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Developmental Drill: Consistency Drills (Pistol & Carbine)

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Testimonials

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Vortex UH-1 Razor Holographic Optic: Built Tough

Introduced at SHOT in 2017, the UH-1 Razor is Vortex’s premier reflex optic and first model using holographic sight technology. Its robust build and overall design play a fitting tribute to its UH-1 “Huey” namesake that was the US Army’s workhorse in Vietnam.

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UH-1 ERB-CQB Reticle

Designed with the tactical consumer in mind, the Razor features an ERB-CQB Holographic Reticle using FHQ Technology that minimizes stray light emissions from the optic. The Razor’s exterior utilizes a matte black, aircraft-grade aluminum housing to minimize reflectivity. The high-quality optical glass is coated in ArmorTek to increase scratch resistance, then sealed in an anti-reflective coating. The interior of the optic is sealed with Argon gas to maximize performance of the overall system and minimize parallax. The Razor also comes with a built-in picatinny quick disconnect mount and throw lever for ease in mounting.

The power source for the Razor is a lithium CR123A battery (with an average 1500hr run time in the UH-1). Alternatively, the optic can also use an LFP123A rechargeable battery that can be recharged using a micro USB cable connected directly into the side of the Razor’s housing. The UH-1 has 15 different brightness settings, and the reticle will pulse when 25 hours of run time remain (but that feature can be cancelled). To prevent potential power drain, the optic has an auto shutoff feature that power downs the Razor after 14 hours of inactivity (but again that feature can be deactivated if desired).

Vortex also backs up its optic line by offering a transferable lifetime warranty that supports the optic, regardless if the owner is the original purchaser or not.

Specifications for the Vortex UH-1 Razor:

  • Power: 1x
  • Objective: 35mm
  • Elevation Adjustment: 0.5 MOA per click
  • Windage Adjustment: 0.5 MOA per click
  • Reticle: Red ERB-CQB; Red 65-MOA Segmented Circle; 1-MOA Red Dot
  • Length: 3.6”
  • Width: 2.05”
  • Height: 2.5”
  • Weight: 11.08 oz.
  • Eye Relief: Unlimited

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostAverage (3/5): At $649.99 the UH-1 is a bit of an enigma. In comparison to the current market of holographic optics; EOTech, Leupold, Holosun, Sig, and yes…even Sightmark, holographic technology is only new for Vortex and not the greater market. The price point for the UH-1 at the time of this writing places it in the upper tier of the red dot market, and in the reviewer’s opinion out of consideration to most civilian consumers. Even in comparison, the price of the UH-1 places it on par with high-end EOTech XPS models that are specifically marketed to the military. With luck, in the future Vortex will offer something comparable at a more reasonable price range now that it has adopted the holographic technology into its optic line.
  • ComfortGood (4/5): The Razor mounts easily via its integrated mount, and the field of view looking through the optic is one of the largest on the market (though as a rectangle). This translates to rapid target acquisition when transitioning between multiple targets. The Razor’s red ERB-CQB holographic reticle shows up bright in full sun, but somewhat broken. In comparison, in low-light or indoor settings the reticle is bright and clear, a difference likely attributed to the volume of ambient light entering the optic.
  • DurabilityExcellent (5/5): The Razor’s aircraft-grade aluminum housing, and sealed internals makes it an extremely robust and durable optic. Some surface marring was attained during normal range stages and stressor drills, but none of these penetrated the hardened exterior coating. This supports the conclusion that the Razor is more an optic designed for customers within the Department of Defense and not civilians.
  • FunctionalityGood (4/5): The speed in which I was able to acquire the target with respect to the Razor’s ERB-CQB reticle was notable. In essence, lining up a 10-ring circular target within the circular design of the reticle made for quick follow-up shots that were easily center mass. This is a clear advantage over red dot optics like Aimpoint that feature only a single dot as the point of aim. Zeroing the optic was easily achieved and the audible/tangible adjustment dials provided easy movement of the reticle.
  • WeightFair (2/5): At an overall weight of 11.08 oz. the Razor is 0.06 oz. heavier than an EOTech XPS, and 0.03 oz. heavier than a EOTech 512. The Razor is also 1.58 oz. heavier than a Leupold Carbine Optic, but in comparison to Holosun or other holographic optics, the Razor is more than three ounces heavier. This weight is directly attributable to the military grade, heavy-duty design and durability of the UH-1.

Overall Rating – Above Average (18/25)

Product Link: https://vortexoptics.com/red-dots/razor-amg-reddot/vortex-razor-amg-uh-1-red-dot.html

IMG_2889I am reviewing this product as a courtesy to the manufacturer and via STL Shooting Enthusiasts, so that I can evaluate it and provide my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give positive reviews. All views are my own, and based off my personal experience with the product.

