Sunday, December 30, 2012

My Feinstein Ban, "Oh Shit!" Emergency Letter

Sorry, I wish I had something entertaining, gun porn, or something better to report.  I've also broken my rule of keeping language clean, because this shit is really fucked up.

Contact Your Federal Officials

Here's what I e-mailed my congressman, and the president (for all the good that'll do).
I've been working on a more detailed letter, however, time seems to be of the essence, and Senator Feinstein's 2013 "assault weapons" ban would affect far more gun owners than the 1994 Clinton "crime" bill.  The new bill requires grandfathered firearms to be registered with the ATF, and that registration will likely cost the taxpayers, all taxpayers, billions of dollars.  This registration requires fingerprinting and FBI background checks that will tie up local police departments and the FBI for many months.  Canada spent over two billion dollars on their gun registry, before finally admitting that it just wasn't working, and they just gave up on it.

The guns covered by the proposed 2013 ban are NOT machineguns.  Sales of real machineguns have been taxed, registered, and subject to serious FBI background checks since 1934, and further restricted by the manufacture ban of 1986.  The new Feinstein ban would cover ALL pistols of the type carried by police officers, and essentially all other semi-automatic firearms.  Basically every type of rifle, pistol, and shotgun designed since the beginning of the 1900's would be banned from manufacture, and the ownership and sales of existing banned firearms being heavily controlled.

There are times when great expense is justifiable.  This will not be one of them.  The 1994 ban expired in 2004 because "assault weapons" were used in less than 2% of crimes to begin with, and no amount of legislation on these guns will have a significant impact on crime.  A University of Pennsylvania study, commissioned by the National Institute of Justice, wrote of the 1994 Clinton "assault weapon" ban,  “We cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation’s recent drop in gun violence. And, indeed, there has been no discernible reduction in the lethality and injuriousness of gun violence.”  Crime rates have actually dropped since the expiration of the 1994 Clinton "Assault Weapon" ban.  The 1994 ban didn't stop the Columbine school shooting, and it didn't stop the North Hollywood bank shootout.  The problem with gun laws is that criminals break laws, by definition, and the gun laws only affect the law-abiding citizen.

Gun owners took note of who voted for the 1994 ban.  Thirty-three of the congressmen that voted for the Clinton ban in 1994 were defeated in the elections of 1994, and 6 more were defeated in 1996.  Bill Clinton and USA Today, to name two, largely blame the NRA advocacy in the wake of the the 1994 ban, for Gore's defeat in the presidential race of 2000.   Don't get yourself defeated in the next election, think of what that means for the rest of your personal agenda and objections to current policy.
Sign the petition to impeach Sen. Feinstein.  We're almost there folks.  Please take 4 minutes and sign it! 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sign Petition: NBC David Gregory Broke D.C. Gun Law

Sign White House Petition to Press Charges against NBC Meet The Press host David Gregory, for breaking Washington D.C.'s "assault weapon" ban.  He held up, on camera, a 30-round AR-15/M-16 magazine, and stated, "Here is a magazine for ammunition that carries 30 bullets."  Oops!  D.C. gun laws say these magazines are not legal in the district.  It doesn't matter whether you have a firearm that it goes to or not.  Since Gregory is advocating a federal ban on these magazines, I think it's important that we hold him responsible for breaking the D.C. law.  I'm sure that he'd probably rat you out for doing the same, given the opportunity.

Screencap from NBC video (link posted below)

NBC has the episode posted on their website.  He holds up the magazine at about the 9 minute 45 second mark on the video.  You can skip to that point by dragging the triangle underneath the video.

You can read more about it on The Patriot Perspective WordPress page.  David Gregory Violates DC Gun Law On National TV —– Update: CNN’s Don Lemon Admits To Breaking Gun Laws, Too?  The text of the D.C. law is posted there, if you want to read it.

EDIT 12/26/12:  Not even half way there yet.

EDIT, early 12/27/12:  DC Police investigating MSNBC's David Gregory for possessing illegal ammo clip Mwahahaha!!

It seems that NBC asked about the magazine, the police told them it wasn't allowed, but they ignored them and carried on anyway.

I know that there's lots of stupid crimes, I've seen the TV shows and read the reports, but usually they don't involve asking the police beforehand, doing it anyway, announcing it, recording it on video, broadcasting it nationwide, and putting the video on the internet for the whole world to see. THAT is a kind of stupid, the likes of which I have not seen in a very long time!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Mass Shootings in Israeli Schools? Um, no.

Among many good points raised by John Lott recently, he posted this on his blog, referencing a John Fund article:
In 1974, three Arab terrorists broke into an Israeli school and killed 31 children and faculty. Did Israel respond by self-righteously asserting "Firearms have absolutely no place in our schools"?
No. Instead, they armed and trained their teachers and even parent chaperones, with the result that in the past 38 years, terror-beset Israel has not lost a single child within a school. . . . 
Source: Newsmax (Link to Article Below)

. . . Israel with the win.  Isn't that, more or less, what the NRA said the solution was on Friday?

John Lott Website: John Fund summarizes some useful facts on Multiple Victim Public Shootings

Original John Fund article: Everybody crazy 'bout a gun-free zone

Newsmax: A Cure for School Shootings? Reader Says Israel May Have an Answer

Open Letter To Elected Officials

Brought to my attention by hickok45, on YouTube, posted by is a form letter to send to your representatives and senators.  Although I would have focused more on "criminals break laws, by definition," than "let's not give government complete control over our lives," I know that we are all busy to one extent or another, particularly around the holidays, and cutting and pasting the form letter is far better than doing nothing.

Find your elected officials.

If you find what you think is a better letter, please leave a comment with a link.

Friday, December 21, 2012

fxhummel1 Biblical Self Defense Song

More Tula .223Rem Fail

I was out shooting some more Tula .223 Remington steel-case ammo, and had a couple more failures.  This time it was a stuck case, one of the things I had been warned about with steel-case ammo.  The extractor would not hold onto the rim.  I had an AK-74 cleaning rod with me, but it wasn't long enough to knock the case out.  I have a Colt bolt with the gold extractor spring, black insert, and Crane o-ring installed in this rifle.  The extractor is still completely intact.  I only had 4 30-round magazines through a clean upper, with a clean chamber.  I have never had this problem with brass-case ammo.  I don't know what else to call it but an ammo failure.

I also experienced a fraction-of-a-second hang-fire.  The Geisselle trigger in the lower I was using was installed for shooting 5.45x39mm Russian surplus ammo, and gives the primers a good smack, so that should not have been an issue.  Again, I have to call ammo failure.

Would I buy any more?  Eh, I don't know.  It's about as cheap as you're going to get in this caliber, but it won't run in one of my rifles, and apparently cakes the chamber with carbon fouling.  I guess for shooting cheaper ammo, I will stick to 5.45x39mm, which at least has a tapered shell casing.  The Spike's 5.45x39mm upper has been running well, now that I have the magazines figured out.

