Since the surefire 60 round mags have came out a few years ago I have been doing some long term testing of them. They seem to have a shady reputation for reliability in some corners while others deem them fine. I have written about them a few times already. I tested them for reliability and durability, as well as talking about how the changed the handling of a carbine and perceived weight. Last year I wrote about how I left two of the 60s fully loaded for a a hair under 2 years, then fired them with no problems.
I continued that test and had another surefire 60 round mag fully loaded for a hair over 3 years. I had planned on firing it and writing about it, when a friend brought over a full auto lower. It was a great chance to test the mag since full auto is more strain on everything.
I slapped my Colt H3 buffer in the lower and my Colt 6940 upper on the dealer sample lower and fired the surefire mag in burst.
As can be seen in the video. I worked perfect. I followed that up with a few more times of using it in longer bursts with no problems. The Surefire magazines may be hit and miss and have a certain rep online. But I have had no problems with my three and long term testing and efforts to get one to fail without completely abusing it, have shown them to be reliable. I will continue long term testing with updates since the mag is still is in doubt as a useful piece of gear. I have to say that I still have confidence in the ones I have been testing and would use them without worry.
I pickup an Aimpoint 3X mangifer in a Samson Flip To Side mount to play around with.
The Samson FTS mount has a cross bolt so you screw it onto your rail. A lever is on the left side to flip the magnifier over.
I had to swap out the Matech rear sight I was using with a KAC 300m rear sight. The Samson mount did not have enough height to clear the Matech sight.
The spring in the mount quickly pushes the magnifier out of the way. It also hold the magnifier off on the side pretty well. If you violently shake the rifle, the magnifier will move, but it stays out of the way pretty well.
After playing with this mount a bit, I don’t like it. It appears to be well made, but it isn’t right for me. Flip to side mounts like the LaRue can be used by either hand while this one has its lever on the left side. I also don’t like how it screws to the gun, I would prefer to be able to take the magnifier off quickly. For me, this mount isn’t right, but I would recommend it to someone who wants a dedicated FTS mount.
The last decade has been a wild ride for the AR15. The technology rush that shaped the basic rifle of the AWB era has given way to a technology rich rifle platform made to promote quick hits, at any distance, with ergonomic excellence and a user centric design.
It was only a matter of time before the technology march reached into the territory of the sidearm.
A PDW is a Personal Defense Weapon. It’s that weapon you would give tanker crews and other non combat troops which packs more punch than a pistol, but less than a rifle. It’s an in-between to shoot back at your assailant and get out of dodge. Here too, technology has tricked down to miniaturize existing designs such as the AR15 and equip it with high performance accessories. The civilian marketplace has made great strides in pushing technology and the design of the AR to the peak of its performance.
Now here we are… it’s 2015 and now the technology is transitioning to the pistol. As miniature red dots make their way onto thousands more pistols this summer, we have to take another look at the pistol and examine the direction it will take in the future. My thoughts?
We are turning pistols into the equivalent of a civilian PDW:
As we install micro red dots and then install compensators to keep the muzzle down and make that fancy dot easier to track, we can see that modern defensive pistols are slowly following the same path as the AR. As race gun technology trickled down into the military world, we forged the utility of the fighting rifle together with the practicality of the race gun to give our soldiers one of the best fighting rifles in the world.
Now we will see the same transformation of the pistol. It will be the melding of a traditional defensive handgun with the miniaturized features of the race pistol. We see manufacturers offering micro red dot mounting systems right from the factory. We see well known trainers equipping their pieces with +5 or +6 magazine extensions. I saw several “non race-gun” CCW pieces equipped with slide mounted red dots competing in a USPSA event.
So do we need to go this route? Does a defensive pistol need this junk?
We likely will not be in the next Kenya Mall style attack. The chance is infinitesimal… but as red dots and control accessories become more commonplace in the CCW pistol, who wouldn’t want a pistol that runs at the cutting edge of speed and performance? I don’t intend to stick around and play hero in any mass shooting, but if an assailant gets between my family and the exit I want to lay down lead so heavy the coroner would believe he was hit by a shotgun. We got *lucky* in Garland, Texas.
