Sunday, December 30, 2012

SGM Tactical VEPR 12 Magazines



Just in time for Christmas my SGM Tactical mags showed up last week, here's what I've found...

Pros:
-Lightweight polymer design
-Modular design.  They can be cut along the ribs to make 10, 8, ect... round mags
-Even fully loaded they still balance well in the gun
-Reliably feed variety of loads
-Did I mention they give you 12+1 capability?
-Easy to disassemble/clean
-Cost.  They can be purchased for around $50 
-They lock up solidly in the gun


Cons:
-They make firing from the prone awkward
-I've fired 96 rounds of bulk Walmart Winchester 8 shot loads---one time it didn't lock the bolt back.  It only happened with that load so most likely it wasn't the mag but just noting it for others in case they experience it.

Here's a video with some shooting, a breakdown of the mag's properties, and a discussion of the pros and cons:




Saturday, December 29, 2012

Speer Gold Dot 357SIG 125gr JHP Ballistics Gel Test



Finished up the testing of the 125gr 357 SIG Gold Dot (#54234) round.  Here are the conditions and results. 

Test conditions: 
-Glock 22 with G31 barrel (4.48'')
-Test rounds fired from 10 feet 
-FBI spec Clear Ballistics gel block (more on this below) 
-4 layers of denim 

Results: 
-1373 fps, 522 ft/lbs energy
-18.75'' of penetration 
-Recovered weight: 124gr
-Average expansion: .515'' 


The manufacture of the gel block, Clear Ballistics, claims their gel meets FBI specs for testing. I calibrate my gel per their specs prior to testing and use 4 layers of denim per IWBA protocol. 

However, by no means am I saying this test is a substitute for the great work industry professionals like Dr. Roberts and others do. I'm just a shooter that likes to learn about the products I use. 

Here's the video showing the test, the permanent cavity, and a discussion of the results: 


Mosin Nagant M44


First off, I'm not a Mosin Nagant aficionado but I'll do my best here...  

Both of my rifles are Izhevsk laminated rifles and came loaded with cosmoline; once removed the bore and finish on the metal looked excellent.

Pros:
-Price.  These rifles can still be found for around $200.
-Build quality.   These rifles are overbuilt--in a good way.   The actions are very smooth for a surplus guns and when you fire the rifle it just feels like a quality gun.
-Ammo.   The 7.62x54r round has great ballistcs performance and is relatively inexpensive.   I just ordered a crate 2 weeks ago for $0.18/round in fact.
-The shorter 20'' barrel and 7.62x54 round produce a large fireball with just about every shot; who doesn't love a good fireball??
-Good accuracy for a surplus gun.    With 147gr Bulgy surplus I was getting around 4'' with irons at 100m.   With "AK style" irons, that's not bad for me.

Cons:
-The safety is poorly designed.   I can only imagine what it must have been like for a Russian soldier to come around a corner, see a German soldier, then realize his rifle was on safe...   My guess is they probably left the safety off for that very reason.
-If you want to use optics, the bolt needs to be modified/replaced.
-Weight.   While they cut 8'' off the old 91/30 to create the M44 the rifle still weighs 8.7lbs.

All in all, the M44 is a great rifle considering the cost.   Well built, accurate enough for a variety of uses, and fires a cartridge that can take down most about anything you'd find in North America.  Here's my video review of the M44:


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Hornady 147gr 9mm TAP Ballistics Gel Test



Loaded up some Hornady TAP 147gr 9mm JHP rounds, brought out the Clear Ballistics gel (calibrated to manufacturors specs), grabbed my SIG P6 (3.9'' barrel), and the video camera and here's what I found.

Chrono Data:

971 fps, 308 ft/lbs energy

20.5'' penetration

As you'll see in the video below, the round failed to expand but did tumble in the block.

The manufacture of the gel block, Clear Ballistics, claims their gel meets FBI specs for testing. I calibrate my gel per their specs prior to testing and use 4 layers of denim per IWBA protocol.

However, by no means am I saying this test is a substitute for the great work industry professionals like Dr. Roberts and others do. I'm just a shooter that likes to learn about the products I use. 




