CategoriesAccessories

Do You Need a Red Dot Sight on your Carry Pistol?

One of the more noticeable changes in the self-defense world in the last few years is the appearance of red dot sights (RDS) on carry guns. When RDS were new they were seen as something competitive shooters used and it took some time for that to change. From competitive shooting, they saw use among handgun hunters and now they’ve become common on everyday carry (EDC) guns.

The SwampFox Sentinel is a good red dot option for many shooters. (Photo Credit: SwampFox Optics)

In the video below, Lucky Gunner examines whether you really need a pistol red dot, and why.

Why do you want a pistol red dot sight?

There are a lot of reasons to put an RDS on your carry gun. In fact, there are more pros than cons which makes it difficult to make a solid pro/con list. Benefits of using an RDS:

  • •Target acquisition
  • •Accuracy
  • •Field of View
  • •Adjustable dots
  • •Low-light use
  • •Easier to see
  • •Feedback during dryfire
  • •Getting shots on target at longer distances

If you’re thinking it would take you too long to learn to use an RDS, you might be surprised to find out that it is a fairly simple process. Yes, it takes some time to get used to looking for a red — or green — dot instead of lining up iron sights, but it’s also easier than iron sights.

pistol red dot in handgun class
Not long ago, RDS in a handgun class were the exception rather than the rule. Today they’re common. (Photo Credit: Lucky Gunner)

 

Once you master visualizing the dot as you’re getting on target you can focus on speed, and that’s where a pistol red dot sight gets even more impressive: rapid target acquisition. Basically, if you have an RDS on your carry gun you’ll shave some time off how long it took you to draw your gun and get a shot on target with iron sights. Seconds definitely matter when it comes to self-defense.

Swampfox Sentinel Pistol red dot sight
The SwampFox Sentinel is one of the RDS Chris Baker mentions in this video. (Photo Credit: SwampFox Optics)

Chris Baker from Lucky Gunner goes over the details of why you might want a red dot sight on your carry gun in the video below.

 

Are there any downsides?

On the con side of the list, Chris Baker said, “I think a lot of the most common criticisms of pistol red dot sights are overblown. Things like durability or battery life are kind of minor issues at this point if you’re careful about hardware selection, but there are some challenges involved in transitioning from iron sights to a red dot that I think deserve some attention. …two of the biggest challenges…one is a hardware issue, simply figuring out which pistol to mount an optic to and what method to use to mount it — that seems like it should be easy but it’s often not — [and] the other big challenge is more of a software, or training, issue. …that is, learning how to find the dot when you are shooting.”

Can these challenges be fixed? Yes, but it takes some time and effort.

man participating in pistol red dot training class
It’s a good idea to take a red dot sight class to help you hone your RDS skills. (Photo Credit: Lucky Gunner)

In the video, Chris Baker suggests taking classes from experienced RDS instructors like Scott Jedlinski, which is a great idea. Being an informed shooter — and a well-trained one — is always a good thing. Watch the Lucky Gunner video to find out more about whether you want an RDS on your carry gun.

CategoriesAccessories

The TRS 25 — A Budget-Friendly Bushnell-Made Red Dot

The term ‘budget optic’ often creates a reaction in me that is akin to what happens when I hear nails on a chalkboard. Budget optics usually suck, even though people will often defend them till they’re blue in the face. Optics from no-name companies on Amazon find themselves on rifles way too often. However, there are always exceptions to the rule, and the Bushnell TRS 25 seems to be one of those exceptions.

The TRS 25 is super cheap, but does it work?

The TRS 25 came out years ago and has since steadily proved itself to be the alpha when it comes to budget optics. I remember distinctly avoiding it purely due to its price tag. I assumed with such a low price, and it was just more junk. However, one way or another, my curiosity overwhelmed me. I kept seeing the TRS 25 pop up and hearing good things about it. So I finally purchased one.

It’s lived it’ss life mainly sitting on a 9mm PCC for several years now. I think I have a pretty good opinion on how the ole optic holds up.

Bushnell TRS 25 Specs

The TRS 25 falls into the realm of being a compact red dot. The objective lens is 25mms wide, and the whole package is only 2.5 inches long. Weight-wise you won’t feel anchored by the 3.6 ounces you’re strapping to your gun.

Bushnell includes a low mount integrated into the optic but adding a high mount is easy and gives you that AR-height co-witness that we all know and love. The Hi-Rise model makes this a one-and-done thing, but you can use any Picatinny rail riser if you so choose.

Bushnell TRS 25 red dot and magnifier on PCC
A cheap optic combined with a cheap magnifier gives a budget option for cheapo carbines.

The TRS 25 packs 11 brightness levels in its simplistic and old-school rotating brightness wheel. In the middle setting, it will last for 5,000 hours. Not too bad for an optic that utilizes a CR2032 battery.

To keep things versatile, you get a 3 MOA red dot that would make it a natural on centerfire and rimfire rifles as well as shotguns and even sport-style pistols like the Ruger MK series. The little 3 MOA dot works rather well for most firearms.

The TRS 25 looks like a million other bottom-barrel grade red dots. They all tend to have a similar design, but somehow the TRS 25 rises above that. Perhaps Bushnell was more demanding with their Chinese contractors, or they just put out the right specs to the right people.

Bushnell TRS 25 budget-friendly red dot
The TRS 25 provides an efficient low cost option for shooters on a budget.

Budget red dots is a spectrum of red dots. Depending on who’s saying it can mean anything from the junk tier optics that cost anywhere from 30 to 60 dollars I mentioned previously to options from Holosun that cost a couple of hundred bucks. The TRS 25 sits anywhere from 80 to 120 bucks depending on the mount included.

The Dot

That 3 MOA red dot does do something different than most budget red dots. Most hit the 2 MOA mark, making them solely for rifles. That little extra size makes this dot a little more versatile. It’s not the crispest, clearest circular dot. It certainly has some rough edges to it when you compare it to a more expensive dot.

Bushnell TRS 25 reticle
It’s tough to see the green hue, but it’s there in real life.

The 11 brightness settings are important to consider. Can a budget optic get bright enough to see during the day? I can tell you the TRS 25 certainly can. I live in the sunshine state, so my optics gotta get nice and bright. The TRS 25 works perfectly at high noon at settings 8, 9, and sometimes 10.

At the higher brightness levels, you’ll see some halo effect in the optic. Also, the wheel that controls the brightness level is a major hassle. It’s stiff and doesn’t move easily. To be fair, I’d prefer it to be stiff than loose. (There is a joke in there somewhere.)

To the Church of Steel and Lead

Mounted on my el-cheapo PCC, I’ve used the optic to put hundreds of rounds down range and for numerous range trips. It’s a fun gun beyond anything else and came from my early days of AR Tom Foolery when the purse strings were tight, and 9mm cost eight bucks a box. The TRS 25 is a very fitting red dot for this blue-collar build.

What you first notice when looking through the lens on the TRS 25 is a noticeable greenish hue to it. That is the reflective coating that allows you to see your red dot. The coating allows all light except red to pass through it, which captures the light emitted from the emitter and gives you a usable aiming point.

Bushnell TRS 25 on PCC
Going pew pew with the TRS 25.

The reason you see so much hue, especially compared to other dots, is that the coating is cheaper and likely applied a bit thicker. These coatings allow you to have a bright dot that uses less power.

