Review

SentryShield Level IIIA backpack insert

 SentryShield is making a IIIA ballistic panel intended for backpacks. I noticed the press release a while back and inquired about it. Sentry Shield then sent me a panel to review. Having a teenage daughter that attends high school, any bit of extra protection for her is a good thing. Plus, I get the advantage of using it also.

 I am going to not actually shoot at this ballistic panel. Having a NIJ (National Institute of Justice) certified level IIIA rating tells me what I need to know about its protection level. I have shot level IIIA vests, so I understand what this level of protection does. This rating is for handguns only, as rifles and fast moving projectiles will pass right through the armor. Click on the picture wheel to see what level IIIA is. Remember level IIIA covers the previous levels also.

 Now that that's out if the way. The SentryShield panel is made of UHMWPE (ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene) thread woven together. It then has a nylon shell around the UHMWPE. UHMWPE does have its pros and cons. One big pro is its weight. The 16.25×11.75” panel only weighs 1.74 pounds. So putting it in a pack is barely noticeable. Another pro is its slim size. At less than ½ inch thick, it doesn't take up much of the useful space in your pack. Now a downside to UHMWPE is temperature. Basically you want to keep it between -15°F and 150°F. Anything above or below this specification and the material will start to degrade. And no one wants that in a ballistic panel.

 Some of you might be wondering why anyone would want or need this. Well, we live in an unpredictable society. A backpack or laptop bag is basically a man purse. Anyone seen wearing or carrying one is not really noticed. Now you can blend in and still have some ballistic protection, if needed. With a backpack, if the need arises, one can just put the backpack on backward, and have a front level IIIA protection while keeping your hands free to do other work. As mentioned earlier, you can equip a child with a ballistic panel, without adding huge amounts of weight. It may not be rated for rifle rounds, but level IIIA is better than nothing to keep a loved one safe.

 Gun fire is also not the only use for ballistic panels. As we have seen, explosives can be a hazard also. Just look at the Boston marathon bombing. Panel's, like the Sentry Shield, may also protect you from shrapnel or flying metal produced by an explosion.

 I know we are talking about just one single ballistic panel. But, what about the use of it against blunt objects. Every body armor I've tried, seemed to also help with spreading out the force, of say, a bat, or even a fist. So a backpack panel might also help you out of other situations.

 When I used the backpack panel, I really didn’t even notice it. The panel slides nicely into most packs. I happen to slide it in the laptop section of my pack. The Sentry Shield panel does goes have a front and back side, just remember to put the side labelled “strike face” outward, away from your body. I really did not even notice the panel when carrying the backpack. If you want a smaller panel, they make one for a handbag, so it is slightly smaller.

 The SentryShield ballistic panel is pretty nice. It fits into just about anything, even a plate carrier, if one wanted to do so. The price is excellent at $90. It’s rated for most handgun and shotgun rounds. So if you’re in the market for something like this, go check out SentryShield.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

Level IIIA ballistic panel for backpacks

Target Market:

Travelers, children, those wanting ballistic protection without the typical “vest”

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • NIJ level IIIA

  • 16.25×11.75”

  • Less than ½” thick

  • 1.74 lbs

  • -15 to 150 F temperature range

  • Made in China

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

Handbag version

What others are saying?:

Kerry 5/5 stars at Sentry Shield
Fit great and actually comfortable
I have a backpack that I really like because it has a weird kinda design that I haven’t been able to find anywhere else so I didn’t want to replace it, even though everyone’s talking about bulletproof backpacks nowadays. I can’t afford a bulletproof tactical backpack and a kevlar vest is uncomfortable. My friend told me about inserts and then I saw that SentryShield makes them. It came to me in about 2 days (business) and it’s made nice. it fits the weird inner slot of my backpack perfectly. I’m hoping I never have to use it, but I’m glad I got it. I did have some questions about the product and I called customer service. They were nice!

Link to other reviews:

Best Travel Gear

Price point:

MSRP = $120.00

Retail = $89.99

I need it now! Availability:

SentryShield

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • Lightweight

  • Fits into most packs well

  • Price

  • Slim

Cons:

  • Made in China

  • Temperature range

Score: 8.00 Great

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Favorite Link:   Medford Knife & Tool

Guntec 9mm Bolt Carrier Group

 I was in the process of putting together a pistol caliber carbine or PCC for short. So of course I needed a bolt. I contacted GunTec USA since they had recently come out with a 9mm bolt. They were kind enough to send one out for review, along with a 9mm compensator for the same build. I have reviewed other GunTec products in the past with good results.

 This review will probably be on the shorter side, after all it is a bolt carrier group (BCG). The GunTec 9mm BCG has a very nice QPQ Nitride finish. This makes cleaning a little easier than a standard run of the mill Mil-Spec BCG, plus it looks nice. Another function of the Nitride finish is it’s smoothness, if that’s a word. When I installed the GunTec BCG, it cycled very smoothly. This could also be due to the fact that the exterior machining on the bolt is top notch.

 The GunTec bolt has pretty much all the features one would need for this type of BCG. It has a roll pinned in weight to add mass. This makes it possible to run a standard weight buffer in your recoil system. The bolt is heavy at almost 15 ounces, but this is needed for the straight blowback style action used in most 9mm PCC’s. I did run into a small problem that was probably my OCD. Where the gas key block is located, right behind it on the bolt, was a little raised area. When I cycled the upper by hand, you could feel it drag against the buffer tube, but only right at full extension of the charging handle. It however did not cause any wear or problems during use. I smoothed them out so I felt better. Other than my OCD, the bolt has ran flawlessly using the Stern Defense mag block and all different types of glock magazines. The gas key bolts are staked in. They could be a little more, but since it is really only there to manually cycle the firearm, I didn’t pay much attention to them. The BCG also uses an external extractor. A big plus if you actually shoot enough to wear it out.

You can see here where I polished off the small lip.

Same lip on bottom of bolt. Neither top or bottom lip actually affected function.

 I am not sure how many round that I have out through the BCG. But it has not failed me so far. I would estimate around 700-800 round through it at the time of this review. I have ran it with three different AR15 triggers. A mil-spec, a KE arms, and a Velocity. All worked well. The Velocity was on the light side of the trigger pull weight, so I took it out and am currently running the KE arms trigger with good luck.

 If you are in the market to assemble a pistol caliber carbine, take a look at GunTec. PCC’s are an economical way to practice. This 9mm BCG will do both styles of receivers. It has given me no problems and is made right here in the U.S.A. Go take a look at GunTec USA, they probably have everything needed for a PCC.

