Page 1

PLUS

COMPLETE GUIDE TO THERMAL:

THERMAL

LOWER PRICES, HIGHER TECH

GUIDE

BUYER’S

VOLUME 6 | ISSUE 6

Supremacy

REMINGTON’S HIGHLY ACCURATE 700 PCR

A PRO’S PICKS 10 TOP GEAR CHOICES

20 ROUNDS OF THUNDER MOSSBERG’S 590M SHOTGUN

BLAZING FAST-HANDLING TROY’S SOCC CARBINE


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48

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NOVEMBER-DECEMBER, 2018

COVER STORY 38 Ride The Wave With the new Remington 700 PCR, think looong range and smaaall groups

FEATURES 14 Warfighter Worthy

100

The box magazine-fed 590M combines lightning-fast reloads with Mossberg reliability

14

26 Woman Warrior Firearms instructor Tatiana Whitlock talks guns, shooting, business and challenges

48 New Age Once cost-prohibitive, thermal optics have reached consumer market critical mass

56 Beyond 20/20 Field-testing the FLIR ThermoSight Pro PTS223, an infrared optic force multiplier

64 Buyer's Guide We have got 16 sweet thermal imaging riflescopes

76 The Upper Level

56

The Wilson Combat AR9 is accurate, wellbuilt—and a hell of a lot of fun to shoot

118

86 Practical, No B.S. Gear essentials from a guy who makes his living at the shooting range

94 Enlighten Your Defense With 500 lumens, Streamlight’s TLR-8 enhances your targeting capability

100 The Path to Accuracy Seven solid, field-tested steps to making anyone a better shooter (this means you)

106 Built On Quality

106

When talking Troy's SOCC Carbine, think beauty and the beast

118 Silence Is Golden One suppessor, one purchase, multicaliber capability from Silent Legion

COLUMNS

86 124

06 First Words 08 Uncovered 10 Reload 12 Dual Blades 124 Ground Zero 128 Pocket Dump 130 top Five on THE COVER Subject: Remington 700 PCR Photography: Ben Davis | Designer: Kelly Lee

5

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6

WORLD OF FIREPOWER

First Words TEXT BY DOUG JEFFREY

When my phone beeped a second time, I looked over at the screen to see who sent the text. The previous message had just come through not more than a minute before, so it seemed, but Siri doesn’t waste any time letting you know there’s a message. The name on the screen immediately inspired me to see what’s up. With the office phone to my right and the computer directly in front of me, I seldom have my phone on. This time I was glad I did.

have turned out much differently for the potential carjacker, who ended up behind bars, not behind the wheels of a new car like he envisioned. During those chaotic seconds and minutes, my friend said things went very well. “No shakes. No jitters. And I slept like a baby last night,” he said.

STREETS OF LA

Considering his background, I told him, that didn’t surprise me. Someone else, however, may not have been as lucky.

“Sorry the last couple of weeks have been such a thrash.”

LIFE LESSONS

“No worries,” I responded.

In conveying this story, there are several important points to consider.

Due to his line of work, I knew things could get hectic. With the intention of sending him an email in 10 minutes or so, I turned my attention back to the laptop just as the phone beeped again.

“No way,” I responded. “Did he use a weapon?”

First, thank goodness my friend is okay. This is a good man who works hard and is passionate about what he does. Second, it illustrates how important situational awareness is. With four people in the car in a revitalized downtown LA, he easily could have been so distracted that this incident could have gone south very quickly. Third, his training obviously paid off. Just go back and read the last quote. That says everything.

“He didn’t have a chance. He was staring down the barrel of mine before he could pull his out of his pack.”

So, take something away from this incident. Learn from it. Share it. Tell your wife or girlfriend.

“And someone tried to carjack me last night—to top it all off.”

“It’s unfortunate that you had to experience that, but I am glad you’re okay.” He said he was one of four in the car. If he were alone, he said the incident may

Remember, life is way too precious. Don’t let some idiot like that potential carjacker ruin your day. Train hard. Live strong.

NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2018 VOLUME 6 • ISSUE 6 EDITORIAL Jason Mulroney Director of Content Doug Jeffrey Editor Kelly Nomura Executive Managing Editor Karl Funke Managing Editor DESIGN Katia Sverdlova Kelly Lee

Design Director Senior Art Director

CONTRIBUTORS Gus Alonzo, Larry Atil, Steve Barlow, Bob Campbell, Simon Cruz, Jr., Ben Davis, Jason Davis, Amelia Earl, Peter Faria, Brad Fitzpatrick, Joshua Jackson, Paul Martinez, Gordon Meehl, Drew Pruhs, Richard Schutz, Mike Searson, Guy Spangenberg ADVERTISING Gabe Frimmel (714) 200-1930 Casey Clifford (714) 200-1982 Mark Pack (714) 200-1939 Spencer Redmond (919) 771-8919 John Bartulin (866) 866-5146 ext. 2746 Eric Gomez

Ad Sales Director gfrimmel@engagedmediainc.com Senior Account Executive Senior Account Executive Account Executive Account Executive Advertising Traffic Coordinator

MARKETING Michael Chadwick

Digital Marketing & Medial Coordinator

OPERATIONS Surajpal Singh Bisht Devender Hasija Shailesh Khandelwal Alex Mendoza Manish Kumar Mishra Victoria Van Vlear

Prepress Manager Newsstand and Circulation Analyst Subscriptions Manager Administrative Assistant Operations Specialist Intern Program Manager

EDITORIAL, PRODUCTION & SALES OFFICE 17890 Sky Park Circle, Suite 250, Irvine, CA 92614 (714) 939-9991 • Fax: (800) 249-7761 www.facebook.com/worldoffirepower www.facebook.com/eembybeckett WORLD OF FIREPOWER (ISSN 2332-0281) is published bimonthly six times per year (January/February, March/April, May/June, July/August, September/October, November/December) by Engaged Media Inc., LLC, 17890 Sky Park Circle, Suite 250, Irvine, CA 92614. POSTMASTER: SEND ADDRESS CHANGES TO WORLD OF FIREPOWER C/O ENGAGED MEDIA INC, VSI, INC. 905 KENT ST., LIBERTY, MO 64068. © 2018 by Engaged Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any material from this issue in whole or in part is strictly prohibited. CUSTOMER SERVICE Engaged Media, Inc. 17890 Sky Park Circle, Suite 250. Irvine, CA 92614 Subscriptions, Address Changes, Renewals, Missing or Damaged Copies (800) 764-6278 (239) 653-0225 Foreign Inquiries subscriptions@engagedmediainc.com customerservice@engagedmediainc.com Back Issues: www.engagedmediamags.com Letters to Editor, New Products, or to Contribute a Story or Photo djeffrey@engagedmediainc.com SUBSCRIPTION RATES $21.95/1 year, $34.95/2 years. Outside the U.S., add $26.00 per year payable in U.S. funds. Single copy price is $8.99. Please allow 6 to 8 weeks for new subscriptions to begin.

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â„¢ #SIGSUPPRESSORS

SIGSAUER.COM


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WORLD OF FIREPOWER

02. 01. Glock Custom US.Glock.com $1,599 and up

03. Mystery Ranch Komodo Dragon Assault Pack MysteryRanch.com $395

Peltor Sport Tactical 500 Electronic Hearing Protector PeltorComms.3m.com $149 and up


NOVEMBER-DECEMBER, 2018

05. Oakley SI Lightweight Tactical Gloves Oakley.com $30 and up

04. Spyderco Szabohawk H01 Spyderco.com $359.95

07. 06.

DeRespina Karambit DeRespinaKnives.com $109.99

Barnes Precision Match Ammunition BarnesBullets.com $33.49 and up

08. Oakley Holbrook Sunglasses Oakley.com $79 and up

09. PHOTOS BY BE N DAVIS

Ares Aegis Enhanced Belt AresGear.com $84.99 and up

9


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WORLD OF FIREPOWER

RELOAD [02]

[o4]

[07]

[06]


NOVEMBER-DECEMBER, 2018

PHOTO BY LARRY ATIL

01. BattlBox / AR500 4-Inch Gong Target

02. TOPS Knives / Operator 7

BattlBox is flat-out cool, and here’s how it works. It’s a monthly subscription service in which they send you a box of an assorted number of supplies—emergency supplies, hiking essentials, bushcraft, EDC gear, watches, backpacks, knives, shooting accessories, etc. Basically, they cover everything an outdoorsman digs. For your viewing pleasure, here we’re rockin’ the gongs from the box we received this month. ShootingTargets7.com makes them, and they will last forever with handgun ammo. When you hit them, which we occasionally do, they ring like a bell. The AR500 steel deflects the bullets with ease, and they are CNC laser-cut, which means superb quality.

From top to bottom, TOPS nailed it with this knife. Not only is the name awesome, but the 12.50-inch knife has classic American “fighting” knife aesthetics. And it’s also a workhorse. The differentially heat-treated blade, which is made of 5/16-inch thick 1075, is impact resistant on the edge and has a strong spine. The handle is tan canvas Micarta on the bottom and black G10 on top. Combined, that means you’ll have a grip and a half. The entire handle is more than an inch thick, so it will feel like you’re got a handful of ax or hatchet. If you need finer cuts, TOPS has you covered, as the finger choil allows you to get great precision.

MSRP: $24.99-$149.99 BATTLBOX.COM

03. Nanuk / 935 6 Up Pistol Case

[01]

Like its big “brother,” the 935 6 Up Pistol Case— which features closed-cell PEF foam—is super solid, it is constructed with precision, the seal is tight and it gets the job done. The case provides storage for as many as six handguns and 10 single- or double-stack magazines. You can also customize this a little. Simply remove the center foam inset and reconfigure the case for four handguns and a storage area for accessories. If you’re wondering, it will accept 1911s. It also has two reinforced eyelets for locking, so you can secure, store and transport your guns without any worry. The interior dimensions are 20.5 inches long, 11.3 inches wide and 7.5 inches high, and it is made of NK-7 resin.

[05]

MSRP: VARIES NANUK.COM

[03]

11

05. 5 Stone Products / Pistol Mask “Concealed in plain sight.” That’s what 5 Stone officials say about their IWB holster. They also say it’s designed for those who don't want to change the way they dress, just to conceal their weapon. When wearing the Pistol Mask, it appears that you have a cellphone on your waist. It even has a camera lens, speaker, volume buttons and power plug. The way it is designed gives the impression that it is too thin to be holding a weapon. And how about the draw? Execute a quick tug on the front panel, as that overrides the magnetic closure and releases the spring-loaded panels to open flat against your body. The Pistol Mask is adjustable to fit dozens of the most popular sub-compact pistols in 9mm, .40 caliber and .45 cal. MSRP: $49 (GRAY AND BLACK MODEL), $59 (ALL BLACK) 5STONEPRODUCTS.COM

MSRP: $190 TOPSKNIVES.COM

04. Nanuk / 990 Customizable Rifle Case Blame it on deadlines. This box arrived, and it sat in our office for a few days. Finally, we opened it, and we’re glad we did. The 990 features outstanding construction, it’s solid, the seal is tight seal and it’s customizable. It also features two spring-loaded handles and zooms around on polyurethane wheels. It is waterproof and is equipped with four PowerClaw latches, including 2 TSA keyed locks. The interior dimensions are 44 inches long, 14.5 inches wide and 6 inches high. It weighs 17.8 pounds, and the internal volume is 2.21 cubic feet. MSRP: VARIES NANUK.COM

06. Allen / Intercept Tactical Pack There’s also something alluring about backpacks. Ya know what we mean? Allen’s Intercept Pack is a 2,500 cubic inch capacity, hydration-compatible bag with internal compartments, multiple external accessory pockets and an external MOLLE web system. The Endura fabric construction makes it rugged enough that you could probably run it over in a tank. Its dimensions are 18.5x16x10 inches. MSRP: $64.99-$74.99 BYALLEN.COM

07. Honeywell / Impact Sport BOLT What is it about electronic hearing that is so amazing? The engineering? Yes. The quality? No doubt. And these score 10s in both categories. These muffs actively listen and automatically shut off amplification whenever harmful sound levels are reached. They block any noise, continuous or impulse, 82 dB or higher. To enhance low-level sound, the Bolt employs built-in microphones that amplify range commands and other ambient sounds. Notice that the slim design makes this a versatile earmuff for most shooting environments. They also have a 4-hour auto shut-off that preserves battery life. MSRP: $77.95 HONEYWELL.COM


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WORLD OF FIREPOWER

L

blade length 3.4 INCHES (8.6 CM)

blade thickness 0.121 INCHES (0.307 CM)

blade finish STONEWASHED AND SATIN FINISH

blade Hardness CPM 20CV

Zero Toleranc 0609 Look closely. The 0609 is a smaller, more carry-ready version of ZT’s Factory Custom. It is clean, streamlined and has detailed handle machining for grip and visual impact. And check the 3D-machined handle. It is anodized in bronze. It also brings some toughness to the table. The blade provides toughness and resistance to chipping as well as hardness and edge retention. It opens manually with ZT’s KVT ball-bearing opening system, but the flipper is there if you want it. Get up close and personal with this knife, and you’ll likely flip over it.

Closed Length 4.25 INCHES (10.8 CM)

ZT.KAIUSALTD.COM

$275 handle material TITANIUM, ANODIZED BRONZE

Overall Length 7.4 INCHES (19.1 CM)

overall weight 3.3 OUNCES


NOVEMBER-DECEMBER, 2018

13

L T C A I S

TEXT BY A STAFF WRITER PHOTOS BY GUY SPANGENBERG

blade finish TITANIUM CARBO-NITRIDE COATING

blade length 3.25 INCHES (8.3 CM)

Blade Thickness 0.106 INCHES (0.27CM)

Blade Hardness 8CR13MOV

closed length 4.25 INCHES (18.4 CM)

Kershaw Concierge The Concierge will definitely take care of all your pocketknife needs. No questions asked. The modified drop-point blade opens with a flipper and the manual KVT ball-bearing system, which means it will open fast and easy with one hand. The handle boasts a substantial grip yet it feels slim enough for EDC. Plus, for a secure grip, the boys (and girls) at Kershaw added a black, glass-filled nylon backspacer with raised jimping. Rock it over, and you’ll notice the inset pocketclip, which is flush with the handle scale. Finally, the blade, liners and hardware are titanium carbo-nitride coated. Any questions? KERSHAW.KAIUSALTD.COM

handle material G10

overall length 7.25 INCHES (10.8 CM)

$59.99

overall weight 4.3 OUNCES (122 GRAMS)


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WORLD OF FIREPOWER

Ready for battle, the Mossberg 590M is shown with 51 rounds of Hornady American Gunner Reduced-Recoil 00 Buckshot on tap.


NOVEMBER-DECEMBER, 2018

15

Warfighter

Worthy

FOR LIGHTNING-FAST 20-ROUND RELOADS & RIDICULOUS RELIABILITY, THE MOSSBERG 590M IS A TOP CHOICE TEXT & PHOTOS BY RICHARD SCHUTZ


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WORLD OF FIREPOWER

“The 590M’s claim to fame is its robust standard 10-round doublestack box magazine.”

W

hen it comes to competition, tactical or home-defense purposes, reliability is king, and ammunition capacity is a close second. Unless the rules of the competition or regulations prohibit, the more rounds on tap, the better. After that comes the ability to make a rapid reload.

With the doublestack magazine located at the center of the shotgun, between the shoulder and support hand, balance is not a problem.

DESIGN AND OPERATION Many types of rifles and pistols have had high-capacity magazines for years; shotguns have not. Most domestic shotguns, whether semi-auto or pump-action, are limited to how many rounds can be fit into their tubular magazines, usually four to nine. If an extended magazine tube is installed, the capacity can be increased by anywhere from one to eight rounds if you can tolerate the magazine tube extending beyond the end of the barrel. The problem then becomes how to quickly reload that tubular magazine. With a lot of practice this can be done quickly by loading two at a time with up to four in-hand. Unfortunately, few of us will ever truly master this process. Most of us will find slapping in a new magazine much quicker. Some manufacturers, especially foreign ones, make box-fed shotguns with single-stack or drum magazines, but they haven’t become mainstream and many suffer from reliability problems. Enter the Mossberg 590M and Remington 870DM box-fed shotguns in 2018. The two share

A look at the balance from the other side.

some similarities, but with its double-stack magazine the Mossberg definitely comes out on top in the capacity category.

JUST WHAT IS IT? The Mossberg 590M is a box-magazine fed, pump-action 12-gauge shotgun based upon the 500/590 family of shotguns. These shotguns use a twin bar-slide action and are well-known for their reliability. The 590M’s claim to fame is its robust standard 10-round double-stack box magazine. Five-, 15- and 20-round doublestack magazines are also available. With this firepower available, score one for the 590M. The heat shield model evaluated here (#50206) has replaced the Tri-Rail version that was introduced at the 2018 SHOT Show. On the current model the heat shield is mounted differently, and the forend does not have molded-in 1913 Mil-Std rail sections.

Many of the components used in the 590M are similar to those used on the traditional 500/590 shotguns, but few are interchangeable. Gone is the elevator assembly. The magazine tube, now designated the “guide tube,” is blanked off at the receiver by the forward box magazine lug recess and only serves as a guide for the action slide assembly. To accommodate feeding from the box magazine, modifications have also been made to the bolt and bolt slide. The bolt, however, still uses the rugged dual extractors found on previous models. The ejector also is still easily replaceable if it should fail. The trigger assembly is different from that found on the 590 model, and barrels are not interchangeable between models. Obviously, the aluminum receiver has been modified to accept the box magazine. Most notably, three slots have been milled into each side of the bottom of the receiver to accept the three lugs that are molded into each side of the top of the magazine. These serve to align and anchor the magazine into


NOVEMBER-DECEMBER, 2018

17

exactly the same position every time a magazine is inserted into the receiver. In a major departure from other box-fed shotguns, the 590M does not have a magazine well. Typically, the magazine well serves to guide the magazine into a uniform position each time it is inserted. Unfortunately, at the same time, friction created by the interface of the magazine well and magazine slows down the loading process and often prevents the magazine from dropping freely from the firearm when the magazine release button or paddle is operated. Score another one for the 590M. Magazines are inserted using by the same “rock and lock” method as the AK-47 platform. A forward lug on the magazine locks into a stationary recess in the receiver just behind the guide tube. The magazine is then rocked to the rear, where it locks into the magazine catch housing assembly. This bi-lateral magazine catch can be operated from either side by pushing a release button similar to that on an AR-style rifle. Pushing either of these release buttons causes the magazine to drop free under its

Four doublestack magazines are available for the 590M. From left to right they have 20-, 15-, 10- and 5-round capacities. These magazines are very rugged, yet reasonably light.

own weight. Just make sure that it doesn’t drop on your foot.

