Oh, red dots, how magical you are. Ever since the 1970s, when Aimpoint released the first modern red dot design, red has been the key to their infrastructure. The name red dot is eponymous that even when the dot isn’t red, we call them red dots. For example, the Holosun HE403C-GR utilizes a green dot, but I’m likely to call it a red dot throughout this entire article. I’m not used to green dot reticles, and the HE403C-GR certainly puts the GR in green dot.
Breaking Down the HE403C-GR
Holosun optics range widely in budgetary considerations, and the HE403C-GR is on the lower budget side. (Also, I’m already sick of typing HE403C-GR.) Budget doesn’t mean bad by any means. With this optic, it more or less means simplistic—no titanium, no multi reticle system, or any other features that the higher cost Holosuns pack.
Simple is good, especially when overall quality isn’t sacrificed to lower the price point. The HE403C-GR falls into the compact reflex sight side. It’s Aimpoint Micro-sized and quite compact. Perfect for your standard carbine. Without a mount, the optic weighs 2.82 ounces, so it’s a featherweight.
Holosun uses the Aimpoint Micro footprint to provide a wide variety of aftermarket options for users. You can mount this thing to shotguns, rifles, and even handguns if you don’t mind the size. I wouldn’t take that route, but I’m not your dad.
While it lacks a lot of the fancy features of other Holosuns, it does pack the solar panel backup system. This amps the battery life up to 50,000 hours. Obviously, brightness will play a role in battery life, and you do get 12 brightness settings, two of which are night-vision compatible.
Overall it’s a simple optic, and simple helps keep the price point nice and low. The optic offers an IP67 waterproof rating and recoil resistance of up to 1000Gs. Those ratings mean the optic can take some water but isn’t Navy SEAL approved, and your typical full-powered rifle recoils at a little over 350 Gs, so it can take whatever you can toss at.
Why Go Green?
I’m not going to go deep into the green vs. red dot debate, but I can expand on why you might choose a green dot like the HE403C-GR over the red dot variant. Green dots are easier to see and faster for our eyes to acquire.
They also tend to get much brighter than red dots, and even more so when combined with the super LED technology Holosun uses. They also get dimmer and typically offer night vision compatible dots even at the budget grade level.
Green dots are softer on the eyes and tend to be more comfortable to use for extended periods of time. I can say this is very true, and when I use red dots in dim environments, I start to feel a slick tick in my eye. I never felt that while using the HE403C-GR.
Mounted and Ready
When you get the optic, it comes with a high amount that will co-witness with AR height sights. Also included in the box is a very nice low mount. Swapping mounts are easy to do and takes very little time. Unscrew four bolts, attach the low mount, and you’re golden. I went with a low mount and mounted the HE403C-GR to my SUB-2000 with its MCARBO optic mount.
It sat low enough to easily cowtiness with the SUB 2000’s sights and aligned just right. It’s also compact, and that’s kinda critical to the SUB-2000’s effectiveness. It mounts with ease and locks down pretty easily.
Zeroing isn’t hard to do, and the lens caps even come with small flat heads to make attachments. While it’s nice, the included tool from Holosun works much better to make adjustments. Adjustments per click are half an MOA, so it’s quite precise for a red dot.
The turrets are completely bare and don’t tell you which direction adjustments go. However, if you flip over the turret caps, you’ll see the information you desire. Clicks are rather stiff, loud, and tactile. This makes it easy to make adjustments, and you won’t accidentally skip a click. You’ll hear and feel each click as you make them, and that’s fantastic.
Getting Behind the Dot
The dot isn’t as crisp and clear as I’d like it to be. At the lower settings, the dot is nice and round, but as soon as you ratchet up the brightness for daylight bright shooting, the dot loses all its crispness. It becomes a big blurry star under the Florida sun.
That being said, holy crap, does the HE403C-GR get bright. The massively bright reticle is very easy to see. At setting eight of twelve, it’s plenty bright for outdoor use. At twelve, it’s hurting the eye without shaded eye protection.
Luckily once I had the optic set to stun, I started plunging targets at various ranges. Out to 100 yards, I still range my big IPSC steel target. Albeit if the dot was a little crisper, I could see the target a little bit more. The starburst makes it a little bigger than 2 MOA, so it will obscure smaller targets more than need to be.
The controls are on the left side but are massive and rubberized. You can easily hit the buttons and control the brightness with ease. The buttons also deliver nice tactile feedback and instant response from the optic itself.
Testing Those Durability Claims
On a 9mm PCC, the recoil ain’t nothin! So I moved it to a classic 12 gauge shotgun, specifically the recoil-inducing Sentry 12 pump-action, magazine-fed shotgun. I plowed through 4 magazines of 1300 FPS buckshot as rapidly as I could. From there, I mounted it to my handy dandy ASP Red gun and gave it the old drop of death a dozen times. I dropped it at multiple angles over and over again. On both hard artificial ground and in the dirt.
From there, it was bath time! I filled up one of my wife’s many Tupperware containers and dunked the optic. I’m risking her wrath for this, so I hope you folks appreciate it. (I’m joking. She’s the best person in the world.) I let it sit in the water for half an hour and then towel dried it.
The HE403C-GR was still on and still shining bright after my dose of abuse. The section of rail on the MCARBO scope mount is small enough that it’s impossible not to mount it the same way every time. I mounted the optic and tossed a B8 up on the range, and let the lead fly.
Surprisingly the optic held zero without issue. The glass was clear, the buttons were still tactile, and everything clicked, clacked, as it should. It’s a simple reliability test that tells me the HE403C-GR is suitable for home defense, hunting, and tasks beyond plinking.
It’s Like Luke’s Lightsaber
Green dots are here to stay and do offer an alternative option for those who might not see red well or find their eyes strained by the glowing red dot of doom. The HE403C-GR is a budget option that performs above its paygrade. It’s not perfect, but it’s capable, durable, and precise. If you folks are interested in a torture test where I freeze, heat up, and maybe even shoot the dang thing, let me know below. Until then, check the optic out here.
