Blackhawk! Rail Mount Thumb Rest: Get A Grip On Your AR-15

One of the neatest things I saw at SHOT Show 2013 costs less than $20. And no, it didn’t involve dark alleys behind Caesar’s Palace.

It has no electronics, lights or knobs and it doesn’t even explode.

It’s the Blackhawk! Rail Mount Thumb Rest for the AR-15. This nifty little piece of gear radically transforms your grip. Since it’s rail mounted, and the thumb rest is off-center, you can use this in several different locations depending on personal preference and other gear you have on your rifle.

Blackhawk Rail Mount Thumb Rest  3

Here’s the Blackhawk! Rail Mount Thumb Rest shown with the Blackhawk! Vertical Grip. They play well together.

Think of the Blackhawk! Rail Mount Thumb Rest as a shelf for your thumb. No, your thumb is not likely to get tired and need a shelf on which to rest. The value of this piece of gear is that it provides stability and consistency. While technically your thumb does rest on the shelf, the stability comes from the web of your hand, between your thumb and index finger, wrapping around the rear edge of the thumb rest. So right off the bat you have extra vertical stability without having to wrap your hand around the hand guard or rail.

Perhaps even more important is the consistency factor. As your support hand now has a fixed place to go, you achieve the same grip and location every time you mount the rifle. No muscle memory required and you’re never gripping the forend slightly in front of, or behind, the location where you last supported the rifle.

The thumb rest is a rail mounted piece of gear, so you have to upgrade those plastic hand guards if you have them. On the rifle shown here, I’ve already added the Blackhawk! AR-15 Carbine Quad Rail Forend, so it’s ready to go. The big advantage of the rail mount for this component is that you can place it wherever you want. Back close to the magazine well, or way out front like the 3 Gunners do.

Let’s take a closer look at how the Blackhawk! Rail Mount Thumb Rest installs and the ways you can use it.

Blackhawk! Rail Mount Thumb Rest Installation

Blackhawk Rail Mount Thumb Rest installation The Blackhawk! Rail Mount Thumb Rest is a two piece assembly with a main body that hooks over one side of the rail. A separate support piece mates to fasten to the other side of the rail. Just be sure to line up the bolt channels with the grooves in the rail.
Blackhawk Rail Mount Thumb Rest installation  1 The thumb rest comes with two hex bolts and two nuts that inset into the main body. Just run them through the support piece and into the inset nuts. Notice that the shelf can me mounted high or low relative to the rail horizontal center line. I’ll talk more about that in a minute. Tighten things up and you’re good to go. Once you use this for a while and get the placement you like, re-mount the bolts with a little Blue Loctite so it won’t come loose under recoil.

Since the thumb rest is offset relative to the center line of the rail, you can mount this in different ways. It goes without saying that the thumb rest is ambidextrous.

Blackhawk Rail Mount Thumb Rest  1 Here the thumb rest is mounted with the shelf in the high position. It’s shown with a Blackhawk! Rail Mount Vertical Grip.
Blackhawk Rail Mount Thumb Rest The high shelf mounting option is great if you normally like your hand to wrap over the top of the rail. It will place your thumb almost level with the top rail so your thumb can slide onto the top of the hand guard.
Blackhawk Rail Mount Thumb Rest  7 Or, you can flip the thumb rest upside down so the shelf is low relative to the rail center line.
Blackhawk Rail Mount Thumb Rest  5 If you’re using a vertical grip, this will put more of your hand on the grip post as compared to using the post as a support for your fingers. Notice this location keeps your thumb low and aligned with the bore.
Blackhawk Rail Mount Thumb Rest  8 The Blackhawk! Rail Mount Thumb Rest works just as well without a vertical grip. I liked it in the high position this way.
Blackhawk Rail Mount Thumb Rest  9 Here’s how it looks mounted in the high position with no vertical grip.

One last thing. If you like a vertical fore grip, you might be able to mount this on the opposite side of the rail. The idea would be to grasp the vertical grip with your thumb on the opposite side. The shelf could be placed in such a way to line you up with a rear-activated light mounted on the same side. The fore grip I’m using here didn’t sit quite right with that configuration, but depending on what you have, it might work for you.

Now that I’ve taken this to the range a few times, it’s become a welcome addition to the Blackhawk! custom AR I’m building. This piece will stay. And in case you’re wondering, after the photos were taken, I settled on the high mount option with a short vertical grip from Blackhawk!. We’ll talk about that more in the next article.

Blackhawk’s AR-15 Offset Safety Selector: Don’t Be All Thumbs

If you’re right-handed, operating the safety lever on an AR-15 is a pain in the butt.

If you’re left-handed (using a standard AR-15), operating the safety lever on an AR-15 is a pain in the butt.

