CategoriesGun Reviews

The Best Defensive Shotgun Ammo Out There

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.

Budget defensive ammo doesn’t have to be crappy.

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.

410 shotgun ammo
The Triple Defense load is odd, but very effective

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.

force x2 ammo
The Force X2 Ammo is odd, but highly effective if overpenetration is a concern.

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.

Honrady black ammo
Hornady Black offers you the Versa-Tite wad with full power performance.

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.

flitecontrol shotgun ammo
FliteControl is the absolute best ammo out there for defensive use.

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.

The post The Best Defensive Shotgun Ammo Out There appeared first on The Mag Life.

CategoriesNew Gun Releases

DeSantis Lifeguard Holster: Minimalist Carry

Different situations require varying holster placement and design. For example, there are times you need an extremely streamlined, minimalistic design. Maybe you need a sleeker profile and less likelihood of printing due to your clothing choices. Or, perhaps you want to cut as much weight as possible off your carry setup. Whatever the reason, if you’re looking for a small, functional holster, the DeSantis Lifeguard holster is designed for moments like this. It is made to securely hold your handgun with as minimal a footprint as possible.

The DeSantis Lifeguard holster is designed for minimalistic carry. (Photo credit: DeSantis Holsters)

The latest from DeSantis is the Lifeguard Holster which is designed to make daily carry more comfortable. This is the company’s minimalistic IWB (inside waistband) holster. It’s made to completely enclose the trigger guard, so it’s safe and secure. It is lighter-weight and sleeker overall than most holster designs on the market. The carbon fiber finish is aesthetically pleasant and durably rugged. Fitted with the company’s Tuckable C-Clip, this holster allows the greatest level of concealment possible. Also, the Lifeguard Claw is available as an additional accessory.

The DeSantis Lifeguard is compatible with the following models:

  • Glock 17 Gen 5
  • Glock 19 Gen 5
  • Glock 19X
  • Glock 22
  • Glock 23
  • Glock 26
  • Glock 26 Gen 5
  • Glock 27
  • Glock 31
  • Glock 32
  • Glock 45
  • SIG Sauer P365
  • SIG Sauer P365 SAS
  • SIG Sauer P365 with Romeo Zero
  • SIG Sauer P365XL
  • SIG Sauer P365XL with Romeo Zero

Models are available for guns either with or without red dot sights. This is a versatile holster that leaves whether or not you mount a red dot to your gun up to you. If you decide to take the red dot off and run iron sights, the holster will still function as before.

lifeguard holster
The great thing is that this holster is compatible with guns with or without red dot sights. (Photo credit: DeSantis Holsters)

The Lifeguard holster covers the trigger and underside of the frame while leaving the upper portion of the slide open. Its design allows the user to get a full firing grip before drawing. As with any holster, make sure you pair it with a solid gun belt and spend time training with it.

MSRP for the DeSantis Holsters Lifeguard Holster is $39.99.

The post DeSantis Lifeguard Holster: Minimalist Carry appeared first on The Mag Life.

CategoriesGun Reviews

Musings on Shotgun Red Dots

Shotguns have often been left out of the conversation when it comes to sighting options. The general discussion being a bead is good enough, and it often ends there. Shotgunners certainly know that a good bead can be valuable and useful, but that doesn’t make it the end all be all. Neither are rifle sights or ghost ring sights. While both have their benefits, they all have issues in the fact that they are iron sights. Much like handguns and rifles, optics are invaluable on shotguns, and with shotguns, the discussion revolves around red dots

Red dots are only the start of the discussion, though. Today we are going to talk about a few of the musings I have about shotguns and their optics based on experimenting, shooting, and generally trying to outfit my guns to the best of my ability. 

Why red dots on a shotgun?

Shotguns have not historically needed a fancy sight system. That’s why beads have always been useful. However, things, as the man says, are a changing. We are seeing the advent and extreme popularity of loads from Federal and Hornady that are extremely tight patterning. Federal Flitecontrol, Hornady Critical Defense, and Hornady Black have changed the concept of shotguns and the name scattergun. 

Optics and shotguns are best friends.

Sure, they still spread, but modern wad technology has made that spread occur at much longer ranges. At 15 yards and closer, it’s typically a 50-cent-piece-sized hole in the target. You aren’t aiming a rapidly spreading load of buckshot anymore, and the extra precision offered by red dots is valuable for both modern buckshots and slugs. Even if you stick to more traditional and cheaper buckshot, a red dot is handy. 

Red dots also make aiming faster and work in all lighting environments. They promote a target focus, which is fairly natural with a shotgun. You can stare at the target through the red dot, which is extremely valuable at close range. The ability to focus on the threat allows for greater situational awareness. Red dots are a natural accessory on shotguns. 

What kind of red dots are good for shotguns? 

Red dots tend to be smaller these days, but there is still a noticeable difference between an Aimpoint Micro and a Trijicon RMR. With shotguns, you tend to want to stick to pistol-sized red dots, especially on shotguns with more traditional designs. Traditional being a tube-fed shotgun resembling an 870, 500, or Benelli. When it comes to AR or AK-type magazine-fed shotguns, the size can vary, but our focus is more on the traditional shotgun. 

Smaller red dots offer lighter-weight designs that take up fewer rails and have less demanding mounting requirements. That’s nice, but the real reason we use smaller red dots is that they are less likely to get in the way, and we don’t necessarily need a bigger red dot. We aren’t using magnifiers and don’t really need the benefits of a bigger red dot. 

Holosun 507C on shotgun
The Holosun 507C is my favorite shotgun optic.

Bigger red dots tend to get in the way when it comes to port loading over the top of the gun. When you attempt to throw a round directly into the chamber, you run into an issue where big dots sit directly over the loading port and get in the way. 

Also, when a bigger red dot spills over the top of the shotgun, it can get in the way of your side saddle. Pulling a shell out can be tricky when you keep bumping into the red dot as you reload from the side saddle. 

Finally, most pistol red dots sit rather low, and with the traditional shotgun stocks, the lower the optic, the better. It’s easier to see while maintaining a good cheek weld and getting a comfortable mount on the gun. 

What reticle design works best for a shotgun optic? 

A simple red dot works just fine, to be fair. I would prefer one that’s at least 3 MOA, and bigger can be better for the rapid-fire, close-range domination shotguns offer. Six and eight MOA dots are not too big. 

To me, the best reticle is a circle and dot, or even just a circle. Holosun’s pistol red dots with the multiple reticle system are an awesome option. The 507C, 507K, 509T, and more have a 32 MOA circle reticle, and that’s my absolute favorite for shotguns. The primary reason is that within 15 yards, I know that every pellet of my Flitecontrol load will land in that circle. 

Holosun 507K reticle
The 32 MOA reticle is perfect for patterning buckshot.

