EDC Trauma Kits

If you conceal carry, do you carry medical gear.  How much crap can you really stuff in your pockets?  What is the minimal amount of medical gear can you carry and still have something useful?

Here is my solution:

QuickClot Combat Gauze:  This is a Z-folded hemostatic dressing.  Basically the z-fold makes it easier to pack into a wound, and the hemostatic agent helps clotting.  It’s that simple.

Little safety cutter:  This allows the removal of seatbelts, clothes and other entanglements.  This is a lot safer then using your pocket knife, and weighs almost nothing.

Mini Trauma Bandage:  This is a small bandage that uses elastic only, has no pressure bar and it shorter than most.  It’s not as good as a Israeli or OLAES, but it’s pocketable.

Flat Packed Duct Tape:  This can be used for a chest seal with some of the plastic packaging above, or to reenforce the above bandage.  You can use an old hotel card or just fold it on itself.

Tourni-kwik 4L Compression Strap:  This is not a great tourniquet, but it can be deployed one-handed, wide enough to help prevent nerve damage and small enough for our minimal load out.  It does not have a windless, so getting enough compression my be difficult.  It can be used to reenforce the mini trauma bandage if needed.

Nitrile Gloves:  Your patient may have a latex allergy.  Gloves are there to protect you and them.  They take up virtually no space.

 

A Cluster of Spydercos

IMG_6970.JPGRecently, I have the opportunity to get a couple of knives to replace my Benchmade Triage and Walmart special Kershaw Swerve. The Triage is an awesom knife, but the G10 is too agressive and hurts me everytmg I reach into my pocket, and the Swerve is just a cheap chinese clunker.  I chose Spyderco as my replacements, based not only on great reviews, but they are a company that is providing some really great steels at attainable prices.  Spyderco is known for trying new steels often being the first in the production knife world to provide a new option via it’s “sprint runs” they do yearly.

I decided that there are 3 distinct sizes of knives that I use and carry.  The first being the biggest, which is a woods and weekend knife that is tough and capable, a mid-size knife that gets carried at work and needs to be less “murdery” looking and carry deeply in the pocket.  The last is the smallest and a bit of a speciality item, which is a deep in the pocket, no clip even showing type of affair. Spyderco’s Paramilitary 2(PM2), Endura and Dragonfly are the 3 differing sized knifes that I settled on.  The PM2 is in S110v steel from America and the other 2 sport a Japanese steel called ZDP-189.

The Paamilitary 2 is generously handled which is great for gloved use with a finger choil if you want to choke up on it a little.  People might complain that there is not as much blade as could otherwise fit in the handle, but it makes for a very comfortable tool to use. S110v is the current super steel and has great wear resistance and edge retention.  The compression lock allows for very satisfying one-handed flick opening.  The G10 is grippy for wet hands there is also a provision for a lanyard that will accept paracute cord. The G10 is not as rough as that on the Benchmade Triage 915.

Both the Delica and Dragonfly have FRN (Fiberglass reinforced nylon) that have great texture and allows it to be light and cheaper than if it was G10.  I also find that reaching past it in my pocket G10 can be kind of abrasive.  The Delica is 2.5 ounces and the Dragonfly is an unbelievable 1.2 ounces.  The Dragonfly when using the finger choil does support all 4 fingers in your grip which is incrediable.

My Delica has an aftermarket deep-carry clip showing almost no handle, so the sheeple at work don’t get too freaked out.  The Delica’s blade is pretty thin with a full flat grind (FFG) which makes it a fantastic slicer.  The Delica is a bit delicate for hard use, but it does have full steel liners (unlike the dragonfly) and the tip is a bit reinforced by the way they cut the drop point.

There are so many great knife designs, but not many with “super steels” that are not brick heavy and priced for us morals.  I knew that I wanted my every day carry (EDC) knife to be less than 3 ounces and the Delica fits the bill.  The biggest downside of the Delica is the backlock prevents satisfying flicking of the knife open.

 

 

 

EDC (Every Day Carry) Flashlights

IMG_6590
Cheap Walmart light, Zebralight SC52, Fenix E15 (2016), Fenix E15 (old model), M3 On The Road and a Fenix UC-02 across the bottom)
The ability to make light anytime it’s needed should not be under estimated.  In a dark parking lot, under your desk looking for a wall jack plate so you can get ethernet access from your corporation (true story) or walking your dog, having a quick and reliable source of light is always helpful.

