Now that the magpul DVDs have been out for a while and it seems everyone has seen them, I have noticed a few common ideas about them people seem to have especially on internet forums. A lot of people I talk to about them seem to miss some of what I think is the real point and value of them. they obviously can not substitute for real hands on training, but they do have some real benefit despite what some say. Mainly I think the point lost on a lot of people is the video really help with weapons handling and manipulation. Even if you are a long time AR15 user, you can learn some pretty good stuff, even if you do not adopt their procedures it gets you thinking ( if you have enough brain) about cleaning up your own sloppy actions.
If you do choose to use their version of each operation its still some good stuff. Its in style now to rag on them and make all the useless and pointless tier 1 jokes in a worn out attempt to be sarcastic, but in doing so, some real chances to learn are lost. I for one have become a lot smoother with my weapons manipulations and have even modified some of what they teach to better fit me. You do not have to do it exactly their way but it is a great starting point for basic manipulations and smoothing your own self out.
Another thing people seem to get the wrong idea bout is speed, or how fast they can put 5-10-20 whatever rounds out. We have seen a lot of guys shooting at ranges who seem to think the point is to get the mag half empty in 3 seconds even if they hit the dirt 5 feet in front of them!! The videos do not demand 1 MOA groups on target, but a balance between speed and accuracy that is good but not slowfire at the NM good. But it seems that because it is so cool to see those two guys dumping rounds on target in seconds people just forget you also need to actually hit with those rounds. The more the offender seems to blaze away at a break neck speed, the worse they were at just plain marksmanship to start with. The idea being forget precise shooting I will just do a mag dump! Few seem to want to train smooth a slow so they never gain the speed that comes through the repeated movements done correctly.
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 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.
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!
We have a multitude of wonderful options in muzzle devices now for our rifles. However I have been seeing some odd trends that disturb me. First I run into many people running muzzle breaks on short barreled rifle (SBR) variants. These short 5.56 rifles only gain marginal recoil reduction, and the cost of a large increase of flash and blast, almost always annoyingly so. Several of the owners of these short rifles tell me that their rifle is their home defense gun. I do hope that they never need to fire those rifles indoors with out hearing protection. Pronged flash hiders are also coming back into style. These tend to be more effective then closed ended flash hiders, but many will ring like a bell when tapped or as the rifle is discharged. Sometimes prongs can be bent, or they can bloom like a flower. I recommend against pronged flash hiders on full length rifles, and on firearms that are going to be used in think brush. However these pronged flash hiders are an excellent choice for the sub-16 inch .30 cal rifle and for SBRs as they mitigate flash and blast better then many of the enclosed flash hiders. One last note, some flash hiders have sharp edges, points, and/or barbs for use as a impact weapon. I highly recommend against these as standard flash hiders work well in that role, and the expensive specialized ones end up just cutting holes in your range bags and cases.
Got to shoot a Ruger SR556 last Saturday. Recoil was smooth and pleasant, the narrow railed hand guard felt nice in the hand. However when I field stripped it, I found metal shavings under the rear take down pin all the way up under the bolt catch. Bolt carrier tilt was shaving metal from the buffer tube. While shooting the Ruger rifle was nice, it looks like they have not worked out all the kinks yet.
I would like to start the blog off with a short write up of a small company I found out about a few months ago on a gun board. The holster was custom made for me by Dark Star gear in PA. I was looking for a holster that I could mount on a normal belt or a MOLLE type war belt. After looking at all the more common popular options I just was not happy. I called up the company and the owner agreed to make a holster for me with my specs. I asked for it to fit a Colt rail gun 1911 with surefire X300 light with the FBI cant in coyote tan.
The owner was a great guy, he was careful to make sure he knew and understood exactly what I wanted. This one is the 1st one he has made for the 1911 type and it is just impressive. The holster oozes craftsmanship and thats hard to do considering the material its made from. The fit of the gun in the holster is snug. I held the two upside down could not get it to fall out after vigorous shaking.
One other thing that really impressed me was the slight curve of the holster that is so subtle but perfectly conformed to my body. With a button up dress shirt on, i was able to easily conceal the full rig including the wilson 10 round mag. The belt loops can easily be re positioned however you want and there are extra holes for attaching a knife,maybe a light, whatever..
If you want a very well made nice custom holster that is not made from one of the more popular well known companies that take forever,give Dark star a try. Ican not say he will make anything you dream up, but I am sure he will try to meet your needs. I will say he does NOT make IWB so if thats what you want you are likely SOL. I will say I was so impressed I have another one on the way.
If you like what you see them a ring at www.DarkStarGear.com I hope he can meet your need and you can help out a small biz in Pittsburgh,PA and get a first class piece of gear for your sidearm.