At the moment, there is probably none in stock anywhere anyway.  What there is available is likely marked up so high, that you'd have to be a fool to buy it.  Black rifles, lowers, and "high-capacity" magazines have been selling like crazy over the last 7 days, and finding anything in stock at a reasonable price is getting nearly impossible.

On The Radio for About 25 Seconds

I was listening to AM talk radio in the car on the way home, when I hear Steve Martorano, the conservative talk radio station's token liberal, say something along the lines of, "The NRA is a lobbyist group, representing the gun manufacturers."  I couldn't let that stand, without a counterpoint.  The NRA may take money from manufacturers, but the organization's raison d'etre is to represent the millions of American gun owners that pay dues to the NRA to give them a voice in Washington D.C., and as of late, in the UN Arms Trade Treaty conferences. It's not a capitalist organization, whose sole existence is to keep Colt, Rock River, and Kel-Tec in business, which I'm fairly certain is the notion that Mr. Martorano was trying to pass off as truth.

So, I called in.  After waiting on hold for maybe 12 minutes I got put on the air, without a queue or warning I  might add, to express my dissatisfaction.  Martorano tried to make it sound like I misunderstood what he said; that what he meant was that the gun industry indirectly benefits from the actions of the National Rifle Association.  That was about it.  The line just went dead after I said that he was misrepresenting the truth.

So I guess I got maybe 25 seconds of my 15 minutes of fame.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

AIM Surplus Magpul UBR Stock Sale $199.95

AIM Suplus Magpul UBR collapsing AR-15 stock

That's my M4 there with UBR.  Compartment doors removed.

Use coupon code "UBRSALE" at checkout to get $50 off the regular price of $249.95.  All the Magpul stuff from AIM comes with free shipping.  I'm not entirely sure if the sale applies to colors other than black.  The link in the newsletter took me to the product page for the black stock.

I think I bought mine 50% off, years ago.  I think the AIM sale price is the cheapest that I've seen them since.  If you can get past the extra weight and the price, they are very nice.

Friday, December 14, 2012

I'm buying a UTAS UTS-15 Shotgun

No.  No, I'm definitely not.

The magazine that's pretty much completely open to the elements is pretty stupid, in full Chauchat style.

Bad.  Very, very bad.  There are other UTAS shotgun videos on YouTube that are kind of similar.  I haven't paid much attention, because I haven't actually seen one of the damn things in person yet.

It actually gets a bit worse.  Some rusting after the shotgun got dumped into the snow in frustration.  Discussion of bad ergonomics, and lack of instructions on how to actually operate the shotgun from UTAS.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Skymall, Repurposed Ammo Can - $110 :)

"Is that. . . ?  It is!  $110!?!  They've got balls, I'll give em that." - "Repurposed Ammo Can"

So, I'm guessing they bought a pallet of .30cal ammo cans for maybe $3 or $4 each, and sent them out for cleaning and powder coat for a couple bucks each, and then marked them up another $100.

Sorry, I'm trying to finish off my Christmas shopping, and I just had to share.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Illinois Carry Ban Ruled Unconstitutional!

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Illinois can not constitutional prevent it's residents from BEARING arms.  Illinois and Washington D.C. are the only states that have absolutely refused to issue carry permits to residents outside the occupation of law enforcement.

Unfortunately, the court is giving the state 180 days to write less-restrictive laws regarding the carry of firearms, so there will be no (legal) concealed or open carry for at least another 6 months.

The Truth About Guns: BREAKING: U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Strikes Down IL Concealed Carry Ban

Now, I would like to see NJ, MD, CA, and Mass. be forced to actually issue permits, without requiring "good reason" for citizens in good standing to exercise their constitutional rights.  Still lots of work to do on Washington D.C. gun laws.

UPDATE, 6/1/13:  Illinois Will Get Concealed Carry, but. . . 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

AGI Video: (Really) Excessive Headspace

This may be of some interest to those of you interested in reloading or gunsmithing.

In this video, Bob Dunlap and Ken Brooks from the American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) take a Mauser rifle, and shoot some 8mm Mauser military ammo, as they adjust the chamber from 0" over the no-go length, to 0.045" over the no-go length (that's 0.051" total headspace).

I thought it was interesting.  Video is almost 25 minutes.  Video quality is not real good though.

If you've never seen case head separation, you'll see some examples of what it looks like.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Palmetto State Armory - 50rd Boxes of 9mm for $8.99 - SOLD OUT

Independence 115gr 9mm Luger ammo - $8.99 for 50 round box.

I've reloaded hundreds of pounds of 9mm ammo, but I'm thinking I'll probably take some kind of class in the future, and they don't like you bringing reloads.  When I take people out shooting, I don't let them shoot my reloads for liability reasons.  Although I just bought some Winchester 9mm from Natchez, the price was $1.50 more per box, and ammo isn't getting any cheaper.

I also ordered one of their 5.56mm Pigsticker comps to try out.


PSA never sent me an e-mail confirmation for the order. I got the shipping notification on the 30th, after I had already received several orders that I put in the same day, from different places.  Everything I ordered was supposed to be in stock at the time that I ordered.  They have some great prices, but customer service is somewhat lacking.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Review: Primary Arms Red Dot Sights

I bought a bunch of Primary Arms red dot sights when they ran a sale a few years ago.

Bright Enough
One of the biggest things to be careful of, when buying cheaper dot sights, is to make sure they are going to work in bright sunlight.  I sucks when you go out shooting with someone, and then you have to explain to them that you can't shoot now, because your dot isn't bright enough to see against the target.  What's worse is when you've traveled to a match, and paid your entry fee and then discover that your sight no worky.  Fortunately, the Primary Arms sights don't have that problem.  The dots in the PA sights can be made bright enough to work in bright daylight.

Blue Tint :(
When I took the M3 clone out of the box, and looked through it, the blue tint of the lenses was immediately noticeable.  I didn't immediately notice the tint with the Micro clones, but it is there, though not as bad as the M3 clone.

The blue tint of the M3 clone is not a deal-breaker, as far as I'm concerned, but it is sort of annoying.  The tint of the micros is barely unnoticeable

Battery Life
One of things you lose, over a real Aimpoint, is battery life.  An Aimpoint M2 will go about 3 years, left on, on a single battery.  The new Aimpoints with the ACET circuits are said to go 5 years.  The Primary Arms sights will not go nearly that long, but I have not personally measured battery life.

I left one of my micros left on for about 9 days with the battery that came with the sight.  When I went to pick up the rifle again, the battery was dead.  I replaced the battery with an Energizer.  I have since left it on for a few days, before realizing that I left it on, and that Energizer will still operates the sight just fine.  So battery life is good, but not as ridiculously long as the Aimpoints.

I don't think I've replaced the batteries in the M3 clones, though I don't use the uppers that they are mounted to as much as I use the uppers with the micros.  A little research shows owners of PA micros and M3 clones reporting about 200 hours battery life.

