Want an Extra Set of Eyes Downrange? Try the Bullseye Camera System

Shoot a rifle? How about a pistol? Or a bow? Or an air gun? Or maybe an atl-atl?

If yes, then you need to take a close look at the Bullseye Camera System. It’s like having an extra set of eyes just a couple of feet away from your downrange target, closely monitoring (but never criticizing!) every shot you take.

The Bullseye Camera System goes downrange to monitor your target so you don't have to.

The Bullseye Camera System goes downrange to monitor your target so you don’t have to.

Here’s the Bullseye Camera System in action downrange. Open the case, set up the camera, and you’re ready to go.

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
Here’s the Bullseye Camera System in action downrange. Open the case, set up the camera, and you’re ready to go.

Here’s the Bullseye Camera System in action downrange. Open the case, set up the camera, and you’re ready to go.

It’s a little bit like having an insanely high-powered spotting scope zeroed in on your target, only better. Unlike a spotting scope, the Bullseye Camera System tracks each shot individually throughout your shooting session. The system monitors target status and all previous shots, so no matter how many holes are in your target, the most recent one will be clearly flashing on the laptop screen at your shooting bench. Not only that, you can choose to mark shots with colored dots for future reference.

Read the rest at OutdoorHub.com!

When 10 Rounds Of 12 Gauge Shotgun Isn’t Enough

Recently I ran across a deal that I couldn’t refuse on a Mossberg JM Pro 930 semi-automatic shotgun. The only problem is that it’s a little light on capacity. With only 9 rounds in the tubular magazine and 1 in the chamber, this shotgun is limited to a measly 10 shots.

And there are times when 10 rounds of 12 gauge isn’t enough. For example…

  • You hear a bump in the night. But your house has 6 porches. When you step out on the porch and fire a couple of blasts in the air, you’ll run out of ammo by the 5th porch. Wise Uncle Joe didn’t think of that did he? No worries, that’s why we’re here.
  • Let’s face it. The job market is tough. If you have to accept a position as a nomadic crime boss, you’ll want extra capacity for those unruly board meetings and employee grievances.
  • Your upcoming social calendar includes a walking dead family reunion.

Of course there are other less realistic scenarios where you might want to carry extra shotgun shells. Like home defense or 3 gun competition. Or maybe you’re a really, really bad skeet shooter.

For those scenarios, you might want to check out the Mesa Tactical SureShell Shotshell Side Saddle Carriers. Add a “by the seashore” to that and you’ve got a proven tongue twister.

Mesa Tactical SureShell Shotshell Side Saddle Carrier

Mesa Tactical SureShell Shotshell Side Saddle Carrier on a Mossberg JM Pro 930

The Mesa Tactical SureShell Shotshell Carrier is designed to mount to your shotgun receiver or stock and carry from 4 to 8 extra shot shells. Models are available for numerous shotguns including:

Remington 870, 1100, 11087

Mossberg 500, 590, 930

Benelli M1, M2, Super Nova, M4, M1014

There are a lot of variables, so be sure to check the Mesa Tactical web site for details.

Most models are constructed from sturdy 6061-T6 aircraft aluminum, so you should be able to mount it to an F-18 Super Hornet, but be sure to consult a competent armorer before attempting installation.

A closer look at the Mesa Tactical SureShell Shotshell Carrier

Mesa Tactical SureShell Shotshell Side Saddle Carrier  2

I ordered the Mossberg 930 (6) shell carrier. This one is constructed of solid aluminum and includes all the parts and tools needed for installation.

Mesa Tactical SureShell Shotshell Side Saddle Carrier installation  7

One of the “hidden” features of the Mesa Tactical SureShell Shotshell Carrier is the adjustable friction mechanism. A channel is machined into the carrier which holds a rubber tube. This tube applies pressure to the shot shells in each port. Mesa Tactical supplies two rubber tubes with different hardness to increase or decrease the amount of friction you want.

Mesa Tactical SureShell Shotshell Side Saddle Carrier installation  6

Try the default setup. If it works for you, great. No further action is required. If you want the carrier to hold shells more tightly, you’ll need to swap the rubber tube.

Mesa Tactical SureShell Shotshell Side Saddle Carrier installation  5

On the Mossberg 930 model, 6 screws hold the backing plate to the carrier. Remove those and you’ll have access to the tube.

Mesa Tactical SureShell Shotshell Side Saddle Carrier installation  4

Replace the default tube with the firmer white tube and replace the backing plate.

Mesa Tactical SureShell Shotshell Side Saddle Carrier installation remove trigger group pins

Installation on the Mossberg 930 JM Pro was easy. Just punch out the two pins that hold the trigger group in place. Leave the trigger group in the receiver – no need to take that out.

