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wood A-lister. Sticking to our editorial guns, we politely turned down the offer unless the director and actor would go on the record with us about why they feel we law-abiding gun owners shouldn’t have the same rights as Hollywood Remember the good old days elites. The response? Crickets. when you could kick back and Hollywood elites know jack about firearms, catch the weekly episode of your yet they constantly rant to an ignorant audience favorite action show, like Magnum about the evils of guns. Of course, most live in P.I., The A-Team, MacGyver, The Dukes of gated communities and surround themselves Hazzard, Miami Vice? Back before PC BS and with armed bodyguards. All of this while billions political agendas were shoved in your face at of dollars pour into their coffers from making every turn. Which brings me to an anecdote. “shoot ’em up” movies and TV shows. Contributor Peter Suciu digs a bit deeper on this topic in We called on a “big-time” Hollywood movie his article on page 20. production company a year The rationale: Common ago to interview one of the sense says that you don’t stars and the prop master so call a plumber to do electrithat we could give Ballistic cal work. The same notion readers a behind-the-scenes applies to Hollywood. You look at the making of said don’t ask actors and directors movie, which was being to provide political clarity. billed as the next Black Well, maybe Clint Eastwood, Hawk Down. The PR wonks or stars who have been vocal wanted to know what Ballistic is all about. Bluntly, I quotin supporting the Second ed from our tagline: “We’re Amendment: Jon Voight, Kurt the premier firearms and Russell, Vince Vaughn, Jeremy survival magazine, and we Renner, David Spade, Gary cater to shooting enthusiasts Sinise, Chuck Norris and Marfirst and foremost.” We even tin Kove. Speaking of Martin Who trained John sent the studio folks some Kove, make sure to catch a Wick? None other back issues and sample special interview with him in than Taran Butler. Turn to page 46 articles we’d published in our spring 2019 issue. Beto learn more. come a subscriber and save the past. Sister publication some of your hard-earned Tactical Life did an extensive dough by visiting critique of The Hurt Locker years ago where we As for this issue, we’re celebrating some oldleaned heavily on a retired EOD specialist to school goodness with a salute to Magnum P.I. make sure our editorial was accurate. And we We’ve paired an exclusive hands-on review of the showed them plenty others. new STI 2011 starring in the CBS reboot (page After weeks of leaving countless voice messages and emails and getting the old, “Stand 32) with a tribute to “Thomas Magnum: American by, we’re still checking on this,” we Badass” (page 38). Why? Because finally got word from an insider on Tom Selleck is another prothe project and learned that the Second-Amendment star we’d lawyers high up at the studio didn’t love to sit down with. In fact, Tom, if want to go near any gun publications. you’re out there listening, we’d love However, while putting this issue for you be part of future issues of Ballistic and sister publication Guns Of together, we had a wonderful PR The Old West. We know how much person ask us if we’d cover a new Ballistic magazine is now available for digital you love cowboy guns! —Nino Bosaz action flick—stacked with great gundownload at play—that was directed by a known Subscribe for a year and you’ll save money WE STAND CORRECTED: On last issue’s “Load anti-Second-Amendment turd and to spend on things like Up” page, we incorrectly labeled Pat McNamara’s guns and more guns. GTO as a “1969.” It’s a 1965. Pardon the slip. starring an equally anti-gun Holly-




Nino Bosaz Linas Cernauskas Greg Lickenbrock Kenneth Ross Michael Toppin Matthew Hogan Andrew Berry Richard Ortega Scott Hill/ProCirc Alex Landeen*

CONTRIBUTING FIELD EDITORS* David Bahde; Daniel J. Clermont; Will Dabbs, MD; Edward Earle; Rob Garrett; Andy Grossman; Jason Hanson; Alex Landeen; Garrett Lucas; Fred Mastison; Bri Van Scotter; Sean Utley; • • EDITORIAL INQUIRIES VP/GROUP PUBLISHER & CONTENT DIRECTOR

Nicholas S. Seifert



Jim Coen; 212-478-1949 Carrie Roeder Brock Norman




NEW YORK: 60 E. 42nd St., Suite 820, NY, NY 10165; 212-478-1910 NASHVILLE: 2451 Atrium Way, Suite 320 Nashville, TN 37214; 800-284-5668 SUBSCRIPTIONS / SINGLE COPIES 800-284-5668; ONLINE STORE: *Consultant TO THE READERS: Be advised that there may be products represented in this magazine as to which the sale, possession or interstate transportation thereof may be restricted, prohibited or subject to special licensing requirements. Prospective purchasers should consult the local law enforcement authorities in their area. All of the information in this magazine is based upon the personal experience of individuals who may be using specific tools, products, equipment and components under particular conditions and circumstances, some or all of which may not be reported in the particular article and which this magazine has not otherwise verified. Nothing herein is intended to constitute a manual for the use of any product or the carrying out of any procedure or process. This magazine and its officers and employees accept no responsibility for any liability, injuries or damages arising out of any person’s attempt to rely upon any information contained herein. BALLISTIC® (ISSN 2573-0290) is published quarterly by Athlon Sports Communications, Inc., 2451 Atrium Way, Suite 320, Nashville, TN 37214. Single copy price: $8.99 in U.S.A., $9.99 in Canada. Submissions of manuscripts, illustrations and/or photographs must be accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope. The publisher assumes no responsibility for unsolicited material. Copyright © 2018 by Athlon Sports Communications, Inc. All rights reserved under International and Pan American Copyright Conventions. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission of the publisher is strictly prohibited. Printed in the U.S.A.





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Settling the debate on guns in movies and how we live in the real world BY PETER SUCIU

32 MAGNUM’S BACK And he’s rocking a modified STI 2011 instead of his classic Colt BY DAVID BAHDE

38 THOMAS MAGNUM: AMERICAN BADASS Yes, just reading this might put more hair on your chest BY WILL DABBS, MD

46 BUILDING STAR FIREPOWER When Hollywood needs more realistic gunplay, it calls on Taran Butler BY DANIEL J. CLERMONT

54 HAM’R TIME Move over Blackout, Wilson Combat’s dropping a new .300 game-stopper



70 FLIPPING OUT Five new tactical flippers face off to show how far the knife world has come



92 LAUNCH TIME Grab-and-go grenading with a 40mm LMT launcher for personal defense BY WILL DABBS, MD

100 MOTAR CITY Detroit is back and better than ever, and this high-end AR-15 proves it BY ANDY GROSSMAN

108 SPY GAINS Ten lifesaving CIA-level tactics to escape and evade danger BY JASON HANSON








Must-have AR accessories lighting up the market

Fred Mastro and Felix Roiles help craft the ultimate combat blade





Here’s your chance to score two amazing .357 Magnum classics BY ALEX LANDEEN

28 BODYGUARD DIARIES How a lone security guard saved his girlfriend during 1973’s London Music Festival BY LEROY THOMPSON

64 I GOT THIS Nine lifesaving tips to add to your selfdefense toolbox BY PAT MCNAMARA



80 BATTLE BLADE DoubleStar’s newest knife cuts through the BS with unstoppable steel BY FRED MASTISON

84 ROAD TRIP Come along to Berryville, Arkansas, where business is booming BY ROB GARRETT

98 DRILL TIME Modify your gunfight training to reflect threats that actually move BY DR. MARTIN D. TOPPER




Rezvani’s $295K dream rig combines armor with extra helpings of luxury BY WILL DABBS, MD

120 WILD KITCHEN Finger-licking-good gourmet treats made from your fall hauls BY BRI VAN SCOTTER

122 AFTER HOURS Dinner isn’t over until you try some of these tasty liqueurs BY FRED MASTISON

132 THREADS New apparel and gear to keep you comfy in the cold BY ALEX LANDEEN

136 LAST BLAST The future is bright for shooter, model and entrepreneur Kimberly Marie BY SEAN UTLEY


1> BLACKHAWK MULTIPOINT SLING A sling that’s comfy to wear, versatile, quick to deploy and built like a tank— what’s not to love? BlackHawk has really stepped up its game by introducing the MultiPoint Sling. It’s made from high-quality nylon, and the rapid-adjust slider enables the user to make lightning-fast transitions. This sling also has steel quick-detach mounting points and is American made. (


STOCKPILE Must-have AR accessories lighting up the market By Ballistic Staff ¥ Photos Courtesy Manufacturers

It’s undeniable. The AR is king in the rifle world, and every day we’re seeing new versions hit the market. It’s even making a big splash in the pistol world, too. But why stop with just the gun? Whether you want to trick out your new AR, refurbish your old favorite or make it ready for a specific mission, there are literally thousands of accessories available. Here are some of the best that you should consider bringing home.



2 2> CMC AR-15/AR-10 FLAT SINGLE-STAGE TRIGGER This is a true single-stage drop-in trigger with a flat bow. It’s got a smooth, glass-like break with a positive reset. It also comes in a variety of weights, from 3.5 to 6.5 pounds. That is great news, as CMC covers the gamut of competition, personal defense and law enforcement duty. The best part? These triggers are easy to install. (




3> CRIMSON TRACE CWL SERIES Crimson Trace’s new CWL tactical lights are specifically designed for AR carbine and pistol applications. Available in 500- and 900-lumen models, the CWL features tap-on/tapoff tail-cap activation as well as a remote on/off pad. Models are available for Picatinny, KeyMod and M-LOK handguards. The lights are waterproof, will burn up to 1 hour at 500 lumens and weigh only 3.9 ounces. Their housings are manufactured from hardcoat anodized aluminum for impact resistance. (




The new Elite Series of Camo pistol grips from Ergo are molded in a variety of patterns to suit a user’s environment or personality. These are overmold-

ed in seven camo patterns and feature extended beavertails and subtle finger grooves. Camo options include Arctic, Cobalt, Imperial, Inferno, Predator, Tiger and Tracker. (

5> MFT TEKKO POLYMER AR-15 CARBINE M-LOK RAIL This American-made handguard from Mission First Tactical (MFT) sports a continuous top rail and is easy to install without screws using a delta ring and handguard cap. M-LOK slots allow you to add accessories, and a hand stop is built in. Available in black and Flat Dark Earth, the forend is made of a proprietary polymer that dissipates heat and is impact resistant. (

6> MIDWEST INDUSTRIES G3 SERIES HANDGUARD Midwest Industries’ 100-per-

cent American-made G3 Series handguards are one-piece forends made of hardcoat anodized 6061-T6 aluminum. KeyMod and M-LOK versions are available in a variety of lengths with slim 1.5-inch outside diameters for better support-hand control. Anti-rotation QD sling sockets are also built in. (

7> MOSSBERG JM PRO ADJUSTABLE MATCH TRIGGER Mossberg has teamed up with Jerry Miculek to bring the JM Pro Adjustable Match Trigger to gun owners everywhere. You can either get it stock in one of Mossberg’s new MMR rifles or buy it as a drop-in upgrade to your current AR. It installs in any mil-spec lower and is user-adjustable for overtravel with a pull weight set at 4 pounds. (






9> SLR RIFLEWORKS NITRID3 SYST3MS MATCH GRADE TiN BCG SLR Rifleworks has teamed up with Nitrid3 Syst3ms to create a very high-quality bolt carrier group using the best materials and finishes available today. The bolt carrier group features a QPQ-nitrided 9310 steel bolts and an 8620 titanium carrier. The upgraded materials and construction provide premium lubricity and wear resistance as well as improved feeding, faster cyclic rates and easier cleaning. The bolt carrier group is also guaranteed for life. (

10> SLR RIFLEWORKS SYNERGY LINEAR HYBRID COMP The Synergy Linear Hybrid Comp from SLR Rifleworks was designed mainly to direct the blast forward from short-





barreled rifles, or SBRs. Its

Available in 12.5-, 15.5- and 17.5-inch lengths, Odin Works’ Ragna free-floating handguard is strong, lightweight and features dozens of unique cooling cuts. Both M-LOK and KeyMod versions are available, and each is designed for super-fast installation with a one-piece barrel nut, and no timing is required. Made from 6061-6T aluminum, each Ragna handguard has an outside diameter of 1.5 inches. (

Grade 5 titanium outer tube

416 stainless steel core and are pressed together using 5 tons of force. This ensures that the compensator won’t unscrew or come loose in operation. Measuring 2 inches long, 1.25 inches in diameter and weighing 4.5 ounces, the Synergy Linear Hybrid Comp is a lightweight, compact muzzle device. It’s available in multiple calibers and thread pitches to fit a wide variety of weapons. (

11> STRIKE INDUSTRIES OPPRESSOR The new Oppressor muzzle device was designed using computer-aided flow dynamics to provide a no-compromise solution for redirecting the overpressure produced by aggressive brakes and compensators. Its advanced internal geometry actively draws the gases out and forward for greater efficiency and linear braking. It’s compatible with several other Strike Industries muzzle devices and comes with a proprietary quick-detach system. (






Made from a billet of lightweight aluminum, the new Pit Viper Stock from Strike Industries is designed to turn your AR into a CQB machine. The Pit Viper is also innovative because it can be used as a fixed stock or offers three different length-of-pull positions, with all of the hardware included for both versions. The only hitch is that this stock is only compatible with Strike Industries’ 7-Position Advanced Receiver Extension. (

13> TROY SOCC UNIAXIS AMBIDEXTROUS CHARGING HANDLE The new Troy SOCC Uni-Axis Ambidextrous Charging Handle was designed to prevent gas and oil from blowing back into the operator’s face when


shooting suppressed or with subsonic ammo. Constructed from hardened steel for durability and reliability, this charging handle incorporates extended latches that move independently, providing fast and easy manipulations. It will work on all AR-15 platforms. (





The Vltor VC-T1 is machined from hardened 4130 chrome-moly steel, and features a durable black nitride surface treatment. Its tri-port design redirects gases in a manner that effectively mitigates recoil and muzzle movement, therefore reducing movement in your optic or sight picture. The closed bottom of the Vltor VC-T1 helps minimize dust, debris and general ground disturbance. In addition to the side ports, the muzzle face of the VC-T1 features vortex cuts that greatly reduce secondary muzzle flash. ( ¥








WANT TO WIN THESE MARE’S LEGS? Every issue of Ballistic features a Custom Challenge gun giveaway. Check out to learn more and see how you can get your hands on these two beauties.*

WHEN I WAS TOLD that I was going to be shipped a pair of mare’s legs, I was a little confused. Images from The Godfather flashed through my brain. If a horse head between the sheets was retaliation for disrespect against the family, what do legs in the mailbox signify? Obviously, I am joking. Kind of. I knew from context that I’d be receiving a pair of cut-down lever-action rifles, in this case modified Henry Big Boys, but where did the name come from? There is obviously some history here.

HORSE TALE Created by artist and gunsmith Kenneth “Von Dutch” Howard, the “Mare’s Leg” was a cut-down Winchester Model 1892. It first made its appearance in the hands of Steve McQueen in the 1957 television show Trackdown. The following year, McQueen and his unique sidearm went on to star as a Confederate veteran and bounty hunter Josh Randall in the CBS spinoff series Wanted: Dead or Alive, which is where the pistol really got its legs. The original Mare’s Leg was without sights and chambered in .44-40 Winchester. However, the show runners didn’t think those cartridges looked impressive enough in the custom gun belt used to carry the pistol and decided to load the belt with .45-70 rounds. This decision, from a few articles I have read, continues to annoy firearm historians. But come on, what can you expect? It’s Hollywood. And the name? Your guess is as good as mine. My best guess is that the cut-down stock resembles an actual horse’s leg. Fun fact: There was a rifle manufactured around the same time called the Golden Stallion. Henry’s modern Mare’s Legs are cutdown versions of the company’s Big Boy, and several chamberings are available. The customized .357 Magnum/.38 Special models shown here came with brass bead front sights and semi-buckhorn rear sights with diamond inserts.

*No purchase required. Open to U.S. residents only and void where prohibited. Prizes worth $2,748. Sponsored by Henry Repeating Arms. Starts 10/16/18 and ends 12/31/18. Restrictions apply. Visit for details, eligibility and a complete list of official rules. BALLISTIC WINTER 2019




WIN THESE MARE’S LEGS: Visit win-henrys and follow @athlonoutdoors on Instagram to learn more.

MAD’S MARE We sent the first gun to David Teves at MAD Custom Coating, who decided to go with a traditional show theme. Taking inspiration from a few older Westerns (including the fan- favorite Quigley Down Under) and the Wanted TV show, David and the crew went to work. “We kept the brass parts looking like brass, we kept the steel parts looking like steel, and we kept the wood parts looking like wood,” David told me. “The only difference is that we gave them all a patina with Cerakote.” The patina on the steel parts was achieved using a base combination of Sniper Grey and sky blue, topped with splashes of olive drab and dark brown (Patriot Brown and Graphite Black), then finished with MAD’s distressing technique for a more realistic texture. The brass parts were coated in gold, with splashes of Flat Dark Earth and Patroit Brown, then the text was sprayed on in dark brown. The walnut stock and forend were stripped of their finishes, then torched to “raise the grain” before sanding. The notches and MAD logo were added before a coating of satin polyurethane was applied. The latigo leather strap—complete with a blood knot on the receiver ring—added the finishing touch. The subtle colors and perfect distressing come together for one great-looking pistol.

BORDERLANDS BADNESS When Michael Sigouin at Blowndeadline forwarded me a few teaser images of his




HENRY MARE’S LEG .357 Magnum/.38 Special BARREL: 12.9 inches OA LENGTH: 25 inches WEIGHT: 5.79 pounds (empty) GRIP: American walnut SIGHTS: Bead front, semi-buckhorn rear ACTION: Lever FINISH: Blued, polished brass CAPACITY: 5+1 MSRP: $1,024 CALIBER:

work, I was impressed but not surprised. In a previous email discussing ideas, one of his comments read “This type of firearm screams ‘apocalypse’ or some type of gamer-inspired gun. Checkers and weird stuff.” Checkers and weird stuff, indeed.

Thus the masters at Blowndeadline painted their Mare’s Leg based on the futuristic, planet-spanning dystopian video game series called Borderlands, bringing the gameplay to life. Grey-blue undertones were applied before the distressed light-tan overcoat, and then all of the metal parts were given a matte clear finish. The checkerboard on the receiver left the brass without any coating, which will give it a chance to patina naturally. “Jakobs,” a gun manufacturer in the Borderlands world known for fun slogans like “If it just needs to be dead, it just needs to be a Jakobs,” is stenciled on the receiver. Which, in my opinion, is a spot-on name for a hypothetical maker of such a pistol. And what custom job would be complete without a bit of torching? On the Blowndeadline Mare’s Leg, the wood was torched to scar and bubble the finish, then it was given a clear gloss coating for protection. Whether or not you are a fan of video games, lost technologies and alien bad guys, you should definitely be a fan of this custom pistol. Check out for a chance to win these beauties. Also visit to learn more about the base guns, and and to see more great work from these top-notch coaters. ¥ Editor’s Note: We asked MAD and Blowndeadline to let us into their shops to see some of the magic behind the scenes. Visit to see it all go down.









HOLLYWOOD HAS A gun problem. Or, rather, many Hollywood elites have a problem with guns and support stricter gun-control laws and even the repeal of the Second Amendment. This is somewhat ironic, as there seems to be no shortage of gunfights in films these days. Firearms are expected in the traditional action/adventure and crime drama genres,

but the hypocrisy is notable, as guns are even showing up in romantic comedies and in many family-friendly films. The connection between guns and movies is hardly new. Firearms have been a staple in movies since the earliest days of filmmaking. It is widely believed that the first action sequences that involved firearms were in the 1903 film The Great Train Robbery. Gunfights would become a staple of filmmakers, and over the past

century, firearms have remained very much a part of movies, including how they are marketed.

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH Westerns, war movies and action films have long featured firearms as prominently as the actual stars. Gary Cooper and Humphrey Bogart were featured holding guns on iconic movie posters, just as Jamie Foxx and Sean Penn have been seen brandishing firearms in recent years. Here, however, is a notable difference: Cooper and Bogart weren’t vocally outspoken critics of firearms, but Foxx and Penn have both made their stance on firearms very clear. Foxx was one of several Hollywood elites (as well as plenty of B-listers) who appeared in a widely circulated 2013 public service announcement that called for an end to gun violence. Stars such as Jon Hamm, Amy Poehler, Ellen DeGeneres, Cameron Diaz, Steve Carell and Peter Dinklage, among others, appeared in the video calling out mass shootings and each offering the message of “enough.” Enough what? To the celebrities, it was the time for increased gun control, but then something interesting happened. A response video was compiled that took the somber PSA and intermixed it with footage of each of those stars in scenes from movies and TV shows in which they were engaging in often violent gunfights or using firearms irresponsibly. That video highlighted the fact that it would be far easier to accept the message from these actors if they didn’t spend so much time glamorizing gun violence on screen. Enough indeed! Sure, there is the argument that appearing with guns in movies is just part of the job, but this could open a whole debate about the jobs in the firearms industry as well. Apparently those who make millions of dollars acting have a very narrow world-

Q Sean Penn has been outspoken in his support of gun-control laws, but you wouldn’t know that watching movies like Ganster Squad.

