Archive for January, 2014

A Tactical Store that stocks stuff for women

Original Swat bootsWe all know that there are some pretty tough women in Law Enforcement, Military and even some women that’ll kick your ass in IDPA.   One of the biggest complaints we had from women 10yrs ago, when we first got into the tactical clothing industry was that all of the stuff they had access to was mens tactical clothing.    Every once in awhile we might be sold out of a certain womans pant style or boot style,  and they’ll happily walk out the door with mens pants or boots and just tough it out.   Without turning this into an anatomy course on why women can’t wear the same clothing as men all the time, just be glad that there is a steady market out there geared towards women in Law Enforcement, Security and competition shooting.   Just look at the pink AR15 accessories Magpul has out.

Recently we evaluated our footwear line and cut out styles that didn’t move as quickly  but put in more of the Original Swat footwear for women.  There aren’t many color options in the tactical boot line, but let’s be real, the majority of Original Swat boots are going to be for people that need to wear black boots.   The new Chase Series footwear are available in tan and we will be testing those out to see if they sell as well as the 1152F side zip boots did.   It seems that just like the men, women prefer side-zip boots over the tradition 9inch lace up boots.   There is also a chase low style for women that will be listed shortly.


The good thing about the Safariland product line

Safariland holstersThe good thing about Safariland’s product line is they probable have the best selection of CCW and Duty holsters for the majority of medium to large frame firearms.   My experience with them is they are not outrageously priced and can be a bit on the heavy side, but at least you can get a holster.   Now that so many people are getting compacts and sub-compact firearms for off duty, it is an issue that takes a lot of patience and research to find a holster and probable 10% of the time we just tell  our customers they might want to look into getting a custom kydex holster instead of buying a factory made holster and finding out they don’t like it.    We have been stocking more and more of the Safariland holsters for Glocks and Sig Sauer handguns because so many people, including our own State Police are using the Surefire  X300 on their Glock 21s and want an off duty holster that also holds the light.

Safariland probable has the best holster fit guide where you just click through the questionnaire and answer things like, Manufacturer, caliber, barrel length and if you want a light.   There are more left handed Safariland holsters than the Blackhawk Serpa product line and you can also use a non-xiphos flashlight in them.   The xiphos flashlights are really a bad idea and I can’t name a single person that likes the light, let a lone the Blackhawk Serpa/Xiphos  combination.   I saw a holster design last year for a new Flashlight option from Blackhawk but it was not available for many firearms and is an endless issue for Police or Citizens trying to use the same gun.   If you are using or want a Streamlight TLR1,TLR2 or Surefire X300U, your best bet is to research the Safariland product line.


AR15 Complete Upper Receiver Piston designs

adams arms uppers9We get phone calls from customers maybe 1 out of every 500 we sell that ask us things that we thought were obvious to them when they purchased an upper receiver from us, but it didn’t click with them.  The reason your LWRC upper receiver came with a buffer spring is because YOU NEED to replace the buffer spring when  you go from a direct impingement design to a short stroke upper receiver.   The same thing happened we sold the Smith & Wesson 5.45×39 upper receivers and the LWRC M6AK uppers.   All of the 5.45×39 uppers we have sold so far came with a new hammer spring because you need more energy to strike the primers on the 5.45×39 ammo that most people were shooting.

We have been a parts dealer for LWRC for a long time now and still very big fans of their product line especially after taking a tour of the manufacturing facility.   In the last 2yrs we have to say the Adams Arms company has done a very good job of getting a durable piston design that is different than LWRC but seems to be well received.    All of the Adams Arms Uppers we sell are complete upper receivers and their 5.45×39 uppers have been the most hunted upper receiver in the last year.  If you look at the cost of the 5.45×39 ammunition in comparison to the 5.56 in cost, there is a big difference and  you’ll get the money back  on the upper receiver you purchased in just a couple thousand rounds.


European firearms and trying to find replacement magazines

promag magazinesWe recently heard about a change in several of our Factory magazines, from Glock to Walther, there have been changes to the material and designs.  Some of our customers may not notice the difference, and in all honesty, sometimes we can’t tell the differences but they are there.  Some of the Beretta Factory magazines have gone up a few rounds with their stand capacity magazines.    I’m not sure of all of the changes that are taking place, we usually find out from our customers when they are the first to find out or someone asks for the new version of a mag.  Recently we’ve been getting  a lot of calls about Walther and CZ magzines and if there are any alternative manufacturers.

