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Glock Grip Force Adapter

9/21/12 - The Grip Force Adapter has been out for a while now, and after hearing good things about it, I decided to try it earlier this year. The GFA is a small polymer piece that installs onto the grip tang area of a Glock pistol, slightly altering the grip angle and adding a grip tang that protects the firing hand. It's available to fit generations 1 through 4 of Glock models.

The issue - Note that the following is my own opinion, which might differ from other people's. I'm not any kind of expert shooter; I'm just relating what I've discovered/observed for myself. For some, grip angle is a non-issue. For others, it is.

A pistol's grip angle is the angle that the bore (barrel) makes with the grip. Different pistols have slightly different grip angles, as do people. A person's natural grip angle when the hand is not purposely directed up or down, nor left and right in relation to the fore arm. When you point with your index finger straight out (your hand is normally horizontal when you do that), then rotate the hand vertically with the finger still pointing straight out, the angle between your outstretched finger and the imaginary line 'grasped' by the rest of the fingers would be your natural grip angle. If the grip angle on a pistol differs from this, it'll either point high or low, in relation to your natural grip.

So, not all people have the same grip angle, but most people fall within a certain range. What does grip angle matter when we have articulating wrists and can easily change our grip angle to accommodate different handguns? I've shot many different handguns and was still able to line up the sights and hit the target, no matter what the grip angle. The time that it matters, I've found, is under stress and when you speed things up; not so much during slow fire.

If you point your finger quickly at something, you'll find that your index finger is naturally pretty much in line with your fore arm. It's consistent; in the dark, in bright light, under stress/no stress etc. With a pistol, the closer the grip angle matches your natural grip angle, the less you'll have to compensate by moving your hand up or down to get the sights to line up.

With the Glock, I've found that the pistol usually points high relative to my natural grip angle. This is true for both compact and full size Glocks for me. It's worse with the compact size because the 'hump' is higher up. Pointing high isn't necessarily a bad thing, as I index on the front sight then line up the back. It's better than having the front sight too low. Where I started to notice it more was when I mounted a mini red dot sight on the slide. I'd punch the gun out from the draw, and usually have to bring the front down to find the dot. Of course, the point can be made that with enough practice, I'd eventually have the muscle memory to punch it out with a slight wrist correction every time. But, given the choice, I'd rather have the grip angle as close as possible to my natural grip angle. This is where the Grip Force Adapter comes in.

Grip Force Adapter - The GFA is the result of extensive testing and input from leading industry's shooters and trainers. The GFA changes the grip angle on Glock pistols to improve its pointability, provide better control and provide an extended grip tang for better protection of the firing hand. There are currently three models; the original Gen 123 adapter, the newer Gen 123 SC (Smooth Contour) adapter, and the Gen 4 adapter. The Gen 123 SC is included with all orders of the original Gen 123 adapter.

The GFA has several design elements/benefits, as detailed on their website. The lower section fills in the contour on the backstrap of the Glock, above the 'hump'. This changes the grip angle, and for many shooters, improves the shootability of the pistol. The extended grip tang covers the small frame tang on the Glock, and provides additional protection for shooters with larger hands from contacting the bottom of the slide during firing. It also prevents part of a glove from straying over the tang and intefering with the slide's backwards motion. The larger tang also adds control during rapid fire by providing leverage against the firing hand. Lastly, the enhanced grip texture on the lower portion helps lock the pistol in the shooter's grip.

In the photos below, you can see the differences between the original and SC versions of the GFA. The original is longer, and has the vertical ridges on the backstrap web, whereas that area is smooth on the SC. The Grip Force Adapters are engineered to be as thin as possible while still maintaining their structural integrity.


Original and SC GFAs

Black and FDE

Original on G17

SC version on same G17

Original version


The Grip Force Adapters are installed onto the Glock pistol by removing the trigger mechanism housing pin from the back strap area of the frame with a Glock tool or punch. This is replaced with a longer pin, which engages the retention holes on the GFAs. The new pin is installed into the frame with a slightly larger portion sticking out of the left side of the frame. The GFA is installed with the retention hole over the extended portion of the pin. The right side of the GFA is then pressed against the frame and the right side hole allowed to engage over the pin sticking out the right side. When it's engaged, the portion of the pin sticking out the left side is carefully tapped in, so that there's an equal amount of pin showing on either side of the GFA. The tricky part was getting the GFA hole to slip over and engage the pin on the right side, as it's a tight fit, and requires some squeezing of the GFA into the backstrap. I was eventually able to install the GFAs, and tried them out on both G17 and G19 frames that I have.

The Grip Force Adapters can easily be modified using sandpaper by the user. Modification by the user to accommodate individual needs is actually encouraged by the company. The Grip Force website has a gallery showing GFAs that have been smoothed out or cut shorter by users, depending on their preference.


