One of the side benefits of taking classes is the opportunity that sometimes presents itself to sample someone else’s gear. Students show up to classes with all sort of gear—some good, some not so good—and I have found members of the community in such venues to be very open and accommodating when it comes to letting others try things out. For someone like me who did not grow up in some type of “gun culture” and who today has few nearby friends who share the mindset, classes can provide that opportunity. So it was that I fired my first .308 semi-automatic rifle, first looked through a low-power variable optic scope, shot a Glock equipped with an RMR, handled an AR pistol equipped with a LawTac folder, and handled a shotgun equipped with a Magpul stock, all while attending classes.
Though I had handled and even fired Glocks that had had their frames stippled, one special opportunity to handle such customized work came this past summer at the Rangemaster Three Day Handgun Instructor Course. Probably due to the “serious” nature of the students in this class, there were a number of students who had had their firearms professionally customized. Thus, I got to handle Glock frames custom stippled by David Bowie (not THAT David Bowie) of Bowie Tactical, Ben Simonson of Boresight Solutions, and at least one other company whose name now escapes me.
Though I performed very well during the class, I found during both this class (late June in Ohio) and other classes and range sessions conducted in high summer that the grips of my Gen 3 Glocks could get a little slick. In addition, listening to podcast interviews with Jared Reston had me thinking about how sweat might not be my only obstacle to a solid grip if a fight finds me.
Later in the summer, I began experimenting with skateboard tape, the same type I use on the tops of my Glock slides. I cut pieces of different sizes to position on different areas of the grip to see what areas would most “help” my grip. This was only meant as a learning exercise rather than a permanent solution. Somewhere along the line, I decided that the co-founder of the Civilian Gunfighter blog needed, how shall I put it, a “gunfighter’s gun” (yes, I realize this sounds goofy. Just roll with it.).
I had several occasions earlier in 2018 to sample John’s Gen 4 Glock 19 that had been custom stippled by Alex Diaz of Gun Grip Customs. The quality of work, finished in “random dot texture”, seemed excellent and John was happy with the cost. However, I wanted something that might feel a bit more tacky in the hand. As luck would have it, Alex/Gun Grip Customs returned to Facebook after some sort of temporary suspension/ban (I do not know the backstory to this), and he was offering a sale on his work. Coinciding with this new deal was his introduction of a new texture option, something he called the “fried rice” option. Hmmm. A sale and a new, grippier option? I contacted Alex, let him know what I wanted (which was not part of a specific package, but elements of both his Level One and Two options), and sent him the frame of my black Gen 3 Glock 19, the first Glock I had ever purchased.
The work I asked Alex to do was his Level One package in the “fried rice” texture. I got the smooth tang and the 360 degree stippling. As one of the few people on Earth who like the finger grooves on Glocks, I had him leave the finger grooves rather than remove them. Alex was kind enough to inform me that they would feel different, as he would be removing material where the factory grip texture is between the grooves, and the result would be deeper grooves and a slightly narrower grip (I must confess it feels even better despite these caveats!). I am also unusual in that I have never experienced “Glock knuckle”, and so did not feel the need for a relief undercut of the trigger guard. I did get the stippling done on the forward flats of the frame. In essence, I had him do 2 of the 4 elements of Level One. From his Level Two package, I had him do stippling to the underside of the trigger guard (though without a second undercut) and also the magazine release recessing (he also stippled the magazine release button which, though a bit odd, feels really good!). Finally, from his Additional Modifications options, I had him do magazine cutouts on either side of the lower portion of the grip. All told, the modifications cost $165.00 plus shipping.
(Below are in-progress photos Alex shared on his company’s Facebook page)
I first contacted Alex on August 21, 2018. I shipped my black Generation 3 Glock 19 a few days later via UPS. I had it complete and in my hands again on August 30th, 2018!
I liked the work Alex did so much that I sent him my twin Generation 3 Glock 19 (my OD one) a few days later. Though I would have saved on shipping by sending them together, I really wanted to see how the first one came out before I sent him another. This OD Glock 19 has become my primary training gun, and I like it to mimic, as closely as possible, my primary carry pistol. This second one took a little longer to complete, as a hurricane forced Alex to evacuate his home in North Carolina right after he received my frame, but I still had it complete and in my hands within about three weeks. The two frames are identical except he did not stipple the magazine release on the OD one (which was fine as I had never asked for that on the first one anyway, though I do like it).
I have now had both of these textured Glock 19s for several months, and I am quite happy with their new look and feel. Though I have yet to take either to a high round-count class, both have been shot in IDPA competitions in their Concealed Carry Pistol category (made Expert for the first time ever using one of them!) and have seen range sessions in which I fire over 100 rounds each time. Though the “fried rice” texture is quite rough, it is not painful, and in those matches and range sessions has caused me no discomfort. I do feel callouses forming on my finger tips and other areas of my hands, but I regard this as a good thing. I look forward to shooting them outdoors in hot, humid summer months to see how they feel in such an environment.
Overall, I am very happy with my new “gunfighter” Glocks. As Dave Spaulding likes to say about his own pistol, these are “enhancements” meant specifically for me and what I am looking to accomplish. They now have improved grip texture for hands covered in sweat (or dish detergent, blood, etc.), much easier to access magazine releases, cutouts that allow me to more easily rip out a stuck magazine (for the life of me I cannot understand those who add flared magwells to their concealed carry handguns. I would rather be able to rip out a stuck magazine that might take seconds—more if there is an added magwell involved—than shave off two-tenths of a second on inserting a new magazine. Different priorities I guess.), high visibility Ameriglo I Dot Pro Sights, a smooth-faced Glock 17 factory trigger, and a Vickers/Tango Down slide stop lever. I have also recently added a Tau Development Group Striker Control Device to my primary practice Glock (the OD one), as that is the one that gets drawn and holstered the most these days (will add one to the black 19 at some point).
I am, needless to say at this point, very happy with Alex Diaz’s work. I thought his pricing was fair, his workmanship clean and well-executed, his speed impressive, and his communication first-rate. He is always adding new options to his repertoire, so if you are interested in getting some custom work done to your polymer handgun, check out his company. Having handled polymer handguns worked on by various companies (as mentioned earlier), I would put Alex’s work right there with them. You might also like to know that, if you decide to have him do some work, you are also supporting a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.
I will note here that I have no affiliation with Alex Diaz or his company, Gun Grip Customs, except as a sale price-paying customer. He had no idea that I am co-founder of this blog until after he had commenced work on my first Glock 19, and the work on both Glocks cost the exact same amount both times.
As always, thanks for reading. If you have any questions or comments, please post them below or on our Facebook page, as we always welcome civil discourse.