 

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

9mm AR bolt for Glock or Colt style magazines

Target Market:

Those building a pistol caliber carbine

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Compatible With Glock & Colt Style Lower Receivers

  • MIL-SPEC 8620 Steel

  • External Extractor

  • Dust Cover Compatible

  • Total Weight : 14.9 Ounces

  • USA Made

  • Fully Heat Treated

  • QPQ Salt Bath Nitride Finish

  • 1 Year Warranty

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

In Nickel Boron

What others are saying?:

None found at time of writing

Link to other reviews:

None Found

Price point:

MSRP = $159.00

Retail = $135.99 at OpticsPlanet

I need it now! Availability:

GunTec USA or OpticsPLanet

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • Drop in installation

  • External extractor

  • Nitride coated

  • Works with Colt and Glock style magazines

  • Works with standard AR15 hammers/triggers

  • Made in USA

Cons:

  • Slight raised lip by gas key

Score: 8.00 Great

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Favorite Link:   Brothers & Arms


Stern Defense Mag-AD9

 

 Stern Defense has introduced a magazine block for standard AR-15 style rifles. 9mm converted AR’s are excellent for cheaper practice. Stern Defense was kind enough to send their AD9 magazine block. This product converts a regular AR-15 lower to accept Glock 9mm and 40 cal magazines. One will still need a complete 9mm AR upper, with a Glock style bolt, to work with the magazine block.

 The Stern Defense AD9 is probably one of the nicest magazine blocks around. It is beautifully machined and engineered. Made from 6061 aluminum, hard coat anodized, with some steel and plastic parts where needed, it should last a lifetime. The built in feed ramp is also NiB coated to help smooth out the transfer of the round from the magazine into the chamber. I also noticed this makes the feed ramp easier to clean. I ran various types and weights of 9mm through the AD9. All of them fed reliably, even my 124gr Gold dot hollow points.

 Installation of the magazine adapter is super easy. I used a standard forged mil-spec receiver. First, if new, just insert the adapter into the magwell, like you would any standard AR magazine. Push it until the standard magazine release clicks back out, just like the standard AR magazine. Now, on the bottom of the Stern Defense magazine block, are 3 screws. Take the supplied allen wrench and tighten up the gib screw, while pulling down on the adapter. The gib screw is the larger set screw toward the front of the adapter. What this does is force the gib (plastic piece at the front of the adapter) against the lower receiver’s magazine well. Then lightly tighten the other 2 smaller set screws until they touch the lower receiver. Now you are done with the hard part.

 This AD9 insert is great. I am using a Guntec USA BCG, which is cut for both the Glock style and Colt style, just for your info. Every magazine I have tried fed reliably. All the magazines drop free with a press of the magazine release. Now, the magazine release on the AD9 is a push forward type. Located if front of the trigger guard. All you have to do is push it forward with your trigger finger, and the magazines drop free. It took me a little bit to get the hang of this, but once I did, it works very nicely. If you try and hit the regular magazine release, it does absolutely nothing because of the mag block being wedged in with the gib. I used Glock, Magpul, ETS, and Amend2 magazines, all worked great, as mentioned above. Since the magazine release is only on the right side, left handed people will have to find a different way of releasing the magazines. I did find that if you push the magazine release with your left hand thumb, you can kind of strip the mag out, similar to an AK. I would love the magazine release to be ambidextrous and larger so that I don’t miss it when reloading quickly. Speaking of quick reloads, the magwell is also slightly beveled to help with the insertion of magazines.

Left hand using magazine release

 Some people may not see the purpose in a magazine block. I must admit, this thought has gone through my head before also. But, if you have a SBR, and want to run a short 9mm setup, a mag block allows someone to do this without having to pay another $200 tax stamp on a dedicated 9mm lower. Or if you are fortunate enough to have a full auto m16, you can convert it to 9mm with the AD9!

 I almost forgot to mention. The Stern Defense AD9 has last round bolt hold open. And it worked with all my magazines. It pushes up on the regular AR bolt release. So there is no need to learn any new aspects to your training, at least as far as the bolt release goes. The ejector is also part of the magazine adapter. Replacement ejectors are also available from Stern Defense.

 Stern Defense has made a great product. It is expensive, but worth it in my opinion. So if you think a magazine block might be for you, go check out Stern Defense.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

Magazine block to convert standard AR-15 lowers to 9mm Glock magazines

Target Market:

Those wanting a 9mm carbine on a standard AR-15 lower receiver

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Made in the U.S.A.
  • Constructed from 6061 T6 aircraft grade aluminum.
  • NiB coated feed ramp.
  • Hard coat anodized type 3.
  • Sturdy Construction.
  • Ergonomic mag release.
  • Works with all generations of Glock magazines.
  • Works with any mil spec ar15 lower receiver.
  • All gun components besides the Bolt and Barrel remain stock

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

Beretta 92, M&P, and M&P .45ACP

What others are saying?:

4 / 5 stars at Brownells

RELIABLE
Building a 9mm AR Carbine on a budget can quickly become an expensive endeavor if you buy unreliable parts. The AR-15 9mm Conversion Adapter for Glock® Magazines by STERN DEFENSE Is a reliable way to use Glock magazines in a Mil-spec lower. I use it for USPSA PCC division and Steel Challenge matches to keep the feel of an M-4 and for training. I’ve personally tried other methods and this system is far superior. The feed ramp angle on 9mm is critical for proper function and reliability, with the vast array of projectile profiles. So far I’ve had luck with multiple types of 9mm projectiles I.E. Winchester 124gr FMJ, 145gr RN Bayou, and 147gr FP/HP Berry’s. The last round Bolt hold open is somewhat unnecessary for PCC, however, is great to feel the weight transfer of the bolt carrier group and buffer and have it lock on the last round. The only feature that I dislike is the magazine release is located at the bottom of the unit which is not a big deal if your state allows “standard capacity” magazines. However, I’d like index the same magazine release in the same configuration of an AR series firearm, which would be difficult without permanently modifying the magazine. Overall a great product the moment you open the package you can see that a lot of thought went into its development and manufacturer.

Link to other reviews:

OutlivetheOutbreak.com

Price point:

MSRP = $179.99

Retail = $179.99 at Brownells

I need it now! Availability:

Stern Defense or Brownells

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • Easy Installation

  • Last round bolt hold-open

  • Beautifully made

  • Magazines drop free

  • Bevelled magwell

Cons:

  • Price

  • Magazine Release is not in the standard location

Score: 8.50 GREAT

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Favorite Link:   GunTec USA

9mm MagPump

 If you shoot enough, you probably have looked into magazine loaders. MagPump has introduced a 9mm magazine loader. Their first adventure into the market was their AR-15 magazine loader. They went one step farther with the 9mm version. This was sent to me for review, but it will still get my honest review.

 When I first received the MagPump, I had to try it out. So I assembled it. To assemble it, all you have to do is pull the 2 pins from the hopper, set in on the pumping system, then push the pins in to hold it together. But of course, there is more to it then that. One has to select the magazine adapter and install it. I first chose the Glock adapter. It comes with adapters for: Glock, Sig, Smith & Wesson, Springfield, CZ, and Ruger. They also have other adapters for sale. As with all the magazine adapters, it has two raised circles that slide into the MagPump. Just squeeze them gently, and slide the adapter in place. Now you are ready to install the magazine. I found that if you angle the magazine at about 45 degrees, it makes this step easier. See the pictures, it helps explain these steps. Then push the magazine down as it slides into the adapter. Once down, push the magazine and adapter forward until it clicks in. There is a trigger looking mechanism that catches the magazine/adapter in place. Make sure it clicks in, or the magazine will get pushed out when trying to load it up. Now dump some rounds in the hopper, and start “pumping” the handle! When done, pull the trigger mechanism to unlatch the magazine, and now you have a loaded magazine.

