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Ballistic Advantage Premium Glock Replacement Barrels

Can an aftermarket barrel improve the performance of your semiauto pistol? We tested the new Ballistic Advantage Glock G19 barrel versus its factory counterpart.

Ballistic Advantage Premium Glock Replacement Barrels

The Ballistic Advantage replacement barrel looks good and shoots accurately. It’s a great upgrade to your Glock pistol that anyone can install. 

Gaston Glock’s polymer-framed pistols were met with skepticism when they were introduced to the U.S. market in 1988, but 35 years later these Austrian autoloaders have created a huge and thriving market for striker-fired, polymer-framed pistols. Today polymer frame guns are the most popular of military and LE professionals as well as civilian concealed carry permit holders and competition shooters, but no matter how popular polymer guns become this will always be the market that Glock built.

Not surprisingly, that success led to lots of aftermarket options. Orlando-based Ballistic Advantage is one of the companies that’s offering aftermarket barrels for Glock guns, but are these aftermarket barrels from Ballistic Advantage which cost about a third of the gun’s original MSRP worth the money?

Glock G19 barrel, above, and a Ballistic Advantage Glock G19 replacement barrel, bottom
The Ballistic Advantage Glock G19 barrel (bottom) is made from 416R stainless steel as opposed to the factory G19 barrel (top) which is made from carbon steel. The Ballistic Advantage barrel also comes with traditional button rifling as opposed to the Glock’s polygonal rifling.

Glock Factory vs Ballistic Advantage

First, let’s focus on the features that set the Ballistic Advantage barrel apart from the Glock factory barrel. Glock barrels are made from carbon steel while the ballistic Advantage barrels are made from 416R stainless steel. Without getting too deep into the tech details, carbon steel has a high carbon content and sheds heat more quickly than stainless (thus its use in fully automatic military weapons that must operate at high temperatures). Carbon steel is also cheaper than stainless and purportedly has a longer usable life.

416R stainless steel, which Ballistic Advantage uses for their barrels, is not as brittle as standard 416 steel and thus works better at a broader range of temperatures. It’s more resistant to corrosion than carbon steel, but neither steel is completely resistant to corrosion without some type of treatment. The major advantage of 416R, though, is that it allows for high-definition machining and very precise rifling.

Ballistic Advantage replacement barrel with threaded O-ring, extras of which are available for sale.
Ballistic Advantage barrels come threaded ½ x 28, so adding a muzzle device is simple. The company also sells extra O-rings in case the supplied ring gets damaged or lost.

The Ballistic Advantage Premium Glock barrels feature button rifling as opposed to Glock’s polygonal rifling. For their Gen 5 pistols, Glock changed the recipe on their rifling, switching to a “Marksman” barrel that had a hybrid blend of polygonal and traditional rifling, but the button-rifled Ballistic Advantage barrel has traditional lands and grooves with sharp cuts and precise machining. The Ballistic Advantage barrel keeps bore deviation below .0001 inches, which is better than factory barrel specifications, and the barrel is honed, lapped, and tumbled to guarantee that it is free of imperfections that might impact accuracy. In many ways, the Ballistic Advantage barrel is more similar to a precision rifle barrel than pistol barrels.

The Ballistic Advantage replacement barrel is available in various finishes and flutings.
There are various color, finish, and fluting options available. The test barrel came with a QPQ finish that held up well to testing. The spiral fluting adds a stylish look.

Glock barrels have come with multiple treatments and coatings, the newest being the nDLC finish on the Gen 5 guns. Ballistic Advantage barrels feature an optional quench-polish-quench (QPQ), which is the same process that is used for Tenifer/Melonite applications. QPQ is a specialized form of nitrocarburizing in which the metal is nitrocarburized, polished, and then post-oxidized resulting in a surface treatment to the metal that makes the metal tough, corrosion-resistant, and increases lubricity. Ballistic Advantage also offers PVD-coated barrels as well. PVD, or physical vapor deposition, applies a thin layer of metal to the top layer of metal. The surface material is vaporized in a vacuum and applied to the surface on a molecular level, so these ultra-thin coatings are both durable and even. Ballistic Advantage offers multiple PVD and QPQ color options available including light grey, iridescent, gold, copper, and, of course, basic black.

