Category Archives: Tactical Gear

REVIEW: Vortex Recon R/T, Solo Tactical R/T Ranging Monoculars

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Combining the best of a dedicated range finger with a powerful and handy spotting scope, these new monoculars from Vortex are a big hit.

By Major Pandemic

Warning: One of these Vortex ranging monoculars will end up on your “stuff I need” list. Let me sum this up quick and then I will work through the features. The Vortex Recon R/T and Solo Tactical R/T deliver the shooter a compact, quick, and robust observation, scouting, and ranging solution that starts at only $169. It is an idea that combines an offset MRAD/MilDot ranging reticle with a simple-to-use high-quality monocular. Vortex is offering these monocular models in 8x, 10x, and 15x magnifications. All the R/T (Ranging and Tactical) models feature the mil-dot reticle and pre-ranged 300-, 400-, 500- and 600-meter standard man-sized silhouettes. Look, range, adjust turrets, and shoot. The Mil-based reticle also allows ranging via a standard mil-dot grid system.

Vortex Solo
Vortex Solo and reticle view.

Line up the silhouette with a human-sized silhouette for immediate ranging or use the Mil-Dots for measurement and you can quickly calculate the range all without batteries. This method also prevents rangefinder errors because grass was waving in front of you while you were snuggled into a prone position. Ahh, good old fashioned manual ranging technology paired with enough magnification power to actually see details that an electronic 4x rangefinder would fail to deliver. In my opinion, this was one of the top optic products of the 2016 SHOT Show, and after testing I believe it should be in everyone’s kit.

A great pair of binoculars are handy, however there are a lot of times that they seem too cumbersome or heavy and this is where a quality monocular makes perfect sense. Monoculars can be tucked into a jacket pocket or, in the case of the Vortex Recon and Tactical R/T, clipped to the belt. Technically, you are getting better optics in a monocular for the money than you would with binoculars simply because you are paying for just one eye-full of optics and not two. The clarity of these Vortex Monoculars is really outstanding considering the price. The only shortcoming in the lineup is a focus-free model, but all the current models do feature easy-to-use focusing and ocular adjustment.

Vortex monocular
The Solo is a lower-power and smaller, more compact choice that slips into any jacket pocket.

If you are using a Mil-Dot ranging system, regular scouting optics would require you to find what you are looking for and then get behind your rifle to relocate the target and use the rifle optics’ reticle to measure objects in order to calculate the distance for the shooting solution. With both the Vortex RECON R/T and Vortex SOLO R/T you or a shooting partner can find and range a target and the rifle only needs to be used to deliver the shooting solution. Some people would say, “Why do I care?” The main reason is that the Vortex Monoculars get the measurement tool off a potentially loaded gun so that you can range all sorts of stuff at football games, golfing, and keeping an eye on that car down the street all without waving a gun muzzle around. The other valid reason is that it gives you a ranging and scouting tool which will never require batteries. Once you start burning into your brain the mil-dot sizes of typical animals, human, and environmental objects, ranging can be really fast without any math involved.

Recon strap-handle
The Recon features a strap to help secure the hold and stabilize the image.

Vortex has thought out each of these monoculars very well. Both have belt clips to make it easy and simple to clip to a belt or pack. Other accessories include lens covers, lanyards, and compact and protective neoprene covers. The larger RECON R/T includes a hand strap, picatinny rail, tripod adapter, and mini tripod.

Recon kit
The Recon includes a case, cover, and quick tripod.

Vortex’s Recon R/T is basically a compact spotting scope with 40 mils of positive and negative ranging ability from center. The 10X magnification does require some type of stabilization or the image starts to jump around. Vortex does include a small flexi-leg tripod which mounts quickly via the included multi-mount. The included tripod is just barely strong enough to hold up the Recon’s weight, but it does work if you get the legs bent the right way. The Recon R/T also can be mounted to any screw-on type tripod on either side which would be a preferable mounting if used on a bench. At $689 the assumption is correct that the Vortex Recon R/T is a significantly better optic than its little brother. Notably the Recon is a significantly higher tier of optic with greatly improved clarity and brightness all around. It feels more rugged and is a more featured packed kit compared to the slimmed down Solo. Where I see the primary use of the Recon R/T 10x and 15x models is taking the place of compact spotting scopes in the field while also reducing the weight burden of also carrying binoculars and ranging devices.

The Vortex Solo R/T is the little brother of the Recon but with 60 Mils of positive and negative of ranging front center due to the broader field of view 8x magnification. The Solo does not have the extra lens covers, the tripod, or the hand strap, however it is the perfect compromise of small compact usefulness that would make you carry it everywhere. It does not look “tactical” which I think is important as a multi-tool optics for residential, urban, and even public sporting environments. The Solo R/T still packs in the ranging reticle, silhouette ranging, and pocket clip all protected by a simple slip-in neoprene case. The 8x magnification is more forgiving and easily used unsupported single-handed while still delivering a stable image. I can say that I use the Solo so much I will likely buy at least one more. It gets used a lot at the range to check targets.

Vortex reticle
Here’s the dynamics of the ranging system. Simple and effective!

FINAL THOUGHTS
It is easy to whip out your laser range finder, but there are many situations where I have found these tools to deliver false or unreliable readings. Mil-based ranging may not give you the perfect accuracy of a laser range finder, but the Recon and Solo provide a tool which can validate a range and double as a scouting tool. A brilliant idea by Vortex of offering this concept in an affordable package to the consumer markets.

Vortex specifications

Click HERE to learn more about these  amazing optics.

Click HERE to see Midsouth’s Vortex selection.

[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. www.MajorPandemic.com]

 

SKILLS: Riflescopes: All About Reticles

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This is the second in a series on optic basics, and it covers the most visible component of a scope: the reticle. Read on…

by NRA Staff

basic riflescope reticle

The riflescope’s reticle is the visible reference used as an aiming point to align the gun with the target. There are many reticle patterns ranging from simple to complex. The most popular remains the general-purpose crosshair. However, even the simple crosshair offers choices, such as tapered, ultra thin, duplex, mil-dot, ballistic compensating, range-finding, center dot, center ring and post, just to name a few. Each configuration is intended for a specific type of use and there are multiple versions of all. For example, tapered crosshairs are a popular choice for varmint hunting and duplex crosshairs are a common choice for big-game hunting. There seems to be no limit to the new reticle designs being offered, and most makers offer at least six or more types. Your best bet is to try out several at a local gun store, then consult with experienced shooters or hunters before making a final selection.