A friend of a friend sent me this info and so far I have not seen it posted anywhere else yet. Looks like Bravo Company USA has released their new BCM MK2 Recoil Mitigation System on their website. The new kit consists of a slightly longer receiver extension with 8 positions paired with a slightly longer spring to help reduce bolt bounce and felt recoil. The BCM MK2 Recoil Mitigation System Mod1 kit is available in 3 different buffer configurations (T0 – 3.8oz, T1 – 4.7oz, T2 – 56oz) with T3 – 6.5oz and T4 – 7.4oz buffers sold separately.
Complete Kit Features:
- Lessens felt recoil, without compromising reliability
- Provides a more consistent carrier velocity, which can aid in accuracy, reliability over conventional carbine buffer system
- Increased internal counterweight travel reduces bolt bounce
- Internal spring to reduce noise of counter weight shifting and ensure more consistent weight placement
- Mil-Spec M16A4 rifle spring with more spring coils than M4 carbine, increases consistency and widens operating envelope
- Buffer made of 7075T6 aluminum, hard coat anodized for lasting endurance. Comprised of Mil-Spec components
- BCM US Patent #10415907
This kit contains all the necessary parts to mount to your Mil-Spec dimension stock assembly to your Mil-Spec lower receiver.
- MK2 Mod 1 – T0 Buffer (weight = approximately 3.8oz)
- Mil-Spec M16A4 rifle action spring
- Mk2 Receiver Extension (approximately 3/4” longer than carbine), 7076T6, 8 position, Mil-Spec diameter
- Lock Nut (Castle) M4
- Receiver QD End Plate (include mount for QD swivel)
(PLEASE NOTE: because of the MK2’s longer length some Mil-Spec stocks may not completely collapse closed all the way up to the M4 Lock nut.)
For many gun enthusiasts, having a well-maintained pistol with an HE-509 sight sitting on the slide is essential for home defense, target shooting, or even competition. One of the best reasons for concealed carry is having the means to protect yourself in public places without a local citizen spotting your weapon and calling the police about a terrorist with a gun walking around.
There are several means of carrying a firearm in public away from prying eyes, but understanding what style works for you means understanding all the available types and techniques on the market today. These three examples of concealed carry styles are the most popular and should help start you on your way.
Inside The Waistband or IWB Holster
One of the most practical and popular methods of carrying a concealed pistol is using an IWB holster. Whether you wear the holster on the hip, behind the back, or even on the non-dominant side of your hip for cross-draw deployment, an IWB holster provides multiple concealed carry methods wrapped up into a single holster.
IWB holsters effectively hide most of the pistol and keep the gun close to your body. These concealed carry holsters also help you avoid the difficulties you may experience when attempting to deploy the firearm from a pocket holster, or worse, an ankle holster.
Although an IWB holster answers many of the challenges of concealed carry, there are a few drawbacks you’ll want to consider before rushing out to purchase one. Any holster worn inside the belt, pressing against your hip for hours at a time, may prove uncomfortable for you.
Remember, the holster must be wide enough to accommodate and secure the pistol and might require pants with a larger waistband to make it work comfortably. If you’re all about maintaining the perfect fit of stylish clothing and a baggy pair of pants won’t do, you may want to consider this following concealed carry style.
Outside the Waistband or OWB
While concealed carry in a holster outside the waistband manages many of the same options as an IWB and is a lot more comfortable, there may be times when your pistol is not as concealed as you think it is. To make concealed carry with a gun housed in an outside-waistband holster work, you’ll need to cloak it with a shirt worn untucked, a vest or jacket, or a windbreaker or light jacket.
One drawback with this style of carrying is if you’re trying to maintain an inconspicuous look, wearing even a light coat in the summertime heat will draw the gaze of everyone around you straight to your hip.
Although an OWB holster is probably one of the most comfortable methods of carrying your protection around, it also requires you to always focus your situational awareness on things going on around you.
Depending on the attire you choose for the day, an outside-waistband holster often creates a bulge on your hip easily spotted by the practiced eye. Also, when pulling that bag of coffee off the top shelf, remember as your arms go up, so does the hemline of your shirt or jacket, potentially exposing the muzzle of your handgun. However, if you discover a way to resolve these few challenges, an OWB holster is probably one of the most comfortable concealed carry methods.
A shoulder holster might be the exact concealed carry method if you like the super-cool television movie style of holstering your gun beneath an armpit. Cool look aside, for those who aren’t comfortable with an inside or outside waistband holster, you may want to consider a shoulder holster. There are a few challenges you’ll need to overcome, though.
Remember that a shoulder holster, regardless of whether it’s a single- or double-gun affair, is sandwiched between your shirt or blouse and the jacket or coat you’ll need to wear, regardless of how hot it is outside. Although concealment works when your jacket is buttoned, or your windbreaker zipped up, one errant breeze will be all it takes to peel back the bottom of an unbuttoned coat or blazer to expose what you’re carrying.
Even if you manage to overcome the clothing challenges of a shoulder holster concealed carry, there is still one other hurdle to consider. Effective holstering and deployment typically require the pistol’s grip pointing ahead to allow cross-draw deployment. Using a shoulder holster for concealed carry means the business end of your firearm is pointing behind you. It also means during deployment, the barrel of the gun arcs horizontally away from you as you attempt to sight your target, which can potentially harm those beside you during an accidental discharge.
The Most Concealed Isn’t Always the Best
There are, however, a few styles of concealed carry that hide your gun entirely from sight, but freeing your handgun from its hiding place, results in awkward situations that can end up putting you in a potentially life-threatening condition.
As you may or may not know, both IWB and OWB concealed carry methods are fairly gender-agnostic, meaning they’re suited for either male or female concealed-carry enthusiasts. However, a few styles cater more specifically to women than men, such as the thigh or bra holster. The thigh holster is a highly comfortable and more effective method of concealed carry simply because a dress or skirt always does a far better job at the total concealed carry of a firearm than a pair of pants.
