Werkz M2 holster for Polymer80

 Werkz holsters is a small kydex company located in Princeton Idaho. I first heard of them on the Handgun Radio podcast. Werkz makes of variety of formed holsters and accessories. From custom to off the shelf, they have you covered. Werkz sent me one of their M2 IWB holsters for a Polymer 80 PF940c and a M2 magazine carrier for this review.

 The M2 holster is a taco style design with some other features. A taco style holster is one that is made out of one piece of material, then folded over a mold, hence the taco name. A feature that I didn’t think I would use was the ability to convert it to an outside the waistband (OWB) holster. I found this actually quit useful when I realized that this was the only holster I had for my Polymer 80 and needed it OWB. I switched the clip to the other side. To do this, one just removes the two screws holding the clip on, and moves it to the other side. The M2 has clip locations at two heights and an angled location also. I ran the holster IWB with it angled or canted forward. This resulted in the main dislike of the holster. The clip doesn’t completely rest against the holster. It hangs about halfway off. When wearing it in this config, I felt as if it didn’t have as much surface area holding onto my belt and was also easier to take the holster off of the belt. When using the M2 in the straight upright position, this was not a factor.

 I must admit, this is one of the nicest finished holsters I have used. The edges are smooth, and I mean real smooth. It has some sort of texture on the outside. The Werkz logo is etched or laser engraved into the kydex. There are bosses where the clip is screwed on. It is open at the bottom so that a longer, or threaded barrel, will fit. The sight channel is really tall to clear suppressor height sights. It is even clearanced for a micro red dot sight.

 I’ve worn the M2 on and off since receiving it. It holds the pistol very nicely with good retention. One can adjust the retention somewhat by tightening or loosening the tension screws. The M2 does seem to print some under a T-shirt, or any thinner shirt. That is why I only wore it off and on. If I had a jacket on, no problem, but I usually just wear a T-shirt as a cover garment. I mainly wore it at the 2:30 to 3 o’clock position. Angling the pistol/holster combo forward didn’t seem to make it print any less. After about 3 days of wearing the M2, my body adjusted and it was comfortable, at least somewhat. I like how the M2 only has one wide clip, it makes it easier to locate exactly where it is the most comfortable. The M2 is a small holster, Werkz even calls it minimalist, and I’d have to agree.

 As I also mentioned, I wore the M2 as an OWB holster also. This is also when I mainly used the M2 mag carrier. I wore the M2 at a local Steel Challenge match. I was concerned using it with just the single clip. After 25 draws and reholsters, I am no longer concerned at all. It performed well as an OWB rig.

 Now a little about the M2 magazine carrier. The mag carrier is also a taco style and holds the magazine vertically. It is currently only offered for 9mm/40 Glock style magazines. As with the holster, the mag carrier clip is also reversible for IWB/OWB. I never reversed the clip, I just turned the magazine around and it worked fine. The M2 mag carrier is of the same high quality as the M2 holster.

 If you are looking for a good quality, and inexpensive holster, give Werkz a look. If the M2 is in stock, it is one of the “quick ship” holsters. So you can have it quickly also. They will also do custom holsters, if that’s what you’re looking for.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

Minimalist Kydex Holster

Target Market:

Those needing a decent holster

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • IWB - OWB convertible

  • Kydex

  • Adjustable clip height

  • 1.5” belt clip

  • Straight or canted

  • Adjustable retention

  • Useable with slide mounted optics

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

With or Without some rail mounted lights and colors

What others are saying?:

One holster to do it all. 5/5 stars on Amazon
By Dan S
Awesome holster. Ambidextrous carry options for every situation and adjustable retention. So far this is the only holster I could find that can AWIB and strong side OWB carry without replacing any parts, just moving some screws and bushings. Comfortable and has minimal printing. Also, you can't beat this price. Nearest comparable product from a reputable source is going to cost more for less features.

Link to other reviews:

None for this particular holster

Price point:

MSRP holster = $42.50

MSRP mag carrier = $30.00

Retail = $50.00 on Amazon

I need it now! Availability:

Werkz or Amazon

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • Great construction

  • Adjustable retention

  • Adjustable cant

  • Convertible between IWB and OWB

  • Price

Cons:

  • Holster prints

  • Clip

Score: 7.5 Good

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Favorite Link:   Triggrcon




 

Werkz M2 w/TLR-1 Holster

Written by: Zane Mungillo

     Finding a good holster can be hard.  It’s such a personally dependent thing. There is a reason I have two large drawers full of them.  What is a great choice for me may be entirely wrong for you. It’s for that reason I approach holster reviews a little differently than other products. All holsters, in my opinion, should have the following qualities to even be considered for concealed carry:
•completely cover the trigger/guard
•allow for a full firing “master” grip on the gun while holstered
• have positive retention of some kind
•be made of either leather or kydex (not both) 
•allow for one handed reholstering. 
•firmly attach to the belt or pants
    
 Had the Werkz not “passed” these requirements, I would not have continued the review. 

     The Werkz holster took me on an emotional roller coaster if you will. A variation on their m2 iwb (customized for my gun and light) the holster, at first glance, appears to be very well crafted. All edges were buffed and perfectly smooth. It’s comes with a 1.5” injection molded clip that can be mounted at two different ride heights, straight draw or canted forward or backwards. It also has two tension screws for adjusting how much passive retention is on the gun/light combo. Retention is good when set to my preferred stiffness and a solid audible and tactile click is present when the gun is inserted, I knew I was going to love this holster. 

     That is, until I put it on, while extremely comfortable I couldn’t conceal the gun. The grip printed horribly in my typical dress, shorts and a t-shirt. Standing a boring 5’10” and weighing in at around 150 lbs I realize that I’m asking a lot of a holster to conceal a g17 in my extra medium t-shirts.  To give the holster a fair shake, I wore a slightly larger shirt a few days a week and carried around the house and at the range where I’m much less concerned with printing. 

     After about 2 months, when taking the gun and holster off I noticed the two tension screws had completely backed out and where nowhere to be found. The gun still had plenty of retention while in the waistband but this was concerning to me. To be fair I didn’t apply loctite after setting the desired retention so I chalk this up to that.  Since I used to make holsters in my shed, I have plenty of Chicago screws and such laying around so I replaced them and applied loctite this time (like I should have as soon as I got the holster).

     I decided to “modify” the holster at this point to make it more concealable so I superglued a pair of Dr. Scholls pads  to the inside portion and glue a furniture slide pad to the front inline with the belt clip. This both tilted the grip into my stomach but rotated the grip around. Werkz now offers a claw to accomplish the rotation of the grip and a quick google search of “the aiwb holster hack, Limatunes” will show you how to do the Dr. Scholls hack. I in no way removed material or heated the holster as to compromise the function of it. I simply added a wedge and a claw. 

     The holster now works fine with my typical dress and I’m very pleased with it.  I have over a thousand drawstrokes from it over the course of much dryfire and many range trips as well as about six months worth of  carry. I’m carrying it everyday for now until the next new hotness comes around that I have to try. 

FIREARMS INSIDER REVIEWS - 8 KEY POINTS

CLAIM TO FAME:  

Holsters made with little extra bulk and fast turnaround time, even on custom orders

TARGET MARKET:  

Concealed carriers 

FNBS (FEATURES & BENEFITS OF THIS PRODUCT):  

  • Meets my requirements for a good holster
  • Well made

WHAT OTHER AESTHETIC OPTIONS OR FINISHES ARE AVAILABLE?

Black, Blue, coyote brown, dark gray, FDE, olive drab, carbon fiber black, carbon fiber blood red, carbon fiber coyote, carbon fiber fde. 
Firearm and light options
1.5” or 1.75” clip 

What others are saying:  

Couldn’t find anything for this particular setup (g17w/trl-1) 
The only other reviews I found were on amazon and they tend to be hit or miss. 

Price point:  

MSRP - $42-80 depending model and options.

Retail - Same

I need it now availability: 

Werkz.com - Ships next day on in stock, 2-5 days for quick ship customs and 10 business days on completely custom orders.

Our Ratings:

Pros: 

  • Works as advertised
  • Holds gun securely


Cons: 

  • Not as concealable as other holsters I’ve tried 


Score: 7.50 Good

6.5 before modifying 8.5 after for an average or 7.5

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Faxon Firearms Glock Barrel

 It seems as if everyone is getting into the custom Glock barrel making business. Faxon Firearms is no exception, or is it? Faxon has been making rifle barrels for some time now. What’s the next logical step, pistol barrels, of course. Faxon was gracious enough to send me 2 of their Glock barrels. One for a G19, and then one for a G17. We will mainly be talking about the G19 barrel.

 The G19 barrel that came in was the TiN (titanium nitride) one. This coating gives the barrel a great looking gold plating. Not only does it look good, but it should last a lifetime. Not only does the barrel have Tin coating, the Tin coating is actually done over a QPQ salt bath nitride. These “Match Series” barrels are made from 416-R Stainless Steel. Faxon also does a flame style fluting on the outside of the barrel. On this type of barrel, I would have to hear some really good data as to why, except that it looks good.

 These barrels are what they call “Drop in”. Yes, it did drop into my slide without any fitting, and I would expect it to for almost any slide. Because it has tighter tolerances than a stock barrel, the lock up is tighter and the fit in general is better. According to Faxon, it has a 9mm SAAMI chamber. It doesn’t mention a “match” chamber. The barrel also runs a 11 degree target crown. Faxon uses a conventional button rifling. This means that you can shoot any type of bullet out of it, including lead. The lock up was nice and tight. The barrel has very little, if any, noticeable movement front to back or side to side. There are some wear marks around the barrel, but that is to be expected. I guess those tight tolerances are working correctly without being too large to cause problems.

 I want to mention difference that I noticed with this barrel. The hood of the barrel (the top part that fills up the ejection port) has a tapered cut at the front. This allows the slide/barrel to unlock more smoothly, at least in my opinion. Other “match” barrels that I have are just squared off in this location. After a little use, they show a wear mark, but the Faxon barrel does not.

S - Sig 115gr. 3 rounds shown, other 2 rounds are covered by tape measure

 Now that I’ve bored you with the details, how does it shoot? My answer would be good. I tested accuracy with 7 different ammunition manufacturers. These groups were shot at 15yds with me resting the pistol on a bag. I used a Polymer 80 frame with a Grey Ghost Precision slide. The 5 shot groups ranged from just under 1.5” to around 7”. I also shot the same ammo through a different barrel and the 7” stuff was just as bad. Most of the groups averaged around 2.5” - 3”. This barrel has worked great from the first round and on up. The best group was with Sig 115 gr Elite ball FMJ, and the worst group was HSM 124 gr. I know this is not a Ransom rest accuracy test, but I thought it was more practical and probably gives a better idea of real world accuracy.

A - Aguila 115gr

L - Speer Lawman 124gr

H - HSM 124gr

B - Buffalo 115gr

R - Remington 115gr

 If you are in the market for a new, or replacement Glock barrel, look into Faxon. Besides the one here, they make different color options and threading also. Plus, they are made 100% in the USA in Faxon’s production facility. A great barrel option for Glock style pistols.

 

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

Drop in match grade barrel

Target Market:

Pistol shooters wanting a better barrel

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • 416-R Stainless Steel

  • SAAMI chamber

  • Conventional rifling

  • 11 Degree target crown

  • Button rifled

  • Flame fluted

  • 1 - 10 twist for 9mm

  • Salt bath nitride coating inside and outside

  • TiN PVD coated

  • Made in USA

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

Threaded, Black, Chameleon

What others are saying?:

AJ M. at Faxon. 5/5 stars

G19 Barrel

this barrel is awesome, lockup is great and fit and finish are top shelf

Link to other reviews:

AmmoLand

TFB

Price point:

MSRP = $199.00

Retail = $189.00 at Rainier Arms

I need it now! Availability:

Faxon or Rainier Arms

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • Drop in installation

  • Tin gold coating

  • Flame fluted

  • Conventional rifling

Cons:

  • Non-match chamber

Score: 8.5 Great

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Favorite Link:  Freedom Flag Products




 

Velocity Triggers MPC (Marksman Performance Choice) Trigger

 

 I have been trying to get my hands on a Velocity trigger for some time now. It finally happened when they sent me their new MPC (Marksman Performance Choice) trigger. Velocity Triggers has been making cartridge style triggers, for the AR platform rifles, for awhile now. They are based out of Phoenix, AZ and their triggers are 100% made in the USA. 

