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REVIEW: Sig MPX Pistol

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The “new” MP5? Author says it’s better than that! Read MORE…

Sig MPX

Major Pandemic

The Sig MPX is an innovative configurable PDW (Personal Defense Weapon) platform that can be purchased in a variety of forms including pistol, pistol plus Sig Brace, rifle, and NFA regulated SBR. The model I choose for review is the MPX Pistol with folding Sig Brace adapter. This setup can be easily purchased just like any handgun on the market.

Sig PDW
It’s compact, just like other PDWs, but its capabilities in this role are unparalleled.

WHY A SIG MPX
Of the guns most lust to have, the H&K MP5 is on that list. It is the quintessential 9mm PDW that still serves in many militaries, law enforcement SWAT teams, and global hostage rescue teams for many reasons — it is utterly reliable, short, accurate, easy to shoot fast, and pretty hard hitting. We have all built up an image of perfection in our minds and all want one. Then you actually fire an MP5 and find out that the looks are still there, but the years of experience are showing.

As a civilian, you cannot buy a new MP5. Original $5000+ used MP5s are a bit beat up with a been-around-the-block-a-few-times look, sights are not as user friendly as modern day designs, mag well is not particularly easy to find during reloads, the manual of arms is so different from our ingrained AR15 habits that it feels a little weird, there is no last round hold open on most MP5s (some do), optic mounts are goofy, the stamped receiver looks cheap and outdated, replacement parts are getting super pricey, and the price the user pays (if they can find one) is still too high. In this case, pulling a factory-fresh MPX from its box delivers everything I want without the worry of the mileage and cost of an MP5.

Sig brace
A Sig brace completes the package.

Despite its reputation H&K has made some poor marketing decisions. H&K was in some financial deep water and why they would not do consumer retro releases of some classic guns is beyond me. At a time when $400 Euro H&K P7 trade in guns are going for $3000 on GunBroker.com and shooters are still screaming for a civilian MP5 it seems H&K is leaving money on the table. Why has the semi-auto SP6K (updated MP5 semi-auto pistol) not made it to U.S. shores? Sig Sauer decided there was money to be made in the MP5 market and developed the MPX to go right after the throat of H&K with a supportable, adaptable, highly configurable 9mm PDW format. Instead of “me too” product, Sig also addressed all those gripes users had with the MP5 design. If you have always wanted an MP5, the Sig MPX will deliver more grins per dollar and I would argue is far better!

SIG SAUER MPX
The MPX is arguably the sexiest and most titillating thing in decades to come out of Sig Sauer since the MCX was introduced with the same profile but in 5.56 NATO. I mean good lord look at this thing — it is dripping with custom design concepts.

The design perfectly mimics the AR controls; however, Sig did not stop there and added full ambi-controls on the magazine release, bolt charging handle, bolt release, and selector switch. Everything you can do with your support hand, is possible with the shooting hand. Ambi selectors always annoyingly rub on my trigger finger, however Sig has made the right side selector toggle as short as possible to minimize this known AR15 ambi-selector issue. The charging handle stroke is a bit shorter than your AR15. All around all the controls are well executed.

MPX controls
Controls are well thought out and ambidextrous.

Sig made the MPX easy to customize. The new G2 version is fully KeyMod-compatible with the plethora of aftermarket keymod accessories. The picatinny spec rail at the rear can be left bare, or with just one torx screw a folding or fixed adapter can be used to mount a AR15 compatible cheek stabilizing tube and/or Sig Pistol Brace. If you have received your Form 1 NFA Tax stamp, one of Sig’s fixed, folding or or collapsible stocks can be added. Even the grip and trigger group are AR15 compatible. Flexibility is the base of this design.

The MPX is also a caliber-convertible platform which offers users the option to swap out barrels and bolt systems from the factory 9mm to .357SIG or .40 S&W all just by removing two bolts.

MPX barrel swap
Barrels can be interchanged to allow .40 S&W or .357 Sig.

The heavily flared magazine well makes authoritative insertions fast and easy. Honestly, the MPX is hard to shoot without cracking a giant smile.

Even the magazines are freaking awesome looking. Lancer Systems who is well known for premium magazines developed the design for the MPX. Mag functioning is smooth and flawless. Restocking rounds is push-in AR-style versus slide-in handgun mag style which lessens thumb pain.

MPX magazines
The 30-round magazines are a thing of beauty, and function perfectly.

YES THAT IS IT
Make sure you go ahead and get extra mags! I now have six. Also just plan on buying 9mm ammo in 1000 round bulk packs, because otherwise if you only take 50-100 rounds to that first range session you will feel like your hot new girlfriend/boyfriend got you worked up and then left you high and dry.

Shooting the MPX really does not feel any different than shooting any other AR15 pistol or registered SBR other than the recoil is almost non-existent. Although a completely unfair comparison, by contrast my 9mm Keltec Sub2000 has a sharp little snap but the MPX does not. Sig did a great job with the piston-driven gas system to deliver a cleaner running gun and strip out that jarring snap of the 9mm round hotly exiting the longer barrel.

Accuracy is superb. Where the MP5 would really shine were head shots under 75 yards, the MPX shines at this range as well. Hitting my Action Target hostage swinger (6-in.) at 100 yards was pretty easy also, however I did notice the 9mm round did not have the power to swing the hostage target to the other side at that range. The gun is easily a single-ragged-hole gun at 25-yards, and at 50-yards 3-4 inches for offhand groups was not difficult with quality defense ammo.

