It's not often that I test gear that aim to actually solve a problem. Many parts try to improve something, but not outright fix a problem. Well, the Kagwerks Extended & Raised Slide Release outright fixed a problem I had. What is the Extended & Raised Slide Release, and what issues does it resolve?
Who is Kagwerks, and What is the Extended & Raised Slide Release?
Kagwerks is a Washington based company that primarily focuses on military electronic technology. However, they also make slide releases for Glocks. Their flagship Glock product is the Extended & Raised Slide Release, further just abbreviated as the Kagwerks release. The Kagwerks release was created to solve a problem, and make another element of shooting easier.
Slide override is the phrase to formally describe the action of riding the slide release. With a modern high grip, a lot of handguns posit your thumbs right on the slide release. With this, it is pretty easy to ride the slide release. This leads to the gun failing to lock open on empty, which is not conducive for high-level shooting. The Kagwerks Release increases the height of the slide release to be above the frame, and moves it back a little bit. With this, slide override goes away, and hitting the release becomes more natural for doing a reload.
Kagwerks currently makes three models of their slide release. One is for Gen 5 Glocks, one is compatible with Gen 3/4 guns, and the last works with the 43/43X/48. For testing here, I used a Gen5 release, mounted to the 17 MOS that I EDC. MSRP on the Gen 5 release is $54, and I purchased mine directly from Kagwerks.
How hard is the slide release to install, and did I have any fitment issues?
Installation and Fitment
While the Kagwerks release may look visually different, it's a drop in part. Installation is a process that takes a handful of minutes, and only requires minor tools. I've got a video below that shows the process.
In regards to fitment or fitting the part, again, it's drop in. I didn't have to monkey with any part of the frame, slide release, or slide to make the release work. While this is no surprise when working on Glocks, it's still pleasant.
However minor it may be, the Kagwerks release does come in contact with the sides of the slide. For me, this showed as some finish wear on the sides of the slide, where the release makes contact. This incredibly minor wear is not massive scrapes or gouging, as it just rubs on the surface finish. My testing gun still has the OEM finish on it, which comes off relatively fast anyway.
So the installation is pretty simple, but how well does the Kagwerks release work?
Testing the Kagwerks Extended & Raised Release
First and foremost, I had no fitment issues with my Glock in the holsters I normally use. Both the PHLster Floodlight gen 1 and PHLster Pro retained the gun as normal. Additionally, my Safariland 6360 fit the gun just fine too, but that thing is basically a bucket with a retention system. You may need to modify a holster to work with this release, but I didn't need to.
I won't mince words here, the Kagwerks release performed excellently when shooting. I was having severe slide override issues on my G17, and this release fixed it. The issues were bad, but not horrid until I installed a compensator, which slowed down the slide velocity enough that override became worse. By Christmas 2022, I had installed the Kagwerks release, and the override issue went away. Aside from purposefully inducing malfunctions, every round fired through this gun since has been flawless and has locked open on empty every time. An upgrade that enhances reliability is something that I'm always willing to use.
In regards to using the slide release as a way to load the gun, the Kagwerks release is better than the OEM release too. The location and height of the release are at a perfect spot for my thumb to press the release, and load the pistol. I've been shooting a lot more drills that factor in a slide lock reload, and this release has only made the process easier.
In regards to durability, I've got about 1900 rounds on the Kagwerks release so far. Mostly range ammo, however, I have shot a fair bit of +P self defense loads, with no signs of breakage or wear yet. The slide does have that superficial finish wear from where the release sits, however, that doesn't effect function or actually damage the slide.
This is a product that I've only had good experiences with, and no issues.
I have since bought two more Kagwerks releases for other Glocks of mine. If that isn't a recommendation, I don't know what is. On my Gen 5 gun, it fixed a major issue I was having, which lead to my gear not getting in the way of my shooting. While it didn't make me a better shooter (as no gear can inherently do that), it removed a barrier from my growth. For that, I'm quite pleased.
I test a lot of gear, and most of it has plusses and minuses. Hardly any product is entirely positives, but this one is. The last thing that I felt was as beneficial to my quality of life was the Langdon LTT SCD that I reviewed last summer. I bring that up, as it isn't often that you find gear that makes the experience wholly better, with no drawbacks.
I can wholeheartedly recommend the Kagwerks release, with a slight caveat.
Is the Kagwerks Enhanced & Raised Slide Release For You?
There are instances where the Kagwerks release may not be for you. If you are left handed and have a Gen 3 or 4 gun, the release will basically do nothing for you. With the hand placement of a lefty, you don't have digits over the slide release when gripping the gun high, so there would be no benefit.
However, if you have a Gen 5 gun, or are right handed and have a Gen 3/4 gun, I'd easily say that you should invest in a Kagwerks release. I've seen that as shooters become more proficient, they grip the gun harder, and (generally) higher. These are both important things to do, and eventually, the gun may not like that. Whether right or left handed, a Gen 5 gun will likely have override issues with time, due to the ambidextrous OEM slide release. When you factor in things such as compensators, optics adding weight to the slide, and ammo variety, the issue will only compound.
I picked up my Kagwerks release as a reactive move, but for most people, doing it as a proactive move is probably for the best.
This is a product that I wish were available for most modern handguns. I've shot a wide range of guns over the years, and many have had slide override issues that would be resolved by a Kagwerks release. God, if this existed during my HK P30L days, I wouldn't have had to chop off a slide release.
If you've got a Glock, you should seriously think about picking up a Kagwerks release.
If you'd like to see more footage of the Kagwerks release in use, check out my YouTube channel. Every drill video since 12/25/2022 featuring my Glock 17 Gen 5 was shot with it installed.