Best Way to Build a Glock on a Budget

As you may know Glocks are termed the “Adult Legos” of the pistol world. This is for good reason. There are countless companies that make aftermarket parts from barrels all the way to trigger pins. If you have spent any time customizing your stock gun or building your own you are well aware that the cost can add up quick. From $600 for a milled slide to $150 iron sights it can get expensive to build a Glock.

Below I brake down every part of my G19 everyday carry build. It is extremely budget-friendly, you can build my exact pistol for under $1000 (not including the pistol itself).

Why Customize?

There are a lot of people out there who criticize anyone who modifies their firearm. They state “it’s a waist of money” or “learn how to shoot without all the bells and whistles”. I would argue that they are wrong. At the same time I understand where they are coming from, to them it may be a waste of time and money. On the other hand I enjoy the sport of shooting. I constantly work towards making myself better, or even just a half second faster. Keep in mind that I started shooting with a stock Glock and learned the fundamentals on that. As I progressed and went through thousands of rounds I thought to myself “there’s got to be a way to get even faster”.

I started doing some research and I quickly became overwhelmed by the amount of aftermarket support for Glocks. So the way I look at it is, if a different trigger or optic makes you a bit faster or makes you enjoy it a bit more then why not?

I don’t have an unlimited income nor did I when I built this pistol, so I wanted to stay on the more affordable side of things. At the same time, I definitely didn’t want to sacrifice quality or safety while doing so. It took me a good bit of shopping around and reading page after page of reviews to narrow down exactly how I wanted to build my pistol. My results are below, so lets jump into it!

Disclaimer: I may be able to buy a cup of coffee if you purchase something from the following links.


Slide

As I mentioned in the first paragraph, aftermarket milled slides can reach outrageous prices. This does not mean that you can’t find a moderately priced slide of good quality.

Brownells RMR Cut Slide

I went with the Brownells RMR Cut Slide which is priced very affordably at around $200. Enough great things can’t be said about this slide. I bought it a bit blindly as there aren’t very many reviews out there on this slide, however I was pleasantly surprised. The coating on the slide had zero blemishes and was nearly perfect. The RMR cut is very well milled and fits my Holosun 507c perfectly. I have only run into one issue, the tolerances are bit tight. This can cause unusual wear issues on your barrel depending on what kind you have. I will go into more detail about this in the barrel portion of the build!


Iron Sights and Optic

Depending on the slide you purchase, you will more than likely need to get a set of irons. While there are countless options, I personally love Amerigo as they are very high quality but moderately priced. If you plan on running a red dot sight on your pistol then you need suppressor height sights to be able to co-witness.

The instal is basic. All that is needed is a front sight tool and a rear sight pusher. First start by removing the front sight screw located on the underside of the sight. Then use your sight pusher to simply push the rear sight off. Inverses these steps to put the new sights on, I would recommend using blue Locktite on the front sight screw to ensure it doesn’t come loose.

Iron Sights

Amerigo Suppressor Height Sights

As I do run the Holosun 507c optic on my pistol I did not feel the need to spend extra money on a set of night sights. I went with this basic set that has a perforated front sight post to reduce glare. These sights are 100% metal and very durable, making them a very reliable option.

Ameriglo Cap Night Sight

Before I bought the red dot for my pistol I did go with a set of night sights. Again I went with Ameriglo and they didn’t let me down.

The CAP sights use a Tritium dot on the front with a square of bright photo-luminescent green surrounding it. This allows you to quickly find your front sight post. The rear sight is all black with the exception of a thin bar of the photo-luminescent green so you can quickly line up the square on the front sight post with the bar in the rear.

Optic

Holosun HE507C and HE407C

There is a reason this optic has been raved about by so many, terming it the more affordable RMR. With the Holosun HE507C V2, you get front line innovation inside a strong body that will withstand anything you throw at it. I am incredibly impressed with construction of this optic. On top it’s robust body, this optic is loaded with features. The 507C sports three different reticle choices.

A simple 2 MOA dot, a 32 MOA ring only, or a 32 MOA circle with 2 MOA dot (similar to what you would see in an EoTech). There are 12 brightness settings allowing for 50,000 hours of run time on the dot only at setting 6.

