Completing a finished handgun from an 80% pistol kit may have the potential to save you some money in fees, and it may also be a practical way to acquire a popular model of handgun, given the fact that there are some serious nationwide shortages of firearms and shooting accessories. (Although it’s also true that some 80% lower receiver and build kits are also low in stock, that’s another issue.)
If you decide to proceed with the project, what you’ll need to complete the build will vary according to the build kit you purchase. Some 80% pistol kits are more comprehensive than others, so let’s just take a look at what you’ll need to complete a functioning handgun if all you purchase is the 80% frame.
Consider the GST 9 Polymer Frame from 80% Arms that you can purchase online at 5D Tactical (5DTactical.com). This 80% pistol frame allows for a 4-in-1 system enabling the completion of a 19, 19X, 19L, or 17 and is compatible with Glock Gen3 parts and accessories.
It is, however, only an 80% frame that is not considered a firearm by the ATF. To complete it, it must be drilled and finished in order to accept the other components of the handgun and operate in a firing state. For that, you will need an 80% pistol kit and along with some other tools and parts.
Depending on which tutorial you follow, you will likely be advised that you need the following tools to complete a handgun at home, in addition to the 80% pistol kit (and frame and associated parts):
-Hand drill or drill press (and bits)
-Roll pin punches
-Files and sandpaper
-A rotary tool and attachments for finishing, removing burrs, and making other small adjustments
Some choose to purchase a frame jig kit, which will contain most (if not all) of the tools you need to complete an 80% pistol frame at home. A jig for your pistol frame is sort of like a template; it holds your receiver blank in place while streamlining the process of drilling and finishing the receiver.
The 80% Arms GST-9 Jig, also available online at 5D Tactical, is made of extremely strong glass-filled nylon which helps prevent flexing, which is one of the most common complaints associated with polymer jigs. It is also extremely durable and secure; it features five polymer bolts that secure the jig during use, in place of the less reliable clasps used by some other polymer jigs.
This kit also features extra-long drill guides to help prevent bits from walking during the milling process. These jigs come with a set of frame rails as well as all of the tools you’ll need to complete the process.
While they are not tools, you will also need a number of other parts to complete an 80 percent pistol frame at home, including a barrel, slide, magazine, as well as a lower kit, and any other parts that do not come with the lower kit. Glock lower parts kits typically come with the trigger assembly, trigger housing and connector, ejector, and slide lock lever, but depending on the kit you may need to purchase additional parts to render your firearm complete.
You can learn more about these frames, jigs, and pistol kits on 5D Tactical’s website, 5DTactical.com, or reach out to their customer service for more information at 508-834-4223 or at sales@5DTactical.com.
*While it is legal at the federal level for some individuals to complete a functioning firearm for personal use, state and local laws vary considerably. Always seek your own legal counsel before considering such a project, as nothing in this post can be construed as legal advice.