Some New Furniture From Daniel Defense

These folks make awesome rifles. We’ve been working with one of their 300 AAC Blackout’s for our forthcoming book, The Rookie’s Guide to the AR-15, and the workmanship is outstanding.

New for 2014 on the accessory front are grips and stocks. These were spotted (and tested) at SHOT Show 2014 Media Day at the range…

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The rubberized texture makes a huge difference. More later…

Win This LaserMax UNI-MAX ES Rifle Value Pack

Tis’ the season for giving right?

Win this LaserMax UNI-MAX ES Rifle Value Pack laser

Win this LaserMax UNI-MAX ES Rifle Value Pack laser

Thanks to the nice folks at LaserMax, we’re going to give away a LaserMax UNI-MAX ES Rifle Value Pack to one of our lucky Facebook fans. That’s right, just head over to our Facebook page to enter, or you can do it directly from here. That’s all there is to it.

Keeping with our Insanely Practical philosophy, there are no strings attached. All you have to do is Like our Facebook page. The contest entry asks for your email, but that’s only for notifying the winner. We won’t even add you to our mailing list if you enter. Of course, if you would like to get our weekly email, packed with tips, product reviews and fun commentary on all things shooting, you can do that here.

This is an awesome addition to your AR-15 rifle, or any other rifle that has a rail up front. Heck, since it’s modular, you can even mount it on a pistol. We reviewed the LaserMax UNI-MAX ES recently if you want full details.

Enter here!

Do You Like It Flat? Your AR-15 That Is…

The LaserMax Uni-Max ES offers a very low profile option for your AR-15. Mount it on the top, side or bottom.

The LaserMax Uni-Max ES offers a very low profile option for your AR-15. Mount it on the top, side or bottom.

Do you like it flat?

Meaning the front of your AR rifle? Perhaps you don’t want a vertical fore grip laser and light assembly up front. If you frequently shoot at longer ranges, from sandbags or perhaps from a prone position, a vertical grip can get in the way. If you still want a laser attachment, there’s a great alternative that won’t get in the way of that nice, clean front hand guard.

The LaserMax Uni-Max ES is technically a multi-purpose product – it can switch teams with only a little bit on tinkering. Through a little rearranging of internal (and included) parts, you can convert this from a rifle laser with a remote activation pad to a pistol rail-mounted laser.

For pistols, you install the toggle switch that enables laser on / laser off from either side. With a rifle installation, you can certainly use the toggle switch if you like, but the momentary activation switch option is even better. This is a remote pressure pad which turns the laser on as long as you squeeze it. With judicious placement of the pad according to your personal preference, it’s a very natural motion to turn the laser on and off as desired. Just to be clear, while you can reconfigure this laser, it’s not something you would want to do daily as it will take you five minutes or so. The purpose is to give you flexibility over time to move between different guns.

Let’s talk about that “flat” configuration. The laser unit itself only extends 1/2 inch from a standard picatinny rail. So even if you mount it on the bottom of your rifle hand guard, as shown here, it hardly extends downward at all. Of course, if you want zero footprint, you can mount it on either side of the barrel and keep the bottom rail completely clean.

Here’s what I prefer. I mounted the laser unit on the bottom rail so that there are no “side to side” issues between the laser dot and point of impact. On the Daniel Defense rifle shown here, the laser and bore are only about 1 1/4 inches apart, so it’s not a big deal either way. I’m just being picky. All I have to worry about is an elevation difference of just over an inch between the laser and the point of impact at short distances. That’s nuthin’ right?

I chose to mount the momentary activation pressure pad on the right side so my natural grip was right on it.

I chose to mount the momentary activation pressure pad on the right side so my natural grip was right on it.

I chose to mount the momentary activation switch pressure pad on the right side of the hand guard. I’m right-handed, so my left hand is up front. Holding the hand guard from underneath, my fingers are used to press the pressure pad. I find it to be a very natural position. Squeeze a little tighter and the laser comes on. Release a bit of pressure and the laser goes off.

LaserMax includes a MantaRail cover with the Uni-Max ES, which is 2 3/4 inch section of textured rubber rail cover with an internal slot for the cord connecting the laser unit and momentary activation switch. So the cord comes out of the laser on the bottom rail, feeds underneath the rubber MantaRail cover and bends up to the side mounted momentary activation pad. All in all, there are only two one-inch sections of cord exposed, so there aren’t loose wires hanging around to get caught up on stuff. A side benefit of the MantaRail placement on the bottom rail is that it provides a grippy and comfortable rail cover where you hand goes. Nice touch.

A view from the bottom. Note the MantaRail cover just behind the laser. It secures the cord and makes a great hand grip.

