Burris Fastfire IV (4) Review

I’ve gotten deep into optics on pistols. But this is mostly optics mounted to pistol slides. Now that I’m coaching an SASP team, I’ve started having to familiarize myself with pistol optics mounted to rails. SASP competitors go this route so they can use the same pistols in both irons and optics divisions. In a perfect world, you’d use different guns, but this could mean literally mean thousands of dollars in guns, and youth sports don’t typically support such high costs.

I have a Ruger MkIV 22/45 Lite and a MkIII 22/45, and I needed an optics solution for them. I had an old Docter-style ADM mount lying around, so I decided I would try out the new Burris Fastfire 4 (FF4). I liked the FF3 – I still run it on a Glock slide from time to time – but found that the window was smaller than I preferred. The FF4 has a bigger window, better battery life, and an intriguing selectable reticle. What did I think? Read on…

Continue reading Burris Fastfire IV (4) Review

Green Ops Advanced Competition Pistol Class AAR

It’s been about six months since I’ve taken a class. This was not entirely intentional (a TOC class got cancelled in the interim), but is in line with my goal of being more selective with how I use my time vis a vis classes vs competition.

When I saw the post from Green Ops on Facebook that they would be hosting an advanced competition class, I jumped on it. I literally signed up minutes after seeing the post. I know I have deficiencies with movement and stage planning, and a class that could help me fix those things would be absolutely worth it.

Continue reading Green Ops Advanced Competition Pistol Class AAR

Wolf 145gr .300 AAC Blackout Ammo Review

My friends at the TargetBarn company – an online ammo and targets retailer – apparently thought that my previous review of Federal Syntech 130gr “PCC” 9mm ammo was not the worst thing in the world that they had ever read, and offered to sponsor another ammo review. We went back and forth for a bit, because it’s the ammo crisis, and I also didn’t really know what anyone would find interesting. Boring reviews don’t help them, and they don’t help you.

wp-1651626921707

Poking around, I noted that they had some of the 145gr Wolf .300 AAC Blackout ammo. Despite my previous assertions that .300 AAC Blackout is a caliber with no real mission, I had built out a cheap-ish upper anyways because Wolf had (or would have) cheap steel-cased ammo, and I’m a sucker for such things. They agreed to provide some for review. Well, smash-cut to September 2021, and that cheap ammo is not looking so likely anymore. Now we have a different question: should you stock up on a bunch of this before it’s gone?

Continue reading Wolf 145gr .300 AAC Blackout Ammo Review

Not dead, just busy!

Sorry for the lack of recent posts! My job has been hectic, the SASP season has started, and I’ve been prioritizing reloading and shooting over posting. I have like half a dozen articles “almost ready” for posting that really just need pictures.

A few interesting developments to chew on:

  1. Nailed my first division win in a match, and also beat every other pistol shooter. Yeah, it was an outlaw match, but it still counts if you beat 60 other people in the pistol divisions. 🙂
  2. I swapped the optics my Sig MPXs to Holosun HE510C-GRs (from C-More Railways). I think the C-More Railway provides a slightly better sight picture, but the HE510-GR does literally every other thing better, including (crucially) battery life.
  3. I sold all of my 5.45×39 stuff. AK-74-alike, upper, ammo, and so on. No point when I can load 223 limitlessly on my current setup.
  4. I sold my Ruger Precision Rifle. Took up too much safe space for a gun I shoot like once a year at most. If I want to shoot precision in the future, I’ll use a 20″ 308 upper.
  5. I bought a few new guns with the proceeds of the above:
    • IWI Galil ACE Gen2 5.56 rifle (because you can’t sell an AK without buying an AK!)
    • BUL Armory TAC SC (milled for a DPP – gonna use this for falling steel and 3gun open)
    • Ruger MkIV 22/45 Lite (for SASP)
    • MkIII LLV upper (for SASP… it was cheap)
  6. Outfitted my backup 3gun rifle with a Razor Gen2E.

Armanov Ammo Checker Bundle 3-in-1 Review (9mm)

You’ll recall from my SHOT Show 2022 coverage that I spent a fair bit of time talking to the gents at Armanov. Armanov is a small business based out of Slovenia that makes a variety of useful reloading equipment, along with some miscellaneous magazine extensions and grips. It appears most of their products are CNC machined from aluminum, which is de rigeur these days.

I purchased the “Ammo Checker Bundle 3-in-1” in 9mm. This is a “hundo gauge”, as the cool kids say, which is a case gauge that lets you check 100 loaded cartridges of 9mm at a time. This may seem excessive to some people, but for the competition shooting crowd who are sometimes reloading 1000+ rounds a month, it’s a fast and easy way to check the quality of your reloads and ensure that they are at least nominally match ready (assuming your powder dropped, anyways).

What did I think? Read on.

