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Review: Retro-Tactical Rimfire Pouches

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

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

10/22 Universal Gunsaddle

Overall Quality

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

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

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

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

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

Loose Ammo Pouch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ruger 10/22 Dual Magazine Pouch

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

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

Magazines oriented this way make for quick and easy reloads.

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

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

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

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

Attaching the MOLLE Pouches

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

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

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

Annex Clips are the perfect solution for mounting these pouches.

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

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

Universal Gunsaddle

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall

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

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

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

Midwest Industries #17 Drop In Handguard Gen. 2

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

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

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

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

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

Remington 700 SPS Tactical AAC-SD

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

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

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

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

Bulgarian Krinkov Handguard from Midwest Industries

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

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

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

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

Apex Tactical Specialties J-Frame Kit

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

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

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

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

Vicking Tactics Surefire Mini-L4

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

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

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

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

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

New Ruger SR1911

Last week, photos of the new SR1911 were leaked. Ruger made the official announcement today. There is a new 1911 on the market.

The SR1911 seems to be pretty standard fare for a 1911 these days. It has many of the features that were once custom additions but now are fairly common (Novak 3-dot sights, skeletonized trigger, skeletonized hammer, extended thumb safety, beavertail grip safety, etc). It will be interesting to see the initial reviews on the SR1911 to how well these parts are fit to the handgun.

One of the more interesting features is that the plunger tube is integral to the frame which will alleviate the worry of it coming unstaked. This is a nice feature since many 1911 grips on the market are poorly fit for supporting the plunger tube. It should also be noted that this is a series 70 1911 which many shooters prefer. Ruger also chose to use a standard recoil spring plug and bushing which is, in my opinion, a better choice than the full length guide rods that are found on so many 1911s these days.

Ruger does have some previous experience with 1911s. Their investment casting company, Pine Tree Castings, has provided castings to Caspian Arms. We will have to wait an see how much, if at all, that experience translates to a reliable 1911.

These have an MSRP of $799. That could place the street price in the low $600 range. If Ruger can deliver a reliable 1911 for around $600 it will certainly make things interesting.

You can check out the SR1911 on Ruger’s website.

Review: TangoDown Vickers Tactical Glock Slide Stop

The Larry Vickers designed, TangoDown produced magazine release for Glocks is one of my favorite Glock add-ons. Given my experience with the magazine release, I have been very excited to try the new TangoDown Vickers Tactical Slide Stop for Glocks.

Background

When I reload, I use my support hand thumb to hit the slide stop. The standard Glock slide stop is poorly shaped for this technique so I add a Glock extended slide stop to all my Glocks. Most extended slide stops for the Glock are longer and some offer some additional thickness. They offer the additional leverage and surface area need to make the slide stop easier to operate. However, the additional length can make contact with the palm of the support hand when the Glock is gripped with a high thumbs forward grip. This contact can prevent the slide from locking back on empty or, worse, cause the slide to lock back before the magazine is empty.

The Vickers Tactical Glock Slide Stop is different from other extended slide stops. Rather than adding length to the lever, Larry Vickers designed his slide stop to extend out from the side of the Glock. It doesn’t hug the frame like the standard slide stops. It flares out from the frame. This creates a wider “shelf” at the top of the lever that, along with more aggressive texture, makes the slide stop easy to operate.

The Vickers Tactical Slide Stop flares out from the frame and then slopes back toward it. This creates two surfaces - one for pressing down and one for pressing up.

This image shows the Glock extended slide stop (top), Vickers Tactical Slide Stop (middle), and Glock standard slide stop to scale.

 

In Use

In my testing, the Vickers Tactical Slide Stop performed well. It always locked back on empty and it never locked back early. Over the years, I have adjusted my grip to prevent contact with larger extended slide stops. I was able to creep a little bit higher with my grip than usual without contacting the slide stop.

The Vickers Glock Slide Stop is very well shaped. I found the large shelf to be very easy to find and then depress with my support hand thumb. The shape and texture also allows me to operate the slide stop with my strong hand thumb, but users with smaller hands may have difficulty reaching it without shifting their grip.

The Vickers Tactical Slide Stop also makes it very easy to lock the slide to the rear. It comes out from the frame and then slopes down and back to the frame. This creates a sort of convex area that is textured that is very easy to press up with your thumb. This is a great aid in getting the slide locked to the rear for administrative type tasks as well as when clearing a double feed. This is the only slide stop for Glocks that I have seen where thought seems to have been given for making the slide easier to lock to the rear.

