Friday, December 31, 2021

Andro Corp - Another Solid AR Brand to Look for

Andro Corp - Another Solid AR Brand to Look for

Before you start yelling at your screen “Are you freaking kidding me - another AR brand?”, believe me I am with you, but Andro Corp is becoming another go-to brand for solidly built ARs. Andro Corp delivers some very impressive specs and components and has already become a trusted quality AR brand in their Florida geography over the last five years.

After a consistent track record of delivering quality and value statewide, they are now cautiously expanding into the US national markets. From their entry to their premium models, online Andro Corp customers are raving about their quality and value and I can see why.


I get the consumer hesitation of yet another AR brand and eye-roll. Just a decade ago, I was rolling my eyes every time someone introduced yet another AR15 manufacturer with nothing more original than a different name on the side of a finish-milled forging that was usually produced and branded for them and then assembled based on “sourced” parts. It was that awkward and confusing moment in the firearms industry where everyone and their brother with access to machining capabilities or OEM parts suppliers was racing to start churning out AR parts and sometimes complete guns. We had every industry jumping into firearms manufacturing from aerospace, medical, automotive, general machine shops, and even folks sliding Haas CNC cubes into empty home garage stalls. Most “me-too manufacturers” actually had no manufacturing capabilities in-house and were just buying boxes of AR parts from every edge of the earth and bolting together their version many times with fairly loose QC and poor build quality. Obviously every manufacturer bolts together firearms to some degree, however there were both potentially good and bad strategies which companies could follow.  It was nutty and confusing time for consumers and even dealer during the firearms industry’s version of the “Me Too” movement and the results reflected the quality and experience of those companies - either good or bad. 

Over time, some of those companies either went under or matured and have delivered fantastic quality products while still others delivered eye-rolling crap based on very dubious parts of even more dubious origin. The industry successes include Faxon who was an automotive general machine shop. Aero Precision was in the Aerospace industry and Ballistic Advantage was started as a garage hobby. Early on, others like Spikes Tactical was a bolt-together manufacturer with a brilliant laser engraving branded parts strategy who did exceedingly well with sourcing high tier parts and assembling basic high quality AR builds. On the other side of that quality range, not many people know that China was actually illegally importing massive amounts of AR parts and in 2019 the ATF reportedly confiscated 53,000 gun parts of which most suspect were just the tip of a very huge Chinese AR import parts market. The shocking part was that less scrupulous manufacturers and unknowing consumers purchased these parts. 

SB Tactical Brace on the Andr ACI-15
SB Tactical Brace on the Andro ACI-15

My favorite story was a friend who walks into my house with a non-working “I made it for $342” AR with a WTF is this made off set of parts, a non-Permatex unstaked loose gas key, crooked barrel rifling that literally almost touched the outside edge of the muzzle, a warped upper and loose handguard, and an overall build quality that screamed you are going to shoot your eye out… or blow your face off. As a writer I saw a lot of that type of build quality from “new manufacturers” with zero firearms experience even on tables at Shot Show. Horror stories also circulated that some new manufacturers were selling from high tier spec builds but delivering, allegedly, Chinese knockoff parts based builds. It was a crazy time and sadly this craziness still continues to a lesser degree.


The problem is that most companies really did not concentrate on the simple concept of executing flawlessly on the fundamentals of acquiring consistently high quality parts, QC’ing the living hell out of every part, preparing and assembling those parts meticulously, and assuring the function and esthetic quality was maintained throughout the process. Becoming a “Good Brand” in the eyes of customers becomes a trusted reputation thing that only happens over a course of years of doing it right with unwavering consistency.

I note all this industry history, because attention to sourcing quality parts and executing on the basics of QC, assembly and customer service flawlessly since their inception is why Andro Corp has made a local name for itself in Florida and earned the trust of its customers. Based on a fair amount of research including many off-the-record discussions with industry contacts and what I personally see in the Andro Corp HALO Pistol model I tested, they are doing it right and will do well as they expand nationally. 

Andro is building a
great DUTY quality firearm

ACI - Andro Corp was one of those companies that bootstrapped their way into a solid business model concentrating on smart vs fast growth. They did start in a garage by sourcing quality parts, sold through gun shows and eventually matured the business through an earned quality reputation to the point of opening their shop in Florida. ACI started by only using quality QC’ed parts assembled correctly with attention to the details. They also offered a real warranty if customers ever had a problem which was unusual for gun show parts sales. That business philosophy allowed them to establish themselves as a local Florida manufacturer with high integrity and impeccable customer service. 


Now about five years after they started, it is apparent that Andro Corp - ACI is using some of the best components on the market from some of the most well respected and high-tier core component manufacturers. Based on the forging marks, Andro Corp is sourcing its Mil-Spec forged receivers from Archer forgings and note they are machined by AO Precision who is well regarded for their receiver quality and fit.

