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

 

Patriot Gun Polishing

Written by: Tony Simon

My BBQ Gun by Patriot Gun Polishing

    I remember being enthralled as a kid reading a gun magazine article about BBQ guns. What is a BBQ gun? Only the hottest looking revolvers I’d ever seen! There were nickel and gold plated Colt Single Action Army revolvers, Colt Pythons and Smith and Wesson revolvers with awesome scroll engraving work with beautiful grips made of everything from ivory, pearl and exotic woods. They were all wrapped in highly customized holsters made from leather that were open carried to BBQs for everyone to gaze upon. I lusted after one throughout my childhood but I assumed that I was over it when I became an adult. I was wrong.

   I owned a Smith and Wesson 686 that I use to teach new shooters how to use a handgun and for The 2nd is For Everyone: Diversity Shoot. I am always looking for ways to get people introduced to firearms and I figured a BBQ gun would be just the ticket to get new shooters over being intimidated by a firearm. Pretty guns can’t be scary, right?  I looked around to have BBQ gun work done on my Smith and Wesson 686.. I saw really cool stuff from some top gunsmiths but the sticker price was out of this world. The cost of doing this work was in the thousands of dollar range, so I was out.

   I stumbled across Patriot Gun Polishing’s Instagram page and had my mind blown. The quality of the mirror polishing was amazing and soon I was at Gun For Hire range in Woodland Park NJ having them send my revolver to Patriot Gun Polishing in Florida.

  Robert, the owner of PGP, sent me a written description of all of the surface scratches that were on my revolver after he looked it over so we were both aware of what he had to work around. The wait for the work was a few weeks and it was killing me! Every day he post pictures of firearms that he is working and they looked great, I was going nuts waiting for my firearm. I received my revolver back in the hard black pistol case that I sent out. When I opened it I felt like the characters in the movie “Pulp Fiction” opening Marsellus Wallace’s suitcase, it positively glowed. Most parts of it was polished to a mirror finish, there was no hint of the scratches that were on the revolver. The end of the barrel and the top strap was left sandblasted,the trigger and hammer were left original.The mirror polishing along with the trigger and action job I’d had done when I purchased the 686 made this BBQ gun THE BOMB!

 I took this to the very next “The 2nd is For Everyone : Diversity Shoot” to see if new shooters would be impressed by the beautiful revolver. It made an impression on the new shooters but they had nothing to compare it to since it was their first time shooting any firearm. It was more of a big deal to experienced shooters that owned stainless steel firearms. They came over one after the other to look at and shoot my BBQ gun. I know this isn’t an expensive super customized BBQ gun from my childhood but it sure feels like it. I did not to change the grips because this is a training firearm, I want it to be as soft shooting and recoil friendly as possible so I kept original Hogue rubber grips.

   Clean up seems easier than before, I clean it the same as before I had the work done. I wipe it down with the same micro fiber cloth that PGP sent my revolver wrapped around to keep fingerprints off. The prices for most revolvers are $375, full sized pistols are $575, Commander size pistols are $525 and compact models are $375-$450. All prices include shipping. Robert was good enough to donate his services to 2A4E Diversity Shoots and for that I am very thankful. I have taken many photos of the revolver and used them to spread the word of our 2nd Amendment events. This firearm is very photogenic and tens of thousands of people have seen this firearm on social media.

 

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

Gun polishing

Target Market:

Anyone wanting a customized revolver

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Looks really cool

  • Easier Cleanup

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

Shiny or Shinier

What others are saying?:

Sam K. on Yelp

If you want to turn your pistol or revolver into a piece of art then send it off to Robert at Patriot Gun Polishing. Robert is a trustworthy and first class firearms expert. Turn around time was good. Communication was professional. A first class operation! Wow!

 

Kurt-Patriot Gun Polishing on Facebook

Top notch service. Master of his trade. I carefully looked my Coonan over for any rounded off edges that aren't supposed to be rounded off. Couldn't find any. Some would say polishing is a bit pricey. It is (no matter who does it) So why pay the same and get less? I know a guy that had his 1911 polished by a competitor. The picatinny rail was rounded off. It looked like waves crashing on a beach. YOU WILL NOT GET THAT HERE! A true craftsman.

