A little teaser for a couple of things to come over the next week or so. Things got a little busy for everyone, then the weather hampered outside range testing.
Pictured for upcoming testing is the KRISS Vector and the excellent HighCom Security active shooters kit plate carrier and two level 4 stand alone plates inside.
Accuracy testing for the Vector will hopefully be done this weekend for a review to be posted early next week.
We don’t often speak about other blogs here. One reason for that is that more than a few of the bigger names have stolen some of our posts and re-posted word for word our content. But there are a few that are outstanding in my opinion, and one in particular that is so good that is is the one website I spend almost as much time at as I do our own website here.
To use the owners words to help set the tone for the website.
“WeaponsMan is a blog about weapons. Primarily ground combat weapons, primarily small arms and man-portable crew-served weapons. The site owner is a former Special Forces weapons man (MOS 18B, before the 18 series, 11B with Skill Qualification Indicator of S), and you can expect any guest columnists to be similarly qualified.
Our focus is on weapons: their history, effects and employment. This is not your go-to place for gun laws or gun politics; other people have that covered.”
- The SAWs that never WAS: Intro, and XM106. This introduces the series, and the ugly duckling of the competition, a bizarre M16A1 variant with quick-change barrel, but still magazine-fed. Published 28 Oct 13.
- The SAWs that never WAS: Part 2, the XM-248′s forerunner, XM235. The Rodman Labs XM235 was a radical reconception of the light machine gun which was designed to increase accuracy and reduce unintended dispersion on target. We mention in passing its abandoned XM233 and 234 competitors, all chambered for a 6.0 x 45mm cartridge. Published 31 Oct 13.
- The SAWs that never WAS: Part 3, XM248. Rodman couldn’t go to production, so the commercial makers of the XM233 and XM234, Philco and Maremont, competed for the contract. Philco (later Ford Aerospace) won, and began to make changes to the XM235, as requested by the Army, producing the XM248. Published 2 Nov 13.
- The SAWS that Never WAS, part 3b: the feed of the XM248. The ratchet-driven sprocket belt feed of the XM235/248 is examined using the patent documents as a basis. Published 4 Nov 13.
- The SAWs that never WAS: Part 4, H&K XM262. Heckler & Koch’s entry was initially just a baseline for comparison of the Army’s own designs, but it performed well enough to make it into the final four (with the 106, 248, and 249). Published 9 Nov 13.
- The SAWs that never WAS, Part 5, XM249. Like the H&K XM262, the XM249 was initially just entered to compare the FN light machine gun to the Army entries, but it ultimately beat them all. Published 23 Nov 13.
If you like our page, I strongly recommend WeaponsMan, it is highly addictive and always entertaining with a high does of humor mixed with technical discussion.
This is the first website to be mentioned in this series because it stands above all others that will come. It has my highest recommendation and I hope you go check it out and enjoy it as much as I do.
My wife has a new gun. She wanted something metal. She wanted something that would be fun to shoot. She wanted something that would be interesting. We hunted interesting down, watched some Cowboy Bebop, and hopped on the internet. The Jericho was being re-imported once again by IWI, and after discussing the particulars of the Jericho with her, she was sold. She wanted Isreali Steel. I just hoped that when we plunked down the cash, the Isreali wunder nine would function and give her enough of a smile to enjoy shooting.
Let’s break it down:
The Jericho 941 is steel meets steel. It’s a heavy, big service pistol. It’s the type of gun you would want to hit someone with after exhausting all your ammo. Clean lines, excellent (or rather, peerless) machine work give us a pistol with incredibly smooth contours and lines. There are no machining marks, or rough edges. I am really impressed by the work in this piece. After researching the Jericho 941 and ordering sight unseen… I was a wee bit worried. Not so much anymore. The action is based on the CZ75 with an Isreali twist. It bears a familial resemblence, but the lines of the Jericho are much more industrial and flat. Like its relative, the action and slide of the Jericho sit tight inside the frame and as a side effect, reveal little of the slide itself for weapon manipulation. Unlike say, my square Glock which gives me lots of real estate for racking and manipulation, the Jericho gives much less purchase. Consider this a negative if forced to manipulate the weapon when wet or in slippery conditions. Oil carefully so that you don’t coat the slide in excessive slippery oil. Overall, the slide serrations work fine and once you have a normal grip on the pice, it slides back to the rear with little effort.
