Category Archives: Reviews

Our thoughts on an item.

Review: DSA AR15 Ambi-Safety

 

DSArms offers an AR15 semi-auto Ambi-Safety for $28 dollars; part number ZM41367AMBISA-A.  Both parts of the Ambi safety appear to be cast.  The groove allowing rotation is cut all the way around the DSA ambi safety, allowing the safety/selector to move into what would be a Burst/Full Auto position on a select fire rifle.  However the rifle will not fire while the safety is placed on this position.

The DSA safety is one of the cheapest options for an ambidextrous safety for the AR15.  The both sides of this safety lever are full size, so it may bump into your trigger finger when you flip the safety.  This safety also sticks out a little more from the receiver then other safeties.  This is most likely to ensure compatibility with the wide variety of aftermarket pistol grips available for the AR15.  I really do not like how the safety will spin into the third position.  If I push too hard or too far when trying to take the rifle off safe, I can push the safety past the fire point and any point past that the rifle will not fire.

I do not recommend the DSArms ambi-safety because it will rotate past fire.  However if that is not an issue for you, the DSArms ambi-safety is one of the cheapest ambi-safeties around.

A Look at Quality CCW Shirts

Sure you can hide your widow maker  with normal clothes the same as you can with clothes meant to hide guns, but normally those non gun clothes lack a few other nice little refinements. Until recently anything  made to be worn with guns was usually something  meant to be be more of what I call uniform casual. The police polo shirt with hooks for radio wires  or other shirts meant to be more “tactical”, whatever that means these days.

I do not consider my self fashionable, but I do kinda of like my clothes to be presentable for dinner or a date. Most of the clothes I used in the past to hide my  sidearm looked pretty sloppy and had my girlfriend complaining about my looks. She is always dressed in current fashion and when we went out , I did not think it was asking to much for me to look like something she would not be ashamed to be seen with, at least clothing wise. So Last year she bought me a woolrich elite CCW shirt to wear. Not only did it hide my gun well, it looked great!. It was comfortable, it was light, it did not stain easy and it let me stay cool in the summer. After this, I became more interested in shirts that hide guns and all the other stuff that usually goes along with them.

Not too long ago, Woolrich came out with some more shirts in the line. They look even better then the older solid color shirts from a few years ago, but are nice enough to wear anywhere for most events you may find yourself dragged to willingly or out of duty.

The 1st of these is the Woolrich Elite series tactical shirt

As you can see in the picture the shirt looks good, wears good, and hides a full size 1911 and spare mag easily. Both right and left sides have the hidden split side with velcro closure. This lets you grab the shirt and rip it open to get to your handgun or reload easier. when not in use, they split side is hidden.

The bottom button of the shirt is also false. Instead it has a small magnet on each side that stays put until you need to  move it, then it comes away easily to let you move the shit to get to whatever you need. Also the back of the shirt has a vented back for better cooling, as I will show in a later pic of another shirt.  The shirt hides inside and outside the belt holster well adn with very little printing. Here is a side view of the shirt  doing its thing.

The next shirt is another Woolrich CCW shirt but not the Elite series. It is however just as nice. It has all the same features as the above shirt but has some extras.

The shirt has the same velcro split side as the elite series  on both left and right sides and the vented back. But, it also has a middle section of false buttons. The middle section is not velcro however. Instead of having velcro that would wear out or be too noisy in a bad situation, it has magnets behind the false buttons that allows you to slip your hand into the shirt to get to a gun in a shoulder holster. I thought this was a great solution for the shoulder holster. I rarely use a shoulder rig because of not having a easy way to get to it with normal shirts.

As can be seen, the shirt easily pulls away right where you need it to.

And here is a picture trying to show the left side vents. Both woolrich shirts have these vents on the right and left side along with a breast pocket that is closed with velcro.

These shirts come in a few different colors and patterns. They are light and very very comfortable. They fit me just as they are supposed to. A size M is a size M and the material they are made from is soft and is hard to get to wrinkle. To add to that I have to say they look really good, everyone that has seen them has commented on how nice they looked and had no idea of there purpose. Since the remarks came from some women I consider that pretty good proof that the shirt does its job of deception.

The next shirt is not a Woolrich  but the ever popular 5.11. I like some 5.11 stuff and have a couple of pair of their pants but this is the first shirt that I have tried from the company. Before I got the woolrich shirts I liked it a lot. I still like it, but now I see its not all it could be. But it is still a very nice shirt that does its job well. I think it would do better for a police officer or some one that needed to carry a lot more gear. or just a guy that likes to carry a lot more gear.

