When choosing a holster for concealed carry, you’re not limited to only one method of concealment. For example, you can utilize an OWB (on the waistband) holster and simply conceal it by wearing a cover garment. OWB holsters can be a comfortable option and are highly concealable when designed properly. The DeSantis Veiled Partner is one such holster. It’s created to precisely fit the shape of your hip for security and concealment in an OWB platform.
The Veiled Partner from DeSantis is a precision molded Kydex holster, meaning it’s shaped to closely fit the specific model of handgun you’ll be carrying. DeSantis designed this holster to curve with your body for a closer, more precise fit that means better and more comfortable concealment. In addition, the Veiled Partner is adjustable for ride height and cant so the user can customize the placement of the holster to better suit their specific body shape and needs.
Features of the DeSantis Veiled Partner include compatibility with 1.5″ and 1.75″ belt loops, adjustable tension, and the ability to use the holster with a red dot sight mounted to your pistol. This holster is offered for both right and left-handed shooters. This is fantastic not only for people whose strong sides are one or the other but for those who spend time carrying or shooting mirror. It’s also designed for relatively high placement on the user’s hip. So, it should be easier to conceal without resorting to excessively large cover garments.
The holster is available for a variety of guns including some made by Glock, Springfield Armory, Sig Sauer, Taurus, Smith & Wesson, and Walther. For a complete list of models, visit the manufacturer’s website. It’s made in a classic black Kydex.
MSRP for the DeSantis Veiled Partner is set at $68.99.
I’m all about improving two things at the range, my safety and my comfort. These two things can often be at odds with each other, so when a new product comes along that promises to provide effective safety and comfort, I have to jump on it. IsoTunes is a rapidly growing company involved in the ‘protect your hearing’ world. They’ve grown rapidly and contacted me regarding testing a few of their ear protection options. Today, we are reviewing the IsoTunes Caliber BT earbuds.
The IsoTunes Caliber BT earbuds are wireless earbuds. Each is an individual unit dedicated to preserving your hearing without diminishing your situational awareness. BT stands for Bluetooth, and these earbuds can be connected to your Bluetooth-enabled device, be it a phone, radio, or what have you.
They come with a carrying case that acts as an external battery charger. You charge the case, and the case charges the earbuds. This allows the earbuds to be fairly small due to a small internal battery, but they can remain charged and safely carried with the impact-resistant case.
The Caliber BT earbuds have a slick and simple setup. Out of the box, you can swap the soft portion of the earbuds for various styles and sizes to ensure a good fit and excellent hearing protection.
Plugging In With The IsoTunes Caliber BT
Like all electronic hearing protection, the Caliber BT earbuds are designed to magnify the noise around you but to instantly shut out loud noises, like gunshots. This combination makes it easy to have a conversation, hear range commands, and, most importantly, retrieve instructions on the range. If you compete or train, electronic earbuds are a must-have to hear instructions and directions.
Each earbud has separated controls. The left earbud controls the external volume of the headphones and the noise amplification. A single tap increases the volume up to eight times the normal volume. A double tap on the left earbud turns it down. The right earbud allows you to control Bluetooth audio and phone calls. You can play and pause tracks, skips tracks and go to previous tracks, and answer and hang up phone calls.
Pop them out of the case, and they automatically turn on. It’s pretty handy and removes the need for tiny controls. That being said, they can be manually shut off if you just want hearing protection. All you have to do is press the right earbud for five seconds, and it shuts off. You can turn them back on by pressing the right earbud and left earbud for three seconds each.
It all sounds complicated, but ultimately it becomes fairly simple to use. It takes a little effort to get used to but is plenty easy after a little practice.
With the Caliber BT headphones, we have two quality measures for audio, internal and external. The external is the noise around you, and internal is your Bluetooth audio.
External audio is always going to be a little rough. It’s not music or movie clear. Wind can be amplified, which can create issues. That’s present with every type of electronic hearing protection out there.
With the Caliber BT headphones, I was impressed with the multi-directional headphones. It makes it pretty easy to hear the direction the sound is coming from. It’s easy to hear and have conversations with folks around you. I love using these while I jog because I can hear vehicles, dogs, and other potentially harmful things around me. Nothing takes me by surprise.
The internal audio is fantastic. I can very clearly hear my music or whatever media I want to listen to. You can mix internal and external audio, and that will affect audio quality, but you can also completely mute the external mics and just listen to audio.
At the Range
Electronic hearing protection has always seemed to be fairly widely accepted by the gun-buying public. For some reason, it’s a product that takes batteries that we seem to trust wholeheartedly. The individual earbud-style of electronic ear pro is somewhat new, and I was curious to see how they’d work in the field.
They fit in the ear well and are quite comfy. Additionally, they are all in the ear, with no wires or tethers to get in the way. This results in a set of hearing protection that works exceptionally well with long guns. No stock contact to your hearing protection, so a good cheek weld is easy. There is no tether to get caught on the stock and pull an earbud out at the range, and generally nothing to get in the way.