Most thigh holsters are lightweight and secure to the thigh with either Velcro or stretch elastic, making them highly comfortable with the handgun nestled beneath the protection of a few yards of fabric. Unfortunately, regardless of how comfortable the thigh holster is or how well it conceals your firearm, there are a few noticeable detractions for wearing one.
When trouble starts, you may be required to flash a little more skin than you’d like to deploy your handgun. The complication even worsens when wearing a pair of pants and using a thigh holster to conceal your firearm. Remember, the intent is to hide your gun properly but deploy it quickly and with as few complications as possible, so consider how you intend to carry your pistol and how easy you want deployment and re-holstering to be before making your final choice.
Faxon Firearms has collaborated with Q to build the highest quality 8.6 BLK barrels for Remington 700 and AR10 platforms.
It should come as no surprise that Faxon Firearms is developing barrels compatible with the new 8.6 Blackout ammunition. After all, the Ohio-based manufacturer has always been at the forefront of barrel development.
Here is everything you need to know about the new 8.6 Blackout round, how it compares to 300 Blackout, and the radical new barrel design by Faxon Firearms.
What is 8.6 Blackout?
The 8.6 BLK round was imagined and developed by Q. Like the 300 Blackout, the 8.6 Blackout was designed primarily for suppressed shooting, but there are supersonic loads in development as well.
The easiest thing to do might be to imagine 8.6 BLK as the 300 BLK’s big brother – but as far more than just a simple upgrade.
8.6 BLK Features
- Fits AR-10 Sized Rifles
- 338 Subsonic Load Based around the 300 grain Sierra Match King
- Similar to 338 Federal; however, the case was shortened to work reliably with gas guns without modification to mags.
- Uses Standard 308 Mags
- Low-Pressure Cartridge
- Utilizes a shortened 6.5 Creedmoor case for the use of subsonic and high BC projectiles
- Current Ammo Companies in Development: Gorilla, Hornady, Black Hills, and Discreet Ballistics
- Designed Around a 12″ barrel
Faxon Firearms has previously shown several 8.6 Blackout loads with a 300-grain bullet and a 210 grain Barnes TTSX bullet. These loads are still in development but should become commercially available in the foreseeable future.
How is Faxon Firearms Involved?
Faxon Firearms has been privileged to work with Q on developing the best possible barrels to support this revolutionary new round. The team at Faxon Firearms is in the development of their own 8.6 BLK barrels for both the AR-10 and Remington model 700 platforms.
Faxon Barrels for the 8.6 BLK
Faxon Firearms will be offering 1:3 twist barrels chambered in 8.6 Blackout for Remington 700 platforms and AR-10 pattern rifles. The barrels for both platforms will be available in 8″, 12″, and 16″ length options.
Faxon Firearms 8.6 BLK barrel Details
- 1:3 twist rate
- Better stabilization on long and heavy subsonic rounds
- Better expansion of the projectiles
- Re-allocates the energy from the sound and flash to the rotation of the bullet
- .875 gas block journal for AR10
- DPMS Gen 1 Pattern
Remage style barrels from Faxon will use a Remage style nut with a standard AR-15 armorers castle nut wrench. The nut is included.
Why is the 1:3 Twist Rate Important?
Faxon Firearms is manufacturing the barrels for these 8.6 Blackout loads. These barrels are not by any means your standard rifle barrel. Designing and manufacturing them can be challenging, but Faxon Firearms has confidently stepped up to the plate. To properly stabilize the long and heavy 300-grain subsonic projectiles, the 8.6 blackout barrels must have a 1:3 twist rate. That means the round is making one full rotation every three inches of barrel length.
This helps the 8.6 caliber cartridge re-imagine energy on target.
Faxon Firearms’ Barrels are slated to launch around late June or early July of 2022. The ammunition will also launch right around the same time. For more information on the 8.6 blackout project and to be notified about the availability of Faxon barrels, proceed to the Faxon Firearms 8.6 BLK page. It is dedicated to the Q collaboration.
Connect with Faxon on social:
Making modifications and upgrades to your AR-15 can be fun and exciting. Whether you are doing it to increase your ability during competitions or just because you think an upgrade looks cool, it can be difficult discerning which ones are worth the effort. Some upgrades are more complicated than others. Sometimes, you do not have the time and energy needed to complete an upgrade or modification. Some upgrades like changing your AR barrel can add a lot of value to your build but requires a few special tools and a little more work. This article will show you some of the easiest upgrades that you can make. Check out these 5 easy AR-15 upgrades anyone can make without stressing out. Choose only one or choose to do them all; either way, you are sure to be pleased.
Enlarged Trigger Guards
Ensuring the trigger does not accidentally go off is one of the most important responsibilities any gunowner has. An enlarged trigger guard can give you the confidence needed to continue practicing and competing with your AR-15. Furthermore, an enlarged trigger guard can assist in protecting the trigger and the rest of the gun from unneeded exposure to dust and debris. This can keep your weapon functional for years to come; who does not want that? By spending an extra $20 or so on the trigger guard, you are really saving yourself time, energy, and money later down the road.
Another important thing to keep in mind when upgrading your AR-15 is how your magazine release works. Is it ambidextrous? Is it extended? Either or both options can be beneficial and make your sharpshooting experience better and more accurate. Some magazine releases are microscopic, making reloading a chore. If you are in competition mode or if you are in a place of needing to protect yourself, time is of the essence, so you do not have time to fool with a small magazine release that you cannot find. Having a larger magazine release can make the reloading process faster and smoother. The icing on the cake is that you can choose your own style of magazine release with assorted colors and designs. The options are endless.
When seeking a backup sight, you want to keep in mind what your intended use is. There are different sights for different things, so letting your dealer know what you are going to be using the backup sight for so they can help determine the best one for your needs. Backup front sights serve you in the event your red dot or regular scope fails. If you prefer not to have an extra item cluttering the top of your rifle, you may opt for a backup rear sight. These can fold down and be out of sight, out of mind. You only must worry about pulling them out in the event your original sight fails. Trust us, you will not regret having a backup sight; if you need it and you, have it, you will be set to continue shooting. If you need it and you did not do this simple upgrade, you will regret it and have a struggle on your hands. Backup sights can range in price from as cheap as $38 to as expensive as $180. It all depends on what you are looking for and what you like.
