Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Surefire 6PX Tactical Light

The Surefire 6PX Tactical light came out a few years ago and I snatched one up after reading the specs and handling one in person.   For those of you familiar with the classic aluminum body 6P, this is an updated version with a brighter, whiter light that will perform well when used as a weapon light or general purpose/duty light.

-Momentary on tail cap switch with only one brightness setting (200 lumens originally, 320 on the current version)
-Standard size body for use on most light mounts
-2 hour constant runtime (spec).  My testing has shown it to go well beyond that time in normal weather conditions
-Has a bright focused beam while still producing plenty of ambient light for good situational awareness
-Weather resistant O ring to keep out moisture
-Weighs 5.2oz

-Cost.  The 6PX Tactical may be among Surefire's budget line but it's not exactly cheap.   They sell from between $80-120.  

Here's a video with some shooting on the AR & AK platform, an illumination demonstration vs. a 104 lumen Maglite, and a discussion/demonstration of the light's pros and cons:

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Molot VEPR 12 Review

Well, Molot finally got through all the US legal import related red tape and their VEPR 12's are on American shores and in American's hands.   The gun arrived dripping with some sort of preserving lubricant in a cardboard box with 1 factory 5 round magazine (higher cap mags from SGM are on the way).  I unboxed it yesterday, cleaned/lubricated it, and started putting rounds through it.    So, far I've got 250 rounds of various ammo (#4 buck, #1 buck, 00 buck, slugs, and some low brass range ammo) with 0 failures of any kind.  Here's some of the features of the gun along with what I've found...

-100% reliable thus far
-Hinged dust cover with a 1913 rail.  I mounted a red dot and opened/closed it repeatedly and it held zero
-The action is extremely smooth; much more than any Saiga 12 I've ever shot
-Original Molot polymer grip.  Much more comfortable than many AK factory grips out there
-Molot self-regulating gas system.  This one's key to the 'why is this better than a Saiga 12?' question.  Izhmash has a version of this system but reliability reports are still hit or miss with the low brass ammo
-Original Molot competition magazine well.   Allows for fast reloads eliminating the need for rocking and locking the mags
-Molot factory AK adjustable rear sight.  This is essentially a beefed up RPK rear sight
-Molot original AK enhanced safety lever.   It allows for easy disengagement of the safety when shouldering the gun
-Cost.  The gun is available many places for $1000.   Considering what it costs to buy a Saiga 12 and convert it to this configuration that's not too bad
-Factory chrome lined barrel,  chamber,  receiver shaft and  gas chamber
-Factory threaded barrel.  Treads are the same as the Saiga 12 so there are lots of brakes/flash hiders available
-The fit/finish are superb.   It's as nice, if not nicer, than any AK platform gun I've ever seen
-Machined bolt assembly, gas blocks etc.  As far as I know there is no MIM on this gun at all.  Every part feels very solid

-Bolt hold open feature doesn't function on the gun 100% of the time (see video below for a better explanation)
-The safety was so tight from the factory that it was almost unusable.   I fixed it with a little filing but just beware you may need to adjust it a bit

Here's a video review where I test out the gas system, do some shooting with slugs from 100m, disassemble/assemble the gun, and discuss some or the features of the shotgun:

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Kahr CM9 Review

Single stack, lightweight, pocketable 9mm guns seem to be the hot selling guns this year as concealed carry continues to becomes increasing popular.   I've owned the Karh CM9 since mid 2011 and here's what I've found...

-100% reliable through over 800 rounds of all types
-Cost.  The gun can be had for under $400 most places
-Trigger.  It's very smooth and breaks crisply
-Size.  The gun is 'pocketable' in most outfits (5.42'' long, 4'' high, 0.9'' wide)
-Uses the proven 'Browning type' recoil lug 
-Easy disassembly/maintenance/reassembly 
-7 round mags are available (flush 6 rounder comes from factory)
-Lots of holster options available
-I like 'straight-8' type sights for fast close range defensive shooting
-Lightweight.  Only weighs 14oz empty

