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New Targets from TacStrike

TacStrike makes some of the best and most innovative steel targets and target stands on the market. Their targets are designed to make you more efficient in your training and to take daily abuse. The folks at TacStrike are uniquely qualified to design such targets since they are firearm trainers themselves.

TacStrike’s flagship target, the 1/4 Scale Steel Target System, has been universally well received. Now, based on the success of the 1/4 Scale Steel Target System, they are producing the Full Size Steel Target System. As the name implies, it is a target system that features a full size silhouette rendered from AR500 steel. It also features the same great floating target mounting system as its little brother and a base that can also be used to support paper targets on furring strips.

Sometimes you need a target that moves in a very noticeable way when struck. This allows you to easily confirm a hit visually during training. This is especially useful when you are shooting from longer ranges. The new Dropped Steel Swinger is perfect for these applications. The swinging target will be a 5″ x 5″ square (the round target shown in the picture is a pre-production prototype). The hanger has multiple holes that will allow multiple targets to be hung or targets of varying size. Multiple hangers can be mounted on the same stand and the stand itself can also be used to mount paper targets using any size furring strips.

TacStrike has been redesigning their website and adding new products for 2012, so be sure and drop by their site to check out the above targets and others. You can also check out their Facebook page for all the latest info on their targets and to enter an amazing giveaway that they are currently conducting.

Review: Rusty’s Rags

Rust on a firearm can be anything from a mild annoyance to a very costly issue. It can ruin the value of a collector’s piece or, worse still, affect the function of a self defense firearm. The best way to deal with rust is to prevent it and that is what the products in this review from Rusty’s Rags are designed to do.

Who’s Whats?

Rusty’s Rags is a small company that makes unique silicone gun cleaning accessories. Their kits typically consist of 4 items: a bottle of Rusty’s “Famous” Silicone Gun Oil, a flannel polishing cloth, a pair of nitrile gloves, and – this is the really unique part – a small piece of sheepskin that is pre-loaded with the silicone gun oil. Everything comes packages in heavy mil resealable plastic bags that make them perfect for tossing in your range bag or hiking pack. They make a number of different kits that, while very similar in what they include, vary in size based on the product that they are intended to protect.

Why is It Better?

I have used silicone gun oil before on guns and knives. It works very well for preventing rust. The products that I have seen in the past typically had silicone oil loaded into a flannel cloth. It is common for gun shops to use these to clean the finger prints off of firearms that have been handled by customers. The silicone oil works great for this because it is a very light oil that goes on in a very thin coat that doesn’t feel wet or very oily. However, the flannel clothes are not really all that ideal because it tends to leave lint behind.

Rusty’s Rags kits are different because of their novel application method. These kits use sheepskin to apply the oil. The sheepskin holds together much better than the flannel type products. It just doesn’t leave little bits of lint or debris behind. The sheepskin also applies the oil into any nook or cranny that you pass it over with no extra effort. It really is a stroke of genius. It is just a better way.

In Use

The folks at Rusty’s Rags sent me 4 products to check out: a knife care kit, a handgun care kit, a rifle/shotgun care kit, and a sheepskin Q-tip. The kits are all very similar. The main difference is the size of the sheepskin. The rifle/shotgun kit comes with a larger 4 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ sheepskin while the knife and handgun kits come with a 4 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ sheepskin.

These kits are extremely easy to use. You just lightly rub the sheepskin over the surface of what you want to clean and protect. Then use the flannel cloth to wipe away any excess oil if necessary. If the sheepskin begins to dry out, just add a drop of oil from the included bottle. It is that easy.

The kit includes gloves that you can wear, but I didn’t. One of the advantages of silicone oil is that it doesn’t have that heavy oily feeling that some oils do, so I generally don’t worry about gloves.

I own a Marlin 336 lever action. It is blued, has tons of nooks and crannies, and has had rust issues in the past, so it was the perfect candidate for testing the Rusty’s Rag’s firearm kits. The sheepskin made getting oil into the space between the barrel and magazine tube effortless. Flannel clothes are too thick to get into this space but the small fibers of sheepskin worked the oil right in with no extra effort. That alone just about had me head over heals for these kits.

