MG-42 – Basics and Firing

Last piece of footage from 2018’s visit to Battlefield: Vegas. I should actually have one more video to upload since I paid to shoot the Reising SMG, but the person working the till/reception clearly didn’t know what that was, didn’t articulate it correctly on the receipt that the RSOs work from when pulling the guns from the racks and I got so caught up in things I forgot to remedy the issue myself before leaving. This also came close to happening to me in 2017 when I shot the BAR since that also was missed from my trolley though luckily on that occasion I realised the mistake myself just as I was about to leave the premises.

I know it’s an incredibly busy venue and there’s a TON of weaponry floating around so this isn’t me saying the staff are all out to scam you by any means, but this was something I meant to mention in a full updated review of BFV which I never got around to so I’ll mention it here instead. If you go just remember you’re paying a lot and it’s a unique experience so don’t get too carried away in the moment and miss out on anything you’ve shelled out for.

Anyway, onwards and upwards. Since I mentioned the MG-42 in the previous post about the Garand I might as well slightly elaborate here. As discussed previously there was a stark contrast between US/Allied doctrine and German doctrine for the infantry. The US standardised on a self-loading infantry rifle (the Garand) in the 1930s, but Germany focused heavily on the MG and manufactured over 14 million K98 pattern bolt-actions for the majority of their forces to use with only around 1 million self-loaders produced – and that’s if you combine the G-41, G-43 and Stg44 production numbers all together.

Now the MG-34 that preceded the 42 had already been a successful general purpose machine gun (unlike the more specific weapons of WW1) however the 34 uses an incredibly complex receiver painstakingly machined from billet, which Forgotten Weapons of course has a great video showing off. Germany naturally wanted a gun that could be produced far faster and more economically, so the 42 makes extensive usage of stampings. The Stg44 is also a largely stamped gun and as we know an infamously successful one. On a related note, original AK-47 type rifles were in fact stamped but when the Russians couldn’t get that quite right they temporarily switched to heavy, expensive machined receivers only to then go back to stampings for the AKM a few years later (as soon as they’d figured the stamping out, likely with the help of a few former Nazi engineers).

The MG-42 fires the same 7.92x57mm cartridge as the K98 that most troops were equipped with and does so at a rate of roughly 1200 rounds per minute – for reference an ROF is more like 600 is typical of other guns of the period. The locking of the action is accomplished via roller delay very much like the entire G3/MP5 family of weapons that came after WW2, so there is no gas piston or gas system of any kind on the MG-42, unlike the Bren gun or BAR. Just one of a great many of examples of how this weapon’s legacy post WW2 is surprisingly wide in scope. Being stamped with looser tolerances than the MG-34 and featuring an ingeniously simplistic operating mechanism, the 42 proved to be a lot more rugged and reliable in use, although the fact it fires so quickly and requires frequent barrels changes made it less than ideal for use in the cramped confines of tanks and the like so the MG-34 was pushed in to vehicular mounts in most instances.

Doctrine placed the MG at the heart of the German squad. In the ‘light’ role the 3 man team for the MG-42 consisted of not just the gunner himself but an assistant gunner and another man dedicated to carrying ammunition. Other riflemen in the squad could also potentially carry a tri-pod or more belts of 7.92 for the MG alongside their K98ks. Given the very high ROF logistics was of course an issue so the gunner had to keep his bursts short and controlled, but even then keeping the beast fed was very much a team effort.

A great number of nicknames emerged for the weapon on account of the fact that at 1200 RPM the human ear cannot pick up the individual shots, instead a continuous cutting or ripping noise is heard when the gun runs at its’ intended speed. Even the incredibly old and well worn example I am firing in this video is still firing at a higher rate than is normal for the vast majority of small arms throughout history.

Many elements of the 42 live today within the MG3 and FN MAG series (e.g. British GPMG and US M240). With the MAG for example the bi-pod and trigger mechanism are almost literally identical to those on the 42, the top cover/feed mech is also incredibly similar as is the attachment for the butt stock. The 50 round drums that were originally produced for the MAG also share characteristics with drums used on the MG-42.

The MG3 was used extensively in the German military right up until the early 2010s and as far as I can tell is still in quite extensive service with various countries around the world even though is it borderline identical to the MG-42. It is finally entering the era of being phased out by newer designs like the HK MG5 in some places, but it’s taken a great many decades of development for anybody to come up with something objectively better.

