[Glocktober] Roland Special Giveaway!
10/21/2019Primary Arms Staff7/6/2020 1:22 pmwww.primaryarms.com
This Giveaway has ended. Congratulations to our winner, Kelly H. in Washington! You can view all current and past giveaways on our giveaway blog page.
The future of pistols is now.
Well, kind of.
To understand the ingenuity behind the Roland Special, you must take a step back and look at history. Over the last 40 years, not a lot has changed in firearms tech.
Our military is still using AR15-pattern rifles and open-bolt belt-feds. While there have been substantial improvements in design, materials, and accessories, the fundamentals have changed little. Until a program like the Army’s Next Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW) introduces polymer or caseless ammunition, there’s no reason to stray from proven rifles.
Pistols are in a similar boat. Since the first Glock took the industry by storm in 1982, most manufacturers have been drifting towards polymer-framed, striker-fired designs. Not that there’s no spark, though. The Sig Sauer P320 adds a removable chassis which allows you to change caliber, frames, and slides with one ‘firearm’. This feature appears in other pistols too, like the Zev OZ9 and Honor Defense Honor Guard.
Are these refinements on the same scale of innovation as the first Glock? Debatable. Either way, it’s clear the trend is in elevating striker-fired pistols—but not rethinking them.
The Prominence of Glock
At the center of this innovation, Glocks remain a beloved choice for military, police, and civilians alike.
As with any frontrunner, Glocks are subject to divisive opinion, but everyone can recognize its prevalence. No other pistol has the aftermarket that Glock does. No other pistol has the same level of customization and individualism. No other pistol can be part-for-part rebuilt a dozen times with just aftermarket components. In short, it’s clear why 9mm ARs boast about using Glock mags. Glock is ubiquitous.
If you’ve read the other Glocktober blogs, you’ve already seen how that aftermarket opens new opportunities for Glock pistols. All those different parts work in confluence, and the variety means that you can choose parts that play off one another’s strengths.
Think of a pistol’s parts as instruments. Alone, they are admirable, but they create a new sound when put together. Some instruments build harmony, while others bring dissonance. Combining the right instruments is an art form of its own.
By extension, the Roland Special is best imagined as a full symphonic orchestra playing Mars, the Bringer of War at full force.
The Roland Special
Like many new ideas, the Roland Special started as a forum post.
In 2015, Matt Landfair started a thread on Primary & Secondary called “The Roland Special.” In this thread, he detailed a Glock 19 build created by user ‘Roland’ (now known to be Chuck Pressburg of Presscheck Consulting). This pistol was first-class in every aspect, using top components from various manufacturers to create a pistol that brought the best of match and combat features. Those who replicated Roland’s recipe were quick to report the truth: it was a game changer.
Soon, his design swept the Glock community like a wildfire. Soon, everyone was putting up their own iteration of the Roland Special, leading to an entire “Gucci Glock” craze that is still dominating in social media. Despite a reputation for simple aesthetic, Glock handguns became the new vogue, channeling science fiction with elaborate slide cuts and innovative accessories.
Not everyone had the same build, though. Purists will argue that the only true Roland Special is made to original spec, but the term has taken on a more general meaning. Now, when someone says they’re building a Roland Special, they mean they’re building with a basic guideline:
- Glock 19 Frame (Custom/Aftermarket)
- Milled Slide with Trijicon RMR
- Threaded Match Barrel
- Suppressor-Height Sights
- Surefire X300 Light
- Aftermarket Trigger
- Aftermarket Springs and Small Parts
Our Roland Special build features all these enhancements, ensuring that our winner can enjoy all the fruits of this recognized design.
The ‘gun’ part of the gun.
A Roland Special frame can vary in investment. If you want a stippled, custom-cut frame in your favorite color, you must contact a specialist. Over the last decade, we’ve seen plenty of Glock shops get their start through superior custom services. If you already own a Glock 19 frame, you can reach out to one of these shops and ask about their frame detailing services. They all have unique specialties and styles, and the cost will depend on how much work you want done.
If you want style right out of the box, look no further than Rook Customs. Rook is supplying us with a few tricked-out Glock frames, offering custom-grade performance without fighting long lead-times. These frames will come in a two-tone Black/FDE or straight Black/Black, so you can pick your favorite style and have your build started in just a couple days. Our Roland uses the Tier 2 black/black compact frame, which adds a gas pedal and trigger undercut for improved grip.
