Do you have a Glock-clone frame you’re building out? Maybe you’ve picked up one of the SCT frames from Brownells or Aim Surplus, and you’re needing an upper to finish the build. Palmetto State Armory has a flash sale today on a complete Dagger upper in Sniper Green, including a threaded barrel, RMR cut, and Ameriglo lower-1/3 cowitness sights–all for 200 bucks, shipped.
That’s a hard deal to beat, and a thrifty way to finish off your G19 build. I don’t have personal experience with the PSA Dagger just yet, but these uppers are probably worth a try at this price. I plan to throw a Dagger slide with Holosun on one of my G19 lowers soon, so keep an eye out for that post.
Several years ago, I posted a long-term review of KCI Glock magazines, which I purchased for $6.95 each back in the glory days of cheap mags and cheap ammo. I still have those magazines, but they rarely see use these days–partly because I shoot my Glocks only occasionally, and partly because I’ve found a better option for training mags at a decent price.
Around 2015 or so, Magpul introduced their PMag for Glock pistols. The first generation reportedly had some feeding issues–I can’t attest to this issue, as I was late to the Glock PMag party, buying several around 2017 or so. When Korean Glock mags jumped up to around 17 bucks a pop, there was no reason to buy them over OEM magazines. However, when DSG Arms started offering PMag’s at a LEO-discount of about $10-12 each, I saw no reason not to stock up on range magazines for my Austrian ammo eaters.
I have one 15-round PMag, six 17-round PMags, and three 21-round PMags, and I have fired about 3000 rounds through the lot, with a good majority of that fired through my 21-rounders in my AR9 with a Foxtrot Mike lower. Clearly, this is a small sample size and a relatively low round count, but there are several reasons I like the Glock PMags by Magpul, with their low price being the first and obvious benefit compared to OEM magazines.
First, let’s talk about the differences between the PMags and factory Glock magazines. The PMags have no metal liner, so they feel noticeably lighter than stock mags. The plastic, while similar to that of AR PMags, has a unique finish and texture, slightly shinier and smoother than OEM magazines. The baseplates of the PMags are much easier to remove than factory mags–while Glock mags generally require Herculean strength and a bit of magic, rage-filled Pixie dust to remove, the PMags merely require slight downward pressure on the retaining plate’s button, which allows the baseplate to easily slide off towards the rear. The plates feature a dot matrix-style marking grid for numbering/identification, and they have proven to be just as durable as factory baseplates, unlike the Korean mags I reviewed years ago.
The KCI baseplates were egg-shell fragile, cracking or blowing apart after only a few drops on gravel or concrete. The PMags, in contrast, have taken all abuse I’ve thrown at them, with only some scuffs and scratches to show from it. I like their design much more than the factory baseplate–mainly because it doesn’t take effort to remove them, which means I actually clean out the magazine tubes from time to time. Something I never do with factory Glock mags.
All of my PMags lock in and drop free without issue, although they seem to drop slower from the pistol when empty–possibly due to their lighter weight. Their feed lips also show now signs of wear, unlike my Korean magazines, which appeared chewed and worn after the first 1,000 rounds or so. Furthermore, I have had no magazine-related malfunctions while shooting these PMags in my Glocks or my AR9. They feed rounds reliably and lock the slide or bolt open after the last round. I know other shooters and instructors have seen malfunctions from PMags, even in high-end Zev or Shadow Systems Glock clones. My small sample has had no such issues, but take that for what it’s worth.
I routinely use the 15-round PMag in my Gen4 Glock 19, as the Zev Pro magwell I run on it makes it almost impossible to strip out a factory magazine during a malfunction clearance. I can seat OEM magazines without issue, but the baseplate is too recessed to be accessible. The PMag, on the other hand, has a slightly thicker baseplate, allowing plenty of real estate below the magwell to pull out a stuck mag, should I need to. Stuck mags in Glocks are probably as common as cases of 9mm for $180 in 2022, but I see no reason to take the chance.