The receiver is also drilled and tapped to accept a Picatinny rail section or scope base for mounting an optic.

Operating controls on the 590M will be familiar to anyone who has used a 590 for any length of time. The trigger has the same feel, the two-position safety is in its usual location at the top rear of the receiver, and the action lock is placed behind and to the left of the trigger guard.

The fixed-length, black synthetic buttstock has a soft ¾-inch thick rubber buttpad to help mitigate recoil. By using a FLEX adapter, the 590M is compatible with the Mossberg FLEX buttstock system. FLEX forends, however, are not compatible with the 590M.

Sights are Mossberg’s standard fully adjustable tactical ghost ring rear and post front sight. The front sight has a fluorescent orange ramp.

The heart of the 590M is its magazine, which is made for Mossberg by Adaptive Tactical. According to the patent number and United


WORLD OF FIREPOWER

States Patent Office records, the patent for the design of this magazine was filed on September 16, 2011, and granted on May 28, 2013. Where has it been for five years? Magazines are constructed in two basic parts. The upper portion is common to all magazines and provides the transition from double stack to single stack, center feed. The lower portion varies in length according to the capacity of the magazine and is solidly attached to the upper portion using eight self-tapping countersunk screws. The footprint of the lower portion measures roughly 2 ³⁄8 inches by 3 ³⁄8 inches. The internals of the magazines consist of hardened steel feed lips, over-molded steel shell ramps, anticant rounded follower, ASTM-A-228 music wire spring and an easily removable floor plate. These magazines are extremely robust and well-made but are relatively light, with the 10-round version weighing in at 20 ounces, empty. What really makes the magazines extraordinary is that shotgun shell dimensions vary significantly from brand to brand, and even lot to lot. Their dimensions are nowhere near as tight as those for metallic rifle and pistol cartridges. This presents a significant challenge to anyone designing a magazine such as the one used by Mossberg.

“they all fed and functioned without a problem. Even when I mixed types and brands of ammunition, the 590M did not complain.” The heat shield on top of the barrel separates the operator from the hot barrel after 20 rounds of 12-gauge ammunition have been fired in rapid succession.

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18

MOSSBERG 590M HEAT SHIELD Features COMPACT, INTERCHANGEABLE HIGH-CAPACITY MAGAZINES (5, 10, 15 AND 20 ROUNDS) MOSSBERG 590 DEPENDABILITY BI-LATERAL MAGAZINE RELEASE GHOST RING REAR AND POST FRONT SIGHTS

Factory Specifications MANUFACTURER: O.F. MOSSBERG & SONS, INC.

The optional magazines are a bit expensive at $101, $127 and $140 for five, 15 and 20 rounds respectively, but why buy the 590M if you’re not going to buy the 20-round magazine too?

WEBSITE: MOSSBERG.COM MODEL: 590M HEAT SHIELD (EVALUATED) ITEM NUMBER: 50206 CALIBER: 12 GAUGE, 2 3/4 INCH MAGAZINE CAPACITY: 5, 10, 15 OR 20 ROUNDS ACTION TYPE: PUMP WITH TWIN ACTION BARS

CHOICES Initially, only two models of the 590M were available. First is the basic version, item number 50205, which has a bead front sight and a fixed cylinder bore. The second model is item number 50206 and is the one evaluated here. As I was completing this article, Mossberg announced a Shockwave version. I’m sure that once production has started to meet demand for these models, others will follow.

BARREL: 18.5-INCH BLUED STEEL CHOKE: CYLINDER BORE CHOKE TUBE SUPPLIED; COMPATIBLE WITH THE ACCU-CHOKE SYSTEM FOREND: BLACK POLYMER “CORN COBB” STYLE; STEEL-HEAT SHIELD RECEIVER: ALUMINUM, BLACK ANODIZED RIFLING: SMOOTH BORE RAIL MOUNT: ACCESSORY RAIL AVAILABLE FOR MOUNTING AN OPTIC SIGHTS: FULLY ADJUSTABLE REAR GHOST RING AND FRONT POST WITH FLUORESCENT ORANGE INSERT TRIGGER PULL: 8 POUNDS, 3 OUNCES, AS TESTED (AVERAGE OF 10 CONSECUTIVE PULLS USING A DIGITAL LYMAN TRIGGER PULL GAUGE) STOCK: BLACK SYNTHETIC (COMPATIBLE WITH FLEX SYSTEM BUTTSTOCKS (WITH ADAPTER)) OVERALL LENGTH: 39.5 INCHES WEIGHT: 6 POUNDS, 15 OUNCES (8 POUNDS, 3 OUNCES WITH EMPTY 10-ROUND MAGAZINE)

I would be very surprised if Mossberg isn’t also working on a box-fed model 930. Why wouldn’t

MSRP: $801


 



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WORLD OF FIREPOWER

“The ability to make lightningfast 20-round reloads simply can’t be overstated.”

A look into the open receiver from the bottom shows the guides for the bolt to follow.

The underside of the receiver with the bolt closed shows the bolt slide and the area that strips the shell from the magazine.

«

20

PERFORMANCE RIFLED SLUG AT 50 YARDS

High-performance fluorescent orange paint is used on the drift adjustable ramp front sight.

SM. GRP.

AVG. GRP.

WINCHESTER SUPER X X12RS15 1 OZ. RIFLED SLUG

2.3

2.6

FEDERAL PREMIUM PB127 DPRS TRUBALL DEEP PENETRATOR 1 OZ. RIFLED SLUG

2.6

3.0

HORNADY #86234 AMERICAN WHITETAIL 1 OZ. RIFLED SLUG

1.5

1.8

SM. GRP. - Smallest 3-shot group; AVG.GRP. - Average of three 3-shot groups AVG. PATTERN SIZE

BUCKSHOT GROUP SIZE AT 20 YARDS

FEDERAL PREMIUM PD132 00 00 BUCKSHOT

4 3⁄16

FEDERAL PREMIUM PD156 4B #4 BUCKSHOT

22 ¼

HORNADY #86240 CRITICAL DEFENSE 00 BUCKSHOT

8 13⁄16

HORNADY #86274 AMERICAN GUNNER REDUCED RECOIL 00 BUCKSHOT

11 ¹⁄16

AVG. PATTERN SIZE - Shot pattern size in inches, average of 3 shots

they? How about a 930M JM Pro version?

FEEDING THE BEAST For this evaluation, multiple brands and types of birdshot, buckshot and rifled slugs were used. For competition purposes, I used Federal 3 dram equivalent, 1 1/8 ounce, #7 1/2 shot. It functioned perfectly. For general testing I used the Federal loads that I use in competition, Independence 3 dram equivalent 1 1/8 ounce, #8 shot, and various 1 to 1 1/4 ounce, 2 3/4 to 3 1/4 dram equivalent, #6 to #9 shot shells from partial boxes. Again, all fed and functioned without a problem.

For defensive evaluations I used 1-ounce rifled slugs from Winchester, Federal and Hornady, #4 buckshot from Federal Premium, and #00 buckshot from Federal Premium and Hornady. Once again, they all fed and functioned without a problem. Even when I mixed types and brands of ammunition, the 590M did not complain.

SIGHTS AND OPTICS The fully adjustable ghost ring rear and post front sight work well, but for this evaluation (especially for competition purposes) I installed a Holosun model HS510C circle-dot reflex sight. This required the removal of the rear ghost ring sight assembly and the


22

WORLD OF FIREPOWER

installation a section of Picatinny rail on the drilled and tapped receiver. This was done in less than a half hour. The Holosun HS510C reflex sight was an excellent addition to the Mossberg 590M. They only issue with this combination is that it requires the shooter to lift his/her cheek slightly off of the stock to look through the optic. An aftermarket buttstock or riser would easily remedy this inconvenience. A QD mount is built into the HS510C for easy attachment to any Picatinny rail. The reticle can be configured for a 2 MOA dot only, 65 MOA ring only, or the two combined. Ten daylight and two nightvision-compatible brightness settings are available. Adjustments are 0.5 MOA per click. The unit weighs only 7.6 ounces.

AT THE RANGE, IN COMPETITION I fired the 590M on multiple occasions. The first range session was to sight-in the Holosun HS510C reflex sight, confirm that the shotgun functioned properly and to become familiar with its operation. The pattern was hitting where I wanted it at 20 yards within five shots. I then fired 20 more rounds of birdshot to make sure that the magazines functioned properly. Next came a one-day tactical 3-gun match. The 590M was used on two of eight stages. The one thing that I couldn’t practice was to remember to rack the shotgun after the first shot. I had previously been using a semi-auto shotgun in these matches, so racking the shotgun after each shot had to be learned. On both stages I hesitated after the first shot before operating the slide. Subsequent shots were not a problem. The 590M did its part and helped me earn a ninth-place finish out of 36 competitors.

When I approached the shotgun-only stage, I was confident that the 20-round magazine would easily get me through the 16-target course of fire. Someone must have told the person who set that stage up that I had a 20-round magazine, because they had added a Texas Star to the course for a total of 22 targets (double-helix, Texas Star, 9 poppers and a stop plate). Not to worry, I just dropped the empty 20-round magazine and slapped in a full 10-rounder. I made a final trip to the range for slug and buckshot accuracy/grouping evaluations. I took one shot at 25 yards using Winchester 1-ounce Foster slugs to find that the Holosun HS510C was dead-on. At 50 yards the Hornady #86234 American Whitetail 1-ounce rifled slugs had the smallest average for three 3-shot groups at 1.8 inches. Two of those groups were right at 1.5 inches. Buckshot hit at the point of aim at 20 yards. I used three types of 00 buckshot and one type of 4B buckshot. Both the Hornady Critical Defense 00 Buckshot and the Hornady American Gunner Reduced Recoil 00 Buckshot had group sizes that I expected at 20 yards. The Critical Defense 00 buck produced an 8 13⁄16-inch average for three separate shots and the American Gunner Reduced Recoil 00 buck returned an 11 ¹⁄16-inch average. What surprised me was how tight the pattern was for the Federal Premium Personal Defense 12 gauge 00 buckshot. The average for three separate shots was 4 ³⁄16 inches with one group at just 1 7⁄8 inches. The only issue, if you can call it that, that I found with the 590M was that with a full magazine the action was a bit stiff to operate. I blame that on the upward pressure exerted by the shell on the bolt slide. Initially I was concerned about the

The standard black synthetic buttstock with ¾-inch-thick rubber recoil pad is adequate, but with the installation of a FLEX adapter the full line of FLEX buttstocks can be fitted to the 590M.

The trigger assembly is similar to that of the 500/590 shotgun line, and the action release lever is located behind and to the left of the trigger guard. The magazine release can be operated from either side by depressing either of the release buttons.

weight of the 20-round magazine and its effect on balance and swing. With the weight of the magazine in the center of the shotgun, it was not a problem. I didn’t even think about it during the match.

FINAL THOUGHTS This one is definitely going to find a home in my gun safe. During all aspects of this evaluation, and specifically during competition, the Mossberg 590M functioned flawlessly. There really is nothing like a pumpaction shotgun for reliability. I have reviewed several high-capacity semiautomatic shotguns over the past couple years. While they all ran well at times, they were picky about what ammunition they liked. Even when I found ammunition that seemed to work reliably and bought a couple of cases of it, at some point in time the semi-autos would decide that they didn’t like


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it anymore and jam, usually in the middle of a match. When they worked, they were great; when they didn’t, jams were usually very difficult to clear.

Inside

The ability to make lightning-fast 20-round reloads simply can’t be overstated. No matter how good you are at speed loading your tube-fed autoloader, it isn’t even close to being as fast as dropping an empty magazine and locking in another.

The HS510C open reflex circle dot sight features dual power supplies with solar power during daylight usage and battery backup during low light conditions.

While the attributes of the 590M are outstanding for competition and home defense, for the warfighter those attributes are even more important. When their lives may depend upon a few extra rounds from a fast reload during a firefight, the Mossberg 590M could make a real difference. When it comes to high capacity and reliability in a 12-gauge shotgun, I don’t know of anything that can match, much less beat, the Mossberg 590M.

the Holosun HS510C Reflex Optic with 2 MOA dot, a 2 MOA dot only and a 65 MOA ring only using a single button.

Due to its open-frame design, the HS510C offers a wide field of view for better situational awareness. It is also parallax-free and has unlimited eye relief.

There are 10 daylight and two night vision illumination settings that can be selected by using the +/- buttons. This model uses a red reticle but a version with a green reticle is also available.

The reticle can be switched between a 65 MOA circle

A quick detach mount is standard. LIGHT SOURCE

LED

MAGNIFICATION

1X

MULTI-COATINGS

YES

BATTERY TYPE

CR2032

BATTERY LIFE

UP TO 50,000 HOURS

HOUSING MATERIAL

HOUSING COLOR

ADJUSTMENT PER CLICK WINDAGE & ELEVATION TRAVEL WORKING TEMPERATURE

WINDOW SIZE

SIZE

WEIGHT

6061 ALUMINUM WITH TITANIUM HOOD BLACK

0.5 MOA

+/- 50 MOA -22 TO 140 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT 0.91X1.2 INCHES

3.3X1.6X1.8 INCHES

7.6 OUNCES (ACTUAL)

The Holosun HS510C fits nicely on the 590M using a blued Picatinny rail/scope mount attached to the drilled and tapped receiver.


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Tatiana Whitlock (pictured) offers a number of firearms training classes, including concealed carry, handgun, carbine, and youth and safety.


NOVEMBER-DECEMBER, 2018

Warrior DRIVEN BY PASSION & EXCELLING WITH QUALITY, TATIANA WHITLOCK HAS CARVED A NICHE IN THE FIREARMS INDUSTRY TEXT BY AMELIA EARL | PHOTOS BY LARRY ATIL

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T

atiana Whitlock may describe herself as a mom and a firearms educator, but really she is a force to be reckoned with. Hanging up in her closet is her Shaolin Kempo black belt. Besides being a badass, Whitlock also runs her own personal training business and is involved with a number of other organizations in various capacities, including being the COO at GAT Marketing and the Director of Training at both Howell’s Indoor Range & Gunshop and for the national women’s organization, A Girl & A Gun. But that’s not all. If you ever watch the Pursuit Channel, you might catch her hosting the “Trigger Time” TV show, and she also cohosts “The Weaponized Woman” on the Lock N Load Radio show. As Whitlock so aptly put it, “There’s no dust on these shoes.” So, dust off a chair and grab a seat. You’re about to get up close and personal with one of the hottest commodities in the firearms industry today.

Firepower: When you were growing up, what were your goals?

Tatiana Whitlock: I’m the family slacker. I've got 12 or 13 patents right now and everybody else has about 200 apiece. I really thought I would be in the thick of it in the product design plastic world. I never saw this coming. Everyone in my family, all of my elders, are extremely creative and passionate people who just immerse themselves in their area of interest. That was the example that was set for me growing up. They have changed career paths and pursued radically different fields because that’s where their passion led them. That seems to be my story, too. If you asked me 10 years ago if I would be a professional gunslinger, I would think you’re kidding. I’ve only been doing this for seven years now. My son is 8 years old. Right before his first birthday I took my first gun class. I never picked up a rifle before that day, and now here we are. Now, 100% of my professional efforts are within the firearms community.

Whitlock: I was 10 years old when my 5-year-old little brother was getting bullied on the playground. He was getting roughed up every day so my grandmother decided to take action. To build his self-confidence, she signed him up for some martial arts lessons. During his lessons, I would go and watch him with my mom. As a kid, I was excruciatingly shy, but one day I gathered the guts to whisper in my mom's ear, “I think I would really like to try this.” My mother just about fell off her chair. She signed me up immediately. At a very young age, I fell in love with the martial arts.

your degree helped you grow your business?

Whitlock: I received my degree in

prompted you to start your own business?

Whitlock: I pursued firearms training because I loved it. I loved being a student. I

didn’t have a goal of becoming an educator. And that’s what I really identify myself as— an educator. Sharing my knowledge with people who are really interested in firearms themselves is a passion of mine. That’s been the thing that has driven me to learn more and share what I know with those looking to learn.

Firepower: How has

Firepower: What

Firepower: What sparked your interest in self-defense?

Whitlock’s interest in the martial arts resulted in an introduction to firearms as a means of self and home protection.

As a 10-year-old, Whitlock fell for the martial arts. She was inspired by watching her brother train.

Fine Arts and majored in Industrial Design at Rhode Island School of Design. Coming from an artistic background gave me an appreciation for exceptionally well-made and well-engineered products. I’m a complete nerd when it comes to product designs. Being able to be a contributor and not just a user has been a


NOVEMBER-DECEMBER, 2018

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“I needed to know that my abilities were correct and not just trendy. I needed to know that I could depend on myself to use this tool called the gun.” very valuable asset in the firearms community. I can take a concept and see how it would be manufactured and brought to market, which tends to help with critical decision-making early on in the design process.

Firepower: Name a few of the challenges you’ve experienced running your own business.

