THE RUGER AMERICAN PISTOL IS DESIGNED WITH THE TOUGHEST STANDARDS IN MIND. ®
Short Takeup Trigger with Positive Reset
Anything Else Would Be Un-American.
Designed with the latest U.S. Military standards in mind, the Ruger American Pistol is built to perform in the harshest conditions. A true American innovation, this pistol was developed through a rigorous “Voice of the Customer” process – where numerous law enforcement and military trainers, firearms experts,
Recoil-Reducing Barrel Cam, Low Mass Slide, Low Center of Gravity and Low Bore Axis
distributors and retailers provided input, feedback and testing in the determination of the form, function and features of this firearm. The resultant new pistol is a revolutionary platform for Ruger, one that utilizes the combination of a recoil-reducing barrel cam (which is designed to better spread recoil energy over time) with a low mass slide, low center of gravity and a low bore axis to provide an unparalleled shooting experience.
Genuine Novak ® LoMount Carry Three-Dot Sights
Modular Wrap-Around Grip System for Adjusting Palm Swell and Trigger Reach
Safe, Easy Takedown with No Tools or Trigger Pull Required
Ambidextrous Slide Stop, Manual Safety and Magazine Release Allow Actuation with Either Hand (Pro Models Come without External Safety)
Complete Your Ruger American Pistol® with the Officially Licensed Blade-Tech® Total Eclipse Holster at Your Local Retailer or Online at ShopRuger.com
BUILT TO PERFORM IN THE HARSHEST CONDITIONS.
© 2017 Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc.
IS S U E 36
ON THE COVER
DOWNRANGE Editor’s Letter
INCOMING New Gear
VISIT Titan Missile Museum
TRANSPORT Colorado Gun Fighter Toyota
UNUSUAL SUSPECTS Exotic Knives
ZEROED IN C. Reed Knight, Jr. talks about business, dealing with the government, and how he ended up with AR-15 #000001.
PT Fitness Q&A
SHOW US YOUR TATS
FIREARM SAFETY IS TOP PRIORITY RECOIL reminds you to be safe and always obey irearms safety rules: 1. Treat every gun as if it were loaded. 2. Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction. 3. Keep your inger off the trigger until ready to ire. 4. Be aware of your target’s foreground and background. All contents in RECOIL Magazine are professionally photographed in a closed studio or range. Do not attempt to re-create any photographs depicted in this magazine.
PRODUCT DISCLAIMER Prices and details for items featured in RECOIL are set by the manufacturers and retailers, and are subject to change without notice.
RECOIL (USPS 013-320), May/June 2018; Number 36, is published bimonthly by TEN: Publishing Media, LLC 1212 Avenue of the Americas, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10036. Copyright © 2018 by TEN: Publishing Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Periodicals Postage Paid at New York, NY, and at additional mail ofices. Subscriptions U.S. and U.S. Possessions: $49.97 per year (6 issues); Canadian, $55.97, Foreign, $61.97 (including surface mail postage). Payment in advance. U.S. funds only. POSTMASTER: Send all UAA to CFS. (See DMM 707.4.12.5): NON-POSTAL AND MILITARY FACILITIES: send address changes to RECOIL, P.O. Box 420235, Palm Coast, FL 32142-0235. Please allow 8-10 weeks for delivery of irst issue. No part of this book may be reproduced without written permission. This book is purchased with the understanding that the information presented herein is from many varied sources for which there can be no warranty or responsibility by the publisher as to accuracy or completeness.
Throughout this issue you will see certain images are labeled as being 1:1 Actual Size. This designation is for the print edition of this issue. Because of the various screen sizes on different tablets and computers, we cannot always provide actual life size images in digital versions. We apologize if this causes any confusion and thank you for your understanding.
56 IS S U E 36
CHAIRMAN POW China’s Answer to the Saiga-12
OPERATOR OLYMPICS RECOIL Gets a FrontRow Seat at the USASOC Assaulter’s Competition
PCC SUSHI CMMG’s New 9mm Brings a Different Recipe to an Old Dish
THE FAMILY RIFLE From the Brand-New Beginner to the Advanced Shooter, We Assemble One Rile for the Whole Family
HELP FROM ABOVE Law Enforcement Aviation Units Are More Versatile and Capable Than Ever
EOTECH VUDU 5-25X SUPER SHORT What’s the Catch?
SHARP AND LOUD Integrating Edged Weapons Into Your Concealed Carry Plan
EVOLUTION OF THE COMBAT OPTIC Here’s the Skinny on Where U.S. Special Forces Are Headed With Their Choices for Carbine Glass
THE TERMINAL LIST RECOIL Contributor Keith Wood Teams Up With Former SEAL Jack Carr to Create a Nail-Biting Thriller
GETTING KURZ WITH IT Stubby Silencers Are All the Rage — We Let You Know What They’re Good For
.45ACP 10mm .40S&W .357Sig 9mm .380 (MOST)
ON THE COVER 2 RED DOT
COVER PHOTO BY STRAIGHT 8
Russian Military Surplus Ushanka Hat
Chinese Military Surplus Sherpa Trench Coat
3 CERAKOTE MAKE:
We Plead The 2nd MODEL:
6 MAGAZINE MAKE:
AGP Arms Saiga-12 MODEL:
10-round mag MSRP:
IS SU E
With ordinary 12-gauge shotguns, you fire four shells, stop and load four shells, constantly clearing and loading the chamber. But with the new KSG-25®, you simply load an entire box of 2¾” shells and fire away. Thanks to our patented dual-tube magazines and downward shell ejection, you’re nobody’s chamber maid. Innovation. Performance. Kel-Tec. See more at KelTecWeapons.com. ©2018 Kel-Tec CNC Industries, Inc
With the announcement that his administration was moving to ban bump
It’s easy to see why bump stock
stocks following the recent school shooting in Florida, the Trump White
manufacturers were thrown under the
House has crossed into all-too-familiar territory. Following a frenetic and
bus, and having to defend a useless
seemingly orchestrated campaign from the anti-gun crowd and their lack-
plastic gimmick accessory doesn’t rile
eys in the media, Congress and the executive branch were under intense
up the gun-owning populace in the
pressure to “do something,” even if that something was ineffectual, poorly
same way that a semi-auto ban would.
reasoned, and nothing more than a sop to people who rely on feelings to
Unfortunately, however, if we give these
get them through life. After mass shootings in Las Vegas and Texas, those
bastards an inch, they’ll take a mile.
who would compulsorily disarm us inally had the bloody shirt they wanted. Evidently, some lives are more valuable to their narrative than others.
What’s more concerning about the president’s executive order is that the bump stock already complies with federal law regarding the deinition of a semi-auto — i.e. one shot is ired per trigger press. In order to ban the devices, either Congress would need to amend existing law, or the executive branch would have to go around them and create an administrative rule by iat. This has the very real potential to ensnare other unrelated accessories,
IS SU E
such as competition triggers and light-
REC O ILW E B .C O M
weight bolt carrier groups, depending on the language used. This isn’t the way our republic is supposed to work. In the irst stage of the proposed rule change following the Las Vegas atrocity, the BATFE solicited comments from stakeholders who might have been affected by any changes — in excess of 90 percent of those who commented were against any action being taken. The next phases of rule making are the creation of a draft proposal, followed by a further comment period. We recommend you let your government know in no uncertain terms that any infringement of our Second Amendment rights is unacceptable.
SAFETY SOUNDS BETTER THAN EVER.
Peltor™ Sport Tactical 300/Tactical 500 SMART Electronic Hearing Protectors from 3M SMART technology automatically adjusts to your environment and firearm for customized protection. Speech is clearer. Operation is easier. Plus, the Tactical 500 syncs with Bluetooth® enabled devices — so you can stay connected and protected.
3M SMART Technologies
Dynamic Suppression Time measures the energy in gunshot noise and automatically sets suppression time for reduced echoes and increased comfort
Clear Voice Tracking seeks voice within background noise and actively filters noise for improved speech intelligibility
© 3M 2017. All rights reserved. 3M and Peltor are trademarks of 3M. The Bluetooth word mark and logos are registered trademarks owned by Bluetooth SIG, Inc. and any use of such marks by 3M is under license.
Foldable for storage and protection.
24 26 NRR NRR Tactical Tactical 500 300
-An industry-first pack, built almost exclusively as lightweight/thermoformed shell protecting optics, electronics, ammo, etc. With minor exterior molle for accessories while remaining covert. -Shell is a stiff platform with steel gromets for anchoring signal lights, tie downs, axes, rifles etc. w/ our exclusive elastomeric Hardpointâ„˘ system. -Interior has photography-type padded modular divider bay, a laptop/ccw/hydration molded back-pad, a tool/office organizer, a file folder, laser-cut molle panel, a tablet/laptop/ccw sleeve, and the inside shell is laminated with trico for velcro holsters, pouches etc. And much more!
1. DROPSHOT Tennis-Look, Padded Rifle Bag 2. HEAVY WATER DIVER® Titanium/Tritium Watch 3. AIR SUPPORT Rolling Laptop Carry-on 4. SHORELEAVE Splitting Rolling Luggage 5. AIRSTRIKE Rolling Laptop/Photo Carry-on 6. Thermoform Detail on Plan-B Sling Pack 7. M.P.C. Multi-Pistol Padded Carrier 8. PILLBOX Thermocap Photo-CCW Pack 9. PLAN-B Front-to-Back Slim-Sling 10. BATTLE-T Quickdry, Anti-microbial Patch Tee HARDPOINT Elastomer Load-Loop Set
MOST BAGS ARE CCW COMPATIBLE USING OUR UNIVERSAL STICK-UP™ HOLSTER SYSTEM
Editorial. Editor/ Iain Harrison Executive Editor/ Rob Curtis Senior Editor/ Tom Marshall Managing Editor/ Laura Peltakian Contributing Editor/ Steven Kuo Editor // Social Media/ Dave Merrill Editor // Online/ Candice Horner Director, Video Production/ Trent Stockton Photography Studio Manager/ Jorge Nuñez Senior Online Producer/ Ryan Whitehouse Online Producer/ Josh Ching Contributors/ AZPhotoMan, Dan Brokos, Ryne Gioviano, Glenn Grossman, Richard King, Kenda Lenseigne, Chad McBroom, Mountain Motion Media, Muzzle Flash Media, RCP Photography, Russell Phagan, Blake Rea, Nick Saiti, Jack Schonely, Patrick Vuong Special Thanks/ The Bullet Ranch, Cowtown Range, Trish Ellis, Hammer Down Ammo & Gear, Jay Ponsford, Joan Sauders, SureFire, The Trigger Group, We Plead the Second
Art Direction & Design. Senior Art Director/ Gene Coo Art Director/ Sarah Lampert
Subscriber Customer Services. Domestic/Canadian: 888.681.7064 Foreign: 386.246.0439 firstname.lastname@example.org
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TEN: Publishing Media, LLC. President/ Kevin Mullan SVP, Editorial & Advertising Operations/ Amy Diamond
Consumer Marketing, Enthusiast Media Subscription Company, Inc. SVP, Circulation/ Tom Slater VP, Retention & Operations Fulillment/ Donald T. Robinson III VP, Acquisition & Database Marketing/ Victoria Linehan VP, Newsstand Retail Sales/ William Carter
This magazine is purchased by the buyer with the understanding that the information presented is from various sources from which there can be no warranty or responsibility by TEN: Publishing Media, LLC., or the publisher as to legality, completeness and accuracy. Any submissions or contributions from readers shall be subject to and governed by TEN: Publishing Media’s User Content Submission Terms and Conditions, which are posted at http://www.enthusiastnetwork.com/submissions/ BACK ISSUES To order back issues, visit TENbackissues.com. REPRINTS For high-quality custom reprints and eprints, please contact The YGS Group at 800-290-5460 or TENreprints@theygsgroup.com EDITORIAL CONTRIBUTIONS Editorial contributions are welcomed, but editors recommend that contributors query first. Contribution must be accompanied by return postage and we assume no responsibility for loss or damage thereto. Manuscripts must be typewritten on white paper, and all photographs must be accompanied by captions. Photo model releases required on all persons in photos. Recoil reserves the right to use material at its discretion, and we reserve the right to edit material to meet our requirements. Upon publication, payment will be made at our current rate, and that said payment will cover author’s and contributor’s rights of the contribution. Contributor’s act of mailing contribution shall constitute an express warranty that the material is original and no infringement on the rights of others. Mail contributions to: Recoil Magazine, 1821 E. Dyer Rd., Suite #150, Santa Ana, CA 92705. ADVERTISING INFORMATION Please call Recoil Advertising Department, (949) 705-3100. Printed in the USA Copyright © 2018 by TEN: Publishing Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
You just found your
“One Gun” 5.56 BUFFER & ANTI-TILT EXTENSION TUBE Ȓǖǚ-/10/"#"12/"!1%/,2$%,21 1%""3,)21&,+Ǿ02 %01%"2ƛ"/Ǿ %/$&+$%+!)"Ǿ,)1 //&"/Ǿ+! //")+21ǽ)20Ǿ&1#"12/"0,2/ +1&Ȓ1&)12ƛ"/12"4%& %-/"3"+10 //&"/1&)1+!-/"*12/"4"/,+ 1%"2ƛ"/12"
FULLY AMBIDEXTROUS CONTROLS ,*11"/6,2/0%,,1&+$0&!",/016)"Ǿ "/$,+,*& *& ,+1/,)0/"2&)1&+ 1,1%"&))"12--"/+!),4"//" "&3"/0Ǿ "3"+,2/,*%4(*& %/$&+$ %+!)"&0&+ )2!"!ǽ%"2--"//" "&3"/ &0!&*"+0&,+))61%"0*"0&7"0 ǚǽǚǛ
UTILIZES A 5.56 BOLT CARRIER "ȉ3" /"1"!ǽǘǕǝ1%120"0ǚǽǚǛ ,)1 //&"//"02)1&+$&+)"00*00 +!/"!2 "!/" ,&)ǽ 1)0,20"0,2/ -1"+1"!/,))"/ *-&+#,//"!2 "! #/& 1&,+,+1%"2--"//" "&3"/ (& 12/"!ǿ"3,)21&,+ǽǘǕǝ
MATCH GRADE TRIGGER Ǚǽǚ) 2/3"! /,-Ȓ&+1/&$$"/ 4&1%+1&Ȓ4)(-&+0
INDUSTRY CHOICE AWARDS
2018 RIFLE OF THE YEAR!
2017 RIFLE OF THE YEAR!
CALIBER ǜǽǛǗ BARREL LENGTH 16.5” (1:10) RAIL LENGTH ǖǙǽǚȋȒ WEIGHT ǜǽǘ OVERALL LENGTH 34”
See us at the NRA Show BOOTH #7606
MODULAR RAILED RECEIVER & HEAT SINK BARREL NUT %""3,)21&,+#"12/"0,2/+"4 0)&*)&+"!$"%+!$2/!4&1% *2)1&-)"-,&+10+!-1"+1"! ,3"/0&7"!%"10&+(//")+21#,/ *,/""ƛ" 1&3"%"1!&00&-1&,+
NITRIDE HEAT TREATED FLUTED BARREL %""3,)21&,+Ɲ21"!//") #"12/"0,2/-1"+1"!2!2) "51/ 1&,+1" %+,),$6ǽ&1%1%&0 #"12/"6,2/"51/ 1,/ +)012-1, Ɯ3"1&*"0),+$"/1%+&+01+!/! %*"/
5-POSITION RIFLE LENGTH ADJUSTABLE GAS PISTON 0&)612+"#,/6,2/**,Ǿ "+3&/,+*"+1Ǿ,/0&)"+ "/
OVERSIZED TRIPLE PORT MUZZLE BRAKE ƛ" 1&3")6/"!2 "0#")1/" ,&)
THE .308 REVOLUTION HANDLES LIKE A 5.56 – BECAUSE IT’S THE SAME SIZE AND WEIGHT AS ONE. TAKE A CLOSER LOOK, YOU HAVEN’T SEEN ANYTHING LIKE IT BEFORE. Through a feat of engineering we’ve shrunk the traditional .308 AR10 platform down to the size of your AR15, providing a shorter overall receiver size and reduced weight. The Revolution features many 5.56 parts 02 %0+*&!"51/,20 %/$&+$%+!)"Ǿ,)1 //&"/Ǿ *-&+Ǿ2ƛ"/Ǿ%"10&+(//")+21Ǿ%+!$2/!Ǿ+!ǚȒ-,0&1&,+ gas piston operating system. The barrel extension, bolt assembly, upper, and lower receiver are the exact same size as those on an Ȓǖǚǽ%&0&01/2)6+Ȓǖǚ1%10%,,10&+ǽǘǕǝȂ SMALLER THAN A SMALL FRAME .308, THERE IS NOTHING LEFT TO UPGRADE ON THIS BATTLE RIFLE. ,2/"+,10 /&Ɯ &+$ performance, durability, or features for weight savings. Weighing in at 7.3 lbs the Revolution features our Edge handguard with four 2&)1Ȓ&+*,2+10+!&0- ("!4&1%))6,2ȉ3" ,*"1,"5-" 1#/,* Ȓǽ 2))6*&!"51/,20&))"1/" "&3"/0"1Ǿ%&$%Ȓ-%,0-%1" +& (") ,1"!,)1 //&"/$/,2-ǾǚȒ-,0&1&,+!'201)"$0-&01,+Ǿ0&+$)"01$"*1 %$/!"1/&$$"/Ǿ+!*,/"ǽ)20Ǿ,2//"!"0&$+"! triple port muzzle brake makes recoil management a walk in the park. YOU MAY HAVE JUST FOUND YOUR “ONE GUN.”
The Revolution is here... Patriot Ordnance Factory www.POF-USA.com/Revolution
www.POF-USA.com | firstname.lastname@example.org | call: 623-561-9572
Zermatt Arms, the maker of custom Remington 700 compatible actions, just released a streamlined version of its popular Bighorn action called the Origin. The new action has many, if not most, of the features of the Bighorn line, but keeps the price down by limiting the number of available options. The Origin is only available in short-action length with options for right- or left-hand, a choice of three bolt head sizes, and a handful of bolt handle choices. Standard features include a new, swept bolt handle, controlled round feed, mechanical ejector, interchangeable bolt head, AICS compatible magazine interface, pinned 20 MOA optic rail, pinned recoil lug, chromoly steel construction, and a nitrided receiver and bolt body. The whole shebang drops into a Rem700 action inlet, accepts Savage small shank barrels, and takes Rem700-compatible triggers.
Looking to add a touch of elegant simplicity to your carbine? Mean Gene Leather has you covered. Its new leather 2-Point and convertible 2-to-1 Point slings are made of hard-wearing 1.25-inch-wide English bridle leather. They arrive already hand-rubbed with leather conditioner for a soft feel and become even suppler with use. The leather is double stitched for added strength, and the hardware is secured with Chicago screws so you can swap the attachment hardware out as you like. For ends, the slings come with either pushbutton QD hardware or HK-style hooks. Both style slings are easily adjustable for length on the ly and the 2-to-1 version includes the Impact Weapons Components 2 to 1 Triglide Convertible QD Sling Conversion Adapter. Mean Gene Leather
Adjustable from 6.2 to 9 inches
SB Tactical MODEL:
BOLT HEAD OPTIONS:
REC O ILW E B .C O M
2-Point and 2-to-1 Point Rile Slings
IS SU E
.223, Standard, Magnum
Savage small shank (1.055-inch - 20 TPI)
$80 - $90
OTTO’s NoizeBarrier earplugs represent the latest generation of in-ear, active hearing protection. Active means the earplugs let you hear everything around you using an onboard ampliier, but cut off sound above a certain level. Departments take note — the big news is the use of rechargeable batteries that free users of the need to keep a supply of disposable hearing-aid batteries on hand. Use the earbuds for up to 16 hours, then drop them into the charging case to bring them back to life. The case offers about 20 charges before it needs a reill itself, conveniently provided via USB. The earbuds have two sensitivity settings: normal and high. The latter is like having bionic hearing. The controls are simple, the earplugs are tiny, weather resistant, and reject wind noise quite well — an Achilles’ heel of similar products.
It’s a great time to be an AR pistol. SB Tactical presents another option for fans of shoulderless shooting. This guy is a ive-position arm brace that includes a standard Mil-spec carbine receiver extension. That means you can skip the use of a dedicated pistol extension and SB Tactical says it has a 2002 ATF determination letter to back this use up. They tell us swapping a standard stock with an SBA3 on an SBR legally reconigures it, allowing the irearm to travel across state lines without the need to ile an ATF form 5320. The brace includes an ambi QD sling socket and a nylon wrist strap.
USB Rechargeable RUNTIME:
The DA Hoodie is a chameleon of sorts, acting as a jacket if the temps suddenly drop yet feeling like a comfortable sweater if things get a bit milder. It’s made of Polartec WindPro poly leece, which lets your skin breathe while still blocking out wind. Plus, the durable water-repellent inish shrugs off light rain and moisture with ease. It’s loaded with smart features, including four zipper pockets, two internal patch pockets, a mini bill on the hood, and structured cuffs with thumbholes. This three-season technical garment is ideal for active pursuits — whether it’s shooting, hiking, or cycling. Note: The DA Hoodie features an athletic cut, so size up if you want a more relaxed it. MAKE:
Prometheus Design Werx MODEL:
You might be screaming, “What? $150 for a razor? For that price, it better also shampoo, style, and blow dry my hair, too.” Well, this isn’t your daddy’s disposable razor. Made from 303 stainless steel, the No. 5 Chisel Razor is CNC milled then hand-assembled in the USA. It features Self-Wrought’s Magnetic Closure System (MCS), which is essentially four tiny but strong magnets on the cover that keep the blade in place and prevent vibrations as you draw the edge across your face. Not only does it allow for a close, smooth shave, the MCS makes cleaning the razor easy and replacing the blade fast. Though we would have preferred it to be about a ½-inch longer for better leveraging (it’s 4.8 inches long), the No. 5 Chisel Razor is solidly built, elegant in its simplicity, and sure to please the stubbly faces of hipsters and real men alike.
Son of Chinese immigrants, the late Al Mar was known in the American knife industry for working as Gerber’s head knife designer, producing innovative tactical knives after forming his namesake company, and serving as a U.S. Army Green Beret. In fact, it was his Special Forces experience that resulted in him co-designing the Al Mar Knives’ SERE, the irst knife accepted for use at the Army’s SERE Instructor School. Now TOPS has teamed up with Al Mar Knives to manufacture a smaller version of this iconic survival tool in the USA. (Al Mar Knives are made in Japan). Its ergonomic G-10 handle pairs nicely with a 4-inch full-tang blade made from 154CM stainless steel. It comes with a quality Kydex sheath.
There’s nothing more dangerous to a irearm than carbon fouling. (Ignorant antigun politicians are a close second.) So remembering to maintain your gun is almost as important as knowing how to use it. While most lubricants act as a cleaner, lubricator, and protector, Never Dry Products says its ND999 formula is a four-in-one lube because it’s also a “penetrator.” As a polarized lubricant, ND999 cuts through the grime then bonds to parts so it lasts longer and is more eficient. Plus, it’s nontoxic, nonlammable, and nonconductive, making it safe to also use on tools around your house or in your garage. Made in the USA, ND999 is also available in 15ml bottles and in various quantities.
Never Dry Products
Al Mar Mini SERE Operator
ND999 Ultra-Reined Oil Lubricant
Machine Mineral Gray, Syth Lord Black
Two 5ml bottles
No. 5 Chisel Razor
IS SU E
$150 URL: REC O ILW E B .C O M
www.selfwrought.com 7 5
IS SU E
No, these aren’t tactical loafers … but don’t laugh if we wear them to the range. The Na’i WP is some of the most comfortable yet hard-core laceless footwear we’ve ever worn. They have waterproof leather to provide protection from the elements, a comfy dualdensity footbed that’s removable for washing, and a non-marking rugged yet lightweight outsole with directional lugs for greater traction. Also, it features OluKai’s Drop-In Heel, allowing you to turn this shoe into a slipper. Whether you’re headed to dinner with coworkers or trekking through a backwoods creek, these loafers will get you where you need to be.
Sure, you could sit on a tree stump or a nice patch of grass. But why not enjoy Mother Nature whilst resting your buttocks on an actual chair. The portable Linger High-Back Chair can serve this purpose conveniently. Weighing just 3 pounds, its anodized-aluminum frame is collapsible, its inside a compact carrying bag, and provides a bit of reclining relaxation. Ideal for any outing under the skies, from a long day at an outdoor range to a camping trip with the family. The chair’s fabric is made of 600-denier polyester, which offers a mix of comfort and durability, while its maximum weight capacity is 300 pounds.
While calibers and loads change, cartridge materials have remained relatively the same for about a century — lead, brass, and gunpowder. NovX is hoping to shake up that convention. It recently released the 9mm Luger ARX Engagement: Extreme Self-Defense cartridge. That’s a long-winded way of saying it features a luted copperpolymer bullet and a stainless-steel casing. The company says it’s lighter yet faster, has more power, and lies latter. The 65-grain round has a listed velocity of 1,575 feet per second and is said to produce 358 foot-pound of power, capable of creating a devastating wound channel. Another advantage of the new materials: reduced corrosion and bore fouling.
We’ve all been there: You noticed something just below your eye line only to realize it’s your friend forming a circle with his thumb and index inger in front of his crotch. Then he screamed, “Ball gazer!” and punched you in the arm. Sadly, you lost that round of the Circle Game. But now you can get perpetual payback with the Ball Gazer Patch. Or maybe you need to request some new “reading” material by wearing the Send Nudes patch. Whatever your morale patch needs, there’s a good chance Keystone Tactical Supply can meet it. Available in almost two dozen colors with more than 12 vinyl options (including Mil-spec infrared), these laser-cut patches come with Velcro backings and are durable, made in the USA, and quite hilarious.
