How to Build a DIY Glock 19 From An 80% Frame

ZEV Technologies Prizefighter, cheap Agency Arms

Update: The rules changed for 80% frames in 2022. First the ATF came for an outright ban. But as of this moment you can buy an 90% frame. You just have to register it and apply for a serial number before you build your gun. So that means the article and information are still valid. You can buy 80% frames and store them for a rainy day. Whatever that looks like.

You really don’t need to know too much to build a custom DIY Glock 19 from scratch.

It might not be an Agency Arms. But you should be able to get most of the main benefits for much less than an off-the-shelf gun, surely? I mean those things are insane expensive and there has to be a better way.

Check our list of the best custom Glocks for sale for inspiration, and parts, then go shopping. Also consider a custom Smith & Wesson if you’re that way inclined.

How To Build a DIY Glock

Brownells have already put together a step by step guide to building your own Glock, with videos. So this is basically painting by numbers, or putting IKEA furniture together.

Where to Buy a Ghost Gun? Or a DIY Glock

Is this a ghost gun? Yes, it really is. There really isn’t a serial number on this Glock, because it isn’t a Glock, or a functional firearm, just yet.

Of course, as soon as it’s all machined and put together then you, as a law abiding citizen, will register it properly.

But not everybody will and that’s another reason why you simply have to have a CCW weapon these days. It’s this easy to have a totally unregistered firearm and you don’t even need to 3D print anything. You can buy it off the shelf.

Get a DIY Glock Frame With a Serial Number

More and more DIY Glock builders are opting for a 100% frame with a serial number. You have to register the frame as a gun, but then you’re free to build your Glock without any machine work.

If you just want to buy a complete 100% frame for your custom Glock then check out the new Polymer80 PFC9 frame for just $135.

Build a Ghost Gun Cheap

You can build an untraceable, well, something approaching a Glock, for about $350 if you go the absolute budget route.

But we’re not doing that today, we’re doing the Glock 19 taken to the max.

Before we get into it, though, if you’re looking for Glock parts then here are some easy, general links…

Glock 19 Polymer80 frame. An 80% frame that means you can build a ghost gun, or a DIY Glock of course.

1. Polymer80 80% DIY Glock Frame

  • Price: $149.99

Essentially this is the bottom half of the gun, and you’ll see straight away that this is a straight cut gun with no finger guides. That’s good.

It comes fully stippled, the trigger guard is undercut to perfection and you get a flared mag well that is a real sales feature on the 5th gen Glock 19. This looks every bit a solid basis for a tuned up Glock 19.

Now is the time to get really aggressive with your trigger undercut and use a Dremel to shape your new pistol. You don’t actually have to do that if you think ahead, though, as you can order an 80% frame with a complete trigger undercut done for you.

A Better Glock Frame, Off The Peg

A pistol frame is the chance to really make a difference to the things you don’t like about the Glock, too, so check the grip angles of these 80% frames and decide the gun you want from the outset.

If you pick a major departure from the Glock then you might have to work harder to make some parts fit. But you’ll get there.

Lone Wolf is one of the biggest frame manufacturers out there and they provide the basic work for the fantastically priced Agency Arms NOX. So it’s fair to say they know what they are doing.

You could just buy a proper frame from them, complete with a serial number. It won’t be a ghost gun, but that’s not important to a lot of people.

Lone Wolf also make some great budget parts for your DIY Glock build and complete guns. You can find some of them here.

Glock frame parts kit. Get your DIY build up and running with the basic parts, then upgrade as you see fit.

2. Parts Completion Kit

  • Price: $35 and up

Basically the frame is 80% complete and you can buy a simple drop-in parts kit to give you the rest of the guts. It sounds simple, but not all DIY Glock parts kits are the same.

We’re going to upgrade the trigger, but the rest of the parts and the intuitive way it goes together probably make this worth it.

You get a 3.5lb connector and a 6lb trigger spring, which is actually pretty good. An upgraded trigger is all  you really need here and you’ve got the makings of a near  perfect Glock facsimile.

These are the unglamorous guts of the gun, but the parts kit you choose is important. Don’t cheap out, because if something bends you could end up shopping for cheap Glock parts kits for your DIY Glocks again.

ZEV Omen slide. A cheap slide for your Glock DIY build with an RMR plate and the perfect look.

3. Custom slide

  • Price: $498.00

You can get a Glock slide to fit every budget these days. From a PSA Dagger slide through to the big names like Grey Ghost Engineering, Lone Wolf and Zaffiri Precision.

Slide cuts mean you can cock it as you like and the reduced weight should mean reduced recoil and muzzle climb, as well as marginally faster cycling.

Want a cheaper slide? We got lots of options and you might have a point if you think it’s stupid to spend more than the price of a brand new gun on a stripped Glock slide…

Cheap Glock Slides are Available

The slide assembly will cost you the big money here, but you can get cheaper ones for a couple of hundred bucks that look almost as good as the insanely expensive alternatives. They’re not as lightweight, but you have to wonder how much of a difference a couple of grams can really make to the gun.

If you make just one major mod in your bid to build a custom Glock, obviously the slide will have the biggest visual impact. You can buy a much cheaper Glock slide from Lone Wolf or Brownells’ own collection. They’re not as sexy, but they are a new Glock slide on the cheap.

    Polished barrel Glock 19

    4. Match grade, threaded, polished steel barrel

    • Price: $101.00 and up.

    Now you’ve got those cuts in the slide, wouldn’t it be nice to have a polished barrel peeking through?

    We think the silver looks better than the gold, but each to their own.

