Friday, December 25, 2009

John Farnham on "Convenient Fantasy"

You're probably not as safe as you think you are.

I've been reading through John Farnham's Quips from the Defense Training website.  The following is from his quip entitled, "Convenient Fantasy."
When you are not continually equipped and prepared for an instant, precise, and lethal counterattack, any "safety" you're imagining is a convenient fantasy. Like cheap insurance, it all works just fine- until you have a claim! Enjoy it while you can.
I suggest that you read the quip.  It will only take you 40 seconds or so.

Oh, and Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 18, 2009

TangoDown Stubby QD Vertical Foregrip

TDI/CAA K-Grip and TangoDown Shorty Grip

The TangoDown Shorty VFG is interesting in that it’s not round, or symmetrical.  Some thought was put into making it ergonomic.  The length of the grip is just long enough to get my whole hand around, but it’s not really designed for you to put your thumb around the back of the grip.  The stubby grips are really for people who put their weak-hand thumb pointing forward on the weak-hand side of the carbine.

Bottom View Of Grip Showing Teardrop Shape

Weak-Hand Thumb Forward VFG Grip

The o-ring-sealed compartment in the grip is just large enough to hold 2 CR123 lithium batteries, while still being sealed watertight by the o-ring.

The quick-detach mechanism is made by American Defense Manufacturing.  To remove the grip, you push in the release button and flip the lever out ninety degrees.  You can then pivot the grip off the rail without sliding it off the end of the rail.

I think the QD lever is worth the small increase in price over the standard TangoDown VFGs.  I can remove the grip to get the carbine into a rifle case, if necessary, or just to shed weight.  I can also swap it over to other firearms quickly, without tools or removing rail covers.  It’s also compatible with a wider variety of non-spec rails than the standard VFGs.

I like the QD lever of the Larue products a little better than the ADM lever, but the ADM lever is quicker and easier to adjust.  The Larue locking mechanism is more positive.  It’s possible to only partially press the button of the ADM lever, which won’t allow you to move the lever.  However, adjusting the Larue lever required a wrench and some trial-and-error.  The ADM is quick and easy to adjust by turning the screwhead opposite the lever.  The ADM clamping system is less likely to mar your rails than the steel tab of the Larue locking lever that actually holds the mount or VFG to the rail.  The big tab on the bottom of the steel Larue lever bears directly on the rail.

Larue QD Lever Mechanism Compared To ADM QD

ADM QD Clamp Adjustment Screw

Standard Larue Locking Lever, Showing Adjustment Mechanism

I’m not going to get into testing durability.  TangoDown grips have been around for a while, and have taken some serious abuse by military and civilian users.

Midwest Industries T12 Handguard

Before - Pretty Basic M4, Aimpoint is a very new addition

After, along with some other upgrades

Instruction Sheet

Midwest Industries (MI) is now making one-piece float tubes, in addition to their two-piece, no-gunsmithing, float tubes.  The one-piece tubes use an aluminum barrel nut rather than the steel G.I.-type barrel nut, which saves some weight.  The handguard itself requires less material than a two-piece float tube, saving a little more weight.  The one-piece tubes are also cheaper than the two-piece tubes, at about $155 vs.$228 for the 12" versions.

I was afraid that if I bought one of those $300+ handguards then I’d be afraid to really use it.  That, and I’m too cheap to drop that kind of cash, when I can get almost the same thing for about half the price.  I went with the rifle-length handguard on a 16” barrel because the rail I had bolted to the bottom of the plastic M4 handguard was proving to be too short.  I was pleasantly surprised with the MI Low-Profile rear sight, so I gave MI a shot with the railed float tube.

I’m liking the rifle-length handguard on the carbine upper.  I think I have more muzzle control with the vertical grip mounted farther out from the receiver (like Kyle Lamb says).  The extra length gives more freedom in bracing the rifle against hard cover without the barrel touching anything.  It gives a longer sight radius too, obviously.  It was worth the extra 2 and half ounces (15.4oz., rather than 12.9oz.), over the 10” handguard, I think.  Weight of the 12” Daniel Defense Lite tube (currently $332 at Bravo Company), by the way, is listed at 14oz.  The 12” Lightweight YHM tube (currently $139.95 at Bravo Company) weighs 14.75oz.  Price of the MI T12 at Bravo Company is currently $155, to give you a little bit of a comparison.

The handguard comes with the required Allen wrench for installation, a small vial of threadlocker, and a decent instruction sheet.  It doesn’t come with a spanner wrench for the locknut.  I might have bought a spanner wrench, but there wasn’t any available when I bought the handguard, so I just put the blade of a screwdriver in the slot of the locknut and tapped it with a hammer.  With the help of the threadlocker, the locknut is holding tight, and somewhat to my surprise, the screwdriver didn’t leave a mark on the ring.

Installation on an already assembled upper will require removing any muzzle device present, the gas tube, the front sight tower or gasblock, and finally the delta ring assembly or barrel nut.

Tools required:
1/16” pin punch for the gas tube roll pin
3/32” pin punch for the front sight tower pins (if present)
Hammer – claw hammer at minimum, those front sight tower pins can be tough to start moving
Grease – for removing and reinstalling front sight tower or gas block, and rust preventive on the barrel and steel parts covered by the tube
Degreaser – for cleaning MI barrel nut, lock nut, and anti-rotation screw before applying threadlocker
½” wrench, or large crescent wrench for muzzle device (if present)
Some sort of barrel nut wrench (should be under $25)
Upper receiver block (Model 1 Sales action block is about $35)
Torque wrench for reassembly (31 foot-pounds minimum, up to 80 foot-pounds is desirable to break-in the threads of the barrel nut, per the TM)
MI lock nut spanner, or hammer and flat blade screwdriver

I removed the sling swivel from the front sight tower, and shaved it into a low-profile gas block which required more tools – drill and 1/8” drill bit, Dremel rotary tool, cut-off wheel, stone grinding bit, files, and black BBQ spray paint.  I don't trust the set-screw type gas blocks, and didn’t want to spend $50+ for a clamp-on gas block.

Don’t forget to order another crush washer for the muzzle device if you want/need to use one.  They aren’t reusable (yeah, I tried; not enough friction to hold the flash hider on).  I think the peel washers are reusable, but I don’t like them, so I’m really not sure.

Anti-Rotation Pin Screws Into The Tube, Locking It In Place In Relation To The Barrel Nut

The handguard has an anti-rotation screw, very similar to the ones used with YHM tubes, except that it has a socket head rather than a slotted head.  The barrel nut also is very similar to the YHM nut.

The only issue that I’ve had with fitting things to the handguard was with the Vltor Scout Light mount.  The scout mount fit, but the rails on the handguard seem to be oversized, and the mount would not clamp the flashlight solidly in place without a little shim that I cut from a soda can.  The scout mount worked fine on the rail of a flattop upper, so it’s not the Vltor mount that’s the problem.

The Yankee Hill front sight, MI sling mount, Larue QD scope mount, and Tangodown Quick-Detach Vertical Foregrip all fit fine.

The only real complaint I have about the MI handguard, is the finish.  MI advertises that all their stuff is hard anodized, but I’m finding that it scratches really easily.  I was finding scratches before I even really used the rifle.  Not a big deal, but it might be if you really want a pretty “safe queen.”  The matte black coating on the Larue Beverage Entry Tool has held up to opening many “adult beverages,” so if you want a tube with a tough finish, you might want to give a Larue tube a try.

Non-spec rails aside, the handguard is okay.  It works with many accessories, but not all of them.  My newer YHM Lightweight hanguard seems to be made to the proper spec, and has worked with everything I've tried on it so far.

