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Glock Upgrade: Rival Arms

A few months ago, I had the bug to upgrade a Glock pistol. The simple, reliable, and stalwart Glock has never failed and given good service for many years. With an extra Glock 17 and an outdated Glock 17 L (replaced by the Glock 34), I felt that I might bring a bit of excitement into my shooting time with a simple upgrade or two. A primary concern was a new barrel that would be compatible with lead bullet loads.

Glock 17 pistol with Rival Arms gold barrel

If a Glock can have bling, this is it.

I am an enthusiastic handloader, and that means hard cast bullets. Economy is real, and the right load is quite accurate. Lead bullets are not suited to Glock’s polygonal barrels. There are advantages in velocity and accuracy to the Glock’s polygonal rifling—hexagonal as they call it in the Generation 5 guns. However, for those using lead bullets polygonal rifling is a drawback.

Polygonal rifling is shallow. There is nowhere for lead to build up. As a result, the lead simply coats the barrel. This drives pressure up and the result is a blown cartridge case head—at a minimum. While some have gotten by with very hard cast bullets—hard cast isn’t the same as soft lead—you must look hard at the safety factor. If you wish to use thousands of lead bullets in practice for economy, then the conventionally rifled barrel will result in an amortization of expense at some point.

I found the Rival Arms custom barrel at Cheaper Than Dirt! for $15 to $50 less than any other outlet as of 2/15/19. No surprise there. As time went on, I decided to add a Rival Arms slide as well. It is well machined with slide windows and cuts for standard Glock parts. You will need the LWD 9 Slide Kit from Lone Wolf to complete this. You could strip your old slide, but then again, you may want to use it to build another Glock.

Close up of a Glock pistol showing the slide cuts and gold Rival Arms barrel

This is a sexy beast!

The slide, kit, and barrel went together without any type of hitch. Fitting was excellent—no need to file anything. The barrel is suppressor ready, and while I have no plans for a can at the moment, well, who knows what the future brings?

Rival is an up and coming company that has been devoted to individuals who demand more. Rivals Arms motto is more accuracy and more performance, because sometimes standard equipment just isn’t good enough. Rival Arms uses a coalition of machinists and designers and coaters to provide you with the highest quality products possible. This particular barrel is made from 416R Stainless Steel and precision polished and treated with premium coatings.

Specifications and Features

Rival Arms Replacement Barrel RA20G102C
Match-Grade Precision
Drop In Barrel
1:10″ Twist Rate
6 Groove Rifling
Threaded 1/2×28
CNC Machined from 416R Stainless Steel Billet
Superior Corrosion Resistance/Durability
Low Temperature Vacuum PVD Coating
Durable Barrier Against Wear/Tear
Borslick Boron Nitride DCD (Dynamic Compound Deposition) Inner bore treatment
Resist Heat/Carbon Build Up Inside Barrel
Target Crown Muzzle
Individually Hand Inspected For Accuracy
No Gunsmith Required
Limited Lifetime Warranty
Bronze Finish

I used the Ameriglo Suppressor height sights but did not use the Tritium sight option. I wanted a relatively thin blade for accuracy potential. After using the thin front sight and confirming it is good for target shooting, I would recommend the tritium insert option for all around use. Also, I added an O-ring between the barrel threads and suppressor protector of the Rival Arms barrel. This makes removing the protector easier. It must be screwed off each time the pistol is disassembled.

There is a means of fitting match grade Glock barrels. This set up required no fitting. The slide and barrel required a slight break-in period, handled with 9mm FMJ ammunition. No surprises there—custom grade parts often need a break in. One hundred rounds in and the occasional failure to fully go into battery stopped. More than 400 cartridges later, the piece is reliable and more than accurate enough for any chore—and the cool factor is huge!

As for absolute accuracy, I am using a standard frame and trigger. I have fired quite a number of Winchester’s 115-grain ‘white box’ FMJ loads during the past week. Accuracy is good for training use.

I also fired from a solid bench rest with two first class defense loads. The first, Winchester’s 147-grain JHP, is among the most accurate service loads available. This load breaks 950 fps, is easily controlled, and offers good penetration. The Rival Arms and Winchester combination put five rounds into just less than two inches.

Another outstanding defense load is the Winchester PDX, a 124-grain +P. This number breaks 1,203 fps. Expansion is excellent. This one broke 2.1 inches at 25 yards. This is an improvement over standard Glock accuracy and it is done with a degree of class.

Have you tried one of Rival Arms barrels? What is your favorite Glock upgrade? Share your answers in the comment section.

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The mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!’s blog, “The Shooter’s Log,” is to provide information-not opinions-to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Source: Cheaper Than Dirt

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