Check and recheck your gear.

When ever you buy new gear, or change the setup of your gear, you need to test it out.  It is good to make sure there are no unexpected issues.

For example, today I found that the LaRue POD stock attachment I have interferes with my plate carrier.  Shooting with out the body armor was a non-issue, however with the body armor, getting the stock where I wanted it was not working out.  I also installed an ITW Fast Mag M16 magazine holder on my belt.  While I loved the pouch, I found that its’ rigid body got in the way when I got into the kneeling position.

As always, it is better to find out issues in practice then then find them in the fight.

Kakadu CCW Vests review

A few weeks ago I was contacted by a company named Kakadu and was asked if I would review a few of their products. They are an Australian based company that has been around for a while making outdoors adventure and work/casual type clothes. They make a variety of products that are all meant for what I think of as the adventurer type market. If you look at their website you will see coats, vests, pants, and general purpose bags and satchels.

I was sent two of the company’s vests  for CCW they refer to as “GUNN-WORN”. One for hot weather outdoorsy type use and another one for colder outdoor casual wear.

The first vest is the hot weather vest with a mesh back. It is in the “GUNN-WORN” branding and has, if memory serves, about 19 pockets.  It has internal panels that set  under the arms at the bottom of the ribs. It has one pocket on each side made from heavy duty elastic to hold a handgun and 1 pocket for a double stack mag and one pocket for a single stack mag. This set up is on the right and left side. The hidden pouch is held together by a small velcro closure.

It does hold the 1911 pretty snug, but the double stack mag holder can not hold a single stack mag tight.  A flashlight can fill the space if you need it filled, though. I found the gun came out pretty easy without hanging up or causing a fumble.  Once the gun is in place and the vest closed I was afraid it would drag down one side and stick out like a sore thumb. But it was not bad at all.

As you can see in the picture the gun does not print in any easy to see way when it is in the inside holster. I wore it around and asked several people if they could spot a gun and asked them to look hard. They had to guess where it was at and always guessed wrong.

The vest has a multitude of pockets and pouches to hold almost anything you could want. The bad news is the two pockets that look like they will hold two USGI 30 round mags will not.  It’s close, but the flap will not completely close with the velcro secured. I talked to the manufacturer about this and they assured me the vest is always in R&D so I am hoping this will change. It would only need maybe a 1/4 inch added to the length of these two pockets to make them ideal mag pouches.

One thing I do like is that all the pocket openings had the elastic ring that stretches open but will help hold anything inside. It is not super tight but its enough to help. I found a use for most of the pockets. Some are perfect for surefire battery holders, a compass, a small survival kit or an EE  kit.

The material it is made from is tough but soft and very comfortable and the stitching is well done. I used it pretty hard for about 3 days with guns and other gear rubbing against it and abrading it with no sign of fraying or the threads coming loose under weight.

The vest zips closed and has the typical little tap with snap closure in case you want to leave it open but prevent it from flopping around. One thing I really appreciate is they size of the vest runs true. So if you wear a medium , order a M and it will fit perfect. My favorite thing about it is the mesh back. The mesh is strong and not the typical cheap plastic crap. The openings in it are wide enough to keep you cool and very comfortable in hot weather. I wore it for 6 hours in the hottest part of the day while it was 92 and humid and stayed pretty cool.   The bad thing is if you wear a gun belt everyone will see it. I think it would be nice to have the best of both worlds. Mesh back but  a 5 inch strip of solid fabric at the waist line to hide anything on the belt. But thats just me.

Apparently this vest was a big hit among some vets at a recent trade show was was labeled the “afghan fishing vest”  and you can see why.

The next vest is intended for colder weather.  The material reminded me of the same stuff carhart brand is made from.  It was tough and can take some abuse, but it is still soft and comfortable with a supple leather lined collar.

Authors ugly friend models the Kakadu Kelly vest:

The vest has two breast pockets and two side lower hip pockets. it has a zip front and tow take up tabs on the side and to the rear. Like the hot weather vest it has two inside CCW pockets with mag pouches on the left and right side. This vest, however, comes with a backer that the company calls an anti-print pad and it works great. I wish other CCW clothing had something like it as well.

The inside lining is very comfortable and you can tell it would keep you comfortable on a cool, late autumn night. It has a inside extra zippered pocket as well as the ccw holster. The pockets for the CCW pouches closes the same was as the other vest using a velcro tab.

My friend is a pretty hard core outdoorsman that is really picky about his clothing when it comes to wearing stuff for his outdoor activities, and he fell in love with this vest. He even offered his wife in trade. Luckily I know about her inability to cook.

Kakadu has more then just this two styles of vest of course and offers pants as well. All of the “GUNN-WORN” line have a pocket or pouch in them or the same style of these vests to hide a handgun inside them.  They have worked hard and listened to a lot of advice about what the buyer wants in a ccw vest trying to please their customers.

