Tuesday, April 29, 2014

CRKT TAO Tactical Pen Review

CRKT TAO Tactical Pen Review

There are many times where one cannot carry a firearm, such as a church or in government facilities. If you fly these days, you cannot carry a knife either like we could in the past. So beyond carrying some knitting needles and a pair of scissors with blades under 4”, but being a frequent traveler, hassles usually ensue with scissors and knitting needles in the backpack of middle aged white guy. This is where the concept of a tactical pen makes sense as a defensive impact tool option. CRKT’s new TAO Tactical Pen not only delivers high quality, convenient ink delivery for writing checks and signing receipts, but also can deliver defensive striking abilities that is quick to deploy.

CRKT - Columbia River Knife and Tool was founded in 1994 by Rod Bremer in Oregon. By working in unison with the top knife designers around the world, CRKT delivers a broad line of innovative custom knife designs in affordable production knives and tools.  The result is that the hottest custom designs are available to the consumer for daily use at affordable prices. 

The TAO is a simple but elegant device designed by Allen Elishewitz. The pen features 6061 billet aluminum construction, a variety of hard anodized finishes, a Fisher Space Pen cartridge insert, and spring steel pocket clip. As with all Elishewitz designs, the TAO has a classy style which delivers a high end look with enough striking points to get the job done as a defensive tool.

The CRKT TAO rides well in the pocket. Whether capped or closed, the pen screws together to deliver a rugged fixed striking object on the tip or crown. Although I have not been attacked lately in my travels, I have signed hundreds of receipts and the pen has performed well and received loads of compliments as well. 

The CRKT TAO is another tool which anyone can use to strike pressure points which delivers a significant advantage over bare hands in a fight. Beyond the tactical side of this pen, I should add that I am a pen lover… I have dozens of top end pens, fountain pens, and pencils and this pen has been a pleasure to own and show off. Even if you are not into the tactical aspects of the pen, this is a stunning pen to own and even includes a beautifully made zippered case to go with it.

Open Overall Length 5.75 inches
Weight 1.7 ounces
6061 Aluminum
MSRP $69.99

CRKT - http://www.crkt.com/

Bond Arms Factory Tour

A custom engraved Bond Arms .45ACP
Bond Arms Factory Tour

I am fortunate that my real job takes me all across this great country and I found myself on the far Southwest side of Dallas Fort Worth and close enough that a trip to Granbury Texas was not an epic adventure. The trip to Bond Arms facility was both fun and educational where I met the owner, Gordon Bond, many of his staff, and of course his robots… yes, robots.

The first task is to actually find the Bond Arms facility which is actually a task in itself. Gordon loves his customers but his secure facility is not equipped to handle visitors. In fact, the facility is surrounded by a security fence with electronic gate, and the entry is also secured by a giant thick steel gate with Bond Arms handgun handles.

Once pulling open the massive door, Gordon greeted me and pulled me into his office to talk about the background of Bond Arms and describe and walk through the idea of how his handguns are produced. You will notice I keep saying Bond Arms "handguns" and not Bond Arms "derringers". 

Gordon noted that the “derringer” name has been really tainted as a cheap/junk gun which in some cases lack the durability to safely shoot the round they were intended for. Bond Arms handguns are a different class altogether. From my perspective, Gordon is not blowing smoke on that claim, Bond Arms’ handguns are among the finest “derringer style” handguns ever made and some of the most highest craftsmanship handguns of any type. 

Part of that quality is due to Gordon’s brother, the original founder, taking a derringer design and then completely redesigning nearly every aspect of the firearm. The Bond frame itself is not a cheap alloy or inexpensive carbon steel, each Bond handgun is made from wax loss stainless casings. This delivers a superior frame to any other double barrel handgun on the market. 

The safety was also redesigned to move from left to right versus the other way around to allow the safety to be kicked off with the right hand thumb. The hammer was widened to ease cocking, and a completely new rebounding hammer design was created to deliver the safest and fastest double barrel handgun on the market. The Bond Arms hammer transfer bar auto-indexes to the next barrel so all you need to do is shoot-cock-shoot versus worrying about kicking a switch over to another barrel.  Additionally, the hammer will not hit either top or bottom firing pin without the trigger being fully depressed. A removable trigger guard was added for those that wanted an extra margin of safety. 

