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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.