What Is A Brush Gun
In the past, referring to a firearm as a brush gun meant something very specific. Oftentimes the idea of a brush gun referred more to the type of firearm the observer wanted you to envision, rather than the problem the firearm would solve out in the field. That sometimes meant in publications, it was an agenda-driven descriptor.
A brush gun is meant to be a gun that excels in a specific environment, up against specific obstacles, rather than just the pigeonholed type of firearm that was typically used synonymously with the descriptor.
When one envisions a historical idea of what a brush gun is, they might see a lever-action rifle, or a firearm capable of shooting a heavy projectile meant to be able to make it through dense bushes and heavy-laden landscapes of dead wood.
Where Did The Term Brush Gun Come From
In Vietnam soldiers often referred to the M1 carbine as a brush gun, because it had the capability of penetrating dense foliage far better than the relatively anemic .223 Remington that was offered in the original Delta Style (AR) or M16.
Today the average consumer is quite a bit luckier by being able to tap into a vast set of components and custom parts to drop in an upper receiver for the AR-15 that allows them to shoot what might be considered nowadays as the new modern brush gun cartridges.
Of course, pundits would argue that there’s no such thing as a brush gun that could be built on an AR-15 platform.
Typically, a brush gun would have been relegated to a lever-action or something like a moderately heavy 30 caliber bolt gun with a shorter overall configuration which allowed for improved mobility.
This rifle would lob heavy projectiles that could penetrate dense or dead landscapes before hitting a target accurately. All of this simply speaks to the concept that each person might have their idea of what a brush gun is.
Why The AR-15 Instead of a Lever Gun
For this article, we’d like to discuss how modern cartridge technologies built around the constraints and/or specifications (depending on how you view them) of the AR-15 and its clones make an excellent foundation for a contemporary brush gun.
That isn’t to discount the lever-action, particularly the .30-30 Winchester and the .45-70 Government, as these are fantastic. These timeless brush gun options for those who need something with knock-down power and improved field dynamics like mobility and fast follow-up shooting.
However, the AR-15 offers even faster on target and second shot capabilities in addition to the potential for enhanced mobility thanks to potentially lower weights and shorter configurations.
This article also isn’t designed to discount intermediate cartridges capable of penetrating dense forestry and still dispatching a game animal on the other end of a short-range stalked target.
There are plenty of firearms that can accomplish this task and offer significant benefits in doing so.
We argue that thanks to the modularity, and easy customization, and the access that the AR-15 has to some spectacular cartridges that can perform exceptionally well in a densely forested area, that it (the AR), might be the ultimate building block for a dedicated brush gun.
Does The AR Perform Poorly in Dense Forestry
Of course, the first question in any purist or pundit’s mind is going to be, “given how poorly the original M16 performed in the jungles of Vietnam, how can anyone ever call the AR a competent brush gun?”
And of course, the answer is this: “in four-plus decades the AR-15 has come a long way. Not only that, but the attention to detail and the innovative manufacturers on the ballistics side of the market have run wild with the capabilities of the AR-15 and pushed the envelope on what it is capable of. They look set to continue to do so.
Furthermore, the fact that the AR-15 is still relatively young in its growth cycle and there are plenty of innovators out there waiting for their opportunity to create the next “killer app” for the AR platform.
The chances that we’ll see real adoption by hunters who happen to stalk wild game in densely forested, or deadlands type landscapes, it’s a genuine possibility.
History of The Brush Gun and Typical Use Case Scenarios for Such a Firearm
A lot of purist hunters might call the .30-30 lever action the ultimate brush gun thanks to the heavy amount of lead provided, the ability to use the firearm in constrained spaces, and the ability to harvest legitimate big game animal targets with a round that is sufficiently usable in conditions where a brush gun needs to be capable.
It has also probably killed more wild game than any cartridge in North America thanks to a very good run from the late 1800s to about the 1970s.
Some might take it even further and say that the .45-70 Government is an even better brush gun, given the ability to upload or download the projectile and the powder charge to suit specific needs.
It must also be able to take such a wide range of wild game with the projectile even given it a massive size.
Again, both are lever-action firearms, and that concept isn’t lost on this author.
Many consider Jeff Cooper’s Scout Rifle an excellent example of a “brush gun”, and perhaps it is, given its capability in such a wide range of landscapes and environments, and the fact that its intermediate cartridge choice allows for such a breadth of game animals across the spectrum.
With the introduction of calibers like the 458 SOCOM, the 50 Beowulf, and the 450 Bushmaster, modern hunters can simply slap on a new, optimized upper receiver conversion kit, and expect quite a bit of extra versatility out of their already quite versatile AR-15 platform.
Often, a new magazine isn’t even necessary for some conversions from cartridge to cartridge on the AR-15 platform.
A New Breed of Cartridges is Born, and the AR-15 is the Perfect Platform for Them
Some might say the AR-15 was the catalyst that helped develop some of the newly released brush gun cartridges. It’s pretty clear that the idea that additional revenue for a product manufacturer could be derived from an already broad-based ecosystem like that of the AR platform.
This allowed for manufacturers to stay within the desired lane and still tap into innovation and the additional revenue by challenging the constraints of what could or could not be done from an aluminum-based rifle.
Let’s talk a bit about each of these cartridges to see where they fit in in the grand scheme of things.
12.7x42mm or .50 Beowulf
The .50 Beowulf was not necessarily made with a hunting large game or brush gun concept behind it. It was ideally suited as law enforcement or military option for shooting through barriers and providing a defensive weapon on the AR-15 carbine.
However, with that barrier-breaking mentality, there is a lot of carry-over into the idea of a brush gun. After all, what is dense brush but a barrier that needs to be gone through to shoot accurately at a target behind it, to dispatch that Target?
It has quite a bit of versatility in the cartridge loadouts and can be run with a 300-grain hollow point delivering about 1850 feet per second velocity and about 2320 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. With a 400-grain projectile providing about 1800 ft. per second velocity and 2860 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.
These numbers are staggering, especially considering it effectively pushes your AR-15 into the realm of being a backwoods Dangerous Game backup weapon or even a substantial option for dense brush on very large game targets including up to Moose size targets.
