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Best Glock Upgrades [Hands-on]: Defense, Competition, & Custom

Maybe your new Glock isn’t quite “Perfection”…yet.

Or maybe your old Glock has lost that new gun smell.

Either way, you’re covered since Glock has one of the best aftermarket upgrades and mods in the business.

All Tested Glock Triggers
A Couple of Our Glocks

Learn about the essential upgrades I do to my defensive home and CCW Glocks.

Plus the best mods for competition.

And of course…fully custom builds that might tend to be more Gucci than practical.

Fully Modded P80 PF9SS (Glock 43)
Fully Modded P80 PF9SS (Glock 43)

Now with a video detailing each of our 8 personal builds…

Need a Glock to customize? Hit up our list of the Best Glocks for our favorites.

Table of Contents


Home Defense & CCW Glock Upgrades

The primary advice is to not alter your gun for home defense or CCW.  But I keep mine pretty “stock” for the most part with Glock OEM parts.

1. Glock Extended Slide Stop Lever

I like to reload from a locked slide position using the slide stop lever.

I know tons of people out there preach the slide racking method, but for me, I prefer using my thumbs to activate the slide stop lever.  It saves some time, and I always practice the same motion for my Glocks & 1911s.

If anything, it gives me two options of how I want to reload.

Glock Extended Slide Stop Lever G17
Glock Extended Slide Stop Lever G17

For Glocks, I find that the stock version is hard to consistently activate using either of my thumbs.  When I upgraded to the extended version, it became infinitely easier to release the slide every time.

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Learn how to install it here with video and step-by-step picture walkthroughs.

2. Glock Extended Magazine Release

With my hand geometry and strength, I found I always had to shift my right hand grip in order to reach the stock magazine release.

Once I upgraded to the extended version, I was hitting the magazine release every time without losing my grip.

Glock Extended Magazine Release G17
Glock Extended Magazine Release G17

I take the mod one step further and sandpaper the edges to take away the sharp edges (me and my dainty hands).

I also like to sand away extra material in the bottom left-hand corner of the release to give room for my right-hand middle finger.  Make sure to choose the correct Gen version.

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

For instructions and video on how to install the extended magazine release, check out our other blog post.

3. Ghost 3.5 lb Trigger Connector

The Glock trigger could be a lot better.

There’s plenty of complete drop-in solutions but I wanted to keep it as stock as possible to maintain maximum reliability.

So I swap out the stock 5.5-pound trigger connector with the Ghost 3.5-pound trigger connector.  I find that it doesn’t drop the trigger pull weight exactly by 2-pound, but more like 1-pound and change.  Which is still a significant factor in making more accurate shots.

Glock 5.5 vs 3.5 lb Trigger Connector
Glock 5.5 vs 3.5 lb Trigger Connector

The Ghost version is supposedly self-cleaning and has run flawlessly in my Glocks.

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Check out how to install the trigger connector here.

4. Night Sights or Fiber Optic Sights

If I could only choose one essential upgrade to the Glock, it would be to swap out its crappy standard sights that consist of a white “U” in the rear with a white dot.

Glock Night Sight Nylon Punch In
Glock Night Sight Nylon Punch In

I prefer the three dot format night sights for, self-defense and even class situations since I definitely want to be able to see my sights in the dark.

at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

For competition, I like having fiber optic sights since they draw in ambient light and focus it so you see a bright red/green dot in front.  See the rest of all my favorites in Best Glock Sights.

Good thing there are tons of options and it is relatively easy to install yourself.

5. Talon Grips

For a long time I was all about stippling…or taking a soldering iron to the polymer grip area and making it a lot more grippy.

Glock 17 Grip Stipple
Glock 17 Grip Stipple

You can learn how to do it here…or now there’s some non-destructive methods to add more grip with Talon Grips.

There’s two types…the rubber which is better suited for CCW since it doesn’t snag on clothing as much as the sandpaper-like granulate type.

Here is my G19 with the rubber version compared to the stippled G17.

