Glock Upgrades You Need for Your Setup thumbnail image

Glock Upgrades You Need for Your Setup

80 Percent Arms   |   Nov 15th 2022

So you just bought a Glock. You’ve been bitten by the bug and rather than buy lots of ammo and take shooting classes you just want to deck the thing out and really make it yours. Understandable! Believe it or not we’ve all been there. (Still, eventually please buy lots of ammo and take as many training classes as you can afford.)

But where do you start? You’ve heard all about how the Glock is basically the Honda Civic of the gun world with all the aftermarket support in modifications and third party upgrade parts — well, that’s what we’re going to help you with today.

First, a legal 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.

“GLOCK” is a federally registered trademark of GLOCK, Inc. and GLOCK Ges.m.b.H.. Neither 80 Percent Arms nor this website are affiliated in any manner with, or otherwise endorsed by, GLOCK, Inc. or GLOCK Ges.mb.b.H.. The use of “Glock” on this page is merely to advertise the sale of GLOCK-style pistol frames, components and aftermarket parts that are compatible with Glock products. For additional genuine GLOCK, Inc. parts and products please visit

Glock Upgrades you Must Have

As far as Glock parts for the GST-9 MOD1 go, essentially if it fits a Glock Gen 3, it will fit the MOD1 too! But do we really need these Glock upgrades? How does the saying go... beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder right? There are parts that we'd say you must have, accessories that you simply want for aesthetics and then potentially expensive parts that greatly increase your performance. We’ll go over the essentials first.

Upgrade your Glock Controls

Regardless of generation, Glocks tend to come with a flat slide lock release which isn’t the easiest to depress when you want to drop the slide, say, on a quick reload (although it’s already far easier to use than several other pistol brands). So instead, we recommend getting an extended slide stop lever.

In fact we insist that you basically get anything that’s ‘extended’ so that it’s just easier to take the slide off your frame with an extended slide lock lever or an extended magazine release button.These parts are not terribly expensive on their own but once you start adding it up, it might be a little annoying. Again, just take a look at Sig Sauer or CZ upgrade parts and you’ll instantly start feeling better.

Toss your Glock Sights Out Now

If you’re not ready for a red dot sight or cannot afford it then there are many  ‘iron sights’ you can replace the flimsy Glock OEM sights with that are either fiber optics. Some of these sights may also glow in the dark which is why they’re called Glock night sights. We want to use only sights that can aid at any time of day or night and in ANY lighting condition.

Granted, some Glocks do come with pretty decent sights now from either Ameriglo or even Trijicon. So if your new pistol has those, then don’t throw those out too soon. Try to get used to those first before you use something else. After all, good Glock sights always cost a little north of $100 so experimenting with too many sights could get real expensive real quick.

Now, if you are ready to  use red dot sights, that’s great. Just know that there will be a solid adjustment period and that it takes a good amount of practice and time to get good at using a red dot sight. Once you get the hang of it though, it’s very difficult to go back to irons. We recommend the Holosun 507C or Trijicon RMR.

Just know that if you run a red dot sight, it would be smart to get some suppressor height sights which act as your backup sights in case your optic ever dies on you for whatever reason. That way, should the unthinkable happen you won’t be a sitting duck with a gun you can’t aim.

Equip a Weapon Mounted Light for your Glock

If you’re rocking any standard Glock that has an accessory rail on the frame then it’s basically asking for a light to be put on there. We’d stay away from lasers just because they don’t really make a whole lot of sense for civilian or self-defense use in today’s modern age (we say that as if the 90’s early 2000’s were the stone age haha).The go to tactical pistol lights we’d recommend include:

  • Surefire X300
  • Surefire X300 Turbo
  • Streamlight TLR-7A 
  • Modlite PL350

Glock Performance Upgrades

Let’s be honest, you’re never going to outshoot your Glock. But, there are certainly some parts that can make it easier to tame that little block of metal and polymer that goes ‘bang.’

Guide Rods

The OEM Glock guide rod for all generations were built to last and reports have proven that even the plastic/rubber guide rod with Gen 3 Glocks can last up to 10k rounds. If that’s the case, why do people fawn over “upgrading” their guide rods so much?

They probably aren’t aware that the OEM guide rod is that robust but some Glock owners will opt for a guide rod that is made out of steel or tungsten which puts more weight at the front of the gun - which can help reduce muzzle flip, or perceived felt recoil (attaching pistol lights can also help do this too).There are captured guide rods which means that its recoil spring is contained by a screw and there are non captured guide rods which mean that the recoil spring can freely fall off of the guide rod when uninstalled from a Glock slide.

Owners that opt for non-captured guide rods have the benefit of being able to easily swap out different recoil springs of various weights to obtain the experience that they desire. An OEM recoil spring for a G17 is usually about 16 to 19 pounds depending on which generation it is (remember there are 5 Glock Generations so far). So if you’re upgrading the recoil spring with a non-captured setup then a good weight to choose would be either 11 to 13 lbs. which will also pair nicely with some compensators which work better with lighter spring weights.

