Work In Progress - How I'm Ruining My EDC
Concealed carry pistol upgrades look good on paper, but in practice, they may fall short. My first practice run came when I crossed paths with Greg Lapin, and he grabbed hold of my “custom” GLOCK 19 after all upgrades were established. Greg Lapin knows a few things about everyday carry. He's an incredible trainer and has appeared on our FPD series. He also carries a gun for a living. He took one look at the DIY pistol, and that's when I knew I'd ruined “GLOCK Perfection”.
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I’m eagerly engaged in transforming my Gen 5 G19 into a DIY custom EDC gun. Some of the upgrades are valid, but a few enhancements don't exactly scream “functional”. In fact, they could prove to be fatal in a gunfight.
“Gucci” Your GLOCK?
I decided to “Guccify” my GLOCK against the advice of a few close friends. If you know me, you understand my affinity for custom work. I’m okay with diving in and throwing together a firearm that I can call my own. The first gun was a Smith & Wesson M&P 15 AR-15. I first started replacing the handguard, trigger, buttstock, pistol grip, and sights. I stick with reputable brands like, Midwest Industries, Tyrant Designs, Timney Triggers. It didn’t end there. I added an FDE Cerakote finish then I took a few spray paint cans and finished the job.
The next custom was a Smith & Wesson M&P10 AR-10. It started innocently, replacing the handguard with a nice carbon fiber one. I like the Precision Reflex handguard, personally. It quickly got out of hand. I think you see where I'm going with this. I can't help myself.
I've been carrying the Gen 5 GLOCK 19 since it was launched. GLOCK's tagline, “GLOCK Perfection”, rings true throughout their lineup. The guns work, and real-world law enforcement and military professionals trust their lives to these guns. So why would someone want to alter what they've perfected? Well, I flip through Instagram gun pages and see all these beautiful upgrades and…that's where it starts.
So Which GLOCK Upgrades?
There are a few GLOCK upgrades that I've really enjoyed. They are minor and don't require much work. Tyrant Designs delivers some significant enhancements for GLOCK, Smith & Wesson, and Sig Sauer handguns. I installed the Extended Mag Release, Slide Cover Plate, and a Magazine Extension. The Slide Cover Plate upgrade is merely cosmetic, but the other two benefit the carrier.
The Magazine Extension from Tyrant Designs adds four rounds to your current G19 magazine—well worth the upgrade. As an AIWB carrier, I find this addition essential for your spare mag. One, it adds rounds. Two, it extends the magazine to sit higher in my pocket. The Extended Mag Release is slightly raised and functions exactly like an OEM mag release. The cut of the Extended Mag Release allows me to quickly find the release button. These are upgrades that passed Greg’s first look.
That was only the beginning. My next upgrades included a ZEV Tech Pro One-Piece Magwell, a GEN 5 Metallic Pin and Extended Control Kit, a tungsten guide rod, and an APEX Tactical Action Enhancement Kit. All this was added after a stippling job.
For the stippling, I used the following gear:
Dremel 4000 – CLICK TO BUY – I used this to take off the old grip texture before adding my own stippling. To remove, I used the heavier grit and moved to the fine grit attachment for the final details.
BAYKA 60W 110-120V Soldering Iron – CLICK TO BUY – I started by adding an outline with the fine point, moving to an oval-shaped soldering tip. I set the temperature to 425 degrees when stippling. This soldering iron worked decently, but I wish I would have purchased a wireless iron. The cord made maneuvering more difficult. Dremel makes one worth looking at if you’re looking at a cordless soldering iron. CLICK TO LEARN MORE
Would professionals modify their pistols?
The stippling was far easier than expected and doesn’t take long. Pistol frame stippling is an upgrade that Greg didn’t mind, but he had some insight that never crossed my mind. The front and back strap were great, but Greg’s concern was the sides of the grip. The texture I added was far too aggressive for Greg’s liking. He knows I appendix carry, and his first thought was the texture tearing up my shirts and skin. His recommendation was to sand it down until it's not an issue.
His next concerns were the trigger job, tungsten guide rod, and the extended slide release. His recommendation was to go back to the original parts. His reasoning was reasonable. GLOCK wouldn’t put in all the research and development behind the parts if they weren’t confident they would all work together. He’s seen tungsten guide rods fail and extended slide releases engage when his students thought they never touched it. He did suggest that I go back to the OEM trigger, but the APEX trigger is too sweet of an exchange. That upgrade stays.
Greg teaches shooting skills all over the world and has experience with every type of firearm out there. He believes OEM parts are for function. If you want to upgrade, do it on a training or range gun, not on your carry pistol.
I see exactly where he’s coming from, but I can’t help myself. The gun is a work in progress, but one I plan on continuing. I should replace this Gen 5 G19 with their Gen 5 MOS version. It comes ready for an optic. The next upgrades for my EDC include a new slide with an RMR cut. It may just turn into a fun range gun, but hell, I'm having too much fun with this DIY project—even if Greg says I'm wasting my time. ~ KJ
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Kevin Jarnagin (KJ) hails from Oklahoma but quickly established Louisiana roots after joining the Gun Talk team. KJ grew up as a big game hunter and often finds himself in a bass boat. Whether it’s making his way to British Columbia for elk or training with pistols, Jarnagin always seems to find a gun in his hands and adventure on his mind.