    Unscrew the end cap and it’s ready for a suppressor too.

    Do you want some cheaper options for replacement barrels for your Glock handgun? Then we’re here to help…

    A drop in trigger can change

    5. Drop in Trigger Set

    • Price: $150.00

    Drop in triggers can make a world of difference to your Glock. The trigger on anything pre-Gen 5 sucks and a simple trigger switchout can change everything.

    Yes, we need to spend a little more on a slide completion kit, but once that’s done then we’ve got a dolled up, fully stippled Glock with a pimped slide and barrel.

    Want some more options for drop in trigger kits for your Glock? Even if this is the only mod you make, it’s will change your pistol beyond belief.

    If you don’t want the Agency Arms, then we have options for you!

    Glock Agency Arms Magwelll, one of many Magwells that can help you reload your Glock 19 faster.


    6. Glock Aftermarket Magwell

    • Price: $100

    Glock liked Agency Arms’ flared Magwell so much they  did  it themselves with the Gen 5. The Polymer80 frame is flared, but this add-on magwell will make your Glock totally intuitive when it comes to reloading.

    Replacement sights for your Glock handgun. Get the best aftermarket Glock sights here at your favorite gun broker.


    7. Trijicon HD XR 3 Dot Sight System

    • Price: $149.99

    It is an effective night sight and it’s also a low profile version of a three-dot system. It’s lightweight, which feels right for a gun like this. An RMR just looks wrong when we’ve invested in a cut slide to save weight.

    Buy a Glock slide completion kit online at the best possible price at your favorite online gun broker.

    8. Slide completion kit

    • Price: $84.00+

    The few final pesky springs and brackets will turn your slide into the final piece in the puzzle. This parts kit is more straightforward and makes sure your gun goes bang.

    It’s the usual collection of firing pin, trigger pin, end plate, recoil spring, locking block pin, that kind of stuff.

    The total cost is about $1600, but we have more  or less gone mad with the options here. We have to be honest, though, it will still be a slight mongrel of a gun that’s really a Gen 3 at its core.

    You can slowly upgrade each and every part, with the likes of titanium pins, and you can treat this like a learning exercise, a project gun that is never quite finished.

    Would a Glock Gen 5 Be a Better Buy?

    A Glock 19 Gen 5 and $1000 of instruction would probably be a better use of your time and money, if we’re honest. But this modified gun will actually show you how to build a Glock. You’ll get a unique gun out of it and you might finally fall in love with your Glock’s body, as well as its mind.

    If you get lucky, this should be a much better gun than a basic Glock, too. It has pretty much all of the aftermarket add-ons you could actually want from the top end tuners. The lightweight slide should reduce recoil and muzzle climb, you can fit titanium parts and you can tighten every single element of this gun.

    You could do that with a Gen 5, too, is the only issue. But take this gun to the nth degree and get it right at every stage and you’ll have a near unbeatable handgun. Or you can do it the cheap way, and have an untraceable ghost gun.

    The frame has the right grip and trigger guard undercut. So you would struggle to spec a better gun. This frame basically follows the Agency Arms roadmap when it comes to the tweaks.

    An RMR could turn this into the ultimate functional Glock. But I went for basic sights to keep the weight down.

    Is it as good as an off-the-shelf Gen 5?

    That’s the million dollar question and there’s only one way to find out. At the very least, building a Glock will be fun.

    What are the Current Politics Surrounding Ghost Guns?

    Federal Regulations

    The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) had been moving towards stricter regulations on ghost guns and 80% frames. In 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice proposed a rule to update the definition of a firearm under federal law to include gun parts kits and 80% frames/receivers that can be readily converted into functional firearms. The aim was to require background checks for these items and mandate that they have serial numbers if the rule became final. This was part of broader efforts to address the increasing concerns over ghost guns—firearms without serial numbers and typically assembled from kits, making them hard to trace and regulated.

    State Laws

    Various states have taken their own approaches to regulating ghost guns and 80% frames, often going beyond federal regulations. Some states, like California, New Jersey, and New York, have implemented laws that require individuals to undergo a background check before purchasing an 80% frame or receiver and mandate that these items be serialized. Other states have passed laws explicitly banning the manufacture, sale, and possession of ghost guns.

    Legal Challenges

    These regulations and proposed rules have faced legal challenges from gun rights advocacy groups, arguing that they infringe on Second Amendment rights. The legal landscape continues to evolve as courts at different levels address these challenges, potentially affecting the enforceability and scope of regulations on ghost guns and 80% frames.

    Current Situation

    Given the dynamic nature of this issue, with ongoing legislative efforts and legal battles, the exact legal status of ghost guns and 80% frames can change. It’s important to stay up to date about the laws in your jurisdiction.


    • Nick Hall

      Nick is a lifelong gun enthusiast who has a simple mission. He wants to find the best deals for guns online and help you make the best choices with weapons your life may depend on one day.Nick won a minor league shooting competition at the age of 11 and it all went from there. Now he runs one of the biggest firearms websites on the net and his work has featured in Playboy US, Tatler Asia, Forbes and a whole host of national magazines and websites.

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    7 thoughts on “How to Build a DIY Glock 19 From An 80% Frame”

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    3. On the dragonfly slide. You wrote “The cuts mean you can cock it as you like and the reduced weight should mean reduced recoil and muzzle climb.” The truth is the opposite. Reducing the weight will increase the recoil and the muzzle climb. Recoil is not created by the weight of the slide, it is created by the force of the explosion inside the gun. A heavier slide has more inertia to resist the force of the explosion resulting in lighter recoil and less muzzle rise.

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