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Author Archive | Matt

CCI .22 Long Rifle AR Tactical

CCI now offers a rimfire load designed specifically for AR-15 .22LR conversions. The new load is called .22 Long Rifle AR Tactical and CCI claims that it is purpose built for reliable function and increased accuracy in .22LR conversions.

It uses a 40 grain copper washed lead round nose bullet. CCI states that the lead round nose bullet was chosen for its feeding reliability from among several bullets that they tested. The copper wash should help keep leading in check for those who don’t run a dedicated conversion. The muzzle velocity is 1200 feet per second which CCI claims helps with accuracy in AR-15 .22LR conversions.

The reports on this ammo are mixed. Some say it is a gimmick while others have reported excellent reliability and accuracy. The copper wash and lead round nose bullet make sense to me, but the 1200 FPS velocity concerns me since some conversions have fairly stiff recoil springs. The only way to know whether it works for you is to try it in your specific firearm. It may be just what you need to squeak out every last bit of functionality from your .22LR conversion. It is nice to see an ammo manufacturer making the effort to support this valuable training tool.

You can find a more detailed PDF spec sheet for the .22 Long Rifle AR Tactical on the CCI website.

If you are interested in other ways to increase the reliability of your .22LR conversion, check out the previously reviewed .22 Thruster from Carlson Comps.

 

Battle Arms Development – Ambidextrous Safety Selector Cerakote

The Battle Arms Development – Ambidextrous Safety Selector (BAD-ASS) is already the best ambidextrous selector for the AR-15 on the market. It blew me away when I reviewed it but Battle Arms Development hasn’t been content to just rest on their laurels. First, they introduced the amazing short throw BAD-ASS-ST and now they are introducing Cerakoted versions of the original BAD-ASS.

Cerakote not only allows the BAD-ASS to be offered in a number of colors but also provides increasde wear and corrosion resistance. This finish should hold up to hard use very well.

The BAD-ASS Cerakote versions are available in Flat Dark Earth, Gunmetal Gray, and Olive Drab.

Review: Carlson Comp for the AR-15

Have you ever purchased and installed a compensator on an AR-15 only to find that there was no noticeable reduction of muzzle rise? There is no danger of that happening with the Carlson Comp from Carlson Comps.

The Carlson Comp is very simple and very effective. It chooses to forgo more exotic features like flash suppressor tines, crenelated strike surfaces, and rebar cutting notches in favor of pure performance. This is a compensator and only a compensator. The Carlson Comp reduces muzzle rise and it does it well.

The Carlson Comp features two large ports.

Why a Compensator?

Before I get into the review, I should discuss why you might choose to purchase and install a compensator. Compensators are devices that attach to the muzzle end of a firearm’s barrel. They redirect the gasses that escape the barrel with the bullet in a way that counteracts the muzzle’s upward movement. By reducing the amount that the muzzle moves, you reduce the time needed for the shooter to reacquire the sights. It all adds up to more bullets down range faster.

That all sounds great, but shooters should be aware that this enhanced performance comes with a cost and is not a substitute for technique. The cost is in the form of redirected sound and concussive blast. The compensator vents gasses up and to the side in order to counteract muzzle climb. Sound and concussive blast are redirected right along with the gasses. The shooter will likely notice that the firearms sounds louder. Those who are next to the shooter will definitely notice increased sound and will likely feel the concussive blast coming from the firearm. It should also be noted that even the best suppressor will not compensate for poor technique. Compensators will make a fast shooter faster but will likely not make much difference at all to the untrained.

When choosing to use a compensator, the shooter must be aware of the benefits and the drawbacks. This is true of all compensators, not just the Carlson Comp. Not all gear will work for you in all situations. Your specific mission should dictate the gear that you choose.

Installation

Installing the Carlson Comp is simple. It comes with a peel washer. I just held the peel washer with pliers while I applied heat to the washer with a lighter. The heat allows you to peel away very thin layers of the washer. You keep removing layers until the Carlson Comp lines up correctly, with the two ports on the top when it is fully tight.

Fit, Finish, and Details

The Carlson Comp is very cleanly machined and it threads into the muzzle very smoothly. It is finished with a matte black finish that matches the barrel well. It weighs 3.05 ounces, 2″ long, and 7/8″ in diameter. The Carlson Comp features two massive ports and a closed bottom.

The Carlson Comp (right) is similar in overall size to many muzzle devices.

Muzzle Rise, What Muzzle Rise?

I installed the Carlson Comp on a Colt 6520 with an Aimpoint and hit the range with some .223 ammo provided by LuckyGunner.com for this test. I started on the 25 yard line and faced down a 2/3 size IPSC silhouette steel target. I fired several single shot strings bringing the rifle from low ready to get a feel for how loud the Carlson Comp would be. It was a bit louder but not very bad at all when you are behind the rifle. Those who were nearby noted increased sound and could feel the concussive blast as they would with any other compensator.

Then I moved onto controlled pairs (2 shots, 2 sight pictures). At 25 yards and with the Carlson Comp, this was basically an exercise in how fast I could control the trigger. The Aimpoint’s dot just simply did not move off the target.

