All posts by Shawn

Kinetic Concepts Tactical Rhodesian Kydex Holsters

The fellows over at KCT have made up some their excellent Element I  IWB kydex holsters done in Rhodesian camo for the guys at Rhodesian Arms.com.     After seeing some other pictures on KCT’s instagram account I was impressed. I have always loved this cam pattern,

If you like it, get in touch with KCT as they have said they are willing to work something out with you so you too can have one of these special run holsters.

 

The Best of “Weaponsman” Part 1 (M16A1 Maintenance Survey in Vietnam)

As we reported last week and as everyone familiar with this website knows, our friend Kevin O’Brien, AKA “Hognose”, passed away. Kevin was a good friend of looserounds and  we often shared info back and forth for a variety of gun related topics.    Not 100 percent  sure that weaponsman.com has will be available in the coming years I will be running a weekly ( or maybe more or less often) “best of post” of some of Kevin’s best stuff  from his website to save  it for all and as a tribute to our friend.

 

M16A1 Maintenance Survey in Vietnam

By Kevin O’Brien ” Hognose”

We’re looking at a declassified report from the US Army Weapons Command in 1968. The report is available to subscribers to Small Arms of the World in their archives. And we came across the following little gem, which we’ve already served with several Vietnam-SF buds. Emphasis ours:

The first USAWECOM survey team stayed in Vietnam from 21 October1965 until 2 December 1966. (4) While the primary purpose of the team (5) was to provide maintenance instruction to a nucleus of officers and men from each brigade, who would then teach their own units, direct support organizations wece also instructed.

The team taught maintenance in every major USARV unit except the 1st Air Cavalry Division. (6) Students brought their own weapons, magazines, ammunition, cleaning materials, and accessories to class. A detailed inspection of each student’s equipment revealed that with the exception of the weapons of the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, the 173d Airborne Brigade, and the 5th Special Forces, all the weapons were poorly maintained.

The footnotes (4) and (5) refer to the team’s report and describe the makeup of the team — led by an ordnance LTC with four experts from USAWECOM and three from Colt. Note 6 explains why the Cav wasn’t trained — they said they were having no trrouble with the M16A1, and asked only for instructors to work with its divisional maint battalion small-arms shop.

So what was jacked up about the GIs’ guns?

The most common faults observed were:

  1. Excessive oil on the weapon
  2. Carbon buildup in the chamber, bolt, and bolt carrier group
  3. Overloading of magazines with 21 rounds of ammunition
  4. Oil and grit inside magazines (frequently accompanied by lubricated ammunition); and
  5. Failure to replace worn or broken extractors and extractor springs.

Other deficiencies noted frequently were shortages of technical manuals, cleaning equipment, and repair parts, and a general lack of knowledge of the M16 rifle among officers and noncommissioned officers.

At first it may seem strange that soldiers were unfamiliar with their weapons, but you have to remember how this report fits into American small arms history. The M16A1 was a standard — in Vietnam, only. The rest of the Army still soldiered on with the M14, and an awful lot of people in Army Ordnance still had their noses out of joint that Westmoreland had ordered a lot of weapons that were Not Invented Here (the M14, like the M1 before it, was developed in-house by the Army). Some of them wanted the M16 to go away. Others wanted it to fail. Still others were captivated by the small-caliber, high-velocity concept and the M16’s brilliant ergonomics, and determined to help make it work. And many were of a type with Army men of all nations and all times: given a mission, intent on carrying it out.

We thought it was interesting that three airborne units (the 101st was still nominally Airborne at this time, although it would only have the name as n honorific by the time it left Vietnam) had few worries with their M16s, although it seems like the 1st Cav didn’t either. So why were the airborne units squared away, when most of the legs weren’t? Turns out that it wasn’t due to the higher quality of troops in the supposedly all-volunteer paratroop units, but had a more mundane explanation:

The 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, the 173d Airborne Brigade, and the 5th Special Forces were the only units surveyed that had received training with the M16 for a significant period of time prior to deployment to Vietnam. Men in other units had been given training in marksmanship but little or no instruction in care and cleaning of the rifle.

