Category Archives: Reviews

Our thoughts on an item.

Highcom 4SAS7: a Seriously Tough Ceramic Plate at a Great Price

For a long time “ceramic” meant “expensive” when it comes to body armor. Either pay at least $500 at a minimum for a ceramic level IV plate or settle for a less expensive and less effective steel plate. As more regular folks buy armor for just in case, market pressure has forced manufacturers to adapt. Some manufacturers are producing tougher, “level III+” steel plates that can stop some of the high velocity .223/5.56mm threats that regular level III steel plates cannot. At the same time, ceramic plates have also become more affordable.  Highcom Security actually offers a level IV ceramic plate at a price lower than some steel plates. It is available in a variety of sizes, curve options, and cuts, but in the 10″ x 12″ shooter’s cut, single curve style that is so popular, the price is $159.

At that price, one might reasonably suspect how effective the plate is. As the sci-fi writer Robert A. Heinlein was fond of saying “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.” It is quite reasonable to be suspicious of the quality at such an attractive price, but the plate has far exceeded any reasonable expectations.

Everything done in the test above shatters expectations, if you’ll pardon the pun. The hammer impact far exceeds anything you could reasonably expect to encounter in field use and the .358 Win is also something the plate was not designed to stop. Bear in mind that when this test was conducted, the plate had already stopped a 405 gr .450 Marlin at almost 2,000 fps. The plate then went on to stop a round of 7.62x51mm M61 AP.

Again, it is important to bear in mind that the plate had already sustained some ridiculous abuse before stopping the armor piercing round.

As tough as the plate is, it is also a little heavier than other plates with the same NIJ rating, but at 7.2 lbs for the 10″ x 12″ shooter’s cut, the difference is not huge and still lighter than steel plates of similar dimensions, while providing a great deal more protection than steel plates.

As always, the burden is upon you to do comprehensive research and determine your own priorities before purchasing any personal protective equipment. It is likewise important to stress that training matters a great deal more than equipment. No amount of gear, no matter how cool can make up for poor training. The more you sweat in training, the less you will bleed in a fight.

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Inland MFG M1911A1 Test Part 2 Accuracy Testing

Friends, it can be said that I like 1911s. I love 1911s.   I love the feel of a M1911, the way it shoots, its ergonomics, its recoil and its over all beautiful looks. I Blue, stainless, nickel, parkerized or duaracote, I love a 1911.  But, almost without fail, my love for the 1911 is reserved for those made by Colt’s MFG.   Today I can say that I really am impressed with the Inland M1911A1.  It is not flashy or fancy, it is just a  USGI clone M1911A1 made to look like the typical WW2 service sidearm. It does a good job at that.

Inland MFG 1911A1 Review Part 1

Generally speaking, the 1911s made to look like USGI guns that we get on the market today leave a lot to be desired.  GI issue style pistols are common by the lesser makers because it is so cheap to make them in that configuration. No after market sights or parts, no extra time and effort fitting custom after market parts or things like forward slide serration etc.  I think of the GI style pistols churning out these days are looked at as pizza by the makers.  Even if its bad its still kinda good. Everyone wants a GI pistol even if its cheap. Especially if its cheap because they assume no one really shoots them much.   Well, that not really true and there are a lot of just pure crap 1911s on the market.  The Inland is made very well

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As I mentioned before, the gun is a but more than just a GI issue clone.  The bushing is a tight fitting match bushing. The same used on the company’s custom carry pistol and trust me, it shows.

I test fired the pistol for accuracy after some serious abuse. A lot of it I did not film due to the weather conditions that would ruin a camera.  I froze it. I buried it in mud and snow, I have fired 1,500 rounds through it without cleaning and with only a little bit of LSA  from the 60s on it. I fired some of the most filthy training ammo you have ever seen through it. I have tried very hard to see what it would take short of putting bad mags in it and faulty ammo which is unfair.  I did however use real GI Issue  original magazines and they worked fine. And as you can see in the link below, I shot up a muddy water hole to break the ice and tossed the gun in it and kicked mud over it, then shot it.

