How to Convert a Glock 21 to .45 Super
If you're reading this, chances are you know what a .45 ACP cartridge is, as well as a .45 Super cartridge, and are interested in how to modify your Glock to fire .45 Super. If you don't, check out this article on the .45 Super. That is all well and good, and easily possible, with a bit of time and research. There are just a few things to note, before we get started.
First, remember that many .45 Caliber handguns, especially older ones, are not built to withstand the increased pressures and stresses of the .45 Super cartridge. We will be working with Glock, which can withstand such, but not without certain modifications. Use of an improperly set up weapon can and will hurt the weapon and you.
Secondly, remember that even if a weapon can withstand the shock of firing a more powerful round, they are not designed for it. Increased wear and tear will occur, especially if you intent to fire .45 Super out of it on a regular basis.
Thirdly, keep in mind that THIS WILL VOID THE WARRANTY. Glock will not be happy that you have modified their weapon, and if any damages occur to the weapon, they will not fix it for you.
DISCLAIMER: I have done research on my own, and have every reason to have confidence in the information provided here. However, neither I, nor Hubpages, may be held responsible for any damages caused to yourself, or to your firearm. Yes, this is the "cover my own rear" section. I carry one of these weapons myself, every time I go out the door, and have complete faith in it.
What You Will Need
There are a number of places you can find information on the .45 Super cartridge, and .45 Super conversions. In fact, the first search term will bring you to Ace Custom 45's website. They sell a "conversion kit" for the Glock 21 to allow it to safely fire .45 Super. If you purchase their kit, which sells for a hair under $400, you will indeed be able to fire .45 Super safely out of your Glock 21. You'll also have such improvements as an extra power magazine spring, a Pearce Glock grip enhancer,and a Jentra Glock grip plug nose, none of which you need to fire .45 Super. They also demand that you have the slide ported by a company of their choosing.
Now, it goes without saying, you don't need all of this. You can buy your own grip enhancer and plug from a dealer of your choosing, at a time of your choosing. The magazine spring, I have never once needed thus far. Porting is another issue altogether. It will reduce wear and tear on the frame, as well as felt recoil. it will also render it less effective as a defense weapon, causing blindness at night, and possibly burning you with hot gasses if you have to draw from retention to protect yourself.
If you simply want to convert your Glock to .45 Super, with out all the frills attached, here is what you will need:
You may be thinking "Oh, my stock Glock barrel can handle this round just fine, I don't need to purchase a new one." You might also be right, but I would point out one thing. Glock's barrels do not fully support the shell casing of .45 ACP rounds; the cartridge hangs over the edge of the feed ramp, leaving an area of unsupported shell. Do you really want a cartridge with that much more power unsupported in any way, when the result could be the destruction of your firearm?
Which Barrel Should I buy?
There are several companies with fantastic reputations to purchase from, and all of them will have great performance. The largest deciding factors are price and looks. These are a few of the options:
- KKM Precision: 416 stainless steel. 42 -45 RC. Button Rifled. Threading and 6" options. Base Price: $165.00
- Storm Lake: 416 stainless steel. 40-42 RC. Cut broach rifled. Steel or Black color options; 6" or threaded barrel options. Base Price: $160.00
- Bar-sto: Cut Broach Rifled. Available to be match fitted. Base Price: $215:00
- Jarvis: 4140 weapon steel. 40-44 RC. Available to be match fitted. Base Price: $200.00
- Lone Wolf Distributors: 416 stainless steel. Cut broach rifled. Lifetime warrenty. Base Price $109.95
- EFK Fire Dragon: 416 stainless steel barrel. Threaded or un-threaded. - Price:$150.99 / 220.00 Threaded
What you choose will depend on what you like, and what you intend to use it for. I personally have a KKM Precision standard 4.60" barrel. Lone Wolf Distributors is a good, affordable option, if you can stomach the silly wolf icon they insist on scrawling on the top of the breechblock. I believe you can pay them to put it underneath, where it isn't visible, and still come out on top. I would also highly recommend Storm Lake, as they offer a black finish, if you can wait 30 days for it.
Personally, I would stay away from EFK Fire Dragon, as I have heard mixed to bad things about the company and its support, including one horror story about the quality of a barrel made by them.
Aftermarket Guide Rod and Spring Assembly
3rd generation and previous Glock 21s have a single plastic guide rod and 17 pound recoil spring in them. Firing .45 Super rounds out of a Glock with a stock 17 pound recoil spring would have the slide slamming into the frame with great force with each pull of the trigger. I'm not sure how long it would take to damage the gun irreparably, but I know I wouldn't want to be the one who's Glock was used to test it.
To remedy this, the solution is simple. You have to replace the recoil spring. In Glocks, the guide rod is permanently attached to the spring, it is a captive, non-separable assembly. That means that while you're at it, you might as well buy a stainless steel guide rod. The stock plastic ones reek of cheap and flimsy, in my opinion, anyway.
You'll need a recoil spring rated at anywhere from 22 to 26 pounds. Personally, I chose 24, because I can still fire .45 ACP without any reliability issues with it, but if you're intending it to be .45 Super only, I'd recommend 25 or 26.
You can buy recoil springs and guide rod assemblies from almost anywhere, and they tend to be reliable. Personally, I chose a Lone Wolf captive guide rod, with ISMI recoil spring. You can find both of those at Lone Wolf Distributing's own website. Make sure, if you choose a captive guide rod assembly, to put some Loctite or similar product on the screw. It won't do anyone any favors if your guide rod comes apart while the weapon is being fired.
Glock 21: Chambered for .45 ACP/.45 Super
Yes, its that simple. A drop in barrel, and a new guide rod and spring assembly. Once you have your fully supported barrel, and guide rod and spring assembly, simply assemble them as necessary, and drop them into your Glock, and viola, you can now shoot .45 Super cartridges. Remember, before you drop the parts in, to clean and oil them. You don't want any dirt or debris picked up during shipping to make it into your Glock.
Below is a picture of my own Glock 21, modified to shoot .45 Super. It is my Everyday Carry weapon, and it has run about 500 .45 Super rounds through it with no difficulties and no noticeable damage, wear, or tear. Your mileage may vary.
As always, thanks for reading. I hope someone out there found this helpful. Feel free to drop me a comment if you thought it was helpful, horrible, or simply wanted to make a correction to something I've said.