Reticles may be illuminated electronically, with tritium or with fiber optics to enhance their contrast against dark backgrounds; this is helpful especially at dusk or dawn or during heavy overcast conditions. Illumination remains an expensive option that may not work well in very cold conditions and has limited usefulness. Still, it has proven a popular addition to many scopes.

reticle choices

The reticle itself may be located inside the scope at the first, or front, focal plane or the second, or rear focal plane. The location is an issue only in variable-power scopes. Reticles located in the first focal plane in a variable-power scope will increase or decrease in size as the magnification is changed while those located in the second focal plane do not change size when the power is adjusted. For this reason, the latter location has become the most popular.

One situation in which a front-focal-plane reticle is clearly advantageous is in scopes with a mil-dot ranging system. This type of reticle employs dots spaced one milliradian apart on the crosshair. (A milliradian is the angle subtended by 3 feet at 1,000 yards.) An object of known size is bracketed between the dots, and a table is used to determine the range based on the number of dots the object measures. With a rear-focal-plane reticle variable, the mil-dot system is only accurate at one power setting. A front-focal-plane location maintains the same relationship to the target throughout the range of magnification, thus enabling mil-dots to be used accurately at any power.

A second benefit of placement in front of the variable-magnification lens system is that the reticle remains unaffected by tolerances or misalignment of the erector tube during power changes. With a rear-focal-plane location, these tolerances may shift point of impact as the power level changes.

In the past, many scope reticles were not constantly centered, meaning they moved off to the side when windage or elevation adjustments were made. Many shooters found this annoying. Today, nearly all riflescopes have constantly centered reticles that do not change position when adjustments are made.

Crosshairs or other reticle patterns are created by laser etching on optical glass or by ultra-thin platinum wires. Some early scope reticles used strands of hair, hence the name “crosshairs.” Others used spider silk…interestingly enough, the silk of the black widow spider, which has a better tensile strength than other types of spider silk.

David Tubb DTR Reticle
David Tubb’s DTR design takes a reticle about as far as it can go, offering built-in aiming dot compensation choices to even account for density altitude.

REVIEW: Springfield Armory SAINT

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We have been waiting a long time for Springfield’s AR15 and it is worth the wait, and worth the money. Here’s why…

by Bob Campbell

Springfield’s ads had been teasing us with the introduction of a new product and very recently we learned that the SAINT was an AR15-type rifle. This is the first-ever AR15 with the proud Springfield Armory stamp. The rifle had been described as entry level but this isn’t really true. There are more expensive rifles but the Springfield isn’t cheap — it is simply below the $900 threshold. That is a pretty important price point. The rifle has good features and is built for reliability. The SAINT is intended to appeal to the young and adventurous and to those serious about taking responsibility for their own safety. I agree but older shooters such as myself who are able to discern quality at a fair price will also appreciate the SAINT. As a Springfield fan, the SAINT will take its place beside my 1903 Springfield and the modern 1911 Operator handgun, but there is more to the puzzle than the name. At present I have fewer than 600 rounds fired through the SAINT but the experience has been good. (I fire the rifles I test for real on the range, and not with the typewriter. I know the difficulty in firing one thousand rounds or more in an economic and physical sense.)

SAINT and 1903
The SAINT is shown with a 1903 Springfield. A proud tradition!

Let’s look at the particulars. The SAINT features the A2-style front sight/gas block and a folding rear sight. The rear sight is stamped with the Springfield “crossed cannons” emblem. The rear sight isn’t target grade but it is useful for short-range defense work and snagging predators to perhaps 100 yards, the use I will put this 6-pound, 11-ounce rifle to. The gas system is a mid-length architecture. Without getting into a discussion that would fill these pages all its own, the mid-length system is ideal for use with common bullet weights. The SAINT has a 16-inch barrel chambered for the 5.56mm NATO cartridge. This means you can fire .223 Remington or 5.56mm cartridges without a hint of trouble. Its 1-in-8 inch barrel twist is increasingly popular. Midway between the 7- and 9-inch twist this barrel twist rate has proven accurate with the majority of loads I have tested. So far this includes loads of 52 to 77 grain bullet weights.

SAINT
The SAINT handles well. The author found the SAINT exceptionally controllable.

The trigger is a GI-type that breaks in my example at 6.7 pounds. This is in the middle-ground for an AR trigger and it is clean and crisp. There is also a special coating that allows the trigger group to ride smoothly. The receivers are anodized aluminum, no surprises there, but the bolt carrier group is also specially coated, and stamped with the Springfield logo. I like that a lot. Springfield has added a new design with the Accu-Tite Tension system. This is a set screw located in the lower receiver that allows the user to tighten the receivers together. I like this feature and I probably will not add any other tightening measures to the SAINT. The furniture is Bravo Company and the handguard is a Springfield exclusive. The three-piece handguard features a heat shield in the lower base, and allows for accessory mounting via a keylock system. The handguard offers excellent grip when firing but doesn’t abrade the hand when firing in long practice sessions. I like the stub on the end of the handguard that prevents the hand from running forward onto the gas block. Optics are not optimally mounted on the handguard since it isn’t free-floated, so the receiver rail is available for mounting optics. The six-position stock utilizes a squeeze lever for six-point adjustment. The grip handle is the famous BCM Gunfighter.

SAINT sights.
The front and rear sights are adequate for shorter-range use, and the controls are excellent. Note bumper on handguard to prevent the hand running forward off the handguard.

To begin the evaluation I filled several magazines with Federal Cartridge Company American Eagle cartridges. The rifle had several hundred rounds through it and I expected the same performance for this Shooters Log test. These 55-grain FMJ cartridges burn clean, are affordable, and offer excellent accuracy in a practice load. I loaded the supplied MagPul magazine and a number of other various magazines I had on hand. The bolt was lubricated. AR15 rifles will run dirty but they will not run dry. I addressed man-sized targets at 25 and 50 yards, firing as quickly as I could get on target and align the sights. Keeping the hand forward on the handguard (and avoiding the gas block!) and controlling the rifle fast and accurate hits came easily. The rifle is controllable in rapid fire but then it is an AR15… The sights are adequate for the purpose. The Gunfighter grip is particularly ergonomic allowing excellent control. As for absolute accuracy with the iron sights, it isn’t difficult to secure 3-shot groups of two inches at 50 yards, par for the course with an iron-sighted carbine.

