Top 10 Glock Mods 2016
Glock pistols are arguably the most prolific and popular pistols in use today by law enforcement organizations, militaries, and civilians. As such, it should comes as no surprise that people are usually familiar with at least one of the models of these revolutionary polymer-frame pistols. The reasons they are considered so revolutionary is mostly in their striker fired internal hammer design, and the fact that they were one of the first polymer-framed handguns to be marketed in large numbers. There are a lot of reasons that Glock’s are so popular, though as this article is not intended to be a review of Glock pistols, I will only briefly mention the main points:
Functionality: The Glocks, with no manual safety or decocker, are excellent “point and shoot” pistols. The grip angle forces a natural pointing action of the wrist which tightens the wrist ligaments and tendons, which help with recoil and stability. The manipulations are simple and identical across all Glock models, so whether you are carrying a full size Glock 17 or the subcompact 42, the functions are of the same style and location.Reliability: Glock pistols are known for their reliability, simplicity, consistency and rugged durability, making a name for themselves as pistols that will fire even after they has been through rough conditions.
Maintenance and Customization: Glocks are easy to maintain and quickly disassemble down to the smallest parts for easy cleaning. The polymer-framed Glock simplicity of design makes for less hassle, less lubrication than metal pistols, and provides fewer parts that can potentially malfunction. The availability of OEM replacement parts and upgrades for the Glocks is staggering, and though some modifications require a professional, the beauty of Glock mods are such that you can watch a 20-minute YouTube video and be able to do most of them yourself. Glock sells many great upgrades, but there are plenty of other excellent suppliers as well.
This leads me to the main point of this article: Modifications! What’s wrong with a “out-of-the-box” Glock? Not much, really. The durable pistols almost always function in all conditions, the controls are simple and well laid-out, accuracy is generally quite good, and they are easy to shoot. However, there are still things that can be improved upon, especially if you have earlier generation Glocks. I have compiled a list of inexpensive yet effective modifications that can personalize your pistol to your tastes and enhance your shooting experience (some mods can just be for fun, it should be noted). Just as an aside: any recommendations I make here are based on my personal experiences and preferences. You may wish not to modify your Glock at all, or you might prefer other modifications, which is perfectly fine! Choose what feels best for you. Here are my Top 10 Glock Mods 2016:
Usually, the first modification to a Glock is to the factory sights. There is nothing wrong with Glock’s stock factory sights in regard to sighting. Not being able to shoot quickly and accurately with stock sights reveals a problem with the shooter, not the sights. With that being said, the simple U-dot configuration may work just fine for target practice, but one should perhaps not rely on them for defense situations. The lack of tritium also makes U-Dots virtually useless in low-light conditions, and the cheap plastic design poses a whole list of problems for everyday carry, home defense and competition uses. The front sight post can be worn down, or even worse, fractured completely off the slide by repeatedly being drawn from a holster.
This mod is first on the list because I truly believe that all Glock plastic factory sights should be immediately replaced with the infinitely more durable iron sights which can be in any configuration that suits you the most. I also recommend that the rear sight should be of a squared-off profile that is perpendicular to the slide rather than the sloped variety. The reason for this is that a squared-off rear sight facilitates one-handed slide racking against your belt, or whatever else is at hand when you might need to use that option.
By changing the sights, you can select whatever works best for you as an individual, and that is how you should approach this (and any) modification. Do you like traditional posts or a large front dot and slotted rear? Maybe you want night sights which will allow you to better aim even in low-light conditions? There are plenty of excellent aftermarket Glock night sights available to choose from, such as Trijicon, Meprolight, TruGlo, AmeriGlo, Zev Technologies, etc.
Personally, I prefer night sights or at least a fiber optic front sight for quick sight acquisition in all lighting conditions, and I would recommend Trijicon Bright & Tough Sights or Meprolight night sights. My cousin’s contentedly use Meprolight though I’ve replaced the stock sights on my Glock 17 and 19 with Trijicon’s GL11 Green Novak Rear Sight. Their metal construction makes Trijicon sights much more durable for practical usage, and self-luminous three-dot tritium greatly improves accuracy at night or any low-light situation such as a darkened interior.