Mesa Tactical SureShell Shotshell Side Saddle Carrier installation  3

Mesa Tactical includes a rubber gasket that sticks to the back of the shell carrier. This creates a no-slip attachment and ensures that your receiver won’t get all scratched up. Stick that on the back, making sure you don’t cover up any of the backing plate screws in case you want to swap retainer tubes later.

Mesa Tactical SureShell Shotshell Side Saddle Carrier installation  2

For the Mossberg 930, the carrier kit includes two sets of pass through bolts. Insert the two female ends through the carrier and then through the receiver. Be careful to keep your trigger group in place – these bolts are now holding that in the receiver.

Mesa Tactical SureShell Shotshell Side Saddle Carrier installation  1

From the other side, insert the male end of the bolts, with washers, and join them up.

Mesa Tactical SureShell Shotshell Side Saddle Carrier installation

The Mossberg 930 carrier kit includes two hex wrenches to tighten the bolts. Finger tight using the hex wrenches will provide all the tension you need.

Mesa Tactical SureShell Shotshell Side Saddle Carrier  1

Here is the Mesa Tactical Shot Shell Carrier mounted. Notice the cutout placed over the area of the receiver where the gun’s serial number is stamped. (The serial number is blurred out in this photo.)

Mesa Tactical SureShell Shotshell Side Saddle Carrier top view

A view from the top. The Mesa Tactical ShotShell Side Saddle Carrier. Notice that it’s well out of the way of the receiver-mounted safety.

Mesa Tactical SureShell Shotshell Side Saddle Carrier  3

The grip is solid enough to carry shot shells base up or base down depending on your preference. Or, if you want to carry two types of shells, you can alternate them to easily tell the difference between buckshot and slugs. After some use, I found that I preferred the base down method. With your support hand thumb, you can press down on the top of a shell to “dump” it into your support hand. With proper hand placement and practice, you can drop a shell into your support hand and load it in one fluid motion. OK, it was more like a spastic motion before practicing a few times, but practice makes perfect.

You can find the Mesa Tactical ShotShell Side Saddle Carrier at Brownells.com

Mesa Tactical Products, Inc. Receiver Mount Shotshell Holder
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Blackhawk! AR-15 Vertical Grip: For Stability, Tactical Lights & Low Heat

Adding The Blackhawk! Rail Mount Vertical Grip

Moving right along with the Blackhawk! custom AR-15 project…

This time, I’m going to try out a complimentary accessory to the Blackhawk! Rail Mount Thumb Rest I installed last episode. The thumb rest can operate on its own to help grip, control and consistent hand placement. It also works great with a vertical grip.

The Blackhawk! Rail Mount Vertical Grip will work on most any rifle with a standard rail up front. Of course, if you want the grip to be on the bottom of the forend, you must have a rail on the bottom.

But first, why does one need a vertical grip?

  1. The grip is one layer removed from even the rail, so it’s not gonna heat up with lots of firing. Keeping freshly manicured hands away from that softness-robbing heat has got to be a benefit. Along with a daily soak on Palmolive.
  2. Control. The vertical grip presents a modified weapon support method. It’s especially handy for short-stock configurations, like indoor use.
  3. If you want to add a tactical light, it provides a great way to grip the rifle AND easily control a tail cap activated light. We’ll explore that in a future article.
  4. You have to admit, it looks cool. That counts for something right?
Blackhawk Rail Mount Vertical Grip

Here the Blackhawk! Rail Mount Vertical Grip is installed with the Blackhawk! Rail Mount Thumb Shelf – they play well together.

 

Blackhawk! Rail Mount Vertical Grip: Installation and features

Blackhawk Rail Mount Vertical Grip parts

The Blackhawk! Rail Mount Vertical Grip is modular in design, so you can customize the height of the grip. The standard vertical grip measures about 3 inches from the bottom of the rail. You can just fasten the included bottom cap to get a short post vertical grip configuration. This works great if you like to use the vertical grip as a partial hand support as shown in the photo later in this article. The kit also includes a grip extension that screws into the primary grip. This adds about 1 ⅝ inches so the total height of the vertical grip, with extension, is about 4 ⅝ inches. All of the parts are hollow and both the flat cap and extension grip piece include rubber gaskets to help seal the interior. This makes a handy place to safely store spare light batteries, small parts, cleaning supplies or maybe a few pieces of Bazooka Joe’s Bubble Gum. Your choice.

Blackhawk Rail Mount Vertical Grip installation

Since it’s a rail mount grip, installation is a snap. The grip itself has one half of a rail clamp molded in and a separate clamp for the opposite side. Two included hex bolts are used to fasten the grip to your rail. This provides a little extra flexibility for out of spec rails – you’ll still be able to get a solid mount.

Blackhawk Rail Mount Vertical Grip installation  1

The two included hex bolts are spaced to slide through grooves in the rail for forward / backward stability.