Glock 17 and 19
G17 (fullsize, top) and G19 (compact, bottom)

6. Extended Basepads

If you’re running a smaller Glock such as the G43 or G26.  It’s very possible your pinkie doesn’t fit or you want to extend its capacity.

Enter…Pierce Grips.

Pierce Grip on G43
Pierce Grip on G43

Or if you want to add +1 or +2 capacity…get some Taran Tactical Basepads.

TTI G43 Basepads +2
TTI G43 Basepads +2

Some words from people far more knowledgeable in CCW than myself…hint they really like the basepads.

And now also some Tyrant Design extendos for G19s and G17s (and more) we really dig.

1.5 Tyrant CNC G19 Mag Extension
Tyrant CNC G19 Mag Extension

Now even for smaller G43/G43x/G48 models!

Tyrant Designs G43 Magazine Extensions
Tyrant Designs G43 Magazine Extensions

7. Pistol Light

For the home-based or holstered handgun…I highly recommend a pistol light.

We go over the Best Pistol Lights in super detail…complete with images of the beams.

Best Pistol Lights
Best Pistol Lights

Our overall pick goes to Streamlight TLR-1 series which lives on my home defense gun and has survived thousands of rounds on the range.

TLR-1 Toggle Switch
TLR-1 Toggle Switch

And the current gold standard of the Surefire X300.

SureFire X300
SureFire X300
Best Pistol Light
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

If you want more options (and maybe some more affordable options), check out the main Best Pistol Lights article.

Now let’s get into some more fun upgrades to give you the leg up in competition.

Competition Glock Upgrades

The go-to Glock for competition is the 9mm G34 which sports a longer barrel, slide, and sight radius.  It doesn’t weigh too much more from a G17 since it has cutouts in the slide.

Stippled G17 and G34
Stippled G17 and G34

But regardless if you’re running the G34…I would suggest extended components from above plus Talon Grips and the following upgrades.

1. Fiber Optic Sights

You’ll want something for quicker acquisition.

I recommend going with the Truglo TFX Fiber Optic + Tritium sights for the best of both worlds.

TruGlo TFX
TruGlo TFX

2. Upgraded Drop-In Trigger

Of course…we have a complete guide to the Best Glock Triggers with videos.  But here’s our favorites.

Our best bang-for-the-buck is the Apex Tactical Trigger.

Apex Glock Trigger
Apex Glock Trigger

Which feels & looks very nice.  Especially at the price.

Best Bang-For-The-Buck Trigger
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Check it out in action…

Then we have the best trigger if you’re balling it up.

Best Trigger
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

And in action…

Want something more for aesthetic reasons?

You can try out the Tyrant Designs ITTS trigger which modifies only the visible part of the trigger and leaves the factory stuff alone.

Fully Modded P80 PF9SS (Glock 43)
Fully Modded P80 PF9SS (Glock 43)

Easy enough to install…check out instructions here.

at Tyrant Designs

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

And be sure to check out our master list of the Best Glock Triggers.

3. Compensator

Glock compensators have exploded onto the scene but the Tyrant CNC version is especially easy to put on…and one-size-fits-all-generations.

Tyrant Designs G43 Muzzle Brake
Tyrant Designs G43 Muzzle Brake

Very noticeable reduction in muzzle rise especially on my Polymer80 G43 single stack.

at Tyrant Designs

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Best Custom Glock Upgrades

The sky is the limit here…especially if you’re going with custom frames like Polymer80s.

All Tested Glock Triggers
Polymer80 Glocks (Tan and Gray)

See the full guide to how to build your own.

1. Custom Glock Slides

Now you can have all the serrations, lightening cuts, and red dots.

(L to R) Grey Ghost G19, Grey Ghost G17, Brownells G17
(L to R) Grey Ghost G19, Grey Ghost G17, Brownells G17

But our overall favorite is Grey Ghost Precision’s because of their tight fit, increase accuracy, and sexy looks.

Best Overall Upgrade
at Aero Precision

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Followed by our most affordable pick from Brownells that give you options for cutouts to show off your barrel.

