First thoughts on the Aimpoint T1 iO Cover.

Aimpoint T1 IO Cover

The plastic iO covers for the Aimpoint T1 are shipping.  This slips right on an Aimpoint T1 and offers a front and rear lens cover for the T1.

2013-02-25 17.09.47

The caps can easily be snapped open by one hand, but they don’t always move completely move out of the way.

2013-02-25 17.10.01 2013-02-25 17.10.07

The caps can snap to each other to get them out of the way.  This can easily be done one handed, and shows off a Tango Down logo when nested together.

2013-02-25 17.10.14


The caps stay on the left, they are in the field of view but are out of the way.  While the caps can be opened and nested one handed, closing them takes me both hands.

If you are looking for lens covers for your Aimpoint T1, I would recommend the iO Cover.

27 Years With The 1911

When I was around 7 years old, my older brother  decided he wanted a 1911. Up until this time he had played around with Ruger P85s, A GP100 and some other smaller El Jeffe special type throw away guns so going to a 1911 was a big deal for him.  Before he made his purchase, our Dad told him. “son, if you are going to get a 45, ( Dad never calls the pistol by its model) get a Colt. Go ahead and buy quality and it will not let you down. I had one for a year in Vietnam and it never failed”.   My older brother being who he is, promptly took the advice of his new “gun expert friends” and bought a Thompson Auto Ordnance.  It didn’t work. At all.  It was a banner day if the pistol that was made too resemble a 1911 actual fired 6 rounds from the mag without a failure. So  he got rid of it and tried again with the same brand. His know it all friend who knew it all based on gun rags only and no experience assured him he just needed a few new upgrade parts.  By the time my brother had all the parts in it his friend suggested, he could have bought a higher quality 199 that worked.  Years later he bought another 1911, this time a Colt 1991A1 and it has worked ever since.   The above story is  one of probably millions that explains all you need to know about some of the bad stuff people may say to you about the 1911. A lot of people made them over the years and not all of them are worth as much as the metal a soda can is made of.

I never did forget my Dads advice because he is simply always right.  A couple of years later he bought me my first 1911 for christmas. It was a WW2 surplus A1 and I shot 200 rounds through it a week until i got to be a junior in high school. At that time it was pretty much worn out. I bought a MK IV series 80 and used it until the next year when it was heavily customized with everything but a comp and a red dot sight.

I have owned a lot of 1911s over the years and have shot more rounds through the 1911 then a lot of people have fired through every gun they own. This amount of time and use will eventually lead you to be able to do a lot of impressive ( but useless ) things. I wasted a lot of ammo learning to shoot a clay pigeon out of the air with my .45 , and it won’t even impress women.

I have formed a few clear opinions of the 1911 and what it needs and doesn’t need over those years though and I am often approached locally to work on them for people and dole out advice which I sometimes do against my better judgement. I am going to talk a little bit about that now. I am no expert and what I am  about to say is my opinion and it is opinion only.  My opinions have formed after most of my life being spent with the 1911.  You are not going to read anything revolutionary but it may help some people thinking about getting a 1911 and what features they really want to spend money on.


The first thing I am going to say is the most important. It is also the only thing I am going to urge you to take to the bank. Practice is the most important. With a reliable and reasonably accurate gun,practice will over come any slight discomfort or less then efficient part like a thumb safety that is not extended or ambi.  People these days get caught up too much with looks, custom parts , you name it.  With Correct practice, you can over come these things and can perform on demand with any gun handed to you if it is in reasonable working order.   My philosophy over the years has developed into some specific ideas. One of those ideas is that combat accuracy , or field accuracy, that you can deliver on demand, is more important then 1/4 MOA groups.  Equipment will not over come lack of practice. The most expensive well made custom gun in the world will not make you a good shot. It may give a slight edge to an already proficient shooter. But it is not going to be a substitute for practice and training done correctly.

Now that the most important thing is out of the way, I will move on to the more technical ideas I have formed.

