Posts Tagged ‘Accessories’

I’m sure I’ve mentioned it here before but if not I’ll say it again:  I have a lot of hobbies.  I like to shoot guns, take pictures, draw, read, play video games, and cook.  I also like to sew.  I’ve only completed a few sewing projects but its fun and relaxing every time.  I definitely think sewing could be a survival skill and no man should feel too embarrassed to try to learn.

I decided to use my manly sewing skills to make a stock pouch for my SKS.  Here’s a look at the completed piece after I managed to get it secured in place:

20140316_194636

It wasn’t easy that’s for sure.  It took a few hours and I had to start over from scratch more than once.  The measurements were the hardest part to get right since the stock of the rifle features curves and angles.  Even after I got it finished I struggled to get it to stay in place.  The weight of a 10 round stripper clip was too much for it at first and I had to adjust the button locations to make it tighter.

20140316_190631I’m happy with the end result.  It does what I needed it to do and looks pretty good (Ignoring the poor edge/seam work) at the same time.  As it stands though there is no “lid” to the pouch so holding the gun at the wrong angle will cause the contents of the pouch to spill out.  I might add one to it but most likely I’ll just use this pouch as a model for an improved version in the future.  Maybe I can use some thicker, softer material so I get a nice cheek rest as well.

Just because you can buy something pretty cheap doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to make it yourself.  I had all the material for this already in the house but even if I had needed to buy everything it would’ve cost less than $5.  My only investment was my time.

What do you think?  How did I do?  Do you have any suggestions for improvements?  On a related note, have you made something similar for your weapons or survival gear?  Let me know in the comments!

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I was talking to a friend the other day about whether or not I should sell my AR.  He was against the idea and told me if I wasn’t enjoying shooting it anymore that maybe I should change it up a little.  He suggested I reconfigure it with different attachments or come up with some challenges to make it more interesting.  I agreed to give that a shot before giving up on ol’ Frankenstein.

20140314_203021The next day a co-worker asked me if I knew anyone who would be interested in a rifle scope or two.  He was going through the attic at his dad’s and they came across 3 brand new Tasco scopes from 1984.  The good Tascos that were made in Japan and not the more inexpensive ones they sell now.  His dad was, and still is, addicted to auctions and estate sales, so they’re always coming across stuff they can’t remember buying.  I said I might be interested and he offered to let me try one out for a while and then we could discuss a price if I decided to keep it.

He brought it to me today and right after work I went home and immediately began the changeover.  I had assumed the rings from my red dot scope would work on the Tasco scope, but I was wrong; they were way too big.  I ran back to town real quick and bought a scope mount made by Millet Tactical.  It was way more expensive than just some basic rings but it definitely looks like its built better and is more reliable.

AR15_Mar14_2014The scope went on really easy and its all set up.  Now I just need some good weather and a place to do some distance shooting (the outdoor ranges in my area are closed until May).  I’m not 100% sure I like the way it looks but that might just be because I’m not good with change.  I’ve had that red dot sight on the rifle for a while now and I had really grown fond of it.  Now, to me at least, Frankenstein looks like the monster it was named after.

What do you think?  Does it look good?  Should I get a different mount?  Paint the mount?  Paint the scope?  Let me know in the comments below because I really need some outside input on this.

Mini14_Mar14_2014P.S. – The Mini-14 is now rocking the red dot and looking oh so sexy.  I do think it will be staying that way for now.  Besides making it looks more appealing it’ll almost certainly improve my accuracy.  I think the Mini-14 would look much better with a long scope than the AR, the trick is just finding a good way to mount it without having to modify the rifle.

I, like many of you, have gun parts and accessories in every part of my life.  Today I found an unexpected use for the SKS bayonet that I’ve had laying in my car’s back seat for weeks.

I was running errands, trying to gather things we need for the apartment this weekend and I stopped at Best Buy (where I picked up our cable modem).  In the spot beside me was a young JMU student who was trying to squeeze her arm in the small opening left in her window.  I knew right away that she had locked her keys in the van because I’ve been around a lot of people who do that.

Being the kind, people loving person that I am, I watched her struggle for 3 or 4 minutes; then I offered to help her.  She gladly accepted and I began looking for things we could use to unlock the door.  The only thing I had available that I thought might work was the bayonet.  I offered it to her and she didn’t even question what it was.

Using the bayonet she reached inside and maneuvered it so that she could flip the little lock tab.  Once it clicked I pulled on the handle and opened the door.  Viola, it was open.  Of course the alarm started going off and people started looking, but once she got the keys from the bag in the back seat into the switch, the alarm stopped.

So there you have it.  When someone asks what you need a bayonet for, tell them its in case someone locks their keys in their car.  If that answer doesn’t satisfy them, just remind them that melee weapons are the way to go when the zombies roll up on us.

From the time I first started delving into the world of firearms, one thing was abundantly clear:  The 1911 is the king of of the handgun jungle.  There have been many guns that have come and gone with little or no impact on gun culture.  The M1911 was clearly not one of those.  I decided to do some research and look into why this particular design is still so widely used and admired all around the world.

