5.56 Timeline

Thermal scope zeroing trick

Some years back I was zeroing a thermal scope, and I figured out I needed a 3 inch offset at 25 yards. This was the zero necessary for the rifle due to the massive height over bore with the thermal optic. Unfortunately, when I would look at a target though the thermal scope, the whole paper target would be the same temperature, and I wouldn’t be able to tell where to aim.

What I did was tape a quarter to the paper. The metal of the quarter was a very noticeable different temperate than the target paper, and that allowed me to zero. Once I was make the appropriate adjustments. I moved the quarter to a fresh part of the target and set up a Shoot-N-C patch below it to check this zero.

As you can see above, I was impacting where I wanted to be. If I recall correctly, that was a 3 shot group.

Now some thermal scopes are sensitive enough and high enough resolution that you can tell the markings on the paper due to the darker areas soaking up more heat. But if you can not, you can easily do something like tape or glue aluminum foil, or other materials to a target to make it work better with thermal.

Let’s build a P80 “Glock”

I don’t really get much the appeal to the “ghost gun”. A P80 80% “Glock” Frame runs about $160. You can get a Glock frame for about $70. If you wanted to build a “ghost gun” SIG P320, it would cost you about 2-3 times as much as just buying a SIG P320. Similar with AR lowers. If you are looking to hide what you have from the government, don’t forget that ordering a parts kit or an 80% and having it mailed to your house leave quite the paper trail.

The Glock design has an awesome problem that the AR15 and the 1911 have enjoyed before it. You can build an entire “Glock” with out a single OEM Glock part. That can lead to an issue of reliability. You can find countless discussion online about people having issues with their P80 home built pistols. From junk aftermarket parts, to incorrect manufacturing of the 80% frame. For a person who needs pure reliability, they are best served buy buying the original.

All that said, it is pretty damned cool to make your own gun. If you want to do it. DO IT.

I found a P80 compact size kit for cheap. Personally, I wouldn’t pay full price for one. Not to knock the company or the product, but I am generally not going to pay more than the original for a knock off.

Let stop with the opinionated discussion and get to the product.
This is not a full set of instruction. There are plenty of those floating around online.

It came in a box.

The box contains:

  • P80 80% Frame
  • P80 Jig
  • M3 Drill Bit
  • M4 Drill Bit
  • 9mm HSS 3 Flute End Mill
  • Locking Block/Front Rails
  • Rear Rails
  • 2X Pins
  • P80 Business Card
  • A card telling you to go online and find some instructions.

Both drills were slightly undersided. This is probably a good thing. I didn’t bother to measure the real diameter of the 3 flute endmill because I don’t like measuring the diameters of 3 flute endmills.
The frame has a clearly different profile and feel than an OEM Glock frame.
There is a blank metal plate in the dust cover/light rail allowing you to stamp or mark the serial number of your choice.

The frame comes placed in the jig. The two halves of the jig snap together and point out where material needs to be removed.

Three holes need to be drilled in the frame. You drill each side separately, so that is drilling 6 holes. Took me less than 5 minutes do drill them. There are sections on the top frame, front and back, where material needs to be removed. That makes for 4 tabs to cut away.

There is also a area near the front of the locking block that is filled in. That will need to be cut away. Note how the front of the jig is splayed open. I’ll come back to that.

Polymer80, the company that makes the P80 (Gee whiz, where do they get their names?) suggests milling out these areas using a drill press and an adjustable vise. To do things authentically, I placed the end mill in a drill chuck to do it the way that they suggested. About 25 minutes later (taking it slow to take pictures), I had the material removed. I’ve read and seen video of people just cutting away the material or filing it away in under an hour. If I were to do another (I don’t plan to), I wouldn’t bother milling it. I’d just use some end clippers or side cutters to clip away the bulk of the plastic and then shave it down with a sharp knife or scrapper tool.

Suggestion: If you do decide to mill it. Two things. The jig is rather flexible, it helps to put a couple more clamps on it. My big suggestion is to plunge mill.

Drill chucks are not built to take side loads. Normal milling creates a side load that can cause a drill chuck to come loose. For me, when I tried side milling this frame, the jig was flexing so much I was getting chatter. Set your depth stop for the depth of the cut, and bring the end mill straight down like your were drilling. Bring it back up and move the part to repeat.

Trying to mill out that web inside the frame sucked. This was the slowest part for me. I couldn’t see well what I was doing, and the jig was not tight at the top. I put a clamp on the top of the jig and removed the majority of the material. I ended up using a scraper tool (like a knife) to remove the remaining material.

Look at how much the jig is open. It greatly helped to have a clamp at the top.

I didn’t bother to cut the tabs flush, as it seemed to be indicated that it was unnecessary to do so.

Installing parts into the frame mostly went easy. The pins were very hard for me to insert and I had to use a hammer and punch to seat them. I’m not going to complain because I’d rather too tight than too loose. I don’t plan on removing those pins unless I have too, like if a part breaks.

If you drill the hole wrong, you scrapped the frame. Fortunately, it is really easy to drill them. It is like the old adage that is easier to say than to do, “Don’t be stupid.”

Note how the rails for the slide to ride on are much longer on the P80. Polymer80 says these are hardened stainless. I read many accounts of people having issues with the rails not in alignment. I wonder if they drilled one or more of the holes sloppily and if that caused the issue.

I had no issues with frame alignment, but hand cycling a Glock slide, I hear the recoil spring assembly rubbing against something. I have read of people having issues with this and needing to remove more material than Polymer80 says to in the channel in the frame. I may do that later.