Changing the sights on a Glock is among the most difficult drop-in modification, but can still be accomplished without sending your slide to a gunsmith. Like with most of the mods on this list, if you don’t mind the extra cash to have it done by a gunsmith, then by all means go for it, but there are excellent Youtube videos that can show you exactly how to do it and with what tools. All you really need are few tools and a steady hand. Check out a few of the instructional videos and figure out which you want to follow. Regardless, you’ll want to anchor your new sights into place with a drop of thread locker to ensure they don’t get loose. I used a Lone Wolf 4-in-1 Armorers Tool for my mods. It is a nifty little tool that comes in handy for all kinds of mods on this list. Changing the front sight post is pretty easy with the included 3/16-inch nut driver. The Glock Disassembly Tool is also good to have around. Though there are videos that don’t require a sight mover, I’ve found that a useful tool for carefully installing rear dovetail sights is the MGW Sight Mover.
Proceeding in a logical manner, the next set of modifications is to the trigger pull. If there is another modification that will change the way you shoot as much as sights do, it is the trigger. Glock factory triggers are widely accepted for their reliability and safety function in an everyday carry or service weapon, and it’s completely understandable that some people to refrain from tinkering with the standard 5.5-pound trigger.
Now, with a Glock there are many different variations, styles and functions. I would recommend a modest alteration or to buy a drop in kit as personally modifying a trigger is not a good idea, in my opinion. If you can, you should splurge a bit and have the gunsmith take care of this. You can modify as simply as with a better drop in connector or you can go all the way up to a full drop in kit from GlockTriggers.com, or even purchase a custom trigger from Ghost Inc, Salient Arms, Zev Technologies or Agency Arms. I’ve tried various trigger mods on various Glocks, utilizing connectors, springs, and plungers. What I found that worked best for me is the Ghost Combative Application Trigger (CAT) Kit. The CAT trigger, intended specifically for self-defense uses, is a 4.5-pound drop-in trigger connector for the Glock family of pistols (42/43 excepted) that smooths the crunchy stock trigger action and reduces over-travel for increased accuracy.
The CAT helps reduce the distance the trigger finger moves to fire the Glock which improves shooting ability. If you have any issues with the drop in, three strokes of a file across the end of trigger control tab should fix the problem, but this caused me no trouble. The kit comes with a 4.5-pound connector with a fixed trigger control tab to reduce over travel, a reduced power safety plunger spring (so the rearward movement of the trigger bar glides better), a six-pound trigger spring and a six-pound striker spring. You can use this CAT connector with the standard Glock springs, and you’ll have a 4.5 to 4.75 pound trigger pull. For those that are worried about the safety of a lighter pull, you can use the included heavier springs for an over-all trigger weight of 5.5 to 5.75 pounds. Both options will result in a smooth, easy to manage trigger with a short, crisp reset that will maintain pace with your finger during rapid fire and allow faster follow-up shots.
As I said, it is recommended that a Glock Armorer install the trigger kit, however, if you’re set on doing it yourself, directions for doing so can be found on the Ghost web site at www.ghostinc.com.
I also stipple the front of the trigger, or you can get a serrated trigger for increased grip which helps control recoil/muzzle flip with my personal style of grip in which my pointer finger wraps around the front of the trigger guard.
3. Guide Rod / Recoil Spring Assembly
The stock guide rods in the Glocks are polymer, and the metal recoil springs are decent enough, but why settle for just alright? You can buy Sprinco USA’s Recoil Reducer to lessen the felt recoil and reduce grip fatigue. This will in turn provide for faster follow-up shots, as you’ll be able to keep your sights on target.
The rod components are machined from 17-4 PH stainless steel, so they will last longer, and the springs are wound from chrome-silicon wire stock, an alloy that was originally developed for springs in anti-aircraft guns where high resistance to shock is critical. The spring reduces slide-to-frame impact with no loss of reliable cycling. This is a mod that you can easily implement yourself; simply remove the slide from your Glock and replace the original guide rod and spring with the Recoil Reducer and included spring. It softens the recoil impulse by gradually slowing the slide to prevent frame battering, helping to extend your pistol’s service life.
It is important to note here that there’s nothing wrong with factory Glock barrels, but there are a number of circumstances in which shooters might want to switch out their barrel. Perhaps you love your Glock 22 but you’re having trouble finding cheap .40S&W ammo for it, and you would rather it be 9mm. Or maybe you just wish to practice with different cartridges in the same weapon. You might want threaded barrels that enable the quick attachment of sound suppressors and compensators. SilencerCo makes a suppressor-ready, drop-in barrel for Glock pistols which I added to my Glock 17. The barrel is 5 inches long with 1/2×28 threading, and is made of 416R stainless steel with a matte black finish. SilencerCo also offers threaded barrels for the G19, G21 and G34. You can replace your barrel with stainless steel Storm Lake and Lone Wolf barrels to improve accuracy and to fire lead-cast bullets. No matter which kind you want, barrel swaps are easy and do not require a gunsmith – you just need to swap in the right barrel and switch the magazines if you’re changing caliber.