SVT-40 Shoot

Quick magazine blasted through an SVT-40.

I was really impressed with this rifle compared to the G-43, which is certainly a contemporary equivalent or rival design. Both self loaders with 10 round detachable box magazines and short stroke gas pistons, really quite similar manuals of arms and sighting systems too. The cartridges are also very similar indeed, yet the recoil from the SVT felt like nothing comparatively.

Granted in the modern US there’s a plethora of ammo available with different loadings and I can’t account for that in my perceptions because I don’t know the brands or loadings I fired. The lubrication state and age/wear on the guns could also come in to play to an extent, but I have to say I think even when considering all of those factors I’d sill find the SVT to be the better all around rifle with a much softer recoil.

Of the bolt actions rifles I’ve fired, the Mosin-Nagant has been by far the worst/least pleasant in terms of recoil, action of the bolt and trigger pull, as well as iron sights (and I’ve fired a few different Mosins to check). I don’t know how reliable the SVT was in field conditions, but in terms of recoil and sheer volume and rate of fire going down range I’d be one very happy comrade if somebody handed me this instead of the Nagant rifle before I stormed Berlin.

FS Range Day – TRIARC SBR + Aimpoint + Silencio

Couldn’t get an angle on the ‘good side’ of the gun sadly, but here’s a few frangible rounds going through a TRIARC Systems rifle with Aimpoint optics during the FirstSpear range day just as SHOT was kicking off.

Cheers to Femme Fatale Airsoft for running her camera for me, also for an interesting observation. A lot of the guns that were out for this event were equipped with silencers so it was a good opportunity to really compare the difference actually ‘in situ’ vs shooting a standard muzzle one day then a suppressed one later. Kelly commented on the significant disparity between the suppressed and non-suppressed weapons and generally how much more comfortable and pleasant it was to simply be in the vicinity of rifles running suppressors compared to those that weren’t.

Having been around firearms somewhat frequently myself for coming up on 11 years now but rarely having shot suppressed weapons, it really wasn’t something that occurred to me immediately I have to say, but the second it was pointed out I found myself in complete agreement. When you’ve been stood around watching and chatting to folks for a little bit while the firing line has been running entirely suppressed it’s notably strange how quickly you become accustomed to that decibel level, then all of a sudden when an unmoderated shot fires off it feels surprisingly egregious to the senses.

Review – Shoot Las Vegas Guns

The video from Shoot Las Vegas is up on YouTube already, I said I’d review them and I do what I say. If you happen to go to Vegas (which is possibly the best machine gun tourism destination in the world) I have to say I think you’d be remiss to not set a little of your budget aside to check out SLV. Certainly if you’ve either never shot before or never shot full auto.

To preface this I will say I’ve spent hours pouring over other reviews of every MG rental place in Vegas and there are at least a dozen, however I’ve only been to 2 and there’s a reason for that. Of the many of reviews I’ve looked at and comparison lists I’ve read that are up-to-date, there are consistently 2 businesses topping the charts. Now personally I know I have integrity when I review things and only publish the truth, but I take reviews from any source I’m not intimately familiar with with a large pinch of salt. It’s not physically possible for me of course to physically visit every location, however after sorting the wheat from the chaff I have spent a long time looking at the websites of all the businesses who have at least decent reviews to compare 2 key attributes – pricing and selection. Location and staff are important too of course, but for me it’s about what I’m shooting and how much I’m paying, I simply expect the staff to be professional and polite and the location to be safe as a minimum.

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With all that in mind, many of you will know I’ve been to Battlefield before and the only competition I could find to the quality of Battlefield was SLV, so I put my money on the table, purchased a 9 gun package + the Barrett .50 and headed on over. When I say headed over I mean took a fairly lengthy drive in the yuge limo they pick you up in, because the first thing to know about SLV is it’s situated out in the mountains and valleys a good way outside of town. This is a slight double edged sword as it’s a bit of a drive, but one edge is no doubt sharper than the other. The vehicle is either about to be upgraded to an insane monster truck limo or will have been already and frankly that alone is almost worth the entry fee. Check their site to take a look at the beast, you will be impressed. If I go to SHOT again next year I look forward to checking it out in person.

