Now, BATFE has reversed their position on the M855 ammunition that we’ve all been feeding our AR-15’s for years.
Previously, the BATFE had ruled that M855 ammunition was “armor piercing” but granted the projectile an exception because it was “primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes.”
A 1986 federal law prohibits the manufacture, importation and sale of “armor piercing” ammunition by licensed manufacturers or importers that may be used in a handgun. Because there are handguns capable of firing M855, it “may be used in a handgun.” However, the definition of a prohibited “armor piercing” projectile is a “projectile or projectile core which may be used in a handgun and which is constructed entirely … from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, berylium copper or depleted uranium.” M855 has a traditional lead core with a steel tip. It should never have been designated as “armor piercing” in the first place.
Suddenly, M855 (in the evil black rifle minds of the current administration and BATFE) is no longer “primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes.” Never mind that M855 has been “intended to be used for sporting purposes” since the 1986 ruling on “armor piercing” rounds.
To be clear, BATFE’s decision on M855 (and SS109) has already been made. They are not currently seeking input on the decision to reclassify these projectiles, merely on how to implement their removal from the civilian market.
Just one more infringement through executive action ….
Nightstick® has announced its SLR-2120 rechargeable work light. This light debuted at the 2015 SHOT Show in Las Vegas where we had an opportunity to take a cursory look. The concept is intriguing whether you’re working on your Kia in your garage or your Deuce and a Half in Afghanistan.
The SLR-2120 features a tubular-shaped LED light bar powered by an industry leading lithium-ion rechargeable battery. The light produces 1200 Lumens in full-power mode and 650 Lumens in (a little more than) half-power mode.
While the SLR-2120 Under Hood Work Light is purpose built as an all LED, hands-free floodlight for the automobile enthusiast, this rechargeable work light comes with an adjustable cradle that has a pair of spring-loaded, foam-covered grippers that will extend 48”-77” to fit on the underside of virtually any automobile hood. The light bar is then free to rotate 360 degrees to place the lighting exactly where it’s needed. The dual on/off buttons, one located on each of the two handles, operate in tandem with each other. One press of either button turns the light on in Full-power Mode, a second press and you’re in Half-power Mode and then a third press, turns the light off.
FTC Disclosure: The products reviewed were provided by the manufacturer/distributor.
Strength and Honor. SHplates calls to memory the characteristics of fallen brothers in arms while providing a weighty burden for your good livin’.
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, “You’re reviewing a steel plate? What is there to say?” It’s steel. It’s a plate and it’s relatively heavy for its size.
End of review? Not quite.
As the popularity of rucking (carrying a ruck sack for exercise, competition or a team-focused event like GORUCK) has grown, so has the market for weights to be carried in one’s ruck. Early options included bricks, often culled from abandoned job sites or found on Craigslist, sandbags or the gear you might utilize during the event for which you were training.
All those things were fine, with a few exceptions. Most, however, left you with little room for anything else in your ruck.
Enter steel plates.
The down side to steel plates was that many of the originals had sharp edges. Some still do. Sharp edges and ruck material – even the toughest of ruck material – don’t play well together. The steel always wins.
Rich Sanders, of Pittsburgh, PA (the steel city, of course) had a better idea – a plate with rounded edges and a coating to keep it from rusting.
Combined with the USPS’s “If it fits, it ships” service offering, a business was born.
SHplates provided Trek Tech Black with a 35 lb plate specifically intended to be carried in the laptop compartment of the GORUCK GR0 and make weight for GORUCK Selection.
When the plate arrived at my house, my mother in-law was staying with us. As I walked in the door after work, she said, “There’s a package on the front step and I couldn’t move it.” I knew, instantly, that the SHplate had arrived. Expect similar responses from mail room workers if you have your plate shipped to your place of business.
Shortly after the plate arrived, I loaded it up and went for a nice little ruck.
The plate is a tight fit in the GR0’s laptop compartment. While it may be a little difficult to close the zipper on the compartment, the tight fit is appreciated when doing PT with the ruck on one’s back. The plate doesn’t shift or move around at all.
While carrying bricks during training and in previous events, I had utilized a pack with compression straps to hold the bricks in place. Even when duct taped together, the bricks moved around quite a bit without the compression straps. The combination of this particular SHplate and the GORUCK GR0 alleviated the need for compression straps.
Once we figured out a technique for zipping the laptop compartment shut with the plate inside, it was relatively easy to get the plate in and out of the ruck.