5. Grip Stippling
On previous generations of Glocks, it was common to add skateboard tape or stipple the grip to get a little bit of extra traction on the gripping surfaces. The Gen 4 Glocks all have a grip that most find adequately textured, and they also have 3 different sized replaceable backstraps to tailor the grip to fit an individuals hands, making such grip modifications pretty much unnecessary. This mod is best suited for older generation Glocks, where it can alter grip angle, reduce or eliminate finger grooves, and add an increased friction to the grip surface.
This is the sort of modification that really changes how your entire handgun feels and works for you, and is definitely worth using if you are not satisfied with stock grips. You can ship your frame to a custom shop if you don’t have the time, experience, or the right tools, but there are many ways to do this yourself with a rotary tool and soldering probe if you want to. Again, you can look up detailed instruction manuals and videos online. Remember that with this modification you need to start slowly as you can always add more stippling or remove more material later but the opposite isn’t true, and you don’t want to ruin your pistol frame.
Why is having this texturing on the grip important? Because if your palms are sweaty or if it is raining and your grip is wet, it can be difficult to hold on to and manipulate the relatively smooth polymer Glock pistol grip. I think it is very unwise to carry any pistol without sandpaper grips or a proper stippling treatment.
If you don’t want to make any permanent modifications to your favorite gun, Talon Grips has a great solution with their patented, adhesive wrap around grips for most Glock model pistols. Though they can come off or be damaged after lots of usage, these grips give all the feel of custom stippled grips and are easy and inexpensive to keep replacing. Talon grips are also available in a rubberized texture, which is better suited for carry guns, as the rough texture of stippling has an uncomfortable tendency to rub against skin and clothing. The grips are inexpensive and install in minutes with a heat gun or hair dryer. Regardless of if you choose to stipple the grip or add the rubber Talon grips, make sure the grip sits firmly and comfortably in your hands even after shooting many rounds and with wet palms.
6. Magazine Well
A lip inside the magazine well on the Glocks creates a void between the space where the magazine is inserted and the outside of the backstrap. It exists as an attachment point for a pistol lanyard for military use, but in competition shooting only creates a spot for the magazine to get caught during a speed reload. The simplest and cheapest solution is to use a grip plug to fill in the void. The plug is a small piece of plastic that slides in place, using the lanyard attachment hole to lock it securely. It is cost-effective and elegant, as well as very small in scale. Going further on the modification means purchasing the JP Enterprise mag well. This add-on nearly doubles the size of the mag well opening while still matching the contour of the grip. The mag well attaches to the grip in a similar fashion as the grip plug, but provides a much larger target area for the reload. It makes slamming a fresh magazine into the mag well much easier and smoother.
Installation is really simple. All you need to do is insert the retention plug in the cavity at the rear of the grip frame so the threaded hole is on the bottom, hook the mag well over the front of the magazine opening in the frame, then rotate it so it is fully on the frame. Tighten it using a hex wrench. The mag well is not permanent and does not mar the frame. Just keep in mind that it does not work with the factory backstraps. Constructed of aluminum with a black anodized finish, the JP Enterprise mag well adds only 1.1 ounces to your pistol and is 1.375 inches wide and 2.625 inches long, so it won’t get in your way.
7. Magazine Base Pads
Adding the JP Enterprise mag well above does make one more change a necessity – the factory magazines won’t work with the deeper magazine opening. Extended base pads need to be installed so that the magazines can be fully seated. Otherwise the modification is not necessary, but some people want to extend the capacity of the Glock magazines by one or two rounds. For others shooting the compact and subcompact-framed Glocks, they may want to improve the grip on their pistol. Either goal can be achieved with a well-chosen magazine floor-plate extension. Though if used on a compact or subcompact gun, the gun will become slightly less concealed because you are adding a physical external extension to the magazine. The base plate on Glock magazines can be replaced for additional capacity and ergonomic enhancements. Taran Tactical Innovations makes a base pad kit that is popular among competitive shooters because it adds five extra rounds and additional weight so the magazine can easily drop out of the mag well.
