First Gear | Suarez International Glock Slides

posted on June 25, 2017

This is a big fat grin day for First Gear: We’ve got something to share that we think has almost no chance of going astray in “recommendation” terms. If you spot the weasel words in there, good on you: We concede that we haven’t shot this yet. But so many things look to have been done correctly right out of the blocks, that the likelihood of problems seems to us asymptotically close to zero.

Suarez Kompressor/Slide for Glock 19

With all things considered, we’ve quite frequently said the Glock 19 was tough to improve upon. Out of the box, the combination of round count, size, reliability and remarkable “shootability” is world class. That these form factors are so widely emulated (and in several cases quite well) may be proof of our proposition, to say nothing of widespread adoption by special units in militaries and police agencies the world over.

Pretty tough to take an RMR out of action, but the back-ups will see you through. And co-witness? Outstanding. Photo by A1F staff

If that weren’t enough, there are lots of enhancements that up those stellar basics. Not long ago, we did some of these mods in semi-steroid mode, building out a totally stock Glock G17 to an “Open” gun configuration. It was a gassing success, if we may say, but as we observed at the time, it’s not a day-to-day sort of firearm—a little too much along several vectors. As you may also recall, part of our rationale was to test some functionality that would transfer to more practical arms.

The hitch is that such a transfer is either big money, or a DIYer undertaking, and that simply isn’t for everybody. That brings us to the Suarez International “Kompressor SI-319” slide and barrel. If our build gave you the slightest hankering for compensation and reflex sighting on a Glock platform, then it’s tough to picture—much less procure—one that looks to be as good as Gabe’s newest.

The “Kompressor” and “319” designations tell a comprehensive tale, believe it or not. In the first case, it’s a match-grade Suarez barrel of length and threading appropriate for the Kompressor four-port comp (two top, one on either side). In the second, they portend a G19-length slide in the “Gen3” configuration, and based on the 17-4 steel (stainless) in-house slides that Suarez has offered since 2009. The contours match with delectable precision, by the way (not all do; just sayin’).

Nicely angled forward and rear cocking serrations are suited to nearly any slide manipulation method, including web-of-the-hand and from beneath. An appropriately down-rated spring makes these methods easier than usual, and wraps a steel, non-captive guide rod. (Gen4 owners may be sweating this, but don’t, Suarez says: These will run on the Gen4 guns).

Nicely angled forward and rear cocking serrations are suited to nearly any slide manipulation method.Suarez was an early adopter of red-dots on defensive handguns in the first place, so it was no surprise to see slide cuts for optics too. Our sample arrived with a favorite aboard: The Trijicon RMR (a 7 MOA Amber). Bright and tough, the dual illumination tones down nicely for indoor ambient light, but positively gleams outside. Co-witness is straightforward with Suarez notch-and-post at just the correct heights.

Our sample is finished in Suarez’s comparatively new Aqua Terra Plus finish. The color is, er, handsome: In some lights and angles, a subdued grey-green, in others almost bronze. We fitted it to both black and FDE frames, and called it a tie—both look fantastic. Functionally, Aqua Terra is a PTFE/Nickel finish with similarities to NP3, so really tough, and essentially never needing lubrication.

For the moment, that’s all we can tell you: As we said, it hasn’t been to the range yet (an itch we’ll scratch directly). But if G19s are your thing (and at least one ought to be), it looks to us as though the Kompressor/319 is the ultimate 21st century upgrade to the biggest pistol that carries like a small one, and the smallest pistol that shoots like a big one.

Stay tuned …

Visit Suarez International at MSRP on Kompressor Slide systems range from $599 (slide/barrel/comp) to complete guns at $1850. Upgrade slides and other components are also available for other models.

Frank Winn has been studying arms and their relationship to tyranny, meaningful liberty and personal security all his adult life. He has been a firearms safety/shooting instructor for more than 20 years, and earned state, regional and national titles in several competitive disciplines.


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