges.

Impressions, Fit, Function, and Finances

Eager to evaluate this pistol and test its “out of the box” reliability, I took the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9mm directly from the store counter to the range and put it to the test by firing 300 rounds of 115 grain Full Metal Jacket ammunition from various distances. I’m fairly impressed with the ease of operation and comfort in this small and affordable package. In the following paragraphs, I’ll evaluate its fit, function, and finances along with a full range report.Continue Reading »

Article by – Howard Hall

Shotshells in Revolvers

Shotshells in RevolversIn this article, I’ll answer a reader’s question regarding shooting Shotshells in Revolvers for personal defense. Specifically, I’ll discuss the difference between revolver shotshells meant for pest control and shotshells designed for personal defense.

“I’ve been reading the Ballistics Series and your articles on personal defense with great interest. Good stuff! Where I live, there are many other people living in my home and there are other homes very close to mine. So, I’m very concerned about using ammo that would either over-penetrate an attacker’s body or go through walls if I miss. I’ve got a Smith and Wesson 686 4″ revolver in .38/.357. I practice a lot with the lighter .38 special rounds, but keep the gun on my nightstand loaded with .357 magnum hollow-points. I’m worried that using that much power may endanger my neighbors. Many personal defense articles highlight the benefits of using a shotgun for personal defense. I don’t have a shotgun, but I’ve come across a shotshell designed for revolvers. I think that I can get the best of both worlds by loading my .357 magnum with these shotshells that will do the job without worrying about shooting through walls. I’d appreciate your thoughts on this.” – Anthony

Anthony, thank you for the question. You bring up a lot of good points worth highlighting here and I’m glad you’re going the extra mile by reading-up on personal defense and asking questions. In the following paragraphs, I’ll address the different aspects of this issue one topic at a time.

Personal Defense Solutions

First, you’ve highlighted an important issue… firearm/ammunition selection. There are many different opinions on this topic available through blog articles, books, and classes. However, there is no single “ideal” solution that will fit every individual and every situation. Every person has a different level of body strength, visual acuity, and training. Every person also has a different home layout, both inside and outside. And everyone lives in a different area with varying levels of criminal activity and concern.

Firearm Safety Training

In the most general terms, rifles are terrific stand-off weapons that can deliver powerful projectiles with a high degree of accuracy at a number of distances. This high power may be counterproductive in an enclosed environment. Handguns, on the other hand, are easy to operate and to conceal (throughout the house or on your person), but the shorter barrels produce less velocity and accuracy. Shotguns with a regular stock or pistol grip are a bit more unwieldy in an enclosed environment, but they offer significant power, a wider variety of projectiles or shot choices, and are easier to aim and achieve the accuracy required for the situation.

Ryan Finn – The Truth About Guns
Ryan Finn – The Truth About Guns. http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com

In the photo to the right, you can see the results of a number of different results from ammunition that was fired through four layers of sheet rock. If you click the photo for a larger view, you can also see that only the #4 birdshot did not fully penetrate the 4 layers. Although the test does not describe how much energy each projectile maintained as it passed-through the fourth layer, it is clear that there was the potential for some degree of injury to an innocent bystander struck by a projectile that continued to travel through the walls. To read Mr. Finn’s article click here.

The bottom line is that there is an ideal firearm/ammunition solution available to meet the requirements of each individual to address threats in their environment. Since you own a .357 Magnum revolver, but are worried about over-penetration, you are making the right considerations for your individual situation.

Shotshells for the .357 Magnum

In this instance, you are both right and wrong. You are right in the fact that there are .357 Magnum cartridges that contain birdshot instead of a solid projectile. CCI/Blazer produces such a cartridge. It is the Blazer Shotshell #3738, which contains a total of 100 grains (about 150 pellets) of #9 birdshot in a small plastic capsule. CCI lists the muzzle velocity at 1,000 feet per second.