The second thing you’ll notice is a big square sitting in the lower right quadrant. That is your emitter, and it’s glued in place. That’s kind of the norm with cheap optics. It may bother some—my TRS 25 even came with a warning letting you know what it is and that your dot isn’t broken and this glob was normal.

Zeroing requires a flat head tool or brass casing. It’s simple, and the dot moves 1 MOA per click. It’s not precise, but it’s also a red dot and a red dot range that’s precise enough. Once you got the dot on target, the fun can begin.

Through the Paces

I’ve put thousands of 9mm rounds downrange with the TRS 25, and admittedly, 9mm ain’t much of a challenge to the topic. However, its zero has never budged, and the optic has yet to fail me. If I turn it on and it doesn’t work, then I just gotta swap batteries, and I know it comes right back to life.

For you kind folks, I tossed it on a more potently powerful boomstick in the form of a 12 gauge pump-action shotgun. I wanted to see if that emitter would flutter, the dot fail, and if the zero would falter. We couldn’t do it with just birdshot, so I loaded up some standard Federal Buckshot into a Sentry 12 shotgun and let it loose.

Sentry 12 shotgun Bushnell TRS 25 red dot
Can it stand up to the 12 gauge recoil?

I made sure to focus on the dot to see if it would flicker off between shots. That’s often a clear sight of poor battery connection. In 20 rounds of buckshot, it remained on. My shoulder might’ve been feeling it, but the TRS 25 soldiered through.

I popped it back on the PCC and let it fly. The zero held without issue. Not too bad, but next, I strapped it to my ASP Red Gun and dropped it. I dropped it from shoulder height and I dropped it on both sides and the top a few times.

Bushnell TRS 25 red dot on ASP HK red training gun
Bye-bye little fella.

That emitter must be tough because it held zero once I tossed it back on my PCC and in a lead sled. It’s a sturdy little optic.

Downsides of the TRS 25

The TRS 25 is a robust, durable red dot option that provides a truly budget-friendly experience. As such, it often functions well above its price point. Most optics priced this low wouldn’t stand drops, falls, or even rough recoil. Mine has been in use for years without an issue and for several thousand rounds. (Admittedly, most were 9mm from a rifle.)

Bushnell TRS 25 red dot sight on ASP red gun after drop test
A post drop TRS 25

The optic does have a couple of downsides related to the dot. If you move it up and down and left to right rapidly, you’ll see the dot ‘stretch’ a bit, kind of like a cheap laser pointer. It’s not a huge deal, but a little distracting when transitioning from target to target.

It also does have that halo effect on bright settings that’s just a little annoying. If you can get past those flaws, you’ll find a great little optic. I wouldn’t use it for duty use, but for home defense and range use, it’s a great little dot.

CategoriesAccessories

What is It and How Does it Work?

By now, you’ve probably heard of the Rare Breed FRT-15 Trigger, if only because of the company’s coming fight with the Feds over the attempt to brand the trigger a “machine gun.” If you haven’t heard about that mess, we have a separate follow-up article on the way to break it down. For now, though, let’s look at exactly what the FRT-15 trigger is and what it does. If you already know this stuff, you’re excused and can go to recess early. If not, read on.

Rare Breed President Lawrence DeMonico puts the FRT-15 through its paces

FRT stands for “Forced Reset Trigger.”

The “15” part means that it’s designed for the AR-15 platform chambered in 5.56 NATO or .300 Blackout. It won’t work in AKs, SCARs, or anything else. Its function is dependent on the design of the MILSPEC AR bolt carrier.

Rare Breed FRT-15 trigger, designed for AR-15 in 5.56 NATO and .300 Blackout
The FRT-15 is designed especially for the AR-15 platform in 5.56 NATO and .300 Blackout.

It MAY work in an AR-9, depending on how the gun is set up. An FRT-9 (for AR-9s) and FRT-10 (for AR-10s) are in the works but not yet ready for manufacture. Rare Breed says that the FRT-15 will NOT work in an AR chambered in .22 Long Rifle, but I saw a guy who had one tuned to 80 to 90 percent reliability on YouTube. You decide for yourself, but when the manufacturer warns against it…

Rare Breed is careful to point out that the FRT-15 may require some tuning to any gun in which it’s installed. “Tuning,” in this case, refers to gassing and making sure you have the proper buffer and bolt carrier. More on that in a minute.

The term “forced reset” is an accurate descriptor of how the trigger works. Your standard AR trigger resets when the shooter releases rearward pressure, thus allowing the trigger mechanism to move forward, whereupon another press of the trigger starts the whole process over. Like you didn’t know that. 

Standard AR-15 trigger system cycle.
The cycle of a standard AR-15 trigger system. This cycle is animated, with a verbal overlay, on the Rare Breed website.

The FRT-15 uses a newly designed hammer that, as it is cocked by the bolt carrier, forces the trigger forward to the reset, along with the shooter’s finger, as the bolt moves forward to chamber the next round. A locking bar prevents the trigger from being pressed again until the bolt cycle is complete. By maintaining pressure on the trigger, the shooter can take advantage of the hammer-assisted reset to dramatically increase the rate of fire. Or not. Based on what I have seen, with some practice, the shooter can manipulate the trigger to fire only one shot or the equivalent of a short burst.

Rare Breed FRT-15 trigger cycle
The cycle of the Rare Breed FRT-15. The brown component is the hammer. The green component is the locking bar. Note how the movement of the bolt carrier forces each to engage the trigger, controlling the reset. This cycle is animated, with a verbal overlay, on the Rare Breed website.

Keep in mind that the locking bar’s pressure on the trigger prevents another press until the bolt cycles. Indeed, it is the completion of the bolt cycle that releases the locking bar. Between the hammer and the locking bar, the shooter cannot simply hold the trigger to the rear. It must execute its function for each round fired. So, while the FRT-15 is capable of a prodigious rate of fire, it is still a semi-automatic trigger.

Now, back to the part about tuning your gun so the FRT-15 operates properly.

FRT-15 drop-in trigger installation
The FRT-15 is a drop-in system, but may require some tuning to each individual gun

Here’s what Lawrence DeMonico, Rare Breed’s president, has to say about it:

  • You must have a MILSPEC full-auto bolt carrier. This is non-negotiable. If you have a lighter weight or semi-auto carrier with the longer slot in the bottom, it will not actuate the locking bar and the trigger will not work. Period.
  • Every gun is going to be a little different, based on barrel length, gas system, buffer, and bolt carrier weight. Some guns will run the trigger right out of the box. Don’t be discouraged if yours doesn’t because there are some simple things you can do.
  • Lawrence recommends an H3 buffer with a standard carbine spring. This is dependent on the next point, which is…
  • You have to have enough gas. The trigger’s design places a small amount of drag on the bottom of the bolt carrier as it cycles. So, you have to factor this in when working out the right combination for your gun.
  • Ejection patterns can tell you where your gassing is before you install the FRT-15: If you’re ejecting at 1 o’clock, you’re way overgassed; if you’re ejecting at 4 o’clock, you have the opposite problem and you’re way undergassed; 2:30 or 3 o’clock is the sweet spot and that’s where you want to be before installing the trigger.
  • The gas/buffer interaction is something you can play with. If your gun isn’t cycling properly, you have some choices: get a lighter H2 or H1 buffer; use hotter ammo; or open up your gas port. You can also speed up or slow down your rate of fire by adjusting these combinations.
  • As noted above, part of the tuning is your own trigger pull. If you have a death grip on it, the bolt won’t function properly, and your gun will malfunction. Keep your trigger pull between five and ten pounds.
  • Finally, Lawrence acknowledges that some shooters may have to employ the services of a gunsmith or armorer. Again, there are several variables, and every gun is going to be different.