Linger High-Back Chair
Keystone Tactical Supply
Black (shown), Carob, Fox, and Ray
9mm Luger ARX Engagement: Extreme Self-Defense
Ball Gazer Patch and Send Nudes Patch
$28 per box of 26
3.5 by 2 inches
Starting from $14 each URL:
REC O ILW E B .C O M
JASON SEMPLE Police Special Operations Veteran
1200 Harbor Dr. National City, CA 919150
— US Distribution opportunities still available. Please visit industrialathleteworkwear.com.au —
Dan Brokos of Lead Faucet Tactical showed off a new line of goods at SHOT Show, including low-proile light and sling mounts. A standout for us was the Brokos Brace. At 2 inches tall, the Brokos Brace is more than a simple handstop, but small enough to fall short of a stubby vertical grip. It can be used to press or pull on barricades, as a hand stop, for weapon retention, and almost everything else you can do with a nubby vertical grip. Machined from 6061-T6 aluminum and anodized black, the Brokos Brace is compatible with the M-LOK accessory attachment system; sorry HK, still no word on compatibility with PCAP. MAKE:
Lead Faucet Tactical (LFT) MODEL:
Brokos Brace & Other Goods MSRP:
The crew at Cloud Defensive cut their teeth making weapon-mounted light accessories and attachments, so it’s no surprise they’ve entered the lashlight market themselves with a complete light. The Optimized Weapon Light, or OWL, is a three-cell, user-programmable weapon light with an output that Cloud Defensive tells us could be as high as 1,600 lumens. Particularly noteworthy is that both the light head and tail-cap are quick disconnect. They call it Lug-Lok, and instead of traditional cut threads both are popped off with a short twistand-pull. Waterproof, shockproof, and dustproof, we’re very much looking forward to getting our grubbies on one to put it through its paces. MAKE:
Cloud Defensive MODEL:
Optimized Weapon Light (OWL)
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One of the appeals of Mil-spec ammo is its imperviousness to environmental conditions. You can now seal any ammo you own with this handy little kit from Hernon, which contains enough goop to treat up to 2,000 rounds. Unlike the old standby of nail polish, this stuff creeps all the way down the case necks and primer pockets due to capillary action, then sets up within 24 hours to create a completely impervious barrier to moisture and other contaminants such as oil. Long-range aicionados take note; it’s also showing promise as a means of uniforming neck tension — we’ve seen evidence of reduced group sizes in factory ammo due to a more consistent bullet pull. MAKE:
Hernon Manufacturing, Inc.
Made of compressed and cured recycled rubber tire crumb, Roll-Tech Target Tiles are 8x6-inch reactive knock-down targets with no risk of shrapnel or ricochets. You can paint them for target discrimination drills and arrange them in various conigurations to train for precision shots, no-shoots, and whatever else your imagination conjures up. Handguns and shotguns work well with the Target Tiles, while some rile rounds such as .223 won’t reliably knock them down. They’re safest when used with wooden stands or shelving, but like loose steel targets, you need to manually reset them. Some end users have modiied, drilled, and attached the rubber targets to plate racks or other resetting systems. At $10 apiece, Target Tiles are affordable, safe, and versatile targets.
Accurizer Waterprooing Kit MSRP:
Roll-Tech Molding Products MODEL:
Target Tiles DIMENSIONS:
7.9 by 6.4 by 1.8 inches WEIGHT:
2.7 pounds REC O ILW E B .C O M
trust is earne
WARRIOR 40 ounces | 5 inch barrel available in .45 ACP
made in a merica
ed in the field america’s best rely on kimber— so should you.
what all guns should be™
(888) 243-4522 kimberamerica.com
©2017, kimber mfg., inc. all rights reserved. information and specifications are for reference only and subject to change without notice.
A FULLY RESTORED NUCLEAR MISSILE SILO HELPS PRESERVE THE HISTORY OF PEACE THROUGH DETERRENCE BY TOM MARSHALL PHOTOS BY RCP PHOTOGRAPHY
Nine megatons, for most of us, might as
phone. Call the nearest pizza place. Order
well be an imaginary number. Without
a pie. Wait. By the time that hot tasty
context or technical understanding, it’s
cheese wheel shows up at your doorstep,
simply a numerical word that, admittedly,
the nine-megaton Titan II missile would’ve
does sound a little intimidating even on the
traveled to the other side of the planet to
surface. But its full scope and meaning is
remove an entire city — and its people —
lost without more concrete understanding.
from the face of the earth.
So let us assist in that endeavor — nine
That was the metaphorical elephant
megatons is approximately 600 times more
in every room of every home around
powerful than the atomic bombs dropped
the world during the height of the Cold
on Japan during World War II.
War. The single-handed destruction of
Now that we’ve established the
mankind and the permanent alteration of
degree of potency, let’s talk about the
an entire planet could be effected in less
value of time. These nine megatons
time than it takes most of us to commute
can be launched from a fully hardened
home. Preserving the knowledge and
underground bunker in 58 seconds. That
historical context of this particularly tense
might be less time than it took you to
pocket of world history is the mission of
browse the table of contents, notice this
the Titan Missile Museum just outside
article, decide you wanted to read it, and
of Sahaurita, Arizona. We took a walk
lip to this page.
through this life-sized time capsule to get
After the initial sub-minute launch
a handle on exactly what life was like for
sequence, this same nine megatons is
Missileers of the era and how the presence
capable of travelling 6,000 miles in 30
of these rocket-powered, city-killing
minutes. If that doesn’t give you enough
sledgehammers may actually have kept the
context, here’s a challenge: Pick up your
Cold War from going hot.
TITAN MISSILE MUSEUM
IS SU E
This immensely expensive, cuttingedge facility, housing the most destructive weapon in human history, was once patrolled by bored NCOs in rickety Jeeps.
The Titan Missile Museum technically consists of two parts. Your initial entry,
Their introductory tour is a one-hour
should you choose to make the trip, will
experience that costs less than $10
be through the Count Ferdinand von
and is available every day of the year
Gallen Titan Missile Museum Research
except Christmas and Thanksgiving. It
and Education Center. This building
starts 35 feet below the surface, where
houses an exhibit gallery, gift store,
you’ll get to see the control room that
and classroom. Immediately adjacent
was manned at all times and would’ve
is the Titan Missile National Historic
been the starting point for World War
Landmark — the launch complex itself.
III, if such an order had been given.
This particular site was known as 571-7
The director of the museum, a former
and was attached to Davis-Monthan Air
missile crewmember from a Titan
Force Base in nearby Tucson. It’s the
complex, raised an interesting point
only Titan Missile Complex that remains
during our tour. Any live missile launch,
of the 54 that were on alert during the
even if performed within assigned time
Cold War. 571-7 was on constant 24-
limits, would’ve been considered a
hour alert from 1963 to 1987.
failure by the command.
The museum offers a number of
The primary goal of the Titan
tours varying in length and intensity,
program was to serve as a strategic
Just make sure you try pushing and pulling the door before you call MCC.
REC O ILW E B .C O M
The nerve center of a Titan missile silo, the MCC.
Hallways and stairwells aren’t quite as cramped as a submarine, but not wholly dissimilar.
Telecommunications, back when “mobile phone” was a relative term.
which we’ll talk discuss in a bit.
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TITAN MISSILE MUSEUM An actual Titan launch key. The beginning of the end would have started right here.
IS SU E
Seismic monitoring for both ballistic impact and natural disaster was vital to tracking vibrational stress on the fully shock-insulated facility.
REC O ILW E B .C O M
deterrent to Soviet leaders possibly
sequence as during an actual launch.
considering a nuclear option.
The speakers play all the same sounds
Unlike their bomber and submarine
and audio in the same sequence. Both
counterparts, the Titan launch sites
occur in real-time throughout the entire
were highly visible and deliberately
58-second launch sequence.
made known to whoever had interest in such matters. That aforementioned nine-megaton payload was the largest
It was a rather unnerving simulation, to say the least. After we stopped worrying and loved
in the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Subsequent
the bomb, it was onward to the launch
ICBMs used multiple smaller warheads.
duct. This is the giant metal and
Even the sheer, somewhat incalculable
concrete tube that houses an actual
size of the Titan II payload served as a
Titan II airframe. The frame on display
think-twice signal for America’s nuclear-
at the museum is number 10 of we’re
not sure how many. It’s also the only
Discussion in the control room
Titan II frame to never carry propellant
included a brief, watered-down overview
or payload — it was used at the missile
of how the launch order would be
crew schoolhouse to allow future
given, received, authenticated and
crewmen (and women) to become
then executed. The presentation
familiar with the Titan II, both inside
included approximations of the forms
and documents used by missile crews
Launch veriication orders had to be checked and rechecked by two Missile Control specialists through the use of code books.
This particular frame, as we learned,
to decode messages and verify the
is also somewhat famous. The Titan
required information. At the end of that
Missile Museum has served as the set
review, we were even allowed to turn
for several nuclear-missile-themed
the actual launch key on the command
productions, including the Netlix
console. The electrical system in the
Documentary Command And Control
room has been wired so that, when said
and Star Trek: First Contact. Neither
key is turned, the control panel will light
the museum nor RECOIL can say much
up with all the same lights in the same
about the latter, but rumor has it if
A little bump protection is prudent on some of the more extensive tours where you may be ducking and shimmying in and out of tight quarters.
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TITAN MISSILE MUSEUM Dare we say it ... just the tip.
TITAN MISSILE MUSEUM ADDRESS
1580 W. Duval Mine Rd. Sahuarita, AZ 85629 HOURS
Open every day of the year except for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
IS SU E
Winter Hours (November-April) Sunday-Friday: 9:45 a.m. - 5 p.m. (irst tour at 10 a.m., last tour at 3:45 p.m.) No admission to the museum after 4:30 p.m. Saturday: 8:45 a.m. - 5 p.m. (irst tour at 9 a.m., last tour at 3:45 p.m.) No admission to the museum after 4:30 p.m.
REC O ILW E B .C O M
34 you ever ind yourself at the museum
Next up the ladder is the Top To
and happen to be a sci-i enthusiast,
Bottom Tour. This includes stops on
remain an ominous and fascinating
there may or may not be a special tour
all eight underground levels of the
landmark on the journey of human
that you can request “off menu.” If
complex. Participants will see the silo
history. With the current threat
you want to know more about that one,
closure door mechanism on level 1, the
discussions coming out of the Korean
make the trip.
diesel generator on level 3, the bottom
peninsula, it has become even more
of the launch duct on level 7, and —
relevant to understand the delicate
equally intriguing tours that are
more than 140 feet below the surface
balance and level-headedness required
listed on the menu. In addition to
— level 8, with all of the equipment
to responsibly wield nuclear power. We’re
the standard one-hour tour, there’s
that was required to keep the entire
sure each and every one of you have your
the Director’s Tour — an extended,
complex up and running during its
opinions on how, when, and why these
90-minute experience with an in-
operational lifetime. Top To Bottom is
powers should be exercised, scrutinized,
depth recounting of the details of life
an almost-all-day event that runs from 8
and possibly even restricted or abolished.
on the Missile Crew, straight from the
a.m. to 1 p.m.
And there are a number of other
Mutually Assured Destruction will
The Titan Missile Museum offers
Finally, there’s the Titan Overnight
its visitors a unique irsthand look at
For an even more comprehensive
Experience. This is offered only a couple
life under the atomic umbrella, truly
look inside the launch complex itself,
times each year and must be scheduled
rare in its depth and poignancy. Our
there’s the Behind The Blast Door
with the museum well in advance. But
experience with the folks there was eye
Tour. This 1-hour-and-45-minute tour
that’s understandable, as it provides
opening and, frankly, a touch sobering.
takes guests more than 100 feet down,
the opportunity to spend a night living
But, at the end of the day, it’s a visit
into the crew sleeping quarters and
and sleeping underground in the actual
that we’d recommend to anybody with
underneath the Titan II airframe itself
crew quarters of an ICBM missile crew.
even a remote interest in aerospace,
for a one-of-a-kind view up through the
There are a number of variations on the
engineering, military history, or the
launch duct. Make sure you bring your
experience, including catered meals and
unenviable swamp that is international
social media A game for that one.
individualized tours based on interest.
diplomacy in the nuclear age.
Summer Hours (May - October) Sunday-Friday: 9:45 a.m. - 4 p.m. (irst tour at 10 a.m., last tour at 2:45 p.m.) No admission to the museum after 3:30 p.m. Saturday: 8:45 a.m. - 5 p.m. (irst tour at 9 a.m., last tour at 3:45 p.m.) No admission to the museum after 4:30 p.m. ADMISSION
Adults $10.50 Seniors, Pima County Residents $9.50 Military and Groups $9.50 Juniors (Ages 5-12) $7 PHONE
REC O ILW E B .C O M
38 IS SU E
I’LL BE IN MY OFFICE DOUBLE DUTY IS THE NEW NAME OF THE GAME IN COMPANY VEHICLES
BY JOHN SCHWARTZE PHOTOS BY MOUNTAIN MOTION MEDIA
Anyone heard the name Divco before? Do
If you still live in a neighborhood where the
the words Grumman Olson conjure up any
chimes of “When the Saints Go Marching in”
vehicular visions? What about an Interna-
bring the children running for a pack of candy
tional Harvester Metro Van? What does that
cigarettes or Good Humor bars, consider your-
bring to mind? Chances are, unless you’re a
self blessed. This kind of boutique service de-
serious car buff, these names probably mean
livered in a rolling ofice is circling the drain
about as much to you as a subscription to
the same way drive-in movie theaters are.
Hit Parader — it’s a thing of the past. There was a time when vehicles bear-
Nostalgic relections aside though, we’re seeing a new trend in businesses who want
ing these monikers were emblazoned with
to promote themselves. Although pretty
the name of someone’s business, and,
much gone are the days of boxy step vans,
much like mailmen, went about their daily
they’ve made way for some serious 4x4s
routines delivering milk, bread, or were
that perform double duty as rolling billboard
the work vans of your local plumber or ice
and practical SHTF vehicle. JJ Rouanzoin’s
Toyota Tundra is just such a truck.
COLORADO GUN FIGHTER TRUCK 2012 TOYOTA TUNDRA
5.7L V-8 SIX-SPEED
I’LL BE IN MY OFFICE 2 3 4
IS SU E
REC O ILW E B .C O M
40 Tucked away at the southwest end of
1 TENT MAKE:
Colorado is Bayield — a rural commu-
Cascadia Vehicle Tents
nity where JJ’s company, Colorado Gun
Fighter, is headquartered. After spend-
Mt. Bachelor URL:
ing 10 years in the Army, JJ thought
he’d start a Class 3 irearms sales
and training business. When it came
to marketing efforts, it made sense to
have a vehicle that’d double as a daily
50-inch roof; 40-inch curved grille
driver and bug-out truck if the situation called for it. We have yet to see
someone attempt that angle with a PT
Cruiser for obvious reasons.
Yes, this vehicle deinitely has more
to offer than vinyl wrap graphics. The
underpinnings consist of a BDS 8-inch
Aside from the JL Audio and Ken-
lift kit with King coilovers in the front
well as the base for the Barrett 82A1
and adjustable shocks in the rear.
gun mount in the bed. Extreme LED
wood DVD/navigation on the inside,
Stopping duties are handled via a TRD
in Denver took care of the various
Axxis Audio also created a dual-battery
big brake kit. It all sits on 37-inch Toyo
lightbars, rock lights, and bed lighting.
setup with a marine deep-cell battery
MTs and 20-inch Fuel wheels.
The truck retains its original V-8 with
in the bed hidden in an ammo can with
a Bully Dog programmer and Gibson
an invertor located on the top. Both
building the custom bumpers, roof
cat-back exhaust while JJ waits for a
batteries are daisy chained together so
rack for the CVT tent and awning as
supercharger he intends to add.
you can use one to charge the other and
Corey at InSain Fab is credited with
20-inch Boost URL:
4 TIRES MAKE:
R20x13.5 MT 37 URL:
I’LL BE IN MY OFFICE run both at the same time if needed.
Seat covers from Coverking and a safe
1 RIFLE MAKE:
by Console Vault round out the interior
accouterments. The truck also sports a
WaterPORT pressurized water storage
system that can be used for drinking,
2 BUMPERS/ RIFLE MOUNT
showering, or cleaning off gear. One could argue, “Why’d he stop
there?” but we think JJ chose to keep
things simple. Although JJ says he
misses the power of his diesel Super
Duty, he relays to us that maintenance
3 BED TRAY
is comparatively cheaper and infre-
quent, which is a testament to Toyota’s
engineering. It’s a functional piece of
Bedslide 1000 Classic
equipment that serves as a rolling of-
ice. What more could you ask for? Most
of the time vehicles are either built to
show or built to go. This one does both.
There’s something to be said for that.
Maxim 9 URL:
IS SU E
42 REC O ILW E B .C O M
VLTOR upper and lower, Noveske barrel, Trijicon optic, Innovative Arms Mini Grunt suppressor, Midwest handguard
5 DUAL BATTERY SETUP MAKE:
Axxis Audio MODEL:
6 WATER STORAGE MAKE:
7 SAFE MAKE:
Console Vault MODEL:
Toyota Tundra Floor Console URL:
8 SEAT COVERS MAKE:
Cover King MODEL:
THE LIGHT-BEARING HOLSTER YOU’VE BEEN HUNGRY FOR.
The Omnivore holster set the bar for versatility, fitting over 230 pistols. The light-bearing Omnivore takes the accessibility and Level 2 retention of its counterpart boldly into the night. It’s the Omnivore you’re used to – but with a bigger appetite.
SUREFIRE X300/X300U-A STREAMLIGHT TLR-1/2
UNUSUAL SUSPECTS In an age when we might own a safe full of Austrian
3 Boker Plus MODEL:
handguns, see our baseball
Kwaiken Mini Flipper Titan
heroes driving Italian
supercars, and order Bolivian
takeout on our Chinese-made smartphones, the mystique of
BLADE LENGTH: BLADE MATERIAL:
VG-10 stainless steel WEIGHT:
foreign-made products isn’t
so, well, foreign anymore.
But every once in a while, something unusual catches our
eye. That’s why we’re collecting a lineup of exotic blades in this edition of “Unusual Suspects.”
REC O ILW E B .C O M
IS SU E
In some cases, they’re
4 Kizer Cutlery MODEL:
modern takes on ethnic designs
and in others they’re replicas
of ancient blades with stateof-the-art materials. Whether
BLADE LENGTH: BLADE MATERIAL:
S35VN stainless steel WEIGHT:
made in distant lands or
inspired by other cultures, the
knives here bring a fresh lavor to the usual tactical tastes. MAKE:
1 Bastinelli Knives MODEL:
5.5 inches BLADE LENGTH:
N690Co stainless steel WEIGHT:
2.89 ounces MSRP:
$175, $185 (as shown) URL:
2 Fox Knives MODEL:
Elite 271 Olive OAL:
6.9 inches BLADE LENGTH:
N690 stainless steel WEIGHT:
1.6 ounces MSRP:
5 Spyderco Inc. MODEL:
8.99 inches BLADE LENGTH:
S30V stainless steel WEIGHT:
6 ounces MSRP:
6 Benchmade MODEL:
9.76 inches BLADE LENGTH:
154CM stainless steel WEIGHT:
7.3 ounces MSRP:
7 Cold Steel MODEL:
Colossus 1 OAL:
10 inches BLADE LENGTH:
XHP stainless steel WEIGHT:
7.2 ounces MSRP:
EXOTIC KNIVES BY PATRICK VUONG
FLIP THE PAGE FOR MORE DETAILS ON EACH KNIFE.
INTERROGATING THE UNUSUAL SUSPECTS
IS SU E
REC O ILW E B .C O M
ELITE 271 OLIVE
KWAIKEN MINI FLIPPER TITAN
411: While the karambit’s history is murky, most scholars agree that it originated in Indonesia as an agricultural tool and later became weaponized for combat and warfare. The Kalinou is deinitely not meant to harvest crops. With its curved blade, G-10 handle scales, and black PVD coating, this karambit can be a deadly implement in the hands of a skilled warrior trained in Indonesian silat, Filipino kali, or other Southeast Asian ighting systems. Available with a stonewashed inish for 10 bucks cheaper ($175).
411: Italy is famous for its fast cars, beautiful people, delicious foods, and ancient empire. Among knife nuts, it’s also known for the resolza, a utility knife that originated in Sardinia and used by farmers and shepherds for centuries. The Elite 271 Olive combines artistry with engineering in a way that honors the traditional Italian folder yet modernizes it. Exotic in its heritage and production, this model would be equally remarkable as a letter opener, collectible, or secondary knife to a more EDC-minded primary blade.
411: The kwaiken (or kaiken) translates literally as “pocket sword” and were short daggers carried indoors by both men and women of the samurai class for self-defense and, on rare occasions, for ritual suicide. This 21st-century take on the ancient Japanese weapon comes from Lucas Burnley, who’s made a name for himself by crafting tactical knives using clean lines and exceptional materials. Boker has produced a number of his Kwaiken models and, true to form, this is just as deadly and beautiful as the others.
411: Knifemaker Dirk Pinkerton was stirred by images of the 18th- and 19th-century Indian interpretations of the khanjar dagger, which often had a horse or other animals etched into the pommel. The Nomad is his version of this vintage knife, created as part of Kizer’s Bladesmith Series. Kizer is one of the few Chinese irms that makes production knives out of premium materials like titanium while also matching the construction quality of many U.S.-based companies — passing on signiicant cost savings to customers.
411: The EuroEdge is a part of Spyderco’s Ethnic Series, a lineup of knives inspired by blades from around the world. This one was designed by Ed Schempp, who found his muse in ancient weapons from Switzerland. The G-10 handle hints at the curved hilt and pommel of ancient Swiss daggers. On the business end, the fullers (grooves on the lat of the blade) are also throwbacks to knives and swords of that region, providing solid strength with less material in the same way that an I-beam does.
411: If Rick Moranis’ character from Honey, I Shrunk the Kids ever got his hands on a scimitar, he’d probably end up creating something like this badass folding knife. It’s no surprise to ind that the 860 was originally designed for security forces protecting the king of Jordan. There’s a lanyard hole and jimping on the buttend, which works great as both a glassbreaker and a striking point. As part of the Bedlam family of knives, the 860 is available with serrations, a black coating, and automatic opening. Made in the USA.
411: As the name implies, the Colossus 1 is a monstrous folding knife that trades blade length for height, resulting in a stout proile. Why? Shearing power … and to keep it compliant in regions with length restrictions. Colossus 1 takes design cues from the dag knife (also called the beavertail knife due to its shape), which were forged in England, imported by Canada’s Hudson’s Bay Company, and highly sought by Native Americans and frontiersman alike during the North American fur trade era. Available with satin polish inish or with a black DLC coating.
PROS: The N690Co blade is tough, razor sharp, and highly corrosion resistant. Comes with a solid Kydex sheath The karambit’s shape is ideal for piercing-andripping techniques, as well as trapping limbs in close quarters.
PROS: Smooth lines, stainless steel bolsters, and olive wood scales provide gorgeous aesthetics Updates the classic Mediterranean knife genre N690 blade is sharp, durable, and wear and corrosion resistant. Outstanding workmanship
PROS: A modern and elegant interpretation of the classic samurai knife The VG-10 blade cuts like a laser and easily ights off wear and rust. Flipper tab opens the blade with a satisfying “snikt” sound Titanium handle
PROS: S35VN stainless steel blade comes sharp out of the box and stays that way. Two-tone titanium handle has intricate lines that offer grippiness and style. The lipper opening is smooth and fast. Feels comfy in hand
PROS: The S30V blade is strong, corrosion resistant, and crazy sharp. Plus, it’s almost symmetrical like the classic Swiss dagger, but has a long false edge to keep it socially acceptable in areas with restrictive knife laws. Opens and closes smoothly
PROS: Feels great in hand, regardless of your grip preference (hammer, reverse, Filipino, etc.) Blade is made from one of our favorite steels: 154CM. Benchmade’s propriety Axis lock is robust, easy to use, and ambidextrous. Top quality construction
PROS: Made of premium XHP steel, the blade can cut, chop, stab, and slash with authority. Thumb disc acts as an improvised “pocket deployer,” opening the blade as you draw from your pants pocket. Pocket clip can be adjusted for lefties and righties. Two-tone, stippled G-10 handle offers traction
CONS: The Kalinou’s extreme crescent moon shape makes it less versatile as an everyday carry (EDC) tool. For those unfamiliar with silat or kali, there’s deinitely a learning curve when using a karambit.
CONS: Pencil-thin body will feel teeny to anyone with hands that are medium sized or bigger. The Elite 271 has no pocket clip or thumbstud —making this less than ideal for self-defense or emergency situations.
CONS: Sorry, lefties. Pocket clip is righthanded only.
CONS: The blade’s belly is great for detailed slicing, such as skinning, but its curved edge isn’t as effective at longer cuts, such as those needed to break down cardboard boxes. you prefer a hammer or Filipino grip.
CONS: Though tip-up, the pocket clip is conigured for right-handers only. Due to the vintage design, the thumbhole is small for Spyderco and too close to the handle, making it harder to open the blade under stress.
CONS: The upswept blade is great for slicing but — much like the Nomad —isn’t ideal for making longer cuts. It’s almost half a pound and takes up a lot of pocket real estate.
CONS: The handle’s ergonomics work well in forward grip but feel off in reverse grip. The Colossus 1 can chop like a tomahawk … and will feel like one when you try to cram it into your pocket.
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36 IS SU E
52 REC O ILW E B .C O M
BY DAVE MERRILL
CHICKEN SH*T INTO CHICKEN SALAD
AKs are no longer the pragmatic choice they
times. Though shoulder-firing pistol braces
of parts fitment from time to time. Because
were 15 years ago. Even bottom-barrel AKs
are now quasi-legal again, from the outset
of the truncated gas system, the Mini Draco
can cost signiicantly more than the equiva-
the intention with this one was to register it
suffers from that same fate and more. While
lent AR. Quality magazines cost more now
as an SBR.
Midwest Industries, Manticore Arms, and
than ever, especially if you want new produc-
After the Mini Draco arrived, we ensured
SLR Rifleworks all make handguards for the
tion, and defensive loads are few and far
it was at least semi-reliable. Then off the
Mini Draco, we decided on the Alfa Rail from
between relative to a 5.56 AR-15.
paperwork went to Uncle Sam, along with a
Manticore because it provides a couple more
check for $200 for the privilege of adding a
inches of space — real estate for your hand
real buttstock some months down the line.
is already at a premium, so we wanted as
We started with the ugly stepbrother, the
Since AKs are built to wildly different
much as we could get. An Arisaka Defense
Mini Draco chambered in 7.62x39. This
specifications, sometimes when produced
vertical grip made for an excellent handstop
Romanian “pistol” has a 7.5-inch barrel and
within the same country or even the same
without encumbering the rock-n-lock reload
a bit of a reputation for being problematic at
factory, you should prepare yourself for a bit
of the AK.
Despite this, AKs can still be fun — and this Build Sheet is absolutely all about fun.
