Sightmark Triple Duty Optic Review

Overview

I have owned Leupold Optics, Bushnell Optics and many others in between. The biggest pain point is the price and quality vs. features. The Sightmark Triple Duty SM13022MDD offers a lot of features for a $300 optic. It has 1/4 MOA per click adjustment, locking knobs for quickly changing your optic’s point of aim/point of impact and making sure your adjustments don’t move around when it’s in a bag or banging around while on a sling.

This optic has an illuminated reticle with no bleeding, so the reticle is still crisp even when on maximum brightness. I personally don’t use illuminated reticles in any situation but it works well for those who find this an enticing option. The maximum recoil rating is 1000G’s, which is more than enough for any caliber you would mount a 2.5 – 10x magnification optic on.

We tested this optic with the KelTec RFB (7.62 x 51) and the Head Down Products PV13 AR15 rifle and both turned good results, the scope didn’t lose zero and was easily zeroed when swapped from rifle to rifle. The eye relief on this optic is generous, between 105-98 mm, and it has a large distance which you can still use the optic in front of and behind their rated eye relief.

What I didn’t like

I used this scope for about 4 months during the testing of the RFB and on my personal rifle as well. There were a few things I really loved about it and of course a few things I think would be best left out. Everything you give a customer with a product makes a statement about your product and your company. I feel like Sightmark puts a few too many things in the box that start making it feel cheaper than it performs.

There were two things in particular that drove me a little batty about what came in the box, now these are VERY minor gripes but, something you should know. They send flip up caps for the scope when you receive it and I feel their product would have been better received without them in the box. These caps are held on using a plastic sleeve that wraps around the end of the optic and they slide on and off with minimal pressure. I tried using them the first day and every time I went to flip them up, the flip cap and sleeve came right off the scope. So that’s a $0.30 piece that I could live without and not a flaw in the scope at all.

The second thing that could be improved upon or left out are the scope rings. The optics come with the mounting hardware you need to get started. The rings are pretty flimsy and the quality is enough to get them on the rifle but not much more. The screw on each mount needs to be tightened after about 50 rounds or so on a 5.56 and after every few rounds on a .308. This is the only thing I think I would change as far as quality.

The things I loved about this optic

There really isn’t much not to love, I have payed a little more than three times this price for significantly less time and time again. The scope held zero after 1000 rounds of 5.56 and 500 rounds of .308 without needing readjustment. Holding zero is generally what should be your biggest concern with optics in the price range and with this one you don’t have to worry.

The adjustment knobs are clearly marked for use without the manual. Some scopes mark windage and elevation and some do not. Going to the range and having a moment of forgetfulness and adjusting in the wrong direction gets annoying when the manufacturer could have saved you the annoyance by simply adding a letter on each. The adjustment knobs have a very positive click so you know what is going on whether you are watching the marks on the oversized knobs or not.

Eye relief rating in Sightmark’s specs is a heavy understatement, they rate the eye relief at 105-98 mm. I’ve found that I have about a 3-4 inch range where I could comfortably operate this scope and still see what I needed to. This is a huge point of concern if you are looking to use this on a three gun rifle where quick target acquisition is imperative.

Summary

All in all I have had yet another very positive experience with Sightmark’s products. They are cost effective and reliable. This is really the balance we are all looking for in this type of product. We all want something with the look and feel of a high end product with a lower price tag. Given they could change the mounting rings and leave out the flip caps, I won’t give too much grief over that as they are very cost effective to change out for better ones and not really something that goes into reviewing the optic itself. In my book, Sightmark still maintains its status of high quality and function vs. price over many other brands we have reviewed and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend their products to anyone with or without a disclaimer.

Read the full specs on Sightmark’s website

Springfield XD(M) 5.25 Review

Competition pistols will not shoot for you, will not make your groupings tighter and will not make you faster. Only you can do that. This XDM however, will give you all the tools out of the box to get you on the right track towards what a competition pistol can do better than a service pistol can when all your fundamentals are properly tuned.

A competition gun will do nothing more than show you how ready or more importantly NOT ready for competition you really are. I felt I was fairly proficient with most service pistols with your standard 4”-4.5” sight picture and trigger. Decent grouping as a decent speed with prompt and rehearsed magazine changes. This pistol immediately showed me it was not just another pistol to review.

My mag changes had to be more precise and I couldn’t move at the same speed during reloads. It showed me I was sloppy. I couldn’t draw, acquire and set off 3-5 rounds in a decent grouping because I was shooting this pistol like every other 9mm and expected the recoil to behave the same as every other 9mm I ever shot. The expectations of a striker fired system versus what the XDM was offering immediately showed me my trigger control was not as precise as I thought it was. Now this all isn’t shame on the pistol it is a shame on me and I will explain.

This XDM 5.25 has a fantastic polymer frame. It feels harder than most polymer frames I have shot and is smoother and deeper textured in all the right places. There was no evident “pig-nosing” on the front of the frame after heated up with multiple sessions of sustained firing. (Pig Nose, is the front of the frame no longer maintaining a straight line from muzzle to grip. Has zero affect on the gun, just aesthetics.) The frame really helps to enforce a good high thumbs forward grip. The XD line has never been a favorite of mine due to the grip safety and angle, but this one shot better than any other XD I have fired.

The barrel is a 5.25” Match grade barrel chambered in 9mm. The longer barrel and slide allow for a longer site picture and increased accuracy. The barrel in particular gives you just that bit extra for both velocity and rifling to send the round out in a nice, tight spiral. I was actually able to shoot a silhouette steel plate at 100m for the first time in my life using this pistol and I have never been able to do it before. Was it the pistol? No, it was thousands upon thousands of rounds and practice…but it definitely helped as I have yet to do it with any other pistol I own.

One other awesome component that helped was the actual sights themselves. They use an adjustable rear sight with windage and elevation. The ridged and all black rear is different than most full size pistols and really helped to highlight the front post fiber optic. The XDM comes with plenty of spares for the fiber optic too for both red and green. Different lighting conditions as well as protective eyewear will al interact differently with the different colors so it’s pretty cool that it came with both colors.

The trigger and controls are both very tight compared to most striker fired pistols as well as ergonomic. The trigger has a pretty short take up and by comparison a very definitive break. A majority of striker fired pistols I have have shot have either a gritty or spongy break to them. This one felt a lot closer to a hammer fired pistol than I expected. The controls are solid and placed in easy to reach places. The mag release and the slide release are almost in line with each other and very pronounced without running the risk of accidentally releasing a magazine in the dirt or keeping the slide lock down with a thumb forward grip. The release is really in the sweet spot as well and very easy to get on without having to cant the pistol too much.

The machined slide is tight fitting with no play. Despite not having full length rails on the frame it glides with ease with no slop to be found. There is a good chunk machined out of the top of the slide as well to take away some of the weight of the increased amount of steel that would undoubtedly affect the balance and recoil on a slide that big. Believe it or not, it’s not there just to look cool. The slide also sports nice and deep serrations on the rear and forward of the ejection port. The are deep and sharp but not so much as to worry about injuring yourself. They are great with and without gloves and the front serrations really aid in manipulating the firearm both for safety and speed (demonstrated in the video review.) Melonite coated and cleans up easy.

Overall I would recommend this pistol to anyone looking for a competition pistol without having to start at prices involving a comma. For around $650 this is a fantastic piece to go to competition with right out of the box with a vast amount of aftermarket modifications so you can improve the pistol further with your needs and style. I wouldn’t recommend for a first pistol or a carry pistol but hey, to each their own. I enjoyed what this pistol taught me and really enjoyed shooting it.

Remember the Fallen

We marched to the local cemetery to pay respects to people we never knew by planting a flag in front of their tombstone and giving the best salutes we could muster as the 21-gun salute went off as Taps played in the distance.

I never really understood what I was doing or why. All my friends participated but it seemed like serious business and my elders acknowledged that it was a more important day than I realized at the time. I am older now, although I am no scholar, I do have a better understanding of what Memorial Day is all about.

The history of Memorial Day is vague and many cities claim to be birthplace due to local observances beginning in 1866. It wasn’t until 1868 that Memorial Day, originally named Decoration Day, as a time to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers, was first observed at Arlington Cemetery. It was in 1971 that Memorial Day became a national holiday.

I know I can never fully understand or appreciate the things our soldiers have been through as I have had friends return home with drastically different responses to their time in the service. I can simply shake their hands and thank them for their service. To me, they may not be “fallen” but they have sacrificed more then I will ever know. To those who return home, appreciation is found in a handshake and a thank you. To the fallen soldiers, MIA, and POW, I can only pause in remembrance, lower my American flag to half-staff, and decorate the graves of lost soldiers.

It is now many years later, the innocence and joy of marching in a parade I felt as a child has been replaced with a sense of gratitude. It is easy to get wrapped up in time off, cookouts and holiday shopping prices. It is easy to forget what the men and women of our Armed Forces have sacrificed for their mission, their lives and their calling. Some gave the ultimate sacrifice.

This Memorial Day, remember those who fought in our stead. Remember those from the battles that made this country, wars that freed others from oppression and those who have helped provide the way of life we enjoy today. Honor our fallen fathers, brothers, mothers, sisters, friends and family, thank them for their service, honor your elders and celebrate our freedom. Thank you, to all who have given of themselves and given their lives for our country, for our freedom, for our loved ones and for us.

From Me and Misses Whitey, Superbowl, Monkey and Lou. Remember our fallen and celebrate the very freedoms they fought for.

Montie Gear Ultralight Review

With so many people carrying everything from pens, knives, spare ammo, pistols and even med kits there are many items we tend to overlook. Today we are going to look at a knife from a company we have worked with before called Montie Gear.

While I wouldn’t necessarily classify this knife as an EDC knife, it didn’t stop me and I am sure there are some out there that would do the same. In a world brimming with pocket knives like folders, automatics, assisted opening, karambits, kydex sheaths, neck knives… I can do this for awhile. Like the personal weapons we choose there is a shape, design and carry method to suit just about everyones needs. The Montie Gear Ultralight has the ability to be worn as an EDC on the belt in a horizontal draw fashion and with their engineering and a phillips head screwdriver can be either left or right hand draw.

Montie Gear has a way about them with WaterJet technology and they really do a great job with it. The knife itself has a symmetrical design as which as stated allows for you to fashion it to the mount in whichever way suits you best. I suppose you can call it a fixed blade as it does not fold, but the way in which it is attached to the handle. The appearance of this knife is very appealing to the geek in me as it looks through and through as if it was designed by someone who not only knows how to use auto cad, has a engineering degree, but also knows what it takes to add strength and durability where it counts. The sheath and the handle appear to be cut from the same slab of aluminum and with super tight tolerances are mated precisely. Now, aluminum is not exactly the best metal for a knife blade. But in standard precision fashion Montie Gear has mated this handle and sheath design with a Chrome Vanadium Steel blade that is attached via hex screws. This is a bit different than tangs and rivets knife aficionados are used to.

Chrome Vanadium is a well known steel for knives. It is fairly strong and similar in strength to 8650 Steel. Apparently used in some of the toughest car frames ever built, the Ford Model T. But I digress. Chrome Vanadium is a hard steel that is fairly corrosion resistant, is easy to sharpen and holds a edge fairly well. You may have most commonly seen this metal in many other pocket knives like the ones grandpa whittled with or maybe you had in boy scouts. But put into the form of a fixed blade knife it is actually quite a different animal altogether.

Some of the other cool features of this blade is the use of the Tek-Lok system used to mount the blade to whatever you need. I was able to easily mount the knife sheath on several belts, backpack and range bag with ease. To keep the knife in the sheath Montie Gear uses a spring loaded retention lever conveniently located right where your thumb would naturally land on the back of the blade. This allows for one handed draw and sheath with a positive “click” letting you know it is in place. The model we tested was wrapped in 550 Paracord with some excess as well, and I think we all know at this point that paracord can really come in handy.

All in all it is a good looking knife that has clearly had some engineering and thought put into it. Ideal for saving weight, an easy to handle blade with a mounting system that can mount anywhere you have a free strap, this blade is versatile and nice to look at. At 3.7 ounces complete this lightweight is sure to be a great addition to the collection. Check this knife out on the manufacturers website.

PMR30 vs 22LR out of a handgun barrel

Claims are made that the gun lacks enough barrel length to be more useful than a standard 22LR round fired out of a handgun length barrel. We went through and took a look at this claim and found about what I was expecting. The results were interesting. Check out the video and make sure you hit like! We made this video up real quick because one of our viewers had asked for it.

Umbrella Corp AR15 Grip Review

After building my first AR-15 I dreamt about it and fantasized about the good times we were going to have together. We all do it after we finish a build, we sit in front of the TV and slam the bolt closed, dry fire it and soak up the glory of completing the first phase of our newly-found fixation. After the honeymoon period is over and you bring it to the range a few times, you start tossing the range bag around and treating her a little rough. Once you get to this point, you realize that there are many things you would change. So begins the AR15 addiction.

I have used the Umbrella Corporation Rifle Grip for more than 6 months now and it is a long-awaited and well-deserved review. This is the first part of any AR-15 that I pick out because of how flashy it is or to satisfy my inner brand whore. Let’s face it, this grip isn’t much of a looker at first. In fact, it is pretty plain and most people comment on how uncomfortable it looks when they see it on my rifle in a picture. Six months and 5,000 rounds later, I can say one thing for certain; I will never use another grip on any rifle I own.

The almost 90 degree angle on this grip promotes a lot of behavior changes when shooting with anything. Since using this grip I keep my right arm tucked in while shooting. If you take any kind of class or seek training you find it is a pretty important factor when shooting from cover. Less exposed means less others can see. When your arm is flush with your side, it could mean the difference between sustaining injury in a fire fight and going home safe. In my case, it just means I don’t look like I am trying to do the chicken dance at the range but I can still appreciate it for what it is.

The appearance isn’t much at first, lets face it, the Resident Evil fan in all of us gets excited over the logo responsible for the T-Virus outbreak and the very minor zombie subculture reference. I will never own anything in Zombie Green or buy Z-Max ammo but subtle things like this hit home with me. If you stipple your gear this is about as good as it gets as it really is a blank canvas. If you check out Umbrella Corp’s Facebook page, you will see some pretty amazing examples of just how sexy this party can get.

All in all, if you have your doubts, keep a couple of things in mind. If one product worked perfectly for everyone there would most likely only be one made. The grip industry is full of different ideas and none of them are bad or wrong but after this $30 purchase I have found one accessory that I will not replace with anything else on my current rifle or future builds. Check out Umbrella Corporation and Weapons Research Group on Facebook and their website for a little gun Pr0n along with some nice lower receivers. If you are looking for a new grip for that AR15 build waiting for completion I would recommend this to anyone, new or experienced.

Skeleton Optics Vortex Photochromic Review

Skeleton Optics sent us several pairs of their sunglasses, but the one that really caught my eye was their Vortex Photochromic. This set of eyes came highly recommended by the a fan and after using them for the past couple months I can see why. These have all the available colors most Eye Pro have. You get Yellow, Clear as well as a color, usually an amber, color or tint. The Vortex however come with Red Vermillion that is also photochromic.

What does that mean? I know, i’ve said it twice now like everyone just gets it but even I had to look it up. What it means is, the lenses are either a rose colored clear, or they are black/grey tint… and they do it without you having to change the lens. So in sunlight, they are not only stopping UV rays but they are also automatically tinting to accommodate the increase of light. When it gets late in the day and the sun starts going down, or say you transition to shade or an indoor range the lenses return to the rose/clear for optimal visibility. Pretty slick, especially for anyone who has ever changed lenses on the range only to drop them, smudge or scuff them while inserting into frames.

I don’t know if you have ever replaced lenses in other frames, but sometimes it can be a real pain. Worst case scenario, you actually damaging wither the lenses or the frames especially in the cold. These frames are made of the same stuff I would only imagine Gumby’s bones are made of but yet stay rigid and resilient enough to maintain shape and return to their original form. I just wanted to make a note of that.

I wear prescription polarized glasses almost every time I shoot. Since receiving the Skeletons, they have a permanent rotation on the range with me. They sit right on my dash next to the Matix that I thought I would never like but am steadily falling in love with. Now, these glasses do not fix the fact that a prescription is a prescription. But they are however super clear and zero distortion. So clear and distortion free that I can actually rock them on a daily basis and not get headaches from eyestrain and focus. (Side Note: My prescription is not super strong so don’t get any ideas that these are some sort of miracle eyewear).

I also want to point out that these are super comfortable. It actually angered me at how comfortable they are. You spend a lot of time picking out sunglasses and eyewear that not only do the job, but also fit your face and head. Every pair of Skeleton’s I tried on had a very similar fit, Wide around the eyes, and snug at the ear. I don’t get the depressions in the side of my skull from wearing these for prolonged periods and there is no straining of the hinges wrapping around my fat head. Thanks much to the 5 barrel hinges.

The build quality of Skeleton is also unrivaled in my opinion. Did you know that if you swear by “Company A”, that they are made by the same people that make Major “Company B”? What gives? Like the gun industry, there are a lot of companies having their products manufactured by the same people just with their names on the final product. Skeleton however, is not one of those companies. Their lenses are made with completely individual specifications and in different factories from different suppliers than “Major Company X” and the proof is in the pudding. This would also increase the cost you would think by modern standards, but this is also not the case. Compared to many other large companies these lenses and all styles are extremely affordable. If you held a pair and I asked you to guess, you would almost guaranteed tell me they were more expensive than they actually are.

All in all, I had no idea who Skeleton Optics was before a fan brought them up to us and I am glad he did. These things have yet to leave my side and I wear at LEAST one of the lenses in the video almost everyday. They are solid, stylish, comfortable and most of all can change with me and my habits on and off the range. If you are looking for something new in Eye Pro, be sure to look at Skeleton Optics. They made a believer out of me and they will make one out of you too.

Stay safe!

Smittybilt G.E.A.R. Tailgate Cover Review

A Jeep is pretty much a Lego set for adults; it can be easily customized to suit your needs and to reflect your individuality. It is a vehicle that you can make yours and yours alone.

I picked up the Smittybilt G.E.A.R. Tailgate Cover for my Jeep Wrangler last year. I had the cover installed in my 2011 Wrangler Unlimited and found it to be very useful. This year, I picked up a 2012 Call of Duty version of the Wrangler Unlimited, so I thought I’d share my experience with the tailgate cover since I’ve had plenty of time to put it through it’s paces.

The Smittybilt G.E.A.R. Tailgate Cover is essentially a sheet of waterproof coated 600 denier polyester with a PAL/MOLLE (Pouch Attachment Ladder System/Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) pattern cut into the shape of a Jeep Wrangler tailgate. It’s also completely UV stable and is available in 4 different colors: black, tan, OD Green and ACUI. I chose the black version to match the rest of my gear and the interior of my Jeep. It comes with 2 interchangeable PAL/MOLLE storage pouches, and I’ve picked up a few others along the way.