Like all “Every Day Carry” items size and capabilities need to be balanced.  What you can get in a single cell flashlight is really amazing, it was long ago (20 years ago) that Surefire introduced its first double CR123 flashlight with an incandescent lightbulb that produced 60 lumens for 1 hour, and 10 years ago they introduced their first LED option that produced 80 lumens for 2 hours.  Now a days, getting 300+ lumens out of a single cell with an hour of run time is easyand many lights present multiple levels of light output.  The technology continues to improve at an impressive rate, in terms of light out the front end and in run time allowing more total lumens to be squeezed out of the battery power available.

Just like we often decide what cartridge we want a firearm to fire, before we think about what gun to purchas like do I want a 380, 9mm or .22LR, we need to think about the battery before we think about the flashlight.  The first question is rechargeable verse disposable, lithum-ion non-rechargeabe batteries have a very long shelf live (10 years), so if it’s going to not be used often, this makes sense.  Most lights that offer multiple illumination levels have smart switches in them that have some parasitic drain, so if you need a long shelf live you will need to prevent the battery from completing the circuit either by loosening the cap, or placing a plastic disk inline with the batteries. The next big question is what size battery should your light run on?  I think for EDC that a single cell light is the most likely to be daily carried, which leaves us with CR123A or AA sized.  Triple As just do not have enough energy contained within its skinny frame for a primary light, and 18650 (size of 2 stacked CR123As) is for me a little too large, if you can carry it than great, but it really is the fully size all steel 1911 of the flashlight family.

Let’s talk about the AA formated battery.  Rechargeable AAs are normally 1.2 volts where disposable are 1.5 volts.  There is also a rechargeable 14500 which is 3.6 volt but is physically the same size.  Many flashlights will run with either the 1.2/1.5v or 3.6v cells, often being brighter with the additional voltage.  The great thing about a AA light is the possibility of finding batteries forsale, if you ever need a replacement, do to their ubiquitous nature.  The CR123A battery also come in 3 flavors, there are the disposable ones at 3 volts, and there is RCR123A that are a rechargeable 3 volt option, lastly there is a 16340 which is the same size but at a higher voltage of 3.6-4.2 volts.  As with the double A models some lights are brighter with the higher voltage.  The downside with CR123As are that if you run into a store to pick them up they are more scarce and very expensive.  If you plan ahead you can get a quality cell (Surefire) online for about $2 online or of course you can use rechargeable.

You should think about what type of switch you want.  There are side and tail switches as well as twisting.  Tail switches are good with the syringe technique used while holding a handgun, but prevent tail standing which can be used to light up an area hands free.  Side switches are another option they allow for the possibility of tail standing, but could run a risk of activation in your pocket.  Both provide good UIs (User Interface) in terms of selecting modes and brightness levels, but you have to remember how many clicks to get to what mode, but often they remember your last setting and make it easy to return to that setting.  Lastly, is the humble twist switch, which never has memory (nor does it have any drain) is difficult to use one-handed, but are often the shortest and most simple to operate (and often slightly cheaper due to the simpler construction).

Some other random things to think about are beam pattern, do you want it to have more of a spot light effect or more of a flood pattern?  There are is the color of the light, which can be more natural (yellowish) or a cold white light which is often a better “thrower”, but do not reveal their true color of itmes under its beam.  You have to think about how you are going to carry it, will it need a pocket clip, lanyard or key ring?41RNt022PkL._SX425_.jpg

There is a Navy Seal saying, “that 2 is one and one is none”.  Remember there is a light on your cellphone can normally serve in a pinch, so one quality light is all you need (even though a small key chain light like the Nitecore Tube (picture inline) for less than $9 would be a great lite light with a great UI and 45 lumens on tap or the lilliputian Fenix UC-02 with build in recharger and 130 lumens for 25 minutes in something about 2/3 the size of a AAA battery.

You want to buy a quality product, but that does not mean you need to spend a ton of money.  Stick with a major brand like Zebralight, Olight or Fenix and you would be hard pressed to go wrong.  The Fenix E15 (2016 model) is $30 and the Olight S1 can be found for $40 if you look around.  The On the Road M3 can be had for about $21, and could be a great budget entry into the EDC flashlight world.

I chose the Zebralight SC52w which creates 480 Lumens until is lowers it’s output because of thermal protection, has a real screwed on clip which I wanted for pocket cary and a great UI.  It can take standard AA batteries if needs though I normally run it off of 14500s.  There is a Zebralight SC32 which is very similar but takes CR123As could also be a great choice.