Blackhawk Rail Mount Vertical Grip water tight storage

The flat end cap has a rubber gasket to help keep moisture out of the storage area. Since there is not much surface on the flat one, there’s a large slot on the bottom to make it easier to remove. The extension piece also includes a gasket, but does not need a bottom slot and has a slightly rounded bottom.

Blackhawk Rail Mount Thumb Rest  2

Here’s the standard 3″ vertical grip installed with a Blackhawk! Rail Mount Thumb rest installed above and just forward of the Blackhawk! Rail Mount Vertical Grip.

Blackhawk Rail Mount Thumb Rest

The combination of the short vertical post and thumb rest works great. The thumb rest allows a little stable forward pressure and the vertical grip post allows a little backward pressure. The overall support-hand grip is rock solid. Of course, if you add the vertical grip extension, you have the additional option of using the vertical grip only with your support hand. In that configuration, you’re grasping the vertical grip more like a hammer.

One of the reasons I elected to install a vertical grip is that I’ll be trying out the Blackhawk! Offset Flashlight Rail Mount with a Blackhawk! Night-Ops Legacy L-6V tactical light. That one has a maximum output of 570 lumens, so maybe I’ll try it out at the 2013 Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun Invitational Match

Buy the Blackhawk! Rail Mount Vertical Grip Here

 

How To Add Night Sights To The M1A or M14 Rifle, And Other Rifleman Jazz

The Smith Enterprise Tritium Close Combat Sight (TCCS)

Recently I had a Springfield Armory M1A in for evaluation. Somehow, this military classic (civilian semi-automatic version of the M14) just insists that you use iron sights.

Why?

Got me. But I’ve waffled more on the scope / iron sights decision more than Eric Holder in his Fast and Furious testimony. Some weeks the scope mount goes on and others its back to iron sights. Right now, it’s iron sights, and I think I’m going to stick with those – at least until Honey Boo Boo gains another 5 pounds.

Actually I’ve got even more incentive to stick with irons for a while. Recently I picked up a Smith Enterprise Tritium Close Combat front sight for the M1A / M14.

Smith Enterprise Tritium Close Combat Sight for M1A and M14 Rifles

The Smith Enterprise Tritium Close Combat Sight (left) shown next to the standard Springfield Armory M1A front sight.

As you can see, the front sight post is noticeably wider and not tapered like the standard M1A front sight post. This sight is intended for low visibility, close quarters use. Don’t take it to the National Matches! Here’s why…

Let’s consider the sight picture at 100 yards. My particular Springfield Armory M1A sight is just about .055 inches wide on the shooter side. It’s tapered and therefore narrower than that in the front. This helps create a really crisp and precise sight picture. Many other M1A’s use a National Match sight blade, which is .062 inches wide, so your particular mileage may vary a bit. Keep in mind that numbers will float around depending on exactly how far from the front sight post you place your shootin’ and aimin’ eye. In my case, it’s about 34 inches.

On the other hand, the Smith Enterprise Tritium Close Combat Sight has a post that measures just about .093 inches wide.

What does this mean if your shooting at a target 100 yards away? Let’s do some fancy math and find out…

Gun math

So, solving that equation, dividing by the number of times John Boehner visits a tanning booth and carrying the one gives us the following sight pictures:

My Standard M1A Front Sight post covers a 5.82 inch wide target at 100 yards. With this fancy new match, that means a standard military 20 inch wide target would exactly match the width of my front sight blade at 343 yards.

The Smith Enterprise Tritium Close Combat Sight post covers a 9.84 inch wide target at 100 yards. Not trusting my math, I eyeballed this at the range. Close enough. To make a similar military target ranging comparison, the Smith Enterprise Tritium Close Combat Sight would match the 20 inch target width at about 203 yards. That’s kinda handy for ranging a man-sized target at distances us older folks you can actually see with the naked eye.

So, for long targets, you’re going to lose some precision with the Smith Enterprise Tritium Combat Sight. But that’s by design. This sight is supposed to be easy to see in low light conditions. With it’s built-in Trijicon tritium vertical bar, you can’t miss it.

This front sight upgrade also makes a great backup scenario if your M1A or M14 is scoped. Many (maybe most?) M1A / M14 receiver mounts have a half-tunnel cutout that allows you to see the front and rear iron sights under the scope. Smith Enterprise makes an M1A / M14 mount configured this way.

Front Sight Installation

If you have a standard M1A with the factory muzzle break installed, installation is simple.

M1A front sight removal

The standard front sight is a reverse dovetail setup where the sight itself has the female dovetail cut. It’s held in place by a hex bolt. Just loosen and remove that.

M1A front sight dovetail

The front sight will slide right off. Perhaps a gentle nudge will be required to get it moving.
 M1A front sight  1 Save that hex bolt. You’ll need it for the replacement front sight!