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The first image is the selection of 9 I picked out which I’ve discussed previously when I posted the shooting footage, so go back if you want to read what’s there/why I chose it. The location itself is, as I say, a decent little drive out of town and that’s about the only disadvantage or criticism of sorts I might have of SLV. Bearing in mind that the land around Vegas is eerily flat for miles and of course the shooting range needs hilly terrain to actually catch bullets, so if you want that outdoor experience you simply have to drive a good distance, there’s no getting around that.

 

The selection of weapons to choose from will certainly please 99% of folks out there. I may potentially be in that 1% who’s already shot a lot of modern stuff and is primarily interested in much more niche/older weapons, but I still managed to pick out 9 guns I most definitely wanted to shoot to tick off my list and that’s good going for someone who’s as big of a nerd as I am. Also you have to consider the remote nature of the location in all aspects of the business, as having everything that they do in the location that they do is no mean feat.

The physical firing lines are trailers of sorts, which means you don’t quite have the 100% outdoor shooting experience, however it is the desert and it’s windy so if you didn’t have some sort of cover or hide to shoot from you’d spend a lot of the time going ‘pffff’ blowing sand out of your nose and mouth. More importantly the actual range is just straight up fantastic. You can simply blast sand if you like and honestly I think I might do just that next year as I go to these places to pay for an experience of shooting in a way I’ll never be able to in work. Safety is still crucial of course because a lot of these are automatic firearms, but as long as you follow the 4 rules of safe weapons handling I see no reason not to just aim at a large area down range and hold the trigger back. But as I say the range area you have to shoot at is superb with tons of steel targets setup. The trailer with the bolt-action rifles has target stands starting at 100 yards and then at 100 yard increments all the way to 500 proceeding up the hillside, which is a world away from anything you might get at an indoor range. Searching for those steel plates out on the sides of the hills through your scope is a hell of a lot of fun. Personally I also find the scenery just awesome as it’s totally different to almost anywhere in the UK.

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Most crucially, all the guys I met who were running the place were absolutely faultless. Professional, courteous, yet highly enthusiastic when it comes to safely enjoying the shooting experience and making sure you have a bloody good time at their range. The time does go quickly there’s no doubt and as I’ve often said with machine gun tourism it’s a crazy ratio of dollars per second of entertainment, but you have to understand that going in. That’s simply the nature of the beast.

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Pricing wise I can tell SLV have set out from the start to really be the tops dogs. Not only is the basic price per gun/round extremely competitive, but you’ve got your limo ride included, they have have video cameras setup to get the down range angle no human could ever record, you’ll get a 50 cal case cut in to a beer opener at the end (hand made from a round shot on their range) and honestly just the entire feel of the location and the setup they have going is a huge plus point; lots of other little details too. To circle back to something I mentioned at the start, I’ve spent a lot of time comparing prices and weapon selections of different MG rental places in Vegas and SLV beats most of them in a simple price per round match, yet also throws in a boat load of extras the competition simply do not (or cannot) beat.

Overall it’s an easy 9/10 from me, maybe a tentative 9.5, just because nothing in life is perfect (but they get close). Getting hold of the guns I’m personally really in to like genuine Stg 44s etc is of course a seriously big deal and I’m not deducting points from SLV for not having all the WW1/2 era guns I’m most interested in, but sufficed to say if they did have all that stuff I’d never go anywhere else. If anything the only other minor nit I could pick here is that SLV will massively spoil you in terms of shooting experiences and almost anywhere else you might try will be lacking by comparison. I genuinely hope any of you who might read this and subsequently find yourself in Las Vegas will put this company at the top of your list, because end of the day what I care about most is folks getting the best they can from their money and this business right here is the one to go with.

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Shoot Las Vegas (Not Literally, Obviously)

Just straight up gratuitous phone footage of me blasting stuff at Shoot Las Vegas. I’ll write a review of the business later, but right now I’ll score them an easy 9/10 if not higher. If your personal belief is that using good looking women to promote your enterprise is a bad thing you won’t like them that’s for sure, but that’s not my personal outlook on things. Especially when the lady they post the most online also runs their social media and more importantly is one of their RSOs and works as such 6 days a week. But anyway, here’s the break down.