The shirt works great for hiding your handgun.

But I find the side velcro splits do not come up far enough to always clear the gun like they are meant to.

Pretty good, but not as much as I would like.

Like the woolrich, it allows you to get to a shoulder holster but with a different solution. It uses metal snap buttons under false conventional looking buttons.

Once inside the shirt, there are two huge inside pockets that are closed by velcro. They are big enough to hold anything you can think of. I was able to fit an entire Gov model 1911 in the left side. The same pocket is on left and right of the shirt.

That is a lot of room. I was able to get  30 round AR15 mags in the pockets as well as flashlights, wallets, spare pistol mags and a lot of other things useful and not useful.

Here is a picture of the hidden buttons along with the outer false buttons. The inside rear of the shirt shows the material meant to make the shirt cooler and to get some air inside. It does a poor job at this but I consider the shirt more for cooler use. The material is very soft and wrinkle free, but it is heavier then the woolrich. Though it might be hotter and heavier, it is not by much and it may make it last longer and be tougher, but I do not think it would be enough to call it an advantage over the woolrich.

All of the shirts will do exactly what they are intended to do. I have to say I have a love of the woolrich though. They have more styles and they area lot cooler in the summer. All of the shirt shown are pricey, but what product in our lifestyle is not pricey these days? Especially if you want quality, and I have always lived by the “you get what you pay for”  philosophy. All of the shirts will do a good job and I highly suggest giving them some serious thought.Sure I can hide a 1911 , two reloads and a Ar15 mag under a wife beater Tshirt, but why not look good and have something the wife/girlfriend/ boyfriend??  would be proud to be seen with you if you are wearing it.

SUREFIRE 60 round magazine

The Surefire magazines that hold 60 and 100 rounds have been out for a while now. If you are like me, you have read a few conflicting reports on the quality of the mags all over the internet.  With a possible panic buy situation looming in the future and my own curiosity I decided to try one out. I had no real use for the 100 round magazine since I am not a SAW gunner I opted for the 60 round mag. And as a side note it should be pointed out that surefire now sells MOLLE mag pouches that will hold the mags now.

Once I got the mag, I set out to test it as hard as I could. I loaded it completely full and inserted it into my carbine expecting it to feel like a boat anchor. I was greatly relieved to find that you can not really tell  it is 60 rounds. It really does not feel like any real extra weight. The balance of the weapon still has the same balance and handles just as well as it would with a 30 rounder.  The mag dropped free when empty and I felt no stiffness or friction when the mag release was pressed.  The mag was also very easy to seat  into the gun when loaded full and the bolt was closed. I thought with all the tension from that much ammo it would need some effort but it did not. Another nice discovery was that the 60th round was just as easy to thumb into the mag as the 1st round was. No sore bloody thumbs like was expecting. That was a very nice surprise.

The surefire is pretty much USGI in the feed lips department. The mag body is made from the same metal as the gov issue mags with what appears to be the same coatings. It is pretty simple to take the mag down for cleaning etc.

I went into the testing after all the usual examinations and fondling. I fired the mag empty in one go and it worked fine, locked the bolt open and dropped free while using M855. Next I dropped the ammo into the dirt, loaded them while dirty, shook them up in the mag and ran it dry with the same result.  Next I got into prone and put all the pressure I could on the mag using it as a monopod. I ran it empty with the same results.

I know some mags will give problems from the mag rest so I tested this a lot over two days. I fired another full mag while using it as a rest, but this time pushing it forward as I fired, rocking it forward. I reloaded it and did the same thing though this time I pulled back on it while pushing down hard. It worked great in both cases. I then did the same while holding the gun at an angle to the left then the right. I did both of these tests with a full mag. I did this thinking that some people  may have trouble shooting under a car and not touching the ground with the mag because of the longer length. In any case it did not matter. The mag ran fine with no problems. At this point I had put 400 rounds through the mag adn the gun. I had wiped off most of the lube from the colt to try to make it harder on the magazine. I also made sure to use stripper clips to laod as fast as I could so as to keep the gun hot and the mag warm and dirty. At this point I started using crummy ammo. I tried it with silver bear, brown bear, tula and wolf. Some of it was very under powered but, the mag worked fine. I would have been surprised to have any problems at that point, but I tried them just for the sake of trying them. And I am always looking for an excuse to shoot so it worked out nicely. Most of this testing was done today and a very windy and dusty place. My carbine was coated in a fairly thick coating of dust and I left the bolt open with mag in it to let dust in while shooting other guns to see if I could at least get the mag to feel gritty while working. No dice.

