Best Hearing Protection Earmuffs !

So here’s the deal…I have bad hearing. Yup, too many years running around in a fire truck with the windows rolled down, electronic siren blaring, and the Federal siren wailing away. All that noise finally took its toll and left me with bad hearing, not too bad, but bad enough. And to top it off…tinnitus.

When I go to the range or just out to the desert to go shooting I want good ear protection, or rather, good hearing protection. I tried the standard ear muffs and wasn’t really impressed. Sure, they kept the damaging sound out but left big globs of plastic on my ears that made it hard to get a good sight picture since I was wearing eye protection as well. Additionally, I had to take off one side to hear what anyone else was saying.

Then one day I was talking to a buddy and he told me about the Howard Leight Impact Sound earmuffs. Whoa! That changed my life.

I could go on and on about their benefits trying to convince you on a scientific level just how good they are. But, let me save the time…these things are perfect…wonderful…life-changing!

Technical info directly from their website –HowardLeightImpactSport1

  • Sleek, extremely low profile earcup design allows for full clearance of firearm stock
  • Automatic 4 hour shut-off increases battery life
  • AUX jack connects to MP3 players and scanners
  • Automatically shuts off loud impulse noise to a safe 82dB while amplifying conversation and range commands
  • Convenient folding design for easy storage
  • One single power and volume control knob
  • Air Flow Control technology
  • Black leatherette headband with sporty hunter green earcups
  • Water resistant
  • Easy access to the external battery compartment

Yes, that means you can turn up the sound (amplification of ambient sounds) to hear what is going on around you…and I mean everything such as birds chirping and grass growing. And when a gun is fired the electronics kick in and protect your ears from the harmful sound level. You are protected at anything over 82dB!

I’ve worn these for 10 hour days at the firing range, in the desert, in 90 – 100 degree weather. They are comfortable…period…double period.

If you forget to shut them off when you are done they will automatically turn off after 4-hours. The battery life is amazing! I’ve gone over a year of use on one set of Duracell AA batteries.

I’ve heard some complaints about them not doing very well at indoor ranges. I can’t verify that because I never go to an indoor range. I know outdoors they work really, really well. Also, there are a few people (out of thousands) that have said they couldn’t get them to fit exactly right around their ears. I wear them, my wife wears them, my best friend wears them, and a number of my instructor buddies wear them. I’ve never heard a single complaint about the fit not being right.

These are a for sure “BUY!!!”

Buy It !




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Smith and Wesson M&P Shield – Part #2

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Review Part 2Well, kind of an interesting morning at the range. Let me explain…

I actually didn’t go to the range at all. I have a place I like to go in the desert, its remote but close enough to town not to be a long drive. It is all boxed in with high canyon walls all around. It is quiet and I am always alone unless I take people with me. So that’s where I headed…and I am glad I did.

Alright, so I drop the tailgate to my pickup and layout all my shooting gear. I had brought 220 rounds of 115gr Winchester FMJ ammo with me. That stuff is nothing fancy but the price is right and the brass is reloadable. I really wasn’t trying to become an expert shot with the Shield, I just wanted to run the rounds through it to see how it performed and get through the “break-in period” with it.

Let’s cover all of it…the factory magazines that came with it were a decent quality. If I did my research right, Mec-Gar makes them for S&W. With the pistol came a 7-round mag and an 8-round mag. The 8-rounder has a little pinky finger extension on it. Both mags were a little stiff at first but broke-in just fine. I did notice that even at the end the 7-rounder was a little stiff getting that last round in as I was loading, but it wasn’t a big deal at all.

The first round of any new gun I send down range is always an interesting one for me. My head always wonders what might happen. I wasn’t surprised or startled by the first round at all. It just went “crack” and the tree stump splintered. Same thing for each round for both of the first mags.

After about 100 rounds I started to pay more attention, snapping up from a low-ready, changing my stance, aim, not aiming, and trying different positions on the trigger with my finger. What I did notice were a few things –

  1. I tended to want to put more of my finger over the trigger than I normally do. I figured out it is because the Shield is small compared to my Sig 1911 Ultra-Compact or my Sig 226. So my big paw wanted to envelope more of the gun than it is designed to handle. So I had to consciously work at keeping my trigger finger where it belonged.
  2. I noticed I was shooting a little to my left pretty consistently. When I really slowed down and was taking each shot seriously I noticed that I didn’t have a natural sight picture with the pistol. I can work through that with range time and getting the right feel for the gun…hand position vs. aim point.
  3. The Shield is much smaller in my hand that any other gun I have with the exception of the Sig 938 I have.
  4. It was simple, easy, and second nature for each follow-up (second) shot. Even with a small, lightweight gun the second shot was very easy to manage.

Once I had shot up 200 rounds I got out the 15 rounds of misc rounds I had brought. I mixed in those rounds with a few of the remaining Winchester rounds I still had left. Ran them, no problems. Then I got out the good stuff, the 147gr Hornady XTP rounds that I absolutely love. I feel these are the undisputed best round to run in a 9mm pistol. I loaded them up mixing them in with the remaining 115gr Winchester rounds.

It ran like “crack” “crack” “thump”. The “crack” were the 115gr rounds, the “thump” was the 147gr round. There was a noticeable difference in the feel of the gun on top of the sound. The 147gr rounds were ones that I had reloaded myself and they are a little on the hot side since I run them through my full-frame Sig226. The Shield handled them just fine. Even the second shot was no issue at all.