Once you do get the slide back, you might also notice how smooth it is. Coming from the Tupperware generation of Glocks, I recall the first time I racked a Glock and was met by the scratchy, gritty feel of Gaston’s masterpiece. Once we got the Jericho home and I racked it back, I was jealous. The slide came back so buttery smooth that I instantly realized that IWI had quality in mind with the piece. There is no grit, no chrunch, just a smooth resistance until the barrel drops, which then is increased ever so slightly as the slide pushes the hammer down into the cocked position. Fantastic quality here folks, especially at $549 dollars.
The controls are ergonomic, but not ambidextrous. We have right handed controls incorporating a slide lever and safety made for a right handed shooter. A beavertail sticks out the rear to discourage slide bite. The full size service pistol frame fits my hands well, and I am a small-medium glove wearer. Smalls feel a bit tight, mediums a bit roomy. The Jericho’s controls were all reachable and capable of being activated with my hand size.
The trigger is a double / single action without a decocker. Meaning if you want this pistol in condition one, you have two options: drop the hammer with your thumb while pulling the trigger and hope you don’t slip, or option two: hammer back, round in chamber, safety on. Trigger pull itself is heavy and stiff much like every other double action I owned, but since the pistol will be primarily in single action mode (I am not willing to drop that little hammer on a live round, I like having a thumb) the single action mode was good to go. Single action is light, perhaps 3-4 lbs of trigger with a very short pull distance to the wall, and a smooth pull to the rear completes the hammer drop. A short reset with a tactile snap of sear engagement rounds out the single action package. I believe this gun permits you to run it fast based on the single action trigger characteristics.
The sights are standard, front and rear driftable three dot sights. Night sights are available from Meprolight for upgrades down the road.
In action, the gun had no major concerns from me. The heavy frame kept recoil down to a minimum and my wife, a first time pistol owner, had no trouble or fear from this gun’s recoil. It simply shoots without much fanfare. We cycled a 50 round box of Winchester 124 grain 9mm without issue. I was relieved that my wifes new pistol was functioning properly.
I had lots of my favorite brand of malfunctioning reloads handy, freedom munitions, to test as well. Having bought this stuff a year ago, I found that my G19 ate it like candy, while my G17 jammed like crazy with it. In my opinion, it is a weakly loaded ammo that I believe had difficulty cycling the heavier slide and new recoil spring of my G17. We threw some of this 115 grain 9mm through the Jericho and my Glock and both pistols choked at least once or twice a magazine… which gave me a chance to teach my wife how to clear malfunctions. At this time, another quirk became apparent; the flat, flush floorplate give us nothing to grab in order to strip a mag to clear a malfunction. Consider CZ75 magazine extensions to assist in clearance drills since the CZ75 and Jericho magazines are the compatible.
Past the crappy reloaded ammo, the gun started to loosen up, and was taken out again for a separate range session with one malfunction during my wife’s CCW course. She stripped the magazine and cleared the pistol, and had it back online for the next target rotation without issue. This singular malfunction was with factory new Winchester 115 grain white box. The ammo breakdown was thus: 50 rounds of 124 grain ammo without malfunction. 100 rounds of underpowered reloads which choked both the IWI and my G17, 25 rounds of aluminum cased budget ammo with no malfunctions, and 100 + – rounds of new 115 grain Winchester white box with one malfunction during a CCW course.
The pistol handled well, points well, and shoots well. Thus far it slings lead with precision and ejects brass consistently to the right. I believe the malfunctions at this point are ammo related. Most problems were failure to eject, telling me that the ammo just didn’t have the power to rock the slide back all the way to the rear. This gun likes ammo with a decent power factor, otherwise plinker ammo and weaker stuff is likely going to have a hard time cycling the heavy steel slide and stiff (new) recoil spring.
With a gun like the Jericho, expect less in the way of accessories than standard common sidearms, but luckily this pistol has been around for decades, and importers bring a variety of holsters and components over from Israel… but ultimately the options are somewhat limited in comparison to more common products.
Final impression: A little more testing is warranted to examine the pistol and different ammo types. Defensive quality ammo seems like it will be the hot ticket for reliability, and the overall weight and heft of this steel service pistol will keep the recoil impulse down. The controls are ergonomic for a right handed shooter, and the second stage of the trigger is light and clean. The first stage is long and hard to reach if you have small hands. The gun must be carried cocked and locked. This gun would be a excellent piece for home defense with some night sights and a light. A little big / heavy for carry (2.3 lbs) but if your a OWB carry guy / gal and want a old fashioned steel piece, give it a try. I will report back on Looserounds if the pistol has any problems past the break in period, but I will be cycling 124 grain or higher 9mm through this pistol for the foreseeable future.
SoldierSystems shared this pretty cool ad from FN.