At first glance, it seems like shooting an assailant with this cartridge would create a nasty wound. Hell, 100 grains of shot traveling at 1,000 feet per second also sounds like it would produce the result desired. Quick math tells us that this produces 222 ft/lbs of energy… if it was a solid projectile! However, it is not a solid projectile, but a group of small projectiles that weigh about 0.67 grains each and would only produce any degree of damage if they remained clustered close together. Continue Reading »

About Author
Howard Hall

Howard has served for more than 20 years in the Marine Corps. He has served as a Platoon Commander, Company Commander, Battalion Executive Officer, Regimental Operations Officer, and Battalion Commander. He has multiple combat tours to include serving as a military transition team member in Fallujah. He is an NRA Certified handgun instructor and holds numerous Marine Corps training credentials. An active competitor in action pistol (United States Practical Shooting Association), long range rifle (NRA F-Class), and shotgun (Amateur Trapshooting Association, National Skeet Shooting Association), howard has earned numerous accolades and medaled during DoD competitions with the 1911 platform in bulls-eye shooting.

A Semester Abroad: Arrogance, Apathy, and Ignorance, Part 4

A Semester Abroad: Arrogance, Apathy, and IgnoranceNearly a quarter million American students embark upon study abroad programs each year, and while most programs result in positive experiences and an expanded understanding of our world there are many study abroad programs that have a much grimmer and more costly ending. A 2010 article titled 7 Student Travel Nightmares paints a gruesome and vivid picture of how study abroad programs can go terribly wrong. From kidnappings to abandonment to murder cases, students have experienced an array of security disasters that have left families broken, higher education institutions writing big checks, and diplomatic agencies in a scramble. No country is without its share of security threats, no city is 100% safe, and no student is immune to becoming the victim of a life-threatening situation.

In the last three articles of this series, “Arrogance, Apathy, and Ignorance: What a Student Traveling Abroad Ought to Know“, I have candidly discussed my own experiences while studying at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, Russia. While I enjoyed many unforgettable times in Moscow, I also encountered many experiences that were quite un-enjoyable and unforgettable. At the conclusion of my last article, I left you all at the beginning of what I now call my ‘Taxi-Cab-Kidnapping’ story. I would like to tell the rest of my story, and I sincerely hope that by telling it some student will think twice about the seemingly insignificant decisions they make while studying in a foreign country. Because ultimately, when studying abroad things can go wrong and if they do it happens very, very quickly.

When the Unimaginable Happens

Russian Taxi DriverAt first I could not believe that I was in a situation with an unknown attacker attempting to hurt me…again. Looking back, it seemed like a joke — surely this man knew that I had already been robbed, and surely he was just trying to ‘make a funny’ by driving me to the middle of a remote location before beginning his physical attack. In the moment, however, I had no time to think about the sincerity of his actions, I was simply in response mode, otherwise known as survival mode. As the driver of the taxi continued to wrestle with me for my purse (while driving down a deserted road mind you) I fought back, pulling and tugging on my purse. Without thinking, I punched the man directly on the right side of his face. Despite the likely weak punch I had delivered, he was even more mad and began to swerve down the road as all his attention was focused on forcing me to surrender my belongings. We were exchanging curses, grunts, and hits when all of a sudden the strap on my purse broke, leaving me with the body of the purse in my hands. We both stared at each other wondering what would happen next and at that exact moment, whilst still driving at a significant speed, the driver leaned over, opened my door, and kicked me out of the moving vehicle. Continue reading

Gun Review: Glock 43 Singlestack 9mm

Glock43 Singlestack 9mmIn this article, I will review the new Glock 43 Singlestack 9mm pistol. Through the course of the text and photos, I will provide an overview, discuss the Fit, Function, and Finances in regard to this model, and then conclude with a Range Report and personal observations.

Whether you love ‘em, hate ‘em, or have chosen to ignore them since their introduction in 1982, there is no doubt that Glock pistols have made their mark on the firearms and shooting industries. Designed in 1981 by Austrian engineer and polymer tool pioneer, Gaston Glock, the Austrian Army commissioned the 9mm Glock 17 in 1982. The venerable G17 was introduced into the U.S. in 1985 and its simple operation and extreme reliability immediately caught the attention of Law Enforcement and commercial markets.