If you’re either right or left-handed, operating the safety lever on an AR-15 is a pain in the butt.

If you’re right-handed, you really have to alter your grip to work the lever with your thumb. Or you can work it with your left hand. Or you can phone a friend. If you’re left-handed, things get really interesting. You can de-joint your thumb and reach around the back of the grip. Maybe.

Now that topic is settled, let’s look at potential solutions.

  • You could try a self-imposed “assault weapon” ban. Be sure to email Dianne “Vengeful Hissing Cockroach” Feinstein. It will make her day.
  • You could duct tape a spent .223 cartridge onto the selector to provide more leverage. And slather the whole mess with WD-40 to slick up the action. You can fix anything with duct tape and WD-40 right?
  • You could avoid the problem altogether and switch to a double-barrel shotgun. Hey, if it’s good enough for Uncle Joe…
  • Or, you could try the new Blackhawk! AR-15 Safety Selector.

The last options brings us to the next step in the custom Blackhawk! AR-15 project.

Blackhawk! AR-15 Offset Selector

Blackhawk! AR-15 Offset Selector

Blackhawk’s AR-15 Offset Safety Selector is one of the nifty AR-15 accessories introduced at the 2013 SHOT Show and they are now shipping. It’s a drop-in part that only requires a screwdriver to install.

It works well for two reasons:

  1. The lever is offset 45 degrees so the range of motion is altered in a more favorable way.
  2. The whole lever is not as flat to the receiver as the standard safety lever, so it’s easier to manipulate.

Blackhawk! AR-15 Offset Safety Selector Installation

Installation is easy. Just follow these steps:

Blackhawk! AR-15 Offset Selector The Blackhawk! AR-15 Offset Selector kit is pretty straightforward. It consists of the new selector lever and the package card with instructions on the back. If you finish this upgrade with parts left over, please step away from the margarita…
Blackhawk! AR-15 Offset Selector remove upper Go ahead and remove the upper from the lower by pushing the front and rear receiver pins from left to right.
Blackhawk! AR-15 Offset Selector loosen grip OK, here is one of two steps where you get to use actual tools! You want to loosen, not remove, the hand grip.
Blackhawk! AR-15 Offset Selector selector detent spring Here’s why you want to just loosen it. See that little spring peeking out between the grip and the receiver? You want to take some pressure off that as it is the detent spring for the selector lever. You know this is a serious gunsmithing project when we’re using words like “detent.”
Blackhawk! AR-15 Offset Selector remove selector If you loosen the grip enough, you’ll be able to pull the existing selector lever out. See that little detent pin? That’s what was holding it in place. Of course you can remove the grip entirely, but then that spring tends to launch into low earth orbit, facilitating a call to Brownells to order a new one. This will slow down your installation considerably.
Blackhawk! AR-15 Offset Selector remove selector (1) Just lift the existing selector lever out from the left side of the receiver.
Blackhawk! AR-15 Offset Selector installation This is the BEST PART! Remember when I said this was a drop-in upgrade? Here’s where you literally drop in the new Blackhawk! AR-15 Offset Selector lever.
Blackhawk! AR-15 Offset Selector installation detent pin You may need to push the detent pin down a bit with a small screwdriver or your favorite pocket knife to seat the new selector lever.
Blackhawk! AR-15 Offset Selector tighten grip Here’s part two that requires intimate knowledge of tools. Tighten that hand grip back up. Not too much though as over-tightening could interfere with operation of the selector lever. Remember that the grip houses the detent spring. If you crush it, things may not work too well.
Blackhawk! AR-15 Offset Selector (1) Voila! Take a break. Tell your significant other that you just completed a delicate and complicated machining project.

How it works

While moving a standard safety lever from SAFE to FIRE is fairly easy for righties, requiring a downward sweep of the thumb, the Blackhawk! AR-15 Offset Safety Selector makes it a bit easier. To move to fire, the offset lever moves from about a 1:30 to a 4:30 position. Your thumb does not have to stretch to push the lever all the way to 6:00.

Moving back to safe is even better. The “taller” lever and offset allow you to use the top of your thumb to move the selector back to SAFE.

The benefits apply to lefties as well. Your index / trigger finger can easily sweep the selector to FIRE and you can use the top of your trigger finger to move it back to SAFE.

All in all, a nifty little upgrade.

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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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!

Latest Shooting Buyers Guide Additions

My Gun Culture Shooters Buyers Guide

We’re introducing a new weekly article feature, and a whole new section of MyGunCulture.com this week. Our Shooters Buyers Guide provides a quick and easy reference to stuff that is a solid value – and works. Think of it as shooting tips for buyers.

