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Archive | Tactical Gear

Night Sight Considerations

Night sights are an invaluable tool for anyone who has a handgun for self-defense. They allow the user to see his sights even in low light situations. Realistically, any set of night sights of good quality will allow you to see your sights in low light but there are some considerations that may help prevent you from having a set of sights that are working against you.

What Are They?

“Night sights” are sights that have small vials of a radioactive element called tritium embedded into the sights. These vials or elements glow without having to be “charged” with an external light source. Tritium has a half life of 12 years so the sights will loose half their brightness in 12 years. It is not unusual to get 15-16 years of usable brightness from a set of sights.

Can They Work Against You?

There are two fundamental elements to accuracy. The accurate shooter must be to be able to control the trigger and align the sights. Your choice of night sights has no bearing on your trigger control, but it does affect your sight picture. Sight alignment starts at the front sight. The shooter must be able to focus on the front sight while maintaining sight alignment. Anything that obscures, obstructs, or interferes with this front sight focus is working against you and the fundamentals of accurate shooting.

For several years now, most night sights have been made in 3 dot configuration. This means that the front sight has a single tritium vial and the rear sight has 2 tritium vials (a total of three) on either side of the notch. The problem with this configuration is that the “dots” are usually identical in size, intensity, and color.

The two dots on the rear sight are closest to the shooter so they appear larger and brighter. This runs counter to front sight focus. The front sight should be the easiest to see since it is the sight that we must focus on but a traditional 3 dot configuration makes the front sight harder to focus on.

Since the dots are the same color, it can sometimes be difficult to differentiate the front from the rear sight. Some shooters claim that this can lead to situations where the sights are aligned improperly. The front sight can be aligned so that it is to the side of the rear sight and it can appear to be a good sight picture since all three dots will appear to be in a line. I am not sure how likely this is, but it is worth mentioning.

Solutions

Traditional 3 dot night sights work, but, as with many things in life, they can be improved upon. Thankfully, there are several night sight manufacturers with excellent alternatives and many of them cost about the same or even less than traditional 3 dot nights.

Solution #1 – Different Colors

One solution is to make the two rear elements a different color, like yellow. The yellow tritium elements also have the added benefit of being slightly dimmer than their green counterparts. This allows you to quickly and easily differentiate between the front and rear sights in low light. It also makes the front sight easier to focus on since it is brighter than the rear sight.

Ameriglo Classic Sights with green front and yellow rear.

Ameriglo has offered traditional 3 dot night sights with this option for years. Ameriglo also offers their Operator sights which do not have white outlines on the rear elements. The front element retains its white outline which promotes front sight focus during full lighting conditions.

Ameriglo Operator Sights do not have white outlines on the rear sight. These are also available with the green/yellow configuration.

Solution #2 – Single Rear Element

Another increasingly popular solution is a single rear tritium element. The element is located directly under the notch in the rear sight. Instead of lining up three elements horizontally, the shooter simply lines up 2 elements vertically.

Heinie Slant Pro Sights show the single rear dot configuration.

Heinie and Warren Tactical offer sights in this configuration. Warren Tactical takes this a step further by making the rear element smaller, yellow, and without a white outline. This greatly improves front sight focus in all light conditions.

Solution #3 – Front Element Only

The least expensive option is to have a tritium element in your front sight only. Do not confuse less expensive with less functional. Many very serious shooters actually prefer this set up because of how simple and uncluttered the sight picture is.  Some shooters find a rear element in nearly any form to be distracting.

The 10-8 Performance Sights typify the single front element configuration.

Warren Tactical, 10-8 Performance, and Ameriglo all offer sights in this configuration. Additionally, Heinie sells all the parts you need to piece together sights in this configuration. You can also find a replacement front sight that has a tritium element that will work with the factory rear sight of many handguns. Ameriglo and Trijicon offer tritium front sights for several makes and models.

Remember!

It is important to remember that night sights are not a replacement for low light training and they are definitely not a replacement for a flashlight/weaponlight and the skills to use them in conjunction with your handgun of choice. Night sights are certainly useful in some low light situations but not necessarily all low light situations. They will not allow you to ID a target. Get a light and get some training from a trainer that is experienced in low light training.