Sure there may be other optics that can beat this run time, but Holosun has their shake awake technology. This means that the optic will shut off automatically, and as soon as it feels any movement it will turn back on to the setting you left it at. This feature is a game changer and has never failed me. The HE407C sports all the same features without the two other reticles; it only has the 2 MOA dot. Both the 507C and the 407C have a small solar panel along the top allowing for real-time brightness adjustment (which can be turned off) and for operation without a battery.

On top of all of this, the optic has the same foot print of the Trijicon RMR meaning it will fit in any RMR cut slides! I strongly recommend this optic.


Barrels

CMC Match Grade Fluted Barrel

Barrel – CMC SS – CMC Triggers are most known for their drop in AR triggers, but have recently entered the Glock barrel game. I have almost a thousand rounds through this barrel and no issues. It is very accurate, but still on par with the stock barrel if not a smidge better. Lets just say this, you won’t out shoot the barrel! A little known fact about most aftermarket Glock barrels is that they are all made in the same place. Apart from two that I know of that make theirs in-house, CMC and Faxon Firearms.

I did run into one issue with the TiN coated barrel that I bought before the stainless steel version. I was getting quite a bit of wear on the top side of the barrel. This is to be expected over time but this was only after about 100 rounds. So I did some digging around and found that the issue was not with the barrel at all, it was the slide. As I said earlier, I found one issue with the Brownells slide: the tolerances are very tight. The tight tolerances caused the barrel to fit really snug but also caused the pre-mature wear.

With all this said I have to give props to CMC’s customer service. I reached out to them and told them of my issue, and they sent me out a new barrel the next day. I requested that they send me a SS barrel instead and they happily obliged. Keep in mind they had zero of my billing information apart from my address. All they did was ask that I send the first one back. I can’t speak higher of their customer service.


Triggers

I currently do not have an aftermarket trigger in my pistol, so I can’t give a first hand testimony about the following triggers. With this said I have done quite a bit of research to narrow down which trigger I will be putting in my firearms in the near future. These triggers not only look good, but operate flawlessly and do not jeopardize safety.

Apex Tactical

Overwatch Precision Tac Trigger


Grip Work

There are quite a few companies that you can send your frame off to in order to get stipple work done. However you will be charged a premium, most starting around $400. I opted to not go this route and instead to just do it myself. I bought a wood burning pen and got to work. The stippling itself was pretty easy, just a bit time consuming. The tough part was the outline, I tried a method using the wood burning pen with a narrow tip. This worked to an extent, the outline was deeper in some areas and not so much in others. I would recommend using a Dremel instead. I went back over my outline with the Dremel and it came out much better!

Here is the wood burning pen that I used!

You can go this route or you can get Talon Grips. This is simply grip tape that is made specifically for your model of pistol. It is a very affordable option and a lot easier than the previous two options.


Miscellaneous Parts

Internals

I am running stock Glock internals simply because they work and are reliable! The only thing that I have done is polish the trigger bar and safety plunger. This allows for a smoother trigger pull.

Magwell

Sticking with the budget theme I went with the Magpul option. On top of it only being around $25 it is on the moderate side of Magwells being that it is slim. Due to this, I am able to put a magazine in without snag and still not print while carrying. If you want something a bit more aggressive I have some other great options in the “Worthy Contenders” section.

Magazine Release and Extended Basepads

Tyrant CNC Magazine Release

There isn’t much to say other than it works really well. Some other options tend to hang up on the magazine causing it to not drop freely.

Zev +5 Basepad 

Tyrant CNC Slide Cover Plate


Worthy Contenders

I did not mention this above because I built off of my existing frame. However, Polymer80 is a great option to build a Glock and save even more money! This could have saved me at least $400 so it is worth checking out.

Trijicon RMR Type II

Although more expensive then the Holosun 507C, the RMR is always a go-to. The RMR is extremely rugged and has worn the crown for pistol optics for years.

Rival Arms A1 Doc Slide

Agency Arms Magwell

Agency Arms LLC Threaded G19 TiN Barrel

ZEV Pro Match G19 Barrel


For all your gun cleaning and chemical needs, shop Brownells.com

Leave a Comment Below!

If you know of better parts to build a Glock that you think I should consider please let me know down below!

What is the Best LPVO Scope? – 7 Best Low Power Variable Optics Review

What is a LPVO? (Low Power Variable Optic)

LPVO’s are a perfect middle ground between your traditional scopes and your common red dots. As the name suggests a LPVO is a scope that provides low power magnification. These scopes allow you to use no magnification (1x) up to ten times magnification (10x). This is perfect for increasing your accuracy at range with your rifle.

