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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Glock 19X Reveal

Just seen the new GLOCK​ 19X.

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It’s a 19 length slide/barrel, with 17 size frame/mag. Which frankly I find odd because the US concealed carry market want thin, short mags for best concealment whereas barrel length is a secondary priority (to everyone I know over there at least). So this gun is the opposite in that regard.

Looks like a Gen 5.X gun too. At a cursory initial glance without knowing all the details I can see the cut at the front of the mag housing has done a 180 and turned in to a slight extension and the previously squared off front of the frame now has angles in keeping with the Gen 5 slide. Seems they’ve already looked at some of the primary criticisms of the Gen 5 design.

I’ll be interested to see what some of the American folks who have a lot of pistol experience end up saying once these begin to circulate on the market and YouTube gun channels (looking at you Military Arms Channel​).

Armistice 17

There’s a lot of posts about armistice day and remembrance out there, I don’t think I need to remind anybody yet one more time about the importance of it.

I’m on duty at the moment, which means I’ve been in work a couple of times over the weekend and I pretty much have to stay on base for a week. Everyone takes a turn, just means I spend a lot of time here in the barrack block and I do a lot of thinking; so I’ve been thinking all day about what to say on the subject.

From a social media perspective, I think it’s very, very easy to post ‘prayers for’ and ‘respect to’ posts every time there’s a tragedy or a marked public holiday/event. If those posts come from the heart, if you genuinely take the time to think about the sacrifices that heroes have made and great people we’ve lost, that’s great.

Personally; I won’t lie I didn’t even buy my poppy until yesterday, I didn’t spend a long time pausing at 11am today to be silent either. I think about people who’ve been lost and those who’ve lost a bit of themselves near enough every single day. I can’t even ‘take credit’ or claim that’s a conscious effort it just pops in to my brain without trying. Makes my heart weigh pretty heavy truth be told.

Like to use this post here to share a video I watched on Soldier Systems Daily from Sitka. As some context to something well known in popular culture, this is a story somewhat akin to that told in American Sniper. However there’s no actors here, just the man himself, his tale and his reality. He might be American but his story is no doubt very, very similar to that experienced by so many thousands upon thousands more across the globe.

The internet stops at your screen. I think a few too many people can forget that, hit post and think they’ve done something; I’ve been guilty of it and I reckon if we’re honest we likely all have been at some point. So if you want to, if you can, if the opportunity is there or you can make the opportunity, at the very least say a kind word to any veteran or service person who’s been there, done that. Of course not just during WW2, but Korea, The Falklands, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq (at various times), Syria, the Balkans… and the list goes on and on. There are people who need help all of the time.

Watch, absorb, contemplate, try and genuinely be as grateful as you can manage to for each day.

Skip ze 6 – A7

First time I’m seeing the 416A7 as selected by German SF, deets over at Soldier Systems Dailyhttp://soldiersystems.net/2017/10/13/spartanat-2/#comments

G95

45 degree selectors and HKey over the quad pic. Not sure on other changes right now since the HK site still only displays the A5.

VERY similar rail to the one being proposed for the L85A3. I find it interesting the way some of these military arms are insisting on fitting parts that would be relevant on commercial ARs about 2-3 years ago. I had an original Fortis REV with the 12 and 6 o/clock pic rails and side KeyMod, was not a fan of the ergonomics, however I’ll take any weight saving over quad pic. M-LOK all around is simply the way to go.

Cash is King

I can’t mention the L85 without somebody telling me that “It’s shit and needs to be replaced”.

Let me address this with one very key point right now, because if you knew enough to be qualified to really put forward a worthwhile viewpoint on this subject you’d have understood this already. If you want to understand the over-arching key to this issue please read this piece over at Soldier Systems Daily:

http://soldiersystems.net/…/armys-peo-soldier-bg-cummings…/…

I’m quite happy to bet every penny I have to my name right now that whichever new calibre/cartridge the US military selects (and various testing is going on currently as part of that) the rest of NATO/ISAF/’the nice guys’ will follow suit, as will many, many other people. It happened with 556 before and the firearm industry in the USA leaves it as basically the only nation in the world (certainly in the west) with the infrastructure of everything that’s needed to develop and select the new standard round to a sufficient level of overall quality as far as the end result goes. H&K may be popular and in Europe, but all they’re really doing is iterating on current weapons for the most part. The MP7 was one of their most innovative weapons but everything I’m reading suggests even that has been phased out and potentially replaced by a rifle from Q, LLC – a company I’d wager is substantially buoyed by (and far more viable as a result of) the existence of the US civilian firearms market. Similar story with FN.

Replacing a general issue service carbine or rifle is a long, tricky, very very expensive process that 99.9% do not understand at all. I don’t pretend to understand it fully by any means myself. But the key word here is expensive and cash-money is very high indeed on the priority list right now, to put it extremely lightly.

Will the timelines mentioned in the article be kept to? Probably not if we look at procurement programs in general, but unlike fast jets it is comparatively quick to develop new small arms. Emphasis on the word comparatively of course, but none-the-less the fact remains. I won’t pretend to know exactly what will happen and when, but a new calibre is almost certainly coming quite soon and spending out a fortune on rifles, optics, slings, rail accessories, training materials, training ammo, range time etc etc etc for another 556 rifle at this current point in time is the equivalent to tipping piles and piles of money in to a giant furnace – money you borrowed from one of those borderline-legal not-a-loan-shark companies at 2500% APR. The next big thing just is not available right now, it doesn’t exist yet, therefore we can’t buy it and I’m confident in saying that sticking with the current option is the only sensible and viable solution taking key relevant factors in to account.

