The Dirty Little Secret Ammo Makers Don’t Want You To Find Out

The Dirty Little Secret Ammo Makers Don’t Want You To Find Out
By Andrew Betts

Every year we see several new “advances” in ammunition. These new products are invariably hailed by their makers as revolutionary. Sometimes the whole company is new. They promise something with ammunition that has never been done but they rarely deliver. You see, ammunition is a mature field. There are occasionally incremental advances in metallurgy or propellants, like the use of bonded bullets and low flash powders that began more than a quarter century ago, but more often, these “advances” provide no actual performance advantage.

Often, the claimed advance amounts to absolute snake oil such as the ARX Inceptor. The bullet is powdered copper in a polymer matrix. It supposedly takes advantage of some hydraulic alchemy to create wounds similar to those created by a rifle. That is not hyperbole, the manufacturer actually claims that pistol ammunition is capable of producing rifle-like wounds. In reality, it functions like a FMJ, at least when it doesn’t fragment.

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Mag Storage Solutions – Pistol Mag Holder

Last year we reviewed the AR-15 Mag Holder from Mag Storage Solutions. We were lucky enough to be the first to get a review out on the AR-15 Mag Holder. The AR-15 Mag Holder is a great product and functions very well; several of us at Loose Rounds have them. The owner of Mag Storage Solutions ( reached out to us last week. Mag Storage Solutions stated they had a new prototype magazine holder for us to look at. This time, Mag Storage Solutions has put together a mag holder for Handgun/Pistol magazines. The Pistol Mag Holder is a perfect mate for those who have the AR-15 Mag Holder.  There are approximately 5000 units currently in production. These should be hitting retail markets in the first few weeks of October (2015). I expect the new Pistol Mag Holder to move just as fast as the AR-15 Mag Holder did when released.

Mag Storage Solutions - Pistol Mag Holder
Mag Storage Solutions – Pistol Mag Holder

The Pistol Mag Holder provides a storage solution for mainly full sized handgun magazines. Depending on what magazines you are using, you can store ten (10) Glock or fifteen (15) 1911 magazines. The Pistol Mag Holder is similar in size and shape to the original AR-15 Mag Holder. It can be mounted inside your gun safe, weapons room, or any area where you store and organize your magazines. It also looks very well mounted next to the AR-15 Mag Holder.

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More problems with Eotechs?

It is not new that I don’t like the Eotech.
The problems I have had with the three Eotechs I have owned were:
512 Rev F.  Batteries draining in under a month with the unit turned off. Broken battery compartment contacts.
552 Rev F. Extremely dim, possibly due to losing its nitrogen purge.
553 Battery contacts broken. Reticle hard to see in portions of the window, most likely due to lens de-laminating. One of the screws that held the hood on fell out and was lost, turns out the threading in the body had stripped out.

When I worked at a Shooting Range, It was common to see Eotechs break. An Example Broken Eotech

While this is more then enough reason to not recommend Eotech Optics, turns out this isn’t the whole story.

You can learn more about OTHER issues with Eotechs over at Soldier Systems.

Now the issues being discussed include but are not limited to:
Loss of zero in temperature shifts.
That Eotechs are not parallax free.
Adjustment are not actually half MOA but “Approx. 0.5 MOA”.
L3 knows about issues with the Eotechs.

Some of the Eotech fans are already trying to use the argument that if Eotechs had a problem, SEALs, Devgru, etc wouldn’t be using them. Most of us that have served can easily say that the military often issues absolute junk(for example the ILBE pack).

Whether you like Eotechs or not this will be something worth keeping an eye on.

Inland MFG M1 Carbine Test & Review PART 1


the M1 carbine. Loved and hated in equal parts it seems.  Meant to replace the pistol for rear line troops. officers and the GIs that did not need a rifle, the M1 carbine is well known. In recent years a few companies have started to make  new “clones” of the m1 carbine to satisfy the every growing demand of out Grandfather’s weapons from WW2.    When I was younger it was no big deal to buy a surplus carbine or M1 rifle.  I paid 150 for my first carbine and 315 for my first M1 Garand.  Then Saving Private Ryan came out, followed by Band of Brothers and all that ended.

