Heckler & Koch VP9LE

Over the last few years I have slowly been replacing all of my .40 caliber handguns. I have been sitting on my last .40 cal Glock 22 for a while because it was sentimental to me. It never really gets used, (don’t think I have fired it in 5 years). The Glock 22 is one of my staged home defense firearms sitting in a quick access safe.  I have been searching for the right firearm to replace it.  I have been looking hard at Heckler & Koch’s and Sig Sauer’s lately, as I am familiar with them. I have a lot of Glock’s and because of their low price; I can pick one up any time. I did not want to replace this particular firearm with another Glock. I wanted something different, that was well made, reliable, mid to full sized, and could be carried anytime or used in a defensive pistol class. I did not want something I was going to forget about and never use.  I narrowed my choices down to three H&K models:  (1) USP Compact 9, (2) P30 and (3) the VP9 LE. Now, the HK magazine release has never been an issue with me. There are several ways to manipulate the firearm to hit the magazine release and you need to become very familiar with how to do this.

Heckler & Koch VP9LE
Heckler & Koch VP9LE

I am very familiar with the USP models and the USP Compact 9 is a nice small package. I knew that I would end up going with a light LEM trigger in the USP and the P30. The light LEM, if you know how to use it, is a very good trigger system. Then there was the VP9, basically an HK version of a Glock or M&P striker fired firearm, and my #3 choice out of the bunch. I was lucky to walk into a store that had all three of these firearms on hand. I spent my time holding, manipulating, dry firing and scrutinizing all three of these choices. I loved the P30 grip, it is one of the most comfortable handgun grips I have every felt, but the rear decocker next to the hammer was very unusual and awkward.  The USP is what it is, reliable, ok grip, low 13 round magazine capacity, frame compact but somehow the slide is still bulky and too fat. I was fast becoming very disappointed in my choices and starting to think about a totally different platform. Also, at the end of the day I could not justify a polymer framed handgun at 1k prices.

VP9LE case & accessories
VP9LE case & accessories

Initial VP9 Thoughts:

I picked up the VP9LE basically conceding defeat on my HK choices and suddenly things started falling into place. I had really never considered the VP9 as a choice. It is relatively new to the market, it’s another striker fired handgun and had some weird features on it I was not sure about. Once it was in my hands things started quickly going my way.

The grip on the VP9 was very close to the P30. I knew it had additional side panels and back straps, for additional grip adjustment. When I first took a firm grip of the VP9, I immediately thought, this is one of the best contoured and stippled grips I have felt on a striker fired handgun. There was a distinct hump in the back strap of grip that was more pronounced than on the P30, but I knew there was a smaller back strap without this hump. I was confident this would make it very close to the P30 grip.

The VP9 has very natural point-ability and balance to it. As I was manipulating the VP9LE, it seemed the sights were very quick to acquire. The sights are nothing special, just basic Tru Dot night sights. One thing that was distracting to me initially, were the patented charging support wings behind the rear slide serrations. They seemed unnecessary and initially kind-of distracted my sight picture, but I also knew these could be removed.

I ended up buying the VP9LE after some intense negotiations with the manager of the store, (I never pay retail). In-fact, I came out so good on the deal, there was no way I could have said no. Plus, the longer I was messing with the VP9, it started looking even more nice and it is badass looking. My co-worker was so surprised at the deal I managed to negotiate, that he bought one for the same deal. I bought the VP9LE several months ago and have been using it frequently since the purchase. Before we get too in-depth on review, I want to mention there will be no token, (backward bullet pictures in this review), with the magazines.

HK VP9LE
HK VP9LE

Price:

The price on the VP9LE is all over the place. Look for a deal on one, if you are in the market. My purpose in purchasing the VP9 was to replace an aging firearm, in a caliber I no longer use. After selling my Glock 22, I purchased the VP9LE for 648.00 dollars out the door. After all was said and done, the VP9LE replaced a 16 year old duty weapon for approximately 173.00 dollars. I don’t know about you, but I will take a new firearm, to replace an old one, with three (3) magazines and night sights for 173.00 all day long. That being said, 650.00 for the VP9LE is a pretty decent deal as well.  Retail on a Gen4 Glock without night sights is 599.00.  If you minus the extra magazine at 45.00 dollars and the night sights at 99.00 dollars, the stock VP9 would have cost me just over 500.00 dollars. That’s pretty damn good in my opinion.

Firearm Features:

The VP9 has a 1913 Picatinny rail, enlarged heavy-duty external extractor/ loaded chamber indicator, front slide serrations and rear charging support wings. The VP9 is also fully ambidextrous.

VP9LE in vehicle
VP9LE in vehicle
Picatinny Rail
Picatinny Rail

               Slide & Frame

The VP9 slide is machine cut/milled from a solid block of high carbon steel. The slide has a smooth even black H&K Hostile Environment® finish. The slide is rounded and beveled on the edges, across the top, front and back. The front and rear slide serrations are generous and allow you to get a very positive grip on the slide when racking or manipulating the slide of the firearm. As I stated earlier, I initially thought the charging support wings obstructed my view.  After shooting a lot of rounds though the VP9LE, I found they did not bother me at all and I forgot all about them.  I don’t think they make a real difference in manipulating the slide. The Slide serrations are deep and do the job well enough. HK does sell some flush charging supports. You have to remove the rear sight to remove the charging supports and then add the flush supports. I will probably do this when I decided to get new sights.

