Performance-Enhancing Highlights Turn Good Guns Into Great Guns.
Kinda pretty, ain’t they? But “pretty” was never the object. Ugly wasn’t either, and yeah, they do attract attention. Our mission was to produce sure handling, naturally pointing, operator-friendly tactical pistols; not “safe queens,” collector guns or weekend-recreation pistols — but sidearms rigged for duty as the owner’s primary Roscoe. Here’s how it happened:
His Editorial Immenseness, Roy-Boy and I were talkin’ about guns (fancy that, huh?); specifically, mods to enhance handling, and he said, “You should talk to Jim Toner” — and gave me a phone number. I figured it might have just been his way of cutting off the conversation, but what the heck, I made the call. That call kicked off months of verbal volleys with Jim, the honcho of Toner Machining Technologies and now, TMT Tactical. Jim’s a nit-pickin’ precision machinist, a gifted “ergonomics mechanic,” an avid shooter and a genuine good guy.
I’ll spare you the details; the experiments, testing and evaluating, and just tell you the results: The Connor Combat ModPak; a suite of modifications to maximize the utility of Glock pistols. To clumsily paraphrase Emma Lazarus, Send us your worn, your ugly, your lonely and not quite right but mechanically sound Glocks languishing in your gunsafes, and we’ll send you agile, fine-fitting, beautiful sidearms you’ll be proud to carry.
From The Top Down
The selection of Advantage Tactical Sights wasn’t easily made, and cost was not a factor. The search was targeted on selecting the best possible combination of speed of acquisition under varying light conditions, and “precision on demand.” Many handgun sights are either fast or precise, but rarely if ever both. ATS gives the shooter the best of both worlds: an outstanding visual pickup for fast work, and the ability to achieve great accuracy when you have the time and stability to apply it.
Most shooters are unused to having multiple choices in sight colors, and they usually find there is a single combination — say, yellow rear, red front, or green rear, orange or white front — which immediately stands out for them. Which color or combination of colors works best for you is a very personal call, and with ATS, you have the flexibility to find it. Each sight set comes with five color pairs. Tell ’em which colors you want mounted, and you can change them later if you like. By the time you read this, their luminous Firefly sight inserts will be available too.
The slide gets nicely beveled —“ bull-nosed” — at the front end to assist in smooth re-holstering and reduce the danger of the slide hanging up on or being blocked by obstacles if you have to “push through” in a close-combat situation. The rear corners of the slide are also slightly beveled to reduce the possibility of hanging up or being slowed by resistance to a holster strap or the interior contours of a high-coverage, semi-rigid synthetic holster.
Additional slide cocking serrations are added, and matched with new serrations machined wrapped over the top of the slide. The difference in feel and improved, sure grasp of the slide is significant — and a potential lifesaver. Just one sweep of the slide will convince you.
Rather than machining more serrations in the front of the slide, “press-check pockets” are cut below the surface of the slide on each side, and filled with aluminum silicon carbide “sharkskin” inserts. This gives the press-check pockets incredible tactility, yet, because they are actually sub-surface, they won’t tear up holster linings or impede a smooth draw.
“Glare traps” are machined into the top of the slide between the front sight and the ejection port. Having experimented with many surface antiglare treatments, we found that physically lowering the light-receiving surface does a far better job of reducing glare. When you consider that light is simply a bombardment of photons, breaking them up sub-surface makes a lot of sense. In our first runs, the glare traps were bare. They worked. Now they’re further improved with carbide sharkskin inserts, and work even better. And, okay, it looks cool too. But all the mods look cool …
The Southern Half
Overall circumference of the grip frame is carefully reduced, with great attention paid to exactly how much “meat” is shaved precisely where. The backstrap is recontoured to a flatter profile and the grip angle is altered to produce a feel more like that of a 1911 with a flat mainspring housing. For most shooters this provides a far more natural feeling grip and improves “pointability.” In the process, the hollow “trash collection” area at the rear of the grip is filled and smoothed. The bevel of the mag well is enhanced for smoother reloads.