Accuracy Testing
For a complete evaluation, you have to go further with accuracy testing and this means mounting a quality optic. I settled down with a mounted Lucid 6x1x24 rifle scope. This optic provides a good clear sight picture and has many advantages a trained rifleman can exploit. I settled down on the bench and attempted to find the best possible accuracy from the SAINT. Hornady has introduced a new line of AR15 ammunition. Since black rifles run on black ammunition the new loads should prove popular. My test samples of Hornady Black Ammunition featured the proven 75-grain BTHP. This is a good bullet weight for longer-range accuracy and it proved to give good results in the SAINT. I also tested a good number of popular .233 loads including a handload of my own, using the 60-grain Hornady A-Max bullet.

Meopta MeoRed
The Meopta MeoRed Red Dot gave good results.

I have also mounted a MeoRed red dot with excellent results. For use to 50 yards this red dot offers good hit probability and gets the Springfield up and rolling for 3-Gun Competition.
I like the Springfield SAINT. I drove in the rain to get the rifle and was at the door at my FFL source when they opened. I had to wait to hit the range! I am not disappointed and the SAINT is going to find an important place in my shooting battery.

Check out the complete specs HERE

SAINT free-float
The SAINT is also available with a free-floating handguard tube.

Bob Campbell is an established and well-respected outdoors writer, contributing regularly to many publications ranging from SWAT Magazine to Knifeworld. Bob has also authored three books: Holsters For Combat and Concealed Carry (Paladin Press), The 1911 Semi Auto (Stoeger Publishing), and The Handgun In Personal Defense (The Second Amendment Foundation).

8 Reasons to Invest in a 9mm Pistol-Caliber Carbine

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Here is a list of compelling reasons that a PCC might just become your favorite, most-used firearm. Keep reading…

Gil Horman, NRA Publications

Just before our first wedding anniversary, my wife and I were rear-ended at high speed while making a right-hand turn. Our car was totaled and my wife suffered serious soft tissue damage to her neck and shoulder. Although she has healed over the years (the pain has never completely left her), it was a long time before she could participate in any shooting sports, let alone fire guns with stiff levels of felt recoil.

Ruger PC9
Ruger PC9

I started researching low-recoil defensive options that she could use (if you’ve ever wondered why I write about this topic as often as I do, now you know). At the time, Ruger was still making the now-discontinued PC9 Police Carbine chambered in 9mm. If not for the magazine well designed to accept Ruger P Series pistol magazines, the blowback operated PC9 could be mistaken for a 10/22. It was lightweight, compact and easy to operate. I thought my wife would be able to manage the recoil at the practice range so that it could be kept on hand as a home-defense gun. The carbine had the added benefit of using the same magazines as a Ruger 9mm pistol we owned at the time, making for an ideal home-defense pairing.

I strolled into a local gun shop and asked the college kid behind the counter to hand me a PC9 carbine off the rack for closer inspection. His face took on a subtle, but noticeable, look of distain. As if I had asked an English butler to pass me a dead mouse, he slowly reached for the rifle and with forced professionalism dropped it into my hands.

I explained why I was interested in this particular model. I was looking for a low-recoil defensive option for my wife to use. In a perfect dead-pan voice he said, “Yes, and when the ammunition runs out it will make an excellent club.” In other words, after 15 rounds of “wimpy” 9mm hollow points fired through a 16-inch barrel harmlessly bounced off the home invader, like so much confetti, my poor wife would be forced to swing for the bleachers.

This gun store conversation took place in the late 1990s when the 9mm and all of its platforms were still wrestling with the reputation of being weak defensive options. It’s a bias that’s stuck to 9mms of all sizes like glue, even the carbines. That is, until the last few years. Defensive 9mm pistols of all shapes and sizes have moved to the center of the defensive limelight. And this year in particular, pistol-caliber carbines (PCC) chambered in 9mm have enjoyed a surge in sales not seen before.

Here are eight reasons why 9mm PCCs are a good choice for home defense as well as general shooting —

ONE: A Variety of Models to Choose From
Some types of firearms are only available in limited configurations which in turn can make it a challenge to find a good fit for some shooters. This is not the case with pistol-caliber carbines. The 9mm PCC may be enjoying a new level of popularity today but it’s been manufactured by several companies for quite some time. I still hear folks talk about how much they love their Marlin Camp 9 even though the gun has been out of production since 1999. 

NOTE: CLICK ON THE PHOTO CAPTIONS TO VISIT THE WEBSITES

JRC carbines
Just Right Carbines offers a wide range of configurations.

If you enjoy working with the AR-15 type carbines, several 9mms are available from reputable manufacturers including the SIG Sauer MPX 9, and the Wilson Combat AR9. The 9mm AR models tend to come in two varieties, those with dedicated 9mm only lower receivers and those that use standard .223/5.56 lowers fitted with magazine adapters.

Some models, including the Just Right Carbine, are built around proprietary actions that accept AR-15 accessories. The receivers, barrels and controls are unique but the removable grips and six-position adjustable shoulder stocks can be swapped out for popular aftermarket AR-15 upgrades.

If the AR-15 is not your cup of tea, there are plenty of other designs to enjoy. For instance, the Chiappa Firearms M1-9 is a modern variation of the WWII-era M1 carbine. One of the more unusual options (if you can find one) is the Kel-Tec Sub 2000 which folds in half for easy storage.

Kel-Tec Sub-2000
Kel-Tec Sub-2000

TWO: Proven Designs
Many semi-automatic 9mm PCC platforms use blowback-operated actions, which are among the simplest and most reliable designs available. The bolt assembly is held in place by its own weight and the recoil spring. The force of the cartridge case being pushed backwards by expanding gases cycles the bolt. That’s all there is to it. There’s little in the way of complex parts, gas tubes or pistons to worry about failing and the guns are often easier to clean and lubricate.