So next time you are shopping for night sights, choose a set that enhances your ability to focus on the front sight instead of working against it.

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FRAGO Admin Pouch from Zulu Nylon Gear

One of the most useful items you can have on the range (especially if you are in training class) is a Rite in the Rain notebook. You will also need a place to stow your notebook, pen, oil bottle, and other various range items. That is where the FRAGO Admin Pouch comes in handy.

The reason this pouch caught my eye is the clever way that it carries a Rite in the Rain notebook and pen. There are sleeves along the back of the pouch that are size to hold these useful pieces of gear in such a way that they are immediately available to the user. The front of the pouch also gives you plenty of room to display your favorite patches and nametapes, or stack another MOLLE compatible pouch. There is plenty of internal organization and enough space for your range essentials.

This is a seriously clever design that crams a lot of potential into its 6″x6″x1″ size.

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Patch Collecting: RAT Pack Patch

The folks at ESEE Knives started the RAT Pack as a way to promote participation in their forum. It has grown into an excellent resource for survival related topics and a fun place to hang out. Having cool patches doesn’t hurt either.

The RAT Pack Patch is available to RAT Pack members from Double Barrel Sheaths.

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The Regular Guy Sessions: Earl at Impact Weapon Components

At Jerking the Trigger, one of our missions is to connect gear buyers with gear makers. We want to you know the people who are driving the industry, because if you can trust the person, you can trust their gear. I am happy to bring you this conversation with Earl Pittman of Impact Weapon Components.

Can you tell us a little about your background?

Sure. I grew up in California where I watched my father, a heavy construction equipment master mechanic, build and fix a variety of things. I learned a lot from him. I’ve always been mechanically inclined and a natural problem solver. I really enjoy the mechanical aspect of things like bikes, firearms, and automobiles.  In high school, I began racing bicycles and trained about 300 miles per week. I worked in a small custom bike shop after school and learned to build high-end wheels. After graduating High School, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do as a career, so I began attending a community college for a few years, where I studied General Ed, and I did not graduate.

When I turned 21, I began shooting a Colt 1911 at a local range. It was a lot of fun and really got me hooked on firearm ownership and the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

After college, I started working for a start-up company which built high-end custom wheelchairs, called Quickie Designs, Inc. At Quickie, I used my experience building bicycle wheels to create a product line of high performance wheels disabled athletes used to participate in wheelchair tennis and basketball. The wheels were lighter and faster than our competition and our sponsored athletes won events and we sold more and more wheels. I moved up in the company as they grew and when I left I was in the career I enjoyed, Purchasing and Supply-chain Management. Which basically means I delivered the parts, components and materials needed to build our product at the right price, in the right quantity when it’s needed in production.

After eleven years, I left Quickie and worked for Conagra in Gilroy, CA as Purchasing Manager. I worked for them for a couple of years, then moved to Ames, IA to work for a Water Quality Instrument Company. Soon after joining the Company, they offered me an opportunity to move to Colorado. This was in 2000.

Colorado is really great. The Company took off and my job as Director of Procurement was exciting and challenging. I was with the Company until May of this year, when I left to focus entirely on growing Impact Weapons Components, LLC.

How do you make the decision to start a business in economic times like these?

I know this may make some of your readers skeptical, but the decision to start IWC was one I knew was right. My family and I are Christians and we truly believe the idea for IWC came through inspiration. From the time when I had the initial idea for our first product, the Quick Detach MOUNT-N-SLOT brand Direct Attach Mount and through each point since then when I needed advice, or someone to advise us on our Patents, design, testing our packaging, the website, and how to begin advertising and distributing IWC’s products, the right people were placed before us and our Team who had the experience, and talent we needed to take the next step.

Financially and as a start-up, IWC did not require a great deal of money to get to where we are today. My Partner and I have been blessed to have lived conservatively within our means during our previous careers, so we are able to self fund IWC, which means we’re not indebted to anyone. We are able to pay as we go for the needs of the business. We are planning on writing a book or training program so we can share what we’ve learned with others interested in starting a business, but more on that later.

