By now, you’ve probably seen the $3000 Glocks customized by Salient Arms International— a firm in California that, as its name suggests, takes firearms to the next level of form and function. They not only customize Glock pistols, but also Smith & Wesson M&Ps, Springfield XDMs, Benelli shotguns, and most recently: 1911s and AR15s. The results are mesmerizing. These are works of art, but many balk at the prices normally reserved for top tier custom shop 1911s and NASA space missions. Check out their Facebook page and see for yourself: facebook.com/SalientArmsInternational
There’s an old saying: “It’s not the arrow. It’s the indian.” It’s on the back of one of my t-shirts, so it must be true. And it certainly applies here. The professionals that endorse Salient are a who’s who list of the most elite firearms trainers on the planet: Kyle Lamb, Jason Falla, and the venerable Chris Costa. However, give any one of these guys a bone stock Glock or almost any other pistol and they’ll out perform everyone at the range. The point is simple: If you invest $3000 in a pistol but $0 in training, you’re not going to do that firearm justice. You can buy a Porsche 911, but without professional instruction, you’ll never drive it near its potential— and you may wrap it around an oak tree. Firearms are no different. Watch out for oak trees.
At a certain point of spending money, the law of diminishing returns comes into play. That means you can pour $200 into a fancy Cerakote finish, machine cuts out of your slide, or flute a 4” barrel for whatever reason you’d do a thing like that (see Salient Arms.) But at the end of the day, you’re not getting any return on investment for that spend. You’re better off buying ammo and putting rounds down range— preferably training with a qualified and reputable (and bearded) instructor.
For my money, you don’t need to spend $3000 on a Glock to make it run. In that way, it differs from owning a Porsche. Just take a stock Glock 17 or 19 9mm (whatever fits your hand best) and do this:
- Replace the plastic sights with a set of high quality steel with Tritium inserts from Trijicon, Heinie, Warren, etc.
- Improve the trigger. At a minimum, replace the stock 5.5lb connector with a 3.5lb connector. However, I recommend a full spring and connector upgrade from Ghost or ZEV. Note: a 3.5lb connector is nothing to fear. It’s not a “hair trigger” that will get you in trouble when CNN is interviewing you for smoking the dude that broke into your house with a samurai sword. Measured on a Lyman trigger pull gauge, it produces a 4-5lb pull. Plus, that dude with the samurai sword had it coming. Also, never talk to CNN.
- Add any tertiary accessories as you see fit: Vickers Tactical floor plates, extended slide stops, enlarged magazine release buttons, etc. These are inexpensive upgrades and help you run your gun more efficiently and effectively.
- Install a match grade barrel once you shoot out your factory barrel OR if you need to have a threaded barrel to install a sound suppressor OR if you just want to spend money. Match grade barrels help push out higher velocities and increase accuracy. Fun Fact: a compact Glock 19 with a match barrel from Storm Lake, Lone Wolf, etc. performs as well as a full size Glock 17 with a factory barrel.
- Stipple your grip to improve your ability to get a vice-like purchase on the weapon system. Don’t pay a custom shop $200+ to do this for you. Grow a pair and get your soldering iron out. It’s an easy DIY project you can accomplish in a couple of hours. You’ll have a sense of accomplishment and pride knowing that you did the job yourself. You can squander the funds you saved elsewhere. Don’t forget to smooth the rough edges with sandpaper. Don’t forget to drink a few beers. If you screw up, you won’t care. You’ll also forget I told you to take a soldering iron to your gun.
So, that’s what I call a "Professional’s Glock." Remember: after these essential upgrades, you’re going to hit that point where returns on investment are diminished. That Cerakote finish might make her look pretty, but you’re not going to shoot better as a result of it. You’ll shoot better by spending $500 on a class with a professional instructor. It was the same way when my wife and I used to race triathlons. Triathletes are even more gear-centric than firearms enthusiasts. They’ll spend $500 or more on some carbon fiber or titanium accessory for their bike to shave off a few ounces— when they should’ve skipped the McDonald’s cheeseburger and ran an extra mile. Well, that was my problem anyway. :)
I don’t know about your neck of the woods, but this Summer in Florida has been a real scorcher. Hopefully, it will cool off soon, so let’s get those pistols tuned up and schedule some range time for some training! Who’s with me? Or we can throw in the towel and hit McDonald’s. Either way, we win! If you were wondering, the Glock pictured above is a model 19 Gen4 9mm with Warren Tactical night sights, a ZEV Fulcrum trigger, Ghost slide stop, and a Gemtech match-grade threaded barrel made by Lone Wolf. You can see more photos here. All in, you’re tipping the scales at $999— a third of the cost of a Salient Arms work of art. That leaves you plenty left over for ammo, training, and McDonald’s. Now, get you some of each!
I’ll leave you with that thought— and a list of items that just came into stock:
BENELLI M3 CONVERTIBLE SEMI/PUMP 12GA
BENELLI M4 TACTICAL SEMI-AUTO 12GA
BRAVO COMPANY BCM MID-16 MOD 2 5.56MM
FN FNX USG FDE 15RD 45ACP
GLOCK 19 COMPACT 15RD 9MM
GLOCK 21SF 45ACP FS 13RD GLOCK RAIL
GLOCK 29 GEN4 10MM w/ 3 10RD MAGS
GLOCK 26 GEN4 9MM W/ 3 10RD MAGS
GLOCK 34 GEN4 9MM PRACTICAL/TACTICAL 17RD
HANDL DEFENSE SCAR25 LOWER RECEIVER TAN
INFORCE WML HALEY STRATEGIC 125 LUMEN LED MOMENTARY FDE
LWRC M6A2 14.7” GEISSELE SSA SOPMOD 5.56MM
LWRC M6A2 BASIC 5.56MM
LWRC M6A2 SPR BASIC 14.7” SPIRAL FLUTED 5.56MM
LWRC M6A2 SPR BASIC 16” SPIRAL FLUTED 5.56MM
LWRC REPR 16” 7.62MM SOPMOD
LWRC REPR 16” BASIC 7.62MM
S&W M&P COMPACT 3.5” 9MM
SIG SAUER 716 PATROL 7.62MM 308WIN 16”
SPRINGFIELD ARMORY XDS 45ACP 3.3” BLK 5RD
VICKERS TACTICAL GLOCK MAGAZINE BASE PLATES 5PK
Have a good ‘un and God bless. — Evan