The barrel and gas blocks used on my Andro Halo pistol are marked Ballistic Advantage and in my mind that BA reputation jumps the quality up considerably. Andro has left itself open to use other OEM receivers and components include OEM branded New Frontier billet lowers in the PCC line, and another Florida based manufacturer, SLR Rifleworks for Andro branded versions of SLR’s billet receivers and hand-guards. If you are familiar with SLR rifleworks designs and premier-tier quality, you can see those underlying handguard designs on even the more entry level models and the very unique billet receiver design on the ACI premium firearm models. Since SLR is showing a branded Andro Corp receiver on their site, it is pretty obvious they are milling these for Andro.  Andro is also using MFT - Mission First Tactical magazines and furniture components on the more upgraded models. All of these companies are great first quality brands to base builds from.

My Andro HALO AR pistol included
an MFT magazine. Testing included
the new windowed MFT magazines
compliments of MFT.

The receivers, barrels, and BCGs all appear to be top quality components and it is good to see considering an Andro Corp base model rifle/pistol is selling for just a bit more than more well known brands are selling only a complete upper receiver. A very good value indeed for potentially the same or better components. This strategy should add immediate national credibility to anyone considering ACI - Andro Corp firearms and products. Based on what ACI is MSRP listing their ARs, customers should feel very comfortable with the parts, value and quality they are getting with ACI firearms.


As an editor that has been in the business for nearly two decades, my review philosophy is to procure an entry level model versus a model with loaded down awesomeness. Generally, the entry level models tend to make it hard to hide QC, build and component quality - it is either a solid well made build or it isn't. Quality is almost impossible to fake when I request blemished stock. 

Blemished models really allow me to see the cutoff of what drops into the Blem category. If what arrives is scraped and beat up or even an uncleaned test gun, this is a big indicator on the lack of care they take with their builds and business strategy. If a blem model arrives with an almost unnoticeable blem, then the company generally has a very well refined QC process - this was the case with the FDE Andro AR15 Halo pistol I received. In my case, a detailed strip only highlighted an almost imperceivable imperfection in the cerakote finish with all the other components in perfect condition and working order. In a lot of companies this would have been sold as first quality and this gun speaks highly of their quality.

The primary optic for testing
was a Sig Sauer ROMEO 4

The specific model I purchased was a blemished AR-15 556 HALO 10.3 MFDE (ACI-15) with an $849 MSRP (normal sale price of $799) selling for $649.00. This was a great deal considering the component and build quality and included a hard lockable case, FDE cerakote and new Mission First Tactical magazine. Oftentimes, Blems do not get the same “packaging” as first quality models. The net is that Andro appears to be intensely focused on delivering high quality and high value in even the cast off blemished models.

AR-15 556 HALO 10.3 MFDE (ACI-15) SPECS

No extra sugar sprinkles needed to glorify a solidly built Duty/MilSpec class 10 .3” AR pistol, because this is exactly what the Adro Corp HALO model is… a well built basic style AR. Aside from the well applied FDE cerakote, solid high-quality free-floated handguard and SB Tactical brace, the Halo includes 7075 forged upper and lower receivers, high quality Mil-Spec components including grip, trigger guard, charging handle, castle nut and egg-plate, carbine buffer tube, and remaining build kit components. The castle nut was properly staked very neatly which shows the attention to detail vs getting whacked with a chisel like I see from other manufacturers. Aside from maybe an upgraded trigger to squeeze a bit more accuracy from the Ballistic Advantage barrel and perhaps a more comfortable Mission First Tactical grip, this pistol needs nothing to be everything you need and nothing you don’t. Bolt on a Sig red dot and get to shooting.

AR-15 556 HALO 10.3 MFDE (ACI-15) with an $849 MSRP

– Cerakote Magpul FDE


– 4150 CMV Melonite

– 1/7 Twist

– M4 Feed Ramps

– Carbine Gas System with Low Pro Gas Block

– QPQ Corrosion Resistant Finish

– A2 Flash Hider

– 1/2-28 Threaded Muzzle

Upper Receiver

– M16 BCG

– 9″ MLOK Handguard

– 7075 – T6 Forged Upper

– Charging Handle

– Forward Assist & Ejection Port Assembly

Lower Receiver

– 7075 Forged Lower

– Mil-Spec LPK

– SB Tactical SBA3 Adjustable Stabilizing Pistol Brace

– 30 Round MFT Magazine

After building and testing 100s of various AR builds, I believe a 10”-ish barrel is a really sweet spot for an AR pistol with a size that is still very maneuverable but with a muzzle blast that is not deafening. The size is also about the maximum barrel length that allows for standard backpack stowing when unpinned and can still deliver pretty amazing accuracy without a huge velocity compromise. In this case, the Andro Halo delivered everything I have expected from an BA barreled AR pistol. With a 4-16 PA scope swapped for the Sig Romeo 4, I was able to hold 1-1.25” 100-yard groups with Hornady Frontier 55gr ammo (ammo which is insanely accurate for the price) and about the same with Fiocci 40gr Hornady ballistic tip bullets. This accuracy is good enough for me.