  The MPC trigger installs much like any other AR cartridge style trigger. With the exception of the trigger shoe. First remove the old trigger parts. Which includes removing the pistol grip and taking out the safety. Now you can drop in the MPC without the trigger shoe on it. Yes, I said it, without the trigger shoe. As one big feature of the MPC is the changeable shoes. Install the trigger pins, tighten up the two side screw on the trigger cartridge with the supplied allen wrench. This puts pressure on the trigger pins and keeps them from wandering out. Now that the trigger is in, Take the other supplied allen wrench and install the trigger shoe to the little nub sticking through where a standard trigger would be. The new trigger shoe has a little bit of twist built into it. What this does is make the MPC shoe pivot slightly left to right on the trigger shaft. This way it can be set for personal preference and then tightened down. One can install the shoe with the trigger guard on, but I found it easier to remove, or pivot the trigger guard out of the way. Once the safety and grip are reinstalled, check the trigger for proper function.

 The straight smooth with finger stop, is the trigger I received. The finger stop is just a little hook, on the bottom of the flat trigger, that helps keep your finger from sliding down and rubbing on the trigger guard. Velocity Triggers has multiple options for trigger shoes and colors. The smooth triggers are also radiused across the shoe, from left to right. This makes for a very comfortable feel. If you don’t like smooth with a radius, they offer a serrated (grooved trigger) also. I felt the serrated ones, and the are nice also,  just not my cup of tea, I do know people who like the serrated over the smooth. Now along with the textures, you can also get curved or straight (without a finger stop). Oh, and all are available in a number of colors. One really nice feature of the MPC, is the availability to buy extra trigger shoes for a whopping $14.95 each. All of the options, as well as the purchased trigger, use a ⅜” wide trigger pad. This is a little wider than a stock trigger and much nicer.

 Now that I’ve bored you with everything, I’ll get into how it feels. Velocity has two different pull weight options, a 3 or 4 lb pull. I received the 3 lb one. It measures right at 3 lb’s on my trigger scale, and does it consistently! I thought 3 lbs was going to feel heavy, but that is not what I found with the MPC. It has nearly zero takeup. I can’t even see any, yet alone feel any. So when shooting, one just applies pressure and the trigger just fires. The break on this MPC is fantastic and super crisp. There is a slight bit of over travel, yes slight, but hardly noticeable. Then there is the reset, strong and very tactile. I really liked the crisp reset. Some other triggers I’ve used can be somewhat mushy, this is definitely not the case here. The MPC is a single stage trigger, if you hadn’t figured that out yet. Because the MPC uses a different style of trigger shoe, the trigger reach is longer. I liked the longer reach as it placed my finger more on the pad, and less on the knuckle. If you have a really short trigger reach (think children) it may not be the best option. If you are looking for a super fast trigger, the MPC might just be it.

 I have shot lots of rounds through this trigger. Even used it with my .22lr conversion. It has enough hammer energy to have reliably fired the .22lr rounds and anything else I ran through it, including steel case 5.56. The MPC feels exactly the same as it did new. I mention this because some other triggers I have used felt better after using them for awhile. I attribute the “feel” to the hammer and disconnector being plated in NP3. NP3, by Robar, is a Nickel Teflon coating that creates low friction and high wear resistance. Either way, it performs well.

 If you are looking for a new trigger for your AR style rifle, look into the Velocity MPC. I was really surprised at how well I like this trigger. Plus the added benefits of a longer reach and wider shoe make it feel much better than your standard trigger. Even though the price is a little higher than I would like, I think it is acceptable for the quality and options the MPC has. If you are in the market for an AR trigger, the MPC from Velocity Triggers might be the ticket.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

⅜” wide AR trigger with changeable shoes

Target Market:

Anyone wanting a better AR trigger

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • ⅜” Wide Trigger Shoe

  • Different Trigger Shoe’s available

  • 3 lb pull weight

  • Drop in installation

  • Crisp trigger break

  • Short reset

  • MP3 Coated

  • Made in USA

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

4 lb, Curved, Straight, Smooth, Serrated, Red, FDE, OD, Pink, or Blue

What others are saying?:

Nothing found

Link to other reviews:

Nothing found

Price point:

MSRP = $189.95

Retail = $172.99 at Brownell’s

I need it now! Availability:

Velocity or Brownell’s

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • Changeable trigger shoes

  • ⅜” wide

  • Long trigger reach

  • Radiused

  • Short pull

  • Short reset

  • Easy installation

  • Finger stop

  • MP3 Coating

  • 100% made is USA

Cons:

  • Only available in 3 and 4 lb configurations

  • “Velocity Triggers”  writing on trigger

  • Price

Score:  8.5 GREAT

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Favorite Link:  AR 15 Podcast

Vortex Viper PST GEN II 5-25x50

 Everyone who has looked in to buying optics probably already know the name Vortex. Vortex Optics makes a vast selection of optics for the shooter, hunter, or plinker. Their range in scopes basically goes from beginner to professional. The Viper PST Gen II that they sent me for review is more toward the expert level of user, but still applicable for certain beginners.

 The 5-25x50 Viper PST Gen II First Focal Plane scope has a bunch of features. XD glass and XR coatings are first up. To put it easily into words, these help to make images clearer, sharper, have better color, increase light transmission, and give it some anti-reflectives properties. Since I have no way of checking this, besides my vision, you just get my input. The view through the glass is sharp, at least when it’s sunny, I’ll get to that later. It doesn’t seem to distort any colors. And it has better light transmission than other scopes I have used. The 50mm objective lens and 30mm main tube probably help aid in these qualities also.

Red fiber optic Radius Bar

 This particular scope uses a FFP (first focal plane) MRAD EBR-2C illuminated reticle. Yep, that’s a mouthful. With a FFP reticle, the size of the reticle stays constant, no matter what the magnification is set at. What this does for the shooter is make it possible to measure a target and then figure out the range to the target, if the target size is known, at any magnification. Also with a FFP, if you see that your shot is off, you can adjust accordingly without scaling issues. I really like the MRAD reticle that Vortex uses in this scope. It has nice size markings, but isn’t too busy. It also has a Christmas tree style, for windage and moving target hold offs. I will leave it to Vortex to explain their reticle, here’s a link: MRAD reticle instructions. The MRAD reticle is also illuminated red. The dial for the on/off illumination is on the outside of the adjustable objective knob. It has off positions between every brightness setting. The CR2032 battery is also housed in the turret unit. It is not a daylight visible reticle, more for low light and bad weather. If you are not into MRAD, they have a MOA version also.

 As a lot of the scopes in this class do, the Viper PST gen II has tactical style turrets. These turrets are nice. They have good quality “clicks” to them. The size is not overly large or small. I really liked the style of knurling they machined into them. The knurling made it easy to adjust them with gloved hands and wet hands, so dry hands were even better. The height of them seemed about right also. Since this is an MRAD scope, the adjustments are 0.1 mil/click. There are also 0.1 mil lines on the knobs. Every number on the knob (1,2,3, etc) is 1 full mil of adjustment. On the windage knob, right and left are also marked with a “R” and “L” so you won’t get confused. On the elevation turret, you also have 0.1 mil clicks with numbers for 1 full mil also. A nice feature of the elevation turret is the fiber optic rod at the zero location. Vortex calls this the “Radius Bar”. It gives a visual reference to where the turret is located. To go along with the radius bar, is an updated zero stop adjustment. Vortex went from a shim style to their Razor style zero stop. To adjust the zero stop. First rotate the turret all the way clockwise until a hard stop is felt. Loosen the 3 set screws that hold the zero stop on, pull the knob up and off. Now loosen more set screws on the turret lock. Now shoot and adjust elevation until you are happy with the zero. Now tighten the lock screws, slide the zero stop back on and align the zero/radius bar with the zero mark on the scope body, tighten those set screws, and now the zero stop is adjusted. It is a little confusing on how to adjust the zero stop. I tried to do it after adjusting for a shooting zero. Then I had to go back and do it the way I explained. Even though it isn’t self explanatory to adjust. The zero stop is a huge plus. You never have to worry about where it is adjusted, just turn the knob and it stops at your initial zero.

 The Viper PST can handle the elements. It has the standard waterproof, shockproof, and fogproof that any quality scope should have. I even used this scope in the snow and rain without any problems. As far as scope tracking goes, I only checked it by adjusting the windage and elevation knobs 1 full turn left/ right and up. Shot a round, and then turned them back to their respective zero’s. And shot another round, all the shots after returning to zero, hit where I was aiming. So it returned to zero for me. If you demand more precision than I do, Vortex uses a precision spring and erector systems to help maintain repeatability, so you should be good to go.

250 yards, sunny day, 5x

250 yards, sunny day, 25x

 I shot the viper PST in a variety of conditions. From sunny days to snowing days. I thought the clarity was really nice, until the snow came. When the snow rolled in, a rarity here in Oregon, I purposely took the PST out to see how it performed. At lower magnifications, say 5-10, the clarity was decent. But bump it up to 20-25x and it just didn’t impress me at all (see pictures). I talked with the Vortex guys about this. Them and I concluded that the main reason for the degradation was do to the magnification picking up the rain and snow. Thus magnifying it. I was told it is kind of like looking at a tree. When its on low magnification, the tree looks small. When on a high magnification, the tree is big. Relate this to snow flakes and rain drops, and they get larger also, thus making it harder to see through them and making the image appear not as clear. When in fact it is the clarity that causes one to see the rain and snow. The light transmission was pretty good in the bad weather, so that’s a plus. If you are using the PST for hunting in bad weather, I would say it is good for about 300-400 yds. Anything past that, and I don’t think you could positively ID your target. Another noteworthy drawback is the weight, especially for hunting. The Viper PST weighs in at almost 2 lbs. If using it on a varmint rifle, the weight might not matter to you. Now, if the sun is shining and it is a great day, I think you could see just about anything out to 1000 yds. But alas, this is a target scope, and not really a hunting one.

200 yards, Snowing, 5x

200 yards, Snowing, 25x

385 yards, Snowing, 5x, Illuminated

385 yards, Snowing, 25x, Illuminated

 The Viper PST Gen II is a nice optic. It does have Vortex’s no questions ask warranty, so it breaks, or you break it, they fix it free. I have heard it is the best entry level long range scope. Is it? Maybe, but I would look and see if the features are what you need compared to what you want. Vortex has such a wide variety of scopes, I am sure they make something for just about everyone.

 

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

Quality long range scope

Target Market:

Tactical and PRS shooters, Long range Hunters and shooters

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • 5-25x magnification

  • 50mm objective lens

  • First Focal Plane reticle

  • MRAD EBR-2C illuminated etched reticle

  • 30mm one piece tube

  • Tactical Turrets

  • RZR Zero stop

  • XD Glass

  • XR Coatings

  • Waterproof, Shockproof, & fogproof

  • Fiber Optic Radius bar

  • 16” length

  • 31.2 ounces

  • 3.4” eye relief

  • VIP Warranty

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

5-25x50 FFP MOA reticle

5-25x50 SFP

What others are saying?:

The optics are better although slightly behind the razor still 5/5 star on Amazon

I was one of the first ones to get this scope. It is definitely a step up from the first gen. The optics are better although slightly behind the razor still. I find it hard to justify spending nearly double for a slightly better image. Where the razor does stand out is anything passed ~20x magnification, but the viper still is more than clear enough for my needs. The gen 2 finally got rid of the shims for adjusting your zero stop and replaced it with one similar to the razor. It stops right on zero and no more mushiness like with the shims.Illumination is nice and bright and adjustable.

