Firearm: Polymer80 PFC9 serialized frame (MSRP: $135)
For the mechanically inclined and engineeringly curious (I just made that term up), building your own firearm has a strong appeal. Well, it’s not really so much building as assembling, as all of the parts are manufactured and designed to work together. It’s more like assembling an Ikea chest-of-drawers as opposed to building one from scratch. But, you get the idea. There are two immediate benefits to building your own: first, you know and understand how parts work together. There’s just something about seeing how the pieces fit together and function that you don’t get when buying a pre-made firearm. Second, there’s a certain element of pride in knowing you built it yourself, like the difference between restoring a classic ’64 Mustang as opposed to just buying a 2020 model.
What we have here today is a Polymer80 serialized frame, built up with a Glock parts kit for completion. It’s a Gen3, which comes into play with the trigger assembly as well as the slide—there are some generation-specific complications, so to streamline everything we made sure all components were Gen3. The Polymer80 frame is serialized and, as such, is treated as a firearm per ATF, so you have to purchase it through an FFL, fill out a form 4473 and go through the background check like you would for any other firearm. This frame has been finished with an OEM Glock Gen3 kit, which includes magazine release, slide stop and trigger. The PFC9 comes with the locking block and rear rail as part of the frame. For installation tips, I recommend the excellent series my co-worker Bob Boyd has been running on shootingillustrated.com.
What’s to like about the Polymer80 frame? In a nutshell, the grip has generous texturing that wraps around the entire grip, not just on portions of it. The trigger guard has a relief cut underneath so your strong-hand middle finger doesn’t get chewed alive by the polymer. The magazine well has a molded flair for ingress and egress of magazines, and just overall the frame has a good, solid feel to it. There are even little touches like a molded section above the trigger guard, ahead of the takedown lever, that gives your trigger finger a natural high rest – for right- or left-handed shooters.
If there’s anything perplexing, it’s the dramatically oversize trigger guard that prevents the PFC9 from fitting into standard Glock holsters. Like, it’s too big by a lot. Now, this may be a lawyer thing to keep the two pistols separate enough, I don’t know, but it will necessitate some care in your search for holsters. Don’t worry, though, we’ve got a few leads for you later in this segment…
Slide: Zev Technologies Omen ($525)
Again, in the do-it-yourself realm is the Zev Technologies Omen slide. As shipped from the factory, the Omen comes stripped, meaning that it needs sights, barrel, recoil spring and other parts to be a functioning pistol slide. We received the slide complete from Zev Tech, with an upper parts kit (extractor, cover plate, striker, springs, etc.), barrel, sights and guide rod, adding another $495 to the total cost. Obviously, different parts kits, barrels and such can be used, but in this case, we wanted to stick with all Zev parts.
Immediately apparent in the Omen is the mini-red-dot milled section. Red dots are quite popular on pistols these days, and Zev’s slides are available with Trijicon RMR cuts, suitable for the first and second generation RMR as well as the new SRO. Even without a red dot installed, the Zev sights are excellent, offering a red fiber-optic pipe up front against a plain-black, finely serrated rear sight. This arrangement blends the quick acquisition of the red fiber optic with the precision afforded by the rear sight, resulting in a fast-handling package that still promotes accuracy.
Again, for information on slide assembly and finishing tips and tricks, check out the Glock DIY series on shootingillustrated.com. Having put together a number of slides, it’s quite simple as long as you have the proper tools, like the channel sleeve installation tool and a proper Glock tool for the rear cover plate. The Zev plate has excellent checkering to promote safe reholstering, although it does not function as a striker stop like the Tau Development Group’s Gadget we covered in a previous “I Carry” segment.
Holster: PHLster Syndicate holster (MSRP: $79.99)
When it comes to, well, non-traditional firearms, the real sticking point can be finding good gear. Sure, your super ultra-custom Blastomatic 9000 might be the flattest-shooting 10 mm +P+ ever made, but if you can’t find a rig in which to carry it, its utility is limited. In the case of the Polymer80 frame, the oversize trigger guard presents a roadblock to finding a holster—Glock-based offerings won’t fit. While holsters like the Blackhawk Omnivore or PHLster Floodlight will suffice, because they index on the attached weaponlight rather than the pistol frame, having a dedicated holster is necessary if you don’t plan to attach a light.
In the case of the Polymer80 serialized frame, though, we found a great holster in an unlikely (although not surprising) place: PHLster. By happy coincidence, the company offers a PFC9-compatible holster in its Syndicate, named after the Agency Arms pistol of the same name—that also uses the Polymer80 frame. With a Quick Clip and Mod wing attached, the Syndicate attaches quickly and keeps the pistol oriented properly. If deep concealment is needed, the Syndicate also ships with a tuckable Griphook clip.