We’ve sold a good bit of Walther P99 magazines and recently we have moved several Promag Magazines for the CZ.   Today I had to do some research for a customer on Promag Magazines and find out if a CZ 75 PCR would run the  CZ75 magazines and Promag couldn’t give me a definite answer since they didn’t have the technical info on the gun, this seems to be the story every week around here because there is always some new variant of a firearm and nobody knows what “other” magazines will work with it or what holster they should by.   See previous blog posts about researching firearms and their ability to be accessorized or the availability before you buy.


Winter Carry with small or large guns

Fobus holsters

There are always people pointing out the pros and cons of tactical gear because in reality, each item we accessorize on a firearm or each device we carry on our person, from knives, to flashlights has it’s designed purpose.   Flashlights can be good at close ranges and put  out a lot of lumens, but some of those bright flashlights are not very good for scanning out and identifying things at longer ranges.   A flashlights output doesn’t mean it’s going to be light up everything.  Just knowing how to flip a flashlight up on the ceiling of a room to illuminate a room, in low light can be more beneficial than just scanning around and looking under every dark spot.

When it comes to choosing a holster, you have to decide what firearm you are going to carry and find the best way that suits you.  Some find that picking out a holster is as complicated as getting dressed up for a date and we often have to talk them down to simplicity.  One thing about selling Fobus holsters is we never have customers get sticker shock.   Here is Pennsylvania its been very cold and carrying with lots of heavy clothing on can make IWB carry difficult.   We have been selling a lot of the Fobus paddle holsters because so many people are finding out that even a small j-frame revolver can be easier to access via a paddle holster than an IWB setup.


Going smaller than a 9mm without compromising durability

Kahr MagazinesThere was a time I avoided some of the smaller Kel-Tec firearms even though some really smart and good people I know were carrying them.   When I saw some of the ballistics for .380, 22LR and 32acp,  I wasn’t impressed and being on the “experienced” side of life, I know how big and drugged up some people are and going with firearms that punch tiny holes are have, in most situations, very poor penetration, I was not going to choose to go with something that needs recoil spring replacements after putting 500rds through it.   Some fancy guns like the Rohrbaugh 9mm are nice but very expensive and high maintenance.   I ended up with a Sig 239 considering its very reliable history and it’s 9mm ballistics.

Things have changed, changed for the .380, both gun designs and the ballistics of the round have improved by several hundred feet per second, as well as the durability of firearms chambered for this.   Kahr Firearms have a very good reputation for both being reliable and small,  Kahr magazines are not that uncommon and getting replacement parts or not burning a hole in your pocket are a good thing.    Even Glock has jumped on the bandwagon this year with a .380 chambered Glock 42.   I don’t like to be the first to buy guns made by manufacturers that are putting their first on the line, but Kahr has been a safe bet for a long time.


Magpul Pmags 10rd,20rd,30rd and 40rd

Magpul PMAGSThere has been an expansion of the Magpul Pmags in the last year which kind of got smothered while so much of the Country.   Magpul PMAGS are now available in Gen 2 and Gen 3  while the panic buying and hoarding went on, many customers were keeping them in their wrappers and not using them but we found out from many of our local customers that there was an issue with the Gen 3 PMAGS being out of spec.   After a little bit of research we found lots of info on and other places like where people said they had issues with the mags not dropping free.  It was a minor fix but a major problem for someone finding out during a life fire test that it was an issue.

Most of our customers tell us they never use the “dust covers” and I guess Magpul put this in their marketing strategy because the Magpul MOE PMAGS are sold for a few bucks less than what they previous sold for.    We’ve checked out companies like Lancer for their magazines but most people are familiar with the Magpul PMAGS which aside from the recent issues with the Gen 3 PMAGS are a big improvement over the USGI magazines.  Whether you choose to use the PMAGS with windows is your personal preference but I would not be in the  habit of mixing window magazines with standard magazines.   The 20rd PMAGS seem to not sell as much as the 30rd but for some reason people forget how well balanced an AR15 is when you are only using them.  I highly suggest getting at least 2-20rd PMAGS in your rotation to see what I mean.