I also think timing has played a big part in IWC’s success so far. Jensen Arms in Loveland is a great place to buy all your gear. It’s also a great place to do VOC (voice of the customer) and Market Research. I spent a lot of time there observing customers and what they looked at and purchased, what new thing came to market and what was hot and what wasn’t.

I watched the large stock of basic AR-15’s fly off the shelf when it became clear that President Obama would win the White House. This told me there were a large number of customers who would be looking for accessories to trick out their AR’s in the next few years.

When the economy collapsed in late 2008, I saw the traffic in the store fall off and at FRGC, people were more aware of the prices for ammo, when you could find it..

In late 2009, and going into the SHOT Show in January 2010, I asked my long-time supplier of the parts used at the Company I worked for and fellow shooter, Craig, to make a few prototypes of our MOUNT-N-SLOT. I filed a Provisional Patent on them and then gave to a large number of them to shooters I had became friends with. I asked them to break my part or at least tell me what we needed to change to make it better. They all loved the prototypes.

So I continued to look for a manufacturer to introduce a similar product at SHOT in mid-January. No one did. When Magpul announced that they would be making MOE Hand Guards in Mid and Rifle Lengths by summer, 2010, I knew the timing was right to move foreword with IWC.

The final factor in our decision to move forward with IWC was the retail pricing we’re able to offer. IWC will soon offer a full line of accessory mounting components for the gear people want to trick out their rifles at a fraction of the price, weight, and complexity as those based on a quad-rail. We can do this in an economic environment when money is tight, ammo remains expensive, and people really want value for what they buy. By offering a made in Colorado from USA made materials product line, IWC believes we have the quality and value people are looking for. Our pricing leaves them with more money to spend on the sling, light, VFG, and some ammo to enjoy their new or existing AR.

My partner and I, along with our family, prayed for confirmation of our decision to launch IWC, which we received beyond question. From then on, we’ve been working flat-out developing, testing, and manufacturing our current and new products which we hope meets the needs of our customers.

How did the idea for the Mount-n-Slot line come about?

The idea for our first product, the Quick Detach MOUNT-N-SLOT brand Direct Attach Mount came after I went out to the Pawnee Grasslands one day to do some long range target shooting with my AR. It had a MOE hand Guard and a rail section with a rail type QD Mount. I was walking out to place the target and stumbled and caught my had on the rail section, which kind hurt. In the car on the way back home, I thought about why the rail was there in the first place. Why couldn’t I just make a simple QD socket that weighs less, uses fewer parts, costs less, and is cool and different looking? So I asked my long-term business owner and supplier of parts for the Water Quality Company and fellow shooter at the FRGC, Craig, to make me a few prototypes, which he did. The ideas for the other products have been flowing ever since.

Does living in a state with such an outdoors culture like Colorado play a role in your products at all?

Oh yeah, for sure. Colorado, and Larimer County where we live and work, have some of the best firearms laws in the nation. There is a culture of gun ownership and shooting sports in the area and some of the best places to go shooting that I’ve ever seen are within 30 minutes of our facility. In 2004, the Clinton gun ban expired and I found a local Class 3 dealer in Loveland, Jensen Arms, who specialized in tactical gear. I enjoyed shooting and now that the ban had expired, I wanted to get an AR, which lead to a few more as well as a few suppressors and SBR’s that I’ve been fortunate enough to add to my collection.

I wanted to help others learn to enjoy firearms like I did, so I took an NRA Pistol Instructor’s course and became an NRA Certified Pistol Instructor. I worked out a relationship with a world class range, the Front Range Gun Club in Loveland as a location for training and last year, I taught over 50 people how to safely use firearms.

IWC is planning on promoting the Loveland / Fort Collins / Timnath area as a firearms manufacturing center as we grow and learn. We envision having an R&D Center combined with the Front Range Gun Club and offering our services to others interested in starting a business in our industry. IWC really wants to give back to our community by creating opportunities for others to achieve what we’ve done so far. But by no means are we even close to this today. We’ve got a long uphill road ahead of us, but like I said earlier, we know this is what we’re meant to do and we’re all-in!