Chiappa M1-9
Chiappa M1-9

THREE: Pistol Magazine Compatibility
Just like the Ruger PC9 mentioned earlier, many of the modern PCC platforms feed from removable semi-automatic pistol magazines. Right now many carbines have magazine wells and bolt assemblies designed to work with the common, easy to find and inexpensive Glock factory and aftermarket magazines. This is especially convenient if you already own, or plan to buy, a Glock pistol. Companies that make pistols as well as carbines, like Beretta, often build their carbines to accept the same magazines as their handguns.



FOUR: Low Levels of Felt Recoil
I continue to be baffled by the notion that if a gun doesn’t leave the owner battered and bruised at the end of a practice session it’s not a legitimate home-defensive option. Guns don’t need to hurt the operator in order to be effective. In fact, low recoil provides a couple of important tactical advantages. Any activity associated with pain can cause us to hesitate. In a fight for your life, when every moment counts, it’s important to avoid any unnecessary hesitations that may cloud a defender’s judgment. Low recoil also aids in placing faster, more precise follow-up shots.

Sig MPX
Sig MPX

FIVE: Cheap and Plentiful Practice Ammunition

Proper practice sessions held on a regular basis are the key to mastering a carbine’s controls and to improved accuracy. The more rounds fired downrange per practice session the better. As of this writing, the only platforms I can find that are cheaper to run than the 9mm are those chambered in .22 Long Rifle. The good news is that practice-grade 9mm is more readily available than .22 (which is still experiencing shortages) and can be found in sporting goods and big-box stores around the country.





SIX: Top Notch Defense-Grade Ammunition

The 9mm cartridge is not just popular in the United States, it’s one of the most common calibers used around the world for military, law enforcement, and civilian applications. Millions of dollars have gone into improving bullet designs and overall cartridge effectiveness. More +P loadings are available now than ever before. This improvement in cartridge performance combined with carbine magazine capacities ranging from 17 to 33 rounds provides a level of firepower not to be taken lightly, especially at home-defense distances.

9mm defensive ammo
There is effective 9mm defensive ammo available, and it’s made more so via the higher velocities attained when fired through a 16-inch barrel.

SEVEN: Improved Ammunition Performance
Generally speaking, 9mm pistols are constructed with barrels somewhere between 3- to 5-inches in length. Carbines, on the other hand, are usually fitted with 16-inch barrels. This increased length boosts the performance of the cartridge because of the longer powder burn time, which increases velocity, and additional rifling that improves bullet stability.

The degree to which performance improves when using a carbine depends on the load fired. But in some cases, especially with +P ammunition, the increase in downrange energy is impressive. This table shows some of the 16-inch barrel performance results gleaned from carbine tests posted to this website along with the manufacturers’ listed pistol velocities for comparison.

The standard velocity loads shown here demonstrated a velocity increase of 101 to 238 fps. resulting in bullet energy going up by 70 to 153 ft.-lbs. when fired through a 16-inch barrel. That’s nothing to sneeze at. But it’s the +P loads that seem to benefit the most from the longer barrel. Velocity jumped between 173 to 684 fps. increasing bullet energy by 94 to 356 ft.-lbs. 



EIGHT: Flexible and Fun To Shoot
Whenever possible, it makes sense to invest in firearms that can fill multiple roles instead of just one. The 9mm PCCs fall into this category. These platforms are ideal for informal plinking, target shooting, home defense, or riding along as a trunk gun. I’ve heard that a good sized part of what is driving the new interest in these guns are the new divisions in 3-Gun and other practical-style competitions that allow the use of 9mm carbines. Imagine spending a day honing your shooting skills at a match, getting home, giving your carbine a quick cleaning, and then staging the gun you know inside and out to defend your home in case of an emergency. That’s about as flexible as a gun gets.

SKILLS: How To Make Sure You’re Seeing Through a Scope

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Ever been frustrated by “black clouds” when you’re trying to look through a scope? Here are a few thoughts on preventing that…

Source: Barbara Baird for NRA Family

Scope setup

First, remember that your eye is the rear sight. You have to place it in the same place with regard to the rest of the gun every time to avoid a parallax error when using the scope. So…what is parallax?

Parallax is an apparent displacement against a background, or a difference in orientation of an object, when the object is viewed along two different lines of sight. Parallax is measured by the angle or semi-angle of inclination between those two lines. In a riflescope, parallax is an optical illusion. Parallax occurs when the “primary image” of the object is formed either in front of, or behind the reticle (crosshair) of the scope. When you move your eye from its proper alignment with the scope, the resulting parallax moves the image in relation to the crosshair, causing your aim to be off.

Think of it this way. You’re sitting in the passenger seat of the car and you look over at the speedometer. It will read differently to you than to the driver, and that is because you’re not lined up with the steering wheel and gauge in front of it, so you’re not getting the true reading.

Every scope has a quality called “eye relief.” That’s the distance behind the eyepiece lens that your eye should be placed to be able to see through the scope effectively. You have to place the cheek of your shooting eye against the stock; move your head forward and backward along the stock-always with your cheek against the stock-until you get the best view through the scope.

The best view is when sight picture in the eyepiece lens fills the entire lens. As you move your head forward from the best viewpoint, the picture collapses, and when you move your head back from the best viewpoint, the picture starts to get smaller and then goes black. If it’s possible, it’s very important to position the scope itself so you attain correct eye relief using the head position you are most comfortable with. Do that by moving the scope mount or the scope within the mount forward or back. Whether this can be done depends on the mounting system.

If it’s not possible to choose a new scope mounting position, find the right spot to allow full view through the scope, as described. Either way, then practice getting the same “cheek weld” (the position and pressure of your cheek against the stock) every time you shoulder your rifle and you will be one step further in taking a good, clean shot.

