Mossberg FLEX System: When One Gun Is Enough

I’ve seen magazine ads for the Mossberg FLEX system for sometime now, but have not had the opportunity to kick the tires, so to speak, until now.

The Mossberg FLEX system allows you to swap stocks, grips and butt pads quickly and easily.

The Mossberg FLEX system allows you to swap stocks, grips and butt pads quickly and easily.

If you’re not familiar with the Mossberg FLEX, the idea is a system of interchangeable parts, like stocks, grips, buttpads and forends, that allow you to quickly and easily reconfigure a rifle or shotgun. There are plenty of good reasons you might want to do this.

  • Seasonal clothing changes. If your shotgun or rifle fits you perfectly in the cold months when you wear heavy clothing, it might be a bit long in the stock during the summer t-shirt months.
  • You may want to share the same rifle or shotgun with another person who requires a different length of pull than you – a child for instance?
  • Maybe you want to use one gun for hunting and home defense. Why not mount a solid stock for hunting outings and a collapsible for home defense use?
Butt pads are a piece of cake to swap. A button on the bottom of the stock releases one, so you can add a different size.

Butt pads are a piece of cake to swap. A button on the bottom of the stock releases one, so you can add a different size.

Before I saw the system I had hesitations about the about how solid this the mounts would be. After all, the stock is the focal point for heavy recoil forces in shotguns and rifles. At the recent Professional Outdoor Media Conference (POMA) I had the opportunity to swap some stocks and shoot.

I found the locking system to be rock solid and here’s why. Mossberg uses zinc fixtures on both male and female sides of the locking mechanism between the stock and receiver. The locking mechanism is similar and appearance and function to AR style barrel extension and bolt carrier the way the two pieces locked together. A semicircular lever lifts out of the stock itself and twists 90° to release the mechanism. A quick bump with your hand and the two halves come apart. It’s a tight fit and I could detect no “play” at all between the receiver and stock.

You can also swap the butt pad for different sizes with a simple button release on the bottom of the stock. The butt pads are designed to snap in place and are available in small, medium and large sizes. Mossberg also offers different sizes of stocks blanks so you actually have two ways to customize. First you choose the stock you want, then select the desired butt pad. Couldn’t be easier.

Mossberg makes the FLEX system for 12 gauge 500 series shotguns, 7.62mm and 5.56mm MVP bolt action magazine fed rifles, 20 gauge shotguns and now FLEX-22 rifles.

Cool stuff.

A Great Reason To Take Your iPhone Or iPad To The Shooting Range

The Bullseye Camera iPhone application. It's got all the basics you need to monitor shots up to one mile downrange.

The Bullseye Camera iPhone application. It’s got all the basics you need to monitor shots up to one mile downrange.

Back in September I wrote about a new product that’s a must have accessory for rifle shooters – The Bullseye Camera System.

The iPad version provides the same functionality, just on a larger screen.

The iPad version provides the same functionality, just on a larger screen.

I won’t review all the capabilities here as you can read about those in the original article. The short description is this:

The @BullseyeCamera is like having an extra set of eyes down range, closely monitoring (but never criticizing!) every shot you take. (Tweet This)

Here’s what the Bullseye Camera System does, in a nutshell:

  • Watches your target for every shot
  • Tracks the exact location of each hit in the target area
  • Beams that information back to your shooting bench location
  • Displays a real-time view, on a laptop or netbook computer, of each shot taken

Well, life has gotten better. When I first got my hands on the system, it required a Windows-based computer, laptop or netbook to run the software. That was OK as I had a small netbook available to lug to the range. Now, Bullseye Camera has released both iPhone and iPad versions of the software. So you no longer need to bring a laptop to the range – your iPhone will work just fine by itself. If you want a larger screen, then bring an iPad.

You can find the iOS application free here. Of course, you need the Bullseye Camera hardware to use it.

The downrange part of the Bullseye Camera setup.

The downrange part of the Bullseye Camera setup.

Bullseye Camera is hard at work on Android and Mac OS versions of the software too. We’ll give you a heads up as soon as those are available.

