I don’t know about you, but picking an everyday carry gun felt like a life or death decision.

Aside from the usual considerations (reliability, concealment, ergonomics, and performance), South Africans have the added concern of a prolonged firearm-license process.

Couple this last point with the fact that we can only possess one “self-defense” firearm, and the weight of that buying decision increases tenfold as you’re essentially locked into your purchase.

For me, I knew I wanted a subcompact. That helped narrow things. My choices were down to two pistols from the same stable: Glock 26 or Glock 43. After many indecisive weeks, I eventually opted for the Glock 43, figuring it was the best concealment option for my shorts-and-a-t-shirt lifestyle.

READ NEXT: Why you should buy your firearm from the Academy

When I finally received the license, I felt confident that I’d made the right choice and grabbed any opportunity to train with the Glock. I even forgot about all the negative remarks commonly heard about micro / subcompacts: “They’re harder to shoot, snappier in hand, trigger-press sensitive, they have a shorter sight radius… blah, blah, blah.

“Oh, come on, those are excuses for people who don’t know how to shoot. My Glock 43 is awesome. No, it’s… perfection!”

Then, I took it sport shooting…


I was immediately humbled by the G43’s limitations and my own flawed fundamentals after I decided to test the Glock in an IDPA match. In short: Sport shooting highlighted the Glock 43’s weaknesses as a subcompact, and the Glock 43 highlighted my weaknesses.

If you’re wondering: I competed in that match the same way I carry every day ­– IWB, 3 ‘o clock-ish, and under a t-shirt.

It was an eye-opening experience. Not just because my ego was shot full of holes, but because I was suddenly aware that I may have to rely on this compact combination of steel and springs to save my life, and I wasn’t skilled enough with the Glock 43 for a situation like that.

So, what happened? How did I go from being a competent shooter with a CZ P09 (full-size pistol) to what looked like a novice fumbling mag reloads and staring blankly at a firearm that didn’t go bang when I wanted it to?

Pressure. Pressure happened.

I had dry-fired the Glock 43 countless times before attempting that IDPA match. I had also fired thousands of rounds in live-fire drills. However, that single IDPA match reduced my prior training to naught.

Here’s what went wrong…


While it certainly wasn’t the only thing at fault, my draw accounted for a big chunk of what went wrong.

Being a pocket-sized pistol, there’s not a lot of frame space for your support hand, and when you’re grabbing the gun in a hurry it’s easy to land a less-than-perfect grip.

The result? My support hand would occasionally ride high on the frame and cause friction against the slide. Needless to say, this wreaked havoc in terms of stoppages.


As you would expect, accuracy challenges start popping up at distances beyond 10-meters. It’s not that the firearm is inaccurate, it’s that you have to be super aware of how you press the trigger, and what the sights are doing when the distance opens up.

Of course, the same can be said of all pistols, but some are more forgiving than others, and subcompacts show little mercy in this department.


On several occasions, the Glock 43’s magazine unlatched and I’d have to perform an emergency ‘tap & rack’.

It didn’t take long to diagnose that: When the pressure was on, I tended to monkey grip the pistol. This led to several occasions where I’d accidentally “squeeze” the magazine release under my finger.

It’s worth noting that this only ever happened in that one IDPA match. Previously, I hadn’t encountered this problem in other training sessions.


It goes without saying that my experience with the Glock 43’s ergonomics will differ from yours. We don’t all shoot the same as far as hand size, grip, and elbow positions are concerned.

While a lighter trigger would definitely make things easier, the fact is: Small guns come with big challenges, and many of those challenges are universal for all firearm brands.

Thankfully, I was able to fix most of my own fundamental issues and ended up loving the Glock 43 more than before.

READ NEXT: Why you should buy your firearm from the Academy




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