Like many Americans as part of my daily routine I carry a handgun for self-defense. Rarely do I venture out of the house or office without a firearm riding on my hip and tucked discretely under a shirt or jacket. Despite the fact most people carry handguns, many would agree a handgun isn’t the ideal choice for personal defense - the rifle reigns supreme when it comes to this task. But let’s face it; it’s rarely practical for a civilian to carry a rifle every day. We’re stuck with handguns. Or are we?
There are several properties that make rifles preferable to handguns in a self-defense roll. Most centerfire rifles will offer considerably more power than your typical handgun chambered in popular defensive calibers such as .38/.357, 9mm, .45 ACP, .40 S&W, etc. However, it’s not just the power of the cartridges chambered by rifles that makes them so desirable. The greatest advantage of the rifle is the stock, which allows for greater accuracy at range, faster follow-up shots and improved stability of the firearm for most engagements.
What if you could combine the small size of a pistol with the functionality of a rifle that you could comfortably carry every day in your favorite holster? If you own a Glock pistol you’re in luck. With a Glock you can quickly and easily convert your pistol into a rifle using a drop in stock modification sold by the Mako Group. Now that you’re excited, let me take a little wind out of your sails.
In the United States you must register any rifle with a barrel length less than 16” as a Short Barreled Rifle (SBR) with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives or ATF for short. While many think Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives should be a store name; these guys take the regulation of firearms very seriously and aggressively prosecute those that violate U.S. firearm laws.
Thanks to the National Firearms Act (NFA) of 1934, firearms such as SBR’s must be registered with the government and a $200 tax paid on the creation or transfer of the firearm. The process is simple but time consuming, however once you’ve successfully registered your first SBR there is a good chance it won’t be your last. I’ve found it to be somewhat addicting. I registered my second generation Glock 17C on a Form 1 (request to manufacture a SBR) and it took around 8 months for the paperwork to be approved.
A word of caution, it is illegal to purchase a stock for your handgun before you have completed the registration process and received your paperwork back from the ATF. Having the firearm and the stock in your possession is considered “constructive intent” by the ATF and they can prosecute you for having an illegal SBR even if you’ve never installed the stock on the pistol.
Now that we have the legalities out of the way, let’s talk about some of the unique properties a Glock SBR affords you and get some wind back into those sails. The Mako stock tips the scales at a mere 7oz due to its polymer construction. With the stock attached to the pistol it weighs just 2lbs 2oz using an empty magazine, over 4lbs lighter than the ultra lightweight Colt SP1 carbine in 5.56mm. With a Huntertown Arms Guardian 9mm suppressor mounted to the SBR the whole system weighs just 2lbs 11oz!
Not only is the SBR super lightweight, it’s also very short. With the stock mounted and fully collapsed for transport, the SBR is just 17-1/4” long. With the stock fully extended, the firearm is 21-1/2” in overall length. When I mount a Huntertown Arms Guardian 9 suppressor with the stock fully extended the entire package is only 30-1/4” in length. With the stock collapsed, it’s just 25-3/4” from the tip of the suppressor to the toe of the stock. That’s a small package!
The stock is collapsible thus allowing you to collapse it for storage and quickly expand it by depressing a locking lever and pulling. It has four positions; three of the positions are for firing with the fourth position being fully collapsed for storage. The stock attaches to the pistol via the hollow cavity in the grip directly behind the magazine well and locks into place with a detent that engages the lanyard hole.
The stock is available in two configurations. The GLR17 is designed for the Glock 17, 22, 31, 34, 35 and 37 models. The GLR440 is compatible with the Glock 19, 21, 23, 32 and 38 models. The stocks will work with all generations of Glock pistols except Generation 4 models.
The stock features a sling attachment point at the rear that allows for a single point sling to be worn over the shoulder. With the stock collapsed and with the pistol mounted to the stock, it can be hidden comfortably under a jacket or long shirt. While this configuration would be ideal for when you’re anticipating trouble, it’s not a method of carry I would recommend for every-day use and it may not be legal to do so in your state of residence.
Since I typically have a Glock pistol with me while I’m out and about on the town, I keep the Mako stock and a copy of the Form 1 in my “get home bag” in the trunk of my car. The small size and weight of the stock lends itself to being stored in a modest sized bag, as it doesn’t take up much real estate. Should an emergency arise, and I need something with greater range than a handgun, I can grab the stock from my bag and quickly attach it to the pistol. If I need to bail out of my car, I can grab my “get home” bag and start hoofing it knowing that if I need a carbine the stock is tucked discretely away but easily accessible.