On a follow-up visit, intended to cover maintenance of the very maintenance-intensive XM148 grenade launcher, a subsequent team discovered that many of the M16s turned in for maintenance (which might not be typical of all M16s in the field; a working weapon doesn’t get turned in for maintenance) had pitting in the chamber. They did the math and came up with a statistical prediction that 10% of all 16s in Vietnam would need a replacement barrel every three months. That correlated nicely with field complaints of extraction and ejection problems. One answer was to add chrome plating to the chamber (later, the whole bore) of all M16A1 rifles, and this report seems to be where that suggestion was first committed to official writing. This suggestion was not exactly rocket surgery: at the time, the Russians had been doing it for 20 years.

The chrome chamber weapons have “MP C” or “C MP C” markings on their barrels. The later Vietnam-era chrome bore weapons are marked “C MP B.” After the war, the marking changed to “C MP CHROME BORE” and that’s what most of the small supply of surplus M16 barrels say. The bore chroming is not a sign of a particular model of M16, it’s simply a running change, one of many hundrendrds

A lot more interesting stuff in this report. There is a CYA aspect to some of it, for sure, but it’s a window into a problem (M16 Jamming, circa 1966) of which much has been written, usually without reference to primary sources like this.

About Hognose

Kevin  O’Brien  was a Former Special Forces 11B2S, later 18B, weapons man. (Also served in intelligence and operations jobs in SF).

The “Bloody Angle” Battle of Spotsylvania Couthouse

In the last year of of the US Civil war, US Grant had taken command of the Army and had began his   efforts to maneuver  R.E. Lee’s  Army of Northern Virginia into a position to be destroyed or taken.  After the efforts of the Wilderness, Grant learned why  “Old Mars Lee ” was so feared and respected by the men of the Army of the Potomac.

The series of attacks and counter attacks and  marched and counter marches  had brought both Armies to Spotsylvania.  As usual Lee had anticipated what Grant had in mind and had his men there to throw up earth works just in time.   The union army assaulted the CSA works numerous time to be repulsed.  A Junior Officer came up with a tactic designed to breach the Rebel line earlier in the battle and after showing promise it was decided to try again on a large scale.

After a rainy night delayed the attack, the Northern men assaulted In a sector of the rebel lines  known as the “The Mule Shoe”.,one of the most horrific 24 hours of the war took place. In  the 200  yard long   area that saw some of the heaviest and gruesome fighting , it became known as “The Bloody Angle”

 

The intense action took place at a section of a rebel salient known as the angle where the fighting reached an unprecedented level or savageness.  As the Union attacked and gained the  muddy works the close fighting became hand to hand.  The ground , already wet with the rain and now blood, churned under the feet of the soldiers of each side as they locked into combat.  The Lee re-enforced as Grant sent more until  a staggering amount of men crowded a small area fighting to break the line and to hold the line.

“Nothing can describe the confusion, the savage, blood-curdling yells, the murderous faces, the awful curses, and the grisly horror of the melee.”

The fighting in the bloody angle was non stop for near 24 hours before the CSA engineers  built up works 500 meter to the rear and the units withdrew unit by unit. The Unions troops completely exhausted and no doubt mentally shattered even if only temporary, withdrew from the taken by now useless works.

For those 24 hours in the angle, the veterans of the war had not seen anything like it.  Men fought hand to hand and fired at each other muzzle to muzzle.  Balls flew through the air like a swarm o bees. The wounded fell and as they tried to regain their feet became trampled down and into the mud by the men still fighting. sometimes 3 and four men deep.  Accounts of survivors tell of men brought up to a blood rage and fighting beyond  exhaustion. Some killing beyond their own physical limits but pushing on anyway. Blood lust seem to over take many of the men as they attempted to kill and maim with by any means.  All the while the fight taking place in mud. filth blood, body parts and internal organs spilled on the ground while the wounded and dead piled up.