The M3 clones run on 357 button batteries (that's pretty easy to remember), and the Micros run on 2032 coin batteries (same as the Aimpoint Micros).  These batteries are easy to find and inexpensive at Wal-Mart, and if you are in a pinch, at drug stores and other places that sell electronics for about twice the price, maybe more.  Keep spares in your range bag, your pistol grip, vertical grip, or stock.

Primary Arms Micro QD Riser Mount
The PA micros, with detachable Picatinny mounts, should work with any mount that is made for an Aimpoint Micro.  There are some Primary Arms micros with built-in mounts though.  Primary Arms offers a QD mount high enough to co-witness with back-up or fixed sights on an AR-15, as long as you aren't using the Troy Micro BUIS made for the HK 416 uppers.

The sliding button that locks the lever in place has a stiff spring.  The locking lever itself is rather stiff to operate also.  It's not as good as the American Defense mount that I bought for the real Aimpoint T-1, but the Primary Arms mount is three-eighths the price of the AD mount, and less than a third the price of the Larue mount, so it's kind of hard to complain.  The PA riser mount works, and it's very inexpensive.  It's just not very slick, and it's made in China, or some such place, while most of the other more expensive options are made in America.

AK Platform Use
If you are going to mount a micro sight on an AK with an Ultimak gas tube or TWS Dogleg mount, and you want the micro and iron sights to co-witness, then you'll want one with the built-in mount (model MD-07), not a detachable mount (models MD-06, or MD-08).  The Primary Arms micro with detachable mount I have on the WASR-10 with Ultimak sits too high to co-witness.  The built-in mount would also probably be desirable for mounting on a pistol with a scope rail.  Primary Arms Blog: Why Three Versions of the Micro Sight?

The PA micro sight that I mounted on the Ultimak does get warm after shooting a few magazines through the rifle.  Although it did come loose, the heat doesn't seem to have done any harm to the sight.  I haven't bump-fired drum magazines, but everything seems to be good to go.

Micro Kill Flash
One option available from Primary Arms, but not available from Aimpoint is a micro red dot optic with a screw-in Kill Flash.  If you are not familiar, a Kill Flash is a honeycomb disk that hides the light from the LED emitter from everyone not looking directly through the tube.  Kind of silly, for something that's not really a combat optic, but I credit PA for innovation.

Primary Arms Micro Kill Flash

I tried taking the Kill Flash from my Aimpoint M2, and screwing it into the Primary Arms M3-clone.  The Primary Arms sight seems to be too small in diameter, and the castle nut holding in the front lens goes right up to the front edge of the tube anyway.  No go.

The Verdict
If you need a red dot optic for a plinker, or even a competition gun, definitely consider a Primary Arms sight.  Probably skip the Kill Flash though.

Besides the blue tint, there isn't really anything that I have to complain about.  I haven't had any mechanical or electronic issues.

Durability seems very good.  The lens covers on the M3-clones are holding up, which is surprising for "freebies," considering that I've had several sets just fall apart with normal use, including Butler Creek covers.    The bikini lens cover from one of the micros broke, but that sometimes happens with the Aimpoint Micro lens covers too.  If you look on YouTube, there is a video of a Primary Arms micro sight getting tossed around and dropped on the concrete pad of a shooting range, then picked up, and it's still working.  Placed back on the rifle, it's still holding zero.

97SVTVERT Torture Testing A Primary Arms Micro Sight

For a defensive firearm?  Well, they do hold a zero pretty well.  You can't leave them on, like you might with an Aimpoint, but if you have iron sights co-witnessed through the optic then you should be fine, just turn the sight on when you need it.  Maybe not optimal, but workable and a lot cheaper than an Aimpoint.  Don't spend ALL your money on optics, and not have money left over for ammo.  Live-fire practice is important to develop the software needed to be effective, don't skip it to buy better hardware that you don't really need.

I will also caution you not to buy cheap, and then ending up buying twice.  If you are going to end up with a quality optic eventually, consider holding off and saving your money.  I knew when I bought my Primary Arms sights that I could always put them on rimfires or airsoft guns.  The tan M4 in the photo above is actually an airsoft gun.  The AR upper with the M3-clone at the top of the group photo is a 9mm upper that I bought for practice at indoor pistol ranges, and that sight isn't going anywhere.

If you think the blue tint of the M3-clone might bother you, maybe check out a Vortex sight.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Easy and Cheap DIY AK Safety Mod

I had never thought to use a Chicago screw.  You could substitute a piece of metal tubing if you didn't want to use rubber tube.  I know you can get Chicago screws from MidwayUSA, but I'm not sure if they'd be long enough to accomplish much.  McMaster-Carr has a larger selection.

If you prefer a tab, like the Krebs enhanced safety, you can buy just the tab from Solar Tactical.  If you are going to try and attach it with a couple small Chicago screws, you could use washers for spacers, but it's probably best to use rivets.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Some Cool SKS Stuff

Stumbled upon the SKS magazine adapters from (go figure).  They sell a few interesting items, but I think the 5th Generation magazine adapter is the most impressive.

The magazine adapters just bolt onto the bottom of the SKS action.  With the magazine adapters, you hack the duckbill off the front of the Tapco 20-round magazines.  The 5th generation allows the modified magazines to drop free when you press the trigger-shaped catch, if your bolt is modified so that it doesn't retain the magazine by the feed lips.  The magazines go straight in, with no rock-n-lock.

This video does a good job of showing how the 5th generation adapter works.

Unaltered SKS bolt doesn't allow Tactical mag changes, or magazines to drop free

The 3rd generation magazine adapter allows for trimming the duckbill off the front of the Tapco magazines, but the adapter is really just a front lip for holding in the front of the magazine.

3rd Generation Mag Adapter

For use with stock rifles and the 3rd generation mag adapters, they also have an extended magazine catch.  It's hard to tell from the photo, but the catch is sitting right in front of the trigger guard.

The mag release is pretty expensive though, at $58 (shipped).  They will send you $7 through PayPal if you send them your stock SKS mag catch though.  The 5th generation mag adapter works out cheaper than the 3rd generation adapter and extended mag catch.

They say this stuff will work with ALL SKS rifles, regardless of which country they're from.

I think there will be an SKS rifle build in my future.  I'm thinking a 16" barrel (or maybe a 14.7" barrel with permanent attached flash-hider/brake), 5th generation mag adapter, folding stock, scout scope base. . .  Sounds like a lot of money to put into a $300 rifle, but have you priced AKs lately?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

MidwayUSA Coupon Codes From

Fresh coupon codes for MidwayUSA from newsletter.

