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The peril of cutting edge or trailing edge.

I’ve been wanting to talk about this for a while, but I wasn’t sure how to approach the subject.

Today, I got offer a Surefire 720V in trade for something I was selling, and it got me thinking about the subject again.

The U.S. military spends ridiculous amounts of money to develop and fly the latest and greatest in fighter aircraft. Having the very best takes so very much time, effect, and most of all the money.

Same applies to any hobby or craft. There will always be something newer. Some time back, Surefire designed a new weapon light with all the cool features and that was the M720V.

This thing had all the coolest new features. Bright light, and dim light. IR light. Multiple switches and remote switch options. Metal construction, tempered lens. It was to be the pinnacle of weapon lights.

It also cost $800ish.

Oh man did I want one. But now way was I going to spend that much money to have the latest and greatest. I drooled over all the pictures of the cool guys running around with theses.

Good thing I didn’t get one, turns out they are huge, heavy, and better lights came out shortly afterwards at more reasonable prices. It seemed like a year after they came out I saw a bunch for sale used and nobody wanted them even at drastically reduced prices.

There is always something newer coming out. If you try and chase the very newest stuff you are going to pay the premium for it, be it cost, time, etc. And sometimes that newest tech ends up not being that great (Magpul Masada anyone?).

Look at the Leupold CQBSS, an excellent piece of gear. An early adopter would have had to pay around four thousand dollars for one. Now, we have plenty of excellent 1-8X options that are lighter, smaller, and cheaper.

Sometimes it is worth waiting to see if something really is an improvement. This can also help you avoid the extra cost of being an early adopter.

We don’t want to go to the other extreme either. We don’t want to be Luddites to progress. I’ve met individuals who still believe that optics are not reliable enough for a fighting weapon. There are people who think that only equipment the military uses can be trusted.

(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Shane Hughes)

A basic M4 is a good gun, but we can do better.

For each of us, the sweet spot of what to get and use will vary. Some people are more adventurous and would like to try new stuff, or have more cash to spend on the latest. Others will be more conservative and wait till things are proven and cheaper. Just don’t blow all your money on the latest gimmick or be that old fogey that just keeping whining that cartridge guns are fad.

Reimagining the Surefire 6p

I had been looking for a “better” flashlight to take the place of the 6p I have been carrying around for a while. The factory 6p is fine but I, like most folk, had a burning desire for something more.
After recently acquiring a m600df I had decided that if I didnt have to use cr123a’s ever again then that would more than fine with me.

Unfortunately after perusing the Surefire website they did not have an option for a simple flashlight that accept 18650s as its standard. Well, outside of a model that is “intellibeam” and I wasn’t about to fumble around with a series of click to get it to light up without auto-adjusting the output.


Without there being any options within the brand that I prefer to buy readily available for me to pick up I was left to my own devices, which would be a 23/32 drill bit and a bench vise.

After removing the head of the flashlight and o-rings I began drilling starting at the head end of the body. After about an hour of light pressure, couple breaks, I had bored it out wide enough for a Samsung 25r to slide in and out without any resistance.

shake can magic

Brighter than the Sun

Lastly we have the drop in LED upgrade. While 300 some odd lumens were fine and all I was able to find a two pack of drop in LED heads for $20 on amazon that put out 1200 lumens. Talk about a lot of bang for your buck.



Although the item is listed as working in 6p’s I found it to be impossible to screw the head on all the way after installation. After I removed the larger spring around it I was able to screw the head down completely.

All in all, I could not be happier with the fruits of my labor.

Here we are again with after a sage green paint job, used a matte high heat engine clear coat to help it last a bit longer.

Sometimes I wonder if MLok and Keymod are a step backwards

Today I was messing with some of my Surefire weapon lights and started to write a review of a VFG. That got me back to a line of thought where I wonder if these newer attachments systems are a step backwards from the 1913 picatinny rail.

Now don’t get me wrong, the new modular handguards have many merits. But lets back track for a moment.

Back in the day we either didn’t mount stuff to our weapons, had to use proprietary mounts, or clamped stuff on. You can find pictures of hose clamps holding Maglites on M16s and MP5s. Special equipment like the AN/PEQ-2A IR Laser and the M203 sights had their own unique mounting systems.

When the 1913 Picatinny Rail showed up, we installed these heavy quad rails and started attaching everything to our firearms.

Now your standard screw on rail mount could hold its zero fairly well. Often with in a minute of angle, if the person installing it was consistent.

Then things got really nifty, we got all sorts of quick detach mounts that held their zero.
Now, you could have a red dot and a magnifed scope ready and zeroed for your long arm. You could mount stuff like lights, lasers, bipods, as you needed them.

But quad rails are large, heavy, and when poorly made can be sharp as a cheese grater. Keymod and MLok, along with their predecessors allowed for lighter, thiner, slicker firearms.

All good, right?

Now, we can remove and reattach something from MLOK and Keymod handguards, and still they will tend to hold their zero.

In military testing, they reported that KeyMod had an average shift of 4.9 MOA shift and M-LOK 1.3 MOA.

That is probably why we still see rail on the tops of uppers and we don’t see KeyMod or M-LOK scope mounts.

So, what point am I really trying to say? I’m saying that M-LOK and KeyMod are not really QD. That is a step backwards.

I keep a Harris BRMS bipod on an ADM mount. That way I can slap it on a rifle when I need it, and take it off when I don’t.

Some years back I bought a brand new Surefire Scout light, and I remember planning to put a QD mount on it so I could just move it from rifle to rifle with out having to buy another one.

So now I have guns with KeyMod and M-LOK. I have to buy little rail section so that I can put my Bipod on them. If I want to quickly be able to move a light, laser, or grip, I have to mount another rail section.

The step backwards with these new systems is the loss of quick disconnect. We can certainly live with out that, but it was very nice to have.

I’d love to see a replacement or upgrade to MLOK allowing us to quickly remove and reattach items with out loss of zero. Then I think we will have the best of both worlds.

Surefire Legacy Video

Surefire made a little ad for their 40th anniversary. I think it is pretty good.

My first Surefire was a 6P with a P60 Lamp. It put out 65 lumens for an hour. That was such a major upgrade over the large bulky maglights. Unfortunately I was also good as losing them. I lost 3 over in Iraq. When I first got mine stateside, I showed it to a fellow Marine and the next weekend we went to the base PX and he bought one. He was impressed with the durability of it, and to test it, he chucked it out of his moving car while he was driving. Fortunately the 6P was on and the sun was setting so the bright light was easy to fine. His 6P did have a pretty good case of road rash from that.

Our hard use and abuse of Surefire lights just ramped up from there and the Surefires just ate it up and asked for more.