Inland MFG M1 Carbine & M1911 Mud& Frozen Water Torture Test

After all that, and no cleaning, i started my serious accuracy testing by using bags and a bench.  I started out at 15 yards and I used jacketed hollow point ammo for accuracy testing and to once again make sure it fed hollow point bullets.   After I settled in on the bags and dry fired a few times, I fired this first group.  For a gun that is meant to basically meet plain old USGI standards you really can’t ask for much more.

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I then went on to shoot at 20 yards using different types of ammo including ball and PDX1.

I was really  proud of the last group of the day, a full  7 round loaded mag at 20 yards.

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I strung the shots vertical a bit, but I I don’t think anyone would hold that against  the pistol in this case.  I am sorry to say I did not get more groups with the HP ammo because I ran out.  The bulk of that ammo was used up on other reviews but I promise you that all groups shown are all the groups fired.  I did not toss out any that made me or the gun look bad.

Previous off hand plinking and goofing with the gun by shooting steel rifle gongs at 100 yards had already given me a pretty good idea I was not going to be shocked at horrible accuracy and the hunch was right.  One thing to point out is the trigger. On this particular T&E gun, the trigger is a typical milspec trigger, It is a little heavy.  It is not godawful, but if you are expecting a modern custom production 1911 type trigger you better get ready to have that illusion popped.  It is not a terrible trigger, It is what it is and what it is meant to be, a USGI trigger. If you buy a pistol like this expecting something else that is your fault.

 

I have really enjoyed my time with the piece.  Most non-colt 1911s  fail my standards with regularity of a swiss watch but not this one.  I would not hesitate to own one of these.  It is a lot better than most of the others of this type. I would take this over the Springfield Armory USGI model every day of the week.  If you are wanting a USGI pistol but are not worried about paying more than you would by a RIA, and want something more reliable and with really, really good accuracy, give this a serious look.

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Upgrading My Outdated Weapon Lights, the Surefire X300

This past week, I sold a few of my older weapon mounted lights (WML) and got some very awesome deals on replacement lights. I sold several, over 12 years old, Insight M3 tactical lights and a first Gen Streamlight TRL-1. I carried some of these on duty years ago when they were the best/newest WML out there.  All were in like new condition and served me well, but with 65 and 80 max output lumens, these lights were very outdated. In fact, they were dangerously inadequate for my needs. I probably hung on to them for a few years, far to long because of sentimental reasons, and I was so use to them.

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Old Streamlight TLR-1 / Insight M3 Weapon Lights
Surefire X300 Weapn Mounted Light
New Surefire X300 Weapn Mounted Light

For a pistol weapon light, I personally like lights at or under 200 lumens. I have found that this provides very adequate target identification light, while preserving my night vision, with appropriate use. The new lights at 500, 600 and over lumens, have a negative effect on my night vision, with momentary on and off use indoors and at typical handgun engagement distances. I find that I get several spotting/blinding circles, from the momentary on position with over 500  lumens. While this is great for blinding your adversary, it also creates those hard to recover spots in my eyes.

Surefire X300's
Surefire X300’s / Sig & Glocks
Surefire X300's
Surefire X300’s / 175 Lumens

I was able to sell off all of my older WML’s and broke even with their replacements, (pretty damn good).  I was able to find two (2) new in box, Surefire X300’s and one (1) like new in box, Surefire X300. I have used the X300 before and found the 175 lumen Surefire X300 to be my personal preference, for my home defense/carry handguns. The Surefire’s have a more focused light beam compared to other WML’s. This makes them have a brighter focused beam that extends their range an bit, with a descent cascading peripheral edge light feel.

