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Archive | Guns

Magpul FDE Midlength MOE Hand Guards Now Shipping

I have good news for fans of the midlength gas system and the color, Flat Dark Earth (FDE). The FDE Midlength MOE Hand Guards from Magpul are starting to find their way to dealer’s shelves.

I have been using a set of the black ones as a test bed for products from Impact Weapon Components and I can’t enough good things about these hand guards.

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Inexpensive Addition for the Multitasker TUBE

One of the best things about the previously reviewed Multitasker TUBE is its ability to use standard 1/4″ screw driver bits. This lets the user easily tailor the TUBE to their specific rifle. However, most 1/4″ bits are very short which makes reaching inside the grip to reach the grip screw tricky. There are extended bits available but they can be difficult to find for anything but Phillips or flat head fasteners. This obviously won’t work for grips that use hex fasteners.

The alternative to the extended bits is an extension. An extension will allow you to take advantage of the near endless array of short 1/4″ bits. These extensions are available in several different lengths but a 3″ extension should be sufficient for reaching the grip screw. I purchased the extension from a local hardware store for less than $2 and it tucks away easily in the Multitasker TUBE Expansion Pack carrying case.

I can’t take credit for this idea. I originally saw Ryo mention the extensions in his excellent review of the TUBE on AR15.com.

The extension gives more than enough length to comfortably access the grip screw.

The extension tucks away unobtrusively in the Multitasker TUBE carrying case.

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Review: Battle Arms Development – Ambi Safety Selector – Short Throw

The previously reviewed Battle Arms Development – Ambidextrous Safety Selector (BAD-ASS) was an evolutionary step for the AR-15 selector. It set the standard for quality and functionality that we expect from a selector. Now, with the addition of the Battle Arms Development – Ambidextrous Safety Selector – Short Throw (BAD-ASS-ST), that evolution is being taken a step further.

The BAD-ASS-ST rotates only 45 degrees to "fire".

The BAD-ASS-ST is a safety/selector for the AR family of weapons. It uses the same excellent modular levers as the original BAD-ASS, the same bullet proof materials, the same precision manufacturing, and the same high quality finish. However, it has one small but very significant difference from the BAD-ASS and every other semi-auto selector on the market – it only travels 45 degrees between “safe” and “fire”. Most, if not all, other semi-auto selectors travel 90 degrees. So how much difference can 45 degrees really make? Plenty, but more on that later.

The BAD-ASS-ST exhibits the same ultra crisp action that the original BAD-ASS possesses. The precision machining and the stainless steel KNS safety detent that is included with the BAD-ASS and BAD-ASS-ST really serve to clean up the feel of the selector. This crisp feel is very noticeable, especially if you are used to a spongy cast selector.

Battle Arms Development recommends that the BAD-ASS-ST be used with two SHORT levers. The length of the standard lever is only necessary to aid in keeping contact with the thumb through the longer 90 degree arc. This extra length isn’t needed with the short 45 degree arc so the short lever works quite well. The BAD-ASS-ST that I was provided came with these short levers.

The "safe" position remains the same as with any other selector.

Expected Improvement

I knew the short throw selector was going to be faster. It has to be because it only travels half the distance of a normal selector. What I didn’t know was how much it would change how I interact with the selector and even hold the carbine. Sure, it is faster but just how much faster would be difficult to measure. It certainly feels faster but feelings can be deceiving.

Unexpected Improvements

Surprisingly, at least to me, it wasn’t the speed of the selector that has endeared me to it. The selector does two things that no other selector can due to it’s short throw. It allows you to easily rest your thumb on the selector switch and it makes moving the selector to the save position faster and easier. Let’s look at both of these in some depth.

1911 shooters will probably take to resting their thumb on the selector very quickly. I find to it be an excellent way to make sure that you always know the position of the selector. The thumb stays in place even while shooting thanks to the excellent texture. The thumb feels natural in this position and is immediately ready to operate the selector should the need arise. It feels so natural that, after having spent so much time with the BAD-ASS-ST for this review, it felt very strange to not able to rest my thumb on my other selectors.

The ability to "ride" the selector is a welcome ergonomic improvement.

