Scout scope on an AR15? Why not?

Leupold Scout Scope

Doing this is something I’ve talked about before, and I have a couple of friends who have kicked the idea around as well. Why not mount a scout scope on an AR15 pattern rifle? Luckily, I happened to have a Leupold mount sitting around, and a Leupold FX-II Scout so I naturally paired them on my Troy Defense rifle. So why put a scout scope on an AR?

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Magstorage Solutions AR-15 Mag Holder

I recently saw this AR magazine storage device on the DVOR website (Which is a wonderful website for finding all variety of gear you didn’t know you need), it seemed to be well made but it was manufactured by a company was one I had never heard of – Magstorage Solutions. I did a little research, looked at the photos several times I decided it was something I could use.  A short transaction later, it was on its way, bought on my own dime.  I am pleased to say, having installed it and done numerous mag insertions and extractions, that I feel it has legitimate value.IMG_4855

First things first, what is it? A polymer, wall mounted, AR mag storage device. It allows you to store 6 mags, loaded or unloaded, on a vertical surface. Now I fully recognize that many people just lay their mags down, but my organizational OCD keeps me from doing that.

Does it work? Yes!  I haven’t tried the retention in a vast variety of temperatures but I don’t foresee that being an issue. The unit has six slots, each of which holds a single mag under light tension. The mags snap in and out with ease and are secure when installed. In short, it works as advertised.

IMG_4880As the photo shows, I tried several different brands and types of 30 round mags – Magpul, C-Products, a surplus G.I. unit and a single Magpul 20 round mag.

I need to make it clear that Magstorage Solutions advertises this for use with 30 round magazines, but I am happy to report that the 20 round mag fit quite nicely and was secure.

So, do you “need” it?

If you are OK with clutter and you leave your loaded mags lying around, then probably not. If you are Rambo, with 10 loaded mags in a plate carrier, ready to battle the ghost of Saladin;  this probably isn’t for you.

If you are short on storage space or appreciate items being located precisely where you expect them, this is for you.  I also suspect 3-gunners would like this, given all of the gear they keep.

In the end, I love it and think it was money well spent.

You can find them here: Magstorage Solutions

Troy Di-Optic Sights

IMG_4837Four or five years ago I decided to ditch my A2 carry handle and put a Troy BUIS on my AR.  Being new to the AR platform, I thought it would be a good idea to purchase the Troy BUIS with the Di-Optic Aperture (DOA) instead of a standard A2 aperture. Fast forward to 2015 and I have put enough rounds down range comparing the two apertures that I feel confident in offering an experience based opinion.

Yes, I know Troy Industries has made a lot of people mad with the hiring and appointment of individuals with polarizing backgrounds, but they still make a good product. I’ve found many of the people who say they’ll never send another dime to Troy are often the same ones that don’t bat an eye purchasing crap made in China by an oppressed people under a communist regime.

What is the Di-Optic Aperture? I’ll let Troy Industries explain:

“The DOA™ key design strength lies in its rhombus-shaped aperture, which centers the eye on the front post instantly and effortlessly. In a heartbeat, the shooter zeroes on the target and is ready to fire. Circular apertures simply cannot produce this effect. The DOA™ optics, coupled with Troy Industries™ legendary battle-ready toughness, provides a dramatic advance in shooting speed, accuracy and reliability.”

Sold!  I can safely say, after shooting a standard A2 carry handle and the DOA side by side, that my eyes prefer the standard A2 Aperture. As for ruggedness and quality, the Troy BUIS is solid as a rock and works as advertised.

I had two main issues with the DOA, issues that were also noticed by some friends that shot my gun with the DOA sight installed.

  1. The white lines are visible and rather distracting when you bring the gun up and look through the sight. I am not sure the purpose and I used a Sharpie to darken them, which helped, but…
  1. I found the diamond shape to be completely distracting. The human eye is really good at centering the object in focus and for my eyes the round aperture of the A2 style sight just “melts” away, leaving a clear front post view. With the DOA, I couldn’t get that Diamond shape out of my peripheral vision; as a result I found myself chasing the front post with each shot.  It actually had the opposite effect!  It made me slower and less accurate; which is not something I look for in a sight.

