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

65.jpg

 

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

 

 

TandemKross Halo Charging handle

  If you have been around certain types of handguns, like the Ruger MK series, you know how hard they can be to cycle by hand. This brings us to the "Halo" charging ring by Tandemkross. The Halo is a nifty device that clamps on your existing charging handle/slide. Tandemkross sent me the Halo for review. It is one of the few made for the square style bolt on the earlier Ruger 22/45 and MKII's.

  When you first get the Halo, you notice that it is a real simple design. It is basically a squared off ring with a slot and a bolt. Simple yes, but more importantly is the function. Once I mounted it up, I immediately found it easier to cycle the bolt. All you have to do is put a finger inside the loop, and pull back, then let go, and your done. I had my whole family try it, and they all said it was way easier and more intuitive. I was also told it made the 22/45 look like a space gun.

  Of course I was also worried about adding weight to the bolt. After trying everything from sub-sonic to hyper-sonic .22lr shells, I put that thought to rest as everything functioned great! Now on the other hand, I was a little disappointed the the inside of the Halo ring was squared off. It digs into your joint a little when using it. If Tandemkross were to round the inside, it would be much more ergonomic. I wasn't the only person who thought this either. With the Halo installed, you can cycle the bolt the same way as before, if you want, but with the added benefit of the tabs sticking out farther than standard.

  Everything needed for the installation is included. Basically the screw and allen wrench. To install the Halo. Just slide it down over the cocking serrations/nubs. Install the screw, and tighten it down. I put some blue threadlocker on the screw, just in case. One thing to note, you can put the Halo on upside down. Yes, I did this, and it does still function fine. But put the writing so you can read it, and that is the correct way to install it.

  The Ruger series of pistols is not the only ones that Tandemkross makes the Halo for. Some of the others look a little different, but function the same. So if you are having a problem racking the slide, or know someone that is, you might want to look into the Halo series of charging handles. 

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

Easier to use charging handle

Target Market:

Shooters wanting a quicker, larger, and easier to use charging handle

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Pull Ring Design

  • Ease of use

  • Ambidextrous

  • Lightweight

  • Anodized

  • Made in U.S.A.

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

Black only, but available for other firearm models

What others are saying?:

Jon @tandemcross: 5/5 stars

Ruger 22/45 Lite Halo

This has to be one of the best upgrades for the Ruger 22/45. I got this for my wife because she has a hard time pulling back the bolt with her small hands. The halo ring makes it simple and easy for her to rack the bolt with just one finger. I also like how secure it is on the bolt, just a dab of blue loctite on the screw and its not going anywhere. Lastly, I believe the extra weight of the halo on the bolt helps cycle the gun better which is an added bonus. I would definitely recommend this upgrade for people who have trouble pulling back the bolt on their Ruger pistol easily.

Link to other reviews:

AmmoLand

Price point:

MSRP = $44.99

Retail = $42.99 at Brownells

I need it now! Availability:

TandemKross or Brownells

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • Easy to use

  • Weight doesn't induce malfunctions

  • Model availability

  • Easy Installation

  • Made in U.S.A.

Cons:

  • Squared Off (Not Rounded)

  • Only available in black

Score: 8.0 Great

 

Chad’s Favorite Link:   AR15 Podcast

Stormrider Underlord Gear Belt

Written By: Zane M.

Probably the most overlooked part of everyday carry (EDC) gear is the belt.  You can't truly appreciate a good belt until you've worn a good one for any length of time.  About 8 months ago I began my quest for a new belt, as the old instructor belt I'd worn for years had seen better days, to say the least. There was one problem: I'm not a fan of the cobra buckle and cobra buckles are all the rage these days.  

  Enter Stormrider gear's underlord belt. The underlord is part of a belt system that uses an inner and outer belt. The outer is ideal for duty, training, and/or competition without the need for belt keepers. The inner belt, affectionately referred to as the underlord, makes an absolutely wonderful choice for a stand-alone belt for your EDC. 

  The belt has no buckle to speak of; instead it uses hook and loop to "lock" the end in place. The belt also sports loop (or the fuzzy side of the brand name Velcro) around the circumference of the belt. This is for use with the outer belt part of the system, called the overlord. This also works well with certain accessories that utilize hook and loop attachment points, such as mag carriers, medical kits, and of course moral patches. Stormrider gear offers belts without the loop, but for the same price and on recommendation from a trusted friend in the gun community, I saw no reason to forgo it. 