Now I will say that I did have a problem with my first one. I have it mounted on a 338 lapua magnum. After about 200 rounds my parallax adjustment crapped out. The yardage didn't match up anymore and every so often it would shift focus after firing.Sent it back into Vortex, they said there was an internal issue and sent me a brand new one to replace it. Great customer service and quick turnaround! Haven't had any issues since with the replacement!

 

Link to other reviews:

None found

Price point:

MSRP = $1399.99

Retail = $1099.00 on Amazon

I need it now! Availability:

Amazon or Brownell's

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • Zero stop

  • MRAD reticle

  • First Focal Plane

  • Illuminated reticle

  • Large knobs

  • Nice adjustment clicks

  • Radius Bar

Cons:

  • Zero stop adjustment

  • Heavy

Score: 7.50 Good

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Favorite Link:   Axelson Tactical

Blue Alpha gear SR EDC Belt

Written by Zane M.

  At first the belt seemed thin but being stitched double webbing it’s every bit as stiff as I have come to expect from a good quality belt. The plastic buckle is ugly, think life jacket, but if I were concerned with looks I’d wear a leather belt. Make no mistake, this belt is not a looker but it’s sure as hell functional. 

  All ready to go for the day with my new belt on and my typical set up I started my first day with the new belt. This belt had its work cut out for it. A typical load out for me consisting of a g17 with a trl-1 aiwb, a spare 20 round mag next to it, two cell flashlight in one pocket and a tourniquet in the other. All this in cargo shorts and a t-shirt. 

  Over the next few months this was my go to belt and still is as of writing. I found this belt less useful for holsters that require the belt be fed through the mounting points, it can be done but not without removing one side of the buckle (like a cobra buckle). I was, however, able to thread the buckle through almost all of my pants regardless of belt loops. The only exception was dress slacks and let’s be honest, this belt doesn’t  go with a suit anyway. 

  Sizing is super simple, unlike with most belt companies you simply order your pant size. There is plenty of adjustment. I was between sizes so I ordered up but either way looks like it would have worked fine. 

  Probably the best thing about this belt is the price. It retails for just under $35 on Blue alpha gear’s website. You would be hard pressed to find another belt this good for that price. 

 

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

CLAIM TO FAME:

Cheap durable edc belt 

TARGET MARKET:

Concealed carry 

FNBS (FEATURES & BENEFITS OF THIS PRODUCT):

  • Very reasonably priced. 
  • Alternative to the cobra buckle (for those like me that aren't a fan) 

WHAT OTHER AESTHETIC OPTIONS OR FINISHES ARE AVAILABLE?

Black 

Wolf gray

Coyote brown 

What others are saying:

From blue alpha gear’s website 

Outstanding value

Jeremy on Feb 11, 2018

What a great belt for not a whole lot of money. Fits in Levis and Carhartt with no issues. Solidly built and is the cost of a week's worth of coffee.

Works great for AIWB and regular carry. This is a perfectly capable everyday belt. Good stuff made in the US.

Price point:

MSRP - $34.97

At time of writing on sale for $29.97 from blue alpha gear 

I need it now availability:

2-5 day lead time at time of writing from Blue Alpha Gear

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • Super stiff
  • Very reasonably priced 

Cons:

  • Buckle is ugly 
  • No frills 
  • Doesn’t feed through all belt loops 

Score: 7.5 GOOD

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Brothers & Arms True Blue Gun Oil & Grease

  Brothers and Arms True Blue gun lubricant is a fairly new product in the firearms industry. The company making the gun lube is Dumonde Tech. Dumonde Tech has been making lubrication products since 1985, so they are not new to extreme lubricants. In fact most of their products are for extreme duty racing engines and such. Dumonde Tech sent me some of the True Blue gun oil and Heater grease to try out. At first I thought they were just sending samples, but when they arrived, it was full retail product sizes. The oil comes in a nice applicator bottle, and the grease comes in a nice little tub.

 Since oil is really hard to do a scientific review on, I will tell you my results. Lucky for me, I was assembling a Polymer 80 receiver and slide a little after getting the oil. So, the only lube used on that P80 has been the True Blue gun oil and heater grease. Well, it works. If you read my P80 pf940c review, you will find out that the slide to frame fit was extremely tight. I put some of the True Blue oil on the frame rails and slide. I noticed that it was easier to move the slide back and forth. I have since only used the True Blue grease and oil on this firearm. I put around 300 round through the pistol before I took it apart and looked at it. It was dirty, but still functioned fine. I probably put another 200 rounds through it before doing a rough cleaning. All I did was wipe the dirt off with a shop rag, and that was enough to clean the pistol. So this time I put some of the Heater grease on it. The grease is pretty thin, but stays on the parts quite well. The pistol works fine with the grease also, but I thought the oil was more appropriate.

 I ran the gun oil on other firearms too with no problems. This oil is pretty slick to the touch also. I squirted some on my SBR bolt and ran some rounds through it suppressed. Guess what, it’s gun oil, so it worked fine in that also. But the real test was the suppressed full auto .22lr. This thing gums up everything. Before using the True Blue gun oil, only one other oil would get you past 500 rounds without a thorough cleaning. But the True Blue came through like a champ and let me run the gun past the 500 mark! Cleaning was easy also, but I did have to scrub some from all the 22lr lead build up. I can say that the oil holds up to heat very well because of using it in the automatic.

 Now I’ll get in to some of the technical stuff. Both of these gun products benefit from Micro Resistant Complex Compounds (MRCC for short). These MRCC’s help reduce friction and increase the adhesion to metal parts. It also makes the oil “migrate” around surfaces. You can actually see this to some extent. Just put a drop of the oil on a metal surface and come back later, you will see how the oil migrates over the part. The oil and grease also have very low coefficients of friction, hence why they are slippery. The grease states “10 times slipperier than Teflon”.

 The next feature of the grease and oil is “Polymerization”. This is harder to explain, but I actually have seen it first hand. What the polymerization does, is turn the oil into a solid at extreme temperatures. So it polymerizes to form a micro thin, hard, slick coating. It basically doesn’t burn off like conventional gun oils. Let me explain what I noticed. When disassembling the machine gun, it didn’t feel like it had much oil on it. But yet the bolt was still very slick. I wiped the tiny bit of oil off, and it was still slick. It kind of looked like it had an opaque film layer on it, which I guess was the polymerization of the oil. To clean this off, I just used some Hoppes #9, but any gun cleaning solvent should work.

 I can’t really say much else about the Dumonde Tech, Brothers and Arms True Blue gun oil and heater grease. But, it does work, and work well. The only problem I see with it is, you can’t find it anywhere. Besides that, I will be buying some more when I run out. It doesn’t take much oil to lube up a firearm, so it may be awhile before I have to order more. So if you’re looking for some decent gun oil, give this stuff a try, I was pleasantly surprised.

 

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

Advanced Gun Oil & Grease

Target Market:

Gun Owners, Ranges, Police, GunSmiths

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Odorless

  • Waterproof

  • Migrates around parts

  • Very Low coefficient of friction

  • Polymerization

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

Heater Grease

What others are saying?:

Brothers & Arms TRUE BLUE is one of the best lubricants for firearms on the market today.  I am a gunsmith and avid hunter who has used a lot of different products trying to find the best lubricant for myself and my customers. We have been using Brothers & Arms TRUE BLUE for about 9 months. I am so happy with this product that I have thrown out all others. This is the only Lubricant anyone would find on my bench at West Coast Armory and Bellande Custom. All of my weapons, the Gun Range Rental firearms now use TRUE BLUE. They all run smoother and cleaner than any other products we used. Customers that followed my recommendation to use TRUE BLUE have all come back with positive feedback and have switched. TRUE BLUE is now our best selling lubricant. We love their new cleaner also. I give this product a 10 out of 10. 1/8/17

Tyler J. Bellande, Bellande Custom / West Coast Armory – Bellevue, WA

 

“I have gone through approximately 15,000 rounds of ammunition in my Tactical Solutions X-Ring rifle and my Ruger Mkiii 22/45 in practice and competitions. I have been using Heater Grease in the X-Ring and it has run flawlessly. This is by far one of the cleanest lubricants I have ever used. I clean my weapons every 3 or 4 thousand rounds and the carbon and grime wipes right off.”

Jeffery Packer, MSG (Ret), Executive Director/Chief Curator Idaho Military Museum. Tactical Solutions Shooting Team

Link to other reviews:

The GunMag.com

Price point:

MSRP = $10.99 - $14.99

Retail = $10.99

I need it now! Availability:

Amazon or

www.brothersandarmsusa.com

www.mylifeatspeed.com

www.pathfinder-militaria.com

www.spectrystore.com

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • Odorless

  • Applicator bottle

  • Adheres to metal

  • Easy clean up of oiled parts

  • “Wetting” of parts

  • Made in U.S.A.

Cons:

  • Availability

Score: 8.50 GREAT

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Chad's Favorite Link:  US Tactical Supply

 

 

Bushnell Pro 50 Lumen Flashlight

Written by: Zane M.

  If you listen to the podcast, you probably know by now that I’m a fan of having a really bright light. This isn’t one but that’s not it’s purpose. I originally picked up the bushnell pro 50 lumen pocket light for administrative purposes when burning the battery on my 800/1000 lumen light just wasn’t necessary. It uses a single AAA battery and battery life is decent. The light is small, almost too small but is still useable. The light sat in my pocket for a few years and had that been all it done this would have never been written.

  About 6 weeks ago I lost this $15.00 light and didn’t think anything of it. I figured I’d replace it and move on with my life. Then about a week ago I was mowing my gun range and found it, on the ground, packed with dirt. I knocked the dirt out and set it on the shooting bench and finished mowing. Since it was also raining the light got cleaned naturally if you will. For some reason I decided to click the tail switch before I threw it away and it came on. 5 weeks in the elements and this this was still ticking.

  If you’re looking for a cheap admin light for simple tasks this might be the light for you. 

 

FIREARMS INSIDER REVIEWS - 8 KEY POINTS

CLAIM TO FAME:

It’s a light. Nothing special 

TARGET MARKET:

Anyone who needs a admin task light 

FNBS (FEATURES & BENEFITS OF THIS PRODUCT):

  • CREE LED technology
  • Momentary On switch
  • Aircraft grade aluminum
  • Pocket Clip
  • Impact-resistant construction
  • Powered by 1 AAA battery (Duracell battery included)
  • Tested to ANSI FL1 Standards: 50 Lumens, 2 hr 15 min Run Time, 32 M Beam Distance, 2 M Impact Resistance
  • Durable and uses AAA batteries 

WHAT OTHER AESTHETIC OPTIONS OR FINISHES ARE AVAILABLE?

None 

What others are saying?:

From Walmart.com

Excellent Quality

Average rating:5out of5stars, based onreviews

12/29/2016

by Charles

This was a Christmas present to me from my Uncle and I've had for over a year. This flashlight is perfect to carry on you. With it being metal, it lasts longer and the clip in very nice and has a sturdy design, not easy to break. The flashlight is very nice especially because it only takes one AAA battery and you rarely need to change the battery (depending on how often you use it). This f This flashlight has a LED so, you never have to worry about replacing it. It is perfect for if you're looking for something in your car at night or just walking through your house at night. It is very small and can fit in any pocket. I highly recommend it because if you ever need a flashlight, you've got one in you pocket that is very bright and very small.

Price point:

MSRP = ???

Retail = $15.00 - $34.84

I need it now! Availability:

Amazon or Walmart

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • Durable
  • Cheap
  • Uses a single AAA battery

Cons:

  • Dim
  • Small 

Score: 7.0 GOOD

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You Suck, It's not the Gun

Written by: Kenny O.