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

How about some more Grey Ghost Precision slides for the tiny bois (43/43x/48)

Fully Modded P80 PF9SS (Glock 43)
Fully Modded P80 PF9SS (Glock 43)
at Rainier Arms

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

We cover all the rest of our favorites in Best Glock Slides

And speaking of barrels…

2. Custom Glock Barrels

Yup…you guessed it.  We have a Best Glock Barrels guide too.

We love Lone Wolf’s barrels…and they’ve been at the game a long time.

The Original Upgrade Barrel
at Lone Wolf

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

And also newcomer Faxon’s (though they’ve been making great AR-15 barrels for a long time too).  Especially if you want something more eye-catching like their gold TiN or chameleon.

Faxon G17 TiN Barrel
Faxon G17 TiN Barrel
Pretty & Accurate Barrel
at Faxon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

However…if you just want something that will work without the frills…Victory First from Brownells is the way to go.

Best Budget Barrel
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

3. Best Pistol Red Dot

If you go with a slide that has a red dot cut…you’ll want something from our Best Pistol Red Dots article.

Tested Pistol Red Dots
Tested Pistol Red Dots

Our go-to red dot if price is no object…plus the easiest “footprint” on ready-to-buy slides is the Trijicon RMR.

RMR Type 2 View
RMR Type 2 View
Best Pistol Red Dot

Or our best bang-for-the-buck is the Vortex Venom.

Vortex Venom View
Vortex Venom View

4. Tyrant CNC Package

One of our newest mods is a set from Tyrant CNC which was previously known for some cool AR-15 upgrades.

Here you’ll see their extended magazine release (which is the perfect length and has super positive grip) and extended basepad.

Tyrant CNC Extended Glock Mag Release
Tyrant CNC Extended Glock Mag Release

Plus their backplate.  I went with red everything to match the Apex trigger from before.

Tyrant CNC Backplate
Tyrant CNC Backplate

My Polymer80 G19 might almost be done now! 

Especially with the release of their Extended Glock Slide Release that gives the perfect amount of extra grip.

Tyrant CNC Extended Glock Slide Release
Tyrant CNC Extended Glock Slide Release

And they also have parts for the G43/G48.

G43 Tyrant CNC Mag Extensions
G43 Tyrant CNC Mag Extensions

Pretty good value to give your Glock both aesthetic value AND more capacity/grip.

at Tyrant Designs

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

And check out my finally complete Polymer80 G43 with a complete Tyrant upgrade kit.

P80 G43 with Tyrant Designs
P80 G43 with Tyrant Designs
at Tyrant Designs

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

5. Everything Else We Covered

Round out the rest of your perfect build with what we’ve already talked about and you are SET.


Now go forth and upgrade…your Glock.

RMR Type 2 on Polymer80 Glock
RMR Type 2 on Polymer80 Glock

Let us know your favorite builds in the comments below.  Then check out Editor’s Picks for our favorite guns and gear.

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64 Leave a Reply

  • John Parker

    What about something to reduce recoil a little bit, like for a G23?

    July 21, 2021 7:43 am
  • Eric Hausner

    What is that sight on the Brownells slide?

    April 27, 2021 10:42 am
  • Joe S

    I have a Glock Model 21, Gen 1. What mods are available for this gun? I have added a Vortex Venom 6 MOA Red Dot (had to machine the slide). I'd like to find a good trigger mod and a extended mag release.

    April 3, 2021 8:49 pm
    • Justin

      Check out the Vickers Tactical flat trigger shoe. Then do an easy at-home trigger job where you polish the stock trigger components. I also prefer goontape. It's cheap, comfortable, and effective.

      June 12, 2021 6:31 am
  • ESP

    Hi, complete noob here. 1) How do the night sights, light, and laser interact? Do you want upgraded sights AND a laser? 2) Do you still recommend no upgrades for CCW, and why?

    March 20, 2021 7:55 am
    • David, PPT Editor

      I don't recommend a laser in any case other than night vision use. Night sights are always a good idea. A white light is always #1 on my list of upgrades for a self-defense firearm! All of my CCW guns are heavily modified.

      March 20, 2021 11:09 am
      • ESP

        Thank you very much!

