Apex Tactical Duty/Carry Kit & AEK Trigger

Apex Tactical AEK Trigger Not unlike other popular polymer striker fire pistols, the S&W M&P has factory internals that are meant to be a common denominator for all gun owners. While it's perfectly satisfactory for most gunsumers, Apex Tactical manufactures Action Enhancement Kits, or AEKs, to suit your competitive, duty, or carry needs. The Apex Tactical Duty/Carry Kit & AEK Trigger are two products I was recommended to add to my S&W M&Pc pistol to give the already decent performance and accuracy a bit of a "polish."

The Duty/Carry AEK kit is compatible with S&W M&P Full Size, Compact, Long Slide and Pro Models, with or without thumb safeties and magazine disconnects. It is not compatible with the M&P Shield or .45ACP M&P pistols.

Apex Tactical AEK Trigger

The kit includes an APEX fully machined sear, APEX M&P Ultimate Striker Block Kit (Ultimate Striker Block, USB Spring, Talon Tactical Tool) and Duty Carry Spring Set (Sear Spring,  Trigger Return Spring, aluminum slave pin). All those modiciation parts work in conjunction to shorten over-travel of the trigger and create a smoother pull, all while keeping the pistol at a safe 5-5.5 lb trigger pull weight for Duty/Carry applications. I know many of you have heard/read already the saying, "You don't want to have to explain to a prosecutor in court why you modified your defensive weapon with a lightened trigger" but there's a reason why all LEO and military keep their sidearm triggers in the 5lb range, and for a non-competition pistol you plan on using for personal defense its a good idea to follow step.

The AEK Trigger Kit is compatible with all S&W M&P Pistols including the 45 ACP models. It directly replaces the factory hinged trigger with a solid body machined aluminum trigger (a lower price polymer trigger is also available) that has a center mounted pivoting safety.  The flat target style trigger purposefully forces the shooter's finger on the center line of the trigger and encourages trigger manipulation directly to the rear, which leads to better accuracy.  The reduced pre-travel and over-travel is approximately a 20% difference from the S&W factory trigger.

Apex Tactical AEK Trigger

I found that installing the Duty/Carry Kit was fairly straight forward when watching the Apex Tactical instructional Youtube video (Part 1 and Part 2). The only hangup I had was connecting the AEK trigger to the trigger bar. Despite being preset from Apex, it refused to budge for me. In fact, I broke a cheap punch on it after wailing repeatedly with far too much force than what should have been necessary. I had to use a bench vice to start the pin even more, which was then too far for the trigger bar to be attached. A quick visit to the gunsmith took care of it, and he was in agreement that the pin in question was unusually stubborn.

After installation of both the AEK Trigger Kit and the Duty/Carry kit, I found that the trigger pull was indeed very smooth and the distance for both pre-travel and over-travel were much shorter than before. The reset however disappeared almost completely, and will take some getting used to at the range as it feels like a competition trigger. I was able to bump the trigger and get unintended double taps, but installing the Reset Assist Mechanism (RAM Kit) next should reproduce a proper reset and an overall safer carry pistol.

Apex Tactical Duty/Carry Kit & AEK Trigger

I would recommend these kits to any M&P owner who is wanting a better trigger pull and tighter groups. It does take some getting used to, and if you have never disassembled a striker fired pistol beyond whats needed for cleaning I would recommend either taking it to a gunsmith or studying up on the Youtube videos repeatedly before taking it on yourself.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame: The AEK Trigger is an enhanced trigger for the Smith & Wesson M&P Pistols, reducing  trigger pre-travel and over travel.

The Duty/Carry Action Enhancement Kit delivers a smooth, consistent 5½ lb. trigger pull with less over-travel and shorter reset for an improved performance of your pistol while maintaining its safety features for daily carry.