I picked up the G.E.A.R Tailgate Cover to add some storage space to my Jeep. This solved the problem of having gear bouncing around in the cargo area. It came with 2 MOLLE bags that have been very useful in housing my emergency gear as well as some things I find myself needing at the range on a regular basis.

Some of the gear I’ve housed in there includes:

  • Emergency Tow Rope
  • Basic Survival Kit
  • Paracord (about 500ft of it)
  • Flashlights
  • Foldable Shovel
  • Emergency Rations
  • Road Flares
  • Small Tarp
  • Emergency Blanket
  • Field Medical Kit

Having the extra storage to house my emergency gear makes me much more comfortable venturing out on trips with my wife and young daughter. It provides extra safety and peace of mind when traveling during the occasionally rough New England winters. By utilizing an area that would otherwise go unused, it also frees up much-needed floor space in the cargo area.

The paracord, shovel and tow rope have come in especially handy during camping trips with the family. Having a place to keep emergency and survival supplies has made the entire thing an added convenience for any and all outdoor activities. Plus, it looks pretty sweet on my Jeep.

MOLLE:

This was the first time I’ve ever owned anything with MOLLE on it, so the first time I wove the bags onto the MOLLE I had some trouble. The buttons can make it tricky to get the weave in and out before you get used to it. I used the punch that I had used to start the screw holes to just open up the weave. I’m pretty sure there’s better ways to do this, but since I dove right in and didn’t research methods for weaving MOLLE, this worked surprisingly well.

INSTALLATION:

Installation is a breeze. As you can see in the pictures below, the easiest thing to do is to start on one corner, mark the drill hole with a punch, drill a small hole and use self-tapping metal screws to secure each of the eyelets into the cover. Pretty simple and straightforward.

When I installed this on my previous Jeep, I marked the hole locations, drilled them out and installed the tailgate cover, resulting in the cover not being as tight as I wanted. But with this new method, working down and over, the cover is as tight as a drum skin on the tailgate.

I also put a dab of liquid electrical tape on each screw before installing them, in order to prevent corrosion on the metal where the holes were drilled. It’s a quick step, but I think it’s simpler than putting paint on the inside of the holes and waiting for it to dry.

CONCLUSION:

I’ve owned many many Jeep accessories over the years, all serving a variety of purposes. The Smittybilt G.E.A.R. Tailgate Cover has rapidly become one of my favorites. It saves a lot of space and is very affordable. I found mine on my favorite Jeep catalog store, Quadratec.com, for only $59.99. You can check this cover out on Smittybilt’s site here: http://www.smittybilt.com/product/index/86.htm

Ares Huskey Amentum MK II EWS Sling

Now I will be perfectly transparent in saying I am biased. We have had the honor of using a good amount of gear over the past couple years and there are only a couple items that have, through thick and thin, stayed on my gear. One of those things is the Ares Armor Huskey Amentum MK II, AKA the Huskey MKII EWS (Expeditionary Warfare Sling).

I have had the Huskey on one of my AR-15’s for roughly a year now and I still suck at transitions with it. (That’s because I don’t practice enough with it.) So transitions aside, I will tell you what I love about it and why I like it more than other slings I have tried. First things first, this thing is a beast. The nylon is far wider than any other sling I have tried from other manufacturers. This helps it stay sturdy and semi rigid while making it difficult for the sling to twist or bind up on you. This keeps it flat on you and your gear so there are no hiccups or snags in utilizing it.

Let’s talk slider, which in and of itself boggles my mind. There is a big difference between the MK I and the MK II but to the naked eye you just might miss it. Or possibly mistake it for something else and tighten the crap out of your sling keeping your rifle fully pinned against you. No joke, the first time I used it I thought that the sling was trying to kill me. Once I figured out how that buckle slider worked I was amazed. See, the slider coasts up and down the ultra wide nylon with only a slight bit of (if any) force. HOWEVER, that sucker stays locked in place at the length you slide it to without any wiggling or sliding on its own. I wish I had a belt that moved so easy and stayed so secure. But I digress, the difference between the MK I and the MK II is a cam lock allowing you to over tighten the sling very quickly. This is exceptionally useful as Ares demonstrated to us in the attached video for all hands free work.

Let it be known that I have not fast roped out of a helicopter, detained a suspect, repelled anywhere or done anything remotely as badass as all the things Ares designed this for. But I have used it and it works as advertised fantastically well. The over tighten cam is also easy to release by simply depressing the cam and returning your sling to normal length.

I was never a fan of the 2-point slings when I first started shooting and favored the single point sling. It was so cool and really “high-speed” I had to have it. As I have shot more, been to more trainings and had some really great tips and advice from people who actually know what they are doing and have done it, I am slowly migrating over to the 2-point. The stability of multiple points of contact between you and the rifle dramatically improves offhand accuracy as well as a secure way to stow the weapon as well. If I want to though, all I have to add is some QD adapters and a two to one Point Tri Glide and I can still have the best of both worlds.

When you understand the simplicity and strength of the Huskey, you can truly get so much more out this sling than any other sling on the market. Many come close, but the versatility of this sling combined with it’s build quality and strength… I haven’t found anything that matches up to it yet.

Desert Eagle .50 AE

If you haven’t seen an of his videos check out his YouTube Channel – Chaos311Clarity .

I have wanted to shoot a Desert Eagle ever since we started this site. They are tremendously oversize and pushing the boundaries of what anyone would effectively need for stopping power short of a rifle. In fact this is pretty much identical to a piston driven AR. It has the same bolt type and a short stroke piston. If you ever have the ability or opportunity to shoot one of these I highly recommend it. The muzzle flash extends about 7 feet in front of the gun when fired, blinds you at night and has a hell of a lot of recoil.

Would I ever carry one for personal protection… absolutely not, but this gun is definitely a fun peice to shoot at the range! Check out the video and don’t forget to like the video and subscribe to our channel!

Snake Hound Machine VEPR 54r

Let me get a few things clear right off the bat.

I am not a fan of the AK platform. I am not a fan of the 7.62x54r cartridge. This is not the first of either option I have fired and as of right now will not be the last. I will not go into great detail as to the why’s and why not’s because that is for another time. Be warned however, this will start reading like a promotional ad because this rifle is that much fun. I didn’t fully appreciate how fun or amazing this rifle was until after editing and watching all the video over and over again. Owen has outdone himself in my opinion but don’t get too excited as it is a limited run. He is only doing 6 of right now and is not a normal item in his catalog which translates to “want it more.”

Now, with all that out of the way let us get down to the business. The VEPR 54r from Snake Hound Machine is far from a run of the mill furniture swap with minor enhancements. Owen has been developing his own tuned trigger system which, as a self proclaimed hater of the trigger system in an AK, I love the work he did. If I ever own an AK, it will have a SHM trigger in it. Period. He then puts an enhanced Kreb Safety, oversized (what I believe is) Tromix bolt handle and a U.S Palm grip. Not enough you say? That’s cool, because the 16” barrel is adorned with one of our personal favorites, the Ares Armor Effin-A compensator that has been tuned to perfection. Add a custom milled receiver block and a side folding Magpul UBR and we can start playing the Barry White.

The noticeable fact that stood out most to me is that this rifle is solid. I have been acquiring a favorite past time of punching, shaking and dropping rifles recently. I don’t care who makes it at this point because unless it is the only one in existence, is a showroom safe queen or have been explicitly asked not to… I am going to shake the rattle the sillies out. The SHM VEPR 54r had not a single rattle, shimmy or shake after me beating on it while Owen was on the phone at the range and unable to protest. I do love me a solid rifle and this one is a rock.

I have disdain for the 7.62x54r round because the first thing I think of is Mosin Nagant. Now don’t get me wrong, the Mosin rifle is just fine, and has clearly stood the test of time. My reasons though, are for another rant. The fact is, the 7.62x54r cartridge is abundant, it’s cheap as hell, and it’s a big frigging round. The only down side is the corrosive nature of the round, luckily all these AK type actions clean stupid easy. Cram snow in it, hose it down, windex,palmolive and a scrub brush whatever just dry it and oil it and put it away. The SHM VEPR 54r utilizes this round in a way you can never experience from a Mosin and that makes me VERY happy happy happy (Duck Dynasty is on in the background).

Did I mention that this weapon is fast? I mean real fast. I didn’t really notice it while shooting because I am accustomed to shooting ARs but while editing and scrubbing through the video it was common for me to capture 2, 3 and 4 rounds in one frame. Now, it really isn’t common to see a 7.62 round coming off that fast in these parts but with the recoil mitigation from the tuned Ares Armor Effin-A and that Magpul UBR… that big girl was flat as a board and cycling like a full auto. And my trigger finger isn’t even that fast! That’s Superbowl’s dept. You know what else helped… the brand new “Snake Oil” lubricant, that stuff was slick as hell, but I will let Owen break that out to you.

My only complaint about this rifle is the iron sights, but AK irons are horrible in my opinion anyway. If Snake Hound Machine could find a way to incorporate either Tech Sights or some sort or rail system should he ever decided to do a full line in the future; but that would not impede my decision to buy this rifle by any means.

I may break Owen’s stones a bit but I can genuinely say he has built a fantastic rifle. It was solid, good looking, a blast to shoot, cheap to shoot and of course I can’t get one which means I must have one. One thing I am sure Owen can attest to is that I have never shined him on. I honestly and truly REALLY liked this rifle and would love to get his VEPR 54r SASS version in my hands to own some day.

Or this carbine one…

Or any of them…

BLACKHAWK Talon Thumbhole Shotgun Stock Review

Ever since purchasing my Mossberg 500 Persuader, I’ve been looking for ways to enhance it and customize it.

Blackhawk makes a LOT of accessories and gear for the shooting sports, and over 10 different stocks just for shotguns. This stock in particular, is one of their most interesting designs. It’s a polymer and alloy stock that has a few great features that makes it stand out from the crowd. Basically, it’s a combination of the features of a regular stock, a pistol grip, and a recoil reduction system. Retailing for around $140, it’s pretty affordable, but it is a little bit on the high end price wise compared to other aftermarket stocks. That being said, the features do make it worth the extra money.

Blackhawk’s website claims that the dual recoil-compensation system reduces the felt recoil by up to 65%, but in my testing, it felt like at least 30-40% less than the original stock. While that doesn’t sound like all that much, if you’ve ever done a long day at the range with a few dozen rounds, you’ll know why that’s a big deal. The reduction in recoil is achieved through a combination of the very comfortable pistol grip (putting some of the recoil in your hand instead of all in your shoulder) and the really thick butt pad on the stock. Both of these, combined with their patented Knoxx technology, which is a set of springs that act like a buffer, really do a great job of reducing the felt recoil.

Reducing the recoil of a firearm isn’t just about saving you from a sore shoulder. It’s also about accuracy. The less the firearms is moving around, the more accurate you’ll be, and the faster you’ll be with target re-acquisition after a shot. In my opinion, what makes someone more accurate with shot placement, besides practice of course, is comfort. If you’re more comfortable with a weapon, you’ll perform better when using it. Firearms come is all shapes and sizes, just like people. And one firearm might be amazing for one person, but not so much for the next. This is because of all the little details that make a person a person. Hand strength and size, height, eyesight, etc etc.

This stock wasn’t my favorite one I’ve used, and that in no way means it’s not a great stock. The reason for that was it wasn’t my favorite, is because it didn’t fit my hands. The issue is with the stabilizing bar attached to the pistol grip. My hands are too big for the space, but this isn’t going to be an issue for most people, I just happen to have larger hands. This kinda bummed me out, because I actually really liked this stock, and would have kept it on my Mossberg if it wasn’t for that one issue. But it’s like I stated above, it’s a personal preference issue, and comes down to being 100% comfortable with the weapon you’re using.

I would absolutely recommend this stock to anyone looking for a non-collapsible, recoil reducing stock for their shotgun.

Blackhawk makes the Talon Thumbhole Stock for a variety of shotgun models, including Remington 870 (12 & 20 gauge) Mossberg (500, 535, 590, 835 and 88) and Winchester 1200 & 1300 12 gauge. Besides black, it’s also available in a universal camo pattern to match the Remington and the Mossberg patterns.

Check out their site for more information and for full technical specs: http://www.blackhawk.com/product/Talon-Thumbhole-Shotgun-Stock,1514,165.htm

StealthGearUSA Onyx IWB

StealthGear USA is an exception to our status quo simply because it is more than just materials that makes it noteworthy. It is a modern take on a classic design with function and form made for modern pistols with modern materials and the wearer in mind.

It is a modern take on a classic design with function and form made for modern pistols with modern materials and the wearer in mind.

We have all seen the design over and over again. A big slab of leather with kydex on it, riveted and screwed in place with adjustable ride height J-Clips or hooks and in some cases polymer belt loops or hooks. This design is not flawed or bad in any way, and neither are the materials, they are in fact rather rugged and durable. These materials however is what separates the StealthGearUSA ONYX IWB and all the rest.

Before we get started, let’s get the informative portion out of the way. Inside the Waistband holsters (IWB) are the most popular way for you to conceal carry a weapon (in our experience). They generally tend to ride comfortably around the 3-4 o’clock position (if your body was a clock, your wedding tackle is the 12 o’clock and the butt would be 6 o’clock) on your strong side (dominant shooting hand) and have minimal printing for the position. If you are a lefty it would be 8-9 o’clock.Thats a lot of understanding in one sentence, with that said, let’s move on.

I have used another popular brand before I received the Onyx made of leather and Kydex. Plastic hooks which I opted for over the metal ones because it was more easily concealable next to a belt loop. In fact I worked in a profession for a long time where carrying a firearm was prohibited and no one was ever the wiser. The point is, if worn properly a conceal carry IWB holster conceals very well. What no one tells you though is things like break in time for leather, the gritt against your skin during the break in, how long plastic clips last etc… Once broken in though, they sit very comfortably and the only issue is sweat, especially in the warmer months between you and your weapon.

StealthGearUSA solves a lot of the traditional issues in the same way we do more with pistols nowadays. Modern materials for modern pistols. Makes sense, but what does it mean? This holster literally makes you wonder why you still use a leather backed tried and true IWB. This holster has wicking mesh on the part closest to you as well as strategically placed foam padding which is also breathable. This means no more rough, abrasive against the skin leather as well as no break in period. It also means you don’t feel a slab of extra skin on your body as the foam padding helps distribute the weight and imprint of the gun to your body.

The other side has a hard nylon which resembles a 1000 Denier Nylon (similar to belts and plate carriers, but is treated and also breathable to maximize stiffness and not inhibit the ability for heat and moisture to wick away. Rigid enough to more than support and distribute the weight of a pistol, but pliable and breathable to not sacrifice comfort. Usually you see rivets holding the world together on most IWB holsters, but the Onyx actually has stainless steel sockets which help prevent rust as well as being fantastically adjustable and slick looking. The metal J-Hook style clips are also rust proof and hold REALLY well. They are tight enough to hold on without making your fingertips bleed putting the holster on. I have fallen on ice, ran, jumped, rolled and sat for hundreds of miles without this holster coming loose.

Let’s talk about kydex. Kydex is an awesome product and many people and companies are using this material for holster making and more. Thicker is higher strength and rigidity but you sacrifice detail (the imprint of the actual pistol in the plastic). In the video review I stated it appeared to be a .80 thick kydex and upon further research they list it as a .93 in. kydex. I think it was a smart move going for rigidity over appearance because you wear it INSIDE the waistband. Making “pretty” kydex to tuck it inside your pants is like waxing your car just to put a cover on it and park it in the garage. They mold their kydex with utility and resilience in mind and attach it using easy to adjust standard allen screws in an attractive stainless finish. The Onyx had 6, count them, SIX screws bolding the kydex in place with rubber spacers so you can really dial in the retention based on the way you carry, how it sits, rides and holds. Really, just borderline craziness with the amount of actual adjustments you can make to make it sit, ride and draw exactly the way YOU want it to.

Before this turns into a term paper on holsters, let me sum it all up for you. The StealthGearUSA Onyx IWB is a fantastic IWB holster if not the best I have tried to date. It disperses the weight of carrying a firearm very evenly and comfortably. It is padded and breathable to the point of barely feeling like you have a weapon on you. I have actually forgotten to take it off getting ready for bed. The kydex is rigid as hell and creates a nice “pocket” between you and your belt so drawing and re-holstering are like butter without sacrificing retention. You may have to adjust the screws here and there to get that “perfect fit” but once you do it’s there to stay. It doesn’t move, ride up or pop out on you and neither does the weapon.

I have worn this holster almost every day for the past several months and it still looks (almost) as good as the day I got it. Hey, wear and tear happens no matter what you are made of. But whenever people do see it, they always want to know who makes it and what is it because although it’s not much different from most IWB holsters, it is a distinct difference.

Go grab one and check them out at stealthgearusa.com. $99 bucks, I will take 2 more please. Especially if they start making light bearing rigs.

Springfield XDS (.45 ACP) Review

Here I am doing another review for a CCW and I have sat on this one for a while, waiting for the post-review “break up,” where I carry it down to a local store and tell it I never want to see it again.

I have had the Springfield XDS chambered in 45 for quite a while now. I bought the gun and went to the range that morning to film the first impression, this is where the story began. My previous conceal carry piece (or several of them) was something I bought because I could conceal it easily when wearing just about anything. This is the first thing I will tell people to throw out the window when looking for a conceal carry gun as an “option,” as it seldom brings you down the right path. We all obviously want something we can comfortably wear around without hearing: “Is that a gun in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?” When you look at size realize this one thing, the shape of the gun ends up contributing more than anything when it comes to the ability to conceal.

I have had the XDS by my side since I purchased it with my Cleveland holster (review should be up shortly) and constantly forget it is there. This gun is lightweight and about the same size as most competing 9mm CCW options. The grip angle is convenient for how I like to carry it as it tucks up against my side when canted so I don’t “print” at all, which is really what I am going for. Some people rock open carry or could care less if they are printing but personally I don’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable in my presence, full well knowing we are all entitled to the first amendment just as much as the second.

Reliability

Functionality-wise I can’t say enough about the XDS. I have ran a total of 700 rounds through it (review was filmed prior to writing the review) without a single malfunction. No stove pipe, no failure to feed, no double feeds, no magazine issues… nothing. This has been flawless from day one. I have run white box, 45 auto, PMC and every other brand I could find through this and haven’t found it to be selective on ammunition.

The accuracy is not an area of concern, mostly my mechanics with a shorter grip are what cause the lack of consistency. If you check out the video review you will see how I shot with it on one of the worst handgun days I have had in some time, which still was not all that bad. As long as you line the sight up within 25 meters you’ll hit what you are aiming for with this handgun, all in a 3.3 inch barrel (which also is a notable point).

External Design

I am a baby when it comes to aggressive grips. When you want to conceal carry something or shoot it every day at the range it is important to know it will be enjoyable to shoot and carry.