Monday, December 17, 2012

Gen 2 Glock 19

Lots of Glockers out there consider the Gen 2 Glock 19 to be the "perfect Glock" and I would have a hard time arguing that point.   In the last few years, these Gen2 guns have been flooding the surplus market as departments upgrade their guns to the newer Gen4 models.   The good news for the public is that while most of these guns were carried a lot and show some wear, many  were shot very little over their lifetime and have plenty of life left in them.

Pros: 
-Reliable.  The gun has had 0 malfunctions
-Accurate (more accurate than I am) 
-Durable.   There are many, many of these guns with documented round counts over 25k that have only had simple spring replacements in that time
-Easy to maintain 
-TONS of aftermarket support 
-Accepts 15, 17, and 33 round factory magazines 
-Small and light enough for most to carry but holds 15+1 
-Glock's customer service is second to none 
-Durable finish
-Cheap replacement parts, should you ever need them 
-Low Bore Axis resulting in a relatively soft shooting gun
-Easily modified to fit the shooters' preferences
-Requires very little cleaning/lubrication to run reliably 
-Many people prefer the Gen2 grip without the finger grooves present on the Gen3/4 guns
-Many of the worries about brass to the face are assuaged since these models were never known to happen with the older guns.

Cons: 
-I'm not a fan of the Glock factory plastic sights
-Comes with a serrated trigger due to import rules (easy swap)-I prefer the Gen3/4 finish to the Gen2 finish
-When I first inspected the gun, I noticed the slide stop lever had almost no spring tension and replaced it.  What I'm getting at there is that you'll certainly want to inspect the guns because some departments out there do very little armoror work (if any at all) on their guns.

Here's a video with some shooting from the 12m line,  break down the gun, do a size comparison, go over the "6 part upgrade," and do a chronograph test with some popular carry/defensive loads:

Chrono numbers:

Federal 124gr HST: 1132fps, 353 ft/lbs energy
Speer 124gr Gold Dot: 1145fps, 361 ft/lbs energy

Monday, December 10, 2012

Streamlight Polytac Review



I bought my Polytac primarily because it was cheap a while back and I've been using if for a couple years now; here's a quick summary of my findings thus far.

Pros:
-Cost.  The light can be had for under $35 shipped.
-Uses relatively common CR123 batteries.
-Fits in common 1'' mounts.
-It works.   So far I all the Polytacs I own have kept on ticking even with use on rifles and shotguns.
-130 C4 LED output.   It's a nice white light with a good peripheral cone.
-Has o rings to seal out water on both the tail cap and lens cap.
-Lightweight.   Weighs 4.1oz with batteries.
-Comes in black, coyote, and bright yellow.

Cons:
-1 of the 3 I lights I have flickers slightly under recoil (can be seen at the beginning of the video).   Is it a huge issue for SD/HD?  Maybe.  I really doubt I'd ever shoot in the dark with the light off in a HD/SD situation but for use with night vision devices it's a different story.
-It's not as bright as some lights on the market.




Saturday, December 8, 2012

How To Zero Your AK 74



I go through one way to zero your AK-74 (and variant) rifle. I suggest either doing it the way I do in the video or just using the battle setting and zeroing point of aim=point of impact.

Basic front sight adjustments:

If you want to move the group to the right-----move the front sight left.
If you want to move the group to the left----move the front sight right.
If you want to lower your group, raise the front sight (counter clockwise)
If you want to raise your group, lower the front sight (clockwise)



Ballistics numbers of the 7N6 round:

Bullet weight - 3.42 grams (53gr)
initial velocity, according to the manufacturer - 870 m / sec (2854 ft/s)
Ballistic coefficient: 0.282

Below is some data taken from a 1980s Russin AK74 manual:

Velocity in ft/sec
Distance in meters
0 = 2970 (note this is for the particular 5.45x39 round in use at the time)
100 = 2673
200 = 2340
300 = 2056
400 = 1792
500 = 1508
600 = 1310

Wind Drift for 10mph at 90 deg.
100 = 1.2in
200 = 4.3in
300 = 9.1in
400 = 20.5in
500 = 34.3in
600 = 52.8in

Bullet drop in inches
Zero at 100 meters (sight set at 1)
50m = 0
100m = 0
150m = -1.2
200m = -3.9

Zero at 200 meters (sight set at 2)
50m = 1.2
100m = 2
150m = 2
200m = 0
250m = -3.9
300m = -9.8

Zero at 300 meters (sight set at 3)
50m = 2.4
100m = 5.1
150m = 6.7
200m = 6.3
250m = 4.3
300m = 0
350m = -6.7
400m = -16.9