Many campers/hikers will be familiar with the flannel type silicone wipes. They are used to keep your knife from rusting and dulling when you are out in the elements on an extended trip. I found the sheepskin to be far better. It easily applies the oil to jimping and other unique knife features. Jimping are the small ridges that are cut into the spine of a knife to provide traction. These ridges can accumulate blood, guts, dirt, and moisture so they are a key place to protect. The sheep skin also works well to get oil right down into the corner where the handle scales meet the knife blade.

At first, I wasn’t sure what to think about the sheepskin Q-tip. Then it dawned on me that it was absolutely perfect for applying the silicone oil to your barrel underneath of a free float hand guard. I have had the distinct displeasure of trying to deal with rust that formed on an AR-15 barrel under the free float hand guards. The sheepskin Q-tip can be used to reach through all the holes in a typical hand guard to apply oil to the barrel to prevent rust. This would be a great thing to have in a range kit, especially if you attend a carbine class that can’t reschedule due to nasty weather.

I found that, in spite of their names, the handgun and knife kits work on long arms just fine. In fact, I think I prefer the smaller applicator pad. It makes the kit a bit more light weight and compact and really seems to apply the oil just as quickly, though it can’t hold as much oil so you may have to recharge the sheepskin more often.

Conclusion

I found that the Rusty’s Rags unique use of sheepskin makes them extremely easy to use versus similar products that use a flannel cloth applicator. The sheepskin applicator is what sets these kits apart. The kits are easy to carry in a range bag or backpack and could save you from a very costly outbreak of rust. Check out the whole product line at the Rusty’s Rags website and “Like” them on Facebook for a $2 coupon.

IWC Weapon Control MOUNT-N-SLOT (1913)

Impact Weapons Components (IWC) is on a roll. They recently teamed with Travis Haley to produce the excellent HSP Light Mounts and now they are releasing a new version of their Weapon Control MOUNT-N-SLOT.

The previous version of the Weapon Control MOUNT-N-SLOT was made to connect directly to hand guards like the Magpul MOE Hand Guards and the Troy TRX Extreme Rails. This new version is 1913 (picatinny rail) compatible so it can be mounted on any hand guard with a Mil-STD-1913 rail. This means that there is now a Weapon Control MOUNT-N-SLOT available for nearly every hand guard on the market.

The new Weapon Control MOUNT-N-SLOT (1913) is made to IWC’s typical high standards. It is CNC Machined from 6061-T6 aluminum and hard anodized Type III matte finish per MIL-A-8625F. IWC always takes great care to make sure their products are free of sharp edges and snag points and this IWC Weapon Control MOUNT-N-SLOT (1913) is no exception.

One of the most interesting things about this new hand stop is how little rail space it takes up. It occupies only one recoil slot on your rail. That means you can butt your favorite rail covers right up to the IWC Weapon Control MOUNT-N-SLOT (1913).

If you are looking for a reasonably priced, lightweight (only weighs .78 ounces), low profile alternative to a vertical grip, check out the Weapon Control MOUNT-N-SLOT (1913) on the IWC website. Remember to use the code “triggerjerk” at checkout to receive 5% off at IWC.

Make Your AK Mags More Gear Friendly

Most AK magazines are a little rough around the edges – especially in the area of the rear locking tab. This tab sticks out of the back of the magazine just waiting to catch, snag, rub, and/or tear your magazine pouch as you insert and remove them.

The folks at UW Gear definitely know their way around the AK and they made a video to outline a simple modification for just about any AK magazine that will make them much easier on your gear. The only magazine that I have used that doesn’t need this modification is US PALM AK30 thanks to its well designed, rounded locking tab.

This modification is extremely simple to do and should really save some wear and tear on your gear. I suggest following the file with some wet dry sandpaper to at least 400 grit (800+ would be better) to smooth out any gouges left by the files. The smoother surface that the sandpaper leaves will be less prone to rust.

Check out the UW Gear website and Discussion Forums for more information on this exciting new gear company. You can also read more about their Minuteman Mk. II Chest Rig previously on Jerking the Trigger.

Elzetta Remote Tape Switch

Elzetta has just released their new Remote Tape Switch for the excellent ZFL-M60 flashlights.

