Monday, October 26, 2009

Review: OTB Fer de Lance Boots

© 2009 Albert A Rasch
Fer de Lance Tactical Land Boots
by OTB (Over the Beach) Boots

About six months ago I slipped on a pair of OTB Fer de Lance boots. Designed for military operators that go in and out of wet environments, I thought they would be perfect for wild boar hunters that do the same in the Florida swamps. I wanted to put them through their paces and see how they would hold up to my abuse before I wrote about them. If they managed to do moderately well while hunting these swamps and hummocks, they would do well anywhere else as well.

OTB specializes in aquatic shoes that serve several operational parameters. OTB was approached by the U.S. Navy SEALs to design a boot totally different from all others with operations in and around water in mind. They need to drain quickly, stick to the ground, support the foot and ankle, and allow some tactile sensation. In other words, pretty much be a protective extension of the foot.

The Fer de Lance is a taller (approx 9") combat boot suitable for uniform wear if you are in the military. There are multiple mesh ports all over the boot which is to allow for water drainage. The Fer de Lance boot is light, weighing in at slightly less than three pounds (3 lbs). I'm used to wearing steel tipped construction boots or Vibram Lug soled hiking boots. Neither of which are designed for the flat, swampy, and wet terrain of Florida. These felt very light to me in comparison.

The Fer de Lance fit is roomy without being too oversized, with any extra room taken up by tightening the laces for a snug but not constrictive fit. The upper is relatively stiff, made of tan cow suede. It provides substantial lateral support, and protects the ankle from twisting. The vents are made of Cordura material instead of mesh. It’s tough and allows water to drain and improves breathability. Every day is a hot day in Florida and so far I haven’t had any issues with my feet getting hot or sweaty. The padding throughout the boot does not retain water, an important consideration.

The heel cup and toes on both boots are covered in a layer of Vibram rubber reinforcement material, these protect against scuffs and scrapes, while adding some resiliency in those areas. Very helpful when sticking your toes in cracks to climb walls, and it helps keep the boot from being split open or worn through at the toe.

The outsoles are compression molded EVA/rubber also from Vibram. They're very quiet and I've found them to provide good traction on both wet and dry asphalt, cement, dirt, mud, and grass environments.

I pulled the insole, so I could see the stiff grey and white insole board. Surprisingly it is molded in the contour of the foot (it's not flat!); that probably is why the boot feels so comfortable. The board is made of extruded polypropylene, in one piece. This particular design is used by sport shoe manufacturers. Football and baseball players put a lot of torque, twist, and flex in their footwear and need the support, which are the same need a soldier has and needs in his boots.

The insole has a dual-density design, with a dark grey Drilex textile top surface. It's made of polyurethane foam with “high rebound properties.” In other words, it does not break down and compress as quickly as EVA. EVA is used in most running shoes, and we have all experienced the compressed insoles on them. Slightly firmer pads (the red areas in the picture above) are used near the balls of the feet and heel area to further lengthen the life of the footbed. The Drilex top wicks moisture and is antibacterial.

Though I don't run very much anymore, preferring lo impact bicycling to maintain cardiovascular fitness, I did jog a bit, and did a few sprints. Neither caused me any discomfort or damage.

One detail I really like is the speed lacing tunnels combined with the 'sausage' laces - they're easy to adjust and cinch up. Seriously, those laces rock!

Let's go over the highlights again.

High traction non-squeak Vibram outsoles provides the best traction and cushion in a boot.
Stain resistant cow suede uppers.
Cordura ventilation ports throughout the boot for improved breathability.
The lace loops are reinforced so as to not break.
Variable sausage laces will not come untied.
The toes and heel are reinforced to help when scaling walls and protection.
Dual density Ortholite cushioned footbed with Dri-lex lining for increased wicking and foot comfort.
Weight 2.95 lbs

In summary, the Fer de Lance boots are comfortable, ventilated, light weight boots suitable for mid to high temperatures in wet or dry environments. They have been holding up very well to almost daily use, and though a little dirty, they seem to be unphased by my day to day activities.

Of course, I wore TROC tested and approved Darn Tough Vermont Boot Socks with the Fer de Lance. As usual the socks performed flawlessly without chafing, constrictions, or droopiness. They really are Darn Tough to beat!

OTB Footwear
18 Cliff Ave
Scituate, MA 02066

Fer de Lance Boots

MSRP: $149.95

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

DEFCOM XL 79 Composite Grenade Launcher

© 2009 Albert A Rasch and
The Range Reviews: Tactical
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Thanks to Steve at The Firearm Blog I have learned of a new 40mm grenade launcher, the DEFCOM XL 79 COMPOSITE.

"The DEFCOM XL 79 COMPOSITE is essentially a M79 that has been brought into the 21st century. It weighs 1.41 kg, about half of the original metal-and-wood M79.

defcom 40mm launcher xl 79 m79 tfb Defcom new lighweight polymer grenade launchers photo

The Defcom M79 type product improved grenade launcher receiver, barrel shroud, stock, and front hand guard are manufactured from composite materials. Double action trigger with shotgun-type safety. Matte finish colors: black, desert sand, or woodland green. Top of barrel fitted with MIL_STD 1913 Picatinny rail system. Rear sight is a detachable flip-up scale graduated to 425 meters. Front sight is fixed. Fixed stock launcher has two (2) sling swivels, folding stock has a third swivel mounted on stock hinge. Ambidextrous safety and barrel latch. M16 style pistol grip."