The terrible trigger-slappy Romanian ire
manipulation with the firing hand. And just
More special-purpose than general, this
control group was upgraded with the much
because we could, we modded a Griffin
short-barreled AK is extremely compact and
better ALG Defense trigger. A three-prong
Armament A3 AR-15 grip to fit. (See “4
will do more to a target than simply bloody
lash hider was added in an attempt to quash
Minute AK Fixes” in RECOIL Issue 26 or on
its nose with the muzzle blast. With these
the excessive lash from such a short barrel,
RECOILweb for full instructions on these
upgrades, a once neck-bearded rile-caliber
though it works poorly in that role.
pistol is now ininitely more controllable and
Every rile we have that’s not solely for
Once the government gave us the permis-
gaming gets a weapon-mounted light (WML).
sion slip consisting of an approved Form 1, it
Though not always fans of pistol WMLs on
was time for the buttstock. Manticore Arms
riles, a 600-lumen SureFire X300U-B packs
makes a triangle folder reminiscent of the
original Russian AKSU folders, but without all
Grifin Armament Grip
mounted one on an offset rail. However, it’ll
the major surgery required to install it. Since
Manticore Arms Triangle
soon be replaced with a new 500-lumen
the Mini Draco’s rear trunnion has a solid
back, we simply drilled and tapped it for #10-
ACE Folding Mechanism
32 screws and installed an ACE folding stock
CNC Warrior 3-Prong
mechanism and folder. To make the cheek-
Manticore Arms Forend
package small and lightweight by replacing
weld a tad more comfortable, we applied a
Vector Offset Rail
the rear sight assembly with an Attero Arms
self-adhesive leather wrap originally intended
Arisaka Defense VFG
for use with tennis rackets. It also lends a bit
Attero Arms Mount
of that post-apocalyptic movie look.
ALG Defense Trigger
Tourna Leather Grip
barrel, gas tube, and muzzle device were
bolt-hold-open notch into the safety selec-
Cerakoted in SIG Gray by The Trigger Group
tor and spot welding on a tab for easier
in Columbus, Ohio.
a lot of power in a compact package, so we
single-cell SureFire M300. Optimal mounting of modern optics can be an issue with the AK, but we kept the
RMR mount and topped it with the adjustable 3.5MOA Trijicon RMR06. We dragged the controls of the Mini Draco a bit more into this century by cutting a
Finally, the receiver, safety, top cover,
IS SU E
In as-imported form, the Mini Draco comes complete with a hotdog bun handguard.
REC O ILW E B .C O M
Lots of parts and pieces went into this rile to make it vastly more practical.
36 IS SU E REC O ILW E B .C O M
The legal history of magazine-fed shotguns in
lawsuit related to the USAS-12 being banned
manufacture or sell to average citizens during
the United States is, to put it lightly, kind of
from import and declared a DD tried to make
a mess. The Gun Control Act of 1968 deined
the argument that they were particularly
Destructive Devices as irearms with bores over
useful for action shooting sports, but the gov-
platform, was designed and imported during
0.5 inch, except for shotguns with sporting
ernment countered that these were “combat
the federal ban years with ive-round maga-
purposes. Shotguns that didn’t have a sporting
games” and not traditional sporting purposes.
zines and a non-pistol grip stock. Until the
purpose would have to be registered with the
The Federal Assault Weapons Ban in effect
The Saiga-12, based on the Kalashnikov
ban sunset in 2004, the Saiga-12 went large-
from 1994 to 2004 listed detachable maga-
ly unnoticed; there wasn’t much advantage to
zines as one of the combinations of features
a detachable magazine-fed shotgun limited to
reference “sporting purpose” language, and
that made a shotgun an assault weapon; if
ive rounds, versus tube fed guns that could
at the time these laws were written, sporting
it had any other features, like a pistol grip, a
have as many as could it (so long as it didn’t
purposes meant hunting or traditional shoot-
folding, or telescoping stock, or a magazine
have other features). And besides, it was Rus-
ing sports like trap and skeet. At least one
capacity over ive rounds, it was illegal to
sian, poorly inished, and ugly as sin.
ATF, with all applicable taxes. Importation restrictions on irearms also
CHINAâ€™S ANSWER TO THE SAIGA-12 BY RUSSELL PHAGAN PHOTOS BY WE PLEAD THE SECOND
CHAIRMAN POW With the ban gone in 2004, over
After this study and subsequent rul-
the next several years, magazine-fed
ings, manufacturers started importing
suming you were hitting a major match
shotguns became more desirable.
detachable magazine-fed shotguns
every month. Quality control was pretty
Multiple manufacturers started making
with pistol grips and ixed stocks. Fol-
bad on a lot of these, though you could
Saiga magazines with higher capaci-
lowing Russia’s involvement in Ukraine
make them work. Sometimes.
ties domestically. A cottage industry
toward the end of the Obama admin-
of converting imported “sporting” vari-
istration, importation of Izshmash and
signiicant maintenance every 2,000
ants back into their original conigura-
Molot produced irearms (makers of the
to 3,000 rounds — cleaning up rough
tions popped up, and once that ire
Saiga-12 pattern guns) was banned as
edges, and replacing worn parts and
was lit, more foreign manufacturers
part of economic sanctions. The Trump
springs. My longest-lived Saiga retired
and importers got into the game of
administration has thus far reafirmed
with 9,000 rounds on the clock. The
selling magazine-fed shotguns.
the importation ban.
VEPR-12 I switched to in 2012 was a
In 2011, the ATF conducted a
I started using Saiga-12 shotties in
Issue 12). It worked out of the box
shotguns, determining that detachable
speed and consistency of reloading was
and had a lot of improved features
magazines weren’t inherently unsport-
appealing — when they worked, they
over the original Saiga, but after
ing. They also said that sporting pur-
were awesome and helped me to place
ive years and 5,000 shells, factory
in the Top 3 at many matches. When
components on it started failing, and
they didn’t work, they were worse than
it too is now in need of a rebuild. No
using a pump.
one can say that we don’t take our
other action shooting sports that use 36
shotguns, but stated it was beyond the IS SU E
signiicant improvement (see RECOIL
2006 for three-gun competition. The
edging the existence of three-gun and
REC O ILW E B .C O M
The ones that worked required
study on the importability of various
pose may change over time, acknowl-
to complete a competition season, as-
scope of the study to determine if this was indeed a sporting purpose.
Unmistakably AK, the Lynx features an RPK-style receiver and trunnion. Note Krebs-type tab on safety.
I went through a total of eight
testing seriously here at RECOIL, and
Saiga-12s to get three that worked;
after more than a decade of hard use,
back then you’d need three of them
here’s what we know.
CHAIRMAN POW THE SKINNY
In the best of circumstances,
The Lynx 12 is an AK-pattern shot-
the long-stroke of traditional AKs. The
ammo sensitive and usually run bet-
gun, sharing many similarities with the
puck is employed as a means of mak-
ter on hotter ammo. They need to be
Saiga-12. It’s made in China, in one of
ing best use of the limited amount of
cleaned every 200 to 300 shells to
the same factories that makes Type 56
low-pressure gas available from a shot-
remain reliable. Lead, plastic, and
riles, for all you AK nerds out there. It
gun shell, rather than a centerire rile,
carbon fouling build up in the gas
has a 1.5mm RPK-style receiver, home
and presents a bigger surface area for
port. These shortcomings are all tol-
to a hammer-forged bolt and trunnion
the gas to push against.
erable because the speed advantage
— all good stuff so far. The barrel is
One noticeable improvement over
of reloading with magazines is so
chrome lined and threaded to accept
the Saiga-12 is an operating rod that’s
huge in the competitive arena.
Saiga-12–style muzzle devices, and
integrated into the bolt carrier group, as
it also uses traditional AK buttstocks
one solid piece versus a stock, thread-
and pistol grips, making swapping
ed-in piston of an AK-47 serving as the
them out easy.
op rod in a Saiga-12. Saigas are notori-
mag-fed AK-based shotguns are
All this sets the stage of reasonable expectations for an AK-based, magazine-fed shotgun. SDS Imports sent over their new Lynx-12, one of the first 20 imported. It may not necessarily be fully representative of the final product — hell, it didn’t even include a manual, as they’re still working on the English-
IS SU E
REC O ILW E B .C O M
it a short-stroke piston system versus
One-piece bolt carrier is a huge improvement over the previous design, which were prone to break at the piston junction. Polymer buffer is starting to show signs of wear, indicating it’s doing its job of protecting the rear trunnion.
The gas system features four set-
ous for knocking the living sh*t out of
tings versus two on the Saiga-12,
their rear trunnion rivets, so to mitigate
which should make it easier to optimize
this, the Lynx employs a rubber recoil
for use with various loads.
bumper at the rear of the receiver, at-
Like the Saiga-12, it also uses a piston puck in front of what on a regular AK would be the piston, making
tached to the recoil spring assembly. The Lynx 12 uses Saiga-12 magazines; while it shipped with one five-
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CHAIRMAN POW years. The question was, would it
ter of getting to know the gas system
run? To test the Lynx 12, we used a
and taking a guess as to which end
large box of random brands and loads
of the range might be high or low —
of 12-gauge ammunition accumu-
remember, no manual.
lated while shooting three-gun over
After about 100 shells the fire con-
the past several years. There were
trol group broke. Busted, buggered,
500-plus rounds of low- and high-
shagged. The trigger’s hook sheared
brass bird shot, buckshot, and slugs,
off, and the hammer couldn’t reset
all dumped out of various mags and
— to be clear, this wasn’t an unsafe
tubes at the end of stages and in a
or slam-fire condition, the gun just
wide range of pressures and payload
couldn’t fire at all, and we were dead
weight. If it could run on this, it
in the water. SDS Imports promptly
could run anything. The goal was to
sent over a new fire control group and
shoot up this entire box of ammuni-
a return label for the bad part. It ap-
tion without cleaning or performing
peared to be a bad casting. Sh*t hap-
maintenance on the gun.
pens, particularly on a first sample batch of 20 guns, but it’s definitely a
ROUNDS DOWNRANGE During the first few range sessions,
IS SU E
the gun ate low- and high-brass bird
REC O ILW E B .C O M
rounder, ain’t nobody got time fo’ that. To aid in testing, we used three 10-round mags from AGP Arms of Tempe, Arizona — all three fit and functioned in the gun just fine, with no need for any tweaking. The AGPs have sacrificial material that shaves away as they fit themselves to a particular gun; after a few mag changes, the initial stiffness went away and they felt normal. Going back to rock and lock magazines after using the magwell on the VEPR-12 was an unpleasant adjustment. Reloading on a closed bolt without a magwell is difficult — just like the original Saiga, which benefits enormously from Dremel work on the carrier. Fortunately, there’s a manual bolt hold-open device located on the right side of the receiver behind the bolt, and the shooter can manually lock the bolt open to make inserting a fresh magazine much easier. Which incidentally is how the infamous “Iraqi Reload” technique came to be, but that’s a tale for another time … . Fit and finish-wise, the Lynx 12 appeared to be as good or better than many of the Saiga-12s over the
Failures? Yeah, we had ’em. Sharp edges at the chamber’s extractor cut accounted for most. And then there was that little matter of the trigger.
strike against the product — we’ll see what the next batch brings. The company also stated that they
shot, while we tested the gas settings
had discovered rough edges at two
to see which would work best. Every
points of the chamber’s breech end
type of low-brass shell required the
that could be corrected with minimal
gas setting to be WFO. High-brass
iling, providing a video on how to
shells would sometimes work on an
remedy these issues while noting that
intermediate gas setting, but then it
the production guns would have cham-
might short-stroke. Malfunctions that
fered edges in these areas. While
occurred during this time were a mat-
these repairs were straightforward
That look you get . . .
. . . when someone tells you that you donâ€™t need an AK pistol. Get Some at CenturyArms.com Proudly made in the U.S.A. by
CHAIRMAN POW slugs would only cycle on the WFO gas setting, but nonetheless printed a 4-inch group at 50 yards, similar to the VEPR-12. All around, the Lynx 12 performed as well as or better than the Saiga-12s I’ve owned in the past. The construction specs suggest it may last longer as well, as the receiver and trunnion are much heavier duty, but without another 2,500 to 6,500 shells to shoot, that’s conjecture at this point. SDS Imports appears to care about putting out a good product — they
IS SU E
RS Regulate Mount teamed up with The Dot That Would Not Die proved to be a winning slug combination.
REC O ILW E B .C O M
to perform (I’ve done them before
functions occurred over the course of
were very quick to resolve the ire
on numerous Saigas) we continued
this shooting session, most related
control problem and forthcoming about
testing as is, to see how the shotgun
to the rough chamber edge SDS says
the rough chamber edge issue they’re
resolving. The Lynx 12, as is, isn’t
After replacing the fire control
The Lynx 12 cycled better with
ready for three-gun in 2018, but at a
group, it was time to hit the range
high-brass buckshot and slugs on the
$500 street price it might just be the
again. This time it churned through
reduced gas settings. While its pistol-
right choice for someone who wants
all 400-plus remaining shells, with-
style iron sights were adequate to hit
to build up a race gun project from
out any cleaning during the total of
a USPSA silhouette at 50 yards, we
scratch. For this it’ll need an improved
500-plus rounds fired. Amazingly,
attached a Vortex SPARC II in an RS
ire control group, stock with softer
the Lynx 12 cycled out of the box
Regulate mount to test slug accuracy.
recoil pad, magwell, better handguard,
with Winchester Universal — bottom-
The RS Regulate mount attached
and muzzle device — which gives us
of-the-barrel, Wally Word bulk pack
solidly to the side rail and was snug to
an idea for a future article. Or you
crap that barely runs in any semi-
the top cover — tight enough to mean
could leave it stock as an inexpensive
auto shotgun I own. But it worked in
that cleaning would require removing
range blaster or truck gun, or even take
the Lynx 12 on the open setting with
the optic mount. To test accuracy we
it to the local skeet range and give your
just one short-stroke malfunction as
used Fiocchi low-recoil slugs, beloved
favorite fudds a conniption it. Sporting
the gun got dirtier. A total of 12 mal-
by the three-gun community. These
purposes, my ass.
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5 (as shipped) — any Saiga-12 mag works
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H O R N A DY S E C U R I T Y.CO M
RECOIL GETS A FRONT-ROW SEAT AT THE USASOC ASSAULTER’S COMPETITION BY TOM MARSHALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF U.S. ARMY
The U.S. Army Special Operations Command, commonly referred
as a valuable training tool that both improves skill level and
to as USASOC, is the largest single component of the inter-
distracts from the repetitiveness of formalized instruction.
service U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and the
It was, in part, because of this value that USASOC started the
controlling element for all Army Special Operations Forces. Head-
International Sniper’s Competition — which, at time of writing, is
quartered at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, USASOC is responsible
in its eighth consecutive year. Much newer and less well-known
for units like the 75th Ranger Regiment, 160th Special Opera-
is the subject of this story: a counterpart competition known as
tions Aviation Regiment, 1st Special Forces Command, and the
the Special Operations Assault Competition. The latter is still in
John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School. In short,
its infancy, with this being only the second year. But it’s growing
USASOC is responsible for training and leading soldiers who are
quickly, and RECOIL was given an exclusive chance to watch
extremely proicient at putting boot to ass for freedom.
teams from all around the Special Operations community face off
Part of what makes these units so capable is the immense
in a multi-day event that posed some highly demanding battle-
amount of time and effort they put into their training. They
ield challenges. Agreeing to work around some operational secu-
attend laundry lists of schools and put in thousands of hours of
rity issues, we were allowed to put together a rundown of some of
unit-level training. But even professional badassery like clearing
the competition’s highlights and came away impressed not only
rooms and jumping out of airplanes can get monotonous if
with the caliber of the competitors, but also by the amount of
it’s all you do, day after day, with no variety. Competition
hard work and dedication applied by the organizers - the Range
often breeds a drive for increased performance and can serve
37 staff, who bust their asses to lay on a world class event.
OPERATOR OLYMPICS Get a lat litter, with patient, over a 6-foot wall. With four sets of hands and no slings, wheels, or pulleys. Hope nobody starts shooting at you.
severely enough to miss the next two days of the competition. Luckily, he came out of it ine and was returned to duty. But it was a poignant reminder that even training is risky.
EVENTS #2 AND #5: DAY/NIGHT PISTOL SHOOTS One of the things that arguably sets Special Operations soldiers apart from conventional forces is their skill with a variety of individual weapons beyond the primary service rile. The day and Every leg of the endurance event was rooted in real-world battleield tasks, like casualty recovery.
night “scrambler” events tested pistol skills in a diverse array of short stages, including everything you’d imagine from a well-thought-out training class or club steel match. Barricades, unconventional shooting positions, multiple target engagements, no-shoot targets, and
reloads were all included in the various IS SU E
courses of ire.
REC O ILW E B .C O M
70 EVENT #1: ENDURANCE EVENT The very irst stage of the competition was, in true army fashion, a physical
Run down the stairs and outside to a non-functioning vehicle (simulated IED). Push the vehicle an unspeci-
itness event. But this was no 30-min-
ute medley of push-ups, sit-ups, and
Don a gas mask, ensure proper seal,
running. The endurance event is both
and run through a short course that
practical and intensely grueling, testing
takes you in and out of houses and
every major combat task in addition to
between alleyways. At the end of this
cardiovascular and muscular endurance.
course are two truck tires.
Think you could hack it? Here’s a rough
Flip said tires for approximately 50 to
set list of the various course objectives.
Run approximately a ½ mile to the
Remove gas mask, run to downed
base of a three-story tower.
aircraft, extract 200-pound dummy,
Carry 14 .50-caliber ammo cans up
and carry him on a litter an unknown
to the top roof.
distance, traversing more than two
All that ammo is no good without a
rile. Go back down, get the Barrett
Did we mention you have to complete
M82A1, and bring it up too.
the course in full boots and battle rattle,
Rappel from the top of the tower.
carrying a complete combat load of am-
Run approximately a ¼ mile to a
munition and equipment? And you’re on
second three-story building. Climb a
the clock, moving in a four-man team, so
nylon caving ladder to the roof.
everyone has to inish.
Once on the roof, haul a 100-pound
We watched several teams go
duffel bag, tied to a fast rope, from
through this event, and it was no
the ground to the roof.
joke. At least one soldier was injured
Controlling your own bodyweight plus full kit is a physical itness test all by itself. Unfortunately this was pretty much just the beginning of the hard part.
When SHTF, will you be caught holding the bag?
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OPERATOR OLYMPICS Shooting stages incorporated CQB elements, including door breaches and, our personal favorite, extensive use of “distraction devices.”
hidden tokens were scattered throughout the house, forcing teams to slow
IS SU E
It’s worth noting at this point the num-
REC O ILW E B .C O M
EVENT #7: BREACHING Our other favorite event was breach-
down and execute proper Tactical Site
ing, affectionately referred to around
Exploitation through searches of furni-
the range as Breacher’s Alley. The goal
ture, closets, and down targets.
of this stage was to force each team
There were both shoot and no-shoot
to employ a well-rounded variety of
ber of red-dot-equipped pistols we saw.
targets, and teams had to simulate
breaching methods, while also think-
They were particularly helpful during
restraining and cufing all no-shoot
ing critically about their load-out and
the night shoot. A slide-mounted optic
targets. But, as long as teams checked
allows you to shoot your pistol with night
all these boxes, they weren’t graded on
vision gear just like you would normally.
their style of CQB. We really liked this
area where a wide variety of breach-
It was also interesting to see how much
approach as it took the graders, all of
ing tools were laid out for the team to
of these particular “combat focused”
whom were full-time CQB instructors
choose from: cutting torches, back-
stages included elements from USPSA,
within USASOC, out of their schoolhouse
pack saws, various types of explosive
IDPA, and Steel Challenge matches.
role. It also allowed the individual teams
charges, halligan tools, etc. Teams were
Anybody who still believes that shooting
to apply their own unit-internal Tactics,
allowed to bring as many tools as they
competitively will get them “killed on
Techniques, and Procedures (TTPs) as
wanted, but tools couldn’t be dropped
the streets” should talk to the instructor
they might on a real-world mission.
or cached in the house along the way.
cadre down at USASOC.
We wound up directly over a ninebanger at least twice that we remember
EVENT #4: DIRECT ACTION CQB
and got chest thumped by one or two
Each team approached the staging
Everything had to be carried through every room. There were a total of 14 breaches
breaching charges. Each time, our
required throughout the building, many
events to watch. A four-man assault
senior editor came off the catwalk with
with compound challenges. Here’s an
element was required to approach a
a stupid, nostalgic grin on his face. As
example: You approach a typical resi-
building, conduct an explosive breach for
always, it was truly inspiring to witness
dential wooden door. A couple breach-
initial entry, and then clear more than 15
irsthand the surgical application of
ing rounds from your shotgun should
rooms as a solo element. The course was
intense violence by good guys in high-
be plenty to knock off the hinges and
run with SRTA training ammo. All other
get the door down — except behind the
This was, by far, one of our favorite
gear was “real steel,” including shotguns with breaching rounds, explosive cutting charges for breaching, and lash bang grenades — including “twin banger” and “nine banger” versions, all of which were applied liberally. Forgetting your eye or ear protection on the catwalk was a rapidly selfcorrecting error. There were certain administrative rules in play to reduce “gaming” the stage. No solo-CQB was permitted. An undisclosed number of
Special Operations Forces make most of their money after the sun goes down. As such, night shoots were an integral part of the assaulter’s competition.
CQB is a team sport. This SOF team made use of all their tools, from weapon-mounted lights to explosive breaching charges.
OPERATOR OLYMPICS Below, left: Breacher’s Alley was a surprisingly grueling event, with every possible tool and method in the breacher’s inventory being put to the test.
and put it on the Internet. While the
guns, with one team shooting 14.5-inch
likelihood of a single four-man element
setups. The latter seemed to have an
tackling such an operation without
easier time with the longer-range targets,
direct support from other assets, or a
particularly from elevated positions —
larger supporting force is low, it’s not
but it wasn’t a universal result. We’re
entirely beyond the scope of reality.
not sure if teams were allowed to swap
What we learned from watching this
Proper intelligence preparation is also
uppers between stages, and we didn’t
event was just how time consuming a
critical to properly equip and outit your
see any dedicated DMR-style guns.
door breach can become.
team for the speciic building being
Either way, attempting to game the stage
renewed the age-old struggle of moving
door is a loor-to-ceiling grid of welded rebar covering the entire doorway. Hope you brought one of those torches or a saw. Or how about a steel door with 4x4 deadfalls behind it? No door was as easy as it looked in Breacher’s Alley.
In the movies, it always looks like a
quickly in full kit versus being able to hit
sub-second event followed immediately
EVENT #9: LONG DISTANCE SHOOT
by a smooth entry. The reality is that a well-fortiied door can take minutes to cut through — a frightening prospect
The long-distance shoot was a
HANDSHAKES AND PRIZES
carbine-focused with multiple steel tar-
One of the unsung heroes of the
the other side of that door, are people
get arrays at varying unknown distances
assault competition was the Special
who probably want to cut your head off
from 25 to 300 yards. Shooters were
Forces Association. SFA did a lot of
required to irst run to the top of a rappel
behind-the-scenes setup for this event,
tower and engage targets from inside a
including helping to coordinate the prize
faux helicopter fuselage. After knocking
table and industry partnerships. Addi-
down this set of targets, the shooter ran
tionally, they perform a number of great
down one loor and engaged a second
support functions for the Special Forces
line of targets from a balcony. Once all
community, including resiliency retreats
targets were cleaned from the balcony,
for families, scholarships for widows
they had to rappel down the rest of the
and children, and the creation of busi-
tower and move through a series of iring
ness opportunities for Special Forces
positions on the ground.
veterans separating from service. If
IS SU E
when you consider that, somewhere on
74 REC O ILW E B .C O M
accurately in as little time as possible.
Final score was based on the time An operator engages targets several hundred yards out with his red-dot–equipped 10.5-inch Mk18. Shooters were required to utilize multiple unconventional positions throughout this stage.
you’re looking for a tax credit or good
to complete the entire course, adjusted
karma, a donation to the SFA would be
for any targets left standing — due to
a great idea.
misses or, in at least one case, running
The USASOC Assault Competition
out of ammo. Since teams had to “run
was an awesome look into how some of
what they brung,” it was an interesting
our nation’s most capable warighters
test of the various carbine/optic setups.
work to master their craft. Check out
The majority of shooters we watched
RECOILtv for additional coverage of
were running suppressed 10.5-inch
CMMG’S NEW 9MM BRINGS A DIFFERENT RECIPE TO AN OLD DISH BY NICK SAITI PHOTOS BY KENDA LENSEIGNE
There was time in my life when I didn’t at least throw it on the grill for a minute?
IS SU E
There are plenty of things to eat in this
even want to try sushi. Dude, could you
world without resorting to uncooked seafood. But lots of people love it and is. Eventually, I couldn’t bear the looks of shock and disgust from people who found out I was a sushi virgin. Succumbing to peer pressure, I took the plunge. It was good — not life changing — but I enjoyed it. Now, when I’m in the mood for sushi I have my favorite spot, but honestly I wouldn’t mind going the rest of my life without eating another piece of raw ish. Bait is for ishing anyway. (Editor’s note: If Nick knew as much about cuisine as he does about guns and shooting, he would know that sushi refers to dishes made from vinegar and rice that may or may not actually include raw seafood. But we get his point, while we enjoy our sashimi and PCCs.) Initially, I treated pistol caliber carbines (PCCs) the same way. A rile in an inferior pistol caliber just doesn’t sound appetizing, and the real estate in the safe is far too precious to waste
REC O ILW E B .C O M
trumpet how healthy and delicious it
PCC SUSHI on an AR-15 with training wheels. I
tact the gun at different points to create
when shooters use the number of sexual
eventually shot one, and just like a
a stable platform. It feels like cheating,
partners your mother had as a rebuttal
raw ish dinner, it didn’t initially loat
and pistol shooters often treat it as
for a compensator luid dynamics argu-
my boat. The idea of a PCC fell on the
such. I don’t care about the dirty looks;
ment. In the end, as with most equip-
back burner, until they started popping
I’m now a self-proclaimed PCC guy.
ment discussions, it becomes a matter
up at the local pistol matches, where using a PCC is a deinite advantage. PCCs always get compared to riles
It’s been years since my last foray
of personal preference versus analytics.
into the PCC world, but for the most
There have been a few choices when
part, technology hasn’t progressed
it comes to PCC operating systems.
— that’s where they fall short, but
much, with the AR-15 still being a popu-
Some of them are harder to understand
when pitted against pistols they pull
lar platform choice due to its familiar
than Japanese game shows, but the
ahead. Way ahead. Shooting a pistol at
ergonomics and the seemingly ininite
most prevalent option is direct blow-
number of accessories. As with almost
back. This is the cheapest and simplest
every major handgun sport in the world,
method of cycling the little 9mm round.
the cartridge of choice for PCC seems to
Adding weight to the bolt, buffer, and
be 9mm. The point of contention is how
buffer spring works to keep the chamber
the gun operates. Heated arguments
closed. The downside to this system is
about spring weights, buffer setups,
the additional felt recoil with all that
optics, and the effectiveness of compen-
weight added to the reciprocating parts.
sators echo across the range parking
The other option is to delay the blow-
lot, and things start getting out of hand
back by adding another link somewhere
25 yards requires focus, while hitting at ifty yards with a PCC is no problem. One of the reasons a pistol is harder to shoot than a rile is the number of points of contact it offers. With a pistol you only get one, with both hands mashed up on the grip, but with a long gun you get four. Your shoulder, cheek, iring hand, and support hand all con-
Unlike many designs, on this one the last round hold open feature works reliably — note the long lever running along the left side of magwell. Chamfered lugs mean the bolt doesn’t really lock, but sucks up recoil force to operate.
