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Surplus European Steel AK-47 Magazines from AIM Surplus

AIM Surplus started offering what they call “Surplus European Steel AK47 7.62×39 30rd Magazines”. These magazines have an interesting back story and a unique feature that should be of note to AK shooters and AK magazine collectors.

Image property of AIM Surplus

AIM Surplus stated that they purchased these magazines as “Yugoslavian Bolt Hold Open Magazines”. When they arrived, they were surprised to find that they were not bolt hold open magazines but rather rib-less magazines much like those made in China. The speculation has been that these magazines are were either made on Chinese equipment in Yugoslavia or that they are Chinese magazines that were imported to Yugoslavia. That is all very interesting but why should you care?

Image property of AIM Surplus

You should care because these rib-less magazines are desirable to both shooters and collectors. A typical steel AK magazine has a large rib on the back of the magazine that can really tear up your hand during a day of drills. These magazines have a nearly flat back that makes them much easier on your hands (and pouches). On top of that, they are in very good condition and they are priced very reasonably. I ordered 10 of them and they are like new.

If you are a shooter who needs to bulk up on spare magazines or a collector who likes magazines with a unique back story, then these magazines may be perfect for you. I have no idea how much longer these will be available, but you can check them out at AIM Surplus.

DDM4 Torture Test from Daniel Defense

Daniel Defense and Larry Vickers decided to beat up on a DDM4 and take you along for the ride. This new torture test video shows the DDM4 being run through a battery of tests that are entertaining and visually impressive though not all that informative. Most of the tests are probably fluff and it is likely that any quality AR-15 would pass, but overall the DDM4’s performance is entertaining. The DDM4 upper that I owned was reliable and accurate in the short time that I owned it.

The DDM4 performs well but I think the Aimpoint T-1 really steals the show. It takes a number of direct hits and keeps on ticking. Even at the end, when it finally does lose zero, there is no way of knowing whether it was the rifle, the mount, or the Aimpoint. The test also seems to make a strong case for QD optic mounts. If the Aimpoint in the test was in a QD mount it could have been easily removed to allow unobstructed use of the iron sights.

You can check out more information on the torture test on Daniel Defense’s website.

Video Blog from Revision Shooter Max Michel

Having a great team can make life a lot easier. I am very glad to have Revision on my team as a partner. Revision is obviously very glad to have top notch competitive shooter Max Michel on their team.

Max has been putting together a video blog on the Revision Youtube Channel that contains some very good info. Most of the information is centered around competition shooting but it is also very applicable to those who train for self-defense or who are preparing for a training course. There is also a very interesting look behind the scenes of Revision HQ.

Jones Tactical MOLLE Shear Sheath and Tear Away Panel

Jones Tactical is widely know for making some amazing belts. In fact, in the April 2011 issue of SWAT Magazine, Pat Rogers says that Rich Jones makes the best belts that he has ever used. That is high praise for a gear maker. However, Jones Tactical is more than just belts. I was recently given the chance to review two products that Jones Tactical makes that are geared toward first aid: the MOLLE Shear Sheath and the Tear Away Panel.

The overall quality of both of these items is great. Both items came with the MALICE Clips that would be necessary to mount them. The materials are all top notch. The designs show attention to detail and experience. The stitching is straight and beefed up where it should be. In fact, the Jones Tactical motto could be “When in doubt, add more stitches!” Every stress point that I could think of has been reinforced with additional stitching. That inspires confidence.

The front of the MOLLE Shear Sheath shows the retention strap.

The rear shows the MOLLE webbing and maker's tag.

MOLLE Shear Sheath

Medical shears are a very handy tool to have in your individual first aid kit (IFAK). They allow you or the person who may be working on you to clear clothing away from the area of the wound in order to access it. The problem is that many IFAK pouches do not provide a very accessible option for carrying medical shears if they even fit in the pouch at all. The MOLLE Shear Sheath solves that problem by providing a secure, low profile way of carrying the shears that is not dependent on the size of your IFAK pouch.

