Monday, July 17, 2017

Century Arms RAS47 AKM AK-47 Rifle Review

Century Arms RAS47 AKM AK-47 Rifle Review

I reviewed the first Century International Arms American made C39 Centurion rifle when it was first introduced and I loved it. Featuring a billet ordnance grade steel receiver, that original V1 C39 with a has been the base for many upgrades and reviews and along the way has been a perfectly reliable AK47. It looks like hell at this point, but just keep working. Century International Arms then offered a C39V2 model which offer a 100% US made AK47 with all the nice little touches you would expect from a gentleman's AK47. Stunning glossy blued finish and beautiful wooden stocks.  Century Arms expended that billet ordnance steel line offering then with Magpul Zuhkov furniture and now is offering a lighter 100% American model with stamped receiver dubbed the RAS47.

AMERICAN MADE WITH AMERICAN PARTS
This Century Arms RAS47 delivers another 100% American made and 100% based American parts rifle with the upgraded trigger, muzzle brake, and Magpul Zuhkoz furniture but now in a stamped 16-gauge 4140 steel shot folded steel receiver. This model is nearly a pound lighter than the billet ordnance steel receiver model and includes a standard side optic mount for an optional optics mount. The Century Arms RAS47 is a classic high quality updated AK-47 which has been termed the AKM. If you see an AK-47 style gun labeled AKM, it should indicate that it has been upgraded/updated from the older original specs.

Where the Century Arms RAS47 is different is that this rifle really does offer a true set of upgraded components. This is not your typical set of dubious parts from around the globe and then just assembled in the US AK-47, instead this rifle is completely made from all US made components and then assembled here in the US. Having owned and sold a few no-name AKs with dubiously sourced parts, I will state that there can be a huge quality, reliability, and accuracy difference between a high quality US made AK and the internally sourced models. With the RAS47, you know that you are getting top quality.  

Beyond the quality, the insanely comfortable Magpul Zukov furniture, and included side optics mount, Century Arms has carried forward their exceptionally great RAK-1 enhanced trigger group. Where my heavy billet V1 C39 makes a great scout rifle, this Century Arms RAS47 stamped receiver is exactly what I want for a red-dot equipped AKM - updated AK-47.

FEATURES AND FUNCTIONS
The RAS47 features 4150 chrome moly steel with nitride finish.  The nitriding also delivers the look and feel of a higher end barrel finish. Other new features are the T-paddle extended magazine release, a Magpul AK Mag, bolt hold open safety, enhanced dust cover, and lightened bolt carrier assembly for improved performance. 

The included RAK1 "enhanced trigger" is the closest thing to a match trigger for AK47 on the market. The trigger is worlds better than the triggers typically found on AK's.

The remaining internals and sights on the rifle remain unchanged from the previous US made C39 rifles. The removable and effective Century slant compensator remains as do the standard adjustable AK front sight pin and rear sight are fully windage and elevation adjustable from 100 to 800 yards.

I had no issues throughout testing from a function perspective. A side Aimpoint T-1 Micro red dot format optics mount was also included for my review. I tested several different red dots and also the return-to-zero capability after removal and I am very impressed with the robust time tested design and return-to-zero reliability. I settled on a Vortex Sparc which I had a screw-in 3X multiplier. This delivers both a fast red dot and the option for a little more precision for longer shots. My only complaint is that currently I am not aware of other compatible side optics picatinny mounts fro the C39/RAS47 format optics side mount. Centry has mutliple bolt mount points on the top of the side mount rail, but I have not found any compatible rails mounts to provide the flexibility to swap between a magnified optic or a red-dot.


ACCURACY
When it comes to high end ammo, Hornady has a pretty nice selection. Like the C39 series tested previously, my best groups were from the Hornady Zombie Max ammo which is very close to Hornady’s top grade 7.62x39 steel cased ammo.  With the regular $6 a box Herters/Tula/Wolf ammo I saw around 4” groups at 100 yards off the rest with iron sights. However with the Hornady rounds my best group was in the 1.5” range at 100 yards. This gun gets the job done and and as expected with any AK it is not a tack-driver.

FINAL THOUGHTS
The Century Arms AK-47 line has been a great set of rifles which have see a lot of use my me with training, plinking, and even hunting. Consider that the 7.62x39 has just a bit more umph than the time proven 30-30 whitetail and hog round and you can easily consider slipping in a 5-round magazine for hunting all in a rifle package design which has been already time tested to take a huge beating. With the exception of my Henry lever action, this is my favorite gun for quick stalking based hunts where shots are unlikely beyond 150 yards.

