TMT Tactical Glock Makeover

Making A Factory Gun Your Own
21

It’s been said — and even sung — “Everything old is new again.” In this issue we’re taking the sentiment to a new level with an old gun given a great new lease on life.

On the cover this month is “The Thin Blue Line,” a .40 S&W custom GLOCK 22 imagined and remodeled by the metal-working wizards at TMT Tactical of Morgantown, North Carolina. The gun has a host of practical, tactical and beautiful features added by the artisans at TMT even though it started out as an ugly duckling with a long, and fortunately not too-unpleasant, history.

The Builder

Before diving into the gun itself, let’s take a quick figurative visit to TMT Tactical. A division of Toner Machining Technologies, the precision machining company works in the defense and aerospace industries along with their success in the custom gun world. Their work has graced the cover of many shooting magazines and their public list of customers is impressive — they’ve built guns for Sarah Palin, Ted Nugent, Kid Rock, Aaron Lewis, Hank Williams Jr., Big & Rich, Cowboy Troy, Craig Morgan and retired Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell. Along with some retired-cop-turned-word-mangler from Indiana.

The company is also heavily involved in charity work. One of their GLOCK customs sold for $40,000 for the Lone Survivor Foundation, at record at the time. Overall, the company has raised over $200,000 for military and law enforcement charities.

TMT President Jim Toner says the company will do “almost anything” to a gun but there are limits. “In our opinion,” Toner said, “function is the most important thing. We are asked to do a lot of crazy things but if we felt it’s going to affect the overall function of the handgun, we will encourage the customer not to do it.”

GLOCKs are “by far” the most common gun they see in the shop and most go with a “Full Mod Pack” at $995, the same process my gun went through. TMT Tactical also allows you to roll your own gun by picking only the features you want, or alternatively, they’ll build whatever you want within reason and within your budget.

“It is apparent to everyone what this gun stands for.”

This special TMT GLOCK 22 features a grippy stipple job with new finger indexing
pads above the trigger and stippling below the trigger guard to prevent “GLOCK knuckle!”

The Gun

The gun started life fresh from the box as my issued on-duty weapon for nearly a decade while I was a full-time city police officer in Nowheresville, USA. Back in the ’90s our department, like countless others, fell under the spell of the “Magical 40” and bought G22s. It was my first introduction to the then-new (for U.S. agencies) GLOCK.

I still remember familiarization training. Somewhere around 1992, each shift reported to the range and turned in their heavy stainless Smith and Wesson 4506s to be handed the svelte G22s. The new guns were black and sexy, simplicity personified and while they didn’t feel quite as robust as the boat-anchor Smiths, we all knew these guns were the future of fighting pistols!

As it turned out, like all fads, a few years later the popular gun press went chasing other dragons and our firearms instructors soon lost interest in the “old” guns. The next Latest, Greatest Thing was the GLOCK 21 in .45 ACP so we all dutifully trooped to the range and turned our ’22s in for shiny new G21s.

Bringing It Home

As with most agencies, we were allowed to purchase our old guns and I bought mine. Being .40 caliber, it wasn’t my favorite pistol of the many carried during my three decades but it also had accompanied me through the busiest years of my career when I was young, bulletproof and too testosterone-burdened to really understand the possible ramifications of my actions. During this period it also rode my thigh during a fair number of memorable SWAT missions, including a few which appear periodically in my nachos-before-bedtime nightmares.

The pistol resided, almost forgotten and overlooked, for several years in my bedside nightstand. I decided if something bad happened too fast for me to grab the shotgun under the bed, the pistol I know like an 11th digit would be easy to reach and give me confidence — which can actually translate into enhanced competency. I also believed it would give me a healthy dose of luck, something I have certainly depended on for years!

The Plan Takes Shape

Earlier in 2019 I talked with TMT Tactical President Jim Toner about a special project for my special gun. He offered his design services to make the gun a true one-of-a-kind piece and after a couple of emails back-and-forth, I reluctantly sent my special gun into Jim’s tender care.

Once at TMT, the crew of 49 skilled machinists, designers and gunsmiths gave her both a functional and cosmetic makeover which exceeded my expectations. The final result was like seeing your wife when she’s really gussied up for a special event — you can’t believe something so tried-and-true, so “routine,” can still inspire such awe.

With my gun, the process started with a full grip reduction and epoxy fill of the backstrap. Even though I’ve got pretty meaty paws, the TMT team did all sorts of magic with the contours to make the gun feel even better in hand than before. I’m already pondering what they could do with the beefy frame for my G21!

The “Thin Blue Line” GLOCK 22 as remodeled by TMT Tactical. The gun also features
a Trijicon SRO Optic and a Coyote Streamlight TLR-VIR II light/laser.