Having had the opportunity to use the "Blooper" in the early Eighties, I appreciate the convenience of having a stand alone launcher, as opposed to the underbarrel M203. And at about 3 pounds, it would be a welcome addition to a soldier's payload.

Having said that, I would have to give thought to the appropriate tactical considerations of its use. Just because I loved the M79 back in the day, and I didn't mind the additional weight, does not mean that a single shot, break action grenade launcher is a good fit for today's combat environment. Though I am willing to bet the fellows at COP Keating would have loved to have their hands on a few of these bad boys a couple of Mondays ago...

Again a thanks to Steve at The Firearms Blog

The Range Reviews: Tactical

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Tactical Image Guys

© 2009 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
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Recently I was asked if my posts on the Ruger 10/22 magazine repair and maintenance tutorials could be used to create PDFs.

"Bear" Luallen of Tactical Image Guys specializes in the creation, design, and production of the M249 SAW Conversion Kit for the Ruger 10/22, and thought that it would be a great asset to his customers. I was more than happy to oblige!

M249 SAW Conversion Kit for the Ruger 10/22

The conversion kit is a well engineered accessory for those folks looking to have a little more fun with the 10/22, but Bear is currently working on far more serious stocks for our fighting men and law enforcement personnel. I'll have more details on those as production starts and the first ones come out for testing and use.

I would like to thank Bear and his team at Tactical Image Guys for thinking enough about my work to want to share it with their customers.

You can find all the tutorials in printable PDF form, Disassembling the Ruger 10/22, Cleaning the Ruger 10/22, Assembling the Ruger 10/22, and Disassembling and Cleaning the Ruger 10/22 Rotary Magazine, at Tactical Image Guys Hints and Tips.

Albert A Rasch
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
The Hunt Continues...

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bore Patch: A Soldier is being railroaded

I just snatched this from Bore patch's blog:

Bore Patch: A Soldier is being railroaded

By the Pentagon, no less.

1LT Michael Behenna was sentenced to 25 years for the murder of an Iraqi detainee he says attacked him. The Government's own expert witness filed an affidavit saying that he told the prosecutors that Behenna's story was the only explanation that fit the forensic evidence. I've read the affidavit, and it is damning of the Government's actions.

Behenna's attorneys were not informed of this testimony. He was convicted, and a motion for a new trial has been denied.

Please pass this on. Bloggers, please post a link to Lt Behenna's site.

Hat tip: A Large Regular.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Warrior Mind Training

"Rooted in the ancient Samurai code of self-discipline, Warrior Mind Training draws on the image of the mythic Japanese fighter, an elite swordsman who honed his battle skills along with his mental precision. The premise? Razor-sharp attention plus razor-sharp marksmanship equals fearsome warrior.

A new program has been ushered into the US military to help our soldiers become even better than they already are.

"Our mission is to mentally prepare our troops to go out and fight the war, whether that is in the mountains of Afghanistan, the streets of Baghdad or protecting our borders and assets at home. To take the war to the enemy, but leave the battle on the battlefield."

Taking lessons from the Samurai and there legendary mental acuity and concentration, Warrior Mind Training teaches the art of mental focus, calm, and clarity necessary on today's battlefield. It also teaches our soldiers how to better cope with the stresses of war, both during and after deployment.

I would suggest that anyone interested in an edge like no other, take a look at Warrior Mind Training.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Sniper: The Inside Scoop On The Ft. Dix Shower Scandal

© 2009 Albert A Rasch and
The Range Reviews: Tactical.
Fort Dix Nude Picture in the Shower Scandal

From the usual culprits: Lack of leadership and discipline.

The Sniper: The Inside Scoop On The Ft. Dix Shower Scandal

More to follow.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Sawfly-TX Tactical Eyewear by Revision

© 2009 Albert A Rasch

"The Revision Sawfly-TX: Proven to be the top performing impact eyewear system available. Designed for fit, function, and comfort, this unmatched level of protection is specifically designed for the military. The curved lens provides an unrestricted field-of-view and maximum ventilation, while the adjustable arms and head strap ensure a perfect fit, every time."

That comes straight from the Revision marketing department. But how close to the truth is it? As it turns out, pretty darned close.

Your eyes and vision are probably the most important sense you have, and likely the least defended. Revision Mission Critical Eyewear have redesigned their very popular Sawfly to improve the already impressive optics with better ergonomics and superior equipment compatibility.

Sawfly-TX Shooter's Kit by Revision Eyewear with Solar, Clear, and Vermilion lenses.

With my oldest son now in the United States Army, and with the distinct possibly of heading off to Afghanistan, I want him to have quality eye protection. He is young and quick, but that won't save him from the effects of shrapnel, spall, blast, and all the other flying debris that he might be subjected to from the cowardly use of IEDs by the slimeball, goat screwing, Al-Queida and Taliban terrorists. So this is now an issue of utmost importance to me.