This new RAK47 model offers AK-47 aficionados a very well appointed, light, and nice looking firearm option with some well thought out refinements and performance upgrades which also add to the cosmetic quality feel of the rifle. What I like about the Century Arms RAS47 is that they have put a 100% made AKM/AK-47 all together into an extremely well appointed and light rifle which is ready for anything.

SPECS
Caliber: 7.62x39mm
Action: Semi-automatic
Capacity: 30+1
Barrel length: 16.5"
Barrel material: 4150 chrome moly steel with nitride finish
Barrel twist: 1:10"
Stock: Magpul® Zhukov-S
Receiver: Stamped 1/16" 4140 steel with nitride finish
Pistol grip: Magpul® MOE
Sights (front/rear): AKM standard
Handguard: Magpul® Zhukov
Flash hider: Slant
Overall folded length: 25.25"
Overall deployed length: 34.75"-37.25"
Overall weight: 7.22 lbs.
Model Number: R12405N
100% Made entirely in the USA from only USA-made parts
MSRP $799
Street Price:  $740
SOURCES
Century Arms - www.centuryarms.com

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Building a $4500 Proof AR15 SBR Beyond Elite that Odin would Call BAD ASS

Building a $4500 Proof AR15 SBR Beyond Elite that Odin would Call BAD ASS


As the oddly worded title hinted, this is a top tier Short Barreled Rifle built on a Battle Arms Development receiver set using Proof Research Carbon fiber barrel, Bushnell Elite optic, and Odin forend. This is likely my most expensive build to date and the reality is the price still could have very easy to pushed higher.


The primary reason for SBRs continued popularity is that they deliver everything we want without any compromises in a short barreled AR15, in a format without configuration restrictions, and without the legal confusion associated with accidentally shouldering an AR15 brace equipped pistol. For this build I wanted a SBR which represented everything I love about SBRs, short, accurate, and fun all in a build which would showcase the cutting edge of components. This all out customized Battle Arms Development PDW lower with monolithically integrated VERT stock


Due to budget constraints of the first version of this build which totaled $900 lower + $200 tax stamp + $240 Geissele Super Dynamic trigger for the lower build alone, I had to wait to build the tier of custom upper I wanted. Sure the upper I featured in the initial review was still drool worthy and hardly low grade by any means featuring a stainless Ballistic Advantage Hansen barrel, Bootleg upper and handguard, and Bushnell FFP AR optic. With the new upper, the current custom build is likely one of those most impressively expensive SBR builds anywhere at a cash register tipping $4567 MSRP.


THE BUILD
Notably I did not pick out each of the components because they were expensive, but because they fit the purpose I wanted for the rifle - yes, I can look my wife in the eye and actually state this truefully. There are certainly much more expensive components and optics out there and even super custom Cerakote finishes. Adding an additional $2000 to the price could have been very easy.   Before jumping into each component, let’s run through the list of what is packed into this registered Short Barreled Rifle build:
ATF - $200 SBR tax stamp
BAD-PDW VERT Lower Billet Receiver - $900
BAD-556LW - Upper Billet Receiver - $260
Geissele Super Dynamic trigger - $240
Proof Research 11.5-inch Carbon Fiber Barrel - $940
Odin Works O2 Lite MLOK - $190
JP Rifles Match Bolt Kit - $138
Faxon Nitrided Ultralight Carrier - $180
Geissele Charging Handle - $89
Aero Precision Scope Mount - $80
Bushnell Elite SMRS 1-6.5x24 - $1250
Innovative Industries Stainless Flash Hider - $30
V7 Titanium Ejection Port Door -$57
Stainless Gas tube - $15
Zero Hour Micro Lightweight Gas Block - $55
TOTAL - $4624 - Yeah, this build got out of hand


Battle Arms Development B.A.D- The engineering prowess of B.A.D is reflected in their receivers delivering lightweight with strength, but these are premium receivers which together cost about the same as your average high-end AR15. The BAD-PDW VERT Lower Receiver was previously reviewed so I will summarize the review. Despite the $900 price tag the receiver includes everything short of your favorite trigger group including grip, every upgraded part BAD offers and the integrated VERT stock monolithically integrated into the receiver complete with buffer and spring assembly… which is just freaking cool. Yes, the BAD selector, take down pins, bolt release, adjustable grip, and all the detents and springs are included. 