In a nutshell, the Di-Optic Aperture made it harder for me to make accurate shots and I damn sure wasn’t any quicker on a timer. I can solidly recommend the Troy BUIS for their durability, but in my opinion, stay with the standard A2 aperture and your training time and money can be used to improve other skills, instead of learning a new sight system.

As for me, I am selling the Di-Optic and sticking with the A2 unit in the photo.

Trunk Gun Considerations, Part 1.

Just like the first snow of the season sends unprepared drivers to the mechanic for new wiper blades and snow tires, two dramatic episodes of Jihad in the West have ignited a renewed interest in the “Trunk Gun”. This is usually a long gun and some other ancillary gear kept in readiness in a personal vehicle meant as a supplement to our daily carry pistol.

It’s a popular and comforting idea, but like our patron saint kept needling us, “What is it for? How is it to be used?” Answering these questions leads to better and more frugal gear decisions and provides some focus for future training.

Let’s start with what it is not for. The trunk gun is not there to go and get, and then re-enter a situation to deal with the threat ourselves. If you have made it to your car, you can safely exit the area and that is our smartest plan. If you encounter jihad on your way to making an escape, by all means burn them down, but most of these events are over in moments and by the time you get to your car, get your big gun and get back to the fight, it will be over and you will be a target for the responding officers. We, the armed, non-sworn, civilians of this country, do not carry guns to be Junior G-Men. We do not have belt pistols and trunk guns to seek out and engage terrorists. That is the job of the professionals, and doing so may well see us get shot by police instead of terrorists. Shot is shot, and it sucks.

Rather, the trunk gun is there to give the citizen more capability over a handgun to cope with an elevated threat situation in their area. While we’re trying to get out of Dodge in a situation where we have advance warning of heightened danger, a long gun up front gives us more options.

Hardware wise, this immediately suggests America’s Rifle. A reliable AR-15 type with a 16″ barrel and collapsible stock is lightweight and portable and can deal with just about anything man-sized at any distance at which we can identify a threat. An AR that lives in a trunk should absolutely have fixed iron sights. For this a permanently pinned front sight tower and if you’re using a flat top receiver, a fixed rear sight like the Daniel Defense 1.5 or the Troy unit are best. A red dot sight turns maintaining a sight picture into Easy Mode, but a trunk is a harsh environment for batteries and electronics. Hot and cold extremes, vibration, bumps and uncontrolled humidity all add up to a potentially dead dot when you need it the most. Sturdy iron sights that will keep a zero are a primary requirement, not a backup.

AR-15 SP1

And let’s be honest. How many of us are eager to drop $500 on a quality red dot that will live most of it’s life in our trunk? The temptation to cheap out on a Chinese Fakepoint for your trunk gun is high, and should be avoided. Get a good set of irons first and learn to use them well until you can afford a real red dot and can get into the habit of checking it regularly.

Similarly, how many of us will commit to checking the batteries in our sights on a regular basis? For this reason, I think a flashlight, while indispensable on a home defense AR, is a low priority on a trunk gun. Better to have a small stub of rail already in place on the gun so you can throw on a flashlight like a Streamlight TLR-1 or similar if required.

A sling is to the rifle as the holster is to the pistol, and will make life easier if you have to abandon your car and move out on foot. A lightweight and compact chest rig that allows you to draw your carry pistol without interference is also a good idea, but simply stuffing some spare magazines into your pockets is better than nothing.

If you can’t afford an AR-15 for your trunk, there’s still good options that won’t break the bank.

