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Field Test: Polymer80 Compact 9mm for Outdoors Enthusiasts

The PFC9 is a custom compact for outdoorsmen who demand features and dependability at an affordable price.

Field Test: Polymer80 Compact 9mm for Outdoors Enthusiasts

The Polymer80 PFC9 threaded (left) and standard (right) 9mm handguns.

No serious discussion on the merits of the modern handgun is complete without the inclusion of Glock. The legendary handgun is synonymous with simplicity and serviceability in the firearms universe. Whether you love or hate these Austrian sidearms, they are arguably the industry standard by which other platforms are judged for form and flawless function.

For the outdoor enthusiast, the Glock represents a trusted handgun capable of firing no matter the environmental conditions. This feature is consequential to those adventurers who often find themselves in weather that is less than ideal.

For full disclosure, I have carried, toted or packed a Glock 17 for more than two decades. So, finding a sidearm worthy of tagging along with me into the great outdoors, and supplanting my Glock is arguably a tough assignment.


A few years ago, a company called Polymer80 began marketing 80-percent polymer receiver blanks for the AR crowd, both 10 and 15. The successful venture led to expanding the lineup to include blanks for Glock-style handguns. The handgun blanks are available in standard, compact and subcompact sizes and are fully compatible with appropriate Glock parts, including slides, magazines and barrels.

After launching their wildly popular handgun frames, the folks at P80 realized they had indeed invented a better mousetrap and decided to build a complete serialized line of handguns.

Anyone who is a fan of Glock will immediately notice a healthy dose of the Austrian handgun’s design lines in the P80 PFC9, with a few easily discernible differences. I recently tested a Polymer80 PFC9, in the threaded-barrel model. Here are my thoughts and impressions.


The most noticeable difference between the Glock and the P80 is the grip and grip angle. Glock has a 22-degree grip angle, and the P80 tapes around 18-degrees. While there is not a distinct difference visually, when handling the two guns, the P80 PFC9 grip settles more naturally in the hand offering a bit nimbler balance than equivalent Glock models.

The aggressive stippling on the P80 grip interfaces—a P80 hallmark—offers a great grab no matter how inclement the weather gets or how sweaty your hands become.

The trigger guard has an aggressive undercut, offering better purchase with a three-fingered grip with your pinky enjoying its own real estate. An aggressive beaver tail allows shooters to get higher on the gun frame and minimize muzzle rise and perceived recoil.

The P80 has a full-length accessory rail, handy for mounting whatever accessory that tickles your fancy. A noticeably longer magazine release (over a Glock) is standard, one which is easy to find and activate even while wearing winter gloves.


The internals are much like those of a Glock, with a preloaded striker-fire design. The controls and general configuration is the same as its Austrian counterpart. The P80’s trigger face is a bit flatter than a Glock’s with a blade-style safety in the trigger face. Safety-wise, there is an internal firing pin and drop safeties which aren’t activated unless the trigger is pressed.

On top, the slide is a bit more angular than a Glock’s, with attractive, aggressive beveling. A heavy forward chamfer minimizes snags when re-holstering. The cocking/slide grooves are deep and aggressive forward and aft, offering a great grab when shuffling rounds or performing press checks.


A seemingly indestructible, tall set steel sights are standard; set high enough to accommodate the use of a suppressor, for which the 4.49-inch barrel is threaded. The tritium sights are standard on the PFC9 (threaded-barrel model) and offer a bright aiming point when acquiring targets in darkness. Alternatively, they allow for a one-hand rack should the need arise. A thread protector cap keeps the suppressor threads safe when not in use.


The P80 performed flawlessly while at the range. There are no surprises with this gun. The added attention to build detail makes the P80 a particularly handsome carry—one that was easily recognizable by several gun enthusiasts at the range.

The gun loads without fuss and surprisingly comes with three 15-round magazines (10-round magazines are shipped to purchasers who live in restricted states). The trigger is smooth, with a very short, audible reset for quick follow-on shots. The ergonomics on the PFC9 are stellar, with a considerably better man-to-machine interface than the competition.

Each component on the PFC9 is user-serviceable, making caring for the gun a fuss-free affair. I enjoyed shooting the P80 and found it to be quite accurate. I held +/-1.25-inch groups at 15 yards using Winchester 145 PDX1 Defender JHP.

I appreciate the upgrades the engineers at P80 have incorporated into the PFC9 over comparable stock Glocks. These upgrades and amenities—along with its ultra-stylish appeal, excellent ergonomics and great handling—make the P80 worth a look by serious shooters and outdoorsmen.

Additionally, the PFC9 is sure to appeal to those outdoorsmen who demand dependability and appreciate getting a custom 9mm at an affordable MSRP. With that being said, yes, I am so impressed with the PFC9, I will be carrying the P80 on my future outdoor adventures. ($599 standard compact model; $639 w/ threaded barrel;

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