This remains the most expensive production AR15 lower receiver made, but you do get a lot of features for the money in addition to the killer looks. This receiver set is well integrated with all the included components which means everything actually looks like it all was designed together. BAD has even thought through how the stock collapses while still allowing full function of all the controls.


Of note, like many other super short buffer tube assembles, the VERT stock and included buffer system does require a bit more gas pressure to operate which can require enlarging the barrel gas port a little for reliable cycling. Both the original build with the Ballistic Advantage barrel and the Proof barrel required the barrel gas port to be enlarged slightly to work reliably with the integrated VERT stock.


The $260 BAD-556LW billet upper receiver is the mate to the lower and delivers an extremely light 6.28-ounce weight while increasing strength compared to a mil-spec forged receiver. The upper omits the forward assist to shave weight and actually beefs up other areas to increase strength. The receiver paired beautifully to the Oden forend delivering outstanding continuity of the lines without an ugly gaps.


Geissele - The Super Dynamic trigger has been superb and delivers the full accuracy potential of any barrel, but Geissele is becoming a company delivering more than just triggers. A beautifully machined Geissele Super Charging Handle was added to complete the look, compliment the lines of the upper and it happens to be a kick ass ambi-charging handle as well.


Proof Research - One of the really nice things on a registered AR15 SBR receiver is that you can swap out to any upper regardless of the barrel length. Sure those tiny little 7.5-inch barrels are small, but they are also deafeningly loud. The 10-12-inch range has become my favorite barrel size for AR15 pistols and SBRs. It delivers excellent accuracy at tolerable sound pressure levels and still a size that make a SBR maneuverable. Carbon fiber barrels have intrigued me for some time and Proof Research is really turning heads with the performance of their barrels which are offered for a variety of bolt actions, AR15 and AR10 format rifles.


Proof Research uses their own match grade blanks which are thinned/turned-down and then partially backfilled with a proprietary composite carbon fiber which delivers near instantaneous heat transfer - thus a less stressed cooler running barrel even when fired at high rates. This patented design delivers retains match grade accuracy which is unaffected by high rate sustained firing. The same group you get with a cool barrel is pretty much the same group you will get with a heavily fired barrel. Though the carbon fiber barrels may look cool, the cool factor is a byproduct of the structurally engineered lighter barrel.


This build was lucky enough to use a 11.5-inch special contract run of SBR barrels made for a government special operations contract.  Proof still stocks the $940 11.5-inch Carbon Fiber Barrels, however they may be a limited release item. The concept was a short barrel which could provide top tier full barrel length accuracy even when suppressed. Based on the tiny little groups I am seeing downrange, I believe Proof exceeded that requirement.  It is important to note that Proof Research barrels are not necessarily lighter and in most cases I have found them to be about the same weight  as a comparable profile steel or stainless barrel. The advantage is the heat wicking property that keeps the barrel and groups from moving around as the barrel heats up - The voodoo works.


Odin Works - At this year’s SHOT show, I spied the insanely ultralight O2 Lite MLOK ODIN Works forend. The engineers have worked their magic to lighten the forend down as much as possible without compromising strength. The featured 9.5-inch 4.81-ounce handguard seemed like it was going to float off the workbench. The mounting hardware and barrel nut add another 2.7-ounces. If you have not looked at the detail Odin is putting into their products, you are missing out on a top tier brand. Even the included MLOK rails have stainless connectors…. just amazing detail. This is a beautiful open design MLOK compatible forend that delivers ergonomics and a full view of the stunning carbon fiber Proof barrel.

JP Rifles EnhancedBolt Match Bolt Kit - A top tier bolt makes all the difference in the world in accuracy and one of the top bolts delivering extremely consistent specs has been the JP Rifle EnhancedBolt. JP Rifles also offers this in a kit including a firing pin, cam pin, bolt, and retaining pin. This is a kit used in nearly every high accuracy AR15 build I have built. The bolt is fully AR15 compatible made from more durable SAE 9310 with improved lug geometry for reduced wear and easier locking/unlocking plus enhanced ejectors, extractors, and gas rings. Remember Mil-Spec is not a spec, but a spec range and JP delivers a bolt which is on the tighter tolerance of the range which means a more solid lock-up and ultimately tighter groups.


