Roland Glock 43 : A No Joke Review of a Compressed Pistol

by Josh Wayner
Turns out the Roland Glock 43 pistol “joke” is on the haters, this gun can shoot.

Roland Glock 43 : A No Joke Review of a Compressed Pistol
Roland Glock 43 : A No Joke Review of a Compressed Pistol
Josh Wayner
Josh Wayner

U.S.A.-( “If you take yourself too seriously, well, everyone will know the job is filled.” I thought on the words of Texas Black Rifle Company’s John W. Harrington and broke a smile while listening to him on the phone. “Josh, we tossed this thing together to get a rise out of people. It’s funny, but it works.”

I had my personal email blown open a few weeks back with a photo showing a Glock 43 all decked out and looking completely ridiculous next to a ‘Roland Special’ Glock 19. I occasionally take reader requests about ammunition or try my best to dispel myths about whatever thing is the hot topic of the day, but this was different. My correspondence was filled with general hate and confusion about the little pocket Glock dressed up like it was. I was interested and began making calls.

But first, a bit of non-serious history about this type of pistol.

The Roland Special emerged a couple years ago on some tactical sites that use terms like ‘running’ and ‘loadout’ and quickly became a mall ninja necessity. Nothing tells your life-size anime girl body pillows that you’re Tier 1 like a Roland Special. What the Roland Special boils down to is a Glock 19 with a threaded barrel, compensator, flashlight, and a slide-mounted red dot sight. Occasionally they featured flared mag wells and extended magazines. There is general speculation that the gun owes its name to a character from the Stephen King ‘The Dark Tower’ book series, named Roland, but I’ve not been fully able to confirm that.

My research into the Roland Special revealed that the entire concept was essentially the product of goofing off and it took on a life of its own in the pistol and tactical communities when the genre was typified by name and required features. Sure enough, the stories about how this type of gun was used by everyone from undercover cops to Navy SEALs began to trickle out and somehow validated the utility of the concept to imaginative end-users.

Red dot sights on carry guns have been around for a number of years, but the idea has only recently started taking off with the standard consumer. Companies that take themselves far, far too seriously have been tactically milling slides for a number of years in an effort to market to weekend gunfighters. These guys are a known joke, but if they have a hard time laughing when they are the punch line of the community. In the words of our president: “Sad!”

All these jokes bring us to the comical conversation I was having with J.W. Harrington. The Roland Special was a joke, much like the Roland ‘Detail’ his guys at TBRCi threw together. We all know that a joke has to work to be funny, and let me tell you, the Roland Detail is hilarious.

Roland Glock 43

We all know that a joke has to work to be funny, and let me tell you, the Roland Detail is hilarious.
We all know that a joke has to work to be funny, and let me tell you, the Roland Detail is hilarious.

Such a ridiculous thing shouldn’t work nearly as well as it does. I attribute the charming function to a variety of factors that stem from the quality of the parts that this thing is assembled from and how they work together.

The base gun is a Glock 43 with a standard trigger. I could’ve changed the trigger, but I left it stock as mine is pretty crisp as it is. I fitted the magazines with Taran Tactical Base Pad Extensions in both brown and blue and contacted Hogue to send me a HandAll BGS in FDE rubberized grip to help hold on to the slim frame.

To match the non-coherent color scheme, I reached out to Streamlight and they sent me a truly dazzling TLR-6 complete with both a light and laser in FDE.

I removed the rear sight from my existing set of XS BigDot sights and installed a tritium-enhanced version of the Dueck Defense RMR Mount. This is a fantastic, no-gunsmithing addition to any pistol that could benefit from a red dot sight. I of course mounted a Trijicon RMR RM04 dual-illuminated sight to the pistol. It wouldn’t be the same without one. The DD mount is a necessity as this pistol has a frame too narrow for milling the RMR into it like on a G19.

To finish out the Roland Glock 43 project and capture its essence, I received both a SilencerCo Threaded Barrel and TBRCi’s much-imitated, but never equaled, Micro Comp. These items finished out the Detail and I took my completed blaster to the range.

To finish out the Roland Glock 43 project and capture its essence, I received both a SilencerCo threaded barrel and TBRCi’s much-imitated, but never equaled, Micro Comp.
To finish out the Roland Glock 43 project and capture its essence, I received both a SilencerCo threaded barrel and TBRCi’s much-imitated, but never equaled, Micro Comp.

This thing may be a joke, but man, the Roland Glock 43 is funny accurate. When everything was zeroed, making hits out to fifty yards were easy and reliable. As it turns out, not taking this custom project so seriously resulted in a gun that was just plain fun, as I had really no expectations of how it would perform.

