Sure, Glocks are renowned for their reputation as rugged and reliable guns. That’s why they’re used by countless law enforcement agencies, militaries, security professionals, and civilians around the globe. But one of the other main things that really stands out about Glocks – and Glock fans – is a love for modifications.
It’s kind of funny, but a lot of Glock owners approach buying a Glock like kids approach picking a Lego set.
Step 1: Find the one that suits your needs
Step 2: Modify it
If you came back a few months after someone buys a Glock, what came in the box is often…different. Some people fall in love with Glocks because of this flexibility. It’s not dissimilar to the popularity of the highly modular AR-15 platform.
You can choose to run the bare-bones version – Glocks are off-the-shelf effective guns – and that works fine. But a lot of people choose to run some sort of accessory or to modify a part of the firearm. Unfortunately, we cannot cover all the modifications out there for Glocks. That would be more of a book. So we’ll stick to the most popular.
Sights & Barrels
Probably the most common modification to any factory Glock is to change the sights. The typical Glock sights are polymer with a white front dot and a “goal post” rear notch. Various metal dot sights, fiber-optic sights, or even U-notch rear sights are available.
But the most popular upgrade is normally to add some sort of metal night sight that uses tritium to illuminate the sight in low light condition. This has obvious advantages for home defense or even concealed carry and duty uses because it can quickly make it easier to use the sights in low light conditions. Bad things tend to happen in dark places, so that makes sense and provides an immediate advantage over the stock sights.
Changing stock Glock sights is also very simple, and many users even do it themselves. There are tons of options, and it’s very common for other guns to use the same mounting system as Glocks to allow for compatibility with the huge selection of after-market Glock sights. With the rise of pistol red dots and suppressors, it’s also common to find raised sights. These allow you to see the sights over the suppressor or red dot.
One of the other most common changes to a Glock is to swap the standard barrel with a threaded barrel. This allows you to attach a suppressor or a compensator to the end of the barrel. There are also precision-made match-grade barrels and fluted barrels with grooves on the outside of the barrel to reduce weight. Ported barrels are also available and act as a built-in muzzle brake.
Lights and lasers are other options. Lights are common for duty pistols used by professionals and for home defense. They’re also often found on personal carry pistols to provide quick access to a light source and the firearm at the same. There are a host of lights that fit the various models and sizes of Glocks. The same is true for lasers.
Slide Modifications & Crossovers
One of the Glocks I used for the video above had a milled-out slide. This reduces weight, which reduces the amount of reciprocating mass when you shoot. It’s not uncommon to see this modification with pistols that were customized for competition shooters. Some slides are more specifically milled to work with a ported barrel to also act more as a muzzle brake.
Since Glocks vary greatly in length and height, some modifications blend the qualities of full-size guns with smaller ones. For instance, the Glock 45 is commonly known as a compact crossover. It offers a full-size frame with a compact slide, so it reduces the length of the gun while still providing a full-length pistol grip. This makes the gun easier for holstering and drawing when shooting and doesn’t limit the shooter's grip area. To help with that even more, the front of the slide is “dehorned” or angled to make it less square and easier to reholster.
Optics, Triggers & Grips
Standard Glock triggers aren’t bad, but they’re also not really light or extra crisp. Apex triggers are popular and can be very crisp with a short reset. There are a lot of a brands making aftermarket triggers that can improve the break, reset, and pull weight.
While changing the trigger can help improve your shooting performance, so can adding one of the increasingly common optics out there for pistols. It’s been pretty hard to miss all the optics-ready pistols coming out lately that are just waiting to host a red dot. There are Glocks that have had milling work done to accommodate an optic on the slide, and you can do that with one that is not optics ready. Glock also has optics-ready pistols, such as the Glock 45 MOS, meaning Modular Optic System.
Finally, changing the grip texture on Glocks is another easy and very common modification. There are grip wraps you can add, such as Talon grips. You can even modify the gun directly and have custom stippling added to the grip to make it as grippy as you want. Since Glocks aren’t known for very aggressive grip textures, this is a very popular choice for people worried about having to maintain a solid grip under wet, sweaty, and otherwise stressful conditions.