Whitlock: Learning the entrepreneurial baseline for any new industry is interesting. Offering products that are training packages and courses means selecting curriculums that are going to meet the needs of the surrounding communities. I could write a class that would be so much fun for me, but it could relate to only 2% of the marketplace. The challenges have been in really identifying


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“I am a complete Nighthawk custom 1911 groupie.” what their needs are and what’s missing in other training facilities and then creating a solution to that in the form of a training course.

protection?” There’s all these rules, and they think, “What if I break one?” There’s a lot of anxiety that can come up while learning this new skill.

Firepower: When it comes to teaching firearms classes, women are certainly in the minority. Have you encountered any challenges or unique situations since you entered this profession?

Whitlock: There are not many women who do the traveling road show, but there’s lots of incredible women educators in our space. Women are also hailed as the fastest growing demographic in the firearms community. We’re still a fairly small percentage, but it’s a growing percentage.

So, being able to relate to the person and to be able to inherently trust that person because she’s another female makes such a big difference. When you’re calmer, you perform better and learn faster.

What are Whitlock’s goals for her students? Among other items, she teaches them how to respond appropriately in any given circumstance and how to handle stressful situations.

Firepower: More and more women are training. Do you remember the first time you shot a gun? Describe what it was like.

Whitlock: (laughs) Oh, yes! As a

Women are coming to the range because they have a need, they have a fear. Something has prompted them to fear for their personal safety, and they’d feel safer if they knew how to handle a firearm, if it were to ever come to that.

teenager, I shot a .410 shotgun with my dad and brother. We had gone duck hunting in Maine and were sitting in a frozen duck blind eating crystallized peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. That experience was delicious. It wasn’t necessarily about the gun for me; it was about the experience and being out there with my heroes, my big brother and dad.

For many women, learning how to shoot a firearm is a very personal and intimate experience. They can be a little bit nervous. They’re unfamiliar with this foreign range base and they start thinking, “I need eye and ear

The gun was just a prop and just a piece of it. The first time I got serious about a gun was at an NRA Women On Target Clinic in Berwick, Maine. When I shot my first handgun, my grin reached from ear-to-ear. Then when we got to

Whitlock says she enjoys the mental and physical precision that is necessary to be safe and accurate with a firearm.


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the rifles, my grin just about wrapped around my head. I absolutely loved it. The experience was very much like the martial arts to me, and that was a space that was near and dear to my heart. The mental and physical precision that is necessary to be safe and accurate is something I love.

Firepower: Clearly

Whitlock: The first few years I was studying firearms, I divested of my businesses and I started traveling and going all over the country looking for people whose information and minds were dazzling. I trained with Steve Fisher and asked him who are the people he respects and who were the top trainers he believes in. He listed Pat Rogers, Dave Spaulding and Dave Herrington. Then I went to their classes and asked them the same

MEN VS. WOMEN FACTS ABOUT GUN OWNERS o1.

In the United States, around 62% of gun owners are male.

o2. On average, men are 19 years old when they own their first gun. Women, on the other hand, own their first gun, on average, at the age of 27. o3. A much larger percentage of women cite protection as the only reason for owning a gun. o4. Around 43% of women say they go to a gun range often or sometimes, while 58% of men say the same.

«

your love for firearms had a substantial impact on you. Explain your journey with firearms after the clinic ended.

Whitlock has the rapt attention of her students, which include men and women of all ages.

Find Tatiana On The Web LINKEDIN: WWW.LINKEDIN.COM/IN/TATIANA-WHITLOCK-10407432/ WEBSITE: TATIANAWHITLOCK.COM

Facts From Pew Research Center

TWITTER: @TATIANAWHITLOCK


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“The challenges [of running a business] have been in really identifying what their needs are and what’s missing in other training facilities and then creating a solution to that in the form of a training course.”

«

Train With Tatiana

PERSONAL TRAINING: TATIANAWHITLOCK.COM HOWELL’S INDOOR RANGE & GUN SHOP: HOWELLSGUNSHOP.COM A GIRL & A GUN WOMEN’S SHOOTING LEAGUE: AGIRLANDAGUN.ORG

To bolster her education, Whitlock has traveled across the country to train with top names in the industry.

questions, and the names they gave me expanded my quest. It was kind of a “follow the bouncing ball” education for me, but it all centered around practical education. I’m a single mother, and I live in a multigenerational household. My older parents live with me and my two little kids. If something happens, I would be the one to defend our household. I needed to know that my abilities to do that were correct and not just trendy. I needed to know that I could depend on myself to use this tool called the gun.

Firepower: I’m guessing you have a favorite gun or two. Mind sharing what they are?

Whitlock: I definitely do! I just love my 1911s. I am a complete Nighthawk Custom 1911 groupie. I adore their equipment. It comes from that fine, handcrafted background. They have a philosophy where one gun is started, made and finished

by one gunsmith. These are truly highperforming works of art. Also, I love anything that Agency Arms puts out. They’re another extremely intelligent company that’s constantly producing new intellectual property and innovating within the gun space. They are at the opposite end of the spectrum from Nighthawk, which is this classic 1911, and then you have Agency Arms, which produces this really contemporary aesthetic look with some really high-functioning features.

Firepower: Do you recommend any guns, or calibers, that are better for men versus women?

Whitlock: That’s one of those million-dollar questions. The honest answer is no, there aren’t any guns. There are firearms that are equally appropriate for men and women. It comes down to your level of physicality and your personal means and budget. It comes down to the construction of your bones and span of your hand’s palm. You


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Female shooters can relate to her, says Whitlock, because she is female, and that bond helps students learn better and faster.

they asked really analytical questions. It’s one of those things that really depends upon the individual and where they’re at.

Firepower: When people attend your shooting classes, what will they leave having learned?

Whitlock: I try to offer the programs that I wish I would have had along the way. I work with people to build the foundational skills for firearm manipulation and all of the essential skill sets, but we build them up in the context of their potential use. For example, when we are talking about safety, we discuss safety at the range and then we do a visualization about how that same safety rule would apply at home. At the range, we tell you to always point the gun in a safe direction. But what does that look like at home or in a Walmart parking lot? Women may be a small percentage of all gun owners, but Whitlock says they are the fastest growing demographic within the community.

have to account for any previous injuries, too. A gentleman I work with has wrist injuries and plenty of little old ladies I work with have arthritic hands. Finding the right firearm is based on the needs of that individual. You can’t just fit someone to a gun by saying “This is a great women’s gun,” or “You look like a hard-charging guy, take this Glock.” Now, I wouldn’t put a little old lady with a Desert Eagle, but it really comes down to the right fit between an individual and the spectrum of guns that are in the marketplace.

Firepower: Would you say there is an appropriate age for youth who want to begin training with firearms?

Whitlock: I have worked with kids who are 16 and have horrible emotional maturity, which is necessary to be present and safe on the range. Likewise, I’ve worked with some 5 year olds who have been exceptionally dialed-in and present a level of maturity that is truly amazing. They were self-confident, they knew not to rush and

We teach skillsets and concepts at the range with repetitions and then introduce a lot of visualizations to try to bridge the gap between range training and real-life situations. The ultimate goal is to teach people

how to respond appropriately in any given circumstance. It’s a very basic concept: Could I save my life if I had to? We teach people not just how to shoot, but also how to handle stressful situations.

Firepower: How do you teach people to cope with stress management?

Whitlock: There is this overused term called stress inoculation. Basically, if your brain has never experienced the route it needs to take to reach a conclusion when you’re presented with a problem, then your brain doesn’t know where to go. That’s how you can become a deer in the headlights. Part of what we do is we break down what happens when that chemical starts affecting the brain and teach stress management skills as we are teaching the drills, like breathing techniques. We teach how to be proactive and not reactive, because mistakes happen when you are reactive. This is largely accomplished by mental rehearsals and repetitions, which helps to prevent you from freezing up in a stressful moment.


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NOVEMBER-DECEMBER, 2018

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Ride the Wave TEXT BY MIKE SEARSON | PHOTOS BY BEN DAVIS

CHAMBERED IN 6.5 CREEDMOR, REMINGTON’S 700 PCR SCORES IN PERFORMANCE, AFFORDABILITY


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“The X-Mark has virtually no creep and ‘breakslike-glass.’ The factory setting is 3.5 pounds, so you can take it down to about 2 and go as high up as 5 pounds.”


NOVEMBER-DECEMBER, 2018

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« A

new trend in precision rifles has been blooming over the past few years: the chassis stock. Rather than using a bolt-action rifle with a traditional hunting-type stock, next-level shooters have been utilizing these lightweight aluminum stocks that feature a vertical pistol grip more often associated with their semi-automatic counterparts.

Remington Model 700 PCR Specs CALIBER: 6.5 CREEDMOOR MAGAZINE CAPACITY: 5 BARREL LENGTH: 24 INCHES

Bowers VERS-30T proved to be a versatile, rugged and quiet suppressor.

TWIST (RIGHT HAND): 1 IN 8 OVERALL LENGTH: 44 INCHES LENGTH OF PULL: 13.25-15.25 INCHES DROP (COMB): 0.25 – 1 INCH

In January 2018 at the annual Shooting Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, Remington unveiled their version of the chassis rifle: the Remington 700 PCR (Precision Chassis Rifle). When they asked us if we wanted to demo the rifle, we could not answer fast enough!

DROP (HEEL): 0.25 – 1.75 INCHES BARREL MATERIAL: CARBON STEEL BARREL FINISH: MATTE BLUE BARREL THREADS: 5/8 X 24 INCHES TRIGGER: REMINGTON X-MARK PRO (ADJUSTABLE) STOCK TYPE: MAGPUL PRS GEN 3 STOCK MATERIAL: POLYMER STOCK FINISH: MATTE BLACK AVERAGE WEIGHT: 10.5 POUNDS

The rifle was chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. In case you have been living under a rock for the past decade, this round is becoming the king of long-range shooting. We were slow to get on the bandwagon, but the round is breaking and setting new world records for accuracy and distance almost every other week. Let’s now take a look at this rifle.

MSRP: $1,199

distinctive look. Personally, I find Key Mod and Square Drop easier to work with for installing and removing accessories. There is nothing wrong with M-LOK; I just find these other two systems a bit more userfriendly for attaching lights, bipods, sling swivels and other necessities.

The Build At first glance, the forend appears to be Key Mod, but in actuality the teardrop-shaped holes are what is known as Square Drop. This was a system developed by Advanced Armament Corporation (AAC), a division of Remington a few years back. It is completely compatible with Key Mod, but it has its own

For a stock, Remington wisely chose the Magpul PRS Gen 3 stock. I have been using a first-generation model of one of these stocks on a precision AR for almost a decade and have nothing but praise for it. The cheek piece height and length of pull are completely adjustable should you need to


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change shooting positions. The pistol grip is a standard Magpul MOE type which works well for testing, but the beauty of the chassis is that you can swap out to another grip if you prefer. The knob on the bolt handle is threaded to give the shooter the option of changing this out at a later date. This is not something that I would have thought of, but I am glad that Remington went this route, as having a gunsmith cut, thread and replace a bolt handle is easily a $125 job. Moving down to one of the most critical components on a precision rifle, we come to the Remington X-Mark Pro trigger. This is a factory precision trigger that has been shipping on most 700 models for nearly a decade. The X-Mark has virtually no creep and “breaks-like-glass.� There is an external adjustment for trigger-pull weight with a 2-pound range of adjustment. The factory setting is 3.5 pounds, so you can take it down to about 2 and go as high up as 5 pounds.

Accessories Despite these custom features, you still need to add a few things to the Remington PCR in order to shoot it.

We tested the Remington PCR with the essentials, such as an excellent bipod by Accu-Tac, Leupold scope and a Bowers suppressor. A dedicated shooter can take this further by changing the pistol grip or bolt handle with a few turns of a wrench.


NOVEMBER-DECEMBER, 2018

100 YARDS MANUFACTURER

AMMUNITION

BARNES PRECISION MATCH AMMUNITION

140-GRAIN OPEN TIP

GROUP AVG.

RANGE

1.375

1.1 TO 1.45 INCHES

GROUP AVG.

RANGE

3.19

2.85 TO 3.53 INCHES

GROUP AVG.

RANGE

5.49

4.38 TO 6.62 INCHES

300 YARDS MANUFACTURER

AMMUNITION

BARNES PRECISION MATCH AMMUNITION

140-GRAIN OPEN TIP

600 YARDS MANUFACTURER

AMMUNITION

BARNES PRECISION MATCH AMMUNITION

140-GRAIN OPEN TIP

NOTE: Feet per second recorded by an RCBS chronograph using a five-shot average.

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The VERS 30T is a titanium-tubed silencer finished in matte black Cerakote. The internals are based on the long-standing (and high-performing) Bowers baffle stack. Also adopted from the venerable VERS line of silencers is the VersAdapt insert system, which brings the reliability and consistency of a direct-thread system but the versatility of an ability to change thread pitch. In this instance, we ran it direct thread. Direct-thread mounting is typically the way most long-range precision shooters mount their silencers. The primary advantages of direct-thread suppressors are simplicity, increased accuracy and more repeatable point-of-impact shifts. The primary disadvantage of direct-thread suppressors is that they can tend to come unscrewed on their own if you're doing a lot of shooting. This is more often when used with a rapidfire weapon as opposed to a bolt-action rifle or single-shot rifle. The Vers 30T is quiet, due to its construction,

HEADED FOR THE BIG TIME

as well as the fact that the bolt-action design is closed off and prevents any gas leakage that might be encountered with a semi-auto.

If you are still under the impression that 6.5 Creedmoor is a flash-in-the-pan Wildcat that will be obsolete in five years, consider the following:

At the Range For testing, we used a variety of ammunition types by Remington and Barnes. By far the best performer was Barnes Precision Match Ammunition 6.5 Creedmoor 140-grain Open Tip. We clocked it at 2,717.5 fps using our RCBS chronograph and taking a 5-shot average.

In October 2017, U.S. SOCOM (Special Operations Command) tested the performance of 7.62×51mm NATO, 260 Remington, and 6.5 Creedmoor cartridges out of SR-25, M110A1, and Mk 20 sniper rifles. SOCOM determined that 6.5 Creedmoor performed the best, doubling hit probability at 1,000 yards, increasing efective range by nearly half, reducing wind drift by a third and having less recoil than 7.62×51mm NATO rounds.

Our four 5-shot groups at 100 yards measured 1.1 inch to 1.45 inches. That may sound underwhelming at first, but the beauty of 6.5 Creedmoor is that the groups get relatively tighter at greater distances. Moving out to 300 yards we knew we had to account for about a 12-inch drop, and the rifle shot true to point of aim. The two 5-shot groups measured 2.85 inches and 3.53 inches, respectively.

While AAC's Square Drop rail system resembles Key Mod and is fully compatible, it has a bolder and more distinctive look.

“ … the Remington 700 PCR is still the lowestpriced factory chassis rifle available.”

Because the two cartridges have similar dimensions, the same magazines can be used, and a rifle can be converted with a simple barrel change. This led to its adoption and fielding by special operations snipers to replace the 7.62×51mm NATO cartridge in their semi-automatic sniper rifles, planned by early 2019.


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par with just hitting the steel on that one on our shooting day. At 600 yards, our drop was estimated to be almost 90 inches. That is 7 feet, 5 inches, if you want to get a more realistic idea by stepping outside mils, MOA, etc., for a few seconds. Our first group was a few inches higher than we anticipated. This might have been due to the haze from the wildfire smoke creating mirage, the 600-yard walk back from our target in the smoky air, or it could be that we are not the excellent long-range shooters we once thought ourselves to be. Our first group was 6.62 inches, but the second one shrank down to 4.38 inches after we took a 10-minute break. That last group represents a .73-inch MOA, which was much better than our initial groups at 100 yards.

“ … the beauty of the chassis is that you can swap out to another pistol grip if you prefer.” Performance Pleaser With performance like this, the Remington 700 PCR is still one of the lowest-priced factory chassis rifles available. Many times, an aftermarket stock will cost as much as this rifle itself costs. While we were very pleased with the rifle’s performance, we are sure that a better shooter could achieve better results than we were able to accomplish.

« Contact Information REMINGTON: REMINGTONOUTDOORCOMPANY.COM BARNES BULLETS: BARNESBULLETS.COM ACCU-TAC: ACCU-TAC.COM


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A shooter locks onto a target with FLIR’s PTS233.


NOVEMBER-DECEMBER, 2018

New Age THERMAL OPTICS ARE TURNING UP THE HEAT ON THE SHOOTING MARKET TEXT BY BRAD FITZPATRICK | PHOTOS BY BRAD FITZPATRICK AND THE MANUFACTURERS

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I’

ve taken several courses at the Gunsite Academy in Arizona, but this particular shoot was like nothing else I’d ever experienced. Instead of shooting in a traditional range with established targets, I was working my way down a twisted, steep-walled canyon that the team at Gunsite calls the Donga.

Here’s a view through one of FLIR’s thermal optics.

a special lens that focuses infrared light and sends the image to a detector in the unit. The thermal detector then creates an image based on the infrared light called a thermogram, and that is turned into electric impulses that are sent to a processing unit, which is then transitioned by a signal processing unit onto the display.

would have cost tens of thousands of dollars.

The whole process seems lengthy and cumbersome, but in reality the image appears a fraction of a second after the lens picks up the thermal energy. This technology was so advanced (and expensive) that military and law enforcement agencies were the only practical customers for advanced thermal imaging technology for quite some time. Today, however, that has all changed.

Thermal also has distinct advantages over night vision. For one thing, thermal imaging doesn’t require any ambient light at all, whereas night vision doesn’t work in absolute darkness.

As cores have become more affordable and smaller, handheld thermals and thermal l l bl b l l

High-tech thermal imaging is available—and affordable—to more hunters and shooters than ever before.