It’s fairly nice and makes shooting long guns really easy. As it gets warmer, the Caliber BT earbuds have really proven their worth. They are smaller and cooler than my typical muffs. Plus, I’m not getting a weird tan line with the Caliber BT versus my usual muffs.
They shut down the noise of a gunshot before it’s even perceived, without issue. It’s instantly off and quiet when you fire your weapon. If the Caliber BT earbuds field sustained high noises, they shut off all external volume. That sounds annoying, but it’s the opposite in reality. Without this auto shutoff tech, your range trips would sound like a phone call with terrible signal.
As soon as the noise subsides, the external mics come back on and work perfectly.
Durability and Design
Anything electronic must be rugged and durable. Since these are aimed at shooting, which is often an outdoor activity, they have to be weatherproof. Luckily, the IsoTunes Caliber BT is IP67 rated. They can be splashed or submerged without issue. This also makes them dustproof.
I’ve used them for shooting as well as jogging and riding my lawn mower. (Remember the tan line joke, it really makes a difference where.) They’ve been rained on, exposed to a lot of sweat, dropped, and exposed to dust and dirt, and haven’t once failed me. Hell, they’ve never even slipped out of my ear, which is impressive.
My only complaint is that they feel a little heavier than most single-ear earbuds. Of course, more recreational earbuds are designed to block the sound of gunfire, so they do deserve a little break. Overall the Caliber BT headphones are quite impressive. The controls are simple but deep, the audio is fantastic, and they are comfortable to wear. All that, paired with a bombproof design, makes for an excellent experience.
Breakthrough Clean Technologies, a firearm cleaner brand within the Allen Company portfolio, has released its latest cleaning product geared specifically for firearm suppressors. The Breakthrough Clean Technologies Suppressor Cleaner is said to keep suppressors, muzzle brakes, compensators and flash hiders clean and in proper working condition.
The Suppressor Cleaner from Breakthrough Clean is said to be a water-based and ammonia-free cleaner that uses a proprietary blend of detergents and surfactants to keep necessary parts clean. While some individuals may not see the need for a cleaning product, according to the company, the cleaner removes heavy carbon, lead, and copper build-up from suppressors, muzzle brakes, compensators, or flash hiders on firearms.
The Suppressor Cleaner is user-safe and virtually odorless and works to neutralize all corrosive residues on the surface. The cleaner is petroleum-free and non-flammable so there is no concern in that regard for the product. The blend supposedly prevents rust and corrosion without etching or harming a suppressor when used as well, which is a very real concern for owners.
The Breakthrough Clean Suppressor Cleaner reportedly does not produce any noxious fumes and does not contain any hazardous chemicals, making it a safe and effective choice when cleaning is required. When using the product, the company recommends letting the suppressor soak for 8-24 hours in the solution for the best cleaning results. The Suppressor Cleaner removes carbon and lead deposits, reducing the need for frequent or drawn-out cleaning sessions.
The solution is also safe for use with aluminum, stainless steel, and titanium products beyond just suppressors. It is available in three different sizes for the user’s convenience. MSRP is $29.99 for a 16-ounce bottle, $42.99 for a 32-ounce bottle, or $105.99 for a gallon jug.
MDT, the company behind some of the market’s precision chassis and accessories, has expanded its lineup with the MDT Black GRND-POD bipod. The idea behind it was to give the option of the company’s most affordable precision bipod made to match the bolt-action or AR platform rifle from MDT.
MDT has said it is excited to bring the classic black look to the bipod which was designed to maximize the versatility while keeping the key features that users demand. One feature MDT refused to compromise on was the adjustable leg lengths. The bipod creates a stable platform and can extend anywhere from 4.5” to 9” long (50° forward to 90°down) from the pivot point to match the shooter’s need. Not only that, but the bipod legs are independently adjustable to match real-life situations when you can lie prone on a flat surface. Additionally, the legs can be rapidly deployed and adjusted with one hand making it quick and easy to get set up.
Another feature of the MDT GRND-POD included is the ability to adjust the cant of the bipod. The bipod can adjust up to 40° of cant and has an adjustable throw level for the cant tension. The toolless cant tension and one-handed adjustment for cant helps the shooter adapt to any rocky or uneven shooting surface with better stabilization.
Further, the legs have four locking positions. The legs can be locked in at 0°s, 50°, 80°, and 180°. The bipod can mount with a variety of interface options, including Picatinny and ARCA. MDT did not want to skimp when it came to ease of use, as laid out by the company, keeping all the features one-handed. MDT wanted to focus on providing a convenient product that met its high standards for products.
With all those premium features, the company was wanting to keep it at a price point that made sense for its quality and didn’t stop until it reached the right balance. The MDT GRND-POD bipod in black is available starting at $199.95.