Target Market: Law Enforcement, competition shooters, and individuals who own a S&W M&P

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Center Mounted Pivoting Safety bar
  • Reduced trigger pre-travel & over-travel by approximately 20%
  • Flat, smooth face trigger encourages trigger manipulation directly in line with the bore axis
  • Trigger Return Spring
  • Limited pre-travel, limited over-travel, and improved safety features out of the AEK Trigger
  • Retain the factory sear spring to get a slightly lighter 5 lb. pull.
  • Installation Slave Pin
  • Both kits engineered for a drop-in fit, though gunsmith installation is recommended.

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?: N/A

What others are saying?: "As a 1911 shooter, moving to any plastic gun is a challenge to shoot well. I am spoiled on 1911 triggers. This kit comes close to what I am used to on a 1911. A bit more take up, but otherwise smooth, light and crisp release and reset. My groups improved greatly and rival those of my 1911. A bit pricey to pay 150.00 for a trigger on a 400.00 gun. But if this is your carry gun, worth it." -Lawrence Plasek, Apex Tactical Website Review

Price point:

AEK Trigger: MSRP = $76.99 Retail = Same price on Brownells

Duty/Carry Action Enhancement Kit: MSRP = $92.95 Retail = Same price on Brownells

I need it now! Availability Available on Brownells or direct thru Apex Tactical

Our Rating:


  • Creates a very smooth, consistent trigger pull that feels lighter than standard 5-5.5lbs
  • Online videos available to assist with each process
  • Shorter over-travel and shortened trigger reset.
  • The kit itself is engineered to be drop-in and should not require further gunsmithing (however, armorer or gunsmith installation is recommended).


  • The kit itself is engineered to be drop-in and should not require further gunsmithing, however AEK trigger pin was unusually stubborn and needed persuasion from my smith.
  • Trigger reset is not tangible and barely audible, Reset Assist Mechanism is probably needed to finish off the kit for my carry purposes.

Score: 8.0



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Firing Line Review



Concealed Carrie Leather Compact Carrie Review

Concealed Carrie Leather Compact Carrie

Concealed Carry is such a beautiful concept. The market for vessels to carry a concealed handgun is exploding as more manufacturers expand their product line, offering an equal opportunity for both men and women to get quality products that fit their lifestyle.  Concealment products are usually unisex, with holsters typically designed for either men or women.  When it comes to outside the body / external carry, there is a rapidly growing market for purses, totes, and handbags designed for concealed carry.  In fact I would no longer considered them niché as how popular pocket sized pistols have become, and how many bag crafters have started incorporated 'concealed pockets' into their products. While some prefer the security of having a pistol holstered on their body, there are times when a female might be unable to conceal on her body as the dress for the occasion may make it impossible.

To clear the air right off the start, yes I have an X and Y chromosome and I am reviewing a product with a female target demographic. It shouldn't matter as being objective and having experience as a concealed carrier should be all the qualification I need. I did however get plenty of perspective and help from my partner, who also carries and knows a thing or two about purses!

Compact Carrie

Concealed Carrie (best brand name ever!) specializes in purses, totes, handbags, and clutches that allow for secure and conceal carry of a compact or subcompact firearms. Their "Compact Carrie" is a compact clutch that has two compartments, one for a firearms mounted with included velcro holster, and the other for your cash, phone, ID and other necessities. The quality of materials of the Compact Carrie are really high, the leather is bright red and the stitching is very well done. It comes with a tassel zipper pull and a keychain as well as a leather wrist strap, which you can choose to use or remove with simple clasps. My partner gave it a thorough look over and found it had plenty of organizing pockets for what she typically has in her standard pocketbook.

2014-08-05 12-55-10 -0700

As for the firearm carrying capability we found that with both our compact sized carry pistols (a Glock 26 and M&Pc) the Concealed Carrie Leather Compact Carrie had some extra added bulging. The Glock 26 in the included holster seems to cause printing, which was somewhat noticeable from a close distance that there was something large and heavy in the bag. While it's not enough to prevent the zippers from closing, it was something we both picked up on right away. However if your compact pistol of choice is a single stack with a slimmer profile, say a S&W Shield, Glock 42, Ruger LCP, etc. it will stow in the Compact much easier. Weight also becomes a bit of concern, as a fully loaded 10+1 gunplus another loaded magazine makes the Compact feel hefty to carry via the wrist strap or in the bare hand, and we both agreed stepping up to a purse or tote from Concealed Carrie would be to way to go if your carry gun is anything wider than a subcompact, .85" slide width model.