PCC SUSHI in the chain, essentially cushioning
they contact the barrel extension. This
a sling, and it’d make a very capable
the blow of recoil and adding to the
chamfer creates a rotating action on
home-defense gun. As for concealed
complexity of the moving parts. Roller-
the bolt, forcing the bolt to rotate out of
carry, at the time of this article I don’t
delayed blowback, pistons, and rotating
the locked position. As the bolt rotates
know of any manufacturers making an
and toggling parts add to the confusion.
and moves to the rear, it causes the
appendix carry holster for a PCC, but
Another downside is added machining
cam pin to act on the carrier, forcing
knowing the shooting community, some-
increases the cost, which trickles down
the carrier rearward. Once the bolt is
one somewhere is working on it.
to the end user as a higher price tag.
fully unlocked, it cycles like a straight
There has to be a better way.
blowback. All you really need to know
Enter CMMG. The Missouri-based
straight blowback system, but isn’t ever
tween the 9mm GUARD and a standard
building American-made AR-15s and
really locked up like a regular AR.
AR-15 is the tiny magwell where stan-
While originally developed speciically
dard Glock magazines it in the lower
MkW-15 Anvil, and the MkGs Guard
for the .45, it was only a matter of time
receiver. The Guard features a 16-inch
.45ACP. The Guard is an AR-15-style
before the company adapted it to the
barrel in the center of CMMG’s key-mod
PCC that uses a proprietary radial
softer-recoiling 9mm, and it’s this oper-
handguard. The Sv brake seems to offer
delayed blowback system to tame the
ating system that sets the Guard 9mm
some compensating effect, but that
portly pistol round.
apart from the rest of the blowback-op-
all depends on whom you ask and how
erated ARs out there. The Guard comes
chaste your mother is. The Guard’s bar-
nitely falls into the “Why didn’t anyone
in a wide range of conigurations from
rel comes threaded in a ½-36 pattern.
else think of that” category. When the
pistol to the competition-oriented MkGs
Make sure to plan accordingly if and
cartridge goes off, it creates rearward
DRB2 rile shown here, which would
when changing muzzle devices, as this
pressure on the bolt. The lugs of the
also make a capable range companion
is not a standard thread pitch and is
bolt are chamfered on the back where
for general shenanigans. Add a light and
designed to prevent the ignorant from
The idea behind the system dei-
IS SU E
At irst glance the only difference be-
company has made a name for itself accessories, such as the Mk47 Mutant,
82 REC O ILW E B .C O M
is that it makes it shoot softer than a
WHAT’S IN THAT?
Controls are righty only, but the oversize mag release is easy to find.
PCC SUSHI screwing a 5.56 comp in place. Which
terpart, except for a hole in the back
tions. It’s not uncommon to see targets
would work. Once.
end of the carrier for CMMG’s optional
anywhere from three to two hundred
action tuning kit. The kit comes with
yards, but the bulk of shots taken
masters of plastic when it comes to AR
three different weights (1 oz, 2 oz, and
with a PCC tend to be at intermediate
parts, so it makes sense that the grip
3.4 oz.) and roll pins to hold them in
distances. These distances are a little
and buttstock are adorned with their
place. The weights add to the recipro-
too far for a pistol and too close for
logos. The 4-pound break from the
cating mass much like changing buffer
a rile target. While this area can be
Geissele Automatics SSA trigger is a
weights in an AR-15, in order to tune
shrunk or expanded depending on the
major improvement over the standard
the action to your liking or overcome
jerk behind the trigger, our test targets
AR boom lever, and the overall it and
the added pressure from running a
were set at 50 yards.
inish of the Guard is above par —
suppressor. The added weight creates
there’s no faking a well-built rile. The
a softer feel in the shoulder at the
121-grain hand loads, 124-grain SIG
tight-it quality parts, the feel of the
cost of more movement at the muzzle.
SAUER FMJ, and 147-grain Federal HST
handguard, and the overall inish are
Competition shooters like to obsess
were all shot off a bench to see what the
just a few things that give the Guard
over dicking around with tuning the
rile could do. Accuracy from the 16-inch
the solid feel that lesser ARs struggle
action to a particular ammo, but it’s
barrel was better than the other PCCs
to ind. The package comes in on the
probably more important in terms
brought to the party. The best group was
higher end of the price spectrum, but
of outcomes if you use your PCC for
achieved by the 121-grain plinking/com-
you do get bang for the buck with all
petition hand load at 0.73 inch, while
IS SU E
Magpul has established itself as the
REC O ILW E B .C O M
In range testing, the Guard shot flatter than conventional blowback designs due to the reduced mass of its BCG and buffer. The author preferred running the carrier without any additional weights.
the quality parts and an out-of-the-box ready-to-rock PCC.
Now let’s talk ammo: 115-grain,
the SIG ammo netted 0.98 inch, the
FINALLY GET TO TAKE A BITE
Federal 0.82 inch, and the largest the
Field stripping the PCC is the same
The best part of every gun article is
as an AR-15. The bolt and carrier look
the range time. PCC matches typically
munition would be more than adequate
almost identical to its 5.56mm coun-
have a wide range of target presenta-
for the intended uses of PCCs.
115-grain at 1.19 inches. Any of the am-
The Guard shot softer than initially expected, and everything that was stuffed in the little Glock magazines functioned without a hiccup. Running
A good way to test this is simply to
the gun dry illustrated one feature that
watch the sights in all aspects of the
some folks obsess over when it comes
recoil cycle (not just during the trigger
to PCCs, namely the ability of the bolt
pull) — the metric is to see how far
to lock back after the last round in the
the sights come off target. The Guard
magazine. In a competition setting this
doesn’t come off target as much as a
is an almost useless characteristic, as
direct blowback PCC, but more so than
if you run out of ammo, you’ve already
a competition-rigged SIG MPX. It’s all
lost, but in a defensive scenario having
perspective; in the grand scheme of
a visual and tactile clue to initiate an
things we’re talking about a 9mm rile,
emergency reload might just save your
so there’s really not that much move-
ass. The Guard locked back every time
ment to begin with.
it was supposed to. IS SU E
“Flatness” refers to the ability of the gun to stay on target during follow-
REC O ILW E B .C O M
tweaking, or tuning to shoot soft and
work reliably. One of the overlooked
Every gun has its purpose; the PCC
attributes of the Guard is its ability to
up shots, and it’s a major consider-
just has a smaller niche. There’s no
blow through ammo quickly and with-
ation in a competition gun. Competi-
compelling reason to buy a PCC, but
out mercy. The fun factor of the Guard,
tors often use a shot timer to gauge
then again there’s no reason to have
as with most PCCs, is high. How can
how quickly they can run the trigger
most of the guns I have in my safe
you beat a gun that’s cheap to shoot,
and get their hits. The latter it shoots,
either. In the end, the CMMG Guard
easier to use than a pistol, but not as
the quicker you can ire follow-up
MkGs DRB2 (who comes up with these
violent as a rile? It was good. A little
shots and the faster you can get onto
names, anyway?) is an off-the-shelf
pricey, but 3.5/5 stars, would dei-
the next target.
PCC that doesn’t require any iddling,
nitely shoot again.
Burnt bronze Cerakote is extra, but sets the Guard apart from the crowd in a sea of black guns.
GUARD MKGS DRB2
9mm Luger BARREL LENGTH
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FROM THE BRAND-NEW BEGINNER TO THE ADVANCED SHOOTER, WE ASSEMBLE ONE RIFLE FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY
IS SU E
BY DAVE MERRILL
REC O ILW E B .C O M
sideration, we turned to a different
IS SU E
concept: the Family Rile.
rile, after some thought and con-
Special Forces veteran, precision nerd, owner of Armageddon Gear, and, Tom Fuller, tells us, “When my children started, I found they were worried about the ‘kick’ and noise. It was important they used a rile that had low There’s a category of starter riles
recoil. Just as important was that the
made speciically for children — small,
rile it their short arms and hands so
single-shot, 22LR affairs produced in
the rile was comfortable for them —
a variety of colors. Many of us started
they could maneuver it easily in a blind
with such riles, and some of us have
or stand. As with every shooter a good
even bought them for our own children.
trigger made them more accurate.”
The main problem with these tiny
Unlike those runty riles mentioned,
Selecting your child’s irst rile should
riles is how quickly a kid outgrows
the Family Rile can be enjoyed by
be a deliberate decision. Questions
them — and not only in terms of size.
everyone, from a 6-foot-tall parent
of who, what, where, and when vary
As children mature, their skills will
down to the youngest member you’ve
based on the maturity of the young-
also quickly exceed the performance
deemed trustworthy. The Family Rile
ster, as well as the dynamic of your
envelope of starter riles. Parents
concept accommodates the learning
family. We won’t tell you what age is
know that until adolescence you may
curve of the whole family, rather than
appropriate — we’ve seen 8-year-olds
get several months to a year of use
serving solely as a stepping stone for
conscientious enough to safely handle
out of a pair of shoes, and a rile isn’t
the youngest. It has to be inexpensive,
a weapon, while their 15-year-old
terribly different in this regard.
rapidly adaptable to all body shapes
siblings were still working to internal-
That Cricket, Rascal, or Chipmunk
and sizes, uncomplicated and easy to
ize irearm safety rules two, three, and
rile has a inite window of use. So,
manipulate, suitable for a wide range
four, not to mention matters of simple
we sought a better alternative. Though
of shooting disciplines, and, most
we initially set out to build a beginner
importantly, fun to shoot.
REC O ILW E B .C O M
importantly, parent of child shooters,
THE FAMILY RIFLE
The Ruger 10/22 provides a great foundation, especially due to the sheer amount of parts available. When introducing marksmanship fundamentals, some instructors
IS SU E
are proponents of an “irons-first”
REC O ILW E B .C O M
alignment. While you could mount a magnified optic or irons on about
THE FOUNDATION A Ruger 10/22 is a great starting
anything, most tend to want the
point. Not only is it an affordable rile,
magnified rifle to have more accu-
there are millions of them out there and
racy potential, and the irons or red-
just as many accessories for it. Every
dotted rifle to be more lightweight
single part is available on the aftermar-
ket, and if you really want to stretch a
Regardless of your individual
penny into a nickel, you can easily ind
mentality, while others prefer magni-
stance, to cover both ends of this
fied optics. More recently, others
discussion, we put together two fam-
contend there’s merit to starting with
ily rifles for this piece. One is a little
capacities, so your young one can
red-dots — and the Big Army seems
heftier with magnified optics, while
upgrade as you see it. Now that Ruger
to agree. Starting with optics centers
the other’s slightly more nimble with
offers magazines with higher capaci-
initial training on breathing and
irons or a red-dot. You’d be proud to
ties produced by the factory, there are
trigger control without the additional
have either rifle in the safe — and
far fewer magazine issues compared to
complications of sight picture and
neither totally breaks the bank.
one secondhand or piecemeal. Magazines are available in several
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THE FAMILY RIFLE SINGLE-SHOTTING IT After talking to many parents, a common theme is that they wanted to start with a single-shot rile, in order to provide the safest possible learning environment. By design, the 10/22 is a magazine-fed semiautomatic. Loading a single round into the magazine after each shot proved to be a clumsy and cumbersome affair. Similarly, we tried our hand at fabricating a loading sled for singular iring; this also proved to be overly dificult. Ultimately, we decided any workable solution would have to be easy to perform, lest the rile never be used. The $12 solution came to us by way of the best and worst aspects A $12 part from eBay makes for a simple single-shot solution.
of modern life: eBay. Magnetic bolt blocks are often used to keep a suppressed 10/22 from cycling the action, ensuring the quietest shot possible. In our case, using a block essentially converts the rile into a straight-pull, bolt action. Here’s how: Rack charging handle to eject and feed new round Attach bolt block Fire Remove bolt block Repeat It’s slightly more time consuming than a regular straight-pull action, but it’s faster and more convenient than loading one round into the rile at a time. As your child grows, you can remove the bolt block. And mom and dad? They can use the rile without the block in place — unless they want a very quiet suppressed shot. We found attaching the bolt block to the side of a scope ring when not in use kept us from losing it. Some dummy cord the blocks to their rifle, too.
SIZING IT UP The Magpul Hunter is a very popular choice for an aftermarket 10/22 stock. It’s easy to change from OEM to bull barrel coniguration, and it can be
If itâ€™s too good to be true, thereâ€™s usually a catch. Not here. The TCM Rock Standard FS Combo delivers a lot of value in addition to its penetrating impact and remarkably light recoil. So while the price may shock you, the rest of its features will leave you invigorated.
THE FAMILY RIFLE easily sized to a shooter. However, it’s the sizing part that took it out of the running for the family rile. In order to have a length of pull (LOP) beitting both someone under 4 feet tall and above 6 feet tall, we’d need a more quickly adjustable stock. While AR
The Boyd’s At-One has a tremendous amount of LOP adjustment. Removing the pad assembly entirely shortens it even further than advertised.
stock conversions and chassis exist, they tend to be cheesy. You’ll already have enough embarrassing photos of your kid to show off at their wedding. We decided to keep it classic while seeking the features we needed. You could easily spend hundreds of dollars on a Bell & Carlson Odyssey stock, but we found an option that met our requirements at a lower price: the At-One from Boyd’s. As always, there’s no free lunch. Some of the metal parts on a more
IS SU E
expensive stock are polymer on the
REC O ILW E B .C O M
wallet-friendly At-One. But remember, we’re not taking this rile to war; it’s going to the range with our families. Though Boyd’s advertises an LOP from 12.5 to 14 inches, we found we could reduce this another inch by removing the entire mechanism. This brings it all the way down to the same LOP as the tiny Savage Arms Rascal. It’s still comfortable and shootable — this is a 22LR after all. If you’re a giant like Steve Fisher you may need a little more LOP, easily added by using a slipon buttpad. The At-One also has comb adjust9
was extended charging handles and
ment of ⁄16 inches, making it easy to
magazine releases. You can go with ei-
use with iron sights or mounted optics.
ther an entirely new charging handle as-
Additionally, the grips and fore-ends of
sembly or a bolt-on extension. Similarly,
the At-One are interchangeable. With
magazine releases come in simple,
the aid of a hex wrench, either piece is
extended models or more extensive
easily removed or swapped, opening up
ones that wrap around the trigger guard
more options depending on the type of
for single-hand manipulation.
shooting you like.
In particular, one upgrade we view as necessary for the 10/22 is a bolt
Enlarged and extended controls make manipulations easier for both small and large hands alike.
SMALL HANDS AND SIMPLIFYING CONTROLS Since this is a gun for everyone, it’s
lock that allows the action to be released by pulling back on the charging handle. The factory arrangement is
important that the 10/22 controls are
blundering at best, often leaving you
accessible by small hands without being
with the feeling that you needed to
a burden for grown-ups. The answer
grow a third hand.
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THE FAMILY RIFLE SIGHTS
For our magniied optic, we chose an
You can also purchase the extended
OEM sights on the Ruger aren’t
Atibal XP8, an illuminated 1-8x scope.
controls in corresponding colors or just
exactly awe-inspiring. Thankfully,
While this is a more costly option than
paint them yourself.
sighting options are available that span
your standard Walmart variable power
a tremendous variety of sight designs.
scope, the usability and quality goes
what colors they want and doing the
Want AR-style sights? Tech Sights has
well beyond what you’ll ind for $40
work with them can help them feel
you covered. Optics? The Picatinny rail
next to the Great Value $15 raincoats.
invested in the process. Perhaps they’ll truly feel the rile is indeed their rile.
is the limit — that’s to say, there isn’t
MAKING IT YOUR OWN
one. If you’re looking for a low-proile red-dot option, OuterImpact makes a
Flat Dark Earth, which was already the
prints, covering dozens of options.
new black, we don’t have to limit our-
We decided on a Williams rear aperture sight for our iron-sighted option. picture than factory (what doesn’t?), they’re very inexpensive.
And that’s never a bad thing.
In a world where Wolf Gray is the new
base that accepts four different foot-
Not only do they provide a better sight
Spending the time to ask your family
For the iron-sight oriented, a simple peep sight upgrade can work wonders.
ADDITIONAL UPGRADES If we can put a silencer on something,
selves in such a manner with the Family
usually, it’ll end up with a silencer.
Rile. The At-One is available in numer-
While keeping the volume to a minimum
ous colors, and we further personalized
is just good manners, in this case, cans
it by painting some of the removable
serve an important safety role: They
polymer pieces. You should use a rattle
allow everyone to hear each other on an
can speciically designed for plastic ad-
active range. A 10/22 using subsonic
hesion, and any well-stocked hardware
ammunition and a quality suppressor
store has a bevvy of options.
puts out signiicantly less noise than
a spring-piston pellet gun. With one of our family riles, we went integral, using
IS SU E
Our precision-oriented family rile is blue and purple, and our irons and RDS family rile (lovingly referred to as
a Gemtech Mist-22 silenced barrel.
“the watermelon”) is green and pink.
Outwardly it looks no different than a
REC O ILW E B .C O M
AVAILABLE IN FIVE COLORS Wolf grey, Ranger green, Hcs, Black and Desert
THE FAMILY RIFLE look to build an affordable, adaptable, versatile, and fun rile. If you can make it quiet to boot? Double bonus points. There’s no guarantee that your children will fall in love with shooting or hunting, but a sureire way of making them hate it is to force something into standard bull barrel, but when the trigger is pulled, the difference is obvious.
EDUCATION Gun safety is important for everyone,
noxious. Just as in a istight or ireight, you always want to stack the odds in your own favor. If you follow the broad
as we’re continually reminded when we
tech 22QDA and an additional .22LR
see terrible accidents and negligence in
guidelines in this article, you’ll not only
silencer we had on hand. Going from
the headlines. Introducing safety con-
maximize your chances of your fam-
loud to quiet is no harder than the two
cepts to children should involve some
ily falling (hopefully more) in love with
seconds it takes to attach the can —
special consideration. There’s probably
shooting, but you’ll also build memories
with the bonus that it can also be used
no single or best way to teach children
that’ll last a lifetime.
on any 22QDA-equipped weapon down
effectively, but options abound. Many
the line, such as a handgun.
parents start with the NRA’s Eddie offered by other youth organizations. Yehuda Remer and his Safety On books
Eagle program; similar programs are
While we ended up with a Harris, you
deserves a special shout-out. Available
IS SU E
The precision rile also got a bipod.
starting with something on the lower end of the price continuum.
either in full color or as a stand-alone
REC O ILW E B .C O M
their hands that’s loud, painful, and ob-
We equipped our other rile with a Gem-
can save a little money by here initially
The MIST-22 integral silencer looks like a normal bull barrel — at least until you shoot it.
Like the original sights, the factory trig-
coloring book, Safety On is a great
gers leave much to be desired. Keeping
primer or supplement to youth irearms
with our theme here, we won’t recom-
mend a nearly $300 KIDD two-stage trigger. Instead, we suggest you look at a Ruger Factory BX-25 upgrade, or a DIY
LOOSE ROUNDS The family rile that you build for
luff and buff. As with the extended con-
your family can certainly be different
trols, we took the time to ind triggers in
than ours. The family rile is a broad
similar colors as our highlighted parts and
concept, rather than a stringent parts
painted the ones that weren’t available.
list or a paint-by-numbers recipe. Just
10/22 Receiver w/bolt $150 Boyd’s At-One Stock 189 Custom trigger Pack 79 Gemtech MIST-22 Integral Barrel 599 Atibal XP8 399 Generic Picatinny Rail 15 Totals $1,431
10/22 Rile Boyd’s At-One Stock Atomic Arms Trigger Williams Peep Sight Trijicon RMR OuterImpact RMR Mount Totals
$269 189 21 39 599 44 $1,161
REC O ILW E B .C O M
106 IS SU E
LAW ENFORCEMENT AVIATION UNITS ARE MORE VERSATILE AND CAPABLE THAN EVER BY JACK H. SCHONELY PHOTOS BY GLENN GROSSMAN AND RICHARD KING
Law enforcement aviation units have existed
three — the pilot, a Tactical Flight Oficer
tactical enforcement or medical missions. He
for more than 60 years, but a lot has changed
(TFO), and a tactical or medical specialist.
could also serve as an emergency medical
over the decades. In the early days, helicopters
The primary responsibility of the pilot is the
technician while the helicopter is transporting a
were used primarily to give police a bird’s-eye
safe operation of the aircraft. If the situation
patient. Some agencies that serve particularly
view of trafic and special events. Only a few
dictates, the pilot will also get involved with
rowdy, or accident prone, communities include a
departments used helicopters, primarily large
police duties by observing something or as-
full-ledged paramedic as part of the crew.
metropolitan areas like New York City and Los
sisting the TFO with radio communications.
Angeles. Today, there are countless missions
The primary responsibility of the Tactical
No two L.E. aviation units are exactly alike, but almost all air units exist to support the
that involve law enforcement aviation units
Flight Oficer is everything else that’s going
guys on the ground. Additionally, an air unit
across the country. What started as a means of
on inside the helicopter. Radio communication
can provide faster-than-normal response
trafic control has evolved into search and res-
with ground units, establishing perimeters,
times to high-priority calls. They can paint the
cue, medivac, surveillance, support for patrol
navigating to calls, and locating subjects with a
picture of what’s happening at a complex call
oficers, and even a means to send live video to
forward-looking infrared (FLIR) camera are just
from a bird’s-eye view for responding units to
a police station or a communications center.
a few examples.
have a better plan upon their arrival. Air units
THE MEN BEHIND THE MISSION
a tactics or medical specialist, sometimes both.
remove almost all risk by calling the chase
If needed, this light member is generally tasked
from the air rather than a potentially danger-
with dismounting the helicopter to accomplish
ous vehicle pursuit.
When a third oficer is assigned, he’s usually In the United States, most police helicopters have a crew of two or, in some cases,
are also synonymous with car chases and can
HELP FROM ABOVE HOT SPOTS AND BRIGHT LIGHTS
In the past, heat sources were small
handler’s time while they’re on a track.
The majority of law enforcement
white blobs, or even dots on the screen.
I’m also able to see if the suspect has
helicopters are equipped with a FLIR
Older camera technology wouldn’t allow
a weapon, or if he’s trying to conceal
camera. These cameras can’t see
the TFO to determine if a heat source
himself in some instances.”
through walls or glass, but they’re
was a piece of discarded concrete from
extremely effective in area searches.
a construction crew or a deer. The
was searching for an elderly Alzheim-
latest FLIR camera systems provide
er’s patient with a FLIR 380HDC. “It
can’t understand why FLIR can’t see
enough detail for the TFO to describe
was past midnight, and temperatures
through objects, especially glass. Brian
the subject’s physical features and
were just above freezing. We had a very
clothing. This new technology comes
thick tree cover, and after searching for
at a cost, though. A well-outitted FLIR
nearly two hours, we inally located the
unit can cost upward of $500,000.
victim next to a chain-link fence be-
People raised on Hollywood movies
Spillane from FLIR Systems explains, “The wavelength of electromagnetic energy doesn’t penetrate glass the way visible light can. Because of this, the sensor is unable to detect it.”
The cockpit of today’s law enforcement air unit is as much a surveillance station as it is an aviation control deck.
Gwinnett County Police Department
King recounted a call where his unit
tween a junkyard and a heavily wooded
Corporal Richard King, a former K9
area. There wasn’t much temperature
handler turned pilot, attests to the
contrast in the area where the victim
technological advancements that pro-
was, but we were able to adjust the
vide ground units with more eficiency
camera and discern her from the other
heat sources around her. Without a a wider range of temperature adjust-
locate a target they’d want us to check
ment, we wouldn’t have been able to
newer camera with more resolution and
tracks,” King said. “Our air unit would out. More often than not, those heat
IS SU E
“I remember being on numerous K9
sources were big rocks, manhole cov-
REC O ILW E B .C O M
ers, or some form of wildlife.” Now King is the one in the air
In addition to FLIR, police helicopters are typically equipped with a high-power white light. A standard searchlight is
directing those K9 units to check heat
typically between 30- and 40-million
sources. King said, “With the higher
candlepower, providing both a wide
resolution in newer FLIR cameras, I’m
search beam and very tight spotlight.
able to determine if the heat source
It’s an effective tool during searches
is a deer or a suspect and not waste a
and helps the TFO communicate with oficers on the ground — “See the house I have my light on? The suspect is behind the house west of that.” Two other pieces of equipment found in most aircraft are gyro-stabilized binoculars and night vision goggles. The combination of searchlights, NVGs, FLIR, and a trained crew with good communication gives ground oficers a huge tactical advantage.
COMMAND AND CONTROL Helicopters aren’t just flying flashlights anymore; they’re able to provide real-time observation and imagery during ongoing incidents, beaming live, or near-live, video down to incident command posts and even to individual patrols. Secure airborne video transmission systems can cost more than $400,000
IS SU E
HELP FROM ABOVE
REC O ILW E B .C O M
110 for a capable helo-mounted camera, avionics, and the necessary ground station. Add another $25,000 to $30,000 for a man portable viewer that looks something like a Panasonic
The airborne perch of the tactical flight officer offers an invaluable, and often lifesaving perspective to units on the ground.
thing that’ll work when the bottom
sharp-eyed TFO makes life much safer
falls out of the grid, say, following a
for ground units. John Chapman, an
hurricane. But these expensive systems
oficer in Northern California, recalls an
aren’t the only means of supplying air
incident during a foot pursuit.
to ground video. King says aircrews
“I was in a foot pursuit with a
have been getting down and dirty by
stolen vehicle suspect and was falling
to give on-scene commanders near
plugging cellular dongles into their
behind,” says Chapman. “He was run-
real-time intelligence. This capability
onboard computers and broadcasting
ning my ass ragged, jumping fences. I
is useful while policing large protests,
directly to oficers on the ground. It’s
chased him into one of those storage
riots, large ires, or other sizable catas-
not secure, connectivity is spotty, and
unit places and lost sight of him. As
trophes, especially those that demand
you’re dependent on commercial video
I slowed down to begin searching for
chat applications, but it can get the job
him, I heard our air unit overhead.
done in a non-mission-critical situation.
