Category Archives: AR-15

Leatherwood Hi-Lux Micro-Max B-Dot Sight Review

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According to the Major, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a truly good red-dot sight…

by Major Pandemic

It used to be that you had to spend the price of your gun just to get a quality red-dot that would endure the abuse dished out in the field. Today we are fortunate that new manufacturing technologies and materials have advanced to the point that a good red-dot can be had for under $100 and a truly high quality red-dot such as this Hi-Lux model are just over $200.

Leatherwood, red-dot, AR15, optic sight, Hi-Lux
The Leatherwood Hi-Lux Micro-Max B-Dot is rugged, reliable, and reasonable.

Leatherwood, red-dot, AR15, optic sight, Hi-Lux

Just after the initial release my then-new Hi-Lux Micro-Max B-Dot sight was mounted on a basic AR15 pistol build and it was later moved to my Sig MPX 9mm pistol. One year and approximately 8000 rounds of .223 and 9mm later, the Hi-Lux Micro-Max B-Dot has performed amazingly well, still holds zero, and I am still on the first factory included battery. From my perspective it is one of the top values for a high quality red-dot sight, so much so that I ordered another one.

This time the red-dot was mounted on a very special Aero Precision M4E1 custom AR15 pistol build.  The build has it all — AP M4E1 integrated handguard mount, a unique cool and functional upper design, an ambi-lower, KNS anti-rotate pins, Ballistic Advantage match barrel, HiperFire EDT2 trigger, and Phase 4 Tactical buffer tube, BCG, Charging Handle, and FatMan Brake. It is a heck of tricked out build that needed a great red-dot and the Hi-Lux is the perfect choice offering a lot of features, great optical clarity and a crisp red-dot.

FIT, FINISH, FEEL, FEATURES, AND FUNCTIONS
The Hi-Lux Micro-Max B-Dot is typical high quality that you would see on all Leatherwood Hi-Lux optics. The red-dot design is robust and designed to take a lot of abuse. Once upon a time, only Aimpoint could boast about a 50K+ hour run time, but now this $220 red-dot can deliver that same long run-time.

The Hi-Lux Micro-Max B-Dot also features a tintless tube which in turn provides an extreme amount of clarity and enhanced low light vision. It is one of the few red-dot sights which gives the shooter clear glass versus a dark sunglasses tint. From a form factor the sight is completely cross compatible with all Aimpoint T-1 mounts which are available everywhere. If you have a favorite Aimpoint T1 mount it will work with the Hi-Lux. A couple of my favorite mounts are the Sampson QR T-1 QD mount and American Defense Manufacturing ADM T1 Micro QD Mount. Hi-Lux offers its own $35 co-witness riser, which is hard to pass up for the price, and is the mount I ordered for this build.

The Hi-Lux Micro-Max is extremely compact 2.5-inch length and comes with flip-up lens covers, screw on/off kill flash filter, and spare CR2032 battery compartment in the battery cover. Dot size is 2 MOA, tube size 20mm. Of note, with the added kill flash filter and lens covers installed it does add a bit of bulk over an Aimpoint T1 or similar Primary Arms Micro Dot but not any significant weight. I think most people will appreciate the snap and screw on features unless they really need to strip all the add-ons off for some reason.

My initial Hi-Lux Micro-Max B-Dot sight held zero perfectly through more than a few bumps bangs and scrapes and thousands of rounds of 9mm and 5.56 NATO. I did have some initial concern that the extremely lightweight Hi-Lux Riser might not hold up well to side hits due to the I-beam steel design; however, I have never had an issue and it is far stronger than it looks.

Instead of the typical rotary setting switch, Hi-Lux decided on using push-button operation instead that provides click ON, hold for OFF, and click UP/DOWN to cycle through the 12 dot brightness settings.

Leatherwood Hi-Lux Micro-Max B-Dot, AR15, AR15 pistol, red-dot, optic sight, Aimpoint
I choose this red-dot for a prize AR15 pistol. It’s a fine compliment.