Here are the technical specifics for the eyewear:
  • High-impact protection certified to ANSI Z87.1 and Military Requirements (MIL-V-43511C clause 3.5.10 and MIL-PRF-31013 clause
  • Optically correct curved lens for unrestricted field-of-view.
  • Interchangeable lenses for various light conditions and specialty lenses available.
  • Polycarbonate lenses offer 100% protection from UV-A, UV-B and UV-C rays.
  • Two sizes with adjustable arms ensure perfect fit.
    • Regular: fits most head sizes
    • Large: hat sizes 7.5+
  • Retention head strap provides security.
  • Optional Prescription (Rx) Carrier available (also compatible with Desert Locust and Bullet Ant goggles). Click here for more.
  • U.S. Army Authorized Protective Eyewear List. (Solar and Clear lenses only are approved for use.)
I tried them out first for a few days. Though I am nowhere near as rough on things as the boys are, I wanted to make sure that the basic needs were addressed, and that fit and comfort were sufficiently good so that there would be no desire to remove them. While working as a Safety Professional, discomfort was the primary reason why guys would not wear their safety glasses. I wanted to make sure I wouldn't hear that as an excuse.

I'll say this much, the frames weigh next to nothing. Even with the lens on the weight is negligible (1.25 ounces). The thin arms at 2.75mm, fit nicely behind the ear, and are adjustable. I used them in conjunction with the TriSquare eXRS TSX 300 two way radios, and found that both fit comfortably behind and above my earlobe without causing discomfort. The soft rubber overmolding ensures that the Sawfly-TX remains in place during any activity including the most extreme operations.

Frames with removable head strap.

This is top of the line optical polycarbonate lens material, and I saw no distortion in any direction I looked. Distortion will fatigue your eyes, potentially give you a headache, as well as disorient your coordination. It is most obvious in clear lenses and less so in dark ones. I found no discernible distortion on any of the lenses from Revision. This is an important detail to remember.

The Sawfly-TX Shooter's kit comes with clear, vermilion, and solar (dark).
Replacement lens are $19.99

Jordan has has them for a couple of weeks now, and think that they are the cat's meow. He says that the clarity is excellent, they don't fog up, and he doesn't even realize he has them on.

Unfortunately, these glasses will not work for me. As you may have noticed I have an aquiline profile. That's a fancy way for saying that you have a hawk's nose. Mine got that way from sticking it in places I thought it belonged and having someone else, and at least on one occasion several, vehemently disagree, not just once, but three times. Anyway the bridge of my nose sticks out, and is rather wide so glasses tend to stick out well away from my face. This abrogates two things, reflection protection and spall protection. This is something very important to consider when fitting glasses to your face. The nose piece needs to sit up on the bridge of your nose so you can breath, and the lens need to clear your cheeks enough for air circulation but no more than necessary. My tough luck.

Let me clarify what I said. For range shooting or driving, any non threatening environment where spall, blast, low angle flying debris or low angle reflection are not a concern, they are fine for me to use.

I actually use a Z87 rated all polycarbonate set of safety glasses. If I told you how cheap they were you would laugh at me.

Overall I like the quality and thought put into these glasses. The price is well within bounds and the availability of replacement parts makes it even more reasonable. When you are talking about your eyes, it is after all, pretty cheap insurance.

In case you are wondering about the claims of eye protection from shotgun blasts, Borelli Consulting put three rounds of 12 gauge #8 shot from 45 to 21 feet into the glasses. No penetration. See the results here.

Revision Eyewear
7 Corporate Dr
Essex Junction, VT 05452

Sawfly-TX Shooter's Kit

MSRP: $119.99
Street: $99.99

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

AGI Technical Manual & Armorer's Course Colt 1911 45 Auto Pistols DVD Review

© 2009 Albert A Rasch
AGI Technical Manual & Armorer's Course Colt 1911 45 Auto Pistols DVD Review

The truth is that I have a 1911 and the best I could do to it was field strip it.

But that has changed now. I recently received American Gunsmith Institute's Technical Manual & Armorer's Course for the Colt 1911 45 Auto Pistols for review.

Once again, Robert Dunlop and AGI have created a step by step DVD that takes you through the complete disassembly and assembly of any 1911 or clone. Most people work much better with a real time demonstration, than with a written description. As good as my tutorials are, a video is much better!

Robert Dunlop begins the program with an overview of the various modern Colt pistols: full size, Commander and Officers models, as well as the Double Eagle double action. Dunlap touches momentarily on guns of other manufacture, but mentions only Para Ordinance by name. Considering that clones are clones, and only the materials and fit and finish differ, I don't think that matters much.

The first chapter is a well executed detailed demo of the operation of the 1911 pistol. Utilizing a good cutaway gun, Bob shows each part in proper context and relationship and how they interact in operation. This was an eye opener and very useful because it made it easy to understand how everything interacted while in action. Bob also offers several gunsmithing and tuning tips right from the beginning.

