On the Eleventh Day of Christmas… 11 ounces of AR Bling

musical-notes

On the eleventh day of Christmas, I hope my true love gives to me…
Eleven ounces of AR bling…

musical-notes

p_100008996_2Spikes Tactical AR15 7” BAR Lightweight Rail

OK, so this one actually weighs in at only 10.93 ounces, but since it’s the holiday season, we’re rounding up, just like out bathroom scale does. The perfect add-on for an AR platform, this quad rail is ready to rock around the Christmas tree.

  • One piece aluminum construction
  • Includes 3 rail covers
  • Heavy duty sling loop
  • Large inside diameter allows for suppressors underneath the handguard

Great stocking stuffer idea!

Available from Brownells for $172.00

 

musical-notes

musical-notes

Ten toys for loading…
9mm Kimber Solo-ing…
Eight Guns for Plinking…
Seven lasers aiming…
Six scales a weighing…
Five magnum things…
Four written words…
Three tactical pens…
Two shooting gloves
And a Smith and Wesson M and P

Video Review: Aimpoint Micro-H1 LRP Red Dot Optic

We loved the Aimpoint Micro-H1–Great AR add on!

BUY NOW: Aimpoint Micro Series Optical Sights Micro H-1

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

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

Hawke Optics Sidewinder Tactical Scope

Approximate Retail Price: $409.99

www.hawkeoptics.com

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

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

But can it shoot the cocks?

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

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

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

The Walking Tour

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

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

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

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

Review: Aimpoint Micro H-1 Red Dot Sight

The Good
This is a really well engineered piece of equipment. Versatile with thoughtful design.
The Bad
If I had to be really picky, I would prefer flip up lens covers instead of the connected rubber covers. They are designed to quickly pull down and rest around the sight base however so they don’t get lost.
The Ugly
I have to somehow convince her that we need one of these more than we need to do other things – like feed the kids or make car payments.
Our Rating
3 Nuns Four Nuns!

Aimpoint Micro-H1 Red Dot Sight

Approximate Street Price: $565.00 (as configured with mounts)

www.aimpoint.com

Note the optics co-witness height with back up iron sights

Note the optics co-witness height with back up iron sights

We met Kristi, Aimpoint’s Marketing Director, at this year’s POMA Conference Media Day at the Range in Ogden, Utah and had the opportunity to try the Micro H-1 Red Dot sight. We were impressed with the size, weight, and clarity of the H-1 and worked out a more in-depth evaluation opportunity. The H-1 seemed like a great option for an AR platform so we planned an in-depth test on a DPMS Panther A3 Lite 16.

The Skinny on the Micro H-1

The Micro H-1 and its slightly more tacticool sibling the Micro T-1 (night vision compatible) are, in fact, skinny. Just 1.6″ wide compared to the classic Aimpoint Comp M4’s 2.1″ width, the Micro H-1 (not counting the brightness adjustment wheel) was skinnier than the DPMS receiver it was mounted on. The Micro H-1 has a lens diameter of just about 3/4″.

Weight is also dramatically reduced over the Comp M4 unit. The Micro weighs in at 3oz while the Comp M4 weighs 9.3oz. As an additional comparison, the Eotech XPS2 weighs about 8oz, so the Aimpoint unit is light. Really light.

As light as it is, the Micro H-1 feels substantial. Made of aluminum with an anodized semi-matte finish, both the sight and it’s base were rock solid. No feeling of cheapness here.

It keeps going. And going. And going.

The Aimpoint Micro H-1 is powered by a CR2032 3 volt Lithium battery. The significance of all those numbers and letters is that the batteries are available in your local grocery or drug store. Very common they are. Not that it matters, because the Micro H-1 runs continuously on a single battery for about 5 years. That’s almost as long as the last State of the Union speech. Almost. Our evaluation period was 60 days, and we left it on. Just because we could. (It was still running just fine when we sent it back by the way.)