After years of using and not using one piece guide rods I can say in my opinion they are near worthless. They really do nothing other then give people something to claim as an upgrade even though it does nothing of any help and has no advantage. Just like Magpul MOE furniture.  Another thing I advise to stay away from are the rubber grips with the finger groves in them like the ones made by Hogue. A lot of people love them at first because they really don’t know not to like them. it sounds weird but its true. As you use the gun more, your firing grip will evolve into one that works best for you. Often the finger groove  bumps will not match up to your more refined grip. SO people will adjust their grip to the less effective grip just so they can use the finger groove rubber grips. This is a step backwards. You are batter off with the thinnest wood grips you can find with nice aggressive checkering. Even better are the grips made by VZ or the ones like them.

A lot of time is debated about the A1 hump or the flat back strap. It does not matter. It really doesn’t.  It also doesn’t matter if it is steel or plastic. Other then aesthetics its a non issue. Use whichever you like. The beveled  magazine well is another thing I use to love now do not want to have anything to do with.  I admit, they look cool and give the “custom look” but you can not use every magazine out there with them unless it has the bumper pad. For a carry gun or for combat, I want the mag well to take any magazine I find or have one hand.  It is a real problem to get a factory base plate mag into a extended mag well without a bumper base pad or taking the time to make sure its in or risk a major cut on the palm of the hand.

As far as the grip goes, I feel the scallop under the trigger is something that is worth having. If you are going to get work done or you can choose it on a new pistol, it is worth it, It lets you get a higher grip on the gun just like the up turned grip safety. Both are worthwhile on a gun if its offered on the model. I would never turn down those features if I had the choice and have a pistol altered for them or added.


A lot of people will say not to get a ambi safety.  I could not disagree more. If it is a gun for carry or fighting. Get it. Find one you like and get it. The single side safety if perfectly workable if you are right handed and can be over come if you are a lefty, but not easy.  My issue is, if you suddenly have your strong hand made out of action, the ambi safety makes things a lot more easy for you when it counts. To me, it is absolutely insane not to have an ambi safety on a fighting gun if you ever really believe you may need one.

Triggers are one of those things people love to debate. I always suggest going with the short A1 trigger if you do not know what you need. Even for longer hands, it can be controlled easily and it is never a mistake.   The gun does not need a light trigger either. And the series 80 trigger is fine. It harms nothing, it does not make the trigger feel worse and it will not cause the gun to explode.

Stay away from shok buffers. During heavy use they will get hot, chewed up and fall apart. If you have a fighting gun with the looser tolerances the 1911 was meant to have, it will still work. But a buffer that has fell to pieces will stop the tighter guns up.

On that note. I do not like hard fit or tight guns. Do not be afraid of rattle.  All of those unreliable 1911s you hear about are hard fit tight guns.  I had to send a gun back to Colt back in 2009 after I screwed up something on it. While it was having my mistake corrected, I asked that gun gun be  “loosened up a bit”. I wanted the fit to be as generous as Browning intended. A gun made to the original fit using decent ammo is as reliable as any tool that has ever been made and better then some.  It will not shoot 1 inch groups at 50 yards. It will keep a 4 inch group at 50 yards with ball, but it works every time and it is combat accurate. I can make a 15 yard head shot and I can keep them in a mans chest out to 100. It rattles and friends who know nothing of the 1911 and fighting handguns laugh and turn their noses up. But it works no matter how dirty it gets or what I shoot through it.   An effective fighting tool needs to work every time. As long as a handgun is capable of keeping its shot within the kill zone, everything else academic other then your ability and how much you practice.

I use to love the Bomar type adjustable sights.  I stay away from them now after tearing my hands up and seeing friends cut by them. After realizing they are never really used in their adjustable role, I stick to fixed sights, The Novak low mount is my favorite.  A nice high fixed iron sight that you can see is all you can really ask for. Of course, night sights are always a worthy upgrade, but not a must.


