The perils and rewards of buying a used handgun
by Mike Garman
In my article Handguns for Beginners, I talked about buying your first handgun. For many of us a new firearm is just too expensive and so we purchase a used one. I set out to find a used semi-automatic in 9mm and I came across a Glock 26 Gen 3 with 4 magazines, and all of the original paperwork for $350. A cursory examination revealed a little wear on the exterior of the barrel and on the slide release. There is no wear on the slide itself from being carried, and at the asking price it was too good to pass up.
A new Glock 26 Gen 3 is a perfectly fine shooter and makes for a good every day carry gun (EDC). However, after getting the used G26 home and stripping it down, I found some areas of concern. There are a couple of areas that needed a bit of work and since this will be used by my friend Tara, for a defensive handgun class, I wanted to make sure it as good as it could be.
The first issue was the guide rod and recoil spring. With the slide locked back there was a large amount of play or slop in the barrel. There should be some but I felt that it was excessive. This is as much due to the cheap plastic guide rod and springs used by Glock as it is wear from shooting it. The problem was easily rectified with a replacement stainless steel guide rod and spring assembly from Rock Your Glock and about 2 minutes of installation time.
The second problem is the mag release, it is very short and the size of the grip makes it very difficult to hit. Instead of simply pressing the mag release with my strong hand thumb, I have to rotate the gun to fully press the release or use my support hand. If it’s hard for me to manipulate, it would be almost impossible for Tara, who is left handed. While that is not a problem on the range, in a gunfight or during a zombie apocalypse it could be very bad. Several aftermarket companies as well as Glock make an extended mag release, which is fairly easy to install. I did it as part of the trigger upgrade, which brings me to the trigger.
I’ll be honest, I don’t like the factory Glock trigger because there is a lot of slack in it and for this used G26 it is excessive. There is a certain amount of slack or take up in a trigger that is normal, however, the factory Glock 26 Gen 3 trigger has a lot of it. Slop is movement in the trigger that doesn’t have anything to do with firing the weapon and usually comes with wear from shooting the weapon a lot.
As with the magazine release there are plenty of aftermarket triggers available. I have a Lone Wolf trigger kit in my Glock 22 race gun, it gives me the feel that I like, it’s easy to install and very affordable. The kit from Lone Wolf consists of:
• Lone Wolf 3.5# connector.
• Lone Wolf mid-weight striker spring.
• Lone Wolf 6# trigger spring.
• Lone Wolf Ultimate Trigger Stop.
Installing a trigger upgrade in a Glock is pretty straight forward and does not take a master gunsmith. There are plenty of videos on YouTube on how to do it, but if you are not confident in your abilities to dismantle the trigger assembly of your Glock then take it to a gunsmith.
The original price for this used Glock 26 Gen 3 was $350, and for that price it makes a good range, backup or EDC gun. With the addition of the Rock Your Glock Stainless Steel Guide Rod ($41.00),
a Glock original equipment manufacturer Extended magazine release ($3.49), a Lone Wolf “Pro Pick” Trigger Kit ($36.00), and about 30 minutes of work replacing the parts, this used Glock 26 goes from a decent shooter to an exceptional one that can be used as an excellent EDC, a backup gun competition or for home defense. In conclusion, don’t be afraid to look on the used market for your next firearm purchase.