Choosing Iron Sights and the often made mistakes

Troy SightsIron sights are one of  those rare accessories where we hear about problems with durability.   It seems that it is pretty hard to mess up iron sights at the factory, most of the mistakes made with iron sights are when people that are mounting them on gas blocks.   We are always being asked general questions on holsters, accessories and optics but from a liability standpoint, we have to ask our customers a lot of questions so we don’t sell them the wrong thing.   If they walk in looking for iron sights for their AR15 but don’t volunteer any information about what gun they are putting them on, whether they are trying co-witness the sights with an optic or if they have a magnifier,  we don’t know for sure they are buying the correct item.

We highly recommend people think about what they might be doing with there customer built or accessorizing down the road even if they aren’t going to do it immediately.   I have several sets of Troy Sights that I have sitting in my tool room that had to be pulled off of my LWRC M6A2 after I found out that my Eotech Magnifier would not perfectly clear the rear Troy sight when it was locked into place.   I need to spend another $100 for a lower profile sight just to get better alignment with my setup.   If you mount the less expensive Magpul Sights on a gas block  you are going to get a point of impact that is off as well as possible melt the sight.   Avoid having a $35-$100 mistake and make sure you are buying the sights you are going to get the most out and not have to all out replace because they don’t cut it.   Magpul Flip up sights will work for most people with a front and rear sight combo usually being under $90 and the next step are probable the Troy Iron Sights.


Aimpoint vs Eotech’s

Eotech sightsThis is a question that is often asked in our store primarily because there are similarly priced products with zero magnification.   Both optics can be co-witnessed and also magnifiers can be used with both product lines.    Even though there is a considerable difference between the battery life times, the real debate is about whether you want a 2 MOA red dot, 4 MOA red dot or a 65MOA circle with a MOA dot in the middle. One reason we have a plastic rifle in our store that is in spec for optics and flashlights is for potential customers to be able to mount the optics and see how well their eye picks up the reticle or dot.   There are some Eotech sights with different configurations for less lethal and for taking longer range shots but they are not is popular as the standard 65MOA/1MOA circle dot.

We stocked the Trijicon SRS sights and although there were initially some issues with the design it does offer a different approach but a very expensive option.   The majority of our customers have a price range and it usually comes down to the Eotech Sights (there are several in the $390-$500 price range) and the Aimpoint Patrol Rifle Optic.   The Patrol rifle optic has a thumb screw mount which, for about $400 you got the whole Aimpoint package without trying to figure out what type of mount to get, usually Larue Tactical but we have recently become a Bobro Mount dealer so there is another  quick detach option with a very good reputation.   The one thing to watch out for with Eotech sights is you really need to make sure you know whether or not you will be putting a magnifier on your AR15 at some point in the future.  If you “might” get an Eotech with a side button configuration.


DMR’s and Target ID

Trijicon ACOGsI recently watched a History Channel episode about the UZI and why the Israeli’s moved away from larger rifles like the FAL before most of the European Countries stuck with the G2 and FAL as primary rifles during the Cold War.   With the Foundation of the State of Israeli, urban engagements were the norm and even though the terrain would allow for longer range engagements the FAL proved to be an over kill and was not very well liked.   One of the soldiers mentioned that the FAL was a better sniper rifle but not very good for close engagements because of the recoil and weight of the rifle.   I would agree with that but the biggest draw back I find with the FAL is that it’s not very good for mounting optics.  I’ve had screws sheer off on my mounts after several thousand rounds of ammunition.

Now there are several reliable 7.62 battle rifles that are more easily become a Designated Marksmen Rifle and there are a lot of sturdy, yet expensive optics that better suit the ballistics of the 7.62 round.  Normally, the first step up from red dots and holographic sights are the Trijicon ACOGS because with a minimal amount of magnification at 3.5-4x you are going to to be able to better use of the round.   Trijicon has advanced to another level beyond the ACOG to the VCOG which also claims to be the first focal plane optic.   A designated marksmen has the role of being to engage targets at medium ranges and do the job that the 5.56 round doesn’t do as well.  I have had numerous stories from guys returning from Iraq that have mentioned that they used the magnification from their optics to ID wires that ran across streets to planted IED’s and that’s where Red Dots and Iron Sights don’t cut it.

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