Roland Special retrospective

Smith

Regular Member
I listened to the Home Defense modcast and it was brought up that while the Roland Special is still a great tool, it might've been overhyped a little in the past. I've also noticed that a few of the people who were repping the RS previously (e.g. MSP) have switched to non-comped guns. Now I get he's getting paid by Walther and stuff, but still.

What are people's opinions now? Still valid? Still great? Are the trade-offs worth it (mostly the comp for reliability I assume)? Is it more of a special use case or more of a general purpose/EDC/everyone-should-have-this thing? I don't see anyone getting rid of dots or WMLs, so I assume the comp is the biggest "factor" in this decision?
 

Matt Landfair

Matt Six Actual
Staff member
Administrator
The RS was an experiment for me to see how it works and to see how it extended to other pistols. I like seeing things first hand to have a better understanding. I made a G34 version of the Roland as well as a G43 just to see.

With the right ammo and set up on a gun properly sprung, a comp works well and provides an advantage with recoil mitigation. In a RS, it functions as a part of the system and compliments the other components.

It all should depend on someone's purpose/goal/mission should dictate the viability on a RS.

I personally haven't looked at comps much since. They complicate my holsters.
 

JLL2013

Regular Member
The Roland Special, as specced or as close to that spec to accommodate Gen XYZ Glocks, is just as valid now as it ever was.

The Roland Special also needs to be considered in light of its origin as military pistol. The RS enables a military user to dramatically increase the capability of his pistol with no permanent modifications (SOCOM has fielded MOS slides and dropping your own slide on an issued G19 is not unheard of). Carrying a Roland enables you to basically have the same day/night capability as your rifle albeit in a much harder to shoot platform with less capacity, etc. But you don’t get to/don’t want to carry a rifle everywhere. If you don’t need that, or if you just want a break contact security blanket, it isn’t for you.

All the commentary about spring rates is ignoring the reality of the system: it is a configuration for duty use (duty meaning mil/LEO/CCW) not for throwing 115gr trash reloads in. Chuck has explicitly stated he used the stock recoil spring because he shot real ammo and never had a problem. I’ve had the exact same experience. With the higher pressures of M1152 9mm ball the spring rate/compensator issue is more of a problem that doesn’t exist.

Compensators work. The KKM compensator works especially well. I’ve shot KKM comped 19, 17, 22, 45, and uncomped 34s. Of all of those the KKM Comped G45 shot the best followed by the Roland. There is a great balance in that slide length/compensator combination. There’s a reason compensators send you straight to open division.

Lights, both visible and IR are critical if you want to PID in the dark. I’d argue the average end user doesn’t really recognize how important a light on a firearm is; pistols aren’t an exception.

And we don’t need to argue about red dots anymore (save for a few hold outs).

The amount of compensated, red dot equipped carry guns has exploded since the RS became a popular thing. I’d argue that alone speaks to the validity of the system.
 

Smith

Regular Member
Regarding the duty ammo, the trade-off for non-SOCOM people (or people who have to train on their own dime) is that you can buy a lot more 115gr FMJ range ammo than full load carry ammo. So effectively even if the comp cost $0, if it required me to train with more expensive ammo, I'd train less. If that's true, it's a trade-off I need to consider.

Do you think the Glocks are uniquely (or at least compared to many other brands) capable of still shooting comp'd standard loads? As I mentioned above, my VP9 seems more finnicky than comparable Glocks. I'm hesitant to put a comp on it for that reason.
 

Default.mp3

Established
There's a huge number of comps that provide less performance than the KKM, but thus also have a much wider range of reliability, while still providing noticeable gains. You just have to balance it all out.

I have shot plenty of range ammo through my comped P30LS (using a Zev Pro Comp V2, so not something minimal like a Mayhem Syndicate Carry Compensator, the latter of which many folks I know still can tell a noticeable performance difference), using OEM RSAs, with minimal issues. Sure, it doesn't like the bunny farts, but there's plenty of fairly stout range ammo that's only a few cents more than Blazer Brass 115 gr., e.g., at time of posting, I can get American Eagle 115 gr. that the spec sheet says is 55 FPS faster than Blazer Brass 115 gr., for just 2 CPR more; Blazer Brass 124 gr. on paper is as hot as Lawman 124 gr., and is only 1 CPR more compared to 115 gr. Blazer Brass.
 

JLL2013

Regular Member
Regarding the duty ammo, the trade-off for non-SOCOM people (or people who have to train on their own dime) is that you can buy a lot more 115gr FMJ range ammo than full load carry ammo. So effectively even if the comp cost $0, if it required me to train with more expensive ammo, I'd train less. If that's true, it's a trade-off I need to consider.

Do you think the Glocks are uniquely (or at least compared to many other brands) capable of still shooting comp'd standard loads? As I mentioned above, my VP9 seems more finnicky than comparable Glocks. I'm hesitant to put a comp on it for that reason.
I think the response from default.mp3 is pretty spot on. 2 cents more; $20 per 1000rds is negligible by my standards.
Would I rather have a significantly better pistol and train with 950rds or have a closer to stock gun and train with 1000rds? To me, those 50rds aren't enough to matter.
The only other compensated pistols I've shot are HK45CT's and 2011's; both did not need a recoil spring swap at any point to be reliable.
Comped Glocks aren't infallible; when I shot a KKM comped G17 a lot I had to replace the 13lb recoil spring ever 1000rds to keep it reliable. No free lunch, but a comped 19 is pretty close.
 
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