Single Action Army:
I realised I’d never fired any sort of revolver before this trip, but I’ve used SAAs many times in games and I bloody love that old school feeling of spinning the cylinder to load each round through the gate and cocking the hammer manually each time with the single action trigger. This model is obviously a slightly longer barrel than the US military variant that was adopted. Surprisingly not too much recoil for a big old cartridge and no slide to reciprocate.

Henry Repeating Arms Lever-Action:
Chambered in .45 Long Colt, same as the SAA. Again I’d never fired lever action before this, but the rifle is an early variant of the Henry without the King’s loading gate, so loading was done by dropping cartridges down the magazine tube from the front. You notice the rear site is a gigantic, cavernous notch with multiple angles inside it? Well I had no idea where to put the front bead inside that cavern so I started with it lined up at the top, then later realised it had to be at the bottom and got a hit. The subsequent miss is presumably just the fact I suck.

20″ AR/M16 style setup with Spike’s Tactical 37mm launcher:
The selection at SLV is very good considering it’s waaay out in the sticks, but I’ve obviously been in the service a while and fired a few things along with visits to other rental ranges and range days during SHOT Show trips. I basically just wanted to shoot an M16 clone with the heatshield around the barrel that you only see on M16s with UGLs. It’s as iconic as they come. I had an Action Man with that gun as a kid (the 203 fired green plastic ‘missiles’ via spring that cocked on loading, amazing).

Kahr Firearms Group/Auto Ord M1928 Thomspon:
I’ve fired this exact setup before, but it was the time I took my PivotHead glasses to the range and they let me down worse than any other piece of gear in history. If you’ve ever held a Thompson (real or replica) you’ll know the stock and controls make it a competitor for least ergonomic gun ever made. I presume it was setup to be hip fired after jumping in to a WW1 trench. So I don’t think I hit anything but I do not care a single jot – It’s a Chicago Typewriter *with* the drum.

FN America/Herstal P90:
I did not know this PDW had an AUG style 2-stage trigger as well as the fire selector, very, very odd. Also no idea where the EoTech was zero’d so I probably entirely failed to take in to account that huge bore offset, but it doesn’t matter because it fires rapid as hell and barely moves so I had a great time blasting sand. Which is all I do care about in this context.

Heckler & Koch G36:
I didn’t really expect a lot from this since it’s just a plastic assault rifle in 556, but it’s the easiest to control in automatic of just about any rifle I’ve fired, which makes little sense given how light it is. Felt like firing an SMG. Obviously you’ll note ALL of the shots hitting low but at least they’re fairly consistently low in the ground, so I can only imagine the sights were set for a lot further out than I was aiming.

FN F2000:
Same super freaky selector + dual stage setup as the P90. Do not ask me why that automatic ROF is so insanely high, it makes no sense to me, especially since I’ve handled the rifle previously at the Leeds collection and it weighs about 4lbs at a guess; all plastic body. Genuinely fits the bill when you say ‘feels like a toy’ in relation to a firearm because it feels like budget airsoft or a NERF gun.

FN SCAR Light/Mk16:
Fitting squarely in to the ‘boring, 556, short stroke, metal upper + polymer lower, AR layout’ modern assault rifle category, I was going to pick something else initially. But then SLV had the short version in sandy colours exactly like my TM replica and I changed my mind very quickly. Great controls, very light recoil. I can see why these guns are so pricey and so popular.

Mosin-Nagant:
Just a regular 91/30 from what I can see in he video but I didn’t look the rifle over in person. Honestly the worst shooting experience I’ve had, the only gun that’s ever bruised me. Nothing to do with SLV of course, it’s just an old bolt action with no muzzle device and a beast of a round from the late 1800s, back when range and power was king. Combined with a metal butt plate of course and zero padding so ALL of that x54R force is going in to smacking a piece of metal right in to you. I guess I’m just a masochist.

The .50 I’ll throw in to a separate video because I want to have a nice big thumbnail on YouTube with the Barrett front and centre, because why not right? I probably could have got a ton of views over there if I’d uploaded each gun separately with big thumbnails and capitalised video titles, but then they hate guns and I’d make nothing from it. I’ve also had mostly just bad experiences with trolls on any video that has gotten large numbers of views.

Yours, Says, Replica

Getting there on the footage from Shoot Las Vegas (inbetween writing maaaaany e-mails and messages).