Advantages Over Night Vision

Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, thermal detects heat even if the object is still or partially obscured by brush or leaves. With night vision, an attacker or animal that is partially hidden behind brush can go undetected if it doesn’t move. Even a living b h f f d h d

The course follows a dried-up riverbed, and it includes several twists and turns that conceal objects until you are very close. I turned one corner and, through my thermal scope, I saw a coyote. I pressed the trigger of the Ruger rifle and heard the distinct ping of steel. “Hit.” The coyote was not, of course, a real coyote (they don’t come with steel plates affixed to them as far as I know) but rather a specialized target that, when tilted up toward the sun, heat up to mimic live animals through thermal. The reason that this course even exists is because so many shooters are now switching to thermal optics and a group of gun writers had gathered to test FLIR’s newest thermal imaging equipment. And scopes are far from the only thermal option. From helmet-mounted cameras to handhelds to rifle (and helicopter) mounted optics, thermal imaging is changing hunting, defensive shooting and combat.

How Thermal Works Thermal imaging seems high-tech, and indeed it is. To obtain clear images even in low-light conditions, a thermal imager uses

The Scout III is the next generation of FLIR’s compact thermal monoculars for outdoor recreation.

affordable—to more hunters and shooters than ever before.”


NOVEMBER-DECEMBER, 2018

PULSAR HELION

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of the reasons that thermal has become so popular for search-and-rescue missions. A person who is lost in a wilderness area can be found even if they are obscured by brush and unconscious. It’s also one of the primary reasons law enforcement and military professionals add a thermal unit to their helmet or riflescope. An enemy or criminal can hide, but they can’t hide their heat signature.

Besides hunting, the author (right) uses thermal for personal and home defense. Here, he uses Pulsar's Helion.

Why Thermal Works for Shooters It’s no exaggeration to say that I use a thermal monocular every day. If I do nothing else with a thermal unit, I always scan around the perimeter of my house and my farm before turning in for the night. My wife calls it “FLIRing,” the first time to my knowledge that the acronym Forward Looking Infrared has ever been turned into a verb. In my mind, a thermal is an absolute necessity for personal and home defense. With units costing as low as $600 (or $200 if you convert your phone to a thermal imager with FLIR ONE technology) there’s no reason why your personal defense kit doesn’t

The Pulsar Helion is a class-leading thermal optic that provides eight color palettes and incredible resolution thanks to 640x480 pixel sensor resolution. The XP38 comes with a 38mm objective focus and 1.9-15.2 zoom. The larger XP50 has a 50mm objective focus and 2.5-20x zoom capabilities, and both models ofer interchangeable lenses. The visible range on the XP38 is up to 1,350 meters (or roughly 1,500 yards), and the XP50 allows you to see objects up to 1,800 meters/2,000 yards. There are more than a half-dozen diferent color palette options, and the controls are simple to operate even in the field in total darkness. MSRP: $2,500-$4,000 WEB: PULSAR-NV.COM

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me forever leery of shooting without first shouting that the range is hot, and also using a thermal to scan the woods to be certain that no one has wandered into the trees downrange. The odds that anyone would ever ignore the range command and somehow wander onto it unseen are low, but there’s also the possibility, however remote, that someone might not hear the verbal command (or not understand what “the range is hot” means) and wander out in the area where we are shooting. Is it overkill? Yes. There’s a backstop directly behind my targets and a clear line of sight in both directions. But I don’t take any chances.

The author was one of several writers who had the chance to test FLIR’s newest thermal imaging equipment at Gunsite.

I also use my thermal when varmint hunting at night. To my mind, it’s the easiest way to spot an approaching coyote or fox without having to resort to a powerful white light. Even colored lenses alert the wariest varmints to your location. Thermal is much more effective.

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FLIR PTS223 SCOPE

include a thermal camera. Unfortunately, we’ve learned in recent years that certain events like riots and natural disasters bring opportunists into the streets. In those cases, a thermal is your best defense because it turns night into day and dramatically increases situational awareness. I could also list a dozen other uses for my thermal imaging gear that isn’t specifically related to shooting, everything from wildlife viewing to livestock care (thermals allow you to see “hot spots” on horses and cattle, sources on inflammation that could lead to lameness) to keeping vermin out of the garden. To improve

efficiency, I’ve even used the thermal to determine where my house is losing heat in the winter. But there are also numerous shootingspecific applications. For one, I use a thermal to scan the perimeter of my range before I shoot. My personal range is situated along a river and canoeists and kayakers who stop for a mid-trip break or lunch have a tendency to wander onto our property—and directly onto my wooded range that’s situated several hundred yards from the edge of the water. Having found one couple standing on the water’s edge as I was getting ready to shoot made

The FLIR PTS223 is one of the leading thermal scopes on the market. At its heart is the company’s industry-leading Boson core, which is lighter and more durable than any previous model available. The PTS223 is loaded with features, including recoil-operated video recording, so you can review the shot afterwards—a valuable asset when determining shot placement. The 12-degree-by-9.5-degree field of view ofers excellent situational awareness, and the unit comes with a 1.5 optical zoom and 2x and 4x zoom. There are several reticle and color palette options. The internal memory holds up to 2.5 hours of video and 1,000 still images. The PTS223 has a rugged black aluminum housing and fits securely to most rail-equipped rifles. It’s a great option in weapon-mounted thermal scopes. MSRP: $599 WEB: CARACALUSA.COM


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FLIR FLIR SCOUT

An IP-67 rating means it can survive being submersed; despite its low-price tag, the Scout TK comes with eight separate color palettes for optimum viewing. It even features still and video recording options. The 6-inch long, 6-ounce Scout is one of the lightest and most portable thermal monoculars on the market today. MSRP: $599 WEB: FLIR.COM

The rise in the number of thermal optics for rifles is directly related to hunting. Varmint hunters were early adopters of these optics, but perhaps the most dedicated thermal optic hunters are those who chase hogs. In areas where hunting pressure is high, hogs are mor inclined to feed at night. I saw this firsthand in a flooded rice field in eastern Texas. By day, the rice farm was quiet and still. When darkness fell, however, sounders of hogs— some numbering in the dozens—entered the fields from surrounding forests and decimated the crop. In total darkness, you could hear the pigs sloshing and squealing and stripping rice away from the plants. Those pigs had been persecuted by the farmer enough that they bailed out of the fields as soon as white light appeared. With a thermal scope, though, the nature of that pig hunt changed. It offered a solution to a very real problem for farmers.

LEUPOLD LTO TRACKER

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The afordable Scout TK packs a number of high-tech features into one light, compact package. It features a built-in 640x480 LCD display and allows you to see objects up to 100 yards away, perfect for scanning for intruders around your property.

Thermal has uses beyond hunting. The heat signature is visible even if the object is hidden. Therefore, it has become popular for search-andrescue missions. Pictured above right is FLIR's PTS536.

This handheld thermal unit will fit in your pocket (it’s not designed to be mounted on a firearm) and can identify objects out to 600 yards, thanks to a 206x256 thermal sensor with 240x204 px. The LTO Tracker has six diferent color palettes and functions in temperatures ranging from -4 degrees to 140 Fahrenheit. The startup time for the Leupold is less than 3 seconds, and the CR123 battery is good for 10 hours of continuous use. This lightweight, compact thermal is perfectly sized to fit in the pocket of a vest or hunting coat and it is durable enough to withstand tough conditions. MSRP: $909.99 WEB: LEUPOLD.COM


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Ready for battle, the Mossberg 590M is shown with 51 rounds of Hornady American Gunner Reduced-Recoil 00 Buckshot on tap.


NOVEMBER-DECEMBER, 2018

Beyond

20/20 FLIR’S THERMOSIGHT PRO SERIES PTS223 FEATURES HIGH-END TECHNOLOGY, DELIVERS HIGH PERFORMANCE TEXT BY DREW PRUHS | PHOTOS COURTESY OF FLIR

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I

am a bit of a Luddite when it comes to technology. I’m also intrigued by the look and utility of FLIR (forward looking infrared) and a fan of how it is used in the real world.

Working in law enforcement, I get to see and benefit from FLIR in the field, usually obtained from a helicopter. Knowing that someone is checking the area from above with FLIR gives me some reassurance because I know the observer is able to clear an area or simply keep an eye out for anything out of the ordinary. When the opportunity was presented to use and review a handheld, or in this case weapon-mounted, FLIR device, I jumped at the chance. When they green-lighted the

FLIR’s ThermoSight Pro Series features a durable aluminum alloy that can withstand drops in the field.

project, FLIR promptly shipped a ThermoSight Pro Series PTS223 weapon sight, which happens to be the smallest in the Thermal Imaging Weapons Sight Pro series.

goggles. This makes the ThermoSight Pro a viable force multiplier in daylight, low light or total darkness.

First Look

You can understand why I was anxious to try the product.

Getting to the heart of the matter, the ThermoSight Pro makes images from heat, not light. This allows the optic to help you “see” clearly without any visible light, as well as reveal camouflaged people, animals or objects where their heat contrast can be discerned. Using the ThermoSight Pro you can see people, objects or animals in difficult terrain in reduced visibility, see through smoke, dust or fog, see camouflage in any lighting condition, and see more and farther than would be possible with night vision

The unpackaging revealed a Pelican-style box which serves as a permanent, heavy-duty home for the ThermoSight Pro when it’s not mounted to a rifle. Besides the ThermoSight, the case contained a very handy quick start guide, a more in-depth user manual, two CR123A batteries, a battery caddy, a USB cable and a keychain 3-inch lens cloth. The batteries and quick start guide are enough to get you up and running, so I started with those. I only went to the manual once I had a


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“ …the ThermoSight Pro has internal memory that allows the user to record up to 2 1/2 hours of video or take up to 1,000 pictures.” T ATIONS DETECTOR TYPE: 320 X 256 VOX MICROBOLOMETER

Power On Once I powered up the ThermoSight by means of its Turn-Pull switch, I was quickly able to use its intuitive controls. The on/off switch offers a standby option that allows the user to activate and deactivate the unit using a remote. There is a diopter adjustment that allows you to adjust for optimum image sharpness in the eyepiece. The total diopter adjustment range is covered with two turns of the ring. There’s also a lens focus adjustment ring on the objective lens. This allows for obtaining the sharpest view of the scene. The total focus range is covered with a threequarter turn of the lens. The ThermoSight Pro is available in different versions with options for optical magnification from 1.5x to 6x. It also allows for a 4x digital zoom. The control panel is immediately accessible on the top of the unit. It is comprised

WEIGHT: 1.44 POUNDS

DIGITAL ZOOM: 2X, 4X

ZOOM: 1X, 2X, 4X

EYE RELIEF: 45MM

BORESIGHT ADJUSTMENT TYPE: DIGITALLY CONTROLLED

FIELD OF VIEW: 12 DEGREES X 9.5 DEGREES

The ThermoSight Pro has an integrated quickdetach rail mount. Once securely on my rifle, zeroing the optic was a simple matter thanks to the simple layout and intuitive controls. The optic also has the lens cover and battery cap dummy-corded so the entire unit is selfcontained.

«

SIZE (LXWXH): 8.7 INCHES, 2.7 INCHES, 3.3 INCHES

COLOR (HOUSING): BLACK

LENS SYSTEM: 19MM; F/1.0 directional arrows and a FOCUS RANGE: 10M TO INFINITY (NOT RETICLE TYPE: CROSS, CROSSHAIR, FOCUSABLE) central button. Options CROSSDASH AND NO RETICLE IMAGE PROCESSING: FLIR PROPRIETARY include brightness control, WEAPON MOUNT TYPE: PICATINNY, DIGITAL DETAIL ENHANCEMENT MIL-STD 1913, WEAVER RAILS INTERNAL MEMORY: UP TO 2.5 HOURS scrolling through the color OF RECORDED VIDEO OR UP TO 1,000 palette, zoom, UCMNUC/ PICTURES $2,199 OPERATING TEMPERATURE: -4 F TO +122 F FCC (User-Controlled Manual WEB: FLIR.COM Non-Uniformity Correction/ Flat-Field Correction), reticle of objects that are heated, similar to an iron on/off, reticle pattern control, The heat shield in the fire. Sepia only uses three colors and snapshot, record video and on top of the barrel separates the displays heat intensity from black to yellow. a main menu option. To be operator from the hot barrel after 20 Arctic sharply displays objects with a higher frank, some of this was more than I could rounds of 12-gauge ammunition have temperature difference, and finally Outdoor immediately appreciate, but some time on been fired in rapid Alert combines the life-like detail of Black Hot the ThermoSight helped me appreciate the succession. with easy-to-spot bright targets highlighted many options built into it. in dark red to bright yellow. It assumes the target is hotter than its surroundings. The standout feature, of course, is the thermal image. While looking through the eyepiece, My personal favorite option was Outdoor you will see that the screen delivers brilliant, Alert, as it was the most intuitive and had my high quality, clean thermal imagery. The subjects stand out in an obvious way. Mind ThermoSight Pro offers seven different color you, I was primarily working either in a options that allow you to work in low contrast structure or at night. It also didn’t hurt that daylight, total darkness and everything in the image made it look like I had Predator between. vision. When working outside, I would have to switch to White Hot because there was not as White Hot is probably the one with which much color when everything is warmer. you are most familiar and is good for scenes with high or low contrast. Black Hot makes Regarding the reticle, there are six options the scenes appear more lifelike, especially at each available in four colors. There’s a four night. Rainbow HC is a multi-color thermal MOA dot, something that will be familiar to that displays the temperature of objects in a fans of red dot optics. There’s a Line Dot, with wide color range. Ironbow simulates the glow


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“It also didn’t hurt that the image made it look like I had Predator vision.” a dot set in the middle of a broken horizontal line. The Cross Center Dot is a broken crosshair with a dot in the middle. The Cross is a simple “plus sign” option. The Crosshair is a “typical” old school scope crosshair that is immediately useable. Finally, there’s the Crossdash, which is a Mil-dot type design. As mentioned, each reticle can be made to be black, white, red or cyan. In short, the ThermoPro features a very useable reticle option for just about everyone regardless of background or experience.

Performance Assessment The ThermoSight Pro boasts multiple features packed into a compact housing. While heavier than a typical red dot optic, it is still light enough to be practical when mounted on a rifle. When looking through the eyepiece, the HUD (heads-up display) shows 10 pieces of real time information for feedback. There is the reticle, a shot counter, digital zoom, rifle profile, current color palette, digital inclinometer, battery status, compass cardinal direction, compass degrees and a record indicator. From a practical side, you have all the info you need in the moment— more than you’d first expect, and some that you’ll be glad you had after the mission. The ThermoSight Pro’s advanced image processing is built using the new FLIR Boson thermal core. The bright, high-definition display allows for absolute clarity. In addition to the electronic displays, the ThermoSight Pro has internal memory that allows the user to record up to 2 1/2 hours of video or take up to 1,000 pictures. The video can be shot-activated,

operated manually or operated remotely using the included USB cable. The uncompressed video signal is paired with a high-definition display for better detection and classification in the field. This allows for a versatile and customizable viewing experience.

With the doublestack magazine located at the center of the shotgun, between the shoulder and support hand, balance is not a problem.

Tactical Review I was also able to experiment with the ThermoSight Pro in tactical training. Ambient light was not an issue, so I had an immediate advantage when in a low-light environment I was quickly able to recogn and discern role players in t allowed me to address them and most importantly—whe attempting to conceal them up into a tight space. The co team was that having one T the stack gives us an additio advantage when searching Regarding a non-tactical en the benefit of working in th able to use the ThermoSigh areas where we have the o other wildlife. More than an to locate small animals that seen otherwise. The therma detection easy and allows y your time in recognizing an you have in front of you.

Overall Though The ThermoSight Pro Series sight is an amazing piece o Bringing high-end technolo

FLIR’s ThermoSight PTS233 Pro Series thermal core creates outstanding imagery for better detection and classification—day or night—and the author said it has a “ton of wellexecuted features” so you can tailor it to your specific mission.

in a robust package, it is packed with versatile features allowing for customizable viewing and user options. It has a ton of well-executed features, which means that you can tailor it to your specific mission. Advanced enough to be highly versatile while being intuitive enough to simply pick up and use, the ThermoSight Pro Series PTS223 is an absolute force multiplier and a window into the future of firearm optics.


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NOVEMBER-DECEMBER, 2018

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Going Hot MULTIPLY THE FUN FACTOR WITH A THERMAL IMAGING RIFLESCOPE TEXT BY BOB CAMPBELL PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE MANUFACTURERS

O

K, we’re guilty. We’re about to state the obvious, but how can we avoid it with this topic? Thermal imaging riflescopes are just plain cool.

If you haven’t seen them (somehow), you don’t know what you’re missing. If you’re new to them, seize this opportunity to catch up on some of the hottest thermal imaging scopes out there. On the other hand, if you’re an old pro, catch up on the latest and greatest. Most everyone knows that they have been in use for some time by the military. In fact, they were used as early as World War II. Thermal imaging scopes combine the fields of optics and advanced electronics, and the end result is that they slice right through smoke, fog and darkness to let you see what’s out there. But enough of that. Let’s cut to the chase. Enjoy the high-tech life.