-The gun moved around a little under rapid fire when hands are wet (re: sweaty).  I fixed this with the Talon grips however
-The gun doesn't feel as 'solid' as the Shield or PPS.  That said, it's never failed so I can't say it impacts performance
-The trigger reset is too long in my opinion
-Only comes with one magazine
-Kahr recommends (as do I based on experience) that you use the slide release to reload the gun.  I've found rounds can hang up if you try slingshotting it.  Since I typically use the slingshot method, this required a conscious thought on my part at first
-All small/pocket guns are more difficult to shoot well vs. larger firearms so it's certainly not a gun you're going to win many competitions with

Below is a video of me shooting the gun on some steel, a demonstration of disassembly/reassembly, a side by side size comparison with the Shield, Glock 26, and the Bodyguard 380:

All in all, if you're looking for a pocket 9mm at a reasonable price, the CM9 should be on your list of contenders.  It's reliable and (for its' size) is a very shootable gun.   It seems to have gotten past the reliability issues that were reported when it first came out.  

Chrono numbers:

Winchester Ranger 115gr JHP: 968fps, 239 ft/lbs energy
Federal HST 124gr JHP: 1014 fps, 283 ft/lbs energy
Speer Gold Dot 124gr JHP: 1053, 305 ft/lbs energy

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

TriDelta Tactical AR Muzzle Brake from www.custommuzzlebrakes.com

A muzzle brake on a 5.56 AR may not be necessary but, a good one helps you keep the muzzle on target during rapid fire and will likely allow more accurate shooting with smaller split times at a given distance.   That's my $0.02 anyway...

Here's a quick summary of what I've found from the TriDelta Tactical brake while running it on my LE6920:

-Top port directs energy up to keep the muzzle flat while firing in addition to the two side ports 
-No ports on the bottom, unlike some other popular brakes, which keeps dirt/sand from kicking up when firing from the prone
-Same size as the A2 brake so no change in OAL of your rifle-Made in the USA from US steel
-Mil spec phosphate coated, not painted like some others

-No POI shift with the brake vs. the A2
-Only weighs 2.5oz
-Cost.  It sells for $48
-No machining marks anywhere on the brake; very smooth appearance inside and out
-IDPA/USPSA competition legal
-30 day, 100% satisfaction money back guarantee

-It's slightly louder than the A2 (still not as bad as many brakes out there.
-It doesn't come with a crush washer. Not a big deal but just putting it out there so people know when/if they go to order one.

All in all, it's an effective brake at a cost under $50.  I haven't had the chance to fire it at night but I'd imagine there is some trade off in terms of muzzle rise vs flash suppression as there usually is with most brakes.  I was shooting cheap Silver Bear in the video below and a fire ball was visible with both the A2 and the TriDelta Tactical brake due to the lack of flash suppressants in the ammo.

Product link:

Here's a video of me shooting with the TriDelta brake and the A2 using the same gun (Colt 6920) and ammo (55gr Silver Bear):

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Streamlight TLR-2 Weapon Light Review

I've had multiple handgun lights over the years from the $25 Protac's to the Surefire X400s of the world but I keep coming back to the Streamlight TLR series.   They're just great lights for the money.  The TLR-2 can be had new for around $220 and used for $170 (ish).   Tough to beat that for a 160 lumen light that durable and incorporates a powerful laser.  Here are some hits and misses for the TLR-2:

-Durable.  I have one of these lights that was smashed pretty hard into the ground during some training and it still works as good as new (evidence of that in the video below).
-Bright enough to disorient someone if shined in their face (160 lumen)
-2.5 hour constant on battery life
-Uses 2 CR123 batteries (pretty common these days)
-Has the ability to use light only, laser only, or light/laser combo
-Temporary activation switch as well as a constant on mode
-Easily actuated controls
-Includes keys for Glock-style, Picatinny, Beretta 90two, S&W 99 and S&W TSW
-The laser windage/elevation controls are mounted inside brass bushings to protect them from being moved unintentionally
-The laser is bright enough to be easily seen in sunlight regardless of the color of the target
-Comes with a 2 year warranty

