Category name:Equipment & Gear

SHOT Show 2016: Rugged Suppressors

More suppressors you say?

One of the companies that I wanted to visit was Rugged Suppressor. They come highly recommended from SilencerShop.com, especially now that they are not a supplier of SilencerCo (don’t know the story on that deal).

Who are they? Apparently, the founder is the former head of SWR prior to it being bought out by SilencerCo. If I heard correctly as I was walking up, the Octane was his design.

I took a look at the Obsidian. If is a modular pistol suppressor. You simply twist off the bottom part of the suppressor and it removes a baffle and part of the tube leaving you a “short” suppressor. Probably of not a lot of functional need – but very cool.

I talked baffles and longevity with them. Their baffles are made of a proprietary material called “Stellite.” They said that it is much more durable than stainless and aluminum. MSRP is $950.

The product looked good and they have the knowledge to make good suppressors, but my only concern would be that they are a very young company having only launched their first product in 2014.

 

P.S. to the person that asked me to go to the Strike booth, my apologies! If you click on the below pic you will see that it was actually at the top of the list in my notebook to visit. I couldn’t find it on the first pass and never got a chance to try again. Sorry.

(click pic to enlarge)

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SHOT Show 2016: AAC

Speaking of suppressors, I also stopped by the AAC booth and chatted with one of their reps. It was nestled in the “Freedom” booth along with several other brands like Remington, Bushmaster, etc.

I chatted with them about using aluminum baffles and they were very adamant that their aluminum baffles lasted longer than stainless, were lighter, and had better sound suppression despite others’ printed numbers. You can write it off as just company propaganda but sound tests I have seen do seem to indicate that shooters perceive the sound from a TiRANT to be less than other brands – despite what the print #’s indicate. Regardless, nice products and the person was very knowledgeable as we chatted suppressor cleaning.

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SHOT Show 2016: SilencerCo

One of my favorite booths to visit was SilencerCo. They had plenty of product on display that you could handle and the staff was attentive and friendly. I was hoping that they were going to have a modular pistol suppressor (a full size that you can take a baffle out and make a short length) coming out but they have no plans currently. Both Rugged and AAC have one now.

However, they had one of the coolest pistols at SHOT that I got a chance to handle: The Maxim.
Initially, I wasn’t too interested due to how bulky it looks in pictures and that it was based on the S&W ™ M&P ™ pistol. I am pleased to report that the final specs are in and the pistol will take Glock 17 mags AND Glock sights!

Handling the pistol was a completely surprise. It is not heavy or front-heavy what so ever! It is very manageable and promises to be a great shooter. While they may not be building a modular suppressor they are building some out of the box stuff. Remember when the wild looking (not round) Osprey came out?

(click on a pic to enlarge)

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SHOT Show 2016: The Kimber K6s Revolver

There has been a lot of questions on this somewhat of a surprise new product. I have to admit, being a revolver fan, I was excited about it myself. Not too many new revolvers, especially from a non-revolver company.

The K6s was not a disappointment. It is a cross between the Ruger SP-101 with its beefiness and a S&W ™ J-frame magnum or more specifically the  640 Pro ™ with its sights and moon clips. The price reflects this (the other product has an MSRP of $839).

The trigger was very good (keep in mind stock pistol) – Smooth pull that is not too long. The initial pull stacks a little but I suspect that it is on purpose. The grips were decent – they had both rubber and wood although the wood is not in the catalog. These were pre-production guns as noted by the wood grips that were stamped “SHOT Show 2016” and their SN’s.

Some things I noticed: They rotate counter clockwise and the back-strap is serrated. It’s cut for moon clips. Overall it is very well done. I can’t wait to see what other models they come out with (with moon clips hopefully semi-auto round chamberings are next).

(click on pic to enlarge)

 

Check out the SN and the SHOT Show grips:

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So, a bunch of us were waiting patiently in line to look at, what appeared to be, the only K6s in the booth.
After viewing it, leaving, we all noticed that there was a stack of them on display a few feet away. LOL

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Here are pics of the K6s brochure. I include it  here because I know that not everyone has seen it yet, and it also contains all the details:

k6-1 k6-2 k6-3 k6-4 k6-5 k6-6

SHOT Show 2016: The Nighthawk custom HiPower

Nighthawk had a set of absolutely fabulous custom Browning HiPowers on display!
These pistols were amazing. The trigger was AMAZING, what you expect a good single action pistol to be. The shape of the trigger was almost straight, unlike most HP triggers including the C&S. Much thinner than the C&S also. Definitely for and from 1911 folks. The grips (there were wood and synthetic) were THIN. This is great considering that thin HP grips are hard to find now.

