Sunday, August 29, 2010

AI AE Mk II and Vortex Razor Rifle Scope

We have been slacking off lately on updating the Blog. We have taken deliver of an Accuracy International AE (Accuracy Enforcement) MkII rifle chambered in 7.62x51mm (.308win). We are going to be doing a full evaluation article with numerous types of ammunition. This rifle will also be my primary competition and duty rifle for the remainder of this year and for 2011. So far I have 55 rounds  through the tube on our first firing day. I have to say this is an excellent rifle. Out of five, five shot groups the largest was just over 3/4" and the smallest was almost 1/4" at 100 yards. Much of this was due to me not being "in the game" and trying to get used to the platform. I have not owned an AI system before and my trigger time on them has been limited.

Our AE MkII features a 20" barrel with screw on muzzle break, picatinny rail and side folding stock. The AE MkII improves on previous AE's by accepting AICS magazines. Accuracy International offers both five and ten round magazines. The five round magazines fit flush with the bottom of the stock. The AICS magazines are the most popular precision rifle magazines in use in the US. They are used in the Marine Corps M40A3 and A5 Sniper Rifles as well as many other custom bolt action rifles.

A world class sniper rifle is useless without top end optics to direct it's fire. To that end Vortex Optics has provided us with a new Razor 5-20x50mm rifle scope. The Razor is a first focal plane mil reticle with 0.1 mRad click turrets. The Razor's reticle is illuminated and features a "Horus like" Christmas Tree extending from the bottom. At first I was  concerned that this would be too busy, but the execution is excellent. It's fine enough that you can forget about it if you wish, but when you really need to hold and track it's there for assistance. I would have loved to have this reticle earlier this year when I was on a stage engaging 200 yard fixed and 600 yard moving targets. The Razor also features a zero stop that is easy to adjust. We have not completed any tracking tests yet, so the accuracy of the turrets is unknown at this point.

We are looking forward to some more trigger time on this system and will be reporting back soon.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Accuracy Internation AE MkII Coming Soon!

We have a new Accuracy International AE Mk II on the way from SRT Supply. This model is the folding stock with 20" .308 Win barrel and muzzle break. The AE MkII has several notable improvements over the original AE. The most notable being the Mk II accepts AICS magazines instead of the single stack AE magazines.

We should have the rifle in our hands at the beginning of next week. I received the shipping notification three hours after placing the order. Once I get my grubby little mitts on  the rifle I will get some pics up and begin the review process.

This rifle will serve several purposes for us. It will allow me to design some new nylon products that have been requested for the AI Chassis. Assuming the accuracy reports that I have been getting are true (and I have no reason to doubt them) then the AE MkII will be replacing my 700 as my match rifle. The durability of this platform will also allow me to use it as a "loaner" rifle for students who have equipment problems or do not have their own rifle.

Stay Tuned!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

8541 Tactical Logo Shooter's Hats

We have just received our first shipment of our Logo Shooter's Hats. These hats are low-profile and unstructured to easily pack. There is no top button or metallic hardware to dig into your head when wearing ear pro. Best of all, these hats are Made in the USA with US manufactured materials. We didn't just have the same old stock cap embroidered. We worked with a US manufacturer to get exactly what we wanted. We hope this will become your favorite shooting hat!

Order here: 8541 Tactical Products

Sunday, August 1, 2010

ESS Crossbow Protective Glasses

We have just completed the review of the Crossbow glasses from Eye Safety Systems. Anyone who spends any amount of time in the urban outdoors knows that a good set of sunglasses makes life much easier. In the urban landscape we have manufactured a good many objects that focus and enhance the sun's power. This is usually uncomfortable to unprotected eyes. Without the greens, browns and soft textures of nature to soak up the harsh light it just bounces around and annoys us. This is also true if you happen to be stuck in the desert or high mountains.

If you work with firearms safety glasses are a fact of life. Many of us resort to cheap disposable safety glasses. This is less than ideal. Those glasses while cheap, rarely provide the same optical clarity found in today's rifle scopes. Why someone would drop over a thousand dollars on optics, then look at them through two dollar pieces of plastic is beyond me.

No matter if you are a cop on the beat, a shooter on the range or a warrior in the desert, the ESS Crossbow offers something for you. The Crossbow comes as a "2x" kit. This includes two frames, one smoke lens, one clear lens, one cleaning bag and a hard case. The lenses can be quickly interchanged by way of the ESS DedBolt™ Lens Lock System. However with the 2x kit this is unnecessary since each lens has it's own frame. As an added bonus the hard case is MOLLE compatible. It will attach to most MOLLE packs and vests. This allows you to wear one set and keep the other at hand. Alternately you can store one complete set and one spare lens in the case. For the duration of the evaluation I kept the hard case attached to my pack in the front seat of my patrol car. When necessary I swapped the smoke lens for the clear one. As I mentioned earlier, this is not necessary for the 2x kit, but I did it anyway to get a feel for how durable the DedBolt™ Lens Lock System was. I did not see any wear related issues for the couple months that I used them.

I did some unscientific fogging tests. The results are posted on the full review at After spending some quality time with these glasses I am impressed. They are not the perfect fit for my face, but the frame geometry allows them to stay secure on many different head shapes. The lens size and shape is perfect for ballistic protection. Since the glasses are ANSI Z87 rated they are suitable for most applications where ballistic eye protection is required.

As an added bonus for those of you who wear ACU to work, the Crossbow is now on the Army's APEL (Approved Protective Eyewear List). The Crossbow is our first look at the products from ESS. Based on the quality of these glasses we are excited to take a look at some of the other models they offer.

Casio Pathfinder PAG40-5V Update

Bug Juice and Pathfinders don't mix......

During a SWAT Callout in the early hours of the morning I grabbed by bug juice and applied a couple of sprays. The bug spray I am partial to is 100% DEET. It works very well. There is just one problem. It doesn't like plastic much. I didn't even think about the watch. It was never an issue I had to worry about.

The Callout went on for a couple hours and ended in a peaceful resolution. I came home and went about putting up my gear and fixing breakfast before I woke up my family by jumping in the shower. This placed the exposure of the watch to the bug spray at about five hours before I showered (with the watch on).

This afternoon I picked up the watch and looked at it. I noticed that anywhere the bug spray contacted the band it made it shiny. I initially thought this was just because I had not successfully washed the oils from the watch. I gave it a good scrubbing with some dish detergent, but it appears that the bug juice actually burned the plastic of the band. Upon closer inspection there were also some spots on the plastic of the case that has turned shiny. This does not affect the function or utility of the watch and the crystal was not affected, but it is something I will keep in mind the next time I am spraying the bug juice.