There are lots and lots of options for CCW handguns on the market. So many in fact, it almost takes the fun out of looking. I said almost because some of us like shopping for guns. It’s like walking into a candy store, only you’re not a kid and the candy is a little more expensive. So expensive in fact, you may be wondering what to buy with such a big price difference between guns.
For those who are new to this process, the difference in price may cause them to believe the cheaper guns are less reliable. Price does affect reliability, but only to a point. For example, a Kimber Micro 9 can easily run $800 – $1,000 while a Glock 43x is less than $500. This is not because Glock is less reliable than Kimber.
With the Kimber, you are paying for a little more metal, custom details, and a higher finish on that metal. A Glock has more polymer, and the finish is standard on nearly all their handguns, making the price lower. Kimbers are great reliable guns, but if I were to pick between the two in a torture test, I would go with Glock.
This means that more money may equal a nicer gun, but “nicer” will not always translate to better quality. This leaves room for confusion, but don’t worry, we have sorted through the best handgun within a specific price range. This makes it a little easier to choose a weapon based on your budget.
Best CCW Guns in the $200 – $300 Price Range
In the gun world, this is considered the dirt-cheap price range. There are a few guns even cheaper than this, but I can’t recommend any of them. My day job is in law enforcement, where I see a lot of the cheapest firearms made. These are often carried by criminals because they are so cheap. They are less than reliable.
We test-fire weapons to prove they were functioning when charging someone with illegal possession of a firearm and the cheapest ones out there often fail when we test-fire them. But the good news is there are several options with a price tag that will not hurt your eyes or your wallet. Here are the ones I would recommend:
Rock Island M200 .38 Revolver
If you want the absolute cheapest gun that will hold up to some abuse and keep shooting, the Rock Island M200 is a good choice. It is a .38 special that holds six rounds in the cylinder and is single/double action. This means you can pull the hammer back before shooting or just pull the trigger while the hammer is down.
The M200 has a half-shroud 4-inch barrel and polymer combat-style grips. The packetized finish isn’t anything special, but for the price, I can live with it. The M200 retails for around $250 but I found mine on sale for $219.99. I have fired a few hundred rounds through it and never had an issue yet. Stick some HP ammo in it and you will be all set for home or self-defense.
Ruger LCP .380
For a smaller micro-sized gun for CCW, the Ruger LCP is a great option. I’m not a fan of super tiny guns, but if small and compact is your only option, try the LCP. This little .380 is compact in every way and will fit inside the waist or even your front pocket with ease. It has a 2.75-inch barrel and holds 6+1 rounds. It can be found in the $250 price range at most retailers. The LCP Max is even better because it holds more ammo, but it does cost more money and won’t fit in this price range.
Taurus G3C 9mm
The Taurus G3C is a great option if you want a semi-auto that is compact but not a micro-sized gun. The G3C is a 9mm polymer semi-auto handgun that comes with a 12-round magazine. It can be worn with an IWB or OWB holster and works great for home defense too. Because of its popularity, extra mags and holster options are easy to find. It’s a little on the bulky side for a compact weapon, but for $265 that’s easy to overlook.
Best CCW Guns in the $300-$400 Price Range
If your budget allows you to move into this price range, several more options exist. Quality gets just a little better and the finish and appearance also improve. Here are some of the best firearms you can find in the $300 – $400 price range.
Taurus GX4 9mm
The GX4 is the newest lineup of Taurus’s compact guns. This model comes with an 11-round magazine and is only one inch thick. It has a flat-faced trigger which gives it a nice look for such a cheap gun. The stainless steel reinforced polymer frame makes it light but durable.
It has a loaded chamber indicator and comes in a few color options. When I purchased mine, it came with four magazines, two were 11-round mags and two had grip extensions which increased capacity to 13. With a price tag that’s just over $300, this gun is worth the money.
Ruger Max 9
I have become a fan of the Ruger Max handguns. The Ruger Max .380 is the double-stack version of the famous Ruger LCP which is a great little gun. The Ruger Max 9 is the larger, 9mm version of the Ruger LCP Max. If you can spend about $50 more, this handgun has several advantages over the GX4 mentioned above.
First, it is slightly more compact making it easier to carry inside the waist. It has better sights (front night sight) and a removable optic plate for those who want a red dot. It also has a loaded chamber cut-out to see if it’s loaded and has a 12+1 ammo capacity. The Max-9 can be found in the $350 price range.
IWI Masada S9
IWI (Israeli Weapons Industries) started producing the Masada pistol years ago. But most recently they came out with the 9mm Masada Slim which is a scaled-down version of the Masada duty pistol. It is one of my favorite compact guns and shoots like a champ. It comes with a removable optic plate that fits the Shield RMS footprint and has a magazine capacity of 13. It retails for about $375 – $400.
