Tag Archives: gear

AR 15 Armoring. Replacing a bolt catch.

The AR Platform  is probably THE most modular of long gun’s out there. There seems to be no end of parts, upgrades and do-dads available for it.

While there are MANY people out there with the armoring know how to replace their own parts or upgrade/repair their AR’s, there are others who are a little hesitant to take punches to their “baby” and get to work.

This post is to show how easily one can replace the bolt catch on their AR…it’s nothing to be scared of.

Today my Seekins Precision Enhanced Bolt Catch arrived. It offers a larger “paddle” for bolt manipulations, has a textured pattern for positive control and…yes…I thought it looked cool. IMO, if it works as well (or better) than OEM then I have no problem with making a choice based on appearance.

Anyway. First thing you should do is get your work-space prepared.


For this job all you need is two 3/32″ punches, a hammer and some tape.


After securing your lower in whatever block/vice you have, I suggest a layer or two of non-marring tape around the area you are working on to protect the surface from any scratches.


Using a 3/32″ punch and hammer, slowly tap the roll pin securing the bolt catch out.


Since this is a replacement job I recommend not driving the roll pin all the way out. Just tap it till the old bolt catch can be removed. Be sure to retain the bolt catch spring and plunger for re-installation.


Now it’s “in with the new”. Push the spring back into the receiver, followed by the plunger.


Now, temporarily secure the new catch by pushing a second 3/32″ punch through the flange on the lower receiver and the hole in the catch.


Then all you have to do is simply reverse the process by tapping the roll pin back into place.


Viola! That’s all there is to it.




Tanks on American Streets

One of the “Police Militarization” tropes circulating around is the “OMG! LOOK! Cops are using TANKS on American streets!”. Some of the more militarily knowledgeable people may couch it as “Police are using weapons of war/military equipment/etc…” but the implications are the same.

What I think… is many folks are ignorant about what these vehicles are and what they are used for. Either that, or they are willfully ignoring what these trucks truly are.

First of all, lets be clear that American Law Enforcement has been using “military style weapons” and armored vehicles for YEARS.






Just like back in the Prohibition days, when the “Mob” was running the streets with Tommy Guns, your Police Officers are expected to deal with situations like this:

All an Armored Truck does is protect people from bullets.

That being said. There seems to be a lot of confusion between MRAPS and other Armored Vehicles.


An MRAP is a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle. Used by the military, its really just a large truck with armor plating. It’s not a “Tank”, it isn’t built with any integral weapons. Weapons can be mounted on it, but weapons can be mounted on a pick-up truck too.

When the military decides it doesn’t need them any longer it has been offering them to LE vs scrapping them or putting them in a field somewhere to rust.

Another vehicle commonly used by American LE is the “Bearcat”, made by Lenco Armored Vehicles. The Bearcat is specifically made for LE and is purchased by an Agency outright or with the assistance of grant funds.


They are not the same vehicles, but I see Bearcats called “military vehicles” or MRAP’s all the time. IMO, the current “issue” with armored vehicles appears to be more about MRAPS being former “military Vehicles” than it is about what they are in essence, a vehicle that allows police to drive up to or through an area they know or suspect will have a high probability of weapons fire.

The appeal of the MRAP to LE is that, unlike having to come up with the 200+K for a BEARCAT, the government provides an armored vehicle, free of charge, to the municipality receiving it.


Armored cars routinely travel our roads to protect cash. Police armored vehicles protect people. My personal opinion is that the MRAP issue is more about how the vehicle “looks”…combined with peoples political leanings…I think that if we drove around in a Brinks Truck nobody would complain.

I even recently read some articles stating that “being a cop is dangerous…you are expected to accept risk to your life”…the implication being “we don’t think you should have armored vehicles so just accept the risk of getting shot”.

Just this year some officers near me had their squad cars shot up by rifle fire responding to a domestic. One was injured by glass. The SWAT Team that responded to the resulting armed barricade was also shot up. But because they were in a BEARCAT they were able to operate in the area and apprehend the guy.

So they should just accept the risk of having been shot there because some folks think having an armored vehicle is “militarization”? To be blunt…go @#$% yourself if that’s your opinion.

Yes, as a Cop, yes… I accept risking my life to protect others. I don’t accept risking my life over your politics or your tin hat fears that we are going to use these trucks to take your weapons and round you up for some FEMA camp.