Now I will show a few pictures comparing the mag to a regular USGI and a Pmag and with and without ranger plates so people can get a idea of how long it is.

Here they are side by side. As can be seen, they are not to different in size. To the one guy who does not have a Pmag, they are slightly longer then a USGI.

I think this is a better shot to compare length with out the trick of the  curve of mags making them seem longer.

As can be seen in the picture. The surefire really is not too bad when you see its barely longer then a USGI with a magpul ranger plate on it. A lot of people use the pull tabs anyway, so when it comes to just plain length, it is really not all that much longer.

I know there is a lot of bad reports of the surefire all over the internet, but there is good as well. Mine has run great so far. I plan to test it a while longer before I say it is 100 percent ready to trust my life on it, or even a rifle match. But I am leaning toward that thinking currently. As much as i would like to say “buy with complete confidence” I must hang back. Though it worked great so far, it is not quite mature technology that has been proven enough in real combat in my mind. But, I am slow to jump all over something new. I usually want to see 5-10 years of something being used by the military or some other hard use  group and widespread adoption before I switch to something new. Especially if it is something really different. The surefire mag is not quite as big a deal as a new jet fighter or standard infantry round but, having a mag that fails you in a fight is a pretty big deal to anyone I think.  I will say it is worth buying and trying. if it works fine for you then that is great but take into consideration all the problems we are hearing. I have no way to prove how these supposed problems have happened or how  the mags were treated before they failed so keep in mind that most of the bad mouthing may be BS.  I will say I have heard a lot more good then bad. If you do want one but can not do it right now keep these things in mind.

Surefire will only improve it as time goes on an they will make any problem right. And there is a very very very good chance of wide spread panic buying and price hiking to come over the next few months and is a certainty if you know who is re elected.  So, my thinking was, if it works, great, I got it at a good price and if it give trouble, surefire will fix it and I will have gotten what at a good price before any chance, real or imagined for them to become hard to get, very high priced and sold out. I hope that at least helps you decide on to get one or not. I am very happy with mine and if it keeps performing as is, I will get another one for sure.

COLT Gov Model 1911 test.

Today I picked up another colt 1911, it is the regular gov model sold as the  1991A1 in the past, and still called that in the colt webpage. If you do not already know, it is just a basic model. It is sort of a cross between a 1911 and a 1911A1 with  better sites and a few differences. And of course it has the series 80 trigger system.  When I was a teenager, it would be what was called the MK IV series 80 Gov Model. If you are out of the loop and last had a colt in the 80s, and want another like it, this is the model to get.  Colt ad refers to it as a direct descendent of the 1911 used in WW1 and WW2.  This is a pretty good description actually, so I wont say more on that.

Now, to the meat of this review. I was very tempted to just skip any kinda intro and lead off with a pic of the target  as the 1st thing anyone could see. I was pretty giddy after I fired the first 5 rounds out of the gun. The picture below was shot using the colt, Black hills 230 grain match ammo, and off a bench at 25 yards. And,it was the first 5 rounds through the gun, brand new, out of the box. I had not even lubed it or cleaned it yet.

As you can see why, I was fairly surprised and pleased. This may be the best group I have ever fired with a handgun that was not a custom pistol.

I next moved on to using winchester white box ball ammo, since those last 5 rounds was all the BH match I had on hand. The next group below was shot the same way; off a bench at 25 yards.

Not as good, but wow!  not bad at all with walmart ball ammo. I am used to great accuracy from my colts that have the national match barrel and up graded specs. But, this out of a  pistol meant to be a little niceer finished milspec was amazing. Last I fired the same WWB ammo at 25 yards but instead of 5 I shot 7 rounds. Even off hand, I was more then happy.

With this pistol, better sights and a lighter trigger I would not be afraid to go to camp perry. It ran flawless just as I knew it would. Some people think a stock 1911 needs work to work perfect. The thought that it would, never crossed my mind. I have never had a colt let me down, though I will not say the same about kimber or springfeild.  The gun comes with 2 seven round mags, the lock to make new yorkers feel safer and the ever present NRA join up paper work.  The gun comes with a nice set of checkered double diamond grips,but I replaced them with a set with the colt gold medallions. The gold colt medallion was all the 1911s of my youth and I have always loved them and tried to keep them on as many of my colts as I can.

