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Review: Hawke Optics Sidewinder Tactical Scope – Cool, but can it shoot the cocks?

The Good
The value on this scope is great. It’s clear, consistent and very tactical looking – all for about 400 bucks.
The Bad
The battery on our illuminated reticle died fairly quickly. Just to note, the green setting appears to burn a good bit more juice. On the plus side, the etched reticle is sharp without any illumination.
The Ugly
Our test would have been easier had the Sidewinder been equipped with a .5186246418338 click adjustment. See below for more on this point. We’ll get over it though.
Our Rating
3 Nuns Four Nuns! For the money, you can’t go wrong with this one.

Hawke Optics Sidewinder Tactical Scope

Approximate Retail Price: $409.99

www.hawkeoptics.com

The Hawke Optics Sidewinder Tactical scope has all the cool goodies:

  • Illuminated glass-etched reticle in red AND green with variable brightness controls for each
  • 2″ side-wheel parallax adjustment
  • 1/4 MOA tactical turrets. Besides looking exceptionally cool, they offer push/pull locking and easy zero adjustment
  • 4″ removable sunshade which looks even more exceptionally cool than the tactical turrets
  • Mil-Dot reticle
  • Multi-Coated lenses

But can it shoot the cocks?

We intended to find out. More on that in a minute.

We met Brad and Steve from Hawke Sport Optics at this years POMA Conference and got a thorough tour of the Hawke lineup. After some discussion, we elected to run the Hawke Optics Sidewinder Tactical through a comprehensive My Gun Culture evaluation protocol. We’ve been looking for a great opportunity to use a big word like protocol for a while now, so this evaluation is already off to a pulchritudinous (yet another big word) start.

We selected the Sidewinder Tactical as a great match for our test rifle – a Savage 112 in .22-250 caliber. This rifle is an accuracy beast, easily shooting around the 1/2 MOA zone as long as one points it in the right direction.

The Walking Tour

Our evaluation model was the HK4034 10x fixed power with mil-dot reticle. Other models in the Tactical Series offer variable power in 4.5-14x, 6.5-20x and 8.5x25x. It’s a 30mm tube design with a 42mm objective lens so make sure you’ve got the proper rings and bases of adequate height.

We loved the attention to detail in the packaging. The Sidewinder Tactical came in a custom foam-lined hard case with a carry handle for safe transport. Packed in various foam cutouts were the scope itself, a 4″ sunshade, lens cleaning cloth, metal lens covers, a spare battery for the illuminated reticle, tools for turret adjustment, a removable large wheel for parallax adjustment, and owners manual. Inclusion of the little things is a big deal to us as it means the product is immediately usable – without extra trips to the store.

The included lens covers were also a nice touch. Made of metal and a screw-in design, they’re solid and secure. The only gripe we had with them is that the front one will not also mount on the included 4″ sun shade. If you intend to look cool at the range by leaving that on, you have to find a different front lens cover option.

The other stand out feature was the clarity. Loved it. Especially for the price. The sight picture was clear and crisp across the whole diameter of visible area. Speaking of optical characteristics, the eye relief is about 4″ and field of view at 100 yards is almost 12 feet on the fixed 10x model we tested. The ocular lens is easily focused and features a solid locking ring to prevent movement once you get it set just right.

Half-Cocked: No gifts at the Canadian Gun Registry…

Canadian Gun Registry closes

Gun Review: Ruger LCP .380 Auto – Le Canon Petit

Approximate Street Price: ~ $290.00
www.ruger.com

The Good The Bad The Ugly Our Rating
The standout feature of the LCP was its fit and contour. until you shoot it, you don’t appreciate the importance of smooth finish and curves in all the right places. It’s comfortable to shoot for a pocket gun. Our only gripe with the LCP was inclusion of just one magazine. It’s not an issue of money, but one of convenience. Yep, we’re lazy and it’s just a hassle to go out and find an additional magazine or two to have a complete package. Hmmm. Need to get the Crimson Trace LG-431 laser. Just because it looks awesomely cool. There goes another couple hundred bucks. 3 Nuns Four Nuns!

