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How to Stipple a Glock (And Not Ruin It)

Want more traction on your Glock or other polymer gun?  We cover the pros/cons and then go over how to stipple your handgun for the ultimate customized feel.

    Want more traction on your Glock or other polymer gun?

    We’ll go over the pros/cons and then teach you how to stipple your handgun for the ultimate customized feel.

    Stippled G17 and G34
    Stippled G17 and G34

    And if you decide not to stipple…we have our favorite alternatives.

    Table of Contents


    Why Stipple?

    There’s many reasons to stipple your polymer gun.  We talked about added traction but there’s also the reason to cover up other work such as the grinding down of finger grooves.

    The finger grooves were made for “average hands,” but the problem is that most people don’t have “average hands!”

    For me, I find that my fingers actually end up exactly on the finger grooves which makes it annoying after a couple hundred rounds downrange.

    Stippling Considerations

    Stippling is pretty permanent of a modification.  And if you don’t have patience and a steady hand, it may end up looking ugly at best and breaking your gun at worst.

    You want to make sure that you’re going to keep your gun forever.  Chances are stippling will lower your resale value significantly.

    You also want to make sure that your handgun is running smoothly.  Stippling will likely void your warranties.

    Lastly, you want to exhaust all your other options for adding traction.  You can cut and stick on skateboard tape or go with something more customized like Talon Grips ($20) that now have rubber textures.

    Talon Grips
    Talon Grips

    Dirty Little Secret

    And here’s one problem that you don’t really hear people say…your gun might get a little funky smelling.  I’ve found that the dimples make perfect repositories for dead skin cells.  And all the good stuff that comes from letting organic matter sit around.

    Nothing a little cleaning can’t get rid of…but still worth a consideration.

    Still interested?


    This one is simple, you just need a cheap soldering iron (or one with a disposable tip) since it will get dirty with the polymer.  I used the $9 one above and it’s held up through 3 pistol stipplings.

    The Dremel tool is option if you want to remove some of the finger grooves.  But that is personal preference.  An easy way to tell if you’ll benefit is if you get callouses where your fingers hit the groove.  I trim them down on mine.

    How to Stipple

    Let the soldering iron heat up for a while so it is the max temperature.  I would recommend testing it on a similar surface.  If you have a Gen 4 Glock with other backstraps you are sure you won’t be using, try it on that first.

    Gen 4 Glock Backstraps
    Gen 4 Glock Backstraps

    Below is a great video to see a soldering iron in action.

    The guy first Dremels off part of the finger grooves but also smooths out the natural bumps of the grip.  I think taking off the bumps of the grips is overkill but could lend to a more even texture in the final product.

    He then marks off the area to stipple with a marker.

    Amount of Stippling

    For my defensive gun, I went with a mild stippling like in the video.  To get that texture, I just pressed down softly and lifted up.

    Glock 17 Grip Stipple
    Glock 17 Grip Stipple

    In my race gun Glock 34, I tried to get it more aggressive.  I pressed down harder and instead of lifting straight up, I dragged the molten plastic to the next hole.  It is a LOT grippier and I love it.

    Glock 34 Rough Stippling
    Glock 34 Rough Stippling

    You can also see that I stippled underneath the trigger guard and next to the slide lock (where my left hand thumb rests).  If you might use your pistol in competition, you will need to check the official rules.

    For me, if I were to use the G34 in USPSA Production class, I would not be able to have the additional stippling.

    Glock 17 Front Stipple
    Glock 17 Front Stipple21

    Stippling Alternatives

    Want something non-permanent?  I really like Talon Grips which come in two flavors…sandpaper and rubberized.

    at Amazon

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    Follow the instructions and I like using a heat gun…aka hairdryer to really warm up the wrap before leaving it alone to dry.

    Get the rubberized if you are considering using it as a concealed carry gun since it’s less likely to snag on clothing.

    What Do You Think?

    So what’s your opinion on stippled Glocks?  Are they an eyesore or do you love the max traction like me.  For more mods…check out 4 Essential Glock Modifications.

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    41 Leave a Reply

    • Commenter Avatar

      Dude this is the worst stipple job I've ever seen. Did you really just write an article teaching us how to stipple? This is hilarious.

      December 3, 2021 9:41 am
      • Commenter Avatar

        I know, right? My first EVER stipple job looks 10x better than this. This guy literally should stay away from any soldering irons in the future.

        December 15, 2021 12:40 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        I fkn died reading your comment man.
        Oh my god.

        Im scrolling looking at these pictures thinkin the samething.. and was like theres gotta be a comment somewhere.
        And the very first words as soon as I see the comment section.
        “Dude this is the worst stipple..”
        And I fkn lost it for like 5 mins straight.
        Good on ya.

        August 31, 2022 2:30 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      what tip did you use on your soldering iron? I like the look of the stipple job

      August 4, 2020 9:39 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      Love your articles and tips and though stippling sounds like a solid tactical advantage...I'm afraid of some alien ass insects popping out of these little holes in my G21 Gen4. It's a very genuinely gross look like those frogs that have babies in their skin. Maybe if the other articles don't perfect my aim on their own, though. I really hope to pass on this.

      August 3, 2020 5:25 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        It looks great

        August 4, 2020 11:58 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      Eric, thanks for the attention to detail, as well as being honest about how some things work for one person but not for another. I do like your stipple jobs, but don't have the steady hands necessary for a good-looking result. I've been satisfied with the original finishes on my Glocks, but I think I will try some of the Talon rubberized grips. Thank you for describing them.

      January 22, 2020 6:55 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      One of the worst stipple jobs I’ve ever seen

      November 30, 2019 3:14 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        It’s not always about making the tool that may save your life....pretty. That’s what boutique guns are for. Fir real life self defense fighting guns, how it looks is irrelevant, it’s how it functions, and how the stippling improves the performance/handling of the firearm that’s going to matter in a high duress, life ir death situation.

