Category Archives: Other Nifty Stuff

Doug Ritter RSK Mk1 M2/Benchmade Griptilian Review

Test of a new review subject…Further reviews subject to how this one is received.

http://www.kniferights.org/ – For those interested in supporting the right to carry knives.

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The Best $100 I Have Ever Spent

I have purchased a lot of things that have been exceptionally useful. Some of them have been expensive, and some of them have been cheap. $100 is a decent amount of money, but well within the price range of many shooters out there.

So, what is it? A muzzle device? A 60 round magazine? A vertical grip? A holster?

No, it’s a camera.

The Casio Exilim EX-FS10, to be exact.

All of the high speed video on this blog, as well as almost all of the HD video (with the exception of SHOT video), and many of the still images were shot with this camera, which is currently available for $90 on Amazon.

“But hey,” you say. “I don’t want to start a blog. Why would I need to buy this camera?”

Even if I had never made a single blog post, this camera would have been worth its weight in gold to me. I have been able to analyze (and improve) my own shooting, discover exactly how my weapons malfunction, and help countless shooters at the range with their own training or equipment issues, by being able to show them what’s going wrong in slow motion.

It’s been pretty durable, too – the scratches on the side are from when the (poorly secured) camera flew off the hood of my Jeep while I was practicing shooting from a moving vehicle.

It’s small enough and light enough to fit in any pocket – meaning that I can take it anywhere – and its reliability has meant that when my DSLRs failed, I still had something to shoot with.

As a run of the mill point and shoot camera, it is outclassed by many other products. The high speed functions, though, make it uniquely useful to shooters and possibly to other professions/hobbies/sports as well.

It can take decent photos – it just requires a little more concentration and effort than “better” point and shoot cameras or DSLRs.

Whether you’re in the market for a digital camera or not, the extra features of the Casio EX-F line of cameras should really interest many shooters, hunters, law enforcement, and military personnel.

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Multitasker Tools Series 2 AR-Multitasker

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Spike’s Tactical Action Block

Given the availability of high quality upper and lower receivers at excellent prices, it’s understandable that more and more potential AR buyers are turning away from the “build it yourself” route. Whereas I used to build nearly every one of my ARs from individual components, in recent months, I have gone to almost all factory ARs. Frankly, since BCM started selling uppers again in 2008, I’ve been tinkering with fewer and fewer uppers – prior to that, I just couldn’t get all the features I wanted at what I thought was an easily affordable price. Now, I don’t have that problem.

In that time, I’ve used primarily one upper receiver action block – a plastic one sold by Model 1 Sales. I have no idea exactly how many uppers have been assembled and disassembled using that block, but it’s been starting to show cracks and definite signs of wear for quite a while. In addition, when I attempted to disassemble an upper which had been “loctited” together by someone else, the amount of flex allowed by the polymer block didn’t help my cause – eventually, though, I did “win.” However, I’m sure that these extreme stresses were a major factor in the current state of that action block.

That said, I’m perfectly happy with its performance, especially for the $25 that I paid, and it would serve the vast majority of “home tinkerers” well.

When Tom at Spike’s Tactical told me about the action blocks he made to assemble the Spike’s uppers, though, I knew I wanted one. Similar in design, but not identical to, the DPMS Panther Claw, their blocks are machined from 6061 aluminum, tumbled, and then anodized in a type III hardcoat. The end result is a block that doesn’t allow nearly as much flex and enables more consistent torquing of the barrel nut. In addition, it’s more compatible with a variety of uppers that don’t follow either the A2 or M4 pattern which my other action block was designed for.

If it looks like the block isn’t brand new, well, I started using it about 30 seconds after I pulled it out of the box, and only stopped to take pictures about a dozen assembly/disassembly cycles later.

The block has come in especially handy with the Noveske cutaway receiver, upon which I am careful to not over-torque a barrel nut. As you can see, I’m using a scrap barrel nut that doesn’t require indexing with the gas tube. I keep torque below 20 ft-lbs with this upper, as it rarely sees more than ten shots before it’s torn down and reassembled with another barrel.

So, should you buy this action block? Well, I have no idea what it’ll cost (probably a good bit more than the $50 DPMS Panther Claw made of polymer) or when it’ll be available (hopefully soon). I can’t say that people building ARs in their garage absolutely need one of these, but it’s definitely a welcome addition to my AR tool collection, and one that’ll see a lot of use. The lack of flex has already allowed me to disassemble an upper that I found nearly impossible to disassemble with my old action block. In terms of aggravation avoided, it was worth its weight in some rare earth metal.

