A Definitive Guide to Choosing Pistol Accessories for Your Needs

Oct 28, 2018 | Article, Parts & Accessories

Generally, the first thing following someone’s handgun purchase is the immediate search for pistol accessories. While most handguns will serve quite well as they come right out of the box, many people feel the urge to tinker. Along with that, there are other items that are nice to have as accessories for your handgun. Though the list is extensive, we will take a few moments to explore some of the more common items that end up in a gun owner’s shopping cart.

Pistol Accessories

The first item that new gun owners purchase is generally a holster. These can range from simple Kydex models to high-end leather holsters made from exotic hides. The options that gun owners have is vast. When it comes to choosing a holster it’s important to consider fit and how well the holster is made. Be patient and find the holster that fits you best.

Our next series of items will focus on the gun itself. As mentioned earlier, most guns will serve us well as they are out of the box, but a few upgrades can improve their performance. One of the most common improvements that I suggest is low light, or commonly called, night sights. These sights are fitted with a material called tritium. This material fluoresces at night making them easier to see in low light situations. This is an important add-on for anyone focused on using their pistol as a personal defense weapon. As with many accessories the options shooters have are numerous. I encourage shooters to research available products and as with all things ensure you take the time to choose the product that fits you best.

Another item that has become a central focus the last few years is the trigger. Advances in technology and design have allowed the development of aftermarket triggers for most modern pistols. These triggers are designed to improve performance in the gun through several design features. First is that most aftermarket triggers require less pressure to fire the gun. An additional feature in these triggers is a shorter trigger reset. Some designs are focused on improvement in the actual pivot of the trigger as well as the angle of the trigger face. From flat face straight trigger to super light competition triggers your choices are many.

A newer add-on for Glock shooters is the growing number of aftermarket slides. While Glock is a reliable and durable handgun, it is undeniably a little bland. Over the last several years more and more companies have begun to develop different more aesthetically pleasing slides for Glock pistols. From ported and highly engraved units to slides made from titanium this market has exploded.

Staying inside the gun, a popular addition is a threaded barrel. With the growing suppressor market, many handgun shooters are now focused on pre-threaded barrels allowing them to use their suppressors. Along with being threaded many of these new barrels have aesthetic features such as fluting and dimpling.

One accessory that has remained popular with handgun owners is a tactical light. These are lights that affix to the front end of the gun, generally on an included accessory rail. As time has gone by the power of these lights has improved while they have shrunk in size making them much easier to have on your handgun.

In a similar category as the light, we find handgun lasers. These are aiming devices that attach to the handgun. One of the most common are those designed to attach to the accessory rail. In many cases, these lasers are incorporated into a tactical light. Shooters get to enjoy a two for one. Another laser design is the kind that fits on the actual grip of the gun. These in most cases are grip activated. One last popular model is a handgun laser that is incorporated into the actual guide rod of the weapon. These create a minimal footprint and allow the gun to be carried in standard holsters.

Another area that has become very popular amongst handgun owners is the inclusion of a red dot optic. These small electronic optics are designed to set either in place of the rear sight or in specifically milled out channels in the slide. Several major manufacturers are producing pistol optics and their use on personal defense guns has grown. These optics have become so popular that many handgun manufacturers are including modified slides with several of their handgun models.

One way that many shooters personalize their handguns is by changing the color. While at one time this was accomplished with the simple use of spray paint, advanced coatings have changed the way people cover their gun. Treatments such as cerakote and duracoat have become popular options and allow people to go from mild to wild. From simple color changes to exotic patterns, many shooters take the opportunity to use coatings to truly personalize their gun.

One challenge that many shooters face is a lack of sufficient capacity in their magazines. Manufacturers have heard their cry and provided gun owners modified floor plates for their magazines. In many cases, these are designed to increase magazine capacity by two to three rounds. They also provide the additional surface area for the shooter to grip. While we can focus on the application of these extensions, in many cases these are purchased for achieving a certain look. They come in a variety of colors and in many cases will match the color of an aftermarket trigger.

When it comes to the grip of the gun, some shooters find it difficult to keep firm control. In this case, many gun owners seek out a treatment called stippling. This is a physical modification to the grip of the gun. The process is accomplished with the use of a heating tool and a retexturing of the grip. Stippling can be elaborate or very straightforward. A quick word on stippling. If you choose to have your gun stippled I would highly encourage you to have this done professionally. The process is tedious and requires patience along with a steady hand.

Of all the accessories that a new shooter should consider, one of the most important is a sturdy gun safe. Many companies make safes dedicated to single handgun storage. These can be placed anywhere in the home or office. They allow the shooter to secure their handgun while also allowing quick access.

The accessory market for handguns is huge. I encourage shooters to truly define what they want and what is a need. While some accessory additions are affordable, others can be very expensive. Regardless of your choice know that there is an accessory for almost any need and desire in the handgun world.

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