It is also easy to ignore the fact that millions of law-abiding citizens own guns and don’t need to be lectured by those who only play characters like doctors, lawyers and politicians on screen. Acting doesn’t make a person qualified to speak on complex issues, but these stars either don’t understand or, worse, actually expect many people to believe that because they are rich and famous they are somehow qualified to debate such matters.


view and don’t think about the jobs of gun designers, gun makers, gun shop owners and others who make their living from the very legal sale of firearms. But, as with activists such as Michael Moore, perhaps it is easy to ignore such details.

Perhaps the biggest irony is that just as Hollywood has become increasingly vocal about gun violence, today’s movies have become increasingly more violent. While shootouts have long been a part of Hollywood films, it wasn’t until the 1980s and 1990s that the bar was raised, but it wasn’t actually in America where the action was ratcheted up. It was in the Hong Kong “action cinema,” which gave rise to directors such as John Woo and Ringo Lam—the latter noted for the 1987





“…MILLIONS OF LAW-ABIDING CITIZENS OWN GUNS AND DON’T NEED TO BE LECTURED BY THOSE WHO ONLY PLAY CHARACTERS LIKE DOCTORS, LAWYERS AND POLITICIANS ON SCREEN.” film City on Fire, which was essentially remade by Quentin Tarantino as Reservoir Dogs. In the 1990s, the level of action was then amped up in Hollywood, notably in the 1995 crime thriller Heat, directed by Michael Mann. It is noted for its intense 15-minute bank shootout sequence in downtown Los Angeles, which ironically inspired the real-life 1997 North Hollywood bank robbery and subsequent shootout. There had been plenty of crime dramas that featured shootouts between police and criminals, but typically the action lasted mere minutes. Heat truly raised the bar, and it was followed by Saving Private Ryan in 1998, which offered a more realistic take on World War II, and then The Matrix in 1999.



Q Django Unchained has one of the most violent finales in recent history, but that didn’t stop Jamie Foxx from taking part in the action.

This game-changing science-fiction film made extensive use of CGI to create an intense action sequence where thousands

of bullets were fired. The action films that followed increasingly used computers to create ever more intense sequences, and yet the antigun Hollywood types have never spoken out against it. One of the most egregious examples is 2013’s Gangster Squad, which is loosely based on the very real Los Angeles gangster Mickey Cohen. The film features a climactic 20-minute shootout with Thompson submachine guns and a sizeable body count. In real life, Mickey Cohen was taken down for tax evasion, and his story can be summed up much more accurately in the brief opening of the 1997 film L.A. Confidential, a crime drama that, while featuring several shootouts,


HYPOCRISY IN HOLLYWOOD didn’t go to Matrix-level extremes. The irony here is that Cohen was played by Sean Penn, who has become a strong proponent for gun control. The former self-confessed gun collector actually claimed to have melted down many of his firearms in 2014 after being prompted to do so by his then-girlfriend Charlize Theron, another action-film staple who routinely can be seen on screen brandishing a firearm. Penn had already shown his true colors as a gun-control supporter who actually owned guns, but then after completely denouncing firearms and calling them “cowardly killing machines,” he still opted to star in the 2015 film The Gunman.


Q Despite several Hollywood elites talking about the need for more gun control, most movies— not just action films, but even comedies like Showtime—have firearms in starring roles.

This level of hypocrisy has only increased in the past couple of years. George Clooney, who has starred in several films featuring violent shootouts, joined other Hollywood A-listers in the March for Our Lives rally that called for stricter

gun legislation, while Jennifer Lawrence attempted to distance herself from guns at the New York City premiere of her R-rated spy thriller Red Sparrow. She was quoted as saying, “I think the problem is guns, not the entertainment industry.” Advice to Ms. Lawrence: Maybe stick to comedies and dramas if you have a problem with guns. The same advice goes out to Jamie Foxx, the star of Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, who said he believes movie violence could be connected with real-world violence. While promoting the film, he told the Associated Press, “We cannot turn our back and say that violence in films or anything that we do doesn’t have a sort of influence.” That would be fine, of course, if Foxx opted to stick to musicals and comedies, but since making the press rounds for Django Unchained, he has starred in White House Down, Sleepless and Baby Driver, three films that feature no shortage of violence. There are those actors who have stuck

Q Would Will Smith’s character have survived as long in I Am Legend without an AR-15?

to their morals if not their guns, but only so much. Megan Boone, star of NBC’s The Blacklist, tweeted that her character would not carry an assault rifle on screen

in the future. Of course, she might still be seen carrying a sidearm on a show that routinely features rather intense violence for a drama that runs in primetime at 8 p.m.—the so-called “family hour”—on a major U.S. broadcast network. The final consideration regarding movies and guns is the way that films are increasingly advertised. As noted, Hollywood has long featured firearms on movie posters, but today firearms are ever more prominently placed on the poster, almost to the point that perhaps the type of firearm should get equal billing with the stars. But then again, these privileged elites wouldn’t like to share the spotlight or their top billing. Maybe that’s what is needed to get the gun haters to stop starring in films that do put the firearms in the spotlight. If we suddenly pay more attention to the gun rather than the star, maybe these gun-control types would stay out of gun-centric films. But really, wouldn’t we just rather have them shut up on the subject? ¥




HYPOCRISY IN HOLLYWOOD Even a minor wound could get infected, and the mortality rate for nearly all gunshot wounds was very high. Compare that to the number of people who survive gunshot wounds today, and it becomes clear that medical technology has more than kept up with our advanced firearms. Finally, perhaps the most important point of this debate regarding muskets and the Constitution is how soldiers of the era were armed compared to the citizens. Lost in any debate Q As you can see in The Revenant, muskets were very deadly in their time.


is the fact that, at the time of the Constitution’s writing, many privately owned firearms—Kentucky or Pennsylvania rifles, for example—were as good as or even better than anything issued to the small standing U.S. Army. Private citizens could, and did,

IT ISN’T JUST Hollywood that often treats firearms with a double standard. The mainstream media often paints a very one-sided picture of firearms, and in doing so, it offers de facto support for gun control. One notable example of this overt bias came about in July of 2018 in a piece for USA Today titled, “Yorktown sheds olde light on modern gun debate,” by John Bordsen. In his article, Bordsen described the complexity of loading a Revolutionary War musket, including prepping the weapon by half-cocking the lock, pouring the powder and ramming a musket ball, then adding that “there was always a chance your 10-pound musket would not fire.” Not exactly subtle! While Bordsen didn’t contrast this to the relative ease of loading an AR-15 or other modern firearms, many other editorials have made that comparison. The common theme of these



editorials is blatant, and the message is clear: The Founding Fathers would not have approved of modern semi-auto “black guns” because all those men could have envisioned was a firearm that, at best, could fire three to four rounds per minute. While this might seem like a valid argument, it fails for a number of reasons. First and foremost, anyone who suggests that the Second Amendment doesn’t apply to our modern guns should also understand that the First Amendment, which guarantees a free press, was written when the “press” of the era consisted mainly of newspapers that were put out on block-type printing presses. Because it took time to manually set the presses— which didn’t include the time it took to actually write the stories—newspapers didn’t print daily, and very few even printed weekly. The newspapers of that era also consisted of a few pages that had to be painstak-

ingly printed one at a time. Following this logically, the Founding Fathers couldn’t have envisioned the future technology, including radio, TV and the internet, that would spread the news so quickly, but today we accept that these are all protected by the First Amendment. Bordsen and other career journalists should know this fact but too often ignore it. If we say that the Second Amendment doesn’t or at least shouldn’t apply to modern firearms because it wasn’t consistent with firearms of the day, then how can we say that the First Amendment is there to protect newer forms of media that also didn’t exist back then? Another point worth considering, but never mentioned for a plethora of reasons, is that medical treatment has actually outpaced firearm development. This is a touchy subject to broach, but the truth is that a wound from a musket ball at the time of the American Revolution was very likely a death sentence.

own cannons; it was a common practice on civilian-owned merchant ships of the era to have cannons. The Founding Fathers had no problem with U.S. citizens owning weapons that rivaled, and even surpassed, what the military had in its arsenals. That remained true until the passage of the National Firearms Act of 1934, which put restrictions on the ownership of automatic weapons. That was actually the point when the military surpassed its citizens in terms of firepower, and there has been no turning back. Today, the military—and many police forces for that matter—have weapons that completely outclass anything the average citizen can own, and that doesn’t include the drones, tanks, combat helicopters and other military hardware. Perhaps that is something the media should pay attention to instead, because it could be argued that this reality certainly isn’t what the Founding Fathers would have wanted for their people! —Peter Suciu


BLACK SABBATH SAVIOR How a lone security guard saved his girlfriend during 1973’s London Music Festival BY LEROY THOMPSON

Ozzy and Black Sabbath on stage at the 1973 London Music Festival.



Getty/Colin Fuller

WHEN I WAS A GRADUATE student at University College in London in the 1970s, I was not supposed to work, as I was on a student visa. However, I took some jobs that paid cash. At one club in Soho, I filled in as a doorman (Brit-speak for bouncer) occasionally. One of the full-time doormen there also did security at various venues for concerts, and I joined him occasionally. One of those occasions was the London Music Festival of 1973 at the Alexandria Palace. Among the nights I worked was August 2, when Black Sabbath performed. At the time, I was dating a girl from the states to whom I had been introduced by another American girl in my dorm. My girlfriend was a model doing some work in London—not a high-fashion runway model, but a catalog or store model. Still, she was quite a beautiful girl. I remember at least one of my friends referring to us as “Beauty and Beast.” She was a Black Sabbath fan, so I promised to get her into the concert. During the performance, I was assigned a post near the stage to deflect any overly enthusiastic fans. Despite the Palace’s large size, there was no assigned seating. In fact, there wasn’t a lot of seating at


THE SHOW BEGINS I positioned my girl near the stage and gave her a final warning. I knew she liked to smoke grass and probably had some. I also knew that there would be undercover Metropolitan Police narcs there. Multiple times I said, “Don’t smoke grass here. You’re in a great place to see the show, but you’re also too visible.” The opening acts were Stray and The Groundhogs. I don’t remember much about them, other than they were loud given my proximity to the stage. I scanned the crowd and glanced at my girlfriend occasionally; she was listening raptly, as she always got into music more than I did. Black Sabbath opened with “Tomorrow’s Dream” to an enthusiastic but still well-behaved crowd. I don’t remember what was next on the set list, but I remember that as “War Pigs” began, I noticed my girlfriend was toking—and making a point not to look at me. Right about when Black Sabbath was belting out “Hand of God has struck the hour / Day of judgment, God is calling,” I noticed her being escorted to the side of the hall. You might say her “day of judgment” had arrived. I was pretty annoyed with her, but I couldn’t leave my post. I figured I’d see



Don’t smoke grass here. You’re in a great place to see the show, but you’re also too visible.

what was going on after the concert, but it took a while before Black Sabbath closed out with two encores: “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” and “Paranoid.”

OFF TO THE POLICE She was gone by the time we cleared the building, so when I got outside, I found a couple of Met foot-patrol officers and asked where she would have been taken. My memory isn’t perfect, but I think it was the Wood Green Station. I showed up and asked the desk officer if she was

there. He checked and said she was being detained but hadn’t been charged. At this point, I have to digress. I had some contacts among officers in the Metropolitan Police Diplomatic & Royalty Protection Unit. I had been asked to talk to them and some other armed police officers about methods to avoid forgetting their service weapons—S&W Model 10s or Model 36s—in the toilets of pubs. By not sounding condescending and basing my comments on the fact that American police officers carried their weapons on and off duty and had to be much more aware, thus requiring methods to keep track of their weapons, I tried to avoid sounding superior. In defense of the officers, at that time a lot of pubs still had older Thomas Crapper toilets with the tank high above the toilet. A revolver placed there was out of sight and often out of mind, especially after a couple of pints in the pub. I explained at the desk that I had some involvement with members of the Met’s armed units and asked to make a call. One of those contacts agreed to intercede if he could, and an hour or so later, my girlfriend was released with a caution. He later let me know I owed him a lot of pints the next time we met at a pub. She was beautiful, contrite and thankful, but I was livid. The next day, I said my goodbyes. It wasn’t so much her smoking a joint. It was that she did it despite my warning. I can tolerate a little vice better than a lot of recklessness. I don’t listen to Black Sabbath very often, but still, more than 40 years later, when I do, I picture her—always 28 with long, flowing black hair—beautiful, but not especially reliable. ¥ iStock Photo

all—just open floor. This was two years before the disastrous Who concert in Cincinnati, but the problems with stadium or open seating were still apparent. But the Brits were known for queuing up and remaining orderly. During the 10 nights the festival ran, I don’t remember many problems in the queue, though there was a rush when those at the front passed through the doors. I think I remember an occasional fall, but no one got trampled.






The early 1980s were interesting for me. In one fell swoop, a friend introduced me to law enforcement, the shooting sports and John Moses Browning’s Government Model 1911. I got to meet a top IPSC at the range in the basement of the local justice center, and seeing him put 14 rounds into a group just a few inches wide at 25 yards opened my eyes. And watching him reload those 1911 magazines was equally amazing. I couldn’t help but think, “I need one of those.”

MAGNUM INFLUENCE Of course, social media wasn’t a thing back then, either. Television was the “influencer,” and nothing sold guns like your favorite character. To this day, I remember watching the pilot for Magnum P.I. and that iconic scene where Tom Selleck loads his Colt Series 70. I was sold, even if his .45 eventually became a 9mm. If it was the choice of a former Navy SEAL and famous detective, then why not me? It took me a few months to gather up the cash, but soon I had my first 1911. Back then, plastic was just starting to show up in cars, let alone guns. The 1911 was a proven semi-automatic combat pistol that made complete sense for the character. Thomas Magnum had served as a SEAL in Vietnam, and while some of the shootouts in the series are a little generic, he always used his 1911. (And it’s worth noting that some Special Missions Unit operators still use 1911s today.) Just as importantly, movie armorers and prop masters had plenty of 1911s lying around their shops. It seems .45 ACP blanks were difficult to get in Hawaii for Magnum P.I., however, so Selleck ended up using a 9mm 1911 through most of the series. Today, the National Firearms Museum owns the original, but the platform has been a favorite for Tom Selleck in subsequent projects. You can usually spot him using a modern 1911 along with some of the skills he learned at Gunsite Academy.

A NEW TAKE It’s safe to say that film and TV viewers didn’t care as much about firearms authenticity in the 1980s.



Most probably couldn’t tell the difference between real guns and props. But, the times have changed. Viewers expect realism. Now people know a lot more about Navy SEALs and the guns they carry, for example. Guns have to look and act the part. This brings us to CBS’ new reboot of Magnum P.I. debuting this fall and starring Jay Hernandez as the titular hero. While there was a lot of discussion about which gun he would use for the part, famous shooter Taran Butler and equally skilled armorer and prop master Gary Tuers helped settle the debate. You probably already know a few things about Taran. Along with being a world-class competitive shooter, Taran spends a lot of time working in the movie world. He trains actors to shoot well with real guns, often of his own design. His work for John Wick 2 is legendary. When people go to see a movie like that, they’re there for the guns and how they’re used as well as the martial arts. For that project, Taran outfitted Keanu Reeves with the best guns and taught him to shoot like the best. It’s quite impressive to watch. Gary Tuers has been in the prop business for years. In fact, his company, Xtreme Props & Weapons Rentals, is generational. Some of his latest credits include Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Fear the Walking Dead, Mile 22 and Gone in 60 Seconds. I got a chance to speak to Gary for this article and learned that there’s a lot more to movie guns than you might think. Along with real guns, he has to procure rubber replicas, blank-firing models, holsters and all of the other related gear. Then everything needs to function safely at close range in a world where viewers scrutinize every detail. Making a blank-firing gun work is hard enough, but doing so safely at



Alamy Photo


Photo Courtesy CBS



point-blank range is even harder. This makes for a close community that works together, and this new Magnum P.I. series is a perfect example.

WHY STI? Just a few days before filming started in Hawaii, the show’s armorer, Terrence Morgan, contacted Gary Tuers to obtain real guns, blank-firing guns, rubber replicas and holsters. Gary and Taran Butler had already been working with STI International on a different project and decided the company was a good choice here, too. The idea was to keep the basic operating system of


the 1911 but in a more modern package, in this case the Costa Carry Comp in 9mm. STI came through with two pistols that were overnighted to Gary. He left one as is and altered the other so it could fire blanks. He also used them to create a rubber replica. Taran helped out with magazines and basepads. What about holsters? This is where Long’s Shadow Holster Inc. comes in. Sticking your gun in your pants belt might have been OK in 1980, but it’s definitely a no-no these days. Thankfully, Joshua Beaumont, the owner of Long’s Shadow, produced two holsters, one black and the other

brown. One was designed for right-hand IWB carry at the hip or appendix. The other was crafted to facilitate the original Magnum’s penchant for small-of-the-back carry with the grip facing to the right for a right-handed shooter. Working together, Taran Butler, STI and Long’s Shadow were able to deliver everything to the set just in time—in less than six days, in fact, which is very impressive.

THE P.I. TWIN The rest is (or will be) history, but is the Costa Carry Comp even viable as a carry pistol? To find out, STI was kind enough to make an exact copy of the movie gun for me to test and included the company’s latest magazines along with Taran Tactical Innovations (TTI) basepads. Long’s Shadow Holster also sent me a copy of the black Kydex IWB

holster used in the show, with suede along the inside for greater comfort and security, along with a single magazine pouch. What’s interesting is that I’ve actually been testing a Costa Carry Comp in .45 ACP for the past year. I’ve fired thousands of rounds through it during training classes, learning and teaching, and I’ve carried it for months. Its reliability has been flawless, the recoil is minimal, and it handles the hottest .45 ACP loads. It’s also accurate; most of my groups at 25 yards span a couple of inches. The biggest difference between the stock STI Costa Carry Comp and the one used FOR MORE INFORMATION in Magnum P.I. is the polymer Q STI International grip, which is tan on the former and black on the latter. The grip Q Long’s Shadow Holster features STI’s “TreeBark” Q Taran Tactical pling for solid traction, and the Innovations squared triggerguard is





BEHIND THE SCENES WITH GARY TUERS How’d you get started in the prop business? I am fourth-generation Hollywood and third-generation prop master. My family has been working in motion pictures for over 100 yards. I’ve been on and around film sets since I was a little kid.

cut for a high hold. A large magazine well funnel is also included for fast, fumble-free reloads. I had no problems getting the 17- and 21-round test magazines locked in position. The angular slide has a matte black diamondlike carbon (DLC) finish as well as front and rear serrations. But the most interesting aspect is the barrel and compensator, which are machined as a single unit from the same piece of stainless steel. In other words, this compensator won’t be coming loose anytime soon. According to STI, this helps reduce recoil by 63 percent. In testing, the gun was loud but light on recoil. Thankfully, it never set my clothing on fire, either. The fiber-optic front sight is actually mounted just behind the compensator so you can focus on your sight picture, not the muzzle blast. It’s paired with a fixed Heinie Ledge rear sight. More features include a skeletonized hammer and trigger, an ambidextrous thumb safety, a long dust-cover Picatinny rail and STI’s RecoilMaster dual spring recoil system.



How’d you first get into the world of guns? My father introduced me to firearms and firearm safety at an early age, and the family always shot recreationally. Rimfire rifles, .410 shotguns and boxes of ammo were regular Christmas gifts.

How often do you get out to the range? Between projects and if I’m not fishing—I love fishing— you can find me at the range two or three days a week. But it’s work, like test-firing new weapons or training actors for a future project. What types of guns do you love working with? I’ve always loved 1911s. My first pistol was a 1911 that I bought on my 18th birthday. Nowadays I enjoy working on small 5.56mm and 9mm carbines, 2011s and competition-style Glocks. Do you have a favorite TV show or movie that you’v worked on? I don’t really have a favorite

RANGE TIME First off, the STI Costa Carry Comp fit perfectly in the Long’s Shadow IWB holster and snapped in and out easily. At the range and during some EDC testing, the whole setup was very comfortable. In short, the STI’s accuracy was excellent. Using the hood of my truck as a rest, I was able to produce a 10-shot group with Nosler’s 124-grain Match JHPs that measured just under 2 inches at 25 yards. With a proper rest, I’m sure my groups would have been closer to an inch at that distance. There was virtually no muzzle rise with light loads. With hotter rounds, the recoil was no-

movie that I’ve worked on. I usually do big, high-profile action movies with a lot of guns. Not many people can do those. They’re all hard to do in different ways, but that makes them all rewarding. Looking back, the harder ones don’t seem that bad anymore. I guess, in time, your memory fades and you just remember the good times. This year we’re doing John Wick 3. The last three years involved Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, The Fate of the Furious, John Wick 2 and The Magnificent Seven. What’s it like to run such a business in restrictive state like California? Xtreme Props & Weapons Rentals is a huge supporter of the Second Amendment. People think that we must be liberal because we’re out in Hollywood. It’s a misconception that people like me don’t even exist here. But here we are, doing business by the hardest rules, and doing a good job at the same time. And while we’re doing our jobs, we’re teaching and informing people that firearms can be safe and fun.

ticeable but easy to manage. (Physics still apply.) And, loaded to capacity, there were no stoppages or malfunctions. The gun was fast during rapid-fire strings, and the trigger was great. I brought along two Colt Government Model 1911s for the sake of comparison, one in .45 ACP and the other in .38 Super. The weight is similar for all three guns, but you obviously get a lot more ammunition with the Costa Carry Comp. The STI was also lighter on recoil, though all three would make superb fighting pistols. I wouldn’t feel outgunned with any of them, but capacity is obviously a big consideration.