I have used this as an everyday range gun since my purchase. This sets the XDS aside from any other conceal carry gun I have owned simply for the fact that I can shoot it without destroying my hands in 50 rounds from felt recoil and an overly aggressive grip. I purchased the extended magazine for it bringing the capacity to 7+1 vs the 5+1 it has out of the package. The extended magazine makes it much easier to shoot every day at the range since it lengthens the grip to the point that it is comfortable even for someone with Andre the Giant-sized hands like mine.

The grip looks like it is made out of slag. This was my first apprehension; I love conceal carrying but don’t really care to feel like I am getting cozy with a cheese grater all day. When you hold the XDS the first thing you realize is that the grip style is perfect for keeping a good handle on the gun without causing it to feel jagged or uncomfortable.

Trigger

I gave the trigger it’s own section in the review for one reason… It feels like every other trigger I have shot on a Springfield. Clean break, small reset and a competition trigger feel that I have yet to see put on another conceal carry weapon. Watch the video to see what it looks like. After buying multiple guns and getting rid of them when I realize the trigger is the devils sister, I really appreciate the lack of that looooooong break that most companies feel is a “safety” feature for compact handguns.

Recoil and Capacity

Let’s back it up for a second to the capacity and recoil as those are two other big factors on the list for everyone. 5+1 capacity is the deal-breaker for everyone on this, which has me a little baffled. I understand the desire for a 20 round magazine and a full case of ammo in a wheelbarrow behind you but in my personal opinion, the best option is the one you are more likely to have on you all the time. I can pocket carry a 45… say that out loud and then realize what you just said. It’s a beautiful thing and now an option for me.

The recoil on a 21.5 oz handgun chambered in 45 is going to destroy you… just kidding. Keep in mind I have fired about 20,000 rounds in the name of this site over the past year, I am not a firearms instructor but I have a high enough round count to tell you this really isn’t that bad at all. I would equate the recoil to my Ruger LC9 (Review) which was a 9mm. I can shoot more with the XDS in 45 than I could with the Ruger LC9 (Review) chambered in 9mm without whining. If you are comfortable with a 45 then this is an easy choice and something that won’t leave you thinking it is just for conceal carry.

Summary

Overall, I love this gun and have 0 issues with the design, reliability or function. It’s a great daily range gun and an even better conceal carry gun. For anyone looking at an XDS, I suggest you go pick one up, hold it and see what you think – you might be surprised. The controls on the gun make sense, it has a great trigger pull and can fit anywhere you want it to… take that however you will but it is small. Any questions please feel free to post them up or contact us on Facebook.

Springfield Armory XDM 5.25 First Impressions

My first impressions of this weapon now that we have our hands on one to really manhandle are definitely mixed. My lack of experience with competition style pistols really has me going back and forth on the XDM. It is light, controls are easy to reach and manipulate, the sights are spot on and it’s really accurate. It feels great in the hand with good balance and if all you do is pick it up, rack it, do some reloading/mag changes without firing a single round you will fall in love.

This is where it goes sideways. As I said this is the first competition gun I have ever shot and I was a little surprised. Mainly because I was expecting a rock solid platform, limited muzzle flip if any, needle threading accuracy and all while the pistol does it all for me. This is not the case, thus my apprehension.

Here’s the kicker.

There is not a single pistol in the world that replaces mechanics, practice and user proficiency.

Not one.

So if you think buying a “competition” pistol will remedy your ills, that means buying a Corvette will make you a professional race car driver. Not true. The moment I focused on my fundamentals. My grip, sight picture, trigger squeeze and follow through… this pistol was easy to mitigate and stay on target accurately.

I have my work cut out for me in this review, so stay tuned for the update down the road. In the meantime, keep practicing because buying a guitar does not a rock star make. The XDM 5.25 just proved that to me.

SPHINX SDP Compact First Impression

SPHINX Arms was bought out by KRISS in 2010. The SDP Compact may look like something strait out of Robocop but let me tell you this is not your average handgun. The SDP and SDP compact will begin shipping in the US shortly with no verified date at this point.

The craftsman ship in this handgun is like no other. After taking it apart and cleaning it you can tell one thing about the SDP, this gun defines tight tolerances. If you took one of these apart thinking all of the parts were hand fit you would believe it without a question of a doubt. I shot about a 4 inch group and 25 feet my first two magazines (In the video below) with this gun which wasn’t all that bad. After putting a few more rounds through it I got my grouping down to about 2 inches at 30 feet.

Take a look and let us know what you think. We will be doing a full review on this competition ready handgun coming up shortly (As soon as we come across a large amount of 9mm). We just wanted you to see past the appearance and get a little taste for what you are in for. As always post up any comments, and don’t forget to hit like on the video!

Trijicon SRS Review

I was instantly disappointed. No unicorns, no magic and definitely more optic than I thought I was getting. It was big, it felt heavier than most and I was just not expecting any of that at all. Preoccupied with Shot Show travel and arrangements I cast it aside vowing to deal with it upon my return from Vegas. Now, do not be fooled by the beginning of this story. As with many things in life, first impressions can be deceiving as well as poorly judged.

Upon my return from SHOT and the ammo shortage of 2013 descended upon us, I had to prioritize. Getting to the range and putting this optic through it’s paces began to sit more on the back burner as well as the disdain I had for this monster even being on my AR-15. But ethics prevailed and this thing was first on the To Do list. The remorse continued as I performed the sight-in only to notice that with as nice as the 1.75 MOA dot is, there is something there in my peripheral around the dot… a reflection. What the hell is this now, a reflection in an optic from a company of this stature? If I focused on the reflection and not the dot I could clearly see the LED and the circuitry surrounding it. I began obsessing, and then began abusing.

I punched it, I threw it both on and off the rifle. I threw it in a gravel and brass filled creek and let it sit underwater and buried it snow and mud. I put it on the shotgun and ran every type of round and then threw it again. I put it back on the AR and then… I saw the unicorn. Zero was still there. I ran some quick multi-target drills for acquisition testing, and I shot on the move. The Trijicon SRS was selling me, and had I not been so intent on punishing it for not being magical, it showed me not magic, but strength.

So I shot more and more and punished it and it came back for more. I suddenly understood what the SRS was all about. This optic was made to take a beating, it was made to hold true and it was made to be versatile and flexible. The versatility and flexibility are largely due to not just the thick rugged housing, but also to it’s solar panels. That’s right… I said Solar Panels. The SRS runs for 3 years of one AA (lithium preferred) battery, however there is a solar panel array on the top of the housing, wrapped in a polycarbonate for protection. This solar panel provides any and all power when there is light to be had and even adjusts the 1.75 MOA dot brightness automatically to the surrounding light. So even if you remove the battery or the battery dies, wherever you have light, you have a crisp red dot to help keep you on target.

The weight is another item of contention at 13.8oz. (390 grams) which gives it a little more girth than most optics. Keep in mind though, that this is no thin skinned sensitive lady. Whack it around, hits and drops here and there will not even phase this optic. Plus, it also protects the recessed and angled lens which has a threaded lip for a kill flash. After using and abusing this reflex sight, I have a lot more appreciation into the design and engineering put into this product.

The 7075-T6 Aluminum housing is as rugged as advertised. I was not gentle and I was surprised at the resiliency of the polycarbonate housing for the solar panels, but also by the large rubber recessed buttons. The buttons are easy to get at and manipulate even with winter gloves on to adjust brightness up and down to override what the solar panel thinks is best for you. The auto brightness does a good job though and when sighting a target you don’t even notice the brightness changing in real time. Let’s talk about that sighting for a second.

In the beginning I stated that you could see a reflection in the lens of the circuitry and the LED. This is true and there is no hiding from it. When you sit and stare at anything long enough, you find flaws. When you use any tool however and it does what it should do and then some, flaws melt away. This does not seem to be an optic built around staring downrange while slowly going through 30 rounds trying to get a gnats ass with a red dot. This is a get-to-work and get it done, day in and day out optic. This is meant for fast acquisition, two-eyes-open, beat the hell out of it without a care in the world for battery type of optic. If you told me I could have only one optic for the rest of my life, the Trijicon SRS just made it into the top 2 for me. It earned it.

KelTec RFB First Impression

The RFB has 4 take down pins that pull the rifle apart, so field stripping is pretty easy, the first few times are a nightmare but after you slide the pins in and out a few times there is much less swearing involved and it takes less than a minute to disassemble and another minute or so to reassemble the rifle.

So far we have only had loading related issues. Keep in mind there has been no adjustments made to the gas piston system. Prior to putting up the first impression all I have really done was sighted it in with the optic. Right inside the user guide they instruct you on how to change the amount of gas used to cycle the rifle which I have yet to actually adjust and suspect it will resolve any feeding problems that have been present.

The one thing I really like about this rifle is how familiar it feels. I don’t mean that it feels the same as anything else because it’s much different from what I shoot every day. If you look at the fire controls you will notice that they line up with the AR15 form factor. Provided you don’t grip the magwell on your AR when shooting you will feel right at home with the RFB and the controls feel almost instinctive.

So far the RFB is another refreshing surprise from KelTec, they tend to make things differently than other companies as they design with a purpose in mind and stick to it. This is the first universally ambidextrous rifle I have seen and look forward to getting back out to the range next week to get it dialed in. Stay Tuned for the full written review coming up soon along with the SightMark Optic review.

AR15 .22 Conversion Overview with CMMG Stainless Kit

I know .22 LR is no easier to come by than 5.56 right now but at $25 for 550 rounds it makes the conversion kit a pretty desirable item to have. The .22 LR is not a very clean round, in fact, it’s filthy. The conversion kit is blowback operated versus the direct impingement gas system that your AR15 uses. This presents a couple of issues.

Issues with using a conversion

The first issue is that you will clog up your gas tube if you put a considerable amount of ..22 LR through your standard AR15, so be prepared to really clean your rifle to keep it functioning properly. The other consideration is that you are putting a round meant for a barrel with a smaller internal diameter than your AR15. The 5.56 bullet diameter is .224 inches whereas a 22 LR is .222. This is a minimal difference and does not create a huge issue but your barrel should be cleaned after a few hundred rounds and the diameter difference can affect accuracy.

Accuracy

While most 5.56 rifles have a twist between 1/7 and 1/9, your average .22 LR has a twist rate of 1/16  (Barrel Rifling = 1/X (X = The length of barrel needed to cause the projectile to complete 1 full rotation)). As a general rule, the heavier the projectile the more spin is required to maintain accuracy. If you spin a light projectile too quickly it is going to be less accurate. This will all come into play during our comparison but it is something to consider before buying a conversion kit. Some people will say twist is more importantly related to bullet length which is a notable point… in this case we are talking about .22 LR ammunition for plinking so I think weight may be a better point of reference.

Reliability

Reliability is going to be of great importance to most people when considering a conversion kit. If you have ever shot a .22 LR semi-automatic rifle or handgun it is a similar experience. I have put around 500 rounds through my Head Down Products PV13 with the conversion kit installed and have had maybe 10 or so malfunctions where the round would load but not fully seat. This is cleared by pulling the charging handle back and turning the gun sideways until the round falls out, then you move on with your life.

Summary

All in all I think that these kits are a must for anyone looking to run thousands of rounds through their AR15 for training purposes. You still use your same trigger (I have a Geissele performance trigger and have had no issues), same optic and everything that you would normally use with less recoil at $0.04 a round as opposed to the going rate of 5.56 which is anywhere from $0.90 to $0.60 a round. I love this kit so far and see no issues that would prevent me from recommending it to anyone. We will be comparing the accuracy and reliability to a full .22 upper using the same conversion kit shortly. Stay tuned and please post up any questions.

Suppressed AAC 300 Blackout Handi Rifle

There is no ejection system on the Handi Rifle so after every shot you have to pick the shell out of the back of the rile and slide the next round in. The trigger is about a 6.5-7 pound pull from what I could tell without looking at the specs and had a very clean break. We shot the Handi Rifle at 25 meters with an AimPoint T-1 Micro and the accuracy wasn’t half bad at a 3/4 inch group at 25 meters.

The suppressor we used on this was able to bring the volume below that of an airsoft gun. I know that watching a video makes it tough to really hear it, but shooting subsonic ammo through this rifle will make you giggle the first time you hear it. These are great guns for suppression and teaching a young or new shooter their way around a rifle for the first time. The accuracy was great, with little recoil and they’re a good gun to shoot at the range on a budget. At $350-$400 for a wide variety of calibers they are a must buy if you own a suppressor!

NextLevel Training SIRT-AR Bolt and Performer 110

After a couple failed attempts at direction reading and trying to match pictures up with real life, I began to get frustrated. This can’t be that hard, it’s such a simple device, what the hell gives? We reported we had a defective unit to NextLevel and they promptly jumped at the chance to troubleshoot, fix and take care of the problem.

We aren’t exactly what you call “a big deal” over here and I was really impressed with the Customer Service, Product knowledge and troubleshooting capabilities the team at NLT had. Not only did they try and fix it, they seemed to have another one on the way before I hung up the phone. When we got to Shot Show and ran into Mike Hughes, he set us straight, we were correct and it is not hard…we just suck at reading directions.

The SIRT-AR Bolt is a laser unit that replaces the Bolt Carrier Group (BCG) and charging handle in standard AR-15 platforms. This replaces your bullets with the awesomeness of (pew! pew!) laser beam power and is available in green or red laser. Green goes further and is more visible in daylight for those that don’t know, so if you plan on using it in well lit areas or indoor and outdoor use, green is your gal.

It consists of 3 main parts, the Guide Block, the Link Pin and the SIRT-AR Bolt. Stupid simple and I will tell you how. I made you guys an install video which you can find on the YouTube channel, or if your the reading sort, it’s just this easy:

  1. Remove Bolt Carrier Group and Charging Handle.
  2. Be sure upper receiver is clean of fouling and debris.
  3. Insert SIRT-AR Bolt (the big red thing) into receiver until black battery cap sits flush with upper receiver.
  4. Place Guide Block (little red piece with a small magnet) on TOP of safety selector in the lower receiver with the claw end facing the trigger group.
  5. Link Pin (two pieces that screw together) gets screwed together and placed in the Guide Block with the fatter end of the pin DOWN, contacting the trigger itself.
  6. Close the Upper Receiver carefully matching up the Link Pin to the hole in the Bolt. Some adjustment to the Link Pin length may be needed to set proper trigger pull for activation of the laser.

That’s it. Just that easy. If that doesn’t do it for you, just watch the video… takes approximately 2 minutes on the dot.

Once you get over that (not so) difficult install, the real good stuff begins. You can now begin practicing with your AR-15, your optic, your gear…without firing a single bullet. You can drill and drill and drill from low ready, safety on, magazine changes, transitioning to sidearm, or even long range offhand stability. What about using your AR-15 with your support side instead of strong side? Transitioning to and from weak side/strong side and being on target. I mean seriously, if you did 20 reps of everything I just mentioned, there’s an hour at the range but without the burnt powder, the hanging of targets, the spent money on ammo, gas, cleaning afterwards, akward looks from neighbors and all the shenanigans that comes with practicing with the tools you are counting on for protection. Now multiply that times 2 weapons platforms and you have some serious trigger time that has also saved you money immediately AND in the long run.

Now, does this replace live fire and live fire drills? Absolutely not and I believe the NextLevel Training team would agree that the point of this is not to replace live fire. This is made to enhance muscle memory, improve use of sights, improve safety and mechanics and most of all help you develop a smoother, cleaner trigger pull. At the end of the day, what you do on the range during live fire will still take practice to cure all your flinches, slaps and every other bad habit you have. I can tell you however that this does in fact help with all the above. When you get the amount of repetitions without the recoil and noise that you get with the NLT SIRT products, this is where muscle memory is born. You get so many more “rounds” off around the house, in the garage, wherever that you really have no idea how many times you have pulled the trigger. But your brain and body do and the results are echoed on the firing line.

Overall I have had a fantastic experience with both the SIRT-AR Bolt as well as the SIRT 110 Performer. I would consider these tools to be the equivalent to every performance enhancing drug you can test for when it comes to your shooting. They work, consistently but will not get you faster and more accurate just by owning them. These tools get results, an if you’re a big kid like me, you actually get much enjoyment out of saying “pew! pew!” as you subconsciously add more trigger pulls and improve your mechanics. The benefits I have seen include tighter groups, better accuracy off hand with the rifle. Better accuracy at longer distances with the pistol. Faster and more accurate follow up shots, faster reloads and transitions AND safer handling of all of the above. You sometime hear “pretend there is a laser beam coming out of the muzzle” in safety trainings and courses… well it’s a lot easier when there is actually a laser beam coming out of the weapon.

In the future, I hope to see NextLevel come out with more models of the SIRT Pistol like a Sig P226, M&P series or even maybe a revolver. Maybe a metal version of the SIRT-AR, or even a way to incorporate the same trigger mechanics of their pistol with slack and break. Who knows what the future holds for NextLevel Training, but I do believe they are onto something because they have some really useful gear.

Lube it Up!

We have received a lot of emails, questions and comments on all fronts. Facebook, YouTube and even direct emails. What lube and why, how much, best cleaner, etc. and my answers have started to get pretty long-winded. So instead, I thought maybe I could outline some of the differences between all the products I use and why I feel they are beneficial to me and my firearms.

If you are looking for me to give you a do it all cleaner and lube that works amazingly on everything, I am sorry to tell you I haven’t found it yet. What I have found is several companies that make amazing products that work for me on specific types of guns. I cannot emphasize enough, this is what I have found works for ME and for very specific reasons. Experience with different cleaners and lubes combined with different firearms and materials will vary by your desire to clean and the amount of time available.

Let’s start with the cleaners.

Hoppe’s #9 is still my go to for all the built up crud, any surface rust or just funk in general that I don’t like on the gun. If the problem isn’t an easy clean for you, individual parts can be soaked in the stuff to help break it loose overnight. The smell instantly reminds just about everyone of the first time they learned how to clean, and for good reason. Stuff like this doesn’t stick around for over 100 years for no good reason. Heck, they even make an air freshener now that smells like this magic oil. I use it on guns that have either always had it, or guns that have fallen victim to neglect and lack of cleaning (read: poorly cleaned used guns and victims of the elements).

M-Pro 7 is the cleaner I use least but will never get rid of it. This stuff really is amazing and can bring back the metal AND polymer on just about every gun to a like new clean finish. To top it all off it does this without any fumes. This is great for mixed materials firearms, like polymer frames and steel slides, quad rails with polymer hand guards or even your optics housings, wood anything. It takes a little longer to soak in but the final product from your patience is rewarding. It works good on built up fouling and gunk but takes a little longer and more elbow grease for the abused stuff. Great for regular cleanings as well as cleaning multiple firearms in one sitting.

NON-Chlorinated Brake Cleaner. I have tried other aerosol type blasters and for the dollar value, auto-zone non-chlorinated brake cleaner at about $10 for 3 cans kicks the crap out of other options at $16-$30 per can. I only use this for one thing, I need whatever is on this weapon gone and done. Sometimes a cleaner or lube is not working out, or fouling and corrosion are a bit out of control. Sometimes you just need a part super clean before lubing. This stuff gets it done and gets it done cheap which preps you for a new cleaner or lube with a clean slate.

