Polymer80 Glock 17/19 [Review, Build, & Parts Guide]

Want to build your own Glock to your own specifications?

Various Polymer 80 Glocks
Various Polymer 80 Glocks

Polymer80’s frame kits ($149) let you do just that…in the comfort of your own home. And unlike other 80% projects where you have to mill aluminum…this time you don’t even need a drill press.

We’ve built a couple the past year and all with tons of different triggers, frames, and sights.

By the end, you’ll know exactly what to buy to meet your end purpose and budget.  Plus everything we’ve learned along the way to make your build as painless as possible.

Table of Contents

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Should You Even Do This?

Disclaimer: This is purely educational (and we’re not lawyers)…you’re building a firearm so make sure you’re legal and safe.  If you run into trouble while building, please consult a qualified gunsmith.

Legal

There has to be some cutoff of where a piece of metal or polymer becomes a gun.  The 80% is industry slang but it’s where the ATF deems something not a firearm.

Polymer80 PF940C
Polymer80 PF940C (not a firearm…yet)

Polymer80’s Glock PF940Cv1 (compact like the Glock 19) and PF940v2 (standard size like the Glock 17) allow mostly everyone to build an unregistered firearm at home provided you they legally own one already.

But be sure to check your individual state/local laws.

ATF Meme Guy
ATF Meme Guy

Individuals manufacturing sporting-type firearms for their own use need not hold Federal Firearms Licenses (FFLs). However, we suggest that the manufacturer at least identify the firearm with a serial number as a safeguard in the event that the firearm is lost or stolen. Also, the firearm should be identified as required in 27 CFR478.92 if it is sold or otherwise lawfully transferred in the future.” -BATFE

Difficulty

I’d estimate 25% difficulty compared to completing an AR-15 80% build.  It’s really not that hard if you’re semi-capable with hand tools and don’t rush things.

Complete Polymer80 Parts
Complete Polymer80 Parts

Tools Needed

There’s lots of ways to do this since you’re only dealing with polymer.

I'm a Gunsmith Now
I’m a Gunsmith Now

Bare Minimum

It might take a little longer…but this will get you through it.  Plus useful for other gun and home projects.

Recommended

Easiest

Stanley End Snips
Stanley End Snips

Now that you’ve got all the tools…what else do you need?

Parts List

Polymer80% Kit

First…choose the size.  If you want to build a full-size Glock 17/22/33/34/35, get the FP940v2.

There’s also an aggressive texture one only from Brownells.  I personally like the regular “frame textured” which is already light years better than a stock Glock.  “Ready-mod” means that the grip is smooth so you can do what you want…from stippling to adding your favorite grip tape.

Best 80% Glock Frame
Polymer80 Glock Frame Kit

Polymer80 Glock Frame Kit

If you’re looking for a compact Glock like the 19/23/32, get the FP940Vc1.

Frame Completion Kit

All my builds have been with this so it works for me.  The trigger is actually quite good and better than the stock Glock one.  I also like how it comes with the 3.5 lb connector, and extended versions of the slide lock lever, slide stop, and magazine catch.

Make sure you get the correct full-size or compact version.

Lone Wolf Polymer80 Frame Parts Kit

Lone Wolf Polymer80 Frame Parts Kit

Glock Slide

Make sure you get a Gen 3 Glock slide so that it fits perfectly with the P80 frame.  Gen 4 ones have a gap which will likely lead to some problems down the road.

You can opt for complete versions with everything installed including the barrel, or piece everything together yourself.

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

Check out our Best Aftermarket Glock Slides article for all our recommendations.

But the go-to affordable option is Brownell’s where you can get windowed and RMR (red dot) cut slides.

Brownells Glock Slide

Brownells Glock Slide

Prices accurate at time of writing

Slide Completion Kit

Depending on if you get a complete slide or a bare one…you might need a slide completion kit.  I have used Lone Wolf’s and it’s good to go.

Lone Wolf Slide Parts Kit

Lone Wolf Slide Parts Kit

Glock Barrel

If you went with a slide without a barrel, check out our Best Glock Barrels article.

I really like Faxon’s Glock Barrels because of their increased accuracy and looks (full review).

Faxon TiN Barrel vs Stock G17 Barrel
Faxon TiN Barrel vs Stock G17 Barrel

What’s the point of customizing if you can’t make it your own.

And for the budget build…I’d go with Brownell’s editions made by Victory First which seems to have great reviews.

Glock Victory Barrels

Glock Victory Barrels

Prices accurate at time of writing

Glock Sights

If it’s a more practical gun…I’d stick with Glock OEM night sights.

Glock OEM Night Sights

Glock OEM Night Sights

You can check out more of our favorite iron sights at Best Glock Sights.