This is a superb home and personal defense gun. With the Hi-Lux Micro B-Dot red dot sight added this was a fast little gun that delivered everything I love about .223 AR15 pistols without the deafening report. The MPX has a softer handgun report out of the 8-in. barrel, far from the ear splitting boom an AR15 pistol delivers indoors and outdoors. With the right low penetration ammo such as Federal Guard Dog or the very hot Liberty Civil Defense 2000-FPS 450-FPE, the MPX delivers accurate high-energy dumping rounds combined with limited liability from pass through rounds. For me, this gun is starting to make more sense for home and backpack carry personal defense than my AR15 pistols…

MPX ANNOYANCES
The painful price point allows one to be critical of annoyances. The MPX is expensive. I understand there was a ton of R&D on this gun, however that does not lessen the entry pain when it comes time pay. Current MSRP is $2162.00.

The magwell is easy to find, as said, but tactical reloads where the bolt is not locked back require a very firm whack to get a full magazine to seat. Although technically a piston-driven gas system, and cleaner running than straight blowback operation, this is still one dirty gun after a few hundred rounds. There really is no way around it — handgun rounds equal dirty guns.

Sig mag well
Mag well is hard to miss!

For the price, I would have expected a Tritium insert on the front sight post and two included magazines. The polymer dust cover and finger stop booth feel like they will break and any moment, but have not. The dust cover needs to be a bit beefier and I suspect one hard whack in a door jam and it’s a goner.

The magazines themselves are selling for $60-$70 each which is painful even though they are stunningly well-made. The trigger is horrible. I am stunned Sig Sauer could make something this terrible. How can Sig give me one of the smoothest double-action pistols on the market but includes a trigger that feels like it had sand dumped into it. I am glad the trigger is compatible with AR15 replacements because it is possibly the worst feeling AR-style trigger ever.

The instructions were terrible. The ten pages of obvious safety warnings should have been used to tell how to configure everything that came in the box: the extra QD slung mount took a good hour to understand how and where to attach it..

Until you break in the folding stabilizing brace, which takes about forty or fifty repetitions of feeling like you are going to snap the stabilizing brace off, you could swear that it locks both open and closed. I also found the stabilizing brace length to be about an inch too long to stabilize against the cheek. Some might find it perfect though.

MPX gas system
Operation is via gas piston.

FINAL THOUGHTS
The MPX had zero functional issues wasting away an afternoon and 1000 rounds of whatever was the cheapest 9mm ammo available in bulk.

This little pistol can slip into most small packs or messenger bags and delivers a very fast response option with crisp precision. I would recommend buying 20-round magazines for this carry option as the 30-rounders are a bit long. The MPX system screams for SBR stamping and that cool Sig collapsible stock. The MPX was designed for the person wanting a gateway to SBR registration — once you have your SBR Stamp, a stock swap is only one bolt away. Buy the MPX like any other pistol, go and shoot it, send in the Form 1 NFA eForm to “SBR” the gun with a gun stock, and you can still go shoot the gun while you wait for that process to complete.

The Sig MPX is well thought out, totally flexible and configurable for future upgrades. This is an investment firearm which is more than just a fun gun.

SEE FULL SPECIFICATIONS HERE

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. Click HERE to learn more.]

FIREARMS: Justification for Packable AR15 Pistols in Vehicles

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Much more than a fun-day-at-the-range curiosity, the Major offers compelling reasons why an AR15 pistol just might belong in everyone’s roadside assistance kit…

Ms Pandemic Trump Trunk Gun

by Major Pandemic

Just a few years ago, I would have rolled my eyes at the idea of having a packable AR15 pistol tucked into my vehicle although I have kept a cased and stowed AR15 or Tavor in the truck for years. More times than I can remember that rifle came in handy for impromptu range trips plus the assurance 30-rounds of M855 5.56 can provide if stranded at night alongside the road. It also delivered personal assurance that I would have more than just a handgun in an extended survival or personal defense situation, and greately increased range. Over the past months I have worked through a set of theories based on some discussions with experienced friends which I would like to share. One high-ranking Army friend, formerly a Night Stalker, said, “There is no one perfect small arm for any situation, the dynamics of the environment you expect to be engaged in dictate the armament.” For several reasons, it is my theory that an AR15 pistol is the better personal defense and road-travel firearm to have stowed in your vehicle.

ar pistol
From stowed to ready to shoot in under 3-seconds.

THE POTENTIAL NEED
Beyond the zombie-apocalypse type events, there only a few logically probable scenarios which could occur:

One is personal defense and security during an active shooter situation.

Two is general support of survival and security needs (such as being stranded or coming home to a forced-entry situation).

Another is support of movement to a safe location during a hostile/riot situation.

The logical needs were for a PDW (Personal Defense Weapon) which could deliver 90-percent of the capabilities of a full-length rifle with an acceptable tradeoff of shooter comfort. In all those situations — accuracy, legal transportation, accessibility, maneuverability, and concealment would all be factors for a firearm stowed within a vehicle.

short ar15
A 7.5-inch barreled AR15 pistol slips into even small ultralight day packs.

ACCURACY & SHOOTING
Over the last couple years I have changed my perspective of AR15 pistols from just range toys to serious viable PDWs. The accuracy of these little AR15s has shocked me. One in particular I own can deliver sub-MOA groups from its 7.5-inch barrel, easily out-shooting most rack-grade rifles. Most of my other AR15 pistols with premium barrels can stay under the 1.5-inch 100-yard group mark and will keep a 6-inch steel target clanging away out to 400-yards. After all, AR15 pistols are in essence just short-barreled rifles without the stock or rifle classification.

KAK Buffer Tube
An extended KAK Buffer Tube greatly improves comfort

Statistical reality of most urban combat shooting engagements is that they occur well under 100-yards, a sweet spot for an accurate PDW. Statistically, it is also unlikely that more than 10-20 rounds would be needed to address a situation, but this PDW can plenty more. A few extra mags thrown into the carry bag provides substantial capability. From light 40gr high-shock hollow-points to M855 steel-core rounds, the 5.56/.223 offers many effective options for defense, survival, and threat engagement. It is also unlikely to have a need for supporting a long-term armed engagement, this PDW can handle that requirement as well. Though I was a little sore afterwards, I spent an afternoon hammering 500 rounds through my truck AR15 pistol. That problem-free beatdown of that pistol changed my perception of what AR15 pistols could deliver. I gladly suffer a little discomfort for a one-foot shorter gun that’s 2-3 lbs. lighter for this particular use.