Link to coupon codes at Midway website.
1. Go Shopping
Add regular price, in-stock products to your cart totaling:
$10 off $50 - Promo Code AR151010
$15 off $100 - Promo Code AR151015
$25 off $200 - Promo Code AR151025
$35 off $300 - Promo Code AR151035

2. Enter Code
Enter the promotion code into the box title, "Promotion Code" on the Shopping Cart page.

3. Receive Discount
See the discount applied in the Order Summary on the right hand side of the Checkout pages.

Special Details:
Offer expires at 11:59 p.m. CT on October 31, 2012. Hurry!
Can only be used once.
Sale, clearance, out-of-stock, Nightforce, Sitka Gear and FNH products do not count towards the total.
Gift certificates do not count towards the total.
Can only be used on
No phone, fax or mail orders please.
Cannot be used with any other promotion code, or combined with Dealer, Birthday or Special pricing.

TulAmmo .223Rem Fail

Tula "White Box" 55 grain, and Tula "Black Box" 55 grain .223 Remington

I bought 5 boxes of 20 rounds of Tula "White Box" .223 Remington at a gun show a few months ago and shot them through my 16" LMT M4, tax stamp LMT 10.5", and Bushmaster ACR.  Those, I had no problems with.  So, I purchased a 500 round spam can of TulAmmo "Black Box" .223 Remington sealed up in a "spam can."  Working the coupons and deals for The Sportsmans's Guide, I got a pretty good price on the can.

Today I took a bagful of loaded mags, and the 10.5" LMT and the ACR, out to the indoor range.  I put a few mags through the ACR, including a couple mags of Tula, with no issues before switching over to the LMT shorty.  I loaded up the LMT with a Troy Battlemag full of Tula, dropped the bolt, and flipped off the safety.  BANG!  Dead trigger.  After the first round, the bolt came back and ejected the steel case, pushed the next round maybe a half inch, and stopped.  I thought that was weird, because I had no problem with the "White Box" ammo.  I haven't run the Troy mags much, so I grabbed a PMag full of Tula.  The exact same thing happened.  I pulled back the bolt, and let it fly, chambering a round.  BANG!  Dead trigger.  Short-stroking.

Fortunately, I had brought a couple mags full of PMC Bronze .223 to try, and I had a few mags of my almost 5.56mm NATO spec ammo to shoot through the LMT, and the ACR chewed through the mags full of Tula.  Although I keep a few different recoil buffers in the rifle bag, the one in the LMT 10.5" carbine was already a standard carbine buffer, and I don't have anything lighter, if there even is anything lighter.

I know the problem isn't the steel-cases.  They are Boxer-primed, and I've reloaded hundreds of Wolf and Tula steel-cases and run the reloads through the same LMT without issue.  My loads were approaching 5.56mm NATO pressures though.

So, the ACR is proving to be capable of digesting anything I can fit into the magazines.  But what does it say about the Tula ammo?  Did I get a "vodka special" batch?  The "White Box" ammo, and the "Black Box" ammo should be the same, but obviously what I got wasn't the same.  I suppose this would explain the mixed reviews on Tula ammo.  Luck of the draw?  You get what you pay for, perhaps?

White Box Manufactured: 07/09 (I'm not sure if that's European for September, 2007, or if it's July, 2009)
Lot: 7Q5 4

I think this is the lot for the Black Box ammo, but I don't know how to read it.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Review: Lee Pacesetter .223Rem Dies

All my reloading dies are LEE.  Started loading .45ACP, and then 9mm for a race gun.  Then ammo started getting more and more expensive, and I started using the 9mm dies a lot more.  Loaded over 10,000 rounds with these LEE dies.  When I really started shooting carbines, and working up precision loads, I didn't see any point in trying other brands and Lee was pretty commonly recommended for semi-auto rifles.

Initially, I tried using the decapping and resizing die with my Lee hand press while watching TV.  Although this would work fine for two of my rifles, I have one rifle with short(er) headspace.  Using the Lee shell-holder and sizing die that come with the kit, I can not get the brass resized down to factory spec, and the bolt of the one rifle would not fully lock.  Using the sizing die on my progressive press with the shell-plate for that press, I can resize the brass to work with all my rifles.  If I had a belt sander, or better yet a lathe, I could probably shave down the Lee shell-holder to make it work.

On the rifle dies, the lock-ring with the inset o-rings work nicely.  Maybe it's my technique with the case lube, and lot-to-lot variations in cartridge cases, but I need to make fine adjustments to the resizing die to get consistent headspace dimensions on the casings, and the Lee lock-rings allow for easy adjustments, but they do stay put when set.  It may well be that I'm just too picky about the headspace dimension of resized cases.

The Factory Crimp Die does work.  When the round is raised up into the die, the shell-plate (or shell-holder)  presses on the bottom of the die and the collet closes on the neck of the cartridge case and bullet.  You can adjust the amount of crimp by turning the die in the press.  You can also crimp with the bullet seating die, but I have not tried this.  I don't crimp match bullets, as I have found that is not necessary.  When I'm making bulk ammo for a semi-auto rifle, I'll crimp with the FCD, but when I'm loading ammo for bullseye shooting, I skip the crimp.  I have gotten less than 1" 10-shot groups at 100 yards, and groups around 1 1/8" are fairly common, and I don't really have a .223Rem target rifle.  These groups were shot though a LMT 16" M4 barrel with chrome lining.

FCD collet closed on a round from a recent batch

A micrometer adjustable bullet seating die would be handy, but I nearly passed out when I saw the price for one.  The Lee bullet seating die is easy to adjust with just your fingers, and the micrometer die costs more than double the price of the whole Lee die set.  The LEE seating die gives reasonably consistent overall length when using good bullets.  If you are using cheap bullets your overall length may well be a little inconsistent, but that may be the least of your problems.

The collet-held decapping rod has saved me a couple times.  Even with .223 cases, you can still get pebbles into the neck, and sometimes a Berdan-primed case will make it past my visual inspection.  I have broken a decapping pin, but it was my fault for not using enough case lube to start with, and then I manhandled the pin trying to remove it from the case.  Because the case mouth expander and decapper are all one piece with the Lee dies, you may have to cut the case in half around the pin to remove.  You can buy spare decapper/expander pins direct from LEE, and the current price of $3 is pretty reasonable.

The box I got with the dies is a rectangular one that stacks with my other Lee die boxes.

The only thing, practically speaking, that I would like to see, is an option to have the steel parts plated or otherwise treated to prevent rusting, for an added fee.

I have fired over 2500 rounds of reloads.  The only issues I've had, have been my own fault, with the exception of the rounds that didn't fit the one rifle due to the Lee shell-holder.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Madison Rises - Check Them Out!!

When I heard their version of Star Spangled Banner playing from a SUV at the rifle range.  I had to go and find out who it was (Thanks John!!).  Check out "Madison Rises" on Youtube, or Spotify.  It is sadly very rare that I can endorse performers without adding the caveat, ". . . but they are a bunch of douchebags."

I've already gone and ordered the CD.

Edit To Add:  Madison Rising will be performing at the Second Amendment Foundation Gun Rights Policy Conference in Orlando, Florida

Similar to "Right To Bear," but with a different flavor:

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Glock Maritime Spring Cups & Underwater Ballistics

I haven't done too much Glock stuff in recent years.