SC version

Tang on SC version

Original on modified frame

Tang on original


Observations and notes - I have two G19s and two full size frames, which is use with G17, G34 and G24 slides. Both my G19s and one G17 frame are modified on the back strap; while the RTF2 frame has no backstrap mods. I had the grip reduction done on my G19 by Cold Bore Customs, which got rid of the hump so the backstrap is flat, changing the grip angle, so no GFA was needed on that pistol. I had taken too much material off my other G19 for the GFA to fit tightly, so that wasn't going to work. Both the original Gen 123 and SC adapters fit on my two G17 frames, so I tried them out with both adapter. On the frame without the rails, which I had modified myself, I preferred the feel of the Gen 123. On the RTF2 frame, the SC worked better. Both, however, improved the feel both pistols.

I performed an unscientific experiment to see what kind of difference the GFA made. I put on a holster, kept my eyes closed, and drew the pistol and presented it, then opened my eyes to observe where the pistol's sights ended up. As mentioned before, the pistol usually pointed high. With the Grip Force Adapters installed, the front and rear sights lined up much better naturally, requiring almost no correction to the wrist angle. Then, using a target on a wall (with an unloaded pistol of course), I practiced getting on target from the draw. With the red dot equipped G17, before I installed the grip adapter, and using my 'natural wrist angle', when I presented the pistol, I'd always have to dip the pistol down to acquire the dot. With the grip adapter, the dot appeared in the window of the sight much quicker and more consistently.

At the range, I felt that the GFAs helped me absorb more recoil than before. I have small hands, and adding thickness to the grip wasn't something I thought would help me at all. However, the slightly wider tang and backstrap web of the GFA helps distribute the force better than a narrower grip. Plus, the GFA was thin enough that even with my small hands, I didn't have any issues shooting or manipulating the pistols. The little raised grip squares on the lower portion of the GFAs are grippier than the molding on the Glock frame. This improves grip, especially with gloves.

The Grip Force Adapter is probably the least expensive improvement to the Glock that you can make, and well worthit in my humble opinion.




TangoDown/Vickers Tactical Slide Racker GSR-03

4/8/17 - The Vickers Tactical Slide Racker GSR-03 is another collaborative effort between Vickers Tactical and TangoDown Inc, adding to their line of Glock accessories. It follows on the heels of their GSR-01 Slide Racker for the single-stack Glock 42, and is available for the Glock 17/19/22/23/26/27/34/35 models.

The Vickers Tactical Slide Racker GSR-01, was developed for the slim, single-stack Glock 42, as it was found that the slide was sometimes difficult to grasp and cycle under some circumstances. Unlike some 'tactical' slide rackers that stick out too far and are more suited to competition than practical use, the GSR series are more similar to the 'charging supports/cocking aids' on the HK VP9, which are plastic 'ears' located at the rear of the slide. They are quite subtle, and provide just the right amount of additional traction to increase the ease in which the the rear of the slide is grabbed. The GSR-02 was then developed for the Glock 43. The next logical step was to make one for the larger 9mm/.40 models, and the result is the GSR-03 shown here.

The GMSR-03 is made of the same glass reinforced nylon that the OEM slide cover plate is made of; with the same stainless steel insert. TangoDown found that using harder materials (like aluminum) could cause the polymer spacer sleeve that retains the slide cover plate to wear under recoil, and round the edges, which might cause the slide plate to slip off. TangoDown thus ensures that they stick to OEM polymer specs. The GSR-03 extends slightly past the end of the slide in the rear, and wraps around the corners. It's wider than the OEM plate, as it adds two small 'wings' on each side. The front surface of the wings are angled about 45° and have vertical serrations. To install the GSR-03, you push in the spacer sleeve like you would normally do, and slide the GSR-03 up until it stops. You then use a small round object like a Glock tool, allen wrench etc to depress the extractor spring loaded bearing, and push the GSR-03 up until it snaps in place. To remove it, you just depress the spacer sleeve like normal and slide the GSR-03 down and off. All edges and corners are smooth and rounded, and don't feel uncomfortable against the bare skin for inside-the-waistband carry.


GSR-03 and OEM

GSR-03 vs OEM


The view from the rear takes a bit of getting used to, as it's slightly wider and also overhangs the top rear of the frame. I'd sometimes think for a split second that the slide didn't go into fill battery. As mentioned before; the 'wings' are subtle, but they really do make a difference. I didn't find the wings large enough to serve well as cocking aids by putting them against a table edge or belt, althought it can be done. The taper makes them slip off unless a lot of force is used to push them against the edge. That makes me pretty confident that they won't snag and pull back the slide unintentionally. I feel that the rear sight is a better option for one-handed charging off an object. Whether you use a pinch grip or slingshot method to charge the weapon, the GSR-03 adds just enough additional purchase to make a big difference when the slide is slippery. It will also benefit those who don't have a very strong pinch grip and have trouble with their fingers slipping off the back of the slide when charging the pistol. Considering its low price and how beneficial it can be, I consider the GSR-03 a must-have for any Glock. It's available in Black or Glock Tan.