The rear of the triggerguard is relieved where it meets the frame, allowing the middle finger of the shooter’s weapon hand to move a bit higher up, and consequently, allows the web of the hand to snug-up tighter and slightly higher against the frame. This is really where the magic happens in terms of natural pointing. The combined effect produces far better control and reduces tendency of the pistol to twist in the hand under recoil. The new grip also naturally aligns the top of the slide better, reducing a muzzle-up or muzzle-down angle, which then requires adjustment to put the sights on target. The whole hand will ride slightly higher on the pistol. The forward edge of the triggerguard is “de-horned” and rounded.
The grip area of the frame is completely encircled in a custom stippling treatment selected to provide an excellent grasp under virtually all environmental conditions, from mud and blood to sand or butter, without being so “raspy” as to unnecessarily damage clothing or cheese-grate the shooter’s hands. Indexing rectangles are stippled on both sides of the frame forward of the slide lock. This gives the shooter a positive tactical “parking pad” for the tip of the trigger finger whether right- or left-handed. Additionally, if the shooter uses a thumbs-forward grip when shooting 2-handed, it can help the shooter find and maintain position with the side of the thumb of the support hand. The underside of the triggerguard is also stippled, which helps stabilize the support-hand index finger.
You have four trigger options: First, installation of a Ghost Inc. “Rocket” 3.5 Trigger Kit. This is not a trigger for novices or casual recreational shooters. In fact, we don’t recommend it for “intermediate users” or anyone with less than a fully trained trigger finger. It is not a “hair trigger,” and it’s certainly not set up to trip upon incidental contact. The safety features operate in the same fashion as a standard factory Glock trigger. On my Glock 21SF, trigger pull measures 4 pounds, 2 ounces, with an excellent break.
What you get with the Ghost Rocket 3.5 is a shorter take-up, a crisp, clean break, virtually zero overtravel, and a fast, short, tactile and audible (if you can hear it after gun shots batter your inner ears) reset. Working the reset proficiently adds enormously to rapid-fire accuracy.
We encourage you to go to the Ghost Inc. website — www.ghostinc.com — and read both the info on the Rocket 3.5 kit, and Ghost founder Arthur Viani’s excellent discussion of trigger weight. When it comes to the trigger in a pistol you may trust your life to, never make decisions lightly. If you have the skill and discipline for it, we think you’ll truly appreciate the Ghost trigger in your ModPak Glock. If, in your honest opinion, you’re not quite ready for it but you’re determined to put in the time and effort to train your trigger finger before carrying your ModPak-modified pistol in a defensive role, well, good on ya, mate!
Your second option involves cleaning up your stock trigger and installing a Ghost 3.5 connector. This will slightly lighten felt pull and smooth your trigger. The third option is the one I think best for most shooters: Just clean up and smooth your stock trigger. It will feel cleaner but otherwise essentially unchanged. The fourth is our “LITHA” option: Leave It The Heck Alone! If you’re pleased with your stock or aftermarket trigger, you should leave it alone!
Frags & Finishes
Slides are all bead-blasted after the machining is done and before applying the finish. Since the three pistols shown here went off to Chuck Pittman’s studio for “glamour photos” the finish has changed. Jim was using another very durable and competitive finish, but in the end, since these are “Connor approved” mods, we selected Cerakote as our standard — a superb and extremely tough finish. You can see samples at www.CerakoteGunCoatings.com. For the Connor Combat ModPaks, you can choose between their mil-spec OD H-240Q, coyote tan H-235Q and mud brown H-225Q. You can opt for the entire pistol in a single color, or frame and slide in contrasting colors. I like ’em all, especially a mud brown frame and mil-spec OD slide.