 The MagPump is something used for high volume loading. Because of the size, it is not something you would probably take to the range with you. It does come with a base that can be mounted to a table or workbench. The base is basically a picatinny rail and then the MagPump mounts on it with two large thumbscrews. Because of this feature, the loaded can also be mounted to any picatinny rail that is long enough. The MagPump is pretty stable when mounted to a bench. In the video, you will see I had to hold the base, that is because it wasn’t mounted. I could see a range having some of these for their members to use. All of the MagPumps use the same style of mounting base. So if you have limited space, and more than one style of MagPump, they are easily swapped onto a mounted base.

 I mentioned the hopper system. This system allows you to literally just dump a box of 50 rounds into it, and start loading. There is a little spring loaded latch on the hopper. You can push this to help start loading the rounds into the feed slot, if needed. I would really like the hopper to hold more rounds. Somehow the mechanism that flips the rounds to the proper direction, doesn’t care for hollow points. It does work fine with round nose bullets. MagPump does state that it is optimized for FMJ/Round nose bullets, so I wasn’t surprised.

 After using the MagPump for thousands of rounds, here is what else I found. The pumping handle feels a little flimsy, but it has held up fine. Even when trying to force it. The loader does take a few tries until you get the hang of it. Loading practice ammo has never been easier. It handles all different capacity magazines, from 10 rounders up to the 33’s. So if you are looking for a bench style magazine loader, you may want to go try one of these out. Now, if I could just motorize it.

 

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

Easy, fast magazine loader

Target Market:

Those wanting quick and easy loading of magazines

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Fast magazine loading
  • Picatinny mounting
  • Bench mountable
  • 50 round hopper
  • 6 different magazine retainers included

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

9mm Elite loader

What others are saying?:

4 / 5 stars from Midway

Limited usage

I purchased this product thinking it would be a useful tool. Basically what it does is saves your fingers if you do a lot of target shooting. It will not load hollow point cartridges or any flat nose cartridge. It will load round nose practice ammo very well, although in my experience, one cannot go quite as fast loading rounds as the ad videos purport. Slow and steady loading works best for me. My recommendation is based on this information.

Link to other reviews:

Pistol Forum Review

Price point:

MSRP = $149.99

Retail =$124.95 on Amazon

I need it now! Availability:

MagPump or Amazon

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • Hopper system
  • Mountable base
  • Ease of use
  • Comes with more than one magazine adapter
  • Loads magazine quickly

Cons:

  • Doesn't work well with hollow points
  • Hopper only holds 50 rounds
  • Handle feels flimsy

Score: 7.00 Good

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Favorite Link:   Nevada Cerakote




 

5.11 Defender Flex jeans and Hunter Plaid Shirt

 

 It doesn't really matter who you are, you need clothes. Even though 5.11 is mainly known for tactical clothing, they also offer a wide array of “not so tactical” clothing. For instance, they sent me a pair of their defender flex jeans and a hunter plaid shirt to try out.

 I have literally been wearing these clothes for 6 months. They both have worn extremely well. The fabrics 5.11 uses are as comfortable as any of my other jeans or shirts. As you can probably guess, I am not a clothes reviewer, but I will tell you what I like and dislike about these.

 First up is the jeans. These have worn very well for me. They pretty much look the same as the day I received them. The defender jeans did bleed some color the first 4 or 5 washes, after that I could wash them with other clothes. The fit is as advertised. I ordered the size I wear, and they fit great. One huge dislike, about the jeans, is the front pockets are way too short. For being advertised as “tactical clothing”, you can't hardly put a 2 cell tactical flashlight in them, yet alone a small pistol or revolver. The back pockets are fine. Now one of my favorite features is the extra pockets. These pockets are just rear of the center line on each side. These extra pockets also blend in with the seams of the jeans. So unless you know they are there, no one will ever be the wiser. These pockets are excellent for carrying a tourniquet or extra magazine, or both. Since the extra pockets are somewhat wide, an AR magazine will also fit, but it will stick out the top. The defender flex jeans also are made with a blend of stretchy material, hence the “flex” in the name. This makes them very comfortable to move around in. 5.11 also did a nice job putting enough, but not too many, belt loops on them. The belt loops will accept a 1.75” wide belts. Last up is the YKK zipper, which should keep stuff closed up until you decide otherwise.

 Now that I have bored you with the Defender jeans, it's time to get your shirt on. 5.11 also sent one of their Hunter plaid shirts. This is a short sleeve, button up style. As said about the jeans, the sizing on the website is spot on. When I say button up style, what 5.11 has done, is to use snaps that appear to be buttons. What does this do for the concealed carrier? Well, since this style of shirt doesn't stretch. When you yank up the shirt to draw your defensive firearm, the snaps will undo and make it possible for the shirt to get out of the way of your draw stroke. Pretty smart on 5.11’s behalf. The shirt is lightweight. Has a nice pocket in the front. It even looks good tucked in or just hanging out. Plus, the plaid design helps break up shapes that might be hiding under the shirt.

 I really like these 5.11 clothes. They fit well. Serve a functional purpose. And are designed to make you blend in with your surroundings. Go check them out if your in the need for some “non tactical”, tactical clothing.

Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

Tactical wear that blends in with society

Target Market:

Anyone wanting clothes that do not look tactical

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

Defender Flex Jeans

  • Button top fly with locking YKK® zipper
  • Dual back patch pockets
  • 10 oz. mechanical stretch denim (76% cotton / 24% polyester with Lycra® T400 Tough Max™)
  • Five pocket styling plus two rear hip pockets
  • Double needle construction with bar tacks in high-stress areas

Hunter Plaid Shirt

  • RAPIDraw™ placket
  • Branded metal ring snaps & neck tape
  • 60% cotton / 40% polyester 3.1 oz
  • Regular fit

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

Too many to list

What others are saying?:

From Midway

Will buy a few more

The most comfortable pair of jeans I own. Look great. I have two as of now. Belt loops work with all my tac belts. Extra deep "Coin" pocket is perfect for my knife. The low vis mag pockets in the back were handy when I went to the range to work re-loads with my AR and forgot my mag pouch! Still got my reps in! Negatives: Front pockets could be a bit deeper. Having had these for a few months now, the seem to shrink faster than normal jeans, even washing in cold. My 34 lengths now feel like 33/32 length. Might go up in length on the next pair and see how that goes. Neutral: The blue will run for a while. They say that and they are right. Wash three or four times by themselves to mitigate this. If not, you will get blue on your hands or other clothes. I'm okay with this as there is a warning on the tag.

 

Link to other reviews:

OffGridWeb

Price point:

MSRP = $69.99 Defender Flex Jeans

              $39.99 Hunter Plaid Shirt

Retail = Same as MSRP at Midway

I need it now! Availability:

5.11 Tactical

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • Extra pockets in jeans

  • Comfortable

  • Look like everyday clothes

  • True sizing

  • Snaps on shirt

  • Plaid design on shirt

  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Front jean pockets too short

  • Jean color bleeds a lot

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Score:

7.00 jeans - Good

           

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7.50 shirt - Good

 

 

Favorite Link:   Thor Targets

Stngr 15" Rptr handguard

Written by: Zane M.

