Saturday, April 30, 2016

Factor COSSATOT Tactical Lights Review

Factor COSSATOT Tactical Lights Review - Performance with No More Batteries Ever

Every year I see hundreds of old and new tactical flashlight manufacturers introduce yet another newer improved light. Usually it is a bit of an underwhelming re-warmed product re-introduction of the same light as last year with some extra lumens. There are also plenty of brand new tactical light companies which offer non-competitive features at a above market price wrapped with great marketing. This year I was pretty excited to find Factor Equipment’s CASSATOT line of tactical flashlights which offered something not only a bit different, but really very practical at a extremely affordable price. No marketing hype, just great tactical lights at an extremely affordable price.

My interest was split between the very small and unusually powerful sub-$30 AA and AAA battery powered MiZPAH 130 Lumen and 160 Lumen models and the Factor Equipment’s Sub-$85 COSSATOT USB rechargeable 1000+lumen models. Yes, USB rechargeable for under $100 featuring CREE LED lamps.

All the Factor Equipment lights feature extremely high-tier quality components including premium CREE XP-L/XP-G2 LEDs with a life of 50,000 hours, real glass lens with double-sided anti-reflective coating, Type III hard anodized aluminum alloy bodies, removable coated steel pocket clip, are all waterproof submersion rated to IPX-8 standard (2 meters for 30 minutes), and feature digitally regulated output to maintain constant brightness.  All the models feature a “Blast Mode” which maxes out power to the LED for the highest light output possible. This mode is intended more for temporary use the output runtime of the battery, however the runtime is greatly reduced.

Operation across the models are very simply clicky tailcap operation to cycle through the modes, momentary half-switch positions and on/off operation. The COSSATOT 1000 and smaller lights just recall memory default to whatever the last mode used. The two larger light models included nylon holsters, but all the models included spare o-rings, and a replacement rubber tailcap - nice touches that make the Factor Equipment lights stand out in a sea of competitors.

Overall the light output of these lights compared to competitors is in the top tier from the 1000-lumen USB powered models to the AAA powered light. The light output to price ratio makes the Factor Equipment lights a bargain. Sure we how have a lot of options in the 500+ lumen range, however generally these lights jump above the $150 price pretty quick. Factor is delivering a heck of a light for the price and considering the COSSATOT models all include micro-USB rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and USB cables and still remain 2xCR123 battery compatible for backup, the rich features make it really tough to not consider these lights.

Factor Equipment COSSATOT 1000 XL Specs
The COSSATOT 1000XL is the company’s flagship USB rechargeable light delivering a blinding 1000-lumens. This light is setup and designed as shock and awe tactical light and always comes on at the 1000-lumen Blast Mode. For the record, the “blast mode” delivering 1000-lumens is insanely bright, but the 1000XL’s 6, 80, and 253 Lumen Low, Medium, and High modes deliver exceptionally useable light just a click or two away. The Strobe Mode is really REALLY bright and seems to be using the 1000-lumen output.

The full sized COSSATOT line of tactical lights run on either the supplied Li-Ion rechargeable battery pack or two CR123 batteries, so if you do not have a USB charger handy you can still get back up and running. No need to remove the batteries to charge the 1000 or 1000XL. Charging the COSSATOT Factor Equipment models is as easy as flipping up a waterproof rubber micro-usb cover on the side of the flashlight and plugging it into any USB outlet on your computer, a battery pack, solar panel, or even the same USB 110V outlet charger used for your phone. This recharging feature is an exceptional. The small blue indicator light on the side of the flashlight will turn off after the light is charged.

As someone who travels extensively each year, having a flashlight which can be easily charged via a USB outlet is an important feature. Those that use their tactical light continuously for work will find that rechargeable models can pay for themselves quick.

Another unique feature is the charge indicator light within the body of the COSSATOT flashlight. When remaining power is more than 50%, the light will remain off. When the remaining power is less than 50% a blue light will flash slowly. When power is below 10%, the blue light will flash rapidly. The flash is not a very bright which would be my preference anyway for a tactical flashlight.

