I would venture to guess that many of you reading this have suffered “slide stop override,” i.e., had a Glock slide drop forward on an empty chamber instead of going to slide lock. Others, less commonly, may have seen the slide lock back instead of continuing to cycle. So let’s discuss the Kagwerks slide release, it might just help.
One of the leading causes I have identified as the cause for the former issue is a high grip on the pistol. This, at least with my grip, is caused by the meaty portion at the bottom of my thumb resting on the slide stop, effectively holding it in place. A possible cause of the latter, one also caused by a style of grip, could be upward tension placed on a standard slide lock.
A second cause could be the result of the shooter resting their support hand thumb directly on the slide stop. One can fix this issue by moving the support hand thumb slightly over the top of the strong hand thumb and then training to shoot that way by habit. If it is not a pressure-on-the-slide-stop issue, it is probably the magazine. However, in my experience, this is rarely the case.
A mechanical aid to resolving the issue can be had from a company called Kagwerks in the form of their Extended and Raised Slide Release, which is available for a number of Glock models in Gens 3, 4, and 5 (q.v.).
Kagwerks slide stop/release is raised at the point where a standard slide release exits the frame. It rises approximately halfway up the slide and back towards the rear of the slide by an inch. At the end of the Kagwerks slide release is a raised upside-down triangle for thumb purchase.
Kagwerks Slide Release Installation
So how do you install the Kagwerks extended slide release?
First, make sure your firearm is unloaded!
Shooting yourself while attempting the installation is guaranteed to slow the process down, if not ending it entirely.
Next, remove the slide from the frame, remove the trigger housing pin…
Then, remove the locking block…
Next, pull the old slide release, place the Kagwerks extended slide release into its place, press the locking block back down, reinsert the trigger housing pin…
Next, put the slide back on the frame, and done. It is straightforward to replace this part on the gen 5 Glocks, though unfortunately, the gen 3 and 4 Glocks are a little more work. Happily, YouTube is your friend.
Before installing the Kagwerks extended slide release, I encountered instances of slide stop override. It didn’t happen often, but it did occur. The day after installing the Kagwerks extended slide release to correct this, I was able to head to the range and work in some drills to see if it would provide any advantage or mitigation.
1. I load all the OEM Glock magazines I have on hand with one round each. I begin the drill with three magazines “on me,”; 1 in the gun, two on my belt. The rest are on the ground. I usually shoot this on steel at ten-plus yards or on a B-8 at seven and out. I was always trying to keep all my rounds in the black.
To complete this drill, which I learned from Mike Pannone, and to add pressure, I use my first time as a baseline and try and beat it on the second go-round.
2. I load the magazines on my belt with something like 2, 4, and 6 rounds or 1, 3, and 5 rounds. I mix them up, load the gun with one at random, and place the others in my mag pouches.
You can shoot this on steel at a safe distance or any distance on paper. To start the drill, draw your pistol and fire until all magazines are empty. The purpose is to identify when the gun is empty and if the slide will lock to the rear on an empty magazine.
3. I utilize the FAST test at 7 yards. You fire two rounds to the square in this drill, then reload and fire four rounds. I completed this one clean in 4.94 seconds.
The Kagwerks Slide Release Review
These are just a few of the diagnosis drills out there; one can test their weapon’s ability to work correctly (such as ensuring your slide will lock to the rear on an empty chamber).
I finished several iterations of these drills and conducted others, happily having zero incidents of slide override with the Kagwerks stop installed. In fact, I found while using the Kagwerks slide release I was able to achieve an even higher grip on the pistol. This further improves my ability to control the gun, reducing muzzle flip while enabling quicker follow-up shots with shorter splits.
It took me a bit to get used to the triangle’s location at the end of the release for the time when I wanted to drop the slide with my thumb. This is due to a change in the location where you press down on the release. It’s not a significant change, as you really just need to lift your thumb up a little higher, but it is something to be aware of and adjust your training.
Since I have placed the Kagwerks extended slide release on my generation 5 Glocks, I’ve had zero instances of override. However, should that change, I will provide an update.
If you’re like me and have big hands, or if you’re one of those shooters who tend to apply pressure to the slide release with your thumb, I would look into this upgrade from Kagwerks.
Note: Kagwerks makes the extended and raised slide release for the following Glock models:
Gen 3 and 4: 17,19,26,34, 22, 23, 27, 35, 31, 32, 33.
Gen 5: 17, 19, 26, 34, 45.
Online at kagwerks.com/
Big Bird out!
About the Author:
Daniel “Big Bird” Bales has been an active (and very tall) law enforcement officer for more than a decade and a half. During his career, he has worked for a large Sheriff’s department in Nevada on such assignments as detention, courts, court transport, patrol, and S.W.A.T. He is currently a full-time Rangemaster. Daniel has numerous firearms, tactics, and instructor certifications, including handgun, shotgun, carbine, less lethal, force on force, low light, certified armorer, and a number of basic and advanced S.W.A.T. schools. More importantly than the “certifications” is his commitment to being a lifelong student. He has instructed many students for LMS Defense and is one of the founder-owners of Crucible Consulting. Follow or connect via Instagram, @crucible_consultants.