5.56 Timeline

Black Wolf Knives

Today I have some new photos from Black Wolf Knives. The owner is a friend of the website and makes all hand made knives that are just excellent. Every one is different and made to order. You can see above one that he just finished for a customer with beautiful wood grips.

Mainly the knives are for outdoor use but he makes a variety. Really he will do about anything you want within reason.

He also hand makes the leather or Kydex sheathes.

If you want a custom knife that will last you check them out.


Tailhook, SIG PCB, and SB Tactical Braces

I was out at the range the other day and noticed I had chance to run a few different braces side by side.

For a long time I didn’t see the point of a pistol brace. Not that long ago we were not suppose to shoulder them. That made me think they were pointless. I also thought they were ugly, and I own a few short barreled rifles so making a braced pistol seemed silly.

The ATF finally pulled they head out of their ass and decided that shouldering a pistol doesn’t make it a rifle. We should consider our selves fortunate that our tyrant government didn’t instead decide that using two hands to shoot a pistol made a rifle. But just take a look at VA to see what our elected officials would really like to do. I learned that these braces were not just a gimmick, and some of them work well. They also keep you from having to pay a $200 stamp tax and keeps travel between states simple.

Back to the topic at hand. SB Tactical, inventors of the pistol brace, make models that fit on a wide variety of pistols.

In this picture, we have a Tailhook brace above on a B&T telescoping stock/brace. Below is a SB Tactical brace for a B&T gun. SB Tactical braces have a split on the bottom and you slide it over your arm and velcro it in place.

This photo from SB Tactical’s website shows how it is intended to be used. I’ve found that on some of the SB Tactical braces, the velco strap is too short for me to use it that way. On all the SB Tactical braces, I’ve found it to be unpleasant to painful to use as intended.

The cheapest SB Tactical braces for the AR15 can be found for about $100, prices go up from there. I do like how the SB Tactical braces provide a good cheek weld.

SIG came up with a brace called the “Pivoting Contour Brace”. This PCB brace is often called “the helicopter brace” by detractors because it can spin 360 degrees.

The end of this brace clamshells open to reveal the strap.

Velcro allows you to adjust the strap length to fit your arm or forearm.

In this picture, I have the strap looser than I would prefer for proper brace use, but it is functional. I see many detractors to this helicopter brace online, but having used it myself, it is my favorite of the strap type braces. The rotation easily accommodates right or left handed shooting, and unlike the SB Tactical braces, it is comfortable to use. The PCB comes standard on some of the SIG pistols versions of the MCX and MPX. They also fold to the left and attach to a vertical section of picatinny rail. Not a viable option for your average AR15,

The Tailhook is the brace I have most recently purchased. Unlike the SB Tactical and the SIG PCB this one does not use a velcro strap. Instead you install it for left or right handed use, and there is a hook that folds out and goes under your arm to support the gun. Fast and simple.

This brace is simple, easy to use. The main criticism I could give is that if you set it up for one hand, you can’t really use it on the other side.

While I could hold and shoot a pistol with a Tailhook set up for the right hand, I could not angle or move it to a place where I could aim left handed.

I would suggest to Gear Head Works, makers of the Tailhook, to make an ambidextrous model. But realistically it would cost more and have a very limited market. Lefties can already just install a Tailhook revered to open on the left side.

A lesser but more critical complaint would be that the screws included were very soft, and stripped as I installed the brace. I’d suggest they spend the few pennies more per screw to buy a better quality screws.

I do like how the Tailhook has a QD socket on the side opposite the side opposite the hook.

All these various brace options let us make these large awkward pistols into something practical. It is great that we have these options.

New F.A.B. Gradus Pistol Grip

Finally we get exactly what we all needed, another AR grip.

The Gradus is a revolutionary pistol grip with exceptional attention to detail and an incredibly durable design. It uses an ergonomic model that increases grip strength, control, and overall comfort. Made for long-range and close contact accuracy, the Gradus is versatile and mission-ready.

The grip uses a relatively straight profile with a 15-degree reduced grip angle that increases stability while creating excellent grip security. The design is slim, with a curved back strap that significantly improves comfort. It even comes with the option for a beavertail or flat configuration design.

The Gradus is constructed from a reinforced polymer core that delivers incredible durability. The textured rubber over-mold adds an additional layer of security while providing an outstanding grip for shooters. The combination of materials provides pressure relief by equally distributing force placed on the grip. The level of control increases as a direct result of the materials used and the ergonomic design.

