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News from the range.

Many people prefer to shoot on private property alone for a variety of good reasons.  However when you go to the public ranges, you can see all sorts of interesting gear and meet a variety of interesting people.

Accuracy International AW50

I got to fire an Accuracy International AW50.  This sniper system came with S&B 3-12X scope, 10 mags, 3 muzzle breaks, and a hard case that could be parachute dropped.  The most interesting things about it were its hydraulic recoil reduction system, and the muzzle break.  The combination of break and hydraulic buffers makes the rifle very pleasant to shoot, and makes it easier to spot your own impacts.  The large muzzle break was similar to the JP recoil eliminator break.  It send the blast from the .50 out to the sides, so unlike most .50 BMGs where being behind the shooter is the only good place to be, it wasn’t bad being alongside the shooter(You still don’t want to be in line with the muzzle).  I really want one now.

I often talk about problem and broken guns here.  Usually it is pretty apparent when someone has an issue with a firearm.  For example, a when someone dropped a .22 Long Rifle into a .22 Hornet, it looks sort of like this:

.22 LR in .22 Hornet

It can be hard to get someone to believe that their firearm is broken, when it still is working reliably.  One of our regulars was talking to me about his Glock, and had it apart while we were discussing 9mm conversions for .40 cal Glocks.  Looking it it, I noticed that the extractor had broken, but I had a hard time convincing him of that because his pistol was still running well.  Finally I managed to get him to buy a new ejector.  This picture shows the new and old broken ejectors side by side.

Broken Glock G22 ejector

This last photo is an interesting issue where a MGI 7.62×39 bolt and firing pin were piercing primers.  The firing pin was occasionally cutting a clean hole in the primer.  I told the owner to contact MGI.  It will be interesting to hear about what they tell him.

MGI 7.62x39 piercing primers

As for interesting people, some of the guys I had seen out that and talked to turned out to be the guys from NFA Review.  I have previously seen some of their videos and rather liked them.  Also it is on of their suppressors reviews is what helped a family member of mine pick the Silencer Co Octane 9.  I find it interesting that the Octane 9 is easier to clean then the AAC Trident.

Here is one of my favorite videos of theirs:

SHOT SHOW 2013: Daniel Defense ISR Marks their Entry into the Suppressor Market

The Daniel Defense ISR (Integrated Suppressor Rifle) is essentially a 10.3” SBR with a pinned/welded suppressor that they developed specifically for this rifle, bringing the total barrel length to over 16”.  This means you only need to purchase one NFA stamp to own this gun.  It does not require being registered as an SBR.  The forend is Daniel Defense’s new MFR which I found to be extremely comfortable.

As of right now, this model is only offered in AAC 300 blackout, with no word on future plans for other calibers.  They will begin accepting orders for this platform beginning of April and should start shipping around mid-May.  The MSRP is projected around $3199.

*As a side note, this year Daniel Defense will also be offering their new premium line of ammunition in 5.56 and .300BLK calibers.

Daniel Defense ISR

My Favorite Mags of the Year

A lot of magazines for the Ar15/M16 family was sent to loose rounds  this ( our first ) year for testing.   In trying out new guns, I used a lot of mags from as many different mfgs as I could get my sweaty little hands on.  The usual crew was of course tested, like the Pmag, the USGI mags as well.    Below as my three favorite mags tested this year.

The top three in my opinion are the Tango Down ARC mag, the Lancer advanced warfighter and the surefire 60 round mag.

The Tango Down and the  Lancer are tied for my all time favorite.   IF I had to pick one it would be the lancer.  I tried to  make them both stop working in ways that stopped just short of destroying them. I tossed the both off of a 50 foot cliff loaded and they still worked perfectly.  I Left them soak in muddy silty water, froze them and poured dirt into them.  I even stomped on them and ran over them in my jeep.   These are tough mags.  I love the metal feed lips of the lancer and really feel it is the best mag on the market right now and like it more then the Pamg,  I have not tried the new generation of Pmags yet. But I doubt I will change my mind about the lancer.  I am sure that will stick in some peoples craw but,  too bad.   I know what I saw.

