Tactical Link Convertible Slings Part 2

In Part 1, (Tactical Link convertible slings & mounts, Part-1) we covered the basics of Tactical Link Convertible Slings and Mounts. Specifically, we discussed a Standard OD Convertible Sling and a FDE Convertible Bungee Sling. Here in Part 2, we will review sling performance during transitions and movements with and without load bearing gear. For this part of the review, I used the slings in different shooting sessions with and without gear to cover different shooter needs.

Without Load Bearing Gear:

My first session involved using the Convertible Slings without wearing load bearing gear. I only wore equipment typically used at a patrol officer/instructor range day. For example, a Safariland duty belt with magazine pouches and a drop-leg holster. I used the slings while performing basic patrol rifle shooting, using techniques a patrol officer or a savvy armed citizen might employ.

Using the Convertible Slings in a two (2) point configuration, I aggressively and quickly shifted between multiple shooting positions. The high quality Tactical Link Convertible Slings performed as expected and allowed for fast and smooth movements.

The one (1) point configuration allowed for smoother dominant-to-support hand transitions and the employment of more advanced and complex shooting positions (versus those performed while in the two (2) point configuration). The ability to rapidly change the sling between one (1) and two (2) point configurations demonstrated the versatility of the Convertible Slings, as well as allowed me to make better use of available cover and limit my body’s exposure to threats.

While running the two (2) slings in what I considered to be a typical training day environment for a patrol officer or savvy armed citizen, I found that I preferred the Standard Convertible Sling over the Convertible Bungee Sling. The Convertible Bungee Sling is longer in length than the Standard Convertible Sling. I am 5′ 10″ about 165 lbs, and even after adjusting the Convertible Bungee Sling all the way down, it was still longer than where I had adjusted the Standard Convertible Sling. The Convertible Bungee Sling was approximately six (6) to seven (7) inches longer than the Standard Convertible Sling.  The Convertible Bungee Sling simply hung lower on my body than I preferred, making the bungee feature cumbersome.

Wearing bulky upper torso equipment, such as a tactical vest, plate carrier, body armor, or similar items will also affect individual sling sizing. For example, even when wearing level IIIA body armor, that most police officers wear, the Convertible Bungee Sling may still prove to be too long and cumbersome for smaller individuals. Furthermore, it is important to keep in mind; these are my personal preferences, as other individuals (i.e. taller/larger) may feel differently.

With Load Bearing Gear:

My next session focused on using the Convertible Slings while wearing load bearing gear. In the two (2) point configuration, the Convertible Slings allowed for better rifle control and wear comfort.

In my opinion, the two (2) point configuration is the most comfortable setup for patrolling, and it is the best configuration for rifle control, retention, or performing dynamic movements with gear. Furthermore, the two (2) point configuration is better suited for movement across open areas, conducting searches, or handling/moving equipment. Not to mention, situations where one hand is controlling the rifle while the other hand is being used to complete other tasks. Having the sling in the two (2) point configuration also allows you to transition to your sidearm by dropping your rifle, immediately drawing your sidearm, and avoiding the classic barrel smack to the nuts/knees you get from a one (1) point sling.

As previously discussed in Part 1 with searching and handcuffing, the one (1) point configuration has advantages as well.  Having the ability to rotate the rifle to your back allows for transition to your sidearm without your rifle obstructing your movement.

As previously discussed, the ability to quickly reconfigure the sling from a one (1) point configuration to a two (2) point configuration makes the Convertible Slings adaptable to specific environments and/or missions. This capability offers many advantages and benefits and allows one to adjust rapidly to developing situations.

The one (1) point configuration minimized sling/gear entanglements, enabled better dominant-to-support hand transitions, and increased rifle readiness during scenarios involving vehicles and buildings.

I found it easy to move my rifle back and forth between my dominant and support hands during building entries or when approaching obstacles from different angles.

For vehicle movements, I used a 2011 Ford Taurus (depicts the size/space of current patrol cars in use today). I had no problem sitting in the passenger seats, exiting the vehicle, or engaging threats from both right and left sides of the vehicle. It is important to note the ability to rapidly exit a vehicle depends on the rifle system and vehicle being used. I find that is much easier to use a short barrel rifle with patrol cars but it can be done with a longer patrol rifle.

Tactical Link’s main focus with product development is to engineer equipment to stand up to the harshest combat environments, to exceed user performance expectations, and to minimize user safety concerns. Having used Tactical Link products for almost a decade in real-world encounters as a Law Enforcement Officer, as well as a Civilian Shooter, the Tactical Link Convertible Slings are at the top of the list for me.