We check out a lot of shooting gear – tactical lights, gun lasers, optics, red dot sights, ammunition, reloading supplies and equipment, shooting bags, holsters of all kinds, and much, much more. While we can’t do an in depth review of everything that crosses the shooting bench, we can help filter out what works well – and what doesn’t. If you see an item listed in our buyers guide, we’ve used it, we like it, and we believe in it.

Here are this weeks picks:

Sights, Optics, Lasers, Lights

TruGlo TFO Fiber Optic / Tritium Handgun Sights

Crimson Trace LG850 Lasergrips – Glock Compact and Full Size Models

Aimpoint Micro H-1 Red Dot Sight

Crimson Trace Lightguard for Glock Pistols

Crimson Trace Lasergrips For Glock Full Size and Compact Models

Holsters

Blade-Tech IDPA Competition Pack with SRB (Sting Ray Belt) Holster

5.11 Tactical COVRT Z.A.P. 6 (Zone Assault Pack)

Galco Ankle Glove Holster

Blackhawk Leather Magazine Pouch

Galco Ankle Glove Holster

Blackhawk Sportster Standard Concealment Holster

Ammo

Hornady Critical Duty 9mm +P 135 grain Flexlock

Remington Golden Saber .45 ACP +P 185 grain JHP

CorBon DPX .357 Sig 125 Grain Ammo

American Eagle .223 Ammo – Reloaders Bargain

Federal’s Guard Dog .45 ACP – Expands Like All Get Out

Hornady Critical Defense .38 Special +P 100 grain

Speer Gold Dot 9mm +P Bonded Hollow Points

CorBon 9mm +P 115 grain JHP

Shooting Accessories

Gunzilla Gun Cleaner, Lubricant, and Protectant – Look Ma! No Stink!

ESS Crossbow Eyeshields – Eye Protection with Style

Slipstream and Slipstream STYX Weapons Lubricants

Books

Shoot! Your Guide to Shooting and Competition by Julie Golob

The Gun Digest Book of Combat Handgunnery by Massad Ayoob

American Heroes in Special Operations by Oliver North

GunDigest Shooter’s Guide to the 1911 by Robert Campbell

Reloading Equipment

Shooting Chrony Beta Master Chronograph

Forster Case Trimmer

Buyers Guide: ESS Crossbow Eyeshields

My Gun Culture Shooting Buyers Guide

ess-crossbow-eyewearWe did a full review on these a while back and were suitably impressed. In fact, we gave them our 4 Nun rating.

Apparently, you can even get shot in the face with while wearing them. Although we wouldn’t recommend that.

We like the interchangeable lenses, the lens locking mechanism and the comfort, but most of all, we liked the combination of anti-scratch and anti-fog treatments. Antis-scratch on the outside, and anti-fog inside. It really works.

   
Available Here Crossbow 2x Ballistic Eyeshields
   

Swamp Thing: The Immersion – A ZCORR Storage Story…

Some time ago, Jason from ZCORR Zero Corrosion Products left a comment on MyGunCulture.com. Something about his corrosion-proof storage bags for guns, ammo, supplies – most anything one might need to keep intact and rust-free for long periods of time in, let’s say, less than ideal storage conditions.

We (pridefully) told Jason that if we were going to evaluate something and write about it, that we were going to do it on our terms. Surprisingly, he agreed.

We live on the edge of a swamp. Real estate brokers call refer to this as “scenic wetlands” but we all know it’s just a swamp. It’s complete with all sorts of swamp critters: deer, raccoons, fox, snakes of all varieties, and gators. We thought that a good old fashioned swamp would be the perfect place to bury one of Jason’s bags for a while.

We can think of lot’s of scenarios where one might want to bury tactical stuff. Didn’t tell your spouse about that new gun you bought? Secret weapons cache in the yard in case your house is overrun by the undead? Those handcuffs that you sawed off late one night? The list goes on and we won’t ask questions or pass judgment on things you might want to bury.

Anyway, we quickly agreed to the challenge. As Jason seemed so supremely confident about the protective capabilities of his bags, we joked that we might even bury a sandwich and eat it at a later date when the package was dug back out of the swamp. Unfortunately Jason double-dared us and now here we are – trapped into either accepting the challenge or being exposed as trash-talking wimps.

With some trepidation, we assembled our version of a survival kit to submerge in a ZCORR Vacuum Pistol Bag…

Post Apocalypse (choose your favorite type) Survival Kit

  • Gun: Post thermonuclear war, zombie virus outbreak, global economic  collapse, or 30 straight days of cable TV downtime – it doesn’t matter. When civilization breaks down and you’re going to want a gun. We really trust Jason, but let’s be real. We’re not going to bury one of our favorite guns in a swamp just for this article. However, we found a reasonable compromise. We’ve been working on a restoration of a low cost, .25 caliber pocket pistol for a friend for, umm, a few years now. Since the frame is eternally getting polished, why not bury that? Worst case, out comes the Dremel tool once again.