The surefire 60 is  my third favorite. I tried really hard to causer it to stop working, I did not  toss it off a cliff or run over it because I know it will not take the same level of abuse. But, I am not sure it was meant or expected to.  I see the sure fire 60 as a specialty mag for matches or breaking and ambush or what have you. I think anyone who gets one for fighting would still treat it gently  as the some what specialty tool it is.  Now, thats not to say I was not rough on it. I was. I could not get a malfunction from doing stuff I think of as likely abuse.  I poured dirt a pebbles in it, water soaking, pressure on it etc. You can read my test of it earlier this year on this site.   I think most people using it to fight with will likely just have the one, and keep it in the gun and keep up with it and be slightly more gentle with it when not in use.

The surefire still has a ways to go before its gotten the same confidence of Pmags, but nothing beats having 60 rounds in the gun ready to go, without causing the gun to feel a lot heavier or un balanced. For that, it makes my list and I feel its worth its price easily.  I have not tried the 100 round mag yet, but will be soon.    I feel these are way better options then the Beta Cmag. The Cmag is a toy for people with NFA stuff or goofing, they are just not tough enough for real use. And I have seen the problems first hand.

The Pmag will probably remain every ones darling for a while to come. But I feel right now, the new lancers are a much better mag. and you should give  one or two a serious look.   The Tango Down suffers from a couple of problems but nothing that can not be over looked,  It is a very tough mag and is in use by some big names.  I do not use that as a guide since a couple of the big names are pretty much shills in my opinion, but it does matter to some people.  The follower on the TD is a real work of art. I feel confident in  saying the TD would also be a great choice if you are looking for a upgrade from the Pmag.

A Boy and His AR15 ( My 6940 )

I often post pictures of my Colt 6940  on gun boards or the looserounds facebook page and people ask me about it. They want to know how it shoots what I have on it and why I use what I use. SO , I decided to talk a little about my gun and why it is the way it is.  It is not perfect or anything special but after years of changing and always evolving my shooting style and methods and most importantly my mindeset, I have settled on it the way it is for now.

As can be seen above, there is a varied combination of parts on my carbine. None of them are added just to make it cool and none of the things I added make the gun less functional.  As I have said many times before, I do Not believe in the idiotic KISS theory. By that I mean I do not think adding a light or an optic is adding “useless tacticool crap”.  Of course some people can and do take it too far, but using things on your gun to give you more capability and a edge over the bad guy is common sense.  Somethings are gimmicks and a waste of money that should have been spent on ammo. But optics, lights and slings are never ever a waste of money( unless its crap cheap products). You do need to think carefully about what to add and if you know how to use it. If not, you can learn. But you would do well to make sure you understand it. Even something as simple as a weapon light could do more harm to you then good if you do not know how to use it during a fight. That may seem to not make sense, but you can blind yourself if care is not taken or draw fire towards you and give away your position. SO yeah, fighting with a light is not just as simple as turning it on and shooting.

To start with, I use the magpul CTR stock. This is one of the few magpul products I liek and is worth having. For the most part I do not like or have much use for a lot of Magpuls stuff.  They make some great stuff, but they also make a lot of gimmicks. I like the CTR because it locks, has multiple ways to mount my sling, it is light, thin and comfortable.  big plus is the latch is not easy to hit and let the stock collapse if I have to use it rested on something. The rubber but plate is nice, not to help with recoil but to keep it from sliding off my plate carrier or other nylon gear.