I had the opportunity to play around a bit with a Leupold MK6 3-18 with the Horus H58 reticle. Horus reticles tend to be a polarizing subject as people seem to either love them or hate them.
I am a big fan of the Leupold MK6 3-18. I’d take it over a S&B, Nighforce, or other high end scope as I love its compact size, layout , and features.
Other than the reticle the H58 MK5 is exactly the same as my MK6 with a TMR reticle. So to get you some size by size pictures, I mounted both optics to my Optic Test Fixture, as shown below.
At three power the thick outer bars of the TMR reticle makes it east to quickly pick up.
The H58 has two horizonal bars which are useful for indexing on a target quick at low power. They appeared to be thicker than the bars on the TMR, but just having two made me feel slower and less intuitive for lining up on a target quick at low power.
I took many pictures of the Horus reticle at 18 power and this is the only one that turned out anywhere near acceptable. It does look a good bit better in person. The horizontal lines above the center of the reticle start at 1 mil and then lower at .1 increments to aid in measuring the height of an object for ranging. The set of numbers along with those lines are for finding the movement speed of the target in MPH. Below the center of the reticle is the famous(or infamous) Horus grid.
Here is the TMR at 18 power.
The Leupold MK6 has a nice set of features including zero stops, a capped windage know with +- 5 mils of adjustment before hitting the stop, etc. I think the main benefits of this 3-18 is its large power range in a small size along with excellent glass.
So after having the chance to use the Horus 58 for a bit, I’m really not sure if I like it or not. When I have shot at paper targets at known ranges, the Horus reticle appears to be thicker than the TMR and covers more of the point of aim. The grid can cover a bullet hole in paper making it harder to spot.
The Horus starts to shine at longer distances. Shooting steel at 600 yards it was easy to see the splash in the dirt from misses and quickly adjust from it. You really benefit if you shooting a gun where you can spot your own impact and shooting in an area where you can easily see misses.
I’m not quite sure how to put it, but I wouldn’t recommend the Horus reticle to someone. If you need it you would know. If you don’t know if you need it or not, you don’t. I don’t believe it would aid or be more intuitive for a new shooter, however I don’t believe a good scope with a Horus reticle would hurt a novice either. It is an interesting option, but not a necessity.
What If YouTube Gun Channels Were 100% Honest?
Look, as the Geico commercial reminds us, not everything you see on the internet is true. YouTube gun channels are no exception. While many are honest and forthright, many others are dishonest shills who will say anything to get more free stuff.
YouTube posters do not earn as much as you might think. The amount earned for each view varies, depending on a variety of factors such as view duration and engagement, but it looks as though most channels earn somewhere in the neighborhood of about one dollar for every thousand views. That means that, unless you have an extremely popular channel, you probably will not even recover the gas money you spend driving to the range. That’s okay for many of us. We are not in it for the money. Don’t get me wrong, it would be great if I was someday able to get enough from YouTube that I could buy a new gun, but for the time being, I spend more on making test videos than I get out of them and I’m fine with that.
As you can see, I get about $30 a month from YouTube and about two bucks a month from my most popular video. Not time to quit the day job yet. Some YouTube channels treat their channel as a business, though. They have invested in advertising to promote their channel and have enjoyed a significant return on their investment in subscriber count. Channels like this usually aggressively pursue manufacturers for test and evaluation samples and may even receive monetary compensation. The latter is of questionable legality under consumer protection laws. If they do receive compensation and do not disclose the fact, it is most likely a crime. On the other hand, they will shatter their illusion of impartiality if they do tell their viewers that they are promoting paid content.
In some cases, it is painfully obvious, such as TWANGnBANG’s videos where he simply tells us everything that a manufacturer put out in their press release over the manufacturer’s publicity photos without fact checking any of the manufacturer’s claims. Other times, it is more subtle, such as MAC’s pervasive use of ZQI ammunition in all his videos, right after the trip he took to their plant in Turkey that I’m sure he paid for out of pocket. Or his detour to tell us about the 3M electronic earpro in a video about a 9mm carbine.
Now, T&E samples are an important part of the gun industry. Reviewers get free samples and sometimes are allowed to keep them and we get to see new stuff. The Manufacturer gets free advertising and the YouTube channel gets a way to make content that generates revenue. There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with paid advertisements, either, so long as it is clear that is what we are seeing.
The real problem comes into play when viewers believe they are watching an honest, unbiased product review when, in reality, they are watching what amounts to a paid endorsement. Even when actual cash money does not change hands, it can be difficult to maintain an entirely unbiased perspective if you are getting free stuff. Moreover, the manufacturers are not likely to give you things to review if you have a reputation for tough criticism. This pressure to be gentle is usually somewhat subtle but can occasionally be explicitly stated. Another YouTuber told me about an interaction with a manufacturer where they explicitly stated that they would not send ammunition for testing unless they could be assured that they would have the opportunity to review the video before publishing.