Surefire X300's off
Surefire X300’s off
Surefire X300's On
Surefire X300’s On

Final Thoughts:

I think  I made out extremely well, replacing my older weapon lights and getting the light output (lumens) I prefer in a home defense or carry weapon light. Now that the Surefire X300 Ultra’s (A and B) are out, you can find some great deals on people selling the older x300’s. I will be replacing some of my rifle WML’s with X300 Ultra’s in the near future. If you happen to find an older quality X300, don’t hesitate to jump on it for your CCW or home defense handgun.

Duncan.

Inland MFG M1 Carbine Part 2 Accuracy Testing

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This is the final part in the T&E of the Inland MFG M1 Carbine.  In case you have no read the pr4evious posts, I examined the gun closely with plenty of close up pictures and tested the carbine for reliability in mud, snow, water and ice.  Now at last is the accuracy portion of the review.

I fired the gun with a few different loads but no match ammo since I could not get my  hands on any  in an amount that would have mattered. I tested the gun using ball, which is what I think most buyers will be using and a federal soft point rounds that for some reason I marked as a hollow point on the record targets  I have no idea why I marked it incorrectly as HPs unless it is just out of habit.    Rest assured the  target groups marked as “HP” is a mistake and I actually fired the Federal jacketed soft point load.

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First I fired the traditional  25 yard group for establishing a zero. I used five rounds of ball.

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I then moved out to 50 yards and  75 yards.  This 50 yard  10 round group is with the mentioned Fed SOFT POINT load. The carbine really shot well with this load.  I believe this load is the ammo that was used by the PD in the town over in WV across the river from me. The ammo was provided by a police officer and came from the department so it may well be the load Federal intended as a LE or home defense load. It does shoot well in the carbine despite the ammo I used being at least 10 years old that I know of.

The next two pictures are of another 50 yard group and a group fired at 75 yards  with the same ammo.  I did not fire a 100 yard group due to the fact that my eyes have a hard time with the iron sights on M1 carbines   for some reason.  I can shoot them just fine for general use, but I really struggle with them when it gets down to taking precise shots in an attempt to fire groups for accuracy testing  I have never done well with them  and felt it unfair to shoot much further and not know if it was me or the gun.  However 75 yards is close to 100 enough to get some kind of idea of what it may do.

I did fire the gun past these shorter distances.  I set up the steel target at 300 yards while shooting it when it first arrives.  My Dad was with us and before shooting I announced i was going to take some shots at 300 yards with the gun.  Everyone chuckled and said “yeah right”. i then asked them if they wanted to bet 20 bucks on me being able to do it.   Fortunately for them, they would not take the bet because I found it very easy to hit a roughly man sized target , ( head to belt buckle) at 300 yards with the carbine.

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The target  is a little hard to see in this picture. But it is in the center of the road.  I used a home made tripod to get over the grass but none of the shots used a sand bag or laying prone.  I then stood up and made a few hits off hand.  The carbine is capable for shots most modern rifle shooters can not make with  308 rifles or more sad to say.

The Inland Carbine is a handy well made and faithful reproduction of the original. It is much nicer and better made than its competition out there making some really rough looking M1 carbines.  You can also get the M1A1 paratrooper version of the carbine and a cut down “Advisor” model like used by US troops in Vietnam.

If you like WW2 weapons and history and want a carbine that you can shoot heavily without any guilt, or just want a small handy “trunk gun” this would be a good choice. I would certainly pick it over a SKS or nagant.   The rifle comes with the 15 round mag but obviously will take the 30 round magazines.   The M1 could be the answer for those people in certain states that governments that have been confusing their role with those of communist states.  Or for those who want something not as scary and evil looking as an evil black rifle.

Over all I am very impressed with it. I admit that everyone who was with me during the first testing had major doubts and rolled their eyes at it when I said I was going to do some of the stuff with it I ended up  doing, but they became believers. A lot of preconceived biases got busted by this gun.  it certainly impressed me.  This Inland M1 will perform above and beyond for you within its envelope and a little beyond.

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RTF2, the Pinnacle of Glock Production?

