Tyrant Designs Reviewed
Certified Armorer & Instructor
Licensed Concealed Carry Holder
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Chicago-based Tyrant Designs’ custom AR-15 and aluminum handgun parts will be familiar to anyone who prefers a custom look to their firearms.
They are the creators of the skeletonized aluminum AR-15 grip, which many companies have now begun to copy thanks to its light weight and flashy look. Tyrant Designs was made official in 2015, but their business has been around for almost 40 years with roots in the aerospace and medical areas. They run a state-of-the-art CNC machining shop that’s a family-owned business passed down from father to son, who is now the CEO.
Tyrant Designs is all about innovation and solving problems through machining. The skeletonized grip came about partly due to the frustration with the cheap AR grips produced by the ton overseas. As Tyrant Designs has continued to innovate, they’ve made purposeful and helpful upgrades for many handguns today.
Tyrant Designs reached out to us to provide an honest review and feedback on their products, many of which on our list today were provided to us at no charge.
In This Article
Why you should listen to us
I no longer own a single gun left in stock condition. Every gun I have shot, carried, hunted, or competed with I’ve modified in some form or fashion, including changing the sights, upgrading the trigger, adding larger controls for easier manipulations, and more specific modifications for each gun.
Each firearm that I own serves a purpose. Stock firearms are sold to the masses, and the intent with these firearms is to serve many purposes for many people. The aftermarket world started to help fill the need shooters had to customize guns so they would better fit specific purposes — and individuals with different needs.
The most common reason for modifying firearms is to create a better fit for different hand sizes. The right grip size and texture — and reaching the controls on a firearm with ease — are essential. Another reason it’s crucial to customize your gun to you is that our vision differs from person to person. Each of us picks up different sight types and colors individually.
The list of why you would want to customize firearms goes on and on, but beyond customizing certain gun features, you may also just want to personalize your gun.
It’s fun to add color to a gun to make it more visually appealing and wrench on some upgrades that make your happy and get you more intimately familiar with your firearm.
I became a certified AR-15 armorer to learn how to modify my rifles correctly. I have tinkered with so many handguns at times with just the instruction available via YouTube video because it’s something I love.
Many manufacturers design drop-in parts to make it easy for someone to DIY at home rather than taking it to a gunsmith for installation. My rule of thumb is to try to make modifications on my own first and then ask for help if needed.
So far, I haven’t destroyed anything.
I have certainly had to ask friends to teach me how to do something a few times, and after a quick lesson, I’m good on my own.
I made all of the Tyrant Designs upgrades to my Glock 17 with my own hands and with a little help from YouTube videos Tyrant makes available on their website.
I had most of the tools needed to disassemble and reassemble the Glock components, but with a few handgun-specific tools the process would have been considerably easier.
For anyone interested in modifying firearms at home, ensure you have the correct tools first — especially tools made for guns.
Our Fav Tyrant Designs Products
1. TD Extended Slide Release
As a firearms instructor, the biggest complaint I get from students is that they cannot lock their slide back because the slide release button is so tiny they cannot push it upwards as they pull back on the slide.
The extended slide release is one of the most helpful upgrades and solves this issue for most people who struggle to lock their guns back. After all, being able to unload your gun, show clear, and lock the slide to the rear is a critical safety consideration.
This product is excellent for women, people with little hand strength, youth learning how to shoot, and competitive shooters looking for an advantage during reloads.
This product’s installation requires a punch, hammer, and a pistol armorer’s block if you have one. If not, a roll of duct tape works great (no joke!).
2. TD Magazine Extension
Who doesn’t love having more ammunition capacity out of their gun? The magazine extensions from Tyrant Designs give you added capacity; for example, add five rounds to your 9mm and four rounds to your .40 cal for the Glock 17/19x/22/34/35/45.
The other added benefit to the magazine extension is that it adds extra weight to the magazine, so if you drop an empty magazine, the increased weight helps the mag come out on its own.
Meaning you don’t have to worry about doing a John Wick flick to get the magazine out of the gun.
The last benefit that I find helpful is that the extension itself isn’t completely smooth. The way the extension is cut adds texture, making grabbing a magazine to reload easier.
The only tool needed to install the extension is a punch to remove the old base pad.
3. TD Mag Base Plate
A base plate is an alternative to a magazine extension if you don’t want a magazine protruding from of your mag well.
The Tyrant Designs base plate also will weigh down the magazine, but only slightly, so that the magazine falls freely from the gun even if it’s empty.
The base plate is designed with a rear slit for emergency extraction if, for any reason, the magazine gets stuck.
Installing the base plate is the same process as the magazine extension. Simply use a punch to remove the old factory Glock base plate and slide the Tyrant Designs replacement.
4. TD Suppressor Height + Co-Witness Sights
The suppressor height and co-witness sights are manufactured from 7075 aluminum. The rear sight is serrated, and the front is black. The serrated design breaks up glare in different lighting conditions, and the flat, matte, black surface mutes and dulls any shine.