  The belt is stiff, as expected, and does support the weight of my EDC gear. I have carried in several different configurations during the last 6 months and regardless of how I carried, the belt supported each setup very well. I typically carry a Glock 17 and at least one spare magazine every day. For concealed carry the gun is kept in an appendix holster in the waistband with a spare magazine right next to it at about 11:00. For open carry, I use a duty type holster with active retention with a belt slide attachment (not a paddle) and belt slide duel mag carrier on the support side. I've also carried the same gun at about 3:30 in the waistband. The only time the belt ever became uncomfortable was during extended wear “hotspots” would develop right on my hip bones. It's worth mentioning that I have this issue with all thick webbing type belts and attribute this to my thin build.

  The belts are 1.5" in width and Stormrider gear boasts several color options on their website, to include the ever popular Kryptec patterns. I went with Kryptec Typhon and solid black loop. There is a sizing chart on their website and they warn "do not use your pant size.” 

  If you are someone who trains a lot with a full set up or needs the ability to quickly go from low profile CCW to full on duty rig (“kit up” for the tactical Timmy’s out there) the underlord is a perfect base to start with.  As long as you chose an outer belt that has hook attachment, you'll be good to go. 

  This belt is a great overall choice for the concealed carrier, as it is sturdy, comfortable, and very functional. The best part is, the underlord won't break the bank at sub $50. I've worn belts twice the cost of this and didn't gain much by way of comfort or usability. 

FIREARMS INSIDER REVIEWS - 8 KEY POINTS

CLAIM TO FAME:

Buckle-less design 

1" loop the entire circumference 

TARGET MARKET:

Concealed carry

Law enforcement/security personnel 

Anyone who needs a stiff, ridged belt 

FNBS (FEATURES & BENEFITS OF THIS PRODUCT):

Loop attachment points 

Very reasonably priced. 

Alternative to the cobra buckle (for those like me that aren't a fan) 

WHAT OTHER AESTHETIC OPTIONS OR FINISHES ARE AVAILABLE?

Base color:

Assassin black

Coyote brown

Foliage gray 

Ranger green 

Wolf gray 

Multicam

Kryptec highlander 

Kryptec typhon

Kryptec yeti

multicam black 

 

Loop colors:

Assassin black

Coyote brown

Foliage gray 

Ranger green 

Wolf gray 

Just brown

 What others are saying:

"I FORGOT I WAS WEARING IT!

 This belt is stout in construction but flexible enough that I forgot I had a belt on. When loaded up it feels like it distributes the weight well and resists bending outward very well. I can't wait to get the overlord to go with it. The buckle-less design is a huge comfort factor and is what lead me to give this belt a go. Was worth the wait!"

 -Review from storm rider gears website.

Price point:

 MSRP = $46.99 Add $3 for kryptec or multicam 

 Retail = $46.99

I need it now availability:

I was only able to find in on stormridergear.com

Lead time is 8 weeks at the time of writing

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • Super stiff
  • Very comfortable 
  • Hook and loop fasteners
  • Very reasonably priced

Cons:

  • More difficult to sit down in the restroom than with a traditional belt buckle. 
  • Hotspots can build up on the hips (you probably know what I'm talking about. If you don't it's probably a non issue)
  • Looks odd with a shirt tucked in

 

Score: 8.0 Great

SKD Tactical PIG Full Dexterity Tactical Alpha Gloves

In addition to eye and ear protection, hand protection is a good idea that many shooters overlook. Shooting gloves are considered more of an optional layer of protection, because their construction can be stifling to the user's dexterity and sensitivity... two things an effective marksman requires. Gun owners who train more aggressive with their firearms know the necessity of a good pair of gloves. Racking slides, ripping magazines from pouches, and gripping hot surfaces will make short work of bare skin.

Although gloves help prevent cuts, scrapes and other hand injuries, they suffer from an inherent paradox. The more robust and protective they are, the less dexterity the afford the user. Don't believe me? Try pulling a trigger with some welding gloves on! What good is protective equipment if it slows you down? When it comes to a 'tactical' shooting glove design, the challenge is balancing protection with flexibility. This is exactly what SKD tactical set out to accomplish with the Pig Full Dexterity Tactical Alpha Gloves.