The section of field and full disassembly does a very good job of noting differences between series 70 and 80 guns and how each one should be handled. The visual detail of the disassembly and assembly is excellent. It is clear and there is more than enough detail to keep the most prone to nervousness, worry free! Bob once again shows AGI's own non-toxic cleaning method. I know I promised to show you all, and as soon as I can get the components I will!

As I mentioned earlier, a technical manual offers the same explanation and instructions, but it is much easier to understand while watching the procedure on DVD with an explanation by someone who knows what he is doing.

The trouble shooting and maintenance section is again, very good with all the checks for barrel, extractor, firing pin, the trigger, and many other points. Bob even covers the magazine, an often overlooked source of troubles.

AGI has their Bulletproof Guarantee:

All of AGI's courses are covered by our 100% money back guarantee. If you are not satisfied with any AGI video or product purchased directly from AGI, you may return it up to 90 days from the purchase date for a full refund (less shipping). The only question we will ask is "How did we fail you?"

How can you beat that?

I was once again pretty impressed with AGI's Technical Manual & Armorer's Course for the Colt 1911, I learned quite a bit, to the point were I feel confident that I could take a box of parts, and put together a fully functional 1911.

I would rate this course a solid, definite buy for any 1911 owner.

And remember, it's made right here in the
United States of America!

We have also reviewed the AGI Armorer's Course for the AR15 at
The Range Reviews: Tactical - AGI Armorer's Course for the AR15,
and at The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles - AGI Armorer's Course for the AR15

AGI Technical Manual and Armorer's Course Colt 1911
MSRP: $39.95

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tactical Medical Packs: Individual Battle Pack (IBP)

© 2009 Albert A Rasch

Individual Battle Pack by Tactical Medical Packs

When I evaluated Tactical Medical Packs' Tac-Packs and Tac-Pack QC, I was really surprised how far we had come with trauma kits. I was trained to use a compress and a cravat, that was the extent of the technology. Tactical Medical Packs' Individual Battle Pack (IBP) takes it to the next level in portable trauma kits.

The IBP was designed to fit in the cargo pocket of the BDU or ACU. It is approximately 6 1/2 inches long, 5 inches wide, and 2 inches thick.

It comes in two flavors:

Option One:
  • Latex-Free Gloves
  • Compression Bandage
  • TK-4 One Handed Tourniquet
  • Chest Seal
  • Combat Medic Pre-Cut Rolled Duct Tape
  • 50gr. Quick-Clot.
  • Compressed Gauze 4.1 yds
  • Medical 5.25" Scissors
Option one is for anyone who is reasonably intelligent and can use common sense to resolve an emergency. Failing that there are thorough instruction written on the back. Remember, protect yourself with the personal protection equipment, apply direct pressure, if that doesn't work use the Quick Clot, and if that fails proceed to use the tourniquet.

Option Two:

Battle Pack Option II
  • Latex-Free Gloves
  • Compression Bandage
  • TK-4 One Handed Tourniquet
  • Chest Seal
  • Combat Medic Pre-Cut Rolled Duct Tape
  • 50gr. Quick-Clot.
  • Compressed Gauze 4.1 yds
  • Medical 5.25" Scissors
  • Nasopharyngeal Airway w/Lubricant
  • 10 Gauge Angio-Catheter
Option Two is for trained emergency personnel only. The nasopharyngeal airway is not for the amateur medic, nor is the 10 gauge angio catheter.

It is worth repeating that Dr Maurizio A. Miglietta has put together a guide to help you understand what you need to do to save a life:

One last thing. It is better to have an item and never use it, than to need it and not have it. Every first responder should have immediate access to these lifesaving tools. With the state of affairs that we have found ourselves in, you can never be too prepared. Take a course in first aid, or find the assets on the internet to give you more than passing knowledge in lifesaving.

Previous reviews on Tactical Medical Pack's Tac-Pack and Tac-Pack QC and The Range Reviews: Tac-Pack First Aid Packs

Tactical Medical Packs
TOLL FREE: 800-892-2801
FAX :201-767-1442

Individual Battle Pack I
MSRP: $104.99
Individual Battle Pack II
MSRP: 129.99

Tuff Products Quick Strips

When I head out with my Vaquero, I usually toss another handful of my homebrew +P 45LC rounds in my pocket. I use 320gr Cast Performance LBTs over 21.5 grains of Hodgden H110 powder fired off with Federal magnum primers. That load isn't for the meek or faint of heart. If I got into a gunfight with a cape buffalo, it would be a toss up if I would want my Ruger #1 in 458WM, or the Vaquero stoked to the gills with the LBTs.

I have frequently thought that there must be a better way to carry extra rounds in a neat and orderly manner. Trying to pull loose rounds from your jeans when you're in a hurry doesn't work all that well.

Tuff Products Quick Strips

Fortunately, Tuff™ has produced a series of "Quick Strips" in a variety of cartridge head sizes. They hold the cartridge securely but allow the cartridge to pop free with a minimum of effort.

