How I came upon this enhanced Glock was, as many of us do, by leafing through Recoil Magazine while at a book store with my brother. I, at the time, was just getting back into shooting after a nearly 20 year absence. I read the article, looked at the photos, then saw the price tag for this bad ass gun, shut the magazine and promptly forgot all about it.
Then a few months went by, and I saw more photos on Facebook, then a few YouTube videos pop up, and I did the unthinkable, I called and ordered my Tier 1 Glock 19 LUDUS Edition. A few days later, I was the proud owner of a Glock that cost more than a nice used car. I felt a little unsure of this purchase, I am not a rich man, but I was shooting more and more, and I wanted a gun that would take abuse, and not let me down, so I promised myself I would get my moneys worth from this damn thing.
Fast forward to today. I’ve used this Salient in no less than 80+ tactical classes, closer to 100, but I don’t want to sound like a guy with issues, I just like to learn. After 42,000 rounds, here are my thoughts on this rather expensive gun. SAI (Salient Arms International) developed this Glock with input from Chris Costa, owner of Costa/LUDUS Training, SAI asked Chris what he would like to see in a custom made gun tailored to his specs.
What they both came up with was the LUDUS Edition line of SAI prepared Glocks. SAI has worked on, enhanced or upgraded every part of this gun, from machining the slide, polishing internals, changing/upgrading the springs, an RMR cut to fit a Trijicon RMR red dot, adding suppressor height sights, fitting a custom hand fit trigger available with flat or curved trigger shoes, stippling and modifying the frame, adding a plug behind the magwell, resurfacing, deburing, re-cutting internal parts, adding a bunch of barrel options and colors, and a host of other modifications I won’t list because my fingers would go numb. They touch every part of this gun, and you can tell.
I would liken a stock Glock 19 to a Ford Fiesta, and the SAI prepared Tier 1 versions to Ken Blocks Gymkhana Ford Fiesta, one made for a pedestrian life, and one made to go like a bat out of hell, take abuse and come out smiling.
On to how this thing shoots. First the good. The slide work done has removed weight, exposed the barrel for cooling, added serrations for better manipulation, and, in the case of my LUDUS Edition, added a custom gray color, added a recess cut to mount a RMR, added my absolute favorite upgraded trigger for striker fired pistols, the Tier 1. So the gun shoots super flat, you’re back on target faster, the trigger is very smooth, I went with the flat trigger shoes and love the feel, the 3.5 lb. striker spring option.
It has nearly no take up, has a super crisp break, resets fast, and with a loud enough sound you can hear it with 2 pairs of ear pro on, the stippling and frame work eliminates slippage and allows a higher grip closer to the bore line. This all allows you to draw faster and have a better grip while sweaty, wet, dirty, fire more rounds in a shorter amount of time, get on target faster, and move from one target to the next faster.
The gun itself is noticeably lighter, I added the RMR 01, and a Streamlight TRL-1 HL, and I love the setup. You will notice a more positive feel in your hands, no more ‘milking the gun’ trying to adjust for your slipping grip, the gun cools faster after a high rate of fire due to the windows cut in the slide, and even with the RMR added to the slide, it cycles very fast. This is in part due to the stainless ISMI guide rod and custom weight spring. I ordered mine with the stock Glock barrel, and had zero issues with it and it has 42,000 rounds on it, but I did want to try an upgrade, so I ordered a S3F Solutions drop in Match Fit Barrel.
SAI does have match grade hand fit barrel options available and I will be getting this option on my next Tier 1, yes that’s correct, I will be getting another of these, I love them so much, not only that, but I have their Tier 1 AR-15, and had them work on my carry 19 as well . I will have a separate review of the S3F barrel when I have 5000 rounds use out of it. I do get asked about the gun in class often, and love to see the reactions of those that shoot it. A few weeks back I was in a 2 day Low/No Light Tactical Pistol class and was the only one there with an RMR, it helped me immensely, and I will not have a pistol without one.
Ok, now for the issues, and how SAI dealt with them. First, every gun they make has a lifetime warranty, and they stand behind their work. I have had this almost 2 years now. My first issue didn’t appear until the 15,000 round mark, I had a trigger pin wiggle loose. I could still shoot it, but every few hundred rounds I would have to push it back flush with the frame. I called SAI for a replacement, they said they could ship me a new pin that day, but wanted to see if that was the only issue.
So they sent me a shipping label and had my gun shipped to their gunsmith for a once over. He measured out the largest pin he had, installed it, shipped it back and it has worked perfectly since. They overnighted my gun both ways, and fixed the issue the same day it arrived. No charge to me whatsoever.
My second issue was at the 37,000 round mark. It would have issues chambering a round after reloading a new magazine. This happened about every 4th or 5th reload. Drove me nuts. I tried new striker springs to see if it helped, but didn’t. So I made the call to SAI the next day, again, they overnighted my gun, and had it fixed the same day it arrived. I had a broken spring, and it was pressing on another part.
Easy fix for them, but they didn’t stop there. They tore the entire gun down, inspected every part, upgraded what needed it, replaced ALL my springs, anything that showed wear they replaced, recut, repolished, or resurfaced, restippled the entire frame, put it all together, test fired it, cleaned it, and shipped it back to me. I had emails throughout the process, keeping me updated, and a tracking number to follow it’s process home. Now every gun can fail, and that is the truth. I measure a company by how well they build a gun, and how well they treat their customers if/when there is an issue. To beat my LUDUS as much as I do, and to only have a few issues, after 42,000 rounds, I’m absolutely stunned.
I shoot all weather, incorporate pistol strikes in classes, get it full of dirt, lay on it, hit it up against things, and generally treat it as if it owed me money, because I spent a fortune on it, so it better take it! Knowing that SAI will stand behind their products, and to have the proof that the gun shoots as well as I could ask, takes a beating like a demolition derby champ, what more could you ask for? Did I get my moneys worth out of it yet? No. But it’s getting close.
In closing, this gun has been fed a diet of the least expensive ammo I can find, every type of 115 grain 9mm from more manufacturers than I honestly know, from Wal-Mart ammo on sale, to re-manufactured Freedom Munitions 9mm 115 grain FMJ, it ate it all. I have to say it does like the Freedom 9mm the best. I have had the usual malfunctions, not more or less than any other person in class, so there is no big news there.
It does shoot very well, in every condition I was presented with, in every type of weather, angle, position, off hand and strong hand, day and night, and it does excel at high rates of fire. I carry an SAI prepared Glock 19 on me everywhere I go, I own an AR from them, and have my LUDUS as a class gun, and have another 19 planned. To say that I am happy with my purchases would be an understatement, happy with the customer service, the quality, the looks, and the longevity of these guns makes me trust them with my life every day.
If you can get past the cost (buy once cry once), you will have one hell of a gun, that will give you a lifetime of use, make you a better shooter, and a company that will stand behind their work. Now, the running issue with some crybaby types is that SAI doesn’t have a website, they have a Facebook page and a phone number.