Our technique is as follows:
Open the laptop compartment and drop in the plate
Grasp the fabric and zipper of the deeper side of the laptop compartment, near the corner, between your thumb and forefinger (thumb inside the compartment)
Stretch the fabric and zipper over the plate
Zip the compartment closed while holding the fabric and zipper in place
After about a month and a half of use, I haven’t seen any damage to the laptop compartment or its zipper.
In the GR0, the plate carries close to the back without causing discomfort.
We tried the plate in a couple different, similarly-sized packs. The fit wasn’t as perfect as in the GR0. The plate tended to shift around a bit more – even with compression straps.
If you’re looking at GORUCK Selection … or for a training solution for any other ruck event … and own a GORUCK GR0, we’re confident that the SHplates 35 lb plate will serve you well. With the optional etching, you’ll also be in compliance with special operations forces Rule #1: Always look cool.
Day 3 started at the Nightstick booth. Marketing Manager, Russell Hoppe walked us through the Nightstick line and demonstrated some of the unique features of their lights. Nightstick offers a mid-priced lineup of lights for military, law enforcement, marine and intrinsically safe uses.
Much of the morning was spent focused on light. From the Nightstick booth, we went to the SureFire booth to see what was new. Their 2211 Luminox Wrist Light caught our eye. The multi-output light (300, 60 and 15 lumens) utilizes an internal Li-ion battery and is always at hand, so to speak.
After the SureFire booth, it was off to see Princeton Tec. They showed us their new lineup of evil black, rail-mounted lights including the little guy, called the Switch Rail, pictured below. The Switch Rail is a low-signature, weapon mounted task light designed for navigation, signature reduction, stealth structure search and breaching operations.
From Princeton Tec, we went to check out the LensLight booth. They’re offering a number of new finishes on their aluminum-body lights in 2015. Many of these finishes were available previously on their titanium lights but are now available at a lower price point for those who don’t need or can’t afford the titanium versions.
Source Hydration was showing off their new civilian line of gear as well as their new low profile bladders. We’re looking forward to getting one of their new, small runner packs to review in the not-too-distant future.
We also stopped in to see our friends at Hill People Gear. They showed us their new Heavy Recon Kit Bag with “all the tacticool features in a mid-volume Kit Bag.”
As we wandered around a bit, we came across a couple things that every evil black household needs …
We found a nice little knife from Fox Knives – the Dart. The Dart has a ring utilized to draw the knife out of one’s pocket. As the knife is drawn out of the pocket, a hook on the back of the blade catches on the pocket and flips open the blade.
Spiderco has a couple new offerings at each end of the scale. On the Sunday Barbeque end of the scale is the new Rubicon flipper. The CPM S30V blade is broad with a hollow grind. The carbon fiber scales glisten in the light like a trout in a mountain lake.
At the other end of the “fancy” scale is the new Dog Tag Folder. Utilitarian and intended to be hidden away rather than shown off, the titanium Dog Tag is reminiscent of the old school “hideout” knives issued to clandestine operatives.
As the end of the day grew near, we passed a booth that made us think for a moment that we had somehow walked into the wrong trade show. (We’ll let you guess which trade show, running concurrent with SHOT, we thought it was.)
Manta has taken a very interesting approach to suppressor wraps and extended the design into a variety of weapon accessories … and other items.
We finished up the day with Tom Fuller, of Armageddon Gear, and Dave Steinbach, of Valhalla Training Academy, who, incidentally, were the winning team at last year’s Competition Dynamics Sniper Adventure Challenge. Based on our conversation with Tom, you can expect some new and different things from Armageddon in the not-too-distant future.
That’s a wrap. We’re done with SHOT until next year. We hope you enjoyed the coverage and sign up (Subscribe on left margin) to receive notice when we publish new articles.
Day two of SHOT continued, for us, with back-to-back meetings.
We started the day with Tim Matter and Chris Wood of Tactical Walls. They showed us their new drop-down shelf product and introduced us to David Roberts of Tennessee Arms Company. Tennessee Arms produced polymer lowers for AR-15’s. David claims to do one thing and do it very well. He also suggested that their hybrid, nylon-brass lowers can withstand far more abuse than poly lowers of the past. Tennessee Arm’s lowers are made of nylon with a brass inserts in the buffer tower and pistol grip. The basic lower weighs in at 5.6 oz, lists for $46.73 and is available in black, flat dark earth, rifle green, OD green, stealth gray and pink.
Shortly after leaving the Tactical Walls/Tennesee Arms booth, we came across one of our dedicated readers.