  How many times has someone said “there’s something wrong with this gun” yet it performs perfectly in someone else’s hand? This is where You Suck, It’s Not The Gun was born. People are always ready to blame an equipment failure when there are certain aspects at play that cause them to fail. Recently, I had the opportunity to train with Erik “Trek” Utrecht, owner of Michigan Defensive Firearms Institute, MDFI, and learn how and why I suck. The gun just does what it’s told.

  Trek starts out by giving us some background, interspersed with movie quotes every now and again, and tells us what to expect for the day. Hearing that we will only be firing 115 rounds for a full day seems incredulous at first. How can so few rounds make one a better shooter? It all comes down to taming the wolves. After a 10 round qualification, at 10 yards, the day really gets going. Trek tells you to bury that qualification target somewhere that you won’t see it for the rest of the day. What comes next is the introduction of the two wolves that need to be tamed.

  Obviously, these are not real wolves. They are analogous to the controls that we need to master to be better shots. They are referred to as the Sight Wolf and the Trigger Wolf. The illustration that is set up is one of two children, one adolescent and one teenager. The younger of the two is kind, gentle, and obedient. This is the Sight Wolf; he wants to behave. The Trigger Wolf is not the same. He is the bad seed, rebellious, hellion of a child that will buck authority and society at every opportunity. The challenge is teaching this Wolf to obey and not corrupt the good wolf. The first way to tame him is to take your time with him. The motto of the class therefore is there is no time limit. It doesn’t matter how fast you can miss a target.

  Starting at the 1 yard line, the fundamentals get refined making many of the students 1 yard snipers. Get the T-shirt, it should be good for a laugh. Being a 1-yard sniper doesn’t sound impressive, but it helps to build on the fact that good shooting is a possibility. After a break, Trek continues to emphasize how the wolves can be tamed and becomes a chef. His shooting recipes for wolves will highlight your strengths and weaknesses on the firing line. After the first recipe or two, shooters really start to see where they need to improve or continue what’s working for them.

  Trek might just be the Bobby Flay of the shooting world because his recipes can be magical. This is evidenced at the 3 and 5 yard lines with more drills. All these drills use a 1” dot as the target. There is something to be said about using a small target to aid in improvement. It is also incredibly rewarding when you’re able to keep your shots inside of the dot. By the end of the day, after all the recipes, stories, and wolf warnings have been shared, it’s time to reshoot the 10 yard qualification. After only firing about 100 rounds, many of the students saw a significant improvement in their shooting. I myself was able to cut my group size in half from morning to afternoon.

  I strongly recommend anyone that wants to improve their shooting skills to take this class. It is not sexy, cool, or tactical. It is practical though and well priced at $175. Every bullet that a shooter fires, whether on the range or on the street, has a lawyer attached to it. Wouldn’t you want the confidence of knowing your rounds are going where you want them to go? I know I do and I consider this a small price to pay to help me do that. Trek is a great instructor who keeps what could be boring and mundane entertaining and enlightening. He is not overbearing, and he has a good sense of humor. Throughout all of that, safety is paramount. I was not in fear of injury like I have been in other classes. It was clear that I suck, it’s not the gun.

  I learned valuable lessons that day of how to suck less so I can be a better shooter.

Safe Life Defense Soft Body Armor

 Safe LIfe Defense contacted me to see if I would review some of their soft body armor. Of course the answer was an astounding YES. Safe LIfe did supply the armor for free. Safe Life Defense has a bunch of different styles of carriers and armor combinations. Their website has a wealth of information on protection levels, care, and other questions one might have on body armor.  The one reviewed here is the Concealable Enhanced Multi-threat level IIIa+ vest.

  What do you do when you first receive a vest, try it on of course. I immediately noticed the comfort. The mesh style liner that Safe Life uses is actually very comfortable. It even kind of slides around over a T-shirt. This helps to not pull up an undershirt or whatever the armor is worn over. The vest also has 6 “comfort straps” that use hook & loop, with elastic between each end, to adjust each side and the top for fit and comfort. One strap for each shoulder adjustment, and two on each side. I have a bit of a belly, and this vest adjusted and fit very well. I did notice that when I crouch down that the vest did tend to rise up a little, but I think this is pretty common.  If you are concealed carrying IWB, the vest does get in the way of the draw.  I think practice drawing your firearm, should remedy this. Some of this may be due to the fact that the sides of the vest wrap around your sides. 15% more protection than other vests, according to Safe Life. If someone were to ask me about comfort, I’d give it a thumbs up.

Inside of vest on top of ballistic panel

 I proceeded to disassemble the vest. The outer shell is made from a ripstop polyester and has proven to take a beating from being shot at. The seams won’t let you down either. We put a few rounds through the edge seams, then I tried to unravel them and pull them apart. Well, that didn’t work for me. So don’t worry about the seams coming unravelled and the inner panel falling out. The inner panel is where all the magic happens. This is the ballistic portion of the vest. It is constructed of a red color outer fabric with the Kevlar sheets inside. The ballistic panel is about ½”-¾” thick. The seams of the panel are welded together.  The outer layer of the ballistic panel is also constructed of a ripstop fabric. This helps aid in the fabric not coming apart when the vest is stabbed or shot. When shooting at the vest, we did have a .357 round blow out about an inch of the ballistic panel seam, but it stopped the round and didn’t cause the vest anymore damage. The shot was also very close to the edge of the panel.  After shooting the vest, I then tore into the inside. Inside the red fabric are super thin sheets of kevlar, stacked one on top of each other. How many, I don’t know, but it works. Also inside the panel is a piece of some sort of foam. This is the side that goes up against your body. This has to be for comfort and also to help ease the sting a little if one were to actually get shot while wearing the vest. The vest does use a different front and rear panel size, so you won’t be able to move the rear panel to the front, I tried! These panels fit inside the carrier by way of a low profile hook & loop seam/flap. Another nice feature is the ability to put rifle/hard armor plates into the front and rear outer plate pockets on the carrier. These also use a hook & loop closure to keep them closed up. I really like the construction of this vest. Through all the testing, it held up remarkably well.

Rifle Plate pocket

 Now I will get into the vests stopping ability, or at least what we threw at it. I made a wood backed target stand, installed a USPSA target on it, then placed the vest over the target. I am just going to list what we shot the vest with, and then what was stopped by it, all were shot at 10yards.

Ballistic panel welded seams

Shot through seam, this might hurt.

Blowout from .357 magnum round, seam still partially intact

  • .22lr rifle stopped

  • 9mm 5” pistol 115gr fmj stopped

  • 9mm 5” pistol 124gr +P HP stopped

  • 9mm 5” pistol 147gr FP stopped

  • 357 magnum 6” revolver 158gr JHP stopped

  • 357 magnum 6” revolver 125gr FMJ stopped

  • 40s&w 4” pistol 180gr FP stopped

  • 40s&w 4” pistol 165gr +9 HP stopped

  • 41 magnum 6” revolver 210gr JHP stopped

  • 45acp 5” pistol 185gr +P HP stopped

  • 45acp 5” pistol 230gr FMJ stopped

  • 12 gauge 3” buckshot stopped

  • 12 gauge 3” slug stopped

  • 17HMR rifle 20gr FMJ Didn’t stop

  • 30 Carbine 110gr FMJ Didn’t stop

  • 300blk 10.5” 220gr Didn’t stop

I didn’t expect the vest to stop the 17hmr, 30 carbine, or the 300 blk, but we tried anyhow. The vest was also shot multiple times with all the “stopped” cartridges without any of them going through the kevlar. Some of the more potent cartridges did leave a small dent in the wood target backing, mainly the 357 magnum and 12 gauge slug. Since the vest is also rated for some stab protection, I tried stabbing it with a spire point knife. I wasn’t able to stab through the kevlar.

Kevlar after being shot multiple times

Seams of vest after being shot a few times

Bullets pulled from inside of ballistic panel

 Everyone that helped me test the armor was pleased with the outcome. In my opinion, I would trust wearing it with my life, at least for what it is rated. Plus, if you actually get shot while wearing this armor, Safe Life will replace it free, as long as it is in it’s 5 year lifespan. Speaking of lifespan, there is a manufacture date on the ballistic panel, and Safe Life rates the armor to be good 5 years from that date. The 5 year date is pretty standard for soft body armor.

Side view when wearing armor

 If you need or want soft body armor, look into the team at Safe Life Defense. I was thrilled at the opportunity to see what this IIIa+ armor could do, and it didn’t let me down. If you can ever get the chance to see or shoot body armor yourself, do it. It really gives a person a better idea of what armor actually will stop.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

Level III+ rated soft body armor

Target Market:

Police, EMS, Security, Instructors, or anyone wanting soft body armor

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • NIJ Level IIIa+

  • Bullet, strike, slash, stab & special threat resistant

  • Special threat resistant: Liberty Civil Defense 9mm & FN 5.7×28 40gr

  • Spike/Stab Rating: NIJ Level 1 up to 36 Joules of force

  • Constructed with custom Kevlar

  • Full side protection

  • Ultra-concealable

  • Engineered for comfort and maneuverability

  • Cooling mesh liner

  • 10 Point adjustable with 4 Comfort Straps

  • 2 low profile pockets for level IV rifle plates

  • Water resistant ripstop polyester carrier

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

Sand or white

Various other styles

What others are saying?:

https://safelifedefense.com/reviews/

Link to other reviews:

AmmoLand

Price point:

MSRP = $499.00

I need it now! Availability:

Safe Life Defense

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • Comfort Straps

  • Rifle plate pouch

  • Vent liner

  • Comfortable to wear

  • NIJ IIIa+ rated

Cons:

  • Heavy

  • Hot

Score: 8.00 Great

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Favorite Link:  US Tactical Supply




 

Self Defense Insurance

First I am not a lawyer nor an insurer. The information in this article is intended to be used for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice or self-defense insurance advice.

  • YOU must perform your own research and determine which, if any, will be applicable to you.

 

You have just used your sidearm to defend your life.

You have just had the fight for your life, now you are in for the fight of your life.

Are you ready?

 

Defending yourself from using deadly force can cost a lot of money. Some recent instances cost the over $100,000 and, in one case, over $2,000,000. Not everyone has the funds available to cover the costs of a trial, especially when you consider attorney fees, court costs, expert witnesses etc. This is where self-defense insurance plans come into play. There are several companies offering insurance offering various degrees of coverage at a wide range of costs. Not all insurance plans are created equal nor do they provide the coverage you may need.

 

When evaluating self-defense insurance companies the following items should be considered:

 

Bail Bond – You need to be prepared as most likely you will most likely be arrested, taken to jail, and will need to post bond to be released. Will the insurer pay up front for the bail? Some will pay at varying degrees up front for bail, while others only after you are acquitted.

 

Lawyer – Lawyers will want up front money prior to taking your case. Some insurers will cover lawyer costs up front (at least in part) and others only if you are acquitted. If you select an insurer who will pay legal fees pending acquittal you will need to ensure you have sufficient savings to cover costs of the legal team. If you select an insurer who will cover the costs up front make sure you know what the limits are as you will be responsible for expenses beyond the covered limit.

  • Keep in mind that most insurers will want access to case files to make an assessment and determine if they will provide additional funds.

 

Lawyer Selection – can you select your own lawyer or is one assigned? If the lawyer is assigned what is their level of familiarity with Self-defense cases? Will the attorney be able to effectively mount a defense for you?

 

Why not keep a lawyer on retainer (just in case)? The issue is you are putting down funds for an event that (hopefully) will never happen. Most lawyers will not take a retainer for an uncertain future case as they will have to account for and track the money for years, or even decades. What happens to your money if the lawyer closes shop?

 

Non-Lawyer expenses – will the insurance cover costs for expert witnesses, investigators, co-counsel etc.? What is the limit for these expenses? Remember, you will be responsible for expenses beyond plan coverage.