Faxon - As noted there is a need for higher gas pressure to cycle the short VERT buffer assembly and one way to increase the recoil the buffer sees is to use a ultra-light carrier. I have used the ultralight Faxon carrier in other builds and liked that it minimized the weight of this build, helped meet cycling requirements, and it paired nicely with with the JP EnhancedBolt.


Aero Precision - The AP ultra-light scope mount is probably the number one mount I recommend to everyone. These are phenomenally consistent, super light weight, beautifully made, hold zero when they are removed and remounted, look like they are monolithically integrated into any upper, and are only $80. Sure I could have chosen an optics mount twice the price, but for this build the trim lines and light weight of the AP scope mount made perfect sense.


Bushnell - The first version of this build featured a $250 Bushnell AR 1-4 FFP which is a nice optic, but represents the entry level of Bushnell’s low power AR optic line. The $1250 Elite SMRS 1-6.5x24 is the other extreme and is the top end of Bushnell’s Elite line… well technically they just introduced a 1-8 SMRS now, but it was not available at the point of this article.



The Elite Tactical SMRS (Short Mid-Range Rifle 1-6.5x24mm Scope) was designed with input from 3-Gun, military and LEO experts to provide ease of use and unfailing reliability. The optic is a non-zooming mil-based second focal plane reticle with a folding zoom lever. What I really liked about this optic was the brilliant clarity and the illuminated BTR-2 reticle with mil-based ladder that does not lock the shooting into preset BDC drop. This has become my favorite lower power variable optic and in the process it keeps me working on my mil-based adjustments.  For a SBR which does have the ability to deliver tiny little groups, this optic perfectly delivers everything you could want in magnification from zero to 500 yards.


Innovative Industries - Over the years I have realized that those fancy brakes do a wonderful job of mitigating recoil and muzzle rise, but they are loud as hell. In a SBR with a short barrel you want quieter, not louder and one of the questest muzzle devices remains a A2 style flash hider. For a showier A2, the $30 Innovative Industries stainless flash hider is insanely well made. I have three of these installed on several build and could not be happier with the quality.

Miscellaneous Parts - Stainless gas tubes are durable and also be hand polished to a beautiful luster as was done on this build. The Zero Hour Micro was found during some searching for a super lightweight gas block. It is a well made lightweight design which I have found no issues from a durability perspective. It would not be my pick as a gas block for full auto, but it has been more than durable enough for spirited shooting on this semi-auto platform. I really did not need the gas adjustability of an adjustable gas block, but minimizing weight was a priority - for $55 the Zero Hour Micro has performed perfectly. The V Seven titanium ejection port door delivers a nice little touch that carries through the stainless bits into the rear of the receiver.


FINAL THOUGHTS
The final build is lightweight and probably total overkill for the intermittent predator hunting it is used for, but the gun has already received a lot of use as a trainer for tactical drills and a few rifle classes. There may still be a few tweaks here and there, however this is about everything I could dream of in an SBR and it is a worthy investment in a tax stamped NFA which I will never sell.


SOURCES
Battle Arms Development - http://www.battlearmsdevelopment.com
V Seven - https://www.vsevenweaponsystems.com

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Sunjack 14W 8000mAh Solar Charger Review

