Archive for October, 2014

It’s not just about quality, proper mounting of rifle scopes is extremely important

Rifle ScopesI don’t know how many times I’ve been in gun shops or sporting good stores where I picked up a new or used rifle and noticed the reticles were not level.  I can see how if you are working at Dick’s sporting goods and a sales clerk is told to put a scope a rifle he might just throw it on, but every year I am on a firing range during October-November, I see a large group of hunters show up shooting paper plates with groups that I would consider terrible and they go home thinking it’s good enough.   Well it might be for a 100yd shot, but it’s an almost definite miss at 200yds and if you know your rifle optic is level, it’s all science and knowledge of ballistics that will make it a hit at 200yds.   If  you have a range finder and mark of territory when getting into a hunting position, just about any 30 caliber hunting rifle from 30/30 level action to a pump 30/06 can be effective well beyond 100yds.

I’ve done a lot of target shooting just using hold overs and in the real world this is probable a very effective way to learn to hunt and shoot instead of having to dial in MOA clicks which can cause you to lose out in an opportunity.   Having a good cheek weld have proper height scope rings can also have an impact on being able to quickly acquire a target.  I’ve never been a fan of large see through scope rings because in my humble opinion it can through off the balance of the rifle.   I mostly see that on lever actions but if it works for you, that’s your decision.   If you don’t have a level then just find an open area of  your home, lay your rifle down on pillows and find a table or flat surface that you can align your horizontal crosshairs on  your rifle scopes to.  This is how I’ve done most of my leveling and I’ve done well at 600yds without windage issues when I had to make scope turret adjustments.


Tru Glow Red Dots, BSA Red Dots, Airsoft Optics, anyone have any suggestions?

BSA Red DotsIt’s kind of interesting how the airsoft market has been playing out, we get lots of kids showing up looking for Magpul accessories with their Mom’s, and right after that a SWAT guy will walk in and ask for the same thing.   Their’s nothing wrong with teenagers learning rifle skills and learning how to be a soldier and have fun doing it.   If you look through many of the origins of the paramilitary organizations from Boy Scouts, Sea Scouts and the Civil Air Patrol, learning to use a rifle was important.    If a Country has youth that know the basics in their mid teens, they can move on to military training quickly isn’t that a National Security asset?  There is so much cross over real world training that many Law Enforcement Departments are finding that this is far beyond blue gun training, and something they should consider putting into their training for Police Officers.   Even some of the private security companies are using airsoft.

I hear “better” things about airsoft guns as far as durability goes but a lot of bad things about various optics being used.   I have a hard time going too cheap,for red optics, but we have heard plenty of good things about BSA Red Dots for Airsoft as well as some of the TruGlow Sights.  I find the TruGlo 4 reticle and the BSA Red Dots called the Panaramic multi purpose  to be interesting because they seem to have a very light feel to them and wide field of view.   In real world situations I think a solid tube or housing is important but these seem to cut it for many.    Aimpoint recently came out with a slightly less expensive optic but not that much less than the Aimpoint Patrol Rifle Optic, if you’re 16yrs old and you want to move from airsoft to an AR15 ask your Mom for an Aimpoint Patrol Rifle Optics for Christmas and put it on your real gun when you’re older, but that’s just my opinion.     I’m also curious about the Vortex Red dots since they are a bout $200 and have a very good reputation on real firearms not airsoft.  I’m not much of a fan of the NCStar brand primarily because the whole Red Star thing. Any suggestions?


Rifle Sight, Carbine Sight, Shotgun sight upgrade?

Rifle SightsShopping online can often be overwhelming when it comes to parts and accessories because we all know how difficult it can be to reach some companies technical support via phone or email.    We often get complaints from customers that tried to call a manufacturer and couldn’t get a hold of someone.  Usually it is followed up by words like “I can’t tell from the picture” or “it doesn’t say in the description if it has”, and people are left in the dark.   A few months ago I had someone walk in with Troy Carbine sights and he had the incorrect front and rear sights because he didn’t buy them as a set.  He found out the hard way during carbine qualifications.   The best way to know you are buying the correct item is to deal directly with the manufacturer, sometimes gunsmiths are good sources of information but I have often found out that many of them have a niche they are good at and aren’t good at everything.

