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Author Archive | Matt

762Tactical Launches New Website

762Tactical is known for offering well designed, handmade tactical gear at a very reasonable price. They are especially well known among AK shooters due to their reasonably priced AK specific chest rigs. Now, they have a new website that really showcases their wares.

762Tactical’s previous website showed only images of some of their products. The new site shows several additional items with product images, descriptions, and prices. I found it easy to navigate and read. I also noticed that there are a few items on sale.

762Tactical is now accepting orders through the new site and you can check it out HERE.

Review: Retro-Tactical Rimfire Pouches

Tony at Retro-Tactical has made it his mission to provide tactical gear for the weapons that the majority of the tactical gear makers have forgotten, ignored, or never even heard of. I first came across his work when I was looking for a MOLLE mountable 10/22 magazine pouch. He makes some really interesting items for everything from 1911s, to PSLs, to revolvers… that’s right, tactical gear for revolvers. When Tony offered to send me some pouches to review, I jumped at the chance.

Loose Ammo (top) and 10/22 Magazine Pouch (bottom)

10/22 Universal Gunsaddle

Overall Quality

The quality of these pouches is immediately apparent. The stitching is straight and clean. Many of the edges and seams are taped (though not all of them). The materials that Tony uses are top notch. The pouches are constructed from double layered 1000 denier nylon. It should take you a lifetime to wear a hole all the way through one of these pouches.

Attention to detail - The loose ammo pouch has a smaller drainage grommet to prevent .22LR cartridges from dropping out.

The attention to detail is very good. Tony uses two layers of nylon in the construction of the pouch and sews them so that the stitching from the hook and loop closure won’t show through to the front of the pouch. This gives a very clean look. This is the kind of detail that most users will never notice, but Tony took the time to think about.

The hook and loop closure on these pouches is very well designed. The hook side is oriented vertically on the underside of the lid and the loop side is horizontal on the front of the pouch. This allows the lid to be fastened as tight or loose as the user wants. The design and execution of these pouches is very thoughtful.

This hook and loop orientation allows the user to keep the lid as tight or loose as they want.

Loose Ammo Pouch

The first pouch that I tried was the MOLLE version of the Loose Ammo Pouch (there is a belt version as well). This is one clever pouch. It is designed to hold loose ammo in a way that is secure and easy to access. As you can imagine, designing a pouch that holds loose rounds as small as .22LR without spilling the while the user is moving takes some time at the drawing board. Tony designed this pouch with a flap of lightweight ripstop nylon that is secured at the front of the pouch (the side away from the wearer). The other side is secured with a piece of elastic. The flap completely covers the mouth of the pouch but is easily pushed to the side as you access the ammo. It is ingenious.

The interior flap helps keep the loose ammo inside the pouch, even when the flap is open.

The flap is easily stretched out of the way to access the ammo.

I tested this pouch several ways. I loaded it with 50 rounds of .22LR ammo, turned it upside down and shook it. It did drop some rounds but that was to be expected. Next, I conducted the same test but with the pouch right side up. The pouch retained all 50 rounds. This is more accurate test of what it will be like when worn. I also did the same tests but with the flap secured tightly. Nothing escaped. Finally, I secured the pouch to an out of the way spot on my MOLLE belt rig and ran through carbine drills on the range. I didn’t access the pouch for the drills. I just wanted to see how it would perform while the user was running, dropping into prone, and doing other shooting related activities. At the end of the day, all 50 rounds were still in the pouch.

The pouches can be closed very tightly to prevent any ammo from being lost.

This pouch is perfect for those who have tube fed rifles chambered in .22LR. It could be attached to the MOLLE belt pad of a pack (like those from Mystery Ranch or Kifaru) or a belt to keep your ammo right at your finger tips when you are small game hunting or hiking. It can even hold boxed .22LR ammo. I found that it would fit 2 boxes of .22LR with room to spare.

I’ll say it again: This is one clever pouch.

Ruger 10/22 Dual Magazine Pouch

The next pouch that I tried was what Tony calls the Ruger 10/22 Dual Magazine Pouch. I had the MOLLE version to test (there is also a belt version). It is essentially a revolver speed-loader pouch which I have found to work very well for the 10/22 10 round rotary magazines. I have been using a belt mounted speed-loader pouch for years to carry my 10/22 magazines so I was very pleased to find that Tony offered a MOLLE mount version.

The webbing straps help retain the magazines when the lid is open and keep them from noisily banging into each other.

Magazines oriented this way make for quick and easy reloads.