Zero at 400 meters (sight set at 4)
50m = 4.3
100m = 9.4
150m = 13
200m = 15
250m = 14.6
300m = 12.6
350m = 7.9
400m = 0
450m = -10.6
500m = -25.6

Zero at 500 meters (sight set at 5)
50m = 7.1
100m =14.6
150m = 20.9
200m = 25.2
250m = 27.6
300m = 28.0
350m = 25.6
400m = 20.5
450m = 12.2
500m = 0
550m = -16.5
600m = -38.6


Monday, December 3, 2012

EAA/Tangfolio Witness 9mm Review


 I originally purchase the EAA Steel Witness 9mm (also known as the Tanfoglio T95 in some countries) a year or so ago because the I like the CZ75-type platform, the price was right, and it easily converted to 22lr.   Here's what I've found so far:

Pros:
-Reliable.  When the gun is in its' original 9mm configuration it's extremely reliable (I've personally never had a malfunction but my buddy borrowed the gun for a week and claimed he had one with his reloads).
-Accurate.  Most CZC75 variants are very accurate guns and this pistol is no exception.
-Ergonomic.  It feels great in the hand and the extended beaver tail allows you to get your hand very high up on the frame.
-Modularity.  Current production EAA Witness guns are built on what was formerly known as the 'large frame.'   You can purchase a separate slide assembly (40, 45, 22, ect....) and they will all work on the same frame.  The frame is the serial numbered parts so there's no need to go though a FFL.
-Many (not all) of the aftermarket parts developed for the CZ75 will also work on the Witness.
-Standard 1913 rail for mounting lights/lasers/bayonets/whatever else tickles your fancy.
-It has a relatively low bore axis for a DA/SA gun due to the way the slide rides in the frame.
-Weight.  The all steel version weighs 33oz unloaded which makes it a pleasure to shoot.
-Ability to be carried 'cocked and locked.'   For many shooters this is a system we're used to and operating it is second nature.
-Price.  I purchased mine for under $400 with the 22lr kit included.   They've gone up since then but they're still very affordable.


Cons:
-No decocker.  
-Only comes with 1 magazine
-Finish.  It's just a paint type finish that wears relatively easily.
-The trigger has a little more overtravel than I'd like.  That said, it does break crisply.


Here's a video with some shooting, disassembly/assembly, a discussion of the pros/cons, and a chronograph test:


Chronograph numbers:
Winchester Ranger 115gr JHP: 1123fps, 322 ft/lbs energy
Federal HST 124gr JHP: 1145fps, 361 ft/lbs energy
Speer Gold Dot 124gr +P: 1253fps, 432 ft/lbs energy

Midwest Industries Gen2 SS Free Float AR Handguard

I've had the Midwest Industries Gen2 SS series handguard on my AR for about 6 months so far and figured I'd do a product review since there seems to be a lot of questions out there about these rails.

Pros:
-Lightweight (7''-7.1oz, 9''-8.3oz, 10''-8.6oz, 12''-9.3oz, 15''-10.9oz)
-Made of 6061 anodized aluminum.  The anodizing is holding up well so far.
-Made in the USA.
-The narrow profile helps you really "grab on" to the handguard and stabilize the rifle.
-Comes with 3 2.5'' rail sections for mounting whatever toys you have in mind.  One of the rails has an anti-rotation QD socket for sling mounting.   There's also a bipod stud that comes with the rail.
-Comes in OD green, FDE, and black.
-A barrel wrench is included (not the best but it is functional).
-The slots in the rail allow for good barrel cooling.  The holes just below the rail also help the gas tube cool.
-The anti-rotational system works as advertised (better explanation/visualization in the video).
-The rail sections are contoured to the shape of the rail and mount flush so there's less chance of snagging.


Cons:
-The barrel nut has to be replaced.  I don't think it's a big deal but it's just an extra step vs some competitors out there.

Here's the video review with a little shooting and a discussion/demonstration of the rails' properties:



Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Parabellum Armament AK Adaptive Rail System (AKARS)

How it works:

Horizontal stability is achieved by the three 'fingers' that go into the rear sight mount (as you can see in the video it's very tight).  The factory rear sight is removed but the spring is retained.