It’s fun to accessorize, it’s a guy thing, but plain black on black front and rear sights only work  in certain lighting and it can pay in competition sports or defensive situations to have an illuminated front sight.  Some of the Hiviz sights work well for rifle sights,  level action sights, shotguns sights and even revolvers like the Ruger LCR.  Everyone has a preference with sight picture and just like choosing eyewear and sunglasses, it’s whatever fits your comfort and visibility level.   Different apertures make a big difference and being able to hit a target which is the reason so many AR15 rear sights have atleast 2 flip sight options, long distance and short distance sight picture.  Ask a friend that is using a sight and look around the next time you’re at the range and see what is being used and ask questions.  You might find out your shooting proficiency will improve with a better sight setup.


Your driving sunglasses can be your Smith Optics Elite Ballistic Sunglasses

Smith Optics Elite SunglassesSome of the cool things about investing in a decent pair of ballistic sunglasses is that you don’t need to remember to bring your safety glasses with you.   I do own some of the non-ballistic Smith Optics sunglasses but if you pick out the correct fit with the Smith Optics Elite product line, you might get the best of both worlds.   We are a full line Smith Optics Elite dealer as well as a Smith Optics regular line and there are a lot of options you can consider.  The newer Pivlock design can also cross over to be your every day eyewear and with the interchangeable lenses and the clam shell kit they come with, you can change up the lenses depending on the driving trip you are taking.   We keep a lense spectrum display in our store so customers can see the benefits of having more than one lense color because there are dramatic visibility differences between the ignitor and polarized eyewear.

When you get into ballistic ratings, you are best to stick with major brands, there are a lot of suspect ballistic vest manufacturers with horror stories about ratings not being worth your life, but when you want to talk about eyewear, your best bet is to stick with companies that know what they are doing.  Smith Optics is a top tier eyewear company and there are big differences between fit and visibility and you are going to want to stop in our store and try them on to make sure it suits your comfort.  All of the Smith Optics Elite Sunglasses meet or exceed the Meets ANSI Z87.1 ballistic rating and if you are are a competition shooter you’ll know the importance of using safety glasses while shooting on a steel range.  If you tried out the Smith product line in the past and we’re happy, take a look at them again because the product line has dramatically grown.


Beware of the less expensive red dots, but you might find a good one and Aimpoint knows it

Aimpoint Red DotsWe get a large customer base from plinkers to Special Forces.   The airsoft industry has exploded and there are a lot of products that can crossover and have wide applications but ammunition, firearm maintenance and quality optics and a good operation with a good trigger finger are what win a fight.   You will not find me shooting Wolf 223 in any of  my AR15 rifles because even if that ammo is running in your firearm for now, there is so much crap that can build up over time that it’s not an “if” but a “when” it will cause a malfunction.   There is always something new coming out at SHOT Show each year and it’s almost like the seeing the Hasbro commercials for the new Star Wars or G.I. Joe toys.   They try to push an excited energy to you about how cool it is and you then ask your Mom to buy it.   That same mentality goes on in the Firearm Industry and from a retail standpoint it’s same thing every year.   Somebody comes in because they heard how great some new product was and we just sit back and see how well the product sells.

Complaints, returns and Warranties are what we factor in with the optics we sell, but recently we have been hearing  a lot of customers reference that various Red Dot optics they have been using have been performing well.   Everyone one of these AR15 optics companies has a marketing department and it certainly looks like Aimpoint Red Dots are going to have a new, less expensive optic on the market.   How expensive is it to make a zero magnification 2 MOA dot?   As much as like the Trijicon Solar/battery technological advancements, I think they pretty much priced themselves out of the red dot market because I have a hard time justifying any quality red dot costing more than $400-$600 and the Trijicon SRS sight is almost $1000.  The new Aimpoint Carbine Optic runs on one 3N  battery which should last for a year turned on (please turn it off and make it last longer)  but it looks like they took out the night vision ect.  I still haven’t gotten accurate info on the MAP pricing is going to be but we’ll be adding several  new Aimpoint products to our website shortly.