Recently Lipsey’s released another Vickers / Glock collaboration,  with the Grey Gen3 RTF2 Glocks, much like the previously released Vickers RTF2 FDE Glocks. While the Vickers Glocks have a lot of  Vickers Glock accessories, these Glocks are mainly focused around the 2009 RTF2 frame and are desired for this frame.  The RTF2 frame  was in production for a very short time and  was not really wanted when it first came out.  Now people pay a premium for the RTF2 framed Glocks. So, is the RTF2 frame the pinnacle of Glock production? I would say yes, for a pure Glock fighting handgun.

Glock 17 RTF2
Glock 17 RTF2

The initial release of the Glock Gen3 RTF2’s in 2009, with the G17 and G22, where met with a lot of visual/cosmetic speculation.  Not so much with the RTF2 frame but with the so called “Fish Gill” scalloped slide serrations. Many hated the Fish Gill look and this cosmetic look was the main focus of dislike on the RTF2’s back then. In reality the Fish Gill slide serrations have never been a functional issue/problem. They worked just as well as the standard slide serrations. Glock quickly stopped production of the Fish Gill slides and continued G17, G22, G19, G23 and G21 RTF2 frame production. This makes the Fish Gill Glock slides the least produced RTF2 combination. Then people started to complain the RTF2 texture was to rough for their delicate hands.  Some time in 2010 the RTF2 line was halted and was limited to large orders (over 2500) or LE agency production only.

"Fish Gill" Scalloped Slide Serrations
“Fish Gill” Scalloped Slide Serrations

In recent years Lipsey’s has release exclusive Vickers RTF2 Glocks in FDE and now in Grey. These Glocks have sold out very quickly and in some cases for extremely large amounts of money. Most RTF2 frames now sell for premium values since they were discontinued.  Why was the RTF2 frame chosen for the Vickers Glock and why are they so desirable now? I do not think the Vickers accessories that are sold with the Vickers Glocks are the main attractive point of these Glock’s.  Also, the FDE and Grey colors are not the main focus of the Vickers Glock’s. You can get these accessories and these colors for your standard Gen3 and Gen4 Glock’s.  The main selling point of the Vickers Glock’s are the RTF2 frames.

Vickers FDE Glocks
Vickers FDE Glocks
Vickers Grey Glocks
Vickers Grey Glocks

In my opinion the RTF2 frame is the pinnacle of the Glock line for a duty, home defense and training firearm.  It is also the best feeling and handling Glock made frame.

Grip/Texture:

The texture of the RTF2 frame is exactly what you want in a fighting handgun. The RTF2 frame has more than 4,000 tiny raised “Pyramids” around the grip. I actually tried to count/calculate one of my personal RTF2 framed Glock’s pyramids and it came out just over 5600 pyramids. The RTF2 frame is not too rough for your hands and it does not beat up or hurt your hands under longs strings of fire.  You can feel the slight bite of the RTF2 pyramid texturing but it’s just enough to let you know it is there for you. I have taken the RTF2 to several multi-day training courses and other than a super positive grip, I have had no issues with the grip texture being too rough. When handling the RTF2 Glock in wet and oily environments, it has vastly superior grip-ability over the Gen3 and Gen4 frames.

RTF2 "Pyramids"
RTF2 “Pyramids”

Now, if you are looking for a daily conceal carry handgun, The RTF2 framed Glocks are not ideal. If you are trying to conceal an RTF2 Glock, having it right next to your skin is not going to feel great.  You will have to wear a layer of protective clothing. Also, the RTF2 frames are extremely rough on all clothing, gloves and even your seatbelt. For a training course, duty carry or home defense firearm, the RTF2 is the best of the Glock offerings, for a very positive grip.

RTF2 Training
RTF2 Training

Gen3 Frame:

The RTF2 frame is built on Glocks arguably most reliable and longest serving Glock frame, the Gen3. I really can’t explain what it is, but the overall grip circumference of the RTF2 frame seems to feel smaller than the standard Gen3 frame.  The finger grooves also look and feel smaller than on the standard Gen3 frame.  I’m not sure if this is due to the RTF2 texture but the size of the grip feels just right.  You feel like you have more hand on the firearm with a maximum hand purchase, 360 degrees around the frame.

