The Complete Guide to GBB Glocks: Brands, Slides, Upgrade Potential, etc!

Discussion in 'Gas Powered Guns' started by MP5User, Oct 7, 2014.

  1. MP5User

    MP5User Active Member

    There are constantly a ton of posts going up about the differences and advantages of the different GBB Glock offerings. So here we are, a complete (for now) guide to the GBB Glocks on the market. The G-series is my main area of expertise, and I’ve been teching them for years at this point. Hopefully we can get a sticky for long term information. This was written by me, MP5User, with influence taken from various figures.

    To avoid any fanboy attitude here, I’m purposely pointing out the “defects” and rough points of each platform in addition to the advantages. If there’s something you don’t believe is correct, or feel that something should be added, feel free to throw it in the comments or shoot me a PM. But be able to explain your reasoning. I will be trying to address both stock forms, and upgrade path potential. I also am a firm believer that CO2 should not be used in any airsoft GBB, so therefore it will be omitted except for CO2-only guns. If there’s a demand, I will write it in.

    “Fake” Glock models, such as APS, the KWA ATP, etc will be addressed at the end.

    *Also, know that the holster options category will be pretty general, and that some GBBs may fit certain makes of holsters, meant for real firearms, or ACM SERPAs, etc.

    Where can you purchase these “illegal” GBBs? Not Airsplat, that’s where. Here’s a list of reputable international dealers, but not limited to:
    -RedWolf Airsoft
    -Airsoft Global
    -Echigoya Guns

    Tokyo Marui (TM):
    Models: G17, G17 Custom (FG, DE), G18C, G26, G26 Advance (TM doesn’t make a G19. Stop trying to argue they do.)
    TM is considered top of the market, and there’s a reason for that. TM has owned the GBB business for years, with the best stock hopup and packing combinations available stock. Plastic slides mean great gas efficiency, but also more brittle and susceptible to cracking on higher power gas in unsuited conditions. Frames are also known to require the Guarder frame due to stripped frame screws, although not too common. The most aftermarket parts and slides are available, so making yours stand out from the rest is easier than any other. All TMs have stock trademarks, a plus for many. The auto system is also very stable in comparison to KSC. The outer dimensions of these are not 1:1 with real Glocks, presenting some issues for holsters especially.
    Bottom Line: Great upgrade potential, but stock plastic may lack the realism that some prefer.
    Reputable Slide Manufacturers: Airsoft Surgeon, Guarder, Prime, PGC, Shooters Design, Ace1, Creation, Detonator, NOVA, GunsModify, etc.
    Holster Options: Look for G20/G21 holsters to accommodate for the thicker frames.
    Best Buy: Any of them, really.
    Worst Buy: Still trying to find one.
    Baseline Price: ~$150+import

    Models: G17, G18C, G34, G26, G26C, G19, G23F
    KSC runs on the other main system outside of the TM base. The KSC G-line is the predecessor, the transition between the HardKick and System 7 eras, the platform on which S7 GBB is based. The rotary hopup isn’t the best, but the stock KSC barrels have decent coating that gives you acceptable accuracy that’s still better than WE/KJ. Japan versions are plastic slide and plastic floating valve, versus the Taiwan versions with metal slides and metal floating valves, the kind that are imported into the US 90% of the time. For a transitioned platform, efficiency is very good with stock slides. One drawback of the KSC platform is the lack of trademarks. The slides are commonly stamped with the incomplete G and Milspec trades, and frames lack anything but Milspec trades. Stock slides are zinc-magnesium, which gives you the lightest stock metal slide available, fun fact. While parts support isn’t as great as TM, there are still a lot of parts. A good number of slides are available, and internal parts are easily sourced. The best part of the KSCs is the ability to accept real Glock parts. Lots of parts require little to no modification to fit the airsoft counterpart, which brings quality you can’t reproduce in the airsoft world. KSC is 1:1 with real Glock dimensions, so holster fitting is generally content with G17 holsters.
    Bottom Line: Best RS compatibility for firearm shooters or enthusiasts, but lacking the opportunity of the TM platform.
    Reputable Slide Manufacturers: Prime, RATech, PGC, Shooters Design, ProG4, G&P, Creation, Airsoft Surgeon, etc. *Guarder doesn’t make KSC slides. See one for sale somewhere? Then it isn’t Guarder.*
    Holster Options: Anything for the real corresponding Glock model. Some kydex may have different tolerances.
    Best Buy: The G19. The updated HW (heavyweight) frame and updated design is more solid than any other.
    Worst Buy: Any select-fire models. Incredibly complicated BBU system that wears easily, and requires extensive knowledge.
    Baseline Price: ~$135+import