Attention to Detail

One handy detail is that the windage and elevation caps double as adjustment tools

One handy detail is that the windage and elevation caps double as adjustment tools

At BUDS Training, prospective United States Navy Seals are tested and drilled to internalize attention to detail. Apparently someone at Aimpoint took this concept to heart. We found numerous examples of really thoughtful design and engineering with the Aimpoint Micro H-1.

The Micro H-1 includes a multi-purpose tool that serves a variety of functions. One end has two nubs (our word) for adjusting the windage and elevation controls. The opposite end has a Torx bit sized to the base mounting bolts. The sides of the tool are wide, flat plastic blades sized to the battery cover. To top it off, the direction of rotation for right windage and upward elevation adjustments are imprinted on the multi-tool. This is a particularly helpful feature for those of us who tend to toss the instruction book. The tool also serves as a nearly lethal shuriken assuming one has the proper Shaolin training.

Another stand out feature is that the screw caps for the units windage and elevation adjustments are also shaped with nubs that allow the caps to be reversed and used as a tool to adjust the dials. So that neat nearly-ninja multi-tool is not technically required to be kept in the range bag. That’s just a nice touch.

Mounting Up

Aimpoint Micro H-1 with LRP Mount and Micro Spacer High Mount

Aimpoint Micro H-1 with LRP Mount and Micro Spacer High Mount

Our evaluation model came with a two part mounting system as it was to be used on a flat-top AR platform. First was the Micro LRP. This is a quick attach and detach system with a lever to clamp the unit on a Mil-Std Picatinny rail. The spring loaded clamp lever includes a notch that locks the lever in place when tightened. It’s not going anywhere. The neat part of the system is that zero is maintained when the sight is removed and re-attached in the same place. Translation: You hit the same dang thing you aim at no matter how much you take the sight on and off. Our unit also included the Micro Spacer High mount which is attached between the Micro LRP mount and the Micro H-1 optic itself. This combination of components places the H-1 at perfect height for co-witnessing with iron sights on a flat top AR system. On our DPMS, a Magpul flip up rear sight and integral front sight lined up just below the vertical half-way mark through the Aimpoint optic.

While we tested the Aimpoint Micro H-1 on an AR platform, it was designed with a multitude of uses in mind. Optional mounting accessories allow the H-1 to be used with 11mm dovetail systems, Glock pistols, Ruger 10/22’s, Ruger Mark III’s, bows, revolvers with Weaver mounts, and Merkel Double Rifles. Safari anyone?

Subjective Shooty Stuff

When we first opened the box of the Micro H-1, we were a little concerned about the diameter of the optic. It looks narrow. Measured with our precision wooden ruler, the lens appeared to be about 3/4″ in diameter. We thought it would be slow to aim given the relative small diameter of the glass. Not the case. If anything, the narrow dimensions of the Micro H-1 improved overall vision as the other eye field of view was not obstructed by ‘optic junk.’

There was an additional benefit to the small tube of the H-1. It provided a reasonable ‘fast and close up‘ sighting method on its own, without need to pick up the red dot itself. For short range shooting, the tube itself provided a decent ‘minute of evil d00d‘ sighting system.

The Micro H-1 has a 4 MOA (minute of angle) dot size, so it’s designed for tactical, competitive speed shooting, or hunting applications. The unit has 12 degrees of brightness adjustment for a variety of lighting conditions. We found that settings 7 and below provided an exceptionally crisp sight picture while brighter settings were useful in heavy sunlight conditions.

The Micro H-1 includes a nearly-ninja and handy multi-tool

The Micro H-1 includes a nearly-ninja and handy multi-tool

Because the specs said we could, we mounted the Micro H-1 and zeroed it at 50 yards, shot a bunch of stuff, then removed the optic and did some back up sight shooting. Remounting the Micro H-1 with the LRP quick mount system did in fact maintain the original zero. That’s a handy feature for folks like us that like to tinker with stuff, whether it needs tinkering or not.