They circled the storage units while
Toughbook, and you’ve the ability
TV stations have been using similar
I searched on the ground, alone.
systems for years, but the practice is growing in law enforcement as agencies and municipalities justify the expense
TALKING TO THE GROUND Ground oficers believe the aircrew’s
As I approached a corner of one of the buildings I heard over the radio,
of air units by providing shared services
elevated position allows them to see ev-
‘Ground unit on foot, STOP.’ I stopped,
to other agencies. A prime example is
erything. That assumption isn’t always
and the TFO then told me, ‘Your sus-
the way an LE air unit might be tasked
true and can lead to confusion. When
pect is crouching in the door of a unit
to provide live imagery to a ireighting
the TFO has eyes on a suspect during
about 20 feet around that corner.’”
command post. A live feed enables
a chase, numerous obstacles block the
This allowed Chapman to move
commanders to make decisions and
TFO’s view of the suspect. Heavy tree
to a better position and surprise the
allocate resources more effectively.
cover, covered parking garages, and
suspect. The TFO also worked with
other barriers are just a few examples.
arriving ground units to walk them onto
There are times, however, when a
Chapman’s location, subduing the
A dedicated airborne video transmission system is spendy, but it’s the only
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HELP FROM ABOVE
pect. Chapman says a Lorcin .25 auto
intercom system, and some run comms
was on the ground in the door where
through handheld radios. Using radios
the suspect was crouched. He says,
lets the operators communicate seam-
“The air unit saved that dude’s life.”
lessly with the aircrew before entering and after exiting the aircraft. Hand sig-
TACTICAL TRANSPORT Depending on the size of the helicopter, agencies run specialized
nals are also fairly effective; at least, they beat screaming. The Los Angeles Police Depart-
missions with SWAT teams. Transport-
ment’s Air Support Division and SWAT
ing SWAT personnel sounds simple
train and run what’s called SWAT
enough, but working with helicop-
Insertion Procedure or SIP. Four
ters makes everything riskier. Aside
SWAT oficers step onto the skids of a
from the danger of guys running into
helicopter, attach themselves to safety
invisible tail rotors, there are other
straps, and ly to a rooftop where
they’re dropped off. Hand signals are
Communication is tough because
used extensively on SIP and things are
of noise in and around the helicopter.
carefully choreographed that some-
Headsets are pretty much manda-
thing so slight as a pilot’s head nod is
tory for the SWAT passengers. Some
used to communicate that it’s safe for
guys plug directly into the helicopter’s
oficers to mount the skids. Caption?
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HELP FROM ABOVE RIFLES IN THE SKY
“Some of the long-gun guys can do OK
supporting patrol operations will be
at 150 yards from a stable hover, but
extremely expensive. The purchase of a
Although the occupant of the home
that all depends on your pilot.”
helicopter and support equipment can
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
entail several million dollars, but the
Jack H. Schonely
home with access to multiple irearms.
heliborne gunnery is disabling vehicles.
ongoing costs of maintaining and train-
is a retired police
The situation turned into a barricaded
It used to be easier, says Corbett,
ing an air unit requires millions more
oficer who worked
suspect call out for SWAT oficers and
when dumb engines could be slowed
dollars each year.
on the front lines
an air unit. During the call the suspect
or stopped by targeting key engine
shot at the responding oficers.
components, such as the alternator,
ogy, law enforcement aviation has
for 36 years. In
radiator, or big hoses. But as engines
come a long way over the past several
his 31 years as a
house,” said SWAT oficer Bobby
become smarter, he says, “You’re try-
decades. While helicopter operations
Los Angeles Police
Gallegos, Jr., “SWAT requested the
ing to disable as much as you can in
are expensive, they’re an invaluable
Oficer he worked
airborne platform shooting technique
the engine compartment because the
resource in highly populated areas
a wide variety of
in case the suspect attempted to lee
electronics can now compensate for
where threats to the community re-
into an open area from the rear.”
quire fast, precise, and safe resolution.
There’s nothing that can compare to
escaped, the suspect was still in the
“Because of the location of the
IS SU E
Gallegos and another SWAT oficer
REC O ILW E B .C O M
obstacle is budget. Any type of aircraft
sponded to a house burglary in progress.
In 2017, LAPD patrol oficers re-
in the scores of yards, says Corbett.
One of the accepted missions of
Another area of evolution in aerial
With advancements in technol-
of law enforcement
mounted the outside bench seats of
platform shooting has been the move
an overhead partner, and the tech and
Flight Oficer, and
the aircraft. The suspect came out the
to red-dots from magniied optics, as
techniques that make the relationship
Command Pilot. He
rear iring at oficers and ran into the
heliborne shooters realized a wider
more effective continue to evolve.
open. The helicopter provided a plat-
ield of view is more valuable than
tactical classes and
form from which the airborne oficers
a magniied view when the shooter,
is the author of the
could successfully end the threat to
aircraft, and target are all moving.
surrounding oficers and civilians. Addressing the evolution of airborne platform shooting tactics, Gallegos says, “This tactic would probably not have been possible a decade ago. As violence against law enforcement [oficers] and terrorism has increased, the department understands the need for this technique and supports the training.” Although rarely used, law enforcement’s techniques for the application of lethal force from the air continue to evolve. JC Corbett, a former TFO with San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, says one of the most important changes in the last decade is the practice of training TFOs as shooters. In San Bernardino, says Corbett, TFOs are trained to transition from an observer role to a shooter role, so the on-scene aircraft doesn’t need to break contact and waste time picking up a specially trained SWAT oficer if the situation calls for an aerial engagement. At the tactical level, Hollywood’s portrayal of shooting aloft is far from actual reality. Engagement distances by heliborne snipers are generally
MY DEPARTMENT NEEDS A HELICOPTER Most oficers want a helicopter available to them 24/7. The largest
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WHAT’S THE CATCH? IS SU E
BY CANDICE HORNER
REC O ILW E B .C O M
When EOTech initially decided to
We inally accepted that there’s no
smaller footprint allows you to more
push into the variable-power scope
catch — EOTech didn’t compromise on
easily secure and reach night vision,
market, we igured they’d fall in line
this scope, instead creating an optic in
thermal equipment, and other at-
with everyone else and have scopes
a class of its own.
tachments. The Super Short’s 50mm objective lens and 34mm tube allow
in familiar conigurations. But then we got hands-on with the new Vudu 5-25x50mm Super Short for the better
TECHNICAL RUNDOWN The Vudu 5-25x Super Short is
for a generous amount of light transmission and sight adjustment despite its stunted size.
part of a month and were left wonder-
currently the smallest irst focal plane
ing how they put so much into such a
scope of its kind. With an overall
small package. After long discussions,
length of a mere 11.2 inches, the
Vudu line of optics uses extra-low
we were left stumped as to where they
Vudu delivers more magniication than
dispersion glass. This means that there
made compromises to make this optic.
scopes of comparable length. This
are fewer optical color defects on high-
Speaking of light transmission, the
magniication settings — chromatic
justment dial closely correlated to the
adjustment, a removable magniication
aberration, for example. Ever looked
distances printed on the knob when
throw lever, revolution indicator, zero-
through a scope and seen weird purple
looking through the Vudu Super Short.
stops, locking elevation turret, and a
fringes around the edges of a target?
The side of the parallax adjustment
capped windage turret.
That’s chromatic aberration, and it’s
knob rocks an easy on/off illuminated
especially prevalent at higher mag-
reticle feature — just press the top
functions by pulling up on the turret
niications on high-contrast targets.
button. Brightness can be adjusted
to unlock and pressing down to secure
Long story short: extra-low dispersion
with push buttons on opposite sides of
the knob. This is vital to anyone who
glass gives the shooter a clearer view,
the on/off button.
will use this scope for a hunting or
The locking elevation turret
and it’s the same type of glass used
Not missing a detail, EOTech in-
tactical application. If a turret is left
in high-end camera lenses. Targets
cluded all the features we’d expect to
unsecured you can bet at some point
remained crisp, and the parallax ad-
ind on a high-end FFP scope: diopter
in your travels your dials will spin, and
The body of the Super Short has it all: Easy grip turrets Removable throw lever Textured magniication ring for fast adjustment Crisp numbers on the magniication dial, turrets, and parallax adjustment
IS SU E
EOTECH VUDU 5-25X SUPER SHORT
REC O ILW E B .C O M
you’ll be a rev off — seen it happen
over. We shot out to 1,000 yards with
to the best. Once you’ve dialed your
the most accurate rile we had on-hand,
correction, the turret can be prevented
and the scope performed perfectly.
from moving simply by pushing it all the way down. The large, textured design of the turret makes for easy manipulation in wet environments or
THE COMPROMISE Like most small packages, there’s a compromise that rears its head. Due to
Vudu 5-25x50mm Super Short MAGNIFICATION:
have to be moved. Oh, and good luck trying to mount it to a long action rile with split bases.
29.5 ounces OAL:
the short housing, there wasn’t enough
adjustment, it’s unlikely you’ll run out
real estate on the tube to it many one-
WINDAGE ELEVATION ADJ:
EOTech’s MD3 Mil-hash or the Horus
relief. Instead, the whole mount will
while wearing gloves. With 31.5 mils of
Initial reticle offerings will be
ward within the mount for proper eye
of elevation when dialing.
to slide the scope forward and back-
In this case, good things can come in small packages. And since we couldn’t ind a deal breaker with this
piece mounts. This meant resorting to
scope rings for testing.
We predict by SHOT Show 2019, even
more optics companies will introduce
At SHOT Show, EOTech had a
scope, we’ll accept it for what it is.
H59. The MD3 provides a cleaner
handful of one-piece mounts on
$2,099 (MD3 Reticle) $2,399 (H59 Reticle)
overall view but doesn’t have the
display that it the Vudu 5x25 Super
Christmas tree-style holds to also
Short, so there will be some options.
account for wind like the Horus.
The main downside of the Super
such long list of features at such and
Short while using a one-piece mount
affordable price will earn EOTech a
is that there isn’t much wiggle room
Elevation and windage both tracked lawlessly while dialing and holding
compact, high magniication, variable power do-it-all scopes. But, being irst to bring a scope to market with
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INTEGRATING EDGED WEAPONS INTO YOUR CONCEALED CARRY PLAN BY CHAD MCBROOM PHOTOS BY AZPHOTOMAN AND MUZZLE FLASH MEDIA
On the evening of December 12, 2012, a Rutherfordton,
Combat is a nonlinear activity. This complex interaction
North Carolina, police oficer responded to a call about a
between two or more human beings poses a dynamic situa-
44-year-old man leeing the emergency room at Rutherford
tion that’s constantly inluenced by time, distance, motiva-
Regional Hospital. The oficer encountered the suspect walk-
tion, movement, and environment. Add in the individual
ing along a nearby road and approached him. While attempt-
skill level and strength of the combatants, the mechanical
ing to convince the man to return to the hospital, a struggle
operations of weapon systems, innocent bystanders, and
ensued, and the oficer was struck in the face.
laws concerning the use of force, and you have the most
As the ight continued, the suspect began strangling
unpredictable state of affairs.
the oficer, then grabbed his sidearm to take it from him.
In the broader context of combat, the art of transitioning
Unable to escape the clutches of the madman, the police
is the ability to low from one weapon system to another, in
oficer drew a small ixed blade knife from his belt and
any direction, forming a seamless integration of all available
stabbed the suspect in the shoulder to break free. That of-
weapon systems. (This assumes, of course, that you’re pro-
icer survived, thanks to his effective transition to the knife
icient in the use and application of each of those systems.)
he was carrying that day.
Depending on the required loadout for your operational environment, your available weapon systems may include
THE ART OF TRANSITIONING The ability to transition from one weapon to another during a ight is as essential as being able to operate your weapon-mounted light or perform an emergency reload
irearms, edged weapons, impact weapons, alternate lesslethal technology like tasers or pepper spray, and even your bare hands. Most close-combat training is compartmentalized.
with your pistol. Within the tactical community, the idea of
We tend to train specific weapon systems in a relative
weapon transitions is often limited to the act of slinging a
vacuum with little consideration of our other tools. This
carbine that has stopped spitting out lead and drawing a
is where the art of transitioning becomes lost. Unless we
holstered sidearm, thus buying us time to get that superior,
make a conscious effort to work through how, when, and
shoulder-ired weapon back in action. This, however, is a
why we’d transition, the likelihood of our doing it effec-
very linear way of thinking.
tively is slim to none.
SHARP AND LOUD THE KNIFE AS A TRANSITIONARY WEAPON It would probably be safe to say that most people who are defensively
SCENARIO 1: SUPPORT-HAND TRANSITION (WEAPON RETENTION)
minded enough to go through the trouble of carrying a irearm are also likely to carry a tactical knife of some sort. It may be for self-defense, or just for utility, but either way, gun-toters are prone to pack a knife or two. If you do carry a knife, it only makes sense to include it in your training and consider it as a transitionary weapon. Statistically, most lethal attacks occur at contact distance. At this range, the knife is a formidable weapon. A knife won’t jam or run out of ammunition, and rarely malfunctions. It’s the
The attacker has Chad McBroom pinned against a wall and is trying to take his gun. Chad secures his gun with his dominant hand and draws his Fox 599 Karambit from his left front pocket with his support hand, using the Emmerson Wave Feature to pocket-deploy the blade.
gift that keeps on giving. There are some important questions
IS SU E
that need to be thought out when
REC O ILW E B .C O M
carrying a knife. What kind of knife should you carry? Where will you carry it? How will you deploy it? Under what circumstances would you transition to your knife? What do you do with the weapon you’re transitioning from? What do you do with your knife when transitioning to another weapon? We’ll examine these issues to help you form an effective blueprint for transitioning
Chad targets the attacker’s eyes with a horizontal cut, causing him to release his grip on the firearm. Chad then punches the karambit’s curved blade into the attacker’s brachial artery, driving him off line and creating enough space that Chad can transition to his firearm.
to and from your knife in a lethalforce encounter.
WHY TRANSITION It’s tempting to dismiss these concerns with a rationalization like, “Why on earth would I transition to a knife if I have a gun?” This is a commonly asked question. Yes, a irearm is preferred over a knife in a lethal encounter, but a gun is pretty much useless if it won’t ire or if you can’t bring it on target. Empty-hand irearm retention techniques are great when they work, but they require leverage and space, and must be applied early, before the attacker has fully committed to his grab. When you’re pinned to the ground or trapped against a wall, inding the le-
SHARP AND LOUD
DEFENSIVE KNIFE CONSIDERATIONS FIXED-BLADE KNIVES
IS SU E
Fixed-blade knives are the most reliable and quickest
REC O ILW E B .C O M
verage to break someone off your gun
amount of training and forethought
can be impossible. Every second you
because of the modiied ighting plat-
spend trying break loose is a second
form it creates.
your opponent gets to improve their position. Transitioning to a blade to cut your way out while protecting your
SUPPORT-HAND TRANSITION The support-hand transition allows
firearm, like the Rutherfordton police
you to access and deploy your knife
officer, may be your best option.
when your dominant hand is occupied.
What about when your pistol runs
If an opponent is trying to pull your
knives to deploy, since they’re solid and require no
dry at contact range and you just
gun from the holster, then your domi-
manipulation to open. Concealability can be compromised,
spent your last (and maybe only)
nant hand will likely be busy hanging
but when practical, a ixed-blade can’t be beat. The
magazine, or you just fired that sixth
on to your gun. Likewise, if your gun
Microtech SOCOM Alpha is a good example of a reliable
shot out of your six-shot revolver? Bad
is already in hand and you’re ighting
ixed-blade that can be carried on kit for rapid deployment.
guys don’t care if they’re supposed to
to keep control of it, you’ll need to
be incapacitated already. If they have
transition with your support hand.
TACTICAL FOLDING KNIVES
the will, they’ll continue to fight until
Tactical folders are probably the weapon of choice for
their body shuts down from decom-
position where your dominant hand is
most due to their concealability and accessibility. A
pensated hypovolemic shock. At this
occupied controlling your opponent.
good folder should have a pocket clip and, at minimum,
point in the game, the whole “I have
Perhaps the bad guy is reaching for
a flipper or thumb-opening mechanism for one-handed
a gun, I’ll shoot them” argument is
a weapon of his own or already has
deployment. With a pocket-opening feature like the
null and void, worth nothing more
control of yours. Regardless of the
Emerson Wave, a folder can be deployed almost as
than a cliché on a T-shirt. You’re still
situation, there are many scenarios
quickly as a fixed-blade.
in a life-or-death battle. Transitioning
where your dominant hand could be
to your knife gives you a viable lethal
occupied, leaving the transition work
up to your support hand.
OUT-THE-FRONT (OTF) KNIVES
You also may ind yourself in a
Out-the-front automatic knifes like the Microtech Combat Troodon offer the same concealment advantages as the tactical folder, while the location and operation of the
When we’re talking transitions, you
Let’s face it, most of our training
thumb slide allows the user to open the knife without
have three options to consider when it
repetitions, regardless of the weapon
changing their grip. An added advantage is that OTF knives
comes to retaining the weapon you’re
system, are done with our dominant
can be double-edged. The downside is blade deployment
transitioning from. You can holster/
hand. It’s just how we’re wired. So,
can be interrupted if it hits something during opening.
sheath the weapon, you can keep it in
whenever tactically feasible, it’s better
your hand, or you can discard it.
to transition with the dominant hand.
Discarding a weapon is the least
As mentioned earlier, we want to
Pistol-grip knives like the ColonelBlades LowVz and the
preferred option, but sometimes
retain our weapons if possible. That
KA-BAR TDI provide the same advantages as fixed-
necessary. You must consider that
means either holstering or transferring
blade knives with the added benefits of concealability
doing so ensures that you won’t be
the weapon currently in play to the
and familiar handle ergonomics. Designed to mimic the
able to transition back to it, and that
support hand. When transferring a gun
drawstroke of the pistol, these knives are very intuitive
your opponent might be able to use
to the support hand, you can either
for those already trained in the use of firearms.
switch to a support-hand shooting
Holstering or sheathing the weapon
grip or roll your support-hand thumb
is the most preferred option. It al-
over the top of the slide and wrap your
Ring-handle knives like the Fox 599 offer distinct
lows you to focus on the transitionary
ingers around the trigger guard.
retention capabilities. The finger ring assists with
weapon, but it takes precious time
drawing and handling the weapon under stress, and is
and attention to do so. For this type
pointed away from your body. The
especially beneficial when using the non-dominant hand,
of retention to be most effective, it
thumb-over-slide grip works well when
which frequently lacks the dexterity and control of the
needs to take place during the deploy-
you’re transferring from a compressed
dominant hand. The retention ring is also handy when
ment of the transitionary weapon.
or two-handed shooting position. The
transitioning to a firearm, where two-handed operations become necessary.
Retaining the weapon in your hand
Both methods keep the muzzle
shooting grip provides a stronger hold
is the most eficient option in terms
and allows you to perform muzzle and
of speed. It also requires the most
slide strikes with your support hand.
Nitto Trail Grappler
Yokohama Geolander MT G003
Cooper Discoverer STT Pro
General Grabber X3
BFGoodrich T/A-A/T KO2
Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac
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SHARP AND LOUD CARRY CONSIDERATIONS Accessibility: Your knife needs to be accessible with either hand. Placing it somewhere near your centerline
SCENARIO 2: DOMINANT-HAND TRANSITION (SHOOTING GRIP)
is ideal. If your kit doesn’t allow it, consider carrying two knives, one on each side of your body. If you choose to pocket carry on your gun side, make sure that your holster doesn’t impede access to your knife. Deployability: You must be able to deploy your knife with one hand. A ixed-blade is the easiest type of knife to deploy, but concealment limitations
Faced with a closing attacker, Chad McBroom body indexes his pistol and covers with an elbow shield. Having emptied his firearm, Chad delivers a muzzle punch to the attacker’s throat.
sometimes make them impractical to carry. If you decide to carry a folder, choose one with a lipper or thumbopening mechanism. Better yet, a knife equipped with a pocket-opening mechanism like the Emerson Wave Feature
IS SU E
offers rapid, one-hand deployment. An
REC O ILW E B .C O M
automatic opener is also a good choice if legally permissible. Reliability: Don’t go cheap on your
Chad transfers his pistol to a supporthand shooting grip and draws his Colonel LowVz fixed-blade with his dominant hand.
He then delivers a straight thrust with his knife to the same target.
defensive knife. Make sure you choose a knife that’s made from good steel and uses quality handle materials and components. You don’t want your blade to break or the locking mechanism to fail. Retainability: A quality sheath with good retention or a strong pocket clip is a must to ensure that you don’t lose your knife when it’s on your person. Grip retention features like the inger ring of a karambit or the trigger-guard– style cutout of the ColonelBlades LowVz or FullBird help maintain positive control of the knife, even if your grip is compromised. These aren’t a requirement, but their advantages should be considered.
CONCLUSION Choose your equipment carefully and train diligently. Never assume things will go as planned and always have a contingency plan. Your life may depend on your ability to transition to your knife and use it effectively, so learn how to use your knife, integrate your skill sets, and master the art of the transition.
SHARP AND LOUD
REAL-WORLD APPLICATIONS RECOIL’s inaugural live event, Summit in
temps during the training day were close to
the Sand, was a training-focused event held
triple digits. A number of variants of the PPQ
at CowTown Range in Phoenix, Arizona. It
M2 are available, including larger and smaller
provided an excellent venue to work knife-gun
sizes as well as an optics-ready version that
transitions. The weapons of choice were the
was our cover gun for CONCEALMENT Issue 8.
Microtech SOCOM Alpha and the Walther Arms PPQ M2 semi-auto pistol. Attendees worked
The Microtech SOCOM Alpha, while not
on transitioning to the ixed-blade Alpha, in
ideally sized for daily carry, is an excellent
defense of their holstered PPQ. We’ve reviewed
fighting blade thanks to its quality materials
several versions of the PPQ in previous issues
and excellent ergonomics. The full-tang,
and liked it so much that we asked Walther to
PVD-coated ELMAX steel blade is virtually
work with us for Summit in the Sand.
indestructible and made for hard use, as
IS SU E
we proved during Summit. Contoured G-10
REC O ILW E B .C O M
The PPQ M2 is competitively priced,
handles with aggressive perimeter jimping
concealable, and offers a couple of good
virtually guarantee this knife won’t slip in
out-of-the-box advantages, including
the hand. More information on the SOCOM
metal magazines, a smooth trigger with
Alpha can be found in our in-depth review on
an impressively short reset, and OEM grip
texturing that’s actually worth a damn. This was particularly important at Summit, where
The pairing of these two weapons provided an excellent training experience for attendees. Students practiced cutting away from an adversary using the SOCOM Alpha, transitioning to the PPQ and dry-iring from a
SCENARIO 3: DOMINANT-HAND TRANSITION (GROUND DEFENSE) From inside Chad McBroom’s fullguard, the attacker grabs Chad’s gun with his right hand. Chad pins the attacker’s wrist with his right hand to keep him from removing the gun. Chad then hooks his support arm behind the attacker’s right triceps to keep him from pulling back.
Chad releases the attacker’s wrist and draws his Microtech Combat Troodon OTF from his right pocket and deploys the blade. He drives the doubleedged blade into the attacker’s left lung to stop the threat.
body-indexed position, then creating distance to go into aimed ire. These weapons both served as ine examples of functionality and reliability, as demonstrated during the live-ire and live-blade training portions of the event.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Chad McBroom is a 21-year veteran law enforcement oficer with most of his time spent in the tactical unit. He has spent over 30 years studying various combative systems and focuses on the science of close combat. Chad is the owner of Comprehensive Fighting Systems and offers training in empty-hand tactics, edged weapons, impact weapons, and irearms tactics. comprehensiveightingsystems.com
HERE’S THE SKINNY ON WHERE U.S. SPECIAL FORCES ARE HEADED WITH THEIR CHOICES FOR CARBINE GLASS BY DAN BROKOS PHOTOS BY MUZZLE FLASH MEDIA AND BLAKE REA
Over the course of 26-plus years of service, I’ve witnessed a lot of changes to the main sighting system of the issued long-gun. The rile has been the primary weapon for the military since the Pennsylvania Rile (some say Kentucky, but I was born and raised in Pennsylvania and loyalty counts). The rile then, and still today, is the modern sword and shield. It’s the battleield, becoming almost ubiqui-
IS SU E
tous in the armory of modern-day law
inseparable tool of the soldier on the
enforcement (LE) and a self-defense implement for the law-abiding citizen.
other components such as rails and furniture, must evolve to keep pace with technology and ever-emerging threats. Change for some entails resistance and discomfort while embarking into the unknown, especially when it comes from a place of shooting an optic we’re already comfortable with. I’ve personally witnessed the various stages of transformation of our sighting systems, from iron sights, through adoption of the Aimpoint 5000, various other red dot optics, and ixed power optics such as the ACOG, to the evolution of the next combat optic — a low-power variable scope. They’ve been kicking around the specialoperations force community for a few years, but it appears that the entire military is poised to adopt them. So at this juncture it’s worth considering where we’ve come from, and where we’re going.
REC O ILW E B .C O M
Our optics nowadays are an integral part of that sword and shield, and, like
EVOLUTION OF THE COMBAT OPTIC IRON SIGHTS We can’t have a discussion about
smaller, lighter, slimmer, easily adjustable sights that are intuitive and viable to today’s gunslingers no matter what
rently on the market and in the U.S.
the granddaddy of all combat optics.
your job is.
arsenal for military and LE agencies,
But remember they’re BUIS — not primary sights. And if your SGM or
compared to optics we need to high-
out as ixed and evolving into sturdy,
police chief is an old-school, “I will
light. Target acquisition is signiicantly
adjustable designs as manufacturing
out-shoot you with iron sights,” kinda
slower compared to any optic, due to
capabilities grew. While they’re great
guy, don’t f*ckin’ listen to him.
the necessity of aligning three objects
optics on some carbines today, I will say this: You’re behind the f*cking
(target, front sight, and rear sight) at
ADVANTAGES There’s one main advantage to iron
different focal lengths. Iron sights are also hard to see in
power curve if your job entails you to
sights, according to the gospel of
low-light conditions, even with tritium
be in harm’s way and iron sights are all
Brokos — they’re outstanding tools for
inserts. Today, optics typically have
learning the fundamentals of marks-
variable intensity, illuminated reticles,
Yes, the U.S. military kicked a lot of
IS SU E
there are a few notable disadvantages
of shoulder-ired weapons, starting
combat sights and are still primary
REC O ILW E B .C O M
Comparing iron sights to what’s cur-
sighting systems without discussing Irons have been around since the dawn
manship. Hell, special forces (SF)
and at low power, allow us to shoot
adversary ass using them around the
didn’t take them out of our sniper
with both eyes open, increasing our
world, blasting bad guys in the face.
course until 2010. We shot the old
ield of view. It’s very dificult to be
Muskets were also a thing. Today, in
NRA positional shoot and actually re-
accurate and shoot iron sights with
the real world, if you have them at all,
quired a grouping drill to even start the
both eyes open. In particular, this is
they should be referred to as backup
course — all using iron sights. Why?
a huge disadvantage when utilizing
iron sights (BUIS). Yes, backup.
Because they drive the fundamentals
them in a close-quarters battle (CQB)
Companies still thrive today producing
of marksmanship home.