I have total pellet accountability with this reticle inside of 15 yards, which is further than the longest shot I can take inside my home. Other than that, the big reticle is easy and quick to see, and I know that as soon as I fill that big reticle with the target, I’m placing effective fire on the threat.  

Mounting Options 

The most common means to attach an optic to your shotgun will be a Picatinny rail. It’s the classic option that’s served us well for generations. It’s common and simple, and very effective. Most common pistol-sized red dots will have a low-profile rail mount that works decently. The downside to the design is that the combination of the rail mount and the rail itself will push the optic a little higher than what’s likely optimum. 

shotgun red dot with sync mount
The Sync mount is my favorite mounting system.

Picatinny works, but there are some better options. The second best option is the Scalarworks Sync mount. This mounts the optic very low on your gun and often replaces the existing rail or mounts directly to the drilled and tapped portion of your receiver. This situates the red dot quite low and makes it nice to use with traditional shotguns. 

Finally, the best overall option is a direct mount solution. This means the receiver of the gun is specifically cut for your optic’s footprint. Mossberg seems to be the only company making this a reality as of now, but it’s likely to grow in popularity. This removes the need for a mount and pushes the optic low enough that it can co-witness with your bead sight. 

red dots on shotgun
Red dots add a sting to your shotgun. Plus, they work day or night with ease.

Seeing Red

While you can probably get by perfectly fine with a bead sight, you shouldn’t have to. Red dots make shooting shotguns easier and faster, and they work in all lighting conditions. You get the precision of proper sights for longer-range shots without sacrificing close-range speed. It’s not exactly as simple as strapping any old dot on the gun, but it can be fairly easy when you put a little thought into the process. 

What do you think? Are shotgun red dots for you? Let us know below. 

The post Musings on Shotgun Red Dots appeared first on The Mag Life.

CategoriesGun Reviews

Is 10mm for Hunting or Self-Defense?

The 10mm is picking up traction again. Some are even referring to it as a “new” round because so many gun companies are producing new models in 10mm. Considering the entire history of firearms, the 10mm is relatively new. But it was introduced back in the early 1980s.

Several gun companies produced 10mm models early on and the FBI even adopted it for a while. But the high-pressure round caused too much recoil for most practical purposes. The most popular model back in the 1980s was the “Bren Ten”, a CZ-75 style handgun. Glock made round a little more popular when it produced several models chambered in 10mm. But like many other calibers, it just couldn’t hang on.

The 10mm handgun like this Sig XTEN is gaining in popularity. [Photo: Jason Mosher]

Until recently, that is. When most calibers don’t make it, they stay dead. But the 10mm was brought back to life and people began taking notice again. Glock released the G20 gen 5, Sig made the XTEN, which is a P320 in 10mm. And just about every other major gun company is now producing 10mm models. So, with all these 10mm handgun options hitting the market, it causes the curious gun browser to wonder, what is a 10mm for?

Hunting with a 10mm?

The biggest question I get from people is when this cartridge should be used. Is it better for self-defense or hunting? I’ll get the unhelpful answer out of the way first. It’s up to the shooter and what they need from a gun. There, that’s the neutral answer because some gun experts will say the 10mm is perfect for self-defense and some will say, nah!

There isn’t much debate, however, when it comes to hunting with a 10mm handgun. It’s a powerful round that is adequate for just about any beast you encounter in the woods. I have heard numerous stories of people shooting bears and dropping them instantly. In a few cases, the bear was charging the hunter when they shot in self-defense. This makes the gun perfect for hikers, campers, and anyone who lives near the mountains or large wooded areas.

Hunting with a 10mm handgun.
Hunting with a handgun is much different than with a rifle. It can be challenging and rewarding. The 10mm is a great caliber for the job. (Photo: Anna Mosher)

The cartridge is picking up steam across the country, but it has been a popular choice in Alaska for years because of the power it harnesses when fired. Hunting with a handgun is a whole new ballgame in the hunting world. You must get closer and be more accurate with a gun that is not stabilized like a rifle is against your shoulder. But when you are within the effective range of the 10mm, it’s a great hunting round.

Because it is becoming more popular, the 10mm is earning its regular place on the ammo shelves. This means more options to pick from. Hornady makes a 135gr MonoFlex round that is reported to be a great hunting round. If you want more knockdown, you can go up to a 220-grain bullet too.

Self-Defense With a 10mm

This is the topic most debated with this cartridge. Some have the belief that larger, more powerful bullets are better for self-defense. I think this is true within reason. On the other side of the fence, people argue that a 10mm has too much kick for self-defense. With high recoil, it would be hard to shoot fast and stay on target.

And in most self-defense incidents, shooting faster is a necessity. The other issue besides the powerful cartridge is the size of the gun. Most 10mm handguns are on the larger side. This makes it difficult to conceal, and heavy to lug around all day. Another thing to consider is the cost of ammo.

Sig Elite 10mm ammo.
This is a big, powerful round. There are plenty of options for self-defense rounds like this Sig Elite HP ammo. (Photo: Jason Mosher)

If you carry a gun for self-defense, it’s best to train on a regular basis. This requires ammo and ammo is not cheap, but 10mm ammo is expensive. So how much are you prepared to spend on ammo for training? You will feel like you’re buying gold-plated bullets.

Even though I bring up the recoil on the 10mm, I don’t want to sound like it’s an unbearable round to shoot. It kicks a little more than a .45 ACP. That’s not so bad that it’s impossible to shoot, but some will struggle with it. This is the part where it depends on the shooter. Those who shoot a .45 regularly may not notice much of a difference. Others, however, will not like the kick that comes with the hotter self-defense rounds. But if you can control the recoil and don’t mind spending the extra money, a 10mm could work for self-defense.

Who makes a 10mm handgun?

Just about everybody. Highpoint is even producing a 10mm handgun. And no, I don’t own one, I just saw it in the gun store. I won’t get into the quality of various handguns here, but I have serious questions about a 10mm handgun in the $200 range. For those who like 1911, you are in luck. The number of 1911s offered in 10mm is growing. Here are some of the 1911s chambered in 10mm that I like:

  • Springfield Armory: TRP Operator
  • Ruger: SR1911 Target
  • Colt: Delta Elite
  • Rock Island: Ultra FS
  • Kimber: Eclipse
Sig XTEN 10mm handgun.
Because of the renewed interest in the cartridge, companies are starting to produce more options for the consumer. (Photo: Jason Mosher)

If you want a semi-auto 10mm, you will have even more options. Because more people are taking an interest in the 10mm, new models are being announced constantly. Here are some that have caught my eye:

  • Springfield Armory: Elite
  • Smith & Wesson: M&P M2.0
  • Sig Sauer: P320 XTEN
  • FN: 510 Tactical
  • Glock: G20SF


When it comes to self-defense, there are several factors to consider. The size of the gun, holster options, price, and the type of self-defense. Keeping a larger caliber handgun in the car for certain events makes sense. I would carry a 10mm for self-defense when hiking, camping, or going anywhere else where animals are a threat. As far as the ballistics go, a 10mm comes with a punch.