AR15s are not finicky maintenance queens

A lot of people on the internet have this idea in their heads that AR15s are these finicky, maintenance queens that need to be constantly cleaned and scraped free of any bit of debris lest they suffer a catastrophic malfunction. There are lot of reasons why people think this, but suffice to say it’s not true. Our buddy John from Ballistic Radio, with the help of Knight’s Armament and Freedom Munitions decided to show you how not true that was, so he shot 15,000 rounds through an AR15 without cleaning it, then dumped an entire bag of sand on it. (some NSFW language, so use your headphones)

KAC SR-15 MOD2 Sand Dump Test AFTER 15,000 rounds without cleaning… from Ballistic Radio on Vimeo.

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Photo of the day: Rifles* for things

arx100 arpistol and lamb rifle

Yes, technically one of these is a pistol. But they’re all awesome. Top to bottom:

  • Beretta ARX-100: Trijicon RMR, Troy BattleSights, Crimson Trace Railmaster, Troy Battlemag
  • SB15 pistol: DPMS upper, Magpul rear sight, Troy Battlemag, Colt BCG, Aero Precision lower
  • Troy Defense Lamb Carbine: Leupold 2-7 power scope, sexy 20 round mag

Mmmmm carbines.

SB15 Pistol build update

A while back we built an AR15 pistol up using an Aero Precision lower, DPMS complete upper from our friends at Brownells, and of course the Sig SB15 brace. Unfortunately, there were some feed issues with the gun, as demonstrated below:

After some testing, it was determined that the cause of the issue was likely the BCG. This was tested by putting the BCG in another gun and watching it double-feed like a champ all day long. So, the pistol has been upgraded. Here’s the new look, and new hotness.

SB15 with 40 round Pmag

Still the same handguard and fixed front sight post, but the bolt carrier group has been upgraded to a Colt 6920 BCG that was sitting around the office. The charging handle was upgraded to a Rainier Arms Raptor because of reasons, and then I stuck a 40 round PMag in it because reloading is stupid. It’s going to the range tomorrow to see how it works. Sharp eyed readers will also notice the Crimson Trace Railmaster Light/Laser combo mounted on the side of the gun, and there’s a good reason for that. This gun is actually a really neat platform for an HD gun, but to really fill that role properly it needs sweet beams. So we put the best laser on the market on it, because anything less than the best is a felony.

Of course, what it really needs to be perfect for HD is a suppressor. Luckily it’s already wearing an AAC flash hider, so now I just need to come up with 1,000 bucks and wait 9 months for the paperwork to get approved. Oh, and make sure the gun actually works.

Smith & Wesson M&P15 MOE review

Sometimes you just need meat and potatoes. The AR15 market is so crowded right now; everything from basic entry level rifles all the way up to multi-thousand dollar high-end near custom guns. It’s quite similar to the 1911 market, to the point that the phrase “AR15” is nearly meaningless other than to describe an idea of a rifle. But what if you don’t want to build your own gun or spend $3,000 on a custom build? What if you just want a .223 caliber rifle that feeds from 30 round detachable box magazines, runs reliably, has good features, and nice ergonomics? Well, if that’s what you want, perhaps you should check out the Smith & Wesson M&P15 MOE.

m&P15 moe-1

The Vitals
What we have with the M&P15 MOE is meat and potatoes. With the exception of the mid-length gas system, it’s as close to “rifle, 5.56, generic” as you can get, and the addition of the Magpul Original Equipment that makes up the stock, handguard, and pistol grip makes the gun a lot more comfortable to shoot than a truly generic “rifle, 5.56.” A 16 inch barrel, fixed front sight post, Smith & Wesson’s proprietary flash hider – everything on this rifle is set up to be simple and rugged. It weighs 6.5 pounds unloaded without an optic, which is right in the butter zone for rifles.

Unlike most of my gun tests, I didn’t test the M&P15 MOE on an isolated range; it was with me for a day in the Wyoming desert on an epic prairie dog hunt. This really gave me a feel for the rifle’s real world utility. It’s easy to say that a rifle is great when your review consists of shooting a few boxes of ammo through it on a private range; it’s another thing to say it’s great when you’ve had it bouncing around in the cab of a UTV, covered in dust, getting in and out of vehicles, and shooting over 400 rounds in hot, dusty conditions.

