Gun Review: Building, shooting the Polymer 80 (VIDEO)
Over the last year I’ve had the opportunity to build and shoot a couple of Polymer 80 handgun frames. I started with the PF940C Compact (Glock 19 size) which now has over 6,000 rounds through it without an issue. I’ll admit I was at first surprised by that. It seems to me that whenever you deviate from the proven recipe of a firearm that it never works as advertised. So it would be safe to say that I was very skeptical when I first laid my hands on one.
Polymer 80’s are “80 percent lowers,” hence the name. This is an arbitrary term that refers to a firearm which is in a stage that is not yet considered complete. These lowers are not serialized and do not require a background check. They ship right to your door and after completion you are considered the manufacturer. Please do check your local and state laws before ordering and building a Polymer 80.
What does it take to complete a frame?
When you receive your Polymer 80 it will arrive in a neat little black box. Inside the box will be your un-finished frame with the jig to guide you on your quest towards a completed frame. All the bits to remove material and drill your pin holes will be provided as well. Side note: You can use a Dremel tool to remove the necessary material as well. The only lower parts provided are the rails and locking block.
When you are ready cut and drill make sure you take your time! Polymer 80 makes this a very easy straight forward process but once material is removed it can’t be put back. I’m by no means a “handy” or “crafty” individual but I was able to successfully complete a P80 frame in under 30 minutes.
The kit comes with the tooling required to finish the frame. Only a LPK is needed. (Photo: Ben Brown/Guns.com)
The included jig makes finishing the Polymer80 slide simple. (Photo: Ben Brown/Guns.com)
The tools required may vary depending on what you are most comfortable with. It’s recommended that you use a drill press with the provided large end mill bit to remove material. I have seen this done with a Dremel but it is not recommended by P80. To make your pin holes you will need a hand drill and the provided drill bits. DO NOT use the drill press to drill your pin holes. A good vice is going to be a key component when working on your frame. If you have the ability to move and pivot your vice it will be a huge advantage as well. Finally, I like to finish off everything with some 220 grit sandpaper. This lets me smooth out any rough edges and clean up any pesky nylon blended polymer burs.
Purchase of additional parts
What do I need to purchase in addition to my P80 kit? Glad you asked because that’s an important question. The Polymer 80 frames are based off the 3rd generation of Glock. This means you need to use all Gen 3 compatible parts for your lower and upper.
In my experience your standard factory Glock lower parts kits work great in the Polymer 80 frames. All lower parts drop right in without having to fit anything. Lower parts kits are sold all over the internet and typically cost around $50 for a complete kit. You can also source kits that do not have a trigger included, in case you wanted to drop in a high-speed trigger of your choosing.
A hand drill is actually preferred over a drill press for completing a P80 frame. (Photo: Ben Brown/Guns.com)
The upper slide assembly will of course need to be a Gen 3 as well. For the slide and barrel you can go the factory route or with a name brand of your choosing, again as long as it has Gen 3 specs. Polymer 80 does make their own slides if you want to source it from them. Factory slide internals can be found readily available for around $50.
We all know that there are more aftermarket accessories for Glock than most firearms available today. Does this mean they will work with P80 frames? For the most part the answer is yes. All your magazines, lights, & sights will work. Holsters seem to be the big exception with that “yes” though. You’ll most likely need to find a specific P80 holster for your build as Glock holsters typically won’t work because the P80 trigger guard has different dimensions. This makes holstering your P80 into a standard Glock holster a problem. Holsters are not something that you want just an “ok” fit for. I have been using a Squared Away Customs holster for a while now and it has been great! There aren’t a ton of options for P80’s yet but as they become more popular the market will follow.
What are some key external features of the P80 frame?
What sets these frames apart from your factory Glock frames? First and foremost, the ergonomics are greatly improved in my opinion. Features like the undercut trigger guard, thumb ledges, mag release relief cut, and extended beaver tail make this gun an absolute pleasure to shoot. These out of the box ergonomic features have been desired by Glock owners for a long time. The finger grooves have been removed and because of this I believe these P80 frames are going to fit a wider variety of hand sizes. My hands didn’t always quite line up with the factory finger grooves and I ended up removing them anyways.
Polymer80 Frames use Gen3 Glock slides, and are available in Full size, compact and subcompact sizes. (Photo: Ben Brown/Guns.com)
All the popular double stack Glock 9/40 frame sizes are now available from Polymer 80. Released out at 2018 SHOT Show was there newest model, which is the 19L. This model will have the frame size of a Glock 19 but will be able to accept a Glock 17 slide. I am really looking forward to this model. I’ve been a huge fan of the Glock 19L size for a long time.
These P80’s are loaded with value. All the models are priced the same with an MSRP of $160 for your kit. Depending on where you shop and the sale running at the time you can buy a P80 kit between $120-$150.
Front: P80 PF940C Compact frame with P80 magwell installed and Gen3 Glock Slide. Rear: P80 PF940V2 Full size frame in OD with a ZEV DSG G34 Slide. (Photo: Ben Brown/Guns.com)
Polymer 80 isn’t the first to be creating blank canvas “Glock type frames” but I really think they are the best option available. My frames have run just as good as my factory Glock frames and when I had any questions about P80’s it was met with friendly customer support when I contacted them.
The simplicity and functionality of building a P80 exactly to the specifications of your needs just makes sense to me. If you already have some experience with Glock I would highly recommend looking into a P80 frame. If you do take my advice and buy a P80, take your time and have fun!