The Gradus pistol grip is available in Black, Olive Drab Green or Flat Dark Earth. The MSRP pricing is set at an affordable $28, making the grip available for a large market. The Gradus has a beautiful design that performs at the highest levels. It’s made to last while delivering a stable and comfortable grip at any range.


New Strike Industries Quick Detach Sling Loop

The Strike Industries Quick Detach Sling Loop is the most revolutionary design for QD attachments to date. With the ability to remove the QD with a single hand, the user can easily squeeze the mechanism for the simplest attachment and detachment. Instead of a traditional push button QD that is tough to disengage, the patent pending side to side mechanism allows for uninterrupted quick attach and detach while the sling is in use. Crafted from 17-4 Stainless Steel and after a quench polish quench (QPQ) process, the durability of the sling loop is greatly increased. The enhanced geometry of the sling loop allows the strap to never pinch, bite, or roll around the interior of the loop allowing for the maximum mobility and comfort in any tactical or training situation.


Troy EM203 M203 Tri-Rail

I look at how much of my income I spend on guns and I think I should switch to a cheaper hobby. Maybe gambling, or drugs.

Fortunately I didn’t spend too much on this. I saw one used for sale, ordered it, and told Shawn that I would probably mount it for a few minutes, snap a few photos, then take it off and throw it in the parts bin. I was right.

Someone looked at the M203 Grenade Launcher and thought, “It needs more rails.” Troy Industries made this, now discontinued, tri-rail that clamps on to a M203 barrel. It would have originally come with a Troy Ind modular vertical forward grip. This used one did not include the VFG.

At first glance, this isn’t a terrible idea. When a M203 is mounted on a rifle, it becomes the main part of the rifle you hold on too with your support hand. The M203 barrel is much lower than any rail system on the rifle, making the use of lights and lasers awkward. And mounting the M203 causes you to lose the ability to mount a vertical grip or bipod.

There was one of the companies that manufactured M203 launchers made a version with a rail on the bottom of the barrel. I can’t find a picture of it at the moment. I don’t know if anyone actually ordered any. It might have just been a prototype.

The Troy EM203 would let you mount a vertical grip on your M203 barrel, and mount accessories in easy reach of that grip. If you wanted to, you could run a bipod or grippod on a rifle with a M203.

Troy designed the EM203 to hinge open for installation. Loosen two screws, and the entire thing unfolds to easily mount onto the M203 barrel.

I did not expect this and I think is a pretty nifty design. But ultimately unnecessary. They could have just as easily made it two parts that clamped together and omitted a few cuts and bolts in the design.

The best feature that the EM203 rocks are the two remote levers for unlocking the M203 barrel. When you reload the M203, you have to hit the latch on the left side of the launcher. This tri-rail has a cam and a pair of levers allowing you to open the action by hitting levers on either side of the gun.

The left side lever is easy to hit with your left hand thumb and sits in a nice location. Note that in the picture above the side sling swivel mounted on the barrel would prevent proper use of the M203 because the swivel blocks the lever to open the breach.

On the right side the lever is at the bottom and is pushed forwards. I found this a fair bit harder to hit and use. But to be fair, I wouldn’t want that lever any bigger as it might be easy to accidentally hit if it were.

When I first saw that these levers were held on by roll pins, I was concerned about the roll pins breaking. But after thinking about it, it would be better to have a roll pin break than to damage the weapon.

So why wasn’t this product a stunning success?

The M203 is a little wide. Clamping a rail system to it makes it even wider. This makes the gun a little too wide to hold well. It doesn’t show up well in photos, but when you pick it up for one moment it is an ergonomic nightmare. Moving the vertical grip so far away from the axis of the bore doesn’t help.

The biggest issue has to do with the design of the M203. A M203 barrel is aluminum, and interfaces with a dovetail like joint in the aluminum M203 receiver. It was never made to support additional weight or take additional abuse.

There are already stories of the M203 grip (pictured above), putting additional stress on M203 launchers and causing them to become unservicable. Who knows how much additional wear mountings accessories to the M203 barrel would cause? It might not be an issue. But would you want to risk it on a personally owned gun?

A M203 isn’t a precision weapon. There is a good bit of play between the barrel and the receiver. Not an issue if you are mounting a VFG or light, but it was be unsuitable for mounting an aiming device like a laser. The rainbow like trajectory of the 40mm rounds also precludes the use of a fixed laser. So, what would you really need 3 rail sections for?

I think this EM203 part is well made, but would have been better if they could have tucked the rail sections closer to the barrel. Make it a little smaller, and sleeker. Ultimately it is a niche item for a small market. I took mine off the same day I put it on, and threw it in the parts bin.