The Glock first appeared not much more than 20 years ago and in an astonishingly short time reached near-iconic status. It dominates the US police duty market, is used by military organizations all over the world, and is wildly popular with private citizens, both for personal defense and competition.
The array of aftermarket parts for Glocks never ceases to amaze me. I own half a dozen Glocks and like them (my personal favorite is the Model 19). My pistols are stock, other than replacing the adjustable sights on one pistol with Heinie fixed sights.
If there was one thing I could change about my Glocks it is the grip angle. The pistol I’ve shot more than all others combined is the 1911. How many rounds I’ve fired through various 1911s I cannot say but it is certainly some hundreds of thousands. Plus I probably dry fired it 10X for every live round.
You’ll sometimes read one pistol or another is a “natural” pointer. Actually, over a fairly broad range, I don’t think grip angle matters much. The human wrist is a remarkably adaptable structure. The neural paths can be trained by repetition to hold the pistol at a certain angle which then feels natural.
I can pick up a 1911 with my eyes closed, raise it to shooting position, open my eyes and the sights will be fairly well aligned, close enough the sight picture needs only minor cleaning up. Many other autopistols — Beretta, CZ, HK, Sig, Springfield XD to name a few — are close enough in grip angle differences are minor.
Pistols with more raked grip angles like the Glock, Colt Woodsman, Luger, Ruger .22 autopistols all point high for me. I have to consciously alter the wrist angle to drop the front sight into the rear sight notch. Doesn’t matter when plinking or shooting prairie dogs with a Ruger .22, but in practical shooting competition, for me, it costs a fraction of a second. Over a match, fractions add up to seconds and matches are won or lost by seconds.
Glock shooters, and there are lots of them, argue the Glock points correctly and the 1911 points low. Superstar competitor Dave Sevigny shoots Glocks exclusively and time and again has won against top shooters using 1911 and other makes. There are plenty of Glock shooters at major events and, of course, they are right — for them. Remember that adaptable wrist joint. The neural paths are just as happy to be trained to hold the wrist at a Glock angle as at a 1911 angle. Certainly a person could shoot Glock centerfires and Ruger .22 autopistols exclusively and live a happy and fulfilled life.
The toughness and durability of Glock synthetic frames has been well proven. Nonetheless, there are plenty of shooters who prefer frames made of metal, feeling it is more rigid and ultimately more durable. Some like a bit more weight for recoil control. Others just think guns should be made of metal. When enough people want something it’s the nature of the market to fill the void.
A company called CCF Raceframes has been producing frames since 2003. They can be used to replace the frames on popular Glock models including full-size models in 9mm, .40 S&W and .357 Sig. Since legally the frame is the firearm, they are individually serial numbered and the same rules for transferring any handgun apply.
CCF frames have a grip angle similar to that of the 1911. The backstrap is an interchangeable insert. With a flat insert in place the grip frame is somewhat slimmer than a Glock’s, while an arched insert can be fitted for those with larger hands. These are an excellent option if you already have a Glock pistol and can use the Glock internal components.
Robbie Barrkman is the founder and owner of Robar, Inc. The company is perhaps best known for its very tough, corrosion-resistant firearm finishes such as NP3 and Roguard. The Robar custom shop also turns out excellent custom 1911s, tactical and hunting rifles, and .50 BMG rifles. Robar workmanship and standards are second to none.
Robbie Barrkman is an interesting guy. Born and raised in South Africa, he emigrated to the US long ago. An experienced competitive handgunner, he knows the 1911 very well. He also thinks very highly of the Glock design. The Robar custom shop does a thriving business in slimming Glock grip frames and altering them to a more 1911 grip angle. Barrkman is a talented photographer and sometimes does our photography, as he did for this story.
Robar offers the “Revive” program to provide current Glock owners a CCF frame with all internal components installed. Various custom options such as different finishes, detail work, trigger jobs and tuning are available.
Robar is now producing a complete pistol based on the CCF Raceframe, either aluminum alloy or stainless steel. The Robar Alloy Xtreme pistol is currently available in 9mm, .357 Sig or .40 S&W. Different sight options can be specified and the metal can be left in its natural state or finished with one or more of Robar’s advanced finishes. These are custom-quality pistols with considerable skilled hand fitting.
Two versions are currently offered, the Professional with 4.5” barrel and corresponding length slide, and the Competitor with 5.3” barrel and longer slide. These slides are machined from 4140 chrome moly steel using CNC machinery. Breech faces are finished by wire EDM machining for extreme precision.
The pistol consigned for testing is in .40 S&W. It appears to be very well made, of high quality components. The alloy frame has a black Roguard finish and the slide has an NP3 finish, both very smooth, tough and attractive.
I compared the Robar pistol to two of my .40 S&W Glocks, a Model 22 (an early one without fingergrooves or accessory rail) and a more recent Model 34. Operationally there is no difference. I could assemble any of the three slides on any of the three frames and the combination would fit and function properly.
Esthetically there are some differences. The Robar slide has slanted “Gold Cup” style cocking serrations, unlike the vertical serrations of the Glock. Also it has both front and rear cocking serrations, and the top of the slide is neatly grooved.
Beyond the different grip angle and materials there are other differences in the frame. While the accessory rail on my Model 34 has one slot for securing accessories, the CCF frame has four slots to allow positioning the accessory (white light or laser aiming device) to suit you.