You must move a standard 90 degree selector backwards and then up in an arc in order to move from “fire” to “safe”. The 45 degree BAD-ASS-ST eliminates one of these motions. The user needs only to press up with the side of their trigger finger to move the selector to “safe”. It is lightning fast. The selector can be snapped to “fire” and then back to “safe” faster than any other selector that I have used. In fact, you can move the selector into the safe position as you take your finger out of the trigger guard in one intuitive motion. This is a phenomenal improvement.

These two improvements, along with the perceived gain in speed, contribute to a selector that feels more natural, intuitive, and more efficient.

The index finger can easily move the selector to "safe" as it moves away from the trigger.

Important

It should be noted that this selector is designed for use with a properly marked lower receiver. The markings on a standard lower receiver will not align with the positions of the BAD-ASS-ST. It has a stainless steel pin installed that prevents it from being installed in a normal lower receiver. Battle Arms Development does not recommend modifying the BAD-ASS-ST to work in standard lower receivers and completing this modification will void the warranty. Lowers made specifically for the BAD-ASS-ST will be available soon from Spike’s Tactical. You can read more about the liability issues surrounding the BAD-ASS-ST in the Battle Arms Development Industry Forum on AR15.com.

Conclusion

I was expecting the BAD-ASS-ST to feel faster. I was caught off guard by how it improved the ergonomics of the grip and efficiency of the selector movements. It is so intuitive that my other ARs that do not have BAD-ASS-STs installed now feel strange. If that isn’t a mark of a well designed product, I don’t know what is.

You can order your own BAD-ASS-ST from the Battle Arms Development website.

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

The Weapon Control Mount-N-Slot is one of the newest additions to the Mount-N-Slot line from Impact Weapon Components. As you might gather from the name, the Weapon Control Mount-N-Slot is designed to enhance your control of you carbine. It is essentially a very trim and well designed hand stop.

The Mount-N-Slot experience starts with the innovative packaging. The Weapon Control is on the left.

Details, Fit, and Finish

The Weapon Control Mount-N-Slot is well machined from aluminum. It is compact and lightweight. The black hard anodized finish is evenly applied and is attractive as it is durable. Great care has been taken to remove all sharp corners from the Weapon Control Mount-N-Slot. This is key for a piece of gear that is designed to have a hand pressed tightly against it for prolonged periods of time.

Like the OCP Sling Mount-N-Slot that I wrote about yesterday, the Weapon Control Mount-N-Slot uses a single screw and threaded washer to attach to the hand guards. It also has two tabs that fit tightly into the slot to prevent unwanted rotation. It is a very simple and sturdy configuration.

The finish and machining on Mount-N-Slots is flawless, even on the back where it will never be seen. Notice the tabs that prevent unwanted rotation.

On Vertical Grips and Hand Stops

Vertical grips have been with us for many years and, used correctly, they can be tremendous aids in weapon control. Many users no longer hold vertical grips like a hammer, with the thumb wrapped around the grip. These users will typically place the hand on the front of the vertical grip, or even in front of the vertical grip on the hand guard, with the thumb forward (like the support hand on a handgun). This grip has lead some shooters to question whether a full grip is even necessary which led to the popularity of short or “stubby” vertical grips. This smaller-is-better-trend has continued with the growing popularity of hand stops.

A hand stop serves essentially the same function as a vertical grip. It promotes consistent support hand placement and gives the support hand something to pull against. By pulling against the vertical grip or hand stop, the shooter can more effectively control the muzzle of the carbine. Controlling the muzzle leads to faster follow up shots as muzzle rise is controlled and being able to drive the carbine from target to target more efficiently. So, in this sense, a hand stop is essentially being used as a minimalist vertical grip.

This is the definition of "simple and effective."

In Use

Does it work? Yes. It definitely works.

I am a vertical grip user and the Weapon Control Mount-N-Slot really impressed me. I was able to generate all of the tension that I am used to generating with a vertical grip except with a much smaller, lighter piece of gear. I wrapped my hand around the Magpul MOE hand guards in front of the Weapon Control Mount-N-Slot and then, with a nearly straight support arm, pulled the carbine back into my shoulder. Just like with a vertical grip, follow up shots come quickly and driving between targets is quick.