Quick Strips are available in:
  • Ten round 22 rimfire, which will hold 17, 5mm, 22 short or long rifle, and 22 magnum.
  • Eight round 32 caliber, that not only carries the 32 S&W to the 32 Magnum, but 30 carbine and 22 Hornet also.
  • There is the six round 38 Caliber for 38 special and 357 magnum.
  • The 44 caliber Quick Strip holds six rounds of all the 44s, all the 45s, the 454, 460, and 410 shotgun.
  • The 50 holds 500 Linbaugh sized case heads.

I filled up several of the Quick Strips and put them in my pants pockets, jacket pocket, the Mrs' purse, and I also used the Tuff™ Quick Strip Pouch. I found that pistol cartridges fared very well in the Quick Strips carried in my pockets. The 30 Carbine and 22 Hornet lost a round or two when I would pull it from my jeans. In jackets or coats the Quick Strips held their cartridges firmly.

The Mrs reports that she didn't lose any rounds to the unfathomable depths of the purse. I found that very surprising, as any money that goes in there is irrevocably lost, never to be seen again. Kudus to Tuff™ and their Quick Strips!

S&W M10 and Tuff Products Quick Strips

With a S&W M10, I found that, with practice, I could load two rounds at a time quickly and with little difficulty. Pulling the strip from the belt pouches was easy. Like everything else in life, if you are going to stake your life on it, practice, practice, practice.

Quick Strip Single Strip Pouch

The Nylon pouches are well made and hold the strips and cartridges securely. It wraps around belts up to two inches wide. It is stitched at the bottom to create a small pouch where you can stash another couple of rounds, or a small item you may deem necessary.

Quick Strip Double Strip Nylon Pouch

Overall, I consider the Tuff™ series of "Quick Strips" a great accessory for a variety of shooters. If you are a wheel gun fan, but don't want or need the bulk of speed loaders, this is a viable alternative. Hunters can carry extra rounds in a convenient fashion, keeping them clean and close at hand. A quick perusal of Cartridges of the World will determine which cartridges will also fit in the Quick Strips.

Tuff™ Products

Quick Strips
MSRP: $8.49

Tuff™ Single Quick Strip Pouch

MSRP: $19.99

Tuff™ Double Quick Strip Pouch
MSRP: $22.99

Monday, April 6, 2009

How to Disassemble, Clean, and Reassemble your Ruger 10/22 Magazine

For those of you that own a Ruger 10/22 there is a great tutorial on the Ruger Rotary Magazine that comes with it at The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Sprinco USA 1911 Recoil Springs

.Sprinco USA 1911 Recoil Spring
A properly tuned 1911 Automatic is unquestionably the finest combat pistol in the world.
I've owned my Colt Combat Government for about thirty years. I wore it on and off through out my misspent and tumultuous youth in New York City and Miami. The bluing is a little worn around the sharp edges near the muzzle, and it has a couple of honestly earned scratches, but other than that, it is the one firearm that I pick up first regardless. No kidding, I can shoot you in the eye at 21 feet and if you stand still long enough I can shoot you in the other eye.

I have put approximately 1500 rounds through it, all of them 230gr ball. Recently I added the Buffer Technology 1911 buffer, which is something I highly recommend now, and I felt that it was time that the recoil spring was also replaced. Recoil springs have a life of 3000 to 5000 rounds so I was well within the lifespan, but better safe than sorry.

I got in touch with Alan Dugger of Sprinco USA for some advice. After a bit of discussion, Alan forwarded a selection of Sprinco 1911 Recoil Springs for my evaluation.

Note the different color ends on the springs, and the color code dot on the labels.
Nice touch Sprinco USA.

Sprinco 1911 Recoil Springs are manufactured from a chromium-silicon alloy that is noted for it's hardness and superior performance at extremely high temperatures and stresses. Because of it's heat resistance and hardness, the alloy is used in valve springs and automatic transmissions that operate at temperatures well over 275F. Chrome-silicon was originally developed for recoil springs in anti-aircraft guns where high resistance to environmental degradation, shock loads, and long life is needed. A nice feature by Sprinco is the color coded packaging by weight for easier field I.D. by the shooter. In addition, the recoil springs come packaged in hard plastic tubes for easier transportation. The springs also have a corresponding color for the spring weight as well.

One thing that deserves mention by itself is the extreme duty cycle of the Sprinco chromium-silicon alloy recoil springs. This alloy provides excellent service for applications in the 5,000 to 50,000 cycle ranges. How's that for longevity?

How do you decide what weight of spring to use? The correct recoil spring poundage is important to the reliability of your pistol. Changes in the weight of the slide and barrel, like changing them may require a new spring. If you add barrel weights or a compensator, scopes or an optical sight attached directly to the slide, or if you change your ammunition to something stronger or weaker, it may require a change in spring weight. Too light a spring will beat the pistol and weaken the chambering process; too heavy a spring will result in failures to extract and eject, or in "stovepipe" stoppages. Your best bet is to use the heaviest spring possible while maintaining reliable function. But a spring that is too heavy will pummel the extractor. The rapid closing of the slide will force the extractor over the rim of the cartridge, rather than allowing the cartridge to slide under the extractor with a smooth controlled motion. It also slams the slide into the slide stop unnecessarily.