The feed ramps in the Glock and Ballistic Advantage replacement barrels are slightly different but both are reliable.
The feed ramp of the Ballistic Advantage barrel (left) has a slightly different feed ramp contour than the factory barrel (right). However, feeding was completely reliable with both.

All Ballistic Advantage Glock barrels are built with SAAMI-spec chambers, and the hood had been chamfered on three sides to ensure fast, smooth return to battery. The muzzle is threaded ½ x 28 to accept a variety of muzzle devices, and a standard thread cap with O-rings comes standard. Additional O-rings and thread protectors (standard or Skull Crusher versions) are available on the company’s website. There are also three fluting options: no fluting, spiral fluting, or “Bomber” style fluting. Ballistic Advantage currently offers these barrels for Glock G17, G19, and G26 9mm pistols, but you can expect additional options in the future. MSRPs range from $145 to $215 depending on pistol model, color, and finish. Standard thread protectors carry an MSRP of $20 while the Skull Crusher-style thread protectors cost $30.

Field stripping the Glock to replace the barrel is easy.
Adding a Ballistic Advantage barrel to your Glock is very simple and takes a matter of seconds. Simply field strip the pistol, remove the thread protector, and reassemble the gun with the new barrel in place.

At the Range

I tested the Ballistic Advantage G19 barrel with QPQ Black surface treatment, spiral fluting, and a Skull Crusher thread protector (total MSRP $225) against the standard factory pipe in my Gen 3 G19 9mm. I fired three five-shot groups with three different loads from each barrel at distances of 10, 15, and 20 yards offhand then tested all three loads from the bench at 25 yards with both barrels with all three loads, making notes on velocity, accuracy, and reliability.

Close-up of the Ballistic Advantage spade logo.
Ballistic Advantage is best-known for manufacturing premium AR barrels, and they have used what they’ve learned to create a superb aftermarket Glock barrel. Hopefully the company will offer barrels for additional pistols in the future.

The test results are listed below. Since I was firing three different 9mm loads at four distances there were twelve direct comparisons between the accuracy of the Ballistic Advantage and the factory barrel. The Ballistic Advantage barrel came out on top in 9 of the 12 head-to-head competitions. Reliability with both barrels was perfect, and there were no failures or issues with any loads tested. The BA barrel does have a slightly different machine ramp machining profile than the Glock, but both work beautifully and a polished smooth.

Ballistic Advantage barrel with a QPQ finish and BA spade logo patch.
Ballistic Advantage barrels come with either a QPQ finish (shown here) or PVD finish, both of which are extremely durable. The G19 barrel shown comes with a Skull Crusher thread protector.

Velocity figures don’t vary much between the two barrels, so it’s not as though the BA barrel turns your 9mm into a 9mm magnum. The Ballistic Advantage barrel was faster with two of the three test loads, but Federal’s Hydra-Shok Deep ammunition was slower in the BA barrel than the factory Glock pipe. Standard deviations were within one digit across the board.

Targets with shot groupings for the Glock G19 with BA replacement barrel
Accuracy was improved with the Ballistic Advantage barrel. The left group was fired at 25 yards using the BA test barrel and measured around 1.5 inches while the factory barrel produced the group at right at the same distance with the same ammo.

What is the takeaway? The Glock factory barrel offers good accuracy, but the Ballistic Advantage barrel offers slightly better accuracy. The BA barrel is also threaded and allows you to easily mount a muzzle device should you choose to do so. But the biggest reason to buy a BA barrel? They look good. The thread protectors (particularly the Skull Crusher) are eye-catching, the QPQ finish is excellent, and you can choose spiral fluting or Bomber fluting as well as the color for your barrel. And if you’re able to field strip your Glock for cleaning you have all the mechanical skills required for the change-out.

Author Brad Fitzpatrick aims a Glock G19 with a Ballistic Advantage replacement barrel with a Skull Crusher thread protector.
With the growing popularity of muzzle devices on pistols a threaded barrel makes sense. A traditional thread protector is available, but this is the Skull Crusher version.

A little better accuracy and a lot better looks are valid reasons to buy a new barrel to me. Plus, who doesn’t like to upgrade their gear from time to time? If you’ve got a Glock 9mm sitting at home and think it needs a performance and aesthetic boost the Ballistic Advantage should be your first call.



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