Sig’s P320 Voluntary Upgrade

If you are the owner of a Sig P320 or are thinking about buying one, you may have heard about the pistol failing a particular type of drop test.  This means the pistol discharges or goes off when dropped on a hard surface like concrete.  This problem is documented on several YouTube videos, and Sig is providing a fix for the problem.  The videos below show you how to tell if your Sig P320 has been upgraded or not and what causes the P320 to fail a drop test.

Here is a great video from Sig Sauer’s website on the free, voluntary trigger upgrade for the P320 pistol.  Check it out.

You can see more information at Sig’s website here.

This upgrade is a no-brainer!  You’ll get a safer pistol with a better trigger.  The Sig P320 passes government required drop tests, but those drop tests do not comprehensively cover all situations.  Check out the video below for actual footage of a drop test failures.

The Sig P320 is a fantastic pistol, and it’s not uncommon to see design modifications like this over time for any firearm platform, especially platforms that are long-lived.  Personally, I would not let this issue keep me from buying a Sig P320 as long as the trigger upgrade is performed.

Is the Daniel Defense M4V7LW Noticeably Lighter?

My favorite ARs to sell on Gunbroker are the Daniel Defense M4V7 variants. There are currently two versions: standard and lightweight, designated LW, which is 2.5 ounces lighter than the standard model. I always equip these rifles with a Geissele SSA trigger, and occasionally I’ll also install an ambidextrous charging handle, Geissele’s or the AXTS Raptor, and a 45 degree amib-safety, also AXTS.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the LW barrel profile? Does the LW model feel lighter? When is the LW version a better choice, and when is the standard model best? Let’s find out.

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The DDM4V7LW and DDM4V7 appear identical, and they almost are, but the LW weighs 2.5 ounces less.  Does that really matter?

Daniel Defense achieves weight reduction in the LW by shaving metal from the standard, government profile barrel. The LW barrel is thinner towards tip as shown below, and this profile is commonly referred to as a “pencil barrel.” The obvious advantages of a lighter rifle include:

  • Less weight matters when carrying the rifle over distances or up hills
  • Lighter rifles get on target more quickly
  • It’s easier to hold the rifle steady when shooting off-hand (i.e., standing up with no rest)
  • If you plan on adding lots of accessories, LW will reduce final end-weight.

screen-shot-2016-12-10-at-10-12-33-amscreen-shot-2016-12-10-at-10-12-12-am Daniel Defense 5.56mm 16″ Mid-Length barrel comparison. The top barrel has the DD LW profile while the bottom has a government profile.

What about the disadvantages?  The one you will read about the most is that lighter barrels heats up faster, and that potentially affects accuracy during continuous shooting.  If maintaining long-range accuracy is important to you during rapid-fire, then the government profile may be a better choice for your application.

If you look around the Internet, you’ll find all kinds of opinions about pencil barrels, some good and some bad. My opinion is that many reviewers are mostly full of it and simply give their opinion with little practical experience. You’ll find several reviews of DD LW models with 1 M.O.A. accuracy all over the place. Here’s one review I can put my trust in from Larry Vickers. Here’s a nice review of a pencil barrel showing that its accuracy is affected by about 1.5″ at 100 yards after 30 rounds downrange.

From my personal experience, when holding these rifles in each hand at the same time, you can hardly tell the difference in weight. However, when you hold a rifle in one hand and move your arm in an up and down motion, the weight difference is amplified. That up and down motion mimics carrying a rifle, and I expect the felt difference in weight would compound over time. I’ve never hiked all day over hills or across difficult terrain with an AR, so I must leave that conclusion to the experts. That being said, I haven’t found an expert that says, “Weight doesn’t matter when hiking with an AR.”

Personally, I don’t shoot in precision rifle competitions, and losing 1 M.O.A. after rapid firing a full 30-round magazine doesn’t bother me. Considering I’m less fit than more fit, I’d choose the LW model in case I would need to carry it longer distances in the future. Regardless of your personal choice, you can go wrong with either version from a reliability or quality perspective.

Leupold’s VX-R or Mark AR MOD1?