Vertical stability is achieved by the top cover being pressed up into the carrier return spring by the rear sight spring, or at least that's how I understand it....   (I'm a financial analyst by training, not an engineer).  You can move the top cover slightly up and down but it always returns to the same up position due to the spring pressure.

Testing:

I zero'd the TRS 25 on my SGL-31 then ran 90 rounds through it, removing the top cover after each magazine then I fired the test shots and groups (shown in the video) at 50m while removing the top cover and banging on it from a few different angles.

I then moved back to 100m and removed the top cover again and took a few shots at a 10'' steel plate ---all hits (again shown in the video).   After I turned the camera off I continued to fire/remove the cover several more times throughout the day.

Pros:
-Maintained zero throughout testing.
-Easy installation.  Hex wrenches were provided and the directions are pretty straight forward. 
-The finish on the product is even and generally looks good.  It matches the Arsenal paint pretty closely.
-Made in the USA.
-It has a lower 1/3 co-witness with micro dot type red dots.
-The rear sight is integral to the unit so you don't have to purchase a separate one.
-It allows for easy cleaning after shooting corrosive ammo as opposed to gas tube type optics mounts.
-Reasonably priced.


Cons:
-The top cover rubbed against both the Krebs safety used in the review and the factory safety.  I have since took a file to the inside of the top cover eliminating the issue but I'd like to see it modified like the Romanian top covers to eliminate this.
-I'd like to see the rear sight moved to the rear of the unit allowing for a longer sight radius. 
-When removing the gas tube the lever gets stuck on the 'fingers' of the front of the rail (hard to explain in writing but I demonstrate it in the video).  

In the end, none of the cons would stop me from buying another but everything can be improved.   The most important thing most of you are likely concerned with is whether it maintains zero and mine certainly does.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Caracal F Review

I've often posted here with high praise for the Caracal pistols so I figured I'd knock out a review of the Caracal F.   Here are some of the pros/cons of the gun according to yours truly:
Pros:
-Reliable.  The gun has well over 1,000 rounds (not sure on the exact count, I've let many people borrow the pistol to try out) with 0 malfunctions of any kind.
-Price.  I picked the gun up for $399 shipped.
-Accurate.  This gun is like a 1911 in that it tends to make average shooters shoot like good shooters
-Very low bore axis resulting in an extremely soft shooting gun.
-Excellent trigger.  It's smooth with no stacking.  It breaks extremely cleanly and has a positive reset
-Great finish.  The Plasox (with nitriding) finish is holding up very well thus far
-It has a loaded chamber indicator on the top of the slide allowing the user to check that it is loaded without having to conduct a press check
-Very good ergonomics.  Everyone that has shot the gun seems to comment on how good it feels in their hands
-18+1 capacity while only weighing 26oz
-Passed the WTD 91 (German armed forces) testing in 2006
-Has been adopted by several nations' standard military sidearm; many police agencies in Italy and Germany have adopted it as well
-It's classified as an IDPA production gun
-Easy to clean and maintain.   Requires very little lubrication as well
-Interior parts are coated with the Plasox finish as well
-Ambi controls (except for the slide lock)
-Spare parts including springs are available from Caracal-USA now (this is relatively new)
-The Caracal F mags can be used in the C and SC models.
Cons:
-Little aftermarket support
-Night sights are not available in the US currently.  I spoke with Caracal USA last month and they said they are working with several manufacturers currently but they don't have a date yet as to when they'll be released
-The rear sight is part of the firing pin assembly.  This will either make aftermarket sights more expensive or limit some to front sight only
-The guns are made in the UAE and Germany.   The UAE made guns are the only ones available in the US currently.  (I don't care about this but it's a common point brought up so I'm including it so people don't say "you didn't mention where it was made....")
-In order to detail strip the gun you have to deal with roll pins.  Not a big deal but I'd prefer not to if I didn't have to
-The slide lock protrudes to far.  I hit it with my thumb about 50% of the time if I'm not conscious of it and many people I've let shoot it have the exact same issue
-The vast majority of the guns imported have been recalled.  The latest is that the guns will be completely replaced with a new gun at no expense to the owner or you can choose to get a full purchase price refund.   So far, their customer service has been great on this end but it's kind of a wait and see with these guns to see how it all shakes out.  Many quality brands have had guns recalled or "upgraded" in the past and as long as they make it right I have no problem with it...


