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.

DI Optical’s RV1 Review: Thinking Outside the Box with a Box

Aimpoint is the only serious dot sight that anyone recommends anymore, right? Right. With the death of EOTECH’s reputation, we are left with option A for a serious duty ready red dot sight. Well, that would be the case had not D I Optical stepped into the American market. Can DIO fill the gap and bring in a quality product that gives consumers a second option to consider aside from Aimpoint?

New to the Market, Not New to the Game

If you aren’t familiar with DIO, the RV1 is the Americanized version of their service rifle red dot sight, and DIO has been making red dots of all sizes for years. See NSN# 1005-01-626-1714 for their Heavy Machine Gun Sight which is in service here stateside.

My first hands on impression with DIO was with their RV1 red dot, which I reviewed at my own blog a few weeks ago. Reaching out to DIO to show them that I beat their little red dot up and it survived, they propositioned me to beat on their EG1 red dot like I did to the RV1. I agreed.

So I took it out to the ranch, sighted in off the co-witnessed iron sights, and got to work. I threw it down multiple times, and attempted to drown it several times, and did my best to make it break. No dice. No Drama. The dot stayed on and nothing construction wise was amiss. The only problem I encountered was a loosening of the mount screws… and this was a self-made problem. I should have loc-tited it down before I even mounted it. I know better. Once I noticed that it was loosening, I ran into my shop, torqued the screws back into place, and my zero came back, and I kept on shooting. (PS: My Geiselle Mk4’s screws also started to loosen, so keep that in mind. Yes, I beat my gun that bad testing the EG1).

So with the beating, the drowning, and the overall slapping around, the EG1 performed like a red dot should… bright and always on. One of the key features of the optic is the unique form factor. As you can see, it is a square body with a square-ish 28mm lens. This unique configuration is made possible due to the prism assembly which allows the emitter to be smack dab in the base of the optic. As the emitter shines upward from the base, it is redirected by the prism to the shooter and it allows the DIO to maximize lens real estate without the emitter assembly getting in the way. Thinking outside the box with a box. It’s just crazy enough to work. I like it.

It features a battery life of 5000 hours at a medium setting… lets see, 15 total brightness settings divided by two… well let’s call that setting 8, we will round-up. The side of the optic has the windage and elevation adjustments and comes with a handy tool to adjust them, though a dime would work just the same.

It’s also mil-std 810G environment tested so we have some certification that we are getting a optic which passes some testing standards unlike many of the Chinese products on the market today. The mount itself is held in place by two hex screws, and they are big and beefy. The optic is compatible with ARMS #17 style mounts, so you have plenty of options for trading out the finger knob.

The sun shades are removable, so you can enhance the view even more. I noted that the optic is not sensitive to placement. There isn’t a “tube effect” like the Comp M4 or the mini RDS when they are mounted too close to the eye. The EG1 is just a wide open eye box. I ran it close to the rear BUIS to reduce over-the-shoulder sun glare if the heat was at my 6.

SO OVERALL

Impressions are good. This optic retails for just north of $400 bones and that is precisely in Aimpoint Pro territory. For a relative newcomer to the US market, the EG1 represents a very different approach to the RDS and its use of a prismatic assembly to widen the field of view is a novel concept. With my two DIO red dots in hand, I must say that I have started to recommend them on the forums I haunt. I hope to see more of DIO’s products in the future, and hopefully they can continue to innovate in the red dot market and add some much needed competition.

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.

 

 

Magpul PRO LR sights

Last week I bought a set of Magpul PRO LR flip up iron sights.  I got to try them out yesterday at the range and I am liking them.

Magpul PRO

The KAC 2-600m sight are still my favorite, but I think these Magpul PRO sights are well worth the cost.

Magpul PRO

Both the front and rear sight are very low profile.  A very small footprint for either sight.  Both sights have tool less adjustments.  When I first unboxed the sights, I was very impressed with the heavy duty feel of the sights.  The melonited case hardened steel should end up being a very tough, rust resistant sight.

Magpul PRO LR

I really appreciate how the mounting screw for these sights can be tightened by a screw driver or a 1/8 inch Allen wrench.  The PRO LR rear sight has an elevation adjustment wheel unlike the Magpul PRO.

Magpul PRO LR deployed

The elevation wheel is can be set from 2-6 with a single click in between each.  The rear sight offers small and large apertures.  The front sight post is a narrower match style.

I really like these sights, and I recommend them.  These little steel sights feel substantial.  I was worried at first that they would be too stiff and too small to deploy quickly, but since installing them I found that isn’t an issue.  The adjustment are stiff, which I prefer so there isn’t a concern of accidentally adjustment.

The only criticism I can come up with for these are that the back sides when flipped up don’t have the best aesthetics.