Quiet Recoil Reduction From Silencerco

And the deluge of announcements for SHOT Show 2014 begins…

Both the Silencerco Harvester and Harvester Big Bore (shown here) have a nifty and quite cool looking integrated muzzle brake.

Both the Silencerco Harvester and Harvester Big Bore (shown here) have a nifty and quite cool looking integrated muzzle brake.

From one of the most innovative companies out there comes two new silencers optimized for hunting applications. That baffle-ey thing on the front? That’s an integrated muzzle brake to help control felt recoil. The Silencerco Harvester and Harvester Big Bore will be available starting in February.

Of course, the BATFE will do everything in their power to delay you taking possession for some unreasonable amount of time. Word on the street is that Class III Trust electronic tax stamp applications are getting turned around in a couple of months, so look into that. We’ll be doing an article on Gun Trusts in the near future.

The Harvester is a .30 caliber bore with a thread mount for numerous barrel sizes using a modular thread adapter. The silencer is 8.8 inches long, but weights in at only 11 ounces. That’s light. It’ll knock 21.1 to 33.6 dB off the muzzle blast sound depending on which specific caliber you’re using.

The Harvester Big Bore features a .338 caliber bore, but more importantly adds mounting options beyond a simple thread mount. As a result, it’s heavier, weighing in at about 22 ounces. It’s also a bit longer – 10 inches total.

I’m looking forward to (hopefully) shooting these at SHOT Show Media Day next week. More on that soon…

Vanquest MOLLE Sticks: They Will Save Your Sanity

At a recent Gunsite event hosted by my friends at LaserMax, I met Alex. He’s a gear head from Vanquest. But he doesn’t have greasy fingernails or smell like brake fluid, because his gear specialty is packs, bags, totes, backpacks and cases of all sorts.

Anyway, Alex showed me a sooper-dooper nifty little invention that it sure to save your sanity: MOLLE Sticks.

Two five-inch MOLLE Sticks. Shown here not hooking anything up so you can actually see them.

Two five-inch MOLLE Sticks. Shown here not hooking anything up so you can actually see them.

If you own a bag with all sorts of canvas straps all over it, it’s most likely MOLLE compatible. I’m pretty sure MOLLE stands for Militaristic Odor-eaters for Linsday Lohan Lawn tractor Excursions.

Or maybe it’s MOdular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment. You see, as cool as they are, our military Department of Namers-of-things always cheats on acronyms. There’s no “O” word in there, they just shamelessly borrow the one in “modular.”

Anyway, if you have a backpack, briefcase, camera bag, medical kit, bug out bag or MK-19 Automatic Grenade Launcher case with all these MOLLE straps, then maybe you’ve tried to hook some other pouch, canteen or perhaps a stuffed lemming to your bag. If you have, then you know it’s more annoying than all those home-made cartoons popping up all over Facebook.

Enter the sticks.

As opposed to a canvas strap that you have to wind through all those MOLLE loops, when there is no space whatsoever between the two surfaces, the MOLLE Sticks are made from slippery polymer. You simply push them through, in and out of the loops. When you hit the end, just push down the snap on the end to lock the stick in place.

Here I've used two MOLLE sticks to attach a Vanquest ISOPOD fold up pouch to my Vanquest Javelin VSlinger pack. Two other MOLLE sticks are shown beside.

Here I’ve used two MOLLE sticks to attach a Vanquest ISOPOD fold up pouch to my Vanquest Javelin VSlinger pack. Two other MOLLE sticks are shown beside.

It’s crazy easy to attach your MOLLE gear however you want – no matter how tight the loops are. And with these, the tighter the better, so your gear doesn’t jingle around.

The even better part is the instant removal. Whatever your reasons – simple pack reconfiguration, or maybe something really important like removing a modular medical kit – just unsnap the MOLLE Stick and it slides right out. The gear can be removed instantly.

Love, love, love these. You can get them from Vanquest here.

You don’t have to thank me, just consider this tip one of the many free benefits of Obamacare.