It has the power and there is a lot of defense ammunition available. This leaves me with the same opinion as every other self-defense caliber. If the caliber you choose will stop a threat, you can shoot it accurately, and ammo companies make defense ammunition for it, it will work. There’s a wide range of defense calibers out there and opinions on each one vary all over the board.

I have .380 pistols and 10mm pistols. I can see the pros and cons of each one so there isn’t a one-size-fits-all caliber. We have choices, and we can choose more than one. If you have or plan to buy a 10mm, it will be great for hunting, and if you want to use it for self-defense, it will work for that too.

The post Is 10mm for Hunting or Self-Defense? appeared first on The Mag Life.

CategoriesGun Reviews

Guns We Miss: The Colt Pocket Positive

Though we live in a golden age of fine firearms covering a broader spectrum of needs than ever, there are guns no longer in production that we miss. Let’s begin the Guns We Miss series with one that is little remembered today, the Colt Pocket Positive .32 revolver.

Colt Pocket positive revolver.

Why pick that one? The choice is surprisingly timely. In 2023, when this is written, the 9mm semiautomatic pistol has gone from being seen as a “weak sister” as little as 20 years ago to the dominant choice of both America’s police and its armed citizens, on the theory that modern ammunition has made it just as effective as larger caliber handguns. As the gun experts of yesteryear age and experience arthritis and loss of physical strength, less powerful handguns with lighter recoil are more appreciated. Some experts are now even comfortable carrying .22s. We’ve seen the .32 Magnum come and (almost) go, and its more powerful sibling the .327 Magnum hang on tenaciously, selling enough to keep them in production. Revolvers themselves are undergoing something of a renaissance in popularity.

A Brief History

The Pocket Positive lasted from 1905 to 1940. Mine in the lead photo is marked “.32 Police CTG” on the barrel, probably because gun companies have historically been reluctant to stamp competitors’ names on their guns. The cartridge it’s chambered for was the .32 Smith & Wesson Long. A time came when Colt convinced some ammo makers to produce that cartridge with a flat-tipped lead bullet instead of the usual round nose, and call it the .32 Colt New Police. Later Colt .32 revolvers would in fact be marked “.32 NP.”

The Pocket Positive was the improved version of the Colt New Pocket in the same caliber, of which some 30,000 were manufactured between 1893 and 1905. The primary improvement in the Pocket Positive gave it its name: Colt’s “Positive” internal safety design that made it drop safe, and characterized the more popular Police Positive in .32 and .38 caliber, introduced in 1905 also. The Pocket Positive externally was a much better-looking gun than its predecessor, with what became a Colt signature feature — a round cylinder release latch replacing the cheap, rickety-looking flat latch on the New Pocket — and a streamlined trigger guard that flowed more pleasingly into the rest of the frame.

The Pocket Positive was a true .32 frame. In barrel lengths of 2”, 2.5”, and 3” with an occasional longer one, the 2.5” seems to have been the most popular. If you look at the accompanying photos, the gun has the proportions of a K-frame S&W or D-frame Colt Detective Special with a three-inch barre … but the barrel on that Pocket Positive is 2.5”.  It seems in keeping with a gun that’s roughly one-sixth the size of its much more popular big brother, the Colt Detective Special, and is distinctly smaller than the super-popular J-frame Smith & Wesson.

J. Edgar Hoover was known to carry a Pocket Positive daily, nickel plated with a 2” barrel and grips of either ivory or pearl (reports differ). Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. carried one while playing a private detective on the old TV series “77 Sunset Strip.” Real-life gun and knife expert David Steele told me he frequently carried a Pocket Positive in “non-permissive environments.”

Massad Ayoob shooting the Colt Pocket Positive
The Pocket Positive appears tiny in the hands of an average size adult male.

Shooting the Pocket Positive

Despite a barrel five-eighths of an inch longer than today’s J-frame S&Ws, the Pocket Positive hides better in a pocket holster. Its small, rounded grip makes it quick to grab from there. The pinky finger tucks comfortably under the butt when firing. My specimen has the exquisitely smooth hand-honed action that was standard in its day, a tribute to the skills of the people who built firearms in the “Gun Valley” of Hartford, Connecticut and Springfield, Massachusetts back then.

Female shooting the Colt Pocket Positive
Pocket Positive appears proportional, fired by a 5’ tall female shooter.

The sights suck, of course, a sadder hallmark of handguns of that period. The rear is a tiny V-notch cut into the top of the frame, and the round front sight presents an itty-bitty knife blade to the aiming eye of the shooter.  While this does allow someone with sharp eyesight to proverbially “draw a fine bead,” it takes time, and time is seldom generous to people who need defensive firearms for their actual intended purpose.  At close range, it works better to take a “StressPoint Index.” That is, letting the whole front sight sit atop the notch as you aim.

Loading the revolver,
Terrible tiny sights were common during the period of Pocket Positive’s manufacture. Here it’s being loaded with Federal .32 Long wadcutters.

Recoil is pleasantly mild. Unfortunately, that’s because .32 Long ammunition is unpleasantly anemic. For years, the standard round was a 98-grain round nose lead bullet at a nominal 780 feet per second and generating only 130 foot-pounds of energy. The second most commonly encountered round is the target wadcutter, spec’d by Magtech at 682 foot-seconds and 102 foot-pounds and by Fiocchi at 100 grains, 730 fps, and 118 ME. These unimpressive stats are made worse when you consider the still lesser velocity from the short barrels of this type of revolver.

Colt Pocket Positie with a selection of ammo
The range of ammo choices for .32 Long.

If I was to carry one of these for self-defense, I’d load it with the wadcutters. Even on the two-dimensional cardboard target, the full wadcutter .32 slug cuts a larger hole than the puckered entry produced by the old round-nose .38 Special lead bullet, which was notorious for creating puckered, icepick-like wounds that would mortally wound opponents but not necessarily stop them. Buffalo Bore makes a 115-grain hard cast flat-nose bullet at 800 foot-seconds and a 100-grain full wadcutter at 900, but those strike me as better suited for larger .32 Long revolvers than the relatively delicate old Pocket Positive.

Pocket positive and S&W 340 M&P with two different types of ammo
Note that Pocket Positive is smaller than J-frame S&W 340 M&P, but .32 wadcutter makes a larger entry hole than the round nose .38 Special.

Potential for Reintroduction?

Modern materials should allow for a .32 revolver exactly this diminutive size, but chambered for .32 Magnum or even .327. Yes, it would need a longer cylinder, but with a true 2” barrel instead of the 2.5” so commonly seen on the Pocket Positive wouldn’t be any longer overall. Recoil would be much snappier, of course, but compact neoprene grips of the right shape would go far toward mitigating that.

