Page 1


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



© 2017 Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc.


IS S U E 36




DOWNRANGE Editor’s Letter




VISIT Titan Missile Museum


TRANSPORT Colorado Gun Fighter Toyota




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






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?


106 118

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


134 148


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)





SDS Imports





Lynx 12












Sportsman Guide

Sportsman Guide



Russian Military Surplus Ushanka Hat

Chinese Military Surplus Sherpa Trench Coat








We Plead The 2nd MODEL:

Custom MSRP:

$250 URL:


AGP Arms Saiga-12 MODEL:

10-round mag MSRP:










3 6

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 ©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,



such as competition triggers and light-



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.







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

Official Sponsor

© 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 Hardpoint™ 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


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

Advertising. VP, Group Publisher/ Mark Han General Manager/ Glen Castle 813.675.3495 Ad Sales/ Shawn Sloan 813.675.3552 Ad Sales/ Scott McGregor 435.657.5923 Network Manager/ John Schwartze Advertising Operations Manager/ Monica Hernandez To advertise on this magazine’s website, or any of TEN: Publishing Media’s other enthusiast sites, please contact us at

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 BACK ISSUES To order back issues, visit REPRINTS For high-quality custom reprints and eprints, please contact The YGS Group at 800-290-5460 or 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

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MATCH GRADE TRIGGER Ǚǽǚ) 2/3"! /,-Ȓ&+1/&$$"/ 4&1%+1&Ȓ4)(-&+0






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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 | | 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:


6.75 ounces




Origin Action

1.25 inches

Black, FDE






2-Point and 2-to-1 Point Rile Slings


Zermatt Arms

.223, Standard, Magnum

Black, Brown





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.


NoizeBarrier BATTERY:

USB Rechargeable RUNTIME:

16 Hours


$360 URL:

URL: 2


3 1

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:

DA Hoodie

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.



TOPS Knives

Never Dry Products



Al Mar Mini SERE Operator

ND999 Ultra-Reined Oil Lubricant





Machine Mineral Gray, Syth Lord Black


8.75 inches

Two 5ml bottles




No. 5 Chisel Razor






3 ounces







$150 URL: REC O ILW E B .C O M 7 5





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.



Na’i WP

Linger High-Back Chair

NovX Ammo




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:







JASON SEMPLE Police Special Operations Veteran



1200 Harbor Dr. National City, CA 919150






— US Distribution opportunities still available. Please visit —


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)








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:

$40 URL:


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


$10 URL:





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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.

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©2017, kimber mfg., inc. all rights reserved. information and specifications are for reference only and subject to change without notice.


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.




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.



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.



Seismic monitoring for both ballistic impact and natural disaster was vital to tracking vibrational stress on the fully shock-insulated facility.



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

capable enemies.

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 out.

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.

QUICK FIX NOW. CLEAN LATER. Get back in the action fast. Gun Medic provides a blast of advanced cleaners and lubricants to quickly dissolve grime and build-up. In just 60-seconds, Gun Medic revives your dirty firearm so you can shoot now and clean later.

The Guncare People Since 1903


TITAN MISSILE MUSEUM Dare we say it ... just the tip.


1580 W. Duval Mine Rd. Sahuarita, AZ 85629 HOURS

Open every day of the year except for Thanksgiving and Christmas.



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.


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

director herself.

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

520-625-7736 URL



38 IS SU E




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

cream man.

Toyota Tundra is just such a truck.









40 Tucked away at the southwest end of


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

Extreme LED

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:



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

2 3



by Console Vault round out the interior


accouterments. The truck also sports a

82A1 URL:

WaterPORT pressurized water storage

system that can be used for drinking,


showering, or cleaning off gear. One could argue, “Why’d he stop


InSain Fab

there?” but we think JJ chose to keep


things simple. Although JJ says he

Custom URL:

misses the power of his diesel Super

Duty, he relays to us that maintenance


is comparatively cheaper and infre-


quent, which is a testament to Toyota’s

Bedslide MODEL:

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:


Custom MODEL:


VLTOR upper and lower, Noveske barrel, Trijicon optic, Innovative Arms Mini Grunt suppressor, Midwest handguard


Axxis Audio MODEL:







Bundle URL:


Console Vault MODEL:

Toyota Tundra Floor Console URL:


Cover King MODEL:

Black Multicam


7 8



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.