Also available in Glock Tan

XS F8 Night Sights

5/18/18 - XS Sights, well known for their Big Dot/ V rear bladed sights have introduced a more 'conventional' set, called the F8 Night Sights. The F8 Night Sights are a high profile set with wide notch in the rear and large coloured front sight ring to increase front sight focus and visibility.

XS Sights, as the company is now named, has gone through name changes over the years, starting out with Ashley R&D, and including Ashley Outdoors, Inc; AO Sight Systems, and Express Sight Systems. They have made a name for themselves with their shallow V-style rear blade with vertical white stripe, combined with a highly visible 'big dot' front sight. That sight system was developed for speed of user acquisition under all sorts of light and stress conditions. While not primarily designed as target sights, a shooter can still make accurate, long shots with the system if they know how the system works.

The F8 Night Sights are a deviation from their signature V-style rear, and combine a large front dot with a wide notch rear. Here's a list of some of the design features from XS for the F8 Night Sights:

Sight Picture – Figure 8
Figure 8 design to reduce the number of focus points vs. 3-dot sights; the inline sight pictures reduce the time spent on windage and can’t be mixed up in low light.
3-dot sights can draw too much attention to the rear sight in low light from the added tritium vial.

Front Sight
Large 0.160” wide post - offers greater surface area to reflect light back to the eye; decreasing the time to find the front sight off the draw.
The larger surface area absorbs more light, aiding in low light visibility.
Photo Luminescent Ring - Absorbs light and glows in low light levels. This technology is ideal for proper low techniques using a high lumen hand held light. Brief burst of light when flashing the target down range will activate the photo luminescent ring, giving the shooter a bigger glowing front sight. UV light absorption aids shooters who have drawn their weapon and are moving from a bright light environment to a low light environment, such as building clearing.
Height - F8 sights are taller versus most other night sights on the market. The added height is from the increase circumference of the front dot, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory minimum steel surrounding standards, and to accommodate fitting long slides and compact slides that use the sight sets. The added height helps find the front sight faster when presenting the firearm.
The sights still fit most holsters from major brands such as Safariland and Blade Tech (a full list will be published on their website).

Rear Sight
Rear Sight Ledge
- Aids in one-handed slide manipulations.
Wide Notch - Increases the amount of light around the front sight for greater visibility in low light. Provides unobstructed view of the front sight; increasing the speed of front sight acquisition
Overhung Angle - Reduces light glare.

Measured dimensions for Glock 17,19,22-24,26,27,31-36,38 only:
Height - Front: .280", Rear .300"
Front sight width: .160". Rear notch width .195"

Description (applies to Glock sight shown)

The package contains red thread locker, a front sight installation tool, and a small hex wrench for the rear sight lock screws.
Front sight - The front sight is .280" tall and .160" wide with a rounded/beveled front, and features a highly visible orange ring designed for maximum visibility in bright to low light levels. The ring is also photoluminescent, which absorbs ambient light and glows in the dark for a limited time. It can be 'charged' up with a quick flash from a bright flash light. The ring encircles the green tritium vial, which does not need charging and will glow in low light to provide sight alignment. A front sight tool is supplied in the package.
Rear sight - The beefy rear sight is .300" tall, with angled sides and a wide .195" notch. There is a single tritium vial under the notch. The rear is overhung to reduce sight glare in bright daylight. The notch has slightly rounded corners - I wouldn't call it a U-notch, but it's not completely square either. The front of the rear is vertical to aid in one-handed slide manipulations. In addition to being a press-fit; the rear sight also has two set screws to lock it in place, accessed through two small holes in the top. A tiny hex wrench comes in the package.

Package contents

Installation tools

I started using Warren Tactical sights about 12 years ago, and since then, they've been my go-to sights on my Glocks. I liked the angled/tapered rear with flat-bottomed U notch. I tried the 10-8 rear sight with round U-notch, but didn't like it as much as the flat-U, so switched all my 10-8 rears to Warrens. I also didn't like the horizontal serrations on the non-overhung 10-8 sight; I found that sometimes they'd catch light and be more distracting than not under some lighting angles. The F8 rear is tall; almost as tall as the suppressor sights I have on my G17 with RMR, but not quite tall enough to be used with an RMR. I've illustrated the F8 rear below, alongside the Warren and 10-8 rears.