I’ve been selling a few Daniel Defense M4s on Gunbroker lately, and choosing whether to equip them with a 30mm or 1-inch scope was a key decision in addition to my standard upgrades which typically include a Geissele SSA trigger, ambidextrous charging handle (AXTS Raptor or Geissele), and an AXTS Raptor 45°/90° ambi-safety.  I wanted the optic to be world class, a great value, and American made. It’s probably no surprise that Leupold rose to the top.

I like scopes with the lowest power near zero magnification so the shooter can use them as quasi red-dots with both eyes open, and an illuminated reticle is a plus.  I am reluctant to go with the highest-end Leupold optics, like the VX-6 or Mark 8 lines, because many can’t stomach paying that much for an optic, even though they’d really like to, and I prefer my Gunbroker auctions appeal to a broad audience.  That helped me narrow the choice to the VX-R and Mark AR MOD1 models.

screen-shot-2016-11-26-at-1-45-31-pmThe Leupold VX-R 1.25-4x20mm.

I narrowed it down to the Leupold Mark AR MOD 1 1.5-4x20mm Firedot G SPR (1 inch) and the Leupold VX-R Patrol 1.25-4x20mm Firedot SPR (30mm).  The VX-R is DOUBLE the Mark AR’s price, so what’s the difference besides tube diameter?  For that answer, I turned to Leupold’s 2016 product catalog and created the image below.  You can check out the catalog for yourself here.

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You can read about the differences between 30mm and 1″ tubes all over the Internet, and here are some differences specific to the VX-R and Mark AR MOD1:

  • Light transmission is based on Exit Pupil and lens coatings not tube diameter.  Exit pupil is a simple calculation where one divides the objective lens diameter by the maximum power to find the smallest diameter EP.  For both of these scopes, EP is 20mm / 4 = 5mm.  No difference. Exit pupils equal to or greater than 5mm are considered best since your eye’s pupil is rarely greater than 5mm in diameter.
  • Usually, 30mm tubes offer greater windage and elevation adjustments because there’s more room for the internals to move (note that 1″ = 25.4mm).  In this case, the VX-R has 15 MOA more adjustment with 140 vs. 125.  Considering 4x is the maximum magnification for both scopes and one normally wouldn’t shoot a 5.56 NATO round beyond 600 yards, this difference is inconsequential, in my opinion.  See Leupold’s view here.
  • Because 30mm tubes are considered “higher end” you often find better lens coatings on lenses in 30mm tubes.  Looking at the graphic above you will see that the lenses in both the VX-R and Mark AR MOD1 use Diamondcoat, are Index Matched, and are Edge Blackened.  Note that both have a 20mm objective lens.  To be fair, it’s probable that other coatings are in play, and the light transmission is 2-4% greater with the VX-R based on other research, here and here.  This may provide an edge for the VX-R at early dawn or late dusk in difficult conditions, but it isn’t noticeable during daylight hours.  Unfortunately, Leupold does not make it easy to compare lens coatings on its website or in its catalog.
  • The VX-R has one additional icon next to it in the Leupold catalog that isn’t next to the Mark AR MOD1 indicating it can use the Custom Dial System, but this is misleading.  The CDS means Leupold can customize a bullet-drop compensation or BDC cap for you at an additional cost of about $60.  Read more hereHowever, the Mark AR MOD 1 comes with a CDS cap made for 55-gr. .223 ammo at 3,100 fps!  Nice.  If you don’t like that version, you can get another cap made for your favorite round.  (Note: the “MOD 1” designation signifies use of this cap. Leupold sells another version of the Mark AR 1.5-4x20mm with standard caps shown here.)
  • 30mm tubes are stronger than 1″ tubes.  True, but how much stronger?  And is that additional strength actually needed?  The down side to stronger is that 30mm tubes weigh more than 1″ tubes because they are larger.  If you’re trying to minimize weight, a 1″ tube may better suit your application.
  • The Mark AR MOD1 is 1.2 oz. lighter than the VX-R.  Less weight is generally a good thing.
  • The Mark AR MOD1 SPR reticle comes with a green Firedot compared to the VX-R’s red Firedot.  Personally, I prefer green dots as they tend to stand out more.
  • Is the 1.25 better than 1.5 at the lower end for keeping both eyes open?  Leupold’s table, above, showing Actual Magnification at the lowest level is 1.5 for both.  I have no problem using the Mark AR MOD1 at 1.5x magnification with both eyes open.

screen-shot-2016-11-26-at-12-10-06-pmscreen-shot-2016-11-26-at-3-35-11-pmThe Leupold SPR is a great choice for AR platformsRead more about the SPR here.

