Double 1911

If you have seen the Green Hornet, you know the feeling when first laying eyes on the Double Desert Eagle. At first it was beautiful thought. Then it was painful. Shortly after that it was just so cool the fractured wrist would definitely be worth it. And then the barrels split in two different directions and the double Desert Eagle was dead to me. I see something like this and I’m really not sure what to think. Although I couldn’t ever make myself buy one for lack of any practicality, I’m still stuck at the “I absolutely must fire this some day” stage. Feast your eyes on the new Arsenal Firearms Second Century Model 2011 “AF2011-A1”.

That’s right. Who needs to squabble over polymer/metal or single stack/double stack when you can shut them both up with a completely awesome, completely ridiculous, double single stack .45? I really am not even sure what else to say about this gun. Yes it really is two 1911s made into a single, opposite ejecting, two bullet, semi auto long range hole punch. And did I mention that we are trying to get our hands on a specimen to review in the upcoming months?

Yes. I have another picture. You are welcome.

Another thing I have noticed about the AF2011-A1 is that it actually has two triggers, making this guy easy to come by without any funky taxes or licenses. I’m done now.

Oh, and this was in the video description. I lied about being done.

“The AF2011-A1 obviously features a number of very special parts, such as the single slide, the single frame, the single spur double hammer, the single grip safety, the single body double mainspring housing and the single double cavity magazine floor plate, the long and double magazine latch, the special barrel bushings and the hold open lever and side lever safety with long shafts: but the most interesting feature of the new pistol which we strived to keep during the development of the project, is the interchangeability of most internal parts, which come as standard 1911 replacement parts. These include the firing pins, the firing pins plates, the sears groups, the triple springs, the inner parts of the mainspring housings, the recoil springs and recoil springs rods, the magazine bodies and inner parts, the sights (including after market adjustable sights) the grips and grips screws and bushings.”

Less M16, more M4.

This last weekend I took a long, cramped trip down to Ft. Hood to qualify with my rifle. This time it was different though, this time I was issued my first M4.

I’m not a huge fan of the M16 and that’s no secret. It jams, it’s clunky, it’s inconvenient in small areas and its sights are antiquated. The M4 though, this sweet little baby has changed my mind about U.S. issued assault rifles. One of the first things I noticed was the much improved sight functionality.

Notice the rear sight, it flips up. How cool is that? They really thought of everything. The elevation adjustment is a simple click and not a menacing horizontal knob like the M16 has.

The insides of the M4 look identical to the M16. Making transition simple, even for the slowest of soldiers. Here is a quick field-strip of the m4.

 

While the aesthetics of the rifle are neat in itself that’s not really the most important thing. What is important is how it shoots. I have never shot such a tight shot group in my shooting career. From the command “fire when ready”, my three bullet holes were damn near on top of each other. This I think is partially due to the shorter length of the rifle (better positioning), the adjustable buttstock(better recoil control), and of course my mad shooting skills.

Moral of the story – the M4 rocks.

Bonus range picture:

Barrett MRAD

mrad-hero

Model: MRAD (Multi-Role Adaptive Design)
Caliber: .338 Lapua Magnum
Barrel length:  24.5” (62.23 cm)
Overall length:  Folding stock extended: 46.90” (119.13 cm)
Folding stock closed: 39.90” (101.35 cm)
Weight:  14.8 pounds (6.71 kg)
Twist rate:  1-10” Right-Hand Twist
Safety:  Manually-operated reversible thumb-lever
Safety range needed:  4 miles (estimated)
Scope rail: Integral M1913 style, 21.75” (55.25 cm) with 30 MOA taper Magazine capacity: 10 Rounds

The MRAD (Multi Role Adaptive Design) rifle by Barrett has it all. Barrett claims it to be a pound lighter than the next comparable platform. With its relative light weight, and having a folding stock, the MRAD holds one obvious advantage over the next large caliber rifle simply because it is easier to carry. MRAD also features a single button length of pull adjustment, an adjustable cheek piece, ambidextrous magazine release with a drop free magazine, a “combat proof” modular trigger group (no tools needed to remove) , and a “user changeable” barrel which can be swapped in under ten minutes using a single torx wrench to remove two screws. Also, did I mention that you can slap any standard m4/m16 pistol grips on the lower receiver? As you might have noticed, the A in MRAD is there for a reason.