The Remote Tape Switch feature some really innovative features. The most significant is probably the constant on fail safe. Tape switches can and do get damaged from time to time and unlike other tape switches on the market, the Elzetta Remote Tape Switch won’t leave you in the dark. In the event that the tape switch is damaged and rendered inoperable, the user can simply tighten the tail cap all the way for constant on.

In addition to the constant on fail safe, the Remote Tape Switch features an integral zip-tie slot that can be clipped off if it isn’t needed. This should make mounting the switch easy just about anywhere on your handguard.

The Remote Tape Switches are available now on the Elzetta website in 5″ and 12″ lengths.

Review: Thorntail Light Mount from Haley Strategic Partners and IWC

You may remember that I recently announced the most unique and important light mount to come down the pike in quite some time – the patent pending Thorntail. The Thorntail is a joint venture between Force Recon veteran Travis Haley of Haley Strategic Partners and Impact Weapons Components. This is one of the most anticipated rifle accessories around and I am fortunate to be the first one to have them in hand for review.

The market has lacked a light mount like this for a long, long time. The only thing that came close to offering the same functionality of the Thorntail is the SMC MOUNT-N-SLOT from Impact Weapons Components (IWC). However, the SMC is limited to use only on certain types of slotted handguards like the Magpul MOE Hand Guards. It didn’t take long for Haley Strategic Partners (HSP) and IWC to see the need for a similar mount that works with picatinny rails.

Thorntail on an AR-15 with LaRue 9.0 rail shown from the bolt release side.

Thorntail shown mounted on an AK-47 with Ultimak gas tube from the non-selector side

Thorntail shown on an AK-47 from the selector side.

The Problem

The best products solve problems and the Thorntail is certainly a problem solver.

Some weapon configurations allow only limited space to mount one of the most essential items on any rifle – the weapon light. The placement of the weapon light usually dictates where the shooter must place their support hand on the rifle. The support hand must be placed in a location that allows easy access and operation of the light. This can become problematic on weapons with short rails like AR-15s and M4 carbines with the 7″ carbine length gas system and even the 9″ midlength gas system. It can also be an issue with AKs in some configurations and really just about any weapon with rails that are too short.

Shooters know that much of recoil control is really just about leverage. You must be able to control the rifle in a way that minimizes movement at the muzzle from shot to shot. The ability to place your hand closer to the muzzle can greatly enhance leverage which in turn improves shot to shot speed. When a rifle recoils, it wants to move straight back in a line that is opposite of the trajectory of the bullet and that runs straight back through your shoulder. However, the shape of your shoulder, and the way the buttstock engages the shoulder, creates a hinge that converts that straight back movement into muzzle lift.

Thorntail on an AR-15 shown from above. The light is held very close to the weapon.

Thorntail shown on an AK-47 from above.

Think of what happens when you open and close a heavy door. You don’t grab the door near the hinges. You grab the handle that is placed on the opposite side of the door, far from the hinges. This maximizes leverage and makes it easy to open and close the door. Likewise, you want to be able to hold your rifle as far is practical from your shoulder (the hinge) in order to maximize leverage.

If your light dictates where you must place your hand and your rail is short, you will have to place your hand in such a way that you are unable to maximize your leverage.

The Solution

The Thorntail light mount allows shooters to extend the light several inches (the true distance varies according to the light used) beyond the end of their hand guard rail. This clears space on the rail and promotes optimal hand placement. Rail space that was taken up by your light and mount before is now useful gripping surface for your hand. It is that simple.

It accomplishes this with an ingenious design. The Thorntail consists of two main components (along with some screws). There is a piece that serves as a rail grabber and a 3.5″ extension piece. The extension is drilled and tapped on both sides so that the rail grabber component can mounted on either side of the extension which makes the Thorntail completely ambidextrous. It can be mounted on either side of a rail for a total of 8 positions on a typical 4 rail handguard.

This is ideal for users who are stuck with shorter rails. For instance, if your police department issues AR-15s with the carbine length gas system and 7″ rails this is a perfect solution. The current issue M4 carbines are also stuck with 7″ rails for the most part.