After pulling ourselves away from Ted, we stopped by the CRKT booth to see what was new. A couple of their fixed-blade knives caught our eyes.
Designed by Lucas Burnley, the ACHI’s understated elegance drew us in to striking distance. The ACHI is designed to be a traditional utility/EDC knife with an intriguing shape and design. The blade is made of 8Cr13MoV. The knife is 6.25″ long and weighs a scant 2.8 oz. With a price point of just $59.99, we predict the ACHI will become a fan favorite.
Just down the display row from the ACHI was the Yukanto, designed by James Williams. With a twist on Osaraku style, William’s blade is made for fighting and designed with our special operations forces in mind. The name means “sword of valor.” The blade is made of AUS 8 steel and powder coated black. The knife is 8.69″ long with a weight of 3.9 oz. The G10 handle, with its unique X pattern, felt secure in our hands if, perhaps, a little small.
The VertX booth was next. They announced their new Core Casual Pants on Day 1 of the show. With an even lower profile than most of their pants, the Core should feel right at home in the casual office environment. All of the typical VertX features were there. The 9 oz, 98% cotton/2% Lycra fabric also seems like a good fit for an urban/sub-urban environment.
Next up – one of our show favorites. RISE Armament President Chris Barger thinks that his new RA-535 drop-in trigger is the “Ferrari of triggers.” You know what? He may just be right. The trigger has an exceptionally fast reset, nearly nonexistent over-travel and a smooth, crisp, light trigger pull. At $259.00, the RA-535 is smack-dab in the middle of the price range for high quality, drop-in AR triggers with what felt like a bit of a performance edge.
One of the themes of the show, in terms of backpacks, seems to be the “covert” AR-15 pack. While we’re confused by the term “covert” as it relates to these packs (What exactly are people supposed to think is in these packs, tennis racquets … violins … really long books?) we have to admit, they do have a niche. Eberlestock was certainly one of the earliest companies to understand that niche and provide a product. With their history in Olympic shooting, Eberlestock has been making packs to carry rifles during competitions and hunts for years. Their Cherry Bomb and Secret Weapon packs are no exception.
Most of Eberlestocks new products this year are targeted at the hunting market. Their F1-Mainframe is their latest innovation in hunting packs. A basic frame system that can be configured in one of more than 100 combinations, the Mainframe allows the hunter to go light, capable, comfortable or all of the above. You can even haul a cooler in/on this pack.
Sneaky Bags and Arc’Teryx also appear to be getting into the “covert” AR-15 backpack game.
We’ve done a couple reviews that included the MDT LSS precision rifle chassis. They had their new, skeletonized stock, polymer magazine and HS3 chassis at the show.
Based on the products at this year’s SHOT, the “gunderwear” (Our term. So far, we haven’t seen a product with this name … thankfully.) category of concealed carry wear is hot.
On the other end of the “I Might Actually Wear This” spectrum were Kitanica’s denim jeans. Built to withstand the same abuse as Kitanica’s other clothing, these jeans looked both comfortable and durable. The multicam pocket liners were a big hit.
We had a really good discussion with the founder of Flashbang Holsters, Lisa Looper. She showed us their latest release, the Audrey. The Audrey was designed for ladies with “some extra curves” and can be worn strong-side with a reverse cant or weak side for a cross-draw.
Mesa Tactical was also very hospitable, walking us through their entire line. New for this year is their adapter for the FN SCAR that allows virtually any AR-15 stock to be used with the Belgian rifle.
That’s it for today. Stay tuned for another update on day three of the show.
If you haven’t been to the SHOT (Shooting, Hunting, Outdoors Tradeshow) show, it’s difficult to imagine the scope and scale of this event. Roughly 60,000 red-blooded Americans crowd into the Sands Convention Center in Las Vegas to check out the latest and greatest (and some not-so-great) products aimed at the shooting sports industry.
As with most large trade shows, celebrities abound. We figured you’d rather see pictures of products, however, than us posing with Jerry Miculek.
On with the show!
Much of the pre-show buzz focused on Magpul and their latest releases since moving to Texas. Freed from the anti-Second Amendment shackles of Colorado, Magpul is going after the precision rifle market and … close to the other end of the spectrum … Glock pistols.
Magpul’s Hunter 700 rifle chassis is marketed to those looking to build a precision rifle based on the Remington 700 short action. The chassis features an aluminum bedding block, Magpul’s SGA cheek riser and length of pull (LOP) spacers. Reportedly, the chassis will be available in March with a MSRP of $259.95.