I had the chance encounter of being at their booth at the same time as some of the guys from FN actually taking a look at the pistol. I am not sure if they were too happy with the pic but they did reluctantly agree. I said that I thought it was amazing custom work and they agreed. Very cool chance meeting.

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Why do you need an “arsenal”? What’s an arsenal anyway?

There has been a lot of discussion about people having a lot of guns – something that the media likes to call an “arsenal.” How many times have we heard “The shooter had x-number of guns…” with him or in his home. Not sure what it matters how many he has at home matters, but media seems to think it does. What’s worse is that often times “arsenal” equates to not very many firearms, sometimes as few 3 or 4. In the recent Oregon shooting the shooter had a total of 13 firearms, of which 7 were found at home. This has prompted some people to claim that there should be restrictions on the number that a person can have arguing that a person only has two hands and can only use two at a time. This is true – however, I do not see the reason to limit the number a person can have, after all we can only hold two at a time right?

I write this even as the President has spoken of requiring special licensing for individuals who may exceed an arbitrary number of firearms purchases, sells, or transfers. I didn’t see a number specified but Federal Lawyers and the ATF have previously expressed that such a requirement would be illegal and unenforceable. My guess is it will target people who might have an “arsenal.”

(Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/obama-weighs-expanding-background-checks-through-executive-authority/2015/10/08/6bd45e56-6b63-11e5-9bfe-e59f5e244f92_story.html)

This prompted me to realize that a great number of people are NOT familiar with firearms and are grasping at concepts (any) that may help (in their mind) these tragedies. I was recently in conversation and pointed out that firearms are a tool – with specific purposes and functions. I pointed out that just for hunting that a person could potentially have:

1-goose shotgun, 1-duck shotgun (i’m not using a 10 ga for duck), 1-deer rifle, 1-elk rifle, 1-long range game flat trajectory rifle, 1-big game rifle, 1-Varmint rifle, 1- brush rifle (hog),  1-small game rifle, 1-hunting revolver (again multiple can be needed depending on game)

That’s *10* firearms! An “arsenal” according to some!

I haven’t even touched upon home defense, self defense (yes they can be different), competition (IDPA, 3-gun, trap, clays, etc), or just plinking.

And the 10 are just plain old hunting firearms. They are not even potentially scary looking (shotguns, bolt actions, revolver, etc) aka ‘military-style’ looking.
However, some of them certainly could be.

The AR15 that for some reason inspires fear in non-gun people can easily be used for deer, elk, long range game, big game, varmints, hog, and small game. The platform is remarkably adaptable (changeable caliber) and very accurate. Non-gun people might be surprised that the cartridge that the military uses was actually for VARMINT hunting. (Yes, gun people will be quick to point out the leade differences between 5.56 and .223 which is a technical difference that makes no difference for this discussion but I know someone will point it out).

I will also point out here that I was very explicit in using hunting firearms since they seem to be more accepted (by non-gun people) but that the 2nd Amendment, as the NRA slogan used to say: “Ain’t about duck hunting.” Remember, the Standing Army was DISBANDED after the Revolutionary War, but I digress.

I write this knowing that the average reader is a gun person and none of this will be new to them. However, it is my hope that someone potentially using Google to find out why a person has a gun “arsenal” might find it.

Taurus PT-22 Poly vs Beretta 21a Bobcat

My Dad recently confronted a burglar and wanted some very small and lightweight. He preferred a semi-auto, but it needed to be able to fit into a robe pocket. Since he is older I worried about his ability to be able to rack a semi-auto slide under stress or late at night. The first pistol I thought of was the Beretta 21a Bobcat because of the tilt barrel making loading/unloading simple. But, I couldn’t find one (he can’t have mine). He actually wanted a 25ACP. I personally prefer the 22LR but I thought the straight wall cartridge might feed better, especially if the pistol isn’t kept clean and well lubricated–something I find that the Bobcat requires. The Bobcat does not like to be run dry.

What I did find him is a Taurus PT-22 Poly. He is already a Taurus fan and a has a Taurus 85. Additionally he likes “features” like the internal lock and safety (on a DAO?) I have to remember it is not for me.

Here are some pics with my notes comparing it to my Bobcat.