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

7.2 inches

supercars, and order Bolivian

3 inches

takeout on our Chinese-made smartphones, the mystique of



VG-10 stainless steel WEIGHT:

foreign-made products isn’t

3.9 ounces

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.”




In some cases, they’re


4 Kizer Cutlery MODEL:

Nomad OAL:

modern takes on ethnic designs

8.88 inches

and in others they’re replicas

3.75 inches

of ancient blades with stateof-the-art materials. Whether


S35VN stainless steel WEIGHT:

made in distant lands or

5 ounces

inspired by other cultures, the


knives here bring a fresh lavor to the usual tactical tastes. MAKE:

1 Bastinelli Knives MODEL:

Kalinou OAL:

5.5 inches BLADE LENGTH:

2.7 inches


N690Co stainless steel WEIGHT:

2.89 ounces MSRP:

$175, $185 (as shown) URL: MAKE:

2 Fox Knives MODEL:

Elite 271 Olive OAL:

6.9 inches BLADE LENGTH:

3 inches


N690 stainless steel WEIGHT:

1.6 ounces MSRP:




5 Spyderco Inc. MODEL:

EuroEdge OAL:

8.99 inches BLADE LENGTH:

3.92 inches


S30V stainless steel WEIGHT:

6 ounces MSRP:

$370 URL: MAKE:

6 Benchmade MODEL:



9.76 inches BLADE LENGTH:

4 inches


154CM stainless steel WEIGHT:

7.3 ounces MSRP:

$230 URL:


7 Cold Steel MODEL:

Colossus 1 OAL:

10 inches BLADE LENGTH:

4 inches


XHP stainless steel WEIGHT:

7.2 ounces MSRP:

$300 URL:






















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.

kimber tle™ ii pistols unequalled quality. unmatched performance.

TLE II (Tactical Law Enforcement) pistols are ideal for duty carry, tactical applications and personal protection. Aggressive styling, multiple configur ations, calibers, and sizes; the TLE II family of pistols is the quality you demand. Ready for the Fight Tritium night sights, front and back strap checkering and aggressive G10 grips. Stainless finish provides added protection from moisture, wear and tear.

New for 2017 External magwell models are now offered as the Custom TLE II (EM), Custom TLE/RL II (EM), and Pro TLE II (EM).

A TLE II for Every Purpose Models with accessory rails, threaded barrels, and calibers of 9mm, 10mm, and .45 ACP make the TLE II family one of the most comprehensive offered.


WHAT ALL GUNS SHOULD BE Š2017, Kimber Mfg., Inc. All rights reserved. Information and speciications are for reference only and subject to change without notice.

(888) 243-4522

36 IS SU E




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.

DIY modifications.)

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

Mini Draco


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

Sureire X300U-B


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

Trijicon RMR06


bolt-hold-open notch into the safety selec-

Cerakoted in SIG Gray by The Trigger Group

Tax Stamp


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,






In as-imported form, the Mini Draco comes complete with a hotdog bun handguard.


Lots of parts and pieces went into this rile to make it vastly more practical.



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

that time.

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


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


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.


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-



language version.



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,



the gun ate low- and high-brass bird



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 don’t need an AK pistol. Get Some at 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



RS Regulate Mount teamed up with The Dot That Would Not Die proved to be a winning slug combination.




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

would perform.

it’s correcting.

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.





18.5 inches


38 inches



$ $550



7.5 pounds

5 (as shipped) — any Saiga-12 mag works





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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.


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-

ied distance.

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.

100 meters.

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

6-foot walls

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?

Be prepared.

Mobile optimized, fully interactive, and featuring our trademark mix of witty writing and gorgeous art design, is chock full of expert advice, tips, and techniques to enhance your skillset. Plus, we have honest and in-depth reviews of the latest gear, gadgets, and supplies. It’s where preppers, survivalists, and those who want to be in the know come to stay ready. Experience it for yourself.


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



It’s worth noting at this point the num-



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

equipment selection.

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


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

speed kit.

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


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


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



when you consider that, somewhere on


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

the event.


There was time in my life when I didn’t at least throw it on the grill for a minute?


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


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-


At irst glance the only difference be-

company has made a name for itself accessories, such as the Mk47 Mutant,


is that it makes it shoot softer than a


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

defensive purposes.

petition hand load at 0.73 inch, while



Magpul has established itself as the



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


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-




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.





