Best Glock Upgrades [Hands-on]: Defense, Competition, & Custom


Maybe your new Glock isn’t quite “Perfection”…yet.

Or maybe your old Glock has lost that new gun smell.

Either way, you’re covered since Glock has one of the best aftermarket upgrades and mods in the business.

Learn about the essential upgrades I do to my defensive home and CCW Glocks.

Plus the best mods for competition.

And of course…fully custom builds that might tend to be more Gucci than practical.

Fully Modded P80 PF9SS (Glock 43)
Fully Modded P80 PF9SS (Glock 43)

Now with a video detailing each of our 8 personal builds…

Need a Glock to customize? Hit up our list of the Best Glocks for our favorites.

Table of Contents

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Home Defense & CCW Glock Upgrades

The primary advice is to not alter your gun for home defense or CCW.  But I keep mine pretty “stock” for the most part with Glock OEM parts.

1. Glock Extended Slide Stop Lever

I like to reload from a locked slide position using the slide stop lever.

I know tons of people out there preach the slide racking method, but for me, I prefer using my thumbs to activate the slide stop lever.  It saves some time, and I always practice the same motion for my Glocks & 1911s.

If anything, it gives me two options of how I want to reload.

Glock Extended Slide Stop Lever G17
Glock Extended Slide Stop Lever G17

For Glocks, I find that the stock version is hard to consistently activate using either of my thumbs.  When I upgraded to the extended version, it became infinitely easier to release the slide every time.

Learn how to install it here with video and step-by-step picture walkthroughs.

2. Glock Extended Magazine Release

With my hand geometry and strength, I found I always had to shift my right hand grip in order to reach the stock magazine release.

Once I upgraded to the extended version, I was hitting the magazine release every time without losing my grip.

Glock Extended Magazine Release G17
Glock Extended Magazine Release G17

I take the mod one step further and sandpaper the edges to take away the sharp edges (me and my dainty hands).

I also like to sand away extra material in the bottom left-hand corner of the release to give room for my right-hand middle finger.  Make sure to choose the correct Gen version.

For instructions and video on how to install the extended magazine release, check out our other blog post.

3. Ghost 3.5 lb Trigger Connector

The Glock trigger could be a lot better.

There’s plenty of complete drop-in solutions but I wanted to keep it as stock as possible to maintain maximum reliability.

So I swap out the stock 5.5-pound trigger connector with the Ghost 3.5-pound trigger connector.  I find that it doesn’t drop the trigger pull weight exactly by 2-pound, but more like 1-pound and change.  Which is still a significant factor in making more accurate shots.

Glock 5.5 vs 3.5 lb Trigger Connector
Glock 5.5 vs 3.5 lb Trigger Connector

The Ghost version is supposedly self-cleaning and has run flawlessly in my Glocks.

Check out how to install the trigger connector here.

4. Night Sights or Fiber Optic Sights

If I could only choose one essential upgrade to the Glock, it would be to swap out its crappy standard sights that consist of a white “U” in the rear with a white dot.

Glock Night Sight Nylon Punch In
Glock Night Sight Nylon Punch In

I prefer the three dot format night sights for, self-defense and even class situations since I definitely want to be able to see my sights in the dark.

For competition, I like having fiber optic sights since they draw in ambient light and focus it so you see a bright red/green dot in front.  See the rest of all my favorites in Best Glock Sights.

Good thing there are tons of options and it is relatively easy to install yourself.

5. Talon Grips

For a long time I was all about stippling…or taking a soldering iron to the polymer grip area and making it a lot more grippy.

Glock 17 Grip Stipple
Glock 17 Grip Stipple

You can learn how to do it here…or now there’s some non-destructive methods to add more grip with Talon Grips.

There’s two types…the rubber which is better suited for CCW since it doesn’t snag on clothing as much as the sandpaper-like granulate type.

Here is my G19 with the rubber version compared to the stippled G17.

Glock 17 and 19
G17 (fullsize, top) and G19 (compact, bottom)

6. Extended Basepads

If you’re running a smaller Glock such as the G43 or G26.  It’s very possible your pinkie doesn’t fit or you want to extend its capacity.

Enter…Pierce Grips.

Pierce Grip on G43
Pierce Grip on G43

Or if you want to add +1 or +2 capacity…get some Taran Tactical Basepads.

TTI G43 Basepads +2
TTI G43 Basepads +2

Some words from people far more knowledgeable in CCW than myself…hint they really like the basepads.

And now also some Tyrant Design extendos for G19s and G17s (and more) we really dig.

1.5 Tyrant CNC G19 Mag Extension
Tyrant CNC G19 Mag Extension

Now even for smaller G43/G43x/G48 models!

Tyrant Designs G43 Magazine Extensions
Tyrant Designs G43 Magazine Extensions

7. Pistol Light

For the home-based or holstered handgun…I highly recommend a pistol light.

We go over the Best Pistol Lights in super detail…complete with images of the beams.

Best Pistol Lights
Best Pistol Lights

Our overall pick goes to Streamlight TLR-1 series which lives on my home defense gun and has survived thousands of rounds on the range.

TLR-1 Toggle Switch
TLR-1 Toggle Switch

And the current gold standard of the Surefire X300.