While testing and evaluating the Convertible Slings, I discovered my personal choice between the two (2) slings provided to Loose Rounds was the Standard Convertible Sling. In my opinion, the Standard Convertible Sling provides the best all-around options for the average Patrol Officer/Civilian Shooter.

Although individual size considerations always exist, I recommend the Convertible Bungee Sling for use by Military or Law Enforcement SWAT/Specialty Units that wear heavy and bulky upper torso gear.

Having a sling that is only capable of either a one (1) or two (2) point configuration limits user options. Tactical Link Convertible Slings and Mounts allow users to take advantage of the benefits of both a one (1) point sling and a two (2) point sling at the same time, providing Military/Law Enforcement Professionals and Civilian Shooters with the best all-around option out there.

Going forward, I will be using Tactical Link Convertible Slings and Mounts with several of my rifles.

Duncan.

REVIEW: Field Time Target & Training, Stanton, California

Submitted by Catherine Kim

Living in a heavily populated area such as Southern California, I do not have the treat of stepping outside to shoot my firearms.  In my backyard I have a 20 yard bow range with 3D targets, but some days I just want to shoot my guns and smell the blissful aroma of gun powder lingering in the air.

So, here are my options-

  1. I could say screw it and blast off some rounds, but that probably wouldn’t be a good idea, so we’ll just scratch that one.
  2. Drive about 2 hours to BLM.
  3. Drive about 1.5 hours to the closest outdoor range.
  4. Drive a few minutes to the closest indoor handgun range.
  5. Drive 25 minutes to a new indoor handgun, rifle, and shotgun range.

Wednesday afternoon on August 8, 2012 I rallied up my coworkers and their kids and decided we would try the new range (option 5).  I guess I’m kind of known as the adventurer in the office… the girl who likes to shoot guns, hunt, scuba dive, and jump out of perfectly running planes.  It’s always a great feeling when you take people who have never shot before because they get hooked!  One advantage of me taking people is they look at how small I am and figure, hey if Catherine can do it, then so can I.  I am pretty pint sized and girly.

On the roll call I had the following-

  • Female coworker – 2nd time shooting (1st time was with me)
  • Male coworker – Shot many times
    • His teenage son – Shot very few times
    • His son’s teenage friend from Germany – Never shot before, unless you count Call of Duty 😉
  • Another male coworker – Either had never shot or did when he was very young

So the idea of being in a controlled environment with safety protocols was first choice, plus wanting to go after work really limited our choices.  It had to be local, but capable of shooting a variety of firearms.  For me, these are really 2 features I look for when choosing an indoor range-

  1. Staff / Customer support
  2. Facility

We drove to Field Time Target & Training (FTT&T) located in Stanton, CA.  It’s nestled within an industrial area of Orange County.  Surrounding the range are various manufacturing companies and machine shops.  This was my second visit to FTT&T.  My first visit was at their grand opening.  They had phenomenal raffle prizes, discounts on membership, and an awesome sale on their remanufactured ammo.  To date, I have purchased thousands of their rounds and I absolutely love their ammo for target practice.  I have had no issues with their 9mm, .45 and .223.  It is high quality and cheap.  Recently having visited their booth at the gun show, they explained their ammo will hit the shelves with the “American Legacy” brand.  I’ve included a photo below.

* Tip: For every 500 round box of ammo you purchase you are entered in a raffle for a new gun every month.  Check out their website to see the monthly giveaway. 

STAFF/CUSTOMER SUPPORT

I understand why many ranges have poor attitudes.  They are tired of the wannabes gangsters and idiots; however, that number of those types of customers is low (at least when I analyzed the ranges I’ve been to).  A gun range is still a business.  Their ultimate goal is to bring in revenue.  I think most will find profits can be greatly increased when customers rent guns, buy ammo, and enroll in classes.  If you put on this, “I know everything and you don’t so I’m better than you” attitude, your customers (generally male) are going to react with their prideful attitude in retort.  Ask customers if they’ve shot a certain kind of gun that you have for rent, tell them about your ammo and classes, and spread the knowledge.  After all, we are all gun enthusiasts, so why be rude.

First time shooters are nervous.  They don’t know what to expect.  That is why the staff and customer support play such a huge role in helping determine whether people will return or not.  You don’t want a bunch of rude pricks, because that really ruins the experience.  FTT&T was exact opposite.  Everyone was attentive to needs and answering questions.  Their hospitality played a key role in ensuring my guests would return.  From the person at the counter to the employees on the range, they gave excellent support.  Many times I try to analyze whether I’m just being treated nicely because I am a female, but that was not the case.  I noticed everyone received equal service.  The employees on the range would walk up to people, start up conversations on their guns, help people, and sweep the casings.

