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.
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?
As I noted in my Green Ops shotgun class AAR, I am a HUGE fan of my SDS S4 shotgun. This is a Benelli M4 clone that, unlike the previous M2 and M3 clones, is damn near perfect in. Read on for some thoughts, and how I upgraded mine.
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).
I was remarking to an acquaintance a couple weeks ago that “I’m not a shotgun guy”. And it’s true. I have shot zero rounds of clays/skeet/trap in my life. I respect the shotgun as a weapons platform, especially in close range capacities, but I’m a pistol guy when it comes to home defense. Most of my shotgun shooting is in 3gun, where it’s definitely not my strong suit, Yet, when I look in my safe, I’ve got six shotguns in there. To your usual non-gun-ethusiast normie, this would make me the shotgun king.
While I have to admit I’d probably most benefit from a competition-oriented shotgun class, I always make a habit of taking shotgun training when I can. I was really excited when Green Ops announced that they’d be getting into the shotgun training game, and signed up for their class as soon as I heard about it.
I don’t like how I perform with a carbine. I am not all that bad with a PCC at typical USPSA distances, but I have always felt like I just lacked some of the expertise with a regular old 5.56 rifle. This is why I always try to take intermediate and advanced carbine courses when the opportunity presents; I am hoping some more hands-on instruction will bridge some of that performance gap.
To that end, I took the Green Ops Defensive Carbine II class recently… read on for my thoughts.
After doing my annual review of my gear and holster box a few weeks ago to see what I should probably sell to other people, I noticed that I had a couple HSGI Tacos that were still plenty usable, and in fact, would be quite helpful for the Green Ops AK class (since I have no kydex AK pouches). Unfortunately, these were PALS attach items, and I don’t really use MOLLE battle belts… I’m a competition double belt guy for the most part. (Note: PALS is often referred to as “MOLLE”, but this is not technically correct.)
Enter the First Spear Missing Link. The Missing Link is basically a connector that works with MALICE, WTFix, or similar clips that provides a belt interface. They come in packs of six for $25 (I bought mine from SKD Tac). It is stupidly simple, and has some pluses and minuses as a result of that.
The Missing Link interfaces with PALS by essentially riding the clip and using the sewn in bits of the strips to provide a stopping point for the Missing Link loops. There is also a hook interface on the back (part of the “hook-and-loop” system, also known as “Velcro”) that you can use to attach to a loop interface on your belt. First Spear’s video on the Missing Link shows them putting it on a different way than I do, because that’s how their belt’s loop interface is positioned. On a competition double belt, you want the hooks on the outside. It took me a bit to figure this out, but it works quite well.
Installation is easy enough, and can be demonstrated in pictures, or in that video shown above.
Now, review time… there were things I liked about the Missing Link, and things I didn’t love.
On the upside… the interface is pretty secure, or at least as secure as your clip and belt are, especially when using the hook interface. The installation of the Missing Link is also fast and easy, or at least as fast and easy as threading the PALS is. They’re also not all that expensive.
There are downsides, though. There is a tiny bit of movement since the Missing Link isn’t all that tight. Not a big deal for mag pouches, but some people like their gear to never move at all on their belt. It’s also not really perfect for double belts because there’s nothing to secure placement on the outer belt. It won’t fall off, but it will move around until you place the outer belt on your inner belt securely. The biggest problem, though, is that they’re just a little too loose for a double rifle mag pouch, and they hang out at a pretty bad angle out to the side. Single mag pouches are great, I’ll probably try a different solution for the double pouches.
In any event, if you’ve got a single mag PALS pouches that need a belt attachment, this seems like a pretty good option that won’t break the bank.
Ever since I started coaching a youth shooting sports team, the medical aspect of shooting has loomed a little larger in my consciousness. While we run very safe practices, life comes at you fast, and you need to be prepared for the worst eventualities. It was serendipity, or at least a nice coincidence, when I saw that TOC was offering a class that combined active threat management, Stop the Bleed, and some shooting. When another class with them got canceled, I applied the payment to their Active Threat Response class.
The first really expensive guns I ever bought was a Galil SAR SBR that was built by the fine gentlemen “TennGalil” over at Hillbilly Firearms . The full build cost me about $2000, which, in retrospect, I suppose doesn’t sound like a lot compared to what higher-end AKs cost now.
Despite it being a rather amazing piece of kit, I barely ever shoot it anymore. There’s not a lot of room in the competition world for an iron-sighted AK if you care about really competitive. Thus, I was quite enthused about Green Ops offering their newer Defensive Kalasknikov class You can read on for my impressions.
I make no secret that I like to train with a diverse variety of instructors. I think this makes you a better shooter, and it also gives you a lot more perspective on what you see in classes. In this case, Green Ops was hosting Sentinel Concepts for a shotgun class. Sentinel Concepts is a one-man show run by Steve Fisher, who’s one of the biggest names in the tactical shooting community. Needless to say, I was excited by the opportunity to train with him, and signed up months in advance.