There are “flashlight nerds” and they tend to hang out at budgetlightforum.com or the candlepowerforums which is a great source of reviews and information.  Last thing to remember is Chinese manufacturers sometimes lie 🙂  The On the Road M3 happens to have worked pretty well for me, and has some great features copied from Olight like a magnetic back-end, but it’s lumen rating might be a little generous as compared to other lights with similar ratings (but it’s still impressively bright).    Exaggeration happens with batteries as well, both AA and CR123A batteries have about 850MAH @ 3.6 volts of energy maximum, which is approximately 2550mah @ 1.2 volt as found in the newer eneloops, anything higher than this currently not possible and remember some vendors lie.

Good Luck.

Olight Battery Charger

img_6565This little olight battery charger uses magnets to attach the ends of the battery which allows it to be very small. It can handle 1.2 volt Ni-MH AA and AAA batteries as well as the who family of 3.6/3.7 volt Lithium-Ions.  Using the ubiquitous USB port to power the charger means your phone charger or laptop usb power can be used to provide power, meaning you don’t have to carry a separate device.

There are some limits to the device, such as only being able to charge a single battery at a time, and with a maximum output of 750mA and only when feed with at least 800mA, so if you use a standard 500mA port, you should expect only about 375mA output, so  charging times might be longer than a dedicated charger.

These limitations are more than acceptable for travel charger that fit easily in your bag taking up virtually no room or weight.  I have used it off a simple battery bank that you might recharge a phone off of, and off my laptop post, both worked very well.  The charger has a simple red light when charging, a green light when done but gives no detailed status like a dedicated charge like the Nitecore D2/D4 will.

If you travel with a flashlight, this charger is a great little investment.  I can see this charger and spare battery that you rotate nearly indefinitely.

Picking an EDC Pocket Knife

41csku9a2flPicking an every day carry pocket knife can be a pretty involved endeavor, if you put a lot of thought into it.  This blog post is for those people who like to over-think the simple decisions in life. 

Things to consider:

Blade Steel:  Think of AUS-8/ 8CR14MoV as the .380ACP of knife steels, some think it’s barely adequate, other inadequate.  VG10 (Spyderco) or CPM154 (Benchmade) would be steps above AUS-8 in terms of keeping a good edge.  ZDP-189, CPM S90v/S110V or M390 would be in the top tier of knife steels, currently being used.  Generally as the edge retention goes up, so does the difficulty in sharpening, but the frequency that is required goes down.  In a lot of cases these super steels can rust, compared to a more stainless, but often softer steel.  There are some old steels like D2, which is a “machine steel” that have awesome edge retention at the expense of rusting if not cared for.  (side note, if the Rat 2 comes out in D2, I’ll be first on line to purchase it)

Weight/Size:  If it’s too heavy or big it’s likely to not be carried, but it should be big enough to handle your day to day tasks of cutting boxes and apples.  Your pocket knife should be able to be pressed into harder service without a fear of failure.  I put my requirement at nothing heavier then ¼ of a pound (4 oz), with 3 ounces even better.

Blade Length:  I wanted about ~3 inches of blade, which I deemed as useful, but not scary to the sheeple.  So some of the keychain knifes are just too small for general purpose.

Blade Shape:  I wanted a blade with a bit of belly as they tend to be better slicers, something with a bit of a point that can pierce without being too delicate.  I ruled out wharncliffe and tanto designs.

Locking mechanism:  There are many types of blade locking mechanisms like liner, compression, back or other style of blade locking.  Some types allow for easier one handed deployment, but all of them should be suitable for a medium duty EDC blade.  I would stay away from a non-locking blade if it’s your only knife unless you have some legal restrictions.  I happen to love my Swiss Army Tourist it has great utility, but it’s a light duty knife, and risk fingers on some types of tasks that have the potential to put pressure on the spine of the blade.

Scales:  Scales can be made from metal, plastic or G10, but I think the shape (or ergonomics) of the handles are even more important.  If possible you should put your hands on your future purchase, if you can.

Carry Options:  Do you want to use a pocket clip?  If so is it tip up or tip down.  Is it important how deep it rides in your pocket, do you need to be more discrete or if an inch sticks out is it OK?  Do you have the need for a lanyard hole, do you need to dummy cord it to yourself when you are out in the woods or over water?

