9mm vs 40 SW - Glocks

A Guide to Glock Barrels

Michael Crites
Michael Crites

Share

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email

Disclosure: We may earn a commission for purchases made through links in this article.

No matter if you are doing a new build from the ground up or are out to upgrade your Glock’s current barrel, you’ll need some guidance. Your Glock’s barrel is one of the most important components of the pistol, and there are lots of things to keep in mind before you add one to a shopping cart somewhere on the dark web, so we are here to help you simplify the prospect of taking your gat from Glock to Gucci.

What to Look for in a Quality Glock Barrel

1. Purpose

Before plunging into the waters of Glock compatible barrels, a depth that can be sometimes murky and deep, you first need to identify the purpose the barrel needs to satisfy.

It may be for general-purpose use, for instance in homebuilding a gun from scratch. Alternatively, it may be so that a suppressor or muzzle device can be utilized– Glock is notorious for not including threaded barrels in their standard catalog.

The new barrel could be the heart of an attempt to accurize the pistol and deliver more performance. Finally, the barrel choice could be cosmetic, ditching the old nitrocarburized Tenifer or ion bonded Melonited carbon steel OEM Glock pipe for something more eye-appealing such as a nice ZEV Optimized Match barrel with a titanium nitride, or TiN, coating that delivers not only vastly upgraded performance but also looks great while doing it.

2. Rifling types

Polygonal Rifling

glock barrels - polygonal rifling
Polygonal rifling is a hallmark of Glock OEM barrels.

Ever since Glock introduced their first-generation G17 models in the early 1980s, the company has incorporated a distinct style of polygonal rifling into their hammer-forged barrels.

While polygonal rifling– which replaces the more traditional sharp “lands and grooves” produced by button or other styles of cut rifling with a more subtle form of “hills and valleys”– is not altogether new to the gun industry (it dates to the days of the super-accurate Whitworth rifle of the Civil War era and is also used by CZ, Heckler & Koch, and Walther today) Glock’s version is unique.

Technically using a female-type semi-polygonal rifling with a conic-shaped crowned muzzle, Glock has always maintained that their style of rifling reduces wear and tear on the barrel due to its “uniform precision” and creates a better bullet-to-barrel fit, thus minimizing barrel residue while yielding consistent and increased bullet velocity which contribute to enhanced accuracy.

Or at least that is the propaganda.

Broach Cut

Broach rifling gets its name from the fact that a multi-blade spiraled cutter (rather than a single blade such as in standard cut rifling) attached to a broach bar is pushed or pulled through a barrel blank to cut the internal rifling grooves in a single pass, which is then lapped.

This creates less stress on the barrel in the process, which helps it maintain strength, and produces remarkably consistent rifling, which in turn trends toward consistent accuracy.

On the downside, it is expensive to do correctly. One of the biggest players in the Glock barrel game, ZEV, extensively uses proprietary broach cut rifling in their products for which they have secured numerous patents.

Button Rifling

Button rifling is so-named due to the use of a bullet-shaped tungsten carbide “button” that is pushed or pulled through a cold barrel blank under tons of pressure, usually while rotating on a bar.

While it leaves a “bright” and crispy internal barrel rifling that doesn’t require lapping such as seen on a broach cut– and is an even more time-consuming process– it can be prohibitively expensive to produce.

However, companies that use it contend their match-grade barrels are superior to anything else on the market in terms of achievable accuracy. Button rifling is most used by makers such as KKM Precision.

3. Construction

glock barrels - SAAMI spec
Any and all Glock barrels you consider should use SAAMI spec chambers

Keep an eye on both the materials and processes used in the creation of prospective barrels. All should use SAAMI spec chambers (check with the manufacturer if you are unsure) unless they have been cut to a custom chambering to accommodate a specific bullet type or profile.

Glock’s factory barrels are hammer forged carbon steel with a nitrocarburized finish, which is fine for general purpose use and are a staple with military and police customers, while some other barrel makers offer more high-end 416R stainless steel barrels.

Many argue the factory barrels have a greater life span while stainless brings more accuracy to the game, a key facet for 3Gun, IDPA, or USPSA competition shooters.

4. Compatibility

glock barrels comparison
A 20-year-old Glock 19 Gen 3 factory barrel compared to a two-year-old Glock 19 GMB/Gen 5 barrel. While they look identical to the naked eye, the GMB has what Glock bills as "enhanced" rifling, is about .005 inches longer (as is the corresponding G19 Gen 5 slide) and uses a target match crown. While the barrel of a Gen 5 G19 could theoretically be used with an earlier Gen 3 or Gen 4 frame and slide, it could have a funny fit that may prove unreliable. Likewise, a Gen 5 G19 slide will not work on an earlier generation G19 without modification.