If you are looking for a stylish way to conceal your pistol on the go, I would say Concealed Carrie is the best way to go, both for the value and craftsmanship you really will be impressed (and more importantly, so will she)

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame: The Compact Carrie is perfect for carrying in style to the range or using as a gun bag and wallet

Target Market: Concealed Carrying Women

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Double sided design acts as a wallet on one side while keeping your firearm separate on other side.
  • Zippered main compartment is full of dividers for cash, ID, credit cards and personal items.
  • Firearm compartment is double zippered and velcro-lined (universal holster included)
  • Carry by either the removable wrist strap or simply, grab it and go.
  • Fits any compact or sub-compact handgun will including Glock 19/23, Glock 23/27 or similar size handgun.
What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?:  Red Leather or Cool Blue Leather

What others are saying?:

"Finding your site has brightened my day!  I've been looking for a concealed carry bags for YEARS, but most of them are so ugly and so poorly constructed that they must have been designed by men.  Even other high end lines are just now getting up to speed on quality and design although they still don't equal Concealed Carrie."  ~Susan D.

“Just received this bag as an early Christmas gift from my husband and am absolutely over the moon! It is more beautiful than Photographs can show and so very worth the money. I can conceal any one of my weapons with ease and also get to it with ease. Ever since I started carrying, I’ve been waiting for a fashionable handbag and this is it. I am a Bag Harlot so I own just about every purse made… Louis vuitton, coach, kate spade, even stunning bags from Italy. This bag is as good as or better than those bags I own. It is so well-made and fits right in with my fashion queen persona. just today, I had ten people compliment the bag and ask me where I got it. They don’t even know, which is the way it should be. Thanks!" ~Karla F.

Price Point:

I need it now! Availability: Readily available at or

Our Rating:

+-Holster is double sided with 'loop' velcro of ambidextrous mounting.-per +-Stiching and zippers are good quality and seem to be durable to last. +-Tons of pockets for cards, checkbook, cash, change

--Bag begins to bulge when carrying a double stack pistol, design and profile better suited for a single stack like Ruger LCP or S&W Shield. --With weight of loaded pistol (glock 26 w 10+1 rounds) its really heavy to carry via wrist strap, needs a shoulder strap especially if carrying and extra mag.-

Score: 8.0 Great


Glocktech MIC Holster Review

20140727_174018 The Glocktech MIC holster is a zero bulk holster for deep concealment. The idea came about from a law enforcement officer in the mid 90s. Detectives and undercover officers were carrying their firearms by just sticking them in their waistband, sans holster. Mitch, the creator, says  there was a need for a safer alternative, without having to add the bulk of a full belt holster, and thus, the Minimal Inside Carry(MIC) holster was born. It is small, molded Kydex piece that is formed around the trigger guard and is available for 32 different firearms. It simply slips over the trigger guard and protects the trigger. On the front of the holster, just forward of the trigger guard, there is a hole with a cord through it. The cord wraps around your belt, then you stick the holstered pistol into your waistband. The cord that is wrapped around your belt does two things. The first concern of non-holstered carry is that your pistol could slip down your pants and out of your leg, possibly being kicked across the floor at the most inopportune moment. The cord keeps it from going too far down, and falling out. Its other purpose is to adjust carry depth. You can shorten or lengthen the cord by putting a knot in it. If you want it deeper, make the knot further from the holster and if you want it higher, put the knot closer to the holster.