The interior of the pouch has webbing straps (just like a speed-loader pouch) that help retain and stabilize the magazines. They work well to stabilize the magazines but they can be a bit of a pain when you are trying to insert a magazine into the pouch. They tend to smash down under the magazine instead of wrapping around it. However, once the mags are in place, the straps do a fine job of retaining them. I also found that it become easier over time to insert the magazines. I am not sure whether that was because the straps loosened a bit with use or because I got better at inserting them.

It might also be nice if this had a split lid so that one magazine could be removed without fear of accidentally dumping the other magazine. That didn’t happen to me in testing but I could see how it might.

This pouch is great for mounting on the MOLLE belt of my favorite packs – the Kifaru MOLLE Express and the ZXR. It allows me to easily carry a couple of spare magazines for my 10/22 when small game hunting or hiking. The pouch allows very smooth reloads. The user clears the flap and presses up on the bottom of the pouch under the magazine that they wish to remove. The magazine slides up into the hand is ready to be inserted into the 10/22. It is quick and smooth. I envisioned this pouch on the waist belt of a pack all along and I am very pleased with how it worked out.

The rear of the pouch shows the 2x2 MOLLE webbing configuration.

Attaching the MOLLE Pouches

I should say a few words about attaching these pouches to MOLLE webbing. MOLLE pouches are threaded onto the MOLLE platform and typically this requires at least 3 rows of webbing vertically on the back of the pouch to do effectively. The above pouches are so compact that there is only room for 2 rows vertically.

I found 3 methods that worked very well for attaching them. The first was to use zip ties which actually worked really well. Tony has written about this on his blog.

The pouches can be tricky to mount. Annex Clips were used to mount the pouch on the left and MALICE clips on the right.

Annex Clips are the perfect solution for mounting these pouches.

The next method that I tried was the use of short MALICE clips. This worked but quite a bit of the clips were visible below the pouch. I didn’t think it was a big deal, but it did render an extra row of MOLLE webbing useless.

Finally, I remembered that I had some ITW Annex Clips. These were the perfect solution for the short pouches. I attached them to the lower row of MOLLE to prevent the pouch from rocking up when I tried to lift the flap. They hold very securely while still allowing the pouch to be moved easily.

Universal Gunsaddle

The final pouch is easily my favorite of what Tony sent me (and that is saying a lot). Retro-Tactical makes the Universal Gunsaddle for several rifles, including the 10/22 version which Tony sent me. This pouch is just too cool. It is essentially the same pouch as the 10/22 Dual Magazine Pouch above except it is sewn to buttstock saddle. It allows you to carry 2 spare magazine for the 10/22, unobtrusively, right on the buttstock of the rifle.

The Universal Gunsaddle lets you keep 2 spare magazines on the 10/22 itself.

Like the 10/22 Dual Magazine Pouch above, I believe that the Universal Gunsaddle could also benefit from a split lid. However, in my testing, it worked fine as is.

Attaching it is simple. You just loosen the cord-lock, slide the whole Universal Gunsaddle onto your rifle, and then tighten the cord-lock (more detailed instructions can be found on the Retro-Tactical Blog). There are webbing loops on the saddle portion of the pouch that has para-cord routed through them. This creates the “Universal” part of the pouch because it can be readily adapted to fit a wide variety of stocks. I tested it on a factory birch stock, the old style factory polymer stock, the new style factory polymer stock, and a Hogue stock.

The saddle part of the pouch is only as thick as 2 layers of 1000 denier nylon so it doesn’t interfere with the cheek weld at all. In fact, it is an improvement over the Hogue stock which can feel a bit slimy on a hot day. It would be cool if Tony could offer these with closed cell foam padding in the saddle to act as a comb riser for those who need it. Since Tony does do custom work, I suspect that he could easily accommodate that.

This Gunsaddle is just so handy. You can carry all of the ammo you need for an afternoon of small game hunting right on the gun. If you keep a 10/22 as a truck gun or a survival rifle, this pouch would be perfect for storing the ammo in such a way that it was always with the gun.

Overall

I am very happy with these pouches. The materials are top notch and the construction is very good. The designs and attention to detail are excellent. They function well and fill a void in my gear. Tony has shown that he definitely knows how to fill a niche. I had an absolute blast reviewing these pouches.

You can check out Tony’s whole niche filling product line at Retro-Tactical.com.

Disclosure: I received these pouches free of charge for review from Retro-Tactical.

