We have used a lot of different stuff in this past year. Some of it given to us to test, most we paid for out of pocket. There was a lot out this year, some of it great, some not so great or just crappy and some of it was just blah at best according to personal taste. I am going to kick talk a bit about some of each that I used in this past year. Not all of it was new just for this year exactly and some of it was just new to me so, I talked about just the things that made the biggest impression on me this year that was at least, new to me. Nothing is in an order denoting its favor, but I still number it out of some strange sense of obligation to number lists.
First off is my listing of the good stuff I used in the past year.
The IO cover made for the Aimpoint T-1 was new this year. Howard got us some through the kickstarter program that got it made. It is everything advertised and having a way to protect the T1 was something needed for a while. I love it.
I used this some last year as well, but since I love it so much I included it this year. It takes a while to be able to really test a magazine to know you can trust it 100 percent so after over a year, I am still in love with the Lancer AWM and consider it the best mag out there right now.
Speaking of Mags, the Magpul 40 round Pmag hit this year. It is as you would expect any Pmag. It is a 3rd gen mag obviously and having the extra 10 rounds with no real noticeable wight is damned nice to have. While it is not a AMW Lancer, it is still a great magazine and if as reliable as any other Pmag.
When it comes to outside the belt Kydex holster, in my opinion, nothing and no one beats the DarkStar Gear custom made holsters. I am proud to have a DSG banner on our website for a reason. I have three of these babies in three different versions and I do not see how I ever lived my life without these. They are comfy, low profile and hug your body. The craftsmanship is very high and customer service can not be beat. less wait time then some of the other more well known big name makers with more hype to their name but with all the quality that should make these even more famous and well known then holsters from places like Raven.
the soft belt loops which I have not seen on other kydex tactical holster, hug the holster even tighter to the belt and keeps the holster to belt fit solid and tight. I could go on and on about the Dark Star Gear holster but I would bore you to tears. Get some of them.
Another holster I am very impressed with and like an idiot missed out on for years. the Comp Tac inside the belt holster is a blend of leather and Kydex and is the most comfortable IWB holster I have owned and I own a lot. Being able to adjust how deep the gun set in the pants and tight the retention are just two of its features. I wear a full size 1911 all day every day, and with this holster, after putting the gun on, I forget I even have it on even when setting or driving. Worth every penny they ask for them.
In a time that is in a craze for 1x-4x-5x-6x-8x smaller optics meant to be used with more direct action violent gun handling in mind, the Leupold MK AR 1x-4x is a great scope. It is a lot of optic for the money. You get a useful reticule that is illuminated, Mil turrets with a BDC that can be swapped out for whatever bullet weight you want to use and with a price that is not catastrophic with all the Leupod quality. I really like this scope. it is at home on a carbine or an SPR. Just the day before I used it to ring steel to 600 yards over and over.
Another CompTac product I like is the single stack mag pouch. With retention adjustment and a clip for the belt. This low profile pouch for EDC or competition is my new every day spare reloads mag holder.
After T&Eing the Tactical Link Z-360 rear sling point mount, I fell in love. Light weight and strong, you do not have to take your gun apart or alter staking. It has a steel cup for your QD swivel and comes in a variety of colors. I have not been able to break mine and since it was given to me to test, I gave it my best shot to break it or pull the sling out of its socket. All I did was hurt my back.
And that leads me to the next Tactical Link product..
If you use a Magpul BAD lever, stop. Buy this instead. In a perfect world, that is all I should have to say but since its not… the Tactical link EBAL is what the BAD lever wants to be when it grows up. This thing is everything you would have thought the BAD would have evolved to after all these years instead of stagnating and not changing. I did a full review on this part that you can read for more detail if you want. No joke. This thing is truly a real improvement that is hard to imagine until you start trying one. Made as tough as chinese algebra, this thing is not just for 3 gun or some plinking on youtube to look cool. It is great.
I tried this Norma match 77 grain .223 ammo a few months ago. It is more accurate then the Federal gold medal match 77 grain round and is neck and neck with Black Hills match in the red box. Still not hand load great ( only handloads are that good) and its pricey, but it is good stuff.
If you read anything about what I like on my carbines, you know I like Ambi. The Knights Armament Ambi selector is what I have been using and I am really happy with it. I have been using the KAC ambi for too long to talk about here. but the Colt ambi selector will be what I buy for the guns I will outfit with the ambi selector in the future. It lacks the scalloping of the KAC but thats not real concern, It is Colt quality and it works perfect, installs easy and gives me the warm feeling of knowing it has the quality of a Colt product which I obviously and unabashedly prefer.
Last in the good list ( unless I remember something later, so check this in a few days) is the Leupold repro of the Redfield USMC sniper scop made for the M40 Sniper rifle in the Vietnam war. Remington made a limited run precise copy of the M40 a few years ago but no one could find or afford an original Redfield green sniper optic for it. Leupold now owns redfield so the custom shop made a few 3x-9x scopes in green in the refield accu track pattern for those of us with the M40 repro. It has its faults,i.e friction plate adjustments and a mildot, instead of cross hair and accu track range finder, but its still a leupold quality scope and looks correct on an M40. or as close as most of us could get without spending a small fortune Badger Ord also made matching repr Redfield Jr. M700 short action /M40 bases and rings for the same gun/scope that are equally nice.
Now I will talk a bit about what I was least impressed by this past year.
the BCM grip was “meh” for me. I know a lot will claim its a huge advance and puts the trigger in line with the blah blah blah, but I found it just did not offer up any real reason to change in most cases. And sometimes I found it made things worse for me and most of my friends who tried it agreed with me. I know people love BCM like the company is their Mommy, but that’s just my opinion on it not a scientific fact.
Next up is the TAVOR. I found it nothing more then hype and the normal band wagon love that comes with everything IDF. If you want a bullpup, get an AUG.
The Super Sniper 1x-6x. While a great idea, it was not really executed all that great.
The Civilian Legal DBAL is really cool and the IR laser is everything you would want. the bad side is the day visible laser is very, very hard to see. Even from 20 yards it is not much good. I would not say this product is bad, but it did let me down a little. Luckily the IR laser is really the only reason to have one of these so it works out after all. But don’t buy one unless you really need IR laser and have something like a PVS 14 because the visible laser is mostly unusable.