The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the author. The views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

SB Tactical PDW Brace: Stability and Strength

Released in mid-2017, and in conjunction with Maxim Defense, the SBPDW by SB Tactical gives the AR pistol a compact brace in a solid metal frame. Its three-position adjustability and QD sling mounting point add to the brace’s use and overall functionality for all shooters.

The SBPDW is among the many AR platform pistol braces offered by SB Tactical, intending to give shooters a stable extension for forearm support or in a collapsed configuration. The 1” hook-and-loop support strap aids the SBPDW in maintaining a solid connection to the arm.

The ready-to-install brace is compatible with mil-spec bolt carrier groups, carbine buffer tubes, and includes a proprietary buffer tube, castle nut, and end plate for direct assembly to the lower receiver.

With its three-position setting (at lengths of 6.75″, 8.125″, 9.375″) the SBPDW allows for the shooter to the most comfortable length for their arm, and grip. Understanding these measurements can become impetrative when determining the overall length of an AR build to meet ATF regulations on AR pistols. At the six o’clock position just below the adjustable brace is a QD attachment point for single or two-point slings.

Given the design of the SBPDW to collapse along the two guide rods, the angled polymer brace itself has a wide base for added comfort and accommodating variance in body dimensions.

Consumers should take note: The SBPDW is not compatible with Freedom Ordnance FX-9 lowers or SIG M400/516 lowers with integral QD sockets.

The SBPDW is available in FDE (featured), Black, and OD Green.

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostFair (2/5): Coming in at $299 MSRP, the PDW is one of the higher AR pistol braces on the available market, but not nearly the most expensive PDW-type out there. This is directly related to its materials, being dominantly solid metal receiver mount and body, with a polymer support brace for comfort. This gives the overall product some of the most robust durability available, but also has other effects (to be discussed later). The closest comparator would be the Maxim PDW Brace ($359-$499.99) which shares a number of similar design aspects with the SB Tactical variant, Strike Industries Viper PDW Pistol Stabilizer ($264.95), or Troy’s PDW Stock kit ($499) which necessitates an included BCG and buffer spring. Overall the materials and price give SB Tactical’s PDW brace a fair cost, being far more expensive that most traditional AR braces, but not nearly as expensive as other PDW-type braces.
  • Comfort Good (4/5): In many aspects, the PDW has the same good comfort aspects as the SBA4 or other forearm stabilization devices for the AR. The sides of the PDW were very rigid and its ensuring metal frame gave support to the forearm rather well. This prevented the AR pistol from canting, while the support strap kept the overall brace secured despite the weight of the firearm (and weight of the brace as well) held out at full extension to the body. Indeed, users with thicker forearms may find it more difficult to get a deeper position within the brace at first, until the rubber has had time to adequately break in. There is notably less material than the SBA4 for the purposes of a potential cheek weld, but still sufficient for use in a collapsed configuration. The nylon support strap was slightly elastic which made getting a positive/tight bond somewhat difficult, but not unattainable. Internet research showed a number of aftermarket replacement straps to most SB Tactical braces, including the PDW and the recommendation to the manufacturer would perhaps examine improving or offering alternate straps for improved comfort and function.
  • Durability – Good (4/5): The PDW was made with dominantly a solid metal frame and a forearm brace that was adjusted along two locking metal support rods. The forearm brace itself was made from a rubberized ABS material that gave the brace sufficient flex and softness to contour around the arm as well as for a cheek weld. Over time and despite regular use, the PDW’s support sides did not collapse nor overlap, a problem that was a common concern for the SBA3, and rather the PDW’s sides were molded to form and maintain a slight wedge shape when not in use, rather than an enclosed loop. It is most likely that over time, the element of the PDW that will wear out first will be the hook-and-loop material to the 1” support strap (another reason there are aftermarket straps available). While the release tab for the locking mechanism to the support rods did feel small and somewhat frail, it is still a solid metal feature that will still last a long time.
  • Functionality Good (4/5): From a functional aspect the PDW was a little tricky to don on the forearm, it being necessary to fully loosen the support strap and push the arm through the sides before re-threading the strap back through. This was the same process similar to securing other SB Tactical Braces, and one that can be slightly difficult one-handed. It would be preferred if there was a way to fully open the strap and then loop/secure it without necessitating threading it through small loops for speed and function. Adjusting the position of the guide rods was very simple given its tab, and the locking mechanism gave the brace a solid lock. The included buffer tube and castle nut were of a similar material as other assemblies and installed without the need for staking. The ambidextrous QD mounting point was full metal and accommodated a variety of mounting accessories. The feel of the QD point (under the PDW assembly) gave the sling an out-of-the-way feel as it dropped directly down as opposed to the more traditional off-side. Perhaps the only negative aspect to the function of the PDW was its limited adjustability, with only three different positions to select for sizing, it was basically a Small/Medium/Large design. It may be of suitability for SB Tactical to consider a ratcheting system in future PDW designs, or to simply add more adjustability.
  • Weight Average (3/5): Tipping the scales in at 18.14 oz, the PDW is the heaviest AR pistol brace within the SB Tactical line and one of the heavier overall. This has the added aspect in that the weight and solid metal design will help absorb the recoil impulse of the AR pistol (to some extent). However, it also has the negative aspect in adding weight to the AR pistol that was otherwise unnecessary if wanting a simple AR pistol brace. In comparison, Maxim PDW Brace (18.59 ounces), Strike Industries Viper PDW Pistol Stabilizer (20.8 ounces), or Troy’s PDW Stock kit (36.72 ounces) all demonstrate the full scale of weight in PDW-style braces/kits on the market. It also shows SB Tactical’s PDW falls within the lowest end of those designs, but still among the heavier on the overall market in comparison to other more traditional braces, such as the SBA4, giving it an appropriate (or average) scoring.