Ruger SR556E and BX-25

Ruger always holds a few announcements for the annual NRA Show. They intended to make three big announcements this year but the SR1911 was leaked early which left only two: SR556E and the BX-25.

The SR556E is a new version of Ruger’s SR556 Autoloading Rifle. It is an AR-15 with an adjustable piston operating system. The SR556E features a new Troy rail option. It also lacks the back up iron sights and Hogue grip that come standard on the standard SR556. This gives the SR556E a lower price and the user will have more latitude to choose their own accessories. Sadly, the hammer forged barrel still has 1 in 9″ twist (instead of 1 in 7″) and, even with a lighter rail, it is still relatively heavy due to the piston system.

The BX-25 magazine for the 10/22 is going to be a huge hit. It is a 25 round extended magazine that has some very nice features. it can be disassembled for cleaning by removing only two screws and it is designed to feed the .22LR cartridges at the proper 30 degree angle which should aid reliability. If it is anywhere near as reliable as the venerable BX-1 10 round rotary magazines, it will be a must have for those who use their 10/22s as a carbine training supplement.

Midwest Industries #17 Drop In Handguard Gen. 2

When it comes to fighting carbines, less weight is better than more weight. When it comes to wallets, more full is better than less full. The new Midwest Industries Generation 2 #17 Drop In Handguard can help you make sure your carbine stays light and your wallet stays full.

The biggest draws with this handguard are that it is light in weight and low in price. That is a pretty good combination. It is available in carbine and midlength lengths and weighs in at only 7.5oz and 9.7oz respectively. That is less weight that the standard plastic handguards with heat shields! That is really impressive for a handguard that retails under $140.

On top of low price and light weight, these handguards also feature 4 anti-rotation push button QD sling swivel receptacles, 4 “T” marked rails, a “monolithic” top rail, hard anodized 6061 aluminum construction, and they are made in the USA. I had a Gen. 1 #17 Handguard and they exhibited excellent lock-up. I have heard that these lock up even better than the originals.

Installation is a snap. They simply install in the exact same manner as standard plastic handguards.

Check out the new Gen. 2 #17 Drop In Handguards on Midwest Industries’ website.

Boker Plus CLB MICROCOM

Knife users everywhere should be thankful that the Boker Plus brand has given Chad Los Banos (CLB) a venue to show his knife design prowess. The collaboration of CLB and Boker Plus has resulted in several excellent high value knives, and the new MICROCOM seems to be more of the same.

CLB has stated that the MICROCOM is an homage to Fred Perrin. It is very easy to see the influence. Like many Perrin designs, the MICROCOM features compact dimensions, a chisel ground edge, and a deep finger groove to maximize retention. The Perrin influence is certainly visible if you read between the lines, but even a cursory glance leaves little doubt that this is a CLB design.

The MICROCOM is ground from 440C steel. It features a compact 2″ blade and a 4″ overall length. The scales are skeletonized G10 with a checkered texture. It comes with a Kydex sheath that is set up for neck carry but could easily be adapted to other methods of carry.

This would make a phenomenal EDC fixed blade and last ditch defensive tool. The price is excellent considering all of the the features. I have seen these at various sellers for around $20.

You can read more about the MICROCOM and other CLB designs at the Boker website.

Remington 700 SPS Tactical AAC-SD

The Remington 700 SPS Tactical AAC-SD is an extremely attractive rifle package. Remington and AAC have teamed up to bring this suppressor ready, tactical precision rifle to market. This particular Model 700 brings some serious value to the table. The MSRP is only $780 (the street price is lower) and you get a ton of great features for that $780.

The rifle comes with a Hogue Overmolded Ghillie Green aluminum pillar bedded stock. It also comes with Remington’s X-Mark Pro adjustable trigger (preset at 3.5#). The heart of the AAC-SD package is the 5/8-24 threaded 20″ barrel. It is ready for you to drop your AAC suppressor on and hit the range.

This would be a great starter rifle for those who want to get into long distance shooting.

You can check out the Remington 700 SPS Tactical AAC-SD in more detail at the Remington website.

Bulgarian Krinkov Handguard from Midwest Industries

If you have a “Krink”, then you will be delighted to hear that there is a new railed handguard option available to you. The Bulgarian Krinkov Handguard from Midwest Industries (MI-AK-K) is very similar to their excellent MI-AK handguard for the AK47/74 but it is sized to fit the smaller Krink.