EDIT, 6/30/2010:
It seems that MI customer service is pretty aweful.  Check MarylandShooter's site for more details.

EDIT, 9/28/2010:  When I went to check the locking ring on the handguard with the YHM spanner wrench, the nut was pretty loose.  It might have been okay, but the wrench does seem to allow more torque on the nut.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Yankee Hill QDS Folding Front Sight

Why the M4-type ears, instead of the HK-type wings that wrap around the front sight? The same reason Chuck Taylor warned about the rings around HK front sights, and why Noveske was psyched when Troy released their M4-type front sight. The front sight is not necessarily centered in the ring, or semicircular wings, and in a snap-shot scenario, you might try to center the ring or wings in the rear sight, rather than the front sight itself. This would result in a bullet going somewhere you hadn’t intended.

When I first started fiddling with the sight, I was a little concerned. The button was stiff, and the sight was harder to deploy than I would have liked. After playing with the switch-sightblade (yeah, I know, sorry) for a little while, it loosened up, and it’s now quite acceptable.

You push the button on the side, it flips up, and locks in place. I'm a little afraid that a hard knock might do some damage, since it locks when unfolded, even though it doesn't need to lock since it's spring loaded. Maybe I'll take it apart and fix it so that it doesn't lock open someday.

I unscrewed the A2 front sight that came with the sight, and installed the Trijicon front sight with tritium insert that I had in the standard A-frame front sight base (that I hacked off). I got the carbine sighted in pretty quickly. The front sight isn’t hanging far above the wings, and I didn’t have to make any significant adjustments to the rear sight.

The sight comes with the required Allen wrench for mounting the sight, and it clamped onto my Midwest Industries handguard with no issues.

Although I would prefer a sight that doesn't lock when deployed, it does lock when folded, which I did want, and I wasn't thrilled with the wings or locking designs of many of the competing flip-up front sights. I took a bit of a gamble on the Yankee Hill sight, and it paid off. Next time I need a clamp-on front sight, I think I’ll be buying another one of these.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Midway Coupon Codes for December

Looks like there's currently two valid coupon codes for $10 off orders over $50. Codes are 1050119 and 50129. Dunno when they expire though.

Update, 12/5/09

GunBlast has a review of American Tactical Imports (ATI) T-14 .410 AR-15 Shotgun Upper, which I mentioned back in July. It looks like Mr. Quinn was using the 13-round magazine, so they must be available somewhere in the U.S.

Also from GunBlast, a review of the Taurus TCP .380 pocket pistol, which I mentioned back in July. I kind of forgot about that pistol. I still don't think I've ever seen one in person. Unlike some other similar pistols, the Taurus locks open after the last round, and the pistol reviewed had a trigger pull that measured around 4 pounds (compared to the usual trigger pull of around 8 pounds). This one might be interesting.

I gave up trying to fix the M&P, and had the shop send it back to S&W for warranty work.

Got another Millet DMS-1 Scope from Midway to replace the dented one. As soon as I can get my hands on a American Defense Manufacturing Recon-X scope mount, I'll get to testing the scope and mount. I made sort of an interesting observation while fiddling with it, that with the power ring set to 1x, the scope actually seems to make things look smaller. True 1x seems to be somewhere between the 1x and 1.5x markings on the power ring.

I still have a couple or few reviews to post. Should have them put up by next weekend.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Midwest Industries MCTAR-08HD Front Sling Swivel


I went with the heavy-duty MI quick-detach sling mount over the others after reading the Military Morons review which stated that the heavy-duty model had stops that keep the sling from twisting. The mount itself has stops that limit the sling swivel from making more than a quarter turn. I like this feature a lot, and I wish all QD sling sockets had this feature.

The mount is a fairly simple device. There are two pieces held together with an Allen-head socket screw. It works on my MI railed tube, obviously, which has rails that are a little oversized, but it also fits true 1913 Picatinny spec rails.

The only thing I feel the need to warn you about is that the screw will probably scratch the finish on the rail you mount it to. The screw threads left marks on my handguard. It’s not a big deal to me. The handguard wasn’t expensive, and the marks are covered with either accessories or ladder rail covers. If you were trying to sell an expensive firearm with integral rails, it might become an issue though.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Vltor Scout Light Mount

I had been using a Streamlight TLR-1 light on the carbine, but I’m seeing a lot of shooters using Surefire Nitrolon flashlights, usually with some kind of LED upgrade. I tried it out, and I can see several advantages in this method. Some of the LED upgrade bulbs are really bright, and the push-button switches are simpler than the switch on the TLR-1.

A lot of said shooters are using the Viking Tactics light mount. I didn’t think that was what I wanted, as it requires a tool to remove it from the rail, and I wanted something that I could ditch quickly if the flashlight should fail, or if I just didn’t need it. The Vltor mount has a nut that can be unscrewed with only bare hands.

That nut that secures the mount, by the way, is secured to the stud, so that it can’t be completely unscrewed and lost. I wish this was done more often.

The problem with the mount is that it doesn’t work well with rails that aren’t to Picatinny spec. The Midwest Industries rails are a little larger than true Pic-spec, and the mount wouldn’t hold the flashlight securely. The instruction sheet that came with the mount says something about using a set-screw to hold the flashlight in position if the mount in used with non-spec rails, but there was no set-screw included, and there’s no threaded hole for one in the mount. My sort of half-assed solution was to cut a shim from an aluminum can to get the mount to work on my Midwest Industries handguard. I’ve got a couple spare shims stored in the rubber plug of the MIAD pistol grip.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Tripped 100,000 Visitors! Cool!

I just noticed that the Visitor Counter is reading over 100,000. That's not too bad, over the course of a year plus a couple weeks, considering that I didn't actively promote the site.

Palmetto State Armory Sale

10% off all in-stock magazines, accessories, and parts at the Palmetto State Armory website. Plus, you can use coupon code "stocking" to get a "huge discount" on Magpul PMags.

I'd like to put in an order, but I've already bought a lot of stuff in the last few weeks. I'll be posting review shortly. Photos are uploading as I type this.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Cleaning Mags That Don't Disassemble

A question just came up on forum, asking how to clean magazines that can't be disassembled. This would apply to many of the "high-capacity" Ruger 10/22 magazines, and some others.

What you can do is clean them in the sink with dishsoap. The dishsoap won't hurt the polymers, or any glue that might be holding the magazine together.

Swish the magazine around in the soapy water, and squirt the water into the magazine with a large syringe if you have one. Brush the follower and whatever you can get at to remove powder fouling. When you're finished, pour in some rubbing alcohol and shake it around to displace the water so that nothing rusts up on you.

It doesn't sound like much, but it actually helps quite a bit.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Promag/Archangel 10/22 Target Stock

I only have a little bit of information on this one from Guns Magazine. I can't find any information on it elsewhere, and it's not available for sale yet. The butt is adjustable for length of pull in eight steps, and is made of polymer. It's cool looking, and I expect the price to be quite reasonable, which is typical of ProMag products.

UPDATE, 1/17/11:  Available from Sportsman's Depot for $96.66

Thureon Defense 9mm Carbine

Thureon Defense is marketing an AR-15 type carbine in 9mm. Although it might be a bit ugly, the retail price for the carbine is less than what I paid for a RRA 9mm upper, 9mm buffer and magazine block.

It's nice to see a company release a product with a reasonable price. I've come across some interesting products, but haven't posted on them due to ridiculous prices.

Updates 11/22/09

The Magpul UBR stock I ordered from Streichers sale on August 15th should be coming in tomorrow.

