Category Archives: Shopping

More Grip for the G42

v5In my previous post reviewing the Glock 42, I mentioned one of the minor drawbacks of the handgun, and a drawback of all subcompact handguns, being that the grip was too short to get your entire hand around.  Even with the tiny hands this gun was meant to fill, you’re left with a pinky hanging off.  Most smaller handguns come with, or at least have an option for, a magazine with an extended floor plate to give you that extra bit, the Walther P22 and Beretta Pico, for instance, come with both types of magazines.

v7While Glock currently offers an extension for sale, it’s not quite as, well, aesthetically pleasing, as a set I found on Glockmeister (where you may remember me finding the parts needed to complete my Glock 19 brass-to-face fix).

v1Enter the Vickers Tactical (produced by Tango Down) Glock 42 floor plates.  These give just enough extra to get your last finger on there, without adding too much to the dimensions of the gun.  The taper was a great touch, adding just a bit of functional flair, without looking too out of place.

v3 v8Until there’s an available +1 or +2 floorplate to get that capacity up to something respectable, these will be a fine addition.

v6They’re also easy to install (despite the “Gunsmith Only” warning on the package).  Without going into too much detail here, simply use your Glock Armorer’s Tool to push in the tab on the bottom of the magazine, go in all the way to the handle of the tool, squeeze on either side of the magazine and pry forward with the tool.  Once it starts sliding off, remove the tool, block the bottom with your thumb (or the spring will come flying out) and slide the old floor plate off.  Slide new plate on until it clicks into place, done.  If there’s a request, I’ll do a follow up on how to do this with picture, or a video.

v4So that’s it, for the record, addition of these removes one (-) from the Glock 42 scorecard.

Surprises for Shooters: Holiday Gift Guide

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Thanksgiving is over, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have passed, and if you still don’t have a little gift or two for your loved ones, your time is running out.

So to give you a hand in shopping for the gun owner in your life, or maybe to find yourself a little something on the cheap- I’m going to make a few suggestions for something that would be nice to find under the tree on Christmas morning.

First thing’s first, whether for yourself to help you do your holiday shopping for cheaper, or for someone else you know does a lot of online shopping, an Amazon Prime membership is well worth the price for the free 2 day shipping, as well as other sale prices and whatnot that you wouldn’t normally get.  Be cautious though, I’ll make you buy A LOT more stuff from Amazon that you wouldn’t before.

71KMppUPcxL._SL1242_Alright, so I did a previous article on cleaning kits with plenty of links, and it’s still a good read since I mention technique and whatnot, but to make things easier for this gift guide, I found a couple of pretty neat sets with tools needed for detailed cleaning and maintenance/gunsmith work for specific firearms.  I’ll link a couple, and you can find the rest by following the links from there.

AR15, Sig P226, Glock

But these wouldn’t be complete without solvent and lubricants.

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As mentioned in my previous post, I’m a big fan of Mil-Comm products after some buddies turned me on to them.  See my cleaning kit post for more details- but this is the set that won me over.

Another good gift idea is storage for all the of the above, or for the ammunition that would otherwise be sitting around in piles.

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I personally have a couple of these, and will probably end up with more.  They’re a good size, easy to carry, and have a top tray and lid compartment for smaller items.  It’s nice to have a few so you can keep types of ammunition separate, as in I have one with me I’ll grab when going to the rifle range, one if I’m going to take my shotgun out for some sporting clays, and another if going to the handgun range.

Speaking of going to the range- in sports a lot of people like to take pride in their preferred brand, and shooting is no different.  It’s always a good gift to get some swag adorned with the logos and slogans of your gunmaker or accessory company of choice.

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Beretta, in particular, has a pretty good assortment of both casual and competition wear on their website, and their style in quality is second to none.  They have a lot of sales too.

Another great gift idea, along the same lines as the Flambeau containers, is a good gun/equipment case, and nobody makes them better than Pelican.

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Granted, they’re a bit pricey, but worth every penny.  They’re also good for any other equipment, specifically cameras and accessories.  If you’re taking some kind of expensive and/or delicate equipment camping, these things are the way to go.