Modifying a Glock magazine is not too hard, though it may require changing the magazine springs. The tricky part is removing the factory base plate; because the retention tabs that hold the base pad in place make it difficult to slide it off with your bare hands, so you will probably need to use pliers to carefully squeeze the sides of the magazine to remove the factory base pad.
8. Extended Slide Stop / Release
One of the most common upgrades for a Glock and thus one of the most popular Glock accessories is an upgrade to the basic slide stop, to an easier to use slide release. Attempting to engage the factory slide stop lever can be quite a challenge, especially on newer pistols which aren’t yet broken in. It can also be difficult to grip the underside of the lever when locking the slide back. This modification allows rapid release of the slide back into position to shoot, and is more ergonomically appealing than the stock slide stop.
It has a much larger finger pad and a trapezoid-shaped bump that helps ensure you release the slide fast on the first try after a reload. It will save precious seconds that can be lost making multiple swipes to release the slide and chamber the next round. Built ideally of durable high grade steel and finished with a matte black finish, this extended slide release is designed to be low profile to minimize snagging and to not interfere with holster draw, making it an excellent Glock mod.
This is a simple, affordable modification that you can do yourself that greatly enhances the usability and function of your Glock. The replacement lever easily drops in by simply popping out two roll pins with the punch tool on the Lone Wolf 4-in-1, dropping in the new lever and replacing the pin. The trapezoid-shaped dimple on the replacement lever might be small, but it is still significantly easier to engage and it improves your weapon manipulation.
9. Extended Mag Release
There are various extended mag release buttons for the Glock on the market including one made by Glock, so if it’s a modification you want to make, you won’t be short of options. Shooters add an extended magazine release for much of the same reasons as they add the stop lever: it significantly improves weapon manipulation. The stock Glock release is functional but on the range I’ve found that when trying to do speed reloads occasionally I don’t get my thumb on the button just right and the magazine doesn’t end up clearing the mag well.
An extended magazine release protrudes a little bit, allowing you to apply a little more leverage to the button and that gives you a better shot of getting the release moved enough to allow the spent magazine to drop free. Glock recognized this and its Gen 4 model came standard with a magazine release more than double the size of the older generations 1-3. However, many people still complain about the sharp edges of the Gen 4 mag release buttons, so if you want to change the mag release, consider installing a replacement from JP Enterprises or TangoDown. Both options are affordable, simple to install and are popular solutions to a common problem. What you’re looking for is an extended release that’s out just far enough to give you better leverage without protruding so far that you risk unintentional ejection of the magazine.
Finally, another quick, significant grip improvement is the Grip Force Adapter (GFA) from Grip Force Products. The inexpensive Grip Force Adapters are available for all Glock generations, and come in a kit with two different sized backstraps and a longer trigger housing pin. If you haven’t already experienced the infamous slide bite, which effects a lot of shooters with larger hands like myself, purchase a Grip Force Adapter before the slide bites into your thumb. The Grip Force Adapter is essentially a beavertail, that mounts to the back strap of the frame and prevents injury, while simultaneously improving grip angle. Getting a higher hold on the bore axis allows the operator to more effectively manipulate the pistol and control muzzle flip for quicker follow-up shots. It’s not hard to add this modification yourself. Though this little piece seems thin and flimsy, I haven’t had any problems with it. It has not ever come off or become loose.
There are many people who are satisfied with their Glock right out of the box and never change a thing, but if you do like to tinker and personalize and make your weapon truly ‘your own’, there are a ton of excellent choices out there in the Glock family of pistols. I listed some of the most common and appealing ones, but there are other modifications (not to mention countless accessories) out there for you to check out.
After three decades on the U.S. market, the Glock family of pistols has reached a point of popularity similar to that of the AR-15 rifle and M1911 pistol. A Glock owner has nearly endless options for customization and personalization, most that don’t even require a professional gunsmith. All it takes is a little bit of time, research, skill, and some inexpensive gear like the Glock Armorer’s Disassembly Tool or Lone Wolf 4-in-1 Armorers Tool.
I highly recommend you poll your friends and shoot their pistol first (or at least hold and handle them) if they have modifications you are considering to put on your pistol. Don’t just buy something because you heard it was good, make sure you’ve tested it out yourself and found it to be suitable to your preferences. I hope this mod guide has helped give you an idea of what is out there and how you can fully realize the potential of your Glock.