All posts by David Zakar

Building Out The Katana: High-Speed Competition ARs

I recently built out a multi-gun AR on a pre-ban lower in an effort to create a rifle that would be more suited to shooting multi-gun competitions. I find that the full top-to-bottom of the parts selection process isn’t always discussed thoroughly, so that got me thinking that I should lay all of that out.

After the break are the elements of my “high-speed” AR, with some explanation of why I chose them.

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Green Ops Private Instruction Impressions

After signing up for the Defensive Pistol II clinic I took recently, I had contacted Green Ops about the possibility of doing some private or semi-private instruction afterwards. I had a new rifle I had built that needed to be put through its paces, and I needed to knock off some rust in preparation for getting back to some multi-gun matches. I offered to share the time with another student to knock some of the cost off, and I think that turned out well.

One of the neat things about private instruction is that it gives you the chance to focus on the things you want to focus on. My fellow student was interested in transitions; I wanted to put a little time into splits and distance shooting. We got everything done plus a bit more!

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Greens Ops Defensive Pistol II Clinic AAR

It has been a long time since I’ve gone shooting, probably 2.5-3 months. The pandemic and resulting lock-down has been brutal in many respects, but the closure of all the ranges and mass class cancellations has been particularly tough on me. When I found out that Green Ops was doing their Sunday clinic at an outdoor range, I jumped on it. It’s not a “no risk” sort of situation, but I felt that the outdoor setting greatly mitigated the possible risks to the point that I felt it was safe enough to participate in.

What did I think? Read on.

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A quick thought about multi-gun LPVOs

While I wait for my Razor HD GenIII 1-10x MOA/BDC to get delivered, I wanted to discuss multi-gun LPVOs, and why people don’t seem to get what makes for a good one.

What do you do in multi-gun? Shoot lots of not-small targets at distances of 10-500+ yards on a timer, usually in decent weather. This generates some requirements for our LPVO.

You need to be able to shoot at a distance without dialing in – quickly. I know a lot of people bash BDC reticles, but if you’re trying to hit a target at 475 yards on the clock followed by another target at 350, dialing isn’t an option. I don’t think most people are going to remember their holdover in mils for every 50yds in the middle of a competition. BDC is where it’s at.

Further, if you have an array of targets at 150yds, you do not necessarily want to have to dial to 6x/8x/10x to engage. FFP becomes important.

You need to be able to shoot close-in – quickly. Field of view is important for fast target transitions. Having a bright reticle that you can easily find in the sun is important. Being able to shoot both eyes open at 1x is important. Having a scope that doesn’t weigh your gun down is a nice thing.

So what are we looking for in an ideal multi-gun scope?

  • Efficient FFP/DFP BDC reticle compatible with our rifle/ammo. This may mean altering your rifle or ammo slightly. The reticle also needs to be easily usable at 1x.
  • Bottom end magnification of 1x, with a wide field of view.
  • Top end magnification as high as it can go – preferably 6x or higher.
  • Daylight bright illumination.
  • Ability to quickly change zoom levels (think magnification lever).
  • Lightweight, or at least not too heavy.
  • High-end glass clarity.

What makes the Razor GenIII interesting is that it meets all of those criteria. There are scopes that can compete with it – the S&B Short Dot coming to mind – but they all tend to be a lot more expensive.

Of course, there are a lot of quality scopes that meet some or most of those criteria, and they may be perfectly suited for other uses. For example, I have an SMRS 1-8.5x FFP scope that I really like on my AR-308… but it has a mil/mil reticle, it’s heavy, and it doesn’t go daylight bright (just daylight visible). It would just not be a great choice for a multi-gun scope. It’s probably a pretty great choice if I’m OK spending the time to dial in for that first shot hit on a 2MOA target, though.

There is also a whole school of thought that says that you can get by with an RFP scope with a good BDC reticle that doesn’t have daylight bright illumination because if you use the BDC, it will always be at max magnification. There is nothing wrong with this viewpoint, but I am a little suspicious that scopes with top-end magnifications of 8x or 10x might find it constraining for things like 200yd shots with fast transitions.

An email I wrote to a friend regarding home security

I’ve been quiet lately because all the ranges are closed, and classes and matches are getting cancelled. Dealing with the kids’ distance learning and working from home full-time has also been a combination of stressful and distracting.

One recurring theme I’ve seen online (and in person!) is that gun stores are getting hit hard by new gun buyers who are just figuring out that the state isn’t always the best thing to rely on to protect you in a crisis. I’d like to share an email I recently wrote (lightly redacted) I wrote to a friend when he asked me about home security. My response is not gun-oriented, but goes over options that include them. I’m not an SME, and doubtless left things off I shouldn’t have, but I think it covers a number of topics that people who are unfamiliar with protecting themselves should think about.

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Savior Equipment “S.E.M.A” Mobile Arsenal Backpack Quick Review

I bought Savior Equipment’s “S.E.M.A” backpack a bit after SHOT Show using a 35% off coupon I received from them at the show. I believe this coupon was being handed out freely, so I don’t think I am overly biased, but full disclosure, etc. I didn’t want to post about it before I had a chance to utilize it for hauling things around for a good month or so. We’ve passed the benchmark, so I felt justified in writing a review.

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Mantis X10 Elite Review

Do you regularly dry-fire? If you’re a gun owner, I’m hoping the answer is yes.

Do you effectively dry-fire? Well, that’s a much trickier question, and it has as much to do with how you’re planning to use your gun(s) as what you’re doing.

After meeting with the Mantis team at SHOT Show 2020 this year, they were kind enough to send me a gratis review copy of the Mantis X10 Elite. I say this up front so we have full disclosure! I have been dry-firing with it for a month almost every day across a variety of platforms, and I now have compiled enough information and experience that I think I can write a decent review of it.

I’ll give you the bottom-line up-front first: it is not a magic solution that bypasses putting in the work, and it (currently) has its limitations, especially for competitive shooters. It is, however, a phenomenal diagnostic tool. It will tell you the truth in ways that a par timer will not. It will show you bad habits in a way that a shot timer will not. If you are a serious shooter, especially a newer one who is getting more seriously into competition and defensive/tactical shooting, this device can provide you information that will make a difference in how you draw and fire. For more details, read on.

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