Review: Make Your Glock Competition Worthy With KE Arms

    Last year Russell Phagan, of KE Arms, brought me to Superstition Mountain Mystery 3-Gun under a media sponsorship to review and shoot some prototypes they had. This year he invited me back to run some new products, and even better, he shipped them to me ahead of the match so I would have more time with them.

    In this article I am going to discuss a few KE Arms Glock components that turned my stock G17 into a competition ready G34 (note that the author is NOT “competition ready”).

    Delta 34 Slide

    Delta 34 Slide, bare

    I would like to say I am not generally biased by appearance, but I find the KE Arms replacement slides to be much more appealing than their competitors. I have had the opportunity to see (and fondle) other slides, and I like the design of the KE Arms products. My first slide upgrade, last year, was their “Charle” slide (for the Glock 17). This year it was the “Delta” (which is very similar to the “Charlie” excepting the front serrations are fully milled out), and was in Black Melonite.

    The “Delta” (like the “Charlie”) are both designed to accommodate your choice of red dot. My preferred sight is the Leupold Delta Point Pro (feel free to hate on it in the comments), so I had the slide cut for it (you also have the option of no cut or a cut for the RMR).

    Other features that the “Delta” possesses:

    • Front and rear cocking serrations
    • aggressive contouring on the sides
    • bull nose on the front
    • weight relief cuts on the top and sides
    • slots through front serrations further reduce slide mass and aid in barrel cooling
    • machined from 17-4 Stainless steel and heat treated to Rockwell 42-43
    • accept OEM internals, barrels, and guide rods.

    MSRP: $749

    Enhanced Trigger

    Ah, yes, the Glock trigger… I don’t know many people that truly “love” the stock Glock trigger, though it is certainly functional. Triggers are one of those components that upgrading should be done with extreme care or by an armorer. You can certainly improve the feel of the trigger, but you can also impact the safety.

    The Enhanced Trigger by KE ARMS aluminum construction eliminates the “flex” feel of the OEM trigger. It is a simple drop-in replacement, though, again, make sure you know what you are doing. It has adjustment screws that do affect the travel of the trigger, so you can fine tune to your taste, though I did not do so on mine–it was fine out of the box.

    Features of the Enhanced Trigger:

    • Competition grade trigger pad and safety (6061 aircraft grade t6 aluminum)
    • All components hard anodized type III
    • Polished steel Glock trigger bar
    • Adjustment screws allow adjustment of pre-travel and over travel of the trigger.

    MSRP: $150

    Carry Magwell

    A flared mag well definitely helps with the insertion of a magazine. Yes, I know, that countless repetitions of practice will instill a near perfect seat every time, but every little bit helps. I have exactly zero illusions that having (or not having) a flared mag well is the definitive factor that would make or break my time in a match. I can speak to the design and utility of the KE Arms product, though.

    It is one of the more minimal designs that I have seen and used, and, really, it doesn’t need to be anything major. It is large enough to catch and guide a magazine without any problem. Also, because it is low profile, you can run magazines with standard base plates.

    Features of the Carry Magwell:

    • Reduce fumble factor during high stress reloads.
    • Protects the bottom of the frame from wear and damage.
    • Aircraft Grade Aluminum with a Type 3 Hard Coat Anodized.
    • Works with most magazine extensions.

    MSRP: $69.95

    Observations

    I found my converted not-Glock to provide enough change that it felt like a totally new gun. I guess, in hindsight, it was except for the frame.

    A 9mm isn’t really a platform that I have found challenging to shoot ever since I learned the fundamentals. And I am not at a level where custom modifications make a difference in my stage times. What I get out of the customizations is a good looking pistol.

    The trigger was definitely nicer than stock and had a much crisper feel. There was no over travel, and the reset felt to be just a little shorter than stock. You have the ability to adjust the travel with set screws.

    I performed dozens upon dozens of magazine changes, and even when rushing faster than my comfort level, the magazine guided into the magazine well easily. Being low-profile, I did not have to switch to larger base plates as I do with my ALG Defense.

    The biggest overall change to my shooting was moving from a G17 to a G34. The added barrel length and increased sight radius definitely helped me group better when shooting during practice (during Superstition Mountain Mystery 3-Gun I have no idea how tight my groups presented–only that I generally engaged and neutralized most of my targets). The distinctive look of the slide garnered several compliments, and I found the rear serrations to be much more positive when racking the slide, especially during the warmer, sweatier training and competition sessions (I had a couple of failures to eject issues; my fault, not the gun’s). This modification was hands down the best of the three mods (though, obviously the most expensive).

    Conclusions

    My “not-Glock” at Superstition Mountain Mystery 3-Gun.

    I had always scoffed at the idea of a “not-Glock” but KE Arms has done a really amazing job of creating components that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

    I know there are a number of readers cringing at the idea of taking a ~$500 pistol and spending upwards of a $1000 to customize it. Why not just buy something pre-configured that way? I’m not at a competitive level where any of these mods will change my ranking, though I can certainly appreciate the look and feel of them. Honestly, for me it comes down to personal preference, and wanting something distinctive. The slide upgrade makes sense if you are interested in evolving to an optic enhanced platform, and didn’t buy one manufactured from Glock (I will note that I had a stock slide milled at a local shop and ended up having a bad result). The upgrade also makes sense if you are interested in converting from a Glock 17 to a 34 variant.

    The KE Arms components have run flawlessly in my gun, were very easy to install, and have maintained durability throughout months of live and dry practice and competitions.

    Tom is a former Navy Corpsman that spent some time bumbling around the deserts of Iraq with a Marine Recon unit, kicking in tent flaps and harassing sheep. Prior to that he was a paramedic somewhere in DFW, also doing some Executive Protection work between shifts. Now that those exciting days are behind him, he teaches wilderness medicine and writes for a number of publications, including The Prepared, a site devoted to self-preparedness. He hopes that his posts will help you find solid gear that will survive whatever you can throw at it–he is known (in certain circles) for his curse…ahem, ability…to find the breaking point of anything.

    You can reach him at tom.r AT thefirearmblog.com


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