Either optic would be a great choice for your AR.  The low-power magnification of each allows you to keep both eyes open with the Firedot on providing a quasi red-dot and a 4-power scope for longer ranges, and the SPR reticle is perfect for AR applications.  It comes down to what is most important to you.  If that’s weight, then the Mark AR has the advantage.  If it’s strength, long-range (a 1.25-4 really isn’t made for that), or very low light applications, then the VX-R may be your choice.  Don’t forget that the Mark AR MOD 1 comes standard with a CDS cap.

screen-shot-2016-11-26-at-1-46-23-pmLeupold’s Mark AR MOD 1 1.5-4x20mm.

Bottom line, if you are concerned that you’re compromising quality by going with the less expensive Mark AR MOD 1 versus the “high end” VX-R, don’t be!  There’s no doubt that the award-winning Mark AR’s value is greater for the money, and the differences are practically impossible to see, literally.

Additional information about and a review of the Leupold Mark AR MOD 1 1.5-4x20mm Firedot G SPR on The Truth About Guns website can be found here.

FBI Chooses Gen5 Glock

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Supposed Gen5 Glock 17 leaked by The Firearm Blog.

Click here to see details of the FBI’s requirements and what makes the Gen5 Glock different. This proves Glock is willing to change its design to meet customer demands. I also think it’s interesting that there will be three versions of the Glock 17/19 with Gen3-Gen5. I’m still a fan of the Gen3 because the Gen4 grip surface is not comfortable to me, and I like the finger grooves on the grip. Maybe I’ll change my mind once I get to hold a Gen5.

Glock perfection requires a few mods!

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I love Glocks for their reliability and simplicity. Many others do too. The G19 is a prime example of Glock’s popularity because it is far and away the most-carried 9mm semi-automatic pistol by law enforcement, and the Navy Seals just announced they are abandoning the Sig P226 for the G19. That wouldn’t be the case if it weren’t a great pistol.

The tagline “Glock Perfection” is known by most gun enthusiasts, and there are many believers in that phrase. However, Glocks obviously aren’t perfect out of the box. So, what can you do to make your almost perfect, out-of-the-box Glock, as close to perfect as possible? Read on to find out.

My list of favorite Glock modifications are listed separately on the C&L website here. Many immediately upgrade their Glock’s polymer sights to steel and/or night sights (the polymer sights can break or crack if a pistol is dropped on a hard surface), change out the slide lock for easier one-handed manipulation, and replace the stock 5.5# trigger with a drop-in 3.5# trigger from Ghost, Inc. However, those upgrades pale in comparison to finding the right ammo for your Glock.

While Glock’s are legendary for their reliability and function, every Glock will not feed every type of ammunition. I wrote a post about defense ammo and discussed an old G19 of mine not feeding Winchester 147gr. flat-nose target ammo worth a darn. I was shocked at first thinking my pistol was a dud since that was the first kind of ammo I shot in it. However, it fed everything else reliably.

Here is the key: if you are going to use a certain type of ammo for self defense, NEVER assume your pistol will feed it. ALWAYS shoot at least 100 rounds with no failures whatsoever before using that ammo for carry or defense. That includes high-priced hollow-points. If money is an issue, use FMJ ball before going to expensive defense loads. Reliability is the #1 most important attribute of a carry or defense pistol.

What if you can’t get 100 straight rounds through your pistol after trying a variety of ammo? Buy a new pistol! As any Glock owner will tell you, 100 straight rounds for a Glock is child’s play assuming you are using the right ammo for your specific pistol.