With a frame chosen, we can select our trigger group. We went with an Overwatch Precision Falx. Overwatch is the brand of the original Roland trigger, so our Falx fits in with the theme. The Falx uses an NP3 plated trigger bar and aluminum trigger shoe for a cleaner break with minimal friction.
For a breathtaking trigger, you need upgrade your connector and trigger spring too. These only take a couple seconds to install, so they’re worth the upgrade over factory spec. The Lantac Super Short Trigger Connector will reduce the pull weight, shorten the reset, and eliminate any unnecessary grit. Our Trigger Spring comes with our Zev Competition Spring Kit, reducing pull weight, while keeping it in a safe range for personal defense.
Complete your frame with superior controls and accouterment. A Tango Down Extended Magazine Release fits with the Rook frame’s release contour, and our Vickers Tactical Slide Stop adds a bit of surface space for quick slide manipulation. To improve reloads, we’ve added an Overwatch Precision Magwell and bumped up our magazine capacity with Taran Tactical Base Pads.
The last piece to the puzzle is a Surefire X300 1000-lumen weapon light. The X300 is an esteemed pistol light with blazing bright output and proven durability. It also adds weight to the front of the gun, further flattening recoil impulse.
The real icon of the Roland comes from the slide.
A compensated Glock 19 with intricate milling and an RMR? It takes the blocky aesthetic of a Glock and turns it into a Ghost in the Shell future-blaster.
Much like the frame, custom slide work takes both time and money. To modify an existing slide, you must send it to a shop, which will take a few hundred dollars and anywhere from 2 to 12 weeks wait time. This option allows you to get a very precise match up for an RMR though, and you can choose the exact style and color you want.
Since custom slides have grown in popularity, many popular aftermarket manufacturers have created their own milled slides for off-the-shelf purchase. This saves builders a lot of time on the back-end without adding much cost. Some slides also feature state-of-the-art mounting systems. Our Agency Syndicate S1 slide doesn’t just look cool: it uses a versatile AOS mounting plate that allows you to change optic cut without adding excess height.
We’ve already discussed the benefits of pistol-mounted mini-reflex sights in the previous Glocktober articles. To summarize, they are more accurate and make little compromise when paired with back-up irons, such as Overwatch HAVE BLUEs. Red dots are faster, more accurate, and they keep the user focused on the target instead of their front post. While any reflex provides these benefits, the Trijicon RM06 is the classic Roland model. An adjustable LED with a 3.25MOA dot ensures you always have good visibility, no matter the ambient light.
Our KAB threaded barrel is half of the most iconic Roland feature: the compensator. The Roland Special achieves exceptional accuracy by combining a high quality, match-fit barrel with a compensator for minimal muzzle flip. Some will argue that a 9mm handgun doesn’t need a compensator or that pistol compensators are ineffective. These arguments are, however, not based on any data. In reality, pistol compensators are proven to improve shot timing and group size, especially under rapid fire. Our Arc Division SPARC Compensator is one of the best performers we stock, taming recoil without sticking beyond the X300's head.
Moving to the small parts, we use mostly Glock parts for the striker and extractor assembly. Our Striker Safety is from our Zev kit, but our striker spring and striker are both Glock OEM. We also use a factory weight for the recoil spring, but a stainless-steel guide rod from Rival Arms adds some additional rigidity.
The Roland Special is a game-changer for the Glock world. It helped kick off an entire faction of Glock fans, and its contribution has prompted copycats throughout the industry. As we said, the choices of today’s users will determine the standards of future pistols, and the Roland represents a major push towards modernizing our approach to handgun design.
If you’re looking to start a Roland Special of your own, check out the product table to see all the parts we used. We’re always eager to help builders out with their setup, so if one catches your eye, chat with our specialists by clicking the "Chat" tab on the side of our site page. Our team has a lot of experience with Glock pistols, and they are more than willing to provide some thoughts and feedback.
Otherwise, you can enter to win this Roland Special build through our Giveaway Landing Page. Our giveaway runs from now to 11:59PM CDT on October 27th, and the winner will be contacted next-day. Winner must be legally able to possess a firearm and pass a federal background check. Winner takes responsibility for all taxes associated. If the winner cannot meet the requirements necessary to take ownership of the firearm, the winner will be granted the total value of the prize package, $2,728.33, in cash. Exclusions apply, and no purchase is necessary. A full list of terms and conditions are available on the Giveaway Landing Page.