 

Ruger LCP .380 ACP with ammunition

We tested the Ruger LCP with a wide variety of ammunition. It didn’t care.

Ruger refers to it as the LCP.

Light Carry Pistol?

Little Combat Pistol?

Lilliputian Centerfire, Puny?

Le Canon Petit?

Lowering Criminal Productivity?

Yep, we could go on all day with the Lame Comedic Puns, but no matter. The Ruger LCP fits (most of) those descriptions.

We really like this Lovable & Cute Projectile launcher. OK, no more bad jokes. Promise. Maybe.

The Ruger LCP is a well made pistol and we found that makes a noticeable difference on the range. Yes, it’s technically one of those guns to carry a lot and shoot far less frequently, but we were pleasantly surprised by its ergonomic friendliness over long shooting sessions. No, we would not want to crank off a few hundred rounds of high-pressure self defense ammo at a single sitting, but shooting lower recoil practice loads exhibited a low level of self abuse.

Initial Observations

  • Ruger LCP .380 ACP pocket pistol

    One of the nicest features of the Ruger LCP is the attention to detail in shape and finish. It’s smooth where it needs to be for more comfortable shooting.

    It’s small. Really small. And light.

  • The fit and finish is surprisingly good for this relatively inexpensive handgun. One of the things that has given us grief about similar models from Kel-Tec is the rough seams inside and outside the trigger guard where the polymer frame material is molded. It’s tough on the fingers after a few shots and manicures are getting more expensive by the day. The Ruger LCP was noticeably more comfortable to shoot than the Kel-Tec P3AT.
  • A lot of thought has been put into placement of texture on the frame. It’s smooth where it needs to be, like where your strong hand thumb rides, and rough where grip is needed. This goes a long way to making recoil more comfortable without sacrificing surety of grip.
  • There is a small cutout in the slide which allows you to see if there is a cartridge in the chamber. While it can’t tell you if its a live or spent one, it’s a nice touch to verify that something is in there.
  • The LCP comes with two different floor plates for the single included magazine. One is flat for maximum concealability and the other has a hook shape which allows your ring finger to get a firm grip. We preferred using it with the hooked floor plate. Even with the longer magazine plate, this pistol is effortless to conceal.

The Specs

Caliber: .380 Auto
Weight, unloaded: 9.4 oz
Capacity: 6+1
Length: 5.16″
Width: 0.82″
Height: 3.60″
Barrel Material: Alloy Steel
Barrel Finish Blued
Slide Material Alloy Steel
Slide Finish Blued
Grip Frame Black, High Performance, Glass-Filled Nylon

 

Ruger LCP_Finger-Grip-Extension-Floorplate

The Ruger LCP comes with both flat and extended magazine floorplates.

Features Overview

Weighing in at just 9.4 oz, the Ruger LCP is a reinforced nylon frame gun with a steel slide. The slide features an open-top ejection port design to enhance reliability and ease clearing of malfunctions. The slide also contains integral sight nublets. That’s our word, not Ruger’s. For readers not familiar with sight nublets, that’s a very low profile front sight matched with an equally low profile rear notch cut into the frame. No room for dots, paint, or tritium toys here. The LCP is primarily aimed by pointing in the general direction of evil d00dz. In daylight and lit conditions, the sights are in fact useful for more precise aiming.

The capacity of the Ruger LCP is 6+1 with either magazine plate installed. The hooked profile plate simply adds a little more finger room, not additional magazine capacity. We found the magazine easy to load without loading assist tools – even the last round.

The slide operates surprisingly easily for such a small gun. A great gripping surface and relatively light spring tension make it easy to rack the slide. None of our shooters had any trouble with this. The LCP features a manual slide lock button. This means that it is designed to keep the slide locked in an open position only when the user engages the slide lock lever. By design, the slide will not lock back when the magazine runs empty.

The Ruger LCP is a single-strike hammer fired design. The hammer is cut and designed to be completely shrouded by the slide. At no point in the hammer travel cycle is it exposed, nor is it able to be cocked by hand. Nor should it.