 

Price point:

MSRP = $375-575

I need it now! Availability:

Patriot Gun Polishing

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • The gun looks great

  • Cleanup seems to be quicker

Cons:

  • It seems expensive until you compare it to having a custom finish painted on a handgun

Score: 9.0 Amazing

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SAM XT TOURNIQUET

CAT, SOF-T, SWAT-T... And now SAM XT Tourniquet has entered the battlefield. For over 30 years, SAM Medical Products, an industry leader in the pre-hospital, trauma care market. “From the front lines to behind the lines to the sidelines, our products treat the problem at hand fast and effectively…”

Recently they’ve released a handful of new products on the market and I was lucky enough to receive a few of the XT TQs. Thankfully, I’ve not had to use one in a real world application, but I’ve tested them out extensively. I also brought it around my local shooting club that has members from all branches of the military, law enforcement, medical personnel, and regular Joes. Some of the big concerns where the plastic that SAM used in the buckle and other components, and the fact that you have to pull in a different plane than others. With those concerns, no one was able to break the plastic buckle(or other components), and after showing someone the correct way to pull(against the buckle, not perpendicular) everyone got it after the fact. Additionally, it was very intuitive to use by people who’ve never had TQ training.

What sets the SAM XT TQ apart from the rest of the herd is the Truforce Buckle. It’s a special buckle that releases forks to hold the tourniquet strap in place, and not allow it to loosen while you're securing the rest of the strap to itself. Slack in the strap is the leading cause for tourniquet failure, resulting in loss of life. With the Truforce Buckle, it secures the strap at a preset circumferential force, and allows you to use fewer windlass turns to fully tighten and cut off blood flow. Once it’s tight, you secure the windlass in the C-hooks, and lock it in the a velcro time band.

As with all tourniquets, they recommend you get one for training and one for use in your kit. As it falls in line with the price of other TQs, you should take a look at your concerns and consider this for your kit. I know I’ll be keeping one with me.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

Stopping extremity blood loss due to trauma

Target Market:

MIL/LEO, anyone who owns a gun, car, chainsaw, etc.

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Auto-lock Buckle
  • Metal Windlass
  • Windlass C-Hooks
  • Meets MIL-STD 810G

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

Available in Civilian Orange and Military Black.

What others are saying?:

Only 2 reviews were founds at the writing of this article, they’re from amazon.

★★★☆☆ Good functionality, but very steep learning curve.

★★★★★ Even better than the CAT.

Price point:

MSRP = N/A SAMXT.com

Retail = $37.99 Boundtree (preferred distributor)

$36.96 Amazon

$37.95 Rescue Essentials

I need it now! Availability:

For speedy results, the best bet would be to buy it on amazon.

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • Auto locking buckle

  • Metal Windlass

  • Circumferential range: 5.5in - 35in

  • MIL-STD 810G Proven

Cons:

  • Plastic components

  • Additional training required (as with all different TQs)

Score: 8.5 Great

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2A Armament Aethon Rail

  Since everyone has an AR15, or at least should, aftermarket accessories for them have become the norm. That brings us to 2A Armament. They produce a variety of products, including complete rifles, for the AR15. 2A sent me one of their 7" Aethon rail handguards with M-Lok slots.

  The Aethon rail has some interesting design features. The first one I noticed was the scalloped picatinny rail sections. Of course this helps to reduce weight, but also looks very nice. The Aethon features a full top rail, that lines up with the receiver nicely. Under the top picatinny rail there are lightening holes, which also help vent heat away from the barrel. At 90°, 180°, and 270° are the flats with the M-Lok slots. Since this is a 7" handguard, there are only 2 slots per side. In front and behind the M-Lok slots are holes for QD mounts! Between the flats on the handguard, 2A has reduced more weight by milling out an angled half circle style design. Also the top picatinny rail has "T" markings on it.

  Installation of the Aethon rail is pretty straight forward. I'll run you through the simple method. After taking off the old parts. Just install the 2A Armament titanium barrel nut per specified torque, line up one of the cut-outs for the gas tube and the barrel is tightened back on. I used my armorers wrench and it worked just fine. Now here is one of the niceties of the Aethon. To install the handguard, you just slide it over the barrel nut and align the top rail with your receiver. Then you just tighten down the four angled set screws, 2 per side, and your done. The way the barrel nut is designed, along with the angled set screws, is what makes this so easy. A warning, do not over tighten the set screws as they are going into aluminum and could possibly strip out fairly easy. I just put blue threadlocker on them and called it a day.