P80 with a Glock Slide

My intent for my P80 frame is to use it with an Advantage Arms .22 kit. But I need to make sure that everything is working right and there are no burrs, sharp edges, etc on these stainless rails as that could tear up the aluminum slide of the .22 kit.

Just a note, the AA kits are not warrantied or guaranteed to work on the P80 frames. I bet it is because no one knows how well a individual P80 frame was built and that the stainless slide rails, if out of alignment, would probably damage the kit.

Making the P80 frame was fun. Took me maybe half an hour between the milling and the deburring. That is not including assembly.

Looking at the dollar value, or for use as a serious fighting gun, I would absolutely NOT recommend the P80. But if you feel like messing around, or making your own custom “Glock” pistol with the parts of your choice, have at it. It is cool to have this option.

Just don’t drill those holes wrong.

Setting up a Parade Sling

The web sling has been phased out of USMC use.

I was looking around, and I couldn’t find a single set of instructions on how to set up a Parade Sling. Mind you, a Parade Sling is not a useful marksmanship tool like the loop sling, but when pressed you can still use it as a hasty sling. The purpose of the Parade Sling is just for close order drill. It has been used on the M1 Garand, M14, and the various M16 family of service rifles.

To set up a Parade Sling you will need a Web Sling.

The green web sling has a M buckle (or “sling slider) sown into one end and a metal crimped on tip on the other. Often these tips will come off over time. You will also need the J hook and sling keeper. The sling keeper is sometimes called a “sling compression fitting”.

These slings have come in multiple lengths and materials. From cotton to nylon. I have seen black aftermarket ones that function fine, but have sub-par stitching.

Slide on the J hook with the J facing the M buckle. The stitched end of the webbing should be on the opposite side as the J hook.

Run the webbing back though the M buckle. The stitched end stays inside.

The distance between the M buckle and the J hook is up to some debate. I remember it being the width of 4 fingers. But I have heard of units using the length of the long side of an ID card, or 4 inches, etc.

Slide the keeper on with the opening side on the same side of the sling as the opening on the J hook.

Clip the J hook onto the buttstock end of your rifle, run the sling though the front sling swivel and back into the keeper.

When properly set up, the J hook and the sling keeper should open to the inside (rifle side) of the sling with the M buckle on the outside.

Often you will see the Parade Sling shown as tight up against a magazine or the pistol grip. On the AR15 this is wrong.

(26) Parade sling.
 The rifle will have a parade sling for all movements except for Stack Arms and Sling Arms. The rifle sling will be as tight as possible on the left hand side of the pistol grip near the selector. The upper sling keeper will be positioned so the sling does not dangle.

USMC MCRD Parris Island: Drill Manual

The correct way to have a Parade Sling on the M16/AR15 is to have it on the left side, as tight as possible. Running the keeper back toward the buttstock to prevent a dangling loose end.

Longer versions of this sling may be too long to properly set up a Parade Sling on a M4.

If you are using a shorter version of this web sling, the keeper may end up over the mag well or hand guard. Some keepers are tighter than others, and can be hard to close. While I was in, I would push the keeper against the rifle to close it. It was the quickest and easiest way to do it, but it would scratch the rifle.

The Parade Sling home is on the drill field.

The extreme novice mindset

In many, if not most, martial arts one of the first things learned is how to fall safely. Often this is incorporated into a roll allowing the individual to quickly move and pop back up in a position of their choosing. Hell, grey belt training in the USMC was pretty much just 10 hours of break falls. As students of these martial arts learned to do take downs and throws, their training partners know how to safely fall, and better yet roll out of those take downs and throws.

This is a good thing, but like all good things, there are downsides. Sometimes students get so used to rolling out of a throw or take down that they will throw them selves and roll out of it when they see someone start to perform a throw or take down on them. Sometimes they don’t don’t even realize they are doing this. It can get so bad as to where you start to do a throw on someone and before you even touch them they throw them selves and roll out of it. They end up doing you a disservice as they are not giving you a good training partner.

On the other side, if you meet Joe Averageman on the street and attempt to throw or take him down, he is deathly afraid of going to the ground. His conscious and subconscious mind knows that his head hitting the asphalt from 5’10” up could well kill him. Every grain and muscle of his body is going to be resisting that take down or throw and the person performing the technique is going to experience something completely different from the experience of training with an experienced training partner who has no fear of falling.

Working with professions is so very different from working with the extreme novice that it is not comparable. Imagine being a teacher for college post-graduate students, or being a teacher for Pre-Kindergarten. As gun nuts, the consummate informed professionals we are (or think we are), we end up being so far removed from the total extreme novice that it can be easy to forget just how ignorant they are.

I often see people say stuff like how the AK is better for novices and the AR is better for experts.

So what’s wrong with this picture?

I find when I hand an AK type rifle to someone who has no experience with one, they often can not even insert a magazine. Same with the M14/M1A. Rocking in the magazine is an unknown concept. Sometimes people will even manage to get the mags stuck in the wrong position by rocking them in back to front.

Who would guess what little button, and where, holds the action open? How obvious is it?

I once had a novice shooter tell me it was not possible to lock the bolt open on the AR15 with out an empty mag inserted because there was no control for it. He was trying to argue with me over it while I locked the bolt to the rear on his AR15. His argument quickly subsided.

Now there is no good justification for a gun owner to be that ignorant. But keep in mind so much of what we would considered inanely obvious are actually complete unknowns to the masses.

Don’t get me started on novices and the Beretta 92FS safety.