I want to commend you on your commitment to not just making your products here in the USA but also sourcing your materials here. What drives you to do this?

So many products are made off-shore by countries and governments who do not offer their citizens the freedoms which we as Americans enjoy. These countries get stronger with each new product that is made off-shore and America looses a little each time.

Coming from a Procurement and Supply-chain background, I know that America has the industrial capacity, skilled workforce, and creative talent which is often superior to that in other countries. IWC wanted to take advantage of these resources by only sourcing USA made materials and then turning these materials into our products right here in Colorado.

The challenge was being able to make and sell our products for a cost which supports a retail price point that offers our customers value while still allowing IWC to invest in new products, advertising, and continue to grow.

We’ve been able to achieve these seemingly competing objectives through simple designs. Take our single-piece box as an example. When we looked at the packaging used by others, it consisted of a part in a poly bag, with an instruction sheet, with maybe a printed card, which is stapled to the poly bag. This is placed in a corrugated carton, maybe with some packing material, a packing list, and then sealed with tape and shipped to you, the customer.

The IWC Team looked at this, and conversationally tore each component in the box apart, questioning why it was there and the value it added to you, the customer. We began to consolidate each component into what became our single piece instruction sheet, product protection packaging, and shipping box which held our brand. We worked with the talented Team to family owned Warneke Paper Box Company in Denver to bring our concept to reality. They improved our initial design, further refining the concept, while reducing cost and complexity.

We estimated a cost of over $2.00 for the others packaging materials, while our package costs a fraction of this amount.

This process is used by the Team at IWC for everything we do. How do we do it better than the others at a lower cost to us and especially, our customers.

You state on your website that you don’t have a Quality Department but choose instead to take a more holistic approach to quality. You state that quality is part of every area of your business. What does that mean to your customers?

The fact that we don’t have a “Quality Department” means that every person at IWC who is involved with the our product, interacts with our customers, or has anything to do with our brand has an obligation to make sure… no, guarantee, that the quality of our product, service, and experience meets the standards which IWC has documented for these areas. So, in effect, quality is built into what we do.

How much does feedback from users of your products play a role in how you refine existing products or develop new ones?

Feedback is central to the Team at IWC. That includes good and bad feedback, feedback about what needs improved, what we can do better, and what we are doing well.

Our customers trust us, a start-up without a long history, by spending their hard-earned cash on our products. We want them to be satisfied so that they tell others, their friends, family, co-workers, fellow shooters that they found this great new product that works better than the other products that they considered buying. So our challenge is to continue to create new products, to reduce the costs of manufacture while improving the quality of the components, to test them, to offer them to our customers to use, try to break them and evaluate them, so that we can continue to grow and improve the experience for our customers.

Do you have any plans for Mount-n-Slot accessories for other hand guard systems like the VTAC rails?

Yes… IWC has a New Product Portfolio outlined which will have many new PATENT PENDING mounts designed for many of the hand guards currently in use on AR-15 type rifles.

By Fall, we plan on announcing a Patent Pending line of accessory mounting products which attach to:

1. MOE-style flat surface hand guards

2. 2″ OD Round Hand Guards made by Midwest Industries, JP, PRI and Viking Tactics

3. 1.75″ OD Round Hand Guards made by Troy and Viking Tactics

What products can we anticipate seeing in the future? Flashlight mounts? Handstops?

All I can say today is that IWC will offer a complete line of MOUNT-N-SLOT brand Direct Attach Mounts which will be backwards compatible with any of our currently available mounts, so our customers do not have to buy a replacement mount for one they already have to be able to take advantage of our new product offerings.

Thank you Earl and IWC for taking the time to answer our questions.

Check out our previous review of their Mount-N-Slot Direct Attach Mounts.

Visit the Impact Weapon Solutions store to see all their Mount-N-Slot mounts.