Since then, I have taken a look at most of the new made clones of WW2 arms.  The carbine in its new life has had some really crap copies made.  Sadly enough in my opinion, the most atrocious of some of these clones have been the ones made in within the last few years.   The one I am going to show you is not in that class.  It is superb. the Inland MFG M1 carbine is the gold standard for new made M1 carbines.   Inland even picked up serial numbers ranging after original production numbers in Gov. owned guns as a very cool touch.  Now, there are a few features that may not look exact to the discerning M1 collector and expert, but all features on the gun are present to reflect the carbine over its history and retain that broad general look so iconic to us all.


One thing every one I have let handle the gun has mentioned is the wood and how it looks.  This is because Inland’s personnel had a relative who worked on the original war production guns and gave all the information on the original wood stain with pictures, the formula and all steps how to attain it.  That may not impress you, but that is a very neat continuation of a lost method from the original  time period, that I think really ads a great touch. And it looks great indeed.


Unlike some of the other  new production M1 carbines or poor attempts at said carbine, the Inland comes with the adjustable rear sight.  The rear is the same as found on the M1903A3, adjustable for wind and elevation.  I have seen this site reproduced on the 22LR carbines meant to look like the M1 but they are cheap near useless things. This one is robust and well made with positive returning clicks.


As expected , the makers name and serial number is on the rear of the receiver  behind the rear sight. You can see how well made the sight is and how the peep sight travels to the rear to raise your elevation.


The front of the receiver and its markings. The excellent parkerizing can be seen in the picture but my camera does not do justice to the pleasant color of the park. Its that grey matte finish we all know and love.


Some of the efforts of other companies produced  wood that fit poorly with edges bordering on splinters.  The Inland has no such problem. You can run your hand all over it and not get cut. The only sharp corners are the ones that need to be, such as the sights,


One of the give a ways of the old universal carbines is the cut away on the op rod. Not on the Inland. It works smoothly and is robust.  It also makes that wonderful metal on metal sound I love when being cycled by hand.  Irrelevant, but I still love that sound.


Maybe a sticking point for some of the stickier sticklers. The bayonet lug is the late war and Korean war era. The carbine can be had with or without, The M1A1 paratrooper model from the company does not have it.  I think its not really something to complain about really. as I can see most buyers wanting to mount one of the many surplus bayonets on the market.  It is well done and made with the great park’ed finish.


The sling attaches at the front with the usually sling swivel. Inland supplies a brand new M1 carbine sling with the rifle as well as the stock oiler bottle.


Sling attaches to the rear and is held in place by the oil bottle. I did not set it up that way because the sling is brand new and tight and I did not want to force it in place since it’s  a loaner form the maker.   Inland tells me the method to get it in place the first time is to wet the sling, then use a rubber mallet with a gently tappy tap or roller to press the sling and oil bottle in place to break it in.  I felt no real need to put it in place so I just assemble the sling around the stock the same way most owners of M1 carbines do minus the oil bottle. It works. Good enough for me.


A matching stock and top hand guard.  If you have not spent a life around surplus firearms, you have no idea how rare that is and how nice it is to see.

020 011

The magazine that comes with the gun is the standard capacity original. Of course the gun will take the later 30 round magazines. It locks into place and has the mag release button.  The safety is also the button just to the rear of the magazine release.  This has cause some problems for a lot of people over the years who hit the wrong one at the wrong time when it matters most.  Other carbines had a switch or selector lever for the safety that was less likely to cause you to mistakenly dumb your ammo  at the worst time if you are not careful.  This type I think is faster but something to be aware of.  Not the best safety position but it is correct for the carbine.


As you can see, the gun is made well and looks great. Better than any other new made M1 carbine I have seen.  In the next part I will be giving the accuracy testing results  and reliability of the gun, 26″ Covert Takedown Case

I was looking for a smaller case to put an SBR or broken down AR in. I have owned several AR soft cases and have paid quite a bit of money for them. About a year ago I saw the 26″ Covert Takedown Case. For 60.00 dollars it looked like a case worth taking a chance on. Unfortunately it was never in stock. I finally clicked the notify when in stock button and was on the notification list for a long time. To my fortune, when I was notified it was back in stock, it was on sale for 30.00 dollars.  Without hesitation I got one. At this price point it was worth the chance to gamble on the case.  Looking back now, I should have bought two or three of them at that price. This case has many features higher priced cases come with and a little more.

