The last couple of years have seen the gun modification world turn its eye to the venerable Glock. While reliable and bomb-proof, Glock pistols have always been somewhat bland in appearance. Some would argue that Glocks are fine just the way they are, and this has some validity. However, the firearms industry as a whole has benefited from companies working on their own to modify and improve guns.
However, many of these modifications have run full circle and ended up in the manufacturing of the guns they started to tinker with. Other modifications run the gamut from Glock triggers and sights to grips and finishes. One of the newest trends is to modify and make an entirely new slide for a Glock, and one of the most interesting of those I have come across is the Krytos T17 Titanium Slide.
The Basics of the Krytos T17
The major point of interest for the Krytos T17 Titanium Slide is that it’s made from a solid billet of aerospace-grade 6AL4V titanium. While some companies have made firing pins and even suppressors out of titanium, building an entire slide out of it is a pretty big jump. However, if you’re unfamiliar with titanium, you should know that it has a tendency to gall (a form of wear caused by friction welding between sliding surfaces). Krytos has addressed this by using a proprietary patented “ArmorTi” process that produces an extremely hard, black, abrasion-resistant finish on titanium. This allows the metal to be used for applications it was not previously suited for due to its tendency to gall.
At the risk of approaching technical overload, I have to explain that this process is not truly a coating. Coatings and titanium rarely work well. However, this process penetrates the first 5 to 10 microns of the titanium to reduce friction and resist abrasion. This completely eliminates any friction-related issues with titanium and dramatically improves its impact resistance while maintaining all of its most desirable properties.
The biggest upside to a titanium slide is obviously weight. Titanium brings at least a 40-percent reduction in weight from the stock slide. For those, like myself, who have been at this rodeo a while, our brains start to calculate mass, spring tension and cycle rates. This small trip into ballistic quantum theory is just addressing the concern that the light weight of the slide will cause functioning issues. This is not the case, however. While the slide will indeed run faster, potential issues are offset by the actual weight reduction. The takeaway from this is that Krytos’ titanium slides operate with standard recoil springs.
The laws of physics rarely take a day off, so we do need to address recoil. My personal concerns were that the new slide would make my well-worn Glock a snappy little monster. However, this was not the case. While there was a noticeable increase in slide velocity and “snap,” it was nothing of consequence. A Glock 17 or Glock 19 still has enough grip surface and overall mass to negate any issues the lighter slide brings. The upside was a noticeable increase in speed in reacquiring my target and breaking follow-up shots. For competition shooters, this can translate into faster split times. For defensive shooters, it allows us to put rounds onto the target much more quickly.
On The Range
My range session with the Krytos T17 was very enjoyable. I ran a plethora of ball ammo though the upgraded Glock 17 and experienced no malfunctions at all. The unit I received also came as a complete unit with a Krytos barrel machined from 416 stainless steel and button rifled, then heat-treated with premium black nitride, making it a very nice addition. It also included a titanium guide rod treated with the same specialized ArmorTi process. This results in a long lifespan with reduced weight. The slide has cocking serrations at the front as well as at the standard rear position. This has been on many Glock owners’ wish lists for years, and Krytos has answered.
In my testing endeavors, I mixed slow-fire shooting with close-contact drills, essentially the same defensive drills I would do with any gun. It did take a little time to acclimate to the faster slide rate, but it was settled in short order. As I mentioned earlier, the slide ran flawlessly and made for an enjoyable day at the range. One point of concern that some people may have is the actual lightweight nature of the slide and its durability. However, the team at Krytos is composed of shooters who addressed these concerns. Most notably, they ran a Glock 17 with their T17 slide in a rest for 10,000 rounds without any issues. They also went to the greatest extreme and actually plugged the barrel of a gun. They hammered material into the barrel and set it up in the rest. When it fired, the slide stayed completely intact.
Additionally, an interesting side effect of the ArmorTi process Krytos uses is a certain ease of cleaning. Yes, I know it’s a Glock and most people don’t ever clean them, but I have an obsession with keeping guns cleaned and maintained. The Krytos T17 slide was a breeze to clean. With little more than a hearty wipe down, it was back in “new” condition. The mixture of durable titanium and the ability to easily clean and maintain it gives this slide five stars in my book.
My primary focus with this demo was application. While the titanium slide, with its good looks and fresh cuts, has a cool factor, it is also a plus for people who carry religiously. Imagine a 40-percent reduction in the weight of the pistol you carry every day without reducing the size of the gun. That is a game-changer in the EDC world. Most people carry micro guns because carrying a Glock 17 or Glock 19 every day can get heavy.
While I would normally say, “Suck it up, Buttercup.” However, the T17 and T19 slides from Krytos can help people move into a larger gun for daily carry. They can also help experienced folks who desire to add to their EDC Glocks. By using one of Krytos’ T19 Opticus Titanium Slide, for example, you can add a reflex sight and a threaded barrel to your Glock 19 and it’ll still weigh about 2 ounces less than a factory model!
The cliché that “ounces equal pounds, and pounds equal pain” is pretty true in the concealed-carry handgun world. There is a reason why most people don’t carry a full-sized 1911 as their primary CCW. As a test, I carried my now-modified Glock 17 for a week. Also, I used my same Alien Gear rig and wore it just as I would every day. While I tried to ignore it so as to be impartial, the reduction in weight was noticeable immediately. Like many, I carry for at least 12 hours a day, so my “time on” was significant. I found it to be a major improvement. Taking your Glock in for a little weight reduction program could greatly improve your EDC experience.
Titanium Is King
There are many companies entering the Glock slide market, some with steel and some with aluminum. When set side by side, the numbers speak for themselves. Titanium is about 45-percent lighter than steel, and aluminum is about 67-percent lighter than steel. While that would drive you to think aluminum is the answer, you must look at durability. Titanium, like steel, is one of very few metals that operates with a fatigue limit. This means that as long as the load on the titanium is under acceptable limits, it will never fail due solely to fatigue. Aluminum does not have a fatigue limit and will eventually fail regardless of the applied load. This means that titanium is a superior solution for many applications. Also, it will dramatically outperform aluminum while still weighing significantly less than steel.
The ArmorTi process Krytos uses is revolutionary and is certain to find its way into the military and aerospace world. The fact that the Krytos team has made Glock slides first is a tip of the hat to an industry that they have all worked in and enjoy. We as consumers are the beneficiaries of this dedication. While relatively new to the scene, Krytos and its T17 and T19 slides will be major players. While I had the opportunity to get a top-secret behind-the-scenes peek at the 2018 SHOT Show, the official announcement came this last May at the 2018 NRA show in Dallas.
At this event, Ben Cook, Krytos’ president, spoke at length: “This is an exciting time for our young company. We were overwhelmed by the reactions we received from attendees and our industry partners at the NRA convention this year. ArmorTi has consistently amazed us with what it allows titanium to do, and we truly believe it will change the face of material design considerations in the firearms industry and many others. ArmorTi was designed with aerospace and medical applications in mind, but since we are all firearms industry veterans, we couldn’t help but launch in this industry first. Using our team’s considerable industry experience, we have tested our products to extreme levels to ensure they live up to our standards, which are ridiculous.”
In short, this Glock slide is a fantastic new product from a solid team. Those interested in shedding some weight off your Austrian CCW should take a closer look at Krytos.