Better Than a Glock? Live Free Armory AMP 9mm

Live Free AMP 9mm semi-automatic pistol in a shooting bench with spare Glock magazines

Glock created the everyman’s gun with its striker-fired polymer-frame pistol. The Glock soared in popularity with the pistol arming the great majority of police agencies, some military units, and quite a few armed Americans.

The Glock’s long suit is reliability. The Glock seldom fails. During exceptionally rugged testing by the FBI, several Glock pistols went over 30,000 rounds without failure. A couple guns experienced trigger return failure, an exceptional showing. During my training classes, I have seen a single Glock pistol malfunction, a well-used and abused .40 caliber version. The type is proven.

Live Free AMP 9mm semi-automatic handgun on a tan soft padded case
The AMP is supplied with a padded case.

There are handguns that are easier to use, better made, more accurate, and perhaps even more durable. The Glock’s good attributes make it popular and make it the default low-bid pistol. The bottom line is that if you find a pistol that costs less than the Glock, corners have been cut somewhere. If the pistol costs more than the Glock, then be certain you are getting more for your hard-earned money.

A cottage industry sprung up early on for those interested in an improved Glock. Novak sights offered among the first improved sights for the Glock. Bar-Sto Precision was among the first to offer precision rifled and fitted barrels. Today, there are many makers offering quality upgraded parts. A few have introduced pistols based on the Glock, but with upgrades.

Thankfully, you don’t have to purchase a Glock, a separate slide, and other parts to get a quality gun. You can simply purchase an upgraded pistol. Some of these handguns are surprisingly affordable. They are more expensive than the standard Glock, but have notably upgraded features. Some are just a tad more expensive with interesting performance. Among those recently introducing such a pistol is Live Free Armory.

The goal was to offer a pistol with a traditional feel and excellent performance without compromising polymer-frame striker-fired reliability. The pistol is called the Aluminum Match Grade pistol. Input from shooters and engineers helped create this pistol.

Live Free Armory AMP

The action, or fire control unit as Live Free Armory terms it, is CNC machined from stainless steel. Live Free claims tight tolerances and extremely good fit. Examination of the pistol bears this out.

Sight picture of the Live Free AMP 9mm
The pistol features a good set of combat sights.

The closer the fit, the less eccentric wear. The pistol returns to the same place in battery, time after time, providing a high degree of precision. In contrast to polymer-framed pistols such as the Glock and Shadow Systems handguns, the AMP pistol features an aluminum frame.

The aluminum frame pistol eliminates the flex inherent in a polymer frame handgun. While this flex soaks up some of the recoil of the 9mm cartridge, the heavier aluminum frame of the AMP also reduces recoil impulse.

The grip angle is considerably different from the Glock. The grip angle is more 1911 like. There is an opportunity for customizing the AMP with various grip panels available from Live Free Armory. An extended grip tang or beavertail results in greater comfort when firing. The frame features an accessory rail for combat lights or lasers. The pistol is available in both flat black and flat dark earth.

Live Free AMP 9mm semi-automatic pistol with an Inforce weapons light
An Inforce combat light is a good match for the Live Free Armory 9mm.

The trigger action is Glock compatible. Aftermarket triggers and connector bars designed for the Glock work fine. This is a wise move. Even if the company were to stop making the AMP pistol, Glock parts will be available into the foreseeable future.

The slide is an eye-catching design. The slide features stepped design windows, four in number, and enhanced cocking serrations. The slide is a good feature while the quad cutouts reduce weight to improve speed in cycling. The slide is optics-ready.

The barrel is a high-grade nitride-coated type. The pistol has a lifetime warranty. The AMP 9mm is supplied with two 15-round Magpul magazines. The pistol is compatible with all Glock magazines. Takedown is standard Glock. It would have been nice if they had improved the takedown levers, but then that would have cost more as well.

Bob Campbell shooting the Live Free AMP 9mm semi-automatic handgun at an outdoor shooting range
The pistol demonstrated good offhand accuracy.

The pistol features a set of high-profile sights that offer an excellent sight picture. A bright fiber-optic front sight is complemented by a wedge-type rear sight. The sight picture is excellent.

Firing the pistol was undertaken with whatever I could obtain at a fair price, primarily Remington UMC 115-grain ball, Federal Syntech, and a number of handloads from a dwindling supply.

The pistol looks like a Glock but doesn’t handle like one. The grip and grip angle are different. Recoil is less than a Glock 19. The trigger press is standard Glock type feeling exactly like a Glock with a 6.0 trigger action.

The pistol is easier to control than the Glock 19, due to its heavier weight. The grip angle results in less muzzle flip. Overall, the pistol is very pleasant to fire. It performs a bit better in rapid combat shooting than most handguns in the size, weight, and price class.

AMP Compact Specifications

  • Trigger Pull: 6.0 pounds
  • Trigger Travel: 0.49 inch
  • Weight Loaded: 2.1 pounds
  • Weight Incl. Magazine: 1.7 pounds
  • Magazine Capacity: 15 rounds
  • Barrel Rifling: 1:10 twist
  • Barrel Length: 3.905 inches
  • Sight Radius: 6.06 in.
  • Height Incl. Magazine: 5.2 inches
  • Slide Width: 1.002 inches
  • Width (Overall): 1.275 inches
  • Slide Length Complete: 6.74 inches
  • Length (overall): 7.1 inches
  • Caliber: 9×19
  • Optic Cut: Trijicon RMR

As for slow fire accuracy from a braced firing position, the pistol is accurate enough for most any defensive chore. I used one of the most accurate loadings available, the Hornady 135-grain Flex Lock. The choice of the FBI and a pistol with a balance of expansion and penetration favoring penetration, this is a controllable and accurate loading.