If you buy a Glock and aftermarket sights from C&L, I will install them for free with free lifetime adjustments. Where else can you find that? Also, I will adjust sights for law enforcement officers at no charge regardless of where you bought your Glock!

Pocket Pistol Shootout: Glock 42 vs. S&W J-frame M&P340PD

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S&W J-frame M&P340PD head-to-head with the Glock 42.

Many people prefer pocket-carry to using a holster for concealed carry. I’m in that group for a number of reasons. I’ve read that you get used to a pistol grip biting into your abdomen or back when carrying IWB and that concealed carry is a “lifestyle” that, if you’re serious about it, requires wearing shirts that are too big, wearing a jacket or hoody, buying pants 2″ larger than normal, and always having your shirt untucked, all in the name of personal protection. (Go on and try tucking your shirt in with a BMI greater than 28 and not printing!) Well, I don’t want to get comfortable with discomfort, and I have enough style issues that don’t need to be amplified by poor-fitting clothing! Call me soft. Call me uncommitted. I don’t care. I prefer carrying comfortably.

Why is comfort important? I wholeheartedly believe that you need to carry all day, all of the time. You are much more likely to do that if it is comfortable. If you ever run into situations where you decide not to carry because of comfort or style, I think you need to consider carrying something different or carrying in a different way.

Pocket-carry has its pros and cons just like any other method. Probably the biggest downside to pocket-carry is you are limited to what fits in your pocket. However, I believe the benefits significantly outweigh the disadvantages, and there a plenty of pocket-sized pistols out there to choose from. In this article, I’m going to compare my long-time carry companion, the lightweight S&W J-frame 340PD, to my new carry gun, the Glock 42. They are very different guns, each with advantages and disadvantages.

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Pocket pistols MUST be carried in pocket holsters for safety. An exposed trigger could result in an accidental discharge. Here, I’ve chosen the Desantis Nemesis for the G42 and an Uncle Mike’s Size 3 for the S&W.

As with most concealed carry weapons (CCW), thoughts first come to stopping power, reliability, and capacity. Those things are important to me too, but ease of carry also ranks equally for me. I believe that a CCW is only effective if you’re actually carrying it. When I’m choosing between two or more things and there isn’t a clear winner, I like making a “decision matrix” that allows me to weight attributes that are important to me and rank the items against each other using those attributes. See the table immediately below. Your decision matrix may look different based on personal preferences.

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 4.39.39 PM My personal decision matrix showing why I’ve switched everyday carry to the G42. The TOTAL is the sum of Weight x Rating for each attribute. For Weight, a 5 means Most Important while a 1 means Not Very Important. Each pistol is rated on scale from 1-5 in each category with 5 meaning Excellent, 4 Very Good, 3 Good, 2 Fair, and 1 Poor.

Many shooters look at muzzle velocity and energy when comparing effectiveness of cartridges. One of my favorite sites for this is Ballistics by the Inch. You simply can’t rely on the data printed on ammo boxes for muzzle velocity and energy unless your weapon of choice has the same barrel length as the test weapon. Many would say the .38 Special has an advantage over the .380ACP, but when you consider my pocket j-frame has a 1.875″ barrel, that is questionable. According to the graph below, Federal 125 gr. Hydra-Shok, a very popular carry cartridge, has a muzzle energy of approximately 185 ft-lbs. with a 2″ barrel. In the .380 Auto graph below that, you can see that the popular Corbon 90 gr. JHP has approximately the same muzzle energy considering the Glock 42 has a 3″ barrel. Remember, snubbies produce below average velocities which is the most significant factor in the muzzle energy equation:

CodeCogsEqn

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Source: Ballistics by the Inch website

In my mind, ballistics between these two pistols are equal. In other words, stopping power is equal. Bullet diameter is practically the same along with energy. While many say the .380ACP is under-powered, compared to the .38 Special out of a snub-nose, it’s basically the same. The observant reader might be wondering why I don’t carry .357 Magnum in my revolver since it’s rated for it. I initially thought I would, and if I did, the ballistics comparison between these two pistols would be different. The recoil was simply too great with .357 Magnum due to the revolver’s light weight. My time between shots and accuracy suffered with magnum loads at the range, and I decided .38 Special was the right choice for me. You should do the same when making decisions about concealed carry…do what works best for you.

