Barnes TSX ( triple shock X ) 55 grains Test Part 1 in a series

This is the first in a series ( I hope ) of test i will be doing on some of the barnes TSX bullets in a variety of weights ( my wallet allowing) and through a variety of barrier. These first rounds were fired from a  16 inch barrel carbine   through a car front window and  into a IDPA target then into a stack of 5 large phone books.  Rain destroyed the target and almost my camera before I could get pictures. But here is a few pics of how well the  TSX bullets performed.

The target was 50 yards away and I faced the window head on. After passing through the glass the round stayed on course and went trough the exact spot I was aiming at into the IDPA target that was about two feet behind the inside of the glass. There was no key holes or any signs that the round did anything other then what it was meant to do. The bullets then went into the phone books and traveled  through 4 before stopping. The books were about three and and a half inches thick each.  I dug them out to find that they  had shed no weight that I could measure and had not shed any “pedals”.  I also did not find that any of the points had sheared off or collapsed in on itself causing the bullet to fail like has been claimed can happen.  The ammo was factory corbon brand.

The next test will be handloads since factory ammo is cost more then a hooker made of gold.

Next up I will try the 62 gr followed by 50s, 70s,and 53s.  Last year I should note, I killed a deer from 150 yards away with the same gun, using the 70 grain TSX. It dropped with one shot to the left side shoulder. The round went all the through  and I could find no bullet to examine. Exit wound was the size of a quarter. I have been a admirer of the TSX bullets for many years but last year was the first time I used any one meat.

Hopefully the future tests will give and idea of how they perform around vehicles. I hope to get an idea how useful the bullet would be for police officers in a situation that involves  shooting around cars like on a traffic stop gone bad. Of course police spend a lot of time around vehicles so it makes since to have a round to  go through most barriers of cars and still have what it takes. Hopefully I can dig up an old engine block to see try them on just to see what happens.

Fast review of the FN FNP 45

I week or so ago i got a chance to try out the FN 45.    There are a few things I like about the gun; it comes with two 14 round mags and a 15 round mag.

The FN of course comes with a rail on the frame for the ever popular light, which I think is a must have these days. Being a 1911 guy, I was glad to see that it had a thumb safety. I have to say that it was not in the best position for my hand to easily hit it to fire. The grip was fairly large for people used to a single stack pistol,, but it was not too large. The size of the grip did make it hard for me to reach the trigger. It was workable and easy to use in single action but trying to get to the trigger in double action was a real chore. The trigger was a decent CCW or combat trigger but I would not take it to any matches.

The good things are the safety and the mag release are ambi, which I a feature I always love.  The sights on the gun were easy to see and snag free but not sharp enough to hurt. They are pretty much a FN version of the super popular novak sights.  One thing about the magazines is the effort it takes to load them. It was one of the hardest mags I have ever had to load. The thumbs ached after trying to force in just two rounds. And it was just as hard to load the first round as it was the last. This was very irritating and slowed things down a lot. I am not kidding around or exaggerating at all. I can not stress enough how hard it was to load the mags.

Shooting the gun for general drills was easy but the gun is flippy in recoil. I would often loose my grip on the gun with my alternate killing hand. This is purely a training  issue, but it was something I had to work hard to overcome.

For accuracy testing I used my normal method of slow fire off a bench. I shot at 25 yards with WWB ball 230 grain ammo.

I feel the gun has better accuracy to offer then my results. I am a 1911 guy through and through so  I don’t always do my best with a DA pistol. But regardless the pistol was pretty good since I was using walmart fodder. the above target was shot off of the bench.

This group was shot off hand slowfire at 25 yards with some odd results. Thumbusting magazine shown in picture to weigh down the paper.

I liked the FN in the time I had with it.  If I was wanted a DA pistol that held 15 rounds of 45, this would be my choice.  I was able to hit a man chest sized steel gong with the gun at 100 yards off hand with the handgun easy. This is a test I do on any of my guns I carry CCW or for more serious potential use. I think if you have a pistol that can give you that performance, you can trust it to fill in for a rifle in the worst of situations.  The FN  past my 100 test with ease. I will have more time with the FN in coming weeks, so I will try to do a part 2 write up with more detail and testing with better ammo.

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.

On the Side Sling swivel

Occasionally questions arise about the side sling swivel for the AR15/M16/M4.  This will answer a few common questions.

It is normal for the sling mount to move.  it will wear and make marks on the barrel.

Side sling swivels come from the factory mounted so the loop faces the rear of the rifle.  This is fine if your using CAR or M4 plastic hand guards.  However if you are using a Knights M4 RAS this loop will interfer with installing and removing rail panel covers.  The Army authorizes mounting the sling loop forwards to negate that issue.

If you are mounting a M203 underbarrel grenade launcher on a M4, the side sling swivel will need to be mounted so the loop is on the ejector port side of the rifle(same side as used for left handed shooters).

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.

Suppressed Sig 556

 

I had the opportunity to examine and fire a suppressed Short Barreled Sig 556 with an AAC M4-2000 can.  I did not like that setup.  It’s owner pointed out that the mount of the AAC can prevented the gas system from being removed for cleaning.  When the rifle was fired, gas would vent from the gap between the Sigs upper and lower receivers, and blow upwards into the shooters face.  Later in the day, the owner of this rifle ended up having mechanical issue with his rifle.  He ended up having to take it home to disassemble it for cleaning and maintenance.

The SBR Sig556 and the AAC M4-2000 does not make for a good combination.

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