I got a Millet DMS 1-4x scope from Midway, but it was dented, and I had to send it back. Hopefully they'll have more American Defense Recon-X scope mounts in stock by the time the scope gets back to them.

The M&P 9 Pro is still pelting me with brass about 80% of the time, no matter what I do to it. I don't know what more to do with it besides send it back to S&W and hope for the best. It seems to be an extractor related problem, and the extractor is neither a user-servicable item, nor a readily available spare part.

Oh, and the pocket knife ban saga continues, apparently. There was a short article about it in Guns Magazine or American Handgunner this month, so I guess we're not out of the woods yet.

I did a small update to the Ares 22RCU posting. Estimated price, and a better picture.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Springfield Armory Store - 30% Off Sale

It looks like the guys at Springfield have lost their minds. Everything in the online store is 30% off with owner's manuals and military training manuals available for free. This would be a good time to stock up on XD, 1911, and M1A mags, and pick up those specialized M1A/M14 tools.

New U.S. Cavalry Coupon Code

Coupon Code: MNCOOL15
Save 15% when you spend $99

Again, I don't see an expiration date.

The coupon codes from the last catalog may still work for a little while longer.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Updates 11/14/09

I updated the AR-15 Magazines article with information on 9mm AR mags.

Lengthening the ejector for the M&P 9 Pro didn't change much. I was able to stretch it out 0.025", through heat and hammering. Chopping down the ejector, and working the extractor some seemed to have done the trick, but I wasn't able to test it too much. It got dark on me too quick today, and I didn't get a chance to do any more live-fire testing.

A while back, I reported that the Border Patrol wanted assisted-opening pocket knives to be classified as automatic knives (a.k.a. switchblades), and regulated as such (Article - Sigh. Pocket Knife Ban In The Works?). This legislation could have affected many one-hand-opening knives. This ban attempt has failed, either through common sense or the efforts of "Knife Guys" to get this killed.

I've noted in the Civilian ACR/Masada Coming Soon? thread that the Wikipedia ACR Article states that the suggested retail price for the semi-automatic ACR is anticipated to start around $1200. I wonder how long it will take for street prices to come down to the retail price. I would expect the first few thousand to sell for over $2000 easily judging by Gunbroker auction bids on the SCAR rifles when they first came out.

Oh, and I finally updated the Articles and Reviews list pages.

American Handgunner and Guns Free Online

I just want to post a quick note that American Handgunner and Guns Magazine have made digital copies of their magazines free on the internet. I'm not exactly sure why they're doing it, but it's there for you to take advantage of.

I'll continue my subscriptions because I don't want to take a laptop into my, er, reading room. You know. The room with the plumbing. ;)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Free Shipping From G&R Tactical

Just a quick note that G&R Tactical is currently offering free shipping on orders over $100.

ARES 22RCU - Ruger Mk.II/Mk.II Carbine Conversion

I was browsing the American Rifleman website, when I discovered this article on the ARES 22RCU.

Ares Defense Systems has created a carbine conversion kit for Ruger Mk.I, Mk.II, Mk.II, and 22/45 pistols, which they call the 22RCU. It is full-on politically incorrect with a vented railed handguard and collapsible wire stock. The conversion kit isn't available yet, but Ares says that it is "coming soon."

You may be familiar with Ares if you've heard about their Shrike Belt-fed upper for the AR-15/M-16 or their AR-15 piston conversion kit.

EDIT: GunPundit found it at SHOT Show '09. You can find his blog post about it, with a better picture here. The retail price he was told would be $299.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Updates, 11/1/09

Added some AR-15 and .223/5.56mm ammo links to the Links Page.

Picture of Magpul PMag added to AR-15 Magazine Article.

I'll have updated the Pet Loads Article, and Hogdon TiteGroup Powder Review, by the time you read this.

The 1911 has been getting some range time, and is doing well. I'll post more details later.

The M&P 9 Pro
has a new ejector coming soon from Brownells. Will have it out at the range next weekend, and hopefully will not get beaned with brass the whole time. It's been sitting in the GunVault (another review I'll have to write someday) for months now. Every time I went to put in an order from Midway, they were backordered on the ejectors.

Stuff for reloading .223 ammo inbound from Midway, though they sold out of the shellplates before I could place the order, so I still won't be able to do much. Planning on upgrading the Hornady press with the EZ-Ject parts, so maybe I'll order the shellplate direct from Hornady then.

I need to get around to updating the Articles and Reviews pages. It's been a few months. Oops!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

DSG Arms PMag Sale

DSG Arms is selling a variety of 10-packs of PMags for $99.95. That's a hard deal to beat for really good AR-15 mags.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Civilian ACR/Magpul Masada Coming Soon?

Bushmaster has posted an update on the ACR (Advanced Combat Rifle, a.k.a. Magpul Masada). They are predicting a launch in the first half of 2010. Bushmaster is supposed to be marketing the carbine to civilians, with Remington going for the military contracts.

Pray that the November 2010 elections go better than the 2008 elections!

EDIT 11/14/09: The Wikipedia ACR Article states that the suggested retail price for the semi-automatic ACR is anticipated to start around $1200. I wonder how long it will take for street prices to come down to the retail price. I would expect the first few thousand to sell for over $2000 easily judging by Gunbroker auction bids on the SCAR rifles when they first came out.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ruger 10/22 Tuning and Mods

For whatever reason, this is my most popular article.  I'm resorting to desperate measures here, because it's really important.  As an owner of a 10/22, this is going to impact YOU.  Before you can read about 10/22 tuning and mods, you'll at least have to take a second to scroll down past this stuff.  DON'T SKIP IT!  I'm SERIOUS!!

With the failure of the Toomey/Manchin background check bill in the U.S. Senate, it would seem that we are mostly out of the woods on the gun control front.  Try telling that to the poor schmucks in New York and Colorado though.  My point being that the gun-grabbers have taken a serious blow, but are not defeated.

Write to your state reps and make sure that they know that you oppose further restrictions on gun purchases that only affect lawful gun owners and really do nothing to stop crime, mass shootings, or murders

Probably one of the easiest and most common modifications to the 10/22 is what most call the “auto bolt release.” The 10/22, as it comes from Ruger, has a unique bolt release. To lock the bolt open, you hold the bolt back, and push up on this lever-type thing in front of the trigger guard. To release the bolt, you pull back the bolt, and then push up on the bolt release again. Releasing the bolt this way is kind of clumsy, at least for those with only two hands. ;) Auto Bolt Release Mod The Ruger 10/22 bolt release can be modified so that the bolt releases with just a little tug on the bolt handle. All you need to do is to cut the canine-tooth-like spur from the big hole in the bolt release. This is not very hard to do with a carbide milling bit (Dremel bit #9901) in a Demel tool. I found that I needed to cut the hole almost to the top edge of the bolt release. That’s really all there is to it. No need to buy an aftermarket part, unless you have to have an extended bolt catch lever. 

The next thing to do is to reduce the trigger pull weight. With most 10/22 rifles, the trigger pull weight actually exceeds the weight of the rifle by a couple pounds. This also is a pretty easy fix. Buy a Volquartsen or Power Custom hammer, and replace the factory hammer. This will very likely reduce the trigger pull from something like eight pounds down to about three and half pounds. The makes it a lot easier to break the shot while the sights are still on your target.

Trigger Group Disassembly/Reassembly Instructions* c/o David Lake of Composite Gunsmithing (which seems to have gone out of business).

JB Weld Mod* Reduce the "take up" in the trigger pull. You can do the same thing with a set-screw, but it's almost not worth the trouble.

Trigger Group Polishing

Glass Bedding the Stock Makes a huge improvement in accuracy when the action is really secure in the stock and the barrel is floated properly.