26″  Covert Takedown Case


Velcro Straps/MOLLE:

One of the main reasons I looked at the ARFCOM case were the eight (8) Velcro straps that come with the case. Pretty much all soft rifle cases come with two (2) Velcro straps. The versatility of having (8) straps, gives you unlimited rifle mounting and accessory mounting options throughout the case, with the three (3) rows of MOLLE loops.

(8) Velcro Straps
(8) Velcro Straps
Adjustable Velcro Strap
Adjustable Velcro Strap


With the dimensions of  26L x 12W x 4D, there is ample room to place the upper & lower of your 10.3″ to 16″ rifle as well as its mounted accessories and additional accessories, in the case.

AR6720 / 26
AR6720 / 26″ Case
LE6920 / 26
LE6920 / 26″ Case


The case comes with four (4) D-rings on the back.  These are large and seem to be very secure. The case does not come with a strap, but the addition of the D-rings allows you to mount a shoulder strap, if you want.

(4) D-Rings


The case comes with upper and lower Velcro pockets for  the foam padding sheets. The foam sheets are removable and replaceable. The padding is very generous at 3/4 of an inch on both the top and bottom. The foam padding sheet is a three (3) part sheet, a soft foam middle sheet, sandwiched between a top and bottom cardboard type layer, that has a thin foam coating.  This pads the case nicely and creates some rigidity to the case.  The (3) layer foam sheets also help the soft foam to avoid memory prints/indents. Surprisingly, the (3) layer foam sheets appear to be nicer and thicker than on the closed-cell foam on other higher end cases.

Velcro Pocket / Foam Padding
Velcro Pocket / Foam Padding
(3) Layer Foam Pad
(3) Layer Foam Pad

Velco & Zippers:

The case comes with a double sided carry handle that has a loop around Velcro closure. This allow you to secure both sides of the handle together for easier carry and security.  The main compartment of the case  has two (2) large zipper tabs. The zipper teeth are large and function very smoothly.

Zipper / Tab
Zipper / Tab
Carry Handle
Carry Handle


The 26″ Covert Takedown Case appears to be made very well. The stitching is well done and it appears that it will hold up very well. I was unable to find out any real material specifications on the case.  The case appears to be at least 500 Denier Cordura Nylon Fabric. The older version of the case had a stitched on patch, that is no longer offered.  It now has a Velcro loop patch so you can add any patch you would like on the case. I have compared this case to several other soft cases I have and the construction seems to be very close.

26″ Covert Takedown Case

Final Thoughts:

The mounting options with the size and (8) Velcro straps makes this case a huge winner in my book. The price point is also a major winner with this case. Even at the full price of 60.00 dollars, you could buy two of these cases for the price of some of the big name brand cases. With what I am going to be using the case for and probably what you will too, I do not see the advantage or need to step up into a higher priced case. There is so much the case can carry with your rifle and accessories, it is only limited to your imagination. As you can see from the pictures, you can place your fully outfitted rifle with magazines and other accessories with no problem. You even have some more room to spare.


Can a Tiny 45 gr .223 Varmint Bullet Defeat Level III Steel Armor?

Note:  I want to take a moment and thank Andrew Betts for this article.  I often have tried to explain this to people and I don’t think they believed me.  If you choose or have to wear body armor, be aware of its limits.  And as always, try not to get shot.  -Howard

Can a Tiny 45 gr .223 Varmint Bullet Defeat Level III Steel Armor?

By Andrew Betts


Level III AR500 armor is rated to stop 7.62x51mm NATO. It seems obvious that anything “less” than that would also be stopped. Is it possible that such a tiny bullet from a much less powerful cartridge could perforate armor designed and rated to stop the mighty 7.62x51mm?