Sunjack 14W 8000mAh Solar Charger Review
It's the little things in life that really impact model life… ya know like electrical power for example. This last weekend we experienced 90 MPH winds and F1 and F2 tornadoes which netted well over 70K people without power including our household. After the realization that it would be days instead of hours until we would get power back up, the first thing tool I grabbed was the Sunjack charger to get all the cell phones charged up. The second task was of course the sprint to the store to get whatever generator was available to keep the refrigerators running. The Sunjack will not run your refrigerator, but it will save your backside when it comes to keeping your digital equipment powered up even when the number of those devices add up.
WHAT IS IT?
The Sunjack 14W 8000mAh high power durable shock, vibration, and weather resistant Solar Charger is a foldable hard panel charger complete with 8000mAh battery pack included. The first point is that the Sunjack is well made 1.75lb of heavy duty solar power that is ready to travel anywhere. This is not one of those little toy cell phone chargers that you find at the airport which will charge your phone in a few days.  The Sunjack 14W 8000mAh Solar Charger delivers fast 90 min cell phone charge times and the included battery has enough juice to fully recharge up four phones or a tablet or completely recharge the 8000mAh battery in five hours of direct sun… that is a lot of free sun power.
Notably the Sunjack 14W 8000mAh Solar Charger is packable and powerful but is not small.  The charger is about the same size as an iPad when folded and a fairly large 9" x 31" x 1" size when unfolded, but with solar chargers the size and increased size of the solar panels is where the power comes from. Small solar chargers generally net small power outputs, where as larger chargers like the Sunjack delivers substantially more power which in full direct sun can offer nearly the same charging times as an outlet.  With the very large solar panel system, you electronics can still get charged from the solar panel during overcast days – a feat that small pocket chargers are unable to accomplish.
Contrasting this to several other “pocket” cell phone rechargers I have used in the past. Most of these smaller chargers require at least eight hours of charge time to net a full cell phone charge. Typically small pocket charger cannot deliver the power to recharge larger devices such as iPads, GPS, or other similar tablet sized devices. The Sunjack 14W 8000mAh Solar Charger delivers plenty of power that it can deliver 2 amps of power to its onboard dual USB outlets. With this type of power, there is no issue charging an iPad and cell phone at the same time.
One of the other huge benefits of the Sunjack 14W 8000mAh Solar Charger is that it includes a Qualcomm 8000mAh rechargeable battery pack. This included feature delivers some substantial benefits. The battery can be charged, disconnected and used without being connected to the bulkier charger. For those highly overcast days where the output of the charger is not optimal, the solar charger can provide a slower charge to the battery, while the battery is delivers full power full amperage recharge power based on the battery reserves. This is a very flexible system which offers a lot of options for keeping your connected.

Also included with the Sunjack 14W 8000mAh Solar Charger are a couple of carabiners provides for a simple solution to hang the charger for recharging. Sunjack notes they includes a fast charge cable which is a higher amp rated higher quality cable to assure full current and fast power transfer.
FINAL THOUGHTS
Sunjack does offer their solar chargers in a number of sizes and models, but I really liked this size. Sure I cannot run a refrigerator, but I was able to easily keep my phones and iPad up and running during the three day power outage. Being able to keep communication open to respond to emails, check the weather and status of the outage repairs, and still have full phone use even without power was a huge benefit. Is the $150 MSRP worth the price, well not if you have power, but I will say if you are nowhere near a working outlet, it is reasonable price for a tool that will likely last for over a decade and deliver the power you need when you are remotely outdoors or without power. An excellent piece of equipment I am sure to use for years to come.
SPECS
- SUNJACK 14 Watt Portable Solar Charger with dual 2 Amp USB output ports
- SUNJACK Qualcomm 2.0 Quickcharge 8000mAh Battery Pack (recharged up to 4 smartphones or 1 tablet)
- SUNJACK Fast-Charge Cable
- SUNJACK Carabiners
- Quickstart Guide
- 1 Year Manufacturer Warranty
- Full 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
Solar panels: 14 watts of high efficiency mono-crystalline
Max output voltage/current: One 5V/1.5A USB port
Battery: 8,000mAh lithium-polymer battery ~ 5 hours
Unit Size folded: 9" x 6.5" x 1.75" (23cm x 16.5cm x 4.5cm) - similar to an iPad.
Unit Size unfolded: 9" x 31" x 1" (23cm x 79cm x 2.5cm)
Unit Weight: 1.75 / 0.8 (lbs/kg)
Packaging Dimension: 10.5" x 8.5' x 2" (27cm x 22cm x 5.1cm)
MSRP $149
SOURCES

Monday, May 29, 2017

Glock 26L Chopping a G19 - The Best Carry Gun I Have Ever Owned

Glock 26L Chopping a G19 - The Best Carry Gun I Have Ever Owned

For well over ten years, I have been a Glock guy. Sure I carry my Walther PPS & PPQ and HK P30SK & VP9, and certainly have a love for Sigs and many other guns, but likely 300 days a year, some type of Glock is riding in my waistband. The reasons I swap between guns usually has to do with concealment and less about that I want to carry a particular gun. After all, the size of small Glock G42, G43, and G26 models all have concealment advantages over a Glock 17 or 19 sized handgun - so I have been swapping back and forth and of course have more than a few guns in the inventory as a result.