Smith Enterprise Tritium Close Combat Sight installation

The Smith Enterprise Tritium Close Combat Sight installs exactly the same as the standard sight. Don’t apply any Loctite – yet. First, you’ll want to bring your hex driver to the range with you for zeroing. If you zero for windage by drifting the front sight, then you can have your rear sight mechanically zeroed too. Just place the rear sight at it’s zero windage point, shoot, and adjust the front sight side to side as necessary. Once you’re happy, go ahead the tighten everything up.

Initially, I tried out the Tritium post version of the Smith Enterprise Tritium Close Combat Sight, but they also make one with a round tritium dot, also provided by Trijicon. I’ll be trying that one in a few weeks to see how it compares.

I really like shooting with this configuration. Given my aging eyes combined with iron sights, it’s not hurting my practical accuracy either.

 

Check out other My Gun Culture product reviews here!

 

You can find the Smith Enterprise Tritium Close Combat Sights at Brownells

Smith Enterprise M14 Tritium Close Combat Sight
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Shooting Accessory Review: Smith Enterprise Tactical Cheek Piece

The Smith Enterprise Tactical Cheek Piece Completes a Scoped Rifle

Smith Enterprise Tactical Strap-On Cheek Piece side

Smith Enterprise Tactical Strap-On Cheek Piece – Shown here mounted on a Springfield Armory M1A Standard

Which of the following can happen when you mount a scope on a rifle primarily designed for iron sights?

A. It becomes more dangerous-er, and therefore illegal in New York, Colorado and within 500 feet of banks located on the Island of Cypress.

B. Your primary self-defense plan becomes shooting the gun out of the bad guy’s hand. From 600 yards away.

C. The effective range of your rifle increases 5,432%, allowing you to easily hit targets up to 17.2 miles away.

D. The scope is a lot higher than the iron sights and you have to stretch your neck like a Gumby action figure to see through the scope.

If you answered (B) perhaps you should take up macrame instead of shooting? If you answered (D) you are correct!

For Part 2 of our Springfield Armory M1A Standard rifle project, we mounted a scope to the M1A using a Springfield Armory steel scope base. Once mounted on top of the M1A receiver, the rail itself is already higher than the iron sight plane. Add rings and a scope and now the scope sighting plane is roughly an inch and a half taller than the iron sight plane. The walnut stock on this rifle is not adjustable, so unless you can extend your jaw an extra inch or so on command, you’ll find that attaining a firm cheek weld and being able to see through the scope are somewhat mutually exclusive. Accuracy really suffers when trying to hover your face a couple of inches above the stock.

Here’s where a cheek piece comes in handy. There are all sorts of cheek piece solutions. Some of our most decorated snipers in the Vietnam war attached shaped blocks of wood to the top of their rifle stocks. You can do that too. Or you can acquire an elastic slip-on pad with foam inserts to add some height to your stock. We’ve tried those, and while they are inexpensive and simple solutions, they aren’t all that great. Things just move around too much and the foam insert pads can be too squishy, preventing you from getting a solid and repeatable position on the stock.

A number of vendors make cheek rests that strap on with velcro, straps or cords. Many of these have either padding or a firm insert that increases height of the stock. The Smith Enterprise model uses three straps that go around the bottom of the stock and a fourth that wraps around the butt of the stock.

Smith Enterprise Tactical Strap-On Cheek Piece back

The Smith Enterprise Tactical Strap-On Cheek Piece features a rubberized back for a non-slip fit.

The exterior of the Smith Enterprise Tactical Cheek Piece is a solid canvas material. The insert is very firm, with just a little bit of give. This achieves two goals: getting a solid and repeatable position on the gun and providing a bit of recoil dampening for your jaw bone. The insert is just about 1 ½ inches high, so it creates perfect scope alignment on the M1A shown in the photos here. The interior of the rest is made of a rubberized material so it grips the stock really well.

Once we got this mounted on the Springfield Armory M1A Standard rifle with walnut stock, it didn’t move around. At all. As you can see by the photos, we mounted this with all three straps forward of the sling loop on the bottom of the buttstock. You may prefer to mount it so that the third strap is behind the sling loop to help prevent forward / backward motion. We just liked the fit as shown, and with the fourth back strap, we did not have any issues with the pad moving.

While this specific model is marketed as a solution for the M14 / M1A rifle, it will fit most any rifle with a more or less standard stock. If you need about an inch and a half of height, check out the Smith Enterprise Tactical Cheek Piece. It’s a solid and well made product.

Our Rating

4 Nuns Four Nuns! The rubberized backing and vertical horizontal strap system ensure that this stays solid in place through carry and recoil. We also really liked the firmness of the cheek insert. It’s solid enough for a good cheek weld, but still offers just a bit of cushion.

 

Check out other My Gun Culture product reviews here!

 

You can find the Smith Enterprise Cheek Piece at Brownells

Smith Enterprise Strap-On Cheek Pad
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Grime Boss Hand Wipes – A Shooting Bag Necessity

My Gun Culture Shooting Buyers Guide

The best part of our annual SHOT Show pilgrimage is learning about new products from fascinating people.