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Pulsar Core FXQ50 OVERVIEW The Core FXQ50 may not be a full-size thermal optic, but it is the ideal alternative to one. The Core ofers a quick-release and a reliable return to zero feature that places simple thermal imaging control at the operator’s fingertips without compromising accuracy or shooting styles. A detachable eyepiece provides rapid transitions from the thermal riflescope attachment to monocular. The Core allows you to keep using your riflescope’s variable magnification and also provides eye relief. The green AMOLED screen reduces eye fatigue and works to enhance the image quality. SPECS & FEATURES OPTICAL MAGNIFICATION: 4.1X DIGITAL MAGNIFICATION: 2X LENS: 40-56MM BASE FIELD OF VIEW: 13.1° BODY MATERIAL: ROBUST COMPOSITE RECOIL RATING: UP TO .375-CAL. MSRP: $4,499.97 WEB: PULSARNV.COM

ARMASIGHT by FLIR Zeus 336 OVERVIEW This line of optics is based on the nationally recognized FLIR Tau 2 Vox microbolometer core. While police and law enforcement may use this optic, a committed predator hunter will also find it useful. While primarily a riflescope, the piece is also useful as a spotting scope and handheld imager. The Zeus features a long-wave infrared (LWIR) construction and is equally useful for day or night use. Since the Zeus emits no visible light, your position stays covert. Smoke and haze are no impediment to accurate shooting. The Zeus scopes are among the smallest and lightest thermal imaging scopes in their class, with layered features and direct-button adjustment. SPECS & FEATURES OPTICAL MAGNIFICATION: 3X (3-12X50); 5X (5-20X75) DIGITAL MAGNIFICATION: 1X, 2X, 4X LENS: 75MM BASE FIELD OF VIEW: 7.8° X 5.9° BODY MATERIAL: HARDENED ALUMINUM ALLOY RECOIL RATING: 700G MSRP: $3,495 WEB: ARMASIGHT.COM


NOVEMBER-DECEMBER, 2018

ATN ThOR 4.5-18x OVERVIEW ATN’s latest advanc through has improv image quality you ha this California-based The scope may just Their innovative core up to 16 hours of con new integrated intern You’ll remain target-re Calculator feature on 18x, which weighs 2.2 range and incline are c scope makes instant c reticle’s point of impac manager feature saves the “zero” in a profile, e rifles or distances. SPECS & FEATURES OPTICAL MAGNIFICATION DIGITAL MAGNIFICATION LENS: 50MM BASE FIELD OF VIEW: 6° X BODY MATERIAL: HARDE ALLOY RECOIL RATING: 375HH, .4 MSRP: $3,199 WEB: ATNCORP.COM

FLIR ThermoSight Pro PTS536 OVERVIEW The FLIR ThermoSight Pro Series packs greater levels of performance and functionality into a compact and lightweight housing. Onboard recording allows for the internal storage of up to two hours of video or 1,000 JPEG images. All FLIR ThermoSight Pro models also feature a digital compass and inclinometer. SPECS & FEATURES OPTICAL MAGNIFICATION: 4X DIGITAL MAGNIFICATION: 2X, 4X LENS: 50MM BASE FIELD OF VIEW: 4.5° X 3.5° BODY MATERIAL: ALUMINUM ALLOY RECOIL RATING: 7.62X51MM NATO (.308) MSRP: PRO SERIES STARTS AT $2,199 WEB: FLIR.COM

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ARMASIGHT by FLIR Predator 336 OVERVIEW The Predator is a solid-state, uncooled, longwave infrared (LWIR), magnified dedicated weapon scope intended for day and night engagements without the need to remove the sight from the rifle. The 24/7 mission capability is just one of its many strengths. Thermal imaging technology also allows you to detect targets by cutting through snow, dust, smoke, fog, haze and other atmospheric obscurants. Unlike the use of laser targeting or near-infrared illumination to augment Night Vision equipment, the Predator thermal imaging weapon sight, which has a display of 640x480, is extremely difficult to detect with other devices, as it emits no visible light or RF energy. SPECS & FEATURES OPTICAL MAGNIFICATION: 1.6X DIGITAL MAGNIFICATION: 1X, 2X, 4X LENS: 25MM, F/1.0 BASE FIELD OF VIEW: 13° X 10° BODY MATERIAL: CNC MACHINED AIRCRAFT-ALUMINUM ALLOY CONSTRUCTION RECOIL RATING: 700G MSRP: $1,949 WEB: ARMASIGHT.COM

FLIR ThermoSight Pro PTS233 OVERVIEW Available in three configurations, the FLIR ThermoSight Pro Series delivers smaller, lighter optics with increased image performance and range. Featuring on-chip video processing and an uncompressed video signal fed directly to a high-definition 1280x960 display, the FLIR ThermoSight Pro Series ofers improved object detection and classification in the field and clean thermal imagery in any light—from low-contrast daylight to total darkness—or through smoke, haze and light fog. Each FLIR ThermoSight Pro ofers 320x256 thermal resolution, Bluetooth 4.0 and USB-C connectivity, and user-controlled imaging palettes and image enhancement filters. SPECS & FEATURES OPTICAL MAGNIFICATION: 1.5X DIGITAL MAGNIFICATION: 2X, 4X LENS: 19MM BASE FIELD OF VIEW: 12° X 9.5° BODY MATERIAL: ALUMINUM ALLOY RECOIL RATING: 7.62X51MM NATO (.308) MSRP: PRO SERIES STARTS AT $2,199 WEB: FLIR.COM


NOVEMBER-DECEMBER, 2018

ATN Corp. ThOR 4 640 4-40x OVERVIEW Sighting with the THOR 4 640 4-40x with the unit’s One Shot Zero featur a shot, adjust your reticle, and you’r to go. The Ballistic Calculator featur designed to keep you target-ready. speed, range and incline are all calc and the scope instantaneously make rections to the reticle’s point of impa the profile manager feature will save ballistic settings and the “zero” in a p even when switching rifles or distanc The new THOR 4 640 4-40x is desig ofer the image quality you want, the capabilities you need. This optic ofe superior value with its New Generati Thermal Sensor and Dual Core Proce technology. SPECS & FEATURES OPTICAL MAGNIFICATION: 4X DIGITAL MAGNIFICATION: 40X LENS: 75MM BASE FIELD OF VIEW: 8.3° X 6.2° BODY MATERIAL: AIRCRAFT ALUMIN WITH CLASS 3 HARD-ANODIZED COATING RECOIL RATING: 375HH, .416 MSRP: PRICE $4,799 WEB: ATNCORP.COM

Trijic Elec Optic IR-HUN OVERVIEW Trijicon Electro Opt Riflescope provides class thermal image precision and a supe Unlike the more com cation systems that c Electro Optics utilize t that captures the heat and produces superior The IR-HUNTER provide with a full 640x480, 12image sensor and fully d processing. Digital focus trols allow the user to ad maximum clarity and sha SPECS & FEATURES OPTICAL MAGNIFICATION: 4 DIGITAL MAGNIFICATION: 36 LENS: 60MM F/1.25 BASE FIELD OF VIEW: 7° BODY MATERIAL: FORGED AL 6061T6 RECOIL RATING: 500G MSRP: $6,999 WEB: TRIJICON.COM

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FLIR ThermoSight Pro PTS736 OVERVIEW The FLIR ThermoSight Pro Series delivers smaller, lighter optics with increased image performance and range. Featuring on-chip video processing and an uncompressed video signal fed directly to a high-definition 1280x960 display, the FLIR ThermoSight Pro Series ofers improved object detection and classification in the field and clean thermal imagery in any light—from low-contrast daylight to total darkness—or through smoke, haze and light fog. Each FLIR ThermoSight Pro ofers 320x256 thermal resolution, Bluetooth 4.0 and USB-C connectivity, and user-controlled imaging palettes and image enhancement filters. SPECS & FEATURES OPTICAL MAGNIFICATION: 1X, 2X, 4X DIGITAL MAGNIFICATION: 2X, 4X LENS: 75MM BASE FIELD OF VIEW: 3° X 2.5° BODY MATERIAL: ALUMINUM ALLOY RECOIL RATING: 7.62X51MM NATO (.308) MSRP: PRO SERIES STARTS AT $2,199 WEB: FLIR.COM

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Trijicon Reap-IR OVERVIEW You might say that the REAP-IR is a key member of the S.W.A.P. (size, weight and power) “team.” This 590-gram thermal is ruggedly built and packed with features, such as digital 8X zoom. You may also choose polarity between three levels of white hot and three levels of black hot. Plus, to view your target with more precision, simply run this in Edge Detect Tactical Mode. To help with ballistic calculations and sighting in the system, the thermal sight displays your current reticle position in the lower left corner of the screen. SPECS & FEATURES OPTICAL MAGNIFICATION: 2.5X DIGITAL MAGNIFICATION: 20X, 8X LENS: 35MM F/1.2, F/1.1 BASE FIELD OF VIEW: 12° BODY MATERIAL: ALUMINUM 707 RECOIL RATING: 500G MSRP: $7,899 WEB: TRIJICON.COM


NOVEMBER-DECEMBER, 2018

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Pulsar Trail XP50

OVERVIEW The flagship Pulsar Trail XP50 delivers vivid thermal imaging from a worldclass 640x480px sensor core, ofering human-sized heat detection at up to 2,000 yards. The XP50’s popular “white hot” and “black hot” modes, 13 digital reticle options, variable 1.6-12.8x magnification and 50Hz refresh rate provide users with fluid imaging, customized thermal mapping and a richly contrasted field of view. To eliminate the need to carry additional batteries, all Pulsar Trail’s come standard with a rechargeable 8-hour battery pack. The Trail XP50 boasts a world-class AMOLED display and onboard video recording with 8-gb internal storage and Wi-Fi for wireless video monitoring, streaming and transfers. SPECS & FEATURES OPTICAL MAGNIFICATION: 1.6X - 12.8X DIGITAL MAGNIFICATION: 2X, 4X, 8X LENS: 50MM BASE FIELD OF VIEW: 12.4° – 9.3° BODY MATERIAL: GLASS NYLON COMPOSITE RECOIL RATING: .375 H&H MSRP: $5,499.99 WEB: PULSARNV.COM

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ATN ThOR 4 384 1.25-5x OVERVIEW The new THOR 4 384 1.25-5x is designed to provide superior value with its New Generation Thermal Sensor and Dual Core Processor technology to give you the quality you want at the price point you crave. The new platform also ofers an ultra-sensitive Next Gen Sensor with enhanced image processing capabilities and allows simultaneous onboard video recording and WiFi streaming at the same time. The Thor 4 series has Recoil Activated Video capabilities, weighs 1.93 pounds, is weather-resistant and incorporates a new recoil-resistant design. This scope is designed to withstand the kinetics of your high-caliber weapons. SPECS & FEATURES OPTICAL MAGNIFICATION: 1.25X DIGITAL MAGNIFICATION: 5X LENS: 19MM BASE FIELD OF VIEW: 6° X 12.5° BODY MATERIAL: HARD-ANODIZED ALUMINUM RECOIL RATING: 375HH, .416 MSRP: $1,999 WEB: ATNCORP.COM

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EoTech Light Weapon Thermal Sight (LWTS) OVERVIEW The LWTS, which weighs 1.85 pounds, is a versatile thermal imaging solution. This clipon system mounts in front of your day optics and allows you to view your reticle over the thermal image. Additionally, the LWTS can be used as a handheld observation tool or mounted by itself as a stand-alone weapon sight. Its thermal imaging capability allows for long-wave infrared observation and target identification under adverse conditions, including light rain or snow, smoke and low light to total darkness. SPECS & FEATURES OPTICAL MAGNIFICATION: 2X DIGITAL MAGNIFICATION: 1X, 2X LENS: 50MM BASE FIELD OF VIEW: 14.8° BODY MATERIAL: ALUMINUM ALLOY RECOIL RATING: 500G MSRP: $15,099 WEB: EOTECHINC.COM

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Night Optics SVTS-640 OVERVIEW The Night Optics SVTS riflescope line is the world’s first continuous calibration thermal riflescope line. Continuous calibration assures the screen will not freeze at a critical moment. The addition of Heat Tracker to the SVTS, which has a display resolution of 640x480, quickly identifies the next target with an arrow pointing to targets outside of the visible screen. The quick-select menu, waterproof construction and multiple reticle choices ensure fast target acquisition and accuracy in adverse weather conditions. SPECS & FEATURES OPTICAL MAGNIFICATION: 6X DIGITAL MAGNIFICATION: 1X, 3X, 6X LENS: 50MM BASE FIELD OF VIEW: 6° BODY MATERIAL: ALUMINUM RECOIL RATING: 500G MSRP: $3,499 WEB: NIGHTOPTICS.COM


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Shepherd Scopes Prowler 640 OVERVIEW Shepherd Scopes has developed a thermal imaging riflescope that is among the first of its kind. It features the dual reticle Shepherd developed 35 years ago that has a drop compensating reticle combined with thermal imaging. It is a weapon-mounted sight but may be used as a handheld imager as well. The Prowler, which features a pixel array format of 640x512, uses solid-state circuits and long-wave infrared technology. Dust, haze and fog are no impediment to the Prowler, although it emits no visible light or RF energy for anyone to track or for an animal to observe. The Prowler uses a MIL STD 1913 (Picatinny rail) quick-release mount.. SPECS & FEATURES OPTICAL MAGNIFICATION: 2X DIGITAL MAGNIFICATION: 1X, 2X, 4X, 8X LENS: 25MM BASE FIELD OF VIEW: 12.5° X 10°

BODY MATERIAL: CNC MACHINED AIRCRAFT-ALUMINUM ALLOY RECOIL RATING: 700G MSRP: $6,750 WEB: SHEPHERDSCOPES.COM

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Trijicon MK3-60 OVERVIEW Trijicon Electro Optics IR-HUNTER Thermal Riflescope provides an industry best-in-class thermal image to give users lights-out precision and a superior hunting advantage. Unlike the more common image intensification systems that collect light, Trijicon’s Electro Optics utilize thermal technology that captures the heat emitted from objects and produces superior clarity and detection. The IR-HUNTER provides a thermal image with a full 640x480, 12-micron thermal image sensor and fully digital, 60 Hz image processing. Digital focus and contrast controls allow the user to adjust the system for maximum clarity and sharpness. SPECS & FEATURES OPTICAL MAGNIFICATION: 4.5X DIGITAL MAGNIFICATION: 36X, 8X LENS: 60MM F/1.25 BASE FIELD OF VIEW: 7° BODY MATERIAL: FORGED ALUMINUM RECOIL RATING: 500G MSRP: $8,999 WEB: TRIJICON.COM


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WILSON COMBAT’S AR9 PISTOL FEATURES FLAWLESS WORKMANSHIP, OUTSTANDING ACCURACY TEXT BY BOB CAMPBELL | PHOTOS BY STEVE WOODS

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“The Wilson Combat AR pistol is a firearm that operates at another level …”

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et me make something clear right away. During my career as a writer, I don’t think I ever had as much fun testing a gun as I did with this one. Seriously, this has got to be the leading all-time fun gun I have encountered. Ever. Not only is the Wilson Combat AR9 pistol accurate and reliable, the recoil is low and its workmanship is absolutely faultless. Believe me, there is a lot to like and a lot to recommend with this pistol. On top of all that, it is also a superior personal defense firearm that provides area defense and home defense better than a pistol. I have extensive experience with Wilson Combat firearms, and I knew that I could expect precision, reliability and top accuracy. And I got all of this and more. The AR-type pistol isn’t new; they have been available for some time. But the Wilson Combat AR pistol is a firearm that operates at another level compared to most. The pistol is built to last and to perform well, and that performance will lead you to many good destinations … and our next stop is an account of my review.

First Up Let’s look at what this Wilson has. The AR9 pistol features Armor Tuff coating. I have

Forend to barrel fit is excellent, and the T.R.I.M. rail is a great choice for this 9mm pistol, the author said.


NOVEMBER-DECEMBER, 2018

but do not feature the Glock’s internal metal reinforcement. For any type of use, I am deploying Glock magazines. The muzzle is a threaded 5/8 x 24 with muzzle flash suppressor, and the pistol is suppressor ready. The pistol is available with either an 8- or 11.3-inch barrel. The overall length is 24.25 or 27.55 inches. The weight is 5.5 or 6 pounds depending on barrel length. The version I tested is set up for Glock magazines, but there is also a Berettacompatible AR9 available. The pistol is supplied with the Wilson Combat T.R.I.M. rail and Bravo Company Manufacturing pistol grip. The pistol

forearm support is a Shockwave Blade, which is standard. The AR9 features a Wilson Combat TTU tactical trigger unit, two-stage, with a 4.5-pound trigger. This is very important. Due to momentum and recoil issues, a 9mm AR platform doesn’t always prove hospitable with the standard AR trigger. The Wilson Combat TTU is a critical feature. The pistol features a proprietary bolt and barrel, but the rails and barrel are compatible with AR-15 accessories. My example was supplied with an Aimpoint

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I tested is equipped with the Gear Works stock, as this is a custom-type firearm and the Gear Works stabilizer is an option. This is an adjustable forearm support with good adjustment and a folding option. Please note the pistol must not be fired with the stock folded because that would damage the action. Because it folds, this makes for an even more compact package. There has been some debate on the stabilizing brace and there are differing opinions, even from the BATF. Most BATF agents are hardworking law officers wading through piles of paperwork and attempting to do a thankless job with limited resources. The recent BATF letters spanning a few months are confusing to some of us. I am not a scofflaw. While I think some laws should be changed, I obey them. Thus, I fired the AR9 pistol as a pistol using the brace as a forearm brace. I did not use the brace as a rifle brace. Before beginning to use the AR9, I lubricated the bolt well and inspected the pistol for

RUNNING A RED DOT

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Aimpoint’s H2 Micro The first manufacturer of red dot sights is Aimpoint, and I believe they have remained at the top of the heap. Their red dots are proven in harsh conditions and combat the world over. They have been the mainstay for police agencies and professionals who appreciate a quality optic. While not inexpensive, the Aimpoint costs less than gear that is far less proven. The design is excellent, and they have a proven track record. While all Aimpoint gear is durable and useful, some are better suited than others to each situation. There are a number of red dot sights that I feel ofer the most versatility. I think that the H2 Micro sights work best for most of us. This unit is suitable for use with a magnifier if need be. The H2 has the red dot advantage of extreme speed, and you can use it with both eyes open. The pistol features a Wilson Combat TTU tactical trigger unit, two-stage, with a 4.5-pound trigger.

