From obsolete to trendy: The second coming of roller locked firearms
By Jacki Billings
A rolling locking mechanism on a CZ firearm that’s similar to a system used by Heckler & Koch. (Photo: WikiCommons)
The meteoric rise and fall and subsequent revival of the iconic roller locked carbine mirrors something out of a classic tale. After becoming nearly obsolete in the 1990s, roller locked firearms have entered a second wave of popularity, introducing a whole new generation of gun owners to the unique design. But what has caused the reinvigorated interest in the quirky setup and what does the future hold for roller locked guns?
It’s important to first understand how roller locked differs from standard, direct blowback guns such as the AR-15. Unlike direct blowback, in which the force of expanding gases push the bolt rearward at the same time the bullet is traveling forward through the barrel, roller locked uses the concept of delayed blowback. In a roller locked design, the roller locking mechanism holds the bolt closed for milliseconds longer than in a direct blowback to bring the chamber pressure down to a safe level before the gun comes out of battery. The result is a lighter weight carbine with a smoother operation.
Joe Stoppiello, founder of Dakota Tactical, compared the two systems during