  The Aethon rail saw plenty of use. Partly because the rifle I installed it on, wasn't working properly. This had zero to do with the Aethon. I will say that because of the small internal diameter of the Aethon, it does get very warm when shooting quickly, so much that I wouldn't recommend it for a registered full auto, unless you always wear gloves. Other than that, the Aethon performed great. I liked the smaller diameter of the Aethon, it allowed me to get a good grip around it to help reduce muzzle jump. If you have really large hands, you could probably wrap them all the way around this handguard. Because this is a 7" handguard, it is very sturdy with no flex whatsoever. There are also no sharp edges anywhere, even where the set screws lock the handguard on. My only complaint is that it only measures 6.7" long instead of 7", leaving a little gap between the end of the handguard and the fixed front sight post. 

  2A Armament has done an excellent job with the Aethon handguard. It is a deep black anodizing, so much that it is much darker and shinier than my receiver. It is fairly lightweight and installs easily. If your in the market for some nice AR parts, go take a look at 2A Armament.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

Lightweight AR15 handguard

Target Market:

Users wanting a lighter weight, or M-Lok handguard

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Made in U.S.A
  • U.S.A. sourced 6AL-4V Titanium barrel nut
  • M-LOK mounting solution
  • Free floating design
  • QD mounts on both ends
  • 1.3” Internal Diameter
  • 6.7" length
  • "T" markings
  • Weighs 6.2 oz's complete

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

10", 12", and 15" lengths

What others are saying?:

None Found

Link to other reviews:

None Found

Price point:

MSRP = $179.00

Retail = $170.00 at Optics Planet

I need it now! Availability:

2A Armament or Optics Planet

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • M-Lok

  • Easy Installation

  • Dark Anodizing

  • Small overall diameter

  • Full top rail

  • QD mounts

Cons:

  • Not a full 7" in length

  • Gets hot

Score: 8.0 Great

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Favorite Link:   Poly Gun Mods

 


 

Glock 19 Gen 5

 Written by Zane M.

  In case you haven’t heard the worlds most perfect pistol just got an upgrade. That’s right perfection has been perfected. In all seriousness glock has released their gen 5 line of g19 and g17 guns and people seem to have mixed emotions.

  Being a fan of glocks, I was naturally curious and later reading a few write up and internet scuttlebutt I definitely wanted to get my hands on one.  It worked out well because a friend called saying he was getting one and did I want to check it out.

  I drove out to his house and picked up a brand new g19 gen5. “Bring it back sometime next week” he said. I also had an alert from UPS letting me know I had a case of ammo on my doorstep, how convenient.

  The new finish on slide looks very nice, it looks a bit darker and is more subdued. A blacker black if you will, and not as shiny as my gen4 and gen3 glocks. The gun lacks finger grooves, a welcomed change from most people I know, but so does my gen4 thanks to a dremmel. The barrel on the gen5 uses traditional rifling instead of the polygonal rifling glock has previously used. Probably the most notable difference aside from the lack of finger grooves is the ambidextrous slide release/stop. So if you’re wrong handed, glock thought about you. One change I was most interested in checking out was the Flared magwell. I was underwhelmed by it at first glance but it definitely grew on me. Glock is still using those plastic atrocities they call sights but this gun had already had them replaced with some fiber optics. The biggest thing I noticed is still no front cocking serrations. Come on, glock, get with it.

  The gun came to me with one magazine through it but was otherwise brand new. In the box there were three mags and mag loaded tool, Cleaning rod and brush, cable lock and manual. I took the gun to the range as it came to me with a few hundred rounds of ammo.