By the way, the pack and pouch shown here are two other nifty Vanquest products – the Vanquest Javelin VSlinger pack and the Vanquest ISOPOD fold up pouch. We’ll be reviewing those over at Bearing Arms.

23 Things You Can Do With A Leatherman Rail Tool For AR-15s

Today’s gift idea for you or your favorite gunnie is the Leatherman Rail tool for AR-15s and lots of other stuff.

The Leatherman Rail holds a lot of tools per square inch.

The Leatherman Rail holds a lot of tools per square inch.

The Leatherman Rail is a nearly flat tool that is nowhere near flat when it comes to versatility. Just under 5 inches long, 1 ½ inches wide and ½ inch thick, it packs a lot of uses for space taken in or on your range bag. You can even clip it on the outside of your bag, pack or belt using the built-in carabiner.

A ⅜" will allow you to drive a standard socket. It's a bit awkward, but will work in a crunch.

The ⅜” open-ended wrench will allow you to drive a standard socket. It’s a bit awkward, but will work in a crunch. And of course it’s a handy open-end ⅜” wrench.

Here are just a few things you can do with it:

  1. Adjust the front sight on an AR-15 or similar rifle.
  2. Change grips on your 1911.
  3. Remove the bottom of pistol magazines using the pin removal tool.
  4. Open taped ammo boxes. The AR-15 front sight adjustment tool is sharp and pointy like that.
  5. Lovingly and gently encourage stubborn push pins to move.
  6. Measure group sizes – the center of the tool is *exactly* 1 inch wide; the front sight adjustment prongs are 5/16 inches apart and there are ¼ and ⅜ inch drivers. With all those, you can estimate a lot of measurements.
  7. Mount Magpul Back Up Sights on your AR-15 using the flathead screwdriver tool.
  8. Remove the carrying handle on an AR-15 A3 model.
  9. Check / tighten / loosen your scope rings.
  10. Dig a bullet out of a log. While not listed on the Leatherman web site, I find this a valuable feature.
  11. Uncap a bottle. After the shooting is done, you can use the carabiner hook to open a cold one. It’s a little tricky, but if you tackle that, you can also…
  12. Shotgun a beer. Remember that sharp and pointy front sight tool? It’ll go through an aluminum can like butter.
  13. Open and close an oxygen tank valve. If you really choked on that last Steel Challenge stage, take a few hits of O2 and compose yourself.
  14. Tighten or loosen anything you have a ¼” Hex bit for. The hex driver is universal for all sorts of bits.
  15. Remove staples from a target backer.
  16. Remove an AR-15 firing pin retaining pin when cleaning the bolt and carrier.
  17. Pull a nail out of a target stand.
  18. You can open an AR-15 ejection port cover when the bolt is already open – without tearing off your thumbnail.
  19. Remove your AR-15 trigger group.
  20. Peel a banana when the top doesn’t want to separate.
  21. Easily remove the bottom from a PMag
  22. Scrape carbon from your AR bolt in the field.
  23. Use it as an emergency toothpick. Yep, done that. I’m not proud. Just resourceful.

You can buy the Leatherman Rail here for less than 30 bucks.

The rail includes a phillips and flat head screwdrivers, a Torx #15 bit, pin punch and 7/64" drivers. Those fit in a special slot in the compression handle.

The rail includes a phillips and flat head screwdrivers, a Torx #15 bit, pin punch and 7/64″ drivers. Those fit in a special slot in the compression handle.

What Happens When You Shoot A Bullet Proof Vest? We Test Engarde Body Armor

Did any of these penetrate the Engarde Body Armor? Read on to see...

Did any of these penetrate the Engarde Body Armor? Read on to find out…

Is he a plastic Saddam Hussein or a 1970s Porn Star? We don't know, but either way he's protected with Engarde Body Armor.

Is he a plastic Saddam Hussein or a 1970s Porn Star? We don’t know, but either way he’s protected with Engarde Body Armor.

