KKM 4 Port Compensated Match Barrel: Building A Roland Special Part 2

KKM Barrel

Glock 19 KKM Barrel Firing Federal HST 124 Grain +p Ammo

There is only one compensator and barrel combo that is acceptable when building a correct Roland Special, the KKM 4 Port compensated match grade barrel. I know that sounds a bit snobby, but the Roland Special isn’t really a concept, but a very specific build using parts that have a proven track record. Roland chose the KKM compensated barrel as a result of past experience and testing, knowing exactly what to expect.

As before, please refrain from speculating or talking about Roland’s real identity. I would prefer that you not out Roland as he prefers to not be identified. Given how helpful he has been in putting this series together, I ask that we all honor his request.

Check out Part 1 of the Roland Special build series HERE where we installed the Raven Concealment Freya mag well.

Taking the KKM Precision barrel out of the package we find that the machine work is second to none. It might be the nicest pistol barrel that I have ever laid eyes on. The below photos were taken after a single range trip so there may be some wear on the barrel and carbon buildup. They ship in pristine condition with some anti-seize on the threads.

Every KKM barrel is made from 416R stainless steel bar stock and is then heat treated and vacuum tempered to 42 RC. They CNC machine each barrel and use a button rifling machine to cut the match grade rifling and use a SAAMI spec match chamber reamer to give each barrel a fully supported chamber.

The barrel ramp came highly polished and glass smooth, no doubt this will aid in defensive ammunition feeding reliably with the after market barrel. I don’t think it would be much of an issue anyhow seeing as the barrel is for a Glock 19.

The compensator is not a bad looking unit and probably the most attractive option on the market currently. Sure there are some fancier comps out there designed for the standard 1/2×28 thread pitch, but none of them that I have tested are quite as effective as the KKM 4 port. The huge downside to the KKM comp is that it uses a 9/16×32 thread pitch in order to get the compensator as close to the slide as possible. As a result, you are not able to use a suppressor with the barrel, but I am OK with that. This gun isn’t intended to be suppressed.

Like the rest of the barrel, the locking hood is well machined and left in the raw. KKM does offer finished barrels, but the Roland Special calls for a raw barrel like this one. I found that the barrel locked up tighter than a bank vault even though this is a drop-in barrel. I understand that KKM offers a version that requires gunsmith fitting that adds some lead time, but I doubt that it would increase accuracy much at all over the drop-in unit thanks to the super tight lockup.

The lugs on the bottom of the barrel are again beautifully machined. At the time I am writing this I have about 1300 rounds through my KKM barrel with no discernable wear on the lugs and only the slighted wear on the hood.

Taking a closer look at the compensator, you can see that the machine work and finish is top notch just like the rest of the barrel. The threads start almost immediately, again to get the comp as close to the slide as possible.

KKM upgraded their old three port compensator that was made from steel to an aluminum unit, adding another port on top on the newer KKM 4 port comp. The large expansion chamber ensures that the compensator is as effective as it can be.

You can see that the barrel is nicely crowned as well as the flats that the set screws interface with when tightened. You might notice the lack of a pronounced shoulder on the barrel since this barrel isn’t intended to be used with a suppressor it isn’t a problem.

A side benefit of the threaded barrel is that it increases the length of the Glock 19 barrel to roughly the same as a Glock 17, eeking out just a bit more velocity that helps ensure that defensive ammo performs as intended.

Like you might expect, the rifling inside the barrel is second to none. It is very sharp and pronounced and uses button rifling to squeeze every bit of accuracy out of the barrel. This also allows you to shoot cast or plated bullets, unlike the stock Glock barrel.

Installing the barrel and 4 port comp on my Glock 19 was super easy to do and didn’t require any tools other than the hex wrench that they included with the barrel. Start by dropping the barrel into your slide just like you would with a stock barrel.

KKM machines two flats on either side to give the set screws a place to get the best possible purchase. The set screws have a bit of a sharp edge on the side that contacts the barrel and will deform the metal if you tighten it enough, this isn’t a problem and helps when you reinstall the comp after cleaning the gun.