I found, in the gunmartblog Daily Firearms News page, a link to a video posted on the site.  Youtube user TWANGnBANG discusses what the Glock maritime spring cups are, their uses, and the urban myths surrounding them.  TWANGnBANG also gets in his tactical kiddie pool to take some video of shooting a Glock underwater at ballistics gel, and later analyses the results in the gel.

Kinda neat if you've got about 15 minutes to kill.

I've actually got a set of the maritime cups in my box o' Glock parts, but never bothered to mess with them.

And, yes, I think maybe it was a little silly to use SCUBA gear when a snorkel probably would've gotten the job done.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Crossbreed Holster Finally Broke

I'm kind of going all the way back to the beginning of the blog here.  My primary mode of carry is IWB with a Crossbreed Holsters Super-Tuck IWB holster.  I wrote the initial review in 2007.  Then later in the year, the first one I bought cracked, so I sent it in, and they made me a new one.  In 2009, I got tired of breaking the Crossbreed belt loops, so I made my own.  In 2010 the new Super-Tuck cracked, but I kept it, becuase the crack was only about an inch long.

Well, as I was just about to head off to work on Monday, I heard a crack, and discovered that the Kydex holster body had broken in two.

So now I've got a(nother) weekend project.  I formed a new holster body from thicker Kydex sheet.  I need to try to drill out the rivets, without making the holes in the leather any bigger.  The copper rivets and tool that I ordered should come in on Tuesday.  Hopefully then I will have the perfect concealment holster.

Crossbreed Super-Tuck IWB Part 1
Crossbreed Super-Tuck Part 2
Crossbreed Super-Tuck Part 3 Thread - AR-15 Magazine Torture Test

The Unscientific Plastic Magazine Test

If you thought the origional PMag test videos were a little crazy, you haven't seen nothin' yet.  Green and tan follower G.I. mags, PMags, Tapco mags, Troy Blattlemags, Tango Down ARC mags, and Lancer AWM.  The magazines get soaked in various cleaners overnight, run in the dishwasher, heated with MRE warmers (I dunno either), dropped multiple times. . .

There were some mag body cracks, rounds popping loose, one mag rusted, one badly rusted spring, some discoloration, one floorplate melted some, a floorplate came loose, a couple dented magazine bodies, an explosive disassembly, and even a cracked follower.

Perhaps also of interest - Unscientific PMAG Chemical Tests

I was beaten to it by TheFirearmBlog, but if you haven't seen it, it's worth checking out.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

M&P Recoil Spring Assemblies Available

Brownell's has M&P recoil spring assemblies in stock for 9mm/40S&W/357SIG pistols.  They've been backordered at Brownells and Midway for as long as I can remember.  Midway shows that they'll be backordered until 12/29/2012.

The stainless steel guide rods are compatible with 2nd and 3rd generation Glock full-size 9mm/40S&W/357SIG pistols.  The 19lb. recoil spring isn't, unless maybe you run +P+ or 9mm Major ammo without a compensator.
Direct Link to recoil spring assembly at Brownells

Shooting Shows Back on NBC Sports Channel

The NBC Sports channel is airing new episodes of FNH's 3 Gun Nation and Guns & Gear.

Phil Labonte of the metal band All That Remains will be appearing on 3 Gun Nation this season for the shoot technique segments.  They have spiced up the show's soundtrack quite a bit.  The 1st new episode will be on again this Sunday at 7:30 a.m. EST.

The next episode of Guns & Gear is on Monday at 12:30 p.m. EST.  Honestly, the show is a little bit hit or miss (no pun intended).  A lot of the show is the hosts talking up products sold by the sponsors.  Sometimes they have Rob Leatham, or another top shooter, on the show to give shooting tips.  At least it gives you something to watch if you don't get The Outdoor Channel.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Chiappa Rhino 4" - Damn That's Ugly!!

I was interested in reading about the Chiappa Rhinos, with their low bore axis and innovative design, but the initial offerings were all snubbies with fixed sights, and I've already got a couple of those.  What I was waiting for was one with a 4" barrel and adjustable sights.  Well, they are out now in that configuration, but I don't think I could bring myself to buy one.  They're just too ugly.

I've looked at Ruger GP100s in gunshops and at gun shows, but they just don't look quite right with that push button cylinder release.  Not nearly as ugly as the Rhino, but nonetheless aesthetically unacceptable.

Do looks matter with firearms?  Normally, I'd say no, but this would be a BBQ gun and range toy.  I'm not sure that I could settle for anything less than a Smith & Wesson 586 or 686.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Midway Coupon Codes From

Some coupon codes from the newsletter:
Add regular price, in-stock products to your cart totaling:
$10 off $50 - Promo Code AR15710
$15 off $100 - Promo Code AR15715
$25 off $200 - Promo Code AR15725
$35 off $300 - Promo Code AR15735

Enter the promotion code into the box title, "Promotion Code" on the Shopping Cart page.
See the discount applied in the Order Summary on the right hand side of the Checkout pages.
•Offer expires at 11:59 p.m. CT on July 31, 2012. Hurry!
•Can only be used once.
•Sale, clearance, out-of-stock, Nightforce, Sitka Gear and FNH products do not count towards the total.
•Gift certificates do not count towards the total.
•Can only be used on  No phone, fax or mail orders please.
•Cannot be used with any other promotion code, or combined with Dealer, Birthday or Special pricing.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Ammo Shortage. Here We Go Again.

Even with our troops pulling out of Iraq and Afganistan, there seems to be shortages and price hikes on .223 Remington and 5.56mm ammo.  Aim Surplus still has PMC Bronze .223 Remington for $310/1000 (before shipping), but that's the cheapest I can find at the moment for brass-cased ammo.  Widener's upped the prices for IMI ammo, and they're sold out anyway.  PMC seems to be the cheapest that Natchez has, and they're pricing it quite a bit higher than Aim.  No great deals from Ammoman, and I would't buy from them unless you can pickup yourself in New Jersey, becuase their customer service sucks, and they have a pretty strict no returns policy.  No great deals at Luckygunner or Bulkammo.

I'm hearing that black rifles are also getting both hard to find, and expensive.  I see Ranier Arms has LMT M4s for $1273, but that seems like an aweful lot of money for an entry-level rifle from a decent company.  There are some lower-end rifles in the $700, but I don't see much from the top brands for less than the LMT.

Bravo Company is backordered on all complete rifles, although they do have some uppers, starting at $500 for 16" uppers without handguards, $420 for 11.5" uppers if you're allowed to build a short barreled rifle.