STI COSTA CARRY COMP 9mm BARREL: 4.15 inches OA LENGTH: 8.25 inches WEIGHT: 32 ounces (empty) SIGHTS: Fiber-optic front, Heinie Ledge rear GRIP: 2011 TreeBark stippled ACTION: SA FINISH: Matte black DLC CAPACITY: 17+1, 21+1 MSRP: $3,799 CALIBER:

PERFORMANCE: READY FOR SHOWTIME Will this pistol satisfy the original show’s purists? Probably not. Is it true to something currently used by Special Missions Unit operators in the field? Nope, not that I am aware of. There is no National Stock Number (NSN) for a Costa Carry Comp. But is this STI something the new Magnum could use? Absolutely! This pistol is available off the shelf in pretty

much the same configuration. You may only get 10 rounds and have to wait 20 days in Hawaii, but you could still get it. Explaining how this Magnum had almost $4,000 to buy it is, well, harder to do, but remember, it’s just television. No matter what, the new show looks entertaining, and I hope STI is stocking up on more Costa Carry Comps, because the gun is about to become a whole lot more popular. ¥




Barnes 115 TAC-XPD +P Buffalo Bore 115 JHP DoubleTap 115 TAC-XP Nosler 124 Match JHP Underwood 124 Bonded JHP

1,120 1,300 1,250 1,100 1,200

1.70 2.00 1.65 1.60 1.95

Bullet weight measured in grains, velocity in fps by chronograph and accuracy in inches for three 5-shot groups at 25 yards








I have been married for 30 years to a beautiful woman and have been blessed with three fantastic kids. I’m confident in myself and comfortable with my life choices. However, I have to admit that I still think Tom Selleck is one exceptionally good-looking guy. If Tom Selleck’s mustache got into a fight with Chuck Norris’ beard, the resulting explosion would make the Big Bang seem like a fart in a bathtub. Magnum P.I. ran for eight years from 1980 until 1988. This uber-cool TV show introduced the world to Thomas Sullivan Magnum IV, a private

Cass Dale Illustration

investigator who is also the professional houseguest of a ludicrously rich adventure novelist named Robin Masters. Thomas Magnum was like Kato Kaelin only with initiative, responsibility, taste and testosterone.

A QUICK REFRESHER According to the backstory, Magnum is an ex-Navy SEAL who also served as a Naval Intelligence officer during Vietnam. The show was lauded at the time for depicting Vietnam veterans as sensible, productive citizens rather than scary burned-out failures. Magnum lives in the guesthouse on Masters’ sprawl-




XXXXXXXXX AMERICAN BADASS The author (center) poses with his 1984 Pontiac Fiero, a standin for Magnum’s red Ferrari. He’s still a big fan today, too (right).

ing estate, taking criminal investigation cases whenever he wants. His relationship with Masters gives Magnum access to amenities, opulence and some epically fine cars. Masters was intentionally enigmatic. Never shown on camera, Masters was voiced by none other than Orson Welles. Magnum’s nemesis is Jonathan Quayle Higgins III, a former British Army sergeant major played brilliantly by American actor John Hillerman. Higgins is the caretaker of the Masters estate. The tension between Magnum and Higgins over the use of the fancy cars and estate assets makes for great comic relief. Their “Odd Couple” chemistry evolved with the show and clearly resonated with fans. Magnum also has a couple of great buddies. Theodore Calvin (known as T.C.) owns Island Hoppers, the local helicopter service. T.C. served with Magnum in Vietnam as a Marine pilot. Then you have Orville Wilbur Richard “Rick” Wright, another Marine who owns a local watering hole called the King Kamehameha Club. In the pilot episode, this was called “Rick’s Place” in homage to the Humphrey Bogart classic Casablanca. With this as a foundation, Magnum meets and woos beautiful women, many of whom come to him for help solving their cases. He also drives around the paradise that is Hawaii in Robin Mas-

If Tom Selleck’s mustache got into a fight with Chuck Norris’ beard, the resulting explosion would make the Big Bang seem like a fart in a bathtub.



ters’ awesome cars while generally saving the world. Despite his undeniably rugged aesthetic and hardcore backstory, Magnum has a golden heart and always seems to do the right thing. And he ended up becoming the paragon of American manliness.

THE GUNS But this is a gun magazine, so let’s talk about the guns. Magnum’s primary handgun is a Colt Series 70 1911. He eschews a holster, preferring to just shove the gun in his belt whenever he needs it. Mel Gibson’s character Martin Riggs did the same thing in Lethal Weapon. Apparently when you are that cool, you just don’t need a holster for your handgun. Reportedly, .45 ACP blanks were tough to come by in Hawaii,

so Magnum ended up using a 9mm 1911. Al Gore had not yet invented the internet and the show was set on an island, so the show’s armorer had to make some concessions. You can tell the difference during magazine changes, as the 9mm version sports a prominent longitudinal ridge down the magazine body. (According to my wife, the fact that I notice such stuff is the reason I have so few normal friends.) Given Magnum’s history as a Navy SEAL in Vietnam, his use of a 1911 as a familiar handgun is certainly reasonable. In the pilot episode, Rick produces a 9mm MAC-10 to neutralize a hitman. In 1980, the MAC-10 was the apex predator among submachine guns. Compact, powerful and surprisingly heavy, the MAC-10 was actually a special-purpose weapon. The only reason it found the commercial legs it did was that it was cheap, cool and available. The MAC-10 saw limited use by Special Forces personnel in the latter stages of the Vietnam War and cycled at a blistering 1,200 rpm. The show makes use of flashbacks to Magnum’s service in Vietnam to fill in portions of the story pertinent to the narrative. Magnum and his SEAL buddies sport cool tiger-stripe fatigues and wield legit full-auto M16A1 rifles. This was a bit unusual for the day, as many of the full-auto M16 clones used in TV and movies were actually converted SP1 AR-15s. In the days before 1986, it was still legal to convert semi-auto guns to full-auto, so



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converted AR-15s were both plentiful and cheap. Despite some ignominious early combat performance in Vietnam, the M16 has gone on to become the longest-serving combat rifle in U.S. military history. Magnum and his SEAL buddies just hose down the countryside on full-auto, one magazine at a time. However, Magnum is actually shown reloading at one point during a firefight, a nice departure from Hollywood dogma. The show features the obligatory array of wheelguns in the hands of sundry bad guys as well as some curious automatic weapons. Uzis were brand new in the United States at the time, so some of the early Uzis in the show were actually MAC-10s dressed up in a little Uzi-like furniture. These same guns can be seen in Stripes and The Dogs of War. Vietnamese communist troops and their Russian advisors make for Magnum’s alpha villains, and they all wield Finnish Valmet rifles. In 1980, genuine Kalashnikov guns were rarer than unicorn horns in the U.S. It is tough to imagine today, but veteran bringbacks really were the only source of AK rifles during this time. Egyptian Maadi AKs eventually hit the market, but they were expensive. Converted Maadis first saw widespread use in the 1984 John Milius classic Red Dawn. Stripes features these same Valmet rifles in lieu of Czechoslovakian hardware as well.

Oh, the marvelous cars. Magnum’s primary ride in the first season is a gorgeous cherry red 1979 Ferrari 308 GTS. For seasons two through six, that became a 1981 308 GTSi. For the last two seasons, the car was a 1984 Ferrari 308 GTSi quattrovalvole. Most of these rides sported the custom license plate “Robin 1.” I was fourteen in 1980 when the show premiered, and I wanted one of those red Ferraris in a manner that approached unseemly. For an American teenager in 1980, that Italian sports car was a little unobtainable piece of portable rolling heaven—the ultimate chick magnet. Zipping through the local Sonic in one of those puppies would have made Pee-wee Herman look like the Marlboro Man. I still recall the first time I saw one for real. It was parked outside the Dallas airport, and I just wandered around admiring the sleek lines, prancing horse logos and low-slung architecture. My heart raced just standing next to the thing. I also recall it being surprisingly small. I actually priced them at the time and was astounded to find that a new Ferrari 308 would set me back around $50,000. I made $3 mowing the yard across the street, so I would only have to do that another 17,000 times to make that sweet ride mine. A quick glance at eBay motors this afternoon shows a 1978 version in need of a little love listing for $39,000. Get thee behind me, Satan. I did actually end up with the next best thing, a red 1984 Pontiac Fiero. “Fiero” even sounded a little bit like Ferrari if you said it fast while mumbling. The car was a graduation present from high school. I had the coolest grandparents in the entire world. Robin 2 was alternately an Audi 5000 or a Jaguar XJ Series II. Robin 3 was either a GMC Jimmy or a Jeep Wagoneer. Seen only once in the 13th episode of the sixth season was Robin 23, a Ferrari GTSi rendered in green. This was enough to make me wonder what Robins 4 through 22 might have been like. Magnum’s personal ride is actually a 1966 Volkswagen Beetle convertible with some generous rust deposits on the driver’s side door. Magnum himself does not seem to accumulate a great many worldly possessions. The implication throughout the show is that Robin Masters’ exceptional generosity likely stems from some remarkable favor Magnum has performed for him in the past, perhaps as part of some personal investigation.

THE GUY Though I’ve never met him, Tom Selleck sounds like a genuinely nice guy. A self-described libertarian and firearms enthusiast,



Selleck was born in Detroit, Michigan, and served in the 160th Infantry Regiment of the California National Guard from 1967 until 1973. He has been married for 28 years and has one daughter. He lives with his family on a 60-acre avocado farm in California. He purportedly does not personally care for avocados. He also flatly refuses to text or email on general principle. Those with whom he has worked say Selleck is an exceptionally personable gentleman with a powerful work ethic. He is a member of the board of directors of the NRA and has served as a public spokesman for the group on numerous occasions. In 2002, he donated the custom 13-pound 1874 Sharps rifle he used in Quigley Down Under to the National Firearms Museum. If you haven’t yet seen the film, put this magazine down, hit up Amazon and watch it now. I don’t care if you are at work, flying a plane, delivering a baby or driving. I’ll hold onto your man card until you’ve made it through the end credits. Quigley Down Under is the best Western film ever made, and that is saying a lot.

Photos Courtesy CBS



Tom Selleck’s Thomas Magnum defined a 1980s paradigm.

PARTING THOUGHTS Tom Selleck’s Thomas Magnum defined a 1980s paradigm. The garish Hawaiian shirt, Detroit Tigers baseball cap, bushy mustache, laid-back persona and exceptional personal magnetism all synergistically combined to make something greater than the individual parts. Forget that Magnum is actually kind of a silly name, and that nobody who writes for a living makes as much money as Robin Masters. (I technically write for a living, and I drive my wife’s hand-me-down 2005 Toyota.) As a



14-year-old boy, I wanted to be Thomas Magnum. The new Magnum P.I. does indeed look cool. The lead actor, Jay Hernandez, doesn’t sport Selleck’s signature mustache, but he needs to find his own groove. It also looks like Higgins is a hot British woman who used to work for MI6, which certainly doesn’t seem like a bad thing. I was rolling in a red 1984 Fiero at the height of the Magnum era and thought myself almost awesome as a result. Of course, I couldn’t grow a proper mustache then, but a pair of aviator shades combined with a Hawaiian shirt and a little imagination was enough to get me close, at least in my mind. I did ultimately land a hot girl of my own. Now that I’m 52, I really should be past all that. I’m a grownup with a job, a mortgage, a family and real-world responsibilities. However, as soon as I get done typing this, I am going to surf back over to eBay and see what that old beater Ferrari looks like again. It’s only got 26,000 miles on the odometer, and spare parts aren’t really all that expensive, are they? ¥



Taran Butler tears through a course of fire with one of his tricked-out Glocks.





TARAN BUTLER IS A shooting legend and the founder of Taran Tactical Innovations (TTI). He has also become one of the most sought-after gun trainers and prop consultants for major motion picture and television projects. So we sat down with Taran to learn what it’s like teaching gunfighting skills to Hollywood’s elite superstars. What sparked your interest in guns and shooting? Films had a lot to do with it. I’ve always enjoyed action movies, and I love the ones that showcase cool guns and shooting. Back in the day, I was into things like the Dirty Harry series, especially Magnum Force. There’s a police shooting contest in

that one with cops trying to show up each other’s skills. This was the kind of thing that influenced the formation of shooting sports really. What were some of your first experiences with teaching celebrities? Unofficially, back in the early 1990s, some awesome little opportunities came along. I remember meeting Dan Akroyd at the FBI range in Burbank, California. He was there practicing, and we got to talking. I ended up coaching him on the fundamentals. In particular, he had quite an elongated Weaver stance and an unconventional grip. We worked on those things, and he improved instantly. I also recall when GoldenEye came out—one of my favorite Bond movies— that Pierce Brosnan had a sort of



cup-and-saucer grip, Weaver stance, the whole thing. Sometime later he attended a shooting class with instructor Harry Humphries hosted at my facility, and I got to work with him for a while on his stance, grip and handling. It was satisfying to see him in later films, where he seemed to be continuing with what we had showed him. These kinds of things would happen along the way, but it really broke open for me after working with James Cameron and Keanu Reeves. John Wick 2 really blew the doors off of Hollywood gun craft. What was different about the action in that movie compared to other Hollywood shooters? There is so much we could discuss. Hollywood was using outdated, outmoded information. The shooting



Taran Butler and his team have worked with actors like Garret Dillahunt (top left), Keanu Reeves (top right) and the huge cast of 13 Hours (above).

sports, law enforcement and military communities have upped their game in so many ways, and eventually this new training had to show up on the screen. John Wick 2 was ground-breaking because we did things on screen that had never been done in a movie before. John Wick 2 used something called “solid-plug” technology where a solid plug is inserted into the barrel of the firearm, safely allowing for lighter blanks to be used. Traditionally blanks present safety issues in close quarters. People can get burned. So, for that reason, in any close-quarters combat sequence, actors were taught to point the muzzle so that it looks on target but is really off target—almost like a fake screen punch. With the use of solid plugs, we could actually have the actors pointing the

guns directly at each other, up close and personal. This opened everything up for more realism, and we could teach them how to shoot CQB for real. MatchSaverz and weak-hand loads with a shotgun had never been shown in a movie before, either. We worked with Keanu on a lot of things but focused on perfecting his draw, grip and stance. From there, we layered it on with double-taps, lightning-fast transitions between pistols, rifles and shotguns, reloads, the whole gambit. Everything you see Keanu doing on screen, he’s really doing, and he can do it in live fire. Once other actors, directors and even screenwriters saw all of this stuff, they wanted to get up to speed. We’ve attracted a world of new projects since then, and things are only growing.


STAR FIREPOWER Do any other actors stand out? I had the opportunity to train Aaron Eckhart for Battle: Los Angeles (2011), and he was a pleasure to work with. Not only is he a great guy, but he surprised me with his skills and abilities. He does a lot of the tactical training, and it shows. He trains hard, enjoys it, and he’s a very accurate shooter. We worked on speed a lot with him. Which celebrities seem to be the best natural shooters? Keanu has been the most driven guy I’ve worked with. He’s the best because he’s willing to push himself, push his training. And, as I mentioned, Aaron Eckhart was really good. Other good shooters include Mark-Paul Gosselaar (The Passage), Garret Dillahunt (Fear the Walking Dead), Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther), Chris Pine (Star Trek), Shemar Moore and Lina Esco (S.W.A.T. TV series), and Michelle Rodriguez (The Fast and the Furious series). More and more celebrities are taking this part of their craft seriously, and some of them can really shred.

TOP LEFT: Taran’s team includes several powerhouse women like Jade Struck (second from right). TOP RIGHT: S.W.A.T.’s Kenny Johnson shows off a TTI Combat Master Glock. ABOVE: The cast of S.W.A.T. poses at Taran’s range.



Tell us a how you got into building custom guns. Necessity is the mother of invention I guess! Back in my early days of competitive shooting, I would practice so hard for a big match and sometimes lose over literally one point or one second. You can shred stages all day, but if your gear lets you down on just that one last stage, it’s over. I got tired of guns not working or guns I couldn’t manipulate as fast as I wanted to. It’s like being a great driver and trying to race with a Honda Civic instead of a Ferrari. I surrounded myself with the best in the business for trigger jobs, and it grew from there. Our Combat Master Glock 34 and our 3-Gun Benelli shotgun are the flagships. Nobody can touch our trigger work and our other mods. Nobody else has people like Daniel Horner winning multiple national championships with their guns. TTI guns are also being used by Ashley Rheuark, Nils Jonasson and many others. The quality speaks for itself.



Your guns have ended up in a lot of major screen productions. Absolutely. Another thing about me is that I am a fan of aesthetics. Things that work perfectly don’t have to be ugly. The best is when you can make a gun that destroys stages but also looks really cool. Naturally, they’re going to end up in movies. Can you share some cases besides John Wick 2 where your guns are showcased? Recently, we’ve been supplying guns and gear to Hawaii Five-0, with Meaghan Rath’s custom Glock 17, for example, as well as the new Magnum P.I. TV series. We also helped out a lot with The Fate of the Furious. We supplied them with a special TTI Combat Master Glock 41 for The Rock, and Michelle Rodriguez used our TR-1 Ultralight AR-15. You’ve worked with an increasing number of women in the shooting sports and for screen work. What’s driving this trend? There’s a wave of female shooters taking the stage. I’m excited to see that. I think there’s a lot of opportunity right now for women who want to work on their skills. Things in a women’s shooting career can come together very quickly because the sport isn’t stacked with women. They can distinguish themselves a little easier than the guys can for that reason. Today, we’re discovering true ambassadors of the sport. Led by women like Jessie Harrison, these shooters are triple threats: They’re intelligent, the camera loves them and they can shoot! At TTI, we will continue to help female shooters and competitors dominate in their fields. You also have an amazing female shooter on your team at TTI. Of course we have to mention Jade Struck, one of the best female shooters I’ve ever worked with! She’s an amazing person who comes from a family where both parents served (law enforcement and fire department), and she’s absolutely genuine. She’s a prodigy—my



Taran-trained actors include (clock-wise from top left) Aaron Eckhart and “Stone Cold” Steve Austion, James Cameron, and The Punisher Jon Bernthal.

GO BALLISTIC ONLINE To see more from Taran Butler and his shooting posse, head over to

best training discovery in a long time. She blows people’s expectations out of the water. She’s a great asset to our business because she can relate to so many different kinds of people. She could be on the range with James Cameron, Tim Miller (director of Deadpool), David Ellison (Skydance Media) and Chad Stahelski (director of John Wick) all at the same time, and everyone thinks she’s wonderful and talented. We’re very happy to have her. Has your career in Hollywood intersected with your career in competitive shooting? My work for the screen has made me a better shooter. The clients expect a lot from me. Working with big names and important people pushes me to practice harder, be better prepared and work the bugs out of all my

techniques. I’ve been blessed to maintain my SWPL Championship Cups since 1998, and I enjoy competing in some of the world’s biggest matches, so I believe it’s paying off. What’s next for Taran Butler? I really see more work with major films and TV. This trend of more action realism isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Nobody wants to see an otherwise serious movie turn silly when the main character has a limp-wristed cup-and-saucer grip and fires 50 rounds or something out of a pistol before reloading. This is an exaggeration, of course, but the sentiment is true. People want to get absorbed in what they’re watching, and to get there, things have to be real. That’s where my training comes in. ¥




HAM’R T 54


IF THERE IS ANY COMPANY qualified to bring out a new AR-based cartridge, it’s Wilson Combat. It is a leading authority on the AR platform. If you want a high-end AR, Wilson is the first place to look. The company offers rifles in a staggering array of chamberings, including the new .224 Valkyrie and .458 HAM’R, and now it’s time to add the .300 HAM’R to that long list. But before we can fully understand the “what” aspect of the .300 HAM’R, we need to study a little history and comprehend the “why.” If we went back in time 124 years, this article would be singing the praises of the new Winchester Model 1894. Just a year later, the .30 WCF cartridge, later known as the .30-30 Winchester, hit the market and turned the 1894 lever action into the ultimate utility rifle. Yet, when you look at the sales figures over the past decade, it would seem as if the AR-15 is making its move to dethrone the ’94. There is only one problem with that concept, as most ARs are chambered for the 5.56mm NATO/.223 Remington. The numbers don’t lie, and the .223 Remington just isn’t up to the task of going head to head with the .30-30 Winchester. There are some chamberings for an AR that surpass the power levels of the .30-30, but most of them are in the heavier AR-10s, and





those in the AR-15 platform are limited in capacity. There just isn’t an AR-15 that can be deemed the perfect all-around utility weapon. If these statements lead you to believe that I’m not a fan of the AR-15, let me correct that thought. I have several, and I keep an AR-15 handy “just in case.” My lever actions are neatly tucked away in a gun safe. I’ll even go as far as saying the .223 Remington cartridge may have some merits—it’s just not my choice for a go-to cartridge. For the past seven years, my “grab-it-now” AR has been chambered in Wilson Combat’s 7.62x40 WT so I could take advantage of the added energy increase while still maintaining reliability, capacity and accuracy. Those are the same reasons why a new Wilson AR is now sitting next to my desk.