Even if you aren’t running a compensator, why might a lower spring weight improve your shooting experience? Well, it’s not the same concept as a buffer weight and spring in an AR-15. With pistols, the lighter the spring you have the less violent action you get when the slide goes back forward as it chambers another round after firing. OEM spring weights tend to be heavier which cycle the slide more aggressively.

What you want to watch out for is choosing too light of recoil spring weight. If the spring is too light and not strong enough to send the slide back with the correct timing as it cycles you can cause your pistol to have malfunctions such as a ‘failure to eject’ or ‘double feeding.’ So if you want to err on the side of caution a heavier spring will better guarantee reliable cycling.

Glock Compensators

Compensators are super cool. They help you shoot flatter and look aggressive. What’s not to love? Well, the price can be pretty gnarly sometimes but these are our favorite comps include the following:

Extended Mag Wells

Remember what we said about getting basically everything that’s ‘extended’ for your Glock? In this case, it may depend on what your Glock’s intended purpose is.

If you’ve got a competition Glock by all means buy the biggest, fattest and brightest color mag well made out of billet aluminum that you can find.

Extended mag wells can give shooters the ability to reload mags faster due to having a larger opening to work with. Even if you don’t hit the opening where your magazine goes perfectly, the flared walls of the extended mag well will direct it where it needs to go with little effort. If you need something more low key but still want the benefit of a mag well, consider the low profile, lightweight polymer solution from Magpul: GL Enhanced Magazine Well for Glock ($24.95). Just make sure you buy the correct one per your pistol’s generation.

With the GST-9 MOD1, we negated the need for this though because our grip modules have the flared mag well feature built into them!

Drop In Triggers

For Glock drop-in triggers the best, to us, are made either by Agency Arms or ZEV Technologies. Depending on the model you choose, these triggers take away the slop in a stock Glock trigger completely so that when you rest your index finger on the trigger, you’re already at the ‘wall.’ Little bit more pressure and the gun will go ‘bang.’ These triggers also have fantastic, tactile resets which come from the trigger bar having a great coating and high polish.


OEM connectors in the lower parts kit housing are typically around 4.5 lb, which cause the trigger pull experience to be about 5.5 lbs. That’s kind of an awkward weight and a bit heavy but it’s perfect for beginners as it provides that extra cushion of safety which reduces the chance of a negligent discharge.

We like our connectors to weigh 3.5 lb. for the best feeling and most consistent performance. Any lighter and you risk some potential malfunctions to happen. If you want to upgrade your trigger and connector at the same time, consider the Zev Fulcrum Adjustable Glock Trigger which has both parts as a combo.

Striker Assembly Spring

Alright this is where we get into some more technical territory. If you are messing with the connector weight, you may want to reduce the spring weight in your striker assembly which is located inside your Glock slide. If you get the Zev Fulcrum Complete Trigger Upgrade package you can experiment with two aftermarket springs provided for you to figure out what works best for your pistol.

Additionally, the package even includes a high polished safety disconnect which is also known as the ‘plunger’ or ‘firing pin safety.’ By having a smoother surface, friction and resistance is decreased against the trigger bar contact which helps to create a positive trigger reset feeling.

Stipple Job

Last on the list for performance upgrades is stippling, a service where soldering iron is used to create intricate burn patterns on the Glock or GST-9 MOD1 frame to provide an enhanced grip by reducing or removing excess material and increasing grip strength. OEM Glocks tend to be quite slippery. These days, a lot of stippling is done with laser engravers for their intricate designs and superior accuracy in handiwork.

That’s something we fixed with the MOD1 as well. Straight out of the box our 80 Glock style frame has stippling on the frame, a single undercut, scalloped mag release button, gas pedals and even some stippling on the large grip module. We really just wanted to make life that much easier for our customers.

Non-Essential Glock Upgrades

You want to know what you don’t need for your Glock but plenty of people buy anyways? These are the modifications that you can do to your gun but are absolutely unnecessary.

  • A shiny new barrel ;) - unless you’re buying our G19 barrels
  • Windows, lightning cuts or more serrations/textures on your slide
  • An extra slide 
  • Colored Glock frame pins
  • Extended magazine base plates - debatable, we know mag capacity is religion for some.

Obviously, the caveat to this would be if you bought a GST-9 MOD1, then of course you should buy our Wraith or Shadow slide, which include the most desirable features in the Glock aftermarket world, to elegantly complete your build.

Additional Info

Build Your Next Glock Style Pistol With 80 Percent Arms!

Skip the pain and hassle of doing all the research, waiting for parts to arrive in the mail or for gunsmiths to work on your OEM gun. Instead, build your own GST-9 MOD1 today which already comes loaded with all the features most shooters are looking to do to their frame.

If you want to learn more about the difference between a GST-9 MOD1 vs an OEM Glock 19 check our blog out!