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Gun Review: Rock Island Armory M200 Revolver in .38 Special

Wed, 12/06/2017 - 01:00

Rock Island Armory M200 revolver in .38 Special. (Photo: Nate Parker)

Rock Island Armory is best known for budget oriented 1911s. It’s hard to go in any gun store and not see one for sale. There also happens to be a few other RIA guns out there, including two versions of essentially the same .38-caliber revolver, the M200 which is the four-inch barreled “service” model and a two-inch version specifically geared towards concealed carry.

The M200 and its smaller sibling the M206 share functional similarities with Colt’s revolver offerings. Like Colt revolvers, six-round RIA handguns utilize a cylinder latch that retracts to the rear to open. Plus, internal components function similarly to some of Colt’s later revolver designs with a transfer bar safety and coil main spring.

Some rumors suggest Colt sold the tooling and design to RIA to build these revolvers, but as far as I can tell, these are just rumors. Although not very well known in the United States, Rock Island Armory has actually been in the revolver business for a few decades. The 100 series dates back to the 1970s and then in the mid 1980s, the company began producing the 200 series.

Other than the barrel length and different grips, the M200 and the M206 are the same gun. Not being someone afraid to carry a full-size gun, I opted for the M200 with its four-inch barrel and larger grips. Like the RIA 1911s, the M200 is also budget priced. It can be snagged for a touch over $200, or if you do your shopping around, it might be possible to find one for just under $200. The price point is evident in the gun as well.

The finish is very similar to most of the RIA 1911s with the dull, parkerized olive drab sort of color. It’s far from the classic bluing or stainless finishes on most other revolvers, but it seems durable, albeit maybe a little less attractive. There are machining marks and mold lines visible on certain parts of the firearm — nothing that affects function, but certainly affects the form.

The sights are very basic, about as basic as I expect from RIA guns, with a fixed front sight and fixed rear sight notch in the top strap. Even though the sights are rudimentary, I did not have as much trouble as I anticipated tracking the sights at speed or under recoil. The grips, or stocks, are made of a hard plastic and functional, my only issue being that the left grip panel impeded the use of a speed loader.

Upon further inspection of the M200, I found it locked up fairly tight and had barely acceptable timing from the factory. The trigger was a little “hitchy” on the return stroke, but that smoothed over time. On two of the chambers, the M200 was barely locking up prior to the hammer dropping when using a very slow and deliberate DA trigger press. I felt the timing was not so deficient to cause an unsafe firing condition, but certainly warranted careful observation over time. The firearm came enclosed in a hard plastic box with foam lining, similar to the RIA 1911s, and all the usual manuals and promotional materials. About what one would expect for a $200 revolver.

RIA M200 revolver in IWB holster. (Photo: Nate Parker)

On the range, the RIA M200 performed well enough for what it is. The accuracy was not spectacular, but not horrible either. I could routinely get hits on a large steel popper target at 50 yards, from the holster. On paper, the gun groups better with some loads than others. With Monarch 158gr SJHP it shoots high and to the left. With Magtech 158gr FMJ it shoots closer to point of aim at extended ranges.

I also tried 110gr Hornady Critical Defense and it also shot close to point of aim out to 50 yards. Rock Island Armory says that the M200 can hand a “limited” diet of +p .38 Special, but I erred on the side of caution and did not cross that bridge. I am satisfied using non +p loads, but others may not be.

The Monarch 158gr SJHP also had issues with fired cases sticking in the chambers of the cylinder when I would go to eject them. Initially I thought this might be a fault of the revolver, the chambers appeared fairly rough inside, but when I switched to Magtech ammo the issue resolved itself. Revolvers are not generally thought of as “ammunition sensitive”, but overall I was getting better performance both in terms of accuracy and function during the reload with the Magtech ammunition.

Over the course of testing, I fired a total of 575 rounds through the RIA M200. I periodically checked the status of the timing throughout testing it remained unchanged. I am still curious how long it will take for the timing to degrade enough to require attention. For now, I am satisfied, but I admit to not having very high expectations for a $200 revolver. I did not experience any function or durability issues over the course of the testing period. The trigger settled in overtime and smoothed up considerably, which facilitated a higher level of shooting. The finish did wear in areas where it might be expected. On sharp edges and high points of the firearm that came into contact with the kydex holster I was using. Over the few months that I have had the gun, I did not experience any rust issues, despite living in a humid, southern environment.

So is it worth the $200? First, what do we expect from a $200 gun? For me, it essentially has to shoot relatively straight, not break, and not blow up. The RIA M200 accomplished that, at least so far. This is not a revolver that I would try to win a serious competition with — it is also not a revolver I would recommend as a carry gun unless very carefully vetted with copious amounts of reliable shooting first, in which case you might as well spend some of that ammo budget on a slightly better gun. It is a gun that I think would be good for playing around with a .38-caliber revolvers if you were new to them and wanted a cheap introduction.

The handgun is well suited to learn the basic manual of arms for a revolver, and maybe shoot casual, club level competitions.  If I had to sum the RIA M200 up in a single phrase it would be, just enough and nothing more. There is enough manufacturing effort put into the gun so that it will work, but don’t expect any extra trimmings.

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Categories: Gun News

Meopta unveils MeoNight 1.1 night vision

Wed, 12/06/2017 - 00:30

The MeoNight 1.1 is capable as serving as a monocular or alongside a riflescope for better shots in the dark. (Photo: Meopta)

Optics maker Meopta announced the new MeoNight 1.1 — a night vision platform that is able to be used as a night vision monocular or alongside a riflescope.

