Every now and then, we see the forces of the universe combine to create something that is far better than the sum of its parts. In the case of firearms, we see this sort of magic when we put together the right gun, with the right gunsmith, for the right reasons. For those shooters who have read this magazine more than a few times, you’re probably already familiar with three names: Glock, Robar, and Jeff Gonzales.
Glock, of course, is one of the best-known and widely carried handguns in the world, with a justified reputation for reliability and robustness. Robar, short for founder Robbie Barrkman, is a company recognized for its world-class proprietary metal finishes and custom firearms modifications, headquartered in Phoenix, AZ.
Jeff Gonzales is a former Navy SEAL, author, contributor to this magazine, and the head of Trident Concepts, a top-tier training outfit based in Texas. Jeff knows his stuff when it comes to fighting with a handgun, and Robar knows their stuff when it comes to turning a good gun into a great one. The two recently joined forces to create a custom production pistol that is designed to meet all the requirements for combat in an easy to carry package—the TRICON (for Trident Concepts) ProCarry Glock 19.
The process involves taking a stock Glock 19 (or 23), then having the wizards at Robar modify it to Jeff’s specifications for $1,295. Anything with that kind of price tag, developed by this kind of team, is going to create expectations and elicit questions from potential customers. I recently spoke with Jeff on his motivations for the project, his partnership with Robar, and what drove his choices for the pistol.
Q: What are the primary characteristics you’re looking for in a good carry pistol, and why did you choose Glock as your signature platform? Why not some other polymer-framed, striker-fired pistol, or one of the many 1911-style handguns?
A: That’s a good question, and there were three main reasons for the choice. First, capacity. For concealed carry we wanted a decent load out, so that meant a minimum of 10 rounds. Second, we wanted an easy platform to employ, along the lines of point and shoot. Third, we wanted something that would be easy to improve and enhance. Choosing a firearm is personal, but lots of people don’t know what they don’t know. We train lots of new students. The Glock is good for the first time shooter. It has a very consistent trigger. There are lots of other choices are out there, but only a few meet all the requirements. 1911s, Springfield XD, H&K, and Smith & Wesson M&P are all good, but none have the ideal balance of characteristics the Glock has. Glock has a long track record, and their pistols are modular and reliable. They have the virtues of an AK, with the modularity of an AR.
Q: Why did you choose the Glock 19/23 model versus something larger?
A: Again, keeping concealed carry as the mission behind the project, the Glock 19/23 has the best balance of size, weight and capacity. The mid-size Glock frame is ideal for concealed carry. It is compact for carry in a variety of conditions, light enough for true every day carry and with 15/13 rounds in the magazine respectively it has a decent load out for lethal encounters.
Q: Why choose 9mm or .40 S&W as opposed to .45 ACP?
A: For the neophyte, lets talk about other things before caliber. EA big hole is great, but the round must go bang every time. The combination of frame, magazine and ammo must be reliable. The round has to penetrate a minimum of 12 inches. Then you MUST hit vital anatomy. All three characteristics are critical to success. After that, its splitting hairs. If you meet the above criteria, then it goes back to magazine capacity. One round is not sufficient from a handgun. So, without losing sight of the project, most in the industry are learning what a few already know—the 9mm is a solid performer. With today’s technology and materials the new personal/duty rounds are performing on par if not better than their .40 cal or .45 ACP brethren. Ability to control recoil is also a concern, especially as you get older or if you have an injury. Availability is another concern. You must be able to procure, train and rotate through duty ammo. It circles back to people who don’t know what they don’t know.
Q: How did you decide on Robar to do the modifications to the pistol?
A: I have been a fan of their work for years. They have really paved the way on several fronts, such as finishes, texturing and enhancements. Robar wrote the book on firearm finishes. Lots of guys can do some things on Glocks, but I liked Robar’s “maritime finishes” since they are comfortable and easy to carry. Its tacky but not aggressive. It won’t tear up like other finishes.
Q: Did you choose all the modifications to the pistol yourself, or tell Robar what your endgame was and leave the details to them?
A: We speced out all of our pistols and ran a blog about them last year. We get questions on how I set up my Glocks. Each improvement or enhancement was carefully selected to accommodate increased performance, longevity and/or accuracy. We started by identifying shortcomings, then we researched what was available. We put those items into service, and if they passed our QC they got added to the list. For ergonomics, we kept the finger grooves, but the grip hump is shaved rather than being removed. No gun has “natural pointability”. We also wanted to enhance the slide stop and mag release, so we decided on Tango Down’s Vickers upgrades. For accuracy we liked the standard Glock serrated trigger, but we needed to take up some slop by adding an after-market disconnector, and Ranger was the most consistent. When it came to barrels we were only comfortable with match grade, so went with a Robar fitted KKM. For sights I used to love Heine, but had to make a choice and decided Trijicon HDs fit the bill best. They represent a trade-off between precision and the ability to pick them up quickly. Lastly, we included a medium undercut on the trigger guard for the higher grip, optimal trigger finger placement and recoil management. We did not add things like front slide serrations or rounding out of the front trigger guard as they are unnecessary, and we had to maintain a certain price point. So, what you see is several thousand rounds of RDT&E in its final form and I am really happy with the outcome.