 VP9 Slide

VP9 Slide & Frame
Slide

The Frame and frame rails are very robust. HK has built a thick and ridged design with the VP9.  I assume this is because HK knew they would come out with the .40 caliber VP40 later. HK’s have always been built well and you are getting a quality firearm when you buy one. The VP9 is no different. The Picatinny rail is a little longer on the VP9 and it can accommodate any aftermarket weapon light or laser up to 5.6 ounces. The polymer of the frame is very thick. It does not bend or flex like other polymer framed firearms. The frame rails are very robust as well. The lock up of the frame and slide has a very slight wobble from side to side, but you have to physically move the slide side to side with your hand.

Frame Rails

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Lower/Frame 

               Barrel & Guide Rod

The Barrel on the VP9 has a very nice finish on it. After over 1300 rounds it is starting to get the slight hint of classic barrel chatter marks. After cleaning and wiping it down, both sides of the chamber also had just a slight sign of wear.

Barrel side profile
Barrel side profile

The barrel is made of canon grade steel. The barrel is cold hammer forged and has a six (6) grove Polygonal right-hand twist, similar to Glock, not traditional lands and grooves. Another interesting aspect of the barrel is an ever so slight raised tip of the end of the barrel. You can see the line in the end of the barrel and you can slightly feel the raised edge with your finger. I really cannot find any information on/or about this barrel feature on the VP9. H&K is usually tight lipped about many proprietary features on their firearms.  I can only assume this feature would provide a tighter lock up, when making contact with the top of the slide, to enhance accuracy.


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Raised Barrel Tip
Raised Barrel Tip

The VP9 has a patented captive flat recoil spring. The recoil spring assembly is a three (3) piece design consisting of the recoil spring, guide rod that is forked at the end, and a washer to capture the spring. I made the mistake of dropping the recoil assembly on a hard floor.  The washer on the end came off and it took quite a bit of effort to get it back on, after I located the spring.

Recoil Spring Assembly

Recoil Spring
Recoil Spring

               Grip Panels / Ergonomics

The stippling on the VP9 is very close to the P30. The P30 is one of the nicest feeling firearms in the hand, I have ever felt. The VP9 stippling is aggressive enough to notice but does not beat up your hand during extensive and long strings of fire. The three (3) changeable backs straps give you the option to fit the grip size to your hand and adjust your length of pull for the firearm.


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Grip Stippling
Grip Stippling

The VP9 comes with three (3) different sized back straps, (3) right side panels and (3) left side panels.  This gives you twenty seven (27) grip combinations on the VP9. I found the perfect combination for my hand is; the small back strap, with the medium left and right side panels.

               Magazines

When making a decision to purchase a HK firearm, for the purpose of it being a defensive firearm, you need to make sure the HK magazine release system is for you. If it is, you will be getting the typical reliable, quality magazines from HK.  The VP9 magazines are the same magazines used by the HK P30. They function perfectly, dropping free, inserting the magazine and feeding the ammunition. Remember, if you are buying the LE model, you will get three (3) magazines with the package.

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Three (3) Magazines
Three (3) Magazines

               Sights

H&K’s have always come with steel sights and the VP9LE comes with Tru Dot night sights. This is a great feature and value in the VP9LE. While the Tru Dot night sights are just basic three dot night sights, getting the VP9LE with the sights will save you money and a lot of headache, with putting on sights after you get the handgun. The Tru Dot’s will serve you well and I probably will not replace them until they get dim.

Rear True Dot Night Sight
Rear Tru Dot Night Sight
Front True Dot Night Sight
Front Tru Dot Night Sight

               Loaded Chamber Indicator

The external extractor on the VP9 also doubles as the loaded chamber indicator.  It has a bright red paint applied to the top of the extractor so you can visually see that there is a live round in the firearm.

Loaded Chamber Indicator
Loaded Chamber Indicator

               Firing Pin/striker Indicator

The VP9 also has a cocked striker indicator on the back of the slide.  This visual indication shows that the firing pin/striker is in the cocked position, ready to fire, by a red indicator painted on the back of the slide.

Firing Pin/Striker Indicator
Firing Pin/Striker Indicator

Reliability:

So far I have put over 1300 documented rounds of mix ammunition, ( Federal 115grn FMJ, Winchester 115 grn steal case FMJ, Fiocchi 115grn FMJ, Speer 147grn TMJ, Federal 147grn HST & Speer 147grn Gold Dot),  through the VP9. It has well over the 1300 round count; I just stopped counting after the 1300 round mark. I am confident it is well over 2000 rounds now. I have found the VP9 to be extremely reliable, just as my other personal defense firearms.

