The Death of a Roland Special

It seems I’ve gained a bit of Internet noteriety with a short video I posted to Facebook from the last Young Guns shoot I organized.

It’s a bit unfortunate, because I’ve been hoping news of our Youth Shooting Program (now 5 years running) would go viral, but instead a clip of my killing Roland 2 with a bizzare Kaboom after all the kids left went viral instead.

To those who haven’t seen it, here’s the original Facebook post.

And here’s a YouTube highlight of just the Kaboom:

Here’s what happened.

At the end of the day directing our Young Guns shoot (where we had 40 kids in attendance), I thought I’d sneak in a few rounds on the plate rack that two of our volunteers set up (both members of our club’s resident 3-Gun Team: Nameless 3-Gun).

I was dead tired to be honest and not really keen to shoot.  Directing these Youth Shoots take a lot out of me, what with prep work the previous night going until 2 am in the morning then running around from 9am – 3pm making sure things run smoothly.  I spent the day running ammo and water to different ranges, RO’ing for kids shooting, chasing down my 2 kids, and helping setup to BBQ.  All the while, I was wearing my armoured “Range Safety Officer” vest (because you HAVE to look cool in front of the kids – and wearing body armor is cool).

I recall looking at my truck, looking at the plate rack, and thinking to myself “Maybe I should go home.”

Still, I’m sure as with most of us can relate to, any opportunity to drop 2-3 mags is an opportunity few of us would miss.  I topped up a few mags with Federal American Eagle 124 grain FMJ rounds and headed to the 35 Yard Action Range.

Many have asked why the extraction in the video was so weak, and I can only attribute that to the compensator mounted on Roland 2: a TONI SYSTEM GLV6MI Compensator Short for GLOCK (link).

On Roland 1 (my other Glock 19 that I DIDN’T blow up), I’m rocking a Rock Your Glock Performance Compensator, and found that it didn’t shoot as flat and was less picky on ammo than the Toni Systems comp was.  The ports on the RYG comp are much smaller, so I suspect the RYG comp had lower power requirements than the Toni Systems comp did.

Internally, the only modifications to the Roland 2 was a 13lbs recoil spring assembly, a Ghost Rocket 3.5lbs connector, and an extended slide stop.  Everything else (including the extractor, extractor spring, and ejector) were stock.  Roland 2 also didn’t have a very high round count, less than 2000 rounds, and it was recently cleaned.

What I suspect happened was the Toni Systems comp vented so much gas (giving me that low muzzle rise and tame recoil) that it was causing soft extraction.  Me being as tired as I was (and with hecklers and spectators) my form wasn’t what I practice, and a limp wrist, loose grip, or a bit of a flinch and bam: 3-point shot of a shell casing into the top port of my Toni System comp.


Many have also commented that the huge top port of the compensator was a terrible engineering decision by the manufacturer, and as an engineer myself, I’m inclined to agree.  The port is about 1.5x the diameter of a 9mm casing and especially marketted as a MINOR compensator, it only was a matter of time before this happened to someone.

I sent a message to the manufacturer over Facebook and after a brief initial response (and after sending them the video) I haven’t heard back.  If I do hear back from them, I’ll update here.

I’d like to give them the benefit of the doubt although there’s not really anything they can do, besides sending me a replacement compensator (which I wouldn’t mount to my gun after this incident anyways).

The gun and everyone on the range were fine as well.  The barrel (a Glock 19 factory barrel with M13.5x1LH suppressor threads) showed no sign of damage.  The only thing damaged was my pride at having a $115 compensator go Kaboom after only a month.

Unfortunately, M13.5x1LH threaded compensators are hard to find (double so in Canada).  I think I’d like to try a Zev Pro Single Port Compensator next, although doing so I’d need a 1/2x28TPI threaded barrel.  I’ve ordered a thread adaptor from a company called Infinite Product Solutions (Link), so I think I’ll have that covered.

Odds are it will look a little bit silly, but after almost dropping my and blowing up my gun, I think I can handle looking silly!

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