-Weight.   It weighs 4.7oz.   (this could be a pro or con as it does help reduce muzzle flip when mounted on a handgun)
-Cost.   Most people (rightly so) will opt for the TLR1 or TLR1s for half the cost of this light/laser combo

Here's a video running the light on my G22, some daylight shooting using only the laser on a white background, a demonstration/comparison of the light's luminosity at night time, and some discussion of the pros and cons of the light:

A note on using Streamlight's on Glocks...  I had one of the G22's back in the late 90s/early 00s that wouldn't work properly with any weapon mounted light.     I've found that since Glock has changed the follower and mag springs I've never had an issue.  I also don't use any tools to tighten the light down; finger tighten only.

Cleaning your gun after shooting corrosive ammo

Pretty much every time I show up at a range with a gun chambered in 5.45x39, someone makes a comment about how they'd 'never put corrosive ammo in their gun...'   Well great--less demand and more for me!   But for those who are on the fence about it, here's how I clean my guns afterward to ensure no damage to my rifles from the corrosive salts.

1. Rinse out the gun with water (I use 1:5 ballistol to water mix) at the range.
2. Strip the gun down and put all the small parts into some hot soapy water.  Spray receiver, gas block, chamber, and muzzle of the gun again with water (I use the ballistol mix for this as well).
3. Dry gun; either by wiping off or with an air compressor.
4. Clean and lubricate as normal.
5. Inspect the rifle in 2-7 days for any signs of rust.    Done.

Here's a video demonstration that hopefully clarifies some of the points and can serve as a how-to guide for those new to the process:

SRVV Jet AK 74 Brake Review

In my opinion this style brake is an upgrade worthy of the $58 (if not more) they're charging for it.  It's the best 24mm AK brake I've used thus far.

-Recoil reduction
-Faster follow up shots
-Looks great (one man's opinion)
-Increase in velocity
-Gas is directed to the side and back so shooters on your left and right will not get as much muzzle blast as they would with a traditional AK 74 style brake
-Quieter from the perspective of the shooter

-Slightly longer (maybe 1/2'')

I don't have a working digital scale at the moment so I can't compare weight but it feels roughly the same as the SGL 31 brake.

Chronograph data with 60gr FMJ Silver Bear ammo:

No Brake: 2912fps
SGL Brake: 2924fps
SRVV Jet Brake: 3072fps

Roughly 150fps faster with the Jet brake.

Product link:

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 AR Review

Like many of you I tried the 22LR AR conversion kits but found they have a few drawbacks: the diameter of the 22LR bullet in a 5.56 chambered AR leaves something to be desired in the accuracy department, reliability is spotty depending on the rifle/ammo, and if you fire enough rounds through your converted AR the gas tube can become somewhat clogged (a couple 5.56 rounds quickly rectifies the problem but just noting it for those that may be unaware). 

Due to the reasons above, I started my search for a dedicated 22LR upper but found that most were pretty close in price to some of the dedicated 22LR ARs on the market.   So rather than just having a dedicated upper, I just went for it and got the M&P 15-22.   I've been glad I did ever since. 

Here's a quick run-down of the pros/cons of the rifle:

-All controls function just like the AR platform making weapon manipulation drills realistic
-Comes with a 25 round mag that's easy to load.  Spare mags are reasonably priced ($20-25 most places)
-Stock and grip are interchangeable with common AR accessories if you want to swap them out
-Has been 100% reliable with the recommended ammo
-Is more accurate than conversion kits
-Comes standard with a polymer 1913 rail for adding accessories
-Good sights; rear sight is dual aperture
-Uses a proven operating design (very similar in function to the 22/45 pistols by Ruger)
-Cost.  The rifle can be had for under $400 most places and every 500 rounds you're saving over $100 in ammo cost vs the 223/5.56 platform
-Barrel is made of carbon steel
-Weight.  The rifle weighs 5.5lbs
-Has a case deflector to keep brass out of the face of left handed shooters