               Note:  Just to be fair I wanted to add this information. Several months ago I was testing some new ammunition. I used several different firearms to test the ammunition, all of which had 100% reliability so far, two (2) Glock’s, a Sig Sauer and the VP9. All experience failures to extract with the ammunition. It was pretty obvious this was poorly manufactured ammunition, (QC). After switching back to several other quality ammunition offering, all firearms including the VP9 ran 100%.

Accuracy:

With previous experience shooting H&K’s I have found them to be very accurate firearms. As long as I was doing my part, I found the VP9LE was very accurate and could do everything I needed it to do. The sight radius on the VP9LE is full sized, approximately 6.38 inches, but I do not care for the True Dot night sights that come with the VP9LE model. I felt the sight picture was not that good and the angle of the rear sight had a lot of glare coming off it, in certain lighting conditions. The front sight had some glare from time to time as well. Even though the sights were not ideal for me, the VP9LE had great accuracy. With some aftermarket sights of my choosing, I feel it will perform even better, if that’s possible. The 147grn Speer Gold Dot had several very impressive groups and it is one of my two defensive loads of choice. All shooting of the VP9LE was done off hand or from the holster.  I was initially shooting the VP9LE slightly left as you will see. I did notice the front sight was not perfectly centered and I did tap it over a little to center it up after the first few strings of fire.

First 20 Rounds off-hand, Federal 115gr fmj, at 25 yards
First 20 Rounds off-hand, Federal 115gr fmj, at 25 yards

10 Rounds American Eagle 115gr fmj, at 15 yards

10 Rounds American Eagle 115gr fmj, at 15 yards
10 Rounds American Eagle 115gr fmj, at 15 yards

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5 Rounds, 147gr Gold Dot, at 15 yards
5 Rounds, 147gr Gold Dot, at 15 yards

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10 Rounds, 147gr Gold Dot, at 25 yards.
10 Rounds, 147gr Gold Dot, at 25 yards.

Firearm Controls:

All of the controls on the VP9 feel like they are in right place for my hands.  All of the ambidextrous controls are easy to manipulate and reach, on each side of the VP9.

               Slide Catch/Release (Ambidextrous)

The Slide Catch/Release Lever, or whatever you want to call it, is ambidextrous and extremely easy to use from both sides. On the VP9, I found I did not have to adjust my grip to avoid riding the top of the lever with my strong hand thumb. I usually find myself contacting the slide stop/release with other firearms, making the slide not lock open on the last round in the magazine. This is something I do on several firearms and I know I have to adjust my grip slightly. The VP9 is one of the only handguns I have not had this issue. The slide catch/release seems to be in the perfect position for me. I prefer to use the (over the top / sling shot method) when doing a reload for consistency across multiple platforms, so the slide catch lever does not get used that much for me on reloads.

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Left Side
Right Side
Right Side

               Takedown Lever/Field Stripping

One great feature of the VP9 is the take down lever. It operates like a Sig Sauer Classic takedown lever. This is a very nice feature because there is no need to pull the trigger like a (Glock), or manipulate some little tiny internal bar like on a (Smith & Wesson M&P), to remove the slide from the frame. Simply rack the slide and lock it back to make sure it is unloaded, rotate the takedown lever down, release the slide and pull it off. This design in a striker fired firearm reinforces the (Never Put Your Finger on the Trigger until Ready to Fire), while also making it simple and very easy to field strip.

Takedown Lever

Takedown Lever
Takedown Lever

               Magazine Release (Ambidextrous)

As I stated earlier, HK’s have a magazine release you must be familiar with and comfortable using. It is ambidextrous but it is not a traditional thumb button release design. You must push down on the magazine release paddle from either side.

Magazine Release
Magazine Release

For me, I can actually use the magazine release pretty fast from either side of the VP9.  I find no difference in speed and ease of uses from either side vs. a standard thumb magazine release. I find I actually prefer to use the middle finger of my primary hand, on the right side magazine release of the VP9.

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Trigger:

The trigger on the VP9 is very nice. The trigger looks and operates like a Glock and other similar striker fired handguns. It has a very smooth and short take-up before you hit the take-up wall, then it has a very small amount of creep before it breaks very cleanly.  The trigger reset is a little lack luster for me. The reset is audible but seems a little weak.  I would like it to have stronger, more positive reset feeling.  The smooth and then crisp break on the trigger definitely helps with the accuracy of the VP9 when shooting it. I feel, overall, the VP9 trigger is nicer than a stock Glock or M&P trigger. The Glock has a better reset in my opinion.

Recoil Impulse:

The VP9 is a flat shooter and the recoil is light. Fast accurate follow up shots are very easy to make and the sights come back on to target very quickly. The VP9 boar axis is a little higher than on a Glock but this did not seem to make any difference in the recoil.  After a few rounds, I found the recoil to be a non-existent factor. I simply continued firing, not giving the recoil another thought.

