Last year, IDPA (International Defensive Pistol Association) decided to add a new gun division to their score sheets. The now, year old Compact Carry Pistol Division is geared for guns in the size that people actually might use for lawful concealed carry. Yes, there are the people that carry full size 1911's and Glock 34's inside the waistband, but I would be willing to bet the majority of them do not carry their full size hand guns everyday and at least half of them would have to visit the chiropractor on a regular basis if they did. Point being, the utility of being able to shoot a gun you might actually carry and be competitive is pretty outstanding. This new division is definitely one of the better "yearly rule changes" that IDPA has made.
My Glock 19
So my IDPA CCP gun is a Gen4 Glock 19. I originally purchased the G19 for an outside the waistband gun to carry while I was working at a gun retailer. I would try to run at least a mag through it each week during practice. It never received the high volume through it until the birth of the CCP division in IDPA. Originally I just thought of the G19 as a "Jack of all trades" gun. When I occasionally worked the sales floor it was my "go to gun" to sell customers. The G19 does everything well and it is not a gun that comes back into the store with a frustrated customer wanting a refund. Since I started pounding rounds through my G19 for competition, I have come to the conclusion that it truly is in it's own category.
I have had a good number of people ask me about my G19 build and they were usually questions about upgrades I used and why. So I figured I would make a list and here are the secrets to my G19 success.
Agency Arms Magwell
If I had one questionable G19 enhancement/modification it would be the Agency Arms Magwell. At least that is what i thought before I purchased one. I get numerous comments and its about a 50/50 split on if they like it or not. It definitely is a noticable addition, but the Agency Arms magwell really does not do anything magical for your reloads. The Agency Arms Magwell does not add any significant weight to make up for your sloppy muzzle control. Also, it is relatively expensive compared to other wells that are 10x the material.
What this magwell does do really well is everything pretty damn good. It is a magwell you could easily conceal and it does not print like you strung a coffee cup through your belt. This thing also fits in the CCP IDPA box without any gunsmith modification. Agency Arms did not design this magwell for gun gaming, it was designed for concealed carry or duty use. Luckily, the parameters in which they focused it's design around are also within the IDPA CCP dimensions and it does give a small, but noticable buffer for a sloppy reload. As for the fit on the gun, it is perfectly tight.
One of the most overlooked benefits of a magwell is how it helps the draw. Magwells not only help with reloading but also enhance grip index (So you can grab the damn gun the same every time). I Did not really notice this to the degree I should have until I owned one. This thing really does help with landing your draw consistently and just plain locking onto the pistol more securely. It is almost a perfect balance between lawful concealed carry design, functional utility and optimization of material. I will continue to outfit all my small frame Glocks with this product.
Agency Arms Trigger
I really wanted a flat trigger when I started building up the G19 for competition. The traditional aftermarket metallic triggers that were currently on the market, were in my mind way overpriced. They were pretty much the same thing as a stock trigger but metallic. At the time of the build I had two flat trigger options; the Agency Arms drop in trigger which had just been released or send it off to the other people who did a flat trigger and have them install it.....As a gunsmith there was no way in hell I was going to send my Glock off to another smith to get a trigger installed.
So, this gun already has a 3.5 connector and an extra power trigger spring. (For those of you who don't know, the connector simply trades distance of pull, for trigger pull weight by decreasing the angle the cruciform falls off the striker.) So if all other things stay the same dropping in a 3.5 connector will lighten and also increase the distance or travel needed for the trigger to release the striker. "Tuning" the striker will fix the longer travel needed but it must be done carefully and by a professional. I use stock weight striker springs and a lightened safety plunger spring. With this set up on my gun the trigger breaks at 3lbs and has a very distinct 2 stage feel which is something I have learned to appreciate with Glocks.
The Agency trigger came with a polished trigger bar and looks very nice. The safety tit on the trigger did need a bit of fitting that took me about 3 minutes to stone out. Overall, I really like the trigger and feel that it was worth the price at the time. It is a significant leap in aftermarket triggers for Glocks.
I went on the barrel buying spree this year and it was quite the learning experience. Most of the barrels I purchased were because I wanted to be able run my fancy new suppressors. The one I selected for my competition G19 could not be threaded because of length restrictions in CCP (Concealed Carry Pistol). I decided on the Wilson barrel. As a gunsmith, Wilson parts by far have been the most reliable and consistent product I have professionaly installed on a regular basis. I was getting pretty frustrated at the quality of barrels I was getting from the aftermarket. I purchased the super tactical "match" grade barrel from a silencer manufacturer and it looked like they cut the bore with dull rock. I also had procured a barrel with a cartoon engraved on it and it ended up being short chambered. After falling victim to cool advertising and value barrels I decided to go with a name I trust daily; Wilson Combat.