With the Sig Romeo 4 remounted, it was back to the 50 and 25-yard lines for steel banging. Admittedly, I could not run 1000+ rounds through this pistol still due to ammo availability and cost, but I was able to push 300+ rounds through it without any reliability or feeding issues. Again, there were no surprises considering the components used in the build. 

Comparing the Andro Corp HALO AR pistol ACI-15 to competitors, Andro may have an opportunity to grab some market share. One of the standards I would benchmark a model like the Andro HALO against is the Ruger AR-556 models. Generally the $1099 MSRP Ruger AR-556 sells on the street for around $799 in basic black. With the BA barrel, my recommendation would be to recommend the Andro Corp Halo with a similar price point in black since it features a higher quality BA barrel with a reputation for better accuracy. If you can find a less expensive Blem model that fits your needs from Andro, this is even better. I am anxious to potentially test some of their higher and models.


It is often hard for consumers to consider another AR brand especially if they have been burnt  before. From what I see through my testing, we have another very solid well-made brand we can trust and I think deliver more value for the dollar than even the big manufacturers are offering.

My main observation with Andro Corp is that from a marketing perspective the website is a bit hard to find and understand what you are looking at especially when shopping through the AR models. If I put on my marketing hat from my day job, overall the site needs some organization into shoppable model categories/tiers vs three pages of guns that can only be sorted by price. Breaking out pistols and rifles separately would help a lot as would some delineation between the duty lines and billet upgraded lines.

I think Andro is also losing a lot of selling and marketing points by not meticulously listing the full specs of each component used. If you are using a Ballistic Advantage barrel, gas block and BCG, Anchor Forgings, and SLR components, then you should list that - it is a huge set of selling and credibility points. Consumers these days are pretty nerdy buyers around even whether the Bolt has been HPT/MPI inspected, M16 Carrier Machined from 8620, 5.56 Bolt Machined from 9310, Forged Gas Key Properly Staked, Tool Steel Extractor, Mil-Spec Extractor Spring with black insert and Viton O-Ring, Grade 8 hardware, Shot Peened Bolt, Carrier, Gas Key, Cam Pin, Bolt, & Extractor coated inside and out with Black Nitride QPQ… it should be listed instead of just M16 BCG. Based on what I am seeing the BCG in my model has every indication including HPT/MPI stamping identical to Aero or BA BCG, and if so I would list those attributes of awesomeness and quality. One lesson everyone should have learned from Spikes Tactical was that listing the marketing details sell guns. As Andro Corp moves into a larger US national market, they are competing against players that have the marketing nailed down, but right now at least they are delivering a great quality firearm at a great value.

Andro Corp -

Monday, November 29, 2021

Mantis X and Blackbeard Review

Mantis X and Blackbeard Review
 No ammo, no problem. Mantis has you covered when you are bored indoors with no extra ammo to shoot. The reality though is that Mantis series of products have been a fantastic training option that spans both training and live fire. In fact, their newest X3 and X10 Mantis X trainers are compatible with live fire, dry fire, airsoft, and CO2 pistols, rifles, pistols, shotguns, and even archery. If you wanted to up your dry/live fire training, the Mantis X smartphone enabled system delivered huge points of data to help you shoot faster and more accurately. Mantis also has the new Blackbeard laser trainer system for the AR15 platform that allows continuous laser fire training with your existing firearm, trigger, and upper. 
Mantis X Gen 2 Trainers - X2, X3, X10 Elite, and X7
I actually tested and reviewed the original Mantis X Gen 1 Dry Fire only system when it was first released and I was wowed by the features it delivered. Unique to the industry, the Mantis trainer could be firmware upgraded anytime to keep it current and up to date with the latest features and functions. I did use it on my airsoft trainers, but it was initially only designed for Dry Fire only use. Still today, I use the old $99 Mantis X Gen 1 system for dry fire training while sitting in on the more boring conference calls. The app feedback has helped me shoot considerably faster and more accurately than dry firing alone plus it is a lot of fun to see the data match up to shots that “feel good”.

MANTIS X2 - The new $99 Gen 2 dry fire only system, dubbed “Mantis X2”, versions delivered a 40% smaller and 50% lighter form-factor than the Gen1 with 3X longer battery life, 4x the data transfer rate and a QD system. Over the years the Mantis team have continually added new features around the base of sensors onboard the X1 and X2 versions. Mantis now offers several additional more advanced models that add additional sensor functions, live fire support, and mounting versatility.

MANTIS X3 - The $169 Mantis X3 version replicates the X2 features but also supports live fire functionality so you can evaluate your live fire shooting performance and transition between dry and live fire training. The new $199 Mantis X7 is similar in feature to the X3 but is specifically designed for competitive shotgun shooters with a unique mount and capabilities specifically designed for those competitors. 