Because it fits natively into the constraints of the AR-15, it offers a lot of firepower and versatility given the components that can be added to this rifle platform.
If you understand the trajectory and basic ballistics of the .50 Beowulf which is also referred to from the perspective of cartridge manufacturers as the 12.7x42mm, you can likely use the cartridge in a carbine format up to about 200 yards.
Of course, the sweet spot is probably more like 50 to 125 yards, especially under heavy, dense brush conditions.
The .350 Legend is about as close as you can get to a .30-30 Winchester load out of an AR-15. Considering you can push this projectile with substantially similar ballistics to the lever-action load, out to 300 or so yards, this can be a game-changer.
The fast follow-up shots and the heavy delivery of substantial lead on target means that you can punch through dense and dead forest easily and ensure a decent hit on a primary target.
It might excel in a situation where you have a tough-skinned animal but can stalk it in relatively close quarters compared to what you normally must. For example, rams and goats or even hogs.
These are all normally tough-skinned animals, but on anything between 150 and 300 yards, given the basic ballistics of the .350 Legend, you can almost ensure you’ll get your game target.
Available in quite a few commercial loadouts, a 180-grain projectile for instance should yield about 2100 ft. per second velocity and 1760 ft lb. of energy at the muzzle. Not all that far from the .30-30 Winchester.
This makes it a very interesting category for the AR-15 shooter. It offers intermediate ballistics and approaches intermediate ranges while still offering a very heavy projectile out of the size-constrained AR-15 platform.
It’s an excellent bridge cartridge especially if you prioritize swapping uppers to swapping out full platforms. Specifically, this makes sense if you also prioritize game hunting endeavors over other uses for the AR platform.
The 350 Legend is also a straight-walled cartridge, which makes it right in the sweet spot for some people who may be in states that require straight wall cartridges on certain game animals, and still want to use the AR-15 platform for hunting.
The .450 Bushmaster offers a screaming-fast and heavy payload, built more like an innovative lever-action cartridge than a centerfire heavy grained AR-15 payload. Using a 260-grain weight projectile you can expect approximately 2170 feet per second velocity at the muzzle and 2730 ft. lbs. energy at the same exit point.
While it may not be as credible on moose or bear size game, it is certainly sufficient for anything Elk-sized or below. Your mileage may vary of course, given conditions, range, and the specific load you’re using as well as the hardware it’s being shot out of.
Certainly, you get a huge range of game animals that you could go after, and the speed, mated with the much flatter trajectory comparative to other brush guns allows you a lot of confidence when you’re in densely forested areas, or must shoot through a lot of dead wood.
The wastelands that are home to so many intriguing game species may be a perfect place to test out the capabilities of the .450 Bushmaster if you can guarantee to keep your cover a secret so as not to alert targets.
Another brush gun alternative is the .458 SOCOM, initially offered as a door breaching option and something that could be adopted by military and law enforcement, rather than for use in the hunting space.
The big benefit of the .458 SOCOM is that you can shoot a 600-grain bullet out of it and achieve 1000 feet per second velocity or greater and 1330 foot-pounds of energy or greater which pushes it beyond the abilities of any standard cartridge in this list.
As a backup gun against dangerous game or as a perfect gun for trekking in the wilderness and places like Alaska, where you might come face-to-face with a grizzly bear.
The .458 SOCOM makes a lot of sense considering 600 grains of lead at a thousand feet per second with over 1250 ft. pounds of energy on a standard load can be trusted to stop many threats.
Additionally, you could load a 325-grain bullet which now gets you into the territory of 1850 ft. per second velocity and 2500 foot-pounds of energy at the bore exit which sufficiently handles any basic forest-specific barriers in your way. While still pushing enough lead on to the target to be able to dispatch Elk or larger game animals, given the right conditions.
How Do These Cartridges Stack Up To .30-30 Winchester and .45-70 Govt.
Most of these brush gun options compare favorably to the obvious historical choices for brush guns like the .30-30 Winchester and the .45-70 Government.
The .30-30 Winchester offers about the following ballistics: 2020-foot pounds of muzzle energy with a 2400 ft. per second velocity.
This is only out of the most optimized lever gun ammunition on the planet made by Hornady. Compared to more mundane mainstream loads, you are about 25% less performant.
Comparatively, using a 300-grain jacketed hollow point out of a .45-70 Government will yield approximately 2050 feet per second velocity and 2860 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.
This is substantial but does not give you the same variability and mobility that the AR-15 carbine can, with substantially similar ballistics from some of the above-mentioned options.
What Is The Best Use For An AR-15 In These Calibers
The list is essentially endless on what you can use the AR-15 for incorporating these new brush gun cartridges that are built specifically for the AR-15 carbine.
The only real caveat with these brush gun cartridges and using the AR-15 as a brush gun is the amount of range that you’re going to be able to squeeze out of them.
Most of them won’t be highly accurate past 200 yards, at least not what you’re expecting from an accuracy perspective out of the AR-15 natively. Furthermore, only a couple will reach out to about 300 or 350 yards, and then, with some substantial bullet drops.
All that said, when dealing with densely forested landscapes and environments that require brush gun-type builds, you usually aren’t stalking animals past 75 yards, or maybe up to 150 yards in clearings.
Given the pretty rigid set of standards when you need to call upon a brush gun and the competitive options on the landscape, the AR-15 makes a very good argument as the go-to platform.
That is especially true, given these newly minted brush gun-type cartridges, and the forward projection of innovation that’s likely to show up because of manufacturers jumping on the bandwagon eventually to try and make that “brush gun” distinction, a viable market segment even more than it has become over the last five years for the AR-15 platform.
Why Ammo Choice Is Important For Home Defense
There are several trains of thought a DIY AR15 builder has when choosing the correct upper receiver or lower receiver and all the other parts in between. Is the intended use for the rifle for competition only? Is a lightweight solution something needed? What type of suppression systems, muzzle brakes, or flash hiders do you expect to use?
Most AR15 owners don’t give the round of ammunition they intend to fire more than a casual thought, and many think of .223 or 5.56 NATO rounds, and the thinking process stops right there.
