After a decade rocking a bone stock third generation Glock 19 – finger grooves and all – I thought it was time to give the gun a little upgrade.

As covered in previous articles, the Gen3 G19 is probably one of the most popular compact(ish) 9mm pistols ever made, and I've been carrying the same one off and on since at least 2012. 

Sure, sure, the pistol had been released as far back as 1998, and I was late to the party, but I still got in the door during the model's heyday. Although surpassed generationally by the Gen4 and Gen5 variants, the Gen3 remains in production, likely due to a combination of the fact that it is still on California's roster and folks just dig it. After all, it is "old reliable" in the 9 milly game – akin to a Toyota Tundra – with about the worst thing people can say about the Glock compact being that it is boring or that it carries a lackluster trigger and sights. 

About that. 

I recently decided the time was right to refresh my old Gen3 G19 as it had passed its (still very young) 15K mark. This meant a teardown and swap out of all the small springs (firing pin spring, extractor depressor spring, mag catch spring, trigger spring, slide lock spring, and slide stop lever spring) just to be sure it would keep going bang for at least another 15K. This was the next level up from my normal post-range cleaning and swapping out a new recoil spring every 3K rounds or so. For the record, I always just went with the same old OEM Glock parts. 

Gen 3 G19
My Gen3 Glock 19 had just passed the 10-year/15K-round mark, and, while it still ticks right along without issue, I felt it could use some tweaks beyond swapping out springs with mileage. (All Photos: Chris Eger/


A Better Trigger

Over the summer, I had a chance to get some quality time in with some gently upgraded Glocks during a suppressed carbine course at Gunsite in Arizona. The Glocks in question carried Timney triggers and, without a doubt, it seemed like everyone who picked one up fell in love with it. Now I've never been a trigger snob, but I had to admit, I dug what Timney did to those striker-fired plastic fantastics. 

Gen 3 G19  and Gen 5 G19 updated with Timney triggers
Timney has a philosophy that as long as they can “elevate the platform” they’ll make a trigger for it and, apparently, they can elevate the crap out of a Glock. They had both a Gen3 and a Gen5 G19 equipped with their Alpha Competition series triggers at a Gunsite event I attended earlier this year, and – no exaggeration – they really updated the otherwise stock pistols. 

Talking to Chris Ellis over at Timney, he said the Alpha Competition trigger for the Glock is one of the most popular pistol triggers they sell. While I was hesitant to swap out for anything that wasn't an OEM part – about the only malfunctions I have ever seen on a Glock that left a "dead" gun came from aftermarket add-ons – Timney has put the Alpha trigger to an independent test that it fired 10,000 rounds with no oiling or cleaning, and it performed flawlessly with zero malfunctions. Further, it comes with a lifetime warranty.

Timney lists it for $158.99.

Available for all double-stack magazine Glocks with medium frame (G17, 19, 22, 23, 26, 27, 31, 32, 33, 34, and 35) across Gen3-4-5 variants, the Alpha ships with a Teflon nickel (NP3) trigger bar and sear that Timney says, "virtually eliminates friction, allowing for an extremely smooth feel" and a straight anodized aluminum trigger with safety blade while using stock Glock parts and springs. 

Timney Alpha trigger
It also ships with the little screwdriver tool shown. Available in seven colors – the only visible part of which is seen on the safety lever – I went with red, which seemed an appropriate color for a safety dongle.
Timney Alpha trigger
Timney ships its triggers with a Tootsie Roll Pop, with the tie-in being that you can usually install the "no gunsmith needed" trigger by the time you finish the sucker. They also have good instructional videos online. 
Timney alpha trigger
The factory-tuned weight is set at 3 pounds on the Alpha – compared with the standard 6-7 pound trigger from the factory – and ours did not disappoint when installed.

Also gone is the "mush," creating a short take-up and distinct wall that is sharp and crisp with a very short reset. 




Beyond the trigger, probably the biggest gripe from Glock fans and detractors alike are the standard factory sights. While functional, the fact they are plastic means they can get damaged if dropped on hard surfaces like concrete or asphalt and prove not up to the job if trying to use them as a contact point for one-handed reloads. 

Gen 3 G19 OEM sights
Ahh, the classic polymer Glock factory sights, with a U-notch rear and front post. If you ever lose them or damage them, you can get a new replacement set for about $12. Not kidding. 

Now if I was going to replace the sights, I wanted a few things from a new set. As I wanted to run a suppressor occasionally from the refreshed G19, they should be taller. This will also come in handy if I ever get the slide cut for a micro red dot, allowing the taller suppressor-height sights to co-witness in many cases. Plus, as the globe is dark a lot, night sights could prove helpful at some point. 

After doing a lot of research, I went with the Trijicon Bright & Tough series of suppressor-height night sights. With a 0.365-inch tall front blade and a 0.361-inch tall rear, they use green Tritium phosphor-filled glass lamps capped with a sapphire jewel while white-painted outer rings help with daylight visibility. They have a 12-year warranty. Plus, they were only about $100 (shop around). 

Trijicon B&T suppressor-height night sights
The new Trijicon B&T suppressor-height night sights installed give a radically different sight picture over the originals. 



While Glock only made the factory threaded barrel variant of the Gen 3 G19 for a couple of years, alas, mine is a more standard model. For some reason, Glock just likes to let other folks rake in that threaded barrel cash rather than include them on select SKUs. Speaking of other folks, one of the better replacement barrels out there that I went with was the Lone Wolf Alpha Wolf M/19.

Lone Wolf Alpha Wolf M/19 threaded Glock 19 barrel
Button rifled and made from SBN-coated 416 stainless steel, it is a drop-in fluted barrel that both allows lead, plated, or jacketed ammunition and hides a set of standard 1x28 TPI pitch threads under the muzzle cap. 

The Alpha Wolf is self-explanatory and low-key black rather than some garish TiN gold finish. It is 4.6 inches in overall length, compared to the more standard 4.02-inch G19 barrel. List price is $179, but I was able to get a cosmetically blem'd specimen for closer to a hundo. 

The Results

In the end, the cost of the upgrade was about $350, which of course will vary as you find (or don't find) sales and deals. While none of the additions were required – the Glock ran just fine in its stock format – the new trigger, sights, and barrel made it much more enjoyable on the range not to mention upping the performance and allowing the use of a suppressor and muzzle devices.

If you do the labor yourself, then you can expect about an hour or so of your life to be spent in the endeavor. Checking with local gunsmiths in my area, I could get the work done for $125-$150ish, a figure that may vary with your local guys. 

Gen 3 G19 with upgraded sights, barrel and trigger
Heading to the range post-update, the old G19 still works as good as it ever did, but now has a much better feeling trigger, can mount a suppressor, and shoots great. 


Using it with a SilencerCo Octane 36M – which is good for everything from 5.7 to .338 LPM – the stock spring struggled just a little bit to put it back in battery at the end of travel, but I experienced no jams with 150 rounds of Federal Syntech 115-gran TSJs. Switching to sub-sonics, I would probably want to try a lighter recoil spring to help the Octane's Nielsen device do its thing.


Accuracy, even with inexpensive Federal Syntech, was exceptional. 
Gen 3 G19 holstered
Plus, the G19 still fits most of my existing holsters, should I choose to carry it. Yes, always keep in mind the performance envelope and potential liability of carrying a pistol with a competition trigger. 

Another good thing about the mods performed is that they are reversible and required no permanent modifications to the Glock, so if I don't like them, I could always retrograde it back to the original configuration. But I don't see that happening.

revolver barrel loading graphic