FINAL THOUGHTS
The Hi-Lux Micro-Max B-Dot is one of my favorite red-dot sights. It functions perfectly, delivers excellent clarity, and offers plenty of daylight to low-light dot brightness settings. I will not likely be in a situation where I need a Kill Flash attachment, however the lens covers work extremely well. Owning a safe full of red-dot sights, my experience is that they get dirty quick and the flip-up covers really help assure the glass is clean and bright when I need to shoot.


major pandemic

Major Pandemic is an editor at large who loves everything about shooting, hunting, the outdoors, and all those lifesaving little survival related products. His goal is simple, tell a good story in the form of a truthful review all while having fun. He contributes content to a wide variety of print and digital magazines and newsletters for companies and manufacturers throughout the industry with content exposure to over 2M readers monthly.  MajorPandemic.com

Shooting Your AR15 (better)

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The skill of developing a good trigger pull is the difference between a hit and a miss. Here’s how to get started developing perfect mechanics.

Pulling the trigger is the “last thing that happens” in the shot process. Well, technically, there’s also hammer or striker fall, primer ignition, and so on, but breaking the hammer loose from the sear is the last part we influence. Yes, it’s important.

There’s an old saw that goes “let the shot be a surprise…” Wrong. That’s a great concept for teaching a brand-new shooter not to be afraid: keep putting pressure back against the trigger until the shot goes. That helps avoid anticipation-induced flinch. However. When we’re really shooting, sights on targets and time is important, you best know when the shot is going. Trick is to break the shot, pull the trigger, without moving the sights off the target. That requires a little technique, and that’s what this article is about.

First, the best point of contact with the trigger face is near the middle of the first pad of the index finger. Not farther in. Ideally, the last joint of the index finger (closest to the fist knuckle) will be parallel to the gun receiver. That helps produce a “straight back” pull.

point of contact with trigger
Here’s the point of contact with the trigger face for best mechanics. It’s not easy to attain on an issue AR15 trigger, but get as close as you can. Of great importance is that no other little bit of the finger touches the rifle. If it does, there will, not can, be rifle movement during the trigger pull.

Make double-sure that no other part of the index finger is contacting anything else! Done right, only the trigger finger moves to press the trigger. The rest of the hand stays calm and steady (no matter how tight the gripping pressure is). This is something to put on the checklist: learning and practicing isolating movement to only the trigger finger. And move it straight back. Any side-loads will also move the gun, which will move the sights.

This ideal architecture may be difficult to duplicate depending on the distance the finger has to reach to access the trigger face. Usually, especially with pistol-grip-equipped rifles, the distance to the trigger is closer than ideal. Be aware of what you’re trying to accomplish (pull straight back, no side pressure), and a little fudging in finger positioning will find a way. For me, and the eons of hours I spent fiddling with this, with an AR15 I decided that getting the last joint parallel to the receiver ultimately was a more influential factor than perfect placement of the trigger face on the first joint of my finger. I’m moved in closer to the first joint than to the fingertip.

When you’re practicing the “move only the trigger finger” tactic, you might notice that it’s difficult to do that without also having the thumb move. They’re a team. As best as I can, I effectively remove my thumb from the equation by holding it upwards (if possible) and keeping it either away from contact with the rifle or deliberately held against the rifle with constant force. The sympathetic “pinching” habit has to be overcome. Sympathetic, in this use, means unavoidably linked. Flexing the thumb in conjunction with moving the index finger will, not can, influence shot impacts.

A great trigger makes all this next a far sight easier, but the mechanics involved in a skillful trigger pull have a lot to do with what happens after the sear breaks. “Follow-through” has different definitions, and that’s because it’s as much of a concept as it is a technique. Follow-through, to me, is “staying with” the trigger break for a spell after the shot has gone. This spell might vary from a couple of seconds to no more than an eye blink, and the reason is the sort of “reverse” effect it has on all that goes before. A focus on this will, not can, improve your shooting! I focus on keeping the trigger held back and also watching the sight. Follow-through promotes smoothness, and reduces undesirable movement. Call it a trick, but it works.

