Four Big Time Savers To Complete A Polymer80 Glock Frame

Polymer80 hit the ball out of the park with their 80% Glock compatible pistol frames. They provide frames that can enable a person to build a number of different models of Glock pistols that have some really nice enhancements including a 1911-grip angle and Picatinny rail in the front – the two features that matter most to me. At any rate, I have written a number of posts covering how to build and tune these pistols (click here if you want to open a new tab with them listed) and in this piece I want to focus on the four fastest methods I have found for completing the frame.

Read Now vs Tons of Troubleshooting Later

For a new builder, a Polymer80 is very do-able but don’t dive in without reading their instruction manual first, maybe read some of my past posts if you are building one of the models I have done or do some googling around for how-to guides/videos for what you are building. Any time you think you save on the front end will more than likely be blown on the back end trying to figure out why things don’t work right.

If this is your first build, please read the Polymer80 instructions for your model. You’ll save a ton of time and money if you can avoid a mistake in the first place. I can’t stress this enough.

So what are we talking about today?

There are four tips I want to share with you in this post:

1. Remove The Top Tabs Using Nippers/Nail Pullers

Folks, the fastest way to get rid of these tabs is to remove the jig and use nippers to snip off the tabs almost flush and then clean up with a file (if needed) and then sandpaper.

I took a pair of plain nippers and ground down the jaws to the are flush. Normally they are beveled on the top and the bottom for strength but you don’t need that if you’re just using them to cut plastic.

The small nippers on the left were ground down flat to cut the tabs as flush as possible. The unaltered nipper/nail puller on the right shows the typical beveled jaws that will leave more material behind for you to review. Note, even that is way faster than filing or milling off the tabs.

Cleaning up after the tabs are snipped off is up to you and what you prefer. I use a file to knock off any remnants and then lightly sand from 180, then 220 and finally 400 grit. My goal is to make it look good vs. a hack job.

If you don’t have a fair amount of experience filing and sanding then you might want to not use this approach. Speed is really for folks with experience using these types of tools

2. Drill The Pin Holes The Right Way The First Time

Drilling the pin holes is really straight forward and oddly enough, I am going to tell you not to do two things and add a third:

  1. Do not put the jig flat on a drill press. It was not designed for that. It was designed to be clamped at the bottom. Trying to drill it while it lays flat on a press will likely yield holes that are out of alignment.
  2. Drill the holes one side at a time. Do NOT try to drill straight through or little alignment errors become big alignment errors once you get to the other side of the jig.
  3. You need to be perpendicular to the jig when you drill – left-right and top-bottom. It’s easier to see left-right variation and fix that. It tends to be harder, at least for me, to see how my drill is up and down. My hand drills have levels built in and I use them to help. If you don’t have levels in your hand drill then either be very careful or use some type of straight edge that you can line up by.
My Ryobi 18 volt drill is ancient, beat half to death and has a small level up top that can really help. Note the bubble is to the front because the drill is just sitting on the bench.
The jig is designed to be clamped from the bottom!

3. Remove The Plastic In the Barrel Block Area

Now they give you a relatively giant end mill with the frame and it will shred stuff if you aren’t real, real careful. If you have a drill then take little cuts at a time with the frame clamped securely in the jig to something. In my case, I use a right angle jig.

Whatever you do, don’t treat the big end mill that comes with the frame like a drill bit because it isn’t. A drill bit is meant to bite in an penetrate. An end mill is going to go where the milling machine directs it and unless sufficient rigidity is there, the end mill will make a huge mess.

Also – obligatory safety notice – wear safety glasses. You only have one set of eyes and stuff does go wrong.
That is the barrel block and all material inside the “U” needs to be removed nice and flush with the sides. Failure to do so will result in your recoil rod hanging up on it and randomly locking the slide open.
Yes it looks like a drill bit but it is not!! That is the end mill that I am talking about and you also see my drill press that I use for grips and it has an X-Y table on it for fine adjustments. I really like it but to be very clear, it doesn’t turn your drill into a mill. A drill press is not designed for the side loads that a mill must deal with. For removing plastic, it works just fine for me. Trying to use it on metal will destroy the press. I have a milling machine for that type of work. I’m not using it because I am betting most of you have drill presses. If you don’t have a drill or a mill then use a hand drill to cut a series of small holes to the remove the tab and sand to clean it up.
When using an end mill, do a series of very small plunge cuts over and over. I had already done a couple of cuts before I took this photo. You’ll get a feel for how much you can mill off without the work piece rattling around too much. I remove a little and then move the table, remove a little and move the table over and over.

I use an old box to keep the sandpaper, dowels and popsicle sticks in. The large popsicle sticks are for me to wrap the sandpaper around to smooth the top of the frame where I removed the tabs. We have a new sanding kit that you can mount in your drill for clearing out the channel that can help speed things up dramatically.

4. Fitting The Slide To The Lower Receiver

I used to spend a ton of time polishing the parts by hand and a guy told me “Why are you doing that? Use lapping compound”. The funny thing was that I had two containers of Goodson Lapping compouned – 400 grit and 800 grit.

Don’t do this with the slide populated or trigger installed if you can avoid it. If you do, you’ll likely need to take it all apart to get rid of the grit anyways unless you are very careful. Yeah. I figured that out after I did it the first time and had grit everywhere.

Apply the 400 grit to the slide’s channels where the block tabs will engage. I typically use either a Q-tip or acid brush (I buy both in bulk) to apply the lapping compound and then work the slide over and over. It maybe a few times or a few hundred. On this CL, it was a few hundred. You then wrap up with 800 and it should slide very easily.

Remove the lapping compound when you are done. Use a polymer safe cleaner on the lower. Absolutely do not use brake cleaner, Acetone, or anything harsh like that.

I like Goodson brand lapping compound. You can get it off Amazon. I start with 400 grit and do the final polishing with 800 grit. They even offer a 1200 grit if you want it. I’ve found 800 is enough for me.

In Closing

I’ve only done a few builds but really enjoy making them and have learned a few tricks along the way. I hope this helps you out and click here if you’d like to see other Polymer80 posts.


Polymer80 and Glock Parts Vendors

When you want to customize your Polymer80 or Glock, or you need replacement parts, there are a number of solid vendors you can go to:

Those are all reputable vendors and aren’t going to sell you inferior counterfeit products.