Now that we’ve replaced the awful factory sights on the Glock 34 with something good, what’s next on the menu?
Modifying the Grip
When I bought my first Glock pistol many moons ago, I immediately took it to the range with a few boxes of ammo and started blazing away…and halfway into my second magazine I was bleeding. It turns out that in addition to rock-star quality hair, nature saw fit to gift me with a freakishly high grip. When I take a business-like grip on a Glock pistol the web of my hand between my thumb and trigger finger ends up right in the path of the side as the weapon cycles. After a couple of magazines through a Glock there are visible train tracks on my hand. A couple of boxes of ammo and I’m bleeding quite a bit. I’ve actually been in a class and had an instructor approach me to teach and then back away slowly “…I don’t want to touch your gun because it’s covered in blood.” What are a few possible blood-borne pathogens between friends? Doing my best Jessie Ventura impression on multiple occasions has left me with permanent scars on the web of my hand.
Before the hollering starts, let’s get this out of the way: Yes, I really do know how to hold a handgun properly. Every time I mention that I experience slide bite, some hammerhead shows up insisting that I need to learn how to hold a handgun properly. So before things get stupid, take a look at this video:
The man with the moustache is Ken Hackathorn, and note that he says he experiences the exact same slide bite phenomenon I do when he shoots Glocks. Anyone want to argue that one of the best firearms instructors in history doesn’t know how to hold a handgun? No? Good. Physiology dictates that larger mammals may occasionally find that handgun isn’t ideally suited for our anatomy. We’ll get cut up by the GI style grip safety on a standard 1911, bitten by the hammer of a Hi-Power, and maybe get grooves dug into our flesh by Glock slides. The beavertail 1911 grip safety did not come into existence because it looks cool, folks…it was invented because people were getting cut by the standard 1911 grip safety and nipped by the hammer.
In the video above Ken was talking about the Grip Force Adapter, a sort of add-on beavertail for the Glock family of pistols.
It’s a neat little bit of polymer that installs in minutes with no permanent alteration of the pistol itself. You simply remove one of the pins in the Glock’s frame, put the Grip Force Adapter on the pistol aligned with the hole for that pin, and then put in the slightly longer replacement pin that comes in the kit. On the Generation 4 Grip-Force Adapter the pin is a lot longer than stock and needs to be filed down some. All told it took me about five minutes to install the adapter and then do the required filing. The end result is that I can finally shoot my G34 without bleeding. It does add a little bit to the overall size of the grip, which can be a problem if you have small hands. If you have small hands, though, you probably don’t really need a Grip Force Adapter.
The next grip modification I perform is a standard for me on pretty much all polymer pistols: Grip tape. Typically the area just behind the trigger of polymer semi-autos is left with a smooth finish by the manufacturers. Frequently there’s an indentation on the pistol at this spot, intended for the thumb of the shooting hand. That’s fine if you’re shooting the pistol with one hand, but typically we would prefer to get our weak hand involved in the process of controlling the pistol too. For the weak hand to really add
anything to our control of the pistol, it needs to grip the gun as high up as possible…which means right in the spot where the gun manufacturers don’t put any grip texturing. This mystifies me. Practically everybody making polymer handguns sponsors professional shooters who have won championships. These folks could very easily explain where you need to make contact with the gun for maximum control and the manufacturers could incorporate the very minor changes and life would be good. Yet we’re still stuck with these smooth, vestigial thumb indentations at the exact spot where we need some traction. It’s like putting tire tread on the sidewalls instead of on the contact patch that actually touches the road. Madness…
I correct this deficiency with the careful application of 3M Safety-Walk Tape. It’s cheap, widely available, adheres well to polymer pistol frames, and it doesn’t shed the grit embedded in the tape over time like some of the other options on the market. It’s sufficiently aggressive that you’ll never have to worry about getting enough purchase to really lock down on the grip of the pistol, but not so aggressive that it tears your skin off every time you shoot.
In the picture you can see that I’ve carefully cut a somewhat odd-shaped piece of the 3M tape. That comes from really examining exactly where I’m making contact with the gun and could use more grip. Then I make sure to cut the tape to clear any important controls (like the slide release) so as not to interfere with the function of the pistol. Theoretically you could cover the entire grip with the 3M tape, but personally I don’t find any advantage in doing so. It doesn’t really add any benefit to have more texture in a spot that isn’t important for controlling the pistol, but it does make carrying the pistol concealed much more uncomfortable and shooting it much more likely to draw blood. For best results, stick to adding grip tape in the spots where you can identify a need for a little more traction.
Having spent a fair bit of time behind the trigger of a Glock, I find the Grip-Force Adapter and a little 3M Safety Tape works wonders for improving the grip…but what if you don’t want to do either of those things? What if you want something that’s functional and yet more attractive? Behold:
The pictured Glock has been re-worked by Boresight Solutions. While I have not handled the pictured pistol, I have handled other samples of Boresight’s work and if I wanted to have a permanent grip alteration done to my Glocks they’d be my first choice. The work is beautifully done with a lot of subtle detail. (Note the subtle beveling on the trigger guard) Any idiot with a soldering iron and a dremel has the potential to modify a Glock grip. If you look around you’ll see no shortage of Glocks that look like they’ve been mangled by a drunk with a soldering iron…or maybe chewed up by a mastiff with an attitude problem and titanium teeth. Boresight offers one of the few permanent Glock grip modifications that actually tends to increase the value of the pistol. In fact, they’re so good that right now they have more orders than they can handle and aren’t taking new work for a while…but hopefully seeing the quality of the work gives you an idea of what can be done if you hire the right people.
Whether you want to make a couple of small changes to the grip of your Glock or maybe you want to have a competent outfit like Boresight completely rework it to get rid of the finger grooves and keep it from biting your hand, you’ve got options for customizing your Glock’s grip.