A view from the bottom. Note the MantaRail cover just behind the laser. It secures the cord and makes a great hand grip.

The laser body itself also has a single-slot picatinny rail section on the bottom, so you can hang something else, like a light, just below the laser if you like. The laser unit is small and light, weighing just 2.5 ounces, so there is virtually no bulk up front on your rifle. It’s powered by two Silver Oxide 357 batteries and will run continuously for about an hour and a half.

I’m digging the LaserMax Uni-Max ES setup on a Daniel Defense DDM4V5 300 AAC Blackout rifle. A traditional optic is up top for longer ranges. I have the laser zeroed for 10 yards, but shorter and longer distances work just fine as the laser is so close to the bore line. So, in one package, you can have it all. A laser for home defense (or perhaps night hog hunting use) that’s preset for shorter distances and optics for reaching out.

The best part? Your laser configuration is pretty much out of the way when you want to use the rifle outdoors.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is The AR-15 Appropriate For Home Defense? Part 1: Penetration Issues

To find out how an AR-15 penetrates interior walls, I built some---and then shot 'em up with a bunch of .223 Remington ammo.

To find out how an AR-15 penetrates interior walls, I built some—and then shot ‘em up with a bunch of .223 Remington ammo.

Is an AR-15 appropriate for home defense? That’s a really big question, isn’t it? Way too big a question for a single article to address in adequate detail. So we’ll look at one issue at a time.

First, since AR-15 rifles cause all nature of mainstream media histrionics, we’ll consider the “high-power” issue, which in a practical sense, translates to penetration. If you torch off a .223 Remington or 5.56mm round indoors, will the building explode? Listening to the news, you might think so.

More rational, and less pants-wetting thoughtful consideration yields a different conclusion when we look at penetration specifically. If you shoot an AR-15 inside your home or apartment, and miss your target, will the projectile continue to pass through interior walls, exterior walls, cars, dump trucks, and eventually the nearest ocean before embedding itself deep under the sea floor?

These are curious questions. Being curious, I decided to build some very small walls and shoot them with an AR-15. I shall call them mini-walls.

I shall call them…mini-walls. I built four in total, each with drywall on both sides.

I shall call them…mini-walls. I built four in total, each with drywall on both sides.

When considering home defense options, from strictly a penetration point of view, the basic question is: what will over-penetrate through walls, furniture, and your shiny new Ninja Blender? A heavier and slower pistol round, or a very light and fast rifle round?

The thing about light and fast bullets is that they tend to get upset–specifically, fragment or tumble—when they hit harder things like walls or furniture. Tumbling and fragmenting both result in a very rapid loss of velocity and energy, therefore a lightweight rifle projectile going somewhere around 3,000 feet per second may actually have less unwanted penetration than a pistol round traveling in the 1,000 feet per second range.

Before sharing results, I should present a couple of disclaimers.

  • I suck at construction, so if you are a professional carpenter, just hold your lunch down while looking at the photos of my mini-wall construction efforts. I’m only shooting them to pieces, not putting them in my house.
  • I didn’t paint the walls. This may sound trivial, but several coats of dried paint are hard, and likely to make some difference in the rate that lightweight, high-velocity bullets break apart.
  • The walls are close together. As you’ll see, some of the projectiles started fragmenting pretty quickly. If they had more time to spread out before hitting the next wall, I suspect they would have lost a lot of energy. Think of a shotgun pattern. When the pellets are still “clumped” together at short-range, there’s more penetration than when they spread out to a three-foot pattern a little further out.
  • I’m not a ballistic scientist. I just got curious, decided to do some basic testing, and share what I found. Do with the findings what you will.

With all that said, I looked at two different “interior wall” simulations. In one scenario, I used drywall (Sheetrock) only. I assumed the projectiles only hit drywall material of multiple walls. For the other scenario, I added a piece of 3/8-inch particle board between walls one and two—just to simulate junk inside walls like cross beams, furniture, or any number of other things besides wallboard that may be inside a home. All shooting was done from “indoor” ranges of five yards.

Read the rest at OutdoorHub.com!

Deal Alert: Brownells AR Magazines On Sale For $9.99

Brownells AR MagazineJust saw this folks – a great time to stock up on Brownells AR magazines. They’re excellent and reliable.

OTIS Technology Announces LaPierreCare Offerings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gun Review: Rock River Arms 6.8 SPC CAR Rifle

The Rock River Arms 6.8 SPC CAR. Shown here with a 5 round magazine and a Hawke Optics Panorama EV scope.

The Rock River Arms 6.8 SPC CAR. Shown here with a 5 round magazine and a Hawke Optics Panorama EV scope.