  • I was genuinely surprised at the PT-22 grip. It is much larger than the Bobcat. The magazine also has an extended base plate that is wide and long
  • The PT-22 is a DAO pistol
  • The PT-22 has a magazine disconnect safety that also locks the slide
  • Both pistols have a locking safety. The Bobcat can be locked cocked and locked or with hammer-down DA
  • Disassembly is the same but note that the magazine must be in the PT-22 to move the slide
  • The PT-22 is supposed to be .8 ounces lighter than the Bobcat – they feel the same.

 

Click on pic to enlarge

 

The PT-22 in the box.
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Comparison pic PT-22 (L) vs Bobcat (R)
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Bobcat on top – pretty close in size overall
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You can see how much wider the base plate is on the PT-22.
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PT-22 baseplate lets you get an extra finger on the grip
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PT-22’s feed ramp (right) is much more extended
The tilt barrel is cool – makes it easy to load/unload and requires no hand strength to function the slide
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Bobcat vs PT-22 magazine. Size difference is immediately apparent
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PT-22 front sight is taller
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PT-22 rear sight groove is also larger. Note that the PT-22 has a bobbed hammer
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Note the triggers are cut differently especially the bottom hook on the PT-22 (top). The material and thickness seem the same.
How do they compare? It is probably not fair since my Bobcat is 10-20 years old and very well broken in – it is smooth as butter in SA or DA.
The Taurus is of course safety heavy. It snaps clean though (remember to use an empty case or risk breaking the firing pin!)
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For some reason the pistol comes with a bag as does the internal lock.
I am not a fan but my Dad likes them.
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I included this from the manual because they have some very strong feelings on +P and +P+ ammo.
To be fair the manual also does talk about using the safety if you “must” carry it loaded whereas a lot of other manufacturers just say not to.
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Portable Lockboxes: Gun Vault NV300 vs Hornady TriPoint

I am sure that we all have encountered that place where we cannot legally bring a firearm. I am sometimes forced to leave it in my vehicle or hotel room, etc.  As a result I have been using a Gun Vault NV300 for about a year primarily leaving it in my vehicle, sometimes dragging it into a hotel room or even at home (when leaving a loaded firearm on the night stand may not be a good idea).

I have been happy with it, but decided to purchase a second lock box for the home so I can leave it there to use whenever I need it. I also had the idea that a 3-digit combination in the car was not a good idea since I can be gone from the car for hours – If you have the time, there are only 1000 possible combinations to go through. The box itself is also very small and light, so I thought maybe a bigger/heavier one might be better and hoped for a beefier lock mechanism.

I purchased the Hornady TriPoint for these reasons. They were both in the $30 range and use a similar setup: locking box padded with foam and both have a cable lock attachment (a hole drilled through the side) that you can loop it onto something stable to keep it secure. Basically it works like a bicycle cable lock.

The Hornady is definitely larger and heavier. This actually was a detriment in my case. It was noticeably harder to hide as the Gun Vault was able to slip under my front seat and be easily covered with the floor mat. The Hornady was very noticeable. I am going to try getting an additional floor mat and make it look like a part of the car (just another unexplained hump?). The big advantage to the Hornady for me are the three locking points vs the single latch of the Gun Vault (see pics below). Another plus to me is that it uses a barrel lock key. I think the pics will explain better than I can write.

Click on any pic for full-size

Here you can see the physical size difference and 3-digit combo vs barrel lock:

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Here they are both opened up:

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Another pic for size comparison:

Here is the Hornady 3-point latch system (aka “TriPoint” ):

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Single latch of the Gun Vault NV300:

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Hornady’s 3-points locking points in the frame:

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Closeup of one of the Hornady’s locking points:

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Here is a closeup of the Gun Vaults locking point. Not sure why there are 2 notches since it only has a single latch:

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Here are both the units open. Notice that they hinge open on opposite sides (Gun Vault top, Hornady bottom):

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Closeup of the Hornady cable. Notice that the side that actually goes in the lock box has a spacer:

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Close up of the Gun Vault. The diameter of the 2 cables is about the same although the Gun Vault might be a little thicker. Notice that the loop-through loop is noticeably has a larger opening. This makes it much easier to attach it to things:

 

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For fun here is a pic of the underside of my Jeep Grand Cherokee (WK) seat where I looped the cable through a bar:

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Here is an alternate Jeep Grand Cherokee (WK) mounting point. Underneath the passenger seat. I then stretched the cable forward and placed the box under the driver’s seat. Makes it easy to access from the rear passenger seat.