Overall Rating – Above Average (17/25)

Product Link: https://www.sb-tactical.com/product/sbpdw/

IMG_2889_TackenbergI am reviewing this product as a courtesy to the manufacturer and via STL Shooting Enthusiasts, so that I can evaluate it and provide my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give positive reviews. All views are my own, and based off my personal experience with the product.

The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the author. The views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

 

Sentry Gunnar Belt: Low-Profile Flexability

Designed to give shooters a range belt that is adaptable and durable, the Gunnar™ Low-Profile Operator Belt by SENTRY offers a variety of configurations from competitive to professional use. When paired with SENTRY’s complete line of rifle, pistol, or medical pouches the results are a range belt for any environment.

 

Introduced in 2019, The SENTRY Gunnar™ belt is a two-part range belt that includes the inner and outer belt system (sold separately). Included in this review, but also sold separately, are two rifle magazine pouches, one pistol pouch, one shotgun pouch, and a tourniquet pouch. As with all SENTRY pouches, each is anchored to the Gunnar belt using Fight Light Malice Clips.

 

The Gunnar™ Low-Profile Operator Belt

Made from 1.75” high strength nylon webbing MIL-W4088 the Gunnar belt uses SENTRY’s high-strength laminate on the exterior to provide a MOLLE-style mounting system. This laminate in bartacked in 1” spacing and reinforced to provide maximum strength and durability. The belt uses an AustriAlpin Cobra™ Buckle and nylon belt to provide maximum security to the wearer. The interior of the Gunnar belt is lined with (female) hook-and-loop to match it to the corresponding Inner Belt.

 

The Gunnar™ Inner Belt

The Inner Belt is made in corresponding 1.75” high strength nylon webbing MIL-W17337 that doubles as an Every Day Carry belt. The inner belt is worn through the corresponding belt loops, and the cinch buckle with hook-and-loop provides easy adjustment. The outer side of the belt is lined with hook to marry up against the corresponding inner loop material of the Gunnar Belt. This gives the entire belt system a solid platform with no excessive movement.

 

SENTRY Magazine Pouches

Each SENTRY magazine pouch features multiple layers of fully laminated 1000D / 500D, high strength nylon for extended durability. They also include laser cut edging to prevent the material from fraying over time and with high use. SENTRY’s magazine pouch design eliminates seam tape giving you a slimmer profile on your battle belt or vest. On some variants, the exterior features SENTRY’s proprietary 1080-2 mounting system to provide a secure attachment point to stack or nest additional magazines pouches in any configuration. All magazine pouches feature shock cord retention with nylon pull-tabs; however, the stacked pistol and double rifle pouches use a fold-over flap secured via hook-and-loop.

 

SENTRY Tourniquet Pouch

There are three different kinds of tourniquet pouches (sold separately) offered by SENTRY. The first is a zippered tourniquet pouch that allows simple storage of a tourniquet and a few smaller medical items. The second is a Pop-Up tourniquet pouch (featured) that incorporates SENTRY’s innovative captured deployment system. By combining a hook and loop band with an internal Velcro strip it keeps the tourniquet presented on the Pop-Up tab. The third variant is Slim-Line tourniquet pouch which only fits a tourniquet.