Grime Boss Hand Wipes SHOT Show 2013

Grime Boss Hand Wipes SHOT Show 2013

One guy in particular took top honors for cleanest and freshest handshake. He was representing Grime Boss Hand Wipes at the Realtree Outdoors booth. That’s where he accosted us and asked if he could clean our hands. It wasn’t as creepy as it sounds and the price was right, so we readily agreed.

At first use, we were sold. Even wandering the indoor halls of SHOT Show one manages to pick up a fair amount of grime, people smudge, germs, coffee spill residue and who knows what else. The effectiveness of these wipes was amazing. We felt instantly clean and refreshed. Well, as clean as one can feel in Vegas.

You see, Grime Boss Hand Wipes are not sissy wipes and they are entirely inappropriate for babies’ bottoms. They don’t smell like flowers or freshly sanitized diaper pails. They are bona-fide field wipes. You might even call them tactical.

What’s cool about them, other than not smelling like Martha Stewart’s interpretation of the Kardashian Baby Nursery, is that they are made by mashing two materials together. One side is rough, really rough. As in clean mud off your truck tires rough. The other is smooth. And the whole mess is soaked in a chemical free bath containing Vitamin E and Aloe.

We’ve found all sorts of uses for Grime Boss Hand Wipes:

  • You can keep a pack in your range bag to wipe the lead and grime off before you leave. Safety first right?
  • Keep some in the workshop for cleaning tools, smooth work surfaces and of course your hands. The rough side of Grime Boss hand Wipes are incredibly versatile for light industrial cleanup.
  • Keep some in the car – not just for hands but other joys like melted Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or Dairy Queen Blizzard drips. No further comment.
  • You can use them to clean dog poop out of puppy paws. Again, no further comment.
  • Live in a bachelor pad? Don’t feel like running the dishwasher? Use you imagination…
  • Still living in a bachelor pad? Company on the way and the bathroom is a little skanky? There you go.


Grime Boss Hand Wipes are packaged in a variety of ways for different applications. The single use foil packs are great for range bag and car application. For more frequent use scenarios get the multi-pack. This one is NOT packed in a plastic container on purpose. It won’t roll around, or under the workbench, it’s easier to store, and the package design keeps the last one as moist as the first.

Highly recommended!

SIRT Training Pistol – Are Eunuch Guns Firing Blanks Or Banking Firing Practice?

Productive (and fun) gun neutering

The SIRT Training Pistol from Next Level Training

The SIRT Training Pistol from Next Level Training

Most people think of neutering in a bad way. My dogs run away for days when they hear that word.Recently we had to retrieve them from a snow cave just outside the town of Alert, located in Nunavut, Canada.

In the case of the SIRT Training Pistol from Next Level Training, there really hasn’t been a neutering of a pistol, technically speaking. More accurately, it’s been designed as a eunuch.

Eunuch [yoo-nuh k]
noun
- a man who has been castrated, primarily for some office or duty such as a guard in a harem or palace official. 

Although painful, and kind of weird, our use of the term Eunuch here doesn’t necessarily imply weakness. Think about all those beefy palace guards in old Cleopatra movies. In this case, it implies strength and singularity of purpose.

You see, the SIRT is a practice-only pistol, made from the ground up as a practice-only pistol. It has a magazine, but you can’t put cartridges in it. It has a slide, but the slide doesn’t move. It has a trigger, but nothing fires – except a laser. Well two lasers actually. It has a magazine release button which drops the inert, but realistically weighted, magazine. It has a rail for tactical gun lights, rail mounted lasers, or even bayonets. If you want to make your eunuch dangerous.

In short, it has most of the components of a real pistol. But it’s designed not to fire. Ever. And that’s exactly what you’re paying for.

This ‘firing challenged” capability makes the SIRT Training Pistol a great training aid.

You can draw. As fast as you like.

You can run around the house yelling things like “Freeze!” and you won’t hurt anyone.

You can aim at things (not people, people!) and pull the trigger. Thousands and thousands of times.And you will have zero risk of shooting the furniture. I shot the dining room table once, and I still hear about it at family gatherings.You won’t experience this type of social embarrassment if you practice with the SIRT.

What is the SIRT Training Pistol?

Our test SIRT fit all of our Glock holsters and magazine carriers

Our test SIRT fit all of our Glock holsters and magazine carriers

SIRT has a name. It’s Shot Indicating Resetting Trigger training pistol. Get it?