As it turns out, yes. That tiny bullet can zip right through the steel armor, even when fired from relatively short barrels. How is this possible? It seems counterintuitive. It seems that it would require more power to get through steel armor but in fact, velocity is the primary factor that influences steel armor penetration. Sectional density, bullet construction, and mass all play a role, of course, but the roles they play are minimal compared to the role played by velocity. In the case of ¼” thick AR500 steel, 3,200 fps is about the cutoff point. Anything faster than that will usually pass through and anything slower will probably be stopped. The actual V50 rating is not published by the company, but it is apparent that it is somewhere in the neighborhood of 3,200 fps. The V50 rating is the velocity at which 50% of the projectiles of a given type pass through. To determine the V50 rating, a laboratory increases the velocity of the bullet being tested until it perforates the armor, then tests statistically relevant sample sizes at velocities near that point to determine the velocity at which 50% of bullets pass through.

It may be tempting to declare that this armor is garbage, but that is far from the case. This test simply demonstrates the design limitations of this type of armor. The plate shown in this test is available for $65 from and will stop all handgun rounds and most common rifle rounds such as 7.62x39mm, 7.62x51mm, .300 Blackout, and even most .223 or 5.56x45mm ammo. While it is not specifically rated for M855, this plate will stop multiple hits of it. It will not stop M193, if it is fired from a long enough barrel and impacts at a close enough distance, but it will stop virtually any 60 grain and heavier .223 Rem projectile. Moreover, it will do so even after significant abuse. As we saw in the video, the plate stopped two rounds of 7.62x51mm, even after it had been perforated multiple times by the varmint ammo. Rather than focusing on the few threats that it will not stop, consider that you cannot purchase any lower threat level for the same cost. It stops far more than Level IIIA soft armor does and costs much less.

It is also worth noting that, while the high velocity varmint ammo does a good job of getting through the steel plate, it is not a good choice for defense. As seen in the test below, it penetrates far too shallowly to achieve reliable incapacitation.

Finally, it bears mentioning that the same company that produces this armor also produces Level III+ steel armor, which is designed to stop many of the threats that can defeat Level III armor. Be wary, though. Level III+ is not an actual NIJ rating, just an affirmation by the maker that the plate exceeds Level III by some degree in their assessment. Some manufacturers have had independent labs test their Level III+ plates and give them a special threat rating for specific rounds and others have not. Just because the plate is advertised as a Level III+ does not mean the same thing for various manufacturers. As with any other purchase you must do your own research. You should do your level best to find independent testing results from qualified labs and where that is not available, amateur testing as seen in the video above can help to inform your decision. As always, software > hardware. What is between your ears matters far more than what is on your chest. Train hard.

Trying Floor Tiles As Body Armor, Can It Really Work ?

By Andrew Betts

It could be the recent growth in interest in “prepper” shows or it could be the more general trend toward self-reliance and a DIY attitude, but for some reason making homemade body armor has become a popular thing to do. It may sound sketchy, like a homemade parachute or homemade aqualung, but one guy is taking a somewhat unique approach to the task.

Rather than simply slapping some tiles together to see what happens, The Chopping Block channel is taking a systematic approach to developing a dependable and repeatable design. The goal is to use experimentation and specific metrics to create a design that anyone can build, regardless of skill level. The other unique facet of his open source armor project is his insistence on leveraging the ingenuity of the community as a whole.

But why would someone want to build a homemade plate of dubious quality when quality professionally built body armor is readily available and affordable? While armor is available in most US states, it is not legal for civilians to purchase everywhere and it is always possible that future legislation could restrict the purchase of body armor. There have been several unsuccessful attempts to regulate body armor at the federal level over the last decade. It is also worth noting that while an entry level plate may not exactly require a second mortgage, the $65 price tag is more than the $10-$20 that some of these home built projects cost. Is your life worth more than $65? Of course it is, but when you add the cost of a carrier, it can start getting far more expensive to outfit a family of four with Level III plates, especially if you wanted to keep a set in more than one vehicle. The point is not that a homemade solution is better than a professionally made plate, but that the homemade solution is better than having nothing at all due to cost or legal hurdles. If you have the ability to purchase quality, professionally built armor, you should do so. It still might be handy to know how to build a field expedient rifle plate from a few dollars of home improvement supplies. Aside from any practical application, though, projects like these are fun and fascinating. The project has some interesting challenges to overcome and it will be exciting to see how they address them.


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