My favorites of the PMags are the 21-rounders–they have round-count witness holes at 10, 15, and 21 instead of just the max-capacity holes on the 17 and 15-round models. More importantly, though, I find them to be the perfect size for a Glock magazine. When in a mag pouch, there’s plenty of magazine sticking out to grab during a reload, and they seat easily in any of my Glocks. They also load easily in the magwell of my AR9, while being short enough to get into prone or other alternative shooting positions without getting in the way–unlike my 33-round extendos, which are like sticking an axe handle into the lower receiver of my gun. The 21-rounders are also legal for most shooting competitions, which is no longer a priority for me, but might be a selling point for many.
While I certainly don’t have enough rounds through my PMags to say they are definitively as reliable as OEM Glock magazines, they are my go-to training mags. Cheap enough to stack deep, they keep me shooting with little downtime on the range, and they have performed without issue for me so far. Current prices are about $15 for 17-round mags and $18 for 21-rounders, which is hard to beat for USA-made magazines for the OG plastic-fantastic 9mm. If I were carrying my Glocks for duty or self-defense again, I might lean towards OEM magazines for that role, but my small lot of PMags have proven to be reliable, at about half the price.
I plan to return to the world of Glock shooting relatively soon, so I will post an update on my Glock Pmags after I put another few thousand rounds through them.
*Update, 10/21/22: Formidable Force is no longer in business–links to their site have been disabled*
A little over a month ago, I received an OWB Recon holster from Formidable Force Holsters for Wilma, my Gen 4 G19. I’ve worn the holster off-duty for that time, and I’ve found it to be an excellent choice for OWB concealment. With excellent retention, comfortable wear, and a fast presentation, the Recon is a holster worth considering.
Like the other holsters I’ve reviewed, retention is the first aspect of a rig I look at. As second-in-command at my department, I’d have a lot of explaining to do if my blaster hit the deck while off-duty. Not that I get in foot-pursuits routinely off-duty or perform spontaneous calisthenics while grabbing a bagel on a Saturday, but I’ve got to know the holster I use will keep Wilma wear she belongs. The Recon excels in retention, with one of the most satisfying clicks of any holster I’ve used. There’s no doubt my Glock is staying put, but with the adjustable retention screw, I also won’t have to wrestle with both hands to get the gun into a fight.
Any holster could retain a pistol like a fat kid with a donut, but I’m not going to wear it all day off the job if it feels like a jagged sheet of plastic on my hip. The Recon is most certainly comfortable. On my most recent trip to the Mayo Clinic, I wore the holster for over 14 hours without any complaints. It was comfortable while seated in the car for over 7 hours on the drive to Rochester, Minnesota, and I was able to keep the gun on even after we got to our B&B. There were no hot-spots or pinching from the holster. It’s certainly apparent that the holster was designed by people who carry a gun every day, as all of the edges are smooth and rounded, with no rough spots to create any problems.
Finally, a concealment holster should be able to hide well and still allow a quick draw. The Recon rides high on the hip, and is adjustable for cant. I adjusted mine for a zero-cant draw, and the rig conceals well under a button-up shirt or a vest/jacket. Since it’s coat weather in Missouri, I’ve had no issues concealing the holster.
My only small complaint about the rig is the use of different belt loops. The standard loop up front paired with the pancake loop in the rear helps to bring the butt of the pistol in towards the body, aiding in concealment, but at times it seemed to also push the front of the pistol out. It really isn’t much of an issue, unless someone with a very small frame wore the rig. I wonder if pancake loops on both ends would bring the holster’s profile down even further, though.
Here you can also see the Perry Suspenders I wear most days, helping to take some weight/pressure off my waist and hips.
My Blackhawk mag pouch prints more than the Recon.
Drawing from the holster is smooth, as I was able to position the holster in almost the same spot as my duty holster, only higher on the belt line. During dry-fire and range drills, the holster presented no obstacles to a fast presentation or safe reholstering.
At $75, the OWB Recon is priced comparably to other quality kydex holsters. Check out their quick-ship IWB holster for only $30–it looks a like a solid option for appendix carry. If you prefer custom kydex rigs from quality companies, Formidable Force should be in the running for your next holster. Ran by two LEOs from Georgia, it’s a small company worth supporting.