 

Specifications:

  • Small ……..29” – 34”
  • Medium …34” – 39”
  • Large ……..37” – 42”
  • XLarge ……41” – 46”
  • 2XLarge ….45” – 50”

The Gunnar™ Low-Profile Operator Belt comes in Coyote (featured), Black, and Multicam. SENTRY notes sizing instructions on its website that individuals should not use their pant size when ordering a belt, but rather directly measure their waist of off of an existing belt and use those numbers to order appropriately.

 

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostGood (4/5): Featured in this review were a variety of SENTRY items necessary for a full range belt. The Gunnar Belt ($119.00), Inner Belt ($27.99), Single Pistol ($22.99), Single Rifle ($24.99), Shotgun ($36.99), and Pop-Up Tourniquet ($32.99) all are directly comparable to similar products from G-Code Holsters, but below market price for similar products from HSGI or Bravo Concealment. This places the SENTRY products in a good price for the current market available.
  • Comfort Average (3/5): The sizing of the Gunnar™ Low-Profile Operator Belt was very comfortable and fully adjustable at the Cobra Belt Buckle to accommodate the variety of configurations used. The MOLLE-style mounting system allowed for fully customized and comfortable arrangement of pouches and holster (not included). Unfortunately, the sizing of the inner belt ran a little on the small side, and not specifically to the length itself but the amount of available hook-and-loop to use it as an EDC belt. The waist measurement utilized during this review was for a 38” waist on a MEDIUM sized inner belt, which worked well as a stand-alone belt. But it was at the maximum length of available hook-and-loop for adjustment. If you were to add in an IWB or appendix holster, knife, or other accessory you’d exceed that limit and thus negate its ability as an EDC belt. It would be recommended to SENTRY that while keeping the sizing length, extend the hook-and-loop field of adjustment for the inner belt to accommodate it as a true EDC belt.
  • Durability – Good (4/5): The SENTRY Gunnar™ belt and associated pouches were all made from the same nylon/nylon laminate 1000D / 500D material that, combined with the Cobra belt buckle, gave the total system its increased durability. Extensive bartack stitching throughout the length of the MOLLE-style webbing ensured each pouch was well secured. It was an added bonus that SENTRY cuts down on the volume of seam tape stitching as this helped to alleviate bulk, and some excess weight in the pouches. Perhaps the biggest detriment to the overall durability of the Gunnar™ belt will be the choice of MALICE clips and shock cordage, although even that will likely be more a long-term concern as the plastic ages, or the securing tab or elastic bands wear.
  • Functionality Average (3/5): Taking the total functionality of the Gunnar™ belt system (inner/outer belts and associated pouches, materials and hardware) the functionality of the system is average in comparison to other market alternatives. Other brands, such as from G-Code are comparable in design and cost, while others are offering basically the same product type at slightly above SENTRY’s price point. It was nice to see the option of functionally mounting pistol magazines horizontal or vertical as often many vendors stay within the standard vertical configuration. The low-profile aspect of the overall system was enjoyable as the market has moved away from legacy thick “battle belts” as consumers try to blend both tactical and IMG_8322practical applications. All pouches maintained positive control of the magazines, ammunition, or medical items despite multiple stressors (sprints and lunges). Because of how the MOLLE-style webbing is spaced, in conjunction to the width of the MALICE clips, there was a little wobble of the pouches once mounted on the belt, something I think SENTRY could eliminate by looking at newer mounting systems, such as First Spear’s 6/12 mounting system, that would improve the overall product. It would have been preferred if the outer Gunnar™ belt held more rigidity to it (by perhaps adding a polymer core or other method similar to other vendors) so as to maintain its support, but that would have added some additional weight to the overall belt.
  • Weight Good (4/5): In its evaluated configuration (Gunnar™ inner/outer belts, two rifle and one pistol magazine pouch, and a tourniquet pouch) the overall system weighed just an amazingly 1.8 pounds. This makes the Gunnar™ one of the lightest complete range belt systems on the current market thanks to its chosen design and weight-limiting nylon laminate. If SENTRY does revise the Gunnar™ system, then it could do so by addressing the noted items in comfort and functionality without sacrificing the belt’s lightweight aspect to a significant degree (and still keep it comparable to other market alternatives).

Overall Rating – Above Average (18/25)

Product Link: https://hexmagstore.com/tactical-gear/

IMG_2889I am reviewing this product as a courtesy to the manufacturer and via STL Shooting Enthusiasts, so that I can evaluate it and provide my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give positive reviews. All views are my own, and based off my personal experience with the product.

The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the author. The views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

 

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