Q: What kind of user is this pistol primarily intended for? Armed professional? Law-abiding civilian? Someone else?
A: Rather than paint the pistol into a corner, the best way to answer that question is: Anyone who is looking for a platform was built for concealed carry that has improvements and enhancements in performance, reliability, longevity and accuracy. We want this thing to truly be carried on a daily basis, to be used in sustained professional training and bring the shooter’s performance to a whole new level. We would have done all this for a larger duty gun, but the goal is to initially bring more awareness to concealed carry, then move to full-size. The positives are still there.
Q: What would you say to someone who questions the cost for all the Robar modifications to this Glock? After all, you can get two stock or lightly modified Glocks that will likely work quite well for less than this one heavily customized pistol.
A: You can certainly use stock pistols, and they will get the job done. A stock Glock may work in the beginning, but as you become more proficient it doesn’t matter as much. To quote Bruce Lee, “a punch is just a punch.” At a certain point in the evolution of your skill set and mission you start looking at ways to improve. For shooters who are just starting out, they will have a huge leg up. For recreational shooters, they now have an excuse to put it to task, and the professional has the confidence to know it can stand up to their requirements, or at times, abuse. The beginner makes huge jumps, the recreational shooter sees modest gains and the professional sees precision and refinement, but they are all there for the taking.
Q: Do you have any advice you can offer to readers who may be looking to purchase their first defensive or concealed-carry handgun?
A: I sure do. If you are serious about your concealed carry, then you have already thought about what you can do to improve and sustain. Now you have a direction to focus your attention and the means to see the improvement. This gives you a big leg up on the hardware side, but is still not a substitute for quality training.
My personal testing of the TRICON ProCarry Glock 19 confirmed what one would expect from a pistol heavily modified by Robar. There are a total of, coincidentally, 19 modifications as listed on Robar’s website, and it is clear from first glance that you are not dealing with your typical Glock. Externally, the grip has Robar’s proprietary texturing, which is both extremely comfortable and slip resistant. The area around the mag release is scalloped to the rear, while the rear of the trigger guard is slightly hollowed out with Robar’s “high-grip” modification, which puts the bore axis lower in the hand to aid in recoil management. More on this later.
The slide’s edges are bull-nosed, and the whole slide is coated with an attractive gunmetal grey Poly T2, with the TRICON name and trident logo engraved onto the front right side of the slide and the cover plate. Topping the slide is a set of Trijicon HD night sights, these with a yellow insert (also available in orange), which was extremely fast to pick up and easy to center. Internally, the TRICON ProCarry G19 is completely modified, with a tuned trigger that breaks cleanly at about 4.5 pounds and resets very crisply, leading to superior handling and accuracy.
Both of the 15-round magazines seated, fed and ejected positively. Using more than a half dozen different types of ammunition, I was able to get average groups of 2 to 3 inches at 25 yards, which is more than sufficient for the purpose for which this weapon was designed. Slightly closer in it was no challenge to empty a magazine into the center of an 8-inch paper plate, shooting one-handed as fast as I could pull the trigger. Reliability in feeding and ejection was flawless, though there were some light strikes on the hard primers of some 115-grain Tula ball which demanded immediate action to clear.
My sole concern with the TRICON ProCarry G19, if it is one, is that almost all my groups printed two to four inches high anywhere beyond 10 yards. After some consternation, I eventually narrowed the probable cause down to a combination of the high grip modification and the partial “shaved” hump still left in the grip of my sample pistol. Many shooters don’t like the hump in the Glock’s grip, and I am one of them. Reason: I have abnormally small hands, and for this reason virtually all my personal Glocks have a grip reduction. The unfamiliar combination of high grip mod with partial grip reduction with on the TRICON G19 elevated my hand just enough to get the fat part of my lower palm sitting right on top of the grip hump, versus centered more in the pocket of my hand. This tended to force my sights slightly higher, thus the consistent high hits.
For someone with normal-sized Man Hands this will probably not be an issue. For other guys out there like me, and probably many women, it may be worth considering a full grip reduction. Regardless, if you’re looking for a top-of-the-line carry handgun having virtually every desirable feature that performs to expectations, and your wallet is deep enough, the TRICON ProCarry Glock 19 may be for you.
For more information contact The Robar Companies, Inc., Dept OT; Tel.: (623) 581-2648; E-mail: [email protected]; Web: www.robarguns.com