If the real issue is that your local cops are using their equipment when it’s not necessary, you should be dealing with the decision makers at you local PD. Don’t put people at risk over hyped up fears about equipment.


took this image using my mobile on 20 Septembe...
Image via Wikipedia

There is an entry in the Bushidoshoshinshu titled “Weapons”:

Every samurai who is in service must have a supply of weapons suitable to his means. Every feudal house has its military regulations, and the proper banners and flags and helmet insignia, spear mounts, sleeve crests, and marks on the baggage animals as ordered by the lord must be carefully provided in a uniform manner. For if they have to be improvised in a hurry it will be an obvious sign of carelessness and will provoke contempt. Men who from neglect of these insignia have been attacked by their own side and killed and suffered loss are not unknown in military history, so there must be no want of precaution in these things. And some may think that their servants are not likely to have to cut anybody down and so may replace the blades of their swords with wood or bamboo, and neglect to provide them with a loincloth because they think they will not need to gird up their clothes, and find themselves in difficulties owing to their want of foresight. And a samurai who is a cavalier and who receives a considerable stipend and who does not know when he may have to take the field, however peaceful the time may appear to be, is a hundred percent more culpable if he does not provide himself with the proper weapons than the young serving man with a wooden sword or no loincloth. So from fear of being put to public shame he ought to equip himself properly. And here is a piece of advice on the subject. When a small retainer wishes to fit himself out with armor and has, let us say, three pieces of gold to get a suit, the best thing he can do will be to spend two-thirds of it on the body armor and helmet, leaving the remainder to provide all the other things he will need such as underclothes, breeches, coat, under-hakama, upper girdle, surcoat, whip, fan, wallet, cloak, water-bottle, cup, etc., so that he will have every accessory he needs as well as his suit of armor. Then, though he may be young and very strong, it is better to avoid heavy suits of thick iron armor and weighty banners and standards, for the very good reason that, though they may be tolerable while he is young and vigorous, as he grows older they will become too much for him. And even a young man may fall ill or be wounded, and then the lightest iron armor will be a heavy burden and a hindrance. And if a young man gets known for the weight of his banners and standards he will find it difficult to give them up when he becomes older and less able to support them.

I find it an interesting parallel to modern soldiers and law enforcement officers who will spend tons of money on the latest flat-screen or video console but will scrimp on buying a quality holster or flashlight.


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product evaluation: VG6 Gamma 556 Tactical Muzzle Brake

An “internet friend of mine” who works for Precision Delivery Systems (Firearms parts and accessories) sent me the VG6 Gamma 556 Tactical Muzzle Brake for little “sneak preview” evaluation.

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The Brake came professionally packaged and included a crush washer. The machining and finish were all  top notch. Taking my first look at the device I identified it as a hybrid Brake/Comp affair with some fairly standard brake vents on the sides and compensator slots at 12 o’clock.

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Although the instructions suggest a gunsmith install, installation was fairly easy. I only had one snag and that was with the timing of the device with the crush washer supplied. After hand tightening to the washer I put 360 degrees of turn on it and the washer still wasn’t crushed entirely. Rather than pushing my luck (or eating time sanding down the washer), I backed off and tried a different crush washer I had laying about. With that washer a 360 degree turn resulted in full crush and 12 o’clock timing of the comp slots.

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I’ve had my rifle out with it a few times since I installed it, but it took me till today to finally got around to getting some film.

Don’t let my shooting ability be your gauge for this brakes effectiveness ;). I’m happy with my results at 10 yds on a 2″ target (those would all be head shots on a standard silhouette) but I’m wagering that a better shooter than me could really show some impressive results. The recoil and rise with this thing on are almost nill. While the angle isn’t the greatest for comparison, the following video was shot with a standard A2 birdcage. You can see a bit of difference in how the rifle handled between the two.

I know that the standard line regarding brakes is that the noise/blast to the sides can make you a bad neighbor on the firing line, and there is some additional blast compared to the A2. But from behind the gun I feel almost no difference at all.

If you are in the market for a brake/comp the VG6 is definitely worth your while taking a look at.

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re-purposed go bag

I recently acquired a 5.11 Tactical Active Shooter Bail Out Bag at a Tactical Officers Conference (gotta LOVE conference SWAG and this was a good one). 5.11’s description of the bag is:

Designed for the Active Shooter Response Teams, the 5.11 Bail Out Bag features tough 1050D nylon body fabric construction that delivers extreme versatility. While staying close to the body, the Bail Out Bag provides users with easy access to all its compartments while still being compact enough to deploy from a vehicle. The Front Mag pockets hold up to 6 AR magazines with the side utility pocket designed with web platforms. You can rest assured that the 5.11 Bail Out Bag will have all the room you need for easy deployment.

While I’m not in a job position where I would be deploying an active shooter bag, I recently packed it as a range bag for a day of training:

I managed to pack the following stuff into this bag:

  • 7- Ar magazines. The exterior pockets are designed to hold 2 mags apiece, but you can manage 3 in a pinch.
  • Shot Timer
  • Bottles of Oil and Solvent
  • Ear Muffs (inside)
  • 2 Cleaning kit bags
  • Zip Lock bag w/bore snake and 2 cleaning cloths
  • staple gun
  • 100 rnds .40 S&W
  • 150 rnds .223
  • A second pair of muffs and gloves clipped to the shoulder strap

 So far, so good. It looks like this bag has found a new purpose.

