Best Glock Barrels Guide  thumbnail image

Best Glock Barrels Guide

80 Percent Arms   |   Dec 6th 2021

Whether you’re upgrading your barrel or building a new Glock style 80% frame, it’s going to involve a new barrel. Question is, which one do you get? The answer may not be as apparent as you think as there are MANY options out there. But before we dive into that, a quick disclaimer:

Unless specifically noted otherwise, products mentioned in this blog are not authorized, endorsed, manufactured or warrantied by GLOCK. GLOCK does not guarantee that these products are compatible with GLOCK pistols.

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Glock Barrels

Part of what makes factory Glock barrels so great is because they utilize polygonal rifling to reduce wear and tear inside the bore which creates better bullet-to-barrel fit. This also minimizes residue inside the barrel and helps to produce consistent bullet velocity which resultsin increased accuracy. Lastly, OEM Glock barrels have different finishes depending on their Generation number.

Fun Facts

Gen 3 and Gen 4 Glock barrels (and slides) have a very smooth Tenifer coating while the Gen 5 Glock barrels use nDLC. Tenifer is a specific brand of nitriding. nDLC stands for Nitrided Diamond Like Carbon which means the surface of the barrel is first coated in nitride then DLC is coated on top of that.

During the Gen 3/Gen 4 era, the nitride differences could also depend where they were made. Glock barrels and slides made in Austria vs USA are different because our EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) banned the use of cyanide salts which were used in Austrians’ nitriding process. Some people value Glocks made in Austria because they think it lasts longer which is difficult to prove. It’s kind of like how some people will value German made Sig Sauer pistols over those made in America.

Key Generational Differences

One might automatically assume that to differentiate Glock barrels you simply use its corresponding model number. While mostly correct, it’s not just a measuring contest for barrel length because you have to watch out for the generation number as well. It’s a small detail and easy to quickly miss if in a rush.

Why pay attention to the fine lines? Well, every brand makes their barrels a little differently. But generally speaking, if you have a Gen 3 frame make sure you get a Gen 3 slide and barrel - this is important because the barrel won’t properly fit onto the slide lock and locking block properly unless both parts are compatible with each other. Since we sell the GST-9 MOD1, which had been modeled after the Glock Gen 3 G19, these are the barrels most relevant for our customers:

Glock 19 Barrel

For seasoned shooters, and Glock or GST-9 MOD1 owners, this may be obvious to you but there are a lot of new shooters out there and it can be really confusing or overwhelming when first getting into guns and tinkering with them. Everyone starts somewhere and we’re here to help. So here’s what you need to know if you’re looking to get a new Glock 19 barrel.

Glock 19 factory barrel
OEM G19 barrel

Here’s an unpopular opinion, (which we’ve mentioned before) fact actually — no aftermarket barrel is going to outshoot a Glock OEM barrel. Your Glock 19 factory barrel may not be as sexy as an aftermarket option but few people, if any, can outshoot the accuracy of an OEM barrel. Match grade barrels for rifles actually have distinct differences compared to a cheap barrel that might come with a factory built gun. But this doesn’t necessarily hold true for pistols. In the case of handguns, “match grade barrel” tends to be a widely used marketing term. OEM barrel or not, under normal conditions and even with extremely heavy use, it’s not possible for a 9mm barrel to be shot to the point of failure. Due to this pistol caliber having such lower pressure being dispersed across a wide bore it’s basically impossible to ever ruin the rifling in a 9mm barrel. It’s been well documented that Glock factory barrels can easily last a couple hundred thousand rounds before cracking or failing, if not more. All that being said, don’t let that stop you from getting that aftermarket gold Glock barrel I know you’ve been eyeing the past year. As long as you’re aware that you’re not really paying for any functional increase and admit/understand that your purchase is just for aesthetics, then no arguments here. Everyone needs a statement piece; and there’s nothing wrong with having a bougie Glock. H4 - Glock 19 ported barrel

Glock 19 ported barrels, see, are a thing of beauty. Why? Well combined with the right slide, it allows handguns to have a form of internal compensation (rather than using an external comp) which greatly helps in reducing muzzle flip and some recoil - making for a flatter shooting experience. Which is not to say that you can’t or shouldn’t use an external compensator for a G19. You certainly can. But the Glock 19 and GST-9 MOD1 are compact handguns, so for those who wish to avoid unnecessarily extending the overall length of the pistol’s upper, this is the best solution — If you pair a Glock 19 ported barrel with say, our Wraith slide, it would create exactly the kind of desirable performance we are describing.