A good field indicator is how far the ejected cases land from you. Less than three feet indicate the spring is too heavy, while more than six feet means you need a heavier spring. Remember, a spring that is too light will ultimately damage your 1911.

New spring is almost a full coil longer than factory original.

The stock recoil spring in a standard 1911 is rated at 16 pounds. Moving up one notch to 17 or 18 pounds will be about right for most pistols shooting hardball and other full-power defense ammo. Anything heavier is too much. Be sure to test the new recoil spring by shooting the pistol one-handed and loosely. It should function positively. If not, go back to the 16-pound spring.

Locking the recoil spring in place.

Guide, Buffer Tech 1911 Buffer, and Sprinco 17lbs Recoil Spring.

In my particular case I shoot standard full power ball ammo for practice, and I use Winchester Supreme T-Series as my defensive load. The Supreme T is a full power load with a 230gr hollow point. It leaves the muzzle at almost 900 fps, and is a formidable defensive round. I put in the 17 pound recoil spring from Sprinco, lubricated the slide with Machine Gunner's Lube and headed to the range.

Colt Government Combat with its new Sprinco Recoil Spring

I noticed that there was a definite difference in the tension of the spring, One pound difference is noticeable when racking the slide. Upon firing, the Colt was as smooth as ever. Empties were ejecting without a hitch, and every round chambered flawlessly.

When you are ready to change your 1911's recoil spring, give Sprinco USA a call and order yourself one. A spare spring should also be pat of your 1911 kit.

Sprinco USA

Sprinco 1911 Recoil Spring
MSRP: $7.95

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Buffer Technologies 1911 Recoil Buffer

I have the opportunity to field test and report on Buffer Technologies 1911 Recoil Buffer. Designed to reduce felt recoil and muzzle jump, they also extend the 1911's service life by ameliorating the metal to metal impact of slide to stop.

Recoil spring and recoil spring guide before adding buffer.

The buffer is made from a specific and proprietary polyurethane. It provides a considerable amount of protection to the slide as it reaches the end of motion and slams into the recoil spring guide by cushioning the impact. This is what loosens a 1911, the repeated slamming of the slide against the stop.

For a minimal investment you can protect your 1911, and extend its service life immeasurably.

1911 Recoil Buffers and my Colt Government Combat Model 1911.
It was a factory option back in the early eighties.

Installation is very easy and requires no tools. I carefully cut the buffer from the strip so there wouldn't any extraneous piece. Field strip your 1911 and pull the recoil spring guide and spring out.

Start 1911 Auto Recoil Buffer on recoil spring guide

Buffer Tech 1911 Buffer aligned and in place on Recoil spring guide

Slide spring over recoil spring guide.

Buffer Tech 1911 Recoil Buffer in place.

I took the Colt out and ran a magazine through it. I noticed that the recoil impulse was definitely different. It was a little less sharp and I was back on target perceptively faster. We are talking about fractions of a second overall; this won't make you competitively faster, but that's not the point. It does what it is advertised to do: save your slide, reduce muzzle rise, and reduce felt recoil.

I'm a big fan of inexpensive things that pay for themselves quickly and in large multiples. The Buffer Technologies 1911 Recoil Buffer is one of those items that does exactly what it says and saves me money. With a street price of $6.99 for a package of eight, I give this a "Rock Solid Buy."

Buffer Technologies
Buffer Tech 1911 Recoil Buffer
MSRP: $9.95

(877) 6-BUFFER
(877) 628-3337
Fax: (573) 634-8522

Tactical Reviews: Combat Application Tools - CAT M-4

Listen up, people!

Here is another one of those tools that you stop and think to yourself, "Why didn't I think of that!"

The CAT-M4

Myself, I wish I had the Combat Applications Tool CAT M-4 back when I was in the US Army, when the M16A1 was ubiquitous, and A2s the cutting edge of the AR platform. The CAT M-4 tool would have saved me a lot of scrubbing.

And push-ups.

Sam Johnson got the idea for the CAT M-4 while discussing weapon cleaning and combat drills with a close friend Jim Hopper who was training the Iraqi National Army. Sam is a machinist and after a couple of prototypes, he forwarded the CAT M-4 tool to Jim, whereupon it became an immediate success.

The CAT M-4 is designed to quickly bring a bolt to tactical tolerances in a matter of moments.

The CAT M4 tool is investment cast from 400 series stainless steel. The bolt cleaning chamber is CNC machined to precisely fit a mil-spec bolt. Investment casting leaves a non-reflective finish on the tools and feels smoother in the hand. All manufacturing is done 100% in the United States of America by American workers.

While the CAT-M4 fits many bolts perfectly, due to very slight differences in bolts, the tool will fit some bolts better than others. All bolts so far encountered by the tech staff at Combat Application Tools have been restored to "tactical tolerance" quickly. Inspection cleanliness can be quickly achieved by the addition of solvent and a patch or two.

Scraping the Bolt's Tail Clean

Patch Holder for Cleaning the Bolt Carrier

Cleaning the Bolt Carrier

Cleaning the Bolt Carrier

1/4" Hex Head Holder

Magnetic hex head extension works great!