Shooting a semi-auto rifle, like an AR15, keep your finger on the trigger shot to shot. “Ride the trigger.” Some folks treat a trigger like it’s hot: they poke it back with the trigger finger and then jump off it. Staying in contact avoids “slapping” the trigger, which creates all manner of shot impacts strayed from center. You should be able to feel the trigger reset on every shot. The reset is the little “pop” you feel when the disconnector hands off the hammer to the sear. Pull the trigger, hold it back, let it forward and feel the reset: the trigger is prepped and ready for its next release.

AR15 disconnector function
With any semi-automatic, you’ll do better if you keep the trigger finger in contact with the trigger face all the way through each shot, back and forward, for all the shots. Don’t jump on and off it. Ride it. Feel the disconnector work: pull back and hold (top photo), and then release forward and feel the “pop” as the trigger resets for another go.

Learning how this feels, and seeing how much it helps, might add a whole new dimension to your shooting.

In another article I’ll talk about trigger types and traits that can either help or hamper results. The answers might not be predictable.


Glen Zediker is a card-carrying NRA High Master competitive shooter and earned that classification in NRA High Power Rifle using an AR15 Service Rifle. For more information, and more articles, please check out ZedikerPublishing.com

Shooting (Better)

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By Glen Zediker:

Most gun folks are gearheads. Me too. We like all the tech, and the industry, and its published works, are devoted to tech. However! Continue reading Shooting (Better)

Massachusetts AG Effectively, Unilaterally Bans AR-15s and State-Compliant Variants

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Maura Healey, attorney general of Massachusetts,
Maura Healey, attorney general of Massachusetts,

Maura Healey, the attorney general of Massachusetts, recently rewrote the state’s 1998 Gun Control Act to reinterpret what it had meant since 1998.

Writing in the Boston Globe, Healey outlined the changes:

— The Massachusetts assault weapons ban mirrors the federal ban Congress allowed to expire in 2004. It prohibits the sale of specific weapons like the Colt AR-15 and AK-47 and explicitly bans “copies or duplicates” of those products.

— “Copies or duplicates” mean “state compliant” versions of Modern Sporting Rifles sold in Massachusetts. Such “state compliant” versions lack a flash suppressor, a folding or telescoping stock, or other helpful shooter features. The AG will notify all gun manufacturers and dealers to make clear that the sale of semi-auto rifles with certain features is now illegal in Massachusetts.

— The effect could mean that all AR-15s that have been modified to comply with Massachusetts law are now illegal purely because they are AR-15s. This could eventually outlaw all semi-automatic weapons in the state, which should violate D.C. v Heller’s explicit “common use” standard.

— Healey said in her Globe article that “if a gun’s operating system is essentially the same as that of a banned weapon, or if the gun has components that are interchangeable with those of a banned weapon, it’s a ‘copy’ or ‘duplicate,’ and it is illegal.”

Bottom Line: Some of our customers in Middle America will notice this state-law change and not be too concerned about it, because it is Massachusetts, and things like this are to be expected there.

Quite a few of our customers and fellow countrymen in the Bay State are now in limbo because basic AR-15 parts may turn a vanilla semi-auto rifle into “copies or duplicates” of those products.

Will this turn into another nudge in the direction of our fellow Americans losing their rights? There seems to have been a precedent set with California cities banning firearms, the strict laws placed in Chicago (which seems to be working, he lied), and other “leaders” treating their constituents more like an authoritarian society.

Hopefully the people of Massachusetts sound off in a clear, unified, voice at the ballot box this November.

Daniel Defense Rolls Out Integrally Suppressed Weapon System

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The DDM4ISR features a pistol-length gas system and comes standard with an MFR XL 15.0 modular handguard. A Mil Spec + Cerakote finish protects the rifle from the elements.
The DDM4ISR features a pistol-length gas system and comes standard with an MFR XL 15.0 modular handguard. A Mil Spec + Cerakote finish protects the rifle from the elements.