After you have installed the barrel as you normally would, thread the comp down as far as it will go. You might want to remove the recoil spring to get it as close as you can, I was able to get it as close as possible without removing the recoil spring on my gun.

Once the compensator is as close to flush as it can be, tighten the two set screws on either side of the barrel making sure the comp is level with the slide. I would recommend using some Rocksett on the screws to keep them in place and checking them for tightness every six to seven mags.

Once everything is tightened down simple, put the slide back on the gun, and you are ready to start shooting. The overall length of the slide and compensator is right about the same as a Glock 34 making holster choice reasonably easy.

As far as the Roland Special is concerned, the main reason that Roland chose the KKM 4 port compensator is to keep the carbon buildup off the Surefire X300 Ultra A model that typically resides on the gun. In the photo below the light was removed so I could test a holster that will not accommodate the Surefire.

The side benefit of the KKM 4 port compensator is the recoil mitigation, higher velocity and increased accuracy that the barrel provides. You can see in the photo below the ports doing their job to tame the 124 grain Federal HST +P 9mm that I was running in the gun.

In a TFBTV video, I tested the KKM 4 port comp vs a stock barrel and found that when just focusing on getting a good sight picture my split times dropped quite a lot with the comp installed. With the stock barrel, split times were about .26 second, after the barrel swap we saw split times drop to .17 second. A tenth of a second per shot can add up to quite a lot if you are focused on getting as many rounds on target as fast as possible or you are running a competition stage.

Using the same 124-grain +p Federal HST I shot a few groups to see how accurate the Roland Special was. First up was a five shot group shot at 7 yards in a standing position. All five rounds landed on target producing a rather nice group even though I pulled one low.

I stepped back to 15 yards and fired five more of the 124-grain hollow points from an unsupported standing position and got all five of them to land in yet another super tight group that I can be proud of.

The last group I shot was at 35 yards, again standing without support. The pistol performed quite well even though I pulled another one just low of the group. Not too shabby for 35-yards without any type of rest. I am sure the barrel is capable of much greater accuracy in more capable hands.

After about 1300 rounds downrange, I have to say, the KKM Precision 4 port compensated barrel is one of the few products I have tested that performed far better than I could have even imagined. While the 9mm might not be the hardest recoiling cartridge on the planet, the 4 port compensator does an excellent job of helping you get the gun on target faster.

The 1300 rounds I ran through was a mixture of factory 115-grain FMJ, reman 115-grain FMJ, reman 124-grain FMJ, new 147-grain FMJ, remain 147-grain FMJ, 124-grain +p JHP Federal HST, 124-grain +p+ JHP, and 147-grain JHP Federal HST without any issues whatsoever. KKM does recommend shooting hotter ammunition with a velocity of at least 1000 FPS to ensure proper function but even when I shot some of the powder puff loads I had in my ammo stash I experienced no malfunctions with a stock Glock recoil spring.

You can find more information about the KKM 4 port compensated match barrel on the KKM Precision website. The barrel’s MSRP starts at $275 for the unfinished version tested and goes up to $295 for a Blacknitride finished version.





Patrick R

Patrick is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Co-Director for TFBTV. He is a verified gun nerd and also podcasts at The Firearms Podcast. With a lifelong passion for shooting, he has a love for all types of firearms, especially overly modified plastic handguns, precision rifles, and AR based things. You can follow Patrick on Instagram @tfbpatrick, Facebook, or contact him by email at tfbpatrick@gmail.com.

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


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  • BattleshipGrey

    Love the concept, but I can’t justify the cost of most of those mods anytime soon.

    • Jared Vynn

      I replied to the wrong comment, but for $1,500 you could do your own complete build including an RMR red dot. You can see a parts list in my reply to iksnilol. Saves about $800 over complete Roland SpEcIal offerings.

    • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

      There is nothing wrong with piecing one together over time or altering the build just a touch to suit your budget. After shooting the Roland a bunch I have decided that I am either buying a Gen 4 19C and milling it for an RMR or I am going to get a 19 MOS and send the slide and barrel off to Magnaport.