As I have said before, the most important thing about using the 1911 is to use it! Like anything, you have to practice and train.  A lot of changes can be made to the 1911 and it is forgiving of these changes if done by some one by at least two brain cells. But the truth is, almost any thing on the gun you may think is not just right, can be over come with training with the thing.   Smaller sights, smaller safety, no beveled mag well , all are not really the issue.  the time spent shooting and the mindset needed to win the fight is the most important.   The 1911, in my opinion is the finest fighting handgun for serious use that has ever been made.  Everything after it, owes its existence to the 1911.  It was born perfect.   Features can be changed, but none of those changes alter the way it works.  the original caliber of .45 Automatic Colt Pistol is also the premiere choice for stopping a threat in my opinion. A lot of people will say that bullet tech has advanced to the point that the 9mm is now as good as anything, but the truth is, the advancements that benefited the 9mm has been applied to the 45 as well.  45 ACP bullet design did not stop at 1987.  If you can have the same high performance bullet in a bullet that is bigger, common sense tells me that the 45 will always have the edge in size. Eeven the worst performing HP in a 45 that fails to open, will still make a hole that is .45.   The 1911 is the perfect to me. I have used the classic for so long that locally if you say my name to anyone who knows me, the 1st thing they think of is the 1911.  Picking it up always feels like shaking hands with an old friend for me  and I will always have the 1911 on my side.


Aimpoint VS. Eotech VS. ACOG. VS Aimpoint – Updated.

Aimpoint Eotech ACOG

An upper with no bolt carrier group was rested on wooden blocks.  Pictures were taken with a Samsung SIII.

100 Yards:

Eotech 552Eotech 552.  Reticle was hard to see.  Set to max brightness.

Aimpoint PROAimpoint PRO.  Reticle appeared clearer than in image.

Aimpoint T1Aimpoint T1

Trijicon ACOG TA01

ACOG TA01  Front sight base shadow was less visible then what the photograph shows.

200 Yards:

Eotech 552

Eotech 552.  At max brightness (with week old batteries) I could barely see the reticle at max brightness.

Aimpoint PRO

The Aimpoint PRO looked better then what the photo shows.

Aimpoint T1

Except for my finger in the picture, this photo well depicts the view thru the Aimpoint T1.

Trijicon ACOG TA01

The ACOG reticle was crisper then what the photo shows, and the front sight base shadow less apparent.

Tech Specs:

Aimpoint PRO – $400
11.6 oz
2 MOA Dot
One 3V 2L76 or DL1/3N
30,000 hours – about 3.4 years (@ setting 7 out of 10)
½ MOA clicks

Aimpoint T1 with mount LT660 – $650

3.7oz (not including mount)
4 (or 2) MOA Dot
One 3V CR2032
50,000 hours – about 5.7 years (@ setting 8 out of 12)
½ MOA clicks

Eotech 552 – $579

10.9 oz
1 MOA Dot, 65 MOA Ring
Two AA batteries
1,000 hours Lithium @ 12, 600 with alkaline (About 42 days) (@settings 12)
½ MOA clicks
Trijicon ACOG TA01
9.9 oz
Bullet Drop Calibrated Crosshair
No batteries
Tritium half-life ~12 years.
1/3 MOA click

Aimpoint VS. Eotech VS. ACOG VS. Aimpoint

I rounded up an Aimpoint PRO, Aimpoint T1 (4 MOA), an Eotech 552, and a Trijicon ACOG TA01 for a side to side comparison.  To try and get an unbiased opinion, I had a friend use all 4 optics on the same firearm, shooting both groups and assorted drills.

Comparing reflex sights to magnified optics is like comparing motorcycles to semi-trucks, but the subject is of much debate online.  The simple answer is that you need to select the optic that best suits your needs.

I had my friend start off by shooting groups at 25 yards.  His groups with iron sights and all the reflex sights were about the same.  However when he used the ACOG the group tightened up considerably.  I believe that because of having magnification and a crosshair that he slowed down and focused on the shooting fundamentals.

At this point my friend most preferred the ACOG.  After using the ACOG my friend stated, “This is more of a traditional scope, not a reflex or an ACOG.”  I proceeded to tease my friend about this statement for the rest of the day.

As for the reflex sights, my friend preferred the Aimpoint T1 the most, and the Eotech the least.  This Eotech had week old batteries and even at max brightness was hard to see in the Florida sunlight.  I must note that this is an older Eotech and newer ones may be brighter.

After the grouping exercise I had my friend practice bringing a rifle up from a ready position and engaging multiple locations on a target at 10 yards.  I started my friend with iron sights, then had him try the various optics.  I was surprised that for my friend, he found the ACOG faster and more comfortable for quick shooting.  Both the Aimpoint PRO and T1 were about the same, and the Eotech was still disliked due to it being dim and the reticle being cluttered.