There is a world of difference between legacy Glock pistols (Gen 1, 2, 3, and 4/4.5 guns) and newer (Gen 5) models in terms of barrel fit.

The Gen 5 guns, designed to be used with the new Glock Marksman Barrel or GMB, use a slightly different locking block as well as an improved and gently longer recoil spring assembly.

On such 5th Generation guns, Glock also homogenized their locking lug pattern across every model in the series with the one previously seen on the G19, rather than have two separate block types for compact/subcompact and full-sized frames.

In short, this means barrels, both aftermarket and factory, fall into “Gen 5” and “everything else” categories as far as compatibility with a handful of exceptions.

Going past this dividing line when selecting a barrel, be on the lookout for barrels that are billed as having an easy end drop-in fit design that allows for user installation without extensive fitting, filing, or a visit to your local gunsmith. 

5. Twist Rate

Glock, in their factory barrels, utilizes a rounded interior profile with their “polygonal” rifling in either 6-groove (hexagonal)– in the case of .380ACP, 9mm, .357 SIG, 10mm, and .40 S&W chamberings– or 8-groove (octagonal)– in the case of .45 ACP and .45 GAP– formats.

These OEM barrels have either a 1:9.84 inch or 1:15.75-inch length of twist, respectively. When it comes to the .22LR caliber Glock Model 44, it uses a hexagonal rifling with a 1:15.98-inch twist rate to stabilize the little rimfire bullet.

Many aftermarket barrels are comparable to this, or use simpler 1:10 and 1:16 rates akin to Glock’s standard, while others use hybrid twists. For example, some of ZEV’s broach cut 9mm G19 and G17 barrels use a slower 1:14 left-hand twist rifling the manufacturer says was developed to create “the most accurate Glock aftermarket barrel available.”

6. Threaded Barrels

The purpose of having an extended (reaches past the slide) threaded barrel on a Glock is to screw something onto it, be it a sound suppressor, some sort of cleaning device, or a muzzle compensator.

With that in mind, the thread pitch to match up the barrel with the device being used are not always the same. Common 9mm and .357 SIG caliber Glock-pattern barrels use a 1/2x28TPI pitch rate for suppressors and pistons (or even 13.5mmX1 LH metric for European-style suppressors) but this can sometimes change to the less-frequently seen 9/16x32TPI for use with compensators as it allows mounting those devices as close as possible to the slide, a consideration not needed with suppressors/silencers.

In the same vein, 10mm and .40S&W Glock barrels meant for suppressors will typically use a 9/16×24TPI pitch while .45ACPs will have either a .578×28 or 5/8×32 depending on the maker.

The key takeaway from this: make sure the thread pitch on the device(s) you intend to use on your threaded barrel match up before you find out the hard way that they are incompatible.

7. Glock OEM Barrels

glock barrels - OEM Barrels
It's hard to go wrong with selecting a Glock-made OEM barrel, especially if the gun will be a general-purpose pistol.

If doing a home build on a Glock-compatible frame and slide, it is hard to go wrong with selecting a Glock-made OEM barrel, especially if the gun will be a general-purpose pistol. Going past Glock’s standard as-issued barrels that come with their handguns straight from the factory, the company has in the past released standalone threaded barrels for the Gen 3/4 and Gen 5 G17, G19, and G23 handguns.

They are often difficult to get but if you can find them floating around, they are hard to beat for users just wanting to mount a suppressor or muzzle device while keeping as original equipment as possible. 

Glock also offers what is likely the best threaded barrel currently on the market for the G44, the company’s .22LR plinker/trainer. While it uses a European style M9 x .75 RH thread pitch, it comes with a 1/2x28TPI adapter for common American-style cans as well.

A direct-thread 1/2×28 would be ideal and eliminates the potential for an adapter to work loose with extensive use, but there are few reliable aftermarket offerings for the G44 currently, leaving the Glock factory option as the people’s champ in that category.

The Best Threaded Glock Barrels

1. Glock OEM G44 Kit (Model 50480)

Glock made every plinkers’ day when they released the .22LR caliber G44 a couple of years ago but then rained on it by not having it ship with a threaded barrel already installed (unlike budget competitors like the Taurus TX22). To atone for that, the company has a good, albeit European pattern, threaded Gen 5 GMB barrel.

On the plus side, it has a 1/2x28TPI thread adapter included so you don’t have to shop for that separately. 