 

Non-Firearms Self-Defense – if you do not use a firearm for self-defense (voice command, baton, pepper spray etc.) will that be covered? Some insurers will only cover firearms usage and a person legally carrying firearms have been arrested for verbalizing their INTENT to use a firearm to defend himself.

 

Gun-Free Zone – If you carry in a Gun-Free Zone are you covered? What about other areas you are not permitted to carry (bars, parks, public areas etc.)? What if you carry where it is posted ‘No Weapons’?

 

How is your case handled – When you report a Self-Defense claim will you be referred to someone on staff who has familiarity with self-defense issues or will they refer you to an external third party? Will the focus be on your defense or minimizing expenses?

 

Insurer Solvency – How much money do they have on-hand to pay for your defense? You would not want to pay for insurance just to find out that they do not have sufficient funds to pay for your defense.

 

Civil litigation – You will most likely be sued civilly, will this be covered? What are the limits? Are the limits in conjunction with or in addition to the self-defense criminal limits?

 

In summation, do you need self-defense insurance? This depends on your:

  • Likelihood to need to use deadly force to defend your life

  • Risk aversion preference – how willing are you to assume risks of paying for your defense.

  • Ability to pay costs involved for your defense.

 

Regardless of your decision to obtain legal insurance you need to consider learning about self-defense laws in your state and areas you frequently travel. Self Defense laws vary based on states, counties, cities and you should be familiar with the law. There is a difference between what the right thing to do is and what is legally right to do. Knowing and following the law is extremely important.

 

This table contains data for some most popular/advertised companies that issue self-defense insurance. A few notes on the data:

  • This data is current as of 1/1/18.

  • The data was based on what could be obtained from the issuer’s web site. If other sites had information that was not considered as it was not first hand from the issuer.

  • The NRA Carry Guard is not completed as data on their insurance could not be located on their web site.

  • You can also see additional information on http://vcdl.org/legal-plans.

    • This is from a survey conducted in November 2017.

 

"The Grater GenII" Muzzle Brake

 Trojan Firearms sent me one of their “Gen II, The Grater” muzzle brakes when they sent the straight trigger that was reviewed earlier. Trojan is probably more noticeable for their pistol caliber carbines and California compliant rifles. This muzzle brake is the same one that they install on their “1776” rifle. This muzzle brake was supplied for review.

 The Grater is a nice looking muzzle brake. It has a Black Nitride finish, so it should hold up for a long time. Trojan manufactures the brake out of 4140 steel and it is threaded ½-28. It has 3 chambers to help mitigate the recoil impulse, in which it does a wonderful job. It also comes with an aluminum anodized jam nut, so you can index the brake wherever you like without having to use a crush washer. The jam nut concept is not new, but it does work, and since it is aluminum, you won’t have to worry about messing the threads up.

 More important, is the fact that it has 10 tuneable ports. 2 on top, 2 on each side at 90°, and 2 on each side at 45°. These ports are threaded 6-32 and have set screws that can be installed or taken out. The screws bottom out so that you can’t screw them into the bullets path. With these screws, one cane tune the brake for particular ammo or if they primarily shoot right or left handed. It does take some patience to get it dialed in, but the results are worth it. Say your recoil impulse moves the gun up and right. Just remove one of the 45° screws, on the side of the movement, and shoot it again. If it moves a bit left, start by removing one of the left side 90° screws. Hopefully you get the picture.

 As I mentioned earlier, The Grater does a wonderful job mitigating recoil. Even before “tuning” it to my ammo, I could tell a difference over the previous brake that I had on the rifle. I set up some targets at around 25yds to do some double taps on. At first the rifle moved a little bit up and right. After a little time spent messing with the screws, I think I pulled out a 45° and a 90° screw, it now shoots super flat. Double taps can be done as fast as I can pull the trigger and the sight picture barely moves. As with all true muzzle brakes, it does have the flaw of being extremely loud.

 I think Trojan Firearms did an overall good job when making the Grater GenII. It does what a muzzle brake should, and has the added benefit of being “tuneable.” Yes it is not some fancy titanium, or have some space age looks, but it also won’t break the bank at $79.99. Go take a look at Trojan Firearms, they make an effective brake, if not other stuff one might like.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

Tuneable muzzle brake

Target Market:

3 Gunners, shooters, or anyone wanting to reduce recoil

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • 1/2-28 thread.

  • BLACKNITRIDE™ protective finish.

  • 4140 Carbon Steel.

  • Ten position 6-32 tapped gas ports for fine tuning.

  • Three Baffle chambered system engineered for optimal recoil reduction and muzzle control.

  • 3/4 wrench required for muzzle brake, 11/16 wrench for jam nut.

  • included jam nut 6061-T6 aluminum with black hard coat anodize

  • 0.860” outside diameter

  • 2.75” length.

  • Made in USA

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

None

What others are saying?:

Nothing found

Link to other reviews:

Nothing found

Price point:

MSRP = $79.99

I need it now! Availability:

Trojan Firearms

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • Tuneable

  • Effectively reduces recoil

  • Jam nut

  • USA made

Cons:

  • Loud

  • Takes some time to tune

Score: 8.00 Great

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Favorite Link:   Freedom Flag Products





 

XTech Pistol Training Gloves

 XTech Tactical has come out with their Pistol Training Gloves or PTG for short. We talked about these, when they first came out, on Episode 199 of the podcast. These gloves are basically shooting gloves with hook and loop sewn on to the fingers. After the episode, I contacted XTech and they sent me a pair for review.

 The PTG’s can be had in 4 sizes. XS, S, M, and L. They have a sizing chart on the PTG page. My size was a medium, and they actually fit me decently. If you have really large hands and want these, I think you might be out of luck. But for the rest of us, they can be had for $29.95. Which really isn’t a bad price for helping to learn proper shooting form. They are decent as regular shooting gloves also.

 I’ll go a little into what and how these gloves work. First off, they are blue in color, and only blue. But really for what they are for, color doesn’t really matter. Next up, the have an elastic cuff with a hook & loop strap to snug them on your wrist. Now comes the hook & loop on the fingers. It is on all of them except the index finger. On the inside, or where the pads of your fingers are, is a small pad of the soft loop portion of the hook & loop. On the outside of the fingers and thumb, where your second knuckle is, is where the hook portion is sewn onto the gloves. What this does is enable the shooter to wrap the support hand around the shooting hand by connecting the hook & loop pads. Thus teaching where to place the fingers. You might think that it would be hard to release the grip, but it isn’t, it is not very grippy hook & loop. Because they are made to teach a Thumb Forward grip, there are also pads on the thumbs to aid in placing them in the correct place also.

 I have been shooting with these for some time now. They have held up fairly well. I like them because they aren’t as thick and bulky as some shooting gloves. The synthetic leather palms give good feel. The stretchy backing also flexes to give good fit. They have vented fingers, but all gloves are warm to me during the summer. I have had friends try them out also. Most of them could see the benefits of using them for teaching. Some even seemed intrigued. I even had my daughter put them on as I explained what they did, She didn’t have any trouble lining the pads up to get a proper grip.

 There is a decent video on the XTech site discussing the PTG’s. As one can guess, these are a training aid. Because of this, they aren’t for everyone. Plus you need different sizes for different hand sizes, so a trainer may want to buy more than one size.

 I found the Pistol Training Gloves to do what they are said to do. They help teach where to put those fingers. XTech seems to have done a decent job creating them. So if you think they might be something to help yourself or others, go check out Xtech and their PTG’s

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

Gloves to help new pistol shooters with proper finger placement

Target Market:

New pistol shooters and Firearms Trainers

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Designed for “Thumb Forward” grip

  • Promotes Muscle Memory

  • Ambidextrous Design

  • Hook and Loop Fasteners

  • Durable Synthetic Leather

  • Stretchable Polyester

  • Ventilated Fingers

  • Available in different sizes

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

None

What others are saying?:

Nothing found

Link to other reviews:

None found

Price point:

MSRP = $29.95

I need it now! Availability:

XTech Tactical

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • Teaches Thumb Forward grip

  • Comfortable

  • Sizing chart seems to work well

  • Just enough hook & loop to help with grip

Cons:

  • No XL or XXL sizes

  • May have to buy more than one pair

Score: 7.5 Good

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Favorite Link:   AR15 Podcast

 

 



 

JP Enterprise Silent Captured Spring

Written by: Michael Caprioli

 

  I’ve been interested in since they first appeared in 2012. It’s a buffer spring and a buffer, it’s two – two items in one!  The JP Enterprise Silent Captured Spring is genius!  The system uses a spring like a 1911 recoil spring around an aluminum rod with adjustable weights at the BCG mating side with a cone like base at the rear of the unit.  

  JP Enterprise puts a lot of research into their products and won’t release a product if it doesn’t work 100%.  Specifically, JP did a lot of research to see if there are any limitations to their SCS.

  There are two generations of the AR15 SCS – First and Second.  The difference being the first generation uses a steel guide rod, are metric (M5) and take a 3mm hex key.  The second generation uses an aluminum guide rod and a 1/8 hex wrench.

  The AR15 JP Silent Capture Spring 2-15 (JPSCS2-15), is not compatible the Primary Weapons System (PWS) old style Enhanced Bolt Carrier (EBC).   This is because the back-bore, rear opening of the bolt carrier, is not large enough to allow the guide rod of the SCS to travel through it.  This is important because the EBC guide rod is stationary and has the BCG retracts in to the buffer tube during the firing cycle the guide rod penetrates the rear of the BCG.  The PWS EBC is easily identified by the larger rear bearing area and smaller diameter back bore.  As a side notice I remember when the SCS first came out it was also recommended not for use with the PWS Enhanced Buffer 416 Tube because the tube had a slight interior taper that did not allow the SCS to fully seat to the rear.  This is not currently listed in the product instructions.

  JP also makes an AR10 second generation version of the SCS, JP Silent Capture Spring 2-10 (JPSCS2-10).  The AR10 version is not recommended for use with HK MR762 due to its larger diameter buffer, nor the DPMS GII, which will not cycle with the SCS due to its carrier design.  It’s nice that a company cares enough about its products to let you know it’s limitations before you buy it.  

  The JP 9mm SCS will work with some 9mm pistol caliber carbines, but won’t work with others. A key to look for is if the 9mm bolt has an opening large enough and deep enough to the guide rod to penetrate.  With the numerous 9mm PCCs hitting the market I can see why it’s difficult for JP to specifically state which PCC it will work for and which ones it won’t.  But I can guarantee it will work in the JP GMR-15 9mm PCC.  (Hopefully I can review one of these in the future.)  Or if you are building your own JP sells an outstanding line of 9mm PCC products.

  Both the AR15 and AR10 are available in a heavy H2 version.  The heavy H2 is recommended for use with short barrel rifles, suppressors, select-fire, piston-operated systems and when manufacture recommends use of an H2.

  If you’re not sure what system to get JP has a SCS selection guide.

  The SCS is pricey, $139.00 to $196.00, depending on type: standard, H2, with assorted spring kit; AR15, AR10 or 9mm.  Price is the main thing that kept me away from buying the SCS.  While walking the prize table at the 2017 He-Man Nationals I picked up a gift certificate from JP Enterprise that allowed me to get two Silent Captured Springs and two Low Mass BCGs.  I ordered the AR15 SCS standard version with the assorted spring kit.  The set arrives in a neat triangular shaped box.   The kit includes the SCS system, five springs, spacer and steel weights.   You can also order additional tungsten or steel weights to customize the system for your AR15 application and ammunition.  The SCS is designed to be used in a carbine buffer tube.  If you have a rifle length buffer tube don’t worry.  JP includes a spacer to be used in a rifle length buffer tube.  Simply drop the spacer in the rifle length buffer tube first, then install the SCS next.  If you have an A5 buffer tube you should be able to trim it to fit.