The extraction system was also redesigned to actually work and the action itself was designed to lock more securely, deliver a more ergonomic opening, and offer barrel interchangeability. One of “the” features of the Bond Arms handguns is that any barrel length and caliber offered by Bond Arms can be swapped out with any Bond Arms frame. Gordon went a step further and created sets of various grips and grip sizes which can also be swapped between the frames. Technically, all the Bond Arms frames are the same, some models feature different finishes or have a removable trigger guard, so if you have a Bond barrel, it will fit on any Bond lower receiver. This firearm interchangeability is one reason Bond owners keep coming back for more barrels, more handguns, and more accessories.

Bond’s accessories are impressive as well. I can not think of any other firearms manufacturer who has put so much thought and care into their accessory line. In fact, I doubt any other manufacturer has an accessory line as comprehensive. Bond Arms features a huge array of gun barrel options ranging from .22lr to .410/.45 Colt in many different lengths, grips that range in size shape, material, and color, knives, leather hand crafted CCW purses, very high quality holsters that include CCW, Nylon apparel, the "Bond Girl" accessory line, and display boxes. Bond has everything you need to accessorize, carry, load, and show off your handgun.

I will get into this on a deep follow up review article, but the answer is the Bond Arms two double barreled handgun is a viable defensive handgun with substantial stopping power in the larger range calibers. One of Bond Arms customers used a .410/.45 Colt chambered version to instantly incapacitate an attacker with one shot. Moments later the attacker died - the .410 Buckshot load has proven to be a devastating man stopper statically beyond that one attack.

Statistically, 99+% of attacks only involve 1.25 shots from the defender; which indicates that almost no attacker likes to get shot twice. Personally, I would rather have an G20 10mm on my hip with my DPMS GII .308 over my shoulder with hard plate body armor on however, sometimes concealment, rational judgement, or convenience dictates just a Glock 26, a slim Walther PPK, or in this case an extremely concealable double barreled handgun is slipped in a front pocket. I generally prefer to have my Glock 19 on my side, however there are times where that does not work with my wardrobe and I feel perfectly well armed with a Bond Arms handgun. I like them so much I have two handguns with barrels in .45ACP, .410/.45 Colt, and .357 Magnum. Shoot them once and you will be smitten.

After the production overview we headed out to meet his staff, see the production process in action and say hello to his robots.

The raw wax lost casings come in and are precision CNC milled to exacting dimensions, after that they are handed off to the yellow robot twins.  Gordon wanted to employ robotics to deliver about 60% of the frame and barrel’s precision grinding, finishing, polishing. The main drive to robotics for Bond Arms was that it would take nearly a year for a person to reach the level of speed, precision, and accuracy that the robots can achieve on this extremely critical high skill finish step. A major issue Bond Arms was able to overcome with robotics was removing the potential for sickness, personal schedules, vacations, turnover, and personnel issues to impact this critical production step which did previously halted and backed up the entire production process. 

Gordon has been working for over four years with a robotics team to create this use of robotics in the firearm industry - to my knowledge it is an industry first. That effort and the production capacity and efficiency has allowed the set of robots to pay for themselves in just over a year. I was certainly fascinated, however the robots deliver entertainment value as well. Gordon's granddaughter also loves to set and watch "yellow", as she has named them, for hours according to Gordon. 

After that step, the frames are handed over to skilled finishers who perform the final 40% of finishing and polishing before firing control and grips are installed. The barrels follow a similar CNC milling and finishing process, however they begin as billet stainless steel, versus cast wax loss forming. The barrels are CNC machined bored, rifled, chambered, finished via the robots, and then passed to final assembly. 

The barrel and receiver meetup and are paired based on customer and dealer orders.  Although Bond Arms has established quality control steps along the production process, they perform one last complete inspection along with functionally test firing each handgun in their in house test range.

Of note, Bond Arms attempts to reuse and recycle almost everything. Packing is reused and even the massive crates from the robotics were recycled to create portions of the shooting range and the range table. They specifically added the indoor test range to cut down on the drive time required to test fire the guns at a local range. Bond Arms is cutting edge from many aspects and even a bit green as well.

It's a funny thing to be out in Granbury, Texas and meet two robots. In fact what Gorbon Bond is doing is nothing short of amazing as I could find no other reference to automotive robotics being used in the firearms industry. He actually was told by over a half dozen robotics firms that it could not be done, however one company shared his vision and now Bond Arms could be the most technically advanced manufacturing firearms company anywhere because of it.