Next is the charging handle and BUIS.  I like the Knights armament 600 meter sight.  I usually use the standard , but I switched to the micro so the mount for a PVS-14 would clear it. The KAC is my 1st choice always. I have used a lot of different models but I will always recommend the KAC.  The charging handle is the BravoCompany  Gunfighter CH.  I use the medium. The large snags everything on my gear and really digs into the body and the small is not much different from the standard latch.  I find the Medium to be the best of both worlds. It is truly more then just an extended handle. It is very tough and the re design was well done, well thought out and bullet proof. Enough has been said about the quality of the gunfighter already and I am sure it is nothing new to anyone.  I do not use a PRI gas buster cause I ain’t got a can and the Badger breaks. Pure and simple. The badger breaks.

Next is the grip. I love the tango down battle grip. I have small fingers and the ergonomics of the TD grip just work for me. I do not like the MIAD, or the cheap MOE.  The angle of the new Larue and the Bravo company grips do not do it for me. I feel the TD give me a better position to work the trigger for proper trigger control and it will store two batteries int he bottom.  I  use a Knights ( KAC ) ambi safety. I use this because I bought it before Colt started selling their ambi safety but, I feel no need to switch and have utmost confidence in the KAC product anyway. I use the cut away insert for the right side. I found that a full length safety would often drag on my gloves as I went to fire when indexing my trigger finger along the gun. The cut away solved this nicely and is still easily hit with the thumb.

On the left of the gun you can see I have added a BAD lever , a Norgon ambi  mag release and a KAC  QD socket.  The BAD lever makes reloading very fast. It does not always work with every AR15 on the market ( read cheap ) but it makes thing very fast and give me the ambi feature I feel is important on a fighting gun. I do however , feel there is a whole lot of room for improvemt with this type of add on.  The one reason I truly appreciate it is that I can lock the bolt back without taking my firing hand off the grip. If you have to clear malfunctions, the BAD lever really shows its worth. Downside is that you can become dependent on it like a crutch. You can find yourself trying to hit it on a gun that does not have it during a reload and that can slow you down a second or two. That may be enough to slow you forever. So keep that in mind and train with and without it if you have one.

The Norgon mag release. Nuff said. The ambi feature I love so much and deem valuable for a fighting gun.

The KAC QD socket is there because for right now, the 6940 does not have rear QD sling points.  I and a lot of others feel this is the best place to mount a two point sling on the rail. Personal choice, but it gives you more room with the sling. Since the 6940 has one in front, I can move the sling position to the rear or front depending on my needs. And with QD sling swivels it is easily done in no time at all.

Inside is the geissele ssa trigger. Now I will almost always tell you to use the milspec trigger and for good reason. It is hard to beat for toughness durability and reliability. The gun was meant to work with the standard trigger in it. And You can shoot it with all the precision needed. The AR15 is not  benchrest rifle nor is it a sniper rifle. If you are a competent shooter, you can shoot just as well with stock trigger as any other as long as it is safe and functioning correctly. It is not a hunting rifle. Think of the “match trigger ” in your fighting carbine the same as you would as having a light match trigger in your CCWD side arm. Now, if you are an experienced shooter, with a lot of years behind a gun with proper trigger control that can shoot a standard trigger to your full potential. Then by all means try out a SSA or something like it.  Stay away from the Rock River Arms triggers. To be blunt, they are crap. They are fine for the bench rest range shooters who fire 200 rounds a year. But time and time again, high round count carbine classes have shown that the RRA trigger will fail you. It is just not rugged. If you have one that works, great, but its a matter of time before it stops feeling so sweet and starts feeling like mush. If its a target or varmint rifle, that fine. But do not put it on a duty rifle or fighting rifle. It may cost you dearly one day.

My optics of choice are the Aimpoint T-1 and ACOGS, I mainoly use the T-1 because it is just the best all around work horse sight. I do not even know why aimpoint makes RDS that are not T-1s or something like them. No need for much more!! It is small, light, so tough Larry Vickers dropped it out of a chooper twice and it faired better then the gun it was on, and shot it, ran it over, sunk it, and dragged it on a gravel road for miles.  You can see the video on line. Funny thing was it was suppose to be a Daniel Defense add. I think it sold more T-1s then rifles. Those of us who used the T-1 before the video, knew how great it was before the test.  Batteries last almost long enough for you to collect a social security check and it has NVG settings and of course Larue makes his excellent QD mounts for it. A must have to any optic.  I use the KAC over sized adjustment nob that holds and extra battery inside. Not that it will likely ever be use, but you never know, the battery may be bad.