Even if you aren’t stuck with a 7″ carbine rail you will love the Thorntail. I am using it on a LaRue 9.0 rail to push my light far enough forward to mimic the light position on an 11-12″ rail. I like to run my hand out as close to the muzzle as possible and the Thorntail allows me to achieve the feel and performance of a 12″ rail on a lighter weight 9″ rail.

In Use

I tested the Thorntail by mounting it on two different weapon configurations – an AR-15 with a 9″ mid-length rail and an AK-47 with an Ultimak railed gas tube. Installation was intuitive, though the flashlight rings can be a little bit tricky to deal with, but I managed to get them mounted with no problems. If you can’t figure it out just by looking at it, I bet you probably have problems loading your magazines, too.

The Thorntail works perfectly on a 9" rail with a vertical grip.

My first concern was that the mount would be fragile since it does extend the light out from the rail quite a bit. I grabbed the Surefire G2L bezel that was mounted on my mid-length carbine and tried to pull it in every direction and it didn’t budge, bend, or loosen. It would take quite a lot of force or a really, really hard hit to damage the Thorntail and that sort of force would likely damage other parts of the rifle at the same time. After actually testing the Thorntail, I have no worries about its durability. Like other IWC products, the Thorntail is CNC Machined from Billet 6061-T6 Aluminum and Black Type III Mil-Spec Anodized for durability.

The Thorntail is shaped very well for the way that it will be used. Most users will likely use this mount to place their light so that it falls directly in front of their thumb in a strong, thumb forward style grip (with or without a handstop/vertical grip). There is a small angled flat spot directly behind the light is makes a perfect index point for your thumb. This index point serves as a tactile reminder that your hand is in the correct position to be able to easily reach your weapon light. I am going to place a small piece of grip tape on this flat to make it even easier to feel with my thumb.

This mount is particularly well suited to the Ultimak railed gas tubes for AKs. One of the best features of the Ultimak rails are how low they sit which allows your to co-witness your sights with an Aimpoint. If you mount an overly large light mount on the Ultimak rail in front of your Aimpoint it can obscure your view through the optic. The Thorntail is very low profile and the rail grabber portion can not even be seen through the Aimpoint.

It is the ideal light mount for Ultimak railed gas tubes.

As I stated before, I found that the Thorntail allowed me to get the same grip that I typically have on a 12″ rail but on a 9″ rail. This configuration weighs less than a 12″ rail but offers most of the same function.

I found this to be a very ergonomic mount. It holds the light in close to the rifle and forward of the rail which allows the tailcap switch to fall directly under your thumb. Once the mount is position properly, operating the light is effortless. Compare this to a typical light mount where the light is placed in such a way that you often have to stretch your thumb back from the vertical grip in order to get to the switch. The Thorntail is a huge improvement these situations.

In addition to the ergonomic considerations, the Thorntail greatly reduces the shadowing caused by the barrel of a weapon. With a typical light mount you might have shadowing from both the barrel and front site tower. The Thorntail allows the light to clear the front sight tower so the shadow is greatly reduced. In fact, when used on a 9″ rail, the bezel of the light is just 2.5-3.5″ (depending on the light, barrel length, and muzzle device) from the muzzle. This nearly completely eliminates the shadow of the barrel in the beam of your weapon light.

The angled flat spot behind the light serves as a perfect index point for your thumb.

I tried the Thorntail with a Surefire M600 Scout and Surefire G2L. It worked perfectly with both and there are additional flashlight rings available that allow the use of most of the best weapon lights on the market including the Surefire C and E series lights and the Streamlight PolyTac. There is also a version in the works that will work with the Surefire Millennium series lights. Shooters will find that lights that use the flashlight rings like the Surefire G2L can be pushed even further forward than those with fixed mounts like the Surefire Scout lights since they can be slid very far forward in their rings.

Conclusion

It is my opinion that this is not merely a unique product. It is an important product that has been missing in the market. It allows the shooter to place their hand closer to the muzzle end of the weapon in order to control recoil and solves the problems that have been plaguing short handguards for as long as they have been around. The Thorntail blurs the distinction between short rails and extended rails. It represents a funtional and ergonomic improvement for the way weapon lights are mounted. I could not be happier with how this mount functions.

