Remington Model 700 SPS Varmint Rifle Review

The Remington 700 SPS chambered in .308 retails for about $600 and is about as basic as it gets for a bolt action rifle.

First, I’ll start off by saying I bought this rifle to target shoot. I am not lugging this thing around the forrest hunting for Bambi. This gun weights 8.5 pounds before adding a scope and whatever you’re looking at strapping on to it. There are lighter versions available but I can handle carrying it from my car to where it will rest, waiting to murder a few sheets of paper.

This rifle has a 26 inch barrel and is not small by any stretch of the imagination with an overall length of 46 1/2 inches. Barrel length on the Varmint version is 2 inches longer than the standard SPS.

As far as accuracy goes, unless I’m going past 100 meters I shoot the cheapest ammunition I can put through it – which where I live is generally 150 grain soft point ammo that costs about $15 for 20 rounds. I’ll post some pictures of grouping with this rifle from the Building a Target Rifle post to show the difference you can expect between high end and low end ammunition.

Things I love about this rifle…

This is hands down as accurate as some $1000-plus rifles I have shot and with a pretty hefty barrel can withstand quite a few rounds in rapid succession before the temperature of the barrel begins to affect accuracy.

The simplicity of take-down involves pushing a small button above and behind the trigger to release the bolt and it pulls straight out of the back of the rifle making bore sighting your shiny new scope a seamless and easy task with no equipment needed. It looks pretty mean; we all buy things we find attractive in some way and this doesn’t look like a toy.

The trigger is adjustable down to 1.5 pounds of pressure from, I believe, the factory set 3 pounds. This makes a huge difference when shooting at 300 plus meters (also could be my shooting abilities). I have yet to conquer the three pound pull at 300 without causing any issues in my accuracy. I adjust the trigger pull as low as it would go which is stated to be 1.5 pounds and it helped a lot for my longer distance shooting.

Things I would (and will) change…

The stock on the R 700 is solid and I have not done anything like bedding the stock or any modification from it’s factory state. There are no issues with the stock for practical daily use. If you lay prone for longer distance shooting this stock just doesn’t cut it (not what the stock was built for). Not a flaw with the rifle just something to consider when shopping for yours. Considering the length of the barrel and the weight of the gun, in retrospect I would buy the SPS vs. the SPS Varmint due to the shorter barrel and the 1.5 pound difference in weight (while still maintaing the same bullet twist).

In summary

Every R 700 bears the same promise; reliability and accuracy, and from what I have experienced it is a completely solid platform. The only issues I have with the rifle are ones that I could have solved by buying a more task-oriented gun like the Remington 700 Police Tactical. However, working with a lower budget, this gun has never given me any issues and accurately shoots where I aim it.

Reader Request: Bullets and Barrel Twist

Let’s start with the bullet:

I want to start off, before getting into ANYTHING, that while similar, these two rounds are NOT the same. NO ONE TOLD ME at first, that is why I am telling you now. You can shoot .223 in a 5.56×45 rifle all day and never have to worry about anything more than accuracy. NEVER shoot a 5.56×45 out of a barrel stamped with .223. The round is identical, however the head spacing and pressures are different and could injure you or others if neglected.

Back to the business.

The gr. in a bullet is most commonly mistaken for the powder in a bullet. This is not so. Powder is measured in grains, but that info is generally not on the box you buy off the shelf. The gr. (as in .223 55gr.) refers to the actual weight of the projectile (the shiny copper piece). The heavier the bullet grain, the more punch that round will have. There are other factors like powder, barrel length, etc. but that is for another day.

Depending on your needs, ie: Varminting, target shooting, long range accuracy etc., should determine the type of bullet you use to get the job done. A heavier bullet will have more power and would also be (I may be wrong, please send emails for correction) better recommended for longer ranges and knock down power. Lighter is better for all around use, closer ranges and lower general fun at the range (shenanigans).

Let’s talk about barrels for a moment.

On most common off-the-shelf AR’s (Bushmaster, Stag, DPMS, Colt etc…) you will find a nice rifle with a chrome lined, 16”, 1-9 twist barrel. What this means is the bullet completes one full rotation IN the barrel in 9 inches. So in a 16”, 1:9 barrel, the bullet will have completed 1.8 (rounded) rotations before exiting the muzzle. 1:9 is the most common for the 55gr.-62gr. variety which just so happens to be the most commonly produced weight. If your needs, or wants are different there are more weights and twists available.

The simplest way I can think to remember what bullet for what twist is, more weight needs more spin. So if you are leaning towards a heavier grain bullet for whatever your needs are, you probably want to look more towards a 1:7 (there is a 1:8, but if you know that, you aren’t here because you’re new). Bear in mind though, a lighter round may not be as accurate because the higher rate of twist can actually shear off the jacketing of the round due to the weight to spin ratio, so make sure you aren’t wasting time and money by mismatching tools. The 5.56×45 and the .223 can actually go REALLY far when properly matched with the correct barrel and twist.

Until you know what you want to pursue more with your new rifle, stick with the 1:9 and the 55gr-65gr bullets until you know more about your rifle and what you want to do with it.

I hope this helps make your bullets and barrels a little less baffling for all the new owners out there. If you want to add something or if we botched something up let us know so we can correct it. You can contact us HERE with any questions, comments and suggestions.

Thanks again for reading, remember to always check your chambers and stay safe.

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Taurus PT 1911 Review

I’ll just give you the basic highlight this gun has a ventilated light trigger, eight round magazine with a bumper pad, Richard Heinie “Strait Eight” sight (Two dots, put one right on top of the other and bullseye), this is also a forged slide and frame. A lot of features and points for durability on this gun for a 1911 under $600.

The Good…

I have put about a thousand rounds through this gun and it still stands strong as you can see in the pictures. Outside of a few stove pipes I have, to this date, not had any other malfunctions with the firearm itself (more on this in “The Bad). This gun still shows signs of minimal use. This gun holds just like any other 1911, and I have held allot of them trust me. The one thing that really stood out about the Taurus PT 1911 was the trigger that comes strait from the factory. The play in the trigger has got to be around 1/16 of an inch and it is snappy, once you apply a little pressure to get the point across it breaks easy.