One thing that gave me a idea the gun would shoot tight before I even pulled the trigger, was how tight it was. I mean it was tight. No play of the barrel in the slide, no side to side movement,just tight.  The level of craft is a lot higher then some of the plain jane gov models  I have bought in the last decade. Not that the others were bad, just not as nice as this one in the little ways that matter to people that like safe queens and collectors items more then they like shooters and combat pistols meant to work hard.

The barrel is stainless, but not match. No full length guide rod either. A few years ago the same model came with two blued 8 round mags, but this one came with two 7 rounders. I might also add this is this years model.

After testing this gun I am very tempted to use it as a base gun for a MEUSOC clone, which was my intention. But now, no way. This however would be a great base model for a custom CCW gun for anyone. It is a great price and of course it is a colt. A lot of people would tell you to get a series 70 and thats fine too. But I have never had problems with the series 80 triggers and my series 80 gold cup has a better trigger then my series 70 gold cup national match and  every series 70 I ever tried. The BS you hear bad about the series 80, is just that. It makes the gun safer. It may be more parts but so what? If it was as bad as some ignorant people claim, colt would have stopped using the series 80 years ago , and would not put it in their flag ship pistols like the special combat gov the rail gun or the XSE series.

If you want a very nice shooter  as an example of history, a plain combat gun or a base gun for a custom project this is a great choice. It has a forged frame and slide, the least MIM parts on the market ( which is a rare thing in the 1911 market these days) put together still by hand from the company the introduced the pistol and has been making the for over 100 years now. And made right here in the USA. I think the choice is very easy.

www.coltsmfg.com

Looking for a nice IWB holster?

Back in 2007 I decided I needed a IWB holster for my 1911. Like most people I ended up with a enough holster to outfit a rifle squad while trying to find one I liked that worked for me. I was reading the book Living with the 1911 when I noticed a company in Texas that made some really nice handmade custom leather and decided to give them a try.   the company is Kirkpatrick Leather and they do indeed make a truly awesome holster. They have something for everyone.

The model I choose has the snap loops for a belt and I got it in chocolate color. I have always liked this color over black or the lighter tan. The model I use is called the Commander Carry Model TCC. You can have it made for a commander or Gov model like I did. Looking closely at the holster reveals true craftsmanship that a off the shelf  holster usually does not have. But, that is okay, they are for mass production and do their job just fine. They are not meant to be custom made just for you.

The CC TCC  has a hand molded finish, a shirt guard and  can come with kydex belt clips installed instead of the leather loops and snaps. Also it has the slight FBI style cant. One of the little touches I consider a must have feature is the reinforced opening. It allows you to reholster with one hand by keeping it open. It may not seem important to people that carry as a after thought, but this is essential to have in a situation where you need to keep your eyes on threats  or on a door nob or dialing 911 etc etc.

As you can see, it has a small footprint. I have never had a problem keeping it well hidden with no printing, even with a fairly tight fitting Tshirt in the summer time. It does its job well when it comes to hidding the gun.  The shape and fit of the holster makes carrying the full size 1911 all day  and hidden, as easy as falling off a frog.  I have worn it every day since Jan 07 and have worn out three belts will wearing the TCC  yet I have not seen any wear on the holster.

Getting your hand on the grip and establishing a solid firing grip is easy as well. On some holster, the shirt guard will sometimes get in the way for me when grabbing a 1911 with the high thumb grip. Not so with the commander carry. It is just right. This is not a add for the company, but I really can not say enough good about the gear they make.  I have spread the word on this little shop since I got the  holster. Anyone that has been frustrated by IWB holster that come up short, or may just want a nice custom made holster just for them  or their custom gun should try them out. Of course they make holsters for more then the 1911 so don’t let that stop ya.

http://www.kirkpatrickleather.com/

Colt Rail Gun 1911 accuarcy test

A lot of people have been asking me how I like my Rail Gun ever since I got it. I always say the same thing, that I love it and it shoots great. After using it in a few informal matches and classes and such, I have really come to trust it more then any 1911 I have ever owned, Its accuracy is also more then I could have hoped for, even with typical walmart fodder.  Up until now I never bothered to save any targets from range and training sessions with it to show anyone who asks. So today while I was counting up how many rounds I had put through it  since I bought it in the fall of 09 and realized it has over  4200 rounds through it that I know of for sure.  And after thinking about it, I decided it would be a great time to do a more formal accuracy test  on paper to show.  I did 3 five shot groups.  with  black hills match and winchester white box you can buy at walmart in the 100 round pack.  The first group was shot off a bench with a sand bag with the match ammo at 20 yards.