After about an hour and 250 rounds later, I have to say I like the Shield. The 7-round magazine leaves my pinky finger dangling. But for some reason it quite naturally tucked right under the grip and was no issue. The 8-round magazine removes any issue at all. The 18º grip angle is just right for me. The grip is a little small for me, but it is entirely doable with no issues. I do like the 8-round mag grip better, it feels more natural, and I think I have better control on the pistol with it. That being said, I am perfectly fine with the 7-round mag grip with no complaints.

A few more technical observations –

  1. No failure to feeds.
  2. No failure to ejects.
  3. Two failures to go completely into battery.
  4. No misfires.
  5. No magazine feed issues.

I want to explain the battery failure issue I mentioned. There is a thumb button slide release. But, don’t think for a minute you are going to be able to use it…you simply can’t. Yes, I know you are supposed to release the slide by “racking” but I just wanted to test the release. The release button is simply too tight and stiff to allow it to be used under normal circumstances. Overall, it is a good thing, forces you to into good habits no matter how resistant you might be. I think the two failures to go completely into battery were my fault. They occurred early on and I just feel I didn’t have enough “snap” to my racking the slide. I will keep my eyes on that one and report more later.

I did a medium and long distance test fire on it as well. At a medium distance, about 80’ the gun was plenty accurate enough. Without really trying I was grouping 12” – 18” with one flyer. When I went to 100 yard distance I found I was able to pick up the aim point pretty quickly. I would have no problems trying to engage someone at 100 yards if I had to. I would have to slow my shots down a bit, but it is perfectly doable.

The trigger reset is clean. There is even an audible “click” when it resets. However, in a gunfight I am not sure that you would hear it. I only heard it because I use Howard Leight electronic ear muffs. There is a “feel” when it resets but I hard a hard time feeling it. Next time at the range I will slow down and really work the gun to become proficient. I will let you know if it becomes any kind of an issue.

I did a glove test on the pistol as well. Unless you are using a “golf glove” (i.e. thin leather) you might struggle getting your trigger finger inside the guard. I could do it but it felt a like fumbling at first…and later as well.

Then I had to remind myself…this isn’t a battle gun. This isn’t something I am going to strap onto a drop-leg rig and head into some pitched firefight. This is a CCW EDC pistol. It is designed to be highly concealable, highly reliable for carrying on your person every day.

One thing I will point out that is fairly weird, maybe it is just me. I do a lot of shooting and I have a decent variety of pistols. But, I have never had a problem retrieving a spare magazine to place into a pistol that I was shooting (magazine swap). Seriously, I’ve never had a problem…period. With the Shield three times I brought the spare mag up reversed. As I tried to repeat the error it boiled down to the base plate of the magazine. It is just kind strange to anything I am use to. The base plate itself stick out to the front and to the rear of the magazine so there is no easily distinguished forward position. I think this is just a “me thing” and I will get over it with practice and consistent handling of the mags. I didn’t have the problem with the 7-round mag…but it doesn’t have the strange base plate that the 8-rounder does.

I wrapped up the range time and headed home…after picking up my brass. I felt very pleased with the Shield and I felt 100% confident that I could carry it as my EDC piece and not worry a bit.

When I got home I cleaned it. I gotta tell you, it was the easiest pistol I ever stripped down. It was simple, easy, and very fast to clean. While I can’t say I enjoy cleaning guns, cleaning the Shield was no big deal, fast, and easy. And that is good enough for me.

At that point I made the decision that this was going to become my new EDC…period. I liked it, it packed plenty of punch, was light, really concealable and just what I was looking for. So the next step…

I ordered four different holsters for it –

    • Outbags LOB3P
    • Galco SG652B Stinger
    • Blade-Tech Revolution Klipt
    • Desantis Mini Scabbard

Why those holsters? Because I did about four hours of research online to find the holsters that I feel are most likely to me what I am looking for. I will write an article on that once my testing is complete. And yes, I will have a recommendation as well.

I ordered another 8-round magazine. I figure that since this pistol was meant to be more highly concealable I would carry the 7-round mag in the pistol on my belt. That gives the gun the smallest possible “print.” But, my two spare mags will both be 8-rounders vs. 7-rounders. Yeah, I know…only two rounds of difference. But I keep thinking that I would rather have two too many rounds, than two too few rounds. That is just me. And why two spare mags? Because you never know how long the gunfight might be or how many bad guys you might be dealing with.

One thing I had to do…just had to. When I was ordering the spare mag from the supplier…right there just two tiny ads over was a 10-round magazine option. Yes of course I bought that one also. I just couldn’t resist! Come on, if 8-rounds is good…10-rounds really rocks! I will return and report on that as well.

I know I talked about two other issues; 1) night sights, 2) trigger job. At this point I see absolutely no reason for a trigger job. Yes, I might change my opinion later on, but for now I am perfectly fine with the trigger it has. I am almost struggling with getting the night sights or not. I was just fine with the way it was at the range. But, the sun wasn’t its normal desert brightness nor was I am attempting to shoot in low/no light conditions. I will probably go with the night sights but not just now. I am more interested in another day at the range really working the gun and finishing the break-in. I am also going to enjoy figuring out which holster is best suited for it. I am hoping that one holster really stand outs.

So there you have it…all of my initial impression of the Shield are positive and I think this is going to be as great CCW EDC gun. And I will be writing at least one more article covering all the new stuff I test.




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Smith and Wesson M&P Shield

note: originally published in 2016, updated/edited in 2019

I am never satisfied!

Duh, like you didn’t already know that by now. But, in this case I hope it might help you a bit. I sure enjoyed the time!