**Be sure to check back in the days leading up to Christmas- I’ll be sure to keep updating with good deals as I run across them.**

Cleaning for beginners, Cleaning Kit How-To

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Well, I said I would get to this eventually so here goes.  How to get a new shooter up and running with a basic cleaning kit.  I’m not going to go into detail here on the cleaning process, that would best be covered in individual guides- but we’ll do a basic overview of the process and what bits and pieces you’ll want in your kit to let you do so.

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So first off, basic break down of the process you should be following as soon as possible after shooting.

  1. ALWAYS Verify firearms are unloaded and remove any ammunition from the workspace.
  2. Field Strip (or as far down as you’re personally comfortable with and feel is necessary at the time, the deeper the better) firearms used one at a time.
  3. Give all parts a brief wipe down with a clean and dry rag (or cloth patch if you like).
  4. Spray parts and surfaces down with MC25 Solvent (my preference, plus it smells nice) and allow to set briefly, or, if you like, simply spray or wipe with a rag/patch soaked with CLP.
  5. Spray chamber and inside of barrel liberally with solvent of choice.
  6. Wipe Solvent / CLP soaked parts with clean rag / patch to remove initial fouling.  Repeat above steps until rag / patches return clean results.
  7. Use CLP soaked (followed by dry) Q-tips (seriously, click link, way better than the ones for your ears) to detail clean Chamber, Breechface,  Lugs, and other detailed areas.  Use pipe cleaners (the absorbent kind, not craft pipe cleaners) to get into harder to reach spots.  Additionally, a toothpick or dental pick wrapped in one layer of thin cloth works pretty well for buildup in tight crevices.  Use solvent-soaked toothbrush for very fouled areas, especially fouling on intricate areas.
  8. Run calibercorrect Boresnake through barrel at least 3 times, ALWAYS from Chamber -> Muzzle.  NEVER pull through from Muzzle end to Chamber.  Wipe down the feed ramp with CLP soaked rag / patch again, just for good measure.
  9. Wipe all parts down with dry rag / patches.  At this point, there should be minimal to no fouling showing on any cleaning material after wipes.
  10. Lubricate per needs of your firearm with oil and/or grease*
  11. Reassemble firearm and wipe off excess oils.  You may elect to SPARINGLY apply a bit of CLP to a rag and rub a protective coating on the exterior metal surfaces of the firearm.  This will depend on storage and intended further use, but can be of benefit when the firearm is going back in a safe for a while.
  12. Cycle the weapon’s action liberally to distribute lubricants.

*Opinions on lubricants is another hot-button issue.  My personal theory here: If you have the money to spend, by all means, Mil-Comm makes great products, and my friends who’ve used their stuff where their life depended on it swear by it.  BUT, on a budget, I figure any jackoff in their basement can slap a cool logo and guarantee on a bottle of mineral oil and come up with a story on how long they spent researching it, then charge an arm and leg for it.  Know who does spend a ton of verified money on high-performance lubricants that need to hold up to a variety of environmental conditions for thousands of hours of intense use?  Automotive lubricant companies, that’s who.  Enter the cheapest-per-volume high-performance firearm lubricant you’ll find, and likely one purchase will keep you lubing for years:

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That’s right.  It’s good enough for moving parts in a metal box full of explosions driving a shaft to several thousand revolutions per minute for ~450,000 hours before you should replace it, in nearly any environment you’ll find on Earth.  I think it’ll hold up just fine keeping a couple of surfaces and moving parts slick over the course of a few hundred cycles before it’s wiped off and reapplied.  Similar logic applies to grease- Mil-Comm stuff is the shit, and recommended by SIG for their products.  But Lucas Oil White Lithium Grease is hard to beat with it’s track record and price point.