This went on for 24 hours before the battle ended.  Those in it or saw it never forget it.

Horace Porter,  a member of Grant’s  “military family”wrote of it later.

“The appalling sight presented was harrowing in the extreme. Our own killed were scattered over a large space near the “angle,” while in front of the captured breastworks the enemy’s dead, vastly more numerous than our own, were piled upon each other in some places four layers deep, exhibiting every ghastly phase of mutilation. Below the mass of fast-decaying corpses, the convulsive twitching of limbs and the writhing of bodies showed that there were wounded men still alive and struggling to extricate themselves from the horrid entombment. Every relief possible was afforded, but in too many cases it came too late. The place was well named the “Bloody Angle.”

One story that always turns up of accounts of the fight is of the unbelievable amount of firepower used during the fight. Tells of all the trees standing cut down by musket balls. Then those felled trees further getting shot up until nothing was left of them bigger than a match book.   One tree that was noticed by all during the fight was a large oak hit by so many minnie balls, that nothing of it remained but a 22 inch stump.    The stump was saved after the battle by a local and found its way later into the Smithsonian.  That stump pictured above.   The remains  of a large strong oak reduced to a stump attest to the wall of lead those men fought in.  You could say there was more lead in the air than oxygen and I doubt vets of the fight would think it a joke.

 

 

 

Photo above is from Smithsonian.   Obviously I have let out much of the details just  to take a look at the stump and some of the horrible hand to hand slaughter that produced it, The battle was part of a much larger story of the campaign  and  is as compelling as all  of the Civil War and the men who fought it.  I   recommend further reading for a full appreciation of the fight because this post barely starts to scratch the surface.

 

The Civil War A Narrative , Foote

Clouds of Glory,  Korda

Campaigning with Grant, Porter

 

 

Kevin O’Brien ( AKA “Hognose” of weaponsman.com ) Our Departed Friend

Tonight we learned something we had feared was coming over the last few days.  Kevin O’Brien,  known to most of his readers as Hognose, has passed away.  Kevin’s brother updated his brother’s website a few days ago with news that his brother was in bad condition in the hospital and gave an email address for people who knew Kevin more than as a reader of his website.  The details received privately had us greatly worried.  With no sign of recovery his family did what most would want their families to do, let Kevin pass on peacefully.

Kevin’s website weaponsman.com was started almost at the same time as this website, and we have been following him since the start and vice versa. Kevin wrote about us in his “Weapons website of the week ” column and the track back is how we found him.   He said many nice things about our work on his website and it was much appreciated at a time when this site was a two man show.

I got to know Kevin a little more personally via emails thanks to the introduction made by Daniel. I often would send Kevin copies of pictures I  or one of the others took at industry shows and he was usually the first person I shared new gun news with or inside info. I was glad to get to know him better.

If you have not read his website, please do so.  His brother has announced he will take it down soon and much will be lost. If you are not one of his regular readers, you don’t know what you are missing.  In my opinion his was the best gun blog on the web.  He did not do reviews or have the same format as us, but his site was a true blog and it is very  entertaining, It is filled with vast technical data on many weapons and has stories told from Kevin’s long  Army career as he was a Special Forces ( Green Beret).  The name of the site came from his job in the SF “weaponsman” among other things he did in the Army,   “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.”

Some of his most darkly funny posts are the “when guns are outlawed then only  outlaws will have , knive, poison, trucks, pillows, gravity etc etc.,  He would often end those posts with something like “Hug your loved ones tight as you never know when it may be the last time.”   Sadly this is true for all and we lost Kevin all too soon.

I am going to miss Kevin.  I spent a lot of time on his website reading and commenting , If you go there you will most always see a comment from me or Daniel in the comment section of nearly every post.  Indeed is commenters are often subject experts   themselves and were always well behaved and spoken,  It was like the barbershop for firearms and military vets and firearms historians to go hang out at instead of working on their own stuff.