The Pig FDT Alpha Glove uses several distinct features that give the user comfort and flexibility at the right anatomical places. They focus attention at the points most utilized by pistol/rifle/shotgun shooters: the index finger pad, the other fingers, and the palms. Starting at the trigger fingers, a thin material called Clarino™ is used to increase sensitivity greatly, which obviously aids in applying and releasing trigger pressure.

Not only that, but a synthetic suede is used to make the index finger and thumb conductive for the use touch screens. This is a huge benefit for those who take photos with their smart devices, or use apps for ballistic calculation, recording range data, or just texting your mom. Normally with other gloves, you'd have to shed the glove to do any of that. #instragram #pewpew

PIG-2.jpg

As for the rest of the fingers, flexibility at the joints is crucial for a good grip, as well as manipulating fire controls, as well as working the action and reloading. Attention was given to every joint and knuckle so that flexibility and ventilation was noticeably present on each finger, at the points where you would need them most. This is where most gloves fall short because the construction is more rigid constrictive when you make a fist or try gripping anything.

The tips of the fingers also get a much needed upgrade! Most gloves have seams near the finger tips, which totally kills sensitivity and make minute tasks like picking up small objects or pressing buttons almost impossible. The FDT Alpha design has material wrapping-over the tips of fingers, which is more comfortable and spreads out impact pressure that would otherwise damage fingernails.

Enough about the fingers, because the palm is a critical area that doesn't get enough attention on the drawing board most the time. The FDT uses a single layer made up of multiple pieces. This allows for the freedom of natural creases and contours when gripping or making a fist, while the single layer ensures theres a tangible feel of what you are gripping. Thick gloves for shooting reminds me a lot like Ralphie's overwinterized brother in the Christmas Story...

The back of the gloves are thoughtful designed as well. The knuckles are covered in 1000D Stretch Ballistic Nylon, which help cut down on pressure at the seams when you make a fist and your knucks protrude outward. There is even an area of micro suede that is good for wiping boogers off your mustache. It happens to all of us, especially outdoors in the winter... no judgment, ladies. 

The cuff is shortened as well, which makes alot of sense for shooting a variety of guns with different grip angles. Your wrist maybe bent at a greater angle shooting one firearm, say a short barreled rifle, versus shooting a pistol like a 1911. The cuff is secured using a velcro-like hook and loop that is much more minimal and modern. SKD claims they used this stuff because is is less prone to catching onto fabrics and materials you don't want it to cling to.

The FDT Alpha Glove is certainly more custom tailored to the anatomy of the human hand, and thusly the sizing will seem a bit off then what you are used to. For instance, my hands typically fit best in a ___ size, whereas the FDT Alpha Gloves in ____ fit perfectly. Here is a sizing chart to help you choose the best size glove for your paws.

The gloves are supposed to feel tight at first. SKD says as long as they aren't uncomfortable when you make a fist and is snug when your hand is open, the sizing is correct. They do integrate a paracord loop on the cuff that is bar-tacked, to help with sliding into the glove like most shoes have also for your feet.

PIG-11.jpg

The biggest issue many folks have is the longevity of the glove. Due to the design considerations to increase comfort, dexterity, and flexibility, these gloves can wear out sooner than you would expect.  I bought my first pair in 2012, and after about 16-18 months they finally met their bitter end. SKD is totally aware, and tries to make it blatantly clear on the website with a disclaimer:

At the end of the day, the PIG FDT-Alpha Gloves are a consumable product that will provide the user with the best tactile dexterity available in a tactical glove, and should be worn to destruction, then discarded and replaced. The selection of super sensitive materials and extremely tight seams mean that these gloves will eventually wear out, and there are no warranties implied. Please try them on and inspect them thoroughly for fit and finish before removing from the hangtag, but be forewarned, you will not want to take them off.
— SKD Website, product page

At a sub $50 price point, SKD urges customers to wear their alpha gloves until their demise, and simply buy a new pair. Welcome to Marketing 101... convince customer to buy the product, use until failure, then replace and repeat. Realistically though, gloves are just as susceptible to wear as gun magazines as well as other clothing. $50 underwear will last as long as the $15 5-pack will. But that $50 pair will feel so good on your cheeks that you wear them more, wash them more, and thusly wear out faster. The same applies to gloves essentially. I bet SKD would see a higher repurchase rate if they offered 5-10% off to reordering customers with blown out gloves, just a thought.