Here's a video of me shooting the gun, a tabletop review with some comparisons to the Glock 17, and a chronograph test with some popular defensive loads:


Chrono data:

Winchester Ranger 115gr JHP: 1128fps, 325 ft/lbs energy
Federal HST 124gr JHP: 1126fps, 349 ft/lbs energy
Speer Gold Dot 124gr +P JHP: 1234fps, 419 ft/lbs energy.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Cleveland Holster's IWB Holster Review


Just a quick run down of the pros/cons Cleveland Holsters tuckable hybrid holster.

Pros:
-1 piece horsehide is the standard backing.
-Kydex extends past the belt line allowing for easier one handed reholstering
-Black oxide coated screws/clips
-All steel belt clips
-Two 'cuts' available.  The model above is the 'cut' version.  It's still very comfortable...
-Comes with loctite for securing the screws after setting up the holster as you want to.
-US made

Cons:
-Cost.  These holsters are on the higher end of the hybrid holster spectrum.  That said, they are as good if not better than others on the market and many of the 'upgrades' from other holster makers are standard here so it's certainly a cost/value issue there.  

Here's a quick video review so you can see how it wears and get a few more angles of it:


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Magpul PMAG Gen M3 Test & Review



Finished up the test video for the Magpul Gen M3 PMAG where we (me and my work buddy who conveniently has a SCAR 16 that I could use but that range wouldn't let us film ) used these mags in 5 ARs and the SCAR 16. Did a drop test with a fully loaded mag on concrete and ran some crappy ammo through them with 0 issues what-so-ever to report.

All in all it seems Magpul has another winner on their hands.  If you like PMAGs but want a little more versitility in what guns you can run them in they're a good choice.   Of course, the old (now called PMAG MOE) PMAGs are still great as well and now they're priced lower which never hurts.

Here's the test footage:



Monday, November 19, 2012

US Palm AK30 AK Magazine Review


Before I get into the review let's just get it out of the way---steel combloc mags are the standard for a reason: they're fantastic reliable/durable mags.   Ok, moving on...

I always avoided US Palm mags for two big reasons; steel mags were dirt cheap and great and US Palm mags had some serious issues when they first came out (the so called Gen1 mags) and didn't seem to live up to the claims about their product.

I got a US Palm Gen2 mag in a trade and used it off and on at the range and noticed it ran great, took abuse well, and performed well in general.   Then, I saw a site selling them for $18 shipped at the same time steel mags were going for $12-15 most places.  I took a shot and ordered a bunch of them to add some more depth to my box o' mags.   Here's what I've found with the batch:

Pros:
-They've been 100% reliable thus far through thousands of rounds in several guns.
-They're lightweight (7oz vs ~12oz for most steel mags).
-The price continues to drop.  Several sites are selling them for under $25 shipped currently.
-Steel mag prices continue to go up; especially after the election.
-Several colors are available.
-I've left mine loaded for several months with no issues to date.
-Steel cage around the entire top of the mag to include lugs (not in the lips though) seems pretty strong (as demonstrated by the AK pushups in the video below).
-They lock up tight in my AKs with little to no wobble.
-They're US parts for 922r compliance.

Cons:
-Cost.  Although the costs are going down, they're still more expensive than the proven steel surplus mags.
-Customer service.  I emailed and called them several times with questions about the design and they never responded to either form of communication.
-Reputation.  As mentioned earlier, their Gen1 mags had issues and they didn't live up to the claims they made at the time as proven by people cutting their mags in half and not finding steel where it was supposed to be.  It seems they've rectified this but that leaves a bad taste in a lot of peoples' mouths.
-No steel in the feed lips.  It hasn't been a problem yet but given the choice I'd prefer it.
-They're wider than a lot of steel mags and may not fit in combloc mag pouches.