Did I mention we’re giving away a set of FREE body armor? Thanks to the good folks at Engarde, we are. You can get full contest details here, but in short, it’s simple to win. Just like our Facebook page and you’re entered.

The Engarde folks sent us two sets of body armor. One to give away and the other to shoot to pieces. After all, we wouldn’t want to give our readers any untested gear, right?

Since we couldn’t find any willing, and breathing, human volunteers, we dressed up Plastic Saddam with some Engarde Exterior Body Armor and took him to the range. Most of the folks at our local shooting range thought he was a 1970s era porn star, but we knew he was a bona-fide, genuine, evil dictator that really needed to be shot. Either way, with that hairdo and cheesy mustache, dispensing of him was a service to humanity.

A quick look at Engarde Body Armor

This specific model is similar to the Engarde Patrol. It’s an external setup with soft panels that are inserted into the carrier front and rear. The sides overlap so there is full coverage around the body. The carrier also features external pockets which are sized to house optional ceramic plates for protection against rifle and machine gun rounds. The soft panels included with the system are intended to stop pistol calibers only.

The Dyneema soft panels fill the entire space of the carrier. Soft panels insert via a full-width Velcro closure across the bottom of the vest.

The Dyneema soft panels fill the entire space of the carrier. Soft panels insert via a full-width Velcro closure across the bottom of the vest.

The material inside the panels is genuine Dyneema SB-21. While I didn’t count exactly, there are about 40 layers of Dyneema material in each ballistic soft panel. Each layer of Dyneema feels somewhat like a cross between wax paper and plastic tarp material. It’s got a slick and waxy feel to it with a “crinkly” texture. And it’s very, very lightweight.

This specific product is rated National Institute of Justice (NIJ) IIIa. The simple description of the NIJ IIIa rating is that it’s intended to stop most pistol rounds in calibers ranging from .32 through .44 Magnum. Previous certification definitions like NIJ II would not necessarily stop .357 Sig full metal jacket or hard jacketed .44 magnum rounds.

I won’t go into NIJ specifications here, but levels are carefully documented for different type of projectiles, i.e. full metal jacket, moving at specific maximum velocities.

Strength is achieved via layering. While I didn't count, there must have been at least 50 layers of Dyneema material on each side.

Strength is achieved via layering. While I didn’t count, there must have been about 40 layers of Dyneema material on each side.

The vest we tested is rated for up to four straight-on, zero-degree angle hits per panel and two thirty-degree oblique hits. As I did not want to worry about deflected shots, I only tested zero-degree deflection scenarios, so perfect performance would be defined by four stops per panel.

Did it stop bullets?

For no specific reason other than some weird OCD tendency, I decided to shoot the front of the vest with smaller caliber pistol rounds including .32 ACP, 9mm and .357 Sig. The back vest panel I reserved for the slow and fat heavies like .40 S&W, .45 ACP and .44 Magnum.

After being shot several times, the Engarde vest puffed up like Michael Moore at free pizza night at CiCi's. The layers of Dyneema separate while absorbing energy of the incoming projectiles.

After being shot several times, the Engarde vest puffed up like Michael Moore at free pizza night at CiCi’s. The layers of Dyneema separate while absorbing energy of the incoming projectiles.

Being me, I was a bit curious about two things. First, I wanted to verify the vest met manufacturer claims. Would it stop handgun projectiles in the rated bullet type and velocity parameters? Second, could I exceed those parameters and possibly make it break? And by “break” I mean at what point would a round be able to penetrate the vest?

During the vest destruction, I was careful to move shot placement around so that no two impacts were closer than three or four inches to each other.

So let’s take a closer look at results by ammunition type.

.32 ACP

Just for variety, I shot the vest with three different .32 ACP rounds with a Walther PP: Fiocchi 73 grain full metal jacket, Hornady 60 grain XTP and Cor-Bon 60 grain JHP. I thought perhaps the small diameter round nose of a .32 ACP FMJ might stand a better chance of sneaking through the vest undetected so to speak.

A .32 FMJ (left) and .32 hollow point (right)

A Fiocchi .32 FMJ (left) and Cor-Bon .32 jacketed hollow point (right)

No such luck.