Addition from Midsouth Editor Glen Zediker:
One of the reasons I usually test from position (prone) rather than from a benchtop when I’m wringing out a competition-use load has a lot to do with scope positioning. Two things: if there’s already a scope mounted, I don’t want to change its position, and, if there’s not, the difference in my shooting position prone and from a chair could well influence my on-target impact results. Almost always, the scope needs to be scooted farther back firing from sandbags and farther forward for prone or offhand. I offer this as a caution to those who might take a new rifle with a new scope to the range and get it sighted in from a rest, and then get out into the field with it and find out they’re having to pull their head back to see through the scope properly.

scope rail
Zediker note: A setup like this eliminates positioning issues. I’m a big believer in a lot of fore and aft flexibility to get the correct eye relief and still maintain a natural and comfortable shooting position. And, yes, I “crawl” the stock that much prone…

Federal Lawsuit Filed Against Magazine Ban

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The Second Amendment Foundation, joined by several other groups and individuals, has filed a lawsuit in federal district court in California, challenging that state’s law prohibiting the possession, use, or acquisition of so-called “large-capacity magazines,” calling the ban “hopelessly vague and ambiguous.” This case could have repercussions on a similar magazine ban in Colorado.

the second amendment foundation

Joining SAF are the Calguns Foundation, Firearms Policy Coalition, Firearms Policy Foundation and six individuals, including one retired California peace officer. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.

The complaint is a constitutional challenge to California Penal Code § 32310, as recently amended by Senate Bill 1446 and Proposition 63, and Penal Code § 32390 (the “Large-Capacity Magazine Ban”). The lawsuit alleges that if these measures are enforced as applied, they would “individually and collectively prohibit law-abiding citizens from continuing to possess, use, or acquire lawfully-owned firearms, in common use for lawful purposes such as self-defense (inside and outside the home), competition, sport, and hunting.”

“What we see in the enactment of such laws,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb, “is continued erosion by the state of its citizens’ constitutional rights guaranteed under the Second Amendment. When the U.S. Supreme Court incorporated the Second Amendment to the states via the 4th Amendment under the 2010 McDonald ruling, it automatically should have stopped this kind of prohibition.

magpul pmag ar magazine“As we state in our lawsuit,” he continued, “this magazine ban fails to provide fair or even adequate notice to law-abiding gun owners of what they may do with their personal property without being subject to criminal sanctions. In effect, this ban amounts to a backdoor form of confiscation, in part, of bearable arms that are protected by the Constitution.

“Enforcement of this ban,” Gottlieb concluded, “would immediately place thousands of law-abiding California gun owners in jeopardy of criminal liability and subjects their personal property to forfeiture, seizure and permanent confiscation, which is government taking, without due process or compensation. We cannot allow that to go unchallenged.”

The Second Amendment Foundation is the nation’s oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. Founded in 1974, The Foundation has grown to more than 650,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control.

 

Check out these other great articles from U.S. Law Shield and click here to become a member:

The just-released video above is from the Florida State Attorney’s Office, supporting a judge’s ruling that a citizen who opened fire on a man attacking a Lee County deputy last year was justified in using deadly force.
Taking the family to a state or national park this summer? Then you need to know the rules about firearms carry at your destinations,

TEST: EAA Witness Elite 1911 Polymer Pistol

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If you’re looking for a lightweight full-size 1911, and one with premium features and performance, check out this one…

EAA Witness Elite 1911 Polymer

Courtesy American Rifleman Staff

John Browning’s M1911 pistol has been with us for more than 105 years now, and it is still a viable gun for personal defense, military use and competition. Manufactured by numerous companies, the M1911 pistol’s longevity is a tribute to its sound design. The Italian firm of Tanfoglio has combined the century-old mechanism with modern polymer manufacturing to produce a new take on the classic single-stack M1911. Imported by European American Armory, the polymer-frame Witness Elite 1911 Polymer .45 ACP pistol weighs 25 percent less than a comparable steel-frame M1911, without sacrificing accuracy or controllability.

The keys to the Witness Elite’s frame are the two steel inserts that handle the firing stresses, incorporate the gun’s frame rails and locate critical pins. A simple roll pin is used to retain the forward insert within the synthetic frame. It combines the feed ramp and the bottom barrel lug recess, as well as the hole for the slide stop pin, which captures the barrel’s link. The inserts also have slide rails machined into them to ensure there is no metal-to-plastic contact. To facilitate feeding, the feed ramp has been polished.

EAA Witness Elite 1911 Polymer exlpoded view

The rear insert slides into the back of the polymer frame and is retained by the two upper “stock screws.” It has an integral ejector machined into it. The rear insert also contains the holes that locate the sear and hammer pins. In this way, there is no possibility of the holes becoming elongated or cracking, as would be possible if they were part of the polymer frame. Tanfoglio also laser engraves the gun’s serial number onto the rear block insert. There’s a steel plate inserted along the dustcover’s Picatinny rail section with the same serial number.

Tanfoglio uses standard mil-spec dimensions for the rail, so it will accommodate any number of tactical lights and lasers. Faux stock panels are molded into the frame and are checkered to provide the shooter with a secure grip. The gun’s frontstrap has been left untextured. Tanfoglio solved one of the original weak points of the M1911 by molding an integral plunger tube into the frame, eliminating any chance of the part loosening and disabling the thumb safety.

In addition to the frame, Tanfoglio also makes a number of other parts on the gun from polymer. The arched mainspring housing is polymer, as is the magazine release, recoil spring cap and guide and trigger stirrup.

Tanfoglio outfits the polymer Witness with a steel beavertail grip safety and a standard manual thumb safety, which engages and disengages crisply. A number of our evaluators opined that they would prefer the pistol have an extended thumb safety for more sure manipulation and a shelf on which to rest while firing. Fortunately, most M1911 aftermarket parts, including the thumb safety, will work with the Witness Elite 1911 Polymer pistol — though the safety may require some fitting to its sear.

The EAA Witness Elite 1911 Polymer weighs 25 percent less than a comparable steel-frame M1911. However, the pistol’s components, disassembly and manual of arms all maintain the M1911 tradition, despite the gun’s modern construction.

There’s really nothing different about the pistol’s top end that would differentiate it from a standard M1911’s slide and barrel. In fact, the slide assembly could easily be used on a steel- or aluminum-frame gun without any modifications. Tanfoglio uses a stainless steel, match-grade barrel. It is throated and polished to feed most bullet profiles. The slide itself is machined from a nickel-steel alloy and is finished with a utilitarian, flat, black-oxide treatment. Its ejection port is lowered and flared for positive and unimpeded ejection, and an original-style internal extractor is used. Both sights are dovetailed into the slide and are drift-adjustable for windage. Together they present a bold sight picture.