  A note on carbine buffer tubes.  As I stated earlier, JP does a lot of research on their products before they release them.  They also listen to feed back from their customers.  Due to the different manufactures of buffers tubes not all of them may have the same exact internal dimensions.  As a result, the SCS was seating deeper in some tubes then necessary.  JP came up with a solution to the problem.  Place a quarter in the bottom of the buffer tube and it will fill the space needed.  There should be no gap between the back of the BCG and the buffer end of the SCS.

The standard version is designed to be a low-mass system.  The weight on the system is set by using steel or tungsten sleeves.  A standard buffer uses small steel cylinders. The H buffer comes with two steel sleeves and one tungsten sleeve.  Additional steel and tungsten sleeves can be purchased to fine tune your rifle

  The five springs are rated from light to heavy and are color coded.  You must refer to the product instructions to reference the colors (so keep the product instructions with your springs!)  Changing the springs is very easy. Remember safety – wear safety glasses! You are dealing with a spring under tension and parts may fly into your eyes. Depress the weight end and place a small Allen wrench or pin into the hole in the guide rod.  Unscrew the guide rod screw.  Now remember the weights are under spring tension and now there is nothing to keep them from flying off into the oblivion that your detent pin flew off to last month. Push the weights down to relieve tension on the Allen wrench, or pin, and remove it.  Slowly allow the spring to expand until there is no more pressure against the weights.  The weights should be clear of the guide rod, remove them and then you can remove the spring.  Select what spring you want to use, and install it in reverse order.  The guide rod screw comes a dap dried of 242 loc-tite on it and should be good for about two removals and resets.

  I used the white spring because my intended purpose was a light weight 3-gun rifle with a JP Low Mass BCG.  I also have JP Adjustable gas block on the rifle length gas system.  After tuning the gas system for reliability, I ran the rifle through a series of tests.  I used both JCAA 55 grain and 77 grain long range ammo.  The cycling was flawless and fast.  I also noticed the rifle recoil was smooth and shot very flat, it did not nose dive when it returned to battery.  I think this is because of the limited range of motion of the SCS.  The forward motion of the spring is stop by the retention screw in the guide rod.  In a standard AR15 the buffer is pushed forward by the spring and the buffer hits the detent pin in the lower receiver.  This may or may not be correct but either way, the system provides smooth cycling.

  So is the JP Silent Captured Spring worth the money?  I would say, “Yes.”  I did not find anything negative about the system and saw an advantage to it.  I would highly recommend it for any higher end build.  And I think everyone needs at least one high end build AR15.

  DISCLAIMER:  The products reviewed have been personally purchased or won as prizes from shooting competitions.  Any items provided to the writer for review shall be stated and disclosed in the review. The writer does not receive any financial compensation from any company’s in this review and will identify any sponsorship relationship with any companies in the review.

 

FIREARMS INSIDER REVIEW – 8 KEY POINTS

 

CLAIM TO FAME:

Self-contained, complete spring buffer system. Eliminates the drag and twang of traditional buffer springs.  

TARGET MARKET:

AR15 shooters looking to improve the performance of their rifle and end the twang.

FNBS (FEATURES & BENEFITES OF THIS PRODUCT):

  • Exceptionally smooth operation

  • Easy installation

  • Unique look

  • Adds in recoil efficiency

  • No bolt bounces

WHAT OTHER AESTHETIC OPTIONS OR FINISHES ARE AVAILABLE?

Available for all types of AR systems.

Easy to adjust buffer weights

Easy to adjust spring weights

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING:

One of those things I can’t imagine living without. – The Truth About Guns

It will blow your mind how smooth it makes your rifle. – The Firearm Blog

LINK TO OTHER REVIEWS:

The Firearm Blog: Gadget Review

Tactical Gun Review – JP Rifles LMOS and Silent Captured Spring Review

PRICE POINT:

MSRP:  $139.95-$206.95

Retail: $139.95-$169.95 @ Brownell's

I NEED IT NOW! AVAILABILTY:

Brownell’s

JP Enterprises

OUR RATING:

Pros:

  • Easy to install

  • Easy to adjust

  • Smooths weapons reciprocation

  • Quite

Cons:

  • Expensive (but worth it)

 

SCORE:  9.0 EXCELLENT

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Guntec 15" Compression Handguard

 Guntec Usa sent me their new compression M-Lok handguard for review. They were also kind enough to send an extra one that we gave away on the podcast. This particular handguard is a 15” free float and anodized black. Guntec has been making AR accessories in the US for decades.

 I noticed a few new things about this compression handguard. Guntec put some QD mounts at the rear of the handguard. In my opinion, this is a great asset. It also came with 1 QD swivel. This handguard also has M-Lok slots all the way down both sides as well as the bottom. That was one of my complaints with their Air-Lite that I reviewed some time ago. This one also has a full length top picatinny rail. As well as diamond cuts throughout to reduce weight. The black anodizing is also a little dull looking, more of a matte finish as compared to a gloss one. It doesn’t scratch off or anything, so there is no need to worry about it.

You can see the slight misalignment of the rail to the receiver

 Installation on the compression handguard is super easy. All you really need to do is install the barrel nut and tighten to manufacturers specifications (standard AR15 barrel nut torque). There is no need to index the barrel nut. Slide the tube on. Line up the top rail with the receiver rail. Then tighten down the 4 clamp screws. I put some medium threadlocker on these 4 screws, but it probably isn’t needed. That is really all there was to it. One slight problem with this particular handguard, is that the rail on the handguard sits a little bit lower than the receiver’s rail. Not enough that flip up iron sights won’t zero, but enough to notice.

 At first I was a little hesitant about the compression style of handguard. But after crashing it up against some 2x4 barricades, I’m not worried about it twisting or not lining up. The clamping force around the barrel nut seems more than enough to hold everything lined up. I really liked the feel of the handguard. It is small enough for me to get my hand around. This makes it very easy to drive the muzzle from target to target. It is just under 2” from the top of the rail to the bottom of the handguard and 1.5” outside diameter everywhere else. The inside diameter measures 1.34”, so don’t expect to put a suppressor under it. And you will definitely need a low profile gas block. The whole combination of screws, barrel nut, and handguard came in weighing 10 ounces on my scale. So pretty lightweight.

 As mentioned earlier, I like how this handguard feels. It does however get warm after 3 or 4 mag dumps. That’s pretty normal given the diameter and how close it is to the gas block. As with a lot of long handguards, there is some flex out at the end by the barrel. Not as much as I have seen on others, but a little. This leads into the location of the QD mount. Because they are located by the barrel nut, any force put on them doesn’t appear to flex the handguard any. Guntec also sent some rubber M-lok plugs with the handguard. These plugs just kind of push into any unused slots and give a rubbery grip to the handguard.

 If you’re interested in some quality, value priced AR parts, go check out Guntec USA. This particular handguard is pretty decent. It feels good in the hand, looks decent, and won’t break the bank. Plus, if it’s not your style, they probably have something that is.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

15" Compression handguard for modern sporting rifles

Target Market:

Users wanting to upgrade to a 15" handguard

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • T6 Aluminum Body
  • Proprietary Lightweight Aluminum Barrel Nut Included
  • Total Weight Including Barrel Nut Is 10 oz.
  • Triangle / Diamond Cuts Throughout Handguard to Reduce Weight
  • Rail System Slides Over Barrel Nut , And Is clamped on with 4 clamp screws
  • Monolithic Top Rail
  • 15" Length
  • Internal Diameter: 1.34"
  • Outside Diameter: 1.50"
  • Made in USA

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

10" and 12"

What others are saying?:

Nothing found

Link to other reviews:

Rusty Reviews on Facebook

Price point:

MSRP = $150 approximately (Not on website at writing)

I need it now! Availability:

Guntec USA

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • Lightweight

  • M-Lok

  • QD points

  • QD swivel included

  • Easy Installation

  • Made in USA

  • Rubber M-Lok covers included

  • Small Diameter

Cons:

  • Rail doesn't line up with receiver

  • Dull anodizing

  • Lack of instructions

Score: 6.5 Okay

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Favorite Link:   AR15 Podcast

Night Fision Tritium Sights

 Night Fision is a new company joining into the tritium night sight community. Their first offerings are for Glock model pistols, with other models to follow. As anyone with a Glock knows, get rid of the stock plastic sights and put on some decent ones. Well Night Fision is here to help. They graciously sent me some for review.

Almost no light

Low Light

 When I first received these, I was waiting for a slide to put them on. So I tossed them in the safe. These things could be seen glowing through the packaging. Yes, they are the brightest set of tritium sights I have seen. I ended up installing them on a GreyGhost G19 slide for the review. Even when you would consider there to be enough light to see non tritium sights, these still glow bright. Of course they are also made out of steel, as sights should be. A black nitride coating should also make them last a long time, as well as look good

 But wait, just the bright tritium inserts isn’t all they have going for them. The front sight also has a colored ring around the tritium. They call this the "Perfect Dot." This ring is available in yellow, orange, or white. I opted for the yellow. My next choice would have been orange. With these colored outer rings, one can pick up the front sight easily during the day also. And because why not, they even added daytime florescence to the color ring. The front sight is available by itself also.

 The rear sight has a few options also. As expected, you can get it in white outlined dots. Or blacked out, so just the tritium inserts. I chose the blacked out rear sight because I only want color on my front sight. One can get the rear sight with 2 options: a square notch, or a “U” notch. I chose the square notch because that’s what I am use to. Another thing to note is that the rear sight is very square on the front and back. This gives a good sight picture and the added benefit of being able to use it to rack the slide on a table, belt, etc.

 Now onto shooting these sights. It is super easy to pick up the front sight during draw and shoot. When dumping a magazine fast, same thing. Where it gets a little dicey is on farther away targets. Even though the front sight is easy to pick up, it is wider than I like for 20+ yard shooting. It measures 0.142” for me. The rear sight measures in at 0.140”. I really prefer a wider rear sight, or narrower front sight. Target transitions were also easy with the Night Fision sights. When using the sights at dusk, the tritium really pops out. The three dot system works just fine. However, the sights/gun do shoot a little lower point of impact with the three tritiums lined up. These are really a great combo day/night sight.

 The Night Fision sights are a really nice change from traditional night sights. I love the yellow front dot for daytime use. And the super bright tritium really pops out in lower light conditions. Go over and check out Night Fision, I think they will be going places in the sight business.

 

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

Tritium Night Sights with a twist

Target Market:

Those wanting tritium sights

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • "Perfect Dot" with daytime florescence

  • Bright Tritium inserts

  • Made from 4140 steel

  • Black Nitride coating

  • Made in USA

  • Different color rings (White, Orange, or Yellow)

  • Square or "U" notch rear

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

White Front, Orange Front, U-notch rear, White dot rear

What others are saying?:

Keith D. @ Rainier Arms 5/5 stars

Just got em , (FAST) and they look pretty nice, definitely like the price for my spare red dot equipped G19 slide

Link to other reviews:

None found (These are pretty new)

Price point:

MSRP = $89.99

Retail = $80.10 at Rainier Arms

I need it now! Availability:

Night Fision or Rainier Arms

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • Bright tritium

  • Front daytime florescence dot

  • Nitride coated

  • Price

  • Made in USA

Cons:

  • Wide front post

  • Tritium dots have different point of aim

Score: 8.00 Great

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Favorite Link:   Axelson Tactical



 

Brigand Arms Forearm Review

Written by: Michael C.

I’ve always been a function over style type person.  When I first saw the Brigand Arms handguard I thought it was stylish, but not very functional.  It looked like under heavy firing it would get hot because it was so wide open the heat from the barrel would radiate to the shooters hand.  

When I took the Tactical Performance Center Multi-gun class we were told to bring a wrap or glove because the rifle forearm would probably get very hot due to the large amount of fast shooting we would we be conducting.  During the three-day course, the forearm on my Armalite 3-gun rifle did get warm but not so much that it bothered me.  After this experience I thought the Brigand Arms would really get too hot to handle.

