Tactical Weapons Firearms

How to customize your handgun

Everyone has their own fingerprint. Being able to customize a handgun is one way that you can make it your own.
Brady Kirkpatrick Avatar
how to customize a pistol
Glock with Surefire X300 Turbo and Aimpoint Acro. (Courtesy of T-Rex Arms)

Customizing your pistol is one way that you can make it your own. Everyone can buy the same pistol from the store, but how you tailor that gun to your needs is not a copy-and-paste kind of deal. Everyone has their own fingerprint, and everyone has their own preferences in how they like their firearm to look, perform, and feel.

After all, looks are important. We all like some eye candy on our nightstand or in the safe. Customizing is one of the ways that you can polish a turd! How great. 

Here are some of the best places to start looking to customize a handgun

An Optic

Red dot optics are one of the best ways to boost your confidence when shooting your firearm. Not that there is anything wrong with iron sights. Red dots simply make target acquisition and accurate shots easier to come by.

There are plenty of different optics to choose from. And the price ranges that usually go along with them. Personally, I run a Leupold Delta Point Pro due to the large window and general durability. 

But there are other pistol reflex sights (red dots) that work well. It depends on what you’re planning on using it for. Right now, we’re in the closed emitter master race. Everyone is cranking out bulky optics that use a different way to emit the dot. 

I won’t go too deep into it, but closed emitters work better in harsh environments. There you go.

how to customize a pistol optic
Aimpoint Acro V2 on Glock. (Courtesy of Aimpoint)

Pistol Light

Positive Identification is one of those extra layers of security that help a shooter keep him/herself out of a potential bad day. And out of the courtroom. It should be taken with great consideration. 

Imagine grabbing your firearm in the middle of the night, running upstairs, and shooting the dog because you thought it was a burglar and couldn’t see. Or maybe one of the kids. Doesn’t sound too good, right? 

Having a light that you can quickly flash will not only show you what you’re aiming at, but a beam of bright light when someone is adjusted to the dark is enough to take the fight out of someone and blind them quickly. 

It’s best to make sure you get one on. 

The Trigger

Depending on what firearm you’re thinking about as you read this article, you may have got yourself a pistol with a great trigger or something with a terrible trigger, like a fresh-out-of-the-box Glock. 

Wild guess. 

Changing the trigger in your pistol is one of the best ways to change how you feel about the firearm in general. It is one of the interfaces that you have to interact with when using it, and drastic changes make a big difference. 

Triggers usually come flat, which helps you leverage and lighten the trigger pull, or curved, which helps in placement and different hand sizes. But it is mostly your preference. You can go down to your local range and rent a firearm with either or and see what you like. 

Flat looks cooler, and the Walther PDP SD Pro’s flat trigger is the best trigger out of the box that I’ve ever felt. So, I personally like to keep a flat trigger on my pistol. 

Just make sure you do your research. If you’re looking for the best Glock trigger, there will be endless possibilities. Lenny Magill’s is where you should start, though. 

how to customize a handgun trigger
Timney trigger on Glock. (Courtesy of Timney Triggers)

Barrels and Slides

Most of the barrels that come from the factory with a pistol is usually fine. Usually. 

Shooters tend to want to add muzzle devices on the end of their pistol, so they opt for a threaded barrel, which allows for easy on and off of a suppressor or compensator. This alters the look and feel, so it is a big upgrade. 

What’s important about changing your barrel is making sure that the barrel comes from a good company. I’ve seen barrels that weren’t pressure tested go boom. Not a good day. 

Slides can be changed out for a multitude of reasons. Whether you want something with deeper slide serrations, an optics cut, or porting that helps with weight and recoil. 

Or if you have a pistol with a terrible PVD coating like my Sig Sauer P320 M18, you might want to consider changing the slide or the next option. 


Cerakoting is one of the ways that you can enhance the lifetime of a product on your firearm. Most commonly, you find cerakoting done on slides or on attachments. Especially those that come into constant contact with abrasive surfaces. 

It keeps things from getting rusty. It also enhances the grip on the firearm, like the slide. It has a slightly more coarse texture, allowing easier manipulation, especially when wet or cold.

What’s better is that you can have it done in any pattern that you wish. So you aren’t limited to factory colors or anything that will be an eyesore later. 

Just make sure you like it. I saw one shooter with pink and purple M81 pattern camo and wondered how long it would be until he wanted it off the firearm. It wasn’t that long.

how to customize a handgun with cerakote
Beautiful cerakoting job by buddy Steve. (Courtesy of Marvet85 on Instagram)

Customizing your firearm is a fun and exciting experience. 

Make an optic and light the foremost important attachments when customizing your pistol, especially if you plan on carrying it. These are attachments that can help you be effective with the weapon. 

Most importantly, make sure you’re training. There is no amount of customization that could save you if you aren’t constantly laying down lead or dry firing, at the very least. 

Don’t become an expensive loot drop. 

Be good and take care.