Thursday, February 6, 2014

2013 Pandemian Product of the Year Awards

2013 Pandemian Product of the Year Awards

Unlike many of my editorial counterparts, I like to actually wait for the year to become reflective before I announce my Year’s Best selections for Firearms & Accessories. After my 2013 reviews wrapped up, I broke down what was the best of the best products of the 151 articles published and decided which deserved special recognition.  I call these awards the “Pandemian Product of the Year Awards”. Pandemian Award Winners were categorized three categories; “BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK”, “BEST PREMIUM PRODUCT”, and “Innovation Award”.  


PANDEMIAN BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK AWARD
The “Pandemian BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK “category awards was by far the toughest for me to range as there are some outstanding products out there without breaking the bank. Winners in that category delivered the challenging mix of extreme quality and value.


PANDEMIAN BEST PREMIUM PRODUCT AWARD
If your wallet has no limits, the “Pandemian BEST PREMIUM PRODUCT” category award is where you need to skim to. Each product in this category delivered some of the most feature rich products with exemplary quality. Even though some of the products in this category were not “the” most expensive I tested/featured, they proved themselves to be better in some way.


PANDEMIAN INNOVATION AWARD
“Pandemian Innovation Award” winners took the route less traveled and delivered something truly innovative to the market beyond another “Me Too” product. Winner in this category should be saluted for their innovation and out-of-the-box designs.


WHO WON WHAT?


RIFLES
BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK RIFLE - BARNES PRECISION MACHINE BPM-15
Barnes Precision Continues to deliver the highest quality and most accurate rifle for the money and still manages to include innovative features that most high-end AR-15 still lack. You can spend more money and get fancier, however it will likely not out-shoot or deliver higher quality than the BPM.
Review Here - http://www.majorpandemic.com/2013/01/Best-Buy-AR15-Rifle.html


BEST PREMIUM PRODUCT Rifle - BLACK RAIN ORDNANCE FALLOUT-15
Over the last couple years, the tricked out and feature loaded Black Rain Fallout-15 reviewed back in 2011 continues to take my abuse and still deliver smiles from all the custom touches on this AR15. It also continues to be a great platform showcased in upgrades over the last year. I also like that fact that beyond the custom greatness of the rifles, they generously support charitable organizations.




RIMFIRE RIFLES
BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK RIMFIRE RIFLE - FEDDERSEN TN RIDGERUNNER 10/22
When I first heard of a $550 Ruger 10/22 from Feddersen that could splip playing cards at 50-yards and deliver sub-.25” groups at that same distance, I was skeptical, but consider me a convert. Their 10/22 barrels are among the BEST BANG FOR THE BUCKon the market and their ready-to-compete TN Ridgerunner is the best deal going for precision 10/22.


BEST PREMIUM PRODUCT RIMFIRE RIFLE - KIDD 10/22
Once you move into the premium 10/22 bracket, accuracy is close, however Kidd has consistently delivered the top accuracy of any 10/22 owned which includes over a dozen at this point. Every Kidd component is exquisite museum quality which is art-in-action at the range which can deliver single hole 50-yard groups.  If you want the absolute best dressed 10/22 in black and stainless, Kidd is the top end of custom 10/22s.




HANDGUN
BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK HANDGUN - WALTHER PPX 9MM
The Walther PPX deserves premium product attention with it ergonomics, looks, machining, and arguably the best trigger on a stock pistol outside of a factory custom 1911. It is becuase of these things that the Walther PPX deserves this award. If you want accuracy, reliability, comfort and features all at a value price point, the PPX would be my first choice.


BEST PREMIUM PRODUCT HANDGUN - SAI SALIENT G17 9MM
Hands down the transformation that SAI accomplished with a stock Glock G17 is stunning with a match grade trigger, silky smooth action, and ergonomics that somehow transform the Glock from wood-block ergonomics to perfection is an amazing facelift. If I could only shoot one handgun the rest of my life, this would be is.





CONCEALED CARRY HANDGUNS
BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK CONCEALED CARRY PISTOL - KAHR CM-9 9MM
If the Glock 26 is still too bulky and the LCR too small with too much recoil consider the Kahr CM-9. This winner delivers 9mm power in a class leading size with a butter smooth trigger and excellent accuracy in a pocketable size. Add a Universal stick on Clipdraw adapter and you have an amazingly concealable gun with no holster necessary.