EDC-Every Day Carry

Everyday Carry, or EDC, refers to the small items or gadgets worn, carried, or made easily available. Its the stuff you habitually have on or about you on a daily basis.

It’s becoming popular in the various trade and gun-porn rags to photograph your accouterments…I wasn’t really going to do a blog post on it, but just the other day I saw all my “stuff” on deck awaiting application and decided to take a photo of it.

The only things missing that I generally have on me at all times are my wallet, watch and the Surefire G2 that rides in my fleece/shell/jacket pocket.

And yes that is a Fobus holster..refer to the following post before educating me about it.



TacStrike Steel Target

A few months ago I decided to upgrade my range toys with a stationary steel target. What I wanted was something I could leave out permanently..at least over the summer/fall..instead of having to hump a plate steel gong downrange every-time I go out shooting.

After a little research I went with a 12″ x 12″ 3/4″ thick AR450 plate from TacStrike. It was in my budget range and was advertised as a “leave it out” target…exactly what I was looking for.

It took a few weeks to get it, but Rob at TacStrike was upfront with his production timeline and kept in contact with me via e-mail to assure me my item was on the way. On arrival my target looked like this:

This bad boy is HEAVY and is designed to be driven into the ground. I wanted to have the target closer to COM height so I drilled some holes in the angle iron stake and bolted it to a piece of 4″ X 4″ fence post:

Last Friday I finally had an opportunity to take it out to the range. I drove a steel fence post spike into the ground at an angle and mounted the post. I then had at it from about 75 yards:

Firing 55 gr Hornady FMJBT over 26.3 gr of W748, this target simply DESTROYED the projectiles, and because of the target angle (a little steeper than I really wanted…but Oh Well) all of the debris went right to the foot of the post:

If there’s any “wish” about this target I would make, it’s that I wish it would “ring” a bit louder. The rounds are so completely pulverized that many of them just make a flat “THWACK!!!” when they hit. But I believe that’s simply a fact of physics vs anything to do with the target.

All in all I’m very happy with this item. I only wish I had more ammo to burn. If you are looking for some steel give the folks over at TacStrike a look.

pinned ya!

As anyone familiar with the AR platform knows, the rifle is composed of two units known as the upper and lower receivers. These components are held together by two pins known as the pivot pin, which is the pin closest to the muzzle, and the takedown pin, which is the one nearest the buttstock . These pins are held open and closed by sets of pins and springs and are designed so as to easily and quickly separate the receivers for cleaning and maintenance.

On my AR I noticed that the takedown pin was not “snapping” closed. When pushed out, the detent pin was positively securing the pin in the open position but not doing so in the closed position. I started to find that it was working out during long strings of fire. Not good.

I tried drilling the detent on the pin in a little deeper (and marred it a bit in the process) to see if it would help…no dice.

Now this could be for a few reasons. Maybe my lower receiver was out of spec and the detent/spring opening wasn’t drilled in the right spot. Or perhaps the takedown pin was manufactured out of spec.

My options were; buy a new lower,  but that seemed foolish as it works fine otherwise, get a replacement pin and gamble that it was the pin’s fault, maybe put in an Accu-wedge and see if the added pressure between receivers would be enough to hold the pin in place or maybe try out one of the various locking pins on the market.

I went with the KNS Precision Push Button Takedown Pin. Made of steel with a black oxide finish, the pin is designed so that when the button is pushed the small “keeper pins” on the end can retract for insertion. When the button is released, the small keeper pins hold the pin in place.


I did my research and a number of users complain that this pin has a couple of drawbacks. One..it’s not “captive”, which means that the pin has to be entirely removed. The original pin was retained by the detent pin/spring and couldn’t be entirely removed from the receiver and possibly lost.

Another complaint was that it was a two hand process to remove the pin. To get it out you have to press on both sides of the pin at the same time. One finger has to push the button to release the keeper pins while the other has to press on the opposite side simultaneously to push the pin out. I did it smoothly the first time. Sure..it’s not as easy as the original, but I din’t think it was a big hassle.

So…problem solved. I think it was the ideal solution for my issue and it looks kind of cool.

first aid gear

I’m in the process of setting up a new vest/plate carrier and part of it includes assembling a “blow out” or first aid kit. One of the first components I have received is an “Israeli Bandage”.

Developed by a former IDF combat medic named Bernard Nar-Natan, and brought to the market in 1998, these bandages are a leap from the old fabric bandages the Army issued to soldiers back when I went through basic training.

on my holiday wish list…

I may very well be getting one of these after the holiday’s when I get one of my checks from work.

The folks over at TacStrike make some nice steel target systems. I’ve been itching to put up some permanent targets instead of hauling them in and out every time I go shooting.

Maybe you will catch some video of me shooting one up of these soon.