So, for my normal every day carry (EDC) I have been carrying a Sig Sauer 1911 Ultra Compact is an excellent large caliber conceal carry pistol..45cal Sig 1911 Ultra-Compact. It is a great gun, never failed me, can run any kind of ammo, and it is dead-on accurate. So why was I looking for another EDC piece? Weight and bulk.

The Sig is a solid chunk of steel. While that makes it a fine piece of craftsmanship and very good looking, it does make it a bit heavy. And since it is a .45cal there is a little inherent bulk. When I am doing any personal protection detail I like having that .45 at my disposal, lots of stopping power. But, I am finding that I am really a lot better with my second shot placement when using a 9mm round.

For 9mm I like the 147gr Hornady XTP round. In the .45cal I like the 230gr Hornady XTP round. My testing shows 9mm Pistol ammunition ammo - 147gr Hornady XTPHornady XTP 230gr .45cal that the 147gr 9mm makes up a lot of the lost ground when switching to a 9mm round. The 147gr is a decent weight and the XTP round petals and creates a devastating wound channel. Sorry, back to the gun issue…

I am not overly concerned about “printing” with the Sig. It does print with thinner material shirts or just a t-shirt on. With a suit coat or casual jacket you can’t really tell it is there unless you are looking, and you know that you are looking for.

But, I found myself wanting a lighter gun, a thinner gun, and a 9mm for really good second shot placement. I naturally looked at Sigs…because I am a gun snob. I SigP238-380-001also found myself really disappointed. I had previously looked that Sig P238 (.380) and I liked the gun’s size and weight but didn’t much care for the size of the round, a .380 is pretty light for what I might need it for.

About three years ago I looked at and eventually bought a Sig 938 9mm. I liked the 9mm Sig 938 9mmround, loved the 1911 style, enjoyed the Sig name, and thought the size was incredible…nice pocket gun. And rarely carried it. Why? It was too small and it got lost in my hand. Subsequently I was not really accurate with it and didn’t have a lot of confidence in it should it come to a gun fight. It sits in the gun safe. I was still without that really great sized CCW EDC pistol that I loved to shoot and had confidence i, should it come to free exchange of lead.

Then one day about 2 months ago after a security gig watching over two people I decided that I was going to get a different gun period. And so the quest began anew. While I was in the gun store last month I Sig P250 9mmlooked at the Sig P250 (9mm) and it was a nice looking gun and the right caliber. What I didn’t like was the grip…it was short, squat, and really didn’t feel right. I am not sure if it was the balance, weight, or something else. The gun wasn’t what I was looking for. It’s too bad because I liked everything I had read, great reviews, and it was a Sig. I was 95% sold. Well, 95% sold till I picked it up. I didn’t like the gun at all…not a single bit.

Not able to lose a sale the shop owner suggested I try a Sig 320. I liked the way it felt. I Sig P320 9mmhave large hands and I like the feel of a double-stack mag grip. I liked this gun, it felt really nice, it was a 9mm double stack so it held a few more rounds than I was used to, and it was a Sig. I was 95% sold. Well, 95% sold till I held it up next to my Ultra Compact. It was almost the same size and felt virtually the same weight. I was crushed.

I begged and pleaded with the owner to find me a solution…I was desperate…I had money in my pocket just burning a hole and needed a new gun. OK, maybe it wasn’t all that bad…sounds a little melodramatic for what actually took place.

Then the unspeakable happened, he asked, “Have you ever held a Shield?”

I recoiled in horror and disgust…it was a lowly Smith & Wesson pistol…an M&P Shield. I felt like vomiting in the trash can. What did this man think I was? Who did this peddler of pistols think I was? What an insult…I felt like challenging him to a duel! Offer a S&W to a Sig man…how thoughtless and stupid.

But, I was desperate…”No, let me try one” came my reply before I could stop myself. I should have cut out my tongue first…or at least after those despicable words left my lips.

After clearing it, he handed me this black, skinny, piece of plastic and steel that didn’t appear to be all that terrible Smith Wesson MP shield peepholelooking. I cleared the gun myself and immediately noticed the little “peep hole” at the breach. Sweet! No more press checks to see if there is a round in the chamber…at a glance I can tell.

After a proper grip I noticed that the 18º grip angle gave me a very natural and accurate aim point. The grip was plenty long enough, my pinky finger didn’t dangle out in mid-air. I also noticed that the gun was very well balanced. All of those things added up to the Shield feeling very nice, and quite natural, in my hand.

I requested permission to dry-fire it. After a quick nod from the owner, I did so. I went very slowly on the trigger to assess the trigger quality. I wasn’t impressed. But, I also wasn’t disappointed. I had to remember that this was a striker fired pistol so it had to do several things at once, not just release the hammer. I will say that the trigger felt a little “gritty” but not bad. I estimated that the trigger pull at about 5lbs, the owner said it was 6.5lb trigger. Hummmm, my trigger finger must be getting stronger.

I mentioned it to the owner and he said there is a trigger replacement option that he promised was smooth as silk. It brings it down to the 4.7lb range and has zero “grittiness”. The price for the replacement trigger assembly sounded reasonable and I filed that away back in my head.

I saw that the factory sights were not night sights. Bad!!!  For me I feel night sights are an absolute must, no option, a pistol must have night sights. I talked with the owner and he mentioned that Tru-Glo makes a night sight option that is really sweet. He showed me a trainer pistol with them installed.

Let me explain about sights, night sights to be exact. Here in the desert southwest it is extremely bright outside about 394 days of the year…and I mean brilliant bright, hurt-your-eyes bright. And that tends to make sights in general disappear. You just lose track of the white dots in the bright daylight conditions. Not these Tru-Glo sights! These were amazingly easy to pick up quickly from a low-ready position. I loved them. When you get my age you need any edge you can get if you are going to get into a gun fight. These sights would be just such an edge in daylight conditions. But notice that there are supposed to be night sights…so how would they look at night.

