Accessories

Testing Plastic and Kydex Holsters: The CYA Is a Bargain

The holster must have a balance of speed, security, and access. It cannot be buried under the clothing to the extent that it is difficult to access. A very fast draw isn't necessarily the main ingredient of a successful concealment rig. Good concealment that allows surprise is. Perhaps the adversary doesn't know you are armed, and he should not. There should be no indicators that show you are armed.

Let's look at reality. There is no draw faster than a standard belt holster carried on the point of the hip. This is also a holster that isn't compatible with concealed carry. The holster must be worn behind the hip under a covering garment at the least, and for better concealment, we move the holster inside the pants, or inside the waistband fashion as we call it. You must practice the draw to clear clothing, and is a real danger when clothing becomes tangled. The appendix carry requires less movement. Also, during the course of the day, you sometimes encounter people who like to bump into you or perhaps give a friendly pat. Some know you are armed; most should not. If they pat the groin area, they probably know you pretty well.

2018 Guns & Gear Top Picks: Top-Ranked Dry-Fire Trainers

Dry-fire training should be part of every shooter's training routine. It helps build the fundamentals of shooting and reinforces muscle memory. Enter technology, which offers a variety of high-tech lasers, laser-friendly targets, and apps that allows shooters to train in the comfort of their own homes, without the cost of going to a range and, further, without incurring the cost of ammo. The beauty of dry-fire training is you can do it any where you want and at any time. No loud noises, just the clicking of tripped firing pins and a flash of red laser, though some apps and target do have sound effects.

2018 Guns & Gear Top Pick: Programmable Automatic Powder Dispensers

Our reloading pursuits for handguns are generally to provide volume ammunition for training at a discount based on reusable cases and bullets purchased in bulk. The progressive reloading press is capable of producing more rounds per hour than our arms can withstand. But setting the powder drop to exact quantities can be trial and error, a time-consuming exercise of repeated drops to prime the new setting and weigh out the result. But what if the new load is not what you hoped? Using a programmable automatic powder dispenser enables the reloader to quickly develop multiple loads for test without having to reset your powder measure.

2018 Guns & Gear Top Picks: Firearms

Toward the end of each year, I survey the work R.K. Campbell, Roger Eckstine, Austin Miller, Robert Sadowski, David Tannahill, Tracey Taylor, John Taylor, and Ralph Winingham have done in Gun Tests, with an eye toward selecting guns, accessories, and ammunition the magazine's testers have endorsed. From these evaluations I pick the best from a full year's worth of tests and distill recommendations for readers, who often use them as shopping guides. These choices are a mixture of our original tests and other information I've compiled during the year. After we roll high-rated test products into long-term testing, I keep tabs on how those guns do, and if the firearms and accessories continue performing well, then I have confidence including them in this wrap-up.

Dry-Fire Trainers: Save Money While You Gain Performance

Dry-fire training should be part of every shooter's training routine. It helps build the fundamentals of shooting and reinforces muscle memory. In the old days, we bought a SnapCap or other dummy round, loaded it into our firearm, and practiced our grip, sight picture, and trigger press. You knew you were in a good place if you could dry-fire the firearm without flinching and keep the sights rock steady as the pistol fired. The fact is, however, you didn't know if you actually hit the target you were aiming at, nor was there a better way to measure training success and progress. Enter technology, which offers a variety of high-tech lasers, laser-friendly targets, and apps that allows shooters to train in the comfort of their own homes, without the cost of going to a range and, further, without incurring the cost of ammo. The beauty of dry-fire training is you can do it any where you want and at any time. No loud noises, just the clicking of tripped firing pins and a flash of red laser, though some apps and target do have sound effects.

Ed Brown’s Magazine Exchange Program Is Worth a Look

In this offer, Ed Brown is allowing customers to send old magazines of any make to upgrade to an Ed Brown Performance Magazine of their choice for only $10! It is a one-to-one exchange, so for every single magazine sent in, the customer can select one Ed Brown magazine of his or her choice, up to 20 magazines per exchange.

Police Department Implements Viridian Weapon-Mounted Camera

ViridianWeapon Technologies announces that the West Hennepin Public Safety Department located just outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota has deployed theFACT DutyWeapon-Mounted Camera (WMC) to all of its officers.