With 1x—that is, one power or no magnification—the red dot is intended for the edge at moderate range. When you order a red dot, be certain to specify 2 or 4 MOA reticle. The choice is important, and you will need to think about how the sight will be used. The H2 has 12 settings but none for night vision use, which doesn’t matter at all to me, but the Aimpoint T2 will be the choice for tactical operators. The T2 has fewer daylight settings, but the night vision setting may be pretty important to some users. The T2 is proofed for a wider variety of climatic conditions. During one test period, I took the Wilson Combat AR9 to the range and fired over 200 rounds of Federal Syntech training ammunition, 150 of the 115-grain and 50 of the 124-grain load.

The advantage of the new Aimpoint is also battery life. They will last for five years on a single battery. That is a great leap from early red dot sights and many that are still in use.

Accuracy is excellent at all ranges, with head shots being carried of at a long 100 yards. Firing from the benchrest handgun firing position and taking a careful aim, I placed five of the Federal Syntech rounds into less than 1 inch at 25 yards. I hit the X at 100 yards.

The H2 weighs little over 3 ounces, making for a compact package. Yet it is service grade. The H2 features a wide range of setting for brightness.

This Wilson Combat AR9 is an accurate AR-type pistol, but the Aimpoint H2 Micro ofers excellent accuracy potential for any firearm.


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“During my career as a writer, I don’t think I ever had as much fun testing a gun as I did with this one.”

and offers excellent functionality. I took several loads to the range. In the intervening weeks, I fired more than a dozen loads with excellent results. The Wilson Combat AR 9 pistol was a joy to use and fire. I never encountered a stoppage, and the pistol exhibited excellent accuracy. So far I have fired about 750 cartridges. The pistol is a joy to fire. While using Brownells.com Bullshooter brace, with the barrel braced and as a pistol, I did not have any trouble putting five bullets into an inch at 25 yards. The Aimpoint red dot was set at the lowest setting, and I scored superb accuracy. The pistol’s 8-inch barrel provided a considerable velocity advantage over typical 4- to 5-inch 9mm Luger pistol barrel lengths. As an example, the superb Black Hills Ammunition 115-grain JHP +P exhibited 1,458 fps. The hard-hitting Hornady 135-grain Flex Lok broke 1,150 fps. Either

Note the muzzle brake affixed to the barrel. This brake proved effective during firing tests.

thing long gun that was useful for precision fire as a rifle and area fire as an automatic rifle. It replaced the 9mm sub-machinegun. For many years that is where the situation stood. The superiority of the 5.56mm cartridge made the 9mm SMG obsolete. Then Colt responded to LEO requests for a 9mm AR to fill a traditional SMG niche. Less expensive than the Heckler & Koch MP5, the Colt 9mm SMG enjoyed some popularity but was eclipsed by 5.56mm variants. Today there are 9mm AR conversions available, and there are many good reasons for owning a 9mm AR. The 9mm ofers inexpensive practice, ammunition that is available everywhere, and it provides good accuracy up to 100 yards—or even a little more. Admittedly, I have been resistant to the concept of a 9mm AR based on the superior power, accuracy and wound potential of the 5.56mm. That’s fine for LEO and others, but for most of us, the 9mm does just fine. My friend Darrell has a great deal of experience with the AR, including military experience, and he enjoys his 9mm AR. He asked me what the likelihood of me needing the rifle in a personal defense engagement or for hunting game. I

defense, the AR pistol has many advantages, including increased range over a shotgun. It does not surprise me that Wilson made this. The AR-type pistol is very popular so it makes a lot of sense that a 9mm AR-pistol variant would be introduced. The 9mm ofers inexpensive, easily found ammunition; and good maneuverability in tight quarters, such as vehicle defense and in the home. This is an ideal role for a short, fast-handling AR. The 9mm has the advantage of less flash and blast, and light recoil, too. The 9mm with the most powerful loads ofers good wound potential, more so from the AR pistol’s longer barrel. There are firing ranges that prohibit rifles and rifle-caliber pistols, but the 9mm AR pistol is just fine. This allows more practice. As an example, my pistol range is less than 20 minutes away, but the rifle range is a solid hour. There are also a number of venues for competition with the 9mm AR rifle and the AR pistol, as well. An AR-type platform is far more accurate than the UZI-type pistol and most 9mm carbines. The AR9 is a credible piece, well-made, and with more applications than we might first think.


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ghts The AR9 pistol is fast on target and well balanced. Firing with one hand affords good results at close range. Using the forearm brace and the Aimpoint red dot, I attempted several runs on steel gongs. Frankly, shooting the AR9 pistol on the same course I usually run with my 1911, Glock and SIG pistols was almost too easy! Like I said, I’ve never had more fun.

The pistol is finished in Armor Tuff, a durable finish with an excellent reputation.

nal defense is the chore, the Wilson Combat AR9 is far superior to standard handguns and will give a homeowner an edge in a defensive situation.�


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Practical, No BS

AN ELITE FIREARMS INSTRUCTOR REVEALS HIS TOP GEAR CHOICES FOR THE RANGE TEXT BY JOSHUA JACKSON | PHOTOS BY PETER FARIA

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ou could say I’ve seen it all. As a law enforcement and private sector firearms instructor and a regular student in a variety of training courses, I have had the opportunity to see hundreds of students bring all sorts of items to the range. Want a few examples? Here are a couple. Try duffle bag straps repurposed as rifle slings. Or how about camera pouches used to hold magazines? The list goes on, but you get the idea. You don’t have to take that route, but which direction should you go? After all, your choices are endless. The following are my recommendations. These top 10 products should make any student’s training experience better. All these items are practical, no-BS, hard-use pieces of equipment. =

PHOTO BY LAR RY AT IL

Peak performance is the priority, and Joshua Jackson’s (rear) gear recommendation is intended for that reason.


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o1. Electronic Hearing Protection

o2. Eye Protection

Sordin Supreme Pro-X

Crossbow Suppressor Glasses

MSA

“Ear pro.” While seen by many new students as Gucci gear and money that could be spent elsewhere, electronic hearing protection provides you the best opportunity to get as much as possible from your training experience. By amplifying voices while cancelling the sound of gunfire, you can hear what the instructor is saying and record notes as needed without the risk of failing to replace your ear plugs when the gunfire resumes. New shooters seem less left behind during the class and aren’t messing with “foamies” all day. Electronic hearing protection also increases the shooter’s awareness of what is going on around him/her. There are many options that range in price from $50 to several hundred dollars. My personal choice is the MSA Sordin Supreme Pro-X with gel ear cups. In the over-the-head category of hearing protection, they provide superior sound clarity and noise attenuation, as well as weather resistance. While on the upper end of the cost scale, they provide the best all-day comfort, and I have found them to be extremely durable. In my mind, the expression “buy once, cry once” comes to mind. On the lower end are the Howard Leight Impact Sport. Afordable and durable, they give students a good product at a decent price. MSRP $230-$270 WEB US.MSASAFETY.COM

ESS

Like ears, you only get one set of eyes, so you need a quality pair of glasses to provide ample protection. As with most of you, I, too, have my favorite pairs of sunglasses, but for an allaround range safety glass, the ESS Crossbow Suppressor is where it’s at.

The author highly recommends electronic “ears” because they amplify voices while cancelling the sound of gunfire. A quality of pair of “eyes” are also critical for the range. It may not be sexy, but the Cell Vault is essential gear for the range.

The Crossbow Suppressor has been my one and only for low-light and no-light shooting for the past several years. With great wraparound coverage and lenses that easily switch between clear, smoke and other oferings, the Suppressor is great for shooting. Where the Suppressor truly shines is the ultra-thin arms that don’t interfere with earmuf-style hearing protection. MSRP $50 WEB ESSEYEPRO.COM

o3. Practical Range Wear

Vertx

Hyde Pants

Stretch and flex. The author needs pants that will cooperate with him as he moves through a multitude of different movements and drills while teaching.


NOVEMBER-DECEMBER, 2018 If you’re looking for a pair of comfortable pants that will stretch and flex as you move through any series of range drills, Hyde is for you. They have a pocket layout and belt-loop sizing that lends itself to larger tactical belts. As a versatile and durable pair of pants, they don’t look overtly tactical, which lends them to range use or everyday use without making you look like you’re ready to go to war. Compared to a lot of other “less tactical” or nonpurpose-built pants, these work well and meet the needs of the end user without lacking. I’ve used Vertx uniforms for patrol, tactical deployments and instruction for several years. Until the Hyde, they all felt too tactical. The Hyde is practical and provides all the form and function needed. MSRP $75 WEB VERTX.COM

o4. Battery Storage

Thyrm

Cell Vault Whether they’re for weapon-mounted lights, hearing protection, a shot timer or your flashlight, batteries are the common critical component. The Thyrm Cell Vault provides secure waterproof storage for your AA, AAA and CR123 batteries. The Cell Vault can also be used to store other sensitive items such as medication, survival equipment or even tobacco. The Cell Vault can also mount to MOLLE webbing. For me, the Cell Vault beats everything else I have tried for storage, from taping to bagging to other plastic storage devices.

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o5. Handheld Flashlight

Streamlight ProTac 2L-X Handheld Flashlight Let us count the ways that flashlights are critical. One, they can be used for positive identification of a threat during a deadly force encounter. Two, you can use them to find your way out of a dark building during a power outage. Three, they are there for you to ensure that you didn’t leave a critical piece of equipment behind on the range after a low-light range session. Those add up to cover some critical elements, but where do you go from there? When it comes to durability, performance and cost, the Streamlight ProTac 2L-X is a great handheld light. This heavyweight packs 500 lumens and is dual-fuel capable with CR123A or rechargeable 18650 batteries. I can tell you that this light has yet to disappoint me. It’s competitively priced, and all-metal construction makes this light super durable. In the unlikely event that you need their customer service, I can vouch for it being amazing. MSRP $45 WEB STREAMLIGHT.COM

o6. Gloves

MSRP $19.99-$29.99

SKD Tactical

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Flashlights also play an important role, and this one packs 500 blinding lumens.

SKD Tactical’s gloves provide a great fit, great feel and great durability, says the author.


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WORLD OF FIREPOWER Among other benefits, the AWS, Inc. LAB features an inner Velcro belt and an outer stiff belt with a cobra buckle.

A close look at some of the author’s favorite accessories.

Jackson prefers the 2-Point because it cut weight and added strength that he says was unavailable with plastic sliding mechanisms.

Tactical Alpha Gloves Over the years I have used a lot of diferent gloves, but there is now one that reigns supreme. The SKD PIG FDT Alpha has become my go-to for the last three years. I had another glove that I loved, but I was only getting a few months out of them for shooting and tactical deployments. On a whim, I made the switch and haven’t looked back. The thin, yet durable, palms don’t afect my pistol shooting, and they aren’t destroyed loading steel targets or doing other range tasks. As a breacher, I am hard on gloves, and these have held up well. Great fit, great feel, durable and worthy of a second pair to ensure one for training and one for SWAT operations. What more can I say? MSRP $42.95 WEB SKDTAC.COM

o7. Range/Duty Belt

AWS, Inc. Lightweight Assaulter Belt (LAB) While I often want to run a concealment garment with an IWB or AIWB holster, I also like to run an overt belt for several reasons. Frequently, I like to train and shoot with a setup that’s similar to my duty belt, and the simplicity of taking my entire shooting rig on and of as one belt is really convenient. In an efort to get away from the cumbersome battle belt, the AWS, Inc. LAB uses an inner Velcro belt and an outer stif belt with a cobra

buckle. Plus, moveable MOLLE panel tabs can be placed as needed so that pouches can be mounted. I purchased one of these for teaching and liked it so much I bought a second as a dedicated belt for SWAT callouts. And my staf thinks I’m cheap. MSRP $59.25 WEB AWSIN.COM

o8. Rifle/Carbine Sling

SierraTac

2-Point Adjustable Padded Sling Having settled in for the long haul on one brand, and having a second brand as the general issue sling for work, I frankly hadn’t looked at slings in quite some time. My go-to and my issued work sling did just fine. Enter the SierraTac 2-Point Sling. With a metal slider and lightweight components, the 2-Point cut weight where it could and added strength that was unavailable with plastic sliding mechanisms. The padded section makes me grateful the padding is there, but there is not so much padding that it impacts form or function. I transitioned to this sling for all my teaching and for my SWAT rifle and have not had any issues, nor have I been able to identify any shortcomings. MSRP $59.99 WEB SIERRATAC.COM


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WORLD OF FIREPOWER From another perspective, this also captures a close look at some of the author’s favorite accessories.

o9. Miscellaneous

L.A.G. Tactical

Magazine Pouches and More When it comes to durability and quality, L.A.G. Tactical is my company. I look to them each and every time for their concealment and low-visibility holsters and other Kydex equipment. One of the items I have is the company’s new Modular Carry System (M.C.S.), which is available as a standalone individual carrier or you can attach it using the flexible bands. This is the definition of form and function. Where past Kydex designs fell short by becoming too long when making a two-magazine or other item carrier, the M.C.S. shines. Why? There is still flexibility between the two items as it is two connected pouches rather than one long one. Additionally, the inherent ability to adapt or change one piece to the task or as end user preference dictates is hugely beneficial. I have been using L.A.G. Tactical Kydex carriers on duty daily for several years without hesitation or complaint.

A shot timer is a great way to enhance your skills and provide valuable data to measure your performance.

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10. Shot Timer

Competitive Edge Dynamics

CED7000 Using a shot timer provides you with valuable data to measure your performance as you gain experience. While not something you are likely to use in a shooting class, you should be using a shot timer for your personal range sessions between training classes. Competitive Edge Dynamics’ CED7000 is a small and versatile shot timer with a loud buzzer, and it is simple to operate. The CED7000 is small enough to hang around your neck and not be noticed or be a distraction. It is rechargeable, which is nice. If you want something less dependent on conventional electricity, the CED Pocket Pro II, which runs of of a 9-volt battery, is a good option. MSRP $119.95 WEB CEDHK.COM

Navigate the Seas While many have covered tips like unboxing your ammunition prior to the start of a class to save time on loading or bringing a small reporter’s notebook and later transferring your notes to a larger format, it is my hope that some of these equipment suggestions will assist you as you navigate the sea of purchases ahead of you. After all, no one wants to experience an it-seemed-like-agood-idea-at-the-time moment.


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The TLR-8 attaches easily to the accessory rail of most mid- to full-sized handguns. The knurled, slotted bolt that secures it can be tightened with a quarter or other coin if a screwdriver isn’t handy.

ROCKIN’ 500 LUMENS, STREAMLIGHT’S NEW TLR-8 WML ENHANCES YOUR SAFETY TEXT & PHOTOS BY STEVE BARL OW


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« TLR-8 combines a powerful light with a max output of 500 lumens and a red laser for an excellent sighting alternative in low light. Let’s take a closer look.

THE FEATURES

T

here are many good tactical flashlights on the market. But the techniques for using a flashlight in conjunction with a handgun usually don’t allow for your normal two-handed hold on the gun. Sometimes you’re okay for the first shot, but it can be difficult getting the gun back on target for a follow-up. A weapon-mounted light (WML) can solve that problem.

The TLR-8 is powered by one CR123A lithium battery. You access the battery compartment by unscrewing the light’s bezel and without removing the light from the weapon. Long, narrow power switches run vertically along each side of the unit. They make the light easy to operate in the dark, under stress. Press either switch and the light turns on or off. Press and hold a switch briefly, and the light switches to momentary-on mode. Release the button and the light goes out. That’s a useful tactical feature because a light can also make you a good target.

The TLR-8 attaches easily to the accessory rail of most mid- to full-sized handguns. The knurled, slotted bolt that secures it can be tightened with a quarter, or other coin, if a screwdriver isn’t handy.

THE BENEFITS OF A LASER A laser on a handgun can be something you use with your iron sights, not instead of them. At the distance you’ve chosen to sight in your laser, your gun’s front sight and that laser dot should line up. At other typical handgun distances, it will be close. So, you can present your weapon as you would normally in daylight to bring that front sight on target as you’ve trained. If you’re in low light and you can’t pick up that front sight quickly, the laser dot should be in view. The laser is useful, too, when you’re firing from an unconventional position. During a gunfight, behind cover, for instance, you might not be able to hold the gun out there to acquire your normal sight picture. With the laser, you can put the dot on target and pull the trigger.

ONLINE SOURCES

One of the best new lights is the Streamlight TLR-8. Designed to be mounted on the rail of compact and full-sized handguns, the

Pressing both buttons allows you to toggle through the different modes: light only, laser only, and light and laser together. There’s

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“It weighs less than 3 ounces, but it’s placed at the gun’s muzzle where every little bit can help with recoil control.” also a strobe mode that, once you program it in, activates with two quick touches. The TLR-8 is 2.15 inches long, so it’s not a bulky add-on. It weighs less than 3 ounces, but it’s placed at the gun’s muzzle where every little bit can help with recoil control. The TLR-8 comes with an assortment of adapter plates so that you can fit it precisely and securely to your particular gun. The clamp that secures the TLR-8 to the gun’s rail is held tight by a single bolt. It is slotted so you can use a screwdriver to tighten it, but a coin will do the trick. The bolt is also knurled, so you can hand-tighten it in a pinch. Adjusting the laser for windage and

elevation is easy using the included tiny hex wrench. I sighted it in to be on target at 15 yards. Closer or beyond that, to reasonable handgun distances, and I was still putting hits where they’d do damage. Removing the TLR-8 and remounting it didn’t seem to affect the zero appreciably. That’s good to know if you will be taking the unit on and off the gun.

BOLSTER YOUR DEFENSE The Streamlight TLR-8 has a suggested retail price of $350. The company also offers a TLR-7 model with light only, no laser, for a suggested $215. Either one is a worthy addition to your self-defense gear—they can give you greater capability in low light, which is when most conflicts occur.

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LET US COUNT THY WAYS

The TLR-8 is compact and what little weight it does add to the muzzle end of the gun also helps in recoil management.