I purchased the G17 you see above to specifically to test out the latest in drop in, non custom performance accessories. My intent is to run this gun in USPSA open division as soon as I get all the accessories I need. I want a RDS, Light, and a Compensator. I will carry it in winter time under my coat as my CCW and if I can figure out a way to conceal it in the summer, game on. I figure… why not.
The amount of people on the web ready to tell you how unreliable the 1911 is, may approach the population of China or India. Even some bigger name instructors wishing to get more attention by saying things controversial blather on about it even when they really do not know as much about it as they would have you think. One thing to keep in mind is that just because you can teach people to shoot, does not mean you are always a good judge of the tools themselves. Then again, they got guns with their names on them they have to sell for the companies that handed them a check.
Among all this babble I noticed Bravo company has a joint 1911 project with Wilson combat. Obviously the gun is only made by Wilson,but the idea is you get a very expensive high end 1911 with all the things the “BCM Gunfighter instructors” say a 1911 needs. I am skeptical to say the least. I am going to make an assumption and say the Bravo boys are most likely hard core Glock, M&P and other striker fired and DA/SA shooters. Not the guys I really think need to tell me what a 1911 needs. In addition, I highly doubt Wilson needs anyone to tell them how to make a 1911.
Now, if you read this website you know how I feel about 1911s made to hard/tight fit with all the other custom gunsmith alchemy added with the price reaching ever high levels. To sum up. I am not a fan. I think a proper made Milspec 1911 with a few touches is really all you need if you really want a serious use 1911. Not for target or competition work more than things that will abuse it. My rule of thumb with 1911s are , over 800 but under 1800. Its a good bet with a few exception over or under that price range is counter productive if you want a 1911 made the way it was meant to be. I have talked about this at great length before.
The 1911 pictured is for lack of a better term, my training 1911. It is a Colt XSE Government model. It is, with two exception, as Colt sold it from the box. I took off the ambi safety, not because I do not like them, but because I wanted something closer to what plain GI and what I may run across if I am forced to pick up and use a 1911 that is not mine and it forces me to deal with a single safety in drills to make it harder. The other change is I added a 1911A1 WW2 main spring housing arched and with a lanyard loop. I did this because I like it, and because it goes along with a certain idea I had in mind for the gun that I will go into at a later time.
I have been very rude to this gun. In the winter, it was thrown into muddy, icy water and frozen in sub freezing temps . I pulled it out and fired it with no problems. I fished it out of the water, broke the gun from battery to drain the water and fired it.
I have used this gun very hard over the years and I never clean it. I only oil it. Over the weekend while shooting, I tossed it on the ground and kicked dirt all over it and in it and shot it.
While I did get a face full of dirt on the first few shots every time I threw it down and kicked it around int the dirt, it never stopped. Fellow looseorunds writer Adam was with me taking pictures. He has been seeing me abuse 1911s for a few years and has started to have a major change of opinion on them after seeing my torture. The simple fact is, 1911s made right , work. Cheap 1911s will not work. The guns rep suffers because everyone and their mentally challenged brother in law make them. Some better than others. When some new trainer sees one of these lesser guns fail in a class, the run all over the net proclaiming it as junk. Indeed some are. But not the ones made correctly to the proper specs. Not a hard fit gun. Not a MIM filled piece of garbage like a currently popular brand who fools many with custom features. Not some cast made piece that falls apart as you shoot it. External extractors, MIM parts. Cast guns. JMB, Colt nor the army every mentioned any of that when making the military’s longest serving combat pistol still being used today when made correctly.
It does not have to be super tight. It does not need cost over 2 grand. It can be loose and rattle a little. None of that hurts a proper 1911.
A proper 1911 will last a very long time. The myth of 5,000 round barrels is also a common one. It is simply untrue. This guns has close to 24,000 rounds through it and I can still hit thrown skeet.And that is while is is caked in dirt and mud and filth
John Travis. gunsmith and writer for Rangehot speaks more eloquently on the 1911 than I can. His posts are informative and technical as he dis spells many of the tired old myths and just plain bullshit running out of the mouths of some of the younger generation of firearms instructors. If you really like the 1911 or want to learn more, Go check these links out. You will learn something you did not know.