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BATTLE OF THE SUBCOMPACTS – GLOCK 43X OR THE SIG P365?

The SIG Sauer P365 series of handgun has not just eaten away at Glock’s market share, it has practically usurped it.  Let’s take a brief look at why that may be.

Glock has never been a commercially oriented company.  They are up front about that.  Glock is driven by military/government sales primarily, followed by civilian law-enforcement contracts.  Commercial sales have always been an add-on.  The Glock 47 9mm is only the latest example.   So it was a bit of news when Glock introduced the Model 42 .380 pistol in 2014, followed by the Glock 43 9mm in 2015.  These were single-stack pistols with limited magazine capacity, but they obliterated the Smith & Wesson Shield which had been introduced in 2012.

SIG introduced the P365 in 2018 and promptly squashed the Glock 43 by providing a 10-round magazine with the ability to use a 12-round magazine in non-restricted states.  Glock scrambled up the 43X in 2019 with its own 10-rd magazine and has been playing catch up ever since.

We won’t get into the weeds by comparing physical dimensions, they are pretty close to one another in size.  You can get aftermarket magazines or floorplates for the 43X to match the P365’s magazine capacity.  Both have optic-ready variants.

With the Glock 43X, what you see is what you get.  The SIG P365, however, uses a Fire Control Unit contained within the polymer grip housing.  That allows the end user to swap out grip frames and slides around that FCU – something not possible with the Glock product.  To that end, SIG has introduced an entire catalog of factory produced P365 models using the same basic FCU but with different features.  The X-series with the flat trigger, the Spectre and the Spectre Comp guns, Legion variants, the now-discontinued SAS (SIG Anti-Snag) pistol with the weird sight and the P365 Macro 17-rd version have all made their mark not only with civilian shooters but with law enforcement as well.

As with other SIG models, you don’t have to pull the trigger to field strip the P365.  Like all other Glocks (except the Glock 46, not available in the US), the 43X has to have the trigger to the rear to remove the slide from the frame.  SIG loves to point this out as an improvement over the Glock, but Glock just shrugs and says “don’t be stupid enough to take apart a loaded pistol.”  I am both a SIG P365 Armorer and a Glock Advanced Armorer and its fun to watch these two relive the Pepsi-Coke wars of the 70’s.

SIG has also embraced the civilian market with the introduction of the P365 in .380 ACP.  Glock has not indicated that a Model 42X is even being considered.  SIG also offers the P365 in different color variations and recently introduced the P365 Rose series designed for female shooters.  Glock, well, doesn’t.

I think it all boils down to different company philosophies.  Glock is still very much an Austrian company with a clear and unabashed concentration on military and law enforcement sales.  SIG has been 100% US made since 2020 and even though it has secured huge defense contracts worldwide they remain firmly committed to the civilian handgun market.  Perhaps Glock’s reluctance to adapt has opened a door they can not shut.