Rapid Fire, 10 reload 10, at 10 yards 147gr TMJ
Rapid Fire, 10 reload 10, at 10 yards 147gr TMJ
Head Shots at 7 yards, 115gr FMJ
Head Shots at 7 yards, 115gr FMJ
Head Shots at 7 yards, 115gr FMJ
Rapid Fire, 5 reload 5, at 7 yards, 115gr FMJ

Final Thoughts:

I really like the H&K VP9LE. It has preformed and handled well above my expectations. If there is anything to complain about, it would only be the 15 round magazine capacity and a weak/soft reset on the trigger. I think it would be easy for HK to make the magazine hold 17 rounds and tweak the trigger reset a little. The size of the VP9 is very close to a Glock 17/22. I was hoping it would hold a few more rounds but it did replace a 15 round magazine firearm, so I really lost nothing on round count.  Once again, this is a lot of nitpicking on my part.

HK VP9LE
HK VP9LE

The VP9LE was one of the best purchases I have made. It replaces a great firearm and one of my personal favorites, I had used for years. I feel I made the right choice and the VP9LE has done nothing but validate that choice.

Duncan.

Extra Security Measures To Incorporate Into Your Life

Guest article by Marina Securities CEO Sam Tadesse:

Extra Security Measures To Incorporate Into Your Life

As you well know…Security matters. Which is why taking steps to add even more safety-ensuring measures to your life will always be a good move. Here are three of our tried-and-true favorites.

1. Stay Alert

Easier said than done, tweaking even a few of your day-to-day habits can help you keep you and your loved ones safe.

It is vital to minimize distractions whenever possible. This means putting down your smartphone when you’re exploring a new area (or when you are walking around any isolated area late at night, no matter how familiar you are with the territory in question) and keeping your eyes up and forward, always.

2. Lock It Up

Always take the time and effort to secure your property. Invest in high-quality locks and check these for signs of tampering on a regular basis. Lock your vehicle doors, even if you are just running into a store to grab an item or two on your way home from work. Don’t forget to toss your valuables into a safe (and put this in an unexpected hiding spot, like a garage fridge or underneath dirty clothes in a laundry hamper) whenever you’re going to be away from home for an extended period of time. You get the picture, right? Good.

3. Talk Tactics

Birds of a feather flock together, so you most likely have a couple of buddies who are as adamant about safety and security as you are. Be sure to exchange ideas, inspirations and tidbits every so often, since this will both clue you in to new arenas of knowledge and provide you with a sounding board of sorts for your own schemes.

There you have it; three super simple and do-able ways to stay extra safe.

Midwest Industries AK Railed Gas Tube, Part 1 Install

Midwest Industries (MI) was kind enough to send us their new AK Railed Gas Tube for review.  This rail has only been out since the end of June and we have really seen nothing on it, other than some pictures. First I have to say, the MI AK Railed Gas Tube looks amazing and after the installation, it is rock solid. I am hoping it performs half as well as it looks.  I was recently looking to get an Ultimak rail when I ran across the new MI AK Railed Gas Tube.  It looks like a promising competitor to the Ultimak, and I was interested in it installing faster and easier that the Ultimak.  In this Part One review, I will go over the MI AK Railed Gas Tube features and some things you need to know when installing it. I will attempt to simplify the steps for installation as there are some dry fit/pre final install requirements.

MI AK Railed Gas Tube, DDI AK74
MI AK Railed Gas Tube, DDI AK74
MI AK Railed Gas Tube
MI AK Railed Gas Tube

Features:

*Provides a lower 1/3 co-witness sight picture with most (Aimpoint type) micro red dot sights.

*Easy Installation, with no permanent modifications to weapon.

*Made to same internal profile as standard AK gas tubes.

*Constructed of 6061 aluminum and 4140 steel, with mile-spec picatinny rail.

*The MI Railed Gas Tube can be found in four configurations, to be compatible with Standard AK 47/74 rifles, Yugo M70, Yugo M92 PAP and Yugo M85 PAP gas tubes.

The MI AK Railed Gas Tube comes with mounting screws, Allen key and blue loctite for the installation. A small word of advice though, as with everything AK related, a big hammer is always needed. I had to use a large rubber mallet to assist with installation. A large flat head screw driver will also help you when dry fitting the railed gas tube.

Loctite / Set Screws / Allen Key
Loctite / Set Screws / Allen Key
Extra Tools Needed
Extra Tools Needed

Installation:

There are installation steps provided with the packaging but I recommend these steps, as different hand guards can affect the installation. With some hand guards it is hard to reach the leveling screws.  I currently have Magpul AK hand guards and there was some back and forth in getting the rail on. As you can see below, you cannot reach the Allen key screws with some hand guards without pre-leveling and setting up the MI Railed Gas Tube.

Leveling Screws w/Magpul MOE Grips
Leveling Screws w/Magpul MOE Grips

Step One, dry fit & leveling.

Completely unload, field strip and remove the hand guard on your AK. replace the stock gas tube with the MI Railed Gas Tube.

Initial dry fit of rail

Make sure there is no gap between the sight block and the gas tube. This is where the rubber mallet comes in handy, to tap the rail in place.

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Screw the end plug nut out, until it fits the gas tube to the gas block. This should be done only hand/finger tight.

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Insure the rail is level and in the position you want, by adjusting the rear leveling screws on each side with the supplied Allen key, to the barrel.

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Insure the gas tube locking lever can move freely and lock the lever down.

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Step Two, loctite the leveled tube.

