[Glocktober] Built for Competition Giveaway!
10/14/2019Primary Arms Staff6/14/2023 1:52 pmwww.primaryarms.com
This Giveaway has ended. Congratulations to our winner, Julian G., right here in Houston, Texas! You can view all current and past giveaways on our blog page.
Week two of Glocktober is here, and we’re changing the game with this giveaway.
Last week, we presented our take on an EDC build. Compact, accurate, and faithfully reliable, our EDC pistol was built entirely around the needs of personal protection.
This week, we wanted to focus on something new—something distant from the stresses of self-defense. We wanted to bring our attention to the ‘sport’ function of shooting sports. With that in mind, this week’s giveaway (if you haven’t already gathered from the title) is our “Built for Competition” Glock pistol.
We’ve gone all-out to build a Glock 34 that is certain to dominate when put up against the timeclock. Whether you’re into 3-gun, USPSA, or any gun-game, your pistol needs to shoot fast and flat without malfunction. Unlike our EDC build, size is not an issue, so we’re bringing the full length of a Glock 34 to shred on the leaderboard.
Many of the benefits we highlighted in the EDC build remain the same. With such a large aftermarket, Glocks are perfect for competitors looking for superior fine-tuning. Near every part can be swapped for an optimized load, ensuring the greatest recoil mitigation without any compromise on reliability. Beyond the aftermarket, Glocks’ simple trigger system and aggressive grip angle make them naturally fast to point and pull. No wonder, then, that many of our country’s top competitors use custom Glocks.
The Demands of Competition
By nature, competition creates optimization.
Choose any popular sport. Think about all the gear involved. Every little aspect of that gear has been evaluated by engineers for ideal performance. There are professional shoe-string designers, studying the ultimate combination of materials for superior weight and flex. As a sport increases in popularity, refinements get smaller and smaller until every thread is carefully chosen.
The same is true in 3-gun or USPSA. Holsters, belts, pouches, and apparel all contribute to a competitor’s performance. At the highest level, competitors will seek out every advantage that gear can offer. The cost of this advantage is substantial, but any edge is invaluable when you’re stacked against the best. That’s normally where sponsors come in.
For those of us without sponsors, a competition setup is built with piecemeal upgrades. Most folks will buy a basic kit then upgrade it over time. The same is true for pistols too. Many competitors start out with a factory Glock 17, which they gradually upgrade into a fully-customized racing machine. But how much of a difference do these upgrades make?
In general, competition pistols are built with three objectives:
- Controlling Recoil
- Tightening Groups
- Reducing Downtime
Stacked side by side, a well-built custom pistol can outshine a factory pistol across the board. Even a handful of minor improvements can elevate any stock setup to competitive specs. Fortunately, few pistols on the market are easier to upgrade that our beloved Glock.
In this article, we detail the considerations behind a competition Glock build, highlighting some of the best upgrades available today. Even if you’ve never built a gun, Glocks are an easy weekend project, requiring minimal tools for assembly.
It all starts with a blueprint.
Plan by Purpose
Every Glock model is somewhat unique.
When you’re building a Glock, parts compatibility is a major consideration. Generation 3 and Generation 4 are not fully interchangeable, and many Glock 17 parts will not fit in a Glock 19.
To avoid any complications, your first step is selecting a model and generation.
Since we’re building for competition, your selection might be limited by circuit rules. In general, we recommend looking first at the full-size, long-slide variants first.
The Glock 34 is the most popular model for pure competition-use. It’s a full-size 9mm with a long slide for reduced recoil and a longer sight radius. It meets most competition weight restrictions, and the 9mm chambering is suitable for rapid fire. Out of the box, the factory Glock 34 is a very competent pistol, but a few small upgrades can take it to another level.
When assembling a parts list, consider your 3 objectives. Recoil is mostly mitigated by the frame, slide, and recoil spring. Accuracy is mostly improved by the barrel, trigger, and optics. Downtime is mostly reduced by controls and magazines.
By building in this order, we’re working from biggest to smallest, filling out our pistol piece by piece. This helps us optimize our parts to achieve their best performance.
Building from scratch, we always start with a frame. The frame is often overlooked by builders, despite its contribution to our pistol’s performance. Many assume that they can only use the factory frame, but Glock pistols are somewhat unique. There are aftermarket frames that are compatible with Glock parts, and there are Glock OEM Frames that have been heavily customized for resale. Either way, you will want a frame that helps you keep a firm grip on the pistol for maximum control.
Full-size frames are always the best choice for competition, as they give you the most capacity and real-estate for an aggressive grip. You’ll also want some texturing to prevent your hand from slipping. Grip tape is a convenient method of adapting a frame without modification, but a real competition frame will be custom-cut and stippled for maximum effect.
Our Rook Customs Glock 17 frames feature those enhancements right out of the box, leading to considerable recoil reduction. With a shallower grip-angle, higher beavertail cut, undercut trigger, and full texturing, these frames include all the benefits of a custom gun right out of the box. Paired with the right slide, a Rook Frame is the perfect starting point for any build.
