Key point: ZEV already makes good Glock replacement parts. So why not just make the whole thing?
ZEV Technologies is known for its upgrades for Glock pistols. ZEV triggers are used regularly in competition Glocks, and their magwells and baseplates see use as well. But in early 2019, ZEV moved from just producing accessories to producing their own take on the Glock design: The ZEV OZ9.
How does the OZ9 improve on the Glock? Is it a practical pistol for the average user?
The primary change between the OZ9 and the Glock is that the OZ9 moves the fire control group into a metal “frame” similar to that found on the SIG P320. The frame fits into the plastic grip, which allows the grip to be easily swapped for one that the user prefers. The internal frame itself also has some slight improvements on the original Glock design, featuring slightly longer slide rails for increased theoretical accuracy.
However, apart from that, the frame is almost completely the same as a regular Glock. The position of the trigger bar, extractor, and frame rails are almost identical to a regular Glock, as an overlay shows. The ZEV OZ9’s slide also features a striker safety of the same style as that of a regular Glock.
The adherence to the Glock layout makes sense for ZEV as they are used to optimizing parts and building a pistol around it. Switching to the steel frame layout and extending the slide rails are the simplest upgrades they could make while keeping the pistol largely mechanically the same.
As for the pistol itself, the design is clearly oriented towards competitive shooting. There are significant lightening cuts all across the slide, which are great for making the slide “track” faster for faster followup shots and less disruption of the sight picture. However, these cuts allow for debris to easily enter the slide, making them less than ideal for duty use. The pistol also features a deep optics cut that allows for iron sight cowitnessing at the rear of the slide. For all its changes, the ZEV OZ-9 still takes regular Glock mags.
So why did ZEV make the OZ9?
Premium Glocks are already a crowded market, with companies such as Salient Arms International, Agency Arms, and Jagerwerks offering partial and complete upgrade packages for Glocks that can raise the price by over $1,000. These packages often include the litany of upgrades already present on the OZ9: Grip reprofiling, slide cuts for optics, custom sights to replace the stock Glock plastic sights, and trigger jobs.
ZEV probably saw the opportunity to take the logical next step and aggregate their upgrades into a pistol of their own design that they could iterate on, without being as beholden to the need to work with most regular Glock parts. At a price point of around 1700 dollar MSRP, the OZ9 is cheaper than many custom Glocks.
Some competitive shooters joke that Glocks are great guns as long as you replace every single stock part in them. ZEV appears to have taken that idea and done just that.
Charlie Gao studied Political and Computer Science at Grinnell College and is a frequent commentator on defense and national security issues.
This first appeared in 2019 and is being reposted due to reader interest.