        March 20, 2021 2:01 pm
  • J

    I can't seem to find anyone offering a caliber conversion barrel for gen 5 Glocks. I want a 9 mm barrel for my 23, but Lone Wolf and others I've looked at don't offer gen 5 compatible conversion barrels. Is there an option for me, or should I have bought a Gen 3 or 4?

    January 19, 2021 8:29 am
    • NeilH

      Easiest solution I’ve found was to buy both the G23 and G45. Then you can swap the slides either way and decide if you want the compact grip of the 23 or the full length grip of the G45. Tested fully and works great!

      March 21, 2021 5:14 pm
  • Jojojo

    So what’s the accuracy like at the range, or did the slide bite make you call it a day?
    I mean geez, if your going to make a blog about some high end Glock but not a Glock at least go through all the paces.

    April 30, 2020 1:50 am
  • Jaime

    Hey man really good article, but I have a question. In the “slides” section up u showed a picture of three Glock’s each with a different slide with the caption “ (L to R) Grey Ghost G19, Grey Ghost G17, Brownells G17” what kind of optics or sights did the Brownells G17 slide have on?

    March 15, 2020 10:39 am
  • Heckn Coke

    I wish there would be hk mods to this level

    December 16, 2019 10:05 pm
    • Shane Lanham

      Wish their were Glock 22 gen 4 upgrades, slides,barrels??

      August 26, 2020 4:04 pm
  • Hammer Down

    My 2 cents about racking the slide vs. using the slide stop. Racking is a gross motor function, dropping the slide stop is a fine motor function (requiring more reaction from your brain.) Using gross motor functions will always cause less distraction in a high pressure situation, ie. a fire fight.

    December 9, 2019 4:17 pm
  • Hammer Down

    If your upgrading for carry do not install an extended mag release. Too many time I've bumped it and then dropped the mag after sitting down... and after trying Zev, Apex, Agency triggers... the SSVI TYR trigger blows then all away!

    December 9, 2019 4:12 pm
  • Bull o' the Woods

    One more important mod (essential to me) that I remembered: install an extended slide lock. I've never tried the Glock OEM model because I already had several from Glockmeister that worked. The factory slide lock is too short for me to get a good grip when disassembling the pistol. The Glockmeister gives me about 1/16" more on both sides, allowing smooth take-down. If the OEM is the same length, it should do the same thing. So I add the extended mag release, extended slide stop lever, AND the extended slide lock on all my Glocks.

    October 25, 2019 11:35 pm
  • Bull o' the Woods

    I'll just throw this out. Not claiming it's the "best" but it works for me. I ran the Ghost 3.5 lb. connector for several years but it felt mushy (more mushy that the typical Glock trigger). Recently, I tried the NY1 trigger with the Ghost 3.5 lb. connector. Just horrible. Both heavy and mushy. So I went back to the factory 5 lb. connector but added a 6 lb. Ghost trigger spring. Huge improvement. Slightly heavy but very crisp with a snappy reset. I'm running this combo now and it works for me.

    October 24, 2019 11:05 am
  • Braden Vance

    In the custom Glock slide portion there is a picture of 3 slides (L to R) Grey Ghost G19, Grey Ghost G17, Brownells. The middle Slide shows a Slide plate that looks like brass? With a Racker Knob? WHERE CAN I GET ONE!!!!

    April 18, 2019 12:52 am
  • ryan

    Is there anything that makes racking the slide easier? It's too stiff and i have a very hard time racking it back. Like the spring is far to tight.

    April 11, 2019 12:35 pm
    • JP

      I'm guessing it's a new gun. The easiest and most fun way is to shoot about 3-700 rounds out of it.

      April 14, 2019 12:42 pm
    • Sheriff John

      Ryan take a look at Tandemkross "halo" for slides. I got one for my Browning Buckmark. Makes working the slide a snap.

      May 15, 2019 9:44 am
    • PowerLineman2

      Have you tried a Vickers Tactical slide racker? It should help you get a better purchase on the slide without making the pistol unreliable with lighter springs.