Crosshairs for precision, but something different for speed Trijicon TA31F-G ACOG

Trijicon ReticlesTrijicon TA31F-GI have always been very picky about the optic reticles I choose.   I don’t like jumping back and forth because belonging to a 600yd gun club means, I am usually shooting from 100-600yds, and when you all of a sudden move from 100yds to 300yds and that fat crosshair line is covering your target, it is very annoying.  Sure you can learn hold overs but for competition sports and military applications, getting a good “hint” from your reticle is very helpful.  I’m a big fan of the Trijicon TA31F-G because it has all of the hints on bullet drop and I can still see my target within the Chevron out to 300yds. Trijicon clarity really shows on this optic especially compared to all the fuzz you see from Aimpoint red dots and Eotech Holographic sights.


People come into our store all the time looking at the Trijicon ACOGS because they are probable the most expensive fixed power combat optic but they have no idea which reticle to choose.   We’ve been selling a lot of the TA11H-G optics because the horseshoe is another non-Chevron optic which if used properly, has long range applications but also better eye relief and a very clear dot in the middle for CQB that crosshairs won’t have.  Getting back to the Trijicon TA31F-G ACOG, it’s not just about the reticle, it’s also about the color.  There are some really good closeouts on red reticle Trijicon optics because there is far more of a lean towards amber and green reticles.


Desantis Pistol Belts when image and durability matter

Desantis Pistol BeltsWe offer a very large selection of belts because there are so many different objectives people are looking for.   We often see military personnel and First Responders coming in needing different belts when events are coming up or they are being deployed.   The standards are high and we sell alot of Blackhawk Rescue belts, and Elite Survival Systems Assault Rescue belts and often the Elite Survival Cobra Belt.  Some of those are pretty heavy but if you’ve had experience repelling or trying to pull yourself or someone else out of a dangerous situation, the last thing you want to have happen is a belt failure and it does happen.   Recently I’ve heard of 2 situations where belts and gear have broken off during foot pursuits, belts can fail and shoe laces come untied and such simple things can affect your ability to defend yourself.  We get asked to carry cheap stuff from time to time but we are often referencing equipment failures when people see price differences and explain to them why they are so.

All gear and accessories have failure points, all leather holsters will eventually soften but there are ways to prolong their life.   We have our list of highly suggested gun belts and the #1 pistol belt we suggest you consider are the Desantis pistol belts, we’ve moved a ton of the Blackhawk Pistol Belts in the past but they do not last as long as the Desantis.   Not everyone who is CCWing is going to need a 1.5 inch belt, pocket carry is very common these days and should not be ruled out considering there are so many high quality .380 and even 9mm compact autos.  The high capacity full size firearms are extra security but over time many people move towards comfort and give up capacity.   If you wear leather a lot there are things you can do to prolong the life of your pistol belt with both image.   Expect us to carry more of the Desantis leather belt line in the future.


Get a good gun belt, but should you get leather or nylon?

Elite Survival BeltsA lot of what goes on in this business is about looks, if your LEO, you know what it’s like to get written up for having the incorrect uniform and depending on your police Chief, you might have a bunch of odd looking finishes.   Just go look at tall of the options the average duty gear from Safariland comes in.    We’ve pretty much narrowed down leather CCW belts to Desantis, we may dabble a little bit with Galco leather this year but some of the leather gun belts we come across are a little too cowboy looking, that’s fine if that’s what you want, but most of our customers right now are not going to be wearing too much brown, mostly black.   There are thin dress belts that you might be able to use for CCW or Off duty, but in my humble opinion a 1.5 inch belt is probable the best support and for nylon it’s been for a very long time the difference between the Wilderness Instructor belt and a very close second, the Cobra Belt.