When .223 just isn’t enough…

Contrary to that provocative opening line, I’m not going to embark on a “nyah, nyah, nyha, this caliber is more betterer or less betterer” than some other. Instead, I’m going to take this opportunity to celebrate diversity. You know, like hippies.

Attention to detail is excellent. Note the double-staked gas key. The bolt / carrier fit was very snug.

Attention to detail is excellent. Note the double-staked gas key. The bolt / carrier fit was very snug.

One of the reasons that the AR or MSR (Modern Sporting Rifle) platform is so insanely popular is because it’s so darn flexible. More so than White House Spokesperson Jay Carney at an Obamacare press conference. It’s not only flexible in terms of fit (with adjustable stock options) and accessorizing (with everything from tactical lights to chainsaws), it’s flexible in terms of caliber.

Somehow or another, I got a bug up my backside to try out an AR rifle in 6.8 Remington SPC caliber. Why? Well, no good reason other than why not. That and the fact that I live in ‘Murrica.

What’s the 6.8 Remington SPC you ask? It’s a proposed solution to stopping power complaints of 5.56mm military round. It’s not as heavy and bulky as the 7.62 (.308) cartridge so one can carry plenty of ammo. It was designed for improved short-barrel performance via a joint effort between US Special Forces, the Army Marksmanship Unit and Remington. Splitting the difference between 5.56mm and 7.62×51 NATO, it’s easily adaptable to AR rifles by swapping bolt, barrel and magazine. As it shares the same overall length as the 5.56mm and .223 Remington, no changes to the AR lower receiver are required. The cartridge case is derived from the .30 Remington, so unfortunately you can’t make your own brass from scrounged-up .223 casings. As a side note, unlike the .223 / 5.56mm, it uses a large rifle primer.

Features of the Rock River Arms 6.8 SPC CAR

Rock River Arms makes a fine AR rifle. A few years back, the DEA ordered 3.2 truckloads of them and some units of the FBI and US Marshalls piggybacked onto that contract. Since that time, the RRA models have earned a solid reputation.

If you order direct, you can have a rifle customized to your specs. The Badger Tactical latch handle shown here was an option I'm glad I added.

If you order direct, you can have a rifle customized to your specs. The Badger Tactical latch handle shown here was an option I’m glad I added.

If you order your rifle in advance instead of buying one off the shelf, you can customize to your hearts content and a rifle will be built according to your specifications. Some of the options available include:

A2 or A4 upper receiver.

Chrome moly or chrome-lined barrel.

Flash hiders: Want a Smith Enterprise Vortex or muzzle brake? No problem.

Gas block / sight base: choose standard, low-profile or flip up ready versions are all available.

Standard or ambidextrous safety levers and magazine catches.

Handguards, grips and buttstocks: too many options to list here.

Trigger guards and bolt handles are also customizeable for normal or gloved use.

For this review, I ordered the 6.8 SPC CAR with an A4 upper receiver, the Rock River Arms Quad Rail Free Float hand guard, chrome-lined barrel, gas block sight base, Smith Enterprise Vortex flash hider and Badger Tactical Bolt Latch. Designed as an optics-ready rifle, this version is a bit of a Cadillac.

Read the rest at OutdoorHub.com!

Neat Invention of the Day: OTIS Ripcord Gun Cleaner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How To Keep Your AR Rail Cool and Comfortable

One of the last things we’re adding to the DPMS A3 Lite we’ve been customizing with Blackhawk! long rifle accessories are low-profile rail ladders.

Blackhawk! Low-Profile Rail Ladders installed and cut to size.

Blackhawk! Low-Profile Rail Ladders installed and cut to size.

These polymer inserts attach to rail segments by snapping into place on both sides via the groove in between. They hardly add any thickness as the polymer only sits a millimeter or so above the rail itself, but they make all the difference. These rail inserts are designed to do several things:

  • Protect your rails from dings, scratches and dents
  • Provide a non-slip grip to the rail area
  • Protect your hands from sharp edges of the rails

I just left an event at Blackhawk! where professional shooter and instructor Todd Jarrett ran us through a condensed black rifle class. It was a great opportunity to try the rail ladders out. During the session, we did enough shooting for the barrel, gas block and aluminum rail to get hot – and that’s where I really noticed the value of the rail ladders. Even though they’re low-profile, they made a noticeable difference in terms of insulating my hands from heat. Providing additional comfort and grip security was a given – you could feel the difference right away. I was just not expecting them to make a difference with heat control.

This is a nice, and very simple, add-on to most any rifle with a railed front end. The ladders come in 18 slot segments and you can easily cut them to the exact length you want with a pocket knife. I put them on all four sides. If I ever decide to add other rail accessories, I can just pop off that segment and trim to fit the unused rail area.

It’s a nifty little upgrade and you can get them for about ten bucks.

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