Tried variations of multiple targets, and shooting left handed.  All the same results.  Trying to shoot left handed for my friend was awkward regardless of optic, but the reflex sights seemed to help.

While I was at the range, I got the chance to talk to a former Army officer and had him look over the various optics.  Without shooting with them, he came to the same conclusion that my friend did.  The Aimpoint T1 was the preferred optic, with the PRO being second choice.  The Eotech was disliked due to being dim.  My friend thought the Eotech reticle was cluttered and preferred just the dot in the reflex sights.  While they both liked the ACOG, both would have taken an Aimpoint over it.

When I asked about the difference in dot sizes or window size preferences, neither my friend nor the former Army officer noticed a difference, but they both liked the Aimpoint T1 better.

Personally, I used to be a big Eotech fan but then I had mine fail me.  Eotech’s record of failures keeps me from being able to like them anymore.  While I much prefer the Aimpoint T1, I highly recommend the Aimpoint PRO as the economical optic choice.  There are few bigger ACOG fans then myself, but I don’t believe that the ACOG is the right optic for most shooters, and that for the majority of people who plan to use their carbine as a home defense or close range firearm are better suited with a good Aimpoint over a magnified optic ACOG.

Light Comparison

Article Submitted by M

I thought I’d do a quick and informal comparison of the lights I have on hand.  Distance to the trash can was 25 yards.


First up is a 80 lumen Surefire 6P LED


Surefire 6P



Surefire G2Z with a drop in 220 lumen Q5 Cree LED lamp


Surefire G2Z



Surefire 6P with the 65 lumen incandescent bulb


Surefire 6P



Surefire X200A 60 lumen pistol light


Surefire X200A



Finally a 200 lumen Surefire M600C Scout Light


Surefire Scout Light M600C




So what conclusions can be drawn?


Well, the more light the better.  Revolutionary idea I know.


I would consider 200 lumens to be the minimum necessary for a rifle mounted weapon light.  Anything less isn’t going to allow for positive target ID at any real distance.


If anyone is still running a 65 lumen incandescent light on their rifle I would strongly urge them to upgrade as there are far better and more capable options out there nowadays.


If found for the right (low) price on the used market, the now discontinued X200 could still be useful as a light on a home defense bed side pistol, otherwise spring for the far more capable X300.


The Q5 Cree drop in LED lamp is a viable option for upgrading older 6P and G2 lights.  It dramatically increases the light output with hardly any decrease in battery life.  I’ve been using one in the G2Z light I carry at work for a year now and have no complaints.  It’s held up well to the everyday wear and tear and occasional drops that come with being a work tool.  It’s also given me a far brighter light in a far smaller package than the Streamlights most of my co workers carry.


Article submitted by Mark Hatfield

Six times now John Farnam has been requested to provide training  down near the edge of the great swamp of Florida, and I have been privileged to be able to attend (and pass) four of them.  This student group were mostly repeat students, seems like once you take one of Johns classes, you keep coming back.

As for Mister Farnam , he’s a big guy who can be big without being imposing.  John lives the part of the ‘gray man’ not standing out in a crowd.  First meeting him, he reminded me of some of my relatives, he looked as though he might have just gotten down from the tractor and come into town to get parts for the harvester and told jokes to the girl at the cash register to brighten her day.  Studying with him, you quickly realize that John is one of those men who might never start a fight but could certainly end one.

In his younger days, John had some substantial experiences as an officer of Marines in Vietnam, then continued as a reservist until retirement.  He has also acquired 41 years experience in law enforcement including as a supervisor of detectives.  He is well known as a trainer for military, police, and civilians, in this country and elsewhere.

This past weekend was a repeat of the Advanced Defensive Handgun course.  As often, there were some things I had forgotten (shame on me), some things new, and learning some improved variations of things I already practice.

John generally uses a greater number of assistant instructors than other courses which I’ve attended which allows for the prompt correction of errors and feedback.

The classes are very clearly geared for survival not competition.  Responses to unwanted attention from possible attackers (avoidance, de-escalation, and preparation for contact) are not simply lectured but practiced repeatedly.  How to interact with responding police is critical, these responses are also part of drills.  Just knowing how to shoot is not enough.