.300 STRONG The .300 HAM’R is designed to maximize the capabilities of the AR-15 for hunting, self-defense and target practice. In other



words, terminal performance, capacity and accuracy. An AR-15 chambered in .300 HAM’R no longer stands in the shadow of the Model 1894. And even though the .300 HAM’R is a new cartridge, it is the result of a 13-year quest by Bill Wilson to find the perfect all-around hunting rifle for medium-sized game while at the same time optimizing the AR-15 as a defensive weapon. The search saw Bill testing everything from the .300 Whisper to his own 7.62x40 WT. At best, the .300 Whisper was a compromise from the start. You have a choice of velocity or mass, but you can’t have both. Nor will the twist rate for the heavy subsonic bullets com-

plement the use of lighter bullets needed for supersonic velocities. If you’re looking for a suppressed subsonic rifle, the .300 Whisper may be for you, but it is a far cry from being an all-around utility caliber. Before you even mention the 300 Blackout, just re-read the preceding paragraph. Next on the table was the 6.8 SPC, which performed very well, but Bill really wanted something in the .30-caliber range because of its larger diameter and projectile availability. Remington brought out the .30 Remington AR, but it had its own problems and even Remington has given it up. Besides, even if you don’t mind the proprietary parts, the lack


HAM’R TIME that must be mentioned. The 7.62x40 WT was the starting point for the .300 HAM’R, but the new cartridge was designed as a total package. The brass, powder, powder charge, primer and bullets were all chosen to optimize performance. Not one aspect was set in stone at the onset, and each element was reviewed for its contribution to the total project.


of capacity knocks it out of the running for a defensive weapon. Other cartridges were included in the testing, but none of them were equal to the task. About seven years ago, Wilson Combat worked with Kurt Buchert to bring the 7.62x40 WT to the marketplace, and we had a cartridge that was finally approaching the performance of the .30-30. I will admit that I have been the 7.62x40 WT’s biggest fan, but Bill thought there was room for improvement. For the sake of full disclosure, Bill Wilson



designed the .300 HAM’R, but he allowed me to “ride along” during the process. He knew I had been an ardent advocate of the 7.62x40 WT, and I tend to give my opinion even at times when it isn’t wanted. As he would tweak this or that aspect of the design, I was able to follow each move and test the results. In my humble opinion, the development of the .300 HAM’R has finally allowed the AR-15 to reach its maximum potential. Before we start looking at the details of the .300 HAM’R, there is a major detail

The parent case is the .223 Remington necked up to accept .30-caliber bullets in the 110- to 150-grain range. When compared to the 7.62x40 WT, the new cartridge is longer, and the neck angle slightly altered. The overall length of the cartridge is 2.260 inches, which was dictated by the bullet selection and the AR-15 magazine, and the case has a maximum length of 1.603 inches. A 30degree neck angle was selected, and the case taper was slightly decreased from the .223 to maximize the case capacity. Although cases can be formed from .223 Remington brass, .300 HAM’R head-stamped brass is available from Starline. I must compliment Starline for its contribution to the project and its willingness to strive for the best results. There are currently 16 different bullets deemed suitable for the .300 HAM’R from five different manufacturers. The weights vary from 110 to 150 grains. They were all chosen for their accuracy and terminal performance as well as having a profile that would work with the extended case length. The most suitable powders tested for the .300 HAM’R were Accurate 1680, Shooters World Blackout and Hodgdon’s CFE-BLK. All three gave good accuracy and increased velocity, but it was the CFE-BLK that developed the best combination of velocity and accuracy at a much lower pressure rating. It should be noted that Wilson Combat



BALLISTICS COMPARISON .300 HAM’R (125-grain Speer TNT) Velocity Energy Trajectory

300 Blackout (125-grain HP) Velocity Energy Trajectory

7.62x39mm (125-grain Rem PSP) Velocity Energy Trajectory

Muzzle 2,500 1,735 -2.5

50 2,381 1,574 -0.5

100 2,266 1,425 0

150 2,154 1,288 -1.2

200 2,045 1,161 -4.3

Muzzle 2,175 1,313 -2.5

50 2,058 1,176 -0.2

100 1,945 1,050 0

150 1,836 936 -2.1

200 1,732 832 -6.7

Muzzle 2,365 1,552 -2.5

50 2,218 1,366 -0.4

100 2,062 1,198 0

150 1,942 1,046 -1.6

200 1,812 911 -5.6

Note: Velocity in fps, energy in foot-pounds and trajectory in inches. All data is from 16-inch barrels.

and HSM are offering loaded ammunition, and Black Hills is planning to add the cartridge later this year. Wilson Combat is carrying Lee and RCBS loading dies for handloaders as well as headspace and bullet seating depth gauges. Wilson Combat is also providing complete loading data for the new cartridge on its website. And Seekins Precision will be adding .300 HAM’R barrels, uppers and rifles to its product line.

PERFORMANCE TESTING The .300 HAM’R has the physical appearance of a well-balanced round, but like any



cartridge, performance is everything. I can say I have shot well over 1,000 test rounds, and that is nothing compared to Bill’s volume. We also tested several different barrels varying in both length and twist rate. It was no surprise that steeping up from 16- to 18-inch barrels, and then 18- to 20-inch barrels did show an increase in velocity, but both of us found the 18-inch barrel as the best all-around performer for velocity versus balance. The surprise came while we were testing the various twist rates on barrels. After testing 1-in-11.25-, 1-in-12-, 1-in-13-, 1-in-14- and 1-in-15-inch twist rates, it was the 1-in-15-

inch twist rate that gave us the best overall accuracy. I will admit that most groups fired where three shots until we found suitable loads and then they were expanded to fiveshot groups. Most of the bullets tested were able to consistently give us MOA groups with only one or two upping that to 1.5 MOA. In our little unannounced competition, Bill was the clear winner with a 0.2-inch group while my best was 0.31 inches. Even with over 80 years of reloading experience between the two of us, it was interesting to see we learned a few new details. Throughout the process, we noticed


HAM’R TIME Defense bullets put them down without a hitch, but the 130-grain Speer FNHC was devastating. When I went out to Texas to try the .300 HAM’R on hogs, it only took a few shots to confirm the scope alignment, and within an hour I was sighting in on a nice hog. After one pull of the trigger, there were two dead hogs lying in front of me. That has only happened once before at the ranch, according to Bill, and I was strutting. The very next shot dropped two more hogs! After two shots and four hogs, I informed Bill that he would have to listen to me brag for years to come.


After one pull of the trigger, there were two dead hogs lying in front of me.

that there were certain “nodes,” or velocity ranges, where each bullet tested gave better accuracy. The Wilson Combat factory offerings are all loaded for the best combination of velocity and accuracy. We also compared the .300 HAM’R to the 300 Blackout and 7.62x39mm. With all three shooting 125-grain bullets, the .300 HAM’R gave over 300 fps more than the Blackout and over 150 fps over the 7.62x39mm. These velocities also accounted for the higher energy rating of the .300 HAM’R. In terms of accuracy, the 7.62x39mm wasn’t even close, and the 300 Blackout’s best performance was 1.5 MOA. As a side note, I do believe that the 300 Blackout might perform better if it had a twist rate better suited for lighter 125-grain bullets. During the accuracy testing, we were constantly being surprised by the perfor-



mance of various bullets, but once we carried them to the field, “stunned” would be the best description. Bill has taken at least 200 hogs with the cartridge, and even I had the chance to try my hand at the Circle WC Ranch. My 10 hogs may not seem like much compared to Bill’s tally, but I was impressed. The Sierra 125-grain Pro-Hunter and 110-grain Lehigh

Whenever a cartridge is introduced it shouldn’t be a contest to beat this or that competitor, but more of an effort to offer the hunter another option to make a humane kill. At the same time, when you’re talking about a utility weapon, you must also consider its defensive uses, and I now keep a .300 HAM’R nearby. Bill Wilson exceeded his goal to improve the performance of the AR-15, and any AR-15 can be converted to the .300 HAM’R by merely changing the barrel. Plus, the popularity of the 300 Blackout has prompted several companies to produce magazines tailored for its use, and they’re ideal for the .300 HAM’R. Wilson Combat has added the .300 HAM’R to four of its existing rifle series and dedicated the new Bill Wilson Ranch Rifle to this caliber specifically. This new model is tailored to Bill’s personal tastes and is a prime example of his company’s quality. There’s no compromise in the .300 HAM’R. When combined with a quality AR-platform rifle, it has become my weapon of choice for hunting and personal defense. I can now say my part of the testing is done— at least until deer season. For more information, visit ¥ Editor’s Note: Visit to catch some companion video of the HAM’R being dropped—Bill Wilson style.



POTENTIAL CHAOS Nine lifesaving tips to add to your self-defense toolbox BY PAT MCNAMARA



that community. You need to be equipped to be your family’s own security detail. You need to be your own “sentinel.” So, let’s cover some things to consider when you perform your sentinel duties.

1. Stay Aware Don’t get caught “in the White,” using Jeff Cooper’s color code, when you’re out and about. You do not need to be on full alert—this would be too exhausting—but you should maintain Condition Yellow. If I’m out at, say, a restaurant, I want to plan ahead in case trouble comes in, so I ask myself, “If I were a sociopath, which direction would I move after entering?

Big Stock Photos

In an era of persistent conflict both at home and abroad, life’s uncertainty can test whether or not we are prepared for challenges not forecasted. We do not plan to fail, but we fail to plan, and when we do, we get experience. Experience is often something we get shortly after we need it. Whether you are the head of a household with a family or on your own, you need to be your own first responder. It is your duty and responsibility to protect and serve as well. Protect yourselves and your loved ones and serve your communities as a responsible member of


I GOT THIS By the way, if you see me out with my family in a public place and I’m wearing shower shoes, please walk up to me and jam a pencil in my eye. I deserve it. Mobility equals survivability, and flip flops are not conducive to moving.

3. Go With Your Gut Intuition is a gift that we humans are born with. We can exercise this function and make it stronger—just like we do with our muscles. Intuition works best when we register what we’ve sensed and then put our five other senses aside. Intuition is our sixth sense, but it’s often stifled by our overdependence on sensations available from the material world. When we tap into our intuition, decisions that seemed difficult to make suddenly gain more clarity.

Where would I aim my shotgun? What are the natural lines of drift in this particular establishment?” I visualize potential chaos. I picture complete bedlam with everyone simultaneously running for the exit. This is a necessary component in preparation for when all hell breaks loose. You must mentally prepare yourself to exit with those you are protecting—if exiting is the best and safest recourse—without hesitation, even if this means throwing a chair through the window. When pandemonium strikes, there is no time for analysis. Analysis brings paralysis.

2. Think For Yourself If shit does hit the fan, running with the “sheeple” may not be the best course of action. Don’t be victimized by an ocean of people who have their heads up their asses. Lines of drift and likely avenues of approach may be part of a plan with a well-organized adversary who may use a rouse or diversion to send the herd in a desired direction. Exercise your “OODA loop” and come up with a quick plan of egress. Sometimes flanking or egressing at an oblique is more conducive to longevity. Run until you have made it past the danger or have some good cover. Then take a second to assess the situation and readjust your plan.



Basically, every step we take toward having complete power over our lives is one step away from being a victim, where we have none. Nowadays, we are so connected, plugged in, that we are disconnected. Our situational awareness is nearly nonexistent. We are fat, dumb and happy button-pushers. Comfortable, flaccid and complacent.

4. Train To Carry In order to be effective on your security detail, you should be carrying a sidearm. It is a necessary battlefield multiplier. It’s a game-changer if you know how to use it, so get some quality instruction. If you are carrying a sidearm, you should be doing it legally. In order to carry it legally, you will need to get a CCW permit.



You should learn how to use a firearm safely and effectively prior to buying one. Because firing a pistol effectively is not easy. It requires instruction and practice. In addition, firing a pistol at someone who is threatening you or your loved ones requires compartmentalization and the proper mindset. In your training, work primarily on the two most important fundaments of marksmanship: sight alignment and trigger control. All of the other fundaments are support mechanisms for these two basics. In a gunfight, you can’t miss fast enough. The fundamentals need to be rehearsed so that they can be quickly and effectively executed.

5. Move Or Fight Having a firearm doesn’t mean that you are armed. You need to must consider escalation of force, for example. A confrontation will more than likely be physical way before it goes lethal. In other

words, you need to be prepared to get off the “X” or be ready to punch someone’s mouth loose depending on the situation.

6. Own The Road As the driver of your security detail, your primary responsibility is to drive. If you are on your phone, you are not driving. This also means it’s your job to ensure that the vehicle is clean inside and out and functioning well. Make sure the engine passes inspection, test all of the doors and locks, and ask for assistance if you’re unfamiliar with an item or its use. You must account for all emergency equipment and verify that it functions. And you must drive to save your life or the lives of your passengers if necessary.

7. Spot Tails You should follow some basic rules when you’re traveling with your family. Follow your instincts. If a person, situation or location feels wrong, or if it makes you nervous, get away as quickly as possible. It is better to walk away, even if it seems overly cautious, than to stay in a situation that might become dangerous. If you feel as if you are being followed, conduct a surveillance-detection route. Use reflections in vending machines and bus stop shelters to see behind you. Stop to read a restaurant menu to dissuade a would-be tail. Do not get caught rubbernecking if you want to confirm a tail. Turn to look but do not be aggressive of presumptuous.



8. Protect Your Castle In your fortress, you are not just protecting yourself and your principals from burglars, but also natural disasters, power outages and fires. According to FBI statistics, a house, apartment or condominium is burglarized once every 15 seconds. Fortunately, burglary is probably the most preventable of crimes. By taking a few simple precautions, you can dramatically reduce the risks. First, make your home less attractive to rob than your neighbor’s. My home is lit up at night. Every bit of dead space is decoratively and defensively illuminated. Second, don’t make it easy for others to case your home. If you have stuff worth stealing, limit the amount of people you tell. It may be unintentional, but people talk and word travels. Then consider getting a dog. A dog is one of the best deterrents. Not because it’s vicious—it doesn’t even

to go in the event that you can’t get any for several days. At a minimum, things like water, food, medical gear, sanitation supplies, fuel and generator are a few things everyone should have. Have a bag or box packed and ready to go with the same gear in the event you must leave to comfort of your sanctuary in a hurry. ¥

need to be seen, but it must be heard. Take a walk around and through your property often. Start outside and ask yourself, “How would I best break in?” Do this at night as well.

9. Bunker Or Flee Be prepared to either hold down the fort or get the hell out of Dodge. During power outages, etc., you should have the proper provisions stocked and ready












IN THE LATE 1900s, HAROLD “KIT” CARSON, an iconic figure in the knife community, created a new knife design in collaboration with CRKT. Dubbed the M16, this new design popularized a distinct method of opening a folding knife with one hand that is both fast and reliable. Such knives are now known simply as “flippers.” In the past couple of decades, many knife companies have gotten into the flipper game, and just about every style, steel and price range is covered in today’s market. So, after the 2018 Blade Show, we contacted a few different companies to see what’s currently available in this niche. For this article, we didn’t look at the least expensive folders available, nor did we shoot for the moon and look only at high-end custom pieces. We took the middle ground and tried to find quality models that were still relatively affordable. Let’s dive in.





FLIPPING OUT one model that stands out from the lot is the X5 Button Lock flipper. The standard X5 is offered with a 4-inch blade, but versions with shorter 3.5-inch blades are also available for stricter jurisdictions or easier portability. Additionally, the X5 is available with either a spear-point or Wharncliffe blade profile. The Wharncliffe profile on my test model has gained a lot of traction in the tactical community this past decade because of its strength and cutting power. The X5 has 6061-T6 aluminum handle scales and a CPM 154 steel blade. This steel is tough, holds an edge well and resists corrosion, and my test model had a black Cerakote finish for even greater durability. One small quibble I had with the X5 was the design of the clip. It is curved at the bottom, and the end curves back up and out like a spoon. I found the clip was more prone to snagging on things than the clips of other knives I’ve used. For a quick fix, aftermarket clips are available to remedy this minor issue.


EMERSON MINI CQC-7 FLIPPER When it comes to the number of ways to open a knife with one hand, Emerson Knives has got them all beat with the Mini CQC-7 Flipper. This knife has Emerson’s proprietary “Wave” feature, a thumb disc and even a flipper fin, giving you three different ways to open the blade in a hurry with just one hand. For those with a tactical bent who live in a jurisdiction where large pocket knives are frowned upon, the Mini CQC7 Flipper is a perfect choice for EDC. And though it’s a scaled-down version of its larger brethren, it gives up nothing in strength or build quality. The 154CM steel blade is 2.9 inches long, so it will conform to all but the most draconian jurisdictions. It’s also 0.125 inches thick and sports Emerson’s signature chisel grind for more tip strength and better penetration. The handle is 4.3 inches long, providing ample real estate for a strong grip and bringing the knife’s overall length to 7.2 inches when locked open. If you’re a lefty, one thing to keep an



eye on when purchasing a knife of this type is whether its built for left-handed carry. The Mini CQC-7 Flipper is not— at least not in pure production form. Left-handed users will have to pay an extra $25 to have the handle drilled and tapped for such carry, but at least that’s an available option. Despites its compact form factor, there’s no doubting its rugged build quality in hand. Its construction consists of a titanium liner lock that is extremely durable and secure. The outer slabs are made of a very grippy G10 composite that gives the user exceptional traction even in wet conditions. For added security, the grip also includes a hole for your lanyard of choice. (

HOGUE X5 BUTTON LOCK After staking a dominant position in the aftermarket grip sector of the gun industry, Hogue branched out into several other areas, including knives. If you peruse the company’s website, you’ll find that Hogue is particularly fond of tactical knives, and


The X5 flipper does not utilize a liner or frame lock. Instead, it makes use of a push-button lock like those often found on automatic knives—though the X-5 does not open automatically. The push button must be depressed to unlock and close the folder. To avoid inadvertently unlocking the blade, the X5 comes with a safety switch that can be employed while the knife is being used. Select models, like my test model, come with Hogue’s G-Mascus inserts, each of which has its own color and personality. I found that the inserts provided great traction and had a more organic feel than plain aluminum slabs. The X5 also had an extra-positive detent, but the action was extremely smooth, and the blade powered open with little effort. (


Bradley. The hard-as-nails appearance belies the subtle touches that went into this folder’s features and overall design. The handle is fashioned from titanium scales that wear an orange-peel texture for a little extra eye candy. Also, the edges of the scales are radiused along the entire length, providing for a very comfortable grip. Lefties can rejoice as well since the

SPYDERCO ADVOCATE Looking for something a little more extreme? Spyderco ticks the box with the Advocate, which was designed by Gayle

Advocate is set up for both right- and left-handed carry, making it a contender for my personal list. The Advocate uses ball-bearing washers that Spyderco promotes for their lowdrag actuation. However, the action of this particular knife was not as slick or positive as a couple of the others, and it required a little more effort to get it to quickly lock



• •


• •




FLIPPING OUT jurisdictions, and it locks in place via an integral frame lock. (




open. But fear not, as the blade also sports Spyderco’s trademark thumb hole for easy one-handed operation as well. Aside from the terrific machining and titanium scales, the Advocate features a



blade made of CPM M4, which is considered one of the best steels available for cutting because of its superior edge retention. The blade is 3.49 inches long, falling just under the 3.5-inch limit for many

Some of the most beautiful production knives I’ve come across in a while are made by We Knife. But those looks are backed up with quality materials and outstanding design execution. Take, for instance, the Chimera, one of We Knife’s latest flippers for 2018. As good as it looks, it’s even better in the hand. The titanium frame has a distressed finish, adding a little apocalyptic zest to the package, and incorporates a strong integral frame lock with a steel lock bar for added durability. The knife also uses a ceramic bearing for silky-smooth deployments. The lockup is fast and positive, part of which is due to the extra mass of the 3.9-inch, flat-ground blade. The blade uses S35VN steel, which is one of the best options for a knife of this type. It offers great edge retention yet allows for easier sharpening compared to its S30V predecessor. At 0.16 inches, the blade is a good bit thicker than some of the others reviewed for this article, adding to its strength. Finally, if I weren’t fairly ambidextrous when it comes to knife handling, I would’ve been disappointed to find that the Chimera is only set up for right-handed users. While the flipper can be used with either hand, the titanium handle is only drilled and tapped for right-hand pocket carry. (

ZERO TOLERANCE 0609 Fans of tactical blades need no introduction to Zero Tolerance. The company’s products have earned a great reputation for smooth operation and excellent quality. We received one of ZT’s more elegant offerings in the form of the new 0609, which is a smaller version of the company’s original 0606CF. The 0609 is a sleek package that looks like it was crafted more for a dinner party than EDC. But don’t let its good looks fool you. Its high-speed, low-drag design leaves nothing on the table when it comes to performance.