In the last week, we’ve developed another option: nickel-boron coating the slide, which comes out kinda pewter-gray, and your choice of frame colors mil-spec OD or sniper grey H-234Q, or, with all the mods done, just leaving the frame black. All look pretty dang fine. Looks don’t count in a gunfight, but if a fighting gun also pleases the eye, that ain’t bad, right?
The complete ModPak treatment costs $875. If you’d like some custom laser engraving, like your name, a legend or image — he does a nice Second Amendment on slides — you can get that too.
Testing & The Wrap
It’s been an interesting ride. I learned a lot from it, and the ever-increasing quality of Jim’s work has just gotten better. The word has spread fast and he’s done some impressive custom jobs for, among others, country music stars and a rock and roll legend. Despite a shot of intoxicating exposure, he remains devoted to working on solid guns for people just like him … and you.
Throughout this year-plus process, testing was extended to an array of “beta-testers” of all levels of experience. These included two hardheaded perfectionists who had shot Glocks extensively but refused to own one. “They just don’t point right for me,” and “They feel like bricks with plastic handles” were their comments. Then they shot our ModPak G21. Their tunes changed to praises. “Points beautifully!” and “This doesn’t feel like any Glock I’ve ever shot!” One circled back stealthily to ask me, “Is this one for sale?”
“Nope,” I said. “This one’s mine. Get your own!” You too. And don’t just claw your ModPak Glock outta the box and start packin’ it. Get to know it well before takin’ it for a walk in the dark, okay? Connor OUT
Greedy, Greedy CONNOR?
Whoa, there! Settle down now. I can read the thought-bubbles hovering over some of your heads: “So Connor’s got a money-makin’ gig going, and Roy, the Publishing Potentate, is giving him a bucketload of free advertising! I knew it! It’s all about the money!” Wrong.
True, Jim Toner and I have a “fiscal arrangement.” A percentage of all sales generated by these ModPak Glocks goes into a fund called “Connor’s Cut.” I don’t make a dime from it, and never will. That’s our arrangement. Every penny — with nothing taken out for management, bank fees or “handling” — goes directly to selected charities to benefit our military veterans and their families. Every penny.
Writing, training and consulting is a “family and friends” business. We are The GunBums LLC. We’ve always given what we could to veterans’ charities. But one of our ongoing concerns has been that while some charities have done very well in soliciting donations, others have not. Typically these are smaller operations, and although relatively small, the nature of their work is important, filling critical niches, and they are no less dedicated and deserving of support.
A good example and a favorite of mine is AnySoldier.com. They connect folks at home with our troops deployed worldwide so you can learn firsthand, in their words, what their needs are, what they can’t get through the military system, and send packages directly to them. In recent times AnySoldier has actually gone “in the red” and struggled to survive.
Another very deserving outfit is Operation Homefront. They provide financial and physical assistance to the families of deployed troops, and to wounded and injured vets in transition. Often this comes down to things as simple — and badly needed — as groceries, emergency home and appliance repairs, car repairs, kids’ clothes for school, moving help and much more. Most Americans are unaware of the number of military families living below the poverty line. Operation Homefront knows, cares, and helps. At this writing they have provided critical help in 754,614 cases. The majority of their clients are from the lowest-paid enlisted ranks, E-1 through E-6.
So here’s the deal: Depending on funds acquired, every 3 or 6 months, we decide which charity or charities have the most immediate needs, and direct the money to be distributed accordingly. We’re not a 501(c) (3) organization, and in the current political climate, we don’t plan to file for that status. We will remain just a buncha’ busted-up vets trying to help other veterans and their families. We are trying to set up other similar arrangements, to generate more funds for these worthy causes. We don’t foresee becoming “big-time,” but that’s okay. We’ll do what we can.
There it is: “Connor’s Cut.” I feel good about it and hope you will too.
By John Connor
For more info: www.americanhandgunner.com/toner-machining, (828) 432-8007, firstname.lastname@example.org.
>> Click Here << To Check Out The Web Blast for the Tale Of The Ugly Glocks; before and after the ModPak treatment!