The 1000 XL is pretty much a standard sized 1” tactical light profile with a 1.34” head and overall length of 5.93”.  The light output is no joke with a clear daylight output with a strong penetrating center dot with a softer flood extending out to around the 30-degree range.

Factor Equipment COSSATOT 1000
The Factor COSSATOT 1000 shared all the features of the 1000XL including the rechargeable features, and included battery and charger. The light output is similar to the 1000XL with clear daylight output with a strong penetrating center dot with a softer flood extending out to around the 30-degree range, but the operation is different in a more working light use. The on/off and momentary switching are all still done with the tail switch, however the modes are all cycled through using the side-thumb Mode Switch located on the opposite side of the micro-USB charging port.

The 1000 offers all the same modes as the 1000XL, however it is designed more as a general purpose tactical light. Where the 1000XL only comes on at the highest blast setting each time, the COSSATOT 1000 has a memory recall function which turns the light on to the last mode used. This is a handy feature exponentially increasing runtime and also delivers a better utility light which can be “staged” to a particular mode. If you want to “stage” the light for strobe, or a lower working light mode, you can. Select the mode, click and turn off the light, wait a few seconds and then turn it back on and it will be in the mode you selected last. That operational recall mode continues until you either remove the batteries or start cycling through other modes.  The CASSATOT 1000 is still a 1” tactical light, however it is a bit trimmer easier to carry profile with an overall straight profile versus having an enlarged reflector head.  

Factor has tuned the COSSATOT 1000 light modes differently than the 1000XL with overall higher output low, medium, and high modes. The 1000 also adds SOS and Rescue Beacon modes which could be handy in a survival situation. At an MSRP of $79, the 1000 is an outstanding practical light for the everyday user who is not looking for “just” a dedicated tactical light. Sure it can serve that purpose, however I think with the extra features and last memory recall and more useful everyday lighting output modes, it is perfect for dedicated CCW task and tactical lighting.

Factor Equipment MIZPAH 160
The MIZPAH is not rechargeable, however it is powered by just a single AA battery. At only $29 this single AA powered Factor MiZPAH 160 is freaking unbelievable bright and would easily challenge the vast majority of CR123 powered lights on the market. Though I carry a Streamlight AAA Microstream every day so much that the anodizing is worn off, I swapped in a heartbeat to the Factor MiZPAH 160 considering they are almost the same size and it offers higher output, mode based selectable lighting, and a high output strobe mode.

The 3.73” x 0.75”Factor MiZPAH 160 offers 6-500 lumen modes with 80-hour to 30-minute runtimes depending on the mode. The light recalls the last setting used, so you can stage the mode beforehand should you want to assure it is set to a particular mode. Though I love the single AA battery power, a rechargeable 14500 rechargeable Li-Ion battery can be used, however this is likely nothing I will every do. For $29, it is a steal and if you want something even smaller without giving up much light output the single AAA powered MiZPAH 130 drops the overall width down to around 0.5”.

The overall recommendation on any of these Factor Equipment lights is to “Buy One”. Through my testing, I have been extremely impressed with this lights. These are amazing lights with the good useable features without going nuts cycling through twenty modes and needing a manual every time you want to click into low power mode. Operation is so simple you do not need the manual. The price should really grab people’s attention considering the price is extremely competitive across all the models and the quality and features of this new tactical light line form Factor Equipment.