After learning good responses to technical problems which may occur, each student is expected and required to do whatever is necessary to keep going and ‘stay in the fight’ to complete any particular drill.  This does not mean simply doing the ‘correct’ malfunction drill for a staged malfunction but should during a drill the student drop a gun or magazine, fumble a reload, have a real malfunction or any odd or unexpected thing which may happen, the student is expected deal with it and keep going while using good tactics.  Anything less would be game playing and not preparing for reality.

Each class I have attended required passing a final drill which is not pass/fail or scored.  No errors of any kind are allowed.  If a student had any error, an instructor stopped them immediately, told them what happened, and the test stops.  The student goes back to ‘the end of the line’ to try again.  Especially in my very first class with John, I had to run the drill a number of times (partly due to falling back upon old habits), just about everybody did.

Generally, the class is not over until everyone passes or we have to leave the range.  An option for those few people who may not make it that day, if at another date they can demonstrate the drill successfully in front of an instructor, they can still get their passing mark.

Along with shooting, gun retention and disarms, emergency medical response, verbal interactions with aggressors, police, bystanders, legal issues, and political concerns, Mister Farnam has always included discussions of mind, heart, and soul.  He is also a Historian.  By profession and need, he has killed but is not what much of the public or the media would think of as a killer.  He is a humble man.  I have never known him outside of class and some emails but I have come to think of him as a friend.

Johns’ organization is Defense Training International based in Colorado.  He has written several books which are on the must read list for serious shooters.  He also writes his ‘Quips’, thoughts on related topics on random intervals.  Simply get on his website and request to get on the mailing list. No sales, ads, or anything of that type, only his observations and information to be passed along.  Even if you can never take a class, sign up for the quips.

The Model 70 Laredo Ahead of Its Time



Back in the early 90s, Winchester started making an action that very closely resembled the classic much loved, pre 64 Model 70 action of legend.  This was an immediate hit with  riflemen with taste.  There was some differences between the new and old, but it was close enough. Some would say it was probably better, or at least made out of stronger modern steel.   After the initial offerings of the typical boring hunting sporters proved to be a hit, Olin started offering the good stuff.

The picture above is one of the very interesting rifles they made and sold in the mid to late 90s.   It is the Model 70 Laredo.   The Laredo came with a H-S Precision stock that was pillar bedded and had an aluminum bedding block.  Instead of having to send it off to a gunsmith or glass bedding it in some do it your self project, it was ready to go. The barrel was free floated and the bedding block gave a solid bedding that would not wear out or break down over time from recoil or solvents and oil. The fore arm was flat with stud for sling or bipod and the pistol grip and a very ergonomic palm swell that fit the hand nicely and was ambi in its shape

The action was the new M70 “classic” action, which as I said above was a modern pre 64 CRF action.  The Laredo was a long action and came in magnum chamberings. This one was chambered in 7mm remington mag.  The barrel was non SS and was 24 inches long with a medium heavy target taper to .950 at the muzzle with a very nice recessed target crown.  The trigger was standard Model 70 adjustable down to 2.5 pounds very easily.

The gun was marketed as a “beanfield” deer rifle. That was a marketing term at the time meant to get deer hunters interested in a rifle they could shoot  further with.  At the time of this guns birth. the AWb had not become law.   And in a sad twist of fate, this led to the guns demise.

If you are too young to know, or maybe not interested in this type of rifle during those years, here is the story.

Before the AWB of 94. it was easy to find just about anything you wanted when it came to semi auto versions of combat rifles. You could some stuff that is very exotic now and so hard to find it would approach Class III prices now.  On top of that. the popularity of snipers was non existent. Most shooters did not know much about the USA’s heroic snipers or the rifles used in sniping.   After the AWB, people wanted some kind of military or tactical type rifle and at the same time a few things got very popular, very fast.  A slew of Vietnam vets wrote books about their time as snipers.  Carlos Hathcock became more and more well known to shooters who otherwise never heard of him.  And of course, the government telling people “no” instantly drove them to want something “tactical.”  A few  other things combined as the 90s came to a close to make sniping and tactical rifles very popular.  Th e internet, more and more small custom shops, movies and more really made that market pick up.

