Three Simple and Inexpensive Must Have Upgrades on Glock 17 Gen 1-3 Type Pistols To Improve Handling

I am learning a great deal about Glocks via the Polymer80 frame based Gen 3 model 17 and 34 pistols I built. In working with the pistols, I found there are three upgrades that were required immediately for me to more readily operate the pistols. Anybody can do these three – replace the slide stop, slide release lever and the magazine release. Fortunately they are relatively inexpensive so let’s step through each in this post.

Slide Lock Lever

Okay, when I started the Glock 34 compatible pistol using the Polymer80 PF940v2 frame, I had never really stripped a Glock before. As soon as I was working with the slide I absolutely hated the barely protruding OEM Glock slide lock lever. Because of my carpal tunnel and years of abusing my hands, I could barely feel the blasted thing let along get enough grip to easily pull it down. Seriously – I hate that little part. It turns out that I’m not alone. A ton of groups make a replacement unit and they just make the slide stop a hair longer and it makes all the difference in the world.

This will take about five minutes. Procedure:

  1. Ensure the weapon is clear, meaning unloaded and no cartridge in the chamber.
  2. Remove the slide
  3. Before you remove the slide stop, note which way the depression is oriented at the top of the slide stop – the new one will need to face the same way.  The hooked face should face rearward.
  4. Use a Glock takedown tool or a small screw driver to reach in and depress the spring that pushes the slide stop up.
  5. When you push the spring down, the existing slide stop can slide right out
  6. While continuing to press the spring down, slide the new one in.
  7. Confirm the orientation is correct – the hooked surface should face rearward.
  8. Test by pressing down on the release – it should spring back up. If not, look to see if the spring fell out or there is debris in the spring channel preventing it from pushing the release back up.
  9. Re-assemble and test your pistol.

Slide Release Lever

The Glock 17 has one of the worst slide releases I have ever felt. It’s a vertical tab that gives you virtually no surface to really push down on. Now, the 34 came with an extended release and that’s where I learned that it is a way better design than what the 17 has. A ton of vendors make and sell their versions. I just bought and installed a Glock 34 slide release on my 17. If you’re keeping count, this means the 34 really on has two upgrades I would recommend as it already has the improved slide release.

The first slide release I tried to do was a pain and took probably 15-30 minutes as I tried to figure things out I’d not seen a Glock’s insides before first hand. The second one took about 10-15 minutes and the third time (when I actually replaced the 17’s slide release lever with the 34 model), it probably took me about 5-10 minutes. In short, there is a learning curve.


  1. Ensure the weapon is clear, meaning unloaded and no cartridge in the chamber.
  2. Remove the slide.
  3. Use the first punch to push the trigger pin almost all the way out from right to left when you are looking down at the pistol with the front facing away from you. This should not take a ton of force. I find some light taps with a small hammer help me but some guys do it entirely by hand.
  4. I said stop short of pushing the pin all the way out because you just need to get it out of the slide release. You thin pull your pin punch back out of the release also but still capturing the trigger.
  5. The slide release lever will lift right out.
  6. Put the new slide release lever in its place.
  7. Push the pin punch back into the release lever to orient it. This worked for me vs. trying to get the pin itself back in. Keeping it all aligned was the trickiest part when I first started.
  8. Push or lightly tap the trigger pin back into place while driving the old pin punch out. Again, the punch is there keeping everything aligned so it’s acting like a slave pin. As you tap the real trigger pin in, the punch backs out.
  9. Re-assemble and test your pistol.

Magazine Release

The other issue I found was that the OEM Glock magazine release was too short for me to easily reach forward with my thumb and drop the mag. Again, found I was in good company because a ton of other people feel the same way. Now, I opted for the Tango Down Vickers extended magazine release because it just sticks out maybe an extra millimeter or so and it makes a huge difference. Some other magazine releases are really only suited for competition because they are easily bumped and the mag released.

This is another quick and easy one. I did it one with a screw driver, once with needle nosed pliers and once with curved hemostats. All three work but I think the curved hemostat is easiest.

This will take about five minutes. Procedure:

  1. Ensure the weapon is clear, meaning unloaded and no cartridge in the chamber.
  2. Remove the slide so you have a clear view down into the magwell
  3. Remove the spring wire from the magazine release by working it out of the groove cut in the side of the mag catch. Look at the replacement unit and you will see the slot I am referring to in the middle of the magazine release that is just big enough for the wire to slide into.
  4. Remove the old unit and slide in the new unit
  5. Move the wire back into the slot and test – it should spring back out when you depress it,


I hope this helps you out. I find my two pistols a lot more manageable with the above upgrades and well worth it.

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