Ambidextrous Safety Selectors
Safety, safety, safety. You cannot work with firearms and not be aware of safety. Safety is key in protecting those around you while also having the ability to protect them from dangerous adversaries in the event of an emergency. To do this with as much ease as possible without hindering your ability to use your firearm if needed, things like ambidextrous safety selectors are on the market. If you are left-handed, an ambidextrous safety selector will make it easier for you. If you are right-handed, it gives you more options to smoothly disengage quickly and easily on either side.
This can come in handy in situations where you need the most time management. These selectors can range anywhere from $12 to $100, depending on the style and design you choose. Why make an upgrade to your AR that you do not love? Look for a selector that feels good to your fingers and feels natural. The more you like it, the safer you will be and the quicker you will be able to disengage.
Finally, you cannot talk about AR-15 upgrades without considering the stock. Stock mods can help you better absorb the recoil from your weapon and increase your comfort and precision. They have extendable stocks for competitors to adjust the weapon to rest differently against you depending on your situation. They also make stocks that are ambidextrous in the event you need the weapon for self-defense and need to be able to immediately use the weapon after picking it up. No matter your needs, there is a stock for you.
Do you want your stock to blend to your person? You can choose a short stock or one that collapses. Whatever your needs, there will be a stock to fulfill them. You may want to talk with your local gun dealer about your intended use and even test out some stocks in store. This will give you a feel for what is available before purchasing a stock willy nilly. The price range for these is wide, ranging from $40 up to $400. It all depends on what you want, what you need, and what you feel comfortable with. The choices are endless!
There you have it; 5 easy upgrades you can make to your ar-15. Some may have a larger price than others, but each upgrade will increase the ease with which you use your firearm. Increase your stability, speed, and reliability by making upgrades that suit your needs. Talk with other marksmen to see what works for them, test different things out, and decide what changes will increase your precision on and off the range. Take your time, do your research, and you will be building the best weapon for you and your needs in no time.
If you’re into firearms, chances you may have heard of ARMSLIST., and with over 2.5 million users and over 1,300 registered FFL dealers, chances are, you’ve also been on the website. They don’t actually sell firearms. Instead, they help their large network of registered FFL dealers to help serve users.
Plus they sometimes provide significant entertainment value.
What is ARMSLIST
ARMSLIST allows people in the United States to list firearms for sale and communicate safely, securely, and legally. Whether you’re a dealer, manufacturer, or individual gun owner, they provide you with an alternative to auction sites and have drastically lower fees, and zero commission fees.
ARMSLIST has guns and gear, accessories, blogs, and reviews on hundreds of products you’d be interested in owning, all while conducting business easily and legally.
Buying or Selling
The first thing to know about buying a gun on the website is that you don’t need an account to buy a gun. As a non-subscriber, you can still purchase from the network of over 1,300 FFL dealers. However, having an account opens up new possibilities for you.
Armslist offers two different account types, the Premium Vendor account, and the Personal account. Each account is adjusted to the seller’s needs, which provides options that many online companies don’t offer.
ARMSLIST Legal Defense Fund
Armslist also helps maintain the ARMSLIST Legal Defense Fund that fights to protect the 2nd Amendment rights of all Americans, focusing on issues regarding the internet. They also provide up-to-date news articles about guns, gun laws, and opinionated articles to educate the public on matters affecting the 2nd Amendment.
We strongly encourage anyone interested in selling or buying guns to try it today. But, of course, if you’re not interested in buying or selling products, you could always support their Legal Defense Fund to ensure the 2nd Amendment rights of Americans are not taken away.
A well-known tip for any rifleman is that the most important thing you can do to care for your rifle is to clean it. How can you clean it without the proper tools? It is not easy. Having quality tools to care for the item that helps care for you is an integral part of hunting. Keeping your rifle and AR-15 magazines up to par will ensure the rifle does not lock up or misfire. How do you know which cleaning kits are the best? Allow this list to serve as your guide to the latest and greatest cleaning kits for rifles.
Gloryfire Universal Gun Cleaning Kit
While this kit does not provide a guide for how to use each piece included in the kit, it does include various pieces that can be used for many types of rifles and pistols. This durable kit is comes with many brass rods, 14 brushes, nine mops, 12 spear-pointed brushes, 1 black powder jag, 4 slotted patch loops, 3 utility brushes, 3 muzzle guards, 3 accessory adapters, 50 cleaning patches, and 4 polishing cloths.
Not only does this kit come with everything you need to care for your entire gun case, but it also comes in a durable plastic case to ensure all parts are protected and last for a while. Plus, you can purchase this kit on a budget for only $40!
Allen Ultimate Gun Cleaning Kit
Another universal gun cleaning kit, the Allen Ultimate Gun cleaning kit has enough to keep your weapon clean and operational for a long time. The kit comes with three levels of tools in a beautiful toolbox that looks as though it could double as an ammunition case! Talk about double duty for your money. On top of having the tools to clean the standard pistol and rifle calibers, it also includes tools for 12-gauge, 20-gauge, and .410 bore shotguns.
The only negative to this kit is that you must buy your solvent and lube separately, but this kit provides everything else you could need. For $80, you get Brass jags, brass slotted tips, muzzle guards, pick, brushes, and more. It even includes 100% cotton patches to help keep things clean and unscathed. This is the ultimate upgrade for anyone who wants to have the latest and greatest.
Boosteady Universal Handgun Cleaning Kit
If you are just starting out and need something basic to begin with, the Boosteady universal handgun cleaning kit should be your choice. It includes phosphor bronze bore brushes, brass jags, 2 sizes of bronze slotted tips, a nylon brush, a metal gun cleaning pick, and 100 cleaning patches. You can have this amazing kit for only $15. Who knew something so cheap yet so helpful was on the market?