Speaking of Glock slides, your slide’s mass and balance are important in taming recoil. Many competitors will have their slides professionally lightened, increasing cycle speed for flatter recoil. However, if a slide cycles too quickly, reliability will suffer, so aftermarket manufacturers spend a lot of time researching an optimal balance.
Zev Technologies, Agency Arms, and Grey Ghost Precision are all well-known favorites for aftermarket slides. For our Glock 34 build, we chose a Glock 34 Gen 3 UCC V3 slide from Primary Machine. These slides have thoughtful lightening cuts with a sleek nitride exterior and peerless machining quality. Plus, it’s already cut for a Trijicon RMR!
Finally, you choose your guide rod and recoil spring. This requires tuning specific to your desired load, as competition cartridges have reduced powder. Top competitors use lighter recoil springs, which they’ve picked from thousands of rounds of experimentation. When you’re just starting a build, start with factory weight and move up or down accordingly. No matter your weight, a stainless-steel guide rod (such as those by Rival Arms) adds forward weight and cycling consistency.
Achieving Match Accuracy
Compared to recoil, your pistol’s absolute accuracy is purely mechanical. That said, a pistol is only as accurate as its user, so we’re really looking for the best practical accuracy.
The first contributor to accuracy is your barrel. Factory Glock barrels are plenty accurate on their own, but an aftermarket barrel from CMC Triggers, Zev, or True Precision will shrink groups for true precision marksmanship. A match barrel will have better materials, finer machining, and tighter fitment, ensuring greater consistency between shots. In some cases, a barrel alone can shrink groups by 50% or more. Our build's CMC Triggers Fluted Glock 34 barrel is certain to keep groupings tight on target.
In practical terms though, a barrel only goes so far without a good trigger to back it up. The stock Glock trigger is alright, but upgrades are widespread and easy to install. You can buy complete drop-in Trigger packs from CMC Triggers, Overwatch Precision, and Apex Tactical. Our build features the Overwatch Falx, which is known for its crisp break. Any trigger can be improved with a couple of small parts improvements though. A competition spring setup from Zev and a Taran Tactical connector create a crisp, low-weight pull that breaks clean every time.
The final ingredient is superior sights and optics. Pistol-mounted micro reflex sights are common on competition pistols, as they provide a clear, fine point of impact and reduce tunnel vision. If you’re taking out a Texas star, the red dot also lets you focus on the movement of the plate, which can save you on a heartbreaker. Fortunately, most aftermarket slides have an option for an RMR-cut, eliminating the need for additional machining.
There are a lot of different RMR models, but the RM09 Type 2 is popular for its tight 1 MOA reticle. It also features an adjustable LED, so you can run it in any lighting condition (even night!). Most slides also have room for backup irons, so you can keep a back-up set in case the battery runs out. A suppressor-height sight setup, such as Overwatch’s HAVE BLUE sights, will give you a co-witness with the dot for easy acquisition.
Eliminating Downtime and Transitions
Hitting targets is easy in a vacuum. Many competitors will tell you that the real difference is made outside the trigger pull. When the minutia counts most, a missed reload can cost precious seconds on the timer. Successful competitors minimize time spent off-target, so the pistol needs to encourage agile handling.
Your controls are a good starting point. An extended magazine release allows competitors to drop magazines without adjusting their grip. As we mentioned earlier, grip is a key component of recoil reduction, so maintaining grip is a considerable benefit. For the same reason, an extended slide stops are an inexpensive but meaningful upgrade. The Vickers Tactical Slide Stop is one of the most popular options on the market, as its subtly extended surface prevents your thumb from slipping under stress.
Another solution to reloading? More bullets in the magazine.
Extended magazine basepads can turn the standard 17-round Glock magazine into a 22-rounder with ease. These basepads also add weight to the gun and act as index points for quicker draw during reloads. Of course, you can’t talk about Glock basepads without mentioning Taran Tactical. Taran’s products are well-represented in the competitive space, as Taran is a decorated competitor himself. He also taught Keanu for John Wick, so… you know. Style points.
With Glock’s intuitive design, building a high-performance competition blaster is easy, even for novice builders. Of course, every build is deeply personal, and your Glock 34 may end up totally different than ours. Every Glock handles and feels unique, as each part reflects a difference in style and taste. With so many customization options, it’s clear why these pistols are so common at the upper echelon of competition.
If you’re looking to start a build of your own, check out the product table to see all the parts we used. We’re always eager to help builders out with their setup, so if one catches your eye, feel free to chat with our specialists by clicking the "Chat" tab on the side of our site page. Our team has a lot of experience with Glock pistols, and they are more than willing to provide some thoughts and feedback.
Otherwise, you can enter to win this Competition build through our Giveaway Landing Page. Our giveaway runs from now to 11:59PM CDT on October 20th, and the winner will be contacted next-day. Winner must be legally able to possess a firearm and pass a federal background check. Winner is responsible for all taxes associated. If the winner cannot meet the requirements necessary to take ownership of the firearm, the winner will be granted the total value of the prize package, $2243.21, in cash. Exclusions apply, and no purchase is necessary. A full list of terms and conditions are available on the Giveaway Landing Page.