My first research came in the form of a poll.  I asked my readers to vote whether or not they owned a 1911.  If they didn’t, I asked if they wanted one.  Of the 30 people who voted, 20 said that yes, they in fact owned a 1911 of some form or another.  Beyond that, 5 people who didn’t currently have one wanted one.  Only a few noted that they didn’t want one at all.  I know that most of my readers are gun owners  and they probably own a variety of different weapons.  Not everyone likes the same things, and yet 2/3 of those who voted owned a 1911.

I decided to cruise the web in search of more information.  I found more than I could read in a lifetime unfortunately.  Every gun forum has threads dedicated exclusively to the 1911.  On some of those forums I found people just like me who were trying to find out exactly why everyone loves them so much.  Other forum members were trying to understand why nobody could accept change and innovation, preferring to stick with old designs rather than newer ones.  Many answered by simply saying, “If you have to ask, you’ll never understand the reasons”.  Others gave long answers that detailed every little aspect about the firearm and how it was still superior to most modern firearms.

Besides forums, I found plenty of articles and web pages dedicated to the 1911.  Over on The Truth About Guns they even have an article called “Why The 1911 Doesn’t Suck”.  Others, like Browning.com, have pages reserved for detailing the history of this great firearm.  And of course there is always Wikipedia with its collective knowledge of all the users who contribute.

I read a lot over the past few days and here’s what I learned about the 1911:

History

The 1911, designed by John Browning, a famous firearms designer in the United States, was conceived right around the turn of the century.  In the early 1900’s, the United States Government was looking for firearms to replace those it currently had in service.  Browning answered the call with his semi-auto handgun design and in 1911 it was adopted by the U.S. military as the M1911.

The M1911 saw service for almost 80 years and was with us through WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, as well as several other conflicts.  Even after being officially replaced in 1990 by the M9, the M1911 still found limited use in the military.  Outside the military however it still remains a popular firearm to this day.  Many police departments still use the 1911 as their service pistol.  Outside the U.S. the M1911 saw service in countries including Brazil, Canada, China, the U.K., the Soviet Union, and many others.

Currently the majority of users appear to be civilians.  There are many different reasons people love the 1911 (which I go over a bit more below) but one reason that stands out a lot is its accuracy.  As a result of this, many competition shooters choose to go with a variant of the 1911 as their competition handgun.

Why Its Loved

  • Reliability – Almost everyone who talked about the 1911 mentioned its reliability.  It holds up to repeated use with virtually no complaints.  
  • Parts Availability – Anywhere gun stuff is sold you can find parts and accessories for 1911’s.  From barrells and frames to sights and grips, you can find almost anything you need to buid or repair a 1911.
  • Customization – As I mentioned above, accessories are available everywhere.  You can customize your 1911 to look and feel however you want it to.  For example, there are wider grips if you have big hands and brighter, easier to see sights if you have poor eyesight.
  • Appearance – Many people cited the way the gun looks as the reason why they loved it so much.  In my opinion it certainly is an attractive handgun.
  • Accuracy – The trigger on the 1911 is apparently very well made and easy to pull.  That, combined with the length of the barrel, provide the gun with exceptional accuracy.
  • History – Because the 1911 served with the U.S. military for 80 years it has a good following with military buffs.  Other people look at it as a patriotic firearm that demonstrates our innovation and inventiveness.  Others just like the nostalgia that comes with it.
  • Ergonomics – The 1911 seems to fit well in the hands of just about anyone.  In addition, the handgun’s weight is neither too much or too little.  Its light enough to be held and fired but heavy enough that recoil is reduced more than on other handguns.

Conclusion

Are there handgun designs out there that are better than the 1911?  Probably, but “better” is simply an opinion.  One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.  The 1911 certainly has a lot of positive features, but its not right for every situation.  However, finding any one gun capable of filling every role is probably not likely to happen.

The 1911 has been around for over 100 years and has a following all over the world.  I doubt we will see its popularity decline for a very long time and that’s perfectly fine by me.  If I had the money to buy another handgun it would be a 1911 for sure.  My Sig 1911-22 is a lot of fun but shooting the real deal would be a whole other beast entirely I’m sure.

As some of you may already know, I own a 22lr conversion kit for my AR15.  When I bought the kit it came with one 25 round magazine and I went ahead and bought a spare.  With the 25 round magazines however, I found it difficult to use the bipod; the magazine rested on the table rather than the butt of the rifle.  Sometimes I had to extend the legs on the bipod just to achieve proper sight alignment.  I wanted something shorter that was still compatible with my conversion kit.

Black Dog Machine MagazineThe Black Dog Machine 22lr X-Form magazine was the solution.  It came in several different capacities and colors, but I opted for the shortest they had (10 rounds) in black since I planned to paint it anyway.  It was reasonably priced (in a time when gun parts and accessories are hard to come by) and it shipped much faster than I expected.