The MeoNight works alongside riflescopes, sitting in front of scope via Meopta’s quick release NAR mount. The MeoNight can also be mounted directly onto the objective of the riflescope using Meopta’s custom adapter for 42mm, 50mm or 56mm objective lenses. Shipping with a remote-control cable, image brightness can be adjusted without requiring the shooter to remove his or her trigger finger from the trigger.

Able to detect targets out to 600 meters, the MeoNight 1.1 features external brightness controls that allow for adjustment of  intensity. In addition, the device shuts off if unused for an hour to preserve battery life. The battery provides a total of 50 hours of run-time.

Waterproof, shock resistant and fog-proof, the night vision device comes with the battery, Allen keys, protector, sleeve, eyepiece eyecup and remote control in addition to a Picatinny rail, bag and grip/hand strap.

The MeoNight offers a price tag of $1,499.

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Categories: Gun News

Cutdown Mosin SBR stretching out to 600 yards with a red dot (VIDEO)

Wed, 12/06/2017 - 00:00

Using a Georgia-made obrez-ish Mosin M91 with an abbreviated 10.5-inch barrel, the guys at IV8888 try to go the distance.

Built on the cheap, the short-barreled rifle is topped off with a Vortex Sparc II optic set up scout rifle style (and yes, it still takes stripper clips), a custom rear grip/stock, and hushup via an AAC 7.62-SDN-6 suppressor. Using good ol Russian-imported 203-grain Brown Bear soft points, Eric tries to smack a series of gongs at the 600-yard mark while Chad gives a running correction until they manage to get a few hits on target.

Using a red dot scope on a whittled down Mosin and ammo that runs something like -101 inches at 600 yards out of a full-length barrel? Almost any hit at that distance should be considered exceptional.

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Categories: Gun News

Estimated gun sales up 30 percent in November

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 23:30

Estimated gun sales rose 30 percent last month, according to federal data.

Dealers processed more than 2.3 million applications through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System in November — a 17 percent increase over October. Estimated gun sales — the sum total of transfers in the NICS’s handgun, long gun, multiple and other categories — exceeded 1.3 million, representing a 30 percent spike in just one month.

The strong sales data makes November this year’s second busiest for background checks so far. Last month’s sales trail 2016, the industry’s biggest on record, by 13 percent, though it still ranks as the second highest November in the background check system’s two-decade history.

Background checks serve as a proxy measure for gun sales, however, the measurement isn’t perfect. Applications for concealed carry permits, periodic rechecks for maintaining licenses and a slew of smaller categories for pawns,  redemptions, rentals and other rare situations undercut the total amount of checks processed in one month. Also, dealers submit one background check application per sale — not per gun purchased.

Gun makers and retailers alike anticipated the boost in demand as the holiday shopping season approached — historically the industry’s most profitable time of year. Background checks on Black Friday broke records, clocking in at over 203,000 applications in just one day — the busiest in FBI history.

The robust background check figures bolstered stock prices for Sturm, Ruger and Co. and American Outdoor Brands last week. Both manufacturers still anticipate diminished annual earnings in comparison to the watermark year of 2016 — when multiple mass shootings and the fear of looming gun control under another four years of a Democratic presidential administration pressured consumers into buying guns and ammunition.

President Donald Trump’s surprise victory diminished threats of stricter firearm regulations, leaving manufacturers and retailers to sell off excess inventory at rock-bottom prices — a trend Vista Outdoor Chief Financial Officer Stephen Nolan predicts will level-out within the next 18 months “as the industry returns to slow growth.”

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Categories: Gun News

FN America announces new state compliant FN 15 rifles

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 11:30

The FN 15 Heavy Barrel Rifle, top, and Heavy Barrel Carbine, bottom, give Maryland gun enthusiasts more options. (Photo: FN America)

FN America serves up more rifles for gun owners in Maryland, launching two new state compliant, heavy barreled FN 15 models.

The FN 15 MD Heavy Barrel Carbine and FN 15 MD Heavy Barrel Rifle ship with a heavy barrel profile and limited 10-round magazine that meet Maryland’s rifle requirements. Both chambered in 5.56 NATO, the rifles boast a free-floated, hammer-forged and chrome lined barrel with the Carbine offering a 16-inch barrel length and the Rifle featuring a 20-inch length.

The Carbine is equipped with a 12-inch Midwest Industry M-LOK compatible rail, low-profile gas block and PWS muzzle brake. With an overall length of 35.6-inches with the stock fully extended, the Carbine tips scales at 7-pounds.

The Rifle, on the other hand, is outfitted with a 15-inch Samson Evolution rail, fixed stock and threaded muzzle with thread protector. It supplies an overall length of 38-inches with a weight at 8.7-pounds.

The new compliant FN 15s are currently available through authorized dealers. MSRP is set at $1,399 on both models.

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Categories: Gun News

Ruger releases new 10/22 Carbine and Target Lite models

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 11:00

The 10/22 Carbine is one of two new 10/22 rifles offered by Ruger ahead of the holidays. (Photo: Ruger)

Ruger rounds out 2017 with two new 10/22 rifles, introducing the 10/22 Carbine with scope and case as well as the 10/22 Target Lite.

Tipping scales at 5.6-pounds, the 10/22 Carbine is an alloy steel construction with a satin black finish. The blued rifle comes with an 18-inch barrel and black synthetic stock, shipped in a Ruger-branded hard case. In addition, the new model boasts a Weaver 3-9×40 scope with Dual-X reticle.