We hope Kevin has found peace, and we offer our condolences to Kevin’s Brother and Father and offer whatever assistance we can give if we can some how help ease their grief,.

Below is the post from his brother and a link.  If his brother updates with more info we will try to edit and add it to this post.

Good bye Kevin, we are all diminished.

www.weaponsman.com

 

Kevin O’Brien

I’m sorry to have to tell you all that my brother Kevin O’Brien, host of this blog, passed away peacefully this morning at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Let me start with some housekeeping.  First, the email address hognosecommunity@comcast.net remains active and you may get more and better updates there.  I say this because frankly I’m having trouble posting here.  I don’t know Kevin’s WordPress password and I’m afraid that if I restart his computer, I will not be able to post any more because the password will not autofill.  Therefore I can’t guarantee I will be able to make more updates on the blog.

We are planning a celebration of Kevin’s life for all of his friends some time in early to mid-June, here in Seacoast NH.  I will have details in a couple of days.  All those who knew and loved Kevin, including all Weaponsman readers, are welcome, but we will need an RSVP.  Again, I will make details available to those who write to hognosecommunity@comcast.net.  This is not restricted to personal friends of Kevin, but space will be limited, and we will not be able to fit everyone.  It will be a great opportunity to share memories of Kevin.

We will be looking for stories and pictures of Kevin!  Please send to the email address.

I expect that some time after the celebration, I will be shutting down the blog.  No one other than Kevin could do it justice.

Finally, you should know that Small Dog, whose real name is Zac, has found a home with other relatives of ours.  Of course the poor guy has no idea what has happened to his beloved friend but his life will go on.

Now I’d like to tell you more about Kevin and how he lived and died.  He was born in 1958 to Robert and Barbara O’Brien.  We grew up in Westborough, Mass.  Kevin graduated from high school in 1975 and joined the Army in (I believe) 1979.  He learned Czech at DLI and became a Ranger and a member of Special Forces.

Kevin’s happiest times were in the Army.  He loved the service and was deeply committed to it.  We were so proud when he earned the Green Beret.  He was active duty for eight years and then stayed in the Reserves and National Guard for many years, including a deployment to Afghanistan in 2003.  He told me after that that Afghan tour was when he felt he had made his strongest contribution to the world.

Kevin worked for a number of companies after leaving active duty.  He had always loved weapons, history, the military, and writing, and saw a chance to combine all of his interests by creating Weaponsman.com.  I think the quality of the writing was what always brought people back.  Honestly, for what it’s worth, I have no interest in firearms.  Don’t love them, don’t hate them, just not interested.  But Kevin’s knowledge and writing skill made them fascinating for me.

Kevin and I really became close friends after our childhood.  We saw each other just about every day after he moved to a house just two miles away from mine.  In the winter of 2015, we began building our airplane together.  You could not ask for a better building partner.

Last Thursday night was our last “normal” night working on the airplane.  I could not join him Friday night, but on Saturday morning I got a call from the Portsmouth Regional Hospital.  He had called 911 on Friday afternoon and was taken to the ER with what turned out to be a massive heart attack.  Evidently he was conscious when he was brought in, but his heart stopped and he was revived after 60 minutes of CPR.  He never reawakened.

On Saturday, he was transported to Brigham and Women’s where the medical staff made absolutely heroic efforts to save his life.  Our dad came up on Sunday and we visited him Sunday, Monday, and today.  Each day his condition became worse.

As of last night, it was obvious to everyone that he had almost no chance of survival; and that if he did by some chance survive, he would have no quality of life.  Kevin’s heart was damaged beyond repair, his kidneys were not functioning, he had not regained consciousness, and he had internal bleeding that could not be stopped.  We made the decision this morning to terminate life support.

I’m not crying tonight.  I got that out on Saturday.  What I feel is a permanent alteration and a loss that I know can never be healed.  I loved Kevin so much.  He was brilliant, funny, helpful, kind, caring, and remarkably talented.