The lack of a rails didn’t bother me as those are only needed on a “tactical” rifle to mount lights, lasers, grips and bottle openers.  This is not a rail that one would choose for that application.  It just looked cool.

After hearing a positive review of the Brigand Arms handguard on the We Like Shooting podcast and the AR-15 podcast on the Firearms Radio Network  I thought I would give it a try. But first I had to see if Brownell’s carried the Brigand Arms handguard.  I’ve been a Brownell’s customer long before I started reviewing gear.  The customer service has always been excellent, and they have the best website in the business.  Has a bonus Brownell’s has the Forever Guarantee - no questions asked return policy.  So, if I don’t like it or decide I don’t want it, I can return it. And has an Edge member I don’t pay for shipping!  Including returns!

When the package arrived, I thought the box was empty because it was so light.  I opened the box and there was my new woven carbon fiber handguard!  I ordered the fifteen inch “Blade” version.  I think the Blade version really adds to the unique design of the handguard design.  The Blade is angled at the front and because of the mounting system you can run the angle however you like: long on the bottom, short on the top; long on the top, short on the bottom; or anywhere along the 360 degree radius.   

Unpackaging the forearm I was reminded of an issue with woven carbon fiber – loose fibers.  I caught a loose fiber in my hand, like a wood splinter.  I took a break to remove the foreign body from my finger and then put on my welding gloves.  I ran the gloves over the handguard to remove any loose fibers I imagine you could do the same thing with a shop rag, just make sure to throw the shop rag away when you are done.  This is not a negative against the Brigand Arms handguard, it’s common to all woven carbon fiber products, just part of the required pre-installation: wipe down the handguard.  Please note I have taken the rifle out five times since I mounted the hand guard with no more splinter issues.  There are three parts in the package: handguard, barrel nut and cinch nut.  The barrel nut is aluminum and appears to be similar to the YHM barrel nut, and the cinch nut appears to be similar to the YHM jam nut.  This is smart outsourcing by Brigand Arms, use off the shelf items to cut cost.  This is a smart move by Brigand Arms to lower the price of the handguard.  And since this is one of the pricier handguards on the market anything that can be used to lower costs while maintaining quality is a smart move.  Like Scrooge McDuck said, “Don’t work harder, work smarter.”

To start the installation I put a dap of release agent on the barrel extension on my custom order 18 inch, light profile, rifle gas system, 1-7 barrel I from Columbia River Arms and inserted it into a Vltor MUR upper receiver.  I really like the Vltor because I have yet to find one out of spec.  They look like billet, but they are forged and a little thicker than a mil-spec upper.  Next, I put a dap of LocTite 242 (blue) onto the threads of the receiver and tightened the barrel nut to the recommended torque of 34 – 40 foot pounds.  Next I installed the Brownell’s black nitride gas tube mounted to a JP Enterprise  AR-15 2 piece detent adjustable low profile gas block. The gas tube runs through the barrel nut so it’s important to make sure the barrel nut is aligned properly.  If the tube doesn’t fit through the nut keep tightening it a little bit at a time until it freely aligns with the gas key on the bolt carrier group.

Installing the handguard was very straight forward.  Like installing a YHM handguard.  In fact, Brigand Arms recommends on their FAQ web page to use the YHM handguard wrench to install the handguard.  Alternative ways are to tighten the cinch nut is with a spanner wrench, strap wrench or give the cinch nut a tap with a flat head screw driver.   I had a spanner wrench on hand and I wrapped the areas that might mare the finish with duct tape.  I was unable to get adequate torque on the cinch nut to keep the handguard form turning.  I made a quick trip to my local gun store Cobra Tactical (one of my sponsors) and asked Eric if he had the YHM handguard wrench.  He was kind enough to loan me the tool, so I could finish the build.

With the upper assembled I headed out to the range.  One of the first thing I noticed was how easy it was to access the adjustable gas block.  All too often the handguard must be removed to access the adjustments to the gas block, then reinstalled and you hope you have it adjusted properly.  

The test and evaluation for this upper was actually for five new parts: Brigand Arms handguard, Columbia Arms Barrel, UM Tactical RAGE muzzle brake, JP Enterprise low mass bolt carrier group and JP Enterprise silent captured spring recoil system, and Geisslle charging handle.  After getting everything tuned up (I will cover these items in a later review) I laid the handguard on a sand bag to check the accuracy of the build.  Awesome is all I can say regarding the accuracy of this build.  I was pleasantly surprised at how solid the handguard was on the rest.  No flexing or torquing while shooting off the sand bag. The sand bags at the range are the heavy plastic and I was surprised to see no melting or deformation from heat of the barrel to the bag.  Inspecting the handguard, I could not see and deformation or wear marks on it.

Next test came the test for what I thought would be the problem, heat radiating from the barrel through the hand guard.  I did a series of speed and transition drills without pause.  I finished with two 30 round magazine dumps.  Surprisingly the handguard never became too hot to handle or uncomfortable to hold.  Another surprise was how quickly the barrel cooled.  Just has the Brigand Arms stated in their interviews on the Firearms Radio Network because of the lack of surface area on the handguard the barrel cools quickly.

I’ve been able to take the rifle to the range five more times and even practiced dumping the rifle into a USPSA box and 3 Gun Nation barrel.  No damage to the handguard.  The handguard is a little larger in diameter than some other handguards but still fits well in the hand. The woven pattern of the hand guard makes for a good gripping surface. I practiced holding the handguard in different positions, all were secure, and it was easy to control the weapon.  

Brigand Arms makes three models of the woven carbon fiber handguard: Blade, Edge and Atlas.  The Edge is like the Blade but with a flat front.  The Atlas is like the Edge but adds a four short picatinny rails at 3, 6, 9 and 12 positions at the front of the handguard.   If you want to add rails Brigand Arms handguards, they are prepared for you.  You can purchase rail sections and add them wherever you want on the handguard.  Brigand Arms also sells M-Loc panels you can add anywhere to the handguard.

Overall, I am very pleased with the Brigand Arms handguard. It is performing better than I imagined it would.  The handguards are expensive, $259.00 to $414.00, but they are worth it.  Brigand Arms has added AR-10 DPMS-Hi style handguards to their shop.  I will be buying one of these for a light weight AR-.308 build.  I’m expecting the same outstanding performance from the .308 models.

Brigand Arms are innovators and I look forward to seeing other products they bring to market.

FIREARMS INSIDER REVIEW – 8 KEY POINTS


CLAIM TO FAME:

Lightest handguard available

TARGET MARKET:

Modern Sporting Rifle users who want a light weight unique handguard.

FNBS (FEATURES & BENEFITS OF THIS PRODUCT):

  • Lightweight

  • Easy installation

  • Unique look

  • Adds in barrel cooling

  • Off the shelf mounting hardware

  • Ease of access to adjustable gas blocks

WHAT OTHER AESTHETIC OPTIONS OR FINISHES ARE AVAILABLE?

  • Three different styles

  • Four different lengths

  • Available for AR15 and AR10 (DPMS)

  • Bare carbon fiber

  • Handguard can be Cerakoted

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING?:

Coolest and most interesting product at SHOT Show

LINK TO OTHER REVIEWS:

Brigand Arms website - Reviews

PRICE POINT:

MSRP:  $269.00 - $414.00

I NEED IT NOW! AVAILABILTY:

Brownells or Brigand Arms

OUR RATING:

Pros:

  • Easy to install

  • Lightweight

  • Feels good in the grasp

  • Looks wicked cool

Cons:

  • Expensive

  • No continuous rail on top

 

SCORE:  9.0 EXCELLENT

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Grey Ghost Precision G19 V1 Slide

  Once upon a time in the Pacific Northwest, Grey Ghost Precision started making Glock slides and barrels. These are for the ever growing market of aftermarket Glock accessories. Well, as luck would have it, they sent me one of their G19 slides and match grade barrel for review. Because they sent both a slide and barrel, I am discussing both of them as one.

  This slide is just beautiful! Okay, very useful also. They make the slide out of 17-4 stainless steel and black nitride coat it inside and out, hence the good looks. Since it is nitride coated, it should wear very well with even the hardest of use. It is a stripped slide, so all internal and external parts must be added. The slide I received was the V1. The V1 has angled front and rear cocking serrations. The front serrations are cut through the slide and gives a nice look of the barrel showing through. I really like how deep all the serrations are cut. You can really get a good purchase on them when cycling the slide or doing failure drills. There are also some grooves cut on the top front of the slide to help with user function. Grey Ghost also makes a V2 version that has a golfball style texture for grip. The V2's pattern does not extend through the slide. 

  I ended up mounting the combo on a Polymer 80 frame. Basically, it slides right on. The first really noticeable attribute, was how tight the lock up of the Grey Ghost barrel and slide were. Way better than any stock Glock I have used or felt. Since the slides are made to tighter tolerances, I wasn't super surprised. I don't know exactly what other magic they did, but the slide to frame fit is super tight and smooth. 

  Grey Ghost makes the slides with or without an RMR cut. The one the sent me has the slide cut for a Trijicon RMR. Rumor has it that Grey Ghost is also working on different red dot sight cuts. So, DeltaPoint Pro and Vortex maybe. I didn't use an RMR on it. But, the slide comes with a pre-installed cover plate. The cover plate is made out of G10 and has the Grey Ghost Precision logo laser engraved on it. For those of you that don't know what G10 is, it is a resin based composite used for handgun and knife grips. The non RMR slides also have the "ghost" lased on them. As does the Grey Ghost barrel, it is also engraved with the GGP logo.

I marked the "A" zone of the USPSA target, so you can get an idea of the 25yd accuracy

  Grey Ghost tells me that they have seen an average of a 30% increase in accuracy over stock. This seems to be a pretty bold claim, but I believe it. I shot an offhand, 3" 5 shot group, at 25 yards. It was consistent at that range with different types of ammo. That is really good for me with blurry sights (I have aging eyes). I also have no problem shooting a 6" plate rack at 20yds with the slide/barrel combo. When I move the target in to 7yds, it shoots one ragged hole, if I do my part. The slide functions extremely well also. I just used a stock recoil spring assembly and only had 2 problems running 165 subsonic ammo (it shoots really light and is intended for suppressor use). It runs the 165's fine now, so maybe the slide just needed a little break in period. When I ran 115, 124, and 147gr ammunition through the pistol, it functioned without a hitch. The ammo was a variety of factory, handloads, and even some +P hollow points. I have around 600 round through it as of this writing, mostly 115 and 124's. 

  Grey Ghost's barrel is also a thing of beauty. They sent a 416R stainless steel threaded barrel. Yes, threaded 1/2-28 for a suppressor or compensator. They only list black, unthreaded on the website, so ask them if you want something different, I am sure they can help you out. These barrels use a proprietary twist rate, so who really knows what it is. But, I don't think it matters because of how well it shoots all different weights of 9mm. It also uses SAAMI spec match chambers and is cut to within +/- 0.003". When combined with the tight specs of the slide, you get a wonderful shooting combo.

  I discussed how well the slide/barrel shoot. So I'll give some experiences while shooting. I have cycled the slide in the rain without feeling like my hand was going to slip off of the serrations. It is definitely better than the original small lines on a 1911. It shines while wearing shooting gloves. It almost feels like the gloves get caught in the grooves and really enhance the grip on the serrations. Performing press checks, using the front serrations, works well, if that's your thing.

 These slides and barrels are available for Gen 3 and Gen 4 G19's and G17's. I really can't say enough nice things about the barrel and slide, they are really that nice. The black Nitride is better looking than a standard Glock finish. The slide has a good functional design. So if you are in the market to modify or build a G19, definitely go check out Grey Ghost Precision and what they have to offer.