It’s my understanding that this and some other high quality AR tools will be available from Spike’s at some point in the future. If you’re the type of guy who wants the best tools, regardless of cost, keep an eye out; you’re not likely to be disappointed with what they have to offer.

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WalMart 9mm: Winchester White Box, Winchester NATO, RWS

Recently, I decided to chronograph three types of 9mm available at Walmart. I can’t find the receipt, but the RWS 124gr was the cheapest, the WWB 115gr was in the middle, and the Winchester 124gr “NATO” ammunition was the most expensive. When I first saw the RWS, it was $16 for 50 rounds, but it’s now $12.50 or so.

Considering that the RWS was made in Switzerland, and that Winchester White Box is often looked down upon, I expected the RWS to be significantly more consistent and accurate than the WWB, and also more so than the Winchester NATO ammunition, though perhaps not to the same degree.

Testing was conducted in the desert, not at an official range, and I chose a tiny bush, perhaps 6″ across, located about 60 yards away as my point of aim. I do not claim to be any sort of master pistol shooter, so accuracy testing was informal and will not be evaluated in any type of scientific manner. The weapon used was a Glock 34. No malfunctions were experienced with any of the three types of ammunition.

Unfortunately, the RWS did not live up to my expectations. Using a chronograph and 10 shot strings, I found that the RWS had a high of 1249fps and a low of 1162, with an average of 1200. The ES (extreme spread, or difference between high and low) was 87 feet per second, and the SD (standard deviation, or how far from the average each shot was likely to be) was 30. This was not very impressive. I also found it to be the least accurate of the three, with many carefully placed shots falling short of or landing beyond the target. Recoil was stiff (for a 9mm), but manageable.

The Winchester 124gr NATO ammunition was also stiff in terms of recoil, but also quite manageable, and this turned out to be the most accurate of the three loads. I was able to keep all of my shots on or very close to the target. This load had a high of 1256fps and a low of 1210, averaging 1234, with an extreme spread of 45 and standard deviation of 12.

The WWB 115gr, true to its plinking (or “target shooting,” as Winchester says on the box) nature, had the most soft recoil of the three. It was definitely accurate enough, but I would not feel as confident in entering an impromptu accuracy challenge against a friend if I had this ammunition instead of the Winchester NATO. The high was 1254, the low 1202, with an average of 1232 and an ES of 52. SD was 17.

Which ammunition would I buy, if I could only buy one? That’s hard to say. The RWS, being the cheapest, was more than adequate for most plinking and “target shooting,” or as ammunition to use as a last resort when you’re halfway to a shooting match, realize that you don’t have enough ammunition, and start heading for the nearest Walmart. WWB is also great for those uses. I wouldn’t pay extra for the NATO ammunition unless I needed to practice with fairly hot 9mm to simulate a duty or carry load. If you’re deploying to Afghanistan or Iraq and need to train with your personal Beretta 92FS/M9 on your own dime, I’d definitely use this ammunition, as it’s almost certain to be very similar to issued ammunition.

Considering my mindset when I buy ammunition at Walmart, and what I think the mindset of most people who do the same is, whatever is cheapest will likely not disappoint. My only word of advice is not to buy the RWS and expect it to be exceptionally high quality ammunition.

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ToolsAviation/PowerPax Battery Caddies

I’ve come across a number of items that never really appealed to me – such as this “Battery Caddy” – before I actually used them. When I received two examples as a gift (during the AR15.com Christmas Exchange), I thought, “What are these for? Holding batteries? What’s wrong with just having them in a box?” Then, as I said, I started using them, and found them to be very practical devices.

They’re injection molded polymer, and the 4xCR123 and 4xAA examples that I own weigh less than an ounce “unloaded”. As you can see, they’ll hold a variety of standard and rechargeable batteries – above, from left to right, Surefire CR123, TrustFire 16340, Tenergy RCR123A, and Tenergy CR123s fit just fine. Batteries are easy to remove with just a firm push of a thumb or finger, but I’ve never had one fall out or even partially slide out inadvertently. I’ve found them to be an excellent alternative to other battery holders, which are often flimsy and have lids that aren’t very secure – while I haven’t intentionally abused one, I’ve accidentally dropped both examples on hard surfaces without any negative effects to speak of.

The battery terminals are protected, even if you don’t slide them in the “right” way. As you can see, they’re available in a tan color, as well as OD green, red, yellow, orange, black, clear, and “Moonshine” – glow in the dark.

$4.95 seemed a little pricey to me at first, but it’s pretty reasonable for what you get, now that I’ve used them for a while. It’s nice to just grab a “pack” or two for a long trip, rather than having half a dozen batteries rolling around inside a suitcase or backpack.

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