    Models: M17, M18C, M34, M26, M26C, M19, M23F
    The KWA line was labeled to create a new faction that could legally import G-series replicas into the United States, given the M-series moniker. Trade dress civil suits closed KWA G-series production in 2009. It doesn’t matter what you say, that doesn’t make them ultra rare. They run the IDENTICAL system to KSC, and use the same zinc-magnesium slides and metal valves as the Taiwan version KSCs. The difference can be identified by KWA’s black slide void of trademarks, and lack of the internal trigger safety. The advantage of this? You have access to KWA’s Proshop for stock OEM parts that will also fit KSC. Other than that, everything that applies to KSC also applies to KWA.
    Bottom Line: Beneficial when they were legally imported, and still in circulation, but nothing special, or rarer than KSC.
    Reputable Slide Manufacturers: Prime, RATech, PGC, Shooters Design, ProG4, G&P, Creation, Airsoft Surgeon, etc. *Guarder doesn’t make KWA slides. See one for sale somewhere? Then it isn’t Guarder.*
    Holster Options: Same as KSC. Surprise.
    Best Buy: Same as above, especially one that’s had a trigger safety installed.
    Worst Buy: The auto system. Avoid overpaying for any of them.
    Baseline Price: (Discontinued), but ~$140 in 2009.

    KWA FPG:
    Adding this in, since at heart it really is just a KWA G18C. With a longer inner barrel and outer barrel and a sight-less slide, the exact same applies. In reality, that spiked up cost is paying for the body.. The internals suffer the same issues as every other KSC-spec G18C, but in a more iconic foldable box. Uses standard G-series extended magazines, providing another outlet for additional stateside-legal mags.
    Bottom Line: If you have the money, why not. Just don't expect revolutionary.
    RSM: N/A
    Baseline Price: $325, complete gun.

    Models: G17, G18C
    Yes, this is actually a brand. These are cheap KSC replications, only offered in the G17 and G18 forms. Lower quality, but this may as well be on the list:
    Bottom Line: Just buy a KSC, don’t waste your time.
    RSM: Presumably all that apply to KSC, but unconfirmed.
    Holster Options: Do we really need to go through this?
    Best Buy: None.
    Worst Buy: All of them.
    Baseline Price: ~$90+import

    Models: G23, G32, G27
    Few models aren’t a huge plus, but they ones that are there are decent. The G23 and G32 are the same except for a ported G32 slide. These are TM-spec for the most part, but fitment issues come in with the hammer group, and the G19-specific length parts are unique, as TM doesn’t have a comparable model. Sturdily built, follows suit for KJW’s reputation for workhorse pistols. As with all KJWs, the paint is thick, shiny, and wears easily. Lack of trademarks is also considered, but Guarder frames and aftermarket slides are available.
    Bottom Line: If you want a G19/G23, this is a great option, proven and durable.
    RSM: Guarder, Detonator. The only two.
    Holster Options: They are not 1:1, same as TM. Because there is no RS 10mm/.45 counterpart in this size, a G20/21 holster must be used and be a bit too long.
    Best Buy: One from overseas, where they’re cheaper.
    Worst Buy: A defective one? No outlier here.
    Baseline Price: $120 (US), $65-up (HK)

    Models: G17, G18C, G19, G23, G26, G26C Advance, G27, G34, G35 (+Gen4 Models)
    One of the most common found in the US, since they were sold slide+frame stateside for a while. Despite WE’s reputation, their Glock lineup is the best of their options, manufactured by an external company (look down). They are robust, and can put up to a lot of use. However, the grey slide tone is not a trendsetter for most, and wears easily. None of them have real trademarks, they have the incomplete G and Tactical markings. The G19 is the only one with Austria in lieu of Tactical. The outer barrels are weak and often have issues with snapping at the chamber base. Same with KJW, the stock zinc alloy is heavy, but stiff recoil springs and strong valves simulate decent recoil. The auto system is based on the TM system, and decently strong, but weak springs deform easily. The G18 is also notorious for the nozzle return spring guide mishap. They are offered in Gen4: The only airsoft manufacturer to do so, a huge step in standing out from the rest. Slides are very limited, as WE will not accept TM slides, even though most everything else can be swapped.
    Bottom Line: Good budget option with decent performance, with the unique Gen4.
    RSM: RATech, Pheonix, Archives/HK3.
    Holster Options: Same dimensions as TM, same options.
    Best Buy: A Gen4 model that isn’t the G18.
    Worst Buy: The G18C is WE’s least consistent and most troublesome model. Or, any WE owned my an irresponsible 14yr old Glock lover that gets abused every other day.
    Baseline Price: ~$85+import
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2014
  2. MP5User