Double taps (2 shots, 1 sight picture) were a breeze. The Carlson Comp ensured that the muzzle stayed down which kept the dot on target. The Carlson Comp really changes how the rifle behaves at these speeds. Rather than the muzzle wanting to rise and feeling the rifle climb over the target, the rifle just seems to push back into your shoulder with hardly any detectable rise.

The Carlson Comp was mounted on a Colt 6520 (lightweight barrel profile) for testing.

Next, I moved back to 50 yards and ran through the same routine. I can’t tell you how much fun it is to be able to get hits as fast as you can pull the trigger because your technique is working so well with your gear. The Carlson Comp allowed for very fast controlled pairs and double taps. The controlled pairs were most telling about the performance of the Carlson Comp. At 50 yards, even with good technique, the muzzle will often lift enough that my aiming point moves up into the shoulder area of the target. With the Carlson Comp, it seems that Aimpoint’s dot never strayed from the high center of mass.

To wrap up my time with the Carlson Comp, I wanted to test how it affected accuracy. I fired 3 separate 5 shot groups with the Carlson Comp and then 3 more with the flash suppressor that I usually keep on this rifle. There was no difference. The rifle put all shots into it’s usual 3-4″. There was no difference that I could detect. I shot for accuracy from the prone position, using a backpack as a rest. It was interesting to watch the muzzle actually dip after each shot!

Conclusion

I put just over 200 rounds through the Carlson Comp. I found it to be extremely effective at controlling muzzle rise. It was so effective that the muzzle actually dips when shooting off a rest! Compensators are not for all situations, but if they fit your mission, the Carlson Comp would be a great choice.

Disclosure: Carlson Comps provided the Carlson Comp to me, free of charge, for this review.

Peak LED Solutions Matterhorn – Accidental Torture Test

I have been using flashlights from Peak LED Solutions for years. My favorite of their products is the Matterhorn. The Matterhorn is a simple flashlight that uses 5mm LEDs and accepts AAA batteries. It is blindingly bright but it doesn’t have to be. It serves wonderfully as a small, pocketable back-up light. The light itself is barely larger than the AAA battery that powers it yet it still provides a useful amount of light for a long, long time.

In December of last year, I noticed that the Matterhorn was missing from the pocket where I usually carry it with my keys. I searched high and low but I couldn’t find it. I sadly conceded that I must have unknowingly dropped it in a parking lot somewhere and that I would likely never see it again.

Then, just this week, the prodigal Matterhorn flashlight reappeared in one of our flower planters – a place that I rarely go, especially in the winter. It seems that the diminutive flashlight took a trip through the snow blower at some point this winter and was deposited far from where I dropped it getting into or out of my truck. Not only did it go through a snow blower but it has been sitting in the soil of a flower bed, exposed to an unusually cold and snowy winter for around 3 months.

At this point you may be wondering if a flashlight that took a trip through a snow blower and was exposed to the winter weather for 3 months still works and what it looks like. It does still work with the same battery that was in it when I dropped it and it looks pretty much like it did when I dropped.

This is what a Peak Matterhorn looks like after a trip through a snow blower and a whole winter spent outdoors.

The Matterhorn is made from hard anodized aluminum which makes it exceedingly tough. It basically has only two main parts: the head and the body. The body is just a machined aluminum tube. The head is also machined from aluminum. The 5mm LED and electronics are actually potted (encapsulated except for the battery contact) in epoxy inside the head. This makes it basically impact and element proof.The simple construction, potted small parts, and small size allowed this little light to run through a snow blower unscathed.

The only thing that really seems to show any sign of the ordeal is the o-ring that seals the joint between the head and body of the light. It is intact, but a little bit dry. That is easily fixed with some grease.

I should also note that when I was taking the picture for this post, I knocked the Matterhorn off the table and onto a patio stone. It landed on its head but survived. This is one tough little light.

The Viking Sight

The Viking Sight, from Viking Tactics (VTAC), is a new set of handgun sights that have some features that I am sure you will not find on any other set of sights.

The first thing you notice about these sights is that they have 3 fiber optics dots (1 front, 2 rear) and 3 tritium dots (1 front, 2 rear). This allows the sights to be highly visible during the day and night. The fiber optic dots are placed above the tritium dots. The fact that the dot sets are placed one on top of the other opens up some pretty interesting “hold over” possibilities for long distance shooting. The tritium front dot could be aligned with the fiber optic rear dots to provide a consistent reference point for a hold over.

In order to accommodate this dot over dot set up, the rear sight notch is cut very deep. VTAC claims that this deep cut enhances speed. It has been my experience with other sight sets that deep notches and tall narrow front sights usually do make for fairly speedy sights. The Warren Tactical Sevigny Carry sights are a good example.

One of the most interesting features to me is that the front sight is tapered. It gets narrower at the top. The tapering should give a somewhat fine aiming point. This seems like the kind of thing that would work well but I have never used a tapered front sight.

The Viking Sight is different than any other handgun sights available. Time will tell if they are successful, though I would never bet against a product designed by Kyle Lamb of Viking Tactics. I can’t remember the last time I saw a set of sights that contained so many innovations all at once.