But, it was too late for the Laredo.  the gun was out before  this wave of interest in long rage shooting hit big, and Winchester stopped making it right when it would have possibly taken off.  Another reason was  the gun rag writers constantly telling every one only the M700 remington was the standard.  The Army using the M24 and the USMC the M40 took people wanting what the military used sealed the deal on it having a chance at being considered.

It is a real shame.

I used the Laredo as my 1st 1,000 yard gun.  the 7mm mag may not be the best 1000 yard choice, but its a great choice for a college kid, with little money to spend and needed a factory offering.   I loaded the gun with 168 grain 7mm matchkings and later 175 gr HPBT match kings.  The flat shooting 7mm Mag and the mild recoil compared to the 300 win mag, made it pleasant to me since I am not a huge person.  The 7mm is more forgiving out to 1,000 then the 308 even if the barrel wears out faster.   Shooting that far  is mostly mental. Confidence is a big factory in making hits at 1,000 to 1,200.  And the 7mm helped me think i had an edge. Really , it is a pretty good choice, but not great.  Having a great deal of confidence in it did help me shoot better and shooting better let me concentrate on what mattered instead of worrying over the wrong things.

This rifle now belongs to some one else. Sold when I realized it was collecting dust more then being fired after I moved on to better rifles. Now the rifle has picatinny bases and rings canted for long range and a Millet scope.


Scope has a wide range of magnification up to 25x and has a 56 mm objective lens. It has target turrets in mils and has a mildot crosshair  along with a 30mm tube.  Base is Badger with leupold Mk4 rings.  To finish it off as a factory made affordable rifle for 1,000 yard plus shooting is a set of Harris Bipods.

The rifle still shoots sub MOA but is likely getting tired. I shot it a lot and new owner is hell on a rifle barrel and does not have my obsession with cleaning match barrels. the gun has been used to hit a 16 ounce coke bottle at 850 yards repeatedly when shooter actually meant to do it!!

The Laredo Model 70 is a fine rifle and it is a real shame it is not being made now.  Current FN produced M70s are fine guns but they  are not New Haven guns with that rich tradition and, worst of all, do not have the classic model 70 trigger that is so easy to adjust to whatever pull weight you wish within safety reason.

If, you are looking for a rifle to get your feet wet in the 1,000 shooting game. this is still a great choice. If you could find one in 7mm mag or 300 Mag and the barrel is in good shape I would not hesitate.   The reliability of the control round feed does not need even more words about how reliable and desirable it is from me. Its rep speaks for itself at this point.

The Laredo is a hard model to find these days. But in some areas of the country you are more likely to find a used one if good shape. Even if the barrel is shot out, this is a outstanding choice to start a custom project for a long range gun.  You would get a long action that would take a wide variety of long range chamberings and the stock is essentially a drop in match ready stock.  Having a new barrel installed to the caliber of your choice, would result in a rifle that could do anything you asked it to do within reason.


The 1990s did not have much good news for the gun world. We had the AWB, Clinton and other crimes against humanity. but it did give us the bitter sweat Laredo. The sweet, sweet laredo M70 with the pre 64 action  ready for anything and the bitter news of its early and sad demise before the next generation of shooters of tactical rifles and sniping could discover and rescue it from   the doom of countless other rifles ahead of their time.



TacStrike Target Stand for Training

A few months ago, I got looking for a nice stand to use for training and for my carboard targets. I wanted something small, tough easy to transport and not too pricey. I also needed it to set on ground that was not always perfect level.   One day I walked into Herd Tactical in Huntington, WV and saw exactly what I needed.


The target base/stand is tough metal that is built very solid, It takes two 2x2s into the deep. solid brackets.  There is a bolt that screw against the boards to act as giant set screws to take the wobble out.  They have durable finish that has kept mine from rusting despite being out in the winter weather for months.  For around forty dollars, you can not beat these simple systems.  TacStrike makes more then these stands, including steel plate targets. TacStrikes website lists Costa as having them at his on personal home range if that sorta thing impresses you.

The company has a great selection to help you outfit a range or training area  and  their targets will take some real abuse.

You can visit their Facebook page and see what they have and use it to go on to their website for ordering.


If you want a great deal on the stands visit Herd Tactical. The owner is a great guy who understands what CS is suppose to be.  Herd Tactical has a Facebook page and a website where you can order just about anything you could need. This is where I do all of my gun related shopping. He has the target stand in stock right now.