And if you’re going the red dot route…check out Best Pistol Red Dots.

Tested Pistol Red Dots
Tested Pistol Red Dots

Our top pick is the Trijicon RMR Mod 2 since most frames are milled for it.

Upgraded Glock Triggers

Although the stock Lone Wolf trigger is pretty decent…it can always get better.

Apex Glock Trigger
Apex Glock Trigger

We cover a few of the most Best Glock Aftermarket Triggers (and the infamous 25 cent trigger job) and our favorite is actually the most budget friendly with Apex.

Best Bang-For-The-Buck Trigger
Apex Glock Trigger

Apex Glock Trigger

Prices accurate at time of writing

Pistol Lights

You can’t shoot what you can’t see and identify.  We tested out the most popular ones.

Best Pistol Lights
Best Pistol Lights

Our favorite and best-bang-for-the-buck is the Streamlight TLR-1

TLR-1 Toggle Switch
TLR-1 Toggle Switch

Check out the rest (and each light’s beam spread) in Best Pistol Lights.

Editor's Choice (Pistol Light)
Streamlight TLR-1

Streamlight TLR-1

That should cover everything…now let’s get building!

How to Build: Milling & Drilling

Make sure to follow the instructions straight from Polymer80.  This is just how I did it for a couple frames.

This should be what you get in your kit with some variations in size of the frame and color.

Polymer80 Glock Kit Contents
Polymer80 Glock Kit Contents

If you’re going the milling route…load it up on your vise but not too hard.  Otherwise, get crackin’ on hand-filing everything!

Ready to Mill Polymer80
Ready to Mill Polymer80

Put in the milling bit a little above the red…you’re going to hand finish it.

Mill Bit Placement
Mill Bit Placement

I start by moving in the larger front segment.

First Mill Action
First Mill Action

And finish up the segment slowly.

Milling Through Front Segment
Milling Through Front Segment

Then do the same for the rear small segment.

Milling Through Rear Segment
Milling Through Rear Segment

You can see the final results from only the mill bit.

Residuals
Residuals

Next up is the hardest bit…milling out the Barrel Block.

Milling Block Area, Polymer80
Milling Block Area, Polymer80

Official instructions is to flip the jig and continue to use the mill bit.  But my first one caused a lot of vibrations and started going off track.

Barrel Block Milling
Barrel Block Milling, Polymer80

I would suggest doing it entirely by hand…or starting it off with a Dremel and a grinding attachment.

Dremel the Barrel Block
Dremel the Barrel Block

Go slowly and don’t try to remove everything in one go.

Rough Barrel Block
Rough Barrel Block

Now come the hand tools to finish everything off.  If you have more robust files like I do lying around…it’s going to go a lot faster.  But the small ones I recommend will also work…you just need a little more patience.

Hand Finishing Barrel Block
Hand Finishing Barrel Block

Here I’m filing the frame so there’s close to no more residual.

Hand Finishing Residuals
Hand Finishing Residuals

Almost there with the hand tools.

Almost There With Hand Tools
Almost There With Hand Tools

I stop when it’s rough but flush.

Good Enough Front Segment
Good Enough Front Segment

And for the rear segment.

Good Enough Rear Segment
Good Enough Rear Segment

Now I grab the sandpaper…I start off a little rougher and graduate to something pretty high grit (less rough).  You can also wrap it around something hard and straight if you don’t trust yourself.

Sandpaper Polymer80
Sandpaper Polymer80

And for the barrel block I roll up a piece of sandpaper.  You can also wrap it around something cylindrical for more force.  Pay extra attention here since the smoother it is the smoother your slide action will be since it’s where the recoil spring lives.

Sandpaper Barrel Block
Sandpaper Barrel Block

The end result for the frame.

End Result Polymer80 Rail Area
End Result Polymer80 Rail Area

And for the barrel block.

End Result Polymer80 Barrel Block
End Result Polymer80 Barrel Block

It still wasn’t super smooth when I assembled everything so I went back and evened it out some more…and made sure there wasn’t stuff to snag on the sides.

Here’s the end result of my two P80s.

Barrel Block, Top View
Barrel Block, Top View

And from the front.  It’s pretty forgiving as you can see my first gray one had an oopsie with the mill bit on the top right.

Barrel Block, Front View
Barrel Block, Front View

That wasn’t so bad…was it?  Now you just have six easy hand drill portions left.

Make sure to use the correct bit, not have it in a vise, use a hand drill, and go side by side (not all the way through).  3 drills on each side for a total of 6.

Drilling Polymer80 Holes
Drilling Polymer80 Holes

But wait…what about the end snips?

Turns out…they are perfect for cutting off the frame parts!  I’ll be trying this in a future build.

