There’s a reason why Glocks are called the Honda Civics of the gun world because there isn’t a gun out there with more aftermarket parts, services and support than the Glock platform. Honda Civics can be pretty boring right? But as much as they get made fun of there are several types of Civics. You’ve got compressed natural gas models, hybrid models, coupes, 4-door sedans, hatches and heck, there’s even the Type-R. It’s the same for Glock handguns. They can be as economic and basic as they come — but they can also be flat out race guns competing head to head with other brands such as Sig Sauer, CZ or even 2011’s.
What is Custom Glock Work?
Whether it’s for a Glock slide or a Glock frame, custom Glock work includes a large variety of modifications that owners can do to make their gun perform at a higher level, look more flashy or unique; but typically there is a practical element to it as well. The biggest draw for people to permanently alter their Glock frames is usually to improve upon the ergonomics and feel of their gun to increase performance and the overall shooting experience. But of course, looking cool is an extra bonus.
Custom Glock Stippling
We’ve gone into comprehensive depth before when it comes to Glock stippling and the process of it but today we’ll be looking at the other modifications that can be made to the Glock frame.
The first thing to know is that there are several and many companies will largely be copying someone else’s design to a certain degree. Regardless of design, all stippling patterns conform to either a smooth, medium, or an aggressive finish. Check out a previous blog to see a comprehensive guide on Glock stippling.
With regard to the grip portion of the frame, the borders are the last touch that really make a stipple job pop and are usually the defining factor for separating a cheap budget job and really high end work.
In terms of undercuts you go one of two ways:
Undercuts are the removal of material beneath the trigger guard and where the main grip or magwell area meet. This is where the middle finger rests. Having material removed in this area allows the user to have a higher angle and better purchase on that grip. Currently, the GST-9 sports a single undercut and comes that way out of the box.
Double undercuts are probably the most popular but can also be the most risky if you’re not using a reputable stippler service. After all, material is being removed from your pistol and once done, it’s never coming back. Depending on who you go to, a double undercut could mean a couple different things. First, is that it could simply mean a deeper cut into the frame and trigger guard. Second, is that it could be referring to the material removed from the bottom of the trigger guard which is designed for the supporting hand’s middle finger to comfortably rest and fit in ergonomically. Notice in the photo above you’ll see two cuts in the trigger guard.
Dehorned Trigger Guard
Glock trigger guards have been getting modified by their owners since over a decade ago. The practice back then was to round out the trigger guard which kind of looks like the horn of a rhino. Today we see more stipplers leaving the horn and actually removing some of the material on the front of the guard which only accentuates the horn more. It gives off a more aggressive look and arguably provides better ergonomics for grip as well but of course, to each their own.
Finger Grooves… What to do with them?
Love or hate 'em, you've got a few option to decide what to do with your Glock frame's finger grooves.
Keep finger grooves
Some people actually like the finger grooves but if they're being stippled over that could make it difficult to correct your grip if the gun was initially drawn from a holster incorrectly or at a less than optimal angle. For custom work involving say a Glock 26/27/33, there seems to be a good amount of owners that tend to keep the one groove which aids the grip a lot for subcompact Glock frames. The Glock 20 below arguably has accentuated finger grooves which is also an option.
Reduce finger grooves
For those that still appreciate the finger grooves but don’t want them to be so prominent, they can be reduced so that they are there to assist a strong grip but not so much that it’s impossible to correct or adjust a grip on the fly without tearing up your shooting hand (depending on how aggressive the stipple pattern is).
Remove finger grooves
Then there are those who absolutely cannot stand the finger grooves — they can be completely removed and many argue that there is actually more surface area to comfortably grip this way. Or, if you live in a free state you could always give Gen5 Glocks a try as they come with no finger grooves and a stock stippling that is actually quite comfortable, like the one above.
Custom Glock Frame Cerakote
This is the most sought after method of getting custom Glock frame colors. Sure you could always use spray paint and rattle-can it but the finish won’t feel as substantial or be as durable compared to a proper cerakote job. Cerakote is a ceramic based paint that has been highly popularized in the gun community for its ability to produce high quality designs which have amazing resistance to abrasion, corrosion, chemicals and hardness — which all comes together making a very durable finish with tight tolerances… all while looking tacticool.
Summary and Suggestions
On the low end we’ve seen some professionals charge for as low as $120 for a semi-complete frame stippling package but we’d avoid these service providers and look for package deals that cost about $275 or more. Obviously, if you wanted to go wild you could go for the highest brand names like Agency Arms’ Build Services (For Glock), get custom Glock work from Taran Tactical Innovations, or even buy a SAI Tier One Glock that comes with all the goodies directly from Salient Arms International. Big caveat though, that could run you from $400 all the way to $2400... the price of an additional or several more Glock handguns!
If you’re going to conceal carry your gun within your waistband, go for a smooth stippling finish. If it’s more for “duty carry” then a medium finish could still be appropriate depending on who you work for and what that organization’s policy is on modified handguns/service pistols. If you’re going to a competition and going full race gun, get the most aggressive stippling you can as it will wear down overtime and actually partially smooth over with enough usage. Cerakote paint jobs are relatively reasonable in price, not including shipping and handling; the service should only cost around $75 unless you’re getting a very complex design painted on your custom Glock frame.