The thumb forward grip allowed me to keep my weapon light in the same location as I do with a vertical grip (10-11 o’clock on the hand guard from the shooter’s point of view). In this position, the light falls naturally under the thumb. The Weapon Control Mount-N-Slot works very well with a light in this configuration.

I noticed that, since the Weapon Control Mount-N-Slot is much smaller than my typical vertical grip, it was easier to shoot from rests. You have to be conscious of where you place the hand guard when you are using a vertical grip and shooting from a rest like a sand bag when sighting in or using an improvised rest like a low wall. The smaller hand stop just doesn’t get in the way as much.

The Weapon Control Mount-N-Slot gives the shooter something to pull against when supporting the rifle.

Conclusion

The Weapon Control Mount-N-Slot is a simple piece of gear that can really increase the function of a carbine by increasing the amount of control the shooter has over the carbine. With training, this simple piece of gear can really help you improve your shooting.

The Weapon Control Mount-N-Slot is available for the Magpul MOE Hand Guards, Bushmaster ACR, and slotted free float tubes with an outside diameter of 1.75″ or 2.00″.

Remember to use the coupon code “triggerjerk” at checkout to receive 5% discount at IWC.

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Impact Weapon Components OCP Sling Mount-N-Slot

This will be the first of two posts about some of the newest Mount-N-Slots from Impact Weapon Components – the OCP Sling Mount-N-Slot and the Weapon Control Mount-N-Slot. Today, I’ll be writing about the OCP Sling Mount-N-Slot.

The Mount-N-Slot experience starts with the innovative packaging. The OCP is on the right.

Fit and Finish

The OCP Sling Mount-N-Slot is as well finished as every other Mount-N-Slot that has passed through my hands. The machining is flawless, even on the back of the mount where no one will see it. The hard anodized finished is evenly applied and looks great. You won’t find a sharp edge anywhere because great care has been taken to radius the corners. The quality shows when you look at the details.

The OCP Sling Mount-N-Slot is angled to increase functionality.

Similar

The OCP Sling Mount-N-Slot looks and feels like an evolution of the Snap Hook Mount-N-Slot. Both mounts work very well with HK style snap hooks and, my preference, the ITW Mash Hook. So, while they are somewhat similar, they each have some unique features.

But Different

First, the OCP mounts differently. It mounts via single screw and threaded plate while the Snap Hook Mount-N-Slot uses two screws. The OCP also has two tabs that fit tightly into the slot to prevent it from rotating.

Second, the OCP is angled so that it is higher on the loop side and lower on the non loop side. This angle is what makes the OCP unique. The angle presents the loop in such a way that makes it easier to attach the sling. This works well with slings like the Magpul MS2 and the Emdom Gunslinger that offer the ability to quickly transition from single point to two point configuration. The OCP helps you leverage all of that functionality as efficiently as possible. The angle also makes the front of the mount more snag-free.

The OCP Sling Mount-N-Slot works perfectly with the excellent ITW Mash Hooks.

How to Choose

So how do you decide between the Snap Hook Mount-N-Slot or the OCP Mount-N-Slot? It basically comes down to mounting options. The Snap Hook Mount-N-Slot can be oriented so that the loop faces in up, down, forward, and back. The OCP can only be mounted so that it faces forward or back. So, if you need more mounting options the Snap Hook Mount-N-Slot is for you. If you need the lowest profile option, you need the OCP Sling Mount-N-Slot.

Conclusion

The OCP Sling Mount-N-Slot is a very slick addition to the Mount-N-Slot line. It is snag-free, efficient, and it just works. Who would have thought that the addition of a simple angle could make such a difference. mnn

The OCP Sling Mount-N-Slot is available for the Magpul MOE Hand Guards, Bushmaster ACR, and slotted free float tubes with an outside diameter of 1.75″ or 2.00″.

I would like to thank Impact Weapon Components for providing the OCP Sling Mount-N-Slot for review.

Remember to use the coupon code “triggerjerk” at checkout to receive 5% discount at IWC.

The back of the OCP has two tabs that fit tightly into the slot and prevents the OCP from spinning. The OCP is on the left.