Ruger LCP_Fixed-Front-and-Rear-Sights

While the LCP has front and rear sights, they are not fast to acquire.

The trigger is surprisingly smooth. As its a double action only gun, it’s heavy as expected, but the pull is mostly even with a bit of stacking right before the sear releases. There was no perceptible over-travel.

Shooting the Ruger LCP

We were pleasantly surprised by how soft-shooting the LCP was. That’s a relative description of course. We were expecting handgun brutality at minimum, but it was comfortable to shoot even with defense loads. We shot the following loads through the LCP:

Doubletap 80gr TAC-XP (910 fps – This is supposed to be a 1,050 fps load in the LCP. We’re in contact with Doubletap Ammo to sort out this issue.)

Cor-Bon 90gr Self Defense JFP (1,024 fps)

Federal 90gr Hydra-Shok JHP (850 fps)

Georgia Arms Gold Dot (857 fps)

Hand Loads, 95 grain lead round nose over 3.6 grains of Alliant Unique (925 fps)

The LCP did not seem to have a preference in terms of ammo selection. It shot what we loaded and did not malfunction.

Ruger LCP .380 ACP pistol dimensions

The Ruger LCP is definitely pocket sized!

Our Price Point Theory

We had one minor complaint about the LCP and that was related to packaging. It only includes one magazine. In our view, this means its not yet ready to go. Even a pocket pistol carrier should have at least one spare magazine for either reloads or malfunctions. It’s just a good idea. We’re not sure why Ruger only includes one magazine, but we suspect it might have something to do with meeting a target street price point. With a little shopping, the base model can be purchased for just less than $300. Including a second or third magazine would probably push the street price of the LCP over the $300 barrier. Rather than get in a psycho-analysis of buyer behavior and perceived price ceilings, let’s just say we understand if the price point is the real issue. More importantly in our view however is the convenience factor. We’d rather not have to do a separate shopping and purchasing event to get an extra magazine.

No +P Ammunition

The owners manual warns “Do not use +P ammunition” but offers no additional clarity on the +P issue. The manual does clearly state the following:

No .380 Auto ammunition manufactured in accordance with  NATO, U.S., SAAMI, or CIP standards is known to be beyond the design limits or known not to function in these pistols.

Our Accuracy Testing Protocol

Ruger LCP .380 ACP included - gun case, magazine base plates

Included: A gun! 1 magazine, flat and curved magazine base plates, zipper case, and gun lock.

To test the inherent mechanical accuracy of the Ruger LCP, we shot from a standing position at 25 yards, using a weak hand side hold and balancing on one foot while eating Deep Fried Snickers Bars. We’ve found this to be a great test of a guns inherent mechanical accuracy. Our best groups measured 4 and a half feet, more or less. OK, tongue out of the cheek time. We’ve got a pet peeve about gun reviews by aging gun writers that claim to test mechanical accuracy by sighting in at 25 yards with aging eyes, holding in a weaver or similar stance with aging hands, and firing with an aging trigger finger. Right, that method pretty much removes all potential variables that might impact group size and tells us much about what a gun is capable of. By the way, being off a perfect sight picture by just the width of an average human hair creates over a one inch change in point of impact at 25 yards. If a gun isn’t in a Ransom Rest, don’t tell us about its mechanical accuracy. OK, rant over. Did we mention that we’re sick and tired of reading gun reviews that tell more about the reviewers braggadocio than a guns capability?

Since it would be a bit silly to put the Ruger LCP in a Ransom Rest, we thought a more realistic and helpful commentary might involve documenting our subjective findings on the LCP’s ease of shooting accurately at realistic distances for this gun. We did most of our shooting at 5 to 10 yards at range trash targets such as cans, plastic bottles, and other un-tiny objects that we deemed fun to shoot.

Once we found the right hold (see He Said comments below) it was surprisingly easy to hit with the LCP – even out to 25 yards or so. The sights are small as this gun is designed for up close self-defense use, but they are workable.

Bottom line? We’re confident that the Ruger LCP is “Minute of Evil d00d” capable. That’s why someone would buy it, right?

Bottom line?