The trigger is a glock trigger, it seemed a bit smoother than my gen 4 and gen 3 but lighter than the g42 I used to have. The take up did seem bit stiffer but I’ll take that for the seemingly more consistent “push” if you will through the “wall” The gun handled and fired like a glock. The flared magwell did grow on me with every reload. In 300+ rounds of two hand, primary hand and support hand only shooting. I had no malfunctions to speak of aside from three failures to lock back on the last round. These were completely shooter induced and occurred with a 19, 17 and magpul 21 mag. It’s also worth noting this is a problem I have with all glocks because my support hand contacts the slide release.

  Holster compatibility was something I was curious about so I tried the gun in several that I had laying around. The starboard side slide release dragged on two of them, touched one, and worked fine with four. Two of those were home made by yours truly and the other two require the use of a weapon mount light. Overall it seemed to work in many existing holsters and with some quick modifications I don’t see why it wouldn’t work in most all of them.

  Final thoughts: I like it. For an out of the box carry/duty gun, it’s hard to beat save the sights. However, if you’re going to modify or send it off, I’d probably just save the little extra and go gen 4

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

It’s a glock, not much else to say. It’s been upgraded

Target Market:

Law enforcement, security and law abiding citizen looking for a reliable, ambi pistol. And glock fanboys like myself

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • glock reliably

  • ambidextrous slide stop

  • flared magwell

  • lack of finger grooves

  • new more durable coating

  • replaceable back straps (not new)

  • traditional rifling

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

None

What others are saying?:

Too New

Link to other reviews:

Concealed Nation

Price point:

MSRP = $629.00+

Retail = $559 at Brownells

I need it now! Availability:

Brownells

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • Works like a glock

  • flared magwell

  • pleasing to shoot

  • smoother trigger

Cons:

  • Still no front serrations

  • sights are still terrible (not a big deal to me)

Pros/Cons: You Decide

  • lack of finger grooves

  • ambi slide release

Score: 8.5 Great or slightly better than the gen 4

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Boyds AT-One Stock

  If you have been around guns for any length of time, you have probably heard of Boyds gunstocks. They make laminate wood stock for just about every rifle, and in a bunch of patterns and colors. They sent me one of their new At-One stocks in "Blaze" for review.

  First off, let me mention that this At-One is for a Savage 93 in .17HMR. Boyds also makes this stock for just about any other popular rifle. I mention this because in my case, I had to order the bottom metal. Not a big deal, but a note to check and see. Otherwise, installation is super easy. Just take your old stock off, and install the At-One. One benefit of the At-One is that it free floats the barrel to help improve accuracy.

  As one can see, the At-One has some adjustments on it. The comb and butstock adjustments use a push button system that is built into the right side of the stock. Basically, just push the button, and slide the comb or buttstock to the position you want. The buttons do push pretty hard, but this is because Boyds doesn't want them to be pushed accidentally. The cheek riser/comb is an overmolded rubber and works well without having too much grip. The buttstock has a nice rubber buttpad bonded to aluminum for a stable platform. If you look at the stock, you notice that the pistol grip and foreend are plastic. It comes from the factory with a slimmed down version of both. But I was also sent the target versions of these. The target forearm is slightly wider and rubberized. The target pistol grip is fatter and has a flatter front. Both foreends come with 2 pre-installed swivel studs. To change them from one style to the other, just take out the allen head screws, slide the piece or pieces off and reinstall. The target pistol grip is a 2 piece design and has a seam where the 2 pieces meet, I would have liked it to be one piece so you don't notice the split. On the rear bottom of the stock is also a removable piece that has a swivel stud installed. as of this writing, no other pieces are available as options. To top all of this off, the stock has a quick connect swivel hole on each side slightly behind the pistol grip!

Target Grip

Standard Grip

Target grip behind standard grip

Target grip seam

Target foreend on top, standard below

  Being that the stock is made from laminate hardwoods, it is very stable. Laminate stocks tend to stiffen up the support that the shooter places on the stock. This can help with accuracy. Plus when mounting a bipod, the foreend will not flex as much. I did see slightly better groups when using this stock over the flimsy factory stock. I can consistently shoot under 1 moa with just about any .17hmr ammo. With the factory stock, some ammo would group about 1.5 moa. Because the At-One is laminate, it does weigh more than your factory stock. I actually thought this helped balance out this particular rifle.