Elite Survival Systems has another Cobra Rigger’s belt that should be listed shortly, I forgot to bring this in stock until a customer walked in and asked if we had them.    The one thing  you have to be careful about when picking up any gun belt is to make sure that the pants you are wearing them have belt loops that are compatible.   We have had issues with the Tru-Spec 24/7 Series pants  not working to sell with the rear belt loop catching the Cobra belt buckle and thus, not a good combination.   I’ll have to bring this up with our Tru-Spec rep the next time I see him which is  on Tru-Spec and not Elite Survival belts.   Recently we had a walk in customer that told us that he had a foot chase where his nylon velcro belt started to come undone and wanted something with a latch, always good and bad points and yet another reason to go to a brick and mortar start and ask questions and try it on.


If the tactical clothing you are wearing doesn’t fit you right, it won’t wear right.

Tactical ClothingIn our industry everything has it’s breaking point, your rifle barrel, your boots, your optic ect.   When people say a certain brand sucks, be very careful how you take that because on our side of the counter we see things break all the time.   The differences between footwear from brand to brand and durability might really be more about style rather than manufacturer.   We keep a pair of boots in our store to show people some of the bullshit that we hear when people say something sucks and it falls apart.   The boots are beat up looking, obviously water soaked and the stitching is coming apart.  These tactical boots look like they are 2 years old and have been beat to death.   The truth of the matter was it was a landscaper that used them in muddy environments and should have been wearing waterproof boots, when we called him out on it he said he could  only afford 1 pair of boots and didn’t want to have to switch back and forth.

Much of the same things happen with various gloves, frisk gloves, shooting gloves and hunting gloves.   Everyone has differences in their fingers and one brand might be tighter or loose in certain areas, the palms, or certain fingers.  If you are pulling in areas the glove isn’t designed to be pulled the stitching is going to break at certain points.  Another good example of this is with handcuffs.   A vast majority of handcuffs can actually be broken and there are many Special Forces personnel that train to learn the weak points in the hinges and over time all the twisting and binding will cause them to break, no need to picking locks.   If you do the same thing with your footwear, tactical pants, tactical shirts it’s going to tear.  There is a reason why a lot of tactical clothing companies are designing pants with gusseted crotches because of the way the human body moves and it’s not about stronger stitching it’s about why regularly designed pants just don’t cut it in the running and gunning world.


Metal Magazines still have their place, but consider Chip McCormick Magazines over knock off USGI Magazines

Chip McCormick MagazinesThere is something to be said about having metal magazines around, whether they are USGI AR15 magazines or metal handgun magazines.   If you look at the materials being used in so many modern firearms, like Glocks or even Magpul Pmags, they are extremely durable designs and have a lot of advantages over steel frame, but the one thing they don’t have is longevity.   You won’t find any Glock firearms functioning 100years from now because the material will have broken down.  I even have a few local Police telling me they have Glocks that are over 20years old and they can see the decay.   With plastic Pmags, those are going to become brittle over time and they will loose strength after a few decades have passed.  Kind of strange that this is the case because there is a major flaw, but what is perfect?   What lasts forever?

Operator induced malfunctions cause the majority of firearm malfunctions and the other is lack of maintenance and magazine rotation is one of them.   There are things you can do especially with a 1911 type of magazine where you can pull the springs out and stretch them that can buy you time.  You have to be careful about gun show specials, I’ve got a lot of Korean 1911 magazines that I use as range mags but it’s also because they do jam on me and it’s a great way to do malfunction drills.   They seem to have really short lives and the springs wear out and become weak, so even if the mags drop free, using Wolf gun springs or better quality magazines like Chip McCormick magazines is a much better idea.  Personally I prefer Wilson Combat for My primary magazines, but they are more expensive but Chip McCormick has a very good manufacturer warranty on their products if that isn’t an incentive for a first time buyer.

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