Glock 17 RTF2 / X300 / 33rd Magazine
Glock 17 RTF2 / X300 / 33rd Magazine

Availability Today:

The RTF2 Glock general production was stopped in 2010. With some of the Vickers Glocks you may be able to find one  here and there, but you are going to pay for it. There are older RTF’s popping up here and there and you will be paying a high price for them as well. I would suggest looking out for Police Trade-In G22 and G23 RTF2’s when they are available. I recently saw some in the mid 300 dollar range. Since G17/22 and G19/23 frames are identical, picking up a cheaper .40 cal trade in model might be the way to go, to get the RTF2 frame.

Final Thoughts:

If you are someone who likes Glocks, once you have an RTF2 framed Glock in your hands, you will probably never let it go. It is the ultimate in positive grip, in the Glock line. I mainly use the RTF2 Glocks for home defense and training classes. The RTF2’s are also great for your load-bearing, armor carrier, chest rig, or SHTF go gear. You will find yourself wanting to carry it for your conceal firearm, but remember it just chews your clothing up to fast. For a pure fighting handgun, the RTF2’s are the best Glock frames you can get. They do perform better than Gen3 and Gen4 Glocks in the grip feel and function area.

Duncan

US&S M1911A1

The  M1911A1 pictured below is special.  it is an all matching US&S  M1911A1.  It is in beautiful shape.  Finding one like this would take a very long time and cost a small fortune.   In this case, it was restored.   The gun was a effort of love by the owner of Moore Militaria  ( http://www.mooremilitaria.com )  It was restored over time and  when all parts had be found, sent to George Rhogar for that beautiful finish and  going over all the stamping and cartouches, giving them a more defined look and bringing them back after years of arsenal refinishing had worn them  down.

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No the piece is not original.  Since it is not factory new and argument could be made it has much if it s value hurt by this restoration project.   But not to me.  I think it was a worthy effort and the results speak for themselves.  It would take a very keen and astute eye to determine this gun to be a restoration.   I personally do not have a problem with this kind of thing.   Where else would you be able to have one of these with all the matching parts and not feel bad about shooting it?      Below are more pictures of this M1911 courtesy of Trey Moore.   He kindly sent me these pictures after telling me about it yesterday. So thanks to him for these.  If you like Vietnam era gear and uniforms, check out his website. Everyone could use a set of vietnam tiger strips made in the proper pattern and in the correct cut.

Inland MFG M1 Carbine & M1911 Mud& Frozen Water Torture Test

IF you have been reading us for the past 6 months you have seen the ongoing testing and review of the Inland MFG  M1911A1 and M1 carbine.  You can find the reviews using the search feature.  As an aside to those on going tests, today weather conditions gave us the chance to do little else other than abuse fire arms since it was so cold and raining our targets would melt away after being soaked in a matter of a few minutes.

We used the huge standing mud/water hole that was frozen over night to toss the guns in and see what happens.

 

First  the much maligned M1 carbine. Known the world over for being as feeble against the elements  as  tissue paper.

 

Next us was the Inland M1911A1 clone.   Everyone knows only a glock would work under such conditions.

As you can see. both did fine.  I admit I thought  the M1 carbine in the sludge and me kicking mud over it was giving it more than it could reasonably be expected to handle. But it did just great.    Shooting down myths of certain guns being unreliable and the myth of certain guns being super indestructible does get tiresome and redundant. But it is still necessary these days as much as it ever was.   Especially with the 1911.   So many companies make the 1911 now, and very few of them actually make good ones the way they are supposed to be made .  The result is poorly made 1911s that those looking for a reason to claim its not reliable find that reason in those many lesser companies who cut corners or just do not care.   Inland has proven to my satisfaction that they indeed make a good GI  spec 1911.