When it comes to the caliber, if your AR15 is chambered to handle the higher pressure of a 5.56 NATO round, you can fire .223 in the same rifle. However, this multi-caliber situation doesn’t usually happen in reverse. Firing a 5.56 projectile in a rifle explicitly chambered for .223 can result in faster barrel wear. If you’re not sure, check with the barrel manufacturer.
When it comes to home defense, having the perfect round of ammunition with the most effective stopping power is essential and sometimes crucial for protecting you and your family. When thinking home defense, there are a few things to take into consideration. One of the most obvious is that you’re not standing at a firing range plinking targets.
Going Down and Staying Down
Should the need arise to use your AR15 for protection, you want to fire a round that puts the invader down. You don’t want a shot with so much velocity and lacking proper fragmentation on its impact and instead of losing all its energy in the target, it continues through multiple walls.
In the world of AR15 ammunition, we seldom think of penetration capability or over-penetration if we miss the target. Probably because most of us are telling ourselves we won’t. However, for the rest of the AR15 owners, this list is some of the best home defense ammunition for AR15 rifles.
Hornady Critical Defense FTX / TAP Urban
Hornady has been producing excellent ammunition for over seventy-two years, and this Critical Defense FTX .223 caliber round demonstrates the company’s dedication to quality.
This Critical Defense shot delivers maximum penetration power and sufficient impact expansion to produce terminal results when dealing with deadly threats. With great attention to detail, Hornady engineers all the Critical Defense lines of ammunition to protect your night vision by minimizing muzzle flash. In close quarters and the darkness of night, seeing what you need to shoot at is critical.
Another thing Hornaday does better than most is their use of silver nickel cases on all Critical Defense ammunition. Not only does the case eliminate the potential for corrosion, but the sleek design allows consistent feeding when follow-up shots are necessary.
Every feature of a Hornaday Critical Defense FTX round is there to protect and give you a defensive edge, including the fact that the silver nickel cases are easier to see in low light conditions should a reload be required.
Federal Gold Medal 69gr MatchKing Hollow Point Ammo
When things get dynamic, and protection and safety are on the line, this .223 caliber round from Federal is one you want to have in your magazines. Each 69 grain bullet has a brass case that you can use again if you’re into doing your own reloads. The magic of this ammunition and what makes it a perfect choice for home defense is the hollow point bullet design that expands on impact. Federal Gold Medal Match .223 Ammo is one of the best on the market.
Each round sports a muzzle velocity of over three thousand feet per second, so you’ll not have to worry about the round not reaching the target quickly enough. Once it does, the High-Shock soft point provides maximum stopping power and fragmentation, making it one of the best rounds on the market today.
Remember, when the assailant goes down, you want them to stay down, and when firing a Federal Gold Medal MatchKing round, you’ll get the desired results necessary with each shot.
Speer .223 Remington Gold Dot
Speer has built quite a reputation with both the Gold Dot and Lawman versions of AR15 ammunition. Although sporting a 55gr bullet and a high muzzle velocity, Speer nickel plates the bullet’s brass case.
Designed to provide maximum power and expansion on impact, the Speer .223 Remington is a superb bullet for invading varmints regardless of whether they possess four legs or two. At a price range of twenty-five dollars per twenty, that’s a little over a dollar a shot—indeed, a small price to pay for protection that does its job as expected.
Black Hills Ammunition 50 grain Barnes TSX
Moving into the 5.56 NATO round, Black Hills Ammunition offers probably one of the best home defense ammunition in 5.56 caliber on the market today.
If you’ve ever heard of a projectile that is “barrier blind,” the Barnes TSX 5.56mm ammunition is that and more. Regardless of its twist rate of 1:7 or a 1:12, this fifty-grain bullet jumps out of the barrel and penetrates. Along with deeper penetration, the TSX load from Black Hills Ammunition fully expands during impact, and exposed metallic petals shear off and provide terminal stopping power, especially when fired at close range in longer barrels.
With the Black Hills 50 grain Barnes TSX you’ll get a guaranteed maximum expansion and penetration that will stop an intruder cold in their tracks.
Any TSX round from Black Hills Ammunition will have the best quality copper hollow point projectile that produces the most practical and inexpensive ammunition you’ll see in a long time. At around a dollar and fifty cents per shot, you’ll achieve outstanding results for an amazingly affordable price.
These are just a few examples of a few of the best home defense ammunition for either .223 caliber or 5.56 NATO. Hopefully, you’ve seen enough here to get you started on your search. Choosing the right home defense round for an AR15 isn’t that difficult if you understand how the shot will react once it reaches the target and starts to expand. Of course, how you set up your AR-15 for home defense is another aspect of the conversation. This topic goes beyond the firearm and ammunition you use, but how you set up your rifle such as the type of optic you use, your weapon light, and many more considerations.
Why Are People Building Lightweight AR 15 Rifles
You may have noticed the trend toward a more lightweight AR 15 or asked yourself what the benefits of lighter, skeletonized lightweight AR 15 lower receivers are. There are several reasons why the firearm industry is moving away from big and bulky, and you may have already experienced these situations yourself.
The trend toward a more lightweight AR 15 typically starts with higher consumer demand and technological evolution that helps the manufacturer produce more features in a compact rifle than ever before.
The Market For Lightweight AR 15 Rifles
A recent report a year ago by the NSSF or National Shooting Sports Foundation shows that more women are taking up arms for either recreational or competition and even taking their AR 15 into the field on hunting trips.
Factor in that last year, almost 40% of first-time purchases were made by women. The expected benefits these female rifle owners needed and asked for were ease of carrying and comfort when shooting.
Lightweight AR 15 Lower Receivers Are A Great Place To Start
There was a time when big and bulky was the only type of rifle you could find. The technology for building sleek and lighter guns that were effective, comfortable to shoot, and easier to carry didn’t exist.
Rifles like the M1 or Browning automatic rifle, also known as a BAR, weighed approximately nine to eighteen pounds. These far too heavy guns sometimes weighed even more when fully loaded. In those days, you weren’t carrying your rifle around; you were lugging it. Put simply, toting around that much weight will typically result in an exhaustive day in the field or at the range.
