Friday, April 18, 2014

RightLine Gear Car Top Duffle Bag Review

RightLine Gear Car Top Duffle Bag Review - The Ultimate Large Bug Out Bag?

One of the most critical items you need to get you and your family out during a “Bug Out” situation is the ability to get all the stuff out you supposedly want to bug out with. A large duffle is one of the most flexible bags on the planet. A large duffle can haul firearms, food, clothing, shelter and all manner of items. 

Generally though, they are about as waterproof as your average pasta sieve. When I was at this year’s SEMA trade show (Automotive Speciality Equipment Manufacturers Association), I saw a pretty neat item. Beyond the $40,000 Duck Dynasty trucks and branded accessories, $2000 high polish rims, and $3000 camouflage axles, I saw a great $70 product, a simple waterproof 36”x18”x13” duffle which could be mounted cartop.

Right Line offers a variety of external hauling carriers for cars and trucks. Among the many variations and model, they have a simple waterproof duffle which is perfect for almost any bugout purpose. 4.9 glorious square feet of storage space which will easily contain most AR15s, plenty of ammo, food, tarps, a tent, and even a camp stove… or two. There is a ton of room in this simple duffle.

Now here is the really cool part about the RightLine Gear Car Top Duffle… its waterproof.  Yes, OK, I think I already mentioned that. But the reality is that it is actually really waterproof. You know, pack it full of toilet paper and run it through a carwash and there is not a drop of water on the paper type waterproof. The Duffle features welded seams, a urethane coated zipper, and a Velcro-close zipper cover.

Unlike the giant strap on cargo options, this duffle can actually be lifted when properly loaded. You can pack it, strap it on, and then carry it what you need it. Beyond tossing the Car Top Duffle in the back of your truck bed, it can be locked down with the included straps to your truck’s tie downs or rooftop on any vehicle with or without a roof rack with the supplied adjustable straps and rubber coated hooks.

Ok, neat, its a waterproof duffle, so what? Well the big revelation for me was that I had been shopping for waterproof duffles/sacks and the good ones are far from cheap. In fact most are in the $125-$200 range for models far less than half that the size of the RightLine gear Car Top Duffle.  I could pick up three for the price of one of the other comparable models I was looking at and they were not equipped nor designed with tie down straps for cartop carry. The RightLine Car Top Duffle is not a revolutionary idea or terribly unique, it is just a stunning great deal which I stumbled on which can fill a critical need for those that want something for preparedness, the next camping trip, or just hauling all your kids stuff to college on a rainy day.

Capacity: 4.3 cu ft
Dimensions: 36” L x 16” W x 13” H
Designed for any size vehicle, WITH or WITHOUT a roof rack
100% Waterproof with welded seams, urethane coated zipper, and Velcro-close zipper cover
PVC Coated Mesh - a stiffer nylon re-enforced PVC
Includes: Car Top Duffle Bag, (2) nylon straps, (4) Car Clips and complete set up guide
Retail Price: $69.95


Right Line Gear -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

SportDog FieldTrainer 425S SportHunter 1825 Dog Trainer

SportDog FieldTrainer 425S SportHunter 1825 Dog Trainer

Around the Pandemic household, we have always been dog lovers. Generally, where possible, we attempt to adopt rescue puppies. Our late lab/doberman mix was a one in a million terrific dog who was easy to train, understood and immediately responded to English and Japanese commands and hand gestures, and rarely did anything remotely aggressive or out of line... and then there are the two idiots, AKA the Doberman wonder twins, we adopted a little over a year ago.

These two poor dobermans were both severely abused, physically and mentally, over 30 lbs underweight each, and generally so full of energy they were horrifically destructive. Let's see, they broke my wife's knee, ran through a wall (because it was in the way), rounded most of the drywall corners off in the house, and barked at every bird, butterfly, and car in such a manner than you would think aliens were attacking.  Oh yeah, I forgot that because of the beatings they had previously, every time you did try the newspaper on the nose thing or reached for them to correct them, they would submissively pee on the floor in terror.

They have come a long way and are now wonderful, healthy dogs, however it has been a very long year and a half. Before these two bundles of steel wrapped in fur and powered by fusion energy, I had never considered a dog trainer (aka shock collar). In fact, my belief was that shock collar trainers were a bit cruel, however we were really having some behavior issues that a half dozen training classes still could not stop.

