How to Install or How to Change a Glock Backstrap

How to install or change the Glock Beavertail Backstrap on a Glock 17 Gen 4 or Gen 5 pistol

Glock 17 with Beavertail Backstrap Kit
Glock 17 with Beavertail Backstrap Kit

If you bought a new Glock 17 or other Gen 4 or 5 Glock pistol, you may want to know how to install or how to change a Glock backstrap.

A backstrap is the rear of the grip, and different sized backstraps will increase or decrease the circumference of the grip to better fit your hand and finger length.

If the Glock is new, it came with 2 Beavertail Backstraps, an install tool and a long trigger housing pin. These parts will enable you to increase the size of the grip to fit your hand. The Glock grip is considered a Short Frame without a backstrap installed.

Here are a couple pictures showing the difference the Beavertail Backstrap makes in how your Glock Pistol looks. You can see how the beavertail adds a nice look to the back of the Glock.

Glock With Backstrap vs. Without Backstrap

Glock 17 Gen 5 WITHOUT a Beavertail Backstrap Installed
Glock 17 Gen 5 WITHOUT a Beavertail Backstrap Installed
Glock 17 Gen 5 WITH Medium Beavertail Backstrap Installed
Glock 17 Gen 5 WITH Medium Beavertail Backstrap Installed

If you have lost the backstraps for your Glock, you can find them on Amazon. They even carry a blue set to add a bit of color to your pistol!

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My hand is medium size so the Short Frame fits me fine. However, I decided to try the Medium Beavertail Backstrap and I am going to leave it on as it feels more comfortable.

The Glock Medium Frame Backstrap will increase the circumference of the grip by 2mm (.08 in.) and the Glock Large Frame Backstrap will increase it by 4mm (.16 in.).

Both backstraps will add a “Beaver tail” to the back of the gun. This will provide more contact with your firing hand, allowing for better control and stability.

Steps to Install or Change a Glock Backstrap

Fortunately, installing an/or removing a Glock backstrap is relatively easy as you will see in this article. The tool and extra trigger housing pin you will need come with your Glock, but if you have lost them, you can find them here.

**Always Verify your Glock is UNLOADED before you do any of these steps!

You will simply need to push out the trigger housing pin, snap the backstrap into place and re-insert the proper length pin. the pin needed when a backstrap is installed is slightly longer than the pin that comes installed in the gun.

The Glock tool is basically a plastic punch, and you can certainly use a normal steel gun punch to do this, or even a sturdy wooden swab shaft.

Tools to Remove and install Glock Backstrap
Tools to Remove and install Glock Backstrap

An optional but very useful tool is a Real Avid Bench Block. I use this to help me protect the finish of my firearms anytime I am removing roll pins

Real Avid Smart Bench Block
Real Avid Smart Bench Block

Unload and Verify the Glock is Unloaded

Here are the steps in pictures:

Verify there is no magazine in the Glock
Verify there is no magazine in the Glock
Verify the chamber is empty
Verify the chamber is empty

Glock Field Strip

Optional: Remove the slide from the Frame to make it easier and safer to install the Glock Beavertail Backstrap.

How To Field Strip a Glock Pistol

For safety reasons, I typically will field strip the Glock which allows me to work on the grip in complete safety. I like to know with 100% certainty that the gun is not capable of firing and I can move the frame around without concern.

To remove the slide, VERIFY the gun is unloaded, point it in a safe direction and press the trigger. The trigger needs to be in the rear-most position in order to remove the slide.

Point the UNLOADED Glock in a SAFE direction and Press the Trigger
Point the UNLOADED Glock in a SAFE direction and Press the Trigger
Pull down the slide lock on both sides while retracting the slide about a quarter inch
Pull down the slide lock on both sides while retracting the slide about a quarter inch
Remove the slide off the front of the frame
Remove the slide off the front of the frame

Removal of the Glock Trigger Housing Pin

Once the slide is removed from the Glock, we can begin. First locate the trigger housing pin on the back of the grip toward the top.

Location of the Trigger Housing Pin
Location of the Trigger Housing Pin

Next we want to place the gun on a sturdy object that will allow the pin to be pushed out the other side. Maybe the edge of a table or block of wood. I use a Real Avid Bench Block to help with pin removals.

Once the grip is supported, use the Glock Pin Tool or a similar diameter gun punch and push the Trigger Housing Pin all the way out.

Line up the Glock Pin tool with the Trigger housing Pin and gently push it down
Line up the Glock Pin tool with the Trigger housing Pin and gently push it down
When the Glock grip is properly supported, the pin will easily come out the other side
When the Glock grip is properly supported, the pin will easily come out the other side

Installing the Glock Beavertail Backstrap

With the pin completely removed, take the Backstrap to be installed and hook it into the bottom of the grip first. Press upwards on the bottom until the bottom of the Backstrap is flush with the bottom of the gun grip.

Hook the bottom of the Backstrap into the bottom of the Glock grip
Hook the bottom of the Backstrap into the bottom of the Glock grip
Press up on the bottom until the Backstrap is flush with the grip.
Press up on the bottom until the Backstrap is flush with the grip.

Next, press the Beavertail portion at the top of the Backstrap straight into the back on the frame and it will click into place.

Press the Beavertail part of the backstrap into the frame of the Glock until it clicks
Press the Beavertail part of the backstrap into the frame of the Glock until it clicks
The top of the Backstrap will click into place and look like this
The top of the Backstrap will click into place and look like this.

Squeeze the grip where the hole is located for the Trigger Housing Pin to line up the Backstrap holes with the hole in the Glock grip. Try to push the longer Trigger Housing Pin into the hole.

This can be tricky if the fit is tight like mine was. If you cannot push it at least part of the way in, you may need to tap it in with a soft mallet. Be very gentle and patient as the pin is only plastic and easily damaged if you hit it too hard!

Squeeze the backstrap into the gun to line up the holes
Squeeze the backstrap into the gun to line up the holes

Install the longer Trigger Housing Pin

Due to the backstrap making the grip slightly wider, you must use the longer Trigger Housing Pin to hold the Glock backstrap in place.

While squeezing the Backstrap to the grip, insert the longer Trigger housing Pin into the hole.
While squeezing the Backstrap to the grip, insert the longer Trigger housing Pin into the hole.
If the pin is difficult to insert all the way, GENTLY tap it in with a soft head mallet.
If the pin is difficult to insert all the way, GENTLY tap it in with a soft head mallet.

Once the pin is all the way in, check both sides to be sure it is roughly even as far as how deep the end of the pin is located. If it needs adjusting, use the punch or Glock tool to move the pin until it is even.

Trigger Housing Pin (left side) after installing backstrap
Trigger Housing Pin (left side) after installing backstrap
Trigger Housing Pin (left side) after installing backstrap
Trigger Housing Pin (left side) after installing backstrap

Video: How to change a Glock Backstrap

Reassemble the slide to the frame. you have now installed the Glock Beavertail Backstrap to your pistol. Try it out at the range and make sure it is comfortable to shoot. If not, you can easily remove the backstrap and try another size or leave it off altogether. Either way just use the instructions and steps in this article to do so.

Also See My article on How To Disassemble & Clean a Glock 17 or any Glock Pistol

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