Additional thoughts-

  • A brass brush, and traditional steel rod with brush attachments are still good to have on hand in case of heavy fouling.
  • A bottle of Windex (or generic ammonia based glass cleaner) is good to have if you’re planning on shooting corrosive surplus ammunition.  Just be sure to clean properly afterwards.  The ammonia doesn’t replace a step in the process, only adds one before you do the first round of solvent.
  • Seriously CLP is awesome.  Have some.  Have extra.  This stuff works for all kinds of stuff, from sticky door locks, to bicycle maintenance.
  • A box of some sort is nice.  I honestly can’t remember from where mine originally came into being.  I believe it was a hard case for one of my father’s old electric grooming devices.  Perfect size for the range bag though, so it just kind of stuck.  Small tool or tackle boxes work pretty well though.
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  • Medical exam gloves are awesome to use while cleaning.  You will get fouling all over your hands.  You will get solvent all over your hands.  You will get lubricant all over your hands.  The pleasant smelling MC25 isn’t too bad to get on yourself, but still best to avoid getting most of these chemicals all over yourself.  Use protection my friends.
  • A Bore Light, such as the one mentioned in a previous post, is a great additional tool to have in the kit, so you can have a look in tight places, and check how spic & span your barrel interior is after running those boresnakes through.
  • As far as a toothbrush, a military-style one that has the large and small bristle area is awesome, but what do I always have around?  Worn out former dental toothbrush, after good cleaning of course.  They last about the same interval anyway.
  • Additionally, a small screwdriver set and punches (as needed by your particular firearms) are good to keep on hand in your kit.

Enjoy, and shoot clean.

Considering your first firearm: Part I

What kind of gun should I buy?

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This is one of the more common questions I get, along with “Should I get A or B?”  It’s not the easiest to answer, because it depends a lot on what you’re looking to do with it.  In this post, I’ll try to address this as easily as possible, and point you in the right direction of further researching your decision.

Luckily, I’ve created a handy chart to help!  Follow along to see which type of firearm may be a good fit for you, and follow the green, yellow, and red lines to examples at different relative price ranges with green being the cheapest and red being the most expensive.

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Basically, you first have to ask what purpose you’re looking for your firearm to fill.  The big 4 roles (and most common firearms for such) here being:

  • Home Defense (Shorter Pump Shotguns, Full Size Handguns)
  • Concealed Carry (Compact and Subcompact Handguns)
  • Shooting Sports (All types, regulations specify specifics)
  • Hunting (Rifles, Long Barreled Shotguns, Big Bore Handguns)

 

DSCN1478DSCN1309b644746_10100331270762683_1519565809_nDSCN1503While there’s obviously a bit of a overlap between categories, and there’s a lot of desire in many new buyers to want to get something to fill as many roles as possible, it’s best to decide what you want most and get something that will fill that role as best as possible for what you want to spend.  The problem of having a Jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none is going to become apparent fairly quickly when attempting to practice or put the firearm to use for it’s intended purpose.

For instance, a common mistake is wanting to get a shotgun that can just as easily be used for sport as it can for home defense.  The requirements are very different for these two roles, and even in cases where it can be readily converted (for instance, a Mossberg 500 / Maverick 88 could have the tactical stock / pistol grip swapped out for a traditional field stock, and the 18″ barrel changed out for a 28″ Vented Ribbed barrel with a choke, or vice versa) it’s rarely going to do nearly as well as it would just have a dedicated platform for what you’re trying to get out of it.

There are exceptions, of course, for instance practical shooting sports such as IDPA, which specifically exist to promote the use of, and thus increase in skill with, personal defense weapons.

For additional help in choosing a specific firearm for sport purposes, this was an awesome read by a true professional in the world of shooting sports.

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Trading Guns the Texas Way

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When it comes to buying on the cheap, a firearm is a lot like any other big ticket item in that the MSRP tends to be a lot higher than what you actually pay, and it depreciates immediately as soon as it’s not “new” anymore.  Not by much, mind you, as anyone searching listings will see “New-in-box condition” or “only xxx rounds fired” and demanding retail prices, but these still tend to sell for 10-20% under retail.  Obviously, like anything else, it feels great to go to a store, pick the one you want, and get it new with all the assurances this grants.  But don’t discount buying “pre-owned” or even better, trading.

tgtEnter Texas Gun Trader.  Obviously, there are other avenues for getting like-new firearms at a discount.  You could visit a local gun store or range, which always have used/consignment sales, and it’s the next safest to buying new in a store, but you’ll be paying inflated blue-book prices, so it’s the costliest.  The next option is buying online, at places like Gunbroker, which I’ve used in the past.  This place is great since it’s like ebay, you can usually find what you’re after, and pay a decent price, but then you have to deal with shipping and arranging an FFL transfer, which will usually cost  you from $35-50 on average, and in a growing number of states in the northeast, much more.