Daniel Defense has taken suppressed weapons to the next level with the release of the new DDM4ISR rifle. This new rifle, designed for fulltime-suppressed fire and optimized for the .300 Blackout cartridge, features a fully integrated suppressor attached to its barrel, so it’s ready for suppressed service right out of the box.

“This revolutionary rifle simplifies suppressor usage by eliminating variables and uncertainty,” said Daniel Defense VP of Sales Bill Robinson. “There’s no need to attach a suppressor and wonder if it’s mounted correctly and properly aligned. And no need to re-zero the weapon for suppressed vs. unsuppressed fire. The suppressor is literally part of the barrel.”

The high-performance suppressor—constructed of durable, heat-resistant metal alloys and coated with a protective high-temperature Cerakote-C finish—features a user-serviceable baffle core that can be easily removed for cleaning and maintenance. It is permanently attached to a 9-inch Cold Hammer Forged fluted barrel with a target crown for superb accuracy and reliability. Because the suppressor is a permanent part of the barrel, extending the barrel to the NFA-required 16 inches, the firearm is not classified as a Short Barreled Rifle (SBR) and only requires a single tax stamp, for the suppressor.

Everything else about the DDM4ISR is classic Daniel Defense. It features a pistol-length gas system and comes standard with an MFR XL 15.0 modular handguard, which features a continuous 1913 Picatinny rail on top and Keymod attachment points at the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions. This longer handguard, in conjunction with a DD Buttstock and Pistol Grip, make this ergonomic rifle highly maneuverable and as versatile as the .300 Blackout rounds it fires. A resilient Mil Spec + Cerakote finish protects the rifle from the elements and adds to its overall aesthetic.

Available in states where suppressor ownership is legal, the DDM4ISR has an MSRP of $3049. Learn more or purchase this rifle by visiting danieldefense.com or an authorized dealer.

Semi-Auto AR-15 is a Weapon of War? Pish Posh

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The National Shooting Sports Foundation’s latest video has gone viral. It was made in response to anti-gun politicians, celebrities, and media elites’ repeated attempts to single out the AR-15 as a “weapon of war.”

Semi-automatic firearms, including the AR-15, account for approximately 70% of all firearms, and yet — in an attempt to literally give the AR-15 a bad name — we keep hearing the same rhetoric from anti-gun politicians, celebrities and the media elite. “Weapon of war” is their new catchphrase. Fact is, the AR-15 is a semi-automatic civilian rifle and not anything like a “weapon of war”.  Arm yourself with the facts at http://nssf.it/msrfacts.

 

Daniel Defense Releases ‘Ambush’ Hunting Rifle

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Daniel Defense Ambush 308 Win. in Kryptek Highlander came
Daniel Defense Ambush 308 Win. in Kryptek Highlander came

Daniel Defense has released a new 308 Winchester rifle designed specifically for North American hunters: The Daniel Defense Ambush 308 in Kryptek Highlander. MSRP: $2949.

At the rifle’s core is a free-floating, 18-inch cold hammer forged barrel, which comes standard with Daniel Defense’s Superior Suppression Device Extended, for reduced muzzle-flash. This barrel connects directly to the upper receiver and free-floating KeyMod handguard with a 4-Bolt Connection System and patent-pending barrel extension. DD claims this results in increased stability, better accuracy, and reduced weight.

The Ambush 308 is fed via a bolt carrier group featuring a redesigned geometry and a slick, low-friction coating that ensure smooth, reliable feeding under most any circumstances.

Ambidextrous controls make operating the rifle — including dropping the magazine, releasing the bolt, and switching the safety selector — intuitive and comfortable for right- and left-handed shooters. The charging handle is also ambidextrous, as well as user-configurable, and can be set up on either side with a larger or smaller handle to accommodate magnified optics or iron sights for a snag-free setup.

A 2-Stage Geissele Super Semi-Automatic (SSA) Trigger is the fire-control let-off. The configurable Daniel Defense Ambush 308 has an overall length between 35.375 inchest and 39 inches, depending on buttstock adjustment, and weighs 8.6 pounds empty. Its rail system features a 15-inch Picatinny top rail and KeyMods at the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions. The rifle is available in multiple colors and patterns, including Kryptek Highlander, with plans to offer it in Realtree Xtra pattern soon.