Polymer80 End Snips, shooting tips and tricks
Polymer80 End Snips, shooting tips and tricks

How to Assemble: Polymer 80 Frame

Now…let’s assemble everything!  Some pictures will have my upgraded trigger (gold colored) since I went back and retook some pictures that weren’t clear.

Polymer80 Frame Parts
Polymer80 Frame Parts

First let’s start with the magazine release.  It’s pretty difficult to show through pictures so here’s one of my old videos:

Next let’s put in the slide lock spring…this is different for the full-size and compact sizes so be sure!  It may be a little hard to push it in all the way into the hole in the frame.

24. Slide Lock Spring
24. Slide Lock Spring

Then get your slide lock…it’s not symmetrical so make sure you can see the side with the “teeth” and have it face the rear.  Don’t mess this up since it catches the barrel lug (aka keeps your barrel/slide from flying off).

Press down on the spring with something and slide the lock in.

Hold Down Slide Lock Spring
Hold Down Slide Lock Spring

Correct orientation of slide lock.

Slide Lock Orientation
Slide Lock Orientation

Next it’s time to add Polymer80 specific metal parts to beef up your polymer frame.

First…the locking block rail system (LRBS).

LRBS Orientation
LRBS Orientation

For the first time it’s usually really hard to put in.  Be patient and you can use light taps from your non-metal hammer.

Then tap the pin through with a punch (left-most hole).  I like to look through the hole to see if it’s completely clear to save unnecessary banging.

LRBS Pin
LRBS Pin

Next is the rear rail module (RRM).  Push it in but no pin yet since we’ll need to add the trigger first.

RRM Orientation
RRM Orientation

Gather up your trigger parts and assemble.

Glock Upgraded Trigger and Pins
Glock Upgraded Trigger and Pins

This gets a little confusing so here’s another video of mine:

Place the completed trigger into the frame.

Glock Trigger Placement
Glock Trigger Placement

Get the polymer trigger pin and punch that in.

Trigger Pin Install
Trigger Pin Install

Then the smaller metal pin.

First Top Pin
First Top Pin

Take the slide stop lever and insert it so that the spring is underneath the just put in smaller pin.

Slide Stop Lever Install
Slide Stop Lever Install

Punch in the bigger pin.

This was difficult the first few times since you have to wiggle the slide stop lever…and everything is really tight.  I recommend using a punch as a slave pin so everything is already oriented.

Slave Pin with Punch
Slave Pin with Punch

And…done!

Completed Polymer80 Glock Frame
Completed Polymer80 Glock Frame

How to Assemble: Glock Slide

If your slide came pre-assembled…you’re in luck.  Otherwise it’s not too bad!

Glock Slide Parts
Glock Slide Parts

First start assembling the firing pin and extractor plunger.

Glock Firing Pin and Extractor Parts
Glock Firing Pin and Extractor Plunger Parts

Push down on the spring and then add the spring cups on top of the spring(takes a little practice…make sure you’re wearing eye protection throughout and maybe point everything in a cardboard box to catch lost parts).

Glock Firing Pin Install
Glock Firing Pin Install

Smush the extractor plunger parts together and there you have it.

Firing Pin and Extractor
Firing Pin and Extractor Plunger

Now grab your firing pin safety, spring, and extractor.  Place the firing pin safety and spring into its hole.

Firing Pin Safety
Firing Pin Safety

Orient the extractor and press down on the firing pin safety while fitting in the extractor.

Glock Extractor Orientation
Glock Extractor Orientation

Once you release the firing pin safety…the extractor should stay.

Installed Glock Extractor
Installed Glock Extractor

Next is placing the completed firing pin and extractor plunger assemblies.

Placing Firing Pin and Extractor Plunger
Placing Firing Pin and Extractor Plunger

Grab the slide cover plate and use a punch to press down on the firing pin and extractor plunger assemblies until everything clicks into place.

Slide Cover Plate
Slide Cover Plate

Now place in the barrel and the recoil spring (with the dome shape towards the front of the slide).

Barrel and Recoil Spring
Barrel and Recoil Spring

If you’re looking at adding sights…bare minimum get Nylon Punch Tool.  The front sight is added with a 3/16″ nut driver.  I’d recommend adding some thread locker to the screws too.

Drifting Rear Sight
Drifting Rear Sight

And you’re done!

Complete Glock Slide
Complete Glock Slide

Now you have your own self-made Glock!

All Tested Glock Triggers
All Tested Glock Triggers

Safety Checks

With no ammo in the gun or in the room…run through some safety checks. Even better…get it checked out by a qualified gunsmith before shooting for real.