Cost:  Do you lose your EDC items often or are you one to keep track of your stuff?  Losing a $20 knife is less painful than losing a $100 knife and only you know how much you can afford.  Do you like to carry the same item every day or do you like to rotate what you carry, if so a couple of cheaper items might be better than a single expense item?  There are a lot of nice knives in all the price ranges and we will look at a couple.

Here is a list of some of the knives that I looked at as possible options to become my next carry knife, after carrying the Benchmade Triage 915 which is a great knife, tough as nails, but it weight 5.1 ounces and the scales are so grippy that when you reach into your pocket for other items it just about rips up your hand.

Make/Model Blade Length (in) Blade Steal Weight (oz) Price Notes
CKRT Squid 2.14

 

8Cr13MoV

 

3.4 $12.46

 

Slippery?

Not a fan of steel scales

Kabar Dozier

 

3 AUS-8A 2.3 $16.72 About the most minimum a knife can be
Ontario RAT II

 

3 AUS-8 2.75 $26.21 Just a great budget knife
Benchmade – Mini Griptilian

 

2.91 154Cm 2.68 $89.25 Lots of reports about bad heat treatment
Kershaw Leek 3 Sandvik 14C28N

 

3 $42.76 Needle point is a bit too fine
Spyderco Delica 4

 

2.875 VG-10 2.5 $63.99

 

One of the most popular EDC blades
Spyderco Delica 4 (ZDP)

 

2.875 ZDP-189 2.5 $95.95 Great steel, bit spendy for an EDC knife that can be lost
SANRENMU

 SRM 7010

 

2.8 8cr13MoV 3.25 $15.80 Slippery?

Not a fan of steel scales

I had some personal requirements and your milage might vary.  I wanted super deep pocket carry, which no one really had, so there needed to aftermarket options, but that would only be available for the Benchmade or Syderco.   Secondly, I really want to try a “super steel” and the Spydero has so many great reviews and such a long track record that I decided to go with the ZDP-189 edition.

I haven’t had it long enough to know, but so far it seems great, it doesn’t have the quickest or slicked one-hand opening, but the blade is the sharpest blade I have ever owned and the handle is very comfortable.

 

Ruger’s new mouse gun

img_6363This was shot at 9 yards from the plate, this is rotated 90 degrees so really windage was great and represents a little vertical stringing.  The ammo used is Fiocchi’s excellent XTP .380 with cases that are nickel plated.

The new Ruger LCP II is the latest iteration of what started as the Kel-Tec P3AT, that I also own.

Just a little about the pistol, it is a locked breach .380ACP, with a Glock style trigger, American magazine release button, pretty decent fixed sights and a polymer frame that contains 6 rounds in a well made magazine plus one up the pipe.

The pistol benefits from a little paint on the front sight, but they are vastly superior to those on the 3PAT.  I know some will say this a point and shoot firearm, but it’s better to have and not need, then to need for that 10 yard hostage taking head shot and not have.  My understanding is that the custom model had better sights, but are a bit bigger and could snag on the way out of a pocket.

This is not a gun that you wear on the hip, if you are going to carry a proper holster then you can carry a proper pistol (definite as 9mm or better), this is built for pocket carry.  Were a G26 or Shield ride well in an IWB, this is a deep concealment pistol.  I have a buddy who calls this type of gun, “the gun you carry when you aren’t armed.”

This gun is a joy at the range, with its slide hold open after the last round is expended, but this would only help a licensed conceal carrier, if they carry an extra magazine.  Ruger only ships this with one magazine, so you have to purchase additional magazines.  It’s recoil is very manageable and has a very nice trigger that leads to accurate shooting.

The pistol’s dimensions are similar to the earlier models, but it feel more substantial and has a little bigger volume in the pocket, particularly in the grip.  This slightly wider and more angular grip spread out recoil and makes the little mouse gun much more shootable, but concealment is a tiny bit harder, but still not difficult.

holster

Since this is a pocket gun, a pocket holster is a requirement, as the trigger breaks at about 6 pounds and has no manual safety.  The Boraii is a little trigger guard holster, that allows you to manipulate the slide and magazine release, but provides you a hook to catch your pocket.  If you don’t trust catching the pocket corner on the draw, then you can also add a piece of paracord and loop it on your belt.  Only time will tell how the exposed slide wears, if rust or lost of finish become and issue.