There is a slight learning curve required for mastering the use of the Glock with the Mako stock. The stock changes the ergonomics of the pistol slightly, however I quickly acclimated myself to the differences and found it to be an easy transition. Unlike a conventional rifle with a forearm to rest your non-shooting hand, the Glock SBR will require you to rest your support hand on the pistol grip overlaying your firing hand. The hold you have on the SBR should be similar to how you would hold a pistol in either the Weaver or Isosceles stance without the stock attached.
Reaching the slide stop and magazine release with your thumb is more difficult, if not impossible, with the stock attached. I have large hands with long digits and I am unable to comfortably engage the pistols controls with my thumb on my firing hand. This has forced me to adapt how I interface with the pistol while the stock is attached.
For magazine changes I depress the magazine release with my thumb on the non-shooting hand. To release the slide during a reload I again use the non-shooting hand to “sling shot” the slide by pulling it sharply to the rear and releasing it to chamber a fresh round.
Another benefit to using a 9mm Glock for this conversion is the wide variety of magazines available for it. Flush fitting factory 17 rounds magazines can be used or 33 round mags, they’re both readily available and affordable. If you want to step up to 50 rounds, I’ve had good luck with the SGM Tactical 50 round Glock drum ($69 - http://www.midwayusa.com/).
The factory sights on the pistol will seem broad and far less precise once you shoulder it in the SBR configuration. This will be your greatest challenge to making precision shots at range with it. Fortunately you have several choices for sights that you may want to consider that can improve both speed and accuracy considerably.
I mounted a Vortex Razor 3 MOA reflex red dot sight (http://www.vortexoptics.com/) to my Glock via their rear sight handgun mount kit. The sight was simple to install but will require a good quality rear sight removal tool such as the Maryland Gun Works rear sight tool (http://www.midwayusa.com/). Once the rear sight is removed all that’s required is to slide the mounting plate into the rear sight dovetail, place the supplied adhesive tape on the base plate, set everything in place and tighten down the mounting screws.
The Razor helped me to more effectively extend the range of the SBR by tightening the groups. Another benefit of the Razor is that it increased my target acquisition speed as it takes sight alignment out of the equation and replaces the open sights with a convenient red dot. The one downside to using the Razor is that it will not work with all holsters. I’ve found that low cut open top Kydex holsters will typically work with the sight in place, but some may require slight modifications to work. You may also consider a custom Kydex holster available from a wide variety of sources.
I’ve not found that carrying the Glock with the Razor mounted negatively affects the concealability of the handgun. However, I have discovered that carrying it outside the waistband is more comfortable than carrying it inside the waistband. The average shooter will see a marked improvement in the accuracy they can achieve with their handgun once a stock is attached. Not only will you typically see an improvement in the group size, you will also see an improvement in how quickly you can engage targets with each successive shot.
With the Mako stock in place I can shave both reduce my group size and speed up how quickly I fire the group. At 50 yards I can still easily score hits on my IPSC A-Zone steel Action Target ( http://www.actiontarget.com/), which is something I find to be considerably more challenging without the stock affixed. At closer ranges and in a CQB environment, the stocked Glock allows me to quickly engage multiple targets, much faster and more accurately than with the stock absent from the equation.
It should come as no surprise the addition of the stock to a pistol increases both practical accuracy and speed of target engagement. The concept has been around for centuries and has been popular both in civilian and military domains. In the 1800’s the Colt Army Model 1860 was commonly seen with a removable stock. In 1896 the Mauser “broom handle” C.96 was produced with a stock which then carried over to the P-08 Artillery Luger in the early 20th century. With the advent of the machine pistol, firearms like the Russian APS Stechkin, Italian Beretta 93R and the German HK VP70 made use of detachable stocks to give stability to the pistols during bursts of full-auto fire.
Overall I’m impressed with the utility of a stocked pistol. The Glock seems to be the ideal platform for this modification, as the pistol seems ready made for the addition of a stock. The Mako stock is affordable, lightweight, well made and easily packed away in a “get home” bag or daypack. The need to register your pistol as a SBR on the NFA registry is a bit of a downer; however once you’ve successfully navigated the process it’s worth the investment in both time and money.