Brownells 75th Anniversary - A Shooting Heritage

How to Build a Polymer80 for a Glock® Pistol

Until recently, building a custom pistol has been beyond the capabilities of the average gun owner. The only option was to hire a professional pistolsmith to build one for you. The Polymer80 pistol frame, coupled with easy-to-find Glock® parts, has revolutionized the custom gun world. If you have some basic mechanical aptitude and a few simple tools found in many home workshops, you are good to go to build your own custom pistol on a Polymer80 frame.

Step 1

How to Mill a Polymer80 Frame

"Milling" sounds way more complex than this step really is. All it takes is a drill press and an electric hand drill to complete the last "20%" of your Polymer80 pistol frame (you can also use a milling machine, if you have one). There's no complicated setup because the jig that came with your slide keeps everything properly aligned as you make simple cuts with the included drill bits. Wait, it can't be that simple? Yes, it is. Watch this video.

Polymer80 Frames

Step 2

Choosing a Trigger for a Polymer80 Pistol

Once your Polymer80 frame is milled and drilled, it's time to think about what goes inside it. The first step: choose a trigger that suits your needs. Some of us actually like the Glock® factory trigger. Others want something smoother, lighter, more consistent, or with a more distinct let-off. Your pistol's intended purpose - daily carry gun, all-out competition racegun, or something in between? - affects your choice of trigger. The Glock® pistol's modular design makes it very easy to install a trigger.


Step 3

Assembling a Polymer80 Frame

With your choice of Glock® style pistol trigger nailed down, it's time to start plugging parts into your Polymer80 frame. This video shows how easy it is to install the magazine release, slide stop, locking block, rear rails (unique to Polymer80), and of course, that trigger. It's a lot like the plastic model kits we built as kids, only without the messy glue. When you're done, you have a complete receiver that's ready to accept a slide.

Frame Parts Kits

Step 4

Picking a Slide for Your Glock’s Polymer80

With the pistol's "bottom half" finished, it's time to work on the topside. Your Polymer80 frame accepts any slide that fits a Glock® factory pistol with the same-size frame. And you have a lot of options in slides. Choose a plain, all-business factory original or an aftermarket slide with any combination of serrations, weight-saving cutouts, a mounting slot for red dot sight. There's even a slide with a blank exterior that you can machine exactly the way you want it, if you have the skills and resources.


Step 5

Selecting a Barrel for a Polymer80 Pistol

Getting the right barrel for your custom Polymer80 pistol is easy, though the number of options is considerable. Do you want a basic Glock® factory tube or an aftermarket barrel, conventional rifling (so you can shoot lead ammo), threaded muzzle, extra bling in the color or a fancy exterior pattern for good looks? Decide what you need for the kind of shooting you plan to do with your Polymer80 pistol.


Step 6

Choosing a Sight for Your Polymer80 Build

The best custom pistol in the world won't be very effective if you can't line up the bore with the target. The good news is near-universal compatibility between factory and aftermarket Glock® slides and sights. And there's a lot of options in sights: basic black, white dots, fiber optic, Tritium night sights, ghost ring, big dot front, shallow "V" rear - or did you get a slide with a cutout for a mini red dot sight? Take your time. Building your own Polymer80 pistol means you get to choose the sights that work best for YOU.


Step 7

How to Assemble a Slide for a Polymer80

Now that you've selected all the parts to go in - and on - your Polymer80 slide, it's time to pick up some tools, hit the workbench, and put it all together. You need to install the safety plunger, extractor, extractor plunger spring and bearing, striker (firing pin) assembly, slide back plate, and of course, the sights. Sounds like a lot to do? C'mon, we're talking Glock® parts. As this video shows, it's basically plug-n-play.

Slide Parts