IS SU E
EVOLUTION OF THE COMBAT OPTIC
REC O ILW E B .C O M
RED DOT SIGHT/OPTIC Companies have been toying with red dot sights longer than most think. Aimpoint AB marketed the irst one in 1975; the military adopted its irst
Red dots make for quick target acquisition and are easy to use in awkward shooting positions.
and despite their well-publicized fail-
when the shooter’s head position
ings, they continue to serve our warf-
changes. Red dots make it very easy
ighters. Sometimes the guys pulling
to shoot your carbine in awkward
triggers for real rather than hysterically
positions, compared to iron sights and
posting about it on the internet accept
ixed powered optics.
red dot contract in 1997. That was
the failings of a particular piece of kit,
the Aimpojnt Comp M2 (or M68),
so long as they can work around it and
which was in the ield by 2000. I was
can beneit from the advantages that it
a somewhat young SF guy back in the
offers Otherwise we’d still be shooting
distance. With no magniication and no
mid ’90s and remember when we got
M14s. Red dots are great optics in cer-
way to effectively range that distance,
our Aimpoint 5000 and Trijicon relex
tain roles, and I’ve been privileged to
red dots are effectively restricted to
sights (SF adopted the Trij in 1996).
DISADVANTAGES Where red dots fall down is at
be involved with testing and shooting
point blank range, unless you start
What a world of difference slapping
just about every viable red dot optic
SWAGing your holdovers. Granted, the
those onto a carbine made. You know
out there. But they aren’t the be-all
EOTech has units of measurement in
the irst thing I noticed? Sight alignment
and end-all of combat optics.
its reticle and some companies have
and sight picture was pretty f*cking easy! Place dot on target, squeeze trigger, repeat until bad guy stopped moving. It
multiple dots to allow some holdovers
ADVANTAGES The red dot of a red dot sight is on
— all nice and well when you’re on the same lat range over and over. The
was also a hell of a lot faster acquiring
the same focal plane as the target.
reality is that it’s hard to measure or
targets at close and far distances. The
When you look at the target or the
ind the time for a correct holdover,
red dot segment of the optics universe
dot you don’t need to shift your focus
just using a dot. Red dot optics aren’t
has had its ups and downs, but contin-
as with iron sights, resulting in much
the best option in which to introduce
ues to evolve and produce better prod-
faster target acquisition. The sec-
stadia lines etched into a single, non-
ucts than introduced in the 1990s.
ond biggest gain is reduced parallax
magniied piece of glass. Making out
(where the reticle appears to move in
stadia lines with the naked eye is very
relation to the target). This happens
dificult at range.
My previous community adopted the EOTech over the Aimpoint years ago,
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EVOLUTION OF THE COMBAT OPTIC FIXED POWER AND SWITCHABLE POWER OPTICS We’re including two types of optics
dot and a four-power throw lever. Both are great sights. Neither are what we need for today’s battleield.
in this category. Speciically, the ACOG and the ELCAN Specter DR. SF adopted the ACOG in 1995 to comple-
ADVANTAGES Both optics have four-power magnii-
ment the Trijicon relex. They’re a
cation, units of measurement for rang-
good, rugged sight built for distance —
ing and engaging, sturdy construction,
a hard-as-nails ixed four-power optic.
and soldier-proof design.
I can say we missed the mark by mounting an RMR on top of these to try to adopt a single sight for the moun-
36 IS SU E REC O ILW E B .C O M
Speed and acquisition of targets at
tains of Afghanistan and streets of Iraq.
close range suffers. For a combat op-
Height over bore (HOB) for the RMR
tic, 4x power isn’t enough to observe
ends up being just too damn high, and
and report if needed. The RMR failed
it’s very hard to utilize it for CQB that
as a CQB optic due to HOB, though
way, let alone hit anything past 100 m.
offset mounts would’ve taken care of
So we adopted the Specter DR from
this problem. The Elcan’s ield of view
Elcan around 2003 or 2004. The in-
is very hard to use for CQB, even in
tent was the same as the ACOG — one
1x mode. Both optics are quite heavy,
optic to be utilized for distance, as well
because they’re trying to give you the
as up-close-and-personal CQB situa-
optimal short- to long-range optic in
tions; the Elcan has one power with a
EVOLUTION OF THE COMBAT OPTIC VARIABLE POWER OPTIC
all, our bread and butter at that point
of iron sights, red dots, and ixed
in time. It was like looking through a
power optics. And then some. Previous
bat optic will be a low power variable
straw to ind the dot when needed for
criticisms of their relative fragility have
(LPVO), offering 1x on the low end and
fast target acquisition. The illuminated
been addressed, and the ones we’re us-
around 6x on the high end. Some Tier 1
reticle wasn’t always visible when
ing on deployment are built like tanks.
units have been running 1x6 optics for a
shooting in awkward positions with
while now. Personally, I started running
the weapon canted 90 degrees, and in
a 1.1-8 power optic hard around 2006-
bright sunlight, it sometimes washed
2007, and technology has certainly
out. To overcome these shortcomings,
the future of variable power optics is,
improved since then.
I ended up running a mini red dot sight
believe it or not, one of training. In
on a 45-degree offset mount — I just
order to exploit their full capabilities,
rebral technician I am (cue my former
needed that up-close conidence I
they require some time to train on,
team members’ laughter), I trained
wasn’t getting with the 1.1 power —
especially if you’ve been a red dot guy
with this type of optic and compared
yet it got me thinking.
your whole life. Unless you’re spun up
Being the academically inclined, ce-
IS SU E
times on the lat range with my EO-
REC O ILW E B .C O M
an LPVO offers all the advantages
this article — the next-generation com-
Now we get to the center of gravity of
With increased competition, the cost of LPVO’s have come way down in recent years, and there’s an option for just about any budget.
when it came to CQB, which was, after
Since then, LPVOs have come a long
DISADVANTAGES The biggest disadvantage I see for
on the reticle and the advantages it
Tech. At close range, I wasn’t quite
way. Ten years have passed since a
offers, you’ll sell the capabilities of the
as fast, but as the distance stretched
variable optic irst sat on my carbine,
optic short and won’t be able to make
out, overall accuracy was way better.
and the industry has developed some
full use of it as a ranging and obser-
Not that hard to igure out — 8-power
great scopes with yet more to come.
vation tool, which vastly increases
equals more hits at distance. Well, duh, Dan. I wasn’t as conident with this optic compared to my EOTech, especially
the ability to make irst round hits at
ADVANTAGES If built right, whether it’s a irst, second, or dual-focal plane reticle,
extended distances. The bottom line is that you can’t just zero your dot in a LPVO and treat it like an Aimpoint.
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EVOLUTION OF THE COMBAT OPTIC LET’S PUT IT ALL TOGETHER
1.5 MOA, visible under any light-
three-gun World has been utilizing
ing conditions, reticle is simple yet
them for a long time, for the most
choice of combat optic for yourself,
designed to observe and engage at
part the bugs have been worked out,
your department, or agency. Red dot,
distance, (wind, moving targets) etc.
and there’s a range of price points to
holographic sights, and ixed-power
36 IS SU E
fit most budgets. Find a wide FOV,
the ability to do everything with one
an illuminated dot for close-range
— there are thousands of different
optic if need be. A reticle with a day-
work, and an appropriate reticle for
militaries and LE agencies utilizing
light illuminated dot is a huge selling
distance, with the ability to take
them today around the globe. In a
point for the SF community — up to
care of ranging, wind, and movers.
perfect world we’d all be fortunate
now, most of the optics industry has
In Dan’s world, when Snake Plissken
enough to own and utilize several
failed at this when it comes to see-
and I infil for Escape from Chicago,
optics, but some of us don’t have the
ing it staring into the sun, a worst-
I’m bringing an LPVO for my combat
deep pockets for that. I was fortunate
case scenario. So far, the companies
enough to have some insight and input
that have placed this dot in the
on what’s next for SF.
second focal plane have had much
some things in the SOPMOD Kit will
REC O ILW E B .C O M
This is asking a lot, but you’ll gain
optics are still great sighting systems
Not to outstep my boundaries, but
Tier 1 units are running them, the
make a decision on what’s the best
Arm yourself with the knowledge to
On its lowest setting, a variable scope is as fast as a red dot, but not as forgiving as far as head placement goes. It makes up for this as the distance grows.
view, illuminated dot no greater than
better success. Keep track of industry; surely
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
be replaced with a 1-6x or greater
there’ll be some greatly improved vari-
LPVO as the next combat optic. The
able power optics with all the features
Dan Brokos is a retired sergeant major and
documentation to support this can be
the military is looking for.
former Special Forces Green Beret with 26
found on FedBizOpps.gov, where it outlines the speciication to industry on building a badass variable power optic for the military: wide ield of
years of service. He’s currently the CEO of Lead
DAN’S TWO CENTS Arm yourself, investigate, and research LPVO’s for your own blaster.
Faucet Tactical. Questions about training? Contact him at Dan@leadfaucettactical.com
RECOIL CONTRIBUTOR KEITH WOOD TEAMS UP WITH FORMER SEAL JACK CARR TO CREATE A NAIL-BITING THRILLER
BY IAIN HARRISON
While the name of Keith Wood might
the pair manage to assemble a cast of
of trigger-pulling lifestyle that makes
be familiar to longtime readers of our
characters that spans the gamut from
their characters come to life.
modest tome, Jack Carr is a newcomer.
a tragically wronged, heroic protago-
The plot twists and turns from the
We have a sneaking suspicion, however,
nist to a cabal of traitorous political
mountains of Afghanistan to the deserts
that the pair is about to become, if not
scumbags. Needless to say, the latter
of California, and from Florida to its
household names, at least very familiar
are dispatched in creatively gory ways,
climactic end in the Hamptons, in an
to avid consumers of the kind of plot-
depicted in minute and (unusually for
all-too-believable saga of betrayal,
driven techno-thriller popularized by
this type of tale) accurate detail by guys
corruption, and vengeance. In equip-
who actually know which end of a rile
ping his hero for the task at hand, Carr
the bullet comes out of. While other
iguratively backs his truck up to his
experience accumulated from 20 years
authors might have operational experi-
team house cage in Coronado, then
in the SEALs (Carr) and a couple of de-
ence, or technical expertise, these guys
spits on his hands, rolls up his sleeves,
cades in the irearms industry (Wood),
not only have both but also live the kind
and gets to work.
Drawing on a symbiotic library of
Not only do these guys have decent taste in guns, their vehicle game is on point.
IS SU E 36
147 REC O ILW E B .C O M
The book, like so many American
superstar Chris Pratt snapping up the
success stories, came as result of two
movie rights to the irst, we’re pretty sure
guys deciding that since no one told
the world will be seeing a lot more from
them they couldn’t do it, they might as
our dynamic duo. As RECOIL’s editor,
well just go right ahead. “I didn’t want to
watching them embark on this venture
lie on my deathbed wondering if I could
is like waving your kids off to college,
have been an author,” Wood said. With a
knowing they’re on their way to great
second book on the way and Hollywood
things. Just don’t forget to write, guys.
If having big guns indicates a tiny tool, we must all have
range from 7 to 10 inches, fairly small compared to their
bulging britches — because smaller everything is cooler
1980s equivalents. We’re still not sure whether John Arthur
when it comes to guns and silencers. There are fashions and
Ciener should be proud or ashamed. For the purposes of this
trends with suppressors just like there are with guns, cars,
article, we arbitrarily used 6 inches as the cutoff for a Kurz
jeans, and narcotics. Numerous criteria factor into selecting
(K) rile silencer.
a silencer, such as size, weight, durability, warranty, lex-
While size and weight of full-size rifle silencers vary,
ibility, and, you know, how much noise is actually produced
you add significant length to your rifle with any of them.
— exactly which aspect is the most important to the public at
Even those that explicitly state “only adds X inches be-
large seems to change every few years.
yond the muzzle” invariably require the use of an extra-
Ten years ago, it was durability. It didn’t matter if a silencer
long muzzle attachment. This isn’t lying — not exactly —
weighed a ton, as long as it was tough as sh*t and [kinda]
but it is disingenuous. Of course and as usual, we blame
quiet. Titanium cans weren’t as popular, because despite the
lower weight, they weren’t as durable — when titanium heats up it erodes and lakes off. Fast-forward a couple years and weight became the most important factor. Titanium was in. A few years later, the multi-caliber silencer was the most
Not only are you adding length, effectively turning your handy little carbine into a musket-length affair like your great-great-great grandfather may have used, but you’re also signiicantly throwing off the balance. It seems everyone loves a silencer on a 16-inch barrel — until they use one on a short
popular. The one-size-its-most that worked “pretty OK”
barrel rile (SBR). Sure, you’ve shaved off a few inches, but
at everything but wasn’t exceptional at anything. As a irst
compact you aren’t.
silencer, some of them still remain decent choices. More recently the modular silencer has taken hold. Want
One way you can still get some of the beneits of a silencer without throwing a ton of weight or length on the end
it longer and quieter? Keep it long. Shorter and louder? Just
of a gun is with a K-can. But they aren’t for everyone. To
conigure it that way.
be clear, this isn’t a buyer’s guide: this article will help you
And right now, in early 2018? The subject of this article: K-cans.
understand what to expect with one, and gives you the tools to weigh the pros and cons for yourself. On the face of it, the concept of a K-can is silly to some.
STUBBY. SHORTY. NUBBY. KURZ. Kurz is German for short; many devices have shared this
After all, isn’t the point of a silencer to be as silent as possible. While these stubby silencers do indeed cut down the noise,
moniker over the years, both by their actual product names
they’re nowhere near as effective as their full-size brethren
and via slang. Modern “full-size” rile-caliber suppressors
— double-so when paired with a short-barreled rile. Triple-so
GETTING KURZ WITH IT A short silencer helps a stubby rile stay small.
The original short-barreled AR silencer, the XM moderator built for the Colt Model 610/XM177, is only considered a silencer because of the absurdity of American law. While a proper XM moderator will decrease decibels almost to that of a 20-inch rile (thus earning its legal status as a silencer), it mainly serves to cut down the blast. Furthermore, the XM moderator increased backpressure to ensure more reliable operation on these early shorties. Don’t expect miracles with 5.56mm, lest you set yourself up for disappointment, though a kurz does provide beneit in this role without tipping the scales too hard on the front end. It’s for these reasons that K-cans are increasingly popular for military and law enforcement roles: They avoid blinding or deafening your teammates, they reduce the noise if 5.56mm is involved. They look rad
inside a structure allowing for better
though, and that’s justiication enough
communication, and riles can usually
for some, especially in a world of battle-
it into patrol vehicles, gear lockers, and
worn inish and blinged-out blasters.
weapon racks with the silencer attached.
And there are actually some reasons that you might want to nab yourself a K-can. There are two basic ways to look at a kurz can:
MAKE SUPPRESSED 16-INCH GUNS GREAT AGAIN A 16-inch rile with an 8-inch
As an expensive linear compensator on a short barrel As a silencer you’ll actually enjoy using on a full-size (16inch+) rile.
silencer easily makes a rile longer than your great-uncle’s Vietnam M14, in a harder to wield package. We’re not even upset about that; it’s impressive. As suppressor technology marches on we can get the same performance from
ROUNDING THE CORNERS It shouldn’t be a shock to anyone that
package. With that said, physics being
short barrels produce a lot of lash and
what they are, a similar design with less
bang in rile calibers. Out in the open,
internal volume will be louder.
an SBR with a decent muzzle device
Everything is a balance between
may not rattle your teeth, but while
weight, mobility, and capability. A
indoors, inside a car, or with a team is
silencer may not have to be completely
another story altogether. And Lord help
silent — just quiet enough for your
you if you’re using a brake.
needs. You can give up a little noise for
Linear compensators such as the
Many quality K-cans are hearing safe on carbines.
a large antique silencer in a smaller
a shorter package. This is where we’d
Noveske KX-series or Troy Claymore
normally insert a joke. We’ve found the
don’t reduce noise or blast, instead pro-
current crop of kurz cans to be handier
jecting it forward away from the shooter
to use on 16-inch+ riles than the heavy
or anyone beside them. A stubby K-can
bastards we carried a decade ago.
will do the same, while reducing the noise signature to boot.
We’re not going out on a limb when we say that the 16-inch barreled rile is
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GETTING KURZ WITH IT
IS SU E
Fullsize can on a shorty and a Kurz can on a carbine are around the same size. Any silencer on a 20-incher makes it a full-ledged musket.
REC O ILW E B .C O M
152 A little brother is just a squat version of its older sibling.
by far the most popular size sold in the
vantages, especially when we’re talking
United States. The same beneits that
about the shorties. While some designs
an entry team attains from using a stub-
are better and more eficient than oth-
by silencer on an SBR directly translates
ers, in general since DT designs have no
to use with a standard carbine; better in
need for special locking mechanisms or
every way sans those few extra inches of
internal space to accommodate muzzle
barrel. Reduced lash, decent balance in
devices, they can be more eficient.
size and performance, and more likely to
However, this comes at a cost.
actually be hearing safe. Like Goldilocks
While many new DT silencers feature
gobbling all the porridge, you may ind
wrench lats and holes for blind pinning,
this combination just right.
generally we avoid permanently attaching a silencer unless we absolutely have
FAT BASTARDS AND LITTLE BROTHERS In the admittedly broad taxonomy of short silencers, there are a couple of base designs we can consider: fat bastards and little brothers.
to. Even though a DT silencer can be removed, functionally you should consider them long-term residents. Needless swapping is just bad for everyone. Examples include the Delta P Design Brevis II and Innovative Arms Grunt-
Usually designed not to be regularly
M. If you’re the type who wants to it
removed, a fat bastard makes up for its
a silencer under a handguard, these
lack of length with girth. They’re more
deinitely aren’t for you.
likely to be direct thread (DT) silencers,
Like a miniature copy of their older
but not always. While QD devices allow
and larger siblings, but shorter, little
easy removal for transport or swapping,
brother designs share aesthetics and
direct-thread silencers do have some ad-
features like quick-disconnect mounts
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GETTING KURZ WITH IT
IS SU E
Integral lash hiders can considerably cut the lash, especially from a short barrel.
REC O ILW E B .C O M
154 you may already have. Examples include
simply because the bulk of the powder
the Dead Air Sandman-K and the
burns inside the barrel before it has the
SureFire SOCOM556-Mini2. If there’s
opportunity to be expelled and ignited
already a Sandman-L or SureFire RC2
beyond the muzzle.
in your safe and you want to try some
IMI M193 Federal American Eagle
Whenever we demonstrate the lash
presto-change-o you should consider one
signature of any weapon or attachment,
we try to use the most consistently lashy ammo we can get our paws on. Federal
MUZZLE BLAST AND MISCONCEPTIONS
American Eagle routinely produces a f*ckoff amount of lash from a bare
LOOSE ROUNDS If silencers are decriminalized via
muzzle — perfect for this role. Just have
legislation like the Hearing Protection
hiders out there. Like so many other oft-
a gander at the image comparing it to
Act, you’d have no excuse not to
repeated axioms, this isn’t true in every
IMI M193 with a 16-inch naked gun.
have a handful of them. What makes
Some say silencers are the best lash
case. A silencer might be a decent lash
Bear in mind that the irst shot from
a K-can so great isn’t that they’re
hider, but frankly it’s pretty damn hard
a silencer usually produces more lash
amazing in any particular way aside
to beat something like a B.E. Meyers
than subsequent ones. This is due
from being small, but that they’re
M249F at reducing visible signature.
to the atmospheric oxygen inside the
OK at everything while being small.
silencer burning off. As to how long you
Just like the multi-caliber can, the
cans on short guns, a $7 1960s lash
have before that next big lash? That
strength of a stubby silencer is in
hider holds its own remarkably well.
largely depends on the silencer used.
its versatility. In the long list of NFA
Some companies have integrated small
items, a Kurz rile silencer ranks
muzzle device; ammunition selection
lash hiders into their endcap designs
alongside an integral — it shouldn’t
and barrel length is just as important.
to further reduce lash. Flash from
be your irst or second silencer, but it
Hotter ammunition with faster-burning
follow-up shots is usually signiicantly
may make its way to the fourth or ifth
powders often generate less lash,
place on the ledger.
Especially when we’re talking short
Hiding lash is about more than the
Your ammunition matters just as much as your muzzle device, silencer or otherwise, when it comes to visible lash signature
C. REED KNIGHT, II: MAKING A DYNASTY OUT OF OPPORTUNITY BY ROB CURTIS
C. Reed Knight, Jr. grew up with one
And that’s what he did, eventually.
The 454 acres of land surrounds a 625,000 square-foot building that’s
Guard, enjoying a decent run racing
home to all of Knight’s ventures,
love and comfort. It wasn’t a tower-
cars, even making it to the national
including the Institute of Military
ing physique, though the 73-year-old
Stock Car circuit, running a gar-
Technology, perhaps the largest pri-
moves as conidently as any man his
bage company, and starting his own
vately held collection of small arms
age, even sporting a full head of hair.
police supply store, Knight eventually
in the world.
It wasn’t the gift of book smarts — in
founded Knight’s Armament Company
fact, Knight will tell you he barely
in Vero Beach, Florida, in 1982.
graduated high school and still hasn’t
Knight’s run would continue, as
After serving six years in the National
though his family provided him with
RECOIL: How did you end up in the Titusville location? C. Reed Knight, Jr.: Funny story. Right
nal components of the small-arms
after September 11th, USSOCOM
path that would see him become one
world. Alone, and with help from his
came along and said “You have to
of the most respected igures in the
mentor and friend Eugene Stoner,
double your capacity because we’re
worldwide, small-arms industry? It was
Knight would produce the first Rail
going to be buying a lot of stuff.” So, I
the fact he knew his shortcomings and
Interface System for the AR plat-
went to the county commission in Vero
refused to be deined by them.
form, bring the first purpose-built
Beach and said, “I need to double my
So what helped guide Knight to a
semi-auto sniper rifle system into the
size.” They said, “Great, we’ll ix you
father one day when he said, “Son, you
world, and arguably help Stoner re-
up. No problem.” So a year later, I was
can work 40 hours a week, and you
fine, and perhaps perfect, the AR-15
there with the building sitting on the
may be able to make a living. Work 50
platform with the introduction of the
ground. No permits and nobody will
hours a week, and you’ll do better. But
KAC SR15. He’d later leverage his
talk to me — it was just a screwed up
you’re so stupid that you’ll probably
successes to launch Knight Vision,
mess. So I went to Georgia and found
have to work about 80 hours a week to
the largest producer of clip-on night
a building up there that they agreed
make a good living.”
vision devices in the world.
to give me if I’d bring my hundred
Knight tells a story of riding with his
Knight could’ve been offended by
America was attacked as Knight’s
employees up there. So I was ready
his father’s assessment of his provi-
Armament Company continued to grow.
to move to Georgia, and the lady here
dence. Instead, he recognized good
After September 2001 KAC outgrew
knew about this building that’d been
advice and took it to heart. His father
their Vero Beach factory, and moved to
vacated for seven years. She had then
told him he’d better igure out some-
their current location in Titusville, on
Governor Jeb Bush call Boeing. This
thing he really liked to do, because
Florida’s space coast. KAC moved into
was when McDonnell Douglas and
he’d be married to that job for the
a Tomahawk missile factory that was no
Boeing merged and this became a sur-
rest of his life. “I told him I really like
longer needed following the merger of
plus piece of property for Boeing, so
guns,” says Knight, “and he said, ‘Well
its occupant, McDonnell Douglas, with
they agreed to sell it to me. Two weeks
then you better make that your living.’”
defense conglomerate, Boeing.
later I owned it. It’s perfect for us.
157 REC O ILW E B .C O M
he invented and produced semi-
read an entire book in his life.
IS SU E
major advantage. It wasn’t wealth,
IS SU E
Top left: Knight traces his family back to the Jamestown settlement in 1617. He was raised as a ifth-generation citrus farmer before breaking away from his family’s farming dynasty to start his own in the irearms industry.
REC O ILW E B .C O M
Top right: Knight spent his twenties racing cars, reaching the national level during the early days of the NASCAR circuit.
Do you hunt? RKj: Not really. But I’ll hunt pigs when they’re loose on the property. I’ll drive around and shoot armadillos and rab-
Left: Knight was no slouch with a pistol. He was one of the top shooters in the Florida Police Combat League in his day.
Do you have a hobby?
high school. She paid $25 dollars
RKj: I raced cars. It was a lot of fun.
an hour to have me tutored everyday after school. Every day. That was huge
But not motorcycles?
money in the late ‘50s, early ‘60s.
RKj: No. You can really hurt yourself doing that. [Laughs]
Do you have any idols? RKj: Gene Stoner was an idol of mine.
Has the internet changed the land-
Smokey Yunick was an idol; he was a
scape for irearm collectors?
race car driver. I really don’t know any-
RKj: Yes, everybody is much better
thing about sports. But I know all the
educated so you lose your knowledge
race car drivers. Oh, you know, Tiger
base advantage because everybody’s
Woods bought a gun from me …
now an expert. How’d you meet Eugene Stoner? When did you realize you have an apti-
RKj: I called him up on the phone one
tude for business?
day and said, “Eugene Stoner?” He
RKj: I’m extremely focused. I’m not
said, “Yes?” I said, “I’m a guy, a gun
well-rounded. I’m not knowledgeable
nut. I live up in Vero. Would you like to
about very much. What I know about,
have lunch?” So we went to lunch and
though, I know a lot about. I study
started talking back and forth.
things to death.
We were 23 years apart. Gene was a neat guy. He was a genius in his own
Did you have trouble in school?
right. He taught me about heat-treating
property at night with a suppressor
RKj: Well, my third-grade teacher
and metallurgy. He was a little jaded.
and night vision and hunt pigs. I’ve
wasn’t going to a pass me to the fourth
He felt like the industry had somewhat
gotten about 22 of them.
grade. I’m not sure what she said or
given him a raw deal.
bits in an electric golf cart. I’ll ride the
did, but my mother persuaded my
Are you familiar with the Objective
What about gators?
third-grade teacher to graduate me to
Individual Combat Weapon program?
RKj: Yeah. Lotta gators. We had to
the fourth grade.
The grenade launcher program? The 20mm launcher on the XM8 — that
haul quite a few of them away. Some employees would feed them, and when
You must be kidding?
was the OICW. When he irst heard
you feed them they get very aggressive,
RKj: My mother was the only one
about it, [the Army was] basically de-
because they have no fear. They’ll walk
that really believed in me. She was
veloping a rile and grenade launcher.
right into the factory. It doesn’t happen
a saint. She died at 93. She had me
The grenade launcher would ire from
very often, but it has happened.
tutored for four years while I was in
deilade and burst when it passed over
CHESS, NOT CHECKERS the target. Stoner said, “Why don’t we
So if I wanted to buy an SR-25 that
prevent these kinds of mistakes now?
spend our irst $50 million on the fuse
wasn’t proof tested, would you sell me
RKj: I showed them my test results,
instead of scaling the 40mm grenade
one? And would you charge me more
but I couldn’t get the government to
down to 20mm? Let’s leave it a 40mm
change anything. I guess nobody has big
system and put it in the M203 and
RKj: I’d probably have to. Because I
enough balls to go against the system.