The Thorntail is available for pre-order on the Impact Weapons Components’ website (remember to use the code “triggerjerk” at checkout to receive 5% off at IWC).

Note: The finished Thorntail mounts will feature the HSP logo, not the IWC logo as shown.

Disclosure: These mounts were provided to me for review, free of charge, by IWC for whom I am an independent product rep.

Panteo Productions Make Ready with Travis Haley – Adaptive Kalash

Panteao Productions and Travis Haley have teamed up for another installment in the “Make Ready” series. This time the subject is the AK family of weapons.

I am very interested to see this one. Much of the AK specific training that is available right now leans toward the “Keep that $%#@ off my AK” crowd instead of acknowledging that there have been advances in techniques and gear in the last 20 years that have really enhanced the capabilities of the AK. I trust that Travis will address these enhancements since he is not one to shy away from taking a progressive and contrary point of view as long as it leads to improved performance. One needs only to look at the AK that Travis is holding on the cover art for the DVD and using in the preview to see that this won’t be your typical AK training video.

This is going to be a must see for AK shooters. Check out Make Ready with Travis Haley – Adaptive Kalash on the Panteao Productions website.

Review: US PALM AK30 Magazine

The AK-47 has long lived in the shadow of the AR-15 in the minds of most American shooters. Much of what we think of the AK is clouded with myth, misinformation, and exaggeration. That is all beginning to change. There are a number of high quality AKs available on the market right now that are really beginning to challenge what people think they know about the rifle, and there are a number of American manufacturers who have stepped in to fill the void of American made accessories for this foreign rifle. One such manufacturer is US PALM and they have released no more controversial product than their AK30 Magazine for the AK-47.

I have tried to keep track of all of the conflicting reports on the AK30 since its introduction because I have been very supportive of US PALM’s efforts as an American company that is innovating the AK. Some very serious users have reported good things about the magazine. Some have reported short comings. We have really arrived at the point where it is difficult to sort out the real story so when US PALM offered me a chance to check out the latest version of the AK30, I jumped at it.

This review will cover my initial impressions of the magazines. I have 390 rounds through 3 different magazines at this point (210 through one, 90 through one, and 90 through the last) which is admittedly not enough to get the full picture. I have also put them through countless dry fire cycles. My plan is to share some initial thoughts on these magazines and share what I have learned so far. Then, I hope to be able to share updates as the round counts grow.

Price and Short Sightedness

There is one thing that I would like to address right up front. As a policy, I generally do not talk about what an item costs on Jerking the Trigger. I prefer to let you, the reader, decide what something is worth instead of telling you what I think is expensive or inexpensive. In the case of these magazines, I feel the need to address cost because so many people dismiss the AK30 magazines without trying them due to their cost of around $30 a piece (though they are often on sale at various places for less).

The main argument is that 2-3 steel magazines can be purchased for the cost of 1 AK30. I think that this is extremely short sighted and AK users should know better. How many times have AK users had to buy all of a certain kind of magazine, ammo, or small part before importation ceased or the surplus ran dry. It happens all the time. US PALM AK30 Magazines are made here in the US. When they run out, they make more.

When you buy a surplus AK mag and you take it home only to find that a magazine spring is rusted to the point that is breaks when you load the magazine (yes, it has happened to me), you are stuck. If you are lucky, the place that you bought it from will replace it. The same thing is true when you get a magazine that has been subtly misshapen enough that the follower binds (yes, it has happened to me). The same thing is true when you get a magazine that just doesn’t work (yes, it has happened to me). If that happens with an AK30, US PALM falls all over themselves to make it right.

That is the advantage of dealing with a US company. It costs more, but in some senses it is an investment in the future of the product that you are buying. That may not be enough for some users, but that is not the only thing that the AK30 Magazines have going for them.

Honestly, I think much of the hubris around these magazines stems from people who are slow to accept plastics as a replacement for metal. The reality is that plastics are not just a cheap replacement for metal but are actually better for some applications. Plastic doesn’t dent and deform like metal, it doesn’t rust, it can be colored, and it weighs less. Plastic is here to stay and I, for one, am glad.