We liked it. So we bought one.

 

He said She said
I found that I had to experiment with grip and trigger a bit to find a hold that allowed me to shoot accurately on a consistent basis. I wear a mens large glove so while my hands aren’t huge, they are larger than average. As the Ruger LCP is so small, simply grasping the frame and letting my trigger finger fall naturally caused me to pull the trigger with the fleshy fat between my first and second joints. I found I could shoot this gun much more consistently using the first pad of my finger by deliberately withdrawing my finger further from the trigger. Just a practice issue like with any new gun. Once I figured that out, I was able to hit small targets at reasonable distances with ease. It’s not a ‘shoot for fun’ gun. It’s a ‘gets the job done’ gun. However, it feels substantial for its size. The contours were smooth and comfortable, and while it’s a two-finger gun, I found it easy to control and aim. There are a lot of options for us ‘she’s’ to conceal this gun – Looper Flash Bang, thigh holster, purse, ankle, and waist. It’s thin and light. Lot’s of possibilities to match nearly any wardrobe selection.As a side note, look for a review by me (not Him!) on the Looper Flash Bang paired with the Ruger LCP soon!

 

Check out other My Gun Culture product reviews here!

 

Accessories available at Brownells


Find holster options in our new book, The Insanely Practical Guide to Gun Holsters – available at Amazon.com! Learn more about our Insanely Practical Guides!

Insanely Practical Guide to Gun Holsters

Half-Cocked: Lead really IS harmful to game animals…

Half-Cocked - Lead really is harmful to game animals

Half-Cocked: Why more girls need to work in gun stores…

Why more women need to work in gun stores...

Why more women need to work in gun stores...

Mayors Against Legal Governing (MALG) Spins Off From Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG)

Mayor Bloomberg, New York City, MAIG Head

Mayor Bloomberg (Photo nydailynews.com)

Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) spokesperson Senator Al Franken announced today formation of a new political organization – Mayors Against Legal Governing, or MALG.

Inspiration for the spinoff organization came out of a recent emergency meeting called to address the problem of inordinate numbers of MAIG members running afoul of the law. Since it’s formation in 2006, MAIG has suffered a rash of embarrassing incidents where member Mayors have been arrested, convicted, and even jailed for a broad variety of crimes.

“I mean everyone knows that we don’t play by the same rules as common people. We finally decided, hey, why the secrecy? Let’s just be out in the open about it and organize and embrace the lawlessness,” noted MAIG and MALG Founder New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

MALG organizers stress the importance of planning and metrics to success of their long term mission. “The pro-second amendment crowd likes to use lot’s of fancy statistics to prove things, so we decided we needed to whip up some of our own,” explained MALG organizer Bloomberg.

Inside sources indicate that Mayors Against Legal Governing is trying to make sure that have equal representation from all sorts of lawless behavior. So far, members have compiled an impressive list of illicit behaviors including Campaign Finance ScandalBriberyCounterfeitingDomestic AbuseExtortionMoney LaunderingMiscellaneous CorruptionFalsifying EvidenceDouble-Secret Federal Charges, and Child Pornography.

“While we’re off to an impressive start, we’ve got some real gaps in the areas of armed robbery,  impersonation of clergy, and nude Llama wrestling,” observed Mayor Bloomberg. “If you know anyone, please give them my number.

“Originally we wanted to keep this organization exclusive and only allow membership to Mayors who are actual convicted felons or those who were in the process of being convicted,” explained Mayor Bloomberg. “But we’re really making a renewed effort to be inclusive so we’re going consider adding Mayors with Misdemeanors to the group.”

One Funny Interview with Steve Hornady…

Our friends at Guns & Ammo bring us a hysterical interview with Steve Horandy about the new Z-Max Zombie Ammo Line…

Half-Cocked: A New Fast & Furious Deflection…

Half-Cocked: A New Fast & Furious Deflection...

Half-Cocked: A New Fast & Furious Deflection...

Holder and Holder Legal Services

Somehow this seems even more relevant than when originally posted…

Holder and Holder Legal Services

Holder and Holder Legal Services

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