When Gaston Glock set out to design a lighter, more ergonomically correct, high capacity pistol for military use in the 80's he came up with the Glock 17 (so named because it was his 17th invention). The polymer frame "safe action" pistol soon became the standard sidearm for the majority of Law Enforcement agencies in one form or another, and if it would have been entered into the US Army's pistol trials in 1986, it would likely have become the same with our military. However, that didn't happen and the Beretta 92 (M9) took its place in history. We’ll discuss our thoughts on stock Glock pistols, and we’ll walk you through our fully custom competition ready Glock 34 build which features over $3,000 in parts alone as an example of the highest quality Glock type pistol it is possible to create.
In my humble opinion the stock Glock has four weaknesses: The sights, the trigger, the slide stop, and the guide rod. The trigger is NOT a major weakness, it’s just an average trigger on an otherwise above average firearm... But, we’ll get to that in a minute. The sights, however, are crap. The white half rectangle on the rear sight draws attention away from the front sight post which is the opposite of what you want on a sidearm. "Gun fight, front sight". This is not all bad because an experienced shooter doesn't need sights on their pistol for the majority of scenarios, and we always upgrade to night sights anyway. The sights we put in our competition Glock build are Trijicon suppressor height night sights with blacked out rear dots (keeping attention on the front post). Being suppressor height allows them to be co-witnessed with our Trijicon RMR red dot sight. The trigger is long and heavy, especially in comparison to something like the Sig SRT in our "best" pistol article. Also not a major issue because a good polish, pre-travel modification, and/or a $20 trigger bar can make a huge improvement. Add a spring kit and its better still. If you want one of the best triggers available in any pistol you can easily get one of the drop in, fully adjustable trigger units like the Phantom Adjustable Trigger from www.rockyourglock.com that we put in our custom Glock build. The guide rod is polymer, weak, and cheap. The spring is also underpowered. The underpowered stock spring allows the Glock to cycle lighter loads, but increases felt recoil. We believe a polymer guide rod is more likely to cause malfunctions than a stainless steel or tungsten version. A heavier spring and guide rod like the one we used for our Glock build will also greatly decrease felt recoil. If you are using a suppressor it’s easy enough to switch out a lighter spring for proper suppressor/firearm function. We used a Glockmeister tungsten recoil spring assembly with an 18lb spring for our 3 gun style custom Glock 34 build. Lastly, the slide stop. I believe it is a weak point in the mechanical design of the pistol itself. The stop is weak and too much relies on the small slide stop and relatively weak spring. At a time when I personally had to use a Glock pistol to defend myself in a life or death situation the slide stop malfunctioned and locked the slide back after one round was fired (Murphy’s Law). Luckily, that one round I fired saved my life. This also would have been an easy fix (tap, rack, bang), had I needed to fire more rounds. However, all machinery is subject to failure, all machines have weak points, if it can happen it will, and this is likely to be the only design flaw in the Glock. It's also completely preventable with proper maintenance (spring changes), cleaning, and inspections of one's firearm. There is not really an "easy fix" for slide stop malfunctions, but it isn't a major issue as long as the springs are changed out as needed (which is part of normal maintenance). We went with an extended slide stop from Rock Your Glock for our build.
When we wrote up our "best" pistol article we knew it would only be a matter of time before we dedicated a write up to the Glock. When a friend of ours from Chaos and Pain supplements ( www.chaosandpain.com ) contacted us inquiring who could build him the best custom Glock pistol possible it was an easy answer, we could. We built him a Glock 34 out of the very best individual components, none of which are stock Glock parts, and took this opportunity to compare and contrast our build to that of OEM Glock pistols. Most of our guys own Glocks, many of them carry Glocks, and one even shot competitively for the Glock amateur team and is a certified Glock armorer (He did all the labor on this build). Glocks have come a long way since their initial invention and now come in all shapes, sizes, and calibers. The many different models offered are in fact very different animals, but the general mechanics and function of all Glock pistols are similar enough to do an effective write up in which the general information applies to them all.
The Glock was truly a game changer in several areas which sent firearms manufacturers into a frenzy of trying to re-create similar performance results. Its polymer frame made it much lighter than the competition which is a huge plus for someone who has to carry their sidearm regularly. We went with a Lone Wolf frame for our build which is built to Glock specs but is not a Glock frame at all. The grip profile is a bit different, we further changed it by adding custom stippling, and hollowing out the mag release area a bit more. We had our frame hydro-dipped in Multicam camo by Twin State Hydrographics. The amount of moving parts, and parts all together in a Glock pistol is very low. The relatively few parts are also very easy to disassemble and reassemble. This makes it much easier to clean and maintain than previous semi-auto pistols, and as with any mechanical device... less moving parts means less likelihood of a malfunction. Another such change that received a lot of attention is the grip angle. Basically this affects the angle of which the wrist is held in the sagittal plane while firing the pistol. It is quite a different "feel" than firing, say, a 1911 style pistol so if that's what you're used to firing it could take some adjustment to your firing grip and/or wrist angle. Whether or not you like Glock pistols the grip is more ergonomically correct than most of its semi-auto predecessors. Another aspect of the grip that is often over-looked is its oval shape with flat sides. This allows an experienced marksman to know the windage orientation of their pistol without using the sights at all. Our team members very rarely use their sights when firing a pistol at close ranges and accuracy by "feel" or "muscle memory" is much easier to master with a Glock due specifically to the shape of the grip. Because of this, some of our personal training pistols do not have sights at all. A pistol with a more rounded grip makes windage orientation more difficult to judge by feel alone. The only down-side of the grip design is the less than aggressive texturing. There is a possibility of losing a firm purchase on the firearm when adverse conditions add water, mud, or bodily fluids into the mix. Thankfully stippling the grip is common, easy, and effective for these situations.
One huge benefit to owning a Glock is customizability and aftermarket parts availability. Apart from the sheer popularity of this pistol, the relatively simple design and few moving parts have led to a huge market of custom "drop in" parts. This is great in our opinion because each Glock pistol can truly be custom fit to meet the specific needs of the owner. Apart from stippling the polymer grip for added security of purchase we also use and recommend several other aftermarket parts. Here is a list of the custom parts we used in our Glock 34 “three gun” build roughly in order of importance: Stainless steel or tungsten self-contained guide rod (Glockmeister tungsten recoil spring assembly), night sights (Trijicon suppressor height night sights, white front post, blacked out rear), trigger components or complete drop in triggers ( Rock Your Glock Phantom Adjustable Trigger), threaded barrels (KKM Precision extended threaded barrel with compensator coated in ZrN by S3F Solutions), magazine extensions (Arrendondo competition magazine extensions), spring kits (Rock Your Glock competition spring kit), maritime spring cups , lightened stryker (Lone Wolf lightweight firing pin and 6lb spring), and extended or modified controls ( Vickers Tactical Extended Mag Release, Aluminum Timberwolf extended magwell kit, Rock Your Glock extended slide release and slide stop). Several major companies also offer custom work to Glock pistols that increase aesthetics and/or function such as custom cut or machined slides and frames. There are even complete aftermarket slides and frame's available. We went with a Lone Wolf Distributors Glock 34 slide, had custom serrations and a Trijicon RMR mount machined by DP Custom Gunworks, and had it all Cerakoted burnt bronze by Weapon Works LLC. This just goes to show, so many aftermarket Glock parts exist that you could build a Glock completely out of parts made by other manufacturers… As we did.