The carbine includes a base adapter for both Weaver-style and .22 tip-off mounts. Featuring a detachable, 10-round rotary magazine, the mag itself boast a rotor design that seperates cartridges to provide better, more reliable feeding, according to Ruger. MSRP on the 10/22 Carbine is $399.

The Target Lite offers a threaded barrel, shipping with a thread cap. (Photo: Ruger)

Following the 10/22 Carbine, Ruger also releases the 10/22 Target Lite. Touting a black laminate thumbhole stock, the .22 caliber rifle provides a cold hammer-forged 16-inch barrel. The barrel delivers a threaded design with 1/2×28 threads.

Ruger ships the Target Lite with a thread cap for use with muzzle accessories. Measuring an overall 35-inches, the rifle weighs 5-pounds. Ruger says the Target Lite’s standout feature is the light, yet crisp BX-Trigger. Offering 2.5 to 3-pounds of pull, the trigger delivers minimal overtravel as well as a positive reset. The Target Lite model is priced at $649.

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First look at Gander Outdoors new store fronts

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 10:30

Gander Outdoors — formerly Gander Mountain — will open its first stores in early 2018. (Photo: Marcus Lemonis/Twitter)

The old Gander Mountain stores are getting a new look.

Chief Executive Officer Marcus Lemonis teased a sneak peak into the shuttered outdoor retailer’s new look on his Twitter account last month as the first re-branded Gander Outdoors stores remain on track to open early next year.

It remains unclear which of the surviving 57 locations will open first — though the company’s website promises updates “soon.”

Camping World — the nation’s largest recreational vehicle dealer — detailed its plans in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Oct. 20 to open the first 15-20 new Gander Outdoors locations by the end of the first quarter on March 31, 2018. Another 40-45 could open by the end of next year’s third quarter in September.

Lemonis — who led the investor group that bought out Gander Mountain’s intellectual property and store leases in an April bankruptcy auction — promised to rework the retailer’s gun inventory to offer a bigger selection at lower prices. So far, the company has spent more $8.7 million on “pre-opening costs,” according to the filing.

“We believe to have a unique opportunity to expand into the broader outdoor lifestyle market and leverage our existing array of products and services,” Lemonis said during a conference call with investors in August. “We’re focused on locations that can offer all of our Gander, Overton’s, Camping World and Good Sam products and services for the RV, boating and outdoor lifestyle.”

Gander Mountain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protections in a Minnesota federal court on March 10. Less than a month after Lemonis bought out the company, he changed its name to Gander Outdoors and announced he would close more than half of the chain’s 162 locations as he attempts to fix years of “undisciplined inventory buying,” including $100 million wasted on a “bad assortment of guns.”

Camping World reported “record” earnings in August, raking in $1.3 billion in total revenue in the second quarter — a 20 percent increase over 2016. Third quarter earnings released last month show revenue up more than 24 percent.

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Categories: Gun News

Gould bros. trade in shotguns for ARs to get some trick new shots (VIDEO)

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 10:00

Best known for their work with scatterguns of all sorts, the Gould brothers pick up a wide variety of Alex Pro Firearms AR-platforms for some first-class exhibition shooting.

From sniping skeet with a .223 DMR at 75 yards to busting balloons at 1,640 yards with a 6.5mm Creedmoor AR-10 PRS, the bros up their game from there with some William Tell-style shooting from over the shoulder.

Then they try a few hard ones.

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Categories: Gun News

Prosecutors cry foul in Kate Steinle murder case

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 09:30

After last week’s not guilty verdict, prosecutors in the Kate Steinle murder case are crying foul that jurors were not allowed to inspect the firearm tied to her death.

The jury asked to pull the trigger on the unloaded weapon — which had been described as having an “extremely light” trigger and no safety — on the last day of deliberation, but the judge denied the request, attorneys said, according to local media reports.

“I think it was an incorrect decision by the judge,” said former Alameda County Deputy District Attorney John Creighton, who thinks the jury would have returned a different verdict on the murder charge. He told reporters: “The issue here is so central to what took place. The jurors should have been allowed to do it.”

During the trail, accused killer Jose Ines Garcia Zarate maintained that he found the gun wrapped in a T-shirt under a bench at San Francisco’s iconic Pier 17 and then the gun discharged when he picked it up. The gun had been stolen from a federal agent’s vehicle. Ballistics experts in the case called the shooting an accident since the bullet that Garcia Zarate fired ricocheted off the pavement away from him before traveling some 75 feet away and striking Steinle.

San Francisco police criminologist Gerald Andrew Smith testified that when he tested the recovered pistol, a Sig P239, it took 4.8 to 5.5 pounds for the trigger to break in single-action mode and 9 to 9.8 pounds in double-action mode, which he clarified were within the manufacturer’s standards. The federal agent who was issued the firearm said he left the .40-caliber handgun loaded with a round in the chamber and in double-action mode when it was stolen from his car in a high crime area.

Matt Gonzalez, head of Garcia Zarate’s legal team for the public defender’s office, said during the trial he wanted the jury to handle the gun, to feel the trigger weight for themselves. “I have handled this very firearm, and the trigger pull is extremely light,” he said. “That’s why I am so confident that I would like the jury to be able to handle it.”

While acquitted on murder charges, Garcia Zarate  — a Mexican national with at least seven felonies and five deportations under his belt — was found guilty of unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, which carries up to three years in prison under California law.

Steinle’s family is currently part of a lawsuit cleared to proceed earlier this year by the courts against the Bureau of Land Management over the handgun.  In the case, a judge held that leaving a loaded gun in a backpack visible on the seat of an unattended vehicle in a high-crime area of San Francisco by the ranger created a foreseeable risk of harm.