BEST PREMIUM PRODUCT CONCEALED CARRY PISTOL - WALTHER PPS 9MM
The Walther PPS is certainly not the most expensive concealed carry pistol however it somehow bridges the impossible between great ergonomics, very slim profile, and a perfect size that is carry perfection for purse, holster or waistband carry while still having the size to confidently use as a home defense firearm. Very accurate, reliable and with the looks, fit, finish, and features you would expect on any premium grade handgun. Just like the CM-9 a Universal Clipdraw is highly recommended.




OPTICS
BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK MAGNIFIED OPTICS - NIKON P-223 3X32 CARBINE SCOPE
Crystal clear optics with a fast and user friendly BDC reticle & turret design delivers the best AR15 optics value I tested all year.  If I was equipping an army with rifle and optics this would be the optic of choice. The optic offers very little to go wrong paired with enough magnification to get your out to the 500-yard line.


BEST PREMIUM PRODUCT MAGNIFIED OPTICS - HI-LUX CMR4 1-4X24 SCOPE
Ultra-clear optics with illumination, circle-dot center reticle plus a extensive sub-mil BDC, MRAD resettable Turret adjustment, zero stop, left-handed windage adjustment… and the list goes on. Chances are that if you wish for a feature this optic has it. Shots out to 600 were simple with this optic.. I liked it so much I have two.




RED DOT OPTICS
BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK RED DOT - BURRIS AR-F3
Burris’s first Fast Fire II was a great idea but not well executed. The Fast Fire III and AR-F3 AR15 focused updates deliver one of the best reflex sights on the market. The result is a fast and simple sight which has proven itself durable all in a tight and light package that is the perfect reflex sight for your AR15.

BEST PREMIUM PRODUCT RED DOT - EOTECH EXPS3-4 SIGHT & MAGNIFIER
When you want the best of the best red dot, you have to look toward the battle proven Eotech as the final answer for AR15 sights. Inexpensive? No, however they provide infallible durability. The EXPS3-4 delivers the best of both worlds; the classic Eotech Circle-Dot reticle with a 3X magnifier. Best and fastest 1x to 3x swapping sight I have tested.




TRIGGERS
BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK AR TRIGGERS - CMC FLAT BLADE AR15
The difference between most of their high end triggers is a hair, whisper or just opinion, so why spend more for a difference you probably will not be able to perceive. CMC delivers an amazing quality trigger for about $50 less than the next relevant competitor.  My favorite is the Flat Blade which, to me, further increases trigger control.

BEST PREMIUM PRODUCT AR TRIGGERS - GEISSELE 2-STAGE SSA-E SUPER SEMI-AUTOMATIC ENHANCED AR15 Geissele established and owns the 2-stage trigger market since they were founded. Look down the rows and rows of top precision AR15 and AR .308 shooters and you will find that almost single one uses Geissele. The SSA-E offers mere mortals a non-adjustable combat drop-in trigger upgrade which delivers a superb trigger feel, fast resets, and consistent feel shot after shot.






AR15 HANDGUARDS
BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK AR HANDGUARD - BPM ULTRALIGHT RAIL
The most sturdy and durable hadnguards are those that feature an expanded or solid barrel nut. BPM’s is steel and longer which supports the handguard more stiffly than any other I have tested. Thier handguard is also light, includes swivels, and QD mounts, and is small gauge for improved comfort. Add in that it also happens to accept Troy Squid Grips and you have arguably the stiffest and most comfortable handguard on the market.
BEST PREMIUM PRODUCT AR HANDGUARD - AP CUSTOM CARBON FIBER HANDGUARD
There are many carbon handguards on the market, however AP Custom stands out with a bit of extra style, craftsmanship, and features that put it ahead of the rest. Add one to your AR15 and you can drop up to 1lb form your rig’s weight, add the cool running capabilities of Carbon fiber no matter how hot the barrel gets, and still have flexibility to mount accessories and remove the handguard when needed.




CUTTING TOOLS
BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK CUTTING TOOL - LEATHERMAN REBAR
Remember the old original Leatherman, however also remember you really wanted locking tools? Well your prayers were answered with the Leatherman Rebar. Everything in a multi-tool you want without any superfluous extras. This is an impossibly critical piece of everyday survival and is the epitome of simplicity and perfection.