Left top G26, Right top G26L
Bottom left G42, Bottom right G19
Notably my biggest issue is that bottom extra 1/2-inch of my Glock 19 grip will print with some clothes and my wife calls it out… leading to a weapon swap to something smaller. Obviously when wearing something slimmer fitting, a slimmer gun is in order, but usually my big issue is the height of the gun grip. Lining up some of those smaller format guns I swap to, they all fall into a 4-4.5-inch height range such as a Walther PPS, Glock 43/42, Walther PPK, Glock 26 and H&K P30SK. For the last five years I have noted that concealment of my Glock 19 has suffered in these wardrobe constrained moments due to just that last 1/2-inch of the grip regardless of the cant of holster or any holster I have used - and yes I have tested pretty much all of them. It really comes down to wardrobe and body shape.  Enter the Glock 26L - the Best Carry Gun I Have Ever Owned… that you cannot buy.

WHAT IS A GLOCK 26L?
G19, G26L and G26 - left to right
Back in 2012 a fellow writer, Rob Pincus, wrote a rather interesting build article about a Glock 26L which is a chopped down Glock 19 that ends up having a Glock 26 magazine sized grip - thus a Long Glock 26 or G26L. He cited many of the same reasons noted able. Thank you Rob, I have drank the G26L Kool-Aid and love it.

Yes, in fact we are talking about chopping a perfectly good Glock 19 grip here so it can accept shorter 10-round format G26 mags. Since Glock 17, 19, and 26 magazines and even those 33-rounders will all fit just dandy in a the baby Glock 26, this format delivers a ton of carry and capacity options.  There is a huge array of aftermarket +1, +2, +3...etc, magazine extensions which can be used on the Glock 26 magazine as well which further expands capacity options.

WHY IN GODS NAME WOULD YOU DO THIS?
G26L and G19 stacked
The G26L even with a +3 magazine extension delivers 13+1 capacity with a gun that is roughly ½-inch shorter than a Glock 19 while only losing 2-rounds of capacity in the process. In fact there is one gun that is very close to this format which drove the concept of this entire project for me - the Sig P224 SAS was just a hair shorter and not quite as long as the Glock 19, but is had a 12+1 capacity. I felt this was the perfect balance of capacity, firepower, and size for a defensive gun, however I simply did not shoot it as well or as fast as my Glocks, so I sold it. The good news is that anyone with marginal Dremel experience and patience to not screw it up can make a Glock 26L… that is if you have the guts to do it. Below are some dimensional stats to give you an idea of the concept and final dimensions.

G19 HEIGHT: 127 mm / 4.99 in. LENGTH: 187 mm / 7.36 in.
G26 HEIGHT:  106 mm / 4.17 in. LENGTH: 163 mm / 6.41 in.
G26L HEIGHT:  106 mm / 4.17 in. or 4.5 in. with Taran Tactical +3 extension

Sig Sauer 12+1 9mm 224 SAS was Perfectly Sized in between a G19 and G26
HEIGHT: 41⁄2"  LENGTH: 6.7"

G26L and G26 stacked
The driver for me for this project was that I love the Glock 19, the way it shoots, how I shoot it, the balance, pointability, sight radius and literally everything about the gun, but I did want to conceal it better and never have to worry about swapping guns.  Everyone will ask why not a G26? Well I have one and owned six over the years, but the G26 feels snappier shooting and thus is not as controllable even with a grip extension, the sight radius is a little smaller and I am not as accurate with it, and it does not ride as well on me.  

G26L and G42 stacked
I have also run timers and scoring pitting my best with my Glock 26 and with best with the Glock 19 and I am always faster and more accurate with the Glock 19. At this year’s Glock Party at SHOT, I was privileged to have an fun argument with one of their Austrian engineers about why I was shooting a 19 better than a 26, he said it should not make a difference, but as we know there is always a human component in there. The G19 and G26 both had equal grip sizes due to extended G26 mags, so all that magic must be in the extra ½” of barrel and spring on the G19, so why not just shorten the grip on the G19. That was the logic and… it work beautifully.

CHOPPING AND ROCKING THE GLOCK 19
First we need a sacrificial G19. I know… I know I am devaluing a Glock 19 to half of the original price, but never fear if this terrifies you.  Stripped Glock lower receivers can be had reasonably on the market to chop away on. Glock was nice enough to provide a Gen 3 G19 for the article.. thought I may have omitted that I was going to cut it down.