Extractor Tuning Neither of my 10/22s ran very well before tuning the extractors. They run much better now.

More Trigger Tips* Mainspring strut comes rough, stone that sucker smooth. Check to see if extractor is hitting the notch in the barrel.

Ruger Rotary Magazine Tuning
Mag Tuning
Magazine Sticking I’ve found that they work better for me if I turn the nut 9 flats. That’s not counting the half a flat it takes to start feeling tension on the spring. Like he says, don’t crank down on the screw, or it will bind up the rotor, just turn it ‘til it’s snug. These suckers are finicky, you'll have to work at it a little.

EDIT, 6/9/2013:  One mattv2099 home-made bump-fire stock video.  Unfortunately not the one on how to make the stock.

  My Tack-Driver 10/22. Okay, so this one's got a KID trigger (and barrel too), but the trigger group I tuned went into my plinker/beater 10/22. The scope mount is a Power Custom extended model. Stock is a Bell & Carlson, which I glass-bedded with a Volquartsen pillar, and DIY spacers cut from some old handlebars.

The Tack-Driver and the beater together. I need to take an updated pic of the beater, which now sports a standard Power Custom Weaver-style scope mount and one of my Tasco PDP2 Red Dot sights. It looks nicer with a clear anodized aluminum Tactical Innovations magazine, too. People don't expect the nice target trigger on a plinker/beater gun. Mag dumps are fun and easy. EDIT: Here's the new-and-improved beater.

* - Any and all trigger tuning, and any gunsmithing for that matter, is to be done at your own risk. Firearms with modified actions can be dangerous. In fact, while working on one of the 10/22s, I had a couple rounds go off with the bolt part-way open, which could very well have sent me to the emergency room, or worse.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Brownells $5 Shipping Coupon Code

$5 shipping on orders over $50 from Brownells.

Coupon Code - E1X

Coupon Exires 10/31/09

Sunday, September 27, 2009

CDNN Glock Mag Sale and Free Shipping

CDNN Investments is running a sale on Glock mags. Most of the normal, "hi-cap," mags are going for $19.99, which a price I really haven't seen since at least October. The 33 round, 9mm mags, are $33.33.

Free shipping on orders over $200 if you use the coupon code "fs200." $5 shipping for any internet order this weekend, plus a little "Swiss Army" type knife, Colt keychain screwdriver, and tinted mirrored shooting glasses for free.

I'd avoid all the Target Sports stuff and all the optics (cheap Asian junk), but there are some other good deals on the site if you look around.

I should be pretty well stocked up on Glock mags for the rest of my life now, plus some to give away to family, as needed.

10/20 EDIT: Okay, the free shipping offer is over, but they are now offering $7.99 shipping for all internet orders, along with 2 free gifts (cheap pair of safety glasses and 16-Function "Swiss-style" knife. The Glock mag prices have not changed, still $19.99, and $33.33 for the 33-round mags. Hmm, maybe I should order some more 33-round magazines for when Lone Wolf gets more Glock mag AR-15 lowers in.

Natchez has the 33 round magazines a little cheaper, but the regular mags are a couple dollars more. No more 3 for $15 each.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

More Magpul Lowers in the Works?

A while back Magpul sold some limited edition rifles. The lowers have been traded through want ads and auctions for hundreds of dollars.

Today I stumbled upon the tech section of the Magpul website. There is a link for "Lower Receiver Technical Resources," which only says "coming soon." I wonder if they are planning to make more available.

Another Ruger Black Rifle

This one is a .22LR sorta-AR-15-type rifle.

The Ruger SR-22 Rifle
- from The Official Ruger Website

Well, it looks like it will probably accept any AR-15 stock, which the S&W AR-15 rimfire doesn't seem like it can do. The receiver extension on the S&W appears to be built into the receiver, which means you can't put something like a Magpul UBR stock, or adjustable target stock on it. Without a nut at the front end of the receiver extension, I don't know how you'd run a single-point sling on the S&W either.

It appears to have a 10/22 action and trigger group. I guess that would mean that you could use a 6 ounce adjustable KID trigger with it, if you wanted. Although there are very light drop-triggers, and adjustable triggers for AR-15s, they usually don't get along very well with rimfire uppers.

I forget what I paid for just my rimfire AR-15 upper a couple years ago, but it was probably $100 or more than what the SR-22 will sell for in the real world, as gun shop and gun show prices are often below MSRP.

If you already have a Ruger 10/22, you could convert it to something like the SR-22 with an Archangel Stock Set (not compatible with many AR parts, but fairly inexpensive), a RB Precision Evolution Stock System, or a Nordic Components AR22 kit.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

AR-15 Lowers

Pretty much all the forged lowers are more or less the same. In fact there’s only a few different forges that make the lowers; mostly the AR makers just buy a machined lower forging and stamp their name and serial number on it, and maybe apply a finish. One of the new trends is machined lowers. There is some argument over whether forged or machined lowers are stronger, but it probably makes very little difference, and it really comes down to aesthetics.

Who Makes My AR15 Lower Receiver? - AR15
List of some of the AR lower forges, and who they make lowers for.

Mega lowers are textured at the front of the magwell, to use as a grip. Spike’s and POF, to name two, make lowers that have HK-type pictograph selector markings. JP Rifles lowers have racy-looking machining. Most all other lowers are pretty much the same in terms of appearance, features, and compatibility. Almost all forged lowers will be virtually identical to an M16A2 lower, except for the maker's mark, and the lack of an auto sear pin hole and the word "Auto" or "Burst" behind the hole for the selector [although there are a few semi-auto lowers that appear to have an "auto" setting].

FWIW, Spike’s Tactical lowers look pretty cool with the spider logo and the HK selector markings. The writing, including the serial number, is deep and very clean looking. If I were going to buy another lower, a Spike’s lower would be at the top of my list. Some of the Olympic Arms lowers have nice, clean, markings in the military fashion, but the serial number seems to be stamped on later, and Olympic has been making lowers for a long long time, and I’m sure they are not all the same.

Colt lowers vary pretty widely. Old ones are slab-sided with no fence around the magazine button, like pre-A1 M-16s. Many have sear-blocks that can interfere with some aftermarket triggers. Most of the newer civilian rifle lowers require larger diameter trigger and hammer pins, and require special trigger components. The “large-pin” lowers probably have a screw-in pivot pin which will require a special conversion pivot pin to use with any non-Colt upper.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

K-Var 9-9-09 Sale

To celebrate 9-9-09, K-Var has lowered prices on a whole bunch of stuff. They're not just modest discounts either, some of the prices have been dropped up to 50%. The premise of the sale seems pretty dumb to me, but hey, I do love a sale.

Sale ends Monday, September 14th.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Make Your Own Tactical Sling for $10 (Or Less) Forums: Make Your Own Tac Sling For 10 Bucks
The host for the PDF file seems to either be down, or has pulled the file. I'll try to remember to get it hosted somewhere, and post a link.

The Gun Blogs: DIY 1 point sling

Places to Get Supplies
ITW NEXUS - Order free buckle samples - Don't forget to use AR15 discount code for 10% discount - thanks to strapman on
DIY Tactical Store - Same type store as Strapworks, but with some different stuff, like the Cobra buckles. - Check for local stores, all I see on the website is some 1" tubular webbing under climbing gear, and it's in bright blue or red.
MFI - HK sling clips

Sunday, August 30, 2009

AR-15 Magazines

Troy's AR Mag FAQ
No relation to Troy Industries.  It hasn’t been updated in many years, but there’s still some useful information

Anarchangel’s Blog – How To Feed Your Poodle Shooter
Lots of good information on magazines, like what company is currently using the tooling once used by Okay Industries, and how to spot fake G.I. magazines.

