Concealed Carry Corner: The Only 5 Excusable Upgrades For a Carry Glock

    Carry glock

    The Glock evokes a lot of emotion from the TFB community. It’s amusing. You have people who are Glock haters, many times because the Glock is the “Toyota Camry” of the gun industry: Reliable, prolific, “boring.” And then you have the tuners who will modify their stock Glock beyond recognition, and even go so far as to build a Glock from the ground up without even using a single Glock component (Polymer 80 frames, ZEV uppers, etc. etc.).

    And then you have guys like myself and our editor, Pete, who love Glocks and take the “Nie! Glock is Fine!” approach to modifications.

    CCC: The Only 5 Excusable Upgrades For a Carry Glock

    With that in mind, here are the only 5 accessories or upgrades you might “need” to carry your Glock:

    #1: Holsters

    This is #1 for a reason.  While you, of course, can’t fire your Glock without ammunition, there’s little point in buying a Glock for concealed carry if you don’t have a way to safely carry it. A lot of new Glock owners buy the cheapest holster they can get their hands on, and then blow the rest of the budget on Punisher logo slide plates and rainbow titanium barrels.


    But there’s a huge problem with this. If you can’t carry comfortably, you might not carry at all. And if you can’t carry safely, you shouldn’t carry it all. Accordingly, to keep your gun secure, to make it easier for you to comfortably tote that 1-2 lb metal and plastic brick all day, every day, and to get to it when you need it, spend some money on some good holsters. They don’t have to be expensive to work, there are plenty of inexpensive options. For that matter, I’m not sure I own a Glock holster that cost more than $50. But the important thing is that I have tried a number of holsters and I have different holsters for the types of clothes that I plan to wear.

    A very inexpensive but capable holster from Justified Warfare Solutions for my Glock 29.

    As TFBTV viewers know, I am very fond of the belly band for carry. It’s comfortable, quick, safe, and inexpensive. It also works for a number of different handguns, so you can usually order one and get away with carrying several different types of concealed carry pistols and revolvers.  It was my #1 pick on my “Top 5 Summer CCW Methods” video:

    And although you can use the belly band with a tucked-in shirt, it’s going to be a bit slower than a tuckable inside the waistband holster if you are dressed for work. For tuckable IWB holsters, I am a big fan of minimalist designs like the Vanguard from Raven:

    This is the Raven Vanguard II with the Glock 42, one of my current EDC setups.

    The Raven basically covers only your trigger guard and has a tuckable belt clip.

    I also like low profile Kydex holsters that use the Ulti-Clip, such as the Justified War Solutions “Cloak.”

    The Justified Warfare Solutions Cloak. I did an article on the Ulti-Clip holster attachment a while back:

    Finally, if you’re going to be wearing a jacket, I feel like you are doing yourself a disservice if you aren’t carrying with an open-top outside the waistband holster because that is about the fastest draw you will get.

    A good example of an “OWB” or “outside the waistband” holster. This is a Glock 19 with a Bravo Concealment holster sent to me by my good friend, Johnny, from 180 Second Ideas.

    So holsters might not be as exciting as that 33 round extendo know you want just to stunt at the range, but I would much rather have a stock Glock and a great holster than a tuned up ZEV with an ineffective and awkward garbage holster.

    Mag holster? Sure, why not.

    #2: Ammo

    So you’ve got a holster now. Clearly, the next step is in Apex Trigger and a reflex optic, right? Well, at least that’s what most new Glock owners do. Fight the urge of Glock-sexual and go Glock-effectual instead by spending your money on good ammo.

    If you can’t tell us what type of ammo is in your carry gun right now, what grain weight it is, and why you bought it, then you haven’t done enough research. There are loads of data about…loads out there, including our very own TFBTV gel testing playlist. What’s the point of carrying a gun for self-defense if it won’t effectively stop a threat? Buy the best ammo that you can afford for your concealed carry gun. I favor proven loads from trusted manufacturers that have seen a lot of use with law enforcement. To those ends, I like Federal 9BPLE +P+ because of its LEO track record.

    Image result for federal 9bple

    The trusty Federal 9BPLE +P+

    Andrew, our own ballistic tester, thinks I am a dinosaur for clinging to the old reliable Federal chambering, and should instead use newer offerings that have improved performance. To those ends, I also like the numbers from Buffalo Bore’s 124-grain +P+ ammo, which absolutely rockets a 124gr 9mm round out of a Glock 19 at 1,300 fps. That’s equivalent to low-end snubnose .357 Magnum 125gr performance.

    You’ve researched your self-defense chambering, hit Ventura Munitions, and bought your carry ammo. Done, right? We aren’t done yet. You better spend at least $200 on a case of ball ammo to use at the range. I typically don’t trust a handgun until I have five hundred to a thousand rounds through it, so you better go get that practice and prove your piece before you start toting it around. Speaking of Ventura Munitions, I recommend buying a quarter case of their loose, brass cased 9mm hollow point range ammo for just $60 for 250 rounds. While putting a case of ball ammo through a new pistol may be indicative of reliability, you should also run as many HPs as you can before you holster up: Hollow points will sometimes expose a gun’s propensity to have failures to feed (“FTFs”). There’s almost no chance of that happening with a Glock, but putting hollow points through any new gun before you carry it is a good practice regardless.

    #3: Sights

    Finally, the sexy stuff. Sights.

    This is definitely the third most important thing behind holsters and ammo. Do the stock plastic Glock sights leave something to be desired? Sure. But do they work? Absolutely. Further, I bet most Glock owners out there might not even use their sights if they have to use their carry plastic, as there’s a very good chance that this conflict will take place at extremely close range. Nonetheless, in my opinion, one of the best performance upgrades you can have for your stock Glock is a good set of night sights.