Bottom view as received in standard configuration

  I found the At-One to be an excellent choice. It is not a chassis system, but it is about as close as you can get for only $189. My preference was to use the target foreend and the standard pistol grip. When letting my daughter shoot the rifle, it was easy to adjust the length of pull shorter for her. So if your looking for something different in a stock, take a look at the At-One by Boyds. 

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

Adjustable Laminate wood stock

Target Market:

Those wanting a solid adjustable wood stock

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Enhanced Accuracy
  • Laminate Wood
  • Adjustable Butt pad
  • Adjustable Cheek rest (Comb)
  • Quick Attach Sling points
  • Interchangeable Grip
  • Interchangeable Forend w/2 swivel studs
  • 12.5" to 14" Length of pull
  • Weighs 3 lbs

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

Coyote, AppleJack, Zombie Hunter, Sky, Pepper, Royal, Royal Jacaranda, BlackJack, Forest, and Nutmeg

What others are saying?:

No ratings found at this time

Link to other reviews:

Soocth00

Price point:

MSRP = $189.00

Retail = $219.99 at OpticsPlanet

I need it now! Availability:

Boyds Gun Stocks

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • Adjustable comb

  • Adjustable length of pull

  • Good stable shooting platform

  • 2 swivel studs (one for bipod)

  • Sling swivel sockets

  • Optional pistol grip and foreend

  • Free floats barrel

Cons:

  • May need bottom metal

  • Target grip is 2 piece design

Score: 8.5 Great

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Chad’s Favorite Link:  Nevada Cerakote

Raven Concealment Eidolon

Written by: Zane M.

Selecting a holster can be a daunting task. Anyone who is serious about carrying a firearm probably has at least one box or drawer full of holsters that have fallen short in one way or another. I have two and half dresser drawers full of bad ideas and borderline junk myself.

  About a year ago I decided to try the  appendix inside the waistband(AIWB) position for various reasons. After trying a few holsters that I found and a few I made without much success, I reached out to some friends in the industry for suggestions.

  Highly recommended was the raven concealment systems eidolon. One of my friends had one he wasn’t using anymore so he sent it my way for some testing and evaluation. If you’re not familiar with the eidolon it is extremely user configurable. So much so it can be intimidating but it’s comes with a user’s manual and I recommend you read it.

  I kept the holster in the configuration it came to me in: a single belt strut(molded clip) and the RCS claw. Both soft loops and over struts can be used. Typically I’m a fan of soft loops but I have nothing against struts so I chose to keep it as configured. Other options include a wedge for pushing the top of the gun into your body, the claw(that I did use) for rotating the grip towards your body and wings so the holster can be configured for hip carry. The holster can be used right handed or left handed by simply switching out the mounting hardware. The holster is available for a wide array of guns as long as it’s a small frame glock that is to say double stack 9mm/.40/.357sig/.45gap (people use .45gap?) the model I have is cut to glock19 length with an open bottom. The majority of the testing was done with a glock 17, I also used it with a glock 26 for  comparison sake.

  At this point it’s worth mentioning I stand a staggering 5’10” tall and am weighting in at a whopping 150lbs, in other words, I’m not a big dude. The holster is comfortable and extremely good at concealing the gun. It covers the trigger completely but still allows for a full firing grip while the gun is holstered, even with a custom undercut on the trigger guard.  The strut is well made and after several hundred draws never once did it slip off the belt. As I was using a g17 there was about a half of an inch of slide sticking out the bottom of the holster, however I didn’t find this to be a problem. RCS offers a version with a closed bottom for the g17 size guns if that’s an issue for you. The gun stays in place, even with only one belt strut, and the rcs claw really does wonders for rotating the grip into the body making concealment of a full size gun not only possible but easy.   With the g26 the gun literally disappears.) If I were to continue to use the holster for every day use I would probably add a 2nd strut or even use two tuckable soft loops (available with the full kit or from RCS) I did add a strip of Velcro to put a foam wedge on, even though RCS offers a wedge I chose this route for the simple reason that I had the wedge already for another holster. A g26 in the eidolon is my go to non permissive environment rig (all federal, state and local laws followed of course) but no longer use it for the g17. The only reason for this is I now carry a weapon mount light and this holster doesn’t allow for that.