Bringing a firearm to market is tough, even in the current gun sales bonanza environment, however Bonds Arms has continued to grow since it was founded in 1995. Part of that recipe has been the quality and service they continue to offer at a premium level plus a drive to continue innovation far beyond the norm of even very large firearms industry giants. Really… the titans of the firearms industry should be touring Bond’s facility.  Pick up a Bond Arms handgun and you will immediately be impressed with the quality of the firearm. Bond Arms have delivered thirteen SASS - Single Action Shooting Society world championships, so there must be something to these firearms, beyond just showpieces.

Look for an upcoming review on these great high quality handguns. The factory tour left me impressed to say the least.

Shop a huge selection of Firearms and Accessories at Brownells.com - excellent prices and huge selection.

Bond Arms - http://bondarms.com

MicroMOA - Govnah Adjustable Gas Regulation Block Review

MicroMOA - Govnah Adjustable Gas Regulation Blocks

I am a huge fan of adjustable gas blocks and have then installed on nearly every AR15 and AR10 format rifle I own. I maintain that an adjustable gas block is the single most impactful upgrade you can make on any AR15. It is my opinion that an adjustable gas system will do more for you than any other single upgrade you can add on an AR15 with less recoil, faster shot follow up, less shooter and part fatigue, cleaner operation, and altogether a better shooting experience than you have ever experienced.  Why? Simple; nearly every AR15 is severely overgassed to assure part interoperability reliability. The result is the gas port on the barrel ends up being oversized, the gas block hole is oversized to assure alignment issues are not a problem and now we have way more red hot gas being blasted back into the action to cycle everything than realistically needed.  To counterbalance this, we have gone to heavier M16 carriers, H2, H3 heavy buffers and even in some cases heavier buffer springs. Then answer to this engineering challenge is an adjustable gas block to bring everything back into equilibrium.

My original All About Adjustable Gas block article has been one of my most popular articles to date and luckily it has grabbed the attention of a few manufacturers who noted that they should not be left out. One of those newcomers is MicroMOA who offers a very unique designs unlike anything else on the market.

Two of the biggest challenges with any gas block, including adjustable version, is that they can on rare occasion become clogged during full auto fire or fall out of adjustment. For those adjustable gas blocks without a detent securing the adjustment screw, full auto fire from an M4/M16 can literally shake the screw loose. MicroMOA adjusts gas pressure via orifices on a steel plate which slides and clicks in two or three positions, depending on the plate used. This unique adjustment method can never go out of adjustment while still allowing for adjustment.

Over the years, I have had many emails and comments asking what about reliability as gunk and round count builds up. Assuming you appropriately back off the tuning of an adjustable gas block by ½ turn after you just get the bolt to lock back, I have never had an issue. That noted, I can see where extreme environments or too light of an adjustment setting may cause blockages and that is where I really like the MicroMOA Govnah gas Regulation System.

Typical AR Adjustable gas blocks are basically a screw that restricts the flow of gas at the gas block into the gas tube much like a spigot restricts water. If you have it tuned just barely over functional requirements as many 3Gunners do, build up can throw everything off. In most cases, the worst thing I have ever seen is that cycling still occurs but the bolt does not lock back. So the question is that if we are switching between a very low suppressed gas setting, to a medium/optimal regular setting, to a full open harsh environment setting, how do we go about that consistently. Generally that means counts rotations or clicks with an adjustment requiring a hex key. MicroMOA has an easy and simple solution. If you want the ability to swap to different gas regulation setting on demand, the patented MicroMOA Govnah Gas Regulation system is your only option that allow instant swaps back and forth between settings.

MicroMOA’s idea of gas regulation aligns with all the testing I have done over the years. “IF” you have the right setting it should not change.. ever. Tuning is a one way street. Increase the gas pressure/port size until the bolt locks back on the last shot with your lowest powered rounds and then increase by one full turn.  Lets say you had to drill your own gas port in the gas block. In that case you would slowly move from the smallest drill bit you had to the largest until you found the port size that locked back the bolt and then go up one more drill size to assure reliability. This is essence what MicroMOA has done with plate that slides back and forth in the gas block. Position 1 detent one can be an optimal port setting and Position 2 detent can be a wide open port for harsh environment reliability all you need to do is slide the plate back and forth with a bullet poked through the handguard or you can make up your own combination. No twiddling with Hex wrenches needed.
The MicroMOA gas blocks were tested
on the MMC Armory Recon

MicroMOA can provide their Govnah gas block equipped with either a plate with typical orifices in a variety of configurations or a drill-your-own version like the ones I picked up. The Drill-your-own option requires tuning which entails bringing a set of small drill bits and a cordless drill to the range and following a standard gas block tuning process. This process is - drill a hole in the plate starting with your smallest drill bit (usually 1/32") load a single round in the magazine and fire. If the bolt locks back, rejoice, otherwise pull the detent retainer spring back on the gas block, pop out the plate, widen the hole by going up one drill bit size, pop the plate back in and repeat the tuning process until the bolt locks back. Once this is complete, you have a hard tuned gas block setting customized to your AR15 which will never come loose or loose adjustment.