LEGAL TRANSPORTATION
One important point as a civilian is assuring that you’re arming yourself in a legal manner. If you have a rifle stowed in your car, it can be problematic as you drive from one city to another or across state lines. Many cities and states have goofy rifle laws which can include requirements for rifles to be partially disassembled and cased and almost always unloaded. Conversely, if you have a concealed carry permit, carrying an AR15 pistol is covered under your permit because, after all, it is a pistol.

PWS MOD2 MK107
A PWS MOD2 MK107 Pistol nestles nicely into a Sneaky Bags SPYDER.

STOWING, CONCEALMENT & MOVEMENT
Aside from legality, it’s accessibility that’s also in the favor of the AR15 pistol, compared to a rifle. Plus, maneuvering a rifle inside a vehicle is tricky and most would agree that an AR15 pistol is easier.

Being able to move discretely with an AR15 pistol is probably the biggest advantage of all. A 10.5-inch barreled AR15 pistol equipped with a Law Tactical folding buffer tube adapter or stowed with the upper and lowers receivers unpinned slips nicely into any standard backpack or messenger bag. A 7.5-inch barrel means that same setup can fit into just about any smaller pack.

I think that any firearm permanently stored in a vehicle should be easily concealed, and able to be clandestinely moved in a public setting. There was one situation where my truck needed unexpected overnight service and another where the hotel only offered valet parking. In both situations I had to de-weaponize my truck and walk through some clearly public areas with what was clearly a gun case. Those incidents taught me that discrete cases should always be used to house firearms in vehicles.

DISCREET CARRY OPTIONS
AR15 pistols, of course,  drop easily into almost any backpack and no one pays any attention to your standard Swiss Army or Eddie Bauer backpack. 5.11’s Select Carry sling pack is designed specifically for PDW use. It has an innocuous shape/style and rapid-draw feature that makes it one of my favorites.

ACCESSORIES TO MAKE COMPACT EVEN SMALLER
If you own an AR15 pistol you are missing half of the functionality of the firearm if you have not installed a Law Tactical Folding Buffer tube adapter. This accessory negates the need of disassembling an AR15 pistol to stow it in most backpacks. Deployment is fast — pull from the pack, slam the buffer tube over and charge the AR15 pistol.

Other options worth looking into to include the DOLOS V2. The DOLOS delivers a ratcheting quick takedown option to remove the barrel with assembly and disassembly occurring in under 5-seconds.

Dolos Quick Disconnect barrel adapter kit
Dolos Quick Disconnect barrel adapter kit.
Dolos
A Dolos and Law Tactical equipped AR15 is a tiny package

DON’T PUSH THE LAW
Any firearm within a vehicle has a high potential to be viewed, handled, and checked during any routine traffic stop. It is my belief that most law enforcement folks are tragically uninformed about what “is legal” when it comes to anything other than a classically sized rifle or pistols.

Additionally, if your AR15 also looks like an SBR with something a non-firearms educated officer presumes as a stock, you can double the hassle. Sure Sig Braces are legal, however this is where I suggest a standard buffer tube might be the better less-gray option to avoid extra hassle.

OUR RIGS
After a whole lot of shooting, I like the compromise of a 10.5-in. barreled AR15 pistol. Its has an exponentially quieter bark and fireball, delivers a bit more velocity than a 7.5-in. barrel, and provides a shooting platform that gives more room to stretch out.

major pistol
This Faxon barrel and Nikon 1-4 optic equipped ultralight AR15 pistol is very capable at intermediate ranges.

Parts breakdown: Faxon Ultralight 10.5-in. barrel; Faxon BCGs; Aero Precision upper; a billet lower; CMC Match trigger; Clark Carbon Fiber handguard; Rogers rail light; Nikon 1-4X scope, Aero Precision optic mount; YHM Quick Pull Take-Down Pins; Law Tactical Folding Buffer Tube Adapter.

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. Click HERE to learn more.]

REVIEW: Mossberg JIC II 12 Gauge

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The ultimate survival gun? Maybe. Here’s one from Mossberg that’s designed to be there for you “just in case…” KEEP READING

mossberg jic
Mossberg JIC.

by Major Pandemic

When you think of the ultimate survival gun you should think of the versatility, durability, and power of a proven 12 gauge shotgun. Available shotshells run the gamut from slugs capable of downing any North American game, fletched long-range defensive rounds, door-breaching rounds, signal flares, heavy goose and turkey loads, light-recoiling clays loads, and the standard variety of buckshoot, BB, pellets, and many more.

12ga. shot shells are also among the easiest and most forgiving to reload and can be even reloaded using black powder. If you were faced with having only one gun for survival, most any survival expert will tell you that a 12ga. will serve you better than any other type of firearm.

This was the thinking behind the Mossberg JIC — Just In Case — series. The series features Mossberg’s 500 line originally packaged in waterproof, floating, bury-able tubes which provided protection. The newer JIC II series takes the concept a step further by offering a Cordura pack-based carry solution.

jic
The JIC is a very compact package.

FIT & FEEL
The JIC II version is packaged in a more user-friendly format than the giant tubes on the previous models. Mossberg found that people loved the ready-to-shoot concept of the original JIC watertight tube, but were also asking for a more compact and discreet soft-cased version as. Mossberg worked with 5.11 (a top tactical clothing and accessories manufacturer) to come up with a simple case design which was durable, light, and as small as possible. The result was the Cordura JIC II case which holds the Mossberg 500 in disassembled state, and houses assembly tools, a gun lock, and provides plenty of room for ammo.