There’s been a lot of talk from top US generals about a feeling of lack of ability to respond to soviet x54R weapons and there’s more than a few past examples out there of the US prioritising money in to new equipment vs training on the current equipment. So again, strong impetus there for something that carries energy farther than 556 does without going all the way back to 762×51 on a permanent basis for every service member.

If you’ve paid much attention to the rise of 6.5 Creedmoor amongst US civilian shooters and you understand some basics about trajectories, transonic transition, carried energy, wind effects etc you’ll know what the appeal is behind a 6.X calibre round on paper. The carbine isn’t the only area this is going on either, there’s plenty of noise around an FN MAG replacement/upgrade in .338NM (Norma Magnum), which itself is basically a slightly tamed .338LM (Lapua Magnum). The former being a round which would extend effective range of light machine guns and without dragging this post on even longer is, I would say, just ‘better’ for use in anything but a precision rifle vs Lapua Magnum.

None of this is even getting in to polymer cased ammo, but sufficed to say that new standardised round is a big old train and it’s steaming in to the station at high speed. It’s not Virgin Trains either, so if you lay the tiny leaf that is an iterative 556 gun on the track, that ol’ girl most definitely ain’t stopping.

Radom (Poland) at DSEI

First time I’ve been able to see the very well known Polish MSBS rifle system in the flesh. In terms of function it’s nothing that’s revolutionary, however a lot of investment has gone in to producing the modular components and design aspects of this rifle. The quick change barrels can be swapped between CQB carbine length, infantry rifle, DMR and LMG. With the upper receiver being the common component each of those is available in both bullpup and conventional layouts. There’s also a compatible 40mm launcher available.

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Great 3D viewer with more information here:
http://fabrykabroni.pl/en/produkty/karabiny/msbs/

Edgar Brothers at DSEI

I had a feeling EB were putting something pretty special together for their stand and I was not disappointed. They had essentially a mini SHOT Show setup all in one area and I was loving it I have to say. On board they had lots of gear from Daniel DefenseBlue Force Gear, Inc.S&S PrecisionVelocity Systems/Mayflower R&CGeissele Automatics, LLCTeam WendyMYSTERY RANCH BACKPACKSArc’teryx, of course Hot Shots Calendarand even more I’m forgetting right now.

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Great opportunity to take a close look at a huge variety of equipment in one place that you’d otherwise have to travel the world or spend a fortune to see. That in itself is a very large and key part of the reason why I run this outlet and try to put out as much information as possible to anyone who wants it.

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Special mentions to Rosie Jones and Kelly Hall smiling away as always raising some cash for Help for Heroes Official. Between the pair of them they’ve attended more defence and security industry expos at this point than probably the majority of people actually working in that business. They’ll be at it again in Vegas come January with some of the other ladies and I’ll be saying the same thing no doubt. What actually matters is the fundraising to help the vets who’ve suffered so you and I don’t have to and deserve absolutely nothing but the best. Last time at Shot the cash boxes at the Crye booth were quite literally bursting and overflowing, so credit where credit is due because a lot of the people coming up to the stand do ask some strange and unusual things but the girls are never phased. I’ve had some experience being the other side of the table as it were, presenting service weapons to crowds of people at open days and the like on base and the patience required just doing that for 1 day being asked the same things over and over again is substantial, let alone doing it for 3-4 days.

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REX firearms at DSEI

Rex had a small booth but what they did have was quite impressive I have to say. As a company they’ve only gotten in to firearms relatively recently, but they’ve been making other related items (training ammunition, links, tac gear) for a long time.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect quality wise from Rex Zero 1 pistol but they appeared to be very well manufactured. The de-cocker also acts as the slide lock and release, with the safety and magazine release both being ambi. The compact variants are shorter in the slide and grip as you’d expect, that tactical models feature threaded barrels and slide optic cuts. The competition model at the end has more going on than I’m even going to list in this post. The Firearm Blog very recently published a video on YouTube showcasing these pistols at the factory in Slovenia if you’re interested in seeing more.

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My feelings about modernising AKs are that it should absolutely be done but you should take a Military style approach to it, taking considered and incremental steps. If you slap on everything you can or make really huge changes to the DNA of the rifle it’ll end up a mess. The Rex AKB-15 may look like a totally different animal, but really the only huge change is up top. The receiver, BCG, barrel and fire control parts are pretty much what you’d want and expect in any AK, they have primarily just changed the obsolete top cover and soviet side mount for a monolithic top rail to fit optics in a secure fashion. Of course there’s also M-LOK slots on the lower handguard. Crucially the safety/selector is extremely smooth and with the downwards extension a right handed shooter can manipulate it quickly and very easily. For field cleaning you simply press out 2 HK style pins at the rear of the receiver to pop off the stock. Great design work.

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GLOCK at DSEI

I think there may have been a slight mix up with the Gen 4 G17s on the stand, because unless something’s changed and nobody’s told my armoury, we don’t get the extended slide release levers on our service pistols. However for those who may not be aware, yes the G19 is a service pistol, not as widely used of course as the full size gun but there are quite a few in inventory.

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No Gen 5 guns sadly, but the M variants are what I’d call a Gen 4.8 (more than a 4.5). The most interesting aspect for me was the magazines. I’m not sure if they’re actually standard for the M models or special for the show (other guns didn’t have them) but the cuts make insertion require more force and pressing the mag release causes the magazine to fly out of the pistol at a pretty rapid rate. Be very interested to try the design out live firing, seem like a nice option, especially for speed/emergency reloads.

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