What about reliability? I wrote in an earlier post that reliability is king when it comes to concealed carry. Why do I rate the S&W a 5 and the G42 a 4? Is a 4 good enough? The reason I rated the G42 a 4 is because I had to try several types of ammo to find a couple that feed reliably. With a revolver, you don’t have to worry about ammo type. I guess you could say there’s some “hassle factor” with any semi-auto in that you MUST test your carry ammo extensively to make sure it will feed and eject reliably. My rule of thumb is 100 rounds without a malfunction. Having found ammo that is reliable in the Glock, I’m very confident in its reliability moving forward.

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Does size matter? Although the S&W is larger dimensionally, it is easier to draw from my pocket and is equally comfortable.

Some pocket guns are not easy to shoot accurately. My opinion is that a double-action-only revolver fits in that category for a few of reasons: a heavy, long trigger pull and a short sight radius. My M&P340PD came from the factory with a 12-lb. trigger pull. Now that’s heavy! I purchased an APEX j-frame trigger kit for about $25, and that lowered the pull weight to about 9 lbs., but that’s still almost twice as heavy as the Glock 42. I don’t think you should carry a light trigger in the pocket, so I balked on installing Ghost Inc.’s 3.5# trigger kit in the G42 like I’ve done with my home defense G30SF. At the range, my groups with the S&W are double the size of the G42 at 7-yards when shooting fast. Don’t kid yourself and shoot slow when practicing with your CCW because that isn’t realistic. The heavy trigger and short sight radius of the j-frame show their impact on accuracy when speed-shooting.

As for sights, I immediately upgraded the stock G42 sights to Trijicon Night Sights. The S&W has a night sight up front but the rear sight is a cutout in the frame. When comparing the two, the Glock is the clear winner. Don’t mess around when it comes to concealed carry. ALWAYS have night sights on your weapon. Note that considering the cost of the Trijicon sights for the Glock, it was still less expensive than the S&W.

If you’re the type who wants to carry extra ammo, there are real differences between semi-autos and revolvers. Reload times between an extra magazine and a speed strip are quite different. While you may see people on YouTube who have mastered the speed strip and are able to demonstrate it under 10 seconds, in reality, you probably would not be able to do it as fast under stress. In this case, the extra mag is much faster and easier, in my opinion. Of course, you can carry a circular speed loader which is faster, but they aren’t as easily concealed or as comfortable as the flat speed strip.

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G42 6-round magazine next to a Bianchi Speed Strip loaded with .38 Special Critical Defense.

There you have it. When it’s all said and done, the Glock 42 comes out ahead of the S&W j-frame, and that’s why I switched. However, I wouldn’t hesitate to carry a revolver if it was all I had because something is better than nothing.

In my next post, I’ll review the ammo trial for my Glock 42. Stay tuned!

Do you really want a safety on your CCW?

To have a safety or not to have a safety, that is the question. Over the few weeks leading up to Christmas this year, I sold five S&W M&P9 Shields, and in each case, the customers wanted to discuss whether a safety was appropriate. Four out of five customers chose no thumb safety, but one customer was convinced they needed one. Interestingly enough, that same customer said, “I probably won’t use the safety when I’m carrying.” I recommended that they should not purchase a pistol with a thumb safety unless they were dedicated to practicing disengaging the safety and using it at all times to develop muscle memory. I sincerely doubt most civilians ability to practice that much. As you can probably tell, I’m against safeties on striker-fired, DA-only (DAO) pistols and DA/SA pistols. Here’s why.

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S&W M&P9 Shield with thumb safety. A.K.A., an accident waiting to happen, IMHO.