12ga
The 12ga. is one of the most versatile rounds available and an outstanding choice for a survival gun.

What makes this and the other JIC kits cool, convenient, and unique is a shotgun and storage solution wrapped into one. In this kit, the insanely popular 500 Series Cruiser shotgun which features a pistol grip and 18.5-in. barrel reduces the overall size of an average Mossberg shotgun to just under 29 inches.

jic tools
All the tools needed to assemble the JIC are included in a small pouch.

FEATURES
From a features perspective, I was a little confused when my Mossberg JIC II arrived, as it differed a bit from the pictures I ordered from and even from Mossberg’s own website. The end result was that all the pictures show a model a bit different than what I received. Mossberg’s picture shows an included sling and attached loop forend sling, but the model I received included neither, which was a bit of a bummer.

The case itself is designed to hold the barrel, action, and pistol grip securely via Velcro straps in a disassembled state, and provides a pocket for the takedown pistol grip bolt, washer, and hex wrench. With the case packed, it measures a very compact 22x9x2 which can be easily slipped under a seat, secured to a pack via the rear Velcro loops, or carried via the included shoulder strap. The disassembled action with the pistol grip removed just barely fits in the pack, which indicates to me that Mossberg was making every effort to reduce carried size.

The Mossberg 500 should, at this point, need no review, but for those that are not familiar with this slick-cycling shotgun, it features twin action bars for positive functioning, 5+1 shot capacity (with 2-3/4-in. shells), 18.5-in. barrel, pistol grip, and sling swivel studs. The shotgun can handle up to 3-in. magnum shells if you dare, and is finished with matte phosphate.

This version of the 500 Cruiser is less frilly version than some of the versions Mossberg now makes; this one is tipped only a simple bead sight. Ergonomically, the Mossberg 500s differ from other brands in the position of the safety and slide release. The slide release is located next to the thumb versus forward of the trigger guard, and the safety is a thumb-operated tang mounted for ambidextrous use, versus being located behind the trigger guard. The receiver is made from mil-spec aluminum and has a polymer trigger guard. It may not be fancy, but the 500 Series is light, simple to use, and is a proven design that works every single time.

FUNCTIONS
Assembly from the case is pretty quick and very simple. Unzip the full-length, lockable zippers to fully open the case, un-velcro the receiver, barrel, and pistol grip, and remove the grip’s bolt, washer, and hex wrench from the little internal pocket. Press the slide release and move the action to half open and insert the barrel and then tighten the thumbscrew until tight (about seven turns) to secure the barrel. Install the pistol grip with the included bolt, washer, and hex wrench and the gun is ready to shoot! In total, you can have the entire shotgun together in about a minute.

jic assembly
Assembly takes about one minute.

Pump shotguns all work about the same way: load shells by pushing them into the magazine, press the slide release, rack the action to chamber the first round and release the safety, if necessary, to shoot. Once a round is fired, the slide action automatically unlocks and the shooter can rack-cycle the action again to shoot again and again. It could not be more simple.

The pistol-grip version has its sizing, maneuverability, and weight advantages, and the pistol grip even mitigates a fair amount of recoil. The downside it that the pistol grip does take a little practice for accurate shots while managing the recoil at eye level. Shooters need to assure a safe recoil zone is maintained for eye level shooting or you may find the backside of your fist smacking you in the face.

mossberg 500
This package is wise and impressive choice for “just in case.”

Hot buckshot and slug rounds generate a fair amount of recoil; however, firing the JIC II Cruiser was manageable for both hip and line-of-sight shooting. For new shooters, shotgun recoil takes a while to adjust to. It just just takes practice.

I was pretty impressed that even with Hornady Zombie Max 00 Buckshot loads at 25 yards, I was able to easily destroy a 20oz Coke bottle with eye level shots over and over again. These rounds usually group in the 2-3-in. range at that distance so a fair amount of accuracy was required. Turkey loads make it easy to hit just about anything at 25 yards with the Improved Cylinder choke of this barrel. My prefered shooting grip was a solid two-hand pistol grip when shooting for accuracy off hand. For less-stationary defensive shots I used a “pushing” forend grip and “pulling” trigger-hand grip to manage recoil.

Dropping the shotgun down on the bench, I found it pretty easy to keep all my slugs in a 2-3-in. circle at 25-yards, but to be honest, 6-rounds of slugs and I decided that I was done with that experiment. Slugs are a bit brutal to shoot in any pistol-grip-style pump-action shotgun.

FINAL THOUGHTS
Thankfully Mossberg did not adorn the JIC II case also with the household name of “Mossberg” otherwise it would be obvious what the case carried. The prominent JIC II logo can be clandestinely recolored with a black sharpie or by removing the stitching for those who require a more subdued case look.

This is a compact little kit that goes together quickly and takes up very little room and provided all the functionality of the well-refined and time-tested Mossberg action. Slip a 50-round shot shell bandolier sling into the case with a variety of buckshot, slug, bird shot, flare, and BB rounds and you can cover about any need which may arise.

The 12 guage shotgun is the ultimate survival firearm. It’s also great for home defense, and for around $350 on the street, this shotgun remains one of the best deals in firearms. The JIC II kit just makes it that much easier to take a great shotgun along, you know… “Just in Case.”

LEARN MORE HERE

jic specs

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. Click HERE to learn more.]

REVIEW: Henry Evil Roy .22 Rifle

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How about some pure fun on the range? This .22LR blends authentic style with competition-ready quality. READ MORE

henry 22

by Major Pandemic

When the Henry Rifles first re-appeared, the public enthusiastically embraced the brand and for good reason. Anthony Imperato and family have made it a passion to restore the Henry firearms name and even made it better in the process. The Henry rifles are beautiful to own, look at, and shoot. This Evil Roy .22 is yet another incredible rifle from Henry.