Once dry fitted and leveled, back out the rear gas tube leveling screws, apply loctite to the screws and reinstall them in place on each side.

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It is recommended that you let the screws sit in place for 12 hours, before moving on.

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               Step Three, Complete installation.

After waiting for the loctite to cure, remove the railed gas tube. Back out the front end plug nut, and this is where the mallet and screw driver come back into play, tap out the railed gas tube.  Re-assemble the hand guard and reinstall the railed gas tube. Once again, I had to use the mallet to tap the railed gas tube in place.

MI AK Railed Gas Tube, DDI AK74
MI AK Railed Gas Tube, DDI AK74

Hand tighten the front end plug nut to the gas block.

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Once the front end plug nut is hand tightened to the gas block, apply loctite to the set screws and screw them in hand tight to each side of the railed gas tube.

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Installation is now complete.  Check to make sure everything is level and where you want it. You can now mount your optic of choice and head to the range for zeroing.

MI AK Railed Gas Tube w/Micro RDS
MI AK Railed Gas Tube w/Micro RDS
MI AK Railed Gas Tube / Micro RDS / DDI AK74
MI AK Railed Gas Tube / Micro RDS / DDI AK74

I am very excited to get the rail and optic to the range for testing.  This system is much easier to install and remove than the Ultimak rail, as the Ultimak uses barrel bands. I will be removing and replacing the MI Railed Gas Tube during live fire to see if the point of aim and impact is affected and changes. So far I am very happy with the installation and quality of the rail. I actually think it weighs less than the stock gas tube, at least if feels like it does. Stay tuned for Part Two, to see how the rail performs.

Duncan.

New Glock 17M, Gen5?

There are some leaked pictures hitting the web today. It was reported first today by (TFB), who obtained some pictures from Indianapolis PD officers being issued the new G-17M yesterday. Several places/bloggers/youtubers and meany more in the firearm industry started to post photos of the firearm, they have seen or shot. So it is safe to say this might be the Gen5 Glock.  Usually new Glocks are leaked way before they actually hit the street. I am quite surprised we did not here anything about them. Glock keep a good lid on it this time.  It is reported that a G-19M is also coming.   This is probably the new weapon that the FBI purchased.  Thought we would get these photos out to our readers ASAP.

Glock G-17M
Glock G-17M

Looks like a mix of a Gen2 and Gen4 Glock, with more ambidextrous features.  Some of the new features are reported as follows:

1. New, “tougher” finish
2. Different rifling / traditional rifle grooves
3. Longer RSA
4. Reinforced front RSA notch
5. Smoother trigger
6. Flared / beveled magwell
7. Gen2 like Front Strap/ No Finger Groves
8. Safety plunger is oblong/rectangular G42/G43 like
9. Ambidextrous slide release
10. Magazine well cut out / like old Gen2 & Gen3

Duncan

Glock G-17M
Glock G-17M
Ambidextrous Slide Stop
Ambidextrous Slide Stop
No Finger Grooves / Gen2 like Front Strap
No Finger Grooves / Gen2 like Front Strap
New Longer Recoil Assembly
New Longer Recoil Assembly
Glock G-17M
Glock G-17M

 

 

New 2016 Colt Delta Elite 10mm Part 2 : Accuracy Test

Last time we took a look at the new Delta Elite 10mm pistol from Colt, we saw the refinements on the new Delta, compared to the classic Delta Elite from the 1980s. In my opinion , it is a very fine pistol.  It has all of the “custom production” enhancements I want in a modern M1911, that I intend to carry and use as opposed to set in a safe.

With the new Delta being  obviously configured for carry and hunting in mind, I used a variety of ammo choices in this go around.   I chose some modern carry /defense loads along with ball practice/training ammo.  There are still some brands and types of 10mm ammo out there I have not gotten my hands on yet and when I do I will add to this review or update.    One thing I kept in mind this time, is the cost of the  10mm ammo and how likely the average buyer could find them in the local gun store.   My thinking is to mix in ammo the new buyer, who is not a dedicated 10mm lover, would likely see in the same store the gun was being sold.   I did mix in carry and high performance ammo that would also be encountered in a store, compared to some of the more expensive high end ammo from places like Double Tap.  Lastly, I did not ignore the reality that money is tight for most people these days and most 10mm shooting is likely to be done with ball training ammo.  As I said above, a future post with high performance 10mm ammo will be upcoming.

The groups shown are an average of all rounds fired from each ammo type.  I fired from a bench rest with sand bags, with ranges marked on the target.  Shooting was slow fire with most groups taking at least 5 minutes to complete, to give the ammo every bit of concentration and effort I had.  I did fire off hand in a few instances to take a better look at how the gun and ammo combination would do in a self defense situation.  The third part of this review will be shooting the Delta at longer ranges of 75, 100 and possibly 200 yards, to illustrate how the 10mm round really benefits from its higher velocity and power.

008

First, I want to talk about the big surprise for me. The Armscor ammo was a brand I have had little experience with.  The gun loved this ammo.  I have not verified its velocity or any specs on it other than bullet weight, but it was noticeably hotter than the other generic FMJ plinking and training ammo.  As far as I am concerned, for now, if I want ball ammo for the Delta or for any thing, this is what I will be using, until I find some other ball ammo that shoots better.

