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Review: Revision Eyewear Sawfly

The consequences of poor quality eye protection can range from something annoying like an unexplained shift in point of impact to something as serious as vision loss. The first situation will ruin a day at the range. The second situation has life altering implications that can’t be reversed. High quality eyewear that is purpose built for shooting  is a must have for any shooter.

In this post, I’ll be taking a look at the Revision Eyewear Sawfly Shooters Kit. Revision refers to the Sawfly glasses as “ballistic spectacles”. The term ballistic spectacles speaks to their intended purpose of protecting the wearer’s eyes from the various hazards of shooting.

What Makes for Suitable Shooting Glasses?

There are several things that I look for in shooting glasses. These are the things that separate safety glasses meant for hammering nails from shooting glasses meant for the specific environment of the gun range (or police and military use). These are the things that separate the good shooting glasses from the great ones…

Ballistic Protection

The first thing is ballistic protection. The glasses should be rugged enough to protect your eyes from impact and cover a broad enough area of your face. If the glasses to break, shatter, or otherwise allow a harmful object contact your eyes without resistance, they are not suitable for shooting. The Sawfly has actually been tested and proven to stop 37 strikes of #6 shot fired from a 12 gauge shotgun. They will certainly shrug off brass, bullet jackets that bounce off steel targets, and various other debris. They are broad enough to prevent debris from entering at odd angles.

Shooting glasses should also sit a bit differently on your face than regular glasses for maximum protection. They should sit close to your face at the top of the glasses but still provide air flow to prevent fogging. I once witnessed a gentleman shooting at a public range that had a piece of freshly ejected brass fall between the top of his shooting glasses and his forehead. The brass settled on his lower eyelid and left quite a blister. His safety glasses were the type that are more suitable for factory work than shooting and he paid the price (though it could have been much worse). The top of the Sawfly frame sits very close to the forehead. There isn’t enough room to allow a brass casing to enter.

Optical Quality

Secondly, shooting glasses should be clear and distortion free from edge to edge. You can only shoot as well as you can see. I have seen poor quality safety glasses actually effect the point of impact of a shooter who was shooting iron sights on an AR-15. The shooter zeroed their carbine at the start of the day with good quality clear glasses with clear lenses. As the day wore on and it became brighter, he switched to sunglasses and immediately noticed a shift in point of impact. It was cured by returning to the original clear glasses.

Poor quality glasses have poor quality lenses that distort and obscure your vision. The Sawfly lenses are distortion free and clear from edge to edge. Revision Eyewear even offers the Sawfly in two sizes so that the fit of the glasses will not flex the lenses in such a way that view through the lenses becomes distorted. This is a very welcome feature for someone like myself who has a larger head.

Comfort and Fit

Comfort and fit are obviously important. If your eye protection isn’t comfortable or it is constantly shifting you may be apt to remove it or you might be concentrating on it rather than making the shot. The Sawfly frame features curved arms that are flexible to conform to the wearer’s head and adjustable for length. The arms have rubberized areas that help prevent them from shifting. They also feature a really slick low profile head band that snaps into place on the ends of the arms. The head band really helps to keep everything from shifting. Those of you who do more than shoot from a shooting bench when at the range will appreciate the head band. They also have a large, soft, and flexible nose piece. The nose piece is very comfortable and stays put well, even when wet.

Many shooting glasses share the same, often overlooked, flaw. The frame sits too low above the eyes. As a result, when the shooter goes prone and their head rocks forward slightly they end up trying to look through the frame instead of the lens. It is obviously impossible to look through the opaque part of your eye protection so you will often see shooters pushing their glasses up on their face when they go prone or other shooting positions. The Sawfly frame actually sits up over the eyebrows. This allows the shooter to tilt their head forward and still see through the lens. You never notice this stuff until you have to fight it on the range.

Other Considerations

Your eye protection also has to work well with other important range gear like head wear and hearing protection. I always wear a ball cap and use Sordin electronic hearing protection. It seems that most other manufacturers give this no thought at all. My previous eye protection has fat rubber arms that would break the seal my Sordins around my ear and would contact the sides of my hat causing the glasses to lift in the front. The Sawfly arms are very thin. They slip easily under the ear cups of my Sordins without breaking the seal and under the band of the hat. The way that the head band snaps to the frame also plays an important role here. Some head bands are pressed onto the ends of the arms which adds bulk but the Sawfly head band is very slim. They work well with all the typical range gear.

It can also be nice to have various lens types that can be chosen based on a specific situation. If you are shooting on a bright outdoor range you will likely prefer a dark shaded lens. A lens color that offers high contrast, like yellow or vermilion, can be a real boon when you are shooting on a dimly lit indoor range. The Sawfly is available as a kit with various colored lenses that can easily be swapped into the frame without tools. They can be tailored to your specific conditions in just a moment. The Shooter’s Kit that I received for evaluation came with Smoke, Clear, and Vermilion colored lenses.

In the Box

The Sawfly Shooters kit came with the lenses mentioned above (Smoke, Clear, and Vermilion), the Sawfly frame, a head band, a lint free cloth bag that can also be uses to clean the lenses, and a soft case with individual “envelopes” for storing the spare lenses. The soft case also features belt loops and a plastic clip that makes it easy to clip to the outside of a range bag or backpack. It is a well thought out kit.