Before you begin fearing the quality of the product, just do a quick search for reviews on this kit. On Amazon alone, the kit has a 4.5-star rating from over 10,000 customers. Do not let the small size or the cheap price scare you away. Get started with this kit and you will have your rifle spick and span in no time.
Iunio Universal Handgun Cleaning Kit
If you are looking for a good midrange priced kit, look no further than the Iunio Universal Handgun Cleaning Kit. For about $38, you can have an inclusive kit that is made of quality brass to protect your weapon from damage. Some of the cheaper kits have cleaning parts that are not made of quality materials, putting the barrel and the rest of your weapon at risk of scratches or other damage. This kit even comes with a cleaning mat, designed to protect the surface you place your weapon on to clean it.
This kit does not come with solvent or lube, but it does come in a snazzy snap closure case that will help your materials to last as long as possible.
Hoppe’s No. 9 Deluxe
If you are an experienced marksman and desire a kit that seems more familiar and less sparkly, Hoppe’s No. 9 Deluxe may be the option for you. This kit is typically about $50, which is a little more than some other kits on the markets, but it is well worth it for a quality product. Hoppe’s No. 9 Deluxe comes with a guide of how to meticulously clean your weapon, some of the best cleaning products on the market, and it even comes with a lifetime warranty from Hoppe’s!
The cleaning solvent and lubricant have been made well-known by this company and will serve you well with any firearm you clean with them. The cleaning rod also comes with a ball-bearing swivel, unique to this kit, helping you to reach all the difficult spots inside your weapon. Even if this is not in your price range yet, you will want to keep Hoppe’s in the back of your mind for future purchases.
Otis Technology Cleaning Kit
Finally, if space is a concern for you, the Otis Technology Cleaning Kit is the best compact kit you can buy. This kit is only meant for .223 cal/5.56mm rifles, but it is an excellent choice if you happen to own one. All your items, including bronze bore cleaning brushes, locking lug scrapers, a pin punch, memory-flex cables, an obstruction remover, brass scrapers, brass picks, and a cleaning tool that cares for bolts and firing pins, fit into this one sleek case.
The best part of this whole kit? You can have it all for $40. What a unique steal!
No matter if you are a new marksman or an experienced one, the importance of keeping your rifle ready to use is universal. Keep the above 6 options in mind as you choose the cleaning kit that is best for you. Also remember that you will not have the same one for your entire life! So, choose the one that fits your budget and desires best now then adjust accordingly down the road. The options are endless.
Far from the agenda pushed by marketing types, 3-gun competition equipment doesn’t have to be an arms race or a gear race. You can absolutely compete without going crazy on equipment and firearms. That said, if you’re shooting in open or unlimited, get ready to spend some money and see how much your hardware dollars can help with your overall capabilities in 3-Gun.
By the way, it’s more fun to find the best gear, and this article should help you do just that for 3-gun competition equipment.
You’re going to need an AR-15 – that’s a standard component. You’ll also need a shotgun and a pistol. And it’s super important that you look at the applicable rules for the match(es) you intend on shooting in. These rules for your specific intended competitions will help to direct your pathway for finding game-changing gear.
In addition to the firearms, you’ll need a belt/holster setup, mags, ammunition, and reloading add-ons (speedloaders for shotgun, etc.). Researching and sourcing all these cool new gear items is one of the best parts early on, in the 3-gun spectrum.
All that said – this cannot be understated:
Anyone saying that the gear defines the competitor in 3-Gun is either selling you something, or they are a seasoned competitor that can quantify improvements in their personal game due to enhanced gear packages.
3-Gun is more about skill and experience than it is about gear, but the gear is the fun part. Especially for someone just getting into the game, or those who are moving up in their progression and are focused on incremental improvement.
So, let’s talk about how to find the right 3-gun competition equipment. There are a large variety of online firearms retailers to help you easily find the right equipment for the job.
What should you be considering for 3-Gun Competition Equipment?
Below, you’ll find not just some gear recommendations, but the concepts behind why the recommendations make sense, and the background that helps explain the reason this gear matters for 3-Gun competitions. It’s laid out by firearm type and then there is a section that explains some gear that might be incredibly useful.
There are two paths you can go down, and you need to go down both if you are trying to compete at the highest level in these types of shooting competitions.
- Modifying the guns to make your shooting style easier, faster, more accurate
- Adding ancillary equipment beyond the firearms for 3-Gun that can help you shave seconds off timers, and improve quality of life, and even help avoid DQ (disqualifying events)
So, look for the separation of these concepts and plan accordingly as you start to source or accumulate gear for your 3-Gun journey.
Rifle Concepts – 3-Gun Equipment
If you aren’t shooting an AR-15 you’re not doing it right. It’s also important to try to stay lean and mobile. So, prioritize internal components, and weight saving designs if possible. The less stuff you have hanging off the gun, and the lighter weight that your rifle is, the easier you will move through the tough off-hand stages.
Next up is your optic. Rules for the class you intend to shoot in will dictate what optics you can utilize. You may be limited to 1x magnification in some competitions/classes, or in Open style competitions, you can go full tilt on the most impressive optics you can find for the course.
Optics are the game changer here. Period. If you prioritize anything on the rifle more than the optic, you’re again, not doing it right. A stock gun with a dialed in premium optic can win versus a hardcore build with a subpar optic. Red dot sights with a magnifier are a good option but most people opt for a low power variable optic.
You’re likely to need 2 magazines in most rifle stages. They should be outfitted fully (heavy baseplates, precision springs, or whatever helps you to shave seconds and make your life smoother). Magazines are cheap to outfit and fine tune. Take the time to do it and learn to leverage those gains.
After optics, in this order, the most important benefits can be derived with regards to upping performance in the rifle stages of 3-gun competitions:
- Barrel twist and length mated to specific loads you intend to fire
- Trigger work that takes out slack and resets to your desired settings and is comfortable to shoot
- Dropping weight on the overall rifle package
- Magazine improvements (more on this below)
Shotgun Concepts – 3-Gun Equipment
You can shoot with a pump gun. But it’s going to hold you back if you are already committed to the idea of 3-Gun. Simply put, the speed and reaction time is significantly cut down with the utilization of a semi-auto. This is particularly true for beginners. Shotgun work in a 3-gun competition is going to be smoother if you’re shooting a semi-auto gun with a bigger mag tube. It’s just math, really.