007

The PPU 180 grain hollow point was not so great and felt like a medium power load. Of course the dual spring system can be throwing off my judgement on account of it working so well to tame the 10mm recoil.   This group is normal for PPU ammo in my experience.  I have tried PPU match and have not seen it live up to any of its marketing claims. It is nice plinking ammo though and it has the benefit of being easy to find locally.

006

The Federal Trophy Bonded soft point is another round I have little experience with.  It shot great and would be a good choice for hunting if you are a believer in the bonded bullets from Federal. It could also serve double duty for self defense. I also fired a Federal Hydo Shock round, that shot about the same but I confess to losing the target it was shot on before I could take a picture.

005

The Winchester 175 grain Silver Tip hollow point. This is an old favorite of mine from back when the 10mm was  in its early days in the 80s.  A very good round and highly thought of at the time. It is still the first pick among a lot of people for CCW.   I  have had these rounds for a long time but a quick check at Midway showed me this round is still being made and sold.  It has always shot very well for me and was perfectly reliable in all three (3) of the Delta Elites I  have owned.  The Silver Tip is pretty well regarded by a lot of people including myself and if I was not a convert on the use of solid copper hollow points, this would be a load I would stock up on for daily carry.   Apologies for the blurred picture.

004

The Hornady Critical Duty with the flex tip shot outstanding, as the group above shows. I used this load as the “match load” standard, for accuracy and  for the rest of the tests for longer range groups.  Reports and testing show the round to be very effective on ballistic gel. Friends who have more experience with it, tell me it is superb.  Until I settle on a solid copper HP load for this gun , this is the load I have been using as a place holder in the gun for CCW.

003

The S&B  ball ammo seemed to always shoot 3 rounds tight and then toss the last 2.  It feels like a mid powered plinking round. Which it is. Good for training and plinking. Its not too expensive but nothing special.  I saw this ammo have problems in a Kimber 10mm and even a glock. If you want some ammo to plink with I would say it is ok,  but understand what you are getting.

002

Another offering from Hornady is the XTP round.  A good solid round that shots great. I would have been shocked if it didn’t.

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This is a group fired off hand with the Fed American Eagle ball ammo.  I fired it off hand  as I had already put up the bags and my set up.  I happened upon just a few rounds of this ammo. I fired it offhand and it did about what I expected from it. It is always reliable and decent training quality ammo.

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Now we get to trying the ammo in a method more in line with real world self defense.  This group is fired at 25 yards, off hand.  I did  shoot it at a slow methodical pace, to get the best out of itself and myself as I could.  I fired eight (8)  rounds of the Critical Duty ammo using the center of the large orange sticker as my aiming point.  I think  you can’t really ask for much more out of it.  The group would easily fit inside a target the size of a human face or inside something the size of a human heart.  This target group is one of the reasons this ammo is what I am currently using as the CCW ammo for the Delta.

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For fun I took the gun out to 50 yards using the Hornady ammo.  I fired this group from the bags and bench.  I have to say I was pretty pleased with myself on this one! Too bad I couldn’t shoot that same level off hand at a bulls eye match.  This target shows you that the 10mm is fully capable of an easy hit on a man sized target at 100 yards, which we will be doing in part 3 of the review.

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Of course with the group from the bags being as good as it was, I had to try it off hand at 50.  I fired ten (10) rounds off hand (though two handed) and got most of them on the target.  For my excuse, I am going to admit that buy this time I was getting pretty tired.  Shooting a 10mm for hours is harder work than  you may think.  It doesn’t have the nice soft push of a 45 ACP or childish slap of a 9mm. It starts to wear on you.  I am confident I could have done better if I started this fresh.

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The new generation Delta Elite is proving itself to be everything I hoped it would be. It has already over taken the place in my heart the  older original version occupied.   After a little over 1,500 rounds so far, it has had no problems and has all the extra touches I want.  It has been my daily carry since I received it and it will be with me come hunting season.

In part 3 of the T&E of the new Delta, we will be shooting it out to as far as I can possible make a hit with it, to take advantage of the powerful 10mm round. We will be adding in some drills and training to get a handle on what a new 10mm user may have to get used to, if they are interested in moving up to a new level in power, by letting some one who has never fired a 10mm do some drills with it.  Check back in the next few weeks to see that and more.

 

 

Rare Civilian Legal Colt XM148

Below are some pictures sent to me by good friend to the website, Trey Moore, owner of MooreMilitaria.  He is selling something that is rarely seen on the market.  The ultra rare Xm148 made by Colt.

This is the Vietnam war era grenade launcher that mounts to the barrel of the M16 family of weapons.  It has the X designation because it was never made standard. The M203 was the grenade launcher that was adopted by the military for use with the M16 series  and is still in use today.   Trey tells me there only about 6 of them on the registry.

If you have the money and want this one you can find it at www.mooremilitaria.com. You can get to it by clicking on the banner link on the right.   It is certainly a once in a life time chance.   For the rest of us, enjoy the detailed pictures of the system.