  There are hundreds if not thousands of choices for Handguards and rails for the ar15. Everyone has their own opinion as to what a rail should offer. Personally I like to have as much rail as I can in relation to barrel length, so for a 16” gun that means a 15” rail.

  A few months ago I had a STNGR (pronounced “stinger”) RPTR sent to me to take a look at. At first glance, it looks good. Seems a bit heavy but considering it has quad at the muzzle end not overly so. In the box is the handguard, the barrel nut, and proprietary “wrench” or installation tool.

  Installation was simple. The low pro barrel nut required no timing, a welcomed feature and the provided tool was adequate. The barrel nut is made from aluminum, while I encountered no issues I would much rather have a steel barrel nut. Luckily, they offer one as an upgrade and I will most likely replace mine should I decide to stay with this hand guard.  I feel this should be standard but i understand the need to keep the price and weight down for the casual plinker. It’s worth noting that the anti rotational wings that “lock” the rail in place could need removing for use with a billet upper but I installed it on a forged receiver so I encountered none of that. But more on those wings later.

  The 15” officially licensed Mlok rail comes in at 11.64 oz not including the barrel nut and is made from 6065 aluminum. It will require a low profile gas block or in my case a cut down a2 front site base. At 1.35 inner diameter not too many silencers are going to fit under it if that’s your thing but for people with small hands that don’t like vertical foregrips it’s quite comfortable to grab.  Two QD sling points at the either side towards the receiver end don’t offer much flexibility in using QD slings. Since I don’t use a QD sling this wasn’t a concern for me.

The gun, a colt 6920, still points good, this rail is much thinner than the previous one I had and, as mentioned earlier, makes for a much more comfortable grip. After a day of shooting I noticed two things: 1, the rail has quite a bit of flex and 2, it heats up quick. Then as the day went on I found I had a tendency to oversteer the gun. Let’s address these one by one.

  Flex, the rail flexes. It’s a 15” free-float so that’s to be expected. From the prone at 25yds using only sling tension I was able to move the backup irons enough to shift the strike of the round 5-6” That’s a concern of you’re going to use rail mounted aiming devices like irons or lasers.  If your primary optic is receiver mounted, this is obviously much less of a concern.

  Now let’s talk about heat, after two quick mag dumps, the rail was almost too hot to hold. Midway through the third mag I put a glove on. I definitely wouldn’t put this on a full auto or bumpstocked lower but since I don’t have either and magdumps aren’t really my thing, this is less of an issue. I don’t know how it would hold up on a full day class as I didn’t have opportunity to run it in a class.

  My last minor concern is the weight towards the end. In all fairness I requested the rail with quad at the muzzle, this obviously increases the weight a bit at the muzzle end causing me to ever so slightly oversteer the gun. They offer rails that don’t have the quad rail portion and if I did this over again I would  forgo it.

  The next range trip I brought some range barrels (55gal drums), barricades and a homemade notch wall along to purposely try to break the little bitty anti rotational wings off. After several hundred rounds and several dozen overly aggressive slams into different positions, I was unable to do so. I’m sure if I beat it as hard as I could on the concrete I could bend or break it but I don’t know much that I couldn’t break at that point. My concerns with the wings seem unfounded judging by the last several months of range trips and they’re still holding up just fine. However, they do seem to have about 1/32” extra space so take care in lining the rail up before wrenching it down. And at some point in the testing process I was able to twist it every so slightly. I am chalking this up to user error since I didn’t use a torque wrench to tighten the clam screws to the recommended 20-30 inch lbs. why? You ask, because I don’t have an inch lbs torque wrench. I realigned it and went hand tight-er and didn’t rencounter this problem.

  At $135 it’s hard to beat for a made in America, aluminum handguard. While I’m not sure I would recommend it for duty use, for the hobbyist or for a home defense rifle it seems like a fine choice.

FIREARMS INSIDER REVIEWS - 8 KEY POINTS

 

CLAIM TO FAME:

Made in America aluminum freefloat handguard/Rail

TARGET MARKET:

Anyone with an AR-15

FNBS (FEATURES & BENEFITS OF THIS PRODUCT):

  • Free floated
  • Mlok
  • 2 QD attachments
  • Full length
  • Quad rail at muzzle end
  • Lifetime warranty

WHAT OTHER AESTHETIC OPTIONS OR FINISHES ARE AVAILABLE?

They make rails from 7”-15” in Mlok or keymod, with or without a 3slot quad picrail at the muzzle end

What others are saying:

From STNGR’s website

08/07/2018

Jeremy Koop

First AR build

I’m building my first AR, and want everything on this one to be good quality. I’m enjoying seeing it come together, but now that I got this handguard on, it looks amazing. I did a lot of research and was going to spend 300 dollars on a handguard, before stumbling on to STNGR, that being said, it was a perfect fit, everything is so clean, A++.

 

Price point:

MSRP  - $134.99

At time of writing blemish rails are available for $119.99

Other rails and lengths vary in price

I need it now availability:

STNGRUSA.com

Our Rating:

    Pros:

  • Does the job
  • Price
  • Made in America (if that matters to you)
  • Freefloat
  • Easy installation

   Cons:

  • Has a lot of flex
  • Gets hot fast
  • Very small tolerance issue on the wings

 

Score: 7.5 Good

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NightStick TWM-850XL Weapon mounted light

  NightStick lighting products are fairly new at weapon mounted lights. Don’t let that fool you, these lights are robust and powerful. Nightstick is a division of Bayco products, who have been doing portable lighting products for over 30 years. I saw them at SHOT 2018 and they were gracious enough to send out one of their new TWM-850XL weapon mounted lights for review.

 The TWM-850XL is a full size light. Not the mini’s that are made to fit the smaller handguns. Being that it is full size, it is a comparable size to the common TLR-1 HL. So much so, that many holsters made for a pistol with the TLR-1 will fit the Nightstick. The TWM-850XL does not have the strobe option, but they do make the same light with a strobe option.

 Let’s get into what makes the Nightstick weapon light shine. As with pretty much all high output lights, it uses a CREE LED rated at 850 lumens and 15000 candela. Bright enough to go 245 meters, or so they say. But identifying something at that distance is not something I would try. The house at the end of the street, about 125 yds away, probably hates me now. Even with street lights on, the 850XL did a decent job of lighting up their house. Could I identify someone? No, but make out figures and trees, yes. As with most lights, they appear to work better at distance without much ambient light. In the pictures you can see the spill pattern to some extent and also how the different distances affect detail.The light wasn’t on a firearm when I shined it down the street or at the shady person on the side of the road.

Approximately 75yds Dark

Approximately 75yds. This also does a decent job of showing the beam pattern

Approximately 25yds

Approximately 50yds

Approximately 35yds

 Nightstick did a pretty good job putting in lots of useable features. The first one that comes to mind is their switch mechanism. The switches are made from a glass filled nylon to give them strength and are ambidextrous. Probably my favorite feature, is how the switches operate. Pushing down on either side operates the momentary on. Yes, down on either side, unlike the TLR-1. Pushing up on either side turns the light on. To turn the light off, just push down on either side of the switches and it turns off. When turning the light from constant on to off, It will go to momentary on the opposite side from which it was flipped to on, then just let up and it is off. If you switch it off on the side that it was turned to “on”, it will go to the off position. I found that, in this case, the switch just passed off and went to momentary also. Not a big deal, just something to mention. Once I got use to the way the switching worked, I really liked it.