There were the deafening barking in the car, an instigated aggressive looking behavior which would escalate if left unchecked around ANY percieved threat, charging/clipping people and children (the male Doberman's butt at 30MPH is what broke my wife's knee), and generally acting like buttholes around other dogs. On the leash, these behaviors could be managed, however dobes are a stubborn breed and we would nearly have to throw them to the ground to get them to stop and focus on commands and then... ya know, they would pee. It was kind of like disciplining your kid in the middle of a grocery store for trashing a food aisle and was quite the spectacle with little headway being made on training. We needed another solution.

The deciding factor for SportDog Dog Training Collars was when the now large 100 lb male broke out of the dog park and chased a truck for over a 1/4 mile. It put him in danger and of course was a pain for me and the truck which was nice enough to drive all the way back to escort the dog in pursuit back to me.

SportHunter 1825 Top
FieldTrainer 425S Bottom
While at SHOT show, I had a chance to look at many different dog training collar manufacturers and decided that SportDog was the leader in the industry for a reason. They have a huge expansive line of Dog training collars with loads of features to fit almost any need. From less expensive short range urban backyard trainers to GPS tracking trainers with a seven mile range for working dogs. I opted for two models the SportDog FieldTrainer 425S and SportHunter 1825. The FieldTrainer is the "S" -Stubborn Model with a 500 yard range for the super extra stubborn female. For the male runner, the extended range SportHunter 1825 with up to a mile range was selected because he can cover a lot of range before I can even get a finger on a button the remote.

Many people mistakenly think the dog trainer shock collars are cruel because they believe they can only be used to shock/correct the dog and that is not true. The SportDog models offer a tremendous amount of training and correction options which, depending on model, include an audible collar beep, 7-99 levels of correction (stimulation/shock), and some models also can deliver a vibration.  

Neither of my dogs responded to the vibration on the FieldTrainer 425S model except to spin around and a circle to find the bug or alien that were circling them. They  did learn very quickly that a beep is followed by a correction, so they better respond to the verbal command. They now know that even off leash, the game of keep-a-way to avoid correction now does not work, they come when they are called, and for the most part they have drastically improved simply due to the seemingly magical beep and correction which seems to occur only when they do not obey the verbal or hand commands.

"Are you sure I need this?"
Most dogs are smart and can figure out things quickly. Just as you don't show how to open the child locks on the medicine cabinet in front of a kid, you should never point the transmitter at them and then push the button, do not put the collar on just to discipline them,  or do not shock them without verbal commands first. If you don't follow this advice you will have a dog that runs every time you pull out the collar, or grabs the remote, or will only obey when the collar is on. Treat the collar as a leash extension, not a convenient babysitter.   My two dobes actually get excited to put on their collars because this generally means they are going to play or going to the park. If your dog is not getting excited about putting on his collar, you are doing something wrong in the use of this powerful training tool.

My female dobe is so stubborn that she has learned the progression of correction from verbal, to beep, to shock correction and decides if it is worth the shock. You can actually watch her think about whether she wants to mind and then continues the behavior until the beep  and then flinches expecting the correction even without the shock. I have no solution for total stubbornness, however the SportDog collar "therapy" has reduced her independant thoughts process considerably.

Ahh, they look like little angles
The SportDog collars are all molded rugged  polymer designs that have sustained quite a bit of tumbles, crashes, scuffles, and water. They are not waterproof, but they are highly water resistant. Normal field uses around water should not affect the collars function.

Generally the longer the range the larger the dog mounted receiver and the handheld receiver. The SportTrainer 425S is about 20% smaller in size, of both the transmitter and receiver than the SportHunter 1825 model which is about the size of your average walkie-talkie.

Both models come with their own proprietary chargers. I was a little disappointed that the chargers were not interchangeable, however, given the various run-times and power, I can understand the difference in chargers. The FieldTrainer 425S includes a simple wall charger with two charging ends that key into the receiver and transmitter. The SportHunter 1825 has a base the receiver unit snaps into to charge while the transmitter plugs in similar to the other unit.

SportHunter 1825 with charger
SportDog includes a highly adjustable high strength polymer-reinforced collar with a buckle closure and adjustments every 1/2" for a perfect fit regardless of the dog. The collar length can be trimmed to the length desired. The key to fitment is to assure the collar is not flopping around or the prongs will not make contact when they are jumping around. Initially I did not have the collar tight enough and the collars were not delivering the correcting because the prongs were sitting in a loose spot on the neck.

Both models are expandable should you have multiple dogs, however the SportHunter model allows you to specifically switch between each dog should they both be out and about together. My personal preference is to have two remotes otherwise I found I inadvertently corrected the wrong dog.

FieldTrainer 425S with Charger
Both models feature a side "beep" button, momentary correction (short shock), and a continuous correction (shock as long as you hold the button down). The FieldTrainer 425S provides seven levels of correction, plus vibration and beep. The "S" model delivers a higher voltage stimulation than the regular models, however, in the case of my  thinking female dobe, it is required who has been as high as "5" due an unwillingness to mind.  