So, whether you are shooting a Mossberg 930, a Benelli M2, or a Beretta 1301, etc., you automatically gain speed over a Mossberg 500 or a Remington 870, etc.
You want big mag tubes, fast cycling, and lightweight builds, and the three listed shotguns above make a lot of sense, while still being budget-oriented considerations. There are more modified and better outfitted shotguns out there for premium price points, but the incremental gains may not justify the price, if you use these three semi auto options as a litmus test for baseline competitors.
Some shotgun considerations:
- The right optic (the best you can buy for the regulations of you competition and class orientation)
- Extended magazine tubes to push your options in case of a miss or failure
- Speed Loading techniques and tools (as the regulations permit)
- Trigger and spring work to make the gun fast and smooth
- Oversized load gates, bolt catches and safeties
Pistol Concepts – 3-Gun Equipment
Sights are going to be incredibly important here unless you’re only shooting unlimited class, in which case they will be even more important than that.
If you aren’t changing out the sights on your factory gun and expecting to crush it, this can be a decision that holds you back in 3-gun.
The pistol gets the least number of concessions when it comes to sighting and target acquisition in 3-Gun. You’ll want to get the sights that help you shoot fast and keep you on target. Then practice with that sight system – to the tune of many thousands of rounds.
Extended magazines are also a thing. Base plates that allow for heavier magazines for faster drop free capabilities, and for more capacity can be huge. The 170mm rule applies to pistols of all classes, including unlimited/open class. Don’t buy cheap magazines. It’s not worth the potential for malfunction or lack of durability, just buy the best and budget for replacements as needed.
If you are not mating your pistol selections to the match regulations, you’re doing it wrong. The sweet spot for pistols is working with a gun that comes from a factory set up for the practical class, and then going from there on the internals (if they are not already modded).
Internals get a benefit from the handicap that is inherent to the regulations. That is: internal mods generally don’t count against your pistol. Unless you are a dedicated unlimited class shooter, don’t count on optics for any help on pistol stages.
Some important factors in a 3-Gun pistol selection:
- Comfortable, easy to control and inspires confidence in the shooter
- Properly tuned internals
- Springs and ammo/load that match with slide weights
- Magazine upgrades like weighted base plates and better springs
- Exceptional barrel fitment
- Above all the other gear options – well-chosen sights that you can shoot quickly and accurately with – almost never is it a benefit to use factory sights
Some Additional Concepts For 3-Gun Competition Equipment
Three-Gun competitions are not just about picking up a few cool guns and expecting things to go smoothly. Even the most seasoned shooters learn a lot in their first 10 matches. The first match is the biggest learning curve.
Subsequent matches may see you finding new gear solutions rapidly, as you develop your core preferences for the matches you are shooting.
The following concepts can also help to solidify a good 3-Gun competition equipment setup.
Additional Notes About Recoil Control
Recoil control is part about technique but it’s also part about balance and weight distribution on the firearm you are using. Furthermore, the right compensator can be a crucial component.
But it’s not just about compensators, also about internal mechanisms that can harmonize the miniscule movements after and between shots. Springs, rods, buffers, and weights can all help with this on different firearm platforms.
More on this below but mate your springs and balancing to your intended loads.
Get Committed on A Premium Belt System
A premium belt is a massive help. It’s not just for easy draws, and smooth transitions to magazine reloads. It’s the core of the system of accessory help. If you aren’t utilizing a solid, consistently placed belt that has the capacity to stay in place while under heavy loads, you will lose many seconds per round. Using your every day conceal carry belt is probably not the best option.
Almost as important as minimizing unnecessary movement as a shooter, is eliminating movement in your ancillary items like mags, etc.
Buying a premium belt system with proper holster matching and magazine holders is incredibly important.
Running with your rifle? But your Pistol falls? You’re DQ. Don’t let something as stupid as a tensioner cause you to fail out of a match. Dial in your gun, and your style to compensate for the necessary retention levels commensurate to the course.
Specifically for the shotgun, this is a game-changer. Having an extra couple of rounds, or even as many as 6-8 more on a belt can be big if you need the rounds suddenly. Having the ability to do the proper handling of additional shells or using the tools that help you to get rounds into the tube will also be crucial.
And on that note, let’s talk a bit more about how skills factor into the competition equipment equation.
Tuning Your Guns to Your Chosen Ammunition Loads
A single malfunction can take you out of the running for a match. But more than that, a single malfunction can clutter the rest of your run, which can make you put up some horrible times.
It can also cause longer-term doubt and lack of confidence that could stretch between matches or put undue stress on you as a shooter in a competition setting.
So, the best way to mitigate that issue is to have ammunition and guns tuned to each other. If you have lightened bolts, and shaved down slides, you’ll need to make sure the powder charge, velocity, and bullet weight, as well as the springs are tuned to make that faster cyclic rate consistent.
Otherwise, you will get a malfunction, and possibly a DQ if something else triggers as a result.
Skills Are More Important Than Gear
For 99% of shooters getting into 3-Gun competitions, the skills won’t be there yet. Even if the shooter is exceptionally skilled; very accurate, fast, and experienced, the individuality about any given 3-Gun competition and the governing rules (the whole sport isn’t ever going to be fully standardized) will create a “learning experience” every time.
It’s going to take many matches before you feel comfortable, even if you buy the best equipment and have a robust set of skills. Some shooters have 20K+ rounds through each of their chosen firearm platforms in 3-Gun.
That’s very likely to be more than most shooters just exploring, so you’re already behind the curve a bit. Take that as an impetus to train more, even if it means dialing down gear at first while you find your feet and see what you like on the 3-Gun courses.
This ideology may mean shooting factory or limited class first to see if you like that, or if you need to move up in tiers.