Generally, you can’t go too wrong with a USGI or Colt magazine, though there is an occasional lemon, and Colt-branded mags are often greatly overpriced. Oh, wait a minute, an important note - it’s possible that you may find junk magazines with USGI floor plates slipped on, or, possibly, magazines that failed quality inspection. If you are buying USGI mags, be sure that the guy/shop you are buying from is reputable. If you have the chance to handle them before you buy, [carefully] run your finger along the feedlips to check for burrs.   UPDATE 11/20/11:  Except for a singular feed jam with one of my grey mags, my D&H teflon-coated aluminum magazines have all run well in several rifles, including the ACR.  That one jam may have been either a fluke, or due to insufficient lubrication.  I haven't gotten back around to retest this magazine yet.  The D&H 20-round curved magazines work well too.  UPDATE, 2/19/12:  Yup, definitely a problem with that mag.  Problem was similar to the problems that I had with the 5.45mm AR-15 magazines, but the problem was the left-side feed lip.  I bent the lip, and it seems to be good now.  UPDATE, 10/21/12:  I've run 4 full loads through the grey mag that was giving me problems, and it now seems to be running fine.

Brownells magazines are similar to USGI magazines, and are growing in popularity. Actually, Brownells recently got a gubmint contract to sell their mags to the military.

For what it's worth, my M4gery won't always strip the first round or two from fresh, fully-loaded, G.I.-type magazines. If I load the 30 rounders to 28, and the 20 round mags to 18, they feed fine. Doesn't matter what follower is in the magazine.  UPDATE 11/20/11:  They seem to be fine after they break-in after a few uses.

For magazine followers, I really don’t know what to tell you. Magpul anti-tilt followers seem to be a good idea, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone complain about them.  They are certainly easier to remove from the magazine tubes than G.I. followers.  Some places are selling USGI mags with Magpul followers already installed for just a tiny amount more than mags with GI followers.

AR-15 No-Tilt magazine followers

The C-Products anti-tilt follower is really very similar to the Magpul Gen. II follower.  I seem to remember reading that Magpul sued C-Products over the follower, but lost.  I guess I would have sued too, in this particular case.

The USGI black and green followers often work fine for many rifles and magazines, and you may never really have a problem with one. It bothers me how easy it is to tilt and jam the G.I. followers though.  I have no experience with the new anti-tilt tan G.I. magazine followers. forum thread on tan-follower G.I. mags: How are the Enhanced Tan Follower USGI 30rd magazines working in the field?  Sort of a mixed bag of reports, but "a waste of range time and ammo ameliorated only by Going (sic) to the other mags, that we don't have enough of any more and can't get," does not sound very good.  I'm not exactly eager to buy some to try these out myself.

C-Products magazines are USGI-type magazines in either stainless steel or aluminum, and have Magpul or Magpul-type C-Products produced anti-tilt followers. I haven’t used any of these (yet), but reviews are generally good, and they do allegedly stand behind their product. There are some reports of really bad mags made during the mad rush after the ’08 elections. Check their website, linked at the beginning of this paragraph, before you buy their mags from someone else, the prices aren't bad.  UPDATE 11/20/11:  I have tested one stainless steel C-Products magazine.  Although they actually feel a little bit more flimsy than an aluminum G.I. magazine, the one that I've tested works fine.  C-Products is no more, if you get a bad one you may be able to return it to where you bought it, but there is no C-Products company to return them to.  ASC magazines are essentially the same as C-Products magazines, and MidwayUSA sells the same mags calling them AR-Stoner magazines.

Magpul PMag, an M-Rev model to be specific

Magpul polymer magazines, of the PMag and Maglevel varieties, are very popular right now. They are a lot easier to take apart for cleaning than most metal magazines, with no prying the baseplate off or having to work the spring out one coil at a time. They come with anti-tilt followers. A ridge inside, along the front of the magazine, keeps the ammunition in two separate columns. It seems to me that the polymer feedlips make these mags significantly easier to load and unload, and you won’t scratch up the brass. The baseplate is flat, without any sharp edges, which is nice to have when slapping a loaded magazine into a rifle with the bolt closed. One of the downsides of the Magpul mags is that they are thicker, with wider baseplates, and there are magazine pouch fitment issues sometimes.  The PMags fit fine into the 3-mag G.I. pouches with the two grenade pouches on the sides.

The 20-round PMags work well too.  Basically the same thing, but smaller.  I used one a lot while shooting off a bench working up loads.  I think it's good to at least have a few good 20-round mags handy, and I like these.

The M4gery that won't always feed from fully-loaded G.I. mags runs fine with fully-loaded PMags.

At least one carbine class instructor reports that Magpul PMags ran much better in a high round count class where students (and instructors) spent much of the time in mud.

Survival Podcast Forum: 224,000 Rounds in 12 Days
All of the AR-15 magazines had issues with mud but the MagPul “P-Mags” did the best job overall, by a wide margin, during the 12 days.
The PMag Maglevel magazines have small windows in each side. The Magpul EMag is similar, but has only one window, and no reinforcing ribs. Coupled with a spring that has some orange paint on it, the windows allow you to estimate how many rounds are left in the magazine. With all the Revision I Maglevels that I have, the orange paint is very faint and difficult to see. The newest version of the Maglevel has round count markings, a bright orange coil on the spring, and is a little slimmer than the older version.

It may be important to note that my AR-15s don't always lock back after the last round with the new Maglevels with the round-count numbers next to the windows.  They run fine in my ACR though.  UPDATE, 2/19/12:  Bad news, they no longer lock back the bolt of my ACR.  Good news, I bought some new ones, and the follower comes up higher, and locks the bolt back in both my AR-15s and ACR.  The problem seems to be just with the early 2nd Generation M-Rev Maglevel magazines.  I'm going to try e-mailing the tech at Magpul and see if I can exchange the older ones.

My go-to mags are the older generation Maglevel magazines. I also have a 20-round PMag ready to go, if there's a need.

Magpul also makes baseplates for USGI type magazines. The L-Plate had a rubber pad, and a lock-plate. The Ranger plate is similar, but has a rubber loop to help you pull it out mag pouches. Both of these base plates are much easier to remove for cleaning. Push the locking plate in a little bit, and the L-Plate or Ranger plate slide right off, without any prying or bending, as you’d do to get the aluminum floorplate off.

I bought a pack of Ranger plates for PMags, though I’m not sure why, other than to look cool. The PMags don’t hardly benefit from them like the USGI mags do. I should have just bought the slip-on Magpul loops for the PMags.

The original Magpul magazine extraction device.

Lancer is making polymer mags that allow to you tell how many rounds are left in the magazine also. The Lancer mag is made of transparent polymer, with steel feedlip inserts, and a rubber-padded baseplate, like an L-Plate.   I’m hearing good reports about the Lancer magazines working well, although I’m not so impressed.  UPDATE 11/20/11:  Lancer has modified the design of their magazines, and the new ones are called Advanced Warfighter Magazines.  The feedlip inserts are larger, the magazine body is textured, and I believe they went to tool-less disassembly.

The CAA mags are polymer, and the Countdown mags actually have a round counter on the bottom rear of the magazine that displays the number of rounds remaining.  The CAA mags are very new, and I don’t know much about them yet.  The CAA mags are made in Israel.  The Israeli IDF is replacing their aluminum mags with the CAA Tactical MAG 17.   UPDATE, 11/20/11:  I have one of the CAA countdown mags.  The countdown widget is a pretty cheesy measuring tape type gizmo that runs from the baseplate to the follower.  Has worked fine so far, but I don't trust the spring in the tape measure widget.  It would be bad if the countdown mechanism jammed up, and wouldn't let the follower advance.  If I could get them as cheap as the Tapco mags without the countdown thingy, I'd probably buy a few more.