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Texas Gun Trader is different, in that it’s merely a place to post ads for FTF (that’s, Face-to-Face) transfers or trades, which are legal in Texas.  I’ve used this successfully on several occasions both selling, and in the last two cases, trading.  You can either post what you have for sale and list the price or trades in which you’d be interested (WTS ad), browse sale ads to find something in particular if you’re buying, post a WTB ad with what you’d like to buy and what you’re offering, or if you have something you’ve lost interest in and want to see if anyone is looking, just search for it and see if it shows up in an ad as something someone wants, and see if you’re more interested in what they’re trading.

Obviously, this is place where you’re most likely to get a deal that would be favorable to you, but it’s also the riskiest.  You’re meeting someone you don’t know to trade big-ticket items and/or large sums of cash, usually on (hopefully) neutral ground, and you have no guarantee of the condition of what you’re getting aside from what you’re able to determine in a quick inspection.  Additionally, some sort of instrument of legal protection is always a good thing,  on which I’ll also shed some light.

Things to consider:

  • Always meet in a well lit public place (if at all possible, during the day).  I don’t mean go do a gun deal in a Starbucks or anything, but a well lit parking lot with some activity does nicely.
  • If cash is involved, bring a Counterfeit Detection marker.  A few dollars here will save you a hell of a lot of headaches later.
  • Bring a flexible bore light (which you should have in your cleaning kit already) to help inspect the firearm you’re acquiring.  Be sure to check up ahead of time on things to look out for and instructions on basic field strip.  If the other party declines on letting you field strip (or doesn’t at least offer to do it for you), walk away.
  • Always, always, always, complete a bill of sale, and get one in return if guns are trading hands both ways.  Texas Gun Trader has a good simple one to use posted on their site.
  • Don’t shortchange yourself.  Don’t take the first offer you get, unless you’re really in a rush to make a deal.  You’ll get a lot of crap offers, but might get something you weren’t considering that will surprise you in a good way.
  • Remember that this is about trading- that means if you want something and don’t necessarily want to add cash to the deal, substitute ammunition, especially if you’re trading out of that caliber already, offer it up as part of a deal.  For example, I’ve gotten particularly good deals by offering up .40S&W ammunition after I’d sold or traded off my firearms in that caliber and no longer had need of the small stockpile.

That’s about that.  Enjoy and be safe.  If you have related experiences you’d like to share, or knowledge of other trader sites like this available to residents in states other than Texas, please leave a comment!

(Two Photos used in this article were sourced from Premier Arms, LLC.  If requested, I will remove and replace them ASAP, but I just wanted to be sure to give them proper credit and go as far as imbed links to their homepage with the images)

 

 

 

Mossberg 500 ‘Ultimate Arms Gear’ Kit Review / Install Guide

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I recently went shooting with a friend who had put a Kicklite Recoil Reduction stock on his Mossberg 500.  I liked the feel of the AR-style stock, and the recoil reduction did feel nice with heavier loads.  After thinking about it, I figured I’d accessorize my old Mossberg 500 Cruiser a bit, for my audience’s benefit, of course.  While I was looking, I decided I didn’t need to spend the extra money on the recoil reduction system, but Kicklite also makes a “Field Series” that has the same great feeling butt pad (seriously, this thing is really soft in the right places) but without the recoil absorbing system in the “buffer tube” that’s in the more expensive models.  I ran across a kit with a few extras for the same $69.95 MSRP as the Kicklite Field Series and free shipping.

It includes the Kicklite Field Series stock, a Shell Holder that can be attached to either side of the stock, and a TruGlo Fiber Optic sight (though it may be a knock-off, works all the same).DSCN1420 DSCN1424

 

Anyway, here’s the rundown of my thoughts on it:

Stock feels nice, is just as adjustable as a standard 6-position AR stock, is angled down just slightly making a decent cheek weld easier, pistol grip feels fine, the whole package is solid.  As mentioned before, you won’t believe how nice that buttpad feels on your shoulder, even after a while of shooting.