Obviously having a two or three position plate allows for multiple gas adjustment options. MicroMOA recommends tuning one port position for the best soft competitive shooting performance and drilling the other position wide open for defensive applications from the same gun. If you have a supressor, the third plate position can offer an even lower gas adjustment due to the increased back pressure from a supressor. I do not own suppressors, so I like setting up the three position plate to be optimized on the center position and wide open on the left and right positions. If I ever do run into a reliability issue or want to assure total reliability for defense, all I need to do is push the slide with a bullet tip from either side to have my AR15 in a high reliability mode with wide open gas pressure.

If you were going to install a gas block on a machine gun, the MicroMOA Govnah would be the one simply because it is the only adjustable gas block which is full auto rated. The Govnah is also a solid steel beast of a gas block compared to any other gas block in existence. The Govnah was not designed to be light, but it was designed to handle the most brutal environments on the planet.

MicroMOA also has another very interesting $20 "adjustable" drill-your-own gas block model called the Baby Govnah. It is actually more of a hard tunable gas block than being considered "adjustable". Basically this is a low profile gas block without the gas port drilled, so it gives the owner the ability to drill whatever gas orifice size they need. Obviously, the tuning requires the removal of the gas block to drill out and tune the gas block between each testing/tuning cycle is painful, the process guarantees that the adjustment will stay exactly where you left it. For those with the patience for the process, the Baby Govnah is a very inexpensive option to get the gas properly related on your AR15 and an option which delivers.

I am excited we are seeing more entrants into the adjustable gas block market. I continue to believe that an adjustable gas block remains the most important upgrade you can make to your AR15. There is no other single upgrade which can net more advantages to the shooter with softer recoil, less parts fatigue, cooler running bolt carrier group, cleaner running, a flatter shooting rifle, and faster follow up shots. Above all other upgrades I recommend an adjustable gas block, and MicroMOA has believed a few new innovative options which we can choose from in the market that give you permanent adjustments which will never fall out of adjustment.

Govnah - MicroMOA has 2-position and 3-position plates that can be slipped into their gas block available in pre-set port based on in house testing or the drill-your-own options. I choose the 3-position drill-your-own option - $149

Baby Govnah - The Baby Govnah is pure and simply a drill-your-own gas block.  - $20


MicroMOA - http://micromoa.com/

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 - http://www.rightlinegear.com

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 – www.mccarmory.com

Friday, April 4, 2014

Lone Survivor Foundation Major Pandemic Custom AR15 Auction Builds

Lone Survivor Foundation Major Pandemic Custom AR15 Auction Builds

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Sometimes you have the realization that you can do more than just write a check to support a good cause. At last year's Mercury One, God Guns and Giving charity event, I had the pleasure to meet and briefly talk with Marcus Luttrell about his Lone Survivor Foundation as well as Glenn Beck and Joe Kerry about the other efforts Mercury One is supporting. All made a lasting impression and left me wanting to do more for their causes. 

What gave me the real nudge was seeing the generosity of my good friends at Black Rain Ordnance. Black Rain generously donated and auctioned a beautiful AR15 which raised over $10K for Mercury One.  It got me thinking... I wonder if I could work with my awesome manufacturers and put together a truly custom AR15 for auction.  

Almost Complete as of 4-8-2014

I dropped a quick email to the 300+ manufacturers I have an editorial relationship with highlighting my ideas - support the two foundations with charity AR15s for auction. The response was amazing. A plan was solidified; a random set of donated parts organized to do something great. We started with the Lone Survivor Foundation builds.
The net result of that email will be two, one-of-a-kind, custom AR15s that no one will ever be able to replicate for Lone Survivor and soon a set for Mercury One. These rifles represent some of the best AR15 modern sporting rifle technology available, paired with one-of-a-kind custom parts to deliver both a custom museum quality showpiece and ultimate performance AR15 for the auction winner(s) to use and shoot.
No, these rifles are not for sale, they will be auctioned by the Lone Survivor Foundation with 100% of the proceeds going to the charity. Once I build and function test the rifles, each rifle will be donated at no cost to the Lone Survivor Foundation to be auctioned off to the highest bidder at their Oklahoma City and Houston charity events. 