First round of fiddy cal I ever fired. I dearly wish the camera could’ve picked up the pressure wave both myself and my buddy holding the camera there felt, even worse for him than for me being directly behind the gun. It may have only been semi-enclosed at the firing position but that was enough to feel like you were getting slapped in the head from both sides at the same time upon firing each shot. Beast of a muzzle brake, less felt recoil than a full power WW2 era 30 cal round with a bare muzzle.

.50

Getting there on the footage from Shoot Las Vegas (inbetween writing maaaaany e-mails and messages).First round of fiddy cal I ever fired. I dearly wish the camera could've picked up the pressure wave both myself and my buddy holding the camera there felt, even worse for him than for me being directly behind the gun. It may have only been semi-enclosed at the firing position but that was enough to feel like you were getting slapped in the head from both sides at the same time upon firing each shot. Beast of a muzzle brake, less felt recoil than a full power WW2 era 30 cal round with a bare muzzle.

Posted by The Full 9 on Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Most British Gun

Imagine a Venn diagram, the type with the linking circles. There’s 2 circles, one with avid Battlefield 1 players in, the other containing avid fans of Forgotten Weapons. Right in the middle there’s a teeeeny tiny inter-section of folks who will maybe care about this news.

As seen here in my screen cap of LevelCap‘s video uploaded yesterday, the 1915 Howell rifle is coming to BF1 in the next DLC. What is it? Only one of THE weirdest and most interesting firearms ever to have ever existed. It’s an SMLE, with what I suppose would qualify as a long stroke gas piston just slap-dashed on to the side to open, cycle and close the normal bolt handle that the shooter would usually operate with their hand. I very strongly encourage you to check out Ian’s video to see this gun working:

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ATAC Global Range 2018

As I have all 3 years at SHOT I attended the FirstSpear range day on the Monday, which was excellent as usual. It’s small but the guns available to shoot are always top notch, as are the gear manufacturers displaying at the venue. This year I also travelled all the way from the location (that wasn’t too far from the California state line) through Vegas and up to Nellis Air Force base to the North-East of town to check out the ATAC Global range day. It is a larger affair it must be said, however only active military, LE, emergency responders and certain other people who are integral in the firearms industry can attend.

Although not within the confines of the base itself, the ranges used by ATAC are part of the land that is owned by the USAF station, so sadly no pictures or video were allowed without a media badge and I don’t think I would’ve had the credentials for that, so I paid about $25 for a normal ticket and used my MOD 90 in conjunction when showing up in my Uber. I’d only been made aware of the fact this range day was even in existence when speaking to somebody back in 2016 when first attending SHOT, though I have to apologise to them if they’re reading as I can’t recall who it was now.

Without any imagery I’ll do my best to give some brief description of what I was able to shoot, as there were quite a few interesting weapons and systems on show.

First off Aimpoint AB had a stand and you were given 3 mags of 10 frangible rounds to go through the stand, first shooting a LaRue Tactical AR-15 with the latest CompM5 dot, then using a magnifier, but then things got REALLY interesting with the Aimpoint ‘Concealed Engagement Unit’ which is something I posted about during DSEI.

https://www.aimpoint.com/product/aimpoint-ceu/

The shooter holds their rifle perpendicular to the body, with the stock on the outside of the firing hand elbow, even though one would naturally expect to press the butt pad against the inside of the bicep. Holding the weapon around waist or chest height you then look down through the CEU and will see a smaller version of a regular sight picture, looking through the accompanying red dot sight. Firing at steel targets at 20-50m was quite honestly the strangest shooting experience I’ve ever had and somewhat scary in a way because the FOV through the optic is rather narrow. I didn’t have a wall to shoot around, so I had to really keep my wits about me in terms of not losing the steel targets through the sight and then potentially rotating too far in searching for them, only to end up pointing a ready firearm somewhere I shouldn’t. I took my time however and with the very light recoil of the AR hitting the targets was far easier than expected.

Next up was the B&T stand and this was my first time shooting anything they make. Starting with the USW – Universal Service Weapon:

https://www.bt-ag.ch/…/bt-universal-service-weapon–usw-a1-…

The USW is certainly one of the best ideas in the realm of firearms for police I’ve seen in a while. It’s pretty much a Sphinx Pistol, which itself now comes under the KRISS USA banner. The USW however has a very different frame, with a hollow area at the rear to both mount the unique Aimpoint NANO in a fixed manner and also fully encapsulate the moving slide such that the shooter cannot get whacked in the nose.