The 0609 starts with a bronze anodized titanium frame, giving it real eye appeal, with different-sized chevrons and flowing lines. The 0609 also features an integral frame lock, ZT’s KVT ball-bearing system and the oversized See-Through Pivot (STP) designed by R.J. Martin. Unlike a few others in this review, the 0609 is a very slim knife. And though the action is buttery smooth and positive, keeping a grip on the handle while deploying the blade is a bit tricky for me with my thicker fingers. The machining on the handle is quite attractive, but it doesn’t add much traction for a positive purchase. This isn’t a huge deal for a non-tactical EDC knife since you’ve got the time to pay attention to what you’re doing. The 0609 sports a lot of blade for its size, with a 3.4-inch CPM 20V blade and a 4-inch handle. This blade is built for top-tier corrosion resistance, edge retention and a good degree of toughness as well. (

AND THE VERDICT? For the sake of word count, it’s impossible to give a complete point-for-point comparison of these flippers. Because they all differ in terms of steel, profile, size and intended use, each one is going to be chosen for different reasons. For instance, the Hogue X5’s modified Wharncliffe blade profile provides excellent leverage for power cutting while the chisel grind on Emerson’s Mini CQC-7 Flipper makes it better for penetrating thrusts. Similarly, one could extoll the




benefits of Spydero’s use of CPM M4 for its superior edge retention while, on the other hand, another person might be swayed by the Chimera’s relative ease of sharpening thanks to its S35VN blade. Some may eschew the bulky size of the X5 or Chimera and prefer the slim lines and aesthetics of ZT’s 0609. These kinds of things are in the eye of the beholder. However, I did try to make some judgements on the very basics of the knives. For example, a flipper knife should be able to open easily with the flick of a finger. In that regard, the Chimera had the smoothest and most positive action, with the X5 coming in second. In terms of sharpness, all five knives were excellent right out of the box. They each shaved arm hair and cut free-hanging newsprint with ease. Comfort during use is a bit more subjective, but I did notice that the Chimera and X5 had a few edges that dug into the hand, especially when bearing down on harder work. Conversely, I found the Advocate and Mini CQC-7 Flipper to

be the most comfortable; the Advocate because of its soap-bar-like radiused edges and the CQC-7 because of its handle-to-blade length ratio. Additionally, the Mini CQC-7 Flipper provided the best traction with its textured G10 scales. So, do I have a favorite or two out of the bunch? Yes, but I’m not going to tell you. My preferences come from what I use folding knives for on a daily basis. My choices also stem from balancing features like edge retention versus ease of sharpening, or cutting edge length versus portability. And, of course, visual impact plays a part as well. So, what’s important to me might not matter that much to you. In the end, these knives are excellent representatives of the different classes and design philosophies for which they were built. While each has its particular strong suit, none of them have any significant downside. It’s a great time in the knife industry. Never before has there been a wider variety of quality products to suit each user’s particular needs. It all boils down to deciding which features and aesthetics are most important to you, but no matter what you decide, you’re sure to pick a winner. ¥



LITE-FIGHTER X DoubleStar’s newest knife cuts through the BS with unstoppable steel BY FRED MASTISON

There is no weapon more personal than a knife. Cold steel laying in the palm, waiting to be commanded. In some cultures, blades are even seen as being endowed by spirits and having their own will. They are prayed over and passed on from generation to generation. Blades have been part of the human equation for over 2.5 million years, and that obviously won’t be changing anytime soon. What has changed, however, is how the knives are made and the resulting variety of designs. Yet something primal calls to us as we handle a well-made knife. This is especially true when that knife is dedicated as a warrior’s tool. I have been a blade aficionado since I handled my first wellworn and used KA-BAR nearly 45 years ago. While I can appreciate, and own, several utili-



tarian knives, there is a special place set aside for fighters. Because of this background, my attention was drawn when I heard about a new knife moving into the market—one meant for fighting and serving the needs of the warrior class. The blade I was introduced to was the Lite-Fighter X.

EXPERT FORGING While some people might think blades like this emerge from a dark forge located in some cave in the Himalayas, that’s not always the case. In fact, the Lite-Fighter X comes to us from the folks at DoubleStar, a company well known for producing high-quality, American-made AR rifles, pistols and components. DoubleStar entered the blade world in 2017 when it launched its knife line at the annual Blade Show. The convention was a chance for the company to introduce weapon designer

Robert Cabrera as the director of DoubleStar’s newly minted Edged Weapons Division. Cabrera brings with him 20 years of self-defense training experience within the military and law enforcement communities. He also has eight years of professional knife designing experience with his own company, Filo Bladeworks. Thus, DoubleStar released five blades at that show and has continued to march forward since. In the knife world, it’s not uncommon for a designer to work with other manufacturers to bring a certain blade to life. That is the case with the Lite-Fighter X. The blade was designed in cooperation with knife designer Darrin Sirois, retired sergeant major and founder of Tactical Combat Tools, or TCT. The goal was to render his designs into affordable production knives for DoubleStar’s new Edged Weapons Division. The result of this collaboration is a well-made



tactical fighter. The knife is a comfortable 9.5 inches long with a 4.75-inch blade.

SERIOUS STEEL All serious blades have a heart of serious steel, and that is certainly the case here. The knife is made from Nitro-V stainless steel. For those interested, Nitro-V is essentially AEB-L steel that has been modified with nitrogen and vanadium. The result is greater strength, edge retention and stain resistance. The blade has a flat grind as well as a harpoon-style upper spine wedged and optimized for entrance and exit wounds. Also, the portion of the full tang beneath the handle scales is skeletonized to reduce weight and create a perfectly balanced knife. The handle scales themselves are made from G10. Measuring about 0.19 inches thick with coarse texturing, the grips provide a solid purchase on the knife. You’ll also find deep thumb grooves that are precisely placed for a positive, non-slip grip. As DoubleStar says, this knife was “born from the theater of war,” and I believe it. The role of a knife like this is in the Fairbairn-Sykes and KA-BAR arena. While capable of bushcrafting in a survival situation, the knife is primarily built to fight and protect. And the Lite-Fighter X has good role models, especially the aforementioned KA-BAR. While many people know these knives were carried by Marines into war, few know the origin of the name. The Union Cutlery Company of Olean, New York, began using the name on its knives in 1923 after receiving a testimonial letter from a fur trapper who used the knife to kill a wounded bear that attacked him after his rifle jammed. According to company records, the letter was only partially legible; “ka bar” could be read as fragments of the phrase “kill a bear.” In 1923, the company adopted the name KA-BAR from the bear story as its trademark. Why is this important? I wanted to bring to light that knives like the Lite-Fighter X are serious business.


blade world. He served for

pleased to bring Darrin on

DoubleStar an-

25 years in the military,

board the design team.

nounced that it would be collaborating with

where he got his start in

At DoubleStar, we aim to

knife-making as an outlet

provide the men and wom-

well-known knife designer

for combat-related stress-

en who serve and protect

Darrin Sirois, a retired U.S.

es. His past assignments

our nation with products

Army sergeant major and

included the Ranger

they can depend upon.

the owner, operator and

Regiment, Special Forces

Working with Darrin further

founder of Tactical Combat

and special operations.

strengthens our commit-

Tools (TCT). Asked about

Knife-making began as a

ment to these values. We

the endeavor, Sirois said,

hobby in 2008 but quickly

look forward to making

“Joining DoubleStar on this

turned into a passion,

Darrin’s designs accessible

collaboration is an absolute

especially after he retired

honor. My work ethic and

in 2014. His blades are

to a wider audience.” The first knife pro-

ethos embolden a no-fail

field tested and currently

duced in this collabora-

mentality in anything I do.

serving in Afghanistan, Af-

tion, the Lite-Fighter X,

I strive for excellence and

rica and worldwide. Sirois

should please serious

understand the complex-

has even designed knives

blade connoisseurs

ities of the knife industry

for celebrities, including

with its mix of form and

and look forward to being

an axe for Hakim Isler to

function. I’m certain the

an asset to the DoubleStar

use on a challenge during

knife will be a success

Edged Weapons Division.” Sirois has some very unique insight into the

Naked and Afraid. DoubleStar’s Rob Cabrera said, “We are very

and eagerly await the next

blade from this great partnership. —Fred Mastison

WORTH THE PRICE I was fortunate to get my hands on one of these knives for testing. It came with a Boltaron sheath with a Tek-Lok attachment. The knife fit perfectly into the sheath and was well balanced. And the harpoon-style upper spine immediately stood out



with “entry wound” written all over it. The major benefit of this design is an improved stabbing ability. While slashing with a knife can be a deterrent in some cases, deep stab wounds are what generally end lethal-force encounters.

The Lite-Fighter X has the capacity to enter and slightly expand a wound cavity while still being hearty enough to stand up to the impacts and twisting that goes on in a fight. Also, in a time when many companies are

shipping their knives with decently sharp blades, I found the Lite-Fighter X to be razor sharp and ready for duty out of the box. I would rate this knife very high on my fighter scale and would easily add it to my EDC loadout. Knives are a bit like guns in that they range from bargain-basement models to deluxe, super-expensive blades. I’m a fan of working knives, though, and the Lite-Fighter X fits that category. Priced very reasonably for a serious fighter, its durability and design surpasses some knives twice its price. This means that the knife is destined to land in some very capable hands. In fact, Robert Cabrera went through great strides to get one of these knives to Kris “Tanto” Paronto. For those who may be unaware, Paronto was part of the security team that responded to the terrorist attack on the CIA Annex in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012, helping to save over 20 lives while fighting off terrorists for over 13 hours. His actions were chronicled in the book 13 Hours, which was later adapted for the big screen.


DOUBLESTAR LITE-FIGHTER X 4.75 inches 9.5 inches WEIGHT: 8.7 ounces BLADE STEEL: Nitro-V stainless SCALES: Black G10 SHEATH: Boltaron MSRP: $215 BLADE LENGTH: OA LENGTH:

The entire team at DoubleStar was honored to send Tanto the knife as a symbol of respect for his service and heroism. Yes, the knife is that special. But before you dash out and grab your own, I’m compelled to say that knives of this quality and construction are not for the lazy. What I mean

by this is that they will need to be maintained, cleaned and oiled from time to time. As with any piece of kit designed for the protection of life, it needs to be taken care of. And if you take care of the Lite-Fighter X, it will take care of you. For more information, visit ¥


Made in the U.S.A. Get Some at





1911 HEAVEN The firearm business is booming in Berryville, Arkansas BY ROB GARRETT

BERRYVILLE, ARKANSAS, is a sleepy town of just over 5,000 people. Located close to the center of the state, Berryville was founded in 1850 by settler Blackburn Berry, who would go on to serve as governor of the state. For most people, Berryville is not really a destination that is high on the bucket list—that is, unless you are a 1911 gun guy or gal. In that case, Berryville is as close to heaven as you might get. You see, Berryville is the home of both Nighthawk Custom and Wilson Combat. I have traveled to Berryville on three occasions, and each time it was at the



invitation of a specific company. As the Southern gentleman I attempt to be, I understand that you dance with the date you brought to the party. In other words, it would have been both rude and unprofessional to visit friends from other companies when I was there on business. Just after I retired, I put Berryville and the surrounding area on the list of places I wanted to visit on my own. I could set my own schedule, visit with all of my industry friends and see some of the sights around northern Arkansas. I was very appreciative of the great folks at Ed Brown, Nighthawk Custom and Wilson Combat for making time in

their busy schedule. Their hospitality was greatly appreciated, as was their openness. After writing in this industry for over 35 years, relationships like these are what I value the most.

ED BROWN’S LINEUP I should note that Ed Brown’s production facility is actually located in Perry, Missouri, some five hours from Berryville. However, John May, Ed Brown’s director of sales and marketing, lives in Berryville and has an office in Huntsville. May joined Ed Brown last year and was tasked with building the company’s public profile, refreshing its product line


DESTINATION: EUREKA! EUREKA SPRINGS IS A sleepy little town located in the northwest corner of Arkansas. It is known for its hot springs, bath houses, Victorian buildings and historic district. In fact, the entire historic district is on the National Register of Historic Places. Being situated in the Ozark Mountains, the scenery both in and around the city is breathtaking. We stayed in the Wade Brown (above) and John May (below) are just two of the professionals helping shooters get top-quality Ed Brown 1911s.

historic Basin Park Hotel. Located in the middle of the downtown area, the hotel features a full spa, balcony bar and upgraded suites. It was a mix of old and new that was tastefully done. The downtown area is a mix of upscale gift shops, restaurants and

and improving its dealer support. Since joining the Ed Brown team, May has worked with Travis Brown to revitalize the brand in a number of ways. One of the most noticeable changes is the new “EB” logo and branding. The FX1 pistols, introduced in 2018, were a design departure from the company’s more traditional 1911s. Features include slide ports, relief cuts and a new “Snakeskin” frontstrap treatment. In addition, the company designed new rear cocking serrations that incorporate the American flag. The FX1 can also be ordered from Ed Brown with a Trijicon RMR installed. Another new pistol introduced was a collaboration with ZEV Technologies. The ZEV 1911 is based on ZEV’s Dragonfly design, a popular modification set for Glock pistols. Here you’ll find more relief



tourist destinations. The area around Eureka Springs also features a

A hand-sculpted statue

evening meal in Eureka

number of great tourist

of Christ stands 65.5 feet

Springs was at the Grotto

attractions to enjoy. These

tall on top of the mountain

Wood Fired Grill and Wine

range from sights and

and is visible for several

Cave. Located a block

landmarks to local

miles. Since July of 1968,

from the hotel, the Grotto’s

museums and theaters.

over 7 million people have

stone construction and

While our time was short,

attended the passion play

rich interior makes for

we did visit the Crescent

that is presented in the

the perfect place for an

Hotel that is located on

evening dinner with friends

reminiscent of a 1920s

4,100-seat amphitheater. GOOD EATS: The two things I use to measure

hotel where Al Capone

the success of a trip are

beef and fish. My filet was

would have come in the

the people and the food.

excellent, and the service

summer or when the

Based on the recom-

was professional, courte-

heat from the feds made

mendation of the hotel

Chicago uncomfortable.

staff, we ate at Bubba’s

Adjacent to the Crescent

Barbecue. Now, being

ous and attentive. Should you ever find yourself in northwestern

is St. Elizabeth’s Catholic

from South Georgia, I am

Arkansas, Eureka Springs

Church, which was found-

an admitted barbecue

is a great place to visit

ed in 1882 and represents

snob! But Bubba’s did not

and use as a base camp

one of the oldest churches

disappoint. The pork was

for other excursions. I’m

in the area. We also visited

lean and tender with a

absolutely certain that I’ll

the Christ of the Ozarks

good smoked taste and a

be back in the near future.

amphitheater and center.

variety of sauces. Our one

—Rob Garrett

top of a mountain. It is very

or just a cocktail. Our party was split between


The author (right) proudly shows off one of Nighthawk’s custom Hi-Powers with the company’s owner, Mark Stone (left).

cuts and ports to set the ZEV 1911 off as something special. The threaded barrel features dimples, and the slide has an angular profile. Like the FX1, the ZEV 1911 is offered in an optic-ready configuration with an Ed-Brown-supplied RMR. I had an opportunity to handle this pistol as well both FX1s and was impressed with their quality and features. Ed Brown has also introduced a long-slide 10mm pistol and is reintroducing the CCO, which will have a true Commander-length slide. However, it is Ed Brown’s business model that distinguishes it from other companies. First, every pistol in the Brown catalog starts at $2,695. That is a very competitive price for a high-end 1911. Second, Ed Brown offers more than 100 features that can be added to almost any model. If you want a Special Forces 1911 but also want to add an RMR and the American flag cocking serrations, the company can accommodate you. In addition to offering a limited lifetime warranty, Ed Brown has also just introduced a “Trade Up” program. If you have an older Ed Brown pistol, you can trade



it in for a newer model. The process is explained on its website, as is the form the customer completes to obtain an estimate. Ed Brown will even pay the shipping cost for your gun. This is something unique to Ed Brown, and it’s gaining a lot of traction. (

NEWS FROM NIGHTHAWK This was my second visit to Nighthawk, and it was good to visit with old friends. The year 2018 brought a lot of excitement for Mark Stone and his crew. The Nighthawk/Korth revolver collaboration is in full swing. The most popular of those models is the little Sky Hawk that I reviewed last year. It is a great concealment pistol that has Korth’s legendary double-action system while retailing at $1,699. That is well below the price of the Mongoose or the Super Sport. Other new models include the The Chairman, a classy long-slide 1911 chambered in 9mm. It features a 6-inch, match-grade, gold-colored barrel that is visible through six small ports on each side of the slide. Last October, I had

an opportunity to shoot one of the first pistols at the Athlon Outdoors Rendezvous in Colorado. I found it exceptionally accurate, and several of us were hitting steel targets well beyond 100 yards. Business at Nighthawk is on the upswing. The company is set to expand its manufacturing facility and has installed a new indoor testing range. Added to those accomplishments is the announcement that two of Nighthawk’s gunsmiths, David Ashley and Bob Reeves, were inducted into the American Pistolsmiths Guild at the 2018 SHOT Show. There are now seven Nighthawk gunsmiths that have been accepted into the guild. In walking through the work stations and visiting with these gunsmiths, the pride in their accomplishments and their excitement about the coming year was evident. However, the real news and excitement centered on the new Agent 2. For those who aren’t familiar with the Agent series, Nighthawk collaborated with Agency Arms in 2017 to design a custom 1911 that blended the personalities of both companies. The Agent 1 was limited to 50 pistols and served as a test to see if there was a market for the concept. The answer was a resounding yes. The Agent 2 was introduced at the 2018 SHOT Show and is a standard production pistol. I certainly didn’t expect the Agent 2 to blow its limited-edition predecessor away, but that is exactly what it did! Almost every surface of the pistol has received a redesign or treatment. The attention to detail, the geometric de-


signs and the execution are amazing. A close examination of the Agent 2 reveals that every major surface features a sleek, angular contour. Nighthawk has even gone so far as to design a unique trigger, safety, slide stop and magazine release for the Agent 2. The final touches are the uniquely angular grip panels, a collaboration between Nighthawk and RailScales. Perhaps the only negative news at Nighthawk Custom is that Browning has discontinued its Hi-Power line. Nighthawk has been offering custom Hi-Powers for almost two years, and the project has been extremely successful. While there won’t be more “new” Nighthawk Hi-Powers, the company is offering the same package on customer-supplied pistols. All in all, Mark Stone and company have a lot to look forward to in the coming year. (

ABOVE: One of Wilson Combat’s expert gunsmiths works on an EDC X9 slide. BELOW: Wilson Combat is in good hands thanks to Guy Joubert (left) and Ryan Wilson (center), among others.

WORD FROM WILSON Last, but certainly not least, I was able to schedule an appointment with Ryan Wilson and the folks at Wilson Combat. My last trip to Wilson was in 2011, and a lot has changed. The company has added several new buildings and now houses 165 employees in some 82,000 square feet of space. This has helped to improved production efficiency and give the employees more breathing room. While the 1911 is still Wilson’s bread and butter, the company is now offering custom packages for Glock pistols. The company uses a laser to engrave/stipple the gripping surfaces on the frame with Wilson’s Starburst pattern. This is one of the most popular options, along with the serrations on the top of the slide and the Bullet Proof sights. Wilson is also offering a line of both regular and threaded match barrels that are machined in-house with several custom patterns. As Wilson’s Glock market grows, the number of models will expand. One of the projects that Bill Wilson started has surprised everyone, including himself. These are the Wilson Combat Beretta packages. I would say that Bill Wilson has singlehandedly resurrected the popularity of the Beretta 92 family



of pistols. Wilson obtains the pistols directly from Beretta and then turns them into something special. While space will not allow me to describe the entire build package, each pistol is basically gutted and rebuilt to Bill’s specifications. According to Ryan Wilson, the company has shipped over 8,000 Brigadier Tactical models, and the new compact Centurion Tactical is on track to be just as successful. For around $1,195 and $1,250, respectively, this is a steal. I was somewhat surprised to learn just how popular Wilson’s line of AR rifles has been. Ryan attributes the continued success to the wide selection of calibers in both AR-15 and AR-10 configurations. In the AR-15 platform, Wilson offers seven calibers, and in the larger AR-10 platform, the company offers eight

calibers. Its smaller 9mm AR carbines and pistols are also extremely popular and are some of the best on the market. I had a chance to run one of these at Bill’s ranch and was very impressed. However, the real star in the Wilson house is the EDC X9. The EDC X9 took over two years of prototyping and testing, but Bill and his crew got it right. It has far exceeded even his expectations. While the company has shipped close to 3,000 guns, the number on backorder remains high, with no end in sight. The little EDC X9 seems to have created a cult following nothing short of amazing. While Ryan readily admitted that the platform is well suited for other variants, right now the company can barely keep up with demand. In a market that has been somewhat up and down, this is a good problem to have. As I finished my visit with Ryan, he reminded me that Wilson Combat is still a custom shop and will work on customersupplied guns. While I was there, I saw several guns from other manufacturers being given the Wilson treatment. It was evident that, like Ed Brown and Nighthawk Custom, things at Wilson Combat are on the uptick. ( ¥






Cass Dale Illustration

Molly Stevens was a cute, slight woman with a gentle disposition. She enjoyed the occasional recreational trip to the range with her husband but, for the most part, was content to homeschool her two young kids, Mitch and Marni. Her minivan was littered with old French fries and smelled pervasively of children. Between church responsibilities, T-ball practice and volunteer time at the homeless shelter, she was always on the go. A day in the shelter would likely be good for the kids. The turn into the long alleyway had been an accident. Her exasperation flirted with fear as a muscular young man in a red bandana stepped in front of her van and slapped the hood loudly, forcing her to stop. She glanced behind only to find two of his comrades closing in. One carried a hammer. The other had a baseball bat.