When it comes down to it, the details and potentially the upgradeability of the gun is where you really want to do research. For a first time .45 owner it’s a great gun, the sights are true and the gun is backed by a lifetime warranty which I have not had to use for the firearm itself, but based on a large amount of feedback on the internet seems to be held to high standards even if you bought the gun used in some cases.

The Bad…

The Magazines that came with this gun are CRAP. They are terrible and often prevent the slide from locking back after the last round is cycled. In a personal protection situation that could be a major malfunction, at the range you don’t really have to worry about a piece of paper stabbing you to death so for me it was only a minor flaw. I called Taurus and told them about the issue and they happily sent two new magazines free of charge and had me return he old one’s. The new magazines fail significantly less than the old ones. I bought a pair of Kimber 1911 Magazines and the problem was resolved and I was still shooting a 1911 for $600 cheaper than most I was looking at.

Taking this gun apart and cleaning it takes some getting use to. The one thing to keep in mind is to remember that you are shopping for a 1911. They have been made pretty much the same since….. Well 1911. The Slide lock lock lever on the 1911 pretty much holds the universe together. If you go shopping for a 1911 do yourself a favor and ask Mr. Realtree to take it apart for you at your local gun shop there are certainly a few tricks that make it really easy to get use to.

Summary…

I remember cleaning the gun for my first time (Also happened to be my first gun), I had left a cleaning patch in the gun when reassembling the gun. I am not sure how it happened but it happened. Whitey and I went to the range the next day and after about 2 magazines I realized a small piece of cloth sticking out of the bottom of the mag well. Pulled out a torn, tattered mess with a hole in it and the gun still never malfunctioned.

All in all with the magazine issues aside the Taurus PT 1911 has been a solid gun and once the magazines were replaced with the Kimber magazines I have had no issues. I do not clean the gun anywhere near as much as I should. I do not give this gun any special treatment and it has not sacrificed reliability or shown any negative results when it comes to the wear on the gun. If you are looking for a 1911 for under $600 the PT 1911 is a great choice.

Check out the specs for the PT 1911 on the Taurus website.

5 Steps That Can Change Your Life… “How To Buy A Gun Correctly.”

This article was originally posted on DefenseActions.com

50 Years of Gun Experience and Expertise… In 5 simple steps!

During my time as an instructor I have often been asked by students, “Which gun should I buy?” or… “What’s a good gun?” While attempting to answer those questions and reflecting on my own experiences, I realized that I had not come across any specific method or easy-step process on how to do so. Researching from those who know more than I do, and hearing “gun buying experiences” from many others, I then organized a 5 step process that anyone can use to purchase the correct gun for them, the very first time.

All of us are different people (tell you something you didn’t know… right!) hand sizes and preferences vary, but until now I had never seen an unbiased method designed for the “new-comers”. The method outlined here has had very positive feedback, for not only the inexperienced, but also from the very experienced. It is something to consider when evaluating what you currently own or for assistance with your next handgun purchase.

The Essential 5 Steps on, “How to Buy a Gun Correctly.”

One must first understand that the two most important things to consider are: 1. Reliability, and 2. Comfort. Realizing that both of these are the major points and that the 5 steps will answer both points throughout the process; for that is what the steps are centered around.

Step 1: What is the purpose of use for the gun? What are you going to use it for? Home defense, concealed carry, hunting, etc. It is important to answer this question, because the caliber you choose to buy is affected by your purpose. For example; home security purposes generally will use a larger round than concealed carry. One may want a 1911 model or Taurus’s “Judge” due to its unique capabilities. Whereas, carrying concealed, you may only prefer a 9mm or .380 for control and concealment. Don’t feel you have to buy two firearms to accomplish ultimate security, that can be costly; but understand that your concealed gun, can be used for the home protection gun as well, but perhaps not the other way around. It’s much harder to conceal a full size, then a sub-compact… no doubt.

Step 2: What caliber are you going to want? You don’t have to land on just one caliber either, perhaps you should decide on at least two, until you get a better feel of exactly what you want. If you have not figured that part out yet, do not worry. The caliber should be determined somewhat by the purpose for which the handgun will be used. For Example; women tend to carry the .380 (short 9), more than the 9mm or even the .40 cal. I recommend that men should not carry anything less than a 9mm, unless it is for a backup or reserve protection, such as a Ruger LCP or Micro Desert Eagle or DiamondBack .380 on the ankle or some other place. Some books say that one should carry the largest caliber they can reasonably handle, however I find that may depend on some other points of use as well. I will cover those points at the end, in the summary.

Step 3: Make a list of at least six manufacturers that have a great reputation for quality and reliability. For example, Ruger, S&W, Glock, Springfield, Kimber, Colt, SigSauer, H&K, Taurus, Walther, etc. (not in any specific order of favor here); all are very capable and have great reviews. This step will eliminate the stress of buying a gun that will be “problematic” during a heightened situation. Cost may determine your ability to buy certain models, but rest assured that an5 Steps on How to Buy a Gun Correctlyy of the products from these companies will work fine as long as they are maintained as any gun should be. This step will answer the “reliability” point mentioned previously.

Step 4: Put your hand on each gun. Grip each, one after the other. This step is KEY to purchasing the right way. So go to a place that has a great selection. I have even found that gun shows can be great for this. You will find that each grip has a very specific feel, and only when you have handled each one, will your hand be able to distinguish the differences quickly and reliably. There is no rush to buy a gun, but let the salesperson know that you are only looking and want to feel all of the different kinds of guns; take your time and get to where you know what feels good consistently. Take as much time here as you need to. I had one student email me and recounted his 3 month, 12 gun shop, process, using these 5 steps… and he landed on the one that was consistently comfortable all the time. Good Choice. You may not need to take 3 months, as another of my students only took 3 hours, but each had what worked for them. That is the point here.