    Good shot placement is critical for effective self-defense. Sights are critical for effective shot placement. Therefore, by extension, sights are critical for effective self-defense. Like holsters, trying to see what works best for you personally is typically the most effective way to handle this. However, I have recommendations:

    I like several of Glock’s factory options. The factory three-dot sights are good, but I prefer them with white outlines:

    Factory Glock 3-dot night sights with white outlines on the Glock 19X.

    Factory Glock 3 dot night sights without white outlines on a Gen 5 Glock 17.

    But, I think my new favorites are the Ameriglo Bold sights which became available from the factory starting with the introduction of the Gen 5 Glocks. These feature green rear sights, and a bright orange front sight that grabs your attention. Of course, considering that the front sight is the most important thing to focus on when shooting for accuracy, this is a fantastic sight set that I endorse confidently.

    Ameriglo Bold sights, available from Glock as a factory option.

    The “right’ side of the Ameriglo Bolds.

    I also highly recommend splurging upfront and buying your pistol with the factory sights from Glock already installed. That way, you know they have been sighted in by Glock and installed by a Glock armorer at the factory. The upfront spend usually saves money as it’s typically cheaper to get a Glock with the night sights already installed versus buying them yourself and installing them later. Buy once, cry once.

    If you want to look at good third-party options, I also like “Hacks” or Hackathorn-style sights, with a blacked out rear blade and a front night sight in red/orange.

    Glock 19 with “Hacks”, or Hackathorn-style sights.

    Glock 19 with “Hacks”, or Hackathorn-style sights.

    #4: Magazines and Magazine Accessories

    Cue Hank Hill: Number 4 is “magazines and magazine accessories.”

    I make sure I have at least four magazines for any of my guns, and I will even buy an extra couple and leave them in the wrap just in case. These are inexpensive accessories, but reliable magazines are essential for the proper function of your handgun. Do not buy “cheap” magazines. Glock factory magazines and the as-good Magpul Glock magazines are both excellent choices, each costing often less than $20. Don’t cheap out with anything else.

    Some magazine accessories also give you a nice performance boost at a low cost. I think a great backup magazine for the Glock 26 is the Magpul 12-round magazine. The standard Glock 26 mag will hold 10 rounds of 9mm and still fit flush with the grip. This is great for concealment, but if you opted to carry a backup magazine, it might not be a bad idea to use a slightly extended mag that gives you a little bit of extra capacity and more real estate to grip onto when you are shooting. The Glock 26 magazines made by Magpul are slightly larger than the factory Glock 26 magazines, but give two more rounds of capacity.

    Image result for magpul GL12

    Glock 26 with the Magpul GL-12 twelve round magazine.

    I am also a tremendous fan of the Taran Tactical Innovations baseplates made by my good buddy Taran Butler in Los Angeles. These truly add only a fraction of a fraction of an inch to the Glock 42 and Glock 43 single stack magazines, but you get an extra round of capacity.  They cost less than $30. I consider the TTI base plate essential for the Glock 42 or Glock 43:

    The TTI baseplate for the Glock 42 and Glock 43 convert these single stack guns from 6 rounders to 7 rounders at little cost to size or your wallet.

    #5: Buttons and Levers (MAYBE)

    Finally, the last and only upgrade your carry Glock could possibly need would be determined by the generation you are carrying. For every generation of Glock, we wouldn’t fault you for picking up an extended slide release. The factory slide release on the vast majority of Glocks tends to be difficult to engage for all but experienced Glock users. It’s a small tab of thin metal that rides pretty close to the frame.

    That slide release sure is teensy.

    Compare the Glock slide release to the factory release from the Beretta 92, which is a robust release that is extremely easy to engage.

    Image result for beretta 92fs

    By contrast, the Beretta 92 has a substantial slide release, making it easy to drop the slide on a fresh magazine.

    Obviously, there are plenty of third-party options, but Glock’s OEM extended slide release, which is featured on some of Glock’s out-of-the-box-tournament-ready-guns should work just fine. It is similar to the standard release, but it adds a small ledge that’s much easier to gain purchase on.

    Notice the factory extended slide release on this Glock 34 MOS. In my opinion, Glock should consider adding this as a factory option to its full-size and compact models, like the 17 and 19. It’s small enough that accidental deployment likely won’t be an issue, but it is also much easier to use for most shooters than the standard release tab.

    If you have a Gen 4 or Gen 5 Glock then Glock is fine! You don’t need anything else. You are done. Stop reading.

    But, if you have a Gen 3 or earlier Glock, it would be understandable if you felt inclined to add an extended magazine release button. I personally don’t have an issue with the Gen 3 and prior magazine releases, but I can concede that it is diminutive, and especially in contrast to the excellent magazine release from the Gen 4 and the Gen 5 guns.

    The Gen 3 and earlier mag release is very low-profile.

    By contrast, the mag release on the Gen 4, Gen 5, and other new Glocks is an outstanding blend of concealability (i.e., you won’t accidentally drop your mag while carrying) and usability.

    There’s really no reason to deviate from the factory magazine release in the Gen 4 or Gen 5 models for concealed carry.

    So there are your five acceptable modifications to your factory Glock. Have any other suggestions? Feel free to leave them in the comments, but frankly, as a longtime Glock user, carrier, and all-around superfan, you are going to have a hard time convincing me that there are any other mods that are useful on your factory Glock as it concerns concealed carry.

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    James Reeves

    • NRA-licensed concealed weapons instructor, 2012-present
    Maxim Magazine’s MAXIMum Warrior, 2011
    • TFBTV Executive Producer
    • Former Regional Sales Rep, Interstate Arms Corp., MA
    • Champion, Key West Cinco De Mayo Taco Eating Competition
    • GLOCK® Certified Pistol Operator, 2017-2022
    • Lawyer
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