 I’ll try not to bore you to death with the specifications, because most are listed below. The 850XL does use a hardcoat anodized aluminum housing. For now, it is only available in black. It is water resistant. It also uses 2 of the CR123 batteries, which are supplied. One must take the light off of a handgun to replace the batteries. If you have it mounted on a rifle, it is possible to replace them with the light still mounted. The battery door flips down once the screw is loosened that holds it on. The lens is made out of polycarbonate, the same material many safety glasses are made from. Nightstick also adds an anti scratch coating to the lens. Battery life is specified at 1.75 hrs. After about 1.5 hrs, the output started dying off for me. Yes, it does get hot if left on. Each weapon light is also has its own serial number.

 When mounting to a pistol, or rifle, the 850-XL came with 2 cross rail inserts. These cross rails allow the user to mount the light on different types of rails. On the top of the light, where it mounts to a rail, are 4 tiny slots. The slots are used to position the light onto the rail by installing 1 or both of the cross rail inserts. Depending on who’s rail you are using. I just held the light up to the rail and lined it up with the appropriate cross rail slot. The instruction tell you what handgun to use with what slot, but that’s no fun. I put a tiny amount of threadlocker on the screws holding the cross rail in, just for added protection.

 I have tried the 850XL on a few firearms. Typically I use it on my Polymer80 compact. The light does extend out about an inch past the muzzle. But I have had zero problems with it at all. I did mount it on an AR to try out. It wasn’t as weird as one might think. I just put my support hand right behind it and was able to operate the light with my thumb. I didn’t put many rounds downrange with the light mounted on the rifle, but I did run around the house with it mounted up. Nightstick does make a rifle version that uses a push button end cap.

 I think it is good to have another weapon mounted light in the market. The Nightstick TWM-850XL has worked well for me. I think it is on par with the TLR-1. The quality is nice, it won’t break the bank, and it’s bright. Go take a look at the Nightstick line, they might have something worth using.

 

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

High output weapon mounted light

Target Market:

Those wanting a high output weapon mounted light

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • 850 Lumens

  • 15000 Candela

  • 2 m drop rating

  • IP-X7 Waterproof (1m for 30 min)

  • Flashlight Runtime: 1.75 hours

  • Length: 3.75 in (95 mm)

  • Width: 1.5 in (38 mm)

  • Depth: 1.5 in (38 mm)

  • Weight: 5.4 oz (155 g)

  • Head Diameter: 1.2 in (30 mm)

  • Ambidextrous toggle switch

  • Momentary or constant-on flashlight

  • Aircraft-grade 6061-T6 aluminum housing

  • Glass-filled nylon polymer toggle switch

  • Type III hard anodized finish

  • Beam distance rated at 245 meters

  • Impact & chemical resistant

  • Serialized for personal identification

  • 2 CR123 batteries (included)

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

With Strobe option

What others are saying:

Chris K. at Bayco Products: 5/5 stars
Absolutely AWESOME FELLAS!

  This thing feels SOLID as a rock, and the light output is INSANE...I can see why Police/First Responders would use this - because the controls are ingenious and easy, and the amount of "light 'em up" it produces is, well, GREAT!!! 

When I'm out with my dog at night, I've got this on my M&P Pro 9mm and if a coyote pack is lurking, simply point and hit the light and it's almost like a car's headlight on high!

  Thanks for making an excellent product! ABSOLUTELY WORTH $100 - NO DOUBT! I now want this in a flashlight form, and the light for my long guns! 100% endorse - get this bad boy if you do ANYTHING REQUIRING LIGHTING AND GUNS!!

Link to other reviews:

Ammoland TWM-850XLS review

Price point:

MSRP = $150.96

Retail = $85.87 on Amazon

I need it now! Availability:

Amazon 

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • Bright

  • TLR-1 size

  • Adjustable cross rail inserts

Cons:

  • Must take off to replace batteries

  • Size

Score: 8.00 Great

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Favorite Link:   Polymer 80

Grey Ghost Precision Glock 19 Slide

Written by: Kenny Ortega
 

It seems like everyone is making Glock slides these days. Walking the aisles at the 2018 NRAAM and exhibits this year, glock slides were plentiful. As I was perusing the wares at the Tactical Tailor booth, I saw that their sister company, Grey Ghost Precision, was sharing the booth with them and had slides and barrels on display. I happened to get the opportunity to chat with the Marketing Guru at the Grey Ghost Precision, GGP, side of the booth as I ogled some of the slides available there.

At first glance, I noticed that the slides were not overly adorned with features that didn't offer any benefit other than aesthetics. Unlike most slides at the show, they were made to perform and look good, not just look good. There is an elegance to a product that is made to perform first and look good second. Who cares how good it looks if it doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do? At first glance, it appears that Grey Ghost got both areas right.

I had a number of questions for the marketing guru and after some discussion back and forth, he offered to send me a unit for review. Of course I said yes, their products were impressive. When the slide arrived, I was pleasantly surprised to find that he included one of their threaded barrels as well. That was a bonus that I had not expected. The slide that I chose was the Version 1 as it offered a bit more traction for slide manipulation. That factor became very important to me after another slide that I used to carry failed miserably in that area.

Some time ago, I purchased this slide from Zev and it had great visual appeal albeit it at a high price tag. Although, after running the slide on my gun under tough conditions, I reverted back to the factory slide as it proved more functional under real world conditions. The real test with the GGP slide would be whether it can overcome the shortcomings of a more well known and higher priced race gun slide. The only area that the GGP slide didn't surpass the race gun slide was in the flashy looks department. This comparison is a bit unfair though, it’s like comparing a Corvette to a Jaguar. Both are good looking cars but the Jaguar has a reputation for failure and requires expensive maintenance. GGP made a Corvette. It runs and looks good, at a fraction of the cost.

First Impressions

Upon opening the box, I noticed that the slide was packaged nicely and came with assembly and RMR installation instructions. Also included were the proper length screws for use with an RMR. Closer inspection showed a slide that was well machined, all the lines were crisp and sharp, there were no tool marks that I could see. The finish was deep and even. Overall, the slide had the look of a quality product and not something that was slapped together and rushed to market like many others. I felt that this slide was something I could trust and have complete confidence in. The slide did come stripped so I had to order some parts to complete the slide.

A couple of credit card number entries later and I was just waiting for parts to arrive. I kept all the parts stock to most closely mimic what the average builder might use. While race gun parts might have made the slide more desirable to some, I wanted to keep the budget minded builder as the target audience. The one item that I would highly recommend to complete the slide assembly is  a channel liner installation tool. Trying to install a channel liner without one is like trying to put on your socks without holding them. You might be able to do it but it’s a lot more work than it needs to be. Just spend the few bucks on the tool. You’ll be happy you did.