Weight Loss Diet

The trigger guard also went on a diet by receiving the popular “undercut” so many folks are doing to their stock GLOCKs. Though I haven’t yet taken the gun through a full-on, high-round-count class, it doesn’t seem as likely to give me the old “GLOCK knuckle” as it did before. On the forward part of the guard they also removed the ugly raised grip surface, the one that encourages shooters to put a finger up there. Said shooters then wonder why their shots go low, unlike the few competitors/professionals who do put a finger up there and shoot just fine.

The remainder of the frame received a superb, grippy stipple job with a pattern reminding me of sunflower florets. (Hey, what can I say? I went to a land-grant university!) The grip certainly got worked over as expected but TMT also stippled underneath the trigger guard and put a nice tactile patch alongside the frame where your trigger finger can easily index when off-target, even in the dark. They also opened up the magwell just a touch. The stippling was left black while the rest of the frame got a nice, not-too-flashy gray Cerakote coating.

The slide really got worked over. First, the rear cocking serrations were opened up using a ball-end mill, while the front of the slide received “Bone Saw” serrations. Even if you didn’t go for all the “pretties,” I certainly recommend these two operations on any “carry” GLOCK. Having pointed guns at many bad people while wet, sweaty, muddy and once even a tad bloody, I know having such positive engagement for loading or malfunction clearance is an important feature. The slide and frame also received a nice, comfort-enhancing bevel job on the muzzle end.

TMT also mounted Trijicon HD night sights on the gun. The sights offer high visibility
in low light and a hooked rear sight platform to assist in one-handed slide manipulation.

Optics And Light

TMT Tactical milled a pocket for an RMR-pattern sight and installed a matching cover plate. My first act upon receiving the gun was to remove the plate and install a Trijicon Specialized Reflex Optic (SRO) red-dot optic. The optic went on without a hitch and with a little judicious blue Locktite, it should stay there through hell and high water.

I’m old-school and still have trouble convincing my eye and brain a red dot is a better way to go on a pistol, but such a classy, noteworthy custom gun — which might conceivably still fire a shot in anger — deserved a top-shelf, reliable optic. Having put just a few boxes of shells through the gun, I’m impressed with the wide field of view and easy user controls of the SRO. And, if you don’t want to use an optic, TMT Tactical installed a set of Trijicon HD night sights which are robust and fast to use in low light.

To light up the night, I added the robust Streamlight TLR-VIR II in Coyote brown. This combo illuminator offers 300 lumens of white light and an infrared laser. My days of clearing houses with night vision goggles are long gone, but who knows? Maybe my old team will host a low-speed, high-drag “alumni mission”!

Turning Heads

The final touches were just for looks! On the top forward part of the slide, the nice flat area where you can land a small aircraft on a GLOCK, TMT used a CNC machine to cut a nice American flag in relief. They also added a blue-outlined badge on the slide cover plate and the TMT Tactical logo the left side. Once the machining was done, the slide was given a great-looking multi-cam Cerakote finish using gray, green and black, nicely complimenting the gray slide.

The final touch, and what makes it so special to me among all the other great features, is the very obvious “thin blue line” applied in Cerakote to the top of the slide, running down the axis of the barrel. It is apparent to everyone what this gun stands for.

Among specialized touches, TMT opened up the magazine well to facilitate loading.
They also plugged and smoothed the opening behind the magwell.

Range Time

This part of the story is a little funny, really. Each cover gun in our magazine gets a detailed review of how it handled, how it functioned and how it shot. However, when you’re taking a nearly 30-year-old GLOCK with Lord knows how many rounds down the pipe, what can be said?

Here’s the in-depth, technical examination so try to follow me: It shoots like every other GLOCK 22. This is a good or bad thing depending on your personal dogma, but just like the golden-arched restaurant everyone claims they hate — GLOCKs are popular for a reason.

The 2.5 MOA dot Trijicon Specialized Reflex Optic (SRO) fits perfectly into an RSR-pattern
mounting cutout and offers anvil-tough construction with a large optic window.

Fix ’er Up

In the end, I never really thought I’d own a true custom gun. In my imagination, custom guns cost tens of thousands of dollars and took years to design and build. Such apparent difficulty and expense made owning a one-of-a-kind gun something very far down my shooting bucket list.

Yet, the ease and relative low cost of fixing up my old sidekick was eye-opening. While not inexpensive, the price is certainly within reach of most “serious” shooters. To say I’m happy with the outcome would be an understatement, somewhere along the lines of noting President Trump is mildly unpopular with Progressives and the media.

Before you buy yet another pistol to sit quietly gathering dust in the gun cabinet, consider sending one of your old ones to TMT Tactical.

www.tmttactical.com

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