This .32 ACP hollow point flattened to about 20% of its original length. And yes, it stopped immediately on impact - I did not remove any layers of Dyneema in this photo.

This Hornady .32 ACP hollow point flattened to about 20% of its original length. And yes, it stopped immediately on impact – I did not remove any layers of Dyneema in this photo.

The full metal jacket projectile flattened like a spoon, one hollow point somewhat self-destructed and the other flattened to about .125 inches top to bottom. If you’re covered head to toe in this material, and attacked by a horde of Walther PPK wielding evil dudes, you don’t have much to worry about, except bruises.

9mm

Since I was feeling ornery, I decided to use 9mm ammunition that was designed to penetrate – Hornady’s Critical Duty. It’s a 135 grain 9mm load that is designed not to expand as easily as the standard Critical Defense load. It’s intended for law enforcement use where barriers like car doors and windshields might be encountered. And it travels at about 1,115 feet per second, so considering the heavier than average weight for 9mm, it’s moving right along. I’ve even tested this load against a giant pile of BS – The New York Times – and it performed superbly. To make sure velocity was up to par, I shot it from a Glock 17 Gen 4.

This Hornady Critical Duty round hit within ½ inch of the edges, yet still was stopped in the first five to eight layers (of 40)

This Hornady Critical Duty round hit within ½ inch of the edge, yet still was stopped in the first five to eight layers (of 40) of Dyneema

Again, no luck. And I noticed something really interesting that would appear a few shots later with the .357 Sig testing. All giddy with excitement and curiosity, I yanked one of my shots a bit off target, so it hit within ½ inch of the right hand side of the vest. I expected the projectile to take the path of least resistance and deflect away from the vest altogether. Contrary to my assumption, the round traveled inwards towards the center of the best and got tangled up in the Dyneema material. It’s almost as if the edge hit encountered more resistance than less.

.357 Sig

Keep in mind, by this point, the front panel had been shot 5 times, or one more than it’s rating. As the panels are shot, the Dyneema sheets start to separate as projectiles dump energy into the vest. As the layers separate, penetration is more likely.

Although I didn’t really plan to be unfair from the start, that’s kind of what happened. Shots six through eight, or double the vests rated capacity, were done with a smoking hot round – the .357 Sig. The projectiles are the same diameter as 9mm at .355 inches, but velocity is cranked way up. The two rounds I shot, Georgia Arms Gold Dot and Winchester PDX1 Defender both use 125 grain bonded projectiles at 1,400 and 1,350 feet per second, respectively. I used a Glock 31 with a 4 ½ inch barrel to get every possible bit of velocity advantage.

The .357 Sig Georgia Arms Gold Dot flattened completely - even though it was the 6th shot at the front vest panel - two over rated capacity.

The .357 Sig Georgia Arms Gold Dot flattened completely – even though it was the 6th shot at the front vest panel – two over rated capacity.

Shot six was the Georgia Arms Gold dot. It flattened completely into a nickel-sized blob of lead. Like the previous projectiles, it was stopped cold in the first ten layers of Dyneema material.

Next up were shots seven and eight, which exactly doubled rated capacity of the vest. These were both Winchester PDX1 Defender .357 Sig rounds. The seventh shot didn’t flatten, but tumbled and got caught up about half way through the vest panel – another complete stop.

The eight shot, or double the rated capacity of the vest, passed through the front panel, but didn't even penetrate the mesh of the back panel. It was clearly out of gas.

The eight shot, or double the rated capacity of the vest, passed through the front panel, but didn’t even penetrate the mesh of the back panel. It was clearly out of gas.

The eight shot found how much punishment the vest could take, as it passed through and was immediately stopped by the back panel. At this point, having absorbed eight hits, the vest was done. It had blimped up to approximately eight inches thick as the panels expanded more and more with each subsequent hit.

As the rated standards call for up to four “straight on” hits, I would certainly say it did it’s job absorbing eight – three of which were from very hot .357 Sig rounds. Now let’s look at the back panel, where I tested the “heavier” and larger caliber rounds.