Best CCW Guns in the $400 – $500 Price Range
In this price range you will start to see a lot more options in the gun when it comes to quality firearms. I can’t list every good gun that falls in this range, but I will list my favorite ones for the price. Because we are falling into some of the Glock price ranges, I am mostly going to list Glocks here. It’s hard to beat a Glock when it comes to price/quality comparison, especially in this price range.
The Glock 43 is a compact gun that is not in that micro-category, but just small enough to conceal without issue. The difference between the 43 and 43x is the 43x has a taller grip and holds a longer magazine. In fact, the 43x is the same frame as the G48, only it has a Glock 43 slide. The Glock 43 holds 6+1 rounds of ammo and the 43x holds 10+1 rounds. Either gun is a great choice, you only need to decide if you want the more extended grip or the shorter one. Both sell for around $450.00
Glock 48 9mm
From the side view, the Glock 48 looks like a Glock 19. The difference, however, is significant. At the same thickness as Glock 43, the G48 is much thinner than a G19. This gun is a good option for those who want a longer barrel and something close to a full-sized gun, but thinner for CCW.
The magazines are single-stack and hold 10 rounds, but aftermarket magazines are available that hold 15 rounds. This is an excellent choice if you want something a little bigger. The price comes in at $499.99, which is the higher end of our range.
Sig P365 Nitron
This is our only non-Glock pistol in this price range. Sig has always made some good shooting handguns, but their reach into the CCW world didn’t make a splash until they released the P365 line of pistols. They have that classic “Sig” look to them but are compact and slim. This is definitely not a gun I would call bulky.
The P365 holds 10 rounds in the standard magazines but extended mags are easy to find. Sig offers multiple options like a removable optic plate, a pre-installed red dot, lasers, and more. The Sig P365 again sits at the top of this price range with basic models starting at $499.
Too Many Options?
Most of the time, options are better. But sometimes options are annoying and make the decision process even harder. There isn’t a “best” gun for any category. That’s why you will find 10 different answers from 10 different experts. But I hope having a list that narrows those choices down will help. Simply find the one you like that is in your price range and go with it.
If you plan to spend more than $500, the options become even greater. Most of the full-sized big-name guns will run anywhere from $650 – $1,000. If you start getting into specific types of guns like high-end 1911s, the price will easily jump into the thousands. If you simply want a CCW gun, I would stick with something in these price ranges.
And if you plan to spend thousands on a gun, decide what style and type of gun you want and then research those specific guns. Whatever you choose, don’t forget to buy some good self-defense ammo and a quality holster for carrying it around. Spend some time at the range and as always, enjoy carrying your new CCW handgun.
Holosun, a leader in weapons optics, has released its latest with the 507COMP-RD red dot. Holosun specifically designed this latest red dot optic with the competitive shooter in mind with a larger optic window and its Shake Awake technology.
The Holosun 507COMP handgun sight has an impressive 1.1”x 0.87” objective lens, or in other terms, a rifle-sized optic window on a handgun red dot. Competitive shooters, and regular shooters, have been turning more towards the larger window that lends to a larger view of sight. The large window is housed inside a 7075 T6 Aluminum housing with the industry standard footprint and has been anodized for the durability that folks expect with Holosun products.
Not only that, but the new 507COMP has Holosun’s new Competition Reticle System (C.R.S.), which is an enhanced multi-reticle system that has four components. These components include a precision 2MOA dot, an 8MOA circle, a 20MOA circle, and a 32MOA circle with combinations to fit whatever the shooter may need. The 507COMP is available with either a red CRS or a green CRS version to fit the shooter’s preference.
The optic is parallax free and has unlimited eye relief. Like most other Holosun optics, the 507COMP has six different daylight brightness settings along with two night vision settings to match most any conditions the shooter may encounter. Additionally, the 507COMP has a 1MOA adjustment with each audible click and windage and elevation adjustments to ±30 MOA.
The Holosun 507COMP runs on one CR1632 battery that is accessible via the side panel – no need to remove the optic from the handgun to change the battery. The battery allows for a stellar 50,000-hour battery life and thanks to the Shake Awake technology of the sight, that will last the shooter a long time. All those features are in a small enough package, weighing just around 1.7 ounces.
The optic is seen as redefining the competitive shooting experience and has already been endorsed by some professional shooters. The Holosun 507COMP is said to be hitting the market very soon (think next week) so if this optic strikes your fancy, I wouldn’t wait around too much longer to snatch one up. The red CRS Holosun 507COMP has an MSRP of $435 while the green CRS Holosun 507COMP has an MSRP of $470.
Summer is right around the corner. School’s out, families are taking vacations, and the temperatures are rising. The beach is a popular destination, and you ain’t strutting if you ain’t wearing a Speedo. The question is, what gun do you carry while wearing a Speedo? I’ll save our readers a picture of me in a Speedo, but as you imagine, there isn’t much room to fit a gun.