The SportHunter 1825 provides eight levels stimulation plus the beep. My male doberman has never been over "3".  My wife and I made bets who could reach the highest number and still hold on to the receiver. Dumb idea, but a great way to kill an evening after sipping tequila and experiencing the correction levels you apply to your dog.

SportHunter 1825 Top
FieldTrainer 425S Bottom
The SportDog collars have been a Godsend to have. They have accelerated training and allowed for very fast correction of unwanted habits. Not that my dogs are perfect or ever will be, however, I can now take them to a dog park with other dogs, take them off lease and have near total control of them even at substantial distances.

The final though I will leave you with is that we tried training the old way and it just didn't work for these dogs. We didn't need this option for our old dog. In fact my wife was pretty upset with me when I brought the SportDog training systems, home because "that is just cruel". That noted, both of us are in love with the system and it has allowed us a training option to make our two sizable dogs behave and live a happy safe life.

The SportHunter® 1825
FieldTrainer 425S Stubborn Dog Model   
Up to 1 mile
Up to 500 yards
Expandable up to 6 dogs
Expandable up to 3 dogs
DRYTEK™ waterproof and submersible to 25 feet
DRYTEK™ waterproof and submersible to 25 feet
2 hour quick charge
2-hour quick charge
16 levels
7 levels
8 levels
7 levels
Compatible with UplandHunter® Accessory Beeper SD-BEEP
Compatible with UplandHunter® Accessory Beeper SD-BEEP
Select from 8 stimulation levels each within low, medium, or high setting

Ergonomic, slim-profile collar design

Compact Remote Transmitter

Rechargeable Li-Ion
Rechargeable Li-Ion
SR-300, ST120-SA, SDT00-12494, ST-101, SDT00-11963, SDT00-12490, ST-101SA
FT-125, SDT54-13889, SDT00-13857, SDT00-13861, SR-225


Friday, April 11, 2014

MMC Armory (Mennie Machine Company) Recon 16.1 AR15 Review

MMC Armory (Mennie Machine Company) Recon 16.1 AR15 Review 
by Staff Writer - Captain Panic

Major Pandemic called to let me know that I had a package from MMC Armory waiting for me at our FFL dealer.  I walked over to the ammo safe and grabbed 5 pre-loaded Magpul magazines and jumped in the trusty Tahoe.  After a few minutes of paperwork, I held in my hands one of MMC Armory’s Recon 16.1 rifles.  Let’s face it – “we the Pandemic collective writers” have a plentiful selection of AR’s to choose from – but I’ve wanted a dedicated “Recce” (rhymes with Becky) rifle.  A rifle that is not a Sniper rifle… but is more accurate that my stubby “Tactical” one.  This was the beast – and I say that with great affection.

MMC Armory or some of you may know them better as Mennie Machine Company, is not a new kid on the AR block.  They have been making OEM parts for quite some time and their rifles exhibit the same quality and care of their components. MMC Armory has been a contractor fulfilling government Mil-Spec components since 1970.  

MMC has approximately 300 employees in a 225,000 square foot facility housing over 150 CNC machines. By size, capabilities and experience MMC is in a very select group of manufacturers. I’m a person that appreciates process and professionalism.  Having been part of an organization that goes to the effort to get and then maintain certifications, having a ISO/TS 16949:2009 certified facility is proof they believe the same. 

As I int he opening of this review, this rifle is a “beast”.  Let me qualify that.  I don’t mean its heavy (actual weight is 7 lbs), rather its “stout”.  When I first picked it up – it felt substantial – rugged but not so heavy I wouldn’t want to carry it.  Its something that I knew if my life depended on it, I could smack the Hulk in the head and he would feel it. The quality is top flight.  If MMC doesn’t make it, they chose quality components to pair their rifle with. 

The Troy forend is what you have come to expect from Troy.  Although, not wanting to sound like a candy-ass, I admit I do like adding rail covers to keep the finely machined Picatinny from tearing up my hand after a long day at the range.  

The first thing I did when I opened the box was shake the rifle.  Not like I had just conquered Sparta, but to listen for rattles and rolls.  I can’t tell you how many times I have picked up a new in the box rifle or pistol and it is a rattle trap or screws or other pieces fall off.  

