Monday, February 6, 2012

Glock 21 to .460 Rowland: Prelude

So, I recently purchased a Glock 21, full sized frame, New In Box. I'm quite pleased with it, and it has an excellent reputation for toughness and reliability. Those who want to see just what that reputation is need look no further than the Glock Torture Test.

However, the .45 ACP cartridge, as designed by John Browning in 1904, does have a few weaknesses, at least in comparison with modern technology. It was designed for use with older, less powerful powder charges, and as a result, operates at a maximum pressure of around 21,000 psi for standard rounds, and 23,000 for the +P cartridges. Comparing this to more modern cartidges such as a 9mm P+ coming in at around 38,500, or the .40 S&W at 35,000, its fairly clear that despite the larger bullet size, the .45 ACP's older design causes it to fall short in some ways.

The more I thought about this, the more I assumed that someone had to have updated this reputable and well known caliber and cartridge. A brief foray onto the internet proved that assumption to be correct. In 1988 a man named Dan Grenell developed the .45 Super cartridge; a cartridge that was externally identical to the .45 ACP but offering improved power. This seemed after reading about it, to the answer to both my question, and the problem of the aging .45 ACP cartridge. By happenstance, however, I also came across a mention of a the .460 Rowland cartridge, during my research.

The .460 Rowland is a cartridge touted to equal the performance of the legendary .44 Remington Magnum in a auto-loader. Designed by Johnny Rowland in 1996, this round substantially improves the power of many autoloader pistols. Naturally, this caught my eye, but I dismissed it at first, until I heard that conversions for the Glock 21 for .460 Rowland were available. Naturally, this caught my eye, as I am a sucker for tinkering. After some initial research, my dream of a Glock chambered in .460 Rowland was born.

Picture of converted Glock 21 published on
The weapon of choice is the Glock 21, .45 ACP shown above. The finished product, the Glock 21, re-chambered to .460 Rowland with the conversion offered by, shown on the left. The conversion kit comes with, to my understanding, four parts:

  • 1) New barrel chambered for .460 Rowland --Threaded.
  • 2) Four port compensator -- Screw on.
  • 3) Stronger recoil spring. 
  • 4) Stronger steel guide rod.

Most of these, as even a relative novice such as myself should notice, are purely to dampen the recoil caused by the increased load of the .460 cartridge. Due to the almost complete lack of any reviews on the Glock 21 to .460 Rowland conversion kits, I have literally no idea whether these modifications succeed well enough to keep the increased power from battering the slide against the frame, and shortening the life of the gun. Testing this is one of the main goals of this blog, or journal.

The kit, found at the .460 Rowland website, will run you about $319.95 USD. That is by no means cheap, but not nearly so much as the .50 GI conversion, which tops out at a bit past  $500, more than many entirely new guns. By comparison, a safe conversion to .45 Super can run you from as little as $30 for a new spring, to $390, if you're completely daft and care to pay for all the overpriced extra's certain unnamed websites offer. So, its a decent bargain, presuming it works. 

So, the die is cast, and I will be placing the order for my conversion kit. I'm hopeful that this conversion will be everything I want and expect, but cautious. Once it arrives, I'll update with more information, and test it out as well. I'm looking to see how well it performs, how reliable it is, and God willing, how well it doesn't blow up spectacularly.

If you want to read up a bit on the cartridge itself, there is a Wikipedia article on it, as well as various discussions on forums such as GlockTalk and The High Road about the 1911 conversion kits. 


  1. Can you please upload a video of you firing the weapon after it arrives?

  2. I dont know if you received your 460 rowland kit from the website.but i did and i did a video review on is the youtube link