2. Griffin ATM

Griffin Armament’s Advanced Threaded Match 9mm barrels deliver to the market a versatile line that includes not only legacy Gen 3/4 compatible models but also a line for Gen 5 variants as well.

Made from billet 416R pre-hardened chromium stainless steel with a SAAMI-spec chamber and black nitride finish, they use 1:10-inch twist broach cut rifling and a standardized 1/2x28TPI thread pitch. As a bonus, Griffin also supplies many of their ATM barrels with the company’s (removable) low-profile Micro Carry Comp muzzle device that is optimized for use on carry guns.

3. SilencerCo

Utah-based SilencerCo is one of the most household of names in the suppressor business, so it makes sense that their line of threaded barrels for Glock pattern pistols is an easy choice for those who want some quiet time.  They are made from 416R stainless steel and available with a black nitride or natural stainless-steel finish.

These fit both Gen 3 and Gen 4 Glocks with 9mm barrels having standard 1/2×28 threads, while the .45 ACP barrel runs a .578×28 pitch. 

The Best Glock Match Barrels

1. Lone Wolf

Made by Lone Wolf, the Alpha Wolf series of drop-in match-grade Glock barrels are designed with accuracy in mind.

Best yet, they run lead, plated, or jacketed ammunition. Heat-treated to a Rockwell Hardness of 40-42, then salt bath nitride coated to have a black finish, they are available in for most common Gen 3/4 Glock models including the subcompact G26 and G27 “Baby Glocks” and the .45ACP G41 longslide, the latter in both standard and threaded (.578×28 pitch) variants. 

2. Battle Arms Development

Battlearms Development’s Battlearms one 9mm Glock pattern barrels are both fluted and threaded (1/2x28TPI) while being produced in what the company describes as a “revolutionary machining process where one machine comprehensively machines every part of the barrel from the beginning to the end” that yields ultra-precise single-point cut rifling from almost a hundred minuscule cuts.

This gives them an incredibly uniform 1:10 twist rate with a deviation of less than .0001-inch from groove depth to groove depth.

They offer the Battlearms One for Glock 19/19Xs of all generations, even Gen 5.

3. Faxon Firearms

Faxon’s Flame Match drop-in Glock barrel is constructed of triple stress-relieved 416R stainless steel, has a SAAMI-spec chamber, and, in 9mm models, uses a 1:10-inch twist.

With both black nitrided and PVD options available, they look as good as they shoot plus, since they use conventional cut rifling, they are good to go with unjacketed training rounds. Their profile makes them compatible with Gen 1-4 model Glocks.

4. KKM Precision

If you have just about any model of Glock and are looking for a solid barrel that will deliver, Nevada’s KKM Precision likely has you covered.

They make drop-in match-grade barrels for no less than 19 different Glock models in a staggering variety of styles and types. As an example, just in G19 Gen 3/4 and/or Gen 5 compatible variants, they have options for threaded barrels in both 9/16x32TPI and 1/2x28TPI thread pitches, or with a factory-installed 4-port compensator.

Made from top quality certified 416R stainless steel that has been vacuum tempered to a Rockwell Hardness of 42, KKM uses fully supported SAAMI spec match chambers and a proprietary button rifling process.

5. Wilson Combat

Known for producing some of the best guns on the planet when it comes to practical accuracy and performance down range, Wilson Combat produces a small line of match barrels for Gen 1-4 Glocks, specifically for G17 and G21 (.45ACP) models.

Precision machined from 416 stainless steel; they are slightly oversize in the lockup area to tighten some of the notorious slop out of the slide-to-barrel fit of OEM barrels but are still billed as being “drop-in.” They use conventional rifling which gives them great performance with both lead heads as well as jacketed bullets.

The Best General Purpose Glock Barrels

1. Brownells

No slouch when it comes to delivering high-quality components to the firearms market, Brownells has an in-house branded line of Glock pattern drop-in match barrels for the Gen 1-4 handguns.

Machined from hardened 416R stainless steel and 6-groove button-rifled at a 1:10-inch twist for 9mm models such as the G17 and G19, they are black nitrided and available in both threaded and non-threaded versions with both utilizing an 11-degree target crown. Plus, they are imminently affordable. 

2. Grey Ghost Precision

Using a proprietary 6-groove 1:10 twist rate, Grey Ghost makes both Gen 3/4 and Gen 5 G19 barrels that drop in and have a match-grade 9mm SAMMI spec chamber and a final dimension of +/- 0.003 inches.

Made from 416R stainless steel, they are usually seen wearing a black nitrided finish for those quiet nights.