Thumb safeties are not intended to be safety locks to keep children from accidentally discharging a round. Believe it or not, this is the #1 concern I get from customers wanting a safety. “I have kids in the house. I need a safety.” First of all, you should not have a loaded firearm sitting around that kids can find. Second, if you own a pistol and keep it loaded in your house, it should be locked in a safe. Third, the ONLY time a firearm should be loaded in a house with kids and not in a safe is when you are carrying it! Last, thumb safeties aren’t complicated; kids can easily figure them out. Don’t fool yourself into thinking a safety will prevent a child from firing a loaded gun. That’s a false sense of security.

Thumb safeties are not designed to keep you from shooting negligently. I shake my head on this one, but I get it all of the time, especially from guys buying a pistol for their wife. (Sorry ladies, sad but true. Blame your husband, not me.) They say, “She needs a safety because she can’t keep her finger off the trigger.” What?!?! First, if you can’t keep your finger off of the trigger unless you’re actively shooting at something, you shouldn’t carry! End of story. Second, all CCW pistols should be carried in a holster that covers the trigger. That goes for folks carrying in their pocket, like me, in their purse, or waistband carry. A properly-fitted holster will prevent anything from entering the trigger guard, eliminating the possibility of a negligent discharge. Proper forefinger placement on a firearm must be practiced at all times, and creating muscle memory for drawing with your index finger running down the slide is a fundamental skill. Only touch the trigger once you intend to shoot!

Without proper practice, a thumb safety can get you killed. That’s right. Killed. Many believe flicking off the safety while drawing a pistol is easy. So easy that they don’t need to practice it or think practicing every 3-4 months at the range is enough. Some think, “I’m a smart person, and I know my pistol has a safety. I will certainly remember to flick it off if I have to. It’s not at all difficult.” Watch this video by Hickok45. He is one of the most followed shooters on YouTube with over 1.75 million subscribers, and he is generally regarded as a pistol expert.

Hickok45 forgets that the Beretta 92FS has a safety. The Beretta’s safety is automatically engaged whenever it is de-cocked. Beware!

As you will note from the video, Hickok45 says, “There you go. See, I’m not used to a safety.” You will not be used to a safety either unless you practice on a weekly basis and flick the safety from on to off each and every time you shoot! I can’t stress this enough. Be very careful of overconfidence in this area. Disengaging a safety under stress is not as simple as it sounds. The extra second or two it takes you to disengage the safety can cost you your life.

Likewise, not having a round chambered while you carry is another big mistake. You may not have time to cycle the action under diress. Modern, striker-fired pistols have internal safeties preventing them from firing unless the trigger is pulled. As long as your pistol is in a holster, you absolutely do not have to worry about negligent discharges while the gun is holstered. One of Glock’s claims to fame is their “Safe Action” pistol, their take on why a thumb safety is unnecessary. S&W, Springfield, Walther, Sig Sauer, and most others with DAO pistols have similar “safe actions.” Your instruction manual or the manufacturer’s website can provide you with information specific to your model.

Manufacturers wouldn’t put a safety on a pistol unless it actually keeps you safe. Any salesperson will tell you that the customer is always right. In the case of pistol safeties, some people adamantly want them. That’s why they’re there. Don’t believe me? Consider this. Some manufacturers refuse to put a safety on their pistols. Read that again. Only a handful of manufacturers continue to provide optional thumb safeties on striker-fired pistols. Walther manufactured the first semi-auto pistol with no safety, the P38, way back in 1938 during WWII. Soon after, they developed the first DA/SA semi-auto with the PPK. Sig Sauer’s latest striker-fired pistol, the P320, has no safety and is a leading candidate for the Army’s new sidearm. Glock was the first to offer a polymer, DA-only, no safety semi-auto pistol in 1982 with the G17. To date, none of Glock’s pistols have safeties, and Glocks are the #1 pistol carried by law enforcement. While I’m disappointed in S&W for offering the M&P Shield with a safety, I understand that money talks. My point is semi-auto pistols without safeties have been around for a very long time and have proven to be safe for every day carry.