To test the gun’s accuracy, we set our targets out at 25 yds. and fired all groups from a seated rest utilizing a Millett Benchmaster for support. Five groups were fired with each ammunition, with the results tabulated nearby. The Witness Elite 1911 Polymer exhibited excellent accuracy, with all loads tested averaging near 1.5-inch groups at 25 yds. The clean sight picture of the gun, combined with its crisp, 4-lb. trigger pull, made shooting the Witness Elite a pleasure. Black Hill’s 230-gr. FMJ load produced the best accuracy, averaging under an inch for all five groups and yielding the single best five-shot group, which measured just 0.82 inches.

EAA Witness Elite 1911 Polymer performance

In field shooting, there was no discernible difference in time between shots while performing controlled pairs with the polymer Witness and a steel-frame M1911. Recoil seemed just a tad snappier than the steel-frame gun, but was very manageable. Our sample gun provided excellent reliability with no stoppages or failures of any sort during our 400-round evaluation.

The Witness Elite 1911 Polymer pistol fieldstrips in the same manner as any other M1911. Tanfoglio does not recommend removing the steel inserts from the frame for routine cleaning. There is nothing to be gained with their removal, and the pistol can be thoroughly cleaned with them in place.

EAA Witness Elite 1911 Polymer
European American Armory, importers of the Italian-made Tangfolio Witness line of pistols, has produced the 1911 P, a polymer-frame design that allows for reduced weight while retaining the interchangeability of M1911 parts.

Tanfoglio has done an exemplary job of taking an established design and modernizing the manufacturing process to create a lightweight version of a proven pistol, without changing its operating characteristics. At a suggested retail price of $580, the EAA Witness Elite 1911 Polymer pistol should appeal to those in search of a lightweight M1911 for sport or defense.

EAA Witness Elite 1911 Polymer specifications

See manufacturer-provided information HERE

Smith & Wesson M&P45 Shield Test

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If you’re looking for a small, light, and (very) powerful CCW, that’s also manageable to shoot, this one is impressive… Read more!

Source: American Rifleman Staff

Ten years ago, Smith & Wesson introduced a line of defensive-oriented semi-automatic pistols that carried the firm’s long-used “Military & Police” (M&P) model identification. Unlike the familiar Model 10 revolver that armed Americans since the last decade of the 19th century, the new M&Ps were 21st century striker-fired, polymer-frame autoloaders with a full range of today’s essential features. The first models were full-size service pistols with double-column magazines chambered in .40 S&W, although 9mm Luger and .45 ACP followed quickly. Undeniably a successful product line, the M&P has been made in numerous variations — from compacts to long slides and, for a while, even in .357 SIG. But of all the variations that have come from the Springfield, Mass., plant, one that stands out is the M&P45 Shield.

The Shield line is a reflection of the current interest in medium-to-small, single-stack, semi-automatic pistols set up for concealed carry or police backup roles. High-capacity magazines are not essential, but serious terminal performance is. The first gun in the Shield line was a 9 mm, followed closely by a .40 S&W. It took a while longer for S&W engineers to adapt the Shield concept to the .45 ACP cartridge, but that gun is now a reality.

With a steel slide riding a polymer frame, the M&P45 Shield is recoil-operated, locking by way of the barrel’s hood engaging the ejection port and unlocking by way of its underlug camming downward after firing as it comes into contact with a steel block in the frame. A captive, dual recoil spring assembly returns the slide to battery.

S&W M&P45

The gun’s substantial .45 ACP chambering and scant 22oz. weight combine to create a pistol that might be a bit difficult to manage were it not for its superior ergonomic design, which makes the pistol eminently shootable. Most shooters, including those with smaller hands, generally take to the Shield grip shape well. In fact, it is probably the most appealing of the little pistol’s virtues. The frame is angled for natural pointability and has a deep pocket for the web of the shooting hand.

Looking at the gun in profile, the curve of the trigger is well below the curve of the pocket on the backstrap. This means that the pistol is nicely shaped for the “back and up” sweep movement of the trigger. The trigger pull is around 5 lbs., and seemed to vary just a bit, though it may level out with time. There is a minimal take-up before trigger pressure actually begins. Trigger reset distance is reasonably short.

With regard to safety features, the M&P45 Shield has an articulated trigger safety and an internal drop safety. Our sample gun also featured a manual thumb safety mounted on the left side of the frame for use by right-handed shooters, although Smith & Wesson offers a variant without the manual safety.

Shield 45 sights
The M&P45 Shield’s steel, drift-adjustable, three-dot sights consist of a square-notch rear and a post front.

Each pistol comes with one 6-round magazine and one 7-rounder — the only difference is in the height of the baseplates. As is the custom with service pistols, most shooters will load the pistol by retracting the slide, inserting a fully loaded magazine and depressing the slide release to chamber the top round. They then remove the magazine to top it off with a single round and replace it in the pistol. For this reason, pistols are commonly described as having a capacity of “six-plus-one” — the magazine carries only six rounds, but after topping off, the gun has a total of seven cartridges onboard. Yet curiously, both M&P45 Shield magazines feature witness holes marked “3, 4, 5, 6 and +1.” Not only is the “+1” denotation nonsensical, it is frustrating when one unsuccessfully attempts to load the “additional” round into the six-round magazine.

Shield 45 magazines
Two magazines come with the .45 ACP-chambered Shield, one with a seven-round capacity and one that holds six. The longer magazine provides additional gripping area for those who prefer.

Finished in a businesslike black Armornite® (slide is stainless steel), the Shield is an impressive little package. The square-notch rear and post front sights feature a three-dot pattern and are drift-adjustable. At the time of the M&P45 Shield’s introduction, the maker pointed out the improved (over earlier Shields) texturing on the gun’s gripping surfaces. S&W has gone to panels of a slightly more aggressive version of what was once termed a “crackle” finish. It works like a charm, serving to anchor the pistol firmly in the hand. This is a very light little pistol that recoils sharply when firing the larger .45 ACP cartridge.