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PWS SRX

SCAR users now have another choice in extension rails. The PWS SRX (SCAR Extension Rail) extends the available rail space on the SCAR by 5″. In addition to the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock rails, it adds a 12 o’clock rail in front of the front sight which is popular place to mount a light like the Surefire X300. The SRX only adds 7.9 ounces to the weight of the SCAR which is a good trade off for the additional functionality.

The SRX can be found on the PWS website.

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Review: Stark Equipment SE-1 AR-15 Pistol Grip

A friend recently gave me a Stark Equipment SE-1 to try out. I have to admit that I started this review a little biased against the SE-1. Many people object to the SE-1’s unconventional looks but that wasn’t my issue. I didn’t think that I would like the way the grip forces the hand lower since I generally tend to grip my ARs very high. Now, having spent some quality time with the SE-1, I can say that my concerns were unfounded. This is an excellent grip and it may even solve some problems for some users.

The SE-1 offers some very unique features among AR-15 pistol grips. Click any image to enlarge.

 

Function Trumps Form

The Stark Equipment grips certainly don’t look like anything else that is on the market right now. The design is different enough to elicit a lot of negativity on the online forums. Thankfully, there are people like you, who are willing to give something a try before they completely disregard it. Once you see the SE-1 in person and actually try it, you will see that it is all about function and ergonomics. This grip works.

The SE-1 is more vertical than most AR-15 grips which tend to rake backwards. This may be the single best feature of the SE-1. Think of how you hold a carbine. Generally the strong side (weapon side) hand is on the pistol grip and the elbow is tucked down close to the body. This requires that the wrist to be bent forward at a relatively extreme angle in order to hold the grip. Reducing the angle of the grip allows the wrist to be held in a straighter, locked position.

The SE-1 also forces the hand into a lower position. You can not ride your hand up as high behind the grip as you typically can with other grips. The conventional wisdom is that a higher grip helps control the weapon. The SE-1’s lower grip brings the trigger finger straight behind the trigger which should help your trigger pull mechanics feel a bit more natural. On some grips, I tend to grip so high that I am actually pulling the trigger back and up. This is not the case with the SE-1. It positions the trigger finger so well, that this would make a great choice for an AR geared toward precision shooting. I also find that the lower position helps to further straighten the wrist because it reduces the angle at the elbow.

The straighter angle and lower position of the SE-1 may actually help alleviate the wrist pain that some shooters experience while shooting. It certainly seemed to fatigue the wrist less than some of my other grips.

The grip also features some very nice contours. It reminds me a lot of the old “Coke Bottle” grips on S&W revolvers. It is narrower at the top and bottom, with a nice palm “swell” in the middle. This palm swell area has a very nice medium texture that provides plenty of purchase without being abrasive. The texture is positioned in a place where it will make maximum contact with the part of your hand that is on the grip at all times. The areas under your trigger finger, which doesn’t provide grip, are left without any aggressive texture. There is also a subtle thumb shelf that promotes consistent thumb placement. This grip was made to fit the human hand.

The SE-1 features an integral trigger guard that replaces the flat trigger guard that most ARs use. Like other products on the market, the SE-1’s trigger guard provides some extra room for gloved users and covers the irritating gap behind the trigger guard. However, unlike any other trigger guard that I have seen, the SE-1 completely covers the “ears” that hold the trigger guard roll pin. This makes much more surface area for contact with the middle finger than any other product that I have used. It is very comfortable.

It only takes a minute with the SE-1 to see that the designers were more concerned with making something that worked well with the human body than they were concerned about making something that looks cool. I haven’t really seen a decline in control from the lower grip, so perhaps the straighter, locked wrist position that the SE-1 affords, offsets any perceived difference in control.

The SE-1 completely covers the "ears" that holds the trigger guard roll pin in place.

 

Fit, Finish, and Other Features

The SE-1 certainly seems to be well made. It is made from polymer that has a very slight pebble texture to it which makes for an attractive and functional finish. The injection molding lines are clean, even, and do not abrade the hand. It certainly seems on par with other quality plastic products on the market.

There is threaded metal insert that accepts a small screw to secure the front of the trigger guard. Most other grips and trigger guard products use a metal screw that threads directly into the plastic so a metal insert is a welcome addition.