.40 Smith & Wesson

I had no doubt the Engarde vest would stop a relatively slow 180 grain .40 S&W projectile, so I decided to try a lighter weight and higher velocity round – the Speer Gold Dot 155 grain bonded hollow point. I clocked this specific round at 1,168 feet per second from a Beretta PX4 Storm.

Both the Hornady Critical Defense 125 grain FTX .357 Magnum (left) and Speer Gold Dot 155 grain .40 S&W (right) were stopped cold.

Both the Hornady Critical Defense 125 grain FTX .357 Magnum (left) and Speer Gold Dot 155 grain .40 S&W (right) were stopped cold.

I’ll let you guess what happened. With the first hit on a fresh Engarde panel, I observed full “splat” with virtually no penetration into the vest.

.357 Magnum

Next up was .357 Magnum shot from a Ruger LCR. I used Hornady’s Critical Defense 125 grain FTX round. As expected, the second shot on the fresh back panel yielded the same result – a flattened bullet caught in the first several layers of material.

.45 ACP

Getting bored by all these stopped bullets, I decided to try a couple of different things. First, I had to try one of my favorite carry loads for my Springfield Armory TRP 1911Remington Golden Saber 185 grain +P. It’s a jacketed hollow point that I’ve choreographed at 1,167 feet per second from this particular pistol.

It penetrated exactly two of the 40 Dyneema layers before flattening completely. Yes, two.

So it was time to try a different option. I recently picked up a box of DoubleTap .45 ACP +P hard cast ammunition. It features a solid lead, semi-wadcutter projectile that’s designed for hunting thick-skinned critters like wild boar. Surely this would do something dramatic right? It was also the fourth shot at the back panel – the last shot within the performance rating of the vest.

Both the Hornady Critical Defense 125 grain FTX .357 Magnum (left) and Speer Gold Dot 155 grain .40 S&W (right) were stopped cold.

The DoubleTap 255 grain hard cast and Remington Golden Saber 185 grain +P .45 ACP projectiles.

Well, the 255 grain hard cast projectile did manage to penetrate a bit further. One layer. That one passed through two and stopped at the third, making a small tear in layer three. Only 37 more layers and it would have gone right through.

.44 Magnum

I know, there aren’t many .44 Magnums on the streets, so testing body armor against that isn’t really practical. But it did sound entertaining. So I dug out a box of Magtech 240 grain semi-jacketed soft point ammunition and launched one from a Ruger Super Blackhawk.

.44 Magnum versus Engarde Body Armor

.44 Magnum versus Engarde Body Armor

The result? Yet another deformed bullet, this one caught in the first four layers of the vest’s material. Add “magnum” to the mix and you get one more layer of penetration. Only 36 to go!

Closing Arguments

This was enlightening and a little bit shocking. After shooting each side of the vest, I cut it open to examine the results. As described earlier, the Dyneema material somewhat resembles wax paper. Heavier and stiffer, but not something you would think capable of stopping a bullet. Even though I understand the science behind it, it’s still mind-boggling when you feel how light the panels are.

This vest worked beyond what is advertised. I had to shoot the front panel to double the specification before it failed. The rear panel was shot five times – all with some insanely powerful handgun loads and never failed.

A slew of really messed up bullets.

A slew of really messed up bullets.

There was no deflection. All bullets were caught up in the material and stopped cold. Two shots hit on the very edge of the vest, yet were still trapped.

Watching the target stand and vest “jump” with each shot, I quickly decided I would prefer never to be shot, vest or not. While these have saved hundreds and maybe thousands of lives, getting hit with a supersonic projectile will still leave a mark. Ouch.

The model tested, identical to the one we’re giving away, is a great “emergency” option for civilian use. It slips over your head, outside of your clothing, and can be put on in seconds. Engarde makes lots of other models with some designed to be concealed, so check them out.

Don’t forget, we’re giving an identical set to this one away free! All you have to do is like our Facebook page. Or you can get full details here.

Did you like this?