The Test
I drew the M&P15 MOE out of a pool of available rifles. Initially, I had some feeding problems with the gun; a quick inspection showed that the bolt was bone dry. I hosed the BCG with some available lube, and it ran like a top for 300 rounds of various Hornady .223 ammo.

m&p15 moe-3

Over the course of the day in the desert, the M&P15 MOE did everything I needed it to do. It was accurate enough to hit prairie dogs out to 250 yards, it was reliable (after being lubricated), and it was fast handling. There were a couple of opportunities to snap-shoot prairie dogs that were inside 25 yards on us. With the short barrel and collapsible stock, the MOE carbine rode along in the door pocket of the UTV like it was meant to be there. My favorite shot of the entire hunt was cruising on private property, the passenger in the UTV says “there’s one to left” – I hit the brakes in the Viking, spot the prairie dog about 20 yards out of the driver’s side door. The rifle comes up to my shoulder, safety comes off and BLAM I’m treated to flying prairie dog parts.

m&p15 moe-4

The Verdict
Do you want a reliable, accurate rifle that has all the stuff you need and none of the junk you don’t need? I’d strongly recommend giving the Smith & Wesson M&P15 MOE mid-length a look. It’s widely available, retails for right around $1,000, and will do everything you need it to do. Just make sure to keep it lubricated!

Photo of the day: Smith & Wesson M&P15 MOE

M&P15 MOE - yamaha viking

Gun: Smith & Wesson M&P15 MOE with 20 round GI magazine. Magpul equipment in FDE.
Vehicle: Yamaha Viking VI
Scope: Bushnell AR223 3-9x40mm

This was a really great set-up for knocking around the backcountry of Wyoming looking for prairie dogs and jackrabbits to shoot. The short, 16 inch carbine was perfect for on the vehicle, easily accurate for shots on dogs at 200 yards, and with the scope dialed up to 9x you could actually see prairie dogs out to 400 yards…although hitting them at that distance was a little tough.

MG Industries Introduces Four Popular Calibers in One “Survival Package”

The MARCK-15 AR Hydra Platform in 9mm packaged with 5.56 NATO, 7.62×39 and .300 Blackout conversions all in one rifle case

OLD TOWN, ME (June 2014) – MG Industries, manufacturers of the MARCK 15 “Hydra” platform, announce the creation of several “packages” of their famous, highly-configurable, modular AR-15 style rifle with certain calibers to create kits targeted to specific markets.

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For the individual who takes survival and preparation seriously, the MGI Survival Package is the kit to purchase. The kit comes packaged in a rugged, lockable rifle case with specially cut foam inserts. The package is built on the MARCK-15 “Hydra,” the base system in 9mm with a modular lower receiver, a 9mm magazine well, a QCB-D upper receiver, a 16-inch bull barrel and a 9mm Colt-style bolt.

Additionally, the Survival package contains three of the most popular calibers on the market: 5.56 NATO, 7.62×39 and .300 Blackout. The 5.56 NATO conversion package includes the 5.56 barrel, complete bolt carrier group and the AR magwell. The 7.62×39, or AK47 conversion kit, comes with a 7.62×39 barrel, MGI’s enhanced 7.62×39 bolt and firing pin installed in MGI’s modified bolt carrier and the AK47 magwell. A complete .300 Blackout barrel is also included and ready for use.

The MARCK-15 Hydra is the only truly modular rifle that can convert into multiple calibers in just minutes. Designed by an industry innovator and Veteran, the MARCK-15 is the only rifle you will ever need. Sold separately, the rifle and conversions would cost over $3,000.00. Available for a limited time as the Survival Package at $2,799.00.

For more information, visit www.mgi-military.com or your local retailer. Retailers, contact MGI at [email protected] to find out more about carrying the most modular rifle system in the world.