However, modern technology has allowed manufacturers to pack a powerful punch into a much more lightweight AR 15 and only tip the scale at under six pounds. Skeletonized upper and lower receiver sets like this one from F-1 Firearms offer an exceptionally light package while still being durable enough for general use. A lightweight AR 15 lower receiver is the perfect way to start off your build.
Accurate and Quick to Aim
Another benefit of a lightweight AR 15, aside from being able to carry it all day long with little discomfort, is the ability to shoulder the rifle and quickly and acquire multiple targets with better accuracy.
Because of the lack of bulk or weight, keeping the gun in play and emptying a magazine without tiring is much easier. A lighter AR 15 means more effective action and reaction without compensating or altering a shooting style that should be intuitive and natural.
Regardless of gender, any weight conscious AR 15 enthusiast wants to have the lightest possible rifle they can get without losing the ability to place accurate downrange shots. Modern Manufacturing techniques and improved heat treating have allowed companies like Faxon Firearms to produce pencil thin barrels that reduce weight without sacrificing accuracy even after long strings of fire. Of course, thicker is always better when it comes to pinpoint accuracy, but these barrels are perfectly suitable for duty use even after they are heated up.
Lightweight Doesn’t Mean Flimsy
In these days of getting what you pay for, just because a lightweight AR 15 feels like holding a feather compared to other rifles doesn’t mean it won’t perform as well.
Lightweight AR 15 lower receivers aren’t flimsy by any means. From the charging handle to the muzzle brake and everywhere in between, lightweight AR 15s manufactured these days allow you to hit the target you intended.
Not only can you hit the targets intended, but with today’s lightweight AR 15s, you can continue to hit them all day long if you remember to bring enough ammunition.
No Longer A Grueling Experience
The best benefit of owning a lightweight AR 15 is that it’s no longer a rigorous workout each time you venture on a hunting trip or spend a day at the range.
Because of the less weight and technology-packed features that most AR 15s have these days, anyone from young adults to seniors can use them. For each, firing a lightweight AR 15 built in today’s world becomes a fantastic experience, not a grueling one.
Ease of use and comfortability, along with gentle recoil and simplified takedown, are all features you can expect to experience when you purchase a lightweight AR 15 built today.
One essential and fantastic thing to note here is that these benefits you enjoy now with a lighter rifle are sure to get even better as advances in gun-building technology and metallurgy hit the market.
Comfort and Efficiency
Most lightweight AR 15 owners don’t think too long about how manufacturers manage to produce such reliable rifles that weigh so little but operate and a much heavier gun.
What AR 15 owners are expecting is a comfortable fit, an accurate shot, and an enjoyable shooting experience. They seldom stop to think about the wonderful world of polymer and the fact that it, along with unique combinations of lightweight metal parts and pieces. It doesn’t matter to most owners if a manufacturer chooses to use fantastic plastic where another uses billet or forged steel.
Most owners want an AR 15 that is simple to operate, durable and dependable, and comfortable when they choose to stand at the range all day practicing. As the improvements continue to come and the ability to manufacture more efficiently and less expensively rolls around, perhaps we’ll begin to see these lightweight AR 15s get a little less expensive to purchase or build. Faxon Firearms also produces carbon fiber handguards that are lighter and more durable than aluminum and provide a comfortable place to support your firearm without getting hot in the sun.
More Than a Trend
The trend toward a leaner and more lightweight AR 15 is not in its infancy. Lightweight rifles have been favored by many for several years now. However, more and more manufacturers are taking notice and stepping up to the plate and responding.
These days, it’s not just about pink camo rifles for the ladies and mossy oak for the guys, and the industry is coming around with a renewed understanding. They realize what an aspiring AR 15 owner needs to make it worth their time and their money.
In today’s market, functionality has finally won out over appearance, but that doesn’t mean an AR 15 can’t look like it’s traveling a Mach two even when it’s sitting in your gun rack.
Big Things in Lightweight Packages
For most AR 15 owners, it’s not about big booms and even more prominent and heavily weighted blunderbusses that require a specialized cart to wheel them around.
Most owners need a lightweight solution that takes less money out of their pocket while still providing a thrilling and comfortable shooting experience and is easier to handle and carry in the field or on those days we spend at the range. Lightweight, portable, efficient, and comfortable. What can be better than that?
Those are the best benefits of all for an AR 15 owner.
Gatorz Eyewear is excited to announce the Gatorz x Ronin Collection. The Gatorz x Ronin Collection is a collaboration between Gatorz Eyewear and former U.S. Army Green Beret Tu Lam of Ronin Tactics. This collection is made to the exceedingly high standards that all Gatorz Eyewear has come to represent to the Special Operations community, including meeting American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z87+ rating and offering some features of MILSPEC Ballistic protection standards.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
Tu Lam. a former U.S. Army Green Beret and founder of Ronin Tactics, fled communist Vietnam in 1979. The Lam Family escaped on an overloaded boat and eventually reached the safety of the United States as refugees.
Tu was raised by his Step-Father, an Army Special Forces veteran, and drew inspiration to eventually serve as a member of the Army Special Operations Community. For over 23 years, Tu traveled across 27 different countries and a number of war zones as a career special operator. During that time, he fought alongside and within the most elite units of the United States Military.
As the Founder and CEO of Ronin Tactics, Inc., Tu now develops innovative tactical equipment and teaches a range of Close Quarters Battle instruction for our military, Law Enforcement, and responsible armed citizens. Tu co-hosted three seasons of the History Channel’s “Knife or Death” and was developed into a playable character “Ronin” on the popular video game “Call of Duty.” Gatorz Eyewear is honored to be working with him.
Sam Havelock, The Chief Brand Officer of Gatorz eyewear and himself a former Navy SEAL, had this to say,
“We thought the collaboration with Tu Lam, whose background includes having to flee persecution from war-torn Vietnam especially fitting given the current state of affairs in Afghanistan. Gatorz Corporation is extremely committed to the Special Operations Community and closely identifies with the Mission of the Army Special Forces Community to Free The Oppressed (De Oppresso Liber).