Today’s .32s, .32 Mags, and .327s are built J-frame size. A manufacturer would have to start with a new frame size to shrink those down to Pocket Positive dimensions. Would a one-sixth-smaller gun have that much appeal? With neither .32 Mag nor .327 having set the world on fire, and polymer autos being the order of the day, would a manufacturer invest as much as it would take to reanimate the Pocket Positive concept? Or would making an ultra-light version in .32 Long be enough, in light of current trends toward less powerful handguns?

The post Guns We Miss: The Colt Pocket Positive appeared first on The Mag Life.

CategoriesGun Reviews

Steiner Military Marine 7×50 Binoculars: See Anything, Anywhere

If you’re an outdoorsman of any kind, a regular at the range, or just like a helping hand when it comes to seeing what can be too far for the human eyes, then binoculars are always an essential. However, it’s important to have the right specifications for your hobby as well as be able to withstand the test of time and a beating. If you’re anything like me, you dabble between several outdoor activities, so versatility is a requirement for a lot of gear. Recently I got to try out the Steiner Military Marine 7×50 binoculars, and they delivered. 


Steiner’s packaging for their binoculars, inside holding the binoculars, a carrying case, neck strap, and a lens wipe. (Photo credit: Grace Stevens)

Steiner delivers some powerful binoculars. These measure at 7×50, with a field of view of 302 yards at 1000 feet. But, to the average Joe, these numbers may not stand out. So let’s break it down. 

The ‘7’ is the magnification, meaning objects will be seven times larger using binoculars. The magnification being higher isn’t always the goal, as it can lessen the field of view (FOV). The FOV is based on how much of the picture you’d see at 1000 yards. Steiner’s Military Marine binoculars have a FOV of 302 yards (which isn’t too narrow or wide, it’s a great middle-ground). Overall, the magnification and FOV on these are great for general, unspecialized use (example: birdwatchers may want specific features for their hobby). 

The ‘50’ denotes the size of the objective lens in millimeters. Now, this can be a number that some may seek at a higher number because the bigger the lens, the more light can be taken in, therefore the better the picture. 50mm lenses are pretty big, especially for general use, creating a bright and clear picture. This can be great for multiple environments, including low-light settings which can pose an issue to some kinds of binoculars. 

These binoculars are really light given how strong they are. They sit at about 2½ pounds and are 6”x8”x12”. They fit comfortably in your hands without straining to keep hold due to size or weight. Even with my own smaller hands, I didn’t really struggle — and it’s important to note that I have run into that being an issue before, so it was a relief not to struggle with these. 

The eye relief is 20.2mm, which is how far the binoculars can be before your FOV lessens. If you wear glasses, having eye relief higher than about 15mm is best, so Steiner delivers a great choice for those who will wear their glasses in the field. Though I don’t need my glasses 24/7, I can vouch for this as I tested them both ways.


man in the woods
I feel like I could take these binoculars anywhere, they’re great for just about everything. [Photo credit: Grace Stevens]

When it comes to versatility, these binoculars are a great option. They’re up for the challenge of most environments. Resistant to up to 11 Gs of impact, the Makrolon housing is made of polycarbonate and NBR Long Life rubber. It’s even waterproof, so these binoculars can take a beating and will likely make it out just fine. 

Steiner also provides a camo carrying case making it easy to take these binoculars anywhere. If you need them readily available or would like to further protect them from falling during extended use, Steiner also provides a simple neck strap for the user to loop on. 

Keeping your lenses clear is so important but sometimes taking lens covers on and off can be tiring. However, with these binoculars, it’s not as big of a hassle. The objective lens covers are attached with a swiveling button, making it easy to flip them down in a pinch and then put them back on without digging for loose covers. The eyecup cover is loose, but in one piece it’s no problem to keep track of, especially since when you’re active on the field you probably won’t need those as much as the objective lens covers. 

Following moving objects is no problem either with the Sports-Auto Focus System. This allows you to adjust the eyepieces individually and keep that quality focus in check while you use it. So, when animals move unpredictably you don’t have to wrestle with the focus. 


Man looking through binoculars in the woods
It was so nice to have these binoculars on our camping trip. We got to see plenty of wildlife through the trees. [Photo credit: Grace Stevens]

I took these on a weekend camping trip and they were a perfect addition. Carrying them was easy and comfortable using the provided carrying case. It was nice to set the strap and forget it as I carried it cross-body on my hip. Hiking in the Oklahoma mountains, I took a rougher trail which took a bit more agility and rock climbing, and they never really got in my way. Cross-body bags can drive me nuts as I find they slide down my shoulder a lot, but I didn’t have an issue with that this time. Likely that was attributable to the size and style of the strap and being able to adjust it as tight or as loose as I need.  

These binoculars came in particularly handy when we wanted to observe wildlife. I saw several deer, hawks, and smaller birds on our hike. We even got to catch pictures of a hawk and its nest using the binoculars against my phone camera, which isn’t exactly what the human eye would see for several reasons but still shows some of the power these hold. 

These are great for hunting, too. I really had no problem following the deer I saw with my binoculars even as they ran up the mountain away from us. The same goes for the birds we saw; it was easy to find and follow them as they flew. The images I saw were clear as day. 

Hawk flying over nest seen through optic lens..
Here you can see a hawk flying over its nest. This photo is taken with an iPhone through a single lens. It’s not identical to what I saw, but nonetheless, we got a great view of the hawks. [Photo credit: Grace Stevens]

The binoculars came in handy when it got darker, too. The combination of the overcast weather and the sun already going down made me concerned about being able to use them. Lo and behold, they worked just fine for a while before it was too dark for even the eye to see well. 

The Steiner binoculars will now be staying in my car or on my person anytime I go hiking. They’re handy to have especially when you never know when you may want to use them. Driving through the countryside of Texas, there are plenty of hogs, coyotes, and deer throughout the year off in the fields that are a great sight. 

Steiner’s 7×50 binoculars will also be a must-have for my hunting trips for the same reason. They’re not too heavy to carry around and can easily take some tumbling in the woods worst-case scenario. It’s good not having to be concerned about a surprise rainstorm ruining them, either. 

The range is a great place to take these binoculars as well. Everyone needs a reliable set handy to check downrange during target shooting. And, if you don’t already take some with you, consider it. They can make your life a lot easier, especially when zeroing a scope. 