I bought 5 British SA80 steel magazines during the years of the 1994 “Assault Weapons Ban.” Three of them seem to work really well, and they feel really solid. Two of them would drag on the bottom of the bolt carrier, and would cause failure to feed problems. I filed the mag catch notch to try to fix this, but now they will still jam the rifle if I put a little upward pressure on the mag. They come with black followers, which are very similar to USGI green followers. They do feel noticeably heavier than aluminum magazines, and they will rust if you don't oil them.  UPDATE, 11/20/11:  I'm down to two of five that really work all the time, and magazine catches sometimes stick in the notch.  It would not suggest buying any, unless you really want a super-strong magazine, and/or you can pick them up really cheap.  I "benched" the one more, because rounds loaded near the SAAMI max length pretty much jammed the magazine solid.  The same ammo ran fine through various other magazines.  I even ran some ammo over the maximum length in Magpul PMags.  It's worth noting that you need to be careful when using magazine loaders that you're sure that the ammo and magazine will work together.

Fusil USA makes steel magazines with steel anti-tilt followers, witness holes along the spine, and floor plates that are easy to remove.  The floor plates work in a similar fashion to the Magpul baseplates, and the baseplates of most pistol magazines.  Although I haven't tried to fit aftermarket floorplates, I believe that they will fit.  The Fusil baseplate also has a loop for tying on a loop of parachute cord.  The two I've been using work fine in my ARs, but one of them falls out the ACR, no matter how hard that I slap it.  I believe that these magazines are now, officially, G.I. magazines.  My 50% failure rate in the ACR concerns me, but I like the witness holes and the floorplates.  I've also read some reports of cracking at the top rear of the magazines where the magazine is notched for the bolt to strip and feed rounds.

Troy Battlemag

Review: Troy Battlemag AR-15 Magazine

9mm AR Mags
As far at 9mm mags go, the Metalform Colt magazines are regarded by many as being the Holy Grail. Metalform mags with Colt baseplates sell for $60+, but you can still buy them from Metalform for a little over $40.  UPDATE, 11/20/11:  The Metalform mags with metal UZI-type followers seem to be 100%.  The ones with polymer followers feed fine, but may not lock the bolt open all the time, without fail.

C-Products makes the current-production Colt 9mm magazines.  I believe that they are all marked "SS" somewhere, to indicate that they are made of stainless steel.  I believe that the Metalform mags are made of carbon steel.

Many report having problems with them sitting too high when used with Rock River Arms mag blocks. Although they feed fine in my lower with Hahn bottom-loading magazine block, I did have to file down the feed lips and the welded seam on the back on a couple of the magazines, and they don't lock the bolt open all the time. They are a lot cheaper than Metalform magazines, at less than $20 each through their website. Some of the C-Products magazines that I bought factory direct have Colt baseplates, and some don't.  UPDATE, 11/20/11:  Sometimes the C-Products followers come up high enough to lock the bolt open after the last round, and sometimes they don't.  C-Products and the new ASC brand magazines are the same.  C-Products reorganized, and changed their name, but the magazines are essentially the same.  Perhaps also of note is that the finish on all the C-Products/ASC magazines will be scratched off down to bare metal after the first use.

Magazine Loaders
The LULA loaders kick ass. The 5.56mm AR magazines aren't that difficult to load, but the LULA loader is still really nice to have. I misplaced the first one that I bought (only to find it after my next range trip), and ended up buying a second one. Although they are expensive, for just two pieces of plastic and a wire ring, they are really nice to have when loading or unloading several magazines at a time.

The LULA for 9mm AR mags is almost essential, as those suckers are a real bitch to load.

If you are in the military and/or you get your ammo loaded into 10-round stripper clips, you'll want the StripLULA. Works similar to the stripper clip guides that come with G.I. bandoliers, but is easier to use.

I have a Cammenga loader that I picked up at a gun show. That thing's a piece of crap. I tried it with several different types of magazines, and the most I ever got loaded was one or two rounds into the magazine before the loader jammed up completely. Twenty-something dollars I wish I could get back.

The Pro-Mag AR-15 magazine loader is one of few things they got right.  Pro-Mag magazines are generally awful, but the Pro-Mag loader will load 5 rounds into a magazine in one movement.  It even works with 5.45x39mm ammo, which the LULA will not work with.

Lack of Posts Recently

Sorry, haven't had a whole lot to post recently.

After having been kept from working overtime for months, and being cut back to 32 hour weeks now and then, we're being offered all the overtime we want to take. So I've been hitting it HARD, working late, and on weekends.

The upside is that I'll be spending some of that overtime money on stuff that I'll review for the site at a later date. I'm trying to complete one of my AR-15s. When I'm done with that, I'll get into reloading for it. The little bit of free time I have, apart from eating and sleeping, has been spent doing research and shopping around for stuff that I didn't think I'd be able to afford for a couple years. Don't worry though, I'm saving the lion's share of the OT money, and I haven't been shooting the pistols all that much, because it's still hard to get primers.

I've been working on some longer articles that I will start posting shortly.

I've added a short update to the Burris FastFire review.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Knight Revolution and Revolution II Rifle Recalls

Knight Rifles is recalling some Revolution rifle trigger assemblies. There is a concern that the rifles may fire when the action is closed.

More information on the recall at the Knight Rifles website.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Remington .17HMR Ammo and 597 HMR Rifle Recall

Remington's supplier is saying that their .17HMR ammo should not be used in semi-automatic firearms. Full boxes of this ammo can be returned to Remington for coupons that can be used to purchase other Remington ammo.

Remington's 597 HMR semi-automatic rifles should not be used. Rifles are to be returned to Remington for a coupon which can be used to buy another Remington firearm.

Visit Remington's Website for more details on the recall.

EDIT: The Firearms Blog has some more information on the recall.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Streicher's Sale

Streicher's Website
Sale Details

20% off all Magpul products
10% off Lasermax
20% off Otis Deluxe LE Cleaning Kit
Sale prices on Streamlight flashlights
Plus more

Sale ends (ended) August 16, 2009

H.E.R.A. Arms Glock Stock/Carbine Conversion

H.E.R.A. Arms Website

A company in Germany has made a Glock carbine conversion, that encases the pistol's slide, so that you don't get smashed in the face. It attaches via the light rail on newer production Glock frames.

It looks like the carbine conversion kit works with G17, G19, G22, G23, G31, or G32. Doesn't say anything about the longer slide models though.

They are working on 16" barrels, so that you don't have to register your pistol as a Short Barreled Rifle (SBR) with the ATF. The registration isn't so bad, but getting the approval may take longer than 6 months right now if you are having it registered to you as an individual rather than registered to your trust/corporation/LLC.

H.E.R.A. is also making magazine clamps, HK USC to UMP conversion kits, and AR-15 stock and pistol-grip adapters for HK SL8 rifles.

It seems that Spike's Tactical will either be importing or selling the H.E.R.A. carbine conversion kits.

SIG P238 Recall

SIG Sauer has issued a "Mandatory Safety Upgrade" for it's P238 subcompact .380ACP pistols.

". . . a small number of P238 pistols may have safety levers that are not manufactured to factory specifications."

If the trigger is pulled with the safety on, the pistol may fire when the safety is switched to the off/fire position without pulling the trigger again.