I have noted before that when it comes to Henry Rifles, there are only two types of people; those who have yet to shoot a Henry and those who have and now lust after them. Just as Ruger has arguable made one of the best updated single action cowboy revolvers, Henry has updated the Henry design to deliver something so refined that Benjamin Tyler Henry himself would have only dreamed was possible back with the original design. I love them and own several Henry rifles in .44 Magnum, .357 Magnum, and .22LR and this Evil Roy Henry seemed to be just the perfect gun to add to the collection.

The international winning CAS (Cowboy Action Shooter) Gene Pearcy with his CAS alias of “Evil Roy” partnered up with Henry to create something a bit different. Evil Roy suggested taking the very popular Henry Golden Boy .22LR rifle but with a shorter 16.5-inch barrel, with a more durable plastic buttpad, a brushed nickel receiver and barrel band, and a shorter overall stock — a combination and/or slight modification of existing parts of various models. The result is a short, quick-handling, and accurate .22LR rifle that is a blast to shoot.

gene pearcy
Gene Pearcy, AKA “Evil Roy.”

FEEL
The Evil Roy is at its heart a Golden Boy with a few configuration changes which include the nickel finish receiver with grooved scope rail, shorter 16.5-barrel, shorter stock, and plastic buttpad instead of brass.

Although I have no real complaints with my original Golden Boy, there were times where I felt the 20-inch barrel was a bit long. For youth shooters, the full-sized Golden Boy stock can seem a bit big.

evil roy 22
Short and fast compact package that is perfect for plinking or a hunting.

The thought of a lever action rarely crosses many people’s minds when shopping for a new rifle, until they put one in their hands. Henry Rifles draw you in, the fit feel and finish begin your mind’s journey back in time to the Old West, and by the time you pull the trigger and rack in the next round as you watch your tin can dance, the hook is set so deep that a love affair of Henry rifles is inevitable. Someone once told me more Henry rifles are sold at the range than in gun stores… Everyone falls in love with Henry rifles not only because of their history and quality, but also because they shoot and cycle exceptionally well. Most people will say the same thing when they pick up a Henry, “they knew something about firearms and shooting back then.” The Evil Roy is a bit lighter than the Golden Boy but still retains the balance, pointability, and of course accuracy.

evil roy rifle

FEATURES
The Evil Roy is priced with an MSRP of $499 and is about $50 less than the standard Golden Boy. It carries the same high quality features as their Big Boy brothers. The Evil Roy rifles feature the same historic semi-buckhorn style rear sight, brass bead front sight, stunningly beautiful blued octagonal barrel, banded barrel, steel parts, and perfectly finished American walnut stock. It also add a large action charging loop versus the smaller loop. The Big Brother has a solid brass receiver, the Golden Boy a Brasslite receiver and the Evil Roy has a nickel-base alloy receiver that is also grooved for a .22 scope mount.

henry stock
Henry has brought back the art of the stock.

FUNCTION
The Henry Evil Roy tube magazine holds 12 rounds of your favorite .22LR ammo or up to 16 of the spooky quiet 22 Short/CB rounds. That is a huge ammo capacity by any standard which makes the Henry Evil Roy a blast to shoot up box after box of inexpensive ammunition. The Evil Roy feeds and fires anything from a .22CB all the way to hot .22LR high velocity rounds. The reload does takes a bit longer than a magazine change but is simple enough and requires the magazine spring tube to be pulled partially out and rounds slipped into the tube. One company makes a speed loader if you are so inclined, but I just use a 3/8-inch aluminum tube with a stopper as a speed loader.

The next point I feel I must make is how fast the Henry Lever actions can be fired. Shoot the Henry Evil Roy next to a semi-auto 22 and you will be surprised how well you keep up the pace. The large loop helps to improve speed. The action is safe and simple to operate, shoots faster than a bolt action and slows the beginners (and old) shooters down enough that shots connect more consistently connect due to better sighting. Lever actions are also far less dirty than their semi-auto cousins because gas is not being blown back during the cycling process. Due to the cleaner cycling, lever actions are also very reliable as the round count continues to grow all afternoon.

henry scope
Aided by a Burris scope, the Evil Roy shot very accurately.

From a safety perspective, the simplicity of the transfer bar safety prevents accidental firing when decocking/lowering the hammer. The Henry Rifles have what I call a “single-action revolver safety” which negates the need for additional safety mechanisms. For hunting, having the ability to safely have a live round in the chamber and only requiring the hammer to be cocked prior to a shot makes this a very safe rifle to carry. As the rifle’s lever is racked, a new round is automatically chambered and the hammer is cocked — it could not be simpler.

ACCURACY
The Henry Evil Roy rifle is an easy gun to shoot accurately using only the semi-buckhorn sights, but adding on the 4X Burris Micro scope delivered some nice little1/4-inch 25-yard groups with SK Standard and CCI Standard Velocity rounds.

Once you see how well the Henry Evil Roy shoots, you start to forget about shooting bulls-eye targets and start hammering spinners and cans.

The front brass bead front sight works great. The rear semi-buckhorn is also highly functional, but just notmy favorite. My plan is to swap the rear sight with a historically fitting brass Skinner peep sight which I have on several of my other Henry Rifles.

FINAL THOUGHTS
I was not sure at first whether I would shoot it as much as my Golden Boy, but with the flexibility to pop a scope on and off really added a lot of utility and upped the precision.

Any time someone wants to start shooting, I start with the Henry. These rifles are safe, simple, and non-threatening for anyone to use, and with the shorter length stock it is also a kid friendly rifle to use for learning. This is one heck of a family-oriented rifle that everyone loves and it is that universal appeal that is special about the Henry Evil Roy — everything about this gun is not just good but great.

henry rifle specs

Click HERE to see more!

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. Click HERE to learn more.]