NOTE: DO NOT get “talked into” certain brands. No offense, but I find that “Glock” guys are pretty hard core, and too many times I have seen a “newbie” choose a Glock simply because the salesperson “said so” only to find that they didn’t shoot as well, but had more comfort and shot better with a different gun entirely. Glocks are great and have a great reputation, but so do others and perhaps that is not the gun for you after all. (Hopefully no hurt feelings there) Remember the list you have made, any one of the brands listed above will be reliable in a time of crisis. This step answers the “comfort” point previously mentioned.

Step 5: Now that you have a pretty good feel for what you want, or at least you should by this point, go find a good price (if that is possible). I have found that some stores are pricier than others, and sometimes looking online locally, you can find a great deal as well. If you are buying used, then make sure the gun is clean and well oiled. Take the slide off and look for wear marks. Ask the owner how many rounds have been through the gun. If they say only about 100 rounds, but you see pretty good wear marks on the barrel and inside the gun, that seller is untruthful, so be careful. When I bought my XD9 sub-compact, the gentleman said that his wife carried it and it only had about 200 rounds through it. Once I took it apart and looked for myself, I found his words to be true, plus I know that women do not shoot as much as men, so I figured that was a plus immediately. I got a great deal and I love the gun as well. I knew as soon as I put my hand around it. It just felt “right” as they say. So for me, the XD is what I prefer. Now read the manual and break it down and shoot it. That is the best way to get to know your gun and safety first as always.

Gun Buying Summary Notes:

If you can find a place that rents guns so you can shoot them first before you buy, then that is ideal. It can be pretty costly, but it is a great way to get to know the overall feel of a gun before you actually buy one. There are two problems I have encountered when doing this:

The Cost – Generally, the gun shops, who have rental guns available, will also have a range inside the premises. The down side is this; It will cost you $20 to $30 to rent what you want to shoot, plus the ammo you are going to shoot, which is probably 50 rounds or more of each caliber. The ammo you use, you have to buy from the shop, no “bringing your own” into the range. As much as I hate such rules, I understand why they do it.

I find gun shops do not maintain their “rental guns” very well, and you may get a jaded opinion of a certain kind of maker simply because it was not cleaned as it should have been. If you can find a friend with a good collection who will let you buy the ammunition and go shoot with you… that is a perfect way to decide before you buy as well. Along with the 5 steps, you cannot go wrong doing this.

Consider the following, when deciding which caliber to buy: Remember that the bigger the caliber and the smaller and lighter the gun, your arms have to absorb the recoil of the firearm. This means that while carrying a larger caliber, you may shoot slower and your accuracy may be worse as well as your comfort level during a heightened situation. You can never tell what will happen, or what your reaction will be during such. Going to the range and obtaining that “muscle memory” will certainly help out, but you still never know for sure what will take place.

For example; shooting a 2″ spread at 15 feet makes you feel great, but in a gun fight, force on force training is more likely to save your life. I like to believe Chris Bird in his book, The Concealed Handgun Manual when he states that “shot placement” is really the most important aspect, and not knock-down power. Now that does not mean I am going to carry a .22 just because it won’t kick at all on a good day, but perhaps carrying a 9mm instead of a .40 cal may give you more accuracy, more comfort, less recoil, quicker response etc. That may make all the difference in the world when confronted some “no good SOB” in the middle of the street or at a restaurant or mall somewhere.

I have had many students use these 5 steps when purchasing a gun for the first time; the feedback has been tremendously positive. I hope you will find the same positive experiences in your pursuits… especially the “new-comers”.

Because we are creatures of habit… we need to “Create Safe Habits, and You’ll Be OK, When you Fall Back on Them!”

Good luck and remember “P4”; Purchase a gun, Practice center mass, Protect yourself, family, others, PRAY you never have to use it!

Sincerely, from one Sheepdog to Another…
Damon Thueson

Original Article and Contact information for Defense Actions Here

What is DA/SA? (Double Action / Single Action)

DA/SA…means…What?

We have a video below showing and demonstrating it in action so I will be brief with the write-up.

Double Action is found on most automatics and some revolvers. DA means when you pull the trigger, aside from a manual safety, there is direct contact to the hammer and the weapon is fire-able. You pull trigger, gun goes bang. DA almost always has a long and heavy pull, especially so in the case of revolvers. One more reason why you should ALWAYS check your chamber. If there is one in the pipe on your DA pistol and you pull the trigger, it will go off.

Single action is found on most 1911’s, “Cowboy Action” revolvers and generally any weapon that needs to be cocked first before firing. In the case of many semi-autos, they become SA after you send one downrange. Single action means the trigger will do absolutely nothing for you UNLESS a round is chambered and the hammer (or striker on hammerless pistols) is cocked. 1911 for example (most not all), if the hammer is forward the trigger goes nowhere, however when you rack a round in the chamber and the hammer is back, it is a VERY short and drastically lighter pull on the trigger to make the gun go boom. This also aids in better accuracy since there is less force required to fire giving less room for flinching and jerking.

So when shopping, analyzing, looking…whatever you are doing. If you want a certain pistol for a certain job this can aid you in choosing the right “tool for the job”. Your proficiency, use and needs should dictate which one is right for whatever you are looking to do, hopefully this helps.

Magpul A.F.G. 2 Review

I was looking online for some other alternative whether it was just plain old handguards, or rail panels that were maybe a little beefier to… I dunno, SOMETHING. I came across Magpul and as a new to guns individual I had no idea who they were or what they made but it looked like some options were available.

They had several of the items I was looking for to add to the quad rail so off we went shopping. The one in particular that I like the most is the A.F.G. 2, which stands for Angle Forward Grip. The grip puts your hand and arm in a more “ergonomic” position on the barrel and allows to also get a similar grip to what I use on a handgun with the “thumbs forward” approach. For closer targeting I also like to wrap my thumb AROUND the top of the barrel and use my index finger to “Point” at the target for, what I feel, is a quick hand-eye coordinated way to get faster acquisition. I have no real world use for this kind of skill, I just like doing it.