Steiner offers the Heritage warranty with their binoculars. This is a lifetime deal where Steiner assures they can repair the product for free within reason. If it’s cosmetic, intentional damage, loss, or theft, it’s not covered. But if your binoculars break they’ll get you fixed up in no time. You don’t even need a receipt or proof of warranty. Plus, it is still in effect for future owners if you were to pass them down or sell them. In theory, these binoculars could easily be handed down between generations and kept in the same high quality for quite a while. It’s important to note this covers several of their products but this warranty specifically applies in the US and Canada on products made since 2014. 


man holding binoculars with both hands, squatted to the ground
The Steiner binoculars have a great grip and feel. [Photo credit: Grace Stevens]

Steiner’s Military Marine 7×50 binoculars were great to use. The only downside is the price is a little steep, but you truly get your money’s worth (especially with the lifetime warranty). If you spend a lot of time outdoors hiking, shooting, or hunting, I recommend these to cover multiple areas of interest. Who doesn’t need a reliable set of binoculars that you can take anywhere to do anything? 

The post Steiner Military Marine 7×50 Binoculars: See Anything, Anywhere appeared first on The Mag Life.

CategoriesNew Gun Releases

XS Sights R3D Night Sights for Kimber K6s: Make the Shot, Day or Night

XS Sights, a leader in aftermarket night sights for firearms, has expanded its lineup of R3D Night Sights to include options for the Kimber K6s revolver. This gives the owners of this compact revolver more options beyond factory sights.

“Being able to see your sights in any light is critical in self-defense situations, and our R3D Night Sights are designed for this,” said Addison Monroe, Marketing Manager, XS Sights. “The R3D, with its Glow Dot technology and wider notch, is a significant upgrade that gives gun owners confidence in their ability to make the shot day or night.”

XS Sights has expanded its R3D Night Sight family to include an option for the Kimber K6s revolver. These are available with either a green or orange tritium dot. The sights can also be purchased as a set or only the front sight. [Photo credit: XS Sights]


The R3D night sights are CNC machined from solid steel bar stock at XS Sight’s Texas facility. They are equipped with the company’s proprietary Glow Dot with a tritium center for dual illumination. The Glow Dot absorbs the ambient light and glows in low-light situations while also absorbing light from the tritium. According to the company, the sight design naturally draws the shooter’s eye to the brighter front sight and beyond. This helps with more accurate target acquisition.

The sights are available in both green or orange high-contrast front sights. They can also be purchased as either just the front sight or in a set. The rear sight is a 2-dot, blacked-out tritium sight with an anti-reflective coating so as not to outshine the front sight but will allow for proper alignment with the front sight.

The XS Sights R3D Night Sight has a 12-year warranty on the tritium. XS Sights recommends a gunsmith for installation due to the front sight needing to be drilled for the retention pin. The company also notes that the sights will only fit the K6s and not the K6xs revolver. MSRP is $73 for just the front sight and $138 for the complete set.

The post XS Sights R3D Night Sights for Kimber K6s: Make the Shot, Day or Night appeared first on The Mag Life.

CategoriesGun Reviews

Streamlight MacroStream USB Flashlight: Too Good Not To Have!

Flashlights are sort of like potato chips, in that most people can’t have just one. We might even go so far as to say that they’re addicting. Especially for the tactical crowd, who typically seem to go on lengthy tangents down those rabbit holes.

Anyone who happens to be “into” flashlights will be familiar with the name Streamlight. Since 1973, they’ve been bringing us lighting tools. Initially, they started out with only six employees, but that has grown to approximately 240 employees today.

Based in Pennsylvania, they are known for quality products that do not cost an arm and a leg and that are durable, while giving high performance. Known as a “hands-on” company, employees are active in many varied pursuits, and these experiences lend expertise when they’re developing and testing lights. For example, many Streamlight employees go through firefighter training and are hunters, fishermen, and outdoor enthusiasts. These folks know what we need in the field!

Today we’re going to take a close-up look at the Streamlight MacroStream USB Flashlight. What’s so great about it? We’re going to let you know!

Rechargeable Batteries — The New Wave!

Having to constantly replace and purchase batteries is a real drag and can become pretty costly for those of us who use lights frequently. I personally use my lights multiple times per day. They are an irreplaceable part of my wardrobe. With the innovation of rechargeable batteries, flashlights have benefitted immensely. No longer do we have to constantly buy and replace batteries. The cost savings can be significant for many of us.

The MacroStream comes with a USB charger cable, or you can use the one from your phone. (Photo: Jim Davis)

A Caveat

While I am a zealous fanatic about my love for rechargeable lights, there is one minor downside. It might not affect everyone, but I’ll throw it out there anyway.

The issue can occur if we exhaust the charge in one of our rechargeable lights. That light must now be plugged in to recharge, presumably until it is fully charged. During that charging time, the light is out of commission. As such, the user probably should have a backup light source to fall back on. For most of us, that means buying multiple lights. That gives us an excuse to go out and buy more lights, which most people will happily do.

Is this a huge issue? It depends upon what we’re using our light for. If it’s law enforcement or Search And Rescue, it could be a huge deal. In such instances, having a backup is absolutely paramount. Those who plan ahead will most definitely have extra lights.

For lights that are just EDC-type items around the house, this shouldn’t be a huge issue, as it’s easy enough to have a spare light around the house.

Despite small inconveniences, the rechargeable nature of lights with their cost savings will still be wildly welcomed by most people.

Streamlight MacroStream USB Specs

The length of the MacroStream is 4.5 inches (11.43 Centimeters) and it weighs 2.2 ounces (62.37 grams). In short, it’s a small, lightweight light that easily clips inside a pocket. As far as compactness and ease of carry are concerned, they got this one right.

There is an internal, lithium-ion battery in the light. The body of the light is constructed of anodized, machined aluminum. The lens is polycarbonate. I’ve not had any issues with the lens scratching.

The light is tested to one-meter impact resistance. The aircraft aluminum body is protected by a Mil-Spec Type II anodized finish that gives it a nice, flat black appearance.

The LED light source is immune to shock and features a 30,000 run time.

A USB charging cord is included with the light. Or you can use any of the dozen or so charger cables that are likely around your home, leftovers from years of cell phones.

The switch for the light is a rubber-coated tail switch. The first push of the switch gets the user 500 lumens (2,000 candelas), while the second push gets us 50 lumens. At either setting, if you push the switch all the way in, it clicks and stays on (Constant On). If you don’t push it until it clicks, the light turns off as soon as pressure is released from the switch (Momentary On). This is, to me, the perfect way to set up a switch.

Tail cap switch.
The tail cap switch is easy to find in the dark and in emergencies. It works well for Momentary On or Constant On functions. (Photo: Jim Davis)

For a defensive or tactical light, in my opinion, the only way to go is the push button tail switch. The thumb automatically goes straight to the tail to activate it, and there’s no blind searching for the switch in the dark. The Momentary On aspect is also perfect; if pressure is released, the light goes off. These are both mandatory requirements for me in a tactical/defensive light.

A twist of the tail switch can lock the light out so it won’t be activated accidentally.

Run Times

  • At the 500-lumen setting, the light runs for two hours.
  • At the 50-lumen setting, the light runs for eight hours.
  • Internal lithium-ion battery charges in four hours.