Extra items, like CR123 batteries or a spare bolt, can be stored in the grip using the provided rubber plug. The plug is very secure when empty and, once items are placed in it, it becomes even more secure. The items stretch and expand the rubber plug which makes it an even tighter fit in the grip. I have a hard time imagining how you could lose this plug.

There is also an SE-2 version of this grip that features a sling mount on the upper back extension. This positions the sling exactly where I prefer it – the rear of the receiver.

The SE-1 features a rubber insert that can hold a spare bolt or batteries.

 

Conclusion

Is the SE-1 strange looking to some people? Yes. Are looks the most important thing when you are choosing what to use on a tool that might save your life? Not even close.

If you are someone who will gladly exchange function for form, you know, because you actually shoot your carbines. Then you may want to give the Stark Industries SE-1 a try. This grip is has a lot of unique features that really make a lot of sense. I am very impressed with this grip.

You can read more about the SE-1 on the Stark Equipment website.

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Review: Magpul MVG

The Magpul MVG (Magpul Vertical Grip) is a vertical grip that is designed to attach directly to the Magpul MOE Hand Guards. It attaches to the hand guards via a threaded post and a washer. It is prevented from spinning by two thick plastic tabs that lock into the slots in the MOE hand guards. There is no rail section needed which keeps the parts count down (fewer that can break at the wrong time) and it keeps weight down. The MVG attaches very securely and feels rock solid once it is attached. The bottom section of the MOE Hand Guards contains a metal heat shield which helps reinforce the MVG.

I have also seen the MVG adapted to work with other hand guards like the Troy VTAC Extreme and JP/VTAC hand guards. There may be some fitting required but those who have completed this modification have been pleased with the results.

The texture on the MVG is very well executed. The sides of the MVG have a fine texture that is similar to the sides of the Magpul MIAD. The front and back of the grip has horizontal lines that promote grip and control.

The shape of the MVG works very well with a thumb-forward grip. Many vertical grips have a larger, flared section where the grip meets the rail which can actually get in the way of a thumb-forward grip. The MVG has a fairly uniform size from top to bottom which seems to work best with this type of grip.

The MVG is an excellent addition to the MOE Hand Guard. It, along with the Mount-N-Slots from Impact Weapon Components, have turned the MOE Hand Guards into a fully functional alternative to more expensive rail systems. Magpul has really done an excellent job at offering solid gear at a very attractive price with their MOE line.

The MVG used for this review was provided by Impact Weapon Components.

BAD-ASS-ST – New Short Throw Selector from Battle Arms Development

The Battle Arms Development – Ambidextrous Safety Selector – Short Throw (BAD-ASS-ST) is now available for purchase. If you thought the original BAD-ASS was a game changer, wait until you see the shock wave that the BAD-ASS-ST sends through the industry. The “ST” in BAD-ASS-ST stands for short throw. This selector is designed to rotate only 45 degrees instead of the 90 degrees that most standard selectors rotate.

As cool as the short throw concept is, in the litigious society that we live in, it does create some liability issues for Battle Arms Development (read more in their Industry Forum). So, these will come with a pin that blocks the installation of the selector in a standard lower. Battle Arms Development can not recommend modifying the BAD-ASS-ST to work with standard lowers (there will be lowers made specifically for this selector).

I have one of these inbound for review so stay tuned.

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TUFF Products Quick Strips

Carrying a small frame revolver is a compromise. You are trading some capability for conceal-ability. The same holds true for Quick Strips. Speed loaders definitely offer faster reloads because they reload the entire cylinder all at once but they are bulky. Quick Strips can reload only two chambers at a time but they lay flat which makes them much easier to carry.

I have been using the TUFF Products Quick Strips for a year now and they have proven to be durable, reliable, and easy to use. They hold the spare ammunition securely while still allowing the ammunition to be removed easily when executing the reload. With training, the shooter can become quite proficient with them and there are techniques that can be learned to get you back into the fight faster (like “load 2, shoot 2”).

You can read more about the TUFF Products Quick Strips on the TUFF Products website.

Click on any image to enlarge it.

The textured tab makes "ripping" the strip away from the cylinder easier.

The Quick Strips hold your spare ammo securely until it is time to reload. The inline design makes them very easy to carry.

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