The A.F.G. 2 isn’t your typical “grip” so much as a hand placement assist device. If you like a vertical grip, rock on; but if you find yourself pinning your support hand palm against the grip (similar to how you may on the magwell) with multiple fingers on the barrel as opposed to the grip, you may want to check out the A.F.G. Now it does take up 10-12 rails or real estate vs. the 4-6 a vertical grip takes up, so if you run your rifle with every tacti-cool accessory on it, then this is definitely takes a bit of a rail-estate if you are running a carbine or short rail system.

Short money, I think I paid around $12-$15 dollars for mine and it comes in simple packaging, made in the USA, and made of a seemingly indestructible polymer. Install was easy after I figured out I was a moron. Because of the simplicity of the A.F.G. and the quality of the composite they use, easiest way to get this thing on is to remove the ONE BOLT all the way, slide it on the rail, and lock that sucker down. They even pre-dab it with blue loc-tite so make sure it is where you want it. Here is a tip: Before putting the bolt back into the A.F.G., hold the rifle using it the the way that you feel is best for your stance, grip, shoulder and aim. Slide the A.F.G. forward and back on the lower rail until you find the sweet spot. Note the rail marker you are closest to and install that bolt.

I like it, Monkey and Lou are not huge fans but hey, to each his own. Overall the A.F.G. 2 is a great product, easy on the budget, sturdy and comfortable. I would buy more if I had more rifles.

Building a Target Rifle

Choosing your rifle (for me; others may feel differently) starts with the caliber. The most versatile round that I’ve found for both price and availability was the .308. The US Army preaches that the maximum effective range of the .308 is 800 yards, USMC says that it is in excess of 1000 yards and have confirmed hits over the 1000 yard range. It is a good and very consistent round and this is why I chose the .308.

Second, find a rifle that is comfortable to shoot. The only thing I can say is go pick up some guns. Go to your local gun shop and look at them, no one can tell you what will be a good rifle for your build and the way you will hold it. After you find at least a brand or two that is comfortable, do some research and find the right rifle for you.

For a long range rifle, the scope is hugely important (having not had professional training for shooting at long distances). I chose the Leopold VX-2 4-12x 40mm (paid $389 new). There are a lot of things to consider when buying a scope, but perhaps that is for a different review. This scope is clear; I mean, when I look through this scope everything looks better than I could see with the naked eye and perfect vision. Leopold is not the cheapest by any stretch but it withstands the test of holding true after hundreds of rounds and I have yet to find a scope with a better sight picture.

building-target-rifle-1

For long distance shooting a bi-pod is almost required. Not only does it look bad ass, it also gives you a consistent experience when shooting the rifle from any position. This was the area I wish I had done more research in before I bought a Shooters Ridge deluxe bi-pod ($150 MSRP), which was the only one available where I happened to buy my rifle. The only issue that I have with this is not a product issue. If I shoot from a seated position, the legs on my bi-pod are so long, even when fully retracted, that I usually wind up just resting my rifle on my bag.

All in all, my rifle is not fancy, flashy or a head-turner. But put me at 300 yards with my Remington SPS with some dirty, low-end ammo and Ill put out a 6-inch grouping all day long.

I love my rifle and will keep it for as long as I am shooting. It’s a solid rifle and in the end I spent around $1100 on it; which isn’t bad when taking into account all the things you need to start out shooting with a long range rifle.

UPDATE – Someone had requested info on the target shot posted on Facebook so I wanted to add an explination along with the photos. Distance was 300 Meters for both shots on different days, one target was shot with 168 grain boat tail hollow point, the other was shot sighting in my rifle with 150 grain so there are a few strays, these were taken quite a while ago. The smaller grouping was the 168 grain.

building-target-rifle-300_168_grain

Ruger MK III Hunter Review

Well, since as a new shooter, I shoot perfect (sarcasm) I instantly believe that the sights must be off on my brand new finely tuned weapon. After going to the shop where I purchased this gun to request “fixing the sights”, the shop owners instant response was “all down and left, right?”

Make: Ruger
Model: MK III Hunter
Caliber: .22LR

Ha, I am more knowledgeable than I thought, must be a known defect, right? Wrong. “Well man, you are flinching, just like every other new or bad shooter”. F-off, really?

Yup.

So Superbowl picks up this MKIII from Ruger and runs HUNDREDS upon HUNDREDS of rounds through this Luger look alike without fail. Well now Monkey is interested… and when Monkey gets interested, I get interested. So off we go to get some MK III’s.

Every new shooter or anyone who wants to get better accuracy through practicing shooting mechanics, needs to own a .22 is my new opinion. Many models if not most come with the same or similar controls as any other semi-auto pistol, the .22LR caliber is cheap, readily available and give you LOTS of practice on a budget.

With all that said, the Ruger MKIII we tested is a great gun. Superbowl has a basic black model, Monkey got the Hunter model with the big ass barrel (over 6.5”) and I got the same model in the 5.5” bull barrel. You can shoot a whole box of the dirtiest 22LR you can find (usually 500+ rounds), hit it with some cleaner of your choice and a bore snake and be good to go for another 500+ with a little lubrication. The Ruger operates smoothly and efficiently and it is really eases to go through rounds fast. The recoil isn’t “full-power” by comparison to any larger caliber giving you a great opportunity to focus on mechanics. The only hangup I had is the actual bolt cocking, which is easily fixed with a nice add on from Volquartsen.com that drastically reduces any pinching and cocking difficulties. Good people over there too, but that’s for another article.

Now the bad news. I don’t give a damn what you hear or what videos you watched on YouTube, the only people who are proficient at dismantling a MKII or MKIII are the people who have done it at length and have the experience. Coming from weapons with easy field strips, slide removal and all that fun jazz, the Ruger MKIII is a pain in the balls. Even worse, have fun putting it back together. If we are feeling brave we will shoot a video soon to get you a little more comfortable dismantling the weapon. But be warned, your first time, even with all the YouTube videos and step by step documents in the world… you will curse the MKIII. But that is the worst of it. You shouldn’t need to do this too often since it is so great at minimal maintenance and hours upon hours of shooting enjoyment. All four guys recommend the Ruger MKIII, we all shoot it and have all begun customizing ours as well.

