There’s no two ways about it, people are scared. They are getting fed a constant stream of bad news and violence from the mainstream media and are buying firearms. There’s also a ton of people who are building firearms. I’m a fan of Polymer80 frame based pistols due to the improvements they made so I’ve written a lot of posts about them. What I am hearing from readers of my blog is that they are having trouble finding ready-to-go kits to build their desired pistol.
I did some digging and it is true – the various all-inclusive kit vendors are all either out of stock or running long back orders. This does not mean you are out of options, it just means you are going to do more planning and buy parts from various places vs. one-stop-shop.
Step 1: Decide on the model you want
Your first step is to decide what type of pistol you want to build. The Polymer80 frames enable you to build a pistol that uses Glock parts for that some model. There are tons of models due to differences in size and caliber. There’s a summary of models on Wikipedia that you can use as a starting point.
Do Not Buy Any Parts Yet!
Step 2: Determine The Polymer80 Frame You Need
Next, determine which Polymer80 frame you need to build the model you want. You need to know this because sometimes a given frame requires a different generation of Glock parts.
Also, it’s up to you to decide if you want to buy an 80% frame that is not yet a receiver that can be mailed to you. In some areas of the US, this may not be legal and you must understand the laws and regulations that bind you when it comes to building a pistol. For example, Polymer80 discloses on their site that they can’t ship to Washington DC, New Jersey and Washington at the time this blog post was written.
Another option is to buy a serialized completed receiver. It is treated like a firearm because in the eyes of the US ATF agency a receiver is a firearm. This means you can buy it online but it will need to be shipped to your FFL who will then do the transfer. On the pro side, it’s ready to go and already registered.
With that said, Polymer80 doesn’t have a clear table on their website that says “If you want to build this type of pistol, buy this frame and these generation parts.” I thought they did at one point.
The following is a quick summary of mine to point you in the right direction getting started. I really want you to confirm it because I might have made a mistake during the compilation of the information so *please* double-check before you buy stuff:
|Glock Models||Polymer80 Frame||Generation |
|3-pin 9mm G17, G34, G17L|
.40S&W G22, 35, 24
|PF940V2||Gen 3 – 3 pin|
|9mm G43||PF9SS||Gen 4|
|10mm G20SF (short frame)|
|PF45||Be careful and research what works for these two. I read mixed comments about the builds.|
Step 3: Read The Polymer80 assembly guide
Next, before you buy anything, read their assembly guide and see if they have any suggestions (or warnings) about parts and tools that you will need. Honestly folks, don’t skip this.
Make a list of the tools you are going to need and what you may need to buy.
Step 4: Develop a parts list
For all of the Glock models, you can search and find an exploded parts diagram. Google makes this real easy – there are tons of them online. As mentioned previously, you need to focus on your model and the specific generation of parts called for. There are other generations so be careful.
You need to compare the parts from the diagram(s) and the build instructions to create your final list.
Step 5: Figure out your approach to buying the parts
You can check around for complete kits that have everything you will need but I think you will find they are either out of stock or on backorder. For reference, I’ve had very good experiences with 80P Builder and F&F Firearms for complete kits.
The more likely strategy is that you will need to buy you parts and hopefully you can get some collections of parts vs. needing to buy every part individually.
The frames are readily available if you do a bit of shopping around and often these vendors sell other relevant parts as well. Check out:
For the slides, you can purchase them stripped with no additional parts, bundles where the vendor may offer a discount for the slide and additional parts and some, like 80P Builder, offer completely assembled slides.
If you are a new builder and you want reliability, go with all Glock parts. Literally, other than the frame, go Glock. That will give you the best chances of building a reliable pistol on the first try provided you do your part and build it correctly.
There are tons and tons of aftermarket parts vendors and when you start combining them weird things can happen as the various vendors’ perspectives on allowable tolerances stack up and cause problems.
Think of it this way, build the base pistol and get used to it. You can then change our what you want down the road. Building something that sounds sexy due to cool photos, ads and marketing may bring you a lot of grief as you begin your journey learning about these pistols first.
Bottom line, it will take some additional planning and research on your part but you can still assembly a Polymer80 pistol.
Step 6: Finding Magazines
There are some cheap crap magazines out there I am sorry to say. Either go with Glock, Magpul or ETS. Remember my comment above? You might want to start with Glock out of the gates and buy at least two magazines. If it’s made by another vendor than the three I listed, don’t buy it.
The good news is that it is pretty easy to find magazines right now and their prices really haven’t changed much. In addition to the vendors above, check out Gun Mag Warehouse.
I hope this helps you out!
Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.
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