-ADVERTISEMENT-
-ADVERTISEMENT-

A One-off Grey Ghost Precision Glock Build

I started building things when I was a kid. New York City is a tough place to grow up poor and when there wasn’t enough money to go around when I needed a new bicycle, I built my own from parts I scrounged.

It was no great engineering feat, but I gained a better appreciation for bicycle chains, how gears worked and more importantly how brakes functioned than any of my other friends who bought (or stole) their bikes in the fourth grade.

That same approach helped me later in life as my interests turned to cars, motorcycles and, of course, firearms.

Many of my firearms in my younger years were built in an effort to save money. Later on it was to build something that no one else had or in other cases a repair or restoration effort.

Many of my firearms in my younger years were built in an effort to save money. Later on it was to build something that no one else had or in other cases a repair or restoration effort.

This time was different. I decided to tackle a Glock

For many people this may seem like an easy build, or one they had tackled numerous times in the past. In my case it was a bit different. I currently own six Glocks (19, 20, 30S, 40, 42 and 43) and each one is pretty much a stock pistol except for the sights or another small part here and there. I have always viewed the Glock series of pistols as I viewed a Honda Accord or Toyota Camry.

They are reliable working firearms that do their job, well.

-ADVERTISEMENT-

That was until I looked around and saw what other people were doing with their Glocks and for the first time I saw untapped potential in these striker fired, polymer framed pistols. I decided to build a Glock 17. The one model I had never owned.

For a slide and barrel we reached out to Grey Ghost Precision (GGP). Their new slides had caught my attention late in 2017. I wanted an RMR cut, but also the ability to run iron sights. I did not care to have lightening slots cut in the slide. I wanted their aggressive hexagonal chevron serrations and their match grade barrel.

Looking to the frame, I briefly considered building from an 80% lower when I realized that I could find a perfectly good Glock frame on the secondary market. A police trade-in G22 frame turned up for a righteous sum and it included the bulk of the parts that I needed.

The finished product. The author said the rewards from building something you enjoy is having a finished product of which you can be proud, regardless of the time, money or energy the process required.

We installed a Velocity Arms trigger that eliminated much of the creep we found in the existing stock trigger. Also aiding slightly in the trigger department was using a ZEV firing pin safety spring that probably made the trigger almost ½ pound lighter. We went this route because we lost the cursed factory spring and had to order another one.

A Taran Tactical Ultimate Connector went on our new 9mm trigger housing/ejector to pull the last bit of factory creep out of our trigger.

Some of the other parts that we needed were the slide plate and the guide rod/recoil spring. We sourced these from Strike Industries and found each one to be a true drop-in fit. The Strike Industries Slide Plate allows for easy removal without tools, so we found that to be a nice enhancement. The steel guide rod and shock buffer system went in just as easy as a stock captured recoil spring.

Lastly we went with Strike Industries pins to replace the existing pins because we had no idea how long that the existing pins had been in the pistol.

Customizing

For a build like this, I wanted an undercut trigger guard and a different type of stippling. Knowing that any attempt on my part would probably result in our being crowned the “Ugliest Gun of 2017” contest winner I sent the frame off to Russ Bacon of Nevada Cerakote to work his magic with laser stippling in an effort to improve the texturing of the frame.

Russ worked his “brain pattern” into the grip resulting in a texture that is not too aggressive, yet yields a good hold whether you are wearing gloves or not. I retained the finger groves as with the undercut trigger guard they line up perfectly for my XL sized hands.

Our base gun was really taking shape, so we turned to two components we consider critical to a fighting handgun: sights and a light.

Glock factory sights are pretty much “place holders” until you can find something better. One of our other Glocks, a G40 in 10mm, still wears the Austrian plastic inserts because we installed a Burris Fast Fire 3 on the MOS plate and we were prepared to follow suit with this version, until we learned that the Grey Ghost slides will only fit a true Trijicon RMR.