Magpul PRO Front Sight Deployed

I also wouldn’t mind seeing a 100 setting for the rear sight.

 

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

Check your zero on QD mounts.

MK12MOD1

Now I am no fan of ARMS mounts, so I’m pretty biased about that.  I have this MK12MOD1 upper where I use the period correct ARMS 12H rings.  I generally try not to remove QD scopes unless I have to, especially so with ARMS mounts.

On Saturday I found that after having removed the scope and reattached it previously, my zero had shifted 4 inches left at 100 yards.  I figured this was a fluke and seemed excessive even for ARMS, so I removed the scope, cleaned the upper and mounting point on the scope rings, and remounted it.  That moved the group 2 inches right and an inch down.

Quick detach mounts are awesome, but make sure if you use one, that it does return to zero.   I am going to stick with Larue mounts on any of my serious use ARs.

Springfield Armory’s Forgotten AR-15: The XM15

Despite what several gunwriters are claiming, the Springfield Armory Saint is not their first AR-15 rifle. Their first was the XM15, introduced circa 1982-83. However, Springfield has very good reasons to try to sweep the XM15 under the rug.

Springfield Armory XM15 wood furniture
Here’s a vintage 1980s gun magazine advertisement promoting the Springfield Armory XM15 and its optional wood furniture.

It appears that in 1983, Springfield (or their fraternal sibling Rock Island Armory, Inc.) wrangled a ~$900,000 FMS contract for 2,000 “M16-type” rifles to El Salvador. For those who don’t remember, RIA specialized in Title 2 NFA items, while Springfield focused on Title 1 firearms. Dennis Reese was president of Springfield, while his brother David was president of RIA. This 1984-vintage Washington Post article notes the Springfield rifle contract, along with some other questionable FMS contracts to El Salvador.

Colt caught wind of the XM15 contract and unleashed their lawyers against Springfield and their parts suppliers. Springfield Armory and Colt ultimately settled the suit in September 1984. While the majority of Colt’s patent rights should have already expired by the early 1980s, Colt’s argument was that Springfield and its suppliers were using Colt’s proprietary engineering drawings to manufacture the parts. It is my understanding that Springfield was permanently enjoined from selling their existing XM15 rifles. Moreover, Springfield could not use Colt’s proprietary drawings and information in the future manufacture or sale of AR-15/M16 rifles, unless Colt was later determined to have lost its trade secret rights.

While the decision in Colt Industries Operating Corp., Firearms Division v. Springfield Armory, Inc., 732 F. 2d 168, (Fed. Cir.) was unpublished, you can find mention of the suit in a series of related cases involving one of Springfield’s suppliers, Charles Christianson. Christianson fought back against Colt for several years, with one appeal even hitting the US Supreme Court.

CHRISTIANSON v. COLT INDUSTRIES OPERATING CORP., 609 F.Supp. 1174 (1985)

CHRISTIANSON v. COLT INDUSTRIES OPERATING CORP., 613 F.Supp. 330 (1985)

CHRISTIANSON v. COLT INDUSTRIES OPERATING CORP., 798 F.2d 1051 (1986)

CHRISTIANSON v. COLT INDUSTRIES OPERATING CORP., 822 F.2d 1544 (1987)

CHRISTIANSON v. COLT INDUSTRIES OPERATING CORP., 486 U.S. 800 (1988)

CHRISTIANSON v. COLT INDUSTRIES OPERATING CORP., 870 F.2d 1292 (1989)

CHRISTIANSON v. COLT INDUSTRIES, 766 F.Supp. 670 (1991)

Christianson appears to have been sourcing his parts primarily via Colt’s Philippine licensee Elisco, as well as certain Colt subcontractors within the US. However, I also have circumstantial evidence that the South Korean licensee Daewoo was one of Springfield’s other suppliers. According to an old GAO report, Daewoo allegedly tried to sell 12,500 spare parts worth ~$127,000 to an undisclosed US company in 1983. The GAO stated that this sale was halted due to legal action by Colt against the US company.

In 1989, Dennis Reese plead guilty to tax evasion, conspiracy, and filing false statements regarding their FMS contracts with El Salvador. There were accusations that Reese had conspired with a US military adviser (Col. Juan Lopez de la Cruz, US Army) and bribed him to the tune of ~$70,000 to help grease the skids for a $3.7 million contract. They reportedly falsified claims for $94,600 in sales commissions to a pair of Salvadorans, who then kicked back the majority to Reese. Reese also told the Defense Security Assistance Agency that the Greek Portuguese-vintage HK G3 barrels they were selling were of US origin. Reese was granted immunity to testify against the Col. Lopez; however, the latter was ultimately acquitted.