Drawing from the MIC is a little different from a normal holster. You have to draw it with far enough to get the holster to detach from the pistol. It does take a little force, also, so you would need to pull the holster out more vigorously than you would a Kydex, leather, or hybrid holster. You can also draw it to where it is just out of your waist band, then push forward. This will free the holster from the pistol. Watch the video below for visuals of the drawing techniques.

Where this holster shines, is that you can quickly adjust its cant and position without removing a holster. If you carry on your strong hip, driving with a traditional holster can be uncomfortable, because the butt of the grip pushes against the seat and squishes the pistol into your side. With the MIC, there is enough flexibility, with the lack of clips, that it just simply gets pushed forward and makes driving armed incredibly comfortable. The downside to this is that when you exit your vehicle, you’ll have to adjust it back to your normal cant. If getting in and out of a vehicle all day, it may get a little annoying, but if you’re driving all day, it really makes it comfortable.


Another feature of the MIC is that the cord is heavy enough and the retention is tight enough that if your pistol is somehow knocked/worked loose from your waistband, it holds the pistol, instead of it just hitting the floor. It would be an awkward, and possibly illegal, situation, but at least your gun wouldn't be lying on the floor of the grocery store check-out line for someone else to pick up.

One last feature is that you can wrap the cord around the base of your seat in a vehicle and use the holster in the vehicle by jamming it in between your seat and console. The holster covers the trigger guard and also keeps the pistol from bouncing around in the event of a collision or a sudden stop. See Mr Colion Noir’s video for a better description.


Glocktech also offers an upgrade for the cord. They call it the Versa Cord. It is a heavier cord than the included one, and it is about twice the length. They advertise it for giving even more range of adjustment, and to also keep something covering your trigger when pocket carrying.

I personally think the MIC is a great holster, but I may be a bit hesitant to refer it to a new concealed carrier. The reason why, is that the handling pretty unorthodox.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame: Zero bulk, concealed carry holster

Target Market: Concealed carriers and discreet law enforcement officers

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Zero bulk
  • Adjustable carry depth
  • Very versatile
  • Great for driving

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?: The MIC is only available in black, but, despite the Glocktech name, the MIC is available for many more firearms.

What others are saying?: “When you use a product like this, you have removed all the risk of this type of carry” –The Yankee Marshall

Price Point:

  • MSRP = $18.95 + Shipping
  • MSRP = $20.95 for MIC with Versa Cord
  • Retail = $22.99 with Free shipping

I need it now! Availability: You can purchase the Glocktech MIC holster from Amazon and directly from Glocktech.

Our Rating:

+-No bulk +-Simple +-Versatile +-Great for driving +-Inexpensive

--A little bit of a nuisance when going from sitting to standing

Score: 9.0 90

DTOM Concealed Carry Fanny Pack Review

IMG_8234 By Gene Carangal

I bought this fanny pack because I wanted a carry option for my Glock 26, keys, wallet and cell phone while exercising. There are 4 zippered compartments. The largest one holds the weapon and has a fast breakaway zipper for easy access. There are 2  elastic bands on each side to hold the pistol in place. It is big enough to hold my Glock 19. The second compartment can fit a large wallet, keys and other items. The third one can hold a large smartphone. My Samsung Galaxy S4 in an Otterbox case fit perfectly. Compartment 4 is meant for a charging cable but I use it for a small wallet.

I wish there was a magazine holder in one of the compartments. They advertise that it has room for spare mag, but it will have to share the same space with your wallet and keys. I have used it jogging several times without any problems. The gun stays intact no matter what. As long as I keep the belt tight, the pack feels secure and I can move freely. Wearing it while doing weight training takes getting used to. Ab exercises are impossible to do.

I like that it is all black and it doesn't call attention to itself. I like to wear black shorts to make it even more discreet.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame: A slim fit fanny pack that fits close to the body yet allows you to carry a medium size gun without anyone realizing that this is a concealed weapon fanny pack.

Target Market: Joggers, hikers

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Slim Fit
  • Works for Right or Left Handed shooters
  • Works well for small to medium sized guns
  • Fits up to 42" waist

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?: The DTOM Concealed Carry Fanny Pack is available in black only.