Are there any problems with the Rare Breed trigger?

If you’re researching the FRT-15, you may run across some folks who have had problems with the locking bar spring. There was an issue caused by stacking tolerances in some ARs, which resulted in the spring kinking when the locking bar traveled further than it was designed to. Rare Breed addressed the problem by modifying the housing. All FRT-15s shipped on or after 1 March 2021 have the modified housing, thus fixing the problem that some people had. Those with a trigger from before that time were provided with a modified locking bar which also solves the problem.

I saw several people who addressed the problem on their own with homebrew modifications and fixes. Some worked better than others. Do what you want, but it looks to me like Rare Breed has addressed the problem and will take care of anyone who has experienced it. Keep in mind that these folks are only a small fraction of those who bought the trigger, so, while it is a problem, it is not widespread and appears to have been fixed. I offer this more as a PSA than anything. I have no personal skin in the game when it comes to Rare Breed, but the problem with the locking bar spring came to my attention and they seem to have handled it conscientiously.

Having said that, the vast majority of customers have had zero issues with the trigger. While researching, I found a lot more people who loved it than people who didn’t. And many of the folks who had the locking bar problem either fixed it themselves or let Rare Breed do it for them, resulting in the happy face.

All-in-all, the FRT-15 looks like a helluva lot of fun. But, as you might expect, the ability to achieve that higher rate of fire comes with some trade-offs. Accuracy is number one. If you think you’re gonna roll out there and drive tacks with this thing…well, you’re not. Depending on your range to target, you’ll be doing well to score a  hit 50 percent of the time. You’re gonna have to practice. A LOT. Which brings us to the second point, this thing burns through the ammo. If you have it to burn, then good on ya. But it will take some time and some ammo to get the accuracy you want. Or should want. Finally, if you want to fire one round at a time, you will have to practice that too. I saw some guys who had gotten it down, but they had to put in the work.

Rare Breed has sold tens of thousands of these triggers and I’m glad to hear that. Glad to hear that someone’s innovation and hard work paid off. Glad that shooters who want a product like that can get it and, hopefully, benefit from it. Glad the company is backing up its product the right way. But, as I mentioned earlier, the AFT (snicker) is trying to throw cold water on everyone’s fun. More on that soon. Hopefully, my editor will insert a link to that article HERE when it becomes available.

rare breed trigger
Is this a machine gun? We’ll talk about that in the next article

The Rare Breed website is full of good info, including an outstanding animation of how the FRT-15 Trigger operates.

Click here if you want to see how the FRT-15 fares against Jerry Miculek’s trigger finger.

CategoriesAccessories

Hack: How to Use a Rifle Sling

Looking for a way to upgrade your rifle without major changes to its setup? Would you like to potentially improve your own performance at the range? That’s where this easy rifle hack from TFB TV comes into play. In this video, the guys at TFB TV explain how a properly adjusted and utilized rifle sling can be a game-changer for you. Not only is it worth having a sling, they say, but it’s worth doing it right. Read on to discover just how easy it can be to up your gun game.

Could a rifle sling greatly improve your gun skills? TFB TV finds out. (Photo credit: TFB TV)

Why use a rifle sling?

There are quite a few reasons to put a sling on your rifle (and on other long guns, too). Here’s a list to get you going:

  • Hands-free carry
  • Stability
  • Bracing
  • Easier rifle-to-pistol transitions
  • Improved accuracy
  • Removing the strain from hands and arms

Blue Force Gear, a manufacturer of slings, took the TFB TV team through a three-hour class on sling use. During the class, they did everything from helping the team set up their rifles correctly to teaching them technique — and it’s all been reduced to a 20-minute video so you can watch and learn.

students ready for a rifle class on how to use a rifle sling
Getting ready for a rifle class on proper sling use. (Photo credit: TFB TV)

In the video, Chris from Blue Force Gear offers advice and answers questions. One question is, “What do we need a sling to do to be optimized?”

He says, ” …a sling needs to do three things for me. …if it doesn’t do these three things, you reduce it down to it [being nothing but a] parade sling, it doesn’t do anything but attach a gun to your body.

“[First] a sling has to give me the ability to have a repeatable and reliable front sling position. The reason I want [that] position is because most of the time…my hands are off the gun. [When] my hands are off the gun…I need it retained… …I don’t need it bouncing around…I don’t need it pointing at anything it’s not supposed to be pointed [toward]. …

“Two, a [good sling] will make what is inherently a [not] stable firing platform more stable through the use of a sling. We get that through a combination of…having an adjustable sling and…having it sized and fitted properly to the rifle and the shooter. …[the third thing] is I have to have a QD capability in the front [or] in the rear – preferably both – for [quick removal for trauma treatment].”

Blue Force Gear class demonstration of rifle sling use.
Blue Force Gear explains rifle sling use to the TFB TV team. (Photo credit: TFB TV)

To find out what else Blue Force Gear has to say about using rifle slings the right way, and what the TFB TV team got out of it, watch the video:

 

Do you really need a one?

As with any piece of gear, a sling is purpose driven. What are you using your gun for, and is it dedicated to that use? Is it a tactical or home defense rifle? Do you use it for hunting? Consider these things before choosing a sling. There are, after all, many types of slings and methods for using them.

Do you have a sling on your rifle? Which brand, and how does it work for you? Drop a comment below to share.

CategoriesAccessories

Get Your Banana Mag and Morale Patch

банан товарищ! If you’ve been wanting to add a banana magazine to your stockpile of AK goodness, you need wait no more. There are whole piles of AK 47 banana magazines stacked against the wall at GunMag Warehouse, and with each AK banana clip you get a banana mag morale patch! 

*cue clip vs. magazine outrage comments here*

Banana mag, AK 47 banana clip…whatever you want to call it (or how it looks), this magazine works.

If you’re one of those who’re unfamiliar with the Kalash life, you might not recognize the term. I shall explain.

AK 47 Banana Magazine

A banana mag is a curved magazine for a firearm – typically, not always, used to refer to an AK 47 magazine (also referred to colloquially as an “AK banana clip”). 

Banana magazines usually hold 30 rounds, though other options are available: like the Bulgarian 40-rounder, for instance.

A chest rig with banana mags
You can buy a whole bunch of the US PALM banana magazine if you’d like. They’re in stock.

 

US PALM AK Mag

This particular batch of limited edition bananas comes from US PALM (not Ecuador or Costa Rica), having been freshly picked for your enjoyment. They’re manufactured using a proprietary banana-yellow polymer for the body and a blue version for the baseplate for the classic banana look. Functionally, the magazine is a sealed, one piece design, with a low-friction polymer follower inside and a stainless steel latch cage outboard. 

In short, it’s a solidly built AK mag, though most of the folks buying one of ’em probably won’t be carrying one into a legitimate gunfight. Although that would be awesome

AK47 banana clip in the fridge

Banana Clip Debut

Here’s the wording from the initial PR push announcing the banana clip design. It’s redundant, yes, but I need to increase the word count in this article for SEO purposes.

Instantly recognizable and forever dependable, this is the world’s most advanced AK-47 30-round magazine.