-Cost.  I know it was a pro as well but buying a complete gun for around $400 is still more than a $120-150 conversion kit would be
-The upper/lower aren't interchangeable with other mil-spec AR uppers/lowers.  I don't think it's a big deal but more versatility is better than less in my opinion
-While the polymer seems durable thus far, it's still polymer not aluminum/steel

Here's a video of my wife and I running a few rounds thought it followed by a demonstration of disassembly/assembly procedures and a discussion of the pros/cons of the rifle:

In summary, this gun is a winner for Smith & Wesson.  Compared to its' competitors it's a more realistic training rifle for the AR platform that performs well in all areas.  Reliability is great, cleaning is a breeze, and new shooters will love this rifle.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Krebs Custom AK 103K Review

I've shot a lot of AKs in my day and (as long as they're properly assembled) they're all great rifles. From my $400 WASRs to this AK-103K, they do what they were designed to do––-get rounds downrange reliably while being capable of withstanding abuse that would deadline most other rifle platforms. That said, this rifle may be the finest AK I've ever laid my hands on.

Ever since I first shot a friend's Krebs rifle years ago I always lusted for one of my own but could just never justify the cost. Like I said earlier––-virtually all AKs work well so why would I pay $300-400 over what a Arsenal (already expensive) costs? Tough to answer. For me it came down to just being annoyed of lusting after these rifles for so long and deciding to sell off a few handguns that I never shot anymore and just placing the order.

To that end, Krebs rifles probably aren't on the wall of your local gun shop. They can be ordered direct from Mark Krebs' website
www.krebscustom.com or from a few online retailers. I picked mine up from Atlantic which was cheaper than going direct and they also gave free shipping due to my membership of several gun forums.

Here's what I've found through shooting this gun over the last month or so:

-Reliability. The gun has been 100% with all ammo/mag combinations
-Accuracy. This is the most accurate 7.62x39 AK I've ever shot. Krebs does some accurizing to the crown of the rifle's barrel before shipping it out and I suspect that (and the Russian hammer forged barrel) is the source of the increased accuracy
-Fit and finish are superb. The gun is refinished in "Krebs Kote" solvent proof finish which looks great and is holding up well so far. It's much nicer than Arsenal's factory paint
-Polished G2 trigger. I polish all my AK triggers anyway, but this one is well done (see the video below for evidence)
-Very smooth action. Again, I smooth my action when getting any AK but having it done from the factory is nice
-Cut and pinned 16'' barrel. The 2'' or so you save in OAL helps with the "handling" properties of the rifle
-It comes from the factory with the Krebs AK safety which is on all of my AK rifles. I think it's the finest on the market
-It comes with 2 30 round steel mags. It always annoyed me that my SGLs and SLRs came with 5 or 10 round mags!

-Cost. It's tough to justify spending this kind of money on an AK

Chrono numbers:

124gr Golden Tiger FMJ: 2386fps, 1567 ft/lbs energy

For reference, the same ammo in my SGL 21 with 16'' barrel averaged 2388fps with the same ammo; so no loss in velocity out of the cut and pinned AK-103K barrel.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Custommuzzlebrakes.com TriDelta AR Brake Review

I know many people feel you don't need a brake on a 5.56 AR; I agree it's not needed.  But, a good one helps you keep the muzzle on target during rapid fire and will likely allow more accurate shooting with smaller split times at a given distance.   That's my $0.02 anyway...

Here's a quick summary of what I've found from the TriDelta brake while running it on my LE6920:

-The shape of the baffles directs blast energy forward, sideward, and up.  It is noticeably quieter compared to the standard birdcage brake from the shooters perspective
-Top ports direct plenty of energy up to keep the muzzle flat while firing
-No ports on the bottom, unlike some other popular brakes, which keeps dirt/sand from kicking up when firing from the prone
-Made in the USA from US steel
-Mil spec phosphate coated, not painted like some others
-No POI shift with the brake vs. the A2
-Cost.  It sells for $58.  With some brakes going for $200 or more that's not too bad
-No machining marks anywhere on the brake; very smooth appearance inside and out
-IDPA/USPSA competition legal

-It's 2.9''
-Weighs 5oz. (This could be a pro as well as a con though because the added weight helps keep the muzzle stable)
-It doesn't come with a crush washer. Not a big deal but just putting it out there so people know when/if they go to order one.