You can read more about the recall at the SIG Sauer website.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

U.S. Cavalry Sale Coupon Codes

U.S. Cavalry, which sells "tactical"/military clothing and gear, is running a sale.

Save 10% when you spend $49
Use coupon code: MKCSAVE10

Save 15% when you spend $49
Use coupon code: MKCSWEET15

Save 20% when you spend $149
Use coupon code: MKCSUPER20

I'm sure there is an expiration date for the coupon codes, but I don't see one listed.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Anvil Arms AR-15 Lower Sale

Rather than try to reword it, I'm just going to quote the website.

"AA15 Lower Receiver (Stripped) $100.00. Buy 5 or more for $85 each!*

AA15 Lower receiver with standard LPK installed $175.00. Buy 5 or mroe[sic] for $160 each!*

*Orders of 5 or more must be all from the same person shipping to the same FFL.

Anvil Arms LPK $65.00"

Saturday, July 18, 2009

ALS 50BMG Upper Safety Notice and Recall

Advanced Long Range Systems, LLC, has issued a Safety Notice and Recall on their 50BMG conversions. The conversion may fire with the bolt out of battery.

Owners of ALS conversions should not use the units until further notice from the company. The safety notice was prompted by an accident that put one shooter in the hospital. A .50BMG round firing out of battery is definitely not a Good Thing.

Safety Notice on ALS website.

EGW Free Shipping Offer

EGW is offering free shipping on all orders over $100. Offer expires 8/18/2009.

Promotion Code: EGWFREE100
Enter promotion code in notes section at checkout.

EGW is a machine shop/gunsmithing operation in Pennsylvania.

They are known to pistol competition reloaders for their "U-Die," an undersized Lee sizing die which will probably iron out more bulge from unsupported chambers than any other sizing die. They make ammo gages for 9mm/38Super/40S&W/45ACP, all in one, with real chamber reamers, which I love. Most other ammo gages you have to buy separately, and they are cut tighter than any barrel you will ever find.

They have race gun parts - compensators, mag wells, SVI/STI parts, slide rackers, mag release buttons. They have AR-15 parts - float tubes, benchrest bag rider adapters, an extended upper receiver. They make a whole line of 1911 parts; machined steel parts, not that cast and MIM junk. They make cutting tools for gunsmiths. They make a line of scope mounts for a variety of firearms, and scope rings.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Taurus TCP - Another Micro .380ACP

I think I sorta remember reading about a Tarus pocket gun in magazine a few months ago. I don't think there were any specifications or pictures of it though.

It is a polymer framed pistol, with the weight listed as 10.2 ounces.

Prices listed on the Tarus TCP Website are $247.21 for blued steel, $277.99 for Stainless Steel, and $366.99 for one with a Titanium slide. It looks like they are available through the web site, but I haven't seen one in any shop yet.

EDIT, 12/11/09: GunBlast has a review of the Taurus TCP .380 pocket pistol. I kind of forgot about that pistol. I still don't think I've ever seen one in person. Unlike some other similar pistols, the Taurus locks open after the last round, and the pistol reviewed had a trigger pull that measured around 4 pounds (compared to the usual trigger pull of around 8 pounds). This one might be interesting.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Remington Rimfire Black Rifle: 597 VTR

I'm not sure if they are available yet. I haven't seen one yet personally, but it's on the official Remington website.

Remington 597 VTR product page.

Similar to the Excel Arms X-22R, and some other Ruger 10/22 conversions, Remington took one of their .22LR rifle actions, and put it in a chassis that accepts AR-15 stocks, pistol grips, and free float tubes. Remington only lists 10-round magazines, but I believe there are after market mags that hold 25+ rounds. EDIT: There's Remington Factory 30-round magazines listed in the Cabela's catalog.

Report On Military SCAR Rifles

There's a pretty decent report on the SCAR rifles from someone in the ARMY, whose unit was testing them. Forum: I am being issued a SCAR. . . Review posted

It's a pretty decent read. Confirms some of the things that I noticed during a brief look at the SCAR-L. I'm trying to withhold judgement. After all, many said about the M-16 decades ago, what I am thinking about the SCAR.

Smith & Wesson 22A Pistol Recall

A defect in the slides of some 22A pistols, manufactured between August 1, 2008 and February 19, 2009 may have a problem with improper headspacing, which can cause an unintentional discharge.

Click Here to get more information on the recall from the official Smith & Wesson website.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Colt 1911 Recall

The "slide lock safety" (don't ask me what that is) and "recoil spring guide pad" in some Colt 1911 type pistols have been determined to not be made to Colt specifications. Colt is recalling pistols with these non-spec parts. The recall effects certain ranges of 1911 WWII Replica, 1918 WWII Replica, New Agent, Combat Elite, Defender, and Talo Night Defender pistols, sold after March 2007.

Click here to visit the official Colt's Manufacturing website for more details.

Safir Arms .410 Bore AR-15 Uppers

Just discovered these on the Aim Surplus website. They are .410 bore shotgun uppers that fit AR-15 lowers. They're made in Turkey.

Aim is selling them with 5-round magazines, but Modern firearms lists capacity as 9, 10, or 15 rounds, so there must be some higher capacity magazines out there. Price from AIM is just under $500, they have a limited stock of the Compact uppers.

Safir Arms Website - English
Saiga 12 Forum: T-14 Thread
Aim Surplus: T-14 Compact (16" barrel) Upper
Aim Surplus: T-14 Classic (20" barrel) Upper
Modern Firearms: T-14 Shotgun

EDIT, 12/11/09: GunBlast has a review of American Tactical Imports (ATI) T-14 .410 AR-15 Shotgun Upper. It looks like Mr. Quinn was using the 13-round magazine, so they must be available somewhere in the U.S.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

FAL Last-Round-Bolt-Hold-Open Mod

FAL Last-Round-Bolt-Hold-Open Mod - How-to article with pictures from Alan Eldridge's site.

I discovered this accidentally while searching for a good WECSOG link for the Saiga 12 Pistol-Grip Conversion article. Kinda neat.

Saiga Pistol-Grip Conversion - S-12 Shotgun

I actually finished the conversion more than a month ago, but I didn’t get around to taking pictures until last weekend. The write-up is not 100% finished yet, but it’s been a week since I’ve had anything to post here, so. . .

  • Russian American Armory Saiga-12 12-Gauge Shotgun with 19” Barrel
  • Saiga Internal Stock Adapter (I think it was Al’s Custom that made it, but it doesn’t say on my receipt, or the bag it came in, and the part is no longer on the Mississippi Auto Arms site)
  • ACE Pig-Nose AR-15 Stock Adapter
  • Tromix DIY Trigger Guard (With Built-In Pistol Grip Mount)
  • Tapco M4 Carbine-Type 6-Position Stock
  • ProMag M4 Stock Recoil Pad
  • Interarms AK-47 Pistol Grip (Borrowed from another rifle that didn’t need it as a U.S. made part)
  • Interarms Grip Screw
  • Tapco G2 Single-Hook Trigger Kit (Trigger, Hammer, Disconnector)
  • Tapco Trigger and Hammer Pin Retainer
  • 10 Pound 1911 Recoil Spring (For Light Birdshot Loads - Replaces Front Recoil Spring)
Tools Used:
  • Drill
  • Assorted Drill Bits
  • Center Punch
  • Hammer
  • Dremel Rotary Tool
  • Dremel Carbide Cutting Bit (Part Number 9901)
  • Dremel Router Bit
  • Dremel Reinforced Cut-Off Wheel
  • Grandfather’s Vise
  • SAE Allen Key Set
  • Phillips and Flat-head Screwdriver
  • Temporary (blue) thread locker
  • Needle-Nose Pliers
  • Needle-Nose Vise Grips
  • Tweezers
  • Pin Punch Set
  • Coarse File
  • Kart Recoil Lug File (Any Square Needle File W/Safe Edge Will Do)

This is the only gun that I've ever named. I call it Sid, becuase I think it's probably the most Visious thing I own. Nothing, short of a belt-fed machinegun, can remove or destroy flesh and bone quite like a load of buckshot, and this sucker can load up to 13 rounds of buck, and fire them as fast as you can pull the trigger. If you've got the cash, you can pick up a 20 round drum magazine for these Saiga shotguns. When the magazine runs empty, rock-and-lock another one in and cycle the bolt and you're ready to go again.