MANTIS X10 - The X10 Elite adds all the features currently available into one unit that includes shotgun and archery analysis, smoothness analytics, consistency comparisons, and analysis of recoil, holster draw, and a forthcoming multi-target, shooting on the move, rapid fire, and moving targets shotgun software addition. The X10 Elite also includes the BR7 adapter and Universal Magrail which provides options to mount to everything from shotgun to anything with a pic rail. I tested the new X10 Elite and was impressed with the added features and ability to support live fire. Especially interesting to me was seeing my performance on rifles. 

My tests included my AR platforms with calibers from .22LR, 223, 9mm and 300 Blackout and I did not have any issues with the X10 correctly picking up data points during live fire. What is really interesting is attaching this to a precision rifle setup and really being able to see how stable you “really” are for long range shooting. This could be an amazing home dry fire training tool for PRS shooters to really lock down their stability and support training through all the contorted positions PRS shooters often face.

From an improvement perspective, it took some work, but I was able to bump my score by about 20% over my typical scores. Part of that was I felt like I was plateauing a bit with the V1 Mantis X.  I think the extra sensors and abilities of the X10 really add the extra points to work on and train with.

Mantis Blackbeard Zero Modification AR Dry Fire Laser Training
I have pretty much every dry fire contraption available and believe whatever you choose, it will deliver big results. I even have a CO2 powered laser train for my Glock that feels as real as it can for indoor laser training but admittedly requires a substantial amount of setup and will “freeze up” with too high a rate of fire. The Blackbeard is way better than anything I have used to date.

The AR platform has always been a charge & shoot, charge & shoot...etc process which is not exactly replicating the semi-automatic training feel of the AR platform. Enter the Mantis Blackbeard AR Dry Fire Laser Trainer. Mantis engineers really did some significant homework to make the system simple, easy and reliable. Uniquely the Mantis Blackbeard delivers a zero-modification training conversion using your existing AR15 platform - just swap out the magazine, bolt and charging handle with the Blackbeard bolt/charging handle and magazine/battery units. 

This 20-second swap provides semi-automatic training with Laser functionality for hours. Pull the trigger really fast and blast away and each time the Blackbeard nearly instantly resets the trigger. Though I have tried, I have not been able to outrun the Mantis Blackbeard trigger reset speed. The magazine shaped battery pack provides literally hours of continuous shooting and is easily recharged via a simple USB plug.
Improvised targets like white styrofoam cups show laser hits well, as do the myriad of inexpensive plastic or 3D printable laser targets available, however using LaserLyte and LaserAmmo PET reactive laser targets really delivers a massive amount of realism and training options.
If you are looking for a great all season gift for a shooter or are actively training gun owners, both these options are really fantastic purchases that save money with every trigger pull. For the AR platform, literally any ammo (with the exception of .22LR) that feeds these platforms is about $0.50/round these days and the Mantis systems can completely pay for themselves in just over 1000 shots. 
Another obvious benefit is that not everyone can get to the range when they have the time to train, and these Mantis training solutions offer training alternatives that can be used nearly anywhere and anytime the mode hits you. All around these are a very highly recommended training tool. 

Grab them on via our affiliate program and help in the process.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Bond Arms Roughneck .357/.38 Special

Bond Arms Roughneck .357/.38 Special

If you talk to Gordon Bond, founder of Bond Arms, he notes “We are not selling derringers, we are selling double-barreled handguns”. His clarification really is that derringers have very often been associated with cheap & low quality guns and what Bond Arms is manufacturing is an outstanding bomb proof 100% American Made stainless firearm that just happens to be double barreled. Once you hold a Bond Arms you understand, can feel the heft of the stainless steel and see all the finishing steps that Bond is taking for an incredibly fine quality firearm. The Bond Arms firearms also have a lot of focus on safety including features that are rarely found on “typical derringer style” firearms. Most of the Bond Arms handguns range from just over $500 to over $1300 which brings us to the insanely inexpensive $269 .357/.38 Special, 9mm or .45 ACP Roughneck. 

Barrel swap to optional 4-inch barrel
The raw wax lost 100% stainless castings are precision CNC milled to exacting dimensions, bored and chambered, and then the standard polished models required a huge amount of sanding, grinding and polishing which adds significant cost. There was so much hand work involved, that Bond arms employed the use of two high tier automotive finishing robots nicknamed the “yellow robot twins”.  Gordon wanted to leverage robotics to deliver about 60% of the frame and barrel’s precision grinding, finishing, polishing. The main drive to robotics for Bond Arms was an otherwise risky reliance on a very high-skilled one-year apprenticed person to reach the level of speed, precision, and accuracy that the robots can achieve with 100% precision.  According to Gordon Bond, it was such a sophisticated use of robots, he was told many times it could not even be done. The twins are presented trays of precision CNC milled and chambered casings, and they systematically pick each one up and perform all the finish steps against various grinding machines and belt sanders. It really is almost magical to watch.