LPVOs are commonly offered in 1-4x, 1-6x, 1-8x, or even 1-10x. Meaning that you can use these optics to quickly engage close targets as well as targets out to 800 yards with ease.

Why Would you Need One?

Most LPVOs have illuminated reticles allowing you to use the scope as a red dot at 1x magnification, especially if it is a FFP (First Focal Plane). Low Power Variable Optics are extremely popular for shooting competitions, such as 3-gun, because they allow for fast target acquisition for targets near by; at the same time allowing you to make accurate shot at range.

LPVO Pros

  • magnification variation
  • Can use while dead due to an etched reticle
  • Inclusion of bullet drop compensation reticles
  • Improved accuracy past for medium range

LPVO Cons

  • Larger then a regular red dot
  • Often cost more then a red dot
  • Due to eye box restrictions mounting is limited
  • Battery life is less then that of a red dot

FFP (First Focal Plane) vs. SFP (Second Focal Plane)

LPVOs are offered in both FFP and SFP, but what does that mean? First Focal Plane scopes have a reticle that will increase or decrease in size depending on the magnification level. Second Focal Plane scopes, as you may have guessed by now, have a reticle that will remain static no matter the magnification level. Why would you pick one but not the other?

A huge advantage of FFP scopes is their ability to use what is called a BDC reticle (Bullet Drop Compensation) no matter what level of magnification. As mentioned earlier FFP scopes can be used as a red dot at the lowest magnification level, thanks to the fact that the reticle shrinks at lower powers. With these awesome features there has to be some downside right? Of course, FFP optics are often more susceptible to parallax issues increasingly so in those with higher magnification levels (6-10x).

If you have poor vision a second focal plane LPVO might be a better choice for you. Due to the reticle remaining the same size no matter the power level your eye will be able to pick up the reticle faster. Due to the differences in construction SFP optics often are brighter at higher magnifications. SFP scopes also utilize BDC reticles however you can only use the bullet drop features at max magnification.

Long Range with Ease.

An amazing feature on most of these optics is the bullet drop compensation (BDC) reticles in them. BDC reticles in these LPVOs are designed to compensate for bullet drop for specific cartridges and distances. This allows you to quickly adjust your hold-over for more accurate long range shots.

Seems these reticles have calculated hold-over points for specific ranges you may be wondering how to use this if you don’t know the range. The reticle designers thought that out as well. Most BDC reticles will also incorporate range finding technology. Below one of my favorite examples of a BDC reticle, the Primary Arms ACSS reticle.

LVPO

As you can see all you have to do to range a 18” wide target is line up the horizontal lines on the reticle. If the target is wider than a given line then it is closer to you, vise versa.

This reticle also allows for vertical ranging and 5-10 mph windage holds.

Best You can Buy.

The following list include my top picks of LPVOs that you will love. These optics, just as most others, can get pretty expensive so I was sure to include some economical options as well.

Disclaimer: I may be able to buy a cup of coffee if you purchase something from the following links.


Best 1-8x LVPOs

1 TRIJICON ACCUPOWER 1-8X28MM

You have without a doubt heard of Trijicon and for good reason. Trijicon is one of the best optic manufactures out there, holding multiple military contracts. With the outstanding quality of the MRO and RMR Trijicon has made quite a name for themselves in the civilian sector. The AccuPower 1-8 is no different. Utilizing a Minute of Angle (MOA) or Milliradian (MRAD) FFP reticle makes for an extremely accurate optic while pairing with the 1-8x magnification.

The AccuPower allows you to chose either a green or red reticle which allows you to use the 1x power much like a red dot for fast close target acquisition. This scope uses the CR2032 battery for the 11 power levels and allows for a constant power time of 31 hours. You may think that is not long enough, however most LPVOs are meant to be turned off when not in use. If the battery fails what then? The AccuPower’s reticle is etched in the glass allowing you to use the scope with no battery.

2 Primary Arms PLx 1-8x24mm FFP

The PLx8 1-8x24mm first focal plane rifle scope is Primary Arms’ top-tier rifle optic, optimized for close quarters and medium-range use. With extremely clear Japanese glass, and quality materials, the PLx8 is extremely durable, and has outstanding optical clarity. Specifically built for tactical shooting, competition, or hunting, the PLx8 FFP rifle scope will be your new first pick optic.