Back inside the shop the owner said to go into the restroom and turn off the lights. There was no doubt that he Tru Glo Night Sights for Shieldwasn’t getting kinky or creepy so I did as he suggested…locking the door behind me just to be safe. The freaking night sights lit up really well…really well. And I liked an additional feature…the front sight was orange in color and the rear sights are green in color. Why is that important? If you want to, or need to, make a fast “snap shot” in the dark you don’t have to worry about sight alignment at all. Just set that orange colored front sight where you want it and pull the trigger.

This make-believe, half-plastic, striker-fired, non-Sig pistol kept feeling better and better the longer I held it. I was begging to fall in love all over again as if I were 15 and dating Sherri Greene at the Akron Rod Stewart concert. Meaning…This dang-gone Shield was nice!

After another 15 minutes of talking I ran for the door. No, not trying to steal the gun, I had to get out of there before I bought the thing. But, the owner and I parted on good terms. I was going to talk to a couple of friends to get their opinion and I thought a buddy of mine had one. I was going to ask him if I could shoot his before making the purchase. And to top it off…the owner made me an unreal deal on it. Because of my job I am eligible for a special discount…a substantial discount offered by S&W. The pistol retails for $449.00. Street price is $389 – $399. My price was going to be substantially less than that.

For ten days I did my research and everything –I mean everything– pointed that his was a great little gun. I had myself convinced that it was a match made in heaven. I had to own this gun. Back to the shop I went with money in hand and a “little kid at Christmas” attitude. And they were out of them!!! Yup, not a single 9mm Shield in the store. I was crushed! I ended up buying one, or I should say paying for one. And for that privilege of paying for it then and there I would get the first one that came in. Done!

But, here is my plan…

  1. Only buy the gun, no accessories, nothing else but the gun.
  2. Take 300 rounds to the range with the pistol and run the ammo through it. Different weights, loads, and types of ammo.
  3. If the gun still was the right thing to do then I would buy, a two spare magazines, a good EDC holster, and good double-mag pouch.
  4. Then run another couple hundred rounds through it on the following Saturday.
  5. If I still liked it then I would get the Tru-Glo night installed sights on it.
  6. And if I still liked it and have any money left over AND I still think the trigger is a little gritty then I will get the premium, gold-plated, platinum filled trigger replacement.

Once I have run 500 – 600 rounds through the gun and it has proven itself reliable and didn’t jam (no FTEs/FTFs) on more than one or two rounds AND I have the night sights on it…then I will begin to carry it as my EDC.

So, where am I today? I am just leaving for the range time for the first 200 – 300 rounds pushed through the gun. But, unlike my Sigs, I will clean the Shield first.

In my next article of this adventure I will report back on how the Shield performed at the range, and more about the night sights…assuming I get them installed.


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Remember the #1 rule of a gun fight? Kill the enemy. #2 rule is…Don’t get killed killing the enemy. And a good guideline, either fixed position or patrol, is always have a full mag in your weapon. I want to take a minute and talk about removing an empty magazine from your weapon and replacing it with a full magazine…reloading. That gives you a higher degree of ability to kill the enemy before they kill you.

For this conversation I am referring to a “reload” as a magazine swap…empty one in your gun swapped for full one from your mag pouch. While some folks can talk about four kinds of reloads, I have narrowed it down to just two. There are two basic “reloads” in combat; 1) tactical, 2) speed. A tactical reload is slower and generally used where you have cover and time. A speed reload is very fast in a firefight where you have to put rounds down range quickly. So the situation you are in dictates which reload you do…fast or faster.

Tactical Reload

Tactical reloads give you the opportunity to swap a magazine while cover protects you and you have a little more time to get he swap done. This would normally occur when you have others around you to keep rounds going down range. The standard “reloading” yell should be used to make sure that someone is still throwing lead while one or more people reload. Tactical reloading can occur when you are completely empty or partially empty. The idea is to get a full magazine in your weapon and return to the fight.

Speed Reload

Speed reloads give you the opportunity to get ammo back in the gun and rounds headed down range as absolutely quickly a possible. Additionally, the shooter’s eyes never leave the target. Hence, you don’t lose track of the enemy who is trying to kill you. And the mag swap is done completely by muscle memory and feel. If your unit has trained to do so, you implement the standard “reloading” yell to make sure that someone is still throwing lead while you reload. This reload is commonly done only you’re your weapon is empty. Since you have no cover to protect you…your rounds heading down range become your cover. The goal should be…Get your cover headed back down range as fast as possible!

Speed reload can get you shooting again in under 3 seconds!

Here is a great example of speed reloading from a professional…

My Gear/Equipment

I normally, almost always, wear tactical gloves while shooting. Also, I use only double magazine pouches (see note below). They have the stretch/snugging material on them to keep a single mag from moving around or dropping out. I use covered mag pouches due to the dirt and sand where I live. I primarily use only Pmags. I only load each mag with 28-rounds (see note below). I place them into my mag pouch with the front mag slightly taller than the rear mag. The lip on the bottom of the Pmag is the guide for keeping the front mag taller. I am right-handed so I reload with my left hand manipulating magazines. Since I wanted to use a consistent system I use my mags from left to right on my vest. I also use the front mag first.