How To Charge the Streamlight Macrostream USB 

Speaking of charging the light, it’s a unique process. Pull the head of the light forward, and a metal sleeve slides forward to expose the charging port. Plug in the charger cable. A red charge indicator light indicates that the unit is charging, while a green one indicates that it is fully charged.

After it’s charged, just push the sleeve back down toward the light, and it seals again, making the unit water-resistant. The light is rated for IPX-4 water resistance, which protects from splashing water, regardless of the direction.

The Streamlight MacroStream Clip

The clip on the Streamlight MacroStream USB is stellar, in that it allows you to carry the light with the head either up or down, which offers versatility. I personally like to carry my lights with the tail cap in the upward position in my pocket because I find the light is in a good position to activate the tail cap switch as soon as I draw it.

Streamlight MacroStream clip
The Streamlight MacroStream clip can carry the light either bezel up or down and is sturdy. It can also clip easily to the bill of a hat. The MacroSTream is light and compact. (Photo: Jim Davis)

One convenient aspect is that the MacroStream can be clipped onto the bill of a ball cap for hands-free operation. The light doesn’t weigh much and won’t drag the hat down on the user’s head, so this method works extremely well. On top of that, the clip can be affixed to any number of other pieces of gear, including pack straps and such. I’ve found this clip to be extremely durable, which is another huge plus. I don’t have to be concerned with it bending or breaking off.

Finally, the clip is removable, should the user decide to take it off.

What’s the range for this light?

Set at 500 lumens, the range of the MacroStream is listed at 90 meters, while at 50 lumens, it is 30 meters.

A little more about the beam. It has a main, focused throw that reaches out nicely. Then it has a wide flood, which helps light up the surrounding area. I like the flood because it helps illuminate objects or threats that might be nearby in the periphery. All in all, it’s a good beam that works well for many tasks.


In my opinion, this light is good for tactical, self-defense, and EDC (Everyday Carry) use. For tactical/self-defense, I like the fact that the first setting gets me the highest light output. If I’m trying to illuminate or blind a threat, I want that high setting right now, not later on. Having it as the primary setting is smart.

MacroStream, Spyderco PM2, Glock 43X.
Streamlight’s MacroStream offers a bright output. It makes a nice part of an EDC package, including a Spyderco Paramilitary 2 and a Glock 43X. (Photo: Jim Davis)

The fact that there is a lower setting (50 lumens) is great for EDC when we don’t necessarily need blinding light. Plus, it saves the battery, giving us many hours of light.

Will this light blind an attacker? Absolutely. Sure, there are brighter lights out there, but this one brings a lot to the table: it’s rechargeable and has two very sensible light outputs. It’s solidly constructed, as well. In an emergency, this light could be used to strike an attacker, as it’s built solidly enough.

One of the best aspects is that it is simple to use! There are just two settings, as opposed to other lights, some of which have a half-dozen different settings. Often, simple is better.

For navigating around the house or outside, the lower power setting works great, as it gives enough light to see up close, but won’t blast the eyes with night-vision-killing lumens.

MacroStream in hand.
The tail cap switch is fast into action. The light is also stout enough to be used as a striking device. (Photo: Jim Davis)

To Summarize

Streamlight’s MacroStream USB checks off a lot of the boxes for many of us. It has two very useful power levels that cover defensive, tactical, Search And Rescue, and EDC functions, among others.

The rechargeable aspect of it saves us from going broke purchasing fresh batteries, so there’s a real economical aspect to it. And talking about economics, there’s the price, which, at the time of this writing, happens to be $57.99.

It’s a durable light as well and will stand up to an impressive amount of abuse.

This light covers a lot of bases for a very reasonable price point. It comes from a company that stands behind its products with a limited lifetime warranty. I have to say, the Streamlight MacroStream USB is one of the better buys on the market, considering what you get for the money. You need one. 

The post Streamlight MacroStream USB Flashlight: Too Good Not To Have! appeared first on The Mag Life.

CategoriesGun Reviews

Vortex AMG UH-1 Gen 2 “Huey” — A Versatile Holographic Sight

Over the last decade, Vortex has earned a reputation as a venerable staple of the optics market. I was first acquainted with Vortex when they suddenly materialized in the gun store I worked at in 2012. I was immediately impressed by the clarity of the lenses on a set of display binoculars. In side-by-side comparison with other high-quality binoculars, some in excess of $700 at the time, I was blown away by the price-to-quality ratio offered. Vortex’s lifetime warranty is no slouch either.

I’ve relied on a Vortex handheld monocular for law enforcement surveillance for nearly 10 years without any hiccups. My Alamo Precision .308 is outfitted with a Vortex Viper 4-16x50mm while my patrol rifle is equipped with a Vortex Strikefire II. To say I’ve had some experience with Vortex optics is appropriate, if not an understatement.

The Vortex AMG UH-1 Gen 2 “Huey” mounted on the rifle used for testing, a Daniel Defense M4 Vickers Carbine equipped with an AAC 556-SD suppressor.

Recently, I got my hands on one of Vortex’s more interesting entries into their optics lineup — the Vortex AMG UH-1 Gen 2 Holographic sight, colloquially nicknamed the “Huey.” I’ll admit I wasn’t sure what to expect when I received the optic. I’ve ventured into holographic sights in the past but primarily dedicated myself to the extended battery life and apparent simplicity provided by red dot optics. An entire article can, and will, be dedicated to comparing the two designs but is outside the scope of most folk’s attention span (I’m not exempt from this) and this review. Ultimately, the UH-1 is a well-designed and rugged holographic sight at a competitive market price ($600).

The Vortex AMG UH-1 Gen 2

Holographic sights are nothing new since the introduction of the Holosight in 1996. Vortex began their venture into holographic sights by adding the UH-1 Razor to their lineup in 2017 as a direct competitor to other holographic sights like those offered by EOTech. In 2020, Vortex stepped up their game by offering a night vision compatible design with the Gen 2 Huey.

The Vortex AMG UH-1 Gen 2 Huey came complete with an instruction manual and an included CR123 battery. Battery installation was quick as the optic offers a folding “turnkey” for easy battery installation and removal. While on the topic of batteries, I should address the elephant in the room as it relates to holographic sights: their battery life pales in comparison to standard red dots. Depending on brightness settings, a holographic sight will only get between 500 to 1,000 hours of life compared to the 50,000+ hours of battery life from red dot single diode emitter. This is arguably the biggest con of any holographic sight, but it’s offset by certain benefits offered by the holographic design.

The Gen-II has the addition of an “NV” or night vision setting that is compatible with most modern night vision optics. The Gen-II deleted the rechargeable feature offered on the original Huey. I attribute this primarily to complaints heard on the use of rechargeable batteries and the diminished battery life some users reported. Nevertheless, CR123 batteries are common and easily acquired at reasonable prices in bulk.