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CMP announces how Army surplus 1911s to be sold

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 07:30

John Browning’s .45ACP semi-auto was adopted by the U.S. Army on March 29, 1911, and the service’s largest remaining stocks of vintage Model 1911s may soon be made available to the public– with some strings attached.

The Civilian Marksmanship Program’s Board of Directors has come up with a list of preliminary decisions on how the government-chartered non-profit will handle the sale of M1911 pistols.

With pending legislation mandating the organization receives 8,000-10,000 surplus M1911s from the Army each year for at least the next two years — with as many as 100,000 possibly transferring over time — the group announced Monday in an email some of the guidelines established for their sale to the public.

Warning that grading and pricing of the pistols will take “an estimated 150 days” after they receive the first quantities of the pistols should the legislation be signed into law, CMP advises all laws concerning the sale of the handguns will be “strictly obeyed.”

This means that those interested in buying a 1911 would have to meet all of the standard eligibility guidelines to purchase surplus firearms from the organization — U.S. citizenship, proof of membership in an affiliated club and proof of marksmanship activity — but also forward a copy of their local dealer’s FFL to handle the transfer and a successful NICS check both before the sale is completed with CMP and at the transfer from the dealer. This is different from how the CMP ships rifles, which in most states can be sent directly to the customer.

While it has long been a ritual for Garand and Springfield M1903 enthusiasts to haunt the CMP’s two brick and mortar stores, the group says they will only sell the 1911s through mail order with a date to submit orders announced, “to the world.” Those submitting orders will have their names submitted loaded into a random number generator to be pulled once the 10,000-applicant threshold is met.

When selected, lucky purchasers will be contacted and allowed to choose from “a list of 1911 grades and pricing options that are available.” A similar random draw was used in part to sell a small quantity of M1 Carbines the group put up for grabs in 2016.

To allow as many collectors interested to get their hands on the GI .45s as possible, sales will be limited to one pistol per person, per year. This is a substantial change from the eight per calendar year, per customer, limit recently set on M1 Garand rifle sales.

As for prices, the organization did not make an announcement but Steve Cooper, general manager of CMP North as well as their marketing manager, talked to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s Lee Williams and said it’s likely shootable guns will run $800-1000.

“Even though they may be shot out or busted up, we don’t want them falling into the hands of people who will just leave them in a glove box,” said Cooper. “We want a perceived value — more of an heirloom. We don’t want them considered a standard sidearm. All we need is to have someone commit a liquor store robbery with one and then we’ll be held accountable.”

As part of the pending legislation authorizing the transfer and sale of the 1911s, the Army is required to inform Congress on the program’s activities during the two-year pilot program.

In 2015, an Army whitepaper, prompted by the Obama-era Department of Justice, questioned a plan to sell the 1911s to the public, calling them “popular crime guns.”

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Stock prices up ahead of House vote on concealed carry reciprocity

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 07:00

Share prices for major gun makers on the rise as Congress nears a vote on concealed carry reciprocity. (Photo: Richard Drew/Associated Press)

An impending vote on concealed carry reciprocity may have bumped share prices for major gun makers up 3 percent this week.

Stock for American Outdoor Brands — the holding company of Smith & Wesson — and Sturm, Ruger and Co. closed 3.55 percent and 2.87 percent higher Monday. Share prices for Vista Outdoor — owner of more than three dozen companies in firearms, ammunition and shooting accessories, including Savage Arms, Stevens, Federal Premium, Speer and American Eagle — likewise climbed more than 5.6 percent.

The market reaction follows chatter on Capitol Hill over H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, as it winds its way through committee in preparation for a floor vote later this week. Lawmakers will likely amend portions of the Fix NICS Act into the measure in an attempt to bring Democrats on board, previously reported.

Fix NICS incentivizes states and federal agencies to upload disqualifying records into the databases feeding the National Instant Criminal Background Check System — the application gun dealers use to verify a buyer’s identity and criminal history.

The system came under scrutiny last month after a man gunned down 26 people in a Texas church with a rifle he bought legally — despite his domestic assault convictions and bad conduct discharge from the Air Force three years earlier. Military officials admitted failing to report the shooter’s criminal record to the FBI — an endemic problem dating back two decades. A review of Department of Justice records in 1997 and 2015 found roughly one third of service members’ criminal convictions were missing from federal databases.

Still, some Republicans worry conflating the two issues could waste money and further erode Second Amendment rights.

“Does the NICS background check system have problems? Yes, it results in tens of thousands of unjustified denials of gun purchases every year. But like many bills in Congress, the fix-NICS doesn’t live up to its name – it will likely do the opposite,” said Kentucky Republican Rep. Thomas Massie. “It throws millions of dollars at a faulty program and it will result in more law-abiding citizens being deprived of their right to keep and bear arms.”

Meanwhile, the upswing in market conditions continues a string of good news for gun makers and outdoor retailers after a long year of double digit losses. The industry received a welcome infusion of demand last month when background check applications exceeded 200,000 on Black Friday — the busiest day in NICS two-decade history, according to the FBI.

NICS checks serve as a proxy measure for gun sales, though the measurement isn’t exact.

Gun dealers submitted just over 20 million applications to NICS through Oct. 31 — about 9.5 percent behind 2016. Estimated gun sales — the sum total of applications submitted to the federal system for its handgun, long gun, multiple and other categories — surpassed 10.1 million last month. Compared to last year, sales declined 12.5 percent.

The numbers reflect an industry still re-calibrating under “a new normal.” President Trump’s victory stunned gun makers and retailers alike, many of whom amassed inventory in preparation for a Democratic electoral sweep and the heightened demand it would bring.

