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AR15.com Ambidextrous Billet Lower Receiver

I don’t have many details yet but pictures of the upcoming AR15.com Ambidextrous Billet Lower Receivers have been released.

Image courtesy of AR15.com

Roger at Battle Arms Development tells me that these lowers have unique selector markings. The pictogram that represents the “fire” selector position is engraved at 68 degrees from “safe” rather than the standard 90 degrees. This makes the markings compatible with 90 degree selectors like the BAD-ASS and 45 degree selectors like the BAD-ASS-ST (Short Throw).

This will be the first lower receiver on the market that will be compatible with both the excellent 45 degree BAD-ASS-ST and the 90 degree BAD-ASS. I will share more details as they become available

TangoDown Vickers Tactical Glock Slide Stop

Glock 17RTF2 with Vickers Tactical Magazine Release and 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 which is now available.

The problem with most extended slide stops for the Glock is that a right hand shooter’s support hand can unintentionally contact the slide stop when the shooter is using a high hand grip. This unintentional contact can cause the slide to lock back before the magazine is empty or prevent the slide from locking back when magazine is empty.

The Vickers Tactical Slide Stop is designed to give a fairly large amount of surface area without being so overly large that it is prone to contacting the support hand. It has a fairly aggressive texture that makes it very easy to operate, even with gloves. Other slide stops extend to the rear of the Glock to provide more leverage. The Vickers Tactical Slide Stop extends out from the frame to provide a “shelf” that the thumb can press down on in order to release the slide.

I have one of these in hand for an upcoming review and so far I am really impressed.

300BLK

Last week I mentioned a new effort by Wilson Tactical to put a 30 caliber projectile in an AR-15. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention AAC’s entry into the same niche – the .300 Blackout (7.62×35).

The 300BLK replicates the ballistics of the venerable 7.62×39. It is designed to work within the confines of the AR-15 with no reduction in capacity and to use the standard bolt. It should come as no surprise, given AAC’s hand in this project, that the 300BLK is purpose built to be suppressed. There will be a standard 123 grain super-sonic load and an impressive 220 grain sub-sonic load.

The 300BLK seems to already enjoy some pretty extensive support. Remington will be loading ammo for it. There are already gunsmith tools like chamber reamers available. AAC has plans to manufacture short barreled PDW type AR-15s, a 16″ carbine type AR-15, and even a slick little version of the Remington Model 7 which really highlights the versatility of this cartridge.

You can read more about the 300BLK on 300AACBlackout.com.

New Monthly Contests from LuckyGunner.com

LuckyGunner.com is beginning monthly contests starting this month (April). This month they are giving away 500 rounds of .45 ACP ammunition! Who doesn’t like free ammo?

All you have to do to enter is click the LuckyGunner.com advertisement on the right side of this page (or click here) and subscribe to their mailing list. Once you are subscribed, you are automatically entered in future contests.

Review: SAR Eclipse Signal System

Signal mirrors have proven their worth as survival gear time and time again. A well made signal mirror can literally save your life, but even the best survival gear is of no use to you if you leave it at home.

The patent pending SAR Global Tool Eclipse Signal System (ESS) is a signal mirror that is the size of a dog tag and weighs less than 1/2 of an ounce. It is small enough to slip into a single section of MOLLE webbing or the coin pocket of your jeans. It can be laced into your boots or clipped in the business card slot of your briefcase. It can be seamlessly integrated into whatever gear you are carrying. This is the kind of tool that you will actually have with you when you need it.

And if all of that isn’t enough to get your attention… It works at night.

Details

The ESS is a cleverly designed stack of dog tags that have been riveted together. The top dog tag has the SAR Global Tool logo, an aiming hole, and a ring of highly reflective SOLAS (USCG approved, Safety Of Life At Sea) tape around the aiming hole.

The next dog tag down in the stack is a mirror polished reflective surface. It is protected from scratching by the top dog tag. The top dog tag has a slight bend in it that allows it to be close over the top of the polished tag without contacting anything but the rolled edge of the tag. It is an ingenious way to protect the mirror polished surface.

The basic model only has the two above dog tags. SAR also offers a model with a third dog tag in the stack. The third dog tag is bent into a clip that allows you to clip the tag to fabric, webbing, paper, or any other relatively thin material.