The sealed, one-piece design is built to endure with a proprietary polymer. A low-friction self-cleaning polymer follower keeps performing while the stainless steel latch cage ensures positive loading that won’t give way when you need it the most.

The unique waffle and tread design that distinguishes the US PALM magazine provides a solid grip for the shooter during loading and unloading while providing rigid reinforcement.

US PALM is an icon among AK enthusiasts, and for good reason.

 

 

 

CategoriesAccessories

New Handgun Option: The Modlite PL350 Pistol Light

Attention all lumen lackeys, flashlight fanatics, and touters of torches that proclaim performance—we have a brilliant bulletin for you. The folks over at Modlite Systems have released their new weapon-mounted light: The Modlite PL350 Pistol Light. The release of their weapon light is something that fans of Modlite have been coveting for some time. Thankfully for them, it is finally here, and initial responses indicate that it does not seem to disappoint. On top of the weapon light, Modlite has also introduced the “Modlite PL350 Holster” to complement the light.

Just a few of the Modlite PL350s all hooked up. – Photo credit to @Modlitesystems on Instagram

The Modlite PL350 Pistol Light: Casting Light on the Subject

The specific light package that we are discussing today is the Modlite PLHv2-PL350 Light package. There are two more models, the PLH5K-PL350 & the OKW-PL350, that are coming out later with different Kelvin color temperatures and features. However, from here on out in this article, we will be referring to the PLHv2-PL350 as just the PL350.

Modlite PL350
“How far that little candle throws his beams!” – William Shakespeare. He was probably talking about good deeds or something, but we prefer to think he was a Lumen Lackey too. – Photo credit to @Modlitesystems on Instagram

The Modlite PL350 Pistol light comes with a switch and body assembly. In addition to that, the package also includes a 18350 rechargeable battery and a set of PHLSTER ARC Switch paddles. The 18350 battery allows the Modlite PL350 for roughly 35-40 minutes of continued usage.

Packages are available with and without a two-cell XTAR USB charger. The light is an “Out the front” battery change, allows you to quickly replace batteries without tools and without taking the light off the pistol.

Modlite PL350
Here is a gif of everything that comes inside the Modlite PL350 box and few pictures of it attached. – Photo credit to Modlite Systems

Specific statistics on the PL350 light, for the illumination intellectuals:

  • 5800 Kelvin color temperature
  • 1350 Lumens
  • 54,000 Candela
Here is the Modlite PL350 with a duty belt. According to Modlite Systems, the PL350 was tested and fielded by professionals with different agencies. – Photo credit to @Modlitesystems on Instagram

 

The Modlite PL350 Holster: What options are there?

As with any weapon-mounted light holster, compatibility is always an issue, but few manufacturers step up to the plate. Enter the Modlite PL350 Holster. We will be updating this page as we find more holsters for you.

PHLster Floodlight PL350

PHLSTER Floodlight holster for PL350
Here is the PHLster Floodlight PL350 Holster. It has soft loops for inside the waistband and belt clips, features adjustable retention, adjustable slide-contact, adjustable ride height, and can be carried appendix inside the waistband (AIWB) or strong-side inside the waistband. (IWB) – Photo credit to @PHLster on Instagram

 

PHLSTER Floodlight PL350 holster
Here is another angle of the PHLster Floodlight PL350 Holster for your viewing pleasure. – Photo credit to @PHLster on Instagram

Tenicor MALUS SOL Light Holster for the PL350

MALUS SOL AIWB for various Glocks

More than likely, more than a few of you interested in the Modlite PL350 are Glock geeks; this might pique your interest.

Tenicor Malus Sol aiwb holster for Glock
The Tenicor MALUS SOL AIWB Holster for Glock has a Tenicor T1 belt clip for carrying appendix inside the waistband (AIWB), an adjustable camming bar, dual tension screws, and even has room for suppressor height sights if you are into that kind of thing. Completely compatible with the Modlite PL350. – Photo credit to Tenicor

 

 

Tenicor Malus Sol AIWB holster for Glock
Here is another angle of the Tenicor MALUS SOL AIWB Glock Holster for you. – Photo credit to Tenicor

 

MALUS SOL for 1911/2011

If there are a few of you that are Glock Geeks there has to be plenty of you reading this that are 1911 diehards and for good reason!

Malus Sol holster compatible with 1911/2011 pattern guns
Tenicor also has the MALUS SOL compatible with most 1911/2011 pattern guns. However, according to Tenicor, it was explicitly designed for the Staccato 2011 family of pistols.  – Photo credits to Tenicor

Author’s note, it looks like Tenicor only has the MALUS SOL AIWB for 1911/2011 compatible with the Modlite PL350 in the full 5″ barrel version of this holster as of this writing.

More Pictures and Videos From Social:

 

Modlite PL350
“Today is the day😎 @modlitesystems @phlster” – Photo credit to @bigtexordnance on Instagram

 

Modlite PL350
“It has begun” – Photo credit to @mochabear_actual on Instagram

 

Modlite PL350
“Same, same, different, but the same.” – Photo credit to @sagedynamics on Instagram

 

Modlite PL350
“Folks were asking about @safarilandgroup fit with the @modlitesystems PL350. Well here you go, this one has a @ghostmendesigns portal in it and zero issues.” – Video credit to @tacticallysound on Instagram

 

Modlite PL350
“Couldn’t wait for the weekend, got to warm up the PL350. Initial thoughts are that the switching is great, very clicky, and it’s just so…much…light. Very cool. I’ve been wanting a new pistol light to come to market since we started having lowlight matches here locally and this fits the bill. Plus it takes the same batteries as my handheld, so that’s a plus.” – Video credit to @cannon762 on Instagram

 

Modlite PL350
“Initial impressions are..whoa. We’ve entered a new era.” – Photo credit to @matthelmknives on Instagram

 

Modlite PL350
“Who’s ready for the PL350?” – Photo credit to @spartannc on Instagram

 

Modlite PL350 holsters
“I didn’t officially make a post about it, mostly because I was on the road home from teaching, but he dropped out Skotos Holster for the @modlitesystems PL350 yesterday morning at 5am. The good news – they are in stock and ready to ship, yes colors too, with no wait times for these. The bad news.. we sold a bunch already in the last 24 hours and certain colors are already sold out. We hope to stock these moving forward as a few other products that are in high demand. Might even see some of these at dealers as well. Should have some OWB options stocked in a few days as well.” – Photo credit to @veilsolutions on Instagram

 

Modlite PL350 on helmets
“Modlite Systems PL350 providing the Umbrella lighting for this Galvion Caiman helmet. Green vis and IR strobe marking provided Core Survival Helstar6. I’m a huge fan of Princeton Tec MPLS WL/Red task light. Counterweight is provided by Microbat Systems with their Vampire Flathead. OpsCore AMP providing comms and hearing protection. Sensitive item retention provided by Costa Defense with there Squid Retention System as well a NVG mount retention add to the SRS via an extra shock cord with a split ring to attach to the SRS and a small spring loaded carabiner to connect to the Wilcox mount.” – Photo credit to @shooters101_utm on Instagram

 

 

CategoriesAccessories

Lone Star Silencers: Made in Texas with Love

In the never-ending battle of anti-gun legislation, Texas is making some major moves when it comes to suppressor regulations — and they all hinge upon Texas silencers.