For a slide and barrel, the author reached out to Grey Ghost Precision (GGP). He said he wanted an RMR cut and also the ability to run iron sights. He also liked their aggressive hexagonal chevron serrations and their match-grade barrel.

We think the RMR is the best sight of its type so we ordered a Dual Illuminated version rather than one of the battery operated models. This sight’s dot is powered by the technology behind the ACOG: Tritium and fiber optics. In the dark, the tritium lights up and in the light, the dot is powered by fiber optic.

The fiber optic top strap of the RMR goes nicely with our Disruptive Grey Matter color scheme, too.

As we still pick up iron sights faster than the dot on a handgun, we looked for a set of irons that would co-witness and turned to Ameriglo for their suppressor height sights. We debated going the threaded barrel route to add a suppressor as well, but decided to go with that option at a later date.

For a final touch we installed a Strike Industries magazine well. The body mounts in the grip plug and secures via set screw and the funnel attaches to the base in the same way.

Accessories

For a weapon-mounted light, we decided on a light and green laser combination and chose the Spartan by Lasermax.

The Spartan is light weight, powered by a single AA battery and installs in less than a minute, however its unique shape means that you need to go the custom holster route and very few makers build a holster to fit any firearm equipped with this particular setup.

As luck would have it, we found one with Werkz. They shipped us a standard OWB rig in the form of their Origin Custom Kydex Holster with black carbon fiber on the outside and blood red carbon fiber facing the body. This holster fully accommodates the Laser Max Spartan and the Trijicon RMR. They made us a matching double magazine carrier and for magazines we went with MagPul G17 mags.

Werkz also let us try out one of their IWB holsters in standard Kydex. At first we thought that a full-size pistol with a weapon light might be a bit bulky to carry IWB, but this well designed Kydex rig actually was more comfortable and concealable than we thought.

As for the grip, it features a texture that is not too aggressive. At the same time, it yields a good hold … with gloves or not.

Does she shoot?

With our new Glock build complete and lightly oiled, we ran it through the paces at our local shooting range.

We tried a variety of ammunition types, including American Eagle 115-grain FMJ, Remington 124 FMC and Hornady 147-grain XTP. Our target was set up at 25 feet.

The American Eagle brand gave us a decent grouping and while the Remington UMC let us down a bit, the real surprise was the Hornady. Our three five-shot groups had all rounds touching in a clover leaf that would make Saint Patrick smile.

We suffered no stoppages or malfunctions of any kind. Our home built pistol ran like the proverbial well-oiled machine.

Problems

Despite the RMR’s “always on” nature, it still took us a bit of time to acquire the dot and then we realized that part of the problem we faced now was that the taller rear sight had the potential to obscure the dot until the pistol was perfectly aligned on target. Another issue is that the lens coating on this RMR made the sight picture a bit darker than we would like, which was fine for the dot, but less optimal for our taller sights should the RMR cease to function.

We have seen other shooters have their slides built with the rear sight mounted in front of their reflex sight of choice. While a shorter sight radius may be an overblown first world problem, make sure your sight’s optical coating does not make acquiring your sight picture difficult.

Or, maybe do not get overly concerned with the ability to co-witness your sights.

This was the only part of the build I would have done differently, in retrospect. The RMR definitely allows for tighter groups than the irons, but the dark lens coating will more than likely have us switch back to one of the other models in the future.

All in all, this build was very satisfying and aside from losing a few small springs in the beginning, it was almost trouble free. The final result was an accurate and reliable Glock that was unique and surprisingly concealable with the proper holster.

The real problem now is that this project has opened Pandora’s Box and will undoubtedly lead to more Glock builds in the future. At times during this process I was thinking that it might be cheaper to build a 1911, although definitely not as quick or as easy.

Yet sometimes that’s the greater reward when it comes to building something you enjoy: having a finished product of which you can be proud, regardless of the time, money and energy it took to get you there.