The sheath only needs one MOLLE column to mount and is narrow and flat enough to be mounted behind your IFAK pouch. Many IFAK pouches use a MOLLE set up that is 3 columns wide but the center column is left open. This open column behind the pouch can provide the space needed to mount shears using the MOLLE Shear Sheath. It can be a little bit of a pain to use the retention strap when the sheath is mounted behind another pouch.

It is very low profile when mounted.

The webbing is rolled and sewn down to create a rigid opening that retains the shears well even without the strap.

The Shear Sheath mounts with a single short MALICE Clip.

The MOLLE Shear Sheath itself is made from webbing that is folded over onto itself and then stitched down. It appears to be triple stitched the entire height of the pouch except for the bottom which is reinforced even more to accommodate the flared end of the shears. This thing is bomb proof. You can tell that attention was paid to how the shears would be retained. There is a strap that can be passed through the finger loop of the shears and affixed to the pouch via hook and loop material. The webbing is also doubled over at the opening which creates a very stiff opening that really keeps tension on the shears. Even without the retention strap, this pouch retains the shears very aggressively. These are the little touches that come with an eye for detail.

Tear Away Panel

A well stocked IFAK should be a part of any shooter’s range gear. They are especially important for soldiers, law enforcement, and shooters in carbine classes. The best way to guarantee that you have your IFAK with you when you need it is to have it physically attached to your gear. However, depending on where the IFAK pouch is mounted on your gear, you may find that it is difficult to access the contents of the pouch. Even well designed and well located pouches will be easier to access if you can remove them from your gear.

Those access issues are easy to solve with the Tear Away Panel. You can mount your IFAK to your gear and then quickly remove it should the need arise to use it. This is handy in situations where you have to treat yourself or someone else. It is much easier to work out of a clam-shell pouch that is laid out in front of you than a clam-shell pouch that is still attached to your gear. It also allows you to hand off your IFAK to someone else if the need arises.

The Tear Away Panel looks like any other section of MOLLE webbing when mounted.

It would disappear behind most IFAK pouches except the handle remains visible.

It adds very little thickness to the pouch.

The Tear Away Panel is sized to fit the vast majority of IFAK pouches which need 5 rows and 3 columns to mount. I tested it with pouches from Battlelab (Diamondback Tactical), TAG, and HSGI. I am a big fan of the HSGI Bleeder pouch which is only 2 columns wide. It will fit on the Tear Away Panel with a column of MOLLE webbing to spare. This spare webbing can be used to attach a tourniquet or, since Jones Tactical is a custom shop, they can build a Tear Away Panel to suit any pouch.

The Tear Away Panel consists of two parts that are attached via hook and loop material. The backing is mounted to your gear and the pouch is mounted to the front of the Tear Away Panel. Once everything is mounted, the user needs only to pull the large handle to release the pouch. There is a large surface area of hook and loop material so it is unlikely that pouch will detach until the handle is pulled. If you are concerned, I found that a simple webbing strap with side release buckle could be passed behind the Tear Away Panel and around the pouch to serve as cheap insurance that the pouch wouldn’t detach until you wanted it to. I suspect that a retention strap could be added to the design for a fee if you think you need one.

You can easily remove the IFAK by simple pulling the handle.

The handle comes standard in an easy to recognize red color, but other colors are available by request (like tan, shown here).

Accessing the internals of the pouch are simple once it is detached.

You will find the Tear Away Panel can be useful for more than just IFAK pouches. If you have an admin or utility pouch that you use to organize items that you carry often the Tear Away Panel will allow you to easily move that pouch between different bags or pieces of gear. You could even purchase multiple panels to allow you the flexibility to move from one pack (or chest rig/plate carrier) to another. That beats having to empty the pouch every time you want to transfer the items. The backing piece has the loop side material so it can be used to mount shotgun shell carriers, loop backed pouches, or even patches.

There is plenty of stitching to support the hook material. Poorly supported hook material can crack and tear over time.

The loop material is left behind when the pouch is detached.

Conclusion

I found both items to be very well made. The fingerprints of a gear maker who has been around the block a few times are all over these items. From the simple and clever way the Shear Sheath’s opening is constructed to the extra stitching to support the large surface area of the hook and loop on the Tear Away Panel, these items will serve you well for a long, long time.