Texas Black Rifle Company TBRCi Micro Comp
Texas Black Rifle Company TBRCi Micro Comp

I ended up firing ten varieties of 9mm totaling 400 rounds through the pistol ranging from inexpensive ball to Tier .005 tactical loads. I noted that the Texas Black Rifle Company TBRCi Micro Comp has a noticeable impact on how this gun shoots. With the bare muzzle there is a significant amount of flip, most of which I attribute to the extra weight on the rear of the slide. With the comp installed, the gun barely moves in the hand. It really makes firing such a small gun with so many random features a dream. It isn’t the same thing as shooting a .22, but it is darn easy nonetheless. All loads functioned reliably and I had no hiccups in reliability. Thanks, Glock.

I opted to try some high velocity Lehigh Defense 70gr HERO loads in the Detail and found that I was breaking 1650fps at the muzzle over an Oehler 35P chronograph. I felt like I was really firing a Star Wars blaster instead of a handgun. Han Solo would’ve been proud. Due to the light bullet weight and excellent comp, I was able to make six hits out of nine on-board rounds at 100 yards on a 10” steel plate using this load. Firing it was just so much fun, mostly because I couldn’t believe what I was doing.

This is where it gets really interesting to me. The Roland concept may have started as a prank, but there is real utility to be squeezed out of this palm-sized precision pistol. That said, Roland Glock 43 isn’t a solution to any problem I know of, and it really isn’t asking a question at all. It just is what it is and it is fun to have around. The utility is up to you to find.

Is SEAL Team 6 going to take this out and start using it as a standard piece of equipment? Probably not. Will those who take themselves too seriously get their MultiCam panties in a knot over my assertion that this is a gag pistol? Sure. I sure like the thing and will in all likelihood keep it in Detail format for the foreseeable future. Perhaps I’ll shoot some competitions with it. Maybe I’ll carry it. The beauty of having a pistol that is considered a joke is that sometimes you’re laughing for reasons that surprise you.

Special Thanks to:

  • Glock

  • Texas Black Rifle Company
  • SilencerCo
  • Streamlight
  • Taran Tactical
  • Hogue
  • Dueck Defense
  • Trijicon
  • XS Sights
  • Hornady
  • Federal Ammunition
  • Lehigh Defense

About Josh Wayner:

Josh Wayner has been writing in the gun industry for five years. He is an active competition shooter with 14 medals from Camp Perry. In addition to firearms-related work, Josh enjoys working with animals and researching conservation projects in his home state of Michigan.

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The Roland Special wasn’t made from “goofing around.” It’s cuz team guys were using glock 19s with surefire x300s. The light means there is a space in the holster in front of the slide, so the concept was to utilize that space with a simple modification that drastically changes the guns performance. The Roland in question is the username of SGM (R) Charles Pressburg, plank owner at the AWG and now owner of presscheck tactical. All this research is pretty easily done and verified. Hell he would probably give you an interview about it.

Joe Simeone

I think it is a good pocket set up, for people who have deep pockets. A lot of keyboard commandos have larger pockets than brains, & no sense of humor. BTW, how ever a American gun owner wants to set up his firearm, it’s our God given right. No one should begrudge anyone what he likes / wants.

Kenneth Rand

I like it, most people get but hurt over stuff they don’t understand. The micro comp makes it about as big as my Walther CCP or M&P 380 ez of my wife’s collection. It turned it from a subcompact to a high performance compact. But again I like anything that will trigger these California libtard idiots

Mike Murray

It looks like a lot of fun (and money), and mostly functional. I take issue with the shorter grip, (which contributes to muzzle flip) and especially the compensator if on a carry gun. A comp blasting upward makes close contact shooting impossible without endangering the shooter.


What’s the joke? I have lots of Glocks, Sigs, an HK VP9, Walter PPQ, Springfield XDs, but I never considered a Glock 43 (what’s the point?) until now!! The market has been inundated with more and more CC purposed pistols, and this is just another one. I am sure that it suits some people very well out of the box, but now… Dependable, reliable, affordable ✔️ Good little comp on a short barrel ✔️ Extended Mag with better purchase ✔️ Laser/light (hopefully passively actuated) ✔️ RMR (it’s all the rage) ✔️ Still a small package ✔️ A super cool, personalized… Read more »


You may notice that TS and Gil never comment about articles like this. That’s because they don’t know diddly about weapons, and most certainly don’t own any. Isn’t it comforting to know that not many liberals have guns?


Watch out, Josh Sugermann, head of the Violence Policy Center, has an FFL and though he tried to keep it a secret for many years we outed him. Perhaps he’d like to buy one? He also lives in DC.


Now THAT would really be FUN to watch as he navigated through all of the hoops and pitfalls needed to purchase a handgun in deecee. Not to mention how he would justify that purchase to all the other hoplophobes. Cheap entertainment indeed, can someone drop me a resupply of popcorn, please?

Rick Gibbs

Who cares?


Why!!!! Why would you make a EDC CCW bigger??? This is absolutely moronic.

Chuck Haggard

The joke is this article, it’s horrible writing, and the really poor “research” done to write it.