The stock is thin and not super rigid with a small contact area for the shoulder, though it weighs almost nothing being plastic and does an impressively good job for how slim it is. The overall package is probably less than 2″ longer than a normal service or duty sized pistol, only very slightly bulkier and heavier but the the effectiveness at range is superb. I could easily hit targets presented (slightly smaller than the average torso) out to around 50-60m with reasonable speed even though the area for the support hand to grip is minimal since there’s no foregrip. With the stock folded you’ve got a gun that holsters pretty normally and shoots just like a normal handgun, except the red dot doesn’t cycle and sight picture is easily maintained. By flipping out the stock I’d say you instantly gain the equivalent of years of training and many thousands of rounds in shooting practice by simply adding that point of contact and taking almost all muzzle rise out of the weapon.

Following the USW was a few rounds out of the APC:

https://www.bt-ag.ch/…/bt-apc9a…/bt-smg-apc9-cal-9-x-19-mm-2

Being a compact 9mm carbine there’s not a lot I can really say. You pick it up and certainly feel the construction quality, the recoil is of course barely there even with the plastic lower. It’s a straight blowback, however it fires from the closed bolt, which is certainly the better choice these days. Austrian national SWAT use the APC as their primary weapon in sub-gun form according to B&T’s site. Far as I know this is one of B&Ts more recent designs and it certainly feels more practical compared to the tiny little MP9.

Next up Leupold Optics were showing off their Mark 5 scope on an Accuracy International Ltd .338 AXMC rifle.

http://www.accuracyinternational.com/ax-rifle-systems/

At a guess the target was a circle around 14″ + or -, range of around 500-600m given the heat haze visible. This was my first time ever behind a bolt-action rifle with a magnified optic shooting at any distance at all (previously only rented similar rifles indoors at BF Vegas), also essentially my first time shooting .338LM, but I connected a couple of times at least with 5 rounds so frankly I was happy. There were long queues at every shooting station as you might imagine, so it wasn’t a case of taking a minute/as long as necessary to line up each and every shot.

Then Overwatch Precision let me put a few rounds through one of their modified Glocks and this was my cherry time shooting a mounted Trijicon Electro Optics RMR.

http://overwatchprecision.com/

It’s certainly harder than the USW or ALG 6-Second but it’s also easier and just nicer all around vs irons, that much is certain.

Next station was a cool combination of an American Built Arms Company556 bolt action rifle with an Oakwood Controls computer system.

https://www.abarms.com/MOD-X-Rifle-Remington-…/abamxr308.htm

Far as I could tell the target was just normal wood/paper, but via some sort of magical setup of microphones at the base of the target, the laptop screen next to the gun was showing exactly where the holes were being made, as if I’d walked down there myself to check. Very, very cool and probably a tool that enthusiast long-range shooters will be getting in to more and more in the coming years.

Following this I came across the Lewis Machine & Tool Company (LMT)stand and they had simply too many rifles to choose from:

https://lmtdefense.com/firearms/mrp

I saw a magazine that said .224 Valkyrie and since that’s the new hotness that was my choice. I was handed a fairly long barreled AR-15, around 22″ and unfortunately they hadn’t got it quite zero’d, so I had no idea where the rounds were going in relation to the reticule, just had to fire and see how the recoil felt. Couldn’t deny there was a little bit more of a snap than normal 556, but .224 is touted as the short action version of 6.5 Creedmoor and that cartridge has gained enormous traction over .308 in the long range precision shooting community. The Valkyrie cartridge also has a vaguely similar appearance to .338LM with a fat, stubby case and seemingly disproportionately narrow bullet, so there’s a distinctly stout charge behind that .22 calibre and the long bullet to increase contact surface with the barrel.

Barrett had their ‘240 Lightweight’ out and given how much time I spend elbow deep in GPMGs I had to take the time to wait in line and fire that.

https://barrett.net/firearms/240lw/

Despite the somewhat skeletal look, the recoil seemed slightly less than the FN MAG variants I’m used to. The stock actually adjusts, there’s a handguard for firing when not prone which is far better than holding the folded bi-pod and somehow no rivets on the receiver, which I can tell you is the biggest critical failing point on old MAGs.