    MP5User Active Member

    Models: G17, G17 Floral, G18 Floral, G19 Floral, G23 Floral, G34 Floral, G35 Floral, “WEI” Race G17, Race G18, Race 34, Race G35
    This is technically the brand that manufactures the WE G-series. However, there are some models that are sold directly under HK3/Archives. (HK3 is also called 3HK, HK3P, same thing). The QC is higher from HK3 offerings, apparent in their own models and their WE counterparts. The only “standard” HK3 model is the G17, which is available with complete slide and frame trademarks. Much like KWA was KSC’s US entity due to trademark restrictions, this is why most HK3s are sold within Europe/Asia as they are all trademarked. The Floral/Archive models are.. interesting. If you’re into that kind of thing, they sure are unique. If anyone has kept up with Evike making a trailer for their Salient race pistols, that’s these HK3/Archives pistols. They have their own “WEI” trademarks, weird skulls and stuff on the slide. The frames are fake pre-stippled with SAI-style triggers and magwells. Weird, budget Salient Comp pistols… Sure.
    Bottom Line: Identical to WE with more unique offerings.
    RSM: RATech, Pheonix, Socom Gear ZEV (also applies to the WE/Echo1)
    Holster Options: TM-spec.
    Best Buy: The trademarked G17, if you want a classic trademarked look.
    Worst Buy: The G18, for reasons above.
    Baseline Price: ~$100-$135, model dependent.

    WE ISSC M22:
    This gets its own category. This is not technically based off of a Glock, the M22 is an independent design. However, WE replicated it very poorly, and uses G-series magazines and internals. The real M22 has an external hammer, which the WE does not, as they used the G18 BBU instead, flares the OCD flag over here. Other than that, same as the WE Glocks, in a different, less desirable skin.
    Bottom Line: The Glock for the people that don't want to import a real one.
    RSM: None! Doesn't fit any WE based slide, thanks to the new design.
    Baseline Price: $85

    Stark Arms/VFC:

    Models: G17, G18C, G19
    These are a hot topic for discussion. Newer to the market, Stark is considered an R&D division for VFC. Unlike the M&Ps, the G-line is actually made by VFC, so quality is pretty good. They have a hidden selector switch under the slide for select-fire capability. Nice feature, but it means this is even more proprietary than ever. Slides are also proprietary, OEM Stark is the only option. Some models come with factory trademarks, some are blank, and some (older ones) had laser “Stark S18” trades. They run stock fine, but the upgrade paths are limited as it is only about 70% TM compatible. The hopup chamber is unique, but AST has a T-Key offering. There’s a lot of recent fanboying over these, same as any other over hyped Stark release. While it isn’t completely void, they are basically more proprietary than KWA. Let that sink in. Stark has just released Gen4 variants, joining the new generation race with WE.
    Bottom Line: Good stock pistols, finish and trademarks are true stunners, but super proprietary, more than people think.
    RSM: None. Literally. WGC sells OEM Stark slides if yours breaks.
    Holster Options: Same as TM-spec.
    Best Buy: One of the trademarked models.
    Worst Buy: One that “only needs a little work”. Proprietary called, it wants its gun back.
    Baseline Price: $100+import

    MGC (Model Gun Company):
    Models: G17 Gen2
    These are classic collector items not really suited for competition. They are plastic models based off the Gen2 Glock 17, a stock and Siedler Compensated model. Magazines don’t have feed lips and they are incredibly hard to come by.
    Bottom Line: The ultimate collector’s Glock.
    RSM: No idea, to be honest.
    Holster Options: Unknown.
    Best Buy: Any, ff you can find one.
    Worst Buy: One that’s broken, as there’s no part support anymore.
    Baseline Price: (Discontinued)

    Models: G21
    The Marushin G21 is also a collector’s item.. These are shell ejecting Marushins that are also rare and hard to come by. The shell design means they aren't practical for skirmishing, but they are cool pieces.
    Bottom Line: If you can find one it won’t be cheap, but if you care enough, but it.
    RSM: Creation, etc
    Holster Options: G20/G21
    Best Buy: Any.
    Worst Buy: A broken one, same as above.
    Baseline Price: Not sure.