Sometimes, work doesn’t suck. As soon as the first shipment of P-10Cs hits the US, one will be en route to my department for T&E. As lead firearms instructor and the Sergeant in charge of purchasing, it’s my duty to test the gun. I mean, I’m obligated to put as many rounds through the pistol as I possibly can. I’ll do my best to document the testing–for my department and for you. Keep in mind, this is not a torture test. I won’t be subjecting the CZ to anything my G19 doesn’t usually see in training and daily use. But I will be shooting the shit out of it. I should have my hands on the pistol by the end of January, so stay tuned.
My long-term review of the Formidable Force Recon holster is almost complete, and should be posted this weekend. Keep an eye out–if the weather holds out, I’ll try to have some video to go along with the review. Spoiler alert: the rig is a great option for OWB concealment.
I received the OWB Recon from Formidable Force Holsters almost two weeks ago, and the first thing I noticed about the rig was the 80-20 split, as opposed to a 50-50 or 60-40 split used in most kydex pancake holsters. With a trailing pancake loop and a standard belt loop in front, the holster reminds me of some leather rigs with a trailing loop. It seems to pull the grip into the body, and so far I like how it feels when worn.
What I like most about the holster right now is the satisfying click when the pistol is holstered. It’s one of the best clicks out of any holster I’ve used. The Recon has adjustable retention, so you can tailor it to your personal preference, and the click lets you know that your blaster isn’t going anywhere.
The holster rides very high, with adjustable cant, and it works well to conceal Wilma, my Gen4 G19. Finishing on the rig is well done, with smooth and polished edges and a flared opening for easy reholstering. The muzzle of the holster is molded for threaded barrels, and the sight channel will accommodate tall sights without a problem.
I’m going to run the holster off-duty for the next month or so and have a full review to share. At $75, the holster is on par with other custom thermoforgers, and an OWB rig is perfect for the cold months ahead. While waiting for my full review, check out the deals on Formidable Force’s site–their EDC IWB rig is only $30 and ready to ship. That’s as cheap as a mass-produced injection molded rig but from a custom shop!
Hilton Yam of 10-8 Performance and Modern Service Weapons posted a short article the other day on his initial experiences with Korean Glock magazines. I’ve been using the same six KCI brand Korean 9mm magazines for the at least four years now, so I thought I’d share my long-term review of the inexpensive ammo-feeders.
One of these mags is not like the others–but they all feed just fine.
I bought my Korean mags from CDNN over four years ago at a sale price of $6.95. I wish I had bought more. While descriptions of the magazines on retailers’ sites describe them as “exactly” like the OEM magazines, it’s easy to spot some differences just by picking up a Korean mag. First, the metal lining of the magazine has a different, shinier finish–I suspect it’s a completely different alloy than stock mags. Secondly, the finish and texture of the polymer is slightly different–the Korean mags are shinier and a little smoother to the touch than stock. The followers of the Korean mags are very good copies of the Glock mags, but the magazine springs are a bit “crunchy” feeling when new. Mine, after thousands of rounds and four years, have smoothed out considerably. The springs are very strong in mine–except for two, which I’ll get to in a moment. All of my KCI mags drop free and lock the slide open after the last round.
A 17-round paperweight.
Before buying my KCI mags, I bought two Korean mags from Sportsman’s Guide. Those two turned out to be Khan brand, and they neither drop free nor consistently lock the slide back after the last round. So, they’re basically paperweights for me.
When the KCIs went on sale, though, I thought I’d give them a try, and I’m glad I did.
After my first few range trips with the magazines, I remember being incredibly pleased with them–except for their baseplates. As Hilton Yam notes in his article and photo, the baseplates are pathetically fragile compared to Glock baseplates. After a few good drops on concrete, or several on gravel, they’ll make Humpty Dumpty look like Iron Man. I initially swapped the KCI plates out for Magpul Speedplates, which I still have on two of them. (While the idea of a Magpul for pistol mags sounds cool, I never really used it as a pull and the “loop” eventually pulled off the plate, leaving behind useful and sturdy, regular plates.) I have since put Vickers Tactical extended baseplates on the rest and all of my Glock duty mags. I love those plates–read my review to read more about them.
