Self-Customizing Your Glock

Selecting a handgun for protection or even for competition is a highly personal choice. Much of what is considered prior to selection is subjective and what you might think is great, I might not be so impressed with. Still after the weapon has been selected and purchased, many of us want to change minor things to make the gun more "mine." Having owned Glocks for a little more than a decade now, I've come to realize that there are a few things that can be easily done--even by someone who isn't a gunsmith (or even a certified armorer)--to make Glocks more unique to the owner. Let's take a look at them:

First off, to make an easily recognizable difference, there's DuraCoat. This custom "paint job" can be applied by you if you purchase the kit from Lauer Custom Weaponry and are even remotely competent at stripping and refinishing steel. In fact, many of the Duracoat kits come with templates you can use to apply specific finishes to your weapon. While I settled for something as simple as an OD Green finish on the slides of all my Glocks, you can get kits for snakeskin, tiger stripe, digital camo, diamond steel, and more. Additionally, the DuraCoat finish can be applied to the polymer parts of your Glock as well as the steel parts. To test that I had the polymer +1 floorplates on my Glock 36 magazines DuraCoated the same OD Green color as my slides. That was a couple years ago and they still look good today.

If a different color or finish isn't what you're looking for, other, more functional changes can be easily made. Sights, slide releases, and magazine releases are relatively easy to change. You can even change the texture of your grips without much effort.

Extended slide releases and extended magazine releases are available on the commercial market and aren't expensive. While these stock parts from Glock work just fine, you will truly appreciate the extended slide release the very first time you feel the difference. The only effort required to change it is to field strip your Glock (obviously after you make sure it's unloaded and safe), push the trigger pin out from left to right--and not even all the way--change out the slide release and push the trigger pin back in to where it locks. Where it "locks" is a notch cut into the trigger pin that the slide release pivot end settles into because of the tension created by the slide release spring. It sounds complicated but really isn't.

The extended magazine release may be a little harder--or not--depending on how adept you are with a very small screwdriver. Again, field strip your Glock and look down the magazine well from the top. Just inside the front strap you'll see the magazine release and the small bar that is actually the spring that holds it in place. Look carefully and you'll see the small cut out on the back of the magazine release where that spring bar can be levered out. Use the working tip of a small screwdriver and wedge it under the spring bar, pushing it over to the cut out and then lifting it out. The spring bar, once released, will slide back over to its straight position, but it will be out of the notch in the magazine release. The magazine release will then slide out the right side of the frame and you can slide the extended magazine release back in. Get it under the spring bar as you insert it and then use your screwdriver to slide the spring bar back over to the notch. It will fall into place all on its own. Test your magazine release to make sure it moves freely as it should and that it drops all your magazines without issue.

Changing the texture of your grips is even easier. A company called Tac-Grip makes adhesive textured grip appliques that are kind of like tread tape. In fact, it's the same 3M material (as far as I know) but pre-cut to fit your grips. If you have a second generation Glock (as I do) you'll have to trim them slightly, but once applied they provide a much higher level of friction in your grip. They come in a variety of colors so you can match them to your DuraCoated slide if you'd like. They can be removed if you decide you don't want them--or if they ever start to wear out--and the adhesive they leave on your polymer grip is easily removed with soap and hot water.

That leaves the sights. You need the proper Glock rear sight tool to change out your sights. Most aftermarket front sights come with a small tube of hobby grade Loctite® and the wrench necessary to fit the small bolt head that goes up into the front sight. I have XS Sights 24/7 Standard Dot sights on mine (shown photo to the right). The shallow V rear sight has a tritium "I" in the center and the front sight has a tritium center surrounded by a white circle. In daylight it's quick and easy to put the white front sight into the shallow V of the rear sight and engage your target. At night, you simply "dot the I" and can just as quickly engage identified targets. The other option I've enjoyed in sights I call "bar dot" sights. I like night sights where the front and rear sights look different. I don't like lining up dots. With bar-dot sights, the back sight has bars on either side and one at the bottom of the sight notch. The front sight is still a dot. To align the sights you put the front dot into the "square" created between the bars on either side and above the bar at the bottom of the notch. It's very easy to line up the sights and tell the difference between what is front and what is rear--even if near-pitch darkness.

I mentioned +1 magazine floorplates earlier, and I enjoy them on most of my magazines: +1 or +2s. These are an economical way to increase your per-magazine capacity and change the appearance of your weapon. On all my 9mm magazines, I have +2 floorplates and on my Glock 36 I have the +1s.

The last quick and easy change I can recommend is the addition of a laser sighting system if you'd like one. While I think the laser sights are great for diagnosing shooter deficiencies, I'm not in favor of them in operational environments except in the highly skilled hands of special operations law enforcement or military personnel. I've seen too many skilled shooters dump their basic marksmanship skills in the trash simply because they had the benefit of the magic red dot. Crimson Trace and Lasermax both make excellent units with differing features. To determine which is best for you, research them both and figure out what your needs are--then purchase accordingly.