When my mag is empty I either drop it to the ground (for speed reloading) or I place the mag in my drop pouch (for tactical reloading). I’ve been known to occasionally shove an empty in my back pocket or the lower left knee level cargo pocket on my pants. Speed and convenience requirements determines if I break my routine. I try not to break my routine.

Drop Pouch

Now for the question of “drop pouch” usage. There is a case for both using a drop pouch and not. The US military uses drop pouches. Not that they can’t afford to buy more magazines, it’s just a good idea for individual soldiers to maintain their own supply of magazines without depending on resupply. This is especially true while engaging the enemy and a resupply would put others at unwarranted risk. The case against using a drop pouch is fairly simple…no time to put your mag in the pouch. This means you have to get more rounds on target faster. Taking the time to place a mag in the drop pouch would eat up a second or two…that’s 3 – 10 rounds not heading at the enemy. This means that using a drop pouch during a speed reload shouldn’t happen…it just takes too much time.

As a prepper after the SHTF you really want to maintain your supply of magazines if at all possible! Otherwise…where are you going to go buy replacements.

No Drop Pouch – Mag Pouch Only

Now, there is a line of thought against using a drop pouch at all. It calls for you to put your empty magazine back into the mag pouch that it came out of. I think that is a sure way to die, or at least give the enemy an upper hand, when it is totally uncalled for. Think about it…if your life is on the line, you have no cover (other than your own rounds), do you really want to take the time to put a mag back into your vest pouch? Notice I haven’t even touched on whether it is even possible to do or not.

Let’s think this through…You have three double magazine pouches on the front of your vest and you have one mag in the gun. Time for a reload!

You pull the new mag out of your vest pouch, you grab the empty pouch that is in the gun with the same hand you are holding the new mag, you press the mag release, you remove the mag from the gun, and manipulate the new mag into the gun, place the empty mag in the mag pouch, hit your bolt release, and continue the fight. Does that sound like something you want to do?

OK, try this…

While your left hand is retrieving your new mag, (your right hand index finger is already indexed and the mag release is at your finger tip) you push the mag release button with your right index finger while giving the gun a counter-clockwise flick, you place the new mag in the gun, hit your bolt release, and continue the fight. It is all one seamless motion.

That’s right…you got the empty mag out of the gun while you were retrieving the full mag. You also have full control of your full mag since it is the only mag in your hand. And you are not fumbling around trying to put an empty mag back into your vest pouch.

I know the second method (drop the mag) can be done in about 2 – 3 seconds. What about the first method? I can’t even imagine how much longer it would take. My guess…”a lot, too much!”

So now here is a monkey wrench in that whole thing…I don’t know many folks who don’t wear tactical gloves. Using the “return empty mag to mag pouch” method with the empty mag in your hand, can you find the empty mag pouch with your glove covered fingers? What if you can’t? Do you have to look down to see where the empty mag pouch is? Now…as you looked down you just lost track of the guy(s) that were shooting at you.

OK, try this…Using the “return empty mag to mag pouch” method you are prone, you pull out the new mag, and now you are trying to put an empty mag back into a pouch while lying on the pouch. How’s that going to work for you?

And here is the worst scenario using the “return empty mag to mag pouch” method …You are doing a reload and you reach to your mag pouches on your vest, you grab a mag that you are going to place into your gun…and the mag is empty!!!  That is the fatal flaw with that methodology…knowing for sure which mag has ammo in it and which do not. Don’t fall into those traps. Only use systems/processes that make sense and actually work in the field under extreme stress.

Now, in all fairness the guy that I watch demonstrate this particular reload methodology (all empty/full mags in mag pouches on the vest) sells a product that keeps a mag pouch mouth open. I’ve never used the device he is selling so I can’t comment on how effective it is. But, I can tell you that only using single mag pouches is NOT a good idea in my opinion. And even with his product that he is selling…this methodology is still a very poor idea…at best.

So please, stick with what has proven over and over again to work…use double mag pouches, use a drop pouch to place your discarded mags in, unless you are doing a speed reload. Stick with what the gunfighters do…anything else is a recipe for disaster!

Here is another great example of speed reloading from someone who knows what they are talking about…

Restocking your magazines from your drop pouch

So now…what about those partially empty mags in your drop pouch? Dah…get them back into the action!

I learned to handle those drop pouch magazines. It is a simple process. When you have the time, it is safe, and your buddies are aware of what you are doing, do the following:

  1. Move your full mags to the left most mag pouches.
  2. Retrieve your partially full mags from the drop pouch one at a time pulling the heaviest out first.
  3. Place the mag in the left most empty pouch.
  4. Repeat until all the mags in your drop pouch that have ammo in them are now in your mag pouches on your vest.

There is an alternative to the above process…the “lunch.” I call it that because it does take some more time and you need to be in a safe location to do it (i.e. safe enough to be eating your lunch):

  1. Move your full mags to the left most mag pouches.
  2. Retrieve a partially full mag from your drop pouch. Make sure it is usable.
  3. Retrieve another partially full mag from your drop pouch.
  4. Whichever has the least amount of ammo in it, remove the rounds and place those rounds into the mag with the most rounds in it (the other one that you retrieved from the drop pouch).
  5. Continue to do so until you have topped off a mag (28-rounds, see note below).
  6. Place the topped-off magazine in the left most empty mag pouch on your vest.
  7. Repeat until all mags in your drop pouch no longer have rounds in them.
Fixed position magazine usage

I want you to think of something for a minute…

If you have a fixed fighting position that presents itself as being suitable…Does it make sense to have a cache of full magazines there? Think about it for a second…Would it be nice to have more magazines available during a firefight…without having to stop and reload those magazines while rounds are coming at you?