As a “toss it in your pocket” gun, there is no gun I feel more comfortable with backing around potentially with my keys, tac light, and/or knife all just four inches from my family jewels. Any other gun with a round in the chamber presents a substantial accidental discharge risk where just the right condition could occur where any number of items in my pocket could accidentally pull the trigger. With the Bond Arm firearms, the garbage in my pocket would need to manually cock the 10-lb hammer and then reposition and pull on the rather hefty 8-lb trigger which is just not going to happen even on my tight pants days. 

The Roughneck, Rowdy and Grizzly models all represent an incredibly high quality, extremely high tier of handgun safety, and are simple to use options for defense or for a bit of range time fun. The only quality gap customers might see are some swirly tool marks, tiny casting imperfections, and rough areas that would never be acceptable on Bond’s current line of products. On my Roughneck, I could see some casting marks on the frame bridge and trigger guard. For $269, the Roughneck is one heck of a quality gun considering really any other alternative. Where else can you get a solid stainless gun, with bomb-proof construction and reliability with the ability to convert to another caliber or barrel length in under a minute. Extra barrels of any caliber and length range from $130 up $230 with other custom barrel options available and are 100% cross compatible with any of the frames.  As a base to start custom laser engraving, hand engraving, or just some insane cerakote, these are clearly the choice I would make and a fantastic option for very little money. My only want on this little gun is some fancy grips which serve no other purpose other than make me stare at my gun more. A word of caution, these are pretty addicting to buy and add barrels to, so I would caution buyers that your first Bond Arms gun will be the beginning not the end of the journey.


The Bond Arms Roughneck is based on the “Backup” model which is one of Bond’s most popular 2.5-inch barreled models with a removable trigger guard. Like all Bond double barreled firearms, the Roughneck is fully compatible with all accessories, barrel lengths and all sixteen caliber options Bond offers and you can even remove the trigger guard. If you want to customize your Roughneck, it is just a grip or barrel swap away from supporting another configuration or caliber. So why is the Roughneck nearly $200 less than other comparable Bond Arms models? The simple answer is using all the same parts but with drastically reduced finishing and polishing, the full answer is a bit longer.

Having toured Bond Arms, you start to realize that there is way more to all the finishing and almost insane amount of QC that goes into such a deceptively simple firearm. You forget at first that these are 100% stainless firearms with lots of hard to sand, polish and inspect curves vs the much simpler and less expensive injection molded lowers with blocky nitrided slides found on most guns today.  What Bond Arms faces is a double barreled handgun with all the finishing requirements of a fine quality revolver.

Before the robot twins, everything was at a stand still until the highly skilled human could get back on the production line after unforeseen sickness, personal schedules, vacations, turnover, and personnel issues. The human risk to business was too high for the critical finishing step and robotics allowed an even higher level of consistency. They could also run 24x7 lights out if needed with the same precision on every frame and barrel. There is still a cost per hour to cover with robots and the human tray sequencing and staging required which means Bond Arms had to figure out a way to not use the yellow robot twins for the Roughneck. 

The Bond Arm Roughneck uses all the same quality stainless castings but instead are finished with a very abbreviated process that is just minimal hand deburring of the frame and barrel after CNC casting clean up and then are heavily bead blast plus minor surface milling boring, rifling and chambering of the barrel. The normal inspection, testing and QC processes remains, but overall a lot of time is saved. According to Gordon, omitting all that sanding and polishing is such a significant time savings that four or five RoughNeck’s can be made in the same time as it takes to build just one $543 Texas Defender. Obviously, that savings allows Bond Arms to still offer a very high quality $269 hand cannon that anyone can afford with no cuts in material or functional quality. In fact Bond Arms offers three firearms in this less finished and less expensive format including this Roughneck .357Mag/.38Spl, 45ACP, or 9mm and .45 Colt/.410 Rowdy & another larger gripped Grizzly model.


Frankly, the first time I passed by the Bond Arms booth at SHOT show, I just did not get it.  As a tactical handgun shooter with a fairly significant amount of training, it really did not check a lot of my tactical boxes, that is, until Gordon handed one to me at the show. I would bet Gordon Bond sells the high majority of his guns by putting them in peoples hands. The nostalgic design certainly sucks you in, but the heft and quality makes you take notice. If your mindset is that derringer style guns are light and cheap feeling, then you have never handled anything from Bond Arms. After you suddenly realize these guns also happen to have various length barrel options for all your favorite defensive calibers in only a tiny 4.5-inch length which is shorter than a Ruger LCP .380, you start to see them as a strong backup option. What made me a believer in the design was my first time shooting .357, 9mm, .45ACP and 45 Colt/.410 models, it not being a scary experience and the ability to swap between all those barrels in under a minute each. 