At dinner tonight, we agreed that there are probably many people who never “got” Kevin, but there could not be anyone who disliked him.  Rest in Peace.

Please feel free to express your thoughts in the comments and to the hognosecommunity@comcast.net email address

 

Addressing the layoffs at Colt.

I was going to make a post about this myself, but  Hunter at rangehot.com said everything I was going to say.   A lot of “fake news” on the subject is going around this week and almost none of it is close to accurate . 

Addressing the layoffs at Colt.

By Hunter Eliot   www.rangehot.com

I need everyone to calm down and take a breath. Please do me a favor and do not buy into the blogs that are running articles full of false speculation and reality TV like drama. As a matter of fact I am a bit disgusted at them, and you know who you are, trying to invent turmoil just for blog hits.

Yes, I know Colt laid off a couple of people and I was aware of this a week ago. The reason I did not address it as it really is not the mountain the blogs are trying to make out of this molehill. I am friends with some of the people that were laid off and I truly hate that for them and Colt BUT this is not the apocalypse people would have you believe. It is no secret the gun industry is slow. Now that Trump has been elected people are not so fearful of  losing their gun rights and are not panic buying, as a matter of fact people are not buying guns at the rate they have been for some eight years.

Companies had to drastically ramp up staff  to keep up with the demand, and now that demand has gone and left a vacuum in it’s place. I am assuming you all don’t go in full panic mode when people hired for the Christmas season at your favorite store are let go after the first of the year. This is the same principal. There are a number of other manufactures, such as Remington, that have also laid off employees for the exact same reason and yet none of those other blogs have addressed that. Have the gun blogs turned to fake news as well as an attempt to keep readership up in slow times? If so, just do a damn gun review or something and quite trying to undermine the industry. We are all in this together so if you want to help go out and buy a gun or at the very least stop spreading rumors and inflated speculation. All that does is hurt the industry we are supposed to be defending. I am reminded of a quote from Benjamin Franklin when he signed The Declaration of Independence, “We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.” So shame on those who would attempt to dramatize this for traffic

Addressing the layoffs at Colt.

A look Back: Long Term T&E OF CCW Gear

When I get stuff I really think highly of, I like to take a another look at it as time passes.  To see how well it has held up or if my opinion has changed.   Since we started the website, we have gotten a lot of holsters to try out.  Holsters aren’t something really sexy to readers but they are a necessary accessory if you take carrying your gun seriously.

Today we are gonna revisit a few things from 5 years ago and one item now at its 10th year of near daily use by me.

Fist thing I want to update on is the comp-tac gun belt.  I love this thing.  They sent me on in 2013 and after a few months I wrote about it. I have used this belt every day of my life since.  I do not put on pants without this thing, even when doing work that would get me and the belt filthy.  It has only gotten softer and more comfortable with age and use. The kydex strip in the center has kept it stiff and supports a handgun and two mags all day.

The only slight marring it has is from me dragging the buckle across it when I try to yank it tighter with one hand.  Even that hasn’t hurt the leather or worn any thing places.  The belt is made for serious use for years.   I’m 40 now and I could see this belt lasting the rest of my life baring I catch on fire or get smashed in a car wreck or the belt takes a bullet.   You can see in the pictures how well made it is.  Not one stitch has come loose.   You can’t ask for more  in my opinion.

The holster sent with the belt has also stood my test of time and use. I use this one for when I want a deeper cover IWB.  By adjusting the outside belt clips you can have it set higher or lower.  I keep mine at the lowest so the grip of my M1911 just barely comes out above my pants, The holster is very comfortable. The leather backing is wide and spreads out around your hip and leg are. It keeps it from feeling like a lump. The kydex keeps it stiff and open for smooth draw and makes it easier to re holster.  I use it very heavy in summer months when wearing just a T-shirt.  It is a great holster.  For normal CCW, I use two holster mainly and this is one of them.  This holster surprised me. I got it to review and had no idea it would end up being a mainstay of my CCW life.