In range testing with a variety of commercial ammunition, there were no malfunctions of any kind. In the absence of proper Ransom Rest inserts, accuracy shooting was done over sandbags on a solid bench. Results are tabulated above and are surprisingly good. Note the reduced velocities of typical 230gr. ammunition, due to the pistol’s shorter barrel.

S&W M&P45

The Smith & Wesson M&P45 Shield is a good choice as a daily carry gun. At 22.7 ozs., it isn’t particularly heavy, and would be a good choice as a police backup gun, as well; it is flat and could nicely fit into a pocket or seam in body armor. The M&P45 Shield is quick into action, simple to manage and about as powerful as carry guns get.

S&W M&P45

Visit Smith&Wesson to learn more HERE

REVIEW: Savage Arms BA10 Stealth 6.5 Creedmoor

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If you’re in need of an out-of-the-box long-range tack driver, and don’t want to pay thousands, this Savage proved a great choice in this test. Read more…

by Patrick E. Kelley

Savage Stealth BA10

The Savage Arms BA10 “Stealth” is anything but stealthy! This rifle shows up “in your face” ready to put bullets in little groups up close, or where the real test is — way out there!

CUTTING TO THE CHASE…
Lets start at about “half way” to way out there. This AICS (Accuracy International Chassis System) compatible box magazine-fed turn-bolt is accurate! While many may claim half-minute accuracy, this stick actually is that precise, and it can do it right out of the box. Take a look…

Savage Stealth 450 yard groups

Now I would love to take credit for those groups, but knowing my longer-range skill set was less than what I expected the rifle could shoot, I enlisted the help of my shooting buddy Bill. As an F-Class competitor, he knows his way around long range shooting. It took a few shots to get him settled in behind this rather lightweight (9.2 pounds) long range bullet placement tool, but settle in he did. Yes, I included ALL 5 groups! We got to take the good with the bad, but I would ask you to really look at those groups…this rifle wants to shoot 1/2 MOA or better! Thanks Bill!

benchrest setup
This was Bill’s set up. A good shooting rest setup is very important to good groups.

SET-UP
With the Savage carrying a MSRP of $1207 I thought it would be a good idea to marry this rifle up with a comparable scope. I chose one that, like the Stealth itself, has value well beyond its modest price: the Burris XTRII 5×25. I tell people, “Don’t buy cheap scopes!” Buy good glass and then put them in the best mounts. You will break a scope someday, but a good mount will last though several scopes! The scope base is part of the Savage BA10 package and is made by the good guys at EGW, and the scope rings I supplied are 34mm units from Xtreme Hardcore Gear. “On right stays tight” — use a proper inch-pound torque wrench!

Savage Stealth, Burris scope

HITS
This bolt gun’s “chassis system” is made by MTD and is a solid, well-made unit. I popped the barreled action out of the stock before the first rounds went downrange and looked it over. It is very nice and beautifully machined. I mentioned using an inch-pound torque wrench for scope mounting, well it is a good practice to use one when installing the barreled action back into the chassis. I did 60 inch-pounds.

Savage Accutrigger
Savage has really put their AccuTrigger front and center as a high quality unit and this one did not disappoint! It broke clean and crisp at a factory-set 22 ounces! In keeping with the “practical/tactical” nature of this bolt gun you’ll find an appropriately over-sized bolt handle, a comfortable Hogue pistol grip from which to trip that excellent trigger, and quick access to the magazine release latch. The excellent ergos on this rifle were no accident.
AICS magazines
Above are the 3 magazines I tested…all worked perfectly. The tall one on the left came with the gun as is an MDT 10-rounder. The other two are 5-round mags from MagPul, and are AICS compatible.
threaded muzzle cap
The muzzle is threaded 5/8x24tpi and finished with an 11-degree target crown and thread protector: a handy addition to accommodate a suppressor or muzzle brake.

I could not just watch my friend Bill shoot so after he completed his session with the Hornady factory ammunition at 450 yards I tried my hand at 300 yards with some Federal American Eagle 140 grain OTM (Open Top Match). Even with me behind the incredibly nice 22-ounce Savage AccuTrigger, sub-minute of angle groups were the norm. Norm…that is not normal! Sub-MOA groups from a factory-fresh rifle without any tuning or tweaking or even barrel break-in with off-the-shelf factory ammo! I think I am going to like this long-range game! Thanks Savage!

300 yard groups

MISSES
We covered most of this, but let me point out a nit-pick or two. You knew I would have at least one… The EGW scope rail appears to be a “flat” rail, not a 20 or 30 MOA rail that is common in long-range circles. If you have enough elevation adjustment within your optic you might be okay, but give me a 20 MOA base any day.

Then there’s the buttstock… I don’t like it. It is okay for an AR but this one lacks two elements that I want (need): first, the cheek rest sits too far back to get proper eye relief, and second, for use with a rear bag the bottom of the buttstock ought to be flat. Small nits to pick, and both are easily remedied through the aftermarket.

LAST WORD
The BA10 Stealth has proven itself to be accurate and reliable with a trigger that has me wishing every rifle I own were so equipped! It does this “right out of the box” and it does it within the wallet of a “working man.” Ultimately, Savage Arms has assembled an excellent long-range tool that in capable hands shouldn’t have any problem running right along side guns with price tags several times the Stealth price. Stealthy?…not a chance. This one screams “I am a winner!”

Savage Stealth Specifications
So as to not leave anything out, Savage literature states: Factory Blue Printed Savage Action, Monolithic Aluminum Chassis Machined from Solid Billet, M-LOK forend, One-Piece EGW Scope Rail, Fab Defense GLR-SHOCK Six-Position Buttstock with Adjustable Cheek Piece, 5/8×24 Threaded Muzzle with Protector. Nice!