The Good:

  • Easy to use
  • Easy to Shoot
  • Great for honing skills
  • Lots of Bang for your $
  • Abundance of Parts available

The Bad:

  • General Disassembly and Reassembly of the gun.

My First Time…

Don’t worry, its like your first time in a bar eventually you learn how to deal with people in this environment… whether you like it or not you WILL learn. Just remember its a gun not a toy, its always loaded and as much as you may not like Mr. Realtree do not point the gun at him or anyone else. Find a direction you can safely point the firearm in with no living object in your way. Now I am personally kind of a dick so the last time I was treated like a n00b at a gun shop I talked to the owner and now Mr. Realtree has a clearly labeled name tag so people can identify those not being helpful.

You will have to change the interaction into one that will benefit you in most cases. Ask questions about the firearm. What Caliber does this come in? Are there any other guns you would recommend like this one based on the look, feel, price, caliber? Let them show you what they know. Some of the most helpful people I have met in gun shops were total jerks, after a few quick comments and some ball busting they are now some of the most helpful people that I have met, after all Mr. Realtree may have forgotten more about firearms than you know. Just remember they are a resource and you just need to help them to help you.

That’s it, the gun is always loaded, it’s good etiquette to set the handgun down with the slide locked back so everyone sees it is not loaded. Be safe, respectful and make sure you remember you are a customer and don’t let people treat you like any less of a customer than the guy next to you dressed in full camo. Just remember we are here to help. We have been there and done it for firsts in the gun industry and want to help anyone with any question. We may bust each other up on the website but the only stupid question with firearms is the one that gets someone killed because it was never asked. Be safe and please remember we are here as a resource to anyone new or experienced.

Survival Straps Unwound

We unwound the survival strap and dragged Whitey around the yard in the BDS Rig. Now, given this really was not a life or death situation or really even a practical use of a Survival Strap, but I dragged around 270 pounds of dead weight, or 269 if you ask Whitey. Survival straps are impressively durable and live up to the test, even if it is just us looking like asses with no one’s life is actually in danger… just Whitey’s pride.

BDS Simple Stacker Chest Rig Review

After much browsing, comparisons and trying to find something TOUGHER than Airsoft grade gear…you know, in case this really IS the year the world ends. As one of our followers put it “supersecrettacticalninjas” don’t really market or advertise to the general populace so it took some searching. I ended up going with BDS Tactical gear based out of Oceanside CA, made in the U.S.A. and handstitched and warranteed.

I chose BDS for several reasons, but Value and Made in the U.S.A. were at the top. Now let me make something clear; I am not getting deployed, I am not active or retired military, I am not law enforcement, I am a regular dude trying to buy decent gear that wont fail me during a carbine training class. Now what we found during some of our screwing around with the thing, is that it really is built Tonka Tough.

The only people that will be able to decide if this is good enough for combat are the people that HAVE been there or ARE in those environments.

Overall, this rig is double, triple and quadruple stitched in all the right places from where I can tell it needs it. The drag handle can pull me with full ammo load (over 270lbs) without even the slightest strain on the gear. The zippers are some of the biggest I have ever seen and I couldn’t get one to flex or jump off the tracks. All the MOLLE is milspec and seems to be good elastic. There are over 6 straps and buckles to adjust this rig to fit just right and it fits on all 4 of the Four Guys.

The only beef I have, and it is NOT BDS Tactical’s fault, they make this blatantly obvious, this vest is made for the USGI mags, NOT PMAGs. I only use PMAGS so I knew they would be snug and it just required some extra break in. Other than that, given I don’t know jack, I would go to war with this thing.

Pros:

  • Price Point
  • Quality
  • Craftsmanship
  • One Size Fits All

Cons:

  • PMAGs
  • Putting it on

How Do I Hold This Thing?

Let’s be honest, if it didn’t go boom, we wouldn’t love it so much; but for the beginner, this can be either really cool or really scary.

Proper grip and stance can make all the difference in everything from better accuracy, to recoil mitigation. Proper grip and stance will also help down the road for unconventional positions as well since you will fully understand what happens to your body every time you pull the trigger and where that bullet is going to go.

Stay safe, always check your chambers.

Survival Straps Review

Customer service rocks, and they ANSWER THEIR PHONES! They contribute to Wounded Warrior Project. Website is EASY to use and understand. Lots of customization…yada yada yada.

Now this isn’t an advertisement, I think the fact that between the four of us we have purchased well over a dozen of these things speaks volumes to the quality of the product, speed of their shipping and longevity of the product is (so far) nothing short of exemplary. Plus, it is FUNCTIONAL. If I need to, I unwrap my bracelet to over 20 Feet of 550lb test paracord. I can swing like a fat tarzan from lamp post to lamp post in my suburban survival dilemma with this cord (do not try at home).

With that said, you can check them out for yourself at http://www.survivalstraps.com/

If you would like more information on Wounded Warrior project you can get more info at http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/

Have fun, stay safe, remember to check your chambers.

Respect The Revolver

A friend of mine had once upon a time purchased a Colt King Cobra revolver chambered in .357 mag and loved it. Just a fun take to the range gun, not a carry weapon or anything like that, he just liked the look and feel of a badass revolver. I was in the same boat as I had fell in love with a S&W 686 snub, ALSO chambered in .357. Now here is where the differences lie.

I clean my guns. Probably too much at times and not enough at others; but when I clean them I clean them soundly. Smooth, shiny and all parts in polished working order until I am sure it is better than the day I bought it. My friend is not so thorough. Here is the math that led to the issue.

Basement Apartment
+Foam lined Locked case
+8 months of neglect
= Pistol Rusted in and out

This poor thing wouldn’t cock fully, would not go past half a pull in DA and the chamber failed to rotate at all. Basically, the King had gotten Lockjaw.

My buddy called and asked if I knew what to do and with such little knowledge of damage to that extent, I recommended what he already knew…find a gunsmith. Well, a couple more months went by as we both got busy with work until finally, he asked/I offered to take a look at it.