In my opinion…If you are in a suitable fixed fighting position (foxhole, guard house, etc.) there should be a cache of loaded ammo magazines there. They should in a safe, readily available location, in a container that keeps the mags and ammo clean and dry. In a firefight you should try to use those mags first before you start taking them out of your vest pouches.


Example #1: You are in a fixed fighting position in a firefight. You have been using your mags from your vest pouches. You are forced out of your fixed fighting position. How much ammo do you have left on your person?

Answer: Who knows…maybe some, maybe none.

Example #2: You are in a fixed fighting position in a firefight. You have been using the mags from the cache in your fixed fighting position. You are forced out of your fixed fighting position. How much ammo do you have left?

Answer: Your full battle load, on your vest.

You may or may not want to drop magazines while in a fixed fighting position. Remember, it is about the presence of cover and how much time you have to get back into the fight and start shooting. If you need to get rounds down range…drop the mag and get shooting. If you have cover and time…drop the empty mags into a protected, easy to use container.


Take enough ammo into the fight. Running out of ammo is a real downer when the other guy is still shooting at you. Be fast in reloading your weapon. Speed matters, micro-seconds count. Train, train, train…your muscles will learn what to do with enough training. When the stress goes through the roof and it is hard to think…your mind/muscles will remember what they need to do if you have trained enough. That frees your mind up to pay attention to your SA…and good SA helps keep you alive.

I am very serious…practice both the tactical and speed reloading methods. Of course you would do it with dry (unloaded) mags unless you are in a safe location. Practice reloading your magazines from your drop pouch. Let your fingers learn what it feels like. Find flaws in what you are doing while you are training…not while you are fighting for your life.

Your mind is a powerful tool that runs your weapon systems. But your mind will only do what it has been trained to do. Train your mind!

Let me know if you have great ideas you want to share!

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Warning! : Don’t let someone sucker you into thinking incorrectly about when to speed reload or not. Speed reloading is done when you have to get back into shooting as quickly as possible. That is when you drop your mag to the ground and not waste time putting it into a pouch of any kind. You might be out in the open or you might be in a fixed fighting position…it doesn’t matter where you are! What is important…and the only important thing…is the presence of cover and the amount of time you have to get back into the fight.

Note #1: I only load my mags to 28 rounds. Why? I don’t want to stress the lips for one. But…WAY more importantly I learned a lesson the hard way during a very stressful training session. I had a mag with 30 rounds in it. I tried to place it into my weapon with the bolt carrier group closed. It wouldn’t seat correctly. It would fall out. I just couldn’t get the top round in the magazine to depress enough to allow the mag to seat correctly. Bummer! Never again, I go with 28 rounds giving magazine plenty of room to depress and seat…and it is easier on the lips as well. Yes, I finally flipped the top round out of the full mag with my thumb and the mag seated and I was back at it.

Note#2: For long term storage of my Pmags that have ammo in them I use the Pmag Impact/Dust Cover Gen M2 MOE. It keeps the top round off the lips relieving the stress. It also keeps dirt, sand, and junk out of the mag. When needed I remove the cover from the mags before going operational. But, should you forget and go into action with the covers on, not to worry…they flick off easily with your thumb as you take them out of the mag pouch.

Note #3: Here are the mag pouches that I like:


Condor M4 single Magazine Pouch




Condor M4 double Magazine Pouch




Condor M4 double Magazine Pouch


I tend to go with the individual single pouches, three on my vest. I think using individual pouches gives  your vest a little more flexibility than a double or triple pouch set-up. But that is only my preference.

Note #4: The magazine drop pouch that I prefer is the Condor roll-up mag drop pouch (MA36-008 : Roll – Up Utility Pouch – MultiCam).

Condor MA36-008 : Roll – Up Utility Pouch


Condor MA36-008 : Roll – Up Utility Pouch


Note #5: In any fixed fighting position you have control of make sure that you maintain a cache of loaded magazines. The mags should be fully functional and loaded with quality ammo. The mags should be stored in such a way that they stay dry and clean and readily accessible. Periodically swap them out with other mags. That way they will allow the springs to relax and you can inspect them for damage…good idea to clean them periodically as well. I would also seriously consider using the Pmag Impact/Dust Cover Gen M2 MOE for cache mags.

Note #6: Should the last two or three rounds in a mag are tracers? Well, I have no opinion of if that is a good idea or not. There is a case to be made either way. If you are in a gunfight and you see tracers headed down range that is a clue to reload vs. waiting for the bolt to lock open. On the other hand…if the bad guy doesn’t know exactly where you are and they see your tracers…well, they now probably know exactly where you are. So it is a personal preference thing. I personally don’t use them that way.




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Konus SightPro 7216 Red Dot Optic

Konus SightPro 7216 reviewLet me start off by saying I love my Aimpoint Micro-T1 red dot optic. That thing is one of the best pieces of glass I have ever used. That Aimpoint optic is built like a tank while being light as a feather. I absolutely love it! But this article isn’t about my T1, it is about the Konus Sightpro 7216. But I had to start off the article referencing the Aimpoint. Wihtout owning and loving the Aimpoint I would have never bought the Konus.

Do I have you total confused yet? I hope not. Well, actually, I do…just a little bit.

Bottom line is…I would love to own all first-rate optics, but they are expensive. My Aimpoint Micro-T1runs over $600 and that is without a mount and riser. So, $750+ is easy to have tied up in an Aimpoint. The Konus I bought was under $80.00. The Konus normally run $125 – $135 on the Internet with the quick-detach mount and riser. So I got a

Aimpoint Micro T1

Aimpoint Micro T1

great deal to start off with.