All in all, it's a very effective brake at a cost under $60.  I haven't had the chance to fire it at night but I'd imagine there is some trade off in terms of muzzle rise vs flash suppression as there usually is with most brakes.

Product link:

Here's a video of me shooting with the TriDelta brake and the A2 using the same gun (Colt 6920) and ammo (55gr Silver Bear):

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Colt LE6920 Magpul Edition With Anodized Receiver Review

Well, first and foremost the LE6920 Anodized Magpul edition (Model: LE6920MPFDE) lives up to the standards Colt is known for.

The big question when it comes to Colt ARs in my opinion is––-are they worth the money they charge over lower priced competitors like PSA, Spikes, Windam, ect... Tough to say as it's an individual decision. I generally only recommend Colt ARs to people who don't know anything about ARs and have a ~1k budget because you really can't go wrong with one. But, I'm certainly not a Colt fan-boy as this is the only Colt rifle I personally own and I have nothing but good things to say about my other PSA ARs. I only bought this one because I got a good deal on it and I sold another rifle I bought years ago and made $450 on it to put toward this AR (and because I like shiny FDE products!).

Pros(and features):
-1 in 7 chrome lined 16.1'' barrel with A2 style brake
-5.56 chamber
-MPI (or MPC as Colt calls it) inspected bolt
-Anodized upper, lower, and buffer tube
-Magpul stock, rear sight, pistol grip, mags (2x black PMags), handguard, and VFG included
-Cleaning kit and sling included
-Good out of the box mil spec trigger (pulls crisp between 6-7lbs)
-This model has LE serial number (some people think this is a big deal, not me however)
-Reliability (0 failures of any kind through 500 rounds, the vast majority Barnaul ammo)

-Stepped M4 barrel isn't used/needed by the vast majority of shooters
-The anodization seems to turn color or hold carbon on the inside of the upper even after being cleaned(the video shows it better than I can write it)

Bottom line: You really can't go wrong with the 6920. If you're looking for a quality, reliable, out of the box AR at around $1k this rifle deserves consideration. You can probably get a similar quality rifle for less, especially if you build it, but you'd probably be increasing your chances of getting a lemon.

Here's a video with some discussion, shooting from 15m, 40m, and 75m (the farthest line of sight I have on the land). I also do a quick table top discussion and chrono some Hornday TAP 75gr and Silver Bear 62gr HP rounds.

Chrono Data:
Hornady 223 75gr TAP: 2437fps, 989ft/lbs energy
Silver Bear 62gr HP: 2687fps, 994ft/lbs energy

Monday, October 8, 2012

Springfield Armory TRP 1911 Review

Most of you already know the back story but if not---the Springfield Armory PRO model was chosen by the FBI's HRT unit years ago and Springfield Armory realized there would soon be a demand for a civilian weapon built around the same specs as required by the FBI.   The PRO is a custom 1911, with all the features, especially the price, that you'd expect from a custom 1911.  The TRP comes extremely close to the PRO model in terms of feel/performance but at a much lower price point.  I waited on a backorder list for a long time to get this gun after shooting one a couple years ago and the wait was worth it.   This gun has been a stellar performer since day 1.   Here's a quick summary:

-100% reliable through over approximately 2k rounds
-Low profile adjustable night sights
-Match grade bull barrel
-Forged steel frame/slide
-G10 grips that give a great purchase
-20 LPI front strap checkering
-Excellent slide to frame fit
-Armory Kote finish seems very durable thus far
-Standard rail for mounting lights/accessories
-Weight-45oz helps absorb recoil
-Wide mouth mag well for quick reloads
-Cost (expensive, but a great value in my opinion)
-Great accuracy
-Crisp trigger that breaks cleanly around 4-4.5lbs
-Comes with a great hard case from the factory with 2 mags, holster, and mag holster

-Needs tools for disassembly
-Adjustable rear sight (not a con for me, but it is for many)
-Cost (not as expensive as some 1911s, but more than most production guns)
-Availability: most people have to get on a backorder list to acquire one

Here's a video I made showing some shooting, an 'accuracy test' (the gun is much more accurate than me or the Aguila ammo I was using), disassembly/assembly of the pistol, a table top style overview, and some chronograph testing with popular defensive loads.