PIG-6.jpg

So did I buy a second pair after my first ones got thrashed? Yes I did, because the compatibility with touch screens was a big enough selling point to me, as well as the increased dexterity that is needed for every task on the firing line. Plus I often get sweaty hands when wearing gloves, and the ventilation holes in both the palms and fingers help combat the moisture. Just don't expect these to keep you absolutely warm and dry in the winter months, because they are really designed to do one thing well... shoot!

Firearms Insider Reviews – 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame: So much sensitivity that you can wear these on your next date with PALMela HANDerson.

Target Market: Shooters of all types

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Conductive Thumb and Trigger Finger material for touch screen use
  • Single Layer Multi-Piece Palm
  • Isolated Trigger Finger uses Clarino™ material
  • Forschette material is ventilated for maximum sweat wicking
  • Low Profile Hook & Loop Closure
  • Flex Joints for enhanced flexibility
  • Dual Flex Joints on Trigger Finger
  • Bar-Tacked Para Cord Pull Loop
  • Micro Suede Nose Wipe
  • Ventilation holes in Palms and Fingers for more wicking
  • Isolated Edge Padding
  • Wrap-Over Finger Tips for finger nails protection
  • Stretch Ballistic Nylon 1000D Padded Knuckles

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?: Black, Coyote, Ranger Green, Carbon Grey. Womens sizes also available!

What others are saying?:"I dig these gloves. They required a total of ZERO break-in time. Their fine, high-quality seams don't press into the tips of my fingers when I grasp my rifle, sidearm, or anything else (unlike my normal shooting gloves, which were originally intended for automotive work). They're supple enough to go unnoticed on my hands after just a few minutes, and their touchscreen sensitivity is flawless." -User Review

"I do a lot of work with pyrotechnics, av grip work, and of course training with firearms. These are by the best gloves I've owned. What sold me was the overlapping finger tips which aid in improved fine motor dexterity that eliminates having to remove the gloves while working. They were so comfortable that I would find any excuse to wear them. I truly put them to the test and they held up until I blew out the index finger on the right hand glove. I can't knock them for it. All sorts of fine motor skills with pyrotechnics and AV grip work that could not have been for seen by SKD. I'll definitely be ordering another pair." -User Review

Price point:

I need it now! Availability: SKD Tactical

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • Finger and Thumb work with touch screens on smart devices
  • Ventholes reduce sweating after prolonged use
  • Improved dexterity for tasks that otherwise require removing glove to do the job
  • Feels great in all hand positions
  • Single layer palm increases sensitivity

Cons:

  • Interior palm/finger material can be slippery on non-textured guns
  • Design causes expedited wear compared to other gloves (if you dont go thru shooting gloves every couples years, you aren't shooting enough!)
  • Single layer and ventholes work against you when wet and or cold
  • Made overseas

 

Score: 7.5 Good

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Featured FFL:

For FFL services I choose Promised Land Firearms in Toulon, IL.

Ryan's Links:

Gun & Gear Review Podcast

Hunter of Design

"Game Changer" .22lr Compensator from TandemKross

  Compensator's for small caliber handguns can seem pointless to some. After all, .22lr doesn't have much recoil. But, I tend to believe that all calibers benefit from reduced recoil and muzzle rise. I tend to think TandemKross feels the same way I do. After all, they did send me the Game Changer comp to review.

  I installed the Game Changer on my Ruger 22/45 MKII. The barrel had been previously threaded to the 1/2-28 that the compensator is designed for. So I installed the supplied O-ring that they use as a type of crush washer and seal. Then screwed the Game Changer on and aligned the top holes up.  There is some resistance once the O-ring starts getting pressure on it, but it isn't a lot. This compensator does not have bottom holes/vents. I prefer this to other styles that have vent holes all the way around the compensator. 