Instead, prices tanked as dealers tried to unload product throughout the year. Background checks ebbed and flow more in line with historical trends — a steady sales uptick in winter followed by a bottoming-out out over the summer, resuscitated in the fall as hunting seasons kick-off.

The industry’s most profitable weeks — aside from short bursts of demand following mass shootings, terror attacks or congressional action — set in Black Friday and will extend throughout the holiday shopping season.

Dealers processed 5.3 million applications in November and December 2016, alone — representing about one-fifth of the 27.5 million NICS checks completed last year, the biggest in the system’s two-decade history.

Similar numbers would place 2017 about 2 million checks behind last year, making it the second busiest on record for NICS.

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Remington delivers 6-pack of new 870 offerings with detachable magazines (PHOTOS)

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 06:30

Each model in the DM series has an ambidextrous magazine release in front of the magazine well, reminiscent of the Tavor (Photos: Remington)

Big Green’s new 870 DM series has a little something for everyone in a range that includes tactical and home defense models, a boar blaster, and a Tac-14 Shockwave firearm.

Announced Tuesday, Remington‘s fresh take on the tried-and-true 870 pump brings a three- or six-shell detachable magazine to the mix on each of a half-dozen new variants. Each 12-gauge ships with a single proprietary six-shot mag with the exception of the 870 DM Tactical /Predator — which sports Kryptek Highlander camo and is billed as a turkey and hog gun– that includes both a three and a six-shot detachable box, though Remington advises additional magazines will be available for purchase.

The 870 DM Magpul, the model first to hit the market, includes a Magpul SGA stock and MOE M-Lok forend with a Super Cell recoil pad. The 18.5-inch Rem Choke barrel includes an extended ported tactical choke and is equipped with XS steel front and ghost ring rear sights, the latter mounted on a Picatinny rail section above the receiver. MSRP is $799.

The more sedate 870 DM, priced at $529, comes with a standard corn cob forend on the slide, black synthetic stock, and an 18.5-inch cylinder bore barrel.

The 870 DM Hardwood model, as its name suggests, ships with a standard hardwood stock and forend. Like the 870 DM above, it uses an 18.5-inch cylinder bore barrel and retails for $529.

The only model to ship with two different capacity mags from the factory, the 870 DM Tactical /Predator has an over-molded ShurShot thumbhole stock and XS steel front and ghost ring rear sights. The 18.5-inch Rem Choke barrel comes with two Trulock extended chokes– Boar Blaster and Turkey/Predator– to help pattern and the whole thing is set up in Kryptek Highlander. Aimed at outdoorsmen, this model is MSRP’d at $799.

Equipped with a pistol grip buttstock, the 870 DM Tactical uses an 18.5-inch barrel with an extended ported tactical choke and includes the same XS sighting as the Magpul and Tactical /Predator models. MSRP is $799.

For those who are concerned about the magazine capacity of their Tac-14 Shockwave firearm, the 870 DM variant gives the NFA-compliant 12-gauge a 6-shot detachable box to accent its 14-inch cylinder bore barrel. MSRP is $559.

Each of the DM series 12 gauges with the exception of the Kryptek camo variant ship with a single 6-shot magazine, shown left. The hunting model ships with both the 6 and the 3, shown right.

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Categories: Gun News

Gun groups, lawmakers divided on blending national reciprocity bill

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 06:00

With a House version of national concealed carry reciprocity measure likely to be merged with a plan to fix the nation’s background check system, not all are on board.

Marked up by committee last week, H.R.38 is scheduled for a floor vote on Wednesday while House Republicans reportedly plan to combine the bill with the language from the “FixNICS” background check legislation. The move has proved divisive among supporters of the legislative push to expand gun rights.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade organization for the firearm industry, is calling for passage of H.R. 38 as amended and the National Rifle Association is standing this week behind the bill, long considered a legislative priority, as well.

Other Second Amendment groups have taken slightly different stands, with the Washington-based Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms urging a series of tweaks to FixNics while the California-based Firearms Policy Coalition has some concerns about how it would be implemented if passed into law.

“H.R. 4477 is a well-intentioned bill that attempts to improve the NICS background check system,” said FPC spokesman Craig DeLuz in a statement. “But it does have some weaknesses that give us pause. Coming from a state with a powerful anti-gun executive branch and no shortage of gun control laws, we are very sensitive to how things actually work on the ground.”

Gun Owners of America supports national reciprocity but is characterizing the background check enhancement as the “Traffic Ticket Gun Ban” that would “add hundreds of thousands of additional names into the NICS system, thus blocking thousands of lawful gun owners from purchasing guns for offenses as slight as unpaid traffic tickets.”

Inside the larger gun culture commentariat, several social influencers to include popular YouTube channels IV8888 and the Military Arms Channel have this week railed against merging concealed carry reciprocity and FixNics as has a Kentucky Republican in the House, arguing it would be better to pass a clean bill.

Meanwhile, in the Senate, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, sponsor of both the reciprocity and FixNICS measures in that chamber, said last week it would be a “mistake” to combine the two bills.

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Categories: Gun News

Heizer Defense PKO45 subcompact pistol now shipping (PHOTOS)

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 05:30

“We are proud to announce that we have shipped our first distributor load today!” said Heizer, reporting the guns were shipped to wholesalers Hicks, Sports South, Williams Supply, and Zanders. (Photo: Heizer Defense)

The Pevely, Missouri-based firearms company announced on Friday that their long-awaited subcompact handgun is now shipping to wholesalers for distribution.