There are a couple “combination” items I use as well and these are both gaining popularity among the shooting community. These two are really great at being a do-it-all solution but are drastically different from each-other.

Frog Lube, yes I am a believer. Frog Lube has been fantastic on several of my firearms and I would have it on all of them if not for a few things I have found from experience to either be a time consuming pain or an unforeseen inconvenience due to the nature of the stuff. Frog Lube CLP does it all, it cleans, cleans VERY well. With a toothbrush and some Frog Lube you can clean everything, all while smelling minty and fresh. To do it well and thorough though requires some time and patience on the initial setup. The benefits are great though if you don’t want to clean your weapon constantly and have it run fantastically. One thing I have found personally is it doesn’t seem to play nice with Nickel Boron coatings.

FIREClean is a new one to me, I have fairly limited experience with it but sought it out after running into the nickel boron issue. I have since begun using it on my Nickel Boron AR as well as my M&P 9mm and I must say it works very quick to help clean crap out and begin conditioning metal components fast. It doesn’t seem to leave any obnoxious amounts of excess fluid behind if you do it right either. Excess fluid catches more fouling, sprays and sputters during cycling, just creates a mess. FIREClean tends to stay put. It’s like someone figured out how to combine solvent and lube properties and textures and make them work together.

Now, I promised you different lubes and why. I will try not to ramble but I use several lubes for several firearms and will explain why. Some may have truth to them, some may be justifications for me not to change my stubborn ways. You be the judge, if nothing more maybe you can get some better ideas about how and why you use the products you use.

Hoppe’s Lubricating Oil is the go to for me for several of my firearms to this day. It is however, my go to for firearms that have either had nothing but Hoppe’s or similar lubricants their entire life or they are not used that often and Hoppe’s helps for long-term storage. Generally my revolvers and bolt action rifles that don’t see as much action as the daily use guns. Hoppe’s provides good protection for all the metal surfaces that may sit in the safe for long periods of time. It’s fairly inexpensive and if I ever needed to rotate the particular firearm into daily rotation it is easy to remove and change out for some “higher test” lubrication. This has worked out great for me over the years and I see no reason to strip and change out the lubrication because I got something newer or “better.”

MiliTec was one of the first synthetic lube I used and for stuff that has really tight tolerances I find it works very well. Synthetic lubricants tend to have (literally) smaller molecules and get in cracks and crevices pretty well. I haven’t used Militec in awhile as that tended to be my heavy use lubricant until I found some of the newer products out there. It is easy to over do and it tends to be so slippery that you shed a lot of excess lube due to it’s properties. It is a good lube but I have newer stuff that suits me better. I just see no reason to get rid of it and you never know when you may get a firearm that fits it perfectly.

Frog Lube was a curiosity that led to true fan-boy-ism. Not only does it breakdown and clean out carbon, fouling and gunk really well but as a lube it works really well too. The way it works is you “condition” the metal to use Frog Lube and it works similar to a cast iron cooking pan. Get it hot, apply lube and it smoothes out and spreads out like melted butter. The hotter you get the parts and the more you apply and wipe, the better it gets. It really is amazing. There are a couple reasons I haven’t converted every gun I own exclusively to Frog Lube. One, there is a bit of a prep work involved when. Once you set the weapon up for Frog Lube which includes stripping it down, heating up all the individual parts, applying the paste and wiping it down, from there on out you use Frog Lube. You can throw a petrol based lube in there in a pinch, but Frog Lube is just going to eat it up and treat it like fouling or gunk. This stuff is like bacon grease and works really well unless you want to use something else. If you have the time to set up the weapon with Frog Lube and don’t want to constantly be cleaning, GREAT solution.

The other problem I ran into was with my Nickel Boron BCG and components. By default NiBor is pretty slick and not much sticks to it. I ran the setup with no lube and it functioned fairly well, but after adding Frog Lube and high round counts, the BCG began getting gummed up in the lugs, with failure to eject, jammed and stuck forward, light primer strikes… it just went on and on and drove me nuts. This was very disappointing since as I said, huge fanboy of Frog Lube. My other AR-15’s still run Frog Lube with my NiBor being the exception. Also, handguns that are Polymer/metal combos like Glock and M&P are kind of a pain with Frog Lube and I don’t like tip-toeing around melting my polymer for application.

FIREClean has been really impressive so far. I run it on the M&P 9mm since Superbowl had fantastic results with it and it has been nothing short of impressive. 500 rounds from a brand new un-lubed pistol and this thing still looks brand new inside. I have also found it took care of all the problems I was having with the NiBor setup not just in getting the frog lube off and out, but also in enhancing the “self-lubricating” properties of the nickel boron. That AR-15 is now a clean and slippery setup that I can’t wait to really put to the test once 5.56 becomes available again. Overall it wipes easy, applies easy and stays put. Pretty much magical mystery snake oil only it actually seems to work.

SO that’s it. That’s what I use and why, for some visual representation be sure to check the video as well. Who knows, maybe something works for you, maybe you have something new you want to recommend that works better for me. I am a creature of habit and unless something is a dramatic difference in performance or application I tend to just ignore it. I hope this helps all the newer guys figure out a path that will work best for them and their new firearms as well as maybe some of the veteran owners see some benefits of newer products. At the end of the day, what works best for your usage, storage and cleaning process is what is best for you. If you are looking for less cleaning time, different solution, or even a different perspective maybe some of these work for you. Stay safe, check your chambers.

KelTec PMR30 Full Review and Clear Ballistics

Problems mixed up with common sense?

The disassembly pin on the PMR30 snapped in half. Interestingly enough, I have only found 2 other people online with this issue, both of whom reported that they changed the pin and never had another issue. This causes no safety concern and on top of that, KelTec has resolved the issue by creating a less aggressive notch in the center of the pin for retention. We sent this back to KelTec for inspection and they did not discover any other concerns for the gun and happily replaced the pin and shipped it back to me with no issues and constant contact through the process. Given the state of the market I find that to be pretty impressive.

One thing to keep in mind is that 22 Magnum ammunition is not really meant to be used in a semi-automatic magazine-fed handgun, it was designed for pump, lever and bolt action rifles, so not all ammunition is created equal for this particular firearm. All of it works but you may have to load your magazine with 25 rounds instead of 30 if you’re shopping the bottom shelf.

When going back and looking through my notes I noticed one thing to be very obvious: If you buy cheap ammo, you will have more problems than when buying quality ammo. Well, now that I have stated the obvious I will explain. CCI 22 Magnum is a good benchmark for quality, the case is a little thicker and less prone to denting which is why I didn’t have a single issue with them out of the 500 rounds I shot. I bought the cheapest Remington 22 Magnum I could find, which seemed to be the source of the feeding issues as the casing would almost bend in half when getting to the last few rounds loaded in the magazine.

I have seen a lot of reviews pointing out feeding issues and I think it is a big miss on everyones part. “A good gun should cycle every type of ammunition” is a comment that I hear often in reference to the PMR30. Remember, we are using 22 WMR for something it was not initially designed for. Cheap ammo means it is cheaper to produce. Cheaper production means things like thinner brass and less expensive means to create a product that is in a way different, or in this case inferior, for its purpose. Any owner of a 22LR or 22 WMR will tell you their gun never has issues with one type of ammo or another… you’ve heard it whether you’ll admit it or not and this is no different than anything else in its class.

Something else I discovered when reviewing another highly-critiqued KelTec firearm is that KelTec does a fair amount of research. If you listen to them and pay attention to the details they provide, you will have fun at the range and have a perfectly functioning firearm.

The Like List

Let’s move on to what I loved about this gun (go get a cup of coffee this is a long list). We can start with the trigger. I would die a happy man if I could put the PMR30 trigger on every gun I own and/or will ever own. This thing breaks super smooth, with a light pull and super-short reset. The trigger on the PMR30 is something to be proud of, competition grade and a light pull normally take another $200 out of your wallet for the upgrade but with this trigger I wouldn’t change a thing.

One big question we have gotten is “How is the recoil compared to a 22LR?”. The PMR30 is definitely between a 9mm and 22LR, though I feel it scales slightly closer to the 9mm and the recoil is very manageable. That makes this a much better training round in my case since it is cheaper than 9mm. And with a 30 round capacity I can spend more time working on shooting mechanics and less time reloading magazines.

The PMR30 sights are all fiber optic with a green dot on the front and two orange rear dots. The sight picture is perfect for shooting with both eyes open and since they have two separate colors it makes it a great gun for training yourself to move from one eye closed. The sights are clean, crisp and yet again another feature on this firearm I would not change anything about. In regards to sights it is also worth mentioning that you can mount a red dot directly to the top of the slide.

One argument I have heard time and time again is that 22 Magnum loses its effectiveness with a 4.4 inch barrel and wouldn’t be any more effective than a standard 22 LR. I’m not going to write anything about this here because we did a small ballistic comparison and well…. go watch the video and then you can come back. I’ll give you a pep talk and we can continue on with the review.

The PMR30 is deemed a novelty by quite a few people who may not have looked hard enough. The “wow” factor is there with all of KelTec’s “off the wall” firearm creations. Something about blasting through a 30 round magazine with a fireball spitting handgun that sounds like an AR15 gets a lot of heads at the range facing your direction. You cannot ignore low recoil, 30 round capacity, highly accurate, reliable with almost all ammunition, great trigger and nice fiber optic sights on a gun anyone can operate. The big miss is dismissing it as a range toy when it has clearly proven to be a viable self defense option in addition to being the most fun I have ever had at the range with a handgun. This is yet another thumbs up review for KelTec for both their product and their prompt customer service in a booming industry that presents a lot of challenges.

Taurus 9mm PT1911 First Impression

Taurus has always had a few weak points in my eyes, but in all actuality you know what you are buying. They make a good gun for the money. With Taurus you pay a lot less and get the same thing… well after a few hundred rounds anyways. Their machining is very rough and clearly mass produced which is different from anyone else producing a similar firearm in this caliber and weapon type. Generally the rough machining causes things to fit poorly until worn down from use.

I have put about 500 rounds through this gun before writing the first impression and the first 300 were a flat-out terrible sloppy mess. This thing jammed constantly and above all else, was unreliable. Well, that was the first date. Since then we have hung out a few times and to say the least I think we can get along. After the first 300 rounds my issues have almost completely disappeared. The jams are almost non-existent and when they happen it is on the last round in the magazine and clears itself when loading a new magazine.

The trigger is competition grade with around a 4.5 – 5 pound break (from my guess, not their specs) and it is a straight shooter, and I mean this thing is accurate. I can drive tacks with this gun. It sports a bull barrel and certainly shows on your target. She is sexy, appealing and a cheap date at that. All in all this gun has been perfect after the break-in period. I will keep you posted with the full review.

Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm Review

The Smith & Wesson M&P series of pistols was first introduced way back in 2005. As far as I can tell it is the offspring of S&W’s offerings of both the Sigma series and the S&W99 which came from some sort of weird collaboration with Walther and their P99.

Now, onto why we are here. I needed a 9mm, I needed to make a choice between two of the most popular Polymers on the market. In a last minute decision I switched from my original choice, over to the full-size M&P without the external safety. I am beyond satisfied with my quick change of heart and am glad my gut spoke up. After firing this pistol, wearing this pistol, cleaning and assembling this pistol I can assure you I am sold on it even more than I was when I swiped the card to get it.

The M&P chambered in 9mm is a polymer framed handgun with a 4.5” barrel. The model purchased has no external safety, 2, 17+1 round magazines, white dot rear and front sites and a Melonite coated stainless steel slide. This is a striker fire action weapon with a very short re-cock (is that a word?). There is also a picatinny rail system on the frame for accessories like lasers or weapon lights as well as interchangeable backstraps for the palm swell. I am still debating between another TLR-1s or the new shenanigans from Inforce, but that decision is for another day. The trigger feels better to me than most other polymers I have tried but is a little “gritty” on the reset. Nothing noticeable with gloves on, but nonetheless is worth mentioning.

The ergonomics of this weapon are fantastic in my opinion. Let’s start with the grip itself. One of the things I am not a fan of in other polymer framed pistols is the pre-made decision of where finger grooves and ridges should be. Commonly overcome with Dremels and soldering irons to get the fit you want, I have no taste for that. The M&P is devoid of generic finger grooves and simply offers a very subtle curve to the front of the grip which is not just comfortable, but can be comfortable to both my hand, or the wife’s.

The interchangeable backstraps for the palm swell are also a nice feature. 3 sizes are still “generic” but there is a distinct difference between all three. Lou runs his .40 with the large grip because 1.) he is an ogre and 2.) he has super large hands. While I like the shape of the large, it felt like there was a racquet ball between my palm and the grip. This was cool to see because instead of just going more rearward in one dimension like most interchangeable backstraps do, the M&P options go rearward as well as left and right in a smooth round shape to really attempt to fill your palm. I chose the small for two reasons. First and foremost, because I can get on this thing quick. The smaller grip helps me get under the trigger guard, in the trigger guard and my thumb in the perfect position from the holster a lot easier with no fidgeting. Second reason (mostly just a secondary benefit) is the fact that Misses whitey feels very comfortable handling this weapon as well and the small grip is just right size for her too. Two birds, one stone thrower and everybody wins.

I also want to point out that the way this pistol “points” feels very natural. This has been one of only a few pistols I have owned that very much felt like a “point and shoot” pistol. I found I can come out of the holster, present to the target and shoot very quickly by comparison to other pistols I have had a lot of practice with. It is almost to the point where when you go to acquire the front sight, there is a pause only to realize it is already where it should be and you paused because you are used to searching for the front sight. This explains more to me the recent popularity among competition shooters of switching to M&Ps since shaving seconds even tenths of seconds matters. But you don’t have to be a competitive shooter to appreciate that either.

The MSRP on this pistol is about $570 but I was able to pick mine up for a shade over $500. Not a huge savings but definitely competitive to similarly classed pistols. The fun doesn’t stop there though. This all american made pistol already has a large assortment of aftermarket parts and upgrades available for it too so you can customize yours for individuality or performance or both. Smith & Wesson has MA and CA compliant models available so no one is excluded from the fun (sort of).

Overall, I am not just satisfied with this pistol I am an advocate for this pistol. Not a kool-aid drinking fan boy zealot type, but I would definitely recommend this pistol to friends in the market. This is a far cry from the Sigma and the SW99 and I think Smith & Wesson really got it right with this pistol. In years to come, I think the M&P will become as much a staple of their product line and as synonymous with their brand as their reputation with revolvers is.

H&K UMP 40 Review

We have been fortunate enough to have met and continue to have a great relationship with Umlaut Arms. He has a lot of cool, fun weapons he lets us shoot, and on top of it all he’s a great guy too. Someday, he will let me shoot with the viking hat on.

Now, the task at hand. The H&K UMP 40. By far, to date my favorite gun of all we have shot over the past year. Pistols, shotguns, rifles and even Umlaut’s own full auto U4 Berserker… the UMP 40 was my favorite this year. It is light, it is balanced, it has a great overall length and it shoots with almost no recoil. The folding stock looks angular and rigid, and it is, but you never even notice it. The lines on this futuristic masterpiece are engineered to look as good and solid as she runs.

As you can see in the slow motion segment as well as full speed, the recoil mitigation and muzzle flip is almost non-existent. A bigger and higher pressure round than the 9mm with almost no wobble and very easy to keep on target, even on the move. It is light, it is comfortable, packs a punch and looks gorgeous… even for polymer. Gorgeous.

This isn’t a full review or even a “first impressions” write-up. This is me trying to share how cool of a weapon this is, and if I can ever afford one, I will. (NFA, tax stamp as well as the cost which is significantly higher than the semi-auto version, yada yada yada) I would take the UMP 40 over the P90 any day of the week, but I am sure Superbowl would disagree. Enjoy the video!

FOSTech Outdoors Defend AR15 Bumpfire Stock Review

After getting my hands on one, I found that all of my initial concerns and reservations about them were really just skepticism and lack of experience. We were able to shoot with accuracy (Close to the accuracy of a full auto, check out the video) and reliability plus if you can’t get your hands on a true full auto it’s pretty darn close. Now watch the video because the comparrison was fair and the listed picture may not show you exactly what we did at the range. You may find the outcome suprising.

The starting point for the review is this: Bump fire stocks are not a replacement for full auto. I wouldn’t go to a class and run this stock as a replacement for full auto nor would I use it in an actual life or death situation in place of one. This is a stock that functions perfectly as a semi auto so there is no concern around changing the usability of your gun for personal protection or serious shooting. FOSTech made their DefendAR15 bump stock for an everyday range-goer who wants a full auto for target shooting and fun. If you don’t have an extra $15,000 kicking around to buy a pre-ban full auto for range time this $500 stock is a good, comparable product to plink with at the range.

After installing the DefendAR15 stock, it took me about 2 magazines to get the hang of shooting it well. If you watch the video review I have about 90 rounds through it at that point. They are easy to use and a blast at the range. If you haven’t had the opportunity to shoot full auto you need to try one of these. I still have the same @#&$ eating grin on my face after shooting a bump fire stock as I would with a full auto. It take a little finesse and a few magazines but the end result is well worth it.

The concerns I had involved the safety and accuracy of bump fire stocks in general. As far as safety is concerned, I really believe that this is a safer solution than an actual fully automatic weapon; you are constantly pulling forward on the firearm so the likelihood of the gun getting out of control just doesn’t seem like a possibility to me. The second concern – accuracy – was where I was surprised with this product. I shot a group roughly double the size of an identical AR15 in full auto. So in all actuality, the DefendAR15 is a safe solution that has comparable accuracy that I would never find to be worth the difference in price for going to the range and having some good ole fun.

The construction of the DefendAR15 is hands-down much better than the other options. It is all metal and beefy as hell. I can’t see anything being put through enough use to cause a breakdown or malfunction with it. It switches between semi auto and bump fire very easily and doesn’t limit functionality at all. The differences between the DefendAR15 stock and any standard fixed stock are very minimal, the length is identical to most and the added weight is not very noticeable.

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to anyone considering a bump fire stock solution and would stick one on an extra AR if I had one. The only thing that I would mention is that the install is not something you can break down easily at the range; so if you want something that is interchangeable on a moment’s notice, just realize that the semi auto function is still intact. Check them out at FOSTech Outdoors and pick one up!

Bowers “Party Blue” Paradigm .22LR Suppressor Review

Bowers sent us their Paradigm .22LR suppressor to play around with and let me tell you, .22LR is by far my favorite suppressible round. You can take a handgun or rifle and make it quieter than an airsoft gun.

We put a ton of different brands and types of .22LR through the Paradigm and had a lot of fun doing this review. There is one thing I’d like to go into some depth about with this company in particular. The customer service from Bowers has been amazing. I don’t say this too often, mostly because I don’t often need information directly from the source about a product or the best ways to utilize it. If it is your first time looking at or buying a suppressor, Bowers will help you through the whole process of getting it into your hands through a local vendor and even make recommendations on how to make sure you can get it as quiet as possible with various ammo types and the host for the suppressor.