  • Oil the rails up and make sure the slide returns to battery even when only a little racked
  • Make sure the trigger safety works
  • Depress and hold the trigger, and rack the slide…make sure the trigger resets and can be pressed again
  • Use a wooden pencil and put it down the barrel…see if it shoots out when you press the trigger

Polymer80 Troubleshooting

Not working?  Here’s some common problems and fixes.

Use Original Parts

Whatever part is not working…try it all with stock OEM parts.  Sometimes aftermarket slides and triggers have too tight tolerances to work in a P80.  So far the Brownells and Grey Ghost (a little tight) have worked in my builds.  I’ve heard ZEV slides might be too tight.

Trigger Not Resetting

If it’s especially bad on one side orientation, you might want to grind off off a little bit of the polymer in the rear right side rail.

Trigger Resetting Grind Part
Trigger Resetting Grind Part

It should get better each time you grind a little off.  If it’s still not completely fixed at all orientations…check to see if the rear rails are of different height.

If it is…it will cause the slide to tilt and get stuck somewhere.

You’ll have to file the higher metal rail down a little if that’s the case.

Slide Getting Stuck

A little grittiness is ok since it’s a new build and things will get smoothed out with use.  But if you’re having difficulty getting the slide on…check the slide lock spring so it’s not poking up and snagging on the recoil spring.

Slide Lock Spring Snag
Slide Lock Spring Snag

Misaligned Holes

If you just can’t get the pins to go through (especially on the rear polymer one)…and you look through to see obstructions.  You can re-drill carefully.

Rough Feeling

If the slide feels rough…again it’s the barrel block area.  Make sure it’s smooth and you can run something along the bottom and make sure nothing snags.

Barrel Block, Top View
Barrel Block, Top View

Review

Not much to say here…it’s a great 80% project that’s easier than doing an AR-15.  You also won’t end up saving money compared to buying a stock Glock at your local FFL.

But when you’re done, you’ll be left with a sense of pride and accomplishment.  And of course…a fully customized Glock that’s off the books.

Inforce APLc on P80 Glock 19
Inforce APLc on P80 Glock 19

I like the grip angle a lot more (I believe it’s closer to a 1911) and also the lack of finger grooves.  Those things are made for the “average” hand that no one really has.

Plus…the regular frame textured one is a great balance of the stock pattern and stippling yourself.  Because of these factors…I get a much better, higher, and more positive grip.

As long as you go slowly (you can’t ADD on polymer) you should end up with a pretty reliable Glock clone.  The main problems will come when you try to add too many upgraded parts at once.  Remember…process of elimination if you end up with problems.

I’m about 1000 rounds through my grey one and 500 rounds through my brown one.  Besides some initial break-in hiccups on the first few mag changes…and it hating my low-power reloads…it’s run flawlessly with factory ammo.

I fully recommend doing a Polymer80 Glock project.

Best 80% Glock Frame
Polymer80 Glock Frame Kit

Polymer80 Glock Frame Kit

Conclusion & Additional Resources

Here’s some links to all our Glock stuff again so you can choose what’s the best for you.

How did we do?  Anything we’re missing?  And how did your build turn out?

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HebrewHammerEric HungMr. Huithat guyB. Recent comment authors
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HebrewHammer
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HebrewHammer

Eric, with all due respect, I believe the LWD kit is NOT a good idea for these, and would strongly recommend Glock parts. I’ve also built three of them. My PF940C with the LWD kit had failures to reset when I held the trigger all the way back as hard as I could. This is because the trigger is given more room to move, and you can actually cause the trigger bar to flex. This flexing causes the connector to be pushed inwards towards the frame, so much so that the slide failed to reset the trigger. You can test… Read more »

Mr. Hui
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Mr. Hui

for some reason the trigger on my g19 polymer would never reset. even after grinding the metal piece down. i used an apex trigger just like yours (in fact, its a grey p80 with a grey ghost stippled slide and red apex trigger… exactly like yours)

i decided to swap the trigger and bar out for a stock one and now its working perfectly…. wonder if its the trigger bar.

that guy
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that guy

I’m confused. I bought a 22lr revolver a couple weeks ago, I wanted to lengthen the barrel by about 2 inches so I asked where I could buy a replacement barrel on the manufactures website, they said that the gun was registered to me by the atf with a certain barrel length and if I change that I would need a new serial number. But in 1986 it was made illegal for any government agency including the atf (or even an ffl) to make a registry of gun owners or guns, so?

B.
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B.

Do you think they will ever do this with other polymer pistols? I am not a big fan of DAO triggers/striker fired. But i do like this idea.

Notalima
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Notalima

End snips…Hah! I’ve done a few of these and never would have thought of that. Now I want to go do another one just to try out the snips. Thanks for the great idea.