16 inches


32.5 inches


6.2 pounds


33 rounds


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sideration, we turned to a different


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

personal hygiene.

we initially set out to build a beginner

importantly, fun to shoot.


importantly, parent of child shooters,



The Ruger 10/22 provides a great foundation, especially due to the sheer amount of parts available. When introducing marksmanship fundamentals, some instructors



are proponents of an “irons-first”



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-

and handy.

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.

third-party options.

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 it’s too good to be true, there’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



expensive stock are polymer on the



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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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


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


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



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


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


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


106 IS SU E



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


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


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

and safety.

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

ind her.”


“I remember being on numerous K9

sources were big rocks, manhole cov-



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





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

interagency coordination.

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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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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“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


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-

positions including

into an open area from the rear.”

the damage.”

quire fast, precise, and safe resolution.

patrol, K-9

There’s nothing that can compare to

handler, Tactical

escaped, the suspect was still in the

“Because of the location of the



Gallegos and another SWAT oficer


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.

currently teaches

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.

book Apprehending

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

Fleeing Suspects.

MY DEPARTMENT NEEDS A HELICOPTER Most oficers want a helicopter available to them 24/7. The largest

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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






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-


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


11.2 inches

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

0.1 MRAD

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

home run.

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

THE POINT IS THE POINT RDF BULLETS FEATURE THE SMALLEST MEPLAT OF ANY NON-TIPPED MATCH BULLET. Nosler knows what gives competitive shooters an edge, isn’t an edge at all. It’s a point. And we’ve worked hard to bring you the smallest one ever—creating the flattest shooting match bullet on the market. Make the switch to RDF and put yourself on the podium.



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


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



that need to be thought out when



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-







Fixed-blade knives are the most reliable and quickest



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.


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

force option.

up to your support hand.




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.

against you.

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

Raceline Clutch

Yokohama Geolander MT G003

Cooper Discoverer STT Pro

Method Con6

General Grabber X3

BFGoodrich T/A-A/T KO2

XD Grenade

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


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



offers rapid, one-hand deployment. An



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.



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



we proved during Summit. Contoured G-10



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.


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-


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.


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

you have.

learning the fundamentals of marks-

variable intensity, illuminated reticles,

Yes, the U.S. military kicked a lot of


there are a few notable disadvantages

of shoulder-ired weapons, starting

combat sights and are still primary


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.







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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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-


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

one package.


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-



times on the lat range with my EO-



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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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


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


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, 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



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-

Tom Clancy.

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

marketing teams.

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








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.


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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Integral lash hiders can considerably cut the lash, especially from a short barrel.


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,

of these.

we try to use the most consistently lashy ammo we can get our paws on. Federal


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,

less prominent.

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, 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.


major advantage. It wasn’t wealth,



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.



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

for it?

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

do that.

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


treating parts out of 8620 steel in the Did KAC enter in the Army’s Individual




And now SHOT’s 75 percent of the



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



make your money. You’ll lose money


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

Aluminum frame.

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,

to that.

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


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?”





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



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 ….

the paperwork.”

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.”

In-f@$king-deed, sir.









You’ve decided that you want to start building some muscle,


but which time of day should your training session be to sup-


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.










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



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


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



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.


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/

mance and itness. The repair part of the equation happens when proteins

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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

equately recover.

(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:


Visit and get 10% off with coupon code: BTAD10

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-

Tampa, FL

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



and patriotism as well. Enjoy.



Got a gun tattoo you’d like to share? Please send some well-lit, high resolution photos to, 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-

RECOIL aicionados.

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



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: 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

mative read.

dreaming about it.



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

sticking point.

the Technical Council of the

.30-30 Winchester, students of ballistics

People’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



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 didn’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

went smoothly.

AR-15 buttstocks and pistol grips, and it

rounded out the inside of the screw’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

were fortunate.

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

heavier barrel.

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


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, you’ll likely see a small

being shot is almost trivial. Data collection

ments, we’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 manufacturer’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


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

MV 2,710

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

2,830 2,668

- 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 Federal’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 — 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

caliber puzzle.

best ballistic performance out of the small

maintaining consistent reliability. Most


The parent case of the 224 is loosely


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


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.

many years.


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


Faxon Barrels

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.

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