        February 14, 2020 6:54 am
      • Commenter Avatar

        Amen! It looks really really bad... form and function is totally possible with a stipple job. I’m super surprised he would actually write an article how to do this when he clearly can’t himself. I’ve lost a little faith in him with this and typically search out info from him..,,

        March 1, 2020 4:36 am
      • Commenter Avatar

        I think it looks great and you can clean it with soap and water. I will do the same to my Glock

        August 4, 2020 11:57 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      Looks great!

      July 20, 2019 5:01 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Looks like you ruined your Glick to me!

      June 22, 2019 12:49 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        Not the Glock!!!!

        July 20, 2019 4:59 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Real talk. Dont listen to the haters owning a gun is something extremely personal. If you are happy of the work you did and you love your gun that all it matters.

      To each is own and I applaued you for trying do do what makes you happy and trying to help others.


      January 15, 2019 8:52 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Article should be titled "How to Stipple a Glock And Ruin It"

      1. Permanent. So if you ever try to sell it, you have to hope the next person likes it. They won't.
      2. Decreases value of pistol. See above. I'm on a number of gun forums, and stippled Glocks are pretty much as desired as left over beanie babies.
      3. Looks terrible. Don't kid yourself. You basically bedazzled a Glock. Cheaply. And it shows.
      4. Smells bad/collects dead skin. AND you say you don't clean it? Ew.

      1. You have more grip, which you could have accomplished a number of other ways.

      "Are they an eyesore or do you love the max traction like me."

      Already answered the first part. As far as the second...max traction would have been the skater tape, or sandpaper texture from Talon. Not what you did.

      December 19, 2018 9:22 am
      • Commenter Avatar

        Opinions are like assholes...

        August 29, 2019 10:29 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        I think it looks great and you can clean it with soap and water. I will do the same to my Glock

        August 4, 2020 11:59 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      Not bad for a soldering iron.... That being said never use a soldering iron to stipple. It looks bad and there is no real precision or control. Better to use a wood burner and buy a a stippling tip for it. It increases the cost of the job but it's worth the extra $30 for the aesthetic alone. Check out OTD for their stippling supplies.

      April 11, 2018 7:40 am
      • Commenter Avatar

        Thanks for the advice. I just looked on the OTDefense website. Definitely the place to go if you want the tools to do a professional looking job, and they really aren't all that much. Well worth the added expense.

        January 13, 2019 12:50 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      What do you use to clean it? Just a dry toothbrush? Do you need to get in there with soap/ detergent, or does a degreaser do the job?

      June 14, 2017 8:48 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Eric Hung

        Is it bad to say I don't clean it? If so...I think a dry toothbrush would do fine. It's a Glock/gun/tool...it doesn't have to be completely clean :-)

        June 21, 2017 2:40 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Not bad, I like that you didn't use sharp corners and went with a more rounded effect with your turns. I've seen stipple jobs with sharp 90 degree angles and IMO the bends and curves look better on the gun. I like the idea of putting your own mark on your weapon, it's a common tradition of past warriors. Sammuri sword handles, knight swords, AMI arrows are all examples of weapons that were customized by the warriors who used them. Nice to see the tradition being carried on.

      March 30, 2017 9:00 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Eric Hung

        Thanks so much Mike!

        April 5, 2017 4:35 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      This is exactly what turns people away from stippling. Stippling can be done in a way that actually makes the firearm look better while still adding the desired effect of making it grippier. It's your glock and you can do it however you want, but if you are trying to promote stippling, these are not the examples you want to give.

      December 7, 2016 7:25 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        Thanks G!

        December 8, 2016 2:52 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        I totally agree with G, what you did to your handles is a shame. I do a lot of gun stippling and what you did is a massacre.

        December 18, 2017 6:36 am
        • Commenter Avatar

          Yeah, what a shame, he ruined the classic aesthetics of a Glock.

          December 5, 2018 6:27 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      jerry k

      one of my biggest concerns in the field is infections, so the little holes that serve no purpose other than harboring microbes don't seem like an optimal byproduct of increasing surface friction.

      August 23, 2016 7:11 am
      • Commenter Avatar

        It's true...it can get a little funky if you have sweaty hands, use it a lot, and don't clean it up every once in a while.

        August 23, 2016 7:43 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        wow! LOL! : ) a survialists preppers least concerns is...... microbials! Haaa Ahhhh haha! your Funny!

        August 31, 2016 8:53 am
        • Commenter Avatar

          Haha ahhh, ,"YOU'RE" grammar is atrocious

          November 2, 2018 8:22 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Trevor H.

      I like the way your G17 turned out. I personally think it adds some nice character to a Glock (or any polymer gun) when done properly. Great writeup and great pictures... thanks!

      July 24, 2016 9:11 am
      • Commenter Avatar

        Hi Trevor, thanks!

        July 24, 2016 10:47 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Chris W.

      Thanks for the straightforward how-to on stippling. Great site too!

      June 8, 2016 8:57 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        Thanks Chris!

        June 8, 2016 10:05 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Johnny P

      Stippling is one mod that has an immediate and noticable payout, as always it's function over fashion.

      March 11, 2016 9:03 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        Thanks so much for your comment...it ain't pretty but it works!

        March 12, 2016 12:08 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      robert g


      March 9, 2016 2:36 am
      • Commenter Avatar

        Yea, stippling definitely isn't for everyone!

        March 9, 2016 10:15 am
        • Commenter Avatar

          No it’s just that you did a terrible job.. and trypophobia much

          November 18, 2018 12:50 am
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