Upon receiving the revolver, I was a little concerned I had gotten in over my head. I took it down to the workshop and stared at it a bit. Pulled up some exploded diagrams, tried searching Google and YouTube, alas, hopeless. So I dove in and immediately put two hands into the hammer and snapped that bastard back with all my might. CRACK!

Shit. Did I break it? Squeeze trigger. Nothing. Sonofabitch. Two fingers and PULL trigger. TINK! Holy crap it works?!? Now I am curious and see hope, so we begin with the dousing.

One can of Gunscrubber, a mangled plastic gun pick and a fistful of patches later, she smells and looks awful, but she is spinning and working again in DA and SA. Good stuff. Then the OCD kicks in. I have the chamber out and soaking in some Hoppes, I have the grips off and drying and I can see rust on the Bolt (the part that holds the cylinder in place when cocked). Do I dive deeper? how much does it matter? Do I give a damn if this kid’s gun is for shit? UUUggghhhh.

Get the screwdriver out and let’s get brave.

I opened it up and was instantly mortified. Almost every contact part had rust either holding it in, holding it on or connecting it to another part aside from the places I had broken it free. The kind of thing you would see in the TITANIC wreckage. So I started dousing it with Hoppes and hope to get a better view. I then took a picture so I knew where all the pieces went so I had a full color reference where everything was supposed to be. Let’s play operation.

One piece at a time, laid out in a magnetic tray I got each trigger assembly piece and spring out, bathed, scrubbed, polished and replaced. Scrubbed the bejeezus out of the interior. A day of soaking and 2 hours of scrubbing and polishing later, everything slid right back into place like it had never seen an issue. I am impressed with the gun AND myself.

But did I do it right? Does it work?

Took a video to send my friend, and if you hadn’t known the condition it was in, it just looks like another video of a jackass putting a revolver through the paces. Spin the cylinder, DA dryfire (with snapcaps), SA dryfire, rapid fire, open the wheel gun, eject casings. It looked like a solid used gun with wear marks, not like a victim of deep sea negligence. It was at this point I knew, you HAD to respect the revolver.

I may not have 12-18 rounds, I may not have several magazines for a speedy reload, but I do have a new love for my S&W 686 and my Ruger .44 mag. Apparently, you can lock it shut with rust, scratch it, mar it, clean it little to none… but with a little TLC, you can almost always have a gun with VERY little moving parts still be VERY lethal. I will never get rid of any of my revolvers, that’s for sure.

This is My Rifle

This was the premise I was under when I began considering an AR build. To be perfectly honest, after firing Monkey’s AR, I was almost positive I didn’t even want one. Arm length was uncomfortable, HATED the vertical grip, constant cordite in the face and as nice as EOTech is, I didn’t like the reticle at all…too much going on. Everything screaming at me, “This is not a gun for YOU”. So I left it alone.

I was at a local gun shop when I tried another model…like goldilocks (too big, too small…just right) I started picking one after another after another off the rack… comparing, sizing up, building a rifle in my head a la carte. I liked this stock, but not that, this grip but not that. This rail would be great if it was 3 inches longer etc, etc… Then we started in with the internets.

Blogs, reviews, youtube, blogs, catalogs, SHOT show interviews, company profiles, more catalogs, installation guides on youtube… It was a serious couple weeks of mind numbing until I finally said, screw this, let’s just do it. So off I go (to a different gun shop) to put in my order for s Stag Arms Model 3 O.R.C.

Break out the toolkit (a.k.a. Wallet) as we spend another two weeks ordering, searching, ordering some more. Bravo Company, Midway, Brownells…even Amazon and eBay…just plain ridiculous ordering. Try this out, replace that… this works for me, this does not. It was becoming MY rifle. There are many like it, but THIS one is mine. After I whored myself out to Magpul, BCM, Aimpoint and VLTOR as well as a few random names…we ended up with this.

Now this isn’t an article about anything other than, this is MY rifle. I customized it the way I did for very specific reasons and will outline those reasons part by part in the future if you are interested, so you the reader can understand how I came to these decisions, and maybe it will help you make yours.

If you are looking into or would like to purchase or build an AR of your own, understand that This is YOUR rifle, there are many like it, but THIS one, is yours.

What is S.P.O.R.T.S.?

S.P.O.R.T.S. is an acronym used to go through the steps of properly cycling your AR. Platforms and controls vary from one weapon to another, but the S.P.O.R.T.S. method gives you a solid base to begin properly cycling and operating your weapon. This will also help you to better troubleshoot malfunctions in case of things like misfire, failure to load, etc…

Stay Safe, always check your chambers.

Glock 36 Pistol Review

Glock Model: 36
Calibers: .45 ACP

I recently wrote a article about how I feel and felt about Glock before I wrote this review, I wanted that off my chest. Now that it is out in the open, let’s dive right into brass tacks. I didn’t want to like this weapon… I wanted it to be an dumb experiment where I tried it out just so I could say I tried it and be “well-Informed” and unbiased while still retaining my core values and beliefs on what a gun should be. Well that’s not at all what happened.

So I picked up this Glock 36, a sub-compact from their “Slimline” series, a series in which it is one of one, however, about as wide as a 1911. I wanted to try a Glock, wanted a smaller conceal carry piece and wanted a good price. This fit the bill nicely so we bought a used Glock 36. Dirty little bugger, which was good, I get to clean it. Now, I am not a professional, nor gunsmith, but let me tell you, I have NEVER seen a gun so thoroughly cleaned so fast. I had to double check Field Strip and Clean resources online to make sure I didn’t miss anything. Color me a little impressed already. Let’s go shoot this thing.

I have always been told (slanderously) and believed Glock to be a highly inaccurate weapon, and with this sub-compact I was not expecting what happened next. I got 4 out of 6 rounds in a 2” grouping at 25 meters. Really?! Ask Monkey, I am a horrible shot, this is not right. Tried some more, and you know what…I think I am starting to like this weapon. Continued to put more rounds through it and got great results. So lets sum this whole experience up in a paragraph so I don’t ramble on forever.