Weight

Holding an AK30 magazine for the first time is kind of surprising. They look like they would be heavy but they are surprisingly light weight. I think that may be one of the better compliments that you can pay this magazine. It is obvious that work went into making this magazine durable, but at the same time, weight is kept to a minimum.

I weighed 4 additional types of magazines that I own in order to compare the weight of the AK30. The heaviest was a Chinese all steel magazine at 11.35 ounces, followed by an all steel Hungarian 20 round magazine at 10.05 ounces, a Bulgarian Circle 10 at 8.70, and then the AK30 at 7.50 ounce. The only magazine I have that is lighter than the AK30 is the plastic Polish Radom magazines at 7.05 ounces. There is a 3.85 ounce difference between the AK30 and a comparable steel magazine. That really adds up if you are carrying 4 or 5 magazines! I should also point out that these Chinese magazines are a bit lighter than most Eastern European steel magazines because they lack the large spine on the backstrap of the magazine.

Shape

I am really impressed with the handling characteristics of the AK30. It is obvious that a lot off care went into making the AK30 easy to manipulate. The sides of the magazine are covered with a deep grid pattern like a waffle. The front and back straps of the magazine are covered with large parallel ridges. This makes the AK30 very easy to hold and manipulate, even with winter gloves on.

The magazines also have  a very flat, broad bottom that makes them a very stable shooting aid when used as a mono-pod. The AK30 lacks a traditional floor plate (more on this later) so there is no fear of forcing debris into the magazine or damaging the floor plate when using the magazine mono-pod technique.

I am also extremely impressed with how these magazines fit the magazine wells of my 2 AKs. The can be be inserted and removed smoothly and they exhibit very little wobble. US PALM has sized these magazines very well and the result is that they fit properly sized magazine wells very positively. Some users may find that the fit is tight with certain AKs, especially those that are imported in single stack configuration and opened up once they are in country (like WASRs). That is due to out of spec magazine wells, not the fault of the AK30.

These magazines were designed not only to feed cartridges into the chamber but also to be handled in a quick, positive fashion by their user. I really like that type of attention to detail.

Baseplate and Follower

The AK30’s baseplate gets a lot of negative attention. It can not be removed by the user since it is glued on during manufacturing. This means that there is no way to remove the magazine spring and follower for service or cleaning, which has rubbed some AK users the wrong way.

Most shooters will never wear out a magazine spring so there is little need to replace one. Even if there was, the market is not exactly flooded with replacement springs. Premium quality, modern stainless steel springs like those found in the AK30 don’t take a set and are good for 100,000+ compression cycles. Think about that for a minute. That is 100,000+ loading and unloading cycles. You will probably wear out the magazine body before you ruin the spring.

Cleaning is also pretty much a non-issue. If you drop a steel surplus magazine in the mud you have to open it up to remove the spring and follower, clean out the gunk, oil the spring and inside of the metal magazine body to prevent rust, and then reassemble. US PALM designed the AK30 magazine to need less maintenance. It is made from plastic and stainless steel so rust is less of an issue. If debris does get into the magazine, the AK30 can simply be submerged in water and shaken clean. The follower has several holes in it to allow this method of cleaning. I had occasion to test this since the magazines have been dumped on wet ground during reloads. It works fine and the magazine continued to function.

Some of the earlier generations of the AK30 had some very public struggles with keeping their baseplates intact. It seems that some AK30 Magazines made it out of the factory without sufficient glue to hold the baseplate during rough use. US PALM has responded the way that all great companies do, they redesigned the magazine to prevent that from happening. Now all AK30 Magazines have locking tabs that retain the baseplate even if the glue gives out. However, this shouldn’t happen since the glue that is used essentially bonds the two plastic pieces (mag body and baseplate) into one piece together much like PVC primer and cement.

Metal Reinforcement

Metal reinforcement or the lack there of is another point of contention for many users and it is probably the most valid. There are three key areas that other successful plastic magazines have metal reinforcement: the front lip, the back locking tab, and the feedlips. The AK30 has metal reinforcement on the front lip and the back locking tab but it lacks any metal in the feedlips. US PALM has chosen to make the feedlips very thick and they have made them thicker since the initial introduction of the AK30. These thicker feedlips have greatly reduced the reports of broken AK30 feedlips.