Lastly (before someone sadly blew a whistle and shut everything down) I found the GLOCK 19x, which feels like a fairly mild shooting Glock, but is still a Glock. There was another really cool target system at this stage with pop up paper targets presenting at roughly 5, 7 and 10m. At the end of the string of fire one of the guys at the stand had a display on his tablets showing exactly when and where you’d place your shots. The time was tight with only maybe 2-3 seconds per exposure but again being a total novice pistol shooter I managed to get 1 or 2 centre/inner ring hits on each one in decent timings.

Annoyingly I was right next to the H&K stands when the cease-fire whistle went at dead on half 4 and those guys had the 417A2, MG4 and MG5 and a whole bunch of other really sweet guns out. Alas.

SHOT 18 – FS Range Day

Thanks to FirstSpear and all other companies exhibiting for hosting myself and Femme Fatale Airsoft at their range day event this morning, highly enjoyable time for sure. Great little selection of top of the range firearms and some real premium tactical gear on display.

The main exhibitor of firearms was TRIARC Systems who’s website I’ve visited previously and quite honestly did not expect to ever get to shoot their guns let alone get do it so soon. TRIARC do custom work to Glocks (of course) and make their own 1911s and ARs. Not necessarily the absolutely most mould breaking ARs ever, but with FULL ambi controls, proprietary rifling in all their barrels and ultimately pages and pages worth of manufacturing specs that I could write forever about in terms of quality, but now is not the time for that.

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First shooting table we arrived at I immediately spied the ALG Defense 6 second mount, which has been on my gun bucket list for years and I can’t say how much of a cheat gun the Glock becomes with that mount attached. Even a total novice pistoleer like myself can step up to a plate rack without ever having tried one before and knock all that steel down at pretty darn respectable pace. Video of this will be forthcoming and unlike my range day footage from last year I’m not going to be at all embarrassed to upload it on account of my stupid wanna-look-cool trigger finger outrunning my ability to shoot accurately.

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Next up was the TRIARC 1911 with full length dust cover and some FS based magazines. I don’t know nearly enough about the platform to comment much here other than to say that the VZ Grips, the King of G-10 grips. worked beautifully, the triggers were incredibly short (maybe 3-4mm of total travel at a guess) and icicle crisp with some top tier sights and every control, feature and gripping surface worked-up as far as it could ever really be. I’d imagine something along the lines of going to Wilson Combat for a pistol and ticking pretty much all of the boxes for optional extras. The sort of pistol you just pick up, cycle the slide and immediately know “bloody hell this is expensive”.

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I neglected to take pictures, but I also fired a few rounds from a suppressed TRIARC short barreled AR and a ‘legal length’ Primary Weapons Systemslong stroke gas piston AR at the Aimpoint stand. Aimpoint had the CompM5 as well as their twist off/FTS magnifiers for folks to try and there’s no doubt at all with regards the utility and performance of such sighting systems. Again some video of these will be following. The PWS gun was something I’ve been interested in for a long time; while I’d never be so ignorant as to lambast the combat proven semi-direct impingement nature of the AR/M16/M4 platform, I’d personally pick a gas system that dumps as much carbon as possible on big, simple parts with minimal geometry that aren’t in/around the breech of the gun; if I had a choice. Putting the legendary long stroke of the AK in to the AR is an intriguing prospect to say the least.

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Took a look at the Phokus Research Group Wound Cube which is a brilliant concept in the realm of medical training. As with anything anyone might have to perform under stress, repetitions and familiarity are absolutely key. It’s always been possible to practice bandaging pretend broken arms and splinting legs and putting tourniquets on people, but I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had Hemcon bandages demo’d to me by someone making a ‘hole’ in the form of a slightly loose fist. The cube simulates lacerations, different sized bullet holes in flesh and can be filled with different types of fake blood if desired. Phokus also have some really excellent medical training course plans that involve plenty of reps of physically performing important treatments with much less of somebody just standing in the front of a classroom and talking.

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Beyond Clothing, FS themselves and Gentex Corporation (Ops Core) had stands as well, amongst others, with some cool new gear on show but I’ll be getting shots of those during the main body of the show where the backdrops and lighting will be better. Special thanks to the folks from Hill People Gear for getting us back in to town. As you’ll note the range was a pretty damn remote location, but given the fact scenery along the same lines just doesn’t exist in the UK I always thoroughly enjoy the beauty of the mountain ridges and desert flora.

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