The MRAD is currently able to fire the .338 Lapua Magnum, .300 Win. Mag., and 7.62x51mm ammunition with the proper bolt and barrel. As new, more efficient rounds are developed, the MRAD should have the ability to evolve and adapt to keep up with the biggest and best in long range projectiles. With the quick change barrel assembly and the overall adaptive qualities of the MRAD I could definitely see it moving in as a staple sniper system for years to come. The MRAD is a beautiful rifle, and I can’t wait to see some more media about its performance.

A brief note on optics

Yesterday I was *training during my reserve weekend when the subject of optics came up. There was some confusion amongst the younger soldiers as to the difference between Close Combat Optics (CCO) and the Advanced Combat Optical Gunsights (ACOG). It’s not the first time I’ve seen confusion on this topic, so I thought I’d make a post about it. The simple answer is magnification. The CCO has no magnification, whereas the ACOG has about 4X. Each serve their own purpose and serve them well. For example, one would want to use an ACOG while patrolling in the mountains of Afghanistan. Whereas a CCO would be preferable in Baghdad where it is more urban and confined.

ACOG:

 

CCO:

 

I’ve personally never used an ACOG, however I have used a CCO. Truth be told I prefer iron sights. My old Army unit was too poor cheap to give us optics so we trained and deployed with iron sights. Honestly, I prefer iron sights.  It’s not just because I’m a cranky old man who prefers to use the sights of his forefathers. Or even think that kids these days have it easy with their fancy-pants red dots. I prefer iron sights because it obstructs my vision less while scanning my sector. I understand that optics are widely liked and for good reason. Reflex sights give a good tactical advantage. Not to mention not having to use the large rear sight aperture at night.

Better hope it’s a big target

Another problem with iron sights is accidentally using the night aperture during the day. Mostly during range qualification. Then wondering why you can’t seem to hit anything you are aiming at. But that’s never happened to me, of course…

I would like to know your preference when it comes to optics. Leave a comment telling me about your favorite optic and why you like it.

(*) Training – drinking coffee and playing Angry Birds.

XRAIL

Manufactured by RCI (Roth Concept Innovations), XRAIL is a magazine extender which can be easily mounted to an impressive variety of manufacturers and models of shotguns. The XRAIL system is essentially four extension magazine tubes which automatically rotate from one tube to the next as they are emptied, extending a typical magazine tube by up to 22+1 rounds. There are currently two sizes in production. The Full Version XRAIL, and the Compact XRAIL, with the Compact holding up to 14+1 rounds.

The prospect of storing more ammunition in a single, relatively compact, loading tube is amazing. For competition shooters, the XRAIL could be a great addition to shave off seconds from timed runs by decreasing the frequency of reloads, but for any other purpose I feel like the weight of the rounds so far towards the front of the firearm would increase the fatigue on the user past the point of being terribly practical. The Full Version XRAIL weighs in at only 2.5 oz. empty, but the addition of four loaded magazine tubes would shift a considerable amount of the firearms weight to the front of the barrel making it just that much more unbalanced or taking that extra second to shoulder. As far as hitting a range goes, I would absolutely love to get my hands on an XRAIL system. When it comes to the practical application for home defense situations, or survival situations I think I will stick with the more standard 5+1 for now.

Oh. And just so you know how much I would love a day at the range with one of these bad boys, here is a little video I found.

Polymer 1911 frames

I love researching 1911s! The iconic 1911 has long been one of my most admired hand guns, and the amazing amount of variants in its family tree is intriguing. By far the most controversial of these offspring is the polymer framed 1911. By some it is seen as a much-needed leap into the modern firearm industry, while others cry blaspheme. Many people question the logic of purchasing a polymer 1911 on the premise that a Glock or XD can be bought at a much more affordable price. Throughout the last few years, a few prestigious firearm manufacturers have promoted and dropped various polymer 1911 designs and all have been controversial. This years SHOT show has revealed yet another creation in the field of polymer/1911 alchemy.