      June 2, 2019 7:01 am
    • junker

      Oil your gun, or exercise to improve your grip. It really isn't that hard to rack. If you can pick up a 2x4 one handed, you should be able to rack a glock.

      July 24, 2019 11:32 pm
    • Link

      I think you should take it out and shoot it in your free time. Get it cycling some rounds. Also get some dummy rounds and practice working the slide find best angle and hand position that fits you so in a time of need you got it down right. hopefully that wont happen, but better be ready anyways right. Hope this helped you out bud.

      September 17, 2019 12:28 am
    • jon

      i think your recoil or slide spring should be replaced with a slightly lighter one as i had same problem with my glock 19compact .after i changed the recoil spring i had no problems for the past 4 yrs

      November 24, 2019 5:48 pm
  • Joe

    Thanks for the info on stippling I didn’t know of the price drop on resale and odor from cells. Would you have any recommendations for an extended mag release in aluminum for a Gen 3 Glock 36. I’ve found all other upgrades except that one

    March 7, 2019 6:25 pm
  • Scott

    Great article loved it. You helped me make up my mind on several thing that I want to do to my new Glock 19X such as a new trigger.

    January 22, 2019 11:45 pm
  • Robert

    I have a Hard time releasing the slide for cleaning on my Glock 29, getting old I guess. Does any one make a slide release that is easier to to work?

    January 14, 2019 8:29 am
    • Eric Hung

      The extended version helps a lot for me

      January 15, 2019 10:37 am
  • carl e zimmerman

    sweet list, but i have a light and Laser combo, that works great. Teh green laser is so strong, it blasts right through the LED light. works day or night

    January 14, 2019 8:22 am
    • Eric Hung

      For sure, I used a TLR-2 with a red laser for a long time and now like the smaller TLR-8.

      January 15, 2019 10:38 am
  • Kory H.

    Thank for the article! It was fun to read. What "tall" sights did you put on your Gray Ghost/Gray Frame pistol above that has a red dot on it? Do you recommend a specific height/size? I suppose these would also be the right ones for a suppressor. Thanks!

    January 14, 2019 5:37 am
    • Eric Hung

      Hi Kory, they are Night Fision sights that are "suppressor height." Linked in the Best Glock Sights article!

      January 15, 2019 10:31 am
  • Erik

    You forgot the S&W, M&P 2.0 compact. By far the best Glock upgrade.

    January 14, 2019 1:15 am
  • Brendan B

    Just a heads up, for your recommended Glock mods the video tutorial uses a Ghost ultimate trigger connector (which is drop-in) but the article links the Ghost rocket which requires custom fitting to install correctly. I unknowingly ordered the rocket model and had to return it and get the ultimate version.

    January 13, 2019 10:58 pm
    • Eric Hung

      Hi Brendan, thanks for bringing this to my attention. You're right and I apologize for mixing that up. But I've fixed it so hopefully no one else has to go through that!

      January 15, 2019 10:31 am
  • Silence DoGood

    Great article. Gocks are SO INADEQUATE if you don't spend more on the upgrades than you did on the firearm itself. Thank goodness there's a JC Whitney for guns.

    The last thing you'd EVER want to do is spend all that money on training ammunition instead of upgrades because out of the box Glocks are such junk you could never hope to hit the broad side of a barn without all them spendy, hi-zoot "upgrades," no matter how much you spent on actually practicing shooting it.

    January 13, 2019 8:32 pm
    • G21

      Hallelujah, Amen, Preach the word my brother. It don't mean a thing if the gong don't go ding.

      January 13, 2019 10:49 pm
    • Yanni

      If that is so, why on earth would anyone buy a Glock? When there are good pistols that are good from the factory.

      January 14, 2019 12:02 am
    • Plene_Paratus

      What if *gasp* you do both??

      January 14, 2019 6:21 am
    • Curious

      Interesting... I can hit my target(s) just fine with my G19...or my P320...or my RP9...or my Arex. All stock. What problems do you have shooting a Glock?