Palmetto State Armory has some rifle kits, starting at $580, but the cheapest AR complete rifle they have is $830 for an S&W with no sights, and 1 in 9" twist barrel.
I'm getting tired of this.  Every time there's a presidential election, prices go up, and inventory goes down.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Follow Up On Custom Pocket Holster

The pocket holster I made for my Kahr PM9 is holding up well. . . the pockets it goes into less so.  I had rounded off the corners, but I guess not enough.  After wearing holes in the pockets of some of my jeans, I decided that it was time to modify the holster.  So out came the Dremel and coarse file.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

TiteGroup Powder Review Update

Hodgdon TiteGroup Smokeless Powder Review

Having run out my small supply of .38 Special factory ammo, I started to reload 38s.  I have noticed that my hands and forearms aren't getting peppered with bits of carbon or unburnt powder when shooting the TiteGroup reloads, like I was getting with the factory ammo.  I like that.  The garbage that was coming out from between the cylinder and forcing cone was HOT.  4" service revolver or 2" snubby, it doesn't seem to matter.

Unfortunately, when you load TiteGroup under a cast lead bullet, you get a lot of foul-smelling grey smoke.  I don't like that so much, and it's probably not very good for your health.  I bought some Clays powder for use with lead bullets, and I'm not getting as much smoke.

Eagle Grips Kirinite Grips

Here's something different for ya.  Eagle grips is making these sort of pearl and marble lookin' grips out of something called Kirinite.  They have them in a variety of colors for 1911s and J-Frame Smith & Wesson revolvers, and just in blue and pink for Ruger Mk.II and Mk.III pistols.  Now, they are expensive, but damn (!), they are pretty!

You can check them out at the Eagle Grips website.  I expect that you'll find them at other vendors pretty soon.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

5.45mm AR-15 Magazine Guide

Comparison of 5.56mm and 5.45mm magazines

5.45x39mm caliber stamping, SS is for stainless steel

The only dedicated 5.45mm AR-15 magazines that I know of are the C-Products/ASC/Stoner 5.45mm mags.  Except for cosmetic batch-to-batch changes, they all seem to be more or less the same.  Finishes vary from a sort of matte grey, like the Fusil AR mags that I have, to a glossy black.  The followers, springs, and stainless magazine bodies all seem to be essentially identical in form.

The finish on the magazines, by the way, kind of sucks.  After a few uses, you’ll notice that the finish is wearing off, maybe flaking off, around the edges, especially where the mag fits into the rifle.

Although, I’ve heard that some shooters are having better luck with the new ASC (Ammuntion Storage Components) magazines, the three that I bought from AIM Surplus all gave me the same problems that I had with the C-Products magazines.  C-Products closed down shop, but rumor has it that ASC is the same people, making the same parts, off the same tooling and machinery.  The product line is essentially identical.

The Stoner magazines from Midway are rebranded C-Products/ASC magazines.  There may be some 5.45mm AR-15 magazines with Smith & Wesson stamped on the floorplates, for the M&P15R rifles and uppers – same deal as with the Stoner mags, rebranded C-Products/ASC.

The C-Products 5.45mm followers are similar to a no-tilt follower, but with no anti-tilt leg at the front.

5.45mm followers are missing the front leg

There may be some magazines out on the used market with skeletonized white plastic followers.  There was a guy selling these followers on a few gun-related message board classifieds as improved. 5.45mm AR-15 followers.  Last I heard, Spike’s Tactical had the tooling to produce these “improved” followers.  At least one batch of Spike’s 5.45mm uppers came with a magazine with the white follower already installed.  They had stopped this by the time I bought my Spike’s upper.

I’ve read that the “improved” followers only work with the earlier C-Products magazines.  I can’t confirm this because I can’t get hold of one of the followers, and besides that, all my magazines seem to be structurally identical.

"Improved follower" video I found on YouTube

Magpul followers can be modified to fit the 5.45mm magazine bodies.  When you try to put one in, you’ll see that ribs on side of the Magpul follower interfere with the floorplate tabs on the bottom of the magazine body.  If you cut away the ribs on the follower that get in the way, they seem to work fine.  One of the magazines that’s been working really well for me has a Gen.III yellow Magpul follower.  Unfortunately, the Magpul follower is not a cure-all, and will probably not fix a finicky magazine all on it’s own.  The anti-tilt legs of the Magpul follower may cost you a few rounds of magazine capacity over the standard black 5.45mm follower.

Magpul No-Tilt-Follower modified to fit 5.45mm mag body

The ASC magazines that I fixed the feedlips of are working well with the black 5.45mm followers that came with them. I had originally tried the Magpul follower because I didn't know why the magazines were giving me trouble.  I tried it again when I found one magazine that just refused to work, and I was getting desperate.  Not a necessity, but if you want a high-visibility follower, or if it's something you think might help, then maybe it's worth a try.

Springs for standard AR-15 magazines will not fit the 5.45mm bodies.  The 5.56mm AR-15 magazine springs are too wide to fit the 5.45mm bodies.  AK-74 magazine springs will fit, but nobody sells just the springs.  You’d have to scrap an AK-74 magazine to get the spring, and they aren’t that cheap at $13+ each for surplus magazine.  AK-47 magazine springs will not fit either.  (EDIT, no longer true, scroll down for note on Wolff magazine springs)

Magpul PMag spring top, C-Products 5.45mm spring bottom

The C-Products 5.45mm magazines are, unfortunately, a little bit on the short side, and don't have enough power to trip my extended bolt catch consistently.  You may even have trouble getting them to feed reliably without spraying some dry lube into the magazine tube, because the spring has a hard time pushing up the ammo fast enough before the bolt carrier returns forward.

Width and length of the 5.45mm AR-15 magazines are standard G.I. size, so they’ll fit most any mag pouch that will work for a 5.56mm AR/M-16 mag.

The LULA AR-15 magazine loaders don't work with the 5.45mm magazines.  The Pro-Mag loader that crams 5 rounds at a time into the magazine at once, and works well with 5.45mm magazine, as well as with 5.56mm mags.  I got my Pro-Mag loader from Bravo Company USA (they call it "AR15 Personal Magazine Loader 5.56mm"), but they are available from other places too.

Magpul Ranger plates will fit the 5.45mm magazines, but again will require modifications.  Just for kicks, I spent maybe 10 minutes cutting the lockplate with a hacksaw and round file.  I don't have any of the Magpul L-Plates, but I would imagine they would work with the same modification.

C-Products 5.45mm magazine with Magpul Ranger plate

Ranger lockplate modified for 5.45mm magazine

Oh, I guess I wasn't the first to try.

PMags with 5.45mm ammo
With the front leg of a new Magpul PMag Maglevel follower cut off, 5.45mm rounds will feed well, and the magazine holds 29 rounds of 5.45mm.  The mag, modified like this will not trip my extended bolt catch when it runs empty though.  The LULA 5.56mm AR-15 loader sort of works with the modified Maglevel, but not as well as with 5.56mm ammo.

The older Maglevel magazines without the dust cover that clips onto the bottom, or round count markings, will jam up when you try to load them with 5.45mm ammo, even with a modified follower.

PMag Maglevel follower chopped for use with 5.45mm

Modified follower will stick out through the feedlips

Related Link:  Desecration of a PMAG: 5.45x39mm - Cutting the follower, and magazine compatibility.