Click here for MORE information on the Savage Stealth series

About the author: Patrick E. Kelley is a competition shooter, instructor, gunwriter, photographer, and videographer. After four years as a featured competitor on 3-Gun Nation he was hired as the Expert Analyst and commentator for the show. He started to compete actively in 3-Gun in 1999, placing Top Tyro in his first championship, the Soldier of Fortune 3 gun match. Patrick has earned numerous first-place finishes at major matches in 12 U.S. states and Canadian provinces. He has mastered several shooting disciplines, from NRA Bullseye and Metallic Silhouette to the world of Practical Shooting. Patrick is also a member of the NRA 2600 Club and was ranked in the USPSA’s top twenty early in his shooting career. Patrick’s articles on shooting and firearms, as well as his photography, can be found within the pages of Shooting Illustrated, Outdoor Life, and 3 Gun Nation Magazine. His YouTube channel includes instructional and exhibition shooting videos, including the series “Patrick’s Tac Tricks” produced in concert with the NRA. Check one out HERE

 

REVIEW: Burris AR-332 AR15 Optic

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Looking for a durable, practical, effective AR15 optic useable over any realistic range? And one that’s not going to break the bank? Read about this Burris…

Burris AR-332

by Major Pandemic

According to the US Army Laboratory Command (Small Arms Technology Assessment: Individual Infantryman’s Weapon, Volume I, March 1990, to be specific), 98% of all targets across all terrain are engaged at less than 600 meters, 90% at less than 400 meters, and in urban terrain 90% at less than 50 meters. With this in mind we need the ability to be able to reach out to targets beyond the 15-25 yard lines but it is unlikely we will ever shoot out beyond 600 meters in a defensive or even hunting situation.

Adding even a marginally magnified optic enables more precision, faster target acquisition, and will deliver all you need to place hits quickly even way out there when yards adds up. More than a few serviceman and Designated Marksman know that the 4X Trijicon ACOG very positively transformed hit ratios within all ranges of combat engagement out to the 600 yard line; however, it also comes with a steep $1400 price tag. Burris to the rescue with a great $350 option.

BURRIS AR-332 3X PRISMATIC OPTIC
Burris is well known for building rugged, bulletproof optics. The AR-332 is a mil-spec brute of an optic which has stayed compact with a prismatic design. The design is a really nice crossover optic for CQB and scout rifle distances in a durable fixed power optic. Essentially the AR-332 is an ACOG but for 60% less money plus it includes a dual red/green illuminated BDC reticle. According to Burris, with the explosion of AR15 sales, they have been selling truckloads of these along with their 5X model.

FIT, FEEL, FINISH & FEATURES
Like all Burris optics, the AR-332 is excellent quality from the fog- and weather-proof construction through the very clear optics. At first I was wondering what I had committed to with the AR-332, however after a couple range visits I am sold on the design. The “donut” reticle definitely grows on you and in my experience is way faster up close and allows more precision than a more conventional duplex reticle at varied distances.

Burris AR-332
Picatinny rails allow piggybacking additional sights, lasers or lights. The AR-332 is backed by the Burris Forever Warranty.

There are a significant amount of refinements and extras on this scope. The Burris AR-332 comes ready to mount right out of the box with a picatinny base included ($50-$100 extra on other scopes here), scope caps that flip open all the way out of field of view, and wire retained windage/elevation caps. If you have an A2 AR15 with a carry handle, the AR-332 will work right out of the box after your unscrew the included picatinny base. On top of those features, the AR-332 is a very clear optic with an etched reticle visible as a black reticle after the illumination is turned off. The runtime is expected into the months range, but even when the standard CR2032 battery is dead you still have 100% of the reticle to work with.

Burris AR-332
The rotary, 10-position power selector allows quick changes from red to green powered reticle, or a black reticle when power is off. 5 red and 5 green power levels suit differing lighting conditions. A CR2032 battery powers the reticle.

FUNCTIONS
The illuminated reticle works and is brilliantly bright that can be seen in direct sunlight. The donut reticle is very fast on target even at distances under 25 yards or even at 2 yards. Dedicated points from 100-500 yards can make this a bit more precise than optics with just a single duplex style reticle or wider dispersed hash marks when the yards add up. Burris also includes picatinny accessory rails around the optic to bolt on things like lights or lasers. The circle hold marks for 200+ yards work great and allows small distant targets to be centered quickly.

AR-332 reticle
The reticle design provides a great combination of shorter-range speed and longer-range precision.

The eye relief needs to be more forgiving as it does not have a wide workable range compared to others. Plan on mounting the AR-332 at or very near the rearmost position. My stock position is always one detent in; however, longer-armed shooters may have to dispense with a rear back-up iron sight to mount the AR-332 in a proper position.

Burris needs to add a super-low illumination setting as even at the lowest option is still just a bit too glary when the lights go out. The reticle is still perfect for CQB ranges at night using the CQB Optic but a little annoying for shooting night dwelling critters in the pitch black.

With a variety of Hornady and Winchester 5.56 NATO and .223 Remington rounds, the Burris delivered all shots on 12-inch steel plates all the way out to 500 yards;, however point of impact did vary with each round. As with all BDC reticles, the aiming points will get you within a few inches; however, each round’s ballistics is different.

Burris AR-332
The author found the Burris AR-332 to be an outstanding performer, and at more than $1000 lower cost than the similarly-designed AGOG Trijicon, the AR-332 represents a tremendous value. The Burris is capable, durable, and rugged.

FINAL THOUGHTS
Designed for a 100-yard zero with BDC index points for 100-500 yards. This is a fixed power optic that is actually exceptionally good at CQB work thanks to that glowing donut. The Burris AR-332 is a great all-purpose optic for an AR15 owner to extend the range to allow confident placement out to 500 yards. That big glowing dot provides a great aiming point even at room-clearing distances. The more I use this optic the more I like it as a combat defensive scout optic covering the US Small Arms study ranges.

AN OBSERVATION: We all get older and usually with that comes deteriorating eyesight. I have been incredibly lucky that I still have fairly clear 20/20 vision, however I am starting to do that trombone move to focus in on the small print up close. The point is that magnification and sighting aids help aging eyes. A few of my buddies clearly need magnification and this is where even just a little 3X magnification can make all the difference between making a shot and being frustrated. If you are older, I recommend taking a serious look at what these low-power optics can provide you on your AR platform.

CQB OPTIC TIP: For optics with illuminated reticles, a tip to use them in a CQB environment is to close the front scope cover and shoot with both eyes open like you would with a red dot. With the scope objective cover in place, the eyes and brain will conspire to make the illuminated reticle appear as an 1X lit reticle regardless of the magnification, even if it is a 32X scope.

Burris AR-332

Check it out at Midsouth HERE

Factory Link: HERE

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.  www.MajorPandemic.comMajor Pandemic