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Glock Grip Plugs – Good or Bad?

There are about a bazillion aftermarket parts and accessories available for Glock pistols. Some folks will tell you that you don’t need any of them, others will swear by product X or Y. One of the more popular Glock modifications that people make is to install a grip plug. But is this really a good idea?

What is a Grip Plug?

Image courtesy of Lone Wold Distributors

Image courtesy of Lone Wold Distributors

As you can see, grip plugs fit into the gap in the back of the frame of Glock pistols, and are designed to keep dirt and debris out of the internals of the gun. Some grip plugs also claim to provide additional benefits like adding extra weight, countering recoil, and guiding the magazine into the mag well.

Sounds like a good idea, right?

Not Really

In my opinion, installing a grip plug isn’t a great idea and here’s why.

The first reason has to do with the dirt and debris argument. There are two schools of thought: the first camp will tell you that having a grip plug is a must, because it keeps dirt and debris out of the pistol. The other camp will tell you that you shouldn’t use a grip plug because Glock engineered the pistol with a gap to allow dirt and debris to fall out of the gun. I fall into the second camp. If you somehow manage to pack the grip plug full of dirt, not only will the gun still function, but the open bottom will allow the dirt to fall out of the gun.

The second reason I don’t think grip plugs are a good idea is that the gap actually allows you to get a better grip on the magazine if you ever need to clear a Type III malfunction (double feed). Sometimes it takes a good bit of force to rip the magazine out of the gun, even with the slide locked to the rear. Your thumb will fit into this gap in the frame and allow you to get a better grip on the magazine.

To illustrate these points, check out this video from Down Range Firearms Training instructor and Monderno contributor Matt DeVito.

So what do you guys think? Grips plugs – good idea or bad idea?

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24 Responses to Glock Grip Plugs – Good or Bad?

  1. dgdimick August 21, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

    First off I’m not a Glock guy – I just don’t care for the feel or recoil management. With that said, It seems a lot of Glock owners spend a good deal of money making changes to the standard Glock; they where designed they way they are for a reason.

    I look at these “butt plugs” in the same light as the ones you can get for your pistol grip; AR type rifle. Are you going to store stuff in it? if not, why are you going to cover the hole? Sure mud and dirt is going to get into the hole, however since it’s plastic, why do you care? It’s easier to clean the hole, then have to remove a plug, and then clean out the same hole.

    If you’re getting that much crud in the hole on a pistol, maybe it time to look at how you’re using the pistol.

  2. Tim August 21, 2013 at 2:02 pm #

    Agreed, 100%. Grip plugs are just another add-on that people waste money on. Plus, butt plugs.

    • Machine Fuel February 24, 2015 at 9:50 pm #

      Somethin’ on your mind…?

  3. Chris Knowles August 21, 2013 at 2:05 pm #

    Science!

  4. TK August 21, 2013 at 2:06 pm #

    Butt plugs are wrong in every context including Glocks.

  5. BHirsh August 21, 2013 at 2:37 pm #

    “It’s that shoulder thingy that goes up.”

    GUFFAW!!!

  6. Ira G August 21, 2013 at 2:58 pm #

    If Gaston did not do it, I don’t either pretty much, I change the slide locks and add talon grip and that is it, (maybe the sights too love my CLAW set up)

  7. Jake August 21, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

    I’ve never seen a butt, er, grip plug CAUSE problems, but they certainly don’t solve any either. Therefore useless nonsense.

  8. RJ August 21, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

    i have few glocks ( tho not my main pistolas) and ive always stated exactly what was said here . I am probably different from most glock owners (pistol owners in general) I dont have em all pimped out they are just tools i drop the mags in the dirt I use the guns in any conditions mud dirt sand what ever other then an occasional broken trigger spring they dont miss a beat

  9. Matt August 21, 2013 at 5:23 pm #

    Great article gents.

    I think it’s a bit of a catch 22. On one hand, there are tests like Matt’s (and others) that show that Glocks are incredibly tolerant of misuse and various environmental factors. On the other hand, there are tests like those done by Larry Vickers (and others) that show that Glocks with the plugs can be kept running longer when exposed to sand, grit, dirt, etc by virtue of prevent at least some of the stuff from entering the action.

    My compromise has been to use a grip plug but to choose plugs that are relieved a bit (or to relieve them myself) so I can still grip the magazine. There are also various ways you can enhance the magazine baseplate (some of which are free) to mitigate the loss of gripping surface caused by the use of a grip plug.

    In the end, this is probably yet another thing that I have put more time and thought into than what it actually merits.