This last holster is my longest serving CCW holster.  I got this holster 10 years ago this month. It is a custom made Kirkpatrick Leather IWB holster.  I had seen this bit of leather in some place or the other and knew I wanted to try it.  It was exactly what I had in mind in a quick to put on and take off IWB holster that gave me a full master grip from the draw and had a skin guard.   it’s obviously a lot like the Milt Sparks summer special, but it seems a little smaller to me.

This holster with gun shown inside have been through a lot of stuff on my side. Soaked in sweat and rain, submerged in water and generally beat around.  It has been with me as I traveled from PA to SC and to all states in between that it’s legal to carry in.  I can not even imagine how many miles the gun and holster have traveled with me as my old job  required an insane amount of travel.  It has been on my side through the best times of my life and its the holster I used the most hands down. At this point it  has as much sentimental value for me as it has practical utility.

Now with its age and miles, it is starting to show.  The leather is rubbed and worn pretty well in some places, but no holes. The belt loops are very supple now as if most of the holster.  The stiffener for the top has started to get a little softer unfortunately, but it still has a long way to go.

The only issue starting after 10 years is some of the stitches have come out.

I’m not sure what has caused this other than wear, tear and time.  No doubt me sweating all over it day after day helped weaken the stitches as well as the sometimes wetting it has taken and the oil from the gun soaking through to it.  Regardless its a small matter to me.  The local leather shop tells me its will take seconds to put a few new stitches in it to shore it up. I believe the flap is glued in addition to sewed so I have no fear it will come loose.  The kirckpatrick leather holster have my highest recommendation.  Not being a fad holster company these days, you can get one pretty quickly and its all hand made in the USA with high quality leather,  You can even chose the leather loops like mine or the kydex clip.   Either way I doubt you could go wrong.

It’s good to take a look back at the things we use and write about, Nothing compares to use and time as the best T&E.

 

 

HighCom 20th Anniversary Giveaway

Highcom is running a giveaway until next month.  A great chance to pick up some rifle plates.   Details below. You may remember we think very highly of HighCom plates and carriers.

To celebrate 20 years in business we’re giving away 20 Rifle Armor Kits to 20 LE Officers! Enter below for a chance to SUPPORT your local law enforcement department and DONATE (5) Rifle Armor Kits to the department of your choice!

Prize – DONATED to LAW ENFORCEMENT agency on your behalf:

  • (5) Trooper CAP Carriers
  • (10) Guardian 4s17 NIJ 0101.06 Certified Level IV Plates
  • Total of (4) Winners

Giveaway Details: A total of (4) winners will be selected each Friday at noon EST and announced on social media. Each winner will have (5) kits donated on their behalf to a US law enforcement agency. Each donation includes (5) Trooper CAP Carriers and (10) Guardian 4s17 NIJ 0101.06 Certified Level IV Plates (valued at $2,285 per prize or $457 per kit). 

Show your law enforcement agency that you care about their safety! Let’s get 20 kits out to 20 of our finest men and women in blue!

http://highcomsecurity.com/pages/giveaway

Best, Worst And Meh Of 2016

Here we are again at the end of all things.  Nope, not Mordor, the end of HIGH PRICES!!!.or hillary  clinton, though it is the end for her as well.   It’s the end of 2106. No wait, that isn’t right. I jumped the gun a little.   It’s the end of 2016!  With the end of the year comes the “Best of” picks from things I was sent to review or purchased over the course of the year.  As before not everything on the list is necessarily new for 2016. It may be something that has been around for a while and this year was just now the time I got around to it.

List of products are in no particular order.

  1. The Colt Delta Elite 10mm

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No surprise there, you know I loved it.  It is a classic brought back from the past and updated.  It has the extra “custom production” features I like my serious carry 1911s to have and its something I had wanted for a long time.  it is accurate reliable and a real pleasure. No it does not have the supported barrel/chamber, but that has never been something I cared about. If I wanted a hotter round that this gun will handle, I will buy a revolver in .454 or something.