  So it is time to tell my experience with the Game Changer. I originally thought the name was a little boisterous, but then I shot it. This little compensator does a great job of reducing the recoil. Since it didn't have much to start with, it took it down to almost nothing! But that's not all, it also reduced the muzzle rise. On a side note. While at a steel challenge match, I was talking with a guy who had been using the Game Changer for a couple of years in rimfire open class. He told me it was his favorite comp. So I am not the only one that likes it. Also when shooting the comp, you can actually see the gases coming out the sides and top. I did not notice it being any louder than without it, but it is only a .22, so it is not like a large caliber with a compensator.

  The Game Changer is constructed out of anodized aluminum. It has 4 holes in the top and 4 slots on each side. TandemKross says it has large ports for easy cleaning, and yes, you can get in there to clean out the lead and powder junk. As usual, it has 1/2-28 threads, the standard for rimfires. But there is one thing I don't like about the comp. It has a 1" diameter, so it is larger than the 22/45's barrel, and would also be larger than a 10/22 bull barrel. It is just cosmetic, but it would be nice if it was the same diameter to give firearm a smooth look. At 1.75" long, it is not really long either. It will also fit just about any .22lr that has 1/2-28 threads.

  After shooting the Game Changer a bunch. I've concluded that it lives up to the name. So if you are looking for an "actual" compensator, not just a diffuser, go look at TandemKross. They pretty much are a one stop shop for anything .22lr, not just products for Ruger's. 

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

.22lr compensator to reduce felt recoil and muzzle rise

Target Market:

Shooters wanting less muzzle rise to get back on target faster

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Reduces Muzzle Rise

  • Large openings for ease of cleaning

  • Standard 1/2"x28 Threads

  • 1" Outside Diameter

  • 1.75" Long

  • Black Hardcoat Anodizing

  • Made in U.S.A.

  • Lifetime Guarantee

  • Fits: 
  • Ruger Mark III
  • Ruger Mark III 22/45
  • Ruger Mark III 22/45 LITE
  • Ruger Mark IV 22/45 Tactical
  • Ruger Mark IV 22/45 LITE
  • Ruger SR22
  • Ruger 10/22
  • Ruger 22 Charger pistol
  • Browning Buck Mark
  • GSG 1911-22
  • Savage Arms Mark II TRR-SR
  • Walther P22
  • SW22 Victory (2016)
  • Smith & Wesson M&P®22 Compact
  • Smith & Wesson M&P®15-22P pistol

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

Black, Branded (has TK Logo), Tandemized (#tandemized on side)

What others are saying?:

Keith @tandemkross.com: 3/5 stars

It's O.K.

Does help with speed of follow up shots. However leading causes accuracy to drop off rapidly.

Jason @E. Arthur Brown: 5/5 stars

Works great on my 22/45

Threaded on great, came down to the right amount of force to snug it on and sits flush with the ports lined up exactly straight up on the top. Definitely can hear the shots, almost louder than before. It seems to tame the already small recoil down even more.

Link to other reviews:

Spotter Up Review

Price point:

MSRP = $34.99

Retail = $34.99 at Brownells

I need it now! Availability:

TandemKross or Brownells

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • Reduces recoil

  • Reduces muzzle rise

  • O-ring seal

  • Price

  • Made in USA

Cons:

  • Diameter Size

  • Only Available in Black

 

Score: 8.0 Great

 

Chad’s Favorite Link:   Axelson Tactical

Decibullz Custom Molded Percussive Shooting Ear Plugs

  As shooters, we all know that good hearing protection is needed. Usually opting for over the ear style. Or most likely, amplified earmuffs so you can still hear other people talking, while cutting out the harsh noise of the gun shot. Sometimes the earmuffs can lift off your head slightly and now you have lost the benefit of them. Well, Decibullz has come out with a percussive filter, custom molded in ear, earplug.

  Decibullz had made standard moldable earplugs for a while. But they recently introduced their new Percussive Filter ones. The percussive filter cuts out harmful noise, while allowing you to still hear relatively normally. Not quite like the amplified muffs we are use to. These do not require any batteries! Granted, they won't amplify sound, but they also don't lift up when pressed against a rifle stock. When I asked how much noise reduction they have, Decibullz said they have a Noise Reduction Rating of 32, so 32 NRR. But at normal levels like talking, it is rated at 10 NRR. So what does this mean for you? Well, it basically means that you can hear normal voices, but they are a little reduced in volume. But on the other side, they do a great job at cutting out loud volumes like gunshots.

