The SSM Review: A System for Shooters

Six Second Mount

I have had the Six Second Mount for a few months now. I have put several hundred rounds down range on a otherwise stock Glock to try my hand at the latest and greatest of pistol enhancements.

The mount has worked well. It introduces a few notable upgrades for the shooters who are willing to sacrifice portability for performance. Not quite a race gun, but not a clean slide melt RDS system… it fits somewhere in between. So what’s the point?

The story from ALG defense is that a certain counter terrorism unit liked the performance of a RDS on their Glock, but they encountered frequent failures of the RDS, so they approached Geisselle for a solution. The solution was introduced from their sister company ALG defense as the SSM. I don’t know what G forces are produced on a red dot as it slams to the rear of slide travel and then is suddenly slammed forward back into battery, but suffice to say I think that battering a small electronic optic like that, no matter how hardened it may be, will likely lead to failure sooner than how the SSM mount isolates its RDS from movement.

six second mount 3
Fully Loaded SSM

 

Our RDS for the SSM is mounted as low as possible over the slide and the only movement the RDS will see is the movement of wrist flexion and whatever amount of travel the grip and frame of the G17 see in your hand. It’s isolated and free and clear of the damaging G forces that slide mounted systems will experience.

The SSM’s lattice work frame extends down to the plastic Glock rail where it clamps in place over it to offer a picatinny rail mounting solution for all manner of lights and lasers, etc. The two points of hard contact for the mount are the trigger pin, which is replaced by the ALG system, and the front rail which is another pin that clamps over the aforementioned Glock rail.

So it’s cool looking, and offers a bulky way to attach a light and a laser, so how is that better than a svelt slide mounted setup other than red dot durability?

Well, looking past that very important point of RDS durability, it does offer unique shooter advantages. The weight of the system, especially with a light or laser mounted up front, mutes the muzzle flip significantly. With the muting of recoil, we have much less visual deviation with the red dot. It dances up and down, but it is very easy to track. The foreward weight bias keeps in securely in the window of the RDS. Having the RDS in a fixed spot helps you to keep track of that dot better than if it was driving back and forth on a reciprocating slide. A muzzle device would further reduce flip, and this mount could run in Open USPSA just fine, I think.

six second mount 5
10 yards out as fast as possible. I’m not proud as 10 yards isn’t impressive, but I’m not ashamed either. I would be happy to examine my groupings like these on a dead assailant. Critique my performance even while I wait for the authorities.

 

Having a RDS mounted up top gave me a great deal of precision at all distances and allowed 100 yard shots to be, well, too easy. I had a fifteen yard zero and at 100 yards I aimed at the head to drop 9mm squarely into the torso. My shooting buddy called out the shots to ensure I was getting hits and… I was, over and over. At this point several onlookers put down their equipment to watch my fancy ray gun, and they watched and commented as hit after hit was called out at 100. The precision made hitting the human silhouette child’s play.

So what else does it do?

The rail and light mount being permanently attached also allows you to zero a light and a laser together for you high speed types with night vision. Apparently the Glock rail is prone to losing zero with fancy IR lasers… according to the customers who approached Geisselle.

The biggest hurdle is the size and the weight. With G17, rail, TLR-1 light, and PA red dot, it weighs in at 32.9 oz or 2.06 lbs unloaded without a magazine. Rock in a fully loaded G17 magazine and we are at 42.8 oz or 2.68 lbs.

How do we carry the weight of the SSM widget system? We need a good holster. I approached Vigilance Tactical in Elizabethtown PA for a custom solution, and they delivered two holsters which do a fantastic job of carrying the G17 with and without light attached. After a brief jog in the mail to Recoil magazine, my light bearing holster, dubbed the Nocturnal Sentry 6, was sent back to me and added to Vigiliance Tactical’s model listings.  Yes, that is my Glock pictured on their website. Thanks, I’m a proud parent.

six second mount 2

The Vigilance Tactical holster was the last piece of the puzzle missing to make the SSM more than just a nite stand gun. The Vigilance Tactical kydex gives me a great holster for the SSM and offers some portability / concealability under a coat in winter. Having both the slimmer model  Sentry 6 for sport, and the full on tactical model with thum-break for the full SSM Kit, I have options. Vigilance Tactical did fantastic work and retention is strong. Aesthetically, it looks great. Some of the other holsters I have seen for the SSM look, well… awkward and crappy.

six second mount 4
The Vigilance Kydex tied this project together. Special thanks to Vigilance Tactical.

 

Wrapping up, the SSM is a full-on kit for someone who is looking for every advantage in a fighting pistol. It mutes recoil very well, minimizes dot loss from slide reciprocation, and increased red dot longevity / lifespan by isolating it from harsh recoil. The costs are increase weight, bulk, cost, and complexity over slide mounted setups, but if you want to carry something that will last you out in the wasteland, go with the SSM and eat the weight. If you need a slimmer gun, then it’s not suitable for your goals. I can see this as a perfect firearm for a recoil sensitive shooter in a home defense environment as well.

The SSM offers lot’s of dirty firepower on tap for the more recoil sensitive shooting soul.

 

How To Record Your Bullets In Flight

Recording projectiles flying to the target is a very simple process, and it produces some neat results that you can take home with you on film after your done at the range.