All in all our experience with the can was great. Bowers offers many different inserts on their line of suppressors so they can fit just about any firearm in the caliber supported. We used a Ruger 22/45 Lite in .22LR. This allows you to buy one suppressor to fit a HUGE variety of guns; from rifles to handguns and everything in between. The overall volume was no louder than our range stapler. We avoided doing DB readings for the volume as the pitch can sometimes affect the audible sound more so than the volume and these readings are pretty speculative. Check out the video and in the first 5 seconds you will realize that the Paradigm is a sweet little can.

The Paradigm .22LR suppressor we received was a non-user serviceable model. There are a lot of things to consider when determining whether this is really a pro or a con while shopping for a suppressor. If you move into a new home and yell at the top of your lungs, it sounds loud since there is nothing there to dampen the noise. Once you get all comfy and cozy and start screaming around your new home it gets quieter as there is more stuff to dampen the noise instead of just bouncing off of clean bare walls. This is one of the reasons I do not understand servicing a can. Servicing it can make it louder, plus it has hazardous lead dust in it and most people are not equipped to deal with this safely in their home. Bowers will clean the can for $20 (per cleaning) for a lifetime, if you in fact would need it to be cleaned (EX: The can starts getting louder).

We had two malfunctions that prevented the handgun from cycling another round into the chamber. We put quite a few rounds through the gun at this point and they were the cheapest all-lead ammo we used.

This can was reliable, quiet and backed by a company that will remember who you are and is willing to answer any question under the sun as well as explain their answers without making you feel like a n00b. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Bowers to anyone, both for their customer service and their line of suppressors.

Don’t forget to go check them out. If you have any questions reguarding a future purchase or just want some information head on over to their FaceBook page and ask away.

BeamLOKR Review

The first thing I did was was slap the HSSG12 on the magazine tube of a Mossberg 500 and gravity made it slide. I was immediately skeptical. After talking to Rick over at HotShotTactical (a really nice guy by the way) he reminded me of how much of an ass I was by even trying the thinner metal and advised I try the actual barrel. Sure enough, this thing stuck with a lot more authority on the heavy steel and renewed my confidence.

The BeamLOKR is an ABS frame with several magnets embedded in the portion that faces the barrel. The other side has a semi-rigid open curve that allows you to snap in most 1” diameter tac lights including the mini CREE LED lights they also sell. The BeamLOKR itself actually comes with a mini too. Those mini’s in conjunction with the BeamLOKR are actually pretty handy despite their main purpose. I can keep one clipped to the safe and if I need it, it instantly comes off the safe, onto the shotgun and i’m good to go. I have also had it magnetically waiting on a lamp post, refrigerator, vice and more for quick grab and go.

What separates the AR model from the shotgun model is the longer base and the availability of using a “Brush Strap.” This base will actually slide underneath many rails more contact as well. What I didn’t go over in the video is the fact that while on a range the strap was unnecessary, there are a lot of necessary purposes for it. There are times that I can think of out on a quad, horseback, camping, hunting etc. where maybe the quick attach/detach feature isn’t necessary. Maybe you want to make sure that a drop, solid jolt, clipping your rifle on trees and shrubbery while moving doesn’t lose your light and mount to the darkness.

The shotgun model was pretty good. I definitely ran the shotgun pretty hard with the BeamLOKR on it and if I was in a personal defense scenario that required me to put down that much shot that fast, i’m in a lot of trouble. The only thing I noticed was under rapid firing with the pump, the forward racking motion would actually help “walk” the mount up the barrel. A minor problem, like I said, I ran it pretty hard. As long as the BeamLOKR is mounted to the barrel and not the feed tube there is no problem at all during “normal” shotgun operation.

Overall, I was actually pretty pleased with the BeamLOKR for what it does. For those that want a weapon mounted light on their long gun and either don’t want or don’t need mounts ranging from $30-$200 plus a light, this is a great solution. It is cost effective, it is lightweight, it has multiple uses and applications and works with even more lights than just the mini it comes with. The ability to rapidly switch from a search and assess capability over to a weapon mounted light in less than a second is a pretty great feature that takes minimal practice in accomplishing. Most mini CREE type lights are fairly inexpensive and the fact that it can hold and maintain my heavier lights as well is a huge plus. A bit of a different product for me to test but taking into account it’s uses, price point and how much I actually probably used it without realizing I was, definitely helped me really see the value in this product. [BeamLOKR]

Head Down Products PV13 Review

Every time I pick up an AR15 I start thinking… this feels like the other 30 I have shot this year, I could have built this for less, this is over priced, they used a milspec trigger on a competition rifle, and many other things. The AR market is saturated and finding anything that stands out is almost impossible. This is the first rifle that we have had that didn’t fetch any of those reactions.

The components are light and rugged, they make their own rails, hand guard, bolt carrier groups, billet upper receiver, billet lower receiver, Head Down branded buttstock and even their own barrels. Taking all of this into consideration, you can’t really get this rifle anywhere else, it is almost a full custom rifle. Everything they make for their rifles is high quality metal and the fit and finish could not be any better. One of the things I do when I pick up a rifle (you can judge me all you want for it) is shake the crap out of it. Pick up any sub-$1000 AR15 and you will notice a lot of rattling and bumping. With the PV13 the only noise I get is batteries rattling in my EOTech 512 optic.

After putting a couple thousand rounds through it, I can tell you this rifle is every bit as reliable as anything else I have thrown lead with before. This gun also is accurate and light weight, which pretty much summarizes everything you would want out of a firearm.

The rail system and muzzle device are the two things I love the most about this gun. The rail system is simple, my hand wraps around it perfectly without needing an AFG for additional purchase space to hold the rail and not lose traction. The rail has some serious mill work and ingenuity put into it to keep it strong even when it is missing a lot of metal. The oversized holes through the top rail and going all the way around it keep it cool when you’re running it hard and keep it light.

The PVX Muzzle Device, as far as I can tell, is mainly a 50 cal style muzzle break. If you look at any of the numerous videos on this rifle (like the one we did) you will see that the barrel doesn’t move at all. One thing to note about any muzzle device similar to this one is that they are much more concussive than a flash hider but all in all they keep the barrel pointing in the same spot every shot.

Overall I love everything about the products that Head Down produces. Their billet upper and lower look as good, if not better, than some other big dogs in the billet receiver market. Their rifles are as fail safe as you can buy in the AR15 market, they are accurate, the engraving pops out, the ejection of the brass is consistent, the Geiselle trigger is crisp and the gun can fire fast. I could list things I love about this rifle all day but if you are looking for something that is truly different and has a manufacturer that pays attention where others don’t care, then you need to check out Head Down Products.

Aimpoint T-1 Micro 2MOA

Aimpoint is very well known for rugged, sealed reflex optics that take a beating and hold true. They achieve great lengths of battery life off a single battery and generally have a slick aesthetic appeal as well. Most of Aimpoint’s product line look the part, like sawed down 40mm optics with some knobs on them, or a battery compartment with a plethora of good looking mounts to emphasize the “all business” look about them. the T-1 is a slight departure from the rest of the product line in appearance but definitely does not skimp on the build quality or usability.

The T-1 is a slippery looking trimmed little brother to the Comp M4 in many ways. I would say if the Comp M4 is a champion body-builder, then the T-1 Micro is the Cross Fit counterpart. Leaner, lighter and rugged with easier controls and a nice tight 2 MOA dot. The windage and elevation are well engineered and thought out, the controls for power and brightness are easy to read and adjust and overall a really great optic. Let’s get into some of those in more detail.

The body is made of hard anodized extruded high strength aluminum. Big fancy way of saying very hard and very light. It is sealed and can go down to 80ft. of water and has the -50ºf to 160ºf temp range like many other Aimpoint optics. Draped in non-reflective matte black with the subtle Aimpoint logo and shaped like you pulled a square peg over a round hole and stretched. Very sexy little optic. Beautifully contrasts the multi-coated ruby and emerald colored lens which does a fantastic job of eliminating any interference from outside light sources.

The LED red dot has 4 night vision settings and 8 brightness settings which go from barely visible all the way up to Rudolph in your face bright. We received the 2 MOA model but the T-1 is also available in 4 MOA as well. I found that for longer shots (100-200m+) as well as low light and shooting in the dark worked really well on the lower brightness settings. When the sun was on me in full force or maybe we were working on multiple targets or moving and shooting, I found the higher settings to lead to faster acquisition and be highly effective. The dot stays illuminated for over 5 years on one (2032)calculator battery.

The brightness dial is the big win in my book though. With or without gloves on this was fast and easy to adjust. Far easier to adjust the optic brightness than hitting buttons repeatedly. It also has muted but positive feeling clicks with clear markings so you know exactly how far you are turning the stippled knob end. I really liked the placement of the big dial as well by comparison to the other optics we have used as well and was very easy and second nature in adjusting. This dial also doubles as the housing for the CR2032 battery compartment which is a very efficient use of the compact size.

The Windage and Elevation adjustment also impressed me with the engineering and tool less ability to use it. Every T-1 ships with an adjustment tool in the box, but it is just an added bonus to the optic. The dirt covers for the T-1 also double as the adjusters for the windage and elevation so you can unscrew the cap, place it on the adjuster and quickly zero it in.

The 39mm Larue QD riser and mount we used is literally at the perfect heght for a co-witness, Goes on very easy and says on with a quick disconect lever that uses a “locking lever that is easy to adjust and lock down. If it wasn’t for that mount it would not have been as easy as it was to test the AImpoint T-1’s durabilty and ability to hold zero with drags and drops (or tossing down rage.) Taking the optic on and off repeatedly there was never a moment where the zero failed to hold.

Overall, I may seem like I am gushing over this optic but at the end of the day, I stand by my words. Believe the hype. All the ruggedness of Aimpoint with water proof, durability, ease of use and 1/3 the weight of the Comp M4 is a really hard thing to find a gripe over. When you hold this in your hand or look through it down the muzzle of your weapon you instantly know and can feel the difference between this optic and some of the clones out there. The T-1 Micro is a fantastic sight and has been fantastic to work with.

Magpul M.O.E. Hand Guard Review

Of all the things that Magpul makes, Magpul Original Equipment (get it, MOE) is an entire line of furniture and accessories for your new or old AR. It is high-strength, low cost, and comes in a wide array of colors (even pink). Well, this isn’t really a new product but it is one we have gotten mixed feedback about, so we set out to try it ourselves.

I have always had and enjoyed using longer rail systems. Carbine length is not something I have ever really enjoyed or practiced with so this was an interesting change of pace for me. I literally built a carbine length system around the M.O.E. just to fully commit to the system and not just the product. Most out of the box, plastic hand guard, carbine length rifle systems I have tried were either too bulky or cheap feeling. The M.O.E. is a nice hybrid of two worlds. It is thinner than the factory carbine cover and lighter than most quad rail options all while feeling superiorly sturdier.

The M.O.E. utilizes an almost “tapered” design instead of a big round oval or circle. Plenty of room for gas or piston with straight angles at the 10 and 2 positions. This is a welcome deviation from the 9 and 3 positions found on most quad rails. The rail is cut with multiple “slots” for mounting points for the variety of M.O.E. accessories. Whether you need standard 1913 picatinny rail segments available in 5, 7, 9 and 11 slot parts, light mounts and sling adapters, there is a combination and solution for everyone. Recently I even saw on Instagram a way to utilize a GoPro mount with the M.O.E. slots and screws. Very modular and adaptive. All this while still utilizing the delta ring makes customization an easy process to add and remove items without dealing with a dozen mounting set screws or proprietary mounting situations.

I have run this hand guard in temperatures from 80ºf to 20ºf as well as fired slow strings and multiple mag dumps. Granted, I wear gloves when I am at the range, but that has no bearing. This thing stayed at the most, warm to touch even as smoke poured out of the open ports on the top of the guard. The M.O.E. has a built in heat shield that has been tested and put through the test with several other blogs and has proven it can take the beating with ease. Also notable is the fact that there was no warping, cracking, discoloration under any of these conditions and still looks pretty damn good. I am actually a little disappointed that my M.O.E. doesn’t have any “character” marks yet. These photos were shot after using it for 2,000+ rounds, in the dirt, dragged and banged around. All I did was wipe them with some Hoppes and a microfiber cloth.

This hand guard has definitely changed many opinions I have had in the past. I trust polymer a lot more now than I ever did. I can understand why many manufacturers are starting to offer M.O.E. packages on their rifles and most of all, I now know you don’t have to spend $200-$800 on a rail system. At under $30, the hand guard is a fantastic upgrade for anyone whether it’s a brand new AR or an old warhorse in need of a facelift that does more than look pretty. Plus, with polymer there are so many options for colors to accent or enhance your new DuraCoat, Cerakote, Hydro-Dip or whatever you choose to do with your AR. So don’t let the price tag or the popularity fool you. The M.O.E. system is not some cheap alternative, it is a great product with many options at an affordable price. Now if I can only convince them to make a M.O.E. A.F.G…

Springfield XDS First Impression

The Trigger

A little spongy but it breaks very clean, I need to practice with it but it isn’t bad at all and did not hinder my accuracy.

Accuracy

Overall I put about 90 rounds through it this morning, given I have not owned a .45 at any point this year or shot any others, I think I did well. The gun is accurate and I am the limitation at the moment. This picture is from 25-27 feet and some of my first rounds through the gun.

Fit and Finish

This gun is quality, the machining is sharp and on purpose. The serrations on the slide are crisp and don’t slip away from your hand. The grip is aggressive but not in a way that makes it uncomfortable to carry concealed up against bare skin.

These are my very first thoughts on this gun. I have seen complaints about the trigger and a few about feeding issues. I have 100 rounds through it with no malfunctions and on top of that I love the trigger. I will post up a very lengthy review after I have played with the Springfield XDS for a while. Any questions please let us know. Stay safe and stay tuned!

Umlaut U4 Berserker Review

Now, fully automatic weapons aren’t the type of thing (at least not for us) that you just roll into your local gun shop and say “yeah, I’ll take two!” We are on a budget just like most other gun loving Americans and throwing 10-12K and higher into all that is required to own this fine hardware isn’t exactly in my checking account. Luckily, we met this cool guy named Lars from Ümlaut Industries right here in our home state who offered to let us play with his cool toys.

We actually got all four of the guys together for a great day on the range with Lars and a lot of his toys and products. This was one of my favorite projects we worked on with Lars and it was a blast to run this rifle all day. You can check out Ümlaut Arms online, he has some fantastic products for his company and deals with a seemingly endless amount of other products as well.

Here is the rundown of what’s on this rifle, or recipe list for awesome, your call. Basically, you can buy a nice mid-size sedan for the price tag which made it even more of a privilege to shoot.

  • Mfg: Umlaut Industries
  • Model: U4 Berserker
  • Caliber: 5.56x45mm
  • Action: Safe, Semi, Full Auto
  • Barrel: 11.5″ Cold Hammer Forged 1:7T Chrome Lined
  • Handguard: Daniel Defense Omega X 10.0
  • Grip: Magpul MOE
  • Stock: Magpul STR
  • Muzzle: AAC Breakout Mount – 51 tooth
  • Suppressor: Advanced Armament Corp – Mini-4 5.56mm
  • Optics: Aimpoint Micro T1 with ADM Mount + Aimpoint Magnifier with Samson Flip to Side Mount
  • Illumination: Surefire M600C LED Scout Light
  • Weight: 6.9lbs

Special thanks to Lars at Ümlaut Industries for hanging out with us at the range!

Blue Rhino Hanging Plate Rack Review

You can shoot at paper, you can work on your groupings and you can dial and dope all day long. At the end of the day, 3 tidy little holes at 100m makes me feel pretty accurate, but 300 loud rings as I spend all day dumping mag after mag into those things is damn gratifying.

Blue Rhino Industries sent us a really nice hanging plate rack with two of their AR500 Steel targets, one large and one small. Let me tell you, these things are not screwing around. In the video I tell you that you can take them to the range, set them up, shoot ‘em up and break them down by yourself. I will tell you in writing, don’t try and be a hero and carry it assembled or in pieces all at once. It breaks down for not just ease of travel and storage, but also to save your back. This is made of no BS materials and is built to take a pounding. Once you get it all downrange and set up though, it is worth every minute of it.

Before we get into what it’s been through, lets get the nitty gritty out of the way. Blue Rhino Industries is a company based in Arizona that is known for their “HITman” reactive steel targets (which are also really cool) as well as other shapes and models. The model we tested is the Hanging Plate Rack and she showed up at our doorstep in gorgeous blue powder coat. It has two “T” shaped legs that go together with two heavy bolts each and sits at a subtle angle to help mitigate ricochets and assist the steel in hanging in an optimal position to swing. The actual plates themselves are quality tested and certified AR500 and you can tell just by holding one of them that you can just abuse these things forever. The legs and the target plates are all held together by a SOLID cross member that also doubles as deflection and protection for the simple hinge hardened steel rod. You pretty much have to be really, really trying to break this thing to actually do some damage.

I cannot tell you enough how much fun this thing is to shoot. We have pretty much used this target for every video since we got this setup. It has taken several thousand rounds at this point (seriously, Superbowl gets a little nutty with .22’s so that is a valid statement) and I will give you the full rundown of tested calibers we have fired at the Blue Rhino.

.22, .223, .380, 5.56, 9mm, .40, .45, 12g Bird, 12g 00, 12g Rifled Deer Slug, and 7.62 were all run at these plates. All these calibers were run at not only the prescribed distances for longevity from Blue Rhino, but some were run inside those ranges not on purpose, but because we gotta test stuff out. Now, before the safety nazi’s go nuts on us, we not once experienced a splash or ricochet outside of 5-10 feet from the target. In fact, most rounds, FMJ and hollow would either disintegrate on contact or fall in the immediate vicinity or underneath of the plate rack itself. After all was said and done, when I break out the Krylon, they always look as good as the day they arrived.

Having shot the Blue Rhino steel I have no reservations about saying it is worth every penny. When you first look at prices on steel targets there is a lot out there on both sides of the price range. For what you get out of the package we tested, the pricing is right in the middle with high end quality. I have complete trust in the reliability and many rounds this target and stand can take. In the video I mis-spoke a little and said we put some holes in it. By we, I mean me, and by holes, I mean I may have skipped a round or two off the leg and/or cross member that did not put a hole in anything, but definitely highlight how much energy is behind these rounds. These plates and stand continue to take a beating and I load them up in the truck EVERY time we go to the range. Take a look at Blue Rhino and for the price, I don’t know if you can get a more complete package with the sizes they offer for the prices they do for such rugged steel and quality of product. [Blue Rhino]

Weaponcraft Part Deux

From 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Weaponcraft was hosting a Carbine 02 course as well as a Low Light Carbine course. How can I pass that up, honestly. We had a some lights and mounts we had to try, we were dying to get back out and get more instruction and well we just needed any excuse at all to be able to head back up to Maine and shoot.

