All posts by David Zakar

3D Printing Adventures: Upgrading The NiteScout A3

I’ll keep this one short but sweet. My readers may recall my review of the NiteScout A3, and some various caveats I had about it. Believe it or not, I still rather enjoy the rifle in its SBR form, and have been trying to figure out how to give it a modern handguard. The handguard that came on the A3 could charitably be described as heavy and obsolete.

When I was looking at pictures online of various MP5 handguards, I was struck by the realization that they looked rather similar to the A3 handguards in how they attached. Rolling the dice, I bought a PTR-9 aluminum handguard to see if I could fit it.

Shockingly, it screwed straight into the retainer. But this left me with a problem: the tube that protects the screw connecting the front sight to the receiver was too long, and so was the screw.

Enter my 3D printer! A bit of OpenSCAD coding and a couple of test runs netted me a tube that fit just right. After a quick run to Home Depot for the correct screw (1/4-20 coarse, 3″ long), I had my handguard adapter all ready to go

The original part was aluminum, so the plastic replacement is not necessarily as robust. But there’s really no weight bearing component to this, and all of the pressure is directed into compressing the layers. Even a tube with somewhat small infill is more than enough to do this job.

I am genuinely stunned that NiteScout didn’t just outfit these guns with MP5 and MP5K handguards right out the gate. It would not surprise me at all if you could put on a MP5K handguard with either no tube or a very short one. But, in any event, I managed to fix this problem on my own. Next stop: Magpul SL grip and safety…

I ran the gun hard last night at SASP practice, and the 3D printed part seemed to hold up just fine. No problems with heat damage were observed. The gun itself isn’t really a Steel Challenge champ (that long, heavy trigger!), but it is super reliable, which is not nothing.

IWI-US Announces the Galil ACE Gen II

IWI-US has announced the release of the Galil ACE Gen II guns. For now, it seems like the 7.62×51 ACE isn’t being upgraded, but the 5.45×39 version is getting a bump to full-production status.

As you can see from the picture, there’s been some changes:

  • The buttstock is AR compatible.
  • The trigger has supposedly been upgraded.
  • The handguard is MLOK, and free-floated. It also looks moderately longer, but that may be a scaling trick.
  • No more built-in iron sights.
  • Upgraded safety lever.

My personal take is that this was probably a manufacturing optimization as much as an upgrade, but it is an upgrade nonetheless. Keen readers would be advised to keep their eyes open for closeout Gen I ACEs at the usual suspects.

On a similar note, IWI also recently released a minor update to the Uzi Pro, giving it a threaded barrel.

TOC Vehicle Ambush Tactics – Pistol AAR

After training with TOC last year in a really well-thought-out carbine class, I had made it a priority this year to try to take another class with them. Thankfully, they scheduled their “Vehicle Ambush Tactics – Pistol” class on a day I could take it, so I signed up ASAP.

I’ve never done any shooting in or around vehicles, so I had almost no expectations walking in. I just wanted to learn some new skills, do a little shooting under stress, and maybe have a bit of fun. I think I accomplished all those goals. Read on for more.

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Green Ops Practical Red Dot Pistol Skills AAR

The combined threats of the pandemic and ammo shortage have been causing me to be a little more selective than usual about my training selections in 2021 so far. But when I saw that Green Ops was introducing a red dot pistol skills class, I was intrigued and knew I’d be taking it. I am 100% sold on the benefits of red dot pistols, and was curious as to how Green Ops would approach that subject matter. Read on for what I thought!

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Shotgun Upgrades: 2021 Update

I signed up for the Steve Fisher shotgun class in June, so I felt like this was an opportune time to make a couple changes with my shotguns. Realistically, I’m only going to bring my standard 870, with Stoeger M3K as a backup (unless I somehow acquire a Beretta 1301 in the meantime), but the fun thing about common platforms is that an upgrade in one gun can sometimes also turn into an upgrade in another gun.

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Green Ops Defensive Pistol Clinic I AAR (Maxim 9 Edition)

It’s December, and that typically means I’m trying to get in that last class or two to finish up my training year. I had been debating whether to take the Green Ops Defensive Pistol Clinic I. On one hand, it’s a great class, but on the other hand, I’ve come pretty far with my pistol shooting and I wasn’t sure it was going to be as relevant to me.

I decided that one way to make it relevant was by using a gun I was not at all familiar with: the Silencerco Maxim 9. The Maxim 9 is an integrally suppressed, roller-delayed 9mm pistol, and I wanted to see if it was really up for some harder use… or if it was just a range toy. Read on for my impressions of both the class and the gun.

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The MSP Path to Performance: 1-Day AIWB + 1-Day Red Dot Pistol Course AAR

(lead photo credit: David Simerly of DNA Guns took this shot, and it’s awesome, like every other photo he takes)

One thing you never have seen on this blog previously is a review of a two day class. Two day classes are almost universally held on Saturdays and Sundays, and given my Sabbath observance, I can pretty much never attend.

But as bad as 2020 has been, I did get one very special treat: a two-day Modern Samurai Project class held on Tuesday and Wednesday. I immediately jumped on it, and told my employer I’d be on PTO (and don’t bother me!). Read on for my impressions of the class.

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ARPC Advanced Action Shooting Class AAR

When Givati Rifle and Pistol Club announced that they were going to sponsor another class delivered by Paul Casale of Arlington Rifle and Pistol Club, I was quick to get in on it. A hundred bucks for five hours of advanced rifle/pistol training? That’s a steal. I had a great time at the last class, and I was expecting even better things out of this one.

Read on for my impressions after the break.

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