The Ronin Edition collaboration with Tu Lam is an example of our willingness to partner with diverse members of our Gatorz Tribe who live a Mission-Driven life. Tu Lam’s personal history of service with the Special Operations Community coupled with his family’s legacy of relationships across Army Special Forces perfectly embodies our joint belief in the power of relationships and humans to overcome all obstacles during their Life’s Most Important Missions.”
Gatorz x Ronin Specs
- Inferno (Photochromic) lenses
- Most Popular Magnum Frame Style
- Black or Red Cerakote frame
- ANSI Z87+/MILSPEC Ballistic (Mil-prf- 32432-a)
What comes in the package?
- Field Accessory Kit Nylon Case
- Lens Cleaner
- Eyewear strap
- Gasket Set Kit
- Repair kit
- A Hand-Signed Print
See more in the launch video: Ronin Collection Launch
About GATORZ Eyewear:
Headquartered in Carlsbad, California, GATORZ Eyewear has for 30 years been a provider of premium, all-metal, professional-grade eyewear solutions to the Special Operations Community, the broader U.S. Military, as well as, Law Enforcement, skydivers, functional fitness athletes, action sports fans, and outdoor enthusiasts worldwide. This first of its kind, American-made aluminum sunglass has become a staple of the communities it serves, with its lightweight, durable frames, superior optics, and high-velocity impact lenses.
The PDX from Maxim Defense has proven to be an extraordinarily popular design over the last few years, but it has (understandably) never been on the lower end of the firearm price point scale. They have now launched the “MD-1505”, to make a more affordable AR-15 style PDX available. Though similar to the PDX in size and capability, the PDX has MILSPEC forged receivers and a different handguard. With the SCW stock, SCW brace, and SCW pistol system options, there should be a version available for most conceivable needs.
Here’s what Maxim Defense tells us,
Maxim Defense MD-1505
When you’re looking for Maxim Defense PDX ingenuity in a standard AR-15 package, the MD-1505 is your answer. The MD-1505 was engineered to bring our top-tier PDX package to an even more affordable price point.
Starting at the muzzle, each MD-1505 is equipped with the patented Maxim HATEBRAKE muzzle device, which reduces recoil, decreases flash signature, pushes gasses, and concussion wave downrange away from the operator. All of which improve overall performance in short barrel pistols and rifles.
For increased comfort and versatility every MD-1505 features our free-floating Slimline Handguard. These handguards provide a monolithic-like upper receiver platform and M-Slot compatibility on five sides. At the rear, the MD-1505S is equipped with our SCW Stock for the ultimate in compactness, comfort, and versatility.
- MOA accurate
- Free-floating Maxim Slimline handguard
- Military-grade materials
- SCW compact stock
- Increased reliability due to included HATEBRAKE
- Optimized for low flash signature
- Ambidextrous magazine release
- Ambidextrous selector
- CALIBERS 5.56 NATO, .300BLK, 7.62×39
- BARREL LENGTH 5.5” / 139.7mm
- MUZZLE VELOCITY 5.56 NATO, 62gr: 1965 FPS avg. .300 BLK, 115gr: 1850 FPS avg. 7.62×39, 124gr: 1675 FPS avg.
- OVERALL LENGTH 18.75” / 476.25mm
» MD-1505S «
» MD-1505SPB «
» MD-1505SPS «
MD is well aware that “affordable” is an extremely subject term. Those who will immediately react negatively to the MSRP, know this: Maxim Defense has never sacrificed quality for a reduction in cost. Their description says more affordable, not “easily affordable” or any other permutation thereof. In the specific case of the MD-1505 vs. PDS, it is more affordable. That said, quality speaks for itself. The price point will not be for everyone.
Maxim Defense: Not built for safe queens.
Learn more at www.maximdefense.com/
It took a while, but the Red Dot Sight (RDS) is now widely accepted as a suitable accessory for a defensive handgun. And while the RDS market was dominated by just a couple of big names for a very long time, the last couple of years have seen a number of new optics companies reach a level of mainstream use. The most popular of these newcomers is probably, as of this writing, Holosun. I recently completed my first thousand rounds through the Holosun HE509T-RD (red reticle) sight and, with just one minor aggravation, found it to be an excellent RDS option.
The HE509T-RD is an enclosed reflex optical sight designed to be mounted to a pistol. The HE509T features include a Titanium housing, Holosun’s proprietary “Super LED” with what they say is up to 50k hours of (CR1632 coin) battery life, and some other features those who’ve used Holosun will be familiar with: their Multi-Reticle System, Solar Failsafe, and Shake-Awake Technology (q.v.). As an optic with an enclosed emitter, it’s not quite the same sort of Holosun red dot many shooters might be used to, though the controls are intuitive and easily manipulated. Many people justifiably compare it to the Aimpoint Acro.
One particularly likable attribute is its battery access. The optic is designed so that batteries can be swapped through a tray without removing the sight from the gun.
Colors and Contrast
The Holosun HE509T, which is available in both a red and a green reticle, has 12 different brightness settings. These include dim settings compatible with night-vision devices. The HE509T has what they describe as a parallax-free design, with unlimited eye relief (though no optic is completely parallax-free). The HE509T’s “Shake Awake Technology” shuts the LED off during periods of motionlessness.
The amount of time it takes for the LED to deactivate is user-programmable. Shake Awake can also be completely deactivated which keeps the optic powered on for up to 100k hours.
This HS model also includes “SOLAR FAILSAFE technology”. This feature automatically adjusts the sight’s brightness. When the optic is in a lit environment you will have a bright reticle; when indoors it will automatically dim to match ambient lighting conditions.
Solar Failsafe will also allow the red dot sight to remain powered when your battery fails.
Mounting Up with CHPWS
I choose to mount the Holosun HE509T to my Gen 5 Glock 34 MOS. To accomplish this, I used CHPWS 509 red dot adapter mounting plate. I have been using the C&H Precision Weapon Systems (CHPWS) plates for some time, they are a trusty and sturdy option for anyone using a plate-mounted RDS pistol. Let me talk about the CHPWS 509 plate for a minute.
CHPWS describes the GLOCK MOS adapter plate as the “…most rugged, reliable, and trusted red dot adapter plate on the market today.” My experience gives me no reason to doubt it.