Quality control on this was on the ball.  The fit and finish was excellent, but it was also consistent.  In many shops that just assemble a collection of parts you find a gun with 6 shades on “black” anodizing or the pins are a different color (not on purpose either).  All the steel bits including barrel, gas block, even detents and pins are all nitrocarburized (i.e. melonited) for protection. MMC Armory Nickel Boron coats their Bolt Carrier Group. The Bolt Carrier Group is full auto rated, MPI tested, with a staked gas key. 

MMC Armory states in their material they have a crisp 5 lb trigger.  I can attest this is a very fine trigger.  The trigger is nitride coated with minimal take up and a short reset. It is not a match trigger, but far better than you average stock trigger. As noted in our December 2013 review, MMC carries through many of the same quality parts and manufacturing on this Tactical Version including the entire lower receiver assembly and most of the upper receiver base parts. 

The gas block is a low- profile standard melonited unit with a stainless gas tube mounted up to MMC’s own M4 Profile 16.1” barrel. MMC uses four coordinate measuring machines and contour inspection machines to select the optimal chambering position instead of just ramming a reamer into chamber the barrel like a lot of companies do. It’s a process that maximizes chamber to bore alignment on the barrel and improves accuracy.
Stocks have become my pet peeve on AR’s.  Many of the mass manufacturer’s use some made in China/Mexico knockoff adjustable stock.  

Not MMC Armory – included as standard on the rifle is a Rogers Superstoc that has quickly become my Gold Standard for basic adjustable or multi-position stocks – like the rest of the rifle – it’s solid (ask Hulk’s head).  Something I have only seen MMC do is polish the inside of the buffer tube – this makes for very smooth and quiet cycling.

The grip was nominal – I think that is a good plan on MMC’s behalf.  One of the first things people start to customize is the grip and it’s a very personal option.  While the grip is universally effective and functional – I prefer something along the lines of Mako Defense with big fat grooves for my big fat fingers.  But by including a basic grip – no one feels cheated when they change it out if they do not like the one it came with.

As I mentioned early in this article I raced to the FFL with magazines in hand.  My fatal mistake was not thinking that this was a flat top waiting for optics.  Not wanting to spoil the moment I did hit the range and do my initial shakedown w/o any sights because you never waste an opportunity to shoot a new gun.

So I’ll refrain from any comments about initial accuracy.  Since then I’ve put on a set of flip up Magpul sights and have fired a variety of ammo through it. With iron sights and everything from match grade ammo to “inexpensive” bulk ammo – the Recon rifle cycled like a pro.  

No issues at all.  With the iron sights I reserved my shooting to 50 and was out of the box shooting reliable delivering 1” groups at 50. I would have printed 100-yard groups, however with open sights and my eyes, that would not be fair to the MMC RECON  I’ll account for the accuracy out of the box to the precision jig assembling and QA testing at MMC as well as their superb barrel/chamber mating.

I was very impressed with the superb quality and lack of tweaking I had to do out of the box.  MMC can stand on solid ground and compete with any of the other top line competitors out there.  Frankly as equipped, at $1600.00 retail – it might even be a price performer.  Much of the value is in the superb fit and finish, BCG and the trigger. 

So now the question is – what optic?  Recon rifles for the military were designed to fit the utility role.  Not a sniper (but could make the shot if it had too), Not a stubby room clearer (but up to the task). The military has put everything from Nightforce 2.5-10 x24 or 32 for reach to an EOTech for a broader perspective.  I’m not sweeping streets in Fallujah – just want something that is like the rifle – solid and full of utility.  Tell us which optic should we put test this rifle with next. Shoot us an email with your ideas!

UPPER RECEIVER - Machined from 7075 T6 to Mil-Spec, Indexing Marks, M4 Feed Ramps, hard coat anodize
LOWER RECEIVER - Machined from 7075 T6 to Mil-Spec, Flared Magazine Well, hard coat anodized
BARREL - 16.1" 4150 CrMV Steel M4 Profile, 203 notch 1:8 twist, Mid-length Gas System, nitride treated, M4 extension
TRIGGER - Enhanced nitride treated Mil Spec single stage trigger, creep adjusted, polished engagement surfaces, crisp 5 lb break
MUZZLE – A2 Flash Hider
BOLT CARRIER GROUP - Nickel Boron coated (lubeless operation), full auto rated, MPI test, staked gas key
GAS BLOCK - MMC Armory Low Profile Gas Block
CHARGING HANDLE - Ambidextrous, hard coat anodize
HANDGUARD - TROY 13" Bravo Handguard
BUTTSTOCK - Rogers Superstoc 6 position Mil-Spec Polished Buffer Tube
MAGAZINE - 30 round polymer in black
PISTOL GRIP - Polymer A2 Style Grip
TRIGGER GUARD - Flat trigger guard
MSRP $1599.00


MMC Armory –