All of these calibers are no joke from a power perspective in a 4.5-inch format. Defensive .410 rounds from my larger gripped Ranger 2 is stout and the power is obvious and seeing what .410 defense rounds can do out of one of these is impressive.  For the handgun rounds, I saw groups that were really very close to what a lot of snub nose revolvers delivered. The followup “shot” was surprisingly fast and reloads are actually pretty quick. I do think rimmed cartridges are a bit faster to extract and reload. With statically the chance of having to use a gun being low and most defensive shooting occuring in an “average” of 1.5 shots, two shots is doable and loaded with hot .357 Magnum rounds they pack far more punch than a comparably sized .380 that may require four rounds to do the same job. The .38 Special/.357 Magnum chambering is really flexible, consuming everything from low recoil rounds, to hot .357 Magnum, to birdshot snake rounds, and some of my home brew gallery and triple .38 lead ball reload rounds.  For me, these Bond Arms have been fantastic little backup guns typically shoved in a pocket or a Galco tuckable holster, usually used for my Ruger LCR, or a custom pocket holster. Bond Arms BAJ - In WaistBand Holster is another quality and simple option.

Obviously there are not target guns and are not going to replace your competition S&W R8, but they do deliver accuracy much better than you would expect. The reality is that you have two barrels which inherently are going to both have marginally different points of impact even when manufacturers with the tier of CNC equipment Bond Arms is using. At normal 7-yard distances, two round 1-inch groups are certainly doable with some attention to a consistent grip and a stable shot. The net is this is a very serious gun and after dozen rounds, the design and performance is confidence inspiring when you start to stretch out to distances you would not believe were possible with a 2.5-inch double barrel firearm. I was banging on silhouette sized steel even at 50-yard which is way beyond nearly any normal defensive distance. 


From a safety perspective the Roughneck and all other Bond Arms firearms are super safe with the ability to assure it is unloaded by swinging the barrel completely open and stare down both barrels from the safe breach end. They have also included an adjustable safety detent on the hammer blocking safety which can increase or lower the safety selector tension. My preference is to lock it in “fire”. In practice, I did find a few draws where I accidentally clicked the safety on during the reload and pulled the trigger only to have the hammer fall on the cross bolt safety. My carry method is the hammer down, so the safety could be an issue for me, however the safety is extremely safe and allows for cocked safety-on carry as well. Bond also includes a rebounding hammer which blocks the hammer from touching the firing pins unless the trigger is held and retracting firing pins to assure the firing pins can never be out during a reload. The rebounding hammer also works as a trigger decocker safety which allows you to hold back the hammer, trip and release the trigger while you ease the hammer forward until it rests in the rebounded position - decocking the gun safety. If your finger is not on the trigger and your thumb slips during that decocking, it will not fire. Would you expect anything less for a premier quality handgun?



  • Stainless steel double-barrel and frame

  • Compatible with all standard Bond Arms barrels

  • Patented rebounding hammer

  • Retracting firing pins

  • Cross-bolt safety

  • Spring-loaded, cammed locking lever

Model #: BARN

MSRP: $269.00

Caliber .357Mag/.38Spl, .45ACP, 9mm

Barrel Length 2.5"

Grip Material Rubber

Grip Size Standard

Sights Front blade, fixed rear

Length 4.5"

Weight 19 ounces

Trigger Guard Yes

Friday, August 13, 2021

New Stuff for Articles - Faxon, Eotech, Mossberg, Walther, ATN, Sig, Hawke Optics

 New Stuff for Articles

Thankfully product is starting to flow again and I can get back to product reviews and new builds.  A few things have hit my desk that looks like they are going to be a lot of fun.

ATN Night Vision Monocular - I did a few articles for one of the magazines I write for with this product, and now can work on my own articles and reviews. I recently used these for some night hunting activities and the ATN Monocular works amazing, just mounted in front of any optic. One of the things you will notice with this 1x monocular is that is very very clear. More to come with this.

Faxon 10/22 Barrels - These guys have made fantastic AR and pistol barrels backed with shocking accuracy all for an affordable price. I am looking forward to what this stunning flame fluted barrel will deliver. This barrel features a threaded muzzle and target match crown. If it is anything like the rest of the Faxon line, these should be a great shooter.

Hawke Optics - If you have a crossbow or high tier airgun optic, you likely own or know Hawke optics already. They are a large UK brand who has really only concentrated on the crossbow and airgun markets, but their optics are outstanding. As most airgunners and bowman know, most rifle optics cannot handle the two way recoil of airguns or crossbows. The Hawke line up was constructed around airgun and crossbow recoil and thus is also recoil proof for all rifle calibers up to 50 cal. The Sidewinder series is so good, I purchase two.

Sig Whiskey3 5-24 - If you don't know the BDX enabled eletro-optics line from Sig you should. It really is pretty amazing stuff to be able to range and have the reticle automatically show you the shooting solution.  Sorry no pixs yet on this. 