Aside from being able to control your handgun with a normal grip, the obvious benefit of a weapon-mounted light is that it takes no more coordinated efort or skill to use it with a firearm. Where you point your gun is where your light shines. You can assess any threat without the constant need to work at keeping the gun and light focused on the same point. They are small enough now that many people keep a light mounted to the gun all the time, so it’s there when you need it. Holster makers are responding by ofering new rigs designed to fit handguns with lights and lasers attached. DeSantis Gunhide, for instance, has its leather Tac-Lite (with thumb break) and Speed-Lite (without thumb break) holsters for use with TLR-8-equipped guns. If you don’t want the light attached full time, they’re easy to remove. You can carry the gun all day, then add the light when you reach your destination, whether that’s a remote wooded area, a hotel in a strange town, or home. They make great handheld lights away from the gun, too. Also useful, because often you don’t want to be pointing a gun where you need to direct your light.


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To improve his shooting skills, the author has sought sound ideas from a variety of people.


NOVEMBER-DECEMBER, 2018

101

The Path To Accuracy 7 Simple, Proven Steps that Will Make You a Better Shooter TEXT BY JA SON DAVIS | PHOTOS BY GUS AL ONZO

I

f you know me, or have read anything I have previously written, then you know I’m not the brightest person in the world. My route through the educational process was public schools and state college. I definitely did not get a higher education based on my GPA. (If anyone asks, I will provide my high school transcripts, but let me warn you that they are brutal.)

Regardless, I have followed a path that has led to success. Through the great people I surround myself with, I have learned a thing or two. I’ve taken some absolutely wonderful instruction from people who know far more than I will ever learn, and I have been able to gather a decent amount of information that has helped me throughout my life and career. Where this really stands out is with shooting. I learned the basics of firearm safety from my family, but I learned to shoot from others who taught me accuracy and consistency. I work off of a few basic principles that I have been taught over the years, and I do my best to impart that information on the people I teach, both civilians and law enforcement. The following highlights are just a few of the different ways I try to bring accuracy and consistency to the people who join me on the range. I must say that I did not think of any of these ideas. Everything here is from people before me. I certainly respect these people, and I have learned plenty from them over the years. In no particular order, the following are some of those tips.


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“Do things correctly, over and over perfectly, and your times will become faster.” 01: SAYINGS We have all heard them. Some of us may actually use them while speaking with others, but do we really know what all the sayings mean? Take this one: “Smooth is fast.” No, smooth is glass or a baby’s bottom after a bath. Fast is just fast, such as drivers at an Indy car race or ordering the original burger at McDonald’s in San Bernardino. Fast in shooting comes with practice. A lot of practice and practice done correctly. Don’t expect to hear a saying, sit in your living room practicing it and be able to go out to the range the next day and profess that you are a prophet. Improvement comes with knowledge and application, and application is the key. Do things correctly, over and over perfectly, and your times will become faster.

02: GRIP Perhaps one of my greatest moments of enlightenment occurred when I was shooting with John “Shrek” McPhee (former SOF sniper). During our session he talked about grip. I have size 4XL hands, and I

learned that I was gripping my pistols wrong, something I had been doing for most of my life. Within three shots, John had me change my grip so I was actually able to lock the pistol into my hands like I had never done before. What this allowed me to do was acquire a great sight picture. As a bonus, it showed me the gun wouldn’t move either. Even if I had a trigger press that was less than adequate, my rounds would strike the target where I wanted. Grip is one of the keys to accurate shooting, so have a qualified instructor take a look at your grip.

03: DRY FIRE I dry fire practice a lot, and I mean a lot. Generally this is something I do every night. I started this while in the Academy, and I made sure that I had a complete and sterile area where I practiced. I do the same today; nothing is different. When I do this, I make sure I have a small target. How small is small? Right now I’m using a peephole in a door that’s about 7 yards out. I make sure my sights are aligned and my grip is perfect and I begin my trigger press. Movement is minimal, and I

A former Special Mission Unit sniper showed the author the benefit of using video. While watching footage, Davis saw his inconsistencies and corrected them.

make sure I get a clean break by watching the front sight lock onto the very small peephole I’m sighting in on with every shot. A clean break is a clean break; anything else is a failure. I have found this practice helps me with distance shooting as well as perfect placement up close and in compressed timeframes.

Dry fire is also part of Davis’ routine. He does this five or six nights per week, and his target is a peephole at about 7 yards.

04: VIDEO Quite simply, the video does not lie. It shows you exactly what you are doing correctly and what you are doing wrong. Again, I learned this from John McPhee, and all I had to do was see it for myself when he showed me what my inconsistencies were with pistol shooting. McPhee is a master when it comes to breaking down the nanoseconds of shooting. He not only goes frame-by-frame to show you what is wrong but also corrects you along the way. Today, I still put up a tripod and attach an iPhone to video what I am doing so I can see what I’m doing right and what I’m doing wrong. I learn each and every time how I


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can get better by replaying a draw, a dry fire or any movement that comes with shooting. The video doesn’t lie.

05: TARGETS I shoot a lot on the NRA bullseye target. It is a pretty small target that shows a black nine and an X ring. It also allows for a seven and eight ring in the white. I use this target from 3 to 25 yards. I use a handful of different drills. Ultimately, most of my rounds between those yardages should land in the black. When they do, think about this: A fist-sized group in the black translates to a headshot or a tight chest shot each and every time. For accuracy, this training pays off. I also use this target with my carbine out to 50 yards. As long as I can place most of my rounds in the black, I am consistent.

06: INSTRUCTORS I’m sure you’ve heard it. I imagine most everyone has. There is a lot of controversy about instructors and with whom people should train. Here is a logical, practical and effective way to address this. When searching for an instructor, do your homework. While online, check the “About Us” link on the company’s site. Talk to them, too.

“you will be a better shooter if you want to be a better shooter, and if you take the time to learn to be a better shooter.” Make sure the instructor you’re considering provides instruction that is consistent with your priorities (how you want to learn and the instruction they provide). You know your environment; you also know what will suit you best. Before you reach a conclusion on an instructor, find a handful of instructors who fit your criteria and talk to them before you give your hard-earned money to any of them. Time is money, and time is also limited. Find who works best for you, and move into that arena.

07: WRAP UP I had an officer ask me recently, “If I pass the FBI qualification course, will I become a better shooter?“ My answer was no. I explained to him that he will be a better shooter if he wants to be a better shooter and if he takes the time to learn to be a better shooter.

To enhance his shooting, Davis shoots the NRA bullseye out to 25 yards.

end of the day. Focus on the instruction, and maintain your desire.

FOLLOW THE PATH Everything discussed here should help the average person become a better shooter. Keep in mind, however, that this is not the be-all, end-all lesson on shooting. This is merely a few items I hope to impart on shooters. Nothing is easy; there are few truly gifted shooters in this world. Most of us have to work at peak performance to see our ideals on the range. As I stated in the beginning, I am not the brightest individual in the world, but I seek to surround myself with others who are far better and brighter than myself. I learn from them, I open my mind, set my ego aside and go straight to Learning 101. If you follow this path, you’ll also succeed.

There is no golden ticket to being a better shooter. You get out of shooting exactly what you put into it. Learning is difficult at times. Taking what others give you and putting those pieces together is all about behavior and consistency.

« Did You

Stress also plays a role in firearms training. You will most likely put more stress on yourself before any instructor puts stress on you. How you deal with that will show in your performance at the

With shooting, there are very few absolutes, with the exception of the four basic firearm safety rules.

Know?


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Troy's SOCC is ready to go, out of the box, with flip-up sights and a permanently attached QD flash suppressor, giving the shooter the option to run one of the company's suppressors.


NOVEMBER-DECEMBER, 2018

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Built On Quality

TROY'S SOCC CARBINE IS WELL-BUILT, DEPENDABLE & FAST-HANDLING TEXT BY MIKE SEARSON | PHOTOS BY BEN DAVIS


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“Any rifle’s barrel may be its heart, but we believe the trigger to be its soul. In this case, Troy went with the nonadjustable 2-stage Geissele G2S.”

I

f you are a student of history or Greek mythology, the name "Troy" conjures up thought of Helen of Troy, the death of Achilles, the Trojan Horse, and an epic battle in one of mankind’s oldest pieces of literature: Homer’s Iliad. If you are a student of firearms, the same name brings to mind a company dedicated to building some of the finest ARs, while making huge innovations along the way. The man who is leading the TROY charge is President Andrew Finn. Both of these thoughts hit us when we unboxed the Troy SOCC (Special Operations Compatible Carbine). Finished in what Troy refers to as a "military brown" coating, it made us think of the armor and shields possibly worn by the ancient Trojans. It’s more than just a cool finish, though. Troy’s SOCC is one of the shortest non-NFA AR-pattern rifles you can buy. The 14.5-inch barrel is equipped with a pinned and welded flash hider that acts as a suppressor mount for Troy’s brand of silencers. In fact, the pin and weld job has been done so well that we have been unable to find it. If you pick up one of these rifles, do not think you can simply replace the muzzle device with a few turns of a wrench.

So, what else does it have? Keep reading. A strong mix of function and form, the Troy SOCC is designed as a hard-use rifle that happens to look good at the same time.

Build Details Any rifle’s barrel may be its heart, but we believe the trigger to be its soul. In this case, Troy went with the non-adjustable 2-stage Geissele G2S. A two-stage trigger means that the trigger moves in two-stages. The first part takes up the slack and takes the shooter to the “break wall,” a slight amount of pressure beyond that takes the shooter into the second stage and is what releases the hammer. The advantage here is that the shooter knows precisely when the trigger is going to break. Most shooters will be familiar with this. If the concept is new to you, you may be thinking, “I don’t need stages! I just want to pull the trigger and have it go bang!” You can rest easy. When you squeeze all the way through in a CQB situation, or if you just want to blast away at a berm for the weekend, you still have a very smooth and crisp 4.5-pound trigger on your rifle. The first stage is 2.5 pounds, and the second is 2 pounds. Originally designed as a lower-cost alternative to the SSA, the G2S has a cult following of its own. This is the trigger popular with shooters who own numerous ARs and want a Geissele

in each one. It works as well as the rest of their line, but fewer human hands have touched it or inspected it before it ships out the door. It was a perfect choice for Troy to use in this rifle. The stock is a PDW type that slides forward and backward and is surprisingly comfortable to shoot. It is called the SOCC Airborne Stock and was designed by Troy to reinforce and strengthen the M4 buffer tube at its weakest point. There are multiple QD attachment points for adding a sling. When collapsed, it is shorter than most AR stocks; when extended, it offers a full 14 inch length of pull. This new stock provides the option of a 4-position length of pull, or a rapid deployment feature that bypasses the 4 positions and moves the stock from fully collapsed to fully extended, or the reverse, in one smooth movement. One issue that we have had with these types of stocks in the past is that the side rails can interfere with manipulation of the safety/ selector switch. Troy anticipated this and has redesigned the selector by canting the lever at an angle, so the shooter can operate the safety with the stock in the fully or partially


NOVEMBER-DECEMBER, 2018

collapsed position. This selector is also ambidextrous. The Troy Battle Rail installed on the SOCC is one of the nicer ones that we have seen. It is very light, smooth, unobtrusive and fully M-LOK compatible. It adds an excellent balance to the carbine. Then again, Troy mastered the art of making excellent rails years ago, so the Battle Rails always get better with each iteration.

Troy's latest rail is lightweight and M-LOK compatible.

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« Set Your Sights Many times, we have been disappointed when a higher-end rifle comes in and it comes with no sights. Granted, most shooters outfit their rifles with an optic of some sort these days; however, when shelling out hardearned cash for an AR, we like the rifle ready to go, out of the box. Troy understands this as well, and includes a set of their own folding iron sights with the SOCC. One thing we really liked was the inclusion of, not only back-up iron sights, but the fact that they were Troy’s newest low-profile design. They sit 45% lower in profile than their standard folding Battle Sights, provide a continuous zero, and are positioned at exact factory height. The front-folding sight allows for quick-and-easy elevation adjustments; no tools are needed. These sights are machined from hardened aircraft aluminum and are MilSpec hard-coat anodized.

At this point, all you really need (besides an optic, if that’s how you roll) is a sling and a light, and you are good to go.

SPECIFICATIONS CALIBER: 5.56MM NATO

Foregoing these options to give you a good review of the rifle’s performance, we headed out to the range with 500 rounds of Aguila 5.56 62-grain ammunition.

At the Range Troy only supplied one magazine, which was extremely well-made, but we were not about to load that one magazine up 15 times, so we supplemented with a few Magpul P-Mags and some OKAY Industries Sure Feed magazines. We tested the rifle with both its factory iron sights and a Trijicon ACOG (TA01-NSN), which is what we believe is the perfect scope for any AR-type rifle. This is not a dualilluminated model like most ACOG scopes are. Rather, it uses a tritium reticle for use in

BARREL: 14.5 INCHES

Troy made a huge improvement to the selector lever by canting it at an angle to make it easier to engage with the stock collapsed.

OA LENGTH: 30.5-34.5 INCHES WEIGHT: 6.75 POUNDS (EMPTY) STOCK: AIRBORNE ACTION: SEMI-AUTO SIGHTS: FOLDING FRONT AND REAR TRIGGER: GEISELLE G2S (2-STAGE) FINISH: MILITARY BROWN CAPACITY: 30+1 MSRP: $1,599

low-light conditions and a more traditional crosshair with a bullet drop compensator (BDC) usable out to 600 yards. The reticle is marked clearly and like all Trijicon scopes, the glass is extremely clear. The BDC is calibrated for 62-grain ammunition, but it’s not that far off if you use the lighter 55-grain rounds, either.


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“The Troy SOCC proved to be 100% reliable with all our ammunition and magazines. It simply ran like the well-oiled machine that it is.”

The author said Troy's carbine is an outstanding harduse rifle that can be used for military, law enforcement or home defense.

Although the TA01-NSN prevents the use of a rifle’s iron sights—unless you opt for a seethrough mount that will probably give you more of a “chin-weld” instead of a cheekweld on your stock—the scope has back-up tritium sights built into it. The front sight is part of the body, and the rear is attached to the ring of the objective and is removeable, so you can replace it with an RMR or similar electronic sight as a backup. The Trijicon’s “irons” are on the crude side and meant for extreme CQB when the 4x

magnification might be too much or you just have time for a “flash sight picture,” but they are better than nothing. With the Troy iron sights and standing at the shooting line, our groups averaged around 2 to 3 inches at 100 yards, but the ACOG with its 4X magnification cut these group sizes almost in half when we fired while seated at a bench. Although, not designed as a precisiontype rifle, the Troy SOCC could be much more accurate with a better optic, as far


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as magnification goes. Ejection was consistent, and we were easily able to police our brass, as the rifle threw it all into a neat little pile for us.

Troy made its name developing innovative parts for ARs that functioned better than most of their counterparts. It is good to see these great components incorporated into such a fine rifle, direct from the manufacturer.

PERFORMANCE 100 YARDS FPS

GROUP RANGE

AGUILA 5.56 62-GRAIN AMMUNITION

2.3

2.6

AGUILA 5.56 55-GRAIN AMMUNITION

1.5

1.8

AMMUNITION

Bottom Line The Troy SOCC proved to be 100% reliable with all our ammunition and magazines. It simply ran like the well-oiled machine that it is. A shooter could not ask for a better harduse rifle ideal for military, law enforcement or home-defense use. These rifles may be primarily marketed toward the military and law enforcement markets for extreme CQB situations, but a civilian shooter will get plenty of use out of one of these, as well.

Although budget ARs might be a dime a dozen these days, we found the Troy SOCC to be worth parting with the extra coin. The ergonomics are superb, the accuracy and reliability are there, it is ready to shoot, out of the box, and it looks great, as well. As we said earlier: All you need to do is add a sling, a light and perhaps an optic, and it will be one carbine suitable to defend the walls of your castle. Just don’t be too quick to open the door if you see a large wooden horse sitting outside.

«

Although it ships with Troy's latest set of battle sights, we found the rifle more accurate with a Trijicon ACOG.

“The Troy Battle Rail installed on the SOCC is … very light, smooth, unobtrusive and fully M-Lok compatible. It adds an excellent balance to the carbine.”


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“This new stock provides the option of a 4-position length of pull or a rapid deployment feature that … will move the stock from fully collapsed to fully extended, or the reverse, in one smooth movement.”

A BRIEF HISTORY OF TROY

«

Steve Troy founded Troy Industries in 2003, with a single purpose of designing and manufacturing small arms components and accessories of the highest quality. It did not take long for AR manufacturers, including Smith & Wesson, Sturm Ruger & Company and LaRue Tactical, to start using Troy's top of the line sights, rails and stocks in their platforms. Troy Industries debuted their own firearms division in 2012, building complete firearms from the ground up. Troy Defense offers technologically advanced firearms and upgrades that previously were only available to select military and law enforcement agencies. Compact, lightweight and fasthandling; Troy's SOCC is ready for anything that gets thrown in its way.


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Silence Is Golden SILENT LEGION’S MULTI-CALIBER KIT ENABLES YOU TO PUT A CAN ON MULTIPLE RIFLES

T E XT BY GORDON MEEHL | PHOTOS BY GORDON MEEHL & COURTESY OF THE MANUFACTURER

I

t was 1902 when Hiram Maxim invented the silencer. Some seven years later, he had it patented. This creation allowed him to shoot on his property without disturbing his neighbors. He thought any conscientious shooter would want to reduce the sound impact while enjoying his hobby.