Nitpicks

I have some nitpicks with the Sawfly. The arms are secured to the frame via small screws that are often found on glasses. I have really come to appreciate glasses that just snap together since they tend to “break-away” when they are sat on or crushed in a shooting bag. They can easily be snapped back together. Screw construction can be less forgiving.

I also wish that the head band had its rotation limited. It is a minor gripe but it would be nice if the band couldn’t become twisted. It won’t twist when it is on your head but it can twist when you put them on, take them off, or take them in and out of storage. It is not a big deal to straighten them out, but it would be nice if you didn’t have to deal with at all.

Conclusion

I really, really like the Sawfly. They solve a couple of problems for me – they play well with my Sordin hearing protection and the larger size prevents distortion caused from flexing to fit a larger head. I am not sure why more high end eyewear manufacturers don’t offer multiple sizes. The Sawfly has really performed well for me. I highly recommend them.

You can check out the Sawfly Shooter’s Kit and all the other Sawfly kits on the Revision Eyewear website.

Disclosure: This product was provided to me for review, free of charge, by Revision Eyewear.

, like the Revision Eyewear Sawly,

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 and Improved RDK Carrier from Zulu Nylon Gear

Zulu Nylon Gear continues to impress with the latest improvements to their blow out pouch, the RDK Carrier. This pouch is specifically designed to carry the RSKTKR Down Kit but it should work well with your own blow out kit.

The RDK Carrier has some really slick features that make it stand out. The most noticeable is the very large elastic loop on the face of the pouch that is used to secure a tourniquet (TQ) like the SOFTT. Few blow out pouches from other makers provide a place to lash a TQ, if there are any provisions at all. The RDK Carrier’s TQ carrier has a ton of surface area that should make carrying and accessing your TQ a snap.

Pouches designed to carry life saving medical gear cannot be a success unless they are very accessible. The RDK Carrier has an innovative pull tab that can be pulled to open the pouch with one hand. It can be folded down and secured with hook and loop when not in use. The bright color ensures that the pouch is visible and that someone else can easily identify your blow out pouch.

These are features that you won’t find on any other pouch. Joel at Zulu Nylon Gear continues to apply his eye for innovation to pieces of gear that were basically all alike from one maker to the next. What will he re-invent next?

Check out the RDK Carrier on the Zulu Nylon Gear website.

Heat Stippling Gear

I recently posted about heat stippling long guns and a few of my fellow Trigger Jerks expressed interest in seeing the gear that I use to stipple. My intention is not to get to deeply into how to stipple, but rather to show the gear that I use and share how you can make your own.

This stippling was accomplished using a modified wood burning bit.

When I first started stippling, I used a small pointed bit to apply a single dimple at a time. This method yielded decent results but it took a lot of time and I would often accidentally leave small areas untextured. It worked, but I was sure I could figure out a more efficient way of stippling.

This is the type of large diameter bit that can be modified.

The key, for me, was to find a wood burning kit with large diameter bits. These larger diameter bits can be modified into a tool that can lay down several dimples at a time, instead of just one. If you can’t find a kit with larger bits, you can use a brass screw that matches the thread pitch of your wood burning kit.

This is what the bit looks like after being ground down and cut with the cutting wheel.

I grind the bit flat using the sanding wheel on my Dremel rotary tool and then cut checkering in to its face using a Dremel cutting wheel. The brass bits are very soft and cut easily. The whole process takes less than 5 minutes.

The cuts don't have to be precise to give good results.

When you are done, you will have a stippling bit that covers a wider area and lays down several dimples at a time. It works best if you overlap each press and rotate it a quarter turn between presses. The result is very dense and consistent texture that takes a lot less time to apply.

Give it a try.

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.

New Council Tool Velvicut Axes

There are extremely few manufacturers who are still making axes in the USA. Council Tool is one of them. They make solid axes that, while very functional, are a bit crude compared to some of the axes coming out of Europe. That is all about to change with the Velvicut line.

Council is bringing back the days of premium American made axes. The Velvicut line will have premium features like premium steel (5160), hardened edge for great edge holding, improved cutting geometry, and American hickory handles. The heads are finely finished and then coated with linseed oil. They will come with a leather bit cover and in a special box. These are some very high end axes and the prices will be comparable to premium European axes.

The first axe in the series is a classic Dayton pattern felling axe. The Dayton pattern axe is renown for its versatility. It is a uniquely American design. The next axe in the Velvicut line has me very excited. Council Tool will be introducing a premium version of the Hudson Bay axe which I consider to be just about perfect as a packing axe.

I am so glad to see a company like Council Tool continuing the legacy of finely made American axes.

Adventure Medical Kits SOL Origin Survival Kit

The Adventure Medical Kits (AMK) SOL Origin is a really interesting take on the traditional survival kit. The Origin’s container doesn’t just hold all the various parts of the kit, it is integrated with them. The result is a relatively compact and lightweight kit that gives easy access to the most important tools.

One side of the case holds a signal mirror while the other side holds a fire starter, compass, and folding knife with a whistle in the handle. This allows several of the most important tools to be immediately accessible, without having to open the case. This is a really nice feature considering you may be cold, wet, and have shaking hands when you try to access this kit. One sure way to ruin your moral in a survival situation is to dump the contents of your survival kit into the mud. The Origin should spare you that headache.

You can check out the Origin SOL on the AMK website.

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.

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