The idea behind SIRT is to make quality training easy. A quick look at before and after shooting practice scenarios will give you a good idea of what it does…

Before SIRT

  • Get your gun.
  • Drop the magazine and empty the rounds. Assuming you want to practice magazine changes during your session.
  • Rack the slide to clear the chamber of live rounds. Do it again. And again. Now look inside and make sure the chamber is empty. You really don’t want to shoot the sofa. It’s new and they’re not on sale again until Labor Day.
  • Put your now loose ammunition in another room. I like to set it up on a shelf and use it as an aiming target for dry fire practice. This just gives me an extra assurance that the gun is not loaded as I am looking at its ammunition in the next room. If there are no loose rounds over yonder to aim at, I better check my gun’s status again!
  • Rack the slide to achieve trigger set.
  • Aim at something really, really, really safe. This IS a real gun, and although you’re pretty sure it’s actually unloaded, you have to assume it will go off when you pull the trigger. A word of advice here. That antique clock on the mantle? Yes, it has a target-like round face, but perforating it during practice may cause undue stress for your significant other. And you’ll have great difficulty telling time. Find something that makes a better bullet backstop and is less expensive.
  • Pull the trigger. Assume you hit the imaginary target. You really don’t know however, as (hopefully) no projectile launched and made a vacuous circular indicator of where your muzzle was pointed at the exact picosecond of trigger break.
  • Next, depending on your style of pistol, you can partially rack the slide to reset the trigger. If you use a double action pistol like a Beretta, Sig, or Walther, you can either partially rack the slide or cock the hammer to get a simulated “light trigger pull” shot. Or, if your pistol has a decocker, you can flip the decock lever after you rack the slide to get prepared for another double action trigger pull. Of course, if you have a single action pistol like a 1911, you can just cock the hammer. We’re not addressing revolvers in this scenario as the SIRT is a semi-automatic pistol training device.
  • Repeat at least a few times before you get tired of the hassle.
  • When finished, retrieve your ammo, fill your magazine, chamber a round, safe your gun if applicable, and top off your magazine if you so choose. Store your loaded gun back in a safe place.

After SIRT

  • Pick up your SIRT Training Pistol.
  • Aim at something safe. Eunuch gun or not, we never point at anything we don’t want to destroy right?
  • Pull the trigger. Watch your hit via high-tech laser beam. Yell “whoopee” or maybe something less strange.
  • Repeat until you are either bored or achieve Master Class.

That’s the basic idea. If you have a SIRT, pick it up and practice. If not, be really, really careful. As the SIRT pistol automatically resets its trigger, you can get a lot of quality trigger pulls completed in a very short amount of time.

SIRT Training Pistol features

SIRT Training Pistol lasers

Look Ma! No muzzles! Well, just little ones for the lasers.

The SIRT is modeled after a Glock 17/22. Same basic size, same basic weight, and same basic grip angle. The magazine is even the same size and approximately the same weight as a loaded Glock 17 magazine. Why a Glock? Well, at last count, 4,627% of law enforcement officers across the country use Glocks, so the potential LE training market for SIRT Training pistols is huge on this platform. Will Next Level Training offer other form factors? Perhaps, but I suppose that depends on market demand for specific models. What is announced on the Next Level Training web site is a variation with a similar grip angle to the Smith and Wesson M&P. This is scheduled for ‘soonish’ but that’s all we know right now.

While we’re talking about how the SIRT looks like a Glock, feels like a Glock, and smells like a Glock – well, maybe not smells – we should mention that all Glock holsters we tried fit the SIRT perfectly. We also tried a number of magazine carriers for Glock magazines and those worked perfectly too.

The slide on our tested SIRT is bright red. For most users of stock guns, this clearly differentiates the SIRT as a practice gun. If you’re one to paint and personalize your real guns, simply do the same to your SIRT in a color that you recognize as “safe.” So if your real gun really is red, make your SIRT blue. Or mauve. Or Hawaiian Sunset Lagoon Mango.

The SIRT features a standard front rail, so if you use a rail mounted light or laser on your real gun, you can put one on the SIRT also. Or you can mount a bayonet. And stab the sofa as you won’t be accidentally shooting it.

One of the really big deals about the SIRT Training Pistol is the adjustable auto-resetting trigger. This means you can get as many trigger pulls as you want without doing anything to reset the trigger. It automatically resets just as a real trigger would when firing a real cartridge from a real gun. Want to practice double taps? Triple taps? Emptying the magazine to reload? No problem. As far as adjustment, depending on the model, you can tweak the initial trigger location, overtravel, take up force, and trigger break force. The trigger break can be adjusted from 2.5 to 12 pounds.

SIRT Training Pistols actually include two lasers. A take up laser lets you know when trigger pressure is applied prior to the shot break. This allows you to practice and program your finger to allow the trigger to move forward just far enough to reset. If the take up indicator laser goes off, you have let off too much pressure from the trigger. The shot indicating laser pulses when the trigger sear releases. This indicates the exact moment of the shot. If you see a dot appear right where you were aiming, good job! If you see a line or other indication of movement of that same dot, get back to practicing! With a small lever switch on the top of the slide, you can activate or disable the trigger take up indicator. I preferred using the shot indicator laser only as I found the take up laser distracting, but that is a personal preference. If you want to work on optimizing your trigger reset technique, the take up indicator is a great tool.