They further advise their adapter plates are approved for duty use by several hundred Local, State, and Federal law enforcement agencies as well as with some US Military units.
Mounting the CHPWS 509 plate to the Glock 34 MOS is a relatively simple process. To accomplish this, I simply removed the old plate and placed the CHPWS 509 plate in its place. I utilized the (included) mounting screws and Vibra-Tite thread locking liquid, then torqued it to their suggested torque specs.
After mounting the plate, you can place the HE509T on top of the plate and tighten the mounting screw on the optic. This mounts the optic to the plate and pistol, though you’ll still have to zero the weapon.
Adjust and Zero
Before I go to the range, I will adjust the red dot to the co-witnessed iron sights. To do this I look through the optic, align the iron sights appropriately then adjust the RDS up, down, left, or right until the dot is sitting directly on top of the front sight.
This is not a zero!
It is just moving the dot closer to actual zero so I use less ammo during the zeroing process.
My thousand round count (and counting) experience with the HE509T by completing my zero. I zero all pistol-mounted optics at 25 yards, starting from the 10-yard line. There I’ll fire anywhere from three to ten rounds and attempt to obtain a reasonable group with those rounds. If the group is off, i.e. if the group is low and left, I adjust for POA/POI (point of aim/point of impact).
After I achieve my desire from 10 yards, I move to the 25-round line and repeat the process. Usually the completion of these two steps will end with the topic being close to or right on my desired zero.,
Completing the zero was extremely easy with the HE509T. The windage and elevation adjustments have a great audible click with a firm movement between clicks. Each click on the windage and elevation on the HE509T is 1 inch at 100 yards, so at 25 yards you are moving ¼ of an inch per click. I was able to achieve a zero using only a few rounds.
While zeroing, I use a B-8 target and my point of aim is the X ring.
Note: the reason I complete my zero at 25 yards is that it is more precise. If one can achieve a quality zero at 25 yards with a pistol-mounted optic, it will be better than a zero at 15 yards. I have noticed this with individuals who zero their pistol optics at 10- or 15-yards. Such results are good at those ranges, but when you step back to 20 and 25 yards (or even further), there is a degradation in achieved accuracy. By zeroing back at the 25 I can ensure I’m more likely to hit what I want to hit from the 25 and in.
Doing It with the Dot
I used the first 50 rounds with the Holosun HE509 to complete the Dot Torture shooting drill. I typically complete this drill* at 3, 5, or 7 yards, and every string of fire started from the holster and this time was no different.
The Holosun HE509T has a 2 MOA dot that is clear and crisp. Although I was shooting outdoors in bright desert sunlight the dot was easy to acquire and maintain. This is complemented by the optic’s closed emitter housing, the structure of which actually provides an aiming reference aid.
*This target can be downloaded at www.pistol-training.com/drills/dot-torture.com.
If you look through the 509T and can see the side, top, or bottom of the housing, you need to adjust your firing grip. Properly done, this will help you look directly through the two viewing windows with no sides in view and should allow you to readily “pick up” the dot inside the window.
While evaluating the Glock 34 with HE509T mounted on it, I have completed the following shooting drills: FBI QIT, FBI Bullseye Qual, Half and Half, The Super Test, 5×5, and others.
The optic remained zeroed, the dot remained visible, and the optic remained mounted properly through all those shooting iterations. The optic has been mounted for approximately four months now and I’ve yet to change the battery.
There are many things to recommend the HE509T. Some that stood out for me were:
• Bright dot intensity
• Easy and audible elevation/windage adjustments
• Rugged housing
• Battery tray allowing battery change without optic removal.
• Ability to choose three choices of reticle, i.e. 2 MOA dot, 2 MOA dot with 32 MOA circle, and 32 MOA circle.
• The only negative I’d call out in this stage of my evaluation is that windage and elevation adjustments require a tool supplied by Holosun.
If you are looking for an optic for your pistol, particularly if you have a limited budget, I would strongly recommend you consider the Holosun HE509T as an option. It is, as of this writing and round count, at the top of my list in a market full of RDS options.
Note: Plate Particulars
CHPWS plates are designed and manufactured in the USA. They’re CNC Machined from Aircraft Grade 6061 Aluminum with a Type III Hard Anodized Finish and come with Stainless Steel Torx Head M3 screws to mount the plate to your slide. Each plate comes with a lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects. (Read my CHPWS review at: https://gunmagwarehouse.com/blog/red-dot-mount-glock-19-mos-chpws-v4s-review/) They are online at CHPWS.com; connect via Facebook /CHPWS/ or follow @chpws on IG; #boomsquad on Instagram.)
Holosun 509T Manufacturer Specs
The HE509T-RD is an enclosed reflex optical sight designed for pistol applications. Features include a Titanium housing, Holosun’s Super LED with up to 50k hours battery life, Multi-Reticle System, Solar Failsafe, and Shake Awake.RMR
The included 509T-RD RMR adapter plate is not compatible with ZEV or Shadow Systems style RMR interfaces.
- MRS: Circle Dot; Dot Only
- Up to 50,000 Hours Battery Life (Setting 6)
- 12 Brightness Setting: 10 DL & 2 NV Compatible
- Enclosed Design & Titanium Housing
- Convenient Tray Battery Compartment
- Parallax-free & Unlimited Eye Relief
- Solar Failsafe
- Shake Awake
- Multi-Reticle System
- Super LED
- Reticle2 MOA Dot & 32 MOA Circle
- Light Wavelength650nm
- Reticle ColorRed
- Parallax FreeYes
- Unlimited Eye ReliefYes
- Power SourceSolar & Battery
- Battery TypeCR1632
- Battery Life (Hours)
- Housing MaterialTitanium
- Surface FinishTitanium
- Adjustment per Click1 MOA
The optic ships with:
• RMR Adapter
• User Manual
• Lens Cloth
• T10L Key
• CR1632 Battery
About the author
Daniel Bales has been in law enforcement for nearly 15 years. During his career he has worked for a large Sheriff’s department in Nevada on such assignment as detention, courts, court transport, patrol, and S.W.A.T. He is currently a full-time rangemaster. Daniel has numerous firearms, tactics and instructor certifications, to include: handgun, shotgun, carbine, less lethal, force on force, low light, certified armorer, basic and advanced S.W.A.T. schools. He has instructed many students for LMS Defense and is one of the founder-owners of Crucible Consulting. Follow or connect via Instagram, @crucible_consultants.