Control buttons on Vortex UH-1 Gen II
The control buttons on the Huey were easy to manipulate but not where they could be inadvertently bumped by the user.

Mounting the optic to an AR-15 was a breeze as it affixed directly to a standard Picatinny M1913 rail via an adjustable tension throw level. The lack of screws to adjust tightness gave me extra piece of mind that it wouldn’t fly off under heavy use nor did I have to get the tension “exact” to ensure a screw didn’t work its way out.

Sight-in and Adjustments

Sight-in was a breeze as the ½ MOA adjustments got me on paper at 50 yards relatively quickly. The optic was easily sighted in at 50 meters which, in my opinion, is the far range for precision sub-MOA shooting with a red dot. The rifle provided approximately 1.5 MOA groups at 50 yards, which isn’t necessarily precision quality, but is good enough for the test at hand.

I conducted MOA adjustment testing on the optic to determine if the optic tracked appropriately. The MOA adjustment testing involved what I refer to as the “Box Drill”. For those unfamiliar with a box drill, it involves sighting the optic in on a target at any distance between 25-100 meters. The target has four additional targets positioned at the corners of the center target in a “X” pattern. Each of the corner targets are 4” apart from each other and exactly 2” offset by elevation and windage from the center target.

A properly tracking optic with ½ MOA adjustments, like the Huey, should require four clicks left or right and four clicks up or down to hit one of those corner targets if I’m sighted on the center target at 100 yards. It’s an easy test to determine if internal adjustments are accurate, affected by recoil, or the scope has another internal issue. In summary, the Huey tracked exactly as it should within the 1.5-2 MOA margin for error I experienced with the initial 3-shot group. With my concerns assuaged about the optic maintaining zero or adjusting properly, I delved into my stash of ammo for testing.

Housing and Sight Picture

The housing on the UH-1 appears well-built and the phrase “overbuilt” almost comes to mind. This is an optic I have little concern over being able to withstand impacts from heavy use. During initial testing, a thunderstorm moved in and soaked the rifle and Huey with a nice rain. This had no effect on the optic’s performance and it continued working without a hiccup.

The mounting throw lever and easy removal cap for the battery compartment were intuitive and convenient for installation and function.

The optic’s profile was compact despite its apparent size. The weight, at 11.6 ounces, was not an issue due to its location near the center of mass on the rifle. While not being the first to note this, the optic’s profile is narrower near the rear objective and opens up at the front. This allows the large optic window to nearly disappear during use and doesn’t appear to impede the view of the target. It’s a nice little feature most users may not notice unless they pay close attention to it.

Reticle on the UH-1

As a red dot enthusiast, I’m used to the vanilla sight picture of a single dot offered by the reflected diode. Put dot on target and press trigger is the normal prescription for red dot applications. However, there is substantially more involved when dealing with an AR-15 optic. The optic on an AR-15 is not mounted directly in line with the bore and requires significant offset from the barrel.

For example, a 5.56 AR-15 pattern rifle sighted in at 100 meters can easily maintain head shots on a silhouette target to about 15 meters. As the shooter moves closer to the target, where the optic is sighted in versus where the projectile goes, begins to deviate. This isn’t so much about the trajectory of the bullet as much as it’s about the offset (between 1.5 to 2 inches) between the optic and the rifle bore.

This is why, somewhat hilariously, I’ve seen officers shoot barricades and even vehicles during training because the optic showed a clear view of the target while the barrel was not cleared from the obstacle. In the real world, this can lead to tragic consequences if the shooter isn’t conscious of this. Case in point, a shot on a hostage taker at close distances requires the shooter to aim their optic above the anticipated impact point. Historically, this is achieved through repetitive training and knowing what the offset is at closer distances.

The EBR-CQB reticle offered by Vortex at the highest brightness setting. The reticle’s details were still crisp at this setting with the CQB triangle clearly visible.

The Huey is equipped with Vortex’s EBR-CQB reticle – a 65 MOA circle with 1 MOA dot. The small dot allows for precise shots to the user and rifle’s capabilities while the 65 MOA circle makes for fast hits on target at short ranges. From my experience, the most beneficial feature this reticle offers is the small CQB triangle in the lower portion of the optic. Vortex advertises the CQB triangle as offering the shooter a quick point-of-aim/point-of-impact reference for the optic-to-bore offset discussed earlier at distances of 10 meters or less. Using a homemade IPSC target, I conducted drills between seven and 50 meters using the provided reticle.

At distances of 15 meters or less, the CQB triangle was a handy addition when performing precision “hostage taker” shots while the 65 MOA circle made getting the optic on target and scoring hits center mass an easy task. The 1 MOA dot made for easier precision shots at distance. For those involved in competition, defensive, or similar applications, this reticle design was easy to adjust to after years as a lowly red dot user. After several hundred rounds, the optic continued to hold zero with no apparent issues or malfunctions.

Transitioning from rapid center mass to hostage taker shots was easy with the CQB reticle at close distances. In a reference from “Super Troopers” to the two thrown shots, “Don’t worry about that little guy”.

Final Thoughts on the Vortex AMG Gen 2

The Vortex AMG Gen 2 Huey is a fantastic optic on par with other available holographic sights. The diminished battery life of the holographic sight versus a red dot is overcome by the crisp clean image provided by a holographic sight. Even at its highest setting, the reticle didn’t “starburst” or blur due to the brightness as seen with some red dots. For those with astigmatism, a holographic sight like the Huey is an excellent option as the starburst issue of red dots is averted.

While battery life is a concern, the Huey features an auto-off feature where it turns off after 14 hours of continuous on. If Vortex is to improve on their design at all, I would suggest they include a “shake-awake” feature on the optic like other manufacturers have developed to automatically turn the optic on when the weapon is moved. This feature is neat, but also presents some issues in a military or law enforcement capacity where the weapon and optic are stored in a vehicle. The movement of a vehicle during a pursuit or other fast and furious driving could inadvertently turn the optic on. While I’ve been in a hurry to deploy my patrol rifle; the rifle is stored with a loaded mag and empty chamber. I’ve trained to charge the rifle, turn the optic on, and check the reticle to make sure it’s functioning with my previous red dots. I feel the need to turn the optic on is less of a feature issue with the optic than a training issue with the user. If the user trains appropriately, turning the optic on while deploying the rifle takes barely more time than is necessary to charge the rifle with a live round.

Ultimately, the Huey is a solid optic that I look forward to getting more time on over the coming months. I’ve been impressed enough with its performance that I plan to put it on my full-time patrol rifle for duty use. And, barring the optic spontaneously self-destructs, I anticipate many years of service. Overall, the Vortex AMG UH-1 Gen 2 Huey is another well-built addition to the quality lineup of Vortex optics.

The post Vortex AMG UH-1 Gen 2 “Huey” — A Versatile Holographic Sight appeared first on The Mag Life.