Other Magazines with 5.45mm ammo
I'll spare you going through all the different kinds of magazines I have individually.  D&H aluminum with Magpul follower, standard 30-round PMags with no window, PMag 20s, and 30-round Troy Battle mags will generally work okay if you don’t load more than 12 or 15 rounds.  If you try to cram in more than 15 rounds, the ammo or the followers will jam in the tube, and the magazine won’t feed properly.

I tried a 30-round Lancer L5 magazine, but it jammed up when loaded with 12-15 rounds.  The magazine body bowed out, making it difficult to insert into the rifle, and it definitely didn’t drop free when the mag catch button was pressed.  I believe that there are multiple generations of the L5 magazines.  There are reports of some working better than others.

EDIT: 9/28/2014 - Extra Power Magazine Springs
Wolff Gun Springs has started selling AK-74 magazine springs.  They are longer than you need, but I think they have fixed my problem child magazines.  At $5.60 each (when you buy 10) they are a little expensive though.

I cut off 5 coils, and bent the end of the spring to hook onto the 5.45mm AR follower.  Not really a big deal.  You could probably cut off more, but I figure that it's easier to cut off more later, than to try and add coils back on.  I intend to buy more and replace the springs in all of my 5.45mm AR magazines.

Thanks Wolff!!

Related Links:
Tuning 5.45mm AR-15 Mags Forum: I am taking the 5.45x39mm plunge - currently at 57 pages
AIM Surplus: Spike's Tactical 5.45x39mm 16" Mid-Length Upper
AIM Surplus: Spike's Tactical 5.45x39mm 8.25" Upper

This article is an attempt to compile all the knowledge of the 57 pages of the thread, other sources, and my own personal experiences.  Thanks to Neckbreaker for finding the PMag modification thread on XDTalk.  Thanks to thisguy41487 for having the balls to hack up PMags.  Thanks to whoever figured out the Magpul follower mod - I can't find the thread, or your username, sorry.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Finally Replaced Aimpont Battery

I bought a used Aimpoint M2 a few years ago for my LMT M4.  In September 2009, I replaced the battery that came in it with a new one.  I've left the Aimpoint on, turned to the 2nd highest setting, since then.  I just noticed last night that the dot wasn't as bright as it used to be.  The dot was still there. . . I just couldn't get full brightness out of it.

Aimpoint has upgraded the electronics in it's sights since they made my M2.  The new circuitry is supposed to make a battery last about 5 years.  I'm not going to rush to replace the "old" M2, as the battery only cost me a couple dollars a year, and the battery I put in I picked up from Amazon for just $4 shipped, a couple dollars cheaper.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Okay, No More AK Recoil Buffers For Me

A few years ago I bought a couple of BlackJack buffers.

I put one in my WASR-10, and the red dot sight shook loose.  Yes, I did use thread-locker.  No problem with function though.

When the spacer broke off the recoil spring guide for the TWS scope mount, I put the buffer from the WASR-10 into the Tantal.  All the stock screws and the buffer tube castle nut shook loose.  Again, I had used thread locker on the screws and the nut.  The buffer didn't affect function though.

Thinking that, with the variety of 12 gauge ammo, a buffer would probably be a good thing in the Saiga-12 to protect the stock trunnion from impact, and keep the rivet holes in the receiver from egging out.  I had intermittent stovepipe jams.  I tried turning the gas plug to open up the gas flow, and I still had the stovepipes, and the shotgun beat up my shoulder pretty good.

Without the stupid buffers, the Saiga-12 has been running 100% with the high-brass gas setting (not beating me up as much) and the carbines are holding together, and not shaking loose anymore.  The buffers are going into my bag o' AK junk with the crappy Tapco folding stock, the stock Saiga-12 trigger, the heavy gritty Century Arms trigger and unfinished wood stock set, and the foreign-made parts that I'm not allowed to use.  I don't need the buffer for the TWS scope mount anymore since they sent me the proper recoil spring guide, the Saiga 12 doesn't work properly with one, and there didn't seem to be any benefit to having the buffer in the WASR-10.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Running Steel-Cased Ammo in an AR

There's a pretty good article on steel-case .233 Remington ammo on the Cheaper Than Dirt Blog.  I would just add that you probably want have a carbine buffer in the gun, as an "H" buffer or "H2" buffer may cause the action to run too sluggish with lower-powered ammo.

Sturmgewehre shoots a lot of Wolf ammo

Tula .223Rem Fail - TulAmmo steel-case ammo short-stroked one of my AR-15s

Sunday, February 26, 2012

DIY Shoot-N-See Type Targets

I've sort of been following the Gunmart Blog.  "Gunmart" found a video on YouTube on how to make Shoot-N-See targets with paper and spray paint.  Pretty cool.  I'll have to find some oil and water-based paint so I can make some targets for the 100 yard rifle range.  I have a hard time spotting hits on targets that I can see, and the targets that I can see hits on, I have a hard time seeing 100 yards away without magnification.

I believe Shoot-N-C targets are trademarked by Birchwood-Casey.  No lawsuits please.  I just think that it's the name most people will recognize.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Review: Troy Battlemag AR-15 Magazine

EDIT:  If you are a 2nd Amendment supporter, you should probably read about Troy's hiring a Ruby Ridge shooter, before continuing.

I haven’t used my Troy magazines too much yet to talk about reliability, but I can show you some pictures, and tell you a little bit about them.

Battlemags with and without pull-tab

The Troy Battlemags come with two different lock-plates.  They come assembled with a pull-tab lockplate, which you can use to pull the magazine out of a mag pouch.  You also get a flat lock-plate if you don’t want or need the pull-tab.  It’s a nice touch, to be sure.  It beats paying three-something dollars for a standard Magpul or a couple dollars more for a Ranger plate.  I guess it might be a problem when you go to Tap-Pull-Roll-Rack with a partially loaded magazine.

The Troy magazine base-plate is held on with tabs, much like a Lancer L5 magazine.  The Lancer disassembly tool actually works really well on the Troy magazine.  The Lancer tool is piece of plastic that usually sells for around $3, but you might find them cheaper on closeout since the new Lancer magazines don’t require a tool to disassemble.  You don’t really need the tool, you could use the tip of a bullet to push in the tabs, but it can be difficult to get one, and then get the other, without the first tab popping back into place.  The Lancer tool pushes in both tabs at the same time.

The Troy base-plate is slim; it’s actually the same width as the rest of the magazine.  If you want a polymer mag, but the wide bases on PMags are pissing you off, or they just don’t work with your vest or pouches, then the Troy’s may be for you.

The Troy follower is an anti-tilt unit, in high-visibility green.  The spring it bent, such that the follower is pushed straight up, rather than rear-first, as is the usual with most AR/M-16 magazines, including the PMags.