The MI-AK-K is made in the USA from 6061 aluminum and then finished with durable hard coat anodization. It features 4 “T” marked rails for adding accessories like a sling mount or weapon light. It only weighs 9.5 ounces which is impressively light and it installs easily using wrenches that MI includes with the handguard.

It will be interesting to see if MI comes out with a replacement top cover like they and US-Palm did with the MI-AK rail. The MI/US-Palm top cover allows for low mounting several different kinds of compact red dot optics. The mount is low enough that the iron sights can co-witness through the optic. The top cover that comes with the MI Krinkov Handguard is suitable for mounting an optic but it may not allow co-witnessing due to the height.

This looks like another solid, reasonably priced handguard rail option from MI.

Review: Revision Eyewear Sawfly

The consequences of poor quality eye protection can range from something annoying like an unexplained shift in point of impact to something as serious as vision loss. The first situation will ruin a day at the range. The second situation has life altering implications that can’t be reversed. High quality eyewear that is purpose built for shooting  is a must have for any shooter.

In this post, I’ll be taking a look at the Revision Eyewear Sawfly Shooters Kit. Revision refers to the Sawfly glasses as “ballistic spectacles”. The term ballistic spectacles speaks to their intended purpose of protecting the wearer’s eyes from the various hazards of shooting.

What Makes for Suitable Shooting Glasses?

There are several things that I look for in shooting glasses. These are the things that separate safety glasses meant for hammering nails from shooting glasses meant for the specific environment of the gun range (or police and military use). These are the things that separate the good shooting glasses from the great ones…

Ballistic Protection

The first thing is ballistic protection. The glasses should be rugged enough to protect your eyes from impact and cover a broad enough area of your face. If the glasses to break, shatter, or otherwise allow a harmful object contact your eyes without resistance, they are not suitable for shooting. The Sawfly has actually been tested and proven to stop 37 strikes of #6 shot fired from a 12 gauge shotgun. They will certainly shrug off brass, bullet jackets that bounce off steel targets, and various other debris. They are broad enough to prevent debris from entering at odd angles.

Shooting glasses should also sit a bit differently on your face than regular glasses for maximum protection. They should sit close to your face at the top of the glasses but still provide air flow to prevent fogging. I once witnessed a gentleman shooting at a public range that had a piece of freshly ejected brass fall between the top of his shooting glasses and his forehead. The brass settled on his lower eyelid and left quite a blister. His safety glasses were the type that are more suitable for factory work than shooting and he paid the price (though it could have been much worse). The top of the Sawfly frame sits very close to the forehead. There isn’t enough room to allow a brass casing to enter.

Optical Quality

Secondly, shooting glasses should be clear and distortion free from edge to edge. You can only shoot as well as you can see. I have seen poor quality safety glasses actually effect the point of impact of a shooter who was shooting iron sights on an AR-15. The shooter zeroed their carbine at the start of the day with good quality clear glasses with clear lenses. As the day wore on and it became brighter, he switched to sunglasses and immediately noticed a shift in point of impact. It was cured by returning to the original clear glasses.

Poor quality glasses have poor quality lenses that distort and obscure your vision. The Sawfly lenses are distortion free and clear from edge to edge. Revision Eyewear even offers the Sawfly in two sizes so that the fit of the glasses will not flex the lenses in such a way that view through the lenses becomes distorted. This is a very welcome feature for someone like myself who has a larger head.

Comfort and Fit

Comfort and fit are obviously important. If your eye protection isn’t comfortable or it is constantly shifting you may be apt to remove it or you might be concentrating on it rather than making the shot. The Sawfly frame features curved arms that are flexible to conform to the wearer’s head and adjustable for length. The arms have rubberized areas that help prevent them from shifting. They also feature a really slick low profile head band that snaps into place on the ends of the arms. The head band really helps to keep everything from shifting. Those of you who do more than shoot from a shooting bench when at the range will appreciate the head band. They also have a large, soft, and flexible nose piece. The nose piece is very comfortable and stays put well, even when wet.

Many shooting glasses share the same, often overlooked, flaw. The frame sits too low above the eyes. As a result, when the shooter goes prone and their head rocks forward slightly they end up trying to look through the frame instead of the lens. It is obviously impossible to look through the opaque part of your eye protection so you will often see shooters pushing their glasses up on their face when they go prone or other shooting positions. The Sawfly frame actually sits up over the eyebrows. This allows the shooter to tilt their head forward and still see through the lens. You never notice this stuff until you have to fight it on the range.