However, the US Justice Department was not finished with the Reese family. In 1990, David Reese and RIA were indicted by a Federal grand jury over the illegal manufacture and transfer of machine guns. The Feds alleged that RIA had sold 148 M60 with serial numbers recycled from transferable Title 2 weapons bought from John Stemple and Kent Lomont. The following link is one of the court decisions resulting from the RIA indictment:
U.S. v. ROCK ISLAND ARMORY, INC., 773 F.Supp. 117 (1991)
.

RIA Ad - November 1982
This RIA advertisement ran in a popular gun magazine’s November 1982 issue.
RIA Catalog - 1982
Here’s a page from a 1982 RIA dealer catalog showing off their XM15 rifles, uppers and other parts.
Springfield XM15 Ad - April 1983
This is one of the first Springfield Armory-branded advertisements for the XM15. It appeared in a gun magazine’s April 1983 issue.
Springfield XM15 Ad - September 1983
Note that the prices have changed in this Springfield Armory advertisement from the same magazine’s September 1983 issue.
RIA Catalog - 1984
This 1984-vintage dealer flyer from RIA notes their settlement with Colt over the XM15.

A Brief History of FBI Semiauto Pistols

After the Miami/Dade Shootout of April 11, 1986, the FBI was not completely satisfied with the commercially available pistols in 9x19mm and .45. Until a suitable semi-auto service pistol could be selected for general issue, individual agents were would still be issued S&W Model 13 revolvers.

In August 1987, the FBI formed its Weapons Evaluation and Selection Advisory Group, composed of 13 firearms instructors and a gunsmith from the FBI Academy and eight Field Division. Their task was to evaluate samples of nine different pistols in 9x19mm and .45 Auto. These included the S&W 645 and SIG-Sauer P220 in .45, as well the Beretta 92F, Glock 17 and 19, ITM AT84 (a Swiss CZ75 clone), Ruger P85, S&W 459, and SIG-Sauer P226. The ITM AT84 was quickly rejected as it lacked a decocker for its conventional DA/SA lockwork. On a scale of 750 points, the evaluators rated the S&W 645 as the best overall (730), followed by the SIG-Sauer P226 (710). The remainder of the field scored as follows: S&W 459 (705), Beretta 92F (690), SIG-Sauer P220 (665), Glock 17 (620), Glock 19 (620), and Ruger P85 (575).

This was followed up in September 1987 by the FBI Firearms Training Unit’s (FTU) Wound Ballistics Seminar, which included Dr. Martin Fackler and other outside experts on wound ballistics. The workshop’s report established the importance of adequate penetration and the size of the permanent “crush” cavity in determining handgun cartridge effectiveness. This would ultimately kick-start the development of the FTU’s famous series of gelatin tests using various barrier media (light/heavy clothing, auto glass, sheet metal, wallboard, and plywood.) The seminar’s general recommendation was that there would be no significant difference between 9mm subsonic JHP loads like the 147gr Olin Super Match (OSM) and commercial .45 Auto JHP. However, the .45 Auto would be preferred over any lightweight/high velocity 9mm JHP load. In .45 Auto, preference was given to the Remington 185gr JHP load.

In May 1988, another weapons forum was held by the FBI to establish the ideal characteristics for a general issue semiauto pistol. This forum was not limited to the FBI, but also included representatives from Federal, state, and local agencies, as well as the US military.  Around August 1988, agents were authorized to carry personally-owned semi-auto pistols in 9x19mm, which was expanded later that year to .45 Auto pistols. In both calibers, these choices were limited primarily to models from S&W and SIG-Sauer. Even with personally-owned pistols, only FTU-approved ammunition could be carried.

The FTU’s unit chief John C. Hall introduced the 10mm cartridge into the FTU’s gelatin testing trials using his own Colt Delta Elite. However, the full power 10mm loads like the Norma 170gr JHP were quickly dismissed from consideration for adoption. The FTU had reportedly developed its mid-velocity 10mm load by December 1988. On the basis of the early testing of the mid-velocity 10mm load, FBI Director William Sessions approved the 10mm’s adoption for use in the Bureau’s future issue pistol in February 1989. Basically, the FBI and FTU had advocates for both the 9x19mm and .45 ACP, and the choice of 10mm had the political advantage of splitting the difference. It could potentially satisfy agents who blamed the failure in Miami on the 9mm cartridge, and would never trust it even with different ammunition. The mid-velocity 10mm’s ballistics were close enough to the .45 ACP, yet it was not burdened with the negative connotations of the .45’s mythology. There was talk that the Director Sessions and other FBI leaders feared that Congress would balk on funding new .45 Auto pistols for the FBI when the US Army had just dumped the .45 for new 9mm pistols. Again, the FBI never adopted the full power 10mm as general issue. I’m not even certain it was ever authorized for individual agents with their SAC’s sign-off. (Previously, a SAC could authorize an individual agent’s use of a FTU-approved .357 Magnum load instead of their general issue .38 Special load.)