Glock 36 is small and light, but make no mistake, there is steel on your hip. Wears comfortably and draws easy from the IWB holster I got for it. One of my favorite things about the Glock is they all seem to have a longer trigger guard that really lets me wrap my supporting hand index finger right around it. Being a .45 ACP she kicks like a mule, but does not fly out of my hands. Sight picture is great with Glock’s U and Dot sight (I don’t know if there is a name they call it) that looks like a stick figure torso with his hands up. Reacquiring target is pretty easy with that setup, I just wish it was tritium. I would have liked a small mag extension option similar to other brands sub-compact models, but that just wouldn’t really be Glock. There are a few extras I would have liked in a Glock, however for what they charge for them NEW, it is understandable why they were left out.

To wrap it all up, I am not selling it, and am oddly enjoying it. It’s so square, and lays flat with almost no raised surfaces, but rounded on all the spots you need it to be… It’s the prettiest ugly gun I have ever seen and owned and holding it and shooting it, you feel like it means business.

This doesn’t make me a fan boy, I just respect Glock a lot more now than I used to.

Pros:

  • Easy to use and clean
  • Great Conceal Carry Weapon
  • Sight picture
  • Life expectancy
  • Price

Cons:

  • Magazine pinch meaty palms
  • Sight visibility low/no light
  • I actually liked it

Sig Sauer P226 Equinox Pistol Review

Make: Sig Sauer
Model: P226 Equinox
Calibers: 9mm, .40

First, let me say that this was my first handgun. Like most people nowadays I did lots and lots of research online. I fired friends weapons, rented at the firing range, held hundreds of different handguns and multiple gun shops and asked and asked and asked experienced owners “what should my first gun be?” It came down to 3 guns, which we will cover in the future, but the one I chose was the Sig Sauer P226 chambered in .40. So if you think I am biased, I probably am a little. But like you, it was only AFTER research, research and research with plenty of live testing beforehand.

The 226 platform is a gun. A great gun. It has the weight and feel of holding a weapon that instantly makes you understand, this should be respected. A similar feeling to holding a broadsword in a kindergarten classroom. It looks cool, it is solid as solid can be and commands your attention. The standard SigLite tritium night sights are amazingly accurate and reliable, and glow like little green suns. The control surfaces are ergonomically comfortable and accessible without having to angle or fidget with the weapon and serve legitimate purpose. The balance is good in your hand and points naturally which helps handle recoil and reacquisition for follow up shots. Disassembly is fairly easy as most handguns are today for field stripping and general cleaning is a breeze.

The 9mm is way cheaper over time to fire due to ammo cost, is an effective round and is much easier for a first timer to get used to. I chose the .40 based on personal taste (big badaboom) as well as the availability of the model I wanted. I highly recommend either caliber, but for a new shooter, definitely 9mm. Spare me your arguments of lethality and stopping power, learn to hit a target standing still first, and then we will talk about your “combat effectiveness” cowboy. It’s your local range, not Blackhawk Down.

The “cons” in my eyes are few, especially from the view of the new gun buyer. It is a little heavier than say, a Glock, and almost no difference between a Beretta. The price tag may scare away a first time buyer, but it is worth the cost. I have never had a jam or misfire in over 5000 rounds, and the worst thing that has happened was the slide not locking back because I never cleaned my mags (which I promptly fixed).

In summary, the Sig Sauer P226 is a great platform for new and experienced shooter. The benefits and reliability out weigh the cost, the gun feels LIKE A GUN and this is a pistol that will stand the test of time.

Pros:
Reliable.
Easy to use.
Ergonomics.
Sights and sight picture.
Life expectancy

Cons:
Price tag
Weight

Used guns are not a bad thing.

Used guns are not a bad thing at all.

Look at your first car. At least most have a used car as their first car. Probably dinged it, dented it, broke a part or several on it or maybe even totally wrecked it. Now change the word Car for Gun. You can get a totally gorgeous weapon, never fired by anyone but you, no scratches on it and factory fresh. Take it apart once and gouge a screwdriver through the frame, or slide, whatever. I was BULLSHIT the first time that happened.

Used gun with fading or chipped Cerakote, or scratches already on it in the same place I would have made them? Dirty uncleaned pistol that someone put 100-500+ rounds through and decided it wasn’t for them? Cleaning product I want to try or just flat out don’t know what I am doing? Used gun is perfect for all those tasks and more. Plus, I feel like it is an animal shelter and sometimes I like to rehabilitate…

Things like field stripping, cleaning and general maintenance have a lot of similarities between makes and models so personally, I would twist up bang up and clean up a USED gun before spending my hard earned money on a beautiful gun I love once I know what the hell I am doing.

Practice Makes Perfect-ish…

Listen, you want to get better at anything, it takes time and repetition. You can’t be a race car driver if someone else is shifting gears for you, or in this case, you are shifting at your own pace on the practice track.

This video takes you through the routine I use for Mag Change Drills. In the video you will see me fumble my first mag, you will see me have a horrible index and load and finally, a (what I thought was) weapon malfunction. Turns out I was holding DOWN the slide catch with my thumb with the grip I was using.

The video helps me identify problems, and I have no qualms about showing you my failures if it helps make you better.

Remember, strapping a gun to yourself and thinking you’re ready to defend yourself or others is no different than buying a guitar and calling yourself a musician.

PRACTICE!

Why I Hate(d) Glocks

You could never convince me to buy a Glock. Never. Stubborn, set in my ways a definitely VERY proud of my Sig Sauer. To me it was Ford vs. Chevy, it was Grape Jelly vs. Raspberry. Similar, but it was one side of the fence or the other in my eyes and the side I was on, spit on Glock.

Let me tell you where this came from.

Once upon a time I was VERY new to firearms. I knew less than I know now, and I still don’t know jack. However, I knew a bad experience when I had one and the first Glock I shot was exactly that. I believe it was a Glock model 19 owned by Lou (one of us FourGuys) and I couldn’t make heads or tails of it. I was the proud owner of not just ANY Sig P226, but an Equinox. (OOOooOOohh). I was so enamored with my nitron steel, machined finish, glowing tritium hard-on that nothing else could even compare. Glock, by side to side comparison, was ugly, felt cheap, had a rattle to it…felt like a deadly water pistol. I was not impressed. Trigger pull? WTF is this now? There was a safety in the trigger?! No manual safety, no de-cocker, I was seriously just all set with Glock with that one experience.