2.The Inland MFG M1911A1

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You know I’m a sucker for a 1911s, You also know its very hard to please me when it comes to production 1911s.   The Inland M1911 surprised me and exceeded my wildest expectation. Shown above is the NM model standing in for the USGI model.  The Inland model is just a GI  plain vanilla .45, but its a great value and a tough reliable gun.

3. The High Com Security PC & Plates

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Comfortable, flexible, well made, affordable and meant to be used and depended on. Highly recommended if you are looking for a carrier and armor.

4. The SCAR-H & Specter Optic

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I have already said a lot in the original review so I don’t think I can say much more. The H is a good battle carbine.  I still would not recommend it over a 762 patter AR  for every role, but it impressed me.  Further testing of it earlier in December further enhanced it’s status with me. The optic also got high marks from me though it is heavy and expensive to the point that I would just opt for a Leupold or Nightforce model if I was going to pay out that kind of cash.  Even though, it did everything expected of it and was very fast to get hits on target out to 850 yards and was clear as a winter sky.

5. Model 37 Ithaca/Inland Combat Shotgun

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An excellent re-issue.  Well made and as smooth and slick as a shotgun three times its price. The M37 is already a classic and it is nice to now get one done up like a military model.  This gun stood up to more abuse and ammo though it than is healthy for a grown man to fire in a 12 gauge.

Some products are still being tested even if I received them this year.  If something I have talked about earlier has not shown  on this list. it’s because I  have not spent enough time with it yet.   Not being on the list does also not make it bad. It just means it did not really stand out in my mind.  If I gave it a good review earlier in the year, that opinion still stands.    On the other hand, products listed below..

Worst of 2016

  1. “XM8”

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This is one makes it on the list but with a side note.   From what I understand it is still being tweaked by the shop that makes these.   This one worked about as well as the original.  Maybe worse.  I fired 1 round before things went south.  It just did not work.    Pathetic since the gunsmith and shop told the owner he test fired it before sending it to him.  No excuse for that.    I will update on this gun as the new year progresses. It may well get the bugs worked out of it and I hope it does just for the sake of the owner who is an awesome guy.  As it stands I am unimpressed by the shop turning these out after telling buyer it was test fired before it left.

Biggest “Meh..” of 2016

  1. KRISS Vector

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It worked fine.  Accuracy was not even close to my personal standards though.  A little over hyped in my opinion.  While the factory stock has a uncomfortable vibration that it translated to the cheek, I have no real complaints.   Though I fine no real reason to get excited either.     I would opt for an MP5 clone if I wanted something like this, or better yet, an AR15 carbine in 9mm.

2 H&K MK23 SOCOM  “Offensive Pistol “

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Of course it worked fine and it was as accurate as any glock.  In the final analysis, it’s HK’s attempt to make a M1911 more or less. Now its a bit of an oddity these days and has fallen out of the lime light in the world of “operator marketing .”   If you want one or you are a collector of this niche, you won’t be let down.     But, in the end it is  the “offensive pistol”    ’nuff said.   It is a .45 though so it has that going for it!

It Came from The Vault Part 1

Our posts on the website have been scarce over the last few months. From family health issues, the change over for the website itself, winter weather making it harder to be outside for testing and a normal pause between new products coming into our hands as well as some laziness.    To get up something that may be interesting while between T&E products I thought I would talk about a few odds and ends from my personal hoard and give a few words for each item.

First up we have here a Marbles vintage gun cleaning kit in its metal box.  One of the higher end kits from its day, the rod was well made with a wooden handle and cam wit various attachments for a wide variety of bore sizes.

Inside you can see the metal tabs that hold each brush or jag in its place. The tiny cardboard box still retains the original patches and the small plastic bottle is cold blue to restore any dings you may have put on your firearm. The original solvent/oil bottles is sadly missing so I substituted a period metal bottle of military bore solvent until I can source the correct bottle.