    Models: G17, G18C, Darkhawk
    Even though they aren't technically connected, I group these together as they are all similar in quality, price, and public opinion. These are all cheaper TM clones not usually imported to the US market. For the same price as a WE, you can do just that: buy a WE and get a nicer product. Heavy alloy slides,but Army and Meister offer trademarks. Cheap magazine seals that leak easily.
    Bottom Line: Just buy WE or KJW.
    RSM: Army and Meister are DIRECT fit with TM. Anything that fits them will fit these, although I don’t get the logic in doing that.
    Holster Options: Same as TM… Following the trend.
    Best Buy: Technically Army will give you the best shot out of them all.
    Worst Buy: In the grand scheme of things, all of them.
    Baseline Price: ~$85+import

    Classic Army:
    Models: G17, G19
    Bet you haven’t even heard of these. Super cheap in price and quality, and kind of just a product that was made for reasons unclear. Poorly stamped zinc, think the above category but worse.
    Bottom Line: Just no.
    RSM: No idea. If anyone wants to buy one and let me know… Go right ahead.
    Holster Options: TM-spec.
    Best Buy: Can we eliminate this category for the CA?
    Worst Buy: Self explanatory.
    Baseline Price: $60+import

    Echo1 Timberwolf
    This is a unique model in itself. Lone Wolf makes real frames made for real Glocks called the Timberwolf, exactly where this model comes from. This is a TM-spec base, but internally identical to a WE pretty much. No, E1 does not have "super upgraded internalz", they really are nothing special other than legally licensed replicas available for purchase stateside. Compatible with WE/TM mags, and WE slides, as well as the Socom Gear ZEV slide just debuted for use with WE and E1.
    Bottom Line: If you like the style, no one's stopping you, but there are better options.
    RSM: RATech, Phoenix, Socom Gear ZEV
    Best Buy/Worst Buy: Technically the same thing...
    Baseline Price: $100

    KWA ATP:
    Models: ATP, ATP Auto
    Where to begin.. The fanboy behind this gun is so great.. These are the failure of the KWA lineup. The attempt was a modernized G-platform, but the quality was horrible. The Gen1 was irreplaceable, and the Gen2 and Gen3 were only marginally better. The same system is used in the KWA and KSC Glocks, but the ATP is dramatically worse. I need to find the quote from Allizard on the launch failure that that ATP should have been if it wasn’t only slightly averted. The same alloy is used in the slides, but they are incredibly weak. They also lack the access holes that every other Glock has, making troubleshooting a pain. The ATP Auto is the KSC auto system with weaker materials that wear even faster, a recipe for disaster. The only good thing to come out of the ATP is readily available, cheaper mags for the KSC.
    Bottom Line: A KWA failure that is a disappointment to all.
    RSM: None directly, although KWA/KSC slides can be used with the addition of a rear slide plate.
    Holster Options: These also fit real G17 size holsters. They also fit in the S&W M&P SERPA, arguable better than the G17, for some reason.
    Best Buy: An actual KWA or KSC Glock. If you must, the regular.
    Worst Buy: The ATP Auto.
    Baseline Price: $130, $150.

    APS ACP601:
    Models: ACP601, ACP701(?)
    CO2 knockoffs slightly representing the Glock structure. They are CO2 only, totally proprietary, once something breaks, you’re done. The Gen1 model magazines could not accept common CO2, but that was fixed with the Gen2. Hydrodip provides a unique look for some models, as does the new 701(I think that’s the number) extended slide and barrel model, representing the G34.
    Bottom Line: Not worth the investment.
    RSM: None, totally proprietary.
    Holster Options: TM-spec.
    Best Buy: A Gen2 if you must.
    Worst Buy: Every other one.
    Baseline Price: ~$100-$120

    With that being said, we care concluded for now. This was a rather long writeup, and I hope it improves what we know and can pass on to others. If anyone has any comments, criticism, etc to add, by all means let me know.

    In the near future, I will start to add in CO2 compatibility, The KWA FPG, the WE ISSC M22, and more.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2014

  3. moomoose

    moomoose Member

    This is 100% spot on if anyone was wondering.
    So glad you pointed out how terrible the ACP is.... I worked on one for a buddy and it was the biggest piece of garbage
  4. andrewscity116

    andrewscity116 Member

    La Fayette
    Subbing for later reading. Thank you for providing this resource, MP5!
  5. sneakthief

    sneakthief Member

    Great write up!

    Two things I thought I would note.

    Firstly, on the topic of the KJW. There is also a Creation slide that was made. It is OOS on Ehobby so I don't know if it is still in production, but it does exist. I am also pretty sure there was a Prime slide at one point. I can't find it right now but I am fairly confident I saw it a while back.

    Secondly, I believe that the rumor that KJW's only fit in G20 or 21 holsters is incorrect. My G23 fits perfectly in a Blawkhawk G19 serpa. I also know someone else who uses a Serpa for theirs (I didn't ask which one). I tried putting my G23 in my dad's G21 holster and it flopped around. Granted the Serpa's have slightly looser tolerances than some, but I believe that the KJW's are actually closer to 1:1 spec than to G21/20.