There is an additional model that has a fourth dog tag. The fourth tag is made from titanium and has a sharpened carbide knife edge. The edge is small but it is enough for dressing small game, cutting cordage, or other survival tasks.

In this review, I will be looking at the basic model and the model with the clip.

The clip allows the ESS to be mounted on MOLLE webbing. In this picture it is turned in to prevent unwanted reflection.

 

The ESS can serve as a "cat eye" when attached to your gear.

Aiming

To aim the ESS in the daytime the user holds the ESS up to their eye with one hand so that they can look through the aiming hole. The user extends the other hand in the direction that they wish to signal. The user forms a “V” with the index and middle finger of the extended hand and then brackets the intended target in the center of the “V”. Finally, the user moves the ESS so that the sun’s reflection is visible on the fingers that are forming the “V”. You can wiggle the ESS so that the reflection is passing back and forth from finger to finger in order to create an attention getting flash effect. The sighting hole acts a rear sight and your fingers act as a front sight. It is easy to do but it should be practiced.

Your extended hand makes an excellent "front sight" when aiming.

You do not need to be as exact when aiming the ESS at night. The SOLAS tape is extremely reflective and, while it will appear brighter when it is aimed completely square to the light it is reflecting, it is very forgiving. I found that the easiest way to aim it was to just look though the aiming hole at my intended target, trying to keep the ESS square to that target. Just like during daytime use, a slight wiggle of the ESS can create an attention getting flash.

The ESS is 40 feet from the camera and illuminated with a 4 lumen white light.

The ESS is 40 feet from the camera and illuminated with a 4 lumen red light.

In Use

I have been able to test the ESS in a variety of conditions. SAR has tested the ESS all the way out to 10 miles. I have tested it as far as 300 yards with excellent results. At 300 meters the flash is very attention getting. If someone was looking for you, they would certainly see you. The ESS performed as advertised.

At night, the ESS will amaze you. It is so simple to use. I was able to test it all the way out to 100 feet. At that distance, an 80 lumen Surefire G2L lit up the SOLAS tape like a beacon. The real test however came when I used a 4 lumen green CMG Infinity. The CMG Infinity is a very early 5mm LED light. Even with just 4 lumens of green light, I was able to illuminate the SOLAS tape plainly. I replicated the same test with a 4 lumen white LED and 4 lumen red LED as well. That is incredible performance.

Alternate Uses

Signal mirrors can be used for more than signaling rescue. The ESS can do even more than the typical signal mirror.

If you have ever tried to use a sighting compass at night and in tree cover, you know how difficult it can be. It is extremely difficult to take an azimuth when you can’t see any landmarks. If you have at least 2 people in your party, the ESS can be used as a night time navigation aid. Send one person ahead with the ESS while another person stays on the known azimuth. The mobile person points the ESS at the stationary person while the stationary person aims a compass and light at the ESS. Once the azimuth is established, the stationary person can walk to the reflection of the ESS and then repeat the process until the destination is reached. This is exactly the same technique that many people use during the daytime in dense foliage that doesn’t allow the compass user to view a distant landmark.

Thanks to the extreme reflectiveness of the SOLAS tape, this can be done relatively discreetly using a small red colored LED. I have tested a 4 lumen red LED out to 100 feet and I am sure it would reflect further. The actual effective distance will vary based on terrain and foliage.

Conclusion

The patent pending Eclipse Signal System is a life saving tool that is very easy to live with and extremely versatile. It is small enough that you can forget that you are carrying it until you need it. The reflective surface is protected from scratches that can reduce its performance (unlike most signal mirrors). On top of all of that, it is usable at night. Amazing.

You can find more pictures and information at SAR Global Tool’s website.

Disclosure: The patent pending Eclipse Signal System was provided to me, free of charge, for this review.

CHIPS

Challenge coins have spread well beyond the bounds of the military. You now see them at company meetings, trade shows, and political events. They have become a sort of high end business card.

CHIPS (Changing How Industries Promote Synergy) has taken the challenge coin and evolved it. They make custom ceramic polymer coins, or CHIPS, that have several advantages over traditional metal struck challenge coins. CHIPS can have graphics on both the front and back, as well as the edge. The graphics can be more complex than those of a traditional challenge coin and are actually embedded directly into the “ceramic polymer” material. CHIPS are lighter in weight and cost less to make than traditional challenge coins.