Here's a video showing the mags in several AKs, a drop test, a size comparison with a few other AK mags, and of course a bunch of shooting:


Friday, November 16, 2012

Streamlight ProTac HL 600 Lumen Light Review



The Streamlight ProTac HL is a 600 lumen output, C4 cree LED light powered by 2 CR123 batteries that I've had for a few months now; here's a quick summary of what I've found:

Pros:
-600 lumen output on high.  It's VERY bright; see video below for the demonstration...
-"Aircraft grade" aluminum body
-Fits all 1'' light mounts
-Good checkering on the body for a good grip as a handheld light
-Scratch resistant lens
-The tail switch can be pressed for momentary on and clicked for constant on.
-Comes with a clip should you want to clip it on your belt as well as a nylon 'holster' with belt loops.
-Claimed 803 foot beam distance (I haven't been able to test this...)
-Programable for 3 modes (high/strobe/low, high only, low/high)
-O-rings on tail cap and lens (waterproof to 1m for 30 mins)
-Durable.  I used this light on pump shotguns with no impact on performance
-Can be found most places under $75
-Limited lifetime warranty
-The finish is very even and it feels solid and well made in your hand.


Cons:
-The bezel is larger than most tac lights so if you're looking to use one of the red lens covers you have already it's likely not going to fit.
-Made in China
-In high output mode the battery life is 1.25 hours but according to their chart the output starts to taper off around 50 mins.

All in all I really like the light and have ordered a second in fact.    I'm not sure it can be beat at its' price point in terms of brightness and durability.

Here's a video with some shooting footage (mounted on an AR), a low light comparison to the 104 lumen Maglite and 200 lumen Surefire 6PX Tactical, and a discussion of the pros and cons of the light:






Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Speer Gold Dot 64gr Soft Point Ammo Test



Just finished up the testing of the 223 Speer Gold Dot 64gr soft point round.   Here's a summary of the conditions and results.

Test conditions:
-16'' PSA mid-length chrome lined barrel
-70 degrees
-300 feet above sea level
-Test rounds fired from 7 feet
-FBI spec Clear Gel ballistics gel block (more on this below)
-4 layers of denim

Results:
-2,753 fps average velocity
-1076 ft/lbs energy
-18.5'' penetration
-Maximum expansion measurement: 0.48''
-Minimum expansion measurement: 0.35''
-Retained weight: 54 grains


The manufacture of the gel block, Clear Ballistics, claims their gel meets FBI specs for testing.   I calibrate my gel per their specs prior to testing and use 4 layers of denim per IWBA protocol.

However, by no means am I saying this test is a substitute for the great work industry professionals like Dr. Roberts and others do.   I'm just a shooter that likes to learn about the products I use.

Here's the video showing the test, the permanent cavity, and a discussion of the results.




Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Glock 22 RTF2 With Gills Review

The Glock 22 RTF2 is a Glock with a little flare (surprised it wasn't in Office Space).  It's typically reliable, lightweight, soft shooting, more accurate than 99% of the people that shoot it, and extremely simple in design and function.  The thing that sets it apart from it's ugly counterparts is the gill serrations on the slide and the more aggressive texturing on the frame...  
 
Pros: 

-Reliable (0 malfunctions of any kind; with and without tac light attached) 
-Accurate
-Excellent traction from the grip texturing 
-Easy to maintain 
-TONS of aftermarket support 

-Only 23oz -Accepts 15 and 22 round factory magazines 
-Glock's customer service is second to none 
-Durable finish
-Cheap replacement parts, should you ever need them 
-Low Bore Axis resulting in a relatively soft shooting gun
-Easily modified to fit the shooters' preferences

-Requires very little cleaning/lubrication to run reliably 
-I think the gills add a little more positive grip when cycling the action even though some think they're backwards 
-It's a versatile platform.  357sig and 9mm conversions are very simple.Cons: 
-They're becoming harder and harder to find-I'm not a fan of the factory plastic sights
-Can irritate some peoples' skin if they carry it against the skin


Here's a video with some shooting from the 12m line,  a table top review and discussion, a size comparison with other Glocks and a P229, and a chronograph test with some popular defensive loads.




Final thoughts: The RTF2 frame Glocks are my personal favorite choice for every type of use (HD, range, competition, ect...) besides carry.   For people that make a living with a gun in their hands I'm not sure there's a better choice out there.

Chrono Data:


Winchester Ranger 135gr JHP: 1180fps, 417 ft/lbs energy

Speer Gold Dot 180gr JHP: 1014fps, 411 ft/lbs energy

Traction Grips Review



Picked up a set of Traction Grips for my BG380 and really like them; just passing this along for those looking for a little better grip on their gun (especially pocket sized guns).

Pros:
-They work.  The grip surface (rubber in this case but sand is also available) decreases the gun moving in your hands; especially during rapid fire strings.
-Cost.  The BG380 set was $9 shipped.
-Several colors are available.
-They're very thin and don't add much bulk at all to the size of the grip.
-Available for a wide variety of guns

Cons:
-Honestly I don't have any yet...