Mk19. Let’s get the fuse perfected and
have to track that gun down and make
then determine how much better per-
sure it wasn’t tested. [Laughs] But
How’s the irearm industry changed
formance we can get when iring out of
don’t print that. I don’t want a bunch
over the years?
deilade. And then we can scale down
of people calling us about it.
RKj: At the SHOT Show in the ’80s,
the grenade to whatever size we need to maintain performance.”
you couldn’t even have a picture of OK. [Crosses ingers] We’d never
a soldier. You couldn’t have anything
at the SHOT Show like machine guns
ny still didn’t have anything that worked.
RKj: Anyway, we’ve been prooing
until I got there, and I said I wanted
It was a total disaster. His idea was to
guns and receivers since 1903. It’s
our own separate section and wall
focus on what you know and make incre-
a practice brought over from Europe.
us and our offensive camoulage and
mental changes as you go along instead
The reason we proofed everything
helmets and whatever off from the
of trying to do the whole thing at once.
over here is because they were heat-
rest of the show. They said, “OK, we’ll
They spent $250 million, and Picatin-
happened? The military section of
Carbine program back in 2011?
they forgot to heat-treat them. And
the SHOT Show became so popular
RKj: We had plenty to offer, but I
when they didn’t get heat-treated they
that the hunting guys asked how
didn’t think it was going to go any-
would blow up. Or they’d heat-treat
where. Was I right? Yes. Did I save
them through and through, and the
myself $2 million? Yes.
guns became brittle and would shatter like a piece of glass.
What about current government So, why are we still proof testing every
gun? Don’t we have process controls that
RKj: There’s so much going on right now … the government wants a gun right now to replace the M249 that ires full auto with a group size of less than one minute of angle. They also believe that you can load ammo to 90,000 psi. That’s huge. That’s like a proof load or something? RKj: Did you know that if I don’t proof test an M110, I can get twice the bolt life out of it? One proof round shortens the life of the bolt — and every rile gets proof tested. I tested and plotted the difference. I know that if I do not proof an M110, I can get twice the bolt life out of it. That’s something that even the government doesn’t know. And the irst proof round you shoot isn’t going to cause a catastrophic failure. The only thing it does is start the cracks.
of the building? They weren’t getting anybody on their side of building. So,
come everybody is over on our side
the organizers spaced out the military sections and set them up so people had to cross through the [non-tactical] sections of the show.
159 REC O ILW E B .C O M
programs? Anything interesting on the
In front of the citrus orchards at the old Knight’s facility in Vero Beach, Knight with Gene Stoner and an early SR-25 7.62x51mm caliber rile.
do that.” And then you know what
1903 Springields, and sometimes
IS SU E
treating parts out of 8620 steel in the Did KAC enter in the Army’s Individual
CHESS, NOT CHECKERS
IS SU E
And now SHOT’s 75 percent of the
REC O ILW E B .C O M
Top left: Knight’s irearm collection is unparalleled. Here’s an Armalite AR-15, serial number 000001, rescued from a storage closet at Fairchild Corporation. It was a prototype of the 5.56mm rile that would become the U.S. Army M-16.
stuff I’m talking about. So yeah, I was among the irst ive booths they allowed to have military-type stuff in, and I was a maverick back then and nobody wanted to hook themselves to my wagon … You think that I could even think about getting one of my AR15s on the cover of a magazine back
Left: The irst prototype of the Knight and Stoner designed All American 2000 pistol. It used a single stack P7 mag before Colt started giving input.
then? That was like putting tits on the cover of a magazine back then. Knight’s isn’t really known as a commercial irearms company; is that
Right: Knight with a display of AR-10 series riles in the Knight Collection, the precursor to The Institute of Military Technology, which now houses Knight’s impressive collection in Titusville, Florida.
vision and foreign markets are real
our widget, we’re going to build it for
strong. They see this is an opportu-
you, you’re going to pay us for it, and
nity to get products they wouldn’t
we’re going to move on down the road.
normally be able to get because when
If I’m going to build it, I’m going to
we’re working for the domestic market
compete with these other companies,
there’s just no time to ill their needs.
and this is my widget, and I own it.” So one of my government friends
Any thoughts on military procurement
stands up and says, “Reed, I probably
or the requirements process?
am a socialist. I’m pretty close to what
RKj: A while back, I was asked to go
you say. And I do believe in taking your
to Washington to speak to a bunch of
ideas and giving them to everybody, be-
government contracting oficers and
cause they’re the best ideas out there.
contractors to explain how industry and
But, more importantly, I have real heart-
really just all I do. But I do see the
government can work better together.
burn that you called me a Democrat.”
commercial market helping us keep the
I said, “I see that you government
machines busy when there’s slack time.
people are like a lot of Democrats, and
You must be proud at some level,
And there’s deinitely some slack time
you’re socialists. And you want indus-
though. There’s patriotism there.
now. The military isn’t buying much.
try to give you our ideas, and you want
RKj: We’re passionate about what we
changing? RKj: I don’t know enough about the commercial market. I’m just naïve. I don’t know the dynamics … I really do have my head down a gun barrel. That’s
to hand them out to all these other
build. Why are they paying me for what
So, what’s going to ill that gap?
contractors. And you want us all to
they’re buying? Because I’m the low
RKj: Sooner or later the military’s
chip in and build you something. And
bidder. I’m the best deal they can get!
going to have to gear back up. We’re
that’s your concept.”
It’s not like I’m just naming a price
building riles everyday, silencers
“Us contractors,” I said, “we’re like
and they’re paying me. I’m competing
everyday. We have some new products.
capitalists and Republicans. We’re
against people who don’t even know
We’re doing a lot of R&D. But night
gonna build you a widget, it’s gonna be
what they don’t know. I’m bidding
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CHESS, NOT CHECKERS against people who don’t even know
on us, but that’s the gamble. And I
number — they’re all OK. The plastic
how much they’re going to spend to
gamble every day.
frames had problems. There were only
build a product.
But I didn’t know that I was going to
Did you know the lash hiders for the M-16 rile went to bid about 10
frames. To me, you could go back and
was going to be a 15-year contract.
put the springs in it like I designed it,
years ago? I researched all the comWow. How did you hang on the M4 rail
has the right springs in it and the right
Out of the ive companies that bid
contract for 15 years?
inish inside the parts.
them, four of those companies have
RKj: I kept winning it with the low bid.
since gone bankrupt.
Nobody could do the volume. Even
How many had stainless slides?
after some other people won the con-
RKj: To my knowledge, I don’t think
tract, it took them more than two years
any had stainless slides. Or if there
before they could build a good product.
are, there are very few. But some of
sell more once people ind out the Army chose them, and make it up in volume? RKj: And that’s what U.S. SOCOM was trying to tell me. “Hey, sell us your rail system, and Big Army is going to buy it, and that’s where you
IS SU E
make your money. You’ll lose money
REC O ILW E B .C O M
and the gun’s a pretty nice gun if it
panies that won the previous ive bids.
They were thinking they’d be able to
3,000 of them built with the aluminum
sell 1.8-million rails. I didn’t know that
Knight is no igurehead; he spends his days working in the factory. Here he’s checking on a Pratt and Whitney 1/2 B hydraulic barrel riling machine that came from the Springield Armory.
them had electroless nickel, and some Let’s talk handguns. We almost
of them had nickel.
bought an All American 2000 about a month ago.
OK, the one we saw had a silver slide,
RKj: Did somebody try to give it to you?
but it was tough to tell for sure looking through a glass case.
[LAUGHS] No. It was mainly just for
RKj: I bet there wasn’t two dozen of
the history that was associated with it.
those made. I think I paid $2,000 a
It was sitting in the cabinet of a local
piece for these that I got, only because
gun store. There were two handguns
it’s my initials. I bought one for each
there. One of them was a Steyr GB, the
one of my kids. There was a guy out in
other was the Colt.
Texas who had quite a few of them. I
RKj: So, was the Colt a plastic frame
don’t know where he got them, but Colt
or an aluminum frame?
sold a bunch of them. From a collector standpoint, I think the history part of it
is worth more than the gun. There were
RKj: So, the aluminum frame that
60,000 plastic ones built, and 3,000
all have the “RK” preix on the serial
aluminum frames, and probably not more than two dozen nickel ones. Damn, that was a mistake. When you designed that gun were you on a contract to Colt, were you an employee or …? RKj: Nope. Stoner and I designed it. I was going to build it. We just had a wild hair up our ass one day, started playing with some ideas, built a few iterations, and we came along and sold it to Colt. Colt needed it right then. We sold it, and it worked out for us. Where it really worked out … you’ll love this story. So Stoner was there, and we were negotiating what we were going to sell the American 2000 pistol to Colt for. He said, “Look, you’re going to give us X number of dollars for the TDP and then you’re going to pay us royalties.”
CHESS, NOT CHECKERS So, Stoner gets there in the room with me, and he says Colt’s never
went to his ex-wife.
even AR-15 gun #1 — all that stuff.
paid him yet for the M16. So I said,
thing? I have a gun that I designed
“OK, let’s just make a really high
when I was there. It was my gun. I
down payment” ... because he only
want that gun back.” I said, “Well, let’s talk to them.”
got $50K for the TDP on the M16.
So, he gets the attorney on the
“We’ll go in with a pretty high number
I’m looking at it and my heart stops. Just stops. Slowly, I say, “Well what are you going to do with all this junk?” The guy says, “Let me talk to the attorney, but I think we’ve got to keep this
hoping we’ll get that.” And they agreed
phone and he says, “Hey while you’re
stuff. If we expect to get paid royalties,
paying out, I want my gun back.”
we’ll have to prove that we had this.”
The attorney on the other end of the
In the middle of the thing, I get in
I say, “I’m your expert witness. I’ve
there and say, “Besides this, we’re
phone says, “I don’t know what it is that
been at Colt; I’ve got the guns from
going to hold your feet to the ire, be-
you want. What does the gun look like?”
Colt; I’ve got the stuff. I’ll tell you what
cause you haven’t paid for the M16s.”
Stoner says “I’m going to send Reed,
They say, “What do you mean we haven’t paid for the M16s?”
to 20 years and not sell it if you’ll sell
look at it.”
it to me.”
ration at the Dulles Airport. They got
“OK, we can ix that.” They call on
— I promise to keep this stuff for 10
my partner, up there, and he’s going to So I go up there to Fairchild Corpo-
“You haven’t paid for the M16s.”
So I make him an offer. I leave him with a deposit, a check for $50,000.
the phone and talk to someone and say
a great big old ive-story building. I go
I call him up three weeks later and
it’s ixed. So, we did the deal.
in and say, “I’m Reed Knight, and I’m
ask if they’ve thought any more about
here to look at some guns that you’ve
selling me those guns.
36 IS SU E
Then, two or three months later Stoner call me up and says, “You’re not going to believe, this, but I just got
REC O ILW E B .C O M
of them. AR-10s, prototype AR-15s,
Then Stoner says, “You know some-
going to pay us because they haven’t
Fairchild, part went to Stoner, and part
a big check from Fairchild from our meeting that we had up there.” Colt went ahead and paid him all the royalties they owed him. Part of it went to
got for Eugene Stoner.”
Reed Knight, Jr. running the Light Assault Machine Gun on the KAC test range in Titusville, Florida.
“Well,” he says, “We talked to the
They said, “OK.”
attorney and maybe gun #1 is worth
I go into this big conference room
and over in the corner is a closet. The
I said, “It might be, but it’s not
guy opens up the closet, and there’s
worth that to me. So why don’t you
all these guns laying there, about 80
keep gun #1 one and sell me the rest?”
CHESS, NOT CHECKERS
C. REED KNIGHT, II
IS SU E
BORN: 1945, Woodbridge, NJ FAMILY: Married with 3 boys, 1 daughter, and 2 grandkids COLLEGE: Florida Southern College MILITARY SERVICE: National Guard COMMENTS ON 5TH GRADE REPORT CARD: “Fail” ROLE MODELS: My father and Eugene Stoner
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FAVORITE BOOK: Never read one FAVORITE FILM: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels IF I COULD ONLY HAVE ONE GUN: M4 MOST LUSTEDAFTER FIREARM: Model SS41 Czech Bullpup Anti-Tank Rile DAILY DRIVER: 2013 Lexus LS460 NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCES: ’65 Corvette, guide wire, and a telephone pole. FAVORITE FOOD: Steak WHO’D WIN IN A VICKERS/LAMB RUNNING MANSTYLE DEATH MATCH? “Never heard of her.” BROKEN BONES: “Wrist. In a motorcycle accident. And never had another motorcycle after that.” WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THE PEOPLE WHO THINK YOUR PRODUCTS ARE TOO EXPENSIVE? “When my customers come to me, performance is the expectation, not the price.”
He says, “So you don’t think gun #1 is worth $50K?” And I said, “Nah.” And they said, “OK, well we have a
ping any guns. They owed me money.
“No problem,” I said.
I said, “Well, do you have any guns or
His deal with me was — he didn’t
anything to trade?”
want any money, he just wanted me
“Well, that might work,” they say.
to pay for the jet fuel, and pay for his
So I went up there, and they had
plane and the stuff he played with.
I said “What’s the problem?”
these old shopping carts like you see
Because I could expense it and he
“We don’t have your $50K. We
at Publix with the wheels all messed
couldn’t. So, I was using the jet; he
up. So here we are, wheeling these
had three jets and ive helicopters ...
shopping carts on the wooden loors
all this stuff that I was busy managing
all through the Colt factory, loading old
for him. And that was what I brought
“We’ll think about it…”
machine guns into the carts — 300 of
to the table.
I said, “Look, I have a meeting
them. Every kind, every manufacturer
spent it.” “Well, that’s no problem,” I said, “you just sign the paperwork.”
So little does he know that those
downtown at the NFA Branch. I either
... an original 1919 Thompson, FG42s,
guns ended up being worth 10 times
need my $50K or I need you to sign
MG42s ... everything in the world that
what we ever got paid for the deal ….
you could ever imagine. They had a
Figure, 300 machine guns. This is
room with the stuff just piled in it.
after 1986, but I knew enough to pick
They said, “OK, we’ll sign the paperwork.”
Here I am, and they agree to it; we get
the pre-ban guns ... So I gave $200
That was two years after we were
the paperwork going, and Stoner gets
a piece for M16s, and today they’re
getting progress payments from Colt.
there and says, “Let me tell you some-
worth, what, $25,000 each? Right
They gave me a bunch of money
thing, if you think I’m going to take those
time, right place.
down, and every six months they had
damn guns, you’re out of your mind.
a payment due. They weren’t ship-
You’re going to have to take those guns.”
6X MAGNIFICATION HAND-HELD MONOCULAR DIOPTER ADJUSTMENT SUBMERSIBLE TO 25 M RUGGED DESIGN SHOWN WITH FLIPMOUNT
WHAT DOES THE RESEARCH SAY? IS SU E
BY RYNE GIOVIANO, M.S.ED., NSCA-CPT
You’ve decided that you want to start building some muscle,
but which time of day should your training session be to sup-
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port this? Does working out after an overnight fast lead to better weight loss? There may be a few more things you haven’t thought about regarding itness that can impact your performance and success. That’s where we come in. In this column, we discuss some interesting topics that may surprise you.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME OF DAY TO WORK OUT? The irst thing that has to be said is working out is better than not working out. So before you read on, know that as long as you’re training regularly, that’s a good thing. Don’t stress that you’re not optimizing your time in the gym just because you’re not doing it at the research-supported time. If you really want to know, though, the answer is that it
WARNING! The exercises and content expressed in this column are for illustrative purposes only. Consult your physician before trying any physical activity or nutritional plan. RECOIL and its contributors are not responsible for any harm or injuries sustained while attempting these techniques.
depends, which is probably not what you wanted to hear. It depends on a bunch of factors, such as testosterone levels, cortisol levels, body temperature, alertness, and several others. For performance, the best coordination, reaction time, cardiovascular eficiency, and muscular strength happen later in the day (1). There’s a reason why you tend to ind so many sporting events in the afternoon to evening. This is also when body temperature and neural drive (the activation signal to the muscle from motor neurons) are highest. It makes sense that you’d want to prioritize athletic events later in the day, as these both lead to improved performance.
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FITNESS Q&A both testosterone and growth hormone. If you’re training for any speciic event
compared to water alone (4). If you’re in a situation where food
(Spartan Race, marathon, etc.) the time
isn’t as plentiful, however, this shouldn’t
of day of the event should match your
dissuade you from exercising. Being
training schedule. So, prioritize that over
physically prepared is of utmost impor-
what the research says. In other words,
tance. A fasted workout is better than
it all depends on your goals.
no workout at all, and at the very best, there’s a small difference in outcome.
WHAT’S BETTER: WORKING OUT FASTED OR FED? It’s very commonly thought that
IS SU E
working out on an empty stomach can
aware of between men and women
exercise. The theory is that the over-
when it comes to training. No, these
night fast causes lower stored glucose
won’t substantially affect how you
(glycogen) levels, which makes your
would go about training; they’re more
body shift energy use away from carbo-
like something to be aware of. When
hydrates in favor of fat. This isn’t fully
we’re talking about exercising in a
supported by science, unfortunately.
hot environment, women tend to have
There’s quite a bit of conlicting data to
a higher surface area-to-body-mass
support both sides of the discussion.
ratio (5). This can allow more heat to
It’s likely that if you’re working out
be evaporated, which would result in
also be taken into account. Without
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Heavy, multi-joint movements are great for causing increases in testosterone.
With regard to hormones, testosterone and growth hormone are very important to performance in the gym. Testosterone is well known to be important for building muscle. It happens to peak in the morning, and slowly decrease over the course of the day (2). Growth hormone, another hormone responsible for building muscle, primarily is released while you sleep, and continues for a little while in the morning. These two hormones are also released from a training session. Based on that, if your goal is to build muscle, it may be a better option to train earlier in the day to take advantage of the increased levels of
Want to increase growth hormone? Look no further than the deadlift.
There are some differences to be
lead to more fat being used as fuel for
in a fasted state, energy levels should
HOW IS EXERCISE DIFFERENT BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN?
better cooling. That being said, men usually have a
food for any length of time, it’s likely
higher sweat rate, which can be both
that the effect low blood sugar has will
good and bad (6). On the one hand,
be detrimental to performance, as it’s
this means better cooling, and on the
unlikely that your exercise output will
other hand, it leads to greater luid
be comparable had a meal been eaten
loss. So, men should be more aware of
before training, which has been shown
this and make hydration a top prior-
in research (3). There was another
ity. This increased sweat rate resulting
study that showed even the perception
in greater luid loss is mainly due to
of eating food prior to exercise with a
increased testosterone, causing sweat
placebo resulted in better performance
to occur quicker than estrogen.
FITNESS Q&A Speaking of having higher amounts of testosterone, men generally have about ive times as much as women, while women have higher amounts of estrogen. Testosterone tends to be better for strength-based activities, but estrogen can be important for endurance events. In fact, when compared to sedentary men, endurance-trained men have roughly three to ive times the amount of estrogen receptors, which has been shown in animal studies to cause an increased glucose
Strength training isn’t the only type of exercise to boost hormone levels. High-intensity conditioning can also do the trick.
uptake into the muscles. On the other hand, the increased testosterone in men leads to greater gains in strength and muscle size. Women have about two-thirds the muscle men do (7). There is, however, a much larger difference in upper body muscle than
lower body, with women having about IS SU E
half the muscle men do in their upper body, and about two-thirds in the lower body. This is primarily the reason why men tend to be stronger, especially in
upper body exercises.
REC O ILW E B .C O M
It’s more likely that the differences between men and women from a performance standpoint has more to do with body composition (muscle and fat mass) rather than gender alone (8). From a training standpoint, there isn’t much different that you would do with women compared to men. Each will respond well to training focused on their goals, so regardless of your gender, good training is good training.
IS IT BETTER TO EAT ONLY CARBS, ONLY PROTEIN, OR CARBS AND PROTEIN AFTER A WORKOUT? When a training session occurs, or after substantial physical activity in general, we both break tissue down An exercise program specifically for women? Don’t bother. Men and women both respond well to good training.
and use fuel. It’s important that both of these be addressed in your postworkout nutrition because they both ultimately result in improved perforAJ_Watt/istockphoto.com
mance and itness. The repair part of the equation happens when proteins
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IS SU E
REC O ILW E B .C O M
No need to scarf down a bowl of Fruit Loops. Stick to highquality, whole foods post-workout.
get broken down and new ones are
eat some whole-food (less processed)
made through a process called protein
carbs with some fruit. This way, you’ll
turnover. This is why protein after a
get the added beneit of fructose
workout is important; without it, you
(the sugar in fruit) to help maintain
would be limiting your ability to ad-
or restore the stored carbohydrates
(glycogen) in the liver (9). For a serving
For the average person, what does
size, two cupped handfuls of carbs
this look like? Well, in terms of protein,
for men and one for women are good
there’s nothing very substantial in lit-
places to start.
erature pointing to one form of protein over another. So, you could drink a whey protein drink or scarf down some
CONCLUSION Hopefully, you took away some
animal protein and it wouldn’t make
tidbits that you may not have thought
that much of a difference. Men should
about. It’s not so common to think of
shoot for two palm-sized portions of
some of this stuff, but it certainly can
protein, while women should eat one.
impact your performance in the gym
The other part of the equation is the
1. Racinais, S., Perrey, S., Denis, R., & Bishop, D. (2010). Maximal power, but not fatiguability, is greater during repeated sprints performed in the afternoon. Chronobiology International, 27(4), 855-864. 2. Hayes, L., Bickerstaff, G., & Baker, J. (2010). Interactions of cortisol, testosterone, and resistance training: inluence of circadian rhythms. Chronobiology international, 27(4), 675-705. 3. Mears, S., Dickinson, K., Bergin-Taylor, K., Dee, R., Kay, J., & James, L. (2017). Perception of breakfast ingestion enhances high intensity cycling performance. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 27, 1-21. 4. Schoenfeld, B. (2011). Does cardio after an overnight fast maximize fat loss? Strength & Conditioning Journal, 33(1), 23-25 5. McLellan, T. (1998). Sex-related differences in thermoregulatory responses while wearing protective clothing. European journal of applied physiology and occupational physiology, 78(1), 28-37. 6. Sidman, R., & Gallagher, E. (2008). Exertional heat stroke in a young woman: gender differences in response to thermal stress. Academic Emergency Medicine, 2(4), 315-319. 7. Lindle, R., Metter, E., Lynch, N., Fleg, J., Frozard, J., Tobin, J., Roy, T., & Hurley, B. (1997). Age and gender comparisons of muscle strength in 654 women and men aged 20-93 yr. Journal of Applied Physiology, 83(5), 1581-1587. 8. Bishop, P., Cureton, K., & Collins, M. (1987). Sex difference in muscular strength in equally-trained men and women. Ergonomics, 30(4), 675-687. 9. Berardi, J., Andrews, R., St. Pierre, B., Scott-Dixon, K., Kollias, H., & DePutter, C. (2016). The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition. Precision Nutrition, Inc.
or other athletic endeavors.
fuel used to complete that exercise session. This fuel is made up of stored carbohydrates. So it may be easy to see that eating carbohydrates after a workout is something that will also help replenish what you’ve lost. It has been very popularized to promote fastdigesting carbohydrates post-workout, such as white bread, white rice, or a bagel. It’s actually a better choice to
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Ryne Gioviano is the owner of Achieve Personal Training & Lifestyle Design located in Aurora, Illinois. He holds a master’s degree in exercise physiology, an NSCA Certified Personal Trainer, and Precision Nutrition Certified Nutritional Coach. Ryne is also an avid firearms enthusiast. For more information, visit: www.Achieve-PersonalTraining.com.
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George Washington is quoted as saying: “Your love of liberty, your respect for the laws, your habits of industry, and your
SLEEVE Artist: Mike Traina Mike Traina’s Art District
practice of the moral and religious obliga-
tions are the strongest claims to national and
Corey Straughn: This is my tactical George Washington tattoo done by my buddy Mike Traina of Mike Traina’s Art District here in Tampa, Florida. I got this piece done as an addition to the sleeve I’m working on. The theme is America and freedom. On the other side of the arm are a bald eagle and an American lag. Our country is losing its patriotism, and I want this sleeve to remind people what this country is great for.
individual happiness.” Another pearl of wisdom he once uttered was, “To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.” When we came across Corey Straughn’s tattoos we couldn’t help but give an approving smile. We think George would be proud to see a modern interpretation of his stance on guns
IS SU E
and patriotism as well. Enjoy.
REC O ILW E B .C O M
Got a gun tattoo you’d like to share? Please send some well-lit, high resolution photos to email@example.com, along with your name, the tattoo artist’s name, the studio name and city in which it was done, and 50-70 words on what the tattoo is of and why you got it. By sending in submissions, you grant TEN: The Enthusiast Network the unrestricted, transferable and sub-licensable, irrevocable, royalty-free, world-wide, and perpetual license to reproduce, distribute, publicly display, make derivative works of, and otherwise use the Submissions in any media whatsoever now known or later invented throughout the world for any purpose whatsoever, commercial or not.
n this issue of Brownells
Long range is where our second
Gunnery, we take a close look
cartridge shines. We’re usually
at two cartridges. One’s been
skeptical of new cartridge intro-
around since the dawn of the
ductions as they tend to arrive in a
Ice Age, while the other is a brash
blitz of marketing, linger for a few
here’s something comforting
upstart, but both have capabilities
years then fade from the scene as
about familiarity. While many
well suited to the needs of most
customers discover they really don’t
might think that new is synon-
offer much in the way of advantag-
ymous with better, we all know
Mike Searson builds a chassis
es over long-serving alternatives.
deep down why we still hang onto that
rile around the venerable 7.62x39,
Plus, they’re either expensive or
favorite pair of jeans. They it us perfectly,
beloved of heathen communist
dificult to ind in both rile makers’
they’ve lasted a long time, and there’s no
scum the world over, and discovers
catalogs and on store shelves. The
sense in getting rid of something that you
its value as a cheap way to repli-
224 Valkyrie, however, seems to be
know you can depend on. The same can be
cate training drills that otherwise
off to a healthy start, with numer-
said about irearms. We’ve all had at least
would be expensive if performed
ous builders offering complete ri-
one at some point in our lives that just
with patriotic, upstanding American
les or AR-15 uppers chambered for
sort of became an extension of ourselves.
30 cals. All joking aside, the x39
it, and Federal rolling out a com-
And we undoubtedly wish we’d hung onto
has a lot to offer rile shooters, as
prehensive and largely affordable
some, or could have at least tracked down
it’s widely available, inexpensive,
ammo lineup. It also ills a niche
a few that passed through our possession
and suficiently powerful to ring
previously occupied only by oddball
at some point.
steel, bring down a deer, or defend
wildcats, and allows the shooter to
hearth and home. It’s not regard-
really stretch the legs of the AR-15
and especially those who saw combat,
ed as a long-range round, but
platform. We’re looking forward to
we’re sure that you felt a connection to
precisely because of deiciencies in
seeing it evolve; perhaps next year
your service weapon. It was something
this role, it makes for a great short-
we’ll see it in a 6mm version.
your life depended on. If you’ve ever seen
range training option.