Maxim Defense, the “premiere manufacturer in PDW technologies”, wants you to know they have a large amount of Yugoslavian 7.62 x 39 FMJ and 7.62 x 39 TUI in stock and ready to ship. This won’t help us in the long run with the ban. That’ll take litigation and legislation to handle that. However, it will allow you to keep your long gun (or short gun, for that matter) fed in the interim.
They also have their own Maxim Defense ammo available (as you can see below).
Yugo 7.62 x 39
As of this announcement, the Yugoslav ammunition is retailing for $695 per case of 1120 rounds or roughly 62 cents ($0.62) per round. Cartridges are 124gr annealed brass case 7.62 x 39mm FMJ with a Berdan primer. They ship mounted on SKS stripper clips. Buyers keep the case. And the brass, too, Maxim Defense would humbly suggest. If you don’t reload, someone you know almost certainly does.
If that particular type 7.62×39 doesn’t suit, Maxim Defense also offers its own ammunition: the “TUI” (Tumble On Impact) line. TUI ammunition is a solid copper spun line design explicitly designed for short barrels in mind. They’ll handle light recoil with no sacrifice in velocity, and because of the solid copper construction, they can be used wherever lead projectiles are prohibited for sport shooting. The Maxim Defense TUI SBR ammunition is 117gr SCS and ships 20/box.
Maxim Defense TUI
|Bullet Type||M67 FMJ|
|Casing||ANNEALED BRASS CASE BERDAN PRIMED|
|Grain Weight||124 GRAIN|
|Muzzle Velocity (FPS)||2402|
|Rounds Per Box||1120|
|Grain Weight Ranges||120 – 139|
On top of the multiple versions of 7.62×39, they carry plenty of types of ammunition, including 5.56 and .300 Blackout. If you’re in the market for more, take a look at the ammunition section of their website.
About Maxim Defense
Maxim Defense is a development company aiming to provide the Military and First Responders the next generation of tools and equipment to succeed in today’s most extreme environments. The company primarily engages in small arms manufacturing focusing R&D on producing better, lighter, and more reliable weapons and accessories. As an industrial-design-centered organization, Maxim seeks to improve and enhance existing weapons platforms alongside developing cutting-edge technologies for redefining the future. Maxim Defense is headquartered in St. Cloud, MN. To learn more, please visit http://www.maximdefense.com and follow us on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter @maximdefense.
Global Ordnance, the exclusive distributor for Grand Power in the United States, recently released a 30-Round curved magazine for the Grand Power Stribog SP9 lineup. They advised that after years of research and development, rigorous testing, and a “…long ride across the sea”, the magazines are finally available for purchase.
The Stribog Curved Magazine offers customers a more desirable design that’s easier to load and allows smoother feeding for the tapered 9mm cartridges, robust polymer construction, and a more compact package.
Grand Power has worked with Global Ordnance for many months to perfect and test the new magazine design. “We are pleased with the results of our partnership in design and development with Grand Power,” said John Dilley, Director of Commercial Operations for Global Ordnance, “we are excited to put the new magazines in the hands of the dedicated fans and followers of the Stribogs.”
Initially, the new Stribog 30-Round Curved Magazines will be offered for retail purchase in limited quantities directly from Global Ordnance and from such trusted retailers as GunMag Warehouse.
Additionally, for current inventory, Grand Power Stribog SP9A1 and SP9A3 models will be upgraded to include one Curved Magazine in all new shipments.
Grand Power Stribog SP9A1, Stribog SP9A3, and the new 30-Round Stribog Curved Magazines can be purchased by visiting the Global Ordnance website at www.GlobalOrdnance.com. To learn more about Grand Power and the Stribog lineup, please visit www.GrandPowerUSA.net
Headquartered in Sarasota, Florida, Global Ordnance LLC (GlobalOrdnance.com) is a force multiplier within the commercial and defense military industries supporting a wide array of equipment, ammunition, and firearms. As a Veteran-Owned Small Business, Global Ordnance LLC strives to provide excellence to our customers with unparalleled integrity of values and the loyalty expected.
St. Cloud, MN-based Maxim Defense, the premiere manufacturer in PDW technologies, has just announced the availability of the Maxim Defense PDX in Urban Grey.
The PDX, which is now chambered in .300BLK, 5.56 NATO, and 7.62×39, had its genesis in USSOCOM. Born of the SOCOM PDW solicitation, the Maxim Defense PDX dominates CQB encounters and puts maximum energy on target.
The PDX – which is just 18.75 in. OAL is available in both pistol and SBR configurations. Utilization of the patent-pending Maxim SCWTM system reduces stock length to 4 in., while an integrated BCG with interchangeable buffer weights provides maximum performance and versatility without sacrificing functionality (and, for the aesthetically minded, form).
The PDX™ is also equipped with a newly invented Maxim HATEBRAKE™ muzzle booster. This patent-pending device significantly reduces recoil, decreases the flash signature, pushes gasses and concussion waves downrange away from the operator, and improves overall performance in short barrel pistols and rifles.
- HATEBRAKE™ installed under the handguard
- 2 MOA accurate
- M-Slot compatible handguard
- Military-grade materials [17-4 Stainless Steel, 7075 and 6061 Aluminum]
- SCW buffer-carrier
- HK height rail for a more rigid upper receiver
- Optimized Personal Defense Weapon.
- Increased reliability due to included HATEBRAKE™
- Optimized for low flash signature
- Military tested Rapid Deploying PDW stock
- CALIBERS 5.56 NATO, .300 BLK, 7.62x39mm
- BARREL LENGTH 5.5” / 139.7 mm
- MUZZLE VELOCITY 5.56 NATO, 62gr: 1965 FPS avg. 7.62×39, 124gr: 1675 FPS avg.