Bottom line: if you're looking for a 1911 for HD, the TRP is tough to beat at its' price point.  It's simply a superb 1911.  There may be 'better' 1911s, but not in this price range in my opinion.

Chronograph Data:

Hornady Critical Defense 185gr: 1113fps, 509ft/lbs energy
Winchester Ranger 230gr JHP: 938fps, 449ft/lbs energy
Federal HST 230gr JHP: 872fps, 388ft/lbs energy
Federal HST +p 230gr JHP: 945fps, 456ft/lbs energy

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Ultimak Rail & Bushnell TRS 25 Red Dot Review

For those out there who have trouble using the stock AK sights or want a red dot optic for quicker target acquisition but don't want to pay $600 for an Aimpoint T1 this set up may be what you're looking for.   I've had this set up on several of my AKs and never had an issue at all with it to report.

-Cost.  The entire set-up can be had for around $170 shipped if you pay attention to the sales
-The rail is made out of T6 aluminum and the clamps are 4140 steel
-Installation is very simple and with polymer AK handguards no modification is necessary to the lower handguard.  If you're using wood handguards, the lower may need some fitting
-The rail as plenty of room to mount a light should you have the desire to do so
-Maintains zero
-I haven't seen any change in accuracy with the Ultimak as I have while using the Midwest Industries rail system (but, there's pros and cons to both... and I like both)
-The TRS25 has a 3MOA dot which is about all the accuracy most shooters will get out of their AKs anyway
-The light emitter on the TRS allows for a lower 1/3 co-witness so even if your optic batter died an an inopportune time you still have use of the irons
-I have seen no evidence at all of heat damage.  I don't have the happy switch on any of my AKs but I've also never thought to shoot slowly due to heat.  

-With all forward AK rail mount options, it does cause the rifle to be slightly front heavy
-The tube gets hot and you may need to watch your grip during rapid fire (see the video for clarification on this...)
-If you're comparing it to an Aimpoint, the dot isn't as clear but I don't expect it to be at this price point either

Here's a video review with a demonstration of some shooting from CQB distances, 60m, and a discussion of the pros and cons of the system:

Friday, October 5, 2012

Palmetto State Armory 10.5'' AR Upper Review

Well, after over 6 months of waiting, I've gotten to run my 10.5'' PSA upper on a real AR lower to see how it runs. I had been running it for a bit using a pistol lower but we all know that's no where near as much fun!

So far, I've got nothing but good things to say about this upper. It's run great, been accurate, reliable, ect... Running it with the Troy Claymore seems to really help negate the concussion typically found on SBRs, although that's probably not the case for anyone downrange from the shooter but who cares about them?!

Here's a quick synopsis of the upper, barrel, and BCG (the heart and soul of the AR if you will....).


-Hammer Forged Chrome Moly Vanadium barrel
-Extra-thick Chrome-lined bore (whatever that means....)
-5.56 NATO Chamber
-1 in 7" twist rate
-Forged upper
-Heavy profile BCG (more on this below)
-Milspec Carpenter No. 158® steel bolt
-Shot Peened Bolt
-Chrome Lined Carrier
-Chrome Lined Gas Key
-Gas Key Hardened to USGI Specifications
-Gas Key Grade 8 Hardened Fasteners
-Gas Key Staked Per Mil-Spec
-Tool Steel Extractor
-Extractor Spring
-Black Extractor Insert
-Cost ($369 withouth BCG, currently. $329 when I bought it)
-It balances very well, even with the YHM Diamond Series Rail
-0 malfunctions thus far


-It's not free, unfortunately....
-Having to wait for your stamp to come back in order to run it on a rifle lower (not a product per se of theupper, just all sub 16'' OAL uppers in general)
-Velocity loss from a shorter barrel