FACILITY

Their 21,000 sq ft facility is new, modern, and beautiful.  I have not been into a range where everything is so “pretty.”  From the décor to the room layout it is very nice.  They offer a large gun rental selection from iconic handguns to tactical rifles.  There are training classrooms upstairs, a storefront, large break room, and two range rooms.   Each station has an electronic target system where you can easily program your own distances, similar to your car radio, to bring back and forth your target.    There is a touch button for lighting amongst other features.  Another benefit was the wide space from the shooter area to the back tables.

If I were to nitpick, there are only 3 things on my wish list.  First, I wish the range was longer than 25 yards, but it is an indoor range, so I can’t complain.  Second, better air conditioning in the range (which has been a lot better).  Lastly, I think they should think about expanding the front room with a show floor to sell more gear.  I think they could generate more money by selling hunting clothes, gun stuff, cleaning gear, gift cards, patriotic wear, etc…

As a final note, during my visit I found the customers were also friendly.  Perhaps all the stars were aligned perfect for my visit.  There were two NRA instructors testing out a new 45-70 rifle in preparation for an Elk hunt.  He had mentioned to me that what I was doing was great… bringing adults and kids to shoot, so he let everyone in my party fire off his rifle.  Wow, that thing was sweet and surprisingly smooth.  So, customers (you) can also make a difference to someone else’s experience.  Be kind and enjoy being around the company of fellow gun lovers.  J

So overall, I really liked this place.  I’m actually planning to return to it tonight!

More information can be found at-

Field Time Target & Training
8230 Electric Avenue
Stanton, CA 90680
(714) 677-2841

http://www.fieldtimetargetandtraining.com/

Reliability is not always reliable

Over the past weekend ,I and some other looserounds staff  went out to do some more T&E of gear and  guns to write about. After trying out all the new stuff to play with, we decided to do some training together  in two man pairs.  at one point in some drills my carbine ran dry while my partner was relaoding. To keep him covered I immediately  drew my sidearm to keep fire going. One my friend was loaded , he continued to fire.  I was next to him on his right side.  WHat happened  next is one of those moments that is 1 in a million and proves that you have to be ready for anything , anytime with the ability to fix it or adapt to it.

While my 1911 was firing and the slide was moving backwards, at the same time a fired 556 case from his MK18 ejected and went right into my open ejection port inducing a failure.  I fixed it , but not without a pause. It was not that I did not know what to do, it was the sheer strangeness of what happened.   The 1911 I used is my colt rail gun with over 1,4000 rounds through it. The pistol has never given me any trouble other then a bad mag spring from a wilson combat mag. But the incident proves that it does not matter how invincible your glock is or how tough your 1911 or even your own skill. You practice because things like this happen and it does not matter how much you paid for the gun or how good the parts or ammo  in it is.  You do not and can not know or predict.  Always be training for the unexpected.  Problems will never come in the training class , square range way  instructors always set up. Sometimes it will be a one in a million.

 

Abusing the Accurate Rifle

We all love accurate rifles. Col. Whelan  famously said “Only accurate rifles are interesting” and we all love that gun that can shoot little bug holes to show off with. It instils confidence in your fire arm to know it  is capable of such things and in a lot of cases that confidence can equal better performance.  In America we always want the best, and when it comes to rifles one of the defining characteristics of ” the best” is being able to shoot the tightest group possible.  The idea of the one shot kill holds a mighty sway on the american rifleman. So powerful is this myth that  instructors have to teach students to shoot the bad guy to the ground and when a soldier hits a haji with his M4 he expects the bad guy to fall over dead just like in a movie. When it does not happen, complaints start up claiming something is wrong with the rifle or the caliber or what ever. Of course poor  shooter skill and poor  shot placement could not possible be the culprit. Because of this we see a trend demanding larger calibers and more accurate rifles.

There is nothing wrong with wanting more accuracy but the trend for more and more accurate barrels started earlier then you may think. When the lure of the sniper and the one shot one kill legend started first, it was in the 90s. The sniper became the new  focus and sniper rifles became very popular.  The  use of the M16A2 in service rifle at camp perry to dominate also had a large hand. Now, years later  with manufacturing processes and tricks and techniques learned over the years, we now have small shops that offer up barrels on their AR15s that can shoot close to 1/4 MOA.  Of course with this ability to make the rifles that can do this, came the demand to have them.  Even if someone could not possibly hold a 1/4 inch group at 100 yards, it did not stop the desire.