What others are saying?: "I bought this holster pack for a good option for running and still being able to carry. It works well for almost all my guns except the ruger LCP which the product description advertises. If the LCP is just in the holster and you are walking, its fine. But if you add running to the mix, where the fanny pack is moving a lot up and down, the LCP will slip out fairly quickly and just be moving around freely on the inside. The only way to remedy this is to use both straps, the one for right hand and the one for left hand together to hold the firearm in place, this ruins the ability to draw the firearm with any quick speed though.

Once again this works just as intended for larger guns..." - Amazon Reviewer

Price Point:

I need it now! Availability: You can purchase this fanny pack from Amazon and directly from DTOM Conceal and Carry.

Our Rating:

+ Looks like a regular fanny pack + Fits a medium size pistol + Plenty of room for wallet, keys and cell phone

- No magazine pouch

Score: 8.080

Maxpedition Fatboy Versipack Review

Fatboy Versipack Main

Maxpedition’s Fatboy Versipack is a high-quality, heavy-duty EDC shoulder bag. I decided to purchase mine one day when, on my walk from my car to the office, I dropped every single thing I was trying to carry in that day. It has many pockets, pouches and compartments to accommodate an endless variety of items. There is a wide, well padded shoulder strap to keep it from digging into your shoulder when you’re carrying it. It’s main pocket is big enough to carry my Kindle Fire HD tablet and a hybrid IWB holster (for when I’m not wearing it), along with a few other odds and ends. This compartment has a nylon cinch-sack type top thatFatboy Versipack Pocket keeps debris out. Behind the main compartment is a large, zippered pocket. This pocket is to store a handgun separate from the other contents of the bag. It has the soft side of hook-and-loop on it for attachment for holsters. Maxpedition sells a universal holster for just this task and another called the SNEAK that allows you to carry a spare mag alongside the pistol. It is large enough to hold a mid-sized handgun, like a Glock 19. In front of the main pocket is a smaller, zippered pouch that is the perfect size to carry a smaller notepad and more miscellaneous items. On one side, there is a magazine holder with a large hook-and-loop flap that has plenty of coverage to adjust to many different size magazines. The other side has a zippered pouch that is a little larger than the magazine pouch, which could probably hold at least 2 double-stack mags. The outside of this pouch has MOLLE webbing to attach even more gear. On the shoulder strap, there is a large buckle that allows you to easily put the pack on or take it off. Just below the buckle is a pouch with a buckled flap that is the perfect size for a large multi-tool with a pen sleeve on either side of this pouch. On the end of the shoulder strap that faces the rear, there is a HK style hook that can be used to hang keys or any other small tools. There are many color options, left and right handed versions and a model that replaces the side magazine pouch with a water bottle holder. The Fatboy Versipack is a very durable pack that I doubt I will ever wear out.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:  Seemingly compact exterior with a surprisingly ample interior. 

Target Market:  Concealed carriers that need more storage. 


Key Features

  • Heavy duty construction
  • Many useful pockets, pouches and compartments
  • Many color options
  • Holds a lot of stuff
  • Wide shoulder strap for comfort
  • Exterior MOLLE webbing

 What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?:  The Fatboy Versipack comes in many colors and color combos, like black, blue, red and pink. Check Optics Planet for all of their colors. There is a G.T.G. model that replaces the side magazine pouch with at water bottle holder. There are also left-handed versions of both models called the S-Type.

 What others are saying?:  “If you want the best compact everyday carry bag you can find, you want the Maxpedition Fatboy Versipack.”  - Survival News Online

For a good review and to see what all this bag can hold, see Sootch00 at Sensible Prepper.

Price point:

 I need it now! Availability:  The Fatboy Versipack is available from many retailers like Amazon and Optics Planet. Optics Planet has many more colors available than Amazon.

Our Rating:

+ Sturdy construction + Ample storage +Concealed-carry compartment +Comfortable strap

 Score: 9.090