The PKO-45 was originally announced in April 2016 at the U.S. Concealed Carry Association Expo and slated for a September 2016 release date. Heizer later revised that to February 2017, but this week released images of the compact 5+1 shot .45ACP being boxed up for delivery.

“We are proud to announce that we have shipped our first distributor load today!” said the company on social media, reporting the guns were shipped to wholesalers Hicks, Sports South, Williams Supply, and Zanders. “This is a huge milestone for us, and we are so thankful for our fans patience as we perfected the most advanced pistol to ever hit the market!”

Made of stainless steel (with titanium-framed variants) the PKO45 has no plastics or polymers and features an ultra-slim width of just 0.8-inches. Tipping the scales at 28-ounces, it’s over twice the weight of a Ruger LCP but you don’t get six shots of .45ACP in the LCP.

MSRP? $899, which is also upmarket for a pocket pistol, but again, it’s a very tiny .45ACP semi-auto that fills a void left by the disappearance of the Boberg XR45, so there is that.

The Titanium version of the PKO-45 with an extended magazine. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

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Categories: Gun News

Ergo Modular Armorer Stand now available for 1911 pistols

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 05:00

The Modular Armorer Stand now works with 1911s. (Photo: Ergo)

Ergo announced a new version of its Modular Armorer stand, now catering to 1911 shooters.

The Modular Armorer Stand consists of a MAST Base and MAST Module, designed to work alongside 1911 pistols. The module slides into the 1911’s magwell where it locks securely into the magazine release. Once locked into the gun, the module can then be bolted directly to a bench, clamped in a vise or mounted on the MAST base to allow gun owners to work anywhere. After work is complete, the 1911 is removed from the module by depressing the mag release button. The MAST modules will fit all Colt 1911 and Colt 1911 clones.

The MAST base works with any MAST modules, including previously released versions for small frame and large frame Glocks. Ergo says the MAST system is built tough from reinforced polymer that is impact, temperature and chemical resistant.

Ergo’s Modular Armorer Stand for 1911s starts under $20.

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Gear Review: Urban Carry Revo holster system

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 01:00

The IWB Plus, like all of the Revo’s rigs, features a hook-and-loop attachment point surrounded by leather flaps for added security. (Photo: Jacki Billings)

The concealed carry arena is constantly evolving as more companies aim to provide better options for consumers looking to pack heat. Urban Carry first injected themselves into the CC market with the deep concealment style holster, G1. The Florida-based company is now back with an all-new modular holster system, called the Revo, they say will revolutionize the way in which gun owners conceal.

Urban Carry invited a small group of media to the Revo’s unveiling in September, offering a sneak peek at the new design. Upon leaving, each outlet was sent home with a box of goodies for testing. was fortunate enough to attend the event and get our hands on the new digs in order to determine whether the Revo lives up to its revolutionary name.

The Revo boasts a modular style design, employing the use of a base, or rig, that supports an array of holster shells. The rigs, constructed of high quality leather, feature a circular disc of hook-and-loop material by which the holster mounts to. The holster is then further secured by two flaps that fit around the shell and snap onto the base, theoretically preventing the holster from separating from the rig. Rigs come in a bevy of styles to include outside-the-waistband, inside-the-waistband, inside-the-waistband plus, appendix IWB, ankle, drop thigh and shoulder.

The aim of the system is to give wearers the ability to swap shells between multiple carry positions as well as easily swapping out shells for multiple guns. Instead of gun owners having to stock a holster for their Ruger, Smith & Wesson, Glock or Sig, Urban Carry Revo users can buy one set-up and multiple shells.

While the intent behind the system was well thought out, the Revo itself falls flat. The setup is unnecessarily complicated, especially given that there are well-made leather holsters already on the market that are no muss, no fuss. The flaps, which aim to add security to the overall rig build, are intrusive while the snaps that attach the flaps to the rig are almost impossible for me to use. Blame it on my small hands or lack of hand strength, but I found myself struggling every time to get those flaps snapped into place. It was frustrating and when holsters are frustrating, I tend to move on.

I will tip my hat at Urban Carry for the flawless leather construction. The leather is gorgeous and the shells did safely retain both my Ruger LC9s and Glock 19. The pros, unfortunately, stop there.

Concealment: AIWB

Is it a baby or a gun? Either way, we’re naming it Gaston. The AIWB took up the author’s entire abdomen. (Photo: Jacki Billings)

When I opened Urban Carry’s box I was immediately overwhelmed with the sheer options available in the Revo system. The company certainly thought of everything in regards to how consumers might carry. As I swam through a sea of holsters, I decided to focus my efforts on the most common ways in which I carry – strong-side IWB and AIWB.

I pulled the AIWB rig out first and set about attaching, under much duress, the Glock 19 Gen 5 shell. In everyday life, I am able to conceal the G19 easily my clothes alongside a StealthGear AIWB holster. I wanted to see how Urban Carry’s design stacked up.

In short, it didn’t. Upon seating the G19 into my waistband, I realized a pivotal point – the Revo is not designed for gun owners built like me. Clearly crafted around larger framed carriers or those that routinely strut around in oversized parkas and winter coats, those of us on the smaller end will find the Revo just doesn’t work.

The G19 protruded from my stomach unnaturally. If trickery was my M.O., I could easily claim the bulge from my mid-section was a baby, but, like most single women, I’m not keen on looking pregnant when it’s just a gun I’m carrying. The Revo is touted as giving wearers the freedom to position as needed, but for me there was simply no room to move. Like Midwestern teens in Red Dawn, my entire space experienced a hostile take-over that had me running for the hills.