Currently, in order to own a suppressor without having a felony slapped on you and getting major jail time, you must comply with the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA). Would-be suppressor buyers must go through the typically long and arduous process of asking permission from the ATF and passing a BATFE background check. Though the processing time for this varies, it’s often as much as 8-10 months or more.

There there is the tax. Once the wait is over, you are then required to pay a $200 transfer tax. Oh, and you also have to live in one of the 42 states that allow ownership of suppressors. If your legal residence is in California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, or the District of Colombia, well…you’re just out of luck. 

These laws have, obviously, always applied to Texas silencers as much as those of any other state.

Texas Silencer Laws

 

However…

 

For Texans, this may all get a little easier when House Bill (HB) 957 comes into play. This fun little bill would not-so-quietly squash the current federal suppressor laws by asserting that suppressors mad in Texas are no longer subject to federal regulation. It will do so by using the commerce clause of the U.S.Constitution.

 

Boiled down: any suppressor physically manufactured and subsequently remaining in the State of Texas and engraved with the words “Made in Texas”, would no longer be subject to federal law.

 

The code will go into effect on September 1, 2021.

 

Now, this doesn’t mean that you can just fire up the ol’ lathe and get going. Cases will be handled at the individual level. Private Citizens will have to file a complaint with the attorney general that a government body is taking action to enforce federal suppressor laws on you. In that case, the AT would seek a declaratory judgment from a federal district court that these provisions are not in conflict with the U.S. Constitution. 

 

Texan Rep Tom Oliverson

 

The man who made this possible? State Representative and Physician in Anesthesiology, Tom Oliverson ( R-Cypress). The good Doctor not only presented and argued for this law in terms of legality but also from a medical standpoint.

 

With hearing loss and tinnitus being all too common amongst hunters and recreational shooters, he was able to present his case and show just how effective the use of a suppressor can be in terms of protecting against such ailments. 

 

The Texas Senate passed HB 957 on a vote, 18 to 13. The House passed it 95 to 51 and — shockingly enough – it even had some bipartisan support from about 14 Democrats!

 

Now, a cautionary note worth repeating here:

“…the bill provides a path to secure a declaratory judgment on the constitutionality of this law before someone manufactures ‘Made in Texas’ suppressors.

That last part is really important. Before you run out and make yourself a can out of an oil filter and then post it on Instabook for all the world to see, STOP. If signed into law, this is still going to have to go through the federal courts.”

Dan Zimmerman, The Truth About Guns

You can read more about Texas silencers online at The Texan News, at InternationalSportsman.com, or via Texas Score Cart. The American Suppressor Association (ASA) always has updates about pending (silencer-related) NFA legislation as well. 

If you’re looking to purchase a suppressor, consult the American Suppressor Association (or for that matter Texas-based Silencer Shop).

 

Lone Star Silencers

There are a number of silencer manufacturers located in the State of Texas. Some of those include:

Dark Horse Silencers  /DarkHorseSuppressors/ @darkhorsesuppressors

Radical Firearms Suppressors  /RadicalFirearms/ @radicalfirearms

Revolutionary Suppressors /revolutionarysuppressors/ @revolutionarysuppressors

Torrent Suppressors  /TorrentSuppressors/ @torrentsuppressors

Texas Silencer Company (duh) /TexasSilencers/ @texassilencer

 

Texas HB957

Via Texas.gov.

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE

It is currently an offense to possess, manufacture, transport, repair, or sell a firearm silencer unless a person is in compliance with federal law. It has been suggested that this is an unnecessary regulation that infringes on the rights of Texans and that the State of Texas should also not assist the federal government in enforcing laws and regulations restricting Texans’ access to firearm suppressors if they are wholly manufactured and sold in Texas. H.B. 957 seeks to address this issue by removing the aforementioned offense and establishing that a firearm suppressor that is manufactured and remains in Texas is not subject to federal law or regulation under the authority of the U.S. Congress to regulate interstate commerce.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE IMPACT

 

It is the committee’s opinion that this bill does not expressly create a criminal offense, increase the punishment for an existing criminal offense or category of offenses, or change the eligibility of a person for community supervision, parole, or mandatory supervision.

 

RULEMAKING AUTHORITY

It is the committee’s opinion that this bill does not expressly grant any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution.

ANALYSIS

H.B. 957 amends the Penal Code to remove a firearm silencer from among the prohibited weapons whose intentional or knowing possession, manufacture, transport, repair, or sale constitutes an offense. The bill establishes that a criminal action for such an offense involving a firearm silencer that is pending on the bill’s effective date is dismissed on that date.

H.B. 957 amends the Government Code to establish the following regarding firearm suppressors that are manufactured on or after the bill’s effective date:

·       a firearm suppressor that is manufactured in and remains in Texas is not subject to federal law or federal regulation, including registration, under the authority of the U.S. Congress to regulate interstate commerce; and

·       a basic material from which a firearm suppressor is manufactured in Texas, including unmachined steel, is not a firearm suppressor and is not subject to federal regulation under that Congressional authority as if it actually were a firearm suppressor.

The bill requires the attorney general, on written notification by a U.S. citizen residing in Texas of the citizen’s intent to manufacture an applicable firearm suppressor, to seek a declaratory judgment from a federal district court in Texas that these provisions are consistent with the U.S. Constitution. The bill sets out the circumstances under which a firearm suppressor is considered to be manufactured in Texas and requires a firearm suppressor manufactured and sold in Texas to have the words “Made in Texas” clearly stamped on it.

H.B. 957 prohibits the state, specified state or local entities, or an officer, employee, or body of certain local entities from adopting a rule, order, ordinance, or policy under which the entity enforces or by consistent action allows the enforcement of a federal statute, order, rule, or regulation that purports to regulate a firearm suppressor and that imposes a regulation that does not exist under state law. The bill prohibits any applicable entity and any person employed by or otherwise under the entity’s direction or control from enforcing or attempting to enforce any such federal statute, order, rule, or regulation. The bill prohibits an entity that adopts a prohibited rule, order, ordinance, or policy from receiving state grant funds and requires such funds to be denied to the entity for the fiscal year following the year in which the entity’s adoption of the rule, order, ordinance, or policy is finally judicially determined to have violated the bill’s prohibition.

H.B. 957 authorizes any citizen residing in an applicable entity’s jurisdiction to file a complaint with the attorney general if the citizen offers and includes with the complaint evidence to support an allegation that the entity has adopted a prohibited rule, order, ordinance, or policy or that the entity consistently allows the enforcement of an applicable federal law. The bill authorizes the attorney general, on determining the complaint is valid, to file a petition for a writ of mandamus or apply for other appropriate equitable relief in a specified district court to compel the entity’s compliance with the bill’s provisions. The bill provides for the attorney general’s recovery of reasonable expenses. The bill establishes that an appeal of a suit brought to enforce the bill’s provisions is governed by certain accelerated appeals procedures and requires the appellate court to render its final order or judgment with the least possible delay.

H.B. 957 repeals Section 46.01(4), Penal Code.

EFFECTIVE DATE

September 1, 2021.

A daughter of the PNW and engineering administration maven, Samantha Fischer is an often-underestimated pro-Second Amendment rabble-rouser – who, despite her proficiency with assorted modern long guns, actually prefers a Henry Color Case Hardened Lever Action Side Gate in .45-70 to an AR15…though she is quite attached to her AI L96A1 as well. Sam reports on an eclectic (occasionally esoteric) range of topics, here on The Mag Life and other places.