While they were dabbling in the precision rifle market, Magpul decided to produce polymer AICS-compatible magazines to go with their nifty, new chassis. MSRP on the new AICS-compatible p-mags is reported to be a measly $34.95.
Someone on the other end of the Magpul office complex must have come up with this next idea … Glock magazines. Magpul insists that these polymer magazines (no metal feed lips) will have the same reliability as OEM magazines at a $15.95 price point.
When asked about his sales pitch for these magazines, the Magpul rep responded, “You can buy three of these for the price of one OEM magazine. That’s it. That’s my pitch.” Last I checked, you could pick up a Glock 17 magazine from a number of online retailers for about $22.50. I don’t mind saving a few bucks, but you certainly won’t get three Magpul G-mags for 1/3 of the price of an OEM magazine.
Benelli created a stir prior to SHOT this year by announcing their first-ever over & under shotgun. The 828U – “the first over/under worthy of the Benelli badge” – had the Benelli booth filled with curious buyers. Unfortunately, the gun itself was nowhere to be found. Here’s hoping that Benelli actually gets one or two in their booth before the end of the show.
After a disappointing visit to the Benelli booth, we wandered past the Code Alpha display. Something interesting caught our eyes – a tactical, er “evil black” garment bag (in Coyote tan). Just what we needed for the evil black suits we wear during our evil black travel. We didn’t have much time to talk to the Code Alpha guys but they didn’t seem to find as much humor in the product as we did. Perhaps we’ll go back for a proper introduction.
Benchmade’s new 665 Ambidextrous Push Button (APB) Assist knife is one of the newest members of their Blue Class of knives. The opening mechanism is an aggressive spring assist while the closing mechanism is an ambidextrous push button. The 665’s blade steel is 154CM. The scales are blue and black contoured G10 with stainless liners.
Tenzing had an interesting pack that we thought could use a few minor modifications. Having some experience in carrying rifles over long distances in difficult terrain, we offered some constructive criticism. The rep was not amused.
Elite Survival Systems’ Covert Operations Backpack was one of many packs designed to carry an AR-15. Apparently, there is considerable demand for every day AR-15 carry.
Vanquest has marshaled into the ranks of the AR-15 pack brigade.
This product adds a whole new meaning to, “Smile and wait for the flash.”
This seems like a natural combination. As with most things, trying to be too many things to too many people may not pan out. Time will tell.
The answer to the age-old question, “How do I carry while running?” Apparently, targeted at women who run and guys who don’t.
Esky coolers have quite a few nifty features like an integrated basket and cutting board that stores on the under-side of the lid and fits into the top of the lid. They’re manufactured by Coleman in the U.S.A. (Kansas) and claim to hold ice 44% longer than Y(eti)ou Know Who. We hope to get one of their evil black models to test in the not-too-distant future. We know what you’re thinking, “A black cooler? Whose idea was that? We talked to them about the evil black color choice and they explained that they had the evil black model tested by an independent laboratory and that it performed just as well as their lighter-colored models.
The Competition Dynamics folks provided an extensive required gear list to competitors. This gear had to be carried at all times during the event. Thankfully, most of the required gear went unused as it was focused on trauma, first aid and rescue.
We did utilize several key pieces of kit. Here’s a review of the gear that survived the event and worked well for us.
A good foundation is critical to success in most disciplines. Tactical adventure racing is no exception. My foundation (boot) of choice was the Salomon Quest 4D GTX. The Quests, along with my sock choices and a liberal application of Body Glide, kept my feet blister-free during the event. Relatively lightweight, at 2 lbs. 13 oz., these backpacking boots from Salomon provided excellent support and held up well to the constant punishment of the rocky terrain. In contrast, the soles of the Oboz mid-height hiking boots worn by my teammate were literally shredded in several areas. If these boots fit you well, I highly recommend them for difficult terrain and pack weights in the 40-60 lb. range. Continue reading 2014 Sniper Adventure Challenge Gear – Gear tough enough to take on the Challenge and come back for more→
Historically, precision rifle chassis have come in two flavors – heavy or expensive. Often, you could find a hybrid of both – heavy and expensive. Modular Driven Technologies (MDT), a Canada-based manufacturing company, has changed the equation with their Light Sniper System (LSS) chassis. At just less than $400.00, U.S., the LSS chassis could be considered “budget-priced” and, at just 1 lb, 12.1 oz (as purchased), it’s definitely on the lighter end of the precision rifle chassis market.