How many preppers pay as much attention to their firearms maintenance preps as they do to food, water, and med supplies? I discuss it here.
The tactical shotgun is an excellent defensive weapon if use in the right context. However, the myth of it being an alley sweeper is just that. A myth. Watch our video here.
Many new gun owners ask the question “Shouldn’t I shoot a warning shot first”? I answer the question in this video. Watch here.
Most of my readers know that I tend to favor the AK system over the AR system for a number of reasons. I describe them here. But for a while I have decided to add an AR platform rifle to my battery. First, in about nine months I plan on increasing my small arms classes for those who carry an AR as their primary rifle. Secondly, with the election coming up and the possibility of Killary being elected, I decided now was the time to get an AR .
As I advise my readers. I did my research. When looking for a firearm for serious social work, quality has to be your first consideration. Then price. There are a lot of high quality AR system rifles on the market. And many of them have prices that reflect it. But after careful consideration of quality, features and price, I settled on the Smith and Wesson M&P-15-II . MSRP is $739.00 from Smith and I was able to get mine for $690.00. If you shop around, you can often find them in this range. I consider it a good bargain.
Right out of the box I was impressed with fit and finish. There is very little play between the upper and lower receivers. The bolt parts are tight and well finished. This is the Second Gen version that has the standard spring-loaded ejection port cover and the forward assist. Except for barrel length and only semi-auto, this rifle is basically the military M-4. However, the trigger guard is one piece and not the military style that folds down for arctic gloves.
Basic Technical Stats
- Caliber: 5.56 mm NATO (which means the chamber will also seat .223 Remington)
- Action: Gas Operated Semi Auto
- Capacity: 30+1 Rounds
- Barrel Length: 16” (40.64 cm)
- Front Sight: Adj. A2 Post
- Rear Sight: Folding Magpul® MBUS®
- Overall Length: 35.0” (88.90 cm) Extended, 32.0” (81.28 cm) Collapsed
- Grip: Polymer
- Weight: 6.45 lbs. (2,925.7 g)
- Barrel Material: 4140 Steel
- Upper Material: 7075 T6
- Lower Material: Aluminum
- Finish: Matte Black
- Forged, Integral Trigger Guard
- Armornite® Finish (Durable Corrosion Resistant Finish)
- Chromed Firing Pin.
- Rifling: 1/9, 6 groove
- Picatinny rail forward of the rear sight for mounting accessories.
Magazines, Sights and Sling
The rifle comes with one Magpul Gen 2 P-mag. I ordered four more from Gabe Suarez’s One Source Tactical. This magazine is a highly tested and reliable mag used by military units around the world. There is now a Gen 3 version but I have not tested it.
The front sight is the standard A-2 sight with square post, and even has the bayonet lug at the bottom. Since federal regs require a rifle barrel be at least 16″ the barrel is too long to effectively attach a bayonet. The rear sight is a folding Magpul® MBUS®. This is a spring-loaded flip-up sight with two apertures. The smaller aperture is for fine shooting and the larger is for CQB applications. The rear sight is windage adjustable only as elevation adjustments are done on the front sight. ( Please note that the sights that came with my rifle are black and not green as pictured. These photos are from the Magpul site and the sight comes in various colors)
- ~0.7 MOA (0.754″/100m) per click with a 14.5″ sight radius
- ~0.5 MOA (0.547″/100m) per click with a 20″ sight radius
I decided to fit the rifle with a simple military black strap sling. I have never liked tactical slings. Tried a number of them in Afghanistan and always went back to a simple strap sling. To each his own.
Range and Zeroing
I took the rifle to Joe Foss Range in Buckeye Arizona where I do most of my training classes. The M&P15-II comes with a 1:9 twist barrel. This is a good compromise to allow for the stabilization of both the M-193 55gr. bullet and the M-885 62gr. bullet. I decided to zero the rife with the M-193 round to begin with. I was using Federal M-193 military production from the Lake City Arsenal. The cases had LC 2013 and the NATO stamp on the cartridge base. I set up a military zero target at 25yds and began zeroing from the bench. I started out with sights as they came from the factory. All zero groups were three shot groups using the small sight aperture . The first group was way low right. I made a sight adjust ment and was then a bit high left. I then went to the second target (pictured) first group slightly right, and the second in the center. After getting a 25yd zero, I then moved the target out to 50yds and did three shot drills on a silhouette target. The rifle grouped nicely in the center chest area. I then moved it out to 100yds and did three shot timed fire drills from the bench. The group was nice and tight in the throat area. I brought the front sight down a bit so I was hitting a bit high in the chest area. I wanted a good 100yd zero, as this is the maximum range I would probably use this rifle at most of the time. I then moved the target back to 50yds and did Mozambique drills ( two to the chest, one to the head) from the standing ready position using the larger CQB aperture for the remainder of the ammunition. All chest shots were centered and all head shots were also, with no flyers. This is one accurate little rifle! I fired a total of 120 rounds out of four brand new magazines with no malfunctions. My next range foray I will try it with M-885 ball and see what zero and accuracy changes might ensue.
This is an accurate, reliable, well made and reasonably priced AR rifle. I am really impressed with it. I plan on working out with it a lot more and if accuracy and reliability remain constant, it may just end up being my primary go to rifle. If you are looking to get an AR before the election, the S&W M&P Sport II would be a good choice.