Continue reading Armanov Ammo Checker Bundle 3-in-1 Review (9mm)

Parting SHOTs: Best of Show

Rifles:

The MEAN Arms roller-delayed upper is going to be a big deal for the competitive shooting community, because it will bring another non-direct-blowback option at a reasonable cost. The use of the MEAN magazine conversion will also allow shooters to use their same belt for PCC competition as 3gun competition, which is a nice bonus.

The Desert Tech Quattro 15 (which I didn’t cover) is something that’s gotten me really excited. Big magazines, fully ambi lower, and a surprisingly reasonable price ($300)? Sign me up. I could see converting to these for 3gun.

Shotguns:

Didn’t see a lot that was genuinely new in the shotgun category. I think the influx of cheap and reliable Benelli M4 clones like the SDS S4 and Tac-12 was a real game changer in 2021, and I’m still waiting to see where that trend goes with the second round of those clones. SDS has already promised an improved stock in 2022, and I absolutely think there’s a market for a competition version with a hogged out loading port, larger buttons, short field stock, and so on.

In general, I expect Turkish shotguns to be massive sellers next year when the cheap Turkish lira drives prices down on high quality shotguns to crazy low levels. I can’t be the only one who’s thinking about a pair of VR80s for open shotgun if they drop to below $400.

Pistols:

I didn’t see anything jaw-dropping for pistols. 30 Super Carry was a bit of a meh release for me, and the focus on 5.7×28 continues to be inexplicable. Don’t even get me started on bringing back the Browning High Power… I don’t know what people think these pistols are, but they’re not as great as they think.

The Dasan / Alpha Foxtrot 1911 with the swappable frames was maybe my favorite of SHOT. At least this is a pistol that has a purpose in life, even if it’s niche. Hopefully the parts are not too dissimilar to standard 1911s and 2011s, and that maybe we could get an optics-cut version.

Optics:

The Eotech 1-10x is the winner for me. It has every indication of looking a lot like a Razor Gen3 competitor at a substantially lower price. In fact, it may even be better at 1x if the brightness can keep up (which is a bit of an open question, even though it looked good on the floor).

A close second was the Blackhound Evolve 1-6x, if only because we’re finally starting to see fiber optic reticles migrate to lower price points. Once these get BDC and/or MRAD reticles, it’s going to driving some real innovation across the entire market space.

The Holosun SCS is another one I’m excited about. The MSRP on this is a bit high-ish, but it’s bringing some unique capabilities to the table in terms of being MOS direct mount, being solar-driven, better light sensing, etc.

Honorable Mention:

The Maztech / Magpul X4 collaboration looked amazing. The world is ready for a new rifle-mounted LRF with a heads-up display, and the implementation looked a lot more flexible than others I’ve seen. It’s not cheap, that’s for sure, but it’s within the price range of someone who really wants one. If they implement some sort of support for linking to other LRFs (perhaps the Vortex or Sig?), it’s going to be amazing.

Parting SHOTs: Dillon DA3000 Autodrive

In one of my SHOT show posts, I brought up the Dillon DA3000 autodrive and expressed some disappointment to what was shown. To Dillon’s immense credit, a contact reached out to me with an offer to meet up and discuss the system in some depth, and try to answer some of the questions that I and others have.

First, the elephant in the room: sensors. One of the reasons that Mark7’s autodrive is so popular is the comprehensive sensor suite. The DA3000 launching without them was a disappointment to a lot of Dillon and RL1100 fans who were looking for a fully-competitive same-brand autodrive solution.

Sensors are on the roadmap. They’re being worked on, but were simply not ready for release. I heard swage is planned to be the first out the gate, but as we’ve seen in the past couple years, plans don’t always work out. No timeline was given, but I would not expect the sensors to be out tomorrow. The DA3000 includes the sensor interfaces, so your machine will be upgradable.

And, no, the Immortobot sensors won’t work, or so I was told. This wasn’t a deliberate decision by the Dillon team to destroy third party compatibility, it’s just how it worked out. They know as well as everyone else that third party sensors may become a thing again if people reverse engineer the interface, and they’ll handle that situation when they see what comes out. This is all a bit terra incognita to them.

The second question was “what took so long?” And the answer is pretty simple: the production line had to be moved, the production professionalized further, and the machine itself beefed up a bit. When you factor in extensive testing, it does make sense that there would be a substantial gap where this would not be available even without a lot of obvious changes. Dillon isn’t Ammobot; there are high expectations that come with being Dillon that their products need to meet.

Our discussion after that went in a few different directions. Suffice it to say that Dillon has had their own share of supply issues in the past year due to the huge run on reloading equipment, and is doing their best to keep up. They also have a lot of respect for their competitors and customers alike.

EDIT (1/24/2022): Dillon has informed me that the sensors will be released in 1-2 months (or such is the plan). They will require a separate control unit.