CategoriesAccessories

MCK TAC: CAA Micro Conversion Kit, but even smaller

The MCK TAC is an expansion to CAA USA’s MCK/Micro Conversion Kit lineup. Compatible with 120 or more models of handgun and available in a wide variety of colors and camouflage patterns, the MCK TAC is one of the smallest “PDW conversion kits” available yet — or the more common ones, anyway.

An MCK TAC retrofit conversion kit is also available (and not just for Glock models, either). 

CAA MCK TAC

The MCK TAC is designed for close-in type defensive work (hence the PDW angle), including “close protection” (i.e. VIP/PSD uses), providing what is essentially an add-on shooting platform expansion. There is no stock on the MCK TAC as it is not intended to be shouldered. 

Instead, it is stabilized (insomuch as any weapon using sling tension can be stabilized) as described by the manufacturer below. 

The MCK TAC ships with a special Bungee sling, sling swivel, and rail-mounted thumb rest for added stability when accuracy and control truly count.

The combination of the shooter’s arm at full extension and the resistance from the bungee-style sling creates a steady platform for added accuracy and control when shooting the MCK TAC.

Installation is fast, simple, and largely intuitive (as Travis Pike reported in his review of a similar “Glock brace“). 

CAA-MCK-TAC

CAA-MCK-TAC

CAA-MCK-TAC

 

GunMag X-Grip Banner

 

LTC. (Ret.) Mikey Hartman, CEO of CAA USA advises, 

“Born out of demand by private and military security firms, we put our engineering team to work on creating the most compact and discrete MCK (Micro Conversion Kit) to date. Presenting the MCK TAC. The TAC is suitable for all real-time scenarios in which concealment and speed are paramount. Taking cues from the shooting dynamics of firearms like the HK MP5K, the MCK TAC, with included bungee sling and swivel is the ultimate compact shooting solution. Not only are we releasing the MCK TAC, but we’ve also created a TAC upgrade KIT to retrofit any existing MCK to the new TAC configuration. The TAC rear compartment keeps you in the fight by adding storage for an additional CR123 battery for your weapon light or optic, up to four 9mm rounds or even hearing protection.”

Sling Tension Shooting

Sling tension shooting“, also referred to as the “SAS method” was first popularized (if that’s the right word) by images of the British Special Air Service, though other units have used it. Sling tension shooting is, as described above, a push/pull method. Here’s an explanation (though it uses a different weapon system). 

 

GunMag-Maglula-Banner

 

MCK TAC

 

Brock Trautman is the senior news anchor for The Mag Life, the official publication of GunMag Warehouse. He’s also a cartoon, so…don’t get butt-hurt about anything he says. He’s not making subjective judgments on things, or reviewing anything – he’s just passing along the news.

CategoriesAccessories

Lone Star Silencers: Made in Texas with Love

In the never-ending battle of anti-gun legislation, Texas is making some major moves when it comes to suppressor regulations — and they all hinge upon Texas silencers.

Currently, in order to own a suppressor without having a felony slapped on you and getting major jail time, you must comply with the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA). Would-be suppressor buyers must go through the typically long and arduous process of asking permission from the ATF and passing a BATFE background check. Though the processing time for this varies, it’s often as much as 8-10 months or more.

There there is the tax. Once the wait is over, you are then required to pay a $200 transfer tax. Oh, and you also have to live in one of the 42 states that allow ownership of suppressors. If your legal residence is in one of the other 8 you’re out of luck.

These laws have, obviously, always applied to Texas silencers as much as those of any other state.

Texas Silencer Laws

 

However…

 

For Texans, this may all get a little easier when House Bill (HB) 957 comes into play. This fun little bill would not-so-quietly squash the current federal suppressor laws by asserting that suppressors made in Texas are no longer subject to federal regulation. It will do so by using the commerce clause of the U.S.Constitution.

 

Boiled down: any suppressor physically manufactured and subsequently remaining in the State of Texas and engraved with the words “Made in Texas” would no longer be subject to federal law.

 

The code will go into effect on September 1, 2021.

 

Now, this doesn’t mean that you can just fire up the ol’ lathe and get going. Cases will be handled at the individual level. Private Citizens will have to file a complaint with the attorney general that a government body is taking action to enforce federal suppressor laws on you. In that case, the AG would seek a declaratory judgment from a federal district court that these provisions are not in conflict with the U.S. Constitution. 

 

Texan Rep Tom Oliverson

 

The man who made this possible? State Representative and Physician in Anesthesiology, Tom Oliverson ( R-Cypress). The good doctor not only presented and argued for this law in terms of legality but also from a medical standpoint.

 

With hearing loss and tinnitus being all too common amongst hunters and recreational shooters, he was able to present his case and show just how effective the use of a suppressor can be in terms of protecting against such ailments. 

 

The Texas Senate passed HB 957 on a vote, 18 to 13. The House passed it 95 to 51 and — shockingly enough – it even had some bipartisan support from about 14 Democrats!

 

Now, a cautionary note worth repeating here:

“…the bill provides a path to secure a declaratory judgment on the constitutionality of this law before someone manufactures ‘Made in Texas’ suppressors.

That last part is really important. Before you run out and make yourself a can out of an oil filter and then post it on Instabook for all the world to see, STOP. If signed into law, this is still going to have to go through the federal courts.”

Dan Zimmerman, The Truth About Guns

You can read more about Texas silencers online at The Texan News, at InternationalSportsman.com, or via Texas Score Cart. The American Suppressor Association (ASA) always has updates about pending (silencer-related) NFA legislation as well. 

If you’re looking to purchase a suppressor, consult the American Suppressor Association (or for that matter Texas-based Silencer Shop).

Lone Star Silencers

There are a number of silencer manufacturers located in the State of Texas. Some of those include:

Crux Suppressors

Dark Horse Silencers

Radical Firearms Suppressors  /RadicalFirearms/

Revolutionary Suppressors /revolutionarysuppressors/

Torrent Suppressors

Texas Silencer Company (duh)

 

Texas HB957

Via Texas.gov.

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE

It is currently an offense to possess, manufacture, transport, repair, or sell a firearm silencer unless a person is in compliance with federal law. It has been suggested that this is an unnecessary regulation that infringes on the rights of Texans and that the State of Texas should also not assist the federal government in enforcing laws and regulations restricting Texans’ access to firearm suppressors if they are wholly manufactured and sold in Texas. H.B. 957 seeks to address this issue by removing the aforementioned offense and establishing that a firearm suppressor that is manufactured and remains in Texas is not subject to federal law or regulation under the authority of the U.S. Congress to regulate interstate commerce.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE IMPACT

 

It is the committee’s opinion that this bill does not expressly create a criminal offense, increase the punishment for an existing criminal offense or category of offenses, or change the eligibility of a person for community supervision, parole, or mandatory supervision.

 

RULEMAKING AUTHORITY

It is the committee’s opinion that this bill does not expressly grant any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution.

ANALYSIS

H.B. 957 amends the Penal Code to remove a firearm silencer from among the prohibited weapons whose intentional or knowing possession, manufacture, transport, repair, or sale constitutes an offense. The bill establishes that a criminal action for such an offense involving a firearm silencer that is pending on the bill’s effective date is dismissed on that date.