Let’s be real, Speedos are European, and Euros don’t get gun rights anyway. However, the Speedo represents a classic problem for concealed carriers. It’s the extreme of minimalist clothing that makes concealed carry tough. With that idea in mind, if you had to wear a Speedo, what gun would you carry? That’s what we are explaining today, the best Speedo guns.
North American Arms Mini Revolver
The NAA Mini Revolvers are the ultimate Speedo guns. In fact, they inspired this article. NAA maintains a story on the website about an undercover cop wearing nothing more than a Speedo. He carried an NAA Micro Revolver. These are easily the smallest repeating firearms I know of.
They are five-shot mini revolvers that are the size of derringers that drop in your pocket with ease. North American Arms makes these guns in .22 Short, Long Rifles, and .22 Magnum. They are all ultra-small and easy to conceal.
Suppose I had to carry this while wearing a Speedo. I could drop it in the Speedo itself. Maybe tape it to my inner thigh or right below the waistline. It’s so small with the right pattern on my swimwear I could make it disappear.
The KelTec P32
The Keltec P32 weighs 6.6 ounces and is micro-sized for a repeating firearm. With seven in the mag and a centerfire cartridge, you get a good amount of oomph for your buck. The P32 fits in the palm of your hand. While small, the little .32 ACP cartridges are plenty comfy to shoot and easy on the hands.
A DAO trigger requires a stiff pull to fire, but for deep concealment, that’s an advantage. The polymer frame means rust will only be a problem for the slide, but we all take good care of our guns, right? Of all the guns on this list, this is the most competent for fighting and would be my choice if violence at the beach was a regular occurrence.
How do you carry this gun in a tiny-sized bathing suit? We’ll have to be creative. I think I have one of those 32-ounce Yeti or Yeti-style cups. It’s all metal, with a lid, and I can set the gun in the cup, cover it with the lid and tote it around the beach. It won’t be the fastest draw, but it won’t be slow, either.
The Lifecard is an interesting concept. The name Card is intentional. It’s a card shape, roughly the same length, and height as a credit card. It’s a bit thicker, obviously, but still very small. The card unfolds into a single-shot 22LR or 22 Magnum gun. One shot isn’t much, but it’s better than nothing. The Lifecard’s hollow grip can contain a few extra rounds for reloads.
Operation is simple, and it’s a single-action, striker-fired gun. Grab it, cock it, and pull the trigger, and it goes bang. The real strength of this gun is its ability to be disguised as nothing more than a black, vaguely card-like design. It’s concealed by its nature. It’s a close-range gun, and you only get trench sight to aim, so don’t expect to be a marksman with it.
However, you still need to carry it around, and guess what? It fits in a variety of containers. You can toss it in an Altoids tin or in an empty pack of cigarettes. Tuck your container into your waistline and enjoy the lightweight, disguised nature of your gun as you soak in that summer air.
Ideal Conceal .380 ACP
Ideal Conceal was quite controversial. They got hit from all sides when they repealed the Ideal Conceal .380 and 9mm derringers. Like the Trailblazer Lifecard, they fold up. However, since they chamber larger cartridges, they tend to be larger. Instead of looking like thick credit cards, they look like cell phones.
Modern smartphones, to be precise. Unfold the grip, and you have a vaguely block-shaped gun. It has minimalist sights and an optional laser for close-range shots. The design is a top-break style, and a double-action trigger makes shooting quick and easy. The .380 ACP variant offers a little less recoil and easier control.
Like the Lifecard, the Ideal Conceal’s disguise is its design. At first glance, it looks like a phone and nothing more. It doesn’t have a gun-like shape. If I had to carry it when wearing a Speedo, I’d toss it into one of those phone armbands and toss a set of wireless headphones in my ears. It’s disappeared and under the radar.
Seecamp .32 ACP
The P32 might be the lightest automatic, but the Seecamp is the overall smallest. It’s all metal and designed from the start for deep concealment. It’s smooth from front to back and even lacks sights. The gun is only .86 inches thick, 3.25 inches tall, and 4.25 inches long overall. It holds six rounds of .32 ACP.
They make a .380 variant that’s basically the same size. However, the .32 ACP has a much softer recoil, and it’s much easier to control. The .380 tries to buck out of your hand. The little .32 is pleasant to shoot. The gun has a heavy DAO trigger, and without sights, it’s really oriented more toward being a close-range fighting gun.
The little Seecamp can be carried in the same way as the P32. It fits easily in a cup. Heck, you can use an even smaller cup if that’s your bag. That’s not creative, though. What is creative is getting a cheap paperback book and carving out a hollow. The Seecamp doesn’t require a big book and stashes with ease. A book at the beach is natural, and no one will notice.
