A few months back, while attending the Handgun Beyond Basics class at KR Training, Karl Rehn, the owner of KR Training and a lead instructor, pointed out a few grip problems I had while handling my beloved VP9. Even though I’ve found the VP9 to be the duty sized pistol that fits me the best, it’s still a bit big for meaty hands and sausage fingers. Karl handed me his customized Glock 48 and showed me that a slimline pistol interfaces with my hands much better and, while I could train through the grip issues I have with the VP9, might be a better option as an everyday defensive carry pistol.
That suggestion weighed on my mind for sometime, but two things made me stick to my guns and maintain loyalty with the VP9. The first thing was the idea of a defensive pistol with a stock ten (10) round capacity. While it’s statistically sufficient to defend against an average justified armed self defense encounter, the larger capacity of the VP9 provides peace of mind against statistical outliers. The second thing was the psychology of previous investment, also known as the sunken cost fallacy, which is a reluctance to abandon any path we’ve made a commitment to. Truth be told, I’m still not certain I will deviate from the VP9 path. However after Karl commented on the “Improving the Grip” post and doing a bit of research about aftermarket options for the Glock 48, I decided it was worth getting my hands on one and experimenting with it.
The best case scenario for that experiment is a slim line defensive pistol carry option that fits my hand well. The worst case scenario is fuel for a few blog posts like this one. And here we are.
Right after getting my hands on a Glock 48 MOS from Palmetto State Armory, I contacted Karl to get some suggestions on how to go about setting it up. He suggested I start with a non-MOS Glock 48 so that I could mill the slide to whatever red dot I had in mind since the Glock MOS system on the stock G48 slide limits those options to the smaller dots on the market. Too little, too late for that. I should have probably consulted with him first. That of course gave me an excuse to pick up a Holosun 507K from Primary Arms which I’ve meant to get my hands on and review anyway.
While I could have mounted the Holosun 507K directly to the slide (at least I believe I can, but I didn’t try it), I opted to pick up a GLX-HOLOK adapter plate from C&H Precision Weapons as it provides a more stout recoil lug interface with the red dot sight. However, this plate raises the 507K sight just under 0.1″ which makes the stock sights on the Glock 48 almost unusable as back up iron sights. That wasn’t important to me because I was already planning on replacing the stock sights anyway. However, I thought I would mention it because the stock sights, while still very small, can be used as back up iron sights when the 507K is installed directly on the slide (again assuming the red dot can actually be mounted directly to the Glock 48 slide).
Next order of business was to address the stock ten (10) round capacity that made me hesitant of the Glock 48. Taking a note from Karl, I picked up a three (3) pack of Shield Arms S-15 magazines and a Shield Arms steel magazine catch from Brownells. The S-15 magazines hold fifteen (15) rounds and have the same form factor as the stock ten (10) round Glock magazines. However, Karl noted that he recommends downloading them to fourteen (14) rounds as the magazines may not seat reliably when loading to maximum capacity. Still, fourteen rounds is a 40% capacity increase. I’m not exactly sure how Shield Arms managed to squeeze 50% more rounds in the same sized package, but I suspect it has something to do with the thinner steel body and the lack of the reinforced base plate. Regardless, the additional capacity is a welcome upgrade.
The steel magazine catch is an important upgrade as the steel S-15 magazines will wear out the stock polymer magazine catch quickly. The installation is pretty straight forward and Shield Arms has a very easy to follow installation video available. While I have heard it is possible to remove the latch using only a small screwdriver, I had a hard time with that method and opted to pick up a hook and pick set which made the installation much easier.
One thing to note is that the steel catch upgrade doesn’t work well with the stock Glock magazines, at least in my case. After I installed the steel magazine catch, I checked to see if the stock magazines still interfaced well with the pistol. They felt a bit tight when inserted and wouldn’t slide out freely when the magazine catch was pressed in. This was another thing that I didn’t mind since I’m not planning on using the stock magazines, but it may be a point of concern for folks who have invested in multiple Glock factory magazines for their G48.
The next step was to acquire a holster. Sure, I could taken a minute after installing the dot and addressing the capacity concerns to get the gun out to the range and giving it a fair shake before deciding to invest more into it. However, I’ve previously shot Glock 48s and my intention is to experiment with this gun as a potential defensive carry pistol. To me that means, using the gun while attending a firearms training course and shooting it a few local pistol matches to get a good feel for it. To do that, I need a holster.
There are quite a few custom holster makers that make holsters for the Glock 48 MOS. So the options are plentiful. Not quite as plentiful as options for the ubiquitous Glock 19 and a bit less plentiful than options for the non-MOS Glock 48 which doesn’t have an accessory rail. I was happy to learn that G-Code Holsters makes an Incog Eclipse holster for the Glock 48 MOS since it happens to be one my favorite inside the waistband holsters. As such, I got my hands on one.
The original plan was to stop and run the gun for a good bit after getting a holster in order to decide if I wanted to make additional investments. That didn’t quite pan out. I did spend a good week or so running various dry fire drills with the Glock 48 and learned a few things.
The first thing I learned was that I will need to be careful of my grip as a bad grip from a fast draw is likely to result in some slide bite to my meaty hands. Karl suggested taking a look at the Storm Grip from Sandstorm Precision, which to the best of my knowledge is the only option available in the market right now that can provide an extended beaver tail. The extended beavertail should reduce the chance of slide bite and may help establish a more consistent grip when drawing the pistol from the holster. While I haven’t ruled out trying it, I’m going to wait to see if I need it. since it also increases the distance from the back of the gun to the front of the trigger and therefore alters the “fit of the gun” and the fit is the primary reason for this experiment.
The next lesson learned during dry fire drills is that I don’t care for the stock Glock trigger on the Glock 48 MOS. Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by the triggers on the VP9s and I’ve become a bigger trigger snob than I realized. So once again, I leaned on Karl’s experience with defensive pistols and his Glock 48. Karl suggested taking a look at the Johnny Glocks Evolution X Drop-In Combat Trigger System which happens to be one of the pricier aftermarket Glock triggers. The price gave me pause and after reading a few blog reviews, watching some YouTube reviews, and polling other Glock owners, I decided to heed Karl’s suggestion and pull the trigger on the Johnny Glocks trigger system complete with the striker upgrade and flat face trigger. Once installed, the Glock 48 felt like a completely different beast during dry fire drills.
The final thing I learned from the dry fire drills was that I might pinch the side of my palm closest to the pinky finger during magazine reloads. This is because a small bit of meaty palm hangs out below the bottom of where pistol grip ends. While I haven’t actually pinched my palm between the bottom of the pistol grip and magazine base plate while performing reload drills, I found myself instinctively extending my strong-hand pinky finger to create a little more clearance for the magazine as it approached the magazine well. As such, I decided to pick up and install a flared magazine well from Shield Arms.
At this point, I’m confident the Glock 48 is ready to be put through its paces. If nothing else, it’s going to be a fun experiment. Assuming things go well, backup iron sights and stippling upgrades will follow. Regardless, reviews of the gun, the red dot, and component upgrades will follow shortly. I’ll keep y’all posted.