You do not need to attend to bid. If you are interested in either of these custom AR15 rifles, you must be a pre-registered bidder with Lone Survivor foundation's bidding software, from my understanding even allows remote bidding via mobile device if you are not actually at the event. Pre-register now with the line below. My hope is that these rifles will raise a lot of money for a great charity.  

Oklahoma City Rock for the Retreat - http://lonesurvivorfoundation.org/events/OKC14/
OK Rock for the Retreat Registration - http://lsokc.auction-bid.org/micro2.php
Lone Survivor Bidding Pre-Registration - http://lsokc.auction-bid.org/register-only.php

Houston Retreat - TBD - Tentative November 2014

Lone Survivor Bidding Pre-Registration - http://lsokc.auction-bid.org/register-only.php
ABOUT THE LONE SURVIVOR FOUNDATION - (Provided by Lone Survivor Foundation)
"Marcus Luttrell’s Lone Survivor, the 2007 #1 New York Times best-selling book, tells the harrowing, emotionally raw account and motivational story of his survival and the deaths of his comrades-in-arms in Operation Redwing, a mission to gather intelligence on Taliban leadership in Afghanistan. The Marcus’ NEVER QUIT attitude was key to his survival and his recovery at home.
After surviving his operations in Afghanistan, Marcus returned home to his ranch in Texas, the center of his post-combat recovery and restoration. On the ranch, Marcus had time to recover, to think, and to feel the love and support of close friends and family as he healed his wounds. Based upon first hand experiences of what is needed to provide holistic healing beyond standard government programs, while honoring his lost comrades from Operation Redwing, Marcus established the Lone Survivor Foundation in 2010.

The intent was to bring the wounded service members into the same type of environment that healed Marcus. A place of solitude and beauty, where there was a close-knit and understanding support system. A place where the service members and their families could heal together as they all worked through the consequences of war. The Foundation is dedicated to honoring and remembering American service members by providing unique educational, rehabilitation, recovery, and wellness opportunities to U.S. Armed Forces members and their families.

The Lone Survivor Foundation restores, empowers, and renews hope for our wounded service members and their families through health, wellness, and therapeutic support. Overseas deployments and combat action can take a serious toll on everyone involved - from the men and women on the front lines to the friends and families who wait patiently for their loved ones to return home.
In short, the normalcy of life prior to their service may have been lost forever. Therefore, the Lone Survivor Foundation is here to help America's wounded service members and their families adjust to the effects of their experiences and help them transition into what may be looked at as their 'new normal' – providing an understanding and acceptance of who they are as a person, a family, and a community. "
There are off the rack rifles, AR15s which have had some cool parts added, heck, there are even those that are hand assembled with ultra-cool custom looking parts with some fancy coatings which may look unique, however, all those rifles can be easily duplicated. These two Lone Survivor Rifles' major parts are custom in nearly every aspect or feature parts which are hand selected by company owners. No one will ever be able to duplicate either of these true one-of-a-kind AR15s. 

Custom Milled, Serialized, and Challenge Coin Match Upper/Lower Billet AR15 Receiver Set - These two masterpieces of machining were created by Area53 who already makes some of the most custom AR15 upper and lower receivers, around. These receivers are milled from billet 7075 T6 aluminum with the Lone Survivor Logos, not just the laser engraved, but milled into the receivers. Also the right side of the receivers was milled to insert the Lone Survivor Foundation challenge coins into the receiver. Each receiver is finished with a premium high luster Cerakote finish.  

The Area53 receivers deliver a sculpted custom design, ambi-bolt release, and adjustable set screws for receiver tension and trigger overtravel. To put these receivers over the top, these receivers are a serialized matched set with milled SURVIVOR01 and SURVIVOR02 serial numbers.
Handed Selected Barrels - Barnes Precision Machine (BPM) donated both .300 Blackout and 5.56 Nato barrels for these two builds. I personally have found BPM's barrel to be among the most accurate produced, on par, with many of the ultra-premium barrels on the market. BPM stainless barrels are considered Match grade and have proven to me to deliver precision sub-MOA 100-yard groups.  