Again, it cannot be understated that skills must come first, and generally you need to use the actual equipment you intend to shoot long-term with in competition, to shorten that learning curve.
But here is the rub: Once you have hit a general peak in your skillset, the only way to make improvement is through the “optimization” phase, which is slower in gains, more expensive, and much more gear centric.
So, while you can begin a 3-gun journey as a “Factory” gun class participant, and do just fine, it isn’t until you get into the “Open/Unlimited”, or at least the “Practical”, where you will start to make these hardware improvement jumps. And these “jumps” will be incremental, not exponential.
The cool thing is, however, that you don’t ever have to stop investing in gear if you commit to 3-Gun, because you’ll always find a way to improve through minor optimization improvements. And it’s all about the gear, as you know.
As any practiced survivalist will tell you, regardless of its size, a well-stocked go bag has limited space when packing supplies to help you survive at a minimum, seventy-two hours if forced off the grid. Although you can separate the upper receiver from the lower on your budget-build AR15 and attach both to the outside of your go-bag with MOLLE attachments, there are a few requirements a quality go-bag gun should meet.
A perfect go-bag gun must at least be lightweight, easily portable either inside or outside of the bag, handle reliably every time it’s used, and give you a few versatile options. Whether you choose to carry your perfect go bag gun attached to the outside or pick one with smaller ergonomics stored inside your bag that still provides sufficient protection, you may want to consider these guns as your best go-bag gun.
Ruger 10/22 Takedown Is Easy To Store In A Go Bag
When it comes to .22 caliber or .22LR rifles, one of the best rifles for your go bag is the Ruger 10/22 Takedown, ideal for bugging out when catastrophe happens. The Ruger 10/22 Takedown breaks down quickly into two pieces with a maximum length of only 18.5 inches, which fits into most bug-out bags leaving sufficient space for your tactical scope, survival supplies and, of course, necessary ammunition.
Ruger threads the barrel of the Takedown, which provides you more heightened velocity shots, and supports a suppressor system in the event you need to maintain stealth if necessary. While most survivalists may prefer something with a little higher caliber for personal protection or stopping more significant game threats, this Ruger 10/22 Takedown can be highly effective in the right hands and an excellent selection for your go-bag.
Springfield Armory M6 Scout
Based on the aircrew survival weapon adopted by the United States Airforce, the Springfield Armory Scout is another foldable gun that takes up little space in your go bag. When folded up, this rifle from Springfield only takes up fifteen inches of space, providing you a versatile survival gun with a choice of .22LR caliber and 410 shotgun ammunition in an over-under configuration.
When it comes to maximum efficiency in your go-bag, one of the best features of the M6 Scout is its internal ammo storage system with a capacity of fifteen rounds of .22 caliber and a maximum of four 410 shotgun shells. Even if you need to carry additional ammunition, you won’t have to suffer cramped quarters inside your go bag if you add the optional ammo sleeve Springfield Armory provides for the M6 Scout.
Sig Sauer MPX K
For the survivalist who feels more comfortable including a bug-out gun with higher caliber rounds in sufficient quantity to stop even the most dangerous threat, the MPX K sub-machine gun makes an excellent addition. One of the best features of the MPX K from Sig Sauer is the PCB folding brace which compacts the size of the gun so that it fits nicely inside your go-bag, taking up minimal space.
Another feature of the MPX K sub-machine gun is if you must react to a threat quickly, you can operate this gun even without bothering to deploy the PCB brace. With a barrel length of only 4.5 inches, and an overall length of 22.5 inches, the MPX K gives you all the power you need for protection in a compact weapon without forcing you to leave precious supplies behind. Not only is the MPX K an excellent weapon of choice, but the MPX K weighs in at only five pounds which means you won’t have to suffer too much additional weight when lugging your go-bag around.
The jury reached a consensus many years ago about the Taurus Judge when it comes to versatility. While the Judge is more significant and a bit heavier than most handguns on the market, it’s still smaller than a broken-down AR15 or other types of takedown carbines or rifles.
The Taurus Judge is a powerful handgun firing .45 Colt caliber ammunition, which will provide you a formidable smaller profile weapon for personal protection. When it comes to small game hunting, the Taurus Judge also handles .410 shotgun ammunition and can give you a perfect blend of a hunting or self-defense weapon that’s easily tucked away in any go bag.
Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ
With enough practice, you can eventually get good enough to hunt small game on the hoof with the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield, but when it comes to personal protection, the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield is probably one of the better additions to your go-bag. A compact pistol shooting .380 ACP rounds, the M&P Shield sports a dry-weight without ammunition of only 18.5 ounces, which means less weight in your go-bag from the start.
If you want to include a perfect personal protection handgun in your go bag, the M&P Shield represents one of the most lightweight, reliable, and accurate handguns on the market today. There are a couple of reasons why the Smith & Wesson M&P is an excellent choice to include as part of your bug-out equipment. First, the M&P Shield fires .380 rounds with less bulk weight than most ammo on the market which means you can carry more ammunition if necessary. Second, the M&P Shield EZ is small enough to consider carrying it in a concealed carry fashion, which opens even more space inside your go-bag for much-needed supplies.
Whatever You Choose
Remember that the purpose of a well-equipped go-bag is to keep you alive when you’re forced off the grid and must learn to live on your instincts and what you carry in your kit. If whatever is in your go-bag doesn’t do the trick, you may not get a chance to return home and switch things around.
Before the impossible becomes a definite possibility, consider all items, including the type of gun you decide to carry, with great care and make an informed choice. When disaster happens, and you suddenly find yourself in a state of ill-preparedness, not having your go bag stocked with the right supplies and personal protection is almost guaranteed to lessen your chances of survival.
A Personal Defense Weapon is anything from a 9mm pistol that you can carry concealed on your person to an AR-10 chambered in .308 and beyond: if you take the definitions of each individual word.
However, in industry parlance, the term “personal defense weapon” refers to a rather specific class of firearms, which over time has been expanded to include many weapons commonly employed by citizens for defensive needs.
In order to explain the benefits of owning such a weapon, one must know precisely what a personal defense weapon is.