The Best Looking Glock Barrels

1. Agency Arms

AA’s Midline series of user-replaceable fluted Glock barrels are offered in TiN Gold, a beautiful black Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC), and stainless finishes. Made of 416R stainless steel, their 9mm barrels for Gen 1-4 G17s use pull broached rifling with a 1:10 twist rate and leave for work with optimized feed ramps and a flush-cut reverse muzzle crown.

They also offer them with 1/2×28 TPI threads for those so inclined. 

2. Ed Brown

Offering drop-in barrels for Gen 4 9mm Glock Model 17s, custom gun builder Ed Brown has premium quality models that offer a tighter lockup without custom fitting.

In addition to being threaded (1/2x28TPI) they feature a 1:16-inch twist, which is different from most competitors.

They also feature Ed Brown’s distinct Tread fluting and are available in standard black nitride, a gold titanium nitride, and a head-turning multi-colored iridescent blue-to-gold finish that EB labels as “Spectrum.”

3. CMC

CMC Triggers’ Match Precision drop-in barrels are made to strict tolerances for some of the most popular Glock 9mm Gen 3 and 4 models including the G17, G19, and G34.

Using cut rifling and a 1:10-inch twist, they are double-honed to provide the smoothest bore possible, with tolerances reportedly held to five ten-thousandths of an inch. Going past nitrided black finishes, CMC offers these beauties in TiCN Bronze and stainless as well with options including 1/2x28TPI thread pitches and lightened barrel flutes.

Regardless, they are bead blasted for a satin finish and use match-grade SAMMI chambers.

4. L2D Combat

With finishes such as Chameleon, Titanium Nitride gold, and Bronze in addition to the otherwise more sedate nitrided black and brushed stainless, L2D Combat’s line of precision match fluted barrels for popular Glocks such as the Gen 3/4 G19 look great.

Made of U.S. sourced 416R chromium stainless steel with a Rockwell Hardness in the 38-42 range and using a broach cut hex (6-groove) 1:10-inch RH twist with a target crown on the muzzle, they also deliver downrange.

5. ZEV V2

ZEV Technologies’ V2 optimized match threaded barrels are breathtaking in appearance and satisfying in performance. Using a proprietary 1:14 LH twist “developed to create the most accurate Glock aftermarket barrel available,” they are constructed from 416R stainless steel with precision cut chambers and rifling.

Available for Glock 17s and 19s of all generations– yes, even Gen 5– ZEV’s V2s come in black nitride as well as bronze TiN with stylized barrel hoods to let everyone know immediately how you roll. 

Shortcomings

Glock-style pistols in the past two decades have become so widespread, modular, and popular that, besides the parent company, an entire industry has grown up around the gun. This includes big-name accessory and parts makers such as Lone Wolf and ZEV– who even market complete custom Glock-pattern builds– to much smaller shops, all cranking out widely dissimilar goods that range across the quality spectrum.

Value, when it comes to so many competitors, is also on a sliding scale with numerous barrels available for close to the same price point, setting up the pitfall that you could very well get a barrel of much higher quality for the same cost as a mediocre one, or vice versa, depending on the research done before the purchase.

With that in mind, try to stick to the more established barrel makers who have earned good reputations at the hands of consumers and the “Glock tribe” at large. Consider joining established owner groups such as the 22-year-old 155K member Glock Talk  or the decade-old 46K member Glock Forum to get feedback from the community and learn from their mistakes and successes.

Parting shots

While most pistols have few, if any, aftermarket barrel options to sample from, those looking for Glock barrels face a fully charged firehose of great offerings that they must decipher.

Yes, there are some more lackluster barrel options lurking around out there that can leave the user unimpressed, and Glock’s OEM barrels have a good reputation for accuracy and durability, but aftermarket barrels that stand ready as truly excellent upgrades are just a click away. 

More gunsmithing & accessories

pistol-lights-cover-alt

The Best Pistol Lights

A pistol light is only a tool; the question is what task you have in mind, what you want in one and what you’re willing

urban carry logo

The Best Urban Carry Holsters

What are the best Urban Carry Holsters? We break down the take a look at this holster brand, provide a breakdown of their top models, and highlight some great options.

level 4 body armor - cover

The Best Level 4 Body Armor

Gunfights are generally bad news for all involved, but while many gun owners plan and prepare fairly well for the offensive aspects of a fight

what is tannerite - cover alt

What is Tannerite?

A Guide to America’s Favorite Binary Target Marker Variously described as shot indicators, reactive targets, or a target marker, Tannerite has been around for over

Read more gun & gear reviews: