Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Primary Arms 4-14X44 Mil Dot FFP Scope Review

Primary Arms 4-14X44 Mil Dot FFP Scope Review

As I marched through a quest to find and review as many "quality" FFP (First Focal Plane) scopes, I initially discounted what Primary Arms was offering. I mean how in the world could a $229 retail scope compare with the mid-higher tier optics on the market in the $800-$1200 range. I am here to tell you that it gets you about 80%-90% there for a third to a quarter the price.

FFP scopes whose reticles zoom in proportion to the magnification are all the rage now within the shooting industry because they simplify ballistic calibrated reticle based shooting systems. Your ballistic reticle tick mark at 200-yards will be the same whether you are at minimum or maximum magnification.  

There are MOA - Minute of Angle, bullet calibrated and Mil Dot reticles which have some type of hash mark on the reticle with the intent that you can use these hash marks to calculate a shooting “hold” solution, measure distance, or target height. In this, case Primary Arms’ 4-14x44 FFP scope features a Mil Dot reticle. There is a learning curve to any ballistic or graduated hashed reticle, however what makes any of these calibrated reticles tough to use on regular second focal plane optics is that they are typically calibrated only at their highest magnification. This means that the reticle will not zoom with the magnification on standard scopes. For example, the first tick down on the reticle may be calibrated for 300 yards at max 14x magnification, but on 4X magnification that same tick mark will not deliver a 300 yard shot and like a zero around 500-600 yards instead.

Some people like this fixed reticle configuration because it allows your 14x 300-yard zero to be a 600-yard zero at 4x, however this math makes my head hurt. FFP optics make shooting solutions consistent at any magnification and therefore simpler to calculate as you are learning the ballistic system of your scope. If you know your 10/22 or AR15 delivers a 125-yard zero on the top of the first mil-dot at 14x, then that zero will be the same at 4x when you have the magnification low for fast moving varmints. The problem is that this cool FFP system is usually reserved exclusively for more expensive $800+ optics.

On my last cruise through PA's site dropping things in my cart for my latest AR15 build, I took a hard look at the Primary Arms 4-14x44 FFP scope. I will have to admit that my plan was to bolt it on a custom 10/22 just to spend more time practicing my Mildot ranging, but after I received the $229 the optic changed my mind about the quality  a sub-$300 optic can deliver and instead dropped it right on my custom AR15 build. Considering the PA 4-14x44 also delivers the FFP feature usually only found on expensive optics, this scope is an amazing deal.

Primary Arms is a firearms parts and products retailer founded on delivering high quality firearms related products at a extremely competitive price. What makes Primary Arms unique is that they started offering their own line of optics and red dot sights which are now widely regarded as being “best buys” in the industry.

Generally Primary Arms optics are affordable quality equivalents of well know brand name optics. Their $90 Micro Dot design and mounting holes match up to the $400 Aimpoint Micro so you can mount it to Aimpoint Micro pattern mounts. Their $90 Reflex recoil proof sight compares very closely to $300+ reflex sights from Burris, Vortex and others which makes it a very attractive option for both handguns and rifles. There is a difference in quality between the high dollar optics and what Primary Arms is offering, however the quality will really surprise you. It is impressive that Primary Arms optics quality is not ¼ or ⅓ of the quality as the price would indicate.

The fit is actually pretty good with quality on par with the Lucid, Leatherwood and other similar quality optics. The optic was solid and the finish was consistent throughout with a good feel and heft to the optic. A 24oz, the PA 4-14x44 FFP scope is not light and feels substantial.

The Primary Arms 4-14x44 FFP scope features a side adjustable parallax adjustment from 10-yards to infinity which makes this an ideal scope for .22LR rifles and even pellet guns all the way to your .308 sniper rifle. Most FFP optics typically don’t deliver parallax adjustment for those close ranges. The 1/10 mil click adjustment turrets deliver a tactile and audible click and can be easily re-zero’ed. The total 35 Mil of windage and elevation for each turret adjustment is not huge, but good enough for the applications most people will use  this scope for.

The scope is shockproof, waterproof and nitrogen purged with a 30mm scope tube to maximize light transmission. If you have any problems Primary Arms covers this optic with a three year warranty.

What stunned me was that this optic was more clear at mid-range 400-yard distances than my personally well regarded Lucid Crossover optic. I ended up sitting out on the deck for a good hour attempting to figure out if my Lucid was out of focus, however the final deduction was that the Primary Arms scope was just more clear. To be fair the PA 4-14 was more clear than a lot of my optics at that distance. When I broke out the higher tier Burris XTR II, Vortex Viper PST, Nikon Monarch Gold, and Bushnell Elite Tactical scopes for comparison, these did deliver better clarity as they should for the price difference. It was still impressive how great the clarity was compared to these higher end optics.

Overall, I was very impressed with the Primary Arms 4-14x44 FFP scope. At $229 is is a deal of an optic and considering it is also a high clarity bright 30mm tubed FFP optic, I have to move it to a best buy status. I plan on picking up a few more for other builds as well. This is a very competitive price range for optics, and Primary Arms has done a great job delivering one hell of an optic for the price no matter what rifle you stick it on.