REVIEW: Walther PPS M2 9mm

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Looking for one handgun to serve well for home-defense and concealed carry? This might be the best one! Read all about it…

pps m2

by Major Pandemic

Even despite the insanity of the gun market some manufacturers have stayed true to their roots. Walther has retained its long history of innovation while ushering in a completely new era of firearms. Sure they still faithfully produce those great symbols of 007 spycraft and have even expanded that line with new entries, but the new Walther pistol designs have rightly captured a lot of attention. A few years ago I reviewed the original PPS in 9mm — one that became a favorite concealed -carry gun. The PPS was a gun ahead of its time delivering a feature -rich, accurate, and configurable single -stack that could behave like a compact-, mid- and full-sized gun. Based on the two years of carrying and shooting the PPS, I think it is one of the best subcompact concealed-carry single-stack guns on the market despite the introduction of many other competitors.

pps m2

FIT, FINISH, FEEL & FEATURES
What many did not like about the first PPS was that it was a bit blocky and featured a European-style paddle magazine release which Americans are not terribly excited over. The PPS M2 resolved those complaints with a standard button magazine release and more rounded ergonomics that mimic the amazingly comfortable PPQ and other Walther pistols.

The Walther PPS M2 retains the hybrid design which allows it to morph from a sub-compact sized pistol to a larger hand -filling gun. Included with the gun are three magazines — one each in 6-, 7-, and 8-round capacities. With the flush- fit 6-round magazine your pinky is left dangling like it would with any sub-compact or micro-compact format pistol. But just a swap to the 7- or 8-round magazines deliver a full-sized grip and control plus extra rounds. In essence this allows the user to swap out a magazine and transform the PPS from a full-sized feel for home defense to a smaller magazine for concealed carry.

The original point of the PPS was not to be a high-capacity firearm, but to deliver an extremely thin and slim profile for concealed carry that is small enough that both men and woman can carry comfortably. It is a “lifestyle” gun that was designed so it would always be with you versus being left in the car or at home. From my perspective, this has to been the most comfortable sub-compact pistol I have handled, carried, and shot. I love my Glocks, but this fits my hand better and has a far better grip surface which adds up to a more confidently handled gun. I used a few male and female friends as testers to shoot the PPS M2 and all loved it. In fact several loved it so much they may buy one. The finish and fit are exceptional, the milling on the slide is well thought out with the front and rear serrations providing enough bite to charge the PPS reliably.

m2 glowing sights
Luminescent sights glow for around 15 minutes after being exposed to light.

The PPS M2 has low -profile snag-free three -dot metal luminescent combat sights with the rear sight adjustable for windage (Tritium night sight options are available in the LE version). The luminescent sights will pick up ambient light or a quick flash from a flashlight and glow with usable illumination for about 15 minutes. A Tenifer-coated slide and barrel are provides corrosion resistance, and other features include a loaded chamber viewport and red cocking indicator at the rear to give both tactile and visible status, smooth beveled snag-free slide stop with a lock back on empty, and features one of the most crisp, smoothest, and lightest 6.1 lb trigger pulls I have tested on a factory compact gun. The PPS M2 trigger feel is better than the PPS M1 though both tested to break right at the same 6.1 lb point. The short trigger reset is similar to a Glock reset window. Walther did drop the front picatinny mount from the PPS M2 model. Likely with the proliferation of weapon specific lights and lasers, they saw it as an unnecessary feature that bulked up the gun.

Some of the other details to enhance functionality are minor but I notice them. Rarely you will end up with an especially non-acrobatic piece of spent brass that will almost make it out of the ejection port. The PPS design has an angled front cut on the port, a bevel on the ejector size, and a ramped area at the top rear of the port on the slide which all work in tandem to lift, turn, and push out brass attempting to cause a jam.

pps m2 grip
Extreme comfort are the words most describe the PPS M2 grip.

FUNCTION & ACCURACY
Functionally, the Walther PPS M2 is a striker-fired pistol with a mechinism similar to a Glock. There are some differences, but to my eyes they look the same which is a great thing because it is a proven design. In fact it even takes down identically to a Glock: clear the gun, pull the trigger, pull down on the two take -down tabs, and move the slide off the frame.

Walther even has the double guide rod spring assembly we see in the newer Glocks. Accuracy was excellent for a gun this size and delivered 3.5-in. 25-yd. groups with Federal Guard Dog ammo from a shooting rest. Functionally I have had no issues from the first round to the last shot before writing this article: excellent reliability all the way around. I have easily cleared a regulation police qualification test with the PPQ and do carry it as needed for some security work. Holster options are already everywhere, but I choose a Klinger Stingray Flush Fit 0-cant holster which delivered everything I needed for testing of this pistol.

m2 magazines
Upsize the PPS M2 easily with just a magazine swap from 6 to 7 to 8 rounds.

FINAL THOUGHTS
The trigger unit works like a Glock also with all those wonderful internal safeties and there is even the joyous absence of a safety or decocker. The fit and finish is better than a Glock, the trigger is leagues better as well. Compared to Glock there is more steel rail contact between the frame and slide with equates to a smoother action, the grip actually offers “grip.” Most importantly the PPS M2 looks like it was designed by someone with an eye for design. The PPS M1 was the the single- stack Glock 43 we were waiting for (that Walther delivered many years earlier than Glock). Well at least that is how I would compare it to a Glock if I was working the gun counter. The bottom line is that I own a Glock 43 and carry the PPS M1 and M2 versions far more than I ever do the Glock 43 because they feel, carry, and shoot better for me. The PPS is flexible enough to accommodate a wide array of clothing, defense, and concealment needs. It is big enough not to feel under-gunned and small enough to conceal better than any double -stack . The PPS M2 is a top-grade pistol that can easily fulfill everything from home defense to concealed carry.

Check it out HERE

pps specs

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. Click HERE to learn more.]

