I wasn’t really looking for new ear protection; I generally just stick to some simple in-ear ear protection. But, on a quick impromptu trip to the shooting range, I threw on a pair of my friends Howard Leight electronic ear pro, and low and behold, I loved them! I guess the saying is true, you don’t know what you don’t know. And I didn’t know what I was missing.
Quite a long time ago I was looking for a cleaning kit that I could easily pack in my range bag, take to training classes, and just have available whenever I needed it. After checking out a few brands, I decided to pick up an Otis Cleaning Kit.
Why did I pick the Otis kit? Well, there wasn’t any one specific reason, but, the amount of pieces contained in the kit, the price, and the compact size all played into the decision. I feel that it had a little bit of everything that I would need, at a good price.
The kit I picked up generally resembles the 5.56/7.62 Cleaning System. Though it doesn’t look like they have the exact kit I ordered for sale any more. The one listed above actually contains more than my kit has… So, now I want a new one. But the basics with all of the kits includes Memory-Flex® Cables for pulling brushes and patches (breach to muzzle), a “teaser” set of patches, and some gun oil. Then, depending on what kit you get, you get various other items like brass scrapers, disassembly tools, and various sizes of other cleaning implements. So you will want to pick a kit that closely matches your needs.
I originally picked up this kit to be my “just in case” cleaning kit for my AR-15, but it turns out that I use it every time I clean my guns (rifles and handguns). I like the Memory-Flex® Cables, they are compact, and just make the cleaning process quick and easy. You also don’t have to disassemble most firearms to just do a quick cleaning with this system.
Since I use this kit most of the time I clean my firearms, I burnt through the patches the kit came with pretty quickly. The “system” uses custom patches with small notches cut in them. This is so you can loop them and pull them through the barrel without the eyelets dragging on the rifling. But, I’ve found that you can use a good cotton patch in place of the Otis patches. You just have to cut a notch in them. If you use patches that have a loose weave, they will pull apart, so make sure to get higher quality patches. That being said, the Otis patches are pretty nice, so if you have extra money laying around, go for it. Otherwise, just get good quality cotton patches, and cut them.
Overall, these kits are great. They are durable, have many options, and just plain work. So if you are looking for a nice, compact and fully functional cleaning kit, check Otis out!
I recently got the opportunity to get my hands on a Vortex Razor HD 1-4×24 scope. This is pretty much one of the top of the line optics from Vortex, and I have to say I really like it. It’s a little on the heavy side at just over 20 ounces. Other than the weight, it is a great optic. The fit and finish is awesome, it feels very well put together, and everything just feels like quality. There are no loose turrets or anything like that.
The “precision-etched” reticle is on the first focal plane (FFP), this allows for reticle to remain in proportion for the entire magnification range. This is a little strange at 1x (you cant see much of the reticle detail, but not that you need much more than an “X” at that magnification). But at the full magnification, the reticle and all of its detail is crystal clear. I’m a fan of FFP reticles, especially for longer range applications.
Here are all of the specs on the Optic from the Vortex website.
|Objective Lens Diameter||24 mm|
|Eye Relief||3.9 inches|
|Field of View||94.5-24.2 feet/100 yards|
|Tube Size||30 mm|
|Turret Style||Tall Uncapped|
|Adjustment Graduation||1/4 MOA|
|Travel per Rotation||24 MOA|
|Max Elevation Adjustment||200 MOA|
|Max Windage Adjustment||200 MOA|
|Parallax Setting||100 yards|
I would definitely recommend checking out one of these optics, the price point is on the high side, but if you need a great 3-gun optic, I would definitely suggest taking a look at them. You can pick one up on Amazon or at your favorite optics dealer.
I recently picked up a pair of Mechanix Wear M-Pact gloves; I’ve heard good things about them from multiple sources so I figured why not give them a try!
The M-Pact gloves have the “PORON XRD Extreme Impact Protection” on the palms and a rubberized padding on the back of the gloves. They will, no doubt, offer great impact protection.
From an initial review, I like them, but I have a few concerns about them. Mainly that the grip “bunches up” a bit when I make a fist or try to grip anything. Basically I have to press my palm agains my pistol grip, then close my fingers. Otherwise I end up with a bit of bunched up material, and it causes my grip to be off a little. It could be my issue with sizing, but we will see. I need to get some more use out of them before I make a real decision. I just know they don’t “feel” as good as my old gloves.
Also, the trigger finger has a stitch over the end of the finger, that makes the sides a little wider than I would like. I think over time that will wear down and flatten out. It’s not a really big issue, but it is worth noting. If you are planning to use them on a firearm that has a small trigger guard, it may interfere.
Other than those little gripes, that could be related to sizing more than anything else, they seem to be well made gloves that I think I will get some good use out of, one way or another.
Just for reference, the old gloves that I have been using are some generic Firm Grip construction gloves that I picked up from a local Home Depot. They were cheep, but lasted 2 or so years and have worked really well. If you don’t like the Mechanix gloves, or are in the mood to try out something else, check your local home improvement store, they usually have something that will work well.
Check out the video below for the full review.
The CED7000 is one of the few shot timers on the market (there isn’t a lot of options out there). But it works quite well, and has a lot of options available, including the ability to add external buzzers and various time displays for competitions, etc.
If you’ve watched any of the Jerry Miculek videos on YouTube, from what I can tell, he uses the CED7000 timer. So unless you are doing some real crazy stuff, it should do everything and more than you could want.
I was turned on to this timer from a training class I attended with SWORD International. After getting a chance to use the timer in a real world training situation, as soon as I got home, I went online and ordered one from Midway USA!
The main thing I really like about using a shot timer is that it adds a sense of urgency, and heightened sense of awareness while training. It’s almost hard to describe, but when you hear that buzzer, it gets your heart pumping! Also, it gives a really good way to measure improvements and can help you balance that blend of speed and accuracy, down to the hundredth of a second.
For the actual use of the timer, it’s much nicer to have another person be able to start the timer for you, so it’s not in the way, and it’s a little more of a surprise. But, it comes with a wrist and neck lanyard, they also make belt clips for it, something that I may pick up soon. But for now, the neck lanyard seems to work ok for training on your own. There are multiple modes on the device, the mode that i mainly use is the standard IPSC “Comstock” mode with the buzzer set to “Random”. For training on your own, the random mode is the best. It basically boils down to when you hit start, it will randomly buzz anywhere between 2 and 5 seconds. This helps keep you from jumping the start and helps with that adrenaline burst you get.
There are also various other modes of operation, including Par times, silent mode, timer mode, … if you are interested in checking out all of the features, check out the owners manual.
An interesting point I found when going through the manual was that the timer will remember a string of up to 39 shots. So what that means is for any given set of shots (up to 6 sets) will contain 38 shots with splits, then any number over that will be the 39th shot. So if you fire 50 shots, 1-38 will be the first 38 shots, but the 39th shot on the timer will be your 50th shot. I’m not sure when you would want to time something that was more than 39 shots, but just so you know, if you need splits on all of the shots, you’ll need a different device. But I think for standard applications, this should work just fine.
To wrap it all up, if you are not using a shot timer during your training, you should be. The CED7000 is a great timer that has more functions than most will ever use and is the perfect addition to any training regimen. Go pick one up or find someone that has one and ask if you can try it out!
Here is a quick snap of me using the timer doing some shooting and reloading drills.