Primary Arms 4-14X44 Mil Mil FFP Scope
Model: PA4-14XFFP
Magnification: 4-14X44
Reticle: Mil-Dot (USMC)
Focus/Parallax Adjustment 10-yards to Inifinity
First focal plane
Matte anodized black finish
Exit Pupil: 11.2 mm to 3.3 mm
Eye Relief: 80 mm to 82 mm
Field of View: 27.2 to 7.85 feet at 100 yards
Click Value: .1 MIL
Total Adjustment Value:Windage: 35 MIL
Total Adjustment Value:Elevation: 35 MIL
Multicoated to prevent glare
Shockproof rating: 1000g, 20 times
Waterproof: 11°C, 0.25 m, 3 min/ 52°F, 10”, 3 min
Nitrogen purged
Main material: Aluminum
Tube size: 30mm
Length: 330 mm / 13 in.
Weight: 690 g / 24 oz.
Three year warranty
MSRP $229


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Friday, July 3, 2015

July 4th is a Celebration of Guns

Red, White, and Blue Volquartsen 10/22,
Volquartsent/Ruger Mark III
and 100% American Made
Stainless .50AE Desert Eagle
July 4th is a Celebration of Guns

Contrary to most people's beliefs, July 4th was not recognized as a holiday to fawn over hot dogs, brats, and hamburgers cooked at the altar of the grill. We have our independence because of firearms. The pacifist of our country would say that diplomacy helped create our independence, however knowing history a bit better, our independence was won while spitting vulgarities were exchanged and blood was spilt on the battlefield, streets, and homes of our then young nation.

Those that look to peacekeepers to save them today, let's not forget in those times the "peacekeepers" were corrupt colonial governors and british soldiers who were in charge of "keeping you safe", raping your wife, killing you, beating your son, shooting your dog, and taking all your livestock, produce, food and money. Oh, and let's not forget at time also confiscating our weapons, because why would you need firearms with such loving overlords.  No... our independence was won not with kindness and love shown to England, but lead, gunpowder, flint and steel applied directly to the chests of the Englishman ruler in the form of rebellion after rebellion after rebellion.

Without firearms and firepower including artillery level cannons, rifles, pistols, and swords to fight for our freedom, we would not be the great free nation we are today. All the ink and paper in the world cannot replace the power provided with firearms to overcome tyranny when words alone are ignored.

God bless the firearms, men and women who were willing to sacrifice everything including rebel against unjust laws in the face of overwhelming oppression. Long live the Republic and God bless past, present and future love of firearms. Guns were the reason we are free today, so celebrate firearms with our independance on this July 4th Holiday.

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Glock G29 10mm Pistol Review

Glock G29 10mm Pistol Review

During my behind the scenes tour of the US Glock factory, I saw a lot of things and many things drifted through my mind. At that time I was one of only eleven editors invited to the unveiling of the secret release of the Glock G43. That predictable and yawn-able moment of the G43 introduction where we all exclaimed “good lord, finally”, my mind was thinking about a G29.  The G29 is in essence a G19 in 10mm and is Glock’s “compact 10mm” pistol. Though the G29 is actually about ¼” shorter than the G19, the reality is that the G29 is like a G19 9mm which has overindulged a bit at the pasta bar one to many times.

The 10mm G29 is also Glocks most powerful compact pistol capable of delivering 600-800 ft/lbs of energy depending on the ammo you feed it. Not bad considering you have 10+1 rounds on tap… its a lot of power and firepower in a very small concealable package.

The development of the 10mm round is actually an interesting story which dates back to the 1970s. The idea was for a high power flat shooting semi-auto cartridge that would run in a 1911 format pistol which would basically deliver .357 to .44 Magnum (midweight loads) ballistics. In the end Jeff Cooper, yes the scout rifle guy, was involved in the development at which point Norma began producing ammunition in the early 1980s. The FBI felt a little outgunned on the streets and briefly adopted the 10mm round, but with the full bore kick ass loads that were first released.  The reality was 90% of the agents felt uncomfortable shooting and handling the larger dimensioned and significantly more powerful 10mm powered guns.  The ammo manufacturers responded with the 10mm Lite rounds which in essence dropped the power all the way down to about .40 S&W loads however the FBI and the public wanted a smaller format with less power than what the 10mm round delivered. Smith & Wesson though this was a waste of un-used powder space on the longer 10mm brass and developed a 10mm Short or what we now know as the .40 S&W.  The round delivered everything the FBI specs wanted in a format that would fit in a smaller 9mm sized pistol format.

The current crop of 10mm rounds from Hornady and other are not neutered to the degree the "LITE" rounds were, however they could certainly be loaded hotter as we see with the higher power Buffalo Bore, Federal, and Liberty Ammunition rounds.  The current 10mm rounds are still much more powerful than the .40 S&W.  .40 S&W usually deliver around 450Ft/lbs of energy and the 10mm typically delivery around 550 ft/lbs which is around 20% more power.