It’s that time of the year, and for the dudes wearing Speedos, more power to you. I hope you learned a thing or two, and I hope you’re ready for whatever summer brings! Obviously, this article is a little tongue-in-cheek, but it gets the creative juices flowing for concealed carry. With that in mind, what is your deep-cover solution? If you had to wear a Speedo, which gun would you carry, and how would you carry it?
Ruger began cranking out quality firearms in 1949. Since then, they’ve become an American icon in the firearms industry. Any company that has been in operation since 1949 must be doing some things right. Whether you’re looking for a firearm for defense, competition, target shooting, recreation, tactical, hunting, or other tasks, Ruger has you covered.
One stellar aspect of their operation is that they stand behind their products in a huge way. If you have a problem with their products, send it in and they’ll make it right. Being able to buy with confidence like that really makes a person feel warm and fuzzy about the products.
Today we’re going to review the Ruger American Rifle Magazine so you have the full low-down on it and what it can do. Here’s a hint: it can do more than some of us might anticipate. Before we get into the magazine itself, though, a word about the platforms that it’s intended for.
What Is The American Line Of Rifles?
Ruger introduced the American line of rifles and it really took off. They offer solid performance and accuracy for a very reasonable price point.
There are a few dozen rifles in this line, and they really do cover the gamut of everything you’d want to do with a bolt-action rifle. Short range, long range, hunting, target applications, you name it, there’s a rifle in there for everyone. These are all bolt-action rifles. They have detachable magazines, some of which fit flush with the bottom of the stock, while others are larger capacity and protrude from the stock. Barrel lengths vary between models, and there are many different calibers available in both long and short action.
Some rifles come equipped with Vortex rifle scopes. Stocks are in various colors, including camouflage patterns, black, and earth-tone colors. Stocks are mostly composite, but there are a few wood stocks out there.
For this article, the test rifle for the magazine is the Ruger American Predator, which was introduced in 2016. It’s representative of the line and I have access to one.
Ruger American 4-Round Magazine
This particular magazine covers five calibers: The .308 Winchester, .243 Winchester, 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5mm Creedmoor, and 7mm-08. All of these are short-action calibers. Honestly, I’m quite amazed that this one magazine reliably works with all of these various calibers. There’s either some serious engineering going on here, or else some sorcery!
The magazine itself is constructed of polymer, which keeps it lightweight. Inside, there’s a steel wire spring. The follower is also polymer.
All in all, the magazine is very light and durable. The polymer construction keeps weight down, which is an important consideration these days, especially for those who plan on toting the rifle in the field.
The front of the magazine has an integral magazine catch. The magazine is inserted into the magazine well of the stock, where it fits flush with the bottom of the stock. To extract the magazine, reach a finger into the front of the mag well and grab the tab on the release. Press the tab and the magazine is released from the stock. It works very nicely and is simple.
How Does The Magazine Work?
Like a champ! Reliability has been 100%. It feeds smoothly, ejects well, and inserts into the stock very easily. In short, this mag does everything that it’s advertised to do. As I said, I’m amazed that they can make a multi-caliber magazine that works so darned well. The rounds also slip into the magazine easily.
This Ruger American Rifle magazine seems to be very durable and should stand up to considerable abuse, given the polymer construction. Feeding is very smooth from these magazines. But then, given that they are Ruger factory mags, that comes as no surprise. Ruger magazines have always worked very well for me and I’ve never had a single complaint about them, for any of my Ruger rifles or pistols.
I now have a couple of magazines for my rifle, which is a good thing to have. In the event that I need or want to deliver several rounds on target in a short time frame, I can have a spare magazine pre-loaded and ready to go.
At the time of this writing, the Ruger American Multi-Caliber magazine is available for $28.99 from GunMag Warehouse. It’s a good idea to have a few of these mags on hand for your rifle. I plan on picking up a couple more.
When it comes to the AR platform, the market is flooded with aftermarket iron sights. I’ve tried several flip-up iron sights and fixed sights, but none of them ever really seemed to hold up to the rigor of repeated tactical drills and rough handling. The sights always seemed to break or require frequent adjustments to reestablish zero. Shoot, even the traditional A2 sights are unwieldy and leave some to be desired. I’d all but given up until I started reading up on the Scalarworks PEAK/01 Fixed Sights. Que the fanfare.
They look great, feel great, and are a joy to use in the field. I’ll admit, they’re relatively expensive, coming in at $129 apiece. But from my experience, they’re worth every penny. It begs the question, though: are they the right iron sight system for everyone? Maybe. Probably. Let’s take a look.
World’s Finest. And They Mean It.
Founded in 2014, Scalarworks claims that their PEAK/01 fixed sight system is the “world’s finest.” And they mean it.