The boys at Weaponcraft are a down to earth crew with years upon years of experience in the Armed Forces, SWAT and SRT with many still active. In the couple times we have gone we have had different training staff each time it was still a continuous lesson plan, a similar attitude and methodology from the previous course. You almost feel like you never left the last course even thought they were taken several months apart.

Due to the my own illiteracy we started the day already on the sh*t list. We were quite proud of ourselves thinking we were going to be 40 minute early when in reality we were officially… running late. Something both Monkey and I get livid about. When we arrived it was a pretty quick dismount, hump all the camera gear, ammo, carriers and weapons to the range… suit up and get on the line. We missed zero but were just in time for the 100m stroll as we started out shooting and moving before we even really got to say hello to anyone. It was definitely not something I would ever encourage anyone to do (be late that is.)

Scarborough Fish and Game is a very nice club that has all the shooting areas in high berm “bays” on 3 sides so you can actually do a lot more than you can on your average local gun range where you stand on a line with other people and fire in one direction. Yeah you can practice reloads, malfunctions, accuracy and the such at the average range but in an environment and with instructors like Weaponcraft provide… you can get a lot more done with a lot less funny looks. You get to do things like shoot on the move, not just forward and back but laterally. You get to engage multiple threats and again, on the move. Transition to pistol or even shoulder transitions, add in a reload and a malfunction, these are all things that are possible on many ranges but in my experience it is not the same.

For example; a while back I did a reload drill video per a request from one of our fans. Everything I did in that video I had and have practiced for thousands of repetitions. You know what I didn’t do? Do that same drill while walking, engaging multiple targets, doing it after a transition and furthermore do it with an experienced trainer who is sees everything and can pick apart all the finite details and tells me everything I can do to make it better and more efficient.

When I start adding other motions like walking to the equation, my pistol reload is actually dropping my head and hands down, taking my eyes off the target. I then also bring my head up first as my hands put my weapon back at battery low and away. If that was never pointed out to me and made a note of, I would still have that terrible habit.

Learning how to transition properly is also a skill that is useful for many. Transition from primary to secondary as well as transition from strong side to support side especially in conjunction to a sling. Multiple ways to do it so you can transitions with a 2-point as well as a 3-point sling. Transitioning without banging your wedding tackle to pieces while moving without taking eyes off the target. What about cover? Do you know how to effectively utilize cover? It’s not like you see in the movies. There is a methodology behind not just how to use it effectively, but also how to use it tactically. Weaponcraft helps you understand how and why you do what you do behind cover and how to use it to your advantage.

Shooting in the dark is another experience that will not soon be forgotten. Slapping a flashlight on your AR, does not an “operator” make. Learning about the human eye, seeing in the dark, methods of utilizing the dark in your aiming methods…. it goes on and on. Anyone can walk out in the dark, turn on a flashlight and then point and shoot. But Weaponcraft teaches you what happens when you just turn on a light and stand still. What happens when you leave it on and so on and so forth.

Practice and training is crucial to firearms. They are all degradable skills. The way you reload, aim, move, transition and so on is not something that sticks around. If you don’t practice, if you don’t train, they will slowly go away as you revert back to your old way of doing things. Weaponcraft helps take you to the next level by putting you under the microscope, showing you what can be better and following through to help you do better. Then they make you do it while moving, under stress, handling a malfunction. They make you do it over, and over and over again. Weaponcraft helps you beat it into your own brain, imprint it and utilize it. I had a double feed the other day and I didn’t even remember clearing it. But it got done in the blink of an eye and without hesitation just from the amount of repetitions we had gone through followed up with practicing on my own.

In my opinion, Weaponcraft is a company on it’s way up in Maine. Within the next year or two they are on their way to becoming a destination training facility. Indoor, Outdoor, Force on Force with simunitions, and all that doesn’t even include their hand to hand classes or their SWAT/SRT and LEO classes that aren’t available to the general public. They have an honest, blue collar team with the kind of experience that you instantly pay attention to. There is no doubt in my mind that I will be attending Weaponcraft more in the future. There are no egos, there are no prima donnas, it’s all business and learning with great trainers.

I could go into detail about every drill we did. I can write specifics on movements, tactics, and the reasons behind them all day long. After watching all the video I edited and writing this article I can tell you why I won’t. It is all about the experience. The day was long, drills were plentiful and I learned a great deal. On average I shoot multiple times a week. I am fairly proficient on multiple weapons at this point thanks to the variety our website has seen. I learn so much more EVERY time I attend a Weaponcraft class because there is always someone out there (millions of someones in my case) who knows more than you. I will not detract from that by breaking down every aspect of Weaponcraft training. The sum of the parts is what makes me go back, and I will be back. The internet is a great resource but at the end of the day nothing replaces a good trainer. [Weaponcraft]

Head Down Products PV13 Rifle First Impression

To this point the only malfunctions we had were the first 5 full magazines that were put through it were jam city, this was easily resolved by switching to a P-mag. The magazine it shipped with was not a standard one they ship out with their rifles. This is really not even a notable issue as they are all shipped with P-mags now.

After we get the other 1000 rounds through it we will get the review posted, though I don’t suspect we will find any surprises as this rifle is one of the most solid builds I have had the pleasure of shooting. So go check out the first impression so you can count how many times I said gorgeous and stand by the full review is coming soon. Also they are having a sale over at HeadDown so if you want this today is a good day to pull the trigger… no pun intended.

Specifications

  • Caliber: 5.56 NATO
  • Barrel Length: 16″ HDP Profile, Melonite coating inside and out
  • Rate of Fire: Semi-Auto or Select Fire (LE/GOV Only)
  • Rifling: 1/7″ RH (5.56)
  • Handguard: HD Provectus 13″ Rail System
  • Stock: HDF Stock
  • Pistol Grip: Ergo Rubber Ambi Grip
  • Magazine: 1 x 30rd Magazine
  • Muzzle Device: A2 Flash Hider (PVX Muzzle device not included)
  • Length (Overall Length): 36.6″ (all 16″ carbines we manufacture)

Other standard features on our rifles include

  • KNS anti-walk trigger and hammer pins
  • NIBX (Nickel Boron) coated bolt carrier group
  • Geissele 2-stage trigger (Watch it in action)
  • Melonite coated steel barrel
  • Precision milled billet upper and lower receiver
  • Intregal trigger guard
  • Type III hard coat anodize finish
  • Flared magazine well
  • Upper receiver & bolt carrier treated with Froglube®
  • All 5.56mm lower receivers are marked “CALIBER: MULTI”
  • All rifles come standard with a hard rifle case
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Full Auto P90 – Umlaut Industries

Since the inception of FourGuysGuns the P90 was “The One” that I thought I would never get to shoot in full auto and it was my personal goal, which up until now had just been a Call of Duty induced dream.

The P90 is currently in use by the secret service due to being the closest thing you can get to a conceal carry rifle. The 5.7×28 ammunition that the P90 or PS90 uses is quite an amazing round, it is preferred by secret service and law enforcement in 40 other countries to carry because of the penetration power. If you need to shoot something on the other side of a door, well you shoot the door. This weapon system was the first in a long time to be a completely re-engineered design which you will see on the brief takedown in the video.

None of us can own this gun as it is a post ban LEO sample but if you ever get the opportunity to shoot one I highly recommend it. Just remember to bring your wallet as this costs about $10 a second to shoot with a high cyclical rate and expensive ammo. Make sure you click the good ole like and subscribe button if you dig our channel.

BCM Gunfighter Charging Handle Review

Not exactly a wealth of variations out there that differ much from Mr. Stoner’s original design….

Well, that’s a lie. There are. There are a lot of options. However, many of them merely build upon the same or similar base and add some sort of personalized touch. From anodizing to laser engraving, latch modifications and ambidextrous systems. Some are simple and elegant, others downright grotesque and excessive, yet they all have someone who will buy them. Everyone has a want or a need whether it is for functionality, aesthetics, strength and durability or just for the sake of having an extra part.

Enter the BCM Gunfighter. This charging handle was designed by VLTOR for BCM to fulfill the needs of a constantly evolving tactics, training and manipulations by the guys on the front lines. Switching from the original method of removing the firing hand off the fire controls, using two fingers to disengage the latch and pull back to charge the weapon and releasing has since grown into a lot more high speed low drag method of support hand racking with one hand while keeping the trigger finger in the game on fire control (demonstrated in the video).

The only problem with all this is that although the methods have evolved, many options are still reliant on a single roll pin. Sometimes a latch swap out or mod adds a little more contact point and a larger surface to grab onto, in which case you then start getting some lateral slop left to right. All this does with modern methods is add flex and wear which isn’t good for functionality… or your wallet.

7075 T6 Billet is the basis for this recipe topped with some hard coat anodizing (you can get that from their website). But what does that mean? Let me make it very simple, the charging handle would be just as stiff if it was solid and not machined out. Hardness like that pays off in the end because over about 80% of the entire device is the handle itself. Next we have the roll pin. To be perfectly honest, I don’t know if it is any stronger or special, but what I do know is that it doesn’t matter with this model. Don’t get me wrong, it HAS to be there just like every other model. What separates the BCM from everyone else is actually the release on the charging handle.

The latch and release is where all the action is. The latch is beefy, with the same hardness and girth as the rest of the handle. No screwing around. But the highlight of the entire device to me, is to the rear of the latch. There is a series of “teeth” if you will, that sit behind an oversized beefy handle that when the latch is released and handle pulled to the rear make perfect contact with the solid back of the charging handle. No slot, no exposed spring, just a flat solid back. When those teeth make contact, they redirect all that force of a one handed rack into the centerline and across the entire back of the charging handle. This creates the same solid force (or pretty damn close to) as a traditional, hand off the fire control pull and you can do it faster, smoother and with just one hand.

So what? Whats the big deal? Is that all? No. Even if you are the kind of shooter that just likes to go have fun, none of this “one handed” business applies to you right? Wrong. Here is another reason why this is a great device for anyone. Malfunctions. In the video review we also show how handy this particular device is with both double feeds AND a seized bolt! Malfunctions and how to handle them safely and efficiently should be part of everyone’s repertoire and this is just one more tool that helps you get things fixed and get them fixed quick. You ever try and power eject a stuck round with a factory charging handle? Have fun with that.

Overall this is one tough part and I have both the Mod 3 (large) and the Mod 4 (medium) for my AR’s. I have yet to try any other options that make me even come close to not using the BCM. It is something, in my opinion, that is an overlooked part for most newer shooters. If you are building something from a stripped lower or just upgrading from something that has already failed you, don’t hesitate. The unsung hero that is the charging handle, the part that helps you chamber a round, press check, clear a double feed, assist ejecting a stuck round, clear a weapon… so many things that keep an AR up and running properly, are you sure you want to go cheap? [BCM]

FIREClean Review – Part 1

Thus far, I have tested FIREClean on handguns and left ARs out of the picture since I feel at this point it may deserve a little more attention and this is more of a partial review. I used FIREClean on two handguns for this article and am using it on a few rifles for another post you will see on the site in the future. FIREClean has been used on my Taurus 1911 chambered in 9mm as well as my Ruger 22/45 Lite and we have a pretty high round count with and without FIREClean to back up our findings.

I’ll start with the Ruger 22/45 Lite. 22s are the dirtiest guns you can try anything on and really, I wasn’t expecting to find a huge difference. What we found was pretty amazing. I shot 2,247 rounds of 22 using FIREClean without cleaning my Ruger. Prior to applying FIREClean I put 640 rounds through my Ruger with a different brand name lubricant that I had been using since my introduction to firearms. In short, we were able to shoot 1,607 rounds more than the other lubricant without malfunctions.

The real kicker is that when the handgun did start malfunctioning and I took it apart, I found that the lower receiver (which had no FIREClean applied to it) was so gummed up with carbon and crud that even the magazine release would no longer function. After putting 2,247 rounds through it, the bolt was clean, the whole upper receiver looked like I had put about 100 rounds through it at best, and, better yet, it wiped clean really easily. If you have ever dirtied up a 22 before you can appreciate the gravity of these statements as they are normally my least favorite weapon to clean.

The second handgun I tested was a Taurus 1911 chambered in 9mm. I have put about 1000 rounds through this gun without a malfunction and to be honest, I couldn’t afford to find out where the breaking point was for this review. When I took the 1911 apart it had much more signs of use than the Ruger. The thing to keep in mind is that 1911s (especially a Taurus) are not known for tight tolerances and perfectly fit parts so they are more prone to getting dirty fast. All that being said, the Taurus still looked nowhere near gunked up enough for the 1000 round count and continues to fire and not show major signs of wear (marring on the metal or slide wear) or any carbon build up.

In conclusion, snake oil is a real thing and the guys at FIREClean have perfected the recipe. Check them out and pick up a bottle. You really can enjoy shooting more and cleaning less with this product. Another thing to note is that I am testing this on four guns and have cleaned all four twice and conditioned them with FIREClean and still have half of the bottle left so this stuff goes a long way! I would not hesitate to recommend this product to anyone as a replacement for anything I have tried before.

You can go pick a bottle up at the FIREClean Store!

Pros

  • Makes cleaning easy
  • High round count before needing to be cleaned
    • In one instance we increased round count between cleanings by 351%
  • A little goes a long way for cleaning and lubrication
  • No odor… may be a con for people that like smelling toxic cleaners but I prefer to avoid the feeling of brain cells dying while cleaning guns

Cons

  • none

SRM1216 Shotgun First Impression

I think the most important part of this idea is that it’s simple, less moving less fail. There is roughly 2 added parts in the SRM1216 over any major brand name auto load shotgun.

In our time doing this site I have yet to find a gun that can help me get rid of ammunition as quickly as this one. The magazine loads easy, the trigger is crisp and it’s smooth to shoot. Recoil is normal for a 12 GA auto load shotgun. The gun sits in your shoulder in a way I wish I could explain, I’l figure it out before the final review but it is comfy to hold. The operating form of the weapon is simple and intuitive with a 45 degree safety that is almost instinctual to flip up and down.

We have encountered a very minor problem with the SRM1216 so far but we will talk about that on the full review once we have gotten it back repaired. So far this is a fun gun to shoot. We are going to shoot another thousand rounds or so out of the SRM1216 and put out a full review after it returns. As always thanks for reading.

Manufacturer – SRM Arms
Import/Export company – www.1216shotgun.com

Shooting Montage 2012

This is what 8 months of viewer support and about 750 gigs of video can accomplish. Thank you for all of the support. We could not have done half of the things in this video without our dedicated followers. Stay tuned for more good reviews and a whole slew of things we haven’t done on the site before. Thank you again for helping us get to where we are!

Ruger 22/45 Lite First Impression

One important thing I can tell you is that 22s are really cheap practice. I was depressed about cheaping out on my first Ruger and getting the lowest model I could, so I went and traded it in for the new Ruger 22/45 Lite.

This gun already has about 2700 rounds through it and so far it has been a good little gun. It’s accurate for a 4.5 inch barrel and while I think the trigger pull is in need of some help, it could be easily remedied with a Volquartson trigger upgrade. I’ve enjoyed shooting with it and can’t wait to throw some suppressors on it as it should be a pretty good host for that party.

There is one thing I really really really really really really really really really… you get the point… really dislike about the 22/45 Lite. The magazine almost never seats fully in the gun. One way around it is literally bashing the bottom of the mag well three or four times on every magazine. This gets a little old on magazine number 100 at the range and I’m sure it is something Ruger will look into before the full review. That’s all for now, check back for the full written review after we have have some more time to torture one of my favorite guns.

Gong Shot Steel Target Review

Gong Shot has created a few solutions for the problems I have had with steel in the past. A majority of their targets cost between $75-$150 and all are made from AR 500 or AR 400 Steel. With a price point that ranges from two and three digits, Gong Shot caters to daily shooters such as myself.

Their target stands are very low-profile. Thanks to that, I’m able keep the reviewed 12” gong target and stand in my trunk with no real affect on what I can store. The stand requires that you provide a 2×4 to hold the base and the gong together as a target stand. This allows you to configure the height of your target for different distances and styles of shooting, which is an added bonus.

We had no issues with ricochets or any debris coming back at the shooting area due to the slight backwards angle of the target as displayed in the video. All in all this is a great target for the budget-minded shooter that wants to spice up a boring range day. We have put well over 2000 rounds into this target from distances varying from 10 feet to 25 meters and still have no dents or divots in the front of the plate. Make sure you check out www.gongshot.com for some high-quality, affordable targets!

Aimpoint Comp M4 Review

The first thing most consumers are going to most likely look for is the actual pricepoint. Let’s just get that out of the way. This is a big boy pants and big boy budget sight at over $700. If you are shopping for a budget optic then this is not for you. If you are shopping for an optic based on the needs of who this sight is made for, then price isn’t what we are looking at.

The first thing most in the field are looking for is weight, ruggedness/reliability and accuracy. Now the average consumer may have those wants and needs as well but the priority list shifts drastically between target shooting at the range or reliability on the “two-way range.” I am sure Aimpoint is not trying to exclude one group from the other by pricepoint since they make many optics that are more affordable with the same quality you expect. The CompM4 is an uncompromising beast that can withstand impact, deep water, sand, dust, dirt, mud, bitter extreme cold as well as the hottest temperatures on the planet. This isn’t an ad for Aimpoint, this is the reality. You should know what you are getting for that price tag and it isn’t just a name.

This sealed reflex sight has a 2 MOA (Minutes of Angle) dot that on it’s lower settings can actually be pretty precise at and over 100 meters. When you ratchet up the brightness it is way larger to the naked eye than 2 MOA and also creates a nice big ring around where the tube meets the glass which is almost unnoticeable when you are really going at it, but definitely noticeable on focused groups. There are also 7 brightness settings for Night Vision and 9 levels of brightness for daylight. One of which is the “Extra Bright” setting which literally, turns it into a 40mm red light in your face.

The sighting in is easy once you get the sealed covers off the windage and elevation. Full gaskets and anodized aluminum cover the 1/2” at 100m adjustments and they are not hard to get off with or without gloves, but are on strong enough where you do not have to be concerned with them winding themselves off. There is no parallax or eye relief to worry about so you can be assured, if the dot is on it, it gets a hole when you pull the trigger. The battery compartment is also full anodized with gasket and has a life expectancy per AA battery of 8 years. Yes, 8 (eight) years.

My personal favorite feature is the mounting solution. Aimpoint uses their QRP2 mount which is a quick release mount that, as the name implies, is pretty quick. This is not a lever operated quick release but a screw down mount with a heavy oversized ratcheting knob. When the mount is tightened onto a rail and it reaches significant resistance it will “click” so as to not over tighten or strip the mount. I have never had this thing “fall off” as some other sights do under stress fire or magazine dumps over extended periods and I have confidence when it is on, it is staying on.