Then be sure to check out our latest book, The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition. It’s available in print and Kindle format at Amazon:

The Rookie's Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition

The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition

If Engarde Body Armor Can Protect Plastic Saddam, It Can Protect You

Is he a plastic Saddam Hussein or a 1970s Porn Star? We don't know, but either way he's protected with Engarde Body Armor.

Is he a plastic Saddam Hussein or a 1970s Porn Star? We don’t know, but either way he’s protected with Engarde Body Armor.

Today’s work project is shooting plastic Saddam full of holes. Well, I think he’s supposed to be Saddam, but he kinda looks like a 1970s era porn star. Either way, it’s a service to humanity.

But it’s not as unfair as it sounds. You see, he’ll be wearing Engarde Body Armor. So he has a fighting chance.

Stay tuned for the results…

Oh, by the way, thanks to the folks at Engarde Body Armor, we’re giving away a FREE bullet proof vest to a lucky Facebook fan. No catches, just like our Facebook page here, and it could be yours!

But we wouldn’t want to give our valued readers anything not street proven. So we’re going to dress up our plastic Saddam in a second, identical set of Engarde Body Armor (don’t worry, the prize set will be un-shot!) and shoot him with all sorts of pistols. .357 Sig, .45 ACP, 9mm, .40 S&W and even a classic James Bond Walther PPK in .32 ACP.

Read the full contest rules here. Like our Facebook page. And check our Facebook wall on November 23rd. That’s it.

A Really Pointy Knife: The Spyderco Des Horn

I wouldn’t consider myself a knife guy, but I seem to be amassing quite the collection of them. Probably because they’re so darn handy. I use a pocket knife at least ten times a day for something or other. You know, all that tactical stuff like opening boxes and letters, getting steak out from between your teeth and as an impromptu screwdriver or pry tool. Ken Onion, please forgive me, for I have sinned…

At a LaserMax event at Gunsite last week, I picked up a new one – the Spyderco Des Horn folding knife.

The Spyderco Des Horn is nothing if not sleek.

The Spyderco Des Horn is nothing if not sleek.

When open, this pocket folder just looks sleek and, well, medical. That’s probably because designer Des Horn is a practicing dentist. I have no verifiable information as to whether Des uses this on his patients. When opened, the total length is just under 7 1/2 inches.

Even the clip is unique and has a light and airy feel.

Even the clip is unique and has a light and airy feel.

Closed, the Spyderco Des Horn measures about 4 1/4 inches. The cutting edge of the blade is just a hair over 3 inches. The clip is easily removable if you like and the handle is made from sturdy G10 material.

The spear-style point is aggressive to say the least.

The spear-style point is aggressive to say the least.

As cool as it looks, the Spyderco Des Horn standout feature is the very pointy spear tip. No, it’s not suited for removing screws or prying things. On the other hand, it might be the world’s greatest junk mail opener. Heavily taped boxes? No problem, that sharp point slides right in there as easily as a politician finds a TV camera.

Yeah, it’s a nifty tactical knife too. The cutout for the lock makes a great finger groove and the hole in the blade allows for one-handed opening. And the best part? The whole thing weighs only two ounces.

You can pick one up for about $110 if you shop carefully.

OTIS Technology Announces LaPierreCare Offerings

OTIS Elite Cleaning System - everything you need, for every gun you have. Or might have.

OTIS Elite Cleaning System – everything you need, for every gun you have. Or might get.

Hey folks – just found out OTIS Technology, maker and purveyor of my absolute favorite cleaning kits, just launched a couple of rebate specials. Starting October 1 and continuing through the end of the year, there are two deals to check out.

Is it coincidence that the launch date coincides with the go live date of LaPierreCare Affordable Gun Act? I think not.

The first deal is for the OTIS Elite Cleaning System which has gizmos to handle every firearm from .17 caliber through 12 gauge shotguns. 105mm light guns require additional parts, sorry. Buy the OTIS Elite kit and send in the forms for a $15 cash back rebate. If you want to know a little more about the OTIS Elite system, we gave one away last year with the ladies from Women’s Outdoor News.