  • Zippo Lighter: Yeah, we know, lighter fluid will be in short supply when the zombies come, but it seemed like a good idea to bury this. Will it still light? Will it explode from some freakish reaction with the ZCORR protective molecules? Will American Horror Story ever come back for season 2?
  • Macaroni and Cheese: Boxed macaroni and cheese takes a close second in importance to our least favorite gun. Plus you’ll want at least one more synthetic packaged meal before you enter a lifelong diet of insects and berries.
  • Metal Spring Puzzle from Cracker Barrel: Yeah, basic survival is important, but what are you going to do with your new-found leisure time with no X-Box, cable television, or Words With Friends? Bet you didn’t think of that did you? We’re packing hours of engaging entertainment with the puzzle. Oh, and it’s metal so we can see if it rusts in the swamp.
  • Black Powder Pistol Pellets: You guessed it. We packed these loose and unprotected, kind of like Paris Hilton, in the bag. And we’re going to shoot them out of a Remington Bison .44 cap and ball revolver replica post swamp-emergence. Does anyone know a good insurance agent? By the way, our policy got canceled recently with no explanation. Hmmm.
  • Primers: You’re gonna have to reload if you want to stand a chance against Mad Max. Until the supplies run out anyway. We packed a box of Federal Pistol Primers and we’re gonna load up some .38 Swamp Specials to see how they work. Still waiting on a referral to a good insurance agent by the way.
  • Official SHOT Show Media Day Notepad: We’re dedicated to this web site and fully intend to keep writing after the total breakdown of civilization. So we’re packing a notepad. Granted, we haven’t figured out how we’re going to handle worldwide distribution…

ZCORR Vacuum Seal Bags

The vacuum seal is one tough cookie (bag.) It features what we reluctantly describe as a zip-lock seal. We say reluctantly because its nothing like the sandwich, or even freezer bag type. It feels about 1/2” thick and locks together in clamp like fashion. If we had access to a fragmentation grenade, we would love to set one off inside the bag just to see if the seal held. 50/50 chance that it would.

Once you have your survival kit in the bag and have zipped the seal shut, it’s time to vacuum out the excess air. Just place most any vacuum hose over the waterproof seal and draw out the air.

That’s it.

If you’re going to do something ridiculous like bury stuff in a swamp, ZCORR recommends using an external container to prevent tears to the bag, but let us tell you, this bag is tough. We buried it in it’s birthday suit.

Check back in a few weeks. We’re going to:

  • Eat swamp macaroni and cheese
  • Make .38 Swamp Special reloads and shoot them
  • Fire a .44 Remington Bison with Swamp powder
  • Torch something with a Swamp Zippo
  • Play some puzzle games
  • And finally finish refinishing that gun…

Got Saiga?

ATI has a slew of new products to enhance your Saiga, Remington 870, AK-47, AR, or just about anything else out there. The pistol grip and stock set for the Saiga caught our eye…

Wish I’d Thought of That

Gunslicker! Lightweight and water resistant rifle cover for those rainy days afield or at the range. The whole cover folds into a tiny pouch that’s integrated with the cover.

Can 5.11 Tactical Gear Survive SHOT Show 2012?

We’re going to find out.

We’ve got three editors going to SHOT.

We’ve got three different 5.11 backpacks:

  • RUSH MOAB 10 Go Bag – The MOAB just looks tactical. An ambidextrous single strap design, it features a 1.5 liter hydration pocket, nifty hooks inside for your keychain, and a comms pouch and routing system which will allow us to stay in constant communication with our readers.
  • COVRT 18 Backpack – This is the mac daddy of our test trio. Holds a full scale laptop, full size hydration pack, a spacious main compartment, and lots of pockets for show goodies. Oh, it also features two beverage pockets in case Taser International has free beer in the booth again this year…
  • COVRT Z.A.P. (Zone Assault Pack) – The perfect bag for quick tactical adventures. Includes a 5.11 COVRT holster system, space for a hydration pack, and its comms systems compatible. What else does one need for a brutal day on the show floor?

TSA has 58, 401 agents looking for people traveling with tactical looking stuff.

We’ve got a “can do” attitude and plan on running the TSA gauntlet for you, our readers, even if we have to get molested in the process.

SHOT has 4,132,934 metric tons of trade show giveaways.

We intend to collect them all. And stuff them into these packs. If the gear can handle that challenge, we’re confident that it can handle a global economic meltdown or Zombie apocalypse, whichever comes first.

Stay tuned, we’ll be posting detailed reviews on each bag soon. And their ability to pass through TSA airport checkpoints unscathed.

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