Daniel Defense is located in Black Creek, Georgia.

AR-15: Americans’ Best Defense Against Terror and Crime

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NRA News contributor Dom Raso, a former Navy SEAL and founder of Dynamis Alliance, reminds us that the AR-15 is the best defense against terror and crime in this informative video. Along with reminding us that banning AR-15s wouldn’t have prevented most of the recent terror attacks, Mr. Raso offers his common sense solution to stemming the tide of terror: Law-abiding citizens prepared to deal with the imminent threats we face.

Raso added, “After the attack at Pulse night club in Orlando, Hillary Clinton looked past the obvious enemy – radical Islamic terror – and instead said “weapons of war have no place on our streets” and that we need to ban AR-15s immediately. AR-15s are fine for Hillary and her family. They’ve been protected by armed guards who use them for three decades. But average Americans who watch the news and feel genuine fear for their safety, and their families’ safety—Hillary wants to deny them the level of protection she insists upon herself.”

What did you think of Raso’s “Best Defense Against Terror” video? Let us know what’s on your mind in the comment section.

Rifle to Pistol Transitions – Shooting Tips from SIG Sauer Academy

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SIG Sauer Academy Director Adam Painchaud demonstrates his method of transitioning from a rifle to a pistol and back again to the rifle. There are a lot of reasons why you might put down a perfectly good long gun and go to a handgun — running out of ammunition, experiencing a malfunction, or simply being in too-tight a space. Painchaud covers how to make the transitions safely and quickly in this 7-minute 41-second NSSF video.

Two Essential AR-15 Case Preps

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This is a specially-adapted excerpt from the forthcoming book, “Handloading For Competition,” by author Glen Zediker, owner of Zediker Publishing. Click here to order from Midsouth.

by Glen Zediker

Maybe the headline above oversells two case preps I routinely perform, but if they aren’t “essential,” let’s at the least say they are “worthwhile.” I don’t like telling folks to endure more tedium than is necessary. Time is not only money: It’s also shooting, relaxation, family, and on down the list of activities that substitute for removing miniscule amounts of brass from cartridge cases.

The 3-pronged anvil is supposed to compress; if the pocket isn’t flat, it won’t do so correctly.
The 3-pronged anvil is supposed to compress; if the pocket isn’t flat, it won’t do so correctly.
Inside flash hole deburring: Just do it. It’s too easy not to.
Inside flash hole deburring: Just do it. It’s too easy not to.
This is a round that got placed into the chamber and then the bolt carrier released (how we load the “Slow-Fire” rounds in competition). The firing pin tapped off the primer and left a nice dimple. A primer sitting too high can more easily pop under this sort of abuse.
This is a round that got placed into the chamber and then the bolt carrier released (how we load the “Slow-Fire” rounds in competition). The firing pin tapped off the primer and left a nice dimple. A primer sitting too high can more easily pop under this sort of abuse.
Check each and every round you load to ensure that the primer is below flush with the case head. Just run a finger over it (use your own for reasons I can’t approach here). Uniforming pockets goes a long way to ensure correct, full seating, and is especially important if priming is done using a mechanism that precludes feedback, like a progressive reloading machine.
Check each and every round you load to ensure that the primer is below flush with the case head. Just run a finger over it (use your own for reasons I can’t approach here). Uniforming pockets goes a long way to ensure correct, full seating, and is especially important if priming is done using a mechanism that precludes feedback, like a progressive reloading machine.
I can always see a difference in the anvil prints on cases that have uniformed pockets and those that don’t. Telling…
I can always see a difference in the anvil prints on cases that have uniformed pockets and those that don’t. Telling…
There are a variety of primer pocket uniformers. The author prefers those that can chuck into an electric drill as well as also mount in a screwdriver-style handle. Way less tedious. Run it no more than 1100 rpm. The author doesn’t like doing this job by hand, so he uses an adjustable-depth tool. It’s safer to get a fixed-depth unless you have the sort of measuring device necessary to do an accurate job of setting the tool.
There are a variety of primer pocket uniformers. The author prefers those that can chuck into an electric drill as well as also mount in a screwdriver-style handle. Way less tedious. Run it no more than 1100 rpm. The author doesn’t like doing this job by hand, so he uses an adjustable-depth tool. It’s safer to get a fixed-depth unless you have the sort of measuring device necessary to do an accurate job of setting the tool.