- FINISH Urban Grey Hard Anodizing
- OVERALL LENGTH 18.75” / 476.25 mm
- WEIGHT (EMPTY) 5.9 lbs / 2.68 kg
- MUZZLE DEVICE Maxim Defense HATEBRAKE™ Muzzle Booster
- CONFIGURATIONS SCW™ stock system, SCW Pistol
- TRIGGER ALG Combat Trigger (ACT)
Magazines: Each PDX ships with one 20rd magazine (7.62x39mm 20rd CPD mags, 5.56NATO 20rd DHL, .300BLK 20 rd Lancer Systems)
Learn more here.
Baen Books has released Mike Kupari’s latest novel, The Family Business. Its protagonist is a Federal “Recovery Agent” on the job in a much-changed United States of America hunting alien collaborators (from the invasion) and leftover aliens (still at large) while dodging apex xeno-predators lurking in remote places.
Here’s an excerpt:
The Free Territories were what became of parts of Nigeria, Chad, and Cameroon, the former Human Sectors. A vast demilitarized zone created by the Treaty of Khartoum, millions of former UEA citizens lived there, since most of their native countries wouldn’t take them back.
An army of UN Peacekeepers, mostly from countries that had stayed neutral during the war, kept the ex-UEA separated from the rest of the population of Africa, lest that continent see more war and genocide.
Kupari, a self-described revolverphile who preaches the Gospel of the FN, is an experienced (though wrong-handed) shooter who uses his experience as a former EOD Technician, PMC contractor, and general retr0-gun-nerd-savant to provide verisimilitude to his writing.
Here’s another excerpt.
Moving through the deserted streets of Chandler, weighed down by an armor vest, load-bearing gear, a gunbelt, a medical kit, water, and ammunition was harder than it used to be. Tinted goggles and a high-filtration respirator protected him from the potentially toxic dust, but it made it harder to see and breathe. He had to keep going, though. The Feds’ advance was stalled, one of their vehicles was apparently disabled, and they were caught out in the open. If they stayed there, they were all going to get killed.
The gunfire had only been sporadic before, but now it had died off completely. An eerie quiet settled over the ruined city as Nathan moved. There were other structures between him and the target building, but he was alert for movement. The enemy had an opportunity to press the advantage, to counterattack and wipe out the Homeland Security troops. He had to figure out what the hell was going on and tell them to pull back before it was too late.
The Ruffner APCs were only about half a mile from the mobile command center. All Nathan had to do was follow the plume of black smoke drifting up from the street. There was another, smaller one farther away, probably the wreck of the Feds’ helicopter, but he wasn’t
going to go look for it by himself.
The APCs had followed a doglegged path through the streets, keeping themselves out of view of the target building until the last possible moment. That had been smart, for all the good it had done them. It was likely, he thought, that the UEA insurgents had rigged the entire area with sensors and alarms. Hell, they might be watching me right now, he thought,
moving up a dust-covered alleyway.
The alleyway ended at a wide, four-lane, divided street. A row of desiccated tree trunks ran down the center of the divider island. Either side of the boulevard was lined with abandoned cars, faded from years of sun and weather. To his left, just before the intersection, were two
of the three Homeland Security APCs. They were idling, one right behind the other, too close together. The third one, presumably the one that had been hit, had already rounded the corner.
They got lucky, Nathan thought, running across the street.
If the defenders had waited a few seconds, they might have gotten all three APCs into the kill zone.
Breathing hard through the respirator mask, he paused for a moment to catch his breath and check his surroundings. No sign of any UEA insurgents. Keeping close to the empty storefronts, he jogged up the sidewalk, approaching the two stopped APCs from the rear. The vehicle commanders’ hatches were open. Both men had their seats elevated so that they could see better, and saw Nathan coming. He kept his weapon slung and held his bronze badge up as he approached…”
The book is officially described thusly:
Decades ago, the Visitors descended on Earth. They claimed to bring peace and prosperity. Their real goal was the total subjugation of humankind. But humanity did not give up its only home without a fight. After a devastating war, the Visitors were driven back to Mars. Their millions of willing human collaborators were left behind. The task of hunting down these former alien collaborators and bringing them to justice falls to Federal Recovery Agents like Nathan Foster.
Now, Nathan Foster is tasked with bringing to justice Emmogene Anderson. As a teenager, Emmogene was experimented on by the Visitors and implanted with a device that allows her to control other people. With her is her obsessive ex-lover, who was also a former commando of the Visitors’ forces. It’s an easy enough job—but Emmogene has been implanted with something else, something much more important.
Nathan and Ben must decide what is right in a largely lawless world— and the fate of the planet hangs in the balance.
“I started writing in high school. I didn’t really get into it until college when I began writing fiction online. I never seriously considered trying to be a novelist, though, not until 2006. That was the year I met Larry Correia. He liked a story I was writing online and asked if he could jump in on it. That story ultimately became DEAD SIX.
I lived in Doha, Qatar for a year, while working security at a US installation there. Qatar ultimately became the inspiration for the fictional country of Zubara.
Later in life, I served as an explosive ordnance disposal technician in the US Air Force. I deployed to Afghanistan and applied that experience to my second book, Swords of Exodus.
My first solo novel, Her Brothers Keeper, wasn’t exactly inspired by real life. I am sad to admit that I’ve never captained a privateer rocket ship. I do, however, have a lifelong love of science fiction and space opera and am excited to continue sharing my take on different genres.”
About Author Mike Kupari
Mike Kupari is the author of the debut science fiction novel Her Brother’s Keeper, as well as the co-author, with Larry Correia, of the best-selling Dead Six military adventure series including Dead Six, Swords of Exodus, and Alliance of Shadows. He is a relatively active prolific freelance writer, having contributed to Breach-Bang-Clear, The Mag Life, and other publications over the last several years. Mike grew up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and enlisted in the Air Force at the age of seventeen, deploying twice as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal tech. He went on to serve six years in the Army National Guard and spent several years both at home and abroad as a security contractor with a PMC. He now lives in the northern tier, bemoaning the price of ammo, arguing with a truculent parrot, and filling in DFPs (complete with grenade sump) dug into his yard by a recently adopted canine.