DoD Photo


She felt her heart beating in her chest as the first man casually raised his shirt. Underneath were rippling muscles, a large “MS” tattoo in gothic script and the butt of a heavy revolver. Molly recognized the MS-13 gang symbol. She stole a glance at her kids. They looked back at their mother wide-eyed and afraid. Molly took a deep breath and opened the door. The young man with the gun smiled and said, “Hey there, pretty lady. Want to come out and play with us?” His comrades snickered loudly behind the vehicle, and one suddenly smashed the back window with his bat. Molly’s hand slipped to the grip of the



cut-down M203 grenade launcher she carried in her custom Kydex thigh holster. Her finger pressed the safety forward as she drew the weapon, centered it on the big man’s chest and stroked the trigger. The grenade just had time to arm before impact. When the smoke cleared, all that remained of the gangbanger was a pair of charred boots, a few scattered gold teeth and a smoldering bandana. The other two gangsters sprinted away, their weapons discarded and their low-slung trousers moist. “Yay, Mom! Get some!” shouted Mitch. “Mom rocks hard!” squealed little Marni. With that, Molly smiled, extracted the empty

case and replaced it with a fresh 40mm M433 high-explosive dual-purpose (HEDP) round from her purse. She dialed her friend the police commissioner and sighed at the mess. She found that she was much more assertive and self-confident since she started packing a grenade launcher as her everyday-carry gun. The bulk and heft got tedious, of course, but it took all the ambiguity out of these little exchanges.

YOUR OWN M203 If you’re like me, then you might agree that grenade launchers in the hands of vulnerable young women with the will and skill to use

gun. The M203 can also manage dozens of different lethal and non-lethal rounds and is gradually being supplanted by the HK M320 in active military service.


Cass Dale Illustration

them would likely put a dent in violent crime rates across our great republic. Alas, while high-explosive 40mm rounds might never be available to us mere mortals, it is a surprisingly practical thing to add a live M203 grenade launcher to your personal firearms collection. Lewis Machine & Tool (LMT) makes the genuine mil-spec article as well as gobs of cool-guy accessories. And, unlike most defense contractors, the company also values the business of individual American citizens. The M203 was the only part of the 1960s-era Special Purpose Individual Weapon (SPIW) that saw active service. Introduced in 1969 and widely issued to U.S. forces starting in the early 1970s, the M203 combined the indirect-fire capability of the grenade launcher with the point-target efficiency of an infantry rifle. Grunts typically referred to the system as the “platoon leader’s artillery.” The M203 is a slide-action design wherein the barrel slides forward to accept a round. The single-action trigger is nicely crisp, and the host gun’s magazine serves as an ad hoc pistol

grip for firing. The manual safety consists of a pivoting toggle located within the triggerguard. The launcher has been produced by at least seven major manufacturers and has been adapted to fit dozens of weapons ranging from the M4 Carbine to the HK MP5 submachine

Grenade launchers are fairly inoffensive in the absence of high-explosive rounds, something that is quite literally unobtainable on the civilian market. However, “grenade launcher” sounds scary, so the federal government has deemed them “destructive devices” (DDs) in legal parlance. This means that owning one involves the same onerous paperwork, $200 tax stamp and interminable wait time that purchasing a registered machine gun or sound suppressor might. Additionally, these delightful toys must be transferred through a licensed DD dealer, something that is about as common as fiscal restraint in Congress. However, the BATFE will allow a conventional Class 3 firearms dealer to transfer a DD every now and then so long as they don’t make a habit of it. That’s how I got mine. Which brings us back to LMT. This company




is friendly, helpful and willing to sell its mil-spec gear to us normal folk so long as the proper rules are obeyed. LMT launchers can be had with 7-, 9- and 12-inch barrels in designs that either mount around the host weapon’s barrel or via a standard forearm rail. If you don’t want to endure the DD headache, LMT will also sell you the finished gun without a barrel as a standard Title 1 firearm. This weapon will transfer through any FFL just like your favorite single-barrel shotgun. At that point, you can legally outfit the launcher with a 37mm barrel or do the paperwork to register it as a DD and slap on the mil-spec 40mm version. LMT also offers standalone buttstocks and pistol grip



mounts that turn the launcher into the mother of all handguns.

PERSONAL TESTING Government-surplus flare and training rounds are available. However, they are expensive, and their availability is spotty. If you really want to wring out your M203, surf on over to This company’s lineup includes reusable machined cartridges that will push just about anything you might stuff

FOR MORE INFORMATION Q Lewis Machine & Tool Q Dennis Todd Q Reloadable Shells

in there. It offers appropriate wads, burst disks and ancillary kit to excite even the most jaded reloader. The company’s lineup includes beehive rounds that fire four .410 rounds simultaneously. Another option lights off three 28-gauge cylinders at the same time. This rig is great for rolling your own homebuilt flechette rounds. offers a variety of non-lethal projectiles as well as reloadable smoke rounds. In addition, the com-

pany sells adapters that allow you to run standard 12-gauge rounds through your 40mm launcher. I have found that plain old birdshot will produce a muzzle flash that is visible from outer space. So, after obtaining some of these rounds for testing, my goal was to make the M203 ready for carry. Thankfully, my friend Dennis Todd figured out how to pack one comfortably. He and a buddy designed a Kydex carry rig for the M203 that totes the gun on the hip while allowing fast access. Dennis is a fixture in the uniquely American world of advanced tactical gun collecting, and he has a gift for such stuff as this.

that they affectionately referred to as “pirate guns.” The FBI Hostage Rescue Team and Delta Force are reportedly using M203s with pistol grips, though I cannot confirm or deny that. I personally can’t think of a handier way to throw teargas or smoke, and there are some butt-kicking breacher rounds out there that will instantly put a door anyplace you need one. You may have scads of guns. You may have

iron in your collection to deal with threats from bad-breath range out to a grid square. Chances are, however, you don’t have anything like this. LMT will get you into the launcher, and will keep it running. The M203 is a reliable crowd pleaser anyplace two or more gun guys are gathered. Now, thanks to Dennis Todd, you can even pack it as an EDC gun. God bless America. ¥

IS IT PRACTICAL? The heft is substantial but not as bad as it could be. Think Desert Eagle for a convenient frame of reference. The holster is open on the front so the gun is just grab and go. Take hold of the pistol grip and push, and the M203 pops right out the front. If you are rolling around in the dirt with this thing for real, you will also naturally want a dummy cord just in case. The safety on the M203 is large and positive. This makes the gun as safe to carry loaded as most tactical handguns. Back when I flew helicopters for Uncle Sam, a grunt had a negligent discharge with his M203 aboard a UH-60 Black Hawk in my battalion. Thankfully, everything turned out OK—the round has to travel between 14 and 28 meters before it will arm itself—but such an event foments unnecessary angst. The recoil is not insubstantial. It’s best to brace the weapon alongside something when you fire it. Your thigh will do in a pinch. And let me say that LMT’s M203 is a close-range area weapon system. When running 12-gauge ammunition through the adapter, the details really don’t matter. There’s no choke. There’s no barrel for that matter. At modest ranges, the thing will pepper a man-sized target from toenails to hairdo. So what’s such a beast really good for? That’s a stupid question. We all saw Al Pacino in Scarface. The DEVGRU boys who dispatched Osama bin Laden carried cutdown, single-shot M79 grenade launchers

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RUNNING & GUNNING Modify your gunfight training to reflect threats that actually move BY DR. MARTIN D. TOPPER

EVER WONDER WHY so many shots fired in self-defense miss their targets? Even people who shoot 90 percent or better on qualification courses are lucky to hit with 25 percent of the rounds they fire at an assailant. Why? Physical and psychological stress contributes to the low hit ratio, but stress alone can’t explain why even highly trained shooters miss so often. There has to be another explanation, and it’s really quite simple. Rarely do law enforcement, military and legally armed civilians train to neutralize assailants that move rather than stand still and wait to be shot like paper targets. This spring I took a class on shooting animated targets from John Holschen at the 2018 Rangemaster Tactical Conference



using my new Smith & Wesson M&P9 M2.0 Compact and ICC frangible non-toxic training ammo. John owns West Coast Armory North in Everett, Washington. He’s also a personal friend and a nationally recognized firearms trainer who spent 20 years in special operations and military intelligence. In addition, he did a number of tours with security companies in the Middle East. Recently, John solved the problem of using paper targets when accuracy against moving threats is the goal of the training.

ANIMATED TARGET DRILL John calls his method the “Animated Target Drill,” and it can be practiced on most shooting ranges. The drill is progressive because you learn it in steps, and each step builds on the one that came just before it. It’s also best done with two people, but most of it can be done by one person using a shot timer. The first step is optional and requires two people. It’s done without using guns. All you need is two people who face each other and point their index fingers at each other. When the timer’s buzzer sounds, the participants point their fingers and say “Bang!” to simulate shooting. Person One stands still, but Person Two crouches and weaves like a boxer, giving their opponent

different looks and angles while “firing.” It doesn’t take long for Person One to realize their finger is no longer pointed at the relatively small high-value target area under their opponent’s breastbone when the opponent moves. It also makes Person One feel pretty vulnerable standing still while their training partner keeps saying “Bang!” The remaining steps involve live fire using a target that has five separate bullseyes numbered 1 through 5 starting at the top-left bullseye. There are a variety of five-bullseye targets available from various sources. I personally prefer those by Action Targets. The first livefire step involves firing a single shot at Bullseye 1 from a range of 5 yards. This is not a drill for score that requires slow and precise fire. Start from low-ready or from the holster and, when the timer sounds, bring the gun to a two-handed isosceles stance and fire. The goal is to practice recoil control. You do this by acquiring the front sight, pressing the trigger and watching the sight all the way through the recoil cycle, guiding it back to the center of the target and prepping your gun for the next shot. That last part is very important. Don’t lower the gun to see where you’ve hit. Practice being ready for the next shot in case the first does not incapacitate the assailant. Also, don’t forget to scan left, right and behind you when you go to low-ready or reholster. You’d scan in real life, so why not include scanning in all your drills? Step two involves firing two shots at Bullseye 1 and then keeping the gun on target and ready for a third shot before lowering it, scanning and holstering. The is the “plus one” principle—in real life, one must always be ready for another shot if the target does not go down and must always scan for additional assailants before holstering. Once the mechanics of sighting in and firing have been learned, step three involves shooting two different bullseyes. This teaches the shooter to handle lateral movement by the target. Start by visualizing the movement of your front sight as it is raised to Bullseye 1, recoils

and moves to Bullseye 2. This prepares your mind for the fact that the movement of the sight between targets will not be a straight line. Recoil will cause the sight to move in an arc. The trick is to make the arc land in the middle of the second target. Once you’ve done a few repetitions, you’ll realize why the 9mm cartridge is coming back into vogue, and why people often shoot .38 Special +P ammunition in their .357s. Guns that kick less have smaller arcs and shorter recoil recovery times. This helps promote good bullet placement, which is an important component of stopping power. The next steps all involve increasing the number of targets. Choosing three bullseyes requires you to add vertical movement to the lateral movement you just learned. Again, start by visualizing the movement of the front sight before you shoot. You’ll notice that the front sight makes multiple arcs of different lengths. If you shoot Bullseyes 1, 2 and 3 in that order, the first arc between Bullseyes 1 and 2 is the same as before. It moves upward and to the right from 1 and moves the same distance downward and right to finish at 2. But when you go from 2 to 3, the arc moves upward and left from 2 and then further left and much further down to 3. The front sight ends up several inches lower than Bullseyes 1 and 2 when you fire at 3. Now visualize shooting 1, 2, 3 and 5, and you’ll quickly see where this is going. You need a lot of mental flexibility to shoot an animated target, and this drill is precisely aimed at building that skill. The final step is to involve all five bullseyes in the drill and throw in a few double-taps just for good measure. That’s because people move unpredictably and don’t always go down after the first shot. Therefore you can’t always start from Bullseye 1, nor should you. In fact, shoot as many different patterns as you can visualize. Rectangles, triangles, V’s and X’s are all OK. Given that people move unpredictably, you’ll need to think outside

the box as you make up patterns to shoot. And the more you practice, the more skilled you’ll become.

PERSONAL TOUCHES After I returned from Tac-Con, I added some personal touches to the drill to adapt it to my individual needs. The most important addition was movement. I prefer to move when I draw my handgun. Why should I stand still and be an easy target?


Fortunately, many of the ranges I shoot at have individual practice bays, but you may not be allowed to draw or move at the range you use. Also, some ranges don’t allow presentations from the holster. However, drawing from the holster and movement can be done if you dry fire in your home. Just remember to pick a place that has a solid backstop, and take care to remove the magazine from your gun and then triple-check to make sure that there is no ammunition in the chamber. In addition, I make an effort to record my times so I can measure improvement in my technique. I’ve already mentioned using a shot timer to start each repetition of the drill. I also use it to check my time for the first shot and for the interval between shots. My goal is to get my cadence as fast as possible without sacrificing my accuracy downrange. Finally, I’ve modified my sights. I’m currently shooting a S&W M&P9 M2.0 Compact that came with the popular three-white-dot sight picture. I’ve painted over the white dot on the front sight with gold spray paint. It really makes the front sight stand out against the target in daylight. A few days after Tac-Con, I attended the Big 3 East Media Event in Daytona Beach, where I used a set of night sights from Night Fision. The front sight had a bright yellow capsule around the tritium lamp that was very visible. I liked the sight quite a bit, and I’ll be adding it to my M&P9 M2.0 Compact in the near future. Now, this article would be remiss if it didn’t mention the effectiveness of the Animated Target Drill in training people to engage targets that move. When I last spoke with John Holschen, he told me that after taking animated target training, hit rates of trainees engaged in force-onforce Simunitions exercises increased from less than 25 percent to over 50 percent! I’ll take that any day of the week. ¥









Detroit, Michigan, is known for its industrial manufacturing background. The city developed rapidly in the early part of the 20th century as the auto industry grew and more workers were needed. Detroit also fell just as rapidly as auto industry jobs declined. Today, Detroit is still known as the Motor City, and it’s in full rebuild status. Modern-day Detroit has a bad reputation as a broken city with big problems, but the real city that locals like myself know is much different. This Detroit is on the rise once again,

making a comeback with a bigger and better attitude. It’s a badass city that refuses to fail again, and this attitude is a way of life in Detroit that trickles down to the small businesses in and around it. From the bars and restaurants to the new sports facilities and entertainment venues, the city is growing and rebuilding. New startups are taking over abandoned buildings, and people are coming back to live in the city’s historic apartments and houses. In the surrounding areas, many small businesses are opening up and growing by feeding off of that tough Detroit vibe. One of those companies happens





to be a little custom firearms shop called Motor City Gun Works.

MEET THE MAKERS Motor City Gun Works is located about 30 minutes outside of Detroit in the small town of Keego Harbor, Michigan. Right down the street from Motor City Gun Works are houses that used to be hideouts for the notorious Purple Gang that ran Detroit in the 1920s. They even kept Al Capone out of their turf. Motor City Gun Works has quickly gained a reputation for being one of



the area’s top gun shops. Offering full custom gunsmith services as well as the best Cerakote services around, it is known for creating some of the most unique firearms in town. When I first learned there was a top-notch custom firearms shop just a short drive from my house, I naturally had to stop in and check it out. When I walked in, I was greeted by the owner, Heath Williams. I was instantly in awe of the pistols, rifles and shotguns hanging on the walls. This place had everything, even an M249 SAW. Out of all the in-

Along with producing top-tier ARs, Motor City Gun Works will customize virtually any firearm and stocks some truly unique weapons.

credible firearms in the shop, the crown jewel was displayed on the counter front and center: the Detroit Edition AR-15, the company’s signature rifle.

DETROIT’S OWN This is no ordinary AR-style rifle. First off, it’s loaded with custom features and accessories. Motor City uses only the absolute finest components. The gun is also assembled by hand, and Motor City can customize it any way you want for a one-of-a-kind AR that will do what you want it to when you need it to. To provide the highest standard of accuracy for any AR-15 on the market,

“…THE DETROIT EDITION FROM MOTOR CITY GUN WORKS IS A GREAT RIFLE THAT WILL MAKE EVEN A ROOKIE SHOOTER FEEL GOOD, LOOK GOOD AND SHOOT BETTER.” Motor City Gun Works uses a Proof Research barrel. The rifle comes standard with a 16-inch, stainless steel Proof barrel, but you can upgrade to either a 16- or 18-inch, carbon-fiber barrel as well. Every Detroit Edition also comes standard with a 12-inch, stainless steel, KeyMod handguard, but you can choose a longer 15-inch version and add some Troy folding backup sights as well. The muzzle device is up to you. If you’re looking to run suppressed, the SureFire SOCOM is a great option that allows for the quick attachment of a sound suppressor or great recoil reduction unsuppressed. If you want to say goodbye to recoil, the Lantac Dragon

will let you tame the muzzle like none other, but the choice is yours. I was given a custom Detroit Edition for testing that was equipped with an Iron City Rifle Works bolt carrier group (BCG). The standard rifle comes with a Young Manufacturing Super Light Carrier (SLC) as well as a mil-spec six-position buffer tube. However, if you want to go even lighter, or choose a suppressor-specific BCG and buffer, you can opt for a JP Low Mass Enhanced BCG or JP Silent Captured Spring. My test rifle had the latter installed. As for the lower receiver, every Detroit Edition AR-15 comes standard with a Hiperfire Hipertouch trigger that can





be dialed down as low as 2.5 pounds to give you point-and-click-style accuracy along with a very clean break and a short competition-ready reset. This is just one component that makes the Detroit Edition the ultimate 3-Gun or home-defense rifle right out of the box. The Detroit Edition offers two standard options when it comes to stocks: the Ace ARFX for $50 and the Magpul UBR for an extra $200. My test rifle came with a B5 Systems SOPMOD Bravo buttstock as well as a Magpul MOE+ pistol grip and an enlarged triggerguard. Altogether, I was extremely impressed with the rifle right out of the box.

BURNING LEAD While I just mentioned most of the standard model specs, I was honored to get my hands on a fully loaded Detroit





5.56mm NATO

16 inches OA LENGTH: 32-36 inches WEIGHT: 7 pounds (empty) STOCK: B5 SOPMOD Bravo SIGHTS: Trijicon ACOG ACTION: Direct impingement semi-auto FINISH: Matte black CAPACITY: 30+1 MSRP: $3,400 (as tested) BARREL:

Edition, which I would call the Cadillac of ARs. It sported a Motor City Gun Works lower and a Vltor upper. The carbon-fiber, 16-inch Proof Research barrel was housed in a 13.5-inch URX

3.1 handguard that stayed cool at the range and was extremely comfortable and natural to hold. The Magpul MOE+ gave me a very nice pistol grip to hold onto when squeezing the Hiperfire Eclipse single-stage trigger, and with the ambidextrous, short-throw safety selector, you can go from “safe” to “let’s rock” extremely quickly without destroying your finger or moving your hand. Targeting was extremely fast and accurate with the Trijicon 4x32mm ACOG scope mounted on top of the rifle. And let me just say that this rifle is a shooter. I put somewhere around 1,000 rounds through it—everything from bargain bulk-buy stuff to the exotic brands that hurt to shoot because you see dollar signs ejecting instead of brass. I shot everything from 40- to 77-grain ammo at varying distances, and I allowed

multiple people to shoot the rifle to see how it performed in different hands. My dad went to the range with me one day to shoot this as his very first AR and is now spoiled rotten. This was the first time he had a rifle in his hands, and he expressed how surprised he was with the Detroit Edition’s lack of recoil and overall comfort. The rifle performed flawlessly with every different shooter no matter what we fed it. Since the rifle had the Trijicon ACOG already on it when I picked it up from Motor City Gun Works, I headed out to my friend’s 100-yard range. Of course, whenever I go to an outdoor range, the forces of nature and Michigan weather unite against me. The first time I attempted my 100-yard groups, Mother Nature decided to throw a late-March snowstorm at me. I did some testing anyway with surprisingly impressive results for a guy who was not prepared to shoot in

the snow and who is really not the greatest rifle-shooter anyway. The second attempt at 100 yards was a bit better with just a slight breeze and above-freezing temperatures. This improved weather definitely contributed to tighter groups. In my opinion, if you have been looking to add an AR-15 to your collection and actually care about performance, the Detroit Edition AR-15 is an excellent bargain for every shooter, and Motor City Gun Works has a rifle for everyone, whether you’re a competitor needing a fully customized rifle, an outdoorsman who wants a multipurpose range and hunting rifle, or just a first-time AR-15 owner who wants to impress his or her friends. With an entry-level price of $1,999, the Detroit Edition from Motor City Gun Works is a great rifle that will make even a rookie shooter feel good, look good and shoot better. For more, visit ¥




MOTAR CITY Reforger “Certain Strike” in 1987 in Germany. It was very interesting to see how the Germans reacted to us while we were over there. After Germany, I finished active duty and enlisted in a National Guard unit based out of Pontiac, Michigan. It was the 425th Infantry, Company F, a long-range surveillance unit. I spent three years in the unit and loved every second of it. How did that military experience shape you into who you are today? Discipline. It is as simple as that. To this day, I still use my experiences in the U.S. military when faced with a large, complex task. I label them as “missions.” What was your first gun? I had this Ruger 10/22 that I tricked out, and it was badass. I would go through two bricks of ammo every time I went out to shoot it.