The PEAK/01 sights offer the same renowned reliability of traditional AR-15 fixed iron sights with a few modern features, refined styling, and state-of-the-art engineering that make these sights the crème de la crème of aftermarket sight systems. At least in my opinion. Designed in collaboration with Larry Vickers, the sights exude quality at every angle, even before you pull them out of the package. They arrive wrapped in a vacuum-sealed plastic wrap, tucked inside an elegant, hard-sided box with a magnetic lid. Even the included Scalarworks-branded Torx bit is neatly packaged in a corrosion-proof bag. The sights feel good in the hand; smooth and durable.
Crafted of 7075-T6 billet aluminum, these suckers are light as a feather. For real. I’ve set up my 16” rifle with the front and rear PEAK/01 sights, and I barely notice a difference in weight, and that’s due to the fact that together, these sights weigh less than five ounces. In case I haven’t made my point clear, that’s lighter than any other set of iron sights currently on the market.
The rear sight features two user-selectable CNC-machined apertures: One for long-range, and one for shorter-range. A side-mounted adjustment wheel offers quick windage adjustments.
The front sight also features a tool-free adjustment wheel and boasts a non-rotating MIL-STD sight post, calibrated to the correct width for an optimal 15” sight radius, practically eliminating highlight bias for improved clarity, reduced eye fatigue, and intuitive target acquisition in the field with most AR rifles.
Scalarworks Streamlined Profile
Designed to adhere to the lines of AR-15 upper receivers, the PEAK/01 fixed sights blended in nicely with my rifle with smooth edges. No snag hazards or hangover points. Everything looked as if it were integral to the flat top rail. Think about it, smooth lines equate to snag-free performance and safe and efficient handling. That’s a hard find, even with some of the better-known sight systems out there, including the Magpul MBUS sights.
Once installed using the included hardware and Scalarworks-branded Torx bit, the sights looked more like a premium factory option than an aftermarket sight set. The rear sight is rounded to adhere to the rear of your receiver, and features a one-way install design with an open front, allowing you to simply slide the sight forward onto the flat-top rail. The front sight installs the same way with a rear-mounted one-way opening. Not only does the design make for easy installation, but it also maximizes stability when tightened down, eliminating the risk of crooked installation or bent bolts.
Zeroing and Field Testing
The PEAK/01 fixed sight system is designed to allow for tool-free adjustments — even the front sight post, which traditionally requires shooters to use an A2 sight tool. This means no more pesky A2 sight tools, screwdrivers, bits, or coins to keep up with. Instead, with a simple turn of the elevation and windage adjustment wheels, I was able to effectively zero the sights with precise adjustments in a matter of seconds. And better yet, they held true with no deviation under rapid fire. I’m not sure I could say the same for any of the other systems I’ve tried.
Because this is my SHTF rifle, I wanted to run the sights with an optic and by themselves as a standalone sighting system. In both scenarios, the sights were easy to pick up and I was ringing steel at 25, 50, 75, and 100 yards with ease, but I preferred using them to co-witness with a red dot sight as it was more forgiving and a bit easier to acquire my target. My shots were faster, more consistent, and more accurate than when using them as a standalone system.
When used by themselves, they were still a blast to use, but it did take a little more work to find my target and punch holes in the paper than with a red dot sight. But what that really tells me is that I just need to train more with irons. And I plan to, now that I have something a bit more reliable than previously-used systems.
After more than 500 rounds down range, the PEAK/01 sights held zero and were still safely locked in place. That’s a big win for me, as other systems I’ve used in the past required re-tightening of the mount screws or minor adjustments to the aperture or front sight post. The PEAK/01 sights required neither of those. I imagine I’ll run some drop tests in the future, but for now, I’m happy with the results.
The Scalarworks PEAK/01 aren’t cheap, but they’re incredibly sturdy and reliable, delivering incredible clarity at darn near any range. In my honest opinion, they’re probably the best iron sights out there. At the very least, they’re the best irons I’ve ever used in my 15+ years of firearms experience. And while they’re ridiculously lightweight, Scalarworks definitely didn’t skimp out on quality. They hold zero exceptionally well, they’re easy to install, and if that weren’t enough, they look fantastic! Never have I seen such fine craftsmanship in an aftermarket sight system, and if you’re in the market for American-made irons, I think you’ll agree.
Vickers himself even said, “I’m now running Scalarworks iron sights and Aimpoint Micro mounts on my BCM carbine in all of my training classes. Scalarworks Leap Mounts and Peak Sights are the current state of the art.” If they’re good enough to meet the standards of Mr. Vickers, they’re good enough for me!
The defensive shotgun used to be fairly simple. Load it up with buckshot, and you’re good to go. Times have changed, though, and our training has advanced and gotten better. Our tactics and techniques have improved, as have our ammo choices. The tactical shotgun is a very capable weapon and with a little thought, it becomes quite effective.
5. Fiocchi Defense Dynamics
If you need a good patterning defensive load that doesn’t break the bank, then the Fiocchi Defense Dynamics load is perfect for you. It’s a modern 2.75-inch 00 buckshot load that fires eight pellets at 1,325 feet per second. It’s specifically built from the ground up to be capable of home defense. The use of eight pellets ensures a consistent pattern without the 9th pellet flyer.