The thing that is important to remember for some is that this line of clothing from them is NOT for the full time pure duty use. This stuff is meant for the outdoorsman and sometime casual wear. I was told it was mainly for people out side a lot to be able to carry a gun. It is not “operator”  type stuff.  But if you are fishing  and that kinda stuff, but still want to carry a gun, this is the niche it fills.  I would not buy it and use it the same way a woolrich or 5.11 ccw vest is meant to be used.  You can, but its just not ideal.

They are an Australian company so you can imagine what the clothes are intended to hold up to. I have not been there but I have seen Crocodile Dundee parts 1-3 enough times to know that it’s pretty dangerous and is like Jurrassic Park with more kangaroos and snakes. So you can bet the clothes made for the brave soul who would dare to live there is pretty tough. If you stay outside  on vacation a lot and want your slayer they make some good solutions for that.  At the same time they make some good tough working clothes that will also hold your gun.  Take a look:

www.kakaduaustralia.com

SLIDEFIRE STOCK

A friend of mine bought one of the slidefire stocks a few weeks ago and brought it out for me to try it out and see how “awesome” it is. The first thing I noticed was how huge and bulky it is.

Not only is it kinda big and bulky, but it makes using the safety pretty difficult. that is a pretty big turn off to me. The cheek weld is not bad at all. The problem wit this is that it does not matter because the gun can not be fired accurately. Sure the youtube videos make it look like you can do controlled bursts and keep the rounds on target the truth is you can not. You can make controlled bursts ( when it works) but the method used to make the stock do its trick, makes  shooting with any kind of effective fire pointless.

The author trying to make it work with his 6940 upper installed. And still failing like most things in life he tries.

The way this  contraption works is you lay your finger across the trigger very loose. The finger actually rests on a ledge and barely touches the trigger. You then pull forward on the forearm and this simply is suppose to cause a controlled bump fire.  I know it sounds odd and it takes a bit to get the hang of it.

The lower used was a Stag arms ( not mine!!!) on top of a RRA carbine upper. ( not mine!!)  The lower had a carbine buffer in it instead of a H  or H2 buffer. This combo worked right up until it did not.  I still have not figured out  the problem is but the gun would just stop. The trigger was stiff, not much and not loose like just fired. A round would be chambered with a normal dimple on the primer but thats it. Sometimes on ejecting th4 chambered round, I found it to be bent slightly at the shoulder neck junction. Odd.

I do not think the slidfire is worth the money. Maybe if it was 100 bucks but even then I really would not care to have one. Maybe on a semi auto RPK clone with bipods and a 100 round drum it could be fun. But I doubt it.

The problem could be from bolt bounce or the timing but I do not know. it was not my gun and I did not and could not have taken it all apart to find out or try it more. So I am sorry to say I can not give any solid answers about it. So solly cholly.

I was told this model was the 2nd gen model that sold for around 360 bucks.  I keep thinking tat would have bought 3 surefire 60 round mags or a case of ammo.  So unless you are a dirt clod blaster or so rich you just do not care. I would pass on this contraption.

LaRue XTRAN

The left three cases were fired from a LaRue PredatAR with XTRANs chamber.  The rightmost case came from a standard chamber.

XTRAN chamber left a sprial of carbon on the case.  There is no felt damage to the case.  This spiral of carbon could be wiped off with finger.

Thanks LaRue Tactical

A big thanks to the good folks at LaRue Tactical.  I needed a replacement ring half (to replace one I damaged) and some screws for my mounts.

Despite that I gave alternate info that had no ordering history from LaRue and that I offered to pay, LaRue Tactical still sent me the parts for free.  Their fast shipping allowed me to correct the issue I created quickly.

On that note, I would like to mention one company I was less then impressed with, Daniel Defense.  I asked what size a certain set of screws where that I needed.  They kindly offered to send me some, and then quickly mailed me a bag of the wrong screws.  All of my several attempts to contact them about getting  the correct screws were either ignored or not responded too.

Correct position of hard armor plates

I see a lot of pictures on forums of guys wearing their plate carriers with armor in them in ways that barely do them any good all the time. Usually you see the plates setting too low in the front and the back.  As can be seen in this picture you do not really need a huge plate to cover every inch of  your body, but you do need it to cover the most important inside red parts.

Here are a couple of pictures I hope will help people make sure they do not wear their armor wrong and some day have a round slip through or over a plate and cause sever leaking.