At the end of the day, I am positive that this is more optic than I would hopefully ever need. If you are looking for features like multiple reticles, multiple reticle colors, integrated laser, lightweight and inexpensive…this is not your sight. If you want simple, rugged, reliability through the most adverse conditions imaginable, this is your optic. There is no doubt in my mind that for a range diva like myself this is a luxury item. Aimpoint makes many more affordable models for people like me to get similar quality with less price tag so it is not an exclusive brand out of reach for people like us. This is what warfighters and SRT/SWAT use, not schmucks with a blog like me. I will never give it away though, you can bet on that. [Aimpoint]

Kel Tec PMR30 First Impressions

The PMR 30 has gorgeous fiber optic sights, it weighs in at 19.6 oz’s with 30 rounds and a magazine. The recoil is similar to a 9mm handgun and about as accurate as you can get with this platform. The first three rounds (I know this is not a real accuracy test, but this is a first impression) all practically went through the same hole. I will give most of the credit to the trigger on this handgun which we will talk more about in the full review.

For now, I am in love with the PMR 30 it is great for a beginner hand gun, training gun or whatever else you can come up with for a use. As far as home defense goes, having 30 rounds is a pretty big bonus but I am not sure how much of a difference the 22 WMR round has out of this barrel size over a 22 LR. We will be doing two bullets in separate guns to measure the efficiency and get the ft pounds coming out of the Kel Tec PMR 30 vs your standard 22 LR, but for now it is still an awesome little handgun and I can’t wait to get back to the range with it next week.

Trijicon RMR Review

I love this thing. Plain and simple. I mocked it the first time I saw it and thought it was silly to have such a small reflex sight. What can you possibly do with a tiny little window filled by a big yellow dot. Well, the answer is, A LOT. You can’t miss this thing with that dot. If you shoot both eyes open, this is a mini little sun that floats on your point of aim with a window that you don’t even notice due to it’s size, keeping it in check. I couldn’t have been more wrong for making fun of it’s size as this is proof good things come in small packages.

I ran the RMR through a couple different mounting options which you can see in the video for the AR platform. Don’t panic, I didn’t just slap it on there and call it a test. Well… maybe for one of them I did, but that’s only because we didn’t have a pistol to mount this thing onto. The RMR got sent to us with both the RM55 which is a 1 o’clock offset adapter mount (or 11 o’clock if you flip it around) as well as the RM34 which is great for just a straight up top mount. They over 25 different mounts for this mini wonder to give you options for anything from an M&P to big scope tubes and even on top of their widely desired ACOGs.

We used the offset mount to set up a “3-Gun” style setup as both Superbowl and myself are both interested in getting in on that action if it ever makes it’s way up to the NH area. I have a long railed AR that we mounted a 3x-9x variable (not preferred but what we had) scope onto, and then forward of the scope we mounted the offset mount with the RMR. I have seen both mini-reflex sights as well as 1 o’clock irons used in three gun depending on the class and it’s a pretty bad ass setup. I have also never fired an AR cocked to the side like that and was really surprised at how easy it was to not only mitigate recoil but still keep that big dot on target for follow up shots while not fully “shouldering” the weapon. Several magazines of transitioning from the scope to the RMR and I was drilling pie plates pretty quickly. The benefit to this particular setup is that I can be accurate at longer distances with a primary optic and transition to a close range super accurate optic that is already dialed in for close range.

If you are shooting within 25 feet, you will have your shots run 1”-2” low when you are sighted in for 100m-300m The reason for this is your sight is sitting higher than the muzzle, and it is dialed in for a longer distance. For the two to intersect, the round has to travel. Up close, there is no distance for the round to cover so your shots are almost equidistant from point of aim and point of impact as the distance from your sights above your bore. By having a sight dialed in compensating for that distance AND a sight that can be precision over greater distances in one package, it only makes things faster.

I also ran the RMR in the straight up mount (the RM34) to see how it compared to my usual red dot reflex as well as through some other lightweight optic options we are currently trying. I will be the first to say that for close up… smaller MOA dot is not necessarily better. The dot I currently use is a 2 MOA dot and I can still have accurate groups at 100m. But up close I usually have the brightness turned up to make the dot brighter and larger which usually leaves a sort of “halo” around the lens from all the extra light being thrown out. The RMR already has a big dot, and not just a big dot but a sharp and clear dot that is easily distinguishable from the target. It just felt…faster. Not to mention that at 1.2oz it may as well be a rear iron sight. Light, illuminated and easy to acquire. Now I REALLY wish we had something like a FNP-45 Tactical to try this out on because this thing is just magical.

The model we got to play with is the RMR Dual Illumination model RM04-34. Trijicon makes three main models with varying options on each so we will keep it simple and let you discern your needs. Trijicon makes an LED model powered by a CR2032 as well as an Adjustable Brightness model powered by the same. The dual illumination model gets rid of all reliance on the battery (and also isn’t affected by E.M.P. for all you preppers out there) and utilizes a combination of Tijicon Fiber Optics to gather all available light and make a bright visible dot, even in overcast skies. When no natural light is available that is when the magic of Tritium kicks in. Tritium is a radioactive isotope that is self illuminating for 6-12 years depending on color, sealing, etc… but we will save the science lesson for another time. Windage and Elevation was also stupid easy. There were no super loud audible clicks or hard turning involved. There were clicks, there was turning, but it was done quickly, quietly and efficiently with gloves on and zeroed in no time. All in all a polished, product Trijicon has every right to be proud of.

All in all the Trijicon RMR Dual Illumination is an awesome little sight that has applications for just about any weapon system. Light, versatile and with a wide variety of mounting options almost impossible to ignore. I really like this sight and I don’t want to give it back.

Full Auto .50 Beowulf – Umlaut Industries

The .50 Beowulf is an impressive cartridge. When compared to a 5.56 the .50 Beowulf round is in the ballpark of 300 to 400 grains with the 5.56 weighing in at 47 to 62 grains. On full auto, putting an entire eight-round magazine out is the equivalent of firing about 70 rounds of 5.56.

This caliber was meant for destruction. Its primary application is to be used in barricades to disable vehicles. The .50 has enough kinetic energy to disable an engine and fire through glass with no impedance on the destruction it delivers. Overall this is a great round for destruction and we had a lot of fun shooting it.

Let us know what you think of the video and, of course, always ask if there is something you want to see on the site. Umlaut has presented us with a big opportunity for showing some pretty cool #$&% even if the general populous can’t own it.

Gear Pod’s Survival Pro Review

This is the one product you will hopefully never find yourself wishing you had purchased, mainly because that means you are up #$&% creek without a paddle. Gear Pods creates a multitude of pre-made packages that are designed with survival in mind. They make a kit for shelter, fire, cooking, basic medical needs, a compact saw, Bivy Bag, paracord, pretty much anything you would need if it hit the fan.

This should be somewhere in your life…. I have a go bag, this is not something my significant other or anyone knows, but it is somewhere I can get to it wherever I am. The latest edition to my go bag is the hunter kit from Gear Pods, which has a few things that the demo model we got did not, so check it out (They have a really nice website, really, check them out).

Gear Pods sent us the Survival Pro kit and a spare storage pod. The pictures you see are all the items removed from the 6 inch tube of survival goodness. In order to help you fully appreciate it, I will provide a list of everything in this Nalgene sized container….

  • GearPods CookMug: Compact 4.0” anodized aluminum cooking mug/pot with snap-in lid
  • GearPods Stove: Solid fuel stove with windshield
  • Esbit® solid fuel tablets (2)
  • Rescue Flash™ signal mirror – 2″x3″ signal mirror with retro-reflective targeting, protective film, plastic sleeve and instructions
  • Fox40 Micro Safety™ – loud emergency whistle for signaling distress and communicating location
  • Spark-Lite™ – dependable, one-handed fire starter
  • Tinder-Quik™ (4) – weatherproof waterproof tinder that burns 1-2 minutes
  • NATO “Storm” Matches (10) – vacuum sealed, NATO-approved waterproof and windproof matches with striker
  • Mini-LED flashlight – small keychain-type flashlight with rugged case and battery with 24+ hours of continuous use
  • Folding saw – light- to medium- use knife with stainless steel razor blade and rugged handle
  • Folding knife – light- to medium-use saw blade constructed of 18TPI steel for cutting wood and metal, and housed in a rugged handle
  • Katadyn Micropur-1 Water Tablets (6) – 1 tablet per 1 liter (33.8 fl oz) of water; effective against viruses, bacteria, guardia and cryptosporidium
  • Sterile, self-standing water bag (36 fl oz) – for pre-treatment water capture and storage
  • Heavy duty needle – for repairing clothes and gear
  • Heavy duty thread (50ft reel, 10 lbs BS) – for repairs and emergency line for fishing
  • Safety pins (2) – 2″ – for repairs, first aid or even improvised hooks for food procurement
  • Wire (8ft) – 0.02″ stainless steel wire, non-magnetic – use for repairs and snares
  • Braided nylon cord (25ft, 70lbs BS) – many uses including securing gear and building shelters
  • Fishing kit – 4 hooks, 2 split-shots and 1 snap swivel
  • Duct tape (2″x30″ 9mm) – many uses from first aid to repair
  • Weatherproof stationery – 2”x3” (4) – keeping logs, leaving messages, drawing maps
  • Pencil (with protective cap) – use with weatherproof stationery
  • Fresnel Lens (2″x3″) – redundant fire starting method
  • 20mm Liquid-filled button compass – simple navigation tool
  • Waterproof and tearproof instructions – with illustrations
  • Stuff Sac – with drawcord and fastener (2)

Yeah that just happened… take a minute to fully appreciate that all of this could be with you on the side of your pack in the middle of the woods, in you car, ready if you need it, brought with you hunting in case something unexpected happens, or pretty much wherever you end up hanging out with Mother Nature.

Well if you aren’t convinced that I’ve tried to get my own mother to buy one of these yet here it is… This is not a novelty, it is a necessity. Out of all of the things you can skimp on, being prepared for the unexpected has never been this simple and all-inclusive. The included products all seem effective (I have not yet had to signal someone to save my hiney with it) and high enough quality that I will happily trust my survival to any kit that Gear Pods creates.

M&P SHIELD 40 Review

Many a manufacturer has had lots and lots of time to develop smaller packages with more/less parts in varying calibers. Coat this, night sight that and slap a laser on it. The S&W seems to have had a little more attention paid to it largely due to the teasing hype before release that I am sure helped sell them a LOT of pistols.

Teased and released in a fashion usually utilized by a certain computer company, the M&P SHIELD quickly became one of the most sought after pistols on the market. The SHIELD 9 was quickly sold out everywhere. In a similar fashion to the afore mentioned company, a follow up was soon released. Was it different or special? New color combo or maybe sights? Nope. Bump it up to a .40 Caliber with the same shape, size and form factor. Commence selling out.

We just so happened to be in the right place at the right time. I only had to hold this thing for about 30 seconds before some random stranger asked “you gonna buy that? ‘Cuz if you don’t I will.” which I promptly looked at the salesman and said “i’ll take it.” We went directly to the range… did not pass go, gave up $405 and began trying to figure out how to explain to Misses Whitey why we needed this pistol.

The first impressions of this pistol were fantastic. I liked how it felt in my hand, I liked the round size upgrade to the .40 from the 9mm and most of all I liked that it’s take-down was similar to many other pistols I own. Recoil as compared to a similar sized 9mm was negligible at best. I was a little weirded out by the trigger, appearance-wise I should specify, but it did remarkably well for a Double Action Only Striker Fire. Th trigger felt more like a single action and way better than any full size M&P I had fired too. In fact, Apex already has some parts available to make it even better as well. She was accurate, small, had a good trigger break by comparison to similar models and I was falling in love. Until the magazine “popped” out.

Now as far as a CCW goes, you definitely want to fully trust and rely on it. The last thing you want when you need a pistol most is for something terrible to happen like a malfunction. A magazine disconnectafter the first round being fired is not exactly “confidence inspiring.” Change mags and cycle, not a problem. Back to the other mag, not a problem. Maybe I just hit the magazine release… I’ll try it off hand. No dice. Just as I am about to put it out of my head as anything more than a fluke, there she goes again. What the hell.

To be fair, we never cleaned this thing. Right from the factory, to the shelf, to the range. No cleaning or de-gunking, no grease was removed, we just went right at it. To make matters worse, it seemed to only happen on the 7 Round mag. I tried with the pinky on, pinky off, two hands, off-hand, from concealment and even with my weak hand. I could not get it to replicate, ESPECIALLY on camera. But it ONLY happened with the 7 round mag. The problem has since been resolved and with no official comment from Smith & Wesson, conclusions have been drawn.

Customer Service at Smith & Wesson was probably one of the most hassle free experiences I have ever had. They had heard of the issue and already had a fix in place for it. Turnaround time was two-weeks I was assured and the shipping label was in the mail. I believe (I could be wrong) that the gun community can go one of two ways in a situation like this. One, company fixes problem with little to no explanation and you go on your merry little way carefree because they said it was fixed so all is good in the hood. Or Two, company fixes problem with little or no explanation and you no longer trust or value the weapon and either shelve it or sell it.

I find myself somewhere in between one and two so here is what I have figured out. Those mag springs are tight as hell and the only time I ever had the issue was either at max capacity or at max capacity +1 and it was always ONLY on the 7 round mag. So combine the super tight brand new springs and maybe a mag catch thats a hair too small and you get a disconnect as soon as the first round is fired. The only reason I find that to be the most acceptable answer is because as I said, we have put over 1000 rounds through this gun, probably closer to 1300-1400 at this point and we can no longer replicate the problem. I have not sent it out to S&W yet because I do love this thing. I love carrying this pistol and i’m not going to lie, I rolled with the smaller mag and one in the pipe. The magazine I did not trust as much I left at 7 rounds and let it sit like that until I was ready to try it again. There are several things I do not like about the 7 round magazine, but that issue was the most prevalent.

Overall, this is a Conceal Carry pistol. It is going to have a heavier pull. It will NOT be crisp or clean although it is clean(er) than almost all we have tried. This is not a pistol to go “have fun” at the range with (although most can). This is a pistol that is supposed to stay well hidden, easy to use, hard to accidentally discharge, be easy to aim instinctively and purposefully, and most of all have the reliability to save your life. If you take all that into consideration and then size up a review on this gun, Like I said, I still carry this piece. Everything I own is a 4” barrel or bigger with the exception of a couple, and even with the mag issue, I would rather carry the M&P SHIELD 40 than my other options. It is slim, it is light. The Misses can fire it if need be and I can reload it faster than a revolver (did I mention it’s slim).

When it’s all said and done, a properly maintained conceal carry weapon no matter what your choice is should be something you are proficient with, trust completely and can conceal reasonably. If you are purchasing a weapon like this for the first time, I still recommend the SHIELD, but would implore you to try others as well before you buy. I like the SHIELD 40 and continue to use it

C.A.T. M-4 Tool Review

When I saw the C.A.T. M-4 tool, I was not quite sure what to think; until I used it.

I would never use anything else to clean my bolt again. The ability for this small three and a half inch tool to clean the bolt and bolt carrier as effectively as it does is very impressive.

So the other guys might say that I am a bit particular about cleaning even that I am OCD. Well Mrs. Monkey gave me a T-shirt that says that I am really just CDO, because all of the letters are in the correct order; I like that better anyway. So when it comes to firearms I think that about sums it up as well.

I took my AR-15 to the range and put about 500 rounds through it and then took it home to test out this C.A.T. M-4 tool.

After separating the bolt carrier from the upper receiver and then the bolt and bolt carrier from each other, I set out to try this out. The first thing that impressed me was the machining. The aft end of the bolt slid into the C.A.T. M-4 forked end, I called it the mouth, with a very close tolerance and allowed most of the fouling to be loosened up. The addition of a patch over the gap with some solvent allowed for all of the debris to be removed. After three patches it was spotless.

After I finished cleaning my bolt, I moved onto my bolt carrier and the C.A.T. M-4 was ready for more. The opposite end when fitted with a cleaning patch is able to clean out the bolt carrier and allows the bolt a nice clean hole to slide in and out of… and who doesn’t like that?

Think we are done? Not even close, there is still a Firing Pin Cleaner that allows you to scrape away some of the carbon build up. And lastly there is a ¼” hex head adaptor driver that allows you to use whatever handy adaptor you have from screwdriver to ratchet.

Since this tool is made of stainless steel when I was done cleaning the bolt and bolt carrier, I cleaned it and put it right into my range bag.

Couple all that with a money back guarantee that even if you break it they’ll will replace it, I don’t think that can beat it. So check out the Combat Application Tools M-4 tool, I do not think that you will be dissapointed.

Some of our resources include:
http://www.catm4.com

Salomon XA PRO 3D Ultra 2 Review

I have been a shoe whore for a good majority of my life. I’ll admit it. I have always had a different shoe for a different purpose ever since I was able to buy my first pair. From Jordans to Airwalks, Hi-Tec to Merrell and even some shell toe Adidas (with the fat laces), Nike, Puma, Reebok…this can go on forever. Don’t even get me started on the business casual and dress wear. As I have gotten older however, things have simplified in my life. A standard set of Nike running shoes, Chippewa work boots, A couple dress shoes and maybe some all white DC’s for the summer. When I started doing all this blogging and reviewing business however a new need arose, and thus, a new shoe needed to be purchased. Lots of time on the range with dirt, mud, rain. Hot or cold, moving or static, I needed something fit for the task of being at the range constantly that wouldn’t jack up my other footwear’s “circle of life.”

Enter the Salomon XA PRO 3D Ultra.

I took the bait and ordered up a set for myself and Monkey to test out. For those “in the know,” this is not a “new” pair of shoes. This is not an exclusive first peek or anything grandiose. But for those who don’t know, these shoes are amazing. However, know this… My first impressions were not ecstatic.

Once you pass size 12 there are no more half sizes and the 12 was just too short. The 13 seemed a bit too long. Also, they feel narrow, very narrow (Wide is available) on the first couple outings. I don’t have some quadruple E hairy hobbit feet or anything, but a little wider than your average adult male. I was a little frustrated to say the least, but for the sake of a thorough review, I pressed on. And then one morning, magic.

I went to put the Salomons on one morning and my foot “popped” in. I will date myself right now by saying this but, have you ever popped He-Man or Skeletor’s head or leg off and then freaked out as you tried to get it back on only to be surprised when it popped back into place like it was always meant to be there? From that point on you could decapitate or dismember at will knowing the part would pop right back into place. This is the XA PRO 3D Ultra, and that’s before even doing up the laces once they have formed to your feet. I began falling in love…with footwear (again).

This particular shoe feels as good as my Nike’s cushioning-wise, but has the lateral stability of a “Multi-Sport” outdoor hiking shoe and doesn’t make me feel like I am going to roll an ankle on a short sideways stop. The OrthoLite™ sockliner and shaped footbed had apparently had enough of me and went and molded themselves to my foot. The new fit almost feels like the sole wraps up the sides in a cradling manner. The other part that had me frustrated at first but I have grown to absolutely find essential is the asymmetric lacing. At first, I thought I would never be able to undo this single point tensioned razor lace from hell. Then, I stopped acting like a child, looked at the blatantly obvious smooth rubber pull point and learned how to disengage the ratcheting system. Now, I can’t live without it.