The SIRT comes in a durable hard plastic carrying case and includes an instructional DVD.

Model Variations

You can get the SIRT Training Pistol in a number of variations. The Next Level Training website features a product comparison page to help you find the model right for your specific requirements.

The highlights are that the shot indicator laser is available in either red or green. Our evaluation model had a green shot indicator laser and a red trigger take up indicator and this seems the way to go as you won’t confuse which dot indicates trigger take up and which shows shot placement. Other model options include additional trigger adjustments, magazine weight adjustments, and metal or plastic slides. The metal slide model is recommended for any active motion training use. The metal slide version is also very near to actual loaded pistol weight.

10 ways you can use a SIRT Training Pistol

Based on our time evaluating a SIRT Training Pistol, there are many, many productive and safe ways to make good use of a SIRT Training Pistol. Here are a few we found useful.

  1. You can perfect your trigger pull motion. Due to the low overhead of getting ready for practice, you can get hundreds of trigger pulls completed per day with ease.
  2. Give a safety and pistol basics lesson to a new shooter before taking them to the range where it’s noisy and distracting. You can safely show a new shooter a proper grip, have them practice it, and start the process of getting their finger off the trigger until ready to fire! It’s also a great way to illustrate and practice inserting and removing a magazine.
  3. The SIRT is a great tool for transitioning a younger shooter from something simple like a .22 rifle to an auto-pistol.  They’ll safely learn the basic operation and get the hang of a proper trigger pull at a cost per round of, well, nothing!
  4. Stuck on a marathon phone call? Practice a few hundred trigger pulls. Clearly this works better in home offices than corporate high rises.
  5. Teach someone how to properly draw a gun from a holster without risk of firing an unintentional shot.
  6. Practice your own holster draw. Try new holsters and methods without risk. To you or the sofa.
  7. Ever thought about how you would handle the proverbial bump in the middle of the night? With a SIRT and a rail mounted or hand held light, you can safely wander around your house testing out locations, cover, lines of fire, and of course light and or laser techniques. Yes, your family may think you weird, but it’s great preparation. And the dogs will be amused.
  8. Pinch your 11 year old nephew while he shoots. That is if you happen to have an aspiring young shooter in the family who is working on getting rid of a tendency to trigger slap. Editors Note: No actual child abuse occurred with this training method. Certified observers from Health and Human Services were present at all times. As I recall.
  9. Just for fun and profit, you can practice non-standard position shooting. You can even practice point shooting if you’re into that. We won’t get into the debate of relative merits or not, we’ll just observe that you can do it. So go ahead. Draw and shoot from the hip. The SIRT laser will tell you where the SHOT would have gone. And you won’t have run the risk of launching lead into the neighbors yard. Or the sofa.
  10. Bad day? Shoot the sofa over and over and over. Until you feel better. No harm done.

Closing arguments

We were somewhat skeptical about investing time to evaluation the SIRT Training Pistol. The idea of spending a couple hundred dollars on a gun that doesn’t shoot seemed just a little weird. But we persevered. And guess what? The value of this training method became clear in about 5 minutes of use. I’ve been using it every day. It’s safe and convenient. And your shooting skills WILL improve noticeably. And you won’t be explaining to anyone why you need a new sofa.

Next up – The SIRT-AR Bolt

Our Rating

4 Nuns Three Nuns! This is one of those things that really grew on us. Once we started using the SIRT, the value of being able to safely practice thousands of repetitions of draws and trigger pulls became apparent. You can literally program your body to dry fire correctly, get good feedback on aim, and go a long ways towards eliminating any tendency to flinch. Practice with draws was equally valuable. The only minor drawback was the fixed slide. There must be engineering limitations to this, but it would be a real nice to have for the slide to operate in order to practice full magazine change and malfunction drills. I know, we’re being nitpicky and impossible. But it would be nice…

 

Check out other My Gun Culture product reviews here!

SOG Twitch II Partially Serrated Folding Knife

We stopped by the SOG booth at the 2012 NRA Annual Meeting and had a great discussion with the nice folks at SOG about everyday folding knives.

SOG Twitch II pocket folding knife

The best feature of the SOG Twitch II folding knife is it’s easy one-handed opening

We quickly ended up checking out the SOG Twitch line of pocket folders. Available in at least three different sizes, with several finishes, and with straight or non-serrated blades, there’s a Twitch model to suit most personal preferences. We ended up choosing the SOG Twitch II folding knife with a 2.68 inch blade and 6.2 inch overall length. Ours features the half-serrated blade. A little more difficult to sharpen, yes, but we were looking for a handy rope cutter.