A lot of these high quality super accurate rifles could easily be used as sniper rifles and indeed are more accurate then military issue rifles. The problem  is that all this is all the accuracy from these barrels and the time to make them and money spent is wasted away like a democrat spends your money.

Time after time I look through the popular gun boards and see  users with Larue OBR, PredatARs and  Noveske rifles  doing rapid fire mag dumps at targets no further away then 50 yards.  Most the time it is on man sized targets and they have mounted the popular T-1 or eotech or something there about.   Why do they need a gun that shoots 1/4 MOA to hit a man sized target across the room?  Some of them do not even take the gun off of a benchrest and restrict their shooting to 25 yards incredibly.  I have even seen some shooting these match rifles using  military surplus ball ammo. They do not even bother with the match ammo it takes to achieve the precious level of accuracy they so badly wanted and paid for. The biggest mind boggler to me is the mag dumps. Sure the rifles can handle it, but that accuracy level of the barrel will only last so long and after a certain number of rounds fired, it will go from 1/4 or 1/2 to 1 MOA or 2 or even larger depending on what goes bad or wears first.

Howard:  -The first time I saw a LaRue Stealth Upper, it was being used to bump fire.  All of the 5.56 OBR rifles I have seen have had either an Aimpoint or Eotech on it.  Similar for Noveske rifles.  Often they were just used for offhand rapid fire.  The sort of shooting I witness these precision rifles used for could be achieved with any quality standard carbine barrel.  While it is very nice to have a match barrel, why spend the money one one unless you actually require that accuracy.-

A carbine meant to defend your house and shoot across the room, does not need match accuracy. A carbine that will see mag dump after mag dump does not need this level of accuracy.  A gun meant for SHTF or the end of the world does not need it either. In fact, a less accurate 2 MOA barrel with a proper NATO chamber, chrome lined , tested and made from the proper steel is more desirable to me in a time when conditions are at there very worst then some match barrel.

Further more, other then bragging rights, what do you need with it if you are the typical shooter? I do not mean beginner here either. I am talking about someone who shoots and trains regularly.   If you train for urban fighting and typical carbine distance, you just do not need it and likely you wasted money on something you may not even or will ever, have the ability to shoot to its potential or even half of it.   After taking a few carbine classes with high round counts or showing all your friends how you can shoot 15 rounds in 3 seconds like a magpul DVD  you have just lost a little more of that  expensive accuracy.  A barrel starts to wear as soon as you start to use it. I would bet the farm that those who buy such match barrels are very meticulous about cleaning it. And why  not? It  is so precious and it cost so much!! Probably had to save up for it for months or trade a few guns to get it. Problem is they clean it so much they are wearing it more then the rounds they fired did. Of course if they buy into the  myth of needing to “break in” the barrel by shooting and cleaning, they just started the process off at a faster rate then if they had just shot it. And they did not accomplish any “break in” either.

For those who think they still can benefit from such a high level of accuracy take a look at most targets used in 3-gun or IDPA or  FBI Q targets.  The areas marked as the zone needed to hit for the fastest stops, none of them need  even 1 MOA most of the time.  The head shot is some times used as justification. But I will not take a harder head shot under stress and risk a miss when I could take a body shot and know I am going to hit. Even if it takes two shots, at least  there is greater chance the target will react from 1 hit then the zero chance of the target being slowed from a miss.  A hostage shot you say?   Do you really trust your self to zing a round past some kids eyeball to hit the CNS  on a bad guy with only  a few inches exposed?  In the real world with no sand bags and comfy bench with a rest and a cold drink and shade you are sure you can take that shot with a red dot sight  while the heart tries to beat out of your head?   Maybe its best if those shots are left to snipers or until you got a better angle.  if you are in this position things have gone very bad and probably is not going to end well anyway. If you are a civilian, rambo fantasy aside, there is probably no way this is going to have a happy ending.

A lot of the more well thought of and popular sniper weapons issued by the military these days does not meet the accuracy requirements and specs advertised in the  more well known precision AR makers. The original requirement for the much vaunted USMC M40 rifle was  2 MOA.  Carlos Hathcock pulled off all of his toughest shots with  rifles that  would not have printed under 1 MOA if  Jesus, Buddha, and Cuthulu himself had blessed them.   The current M24 SWS  shoots just over 1 MOA at 1 hundred yards.  For a fighting gun, you really do not need the accuracy it takes to win a NBRSA match.