As far as accuracy goes, it is a serious and noticeable improvement from the stock barrel. I would consider the Wilson barrel one of the highest value upgrades in this article. It should be at the top of your list, if trying to squeeze the most out of your fantastic plastic pistol is one of your goals. The chamber seems to be as tight as you can get without causing relability issues. A surprise benefit to this tight chamber is how much more it keeps the gun clean. I have noticed quite a bit less carbon build up on the chamber face and ramp of the barrel since installing the barrel. Reloading the brass seems to be easier as it deforms less having this barrel installed. After installing the Wilson barrel my groups have easily become tighter. I have not sat down on a bench and calipered groups on a piece of paper to justify the purchase, but honestly I do not feel the need to with this product. It proves itself every time the trigger is pulled. If you are trying to come up with an excuse to buy one of these barrels, just get one and figure out the excuse later.
Wilson Vickers Battlesights
I recently decided to switch to a more economical sight set this year. I had heard that Larry Vickers and Wilson Combat recently designed a sight set for Glocks and if Vickers and Wilson came out with a toaster oven I am pretty sure it would be worth buying. I was looking for an all black serrated wide U-notch, low profile, simple rear that had "small ears" and was made of quality steel. I have been widening the notch on my rear sights because of a tip I got from a world champion shooter awhile back. This sight came with a .145 wide notch, perfect. The wide notch and the tapered design make it really hard to loose the front sight behind one of the rear sight ears. Target sights are well known for having this problem, but the Vickers Elite Battlesight is for me, perfectly balanced for speed and accuracy. The U-notch when paired with a thin front sight is definitely something to try out.
Dawson Precision Front Sight
I decided to go with a Dawson Precision front sight as I have used their product before with good results. I installed the standard Dawson Glock fiber optic sight that is .225 tall and .105 wide. When you look at a Dawson sight you know who made it. It has a recessed hole for the optic tube to sit in which gives it a more defined look and a notch for cutting it out when it needs to be replaced. Small details but worth every penny. Wilson recommends the matching .245 tall front sight which is .125 wide. I like a thinner sight and a hard 6 o'clock hold so I decided to deviate from Wilson Combat specs and drop a Dawson on. If you like the 6oclock hold .225 is were it is at with 147s with a 135pf.
I had alot of stippling request at the shop I used to work at. Like a good gunsmith, I utilized my own personal guns to experiment on and hone my skills. I am happy to say that I do not have to make a living burning plastic with a wood burning kit.
I like the stippling texture as it seems to give you more contact, more bite and a custom fit and is definitely a viable enhancement. To be completely honest, the trigger guard undercuts are really what transformed the frame performance wise. If your not a fan of stippling I would still recommend having a professional do the undercuts. What the undercuts did for me was allowed my fat fingers to fall in the grip grooves instead of on top of them. One thing to note is stippling typically destroys your resale value and if you are going to stipple your gun plan on keeping it for a while or selling it for cheap.
Front cocking serrations
If you use the front of the slide for any type of press check or manipulation you will immediately find the lack of front cocking serrations annoying. Maybe whenever Glock comes out with a gen5 they will have these serrations out of the box. These cuts were done by Rifenbark Armory and I will be having them done to all of my Glocks. Not only does it add some more lines to the block, it also adds quite a bit of traction.
For the most part the gun is done being built, the only thing that I plan on changing are the magazine base plates. Eventually, they will be swapped out with some metallic aftermarket plates. The added weight of the metallic plates will hopefully help them drop free faster. At the beginning of the season I was really uneasy shooting the G19 for competition, but shooting a compact gun for an IDPA season in competition has drastically changed a lot of my views. It is not the disadvantage that everyone thinks it is and quite honestly the compact size of the G19 gives you just enough weight to eat recoil. It is one of the easiest guns I own to keep flat when firing it. It has a good usable sight radius that is not so long that the nose of the gun has an obnoxious amount of leverage on you during cycling. One of the best parts is it's a very common gun to find on the store shelves for around $500. If you walk into a place that sells guns and they do not have a Glock 19 on their shelf walk back out.
It is definitely the Indian, not the bow, but It is fun to pimp your bow out.