Without a doubt, the Glock is the most popular handgun design on the market today.
You may have noticed that I said “handgun design” and not “handgun.” Why? Because there are entire companies that exist solely to sell aftermarket parts for Glock handguns of every model. The GlockStore website alone sees more than 30,000 unique users daily. They ship 1,000 packages a day, employ more than 100 people, and even opened a 50,000-square-foot brick-and-mortar store to meet demand.
An online search for “Glock parts” returns 29 million results. “Custom Glock” has 26.4 million results. To say it’s a big business would be an understatement.
The gun’s design is unrivaled in today’s market, but the amount of “not-a-Glock” options out there have proven that the stock Glock may not be the “Perfection” that they make it out to be—or that people just love to tweak their handguns—and there are a lot of Glock owners out there. You can start with a bone stock factory Glock and switch out almost every single part, retaining just the frame as the sole factory original item.
Or, you can take it a step further with companies like Polymer80, that offer 80 percent pistol frames that you can complete at home without running afoul of the law. (Note: make sure you’re in compliance with both state and Federal laws in this regard.) That means you can literally build and entire “Glock” pistol, without using a single part from the Glock factory.
Polymer80’s Serialized Glock-Style Frames
Not long ago, Polymer80 started producing complete, serialized Glock-style frames. Why do this? There’s a few reasons. There are people who are not fond of certain aspects of the factory Glock frame, namely the grip angle, the “undercut” where the trigger guard meets the grip, and the finger grooves included on the grip of pre-Gen5 models—not to mention grip texture.
Some of these issues, like the finger grooves, are dealt with by newer generations of Glock pistols, but others have gone unanswered.
These new serialized frames are extremely beneficial to people who live in states where they cannot legally finish an 80 percent frame. It also meets the needs of those who are simply uncomfortable with finishing their own 80 percent frame. After all, you can know a lot about handguns and not know anything about using a jig and a drill with the necessary precision to complete a firearm.
The concept of creating a “not-a-Glock” Glock-style pistol is unprecedented in the gun world. Sure, there are aftermarket products for all of the major handgun makes and models out there today, but none are as varied as those available for the Glock platform.
This has had an interesting impact on arms makers, both Glock and otherwise. For Glock, it lets the company produce simple, streamlined SKUs that are rock solid without a billion options, and yet people can still customize them any way they want. For other companies, it means having many more varied SKUs in their lineup to achieve the same level of customization.
Polymer80 Gets Into Complete Guns
The most interesting impact this has had on arms makers is with Polymer80. The company was not started with the goal of being a gun manufacturer. They simply sold items that were not firearms and provided the end user the ability to create a gun to their own exacting standards.
Then they introduced the previously-mentioned serialized Glock-style frames to go along with all of their other parts, and that led them down the road to their next logical product introduction.
Polymer80 revealed at the 2019 NRA Show that they will now be offering complete Glock-style pistols of their own design.
Think about that for a minute. You will soon be able to not only build a non-Glock handgun, but go out and buy a complete pistol based on the Glock design without having a single piece from Glock in or on the gun.
Polymer80’s first two pistols are the PFS9 (Glock 17-sized firearm) and the PFC9 (Glock-19 sized firearm).
The pistol frames come standard with many features that people have previously sought out as aftermarket alterations. For example, the PFS9 and PFC9 both have a 1911-style grip angle, no finger grooves, an extended beavertail, all four sides of the grip are stippled, and the trigger guard features an improved undercut.
The trigger is a “standard upgrade,” with a flat face and a Glock-style trigger bar, and the frame is finished off with a Picatinny rail section at the front.
The slides are also equipped with many standard features that used to be aftermarket changes. There are front and rear cocking serrations of a design contour created by Polymer80 that provide a better grip than the standard straight grooves on the rear of a factory Glock slide. The finish on the slides and barrels is a black nitride, which has proven to be a very durable material on all sorts of gun parts.
Finally, there are some color options available from the Polymer80 factory. You can choose from all black, an FDE frame with a black slide and barrel, or all black with suppressor height night sights and a threaded barrel.
The Polymer80 PFS9 and the PFC9 At The Range
I had the chance to shoot the PFS9 and PFC9 at the Professional Outdoor Media Association’s (POMA) range day last month. Before I delve into my thoughts, I want you to know that I’m one of those people who likes the standard Glock grip angle and actually have a hand size that fits the finger grooves found on Glock’s Gen3 guns and is not pinched by the standard trigger guard undercut.
With that said, here are my thoughts: The 1911-style grip angle was, well, a 1911-style grip angle. No complaints there. The frame’s stippling was comfortable; it provided extra purchase without digging into my hands. The slide serrations were also great. I really liked their design that ensures you get a solid grip without being unnecessarily aggressive.
Overall, I was really impressed with these pistols. By the time I got over to their booth, plenty of other shooters had already run hundreds of rounds through the demo guns. What I shot was not a brand new, clean handgun—but just like a Glock, it ran perfectly despite being dirty.
Polymer80 has really done something quite remarkable. They’ve taken the billion-dollar aftermarket Glock industry and turned it into a production gun. The best part about these pistols, though, is their price point. They have an MSRP of $550, which is right in line with the regular Glock MSRP.
Upgrades to a stock Glock pistol can easily run into the thousands of dollars if you’re so inclined. Now, that’s not to say that you couldn’t do the same thing to the PFS9 or PFC9—because you certainly can—but you’ll be saving money right out of the gate because some of the most commonly-made upgrades come standard on these guns.
If you’re someone who has been turned off of Glock because of any of the design aspects mentioned above, or you already have a small array of factory Glock pistols, you might want to give the Polymer80 pistols serious consideration.
In my opinion, when the guns start shipping in Fall 2019, we will have reached the summit of the “not-a-Glock” mountain, and there’s a Polymer80 flag planted firmly at the top.