Concealement: IWB, IWB Plus

The IWB Plus with G19 in place is large, taking up a considerable amount of hip space and making concealment neither covert nor efficient. While the Revo is draped in cons, it’s a smooth draw. (Photo: Jacki Billings)

Disappointed and disturbed by my AIWB adventures, I moved on to the IWB rigs. Urband Carry included two in my package – a standard IWB and an IWB. I decided to test out the IWB Plus first. As I pulled the leather beast from the box I reveled at just how large the rig was. Bigger than my head, I realized that like the AIWB, the IWB Plus would leave little room for adjustments. True to form, the IWB Plus was a flop. The large rig, worn alongside my favorite CC pants, was so rotund that it prevented me from zipping and even buttoning my trousers. There I was, with a grotesque “bulge” looming ominously from my hip and pants that were kept together only with my CC belt. This was certainly not going to work.

I tossed the IWB Plus off in frustration, grabbing for the standard IWB. This has got to work, I thought. I heaved a heavy sigh as I worked, again, to secure the snaps which seemed impossible to secure in place without the use of a hammer. This time around, I ditched the G19 in favor of the Ruger LC9s. I have concealed that gun in tight, form-fitting dresses so it had to be small enough to work in the Revo … or so I thought.

In truth, the Ruger concealed just as poorly as my G19. Again, I was stuck with a protrusion from my right side that made me look as if I needed to seek medical attention for the bulbous, tumor-like lump.

Concealment: Drop thigh, shoulder, ankle and OWB

While the Ruger is smaller than the Glock, it’s just as obvious. Even when paired with a cardigan, the Revo sticks out like a sore thumb. (Photo: Jacki Billings)

After failed experiments with the IWBs and AIWB, I quickly perused the thigh, shoulder and ankle rigs. Neither the thigh and shoulder cinched down enough for me to even remotely consider them options. The ankle holster did fit, but again, was so bulky there’s no way I could carry it under anything less than a princess style ball gown from the 1700s, hoop skirt and all.

The only holster that seemed to remotely work is the outside-the-waistband – mainly due to the fact that it’s designed to see and be seen. In this case, concealment is off the table and wearers can proudly display their leather pride.

The three-round decision

The Revo is a good idea in theory, but theories don’t always translate to real life. Unfortunately, such is the case for this holster system. Over-engineered and overly complicated, the Revo sets its sights high but clearly misses the mark. If you’re sporting a micro-warrior body like me, you’d do better to look elsewhere for your carry needs.

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Q&A with Marilyn Smolenski: From concealed carry clothing to the Capitol

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 11:30

Marilyn Smolenski founded Nickel and Lace, a concealed carry apparel company targeting women gun owners; but Smolenski is putting her business ventures on hold to run for office. (Photo: Eric P. Davis / Pioneer Press)

Nickel and Lace founder and CEO Marilyn Smolenski once watched models walk down the runway at concealed carry fashion shows; but now the gun toting mother of two has turned her attention to bigger stages. Smolenski announced she’ll be taking on veteran Democratic Representative Marty Molan for his seat in the Illinois House of Representatives, serving Illinois’ 55th district. was recently afforded the opportunity to talk to Smolenski about her political aspirations as well as how the election will impact her role as small business owner. What drove the decision to run for a House of Representatives seat?

Smolenski: I am running because (Americans) are being forced out of our homes, our taxes continue to rise, our home values are stagnant, and our neighbors are fleeing the state. Every time I think we are getting ahead financially in our personal lives and with my business, we get slammed by another regulation or tax. Residents of Illinois are being over taxed and under represented, and rather than being on the sidelines I wanted to get involved to help find resolutions. You’re a political newcomer and a female business owner — what advantages do these elements bring to the table? What about those that say you are unqualified to run for office?

Smolenski: Anyone who owns a business knows that if you don’t keep expenses under control, you’ll find yourself out of business quickly. As a business owner, I’m always looking at my costs to see if I’m spending money on the correct items and if I’m doing it efficiently. Those concepts get lost in politics because it’s easy to spend money when it’s not your own. It takes a business mentality to find a cheaper, faster and more efficient way to get things accomplished.

Our founding fathers never intended for a professional political class. I’m running for the right reasons and not political gain. I bring a lot of experience in business, negotiations and reaching goals.

Smolenski speaks with Marine Miguel Jimenez.(Photo: Marilyn Smolenski via Facebook) How do you intend to protect and preserve gun rights in Illinois? Which gun policies do you look to tackle if elected?

Smolenski: I believe in the Constitution and its Amendments. I believe that everyone has the right to defend themselves and their family. Once in the General Assembly, I plan to join several House Committees. Several of those that I am interested in directly affect our 2A community including the Firearms & Firearms Safety Subcommittee, Police & First Responders and Veteran’s Affairs.

My opponent recently failed to pass HB4107, an overreaching bill that would result in the ban and eventual forfeiture of millions of firearms lawfully owned by Illinois citizens. Should he be successful in passing a similar bill within the next year, I will fight to repeal it. Why should Illinois gun owners vote for you in 2018?

Smolenski: I promise to not only act with honesty and integrity once elected as State Rep but to make myself open and available to understand constituent’s views and needs.  After all, as a Representative, I will represent the families and businesses of our community. As a proud member of the ISRA, NRA, and USCCA I have always been and will continue to be an advocate for responsible firearms ownership. Finally, if you win, what does that mean for Nickel and Lace?

Smolenski: I have personally taken a step back to focus on the race. You’ll notice that only our main product remains on the site for the time being. If elected, we plan to continue operations with Nickel and Lace as we always have. However, I will not use my position to promote my business in any way.