In summary, they're a good product at a good price and a great alternative to stippling your frame.  Here's a video discussing the pros/cons and demonstrating the product by putting a little lead downrange:



How To: Clean & Lubricate Your AR Series Rifle




This is a very basic video for the brand new AR owner who doesn't know anything about the platform (we were all there once guys...). I show in detail how to break down the rifle, how to clean it, and how to lubricate it to ensure proper functioning.

Before someone says the old "I do it X way and it's way better!" --- I know there are other ways that work as well. The key is keeping the gun lubricated and relatively free of carbon to ensure proper performance.

I pretty much endorse all CLPs (with the exception of RemOil--it evaporates/runs off way too fast) for use buy use Mil-Spec CLP myself personally. Synthetic motor oils from 0w-10w seem to work well for lubrication as well. As far as greases go, I recommend a lithium based grease with a broad operating temperature range. I've used expensive 'gun' greases and found 0 difference in performance with the grease used above or the Mobil 1 brand with similar specs to the grease in the video---both work great. Almost all of the handguns you see in my reviews have this on their rails.

If you're trying to get a more detailed cleaning, using a bore solvent to clean the bore, barrel, flash hider/barrel crown are a good idea but it doesn't need to be done every time and if done too often can even damage the rifle.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Damage Industries AK Brake


I've been running the Damage Industries AK muzzle brake for a few weeks now and here's what I've found...

Pros:
-It works.   There are some 'brakes' out there that don't do much to reduce muzzle climb outside of adding weight to the end of your barrel.
-Cost.  Sells for only $18.
-Finish.  The black oxide finish looks nice and is void of any machining marks.
-Made in the USA.
-Composed of 4140 steel.
-Length.   It's only 1.75'' and after threading it on it only adds about 1'' to your OAL.   Lots of competitors' brakes out there are 2.5-3.5''. 
-It isn't a 'flash magnifier' like the AK-74 style brake.

Cons:
-It isn't quite as good at taming recoil as the 74 style brake (I'm using the brakes with proper chambers).
-Only available in 14x1 LH threading currently.
-It is loud; not as loud as some brakes but louder than not using one for sure.

In summary, it's a very good brake for the money.  Other brakes in its' price range are generally made by Tapco and don't work anywhere near as well.   If you're looking for a good brake for your 14x1 AK but don't want to break the bank it's a good option.   Here's a video with this brake in action and a quick discussion about it:







Sunday, November 11, 2012

Underwood Ammo 380 +P Ballistics Gel Test And Review



Like a lot of you, I carry a 380 pocket gun sometimes because it's convient and conceals well in most outfits. And like many of you, I view the 380ACP round as relatively underpowered but still much better than nothing. So, the search for a 380 round with relatively good performance has led me to the 90gr Speer Gold Dot rounds and I've trusted them for many years now.

Well, theres a new round out from Underwood Ammo that uses the tested bonded Gold Dot bullet but loads it to a higher pressure (22,900 cup) producing a 43% increase in energy out of my test gun (Bodyguard 380) and that's nothing to sneeze at.   In the calibrated ballistics gel (with 4 layers of denim) used in the video below it got 11'' of penetration, expanded to .48 inches, and had a retained weight of 89.5 grains (5.8g=89.5 grains).

Here's a video and some disscussion documenting the performance mentioned above




I realize there's no SAMMI spec for "+p" 380ACP but this is certainly a hot round. With that said, be sure you have a firearm that can handle the chamber pressures caused by using this round––-if not, you may damage your firearm (and hand).

Underwood uses a 3.5'' PPK barrel for their advertised velocity but since most people who carry 380s use a pocket gun, I tested it in a 2.75'' barrel. Here's the chrono numbers:

Speer Gold Dot 90gr JHPs: 964fps, 186 ft/lbs energy
Underwood Gold Dot 90gr JHPs: 1154fps, 266 ft/lbs energy


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Magpul MagLink Review


I've tried a few mag couplers over the years and my favorite to date is the Magpul MagLink.   Here's what I've found while using it over the last few months:

Pros:
-Durable.   This mag coupler has held up to banging around in my range bag, swapping mags many times, and all the shooting I can dish out to it without missing a beat.
-USA made
-For those living in states that don't respect The Constitution with their magazine capacity limits, it gives you a way to have an extra mag at the ready.
-Works with both the MOE Pmag and the GEN M3 Pmags
-Easy to put together
-Can be configured in a couple ways so it doesn't interfere with manipulating the controls of the AR for both right and left handed ARs
-Very lightweight
-Cost.  I picked it up for $14.95 shipped


Cons:
-Weight.  Having 60 rounds hanging from your rifle increases the weight; not getting around that.
-Some people that have used it think changing mags is awkward.  I haven't found that but your mileage may vary....

