I’ve mentioned before that I really love Glocks. They shoot well, they’re reasonably priced, and they’re unbelievably reliable. They also have a wonderful aftermarket, which I haven’t really made much use of. Time to change that, and make a practicalish open-class gun. The end result is going to check the box for just about every feature that would get you kicked into the Open division sandbox at a match, but it will still be a concealable handgun.
Side note, credit where it’s due: This build was inspired by a similar one by a man that I know as ‘Roland,’ who is a special forces type and has a professional stake in such a weapon. So it’s been vetted as a concept by someone far more experienced than I. Roland, if I ever find you in a bar, first round is on me.
Anyway, let’s look at our base gun. The Glock 19. Why the Glock 19? Well, partially because I have one sitting around that I don’t carry much since I had a red dot put on my Glock 17. Micro red dots on pistols are super awesome. You should get one.1 Anyway, the Glock 19 has a lot of wonderful characteristics that made it my first handgun purchase. It’s small enough to conceal easily, but big enough to be easy to shoot and manipulate. As we’ll soon see, it happens to have some other characteristics that will make it good for this build, but chief among them is that I happen to have one handy. And its small size will mean that once we’re done with it we’ll still have something concealable.
I could have used a Glock 34 for this build, but that’s not a very good choice for what we’re going for with this build. The Glock 34 is about the size of a government-model 1911, so it’s already a big handgun. Not too big to conceal, but making it bigger still will make finding holsters difficult. Since holsters are important, we’ll be using a slide-mounted red dot sight, like I have on my Glock 17. Red dots mean the sight radius advantage of the Glock 34 is lost, and the Glock 19 actually shoots better than the Glock 17 and 34 since the smaller, lighter slide returns to battery faster. We’ll keep irons on the Glock 34 for matches we might want to shoot with iron sights, and get modding on my old Glock 19.
Okay, so first mod is slide milling for a Trijicon RMR. And suppresor-height iron sights, because I do like backups. The choice of sight and mount is going to continue to influence our modding decisions. 9mm is not a superhot cartridge, but it will still recoil, and that muzzle flip plus the slide mount location will cause us to briefly lose view of the red dot, simply because of angles and the reciprocation. Now, we could simply wait for it to come back down with a proper grip, which works great on my other red dot pistols. But this is an Open-Class practical gun. Unlimited modding! Surely we can do better.
Next step is to work on muzzle rise, since that’s going to cause that loss of dot picture. We’ll do this by adding a compensator on a threaded barrel. KKM has a nice unit that fits on a threaded barrel. And it’s not really wider than the sides of the slide, so it’ll still fit in holsters. And hey, it brings the frame length of the Glock 19 about up to that of a Glock 34. Bam. Checks all our boxes, keeps the muzzle level given reasonable 9mm rounds.2 We can even order it with a drop-in threaded barrel, because screw the whole fitting process.
Are we done? Certainly not! We haven’t touched the frame and it’s guts yet. Frame mods will be rather less aggressive, since I’m perfectly happy with the existing grip shape and the Gen4 grip texturing. We will do something about that trigger though. But we must be careful. The pretravel on a Glock trigger is very important. The Glock striker is only partially cocked, and the pretravel is used to finish the job and disengage the internal safety plunger.3 We also don’t want to harm that awesome reset, since that’s something the existing Glock trigger does really well. So we’re going to install the SSVI Tyr trigger. This trigger uses mostly factory internals with a new trigger ‘shoe’, which is the bit your finger goes on. The shoe is designed to give you more leverage by altering the position of your finger in relation to the pivot point, namely the trigger pin. Altering this relationship lightens the apparent pull and helps smooth the pull without compromising the drop safety like an idiot.
That’ll do for trigger mods to start. There are other things we can do by messing with the connector, but I tend to see trigger mods as an iterative approach. I’ll have to trial the Tyr with the rest of the trigger parts stock before I start messing with more things. I might like to try some Ghost parts though. Stay tuned for more on Tweaking Your Glock Trigger.
We’re still not done. No sir. We need a magwell. But we’d also like to pretend that this pistol is sort of concealable, so we don’t want a giant funnel. But we still need a magwell, because magwells are cool. And there are a whole bunch of small magwells to get some of the benefits of a giant funnel without all the bulk. And, given that I have He-Man hands, a little extra grip length on the Glock 19 is always good. We should also note that the fact that our base gun is a Glock 19 narrows the field quite a bit. Most magwells are made for the Glock 17/34/35 frame size, since that’s what’s popular in competition circles. Our choice for not a ton of bulk but enough funneling to assist with a somewhat fumbled reload is the Freya, from Raven Concealment. It works fine with stock basepads, and adds some material at the back to help you index that magazine. It’s got a small funnel shape, and should also help push the hands higher. Perfect.
That’s it right? What could be left, since I’m not going to be doing some sort of grip mod? Well, in a nod to practical use cases, plus the originator of the concept, we’ll be adding a weapon mounted light.4 Our light of choice is the Surefire X300 Ultra, because I have one right here for night stand use. Why this light? Well, it’s Surefire, so it’s made in America, and it’s as tough as lights come. Surefire has excellent switchology on their lights, and there are no stupid fancy strobe modes, SOS modes, semaphore modes, or any of that useless crap we don’t need. It’s got a momentary on and a constant on and that’s all. Plus, it’s 500 lumens of power. 500 lumens is enough to cook things. It will set vampires on fire. More lumens is better lumens. In all seriousness, it will properly illuminate dark areas. Do not look into the beam. We’ll also add a DG-11 switch, which gives us an on/off button on an extension that puts it at the front of a grip. Instinctive activation, like a Crimson Trace grip. We can also configure the X300 Ultra to lock out the extra switch, in case we’re at the range and don’t feel like burning batteries.
There we go. Project Roland. I’m going to shamelessly steal the name Freya for this cool new gun. Freya is a blaster worthy of Han Solo, because this is a very uncivilized age.
1.) Even Fishbreath wants one. Alas, his pistol of choice, the PX4 Compact, isn’t readily amenable to milling because the frame mounted safety/decocker components are in the way. Poor Fishbreath.
2.) Reasonable, as in ‘reasonably manly’. No bunny-fart loads for this gun. Also, it’s an excuse to shoot more +P.
3.) This is the bit that makes it drop safe.
4.) It also adds weight under the barrel, which is awesome for stability and keeping that muzzle down.