Barnes Precision completes their barrel blanks with melonited extensions to assure the ultimate durability for the life of the AR15. Although each and every BPM barrel and the product is considered first quality, the owner of Barnes Precision Machine, Andrew Barnes, personally inspected and selected these barrels for donation. I added the custom touch of hand polishing the barrels from the stock satin finish to a bright luster.
Hand Selected "Super-Spec" YM National Match Bolt Carrier Groups - Just like BPM, Young Manufacturing prides itself on consistently delivering the finest Bolt Carrier Groups on the market, however Dan Young personally hand graded, selected, and oversaw the finishing of these National Match grade bolt carrier groups to what he terms as "Super Spec". These BCG (Bolt Carrier Groups) represents the absolute best YM offers.  These hard chromed carriers are National Match spec Bolt Carrier Groups which have shown to optimize accuracy. YM bolts are the only AR15 bolts which are precision ground in three critical areas to assure precision, accuracy, and reliability. Among the industry YM, BCGs are considered the best of the best.

Muzzle Brakes - I wanted to assure the winning bidders would enjoy the guns, both as a showpiece and as highly competitive firearms to pursue any shooting sport, available. Due to many wild restrictions of the extreme East and West coast, I also wanted to ensure I did not feature any flash hiding muzzle devices, so I stuck with muzzle brakes. Two of my favorite brakes on the market are the Fortis Defense Red and Houlding Precision Irish Curse muzzle brakes.  

Todd Houlding hand selected an Irish Curse for use in the 5.56 Nato Barnes barrel, and Fortis Defense provided a 5.56/.223 spec Red muzzle brake which was customized to accommodate the .300 Blackout round.  

I also took the liberty to refinish parts of the Fortis with a brushed and polished finish for a truly one of a kind brake.  

The Houlding Irish Curse provides a high downforce and a recoil braking effect while the Fortis Red brake mitigates recoil more traditionally with the addition of a whole lot of style.
Titanium & Steel Adjustable Gas Block - Last year I wrote one of the more definitive reviews on adjustable gas blocks and I maintain an adjustable gas block is the best upgrade any AR15 owner can add. 

It reduces recoil, shooter fatigue, split times for the competitive shooters, and increases shot-to-shot speed due to a flatter shooting and lower the recoiling gun. Plain and simply, adjustable gas blocks help you shoot faster, more accurately at speed, and more comfortably.  

Of the gas blocks I have tested, the SLR Rifleworks Sentry 9's patented hybrid steel and titanium design is the best offered on the market and the only adjustable gas block which provide a 100% gas seal to avoid fouling of the adjustment screw. I liked them so much, I am using some of the first to ever appear in print for the Gold 5.56 Lone Survivor build.

The 300 Blackout requires full force gas pressure to work properly, so I used a Barnes precision gas block for the Silver SURVIVOR02 300 Blackout build.
Flat Blade Match Trigger - I will admit that for these builds, I wanted a little bit of trigger style and the CMC Flat Blade Triggers are among the most trick looking triggers on the market. Cool looks aside, I have found that the flat blade delivers the match shooter more control and potentially faster shots. 

I use and feature CMC triggers extensively, because I like their feel and performance. CMC is famous for delivering a match grade trigger in one of the most durable cartridge style designs on the market, plus they are made in Marcus's home state of Texas.
Custom Carbon Fiber Handguard - Precision Reflex Inc. (PRI) donated a Gen III Carbon Fiber Handguard without any holes and just a bit different length than is available from their production line to assure this was a true custom one-off handguard/forearm. I featured this handguard on the silver SURVIVOR02 (Silver) build simply because it looked awesome with the silver receiver. Carbon fiber may look cool, however, it is actually its cool nature which makes it so appealing. 

Carbon fiber has the ability to instantaneously dissipate heat, so even if your barrel is smoking hot, your handguard will be at around room temperature. There are also stiffness advantages over billet aluminum, however it is the heat dissipation and cool feel which makes Precision Reflex's carbon fiber handguards one of the most popular forearm handguards for competitive shooters. With this handguard, the winning bidder will be able to run this gun extremely hard without blistering up their support hand in the process and know that no one has one like it.
Custom Logo'ed Billet Forend - For the Gold SURVIVOR01 build, I used the Yankee Hill Machine YHM custom one-of-a-kind logo’ed billet forend featuring the Lone Survivor Logo on each side of the forend.  