Here's a video with some shooting, mag changes, and a discussion of the products hits and misses:




Arsenal SGL 31 Review (hint---it's great)




The Arsenal SGL 31 is about as close as we US citizens can get to having the Russian service rifle; the AK-74M.   It comes in with polymer furniture designed to replicate the AK-74M and the barrels are identical.  It'll feel just like the original in your hands, just minus the fun switch.

Pros:
-Reliable.  The AK operating system coupled with the case taper of the 5.45 round make for a rifle that can be depended on to work in the harshest environments.
-Accurate.  I've gotten 2'' groups from the bench with 7N6 ammo out of this rifle.
-Durable.   The chrome lined, cold hammer forged barrel is on par with any barrel made today in terms of long term durability.
-Simple.  The AK has 5 primary moving parts: The bolt carrier, bolt, trigger, safety, and mag release (6 if you count the rear sight I suppose).
-Light recoil impulse
-Comes with 2 sling attachment points.
-Cheap ammo.  The 7N6 is excellent ammo in terms of accuracy, reliability, ease of storing, and terminal performance.
-Ease of maintenance.  (aside from the corrosive ammo aspect) Field stripping the gun, cleaning, and lubricating is caveman simple.  There's a reason the AK is used by illiterate 6 year olds around the world...
-Comes with a side rail for mounting optics should you be inclined to do so
-2 stage trigger.  Some don't like the Arsenal trigger but when it works properly (more on that in the video) I like it.

Cons:
-The finish.  It sucks; in fact it's not really a finish--it's paint.   It can come off with use of many solvents out there so I recommend using CLP if you pick one of these up.   All that said, the finish is accurate to the AK-74M.
-It comes with a 10 or 5 round mag (depending on when/where you buy it).   For the money these rifles cost it should come with AT LEAST 1 quality magazine
-Cost.  These rifles have gone up a good bit in the last few years.   Not long ago they were available for under $700 but these days $850-950 may be a more common street price.
-Customer service.   I've dealt with Arsenal's "customer service" and they suck.   They don't stand behind their product.   That said, they make good products generally speaking so you'll likely not have to deal with them.

Here's a review with some shooting at HD distances, steel plate banging at 100m, a demonstration of disassembly/assembly of the rifle, a demonstration of how the 2-stage trigger works, pros and cons of the gun, and a chrono test with the ammo the gun was designed to use--the 7N6.



In summary, it's a great reliable rifle at a decent price.   If you can do a proper conversion yourself, it may not be worth it but for those that don't have that option the SGL 31's a great AK rifle that'll allow you to shoot a lot of cheap/effective ammo through it for a long, long time.

Chrono Data:

7N6: 2936fps, 996 ft/lbs energy

Monday, November 5, 2012

Magpul PMag Gen M3 Overview



Well I'm still testing these mags (so far, so good) but here's a quick overview:

Things that are different:
-New polymer material for increased strength & durability.  I can't feel a difference but Magpul says it's different
-Modified external/internal geometry so they can be used in multiple platforms to include the HK416, MR556A1, SA-80, SCAR 16/16s, M27 IAR, and possibly others
-The bolt catch cutout has been re-designed for use in the weapons above
-The slide has an overtravel stop to ensure it can't go to far into the magwell which can cause issues with the bolts on non-AR rifles
-Floorplate is slimmer to allow a better fit in dual mag pouches
-Still made in the USA

Things that are the same:
-The proven stainless spring is the same
-The anti-tilt follower and curvature of the mag is the same.  The follower is marked differently (see video) but is shaped the same
-Disassembly is the same; no tools required
-Still includes the dust/impact cover and it works on both the 'old' and new Gen M3

Here's a video with some close ups and demonstrations of what I was talking about above: