TFB REVIEW: Taran Tactical GLOCK G17L Combat Master

by Pete

It isn’t often that we are given the opportunity to review custom firearms here at TFB. Not only are they expensive and in high demand, but they don’t need any additional exposure since they tend to sell themselves. So when Taran Tactical Innovations offered us the chance to borrow a fully customized GLOCK G17L Combat Master, there was a virtual fist fight to get the assignment. Since I fight dirty and don’t like to lose, I came out victorious (James is buff and all, but I know his weak spots). In the end, I was the one who got to play John Wick for a few weeks – and I enjoyed every minute of it.

A quick preamble: I’ll waste little time talking about the inevitable comparison of the Combat Master’s unique features and styling to a stock GLOCK 17L. This is a competition-ready firearm that incorporates premium upgrades for shooters who want to squeeze every ounce of performance from an already proven platform. The analogies are numerous: Rolex versus Suunto, BMW M3 versus Toyota Camry, Brooks Brothers versus Men’s Warehouse, hotdog with mustard versus hotdog with ketchup. You get the idea.

But first, a short anecdote. About eight years ago I started getting sick of my aftermarket GLOCK magazine extensions on my G26. My favorite and most trusted compact carry gun had one fault – my +2 mag baseplates would pinch my ring finger with every shot, enough to cause blood blisters. After searching for something new for a few months, I stumbled across a couple of slick aluminum extensions that looked both functional and comfortable.

However, since these extensions would be going on a duty gun, I had some reliability concerns. I picked up the phone and called the company looking for a little reassurance. After 20 minutes of conversation, I had ordered four base pads for both my G26 and G17. What I didn’t know at the time was that the voice on the other end of the phone wasn’t a nameless tech support agent – it was Taran Butler himself.

Jumping ahead about a decade, I still carry the same basepads, cosmetically a bit worse for wear, but functionally reliable. And apparently, the customer service at Taran Tactical Innovations hasn’t changed either. In the firearms industry, it’s easy to spot those who truly enjoy their work compared to those who are just going through the motions. The people at TTI are about as easy going as it comes. From a team who regularly trains Hollywood A-listers, is staffed with champion shooters and builds high-quality guns and accessories, it would be easy enough to just brush off a simple reviewer as being beneath them. On the contrary, the good people at TTI are a real pleasure to interact with.

Enough story telling. Let’s talk Combat Master.

TFB REVIEW: Taran Tactical Innovations GLOCK G17L Combat Master

The base gun is obviously a GLOCK 17L and the completed package ships in the original box with three magazines. Each magazine is outfitted with a +5 TTI magazine extension and spring. Included in the box are the original cleaning kit, lock, and paperwork.

The long slide 17 is somewhat of a rarity – it is rumored that GLOCK only produces the proverbial “hand cannon” for a few months every year or two. So if you have yet to see one in person, without being overly dramatic, it is a bit breathtaking.

Here are the specifications from the official GLOCK website:

Credit Glock US -

With a sight radius of about nine inches, the G17L is born with precision in mind. Additionally, according to Ballistics By The Inch, a six-inch barrel offers an almost 10% velocity increase over a 4.5” inch barrel.

One piece of equipment I wish I had access to is a scale – I assume the Combat Master is lighter than a stock 17L, but I don’t know how by how much.

Taran Tactical Innovations G17L Combat Master

  • 9mm 23+1
  • 3 Mags with Base Pads
  • Combat Master Slide Cuts
  • Matte Black Ionbonded Finish
  • 6.02 Inch Ionbonded Barrel
  • Grand Master Grip Texture (Silicon Carbide)

    Finger Grooves Removed

  • Accelerator Cut

    Gives the shooter more control with support hand

  • Single Undercut

    Gives the shooter a higher purchase on the the grip

  • Scallop Cut

    Relieving material around magazine release for quicker reloads

  • Beveled Magazine Release
  • TTI Lightning Competition Magwell
  • TTI Fiber Optic Sights
  • TTI Competition Trigger Job
  • Stainless Steel Guide Rod with Reduced Weight Recoil Spring
  • MSRP: $3,000

Aesthetics and Modifications

The TTI G17L is a beautiful, refined weapon. And I say that as a shooter that has no love for exotic cuts, stippling or engraving that serve no purpose. The front and back serrations are shallow enough to be subtle but also sharp enough to be useful with sweaty hands or under stress. Racking or slingshotting the slide is done with confidence.

The TTI fiber optic front sight is bright enough in full sun to be effective. It looks a little longer to pick it up against a white target in comparison to a black target, but I’m used to a standard three dot night sight setup. Given time and ammo, I could see the fiber optic sight being very fast.

Of course, in complete darkness, the front sight disappears, but show me a pistol stage that includes a pitch black room and I’ll show you a group of terrified bystanders.

The Grand Master (silicone carbide) grip texture is no joke; it’s almost as if the Combat Master frame moonlights as a skateboard deck on nights and weekends. If you were planning on carrying this gun concealed in and outside or inside the waistband holster, I’d have concerns about snagging clothing. But, with a proper strong-hand grip, this TTI gun is literally welded to your hand.

Seriously, in 110% humidity (I like to exaggerate for effect), the Combat Master showed no signs of movement in my sweaty palms (that’s what she said).

The undercut is a feature that I wish GLOCK would incorporate in their pistols from the factory, especially on the subcompact models. TTI did a great job with designing and implementing their trigger guard undercut into the Combat Master. It is functional and super clean – check out the Taran “T” perfectly embedded in the front strap.

Which brings me to the overall craftsmanship of the slide and framework. The TTI G17 Combat Master is about as perfect as it comes when you are talking GLOCK modifications. Each area is thoughtfully refined, presumably based on the TTI Team’s first-hand competition experience. Nothing is lacking nor is anything overdone – there’s a reason for each upgrade.

Quit looking for the aftermarket trigger that TTI is using in these builds – there isn’t one. The Combat Master has an in-house customized trigger that will give you flashbacks to the days when you were learning to shoot with a ‘surprise break’. The trigger pull is buttery clean without being mushy and if I had to make a guess, I’d say the weight is close to half of that of a stock GLOCK – maybe 3lbs, but I will check with TTI for a more precise number.

Yes, the magazine well is as large as it appears in pictures. Remember, this is a competition focused racegun – a large flared magazine well helps quick reloads, but it also serves as a platform for comfortable palm heel placement. Reloads are quick and you start to feel like a professional competitor after just a few cycles of practice.

During a recent training day, I took the TTI G17L Combat Master out for a spin using some random factory magazines and a few with The Vickers Tactical wide baseplates. It shouldn’t come as a shock that some aftermarket components won’t work with the TTI magazine well. Like any good competitor, proper function checks and field testing is required before putting something into service, even for something as small as a baseplate.

As I noted in the beginning, the TTI baseplates are still my favorite aftermarket edition to my GLOCKs. They are smooth and snag-free, reliable and have a bit of extra weight that helps magazines drop easier.

The gold ion bonded stock barrel is easy to clean and resists slide wear very well. Normally I’m not a fan of colored barrels, but this one is slick.

At six inches, the barrel G17L was begging to be threaded and dropped into a lesser GLOCK with a silencer. Alas, I refrained from busting out the Dremel.

Most of that residue seen in the above image wiped off with a rag and a little solvent. The ion bond treated barrel does its job well.

Shooting the Combat Master

I will not pretend that I know anything about the competitive shooting market. However, I do feel like I know a quality blaster when I shoot one. This TTI G17 was a 9mm vending machine of accuracy and performance.

Over the course of about a month, 750-1000 rounds and an array of weather conditions, the TTI G17L Combat Master didn’t experience a single failure. And it wasn’t for lack of trying – at one point during a particularly dusty/gritty range session I stopped to email TTI to make sure it was ok that I wasn’t babying the Combat Master. Zero objections from TTI headquarters.

I got the green light to use (not abuse) the pistol as I saw fit. Which meant reload drills, magazine exchanges, shooting from behind barricades, from the 1.5-yard line, from the 100-yard line, the kneeling position and in and out of a competition-style holster. The Combat Master was flawless.

I used a variety of ammo types – from JHP carry rounds to bargain FMJ – this Taran Tactical creation gladly accepted all of them. My favorite being the new 150gr Syntech round from Federal Premium. Low recoil, no blowback of smoke or debris and it performs great on steel targets.


It was an honor for TFB to work with TTI and review the G17L Combat Master. If you are looking for a competition gun or a refined, ultra-reliable pistol that both performs and looks great, this gun should be at the top of your list.

At an MSRP of $3000, this Combat Master isn’t cheap. However, in the world of custom 1911s and boutique polymer stippling and slide milling shops that push over that budget marker, the cost of this package moves into a heavy, but reasonable buy-in. For its intended purposes, I believe any shooter will be happy with their purchase.

I’m already going looking forward to our next TTI review. Sorry, I won’t spoil the surprise.

About Taran Butler ( Wikipedia):

During his shooting career, Butler has accomplished the following: [2]

  • 23 times Southwest Pistol League Champion
  • 10 times California State Three-Gun Overall winner
  • 5 times USPSA Multi-Gun National Tactical Champ
  • 3 times Rocky Mountain 3-Gun Champion
  • 5 times Fort Benning Multi-Gun winner
  • 11 times SMM3G Champion
  • 2 times IDPA National Champion
  • USPSA Multi-gun First Ever Triple Crown Champion
  • 19th (Current) South West Pistol League Combat Master
  • Multi-time Steel Challenge World Champion

Special Thanks:


Silencers - Science

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2 of 29 comments
  • Ryfyle Ryfyle on Jul 01, 2018

    I would care if it was in 10mm, but it's not.

  • Flynbenny Flynbenny on Jul 03, 2018

    I use the sights on my Glock 17 that I shoot in 3 gun and IPSC standard. They are by far the best sights for a full frame Glock, I have tried nearly all of them, and Taran’s sights blow them away and have a more durable finish. I really wish he’d make them for the 42/43 too.

    I have run his basepads, on both my 17 and my 42, they work and only come off when you want them to.

    I’d buy a combat master package for my 17 AND my 42 in a heartbeat if I could afford it, along with a TTI M2, and a TR-1.