H.B. 957 amends the Government Code to establish the following regarding firearm suppressors that are manufactured on or after the bill’s effective date:

·       a firearm suppressor that is manufactured in and remains in Texas is not subject to federal law or federal regulation, including registration, under the authority of the U.S. Congress to regulate interstate commerce; and

·       a basic material from which a firearm suppressor is manufactured in Texas, including unmachined steel, is not a firearm suppressor and is not subject to federal regulation under that Congressional authority as if it actually were a firearm suppressor.

The bill requires the attorney general, on written notification by a U.S. citizen residing in Texas of the citizen’s intent to manufacture an applicable firearm suppressor, to seek a declaratory judgment from a federal district court in Texas that these provisions are consistent with the U.S. Constitution. The bill sets out the circumstances under which a firearm suppressor is considered to be manufactured in Texas and requires a firearm suppressor manufactured and sold in Texas to have the words “Made in Texas” clearly stamped on it.

H.B. 957 prohibits the state, specified state or local entities, or an officer, employee, or body of certain local entities from adopting a rule, order, ordinance, or policy under which the entity enforces or by consistent action allows the enforcement of a federal statute, order, rule, or regulation that purports to regulate a firearm suppressor and that imposes a regulation that does not exist under state law. The bill prohibits any applicable entity and any person employed by or otherwise under the entity’s direction or control from enforcing or attempting to enforce any such federal statute, order, rule, or regulation. The bill prohibits an entity that adopts a prohibited rule, order, ordinance, or policy from receiving state grant funds and requires such funds to be denied to the entity for the fiscal year following the year in which the entity’s adoption of the rule, order, ordinance, or policy is finally judicially determined to have violated the bill’s prohibition.

H.B. 957 authorizes any citizen residing in an applicable entity’s jurisdiction to file a complaint with the attorney general if the citizen offers and includes with the complaint evidence to support an allegation that the entity has adopted a prohibited rule, order, ordinance, or policy or that the entity consistently allows the enforcement of an applicable federal law. The bill authorizes the attorney general, on determining the complaint is valid, to file a petition for a writ of mandamus or apply for other appropriate equitable relief in a specified district court to compel the entity’s compliance with the bill’s provisions. The bill provides for the attorney general’s recovery of reasonable expenses. The bill establishes that an appeal of a suit brought to enforce the bill’s provisions is governed by certain accelerated appeals procedures and requires the appellate court to render its final order or judgment with the least possible delay.

H.B. 957 repeals Section 46.01(4), Penal Code.

EFFECTIVE DATE

September 1, 2021.

A daughter of the PNW and engineering administration maven, Samantha Fischer is an often-underestimated pro-Second Amendment rabble-rouser – who, despite her proficiency with assorted modern long guns, actually prefers a Henry Color Case Hardened Lever Action Side Gate in .45-70 to an AR15…though she is quite attached to her AI L96A1 as well. Sam reports on an eclectic (occasionally esoteric) range of topics, here on The Mag Life and other places.

CategoriesAccessories

Seven Must-Have AR-15 Accessories – The Mag Life

In AR-15 the A stands for Accessories!

If you are reading this I probably don’t have to explain to you that the AR15 is an excellent gun. One of the more attractive aspects of the AR platform is the ability to customize and accessorize the gun. The customization and accessorization of the AR-15 allows the user to tailor the gun to their specific needs. It also allows us to take the AR-15 from formidable to quite possibly the ultimate defensive firearm.

At the same time, for duty and defensive use, the AR-15 is a formidable tool—right out of the box. Add a reliable magazine (MAGPUL and Lancer are my favorites) and 28 rounds of a good soft point defensive round and you are good to go for a wide variety of circumstances.

AR-15 handguard, REIN weapon light, laser.

An AR-15 handguard can have a lot of work to do. In addition to my sling attachment, which holds the weight of the whole package, the handguard is the home for my REIN weapon light and my laser. The handguard must hold the laser firmly in place. Remember, this laser is an aiming device.

Let’s face it though, adding some accessories to your M-4 can make a huge difference when it comes to efficiency.

To that end, I have compiled a list of what I think are the seven most important AR-15 accessories. I have tried to compile a list in order from most important to least important. Yup, we could argue about the order all day long. Some folks might find very good reasons related to their context to tweak or completely rearrange the order of importance. They aren’t wrong, and neither are you. You do you. 

I think this list and its order applies to most people most of the time. Use it as a starting point as you decide what the most important accessories are for your defensive or duty AR-15.

1. An M-LOK Handguard

When I compiled this list of AR-15 accessories, I did it with defensive and duty use in mind. To me, that means reliability above all else. Your gun needs to run and all the accessories need to be in place and ready to go.

When I build out an AR-15 for serious use, it gets an M-LOK handguard. This is what the majority of accessories are going to attach to. Your sling, weapon-mounted light, and your laser (if you have one) will all mount to your handguard. They need a solid home, and M-LOK has become the standard.

Victor SBR, Cloud Defensive REIN, D-BAL steiner laser

One of the biggest disadvantages of some of my must-have AR-15 accessories is the fact that they live out on the end of my rifle. This makes my Victor SBR a bit front heavy. More push-ups needed.

If you already have an AR15 with an M-LOK handguard, move on to number two unless you want to build your ego and feel good about the choices you’ve made.

What do I look for In a handguard?

When I select an M-LOK handguard I seriously lean toward a free float, aluminum handguard with a solid attachment to the upper receiver.

Can polymer get you by? Probably, but the advantages of a free-floated aluminum handguard are too many to ignore.

The security of your expensive gear is important. You need everything to be right where it is supposed to be when your safety depends on it. A free float aluminum handguard is also going to increase your accuracy by allowing your barrel to point regardless of the pressure on the handguard and making sure any additional kit is pointed where you originally pointed it.

I’ve never been disappointed with the offerings from BCM or Midwest Industries when it comes to M-LOK  free float handguards. You won’t regret the upgrade.

2. A Quality Two-Point Sling

I recently sat in a deer stand with Joe Weyer, the man behind Alliance Police Training Facility, and among other things we were back and forth about what the most important AR-15 accessories are. It was a lively discussion. We didn’t shoot any deer that day…

Joe contends that a rifle just isn’t a rifle unless it has a functional sling. So far Joe and I are in lockstep.

A good sling serves many purposes. It can provide a way to carry your AR-15 with no hands either in front of you or behind. It helps to maintain control of the gun if you end up in a physical struggle over the weapon. A sling provides additional stability for shooting and allows you to easily take your support hand off the gun to do work. The list of how a sling can help you do work is long.

A rifle isn’t a rifle without a sling.

Springfield SAINR Victor SBR with M-LOK handguard, Defense Mechanisms QD sling.

I really like my Springfield SAINT Victor SBR and its set up. This gun includes all 7 of the upgrades I recommend for a fighting AR-15. The best part about the Victor is it ships with a solid M-LOK handguard from the factory. This is where my Defense Mechanisms front QD attaches.

In Joe’s opinion, a sling is so integral in the use of the rifle that it is actually a part of the rifle and so there is no need to mention it as an accessory. He has a point here. You notice that I haven’t included a bolt as an accessory. An AR-15 just isn’t a rifle without a bolt… or a sling.

On the other hand, I’m guessing there are folks here that may have not even considered that a sling (and knowing how to use it) is so dang important. This is why I think it should be on the list.

If you are in that group, get yourself a sling.

My favorite, by far, is the Rifle Sling from Defense Mechanisms secured to that handy handguard and the buttstock, the sling is adjustable, versatile, stow-able and, functional.