I’m not saying all pistol safeties are bad. What I’m saying is that they only belong on single-action pistols, like the 1911. After all, “Cocked and Locked” refers to having the safety on! Here’s the thing, even though SA pistols carried cocked and locked can be fired from a holster faster than a SA pistol which is uncocked, it isn’t faster than a DAO, striker-fired pistol. My mantra is to keep pistols with extra levers and buttons on the range for target practice. They’re fun to shoot and talk about, as well as marvel at how they are engineered, but when it comes to firing accurately and quickly under stress, you can’t beat a safety-less pistol for safety and speed.

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Cocked and locked: SA pistol with the hammer cocked and safety on.

I have an older 1911 that I’ve shot for over 30-years. A few years ago, I went to a tactical pistol class and decided to take my old 1911 carried in the cocked and locked condition. Needless to say, my friends shooting Glocks got shots off before me each an every time. You can read about it here in the last full paragraph of a post I wrote last year. That was a real turning point for me.

I have to have a safety or my spouse won’t let me own a gun. What do you do in this situation? No, don’t get a new spouse. If a safety is a deal-breaker, go ahead and buy one with a safety. However, I suggest you don’t engage it while you carry if the pistol is DAO and comes in alternate versions without a safety.  When versions are offered without a safety, remember that versions with a safety have all of the safety mechanisms plus an external safety, so you don’t have to use it. (Think S&W M&P.)  The problem is you might accidentally engage the safety somehow and face an “unable to fire” situation under stress and not be able to troubleshoot quickly enough. Not good. Of course, you can practice manipulating the safety, but as mentioned earlier, know that you will need to practice weekly at a minimum, even if it’s dry-firing at home.  Final note: never carry a single-action pistol cocked and unlocked, that is with the safety disengaged.

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Glock’s hot, new G43, a very popular 9mm carry pistol. Never had a thumb safety, never will. It does, however, have 3 safeties to prevent it from going off unless the trigger is pulled.

Bottom line, choosing whether your CCW pistol has a safety is a big deal. Do not assume that it is easily manipulated because of its simplicity. Under stress, your fine motor skills and reasoning ability are severely impaired. My advice: simpler is better.  No safety required, and avoid de-cockers, too.

Top-Rated Scope Mounts: ADM and Bobro

If you’re looking for a top-rated, high-performing optic mount for your tactical rifle, look no further than American Defense Manufacturing or Bobro Engineering. Both have excellent return-to-zero and are over-engineered to perform at the highest level. LaRue has been long regarded as the gold-standard for return to zero, but many balk at LaRue’s higher prices. While outstanding quality costs money, ADM and Bobro have been able to produce quick-release mounts that are as-good-as or better than LaRue according to recent performance tests by Recoil that will be highlighted below.

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The AD-DELTA mount has excellent return to zero, is quick-release, and priced right. It is the SOCOM-approved mount for the SCAR program. Great for .308!

The AD-DELTA mount is heavy duty and ideal for .308 tactical rifles. I have this mount on my SCAR 17S because it is SOCOM approved for the SCAR platform. Workmanship is excellent, and the mount screams quality. I’ve taken my scope off and remounted it with less than 1″ shift in zero at 100 yards.  I find that you’re less likely to remove glass optics and replace them with red-dots on .308 platforms as they are intended for longer range, but return to zero is still important to many, especially if you need to travel with your rifle and need it compacted. Consider this mount for heavier semi-autos like the AR-10, Sig 716 Patrol, S&W M&P10, etc.

This American Defense Manufacturing mount will also work on 5.56mm rifles, but it may seem a little too beefy for that application. For M4s and ARs, I recommend the Precision Optic Mount from Bobro Engineering.

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Bobro Engineering’s Precision Optic Mount had the best return to zero in 
Recoil magazine’s head-to-head competition even though it only has one quick
release lever!

Bobro’s Precision Optic Mount is a favorite for AR platforms for good reason. The single-lever QD mount is faster to install/remove than dual-lever designs and provided the best return to zero when compared to other top-rated mounts designed for the AR platform listed below. It is available with 30mm and 1-inch rings.