The Colt national match barrel really shined with that ammo and off the bench. I have to say it took some serious concentration to keep a group that small with the site radious of a pistol.

The upper left hand group was shot with the same match ammo, but off hand at 20 yards. I have to say I surprised myself a little bit with that group, even though I have been shooting the pistol at a very intense volume the last few months and the practice shows.

The bottom group was shot offhand at 20 yards offhand again, with the WWB. I was dissapointed a little, but not much. It was WWB after all and offhand.  It is actually pretty good especially with factory plinking ammo.  The orange dots are a little over 2 inches around, so I put a couple of rounds in the picture to give a sense of the group size since I did not add a ruler or anything. Sorry to say I did not measure the groups with a ruler, I think the picture speaks for its self well enough when it is a handgun we are talking about.  In the next rail gun review I will shoot some winchester ranger T and some of the other more popular self defense rounds.

I would have shot more today but I was running out of light and time. Also, all groups were shot with the surefire X300 attached to the pistol. The pistol has also not been cleaned for the last 1700 rounds, just oiled when I feel like oiling it. Lubricant was slip2000 and some  shooters choice grease used very lightly on relevant parts since I carry it as my CCW gun and I sweat a lot.

Testing the 5.56mm MK318 MOD 0 / 5.56 SOST ammo

The 5.56 SOST  is the ammo currently being used by the USMC and other troops in the GWOT,  it has not been available for the public to buy for very long so I, like a lot of other people have been curious about how it performs. The round was designed to  have better terminal performance and accuracy from short barreled rifles with a muzzle velocity of 2925 fps from the 14.5 inch M4 barrel.  The round is a OTM,  this is important to remember as it is not the same as a hollow point.  It does however, offer up better performance and is barrier blind. The bullet itself has a thick copper base and a lead front end with the usual open tip that results from the process of making the bullet.  Also present are the rings seen around the bullet much like a barnes triple shock X.  A lot of people assumed and still do that the SOST is a barnes solid copper TSX, but it is not.

After getting my hands on some of the ammo I decided to test it for accuracy first. Since the ammo is intended for combat weapons, I chose to use my Colt 6940  with milspec barrel with 1/7 twist. I did put a Leupold 18x target scope on the carbine though so i could get all the accuracy out of it I could.  I fired 2 strings of 5 shots at 1 inch dots and one string of 10 shots of M855 to compare it to the common military load all at 100 yards. It was around 1100 AM , sunny with a  2 oclock 18 MPH wind.

Other then the normal 1st round flyer you usually get from hand cycling the action as opposed to letting the recoil operate and chamber  the next few rounds, the ammo showed some  great potential. The group on the left  was a little worse due to my own bad trigger work and lost concentration on one shot, but still pretty good considering. Now I know some claim  5 shot groups tell nothing, but if you over lay to  strings you get a pretty good idea  and you keep barrel heat down and mirage off the barrel messing with the scope.

After shooting the groups I decided to test out how the round matched the trajectory of the M855 since that is one of the things the SOST round was meant to have in common with the green tip. Out to 300and 400 yards  the SOST did match the BDC of my TA31F  ACOG and zero of other scopes and Aimpoint RDS I had on hand zeroed for the green tip. Also when comparing the position of the groups in relation to the aiming points, you can see on paper that the zero held very close for both rounds.

Now, the real surprise for me, was how good the lot of M855 I shot turned out to be!  Many gun board expurts and gun magazine expurtitions will gladly tell you how terrible green tip is in the accuracy department along with its many other flaws , makes it  slightly more useful then tits on a boar hog. After getting the carbine hot  after some drills using the SOST and playing around, I fired off 10 rounds fairly quickly  with the Colt/18x combo.  The results left me a little surprised, rarely have I seen green tip shot for accuracy  with sand bags, a table and a target scope further then 50 yards. And I do not recall having seen any pictures of it doing as well in a true 100 distance group.  I shot the green tip with all seriousness and the same concentrated effort I did with the SOST and the results were pleasing and a little surprising to me.  I have never taken the green tip seriously  enough for my own needs in the accuracy department so this will indeed lead to more testing of the M855 if for no other reason  then to see if this was a fluke.