 

3. A Weapon-Mounted Light

If you can’t see it, you can’t shoot it. I mean this not only from a practical point of view but also from a moral and ethical standpoint. You need a weapon-mounted light so that you can identify your threat. A quality light not only allows you to identify that threat and ensure that they are a foe, but it also allows you to visually interrogate that threat. Seeing details in the dark is important and a good light allows you to do that at a distance.

In addition to helping you see, a quality light helps to make sure your threat can’t see. Denying your adversary visual information deprives them of what they need to make good decisions. This gives you an edge.

I keep talking about quality lights. I’m talking about a light that is reliable, easy to activate (and deactivate,) and bright like the sun.

Cloud Defensive OWL weapon light at 40 yards.

This is what it looks like to stare down a Cloud Defensive OWL at 40 yards. A quality weapon light can deny your threat visual information.

Weapon-Mounted Light Specifications

Image of dark scene that a weapon mounted light would help with gaining visual information.

Bad things can happen in the dark. In fact, they tend to. If you want to solve problems you need visual information. A quality weapon-mounted light can help you solve problems you can’t even see in this image.

On a rifle, I am looking for 1500 lumens or better and I want to see the Candella near or above 50,000. On short guns that are set up slick, my favorite light is the Cloud Defensive OWL due to its simplicity. If I have a lot of other accessories on the front end I prefer the Cloud Defensive REIN to provide more mounting options and outstanding cable routing. Either of these lights is a powerful tool that will serve you well. Travis Pike REINs you with info on the REIN and you can see who the OWL is for here.

Light from Cloud Defensive REIN weapon light at 100 yards.

I am impressed with the performance of the Cloud Defensive REIN. At 100 yards the WML easily lights up this building. INSIDE and out.

4. Red Dot Optic

Optics on rifles have been the standard for years now and for good reason. Optics help you get hits faster. When it comes to optical solutions, unless there is a reason to be magnified, I default to a simple 1 power dot.

A red dot sight simplifies aiming your AR-15. When you look through the reticle of your optic your aiming point is superimposed on your threat. Both the threat and the dot appear to be on the same plane so there is no need to shift your focus back to your sights. Instead, holdover as needed and press the trigger.

AR-15 with Trijicon MRO HD on American Defense Manufacturing night vision height mount

I’m quite the Trijicon fan. I grew up in Detroit and it’s hard not to cheer for the home team. I depend on the MRO on top of several of my AR-15’s. In this case, I run an MRO HD so I have the option of slapping on my 3x magnifier. I use an American Defense Manufacturing night vision height mount to allow me to use the MRO with my NVGs.

I’ve been a fan of Trijicon’s optics for a long time and love my Trijicon MRO’s and MRO HD’s. I’m also starting to like Holosun’s optics and have enjoyed using my Holosun HS503CU Red Dot Sight.

5. Replacement Grip

There isn’t anything that’s “wrong” with the A2 grip that comes on most AR-15s. I mean as long as you enjoy that twinge in your wrist from it being bent at a weird angle when using your AR-15 with a modern shooting stance.

Personally, I don’t like the way the A2 grip forces me to hold my AR. So I upgrade my grip to something with a more verticle orientation. I really like the Magpul K2 grip, or you could go with something like Xtech’s Adjustable AR-15 Grip. This cool grip allows you to set the angle to what works best for you and your application.

AR-15 accessories - grip

With today’s modern, squared up shooting stance, the standard A2 is a bit outdated. Its swept-back angle is best used when prone. I could end up prone, but if I have to use my AR, I’ll likely be standing. I want a more vertical grip like the BCM grip that ships on the SAINT Victor SBR.

5. Laser

If I was writing this article 12 months ago, it would have been “Six Must-Haves AR-15 Accessories”.

A year can teach you a lot and in 2020 I spent a lot of time training and practicing at night. When I say a lot of time, I would say that I spent close to 400 hours with my rifle in the dark in class. My time after sunset reinforced to me how important my weapon-mounted light was. No surprise there.

What forced me to reconsider my thoughts about my rifle set up was how useful I found a laser.

I currently run a Steiner DBAL-A3 mounted on my Springfield Victor SBR. The visible and IR DBAL is overkill unless you also run night vision.

Steiner DBAL-A3 and Cloud Defensive REIN mounted on Springfield Victor SBR

In my opinion, the biggest advantage of a visible laser is that it allows you to see your point of aim without looking through your optic. This opens up a wide variety of strategies you can use to get hits in difficult situations.

You might not need infrared…

What everyone can get some use out of is a visible laser. A visible laser on a rifle is extremely useful as an aiming device. With a vis laser, you know where your rounds are going to hit even if the optic isn’t in your line of sight. Accurate hits from retention at 100 yards are no problem with a vis laser. Locking your gun in place with your body, (like lying on top of the gun), makes longer hits relatively easy as well.

Or looking out one port while shooting out of another? Yup, vis lasers make it possible, maybe even easy.

A laser can also be a great communication tool. When used properly a laser can be a great signaling device when you are trying to link up with others and a fantastic tool to communicate force to those that don’t need to be shot. Yet.

You can learn a lot about mounting a laser on your M-4 from this article.

Lasers don’t have to be four-figure monsters like the DBAL or the MAWL. You might start out with something like this Streamlight Protac HLX Rifle Light Laser Combo for less than 2 bills. If you decide you like the laser life you can always upgrade!

7. A Suppressor

NG2 Defense Maxflo suppressor on AR-15.

I enjoy shooting suppressed and am lucky to have access to a wide variety of cans. Lately, I have been running the NG2 Defense Maxflo. It isn’t the quietest can, but it is pleasant to shoot and reduces the back-flow of gasses.

I resisted suppressors for a long time. The paperwork seemed like a pain, the stamp seemed expensive. I get it. Now that I shoot my AR-15 suppressed, I won’t go back. It is much more pleasant for me as a shooter, and for those around me as well.

There is no doubt that a can takes your favorite AR to 11. Wait, I think I have that backward.

Final Thoughts

For many years, the AR-15 did good work without any of the fancy upgrades. If all you can afford is a rifle (with a sling of course,) some mags, and ammo, you are not out of the game. Train and practice. When you need to, you will be set.

If you have the money and the time, adding must-have AR-15 accessories makes sense. Just remember, adding a bunch of gear doesn’t mean you don’t have to train and practice. In fact, every piece of kit you add is likely to increase your need to train and practice. All the Gucci AR-15 accessories in the world won’t make up for a lack of skill.

Cloud Defensive REIN switch, DBAL a3 laser

In addition to the bright light that really reaches out, the coolest aspect of the REIN is the ability to route the switch wiring efficiently.

 

Paul Carlson, owner of Safety Solutions Academy, is a Professional Defensive Shooting Instructor.  He has spent the past decade and a half studying how humans can perform more efficiently in violent confrontations and honing his skills as an instructor both in the classroom and on the range.

Through Safety Solutions Academy, Paul teaches a variety of Critical Defensive Skills courses in more than a dozen states annually.  Courses range from Concealed Carry Classes to Advanced Critical Defensive Handgun Courses and include instruction for the defensive use of handguns, rifles and shotguns.  Safety Solutions Academy regularly hosts other industry leading experts as guest instructors to make sure that SSA’s students have the opportunity for quality instruction across a broad range of Critical Defensive disciplines.

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