OTIS Technology MSR / AR-15 Kit with B.O.N.E. Tool and Ripcord cleaner

OTIS Technology MSR / AR-15 Kit with B.O.N.E. Tool and Ripcord cleaner

The second offer is available with purchase of the OTIS MSR / AR Cleaning Kit. Specifically designed for AR platform rifles and pistols, this kit includes things you need to clean out that nearly impossible to reach chamber. It also includes the OTIS B.O.N.E. tool, which is one of the niftiest inventions I’ve seen in a long time. Use the OTIS B.O.N.E. tool to clean your bolt, bolt tail and carrier. Handy. When you buy the MSR / AR kit, OTIS will send you a free OTIS Ripcord cleaner, which we recently evaluated.

If rebate forms don’t come included with your purchase, no problem. You can get them from the OTIS website.

Neat Invention of the Day: OTIS Ripcord Gun Cleaner

I spent some quality time at the range yesterday. I had to shoot some AR rifles to gather some data for my upcoming Insanely Practical Guides book, The Rookie’s Guide to the AR-15. Yeah, I know, it’s not just an adventure, it’s a job!

The OTIS Ripcord with an OTIS IDT Bore Brush attached. If you look closely you can see how the cord gets larger from one end to the other.

The OTIS Ripcord with an OTIS IDT Bore Brush attached. If you look closely you can see how the cord gets larger from one end to the other.

Anyway, the not so fun part of all that work is the cleaning afterwords. While not as difficult as rehabbing a recently paroled assistant crack whore, it can be a tedious process.

Fortunately I got my hands on a sample of the hot-spankin’ new OTIS Ripcord while at the Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun Invitational. OTIS was a sponsor (thanks!) of the event and brought lots of new cleaning supplies for trial and testing.

The OTIS Ripcord is a semi-rigid cleaning “rope” for lack of a better word. Except it’s not much like a rope at all.

It’s constructed from a molded and rubberized core which provides the rigidity. Wound around that is carefully patterned Nomex fiber. You know Nomex – it’s that space age fire-resistant stuff that helps protect astronauts, military pilots and race car drivers from all that highly combustible fuel that they surround themselves with. It won’t even start to burn or melt until you get north of 700 degrees. This is important because… gun barrels get HOT. So you can use the OTIS Ripcord at the range while your barrel is still smokin’. That makes it a little easier to get the gunk out before it cakes on like Joan Rivers’ stage makeup.

The Nomex fiber is wound into a helix shape, like Alpaca DNA, so that the pattern gets deep into the rifling grooves. This means better cleaning and fewer passes through the bore. You’ll also notice that the OTIS Ripcord increases in diameter from one end to the other. The larger end won’t even go through the barrel if you try to put that in first. That’s by design. Insert the skinny end, and when it comes out the muzzle, pull the rest, including the fat part, through.

At each end of the Ripcord is a female threaded cap. So you can add other OTIS cleaning accessories. I stuck the OTIS IDT Bore Brush on the fat end and soaked the mop portion with FireClean Conditioning Oil, which I’ve been testing recently on AR’s.

Wow. I did two passes and the bore was squeaky clean. The rigidity of the Ripcord makes life a lot easier, especially when cleaning a semi-automatic where you don’t have linear access to the chamber end of the barrel. I’ve been a fan of the OTIS breech to muzzle cleaning system for years, and part of what makes it easy is the fact that the cleaning cables are not limp and floppy. While “limp and floppy” may sound a bit suggestive, it’s really a bad thing when you’re trying to wind a cleaning rope through an AR chamber. You have to orient the rifle muzzle down and take advantage of gravity to get the leading end out of the muzzle. It can be a three hand job. Not so with the Ripcord. Put your rifle on the bench sideways and just push it through. Awesome. I’ll be picking up more of these for my other rifle and pistol calibers.

You can get them in a couple of calibers at Amazon now and more will be appearing at your favorite gun accessories retailers like Brownells.com over the next few weeks.

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