I have been using the AK30 magazine for some time now and I have a friend who uses them extensively. We do not take it easy on these magazines and they have not let us down yet. I have experienced no breakage of any kind. One of the biggest tests for any AK magazine are certain types of speed reloads that the shooter executes by sweeping the empty magazine out of the magazine well using the fresh magazine. This tends to send the spent magazine flipping end over end where it can land on the feedlips or any other part of the magazine. I have done this on concrete, grass, dirt, and gravel with no ill effects.

In Use

There were no surprises. So far, all I can say is that these magazines work. I have 390 rounds through them, 210 of which are through the same magazine, without  hiccup.

I have purposely been running most of the rounds through one magazine so that I can see the effects of a higher round count. I plan to continue this treatment of that particular magazine and to continue using the 3 provided AK30 magazines exclusively when I shoot my AKs so that I can report back on their longer term durability.

The only real issue that I found in use that their thickness can cause issues with some pouches. They fit in all the single magazine pouches that I own but they were a tight fit in some double AK magazine pouches.

Overall Impressions

I am really impressed with these magazines so far. They work as advertised and they have handled everything that I have thrown at them so far. They have been dropped on a variety of surfaces with no breakage. They have been used while wet and dirty without issue. I greatly prefer the way that they handle versus a typical steel magazine. They are grippy and easy to manipulate without the sharp edges of a typical steel magazine. I have also been impressed with US PALM as a company. They have taken steps to address many of the perceived short comings with the AK30 and they have taken excellent care of their customers. Time will tell the whole story, but right now, I really like what I see.

Check out the AK30 Magazines on the US PALM website and stay tuned for full reviews of the US PALM AK Battle Grip and AK30 Rebuild Kits.

Disclosure: These magazines were provided to me for review, free of charge, by US PALM.

Blue Force Gear UWL with Push Button Socket

I think the previously reviewed Blue Force Gear Universal Wire Loop (UWL) is something that every shooter should have in their tool box just waiting to help you solve some tricky sling mounting problem. Blue Force Gear (BFG) has now made the UWL even more versatile with the addition of a socket that accepts push button QD sling swivels.

The BFG UWL with Push Button Socket lets the user decide whether to attach the sling directly to the UWL, use a push button QD sling swivel, or both. When you are using the UWL with Push Button Socket as a front sling attachment point, it makes sense to choose one attachment method or the other. However, if you are using this as your rear attachment point, the UWL with Push Button Socket can be used to turn a 2 point sling into a single point sling.

This is one clever piece of gear. Check out the UWL with Push Button Socket on the Blue Force Gear website.

Ares Armor Amentum LR Sling

Ares Armor is now offering a new version of their Amentum Sling that is optimized for precision shooting – the Ares Armor Amentum LR Sling.

Getting into and out of a rock solid shooting position can be a key to placing shots accurately while minimizing the exposure of the shooter and the Ares Armor Amentum LR Sling is designed to allow shooters to do just that. At a glance, it appears to be just another well made, quick adjust style 2 point sling, but, on closer inspection a very, very interesting feature comes to light. The sling features a linkage that allows it to be quickly attached (and detached) to the shooter’s belt. The shooter can then draw the sling tight using the easy to operate slider that the original Ares Armor Amentum Sling is known for. This allows the shooter to stabilize the rifle in a number of field expedient positions.

This sling seems especially well suited to rifles that bridge the gap between dedicated precision and CQB (DM, SPR, RECCE type rifles). The Ares Armor Amentum LR Sling functions like any other well designed 2 point tactical sling until the need for precision presents itself. There is no compromise with a set up like this. You have a solid shooting sling when precision is needed and a 2 point tactical sling when mobility and ease of manipulation is needed.

The Ares Armor Amentum LR Sling also seems especially well suited to urban environments where its unique configuration seems like it would make it easier to shoot over cover than a traditional sling. It looks like this set up would allow the shooter to stabilize the rifle while exposing less of their body than a traditional shooting sling.

This sling is absolutely fascinating to me. I think it looks incredibly clever. Check out the Ares Armor Amentum LR Sling on the Ares Armor website.

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