I thought YHM's billet forend was one of the most custom looking forends at this year's annual SHOT trade show, however, they upped the cool quotient by adding the Lone Survivor Logo..  This forend provides a very comfortable feel while assuring usable rail space and a true custom look.

Billet Stocks - I don't mind adjustable stocks with plastic parts, however the Ace stocks add a custom touch which transforms even an ordinary AR15 into something custom looking with zero rattles, wiggles, plastics, or buffer tube play. These solid stocks provide a stable platform that drives confidence in the shooter during competitions and also provide a wonderful pallet to apply custom one-of-a-kind Paracord.com 550 Parachute Cord raps.

I used both and Ace Ultralight Stock and their original Skeleton stock. Due to the full rifle buffer tube and rifle length springs and buffers, these stocks deliver a smoother impulse which shooters perceive as less recoil. Less recoil equals more control and a flatter and faster shooting gun all while looking very custom.  

Furniture & Magazines - TangoDown wanted to assure that the winning bidders should have a complete shooting package and supplied sets of their grips, ARC - Advanced Reliability Combat magazines, and Stubby Vertical Foregrips to improve shooter comfort.  
TangoDown has consistently been one of my favorite grips since its introduction delivering both comfortable ergonomics and shooter features. I felt it was, appropriate to convert at least two more shooters to the TangoDown brand. The Grip features a premium stainless hex head bolt attachment and storage compartment backup accessories.
TangoDown's ARC magazines are thought to be the most reliable polymer hybrid AR15 magazines on the market all while delivering a look beyond the norm. The winners will appreciate the sealed o-ring cap on the Stubby Vertical grips to store backup batteries and other necessities... I recommend M&Ms.

Mission First also offered their Torch Backup Light which can serve as a lower power tactical light. I like this light because it delivers lighting capabilities without disturbing the overall lines and looks of a custom rifle. Mission First also donated a set of single point slings to get the winning shooters out on the range quick without needing any extras.

The Little Touches - Battle Arms Development supplied B.A.D. A.S.S (Battle Arms Development Ambi Selector Switches), and their new B.A.D. EPS (Enhanced Pin Set). JP Rifles also provided one of their Ambi-Selector switches. The B.A.D. A.S.S and JP Ambi switches are the definitive top tier of Ambi-selector switches and provides the operator safety switch manipulation, whether the rifle is shouldered left or right handed. The B.A.D. A.S.S adds in a lot of style and functionality while the JP Rifles version is cleaner. 

The Silver SURVIVOR02 (silver) received the BAD ASS and the SURVIVOR01 (gold) received the JP Rifles switch.
Battle Arms EPS delivers not only some of the coolest pivot and take-down pins on the market, but also provides a design which is low-profile and user friendly with a bullet-tip guide to avoid scratching these beautiful receivers, during cleaning. For the AR15 builder, the EPS front pivot pin is also the easiest to install on the market without spring powered pins flying around the room thanks to a rare earth magnet used for installation. The rear EPS Take-down pin features a nail-nick to allow the user to more easily pull the pin from the right hand side.
Nordic Components, LEO Armory, KNS, and Barnes Precision Machine all provided sundry parts for the builds. Nordic provided the forward assists and heavy duty precision billet machined charging handles with extended tactical latches, LEO Armory delivered a set of custom logo’ed ejection port doors with the Lone Survivor Logo on the outside and “Never Quite” on the inside. I used KNS’s precision machined detents and custom fit a mixed set of KNS Anti-Rotate pins.  Due to the construction of the CMC trigger the pins are superfluous, however they look cool, so I used them. Due to the receiver design I used their Gen ST “ladder” on the left side and custom fit the Gen 2 “dog bone” on the ejection port side due to clearance. Some Barnes Precision springs were used plus their magazine latch with the release button flipped for a custom smooth-side-out look.
Custom Waterjet Cut Cases - Often we have custom guns which end up being relegated to just an average case, however not these two guns. MyCaseBuilder.com donated two fully custom flight rated cases with custom waterjet cut internal foam custom cut to the profiles of eahc gun and all the accessories. Whether you are headed to the range or across country, as a winning bidder of these custom guns you will have custom made protection for each one-of-a-kind AR15. Stay tuned on how these turn out.
SURVIVOR01 (Gold) Optics - Leupold generously donated a $1250 Leupold Mark 4 MR/T 1.5-5x20mm (30mm tube) with the illuminated CM-R2 reticle.  This Mark 4 optic represents one of the most durable and crystal clear optic lines on the market. 