I really like this upper and may actually get another for the next SBR project I'm thinking of building. Here's a video (above) of me running it a bit, shooting at some steel, a quick tabletop review, and some chronograph testing:

Chronograph Data:
Hornady 223 75gr TAP: 2157fps, 775ft/lbs energy
Silver Bear 62gr HP: 2403fps, 795ft/lbs energy

Smith and Wesson Shield 9mm Review

The Shield is one of the, if not the, most talked about handguns within the shooting community this year.   The trend for small carry guns in 380 seems to have been set aside for compact single stack 9mm guns.   The Shield certainly isn't the smallest of the "pocket 9s" but it may well be the best.  I've shot the Nano, Solo, PF9, PM9, P938, and own the CM9...  if I had to pick one of them it'd be the Shield.    Here are some reasons why:

-Reliable.  I just passed the 1K round mark with this gun using everything from steel cased Russian ammo to quality JHPs it's never missed a beat
-Shootable.   Of the guns I mentioned above, the Shield is the easiest to shoot well.   Many of these small guns tend to jump around in your hand causing the shooter to re-grip halfway through the magazine; the Shield doesn't seem to have that problem
-Lightweight.  It comes in at 19oz unloaded
-Great finish.  The melonite (68 HRc) finish is top notch.   With over 1K through the gun it shows less signs of wear than my SIG P229 did after 200 rounds
-It comes with usable sights.  I replaced my sights with Trijicon NS but the factory 3 dot sights are easy to use and better than most guns in its' class.
-Cost.  I got mine for $389 OTD right when they were released and used the Nation's Finest rebate (they used to honor it for the Shield but no longer do.  They now have MIL/LE pricing however) for an additional $50 off.  
-Value.  For the cost above you get a well built, seeming very durable firearm that carries extremely well.  Due to this, demand is currently exceeding supply and they're hard to find.
-Lots of aftermarket support from Apex parts to night sights to holsters.
-Comes with two mags (some of the competitors don't); a 7 round flush fit and 8 round extended mag.
-It has by far the best out of the box trigger of any gun in the M&P lineup; the reset isn't faint like the rest of the series.  My trigger breaks consistently at 6lbs.
-You don't have to pull the trigger for disassembly.  That's important to some people so I mentioned it to me but I don't mind pulling the trigger (as you'll see in the video below).
-Fish scale serrations allow for a positive purchase on the slide when manipulating the weapon.

-Right side only controls.  If you're a lefty you likely won't appreciate that.\
-External safety.  I'm in the camp of the people who do not like external safeties on a striker fired gun.   That said, it takes an intentional sweep to put it in the 'on' position and I worry little about it accidently coming on (has never happened yet).  Also, for those who like external safeties it's still a con.   Reason being it's small and difficult to manipulate...  likely more so under stress.   I think they tried to compromise here and missed both ways.
-It's larger than some of its' competitors.  I don't find it to be a pocket gun (I know some do) unless I'm wearing cargo pants/shorts.

Here's a video with some shooting from the 12m line, a size comparison with a couple carry guns, demonstration of disassembly and assembly of the gun, a quick discussion of the guns' pros and cons, and some chronograph testing with some popular defensive rounds

Chrono numbers:

Hornady 147gr TAPs: 894 fps, 261 ft/lbs energy
Federal 124gr HSTs: 1016 fps, 284 ft/lbs energy
Speer 124gr Gold Dots: 1076 fps, 319 ft/lbs energy

Thursday, October 4, 2012

SIG P229R Review

The SIG P229 was the first gun to be made exclusively in New Hampshire rather than Germany. US vs German made SIGs are a controversial subject in the SIG community but I don't care where the gun was made as long as it performs as I expect it to; and this gun does.

I currently have about 600 rounds this gun and below are a few of the pros and cons that I've found.