Other Considerations

Your eye protection also has to work well with other important range gear like head wear and hearing protection. I always wear a ball cap and use Sordin electronic hearing protection. It seems that most other manufacturers give this no thought at all. My previous eye protection has fat rubber arms that would break the seal my Sordins around my ear and would contact the sides of my hat causing the glasses to lift in the front. The Sawfly arms are very thin. They slip easily under the ear cups of my Sordins without breaking the seal and under the band of the hat. The way that the head band snaps to the frame also plays an important role here. Some head bands are pressed onto the ends of the arms which adds bulk but the Sawfly head band is very slim. They work well with all the typical range gear.

It can also be nice to have various lens types that can be chosen based on a specific situation. If you are shooting on a bright outdoor range you will likely prefer a dark shaded lens. A lens color that offers high contrast, like yellow or vermilion, can be a real boon when you are shooting on a dimly lit indoor range. The Sawfly is available as a kit with various colored lenses that can easily be swapped into the frame without tools. They can be tailored to your specific conditions in just a moment. The Shooter’s Kit that I received for evaluation came with Smoke, Clear, and Vermilion colored lenses.

In the Box

The Sawfly Shooters kit came with the lenses mentioned above (Smoke, Clear, and Vermilion), the Sawfly frame, a head band, a lint free cloth bag that can also be uses to clean the lenses, and a soft case with individual “envelopes” for storing the spare lenses. The soft case also features belt loops and a plastic clip that makes it easy to clip to the outside of a range bag or backpack. It is a well thought out kit.

Nitpicks

I have some nitpicks with the Sawfly. The arms are secured to the frame via small screws that are often found on glasses. I have really come to appreciate glasses that just snap together since they tend to “break-away” when they are sat on or crushed in a shooting bag. They can easily be snapped back together. Screw construction can be less forgiving.

I also wish that the head band had its rotation limited. It is a minor gripe but it would be nice if the band couldn’t become twisted. It won’t twist when it is on your head but it can twist when you put them on, take them off, or take them in and out of storage. It is not a big deal to straighten them out, but it would be nice if you didn’t have to deal with at all.

Conclusion

I really, really like the Sawfly. They solve a couple of problems for me – they play well with my Sordin hearing protection and the larger size prevents distortion caused from flexing to fit a larger head. I am not sure why more high end eyewear manufacturers don’t offer multiple sizes. The Sawfly has really performed well for me. I highly recommend them.

You can check out the Sawfly Shooter’s Kit and all the other Sawfly kits on the Revision Eyewear website.

Disclosure: This product was provided to me for review, free of charge, by Revision Eyewear.

, like the Revision Eyewear Sawly,

Apex Tactical Specialties J-Frame Kit

I have to admit that I love J-Frame Smith & Wesson revolvers – especially the Airweights. They are just a great combination of ease of carry, conceal-ability, potency, and reliability. Some people have referred to them as the “expert’s gun” because their long, relatively heavy double action trigger and small sights with a short sight radius can make them challenging to shoot well.

Apex Tactical Specialties (ATS) is about to release a kit that should make the J-Frame trigger easier to manage. You may already know ATS for their S&W M&P trigger parts. They know how to make a good trigger great. Unlike some manufacturers, many of their trigger parts are geared toward tactical, duty, and self protection markets – not competition. These are rugged parts.

The new kit from ATS will yield a trigger pull of just over 9 pounds. My current S&W 442 measures out at a smooth but heavy 11 pounds. A 9 pound trigger that is still suitable for a gun that is relied on for self protection would be a welcome improvement.

The new kit is set to be released at the NRA show in Pittsburgh, PA on April 29th. I, for one, am really looking forward to seeing some more details and pricing.

Vicking Tactics Surefire Mini-L4

Viking Tactics has teamed up with Surefire to produce well thought out lights before. Now they have come up with the VTAC Surefire Mini-L4.

Many of the lights that Surefire makes these days offer multiple levels of output. This can be a great option for a light that is going to see general use since it allows the user to tailor the amount of light to the task at hand. However, it is not necessarily best for a weapon light. When you turn on your weapon light, you want lots and lots of light… right now.

The VTAC Mini-L4 is a compact, single CR123 battery powered light that has one output level (110 lumens) and a focused beam that allows it to provide usable light at extended distances. When you turn it on, you get bright white light. There is no chance of accidentally entering a lower output mode.

The VTAC Mini-L4 is available by itself or as part of a package with the excellent VTAC Light Mount. The combo makes a great alternative to the Surefire M300 Scout.

The VTAC Surefire Mini-L4 is available on the VTAC website.

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