      January 14, 2019 10:42 am
  • Bill G

    If you carry your Glock for self-defense, the only "upgrades" I recommend are night sights and Talon grips. Leave everything else stock (especially triggers, barrel, etc.) if you're betting your life on your gun. Also, should you be involved in a defensive gun use situation, a stock gun, loaded with the type of ammo your local police use, may help you in court. A highly modified weapon begs the prosecutor to brand you a "gun nut" just looking for a chance to shoot someone.

    January 13, 2019 6:43 pm
    • Plene_Paratus

      If that is the case, sure you can cite at least one case where that has happened.

      January 14, 2019 6:23 am
      • I_Love_Clean_Air

        This is just good advice. Prosecution is all about politics and depending on where you live and who is up for re-election you don’t want to give them any more ammunition against you. My CCW instructor has recommended this as well.

        April 20, 2020 3:50 pm
  • Ed S

    A 25 cent polish trigger job, 3.5# connector and competition spring kit will do the job and save a lot of money as as far as trigger work goes.

    January 13, 2019 6:01 pm
    • Eric Hung

      For sure, I'll add in links to our 25 Cent Trigger Job into the competition and custom segments.

      January 15, 2019 10:32 am
  • Odysseus M Tanner

    I have always considered it a benefit that I could NOT activate the mag release without shifting my grip. It's one thing I don't like about the AR (being right handed), finger off the trigger can easily activate the mag release accidentally. In my opinion, Glock has it right, AR has it wrong.

    January 13, 2019 2:34 pm
  • Daniel

    Hi Eric, thanks for posting this article. I just ordered the Ghost Rocket disconnector and I noticed it is optional to purchase springs with it too. I was wondering if it’s not reliable if you don’t use their springs? I’d like to stay as stock as possible for reliability.


    July 15, 2018 6:09 pm
    • Eric Hung

      I've stayed stock and so far it's been good!

      January 15, 2019 10:32 am
  • Troy

    Any thoughts about optics (RMR) on carry guns?

    September 20, 2017 3:26 am
    • Eric Hung

      I personally wouldn't. Possible malfunctions and it might make it harder during your defense.

      September 20, 2017 2:34 pm
      • Plene_Paratus

        How would it make it harder during your defense?

        January 14, 2019 6:25 am
        • Eric Hung

          Batteries can die, lens can fog up, bringing it up takes a lot of practice and is different from irons, etc.

          January 15, 2019 10:34 am
    • mike

      Don't care for it on a duty weapon just something else that you need to jack with. Maybe a competition gun.

      December 17, 2018 12:49 pm
  • Spencer

    Are these mods suggested for a carry gun?

    July 24, 2017 10:37 am
    • Eric Hung

      I would still suggest no mods to a carry gun.

      August 6, 2017 1:56 pm
    • mike

      Being a left handed shooter I equipped my duty weapon with the extended slide release. So much easier to hit it with my index finger. Other than that, I also run night sights

      December 17, 2018 12:47 pm
  • Ryan B

    Great list.

    For me personally, I got Talon grips for both my G19 and G26 alongside swapping the stock "bucket" sights for 3 dot truglos. I do not live in the free U.S (California) so we're stuck with Gen 3s here with the protruding serrations which I really hate.

    On another note, came from TTAG after they featured your article. Glad to have another gun blog site to read for my lunch/coffee breaks!

    October 26, 2016 8:19 pm
    • ehung

      Thanks Ryan! Glad I could help out and give you something to read on your breaks.

      And wow, I actually did not know I got featured on TTAG. I'm a big boy now!

      October 28, 2016 1:34 am
  • Michael

    Great Video. Can you elaborate on your stippling on your 17 or 34? It's an aftermarket application, just curious what you did?

    October 2, 2016 11:35 am
    • ehung

      Thanks Michael! I go over everything in my Stippling article.

      October 2, 2016 4:20 pm
  • Ron Kelly

    just purchased a Glock 17 and interested in correspondence on upgrades. Also appreciate the videos on quick upgrades.

    April 22, 2016 9:34 am
    • ehung

      Congrats and thanks! Let me know in the comments what questions you have and I'll do my best to answer them for you and other readers.

      April 24, 2016 10:23 am
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