At first glance it isn’t all that impressive.  Its very lightweight (the magazines by CMMG were weighted) and made of pretty thin plastic.  But that is far overshadowed by its exceptional performance.

Loading the CMMG mags is a pain.  It takes forever to drop 25 22lr rounds in them and the spring is extremely firm.  With the Black Dog magazine, that is not an issue.  The spring, while firm, is easy to depress enough to load.  Even loading the magazine to full capacity is easy and there’s hardly any resistance.  You would expect a light spring to not feed properly, but I’ve yet to have a fail to feed (granted 22lr rounds aren’t as large as other calibers).

(2) AR15 22lr MagsAnother pleasant surprise was that the bolt catch worked.  According to the website and some information I found online, the Black Dog magazines didn’t hold open the chamber when using the CMMG conversion kit after firing the last round.  This information was wrong in my case; it works very well.  It even locks into the receiver better than my CMMG mags which occassionally require extra effort to fully insert.

Overall I think its a fantastic product.  The 10 round capacity is much better for my needs.  1) It keeps me from blasting through as much ammo.  2) It let’s me use my bipod without the magazine interfering.  25 and 30 round mags are great and I very much enjoy the ones I have, but for target practice and general use, a smaller capacity magazine will do the job for me most times.

If you’re looking for a magazine that will work with your CMMG 22lr conversion kit, definitely consider one by Black Dog.  You will not be disappointed.  My only regret is buying just one . . .

**  Updated on 4/9/13 – Added pictures and links  **

I’ve been meaning to talk about these things since Christmas but I kept forgetting about it.  Today I came across them again over at The Sportsmans Guide and it triggered my memory.  Since The Guide has them back in stock once again, I’ll give a brief little review so you know whether or not you’d like to get any for yourself.

(2) 20-round AR15 magazines coupled together

While I haven’t put a considerable amount of ammunition through them, I can tell they are well built.  They’re quality magazines that haven’t failed to feed yet.  They’re easy to load and even work pretty well with stripper clips.  They come with couplers that hold two of them together.  Swapping mags becomes as simple as dropping the two down and sliding them either left or right to insert the second.

The magazines are lightweight and can actually fit in my front shirt pocket.  Even when coupled together they take up only slightly more room than a 30-round mag.  The difference being that when linked together these are wider than a 30-round mag is so they don’t fit in most magazine pouches.

Using two 20-round magazines gives you 40 round capacity for only a slight amount of extra work.  In addition, should 30-round mags ever get banned, these fall in with slightly lower capacity.  Doubt that would help considering they want us using only 5 or 6 rounds, but hey, smaller magazines are easier to hide . . .

Regardless of where you stand on the magazine ban-wagon, for $30 (less if you’re a member) you can get 120 rounds of magazine capacity.  That’s really hard to beat considering most 30-round mags are going for around $30 each!  This deal probably wont be available long, so grab them while you can.  I can assure you that you wont be disappointed.

Of course if you want to go big then you can always buy this instead . . .

I would like to thank everyone who took a second to vote in last weeks poll.  I’ve decided that I’m going to put up a new poll every week to help drive some interaction on the blog as well as give me ides for new posts, like I’m doing today.  This weeks poll can be seen to the left of my post.  It asks about your practice habits.  Take a second and vote if you will; you don’t need to be a subscriber or wordpress member to vote.

Last week’s poll asked the question:  “What’s your favorite type of rifle camo?”  There were 21 votes (as of when I pulled it) and the results are below:

  • Woodland – 5
  • Desert – 5
  • Snow – 5
  • Factory Color – 4
  • Digital – 1
  • No Camo/Wood Stock – 1

 

While there weren’t many votes compared to the views I received (over 3,700 views on the blog last week and only 21 votes) I still think it shows us something.  Camouflage really varies based on personal preference.  There are many different kinds and I really only mentioned the ones I thought were the most common, but more people voted for a pattern of some kind than none at all.

Personally, I’ve always preferred desert camo.  That’s why I purchased tan stocks from ATI for my Mini-14 and my SKS.  I just think it looks cool.  I’ve never lived in an area where it would be useful (woodland would serve me much better) but the only shooting I do is at the range and my backyard anyway.

Camouflage is used by a lot of people for hunting, that’s a given.  Having a rifle that blends in with the scenery around you helps keep you hidden.  But I think a lot of people choose camo like I do, just because they like it.  That’s why my AR15 is black and white.  Camo is as much about personalization as it is functionality.  Our firearms are an extension of our personalities.  We all like different firearms.  And we all like different camo.  We choose to express these differences with our firearms, much like we do with our cars.  We’re proud of them (most of the time), we want them to be seen.

What are your thoughts?  This is your chance to rant and rave about those of us who colorize our weapons as well.  Do you feel all camo should be functional?  Or are you the kind of person who hunts in the snow with a rifle painted tan and brown?  Feel free to link to photos of your guns as well.  Or email a copy to me and I can include them in the post. Oh and feel free to vote in the poll. Its still open and will keep adding up the total.