I did shoot this size-by-side with my decade old Kel-Tec P3AT and there was no practical accuracy out to about 7 yard, beyond that distance the new Ruger really started to shine.  50 rounds a session is my limit for the Kel-Tec, where as I could shot the Ruger all day long.

Street price is less than $300 and if you don’t have a flat little pocket pistol this would be an excellent option.  If you are leaving the house unarmed because you don’t feel like strapping on a pistol and your trusty J-Frame is just too big, this is the one for you.  Speaking of J-Frames, yes the .38 Special has a slight edge, but this has 2 more rounds and a quicker reload.  The XTP bullets will do 12 inches in bare or  denim covered jello with moderate expansion, but is only slinging a 95gr projectile compared to 125gr.  This is still way better than a sharp stick or pocket knife.

I’ve only had 2 range sessions with it, so time will tell if any issues crop up, but it seems like a well build little pistol, and Ruger’s customer service has been very good to me and those I know who have had to use it.

From the American Rifle magazine, they found accuracy to be incredible, 1 inch at 7 yards from a pocket pistol. Now none of the ammo tested is that I would use in this pistol, as none are launching the controlled penetration XTP which allows these short barreled pistols to go 12-18 inches as suggested by the FBI protocols for reaching vital organs.

LCP_II_Accuracy.png

 

9mm carbine….why?

Sub2000andAR-15-9mm.png

I own two of these neither fish nor fowl carbines.  They have nowhere near the range of a “real” carbine, nor are they concealable like a pistol, so what is their appeal?  I actually think they have a couple of things going for them, and in civilian life very little downside.

Extended Range

Fed BP9LE+p+.pngThese carbines share the advantage of all rifles, multiple points of contact (shoulder, 2 hands & cheek) provide greater stability.  It’s longer barrels give a bit of a velocity boost, and in 9mm makes for a 200 yard rifle or so.

On my AR carbine I have and Eotech XPS 2-2, that has 2 dots  (1 MOA when turned down) in a non-magnified holographic reticule.  The center dot lines up with 25/100 yards and the second perfectly with 200 yards, when I shoot the very cheap and fairly effect 9BPLE 115gr +P+ defensive round.

The 9mm is more than accurate enough for the ranges we are talking about.  The paper plate below was shot off hand at 25 yards, maybe a 5 MOA group from standing ain’t too bad.  I believe that a 3 MOA group from prone with a sling with decent ammo would not be too challenging.

9mm_AR15_25yward.png

Weight & Size

The Kel-Tec SUB 2000 is exceedingly light at 4 lb and 16 inch long when folded, it fits nicely in an old laptop bag and makes an easy “truck gun” to store.  The AR-15 in 9mm runs roughly the same as it’s .223/5.56 counterpart at ~6 lbs.  My rifle has a pencil barrel, short hand guard and a minimist stock to keep the weight down.

Gun Range Usage

IMG_6302.JPG

My range only allows center fire rifle rounds in a few places, but pistol calibers are allows everywhere, even if it’s launched from a 16 inch barrel.  So a AR in 9mm can become a trainer for your full powered AR-15 and most of the controls work the same.  My carbine does not have a bolt hold open, but that is an option if so desired.

A 9mm carbine provides a surprising amount of recoil, offering a more realistic training experience than the .22LR understudy. Both carbines are sufficiently accurate to easily hit a paper plate off-hand at 100 yards all day long with either a red dot on the AR, or a 5 MOA post on the Kel-Tec (my front sight has been replaced by a metal sight, replacing the plastic factory part) and a pretty generous rear aperture.  The trigger on the Lone Wolf lower that came in it is surprisingly good, but of course it can be replaced with any AR-15 trigger you wish.  Some 9mm lowers need a “rounded hammer” to work properly, but the Lone Wolf is not one of them.  The Kel-Tec trigger on the other hand is very heavy, 10 lbs or more, and the original plastic part would flex under the strain, so I replaced it with a metal part, but it’s still pretty terrible, but it does not seem to effect making good hits out to 100 yards (but 8 MOA is not exactly sniper grade).  The lack of the bolt hold open on either rifle is their biggest downside, for the AR-15 it makes it a less good training understudy for the AR-15 in a rifle caliber.  The Kel-Tec has it’s magazine well in the grip, just like a semi-auto pistol and it makes for a very sure and nature reload, even in the dark.  The idea that “hand finds hand” which was a design principle in the Uzi is also at work with the Kel-Tec.