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At home or hotels I attach it to anything that I can. I usually attach it to the bed frame. They can take the box but they will have to take the bed frame with them. I am going to see if I can hide the Hornady, I feel safer with it since it (appears) to be more pry resistant. If I can’t however, I will just switch it out for the Gun Vault and keep the Hornady at home.

However, either of these boxes is a worthy investment at about $30. As always, safety first!

Stories of the Death of 40S&W are Greatly Exaggerated

40 ounces – wait – what?

To be honest, when the 40S&W came out in in 1990 I was under-whelmed. I felt that the flexibility of the 10mm was close to ideal and that the 40S&W would never catch on. I actually was a fan of Evan Whildin’s of Action Arms Limited (think Uzi) 41 Action Express. Ironically, the 41AE was designed to replicate the 41 Magnum which itself was designed as the “ideal” law enforcement cartridge (according to Bill Jordan et al)

But I was sure wrong about the 40S&W! At the time it seemed to fill in the middle-ground and resolve the great caliber debate: 9mm vs 45ACP, fast vs slow, single-stack vs double-stack mags, light vs heavy. It caught on quickly and like a wild fire among law enforcement and quickly became the dominant round. I can’t help but think that the fact that we were under the 1994 high capacity magazine ban limiting capacity helped fuel its popularity – at least in the civilian market.

Despite this, it would take me about a decade of a proven track record to warm up to it. Let’s face it – the older I got, the heavier that full size 45 felt.

 

What was once old is new again!

Enter 2014 and the FBI has re-adopted the 9mm (more on that in a minute) and it seems that the internet is a buzz with stories of how the 40 is either dead or dying. More recently I have even seen a trend of where very well-known firearms experts seem to go out of their way to discredit the 40S&W. Not that I necessarily disagree with their reasons or evaluations (there is a pro and con to everything), but I find the sudden upswing of anti-endorsements odd.

Just yesterday I saw a thread where a prominent competition shooter said that he (still) preferred the 40 to the shock of many on the internet. There was a bit of criticism and I was surprised to see him defending his choice and even qualifying it. Gosh folks—he can shoot whatever he likes. I will never understand why anyone cares what someone else uses.

Speaking of what is old is new – consider the possibility of another assault weapons ban. It is a common mantra of anti-gunners’ “common sense” legislation. If we were limited to 10 rounds in new pistols again worse (all firearms) would your opinion change? Think that it couldn’t happen? Tell me how it couldn’t happen for the decade that it did. It is only because of the NRA that there was a 10 year sunset. If not for that clause we would STILL be under its limit (end political rant).

 

Internet declares the 40 S&W in its last days

But I digress, why do I think that the stories of the 40’s death are exaggerated?

The biggest reason is that it still holds about 60% of the U.S. Law enforcement market.

That is huge – it means that there are more 40 S&W pistols in service than ALL other calibers COMBINED!

Incidentally, the most popular law enforcement pistol is the Glock 22. Glock civilian sales are completely different and the best seller in the U.S. is the model 19.

 

But the FBI just switched to 9mm so the 40 will die out!

Will it? I was wrong about the switch-over to 40 S&W but this time I am not seeing the massive shift to follow the FBI like we have in the past. Yes, I know that there are some, but not like before.

Seems like the FBI switches standard issue very frequently. From memory I can think of four changes: revolver to 9mm, to 10mm, to 40S&W and now back to the 9mm. I think that most departments would have a hard time justifying the cost of changing calibers so frequently, let alone BACK to one previously used. Today’s political environment is also, unfortunately, much more hostile to law enforcement. I feel that there may be a public backlash to “buying the police new guns.” There would definitely be accusations of funding waste.

 

Abandoned FBI rounds just don’t die

I also question the belief that a round will die out because the FBI no longer uses it. Historically this simply is not true. None of the rounds that the FBI used formerly have died out! The 38, 357 Magnum, 9mm, 10mm, 40S&W are definitely still popular. For literally YEARS people have been saying that the 10mm was dead. At worst, it is a boutique round even though there were new pistols from Glock this year (who already has a pretty good line of 10’s), one from SIG (who has never made one previously) and an expanded line from RIA. Not too bad if you ask me. The 40S&W is even more established than the 10mm ever was.

 

Going down the same road as 41AE and 41Mag?