Of course rifles with this high a level of  accuracy have  use and can really take you to the next level. The trick is knowing when  your skill reaches a point that you can benefit from them and  being honest with your self about the type of shooting you do, what the rifle will be used for and if you will need it.  IF you are going to be using the rifle  for the  ITRC and need to make hits out to 800 yards and you are capable  of making those hits, then it could pay off. If you  compete at 3 gun and do most of your work at 50 yards with maybe a rare shot or two out to 200  on a 10 or 6 inch plate  then you do not.   Urban sniping on the SWAT team? Yes, it could do that, but there is a IF to that. Most  of these guns will  have a round from every group that will be a “flyer” that could take a 1/2 inch group to a 1.5.  The Noveske barrels are known to fling a shot out of a group. It is still a tight group, but I am not comfortable not knowing for sure where the next round is going to hit. If I was a sniper taking a hostage shot, that would terrify me.

If you like to blast dirt clods, go to carbine classes, plink or run serious drills, you are way better served with a quality Milspec barrel. It is very important to note that just because you do not need a “match barrel” that does not mean you should go out and buy a cheap barrel or gun.  There is a huge difference between a quality made barrel and  some no name  barrel from some cheap kit.  A quality milspec barrel , with quality match ammo will often give a match barrel a real run for its money and make high end barrel makers blush.  I have a milspec barrel that will keep 20 rounds inside 1 inch at 100 yards.  That is no small feat for a military barrel and a lot of people trying to sell you a match barrel will tell you that can not be done. But that is a lie. Often good milspec barrels with proper ammo could hold their own in a lot of military type sniping rolls and you could not tell much difference between a quality Milspec barrel and a national match barrel  in the hands of a top 3 gunner in a 3 gun shoot or rifle match.  The best part is, the milspec barrels are hardened for combat with chrome bore and chambers and a NATO chamber keeping them running when things get hot and very dirty. In some cases  this would choke a pure competition barrel and gun. Then where did the extra accuracy get you?

The proper barrel needs to be put in perspective with how you are going to use it and your skill level.

On Handgun Malfunctions

Shawn and I asked Mark Hatfield to comment on a malfunction training issue he had.

On Handgun Malfunctions

Once upon a time I was in a class where the topic of the moment was clearing malfunctions of semi-automatic handguns. One of the presumptions was that the user was in a gunfight when this problem arose. We were taught two methods. The first was a long taught technique that was OK for a number of situations but did not clear everything as the second method could. As all of us being experienced shooters, were not expected to be able to forget the first, long practiced, method, but be able to move to the second if the first did not resolve the problem.

‘Always’ was a word spoken often when referring to this drill, the second method would ‘always’ fix the malfunction. Always. Some of you reading this may already guess where this story is going. The teacher created a simulated malfunction in my gun. I did the approved method which always works and ….. it didn’t work. I simply moved to a similar technique taught by a different school and it took care of the problem.

Years ago it was Massad Ayoob who said that while semi-auto handguns may malfunction (jam) more often than revolvers, they are easier to clear, while a revolver which jams may have to go back to the workshop. Also years ago, some people used to proclaim that revolvers never jam. The truth is that revolvers can jam in a number of ways, and I have experienced more than a few of them myself.

Some of us shooters who are now experiencing life on the downside of the hill remember when shooters of semi-autos who were with the ‘cutting edge’ of the art practiced several different drills, each for a different type of malfunction.

Remember that these ‘immediate action’ drills are for when lead is flying through the air. In some rare extreme situations, what appears to be the immediate problem can be resolved, another shot fired, only to have your gun blow up in hand and face. These type of situations have happened twice with guns which belonged to me. Fortunately these particular guns were ‘overbuild’ and designed to handle higher pressures than earlier versions of similar guns. While the guns were damaged, the shooters were not. While in these two cases there was no catastrophic destruction of the guns, such can and thankfully rarely, does occur. For ordinary range practice, when a problem occurs, you stop shooting.

It is John Farnum who points out that if you’re shooting at someone and a malfunction occurs, don’t just stand there and be shot at while fixing the problem, MOVE. While fixing the problem, move to get behind cover or at least just keep moving to make it more difficult for your attacker to hit you. All his malfunction drills include moving off of the spot where you were.

As has been said before, two sounds you never want to hear from your gun: a ‘click’ when it was supposed to go ‘bang’, or a ‘bang’ when you thought it would go ‘click’.