They breathe like you wouldn’t believe, but only in the places that you really need them to. Heat moves up, topside of the shoe is where all the heat goes up and out. Where the rubber meets the road so to speak travels up the sides too so as not to let the splashes and steps in puddles (not submerged of course) get up and in the shoe and to top it all off, double coverage of rubber on the toe. Kneeling and prone and all the fun stuff that beats up lesser footwear in the front is amply covered in rubber that I have yet to even scratch. Ever separate the toe runner from the rest of your shoe through normal wear and tear? I really don’t see that happening with these.

These are marketed as “Mountain Trail Running” shoes but to me, that’s like calling a mountain bike a 10-speed. These are like the 90 mph full suspension 20”+ travel disc brake equipped downhill X-Games mountain bike of off road sneakers. I am stupid impressed and love them. The price is a little steep by comparison to “similar” models from other manufacturers if you are a “shop by the description” type of person. Wearing them is all the difference though. I have a couple other sets of “trail running” or “multi-sport” outdoor shoes and I think Monkey is part of a club that sends him a new pair every month. However, these are now the only pair you ever catch either of us wearing. I just may have to get some Gore-Tex for the winter and save the Chippa-whats for the heavy duty stuff.

If you are in the market for a new trail sneaker, take a serious look at the XA Pro 3D Ultra 2, give them the chance to mold to you and you will be a believer too.

*UPDATE: Half sizes are available, just not past size 12, ie: 9.5, 10, 10.5, etc.. Salomon also makes Wide sizes as well for those WITH hobbit feet.

S&W M&P 40 Carry And Range Kit – First Impressions

So a few weeks ago I went shopping at all my local, and not so local, gun stores to find an M&P Shield. I quickly learned that these are pretty popular right now. It’s impossible to purchase one without being on a HUGE waiting list. Over that weekend I took one last look at a local gun store and they had a Smith & Wesson M&P .40 Carry and Range kit. They had it well below the MSRP, and it was a deal I could definitely not pass up. The M&P .40 felt great in my hand and met all but one of my requirements.

The Carry and Range kit included:

  • Blade-Tech® Kydex® Holster
  • Blade-Tech® Double Magazine Pouch
  • Maglula Uplula™ Speed Loader
  • Ear Plugs
  • Extra Magazine (3 total)

The only downside to this purchase for me, was that it was not a sub-compact pistol. Almost a little too big to conceal carry in the summertime. Thankfully, I’m six and a half feet tall, so it’s not too hard for me to conceal a bigger weapon. This might not be the case for others, so be aware of the size of this weapon as a daily conceal carry pistol.

That being said, I have been nothing but happy with this pistol. The M&P .40 is extremely well made and seems like it could take quite a bit of abuse.

I’ve put about 400 rounds through it so far, and it seems to be getting a bit easier to shoot. Not sure if it’s me getting used to it, or the parts just nicely breaking in. I suspect it might be a combo of both.

One of the many great features of this pistol is the interchangeable grips. Alot of polymer frame weapons don’t let you modify the grip for comfort. Usually, people just use a slide on grip like a Hogue. This feature of the M&P .40 allowed me to have a really comfortable grip that felt much more natural than the default grip it came with.

While at the range, a few people have mentioned that they didn’t like the trigger. And everyone I’ve spoken with has recommended the same kit from Apex. And while checking into this enhancement, I have seen nothing but glaring good reviews on both the product and the support documentation on installation. At some point in the future, I might have to give the Apex M&P Duty/Carry Action Enhancement Kit (DCAEK) a try (and of course do a review on it), but at the moment, I’m actually pretty happy with the existing trigger feel. I’ll have to retouch this point after a few hundred more rounds.

Weapon Specifications: (per S&W website)

Model: M&P40 Carry and Range Kit
Caliber: .40 S&W
Capacity: 15 Rounds
Barrel Length: 4.25″ / 10.8 cm
Overall Length: 7.625″ / 19.4 cm
Overall Height: 5.5″ / 13.9 cm
Width: 1.2″ / 3.048 cm
Weight: 24.0 oz. / 680.4 g
Front Sight: White Dot Dovetail
Rear Sight: Steel Low Profile Carry
Grip: (3) Palmswell Grip Sizes
Material: Frame/Polymer, Slide/Stainless Steel, Barrel/Stainless Steel
Finish: Black Melonite® 68HRc

CTK Precision P3 Ultimate Gun Vise Review

I need something to hold my rifle, shotgun and/or handgun. I just installed new sights or a new optic or scope and I need this thing to whack a gnat in the ass at 300m. Whatever your particular fantasy involves, I do not need to know the details anymore than you need to know mine. However, a gnats ass is not exactly the easiest thing in the world to hit with all the possible things I do wrong from flinching to jerking or slapping a trigger, oh, and let’s not forget breath control…the list goes on. How do I get this weapon squared away to take error out of it?

I am going to need gorilla strength tightening power that doesn’t warp my stock or receiver. I am going to need something with dimensions to hold a wide variety of weights and balances. I need it to be strong enough to take any and all recoil and be locked down. To top it all off, I need adjustments. Adjustments like crazy. I need elevation, I need leveling and I need it all to stay put once I set it to maintain consistent gnat ass nailing. So, are we all fantasizing? Are we all thinking of a Nasa sponsored Gorilla on an Abrams tank? No…just me? Ok, moving on.

We got the chance to use the CTK Precision Gun Vise for over two months. We put pretty much everyone’s AR through it, we put an R700, and Savage model 16, a Kimber LPT, a Sig Sauer P226, 300 BLK, Ruger LCP, the list goes on and on. We put every weapon we could get our hands on into this vise and it did not disappoint. It quickly became our go-to zeroing stand since we generally move optics around and have to dial in sights in a short amount of time.

This Gun Vise is not light, it is not easily stow-able, and it definitely is not a drop a gun in and go system. So why did we use it so much when we have several other options and brands at our disposal? Because this thing got results. Period. Once the CTK had a weapon in it, secured in place and dialed in, it was a machine. Nothing budges, nothing moves and it all feels stable, well built and secure. Nasa Sponsored Gorilla on an Abrams.

There was some learning and some times we had to get a little creative. Almost all the times though, we made things more complicated than they had to be. Don’t try and reinvent the wheel, if something or some part doesn’t fit, move it, or reposition one of the many adjustable pieces. If you have a bipod or an extra special rail system or whatever, the Gun Vise can position that weapon just about any way you can think of. It is strong enough to hold it in place, while the foam is tactile enough to make sure nothing slips whilst cushioning the butt stock/receiver/grip or mag well.

The CTK Precision P3 is a solid piece of hardware. Heavy gauge steel, incredibly beefy welds and no screwing around adjustment parts mean this thing is going to be around for awhile. It might not come to the range all the time, but when it does it gets the job done. Rugged enough to take a pounding, accurate enough to get that gnat. You will hand it down to your kids, and they will hand it down to theirs. I am not a precision marksman by any means, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate it when I get it. The CTK P3 Precision Gun Vise gives me just that luxury. If you are someone who zeroes for every season, or a bench resting range diva or even a long range paper assassin; this setup is simple, effective and sturdy. If you have the need for a benchrest for now and forever, go check them out. [CTK]

Kel Tec Shotgun (KSG) Review

The one true fault of the design

The KSG in concept is a gun that I have only one problem with and I will start off with my one gripe. This gun is one that requires gear-based training. You can’t pick up a Mossberg, Berreta, or any other name brand shotgun and practice to operate the KSG, it just isn’t possible. Because this is a new design that operates differently than your average shotgun you have to train with the KSG to get better at operating the KSG. I don’t think this makes it a bad gun in any way, shape or form but it is something to consider and it is my only real “issue” with it.

The design

The KSG is one of a kind when it comes to a pump action shotgun, I am not saying Kel Tec reinvented the wheel, but there is no other pump action shotgun like it. This shotgun was built with two main things in mind, ammo capacity and being able to use two different types of ammunition on the fly without having a cumbersome method of changing the ammunition type from one load to another. The options are nearly limitless for law enforcement, military and even home defense.

Reliability

Here is the part you have been waiting for… Reliability. We put the KSG through a torture test over the past 6 weeks that I have yet to do with any other shotgun that I have owned or tested. We put two thousand rounds of ammunition of all shapes and sizes through this shotgun, we did not clean the factory grease out of it or apply any lubricant to our testing model – which I am sure Kel Tec will be thrilled to hear. With two thousand rounds we had no jams, no failure to feeds, and only one failure to eject. This gun shot like a champ for the duration of our testing with no love and tenderness at all. We locked it in the closet, neglected it, called it names that I wouldn’t say in the presence of my mother, put really cheap ammo through it, shot it sideways while laying on the ground in the dirt and still could not get this gun to malfunction.

The issues with the issues

I have watched video after video of people talking about the issues that they have had with this shotgun and I took them into consideration when operating it. I will take this opportunity to list the issues that have been experienced by others with the KSG and their causes.

  1. Failure to feed – The action slides all the way back on every shotgun, a shell pops out of the magazine and is then fed into the chamber when the action goes forward. If you treat the KSG like you are on a first date, going slow and gentle, taking it easy and hoping you don’t break it, it will not feed a round.

    Solution to problem – Welcome to Shotgun 101, It’s not fragile, throw it around, it isn’t going to break. Pull the action back lightly and you end up with no shell loading. Treat it like a shotgun and put some muscle behind it and this will literally never happen again. When you slide the pump action back, the last 1/4 inch needs a little more oomph to eject the shell. Three of us had this issue, realized why we had this issue and never had it happen again.

  2. Jamming – This gun has the ability to jam every time you fire it, I mean that with all my heart. I can get 100% of the rounds put through this to look like they have an ejection issue causing a malfunction.

    Solution to problem – Don’t cover up the ejection port = No issues with ejection. The ejection port is right above where your elbow sits, so if you cover up the ejection port the gun will jam. You can try this with some dummy rounds on your favorite shotgun. I promise you, you can cover the ejection port with your hand, foot or anything you want to use in the privacy of your own home and replicate the same issue with every shotgun.

The field strip

  • Two pins and the lower comes off
  • Butt pad comes off after pins are removed
  • Everything slides out of the back

If you do encounter an issue with this gun that requires a field strip, it’s really that simple to take apart the KSG on location. Given the design, it’s pretty impressive to be able to take a shotgun apart in less than 30 seconds.

The Summary

I personally found no issues with this gun in regards to reliability or design. If you need a shotgun for home defense, law enforcement, military use, looking completely bad @$$, turning heads at the range or shooting for fun, then I have no hesitation telling you to get one of these as soon as you can. This has been a solid gun that was a blast to review. Don’t forget to check out the video, and don’t worry, Kel Tec will forgive you for all the things you said about the KSG that you learned from velcro ninjas on YouTube, I promise.

5.11 Tactical Covert Cargo Pants

I live in two worlds…one where I am a business casual, dress shoes, khaki pants and office politics guy. The other, where I am (allegedly) a gunslinging, tacti-cool, gun blog aficionado (I’m definitely not). So when I saw these pants on 5.11 Tactical I suddenly got curious. Maybe there was a way I could combine the two personalities and be Business Casual AND Tactical… Tacit-Casual!

Whitey: “I’m doing a review on these pants”

Superbowl: “What?”

Whitey: “These things are awesome. Favorite pants…I’m wearing them”

Superbowl: “Why?…Pants?…Really”

Whitey: “I dunno dude, they’re just awesome..look!”

And it literally went like that for probably another 10 minutes.

All joking aside, I was definitely interested in finding a sturdier pair of pants. I seem to find new and improved ways to wear out random parts of pants like the pockets, belt loops, crotch and cuffs…or maybe I should just buy better pants than Old Navy. I also like pockets, I like having the ability to spread everything around so I don’t have thighs that look like a squirrels cheeks packing for winter. However, Cargo Pants are a business casual no-no. What do you do?

Enter, the Covert Cargo. Now, in an era where just about everyone can get multi-cam, molle covered, coyote brown goodness with the swipe of a credit card… much of those things are nothing you would wear to work. 5.11 Tactical makes many products that (despite their name) aren’t blatantly “Tactical.” Clean lines, rugged builds and purposeful well built designs that literally had the community in mind while not garnishing any sketchy looks at soccer practice as “that gun nut.” Whether Military, LEO, Sheepdog or Range Diva, they seem to have something to fit a purpose for all of the above.

Things most people take for granted like sturdy double stitched belt loops which are wide enough and sturdy enough for a Cobra EDC or tactical belt. Extra material sewn over the pocket where your EDC knife and/or flashlight goes. A secondary pocket cleverly hidden yet easily accessible behind the main hand pockets with built in organizers for spare mags, flashlights, granola bars, you name it. Even sturdy “crotchal region” to prevent rips pulls and tears. But WAIT! There’s more!

Cargo pockets are as mentioned before…verboten. 5.11 Tactical does a good job of hiding these pockets by making the actual pocket IN the leg instead of just sewing a pouch ON the leg. In many cases I can tell you, sometimes I like that look. But I don’t have a single pair of cargo’s that are not only organized, but relatively invisible. There is a stitch that can be seen as well as the tab on the zipper to access the enormous cargo interior but only noticeable upon close inspection. If you aren’t looking for them, they easily slip under the bosses radar. Oh, and did I mention that they hold 2 – 30 round AR mags and then some in each cargo pocket? Minor details. There is even elastic expansions on the 3 and 9 o’clock positions for both flexibility as well as (from my experience) a quick expansion that makes it a lot easier for IWB conceal carry.

So I didn’t just put these pants on and say “Man these are just swell, let’s write up something about them!” I used them for work… for weeks straight as business casual attire. I wore them to the range. I packed them full of everything I could carry and jogged around. I rolled in the dirt, wore every piece of tactical gear I own and to top it all off I washed them EVERY single time I used them. I still love them. Not a single stitch has loosened, not a stain has stayed on them. I have yet to fray the cuffs or start wearing out the pockets and they still look as good as the day I bought them. My only problem with these pants is…velcro. The rear pockets are velcro. So let me be clear, these are TACTICAL pants and I want them to be everything pants. Sacrifices must be made and with everything that I love about these pants, this is not a deal breaker. The rear pockets are made to be velcro for a specific reason, keep what’s in the pocket in there and still have quick access to its contents as well as securing them. I cannot think of anything better than velcro so, touché 5.11, you win this round.

Overall I really can’t say they have gone through a “full” life cycle yet, but if these pants are any indication of how 5.11 builds all their gear, I may be a fan for life. They are still getting worn and are on a heavy rotation, while the days I don’t wear them, I wish I had them. Maybe I am getting old, but man do I love a good pair of pants, especially when they serve multiple needs.

[5.11 Tactical]

Making the Case for Making Your Gear

Rebeccaguns.com Guest Post.
Check out the author of this article over at her very own blog

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, there are endless options for basically every piece of gear and gun accessory you can think of. It can be pretty overwhelming trying to figure out what is going to meet your needs best. It’s easy to end up with a whole pile of stuff that got great reviews and looked good on the Interwebz, but just doesn’t work for you. This can quickly get frustrating and expensive.

Here’s my suggestion—make your gear. Not all of it, and not all in one Red Bull-and-Jolt-cola-filled frenzy of weekend enthusiasm. Pick one thing, be it as complicated or simple as you feel comfortable with, and make it. Even if it turns out looking worse than Sylvester Stallone’s face-lift, you’ll be ahead and here’s why.

The first part of making a piece of gear forces you to think critically about what exactly your requirements are for that item. What am I going to be doing with this gear? Is it for personal defense or competition? What kind of climate and environment will I be running it in? How will it need to function in the real world scenarios that I will find myself in? (Notice that I said “will find myself in”, not “might find myself in”. By that I mean, it helps to be realistic when assessing your gear needs. Sure, in a zombie-ravaged wasteland, a sawed off shotgun and a machete would be perfect. Problem is, you probably spend more time sitting in your car in the line at the McDonalds drive-through than you ever will slaughtering the undead. So, while that Special Edition Zombie-Slayer carbon-fiber machete sheath may look like the hottest hotness ever, it may not be worth the dollars).

Once you know what you need, then you can begin the process of gathering your materials and getting started on the project. This is another opportunity to consider the merits of features like water-proofing, heat resistance, durability and weight. Some of these things may be crucial, others less important to you. You can also choose the origin of your materials, if you wish to patronize companies that align with your ideals. Also, since purchasing raw materials is usually cheaper than buying ready-made merchandise, you’ll probably save some dough (hello ammo fund!).

Many people in the gun community are interested in self-sufficiency in one way or another. Crafting a piece of your own kit is a great way to promote that mind-set, and maybe gain a new skill at the same time. In the ‘teach a man to fish’ way of thinking, skills are infinitely more valuable than goods. Plus, you’ll have the satisfaction of having made something with your own two hands instead of just watching Nutnfancy videos on your couch all evening. Chances are good that as you move through the project, you will also gain a better understanding how quality gear is produced and what’s worth paying for. You’ll likely see the short cuts that some companies take in mass producing gear and keeping costs low. You can decide for yourself what’s worth extra time and money, and which details are less important. Once you begin running your homemade gear, you can reassess its functionality and decide what changes need to be made. Sometimes that means modifying the piece to achieve the desired results, and sometimes it means starting a whole new project, in which case you might have just gotten yourself a new hobby (which I know your significant other is going to LOVE).

Even if hand-tooling leather holsters or sewing nylon instructor belts doesn’t end up being your life’s passion, the experience of producing an object that you need and will use often is sensible and satisfying. It will also make you a better-informed consumer and more acutely aware of your own requirements and expectations for firearms accessories. And, who knows? Maybe when the zombie apocalypse does happen you will be the only guy in business making all of those sweet Kydex machete sheathes.

Ready to jump right in? Here are some good places to start for projects and inspiration:

PhillyEDC’s two-part Kydex holster DIY tutorial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wntntfsrfEQ

DIY Tactical has several cool tutorials including a small zippered pouch that looks perfect for shotgun shells. http://diytactical.com/blog/category/tutorials/

Make your own rifle sling with Delta69Alpha’s video guide: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_D–8TtSOJ4

Prepper Website has a rotating list of projects and information, along with links to other related sites and resources. http://www.prepperwebsite.com/

And, just in case, you work up a thirst with that DIYing, here’s a video on how to make your own moonshine. http://homesteadsurvival.blogspot.com/2012/09/moonshine-making-101-in-depth-start-to.html

The Footage of Broken Dreams

I was bored and decided to show you some of the stuff that ends up in the trash. This is what 8 months of viewer support and about 750 gigs of video can accomplish. Thank you for all of the support. We could not have done half of the things in this video without our dedicated followers. Stay tuned for more good reviews and a whole slew of things we haven’t done on the site before. Thank you again for helping us get to where we are!