Glock 19 threaded barrel

OEM G19 threaded barrel

For those that reside in the state of California, you’re going to have to be careful about using any pistol with a threaded barrel as they fall under the “assault weapon” category and are banned for civilian use/ownership/etc. Everyone else in the country could buy and use a Glock 19 threaded barrel freely whether they plan on using a suppressor with it or not. Several compensators utilize the same threads for that which can be useful when building out a high performance pistol. Some people don’t run either a suppressor or comp on their threaded barrels and just have a fancy bead or nut to cover the threads that of course protects them when not in use but also doubles its role almost like a fashion accessory.

Glock 23 Barrel

GST-9 MOD1 owners be advised; your frame is also compatible with Glock 23 barrels which is for shooting .40 cal bullets. Some might call this ‘getting a Glock 23 conversion barrel’ and that’s apt in this case because all you would have to do is swap out the 9mm barrel for the .40 S&W one, use the appropriate magazines and change out the trigger mechanism housing. Obviously, you use the .40 cal magazines when shooting .40 S&W because the feed lips are further apart for the larger caliber round.

We need to swap out the trigger mechanism housing if you’re doing a ‘conversion’ from a previously 9mm build due to the different ejector. You can identify what caliber a Glock’s trigger mechanism housing’s ejector is for by looking at the number stamped into the ejector which is made out of metal. Gen 3 9mm ejectors will show “336” and Glock 40 cal ejectors will show “1882.” The parts themselves are not expensive though they may be harder to source these days. With these small changes, that is how you completed a Glock 23 conversion barrel exchange to change a MOD1 that’s chambered in 9mm Luger to shoot 40 cal.

Glock 32 Barrel

First, let’s explain what a Glock 32 is. The Glock 32 is a compact, G19 sized pistol that shoots .357 Sig bullets. Sounds like a caliber that’s meant for a revolver. Well, if you’re like me you were probably thinking of the .357 magnum which is most commonly and popularly known for being chambered in many revolvers. Well the .357 Sig was designed to replicate the ballistic capabilities of a .357 magnum round for a semi-automatic pistol, which it was successful in accomplishing before being introduced to the market. Thing is, 9mm prices have already come back down to the point where it’s about the same price for reloading compared to buying brand new factory loads which is around the $.30/per round mark. Unfortunately, .357 Sig prices are double if not almost triple the price of current 9mm deals online. So it’s hard to justify why anyone would want to shoot 357 Sig. Far be it from me to judge what calibers people choose to buy and shoot. If 357 sig is your calling then a Glock 32 barrel is what you need for your GST-9 MOD1. Just as the “1882” ejector is for the .40cal you can use that ejector to shoot .357 Sig as well.

Glock Conversion barrels

What is a Glock conversion barrel? Well the term ‘conversion’ is used in a similar way as complete uppers can be often swapped between one AR style rifle and another. If you’re looking for a “conversion barrel” don’t get confused and assume you only need to change out a barrel to shoot a different caliber other than the one your existing pistol, build or parts were made for. The example of needing to swap out the ejector in a Glock lower parts kit is a perfect example of this - you can’t just change out a 9mm Glock barrel and put in a .40 cal barrel and expect everything to work hunkydory. That’s how you have a gun blow in your hands.

Glock 17 Barrel
Aftermarket G17 barrel

We get questions about Glock 17 barrel and slide conversions all the time for the GST-9 MOD1 frame. Technically, it’s possible. However, not in an obvious way. The Glock 19 barrel and slide is of compact length (about 4”) while the Glock 17 barrel and slide is considered a full size (about 4.49”).

Just as we mentioned earlier, it’s important to make sure the barrel you choose is the correct Generation but to reiterate, you cannot use a Glock 17 barrel of any generation on the MOD1 frame because the locking lug is not of compatible shape. However, it is possible to achieve the G17 length with your MOD1.

To do so, you must use a Gen 3 Glock 19L barrel and slide. There are a few companies that make these products so the model names might differ with varying letters but they all conform to the same naming sense that Glock OEM barrels and slides use. For example, Brownells’ G19 compatible G17 length slide and barrel is called the “19 LS,” meaning Glock 19 Long Slide.

Glock 34 Barrel

OEM G34 Barrel

The OEM Glock 34 barrel length is typically 5.31”, aftermarket barrels will usually vary by 0.1” but it’s a negligible difference so not to worry if you don’t buy the factory barrel; there won’t be any functional differences.

For our MOD1 customers, there are two ways you can achieve G34 length with your MOD1’s upper. First, you could use a Gen 3 G19XL barrel and slide (XL is Zev’s name for it). Or you could use any Gen 3 Glock 19 barrel and slide paired with an external compensator such as the Strike Industries’ Mass Driver to attain the G34 length.