922r Compliance
The Saiga rifles and shotguns come with funky hollow plastic sporting stocks. For these stocks to work at all, the trigger is moved back from the position it would normally be with a pistol-gripped AK-47. The square hole and slot for a normal AK-type trigger is still there, but it's covered by a piece of sheet metal riveted into place on the bottom of the receiver. This sporting conversion is done to comply with an import ban. Although the company in Russia makes Saiga rifles and shotguns in the normal AK pistol-grip style, they are non-sporting under the language of the U.S. import ban.

But wait! There's a catch! The ATF allows for conversion from sporting configuration, to the pistol grip configuration, as long as 10 or less of the parts they've listed are imported. When you add these domestically-made parts, the firearm changes from an imported gun, to a U.S.-made gun. Yes, it sounds kinda dumb, but don’t knock it! It’s kind of a nice loophole to have in a ban.

In my case, changing out the hammer, disconnector, and hammer make the shotgun a legal domestic firearm if I use American-made magazines. Add a U.S.-made pistol grip and stock, and I can use any magazine.

I had originally planned to buy one of the stock adapters with the mount for a pistol grip, so I wouldn't have to do the full-bore pistol grip conversion. That would have required more expensive U.S.-made conversion parts. Handguards run about $60, and the gas pucks are around $40. It's actually cheaper to do a proper conversion, if you can drill out the 3 rivets that hold the cover on the bottom of the receiver. You end up with a shorter shotgun and a better trigger in the end anyway. The stock Saiga trigger pull is really heavy. The Tapco G2 trigger is much better, better than many AR triggers even. I would have ended up doing the conversion properly eventually, and would have been stuck with used parts that no one really wants.

I think I managed to do the conversion without buying any tools. I used a Black & Decker hand drill that I bought from Wal-Mart a few years ago for something like $25. I did chew into the receiver some, drilling out the rivets, but the trigger guard and button-head screws covered up those little sins. The rivets didn't give me too much trouble. Cheap DrillMaster bits seem to have worked fine.

Tricky Bits
The first issue was drilling out the trigger pin rivets. Damn things will spin on you, and the drill bit doesn't do it's job. This is where the needle-nose vise grips come in. You need something to hold the pin/rivet in place as you drill.

The stock adapter required a lot of modification, even though it's made for the Saigas. The first issue I noticed was the lack of a slot for the key of the AR-15 stock adapter to seat in. I put the adapter under the drill press, and cut some holes, and then used the trusty Dremel to make the holes into a slot. I also had to notch the internal stock adapter to clear the FCG pin retaining wire. When all that was done, it got lightly sanded, and given a coat of Krylon Black BBQ paint. I’m actually not quite done with that; the receiver cover scrapes away a little more paint off the top-rear block every time I put it back together. I’ll have to cut down that ridge when I get the Ace folder mechanism and repaint.

The hardest part of the conversion was getting the lower put back together with the bolt hold open (BHO) lever. I wrestled with the springs to get the trigger and hammer pins in, then I installed the stock, putting threadlocker on the screws. THEN, I pushed on the hammer pin, discovering that the pin retaining wire wasn't working properly. With the stock adapter holding the retaining wire in place, I had to take it all apart, and start all over.

I don’t know how the Russians get damn things together. Getting the parts in under spring pressure without the safety in place is frustrating. They must have assembled it with the safety, because the BHO lever blocks off the slot in the side of the receiver otherwise, and then you can’t get the safety in. Notching the BHO lever to allow inserting the safety doesn’t seem to hurt, so that’s what I did. This is where the Dremel Carbide Cutter bit comes in. But don’t put away the Dremel and bit yet, with the pistol grip conversion, you’ll find that your trigger finger (or maybe thumb for lefties) is making contact with the protruding button end of the BHO lever. You may want to trim that BHO button down about a quarter inch.

I got the conversion done over the course of one weekend while catching up on TV. I would probably have gotten it done in a matter of hours if I hadn't been running up and down the stairs, going from the basement to the couch and back again and again. I didn’t have a spare AK grip at the time, so I modified an old FAL grip to work (in true WECSOG fashion), which added about a half hour to the conversion process. Then I got a Romanian AK-47 parts kit (for another build), which freed up a proper AK-47 pistol grip, but I had to cut the grip screw down to work with the Tromix Trigger Guard.

Saiga 12 Magazines

The Russian American Armory 5-round magazine that came with the shotgun is similar in size to a 30-round AR-15 magazine. So far, this seems to be the most reliable magazine that I've used in this shotgun so far. This is what I keep loaded with Federal LE 2 3/4" 00-Buck shells, until I can get some 3" buckshot shells.

The 8-round Surefire magazine is similar in size to a 30-round AK-47 magazine. The Surefire 8-round is what is shown in the pictures of my shotgun at the start of this article. Surefire mags are American-made and count as 3 compliance parts - magazine tube, follower, and base plate. I have had a few 2 3/4" shells hang up on the top of the barrel extension. No problem with 3" rounds yet, because the front end of the shell sits forward of the rear end of the barrel extension, and there's no way for the longer rounds to get caught there. I guess I should take a picture, so that you can understand what I'm talking about.

Size Comparo Shot. From left to right:
  • 12-round Surefire Saiga 12 magazine in bag
  • 10-round Promag Saiga 12 magazine
  • 8-round Surefire Saiga 12 magazine
  • 5-round RAA Saiga 12 5-round magazine
  • 30-round AK-47 magazine
  • 30-round AK-74 magazine, 5.45x39mm
  • 30-round MagPul PMag AR-15 magazine
Related Links:
Saiga .223 Conversion – Not quite the same, but gives a good pictorial step-by-step walk through.

How to reinstall the BHO

BHO mod so you can get the safety back in

Making FCG pin-retaining wire from Saiga pin-retainer spring

Mississippi Auto Arms – Where I got most of the conversion parts and Surefire mags.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sigh. Pocket Knife Ban In the Works?

U.S. Customs and Boarder Patrol (CBP) wants to change the rules so that assisted-opening pocket knives are lumped into the same group with "switchblades." says that the rule would also cover most one-hand-opening knives, and may even be interpreted to cover just about any pocket knife.

Click here for more details and sample letters to send to CBP and congress.

EDIT; 11/14/09: The bill was defeated.

EDIT; 11/22/09: There was an article on it in either Guns Magazine or American Handgunner. It seems to still be possible.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Rumor - Glocks With Adustable Grips

There seems to be a rumor floating around that there will be Glock pistols coming out within the next 12 months with interchangable backstraps. Allegedly, it has been confirmed by Glock, Inc. I've seen no official documentation, or photos of the pistols, so until then I can only report it as rumor. This would not be the first rumor to come out about a new Glock that never existed, or was never slated for production.

I was under the impression that Glock was selling so many pistols that they didn't need to really do anything to keep up with the competition. Even before the election Glock pistols were in short supply.