The magazine release button on the CCF frame fits in a recess to protect it against being inadvertently pressed. The rails on the frame, which engage the slide rails, are much longer on the CCF frame (five times longer according to the specifications). The makers also advise the locking block of the CCF frame is permanently fitted. The triggerguard is rounded instead of hooked at the front and there are left and right thumb grooves at the top of the grip.
The Robar Xtreme uses standard Glock magazines. The CCF Raceframe is nicely
stippled for a sure grip and the frontstrap is nicely checkered.
Fieldstripping and reassembly procedure is identical to the Glock, with one minor exception. When replacing the slide on the frame it is necessary to hold the takedown lever down.
The frame of the Glock with accessory rail weighs 5-1⁄4 ounces on my electronic scale. The alloy CCF frame weighs 9-5/8 ounces. I didn’t have a stainless steel frame to weigh but the CCF web site indicates it is about 13 to 14 ounces heavier than the alloy frame.
The heavier stainless frame has become popular with competition shooters wanting reduced recoil, while the alloy frame is more comfortable for regular carry. A Glock 22, empty but with magazine in place, weighs 25-7/8 ounces while the Robar weighs 29-3⁄4 ounces.
I have some older 15-round magazines for my Glock .40s. In my pistols these earlier magazines do not drop free when the magazine release is pressed. Later magazines seem to be more rigidly built and in fact weigh an ounce more (2-3⁄4 vs. 1-3⁄4 ounces). These magazines do drop free from my Glock pistols.
The Robar Alloy Xtreme came with a current drop-free 15-round magazine. However, I found all my older magazines, even ones which had to be pulled from the Glock pistols, dropped free from the CCF frame. They also locked in place and functioned perfectly.
I had thought the different grip angle of the CCF frame might require a different magazine for reliable feeding. Not so. Look at a Glock pistol and you’ll see the magazine doesn’t follow the grip angle — it is somewhat more vertical. In the CCF frame the magazine does follow the grip angle. Relative to the slide and barrel, magazines in the Glock and the CCF frame are at the same angle.
Functionally the Xtreme pistol follows the “Safe Action” design of the Glock. Ten tries with the Lyman electronic gauge gave an average trigger pull of 7-1⁄2 pounds, and the pull felt smooth and consistent.
The Xtreme pistol came with Robar’s XS Express 24/7 Big Dot sights. I’m perhaps not the best person to evaluate sights. All I ask is a rear sight with a square notch .125" wide and deep and a vertical post front sight .115" thick, both black. On a defensive arm I like tritium night sight inserts. Other than that, I’m not fussy.
The XS Express sights consist of a wide, very shallow V rear sight and a big front sight with a round white-dot insert. In the 24/7 Big Dot version, both sights are fitted with Trijicon tritium inserts, the rear a vertical bar centered in the V and the front a round insert inside the white dot. Correct sight picture is to “dot the, i” that is, place the front sight dot on top of the vertical bar.
The XS sights worked very well for high speed, short/medium range targets, though no faster than the Patridge sights I’m used to. However for a shooter who is not so “sot in his ways” the XS sights are fast and intuitive, without blocking the view of the target. It’s not what I’m used to, but I could learn to like it.
For precision shooting I felt the sights were a bit of a handicap in holding consistent elevation. With Patridge sights you simply place the front sight level with top of the rear sight and the target on top of the front sight. With the XS sights I found myself constantly shifting focus from front to rear sight to keep the dot aligned with the rear sight bar.
As a result, 25-yard groups tended to string out vertically a bit. Even though these groups were good, I was sure I wasn’t shooting up to the pistol’s accuracy potential. Groups averaged from 3" to 4", but most of the dispersion was vertical, with horizontal dispersion of only an inch or two. Sometimes this indicates inconsistent lockup. In this case, though, I am quite certain it is from inconsistencies in sight alignment.
The Xtreme pistol is fitted with a stainless steel barrel from KKM Precision. These barrels have an excellent reputation in competition circles for accuracy. Add the excellent custom-quality workmanship and good accuracy is bound to result.
I chronographed 20 rounds of two loads from Black Hills ammunition through my Glock 22 and through the Robar Extreme. The Robar pistol averaged about 30 fps faster, though this is hardly significant as individual shots varied more than that.
Reliability of the Glock design is so well established it is hardly an issue. There were no malfunctions whatever with the Xtreme pistol in the course of firing somewhere between 400 to 500 rounds, all JHP bullets in various loads from Black Hills ammunition. This was done without cleaning or lubing the pistol after initially applying a bit of gun oil to the new gun.
Any of my holsters which would accept the Glock 22 with accessory rail also fitted the Robar pistol. When I wear a Glock pistol it is most often in an inside-waistband holster from The Leather Arsenal. The holster worked very well with the Xtreme pistol.
Evaluating a pistol is to some extent subjective. For my somewhat larger than average hands the grip frame felt very comfortable. A police friend with very large hands found it a bit small and probably would have been more comfortable with the arched grip insert.
For my “1911” habits the Robar pistol pointed naturally. It combines the 1911 feel with the proven, utterly reliable and durable Glock Safe Action system. And the metal frame has a rigid, tough, solid feel I like.
The slide of the Xtreme pistol carries the “Robar 1” logo along with the Latin motto Semper Vinco. This can be translated as “Always Victorious,” or perhaps more simply “Always Win.” It’s a fitting motto for a terrific pistol.