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Vickers Tactical Glock Extended Magazine Release

This is a product that I have been using since it hit the market. The standard Glock magazine release is small, low profile, and can be somewhat difficult to hit without really shifting your grip. Glock makes an extended magazine release that may be fine for competition but it is too large for a carry gun. I have seen it interfere with holsters or even cause the magazine to be dropped when the Glock was gripped aggressively or laid on a flat surface.

Larry Vickers recognized the need for functional Glock magazine release that was larger than the stock part but not so large that it causes more problems than it solves. The result is the Vickers Glock Extended Magazine Release which is made by Tango Down for Vickers Tactical. It is available for the 9mm/.40S&W/.357SIG/.45GAP sized frames and the .45ACP/10MM sized frames.

The Vickers magazine release is on the left.

This release is perfect for a carry gun. It is long enough that it makes reaching the release much easier but no so long that it interferes with grip or holstering. All of the edges are nicely rounded which is nice considering how sharp some aftermarket magazine release can be. This is basically the only extended magazine release that I know of for Glocks that is suitable for carry.

This magazine release, along with a good set of sights, and maybe my favorite trigger set up is all that a Glock really needs.

Check out the Vickers Extended Mag Release For Glock at Brownells.

Review: Camotech Embroidery

I recently completed a custom patch order with Camotech Embroidery. The whole process was painless from start to finish, the prices are excellent, and the end product is perfect. Camotech actually sews the Velcro onto the back of the patch (many places just glue it on these days) and they include “loop” backing for each patch which is a very nice touch.

If you have a patch project, consider contacting Camotech.

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Review: Tactical Man Purse and Admin Pouch from Mountain Ridge Gear

There are some items that you can tell are made with confidence inspiring quality just by holding them – a custom 1911, high end custom knives, a fine watch. That tangible feeling of quality can sometimes tell you everything you need to know about a product. It is a sort of 6th sense that can feel the weight of the perfect materials for the job. It can sense the practiced hands of a craftsman honing every detail. It intuitively feels the careful hours that went into creating the item. That is the sort of feeling that you get when you first take the Tactical Man Purse (TMP) from Mountain Ridge Gear (MRG) in your hands. That may sound overly dramatic, but don’t judge until you have held one.

The front bellowed pocket of the TMP has tons of space and gives a low profile look to the bag.

Overview

The Tactical Man Purse is MRG’s entry into the Tactical/EDC bag market. It is basically a briefcase-like design with some serious organization potential. It comes in both a regular and wide version. I was graciously provided the wide version for review along with an Admin Pouch.

Dimensions

  • Volume: 1700 cubic inches
  • Length: 15 inches
  • Height: 12 inches
  • Width: 8 inches

The wide version of the TMP is a full 8" wide.

Materials

The body of the TMP and Admin Pouch is constructed from 1000 denier Cordura nylon. It is a fabric that is well know for its wear resistance and durability while still remaining pliable. It is the perfect fabric for hard use gear.

The interior is constructed mostly of 420 denier pack cloth. Pack cloth is a very durable fabric that is water resistant and somewhat light weight. Many of the surfaces are also lined with pack cloth. It would take you a lifetime to wear a hole in this bag. There is also good use made of a heavy duty mesh material for a “transparent” pocket and para-cord for key loops.

The shoulder strap is nicely padded and can be attached in a number of ways.

The shoulder strap is constructed by a combination of 1″ mil-spec webbing and 1000 denier Cordura nylon. It also uses top quality ITW-Nexus side release buckles to attach to the TMP. The handles on the TMP are constructed from 1″ mil-spec tubular webbing which is another incredibly durable material.

Many of the walls of the TMP contain 1/4″ closed cell foam. This type of foam does not absorb liquids and helps the bag retain its shape. It also gives some protection to the contents of the bag.

The back panel of the TMP is covered with MOLLE webbing. You can also see the attached Admin Pouch and "dock and lock" attachment points.

Fit and Finish

It may seem strange to talk about the fit and finish of a piece of nylon gear, but the term is fitting in the case of the TMP. The materials are top notch and the sewing is impeccable. There are details that are not apparent until you really take an in depth look. Some of the internal pockets have their bottoms sewn to give you slots of varying height. You won’t find a single cloth edge in the entire bag because every edge is covered with a kind of thin webbing or ribbon which also reinforces the stitch. Nearly the entire bag is lined with pack cloth which is both attractive and functional. The MOLLE webbing on the exterior of the bag is straight and perfectly spaced. The details are incredible.

