Glock Slide Cuts Guide thumbnail image

Glock Slide Cuts Guide

80 Percent Arms   |   Mar 25th 2022

In the market for a fancy new slide? We have a couple of options for you! But before we get 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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Ever stood at the range and noticed how someone in the next bay is shooting something that looks familiar, but it isn’t quite the run-of-the-mill Glock or Sig pistol? It looks really “tricked out”, with optics, stippling and, wow, that slide sure does look aggressive! You aren’t the only one who has noticed these new fangled bougie guns, but is it worth it? Well, grab your Glock, and let’s talk slide cuts and what they do with your friends at 80% Arms!

Types of Glock 19 slides

There are many types of slides you can install on your Glock handgun. Think about what your slide is missing now and go from there. Do you need more surface area that you can grip? Do you need an optic mounted on your handgun? Do you like to perform press checks? Want to make your weapon lighter? Want to make your weapon more unique aesthetically? All of these are excellent reasons to have work done on your Glock slide, or purchase a new slide altogether! While many slide cuts can be entirely aesthetic, there are many benefits of having your slide cut if done properly!

Serrated Slides

One thing you may notice on the slides of some of these pistols are the serrations cut into the slide. While they may look aggressive and purely aesthetic, these are absolutely functional many times, allowing for press checks, one handed emergency racking, and just in general, allowing better grip on the slide in more spots. Let’s chat about a press check, since we brought it up. A press check is the act of retracting the slide or bolt far enough to confirm a round is in the chamber. This can be very important, because it allows you to confirm your weapon is ready to go, without retracting the slide all the way, which could extract the round from the chamber. It is always important to know if your weapon is loaded, hot and ready to go!

One method of performing a press check. (

Serrations can also have a lightning effect, reducing perceived recoil. Serration cuts on the top of the slide can also reduce glare on a bright day. Is there a possibility of using your weapon where it may be sweaty, wet or dirty? Serrations might be a good option for you! Just wanting to build a unique range gun? Adding slide serrations, and lightning cuts, (discussed below), can absolutely help you build a lightweight, low-recoiling weapon with a unique set of aesthetics! Curious as to what some of these look like? Different textures can create more friction for weapon manipulation, which, for obvious reasons, is very important! Something to keep in mind as you lighten your slide, it may be possible to use lighter ammunition loads, which is a reason you see many of these upgrades done to competition guns.

Check out the serrations on our Shadow Slide below for an example.

The 80% Arms Shadow Slide with Cover Plate for the Glock 19. Get it here.

Glock 19 Optics Cut Slides

Because the GST-9 MOD1 is a Glock Gen 3 compatible frame design, it is directly compatible with all Glock Gen 1-3 slides. So what does optic cut mean? Well, that’s just another handy feature to add to your weapon, allowing you to run your favorite optic! Many stock weapons, such as 1911’s, Sigs, and Glocks, have no cuts for optics, and with handgun-mounted optics becoming so popular, many companies have popped up to start offering the service. Make sure the cut is done specifically for your chosen optic, and find out if you will need a separate mounting plate as well. Something to keep in mind when running an optic are your sights. Many choose to run suppressor-height sights with an optic so they can co-witness through the optic glass. This can be a very handy feature to have in the event the optic is damaged or a battery dies at the worst possible time, given that the shooter is able to still line up the iron sights through the window of the optic. This is certainly a great option to have should the necessity arise!

Our GST-9 with an RMR optic mounted, suppressor-height rear sight and Zev barrel.

Slide windows and Lightning Cuts

Another cool feature that can be added to many slides are windows, also known as lightning cuts. Not only do these look aesthetically pleasing, but they also reduce weight, and therefore, reciprocating mass on the slide motion, to help mitigate recoil. Running a ported barrel will also pair nicely with slide cuts, allowing the gas to escape and help force the muzzle back down, reducing muzzle flip. Some might claim these windows can allow dirt and gunk to get into the slide easier, and while that might be a downside to this modification, overall, the common situations where the weapon will be used should provide only a negligible effect on obstructions getting into the slide. Does this sound like it would be beneficial to your shooting and your favorite pistol? If so, it might be time to pull out the old Glock 19 and get to upgrading!

The Wraith slide with Lightning (window) cuts, serrations and optics cut. Note the scaling on the top, forward portion of the slide, allowing for more grip on the top of the slide.

Sig Sauer P320 with serrations, optics cut and slide windows by Agency Arms.

Are slide mills worth it?

In summary, there are many functional cuts you can modify your weapon’s side with, that are actually highly functional! In addition to having a highly customized and personalized weapon, that will look great on Instagram, you will also have more functionality when manipulating the weapon in less-than favorable conditions. If you prefer to shoot your weapon with an optic, it may be necessary to have the slide cut as well.

When seeking out a pre-made slide, or a company to do the work on your personally owned weapon, keep in mind that you are modifying a weapon you may have to rely on and trust with your and your loved ones’ lives. This is not the time to cut corners, pun not intended. Even though we all know someone that has a buddy that can “do it cheaper”, make sure to only trust your weapon to those that are highly qualified to perform these modifications.

Our favorite brands that make Glock 19 Slides

Many established companies are capable of doing the work or selling quality pre-cut slides, including but not limited to; Agency Arms, Taran Tactical, Jagerwerks, Culper Precision, Salient Arms, Floyd’s Customs, Zev, and yes, even your good ol’ buddies here at 80% Arms!

Our very own 80% Arms Wraith slide on the original GST-9 frame.