Back then, there was a point in time when one could run out to the hardware store, plop down a couple dozen dollars and walk home with a new Maxim Silencer. (Check our Facebook page for the silencer versus suppressor debate.) Now fast forward to the National Firearms Act (NFA) of 1934. This is when the government started to impose a $200 tax on each silencer. With the government

involved, skipping home after you made your purchase was no longer an option. Suddenly, silencers became more difficult to own. Those interested in owning one are forced to suffer the agony of waiting months until they get their tax stamp. At that point, they can change bang bang to pew pew. At an additional $200 a pop, the cost of getting a suppressor for each of your guns can quickly make your wallet as fine as frog's hair. But what if there was a way to pay that $200 only once, and still have almost all your rifles shooting at lower dBs? Silent Legion Suppressors, a veteran-owned company, hailing from the Tar Heel State of North Carolina, provides you with just that very potential. How? With their Multi-Caliber suppressor kit.

What It Brings The author said this Silent Legion suppressor rivals or exceeds the performance of other brands.

This kit covers you throwing lead at sizes .300 Win Mag and below. What? That’s right. It is one suppressor that, in one purchase, meets the needs of almost every rifle in the average shooter’s safe. Beyond the quality and high level of performance, what makes Silent Legion’s Multi-Caliber kit so unique is that it’s a complete kit. Other brands promote their cans’ ability to be reconfigured to shoot other calibers, usually requiring the shooter to purchase additional pieces, parts and tools to make the switch. Often this reconfiguration takes some time. Plus, depending on the parts being switched out, it may be subject to another tax stamp. (It’s often overlooked that not only is the silencer as a whole subject to the NFA restrictions, but some silencer parts are subject to the restrictions, as well.)


NOVEMBER-DECEMBER, 2018

“The can’s dead-on bore concentricity, combined with the consistently tight connection … leads to a zero shift in point of impact.”

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Photo by Gordon Meehl

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Inside the Box Silent Legion’s all-inclusive (one stamp) kit includes both ½ inch x 28 and 5/8 inch x 24 threaded. Flash hiders are included, as well as direct-thread inserts in those same thread patterns.

The unique QD design only requires a slight push and minimal twist to secure the suppressor to the flash hider. Because the mount doesn’t rely on a tooth-andratchet system, there’s little to no risk of

Also included in the kit are direct-thread inserts, so you can screw the can on the rear of rifles that don’t have the QD flash hiders. The tool for changing the mounts is also included. No rifle under .300 Win Mag gets left out.

Performance Notes Whether your rifle is chambered in 5.56mm, 6.8 SPC, .300 Blackout, 7.62 NATO, .300 Win Mag or something in between, the Multi-Caliber kit has got you covered.

I tested the can with all four mounts on four different rifles (.300 WM, 6.5 CM, .243 Win, and 5.56). If anything, I found the performance claims to be understated. I’m not a mechanical engineer, but, having worked for a top silencer company many

«

For less than $1,379 (a small price for the versatility the suppressor affords), you get everything you need to quickly move the suppressor from one caliber to another. So how quick is quick? Using the included proprietary QD flash hider and the QD insert in the base of the can, changing from a 5.56 to a .300 Win Mag and back again can be done smoothly in less than 4 seconds (more precisely, my best was 3.85 seconds).

diminishing the security of the connection. In other words, with no teeth to wear down or ratchet release to break, the can-to-QD connection is as tight on the 1,000th time it’s mounted as it is the first time. A brilliantly simple QD mounting mechanism also eliminates the risk of fouling and compromising the integrity of the attachment system.

Specs SOUND REDUCTION: 32DB LENGTH: 7.5 INCHES DIAMETER: 1.50 INCHES WEIGHT: 16 OUNCES

The included tool allows for an easy exchange with the ½ inch x 28 and 5/8 inch x 24 inserts. Again, this allows you to direct-thread the can on to any rifle shooting .300 Win Mag and below. When I say it’s a complete kit, I mean complete.

MATERIALS: TITANIUM FINISH: HIGH-TEMP CERAKOTE MOUNT: MULTIPLE MSRP: $1,379 WEBSITE: SILENTLEGION.COM


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IN THE BOX

Multi-Caliber Suppressor TWO DIRECT THREAD INSERTS: 1/2 INCH X 28 AND 5/8 INCH X 24 THREADS QD FLASH HIDERS: 1 X 5.56MM AND 1 X 7.62NATO DISASSEMBLY TOOL

years ago, I know enough to appreciate good design, quality construction and the subtle (though subjective) differences in different approaches to sound reduction. It’s not a knee-jerk reaction to say that this Silent Legion suppressor rivals, and in many aspects, is the better of more widely championed brands. The expected first-round pop shooting through a cold can was less than I experienced on other cans. Once warm, the sound reduction was consistently comfortable. Because the bore diameter of the silencer remains consistent, the relative sound reduction was less as the caliber decreased, but surprisingly it was much less than expected. This can be attributed to the quality of construction of the internal baffles. Tight-fitting, high-tolerance baffles redirect the expanding gases consistently across the caliber variety. It’s also worth noting that the can’s deadon bore concentricity, combined with the

consistently tight connection, whether direct-thread or QD, leads to a zero shift in point of impact (POI). Not only is a POI shift a frustrating commonality with other brands, but an inconsistent mount can also lead to unpredictable POI shifts that ruin accuracy and diminish precision. I had no issue putting the Silent Legion can on my competition rifle and repeatedly punching holes in paper exactly where they were intended, just like coming out of a loud barrel.

Pays for Itself In a nutshell, Silent Legion’s Multi-Caliber Kit is like putting money in the bank or ammo in your bag. By paying the $200 NFA tax only once (plus cost of the silencer), you’re saving yourself the cost of paying the government over and over again. Heck, depending on how many rifles you have, this high-quality silencer kit might just end up paying for itself.

The author reports that you’ll pay the $200 NFA tax only once … and have a suppressor that fits multiple rifles.

“At an additional $200 a pop, the cost of getting a suppressor for each of your guns can quickly make your wallet As Fine As Frog's Hair.”


WORLD OF FIREPOWER

I TE XT BY PAU L MA RTINEZ

t was late afternoon, almost dusk, on a cold

on the fingers of one hand. Operationally and

Our intel told us that the vehicle we were

Afghan day when we got word that we had

tactically, that made our job easier.

going to intercept soon after it crossed the

good intel and a possible mission that night.

border from Pakistan into Afghanistan was Afghanistan basically has an agricultural

carrying weapons, material and money.

that all personnel needed to assemble in their

economy, with a big part of that the growing

Most important, these smugglers were

tactical operations center that evening. That was

of opium poppies, which are the raw material

going to deliver their cargo to some Taliban

all we were told, and for reasons of operational

for heroin. In addition to opium poppies,

leaders who had shipped the raw material

security there was little speculation. We knew we

Afghanistan is also the largest producer of

for drugs to Pakistan and were now waiting

would learn more in the TOC.

cannabis (mostly as hashish) in the world.

for their payment. That meant our U.S. Drug

There are few facilities in Afghanistan for

Enforcement Agency, the DEA, was also

INTEL BRIEFING

turning large amounts of that raw material

involved in this mission.

During our intel briefing, we learned that a

into the finished product, so the opium

high-value target—smugglers in a vehicle

poppies and cannabis get trucked to Pakistan

The crux of this mission was capturing these

coming back from Pakistan—would be moving

to be turned into finished drugs.

smugglers so we could interrogate them and

Runners were dispatched, and we were told

have them lead us to the Taliban bosses, who

along a major supply route between Pakistan and Afghanistan that night. This MSR was

In return for this raw material for drugs—which

southeast of Kandahar and was familiar to us.

is a major source of income for the Taliban

were the big fish.

and allows them to buy weapons—the Taliban

Taking out a car full of knuckleheads was easy;

Both Pakistan and Afghanistan are somewhat

ships money, manufactured goods and fighters

a drone strike could do that with the press of

primitive countries—Afghanistan much more so

back into Afghanistan. And often the trucks and

a button. We wanted more. We needed a way

than Pakistan—and they don’t have networks

cars coming back into Afghanistan also carried

in the door, to get inside the Taliban’s drug

of highways like the ones we’re accustomed

the piece parts—shaped charges, blast caps,

network. Capturing these smugglers could give

to in the United States. In most cases there’s

detonators and the like—that the Taliban used

us the leads we needed to start tearing down

one way in and one way out, and you could

to make the IEDs (improvised explosive devices)

the Taliban’s supply chain in Kandahar and the

count all the major highways in Afghanistan

that were so feared by our troops.

rest of Helmed Province.

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Conner Robbins

124


NOVEMBER-DECEMBER, 2018

125

GROUND ZERO Our plan was straightforward, but it had many moving parts. We were going to intercept this

em that two full platoons of Rangers take down one vehicle full of smugglers

passenger vehicle at a truck stop on the MSR

but it goes back to our mantra: “Hope for

just inside the Afghanistan border.

ut plan for the worst.”

All preparation goes back to our mantra: Hope for the best, but plan for the worst. These photos are for illustrative purposes.

we needed to advance our timeline and get to our overwatch position now. Things had been pretty methodical up to now, but all of a sudden they got frenetic.

For this mission I was with the Reconnaissance

CHECK

Platoon, and we would be the backup plan

hort ride—about a half hour—to our

We got to our overwatch position and set

to stop the vehicle if it blew Second Platoon’s

area. After we landed and streamed

up quickly. As we settled into position along

barricade. Marc and I would also provide

Chinooks, our platoon leader formed

the ridgeline, I checked my wrist compass

overwatch for the main assault force, albeit

we started moving north at a brisk

and followed its bearing to the horizon. Sure

from over half a mile away. Second Platoon would land close to the truck stop at the precise moment our intel told us this vehicle

n in the green glow of our PVS-13 n goggles we were reminded of how most of Afghanistan is.

was going to arrive and would set up positions to capture the truck’s occupants once they stopped for gas.

enough, there were headlights.

READY TO ROLL I was carrying my bolt-action Mk-13 mod

about 2 klicks into a brisk but

2, our “big gun.” It fired the .30-caliber

trek toward our objective area when

cartridge. Because I knew I might have to stop

came alive. We got updated intel

a vehicle quickly, this large cartridge was just

I was the sniper team leader, and Marc was

hat the target vehicle was going to

the ticket. I also knew that any shots I had

my spotter.

truck stop ahead of schedule, and

could be a half-mile.


126

WORLD OF FIREPOWER

“Sierra, did you just shoot a truck you couldn’t see and stop it with one round?”

He was mirroring my own thoughts.

Our overwatch position was about 800 meters

outcropping between me and their route through

from the near side of the truck stop, and while

the truck stop. If I waited until I could see them

we were well concealed, we had a pretty much

again, Second Platoon would be in my line of

unobstructed view of the action. The rest of

fire, and shooting at the truck would present too

the Recce Platoon was watching our backs to

great a risk of me creating a friendly casualty. I

ensure we weren’t ambushed from behind or

considered—then rejected—the idea of just taking

overrun by Taliban coming out of nowhere. It

the shot without permission and dealing with the

My right ear was bare, and I had my right

was “hope for the best, but plan for the worst”

consequences later.

cheek pressed against the stock of my rifle. I

Suddenly, my earpiece came alive. It was Major Dan. “Sierra is cleared to engage vehicle,” he said.

was inhaling and exhaling evenly, slow and

on steroids. All this was going through my head while I was

steady, trying not to disturb my crosshairs

Just like that, our plan was falling apart. The

building and rebuilding my shot and adjusting my

focused on the target.

target vehicle was moving slowly, and Second

math. Marc was looking through his optics and

Platoon was using its 250-lumen tactical

feeding me the minute corrections he saw as the

I was looking at a wall of granite, a grainy

lights to signal the car to stop, but it didn’t. It

truck continued to travel. And every second I’m

black-and-green monolith in my night vision

didn’t stop at the truck stop at all but just kept

thinking, We’re gonna lose this sucker.

scope. I knew the car was there, and I knew how fast it was going. I’ve practiced this

moving. Time for Plan B, and we were it! As I’m hoping, praying, for the authorization

shot more times than I can count, but on a

Our Recce Platoon sergeant was on the net

to shoot, I’m breathing in-cycle, timing each

stationary target, and one that was only about

with Major Dan trying to get clearance for me

inhale and exhale, ensuring that I’m ready to

400 meters away.

to shoot the truck, ideally through the engine

fire at a split-second’s notice when the call

compartment, and stop it.

comes. Seconds stretched into minutes as I

We had started tracking this vehicle at 1,000

waited for the call. As the truck’s lights began

meters and now it was rolling, unseen, toward

It now seemed like a near-death experience,

to fade from view like a setting sun, I began to

my crosshairs at 840 meters. Inhale, exhale,

when time slows to a crawl. Where’s the damn

give up hope. It’s too late …

inhale, exhale …

“Shit, lost him,” Marc said under his breath.

I was trying to get the lineup just perfect and

authorization to shoot? I thought. I watched the truck through my scope, and I could see that its headlights would soon fade behind the large rock

focused on a spot on the road behind the


NOVEMBER-DECEMBER, 2018

127

Mission Notes MISSION Capture a high-value target TEAM Rangers LOCATION Southeast of Kandahar, Afghanistan TIME OF DAY Night

I could hardly believe it. Sure, we train for it, we’re confident and we do think we’re pretty damn good. But we also calculate first-roundhit probability. Over half a mile, in the blind, on a moving vehicle, and that .30-caliber bullet had to go straight through the aluminum engine block and make the engine seize. mountain. I knew the truck would be the same

copper-jacketed lead should have dipped

distance away as the gas station, and I knew

below the false horizon between us and the

from studying the map where the road was

target. Never losing my sight picture was an

behind the mountain, so I pictured exactly

indication I had gotten off a good shot.

It must have buried in the motor somehow, because a miss or a near-miss would have sent frag into the cab, or else made enough light and noise that the drivers would know they were being shot at.

where that should be, measured in my scope, U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Gregory T. Summers / 22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

From “The Killer Man Comes” by Paul Martinez and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Press, LLC; us.macmillan.com.

and placed my crosshairs there. Marc and I had

I was confident the round had gone where

already calculated vehicle speed, and I could

I wanted it to—into the engine block of the

In all humility, I began to thank my lucky stars,

see the point in my mind. If we had calculated

target vehicle.

but my platoon sergeant quickly shook me back into reality.

correctly, my bullet would meet the target vehicle at 840 meters.

The net cleared, and I simply said, “Sierra, shot, out.” “Sierra, did you just shoot a truck you couldn’t

I was dialing in my scope elevation when

There was an eerie silence for what seemed

I heard my platoon sergeant key his mic. I

like an eternity before I heard a calm voice say,

knew what he was going to say—that we no

“He’s slowing down.”

longer had eyes on. I squeezed the trigger

see and stop it with one round?” he asked. Saying he sounded incredulous would be a gross understatement.

before he could utter the words I didn’t want

Then another voice: “Roger, looks like he’s

to hear as my own thoughts came to the

stopping … break … we have four pax exiting

“Yep!” Marc chimed in, quicker than I could

fore: We didn’t load up two full platoons of

the vehicle.” (Pax means persons.) “Now the

think of what to say. “That’s why we call

Rangers to do nothing.

hood’s up.”

him Balls.”

The recoil of my .30 caliber sent the big

Another voice broke in on the net. “Must have

Marc was right. There were no lucky stars to

rifle back into my shoulder hard, while the

engine trouble.”

thank; we were trained to exacting standards

scope accelerated toward my eye. But I

by the best instructors in the world at both the

never lost my sight picture, and I saw my

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

U.S. Army Sniper School and the Special Forces

crosshairs fixed on where I knew the target

Marc cast me an incredulous look that I could

Sniper Course. We were in the business of the

was all the way through the violent recoil.

barely see in the dark, but I could read his

impossible, and we were expected to be able

By the time my rifle settled, 190 grains of

thoughts: “You did it!”

to make shots like this.


128

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NOVEMBER-DECEMBER, 2018

129


130

WORLD OF FIREPOWER

Pistol Maintenance When properly maintained, firearms can be expected to function properly. Maintenance must be performed periodically because it will guarantee that your pistol will last and function when needed.

Cleaning Supplies Some people prefer ultrasonic cleaner, but I prefer getting my hands dirty. Keep in mind that certain chemicals can damage your wood grip panels or your nickel-plated steel gun, so read the label. Cotton swabs, old t-shirts or hand towels will definitely come in handy. To save time cleaning barrels, I attach my bore brush rod to a hand drill and use it to speed up the process.

Field Stripping Safety first! Clear your firearm of any live ammunition and keep ammunition away from the cleaning area. Field stripping is the easiest way to clean your gun. Just disassemble the major parts (frame, barrel, slide, recoil spring assembly), spray your chemical and let everything set. After a few minutes, start brushing. I field strip all my pistols after every 500 rounds.

Detail Stripping Most gun manufacturers recommend that you detail strip your pistol every 5,000 rounds. Caution! Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t just detail strip your gun without proper training. I highly recommend that you take it to a certified armorer or attend an armorerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s course to learn proper gun disassembly.

Function Checks Function checks are a must after every detail stripping. This will ensure that you have installed all the parts in the right places and help you determine if the internal parts need replacement. Here are some tips: With an unloaded gun, close the slide, insert an empty magazine and release it three times. The magazine should drop freely. If not, something is wrong with your magazine catch/ release or the magazine itself.

Keep Your Gun Functioning Properly TEXT BY SIMON CRUZ

Next, with the empty magazine in the magazine well, pull the slide to the rear. This should lock the slide/action open. Do this three times. If the slide fails to lock to the rear, check your slide catch/release. Next, release the magazine. Pull the slide back and release it. The slide should move forward into battery. If not, check your slide catch/release. Now, engage the external safety and pull the trigger. The trigger should not release the striker. If you have a trigger safety, pull the sides of the trigger without engaging the trigger safety. If the trigger pulls, replace the trigger assembly. Last, pull the slide back. While holding the slide, let it move forward about an inch, going into battery, and release it. The slide should go into battery on its own. If not, replace your recoil spring assembly. The final function check is to fire your gun at a shooting range.


Profile for Vadim Koval

World of Firepower - November December 2018  

World of Firepower - November December 2018  

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