As you can see above, the kit was very nice and is superior to the cheap plastic box kits on the market today. Even the black insert for holding the components is metal. It is very well made .  A kit like this on the market today would likely be expensive if  made to the same quality.  A time long gone now in a world of kydex, plastic and MIM. Below is the kit pictured with some other items from a shooting world now long gone.

Finally ,  an advert for the kit.

As testament to never knowing what you can turn up at garage sales of little old ladies after their husband passes away, is two vintage boxes of .22LR.  One is JC Higgins and the other Sears brand.  The ammo is hard enough to find in modern times. When I saw these two I had to buy them as I am a sucker vintage shooting world items.

Continuing on the topic of vintage gun cleaning. Below is a full , never opened can of military bore solvent.  Made from before the EPA banning of the active chemical that used to make  Hoppes actually effective.  When you hear old timers speak of the smell of Hoppes, that chemical is what they smelled.  Now long gone, anyone who tells you they love the smell of hoppes, has no idea they are just repeating something from down the decades and have never really smelt the sweat cloying odor of the chemical now missing from Hoppes.  Said chemical being the only think that made it effective at removing copper and powder fouling.  Now its barely useful as a dip to clean off you brushes.   If you find older bore solvent buy it and try it out. Then you will know what the big deal used to be about with Hoppes.

I found this can of solvent for 5 bucks at a consignment store. It pays to always take a minute to look.

Next up is a War of Northern Aggression canon ball from a battle. Found in a farmer’s filed in  north eastern WV  and turned over to a EOD specialist who recognized it as solid shot, he then gave it to me as the war of Northern Aggression has always been one of my hobbies.   I would tell you the area and county, but the farmer would not be pleased with the onslaught of metal detectors that could pop up if enough people saw it.

Here we have something that was once plentiful and easy to find when in the 1980s when I was still young.  Now they are hard to find, expensive and not safe to eat. At all.  It’s two MCI ratios. Otherwise known as “C-rations.”  None of the contents are safe to eat save the coffee , sugar and gun.  I keep these for display with the rest of my Vietnam War collection.  I have taken out a can of crackers to show those curious how a can looks.

Continuing with the Vietnam war theme. below are two Colt 20 round M16 mags in the famous Chieu Hoi bags.   These plastic bags offered some protection from the elements and once discarded, they would hopefully be found by a PAVN or Viet Cong soldier  who would read the printed message on the bag and  “rally to the southern government” or  surrender.  The bags tell possible defectors to come in with your hands  up with the bag and you will be accepted by the SVN gov.  Stats exist some where over how effective this was, but it did work at least a few times.

Speaking of the South Viets,  Below is a M1 steel helmet painted for the LLDB, the South VN Special Forces troops. The painting is of the same image as one of the shoulder patch worn by the LLDB.  A tiger jumping  with a white silk parachute in the back ground with three lightening bolts.  This all painted over the classic VN tiger stripe pattern.

Below is a recent acquisition of  mine. It is a full can of Korean war era US Cal. 30 blanks.  Made for the M1919 type machine guns in metal links.  The can holds the full 250 rounds.

The condition of the can is very gratifying.

Last up is a vintage can of weapons grease. Used for the M1 and M14 among other things.  An old gentleman who was a friend of my Father, gave this to me over 20 years ago. He brought it out of the service with him even further back still. He passed away only about 2 years after giving this to me.  It is still in excellent condition and I have never opened it.

As you can probably guess, I am a collector and a bit of a hoarder when it comes to vintage shooting paraphernalia and military odds and ends. If you enjoyed this, let me know here or on our facebook page and I will showcase more of my ever increasing hoard of interesting items of all type.   Now that SHOT 2017 is over, the website being finished in its move  and personal life calming down, normal posting should resume.

If you have not seen it yet, be sure to check out Daniel Watters excellent 5.56 timeline resource that we are now proud to be the home for.