The installation process can be intimidating if you’ve never done it before, but it is simple. You can use a punch and a hammer, but I prefer the Real Avid Glock Sight Pusher, so I don’t damage my sights or gun. This sight pusher is for all Glock pistols so that you can change your sights on full-size guns like the 17 or 19 or compact pistols like the 42 or 43.
You also have to have a front sight adjustment tool to remove the screw from the bottom of the front sight from the inside of the slide. The Real Avid Glock Sight Pusher has an embedded 2-in-1 Glock tool that stores inside the handle for easy access.
5. Competition Magwell
The competition mag well is designed and built for competitive shooters. There are some divisions within shooting sports where a mag well is not legal, but most divisions in Steel Challenge, USPSA, GSSF, and 3 Gun, just to name a few, do allow them.
A mag well is a huge improvement on a gun to make reloading easier. If you whiff a reload and the magazine hits somewhere inside the mag well, it will help guide the magazine into the gun. Tyrant Designs’ mag wells are compatible with their base pads and magazine extensions.
The competition mag well can also be a fun upgrade if you enjoy shooting at the range or even the look of it on the gun. No other reason is needed to get you one!
The installation requires no tools as it comes with the right size hex key you need to install.
6. Extended Magazine Release
The extended magazine release is just as useful as the extended slide release mentioned earlier. Compared to the stock release, the profile of the Tyrant Designs release is slightly raised with chamfered edges.
If you’re struggling to find the magazine release during reloads, this extended release will allow you to feel and find the button much faster.
Lefties can rejoice! Like the stock magazine release, the Tyrant Designs extended magazine release is ambidextrous, so you can install the release in whichever direction you need.
This is, in my opinion, the most challenging part to install on a Glock.
It does require you to have the right tools. In my case, I used a metal pick to release the pin that keeps the release in place. A small set of needle nose pliers also helps you get the pin in and out from the release. Just make sure you install it in the correct direction!
7. TD Trigger
The I.T.T.S., aka Improved Tyrant Trigger System, is an upgrade well worth the price. The trigger itself is a cross between a curved and flat-faced trigger.
It still features a trigger safety like the stock Glock trigger. The trigger features a 30 percent power spring for a fast reset for follow-up shots.
Instead of pins, this trigger uses set screws for an easier installation process and better maintenance. You can include a trigger bar with your purchase, or this trigger can attach to existing/OEM trigger bars. You can get a black trigger with black screws and safety or a black trigger with gold screws and safety.
The trigger is not as daunting as it may sound to install, and once again, Tyrant Designs hosts installation videos on each product page on their website, so you don’t have to hunt down a good video to watch. You need a punch, hammer, and handgun armorer’s block if you have one; if not, a roll of duct tape will suffice.
8. TD Threaded Barrel
Tyrant Designs only makes barrels for the Glock 19, 19X, and 45. They sent me a threaded barrel to check out, but you can also order a non-threaded barrel from their site. It is a drop-in match-grade compatible barrel. Simply take out your stock barrel and drop this one in its place.
The barrel is made from pre-hardened 416R stainless steel and allows you to shoot steel-cased ammunition without excess build-up or damage to the barrel. It has a deep crowning and features a 1-10 twist. The threaded versions are offered in a 1/2-28 thread pitch pattern. The threaded barrel is compatible with the Tyrant Design compensators.
The barrel is a non-linear but symmetric fluting. This fluting allows the barrels to dissipate heat at a consistent rate and consistent range across the entire length of the barrel.
And if you like a little bling, you can get the barrel in gold.
9. Slide Cover Plate
The final item on our list of top Tyrant Designs products is a slide cover plate. This one was fitted to my Glock 17.
The plate is a 3D CNC precision machined backplate made from aerospace-grade aluminum. Similar to the extended slide release and base pad, it features a chevron design and chamfered edges.
The plates are anodized and available in black, red, gold, blue, grey, FDE, and machined aluminum. If you want to buy all the same color parts to trick out your Glock, the colors offered by Tyrant are the same across the board.
The slide cover plate is easy to install but does require a punch to relieve the tension on the old plate so it can be removed and the new one installed.
What kinds of Tyrant Designs products are there?
Tyrant Designs started making products for the firearms industry with their skeletonized AR-15 grip. Since then, they have branched out to offer other mod series of grips. The Mod Grip V2 is a popular offering from Tyrant, and they also manufacture Mod V2 foregrips, Minivert grips, and handstops.
These offerings are available in Keymod, M-Lok, and M-Lok Keymod. They have released the Cyberbrake-compensating muzzle brake, ambi safety selectors, and enhanced takedown pins. There are various anodized color options, and I’m sure we can expect to see more items from Tyrant in the future.
Currently, Tyrant Designs supports Smith & Wesson, Sig Sauer, and Glock handguns. Compatible models vary, and the most important thing to remember when shopping from Tyrant is to make sure the item you’re interested in purchasing is compatible with your firearm.