The magazine body has a fish-scale checkering pattern on the sides and down the front and back.  All the texturing is oriented to give maximum traction when pulling on the magazine.  When seating a Troy magazine, you had better get your palm at least part-way under the base-plate.  If I were texturing a magazine body, I would probably use multi-directional pineapple grenade checking, like Glock used on their 2nd and 3rd generation frames, or maybe stippling - like between 36 and 60 grit.

If you need some kind of a pull tab to get mags out of your vest or pouches, these may be a good deal.  If you like 6-pack SAW magazine pouches or something, and the fat base-plates of PMags won’t fit, the Troy mags may work out for you.  I do like the high-visibility followers, and the bend on the top coil of the spring is something that should get done all the time, but usually doesn’t get done.  I guess they aren’t my favorite magazines, but there’s really not anything wrong with them, and under certain conditions I can see them being very desireable.

EDIT, 10/21/12:  I've run 3 full loads through one of the Troy mags, without any issues.  I've loaded it with M193, and put it in with my SHTF stash.  The other one will make it into the rotation for further testing.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Revew: Magpul Art of the Tactical Carbine I

I looks like it's been more than a month since the last time I posted.  Time got away from me, I guess.  Here's a review that I've been working on for a while.

The Trainers
The Magpul DVD series are sort of documentaries on training courses.  “Stars of the show” are Chris Costa and Travis Haley.  Costa sometimes sounds like an angry boot camp drill instructor, but he’s actually the joker of the pair.  Haley is the more easy going of the two.  Costa and Haley do things a little bit different, so you get to see things done a little bit differently in the same DVD set.

According to the bio on Costa’s facebook page, he was involved with counter-drug actions and “special missions in Europe, the Middle East, and South America” with the Coasties.  After this, he worked for Applied Marine Technologies, Inc., working with the Homeland Security Risk Management Division, specializing in teaching Police Assault Operations.  It also says that he provided Red Team Vulnerability Assessments on U.S. Government infrastructures, which makes me wonder if he’s one of the characters in my favorite Rogue Warrior book.  Costa left Magpul Dynamics to start up his own training company, Costa Ludus.

Travis Haley was a Force Recon Marine.  Haley also left Magpul to start up his own training, product consulting, and marketing company, Haley Strategic Partners, LLC.  According to the about page of Haley Strategic, Haley served in the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia in his 15 years with the Force Recon Marines, and then worked in the private sector as a special operations and security contractor before joining up with Magpul Dynamics.

Production Quality
Production quality of the videos is really good actually.  There’s no music left over from a 1995 Cozumel travel video; something you sometimes get with lowest-bidder production companies.  Menu graphics are pretty decent, and I like the Japanese-themed DVD case covers.  It doesn’t have anything to do with the quality of the training, but it’s nice anyway.

So you put in the disk and press play, and there’s 3 or 4 minutes of lawyer B.S. about how training with firearms is potentially lethal, and all that.  You have to wait through all this crap every time you put a disk in, unless your player allows you to pick up where you left off.  You can not skip past it.  It gets really annoying.

Disk 1 – Fundamentals [and Equipment]

A lot of this will be a little boring to some of you who have been shooting for a couple years or more.  They cover sighting in.  Administrative loading, and a few different methods of press checking are covered.  Emergency and tactical reloads are explained and demonstrated.  They show how to work the AR-15s, both with the Magpul BAD extended bolt catch and the standard “ping-pong paddle” bolt catch.

Hold offs for close-range carbine shooting are shown and explained.  Perhaps useful if you’ve only used rifles at 50 and 100 yards.

Getting into some stuff that you may not have seen at your local gun club, Travis and Costa discuss the aggressive stance, grip, and recoil control that are useful for shooting a carbine rapid fire.

There are some basic malfunction drills, including S.P.O.R.T.S. and tap-rack-bang.  There's a little bit more in Disk 2, but that’s about the extent of if for this series.  There’s much more in the Magpul Carbine II DVD set.

Towards the end of Disk 1, they’re starting to get into more advanced drills, including shooting on the move, shooting from positions other than standing, and working with a partner.  Then there is a Final Exercise, which is most of the drills all put together, and shot by the students in pairs.

Disk 1 Special Features – There is some discussion of optics, back-up iron sights (BUIS), slings, mag pouches and tactical vests.

Disk 2 – Advanced Skills
For some reason Travis is not on Disk 2 or Disk 3, so it’s all Costa from now on.

Pistols are introduced into the mix, and they work on transitioning from carbine to pistol a little bit.  There is some basic training on malfunction and failure drills.

“Check drills,” a method of calling out for a reload when working with a partner, are explained and practiced.  Using this method, it increases the odds that one member of the team is always capable of returning fire.

Costa shows how you can get pretty decent hits with the red dots turned off, without flipping up back-up sights.  In the event that the battery dies or the sight is damaged, this could be quite useful.

Continuing with sighting, a method of holding the front sight above the rear aperture is explained for use at close range.

There are some advanced shooting on the move drills followed by barricade drills.  The students practice shooting from either side of the barricades, and then work the barricades in pairs.  After the folding table barricades, which simulate building (or hallway) corners or doorways, they move onto barricades with a variety of firing ports.  There is some working the carbine with the left hand, but much more is covered in Magpul Carbine II.  Finally, they move into a range set-up with vehicles, and in pairs, they shoot at targets in and around the vehicles.

Disk 3 – Drills [and Miscellany]
The third disks a quick reference of all the drills covered in disks 1 and 2.  The drills are done at full speed and slow-motion, and are shown from multiple camera angles.

Disk 3 also gets into some detailed information on weapon accessories, disassembly/cleaning/maintenance of the AR-15/M4/M-16 weapons system, and some information on traveling with firearms.

Costa explains why he prefers single point slings. . . although you can see that he uses 2 and 3-point slings in various points in disks 1 and 2.  Disk 3 is the only place, in this set, that you see any shoulder transitions.  They don’t get into shoulder transition drills until The Art of the Tactical Carbine II.

So, In Conclusion
Although not a real substitute for a real training course, you can learn some stuff from DVDs, and combined with live-fire and dry-fire practice, you can make some real progress.  Unfortunately not everyone can afford a high-end class, the travel, and the housing.

The DVDs really only concentrate on the AR-15 platform.  Although there was an AK-47 type rifle in Disk 1, and an AK-74 type rifle in Disk 2, I would have liked to see more on the use of the Kalashnikov rifles.  There’s also nothing to help you shoot better beyond about 75 yards – nothing on using a 2-point sling as an added support for shooting.

For less than $40 the set is a pretty fantastic deal.  I really like that Travis and Costa lead by example, rather than just by dictation.  I learn a few few things, and I now understand the fascination with single-point slings.

Valhalla Tactical Supply has the best prices that I've seen on the Magpul DVDs.  They also have pretty good deals on other Magpul stuff, black rifle parts, and gear.  I have Art of the Tactical Carbine, and Art of the Dynamic Handgun also, but you'll have to give me time to go through them again, take better notes, and do the write-ups.