  Probably one one the best features of the Decibullz percussive ear plugs, is they are custom moldable. When the earplugs first arrive, they are kind of bean shaped. Don't worry, this isn't how they are used, you must first mold them. To mold the earplugs to the shape of your ear, all it takes is hot water. First remove the filter and set it aside. Install the orange tip onto the plug. Then just boil some water on the stove. Once it is boiling, take it off the burner. Toss in one plug only, as they can stick together if you put both in at the same time. Wait 5 minutes, remove the plug with a spoon and let rest for 30 seconds. Install the filter. Now press the plug, filter, and orange tip into your ear, pressing to form it to your ear. Let sit in your ear for 5 more minutes. Now your done with that ear, do the same for the other plug. If you mess up, don't worry, because you can just do the process over again to remold it. One of the only problems with these being moldable in hot water is that they can unform in high heat environments, like a hot car in the summer. But if this happens, just remold them. Decibullz has a very good video on molding the different model of plugs on their website.

  After wearing these for some time now, I can honestly say they are great. So good that I ordered a set of the standard ones also. If your worried about fit, don't be, they are really comfortable, even for extended periods of time. The plugs also come with a plethora of tips to fit different size ear canals. Also included is a neat little carrying bag to store the plugs in. While using these I didn't have any problem hearing normal conversations, even if the were muted a small amount. When shooting rifles, they allowed me to get a much better cheek weld than I normally get with my electronic muffs. They also did an excellent job cutting noise from short barreled rifles and compensated rifles, and we know those can be loud. For right now they only come in black. The ones they supplied me with are orange, as you can see. I would expect them to be offered in the same colors as the rest of their product lines. The orange is actually nice because it is easier for range officials to see that you have your ear protection on. 

  I mentioned ordering a normal set, since the moldable part is the same, I'll talk about a different experience. These were for my wife. After molding them, she was not really getting any noise reduction. She tried the different size tips and the foam tips as recommended on the Decibullz website, but that didn't seem to help. If you pushed on them, they would work. We tried to remold them, and even though they fit a little better, the plugs did the same thing and didn't block noise. After reading some of the reviews on Amazon, we decided that that her ears are small and/or narrow. There seemed to just be too much plastic to mold and get a good fit in her ears. Since all of the Decibullz products are one size, you might want to be cautious if you have small ears. Maybe Decibullz will offer sizes some time in the future.

  On a side note. The plugs are hard, not soft or rubbery. But since they are molded to your ear, they are still comfortable. Installing them in your ear is self explanatory. I found that when removing them from my ear, it helped to pull your ear lobe out of the way and then kind of pop them out. That's how well they stay in. But if you don't want the percussive filters, and just want standard plugs, they do not come with the plug insert

  At first I was reluctant at how these Percussive filter plugs were going to work. I have used other brands that were said to do the same thing and didn't. But the Decibullz work! I am so glad that they sent me out a pair, because I know that I wouldn't have probably purchased them myself. Like I said before, I even purchased a non percussive set. If you don't like ear muffs, but want to hear sounds around you without loud noises damaging your hearing, these are the ticket. Go give Decibullz a look, They also make headphones that are custom moldable.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

Custom molded noise cancelling earplugs

Target Market:

Shooters, hunters, or anyone around loud noises

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Custom molded  
  • Percussive filters
  • Remoldable
  • Work with other Decibullz products 
  • NRR of 32 db
  • NRR of 10 db under normal volumes  
  • Certified up to 166 db
  • Passive (no power needed)  

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

None as of now, only black, but the standard earplugs are available in Black, Blue, Orange, Pink, and Red

What others are saying?:

None found. Product is too new with the percussive filters

Link to other reviews:

Spotter Up

Wide Open Spaces

Price point:

MSRP = $74.99

Retail = $74.99 on Amazon

I need it now! Availability:

Amazon or Decibullz

Our Rating:

Pros: 

  • Easy to mold
  • Remoldable
  • Comes with lots of sizes and types of inserts
  • Super quiet
  • No batteries to go dead  
  • Ultra comfortable  

Cons:

  • Some reduction in normal sound
  • Can melt or deform under high heat (like a car dash) 
  • Don't come with standard plug inserts 
  • Don't work well for smaller ears

Score: 7.0 Good

 

Chad’s Favorite Link:  Axelson Tactical

Smoke Composites Carbon Fiber Buttstock

  As previously mentioned in the Smoke Composites foreend review, they are making some awesome carbon fiber parts. Carbon fiber seems to be taking the AR market by storm. Probably because of it's characteristics. Since they also sent me a buttstock for review, it's time to talk about it. 