ON TARGET WITH HEATH WILLIAMS It takes a special kind of person to turn a passion into a career—someone with an entrepreneurial spirt, a lot of drive and incredible discipline. Heath Williams is one such person. Heath is a Michigan boy who spent his years after high school in the U.S. Army before joining the Michigan National Guard. When he got out of the military, he didn’t know exactly what he wanted to do, so he took a job washing dishes in a restaurant. In just a few short years, he worked his way up to general manager of the small Italian restaurant. Then he made the choice to stop working for other people and start paving his own way. He saved some money and purchased his first business, a Dairy Queen, in 1999. Since that first franchise, he has opened several others and has done very well with all of them. Eventually, Heath decided to pursue his original passion: firearms. In 2013, he opened Motor City Gun Works. More recently, I had the honor of sitting down with Heath, which is not an easy



thing to do with a man who works 18 hours a day, to learn a little more about him. Tell us about your firearms background. I grew up around firearms, and my father did an excellent job of teaching me proper gun safety at an early age. I got into skeet shooting around the age of 12, and I shot competitively all through high school. When I decided to open Motor City Gun Works, I thought it would be an easy, fun business to own but quickly learned how tough the industry is. I love talking to people about different options they have when it comes to purchasing their next or first firearm. My favorite thing to do in this industry is let someone demo a suppressor who has never shot a suppressed firearm before. Their reactions are amazing. What about your military experience? I joined the U.S. Army in 1987 with the hope of getting into flight school. I guess my essay was a little extreme, because I ended up at Fort Benning, Georgia, for basic training and advanced individual training (AIT). I was assigned to the 11th Mechanized Infantry back then and trained on Bradley fighting vehicles. I was then assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division, where we trained extensively to stop the Russians from invading Europe. We participated in Exercise

The AR market has really exploded. What do you think of the platform? I personally think the AR platform is genius—a versatile design that so many companies make awesome accessories for. With so many configurations and the ability to interchange parts, I don’t think there has ever been a better platform. What do you like to do on your days off? I play as hard as I work. I love to take my three kids to our local gun club and teach them to shoot clays. I also really enjoy taking the kids out skiing and wakeboarding on the lake. I love the outdoors. I hunt, ski, snowmobile and, of course, go “Squatching.” Yes, Bigfoot does exist. What’s your typical CCW? That really depends on the day. When I’m just around town, I carry a Glock 19 or my Glock 43. I will be transitioning to my Maxim 9 soon, though. What is that one gun that you’ve always wanted but don’t have yet? Well, that’s really an extensive list. I’ll just name two, though: an M249 Para and the minigun from the movie Predator. What weapons would you grab to fend off zombies in the apocalypse? I think I’d go with twin Glock 18s, an HK416 with a 12-gauge KAC Master Key attached and an M60E4 mounted on top of a Jeep.






iStock Photos


pies have to be well versed in all types of survival tactics and strategies. After all, they find themselves in all kinds of situations and in all kinds of environments. So, while you might not be a spy, you can still use these 10 skills to keep yourself safer as you go about your daily activities. In fact, even though I no longer work for the CIA, I still use many of these skills often.


Show up early to every meeting. Recently, a buddy of mine had a confidential meeting that I can’t elaborate on. He showed up two hours early. This gave him time to watch the counterintelligence team sent to watch him, who only showed up one hour early. He knew how many people were there and what cars and people might try to follow him home. While you probably aren’t a spy, it’s still a good idea to show up early and see if anything appears fishy at your next meeting or conference. Plus, you might gather valuable intelligence to help your next business deal.


Leave clues if kidnapped. If, heaven forbid, you’re ever kidnapped, you want to leave a trail of evidence so that it’s easier to track you down. This includes putting your finger down your throat and throwing up anywhere you can. Another idea is slightly cutting yourself and wiping blood in the van or room you are in. When leaving blood


evidence, do it in both conspicuous and inconspicuous places. So, while you might leave blood on a table, your kidnapper can easily wipe it off. However, if you leave blood under a table or chair, or you pull up some carpet in the corner of the room and leave it under the carpet, then it’s harder to locate. You can also leave strands of hair and fingerprints to make it easier to find and rescue you. Beware of distractions. Want to know how intelligence operatives kidnap people and make them “disappear”? Since most of the people operatives need to get rid of are very dangerous, they’re usually surrounded by bodyguards with guns. This means you can’t just walk up to them and snatch them off the streets. Instead, you need to create one heck of a distraction that gives you the window of opportunity to snatch the target without having to get in a firefight and take the chance of innocent bystanders getting hurt. Case in point: There was a narcoterrorist flooding the U.S. with drugs. He was always surrounded by his crew with more guns than you can shake a stick at. To snatch this guy, intelligence operatives staged a fake car accident while the terrorist was getting out of his car one day. All of his bodyguards turned their attention to the big car accident, and the “snatch and grab” team was able to get the terrorist and subdue his guys without anyone getting hurt. So, the next time you hear a crash or



3 witness a big distraction, make sure that it’s not really some type of diversion. Never take anything from someone you don’t know. We recently had the big summit in Singapore between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Of course, there were a ton of journalists there covering this historic event. Did you know these journalists and other attendees were given goodie bags that contained a fan that operated by plugging it into the USB drive on their computer? This would obviously be a great way to infect people’s computers and steal vital information. Clearly, never take a USB device from someone you don’t know. On the other hand, when I was with the Agency and “out and about,” every now and then some people would bring me food to eat. Naturally, I would have loved to eat this food. But I would kindly take it and thank them and then throw it in the trash after they left since I didn’t want to run the risk of being poisoned.


Have a “hunker-down” site. When spies are overseas on dangerous missions, one of the first things they do is locate a “hunkerdown” site, a place where they can go if things go wrong or if they think they’ve been exposed. A hunker-down site could be a hotel room, an inconspicuous spot under a bridge in a city or an alcove in the mountains. Basically, it can be any place where you would be incredibly difficult to find and you can lay low. You can stay at





SPY GAINS IMPROVISED WEAPONS Not all spies carry a knife and a gun with them. Sometimes the circumstances of the operation just don’t allow it. This is why a key spy trait is the ability to think fast and use anything and everything as an improvised weapon. Here are some spy favorites.


5 this hunker-down site as long as you need to until it’s safe to come out. So, in your own life, if a crisis occurs, is there a place you can go with your family to stay safe? If your home is not able to be occupied, what is your Plan B? I’ve got multiple hunker-down sites in the city where I live, and I will hopefully never have to use them. But the key to survival is planning ahead. Use intrusion points. The next time you think you’re being followed, don’t freak out, and obviously, don’t lead the person back to your home. Instead, use what intelligence operatives refer to as an “intrusion point” to see if you are actually being followed. An intrusion point is a place that you go into such as Walmart or Home Depot or even a shopping mall. The place is so large that your surveillance is forced to come in after you to make sure they don’t lose you. In other words, don’t just pop in a small coffee shop where surveillance can see through the windows and can just watch you from the street. Pick a random store and walk in and start heading toward the back. You are forcing surveillance to expose themselves, and if you do see the person you thought was following you enter the same store, then you know someone is after you.


Conceal escape and evasion gear on your person. There are numerous ways to conceal gear on your body in case you run into trouble. This gear can include a lock picking set, a razor blade, money and either bobby pins, a hair barrette or a handcuff key for escaping handcuffs, to name a few. You can put




Go to your local hardware store and spend 50 cents or less on a big nut. Also purchase some paracord. Tie the nut to the paracord and you have a nasty weapon that can crack someone’s skull open. You can also take this anywhere, including airplanes, since it’s just a nut and a piece of string. In my training classes, we whack a coconut with this and it splits wide open.




2. SOCK ’EM Carry around a spare sock in your backpack or in your cargo pants. When needed, you can quickly pull it out and fill it with rocks, a padlock or anything else to give it weight. You can even drop a can of soda inside. When you swing this at someone, it can do some serious damage.

3. ROLL & GO The Jason Bourne movies made this one popular, and it actually works: a tightly rolledup magazine. You can carry a magazine anywhere and when danger comes, a hit to the side of the head or

a thrust to the throat can give you that window of opportunity to escape to safety. Best of all, if you’re on an airplane and forget to bring a magazine, the airline will often give you one for free in the seat pocket.


Spies have been known to carry around metal thermoses filled with coffee or hot chocolate. They also have water-soluble paper with their important notes that can be dropped in the thermos if they sense their cover might be blown. Of course, this thermos can also be used to strike a threatening individual, or it can even be thrown at them.




Go to Walmart and spend a dollar on some hair barrettes. When you bend off the top, you’re left with some seriously sharp edges. You can easily conceal the hair barrette in your hand, and if you needed to defend yourself, you could slice someone without them ever knowing what happened. —Jason Hanson

this gear in a belt with hidden pockets, sew it into the lining of your pants or put a bandage on your arm with fake blood and have the gear under the bandage. You can tape two fingers together with athletic tape (as if you’ve jammed your fingers playing basketball) and have the gear hidden under the tape. You can also have a small baggie full of gear clipped to the inside of your pants. Obviously, the level of the threat you face determines what extremes you prepare for. Check your car for tagging. When’s the last time you came out of a gun store, or any store for that matter, and did a full walk around your car to make sure everything was OK? I imagine not very often. But this small act takes less than 10 seconds, and you can see if your car has been “tagged” for someone to follow you. What should you look for? A sticker on one of your taillights,


9 a piece of tape on your bumper or even a small piece of paper stuck in your rear windshield wiper blade. It really doesn’t take much for a criminal to mark your car knowing you’re the guy who just bought a new gun at the gun store so they can follow you home and rob you while you’re at work. Carry a folder and fixed-blade knife. I keep a knife clipped to my pants pocket, and I also have a folding knife that I wear inside the waistband. I know that most people


use their folding knives to open all of the Amazon packages they order, but keep the fixed-blade knife for use only in extreme survival emergencies where a folder will likely snap. Also, pony up the money to buy a high-quality fixed blade, because if you’re spending $50 at some retail store, that’s not going to cut it. Pun fully intended. Spend at least 10 minutes every day dry firing. You should practice with your gun each day with a minimum of 20 solid trigger pulls. The fact is, spies out in the field can’t head to the shooting range daily, but they can get in some dry-fire practice, which is crucial. To this day, I still dry fire daily, and it’s why I recently beat out some FBI agents, including an FBI firearms instructor, at the range. One of my favorite things to use when I am dry firing is a whiteboard. I can draw all types of targets on the whiteboard and mix things up each day. ¥






ONE DEADLY EDGE Fred Mastro and Felix Roiles help craft the ultimate combat blade BY EDWARD EARLE

Q For more blade-combat expertise, the author called upon Fred Mastro (left) and Felix Roiles (right).



SINCE THE END OF TRENCH warfare, military knives have morphed more into all-purpose, jack-of-all-trade-type utility blades. But for this column, we wanted to make a combat blade that was made specifically for dispatching an enemy as quickly as possible. I know a little about knife combat—enough to hold my own—but I am not an expert by any means. So, along with some ideas in my head about the design of this blade, I called upon Fred Mastro of Mastro Defence System and martial arts grand master Felix Roiles. When it comes to combat with knives, you’d be hard pressed to find two more legit men than these two.

END THE THREAT Now, I’ve always hated the term “knife fighting.” Why? Because people with experience don’t want to get into a knife fight. The last thing you want to do is square off with another guy when you both have knives. That chicken dance will almost always land you both in the hospital, if not 6 feet under. As Fred and Felix put it, “We do not teach knife fighting. We teach combat with edged

weapons. Combat has a tactical approach that is for defeating an enemy. Fighting implies a lesser serious struggle between people in which blows are traded until someone gains an advantage. The advantage you want in combat is to attack until your adversary stops.” In addition, remember that a solider will have on full kit, which is 50 to 70 pounds of armor, weapons, ammunition, water, etc. The last thing we want our guys to do is get into a fight with all that gear on. That much kit doesn’t make for nimble movements, and it surely doesn’t help if the fight ends up on the ground. So, the approach with this blade is to defend a blow with a counter, disable your opponent, then enter for the finishing blows, possibly even breach him and strike from behind. The objective is not to slice, cut and move. The objective is to defend, get inside and end it immediately. Conserve energy. Advance your advantage and get the hell out. The targets are the hands and wrists, the neck, femoral, back of the knees, Achilles tendon—anything and everything that is presented to you. This is a quick and final approach to blade work. With those parameters set, here’s how the designed fleshed out.




KNIFE DESIGN I’m not a fan of the standard tanto profile, so we went with a reverse tanto profile here. The blade, made of a high-end surgical-type stainless steel with a savage acid finish, has three edges. The long bottom edge extends is literally razor sharp, and because we really added some meat to the shoulder of the blade, it has the thickness and mass to do some serious damage. The angled front edge aids in penetrating through just about anything you want. Once that lead tip punctures, the three edges cut on every side, and that means serious damage to whatever or whomever is the recipient of such a stab. The top edge is there for several reasons, including reverse grips and back cutting, which is essentially for close-quarters combat. You’ll also notice a thumb ramp to offer more stability and control over the blade. In addition, it isn’t so high that you can’t move your thumb onto the thicker upper portion of the blade for carving. This is how Fred Mastro taught me to hold a knife for detailed work. The retention ring goes back to Karambits and my quasi-Filipino roots. But I also added it because, during filming for my show The Ultimate Combat Warrior, it quickly became apparent that nobody could hold onto their knife when their guns ran dry and had to rely on their hand-to-hand and blade skills to win.



Eighty to 90 percent of all the fighters literally lost or dropped their knife when it came time to use it. They either lost it trying to draw it, because they needed a hand to grapple, or while they were being thrown to the ground. Either way, the majority of all fighters went into the knife combat portion without a knife. Hence the retention ring. The ring is also big enough for big hands and those wearing gloves, which most soldiers and police officers will have on during an altercation involving a blade. The angled back of the retention ring gives great leverage and support for your thumb. And finally, the little extender at the bottom is what we call a “motivator” just in case you need a less-lethal solution. Trust me, having been hit in the mouth with the training version, it will motivate you. Finally, the grip scales are made of Micarta with a custom camo color. Then we added the paracord wrap for a very substantial handle that has a lot of functionality.

BUILDING & TESTING Without laboring too much on the process, we decided to use Frankenstein to bring this combat blade to life. Frankenstein is the nickname for the handmade CNC milling machine that my engineer and partner, James “Q” Cheney, built out of spare repurposed parts. Which is why his company is called Tactical Trailer Park. And Frankenstein sits in a 12-by16-foot shed in an actual trailer park. Frankenstein made quick work of the steel, resulting in an amazing piece that was no different than forging a blade from a billet. Yet it was all done carefully and masterfully, and it takes a great touch to get everything just right, from the blade to the grip scales. As with every blade we make, this thing is scary sharp. But with the triple edge and reverse tanto profile, you’ve got to be extra careful or you’ll end up cutting yourself and anything remotely close to you. Ask my wife. I owe her a brand-new comforter for our bed. Just looking at the blade, you can already imagine that it can do severe damage. And during the organic materials cut test, it didn’t disappoint. We took a full pig leg from the grocery store and taped it to a tree. The knife slashed through it, stabbed through it and hacked it to pieces.

ment, along with my Glock 19 with its Velocity Arms barrel and trigger. Since my wife, Debi, helped me with the organic cutting test and saw how the blade performed, she wanted one for herself for everyday carry with her Danger-Close-customized M&P9 M2.0

Compact. So, we made her one with a slightly smaller grip to better fit her smaller hands. I think that if my Glock 19 and her M&P9 M2.0 Compact could talk, they’d both say that they feel safer knowing that these blades are at our 3 o’clock. ¥

BATTLE READY? I’ve been carrying this blade every day in a strong-side sheath with a Tek-Lok attach-





TANK → KING Rezvani’s $295K dream rig combines armor with extra helpings of luxury BY WILL DABBS, MD



WE LIVE IN A WEIRD world that gets daily weirder. Every day, the headlines seem to bring some sordid new tale of pain, tragedy or woe. Lone gunmen, ideological terrorists and malevolent state actors seem to get up every single day and devote themselves to making everything suck. In the face of such pervasive chaos, some really smart people have been contriving vehicles and gear to insulate us from such wretched stuff as this. Right at the head of this pack is Rezvani Motors. This is a company that cut its teeth on supercars. The Rezvani Beast and Beast Alpha are the stuff of which teenage dreams are crafted. Sporting carbon-

fiber chassis that look like they fell off the set of a science-fiction movie and road performance that is comparably breathtaking, just reading about these extraordinary street machines will reliably boost your testosterone. Rezvani’s recent foray into the tactical world, simply called the Tank, melds sexy supercar performance with armored-vehicle brawn, and now there’s an even better Military Edition.

TAN & TACTICAL The original Rezvani Tank is an extreme off-road utility vehicle designed to overcome the very worst the natural world could offer. This off-road monster could pass for a conventional SUV in dim light yet offers such stuff as a 6.4-liter, 500-horsepower V8 engine;

a top-of-the-line FOX suspension system; high-performance brakes; and power-actuated, rear-opening suicide doors. On-demand 4x4 performance and high-intensity LED lighting help tame the wilderness, even in the dark. A heads-up display keeps the driver up to date on critical data while allowing him or her to simultaneously focus on the road. With all this as a basis, the good folks at Rezvani took the standard Tank and then weaponized it. The Military Edition has all of that other stuff along with Level 7 ballistic armor, making it immune to high-velocity rifle rounds, along with underside explosive protection. The fuel tank, radiator and battery are all wrapped in Kevlar, too. The suspension system is reinforced, and Rezvani includes ram bumpers as well as run-flat, military-grade tires. In addition to all that awesome stuff, the Military Edition offers amenities that are too cool for the Batmobile. For example, the door handles are electrified, and the vehicle can be had with a siren and an ear-piercing horn. Strobe lights as well as high-intensity blinding lights help keep the riffraff away without causing any lasting harm. Magnetic deadbolts seal you in for those times when life gets extra sucky, and a powerful PA system lets you taunt the bad guys from a distance without opening the windows. The suspension is user-adjustable for ambient conditions, and gas masks, first-aid gear and a hypothermia kit all come standard. If that weren’t enough, you can order the truck with an optional 6.2-liter 707 Supercharged Hellcat V8 engine, choose from 10 different leather seat designs, and opt for a push-button smoke screen that deploys instantly to deter pursuers. Finally, both low-light night-vision and thermal FLIR systems allow you to detect threats in complete darkness.

LOOKS & PERFORMANCE Aside from just looking freaking awesome, the Military Edition Tank offers well-heeled civilians the security features previously available only to heads of state. If faced with civil unrest, natural disasters or terrorist attacks, all one would

need to do is get the family to the Tank and the fight is all but won. For a family of means, such a ride really does bring unprecedented peace of mind. Unlike a great many tricked-out security vehicles, the Military Edition Tank really would be at home picking up kids from school or taking the family out to the movies. Anonymity can be a powerful tactical tool in a crisis, and the Military Edition Tank looks just normal enough not to arouse undue suspicion in traffic. As a high-end bugout vehicle, the Military Edition Tank is quite literally perfect. Which brings me to a war story of mine. On August 29, 2005, Katrina made landfall on the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida as a Category 3 hurricane. When the chaos subsided, the storm had claimed more

than 1,500 lives and resulted in $125 billion in damage. Gulfport, Mississippi, actually absorbed the brunt of the storm, but it was New Orleans that all but died. There were more than 50 breaches in the New Orleans surge protection system that resulted in flooding over more than 80 percent of the city. The floodwaters lingered for weeks afterwards. If ever there was a natural disaster to flee from, this was it. I have a relative who lived in a rather upscale neighborhood in New Orleans. She, like so many others, failed to comprehend the breathtaking scope of the violence that was coming and hesitated. Once Hurricane Katrina struck, nobody was going anywhere. Katrina moved on in fairly short order, but it was the aftermath that got so ugly.




Civil order broke down, looting was commonplace and 911 gave you nothing more than a recording. Dead bodies were left unattended on the sidewalk. My kin made it out just as a mob came marauding down the street. Our family is all otherwise east of the Mississippi River, but the devastation left by the storm extended well beyond the coastal areas. She had to drive into Texas and then up and around the carnage to get across the river and ultimately reach sanctuary. Had the Lord not smiled upon her at a critical time, she could have easily ended up as somebody’s dinner. We are none of us more than a head-



line away from such. The civilization within which we cocoon ourselves is a thin veneer at best. Disaster tends to bring out the worst in people, and luck favors the prepared. A Rezvani Military Edition Tank outfitted with extra fuel, water, shelf-stable food and a little well-chosen ordnance can transform a tragedy into a memorable family outing.

