We have all seen it a couple dozen times—a new product, idea, or trend hits the market and becomes insanely popular. Next thing you know, everyone from mom and pop shops to major companies to garage crafters start churning out their own version of said trend. We have seen this with everything from kydex holsters, to stippling of polymer frames, to custom finishes on handguns. Whether you’re a seasoned shooter or a brand new bang bang afficionado, the question remains: what are you supposed to do with your hard earned money? IS IT WORTH IT? Which vendor should you go with? Is it a good product? Are you, the end user, going to get what a company’s snazzy website and social media advertise? Particularly when I am sending one of my guns to be worked on, it’s a real concern. This can be a stretch for some folks who want the service but may not own more than a couple firearms or have the side money that is easy to part with.
I was at this decision point a year ago when I decided to go with Jagerwerks to custom mill and cerakote one of my well-worn Glocks for a Trijicon RMR06 gen1. Now mind you this Glock 19gen3 was one of my favorites. Dated to 1998, it had been with me for a minute, carried and used. It had seen better days, but it had that currently trendy, oh-so-weirdly paid for “battle worn” look that people seem to love right now, albeit from actual use. Since I use this handgun as my test gun and occasionally compete with it, I thought it was a perfect host gun for an RMR. Now we can go into the debate of micro RDS or not. That’s not what this article is about. I will say, though, that if you browse through the market these days you will notice more and more offerings from manufacturers of optics-ready handguns, and this fad is not going away anytime soon. In fact, I’ll argue that it will become more and more commonplace as more and more shooters “embrace the dot.” Is there a learning curve? Yes. Is it for everyone? No. However, just like Glocks or 1911s apparently aren’t for everyone, the market is wide and diverse. There are enough choices for everyone; my only recommendation is that you try something before you start a reddit thread bashing it. I will add the caveat that from my experience with micro RDS’s on handguns, if you plan on going down this road, I have two recommendations: One, make sure solid and reputable machinists like Jagerwerks do your work, more on that to follow, I promise; and two, the Trijicon RMR (gen1 or gen2) is really your best bet for consistent reliability of your optic surviving the abuse of being mounted atop a handgun slide. I know that there are many optics for you to choose from and I am sure someone in the comments is going to tell me that some bargain bin Chinese made micro RDS on their handgun has gone 20,000 rounds. I doubt it has. I doubt it’s still holding zero and if this is going to be a defensive gun then I would spend the money on an optic that is literally built like a tank. By the way, I spent my money on both my RMR and my slide from Jagerwerks for this article.
So onto Jagerwerks, located in Kalamazoo, Michigan. These guys do really awesome milling and cerakote work. One of the important things when selecting a company to mill your optic for your slide is the tolerances with which your optic cut will have and allow your optic fit into your slide. It’s really important when selecting the company to do this work that they are actual machinists and/or gunsmiths as they going to be putting your slide into a lathe or CNC machine and milling your slide. This really isn’t something you want someone doing on a hobby kit. Well that or you will get what you paid for and it will look that way. My RMR fits so well into my slide that I do not need a plate underneath the battery and I have never had the dreaded dot fade or dot flicker on my RMR gen1. I did not order a specific milling design package but instead I got a Black Friday deal on my optic milling, and then selected for my slide to be chamfered with slide serrations. I then selected my slide to be cerakoted in their JW Camo pattern of OD green, tungsten and black, cause hey, if you are gonna trick out a gun make it look cool, right? For being military they threw in their own custom carbon back plate, which I thought was pretty solid. I boxed up my slide and sent it off to Michigan and it came back in exactly 21 days, which isn’t bad turnaround considering it went to them on a Black Friday deal.
Overall my experience with Jagerwerks was great, and I would use them again. Their prices are fair, their work is top quality, and they communicate with you. Heads up, though—if you have never sent a gun off for custom work before, please have patience. Emailing a custom shop over and over again typically doesn’t get your gun back to you any quicker and great work doesn’t happen in less than a week. Bottom line: if you plan on going down the road of having an RMR milled into your slide you should look up Jagerwerks. They post a ton of pictures of recent builds on their Instagram page and I have been very happy with the work they did for me. Who knows, some other HP contributors might even be thinking hard about them. HP
–Bobby Frisina; for more on JagerWerks, check out their website at jagerwerks.com or find them on social media at @jagerwerks.
About the Author:
Bobby Frisina is passionate about family, firearms and hunting. He really likes shooting, shooting is his favorite. He is an 11 year veteran of the US Army Reserve, he is a graduate of the JFK Special Warfare Center and School Civil Affairs course, and he supported 2nd Brigade of the 101St Airborne in the Zhari District of Kandahar Province Afghanistan in 2010-2011.