  If you’re looking for a user configurable, AIWB holster for your glock, you should take a good look at the RCS eidolon.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

A comfortable user configurable  AIWB holster for compact and full size glocks.

Target Market:

Anyone with a need to conceal a 19/17 size glock. Concealed carriers, off duty law enforcement and special operators with the military/security forces

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • RCS claw and wedge

  • Completely covers the trigger but still allows for a full firing grip even with an undercut.  

  •  User configurable   

  •  Injection molded

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

Black or Limited clear at time of writing

What others are saying?:

From raven concealment systems website

“I ordered the G17 Full Kit for my G19 MOS w/ Trijicon RMR. It's a solid product! Shipping was fast and craftsmanship is top notch. My favorite holster to this day. I went ahead and ordered the soft loops too.”

Amazon review

“Ok like most everyone else I've been trying to make the switch to appendix carry. Finally after 6 different holsters I am appendix carrying. This holster is comfortable and most importantly it doesn't print. It literally disappears. I will say I bought the clips and they didn't work. I had to order the soft loops to make it work. I could never get the clips in the "right" position. Save yourself some money and buy the soft loops from the start. I paid $25 to order the soft loops after the fact when I could have gotten them for less than $10 by just ordering them with the holster. At the end of the day I can now carry off duty in the appendix position comfortably.”

Link to other reviews:

Breach Bang Clear

Price point:

MSRP = $59.99-149.99

Retail = $54.24 on Amazon

I need it now! Availability:

Raven Concealment and Amazon

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • user configurable

  • Super comfortable

  • Very well made

  • Cut for use with RMR/RDS

  • Tall sight channel

  • Mag release guard/ but not covered

  • Tuckable

Cons:

  • Only for glocks

Score: 9.0 Amazing

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FT Bullseye

   The Meprolight FT Bullseye sight is very non-standard. It utilizes a bit of smoke and mirrors, but works better than I expected. When I first saw the FT Bullseye, I immediately sent them a review request, and as you can tell, they sent one out. The FT bullseye is a fiber optic/Tritium sight, that doesn't require a front blade. 

  I mounted the FT Bullseye on a Kahr handgun. They of course make them for other makes of handguns also. Installation is pretty straight forward. Remove the old sight or sights. I left the stock front sight in as it doesn't have to be removed. Slide the new FT sight in, they recommend loctite 609, but not on the screws. Center it up, and tighten the torx screws with the supplied wrench.  

  When I first took the  FT Bullseye out shooting, my main goal was to see where it shot, and adjust accordingly. While doing the initial sighting in, I realized that the sight was really easy to use. Since it it a dot inside a circle, your eyes naturally want to center the dot. This is exactly how the FT sight works. If you don't have the circle dot lined up, your not on target. Also if it is not lined up, it will appear dim on part of the circle, or nothing at all. Very similar to a red dot sight in that aspect. If for some reason you can't see the sight, it has an outline like a standard channel and post sight. This also helped me with learning where to look for the circle dot, as it is on the same plane as normal pistol sights. 

  I did see a few quirks with the sight. Noticeably was the lack of windage adjustment. You can move the sight left or right, but since it is fixed on one plane, it does nothing for you. I ended up loosening the mounting screws and biasing the sight at a slight angle to get it to shoot point of aim with my chosen ammo. Next up is the size of the fake notch/post sight. Because of the integration of the fiber tubes and how it projects the circle dot, the size tends to cover up some of the targets. On 6" steel plates at 15 yards, I could only see the top 1/3 of the plate. You definitely want to shoot with both eyes open so that your mind superimposes the circle dot over the target. Last on the list, the FT Bullseye washes out when aiming at a brightly lit target while you are in a dimmer area. It gets even worse if you shine a bright light at the target, or aim it at a bright light. Standard tritium sights do this also, so it's not just these. The FT Bullseye does have the "fake" sight blades, as I call it. So when it washes out, you still have some sort of sight reference. 

  Even with the above mentioned quirks, this  sight does work well. I timed myself before and after installing the FT sight. This was low ready to firing 1 shot on a 7 yard and 15 yard target. I did this several times, 25 with each sight at each yardage. When I averaged both of them, they were close enough to not matter. Accuracy was on par for both at those distances also. One of the times when I had it at the range, I sprinkled some dirt on the sight to see how it worked. Even though the sight picture was dimmer, I didn't have any problems seeing it while dirty.    