-Reliable. This gun has never had a malfunction of any kind with any ammo I've fed it
-Accurate. The gun is easy to shoot well; especially in SA mode
-Ergonomic. The gun, with E2 grips, just feels great in the hand
-The Nitron finish on the slide is holding up well to holster wear
-Rail for attaching lights/accessories
-Aftermarket parts/holsters/support are widely available
-Standard DA trigger is smooth with little to no stacking
-SA trigger breaks crisply
-2x 15 round Mec-gar mags came with this gun

-Cost. SIGs are generally overpriced relative to their competitors in my opinion
-Finish on the barrel is wearing more than I would expect for a gun of this quality
-The SA trigger has a good bit of take-up from the reset point (SRT greatly helps this however)

The video below shows some shooting from the 12m line, rapid fire from the 10m line with a shot timer to demonstrate the controllability of the pistol, a tabletop review and size comparison with the G19, and chronograph testing with Winchester Rangers, Gold Dots, and Federal HSTs:

Chronograph numbers:
-Winchester Ranger 115gr JHPs: 1136fps, 329 ft/lbs energy
-Speer Gold Dot 124gr JHPs: 1189fps; 389 ft/lbs energy
-Federal HST 124gr +p JHPs: 1170fps; 377 ft/lbs energy

Monday, October 1, 2012

USA Made Gen4 Glock 27 Review

I went into my local blue label dealer and asked if they could get me a Gen4 G27 with a serial number that started with "AA" (the US made guns do currently) and surprisingly the next day he called me and said he had one for me to pick up.   Well giddy up!   

When I first inspected it the first thing I noticed was the proof markings (see photos below) with the GA state outline with a "P" in the middle indicating it has been proof tested at the Smyrna GA plant.  I've seen several other US made Glocks before but never saw this proof mark; I'm not sure if it'll be the standard going forward or if only a limited run got the marking; I suppose time will tell...

The second thing I noticed was that the gun had the serrated trigger which I believe has been added to the compact and subcompact Glocks due to import restrictions.  Since this gun doesn't have to be imported putting this trigger on it seems like a bad move to me; I don't know anyone that prefers the serrated trigger to the smooth one.   That said, it's a simple swap but still worth mentioning...

So far, the gun has been a typical G27---reliable and mild recoiling for its' size and weight.    I've only fed it 370 rounds to this point including weights from 135gr to 180gr, flat nose FMJs, standard FMJs, and JHPs from Speer, Federal, and Winchester all without a single hiccup.   Here's a quick summary of the pros and cons.  

-Reliable. 0 malfunctions so far (the round count is low but so far so good)
-Durable finish so far.   This will likely be of interest considering all the rumors of the use of the tennifer treatment in the US (I know they haven't used it in a while but people still talk about it so I'm just throwing it out there....)
-Easy to maintain 
-TONS of aftermarket parts, holsters, ect... available 
-Accepts 9, 13, 15, and 22 round factory magazines 
-The baby Glocks carry very well in an IWB rig
-Glock's customer service is second to none 
-Cheap replacement parts, should you ever need them 
-Low Bore Axis resulting in a relatively soft shooting gun, especially considering most people will only be able to get two fingers on it
-Easily modified to fit the shooters' preferences
-Requires very little cleaning/lubrication to run reliably
-I like the Gen4 grip texture; especially in the 40S&W guns.   It helps prevent the gun from jumping around in your hand if they're sweaty/wet
-It's had consistent and strong ejection with all ammo (see the video below)
-The multiple backstrap system allows you to choose which grip size you prefer
-I'm not a fan of the factory plastic sights
-That stupid serrated trigger
-It's not a beginners gun IMO.   New shooters that have fired my Gen3 G27 have had to regrip the gun frequently due to the combination of the grip and the relatively sharp 40S&W recoil impulse
-The short barrel will result in lower muzzle energy compared to its' bigger brothers (G23/22)

Here's a video with some shooting from the 12m line,  a table top review and discussion, some close up shots of the proof markings,  and a chronograph test with some popular defensive loads.

Chrono results:

Winchester Ranger 135gr JHPs: 1093fps, 358 ft/lbs energy
Federal HST 165gr JHPs: 973fps, 347 ft/lbs energy
Speer Gold Dot 180gr JHPs: 935fps, 343 ft/lbs energy