 

These pictures came from a poster on www.ar15.com

Review: MARS ITL

The MARS ITL is a reflex sight designed for use on the Tavor rifle.  Some are available for sale in the U.S.  The MARS has an integrated laser that is controlled by a fixed umbilical switch attached to the sight.  When you press and hold the button on the umbilical the dot shuts off and the laser turns on.  Both visible and IR laser models are available.  The optic has 4 brightness settings as well as auto adjusts brightness.  It runs off a single AA battery.

The MARS sight is a poor choice for use on the AR15 family of weapons.  Cowitness is not an option due to the high height of the optic.  While it has a quick detach mount, the mount does not return to zero.  It has a about 1 MOA dot, and this dot alone can be lost in the field of view of the optic.  While it would adjust to ambient lighting condition, it was still dim when on the brightest setting in bright outdoor areas.  The aiming dot shuts off when the laser is used, and the laser is only on when the umbilical button is pressed.  This cord is non-replaceable and too short to run it to useful locations when this optic is mounted on the top rail of a AR15.  Zeroing is easy, but the adjustments are coarse, about 3/4 MOA per click.  The laser and red dot are slaved to each other so they share the same zero.  This makes zeroing easy, however it is often helpful to have different zeros on lasers and optics.

Run time is short, about 200 hours according to the company.  Most people would be better off with a separate laser and optic.  I quickly sold the one I owned and I do not recommend the MARS sight for use on the AR15.  MARS sights tend to run about $400-900 depending if they are visible laser or IR.  Please beware that there are shady individuals selling former military MARS units, and other people trying to sell or trade them for thousands on various gun forums.

Barnes TSX test ( 70 gr) PART 2

Today I tested some more of the barnes triple shock X  bullets ( TSX ). I have wanted to see how the 70 grain bullet would do for a long time now so I put up a windshield  and a stack of soaking wet phone books. I wanted to test for penetration, expansion and for any point of aim point of impact changes after the round went through the auto glass.

I fired several rounds through the glass and into the books but was not able to recover many of the fired shots. Most of the rounds went through the glass and did in fact stay on track with not noticeable deflection. But, a lot of the bullets went through the glass and all of the books. One was found in the next to last book turned sideways. I am not sure it if tumbled through the book but I believe it did. The other I found in the last book setting just as it should have been.

One thing I found impressive was the damage done to the books as the bullets passed through.

As can be seen in the photo, the path of the bullets created wound channels bigger then the bullet diameter. Of course this is desired. One thing to note is the bullets did not deflect hardly at all even while traveling through glass, then the books.

Even though there was several feet between the glass and my target behind the glass, the round traveled as I had hoped. So it can be assumed that if you intended to hit something ( someone) behind auto glass, that you could hold on the target and reasonably expect to hit it. I did angle the glass to imitate glass in a car/truck. Even though, the round did not follow the curve of the glass to any amount I could detect with a dowel rod inserted into the holes.

Now the kind of bad news. If you know anything about the tests done on the TSX and the 70 grain version in particular, you have heard that the tips have been known to collapse inward and then act as a  ball round. Well, this happened to me as well. I figure this is why I was not able to recover many of them.  Although they did not open up the way intended they still preformed very well. I expected them to act  in this way and would have been surprised to see a perfect mushroomed TSX after going trough glass.  Remember that glass is not muscle,skin,blood and bone. So do not be afraid to use this bullet for self defense or hunting. Nothing in a body will act like auto glass. The fact that they did expand slightly is a good thing, but even better is they stayed on track, did not explode or frag into tiny pieces and not penetrate much. They did the opposite of that, and I would want them to work this way if I needed to shoot something inside a vehicle.

Here you can see how they did slightly expand. You can also see how they tucked in to render them a ball round slightly bigger then its original size. You may notice how much longer they are then 75 or 77 grain OTM. The rounds fired are setting they way they would be in a case.  The 70 grain TSX  absolutely requires a 1/7 twist. I am not sure if a 1/8 twist would work because I am too lazy to check right now.

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Here are two more fired bullets to show how they behave with regularity when shot trough the glass.

All of the ammo was handloaded to 556 pressure to try to match the “brown tip” load the military has been supposedly issuing to special forces troops. I have no idea about muzzle velocities or pressure of the “Brown tip” So I played it by ear. I do know the bullet is the same used so that will just have to do.  This load and bullet combo is my current favorite for hunting and other use. I do not want anyone to get the wrong idea about this round/bullet from the pics above and not seeing a perfect mushroom. So I want to point out again that any round fired through glass will never act the same as it will when fired in tissue especially something meant for meat.  If you want to see how it does on game, the hog hunting forum on ar15.com is the place to go. Members there take 250 to 300 pound wild hogs using this bullet regularly and with ease. So don’t mark this bullet of  the list of game  or self defense use based on barrier performance. But try to keep in mind this is what you want when shooting through a car window. The round acts exactly they way it is intended when hitting living tissue and is very, very impressive.