My hope was the Konus would be as good as the Aimpoint. Well, maybe I was hoping it would be “good enough” would be more like it. But before I give away my opinion I need to relate the “mission” of a red dot optic for my use –

Provide clear sight picture for close quarters battle (CQB) carbine in any light conditions in a lightweight and rugged short to medium range optic.

So here are the technical specs on the Konus Sightpro 7216 –

  • 20mm Objective lens
  • 2.5″ Length
  • 6.5 Ounces
  • 3.5 MOA Dot
  • Integral picatinny base
  • Quick release riser mount
  • Matte black finish
  • Adjustable brightness(off plus 11 brightness settings)
  • Tube Style
  • 1X Magnification
  • Aluminum Housing
  • CR2032 Battery
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty

Now let me make this really simple…the Konus is no Aimpoint. Come on…you already knew that was coming. The price alone would tell you that. The Konus is at least 1/5th – 1/9th the price of an Aimpoint. You already knew that a $80 optic isn’t going to equal a $750 optic (with base and riser). That is a no brainer for sure. But, that being said I like the Konus. I think it is a very viable entry level red dot optic. It is lightweight, rugged, and the glass is pretty good all things considered.

KonusSightPro7216-002No, it doesn’t have multiple nigh vision settings but do you honestly have night vision to shoot it with? And no, I wouldn’t submerge it like you can an Aimpoint. But, are you really going to go all SEAL on me in the field?

There is no positive stop on the brightness knob. There are markings; “0” for off and 1 – 11 for the brightness settings. But, the knob will just keep going right past the “off” setting. Not really a big deal, just look at the knob and set it to “0” when you want it off.

The windage and elevation knobs were clearly marked and worked like you would expect them to. The protective caps actually had a very decent quality feel to them. They snugged up nicely to a rubber “O” ring at the base of the threads ensuring that water and dirt would not enter the optic. But, like any “O” ring, they will eventually need replacing…so buy extras.

The protective rubber lens covers looked and felt exactly like the Aimpoint counterpart. But, rubber is rubber. The quick-release lever was not fun at first. The little locking lever on the release lever that actually unlocks the release lever to function is small for my big fingers. It was also really tight at first, making unlocking it a bit of a pain. But, I would rather be a little difficult to unlock than sloppy. The first time I installed it on a rail I had a heck of a time getting it to release to take it back off. Oooooppppsssss…my bad! The locking lever isn’t made to “depress,” it is made to “slide” back away from the pin and then the quick release level moves without any problem. That little tidbit of information isn’t in the instructions.

Konus Sight Pro 7216 When I got it on the rail it was a really sloppy fit. But, using the quick-release adjustment screw on one side, and pushing the on the locking lever, I was able to adjust it to the proper fit. I locked it in place on the rail and it was a solid tight fit.

adjusting Konus Sight Pro 7216Sighting it in is just like any other red dot optic, windage and elevation. At 100 yards each “click” moves the dot 1/2″. The adjustment screws are clearly marked and easy to work with. The adjustment screws have a high-quality feel to them as they turn, and they have a distinctive “click” as you pass each 1/2″ adjustment.

The red dot itself is crisp and clear. My eyes are not what they use to be, but I started checking the quality of the dot at the “1” setting, it was nice and dim, but the dot was clearly visible and the edges were not blurry at all. At “5” I started to see the starburst effect around the red dot, but you will get that on any red dot that I have ever tested…including my high dollar Aimpoint. But, it really doesn’t affect the sight picture. When you have to use the high brightness setting you are outside in full sun and the starburst effect is almost invisible.

Here is my one negative…and it is a fairly small one. At the base of the windage and elevation knobs there is a sliver of shinny metal visible, maybe .7mm thick. Why is that an issue? Come on…think about it. I am a nutcase of tactics and life safety. For some weird reason I imagined a little light reflected off that sliver of metal and giving away your position. Yeah…that is the only negative I came up with. So, my OCD self could easily take a small artist brush and dab a little black paint on it…bingo, no more negatives.

Konus Sight Pro 7216I read the reviews on Amazon and found some problems with some of the reviews so I put my two cents in there. I think the two bad reviews came from people who didn’t know what they were doing. You should see my response in there if you are interested.

Now, I will tell you that I haven’t ran it on my AR-10, a shotgun, or punched hundreds of 5.56 rounds using the optic so I can’t verify that it will hold up to a sustained usage. But, based on everything I have seen about this little beauty, and some range time, I think it will be just fine!

For the money I think it is a great little red dot optic that will do the job for you. So I am giving the Konus Sightpro 7216 conditional “buy” based on –

  1. You can’t afford a $750+ Aimpoint Micro T1 with mount and riser.
  2. You need a compact and lightweight red dot optic
  3. You will be using it for CQB since it only has a 1x magnification. Or you will use a flip-away 3x magnifier if you are going beyond CQB.

Nice little sight, I am glad I have it. I like it and I will use it!


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Aimpoint Micro T-1 Red Dot Optic

Aimpoint MicroT1 opticIt just doesn’t get much better than this optic!  The Aimpoint Micro T-1 is an extremely good option for your close quarters battle (QCB) rifle/carbine. You can pick up a target quickly with the large field of view and shoot with both eyes open. This optic is amazing to use in the field.

So let me backtrack now to the “mission” I had defined for anAR-15 optic.

Mission –

Provide clear sight picture for CQB carbine in any light conditions in a lightweight and rugged short to medium range optic.