The Viking Sight is available for the Smith & Wesson M&P series of handguns from Viking Tactics.

TangoDown Shooters Log

Firearms are a lot like your car in that they are a significant investment and they require regular maintenance in order to continue functioning efficiently. Just like your car, it is difficult to ensure that your firearm is up to date on its maintenance intervals unless you are keeping quality records.

The TangoDown Shooters Log is designed to help you organize and record critical information about your firearms, like round count, notes on ammo, and optics settings. The round count is especially important since it determines when your firearm is due for maintenance. I like having a place to track changes to my optics since there have been times when I make a change, only to find that I need to restore the original settings at a later date. It might be easier to track things like this on your computer in a spreadsheet but I still like to have something that I can easily carry to the range with me.

The TangoDown Shooters Logs are available in packs of 5 on the Tango Down website.

AXTS AX762 and AX556 Lower Receivers

I wrote about the A-DAC lower receivers from AXTS Weapons Systems in January. Now AXTS has introduced two new lowers that are absolutely full of new features.

The AX556 and AX762 feature the A-DAC’s right hand bolt catch that is integrated into the magazine release. They also have a number of other innovative features including a flared magazine well, extended bolt stop paddle, and texturing on the magazine well that takes visual cues from the ubiquitous Magpul PMAG.

These lowers will also be available with 45 degree selector markings to support the previously reviewed BAD-ASS-ST.

Magpul MBUS Generation 2 Now Shipping

The original Magpul Back Up Sights (MBUS) were well loved for their combination of functionality and affordability. Now Magpul has released the second generation of the MBUS. Like the originals, the Gen 2 MBUS front and rear sights will be very reasonably priced and be molded in variety of the typical Magpul colors.

The Gen 2 MBUS improves on the original by adding a detent to the front sight so that the front sight post is locked in place. Both the front and rear have been made lower in profile so that they work with a wider variety of optics.

Both the front and rear MBUS can be found on Magpul’s website and should be on dealer shelves shortly.

Review: Fallkniven DC4 Diamond/Whetstone

Recently, I spent some time looking for a new knife sharpener to use when I am out in the woods. I wanted something compact, lightweight, and capable. After spending some time looking over various options, I settled on the Fallkniven DC4. At just under 4″ by 1 1/4″, it is certainly compact and it is quite light at only 3.7 ounces. I’ll share more about what makes it so capable later in the review.

The DC4 comes with a leather slip cover.

The previous sharpener that I was using utilized only diamond abrasives to hone the edge. The diamond abrasive cut quickly but it didn’t leave the edge very refined. In order to refine an edge, you need a fine sharpening stone or a leather strop. A quality whetstone or strop will polish the edge instead of just cutting the material.

The Fallkniven DC4 solved a problem for me. It features a diamond stone on one side and a fine whetstone on the other. This combination of sharpening surfaces gives you the quick cutting performance of a diamond abrasive and the ability to refine your edge on a whetstone. The DC4 also comes in a leather pouch that is not only useful for protecting the stone, but also for stropping the edge of your knife to put a final polish on it.

The diamond side of the DC4 makes short work of very dull edges.

The DC4 is simple to use. It does not require any water or oil, but it would be a good idea to clean the surfaces periodically with soap and water. If your edge is very dull, you start with the diamond abrasive. It removes metal relatively quickly so that you can reset the edge of the knife. Once you are happy with your progress, you can move onto the fine whetstone which helps refine the somewhat rough edge that diamond hones can leave. Additionally, if you want to refine the edge even further, you can use the leather cover of the DC4 to strop your edge. If your edge just needs a touch up, you can start with the whetstone or even just strop it on the leather cover.

Fallkniven does not advertise the leather cover as a strop but it actually works very well. Just put the DC4 in the cover so that you have a rigid backing and pull the edge across the surface of the leather with the edge trailing (the opposite of how you would typically sharpen, edge first). The cover has Fallkniven’s maker’s mark embossed on one side so you will want to use the opposite smooth side of the leather.

The fine whetstone side of the DC4 refines the edge and is great for quickly touching up your edge.

I was disappointed initially with how coarse the “fine” whetstone was. However, like the Fallkniven website says, it has become much more smooth over time. Mine is already quite smooth and it is getting smoother with each use.

The Fallkniven DC4 is a compact, lightweight, and capable all-in-one solution for keeping your knives sharp in the outdoors. In one small, slim package you have the ability to rehab a very dull edge, touch up, and even refine an already sharp edge. It is extremely versatile and it has become a fixture in my hiking, hunting, and even my every day carry pack.

Special Edition “Warrior Angel” Dillos

LaRue Tactical Dillo Beverage Entry Tools have taken on a life of their own. It seems that everyone loves them. They have even become collector’s items.

Periodically, LaRue Tactical will use that popularity to support a good cause like Warrior Angels. The proceeds from these special edition pink Dillos will go toward supporting those in the military who are battling breast cancer. LaRue is donating the machining, anodizing, engraving, shipping… basically everything, so that all the proceeds goes directly to the Warrior Angels.

You can find out more about the Warrior Angels on their website and purchase your pink Dillos to support them on LaRue Tactical’s website.

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