All the parts installed in the slide without any fitting or modification. To me, that speaks volumes. It means that the tolerances are held close to specifications on the slide, a sign of quality and attention to detail. I was glad to see that. When I went to mate the slide to the frame, I noticed that the fit was tighter than that of the factory slide and the alignment of the two had to be more precise. The slide to frame fit, while tighter than factory, moved freely and smoothly once the parts were mated. The barrel to slide fit was also tight and inspired confidence in the accuracy potential of this parts combination.

Checking the fit of the RMR cover plate, I found it to be snug and well fitted to the cutout for the sight. There did not appear to be any hand fitting of either the plate or the slide to mate the two parts. These items are obviously held to tight manufacturing tolerances with machines that have repeatable accuracy. Their friction fit was impressive. As someone who has been around machinists for decades, I know that tolerances like these are no small task without talent and expensive, well maintained, equipment. GGP obviously has both and it shows.

Range Testing

I was skeptical about how the slide would perform on my normally flawless Glock 19 frame and I was right to be skeptical, initially. The tighter than normal slide to frame fit did result in some failures to go fully into battery and failures to fire. To be honest though, I did do a sort of a torture test on the slide, I ran it dry to try and get it to fail. Using Winchester white box 115 grain 9mm ammo, not known for its reliability, and running the slide to frame interface dry initially, the slide did much better than other slides I have seen. The hiccups did cease after about 100 rounds and, with proper lubrication after that, the slide has yet to malfunction after several hundred more rounds.

In order to try and induce malfunctions, I added a TBRCI micro comp to the barrel. The slide just kept on performing flawlessly. I haven’t been able to induce a stoppage regardless of how hard I try. I have shot the slide in strong hand supported, strong hand only, weak hand supported, weak hand only, and had less experienced shooters shoot it as well. It performs with the notorious reliability of a Glock. They certainly go well together. If I had to find fault anywhere, it would have to be with the RMR. I am not a red dot shooter so I don’t shoot as well with one as I do with iron sights. That’s no fault of the slide though except that it gives me the ability to use a sight that I need more practice with. I’m an old iron sight guy and that’s a hard habit to break.

The slide/ barrel combo shot equally as well as the factory slide does with the aftermarket Silencerco barrel that I normally shoot. Having turned 50 last year, my eyes are not what they used to be and focusing on the front sight is difficult. You would think that a red dot would work better for me but I guess old habits die hard. Even with my old eyes, and other physical compensations I have to make, I was able to shoot 1” groups at 10 yards with ease. More importantly, when I ran ball and dummy exercises to simulate failures, the well defined, sharp edged serrations on both the front and rear of the slide allowed me to easily and effectively manipulate the slide. This was the biggest issue I had with the Zev slide that I ran in a recent class. That slide did not give me enough traction on the slide to clear simulated failures. The GGP slide traction was excellent and allowed me to clear the malfunctions with ease.

After discovering that this whiz bang slide that I bought, for almost twice what the GGP slide cost, would probably get me killed if I ever needed to clear a malfunction, I went back to the factory slide. Running the GGP slide in the same manner, I found that I could count on it to provide the necessary traction needed in an emergency and, even when my hands were sweaty, I could still manipulate it. The GGP slide restored my faith in aftermarket components on a carry gun. The V1 version of the slide has more aggressive texturing in my opinion while the V2 has a more aesthetic design. Either way, at a price point of $418.95 to $449.99, you can’t go wrong with either option.

Conclusion

GGP components are well made, aesthetically pleasing,  and reliable. The cost is on par with several other lesser known slide manufacturers on the market that try to compete solely on price. The prices are well below several other vendors that can easily venture into the $700 price range and beyond. Their threaded barrel with an MSRP of $189.99 is also a good deal. Their products, barrels included, are quality offerings and are priced well for the quality they provide. I am so impressed with their offerings that I am considering buying a Glock 43 just so I can modify it with one of their slides.

If you’re looking for a slide and/or barrel for your Glock, look to Grey Ghost Precision, you won’t be disappointed.

Rating: 8.75 Great

 

For a rating, I would say an 8.75. If it had been just a tad more reliable initially, I would have rated it higher.

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Blacklist Glock Ultra Match Barrel

 If you’ve been around the aftermarket Glock seen for awhile, then you probably have heard the name Blacklist Industries. They make barrels and a few other parts. Blacklist sent me a G19 drop in Ultra Match barrel for review. I opted for the Chameleon color.

 First things first. This Blacklist barrel is great looking. Almost enough to just set it around and look at it. Blacklist has a great attention to detail. So much, that the barrel comes in its own little padded hard case. With a patch and some stickers. The “Blacklist” logo is engraved on the outside of the chamber area. The caliber and model are marked on the hood of the barrel. All of the barrels have column fluting, which are straight cut flutes down the length of the barrel.

 The barrel fit in my Grey Ghost slide was a little bit tight. Not enough that the firearm doesn’t function. But tight enough to cause some finish wear around the hood area. This of course is good because a tighter barrel fit gives better accuracy. It is bad because the pretty chameleon finish wears off some. Since the barrel is made from 416R Stainless Steel, the wear is only cosmetic.

 The Blacklist barrel has the normal features. It is “drop in” and runs a full supported SAAMI spec chamber. This allows it to run any 9mm load, including +P. I really like how Blacklist uses broach cut rifling in these barrels. Besides being an accurate way to rifle barrels, it allows the use of all the common bullet materials including lead. The muzzle end has a recessed crown to help protect that rifling. The 9mm version is a 1 in 10 twist rate to better stabilize the heavier bullets like the 147 grain ones.

 Let’s get into how it shot for me. All of the ammunition used was your run of the mill target variety. All targets were shot at 15 yards with the pistol rested on a bag. They are 5 round groups. So probably not a perfect test, but useful for real accuracy. My best group was 1.75” with Aguila 115gr. The worst was around 2.75”. I really was impressed with how well the Blacklist barrel shot most of the ammo I ran through it. There were a bunch of groups right around 2” as you can see in the pictures.

Aguila 115gr

Remington 115gr

Sellier & Bellot 115gr

Buffalo 115gr

Sig 115gr

Speer Lawman 124gr

  If you are thinking about getting a replacement pistol barrel, check out Blacklist Industries. This is a really nice barrel. Now, if you are in a hurry, don’t be. These take around 6-9 weeks to get after ordering. Are they worth the wait? That is a personal decision, but I would say so. Plus sometimes, online retailers have them in stock. This barrel shoots just as good now as the day I received it.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

Match grade Glock barrel

Target Market:

Shooters wanting better accuracy or builders of Glock style pistols

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • 416R Stainless Steel

  • 1 in 10 twist

  • 9mm

  • Drop in

  • Pulled Broach rifling

  • Full supported SAAMI chamber

  • Column flutes

  • Gen 1-4 compatible

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

Stainless Steel, TiN (Gold), Armor (Black)

What others are saying?:

From Blacklist Ind. 5/5 stars

WORTH THE WAIT.
Serious attention to detail, presentation, packaging and build quality. Customer service is second to none (also, hilarious). Getting better groups at the range. And the presence it brings to my G19 is well noticed. I learned that the barrel travels to several states around the country for each phase of manufacturing, I like that; shows the research behind finding out who does what best. You can feel/see the American pride, that is so lacking in the industry lately

Link to other reviews:

Brian Enos’s Forum

Price point:

MSRP = $219.99

Retail = $209.99 at AIM Surplus

I need it now! Availability:

Blacklist Industries or AIM Surplus

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • Drop-in

  • 1 in 10 twist rate

  • Broached rifling

  • Accuracy

Cons:

  • Delivery time

  • Finish wear

Score: 8.50 Great

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Favorite Link: US Tactical Supply

Peltor Tactical 500

 Peltor has been making hearing protection for many years. The Peltor Tactical 500’s are one of their newest releases. They sent me these after talking with them at SHOT show. As we all know, hearing protection is very important. Especially if you do a lot of shooting. The Tac 500’s will help with that and even give you some bonus features.