A up to date camera is a must. I used to film with a standard definition camera, and when you zoomed in the mirage made everything turn to pot. With the HD camera, mirage still occurs, but you can still see whats going on down range better than with an old camera.

The camera I used is a Panasonic HC-V270 with 90x optical / digital zoom. This is a budget camera that runs a 1080p picture in 60 FPS. Nothing special and by no means a pricey piece of equipment.

Place the camera next to your position and zoom in on the target. Ensure that you are recording more of the space above the target than below since our bullet will arch to the target.

For even better results, shoot with the sun behind you and you might capture an image of the bullet itself as it fly’s downrange. In this case, I was fortunate to capture a 75 gr Hornady fly to a 600 yard gong.

I hope you can record some very cool shots. Anyone have a 45/70?

Happy Bullet Trails!

The Razor HD II at 6 Months: Versatility at a Price

Razor HDII

I have been using the Razor HD II for about 6 months. It’s a well-known optic, and there are many good reviews online for the piece already. They discuss its weight, its features, its huge eye-box, and they discuss X, Y, or Z… but they seem to neglect the real meat and potatoes of the optic. The Razor HD II is a Jack of All Trades.

I studied my options for weeks before I chose the Razor. $1400 isn’t chump change. It cost more than the ACOG it replaced, but looking at the optic from a shooters perspective can give us some good reasons to go with a high-end variable over a ACOG.

Razor HD rear

First and foremost, the optic I chose has a JM-BDC1 reticle. This reticle is a BDC calibrated for multiple loadings. The ranging marks are good for 9 inch wide target, and not the shoulder width of the typical BDC stadia. For ranging purposes on a human silhouette, the head must be used instead of the shoulders to measure an accurate range. I don’t consider this good or bad, just different.

Razor HD II
Click to Enlarge

What is good though, is that the BDC mirrors several important loadings very well. 55 and 62 grain ammo will match the stadia out of 16 inch and longer systems well with a sight in at + – 100 yards. Heavier ammo in the 69-77 grain range will match the stadia closely if zeroed at 200 yards. This makes the razor a good system for people who might be switching rifles or ammo types and haven’t settled on a specific loading.

Furthermore, since it’s a second focal plane optic, we can also modify the bullet drop by dialing back a bit on the magnification. Very oddly… i found that, according to Strelok Ballistic Calculator, the Razor HD would calibrate very well at 3x for a 12 inch .300 blackout firing supersonic loadings. Also the 9 inch stadia (calibrated at 6x) become 18 inch stadia at 3x so suddenly this optic can be capably used for a loading it wasn’t designed for…

Obviously experimentation is necessary to identify loadings that match well to the stadia and which level of magnification will further align with the bullet drop. Since the Razor is offered in Mil-Rad and MOA reticles as well, you can go that route too instead of tweaking things like I do with the JM-BDC-1.

The illumination is daylight bright, and is a single dot in the center of the cross-hairs. Is it red dot bright? Yes. The Razor’s field of view at 1x and bright red dot make this a devastating variable up close.

When you are stretching the optics legs, you can take off the caps and dial in your dope. Underneath the caps the optic is waterproof so no need to worry about leaving the turrets exposed. The important thing to note here is that takes a full 50 minutes of rotation to go past your zero. Since it doesn’t have zero stops, the huge amount of rotation should keep you from getting lost in the dial. If you are shooting 5.56 in a 0-600 yard setting you would need to shoot one slow… derpy loading to need to rotate the dial past 25 minutes.

Vortex RAzor HD II up close

Wind corrections are also marked and can go 25 minutes either way.

The Razor HD II has plenty of stiff competition. There are many options at the Razor HD’s $1300 price point, but I think it has a nice mix of features to allow you to shoot it in a variety of ways to extract the most value for your dollar. Not to mention the glass is beautiful. Overall, I believe an optic like this goes well on a general purpose gun. It’s not specialized enough to give a precision minded shooter the tools he / she needs for long-range work, and it’s not as light and fast on target as a red dot. It, like many other variables… operates in that niche where it is a jack of all trades, but a master of none. That said, it has more going for it than many other variables I have handled due to its combination of features.

Lothaen

+ Glass is clear

+ Turrets are hard to get lost in

+ Water proof with or without caps

+ Can be very versatile if you experiment

+ Red dot bright illumination

+ BDC, MOA or Mil-Rad options available

– weight

– heavyness

+ increases physical endurance

USPSA Journal #1: Magpul Pmag 17, Freedom Munitions Remanufactured 9mm, Zev Race Connector

Alright: here is my USPSA series on practical pistols in competition and home defense. Right now the series is just getting started with some local matches and a nearly box stock G17. As I move foreward, I will be competing with an open class gun which favors reliability over game enhancing parts and products. Keep an eye out for the G17 PDW gun as it evolves into a (hopefully) performance enhancing shooting iron with the ALG defense six second mount, custom kydex holster, and a few other accessories along the way.

Special thanks to www.looserounds.com for hosting the video / pistol series!

The New Rifleman

The Birth of the Pistol as a PDW

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:

GLock Scorpion

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?

Glock 17 P90

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.

It’s going to be my PDW after all.

-The New Rifleman