If you are looking for a way to promote your business, website, unit, or for a really unique party favor, check out TheChipSite.com.

New Cartridge from Wilson Combat: 7.62×40 WT

Wilson Combat has developed a new cartridge that shoehorns a .30 caliber projectile into the AR-15. The 7.62×40 WT is a low recoil cartridge that exceeds the energy of the 7.62×39. Wilson Combat sees this as a versatile do-all of a cartridge that is suited for hunting and tactical applications.

It will be able to utilize a wide variety of the .30 caliber projectiles that are already on the market so reloaders should have no problem working up a pet load. The dimensions of the 7.62×40 WT will allow it to work with standard AR-15 magazines but some modifications may be required for better reliability.

You can read more about the 7.62x40WT project on the Wilson Combat website.

 

Ares Armor Huskey Amentum Slider Sling

Image courtesy of Ares Armor

The Huskey Amentum Slider Sling from Ares Armor has some very interesting features and functionality. At first glance, it looks fairly similar to other padded 2 point slings on the market, but a closer look reveals a really well designed slider and the ability to act as a shooting aid (like a shooting sling).

The slider is designed for quick and easy function. The user can simply pull it in both directions to tighten or loosen the sling on the fly. The webbing loop makes it hard to miss when you are in a hurry.

Typically, I like my 2 point slings to be mounted at the front and rear as close to the receiver as possible which gives excellent mobility. The Huskey Amentum Slider Sling is designed to promote a stable shooting position so it should be mounted as far out toward the muzzle and buttstock as possible. Ares Armor’s instruction video for the Huskey Amentum Slider Sling does a great job of explaining more about its use as a shooting aid.

The Huskey Amentum Slider Sling is available on Ares Armor’s website.

Heat Stippling – Not Just for Handguns

Heat stippling is nothing new. Everyone with a wood burner and Glock has improved their grip by adding some extra texture. Stippling works great on handguns, but can long guns benefit from stippling? They certainly can!

My first adventure in heat stippling a long gun came as an attempt to solve a problem with my AK47s. I typically run my AR-15s with a vertical grip or hand stop. This allows me to use my support hand to pull the AR back into my shoulder and control the muzzle. The vertical grip or handstop is basically just something to pull against. I wanted to be able to run my AK-47s the same way, but I was unwilling to spend the money for a quality rail system and vertical grip for a weapon that is not my “go-to”.

I needed a way to generate a lot of grip so that the AK could be pulled back into my shoulder in the manner that I prefer, so I broke out the wood burner. After a few minutes of work, I had a small area of the polymer lower hand guard  stippled. I took the rifle to the range and I was thrilled with how it performed – so thrilled that I stippled even more of the hand guard when I returned home. I also stippled my second AK.

The extra grip generated by the stippling really aids in driving the AK. I was able to pull the rifle aggressively into my shoulder with less effort which helped keep the muzzle level during fast strings of fire. It isn’t a perfect replacement for a vertical grip but, for me, it has basically the same effect.

AR-15s can benefit from stippling as well. I applied some texture to an AR-15 that I have set up with Magpul MOE hand guards and an IWC Weapon Control MOUNT-N-SLOT. The result is excellent. The grip is positive and aggressive without being overly harsh. I find that I am able to lock my hand into place and really drive the gun. It also works great with gloves which is very nice in the winter.

I am certainly not the first person to heat stipple a long gun but it is far less common than heat stippled handguns. I hope this post encourages you to try your hand at stippling. You might just find that it solves a problem for you, too.

Insight Technology M3 LED

The Insight Technology M3 was one of the first affordable and readily available weapon mounted lights. Its tough, light weight polymer construction and 60 lumen output were state of the art at the time. However, as LED technology progressed, the M3’s performance was eclipsed. Now, Insight Technology has given the venerable M3 a new lease on life.

The Insight Technology M3 LED features the same polymer construction as the original M3. The only real difference is the head. Where the original M3 had an incandescent bulb, the new M3 LED features a 125 lumen LED. The original M3 ran for only an hour but the new M3 LED runs for 3 hours. The new LED head offers twice the output and twice the run time.

The M3 LED is available in black or tan. I have seen some retailers listing just the LED heads for sale to those who want to upgrade their current M3. There is also an updated M3X LED available.

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