Gaston Glock never intended to create “perfection”.
Instead, the curtain-rod engineer with a background in synthetic polymers wanted to design a sidearm to meet strict criteria desired by the Austrian military for its next service pistol.
Glock’s first firearm design was also his 17th patent—the now famous 9x19mm Glock 17—which won the Austrian contract in 1982 and soon became the most commonly used handgun in the world. In fact, the Glock 17 remains a standard-issued sidearm of NATO.
Millions of people trust their lives to the reliability of Glock pistols, but popularity and perfection are mutually exclusive goals. Since there’s no perfect way to satisfy every operator, folks tailor the polymer platform to fit their own unique objectives. From night sights to triggers and anything in between, there are likely more ways to customize your Glock than there are for a plastic surgeon to reconstruct your face.
While some modifications require an experienced gunsmith, the average shooter can install most parts in just minutes. Determined to improve upon the “perfect” plastic pistol, I set out to find and test the most popular drop-in Glock mods available today.
<h2>Sights</h2>The plastic factory U-Dot sights are one of the most common complaints among Glock operators. Many folks refer to the sight acquisition as “ball in the bucket,” which is a simple concept that works well, but their plastic design is undesirable. <p> The U-Dots may work just fine for plinking, but you shouldn’t rely on them for practical applications. The cheap plastic construction poses a laundry list of disadvantages for everyday <a href="http://www.handgunsmag.com/blogs/carry-on/" target="_blank">carry</a>, home <a href="http://www.gunsandammo.com/shooting/blogs/defend-thyself/" target="_blank">defense</a> and <a href="http://www.gunsandammo.com/shooting/blogs/for-the-love-of-competition/" target="_blank">competition</a> uses. Repeatedly drawing from a holster is known to wear down the front sight post—or even worse, fracture it completely off the slide. The lack of tritium also makes U-Dots virtually useless in low-light conditions. <p> <a href="http://www.trijicon.com/na_en/products/product1.php?id=BNTNS" target="_blank">Trijicon Bright & Tough Night Sights</a> are a popular solution to Glock’s factory flaws. Their metal construction makes Trijicon sights much more durable for practical deployment, and self-luminous three-dot tritium greatly improves accuracy at night. The configuration pictured here uses Trijicon’s <a href="http://www.trijicon.com/na_en/products/product3.php?pid=GL11" target="_blank">GL11</a> Green Novak Rear Sight, which is also available with orange or yellow tritium inserts. Another variation of the Bright & Tough Sights are Trijicon’s new <a href="http://www.trijicon.com/na_en/products/product2_hdns.php?mid=8" target="_blank">HD Night Sights</a>, which offer a unique photo luminescent paint on the front sight post for quick sight acquisition. <p> Changing the sights on a Glock is the most difficult drop-in modification, but can still be accomplished without sending your slide to a gunsmith. Most sight manufacturers recommend professional install, but don’t let that advice deter you from changing your sights. <p> All you really need are few tools and a steady hand. Before conquering the project, I suggest acquiring a <a href="http://www.lonewolfdist.com/Detail.aspx?PROD=1075&CAT=111" target="_blank">Lone Wolf Distributors 4-in-1 Armorers Tool</a>. Changing the front sight post is a breeze with the included 3/16-inch nut driver, and the 3/32-inch pin punch comes in handy for several other drop-in mods on this list. A useful gadget for carefully installing rear dovetail sights is the <a href="http://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-tools-supplies/sight-scope-installation-tools/sight-adjusting-tools/semi-auto-sight-mover-prod8846.aspx" target="_blank">MGW Sight Mover</a>. You’ll also want to anchor your new sights into place with a drop of <a href="http://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-tools-supplies/general-gunsmith-tools/thread-locking-liquids/medium-strength-blue-242-threadlocker-prod25511.aspx" target="_blank">thread locker</a>.