The key here is to have a Glock 26 to pattern the chopping to. I really do not recommend doing the deed unless you have a G26 and magazines to use as a pattern for the modification. I see far too many really horribly bad grip chops done where someone just draws a line and then hacksaws the grip straight across. Of note, the G26 does have a front and rear lips and so should your Glock 26L to preserve the second finger groove. It is very key to the preserve the shooting comfort, gun control, and ergonomics of the Glock 19 that you have prominent forward and rear lips on the mag well. The second finger groove is very important as is the rear lip of the magwell and without them a flat chopped G19 grip feels like a block of wood.
Note the front and rear lips

The rear of the magwell should also dip down so you do not have a hard right angle cutting into the center of your palm.  With all that said this is more of a hacksaw cut of only ¼-inch and then a delicate precision fitting of the contours with a Dremel down to the proper reliable fitment and seating of a G26 magazine. The key here is go slow, because you cannot go backward.

Light stippling with the wood burning iron
Another tip is to leave the rear lip of the magwell a little long for a standard 10-round Glock 26 magazine and heat up the lip with a heat gun and reform it down and around into a more round shape. The result is a grip that should actually be comfortable to hold.

At this point a lot of people doing these conversions aggressively stipple the grip to finish the look, however I am not a fan of aggressive stippling for CCW firearms. I have found that even some factory grips have a surface which is abrasive on the skin during carry. My preference is to use a lower temperature wood carving tool with a blunt tip and lightly go over the entire grip surface to smooth it out. Even this simple surface will deliver plenty of grip in wet environments while not eating your skin throughout the day.

UPGRADES
I am not a huge fan of copious upgrades on defensive guns, but I have tested, trust, and like a couple key upgrades on defensive Glocks. The Apex Triggers kits with their Connector and Plunger Spring are excellent and totally dependable with a better feeling, slightly lighter, and faster resetting trigger. Vickers slide releases are subtlety extended with just a tad of edgy grip to facilitate positive slide release on reloads even with gloves. There are great sights out there on the market, however this Glock 19 came with factory Glock Tritium Sights, so that is good enough for me.

The only other upgrade on this gun were Taran Tactical +3 and Glock +2 extensions I added to factory magazines. The interesting thing as I was planning through this project was that these +2 or +3 extensions deliver just enough extra length to allow for a full grip without a pinky dangling.  

Taran Tactical did recommend that I use Glock 19 springs with their +3 extensions on a Glock 26 magazine. Both extensions deliver the same overall length but the Glock’s tapered design ends up about ⅛-shorter at the back of the magazine.  Personally I favor the Taran Tactical extension because for whatever reason the aluminum glides on my shirt material, clings less, and therefore conceals better than the plastic and it does deliver one extra round for a 13+1 round capacity of my G26L.

SHOOTING IMPRESSIONS & FINAL THOUGHTS
My G26L does in fact shoot just like my Glock 19, it's fast on target, accurate, and managed recoil just as well as my un-cropped G19. I lost nothing from a timing or accuracy perspective over my full sized G19. Really the G26L is everything I love about the G19 with the concealability and magazine flexibility of the G26. With a 10-round factory G26 magazine in place, I get all the concealment of the 3/4-inch shorter G26 grip with all the benefits of the G19. With a +3 extended magazine, my pinky has a place to perch. The trade off is two less arounds than a full sized G19.  Let me say that 1/2-inch on me makes all the difference in the world from a concealment perspective.

As a test, I have been carrying the G26L for the last two months straight covering every conceivable event with my wife ranging from shopping, traveling, movies, and dinner and not once did my wife poke the butt of my G26L and tell me I was printing. For me, this is the perfect gun.

It is highly likely that my wife is the only person in the world who would pick up the unusual divot my factory G19 would cast. Even many of my trained friends never knew a lot of times that I was carrying. After all there are many holster manufactures who make excellent holsters and sure I could just slide my holster forward ½-inch and the bulge would high itself, but I like where I carry my gun at 4-o’clock and damn it that is where I want it. After years of dealing with this problem I found a remedy and it was not in the form of a holster. For many this will seem like an extreme customization, however it really is not. For the weary, I say find and buy a stripped G19 lower and do the customization. Yes Rob… I agree this is Glock Perfection.  Stay tuned… a Glock 19L is coming soon as well.

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