Shared Features
Utilizes high performance CREE XP-L/XP-G2 LED with a life of 50,000 hours
Glass Lens with double-sided anti-reflective coating
Body is corrosion resistant, CNC machined, Type III hard anodized aluminum alloy
Removable coated steel pocket clip
Waterproof to IPX-8 standard, 2 meters for 30 minutes
Rubber tail-switch operation; turns light on/off and switches modes
Recall memory function allows the light to turn on in the last mode used
Digitally regulated output maintains constant brightness

Factor Equipment COSSATOT 1000 XL Specs
LUMENS 6-Low 80-Med 253-High 1000-Blast
RUNTIME 130h-Low 16h 30min-Med 4h 12min 50min-High
DISTANCE 748ft. (228m)
INTENSITY 6580cd (Max)
WATERPROOF IPX-8, underwater 2m
MSRP $84.95
Flashlight’s blast operation ensures that light turns on highest 1000 mode output every start to support tactical operations
Four modes plus Strobe
Size: Length: 5.93” Head: 1.34” Diameter: 1”
Weight: 4.7 oz. (134g) excluding batteries
Battery: One 18650 Rechargeable Li-ion battery (included)
Includes: Cossatot 1000 XL flashlight, 18650 Li-Ion rechargeable battery, USB charging cable, holster, user manual, coated steel pocket clip, two spare o-rings, and replacement rubber tail cap

Factor Equipment COSSATOT 1000 Specs
LUMENS 10-Low 107-Med 417-High 1000-Blast
RUNTIME 100h-Low 15h-Med 2h 45min-High 50min-Blast
DISTANCE 551ft. (168m)
INTENSITY 5350cd (Max)
WATERPROOF IPX-8, underwater 2m
MSRP $79.95
USB Rechargeable
Dual switch operation; tactical tail switch provides momentary activation and turns light on/off; side switch changes modes
Recall memory function allows the light to turn on in the last mode used
Four modes plus Strobe, SOS and Rescue Beacon.
Size: Length: 5.32” Head: 1.1” Diameter: 1”
Weight: 3.4 oz. (97.2g) excluding batteries
Battery: One 18650 Rechargeable Li-ion battery (included)
Includes: 18650 Li-ion rechargeable battery, USB charging cable, holster, two spare o-rings, and replacement rubber tail cap

Factor Equipment MIZPAH 160 Specs
LUMENS 6-Low 50-Med 160-High 500-Blast
RUNTIME 80h-Low 12h-MEd 1h-High 30min-Blast
DISTANCE 148ft. (45m)
INTENSITY 500cd (max)
WATERPROOF IPX-8, underwater 2m
MSRP $27.95
Recall memory function allows the light to turn on in the last mode used
Three modes plus Strobe
Size: Length: 3.73”  Diameter: 0.75”
Weight: 1.1 oz. (32.2g) excluding batteries
Battery: One AA battery (Alkaline, Ni-MH, or Lithium) or one 14500 battery (rechargeable Li-Ion battery)
Includes: one AA battery, user manual, two spare o-rings, and replacement rubber tail cap


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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Ruger SR1911 Lightweight Commander .45 ACP Review

Ruger SR1911 Lightweight Commander .45 ACP Review
Now Smaller and Lighter

As noted in my previous review of the sized Government length Ruger SR1911, Ruger hit the nail on the head for .45ACP 1911 owners. Lustful full sized 1911 desires aside, the next on every .45ACP owner’s list is the more carriable Commander length pistol and again Ruger has answered the call with an all stainless SR1911 Commander and now a Lightweight alloy framed version of its hugely popular SR1911. At nearly 10ozs lighter than the all stainless version, the reduced weight is a welcome option.

I wish I could highlight something different in a review between the full sized SR1911 and the shorter barreled Commander length, however essentially the two guns are identical with the exception of a .75” shorter barrel. Really, they are identical. Sure, the spring, slide, and barrel are shorter, and an aluminum alloy frame versus stainless steel, however that is about it. Every other part between the full sized guns are theoretically interchangeable beyond the factory hand fitting. Of note the magazines are completely cross compatible between the Government and Commander size.

Let’s re-explore the finer points of the SR1911 platform. The Ruger Commander is a base priced 1911 in stainless with the basic “must do” upgrades covered all for under $979.  No need to spend a fortune for parts and gunsmithing services for the basic upgrades... Just plop down your cash on the Ruger SR1911 and go have fun shooting or start carrying it concealed.

Overall the Ruger SR1911 good fit for a production 1911s between the aluminum alloy lower receiver and milled stainless upper receiver. Perfect buttery custom gun feel? No, but tighter and smoother than many other production guns I have shot. Many will say, “Milled lowers are better”, however keep in mind Ruger’s high precision foundry has been delivering some of the most precise castings to manufacturers across the industry for decades.  I would challenge you to notice from a fit perspective that it is a cast lower versus milled. All the parts are tight and have that solid Ruger feel about them.  Most will find the fit and finish as good or better than most other production 1911s - note I said production, not custom.

The SR1911 Model 6711 feels solid, beefy and is comfortable in the hand. This lightweight version is a pleasure to carry at only 28oz. The shorter barreled SR1911 Commander moves the pivot point of the balance back for a less muzzle heavy feel.  The gun is very comfortable and the grooved rosewood grips and rear checkering provide a perfect grip without being too aggressive on the hands. Ruger did groove the front strap on the alloy Commander.

Ruger skipped the problematic newer generation firing pin safeties which leave many 1911 owners swearing about higher manufacturing costs, failures to fire, and harsher trigger pulls. Ruger just made the older simpler problem-free 70-series design just as safe by using a stronger firing pin spring and lightweight titanium firing pin. This allows the gun to survive drop tests without accidental discharge when the gun hits the concrete, provides nice upgrade, a less complex and less expensive design all while maximizing a great trigger feel.

The trigger is skeletonized aluminum with overtravel adjustment and is probably one of the better triggers I have tried on a production 1911. This particular Lightweight Ruger Commander has just a little bit of snag in the trigger which pushed the feel out of match quality range, however for its intended purpose it is a good trigger.

The stainless barrel and bushings are made from the same piece of bar stock. Why? Because every piece of bar stock is just unique enough that one piece will be marginally harder or softer than another. By using the same barstock for both barrel and bushings the chance for wear over the long term is greatly minimized and a better fit equals tighter groups now and into the future.  Nice detail.
Features - Standard Upgrades
The Ruger SR1911 includes a oversized mag release, thumb safety, beavertail safety with a nice palm swell for positive safety dis-engagement, skeletonized and bobbed hammer. The beavertail safety and thumb safety are not hugely oversized, so the Ruger should be a good comfortable carry option.  The hammer is nicely stylized and deeply serrated and can be cocked single handed with the grip hand. The magwell is more of a standard type with a decent magazine flaring and good enough for a carry gun.
The Ruger SR1911 magazine are some of the most gorgeous magazines I have ever seen on any production gun.  The Commander included just one seven shot magazine instead of a seven and eight rounder like the full sized. The magazines are mirror polished stainless steel with anti-tilt followers.  The 7 shot provides a flush fit with the lightly beveled mag-well while the optional extended 8-shot includes a hard plastic bumper.  These magazines are a work of art all unto themselves.  Just a note my Kimber .45 magazines functioned perfectly as well for those looking for possible compatibility options.

The sights are Novak three dot dovetail sights and provide plenty of function with the rear being adjustable for windage via a set screw. Unless you are a target shooter, these are all you will ever need.  It should be noted that the top rear of the slide is milled to accept other Novak equivalent extended combat and adjustable sights, however should you want other non-Novak compatible target sights, you may need to have the top of the slide milled to provide clearance.  Grips are beautiful cocobolo with deep aggressive checkering for plenty of grip.

Included in the now standard cardboard box was a lock, the gun, one magazines, the plastic take-down wrench, and a zippered pistol pouch.

Testing included three-hundred round of five types of ammo ranging from the inexpensive steel case Herters & Wolf, and various standard and premium Winchester rounds in hollowpoint and FMJ.  Everything feed, fired and ejected without a single issue.  Based on the fact the gun could feed anything I threw at it, I would not hesitate to recommend this 1911 for anyone intending to utilize the SR-1911 as a reliable defense gun.

For me the lightweight version of this Commander was actually a bit more accurate than the all stainless model. I wanted to replicate my testing of the full sized SR1911 and dug through the ammo box to find the same boxes and brands of ammo. The shorter sight radius marginally decreased accuracy, however, if placed in a Ransom rest, I am sure the groups would be nearly identical.  Almost all of my groups were solidly just over 2.5” for 5-shot groups; and about the same size as my full sized Ruger 1911.  Again the Federal HST and Winchester 230-Gr FMJ rounds delivered my best groups.  All around a very accurate 1911 pistol for the price.
The Ruger SR1911 is an outstanding value for a feature loaded production 1911 that you can just buy and have the confidence in to go out and shoot. The Commander version offers a carriable option which is ¾” shorter and a few ounces lighter to increase all day carry comfort.

Like the full sized version the grips are a bit big for my hands and would swap them for a set of VZ slim custom grips.  Highly recommended.

Caliber: .45 Auto
Slide Material: Stainless Steel
Sights: Fixed Novak® 3-Dot
Length: 7.75"
Height: 5.45"
Width: 1.34"
Weight 28oz
Grooves: 6
Barrel Length: 4.25"
Twist: 1:16" RH


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Monday, April 25, 2016

Century Arms C39V2 Magpul ZHUKOV AK-47 Rifle Review

Century Arms C39V2 Magpul ZHUKOV AK-47 Rifle Review

I reviewed the first Century Arms American made C39 Centurion rifle when first introduced and I loved it. That first C39 has been the base for many upgrades and reviews and along the way has been a perfectly reliable AK47. That first “V1” C39 was well made, however it still did not "look" like a high-end pretty AK47. Century Arms remedied that with their newer V2 models which offered the look, fit, feel and finish of a high-and AK47. That lineup has expanded to includes a number of models ranging from pistols, and traditional to the newest Magpul equipped versions.  Century Arms now is delivering their latest C39V2 model complete with top end Magpul Zhukov furniture. Like the C39 predecessors, the rifle delivers a 100% US made AK47 with all the nice little touches you would expect from a gentleman's AK47.

Most people think of the AK47 as a thug and warlord gun, however with the C39V2, I think Century has added a little class back into the AK along with really nice fit and finish. If you think of the original C39 as field grade then the C39v2 would be a Grade 1 gun with dressed up finish and furniture and features. The Magpul equipped version adds additional flexibility and utility.

At the heart of the C39V2, Century has carried over the 4140 ordnance grade steel receiver used on the C39 models but styled it subtly different with more rounded edges. The receiver is insanely strong and milled from an 11lb block of ordnance grade steel. Of note, the C39V2 does not feature the second lower stock tang. Century originally included the extra lower tang and short reinforced stock hole on the C39V1 originally to add overall strength to the design, however in doing so they also made it almost impossible to change stocks. The C39V2 now features the same tang and stock specs of a stamped receiver so pretty much any stamped receiver stock will fit on the C39V2 including the rather awesome adjustable folding Magpul ZHUKOV stock. A big thank you to Century for this.

The folding ZHUKOV stock delivers a more easily stowable rifle but still allows for quick deployable. The comfort of the ZHUKOV stock is excellent and if needed extending the pull for taller folks all while still maintaining the AK feel. My tall long armed FFL dealer immediately noted that it was the first AK-47 which he felt comfortable behind. It is important to note that Magpul did not design the ZHUKOV stock to mimic the AR platform. Instead the ergonomics still retain the original feel of the AK without attempting to make the AK into a AR.  The stock is also fully compatible with the optional Magpul cheek rest extensions. If you do add a red dot or scope the folding stock can accommodate the needed cheek rise with just a snap on Magpul cheek riser.

Up front, Century included the roomy ZHUKOV handguard which includes an integral aluminum chassis to disperse heat paired with a familiar Magpul handguard design ready for any M-LOK compatible accessory. The handguard mechanically clamps on to the barrel for absolute rigidity.  For those that want to add optics, the UltiMAK Mount compatible which delivers a co-witness height red dot mounting rail.