 

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

Aftermarket Slide (and barrel) for Glock style pistols

Target Market:

Those wanting a custom Glock style slide, or those installing an RMR sight

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

Slide

  • 17-4 Billet Stainless Steel

  • Black Nitride Coating

  • RMR cut

  • G10 Cover Plate

  • Gen 3 or Gen 4

  • Precision Machined

Barrel

  • 416R Stainless Steel
  • Match Chamber
  • Proprietary twist rate
  • Black Nitride Coating

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

Gen 4 G19, Gen 3 & 4 G17

Link to other reviews:

SoldierSystems

Price point:

MSRP = $399.00 slide

             $179.99 Barrel

Retail = $383.04 at Rainier Arms

I need it now! Availability:

Grey Ghost Precision or Rainier Arms

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • Functional

  • Great looks

  • RMR cut

  • RMR cover plate

  • Black Nitride Coating

Cons:

  • Only available in black

Score: 9.0 Amazing

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Favorite Link:   Poly Gun Mods

 

Trojan Firearms Flat Trigger

 

  Trojan Firearms is a company that is probably more know for their pistol caliber carbines. Besides this, they also make some other bits and pieces for AR style rifles. That leads us to the new single stage TFA-15S Flat trigger assembly. They also manufacture a curved version for those that don't like straight triggers. Trojan supplied one of each for review, another reviewer was sent the curved version.

  Besides being flat, this trigger has some nice touches. First off, it is a cassette style drop in. So all you have to do to install it is remove the safety and the old trigger, then it drops right in. The TFA-15 uses a shoulder bolt mounting system unlike any drop-in trigger I've seen. This eliminates the need for anti-rotate pins and for trigger pins period. Just install the screws, on each side, where the trigger pins would sit and tighten down. They also supply star washers to go on these screws. I don't think they are needed and they could possibly mar the finish around the pin holes. Another really nice touch, is the adjustment lock screw. The lock screw puts pressure on the adjustment screw so the trigger adjustment remains consistent even after long periods of use. The trigger also has 2 setscrews facing downward to lock the trigger against the mounting bolts.

  I like being able to adjust the pull weight of triggers. The TFA-15 uses the somewhat standard single screw adjustment method. Screw the adjustment screw in for a heavier trigger pull, and out for a lighter one. But, with the single adjustment screw, comes reset adjustment also. Basically when you lighten the trigger, the reset becomes lighter also, or not as positive. If you adjust the trigger too light, you don't get any reset on the trigger and have to reset it manually. I was able to adjust the trigger from 2.5 lbs to around 7 lbs. But to get 2.5 lbs, I had to measure the pull weight at the tip of the trigger. So where I normally rest my finger, it came in at 3.5 lbs. The first trigger that Trojan sent didn't pass a safety check, it would fire the hammer when the safety lever was moved to the fire position. Trojan immediately sent me a new one. They even called me to help figure out the problem. Also note worthy, the TFA-15S has a longer trigger bow length. The bottom of the triangle shaped shoe sets just slightly above a standard trigger guard. I really liked how it rested on my finger when using the lower portion of the trigger. 

  After using the TFA-15 for some time now, I really like the straight shoe. As noted above, I have it adjusted almost all the way down. When you pull the trigger really super slow, you notice what feels like creep, but is actually the sear sliding on the hammer. There is virtually no creep! Because I have the pull weight tuned down, the reset is a little spongy when releasing the trigger slowly. If I bump up the pull weight by 1/2 lb, the spongy feel basically goes away. Even though you can feel the sear sliding, it is so smooth. It somewhat reminds me of a 1911 trigger. I also couldn't distinguish any over travel of the trigger. Plus, if pulling the trigger at a somewhat normal pace, the pull just feels crisp (like breaking a glass rod). Yes, I have broken a glass rod to know what it feels like.

  Every time I review an AR trigger, I try it with my .22 lr conversion. The TFA-15 is one of the few aftermarket triggers that actually worked! Most don't have enough hammer energy to set off the rimfire cases consistently. Another great feature of this trigger is the ability to cycle the action while the safety selector is in the "safe" position. Hey, why not be able to load a round with the safety on.

  I really liked how the trigger arrived with a super smooth pull. Other triggers I have used take some break in until they felt like this. If you are looking for a decent drop-in trigger system, go look at Trojan Firearms. Their customer service is top notch, and they manufacture more than just triggers.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

Drop in Adjustable AR-15 trigger

Target Market:

Modern Sporting Rifle users who want a better trigger pull

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Single Stage
  • Adjustable trigger pull weight from 2.5 to 6.5 range(pull weight may vary depending on finger placement of trigger bow)
  • Extremely short and crisp trigger pull and near 0 reset
  • Polished contact surfaces for an enhanced smooth trigger pull and reset
  • BLACKNITRIDE™ coating of steel parts
  • Heat treated 4140 steel parts
  • Red Anodized Aluminum Housing
  • Self-contained
  • Secondary safety catch for increased reliability against accidental drops.
  • Propitiatory mounting system (shoulder bolts)
  • "Safe" position cycling
  • Installation and adjustment wrenches included

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

Curved Trigger

What others are saying?:

Trigger is very new

Link to other reviews:

Trigger is very new

Price point:

MSRP = $149.99

I need it now! Availability:

Trojan Firearms

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • Adjustable pull weight

  • Longer Straight trigger bow

  • Easy Installation

  • Works with .22 LR conversion

  • Smooth pull

  • Can cycle action while on "safe"

  • Adjustment lock screw

Cons:

  • Somewhat mushy reset 

  • Star washers

  • First trigger wasn't safe (Trojan Quickly Remedied)

Score: 7.5 Good

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Favorite Link:   AR15 Podcast

 

Polymer 80 PF940C

  I have to admit, that after seeing the Polymer 80 PF940c frame in person, I had to get one. Polymer 80 was gracious enough to send one to me for review. The PF940C frame came in 3 colors at the time, so I opted for gray, more colors have been added since then. This is a 80% frame for Glock Gen 3 parts. One must first machine the frame to get it to function.

  When I first received the frame, I noticed that it came with all the tools needed to finish it out. The only thing missing was a drill press or a dremel tool. The kit includes a plastic jig that the pistol sits in. This jig is a one time use type of deal, but works really well. Basically you pull up the online instructions and go from there. Brownells also has a video series on machining the frame. First thing I did was drill the holes. Drill each hole from each side of the jig, don't think that you can just drill through the whole thing. Next, I actually took a mill and machined off the four "nubs". One can use a file, a dremel, or a drill press with a vise for this also. The last machining step is probably the hardest. In this step they have you mill out the recoil spring channel. Just pay close attention and you'll be fine. I had to dremel the channel out some more after I installed the locking block so that the recoil spring moved smoothly. I figured that you can always remove more material, but you can't add material.

  After the machining steps are done, it on to installing parts. The Polymer 80 PF940C frame kit comes with a locking block/front slide rails insert. Just drop this in and install the front pin. Also in the kit is a Rear Rail Module. This rail piece sits around the Gen 3 G19 trigger mechanism housing. I really like how they did this as it gives metal rear slide rails and is easy to install. All the other gen 3 parts go in just like a standard Glock 19. If you don't feel comfortable doing this yourself, please take it to a gunsmith.

As received

After machining and parts installation

  Now that it is assembled, it's time to go into some things I noticed about the PF940C. I love the grip texture that comes on the frame! It is not too rough, but not smooth either. It feels kind of like they glued sand on the frame. I did run into a problem with the takedown spring. The channel in the frame, where the flat tab sits, was not cleaned out, or still had a thin piece of plastic from the molding process. This made the spring sit too high and put upward pressure on the slide. I took a sharp x-acto knife and just moved it back and forth to clear out the slot. This worked good, and the spring flat slid in and sits flush. The other hitch I ran into had to do with the recoil spring channel. As mentioned above, I dremelled out more of the channel, this was so the spring wouldn't rub on the sides of the channel. Result, smooth as butter. 

  The PF940C frame has some improvements over a stock Glock 19. Besides the texture I previously noted, It has a really nice undercut trigger guard so you can really get your hand up high on the pistol. I didn't care for the front of the trigger guard, it's squared off angle looks good, but makes it not fit in some Glock 19 holsters. Holster makers are starting to address this problem, so in the future your options should be better. Polymer 80 also makes a smooth frame for those wishing to add their own texture. For those with larger hands, It also has an extended beavertail. My favorite is probably the different grip angle. This grip angle just works better for me than a stock Glock. You may, or may not like it, it really is personal preference. There is also a STANAG rail up front to mount a light. My frame, when using a Grey Ghost Precision slide and barrel, locked up super tight. It took about 100 rounds before it would cycle consistently. I could have cycled the slide by hand to get the same result, but I was excited to go shoot it.

  These Polymer 80 frames are pretty neat. If you like to build stuff on your own, or just want something different, these might just be the ticket. I had a good time building the PF940C frame into a complete pistol. These kits are really great for building a custom "Glockish" pistol. Go check Polymer 80 out, pistol frames are not the only thing they make.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

Glock 19 style 80% frame kit

Target Market:

Those wanting to machine a 80% G19 size frame, or those wanting to build a complete G19 size pistol

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Comes with all tools and Jig for machining

  • Online instructions

  • Easy to machine

  • Textured frame

  • Undercut trigger guard

  • Uses Gen 3 Glock 19 parts

  • Metal front and rear slide rails

  • Slight beavertail

  • Built in Metal plate for engraving ser#, etc

  • Picatinny Rail

  • Thumb ledge

  • Available without texture

  • Delivered to your door

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

Black, FDE, OD Green, Robin Egg Blue, White, and Cobalt

What others are saying?:

By Hollywood at GlockStore.com 5/5 stars

BETTER THAN A FACTORY GLOCK LOWER

I was blown away with how easy this was to finish. I used a drill press, but have no doubts this could have been done just a good with simple hand tools. I decided to go with a custom slide, so I did have to rack it about 150-200 times before it would move smoothly. With a Glock factory slide I'm sure it would not have required as much effort. Everything about this lower is exceptional. I field tested it putting about 250-300 rounds down range. I did have three malfunctions within the first 25 rounds but after that, she was flawless. I would have complete trust in this weapon as a daily carry. Do yourself a favor and get one... maybe two of these. They are fun to finish and even better to shoot. Plus they look great.

By Templeton P. at Brownells 5/5 stars

CAME TOGETHER NICELY

I assume because of these receivers, demand for even just plain old used Glock 19/23 uppers seems to have skyrocketed. It's hard to find one under $300 unless you get really lucky. You will NOT save money vs buying a new Gen 3 Glock (or probably even a Gen 4) by doing it this way. I was seeing used Gen 3 G23s for $299 just a couple of weeks ago. That being said, this is a fun project, and everything can just come to your door. Had never attempted anything similar, but it was relatively easy to complete. I didn't have a mill, but instead bought a milling bit for my Dremel. I had the Dremel Router/Shaper table accessory and it made the job exponentially easier. If you plan to use a Dremel, I would highly recommend spending the extra $35 for this add-on. Freehanded the barrel block. Put the jig in a vice and just took my time and it went okay. Drilling the holes is a no brainer as well. Sanded things down and installed the parts kit without much fighting. Grabbed a box of cheap ammo and worked flawlessly at the range from the first trigger pull. Needs more range time before I trust it completely, but so far so good. Ergonomically, I also find this feels better in my hand than actual Glocks. Going to try a 9mm conversion barrel next.

Link to other reviews:

We Like Shooting review

Price point:

MSRP = $160.00

Retail = $149.99 at Brownells

I need it now! Availability:

Brownells

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • Comes with all tooling (Jig, Mill, Drills)

  • Frame texture

  • Uses Gen 3 Glock parts

  • Undercut trigger guard

  • Multiple colors

  • Can be completed with a dremel

Cons:

  • Some patience needed for small problems

  • Not all standard G19 holsters fit

  • Sharp angled front of trigger guard

Score: 7.00 Good

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Chad's Favorite Link:   Poly Gun Mods