Not only does it do a great job of cleaning the bolt quickly, but in a stroke of genius Sam broached a 1/4 inch hex opening in it so that an operator could use any 1/4 hex tool in it. I found that a magnetic extension works best to keep a bit in place and immobile.

For the money, this is a great tool for any operator, soldier, or enthusiast who uses any AR platform or M16/M4. Keeping the bolt and carrier clean has always been the key to reliable operation, here is a tool that lets you do it in mere moments, out in the field, where it counts the most! Another "Rock Solid Buy" from the Team at The Range Reviews: Tactical.

And remember, it's made in the United States of America!

Combat Applications Tool
C.A.T. M-4
MSRP: $35.00

Monday, March 23, 2009

Anti-Terrorism Training Level I Certificate Program

I took this wonderful course and got my certificate in less than an hour. This is another great little learning tool that just might save your life, or that of your loved ones. It's not difficult, but it teaches you some situational awareness.

This is the help page

The 14 hour DoD Anti Terrorism Course certification is located at the Defense Security Service Academy.

You may have to get the expired security certificates to allow you to access the DSS, but it's no big deal.

Now, I just signed up, and I will let you all know if I was accepted, and what it is like when I start doing it.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Desert Tactical Arms: SRS


Just posting a few pictures as a favor to one of my readers.

I'll be doing a full report/review on the DT SRS when Desert Tactical Arms come down to my neck of the woods.

We have an appointment.

DT SRS 338 LM Deployment Kit
Click to enlarge picture

Me and the DT SRS .308

Albert A Rasch
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
The Range Reviews: Tactical

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

AGI Technical Manual & Armorer's Course for the AR15

© 2009 Albert A Rasch

You know, they say that the best investment you can make, is one that you make in yourself. And in these uncertain times, it is absolutely more true than ever. With the investment that many of us have made in our firearms, don't you think that knowledge is cheap insurance? With AGI you get to invest in your skills and education at very reasonable prices. These are home education courses that have a real practical value.

When I received AGI's AR15 Technical Manual & Armorer's Course, I eagerly tore the plastic off the DVD case and popped the disc in my computer. I have been looking forward to the opportunity to view American Gunsmith Institute material for a very long time, and when the opportunity to do so came, I jumped at it.

After spending ten minutes trying to get Windows Media Player to work right, I finally got to watch the DVD. Windows... Sheeeesh...

First things first, the DVD is digitally remastered from VCR tapes. So you will find that the weapons themselves are a little dated. You won't find rails or lasers and lights on these tutorials. But other than stylistic changes to the AR15/ M16, there are no functional or mechanical differences between an A1 and M4. Bob Dunlap gives a very detailed and educational lecture along with a demonstration of working with and gunsmithing the AR platform. Bob is a down to earth type of narrator and instructor, so you won't get bogged down with jargon and technical discussions.

The course is divided into:
  • History of the AR15: Bob delves into the history of the AR15, Armalite and Eugene Stoner.
  • Design and functions: Bob displays and explains how all the inner workings operate both individually and in concert with others.
  • Complete disassembly and reassembly: Bob tales us through a complete disassembly, from the bolt and gas tube, to the very last pin.
  • Proper cleaning and lubrication: AGI's own cleaning method is used and explained. Don't worry, it's not proprietary and I will be writing a post specific to their method, with a comparison to traditional methods.
  • Trouble shooting and repair: Bob covers all the usual suspects, and a few you might not be aware of.
  • Tuning Tips: Magazines, ramps, and barrels, extractors and ejectors; tips that you can use and perform easily.

Even if you are intimately familiar with the AR15 or the M4, an astute observer will pick up enough information to make his next AR that much more reliable and accurate. Those of you that follow the tactical trends will find plenty of tips and tricks applicable to your latest Hi Speed wonder gun.

The beauty of the DVD type courses is that you can refer back to a section with nothing more than a click of the mouse or remote control. Need to see how the bolt is assembled? Just go to that section and play it again. Forgot which spring went where? Check the included schematics.

AGI has their Bulletproof Guarantee:

All of AGI's courses are covered by our 100% money back guarantee. If you are not satisfied with any AGI video or product purchased directly from AGI, you may return it up to 90 days from the purchase date for a full refund (less shipping). The only question we will ask is "How did we fail you?"

How can you beat that?

I was pretty impressed with AGI's Technical Manual & Armorer's Course, I learned quite a bit, to the point were I feel confident that I could take a box of parts, and put together a fully functional AR. I would rate this course a solid, definite buy for any AR owner.

And remember, it's made right here in the United States of America!


AGI Technical Manual and Armorer's Course AR-15
MSRP: $39.95

This review is also available at The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles AGI Armorer's Course

Friday, March 13, 2009

Tactical Medical Packs: Tac Pack and Tack Pack QC

© 2009 Albert A Rasch

Tac-Pack by Tactical Medical Packs

Designed by Dr Maurizio Miglietta for Secret Service use, the Tac-Pack® is for the emergency treatment of open or bleeding wounds, wounds like gunshot wounds, knife wounds, broadhead wounds, explosive trauma, and it can handle certain smoke and dust conditions. And it is a trauma kit that is compact and light enough to carry in a jacket or trouser pocket; available for use at a moments notice.