Ammo/Magazine compatibility

image

Most, but not all Glock compatible magazines work in both the AR and Kel-Tec carbines. The ETS, Glock and Magpul all work flawlessly in both rifles, but the Khan (Korean) will not fit in the tighter magazine well of the the AR-15. All types do work in the more generous magazine well of the Kel-Tec.  I’ve had almost no problem with either rifle feeding and ejecting just fine.  These rifles shine with a 33 round “happy stick”, and both ETS and MAGPUL have or are releasing 22 and 27 round magazines that are IDPA legal at 140mm and 170mm, respectively.

Cost

Looking at ammoseek.com (10/7) .223 is 21.8 cents around verse 14 cents for 9mm.  Both are steel cased Tulammo, but on a well build gun they should run fine, with maybe the occasional short stroke, since Tulammo is at the low end of power. So basically you can put 3 rounds of 9mm in the berm for every 2 you could in .223 for the same price.  If you already own a Glock, the cost of magazines and magazine pouches can be shared between your pistol and carbine.  If the “cowboy” advantage of having just a single caliber to stock and keep track of is an avantage to you that is great, but for most of us 223 and 9mm are both calibers that we stock.

Home Defense

There is a concern about 9mm penetrating normal house building matters.  This may be true, but there is also some testing that says just about any round will over penetrate most American homes.  A 115gr hollow point seems like it would be the most likely to penetrate the least, but that is only conjecture and if this is a major concern you could use a frangible or speciality round like the Glaser Safety Slug by Corbon

I use the ITOA bag by Hawkepaks, that has 4 Glock 22 round magazines from ETS and a VOK Trauma Kit which pairs well with either of these rifles or my CCW Glock and keeps medical supplies and ammo right where you need it.

Fun

Some guns are fun.  Not every gun needs to be used to hunt or be setup for the blue helmets, some are just to fun, and both these guns are that in spades, from easier magazine handling (compared to 5.56 or 7.62), lighter and cheaper, for a little “run and gun” at the local outdoor range that allows that kind of thing.

 

Build or Buy an AR-15

sw-sport2I friend just asked about getting a new economical AR. “What I’m looking for at first is pretty much everything the S&W M&P15 Sport II has – short barrel, adjustable stock, magpul flip sight and sling mount points. BUT, I would want to replace the hand guard with a rail system so I can mount a flashlight. I’d also want to eventually accessorize with a red dot sight.”

So first let’s looks at the S&W M&P15 Sport II , it has a very inexpensive, with street price of $619.  There are a couple of items that I’m not a big fan of like the carbine gas length which is not as soft shooting as the mid-length and  provides less room for hands and accessories.  The barrel is 1 in 9 twist, makes 77gr a no go, and really ideal for 55gr.  On the positive side, 1 in 9 should be good got .22lr plinking with a 22 conversion kit, if that is a future choice he might make, and makes the gun a do everything, but nothing well rifle.

I really like Palmetto State Armory as my go to vendor for AR-15 crap.  They do a lot of daily specials, and it really pays to get there email blasts daily and just keep an eye out.  What I did today was look at what they have today, if I was going to put a budget AR-15 together today (October 2, 2016).

I found a complete lower with, Moe Magpul furniture, PSA enhanced trigger which is a GI trigger that has been polished on the contact surfaces and coat in a slick nickel finish. This is a significant upgrade.  It’s not my favorite MOE stock, as it does not have the friction lock, but the trigger is a great no nonsense, better then GI trigger upgrade.

$ 169.99

Screen Shot 2016-10-02 at 5.49.18 PM.png

 

Now, if my buddy just wants to hang a flashlight on his rifle, then there is no needs to go with an aluminum rail, a MOE hand guard that takes m-lok rail pieces could easily hold his flashlight.  With a white light there is no need for the perfect alignment that a laser needs, so being off a degree or two is OK.  This has a 416R stainless steel mid-length 1 in 7 twist barrel.  Read this article on steels used in AR-15 barrels, the short version is go with the 416.  416 is rust resistant and more accurate, the only time I would go chrome lined 4150 would be if it’s a go to war rifle, never going to get cleaned and going bang and ejecting is more important than accuracy.