 

 

Leupold MK8 CQBSS, the best rifle optic?

Is the CQBSS the ultimate rifle scope?  No, but it is damned awesome.

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Ever since the Leupold MK8 1-8X CQBSS came out, I have been reading people sing praises of it online.

So why would someone want something like the CQBSS?

The concept is to have a single optic with the speed of a reflex sight at low magnification and the clarity, tracking, and capabilities of a sniper scope for medium to longer ranges.  This flexibility of being able to quickly switch from 1X to 8X magnification to give you the option to use the magnification best suited for the distance your shooting.  It is nice to have an optic with the intent to be able to do room clearing out to 800m shots.

Now there are a couple main versions of this scope.  One style has a Horus reticle with a 5 MOA donut that is bright for use like a reflex sight.  This version is the most expensive, and you tend not to see anyone mention what the battery life is.  The other style does not have a daylight visible illumination, and is offered in the TMR, Mildot, and CMR-W reticles.  The scope referenced here is a TMR reticle MK8.

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At 1X magnification, the TMR reticle gives you a nice clean simple crosshair you can quickly get on target.

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At 8X magnification, you have Leupold TMR reticle allowing for ranging the target in mils and holding over necessary adjustments.  Note the range finding marks below the center of the crosshair for estimating range of man or vehicle at 700-1200m.

So why wouldn’t you want a CQBSS?  First is cost, list price runs from $3,899.99 to $4,939.99.  The second is that no matter how awesome it is, it is still only an 8X magnification scope.  Many people who might want to shoot groups or shoot out to longer ranges may find them selves wanting more magnification.

The CQBSS shows up what the future of scopes is going to look like.  Just as the low magnification optics like the ACOG feel right as home on the AR15, these variable optics just feel right on the growing number of semi auto .308 rifles.  However consider these the first generation of the future combat/battle rifle optics.

The New 2016 Colt Delta Elite 10mm Review Part 1

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The Colt Delta Elite  M1911 has been around since the  1980s. It was  Colt and the Delta Elite that came in at the last minute and saved the 10mm round from death.  While never a huge best seller it has come and gone over the years since the first models hit shelves.  It did go away for a while but as recently as a few years ago was brought back by colt in its original retro form and sold pretty well.  While it was a great gun and true to its original issue, it was a bit bare stock for now a days.   In May of this year, all of us who wanted a Delta Elite in a more modern combat carry package without having to send the stock model off to a gunsmith, got what we had been waiting for.

https://looserounds.com/2016/06/03/first-look-at-colts-new-delta-elite-10mm/

The new Delta is everything I personally wanted for a long time. It has all the refinements I want in a M1911 that I plan to use for more than setting in the safe.  It has my favorite Novak Combat sights. It has an extended safety, the under side of the trigger guard is cut for a higher grip. it has a competition trigger and a beaver tail grip safety and is de-horned for carry comfort in addition to other upgrades.

Before I get into a deeper look at the piece, I should add right away that I did change a couple of things as I am want to do.  While I like the safety that comes from the factory and think its a fine part, I much prefer the feel and size and shape of the STI extended safety be it single or ambi.  Colt used to provide the STI on its XSE and upgraded guns until recently switching to what I believe is the Wilson Combat safety.  I replaced the Wilson part with my personal preferred safety.

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The Next change on the gun that I make on almost all of my 1911s is a part that I have had a long standing love affair with.   That is the S&A stainless steel checked main spring housing.  Again, the factory has so issues and I can not fault it. I just have my personal  quirks like we all do and when given a chance I can not resit making tiny changes to a 1911 to make it more my own.  To see the gun in its unaltered form, I provided the link to my original first look over review of the Delta from a few months ago posted above.

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Now that we got that out of the way so no one will wonder why their Delta looks different than the one reviewed here, its time to take a look.

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The new Delta is standard Colt 1911 with some obvious slight changes. It comes apart just like any other Colt and Colt’s apparently millions of copiers.

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The recoil spring is the new double spring system. It is the same concept as used on the USMC’s MARSOC  M1911 recently adopted and also made by Colt. You can find a review of it here as well.  It does not have the full length guide rode that is essentially pointless.

The recoil that results from the new dual spring was a huge surprise for me.  I have had several older Deltas over the years and full power 10mm ammo is  not exactly something you would want to pound yourself with all day long. But this makes it pleasant and I could barely tell a different between the 10mm ammo and 45 ACP. The lower power 10mm auto loads are very pleasant to shoot with the new recoil spring set up.  This seems to be a new standard practice on most of the more combat and competition 1911s from Colt now and I’m liking it a lot so far.  I confess I have not attempted to take these two apart from each other because I have no inclination to see how much of a pain it may or may not be at this point. I most likely won’t do it either until they need replacing from normal use.

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The cut out for the slide release is the full relief. This is pretty common now a days but there was a time when it was not standard. It was originally done because of the cracking that would appear on the old light weight commanders after long term hard use. A crack in the area effected nothing but some anal retentive types (like the kind of guy who loses sleep over brass marks or dings on his AR15s case deflector) ability to sleep at night witohut worrying over it.  Obviously it is expect especially on a  1911 in this round as it is a powerful round and some of the loads are very hot and hard on a gun.