Organization

If you can’t organize your EDC gear in the TMP and Admin Pouch, there is no hope for you. The exterior of the TMP features a huge zipper closure bellowed pocket. It is versatile because it is huge. This pocket is slick on the outside which helps gives the whole bag a low profile look. You can also have an optional Velcro field sewn onto this pocket if you want to attach a morale patch or name tape.

The TMP features a pull-out style pouch that can quickly and easily be installed or removed.

The interior features a slew of well thought out organization features. There are slot pockets of several shapes and sizes. There are slots that would fit pens and pencils, cell phones, PDAs, compasses, paper back books, note pads, multi-tools, and just about anything else you can dream of. Behind the slot pockets there is a large zippered pouch.

The TMP features clamshell style opening to allow full access to its organization features.

There is a large slot pocket that has a small pad of Velcro at the top to keep it closed. This is perfect for carrying a laptop, magazines, books, or binders. There are attachment points for quick detachable pull-out style pouches at the top of this slot pocket. In front of the large slot pocket is a zippered mesh pocket. I really like the use of heavy duty mesh here to allow the user to see what is inside the pouch. The mesh pocket contains para-cord attachments for things like keys.

The TMP has a loop and lanyard for organizing items like keys.

One of my favorite things about the bag is the removable interior strap. It spans the width of the bag’s interior and is removable. It is perfect to use for strapping items like a change of clothes in place. It reminds me of the straps that you typically find inside nicer luggage. Of course, its uses are not limited to clothes. You could strap down a laptop, note book, binder, or anything else you can think of.

The TMP contains more than enough slot pockets to organize your gear.

The Admin Pouch adds a tremendous amount of additional organization capability. Inside you will find more slot pockets of varying sizes and another zippered heavy duty mesh pocket. My favorite feature is the long slender pocket in the crease of the Admin Pouch. It is absolutely perfect for clipping in a Surefire style flashlight.

The Admin Pouch opens fully to give access to its contents.

None of this organization would be nearly as useful as it is if you weren’t able to access the contents. The TMP opens clam shell style allowing full access to every pouch and pocket. The Admin Pouch also opens fully.

If you have a larger, MOLLE covered pack like those from Kifaru, you will appreciate that the TMP has attachment points for “dock and lock” buckles. This system can be made to work with many other brands of bags as well. I tested it with my two Kifaru packs and a Spec Ops THE Pack. This is a very nice capability.

The Admin Pouch can easily be attached or removed thanks to the unique Velcro strap system.

Conclusion

Overall, the TMP and Admin Pouch are excellent. The build quality is second to none, the materials are top notch, and the design is attractive and efficient. If you are used to paying about the same amount of money for bags from other companies that are made over seas, you will be amazed at what this US made bag delivers in terms of quality. The TMP and Admin Pouch combo would make an excellent EDC bag or even a carry on bag for traveling. It has to be held and used to be appreciated.

I would love to see Mountain Ridge Gear add new bags to the line and possibly even new features to this bag. One thing that I would love to see added to the TMP is an internal Velcro field for the use of Velcro back holsters and organizers.

I had a hard time sending this bag back.

You can purchase your own Tactical Man Purse, Admin Pouch, and other well made gear at the Mountain Ridge Gear website.

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Original Magpuls Alternate Use

The Original Magpul was Magpul’s first product which launched them on their way to becoming the giant that they are today. These handy rubber finger loops were designed to be stretched onto the bottom of a magazine creating a loop that would allow the user to quickly extract magazines from magazine pouches. It is basically a more formal approach to the old duct tape and para-cord loop trick that became popular with A.L.I.C.E. gear.