This 1-8x24mm optic is utilizes the FFP ACSS Griffin MOA reticle. This reticle features an eye grabbing horseshoe that functions just like a red dot at 1x, allowing for very fast close quarter target acquisition. The ranging system gives hold-overs for targets out to 600 yards.

3 Vortex Optics STRIKE EAGLE 1-8X24MM

Thanks to reasonable prices and amazing quality Vortex is a very well liked optics brand. The Strike Eagle SFP has become a top pick in the competitive shooting realm. One main reason for this is the affordable price. The Strike Eagle has comparable features of those double the price. With amazing clarity thanks to its multi-coated lens it is hard to beat for sub $400.

This optic sports the well-known BDC2 reticle. It is a MOA bullet drop compensator that provides a clear aiming point for 20-200 yards. Engaging further than 200 yards? The BDC2 has you covered including corresponding horizontal lines for 300 to 600 yards. The reticle can also catch your eye with its segmented horseshoe for fast target acquisition.


Best 1-6x LVPOs

1 EOTech VUDU 1-6X24MM

The EOTech Vudu 1-6×24 is a feature loaded optic engineered to exceed the expectations of the 3-Gun shooter or hunter. Starting with a 30mm aluminum tube it is very durable, the Vudu also includes EOTech’s AR-coated glass for outstanding clarity.

The EOTech “Speed Ring” reticle allows fast target engagement at 1x, but higher magnification provides the accuracy needed to take longer shots. This is a FFP reticle allowing for split-second ranging at all magnification levels. Great for close quarters to medium-range, the Vudu 1-6×24 gets the job done.

2 Vortex Optics Razor HD Gen II-E 1-6×24

The Vortex Razor HD scope with JM-1 BDC reticle is versatile for engaging short to medium range targets, truly an amazing optic for the AR-15. Some would consider this optic to be the benchmark for all other LPVO out there. Of course it has outstanding glass providing edge-to-edge stunning image quality Vortex is known for. The JM-1 BDC provides hash marks that allow you to hold-over for bullet drop at different ranges with .223/5.56 or .308/7.62. This optic was a collaboration between Vortex and the world renowned Jerry Miculek, what else needs to be said. The JM-1 BDC provides hash marks that allow you to hold-over for bullet drop at different ranges with .223/5.56 or .308/7.62.

3 Primary Arms SLx 1-6x24mm SFP 

The Primary Arms 1-6×24 SFP scope includes their exclusive Advanced Combined Sighting System (ACSS) reticle. Features including bullet drop compensation, wind and moving target holds, and ranging ability make this my absolute favorite BDC reticle. The reticle is extremely easy to use which makes it very fast and accurate to shoot from 0-800 yards. The SFP design retains the same size reticle at all magnifications for fast acquisition at 1x and extreme accuracy at 6x.

Here is a more in depth diagram that shows the ACSS Reticle features.

As I stated earlier this simplistic reticle allows you to quickly range and hold-over no matter the distance you are shooting.


Best 1-4x LPVO

1 Trijicon Accupower 1-4x24mm

Yet again, Trijicon is back on this list but with a great option that is sub $1000. The Trijicon AccuPower 1-4×24 covers all your shooting interests. When used at maximum magnification the reticle can be used as a BDC reticle.  When used with a ballistic calculator you can know exactly where you need to hold for any given distance. However, you can also simply use the MOA pattern to size and range your target.


Some Helpful Tips

  • Know the distance you typically shoot – If you only shoot up to 300 yards a 1-4x may be all you need.
  • Research the reticle – If you want to make very precise shots some reticles may not be for you.
  • Try them out – These are a very popular style of optic chances are someone at your local range will own one of these and be happy to let you try them out.
  • Pay attention to the little things – The quality of the smallest detail of a optic will show you the real quality of the whole optic.

What You Have Learned

Low Power Variable Optics are some of the most flexible optics on the market. From providing fast target acquisition to allowing you to be very accurate at further distances LPVOs seems to be a do-it-all optic. While there are plenty more LPVOs out on the market that didn’t make this list, I do believe these are some of the best your money can buy.

If I missed one or you believe there is a better scope out there please leave a comment below!