REVIEW: Leupold FX-II 4x28mm Handgun Scope

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Looking for a high-performance scope to realize the accuracy potential of your handgun? Get a good one… READ MORE

leupold handgun scope

by Major Pandemic

During my review of the EXTAR AR15 pistol, I saw that it had accuracy potential far more than what people give the AR15 pistol format credit for. This pistol deserved a fitting optic that could take advantage of the accuracy without diminishing its close-range capabilities. I chose the Leupold FX-II 4x28mm scope. This scope has enough magnification to exploit the potential of the AR15 pistol format but also plenty of eye relief for arms-length aiming.

EXTAR
Adding this Leupold FX-II brought out the full accuracy potential of this fine EXTAR pistol.

FIT, FINISH, FEEL, FEATURES & FUNCTIONS
Leupold has a long and well-deserved reputation for high-quality optics. Leupold really only makes two pistol models: the FX-II fixed power 4X magnification and the VX-3 variable power scope.
Compared to a rifle scope, handgun optics are actually subjected to higher than normal recoil due to the lower weight of the firearm, and the sometimes very powerful cartridges being shot in handguns. In the past, some shooters used triple or quad rings to help distribute recoil more evenly to the scope tube and provide more rigidity. The reality, though, is that lower quality optics just do not hold up to the punishment some handguns dish out. Leupold pistol scopes are famous for their durability on heavy recoiling pistols. And they have a warranty that will put anyone’s mind at ease.

The Leupold 4x FX-II pistol scope offers all the usual Leupold optic features including their Multicoat 4, Xtended Twilight Lens System, Diamondcoat II and other proprietary image, reflection, light transmission, and durability enhancements. Leupold also delivers some impressive gas waterproofing which actually increases image quality as well.

The 4x FX-II features Twin Bias Spring Erector System, Super Fast-Focus Eyepiece, Lockable Fast-Focus Eyepiece, Clasic/Standard Lockable Eyepiece, Micro-Friction 1/4 MOA, and 1/4 MOA Finger Click. With a 1-inch tube diameter 6061-T6 aircraft quality aluminum main tube the FX-II delivers a simple mountable scope with very common and less expensive rings.

leupold fx
Leupold makes some of the finest and most durable optics on the planet.

Most people incorporate far too much magnification on both handguns and rifles. The 4X Leupold FX-II handgun scope delivers a usable magnification that is not frustrating to hold steady at arms-length. Once you up magnification beyond that, you can become frustrated with a reticle which keeps jumping around unless shots are taken from an very stable rest. 4X magnification on a handgun is just right and provides the precision needed to reach out beyond distances that eyesight and iron sights can deliver.

Having shot behind a number of handgun optics, the biggest challenge is having an optic that delivers a large enough eye-relief box/window. If the eye-relief box is too narrow, the shooter is constantly fighting the distance the gun is from the eye to see the full field of view and reticle. The Leupold delivers a huge flexible eye-relief box which enables you to concentrate on the target and not finding the right scope mount length.

FINAL THOUGHTS
The Leupold FX-II Handgun scope delivers a proven and reliable design which is specifically built to take the increased punishment a handgun can deliver even the really big handgun rounds like 45-70 and even .308. Obviously the EXTAR 5.56 AR15 pistol didn’t even phase this scope, however it did deliver a super light pistol which when equipped with a scope was more than accurate enough for varminting and plinking all the way out to the 300-yard-line.

leupold fx-II specs

Check it out HERE at Midsouth
Leupold information HERE
Extar

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. Click HERE to learn more.]

 

REVIEW: BPM-15 Barnes Precision Machine AR15 Pistol Review

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Looking for a SERIOUS AR15 pistol? Check out this one… READ MORE

Major Pandemic

BPM AR15 pistol
Overall, the BPM embodies everything an AR-platform can be. It’s a capable, very serious, tool. And a lot of fun to shoot!

Last year Barnes Precision Machine (BPM) added AR15 pistols to its line-up. Being a long-term fan of BPM, and reasons for that will come out in this article — I had to have one.

WHY BARNES PRECISION MACHINE?
Generally, as a reviewer of a continuous stream of AR15 rifles, I have to strain a bit to understand the benefits X-brand delivers vs Y-brand…because in most cases 99-percent of AR15 manufacturers all use the same parts from the same OEM manufacturers. Barnes is one of those OEM manufacturers in the list who makes parts for the biggest names in the industry.

With nearly every part being made in-house Barnes has the ability to assure every part they use comes together in the most optimal fashion. The result is a tighter fitting and feeling rifle with a higher potential for accuracy.

Barnes has both the build and part quality down; however, what sets them apart is the 100-percent in-house production (excluding springs, trigger, and furniture). I know of four manufacturers in the US actually making a majority of the AR15 parts in house — LMT, Daniel Defense, Colt, and Barnes Precision — however there are a few others starting to pop up here and there.

sig brace
The BPM pistol comes with the excellent Sig Brace over a KAK buffer tube, which can be easily replaced with a stock, given proper approval.

BPM DOES NOT DO IT BECAUSE IT’S COOL
Many manufacturers are creating ARs and AR accessories because they look cooler than the original. Do they work better? No, generally it is about blinging out your AR versus increasing any real level of performance. Barnes Precision takes a different route with the belief that the overall AR15 platform and design is excellent as is, but some smart tweaks can make it exponentially better without huge cost increases — and still maintain the integrity of a Mil-Spec rifle. Little things make a difference like a captured take-down detent spring that doesn’t go flying when you remove the buffer tube, a tight receiver-to-receiver fit that can even be tightened with an internal receiver tension screw, a sub-MOA match-grade barrel included even in their least expensive rifles, and softer-shooting mid-length gas systems. BPM includes their own Barnes NiBo (Nickel-Boron) coated bolt carrier group and a nice lockable hard-sided Patriot Case with die-cut foam inserts.