Photo courtesy of Guns&Ammo

Rock River Arms (RRA) was caught showing off its new polymer 1911 at this years SHOT show. Their approach includes a textured grip with a 5” slide and steel frame insert billet (both consisting of 4140 steel) on a single stack polymer frame, and weighs in at 2.04 lbs/~36.64 oz. Most polymer 1911s have been double stacked, and as a result, end up having a bulky and generally uncomfortable grip. The RRA 1911 poly stuck closer to that amazing 1911 feel by keeping the thin, single stacked design, but may have also ended up with a very top-heavy pistol because of it. Of course since the polymer frame makes for a lighter firearm, it will also undoubtedly give this .45 a meaner recoil than its stainless counterparts. As always, there is a trade-off between being light weight and having low recoil.

RRA put a good spin on polymer 1911s with this one. Keeping it classic so that it still has the same nostalgic look and feel while also making the whole package lighter was a good move in my opinion. Unfortunately I can’t really say whether or not it is practical until I have handled it, but I for one am going to give it a chance: blaspheme or not.

X-30R Rifle

The X-30R is rifle now being manufactured by Excel Arms. While details are still limited on many aspects of this semi-auto .30 carbine, Here is a look at some of the info I managed to pull up.

SPECS
Caliber: .30 Carbine
Height: 6.25”
Width: 1.5”
Weight (Empty): 6.25 Lbs.
Barrel Length: 18”
Overall Length: 34”-38”
Action and Operation: Semi auto, delayed blowback.
Magazine: Accepts M1 Carbine magazines.

These new rifles are being CNC milled from aluminum and will also feature threaded holes in the barrel shroud for rails, should you wish to add them. There are currently two models being produced. The “basic”, and “I.S.”(Iron Sights). Excel Arms is said to be working on multiple models of the X-30R to be released at some point later on this year, but I couldn’t seem to pull up anything that was more specific than saying a pistol variant should be among them. In any case, I’m sure we will be hearing more about the X-30 family in months to come. I will be keeping my eyes open for any new information to come out about tests of current models, and releases of new models.

For those unfamiliar with the .30 Carbine round, here is some size reference.

30 Carbine, 5.56mm NATO, 6x35 KAC, 5.7mm FN
.30 Carbine, 5.56mm NATO, 6x35mm KAC,  5.7x28mm

New GEARS writers: SAWGunner

Salutations! My name is SAWGunner (SAWG for the sake of brevity) and I will be a staff writer of sorts for Gears of Guns. On top of being a staff writer I will also be working on the website look and functionality. So if you notice anything gone awry on the website, shoot me a message.

 

So what makes me qualified to talk about firearms? I served four years active duty in the Army and am currently in the Reserves. Taking full advantage of my military status I have fired many weapons the Army has to offer, short of tanks, that is. I have qualified with a number of small arms such as the M9, M16, M4 and M249B (SAW). The SAW was my assigned weapon for the longest time. Fair warning, I will use the metric system. So expect me to use meters and variations thereof. Also, I’m here to talk about firearms, not the military. So let’s keep it on topic.

 

Now I must demonstrate some humility. I’d wager Mr. James has spent far more time at the range with different guns than I have. So if you have any in-depth gun/ammunition questions, he is your man. I look forward to spending some time at the range with the Gears of Guns crew and getting some good posts off the ground.

1 of 2 new GEARS writers: Caleb

Atticus, invited me to write a few Gears of Guns blogs to offer an engineers’ viewpoint of firearms.  Here is a bit of an introduction about me, so that you can get to know who is writing. I am an engineering student in Texas, and I have a love for all things that make a bang (or anything that would suppress things that make bangs for that matter). I pride myself in my ability to critically think and to both understand and design complex mechanical systems, and I am hoping to provide something of an engineers’ perspective on how things work, and if they work well,  with my articles.

I was asked to choose a few of my favorite firearms to include in my introductory post, but honestly I’m not entirely sure I could choose. There are so many amazing firearms out there that I would have to fire them all side by side before I could ever chose a true favorite. If I was forced to choose two of my most liked firearms I would have to go for two-time proven models. The Colt 1911 and the AK-47. Neither gun is the best at everything, but both are amazingly engineered and deserve recognition for it. I expect to be able to go into more details on my personal preferences and “professional” opinions on individual firearms in the following months.

I’m Caleb, and hopefully I’ll be hanging around for a while.