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Categories: Gun News

Magnum Research offers special edition TIG Series Desert Eagle

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 11:00

Magnum Research unveiled the 2018 TIG Series Desert Eagle .50AE pistol, slated to hit dealers in January 2018. (Photo: Magnum Research)

Magnum Research will launch a limited edition 2018 TIG Series Deagle .50AE pistol in a custom Cerakote finish to the public, with portions of all proceeds going to support military veterans.

The 2018 TIG Series Desert Eagle will feature a special Battle Worn Bronze Cerakote finish. magnum Research, a subsidiary of Kahr Arms, said each pistol will be hand finished to offer a unique look. With only 250 Deagles planned, the series will boast the Beyond the Battlefield and TIG logo as well as TIG signature.

The limited set of guns will feature special engravings set against a bronze Cerakote. (Photo: Magnum Research)

Magnum says the first 50 guns will come as a three gun set, to include the Kahr ST9 TIG, Auto Ordnance Tommy Gun TIG as well as the TIG Desert Eagle. The three gun set will also ship with an autographed copy of John “Tig” Tiegen’s book 13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi.

The custom handguns are expected to officially hit the consumer market in January 2018 with a MSRP of $1,963. Part of the proceeds from each sale will be donated to Beyond the Battlefield — a non-profit organization designed to support wounded veterans.

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National concealed carry reciprocity set for House vote, may pick up NICS change language

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 10:30

“An overwhelming majority of Americans support concealed carry reciprocity. Momentum, common sense, and the facts are on our side,” said the sponsor of the reciprocity bill, U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, R-NC. (Photo: House Republican Conference)

A measure expanding carry protections slammed by gun control advocates is set for a full vote in the House this week but may be merged with other proposals.

The bill, H.R. 38, was marked up by the House Judiciary Committee and is on the weekly schedule for lawmakers to vote on this week, with some 213 signed on to support the move.

“An overwhelming majority of Americans support concealed carry reciprocity. Momentum, common sense, and the facts are on our side,” said the sponsor of the reciprocity bill, U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, R-NC. “I want to thank Speaker Paul Ryan for his strong support of the Second Amendment, and I urge my colleagues to support this common-sense bill to protect law-abiding citizens.”

The news came as Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley led 22 other states in urging lawmakers to pass the legislation, a counter-balance to a national mayors group, attorneys general in 15 mostly blue states, and a host of gun control organizations that oppose the move.

One caveat that gun rights advocates warn of with H.R.38 is the likelihood the bill will be amended to include the language of a new “Fix NICS” act, which would add several accountability measures designed to ensure that federal agencies submit the records of criminals, domestic abusers and others prohibited from possessing guns to the FBI-maintained system while giving states incentives to up their own reporting.

“Does the NICS background check system have problems? Yes, it results in tens of thousands of unjustified denials of gun purchases every year. But like many bills in Congress, the fix-NICS doesn’t live up to its name – it will likely do the opposite,” warned U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, a Kentucky Republican who restarted the Second Amendment Caucus earlier this year. “It throws millions of dollars at a faulty program and it will result in more law-abiding citizens being deprived of their right to keep and bear arms.”

Massie concedes the NICS language may be added to gain Democrat support for concealed carry reciprocity in the Senate, where a companion measure has 38 supporters, a move he argues is misguided.

“If someone is naïve enough to think that’s going to work, and they’re willing to accept fix-NICS to get reciprocity, then they should ask the Senate to go first with the combined bill,” said Massie.

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The biggest machine gun shoots in the world resume after Vegas shooting (VIDEO)

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 08:30

Less than one month after the tragic Las Vegas shooting, the two biggest machine gun shoots in the world took place in America. One at the Knob Creek range in Kentucky. The other at the Big Sandy range near Wikieup, Arizona.

Approximately two million rounds were fired at the events by hundreds of fully automatic machine guns and a few dozen artillery guns. Dynamite, diesel and fireworks were ignited by tracer rounds, filling the sky with smoke and thunder.

Despite all of this intense firepower, not a single person was hurt or injured. Spectators come from all over the world to attend the events. They rent a machine guns and blow stuff up.

There are few countries on earth that lawfully allow its citizens to own machine guns and artillery. It is uniquely American.

I spoke to a few spectators and organizers at both events about this unique right.

Jakob Lefevre, a spectator from Belgium attending the Big Sandy shoot, told me: “There’s a few countries in Europe where people still actually have the right to keep and bear arms. Where I live in Belgium, it’s more like a priviledge. You gotta jump through a lot of hoops before you’re actually allowed to own any type of firearm.”

Mal Gregg, a spectator from Australia, who included the Big Sandy shoot on a road trip across the US with his two sons, said: “The rules are way more strict in Australia. They want to get rid of all of our guns. And I say to you guys in the US, you know like, if you can keep this, just go for your life. Don’t let them take your guns.”

At the Knob Creek shoot, a spectator named Olaf from the Netherlands, responded to me asking him if there are machine gun shoots in his country. “No, we cannot do that at home. It’s not allowed. There are no automatic guns allowed. Government regulations.”

Kenton Tucker, one of the organizers of the Big Sandy shoot, who is an American, told me: “The anti-gunners and what have you, will always come after guns, no matter what you do. When you lose a right to own something, you will never get it back. Ever. So, if anybody out there thinks that, oh, let’s pass another gun control law, it’s for the best. It doesn’t work that way. They always add something to bill, or whatever they’re trying to get through congress. Then you end up with nothing. Your guns go away.”

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