 I am not new to electronic noise cancelling hearing protection. I’ve used a set of Peltor tactical 6-S’ for almost 20 years, as well as other manufacturers also. These new Tac 500’s have way more features than my old trusty 6-s pair. They have a noise reduction rating of 26 dB while reducing any sound above 82 dB. In order to reduce the sound of loud noises, the tac 500’s use what Peltor calls “Dynamic Suppression Time” technology. What this means to you, is that the electronics monitor the harsh sounds and echoes to determine how quickly and how much to mute the volume. This feature works outstandingly well. I really liked how it only cut the gunshots or loud noises to a manageable level. While still being able to hear them. They do not cut out the sound completely like my 6-s or some of the less expensive hearing protection.

 Another feature that somewhat resembles the Dynamic Suppression, is the “Clear Voice Tracking.” The Clear Voice tracking also appears to work very well. What it does is sense voice levels getting input from the microphones. It then enhances them so that you can clearly hear what others are saying. Ant time I was wearing the Tac 500’s at the range, I had zero problems understanding or hearing people talk. It sound almost as if I didn’t have the hearing protection on at all.

 The Tactical 500’s were comfortable when worn. Except the headband can press in the top of your head some and cause discomfort. I noticed this a little when wearing them without a baseball hat. But when wearing them over the hat, they were comfortable to me for long periods of time (6+ hours). The headband is vented some, it has three vent squares in the top. One of these vent squares is made to clear the button on top of a hat, so that the button doesn’t press into your head and start hurting. The ear cups were also comfortable for me. They also sealed over my glasses pretty well. I believe the gel cups that 3m sells will fit on the Tac 500’s also.

 Hearing protection that rides up, or opens up, when shooting rifles can be a real problem. Peltor has made the Tac 500’s with a cut-out, or scoop, on the bottom of the ear cups. This cut-out help them sit lower when putting your cheek on a rifle. The 500’s worked well for me when shooting rifles and shotguns. They didn’t try to lift up like my Howard Leights do. Even though the 500’s are larger, size wise, then my 6-s’, I didn’t notice any differences in comfort.

 Possibly one of the coolest features of the Tactical 500’s is the built in BlueTooth. This allows you to pair your smartphone to the hearing protection. I think most people have missed a phone call or text while at the range. Having the bluetooth feature allows for you to hear incoming notifications from your phone. You can even answer a phone call by pushing the center of the right ear cup. Because of the dual microphones in the headset, people can actually hear you talk, within reason, you are still at a shooting range. This particular ear protection has an annoying whine or static when turned on. It happens with the bluetooth on or off. If you up the volume, it just gets louder. If these didn’t have that whine, I’d give them a much better rating. Having the bluetooth also allow me to listen to music when I wear these around the house, lawn mowing and the like. These are not music headphones, so the sound quality of music is pretty blah. Another feature with the bluetooth, is being able to use it with a shooting app on the smartphone. It makes it super easy to hear the tones, or beeps. If you want to use them without bluetooth, they have a 3.5mm audio jack and come with a cable.

 The Tactical 500’s also fold up into themselves. Of course this is for storage. But they also include a nice bag for putting them in. A rechargeable battery pack is also available and can be charged with a micro usb plugged into the right ear cup. Otherwise it uses 2 AA batteries. But don’t worry, it has an auto off feature for people like me that forget to turn stuff off. The Tac 500’s will also alert you, by talking, that your batteries are low or when you “power on” and “power off” the hearing protection.

 I probably missed something that the Tactical 500’s do. I have a love / hate relationship with them. I love all the features, but hate the annoying static sound when they are turned up. Go check them out if your in the market for some electronic hearing protection.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

Noise cancelling over ear hearing protectors

Target Market:

Shooters, Hunters, anyone needing hearing protection

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • 26 dB NRR

  • Dynamic Suppression

  • Clear Voice Tracking

  • Bluetooth

  • Auto shut-off

  • Recessed Microphones

  • Cheek cutouts for rifle stocks

  • Vented Headband

  • 3.5mm Audio Jack - Cable Included

  • Carrying bag

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

None - You get Black

What others are saying?:

From 3M -  ⅘ stars.

ToddInTexas
  
Dynamic supression great, but odd interference

I bought these a few months ago and use them at indoor and outdoor ranges and also while I'm woodworking (both handtool for chopping mortises and dovetail waste) and when using power tools. It is great to be able to hear sounds and voices. In fact, these have an uncanny way of amplifying low level sounds, which is kind of cool. As to ear protection, these work well for both indoor and outdoor ranges as well as in woodworking. As others note, the headband can be uncomfortable. It appears that 3M simply didn't user test these, which is very odd. If I am careful about positioning I can usually wear them for hours, but if they are slightly off the top of my head starts hurting. For me though, the main issue is the strange audio signal that I hear. I'm not sure what it is from, perhaps bluetooth, but it is almost always there and detracts from the experience. As to music quality, these are only OK. My Bose QC35s blow them away. Listening to music through the Peltors is not a great experience--it all sounds flat and compressed. But I didn't really buy them for music--that's just an extra for me.

From Amazon - ⅗ stars

Mychajloon

A lot of unnecessary feedback and buzzing in the headsets

Bought so my kids could go hunting with me. A lot of unnecessary feedback and buzzing in the headsets. Any solutions to this would be appreciated.

Link to other reviews:

Gun Holsters & Gear

Price point:

MSRP = $199.99

Retail = $119.99 on Amazon

I need it now! Availability:

Amazon

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • Excellent Noise cancellation

  • Uses AA batteries

  • Bluetooth

  • Auto Shut-off

  • Fits over hat button

Cons:

  • Static sound

  • Headband comfort

Score: 7.50 Good

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Favorite Link:   ABC House Benefit Match




 

Werkz M2 holster for Polymer80

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

Minimalist Kydex Holster

Target Market:

Those needing a decent holster

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • IWB - OWB convertible

  • Kydex

  • Adjustable clip height

  • 1.5” belt clip

  • Straight or canted

  • Adjustable retention

  • Useable with slide mounted optics

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

With or Without some rail mounted lights and colors

What others are saying?:

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

Link to other reviews:

None for this particular holster

Price point:

MSRP holster = $42.50

MSRP mag carrier = $30.00

Retail = $50.00 on Amazon

I need it now! Availability:

Werkz or Amazon

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • Great construction

  • Adjustable retention

  • Adjustable cant

  • Convertible between IWB and OWB

  • Price

Cons:

  • Holster prints

  • Clip

Score: 7.5 Good

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Favorite Link:   Triggrcon




 

Werkz M2 w/TLR-1 Holster

Written by: Zane Mungillo

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

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

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

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

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

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

FIREARMS INSIDER REVIEWS - 8 KEY POINTS

CLAIM TO FAME:  

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

TARGET MARKET:  

Concealed carriers 

FNBS (FEATURES & BENEFITS OF THIS PRODUCT):  

  • Meets my requirements for a good holster
  • Well made

WHAT OTHER AESTHETIC OPTIONS OR FINISHES ARE AVAILABLE?