However, I find that because my more modern magazine pouches are cut lower, so I rarely use the finger loop to extract the magazine. It just isn’t necessary. Even though I didn’t use the finger loops, I left the Magpuls on my aluminum magazines because I found that the rubber surface wrapped around the base of the mag really improved grip and the loop acted as a shock buffer when the mags hit the deck during reloads. The problem was that the loops made the magazines longer which could cause issues with some covered mag pouches.

Consider using your Magpuls like the one shown on the right.

My simple solution was to turn the Magpul 90 degrees. I have since come to find out that I am not the first person to do this, so I really can’t claim it as my own idea. The Magpul is stretched so that the loop is running front to back and pulled tight to the magazine base. This cures the pouch fit issues. It also retains the enhanced grip and buffering advantages. In fact, it acts more efficiently as a buffer since now the loop covers nearly the entire baseplate.

The best part is that it enhances the ability of the magazine to be used as a monopod. The 30 round AR-15 magazines lend themselves very well to being used as a monopod, but aluminum GI mags tend to pick up dirt and debris between the magazine body and baseplate. However, with the Magpul turned 90 degrees the baseplate is protected from debris.

I still keep about 40 or so aluminum GI magazines on hand even though I use PMAGs almost exclusively these days. I find that the PMAGs do not really need any grip enhancement or buffering from impact but I wouldn’t run my GI mags without the Magpuls. They really do enhance the function for me and they aren’t terribly expensive.

If you have Magpuls, try turning them 90 degrees. You might like them better that way.

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Review: Mount-N-Slot Accessories from Impact Weapon Components

The best ideas are often the simplest, especially when it comes to weapon accessories. Nearly anything that you can do to remove weight, bulk, complexity, failure points, and cost from a weapon is a good thing. Mount-N-Slot Direct Attach Mounts successfully do all of those things. Do I have your attention yet?

The Mount-N-Slot experience starts with the box. It looks like any other box on the outside but...

Concept

To understand Mount-N-Slot Direct Attach Mounts, you have to understand Magpul MOE Hand Guards. MOE Hand Guards are plastic hand guards for the AR-15 carbine length gas system (midlength and rifle length hand guards should be out soon) that are slotted in strategic locations in order to provide the user with a means of attaching sections of rail. The rail is then used to attach all the standard necessities like slings and flashlights. The MOE hand guards have become very successful for two simple reasons: they are inexpensive and they work.

Impact Weapon Components (IWC), the creators of the Mount-N-Slot line, build on the success and functionality of the MOE Hand Guards by removing the need for the rail sections. Their mounts are designed to mount directly to the slots in the MOE, FN SCAR, and Bushmaster ACR hand guards. It sounds simple enough, but lets think a moment about what that really means…

  1. Reduced Cost – There is no need to spend extra money on a section of rail to attach to the hand guard. The mounts cost about what you would pay for normal rail mounts.
  2. Reduced Weight – No rails means less weight. Less weight is always a good thing.
  3. Reduced Bulk – The sling mount is 25% lower profile than a sling mount on a rail. This reduces snag points and bulk in general.
  4. Reduced Complexity – When it comes to mechanical objects, especially life saving mechanical objects, it is best to have the least amount of parts possible. When you reduce parts count, you reduce failure points. That is perhaps the most compelling reason to consider the Mount-N-Slot Direct Attach Mounts.

When a company takes this kind of care with their packaging, they have probably taken great care with their products as well.

Execution

A great concept is worthless without great execution and the Mount-N-Slot line delivers. These mounts are beautifully machined from 6061-T6 aluminum and Type III hard anodized right here in the USA. Hard anodization yields a very hard surface that resists scratching. It also gives a matte black finish to the mounts. There are less expensive types of anodizing but they are not nearly as durable.

IWC took great care in the design of these mounts. The threaded holes that the mounting screws engage are all neatly chamfered. All unnecessary material has been milled away to keep weight down. This isn’t apparent until you turn the mount over and see that large hollow areas have been machined into the mount. The mounts also have no hard edges. There isn’t a snag point to be found. There is some serious attention to detail in these mounts.

How sure is IWC that these mounts will function for you? Their warranty holds the answer. If your mount breaks, return it and they will refund your money including shipping fees! I have never heard of a company that will refund your shipping fees. That is an amazing warranty.