  10. Keith H. August 21, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

    I have used a Deep 6 Comp plug in my Glock 21 for many years. I’ve never experienced a large amount of debris gathering in the grip space, even when hunting or bumming around in the Arizona desert. With routine maintenance, there will likely never be a problem, either. As far as assisting in removing magazines, my thumb has never fit into the little gap that the grip plug fills on any of my Glocks, anyway, so I don’t see any good or bad coming from the plug being there. Like most everything else gun related, use what works for you.

  11. Arthur August 21, 2013 at 7:15 pm #

    I have no opinion on the reliability/cleanliness issues, but in every single case in which I have seen a grip plug installed, the shooter has been able to reload faster and/or easier. The semicircular cutout at the rear of the magazine well is very prone to snagging on the rim of the top round in the magazine, and a grip plug remedies that issue almost entirely.

  12. Matthew Kressley August 21, 2013 at 8:40 pm #

    Agree 100% Its just one more thing you can buy that you don’t need. No reason to have one

  13. Mike August 22, 2013 at 7:58 am #

    We aren’t going to further widen the gap amongst gun owners by debating the merit of putting a $6 piece of plastic into a $600 piece of plastic, are we? A grip plug is like a thumb safety on a striker-fired gun; it’s not necessary but also not worthless. Who cares if a gun owner sticks a plastic plug into a plastic gun? If it gives an individual peace of mind and gets them to the range… then more power to them. FWIW, I have Glocks with and without the plug.

  14. SteveG August 22, 2013 at 10:09 am #

    I REALLY new to the world of Glocks, but between having a reload hang up on that crescent in the back and Larry Vicker’s saying the plugs are worthwhile I got a couple to try (they are cheap when you consider I normally ran 1911s). So far I really like having one. What I would like to know is has anyone documented an incident where the plug caused a failure?

    • Brandon August 22, 2013 at 10:13 am #

      I’ve never heard of them causing a failure, no.

      • SteveG August 22, 2013 at 3:34 pm #

        Well, I guess in this case it’s probably to each his own. FWIW I’ve had less than a month with the Glock platform. I’m likely to revisit the plugless option again.

        Crazy thing is I’ve owned a Glock for less than a month, but I remember when they came in Tupperware cointainers.

        • BadBoysBailBond September 28, 2013 at 2:52 pm #

          Lmao @ Tupperware!!! Rumer has it that Tupperware owners prefer butt plugs over non Tupperware owners! Hahaha!!! Run what you brung! Whoever hits the bullseye most wins!

  15. Bawwk August 22, 2013 at 3:03 pm #

    I think everyone just cringed when he was filling it up with dirt >_<

  16. Eric September 10, 2013 at 11:33 am #

    If you want to plug the back strap on your Glock, use one of these:

    http://www.amazon.com/GLR-17-GLR-440-Tactical-Stock/dp/B005DMW00I/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1378830587&sr=8-2&keywords=mako+glock+stock

    This is what it’s here for. You should probably check with the ATF before you run right out and get one though.

  17. ben p August 31, 2014 at 1:38 pm #

    it helps on reloads. it helps guide the magazine into the gun. your mag can get caught up in that gap and its a pain. try it. it makes reloads easier 100% and has zero downside.

  18. Anthony Chuan January 3, 2015 at 8:32 am #

    This what I call a myth bothers me, its just ridiculous. anyone who owns and is intimate with their glock knows the plug is a benefit for loading the mag, anyone who understands who plastics and polymers work in manufacturing knows that the gun HAS to be manufactured open the way it is. Glock knows this and offers a way to buy and place a plug in that very spot! I think they leave it out for cost. Why fill a void up and test it if you have this amazing device that stops it in the first place?????????????????? as far as making it easier to get the mag out, thats just silly as you have the same lip around base plate ALL THE WAY AROUND,,, same grip. So the base plate comes off,,,,, never seen or heard that it has happened in a fire fight and if it did your screwed anyway without back up sorry just a fact, but for arguments sake, look at your mag, with the plug you actually have a better leverage position with the plug in for your knife or tool to pry out the mag!!!! People need to stop listening to these super tactifools and their myths and put some real world experience and scientific thought into things. This BS like mythbuster attitude to make things fail is just stupid entertaining but illogical. #flame on

    • Anthony Chuan January 3, 2015 at 8:37 am #

      auto correct said who instead of HOW sorry,,, also you should have a picture with magine in with the plug so people can actually see who the plug actually benifits with the leverage position,,, the back of the mag has an extra lip to pry from, you should show that to keep things honest

      • Brandon January 3, 2015 at 8:52 am #

        To each their own Anthony. By all means, plug your Glocks if that’s what makes you happy. I realize that not everyone agrees.

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