The way pellets are stacked inside a shell can affect how they pattern. When nine pellets are shoved into a 2.75-inch tube, you have a fairly high chance of a 9th pellet flyer. This flyer can be dangerous as it’s often a good way away from the rest of the pattern. Eight pellets are preferred for most defensive buckshot loads.
At 1,325 feet per second, the rounds aren’t quite low recoil but aren’t out of control, either. It’s likely due to balance and necessary to ensure they function with semi-auto shotguns without issue. The high brass is another bonus that’s tough to beat. This loads patterns nicely and delivers consistent patterns at home defense ranges. It’s cheap enough to buy in bulk and train hard with.
4. Hornady Critical Defense Triple Defense .410
I’m not a huge fan of .410 for home defense. I do feel like a rifle might be the better choice, but I still want to mention the absolutely best defensive .410 ever created and the only one I’d use for home defense. The Hornady Critical Defense Triple Defense .410 is a bit of a mix of buck and ball. Instead of mixing your typical anemic .410 slug with some buckshot, they mix a very specific slug.
That slug is a .41 caliber FTX slug that’s backed by two buckshot pellets. Normally I’d scoff at such a load, but the Triple Defense loads pattern brilliantly and consistently. They are quite accurate, and within home defense ranges, they stick together fairly tightly. The .41 FTX slug hits hard and expands to provide a great big projectile to strike deep and hard.
That round has no penetration problems and consistently gets deep enough to hit something vital. If you are using .410, you are likely recoil averse. Don’t be frightened. The Hornady Critical Defense doesn’t hurt the shoulder and keeps the soft design of .410 intact.
3. Federal Force X2 12 Gauge Ammo
The Federal Force X2 ammunition was one of those things I really doubted when it appeared. I thought it was a bit of a meme and a gimmick. The X2 ammo promised to use nine pellets that had been nearly cut in half. When the pellets would hit soft targets, they would break into two pieces. The promise was twofold.
First, the ammo would create 18 wound tracks instead of nine. It would act as what’s essentially a #1 buckshot load in terms of pellet delivery. When the X2 ammo broke apart, it essentially failed to maintain its weight as it penetrated and heavily limited overpenetration but would still penetrate enough to reach vital portions of the body.
While it was a big promise, it turned out to be true. Independent testing showed that the ammo lived up to its promises. Using properly calibrated gel, the pellets broke apart and reached minimal penetration with very little chance of overpenetration when aimed at the torso. The X2 ammo is a specialized home defense load, and it is made of premium components. Sadly it lacks the FltieControl wad.
2. Hornady Black
Hornady Black buckshot is my second favorite and the load I would turn to if my first choice was sold out. Hornady Black provides a full-power buckshot load made of premium components designed for self-defense roles. One of the big differences between Hornady Black and most other tactical loads is that Hornady leaned into a full-powered design. They use eight pellets moving at 1,600 feet per second.
The 8-pellet design helps prevent that 9th-pellet flyer problem. The Black rounds also use the Versa-Tite wad that provides a very tight and consistent spread. This is second only to Flitecontrol loads. The Hornady Black load delivers consistently tight patterns and enthusiastic operation from semi-auto guns.
The load is incredibly reliable, and if you use a semi-auto that might be a little picky, it does lean to the fully powered side to help with reliable operation. That 1,600 FPS rating also contributes to a good bit more recoil, which is why it’s my second choice. A 1,200 FPS Black load would be a real contender for Number 1.
1. Federal Flitecontrol
Federal Flitecontrol is the best defensive shotgun ammo on the market. This load revolutionized the industry, and it changed the effective range of shotguns with buckshot. The Flitecontrol wad is the special magic to this load. This wad stays with the pellets as the shot leaves the barrel. Once the wad and pellets leave the barrel, the wad slows down drastically and lets the pellets propel downrange.
This creates a crazy tight pattern. The old 1-inch for every yard is long gone with Flitecontrol. At 10 yards and even 15 yards, the Fltiecontrol loads create a 50-cent-sized hole in a paper target. That’s a crazy tight pattern. The benefits are total pellet accountability. This keeps you from having errant pellets striking something or someone else accidentally.
As the pellets hit the body, they continue to spread inside the body, giving that devastating shotgun effect on target. This modern load is a low recoil design for enhanced control. Typically a lower velocity does tie to a better pattern overall. The Flitecontrol load is my load of choice for home defense. It’s well worth the investment.
The Buckshot Solution
Buckshot has changed drastically in the last decade. If you work in the industry or pay attention to it, you’ve likely noticed a reemergence of the shotgun. I think this is due to a few reasons, and one of the big ones is high-quality ammo options. The range, effectiveness, consistency, and accuracy have improved greatly, and it shows.