Fire-4-Effect purchased 15 barrels on the market from eight different brands. Their goal was to buy a minimum of two barrels of each brand to reduce any outliers. They purchased the barrels “blind” from assorted distributors without revealing their plans. This was done to ensure they received a “typical” barrel just like every other customer. While each barrel was threaded, silencers and any other devices for muzzles were utilized during the test itself.
The first thing you need to remove during this article is that swapping barrels on the Glock is something that any average Glock owner could perform in a dark room. Then, disassemble the Glock as you would do for cleaning. Clear the gun, firing dry by pulling the slide to release it, remove the slide, remove the spring, and then the barrel falls out. Insert the new KKM barrel and then reassemble. Done!
What’s the big deal With Aftermarket Barrels?
For aftermarket “Match grade” barrels such as ZEV and KKM dimensionally have a better fitting than Glock barrels, which means they have an even tighter lockup as compared to the stock barrel. The chamber itself is smaller and button rifled, unlike Glock’s standard rifles with a hex rifle. The two new features offer greater accuracy when using the correct ammunition (is there an echo?) However, there is an exchange.
In terms of reliability, KKM barrels remain stable and perform flawlessly in factory-spec rounds. I noticed using the 9mm barrel for this project that the KKM barrel could not be fed certain 9mm “turds” (sloppy reloads); however, the stock barrel can chew through the rounds ideally.
The button rifling can also be the benefit of a trade-off. Hex rifling was created to provide consistency in performance and reliability over a wide range of ammunition. However, this overall rifling flexibility will not give the highest accuracy with ammo by tight tolerance.
The more precise button rifling lets shooters play with low-cost bullets. The standard Hex rifling starts to get clogged/lead up and is not advised by Glock. I’ve never had great results from cast bullets using either of my KKM or ZEV barrels. Match grade barrels are premium jacketed bullets that are made or loaded to a high standard of quality. In general, I’ve discovered that the expensive shots XTP 147gr are the ones the ZEV and KKM barrels love and work best, with these premium rounds, the button rifling provided the accuracy boost you expected.
A further reason behind the difference in performance between different ammunition is that Glock Factory barrels Glock Factory barrel uses roughly 1:10 twist rates instead of the very slow 1:16 and 1:20 twist rate of the aftermarket barrels. KKMs, the twist speed is 1:20. This means that the light and inexpensive non-concentric rounds will likely shoot poorly with KKM barrels.
Cast and jacketed bullets with low tolerance resulted in lower groupings on my part than the standard barrel. However, you could still practice using these bullets. However, top-quality jacketed shots weighing 147gr, like those made by Hornady and Sierra, have produced the most impressive groupings I’ve ever seen from any Glock. Consider this KKM barrel in the same way as a top premium sports automobile. You can certainly go faster using E85, but this engine is specifically designed to run on premium fuel. It also delivers huge rewards when fed high-test fuel. You can provide KKM’s KKM barrel with high ammo, and you’ll get unique groups.
Feed these barrels with top and low-grade ammunition, and they’ll likely provide much worse accuracy than your standard Glock barrel. With the correct shell, the ZEV and KKM barrels will be able to do the job. If you buy cheap ammo and reloads, you’ll be disappointed.
A Working Example of Accuracy
In a recent range practice, I was practicing some of the most precise slow-firing drills. I was shocked by the number of groups I observed in the 7-yard range using my KKM barrel and a very cheap steel-cased MaxxTech 9mm round (hey, don’t judge it, it was quite affordable). It was apparent that the ammunition might have been keyholing. Super crappy ammo, indeed. I’ll never purchase this ammo again.
I can print only a single hole out of the whole magazine of any ammo in my standard barrel, regardless of the quality; however, my KKM barrel printed three “In a group. In the 25-yard distance with the cheap MaxxTech ammunition and my KKM barrel, I could easily fail a police test for qualification. I put in magazines full of Hornady round XTP 147gr and I was awarded with an index finger-sized 7-yard gap and an unsupported for” A-Zone range of 25 yards. It’s the accuracy I was seeking.
I went to my range pack, took out my standard Glock 19 barrel, did the barrel swap, feeding that same amount consisting of cheap MaxxTech ammo in the initial magazine and rounds of XTP for another magazine. The results were spectacular. The factory barrel made an impressive” rough hole using ammo that was a waste and a slightly smaller hole when using the top ammo. That’s the beauty of the more rapid twist hex rifling on that factory Glock barrel that leveled everything out. This is why the Match Grade Glock barrels are certainly more selective and require high-quality match grade ammunition even in practice if you hope to reap any benefits of these barrels. This is only one example and test. I’ve proved myself repeatedly. The original Glock rifled barrel hex is pretty awesome with any ammo.
The KKM barrel was designed to give shooters who use top-quality ammunition or premium Reloads the highest accuracy you can get with the Glock size. With the correct ammunition (there it is), you can ensure that your Glock will consistently give 1” or 25-yard shots from a stop using the KKM and ZEV barrel. I love the KKM as well as ZEV barrels, and I highly recommend them. However, please do not feed them low-quality ammunition.
Do I want to run the KKM barrel on the defense pistol? I was hesitant a while ago; however, that is changing if you are financially willing to practice regularly on the CCW carrying rounds. Suppose you can shoot top-quality ammunition constantly or suffer through ineffective groups using cheap ammunition and occasionally reward yourself with small groups. In that case, the KKM, as well as ZEV barrels, are perfect for you. If you plan to shoot anything that isn’t the most expensive option, do not bother with the upgrade. You imagine that this upgrade will provide more accuracy.
There are only three reasons that I can come up with to change out your barrel in a Glock:
- Do you want a threaded barrel
- You have a worn-out stock barrel
- You want something that looks cool