G17 gained near-instant fame when Bruce Willis incited a myth about Glock 7 in Die Hard2However, it wasn’t until 1990 that the G17 gained near-instant fame when Bruce Willis (playing the role of John McClane in the second Die Hard movie) incited a myth when his character stated: “That punk pulled a Glock 7 on me. You know what that is? It’s a porcelain gun made in Germany. Doesn’t show up on your airport X-ray machines, here, and it cost more than you make in a month.” Although the dialogue is factually incorrect in nearly every account, it launched a legend. (there is no Glock 7, no parts are made of porcelain – the slide is steel while the frame and some small parts are polymer, it most certainly WILL show up in an X-ray machine, and even in 1990 dollars, it didn’t cost more than the other character made in a month)

Since the company’s founding in 1981, they produced their 5 millionth pistol in 2007 (source: https://us.glock.com/heritage/timeline) and it is estimated that Glocks dominate 65% of the U.S. Law Enforcement market (source: Sweeney, Patrick (2008). The Gun Digest Book of the Glock (2nd ed.).

Iola, WI: Krause Publications).

Built on a foundation of extreme reliability, affordability, and superior function, Glock expanded their line of pistols to include a myriad of calibers, slide lengths, and frame sizes to accommodate a wider variety of law enforcement, military, recreational shooting, personal defense, and competition markets. Although it is a fine handgun for personal defense, concealed carriers often lamented the sheer width of even the “smallest” Glock models. Let’s call it what it is… the majority of the line-up can be best described as “boxy” and difficult to conceal.

A New Era?

During this year’s SHOT (Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade) Show, Glock unveiled the Glock 42… a Single-Stack (read: thinner) sub compact handgun chambered in .380 auto. Many flocked to the new offering with abounding joy while others decried the marginally performing .380 auto designation while crying: “if they only made it in 9mm!”

Well… the shooting world waited 27 years for a single-stack Glock, so the mixed emotions stemming from the Glock 42 turned into rapturous joy a few short weeks later in mid-April when Glock unveiled the G43 at the NRA Annual Meeting held in Nashville, Tennessee. Finally, the shooting community had its Glock single-stack sub-compact chambered in 9mm!


Aegis Academy Pistol Training in San Diego

Introducing the Glock 43

Even though the sub-compact carry-pistol (or pocket pistol) market left little room for another entry, the Glock 43’s introduction was heralded with fanfare and eager anticipation. For weeks after its introduction in Nashville, gunshops around the country were flooded with requests and inquiries: “so… when WILL you get one in stock?” In most cases, they departed through the front door of the shops within hours of hitting the receiving dock. A few internet entrepreneurs on Gunbroker and Gunsamerica were taking advantage of the flurry of activity by charging premium prices exceeding the $600.00 range.

Although I’m generally lukewarm to Glocks and use either a customized 9mm Glock 34 for competitions or the G17 and G19 for instruction, I was also caught-up in the excitement about the new single-stack offering. I managed to purchase a Blue Box (military and law enforcement sale) for a little over 4 bills and I’m impressed with its fit and function.

By the numbers, the Glock 43 has an overall length of 6.26 inches, barrel length of 3.39 inches, height of 4.25 inches, and width of 1.02 inches… all with an unloaded weight of just under 18 ounces. All other features of the Glock 43 remain both similar and true to the original design… including the plastic “front dot” and “rear U-notch” sights.

The traditional Safe Action trigger initially measured a little over 7 pounds using a wheeler trigger-pull scale. However, after firing 500 rounds and conducting a thorough cleaning, the same scale measured closer to the advertised 5.5 pounds. Trigger travel and positive re-set are similar to other Glock models.

The pistol ships in the standard hard case with a gun lock, polymer cleaning rod and brush, magazine speed loader, and two magazines. Both magazines can hold 6 cartridges, but one is flush and the other has a finger extension.

Taking a closer look

The Glock 43 both functions and breaks-down in a manner nearly identical to the flagship G17. Also, the internal parts are NEARLY identical. The two most notable differences can be found in the dimensions and shape of the safety plunger and the tip of the striker. The photos depict the visual differences. Continue Reading »

Author – Howard Hall

Disclaimer: I have no personal or professional connections to Glock or its affiliates and I was not compensated in any way by them for this review. I purchased the pistol through a military and law enforcement retailer. The observations and opinions expressed are mine alone provided for your information only.