CategoriesGun Reviews

The Mighty Taurus Raging Hunter in 500 S&W

Taurus firearms are not new to the shooting community, they’ve been around for decades. From humble beginnings before World War II, Taurus has risen to be one of the top five handgun manufacturers in the U.S. and one of the three largest small arms manufacturers in the world. I had the pleasure of running into Kristen Alberts at the Taurus booth this year at the SHOT Show. Her name should ring a bell, especially for handgun hunters. Last summer Kristen, aka “The Wilderness Woman” hand-gunned a cape buffalo bull on The Dark Continent. So, it was no surprise we both ended up at their hunting revolver section where we were shown their new line of Taurus Raging Hunter revolvers in 460 S&W and the mighty 500 S&W. A couple of months back Taurus’s Brand Marketing Manager, Caleb Giddings asked if I wanted to do some wrist-snapping revolver content. Well, of course I did!

Features of the Taurus Raging Hunter 500

Based on their large-frame revolver the Taurus Raging Hunter 500 is hefty, weighing in at an unloaded 59.50 ounces. My test gun was the 5.12-inch barreled, all-business black gun. The barrel is somewhat slab-sided and contours in on the top and bottom, forming a diamond shape. It is ported to help reduce recoil. The unfluted, five-shot cylinder leaves plenty of steel around the chambers to allow for the heaviest of loads. The padded backstrap of the wrap-around rubber grips aids in cushioning recoil and provides a good gripping surface. The front sight is bold and 0.11-inch wide and the rear sight is sturdy and adjustable. The barrel also comes with an integral Picatinny rail to support optics if you so choose. Along with the rear cylinder latch, this big gun also supports a latch at the front providing dual-cylinder lockup. The heavy top strap measures 0.31 of an inch in thickness, providing a lot of steel for strength. The hammer is well-checkered, offering easy cocking for single-action fire and the wide trigger is slick-faced, offering a good feel.

Accurate ammunition from Hornady and Buffalo Bore range from 300 to 500 grains.

The Cartridge

Smith and Wesson debuted the 500 S&W cartridge in 2003 for chambering in its massive X-frame revolver. The cartridge uses a rimmed case 1.625 inches in length with a rim diameter of 0.560. My Ammo and Ballistics 5th Edition gives the 500 S&W a relative recoil factor of 2.95. The same book rates the 44 Remington Magnum at 1.45 and the 357 Magnum at 0.89, just to give you an idea of the sheer power of this cartridge.

The Good, the Bad, and the Recoil!

This is one big, tough revolver. I had no mechanical issues whatsoever. Truthfully, I wondered if any screws would back out due to heavy recoil. None did. I have one complaint about this gun. The single-action trigger is much too heavy to my liking, weighing in at seven pounds on this particular gun with a bit of creep. Personally, for me, that’s about four or five pounds too heavy. I am confident in saying that had this trigger been more manageable, my groups would have been much tighter than those I fired. If this gun was mine, I would have the action slicked up and the trigger pull lightened. I have handled Taurus’s Executive Grade Judge recently which has a really nice action on it, so I know they can do it. I think hunters would be happy to pay a bit extra for a smooth, crisp action out of the box. I have no way of measuring the double-action weight of this revolver. While it is not buttery smooth, it does not feel extreme.

The Taurus Ragin Hunter on the Ransom Multi Cal Steady Rest
While Ransom International’s Multi Cal Steady Rest is excellent, I elected to shoot the revolver from shooting sticks and removed the Trijicon SRO, preferring to use the Taurus Raging Hunter’s good sights.

Even though the Taurus Raging Hunter 500 is ported, it still produces plenty of recoil. This is not a gun for the novice. My first three-shot group fired with Hornady’s 300-grain FTX ammunition off my good Ransom Steady Rest produced a nice 1.67-inch group. Those three shots took every bit of concentration I could muster, and I lost my desire to fire two more for a five-shot group! The recoil from a sitting rest was not what I would call terrible, but I wouldn’t call it pleasant either. I have a medium-sized hand and have discovered that most double-action revolvers in their grip design pound the web of my hand when heavy recoil loads are involved. The wrap-around rubber grips on the Raging Hunter go a long way in helping reduce felt recoil.

I fired the Hornady group with a Trijicon SRO red dot mounted on the revolver but using it on this particular gun felt unnatural to me, so I removed it and will use it in later reviews. That’s no fault of the optic, just my personal preference for iron-sighted revolvers.

Hornady Ammunition provided a three-shot 1.67-inch group.
Off the Ransom Steady Rest and sighting through the Trijicon SRO, Hornady’s 300-grain FTX load clustered three shots in 1.67 inches at 25 yards.

I decided to fire the remaining groups standing, using my Primos tall tripod trigger sticks to support my gun hand as I do when hunting. This allows me to absorb recoil much better and changes group size very little.

I also spread out my range sessions over three separate trips. The most I fired at one time was fifteen rounds. This let me concentrate on holding the revolver sufficiently while firing, along with concentrating on breaking the stiff trigger as best I could when the sights were aligned correctly on the target.

Buffalo Bore sent me four of their 500 S&W loads for testing ranging from bullet weights of 375 to their new 500-grain hard cast load. It’s no surprise that all shot well, and I consistently shot five-shot groups roughly the size of my fist with an occasional flyer. Their 18A loading performed exceptionally well in this revolver. This load consists of a 400-grain JFN at around 1675 fps. I was able to put three shots in two holes at 25 yards, standing and resting my gun hand wrist on my trigger sticks and gripping my gun hand as normal with my support hand.

Buffalo Bore's Ammunition shot very well in the Raging Hunter.
Buffalo Bore’s 18 A load, a 400-grain JFN listed on the box at 1675 fps stacked three rounds in two holes at 25 yards.

Real-World Applications for the Taurus Raging Hunter 500

For me, this revolver is one I would sight in with my preferred, stout load and not shoot much with full-power ammo. I would definitely experiment with some lighter 500 S&W Special loads for practice and shoot the hot stuff in moderation.

The Taurus Raging Hunter, especially with the 5.12-inch barrel is an excellent candidate if one lives where the big bears roam. The same goes for those fortunate enough to live in or hunt Africa on a regular basis. This revolver/cartridge configuration is one heck of a strong candidate as a carry gun to be used against critters that can kill you. After an action job, I would not hesitate to take this revolver after an old, ornery cape buffalo bull, or anything else for that matter. Had it been available a couple of years ago, this is the revolver I would have worn while hiking with my wife in grizzly country.

If you are in the market for a revolver chambered for the most powerful commercial revolver cartridge on the planet, the Taurus Raging Hunter in 500 S&W is for you. It’s tough, accurate, and affordable. With an MSRP of $1069.00, I expect you can find one for under a grand. That’s a lot of bang for your buck!

The post The Mighty Taurus Raging Hunter in 500 S&W appeared first on The Mag Life.

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