Weapon mounted lights have been around for some time now. Various people have different views in regards to them. Are they a help? A hinderance? Are they worth the financial expenditure out of your preps budget? Lets see if we can answer these questions.
Since many, if not most, violent encounters happen in darkness, being able to control illumination in the situation could be vitally critical. Consider also, that in a grid down situation, inside of buildings will be dark even during daytime. Weapon mounted lights come in a number of varieties and configuration, but for our purposes, we will discuss those you might mount on your handgun. Many lights will also incorporate a laser in green or red combined with the flashlight, as well as giving strobe capability to the flashlight. Some also incorporate Infrared capability, although laser and infrared add considerably to the price. The majority will incorporate on/off switches that you can leave the light on, tap for a quick look, or switch to strobe.
Most modern firearms manufactures are making mounts for lights on the frames of their handguns. Mounts come in two styles, the Picatinni rail and the Weaver rail. The better light manufactures are designing their lights to work on either. For handguns that do not have a dedicated rail there are companies that have made add-on rails that connect to the trigger guard. Most lights that you can use on your handgun can also be used on a long gun or shotgun that has a rail.
Before weapon mounted lights became popular and available, many techniques were developed to incorporate using a regular flashlight held in the off-hand while the handgun was held in the firing hand. These are illustrated to the left. These techniques are still valid, however they have been supplanted to a large degree by weapon mounted lights.
Advantages Of Mounting A Light On Your Handgun
It is attached, so this leaves your off-hand free for other things like opening or closing doors, etc. In addition, a handgun is usually more effective when used in a two hand hold. The light allows you to do a quick on/off look, or to keep it on if you are navigating a dark area where you require light to manuever. If your light has a strob feature, it may be useful to blind and temporarily confuse and adversary. If you are using a laser equipped light, the laser will pinpoint exactly where the bullet will strike.
Disadvantages Of A Light On Your Handgun
Unless you have a holster designed to accommodate a light on your handgun (many are available) it will be an on/off affair. With the light mounted directly on your weapon, it will illuminate your position dead center. There are a number of proper techniques for properly using a weapon mounted light in a low-level light situation. One of the best training manuals that cover this issue is Gabe Suarez’s Tactical Advantage. Keep in mind for a SHTF situation that these lights are battery-powered, and although they last a long time you need to keep spares, or be able to recharge them solar.
What To Look For In A Weapon Mounted Light
Like many things in life, you get what you pay for. Quality needs to be your first consideration. The light needs to be able to withstand the recoil of repeated firing, especially if you are considering using in on a rifle or shotgun also. The amount of light projected is measured in Lumens. A lumen range of between 100 and 400 is satisfactory.
The following are examples of some of the most popular lights that have a good reputation for reliability. They have a variety of capabilities and span a fairly broad price range.
SureFire makes a wide range of quality flashlights and weapon sights. This model is one of the most popular and widely used. It can also be had with a red or green laser sight incorporated as the X400 Ultra. Projects an estimated 600 lumens of light. The x300 is powered by two CR123A batteries.
Streramlight is also a major provider of weapon mounted lights, and along with Surefire, they garner most of the market. The TLR 2 can be had in a variety of models from basic light to those with green or red laser or strobe. It projects 160 lumens of light and has an ambidextrous switch. It comes in various models and price ranges depending on if you want laser capability or other features.
The Nebo 6109 is a very inexpensive light compared to many others. It has an ambidextrous on/off switch that has a strobe option which is something that costs more in other brands. This light would be suitable as a first budget light for training, to be mounted on a .22 cal weapon, and for those who would be using it very little. It has a lumen output of 190 lumens.
There are very large number of weapon mounted light available. Decide on what your tactical use for one might be, shop around, read the reviews and buy the best quality you can afford.
Armed professionals have been customizing their weaponry from the beginning of time. Warriors painted their shields with their own design, or the emblem of those they served. The firearms age continued the custom. Engraved handguns and personalized grips are just two examples. For the modern warrior who happens to carry a Glock, the backplate is a perfect place for individualization.
I found these while doing some research on other equipment. The ones illustrated below are just some of my favorites, but there is a tremendous variety that is sure to please almost any Glock owner. Click on any of them to link to the source, and for more.
Many people are storing large quantities of ammunition for various purposes. Some shoot a lot like I do and stock up when they find a good deal. Others store large quantities for long term purposes. There are some things to consider when storing large quantities of ammunition.
As a firearms instructor I am frequently asked by students if it wouldn’t be a good idea to shoot a warning shot before having to shoot another person in self defense in their home. This is an honest and legitimate question asked by intelligent people who would prefer not to harm anyone if possible. I get very few questions that have a cut and dried answer, but this is one of them.
As a small arms instructor and range safety officer, I frequently see AR platform rifles lock up using steel cased ammo. Many think it is due to lacquer on the case to prevent rusting gumming up a hot chamber. But is that really the reason? And will steel cased ammo really damage your AR?
I remember when the “plastic pistol” first came on the scene, and like many traditionalist, I dismissed them.
I have carried and used various models of the AK from Vietnam to Afghanistan and a lot in between. I use it as my basic defensive rifle now. Here is why.
Gabriel Suarez is one of the most prominent small arms instructors on the scene today, and has been for quite some time. He is a former Southern California law enforcement officer who has been teaching advanced small arms training full time for a number of years. He is regarded as one of the best.
There are a large variety of small arms cleaning kits on the market. Some good, some not so good, some inexpensive, and some over priced.