At .160" wide, the F8 front has a big, visible dot. It's got an orange ring surrounding a tritium vial. While the hue of the orange ring isn't as 'day glo/intense' as the orange ring on the Trijicon HD XR front, the F8 ring has photoluminescent particles in it so that it gets 'charged' by ambient light, absorbs it, and depending on the 'charge', will glow in the dark while it slowly loses its brightness. The tritium dot glows green without charging needed. It's also a tall front sight, at .280", so combined with the width makes for a beefy front. It practically dwarves the Warren and Trijicon HD XR fronts I have (which is my currrent favourite combo for my G19).

Installation on my Glock 34 slide wasn't any more difficult than other rears I've installed. I did a bit of minor fitting and was able to tap the rear into place with a polymer rod. The front installed easily. I used the thread locker on the front but didn't use any on the rear. I laser bore-sighted it in, and tightened the rear set screws down.

Some rear sight comparisons

Warren vs. F8 front

Trijicon HD XR front

Installed on G34 slide

Bore sighting

Observation and notes - Okay, initial impressions: The F8 sights seem to be built like a tank. The F8 front sight is bigger than any I've owned, and the rear notch is also wider. What does that translate to? Easier for my older eyes to see. I've been near-sighted just about my whole adult life, and I have trouble focusing clearly on the front sight nowadays. Therefore, it's harder for me to place the front precisely in the rear notch than it was when I was younger. When I swapped out some of my older Warren tactical front sights with dirty white ring with the bright, new Trijicon HD XR, I found that it made a big difference. I still shoot pistols with no dots, but while I can be accurate with them, I'm not fast.

I checked my G34 with F8 sights in all the Glock holsters I had (mostly G-code, Safariland and some other kydex manufacturers), and they all accomodated the taller front sight. The Safariland holster had the least amount of clearance in the sight track.

As I mentioned before, the orange ring on the F8 front sight isn't quite as saturated as the orange on the Trijicon HD XR, but still beats the old white ring hands down for visibility. The wide notch on the rear also allows a lot of light on either side of the front blade, and this can be helpful in lower light conditions. Note that the relative size of the front sight to the rear will change slightly depending on the sight radius of the pistol you're mounting it on. The front sight is going to look bigger in the rear on a short Glock 26 vs the longer G34 or long slide G24. Also note that the same sight set is sold for those pistols, and do not account for minor elevation changes between them.

I snapped some pictures of the F8 sights alongside my G19, which has a Trijicon HD XR front combined with a Warren Tactical rear with single tritium dot. Essentially a very similar set up to the F8 sights. I've found that I prefer the 'straight 8' configuration to having two dots in the rear. As XS says, it's less confusing, and a simpler sight picture. I have an orange tritium dot for the rear Warren Tactical sight, which further prevents any confusion as to which dot is front or rear. As you can see in the comparison picture (showing bright light, low light, and no light), the sight picture of the F8 sights are 'bigger' in all ways - taller, larger dots, more light on the sides of the blade. It's totally up to individual preference and needs whether that works better or not. The phosphorescent ring surrounding the tritium vial on the F8 front does help to differentiate it from the rear. Having an orange rear tritium dot would be nice.

The F8 sights are zeroed at 25 yards POA/POI for height. At an indoor range, I used a lollipop hold at 50 ft to shoot the target shown below. Windage was good enough not to warrant any adjustment, and elevation is where I'd want it to be. It's more difficult for me to split the target into top and bottom half, so I prefer holding right below it.

My G19 setup vs. the F8 on the G34

Different light conditions

POA vs POI at 50 ft

Outdoors, the F8s are definitely more 'visible' than my standard black target sights, which is to be expected. Whether or not they're 'better' than my G19 illustrated above with Trijicon/Warren combo, it was hard to tell. The F8 sights are larger overall, so in that sense, they're easier for my old eyes to see - bigger dot, more space between the blade. On the other hand, I found it a bit easier to be more precise with the narrower Trijicon HD XR blade on smaller targets, but I'm not sure I was faster. I was already used to the pyramid-like tapered rear from years of shooting with the Warren Tacticals, so the F8's presented a similar sight picture. I didn't have a chance to do timed drills. I did appreciate the slight overhang on the rear of the front sight - no glare coming off it for a nice, clean sight picture. One-handed slide-racking off gear is made easy with the tall rear.

The bottom line is that sight selection is largely personal; some people don't like U-notches, some prefer them. Some like larger dots, some smaller. If there was one thing I'd want to change on the F8 sights; it'd be to have an orange tritium vial in the rear for even better discernment between the front and rear dots. XS did consider that of course, but cost increases with the coloured vials and tritium half-life is reduced from 10-12 years for green to 6-8 years for orange. As I get older though, and have more trouble focusing on the front sight due to presbyopia (normal loss of near focusing ability that occurs with age), my needs have definitely changed. While plain old black sights with no dots and a narrow blade served me well in my younger days, not so much now. High-visibility sights like the F8's are what I need and prefer now. Under stressful conditions in varying light conditions, the same might apply, and the F8s are a well-made, high-quality option worth looking at.




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