BEST PREMIUM PRODUCT CUTTING TOOL - EXTREMA RATIO DOBERMAN IV MPK
There is good, better, and then best when it comes to tactical survival knives and then there is Extrema Ratio’s line. My personal favorite has been the Doberman which delivers cutting perfection with Italian style all for slightly less than a Ducati 999. So gorgeous you hate to use it.




LIGHTING
BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK LIGHTING - PACKLITE 9V
Although reviewed in 2012, I featured this handy light throughout 2013. If you image a hgh output tactical light and a 9V battery having a baby it would be the PackLite. High output LEDS can run for up to 1200 hours straight on one 9V lithium battery. The best part is that any store has 9V batteries.


BEST PREMIUM PRODUCT LIGHTING - LED LENSER F1
The LED Lenser F1 outperforms name brand lights with twice the batteries that are three times the size. The fact that this light delivers such long lasting bright light form only on CR123 battery is amazing. The light is packed with features from strope to dimming modes in a package that is beautifully and artfully machined and finished. Truly the top end of personal tactical lighting.





PACKS
BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK PACK - DRAGO TRACKER BACKPACK
Noting that Drago packs can often can be found for under $40, they are an amazing value that mandated recognition. This hydration compatible pack delivers more features than packs three times the cost in a 3-day sized pack that will handle daily commutes to apocalyptic bug out scenarios.


BEST PREMIUM PRODUCT PACK - 5.11 RUSH MOAB 10 PACK
Most of us are carrying tablets instead of laptops, e-books and magazines instead of pounds of paper, so why carry a giant pack when a slim and trim sized, high grade, quality single sling pack will do the job. Add in the secret fast-draw CCW pistol pocket and you have my favorite hydration pack of the year.



INNOVATION AWARDS


INNOVATION AWARD - MAKO SURVIVAL BUTTSTOCKWe all consider how we might carry an extra magazine just in case our AR15 magazine malfunctions or runs dry. Mako solved the dilemma with an innovative stock that holds any standard AR15 magazine. The stock comes with a 10-round magazine and is compatible with Mako’s monopod ButtStock pad.


INNOVATION AWARD - ROGERS SUPERSTOC
Remember how irritated you get when you $2000 AR15 stock rattles so much is sound like you kicked a box of scrap plastic down the stairs? Bill Rogers decided it was time to solve the problem once and for all with a Cam-Lock system stock that delivers the strength and rattle free stock to buffer tube fit. Install this stock on one AR15 and you will want one for every other AR you own.


INNOVATION AWARD -PWS T-3 SUMMIT 10/22 ACTION
The 10/22 has been around forever, but the aftermarket upgrade market has exploded with options. One of the big challenges for European individuals under a national semi-auto rifle ban was enjoying all the 10/22 had to offer so PWS developed the T-3 Toggle action receiver 100% compatible with all 10/22 parts. Along the way many including myself love the uniqueness of the PWS T-22 design and even believe it can increase accuracy to a sublime level.


INNOVATION AWARD - BLUEGRASS STOCK COMPANY MOSIN TACTICAL STOCK
If you have a Mosin you owe it to yourself to click on over to Bluegrass Stock company and see the stock options I first featured in my Transforming a Legend - Mosin Nagant article. The Tactical stock Bluegrass has developed is transformative for Mosin owners and delivers something amazingly fun and cheap to shoot that feels like your big expensive sniper rig.


INNOVATION AWARD - EXTAR EXP-556 PISTOL REVIEW
EXTAR is a new firearms company however the innovation of this AR15 pistol is off the charts. Not only is is nearly as light as your average Glock, it features a unique patented buffer-tubeless spring system, micro-length carrier, adjustable gas block, and design which is unlike anything on the market. Near MOA accuracy is maintained in a pistol that is scary fun to shoot.


INNOVATION AWARD Sharps Relia-Bolt
The AR15/M16 bolt has not changed since Stoner first designed the AR - Armalite Rifle. Sharps rifle company pulled together its best design and engineering talent and redesigned the AR15 bolt to reduce james, increase reliability and deliver faster and easier cleaning.  The Relia-Bolt with a design out-of-the box that can deliver big benefits in worst case reliability situations.

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