Now I do not mean to sound like I think green tip is crap, I have seen some  good performance out of it at longer ranges on coyote size targets and even man sized targets. But on the other hand, I have seen some terrible accuracy from it too. Of course lots and different MGGs have as much to do with it as anything, not to metion the different shoots and the quality or lack of  in the guns used.

Back to the SOST, I think its a pretty good round from what I can tell. It is not MK 262 or TAP 75 gr. But for general issue to everyone, it is an iprovement in my humble opinion.  I have not shot anything living with it yet, but I will. Also, in the next few weeks I will test it though a few “barriers” like auto glass, wood, and wall paneling. Hopefully I will get to shoot through some auto doors as well.  I would not use it in my own house if over shooting is a issue, but I would use it for anything else at this point if you can find enough for SHTF bulk storing. And you have the benefit of practicing/training with M855 and still being able to shoot the SOST without a zero change. At this point I can not say it is better then any MK 262 top load in accuracy, but it is not meant to be, but, it is better then M193 by a long ways and it shows the ability to shoot a lot better the M855 and even if it just matches it in accuracy you still have the benefits of better terminal performance and barrier penetration while still holding together to hit the target behind if power point presentations can be believed. Hopefully my future testing will offer at least a tiny sample to help prove or disprove the new round.

Springfield SOCOM II quick review

Today I got the chance to look over and to shoot the SOCOM II rifle a close friend bought. Anyone who knows me , knows I am no fan of the M14/M1A rifle. I will not go into the many flaws it has here, but I will say despite my dislike for the rifle I always give them a fair try and never slam one unfairly just because I do not like them.

The rifle arrived  with the companies 10 round mag. Why not a 20 round mag? I have no idea. The mags when new cost double or triple a USGI  Ar15 mag and I know most buyers would want a USGI 20 round M14 mag to start with. Though I do understand legality can come into play depending where you live.

The stock is a nice touch, it fit well and tight unlike some cheap fiberglass types stocks I have seen with huge gaps. The grip and forearm had a sort of checkering though I felt that other then looks, it was not aggressive enough to be used for real grip.  One thing I did appreciate was the mag well had a nice angled bevel to help inserting and rocking in of the magazine.

After picking it up and handling it, I found the balance to be pretty nice it shoulder well and was short and quick when moving it around tight spots.


The SOCOM was also one of the first M1As I had ever held that the top handgaurd cover fit nice and tight and not rattle around loosely like it normally does on a M14.  On top of the rifle in front of the bolt is a short piece of rail for optics.  This is an idea spot for a T-1 or RMR. I don’t think I would mount something as big as a CompM3 or Eotech, but it is a nice set up for the mini RDS.  Having no optics on had to try out , I can not say anything about  if it would co-witness with irons. The rear peep sight is bigger then the traditional rear sight. i appreciate this since I have never found the normal small peep to be handy for me at close range or moving targets. the frnt sight had a tridium vial and the protective hoods on each side of the front post are nice and wide, protecting it but not so close to cause confusion at night or in a stressful situation.

After shooting it and checking zero, we proceeded to do some faster shooting. the muzzle brake did its job well. Using Federal gold medal 168 grain Match, the muzzle stayed flat and reduced recoil with not much flash at all. However, with lake city ball, the muzzle blast would peel paint from a wall and was loud enough to be a real distraction. The ports on the brake did direct the worst of the flash away from the line of sight enough to reduce it. No night firing was done so I can not comment on how bad it would be at night with Ball ammo.

The gun was very controllable during double and triple taps.  A number or shots were fired at a  IDPA target at 25 yards to test how controllable it was during rapid fire.  A few double taps even manged to cut into each other or a least touch because of the effective muzzle device. Double and triple taps easily stayed on the head while firing as fast as possible  even fighting against the 2 stage trigger.

After having some fun and getting a feel how the rifle generally handled, we decided it was time to test if for accuracy. Since we where not on a range that let us shoot past 25 yards we had to settle for the short range.  two  5 shot groups were fired using the before mentioned federal gold medal 168 match load.  No optics were used nor any kind of tripod/bipod. I know it is only 25 yards and open sighted, but I have to say, it shows some real potential.

5 shot group 168 grain match

Both groups are 5 round strings fired with the Federal gold medal 168grain match load. As you can see in the pictures 3 rounds went into the same hole in both groups. Considering both were shot pretty much off hand, thats not bad at all  even as close as 25 yards!!