The FBI’s solicitation for 10mm pistols was issued in May 1989, with the Request for Proposals released in June 1989. While 21 manufacturers had indicated interest, only two of these manufacturers actually submitted test pistols: Colt and S&W. Glock filed a GAO protest in August 1989, claiming that S&W already had an inside track on the contract, given their close relationship with the FTU. Indeed, S&W had begun fabricating prototype 10mm pistols in late 1988 at the FTU’s request, delivering them in February 1989 for the FTU’s gelatin testing. Glock also pointed to the short time between the release of the RFP and the deadline for submissions, which was originally one month. While the FTU pushed back the deadline by roughly 3 weeks, it was done at S&W’s request. In addition, Glock claimed that the requirements for a steel-frame DA/SA pistol were arbitrary. However, the GAO dismissed Glock’s protest on December 26, 1989.

With the GAO protest out of the way, the S&W 1076 was formally selected in January 1990. Field testing of production 1076 began in May 1990. The FBI Academy began issuing the 1076 to new agents n July 1990. However, general issue to field agents did not occur until December 1990. Alas, the issue was short lived. Due to serious malfunctions in the field and during range training, the S&W 1076 were recalled from service on May 31, 1991. The incident in the field had happened in all places, Miami FL. After an arrest, an agent attempted to unload his 1076, and could not rack the slide. Further examination noted that the trigger could not be pulled, nor could the hammer be cocked. As a result, the pistol would not have been able to fire if needed.

The issue tracked back to the FTU’s previous request that S&W to reduce the 1076’s initial takeup to suit the FTU “trigger-prepping” technique. (Ironically, Glock had pointed out in their 1989 GAO protest that this technique was flawed and unsafe.) S&W had modified the trigger hooks where they engaged the drawbar; however, the modified hooks could reportedly lock up the drawbar in such a way that would disable the pistol.

The FBI’s 1076 pistols were not returned from S&W until October 1992, as they required significant rework by the custom gunsmiths of the S&W Performance Center. However, by this point all official interest was lost in the 10mm pistol. While individual agents could keep their refurbished 1076 if they so desired, no additional purchases of the 1076 were ever made. In the interim, the FTU had already begun issuing 9mm SIG-Sauer P226 (2,000 in total) as a replacement, and later standardized the P228.

It is a myth that the FBI dropped the 10mm for the .40 S&W. For years, the FTU resisted approving a .40 S&W load for privately owned weapons.  Until a .40 load was approved, there would be no pistols allowed in that caliber.  The FTU ultimately selected a mid-velocity load using a 165gr JHP, instead of a clone of their mid-velocity 180gr 10mm load.   The earliest known gelatin tests of these mid-velocity loads were completed in August 1993.  However, it is unclear when it was actually approved for use.    The FBI finally issued a solicitation for .40 caliber Double-Action Only pistols in February 1996.  It would take until May 1997 for the FBI to announce the adoption of the Glock 22 and 23. The first Glocks would not be issued to new agents until October 1997.

As covered here at LooseRounds before, the FBI started justifying a return to 9x19mm as early as May 2014.  In July 2014, the FBI followed up with a presolicitation notice for 9x19mm semi-auto pistols.   The FBI issued the actual solicitation on October 7, 2015.   Glock was announced as the winner on June 29, 2016.

Going back to the 1986 and the Miami/Dade Shootout, the FBI’s HRT and SWAT had already been issued 9mm semi-auto pistols for several years. HRT kept their Wayne Novak-customized 9mm Browning Hi-Powers until  they were replaced by the .45 Les Baer SRP.  Awarded the contract in September 1994, Baer’s gunsmiths custom built the pistols using high capacity Para-Ordnance P14.45 frames.

In 1988, FBI SWAT switched from the S&W Model 459 to the SIG-Sauer P226.  With the HRT’s switch to .45 in the mid-1990s, SWAT expressed  interest in procuring a similar pistol, yet not a double-stack like the SRP.  The FBI released a solicitation for a single-stack, single-action .45 semi-auto pistol in July 1996, with the RFP issued a few months later in October.   Early in 1998, SWAT selected the Springfield Armory Bureau Model, now commercially known as the Professional Model.  Sources indicate that the HRT ultimately transitioned to the Professional Model as well as their limited supply of the Baer SRP began to wear out. There is word that even the Professional Model is on the way out as the Bureau transitions back to 9mm.

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

013

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

053 - Copy

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

005

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

010

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

010

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”

005

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.