Today the 10mm cartridge has rabid fans plus still does have a following in Special forces, Special Law Enforcement, and is growing as a hunting cartridge due to the capacity of the firearm and power.
Little 9mm G43 vs powerhouse 10mm G29

Glock began producing the G20 in 1991 to answer the market demand in the midst of the 10mm Auto’s hay day. Even after demand tapered off there was still a demand for the 10mm Auto pistol, however the major complaint was the overall size of the grip. Later in 2007, Glock introduced the G20SF (reviewed here) which is the “Short Frame” model.  The G20SF model provides a significantly grip feel circumference equal to a standard .40 S&W chambered Glock.  

The net result is that those with medium to small hands can establish a comfortable and secure grip.  Glock has been specifically marketing the G20 and G20SF as hunting companion firearms to be used for the hunt or to provide a humane finishing shot on very large game. For those hunting in bear country, having a 15-round pistol which can believer power that rivals some .44 Magnum rounds, is an enormous benefit. In fact the Greenland Sirius Sledge Patrol uses the G20 on the very aggressive Polar bear which far outweigh our typical brown bear. Many of the relatively rapid 10mm fanatics, myself included, requested/demanded a smaller concealable format... ya know? in case we are attacked by polar bears. The small format G29 10mm was born.

I would argue why wouldn’t you want one, however I can see there may be some folks who just do not get it.  I will put it this way. Why would someone carry a .357 Magnum Ruger LCR snubby revolver when you could just carry the same gun and shoot it with less recoil in .38 Special. The simple answer is “POWER” and the same reason muscle cars were created. Do I need the power in a handgun to down small aircraft? Well not recently, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to own it. In fact, I have been lusting after the rather surprisingly mild recoiling G29 since I picked up my G20. Who doesn't need 41 Rem Magnum power in a concealable 11-round pistol. Well I did.

The G29 has the fit, finish, and features identical to any other Gen 3 Glock you may have handled, however the slide and barrel is even wider and beefier than Glock’s .40 S&W pistols to handle the power of the 10mm Auto round. The side profile of the G29 is just a bit fatter than a G19 but about a ¼” shorter as noted previously. Think of the the G27 (the G26 of the .40 S&W lineup), but about 10% larger.

If you want night sights, I recommend picking them up included from Glock as they are a bit less expensive than adding them later plus they will come factory zero'ed.  On my G29, I added the Glock night sights because, you know... sometimes big critters roam around at night.

Just like any other Glock reliability was superb and flawless from the first to the last round.  Thankfully Hornady sent me a couple boxes of their lighter shooting 560 ft/lb Custom 10mm Auto 180gr XTP rounds and Federal supplied some of their full power 650 ft/lb 10mm 180gr Trophy Bonded JSP rounds. What surprised me most was that the recoil was really quite pleasant and even easily tolerable and controllable with the harder hitting rounds. I will admit, the G20 is a treat to shoot with hot rounds, the G29 is a bit snappy and after every three mags, I had to take a break.  Not painful, but the lighter G29 is snappy enough with the harder hitting rounds that the snap feels more like bite after more than three or four mag fulls.

I found that like every other double stack Glock I own, the G29 slipped into the same G19 Crossbreed Supertuck Deluxe Holster Mark Craighead personally gave me and carries just like any other Glock.

My friend and I have made it a habit to routinely plink and hit the 12”x12” steel 100, 200, and 300-yard gongs with our Glocks.  Oddly enough, once you figure out the 12-15 foot holdover at 300-yards, it is not that difficult. Just like the G20 testing I did, shooting flatter shooting 10mm at distance was a whole new game. 100-yard torso shots were simply and downright easy. The original intent of the cartridge was clear - this is a long range handgun round and if zeroed at 50-yards, the 10mm Auto only drops about 4.5” at 100- yards and is only 36” low at 200 yards and still delivering around 400 ft/lbs of energy (about the same energy a 9mm has at the muzzle). This is a very impressive round that is more than adequate for hunting deer sized game at a little distance.

Otherwise at normal combat distances, the G29 was marginally less accurate than your average G26 or G27 due to the increased recoil the shooter is managing.

I love this little 10mm. If you have a reason to drop something with about 70%-90% more power than your average 9mm then the G29 is your pistol. What I love about the G29 is that it delivers the most powerful semi-auto pistol round in a reliable gun outside of Desert Eagle. Actually owning two Desert Eagles, I would argue the Glock 10mm is "the" most reliable high power semi-auto pistol and the G29 is the smallest format available.

LENGTH: 177 mm / 6.96 in.
WIDTH: 32.50 mm / 1.27 in.
LENGTH BETWEEN SIGHTS: 150 mm / 5.91 in.
HEIGHT: 113 mm / 4.44 in.
BARREL HEIGHT: 32 mm / 1.26 in.
BARREL LENGTH: 96 mm / 3.77 in.
UNLOADED: 770 g / 27.18 oz.
LOADED: 935 g / 33.01 oz.
TRIGGER PULL: ~2.5 kg / ~5.5 lbs.
TRIGGER TRAVEL: ~12.5 mm / ~0.49 in.
BARREL RIFLING: right hand, hexagonal
LENGTH OF TWIST: 250 mm / 9.84 in.
CAPACITY: 10 - Accepts G20 15-round mags


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Hornady Ammo - http://www.hornady.com/