Now the downside of the SOCOM II is it suffers the same things as all its other versions. A very slow reload. A safety that is not in a good spot at all. In fact. with the smaller trigger guard and the position of the safety, I found ever time I tried to put my finger into the trigger guard, my finger got hung up  between the two and I had to take a second to make sure I got it in where it needed. Sure this is a training issue, but its a issue that really should not even really be there. Other small issues to me are miner, like having to clean from the muzzle and the gun not having a bolt closure or a better safety but these are all personal, maybe other who love the rifle will train hard enough to over come them and perform beautifully with it.    It is a very accurate rifle from what I have seen and it handles great. Plenty of companies make a rail or a way to mount what else you need on a general purpose rifle so there should be no problem there, And you can replace the stock with a multitude of other options. If you want a battle rifle that is  not too long, this is a good choice and its not as pricey as  some AR10 type .30 caliber rifles though you do not have the versatility of the AR type rifles, you still get one nice sweet rifle that is superior to the normal M14/M1a

Colt nostalgia / Black Dog machine QC Fail

Waaaaaay  back before I hit puberty, I made sure the 1st thing I did before I worried about girls was to make sure I had a colt AR15.  Being a college kid later on I was like every other college kid, I was poor. Liking guns plus  being poor equals only one thing.  22 Long rifle.   In an effort to get more out of my AR15 trigger time, I found and quickly bought  this colt .22 conversion kit.

22LR
colt conversion kit

well, not this one, but one just like it.  The first one I had was identical.  I shot it thousands of times and it never failed me.  It was a dream come true for a kid that could not afford new 5.56 ammo and had no way to get surplus ammo. It was easy to put in, take out and needed little cleaning, The only down side was the one 10 rounds mag that came with it.  Later one, once I got older and got a job and a little money, I lost interest in it and sold it off.   Fast forward to a few years ago when ammo prices  skyrocketed.  Conversion kits sprang up every where and became hugely popular again.  This made me remember my humble old colt conversion kit and all the fun I had with it.

After looking around online and spending a little money I managed to get two more of my fun little buddies.  I even got lucky enough to find an extra mag. 30 rounds!!! and I only had to reload 2 times!! But, one was in such good shape I just opened it and made sure it was fine. The other became the work horse for plinking.

new and used
NIB with used

After using the kit for fun I started thinking in terms or using it to train with in place of 556 ammo, and of course in doing so, the 10 round factory mags just would not cut it.  Around the time I started thinking this, a company known for making 25-30 round mags for various conversion kits became known to me. The company is Black Dog Machine. They had a rep for making some pretty good stuff an I wished for a 30 round mag for my ancient colt kits. One day on a gun board they maintain a forum in, the rep posted they would be selling a mag to fit my beloved kit soon. about three years passed before  they actually had something ready. Sadly it was billet aluminum and was 60 bucks a pop. Waaaay to high for me to bother with. i mean 60 bucks a mag? Who would? That is 6 USGI mags. But they did promise a plastic mag that would soon follow. A couple of years later it finally did, and it was priced right so I got on the phone and ordered one.  When it finally arrived, I popped in my kit and loaded the mag. Went outside and went to chamber a round and ….FTF..   tried again..FTFeed again.   I did manage to get  maybe three rounds in a row to fire and cycle but had a lot more problems.  SO after waiting for around three years for this mag, when I got it, it was a complete piece of garbage.

colt kit with working colt mags and garbage BDM mag

I tried to Email the company to see if I could get help. Nothing. After a few emails and phone calls and even IMs on ar15.com  I still have gotten no response from them. I do not know if they do not sell enough to feel the need to service these mags or what, but I was very let down.  Looking at the mag which holds around 25-28 rounds, it has some nice features. It is solid, has steel feed lips, the ability to take spring tension off for easier loading and just feels well made. It however, does little more then look awesome. Now, I have used the BDM in other brand conversion kits and they did fine. But this mag is so out of spec its crazy. The kit is not the problem  because it works with all the factory mags and they are what the BDM tries to copy. The factory mags are built like tanks and are  the very definition of reliable.  Sadly to this day no one at BDM has deemed it, or me worthy of a response to help me fix the mag. I do not want a refund, I want a hi-cap mag for my Colt conversion kit. But I suppose it is not to be, and BDM will have no more of my money.