The C39V2 not only has a chrome lined barrel, but has been nitride treated as well for significantly improved corrosion resistance. The nitriding also delivers the look of a higher end barrel finish. Other new features are the T-paddle extended magazine release, two included Magpul AK Mags, bolt hold open safety, enhanced dust cover, and lightened bolt carrier assembly for improved performance. Century is also now including their new "enhanced trigger" which is the closest thing to a match trigger for AK47 on the market. The trigger is worlds better than the triggers typically found on AK's.

The remaining internals and sights on the rifle remain unchanged. The removable Century chevron compensator remains as do the standard adjustable AK front sight pin and rear sight are fully windage and elevation adjustable up to 800 yards.

When it comes to high end ammo, Hornady has a pretty nice selection. Like the C39, my best groups were from the Hornady Zombie Max ammo which is very close to Hornady’s top grade 7.62x39 steel cased ammo.  With the regular $6 a box Herters/Tula/Wolf ammo I saw around 4” groups at 100 yards off the rest with iron sights. However with the Hornady rounds my best group was in the 2” range at 100 yards. My original AK, now has a variable 2-7 scout rifle scope and can easily dip into the 1-1.25” range at 100-yards with decent ammo.

Although Century Arms includes a 30-round Magpul AK PMAG, I also tried out some of Magpul’s newest Gen 3 AK PMAGs ($26.95), MagLink Coupler ($17.95), and AK PMAG Ranger Plates ($19.95) with the new Magpul C39V2 setup.  The new Magpul Gen 3 AK PMAGs have added a stainless steel rear locking lug and reinforced front lug and spine for increased durability over the Gen 2 version. 

Like all Magpul products this newer generation mag are just a bit more durable than they were before based on Magpul’s testing and research, but I found that they performed and handled identically to the Gen 2 versions. Magpul now also offering Ranger Plates for the AK PMAGS which do give the shooter a bit more control during magazine changes. The MagLink is the only AK accessory I question a bit simply due to the weight of 60-rounds. This accessory works, but I think most people will find the weight to feel a bit awkward and heavy on an already front heavy gun.

Just as Century International Arms did with the C39 and later the C39V2 with very nice wood furniture, on this version they delivered an extremely well made 100% US AK-47 Magpul Zhukov equipped model. Century has added a lot of really nice little touches on this AK actually make you think of refined quality firearm versus tactical thug. People will hate the comparison, however I will say it anyway - it feels like a well made AR15 instead of a sheet metal gun. Consider that the 7.62x39 has just a bit more umph than the time proven 30-30 whitetail and hog round and you can easily consider slipping in a 5-round magazine for hunting.

Where the first C39V2 wooden stocked version was a beauty to behold, the Magpul furniture does deliver more comfort and adjustability all with the stoable convenience of a folding stock that delivers more comfort for taller folks. I am loving the concept of having plenty of extra room up front even after a tactical light is added.  Looks like Century Arms definitely has another top seller on its hands.

- Product ID: RI2361-N
- Red Army Standard C39v2 Semi-Auto Rifle w/ Magpul Zhukov-S Furniture, Cal. 7.62x39mm
- 100% American made
- Barrel 1:10 twist, concentric LH 14x1 metric thread and ready for a variety of muzzle attachments
- Chrome moly 4150 nitride treated barrel
- Milled 4140 ordnance quality steel receiver
- RAK-1 Enhanced Trigger Group
- Larger T shaped magazine catch
- Compatibility with AKM furniture
- Standard AKM sights
- Bolt hold-open notch on the safety selector
- Proprietary Chevron muzzle brake
- Bolt carrier tail heat treated to ensure maximum performance and life
- Accepts all standard AK mags.
- Comes with one 30 rd. mag., Zhukov-S stock, MOE AK pistol grip and Zhukov handguard
- Barrel: 16.5" with a 1:10 twist, Overall: 26" folded, 35.5" collapsed, 38" extended
- Weight: 8.65 lbs.
- Street Price:  $899

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