    One last note... there were a couple spelling/grammar errors... just typos.
  6. MP5User

    MP5User Active Member

    ^Thanks for the input, I will add in some information. Spelling errors, I assume so since I didnt proofread it or anything.

    I added holster options since it's a common question, but there are so many tolerance differences that some fit in some, and others not. Kydex especially where tolerances are different per each holster, and leather types like Safariland as well. Also head of TM fitting in a Fobus GL2, and I wouldnt doubt its possible.

    Those interested in DIY can heat up SERPAs to accept GBBs like WE, since those I can 100% confirm don't fit in SERPAs withoud modification.

    EDIT: The KWA FPG, Echo1 Timberwolf, WE ISSC M22 are added.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2014
  7. MP5User

    MP5User Active Member

    It's come to my attention that Stark has added Gen4 options to their lineup, so that will be added accordingly.
  8. FrenchyinFL

    FrenchyinFL Member

    Awesome and detailed guide, do you know if HFC's can take all TM aftermarket slides and frame upgrades? I heard that they're pretty much 100% compatible
  9. Jonnyboyman

    Jonnyboyman Member

    St. Paul
    Fantastic guide! One thing though. As for holsters for Stark Arms Glocks: my brother's G19 fit into genuine Serpa's fine. Makes me think that they might be 1:1 with the RS...
  10. MP5User

    MP5User Active Member

    HFC cannot take slides I believe, but everything else should be compatible.

    With Stark, it seems to be that slide tolerances vary by batch. Some slides will fit, some will not. While that doesn't say much for consistency, it looks like a 50-50 chance for real holsters.
  11. MP5User

    MP5User Active Member

    I've started to get PMs again, which means this should be bumped for others to read. Some side notes:

    -More and more stories of cracked Stark slides, leading to allegations of weak slide alloys.
    -Stark's Gen4 line sports real, accurate Gen4 markings on the slide, frame, and the Gen4-specific recoil rod. More proprietary parts, but definitely cool.
  12. MP5User

    MP5User Active Member

    I'll bump this to the top for new readers.

    -Stark Gen4 magazines are indented on both sides, allowing use of a reversible magazine catch.
    -The Guarder lightweight BBU for TM G17 is designed to use RS slide covers, an industry first. Guarder has also released numerous small parts, such as ridged triggers.
    -As of 10/29/2014, Guarder has released a new version of their threaded (steel) outer barrel for KSC G17. I've ordered one for my new build, and can report on quality later. This is the only threaded outer barrel available for this platform, replacing the long gap of discontinued Guarder and G&G units.
    -WE/HK3/Archives WET (The faux "SAI" kits) have debuted at AEX last week, and are now available for purchase as separate slide and frame (full guns only available at walk-in AEX locations). As ugly as the fake trades are, these do offer another option for the WEs.
    -Speaking of WE's it's also been reported the Prime RMR for TM G18C is compatible with the WE G18C, with the use of a TM-style BBU. This is among the first cross-compatibility we have seen between the TM and WE G18C.

    That conclude's this week's Glock news, I think.
  13. MP5User

    MP5User Active Member

    I'm going to bump this to the top again for new readers, since I can tell there is definitely still activity on this thread, and I'm glad to see it!

    As always, feel free to shoot me a PM with any further questions, or if you'd like to see something changed or added to a description.
  14. moomoose

    moomoose Member

  15. MP5User

    MP5User Active Member

    Those are the Archives/HK3 Salient knockoff frames.

    WE frames can be used on TM G17s with all the TM internals. I don't know what the rail chassis of the 26A looks like, and if it'll work for sure especially since it isn't G17 to G17, which would work.
  16. moomoose

    moomoose Member

    It's all G17 stuff in the G26A. Minus the recoil rod and spring so I'll have to replace that.
    I've just been unable to find G17 frames, so when I found that I was super excited. That paired with the PGC "Custom" G17 slide will look SICK :D
  17. MP5User

    MP5User Active Member

    Lets keep this at the top!
  18. Roblebeast

    Roblebeast New Member

    MP5User, clear your private messages.
  19. andrewscity116

    andrewscity116 Member

    La Fayette

    This. Please bro, please.
  20. leber026

    leber026 Member

    Fort Wayne
    Anyone know where I can find a WE G17 hop up chamber or an equivalent that will work. I'm trying to repair a couple boneyard guns. If you have an chamber to sell PM me. Thanks!