Five shots went into 2.5 inches at 25 yards. The Live Free Armory AMP 9mm sells for less than $700 in most outlets, sometimes a lot less. This is a modest upcharge over the Glock an in my opinion worth the money.

*** Editor’s Note: Although Cheaper Than Dirt does not currently carry the Live Free AMP, The Shooter’s Log’s first responsibility is to the reader. When we come across something cool, we review it! ***

Are you a Glock fan? What upgrades have made to your Glock? How do you think the Live Free AMP compares? Share your answer in the comment section.

  • Bob Campbell checking the hand fit of the Live Free AMP 9mm semi-automatic pistol
  • Bob Campbell reloading the Live Free AMP 9mm semi-automatic handgun
  • Live Free AMP 9mm semi-automatic pistol with an Inforce weapons light
  • Changeable grip panels on a Live Free AMP 9mm semi-automatic handgun
  • Sight picture of the Live Free AMP 9mm
  • Live Free AMP 9mm semi-automatic handgun pointed downward
  • Hornady Critical Duty 9mm ammo box and loose round
  • Live Free AMP 9mm semi-automatic handgun, left profile
  • Live Free AMP 9mm semi-automatic handgun on a tan soft padded case
  • Live Free AMP 9mm semi-automatic pistol in a shooting bench with spare Glock magazines
  • Bob Campbell shooting the Live Free AMP 9mm semi-automatic handgun at an outdoor shooting range

About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.

Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Rifle Magazine
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns

Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (11)

  1. I’ve owned an AMP for a year now and it is far superior than my Glock in trigger action, accuracy and feel. The ability to attack a red dot is even better. Plus, I was able to get mine with a custom cerakote pattern finish for a slight up charge.

  2. Sjam

    Good points, well taken. The one major feature of the Glock is reliability.

    If the pistol is Glock like but cheaper corners have been cut.

    If it cost more than a Glock- carefully weigh the advantages.
    That said you could not build up a Glock with the features of the LPA gun at anywhere near the price of the LPA
    Thanks for reading

    Bob Campbell

  3. I really like the use of a non polymer frame and the fact that tolerances can be tightened. That just makes for a better shooting pistol. I am intrigued by the Glock fans comments and the amount of triggers, barrels, and slides they have replaced to improve their pistols. I would love to send some rounds downrange with the AMP. Maybe it is a good shooter without all the replacement parts.

  4. I’m not as impressed as some. This LFA AMP is just another clone of the Glock. The Price is almost the same as Glock. I don’t know that I’ve even heard of this Company (LFA) until this article and I went on their site and saw nothing but the same ole items at High Prices that don’t have all the known upgrades. (So their you go adding upgrades and spending more money) The Question Is? Why would I buy a weapon that hasn’t even got a name yet. I wouldn’t! I’ll stick to my Glocks and S&Ws

  5. Fred

    The Glock is the same dimensions as the Glock Model 19. The Glock 19X, Glock Model 45 all fit the same holsters, so does the Live Free pistol.

  6. Bob, thanks for the article about Glocks and the new Live Free Armory AMP.

    I shoot Glocks. I have many Glocks. My favorite is my Glock 45 Gen 5 MOS with Trijicon SRO red dot sight. I have replaced most of the internals with aftermarket parts. I prefer the Glock 45 because of its larger grip. With my large hands, my pinky finger does not extend over the end of the magazine as it does when I shoot my Model 19, Gen 4.

    I have replaced the Model 45 barrel with a KKM threaded one. After trying many triggers, I prefer and use the triggers offered by out of Kentucky. These are “souped up” stock Glock triggers and they run fine. Beware, some aftermarket Glock triggers don’t run at all and some are dangerous (double fires). I have replaced the slide with one offered by Zev Tech and the guide rod/recoil spring with a titanium one sold by the Glock Store. I have also replaced the striker and striker spring with a combination that runs and does not produce light primer strikes. The connector is one offered by Taran Tactical.

    All that being said, my Glock Model 45 described above is not my carry gun, which is a stock HK P30 Sub Compact. Having taken the Glock Armorers Class several times, and I heed what my instructors insist: “Do not modify your Glock duty firearm or your Glock carry firearm.” They say: “It’s OK to create a fun Glock race gun, but not use these firearms for personal protection.” I agree. Too many aftermarket parts fail or do not work.

    I am interested in trying out the new AMP. I hope they make one similar to the dimensions of the Glock 45. I would like to try out the AMP metal Glock clone with a grip angle similar to a 1911. I agree with the sentiment that the Glock grip angle takes some getting used to – just like shooting the MOS takes alot of dry fire practice.

  7. Alex

    There are many lights to choose from, all are compatible. I have used several Inforce products and never had this issue. Mine are less than one year old. I suppose anyone can have a bad run.

  8. I have several Glocks. One of the first upgrades is sights. I use and like the Truglo TFO sights. I also upgrade the trigger on my EDC guns with the 3.5 pound connector with the New York #1 trigger spring. I find it gives the guns and good 4.5# trigger pull. I usually change out barrels with Lone Wolf replacement barrels. Other than that, I like the feel of my Glocks. They shoot well and are reliable.

  9. It does look like a promising pistol but the Inforce may be problematic. Has Inforce solved the battery drain issues of the past?

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