Eotech Reborn- Eotech finally is its own company again. I have some of their new products and there are more coming through 2021 and 2022. Exciting to see them back at R&D and churning out new innovations.

Mossberg JM Pro 12 Gauge - This thing is nuts fast. My review in Tactical Retailer published so now I can to the unencumbered review for  If you love to watch shells pour out of a shotgun, this is your gun. 

Walther PDP - The next upgrade to the PPQ series. If you loved the PPQ, then you will likely really love what they did with the PDP that is the basis for the next generation of performance pistols from Walther.

Monday, July 12, 2021

Building a Thank You AR15 Pistol

Building a Thank You AR15 Pistol 

Like many of you, I have a great family. My brother-in-law is an especially kind chap and decided his sister and I needed three vintage original release movie posters. Allegedly he had them stored in his basement since 1982 - an Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of The Lost Ark and Psycho II all in mint condition. If you are a product of the 80’s like I am, these movies are part of my history and frankly I was nerded out. After a lot of back and forth on compensation he would not take a dime for them and noted it was part of his get rid of junk strategy. Framed on the wall, the posters looked so good I could not in good conscience go without reciprocating with stuff I had stored in my basement… but in my case, I have gun parts. Thankfully he is a gun nut also and was thrilled with the idea of swapping crap from our basements.

Enough Stuff for an AR15 Pistol - As a writer and gun builder, over the years I have accumulated a large pile of parts that when combined with a surprisingly small number of purchased parts can make a quite nice AR. In this case my brother-in-law would get a 10” 5.56 Nato Ballistic Advantage barreled AR15 pistol based on an uber legal non-braced design. AR pistols are wildly more prevalent now than they were even just a few decades ago when even most gun people were largely unfamiliar with AR15 pistols. If we look at sales stats, approximately 20-30% of AR owners also own an AR pistol all thanks to the Sig Brace introduced just over seven years ago. They are now one of the hottest selling firearms in the last five years. Though AR15 pistols are no longer even remotely rare in gun culture they are a more rare version of unicorn for non-gun people than AR15s, so in this case I wanted to build to an uber legal more understood spec.

Why No Pistol Brace? - Pistol braces have been approved by the ATF for over seven years as a legal AR pistol accessory, with an estimated fifteen million sold from SB Tactical, Shockwave, Gearhead, Magpul and Mission First Tactical all offering brace options. With that noted, there is just so much going on politically right now with pistol braces that I didn’t want my brother-in-law to have to worry about whether the specific pistol brace he had was legal, now not-legal or failed some type of idiotic ATF proposed point scorecard. At least right now, no one is talking about non-braced AR pistols, so I wanted to stay in that realm. I have written many times about having an AR pistol in your vehicle and that I highly recommend a build similar to the build shown here - 10” barrel, no brace, and an A2 rifle length buffer tube assembly. 

From discussions with LEO contacts, I continue to believe LEOs are wildly uninformed about the legality of AR15 pistols and pistol braces and frankly so are a lot of even gun people. Add in goofy ATF regulations and position papers that are vague for even the experienced and informed Class-3 owners and there is a boatload of confusion. I had a discussion today with an AR owner who kept referring to “braces” as “straps” despite a lot of attempted correction and was wildly misinformed about what braces are.  Imagine the compounded confusion when there is both an uninformed owner and LEO at a traffic stop. Based on those discussions, this is the build without a brace that would generate the least amount of LEO hassles. It is kind of like being married, do you want to be right or happy? In this case with AR15 pistol braces, do you want to be right with an odd looking brace and pistol configuration and experience a 3-hour traffic stop, three cop cars and an ATF encounter or be happily on your way after a brief discussion about your typical looking AR pistol. In this case, the build looks like an old fashioned AR15 pistol which is a good thing.

Basement Stuff AR15 Build - In this case, I had just done a redu on my Stoner Prototype build and had a stripped Brownells M16A1 which was a collaboration between NoDak Spud and Brownells to faithfully recreate the M16A1 receiver. In this case, I thought my Iowa based brother-in-law would appreciate an Iowa labeled Brownells lower receiver. The lower was built out with an unlabeled parts kit which I assume was either CMMG or Aero precision since those are the primary kits I purchase. 

A Seekins trigger guard, Mission First Tactical grip were added for comfort and HiperFire EDT Trigger to deliver a good accurate rifle and nice trigger feel. The buffer tube used was a standard A2 rifle length buffer tube that was Red Lock Tite’ed in. To ensure no one can ever suggest that a stock could be attached, I drill out the rear stock screw threading and also cut off the rear square wrench lug. To protect the rear of the buffer tube, I superglue a ¼” piece of foam under a 1-⅛” (28mm) rubber cap protective cover (five for $8.99 on Amazon). Note also these are listed specifically as a “protective cover” and not a “bumper” like other similar covers are. The entire buffer tube was covered with automotive carbon fiber wrap and then custom wrapped in leftover paracord. Regardless of your shooting style, this length of buffer provides several advantages. It is longer than stubby carbine length buffers and also more comfortable to shoot. Also, the rifle buffer systems are generally softer to shoot and with a bit of tuning, this format can be really soft to shoot.