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

What others are saying:  

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

Price point:  

MSRP - $42-80 depending model and options.

Retail - Same

I need it now availability: 

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

Our Ratings:

Pros: 

  • Works as advertised
  • Holds gun securely


Cons: 

  • Not as concealable as other holsters I’ve tried 


Score: 7.50 Good

6.5 before modifying 8.5 after for an average or 7.5

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Faxon Firearms Glock Barrel

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

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

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

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

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

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

A - Aguila 115gr

L - Speer Lawman 124gr

H - HSM 124gr

B - Buffalo 115gr

R - Remington 115gr

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

 

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

Drop in match grade barrel

Target Market:

Pistol shooters wanting a better barrel

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • 416-R Stainless Steel

  • SAAMI chamber

  • Conventional rifling

  • 11 Degree target crown

  • Button rifled

  • Flame fluted

  • 1 - 10 twist for 9mm

  • Salt bath nitride coating inside and outside

  • TiN PVD coated

  • Made in USA

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

Threaded, Black, Chameleon

What others are saying?:

AJ M. at Faxon. 5/5 stars

G19 Barrel

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

Link to other reviews:

AmmoLand

TFB

Price point:

MSRP = $199.00

Retail = $189.00 at Rainier Arms

I need it now! Availability:

Faxon or Rainier Arms

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • Drop in installation

  • Tin gold coating

  • Flame fluted

  • Conventional rifling

Cons:

  • Non-match chamber

Score: 8.5 Great

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Favorite Link:  Freedom Flag Products




 

Velocity Triggers MPC (Marksman Performance Choice) Trigger

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

⅜” wide AR trigger with changeable shoes

Target Market:

Anyone wanting a better AR trigger

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • ⅜” Wide Trigger Shoe

  • Different Trigger Shoe’s available

  • 3 lb pull weight

  • Drop in installation

  • Crisp trigger break

  • Short reset

  • MP3 Coated

  • Made in USA

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

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

What others are saying?:

Nothing found

Link to other reviews:

Nothing found

Price point:

MSRP = $189.95

Retail = $172.99 at Brownell’s

I need it now! Availability:

Velocity or Brownell’s

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • Changeable trigger shoes

  • ⅜” wide

  • Long trigger reach

  • Radiused

  • Short pull

  • Short reset

  • Easy installation

  • Finger stop

  • MP3 Coating

  • 100% made is USA

Cons:

  • Only available in 3 and 4 lb configurations

  • “Velocity Triggers”  writing on trigger

  • Price

Score:  8.5 GREAT

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Favorite Link:  AR 15 Podcast

Vortex Viper PST GEN II 5-25x50

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

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

Red fiber optic Radius Bar

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

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

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

250 yards, sunny day, 5x

250 yards, sunny day, 25x

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

200 yards, Snowing, 5x

200 yards, Snowing, 25x

385 yards, Snowing, 5x, Illuminated

385 yards, Snowing, 25x, Illuminated

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

 

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

Quality long range scope

Target Market:

Tactical and PRS shooters, Long range Hunters and shooters

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • 5-25x magnification

  • 50mm objective lens

  • First Focal Plane reticle

  • MRAD EBR-2C illuminated etched reticle

  • 30mm one piece tube

  • Tactical Turrets

  • RZR Zero stop

  • XD Glass

  • XR Coatings

  • Waterproof, Shockproof, & fogproof

  • Fiber Optic Radius bar

  • 16” length

  • 31.2 ounces

  • 3.4” eye relief

  • VIP Warranty

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

5-25x50 FFP MOA reticle

5-25x50 SFP

What others are saying?:

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

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

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

 

Link to other reviews:

None found

Price point:

MSRP = $1399.99

Retail = $1099.00 on Amazon

I need it now! Availability:

Amazon or Brownell's

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • Zero stop

  • MRAD reticle

  • First Focal Plane

  • Illuminated reticle

  • Large knobs

  • Nice adjustment clicks

  • Radius Bar

Cons:

  • Zero stop adjustment

  • Heavy

Score: 7.50 Good

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Favorite Link:   Axelson Tactical

Blue Alpha gear SR EDC Belt

Written by Zane M.

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

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

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

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

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

 

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

CLAIM TO FAME:

Cheap durable edc belt 

TARGET MARKET:

Concealed carry 

FNBS (FEATURES & BENEFITS OF THIS PRODUCT):

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

WHAT OTHER AESTHETIC OPTIONS OR FINISHES ARE AVAILABLE?

Black 

Wolf gray

Coyote brown 

What others are saying:

From blue alpha gear’s website 

Outstanding value

Jeremy on Feb 11, 2018

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

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

Price point:

MSRP - $34.97

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

I need it now availability:

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

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • Super stiff
  • Very reasonably priced 

Cons:

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

Score: 7.5 GOOD

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Brothers & Arms True Blue Gun Oil & Grease

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

Advanced Gun Oil & Grease

Target Market:

Gun Owners, Ranges, Police, GunSmiths

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Odorless

  • Waterproof

  • Migrates around parts

  • Very Low coefficient of friction

  • Polymerization

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

Heater Grease

What others are saying?:

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

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

 

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

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

Link to other reviews:

The GunMag.com

Price point:

MSRP = $10.99 - $14.99

Retail = $10.99

I need it now! Availability:

Amazon or

www.brothersandarmsusa.com

www.mylifeatspeed.com

www.pathfinder-militaria.com

www.spectrystore.com

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • Odorless

  • Applicator bottle

  • Adheres to metal

  • Easy clean up of oiled parts

  • “Wetting” of parts

  • Made in U.S.A.

Cons:

  • Availability

Score: 8.50 GREAT

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Chad's Favorite Link:  US Tactical Supply

 

 

Bushnell Pro 50 Lumen Flashlight

Written by: Zane M.

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

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

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

 

FIREARMS INSIDER REVIEWS - 8 KEY POINTS

CLAIM TO FAME:

It’s a light. Nothing special 

TARGET MARKET:

Anyone who needs a admin task light 

FNBS (FEATURES & BENEFITS OF THIS PRODUCT):

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

WHAT OTHER AESTHETIC OPTIONS OR FINISHES ARE AVAILABLE?

None 

What others are saying?:

From Walmart.com

Excellent Quality

Average rating:5out of5stars, based onreviews

12/29/2016

by Charles

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

Price point:

MSRP = ???

Retail = $15.00 - $34.84

I need it now! Availability:

Amazon or Walmart

Our Rating:

Pros:

  • Durable
  • Cheap
  • Uses a single AAA battery

Cons:

  • Dim
  • Small 

Score: 7.0 GOOD

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You Suck, It's not the Gun

Written by: Kenny O.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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