Aftermarket Glock Barrels

Maybe you’ve got an OEM Glock barrel already, maybe you don’t - but if you’re looking for a little bit more pizazz and extra features then what you need is an aftermarket Glock barrel. These brands below are our favorites to choose from and are some of the hottest products currently on the market.

True Precision - $189.99

True Precision G19 Barrel

First up we have a sleek Glock 19 barrel from True Precision. Made out of 416 stainless steel through a broach cut rifling process, this barrel will actually work with Glocks Gen 1 through 5 which is a huge convenience if you want to swap this barrel out between multiple handguns or builds you own. No generation compatibility issues here. Some special features of this barrel include an 11 degree recessed target crown, a fluted design on the exterior and an improved overall fit from the OEM design.

Agency Arms - $170 - $330

Agency Arms G19 Barrel

Personally, I’ve got a real soft spot for Agency Arms Glock 19 barrels. They’re the first company I had discovered which made really high quality aftermarket parts and custom services for Glocks and that was several years ago. Today, they have two different lines of 9mm Glock barrels with a variety of features and popular coating colors (Titanium Nitride Gold, Diamond Like Carbon Black, High Polished Rose Gold and Stainless Steel). They carry flute barrels, threaded barrels, ported barrels, and if you need to save some money they have a more budget line called ‘Syndicate’ that you can take advantage of. These barrels are rifled through a pulled broached method and are not only incredibly attractive, but also reliable in feeding from the high lubricity their finishes offer.

Zev Technologies $198 - $303

Zev Glock Barrels

Of course, we’re still big fans of Zev aftermarket Glock barrels. Perhaps their most notable design is their line of Glock barrels that feature dimples that surround the exterior of the barrel. Quite cool, but they of course have plain barrels with no extra designs to their exterior which are cheaper. Fluted and threaded barrels are also an option. Among the colors Zev offers their Glock barrels in are Diamond Like Carbon Black and Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) Bronze. Zev’s proprietary broach cut rifling creates a 1:14 left hand twist which Zev boasts it offers an increase in accuracy over Glock factory barrels across all standard bullet weights.

80% Arms $99.99 - $119.99

80% Arms G19 barrel fluted

Last but not least, we have our barrels that we offer two different barrels that we make in-house! One is a black nitrided, fluted 9mm G19 barrel and has the caliber markings engraved facing the right side of the barrel on the ejection port. These barrels are cut rifled with a 1:10” twist and are made out of 416R steel with a 45 chamfer for the barrel down. If you want to save a few bucks and don’t need the fluting and want that contrasted barrel and slide look you can also opt for our stainless steel 9mm G19 barrel that doesn’t have any fluting and is just one smooth consistent finish.

Glock Barrels with Compensators

If you really want to go the extra mile you can opt for a compensator to go with your fancy new GST-9 MOD1 build. There are compensators for Glocks and Glock style builds that attach via a threaded barrel and there are some that attach via a proprietary guide rod so as to not fall under legal restrictions *COUGH*, California. Today, we also highlight the newest product option for a Glock barrel with a compensator.

Radian Glock Barrel Compensator $389.95

It’s called the Radian Afterburner Micro Compensator and Ramjet Barrel. Pretty expensive in our book, but if it works well given the name brand it’s not completely surprising. This product’s naming sense comes from the fact that it’s made specifically for G19 length builds. With the compensator it becomes a G17 length and although it’s technically a full-size handgun at that point, it’s the most compact package currently available among aftermarket Glock products with an external compensator. Because the profile of the comp lines up perfectly with the Glock 19’s slide, this is also perfectly holster-able so long as your holster has an opened end and not a closed off one.

Now, Radian might surprise you that it’s on this list for a guide about the best Glock barrels. The reason we included them is for their newest product release which was a Glock barrel that incorporates a compensator that does not utilize via a threaded barrel and instead is installed by interfacing with an angled V-groove on the underside of the barrel (making it legal for buyers in all 50 states). The barrel itself is a cut rifled in the bore and fluted on the outside with a gas sealing chamber to aid in reducing recoil up to 44% (with the comp).

Get Your Next Glock 19 Barrel from 80% Arms Today!

Hopefully you feel more informed now about Glock factory barrels and what aftermarket barrels do and don't offer. Are you ready to get your upgraded Glock 19 barrel? We’ve got some great options for you but if you haven’t even built your own Glock style 80% frame yet, what are you waiting for? Our GST-9 MOD1 frame is now available so don’t forget to grab a jig to start your bougie build today!