With the plan to add an adjustable gas block, I wanted to pull as much recoil out of the gun as possible and that is all about reducing reciprocating mass combined with reduced gas pressure. As you see in a lot of competition guns, they are running adjustable gas blocks, reduced mass carriers and/or reduced mass buffers. For this build I reduced the rifle buffer weight from 5oz down to 3oz which is the same weight as a standard carbine buffer weight. In this setup, we can substantially reduce the gas pressure, still retain full reliability and also take advantage of the longer slower rifle length spring geometry. The now lighter rifle length buffer is still used so that the carrier still travels the same distance rearward, however the net recoil feel is overall a world softer. 

A flat top Brownells upper which along with the 10” 5.56 Nato Ballistic Advantage barrel purchased on a flash sale were the only two parts I ordered for this build. The barrel was tipped with a non-identifiable adjustable gas block and an AR-Stoner stainless flash hider. I have found that pistol builds are loud to begin with, but the standard birdcage flash hider is still one of the quietest muzzle devices for an AR, so why make it louder. The handguard was actually an older rifle length Clark Carbon Fiber handguard that I cut to length for this build and used the other half for another pistol build. Carbon fiber has the unique property of cooling faster which makes longer and hotter shooting strings a lot more comfortable to shoot - plus it looks freaking awesome. The upper was trued and lapped and the barrel mounted with LockTite 638. A NiBo WMD bolt carrier group and Phase 5 charging handle were used.

Optics I really went back and forth on. These little 10” barreled pistols can deliver amazing accuracy with variable powered optics, however I wanted to keep build squarely outside any potential ATF questionable zone and they are making some noise about magnified optic equipped braced pistols. With just a red dot, this build would side step that issue. I used an old but proven Bushnell TRS-25. Sure it is not a top end Aimpoint, Sig or Holosun, but it has worked and continues to work even if it is only rated for 2000 hours or 3 months of constant-on use. My brother-in-law could easily add a clip-on magnifier like a Vortex, Burris, or Holosun to improve precision if needed.

This build also gave me an opportunity to cull through my bin of AR15 magazines and send my brother-in-law a bag full of random magazines that ranged from Hexmags, Mission First, IMI, and ETS which were all lightly used.

Testing - Having built many AR pistols with this 10” barreled configuration, the results are predictably impressive. With a clip-on magnifier, I shot a few .25” 50-yard groups with a 4x magnifier and without the magnifier the groups at the same range were around the .50-.75” range. These are super accurate little builds that can really impress. I repeated an interesting experiment where I tuned the gas block with a full 5-oz weight rifle buffer and then swapped to my custom tuned 3-oz rifle buffer. It is pretty cool to feel how much difference that 2-oz buffer weight reduction and substantial gas pressure reduction can make with felt recoil.  The net is this little build shoots fast and can be unpinned and dropped into any backpack which is all legally covered under a concealed carry permit. 

If you have not tried a 10-12 inch AR15 pistol build you are missing out of the best of the AR pistol platform. This barrel size prevents the deafening bark of shorter barrels and retains much of the velocity and accuracy of rifle length barrels.  With the buffer and carrier weight tuning and an adjustable gas block these can be shockingly soft shooting and a true pleasure to shoot.

Out of State Transfers - So you want to sell some guns to your next of kin friends, or in my case transfer a gun to a brother-in-law out of state. In-state, at least at this point in time, individual to individual sales are still legal as long as you do not have any reason to believe the person you are transferring to (transferee) would not otherwise be prevented from purchasing or owning a firearm - note check you local laws. 

Out of state transfers are more complex and require the transfer to go through a FFL dealer. You will need to ship the firearm to the FFL dealer of choice for your transferee and typically requires inclusion of a copy of the ship to FFL dealers license a bill of sale with a copy of your driver's license, your name, shipping address, and phone information (Transferer) and the name, shipping address, and phone number of the Transferee. Check with your local laws, however currently the ATF allows non-FFL individuals to ship rifles or shotguns through USPS, UPS, and FedEx as long as it is declared a firearms shipment and is shipping to an FFL dealer and the above noted information is included in the shipment. Pistols and any other type of firearm must be shipped via FedEx priority overnight or UPS. Generally, I have found that FedEx is less of a pain in the butt to work with on firearms shipments than UPS, but that depends a lot on your local branches.  The FFL receives the shipments, checks the firearm into their books and contacts your transferee to complete the paperwork and pick up the firearm. Unless you are shipping to some insane place like California, New York, Illinois or some other communist state, the process is usually smooth.