      • Jared Vynn

        That’s what I would do personally if I still had a Glock. Unfortunately no one makes a double stack version of the detonics streetmaster that I know of so I am stuck with my full size 1911 or my doublestack Commander TCM.

    • KKM Precision

      You can order a comp threaded barrel then order the comp down the line if it’s not fully in the budget right now.

  • Paul Rain

    This isn’t a 460 Rowland?

    What’s the point?

    • Flounder

      The leprechaun wants a new toy?

      • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

        Clever.

        No, I really wanted to do a story on the Roland that did it justice. The other piece on the RS that is out there right now has some inaccuracies.

  • iksnilol

    Unfinished barrel yet it costs that much?

    No thanks, I’d rathet go for a LW barrel.

    • Edeco

      Yep, cheaper even after paying extra to have the derp-wolf omitted, if I recall

    • Jared Vynn

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/92ca9050cfbee9322d30238710fe20859f0b13575401b7d8ce66a088f5cedc1a.png for about $1,500 you could do a Lonewolf brand Glock 17 ported with RMR build. Similar price to do a 19, but unlike the Roland SpEcIal you don’t have a compensator hanging off the front so you maintain one if the advantages of a 19 (smaller profile for easier concealment).

      • iksnilol

        I was thinking of Lothar Walther.

        • Jared Vynn

          I actually meant to reply to BattleshipGrey, but i had also thought you meant Lonewolf. A Lothar Walther barrel would be awesome. Why do so many gun companies have to have the same abbreviations? RIA, ATI, LW, etc..

      • Mitch

        Love the visual! This is a great way of showing build components, and it helps the reader a great deal by cutting through all the noise and right to the essential information.

        • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

          Yes, but it kinda misses the point of the Roland build. I am in the process of putting together a video about it to cover how to build one and why you use specific parts. Spoiler alert, only use proven parts to ensure the gun works reliably.

          • Jared Vynn

            Lonewolf as far as I know are proven and as I selected all Lonewolf parts (outside of RMR and iron sights) there is less chance for compatibility issues.

            I’m not a fan of the Roland Special as I feel like it is mostly marketing for certain parts/brand over actual function. A ported/compensated barrel and slide retains more concealability over a thread on that extends the overall length as example.

          • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

            You don’t know much about the Roland do you?

            The build has nothing to do with marketing, in fact the real life Roland never cared about marketing it. All he wanted to do was share a pistol that worked really really well for him so that people that rely on a gun every day (cops) might have more of an advantage than normal.

          • Jared Vynn

            Than why is it every​ build discussion I ever see always specifies certain brand for parts? This is anecdotal but I never seem to see a Roland Special done or discussed with budget or lower priced parts.

          • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

            There is a reason that those specific parts have been chosen. I will talk about it as much as I am able to in the video, but rest assured that each part was tested against just about every other option on the market extensively.

            Like I said, Roland is a fact based guy that just wants to help people and has more knowledge about using a handgun against people than most. He gains nothing by pushing any particular product and hasn’t made a dime off the Roland Special.

          • Jared Vynn

            I look forward to it, I tend to be skeptical when I see specific brands listed for a purpose build.

          • Experience

            If he was fact based, why is he wasting time comping a gun shooting minor 9mm loads? As any open division shooter, comps need hot loads to function worth while. I you’re not shooting major, or at least the hottest +p, you are gaining little benefit other than additional muzzle weight to help with muzzle flip. The Roland Special is the next tacticool thing. Minor pf 9mm don’t even really produce enough gas to run a comp. Gurantee an item ofthe same weight and dimension without ports hung off a G19 will give similar recoil reduction results. This comped minor 9mm nonsense is a mixture of placebo effect and extra muzzle weight.

          • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

            The load that is normally shot ithe RS is a 124 grain +p HST. He isn’t shooting for competition, it is a carry gun.