2018 Best New Optics for Rifles, Handguns, and Shotguns

We've had a chance to use quite a few new optics this year, including red dots, lasers, scopes, binoculars, and spotting scopes, while we have performed firearms testing for future issues. We shoot a lot of firearms every year, and with that round count comes the insight that what's on top of the guns matters as much as the gun itself in many cases. Following are a few recommendations for optics that have proven themselves as worthwhile complementary products in firearms evaluations, but which we haven't tested in head-to-head comparisons as yet.

Best Reloading Scales: Programmable Automatic Powder Dispensers Compete

For tests we acquired Hornady's $235 Lock-N-Load Auto Charge Powder Dispenser, Lyman's $275 Gen6 Compact Touch Screen Powder System, and the $300 RCBS Chargemaster Lite. We challenged each machine to deliver a starting load for 40 S&W handgun and a starting load for 6.5 Creedmoor rifle. We asked each machine to drop 4.8 grains of Winchester Super Target (WST) smokeless powder for our handgun loads. Despite being listed as a ball powder, it was plain to see that each particle of WST appeared to be disc shaped. Next, we asked our machines to drop 40.2 grains of Accurate Reloader 17 (RL17) for our rifle rounds. Granules of RL17 resemble tiny lengths of a very fine single-filament wire, sometimes referred to as a "stick"-type powder. Our choice of powders was based strictly on our needs at the time, determined in advance of ordering our test units. We later learned that stick-type powders were among the most troublesome for use in automatic dispensers. The Lyman manual didn't mention RL17 by name, but revealed that their machine was fit with a special adaptor for the fill tube when using such powders. In terms of cleanup, the RL17 powder was easier to evacuate than the granules of WST, which had greater surface area and a more porous texture that was slightly dusty. Given these factors alone, it looked like our three machines were in for a challenge.

Buying Self-Defense Insurance: Important Factors to Consider

As an attorney (and, for full disclosure, someone who was formerly an independent program attorney for Texas Law Shield), it is abundantly clear that the legal system puts self-defense shooters in a bad spot. It is costly, time consuming, slow, and worst of all, the legal system decides whether you keep your freedom after you have defended yourself. To make matters worse, this system is, from what I've seen, biased against gun owners. From my own experience, many law-enforcement officers, district attorneys, and even jurors seem to think that if you own or carry a firearm, you are inherently guilty in some way. They believe that even though you were actually carrying your lawfully owned firearm, you were really looking for trouble, you wanted an excuse to shoot someone, or similar mental fictions. I've honestly lost track of the number of times a gun owner was arrested after a lawful incident of self-defense. Accordingly, due to the nature of our legal system, individuals are purchasing legal protection in case they have to defend themselves.

Non-1911 Magazines: We Test A Passel of Them Head to Head

You can never have enough magazines. Modern pistol shooters practice hard; compete in IDPA, IPSC, and Three Gun matches. They need reliable equipment. Personal-defense shooters need reliable, functional magazines at a fair price. In this installment, we are testing magazines for fit, function, reliability and durability. In common with recoil, striker, and hammer springs, magazines should be replaced from time to time. While new springs may help magazines retain some function, there is a time when cracked or bent feed lips demand the magazine be discarded.

In this test, we followed the same criteria we used in testing 1911 magazines, except this test was more diverse in both handguns and cartridges. The handguns used in the test were proven examples, with few function exceptions. Since the firearms had long-ago proven reliable, there would be no confusion as to which part was responsible for the malfunction, the pistol or the magazine. We also used good-quality ammunition to test the magazines. In each case, we used at least two magazines of each type to bang on.

Using proven criteria and a team of experienced raters, we learned some magazines were durable and service grade; that is, we would be comfortable putting them into "service" in critical situations. We also learned others were okay for range use, but not critical use. In all of these cases, we recommend spending a little more for service-grade magazines across the board for all uses. We don't think it's advisable to mix low performers with high performers in this critical area of function.

The Bullseye Target Cam: SHOT Show 2018

This target camera records a 300 Yard Range (with clear line of sight) and features track shot placement (blinks with last shot), measure groups, calculate sight-in adjustments, mark shots, color shorts and more! View bullet impact on target immediately via your phone or tablet or computer. Recharge the cam's lithium-ion battery pack with charger (12hr run time). Compatible with free Bullseye Target Manager software package for iPhone, iPad, Android devices, windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 Secure AmmoCan Style Carrying Case.

Hard to Argue

The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) said recently that if state agencies and officials around the country who are responsible for issuing concealed-carry licenses or...