  The buttstock Smoke Composites sent is their carbine length. It is a very minimalist style. The stock consists of a tube, a buttpad/plate, lightweight castle nut, and a carbon fiber endplate. Also to note is that this stock is their closed style. This means it has an attached support piece that goes from the bottom of the buttplate up to the stock. The support piece also has 2 small M-lok slots to attach items such as a QD sling mounts. I believe this is an option and the standard closed stock does not have these slots. Smoke Composites also offers the stock in an open profile, with no support piece. One advantage to having the closed style is that brush, barricades, etc., do not hang up on it like the open style could. I will note that besides being super light, this stock is strong. I even beat it on a concrete floor to simulate mortering the rifle. All it did was put a slight scuff mark on the buttplate. 

  I don't know how they do it, but the attention to detail on this stock is spectacular. The screw threads on the aluminum piece, that is installed in the receiver, are beautifully machined. Then pair that with the lightweight aluminum castle nut, which is also excellently machined, and you have a working piece of art. Smoke Composites also sent their carbon fiber end plate. It, by itself, weighs nothing. But I would like to see a bump or something on it to index into the receiver. The end plate does have the index for the buffer tube groove, but it wanted to move a little bit when torquing down the castle nut. The top of the aluminum section also has "Smoke Composites" laser etched on it. 

     Now that the stock has been explained, it's on to a few specs. When I weighed this thing, it came in at 4.9 ounces, with the castle nut and carbon fiber endplate! The open stock weighs a little bit less. The length of pull is 9.5", which I have discovered seems to be about on par for these style carbine stocks. It uses the standard carbine spring and buffer, which are not included. If you know anything about carbon fiber, I don't, it is made from 35-50 carbon fiber. If nothing else, the stock pattern looks really slick. A rubber buttpad can be had as an option, which would help with the buttplate not being so slick. One neat add on is the ability to order a custom length of pull for an extra $35.

  If you're in the market for carbon fiber AR part, do take a look at Smoke Composites. This stock is great for functional lightweight builds. It comes in various options and lengths. Plus you'll have the coolest looking rifle at the range. 

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

Lightweight carbon fiber minimalist stock for AR style rifles

Target Market:

Lightweight AR builders, 3-gunners, and anyone wanting a super light buttstock

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Lightweight at 4.9 ounces with castle nut and endplate, 4.6 ounces alone
  • 9.5" length of pull
  • 35-50 Carbon Fiber / 7075 Aluminum construction  
  • 1.11" outside diameter  
  • M-Lok compatible  
  • Closed shoulder plate
  • Uses standard carbine buffer and spring
  • Custom length of pull ($35 extra)  

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

Open style: short pull or rifle length

Closed style: short pull or rifle length with or without M-lok slots

What others are saying?:

Mike on Facebook: 5 stars

Ordered a stock from them, and let me tell you: It's absolutely a work of art in and of itself. Perfect in fit and finish, and there's nary a flaw to be found... It's crazy. On top of being ridiculously, almost impossibly lightweight, the stock is tough as hell. Easily the best, most well made piece of equipment I've ever had the pleasure of owning. Beyond the actual product quality, I got the thing within 4 days of ordering it - who could ask for anything better?

 Seriously: If you're on the fence about buying any of their stuff, don't be - it's too good to not get.

Link to other reviews:

None found

Price point:

MSRP = $221.00 as tested

Retail = $189-231

I need it now! Availability:

Smoke Composites 

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • Super light at 4.9 ounces
  • M-Lok slots
  • Closed shoulder plate
  • Not your typical carbon fiber look
  • Nicely machined threads and castle nut
  • Strong
  • Great looking
  • Custom length available  

Cons:

  • Carbon fiber endplate has no index bump
  • Does not come with buffer or spring
  • Slick buttplate

Score: 8.5 Great

 

Chad’s Favorite Link: U.S Tactical Supply