The Shell Holder could be better, as it’s just hard rubber, but it’s easy to mount on either side of the stock, and for my purposes it seemed to hold the shells nice and tight, but reviews on Amazon are mixed- I pretty much considered this just a bonus though, and as I said, it worked just fine for me.

The Fiber Optic front sight is pretty awesome, much nicer to look at from behind than stock gold bead on there.  Held on just fine, despite what some of the other reviewers had said.  Also very easy to mount- more on that in a moment.

Installation Guide

First up, the stock.  This may vary a tad depending on your current configuration, as this was written based on a Cruiser model (pistol grip only).  The only tools here that you’ll need with the kit are a 1/4″ Hex Key and a regular sized Phillips Head Screwdriver.

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Unscrew bolt on the rear of the grip with Hex Key as shown.  Be sure to hang onto the washer and crush washer (if applicable).  The new stock lines up perfectly, though took a bit of a nudge to get it all the way on there (fits pretty tight).DSCN1431

Replace the Hex nut w/ washers into the same location, and tighten.  The angle is a bit odd, so it may take a series of short turns and re-positioning, but it’ll eventually get on there nice and securely.

The Shell Holder comes with a couple of small screws, and is pretty self explanatory.  Just line up the holes in the Shell Holder with the pre-made holes in the stock on the side of your choosing, then screw in the provided screws until tight.

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Lastly, the Fiber Optic sight, which was a tad confusing, but only because I felt like I was going to break it putting it on.  It’s tougher than it looks, however.  Basically, just get it in place above the barrel where it’s going to go, lining up the front notch with your front bead sight.  When in place, push down with your thumbs with an even pressure on the front and back, and it’ll snap on there.DSCN1422

If you didn’t get it right the first time, it’s seriously difficult to move due to how tight it fits, it’s better to pop it back off from below and try again.

Well that’s that.  Oh, maybe not, the links in this review were specific to the 12ga Mossberg 500.  If you have a 20ga Mossberg (500C), use this link.  The whole package here is complimentary, the stock along with the front sight is great, and the shell holder is a nice bonus.  Also great for the price.  I’ve only had it to the range once, but it feels pretty solid.  I’ll update if that changes.

Online Ammunition Shopping Made Easy

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Let’s face it- sometimes, the local WalMart isn’t going to have the ammunition you need, especially with the current shortage we’ve got going on.  Even when the local big-box store is in stock, you’re normally subject to purchase limits, either on certain calibers (.22lr comes to mind), or on total.  So off we go, to the internets, to find the cartridges we crave.

There are a couple of old standbys I used to use quite a bit, like Ammunition-to-go (still a pretty good choice), and of course Cabela’s / Bass Pro / Academy’s online stores are usually pretty well stocked, if pricier.

But, a few months ago, I found the ultimate place to find the best deals on ammunition, and a new go-to even if just to see what a particular cartridge is going for at the moment.

Seriously, Gunbot is where it’s at.  It’s not a store, but rather an aggregator, whose creater I would like to buy several beers (though he can likely afford his own through the money I’m sure he raked in on affiliate deals).  Basically, you go there, choose your caliber, and you’ll get lists that you can sort by price-per-round, age of offer, brand, and store.  The site will link you to the website making the offer, and you go there to do the buying.

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They have some additional features if you create an account and donate ($20/yr at the moment) such as email alerts based on price thresholds you can set.  THIS feature, wins.  Back during the darkest months of the current shortage, when .22lr was impossible to find anywhere besides price gougers on gunbroker, you could set email alerts when it was available.  More than a few times, I’d get a ping, get online ASAP, see a few boxes available somewhere, add to cart, and it would be gone in mere minutes of being listed in stock, so apparently I wasn’t the only one using this feature.

Things have calmed down a bit since then, and by watching trends on here, much like watching stocks, you can see the prices slowly settling back down.

Anyhow, just wanted to share this tool, hope it helps!  Next week, I’ll try to have an introduction to cleaning post that’ll help the newbies know what their bare bones cleaning kit should look like.