POWERFUL HYBRID The Military Edition Tank looks like a Ferrari had a baby with a Star Destroyer. To the uninitiated, the thing bears a very esoteric resemblance to a Toyota FJ Cruiser. However, the rear-opening

doors, night-vision systems, ballistic protection, and capacity to both blind and electrocute evildoers all from the comfort of a world-class luxury interior appeals on a certain visceral level. It is one thing to feel secure from carjacking based upon a built-in array of proven defensive systems. It is quite another to run enough volts through a carjacker to make him convulse and wet himself on the street corner. Of course, the Military Edition Tank is certainly not for everyone. With a base price of $295,000, you can be assured that gun writing does not pay well enough for me to buy one. However, $295,000 is not what it once was. I’m a normal guy, and I’ve met people who could spend $295,000 on a high-performance luxury vehicle. One of those enormous RVs that is big enough to sport its own zip code will set you back that kind of coin. But with the Military Edition Tank, you get luxury, performance and striking good looks along with the capacity to shrug off IEDs. While I can certainly see the Military Edition Tank rolling across some Arabian desert carrying an oil magnate to a secret meeting, you could also undoubtedly win some cool points with the kids if you popped those suicide doors out in front of the local middle school. The Military Edition Tank will likely not cure male-pattern baldness or make you lose weight without exercise, but it sure as heck might make you stop caring about stuff like that quite so much. I am living proof that a bubbly personality and a nice ride can help even an aesthetically impaired guy like me land a hot girl. I’m seldom mistaken for handsome, but I did roll in a sharp set of wheels back when it counted. Check your finances, make a realistic threat assessment and, if you dare, consult with your kids. If you need a bulletproof off-road supercar that is legitimately better equipped than the Batmobile, Rezvani Motors has your next ride. Bold, tough, sexy and cool, the Military Edition Tank is what the Caped Crusader would be rocking if he was real. For more information, visit ¥



VENISON BULGOGI TACOS WITH PICKLED DAIKON FOR THE PICKLED DAIKON: • 1 cup distilled white vinegar • ¼ cup sugar • 1 Tbsp. kosher salt • 1 cup daikon, cut into thin matchsticks In a saucepot, combine all of the ingredients except the daikon. Bring it to a boil and remove from heat. Let the mixture cool to about 90 degrees, then add the daikon sticks. Let set for 30 minutes to an hour.

FOR THE SPICY SAUCE: • ¼ cup Gochujang paste • ½ cup distilled white vinegar • 1½ Tbsp. sugar In a small bowl whisk, all of the ingredients together.

GRADE-A DEER DISHES Finger-licking-good gourmet treats made from your fall hauls BY BRI VAN SCOTTER

BY THE TIME YOU read this, there’s a good chance that cool, crisp days will be upon us, when holding a hot cup of coffee in your hands becomes a daily sport. Winter also just so happens to bring my most favorite thing—delicious meals enjoyed by the fire.



While traditional winter dishes typically include slow-roasted flavors, there’s no reason why you can’t spice things up a bit. Once you have that beautifully roasted venison from your last deer hunt, why not set aside some of that protein for venison bulgogi tacos— my wild-game take on a Korean favorite. The spicy heat that Gochujang sauce brings to this dish will warm you up even on the coldest winter night. And did you know there’s more to waterfowl than just searing the breast meat? Give my “Duck Duck Buck” meatball sliders a try, where duck fat, duck meat and venison collide for the best sliders in camp or in your kitchen. And if you are anything like me and feel that a meal isn’t complete without dessert, I have you covered. My raspberry lemon clafoutis recipe will make you look like a camping master. This easy recipe is beyond simple to make, but it’s even easier to eat!

FOR THE TACOS: • 5 garlic cloves • 1 onion, cut into chunks • 1½ cups soy sauce • ¼ cup sesame sauce • 1 Korwean pear, cut into chunks • 1 lbs. venison roast, sliced very thin and cut into smaller pieces • 10 corn tortillas In a blender, combine all of the ingredients except for the venison and tortillas. In a cast-iron pan, add about 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil and bring it to medium-high heat. Once the pan is nice and hot, add the venison. Cook until just about all of the venison is cooked through. Add the spicy Gochujang sauce and pickled daikon. Cook on mediumhigh, stirring throughout, until the resulting marinade has been reduced by half. Garnish with chopped cilantro and sesame seeds, then serve.


RASPBERRY LEMON CLAFOUTIS INGREDIENTS: • ½ cup all-purpose flour • ¼ cup + 2 Tbsp. sugar • ¼ tsp. kosher salt • 3 large eggs • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly • Finely grated zest of 1 whole lemon • ¼ cup whole milk • 2 Tbsp. Myer lemon juice • 1 pint fresh raspberries • Confectioner’s sugar for dusting Preheat an oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In the bowl of a mixer, add all of the ingredients except the raspberries and confectioner’s sugar. Blend on low until

everything is smooth and well combined. Butter a large cast-iron pan or four individual cast-iron pans and dust them with granulated sugar. Be sure to tap out any extra sugar. Then gently pour the batter equally into the pan(s). Place the raspberries equally throughout the batter. Set the pans in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes for a large pan and about 20 to 23 minutes for individual pans. Bake until the clafoutis is set and slightly golden. Let it cool slightly, then dust with confectioner’s sugar. If you baked a large one, you can slice the clafoutis and serve the pieces. The smaller pans make for individual servings. Also, to make these while camping, there’s no need to use a blender. Just whisk everything together in a bowl, pour the mixture into a cast-iron pan and add the fruit. Then cook it on top of a grill or fire in a lower-heat area. Cover it with a piece of foil and poke three holes in the foil to vent. Cook until it’s set.

WANT MORE CHEF BRI? Visit for exclusive video tips from Bri Van Scotter. Want Bri to cover a special topic related to preparing wild game? Shoot her an email via editdesk@ and put “Ballistic Wild Kitchen” in the subject line.


DUCK DUCK BUCK MEATBALL SLIDERS INGREDIENTS: • 1 medium onion, finely chopped • ½ cup + 3 Tbsp. duck fat • ½ cup panko bread crumbs • 1 tsp. salt • ¼ tsp. pepper • ½ lbs. ground duck meat • ½ lbs. ground venison • ¼ cup water • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar • 1/3 cup ketchup • 1/3 cup tomato puree • 1/3 cup condensed tomato soup, undiluted • ¼ cup bourbon • 1 Tbsp. ground mustard • 2 tsp. paprika Preheat an oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. In a cast-iron skillet, add the chopped onions and ½ cup of duck fat. Sautee until the onions are nice and golden brown. Take the salt, pepper, ground duck, ground venison, 3 tablespoons of duck fat, panko bread crumbs and water and combine well in a large bowl. Roll the meat mixture into 4-ounce meatballs. Once all of the meatballs have been made, place them in the hot pan with the onions. Gently sear them on all sides. Once they have been seared, add the rest of the ingredients into the pan. Stir well to combine and coat the meatballs in the mixture. Then finish cooking them in the oven for about 25 minutes. Serve on slider buns, top each meatball with a slice of asiago cheese and spoon some of the meatball sauce on top. ¥





THE TRADITIONAL after-dinner drink has been a staple of the human race since fermentation was discovered. However, today there seems to be some wandering in regard to this classic event. In my opinion, it has been hijacked by what I have dubbed the “Zima Crowd” of hipsters and others pontificating about the virtues of gluten-free drinks. With this as the background, I feel compelled to offer some suggestions on how to get back to the Golden Age of after-dinner drinks—a time when men and women alike retired to rooms with leather chairs, worldclass conversation and drinks that were as deep as the people in the room. A time when Goodfellas sipped libations and discussed life. So, pull up a chair, light a cigar and soak up what have proven to be some great after-dinner drinks. As a true connoisseur of fine adult beverages, you must be willing to expand your palate. While there is always a place for scotch and bourbon, other options exist that run from decades-old port and cognac to sweet ice wines. There is truly something for everyone. With that being said, here are 10 options that span the spectrum of flavor in the after-dinner drink category that any Goodfella would approve of. iStock Photo







Port wine is a fortified wine produced with distilled grape spirits exclusively in the Douro Valley in the northern provinces of Portugal. It is typically a sweet red wine, often served as a dessert wine, though it also comes in dry, semi-dry and white varieties. One of the best on the market is Taylor’s 1985 Vintage Port. It is a great representation of classic port and is in the vintage mold. It is deeply colored and offers a rich, expressive nose full of black fruits, spices and cigars. It is a rich, fulfilling drink worth the effort to obtain.

Cognac is a variety of brandy named after the town of Cognac, France. It is produced in the surrounding wine-growing region in the departments of Charente and Charente-Maritime. Cognac matures in barrels like whiskey and wine, and most cognacs spend considerably longer “on the wood” than the minimum legal requirement. Like other fine spirits, the government of France has specific laws controlling just what can be called “cognac.” When you’re searching for which cognac to bring to the dinner table, I would suggest a bottle of Hennessy’s 250th Anniversary. Over a decade of work went into the final product, which is an elegantly floral spirit full of orange-blossom honey notes and a hint of saffron. At $600 per bottle, it should be considered a special treat.









Ouzo is a strong yet sweet alcoholic beverage that is made from the by-products of grapes after they’ve been used for wine-making. It’s then distilled into a highproof alcoholic beverage that’s flavored primarily with anise, which gives it a distinctive licorice taste. Other herbs and spices are added to enhance the flavor. As an after-dinner drink, it excels because of its strong flavor. While many people drink it like a shot, that’s missing the point. The best way to enjoy it is to put a couple ice cubes in a small glass and pour a small amount of ouzo over the ice. The ouzo will turn from clear to cloudy as the anise reacts with the ice. Sip and chat like adults are supposed to. Like other drinks, there are many brands and versions from which to choose. In my humble opinion, you should consider Plomari, which is a great ouzo to start your Greek odyssey. It has a smooth and calm flavor and makes a tasty center point for the best after-dinner festivities.

Interested in something a little sweeter? Consider ice wine. This is a dessert wine produced from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine. The sugars and other dissolved solids do not freeze, but the water does, allowing for a more concentrated grape juice to develop. This gives ice wine its characteristic refreshing sweetness balanced by high acidity. Ice wine production is risky and requires the availability of a large-enough labor force to pick the whole crop within a few hours, at a moment’s notice, on the first morning that is cold enough. This results in relatively small amounts of ice wine being made worldwide, making ice wines generally quite expensive. The process itself is intriguing enough to drive people to try ice wine. A good place to start would be with 2012 Weingut Markus Huber Berg Riesling Eiswein from Traisental, Austria. This ice wine has a sweet but complex flavor.

Grappa is a popular drink in Italy with approximately 40 million bottles of grappa being produced every year. It is truly an Italian staple, and since 1989, the name has been protected by the EU, meaning that the drink can only be called “grappa” if it’s sourced and produced in Italy. It is made from pomace, which are the grape skins, seeds and stalks that are left over from the winemaking process. Vintners process these items to squeeze every last bit of flavor out before disposing of them. The pomace is then either bottled immediately, which makes white grappa, or aged in wooden casks to create the yellow- or brown-hued grappa known as “riserva.” Regardless of which version you choose, grappa is a tasty dessert drink with a kick. A good grappa to try is the Tosolini Cividina Grappa. In flavor-speak, it is “full-bodied with a note of fresh fruit and floral aromas typical of the Friulian wines. Crisp, flowery with a touch of citrus oil, very light almonds and soft grape flavors with notes of peaches and apricots.” Translation: It tastes really good.

If you are looking for something very exotic, try arak. It’s a drink from Western Asia and is also popular in the Middle East. It is a stout drink that comes in at about 126 proof. It is generally produced with an unsweetened anise flavor and is made from raisins, dates or sugarcane. There are many versions available, but this milkycolored exotic makes for a nice change of pace. A good place to start is with El Massaya Arak. This Lebanese version is tripledistilled from the white wine of indigenous grape varieties and blended with uncrushed aniseed before aging in clay jars for 12 to 18 months. It has a noticeable but not overwhelming flavor.








Limoncello is an Italian liqueur made from the zest of lemons, sugar, water and, of course, alcohol (usually grappa or vodka). This is also a popular drink for many people to try to make at home. It is more complicated than it may seem, though. It is best to leave it to the professionals and focus on enjoying this cool lemon treat. Like so many other drinks, your choices are many. A good option is Pallini Limoncello. This is a moderately priced drink that has the natural zest that comes from the fragrant peel of Sfusato lemons from the Amalfi Coast and infused for eight months in pure spirit. The result is an intense burst of smooth and tangy flavors.

This is another Italian anise-flavored liqueur that is usually colorless. It experiences something called the “ouzo effect” when combined with water. Once water is mixed in, the drink turns milky white. Sambuca is flavored with essential oils obtained from star anise or, less commonly, green anise. Other spices such as elderflower may be included. A good choice is Luxardo white sambuca. This treat is blended with a concentrated solution of sugar and other natural aromas for a sharp but well-balanced taste and persistent anise flavor.

Sherry is a Spanish fortified wine made from white grapes. This simply means that more alcohol is added near the end of the process. Sherry is produced in a variety of styles made primarily from the Palomino grape, ranging from light versions similar to white table wines to darker and heavier versions. Sherry has protected designation-of-origin status, and under Spanish law, all wines labeled as “sherry” must legally come from the Sherry Triangle area in Spain. While Sherry may be perceived in a sometimes less-than-masculine light, it is quite the opposite. It is a full-flavored treat that will have you buying sherry glasses in no time. One of the best is Bodegas Hidalgo La Gitana Manzanilla Sherry. It is full bodied and slightly dry so as not to overwhelm new sherry drinkers.

We’ll wrap up this delicious list with a drink that is sometimes confused with another. Brandy generally refers to a distilled spirit made from fermented fruit juice. It can be produced using grapes or fruit. Calvados, for instance, is an apple brandy from the Normandy region in France. The confusing part is that cognac is actually a brandy as well, but it is very specifically made in a certain location with set ingredients. General brandy gives us more options. It can be found in several styles and ages, but I suggest you look at those marked “VSOP” (Very Superior Old Pale). This will allow the most flavor to bloom. Brandy prices can get a bit crazy, so I will suggest something simple yet tasty. Germain-Robin No. 25 is an American brandy that is priced well. It is full flavored yet simple, allowing you to enjoy the experience without asking, “What is that flavor?” Take it from the Goodfellas (and gals): It’s worth your time to try something new after dinner. Life is too short to miss an alcohol-centered nectar that could be as smooth as silk. Enjoy. ¥






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36. Please rate the quality of Concealed Carry Handguns magazine on: EXCELLENT


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Content Cover Ease of Reading Layout & Design Photography Writing

29. When looking at online content, which do you prefer? Rank to your preference 1-3. [1] [2] [3]Watching videos [1] [2] [3]Looking at photo galleries [1] [2] [3]Reading articles 30. What is your favorite way to watch videos? (Select all that apply) { Cable/Satellite TV {Online Desktop { Online Mobile {YouTube


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34. Have you participated in following activities and if so how recently? (Select all that apply) Shooting at a Range Shooting in a Competition Plinking Fishing Camping Hiking Cycling Boating Kayaking/Canoeing Skiing Golfing Four Wheeling – ATV/UTV Four Wheeling - Truck Watching Sports

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35. Do you plan to buy any of the following items and if so within what time frame? (Select all that apply) Rifle Shotgun Pistol Airsoft/Pellet Gun Ammunition Suppressor/Silencer Holster Optic Laser/Light Knife Bow/Crossbow Firearm Aftermarket Accessories Shooting/Tactical Apparel Gun Safe/Storage Survival Gear Camping Gear Hunting Gear New Truck/SUV New ATV




Stockpile Custom Challenge Wild Rides Threads After Hours Last Blast


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39. How interesting do you find the following articles or videos? VERY INTERESTING

33. How much would you be willing to pay for a 4-issue annual digital subscription of Ballistic? $



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37. Please rate the quality of Ballistic magazine columns:


32. Would you be interested in a digital subscription of Ballistic? (If no skip to question 34) { YES {NO



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38. Do you use social media; if so which channels and how often? (Select all that apply)

31. Which Athlon Outdoor websites have you visited and how often? (Select all that apply) DAILY


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Concealed Carry Rifles Shotguns Pistols/Revolvers Aftermarket Customization Ammunition Suppressors/Silencers Holsters Optics Lasers & Lights Gun Legislation & Laws Ear Protection Military Tactics Self-Defense Tactics Gun Clubs/Gun Ranges Long-Range Shooting Close Quarters Shooting New Product Introductions New Product Testing New Product Technology Tips for Advance Shooters Gun Safes/Storage Gun Maintenance Female Shooters Gun Competitions

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40. What type of guns/weapons do you own and how many? (Select all that apply, skip if you do not own a gun) 1

Rifle Shotgun Pistol Pellet Airsoft Bow/Crossbow Knives

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41. If you would like to enter our giveaway, please enter your e-mail address. Only respondents who complete the survey and have submitted an e-mail address will be eligible to win prizes. E-mail: * No purchase required. Open to U.S. residents only and void where prohibited. Prize package value is less than $599. Sponsored by Athlon Outdoors. Starts 8/1/18 and ends 1/31/19. Restrictions apply. Visit survey1 for details, eligibility and a complete list of official rules.

Mail completed survey to: Athlon Outdoors - Ballistic, Survey 60 E. 42nd St., Suite 820, New York, NY 10165


WINNING THIS WINTER New apparel and gear to keep you comfy in the cold BY ALEX LANDEEN

Depending on where you live, winter can mean different things. Up north, the cold months bring out snow shovels, board games and proper layering. Down here in the desert, things are a little different, like sandals in January, grilling out in February and memes throwing shade at our snowed-in brethren. The winter months are truly some of the best to be outside. That being said, here is some good-to-go gear for cool evenings and mild range days.




1› MAGPUL COMMANDO ZIP Whether you’re looking casual in the city or staying warm in the field, the Magpul Commando sweater has your back. Available in New Charcoal and Rifle Green, this lightweight, zip-neck outer layer is manufactured from a heavy stretch wool-blend twill and gusseted for freedom of movement. (


2› MAGPUL DAKA EVERYDAY WALLET Designed in the same spirit as Magpul’s original Essential Wallet, the Everyday Wallet gives a little extra room for the high rollers out there. The reinforced polymer provides a good grip when moving quick, and the slim profile helps eliminate printing. With a clear ID window, welded seams and room for three to seven cards, the Everyday Wallet is available in black, Flat Dark Earth, gray and olive. (





5› OUTDOOR EDGE PARACLAW CDQ WATCH Hot on the heels of the popular ParaClaw bracelet comes the Paraclaw CQD Watch. The stainless model features Miyota quartz movement, mineral glass, a titanium PVD coating, a Lume indexed display, and it’s water resistant to 170 feet. The proprietary buckle discreetly houses a 1.5-inch, stainless, hawksbill blade that can be deployed quickly if needed. Available in two sizes, the paracord bracelet has an adjustable loop for fine tuning. (



3› MAGPUL DAKA POUCH Whether you’re in deer camp, on the hiking trail or just hanging out on a boat, there are always things around that you would rather keep dry. Enter Magpul’s DAKA pouches, which are available in several sizes like the XL version shown. Reinforced polymer fabric with welded seams, a water-repellent YKK AquaGuard zipper, a paracord zipper pull and carabiner attachment points make this lightweight pouch a great addition to your getting-out gear. (

New for 2018 and built with the quality and reliability expected from Magpul, the company’s new ballistic-rated eyewear is ready for both work and play. The thin, lowprofile temples integrate well under headgear, and the large lenses provides wide protection coverage. Available in both polarized and non-polarized configurations, the Summit (shown), Terrain and Explorer have all of the features and lens choices to make the world look right, and you look good. (






Having the ability to reliably make fire is one of the basic necessities of survival—or just smoking a cigar. From the makers of the SwitchBack flashlight ring and the CellVault battery case comes the PyroVault Lighter Armor. Take your classic Zippo-style insert and make it tactical with a water- and dustresistant, O-ring-sealed polymer enclosure that sports a webbing clip. The PyroVault is available in all of the standard industry colors as well as Rescue orange for people who have a tendency to drop things out in the woods, with or without a lighter insert. ( ¥

® ®


FORMER COLLEGIATE TENNIS PLAYER, model for a major activewear company, bikini and fitness competitor, black belt in karate and college graduate working as a physical therapist, Kimberly Marie has accomplished much in short order. Oh, and she’s working on her doctorate, too! We should also mention that she owns multiple homes as part of a renovation business, which makes us believe that she’s an ace at scheduling and planning as well. And she’s only 27. She recently spent some serious time behind the wheel of a Porsche 911, so the timing was perfect when I asked Kim if she’d be willing to pose for this “Last Blast” with a custom Porscheinspired 6mm Creedmoor from J. Allen Enterprises and Surgeon Rifles. She was stoked to be in the presence of a 911 Turbo and GT3 among other rare Porsches from a friend’s personal collection. After driving the 911, Kimberly developed a new appreciation for performance cars. And while her passion for horsepower is new, her passion for firepower isn’t. Kimberly has already written a few articles covering topics from pistol training to building her first AR, the importance of concealed-carry permits and the benefits of sound suppressors for newer shooters. She’s also been the cover model for sister publication Personal Defense World and appeared in countless other gun media. Kimberly loves guns, and so far she’s taken a semi-auto .308 as far as 700 yards—because that’s all the room she had. At 110 pounds, she can throw down on a .300 Winchester Magnum, has touched off rounds from a suppressed Barrett .50 and has amassed countless magazine dumps on full-autos. “I don’t get to shoot as much as I used to, but once I finish my PhD, I’ll have a lot more time and money for the things I truly love to do. Oh, and I’m going to buy a Porsche, too.” No doubt she will. Follow Kimberly Marie on Instagram: @_kimberly_marie ¥



EDITOR’S NOTE: Want to learn more about the J. Allen/Surgeon rifle Kimberly is rocking here? Check out the Nov./Dec. 2018 issue of sister publication Tactical Life, available now at

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BALLISTIC - Winter 2019  

BALLISTIC - Winter 2019