Tyrant Designs is a manufacturer that offers everything from sights to slide releases, mag wells, triggers, magazine releases, magazine extensions, base plates, compensators, rear slide caps, and slide cover plates. They have dipped their toe into making barrels.
How does Tyrant Designs stack up?
Fit and Finish
Each item Tyrant Designs sent me fits as expected, just as the stock Glock parts. It is important to ensure you’re shopping for compatible parts for your specific firearm model, or you will likely run into fitment issues. The finish of the machined parts is nice, and I appreciate the bright, fun colors they offer.
After practicing on the range and dry firing with my Glock 17, I can see that the anodization will wear over time because I drop magazines on concrete, gravel, dirt, and more because of my shooting competitions. Each component holds up to my abuse, and I am not worried about the functionality.
These parts are machined to be used by active people who shoot often.
The build quality of Tyrant Designs’ aftermarket parts, including the trigger and barrel, is top-notch. It is important that you can trust aftermarket parts to work, especially if you shoot often.
Every part is secure on the gun. For any part like a mag well that might take a beating, it is a good idea to add a small amount of Blue Loctite to the screw before you tighten it down, especially if you plan to compete with it.
Nothing is more annoying than having anodized or cerakoted parts that don’t match. The color consistency is the same throughout each component.
There are no streaks or missed application spots; the anodization is flawless. When you line them up to do a comparison test, you can’t tell if the parts were done in different anodization batches.
The installation process for aftermarket accessories will depend upon you, what tools you have, and your ability to follow directions or watch YouTube videos. If I can install it at home, I guarantee you can.
Some components are fairly quickly installed, like the magazine extensions, base pads, or barrel, while others will take more time, like the trigger and extended magazine release.
My suggestion is to research how your firearm is disassembled, what internal parts it has, and what tools you need to remove pins or plates ahead of making any aftermarket purchases.
Tyrant Designs has made it easy for any gun owner to swap out factory parts for aftermarket components. If a component requires hardware to install, like the mag well, Tyrant includes the screw needed and the hex key to tighten it.
You will never be left without the hardware to install anything, whether it uses the same hardware from the stock firearm or aftermarket hardware.
How do they feel?
The feel of the products is what differentiates them from other aftermarket accessories. For example, if you carry a concealed gun and a spare magazine, the magazine base plate texture allows you to find and grab the magazine quicker for reloading.
Similarly, the magazine extension gives you more purchase to grip the magazine but also can increase capacity for smaller-sized handguns. The initial trigger pull feels smoother than the stock Glock trigger, and I can notice a difference in the ease of finding the trigger reset compared to the stock trigger.
I prefer a flat-faced trigger, but the feel of the hybrid design, adding a slight curve, still feels good to the touch.
Overall, I am impressed with how each component is designed for the right feel and look.
Could use more model support
The only shortcoming I see is why there aren’t more parts available for different model handguns! Aftermarket support depends on the market to tell it what it wants.
The most common gun models are what manufacturers will support because these are the most widely sold, and people want to upgrade parts on them. It is hard to make parts at scale for rarely purchased guns.
Then manufacturers are left with unsold, useless parts. For example, I would love to see more parts made for Canik, Walther, and H&K handguns.
It would also be beneficial to produce barrels for more than just three Glock model pistols, including all the guns they make parts for already.
Price Ranges vs. Features
For aftermarket accessories, Tyrant Designs have competitive prices compared to other brands. If you’re familiar with Zev Technologies, they are on the high end of aftermarket Glock parts, and I think Tyrant Designs offers a good quality product at a reasonable price.
They aren’t on the cheap end (typically more plastic and polymer items), so at least with Tyrant, you purchase quality accessories for your Glock that will last longer.
To Tyrant or Not?
As mentioned at the start, Tyrant Designs sent us products to review at no charge. That being said, I’m leaving everything they sent me on my Glock 17.
I had a bit too much fun installing everything on my gun, and fair warning, it’s addictive to dive into accessorising and customizing your guns.
If you decide to upgrade one or two parts on your gun, I highly suggest starting with the extended releases, the trigger, and adding a mag well. I can apply each upgrade to improve my gun manipulations and reloads.
The mag well and magazine extensions are great additions to make it easier to reload in shooting competitions, for example. Just about any aftermarket trigger is a welcomed addition compared to the stock trigger, and the list goes on and on.
But don’t just take our word for it. Read the reviews on each product page of Tyrant Designs’ website to see customers’ feedback on each product. You can also watch dedicated YouTube review videos to see what other people think of the installation, application, and customer service.
I believe Tyrant Designs has found solutions to many shooters’ needs. The products serve a purpose, add a competitive edge in some applications, and make it fun to upgrade your firearm with your favorite color. I’m excited to see what’s next from Tyrant Designs.
Thumbs up from me!
- Google Patents. Magazine grip