$219.99

Screen Shot 2016-10-02 at 5.55.11 PM.png

 

Now we are still missing a couple of parts, a charging handle, bolt carrier group and a rear sight.  The S&W M&P15 Sport II says nothing about it’s charging handle (can’t tell if it is 7075 or 6016, which would not be as good) or BCG, but both seem of good quality from what I can tell from other reviews online.  This is what we care about in the BCG: Properly Staked Gas Key, Extractor Spring and proper insert, Shot Peened Bolt, (HPT) High Pressure Tested & (MPI) Magnetic Particle Inspection.  In the charging handle we want it to be forged, not extruded.

A boron coated BCG with forged charging handle, this would be easier to clean and MAY require a little less lubrication, it contains the o-ring insert that helps with tension on the exactor, and seems to have what we want in a good BCG. Charging handle is good to go.

$129.99

Screen Shot 2016-10-02 at 6.15.59 PM.png

 

So, we are at $520 and still need to purchase a rear BUIS (Back up Iron Site).  You could pick up a Magpul MBUS Gen 2 for $55 from PSA.  You could also consider a carry handle if you want to be able to quickly zero it for different ammo or do any “appleseed style shooting” and you are not going to put a red-dot or other optic on it, or a least a fixed rear sight that still leaves room for a red-dot, like the Green Blob 🙂 for $17.

So for less than $600 you can get a better rifle than the S&W M&P15 Sport II and not have to assemble anything other then 2 push pins that hold the lower and upper together.

If you are already paying shipping you can pick up your M-LOC accessories from PSA also and just be done with it, or go the Chinese e-bay route, a rail for airsoft is a fine place here to cut corners.  If you go with the Green Blob you will have about $550 in a great rifle, that will need optic/sight upgrades in the future, but the rifle itself is a serious upgrade from the S&W and you will have something that you can shoot right away as you research optics……

 

 

 

 

Speedloading a Snubby, is that even possible?

 

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“An optimist is a guy with a snubby and a pair of speed strips” — James Yeager

The semi-auto pistol is always faster to reload than a revolver (Mauser Broomhandle and Steyr M1912 might be the only notable exceptions).  That doesn’t mean that the revolver has to be slow and this is where a speedloader or speedstrip comes in to help speed the process up compared to fishing loose rounds from your pocket.

The HKS and 5 Star loaders are both the twist type, and twist in opposite directions just to give you choices.  Both rattle quite a bit, but the 5 Star due to its looseness is the only one that really works correctly with the Ruger LCR series of “J” framed size pistols.  Ruger in their infinite wisdom decided to have their charging holes not exactly the same as Smith and Wesson.  Neither of these speed loaders would be my first choice for CCW, the HKS is the most prevalent, but not what I would consider the best.

The Dade loader is the smallest of the “push button”, but the one with the least positive hold on the rounds.  It is possible to lose a round while bouncing around in your pocket, in a pouch this would not be an issue. The band is a spring which holds the cartridge, by having to push the rim past the spring tension.  There is no spring assist in pushing the rounds into the cylinder.

The Jet loader uses a single spring to push rounds into the chambers, and that spring acts with authority, It is the biggest, but it’s very positive handling and has the advantage of still being available on the market, which the next one is currently unavailable in the US and Germany, from what I can tell.

The SL Variant speedloader is absolutely awesome.  Each charging hole is individually spring-loaded, the center button that triggers the launch of the rounds can be turned to change the “angle” of the cartridges.  Both the Sl Variant and the Jet loader can be handled by their “knob” and makes them very easy to handle and then activate.

The Safariland Comp 1, is a small push to load speed loader, it is the smallest of all the speedloaders and because of that, carry the best for me in a pocket.  But no speedloader in the pocket feels great, it’s like carrying a little rock that has the same diameter as your revolvers cylinder.

Michael deBethencourt is the founder of Snub Train, and he does a great job of going over 5 our of the 6 speed loaders (The 5 Star was not around when he made the video).

I do think the profile of the bullet can help.  You really are trying to put 5 pegs in 5 holes, so I academically think the Hornady Critical Defense Ammo with its more pointy profile might make it a little easier than the bigger hollow point profile of the Gold Dot or Ranger.

Lastly, we have to talk about speedstrips.  They are not speedy, even compared to the slowest of the speedloaders, but they lay flat are easy to carry and can be used to “top off” a revolver, where a speed loader is an all or nothing proposition.  Most of us slip a J frame into the pocket because we are lazy, and the speed strip is a pretty lazy way to carry more ammunition, which is better than nothing.