I know from personal experience that some manufacturers react poorly to negative reviews of their products. A while back I posted an article here that was highly critical of DRT ammunition on the grounds that it fails to meet, or even come close, to FBI penetration recommendations. I have often used DRT as an example of worthless gimmick ammunition because it is. In response, the president of DRT emailed me to invite me to shoot animals with his ammunition. I am a meat eater and I am happy to kill an animal for food. Moreover, I am confident that the animals used in his testing are not wasted, but it seems unnecessarily cruel to shoot the animals solely to determine the effects of the ammunition. I cannot rightly articulate why it rubs me wrong, it just does. Aside from the ethical consideration, the fact is that his ammunition does not meet established standards using the established method of testing. Apparently, he hoped to distract from the failure in standardized testing by subjecting animals to his idea of “testing”.
He declined to answer when I asked him whether the deer would be moving rapidly, using cover, and shooting back, but the exchange went downhill from there. Shooting an unsuspecting animal in relatively controlled conditions is obviously not the same as a desperate fight with a human being who is also desperately fighting for his own life, which is why a shallowly penetrating projectile works fine for hunting, if the shot is carefully placed. When fighting a human being, though, you do not have the luxury to decide not to take a shot if you think it will not produce a humane kill. You must shoot to stop and your rounds will likely impact the torso at an angle after passing through a limb or other intervening obstacle.
It is pure speculation on my part, but in light of this interaction, and given the conversations I have had with other folks in the gun community and in the industry, this sort of “gentle” pressure is likely common. And why wouldn’t manufacturers want to aggressively promote a positive image of their products?
The bottom line is that you are encouraged to exercise discretion and take YouTube reviews with a whole fistful of salt.
Editor’s/Owner’s note – While I have no idea how things likely work on the youtube gun community. Gun writers with few exceptions get to keep any guns for free. It is true that we are mostly offered the “writer’s price” and that price is often very hard to say no to, we get no guns from any companies for free. Obviously they do send them out for demo free of charge, but they do want them back or want you to buy them. Some writers do indeed get stuff for free to keep and we all obviously know them as what they are. Shills.
As far as companies wanting to look at a review before it goes up, only one company has ever said that to me and it was KAC. And that was after I had to justify and explain in detail what I wanted to do with the gun in questions. Obviously since you have never read a review of the KAC EMC carbine on looseorunds, you know how that turned out. – Shawn
For a long time “ceramic” meant “expensive” when it comes to body armor. Either pay at least $500 at a minimum for a ceramic level IV plate or settle for a less expensive and less effective steel plate. As more regular folks buy armor for just in case, market pressure has forced manufacturers to adapt. Some manufacturers are producing tougher, “level III+” steel plates that can stop some of the high velocity .223/5.56mm threats that regular level III steel plates cannot. At the same time, ceramic plates have also become more affordable. Highcom Security actually offers a level IV ceramic plate at a price lower than some steel plates. It is available in a variety of sizes, curve options, and cuts, but in the 10″ x 12″ shooter’s cut, single curve style that is so popular, the price is $159.
At that price, one might reasonably suspect how effective the plate is. As the sci-fi writer Robert A. Heinlein was fond of saying “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.” It is quite reasonable to be suspicious of the quality at such an attractive price, but the plate has far exceeded any reasonable expectations.
Everything done in the test above shatters expectations, if you’ll pardon the pun. The hammer impact far exceeds anything you could reasonably expect to encounter in field use and the .358 Win is also something the plate was not designed to stop. Bear in mind that when this test was conducted, the plate had already stopped a 405 gr .450 Marlin at almost 2,000 fps. The plate then went on to stop a round of 7.62x51mm M61 AP.
Again, it is important to bear in mind that the plate had already sustained some ridiculous abuse before stopping the armor piercing round.
As tough as the plate is, it is also a little heavier than other plates with the same NIJ rating, but at 7.2 lbs for the 10″ x 12″ shooter’s cut, the difference is not huge and still lighter than steel plates of similar dimensions, while providing a great deal more protection than steel plates.
As always, the burden is upon you to do comprehensive research and determine your own priorities before purchasing any personal protective equipment. It is likewise important to stress that training matters a great deal more than equipment. No amount of gear, no matter how cool can make up for poor training. The more you sweat in training, the less you will bleed in a fight.