Here are a few of my favorite products of 2014. They are in no particular order.
M&P Shield, without safety:
After the first of the year disappointment in the G42 being a .380, the new M&P Shield stepped in to fill the single stack 9mm role everyone was wanting. Smith & Wesson quickly capitalized by finally listening to what most had said about the Shield over the last few years. Mainly, many wanted the Shield to be offered without a safety, to operate more like the M&P Full Size models and a Glock. I picked up the new Shield offering mid-year and it basically goes with me every day. The Shield had a few hiccups when first released and some recently. These issues have been fixed by Smith & Wesson and the Shields are very reliable. One thing I found very interesting, is when I fired the 9mm Shield and the G42 together, I did not feel a lot of recoil difference.
Lancer L5 AWM Magazines:
If you have followed us for a while, you know my personal stock up/go to magazines are USGI with Magpul followers and L-Plates. In 2014 I found amazing deals on Lancer L5 Advanced Warfighter Magazines (AWM) at USGI prices so I jumped on them. The Lancer L5 AWM is (In my Opinion) the best magazine to use for Duty/Defensive purposes. A true 30 round capacity polymer magazine with the strength of wraparound steel feed lips. Most of the popular polymer magazines will crack, over time, around the feed lips. With the Lancer’s this is a non-issue. Price was always the only reason I did not buy a lot of Lancer’s. In 2014 Lancer L5 AWM’s became my go to magazine.
Surefire X300 Weapon Light:
Several of the LR staff have bugged me to get a Surefire X300 over the last few years. As with everything I get, price is always a factor, as I have multiple defensive weapons and it’s hard to get several firearms equipped with a weapon light when they are expensive. The Streamlight TLR-1 is usually what I like to use. I purchase a Surefire X300 specifically to mount on one of my AR-15’s and I am glad I did. The Surefire X300 is the best weapon mounted light I have used on an AR-15. It is a little more user friendly on the AR, has a longer distance more focused beam and has a little more lumens than the TLR-1’s I normally use. On a patrol rifle, for my specific purposes, the Surefire X300 is the best weapon mounted light I have used to date. It has just the right combination of function and light output, for both outdoor and indoor use.
Colt AR15-A4 Lightweight LE Carbine (AR6720):
The low prices on AR15’s have been great in 2014. At the beginning of the year I purchased a Colt AR6720. It is one of those AR’s that made me say, ” Why did I wait so long to get it”. You find yourself wondering how a pencil barrel can really make that much of a difference. Once you get it in your hands, it just feels right. The 6720 has all of the things you want in a reliable lightweight Carbine. It is lightweight, fast, smooth, accurate, fun to shoot and most importantly, it has the quality and features you expect in a duty/defensive carbine. I really purchased the 6720 for my wife and she absolutely loves it, but I find myself wanting to steal it. (looserounds.com / colt-lightweight-ar6720-carbine)
Aimpoint Micro T1/H1:
For the second year in a row, I have to mention the Aimpoint Micro’s. I have slowly replaced all of my older 30mm (M2, ML2, ML3) Aimpoint’s. They are simply, small, fast, rugged, reliable, lightweight and have unmatched battery life. There is not much more that I can say that is not already out there. Aimpoint is simply the best RDS and I feel the micro’s are the best within the Aimpoint line.
Kinetic Concepts Tactical MOLLE-Link:
For me, the Kinetic Concepts Tactical (KCT) MOLLE-Link system, has to be my favorite and I think most innovative products this year. It is one of those things that is so simple yet so effective and makes you wonder why it took so long for someone to think of it. The MOLLE-Link system allowes a low profile ability to mount Kydex holsters, magazine and accessory pouches directly to MOLLE webbing, with no bulky accessory attachments. The KCT MOLLE-Link products are easy to quickly mount/remove and are extremely secure. Great product and idea from KCT. (looserounds.com / kinetic-concepts-tactical-molle-link-holsters)