Their Mark 4 models are widely used in the military, so it seemed fitting that a Leupold was riding on one of these custom rifles. Both rifles definitely have a competitive slant, which is perfect since the Leupold Mark 4 MR/T 1.5-5x20mm with the illuminated CM-R2 reticle was specifically designed to address the needs of both the 3Gun competitor and the military designated marksman role.  

Beyond the low profile and re-zero-able turrets, the optic features a big 30mm tube to pull in as much light as possible in all conditions. 

The special BDC (Bullet Drop Reticle) is designed around a 200/50-yard zero with 62gr 2810fps rounds. The BDC allows accurate shots to 900 Meters with hash marks for 5-15 wind/target speeds. The winner of this build will be truly lucky, indeed.
SURVIVOR02 (Silver) Optic - Eotech wanted to provide a very special one-of-a-kind 300 Blackout XPS2-300 sight to match up with the Barnes Precision Machine 300 Blackout barrel. 

Eotech has specifically designed this sight to align with typical 300 Blackout zeros for both sub-sonic and supersonic 300 blackout/300 Whisper rounds. 

Similar to Eotech's standard circle dot configuration, but with two aiming dots. The center dot provides a 50-yard sub-sonic/100-yard supersonic zero, and the lower dot delivers 150-yard subsonic/300-yard supersonic zeros.

The sight is based on the widely tested and military/LEO preferred XPS2 design powered by a single CR123 battery. From a durability perspective, arguably, there is no equal to the Eotech sight design which has proven itself in the harshest enviornments on earth.

Keep tuned to see what makes these rifles so very special.


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Until the auction is complete, I will keep posting new pictures as these builds come together with updates noted on my Facebook profile. Please share this link with as many people as possible to build interest for these upcoming auctions. Follow and friend me to keep updated on when I have added new information added to this editorial.

Stay tuned for the build as it continues.

Lone Survivor Foundation -  http://lonesurvivorfoundation.org

Product Manufacturer Donation Supporters

Barnes Precision Machine BPM - .300 Blackout & 5.56 Nato Match Stainless Barrels -
Fortis Defense - Muzzle Brake -  https://fortismfg.com/
Houlding Precision - Irish Curse Muzzle Brake -
SLR Rifleworks - Sentry 9 Adjustable Steel & Titanium Gas Block - http://slrrifleworks.com/
Area53 - Custom Milled, Serialized, and Challange Coin Match Upper/Lower Billet AR15 receiver Set -  http://area53.com/
CMC Triggers - Flat Blade Match Trigger -  http://www.cmctriggers.com/
Precision Reflex PRI - Custom One-of-a-kind Gen III Carbon Fiber Handguard - http://www.precisionreflex.com/
Yankee Hill Machine YHM - Custom One-of-a-kind Logo’ed Billet Forend -  https://yhm.net/
Young Manufacturing - Hand Selected “Super Spec” National Match Bolt Carrier Groups - http://www.youngmanufacturing.net/
Ace Ultralight Stock - http://riflestocks.com/  http://star15.com/
Mission First Tactical - Tactical Light and Grip - http://www.missionfirsttactical.com/
Battle Arms Development- http://shop.battlearmsdevelopment.com/
Tango Down - Forend Support & AR15 Magazines - http://tangodown.com/
MyCaseBuilder.com - Custom Waterjet Cut Cases - http://MyCaseBuilder.com
Bill Rogers - AR15 Care Kit & Accessories - http://www.rogersshootingschool.com/products/
Leupold - CM-R2 Mark 4 1.5-5 Optic - http://www.leupold.com/

Eotech Optics - XPS2-300 -  http://www.eotechinc.com/
Tuff Products - Magazine Case - https://www.tuffproducts.com/
American Defense Manufacturing - Scope Mount -  http://www.americandefensemfg.com
KNS Precision - Precision Turned Pins - http://www.knsprecisioninc.com/

Paracord.com - http://www.paracord.com

Oklahoma City Rock for the Retreat - http://lonesurvivorfoundation.org/events/OKC14/
OK Rock for the Retreat Registration - http://lsokc.auction-bid.org/micro2.php
Lone Survivor Bidding Pre-Registration - http://lsokc.auction-bid.org/register-only.php

Houston Retreat - TBD - Tenative November 2014
Lone Survivor Bidding Pre-Registration - http://lsokc.auction-bid.org/register-only.php