I don’t really get much the appeal to the “ghost gun”. A P80 80% “Glock” Frame runs about $160. You can get a Glock frame for about $70. If you wanted to build a “ghost gun” SIG P320, it would cost you about 2-3 times as much as just buying a SIG P320. Similar with AR lowers. If you are looking to hide what you have from the government, don’t forget that ordering a parts kit or an 80% and having it mailed to your house leave quite the paper trail.
The Glock design has an awesome problem that the AR15 and the 1911 have enjoyed before it. You can build an entire “Glock” with out a single OEM Glock part. That can lead to an issue of reliability. You can find countless discussion online about people having issues with their P80 home built pistols. From junk aftermarket parts, to incorrect manufacturing of the 80% frame. For a person who needs pure reliability, they are best served buy buying the original.
All that said, it is pretty damned cool to make your own gun. If you want to do it. DO IT.
I found a P80 compact size kit for cheap. Personally, I wouldn’t pay full price for one. Not to knock the company or the product, but I am generally not going to pay more than the original for a knock off.
Let stop with the opinionated discussion and get to the product.
This is not a full set of instruction. There are plenty of those floating around online.
The box contains:
- P80 80% Frame
- P80 Jig
- M3 Drill Bit
- M4 Drill Bit
- 9mm HSS 3 Flute End Mill
- Locking Block/Front Rails
- Rear Rails
- 2X Pins
- P80 Business Card
- A card telling you to go online and find some instructions.
The frame comes placed in the jig. The two halves of the jig snap together and point out where material needs to be removed.
Three holes need to be drilled in the frame. You drill each side separately, so that is drilling 6 holes. Took me less than 5 minutes do drill them. There are sections on the top frame, front and back, where material needs to be removed. That makes for 4 tabs to cut away.
There is also a area near the front of the locking block that is filled in. That will need to be cut away. Note how the front of the jig is splayed open. I’ll come back to that.
Polymer80, the company that makes the P80 (Gee whiz, where do they get their names?) suggests milling out these areas using a drill press and an adjustable vise. To do things authentically, I placed the end mill in a drill chuck to do it the way that they suggested. About 25 minutes later (taking it slow to take pictures), I had the material removed. I’ve read and seen video of people just cutting away the material or filing it away in under an hour. If I were to do another (I don’t plan to), I wouldn’t bother milling it. I’d just use some end clippers or side cutters to clip away the bulk of the plastic and then shave it down with a sharp knife or scrapper tool.
Suggestion: If you do decide to mill it. Two things. The jig is rather flexible, it helps to put a couple more clamps on it. My big suggestion is to plunge mill.
Drill chucks are not built to take side loads. Normal milling creates a side load that can cause a drill chuck to come loose. For me, when I tried side milling this frame, the jig was flexing so much I was getting chatter. Set your depth stop for the depth of the cut, and bring the end mill straight down like your were drilling. Bring it back up and move the part to repeat.
Trying to mill out that web inside the frame sucked. This was the slowest part for me. I couldn’t see well what I was doing, and the jig was not tight at the top. I put a clamp on the top of the jig and removed the majority of the material. I ended up using a scraper tool (like a knife) to remove the remaining material.
I didn’t bother to cut the tabs flush, as it seemed to be indicated that it was unnecessary to do so.
Installing parts into the frame mostly went easy. The pins were very hard for me to insert and I had to use a hammer and punch to seat them. I’m not going to complain because I’d rather too tight than too loose. I don’t plan on removing those pins unless I have too, like if a part breaks.
If you drill the hole wrong, you scrapped the frame. Fortunately, it is really easy to drill them. It is like the old adage that is easier to say than to do, “Don’t be stupid.”
Note how the rails for the slide to ride on are much longer on the P80. Polymer80 says these are hardened stainless. I read many accounts of people having issues with the rails not in alignment. I wonder if they drilled one or more of the holes sloppily and if that caused the issue.
I had no issues with frame alignment, but hand cycling a Glock slide, I hear the recoil spring assembly rubbing against something. I have read of people having issues with this and needing to remove more material than Polymer80 says to in the channel in the frame. I may do that later.
My intent for my P80 frame is to use it with an Advantage Arms .22 kit. But I need to make sure that everything is working right and there are no burrs, sharp edges, etc on these stainless rails as that could tear up the aluminum slide of the .22 kit.
Just a note, the AA kits are not warrantied or guaranteed to work on the P80 frames. I bet it is because no one knows how well a individual P80 frame was built and that the stainless slide rails, if out of alignment, would probably damage the kit.
Making the P80 frame was fun. Took me maybe half an hour between the milling and the deburring. That is not including assembly.
Looking at the dollar value, or for use as a serious fighting gun, I would absolutely NOT recommend the P80. But if you feel like messing around, or making your own custom “Glock” pistol with the parts of your choice, have at it. It is cool to have this option.
Just don’t drill those holes wrong.