Unfold the box further to find the included hex key and information about the product and company. This is some very cool packaging.

Installation

They attach via two  head screws which are provided along with a hex key. You simply place the mount over the slot that you choose, and then screw in both mounting screws with the washers on the inside of the hand guards. A monkey could mount these, though you would probably want to supervise the monkey while it applies the thread locker. I always use a thread locker like Loc-Tite on all screws that will be on my rifle. I would suggest applying some to the provided screws as I would any accessory with screws.

Notice the lack of hard edges. Great care was taken to make sure these mounts were snag free and wouldn't abrade the hand.

In Use

Sometimes, I think the best thing that you can say about a product after you have actually used it is that there were no surprises during that use. They performed as well as they look. There are many products that look cool but end up being useless, non-functional, or, even worse, dangerous on the range. That is not the case with these mounts. They work as advertised.

I was graciously provided one of the new rotation limited QD sling mounts, a 360 degree QD sling mount, and a bipod mount. All three performed admirably.

The new rotation limited sling mount was easily my favorite of the bunch. QD sling mounts without rotation limiters work just fine, but the sling can become twisted, especially when the rifle is not slung. It isn’t as much of an issue when the rifle is slung. The rotation limited model just does away completely with any possibility of the sling twisting. It is a nice feature.

I use the VCAS Sling on most of my rifles. It is a two point design that requires a mounting point somewhere on the hand guards. I mount mine as close to the receiver as possible for both the front and rear mounting points. I find that this allows much more range of motion with the rifle to perform things like malfunction clearances. The Mount-N-Slot sling mounts work perfectly for this style of sling mounting. There are slots on the MOE hand guards that will let you place the Mount-N-Slot sling mounts just about anywhere.

The bipod mount is perfect for those who need a bipod mounted full time on their rifle. It mounts securely to the bottom slots on the MOE hand guards and provides plenty of surface area to contact the bipod. I was pleasantly surprised with how light the bipod mount is. It looks like it could be quite heavy but care was taken to hollow out unnecessary metal from the underside of the mount. I could really see this mount and bipod being ideal on a Bushmaster/Remington ACR with the longer rifle length hand guards or the rifle length MOE hand guards once they are released.

The one thing that I really wanted to check was that the mounts wouldn’t move forward and back once they were mounted in the slots. They did not move at all. I mounted the sling mounts all the way to the rear of one of the slots so that it would be impossible to move it to the rear, but I couldn’t even get them to move forward. These mounts aren’t going anywhere (especially if you are handy with the Loc-Tite).

Here are the mounts with sling and bipod attached. The sling mounts work perfectly for mounting the sling close to the receiver.

Conclusion

This is the kind of idea that I wish I came up with myself. I tend to make things more complicated than they need to be. I wish I could simplify things the way the people at IWC have with these mounts. If you have MOE hand guards on your AR-15, I am not sure why you would mount a sling any other way. This concept just makes too much sense. You cut out the need for the rail which means you cut out failure points, bulk, weight, and cost. Why mount a section of rail just for a sling mount when you can just attach a sling mount directly to your handguards?

I would love to see where this product line goes in the future. There is a lot of potential here for things like vertical grips, hand stops, flashlight mounts, and who knows what else. These type of mounts can also be designed for other hand guards like the Troy Extreme Battle Rails and VTAC Rails. Jerking the Trigger will certainly keep you updated as new products are announced.

Purchase yours directly from the IWC web store.

Remember to use the coupon code “triggerjerk” at checkout to receive 5% discount at IWC.wordpress hit<br /> counter

Patch Collecting: Have Gun Will Travel

Have Gun – Will Travel was an iconic TV western with what is arguably the greatest name of any television show. Fans of the show will remember that Paladin, the main character, used a chess knight image as his calling card. The patch adopts the imagery of the chess knight and the phrase Have Gun – Will Travel which, depending on the bag you put this on, may mean more than you are just a fan of the show.

This patch as shown may still be available on the LightFighter Tactical Forum. I believe there may be subdued color version available soon.

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