By comparison… to a noob such as myself… I owned a beautiful, finely tuned pistol, and Glock was the exact opposite, so I scoffed and bid the ugly black gun adieu.

Fast forward 5 years later. Owner of many more firearms, and I am pretty much smitten with ALL things that go boom. How to properly hold, trigger pull, weapon lights, tac rails holsters you name it. All I keep reading no matter what I am looking at is a comparison to Glock, or someone else writing their undying love for Glock. Weapon accessories? guess what is always available? Oh yeah, made for Glock too. I am less stupid 5 years later and think maybe I should give Glock another shot. After all, how knowledgeable can someone be about a firearm when they fired it ONCE after being a gun owner for approximately 5 minutes?

I hemmed and hawed over it and was presented with an opportunity to purchase one on the cheap. I figured if it sucked, I could sell it for the same as I bought it (that was a good price) and no harm no foul. Oh, and had to keep it secret from the other guys because if they ever found out I bought a Glock after all the hate, it would be epic.

Glock 36. Not a traditional “first-time” Glock purchase, but being the thrifty gun lover I am (sarcasm and justification to the wife) I needed a smaller CC weapon (Conceal Carry) and this Glock would fit the bill. The gentleman I bought this Glock from was also giving me a Comp-Tac IWB holster to go with it (review to follow on that as well) and several spare mags. I am now the proud owner of a never cleaned, used Glock 36 and am already feeling a little buyer’s remorse before I even leave the arrangement. I am however, dead set to getting an open and unbiased perspective so I thank the man for his weapon and head on my way.

Let’s clean this pig. I was as fair and unbiased as Fox News as I slapped gun scrubber in it. Not the nice MPro-7 or even Hoppes with some patches, q-tips and love. F that. I treated that gun like an unwanted stepchild. I hosed it…HOSED it down with gun scrubber, wiped it down, gave it some lube specifically where the manual recommended and racked the crap out of it.

Huh…(I thought to my self a little surprised) Even though I may not have given it the same TLC I give the Sig, or the Beretta or the Springfield, I would NEVER run or carry a gun that I wasn’t positive was clean and mechanically sound. I did scrub and clean, just not with as much care as ANY other gun I own. This thing cleaned in no time by comparison. Not only that, but I didn’t spend 20 minutes just trying to polish the shiny areas or get my fingerprints off it. It looked EXACTLY the same as when it was dirty…just…you know, clean. I could slide it across the parking lot, drop it in dirt or gravel and it would still be the same Glock 36. I was beginning to come around. Let’s wear it for a bit and get to the range.

I never had experience with an IWB let alone Kydex or even Comp-Tac as a brand so this was an entirely new experience all around. More on that in the review. The major thing I noticed was, I didn’t feel a thing. I was actually pretty comfortable. The Glock 36 is the slimmest Glock (I believe) Glock makes. as well as a sub-compact. I kept that in mind so I didn’t compare it directly to a full size 1911 or my 226 like an ass. 6+1, and a spare mag and I wore it ALL day. Getting more impressed, let’s go run some rounds through it.

At the range, any final thoughts of negativity or doubt were instantly set aside in less than 1 (one) magazine. We ran more mags just to be certain, but when I hit 4 out of 6 in a 3” grouping at 25 meters…with a SUB COMPACT .45 mind you, and I can’t do that with almost ANY gun I own… I was coming around.

Needless to say, I now carry that Glock everywhere. Not only that I am considering a compact or full size model somewhere down the road. I still love my Sig, and if you have the means, get one. It is a fine pistol and I appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into every one. Like I said, I own several manufacturers and LOVE every gun I own. The conclusion I have come to is, it is one thing to love craftsmanship, and another to respect engineering. My Glock 36 may not be the prettiest girl at the dance, but I can treat her like crap and use her everyday without worry (so far). At the end of the day I respect Glock and appreciate it more than I ever did before, it was just a long time coming I guess.

How Does it Come Apart? (P226 Takedown)

Handguns are all different, from revolvers to semi-automatics, makes models and calibers to even the naming of the parts sometimes. There are some consistencies though. Most automatics have things like, a slide catch/lock, barrel, guide rod and/or spring. All the things you need for basic cleaning and maintenance in the field of said weapon have readily available access to them.

Above is a video on basic field stripping of a semi-automatic handgun, the order and the parts involved.

  1. Safety First! Check and make sure Ammo, Magazine and Chamber are CLEAR!
  2. Pull slide to the rear of the weapon and lock the slide back with the Slide Catch/Slide Lock
  3. Turn Down the Release lever on the side to allow the slide to come forward and off
  4. GET A GRIP! Grasp the slide in a way that gives you full control of the slide while not interfering with access to the slide catch. It will not require herculean strength, but if you do not have a firm grip on most semi-autos, the next step is embarassing.
  5. While holding the slide, release the slide lock and remove the slide from the grip via the slide rails.
  6. Remove Spring and guide rod, this usually requires a forward pressure/lift and then un-spring. DO NOT let that sucker fly off, or you may lose either or both forever.
  7. Remove barrel, usually by a slight slide or nudge forward and then an up and out.

To put it back together simply reverse the steps.

Guns like 1911’s and Glocks have different methods, but generally similar situations once the slide comes off. With so many variations on handguns this is by no means a be all end all fieldstrip. That’s why every gun comes with a manual.

This is not a stereo, or a workbench or an RC car that you can look at the box and say “I can figure this out” READ YOUR GODDAMN MANUAL. Incorrect assembly/disassembly of A WEAPON can lead to damage and/or destruction of the gun …or worse YOU. So don’t F around. Bought a used gun that didn’t come with a manual or some other excuse? Well, you got here, now go to the manufacturer’s website and download the free pdf. Almost everyone manufacturer does this so go get a free manual.

Any questions or requests for a specific gun or help? Drop us a line!