Now for the kit itself, if you can find them they do not work with the old airforce mags, the ceiner kits or the old military conversion kit mags. They always come with a 10 rounder though since it was intended for plinking and hunting.  You will not get benchrest accuracy out of any conversion kit and a 1/7 twist does less to help, but thats not the point.  However, it is squirrel hunting accurate within 25 yards with a SP-1 or M16 1/12 twist barrel.  Mine have never let me down ( not counting the BDM mag) and have been the 1st rounds fired by my girl friend and younger kids. If you can find one of these fine old Colt kits and the price is right, I highly recommend it. It will be a lot of fun thats cheap to shoot and a nice example of colts past and the early days of the AR15 making its first inroads to the sporting/civilian world.

TAG Banshee PC

If you are any thing like me, you have likely  went through more then one PC looking for the “perfect set up” for everyday use. After going through a CIRAS and a few other PCs, I kept noticing the same problem for me. Too big, kinda heavy and more MOLLE space then I really needed which made me prone to add too much to it. After looking around for a few months I ran across PC that intrigued me, the TAG Banshee. I ordered one up and after a few days, I had one in my sweaty little paws.

A few years ago I decided that I wanted to run a PC as slick as I could be still have some ammo on it so I could at least toss it on and have mags ready to go even without a sidearm.  And to add to that, I wanted it to set up high enough I could wear a war belt with a side arm not in a drop leg and still be comfy. And, to be able to throw the PC on over a regular belt with EDC on and still be fine an able to give me full range of movement.

As you can see Banshee is nice and compact enough to fill this roll for me. I stand at 5 foot 8 inches tall and weigh about 150 pounds so this PC is perfect for my intended use.  The front has room for a triple mag pouch which can hold 3 to 6 mags. The Banshee also comes with a cummerbund that is removable  and covered in MOLLE webbing. They can be opened up via velcro to add soft armor panels for side protection or side SAPI plates and soft armor.

Side soft armor

soft panel
soft panel

Side panels can be removed easily  and side side buckles used instead like most other PCs made much the same way. This can come in handy if you really want to run slick and have no use for the sides. In some cases they would serve no real purpose if empty other then to make you hotter and get in the way of a pistol drawstroke depending on how you may have gear set up.

The Banshee will fit a pretty wide range of plates with plenty of room left over for soft backers. Users with XL size plates may find it snug and they made not fit,  I have no XL plates on hand to test this out myself, but I have heard that some people had trouble.  I use small size ESAPIs myself and they fit almost perfectly with room left over for backers.

ESAPI over PC
ESAPI over Banshee

The quality and construction of the Banshee is just top notch, After using it all fall in a variety of weather ranges and clothing layers, it has worn pretty nice. It seems to barely be noticeable even when fully loaded down and never have I felt over heated or restricted in movement even with larger coats on under it. The stitching is strong and the webbing has stayed stitched on after hours of my fiddling with it trying to decide what I want, and where I want it.  I also noticed no wear after  several days of the extended latch of my BCM gunfighter charging handle rubbing on the same spot over and over.  It washed off pretty easy as well, even covered in gravel dust held in place with slip2000 weapons lube from my weapon.  The shoulder pads are easily adjusted and are also comfy though some guys will buy shoulder pads anyway.

The front top four webbing rows are covered in velcro front and back  for name tags, patchs or any thing else you feel needs sticking to you. I think it was a pretty nice touch even some may not like the fact its a solid color instead of camo for those who order one in multicam or ATACs etc. One thing to think about is how bad it may wear out in the future and become useless. If you worry about that kind of thing I have seen pics on the web of guys removing the velcro.

The front also comes with the built in pouch that is pretty common, you can stick a knife, map, or maybe even a small handgun inside.But I found it a PITA  to get open.  But, it hurts nothing and could be pretty handy if needed.

The Tag Banshee is the best solution I have found for my uses. I highly recommend one for anyone. the catch is though if you are a big fellow, this may not be for you. Im only 5 foot 7 inches and 150 so this fits me perfect. So keep this in mind if you are a lot bigger then me or at least search for pics on the web of other guys wearing one  that may be bigger then me to get a better idea oh how it could fit you.  One warning though, the banshee has been popular of late and a lot of people have been waiting on one they ordered since before November of 2011. So it may be a long wait until those back orders are filled. But hey, that is a pretty good sign its good stuff, otherwise no one would want them. The best part is they can usually be had for under 150 bucks!