For anyone who served in the military,
any of those YouTube videos where vets were reunited with the same rile they held in the heat of battle, their reaction was much like seeing a long lost friend again. There’s something to be said for that, and that’s why Brownells has unveiled a line of vintage-inspired riles that new shooters, retired servicemen and women, and rile aicionados in general will be excited about. You’ll no longer have to scavenge through bins of used surplus parts to construct the retro rile you’ve been after. Whether you’re looking to relive your military days or just make an addition to your collection that blends classic aesthetics with modern functionality, Brownells has meticulously replicated a line of riles that were carried by thousands of soldiers from the 1950s up through the 1980s. The silhouettes of
CLASSICS ONLY GET BETTER WITH AGE
Stay tuned for more on the Brownells
these iconic riles are as recognizable as
out the offerings and place your order while
the 1911 or Thompson and faithfully pay
they last: Brownells.com/Retro. You can
Retro line in a future edition of GUNNERY
homage to the Eugene Stoner design that’s
even select from a complete line of retro
as we bring you more in-depth coverage on
as American as Hank Williams.
parts and furniture.
these new releases. While this may have
Of course it comes as no shock to anyone
In this issue of GUNNERY we examine
put you in a nostalgic mood to play some
familiar with Brownells that they would hon-
ways you can stretch out some old and
Rolling Stones and reminisce a bit, keep in
or our country’s military heritage this way.
new calibers and hopefully glean some
mind that Brownells is still doing business
As the company approaches its 80th birth-
lessons about the voodoo of ballistics that
the old-school way. They’re still dedicated
day, they’ve been in the game long enough
you didn’t previously know. Whether you’re
to ensuring you get exactly what you want.
to have their inger on the pulse of what the
a hunter, PRS shooter, or just irearms
Return any product you’re not happy with.
people want and even take the bold step of
geeks like those of us at RECOIL, we’re
Brownells’ 100% Forever Guarantee and
inally bringing some ixtures of the irearms
sure you’ll ind our continued collaboration
staff of experts are there to make sure
world back that were long overdue. Whether
with Brownells an entertaining and infor-
you’re singing about satisfaction instead of
it’s an AR-15 variant or an “AR-308,” check
dreaming about it.
BY MIKE SEARSON
never on par with the AR platform, but
he 7.62x39mm Russian round
American shooters began experimenting
was developed almost 75 years
with it in the late 1980s and, while the gen-
cheap ammunition seemed to negate this
ago in the Soviet Union by
eral sentiment was that it was similar to the
the Technical Council of the
.30-30 Winchester, students of ballistics
Peopleâ€™s Commissariat for Armaments. The round would be used in a wide range of
felt this was a disservice to both rounds. Legions of shooters fell in love with the
Yet, with the right projectiles, powder charge, and the correct rile, the 7.62x39 has the potential to be a real tack driver. This rile started life as a mini-action
Soviet infantry weapons from semiautomat-
dependable performance of the AK and
ic riles (SKS) to light machine guns (RPD)
SKS platforms and, of course, the plentiful
Howa bolt gun chambered in 7.62x39, and
and probably the most famous or infamous
milsurp steel-cased ammunition that went
placed in a traditional Hogue synthetic
rile in the world, the AK-47.
along with those riles. Basic accuracy was
sporter-style stock. The rile features a
BUILDING A BOLT-ACTION PRECISION RIFLE FOR THE 7.62X39
12-percent bolt throw for quick reloading
The first order of business was to get
We ended up picking up the dreaded
and reminded us a lot of the Remington
the action screws out of the Howa. The
Dremel tool and a whiz wheel and cut a
700, just slightly scaled down. Other
rear trigger guard screw came out quickly
slot in the screw in order to remove it with
features of the Howa mini action include a
and easily with an Allen wrench, but
a lat blade screwdriver. Then it hit us that
tang-mounted bolt release, three-position
when we attempted to remove the front
we would have a real ugly-looking screw
safety, and a factory two-stage trigger.
screw, the wrench stripped the inside
holding this project together.
This is a ine rile for a hunter out to get his yearly batch of venison, but we wanted
face of the screw. Thinking quickly, we went to our toolbox
Luckily, we didnâ€™t need the bolts as they are too short for the chassis, which includes
something more. Enter the Brownells
for an Easy Out and a drill. The Easy Out
two proper-length bolts! Dilemma over, we
BRN-1 Chassis. This one-piece, all alumi-
completely ate away at the metal. Then we
proceeded with the rest of the build, which
num M-LOK chassis is designed to accept
realized if the proper-sized Allen wrench
AR-15 buttstocks and pistol grips, and it
rounded out the inside of the screwâ€™s hex,
takes an MDT polymer box magazine. We
then the Easy Out was not going to be
briely contemplated a bedding job, but de-
went with an MDT Carbine Stock and Mag-
much help. The front screw was probably
cided to see for ourselves if a chassis could
pul MIAD Grip.
a bit softer than the rear one.
shoot without bedding, as is a common re-
With the action secured to the stock we
frain. So we mounted a Warne scope mount
the top of the receiver, align your base, and
base and a Harris bipod. The bipod mounts
Loctite the new mounting screws into place.
into a sling swivel stude in the lower front
We did the same with the rings and the scope.
of the stock. You do not need any M-LOK
For our optic we went with a Sightron
RANGE TIME Unused to a simple dot reticle with high magniication, we had to make a few adjustments at the range with regard to
adapters or any other attachment nonsense.
SII ixed power 36x42 with a dot reticle.
focusing. It was one of those rare days
This mounting is about as easy as it gets.
This model and this coniguration would
with little to no wind and, for that, we
not necessarily be our irst choice based
Mounting the Warne scope base is relatively easy, too. You simply remove the screws in
on the type of shooting we normally do, but
We set our target at 100 yards and
we heard great things about it from some
launched a few boxes of Federal American
benchrest shooters who were intrigued by
7.62x39 with 123-grain FMJ bullets. This
our goal with this rile. Besides, sometimes
round is boxer primed, with brass cases,
you need to change things up.
so it’s fully reloadable. It may be a bit
After mounting the scope we bore sight-
expensive compared to typical imported
ed the rile, and 20 minutes later we were
ammunition, but once we were dialed in at
off to the range.
the range, we shot several ive-shot groups measuring 1.75 inches on average. Moving on to what we perceived as better ammunition were the Hornady “Black” branded boxes. If you cringed at the prices
of the Federal American Eagle, these might
Howa went with a 0.311-inch groove diam-
addition of a Timney trigger. Howa’s factory
make you do the same. Initial shooting had
eter and a 1:9 twist on their mini action.
trigger is more than adequate; however, the
these striking a bit lower on our target than
Long story short, your favorite lavor of
the American Eagle, but a much tighter
imported steel cased ammunition may be
average group of 1.25 inches.
more accurate than you think through this
We had a few rounds of steel cased sur-
build or just buy a Howa mini action from
and decided to try them out through this
Brownells, and shoot it as is, we urge you
rig. Our three-shot group came in at about
to try it out.
1.82 inches. Not bad for some imported
So what’s it good for? Well, if you want
lacquer-coated, steel-cased ammunition
to hone your precision rile skills and lack a
from either Wolf or Barnaul. If you really
1,000-yard range, this combination offers
want to see the accuracy potential of the
the same ergos and bolt throw as many
x39 though, you either have to hand load, or
high-dollar rigs, but the intermediate car-
else think outside the box. In our experience,
tridge’s ballistics will have you dialing and
the tightest groups of any factory ammo are
doping wind as if you were running a 300
produced by Federal’s 123-grain Power Shok
Win Mag at the 1k mark. It’s capable of ine
hunting load, which in the past has turned in
accuracy with the right loads, but as we all
0.6 MOA spreads in several different guns.
know, the biggest impediment to hitting the target is the loose nut behind the butt. And while the practice needed to improve rilery doesn’t come cheap, at 22 cents per round
One of the problems with the 7.62x39
for steel case ammo, you can afford to
cartridge is that ammunition and riles in
practice a whole lot more with this rig.
this caliber have probably been built in
The BRN-1 chassis provides the proper
every single country on the planet. SAAMI
ergonomics for shooting from a bench or
speciies a bullet diameter of 0.311-inch
the prone position, and the barrel channel
and a groove diameter of 0.310 inch for
allows complete free loat of the barrel. We
this round. However, not every manufac-
believe this is more important to consis-
turer adheres to these standards and most
tent accuracy and barrel harmonics than a
“sporting riles” like the old Ruger Mini
Thirty ® or Thompson Center use the more traditional 0.308-inch groove diameter.
from a good rile into a great one. #
rile. If you go the route we did with this
plus ammunition rolling around in the truck
A NOTE ABOUT 7.62 BORE DIAMETERS
Timney version could really turn this build
Perhaps the only other change we’d
Howa 1500 Barreled Action Mini Action Heavy Blue 7.62x39 100-805-078 $449 Brownells Howa Mini Action BRN-1 Precision Chassis 100-820-001 $399 Modular Drive Technologies Rile Skeleton Carbine Stock w/Cheek Riser 100-820-030 $250 Magpul AR-15 MIAD Gen 1.1 Grip Kit 100-014-095 $34 Harris S-BRM Bipod Sling Swivel Mount 416-005-100 $105 Warne Howa Mini Action Mountain Tech Scope Base 947-000-266 $59 Lapua Sport Shooting Ammo 123gr FMJ 749-015-406 $47 Hornady Black Ammo 123gr SST 749-016-744 $23 American Eagel 124gr FMJ 105-200-325 $20
make to this rile combination would be the
Shooters used to have no choice but to
variables have an affect on how fast a bullet
trust the ballistic data found on the back
is moving as it leaves the barrel. In order
of ammo boxes. Thanks to affordable tech-
to see just how different the theoretical
hen you lip over an ammo
nology, gathering data speciic to the rile
numbers are from our practical measure-
box, youâ€™ll likely see a small
being shot is almost trivial. Data collection
ments, weâ€™ve undertaken a side-by-side-
chart listing numbers that
that is rile-speciic is the most reliable
by-side comparison, comparing the data on
relate to distances. These
way to know where your rounds will hit.
the back of each box to ballistic data we
numbers are the manufacturerâ€™s ballistic
The numbers on the back of the box are
data for how much the projectile will drop
much different than what we see when we
at the distances listed. This is a rough
measure muzzle velocities of our own ire-
guide meant to get shooters in the ballpark
arms. Differences in barrel length, cham-
when it comes to calculating bullet drop.
ber coniguration, gas system, and other
gathered ourselves using two sample riles.
TESTING Gun One is a semi-auto featuring a 20-inch 1:8 twist barrel. Gun Two is a
THE GENERIC DROP CHART IS ONLY A STARTING POINT
bolt action with a 24-inch barrel, also
To compare manufacturer-supplied data
distance is just the distance at which
with a 1:8 twist. SAAMI voluntary perfor-
to our observed data, we need to deine a
the rile is zeroed; most ammo boxes
mance standards use a 24-inch barrel for
few key terms. Muzzle Velocity (MV) is the
give an option for 100 or 200 yards. For
6.5 Creedmoor. After searching on each
speed, measured at feet per second the
Hornady ammo, the box gives data for
manufacturer’s website, we conirmed the
projectile is leaving the muzzle. Ballistic
a 200-yard zero. Federal Ammunition
data given was from a 24-inch barrel. From
Coeficient (BC) is a number given to a bul-
gives data for both a 100-yard zero and
this, we assumed the 24-inch barreled
let to show its effectiveness at overcoming
a 200-yard zero. Norma provides infor-
rile would have similar muzzle velocities
air resistance. Without going down a rabbit
mation based off of a 100-yard zero.
to the manufacturer-provided data. For the
hole, the closer the BC is to 1, the better
most part, the numbers were close, but far
a bullet cuts through the air. Drop refers to
enough off to make you miss a small target
the amount, in inches, the projectile drops
at farther distances.
at speciic distances, thanks to gravity. Zero
NEEDED EQUIPMENT The irst piece of gear you’ll need is a chronograph to measure the muzzle velocity. For our test, we used a MagnetoSpeed V3, barrel-mounted chronograph. The MagnetoSpeed is a newer type of device that’s simpler to use and much more reliable than a traditional optical chronograph. It uses magnetic sensors instead of old-school optical sensors that require sunshades, patience, and lots of luck to operate reliably. The next piece of gear on your list should be a ballistic calculator. This is your crystal ball, allowing you to predict where your round should hit. Most ballistic calculators feature algorithms that can account for atmospheric change. This is a big deal because an environmental change as simple as the temperature change when going from morning to afternoon has an effect on a bullet’s trajectory. We use a Kestrel 5700 Elite that has the Applied Ballistics solver built in. Kestrels are a little pricey, but they’re more than just ballistic calculators. They’re handheld weather meters that provide realtime environmental data for the most precise ballistic calculations you can get. At SHOT Show 2018, Kestrel introduced a lower-cost model
stick with a dedicated device with a proven record of reliability.
OTHER VARIABLES One important detail ammo manufactures that retails for $399. This model doesn’t
calculator phone applications that are far
fail to disclose is the environment in which
have all the features of the 5700 Elite,
less expensive than an AB Kestrel, but
the ammo was tested. While this may seem
but it will get you started in the right
they lack real-time environmental read-
like a non-issue, the bullet drop data on the
direction for gathering data and predicting
ings, unless you buy additional hardware.
box is directly related to environmental con-
where your round will impact downrange.
And, as much as we love our smartphones
ditions. The main piece of missing data is
And, should you want the features of the
for many things, a phone crash or dead
density altitude. Density altitude is a culmi-
higher-end models, they’re available as a
battery at the wrong time can mean losing
nating number given to account for several
irmware upgrade. There are also ballistic
the shot of a lifetime on a hunt. So, we’ll
environmental variables. In a nutshell, a
Manufacturer Hornady 140gr ELD Match
BC (G1) 0.610
Drop at 300 yards - 7.7 inches
Drop at 500 yards - 43.5 inches
Federal 130gr Hybrid Open Tip Match Hornady 120gr ELD Match Norma 130gr Match Hornady 147gr ELD Match
2,875 2,910 2,850 2,695
0.560 0.486 0.584 0.697
- 40.0 - 40.7 inches Not given - 43.2 inches
GUN ONE DATA (20-inch barrel) Hornady 140gr ELD Match Federal 130gr Hybrid Open Tip Match Hornady 120gr ELD Match
2,649 2,838 2,803
- 8.3 inches - 7.2 inches - 7.7 inches
- 46.9 inches - 41.4 inches - 44.9 inches
- 12.2 inches - 7.9 inches
- 49.5 inches - 44.4 inches
2,701 2,890 2,823 2,860 2,663
Norma 130gr Match Hornady 147gr ELD Match GUN TWO DATA (24-inch barrel) Hornady 140gr ELD Match Federal 130gr Hybrid Open Tip Match Hornady 120gr ELD Match Norma 130gr Match Hornady 147gr ELD Match
6.9 inches 7.0 inches 12.0 inches 7.7 inches
7.9 inches 6.9 inches 7.5 inches 12.0 inches 8.0 inches
45.0 inches 39.7 inches 44.1 inches 48.3 inches 44.6 inches
projectile will encounter less resistance at a
With so much information at our inger-
higher density altitude. With a lower density
tips, we still need to conirm our data. A
altitude, the bullet meets more resistance,
MagnetoSpeed and Kestrel combo will give
loses speed, and drops faster.
you far more precision than the manufac-
For example, with the Hornady 147-grain
turer’s generic drop tables. But, for ultimate
ELD Match ammo, shot out of Gun Two at
precision, test your rile and ammo out to
500 yards, a density altitude of -1,500 at
the distances you plan to shoot and then
a temperature of 15 degrees would only
true the real-world results back to your
adjust the impact by -0.3 inches. A greater
data. Truing ballistic data is outside the
density altitude of 12,500 and temperature
scope of this article, but there’s a wealth
of 90 degrees, shifts the point of impact
of info about the topic online if you search,
by +3.6 inches. Changes in density altitude
“truing ballistic data.”
are almost nonexistent at ranges inside of 600 yards. But, looking at the drop at 800 yards for each density altitude, the
CONCLUSION With the easy availability of muzzle
results are -166 inches versus -145 inches,
velocity measuring devices, affordable and
respectively. With that example, comparing
accurate ballistic calculators, and access
extreme differences of density altitude,
to quality factory ammo, there’s no reason
there is a difference of as much as 21
to trust another man’s data. Your rile is as
inches of bullet drop.
unique as a ingerprint and it’s also ever
When looking at the back of an ammo
changing, because every single round ired
box, pay close attention to the manufactur-
makes subtle, but permanent and cumu-
er’s stated zero distance. Most long-range,
lative changes to its accuracy. Just as you
precision shooters use a 100-yard zero so
bolster conidence by conirming your zero,
there’s no guessing game for a second con-
it’s a good practice to gather all the ballistic
vergence point, but some hunters prefer to
data you can to increase your chances of
use a 200- or 300-yard zero so they don’t
making hits. As they say, knowledge is pow-
have to use a holdover when an animal
er, so get off the back of the ammo box and
appears. When comparing your gun’s data
run your gun with its own data.
# Vortex Optics Viper HD Spotting Scope 100-013-183 $650 Kestrel 5700 Elite Meter W/Applied Ballistics & Link 000-002-915 $709 MagnetoSpeed MagnetoSpeed Barrel-Mounted Chronograph 100-014-631 $380 Hornady Match Ammo 6.5mm Creedmoor 147GR ELD Match 749-016-729 $29 Hornady Match Ammo 6.5mm Creedmoor 140GR ELD Match 749-016-348 $24 Hornady Match Ammo 6.5mm Creedmoor 120GR ELD Match 749-016-728 $29 Norma Match Ammo 6.5 Creedmoor 130GR Hollow Point Boat Tail 105-000-597 $30 Federal Gold Medal Berger Ammo 6.5 Creedmoor 130GR Berger Hybrid OTM 105-002-498 $30
to what’s on the box, keep in mind what zero you’re using in your ballistic calculator or your precision will suffer. Ammunition changes from lot to lot. There’s no getting around it, but the truer your data, the less ammo and money you’ll waste. Checking your muzzle velocity each time you get a new lot of ammunition will alert you to accuracy-affecting changes in MV between lots, and it’ll also help you identify a shot out barrel. Some of the irst symptoms of a shot-out barrel are a decrease in accuracy and/or muzzle velocity. Barrels are consumable, so before taking important shots, test the muzzle velocity to make sure your barrel isn’t on its last legs.
ctober 2017 welcomed the
Over the last few years, we have seen
oficial release of Federalâ€™s
the development, evaluation, and adoption
new 224 Valkyrie cartridge.
of commercial cartridges that maximize
Performance fanatics instantly
the ballistic effectiveness of common
frame of the Modern Sporting Rile â€” and it worked.
celebrated the round since it addressed
platforms. The long-action bolt rile got the
the shortcomings of the AR-15. Up to this
28 Nosler, where you can push a 0.672 G1
based on the 6.8 SPC. Federal took the ass
point, shooters who wanted real long-range
BC projectile at 3,125 FPS, the short-ac-
end of the 6.8 and combined all the great
performance from the AR platform, or
tion bolt rile was endowed with the 6.5
qualities of a performance rile round on
wanted to pursue medium game ethically,
PRC throwing the 0.693 G1 BC bullet at
top. They went with a 30-degree shoulder,
were forced into the more cumbersome
2,910 FPS, and now the AR-15 platform
something found on cartridges such as
.308 AR platform. The new cartridge
receives the 224 Valkyrie. The Valkyrie
6mm BR, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 Grendel,
perfectly illed in a missing piece of the
cartridge was designed to get the absolute
etc., to gain extra case capacity, while
best ballistic performance out of the small
maintaining consistent reliability. Most
The parent case of the 224 is loosely
EVERYTHING A 223 REMINGTON CAN DO â€Ś BETTER
accomplished shooters will agree that with
release of the bullet into the throat of the
new cartridge through its paces. The irst
a shoulder angle any more aggressive than
rile barrel, something a 223 Remington
rounds down range were out of a JP Enter-
30 degrees is asking for feeding problems
cannot do because the neck of the case is
prises CTR-02 with the 90-grain offering
in a semi-automatic.
too far forward and the bullet would sit too
from Federal Premium. After throwing a
deep in the case. Being pushed so far into
quick zero with a variable power SFP 1-8x
grains of water giving it a 19.8-percent ad-
the casing would prevent the neck from
scope, the testing began. First steps were
vantage over the 223 Remington. The neck
gripping the bullet properly because the
to compare drill times at close range to
is pushed back to give full purchase on
bearing surface would actually be recessed
see how much the additional recoil would
the bearing surface (the widest part of the
into the case mouth.
compromise the agility of the handy AR-15
The Valkyrie has a case capacity of 34.5
projectile that actually engages the riling of the barrel) of the long, sleek 90 grain
platform. The recoil was perceivable in scope
ON THE RANGE
Sierra MatchKing bullet. This provides con-
With everything looking good on paper,
sistent neck tension, which gives consistent
we headed to the range to begin running the
movement; however, it was not on the timer. The drills were run in exactly the same times as the control rile chambered in .223.
Next up was accuracy testing. At 100 yards, the JP performed well. Five-shot
IN THE FIELD We took the 224 Valkyrie into the
AMMO SELECTION Current offerings on the 224 Valkyrie
groups averaged 0.714-inches and 10-shot
depths of South Georgia to see how it
groups averaged 0.892-inches with the
does hunting whitetail deer, pigs, and
90-grain match load. Taking the system
coyotes. The 90-grain Fusion performed
tended for use against varmints, including
back to 800 yards went very well with
lawlessly. All animals were harvested
prairie dogs up to coyotes.
groups averaging around 1 MOA on steel as
quickly and humanly. To be fair if you
the range increased. The inal long-range
shoot something in the heart it almost
plinking and general-purpose ball round
test was administered on the cruel medi-
doesn’t matter what caliber you use. Com-
good for training
um of paper. The window to get the test
paring the ballistics of the 224 Valkyrie to
complete was rapidly closing with the sun
a 223 Remington yields an advantage of
offering and it performs well. Accurate and
setting on the horizon. The ive-round group
approximately 30 percent in foot-pounds
devastating on all game we ired it at.
was ired and the results were a 6-inch ex-
of energy at 300 yards. Our farthest shot
treme spread at 800 yards. This is a great
on an animal was 268 yards, but we felt
inent long-range bullet. A load that would
group and is dificult to replicate with a
conident in the round’s ability to perform
ire this bullet accurately and with enough
.223 due to the fact that even the slightest
out to 350 or even 400 yards, depending
velocity was the chimera of the AR-15 for
wind will open up a group at that range.
on the circumstances.
from Federal include: 60-grain Nosler Ballistic Tip Varmint in-
75-grain Total Metal Jacket which is a
90-grain Fusion is Federal’s hunting
90-grain Sierra MatchKing — the preem-
# Knights Armament KAC Bipod 100-023-381 $437 Leupold Mark 6 3-18x44mm FFP Scope w/TMR Reticle 526-000-204 $1,979 Spuhr SP-4616 34mm Scope Mount 100-011-211 $450 Exclusive Brownells Branded by Faxon Barrels
CONS The 224 Valkyrie had very few draw-
of the 224 Valkyrie conversion only calls for a 6.8 SPC bolt carrier group and 6.8 mags.
Brownells AR-15 .224 Valkyrie Barrel 24” 1-7 080-001-367
backs, but the few we found were that the magazines (6.8 SPC magazines are re-
Brownells AR-15 .224 Valkyrie Barrel 18” 1-7 080-001-366
quired) are not readily available, and while
With the launch of quite a few perfor-
the cost of the plinking ammunition is very
mance-oriented cartridges such as the 28
reasonable at $10 for 20, the high-end pre-
Nosler, 6.5 PRC, 6.5 Creedmoor, and the
cision ammunition is upwards of $20 per
300 Blackout over the last few years, many
box of 20 rounds. Also, in a magazine that
of us wondered what took Federal so long
is the same length as a standard 30-round
to bring theirs to market. Having earned
.223 magazine the .224 magazines will
mass acceptance from rile manufacturers
hold approximately 26 rounds. Right now,
already, apparently it was worth the wait.
Cross Machine Tool CO., Inc. 224 Valkyrie Upper Receiver 20” 100-027-275
not having a dedicated magazine for the
We feel the 224 Valkyrie is here to stay
cartridge is a problem. But, we’ve heard a
and all of us will be better for it. There is
solution is in the works.
no real downside to the cartridge and its advantages are massive.
PROS Anything you can do with a 223 Remington you can do 25-percent better with a 224 Valkyrie. It’s signiicantly less susceptible to wind drift, has less drop, has an impressive amount of retained energy, is extremely accurate, and the increased recoil is hardly perceivable when compared to a similar rile chambered in 223 Remington. We almost forgot to mention how easy it is to get into 224 Valkyrie. Dedicated AR platforms and upper receivers are one way to go, but guys that can turn an armorer’s wrench and work with a gas block are only a few minutes away from giving any AR a set of battle wings. Once the barrel is swapped, the rest
Faxon Firearms AR-15 224 Valkyrie Gunner Barrel 20” 100-027-473 Faxon Firearms AR-15 224 Valkyrie Gunner Barrel 24” 100-027-474
Cross Machine Tool CO., Inc. 224 Valkyrie Upper Receiver 22” 100-027-276 Cross Machine Tool CO., Inc. 224 Valkyrie Upper Receiver 24.5” 100-027-277 Complete Guns
Federal American Eagle Ammo 224 Valkyrie 75GR TMJ 100-029-356 $11 Federal Gold Medal Sierra Matchking Ammo 224 Valkyrie 90GR HPBT 100-029-350 $24 Federal Varmint & Predator Ammo 224 Valkyrie 60GR Nosler BT 100-029-352 $25 Federal Fusion MSR Ammo 224 Valkyrie 90GR SP 100-029-354 $24
Savage Arms MSR15 Valkyrie 100-026-386 Radical Firearms 18” 224 Valkyrie M-LOK Match Barrel 100-026-960 Radical Firearms 22” 224 Valkyrie M-LOK Match Barrel 100-026-961 Stag Arms Stag 15 18” Fluted .224 Valkyrie 100-026-962 Stag Arms Stag 15L 18” Fluted .224 Valkyrie Rile 100-026-963 CMMG MK4 DTR2 224 Valkyrie 24”BBL BLK 100-027-265
and changed firearm history. Now you can own a meticulously detailed, semi-auto replica fresh from the factory, at a fraction of the price of a scarce original.