What is a Personal Defense Weapon?
Like many firearms industry definitions, ambiguous terms can and usually do refer to specific types and classes of weapons.
Strictly defined, a personal defense weapon (PDW) is a select-fire magazine-fed firearm that is chambered in a small, high-velocity cartridge that usually resembled a scaled-down intermediate or battle rifle cartridge.
For professional users such as law enforcement and military, personal defense weapons are ostensibly supposed to fill the gap between a submachine gun chambered in a pistol caliber, i.e. a Heckler & Koch MP5 chambered in 9mm, and a carbine, such as a Colt or FN-manufactured M4A1 chambered in 5.56mm.
The name itself describes the specific role of the weapon – a compact and effective firearm that can be carried for personal defense. The idea is that these types of firearms would be issued to logistical and support personnel in a military organization, i.e. those men and women whose primary purpose is not to engage an enemy or a threat.
What is the Role of A Personal Defense Weapon?
Think engineers, drivers, medics, artillery/missile crews, and communications specialists. Basically the “tail” that keeps any modern military functioning and fighting. Since ideally, these personnel aren’t engaged in heavy combat, the compact size of a personal defense weapon proves to be less of a burden than a full-size carbine or battle rifle.
Because of their compact size and ballistic performance, traditional personal defense weapons have been adopted by combat troops who specialize in close-quarters fighting, tactical law enforcement units aka SWAT, and specialist roles like executive protection personnel.
Modern personal defense weapons, by the strict definition, include firearms like the FN P90 chambered in 5.7x28mm, the Heckler & Koch MP7 chambered in 4.6x30mm HK, and the Chinese QCW-05 chambered in 5.8x21mm.
Can Civilians Own Personal Defense Weapons?
Yes, however, as is painfully apparent to armed citizens, all these weapons are select-fire and thus heavily restricted and near-impossible for non-government users to possess. Also, as these firearms are chambered in rather hard-to-find cartridges, they can be rather expensive to own and train with.
With that in mind, several enterprising manufacturers have, over the past decade or so, introduced firearms that combine the compactness and portability of traditional personal defense weapons, with features that make them more palatable and easier to acquire for the citizen market.
Some manufacturers have simply made individual citizen-legal variants of their existing personal defense weapons.
For example, soon after the debut of the P90, FN Herstal introduced the PS90, a semi-automatic personal defense weapon, with a 16-inch barrel to ensure the firearm does not fall under the provisions of the National Firearms Act.
Of course, chambered in 5.7x28mm, the PS90 does ship with 50 or 30-round magazines, and yes, 10-round magazines for restricted states such as New York.
CMMG has recently bridged the gap with AR-styled pistols chambered in 4.6x30mm HK and 5.7x28mm, offering users the opportunity to use these exotic cartridges, in a compact platform that is immediately familiar to most American gun owners.
Along those lines, other manufacturers have taken the AR-15 platform and simply reduced it’s footprint to provide a more compact weapons system, while retaining the ubiquitous and familiar 5.56x45mm cartridge.
For example, Daniel Defense offers PDW-sized versions of their DDM4 carbine, usually shipping in a pistol configuration, but is available as a short-barreled rifle for those who wish to file the proper NFA paperwork and navigate the bureaucratic maze.
More and more, manufacturers do realize the ideal market for a personal defense weapon is the American citizen market, and they have designed and engineered accordingly.
Of course, before one makes the commitment to a personal defense weapon, one should know the benefits of owning one.
What Are the Benefits of A PDW?
Personal defense weapons, as a class of firearms, were designed to be utilized by support personnel in a modern military, i.e. those soldiers who aren’t combat troops per se, but still run the risk of encountering enemy combatants, especially in today’s warfighting environments where the lines of battle are not clear, and the threat can present itself anywhere, at any time.
In a sense, these support personnel experience a similar threat profile to what a citizen user does.
As citizens, we’re usually not in a role as a combat soldier. We’re at our jobs, we’re at home, we’re on the go in the modern buzz of American life.
Thus, toting around a carbine or similar-sized weapon in a daily defensive role could prove to be burdensome. Especially for new gun owners, if a firearm becomes truly burdensome, they are often tempted to leave it at home and not use it at all.
A personal defense weapon fills this void, giving the citizen user plenty of firepower on tap, in a compact and portable package. Whether it’s an AR-pistol build sporting a PDW-styled brace, or something a little more exotic like the PS90, the modern PDW truly gives the citizen defender the edge.
A personal defense weapon’s compact size also lends itself to a specific advantage in close quarters use. Most of the American population lives in cities and the suburbs, where space is at a premium.
While with training, it is entirely possible to manipulate and utilize a standard-sized AR-15 rifle with a 16-inch barrel inside of the home, it can prove problematic, especially under stress. Clearing that corner could see the barrel of the rifle butting into walls and other objects, which can be hazardous and even deadly depending on the situation.
Scaling down the AR to a compact PDW-sized pistol configuration makes navigating the cramped corridors of the home and urban environment that much easier to manage, especially if one chooses to purchase a suppressor and fit it to their PDW.
Some may note that a personal defense weapon is larger than a handgun. While true, a PDW is not exceedingly larger than a handgun, and provides the advantage of a larger-framed weapon which aids in recoil management and ease of use, especially under duress. Pistols may be ubiquitous, but as compared to larger weapons, they are harder to truly master.
Along those lines, personal defense weapons also benefit from increased effectiveness at close range, especially those which are chambered in dedicated PDW cartridges such as 5.7x28mm and 4.6x30mm.
Why You Should Buy a Personal Defense Weapon
Whether the PDW is chambered in those dedicated cartridges, or traditional carbine/rifle rounds, a personal defense weapon puts increased performance in the hands of the defender, while maintaining a compact weapon size and form factor.
Though personal defense weapons got their start in the military and law enforcement sector, their benefits of compact size, increased terminal performance as compared to a handgun, and ease of use have started to endear them to the citizen sector, with more and more consumers picking PDWs as their tool of choice for defense of life, liberty, and property.