A neat side bonus is the Larue mount has room inside for a couple more batteries, some blow or anything else you may want to hide.

Up front I use the SureFire scout light with Vampire head. The head lets me switch from white light to IR light for the PVS-14  I can mount on the carbine or use helmet mounted.  To activate it I use the Surefire dual SR07 switch. It is a pressure switch and a on/off button switch combined. It snaps over the rail and is so useful I do not know how I ever lived without it.  The PVS-14 is seen below the light using the rifle picatinny mount.

The PVS14 mounted on the carbine. You can see how snugly the KAC micro BUIS fits under the mount nicely. The T-1 has several night vision setting and makes shooting at night as easy as invading france.  Hits out to as far as 100 yards can be made very easily on a night with moon out and stars. On a dark night the Vampire head makes easy work of hitting targets at night.  The IR flashlight can not bee seen with the naked eye so you need NV. But if the bad guy has NV, you stick out like a turd in vanilla ice cream, so you got to be careful how you use it. Just like a white light.  KNOW YOU EQUIPMENT AND WHEN TO USE IT PROPERLY!!.   Together they are a very effective force multiplier that will allow you to dominate a night fight.

My rail covers  are simply Larue tactical index clips. You can use as many or as little as you like and customize them around accessories. They even have clips the will help you route wires around the gun and secure them tightly.  They are slimmer than panels and weigh slightly less. Weight can be a factor even with panels in certain environments and times. It is not a big deal for me, but I always make a effort to save a few ounces  if I can, even if its not a top priority.

After years of suffering 3 point and single point sling fiascoes, I settled on the one sling that made me forsake all others. The Blue Force Gear Vickers Combat Applications SLing. ( VCAS).  It is everything I ever wanted in a sling. I hate 3 points and I hate having single points hit me in the nuts.  The VCAS is tough, comfortable and easy to adjust in a hurry.  I add QD sling swivels so I can take it on and off in a hurry or move the sling to the front, rear or to the other side if need be. I like it. it would take something awfully special to make me stop using it and switch.

Now this is not my only AR by far, but is  the one I reach for first and the one I will depend on for everything.  I have no need for a middy, and I am sold on monolithic upper. I have not seen a more accurate factory  rack grade fighting rifle. The Colt Chromed lined 4150 1/7 barrel is always my choice.  After close to 10 million AR15s  on one side of that number or the other, I feel they know how to make a AR15. With that in mind, colt has never failed me and got my Dad home from Vietnam.  I find the 16 inch barrel to feel my needs and I do not need a rifle shorter.  Plus if used in home defense inside, I do not want to blow out my ears with a 10.5 inch barrel. Nor do I want to explain why I used a NFA rifle or risk losing it forever to some police locker.

For magazines, I use about any quality mag, USGI, Pmags and lately the new Lancer mags, the advanced warfighter mags.  I found the HK mags to be pure hype with not real performance gain to justify the price.  Just like every other HK product I have tried  I do like the surefire 60 round mags. The two sent to me have held up well despite all my abuse and have not failed me. They have limited uses, in some cases but I think they are worth having. I would suggest buying at least one before the election, no matter how it will turn out.If things go wrong, you may never get one for the current price again.

SO that is my carbine, It is not set in stone, but what you see is pretty much how it stays. Optics will be swapped for certain roles and some times it will have a small bipod or VFG. but the items on it in the pictures are the serious fighting upgrades that always stay  on it unless a much better and proven part comes along to replace it. They may do the same but be tougher or  better ergo wise. But the purpose they fill would be the same.