In fact, of all the rounds discussed I think that the only one that I would say is dead is the 41AE. It was never adopted by any agency and only available from a few providers – in a conversion kit, Tanfoglios and the IMI Jericho. I think ammo only came from UZI/Samson. If you think that the 40 S&W has a bit of kick or is hard on guns the 41AE was worse. I sold my Browning HiPower conversion kit long before it disappeared.

The 41 Magnum has fared a little better – It was adopted limitedly and revolvers are still made. Ammo is still available but far from common place. This is truthfully probably what a lot of people think of (hope?) for the future of the 40 S&W. But, the fact that a very powerful REVOLVER round (significantly more powerful than the 10mm) intended for law enforcement but only adopted by a few agencies (2 or 3?) still exists today is pretty remarkable. Besides Rick (Walking Dead) how many agencies even issue any revolver as a duty sidearm? Maybe some Corrections and Reserves? I think the 40 and 41 Mag comparison is not 1-to-1, but it is noteworthy.

 

Which is better: 9, 40, 45, 50AE? Google!

The 9mm vs 40S&W vs 45ACP vs whatever debates have been hashed to death on the internet. Way too much time and bandwidth is wasted on justifying what the “best” round is. I am not going to engage in each caliber’s pros/cons – and every cartridge has BOTH. Google’g will result in a ridiculous amount of material.

 

Some arguments are just not worth participating/Google first!

I do feel that I have to point out a weird caliber argument that I saw yesterday. Someone called the 40S&W “Short & Weak” when compared to the 9mm. Now, when the 40S&W was introduced there were people who called it “Short & Weak” in comparison to its big brother 10mm but using the phrase in a justification of the 9mm over 40S&W is just wacky – check your cartridge dimensions first! I wish I had kept the link to that particular thread. On second thought, I am glad I didn’t.

 

My conclusion? Somebody buy me a Wilson (in any caliber)

Carry what you want. They all work…mostly (well, they are all still just pistol rounds). As for the experts – they are not wrong and I respect their opinions (heck, I just bought a Glock 43 as a backup/deep conceal!). I am unsure of the seeming animosity towards the 40 S&W and why there feels like an anti-40 campaign. They are people too and are entitled to their opinion and to buy what they like.

But, like most police departments, I am heavily invested in 40 equipment and ammo. So, my main carry will continue to be 40S&W. Not that I don’t think that there are plenty of other reasons to stick with the 40 (it works and I like the boom), but economics alone are a big reason that the 40 S&W won’t be going away any time soon.


Some reading material if your bored/interested:

History of FBI hand guns – http://www.americanrifleman.org/articles/2011/8/22/a-history-of-fbi-handguns/

The Forgotten M&P (41Magnum) – http://modernserviceweapons.com/?p=3176

Wikipedia entry for 41AE – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.41_Action_Express
(I wish I had kept some of the AAL promo material on it)

FBI Handgun Wounding Factor Effectiveness – http://gundata.org/images/fbi-handgun-ballistics.pdf
(I know it is a bit dated now, but it is worth reading)

Army opens up possibility of adopting non-9mm – http://kitup.military.com/2014/07/army-40-caliber-fbi-returns-9mm.html
(Not likely, but wouldn’t that be funny?)

 

If you haven’t written regarding the M855 ammo ban yet, consider this…

I know that you have been probably been flooded with prompts to write and let your comments be known about the proposed ban and even been supplied with templates. If you haven’t already I would urge you to do so. I have included what I sent to the ATFE via email. Perhaps you will find it useful or informational, feel free to use it however you like –  a few people have asked me “what’s the deal with green tip?”

To: APAComments@atf.gov

Dear Sir/Madam,
I am writing to make it known that I am against the proposed ban. I will be brief.
1. M855 makes up ~ 30% of the civilian sporting market for 223.
2. M855 is not mostly made made up of an offending “piercing” metal
3. M855 has always been exempt from the 1986 requirements
4. Handguns firing rifle rounds (including M855) have long been available and are prohibitively expensive
5. ATFE makes no claim nor presents any statistics that there are actually instances of M855 being used in crime, especially from a handgun
6. The round, ironically, is actually ballistically less of a threat when fired from a handgun
7. The “framework” is too loosely defined, it appears as if the goal is to be able to restrict all .223 based ammunition with the exception of rimfire. The accelerated timeframe for adoption does not help this perception
8. The 223 round is probably the most popular sporting round currently in use by the public, surpassing even 22 rimfire since 223 (up until this proposal) it has been more available

Thank you for your time, and I hope that you reconsider this proposal.

And I urge to please comment on the proposal if you have not already!

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