Inside the vacuum packed pouch, you find the necessary items to render immediate first aid. It is easily used on yourself, or on others, immediately. A trauma kit like this, in the hands of just about anyone, could potentially save any number of people, who normally would have been lost due to help not arriving soon enough.

No to belabor the point, but all of us need to be prepared in case of any kind of incident. With the potential for a terrorist attack, or a mentally disturbed individual that goes on a rampage, citizens everywhere need to have capabilities that where once reserved for soldiers and first responders. The Tac-Packs should be the first thing placed in everyone's personal kit.

Tac-Pac Contents

The Tac-Pack contains the following:
Latex-Free Gloves
Roll Bandage
Abdominal Pad
N-95 Respirator Mask
Triangular Bandage
Occlusive Dressing
CPR Microshield.

Tac-Pack QC

The Tac-Pack QC has everything the Tack-Pack has, and adds QuikClot, which helps to staunch the flow of blood from a wound. It is vacuum packed and compact so that it fits just about anywhere.

Tac-Pac QC Contents

The Tac-Pack QC contains the following:
Latex-Free Gloves
Roll Bandage
Abdominal Pad
N-95 Respirator Mask
Triangular Bandage
Occlusive Dressing
CPR Microshield
25gram Quick Clot® Sponge

Dimensions and the back has a notes section that you can affix to the patient

Important Information

Trauma and Gunshot wounds:
What you need to know to save a life.

Dr. Maurizio A. Miglietta

And for further instruction on using the Tac-Pack, Tack-Pack QC, or the Individual Battle Pack, see this information filled PDF: Instructional Training Materials. This is a well thought out Power Point style instructional material that can be shown as an slide show or printed out as a handout.

Note: N95 respirator has at least 95% filtration efficiency against solid and liquid aerosols that do not contain oil. For more information on N95 type respirators see this PDF from 3M

For those of you that hunt, TMC will be coming out with a Hunter-Pack, a trauma pack very similar to the Tac-Pac QC. That's no excuse for not getting the Tac-Pac immediately for your home, vehicle and rucksack. Again, as I frequently say, it is cheap insurance!

And don't forget, it's made in The United States of America!

Tactical Medical Packs

MSRP: $24.95
Tac-Pack QC
MSRP: $36.50

This review is also available at The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles The Range Reviews: Tac-Packs

Tactical Reviews: ClearShot Lens Cleaning Kit

© 2009 Albert A Rasch

ClearShot Lens Cleaning Kit

I recently received Charlie King's ClearShot Lens Cleaning Kit. Charlie is a motorcycling enthusiast, who after struggling to find a kit to keep his helmet visor clean, put together the ClearShot. (Charlie's ride to the Arctic Ocean is photo-chronicled here.) As a fellow outdoor enthusiast he saw a need and striking out on his own, has built a great product, and is now marketing it through dealers throughout the United States.

ClearShot Lens Cleaning Components

The ClearShot system puts all of your lens cleaning items in one self contained package. The container is a rigid ABS plastic case, with three separate compartments. Four rubber caps seal the ends securely. The caps are attached, so you can't lose them! If necessary, the caps and tethers will come off and you can paint the ABS flat black, sand, or any other subdued color that suits your needs.

The long compartment contains a small spray bottle of Charlie's proprietary lens cleaning and anti-fog solution. The raspberry colored compound is non-toxic, biodegradable, and safe for all optic surfaces; this includes glass, mineral glass, plastic, and polycarbonate lenses. The pump sprayer works very well, surprisingly well! I can tell that Charlie put a lot of thought into the whole package.

There are two cloths for cleaning your lens, a blue heavy cleaner, and a white polishing cloth. The Blue cloth is an optical grade microfiber made for coarse cleaning. (Like getting bugs off your visor.) The white polishing cloth is also a microfiber textile, but softer and with a finer weave. It will leave a polished, streak-free finish on the surface on your optics

Here is a word of advice. If your lenses are so dirty that you think you need the blue cloth, wash them with running water. Tip your canteen over and get the grit and grime off first, before you try to use a piece of cloth on it. Then use the blue cloth to dry it. Otherwise you will just damage the surface of your optics and degrade its capabilities. This is especially true of coated optics.

ClearShot Lens Cleaning Spray

Blue Cloth

White Cloth

If it is just a case of fingerprint smudges, fog, or nose oil on your lenses, then a quick spritz, and a wipe down with the polishing cloth will get you back in business again.

It is available in the following colors: Red, Blue, Orange, Silver.

My only suggestion is to take a Sharpie, or an engraving tool, and mark the ends of the tubes with their respective components. Makes it a whole lot easier to determine the contents!

The ClearShot Lens Cleaning Kit is a great little package that is well designed. It is cheap insurance for those optics that frequently cost far more than the rifle they sit on, and for all of your lens cleaning needs.

ClearShot Lens Cleaning Kit
MSRP: $20.00