Dirt on sight

Water drop on sight

   The FT Bullseye sight is a little larger than your standard rear sight. But since it is very squared off, you can rack the slide by using the sight without any problems. I also tried it in 3 different holsters and it didn't interfere with anything on them. 

  I really like the concept behind the FT Bullseye. Kind of like a red dot, but in a non-electronic package. The Mako group imports these for Meprolight. Check them out if your in the market for a new sight.  

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

Quick access day/night sight

Target Market:

Those wanting a combination Tritium / fiber optic sight

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Rapid target acquisition  
  • Fiber optic
  • Tritium  
  • Circle dot (reticle) 
  • No front sight needed

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

Green or Red

What others are saying?:

Harold on OpticsPlanet 2/5 stars

I have purchased two of these sights now. I put one of the sights on a Glock 19, and the other on a Glock 43. I then took the two handguns and a Glock 19 with traditional meprolight night sights to the range. After 500 rounds, I found the sights neither faster nor more accurate. I believe they may be able to be as accurate as traditional sights, but it will require more practice behind the sights. The problem seems to be that it takes a slightly different process to get the dot aligned in the circle. I found that shooting with both eyes open was also more difficult with the sights. I seemed to have something akin to parallax happening with both eyes open. With practice these sights will work, but unless you convert all of your handguns to this style of sight, you may have difficulty switching between styles. My choice will be traditional night sights.

Pablo on Amazon 4/5 stars

i got the green for my glock 43 because as my primary carry gun (in AZ - hot with minimal clothing) i wanted to minimize any protrusions, size, and weight while keeping the area in front of trigger guard empty for my supporting hand. so optical sights, flashlights, and lasers, although used on my other 3 pistols, were not an option for this purpose. it lines up well. i used a bore laser to get it close windage wise - it's not adjustable for elevation. at the indoor range the sight is not visible at all. since i had the front sight off i was using instinctive aiming over the top fairly well, but i would not trust myself to attempt a head shot on someone more than 15 feet away with these sights in dim light. i'm going to put the front sight back on my pistol, paint the white dot bright green, and see if that helps for indoors.

Link to other reviews:

The Truth About Guns Review

Price point:

MSRP = $199. 05

Retail = $169.88 at Amazon 

I need it now! Availability:

Mako Group or Amazon

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • Intuitive to use
  • Easy installation
  • Bright in daylight  
  • Tritium  
  • No front sight needed
  • Same presentation as standard sights 

Cons: 

  • Washes out on white or lit backgrounds
  • No windage adjustments
  • Covers a large quantity of the target

Score: 6.5 Okay

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Chad’s Favorite Link: Staheli's Shooting Supplies (SX3)

FLIR One for Android

Written by: Rob Smith

  Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) cameras use special optics to display thermal images (i.e. meltdown videos). In recent years prices for non-military applications has steadily decreased to the point where we now have civilian systems which produce a very good image.

 

  Enter the FLIR Company and their FLIR One camera systems for Android and IOS devices. The FLIR One uses proprietary MSX technology to combine a regular and thermal image into one composite image. It does this in a compact unit which currently retails for about $200.

 

The Following items are included in the box:

  • Camera

  • Camera Cover

  • Lanyard

  • Two spacers (one for Galaxy S5 and another for other Android phones)

  • Two adapters, one reversible for IR selfies.

  • USB Charging cable

 

  When you purchase the camera download the FLIR One App from the IOS App Store or Google Play (you might need to approve access to your storage location). When you use the app you will be prompted to create an account for warranty registration and receive updates about the application.

  You can still download the app if you do not have the camera but the imaging portion of the app will not function.

  Once the app is downloaded, ensure that the phone and camera are charged, turn on the camera and insert it into the micro USB slot. The application will automatically start and you are ready to take IR pictures. To take a photo press the photo button from the app (not the camera photo button). You will see the app swipe the photo to the side, indicating the photo was taken and ready to take a new picture.