          • Experience

            While thats better than wwb ball ammo, still gonna come up short on gas to work the comp to full potential . Consider a major 124 gr load is running 1350+ fps actual out of the barrel velocity vs the just below 1200 fps actual velocity of hst 124 +p, and that the major load is loaded to 60-70k psi vs 38ish k psi of the hst round, there is a vast difference. The HST vs wwb type ammo example is like saying cci stingers will work a comp better than cci sv, while both infact lack enough juice to really do much. Hst is better, but marginally so. It isn’t even that much hotter than non +p variety loads. I carry the aforementioned Hst +p and can’t tell that it has much more snap than the 50ish fps slower standard 124gr loadings. What hst +p claims with a 124 gr, vv 3n38 hand loads can do with a 147gr (1200 fps) and still be a safe speced book load.

    • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

      You forget that it is a threaded barrel and a comp. Even if you bought a cheap threaded barrel of lesser quality for $170 and one of the other carry comps that have popped up on the market for $80 you are within $25 of the KKM barrel and comp.

      • Jared Vynn

        $160 for a Lonewolf alpha wolf threaded barrel (1/2×28) and $50 for their comp for $210 total vs $275 for $65 difference. Without testing claims regarding quality are empty.

        • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

          I have shot an alpha barrel and didn’t find it to be as accurate as the KKM. The comp on the other hand is something I would like to try, but it looks like it is going make the slide longer than Glock 34 length making holster selection kinda hard.

          • Jared Vynn

            Holster selection is the bane of any custom handgun for carry. It’s the major reason I favor ported slides/barrels and offhand flashlights. (Even if you have a weapon mounted flashlight I would still advocate having an offhand as well for safety reasons)

      • iksnilol

        Comps are stupid and threading a barrel is easy.

  • Dickie

    Roland is actually an isis operator

  • thedarkknightreturns
  • Cymond

    Why does the Roland Special call for an unfinished barrel? Is there some advantage?

    • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

      Cheaper and more available I think. I’ll have to ask Roland.

  • Edeco

    Rowland Specials are old news. I use an Edeco Special; S&W MP22 Compact with a blast cone and NcStar blue laser.

  • Aluminum comp, yuck I would rather have the unupgraded steel comp.

    I just ditched my last aluminum comp for titanium. You just can’t get aggressive with lead removal on aluminum comps.

    • KKM Precision

      We are considering doing a limited run of steel comps again. Not sure when yet though.

      • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

        Please set up an email notification of that. I would be in on a ported 17 barrel for sure.

  • Weeteef Cyubee

    I prefer Roland concept in 45 Super +p. With bullet weights of 155gr to 300gr. I shoot this gun in USPSA open and Bowling Pin competitions. I had an RMR on it but it died due to a diet of 230gr @ 1250fps and a 24# recoil spring. Im operationally operating the $hit out of my Dillon 1050. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e2968ac9363f928f8cf42a06fe326e377a5978bc1e08767997296f447eb627fd.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5806fa785a5b59eef5661737a49338da957a40d50d9d9bcfebfe83b65b5afbe1.jpg

    • Christopher Wallace

      operate on, operator

      • Raptor Fred

        Biggie!

    • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

      I would love to see some video on that if you don’t mind.

      • Raptor Fred

        Sent

  • KKM Precision

    Just as an FYI, you can order a gunsmith fit one with an extended lead time.

    • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

      Dang it! I wish I had known. I will add that in the article.

      • KKM Precision

        No worries. Thanks for the great read!

  • Stephen king

    Is roland still searching for the dark tower? if so, i thought he preferred revolvers over tacticool glocks.

  • MiamiC70

    WTF is the barrel not threaded 1/2 x 28 and mated with a 1/2 x 28 comp??? 🙄

  • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

    Impressive recoil control! Wouldn’t mind giving a comped 45 super a try one day.

    • Raptor Fred

      With a good chamber, comp, and a heavy recoil spring. The potential for very powerful, reliable, but controllable handloads is awesome. This combo can make 460 Rowland (40,000psi) power, but with much easier and cheaper brass to acquire . Small pistol primer 45 acp brass is good for something. Really is a fun project.