The shape and texture make the Vickers Tactical Slide Stop very easy to operate with gloves. That is not really true of the Glock standard or extended slide stops which are too smooth to feel very confident with while wearing gloves. They work, but the Vickers Tactical Glock Slide Stop works better. It is the texture that really makes the difference here.

There were no issues with holster fit (tested in Safariland 6280 and 6004, Comp-Tac MTAC, and various leather holsters). The additional width did not noticeably effect the draw stroke. It was a non-issue.

I had an issue with a very sharp edge on the Vickers Tactical Slide Stop. The texture on the slide stop is in the form of tightly spaced lines that are cut into the face of the slide stop. These lines were very slightly off center on my slide stop which put them right up to the edge, creating a sharp serrated edge. A couple of passes with some wet/dry sandpaper fixed the issue quickly.

Conclusion

I found the Vickers Tactical Glock Slide Stop to be a good solution for those who do not need an extended slide stop but do want to be able to quickly and positively operate the slide stop. It is a massive improvement over the standard Glock slide stop and doesn’t have the downsides of over sized extended levers. It works well for both releasing the slide and locking it to the rear. It is obvious that more thought has gone into this slide stop than most others on the market. The Vickers Tactical Slide Stop is the best Glock slide stop that I have used.

Disclosure: This product was provided to me free of charge for review.

Glock standard slide stop

 

Glock extended slide stop

Vickers Tactical Slide Stop

Glock standard slide stop viewed from above.

Glock extended slide stop viewed from above.

Vickers Tactical Slide Stop viewed from above.

J-Frame VZ Grips

Finally! VZ Grips is making G-10 grips for the Smith & Wesson J-Frame revolvers. The world has had to wait too long for G-10 J-Frame grips.

The J-Frame is one of the all time great concealment handguns. It is renowned for its combination of small size, light weight, and excellent reliability. Now, thanks to VZ Grips, J-Frame shooters can outfit one of the greatest handguns of all time with grips made from one of the greatest grip materials of all time – G-10.

G-10 is a glass reinforced epoxy laminate which may not mean much to you. It is enough to know that it is extremely durable and resistant to just about any solvent. It also offers great grip, even when it is left relatively smooth like it is on these grips. It offers enough grip to lock into your hand without being so aggressive that it grabs and binds in clothing.

The J-Frame grips from VZ Grips have all the hallmarks of a great revolver grip. They fill in behind the trigger guard which can really save your knuckles if you have a light weight J-Frame with hot self-defense loads. The grips appear to have enough bulk to be hand filling and they are relieved for speed loaders. They leave the backstrap open and sit flush with the base of the grip tang so they remain very compact.

Check out VZ Grips for the new G-10 J-Frame Grips and other G-10 handgun grips.

QD Micro MOUNT-N-SLOT

Once again, the fertile minds at Impact Weapons Components have been cooking up something innovative. The new QD Micro MOUNT-N-SLOT is an ultra low profile QD sling swivel socket that can be tucked away in a Troy Industries TRX rail or a number of other clever places.

The QD Micro MOUNT-N-SLOT is CNC machined from 303 stainless steel and then black oxide finished. It consists of 3 major components: the QD Micro MOUNT-N-SLOT itself, a snap ring, and set screws. The snap ring keeps the MOUNT-N-SLOT from falling into the hand guard while the set screws provide the tension needed to lock all the components in place.

The first and most obvious place to mount the QD Micro MOUNT-N-SLOT is on a Troy TRX rail. It nests down inside the rail and converts one of the holes to a QD swivel socket. That is a pretty clever trick but it is far from the only trick that this little widget has up its sleeve.

The QD Micro MOUNT-N-SLOT can also be mounted on Magpul MOE Hand Guards. The user can drill a hole with a Forstner Drill Bit in their hand guard. Only two other tools are needed: a flat blade screw driver to install the the Spirolock and a 3/64 size Allen key for the set screws.

There are already reports of people using these on standard AR-15 hand guards as well. These should be able to be mounted on just about any plastic hand guard or stock that has the necessary interior space and access. It will be interesting to see where else the QD Micro MOUNT-N-SLOTs turn up.

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

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