Requirements & Restrictions:
  • Must be lightweight.
  • Must be military grade.
  • Must be NV compatible.
  • Must be no larger than 2 – 4 MOA dot size.
  • If it uses a battery, battery must be good for at least 1+ years minimum.
  • Fully adjustable dot brightness for use in low-light or bright desert daytime.

I did my research and came up with the Aimpoint Micro T-1 optic in the 2MOA version. The Micro T-1 also comes in a AimpointMicroT1-2AimpointMicroT1-14MOA version. I shopped around and got the best deal I could for two since I had already made my “buy” decision. The day they arrived on my doorstep I was giddy like a little kid at Christmas, and for good reason.

A.R.M.S. #31 Base

A.R.M.S. #31 Base

I had also ordered one A.R.M.S. #31 quick release mount along with a LRP mount so I could try both styles/types.  Since these T-1’s were going on AR-15s with the fixed blade front sight I also ordered two high micro risers/spacers (39mm) to enable co-witnessing.



39mm Riser Spacer

A.R.M.S. Spacer

I assembled the two different optic packages with ease and quickly. Anyone, even a novice, can assemble these packages with not problems in minimal time. Just follow the instructions carefully and don’t get in a rush.

I installed each optic on its respective AR-15 and was very impressed with their “look.” What I am saying is they looked as if they belong on a solid battle platform. Now it was off to the range. But, before going I had taken initial steps to sight them in using a bore sight system.

Once at the range it took me no more than six rounds to “dial-them-in” with no problems of any kind. The windage and elevation is easily adjustable with either the special tool that comes with the sight or the turret caps. I tried a number of different dot light settings and found almost all of them perfectly usable in bright desert conditions. That was two years ago. We’ve have punched about 3,000 rounds through each AR since then and have never had to re-sight the Aimpoint.

And here is a real test of the entire optic package – I took the optic off the weapon and then reattached it. It maintained its “zero” perfectly. I have done that maybe 3 times over the last two years and it has maintained “zero” with no problems and no adjustments.

I am not easy on my weapons, I train with them just as I would fight with them. It has taken some bumps, bruises, and a drop. That optic never even blinked! This thing is rock solid and ready for the field; it can handle anything I can do to it. It is lightening fast picking up targets. I used this carbine and optic in a tactical carbine class a year ago and I was amazed at how easy it was to acquire, track and maintain your target picture. This ultra-compact optic is ultra-rugged as well.

A comment about weight – I custom built two AR’s for my wife and I. I built them as light as possible, and I mean light, super-light. Why? Well, if you have ever had to carry an rifle for any length of time you will come to appreciate “lightweight.” Wearing a full kit and battle load of ammo can be daunting and physically demanding. I wanted two rifles that would be as least taxing on my wife and I as possible. The Micro T-1 weighs just 3ounces by itself, under 4ounces with the highrise and quick-release mounting base. Now that is light!!

Suitable for use on:

  • Rifles
  • Carbines
  • Shotguns
  • Sub-Machine guns
  • Handguns

Note of particular interest – the Micro T-1 has been adopted as the primary optic by USAF para rescue jumpers and Dutch KSK special forces.Aimpoint Micro T-1 with the Aimpoint 3xMag magnifier on the Aimpoint TwistMount Many US Army units have adopted them as their optic of choice as well.

You can also pair the Micro T-1 with the Aimpoint 3xMag magnifier on the Aimpoint TwistMount.

So here are some technical details and information on this amazing piece of weapon’s gear.

The Aimpoint Micro T-1 is ideal as a standalone sight, and can also be piggybacked on top of larger magnifying scopes, night vision, or thermal imaging optics.   The performance of the Micro T-1 is optimized for use with all generations of Night Vision Devices (NVDs), but is ideal for 3rd and 4th generation night vision technology.

Aimpoint Micro T1Aimpoint’s unique coating on the front lens reflects the dot’s selected frequency of red light at near 100% efficiency to give the highest possible dot brightness with the least amount of energy while other wavelengths in the visible and near-infrared part of the spectrum pass with a minimum of reduction. This provides the clearest, brightest image possible when used with a 3rd generation Night Vision Device (NVD).  With 4 NVD-compatible brightness settings and 8 daylight settings including one extra-bright setting, the Micro T-1 is ready for round the clock use.


Aimpoint Micro T1Technical Information –

  • Length – 2.4”
  • Width/height sight only – 1.6” x 1.4”
  • Width/height including mount – 2.4”x 1.6”
  • Weight sight only – 3oz
  • Weight sight with integrated mount – 3.7oz
  • Dot intensity settings – 1 off, 4 NV, 8 daylight
  • Battery – CR2032 3V
  • Battery Life, continuous use – 50,000 hrs (over 5 years)
  • Material housing – Extruded high strength aluminum
  • Surface finish – Hard anodized, matte
  • Color housing – Black
  • Adjustment 1 click – 1/2” at 100yds
  • Operating temperature range – minus50° – +160° F
  • Water resistance – submersible to 80ft.

Additional Features:

  • Unlimited field of view
  • Parallax-free and unlimited eye relief
  • Unaffected by extreme weather conditions
  • Rugged, durable construction
  • No hazardous materials
  • No laser emission that could be harmful to your eyes
  • Mechanical switch for speed and reliability
  • Field of View: Unlimited
  • Eye Relief: Unlimited
  • Magnification Range: 1x

If you want a solid CQB optic that will take whatever field conditions you can throw at it…
If you want an optic that is crystal clear and bright…
If you want proven quality…

Aimpoint Micro T-1 is the optic for you!

A solid “buy” recommendation!



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No reproduction or other use of this content 
without expressed written permission from
See Content Use Policy for more information.