There are other innovative design concepts BPM pioneered to improve reliability and durability of the AR15 platform. The in-house made bolt’s cam pin hole is reamed versus being peened which increases the strength of the bolt. BPM designed the first long extended barrel nut design for free-float handguards which does not require indexing, allows perfect torquing of the barrel, and delivers a significantly stronger rigid handguard (in my opinion it is the most solid in the industry). The design is so rigid that certain Military units are using the handguard to mount precision sighting systems. BPM was also the first in the industry to offer NP3 coating on AR15s not because it was cool looking, but because it protected all those typical phosphate coated parts from rust and corrosion in a marine environment. Of course all these great features are included in the BPM-15 Pistol as well.

BPM pistol
On this model, the stainless match barrel, gas block and gas tube are Melonited inside and out.

NOT JUST ANOTHER AR15 PISTOL
Back in 2014, I had several discussions with Andrew Barnes (President BPM). His perspective was that he did not want to offer an AR15 pistol because everyone else had one, he wanted to assure it could be a tool for military, law enforcement, and civilians from a practical perspective. With the rise of the Sig Brace and civilian comfort with Trusts to register SBR — Short Barreled Rifles — he believed there was a niche. Input from his military and LEO contacts really wanted a fast AR15 pistol or SBR which could get in and out of vehicles fast with all the same features as the BPM-15 rifle, including good accuracy. College campus security wanted something light and fast which could address terroristic threat on campus, but be light and small enough to carry every day on the golf carts and Segways used on campuses.

The base of the pistol is exactly the same as their rifles, but with a shorter 7.5-in. barrel, shorter handguard, and Sig Brace with extended buffer tube. The result is a civilian-legal short, fast, and powerful defensive and sport pistol that is a tool versus a toy.

The handguard for instance is not the cool-looking extended-over-muzzle-length style because the handguard length is sized to assure clearance of any muzzle device or suppressor without worrying about handguard interference. Barnes also used a heavier barrel to assure it could satisfy the demands of sustained continuous fire versus a faster-heating skinny barrel. Instead of just slipping a Sig Brace on the back of a standard pistol buffer tube, BPM used a KAK buffer tube to provide a more comfortable shooter platform with the Sig Brace. The end result is a tight, well-thought-out AR15 pistol which is useable out of the box as a defense and sporting tool, but can be easily converted to a shoulder-stocked SBR with the properly acquired tax stamp.

BPM handguard
BPM uses a proprietary extended barrel nut design that produces a very rigid handguard.

BPM ROBAR NP3 & MELONITED MARINE AR15
Almost every other manufacturer who offers some fancy diamond hard finish are only at best delivering a upper and lower receiver with a really hard finish. The problem is that they are coating the hard anodized items which are already the most impervious to corrosion, but all the other phosphate parts are left exposed which can rust of corrode quickly in a marine or wet environment. Barnes offers 100-percent NP3 coated firearms as a BPM NP3 Parts Upgrade Package.

BPM pistol
My test gun featured Barnes Precision Machine NP3 Parts Upgrade Package.Trigger assembly pins, trigger set, ejection door components, forward assist components, charging handle, selector, take-down and pivot-pins, springs, castle nut, egg plate, even the detents, handguard bolts, barrel nut, crush washer, and flash hider are NP3 treated.

The package includes NP3 coated trigger assembly pins, a trigger set, ejection door components, forward assist components, charging handle, selector, take-down and pivot-pins, springs, castle nut, egg plate, even the detents, te handguard bolts, barrel nut, crush washer, and flash hider are are NP3 treated. On my model, the stainless match barrel, gas block and gas tube are Nitrocarburization treated (AKA: Melonited) inside and out which is better than chrome because it delivers superior corrosion resistance and does not degrade accuracy like chrome can.

In the end, the coatings deliver a totally corrosion-resistant AR. All this was done not to deliver the stunning custom-look it has, but, as Andrew Barnes was quick to point out “the cool factor is only a side benefit…it’s all about performance.”

Mepro 21
An Israeli Mepro 21 is the perfect sight for this firearm.

FINAL THOUGHTS
My testing did not center around the conventional accuracy testing, but instead testing the pistol for what it was designed for — fast shooting on man-sized targets from 0-300 yards. For this task, I attached an Israeli Mepro 21 sight which has proven itself easy in combat environments as one of the best combat reflex sights on the market. My Mepro 21 features the triangle dual (fiber optic and tritium) illuminated reticle. Frankly I love this optic and it proved perfect for this BPM15 Pistol.

Once I established a 25-yard zero and confirmed no additional tweaks were needed at 300 yards, I started having A LOT of fun. With my steel Action Targets set up at 25, 100, 200, and 300 yards, I was extremely impressed how easy the Barnes pistol was to shoot. They had done their homework. I was able to keep my hostage 6-inch swinger swaying on the 200-yard line. Of course I missed a few shots here and there, however for an AR15 Pistol, this gun is well-suited to serious work whether for defense or sport.

AR15 pistols are, of course, just as legal and easy to acquire as any other handgun through your local FFL. An AR15 pistol is a great path to acquiring a Short Barrel Rifle complete with any rifle shoulder stock you might want. A buyer can purchase and enjoy the AR15 pistol while waiting for ATF SBR tax stamp to come through and then swap out the Sig Brace for a rifle stock. I cannot wait to push my SBR stamp through on this build to convert from pistol to Short Barrel Rifle.

About a year ago, I was very skeptical of the usefulness of an AR15 pistol in the home and urban environment. Today I stand converted. Once I shot a well-designed AR15 pistol and realize how quick the gun is for urban home interiors, I began to believe that the AR15 pistol is actually the best home defense option that combines the accuracy, power, and capacity of the AR15 with the maneuverability of a pistol. This BPM-15 pistol embodies that concept perfectly.

BPM pistol specs

SOURCES
Barnes Precision Machine
The Mako Group (Mepro sight)

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. Click HERE to learn more.]

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]

 

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