Net-Net

We were a little skeptical about two things with the Micro H-1. First was the small diameter of the optic. Would that slow down target acquisition? Second was the specific mounting system for a flat top AR being made of three distinct parts. Would it be solid?

Both concerns turned out to be non-issues. Kind of like Justin Bieber becoming a threat in the world of Ultimate Fighting. Sighting with both eyes open was actually improved as it allowed better peripheral vision with the non-sighting eye. And the Aimpoint Micro H-1 was solid, well fitted, and well constructed. our test unit came with the sight, spacer, and LRP mount pre-assembled, and one wouldn’t know that they were three separate pieces without reading the documentation.

Four Nuns on this one – it’s a really impressive optic.

BUY NOW: Aimpoint Micro Series Optical Sights Micro H-1

Check out other My Gun Culture product reviews here!

Half-Cocked: The SureFire Flash-Light Saber…

The SureFire Flash-Light Saber...

The SureFire Flash-Light Saber...

Interesting XS Big Dot Sights Review…

I’ve been contemplating getting a set of XS Big Dot Sights for a Beretta PX4 Storm for quite some time. Caleb has an interesting take on them here.

Groupon for Gunnies! GearHog.com!

GearHog.com Deal of the Day

GearHog.com Deal of the Day

We love to see gun and shooting businesses and ideas go mainstream. Here’s a cool one we just heard about yesterday:

GearHog.com

Here’s how it works:

  1. Sign up for free (provide your email address)
  2. Get a new gear deal emailed to you each day
  3. Buy it if you want
  4. If you forward the deal to a friend, and they buy, you get $5 in GearHog bucks for your next purchase.

The first deal we saw was getting $25 in Brownells accessories for $12.50. Nice! Been wanting that aftermarket grip for our DPMS AR…

Review: The Gun Tool from Real Avid

The Good
One relatively lightweight tool to carry in my shooting bag.
The Bad
No pliers included. In fairness though, this ‘feature’ probably prevents me from doing damage to things that should not be messed with using pliers. So let’s put this one in the benefit category!
The Ugly
I would like to see a lock on the knife blade. It opens solidly, and the shape of the tool generally keeps your fingers away from where the blade closes, but aggressive cutting still makes me a bit nervous.
Our Rating
3 Nuns Four Nuns! This removes a cheap screwdriver, my primary Leatherman, and about 712 choke tube wrenches from my shooting bag!
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The Gun Tool

The Gun Tool

Approximate Retail Price: $24.99

www.realavid.com

At the recent NRA Annual Meeting, I had the pleasure of meeting some of the crew from Real Avid, makers of The Gun Tool. Those kind folks, who didn’t know better, offered to send a Gun Tool back with me for the rigorous My Gun Culture evaluation protocol. Well, the testing has been completed and here’s the report…

As it is made specifically for guns, this may just be the tool that prevents me from damaging…

  • Scope windage and elevation knobs (again)
  • My Glock and shotgun trigger groups (again)
  • Grip screws (yet again)
  • My shotgun barrels and chokes (again)

Yes, I have an issue with trying to accomplish things with whatever tool is at hand – whether it’s the right for the job or not. What, you can’t use a screwdriver and a rock for everything?

The Gun Tool features the following built-in tools:

  1. Mean looking knife blade for ammo boxes and wolverines (see below)
  2. Choke tube wrench (10, 12, 16, 20, and 28 gauges and .410 bore)
  3. Scope adjustment blade with curved contour
  4. Pin punch – steel with rounded flat point profile
  5. Flat blade 1/8″ screwdriver bit
  6. Flat blade 3/16″ screwdriver bit
  7. Phillips head screwdriver bit
  8. Phillips head screwdriver bit
  9. Torx T10 driver
  10. Torx T15 driver
  11. Torx T20 driver
  12. Hex 3/32″ driver
  13. Hex 5/32″ driver
  14. 3/16″ magnetic driver
  15. Magnetic storage container for screwdriver bits

During comprehensive testing of The Gun Tool, I found this handy list of things I can accomplish without using any other tools. And yes, I did in fact personally verify that all of these things are possible.