However, for reasons I’ll hit upon, a couple of actions on the bench make things better, and one makes things safer. The first is a primer-pocket uniforming tool; the other is an inside-flash-hole deburring tool.

The tasks these tools perform only need to be taken once.

When a domestically-produced cartridge case is made, the primer pocket and the flash hole are formed, not cut. The primer pocket is done with a swaging process, and the flash hole is punched. The primer pocket and headstamp are normally produced at the same time with a punch called a “bunter.” I also call it a “blunter” because that’s the result: cross section a case and you’ll see that the bottom of the primer pocket is not square; it looks a little like a cereal bowl. The flash hole is normally punched separately.

A well-designed primer pocket-uniformer’s job, in my view, is mostly to put a 90-degree corner on the pocket bottom, so the bottom is flat. Primers are flat, coincidentally. And this is why it should be done. A uniformer also cuts the pockets to the same depth, which is also within the correct depth range; or, at the least and depending on the combination of the primer pocket and the tool itself, ensures that a minimum depth has been created. That’s between 0.118-0.122 inches for Small Rifle primers.

Now, there are differences among manufacturers in primer-cup heights. They’re small, but tend to be consistent brand-to-brand. A uniformed primer pocket pretty much eliminates the chance of a shallowish primer pocket combining with a tallish primer to create a primer that’s not seated beyond flush with the case bottom.

And all primers should be seated below flush! The actual amount advised or warranted varies with the source, but I give it a minimum of 0.006 inches.

So, after uniforming a primer pocket, the primer should be sitting “flat” on the pocket bottom (more in a bit); ultimately, this means all primers in all cases are seated fully. Measurement of the amount below flush with the case bottom doesn’t really matter; just that the primers are seated fully.

The reason I said “more in a bit” is because primers have an anvil. It’s the three-pronged sort of spring-looking piece on the bottom of a primer. (“Top” or “bottom” is a matter of perspective…) When a primer is seated, the anvil feet compress. Using a hand-held seating tool, you can feel it. They are supposed to compress and be sitting equally on the primer pocket bottom.

There are two reasons this is essential. One is a matter of performance. If the primer is not seated flush against the pocket bottom, then some force from the firing pin or striker is redirected toward fully seating the primer. It’s a softer hit, in effect. This leads to inconsistent ignition, and, to a smaller degree only worried about by the fastidious, differing initial vibration nodes.

The other reason I say this is essential for AR-15 ammo (or for any ammo destined for use in a rifle with a floating firing pin) is assurance against a “slam fire.” Out-of-battery discharge. Ugly. When the bolt carrier sends the cartridge home into the chamber, the inertia can cause the firing pin to continue forward and “tap” off the primer. It’s not supposed to happen, but it dang sure does. The mechanism intended to prevent this is faulty. A primer that’s sitting a little high gets tapped harder, and if it gets tapped hard enough: BLAM. It’s more of a problem with M1As, but I have seen them in ARs, more than once.

Inside-flash-hole deburring is too easy. Of course, you’ll need a tool, and there are several that all work well. When the flash hole is punched, there’s a burr turned up on the inside of the case. These vary in height and scope, but without a doubt interfere with ignition. It’s also possible that a die decapping pin can fold one such that it obscures the hole. Just get it gone. Takes virtually no effort.

It makes a noticeable difference on target, especially in small-capacity, small-diameter cases, like .223 Rem. Reason is clear: the flash from the primer enters consistently and therefore spreads consistently to get the propellant burning. A tall, narrow column of medium-burning propellant is a tougher chore to ignite, or that’s what I think.