Here’s what’s sooper dooper handy about the SOG Twitch II Partially Serrated Folding Knife:

While many folders can be opened with one hand with relative easily, the SOG Twitch II takes convenience to a whole new level. For one-handed opening, most folders rely on your thumb pushing the blade out using either a blade-mounted knob or some other form of protrusion on the top side of the blade. The Kershaw Ken Onion Vapor II works like this and it’s been a favorite of ours for years.

There are two differences with the SOG Twitch II approach. First, there is some spring assist action at play which helps snap the blade open. More importantly, activation is done with your index finger on the back side of the knife. Simply press on the exposed tab and the blade virtually flies open. It’s one of the easiest knives we’ve seen to open single-handed. This makes the SOG Twitch II perfect for those vitally important everyday knife chores. Like opening stuff.

The even niftier thing about this design is that the tab used to flip open the blade positions itself as a finger guard when the blade is open. Smart.

If you’re uncomfortable with how easy the blade opens, no worries. The SOG Twitch II features a positive locking tab on the back of the knife. It will securely lock the blade closed if you like. A removable belt clip rounds out the package.

All in all, this is the handiest folder in our knife drawer. It comes from the factory razor-sharp and so far has not lost it’s edge.

Available Here SOG Twitch II Partially Serrated Folding Knife

Cold Steel “The Spike” Series Neck Knives

Here’s a little something different for today.

cold steel spike neck knifeWe bought a Cold Steel Spike Neck Knife years ago, well, just because. It has turned out to be one handy piece of gear.

The Spike Series Neck Knives are fashioned from a solid piece of steel, and depending on the specific model, feature about a 4 1/2 inch blade. The blade if thick and tough enough for hard use, but has an edge capable of fine cutting. All edges are rounded so it’s comfortable to hold and use and the handle is wrapped with cord for grip, size, and comfort.

The neatest part? The Kydex sheath features a neck chain allowing you to carry The Spike around your neck with handle oriented downwards. It’s plenty secure and completely invisible. The sheath features other loops in case you want to mount it to MOLLE gear or just about anywhere else.

 

Available Here Cold Steel “The Spike” Series Neck Knives

Review: Are You Hung? I am.

I finally am.

And all for the low price of $19.95.

One of those neat inventions I found at the NRA Annual Meeting was Handgun Hangers by Gun Storage Solutions. These amazingly simple devices help make efficient use of the space in your gun safe while protecting your guns from gun-safe-bumper-car abuse.

As you can see from the photo, I had a problem. I was not hung. Knowing that you have a problem is the first step to recovery, so I stopped by the Gun Storage Solutions booth and boldy informed the young ladies working there that I had a problem. I was not hung, and I was miserable as a result.

safe-before-photo

After a quick diagnosis, the folks at Gun Storage Solutions offered a treatment regimen. And it didn’t even require little blue pills.

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The Original Handgun Hangers turned out to be my favorite. Simple to use, they allow you to hang handguns below virtually any shelf of normal thickness. Maybe an inch thick plus or minus. A ‘U’ shaped coated wire frame simply slips over the front edge of the shelf and a ‘U’ shape facing the other direction presents a coated road for the barrel to slip over – thereby hanging the gun. The coating protects the interior of the barrel.

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The Back Under Handgun Hangers slip over the back side of a shelf and allow long handguns like big revolvers to hang without the grip projecting past the front of the shelf as they would with the front mounted Original Handgun Hangers. This worked great for our Ruger Super Blackhawk and long barreled Ruger Single Six.

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This view shows the top side of the Over Under Handgun Hangers. A coated wire points up at about a 45 degree angle. It works pretty well for small profile handguns with reasonably short barrels. You can easily bend the angle of the coated wire up or down to create a better mount for specific guns.By the way, I can’t count. The Ruger LCR, second from the left, is simply resting between two others that are mounted using the system as I bought one pack too few of hangers. Unlike the folks at NBC who have no problem doctoring audio and video, I felt it only fair to include all the guns that were in the ‘before’ picture.

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Here’s the bottom of the Over Under Handgun Hangers. The bottom side works exactly like the Original Handgun Hangers. I found the Over Under hangers to be a bit wobbly. Make no mistake – the setup was still uber-better than the pile-o-guns I had before. Perhaps addition of a stabilizing bend on the bottom side like the one on the top side of the mount would improve the the situation.

Having tested most of the available configurations, my preference would be to do the whole setup with the Original Handgun Hangers. I would hang all pistols below the shelf and use the shelf tops for magazine storage as in the first picture.

All in all, hats off to the folks at Gun Storage Solutions for creating a simple and flexible system to organize your guns.

A side note – my particular safe has very little space between the inside main door panel and the front edges of the shelves. This means that I have not been able to find a inside-the-door handgun mount solution. The Handgun Hanger method overcomes that challenge.

It feels much better to be hung.

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