The March 2015 issue of Recoil included head-to-head tests between multiple optic mounts, including: AD-RECON-X, Alamo Four Star DLOC-M4X-30MM, Bobro Engineering Precision Optic Mount, Burris AR-PEPR, Global Defense Initiatives P-ROM L-Model, GG&G FLT Accucam, Larue Tactical LT-139, Larue Tactical LT-808, and Precision Reflex Inc. Gator Grip. If you’re familiar with Recoil, you know it isn’t a cheap magazine when bought in print. However, if you buy the electronic version, it is very affordable. I purchase through Zinio, but there may be other ways to purchase, so do your research.

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Results from March 2015 Recoil magazine, page 100 return to zero test.
All would be considered “acceptable” by most. However, with similar price
points, why not go with the Bobro? Note: 1 MOA is 3.6″ at 100 yards.

If you do the math for the Bobro using the table above and multiply 3.6″ by 0.016 MOA, you get a shift of less than 1/16″ at 100 yards! Amazing, especially considering this mount uses a single throw lever. With the Precision Optic Mount, you can remove your scope, throw on a red dot, take off the red dot, and put your scope back on with no worries.

Cocked and Locked is a direct distributor for American Defense Manufacturing and Bobro Engineering. C&L’s everyday low prices for ALL ADM and Bobro mounts are 10% off the retail price. Call for more information.

The Poor Man’s Glock

Do you want a new defense pistol that looks and performs similar to a Glock, S&W M&P, or Springfield XD, but those brands’ price points are too high? Are you looking for a “beater” pistol that you don’t have to baby while practicing at the range, hiking in the woods, or stashing under the seat in your car? What if I said that a pistol exists that some would choose over a Glock, it’s $125 less expensive, and has advantages over a Glock?

Now do I have your attention?

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The Canik TP9SA in FDE. It’s also available in black. $375.

The pistol I’m talking about is the Canik TP9SA, and it’s the hottest pistol since the HK VP9 was introduced last year, but it’s half the price. Honestly, I’m not doing this pistol any favors with the title of this post because it’s an honest to goodness combat pistol. If you’re concerned about function, click this link to the manufacturer’s website and look at the compelling number of testimonials and videos below the description. A very nice review of the pistol by hickok45 can be seen here.

Here’s a list of features that make this pistol special for its price point:

  • 18+1 9mm capacity
  • Hammer-Forged, 4.5″ barrel
  • Steel, 3-dot sights
  • Interchangeable back straps
  • Two MecGar 18-rd. magazines (MecGar!!!)
  • Poly holster included, albeit somewhat cheap, but it’s included!

I mean seriously…when you look at those descriptions you’d think we’re talking about an HK or Sig Sauer. I’m not putting the TP9SA in the same class as those pistols by any means, but you have to admit that it’s impressive.

You will find a wide range of prices for the TP9, just know that the “SA” designation is the Gen2 upgrade.  A TP9 will sell for $50-75 less than the TP9SA. The SA refers to the single-action trigger which is a big improvement over the original TP9’s heavier and longer pull trigger.

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Side-by-side comparison of the TP9SA with the G19.

Gripes? Well, this pistol shoots high for some, and that’s seen in the hickok45 video linked above. However, for defense purposes inside of 10 yards, that won’t make one bit of difference. After all, this pistol isn’t mean for target shooting. Some may not like that the pistol is made in Turkey, but I have no problems with that. My Winchester SXP Defender shotgun was made in Turkey, and I love it. Last, the TP9SA has a de-cocker in front of the rear sights on top of the slide that some loathe. For the most part, reviewers don’t seem to mind it. It’s purpose is to help prevent a negligent discharge while field-stripping.

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Here’s what’s included with the TP9SA. Note the BLACKHAWK!-like Serpa holster.

Would I personally buy a TP9SA over a Glock 19 or Glock 17 if I had the choice? No. Would I hesitate to buy the TP9SA for personal or home defense if a Glock were out of my price range? No.

Remember, you would have to invest another $100 over the Gen3 G19 to get comparable features: $30 more for a Gen4 Glock with interchangeable back straps, $35 to install 3-dot steel sights, and $35 for a comparable holster.

If you’re looking for a great defense pistol on the cheap, the Canik TP9SA may be your pistol.