I believe that a Glock is the perfect fighting pistol. I do mean “a” Glock because individuals have varied preference with regard to pistol size and caliber. With a specific size and caliber, though, I hold that Glock is the best pistol to have at hand when self defense against a deadly threat is necessary.
However, while the manufacturer’s promotional phrase is “Glock PERFECTION,” I can agree only in part. The out-of-the-box Glock is by no means perfection. My opinion is that Glock doesn’t so much make the perfect pistol as they make the perfect pistol hobby kit. Specific alteration is required in order to achieve perfection.
While I’d argue a Glock is head and shoulders above any other EDC-candidate pistol, I believe it is very unwise to carry any Glock pistol without a few necessary modifications.
There is nothing wrong with Glock’s stock sights with regard to sighting. If you can’t shoot quickly and accurately with the stock sights, the problem is not with them, but with you. That said, plastic sights are beyond useless to the point of liability when it comes to running a fighting/defensive gun.
Glock’s plastic stock sights should immediately be replaced with iron sights, of whatever configuration works best for you. I’d recommend that the rear sight not be of the sloped variety, but instead have a squared-off profile that is perpendicular to the slide in order to facilitate one-handed slide racking on a belt or table or tree or whatever is at hand when the need arises.
Avoid the sloping rear sight popular with some models. The slope makes 1-handed slide racking more difficult.
Frame and Grip
There are some who find fault with the finger ridges on the front of the grip of most Glock models. I’m not one of them, as these finger ridges perfectly mesh with my hand and I like that. What is problematic, however, is the fact that only the Gen 4 model’s (and the now-discontinued RTF frame) grip offers sufficient texture for good hand purchase while firing. More disappointing and especially dangerous is the fact that with wet hands (if it’s raining, if your palms are sweaty, or if your hands are bloody from fighting), it’s quite difficult to hold onto and manipulate a Glock pistol in defensive action. Even with the rougher Gen 4 grip.
I therefore hold that it is very unwise to carry a Glock pistol (or any pistol, for that matter) without either sandpaper grips or a stippling job. And I think adding adhesive grips is the wrong way to approach this issue. I stipple the frame of every one of my Glock pistols, as I have found anything added to the grip will come off in a very short time with any significant amount of training use (you do train, don’t you?). Some see stippling as a stylistic embellishment. I find it’s a required functional modification; a deal breaker for EDC. Stippling results in a frame that you can grip wet or dry without fail.
The Glock frame made perfect: Stippling to add the required texture and a Dremmel job on the right side of the frame where the grip meets the trigger guard.
Another necessary modification is rounding off the right hand side (for right-handed shooters) of the area connecting the grip with the trigger guard. This is where the strong hand middle finger is held firmly against the frame and vice-locked even tighter by the force of the support hand. Out of the box, this area is quite squared off and very un-ergonomic and it requires remedy in order to avoid severe discomfort after shooting more than ~20 rounds (if this doesn’t hurt your finger, you’re not gripping your pistol tightly enough).
The Dremmel-driven modification here is not so much an undercutting of the trigger guard as it is a rounding of the side transition, where the middle-finger’s first knuckle will go. The result is a fantastic boon to grip comfort.
I find the Glock trigger to be decent, but by no means great. Some models tend to have better ones, like the Glock 43. The 43’s trigger is perhaps the best Glock trigger I’ve ever felt, but it is still a bit too heavy for my taste. Generally, though, a Glock’s trigger needs some work.
I’ve tried various trigger mods on various Glocks, utilizing connectors, springs, and plungers. What I find is best is to simply replace the stock connector with a 3.5 lb. connector. This replacement brings the trigger weight to around 4.5 pounds, which I prefer (you’d need to install the related trigger spring and striker safety plunger spring in order to get a 3.5 lb. trigger, which I do not recommend). More importantly, though, it gives the trigger a smoother take up and cleaner break and reset.
One caveat: 3.5 lb. connectors are not created equal. Glock’s 3.5 lb. connector is pretty decent, but there are better ones. My favorites come from Ghost Inc. and I favor either the Rocket or the EVO Elite connectors. I prefer the Rocket connector, but either requires fitting with a file, along with several assembly-test-disassembly-refit cycles.
Connector or spring replacement aside, I recommend NO polishing or grinding or other modification whatsoever to the trigger/striker system.
Popular Mods to Avoid
The wide and varied availability of aftermarket components for Glock pistols makes it easy for folks to go overboard and turn their perfect hobby kit into a silly caricature of a fighting pistol, often greatly reducing its practical functionality.
Avoid extended side-lock levers
The extended slide-lock lever was born of the mistaken idea that it’s a “slide release” lever. This mechanism was never meant to function as a slide release, which is why its external component is properly almost flush with the frame. It’s only purpose is to allow for the occasional need for the knuckle of your thumb to press upward on it to lock open the slide. One need never press down on the external lever. An extended lever gets in the way, often preventing the slide from locking open with the last round of the magazine. Moreover, it encourages the bad habit of using the lever to release the slide—which should only ever be accomplished by gripping the slide with the support hand and powering the frame forward with the strong hand to send the slide home.
Avoid titanium striker safety plungers
Titanium striker safety plungers are light and smooth and, therefore, valued by some as an upgrade for their Glock pistol. The opposite is true. These plungers attract carbon buildup which adheres easily and strongly to the top of the plunger, obviating any smoothness that was there. Moreover, they tend to deteriorate quickly with use, turning a vital safety mechanism into a liability.
Never, ever use a slide-plate “safety” device
One of the most important features of a Glock’s superiority to most other pistols is the lack of external mechanisms beyond the flush slide-lock lever. The Glock has three vital and redundant internal safety features that make the Glock perhaps the safest pistol one could carry. External/thumb safety levers on pistols only ever endanger lives because they mislead people into dangerous habits and into believing that safety is enabled or disabled by a lever. This is a fatal fallacy.
A person is safe or unsafe. No pistol is ever safe or unsafe because, quality and internal mechanisms aside, gun safety is a willful human volition. Only the operator can be safe or unsafe with a firearm. Assumptions to the contrary are the cause of every negligent gun death and injury ever inflicted or sustained.
Adding an external “safety” gadget to a Glock is the worst possible modification a Glock owner could make. Doing so transforms the mechanically safest, best-quality firearm available into one that invites irresponsible and negligent assumptions and extra, needless considerations to those manipulating their pistol.
Never rely upon or utilize a safety gadget on a pistol. Adhering to the 4 rules of firearm safety is the ONLY way to avoid killing or injuring yourself or someone else. No external lever can make a negligent person safe. Safety is 100% on people. When people forget this fact, people die.
So there you have it: what I deem to be the required modifications for any EDC Glock pistol, along with a few to definitely avoid. I’m completely serious when I say that every one of them—both the ones to get and the ones to avoid—is a 100% deal breaker.
If you own and carry a Glock pistol, I recommend without reservation that you make all of these required modifications to your carry gun and avoid all of the bad ones. Until the day Glock Inc. decides to do them at the factory, these mods are how you get Glock perfection.