After switching plates, my KCI mags have ran flawlessly for every range trip, training, and competition I have attended in the past four years. The set of mags have fed a minimum of 5000 rounds to my various 9mm Glocks, and I have never experienced a magazine-related malfunction. The mags have been dropped, thrown, stepped on, and otherwise abused, and they just keep running. Their feedlips are chewed and gnarled, but they keep feeding my Glocks like an all-you-can-eat brass and copper buffet.
Chewed and abused.
Rough and filthy. LIke your mother likes it, Trebek.
While I can’t seem to find Korean mags for $6.95 anymore, I can still find them at J&G Sales for about $16. Occasionally they’ll go on sale at other sites, and I’ll be sure to post any deals I find on them. For the price, they make excellent training mags. Replace the baseplates and abuse them. I still carry my OEM mags when I’m off the range, but my plastic Asian ammo packers have made me a believer.
In December, I was lucky enough to snag one of a small prototype run of compact Timberwolf frames by Lone Wolf Distributors. A replacement frame for Gen3 Glock 19s and 23s, the Timberwolf frame features a reduced backstrap, undercut trigger guard, modified finger grooves, and a picatinny accessory rail on the dust cover. At $100 shipped for the prototype run, it was a steal.
I then went shopping for parts, and found a used G23 upper with lower parts kit for only $233. After selling the .40 barrel and snagging a threaded 9mm conversion barrel by Lone Wolf, I was finally ready to ignite some rounds with my new blaster.
20-degree weather and snow probably isn’t the ideal test-firing session, but I got 150 rounds through Pauline, my TWOLF, before needing to thaw out. I experienced three failures to eject, which I attribute to slightly under-powered 124-grain Aguila ammo and running the .40 extractor with a 9mm ejector. In any case, I need to swap the extractor and run more rounds through her. (Lone Wolf notes the possibility of FTEs on their web site, which they attribute to under-powered ammo and heavier barrels–the conversion barrel is thicker than a stock barrel, which saps energy from weak rounds.)
Besides the FTEs, the Timberwolf was a pleasure to shoot. We were shooting steel plates at about 15 yards, and Pauline hit everything, as long as I did my part. The improved ergonomics of the frame, however, were the highlight.
First, the reduced backstrap fits my hand and provides a more natural point of aim for me compared to a stock Gen3. I initially tried the flat backstrap that came with the frame, but soon switched to the arched. The flat backstrap was just too flat. With the arched piece in place, though, Pauline felt like a blend of M&P and XD–a sexy semblance of 1911-ish polymer. And the mild finger grooves actually fit my fingers! Much less prominent than a stock Gen3’s, the finger grooves on the Timberwolf frame are wide and textured in serrations and checkering. Combined with the undercut trigger guard, I can get the high grip that I prefer but not feel like my fingers are cramped by the grooves. Since I wore gloves for this shoot, I can’t report on the rough spot under the trigger guard which I noted in the write-up of my brother’s TWOLF build. More on that when I shoot gloveless.
The magazine release of the Timberwolf is also one of my favorite features. It’s large and slightly extended, allowing me to hit it without having to change my grip even half as much as I do with a stock release. It drops the mags freely and allows for a fast reload. But it’s not so big that my bear mitts bump it by mistake.
Recoil was very manageable, and while it didn’t seem significantly different from a stock frame, the higher grip the TWOLF frame allows brought me back on target a little quicker. And the beavertail will probably prevent any slide-bite for you chubby-pawed shooters.
My only real complaint with the frame is its texturing. The TWOLF’s frame is only a bit more aggressive than a Gen3’s, and I like my frames to be grippy. I mean, I thought the RTF2 frame was perfect, so the TWOLF frame left me a little disappointed. I find the texture to be in-between a Gen3 and Gen4 in terms of aggressiveness. That being said, I fixed the problem with universal grip decals made by my buddy at Tractiongrips.com. I simply cut them to fit and applied them. Voila! A grippy gun. The wool mitten I wore on my support hand probably didn’t help matters, but I prefer the grip decals over the TWOLF’s bare frame, for sure.
Next, I’ll be sharing a step-by-step guide to my TWOLF build, and I’ll be throwing more rounds through Pauline this weekend. This time, I’ll try an actual 9mm extractor and see if that helps.