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Yes. It is the so called “series 80.” Deal with it.    There is nothing wrong with that, I have been using series 80  guns for 30 some years and never had a problem. The trigger is  crisp and breaks clean. Anyone who tells you not to buy a gun if it has the series 80 style safety is an idiot that can be ignored or treated like  your liberal mother in law.

 

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The barrel is standard 1911. I know some people moan and grown over this because they want to shoot rounds  that are super hot.  I don’t care one way or the other.  I do not load the ammo  to pressures high enough to need to worry about it.  The hotter self defense loads from the factories work for me. In my mind, if you want that kind of performance out of your 10mm, buy a revolver or send the gun off and have it fitted with the barrel you want. I think if I was going to do that I would go ahead and go all the way and have a 40.SW and a .357sig barrel fitted for it at the same time and have the use of all the rounds.  otherwise, the standard, original barrel fills all my needs.

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Here is another look at the under cut.  This is such a nice little enhancement that it should always bee standard on anything that is not a retro nostalgia repro.  The strange thing about this is that I thought for many years it was appreciated by everyone until I mentioned it to some casual 1911s owners and they never noticed it.  I guess that goes to show how far enhanced production 1911s have come since the days when this sort of thing was a custom gunsmith  only feature.  In my opinion, M1911s from factories and gun smiths are the better than they ever where including some of the custom guns from back in the day.

While it may only be a personal taste, I really like the new black trigger against the SS gun. I noticed this trend with the Colt Defender a couple of years ago and really like hot it contrasts and looks with the black sights .

Another change  is the new grips. For years the Deltas always had the standard wrap around rubber grips.  These are still rubber, but obviously do not wrap. I like the slimmer grip though all day pounding of full power ammo does make the older wrap feel pretty good.  Of course the grips have the iconic Delta Elite triangle. The wrap around rubber grip with red triangle have been on the Delta for a long time.  A older catalog shows some from days past below .  The wrap around grips are almost an institution for the Delta but I really like the look and feel of the new grip.  I have an original wrap grip that I put on it for a while to compare before taking it back off and I am sure some will miss it.  Maybe Colt will offer up the older grip as a factory part at the online store for those who want it.

For those curious who want to see the older original grips, below the catalog is a picture of my ultra-rare Delta Elite Gold Cup in blued steel with original wrap around rubber grips.

If you can not wait till part 2 and the accuracy test/review, yes the new Delta out shoots the original Gold Cup Delta,and the GC Delta is Very accurate already.

Colt-Delta-Elite-1990-catalog

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The mags are the standard Colt mags. Same design used for the Super .38.

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They of course are marked 10mm Auto.   Thanks to Hunter at Rangehot.com. I learned that the standard  magazine for  45 ACP will cycle and feed in the 10mm gun.  I admit to having no idea about this but after he mentioned it to me, I tried it and could not believe I went all these years not knowing.  Now, I don’t know if all mags for the 45 guns will work perfect all the time and always lock back when empty. And I would not carry 45 mags for the gun if I thought I was going to have to fight with it. But they will do in a pinch. If you are at the range and need more mags for whatever reason or you lose or destroy the 10mm mags or if you just want some more mags and can not afford the pricey purpose made mags, the 45 ACP mags will work.  I tried Wilson Combat 45 ACP mags and standard Colt 7 and 8 round mags and they worked no problem what time I used them.  Use that info however you want.   But I recommend sticking with the purpose made 10mm mags if you are going to CCW.

On another magazine note, I have tried one other  company’s 10mm  mags.  I picked up 4 Kimber mags from a local gun store and all 4 had problems.    In my experience this is typical of kimber mags.  I was not very surprised and was glad I did not pay the full price for the things.  They do seem to work about 3 out of five times though.  Otherwise the standard USGI  45 ACP mags work better in the gun and of course the mags that came with the pistol are flawless.      I say all that to say, you can use other mags other than ones specifically marked “10mm”  if you need to or are having trouble finding extras, but keep in mind the potential for mischief.

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I have fired  the new Delta quite a bit so far and it is everything I hoped it would be when I was first told by Colt they  had sent me one  before the NRA show.  It feels good. It really is hard to explain but it feels really good.  As we stood around the booth for it at the NRA show I heard people comment on how great it felt over and over.  You’d think  that’s crazy as it is a 1911 like other 1911s, just in 10mm but its true.   It indeed has a lot of enhancements over all the early Deltas, and in my opinion is nicer than the nicest of the older Gold Cup Delta Elites nice as they are.   It is not tricked out for competition since who really wants to use 10mm all day in 3 gun or IPSC or whatever. it is set up for carry or hunting and it is very nice.  I have been daily CCWing it since it arrived and its rubber grips and de-horning make it comfortable. And the thought of the power of the 10mm and the hornady ammo is very comforting.

 

Part 2 of the Delta Elite review will be up soon with accuracy testing, handling and  longer range shooting to take advantage of the rounds  flatter trajectory and speed.