Check out the MOLLE Shear Sheath and Tear Away Panel on Jones Tactical’s website.

Disclosure: These products were provided to me for review, free of charge, by Jones Tactical.

RS AKM

I mentioned the RS AKM in the recent Modernizing the AK Series. The AKM is an Aimpoint mount designed to mount to the standard AK side optic mount.

The AKM is chock full of features that set it apart from other optic mounts of this style. One of the most important features is the precision dovetail that lets the user center the optic over the bore. Many optic mounts of this style do not position the optic directly over the bore which can make zeroing your AK very interesting. The AKM also sits low enough to allow the Aimpoint to co-witness while still allowing room for the AK to be field stripped without removing the mount. Should you have to remove it, the thumb lever provides return to zero capability. The RS AKM mount is machined from 6061-T6 aluminum and only weighs 6 ounces.

RS Products is also working on a myriad of other mounts for the AK to accommodate other optics like the micro Aimpoints, ACOGs, and traditional magnified optics. It is really exciting to see this kind of development of the AK platform. RS Products is definitely a company to watch.

Check out the AKM on RSREGULATE.com.

SMC Light MOUNT-N-SLOT from IWC

Impact Weapons Components shows no signs of slowing the flow of MOUNT-N-SLOTs. Their latest MOUNT-N-SLOT is one that I have been looking forward to for a long time. The SMC Light MOUNT-N-SLOT is designed to allow you to attach many of the most popular weapon mounted lights to any size Magpul MOE Hand Guards (carbine, midlength, and rifle length) or Bushmaster ACR hand guards.

The SMC Light MOUNT-N-SLOT attaches to the side of the MOE Hand Guards and then cantilevers the light up toward to the front sight base (FSB). This light placement allows the bezel of the light to extend beyond the FSB which minimizes shadowing and it places the tailcap switch directly under thumb when the rifle is gripped naturally. I have found this placement to work very well.

The SMC’s modular design allows it to work with many of the most popular lights for weapon mounting. It works with the Surefire Scout lights via direct attachment. With the addition of a proprietary flashlight ring, it will also allow you mount lights like the Surefire G2X, G2L, 6P, Streamlight Polytac and more. If you ever decide to change your light, the rings will be available for purchase separate from the mount so you can replace just the ring and not the entire mount.

IWC machines the SMC from Billet 6061-T6 Aluminum and then tops them off with with a durable black hard anodized finish. All of the unnecessary material is milled away to keep the weight down to 1.820 ounces. The SMC Light MOUNT-N-SLOT comes with all the hardware and tools that you need to mount it on your hand guards.

You can read more about the SMC Light MOUNT-N-SLOT on IWC’s website.

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

Patch Collecting: Jones Tactical Logo Patch

What do you do when you make great tactical gear and you have a really cool logo? You make a patch!

Jones Tactical definitely makes great gear and they do have a really cool logo that is on full display on this patch. Many manufacturers go with subdued logos on their patches so a full color logo like this one really stands out. It would go great on the excellent Jones Tactical Patch Panel.

Stay tuned for a review of some Jones Tactical gear coming to Jerking the Trigger soon.

Battle Comp Teases with the AKBC

Battle Comp is well known for their series of compensators for the AR family of weapons. Many users have asked that they bring the Battle Comp to the AK. Well, AK users need not feel neglected any longer.

Battle Comp released video of their upcoming AKBC compensator for the AK. The video shows some impressive performance. The muzzle rise is nearly completely eliminated. The AK can be seen pushing back against the shooter but the muzzle stays nearly level.

Battle Comp is expecting the AKBC to be ready in about 7 weeks. In the mean time, you can check out their other compensators on their website.

J-Frame Drop in Duty/Carry Kit Now Available from Apex Tactical Specialties

I mentioned the J-Frame Drop in Duty/Carry Kit from Apex Tactical Specialties (ATS) a few weeks ago. ATS made a big splash with the kit at the 2011 NRA Show in Pittsburgh. It is no surprise that people are clamoring for this kit since there are so many who carry Smith & Wesson J-Frame revolvers and the price is very reasonable ($24.95). The kit is now available for purchase.