  At the top of the screen is the menu button which takes you to application menus. Next is the Spot Meter button (looks like crosshair) which will turn on a thermometer which can read temperatures from -4F to 248F. The flashlight icon will turn on a flashlight for use in low light situations. The stopwatch button activates 3 or 10 second timer (configurable by user). The battery level is for the FLIR One camera.

  The current version of the software allows the user to change from photo, time lapse and video modes by sliding the mode at the bottom of the viewing screen.

   Under the Settings menu you can chose from nine different color palettes (these are just a different way to view the IR images). You can also use the parallax menu to change the overlay of the two cameras (or superimpose one image next to the other).

This is a photo of my front door taken from inside of the house at 4:00pm (door faces west)

This is the same photo but with the nine different color palettes

Here are two pictured from my dryer, one in Iron and the other in Wheel (note the dryer vent signature through the wall).

  When I first started using the camera on my phone (Motorola Droid Turbo II) it would constantly lock up. I found moderate success by clearing the cache and restarting. To be fair my phone was not listed as an approved phone (downside of using non-standard iPhone platform).

NOTE - In June of 2017 FLIR upgraded (overhauled) the app and it seems to be working fine now.

  Two spacers are included with the camera and are designed to close the gap between the bottom of the phone and the top of the camera (if not using a case on your phone). Peel away the backing on the spacer to expose the glue which will allow you to attach the spacer to the camera. When I tested this on my phone there was still a little bit of a gap so I did not use them.

  Two offset adapters are also included which move the position of the camera relative to the phone. One of the adapters reverses the camera so you can take IR Selfies. The photos below show the two different adapters.

This adapter changes the offset of the camera (micro USB port is on the other side):

Note: the gap between the adapter and the phone is similar to the gap between the phone and the camera.

This adapter reverses the direction of the camera

  When taking pictures I have noticed that this camera setup is not sensitive enough to take images through glass. I was in my living room taking images of items on the porch and notices that the IR images contained reflection on the glass door of items from inside the house.

  Other reviews have indicated that the camera is not sensitive in low light situations. I have found this to be true. Using the flashlight button to activate the phone’s light provides a much clearer image. This is because the IR Camera is using both an IR and regular camera to take a composite image and the regular camera requires a moderate amount of light.

  The micro USB charging cable can charge the camera or cellphone (you cannot charge the phone by connecting the charging cable to the camera and the camera to the phone).

 

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

FLIR camera for your cell Phone

Target Market:

Anyone who wants a FLIR camera without spending a lot of money.

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Inexpensive way to take IR images.

  • FLIR MSX image software.

  • Can take pictures, video and time lapse video.

  • Has a countdown timer (3 or 10 seconds) when taking pictures

  • Nine different color palettes.

  • Can measure temperatures from -4F to 248F

  • Temperature can be displayed using the Spot Meter

  • Adapter can connect to your phone or tablet even if it is in a case.

  • FLIR One app is user friendly

 

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

You can get it in any color you want as long as you want black.

http://flir.com/flirone/

What others are saying?:

C|net https://www.cnet.com/products/flir-one/review/

The Good The Flir One's MSX tech mashes a regular and a thermal image together so you can see more than you would with a standalone raw thermal image.

The Bad While $250 is inexpensive when you consider the larger commercial thermal camera market, it still isn't a cheap mobile accessory. There aren't a ton of practical uses for the Flir One.

The Bottom Line Get the Flir One for its superior thermal imaging tech and overall ease of use, but be sure to consider specific, ongoing applications for this $250 accessory before you buy.

Price point:

MSRP = $199.99

Retail = $289.98 at Amazon

I need it now! Availability:

FLIR or Amazon

Our Rating:

FLIR One is a great gadget for your cell phone as well as a useful tool.

Pros:

  • Cost effective way to take thermal images.

  • Camera can be used on different phones.

  • Automatic IR calibration

  • Nine different palettes to view the images.

  • FLIR has created several how-to videos with suggestions for using the camera.

Cons:

  • Takes a lot of memory to run app and camera (seems to be better with the recent upgrade).

  • Camera is not sensitive enough to take images through glass or low light.

  • Camera has limited battery life (about 1 hour).

  • You have to be careful to avoid accidentally breaking the micro USB Connector.

  • Cannot use the camera to charge your phone.

  • Not for use in bad weather.

Score: 6.5 Okay