SureFire X300
SureFire X300

If you want more options (and maybe some more affordable options), check out the main Best Pistol Lights article.

Now let’s get into some more fun upgrades to give you the leg up in competition.

Competition Glock Upgrades

The go-to Glock for competition is the 9mm G34 which sports a longer barrel, slide, and sight radius.  It doesn’t weigh too much more from a G17 since it has cutouts in the slide.

Stippled G17 and G34
Stippled G17 and G34

But regardless if you’re running the G34…I would suggest extended components from above plus Talon Grips and the following upgrades.

1. Fiber Optic Sights

You’ll want something for quicker acquisition.

I recommend going with the Truglo TFX Fiber Optic + Tritium sights for the best of both worlds.

TruGlo TFX
TruGlo TFX

2. Upgraded Drop-In Trigger

Of course…we have a complete guide to the Best Glock Triggers with videos.  But here’s our favorites.

Our best bang-for-the-buck is the Apex Tactical Trigger.

Apex Glock Trigger
Apex Glock Trigger

Which feels & looks very nice.  Especially at the price.

Best Bang-For-The-Buck Trigger

Check it out in action…

Then we have the best trigger if you’re balling it up.

And in action…

Want something more for aesthetic reasons?

You can try out the Tyrant Designs ITTS trigger which modifies only the visible part of the trigger and leaves the factory stuff alone.

Fully Modded P80 PF9SS (Glock 43)
Fully Modded P80 PF9SS (Glock 43)

Easy enough to install…check out instructions here.

And be sure to check out our master list of the Best Glock Triggers.

3. Compensator

Glock compensators have exploded onto the scene but the Tyrant CNC version is especially easy to put on…and one-size-fits-all-generations.

Tyrant Designs G43 Muzzle Brake
Tyrant Designs G43 Muzzle Brake

Very noticeable reduction in muzzle rise especially on my Polymer80 G43 single stack.

Best Custom Glock Upgrades

The sky is the limit here…especially if you’re going with custom frames like Polymer80s.

All Tested Glock Triggers
Polymer80 Glocks (Tan and Gray)

See the full guide to how to build your own.

1. Custom Glock Slides

Now you can have all the serrations, lightening cuts, and red dots.

(L to R) Grey Ghost G19, Grey Ghost G17, Brownells G17
(L to R) Grey Ghost G19, Grey Ghost G17, Brownells G17

But our overall favorite is Grey Ghost Precision’s because of their tight fit, increase accuracy, and sexy looks.

Followed by our most affordable pick from Brownells that give you options for cutouts to show off your barrel.

How about some more Grey Ghost Precision slides for the tiny bois (43/43x/48)

Fully Modded P80 PF9SS (Glock 43)
Fully Modded P80 PF9SS (Glock 43)

We cover all the rest of our favorites in Best Glock Slides

And speaking of barrels…

2. Custom Glock Barrels

Yup…you guessed it.  We have a Best Glock Barrels guide too.

We love Lone Wolf’s barrels…and they’ve been at the game a long time.

The Original Upgrade Barrel

And also newcomer Faxon’s (though they’ve been making great AR-15 barrels for a long time too).  Especially if you want something more eye-catching like their gold TiN or chameleon.

Faxon G17 TiN Barrel
Faxon G17 TiN Barrel

However…if you just want something that will work without the frills…Victory First from Brownells is the way to go.

3. Best Pistol Red Dot

If you go with a slide that has a red dot cut…you’ll want something from our Best Pistol Red Dots article.

Tested Pistol Red Dots
Tested Pistol Red Dots

Our go-to red dot if price is no object…plus the easiest “footprint” on ready-to-buy slides is the Trijicon RMR.

RMR Type 2 View
RMR Type 2 View

Or our best bang-for-the-buck is the Vortex Venom.

Vortex Venom View
Vortex Venom View

4. Tyrant CNC Package

One of our newest mods is a set from Tyrant CNC which was previously known for some cool AR-15 upgrades.

Here you’ll see their extended magazine release (which is the perfect length and has super positive grip) and extended basepad.

Tyrant CNC Extended Glock Mag Release
Tyrant CNC Extended Glock Mag Release

Plus their backplate.  I went with red everything to match the Apex trigger from before.

Tyrant CNC Backplate
Tyrant CNC Backplate

My Polymer80 G19 might almost be done now! 

Especially with the release of their Extended Glock Slide Release that gives the perfect amount of extra grip.

Tyrant CNC Extended Glock Slide Release
Tyrant CNC Extended Glock Slide Release

And they also have parts for the G43/G48.

G43 Tyrant CNC Mag Extensions
G43 Tyrant CNC Mag Extensions

Pretty good value to give your Glock both aesthetic value AND more capacity/grip.

And check out my finally complete Polymer80 G43 with a complete Tyrant upgrade kit.

P80 G43 with Tyrant Designs
P80 G43 with Tyrant Designs

5. Everything Else We Covered

Round out the rest of your perfect build with what we’ve already talked about and you are SET.

Conclusion

Now go forth and upgrade…your Glock.

RMR Type 2 on Polymer80 Glock
RMR Type 2 on Polymer80 Glock

Let us know your favorite builds in the comments below.  Then check out Editor’s Picks for our favorite guns and gear.



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