This kit was specifically designed to reduce the double action trigger pull weight without compromising reliability. This is accomplished by using high quality springs and balancing the weights of all the various springs in the kit. Often, reliability issues happen when springs are mixed and matched. The trigger pull is reduced from the typical 12 pounds to a much more manageable 9 pounds. Impressively, this is accomplished without the need for a gunsmith visit – this is a drop in kit.

I am going to have to pick one of these kits up for my S&W 442.

You can read more about the J-Frame Drop in Duty/Carry Kit on Apex Tactical Specialties’ website.

Modernizing the AK Part 7: Stocks and Grips

This is the 7th and final installment of this series on Modernizing the AK. In this post, I’ll discuss stocks and grips. These are parts that you can spend a lot of money on, but do you need to spend a lot of money here to get functional gear?

Stocks

You typically see 3 basic types of stocks mounted on AKs: fixed stocks, folding stocks, and AR-15 style collapsible stocks. The fixed stocks and some folding stocks can be considered traditional for the AK.

Most AKs that come into the USA have fixed stocks. These are generally made from wood or plastic. The stocks come in a variety of lengths. Some longer stocks are referred to as “NATO length”. These are about 1.25″ longer than what is referred to as “Warsaw length”. I prefer the shorter length because they fit better with my more squared up shooting stance. They also work better with plate carriers. If you shoot with a more bladed shooting stance or have long arms you may prefer a longer stock. The key when choosing a stock (or any piece of gear for that matter) is choosing something that works for you and your style of shooting. Professional training will help you nail these issues down. Fixed stocks are inexpensive and functional.

You would be hard pressed to tell the difference between this Russian sidefolder and a fixed stock.

Folding stocks are fairly common on AKs. While they have a certain cool factor, I can say from experience that you probably won’t use the folding functionality as much as you think. Folding stocks serve only to make the rifle more compact for transport. There are many different types of folding stocks on the market. These can mostly be broken down into 2 different types: side folders and under folders. There is basically only one type of under folder, but there are many types of side folders.

Many folding stocks on the market are junk and those that are not junk cost quite a bit of money. Folders like the Russian triangle side folders, Russian polymer side folders, and under folders require modifications to the receiver that may be a bit beyond your typical do-it-yourselfer. This brings the cost up even higher. Folding stocks from ACE LTD. offer a solid alternative to those who want to install their own stock. The ACE folding stocks can be had in 3 different lengths or with a special folding mechanism that allows the user to mount an AR-15 style collapsible stock.

Folding stocks from ACE LTD. are easily installed and customizable for length.

Collapsible stocks offer what is probably the most useful enhancement of any of the AK stock options. They are adjustable for length of pull which allows you to tailor the length of your stock to fit your gear (like a plate carrier) or your shooting style. They are extremely functional but they are far from traditional if that means anything to you. If you want a stock that both folds and collapses, you can install an ACE LTD. folder mentioned above. The best collapsible stock on the market is probably the AK47/AKM/AKS Stock Adapter from VLTOR. It features QD sling swivel sockets and watertight storage.

Grips

The standard AK grips are smaller than many shooters in the USA prefer but they are functional. If you do feel the need to replace your grip, there are more options than ever.

My favorite grip is the Galil style grip that ACE LTD. used to manufacture, but it is no longer available. Two of the most popular grips are relatively new from Hogue and US-PALM. Both do a good job of filling the hand and can provided storage for small items like batteries.

Several people that I know are reporting very good things about the MD Arms Molot Style Grip. It is based on the excellent Molot grip from Russia that is highly sought after and relatively expensive here in the USA. At only $12, the MD Arms version is a great value.

Conclusion

You can spend a lot on grips and stocks without getting that much of a return in terms of functionality. Both of my AKs have folding stocks and if I had it to do over again, I probably would have spent the money on ammo instead of a high end stock. Make sure you have a clear idea of what you will gain from a grip or stock upgrade before you drop the coin.

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