  • Change choke tubes on my Winchester 9410 .410 lever action shotgun (yes, that gun is way more fun than threatening my dogs with the vacuum – and that’s saying a lot. Fear not, I love my dogs and they have more fun being threatened than I have threatening them)
  • Clean underneath my finger nails with the scope adjustment blade (it’s not too sharp like the screwdriver bits)
  • I can completely detail strip my Glock 32 as the steel pin punch fits all three frame pins
  • I can clean corn out of my teeth with the claw blade (provided I’m really careful)
  • I can shotgun a beer with the punch tip
  • I can change the grip backstrap on my Beretta PX4 – the scope blade fits the u-pin perfectly and is wide enough not to deform the pin which is somewhat tight fitting
  • I can use it to hunt wolverines in Alaska
  • I can re-zero the battle sights on my M-1 Garand
  • I can remove the grips on every handgun I own except my Beretta 92FS (the hex screws are just a tad too small for The Gun Tool)
  • And a whole lot more…

This is a really handy invention. Compact and light. I love carrying one tool that does a whole mess-load (that’s a lot) of things. I’m always in need of some tweak or adjustment when at the range you know. Highly recommended!

He said She said
Adding to my moderately impressive tool collection is always a good thing. Plus, when folks at the range ask me what it is, I can tell them it’s a highly specialized gun tool. Then they tend to think I’m a much better shooter than I really am. I mean top shooters have specialized tools right? I just love my Browning Gold Fusion 12 gauge. Having one handy tool to change my choke tubes and the ones on his wimpy little .410 is really nice!

The Real Avid Gun Tool is available at Brownells:

 

Avid Design The Gun Tool
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Review: Mack’s Ear Seals Shooter Earplugs

The Good
  • GREAT sound reduction and comfortable fit
The Bad
  • Not incredibly sexy to wear out.
The Ugly
  • Does not improve your shooting
Our Rating
4 Nuns Four Nuns

My Gun Culture Bottom Line

Macks Ear Seals Shooters Ear Plugs

Macks Ear Seals Shooters Ear Plugs

Mack’s Ear Seals Shooter Earplugs

Retail Price: ~$3.25

macksearplugs.com

Mack’s offers a broad range of earplugs for multiple applications – shooting, construction, mothers-in-law, and screaming kids to name a few. The Ear Seals model is a low-cost, yet very effective design featuring a -27dB noise reduction rating. These were perhaps the quietest semi-disposable earplugs that we’ve used – and we’ve tried ‘em all.

Macks Ear Seals Shooters Ear Plugs Hard Plastic Case

Includes Hard Plastic Storage Case

These have a removable cord which is handy for in and out convenience at the range. Better yet, a hard plastic case is included to keep them squeaky clean between uses.

We found that this was in fact one of those times when it pays to actually read the instructions. To get them in with a good solid fit, just rotate them into your ear like a screw, although use of power tools is not advised. Once that’s done, you have a very snug and secure fit that will last hours without adjustment.

He said She said
OK, so I have small ears for a dude. So these fit me really well and are comfortable for longer periods of time due to the soft material used. I’ll have to get my own pair though, SHE won’t part with them. I guess I can find a way to swing the three bucks. I love these! They are super comfortable. The rectangular case is handy and I love the multi-colored cord! It’s easy to find in my purse. I also tried removing the cord and it worked like a champ which enables me to use just the plugs for when “he’s” snoring.

Speaking of Zombie apocalypse preparation…

My Christmas List: “This:

Just went on my Zombiepocolypse Christmas list. How kewl is that!

(Via Confessions of a Gun Toting Seagull.)

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